Category Archives: Entertain

Back to School Party

And just like that…school is back! I believe back to school time is cause for celebration (both kids and parents alike). This year, we invited our nieces over for a little soiree to get in the back to school spirit. The kids chanted “back to school is cool” while they indulged in book worms and ruler cake. And what is a party without a favor! We made homemade red play dough and created little apple play dough favors using mason jars. Stay tuned to Haute Apple Pie for a great homemade play dough recipe!

Back to School Party

Lincoln helped me put together name tags for everyone (even the littles who aren’t going to school, because they get to celebrate too right?) with foam letter stickers from Joann Fabrics.

back to school party table

homemade playdough apples

book worms

We placed green grapes on plastics skewers and affixed candy eyes with leftover frosting from the cake to make book worms. These were a big hit!

ruler cake

I didn’t want to make too much work for myself, so I created this ruler cake simply by frosting two pound cakes.

back to school name tag

back to school table

This happy guy is all ready for his first day at his new school! Wishing all the kids and parents out there the happiest of back-to-school as well!

stef

 

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Sweet and Simple Birthday Party

My daughter turned 1 a few months ago. I knew that I wanted to make her first birthday special, but wanted to keep it simple so I could focus on her big day and not be overwhelmed with all of the details.  I ordered a few wonderful decorations on etsy and kept the menu easy with food that both adults and kids would love.

invitationInvitation from Penelope and Lala.

buffetI set up a simple buffet table and added little gold flags and bunting.  The rag garland was also a beautiful touch and stayed hung in my living room for weeks after the party.  Rag garland and flags also from Penelope and Lala.

buffet close2We served a variety of muffins, pigs in a blanket, bacon and broccoli quiche, apricot and cheese crescent bites, and a salad topped with barley and roasted sweet potatoes (elin’s favorite).

cake and smash cakeWe served caramel cake with salted caramel icing along with a mini smash cake for Miss Elin.

sweet birthday girlThe birthday girl looked adorable in her party outfit!  (Shirt from B. Swanky and bloomers from Bloomin Bloomers)

yay cake!Everyone had a blast and Elin especially loved her first taste of cake.

the aftermathHappy Birthday Sweet Elin!  We love you so much!

anne

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Wisconsin Sports Awards: Modern Sports Dessert Table

Last week, I had the absolute pleasure of hosting the dessert bar at the Wisconsin Sports Awards at the Harley-Davidson Museum. A celebration of Wisconsin high school, collegiate and professional athletes, the Wisconsin Sports Awards boasts big names from Aaron Rodgers to Ryan Braun.

Working again with the wonderful Kate of Milwaukee’s The Home Market, we put together an enormous dessert spread including treats from Milwaukee Cupcake Company, Goodie Gourmets of Shorewood, WI, Simma’s Bakery in Wauwatosa and a few homemade treats put together and brought up from Chicago by my mom!

WSA dessert tableUsing a modern sports theme, we put together a spread of cupcakes, gourmet popcorn, signature cookies, sports candy, little “macs,” sports themed chocolate covered strawberries, chocolate covered pretzels and more. Black and white stripes with small bursts of chartreuse decorated the table to serve the almost 600 guests.

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sports strawberries

Wisconsin Sports Award

sports popcorn holders

We served lemonade and caramel corn with pecans from Goodie Gourmets in Shorewood. The popcorn was a huge hit with all of the guests and the first thing to run out!

milwaukee cupcake wsa

little macs

sports themed candy bar

simma's goodies

sports cookies

Modern Sports Dessert Bar

Not only were the desserts delectable, but the room transformed from warehouse to a swanky modern soiree by the hands of Kate. The same color scheme was dispersed throughout the room with breath-taking modern touches including lamp bases filled with orchids and water and sleek couches and chairs.

WSA stage

orchid lamp

WSA

Wisconsin Sports Awards 2013It was a wonderful experience and a great time hobnobbing with the athletes! A special thanks to all of the amazing vendors for their fantastic treats!

stef

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Candy Land Birthday Party

My game-obsessed toddler just turned three! To celebrate, we decided to pay homage to his favorite game, Candy Land, at our most-loved local frozen yogurt place, Yo Mama. I wanted to keep it simple but just add a few tiny touches to make the day extra special.

All his pint-sized friends were sent a Candy Land themed invitation. I designed this with inspiration from the game board and the story of Candy Land included in the box (which Lincoln asks us to read almost every day). This invitation is available in my Etsy shop, Morning Star Designs, as a printable file.

Candy Land InvitationEach Lord and Princess of Candy Land was designated a cupcake by King Lincoln. Our King donned a special crown to celebrate the occasion.

candy land cupcake

candy land king cupcake

Guests dined at tables with different candy buckets representing the various stops along the way to the Candy Castle, including Gummy Pass, Licorice Lagoon and Lollipop Forest. They were all allowed to snack on the centerpieces and bring some home at the conclusion of the party.

