Thursday, September 30, 2010

pumpkins, cupcakes, and a little zingo.

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fall has been welcomed back home. like a long lost and very missed friend, she has returned. and while we have not been graced with some of the season's sweetest gifts; crunchy leaves, pink noses and cheeks from the perfectly chilled air that make a visit to the nearest pumpkin patch just right for a very large and warm cup of spiced cider to accompany that sugared donut or three. yeah, yeah...the bees. they'll be there too, but have you ever seen a couple of toddlers and maybe a mama thrown too...to overreact at the sight of a bee and start running like a bat out of...

well, it's entertainment to say the least.

i've hung pumpkin vines (40% at michael's crafts right now) and stuffed vases with moss; my house smells like a cup of chai tea and at night it looks like it's on fire from the all the candles flickering inside. it's just the way i like to start off the next few months.

and since we floridians don't have the weather for it...i just crank down the ole' thermostat, cover myself in pillows and blankets, turn on You've Got Mail...and well, we have fall in florida ladies and gentlemen!
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and speaking of halloween...peyton has changed her mind YET again even after i told her that once we bought anything for her former (former being one month ago) desire to be a witch AGAIN, she was not allowed to change her mind. rather, she could change her mind, as women often do, but the mama would not be purchasing anything else!

well, she politely walked into my bathroom and matter of factly told me that she would now like to be a catwoman.

i stopped curling my eyelashes long enough to say, "i don't think so."

but then she looked at me and said, "but i wanna go, 'meow!'" and she didn't meow it out it like a fluffy kitten with big blue precious moments eyes would. girlfriend said it like she was already sporting the black latex bodysuit complete with dagger sharp, painted red nails.
yes, she had it down.

i was impressed.

we compromised on a catwoman witch as long as she let me do the teeniest bit of face painting to complete the look. she agreed, but something tells me that this little girl of mine has a mind of her own.
(without the claws, latex, and attitude-thank you very much)

just writing about this makes me want to make a pot of chili, roast hot dogs, and have friends over!

***

right now, i am getting organized for peyton and beckham's joint birthday party! it's going to be small to save time and a few bucks, but very much geared toward the kids.

i wanted to share the book i am loving right now...
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you can get it on amazon for like $8

it is an amazing book of ideas and inspiration. you check it out here. whenever i need inspiration for a party of any kind...i almost always start with cookbook. I start with food to inspire the rest of the event. i swear by this method because sometimes i just can't get it together. for a kid's party, baby or wedding shower/brunch...a cupcake book gets me started. before i know it my blank page becomes filled with party & food ideas, colors, themes.

along with this book and a few little google searches... i think anyone can throw a fab and fun get together.

peyton and beckham are having...
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an artist party!

how stinkin' cute are these cupcakes? and extremely easy to make.

i'll keep posting ideas for this party as i figure it out.

***
my friend jenn, is like freaking amazing at party planning. she has exquisite taste, and she throws wonderful dinner parties. however, her birthday parties are always special because she really does what she does to make the day special for her little ones.

jenn creates an experience for her guests and it is such a treat to see what she's cooked & dreamt up. if love is in the details, then she's got a lot of love going on.

the last one she did was for sophie and griffin's 6th and 4th birthdays. her idea to join them together changed my life..ha, maybe not but it's a great idea. with birthdays so close together, and with the holidays upon us...it just makes sense. our kids have special one-on-one days regularly, so sharing a birthday is exciting for them.

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she did a ladybug and bee themed party!
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she decorated with a few, sharpied up balloons, stunning cupcakes, and sunflower wrapped silverware and it was a beautiful party.
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throw in a few hot dogs and some really good potato salad (a few other delicious tidbits), and a water slide too and we had ourselves some fun.

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yeah, the 'older' cousins got into it as well. i'm pretty sure we had some limping going on after a few hours of non-stop running and supermanning it through the air!!!

times spent together with family like this...
well, it just makes me happy. all of our babies growing up together. sharing firsts together. it really is...special.
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*the little ant carrying watermelon cupcakes can be found in what's new cupcake?

happy birthday, sweet sophie and griff! we love you, xo.
***

once upon a time, a loving yet, apparently competitive family decided to play a game of zingo.
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they laughed, smiled, and were just generally happy to be spending some time together before bedtime.
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they played and played until...ZINGO, someone won.

beckham was victorious!

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peyton just missed the train tile she needed...
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or had she just not yelled out that magic word.

you see, beckham raised his hands and said, "i won, i won!" and with a covered board, he almost had, but his big sister realized that no one had said zingo and so she quickly grabbed the victory by yelling in her loudest voice..."ZINGO!"

it was over in a matter of seconds...

and suddenly...
the flood gates opened.
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"what? i didn't get to win?" cried the boy.
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heartbroken becks sobbed while his parents tried to remind him that the rules were the rules and that he needed to remember them in order to play the game correctly. after all, they had been practicing the rules for some time.
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a hard lesson for a small boy.
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soon though, the lesson paid off and the very next game he covered his board and yelled..."BINGO!"

ha. bingo, zingo...it all works!

our sweet little guy. winning isn't the most important part of a game. learning and doing your best is. besides, winning wouldn't be as fun if you never lost. we love you, baby boy!

