Thursday, April 28, 2011

Cupcake of the Month - Lemon Cupcakes with Strawberry Icing

These cupcakes were both yummy and refreshing! 
The surprising twist of lemon and strawberry is a perfect combination for this time of year. These cupcakes would be the perfect sweet temptation at a spring luncheon, Mother's Day brunch or even a last minute get together. Start to finish they took about 1 1/2 hr., and were easy enough for little hands to help!

Cupcake Ingredients
1 box Betty Crocker Super Moist White cake mix
Water, Vegetable Oil and Egg Whites as called for on the box
3 T. grated lemon peel

Icing Ingredients
4-6 medium, hulled strawberries
1 Container (12 oz.) Whipped Fluffy White Icing
Garnish - Sliced strawberries and lemon curls

Heat oven to 350* (or 325* for dark or nonstick pans). Place paper baking cups in each of 24 regular sized muffin cups. Make and bake cake mix as directed on box for 24 cupcakes, using water, oil and egg whites and adding grated lemon peel. Cool in pans for 10 min and then remove from pans to cooling racks. Cool completely, about 30 min.

Place 4 oz. strawberries (4-6) in blender. Cover and pulse about 20 seconds to puree strawberries. Pour 1/4 cup of the strawberry puree into medium bowl. Stir in fluffy white frosting until well mixed.

Generously frost cupcakes. Garnish with quartered strawberries and lemon peel curls.

Wishing you peace, love and a little pixie dust,

Monday, April 25, 2011

Garden Party Luncheon

As Spring comes into full swing it's time to start thinking about Mother's Day brunches, teacher's luncheons, outdoor tea parties and much more. The "idea" of spring - flowers, color popping back into nature, sunshine, butterflies and birds flying around and saying hello again - all are perfect backdrops for spring entertaining. 


If you find yourself hosting a "garden" themed luncheon, etc., a perfect centerpiece idea is to use a watering can as the container. To get the watering cans in the desired colors you want, visit your local hardware store (Lowe's), buy the metal silver ones and then spray paint them. This may sound like a longer process but it really is quicker then searching all over for them! 


Once your spray cans are ready then you collect a variety of spring colored silk flowers and greenery. Fresh flowers are always best, but if you think you may want to use your centerpieces again silk is the next best alternative. After you have your flowers the fun begins! Start arranging your flowers in the cans - be creative, not too matchy-matchy, and add alittle whimsy. Remember : there is no right or wrong way to do this!

 Another centerpiece idea for a garden inspired party is to use a faux topiary and adhere flowers, butterflies, bees, dragonflies, etc. to it. Mine happened to be square because that was what I found, but any shape will work. The butterflies, etc. I found at Hobby Lobby. 


 Other great ideas to incorporate into your garden inspired luncheon 

** Visit your local home improvement store (Lowe's), and buy a roll of green turf, cut it into rectangles and use it as your placemats. 
** Use assorted seed packets as place markers, plate decor and take home gifts.
** Use faux flowers and butterflies as napkin rings
** Scatter loose flowers around your table
** Use assorted china plates and teacups with different floral prints

The above luncheon pictures are from a teacher's luncheon that I did at my children's school. Even plastic plates, paper napkins and your elementary school library can look pretty when paired with beautiful elements of Spring!

Wishing you peace, love and a little pixie dust,

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Earth Day Backyard Scavenger Hunt

Earth Day is on Friday, April 22 this year. 

Earth day we typically use an an "awareness" day - a day to teach about recycling, going green, preserving our natural resources, etc. All of these things are definitely important and should be taught and stressed, but  why not also use Earth Day as a celebration day too! A celebration of our amazing Earth - the wonder and beauty that can be found in the different shades of green found in our forests, in the pink, red and yellow bursts of color popping up in the Spring flowers or even the brilliant blue of the sky on a sunny day. Too often we are too busy to take time to "stop and smell the roses", so make it a point this year to smell atleast 1 on Earth Day! The flowers, the trees, the grass are all gifts from God that he has given us to enjoy and protect. 


This year to celebrate Earth Day at our house, I decided to make a scavenger hunt up for the kids. I went around and took pictures of different elements of nature found right in our own back yard. A picture of tree bark, a flower, leaves off of different types of trees - I even found a Robin's nest with 4 eggs! Once I had finished taking my pictures I loaded them in my computer and made a picture guide for them to use on their scavenger hunt. 


The scavenger hunt will not only be a blast for the kids - running around trying to identify the things in the pictures and find them - but will also, I hope, serve as a guide for them to appreciate and "see" the beauty of our Earth found in our own backyard. 

Wishing you peace, love and a little pixie dust,

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Quick, No Mess Way to Dye Eggs

If your like me and want to take part in the Easter festivities and dye eggs with your kids, but the thought of purple, orange and green hands for the next 2 weeks leaves you cringing....then this blog is for you! 

After you have boiled your eggs let them cool and then put 5 to 6 eggs in a colander. Pour around 1/3 cup of white vinegar over the eggs to help the food coloring absorb and stick quicker. 

Squeeze 1 to 2 drops of a single color of food coloring on each egg. We used McCormik Neon Colors for a brighter egg. 

Swirl the eggs around in the colander to coat them with the color. Let set for around 45 seconds. 

Next squeeze 1 to 2 drops of your 2nd color of choice onto your eggs. Swirl your eggs again and then let set for about 1 minute. 

You may choose to stop here or add another color but if you add too many you end up with muddy, brown eggs! After you have let your eggs set for their last time, rinse them gently with water to remove the excess food coloring. Set out to dry. 


Wishing you peace, love and a little pixie dust,

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Peeps! S'mores in a Jar

These S'mores in a Jar are such a cute idea for an Easter party favor, hostess gifts or even for teachers! I found this super cute idea at Maddycakes Muse, who found it at Mommy Savers, etc. I thought I'd modify it just a bit and then give it a try. It was super easy and turned out adorable! 

1. Take 1 sleeve of graham crackers and crush to make crumbs.
2. Layer crushed grahams on bottom of mason jar, 
reserving about 4 tablespoons.
3. Place bunny peeps standing up & facing out around inside of jar. 
Press them up against jar but don't squish them.
4. Carefully spoon remaining crumbs in the center of the jar to 
help support the bunnies.
5. Pour springtime colored M&M's on top. 
6. Spoon 1/3 cup of brown sugar on top of M&M's.

Tie a ribbon around the lid of each jar, attaching a gift tag to it that gives the making/baking instructions. (as pictured above)

Wishing you peace, love and a little pixie dust,
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