I thought I had written a post about my daughters 3rd birthday a long time ago. It is time to start thinking about a theme or activity for her 4th birthday. I went on the blog to reminisce and look back at her 3rd birthday party and realized it wasn't on here.
I will start of saying she is one of those kids that will ask for three months straight if it is her birthday. She gets so excited to have her friends come over so for her 3rd birthday I wanted it to be really special. I also wanted to make her day because her birthday is shortly after Christmas and it is just plain hard to plan a winter birthday without spending a fortune on a location. At her age I don't want to start spending a lot because then what do you do the following years.
In looking back this is the best pic of her because she didn't stop the entire night!
She chose Tinkerbell for her theme so the next thing I did was hurry up and find a Tinkerbell Cricut Cartridge. I ALWAYS do the banner and pick the cake first so that I can make sure the colors coordinate. I also order the cake early because I want to make sure we can get our cake lady. She makes cakes that are amazing and accommodates their food allergies! We did the same thing for my son's Mario birthday, here.
Then came the party favors and the dilemma of there was going to be almost as many boys as girls at the party and what should we do for them. So we made it a Tinkerbell and Pirates party. I wanted all of the kids to have fun party favors that were not going to junk up their moms cars or houses once they got home so on a trip to Dollar Tree to get the cups to make some of the party favors I found the fairy wings for the girls and the pirate sets for the boys.
I decided to make girl cups and boy cups so each child would have a cup they could take home. I was able to get packs of 3 cups for 1.00 at Dollar Tree. I used the cricut cartridge I had bought and I think my Boys Will Be Boys one and some vinyl to make them.
My daughter is obsessed with tutus so I made tutus for each of the little girls to wear at the party and then take home for dress up. Here is the link on how to make them.
I am not big on my kids eating a lot of candy but I did see a cute idea of getting pixie stix as pixie dust. I had the little bucket already. I think I had bought it on clearance at Hobby Lobby in the past, or at Dollar Tree or in the dollar section at Target.
We were able to pull off a fun party for the kids without spending a fortune! That is always great when that happens. It was on a weeknight so I ordered pizza from our local pizza place, they have a really reasonable catering special and we enjoyed cake and ice cream.
I know had a blast planning for the party and I think the kids had a lot of fun too!
These are awful pictures but I made these last year for my son's Christmas Party at school. Just take the labels off the small water bottles, hot glue wiggly eyes and a red pom pom for the nose. Then one whole brown pipe cleaner goes around the bottle top and I cut other pipe cleaners in forth's to add the antlers on top. Super easy they so cute, and they get enough sugar on party day they don't even miss that they are getting water and not a juice or a sweet drink.
I had a dear friend that made this years ago and I have lost her recipe but I think this is pretty close. This is one of those things you ONLY want to make for a crowd or you will want to sit and eat it all. IT IS SO GOOD!
1 8 oz package of cream cheese (softened)
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup Heath Milk Chocolate Toffee Bits ( I have also chopped up Heath bars but turns the dip chocolate)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
Sliced apples for dipping
Once the cream cheese is soft place it in a bowl and stir until it is smooth, a fork helps with this. Add the lemon juice, vanilla, and brown sugar and mix well. Then add the Heath bits and mix well. Let it for at least an hour then serve with sliced apples.
This was a Christmas gift I made for my husband a couple couple years ago for Christmas. While this is not food related I thought I would share since he really enjoyed the gift but unfortunately I did not get pictures of the contents of each envelope but you can get the idea.
My Husband has to be one of the HARDEST people to buy gifts for. He really does not get into gadgets, he does not play golf etc, he has every tool know to man, and on top of that he HATES to spend money so any gift I get him he asks how much it costs and then half of the time he returns it. I LOVE him dearly but it makes gift giving VERY tough. So when I had no ideas for Christmas I came across this post on pintrest and thought a year of pre planned mostly pre paid for dates would be fairly safe. We never seem to make time for date night and this "gift" would help us make it happen. So for Christmas him got 12 envelopes of dates. They are at least 1/2 paid for and if I had seen this idea sooner I would have had them 100% paid for. And since we did not leave close to family I made sure at least half of the dates were things that we could do at home so we did not have to pay a babysitter.
Then we just put this basket of envelopes in his closet until we needed the next month's date.
So January's date was a slumber party at home (actually a 2 night slumber party). Half of the dates are at home, since we don't really have a babysitter and being at home helps keep the cost down and it gives us more time really alone.
So in the envelope there is a letter explaining the date, a movie, a subway gift card, and a couple quiz books.
So when my husband came home the "date" was all set up and our son was sent to bed early.
I really did not know if my husband would like this gift of not but I think he enjoyed our first date and we are looking forward to the rest of our dates.
