Entertaining, Food, Home

S’mores Parfait

Today I’m here with a quick and easy dessert treat. Recently, I went to a showroom preview at Victoria’s Secret and they had a tray of cake-cups from Bee’s Knees Baking Co in NYC. Looks delish, right?

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Photo via Bee’s Knees Baking Co.

I was struck by how great they all looked – and tasted! – so I wanted to come up with my own version. Bee’s Knees specializes in cake-cups, a layered dessert that’s like a portable cupcake but looks similar to a parfait or trifle. I’m going the parfait (sans cake) option for mine.

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This recipe couldn’t have been more simple. I started out with a box mix for chocolate mousse, a tub of Marshmallow Fluff, and a pre-made graham cracker crust.

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After I made the mousse by the box’s directions, I crushed the crust to make it into a crumble. (I know I could have put graham crackers in the food processor but I figured the crust would have more of a buttery flavor. Lucky me — I was right!)

smores-128Then I was ready to start my layers.

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First graham cracker crumble…

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…then chocolate mousse…

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…then Fluff.

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I didn’t like how blobby it was going to into the cup so on the next layers, I piped the mouse in with a DIY piping bag.

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Much better!

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After a few layers, I added a little more graham cracker on top and they were ready to serve. (I actually covered them with plastic wrap and put them in the fridge.)

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They were delish but when I make them again, I will definitely lower the amount of Fluff. (I used a whole jar in only 6 parfaits!) It was a little overly sweet but with a little less Fluff, they would be perfect.

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Check out these other sweet treats from Sue at Home:

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies With Cream Cheese Filling

Edible Glitter Birthday Cake

I’m a Published Writer: My Mom’s Fruitcake Recipe

Rainbow Cake: If I Can Make It, You Can Too

Oh, and I’m linking up to 33 Shades Of Green‘s Tasty Tuesday Link Party. Click over to check out the other links!

33 shades

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XO 

Sue at Home

smores parfait Collage

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Entertaining, Family, Food, Home

Edible Glitter Birthday Cake

This is the last post in the Glamtastic Birthday Party series. (Booo!) You got see the invitation, check out the details of the whole party, see a how-to about Sophia’s custom favors, and you even had a peek into the DIY photo booth. And now…the cake!

The inspiration came from this post on P.S. I Made This:

I couldn’t find the exact mold she used but I got one that was pretty similar. My visit to NY Cake to pick it up resulted in finding silver, blue, and pink Disco Dust, too!

My first attempt was a total bust but you know I’m going to show you that version, too. As long as you don’t make my dumb mistakes, it’s pretty simple to do. First, just use a new, dry paintbrush and “paint” the edible glitter into the silicone mold.

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If you’ve ever tried to wash and dry anything silicone, you won’t be surprised to see how the disco dust just sticks to the sides.

birthday-cake-103Next, I melted the chocolate (don’t forget to do it in a double boiler!) and scooped spoonfuls of the melted chocolate into the mold which should be sitting on a cookie sheet. Next, tap the cookie sheet to get any bubbles out and then place the whole tray in the freezer for about 10 minutes. Once cool, you can pop the chocolates right out. Now, let’s look at my failed first attempt and discuss what went wrong.

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Um, no. First of all, the pink disco dust sucks. It’s just not as bright as the silver or the blue so I kicked it to the curb on round two. Second, milk chocolate is yummier than white but alas, it looked all mucky and brown so I switched to white. Third, remember how I said you have to tap it to get the bubbles out? Well, I’m glad you remembered because I didn’t. Oops. And last, I filled the mold waaaaay too much. You only need to fill it about 3/4 full otherwise you end up with a lot of overflow and that just makes for a lumpy bottom once you take them out. And no one wants a lumpy bottom, right?

Second attempt: let’s watch and see how it goes…

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Glittery success!

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As for the cake, I went with a simple tiered design and I placed the chocolates around each layer. I was originally going to make the bottom two layers with 2 cakes each but I decided against it when I saw how big it was getting already. The cake itself was from a box (no apologies–cake from a box is easy and delicious) but my frosting is homemade buttercream. I just use the recipe on the side of the Domino powdered sugar box. (Ain’t broken. No fixing needed.) Someday I’ll take the time to do a crumb coat on my cakes since the crumbs on this one drove me crazy. And it kinda bugs me that the chocolates are a little too big for the cake. But overall, I think it came of great. And I totally lucked out that the #8 candle at Target just happened to be glittery blue!

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I always get myself in such a tizzy making sure every last detail is perfect for my girls’ birthday parties but when I see the beaming smile on their faces when their friends are singing Happy Birthday to them, it’s all worth it.

birthday-cake-281Happy Birthday Sophia!

Now, onto the next: Pablo turns 40 in May and Lily turns 5 in June. It’s going to be a very busy spring!

XO

Sue at Home

crafts, Entertaining, Family

Party Favor: DIY Gem-Covered Pin and Jewelry Box

For Sophia’s Glamtastic birthday party, we decided to make a custom party favor for all of Sophia’s friends. Each girl got a gem-covered pin with her initial and a simple little jewelry box with jewels on top. Sophia and Lily are ready so let’s get to it!

