nourishing & unapologetic
One of my dearest friends, Rachel, just celebrated her 9th anniversary earlier this month, but I suspect the anniversary took the backseat because she and her hubby's dear babe turned 1 month old on the same day! Baby C made his grand entrance a few weeks early and has captured everyone's hearts from that minute forward. Okay, let's be honest, he had everyone swooning before he arrived.
I had the privilege of planning the baby shower for his dear momma with his auntie B. I love any reason for festive food and decor that's a little over the top but this was a special occasion. Initially B and I brainstormed a few theme ideas but one idea left the others trailing behind. This momma-to -be is a bookworm and movie buff so we had felt we must let one of her favorite book series inspire us. Thus, the very Harry Potter Party was born.
I hear J.K. Rowling celebrated a birthday semi-recently, so, in the spirit of "birth"days of all sorts, let's recap the shindig for you. And as the HP series is lengthy, so is this post.
And, in the interest of full disclosure, I've only read the third Harry Potter book and watched the third movie. Yes, yes, I know. I've missed out on a classic. I just missed the boat on this one and I've not made the effort to catch up. This party was made possible because of inferences, transfer knowledge from Rachel and B, and Pinterest research.
We introduced the guests to the theme with a custom invitation created in standard Microsoft Word with a few downloaded fonts from dafont.com, and a few free clipart images. If you've not checked out Dafont, you must. If you love typography and textual effects, it is a great resource. And they just so happen to have a Harry P font that is remarkably Potter like. I printed the invite on the parchment colored paper. I addressed in deep red ink and included a stamped white owl on the same colored envelope. Because I love all things themed, I created a House crest and included this verbiage.
The House of (Name) proudly announces:
A baby boy is on his way
bringing with him lots of
Mischief, Magic, and
snuggles for his Muggles.
Join us for a baby shower celebrating
Saturday, June 13, 2015
We hope you join us for what is sure to be
an afternoon of wizardry and well wishes
for the Momma to Be.
For decor, we wanted to keep it themed and fun, but not overdone. So we opted for some statement elements as well as some that could be used in C's room.
We scheduled the shower post-lunch on a Saturday so we didn't provide a full meal, but had lots of yummy appetizers and desserts. I continued the theme into the menu. We had some savory, sweet, and some shower staples.
Some of my favorite menu items to make for the shower were the golden snitches and the kettle corn.
While you might not have many occasions to make the snitches, they're easy and fun. There's no real recipe and Pintereset can provide you lots of ways to make these. I opted to use the gold-wrapped Ferraro Roche (hazelnut chocolates) as the base. Then I hot glued a large white feather folded into a "V" onto the bottom where the foil gathers. Warning, they do take a little bit of time and the feathers, of course, are messy.
Popcorn is an easy, cheap, and popular party treat. When I threw Nick's little sister's shower, we incorporated popcorn (because she was ready to pop, ba dum bum!) so I wanted to include it this time around too. But to make it a little more interesting, I wanted kettle corn. It was important that it could be made ahead of time AND use an air-popper. I found a recipe on another food blog, but since I stumbled across it, the blog domain has been vacated, it appears. So, I'll give you my interpretation of the recipe.
Air-Popped Coconut Oil Kettle Corn (aka Hufflepuff Popcorn)
1/2 cup popcorn kernels
Place kernels in air popper and operate according to popper instructions. Once popped, set aside.
1/4 cup stick butter (unsalted or salted)
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup white sugar
1 tsp water
1 tsp salt
1. Melt butter, oil, sugar, salt, and water in sauce pan. Let cook until it comes to frothy boil.
2. Once the mixture will begin to thicken, remove from heat.
3. Pour over the popped corn and stir well to make sure the gooey goodness is evenly distributed.
Now, you can enjoy immediately. Or store in an airtight container or package individually.
Neither Rachel, nor B or I are big shower game lovers so we opted for Movie and TV Mom trivia and a rendition of What will Baby C Look Like? To play, you need multiple copies headshots of each parent as a baby. Slice the photos at the forehead, eyes, nose, mouth, and chin. Then ask each attendee, or a group, to use the pieces to build what the bundle of joy will look like. It's always interesting to see which dominant characteristics the family members predict.
We organized this shower during the time Nick and I were packing up our rental and moving into our new home. While I don't recommend managing such big events simultaneously, it all worked out wonderfully. It was an honor to host this shower with B and incredible to celebrate Rachel and Baby C!
Now Muggles, go forth. I challenge you to celebrate in wizardry ways!
Until next time--
This weekend. This weekend. Man, it's been a full one!
Friday we had the incredible fortune to go see the man, Mr. Garth Brooks, in concert in Tulsa. Yes. And, you don't have to ask, it was awesome!!!!!!! (You may think I've already overused the exclamation point, but I assure you it's totally warranted in this instance.) Seriously, our puppy's half-namesake is a PERFORMER extraordinaire.
Recap of the concert, in brief, he sang the hits--the old stuff, the good stuff. Nick's sisters and significant others joined us for the memory-making night. It was a blast!! Despite our really pretty decent seats (in a section filled with mostly lame-o sitters), we stood, danced, and sand along. I can't tell you how thrilled we were to have scored tickets and gotten to go. And it was all the better to share it with A and B and their guys!
Despite a late night, and still in Brooks afterglow, it was a semi-early wake-up call to work Wichita's Bridal Fair on Saturday and again on Sunday. It was time well spent passionately sharing the stellar talents of Ashley and company of Events and Design by Ashley.
So really, after all that, I should not have wanted to cook. But, my hunger generally always supersedes my exhaustion. Fast-forward to tonight's dinner. I had this spaghetti squash lingering in the fridge. This misty cold evening seemed to be the best time to put it to use. I decided to make a recipe I'd already made because, well it was easy and it had such rave reviews from Nick: spinach dip spaghetti squash.