February's date night was a Movie Date, John really enjoys going to the movies, then we were suppose to go to Marble Slab for ice cream afterward (but that did not happen you will see why in a minute.)
Our son was spending the night with his grandparents after his basketball game so we ended up going out for a nice lunch and plans for movies and ice cream to follow. Since we did not have to rush home we thought we would watch 2 movies back to back, which we did. However, since we are both eating more healthful whole foods, the popcorn, candy, and sodas that sounded good at the beginning of the first movies, were not settling well by the end of the second. So we left the second movie and headed straight home to bed and slept till 10 am the next morning. Even though we were both sick from the junk food we still enjoyed our date.
Other dates, included a recreated first dates with all the stops we made on our first date.
Card night ( with cards and book of new card games)
With Thanksgiving just around the corner I know a lot of people are preparing their menus and starting to buy some ingredients for the big day. I (Amber) do not cook for Thanksgiving so personally I am just getting excited to enjoy some of my favorite foods at my Mom's house and Mother-in-law's house.
I thought it would be fun to do a post with the dishes that each of our families "can't live without" on Thanksgiving.
Hands down the thing I look forward to the most of anything is my Mom's Sage dressing. Put a little cranberry sauce on it and I am one happy girl! Here is the link to her recipe: Sage Dressing.
The food my husband looks forward to the most is his Mammaw Betty's Southern Cornbread, recipe HERE.
Both, Ann Kelly and my families, feel mashed potatoes are a MUST for Thanksgiving Dinner. HERE are some of the best, unhealthy, mashed potatoes you can make!!
Each of our Mother-in-law's cranberry salad is something that each of our families really enjoy.
This is my mother-in-law's cranberry jello salad. HERE is the recipe.
This is Ann Kelly's mother-in-law's cranberry salad. HERE is her recipe.
Now on to our favorite sweets!!! Both of our families always have pretzel salad. Recipe is HERE.
My Dad's fruit salad is a staple at our Thanksgiving and Christmas. I think the entire family would be lost if he didn't make it. My brothers and uncle and aunt always take home leftovers of this!! I especially love it because I remember every year growing up he and I would sit and watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and make it together. HERE is his recipe.
I think it is funny that all of our favorite or "must have dishes" are side dishes or desserts. I know for my family we are not huge ham and turkey fans. We will eat it but it just isn't something that we look forward to. If you are looking for an easy way to cook your ham for Thanksgiving check out these two crock pot recipes.
I will say if I am going to eat ham I like it cooked using THIS recipe.
HERE is another great ham recipe that is as good as the Ham Store.
This fast and easy way to add a little excitement to your chicken. It only takes a few minutes to get this together and it make even take a bit less time to cook can just a regular chicken breast.
Chicken breasts (sliced about every 1/4 inch but make sure you don't cut through the whole piece the bottom needs to stay in tacked)
bacon slices (sliced in fourths)
onion sliced thinly and rings cut in half
salt, pepper, garlic salt to taste
shredded cheese optional for topping
Once you have sliced the chicken place a slice of bacon and a slice of onion into each cut in the chicken. I then added house seasoning (salt, pepper, and garlic) over the chicken and baked at 350 degrees on a roasting pan for about 30 minutes.
The last 5 minutes I added a little shredded Parmesan cheese and let it melt.
This is a nice and light soup that leftovers can be used in very easily. After having Mexican for company I used a lot of my leftovers for this soup and I really enjoyed it, My husband was not a big fan but he does not love soup to start with.
5 cups Chicken Broth
1 can rotel (2 would be better)
28 oz diced tomatoes
1 can black beans
2 cans mexicorn (or 1 package of frozen with about 3/4 cup salsa)
3 cups shredded chicken cooked with a package of taco seasoning.
Salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder to taste.
Mahi Mahi is a VERY mild fish so it is a great place to start if your family are not huge fans of fish. This fish is not fishy at all. This is a super easy and fast way to get more wild caught fish in your diet. Wild Caught fish is so much better for you than farm raised fish (but that is another post) and wild caught Mahi Mahi won't break the bank.
Mahi Mahi ( I had about a pound here)
1 Tablespoon of olive oil
1-2 Tablespoons coconut oil ( I would have used less if my pan had been smaller)
1 lemon cut in half
3 smashed garlic cloves
2 Tablespoons water
salt and pepper to taste.
Put everything except half of the lemon (which we like added to ours once it is cooked) in a covered pan for about 5 minutes per side over a medium to medium high heat. When I turn the Mahi over I squeeze the lemon to release its juice.
I serve with steamed rice and steamed or stir fried vegetables. If you plan ahead and have the fish thawed this meal can be on the table in 20-25 minutes.