***

the other day, i had the bright idea of indulging on fresh shrimp. i wanted to make roasted shrimp cocktail to go with the sweet pepper bruschetta i was making.

this is how it played out and it started with my husband asking me if i knew him at all.
"heidi, when do i eat shrimp? ever?"

"whenever we are out somewhere and they are serving shrimp cocktail, you make it point to come over and stuff an overly sauced shrimp in my mouth where you proceed to tell me how phenomenal they are!" i defensively whisper to him.

"heidi, it's the sauce i like, not the shrimp!"

"well, jeff...I'm not going to make you a bowl of cocktail sauce to drink down for dinner. it's...weird."

so faced with a pound of grey and slimy headless shrimp (but peeled and deveined)...i decide to roast some, and saute' the others.

i sauteed some in cornmeal and the others in panko breadcrumbs, and jeff liked them;)

Sauteed Shrimp
take a pound of shrimp, peeled and deveined and combine them with two tablespoons olive oil,
some fresh garlic, salt and pepper. dust them with 1 tablespoon breadcrumbs and saute' in pan.

disclaimer: i am not good with seafood, so i just threw this together quickly because i knew my non-shrimp-eating-husband wasn't going to touch it so i had nothing to lose by trying a few different ways of preparing the shrimp.

it was good though!


Roasted Shrimp Cocktail
to roast the shrimp, i used ina garten's recipe and placed the shrimp on a baking sheet, drizzled olive oil over them, kosher salt and pepper.

pop them into a 4oo degree oven
when done, i squeezed lemon over them.

i used prepared horseradish & ketchup to taste to make the cocktail sauce.

then i used another one of ina's recipes to make,

Bruschetta with Peppers & Gorgonzola: these are amazing! make these.

1/4 cup olive oil
2 red bell peppers, seeded and cut into thin strips
2 yellow bell peppers...
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons drained capers
1/4 cup julienned fresh basil leaves
kosher salt and black peppers
32 baguette slices...i made less for just jeff and i
4 to 5 ounces of creamy gorgonzola cheese at room temp.

preheat oven to 375

heat the olive oil in a pan over med-high heat, add the peppers and saute' for 15 minutes until tender. sprinkle with sugar and saute' for 2 minutes more. add the capers and basil. i like to make sure the capers are hot and soft, so i cook them until they look a tad soft. sprinkle with salt and pepper. set aside.
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arrange bread slices on baking sheet lined with parchment paper. brush each slice with olive oil and pop into the oven and toast until lightly browned.

the one thing i did to this recipe: i peeled one garlic clove, cut it in half and rubbed each slice of bread with the meat of the garlic. it gave it heat, punch, and it was fabulous. hold the garlic if making for an intimate dinner party though.

top each piece of bread with pepper mixture. sprinkle in one spot, some gorgonzola. return to oven to melt the cheese. ina says to sprinkle with salt, but the cheese is salty enough for me.

these are so good and so pretty! try 'em out!
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***
lastly, a fun photo shoot with abigail. i took her newborn photos last year and am amazed at how quickly these little ones grow up!

abigail's first birthday is almost here and her mama is so excited for her first birthday party!

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happy birthday, abigail!

***
although fall isn't showing it's prettiest face here in sw florida, we are rocking it out and faking it till we make it...
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with freshly baked banana bread baked by daddy...the whole house becomes engulfed in some of my favorite childhood memories...coloring at the table with my mom and sitting on the front porch with my sisters in the little green house on campbell street. i didn't live in a norman rockwell painting, but there is nothing like the smell of freshly baked bread dancing in the house.
(i will post this recipe on the next post)

also, on the next post, a HDP Photography Q & A on Photoshop. I'm not an expert, but this little lesson may help someone. I'll have that one up in no more than a few days. scout's honor.

xoxoxoxo,
happy fall-ing!!!

17 comments:

Lafleche said...

OMG Heidi! I just bought that cupcake book at my boy's Kindergarten Book Fair. Isn't it the best??! Such great ideas. (BTW, I paid 17 for it... now I want to kick myself.) I love your blog, we have so much in common that it always makes me smile... You are a great person *from what I can tell from here* and if I lived in FL I'd so want to be your BFF... I adore your blog.

Patti said...

