Monthly Archives: October 2013

Assemble the Minions! We’re Celebrating “Despicable Me” Style!

We recently celebrated my “baby’s” 6th Birthday.

Yes, my littlest love is now 6 and no, I have no idea where the time has gone.

He is one funny kid, this one – all three stooges in one little body as we like to say. He has an exuberance for life that takes my breath away. Usually because I am constantly running after him in 100 different directions at once. And such a sweet and fun loving spirit. Planning his parties is always a joy!

For the longest time he wanted this birthday party to have a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles theme and I had gone to sleep many nights with ideas and thoughts of turning giant crime stopping, smack talking martial artist turtles and their rodent sensei into a party.

And then we saw Despicable Me 2 this summer and, as it so often is with kids, everything changed. After that, I went to sleep with ideas and thoughts of turning a Ukrainian (I’m guessing) accented super villain, three sassy little girls and the most ridiculously adorable little yellow minions into a party.

In the end, it was really the minions who stole the show, as it is in the movies. Nathan LOVES the minions and belly laughed so hard at their antics that he had the entire theater laughing along with him. It is one of the things I love most about this kid, his exuberance.

You’re invited now to come on in and see how we celebrated this incredible little person … Despicable Me Style!

The Invitation

Minion-Birthday-Invitation

In my last party post, A Duck Dynasty Birthday Bash, I told you that I love to design my own invitations. Images from the internet make it easy and fun to customize your own invite in whatever theme you’ve chosen.

If you would like to use my invitation, you will find the printable here … Minion Birthday Party Invitation Printable. You can easily go into the text boxes and customize the invitation for your party. I printed my invitations on plain white card stock.

Welcome to the party …

Front-Door-Minions

The Party “Welcome Sign” on the front door, if you can call all of Gru’s rules welcoming, is a fun way to greet guests and let them know they are at the right place.

Minion-Front-Door-Sign-Cons

I printed up the images on white cardstock, mounted them on poster board and then attached them together with paperclips that I had bent and twisted into submission.

Minion-in-the-Window

I also had a couple of friendly minions welcoming guests through the windows.

Printables …

Minion Door Hanger

Gru’s Rules

Waving Minion

Window Minions

The Favors

I kept the party favors pretty simple. Disposable cake decorating bags make great gift and favor bags (they are also great for hot chocolate treats – I’ll share that fun project with you as we get closer to the holidays).

I just filled the bags with a little candy and then topped each one off with a Minion and tied the tops with ribbon.

The Minion Figures were purchased through Amazon; Option 1Option 2.

Gru made a “Freeze Ray” for each child, just like his. Well, almost like his. The didn’t actually have the capability to freeze anyone, which was probably for the best. But they did squirt water, which is something.

Freeze-Rays-1

Freeze-Rays-2

The “Freeze Ray” Printable can be found here – Despicable Me Party Signs.

The Food

Despicable-Me-Party-3

Despicable Me 2 Spoiler Alert! Eduardo Perez comes off as a friendly restaurant proprietor known for his famous but very secret salsa. BUT could he actually be the despicable villain El Macho; long thought dead? Hmmmmm …

Despicable-Me-Party-2

Whomever he truly is, he inspired the “Taste of Mexico” menu for our party!

  • Blue and Yellow Corn Chips
  • Salsa (of course), Sour Cream and Guacamole
  • Queso Cheese Dip (just Velveeta and Rotel Tomatoes melted in the crock pot).
  • Taquitos and Quesadillas (served on the white platters shown above).
  • And grapes and watermelon wedges – always a kid favorite!

An easy but festive, kid friendly menu!

El Macho and Salsa & Salsa Sign Printables.

Party-Beverage-Station

The drink station included water, lemonade and iced tea for the parents. I love to put orange slices in my iced tea and a few lemon slices always jazz up a pitcher or container of lemonade!

Now for the best part … cake!

The Minion Cupcakes

Floating all over Pinterest is this great idea for turning Twinkies into Minions. It couldn’t have been simpler. Make your favorite cupcakes (I made vanilla cupcakes and chocolate cupcakes) and frost them with blue butter cream. I put the frosting in a pastry bag, snip off the end and swirl it on. Cut the Twinkies in half and with ready made frosting tubes, put on the eyes (Wilton now makes candy eyes that you can find at the grocery store) add different funny expressions and hair and then place a Twinkie Minion atop each cupcake. I had a few more cupcakes than Twinkie Minions so I frosted those yellow and sprinkled them with blue sugar for a little variety.

Minion-Cupcakes-8For the cake topper, I added text to an image from the internet, printed it out on white cardstock and the mounted it on yellow cardstock. I taped two of the yellow striped drinking straws to the back and stuck it into the cupcakes.

Minion-Cupcakes-9

A few candles and the Minion Fireman (“be-doh, be-doh, be-doh”) to keep everything in line and the cupcake tower was complete.

Yes I had far to much fun coming up with Minion hairstyles. Do you see the comb-over in the back on the left? That is really my best work.

Minion Birthday Greeting Cake Topper Printable.

