After taking off a year of decorating cakes because of Andrew, this cake was a fun one to get back in the swing of things! To relaunch my bakery I decided to run a giveaway and by chance, cousin won a discounted cake just when she needed one for her son's birthday. The party theme was Star Wars, which I happen to love since I am geeky and I haven't done one in while. With me being home all day with Andrew, I knew I was going to have to prepare what I could when he allowed me to. I did most of the decorating in the morning while Jack was able to watch him and I could just focus on finishing it in time for us to leave for the party. I made a chocolate fondant to color black so I wouldn't have to use so much food coloring, plus it tastes delicious! The lettering I found an image on Google and used it to trace it on the white fondant using an X-ACTO knife. I cut out the shapes for the Stormtrooper free hand, but referencing an image, and lastly, the lightsabers were rolled out colored fondant that I sprayed the handles silver and added colorful buttons. I finished the cake off with some stars using different size cookie cutters.
There is nothing like a good pot of Corned Beef and Cabbage or Mint Brownies to go with a pint of Guinness, but when you are in a rush and need a quick appetizer or even a healthy snack for your little one on St. Patrick's Day, this one can be made in under five minutes.
All you need is a green vegetable: celery, broccoli, cucumber, etc, carrots and a white dip: ranch, onion dip, cream cheese, etc. Start by placing the white colored dip in a bowl, preferably square or rectangle to create the center of the Irish flag, you don't have to use a bowl at all if you mind the dip running into the vegetables. Next, place the carrots on the right side of the dip and finish the flag with the sliced green veggies on the left.
This simple snack was a big hit at our annual St. Patrick's Day party and it was the easiest thing to make! Win, Win!!
I started by hot gluing patches of the moss on the grapevine wreath. I then grouped the clover bushes together on the grapevine wreath and hot glued them them on the moss. Once all of the clovers were in place, I added the white flowers sporadically.
The simple beauty of the wreath is so gorgeous on my blue front door!
Do you need a quick, last minute, romantic night? Well, let me introduce you to chocolate fondue. This is easy to throw together in hurry and is always a favorite dessert or snack. All you need is chocolate melts or chocolate chips and whatever you would like to dip into the chocolate.
I used chocolate melts that I bought at the craft store, they are usually about $3 a bag and really easy to melt. You can do this in the microwave or in a double boiler and then pour the chocolate in a bowl, but be careful cause the chocolate will start to harden again if not kept warm. I prefer using a mini crock pot, just pour the bag of chocolate melts into the crock pot and plug in. Don't forget to mix occasionally to allow even melting and prevents burning. We decided to use strawberries, pretzel sticks, and marshmallows to dip, or in Jack's case he stuck a pretzel stick into the marshmallow and dipped it all into the chocolate. The chocolate fondue was a lot of fun and was great after our delicious dinner!
Our home is decorated and I am wearing my favorite heart sweater so it must be near the holiday of love! Duffey also needs a little St. Valentine’s Day flare so I decided to make her a pretty new collar. I bought a solid red collar at Petsmart and a spool of red heart ribbon got my trusty hot glue gun and it only took five minutes to make.
I first adjusted the collar to her since it wouldn’t be able to be adjusted once the ribbon was glued on. I then hot glued the ribbon a little at the time to the center of the collar. I tucked the ribbon under the plastic adjuster and glued down the ribbon in the center. To add a little more decoration to the collar I folded a piece of five-inch white ribbon then glued in place. I added a four-inch red folded ribbon and glued on top of the larger piece. I repeated the process with a white three-inch ribbon. The finishing touch of the collar was a little red heart rhinestone.
Now Duffey can wear her heart on her sleeve, well on her neck!
Yesterday was Andrew's baptism. It was such a special occasion, everything was beautiful from his heirloom baptism gown to his navy ombre cake. The food was amazing and the blueberry and peach sangria hit the spot after a very busy day!