For the jewelry boxes, I bought some basic wooden boxes from Oriental Trading. We thought about painting them but figured it might get messy so we decided to keep it simple and just add some jewels. We had a mega bag of Big Bling from Michael’s so we used those (and had tons left for many more projects.) Sophia did most of them herself by gluing them with glitter glue so if a little gooped out, it still looked great. She did a sort of haphazard grouping of gems on each one and I was very impressed with her attention to detail and her restraint. I wouldn’t have known when to stop but she did. (Of course, Lily served as gem-sorting assistant.)

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As for the pins, I was inspired by these from Markus Lupfer. I had seen them months ago on Net-a-Porter and thought they were begging to be DIY’d.

But ultimately, the idea of a black varsity letter–no matter how glam-atized with sequins–was just too sporty for our theme. So I decided to make felt pins with gems instead. I started out by picking a clean sans serif font and printing out XL versions of the letters I needed.

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The next step was to trace the shape of each letter onto my hot pink felt. Note: I traced them backwards so if a little pen showed after I cut them out, it would be on the back.

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I felt like I was cutting these babies forever! But finally they were done.

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Next, I glued them to silver and gold cardstock and cut them out again leaving a little edge of cardstock sticking out. Then I glued gems on with fabric glue.

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Once the gems were dry, I glued pins on the back with Gorilla glue (because nothing will make that stuff budge!). By the way: it was Sophia’s idea to make some gold and some silver and since she was the creative director of the project, I had to listen to her. Right?

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I’m so glad I took the time to make the letter templates. The S on the left was my prototype and the one on the right was made with the template. So. Much. Better.

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I love how they all look together.

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The pins fit perfectly in the little jewelry boxes. We just added a little tissue paper pillow to each one so they’d all be comfy!

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Of course, once we we got the pins all nestled in their boxes, we realized that we needed some way to know which letter was in each one  so I went back to Picmonkey and made a bunch of little tags that match the invitation.

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Then I tied them on to the boxes and the favors were ready to go!

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We stacked them up on the foyer table so we wouldn’t forget to give them out as everyone left. I put the invitation in a frame to set the mood! (You know – in case anyone forgot why they were there!)

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For more recaps from Soph’s birthday party, check out these posts:

 DIY Party Invitation

How to Throw a Glamtastic Kids’ Party

DIY Photo Booth

XO

Sue at Home

PicMonkey Collage pins collage

Entertaining, Family, Home

DIY Photo Booth

For Sophia’s Glamtastic Birthday Party at our house, I created a cheap and easy photo booth that the kids loved. All you need to create your own is a tripod, a camera with an interval timer, some accessories, and a backdrop. Let’s get to the photo fun!

I borrowed a camera from a friend so I’d still have mine free to photograph the rest of the party. I set the timer to start at the beginning of the party and to snap a picture every 10 seconds so the kids could just keep posing. I made sure to tuck the camera into a corner so the kids wouldn’t bump into it.

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Then I placed a table with some accessories near the camera so the kids could dress up for each shot. Of course, you could make or buy some photo booth props like this awesome set from The Manic Moose on Etsy, but we had plenty of tiaras, hats, necklaces and feather boas around the house so we didn’t need to buy anything else. (Somehow I forgot to put out sunglasses which is interesting considering we have a bowl full of kids’ sunglasses sitting on our foyer table everyday! Oh well. They survived without them!)

I used the photo from Sophia’s party invitation to make a ‘Photo Booth Rules’ sign that read, “1. Grab a prop or accessory. 2. Stand on the X. 3. Smile!”

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To make a backdrop, I hung two gold fringe curtains and a few tissue paper decorations from Oriental Trading but you could just use a nicely painted wall to make this project totally free. (But in my experience, kids are kind of obsessed with these metallic curtains so go ahead and spring for them! I think I might even hang them in the playroom so we can keep them around forever.) I added an X on the floor with painter’s tape so the kids would know where to stand.

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Then we set the timer on the camera and let the “photo booth” do the work!

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The camera snapped over 800 frames and I only kept about 150 so there were lots of frames of the background with no one in it. But overall the project was super easy and the kids looooooved it. (As you can see!)

DIY photo booth at sueathome

XO

Sue at Home

crafts, Entertaining, Family, Food, Home

How to Throw a Glamtastic Kids’ Party

Since Sophia was turning 8 going on 18, we knew that a very glam party was going to be the way to go. And doing it at home was a natural solution for a couple reasons. 1) I get to do lots of crafty things that allow me to make it super personal for Sophia and I’m not gonna lie, I actually like all the projects. (Ok…I’ll admit it. I also love the control that doing them gives me!)  2) And it was much, much, much, much, much, much cheaper than having it at a place that throws parties. (I mean, I love my kids but $600-$1000 for an hour and a half of her life? Um…no.)

