Thursday, January 8, 2015

Frozen Fantasy Dinner

As a Christmas gift, my mother-in-law wanted to host a "Fantasy Dinner" for our family.  A few days after Christmas, she kicked us out of the house, and she spent the entire day decorating for this surprise.  We returned home to beautiful decor with blue and white lights on our patio, candles everywhere, elegant decorations, and even floating candles in our pool.  We ate off her China, and had a great time eating by candlelight.  She encouraged me to use parts of the decor for my January monthly dinner.  When my daughter saw all the light blues and whites, she immediately suggested I do a Frozen party.  I didn't want to "Let it Go" to waste, so I began planning a Frozen Fantasy Dinner.

Invitations: I originally designed this invitation without Olaf on it because all the guests would be my female adult friends, so I didn't want to go too Disney and too kid-like.  However, I decided to add Olaf in the end because he's just so lovable.  I guess he is "worth melting for!"

I lined the driveway and walkway leading up to my door with lit candles in light blue and white bags. I borrowed my daughter's Frozen poster for the entry door and added "Love is an Open Door" to it using my Cricut machine.  It wasn't my original plan for the door, but when time was short, plan B was put into action.

Although the dinner my mother-in-law put together was hosted outside, the weather was a bit chilly for me. I didn't want my guests to get a "Frozen Heart", so I moved many of the decorations inside. Over the dinner table, I strung blue icicle lights in a V pattern.  Along the wall, I had blue lights and hung sparkling ornaments from the strands.  My mother-in-law had already used Snow "spraypaint" on the windows, so I kept this to add to the ambiance.

I set the table with a white tablecloth and a sheer blue sparkled netting over it. I used beautiful blue chargers (purchased at Michaels) under each plate.  The vases and candle holders were all from the Fantasy Dinner.

Here are some closeup shots of some of the centerpieces.

Once the lights were low, the sparkle and candles really set a "fantasy" mood.  (That's the Frozen movie playing in the background).

I made blue snowflakes out of Popsicle sticks for the place cards. I cut the sticks in half, rounded the edges, glued them together, and painted them.  The beads I got from the Dollar Tree and added them right after the paint so the paint would dry and hold them.  It worked and I didn't have to use glue.  To make them stand up, I took the wick out of tea lights, widened the hole, and stuck the snowflake inside.

I found photos of the Frozen characters online to use as wine charms.

Menu:  As an appetizer when guests arrived, I served snowflake cracks and cheese.  I discovered at the grocery store that Ritz makes snowflake shaped crackers this time of year, so I picked those up. I used a cookie cutter to make the cheese snowflakes.

I used the same cookie cutter to make cheese snowflakes on Elsa's Snowflake Salad.

I tried to incorporate the Frozen characters into each aspect of the meal, so the main dish was turkey meatballs that I named after the Trolls in the movie.

With them, I served cooked carrots -- Sven's favorite snack in the movie.

And of course mashed potatoes that I used a butterball scoop to shape into snowmen to represent Olaf.  Black pepper and a small wedge of cheese (leftover from the appetizer) made the buttons and nose.

Anna and Elsa both love chocolate, so I decided to serve Chocolate Fondue as my dessert.   I served a milk chocolate fondue and a peanut butter chocolate fondue.  Both were popular.  For dipping items, I had strawberries to represent Anna's Frozen Heart, cubes of pound cake to represent Kristoff's ice blocks, pretzel sticks to represent Olaf's Arms, and marshmallow's to represent the giant snowballs Marshmallow throws.

Favor:  I needed a super simple and easy favor, so I decided to give the guests Hershey's Hugs since
Olaf loves warm hugs.  I found a tag online, and I changed the wording to say, "Here's some warm hugs!"  The little blue boxes I found at the Dollar Tree -- 8 for $1. You can't tell in the photo, but the boxes have little white dots on them.

It was a beautiful party to start off 2015.  Happy New Year!!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Twelve Days of Christmas

I was out of town for Thanksgiving and returned home with ONE day to plan my monthly dinner for December 1st.  To avoid as much stress as possible, I decided to go with the first thing that came to my mind...The 12 Days of Christmas.

