Archive for May, 2010
Abigail will be turning 5 on the 2nd. However, we won’t be doing her birthday party that week only because grandma will be here and we’re staying at a resort all week. Then, as summer always is, our weekends get booked. Anyway, all of that aside, I have been mentally planning Abby’s birthday party theme for months. I have to say, a few things contributed to my obsession. For one, I just recently came upon Amy Atlas I know, where on earth have I been? (if you’ve never seen her, be prepared to drool over her “eye candy” section for a while) Secondly, I somehow stumbled into the realm of party blogging where I spent hours pouring over the adorable printables some of these women are designing! They are SO precious, and really tie the whole theme together. Plus I love the element of personalization you get. So, in true Autumn fashion I said…”I can do that.” (sometimes I think my can-do attitude causes me more stress than anything else)
So what I have been busy doing? I’ve been scouring the internet to come up with a theme, choosing inspiration pieces, finding clip art (because while I can compile things, I can’t “draw” IRL or on PS), finding templates for all the printables I want, and designing. Here’s what I’ve got so far.
Abby is a bit of a frou frou type of girl. She wanted to do a tea party for GIRLS only this year. While we adore pink around here, I thought I’d go in a different direction. Somehow I came up with a “French Lavender” theme. Not just the color lavender, but the flower and flavor as well. Here are some pieces that give the feel of the party I am going after. (you can click on the images to view them bigger)
I have found a recipe for some lavender cupcakes that sounds divine. Plus, while I love the idea of lavender lemonade, I realize not all the kids will be into that, so I am going to make a lavender syrup that can be used to flavor the girls’ tea or lemonade. I want to have monogrammed cookies, macarons, and those purple marshmallows shown above.
For the last two months I’ve been compiling an array of jars and vases for the Amy Atlas inspired table I plan on making. I even bought a roll of lavender butcher paper for the backdrop! lol (I think it’s safe to say I’m obsessed and on a mission at this point) I’m still looking for a local place that sells the acrylic chandelier beads that I’d like to use to decorate. They’re super cheap online, but the shipping is like 3x the cost of the product. Dumb.
So far I’ve designed the cupcake toppers…
Tonight when the girls head to bed I’ll get to work on the banner, invitation, and various labels. So far it’s been really fun! I can’t wait to see how it all comes together.
Have you you ever heard of House Party? If you haven’t, you have got to get on it RIGHT NOW and sign up! The premise of House Party is that companies partner with them, and you, as a host, get to try new products, view tv shows, or experience something that that company has to offer. All they ask is that you share it with your friends by holding…a house party. Cool right? Becoming a host is not guaranteed. You’ll have to fill out an application and then if you are selected you’ve got to invite your guests, add some media to your party page, and post on the blog before you are confirmed.
I’ve done a bunch of parties with them; some of my favorites being the Barbie party (with two new dolls, a complete decoration pack, collector box, poster, etc), the Hershey’s Bliss (I got like 12 bags of chocolate!!! We made fondue.), and my friend had an awesome one for Fisher Price where she got a bunch of toys for her son and she invited all his friends to come over and play. What’s great is that, not only do they send a bunch of cool stuff for the host, but they also always send goodie bags for the guests!
I recently signed up for the Ball Taste of Summer House Party and was SO STOKED when I was actually selected to host. Obviously I’ve just begun my canning adventures, so a party for preserving noobs was right up my alley. I also thought it would be super fun to invite my friends over to try something that I’m not sure many of them have tried. I loved making jam so much that I can’t wait to share the experience.
I was beyond excited when my box arrived yesterday. It was HUGE! I couldn’t imagine what they had packed inside. Look at what I was greeted with!
Not only did they send me a 21 qt. water bath, but they also sent a 4-piece utensil set, 1 Canning Discovery Kit, 20 different pectin packs, 2 Ball Blue Books (I always mis-read that…..) Guide to Preserving, a bunch of coupons for jars and more pectin, and of course the reusable grocery bags to be used for the goodie bags for my guests. !!!!
There’s a big flip chart that guides you through the canning process to use at your party too which I thought was cool.
I thought it was cool they sent along a bunch of recipes to share with the guests too! We’ll be making salsa at the party, but I think I’m going to try my hand at a few of the recipes to share at the party as well.
The book is a fabulous resource! I have only just begun reading it, but I’ve already learned a lot in just the first few pages. I will be keeping one and giving one away as a door prize.
What about you? Are you a House Party member? What’s the best party you’ve been chosen to host. (If you were one of the Margaritaville hosts….I am jealous!)
Where I’m from, blackberries grow on the sides of dirt roads. The taste of a warm, sun-ripened berry on your tongue signifies the lazy days of summer spent going to the river or the lake to cool off and work on your tan. Stained, purple fingertips and thorn nicked arms mean you’ve enjoyed your day taking in everything the season has to offer.
My aunts live on a dirt road that is totally lined with plump, juicy blackberries. Whenever we would visit, we’d go out with a bowl and pick enough berries for my mom to make her grandma’s blackberry cobbler. To this day, taking a bite of this cobbler brings me straight back to my childhood.
Here’s her recipe:
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk
A couple of hours before you are going to make the batter, set aside at least 2 cups of cleaned fruit. (berries, peaches, whatever) Sprinkle sugar over the top and stir. Let the fruit macerate until there is a noticeable amount of juice. The more juice, the better the cobbler. (*side note* I don’t measure the sugar, I just sprinkle enough in to cover all the fruit)
Cream together the butter and sugar. Combine the rest of the ingredients. Mix until smooth. Put into greased 2 qt casserole dish. Spoon fruit over batter. Pour fruit juice over top. Bake @ 375 for 40 minutes.
*we always double this recipe and put it in a 4 quart dish. Last night when I cooked it, it didn’t take as long to finish baking. I think about 30 minutes. You’ll smell when it’s ready. Just be sure to keep an eye on it if you double it*
The batter will bake up and around all the juice and the berries and you will be left with something that looks like this.
What’s interesting to me is that cobbler doesn’t mean the same thing to everyone. I remember my friend made some that had a pie crust type base instead of a cake base. It was equally as delicious! I think it’s cool, having moved from the West Coast to the South, to note the differences in recipes.
I think we also probably eat our cobbler differently than a lot of people. Don’t get me wrong I love it topped with a scoop of Blue Bell vanilla (heaven!)…
but back home, the way we usually ate it was scooped into a bowl and topped with cream.
What about you? What type of cobbler is traditional where you are? And how do you prefer to eat it? Topped with ice cream, whipped cream, half and half? Do share!