As stated in the cake post we either ordered the food or asked family to help out. We served pinwheels and croissant sandwiches (Vons) with a wonderful Italian pasta salad and fresh green salad (family). The beautiful personalized cookies came from a friend's bakery and the other cookies came from one of our family favorite bakery's in town. The sangria was the same from the baby shower, a premade Moscato Sangria that we added frozen blueberries and peaches to help keep in cold, plus they were yummy to eat once your glass was empty! I kept the decorations very simple with a pretty pattern tablecloth and topped it off with a burlap runner. I made a matching burlap banner to hang on the window for under $10 and a hot glue gun. The flowers were purchased from Albertsons for $4.99 and placed in a mason jar that I wrapped the same blue twine I used on the banner. The adorable favors were made by my mother in law and filled with white and shades of blue Jordan Almonds, which is the traditional favor at a baptism in France.
I appreciated how much every one pitched in and helped, it made the day so special. Plus the food was delicious and the day was relatively stress free!
Tomorrow is my son's baptism and since we have family staying with us I promised not to go overboard. I ordered all the main food and asked my mom and aunt to help with a few sides. I even ordered special cookies from my friend's bakery, but I was determined to at least make his cake. I wanted to make my triple chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream and ganache filling with a simple and elegant design.
After searching on Pinterest for hours, I decided to do a water color navy ombre cake. I even used the same idea for the baptism invitations. To create the cake I used Wilton's White Icing Color and mixed with navy gel food coloring and a little water. I added a little black to the navy since the white icing lightened it more than I wanted. I added more white for each layer, until I got to the top where I only had a very little amount of the navy to almost make it white. The cake came out exactly how I wanted it and it was super easy to create!
I have been wanting to make these Repli-Kate Earrings for awhile now. Everything I could find wasn't the correct shade of pink or wasn't removable like Kate's. So I do what I always do when I can't find what I am looking for, I make it. These beauties are inspired by the Kiki Morganite Cushion Drop and Diamond Earrings that the Duchess has been seen wearing on many occasions. The earrings are silver plated Cubic Zirconia hoops and the jewel is light pink glass in a cushion cut and in a silver plated setting.
These are beautiful earrings that will look great with a pair of jeans or night out fit for a Duchess. They won't last long so shop now on my Etsy Shop Oak Tree Junction!
Thanks to the Fixer Upper/Joanna Gaines/Farmhouse home decor trend every where you look you can find Magnolia wreaths. But have you seen those price tags? I think the cheapest I've seen was $40 and that was on sale. That's just crazy. However, I really wanted one for my front door, but refused to pay that insane price for a wreath. So I made one and only spent $10. Now that is a steal!
Metal Wire Wreath - Walmart $2.47
Magnolia Flowers and Leaves - Micheal's $7.50 ($14.99 50% on sale)
Hot Glue Gun and Glue Sticks
Start by cutting all of the leaves and flowers using wire cutters.
Glue the first leaf onto the wire wreath. Overlap the second leaf and glue place.
I placed all of the leaves going the same directions, but rotate if desired. Repeat until all leaves are in place.
Make sure to cover as much of the wire as possible.
Glue one of the magnolia flowers at a slight angle on the bottom of the wreath. Add a second flower facing the opposite direction and glue in place.
Repeat until all of the flowers are in place.
Use a wreath hook to hang your beautiful DIY Magnolia wreath that only cost you $10!!!
Once again it’s the season of giving and this time of year is when Jack and I do most of our giving. Usually, we pick a few charities that are close to our hearts and that we have verified will do the most good. Sadly this year we had so many of our family and friends that were hit by tragedies that we decided to give close to home. Some had lost loved ones, houses were damaged by the hurricanes or had to evacuate their homes because of the Southern California fires. In the severity of their tragedies, what we were able to give didn't seem like much; but their gratitude meant the world to us. Most charities provide a generic thank you care or email with the immediate request for more donation. They don't even seem grateful for what was donated and that can be disconcerting to some givers. If you are unsure of what charities that you would like to donate to this holiday season, look around you. Is there someone in your life that could use a little helping hand, a kid working hard to save up for a car or college, a single mom that could use a little extra money during the holidays? Look around you and see where you can spread good will towards men.
