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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Superhero Birthday Party

Growing up, birthdays were a big deal in my family and I've continued that tradition now that I have a family of my own. So when C turned three a few weeks back, there was no doubt that we would have a party for him. And given his love of all thing superheros, there was even less doubt about what the theme would be.

Since C loves all of the superheros the same, asking him to pick just one for a theme was just impossible; so we chose all of the superheros. I found an awesome invite on Etsy from MetroEvents that totally fit the bill!

Since I wasn't picking just one character, I chose to focus on vintage comic sayings. I made this wreath for the front door using two small, styrofoam wreathes and ribbon. I added the bam and pow to go with the theme.

 We have a small entryway so, this is what guests saw as they came through the front door.

I made capes for all of the kids and they doubled as decorations until everyone got there.

We typically have a dessert table set up in the dining room and that's where we sing and do cake, so I wanted something special here.

I tried to carry the theme through to the food as well. At the kids table, we had Spiderman juice boxes, goldfish, peanut butter and jelly batwiches, and Avenger pizza pockets (which hadn't gotten put out at the time of this photo).

We also had a Captain America fruit tray and Spiderman seven layer dip as "super" additions to the adult food!

Beyond the kitchen is our family room, which usually serves as the kids play areas at our parties and where we open presents.

  I planned a lot for this party and, in the end, there's nothing I would have done differently!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Want It Wednesday

It's still cold here on the East Coast, but I'm dying for warm weather. This sweater from Madewell screams Spring to me!

Fairweather Cardigan in Doubledot

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Tips for Tuesday

Right after C's party, we left for Disney World. I knew from the start that we would only really have a day to eat any leftovers so I planned our party food accordingly.

We served buffalo chicken, hotdogs, and sandwiches as the main dishes. The buffalo chicken freezes well so it came down to eating the hotdogs and the sandwiches. There was no way we could figure on eating the leftovers of both (I almost always have way too much food) so I decided to change our usual sandwiches. Instead of a preassembled sandwich tray from a local deli, I opted for a lunch meat tray. We offered all the fixings and people seemed to like the chance to customize their sandwich. When the party was over, we did however have leftovers, which leads me to my tip...make sandwiches ahead of time and freeze them!!!! 

I heard people talking about this at the salon one day when I was getting my haircut and knew I had to try it. It's not that making a sandwich takes all that long, but some days are just crazy (or I'm just especially lazy) and sometimes I have too much lunch meat in the fridge and I hate to waste it. 

I was very skeptical the first time I tried this. I made a few sandwiches and the only thing that I changed was the order in which I constructed the sandwiches and the way I bagged them. Normally, I put the condiment on the bread and then the cheese followed by the meat and just throw the sandwich in a plastic bag. When freezing, I put the condiment on the cheese not on the bread (that way the bread doesn't get soggy) and wrap them in saran wrap before bagging them. After the sandwiches were made and frozen, I just had to wait for a chance to try them on my unsuspecting husband (he's such a good sport). Since he takes a sandwich every day, K is very aware of when something changes and is usually quick to point out when it's a change for the worse.  So when I first gave him a "premade" sandwich, I held my breath waiting for him to call and complain about  question the sandwich. Much to my surprise, he never called. So, I tried a frozen sandwich the next day and the day after that and the phone never rang. Finally on the fourth day, he called and asked why I had started to plastic wrap his sandwiches....this was a great way to find out that there was no discernible difference between a fresh sandwich and a frozen sandwich!

Since my initial test, I try and keep a few sandwiches on hand in the freezer. But after C's party, I managed to make and freeze ten sandwiches, which was great for when we got back from vacation because I didn't have to run out and get ingredients for K's lunch and I could just ease back into reality!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Menu Monday

I managed to stick to last week's plan with the exception of Sunday. I had planned turkey but forgot to move it to the fridge to defrost. We ended up having rotisserie style chicken instead, which gave me a leg up on this week's meals (lots of leftovers) and a chance to restock my supply if homemade chicken stock!