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Sure, it takes a lot of work but it was worth it to see her so happy. Let’s go over the eleven elements you need to throw an at-home glamtastic party of your own.

1. The Invitations – As I mentioned before in this post, I created a custom design on Picmonkey and printed them at home. A couple self-adhesive jewels finished them off.

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2. The DIY Photo Booth – Taking a picture every 10 seconds kept the girls engaged–and gave them just enough time to make a quick accessory change before the next shot. (A follow-up post is forthcoming with everything you need to know to create your own.)

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3. The Favor – Custom and unique all the way! Each girl got a pin with her initial in a special keepsake box. (A post with more details is coming soon!)

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4. The Manicure Station – A glamtastic party wouldn’t be complete without a little pampering! I hired a babysitter/friend of ours and some of her friends to man this station. Other than the hired help, this was free! We had everything on hand.

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5. The Makeup Station – The hired help came in handy here, too. I got Q-tips Precision Tips and cotton balls to keep it all sanitary and we kept the choices to a minimum. (Pablo mentioned that the girls looked like they didn’t have any makeup on so I consider that a huge success!) Oh…and did I mention the insane metallic tablecloth from Oriental Trading? Isn’t it amazing? (Note: There’s a silver one and a gold one but the gold one is actually gold on one side and silver on the other. It’s basically a big sheet of mylar. I’m dying to use it for a craft project but I’m not sure what. Ideas?)

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6. The Beading Station – This was an 11th hour addition by Sophia (cause she’s smart like that) and as you can see, it was literally a bowl of beads, some strings and scissors. Of course, it was a huge hit and the kids probably spent more time at this station than any of the others.

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7. The Fashion Show – This was completely unplanned but apparently Sophia can’t have a birthday party without having a fashion show in the middle of it. Pablo announced all the models in his best announcer voice and after watching most of the 7- and 8-year-olds “walk the runway”, 4-year-old Lily came stridding out like she had been taking lessons from Naomi Campbell. I mean, it’s quite obvious this girl has been “playing fashion show” for years!

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8. Dance Party – There was dancing of every kind at this soiree. The kind where you dance in the circle and the birthday girl gets down in the middle. (Yup. That’s Soph rocking out after a wardrobe change.) Freeze dance where the birthday girl controls the music. (I guess that need-for-control gene is hereditary.) And there was even an American Idol-type judging panel dance section, only much nicer. (Everyone got a ticket to Hollywood.)

Here’s a little piece of advice for you: Don’t spend a week making the perfect party mix to play on shuffle because you’ll just end up DJing anyway when they ask you to play Gangnam Style and Girl on Fire and Taylor Swift and  Thrift Shop and One Direction and…

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9. The Cake – I love the chance to whip up some sugary goodness so I created a basic but dramatic design. It was a tiered cake with buttercream frosting and accents of white chocolates covered in edible glitter. (There will be a follow-up post with all the details about how I made the glittered chocolates. Stay tuned!)

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10.  The Good Friends – No Glamtastic Party is complete without them!

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11. The Super Cool Birthday Girl – Sorry, you’re gonna have to get your own. This one is all mine!

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Happy Birthday Sophia!

XO

Mom Sue at Home

crafts, Entertaining, Family, Home

DIY Party Invitations

Tick tock tick tock…the countdown is on to Sophia’s birthday party! I’ve got less than two weeks to get everything together so it’s crunch time now, people. I do this to myself every year. I have wayyyyyyy more ideas than I can possibly execute. But I think I’ve got a good jump on it this year. (Ha ha! I’m sure “future me” will reread that next week and laugh her ass off!)

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We’ve decided to have a “Glamtastic” party at our house  next Saturday night. We’ll have manicure and makeup stations, a DIY photobooth, a “gem” covered cake, DIY jeweled favors and possibly a fashion show and/or dance party. If everyone comes (and for some reason everyone always comes to parties in March!), we’ll have 17 seven- and eight-year-old girls in our tiny house. God bless us all. (Check out all the inspiration on my party dedicated Pinterest board.)

To set the scene, I decided to make a DIY invitation with the help of one of my favorite websites: Picmonkey. (Did you know that every single photo you’ve ever seen on this blog has been edited using Picmonkey? Well, now you do.) I started with this candid picture of Sophia.

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I know you may not believe that this wasn’t staged but it really just happened! Sophia had just received that awesome Children’s Place dress, glittery boots, plaid shirt and earmuffs. She tried it on…and then sat on the couch to watch TV! (She and Lily were both so obsessed with those dresses, they kept wearing them for days.) Anyway, I snapped the pic and it seemed like the perfect image for a girly, glam party invite. Using PicMonkey, I added a bunch of filters plus 2 of my favorite fonts: Special Elite (that’s the typewriter-ish one that I always use on Sue at Home) and Budmo Jiggler (that’s the name-in-lights one) and ended up with this:

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Next I just printed them on cardstock on our printer at home and sliced the edges off with my trimmer.

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Then I added a couple little gems to each one.

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Stay tuned for all the party details! Lots more coming soon. Wish me luck!

XO

Sue at Home