Friday, December 23, 2011

Elf on the Shelf!

Thank you ALL for the well wishes! My hand has been healing from surgery....which has meant NO baking for the past couple of weeks. Let me tell's been TOUGH! The consolation...I've been having TONS of fun with our House Elves...they've provided QUITE the distraction!

I'm sure most of you have heard of The Elf on the Shelf by now! This FUN family tradition is seriously SWEEPING the nation ;) We've had a few House Elves that have watched over our family for several years now. PIXIE, TRIXIE and FRITZ have been making LOTS of MISCHIEF this holiday season....they even invited a NEW come live with us this year ;)

Here are some of the SHENANIGANS they've gotten themselves into so far!

One day while we were out, the Elves surprised us by making a BIG batch of Reindeer Food and packaging it into cute jars so we could give it as gifts to friends and family!

I found out about this Elf Magic from Living Locurto! We left a bowl out on the counter overnight with 1 Cup of powdered sugar. The next morning we saw that the Elves had added MAGIC SPRINKLES to the sugar! The next morning the sugar and sprinkles turned into a cookie for us to give to SANTA on Christmas Eve!

Here are the Elves with the MAGIC COOKIE that we'll be leaving out for SANTA on Christmas Eve!

Mack had fun adding some FLAIR to our family photos ;)

The Elves wrapped our Christmas Tree in toilet paper a few different times this holiday season ;)

One day they surprised us by making paper SNOWFLAKES and decorating their favorite cupboard with them!

Mack has his Bags-of-Tricks all packed and ready to go tomorrow night when Santa comes to deliver toys! He made mini suitcases out of vintage jewelry boxes....just his size!

We're really going to miss our Elves when they leave with Santa tomorrow night to head back to the North Pole! We've had a TON of fun finding them every morning and seeing what NEW fun they have gotten into ;)

If you want to keep up (or catch-up) with our Elf Family check these links:
~ Details from our Magical Elf Party HERE!
~ 2012 Highlights HERE.
~ My Elf Idea Pinboard HERE.
~ My facebook page HERE.
~ Feature at HERE.
That's it...feel free to stalk them...what goes around comes around right!??!?
I’ve had several inquiries already, so thought I’d share a little bit more about our Elf Family and how they came to us. These little Christmas Elves have been around for decades, a lot of you may have even had some decorating your house when you were younger. The original vintage Elves were made mostly in Japan starting in the 50s.  My Grandma had some of the vintage Elves that we’ve used for years and years. We also have one Elf on the Shelf. This year, I added SEVERAL more vintage Elves to our family, through online “adoptions” (i.e. auctions). So...we have a LOT of elves around here. We have our faves...the "main" ones who make the mischief and report to Santa.

Those of you who would like to add another Elf (or several) Elves to your family, 
here are some good places to look:
EBay and Etsy: search for “Knee Hugger Elf or Elves”
Hobby Lobby: I found all of the Elves that were in our adoption center at Hobby Lobby 
(before Halloween mind-you) in the Christmas decoration aisle. 
We added scarves to some, and bows to give them a little extra personality.

Wishing you the BEST this Holiday Season!!!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Hey there strangers....

Well, as per usual I've let time get away from me...but I've missed you all and I wanted to play a little catch-up so you didn't think I fell off the face of the EARTH! November seriously FLEW and the way this month is going....Christmas will have come and gone before I finish typing this post - LOL ;) As a SIDENOTE: if you want to keep-up with me on a more consistent basis, follow my Facebook page! I post there frequently...maybe even a little TOO frequently ;)

The Sweet Potato Cupcakes with Marshmallow Buttercream Frosting were well-received by my Cupcake of the Month Clubbers....speaking of which....I'm ENROLLING NEW MEMBERS NOW!!! The 2012 CCMC starts up in January, toward the end of the month. Those of you still finishing up your holiday shopping (I count myself among you)...a CCMC membership is the EPITOME of the gift that keeps on giving! Six months of'll be more popular than Santa if you're gifting cupcakes lemme tell ya! For full details visit my Cupcake page HERE!