Invite: Quick invite designed on Photoshop with some images I found on the internet.

Entry Decor:  I wanted to make numbered signs leading up to my front door counting from 12 to 2, but I ran out of time. I think it would have been a cute addition, but lucky for me it rained and I wouldn't have been able to have them out anyway!  I did make the 1st day of Christmas sign on the door. I used poster board and card stock to create the tree, leaves, pears, and partridge for Partridge in a Pear Tree.

Inside Decor:  I designed images for each of the 12 days of Christmas to use as ornaments on my centerpiece.  I found images on Google and then used PhotoShop to make each of them fit the look that I wanted. I printed out the text of the song to place inside the vase.

I was trying to incorporate as many of the 12 days into my food and decor as possible.  Since I had 7 guests able to attend this monthly dinner, I tried to come up with a place card for 7 Swans a Swimming.  I ended up making origami swans out of typing paper and then using my Cricut to cut numbers.

Five of my guests had gold rings around their napkin to represent 5 Golden Rings.  The other guests had plain napkin rings.  I found these gold rings at Ace Hardware.

I served our wine out of milk bottles to represent 8 Maids a Milking.  Each glass had a number on it, so whichever number they picked up corresponded to the swan they sat in front of at the table.  I found the milk bottles at Michaels for a dollar a piece.

Since we were drinking out of milk bottles, I made milk inspired labels for the wine bottles.

Menu: One of the appetizers I had out as guests arrived was chips and salsa.  I called these 4 Calling Birds. I used a bird shaped cookie cutter to cut out tortillas that I baked in the oven.  These are really simple to make.  Cut them out, place them on a cookie sheet, spray with PAM, sprinkle with salt, and bake for approximately 7 minutes at 350 degrees.  Yum.

The second appetizer was deviled eggs I called 7 Geese a Laying. I didn't get a good photo of these, but I think most of you know what deviled eggs look like!

We started the meal with a green salad I called Partridge in a Pear Tree.  The salad included romaine lettuce, Feta cheese, walnuts, craisins, and sliced pear. I served it with a balsamic vinaigrette dressing.  It was very tasty.

For the main course I served Cornish game hens to represent 3 French Hens.  I made a glaze mixing butter, orange marmalade, and fresh rosemary.  I brushed the hens with this mixture regularly throughout baking and baked them according to the wrapper's instructions. For added fun, I placed each hen on a "nest" of spaghetti squash that I had cooked then seasoned with butter, salt, and pepper.

On a side note, I did end up cutting the hens in half, so each one served two people.  I felt like I already had a lot of food being served, so half was enough.

I served zucchini cut into long strips as well as garlic bread sticks to represent 11 Pipers Piping.

I bought onion rings to bake as well. Each guest got 5 Golden Rings.

For dessert, I bought ice cream drumsticks to represent 12 Drummers Drumming. I felt a bit guilty not making my dessert from scratch, but time was crazy and it went with the theme, so I accepted the guilt and went with it!

Favor: Even though not all of the girls were able to attend this particular monthly dinner, there are 10 of us total in the group. Trying to incorporate all lyrics of the song into my evening, I decided to make these marshmallow ballerinas to represent 9 Ladies Dancing.  These are super easy.  My 5 year old had a blast helping me make them.

I designed this tag which completely reflects how I feel.  These 9 women have brought so much joy into my life.  Their friendships have inspired me and helped me to grow throughout all the years I have known them. I truly feel blessed to have each of these ladies in my life.

Happy December everyone!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Cherry Party First Birthday!

Hard to believe my little girl is one year old, but she is. It was time to plan her birthday party, and I had no idea what theme to do in the middle of November. For some reason, I felt like I shouldn't do pastels in November...I know, silly me! I inherited a cherry dress from a friend's daughter that was absolutely adorable, so this dress served as inspiration, and I decided that Jenna's first birthday party theme would be cherries. I originally thought this might be a popular theme, but I wasn't able to find much inspiration on the internet. Nevertheless, I went with it and this is what I came up with!

Invite:  I created an invite on Photoshop. I tried to tie in the cherry theme by using words like "cordially" and "sweet."

