Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A Long May

So this seemed like the longest month of May of all time.  Normally, May is always a busy month with the end of the school year and all the festivities that entails. But this May for us was also filled with a trip to Detroit for my favorite brother's wedding, sickness, Buddy Boy's kindergarten graduation, and HUGE decisions for our family.  Really good and exciting decisions, but ones that took a lot of emotional energy... thus leaving lots of things thrown to the wayside, such as this good ole' blog.  I always hate when people give a little teaser and then say things like "but I can't tell you yet."  So I'm gonna be a ginormous hypocrite and leave you hanging... just until I can get the words to share.  I hope your holiday weekend was fantastic!

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Thursday, May 5, 2011

Fingers Crossed

I have a life-long friend who is truly talented.  You may remember her from {THIS}, or {THIS}, or {THIS}.  She's launching a brand new blog for her photography business and is hosting a ginormous giveaway with over $1000.00 worth of goodies to ONE lucky winner.  There's only a few days left, so head over and enter :)  You'll thank me, especially if you win!

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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Most Delicious Cupcakes

Okay, so after yesterday's post, I got several emails requesting the recipe... so here it is ya'll!

The Most Delicious Maple Cupcake Recipe
(for the maple lover and non-maple lover alike!)

{Cake ingredients}
2 1/2 C flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 C unsalted butter, softened
1/2 C light brown sugar
2 eggs
1 1/4 C maple syrup, the real stuff
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 C buttermilk
1/2 C finely chopped pecans
(makes about 18 cupcakes)

1.  Pre-heat oven to 350
2. sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and ginger together, set aside
3.  Beat softened butter and sugar on medium speed until they are fluffy.
4. Add in eggs, syrup, and vanilla, mix until blended
5. Mix in flour mixture, alternating with the buttermilk (about 1/3 at a time)
6. By hand, add in the chopped nuts
7.  Fill cupcake lined tins about 2/3 full each
8.  Bake about 20 minutes (check if done with a knife)
9.  Cool totally, then frost with chilled maple butter frosting

Maple Butter Frosting Recipe
1 C softened unsalted butter
3 oz softened cream cheese
2/3 C golden brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 C maple syrup, again... use the good stuff
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 C powdered sugar

1.  beat softened butter, cream cheese, brown sugar, and salt until fluffy... these must be softened!
2.  while beating, add maple syrup and vanilla
3.  slowly add powdered sugar and gradually increase mixing speed to high
4.  Chill frosting for about an hour before using
5.  ice the cupcakes, and for an added flair for the true maple lover... make a small well in the center of the cupcake in the icing, pour a small amount of syrup to fill the indentation... or for the non maple lover... add some cute cupcake toppers instead!

Enjoy!  We sure did!
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Monday, May 2, 2011

Lumberjack and Jill Wedding Shower

Last weekend, Gary and I had the privilege to host my brother and future sister-in-law's couples wedding shower.  I loved the idea of a Jack and Jill themed shower, and saw an adorable inspiration board for a Lumberjack and Jill party over at party planning extraordinaire Erin's, blog Bringing Up Burns.  Why lumberjack?  Why not lumberjack?

First, I got started on the invitations.  They were pretty straightforward, I just printed out the deets on card stock, sewed onto burlap that was slightly bigger, and tied with a piece of gingham.

The majority of my time was spent planning the dessert table, because I really love sugar.  I started by thinking of manly things, then lumberjack-y things, then outdoorsy things. The list I came up with was bacon, maple syrup (lumberjacks eat pancakes right?!), and smores. For the decor, I used tree stumps as cake plates, sunflowers, rosemary, and dessert tags on burlap that were similar to the invitations.  The backdrop was an old sheet on a dowel rod, the biggest embroidery hoop Joann's carries, with burlap and a gingham monogram of the new couple's last initial.

I saw a recipe of chocolate chip and candied bacon cookies.  I was intrigued.  Bacon?  Bacon makes nearly everything better, who doesn't like bacon?  Salty... plus sweet.  I totally get it.  I gave it a try.  Wow, really really tasty.  I kind of felt an artery burst though.

I found a recipe for maple cupcakes with maple butter frosting.  The author claimed they were the best.  Let me preface this next part with:  I hate maple flavor.  Abhor it.  I was really just making them because 1)  I love cupcakes, 2)  I knew they would look great on the dessert table, and 3)  They went with the theme. Oh.  My.  Word.  They were so delicious!  I can't even tell you how tasty they turned out to be with just a hint of maple flavor.  Like real maple flavor.  I guess now I know why real maple syrup is so expensive. It is goooooood.

Lastly, we had smores on a stick.  All the beauty of the cakepop, an eighth of the work.  So easy, my kids helped make them.  I just bought lollipop sticks, jabbed on a marshmallow, dipped in chocolate, rolled in crushed graham crackers.  Easily the big seller of the dessert table.

Sadly, I didn't get a picture of the food table.  We had subs and fixin's, chips, nothing too original.  Drinks were glass bottles of root beer, cream soda, and black cherry soda.  For the decor, I used lots of old family quilts, more burlap and flannel, and some galvanized steel tubs I got from Lowes.

 For the rest of the decor, I used old sheets as table clothes, lots of burlap, plaid flannel, gingham, and a bit of denim.  I filled mason jars tied with twine, denim, and some chalkboard hearts with "M + A" with sunflowers and waxflowers.

I really don't know too many men who love shower games, and I myself am not a fan of cheesy games that are played at every other shower you ever get invited too.  I racked my brain for weeks trying to think of something original that fit the theme.  Ever the procrastinator, it was a few days before when playing with The Crazies, it hit me.  Lincoln Logs.  Each team was given a bag with the same pieces to construct Michael and Alycia's dream home.  The teams could be as creative as they want.  They were sooooo good!  The winning team, full of my brother's high school friends constructed a home with a four car garage, infinity edge pool, helipad, and even a big screen tv that was playing a football game (gotta love the creativity using the iphone!).  They won a six five pack of Moose Drool Beer.

I love photo booths, so we created a little photo area for guests to get the pictures taken before they left.  We supplied the props, flannel shirts, trucker hat, axes, and my favorite... mustaches on a stick.

It was a really fun time and mostly, I was just happy to do something I love to shower my baby brother with love.  Can't wait for the real BIG event in three weeks!
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