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licorice lagoonBefore filling up their yogurt cups with whatever they wanted, they colored pictures to hang on the special Yo Mama art gallery wall.

candy land coloring

Finally, all the mini guests were treated to homemade play dough with special cookie cutters as a parting gift.

candy land play dough

rainbow playdoughWishing King Lincoln the happiest of third birthdays! May you always find your way to the Candy Castle…

third birthday

stef

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Earl Grey Creme Tea Cookies

I recently helped host a bridal shower for a dear friend at Anaba Tea Room, a local tea room/restaurant plus home and garden boutique. Considering the location, we continued a “tea in the garden” theme throughout the shower including these delicate tea cookies that I made as shower favors.

Using a Martha Stewart recipe that I’d been wanting to try for awhile, I incorporated my favorite black tea, Earl Grey Creme, which has an amazing aroma and subtle vanilla undertones. The results were spot on for an elegant afternoon event.

Earl Grey Creme Tea Cookies
1 C butter
2 C flour
1/2 C powdered sugar
1/2 tsp fine salt
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 Tbsp finely ground Earl Grey Creme black tea leaves

Preheat oven to 350. Use a spice grinder or coffee grinder to grind tea leaves into a fine powder.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, salt and ground tea with a whisk to fluff. In a separate large bowl, beat together butter and powdered sugar until pale and fluffy. Beat in vanilla. Gradually beat in dry mixture, taking care to scrap dough from the sides of the bowl, until all dry ingredients have been incorporated but mixture is still solid and not beaten to the point of crumbling.

Divide dough into two balls and set on two pieces of parchment paper.  Roll dough into a long tubular shape using the parchment paper. Reposition dough tube on the parchment, rolling it tightly and tucking the ends under. Freeze dough for 30-45 minutes.

Remove dough from freezer and unwrap from parchment, placing parchment on a baking sheet. Slice dough into 1/4″ slices and place on cookie sheet. If cookies are slightly misshapen you can let the cookies sit for 10-15 minutes so that dough thaws enough for you to gently reshape the cookies.

Bake for 13 minutes.

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Bug Themed First Birthday Party

So my little bug turned one last weekend!  Where did the year go?  I feel like I was just posting about our brand new baby and now he’s quite the active little boy.  But enough of the sappy mom syndrome and onto the party.  We decided to keep things on the simpler side and had a small casual bug-themed BBQ for our families.

The mantel was cute-ified with a Very Hungry Caterpillar banner created by Will’s particularly crafty grandma.

very hungry caterpillar birthday banner

Guests young and old got into the spirit of things with fake spider rings.

Colorful bowls of candied watermelons and neon gummy worms were set about for nibbling as guests chatted. 

We paired grass green silverware with bright green plates to add color to the table and decorated cheap IKEA vases with little felt ladybugs purchased at a craft store.

Guests snacked on carrots and potato chips with “bug dip”, which was inspired by Taste of Home, while plastic bugs adorned the various serving platters.

Watermelon, baked beans and butterfly pesto pasta salad accompanied platters of homemade burgers and brats.
butterfly pesto pasta

We made picnic ant cupcakes, inspired by the Hostess with the Mostess, to match the piece de resistance – Will’s mini vanilla bean birthday cake. I’ll post more details about the mini cake soon!
bug theme birthday cupcakes
bug birthday cake

The birthday boy was quite the ham and had a grand time playing in his caterpillar shirt made by NaptimeCraftMommy.
hungry caterpillar birthday shirt

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{Inspired by} Peacocks

As far as birds go, it does not get any fancier than a peacock. It is no wonder these birds can reel in the ladies, bringing in several at one time with one swift spread of the feathers. I know I am not alone by being drawn into the iridescent array of colorful feathers of these beautiful creatures. I’ve been to a few events recently that have been peacock-inspired with beautiful blues and greens sprinkled throughout the room.

This past weekend, I attended a pre-wedding celebration bridal shower for my friend Jen. Being a bird-lover, she had a peacock themed shower with peacock invitations and a few peacock touches. As a bridesmaid, I wanted to help add an extra special touch to the day, so I created peacock name tags to hang from the water glasses and a few peacock colored tissue poms that rested on the mantle.

A little over a year ago, my dear friend Doug married his lovely bride Stacy and hosted one of the most beautiful wedding receptions I’ve ever attended. Peacock inspiration was everywhere from the flower girl to the name cards. It was elegant and sophisticated with a modern flare. To start out the peacock theme, I designed their wedding save-the-date with a little peacock touch. (You can find this design in my Etsy shop, Morning Star Designs).

A special shout out to Robb Davidson Photography for the photos from Doug and Stacy’s wedding. If you live in the Chicagoland area and are looking for a fabulous and inspired photographer, check out Robb. He is great!

If you have any peacock-themed events you’ve experienced, we’d love for you to share a link!

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