Hot Cocoa Cupcakes with Marshmallow Buttercream Frosting

I also wanted to THANK all of you that stopped by to see me at Westdale Mall for the Cedar Rapids Macaroni Kids' Family Fun Day and Xmas Expo!!! I was SO super pumped for this event...and it was an even BIGGER BLAST than I could have hoped for! Charlotte did an AMAZING job putting it together....Breakfast with Santa, a Bouncy House, Stocking Stuffer Hunt, Cookies for Kids' Cancer Bake Sale...and TONS of LOCAL vendors! I LOVE having a chance to meet some of you in person! My sister helped run my booth and together we sold over 200 Cake Pops and nearly 300 cupcakes!!! was a FUN day ;)

I do have some not-so-fun news....many of you already know this because you've contacted me for Holiday goodies....but I won't be able to fill any orders from December 16th through mid-January. I'm having surgery on my hand this week and will be officially BANNED FROM THE KITCHEN while I recover! It's a major bummer...I honestly can't remember a Christmas that wasn't spent baking my little heart out. It's such a HUGE part of the season for me....I'll have to go into overdrive after I've recovered to make-up ;) a little parting gift...check out these Super Mario Toadstool Cake Pops! I made them last week for a birthday party and LOVE how they turned out. I'm inspired to try my hand at more Mario characters know....after I have 2 fully-functioning hands that is- LOL!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Sweet Potato Cupcakes!

With Thanksgiving right around the corner....we already celebrated once this year...I was trying to think of some FUN FALL cupcake flavors for The Cupcake of the Month Club.

Last November, I went with a Pumpkin Spice Cupcake...which is one of my personal FAVES! Since I do a new flavor every month I've been trying to think outside of the box, while still making flavors the majority of people will LOVE! This is one of my favorite parts about baking....having the initial spark of an idea...and then turning it into something DELICIOUS! It's about the adventure of getting there...right!?!?

So think Thanksgiving dinner...what are some of your favorite dishes? My mind went straight to Sweet Potato Pie and Sweet Potato Crunch!

The end result...Sweet Potato Cupcakes, topped with a fluffy Marshmallow Buttercream Frosting and finished with a sprinkling of Brown Sugar Candied Pecans. Everyone in my household has DEVOURED them! The sweet potato flavor is subtle but SO-SO yummy!

I never realized what a LOVE-'em or HATE-'em food sweet potatoes are until I posted this flavor idea on my FB page! LOL! I honestly think that these are a MUST-TRY for anyone who enjoys sweet potatoes ;) For the rest of you....avoid them like the plague!


Sunday, October 30, 2011

2011 Merry NOT Scary Costume Party

How perfect is this! We got the pictures back from our 2011 Merry NOT Scary Costume Party JUST in time for me to post them for HALLOWEEN!

All party photos by KV Photography!

This was the second year in what will now be an ANNUAL long as the kids are interested in partying anyways ;) You can see pictures from the 2010 party HERE! I had TONS of fun planning, as always. It was even MORE exciting this year because my son, who is now 3 and a half, had opinions on what we should do and he was SO pumped for the party! His most consistent request was to have a MONSTER that was what we set out to accomplish ;)

The planning started with some ADORABLY SPOOKY invitations I found from Kreations by Kristie. I fell IN-LOVE with the monster characters and immediately saw them as Cake Pops ;) I posted a sneak peek of the MONSTER POPS that were inspired by the invitations HERE!

We had the invitation customized for our event.
You can view the original version in Kreations by Kristie's Etsy shop HERE!

Frankie, Dracula and Mummy are Marshmallow Pops. Wolfie is a Cake Pop ;)

I also requested some coordinating party printables, including cupcake & cake pop toppers, labels, large signs, a pennant banner and some FUN games! She was SO great to work with and I LOVE how everything turned out. I printed the smaller items on cardstock and had the larger signs & games printed on vinyl.

I had more IDEAS than TIME for the treats on the dessert table this year ;) The Monster Cake and Marshmallow Pops were a BIG HIT and I was SO SUPER happy with how they turned out.

