31 January 2016

{Valentine's Day} Treat Table


This Valentine's Day treat table was designed around a free printable set from Pear Tree. I love the soft pink and grey combination, still with a touch of gold :)

I wanted to show you how easy it is to create a beautiful table using store bought items... Because let's be honest, there is not always the time for a full on party with all the preparation involved ! Wether you are planning a last minute playdate or simply do not enjoy baking, you can create a stunning table with grocery store items.
The cupcakes, marshmallows, flowers and pink milk were from the grocery store and the cake pops are from Starbuck's ! I decorated some cookies to match but if you don't fancy making your own cookies, you can easily find Valentines cookies in store this time of year.

I hope these few pictures will inspire you !








Design, Photography, Cookies: That Cute Little Cake
Cake pops: Starbuck's
Free Valentines Printables: Pear Tree


3 December 2015

{Christmas Craft} Stocking utensil holders



Christmas is just around the corner and so today I would like to share a very simple craft to brighten your Holiday table !
How about some cute little paper stockings to hold your utensils ? Aren't they super sweet ?

Here is how to make them:

You will need:

Scrapbook papers in contrasting colors
Stocking template (here)
Scissors
Glue (I used some roll-on glue tape, that way there is no drying time)

Assembly is pretty easy and straightforward:


1- Use the template to draw the stocking shape on your chosen paper.
2- Fold the piece of paper along the long edge
3- Cutout the stocking shape
4- Glue the two parts together along the edges, leaving the top open, and add a stripe of contrasting paper at the top.



This tutorial was first published on Catch My party.

30 November 2015

Fruit Cakes by Collin Street Bakery


This festive time of year usually means friends dropping by and invitations to holiday parties...
So whether you want to be prepared for the unannounced guest or are looking for the perfect hostess gift, the Collin Street Bakery fruit cakes are sure to come in handy this holiday season !


I was recently given the opportunity to try the Deluxe Fruit Cake by Collin Street Bakery and it did not disappoint. Jam packed with fruits and nuts, it is a really good fruit cake and the beautiful box makes it an ideal gift.


They have so many tempting flavors on their website, like the Apple Cinnamon Pecan Cake, and all cakes come with a different box design.



Disclosure: All words and opinions are my completely my own. Items for review were provided by Collin Street Bakery at no cost. No other type of compensation was received for this review.

27 November 2015

{Party} Fall leaves Birthday Party


I simply cannot believe we just celebrated my baby's 9th Birthday ! How did this happen so quick ?? I know I am not the only asking the questions, our babies grow so fast...

This year for the first time Noemie did not really know what she wanted as a Birthday theme. Because she had her mind set on a sleepover, we started talking about a camping/outdoor theme, she wanted some natural elements but wasn't really decided on a color scheme (FYI this is a first, she usually comes up with her birthday theme early in the year and gives me LOADS of directions on what she wants !!!).
It's only after finding the cute favor boxes that everything fell into place.
We both loved the leaves design in greens, pink, orange and yellow so much that this became the starting point for the whole party look !

I hope you will enjoy these pictures :)




S'mores Snacks ! 
(Marshmallows dipped in chocolate and graham cracker crumbs)







After a making their own pizzas and having dinner, the girls enjoyed a movie followed by a little dance party :)
Before one last "midnight" snack of S'mores Marshmallow.



After the party, the girls got to keep their little lantern and a homemade pillow.



Styling, Baked Goods and Photography: That Cute Little Cake
Fabric and Pillow inserts: Jo Ann
Lanterns: eBay 
Favor Boxes: Target (Seasonal)



19 November 2015

{Holidays} Family Photo Tips and Holiday Cards


For years, the simple thought of having Family pictures taken put me off !
My kids are quite close in age so for the longest time there was always a baby at home. And a baby meant I felt I had absolutely no time or energy to organize a family picture session, let alone plan the outfits and look put together on the pictures !!! I was simply exhausted and could not cope with the stress of it...

So of course, no family pictures also meant no picture Christmas cards, I used to resort to buying impersonal ones....

Last year, this changed !
If only I had known earlier that with a little planning the process was not as dreadful as I thought...

Here are a few tips learnt the hard way (!), I am no expert, but with 3 young children I am pretty organized, and it is do-able !!!


START EARLY
It won't come as a surprise but planning early is the answer ! The last thing you want is to have your photos taken so late that you will have to rush order your cards...

In an ideal world, you want to be able to order your cards in November, giving you plenty of time to address them by hand and send them long before the holidays.

Therefore your pictures should be taken well before Thanksgiving, possibly even in September or October... I know it is hard to plan this early but there are many advantages in having your pictures taken in the early days of fall.
First of all it is less cold ! and that means more wardrobe options :) you can pretty much dress however you like in September, you cannot in December when it is freezing...
As well as giving you some room on what to wear, you will also get more options for a shoot location earlier in the season. I live in California, so this is not a big problem for us, but I imagine people living in colder parts of the country trying to get young children to pose for pictures outdoors in the snow... not the easiest.

