Monday, October 31, 2016

The Final Chapter: Toy Story Family Costumes

"And as the years go by,
Our friendship will never die.
You're gonna see, it's our destiny.
You've got a friend in me."
~ Toy Story

This year's Trunk-or-Treat has been bittersweet since this is the last time I can be sure that all four children will be home to dress up with a family theme. Carson is a senior in high school, and although he may come home from college to share in this weekend fun, I respect that he will be moving into a different stage of life. As we are reflecting on how quickly he has grown -- with the other three not far behind -- Toy Story seemed the natural choice for our final celebration.

Yes, Carson will be leaving home next fall, so I need to get busy labeling all of his shoes and clothing. In case he gets lost, of course, and so he knows that no matter how far he goes, he will never move further than his mother's love.

Aren't these babies precious? Who knew Bo Peep and Jessie could be such great sisters and friends?

I love Christian to infinity, and beyond!

Mary Ashley as Bo Peep still looks like a princess!

Buzz and Woody, a perfect pair.

Woody's Roundup is never boring with this cowgirl in the mix!

I could not have picked a better gang for this journey of dress-up, imagination and play. Thanks for the memories, my darlings!

Friday, October 28, 2016

From Cake Trouble to Trifle

What do you do when the cookie ... or the cake ... crumbles?

When plans for Joe's birthday cake fell through -- or, quite literally, fell apart when I tried to transfer each of the three layers to a platter -- I wasn't quite sure how to handle it. The hour was late, I had already made his favorite buttercream frosting, and starting over completely would have meant another trip to the grocery store for ingredients.

What to do?

This baking disaster offered the perfect opportunity for turning trouble into a trifle.

Thinking about a slice of cake, I layered parfait glasses with cake crumbles, a thin layer of icing, more cake, and a piped topping. Garnishes of roses and candles added the final touches. You could also include fresh berries, lemon curd, pudding, sprinkles -- even ice cream if you want to assemble the desserts just before serving. Although this wasn't the towering three-tiered cake I had pictured for our celebration, it still tasted good and brought festive flair to our kick-off of the family birthday season.

Has a kitchen disaster ever led you to a clever culinary discovery?

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

An Easy Centerpiece of Pumpkins and Gourds

"Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking successive autumns." ~ George Eliot

How quickly this past month has gone! Once school starts, time seems to speed up for our family. I have some sweet memories of fall to share, so look for some creative ideas and plenty of pictures of pumpkins and gourds over the next few weeks.

Each fall I love to decorate with a vibrant selection of the season's best offerings -- perfect for piling onto a platter or heaping into a bowl. This year, when I picked up a couple of bags of produce, one of the girls exclaimed, "I didn't know you used real pumpkins!" 

For an easy centerpiece idea for our kitchen table, I stacked three white pedestal cake stands atop a ruffled runner. The arrangement needed a little softness, so tucking in a few dried hydrangeas here and there added just the right touch.

For a simple yet lovely view of seasonal abundance.

Congratulations to Joanne of With Endless Grace, who won a copy of Pumpkin It Up! In my next post, look for an easy fix for a cake flop.

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