Saturday, July 23, 2011

Happy Birthday Girls!

Although I had the best of intentions to plan ahead this year, my daughter's birthday party still managed to sneak up on me.  At least I managed to get the invites out thanks to this cool website called Paperless Post.

It's like a fancier version of evite.  Your card even includes an envelope

The website allows you to track who has opened the invites, who has replied and send reminders to your guests.

My sweet baby girl turned 5.  We also STILL needed to celebrate my other daughter's birthday.  She turned 9 back in May.  Her birthday always coincides with the end of the school year which makes picking a party date really difficult.

Due to a minor surgery the hubs had to have, I decided to have the party at Pump It Up.  And let me tell you it was money well spent!  No mess in my house and the kids LOVED it.

 I took the little one over to a party supply store and she picked out some favors for goody bags.  I think she did a pretty good job.

For the girls:  Journal, mini paint set, mini rubix cube, mini frisbee, pencil top eraser, a package of candy, some tattoo's and some of our favorite jello flavored popcorn.

For the boys:  Same as above but instead of the journal, 
they got some cute cards with animals on them.

 We made some jello flavored popcorn for the gift bags with a little tag that said "Thanks for poppin' in."  The popcorn was supposed to be pink and purple to match our color scheme.  It ended up being red and I'm not sure what you would call the second color.   We didn't have time to re-do it and it still tasted yummy.
  Free printable Bag Tag found here

We also planned to include these in the goody bags.   However due to the fact that we made them last minute, and that it's hotter than Haides here and we didn't have any room in the fridge, they didn't dry in time for us to bag them up.  

 Giant marshmallows dipped in chocolate and covered in sprinkles.  
Can you say Sugar Rush?

And of course we had to have cupcakes.  My bad photography makes these look they have chocolate frosting on them but the cupcakes themselves were half chocolate, half vanilla and topped with a light pink or deep purple Buttercream frosting.  Both sets of cupcake liners came from Michaels. 

 Even though I had very little to do for this party, and not all of it came out perfect, the kids had a great time.   And in the end, I guess that's all that matters!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

7up Biscuits

This biscuit recipe is my new favorite.  It's quick and easy and you probably already have everything in your fridge and pantry.  It makes really light and fluffy biscuits in mere minutes.

I would call this recipe semi-homemade cause it starts off with Bisquick.  I stumbled across this recipe on a blog called Such a cute name.  Her food looks yummy and her photography skills are much better than mine. 

So here's what you need:

Yep, that's all.  

2 cups of Bisquick mix 
1/2 cup of sour cream 
1/2 cup of 7Up.  

You will also need some butter for the bottom of your pan.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium size bowl, cut the sour cream into the Bisquick using a fork.  Add in the 7Up and mix until just combined.

I use a large cutting board for the next part.  Generously sprinkle your board (or counter top etc) with some Bisquick mix.  (If you barely had two cups of Bisquick mix, like I did, just use some flour)  The mixture will be pretty sticky.  I also dusted my hands with flour.  Pat the mixture flat (I don't recommend using a rolling pin) and cut biscuits.  I didn't even bust out a cutter here - I just used a glass cause it was handy.

Melt about 1/4 cup of butter in the bottom of the pan.

Recipe says to place in a 9 x 9 inch square pan, but I didn't have one handy, so I just placed my cut biscuits into a pie pan.

If you place the biscuits close together, they will stay nice and soft on the side.  I used a pastry brush and took a little butter out of the bottom and brushed the tops.

Bake for about 15 minutes and...........

Load them up with butter, honey, jam or whatever you like in your biscuit. 

Easy, quick and yummy!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Nutella Stuffed French Toast

My dad was here visiting from England for five weeks but had to return home today.  My four year old was a little sad when we got home from the airport and declared that we needed to have french toast for lunch.  Since the men folk are at scout camp this week, and it's just us girls now, I figured why not!  And since it's bathing suit season, lets see how we can make this a little more fattening shall we?  Since chocolate makes everything better - we added some Nutella.

I started out with my standard French Toast recipe:

3 eggs
1/2 cup heavy cream*
1/2 cup milk
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon

In a bowl big enough to fit the bread you will be using, lightly beat the eggs, add in the milk, cream, salt, vanilla and cinnamon and whisk lightly until everything is just blended together.