Shrunken Moon Bites (donut holes dipped in white chocolate – if you are really ambitious you could do these as cake pops), Coco-Nutties (Vector’s favorite cookie – conveniently purchased at the grocery store), an Ice Cream Cone station and a dog “food” bowl (just like in the movie) filled with candy finished out the treat table.

Despicable Me Party Food Printable.

Despicable Me Lunch Plates, Cake PlatesCups, Lunch Napkins, Beverage Napkins and Yellow Striped Paper Straws.

Despicable Me Figures of Gru and the girls, Kyle the Dog and four minions used to decorate the cake table were purchased on Amazon.

The Fun

Nathan's-Birthday-6

There’s that precious birthday boy!

Minion-Shirts

We all wore Minion T-Shirts, which was very fun but of course, I didn’t take a minute to have someone photograph our family together in our shirts. I’ll have to make everyone put them back on and fix that! Sara did have a minion shirt but must have changed into something more fashionable after swimming. Oh to be a tween and still have someone else doing your laundry.

I have learned over several years and A LOT of birthday parties that planning a ton of games and activities really isn’t necessary. What the kids really want to do, especially when they are little is run around and play together. At our house, there is a lot of room to run and many imaginative adventures to be had. And with the boys having birthdays in June and September, they also want to swim (Sara’s is in December so even in Arizona, swimming is out).

Nathan's-6th-Birthday-Party

So, while I had a lot of different games in mind, (freeze tag, boogie robot freeze dancing or musical chairs, etc.) I ended up only putting one together – The Space Killer Carnival game from the first movie. Space-Killer-Despicable-Me-

I printed up images of the space aliens from the game in the movie in varying sizes and then glued them to a foam presentation board. The kids used Nerf guns to shoot at the stacked cups.

“KNOCKED OVER!” Of course I had to include an image of Gru after he blew the whole thing up.

If you have not seen the movie, you really must. And then get the second one when it comes out on Blue Ray soon. They are so clever and very funny!

Of course we sang happy birthday, blew out candles, had cake and ice cream …

Nathan's-Birthday-4

Nathan's-Birthday-2

Nathan's-Birthday-3

Nathan's-Birthday-5

and opened presents – my friend Eileen had a captive audience as she read birthday cards.

Nathan's-Birthday

And then after a lot of fun and a little too much sugar, some down time racked out with your buds watching your favorite movie is a must. You can get away with this when you’re six.

Speaking of buds …

Nathan-&-Hayden

Hayden is one of Nathan’s favorite buds of all time. Hayden and his wonderful family were our neighbors for many years. When Nathan was a baby and Hayden was about eight, he would pop over all the time to play with Nathan. As they both grew, Hayden never got too big to hang out with Nathan. I have a picture of them together at each of Nathan’s Birthdays. It is great to have a friend who has loved you your whole life! We just wish he was still right over the fence.

Nathan-&-Hayden-2

We love you Hayden (and Michael, April and Hope)!

So that’s it. One more birthday party down for the record books.

Whaaaaaaaat? The Party’s Over?

Yes, the party’s over. But around here, it won’t be long until there’s another one!

Minion-Thank-You-Note

Thanks for coming!

Thank you note printable.

All of the party printables shared in this post are made with images found on the internet and are for personal use only and not for sale or distribution in anyway. Please play fair and have a fantastic party!

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Grandma Ibby’s Chocolate Oaties

If you have read my blog for a while, you may have heard of Grandma Ibby. I have been cooking and baking my way through her treasure box of recipes over the past year and have shared many of these special recipes with you along the way.

I’m thinking we are a bit overdue for a Grandma Ibby post so today I am going to share her fantastic Chocolate Oaties with you.

Translation: Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Oatmeal-Chocolate-Chip-3

What makes these oatmeal chocolate chip cookies special is that they are both thin and crispy and chewy and tender all at the same time.

They feel very old fashioned and I love that. I also remember eating them a lot as a kid and of course, I love that too!

Grandma Ibby’s Chocolate Oaties

Oatmeal-Chocolate-Chip-Cook

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 Cups flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 Cup (2 sticks) butter
  • 1 Cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 Cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 1/2 Cups Oatmeal – I’ve used instant and it works fine
  • 1/2 Cup nutmeats, optional – I don’t add the nuts – picky no-nut people around here.
  • 12 oz. chocolate chips – I use semi-sweet but milk chocolate or butterscotch would be great.

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Sift the flour, salt and baking soda together and set aside.

Cream the butter and sugars together with a mixer until light and well combined; about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, incorporating each well. Add the vanilla.

Add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.

Gently mix in by hand the oatmeal, nutmeats and chocolate chips until just combined.

Use a cookie scoop or teaspoons to drop dough on a cookie sheet that is greased or lined with parchment paper or a Silpat mat.

Bake for about 10 minutes.

These are thin and delicate cookies so let them cool for a few minutes on the cookie sheet to allow them to set up a bit. Then finish cooling on a wire rack.

Oatmeal-Chocolate-Chip-4

The thin, chewy nature and crisp texture of these cookies also make them perfect for ice cream sandwiches.