Monday: Chicken Flautas*
Tuesday: Chicken and Ale Soup
Wednesday: Chicken Parm Patties*
Thursday: Philly Cheesesteak Sloppy Joes*
Friday: Homemade Pizza
Saturday: TBD
Sunday: Takeout

*New recipe

I shared this menu on Weekly Menu Monday:
In No Simple Language

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches

Since this is our first week back to a normal routine, I didn't want to stress myself out too much, so I planned really simple dinners.The thing about simple is remembering that simple is not the same as boring. I feel guilty advertising this as a recipe since its more like a method, but its definitely not boring.

For this dinner, you only need boneless chicken breasts, buffalo sauce, and a crockpot. In the morning, just toss the chicken in the crockpot and cover with the sauce. Cook on low for about 6-8 hours and you are set. When the chicken is done, all you have to do is shred the chicken and chose how you want to enjoy this tasty little dish. I typically serve these as sandwiches, but have also used it over lettuce for a salad.You can customize this with ranch or blue cheese dressing or blue cheese crumbles or anything else that you like!

Obviously, my brain is still on vacation a little since I forgot to snap a photo!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

DIY Date Art

It wasn't long ago that my idea of DIY was making my husband do something or finding someone on Etsy who I paid to DIY (I know super embarrassing)! But times have changed.

Like many out there, I love Pinterest (like a lot). It has given me so many great ideas, but most importantly, its given me the confidence to start tackling DIY projects by myself. Like this one...

I had seen a lot of variations on date art and loved them all but I wanted to keep it simple and clean. I had picked up a pack of canvases back at Christmas on sale and and knew this would be the perfect time to use one. A stencil and a sharpie was all I needed for this project and, about an hour later, it was all done!

I love the finished product, but I love that I actually DIY'd it myself more!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Want It Wednesday

I love shoes, especially pretty shoes and these Kate Spade wedges are calling my name! As this is the first installment of "Want It Wednesday", I thought I would start with something sparkly!!!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Secret to my success

The last month has been crazy for us. I have been swamped at work, while simultaneously trying to keep up things at home, plan a "super" 3rd birthday party for C and get ready for our first trip to Disney World. My days were packed to say the least. I could definitely have used more hours in the day.

Typically, Cooper wakes up most mornings between 5 and 6 and its pretty much nonstop from there. I am home with him most days and work in the evenings after he goes to sleep, so with things so busy, I was up until about 1:00 or 2:00 am most nights. I was so beat it wasn't even funny and the only thing that helped me get through it was an afternoon nap. When C went down midday, I would lay with him. A few hours of shut eye in the afternoon made up for what I wasn't getting at night and it was so energizing! People always said to "nap when the baby naps" and I never did. Now, I wished I had!

So the next time things are out of control for you and you don't know how you are going to get through, just relax and take a nap (preferably with your baby)!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Homemade Poptarts

C loves Poptarts and superheros so how great would it be if you could combine them? How great would it be if you could find a way to get some Nutella in there? The answer...pretty darn great!!! This was the only picture I could get because C was scarfing these down faster than anything I've ever seen.

This was so simple. I used ready-made pie crust and our superhero cutters. I always try and get C to help in the kitchen and he was able to use the Captain America cutter and cut the dough out. When your helped is done, take one piece of dough and cover it with a spoonful of Nutella and a few banana slices and top with another piece of dough. Pinch the sides together to seal the pockets (another great kid-friendly job) and cover with a simple egg wash. Follow the baking instructions for your pie dough and enjoy!!!!!!

I knew these were a hit because C has asked for these several times!

This recipe is linked to the following link parties:

Menu Monday

We've had a crazy month and I am so happy that things are now slowing down and getting back to normal for us. And normal means meal planning! I usually try to look at the month as a whole and then revisit my plan each week. Its helpful to have a long range plan so you can pick up things at the lowest prices and also so you know when you won't need a meal due to a special event. Here is our week...

Monday: Corndog muffins
Tuesday: Pizza from Costco (my husband loves their pizza)
Wednesday: Baked Potato Soup
Thursday: Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches
Friday: Black Bean Tacos
Saturday: TBA (dinner with friends!)
Sunday: Turkey

I shared this menu on Weekly Menu Monday: