Thursday, April 27, 2017

the round of showers has begun

my cousin A's shower was held at chado tea room in pasadena, a venue i'm quite familiar with.  we've attended several other showers there and gone for an occasional tea sandwich fix.

when we arrived, i immediately noticed the cupcakes placed at each setting with pretty gold twine wrapped around the boxes and a cute little tag attached.

my cousin R served me up a mango bellini from the mini bar they'd set up on a table behind us.

and after we were served tea, the tiers of sandwiches, scones and desserts arrived.  there was one tier for each pair of attendees.

we played just a few fun games.  i managed to win the first, which gave us a minute to come up with as many movie and tv show titles with the words "bride," "wedding" or "love" in them.  my prize was a box of see's candy that the bean immediately pounced on.  we also played a trivia game about the bride and a purse scavenger hunt.  of course, i'd just cleaned out my purse before we left and ended up assed out of quite a few items.  although since i'd already won one game, i would have passed on a second prize.  i'd just have basked in the glory of the win.  heh.

we watched the bride open her presents, during which the bean presented her with a picture she'd hastily drawn on the back of one of the game sheets.

one of several group shots:

my cousin seven, one of the bridesmaids, had come down from san francisco for the weekend (they'd also done the bachelorette party the night before).

with my mom, as well as the bean's favorite family playmates - my cousin's daughters.  she and the older cousin are just a week apart.

it was a lovely shower, and we're looking forward to the next one in june.  we'll get to take a day trip up to santa barbara for that one, which will be fantastic.

gotta love weddings!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

i can bake more than cookies, you know

i have two cousins getting married this summer, and the first of the two is my cousin r's sister.  she contacted me a few weeks ago for recommendations for cupcakes to hand out as favors at her bridal shower.  while dots will always be our favorite, they're pretty pricey and didn't work with the budget they had set out for the shower.  you can guess where this is going, right?

after she gave me the color scheme and the bride's favorite cupcake flavors, i set out to find good recipes to use.  i was looking for a fresh strawberry cake recipe that i was going to pair with a strawberry cream cheese frosting, and i planned to do half of the cupcakes in chocolate topped with chocolate buttercream.  luckily, the internet came through as always and i got up early on sunday morning to make 3 dozen cupcakes.  first, i pureed the strawberries:

and in no time i had both flavors mixed up, baked and cooling on the counter.

while that was happening, i got to work on making the fondant toppers.  i went with simple hearts cut out of hot pink fondant:

and then mixed up the dark chocolate buttercream.  yum.

the shower colors were pink, gold, white and cream.  i'd bought some edible pearls the day before, and i was pretty pleased with how the cupcakes turned out.

with time running low, i added a couple of helpers to my assembly line to get the cupcakes boxed up and ready to go.

and then when it was all done, we sampled the strawberry cupcakes via some minis i'd baked up with the leftover cake batter.

not bad, if i do say so myself.  the bean concurred.  i'd forgotten how much fun it was to make cupcakes...and so much easier than cookies, i have to admit.  i only got a bite of the chocolate, but it was really tasty.  and now i can't wait till i have another excuse to make more!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

flying high for the last day of spring break

our last weekday of spring break 2017 was spent with friends who'd been stuck at home all week long while almost everyone in the family took turns being sick.  talk about worst break ever, boo.

and so we were excited to be able to hang out with them for at least one day, when everyone was finally well again.  after debating between a handful of different options, we settled on heading out to universal citywalk for some lunch and whatever else we might find along the way.

as many times as we've been here, we've never stopped at saddle ranch to eat.  i think i've been once or twice back in the day, but it was the bean's first time.

they played a little foosball while we waited to be seated.

the food wasn't bad, reasonably priced, and then everyone was excited when the server dropped off a plate of complimentary DIY s'mores to make at the fire pit just outside.  i never pass up a chance to roast some marshmallows.

and then we headed out to see what sort of mischief we could find.

for a friday afternoon, we were a little surprised to find no line at the newly opened voodoo doughnuts.

but no one was ready for a treat quite yet, and so we decided to keep walking and come back later.  just around the corner we found something that i kind of figured we'd (or rather, the kids would) end up doing:

the bean has wanted to try this forever, and her friends had both done it at least once before.  we decided to split a package and got two out of the three kids (the third wasn't really feeling it) into orientation and suited up.

they joined their group in the tunnel and listened to some final instructions before getting started.

they each got two turns, and i loved watching the joy on my kid's face as she floated.  she couldn't peel that smile off of her face if she tried, heh.

it was over all too soon.

we laughed at her goggle face, and then she went up to accept her certificate.

there was still just one person in line to get into voodoo doughnuts, and so we decided to get in while the getting was still good.  we perused the menu while we waited:

it only took a few minutes of waiting before we were allowed inside to join the (still short) line.  there was lots to look at in there:

this would make a pretty fun halloween party prop, with or without the donuts.

i managed to resist the lure of the merchandise, but we all had fun checking everything out.

 and then we were finally at the front of the line.

i already had a good idea as to what we were going to order, but it was still fun to look at all of the different flavors.

 with pink box in hand, i left one happy camper.

there's grape ape, voodoo double bubble, the loop, and the mascot in there.  yum.

it was a pretty warm day, and the kids had all come prepared with bathing suits and extra clothing because there's a super fun waterplay area in the middle of city walk.  after getting all warm and sweaty in those flight suits, they were pretty happy to cool off at the splash pad.

luckily, we didn't hit much traffic on the way home and ended up at a local sushi spot for dinner together.  we were seated in their back room, where we sprawled out at the giant table, the kids spread themselves out on the couches and got handed the remote for the tv.

sushi, comfy seating and nickelodeon on the big screen - no better way to end a fun day together.
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