Today, because we are making french toast on demand, we are using whatever happens to be in the breadbox, which is plain old white Wonder Bread.**   Take two slices of the bread of your choice and glue them together with some Nutella.  (Remind your four year old not to stick the knife back in the jar after you she licks it clean!)

Heat a skillet over medium high heat.  If you are like my husband or Paula Deen, or feel like this recipe does not already have enough calories for you, melt a teaspoon of butter in the bottom of the pan.  I personally just like to spray it with some non stick cooking spray.  Because the Wonder Bread is pretty thin, I pretty much just dipped each side of the Nutella sandwich in the egg/milk mixture and let the excess drip off.   If your bread is thicker, you can let it sit in the mixture for about 30 seconds.

You know the drill here right?  Fry it on each side until nice and toasty and golden brown.  If you'd like a little extra sweetness or maybe you are just trying to blow your calorie counting completely out of the water, dust it lightly with some powdered sugar.

Or, if you are a purist, (or maybe your stomach hurts a little like my nine year old today) you omit Nutella and go with Powdered Sugar and Syrup.  Whatever floats your boat - it all good!

*You can use a whole cup of milk, or a whole cup of half and half or any combination of milk and cream or half and half that you would like here.  I always have heavy cream in my fridge and I like the richness it adds.

**My favorite bread to use for French Toast is Wonder Bread Texas Toast. It's the perfect thickness while still being nice and soft.  Day old bread tends to work better because really fresh bread can get a little soggy.  You can make French Bread with any kind of bread that you love.  Try making it with Cinnamon Bread or Raisin Bread.  Yum!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Pen Pals

July 5th, 2011 Activity
Writing to our PenPals &
Practicing to sing in Sacrament Meeting
Mark off in Faith in God: Developing Talents

Next Activity: July 19th - Cancelled :(
See you August 2nd for the Mommy and Me Tea!

The current author of this blog that I like to visit to get ideas for our Activity Girls broached the idea of matching girls up from different wards to be Pen Pals.  It immediately reminded me of my childhood.  Remember back in the day when all correspondence was via snail mail?  I lived in England at the time and had a Pen Pal in France.  I loved sending and receiving letters and learning something about this girl in a different part of the world then me.

I love this idea for many reasons. 
  • I  think it will be so much fun for the girls to get to know other girls their age in a different ward.
  • Writing an old fashioned letter is a great skill for them to learn.   I encouraged them to use proper punctuation and spelling.  (No LOL, BFF etc)
  • It passes off a requirement for Faith in God - Developing Talents

Our girls were matched up with some girls from a ward in Cedar Hills Utah. 

Each girls wrote a letter on some pretty stationary.  We decorated the envelopes.  Before we sealed the envelopes, I (or a parent) checked each letter to make sure it didn't include too much personal info.  (no last names, phone numbers, email addresses etc)  Once we add in some little gifts and photos, it will be sent of to the girls leader in Utah.

We can't wait to hear back from them!

Pool Party!

June 30th, 2011 Activity
Pool Party
Mark off in Faith in God: Just For Fun!

Next Activity: July 5th - Practice to sing in Sacrament Meeting
& Writing Letters to our Pen Pals.
Meet at 7 p.m. at the Stake Center.

This week we had to move the date of our regularly scheduled Tuesday night meeting because the Youth were attending the Temple on the same night.   For the sake of parents sanity, and also because of the terrible gas prices, we try to avoid having parents running kids to all kinds of different locations.

Also, I was on vacation visiting my sister and my Co-Leader wanted to wait to have this party till I was back and boy was I glad she did!!!

This activity didn't really satisfy a requirement in the Faith in God program - It was just for fun!  My Co-Leader hosted a swim party for the girls and their families at her home.  We had such a blast swimming followed by a yummy dinner of BBQ'ed hamburgers and hotdogs, fresh fruit, chips and dip and the most delicious homemade macaroni and cheese.  And did I mention the brownies?  Chocolate doesn't really agree with me but they looked soo good, I just couldn't resist trying one!  Sister Canaday was most definitely the Hostess with the Mostess!!!  Thank you for opening your home to us - everyone had a great time!