The EYEBALL Cake Ball Topiary definitely made a SPOOKY statement! I took a large piece of cone-shaped styrofoam, hot-glued it into an urn and covered it with Cake Balls I had hand painted and decorated to look like eyeballs...about 80 total (and that only covered the front of the piece)! I used toothpicks to dip the Cake Balls, and to hold them in-place on the topiary. I plan on posting a full tutorial for this process next month!

I also made two new variations of FINGER FOODS, using my basic OGRE TOE tutorial ;) This year I made some that were dipped in green, with white "toenails" and called them "FRANKIE FINGERS" and some that were dipped all in white, with white "toenails" and called that version "MUMMY KNUCKLES!" It's fun to find new ways to present some of our favorite keeps it FUN!
Either way...they were all GOBBLED UP! LOL!

Other Dessert Table goodies included some yummy Black Magic Cupcakes, Popcorn Balls, and Pumpkin Spice Cake Pops.

Hayrack rides have become a staple activity at the last few parties we've had ;) My son LOVES his Great-Grandpa Mickey's tractors and it's ALWAYS one of the HIGHLIGHTS of the day for him. Luckily we didn't have any rain this year so everyone that wanted a ride was able to go on one!

We also did a PUMPKIN PATCH HUNT again this year. After the kiddos collected all the little pumpkins they emptied the contents into their Trick-or-Treat bags or buckets, and I rounded-up the empties to use again...NEXT YEAR! I had a bucket of extra treats and prizes and let each guest pick three things out of the bucket after they turned their empties back in....that way everybody was sure to get something!
One example of why my husband says I'm destined to be on Hoarders someday....these are the "extra" buckets I had stashed away, just in-case a hunter forgot their Trick-or-Treat bag ;)

If we were giving costume awards this ADORABLE little Goldfish would have had my vote!
The scales are made out of CUPCAKE WRAPPERS!!! Too stinkin' cute!

Even Scoobs made an appearance ;)

One of my FAVORITE printables from Kreations by Kristie was this PIN THE BOLT ON FRANKENSTEIN game! I had it printed on 2x3 ft vinyl, so it would be weatherproof and so we could use it OVER-AND-OVER! We printed the bolt graphics onto cardstock, cut them all out (actually this was my sister's job - LOL!) and then put a glue dot on the back of each one...SUPER EASY and SUPER FUN!

Kristie also created the Mummy Wrap Race game sign...unfortunately that was one activity that we had to cancel :( It was just TOO blustery and chilly to keep the kids outside. My plan was to have 3-5 Dads volunteer to be Mummies. Each "Mummy" would have 4-5 kids armed with white crepe paper, when the race started the kids were going to wrap the Mummies and then they had to race down and back. Honestly...I think the Dad "volunteers" weren't too upset that they escaped this one - LOL! But there's ALWAYS NEXT YEAR!

My SUPER talented friend, Kara, of KV Photography was along for the ride again this year! She did costume shots of  the kiddos in their costumes and captured the rest of the party details. I LOVE that I can actually ENJOY the party and not have to worry about trying to get pictures of everything. Kara does an AMAZING job!

My BIG BAD Wolf!
His Sister, Little Red Riding Hood ;)
Isn't this the CUTEST Little Piggy you've EVER seen!?!?

The kids had a GREAT time and we sent them all home on a SWEET sugar high - LOL - we couldn't have asked for anything more!

Have a HAPPY HALLOWEEN everyone!


Dessert Table Treats & Styling: Sweet Cheeks Tasty Treats!
Printables: Kreations by Kristie
Photography: KV Photography
Spooky Paper Lantern Tutorial: from A Bit of Sunshine via Eighteen 25

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Merry NOT Scary 2011: Sneak Peek!

We're having our 2nd Annual Merry Not Scary Costume Party for the Little Monsters tomorrow! I've been busy-BUSY in the kitchen...but I HAD to take a SUPER quick break to share some FUN with you ALL!

I fell IN-LOVE with this invitation from Kreations by Kristie! I think the reason I loved it SO much was because I could just SEE these guys as Pops! Marshmallow Pops to be exact!