The-Perfect-Ice-Cream-Sandw

A scoop of your favorite vanilla ice cream and a few chocolate sprinkles and you have a very special, very old fashioned treat!

Yes, you can have an ice cream sandwich in October. Especially in Arizona!

Oatmeal-Chocolate-Chip-5

I hope you’ll give them a try and as always, Enjoy!

 

One year ago today …

One year ago today, I started a blog.

I set up my first photo shoot, wrote my first post and clicked “Publish” for the very first time.

Then I had a moment of panic when I thought “what have I done?!” But just a moment. And then I just kept moving forward and haven’t looked back since.

And here we are, 365 days later; 500+ readers and 100+ published posts.

Milestones are often a time of reflection. And this one is no different. I’ve been thinking a lot about all that has changed since I put “me” out there and became a blogger.

Before blogging …

I slept more.

I sat down to hot meals that didn’t require a photo session prior to consumption.

No body asked who was going to get the “pretty plate”.

I never got a strange look from the cashier as she rang up one patterned plate, one white soup bowl, one blue placemat, one green placemat and a mismatched assortment of napkins.

I didn’t look at “everything” as a potential background, table setting or prop.

I made fewer trips to the antique store, thrift store or neighborhood garage sales.

And I didn’t have this …

The-Prop-Hoard

which has affectionately become know as my “prop hoard”.

There have also been a few “blogging truths” I’ve discovered along the way …

You can consider someone a friend even though you have never met.

You don’t have to write the great American novel in each post. Simple and short is just fine.

Don’t just write. Read too. And comment. The blogging Community is amazing. Engage.

Laundry, dishes and toilets don’t just do themselves simply because you want to write.

Kids aren’t quiet and well behaved simply because you want to write.

Because laundry, dishes and toilets don’t do themselves and kids aren’t quiet and well behaved because you want to write, you will find yourself  writing at 4 am.

And sleeping less. Did I mention that already?

Food blogging is fattening. Sighhhh.

You can make a beautiful office for yourself, tucked away in a peaceful corner of the house and you will still write at the dining room table.

You will end up turning that beautiful, peaceful office into storage for your prop hoard and cookbook/magazine problem.

You have to throw out the plan or schedule and write what inspires you in the moment or it will never leave you alone.

Don’t be perfect. Be real. People don’t connect with perfect.

Sometimes you will post five times in a week. Sometimes two weeks will go by and you won’t have written a thing. It’s okay.

Blogging is supposed to be fun. Don’t let it become anything else.

The magazine and cookbook problem you have is only going to get worse.

Cookbooks-1

Cookbooks-2

And you’ll start to feel like you could open your own library. You may even find yourself on a first name basis with the UPS guy who is bringing yet another Amazon box to your front door.

That Amazon box, there will most assuredly be a “For Dummies” book of some sort in there.

Food photography is so much fun! Even when you have no idea what you’re doing. Don’t worry! There’s a “For Dummies” book for it.

Don’t compare. You have your own voice and your own style. Be inspired but be you!

Don’t worry about the numbers, the stats, the hits, etc. Write because you want to preserve and share. Write because you want to encourage and inspire. Write for whatever reason you first thought “maybe I should start a blog.”

Blog because you love it and others will love it too.

Since I started blogging, I notice the little things more. The details. I love  that I am reconnecting with my grandmothers and the family that came before me as I share their recipes and stories. I am preserving memories and history for my children.  And I making new friends and hopefully offering a little inspiration and encouragement along the way.

I remember one Saturday morning, around 4am, my husband walked bleary eyed into the dining room as I typed away. He took one look at me and said “you’re crazy! I love you but, you’re crazy.”

Sometimes at 4am, the thought does occur to me “I must be crazy” – but I just keep typing away. Nope, not crazy just fulfilled and happy and loving every minute of this wonderful adventure that is blogging.

Okay, well the prop hoard is a little crazy …

Thanks to everyone who reads and visits me here at Welcome Company or on Facebook. You have made this first year so much fun and I am incredibly blessed by each “like” and comment and every bit of encouragement you give.

There are a lot of ideas and plans swirling around in my head for the direction I’d like to take this little blog. And there are also dishes that need washed, toilets that need cleaning, laundry that needs folding and a family that always needs their mama. There is event planning, Cub Scouts, PTO, yearbook committee, classroom mom duties, cake requests, etc., etc. that need my attention – which is why I have recently placed this …

Volunteering-Mug

on the windowsill in front of the sink, where I am sure to see it often (food blogging also makes a lot of dirty dishes) and in need of a reminder that I am a little crazy when it comes to over committing.

Thankfully, no matter how busy I get, my blog is always here waiting for me and I am always eager to get that next post put together. Someday, I may catch up and all of those ideas may come to fruition. It could happen. Until that day, thanks for hanging in there with me and for reading when I post 5x in a week or being patient when two weeks go by.

I promise you, there will always be a next post.

One day at a time. One inspiration at a time.

Now, I am going to go bake a cake. It is my blog’s birthday after all. There must be cake.