He's finally home!! And better yet we survived the first week with him at home! I'm not even going to lie and say it went smoothly, it was rough. No one prepared us for how much harder it is bringing home a NICU baby. What do I mean? They are used to the NICU, the environment, the sounds, the schedules. Sounds great and all, but when you remove them away from the environment, the sounds, and the schedules its not only hard on them but exhausting for you.
Environment - Our house was a good 6 degrees cooler than the NICU. Poor Andrew's hands and feet kept turning blue cause they were so cold. We turned up the heater, put socks, mittens and a hat on him. Even swaddled him to help keep him warm. Finally after a few days he body temperature acclimated and he is no longer blue.
Sounds - The NICU is like any other hospital room/Intensive Care Unit. There are beeps and alarms going off everywhere. There are nurses, doctors, and family talking. In all honesty, I think I would go crazy working there because there is never silence. Going from that to a quiet nursery was really hard for Andy even though I was sleeping in there with him. I ended up playing either a podcast or turning on Netflix just so he had some noise and I could drown out all of the thoughts running through my head.
Schedule - This has been the hardest one for us and we are still working on it. The first night I don't think I got more than two hours of sleep total. He cried all night. Between all of the changes he was going through and Jack and I being new parents and just simply not knowing what to do made it even worse. The nurses kept him on a 3-4 hours schedule where they would change and feed him. We tried keeping that schedule as best as we could, but there is one big difference. They got to go home after their shift to sleep...we were getting no sleep. And yes I know that saying sleep when the baby sleeps...but what if your baby isn't sleeping more than 20 minutes at a time? Also, the nurses would do a lot of their test and other things with the babies during the night so they could spend time with the parents during the day. Again great while in the NICU, a nightmare when they are home. It took us a few days but we finally got him to sleep between 1.5 hours to 2 hours at a time during the night. Hopefully, this will continue to increase the older and more comfortable he gets.
After this week, I feel like mom's who had a C-section was discharged right away with their babies and doing it all alone need a medal. I got a few extra days in the hospital to heal, a few days home without my baby so I could sleep, and I have an amazing husband that is there when I need help. I just don't know how those women do it!
Jack and I are so thankful this Thanksgiving day to announce our little boy was born this past Saturday. Welcome to the world, Andrew Grant!
*If you notice in the pictures Andrew is hooked up to a couple of machines. I will post about labor and delivery and his stay in the NICU in a future post.
I have been very blessed with this pregnancy. I am currently 39 weeks and a week away from my due date. I never got morning sickness or the aversions to certain smells. My feet didn't start to swell until the beginning of last month and was even able to wear heels at my baby shower. Having to run to the bathroom several times an hour didn't even start to happen until last week. I've had relevantly high energy the whole time; however, there are three things I was not expecting, warned about, or even knew would happen. Since I never knew, I'm sharing it with you so you know what's happening if it does happen to you. Every woman experience side effects differently in pregnancy and pregnancy is different every time, but these are the three things that were the hardest on me.
1. PUPPP: Never heard of it? Neither did I. PUPPP stands for Pruritic Urticarial Papules and Plaques of Pregnancy. I'm not going to go over all of the details of what is it, you can read more about it here, but what I will tell you it is by far the most irritating side effect of pregnancy and having to pee every five minutes is a walk in the park in comparison. I started experiencing this a few days ago and it leaves me in tears. I start itching uncontrollably on my chest and under my arms. The scary thing is there is only redness from my scratching and no bumps or rash. It's basically invisible hell. I look like a mental case trying to scratch off my skin in these areas. I have tried several itch relief creams and they only help for a few minutes. The best relief I have found as of right now is a warm bath and eucalyptus body wash.
2. Numbness: The most debilitating has been hand numbness. Since a few days before my baby shower, my hands have started to become numb. I can't do anything without my hands tingling in pain after a few minutes. From what I have gathered it is because baby boy is on my spine and messing with my nerves. Since we know he is going to take after his father and be a big baby, I think that it was causing the severity of it. I can't even hold a fork and forget about writing or typing. Talk about frustrating!! There were times at dinner when I would stop eating and begin crying, poor Jack didn’t know what to do to help. Sleeping at first was a nightmare. I would wake up in unbearable pain and couldn’t get it to stop enough to fall back to sleep. Finally, I bought wrist braces and started sleeping on my back with a pillow on each side to keep me slightly tilted. It helped, but I still wake up in pain from the numbness.
