party

DIY Apple Cupcakes

Cupcakes that look like apples are a surprisingly versatile treat. So far, I've made them twice. Once for a Snow White Princess Party & most recently for a Apple-tastic AppleJack (My Little Pony) Party. But they could also be used for back to school, teacher appreciation, or Fall themed parties.

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To start, make cupcakes using your favorite box mix. You don't want the mounding over type of cupcakes, so divide the batter to make sure you get all 24 cupcakes. For optimum results, use a white cake mix with red liners. We like chocolate cake, so that's what we used — and I think they still look great. The trick to making Apple Cupcakes?

Donuts.

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These by Entenmann's are PERFECT. Apparently, their donuts come in 3 sizes: Regular/Full size, Mini, and bite-size. Make sure to get the Mini size which are exactly the size of the top of a regular size cupcake, while the regular size donuts are too big & the mini are too small. Plus, they come in a 12 pack, which works out perfectly with one box of cake mix. Also, get the chocolate ones. I know, the powdered sugar ones are better, but believe me, I learned the hard way that they just don't work when it comes time to frosting them.

Cut all the donuts in half like a bagel.

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Next, whether you make your own frosting, or purchase it, you'll need to dye it red with a gel food dye. Even when spreading the frosting on, I like to use a pastry bag to make it easy to apply. With your pastry bag, or a knife, put a dab of frosting on the top of the cupcake.

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Top & smoosh down with one half of a donut.

Again, using your pastry bag, pipe out enough frosting on top of the donut to cover, then spread it all out with a knife.

To complete your apple, you need a stem & a leaf. I found these Rips in our grocery store's candy aisle and they are exactly what you need. Again, one bag is enough for 24 cupcakes, plus a few red ones for you to snack on while your making them. See? I'm here for you!

I found if you cut each rectangle in half on a diagonal, you can then cut 2 good sized leaves out of each piece of candy, like this:

To make them stem, you'll need Tootsie Rolls. Roll them out into snakes, and then cut into stem-sized pieces.

Insert into the indent of the donut, and Viola! You've got some amazingly cute apples!!

Apple-tastic Birthday Party!

This past weekend we hosted Peanut's birthday party. (I'm trying out a new nickname. . . I'm getting tired of writing Little. We'll see how it goes. . . . )

Originally, Peanut wanted a My Little Pony Party like her big sister, but she wanted AppleJack on the invitation. Once she had decided on AppleJack though, her party planning skills kicked in and she started menu planning: Apple pie, apple sauce, apple cider, apple juice, caramel apples, etc. She said it would be an Apple-tastic Party!! From there, Mr. Maker & I just went with it. Especially as he has an amazing recipe for Pork Chops with a Grilled apple Puree.

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She also requested the apple cupcakes I had made previously for her Snow White/Princess party. I'll share how I made them in the next day or two, since I forgot to last time!

The party was much smaller this time around, which was nice. We were able to hang out and talk with our guests around a big table, rather than running all over, trying to talk to everyone — and in the end, not really talking to anyone!

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Besides turning 5, Peanut had another huge milestone. She has never blown out her birthday candles. . . she's been too afraid of them. Granted, she had good reason. When she was 1, she didn't have the skill. . . or fear of fire for that matter. She tried grabbing the flame before Papa intervened. The real trouble started 2 days before her own party when she was 2 and another friend caught her hair on fire. The trauma was sealed when a couple of months later another friend burnt her lips. Last year she said she wanted to do it, but then when it actually came to it, couldn't.

So that very concerned face? I didn't just happen to catch her at the wrong time. She's honestly worried. Plus, she doesn't really like having everyone sing to her. I think she'd much prefer being the one who does the singing. ;)

Overall, I'm really pleased with how the day went! We kept it easy, didn't go too crazy with any of the details, and it seems like everyone still had a lot of fun.

See, I'm learning. ;)

xoxo Lori Wilson

My Little Pony Party – Sort of.

Not sure if I've gotten lazy, given up, realized that parties aren't made more fun by a perfectly coordinating party theme and favors, or a combination of the three. I'm going to go with the latter.

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Big Sister's birthday party was this weekend, and though my first inclination when she settled onto a My Little Pony theme for her party was to run to Pinterest and start implementing a board-full of ideas — that my friend had happened to already put together for her own daughter's party — but when it came down to it, I did nothing but a cute invitation (which I texted out to friends) and a cake.

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In the week leading up to the party, I think Mr. Maker & my Mom were a little concerned that I'd change my unprecedented, laid-back approach at the last minute & have a night-before-the-party freak-out.

But, I didn't. And you know, the party was still a ton of fun — even without decorations.

We had all the families of Big's friends over, served build-your-own nachos with Mr. Maker's pulled pork, and all hung out while the kids all played.

She requested a rainbow cake again, but specifically asked that I put the colors in order this year. ;) Last year I got impatient and started compiling the layers before they were all done baking, and since I hadn't baked them in order, I put them together out of order as well. Oops.

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But I do think a rainbow cake fit in perfectly with the MLP theme. Lucky me. Plus! I'm getting really good at rainbow cakes. Ha!

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In the end, I think it's fun to plan and make cute party decorations and favors. . . but only if I really have time. If I don't have time, then those cute party decorations and favors become stressful and do nothing to serve the overall happiness of me & my family. Something I'm trying to keep in mind with all my projects, but particularly need reminding come party time. It's about the people and relationships — not about the Pinterest worthy decor. ;)  (But that cake is pretty pin-able. . . don't you think???)

xoxo Lori Danelle