We had the invitation customized for our event.
You can view the original version in Kreations by Kristie's Etsy shop HERE!
  So...MEET THE CREW!!! My Frankie, Dracula, Wolfie and Mummy Pops! These little cuties will be front and center tomorrow afternoon at our party. I CANNOT WAIT for the kiddos to see them...I have a feeling they're gonna be a BIG hit!

Frankie, Dracula and Mummy are Marshmallow Pops. Wolfie is a Cake Pop ;)

I'll post FULL party details and photos by KV Photography as SOON as I have them ;)
If you liked the invitation...we ordered a BUNCH of SUPER fun coordinating printables...
so there is MUCH more to come!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Halloween SPECIALS!

Halloween Specials
Presented by
Sweet Cheeks Tasty Treats!!!
To order contact Audrey via email at {sweetcheeks at southslope dot net} or by calling 319.241.8647!

Orders will be available for PICK-UP on October 27th, 28th and 29th.
Just let me know which day works for you ;)
6PKs available for $10 or 1DZ for $18
Rich Devil’s Food Cupcake topped with Blackberry Buttercream Frosting

$30 EACH
6 – Pumpkin Spice Cake Balls
6 – Standard Cake Pops, Chocolate
6 – Witch Finger Cookies
6 – Mallow Pops, Frankensteins!
3 – Chewy Gooey Popcorn Balls
$50 EACH
1 DZ – Pumpkin Spice Cake Balls
1 DZ – Standard Cake Pops, Chocolate
1 DZ – Witch Finger Cookies
6 – Mallow Pops, Frankensteins!
6 – Chewy Gooey Popcorn Balls
*Specific sampler contents can be changed and/or adjusted without warning, as needed. The value of the box will remain the same.

Back by POPULAR DEMAND and available on a LIMITED BASIS!

Monday, October 10, 2011

OGRE Toes: revisited!

I thought now was the perfect time of year to share my OGRE TOE tutorial again! These treats were a BIG hit around here last year. BONUS: they're SO super easy to make! I'm going to make them for our annual Merry NOT Scary Costume Party for the Little Monsters this weekend.

I thought this year I'd use white midgees for the "toenails" and call them Frankie Fingers ;) A fun little twist on a treat that is ALREADY a family FAVE! (UPDATE: I did make some Frankie Fingers...and some dipped all in white with white "nails"...Mummy Knuckles!" LOL...super FUN & CREEPY!)

Here's the original tutorial for your Halloween Treat enjoyment!

Ogre Toes!


Circus Peanuts
Green Candy Melts or White Almond Bark tinted with candy coloring (The Wilton Spooky Green Candy Melts are out NOW for Halloween. You can find them at Michael's and even Walmart!)
Candy Fruit Chews, assorted colors

 First you'll want to get whatever candy coating you're using melted to a good consistency for dipping. I have a candy melter that works great for these kind of projects.

Next, to make the Circus Peanuts a little more toe-like, flatten them by pressing down on each one with the bottom of a glass until they are nice and SMOOSHED. (UPDATE: this year, I put several Circus Peanuts in between sheets of wax paper and then smooshed them with the worked like a charm!)

Repeat this step with all of the Circus Peanuts you plan to use.

Then I used kitchen shears to cut the fruit chews into small pieces.

After all of the pieces have been cut, use something to press them into "toenail" shapes. I used a metal measuring spoon to flatten each piece. (UPDATE:  This year I used the wax paper method with the "toenails" too, and used the glass to flatten...MUCH quicker!)

Using a toothpick inserted in one end of the Circus Peanut, dip the entire "toe" into the melted candy coated until it is evenly covered.

Remove the "toe" from  the candy coating and gently tap on the edge of your bowl to remove any excess candy melt.

Place each dipped Circus Peanut on to a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper to set. Top each one with a pressed piece of fruit chew.

Last step to really put them into over-the-top-creepy-cool status...use a toothpick to draw "knuckle" lines onto each of your Ogre Toes!

I'd love to hear from you if you plan on using these for your Halloween gathering!
Happy Treat Making!