3. Intimacy: Or the lack of. The most frustrating side effect has been the lack of intimacy with Jack. During the first trimester, he was too scared he would cause me to have another panic attack like what happened during our miscarriage earlier this year. Thankfully in the second trimester, it was a lot better and we were able to enjoy some quality time. Then the third trimester when the baby boy really started moving and any time together stopped. He couldn’t get over how weird it was once he could see the baby moving. I guess I don't blame him, but I'm carrying all the baby weight in the front and can't even tell I am when my back was turned towards you. Needless to say, I have spent the last few months very frustrated.
These may come to no surprise for you, but they did for me. They have made my last trimester very challenging and I am really starting to count down the days until this little one is out!
This cake is the perfect representation of what I wanted for my baby shower to be. It is beautiful, classy, elegant, and Americana. With the beautiful fresh strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries topping it, to it’s rich and delicious cream cheese frosting, even the simple French vanilla cake was absolutely perfect and everything I could have hoped for.
I did struggle a little the day of the baby shower with finishing the cake and the matching elegant cupcakes because my hands have started to go numb on Apparently baby boy is on a nerve in my spine and has been causing the numbness. This made it difficult to pip the cream cheese frosting and I had to take breaks to give my hurting hands a rest. Thankfully I was able to push through and was able to complete everything in time. I couldn’t be happier with how the cake and cupcakes turned out and how fabulous they looked displayed in the art gallery where the shower was held. I dare to say it all looked just like a work of art!
I know what about I am about to say may be sacrilege, but I don't like baby themed things. I knew as soon as I found out I was pregnant that my baby shower wasn't going to have a cuties baby theme. Sorry, no vintage Pooh Bear, Noah's Ark, Jungle, not even baby pink or blue. This sadly crushed some of my family members, but I promised them that it would be beautiful, classy, elegant, and most importantly will have alcohol. After all just because I can't drink doesn't mean my guest shouldn't.
Once our budget was in place I started looking for a location. I knew a house was going to be too small since there was a lot of people invited and I didn't want to blow the whole budget on just on the location. Randomly one day on Facebook an ad popped up for a local downtown gallery talking about their $500 package and the ad included several pictures of baby showers they had there. Immediately booked an appointment to view and put the deposit down as soon as I saw the place in person. It was perfect. Beautiful hardwood floors, concrete walls, this awesome downtown industrial feel, and it even had a separate bar area for the food! I send a few pictures of the location to my friends and they even said it was totally me: vintage, classy and elegant. Just the vibe I wanted for my baby shower.
After the location was booked, we found a great local restaurant that could cater an event on a Sunday; something that actually turned out harder than we were expecting! For the drinks, we purchased apple cider, small bottles of water, and Carlo Rossi's Moscato Sangria that we added frozen raspberries, strawberries, and blueberries to help keep it cool. And not surprisingly, I did the cake with matching cupcakes.
Although I didn't want a cuties baby theme, there was still a theme, sort of. Since we were having a little boy I wanted to have an Americana theme to match what we were doing in his nursery. The colors of the decorations, table settings, candy bar and even the cake were red, white, blue, with touches of gold and silver. Most of the decorations were provided by the gallery and we only had to bring in a few for the gift tables. All of the tablecloths I either already owned or brought on eBay, including the awesome blue and white striped table runners. It turns out it was actually cheaper to buy them than rent them! I did end up renting some candle holder that we used to put vanilla scented candles and larger holder to put the flower centerpieces in. The flowers were ordered at the local flower market and my aunt made the arrangements. To fit with the color scheme, we ordered white roses, red hypericum berry flowers, and eryngium thistle. We decided not to rent table settings and just bought nice quality plastic plates, silverware, and cups from Costco.
