Put the ART in Party-Madison's Art Birthday Party

Madison requested an art party for her 8th birthday and so that's what our baby girl got.  I love a theme that calls for bright colors; it makes everything that much more fun and vibrant.  As many of you know I like to throw parties on a frugal budget.  I love sharing the details to show everyone that you don't have to sacrifice much.  You can throw a great party without an endless budget.

How to Make A Yummy French Toast Bake


Weekday breakfasts are quick and easy and I try to keep them healthy but the weekends call for small celebrations.  So that is when I like to make something a bit more yummy and maybe a bit more labor intensive.  This French Toast Bake was new for me and it didn't take too much time or effort.  However, it does have baking time so you need to start early or prep ahead of time especially if you have kids like mine that expect to eat almost immediately upon waking.

The first time I made this recipe I was taking it for a friends weekend away in the mountains.  It's great for serving a bit of a crowd and the cleanup couldn't be easier.  Typically when I'm doing breakfast for a group I do pancakes or waffles with eggs and bacon and it's a lot to manage and clean up.  After doing this French Toast Bake I determined this is the way to go from now on.  I prepped as much as I could before we left town and just assembled it the morning we wanted it.

Ingredients:

  • 1 loaf of Texas Toast
  • 8 eggs
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter cold and cut into small squares
Directions: 

  1. Spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray and preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, add the eggs, milk, heavy cream, sugar, 1/2 cup brown sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon. 
  3. Chop the bread into 3/4 - 1 inch cubes and put it in the bowl with the egg mixture and toss well until all the liquid is absorbed.
  4. In a food processor mix the flour, remaining brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. 
  5. Pulse the butter in the food processor for 5-10 seconds or until the butter and brown sugar mixture is crumbly.
  6. Pour the bread and egg mixture into the pan, cover evenly with the brown sugar-butter topping and bake for 45-50 minutes or until the top is crispy and the center is no longer wet.


The Foreman Fix Up- House Remodel Reveal- Before & After



It's my greatest pleasure to welcome you into our remodeled home and show you around.  It's been years in the making and 19 months since we had our first design consultation.  Living through a complete renovation was nearly impossible and had its share of challenges that tested our family in every way.  Seeing these photos almost takes that sting away!!!  I almost can't believe the transformation and it's a safe bet that you won't believe it's the same house.  Come take a peak....

Peace Out Single Digits- Fun 70's Birthday Party Theme


Planning and throwing a party is one of my absolute favorite things to do.  But to be honest I was so stressed about this party.  Emily begged for months to host her first slumber party but we only had one little problem.  Our home was still under construction!  I tried to convince her of letting it go but she wouldn't let up.  I finally agreed but was so concerned about throwing this party.  The idea of a slumber party was daunting on its own, hello 13 tweens under my roof.  But hosting while under construction was another level.

Easy Thanksgiving Dessert- Orange Creamsicle Pie


I'm the queen of easy peasy when it comes to cooking and baking.  I love homemade (read semi-homemade) but I don't have the time or the energy for a super hard recipe.  I love this recipe because it only takes minutes to whip together; you could even make it the same day you need to serve it.  Just allow about 4 hours to set in the freezer.

I was looking for a dessert recipe for our Thanksgiving meal but I wanted it to have a slight twist from the traditional.  Since citrus is in season and I'm looking for any way to sneak in some extra vitamin C I wanted to create a recipe with mandarins.  I always get my citrus from Bee Sweet Citrus because they have year-round availabilty for oranges, mandarins and lemons.  They have speciality citrus varieties during the California domestic season.  Right now us locals can look forward to Meyer Lemons, Cara Cara Navels (hello gorgeous!), Blood Oranges, Star Ruby Grapefruit and Pummelos.  Another reason I love supporting Bee Sweet Citrus is because they are a family owned and operated grower, packer and shopper of citrus.  

Enjoy your sweet and delicious dessert and wishing everyone a blessed Thanksgiving!

Ingredients:
  1. 2 blocks of cream cheese (16 oz each)
  2. 1 C. plus 2 Tbsp. of granulated sugar
  3. 1 C. of mandarin oranges, peeled
  4. 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  5. 1 C. Cool Whip
  6. Graham Cracker Crust (ready made)
Instructions:

Add cream cheese, sugar, oranges and vanilla to a stand mixer and mix on low until all the ingredients are combined and smooth.  Gently fold in the Cool Whip.  Pour mixture into crust and freeze for at least 4 hours.  Top with a dollop of Cool Whip and a mandarin/orange.







The Lord is Within Her; She Will Not Fall


Emily's First Holy Communion was scheduled for right after the world shut down so of course it was postponed.  Unfortunately, it was moved to the hottest day of the year and didn't look normal at all.  Looking back the day makes me a little sad because it's one of the most important days in a child's life and it was stripped of all the sacred beauty.  But overall, I am grateful for Emily to receive this sacrament.

Since we were still in quarantine we did a very small party to celebrate the occasion.  Despite the intimate gathering I still wanted to make the day special for Emily.  The decor I used was simple: a chalkboard with bible verse, ballon arch, cake and flowers.

Halloween Crafts & Treats



I'm a lover of all holidays and I'm always talking about how much I live for traditions.  To this day I remember traditions from my childhood and I just love creating new ones with my kids.  I hope they carry some of them on with their families.  One of our greatest traditions is making treats and enjoying them during a movie night.  Especially this time of year we love camping out in front of the tv and enjoying food and family.

A "charcuterie" board always make food that much more fun so I've been having fun creating different Halloween boards.  My first Halloween Treat Board consisted of mandarin pumpkins, candy corn & pumpkins, Halloween Oreo's, Moose Track Ice Cream, and Spooky Spider Popcorn.

Making the popcorn couldn't be any easier.  You can pop popcorn or you can do what I did and just buy Skinny Pop and then melt orange chocolate and drizzle on top.  I added Halloween sprinkles and set in the fridge for an hour.  In the meantime I made the spider plate for the popcorn which consists of cutting black pipe cleaners to the desired length and hot glueing to the bottom of a black paper plate.  Then 3/4 of the way down the pipe cleaner you bend at a 45 degree angle.  Lastly, hot glue googly eyes to the top of the plate. 

To make the mandarin pumpkins you peel a mandarin and then slice a very small piece of celery and insert in the top.  Plain ice cream isn't nearly as fun as ice cream with sprinkles so sprinkles were added to the top.  I put it all together on a board and let the fun begin!