To go with the super cute cherry dress hand-me-down, I decided to make Jenna a cherry-inspired barrette.  Unfortunately, Jenna doesn't keep bows and ribbons in her hair for very long, but I wanted to try! I tried to make it light enough she wouldn't notice. At least it lasted through some photos!

Entry Decor: I made a sign for our front door using foam board, poster board, and card stock. I cut out the cherries by hand and used my Cricut machine to make the letters. I also set up a card table with a bouquet of flowers, some balloons, and a 12 month sign.  This is the same sign I used as a prop in Jenna's photos each month.  I just had to scrapbook a new front each time.

I made a Happy Birthday banner using my Cricut machine.  The cherries I found on the Nifty Fifties cartridge.

For the photo banner, I created an image on Photoshop to display the months and represent my theme. I then cut the images out and used scrapbook paper to create the banner.

I bought cheap red plastic tablecloths for the tables and sewed 12" x 12" squares out of a cherry fabric I found at Joann's Fabrics.  I also found red pails at Joann's that I filled with red carnations and white daisies. On various tables I also tied red and white polka-dot balloons and displayed photos of Jenna in her cherry dress.

I set up a dessert table with a cherry table runner made with the leftover fabric, a chalkboard sign, and more photos of Jenna.

I saw a first birthday chalkboard on Etsy, but I didn't want to pay what they were asking.  I decided to make my own.  My husband cut a piece of wood, and I painted it with some chalkboard paint I already had.  A friend of mine offered to do the writing (hers is SO much better than mine). It came out great, was much less expensive, and I was able to add the cherries to make it fit with the theme.

I made a simple smash cake.  I didn't want to use too much red frosting because I didn't want it to stain Jenna's cherry dress, so I stayed mostly with white and just used red for the cherries.

Yep....Jenna loves cake!

I made cherry cupcakes for all the kids at the party.

Mini cherry pies for the adults!  These were SUPER tasty and easy to make.  The recipe is made using mini cupcake pans, but I just doubled the recipe and made normal size cupcakes instead.  Here is the recipe (this is NOT doubled):

  • 1 (16.5 oz.) roll refrigerated sugar cookie dough
  • 1 (21 oz.) can cherry pie filling
  • 1 c. powdered sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. melted butter
  • 1-2 Tbsp. milk

  1. Divide cookie dough in half; cut each half into 12 slices.
  2. Generously spray 24 mini muffin cups with cooking spray OR line with mini cupcake liners.
  3. Roll each slice into a ball, then place each ball into a mini muffin cup.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.
  5. Remove from oven; press down the center of each cookie cup gently to make a small indentation.
  6. Fill each with 1 Tbsp. cherry pie filling.
  7. Return to oven and bake an additional 3-5 minutes.
  8. Cool slightly; remove from pans.
  9. Drizzle with a mixture of powdered sugar, melted butter and milk.
  10. Store in refrigerator

Beyond the normal drinks, I also set out ingredients to make Shirley Temples since it went with the cherry theme.

Party Games:  Since Jenna is only one, we didn't go too crazy with the party games.  I bought Hi Ho Cherry-O and set it out in a corner, and we had a bounce house.  The only other game was Pin the Cherry on Top of the Cupcake. I made the cupcake using red poster board that I folded accordion-style.  Then white poster board for the cupcake and card stock for all the rest. The cherries took a while to make since my Cricut didn't cut that large and I had to do it by hand, but the kids had fun playing.

Favor: As a take-home gift, I filled a red bag with various cherry inspired items.  These included a pack of cherry Lifesavers, bubbles, a notepad, and a red pencil.  I ordered the pencils from ebay and had them personalized with "You're Cherry Special".  I couldn't find red notepads, so I made them myself.  The image on the front I photo-shopped from a Google image and then printed on labels so they would stick on without any issues.  The notepad is just red card stock and white typing paper held together with ribbon.  The bubbles I bought at US Toys.  Again, I replaced the wrapper they came with originally with a cherry label I created.

This was the tag I created to go on the front of the red take-home bags.

Thank you to all our friends and family who came out to celebrate our sweet little girl's first birthday! We love you, Jenna!!