Yes, there were a few baby shower games, but I was very careful about the ones I picked. Sorry no, guess the candy bar for me thank you. Since I am such a detailed person, everything from the labels on the homemade shower gifts, to the game cards, to the food labels all matched the invitations. We tried to keep the prizes simple and just did four fun themed gifts baskets: movie, spa, baking, and fall. I even had background music for the shower. I found lullaby versions of some of the songs from mine and Jack's favorite bands so people had no idea they were listening to Green Day, Five Finger Death Punch, Metallica or Queen! My favorite thing from the baby shower was the guest book. I bought Dr. Seuss's Happy Birthday to You and had the guest write something special to our Baby Boy. I plan on readying it to him every year on his birthday along with all of the wonderful things people wrote to him.
The shower was incredible and was so perfect. It was everything I have ever wanted for my baby shower. Everyone seemed to have a fun time, was really impressed with the classy and elegant feel of it, just what I was hoping for!
I have had my baby shower favors planned out for years. I’m not kidding. Years ago I took a soap and lotion making class with my aunt and ever since I thought how fun it would be to make them as favors.
I made small bars of soap that were supposed to be red, white and blue to go along with the Americana theme of the shower, but the red turned out a little pinker. Oh well, the goat milk soap smells amazing and feels great on the skin! I also made little tubes of lotion but didn’t risk coloring them for fear they would color skin too. My wonderful aunt made the blue bath bombs and I was so happy that her first batch crumbled because I was able to take the broken ones and use them in my baths. Lastly, my sweet friend Angie made the amazing sugar scrub; it’s too rough to be used on ¬¬the face, but makes your hands and feet feel as smooth as a baby’s bottom.
I think there is something about the fair that starts to get me excited for the fall. It's always at the end of September and it still is hot here, but it makes me feel like fall is just around the corner. It is always a fun way to celebrate the change in seasons and eat great food you can only find at the fair! Like I have done for the last several years, I entered a cake into the decorated cake category. This year I needed to keep the design simple, but beautiful because of baby boy coming in a few months. So I decided to go back to doing a buttercream cake instead of another fondant cake and like past buttercream cakes, I decided to be inspired by a work of art. In the past, I have done a few Vincent van Gogh Starry Night cakes and like how his painting translated into buttercream frosting on cakes and decided to do one of his Sunflower painting. However, this year I wanted to do a different shape cake and when with a half dome and regular round Styrofoam. The dome was covered in light blue frosting and bottom was frosted in a light yellow/tan and cream to create the vase. I piped a base for the sunflowers to create depth and piped on the stems. For the sunflower petals, I used yellow and copper food coloring and a leaf piping tip and slowly went around on each base until a flower was formed. Once all of the flowers petals were finished, I used a grass tip and pipped on the center of the flowers. I repeated using the leaf piping tip to create the leaves and finished the cake off with Vincent's signature in black buttercream frosting. The cake turned out really cool and I really like the 3-D look the sunflowers have. I can't wait to see how I do this year in the contest!
Update: I got first place!!
I am currently seven months pregnant and the process of turning my beautiful office/guest room into a nursery has begun. Phase one was removing all of my extra clothes, craft, and project storage tubs and all of the other miscellanies things that have been tossed in there from the closet. I'll go into purging of the storage tubs in another post so I can focus on my extra closes that didn't fit into my closest in the master bedroom. My side of the closet only had one bar to hand all of my clothes on and it was starting to bend because of all of the weight. What can I say, I have a LOT of clothes and I love to shop!
To make my closet a little more function we decided to get a premade closet organization system from here. However, because of how our closets are and how the kit was, we had to put it together in a different way than the instructions given. We moved the drawers over more and build an area for my dresses behind the section of the wall between the two closets. Then on the other side, we created four sections to hand clothes, with one section having a shelf. We also kept the original closet shelf to place on top for shoe storage. We also reused the old cubby selves to put additional shoes (I also have a LOT of shoes), belts and scarves inside cubby bins. I used the drawers to store some clutches, purses, along with some sweaters and cardigans. The bottom shelf was the perfect display for my Great Aunt's antique jewelry box. While I used the other shelf to display my favorite perfumes and smaller jewelry boxes, along with a wall mounted jewelry organizer I bought to display all of my beautiful repli-Kate jewelry on.