Ooooooh lil' Beckham's tears make my heart hurt:( I'm glad he won next round!!
I just heard about that cupcake book from a friend- I'm going to get it now! Those artist ones look so sweet, can't wait to see the party that goes with them.
I am just about to post pics of our Abigail's princess party..the castle cake was so much fun to make and easy peasy. Come look if you have time:) Give me a photo tip or two while you're at it!
I am SO impressed- a husband that bakes banana bread?? Ummm, mine thinks he's Emeril when he whips up mac&cheese, I will have to tell him about this.
Those recipes look fabulous, as usual I can't wait to try!
You're such a sweet mommy, Heidi, your love for your kids just shines through your blog.
Can't wait to see the photo editing tips!!

iColossus / Monster said...

Hi you!

Love what you said here, Besides, winning wouldn't be as fun if you never lost.

So true. Can't survive on just sugar and candy alone...hey wait a minute.

Looks like some fun times with friends and family. Love the slide thing, looks like a hoot. And wot's Zingo? Never seen, never heard. Will look up on Amazon or Tarjay tho.

Miss you, girl. As usual, got hungry looking at your food pics!


XOXOXO XOXO XO OXO

Mackenzie Rice said...

beckhams tears...so stinkin sad! lol.
and wow, ur hubby made banana bread!?? daaang :) how sweet is that!
im lookin forward to the party pics, im sure they'll be beautiful, those cupcakes are adorable!:) btw, what camera do you use? i'm going to be buying a new one pretty soon and want to invest in a nice one! love ur photos :)

The Little House That Grew said...

My daughters have all been witches 50 times. I like the witch/cat combo..which my girls have been also. But I really prefer the cute witch with striped stockings look. I can't wait to see what you whip up for a party. I may need a little inspiration coming up..
Lisa

Maria said...

Heidi~your pictures R.O.C.K. The ones on the slide, with Jeff in the air..wow! And the close up of the peppers..I could almost smell them as they sizzled. Just beautiful.
Up here in NJ, it pouring out, a cool 60 something degrees & I have to say, it's starting to feel alot like fall. I have the candles glowing at night & the pumpkins & leaves all over the house. It just reminds me so much of the upcoming holidays. So fun.
P.S. I'll trade you my cool rainy weather for your beachy weather any day!
Maria

Teresa said...

Okay the pictures of the super man jumps by the big kids are cracking me up. How much fun was that?? Love Love those cupcakes, thanks for the book idea. Going on my christmas wish list. As always your family and photos are beautiful! We are in Southwestern Ontario and the leaves are a-changing. Took the littles for a hike through the woods yesterday complete with crunchy leaves and all. I LOVE fall. Headed to the apple farm today! Have a good one

JennyCB said...

Heidi-girl,
GREAT pix!I always like it when you do black-and-whites of your fam. (Hey, I hope P&B's shindig isn't on the same day as A&L's!!)
We're doing cupcakes, too, but more of the, umm... Duncan Hines, pink & blue variety. (Ooh, maybe I'll use sprinkles!) Ha.
Great seeing you last nite. You looked gorgeous.
xo

Becky at lifeoutoffocus said...

everytime i read your blog i'm left with a growling stomach and a taste for yummy sweets. OH and inspiration to keep on taking all the pictures that I do. Thanks!

patsy said...

heidi--i found your blog through kelle's and i am so happy i did! your family is beautiful and your pics are amazing! we have 3 beautiful girls, the youngest is just a few months older than nella, also born with that magic chromosome :) i look forward to more photo q&a and following your sweet family--
our blog is www.missmaggierae.blogspot.com

→Daniele← said...

Those colorful cupcakes are beautiful! Great colors, they're not food color-y looking at all, if that makes sense haha.
We had our girls' first joint bday party this year when they turned 1 and 3. Their birthdays are exactly 2 weeks apart so it doesn't make sense to have everyone come out two weekends in a month. I will continue to have them jointly until they protest! lol

Rhonda said...

Dude...Jeff has really got some great air in that pic....I bet he is beaming proud ;)

Becks and his tears....life is tough...I get the same kind from my big boy when there is an injustice!!! Boys are made of soft hearts, it should be part of what are little boys made of....;) !!

BTW- LOVE LOVE THIS SONG....I cant get enough!!!!

Rebecca said...

I cannot wait to try the shrimp recipes! Yum... Love the teary eyes... adorable. :) xo

Anna Ruth said...

I love all the fall pictures and the cupcakes from the party were amazing. Zingo is one of our favorite games to play too.

Charlotte said...

Love seeing Zingo! featured as a family game! The way you gently used a potentially devastating loss to encourage your son to try, try again and reinforce the notion that winning isn't everything, nor is it a guarantee, but sticking with a challenge and persevering means you not only get more quality fun family time, but you just may emerge victorious the next round! Bravo :)

Leslie said...

Hey There,

I just caught up on some of your posts. I feel terrible for not reading....I have not been posting on my blog so out of sight out of MY MIND!! Of course you are still amazing! I love your writing. I love that you make time for things that I do not. I love that you watch a movie instead of getting caught up. I love that you carry Beckham to the car instead of making him walk. Keep being an awesome lady, lady :)

Anonymous said...

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