OUTFITS
This was probably the biggest put off for me ! Planning what to wear !!! And have some sort of coordination between us...!

After a few family photo shoots the trick for us seems to be to start with one garnement, usually a dress for one of my girls and start matching the other outfits.


Here are a few exemples... On all those pictures, one of the girls is wearing a flowery dress and our outfits colors are matched to the dress. This is a simple enough rule for me and seems to be working well. I tend to stick to only one garnement with busy patterns.


PHOTOGRAPHER
Choose somebody you will feel comfortable with, it could be a professional or a friend, but whoever it is, you want them to capture your family truly.
We worked with Lilla Kuknyo for our pictures this year and we love how she managed to capture us :)

And don't forget to book them early...

LAST BUT NOT LEAST: CHOOSING YOUR CARDS
Now that you have done all the hard work, have fun choosing a design for your holiday cards !!!
This year I ordered our cards from Tiny Print and I absolutely love them !!! They turned out perfect.


After browsing through the many designs I picked two that I thought would compliment our pictures well. I chose the elegant foil stamped design for our family and the fun colorful one for our friends.


Personalizing the cards was very simple and options were well explained. The download of my pictures to the Tiny Print website only took seconds. The whole process was very easy.


And of course, the finished products are gorgeous ! Especially the foil stamped cards, I am so very pleased with how they look !
I got the enveloppe and liners to match, and now everything looks so elegant and special.



Disclosure: All words and opinions are my completely my own. Items for review were provided by Tiny Prints at no cost. No other type of compensation was received for this review.





11 November 2015

{Festive recipes} Apple roses


This recipe from TipHero has gone viral on Facebook and I am sure by now you have all seen it !! I couldn't resist trying it and it definitely lived up to my expectation.
Not only were these Baked Apple Roses pretty easy to make, they were also as beautiful as pictured in the video !!!




Here are a few tips learnt during the process :)
- use pastry that is still cold. If at room temperature you will struggle to "control" the pastry and it will stretch quite a lot. I use frozen pastry which I thaw in the fridge for a few hours before using. I then only take the pastry out 10 minutes before using, so it is cold and easier to handle.
- when baked and cooled, brush with a little apricot jam to give the roses a nice shine
- use the best quality puff pastry you can find as it will make all the difference... I use the frozen puff pastry from Trader Joe's but unfortunately it's only available around Thanksgiving.

These will be perfect for our Christmas gathering !

Have you tried them ? What did you think ? 

3 November 2015

{Festive recipes} Panna Cotta with Pineapple-Cranberry coulis



Panna Cotta is such great dessert for entertaining. Not only is it quick and easy to make, you can also make it a day or two before the event, perfect !

I took the opportunity of a Halloween girls' night to try out this recipe and it was a success, it will make a great Holiday dessert.

I love the combination of the tangy pineapple-cranberry coulis with the creamy panna cotta.



This Panna Cotta has been my trusted recipe for year, and the coulis was adapted form this recipe.
My only advice is to use small containers. The ones pictured above ended up being too large, I will use shot glasses (or similar) next time.

Pineapple-Cranberry Panna Cotta
(approx 8 shot glasses, depending on size)

Panna Cotta

400ml Double cream/Heavy whipping cream
50g sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 sheets gelatin (mine are 2g/sheet )

Place the gelatin in a shallow dish filled with cold water and let stand for a few minutes until soft.
Bring the cream+sugar to the boil. Remove from heat source. Add vanilla extract and gelatin, mix well until gelatin has dissolved. Let cool at room temperature.


Pineapple Cranberry coulis

2 cups diced Pineapple (I used frozen)
1 cup Cranberry
3/4 cup fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons sugar
3 sheets gelatin

Place the gelatin in a shallow dish filled with cold water and let stand for a few minutes until soft.
Cook pineapple, cranberry, juice and sugar in a pan for a few minutes, until fruits are soft (the pineapple has to be cooked or the coulis won't set and you won't be able to make layers).
Transfer to a blender and blend until smooth. Then sieve to remove the pineapple fibers.
Add the gelatin to the fruit puree while it is still hot and mix well until the gelatin has completely dissolved.
Let cool.


Assembly
Pour a layer of cream in each glass and place in fridge or freezer until cool and set (15 to 30 minutes). Take the glasses out and pour a layer of coulis. Place back in the fridge for 15-30 minutes until set. Repeat until you have the number of layers desired.

Note: If you do not wish to create layers and only want the cream with coulis on top, then there is no need to add gelatin to the coulis.


Here is another presentation I really like (bottom picture). The photo is from the very talented Tracey Soul:




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