I am so happy with how this project came out and ready to move on to the next project as we get closer to our little bundle of joys arrival!
Need a fast and healthy dinner? Then this one is perfect! Feel Free to change the veggies to your preference.
3 chicken breasts
1 1/2 cups bell pepper (I used red, yellow, and green)
2 cups broccoli florets (I used frozen)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon paprika
Enjoy as is or eat with rice or salad.
*Picture is of the pan before going into the oven, it was too delicious looking and we ate before I remembered to take a finished picture...OOPS!
Today is Independence Day and that means its time four our annual Fourth of July T-shirts! Every year we try to do something different; we've done tie-dye and fabric paint so this year we wanted to try Sharpies. We thought it would be fun to do and easy since we need them for tonight! Also, I'm almost five month's pregnant now and naps have become my new best friend.
We got regular white T-shirts or tanks and used red and blue Sharpies in two different tip sizes. I drew on several types of fireworks using different colors and pen sizes. I even drew a little heart firework over our baby boy. Amber added U.S.A. on the front of her and Aaron's shirts. The one things we didn't do was spray the shirts with rubbing alcohol to make the ink bleed a little. The shirts might have looked a little cooler if we did that, but with us needing them tonight we probably wouldn't have time to let them dry then wash them in time.
I can't wait to add a little oneies to the group next year!
Sometimes I have to remind myself that simple turns out to be the most beautiful. All this patriotic wreath is a $5 grapevine wreath with some red, white, and blue hydrangeas glued on. I didn't feel the need to add ribbon or even a flag to it. These colors are all that was needed to show the American spirit because as they say these colors don't run.
I hope everyone has a very happy and safe Fourth of July and God Bless America!
It's a Boy! Our little bundle of joy is a boy! Last month we announced we're pregnant and yesterday on Father's Day we posted that Jack is going to be an amazing father to our son.
The day before Father's Day we hosted a Gender Reveal party for close family and friends (will post about soon) and they were the first to learn the wonderful news through a special box of treats. Everyone is excited we are having a little boy and the baby shower plans are already in the works!
We are so excited and can't wait for him to be here.
Sunflowers have been my favorite flower for as long as I can remember. It's only fitting that I made this beautiful wreath to hand on my door for my birthday month. It will also fit in perfectly with a special barbecue we will be having in a few weeks.
The wreath is a $5 grapevine wreath with a bunch of beautiful sunflowers. I just cut off the stems and glued them in place. I finished by adding a few of the leaves.
The pops of yellow look so great on our navy door and I can't wait for it to greet me every time I walk into the courtyard!
Jack and I are so excited to announce that we're PREGNANT! This is the answer to many many prayers, we've been struggling with getting pregnant for the last several years and even started seeing specialists. We even went through a very devastating miscarriage at the beginning of the year. We are looking forward to our Rainbow Baby arrival in November!
We had some fun telling a few friends and family members over the last few weeks. We shared the news with my mom with Starbucks with Grandma on her cup, it took her over an hour to figure it out and thought I was lying when I finally told her. My aunt learned when we were on our way out of town and my mom was saying a prayer for her, me and the baby to be safe. Amber learned by getting a bottle of wine that said: "Only the Best Super gets Promoted to Auntie". We decided to make the public announcement yesterday on Facebook on Mother's Day. I posted "Jack and I wanted to wish everyone out there a Happy Mother's Day; especially to my wonderful mother, who's being promoted to Grandma!" I included a collage of photos Amber took of us announcing it.
If all goes according to plan we might just be announcing the gender reveal on Father's Day....so keep an eye out!
My newest Repli-Kates bring on the bling! These two pairs of earrings are inspired by the Princess Diana pair that the Duchess of Cambridge wears regularly and her emerald pair.
The sapphires and emeralds are glass jewels set in an oval setting surrounded by glass crystals. The jewels are attached to matching crystal post, but can also be made into clip-ons.
These beauties won't last so get your pair while you can here!
I created this blog to share my creations with hopes that it will inspire others to show their creative side.