If you've never made a spaghetti squash, don't be intimidated. They're totally approachable. Plus, this vegetable will absolutely fit into your January diet resolutions. Well, not this recipe, but the veg itself. Next time you're in the grocery store, please pick one up.
Spinach Dip Spaghetti Squash
Originally inspired by Taste and Tell
~30 minutes; 4 servings
1 spaghetti squash, seeded
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 half large yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced (or a scoop of minced refrigerated minced garlic)
½1/2 cup sour cream (I usually use light)
4 ounces cream cheese (full fat, or light version, either work)
1/3 ¾ cup grated Parmesan
3 cups packed baby spinach
1¼ cup canned artichoke hearts, chopped (sometimes I use these if I have them)
1/2 to 1 cup shredded cheese (mozzarella, cheddar, or your other meltable favorite)
Family, friends, fulfillment, and food, that's where it's at. 2015, you're doing us right so far. Seriously, try spaghetti squash. You'll feel like a B.A. in the kitchen and you'll be doing your body a favor by using this low-carb or gluten-free substitute. Win-win.
Now, onward through this month!
Until next time-
We went from job searching and newly engaged to new hires and wedding planning fiends to 1 year of employment and newlyweds. it's been pretty much a whirlwind. It seems almost impossible that the end of July marked one year with a Wichita address.
In January 2013, when Nicholas began interviewing for school psychologists positions we didn't quite know where we would end up. But as luck would have it, he aced the interview of the position he really wanted and we were headed to Sedgwick County. We were fortunate enough to have family with an available house that we could rent. We officially moved in the weekend before we started our jobs and the rest is history.
Albeit belated, in honor of our 1-year Wichitan anniversary, here's a recap of a few of our random favorite discoveries about the town, ourselves, and our life:
Since this is a post about our address anniversary, we should celebrate with something sweet. Ice cream pie seems like a natural fit. This quick and simple recipe starts with Oreos. Not just any Oreos, but the ones with the Reese's Peanut Butter cream filling. I must confess I was sorely disappointed in these cookies. I think my high expectations of their wonderment left me accordingly underwhelmed. But, their redeeming factor: they make a kick butt crust. Once the crust is made, the rest just falls in place in no time. It's certainly a dessert with a lot of cool factor (ba dum chh).
Reese's Oreo Ice Cream Pie
makes one 9-inch pie
1 box mini-Reese's Oreos
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 container of cookies and cream ice cream (or your favorite flavor)
1/2 cup-3/4 cup chopped Reese's Minis (or more if you please; and use the unwrapped minis- easy and delish!)
1. Finely crush Oreos in food processor (or put in a Ziploc bag and crush with rolling pin).
2. Pour Oreo crumbs in a medium bowl. Mix in melted butter until well combined.
3. Spray 9-inch pie pan with non-stick cooking spray.
4. Pour moist crumbs in pie pan and pack/smoosh into an even layer including the base and sides of pan.
5. Refrigerate crust for at least 30 minutes. When you put your crust in fridge, take your ice cream out of the freezer.
6. Once crust is set, spread ice cream into crust.
7. Sprinkle the top with chopped Reese's Minis. At this point make it your own! Fill free to top with some hot fudge or more.
8. Freeze again for 20-30 minutes. Cut slices and enjoy! Store in freezer, but the pie won't last long.
Dang, I wish I had a piece of that pie right now. Oh well. Here's to the next year of adventures in Wichita! Talk to you soon!
Remember those life phases I spoke of recently...keep reading, case in point. :)
On June 1st, my dear best friend M and her husband, J welcomed little man C to the world. He came just a wee bit ahead of schedule and is as handsome as ever! Nick and I are over the moon excited for them. We're anxiously awaiting a free day to travel to meet him in person. But in the meantime, let's talk about one of Baby C's first parties.
Back in April, I had the privilege to host a couples shower for the M and J. J is an outdoorsy guy and M is super crafty and both are total fun, so the shower had to be a culmination of those traits. Thus, a woodland themed event at a local restaurant chain seemed to be the best of both worlds. Some traditional couples showers are very formal and others are more Baby-Q style. This one was typical shower with a twist.
Full disclosure, I love to throw get-togethers. Nick doesn't love when I do. Not that he's opposed to social events (because he's about 1 million-percent social butterfly), but he's not fond of my continuous planning and processing and mulling that planning the events take. I make lists, budget spreadsheets, and go a bit overboard with Pinterest. I can't help it. Type-A might be a gross understatement.
Here's the rundown on our modern, woodland "Bucks, Trucks, and Ducks" baby shower:
Announced the party with a flair: chevron totally goes with woodland, right?
(made with Publisher on a semi-dying PC)
Main tablescape included:
Gift tablescape included:
We asked guests to record their attendance on this newborn sized onesie. I ironed on the phrase "I am Loved" in camouflage flocked block letters. The perfect blend of newborn cuteness and camo cool, if I do say so myself.
Granny and Gramp (aka Mom and Dad of M) had the honor of signing first. (Idea credit: Pinterest)
We ordered appetizers and drinks from the restaurant. So desserts were my territory. What's a shower without sweets? I mean, come on? So, since one option isn't my style, we had three offerings:
Because it was a couples shower, no invasive, super girly games were considered. Plus, I must confess, I really usually dislike shower games...sometimes I'm a fuddy dud. Alas, games at a shower are tradition. Here were the activities:
All in all, we had about 35 people there to celebrate M, J, and Baby C. And now that he's here, I think it's only natural that we plan another party. Who's with me? Meet you by the desserts.