Bexley Turns Two

Last week my niece puppy celebrated her 2nd birthday. And, it wouldn’t be a birthday without a “paw-ty”.

As you may remember, Abby screwed herself by setting a really high bar last year.  Thankfully, she stepped up to the challenge once again with a pirate themed party, complete with dog-friendly pirates booty (i.e. egg casserole)

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO THE CUTEST PIRATE AROUND!

Bexley’s Pirate’s Booty

Well beaten eggs, spinach, hot dogs and cheese all mixed together,

Pour mixture into in a casserole dish, cover with tinfoil  and bake in the oven at 450 for 15 minutes,

Remove tinfoil and continue cooking until it looks done/cheese is melted.

Molly Squared

This weekend Matt and I traveled to Washington DC for a little sight-seeing in our nation’s capital and to celebrate the 30th Birthday of my bff Molly (yes, Matt’s best friend is named Matt, aka Kinsella, and mine is named Molly – weird, I know).

We celebrated Miss Molly in style with a photo booth, a hip-hop dance lesson mid-party and Carly Rae’s Call Me Maybe played no fewer than 5 times during the evening. Clearly her siblings know how to throw a good party!

I’m so happy to have Molly in my life and to have been able to celebrated with her. To honor this very special occasion, here’s the latest rendition of Call Me Maybe.

*Sorry there aren’t any pictures from the party – Molly is paranoid about being featured on my blog. Yeah, I know – – most people consider it an honor!

Puppy Party!

This week, the cutest puppy in the whole wide word, my niece Bexley celebrated her first birthday. My sister went all out with a party at daycare, two trips to the dog park in one day and homemade doggie treats for Bex and all her friends. Even I have to admit, I was impressed – and we all know, that takes quite a bit.

Not going to lie, when I have a baby, I am going to seriously consider sending them to the same daycare as Bexley. Not only will that allow the cousins to bond, but the lady who runs the place (while a little nutty) definitely loves these pups! I mean, did you see the homemade paw print Birthday card she gave Bexley? Sick!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY BEXLEY!

CrossFit and Bloodies, The Perfect Combo

Matt and I have started to settle into a 2012 weekend routine. And I like it.

Since I started participated in CrossFit with Matt, we now make a weekend activity out of it. We go to one of the morning workouts on either Saturday or Sunday and then enjoy a delicious brunch at one of the local restaurants n Williamsburg. This tradition is something that I now look forward too – especially if it involves a bloody mary!

This weekend, after our workout, we went to a new restaurant, Diner. I heard about this place from a co-worker (I think their cousin may own it, but I am not really sure) and after researching it a little more on Yelp, I decided this would be a good post-workout spot. Well, let me tell you, we were not disappointed.

Williamsburg is known as being a popular location with hispters, and The Diner certainly appeals to that character type. From the red, shack-like appearance, to the menu scribbled on a piece of paper, to our waiter who looked like he was a 70s gym teacher – it was amazing. We split a stick bun (diet, what diet?), and I got eggs and toast while Matt indulged himself with the country breakfast. The bloody mary was good, but it didn’t live up to the bloodies at Daddy-O’s, we favorite spot in the West Village. All in all it was a great experience.

We also spent some time this weekend celebrating some of our favorite friends. Saturday night started off with an engagement party for one of our favorite couples Jen and Nate. We are so thrilled for them and can not wait to hear more about the wedding planning process. I was particularly excited because I clued Jen into the wonderful world of pinterest – I hope she will spending hours on their looking for inspiration!

Afterwards, we met up with a lot of our friends to celebrate Mike Smeets’ birthday. It was quite a night filled with dancing, cupcakes, and a bar the promised “more fun” – Thanks for including us in the festivities!

Birthday Celebrations!

I love Birthdays. When I was younger, I would start planning my birthday months in advance and I was normally able to spread my birthday celebration out over a few weeks. I consider this particularly impressive considering my Birthday normally falls around Thanksgiving and many times, holidays can trump birthdays. But not me, forget the turkey, pilgrims and Indians, come the end of November, I was the center of attention.

My mom threw awesome childhood birthdays. They were always held at home and full of fun activities. We would play games, do some sort of craft (make your own t-shirts, puff paint pillow cases, sand art, etc), do a candy hunt, eat “dot cake” and end with an incredible scavenger hunt around the house. Sometimes things got a little wild (mostly thanks to Ryan, Mark and Chris – the 3 boys who were invited to every party) but everyone left our house happy! I definitely miss those days.

Another birthday tradition in our household would be birthday dinner. Not an unusual tradition, when it was your birthday, you were able to pick whatever you wanted for dinner that night. Well every night since I can remember, I had spaghetti, caesar salad and garlic bread. Even when I turned 21 on Thanksgiving, my mom made me a special plate of spaghetti while everyone else ate turkey. And while this seems a little “over the top” I absolutely loved that my mom didn’t let my special day get overlooked. I will always remember that birthday/Thanksgiving and be so thankful for my caring family.

This year, I celebrated my birthday in typically “molly fashion” (i.e. many times!) I started the day with Matt’s family – we had grilled muffins for breakfast (one of my favorites) and opened some very thoughtful presents. Before we jumped on our train to head home, Matt’s mom presented a cake with swirly candles and I was treated to “Happy Birthday” by the Englehardt trio!

Then after a 4.5 hour train ride, Matt cooked me an amazing spaghetti dinner while I set up the Christmas tree. After dinner I opened some presents that my mom had sent me and listened to the Christmas album my sister sent me on iTunes. It was lovely.

THEN, the celebration continued at work today with a mid-afternoon ice cream party!

    

And the party continues with a birthday dinner on Friday that Matt is organizing with some of my friends. You only turn 29 once, why not celebrate it for a full week?

Thank you so much to all of my friends and family members who make me feel so incredibly special for being born!

Goodie Bags

vintage birthday party clipart

Some of my favorite childhood memories are from the countless Birthday parties that I attended as a child. Whether it was a party at Good Times Roller Skating Rink, a pool party in someone’s back yard or a sleep over, I was always down to celebrate. I enjoyed being with my friends, buying Birthday presents and of course, eating cake. However, the best part of the Birthday party was receiving the coveted goodie bag.

It comes as no surprise that my mom was a little restrictive of the “treats” that we used to eat. Our pantry was stocked with Raisin Bran and Grape Nuts, we drank Juicy Juice (never soda) and there was always something green on our plate. To this day, neither Abby nor I have had a Twinkie, Ring-Ding or Ho-Ho. And to be honest, I doubt I am really missing out.

But when it came to Birthday parties, there were no rules. I could eat as many slices of ice cream as I wanted, eat both cake AND ice cream and drink multiple cans of soda. While I would often go home with a severe tummy ache, it was always worth it. But the best part was digging into the goodie bag, which often contained candy. The party would continue into the coming week with lollipops, bazooka bubble gum and ring pops. For a kid who always had trident gum and fruit roll ups were a real treat, a goodie bag was a whole ‘nother thing.

Today I had the privilege of going to the dentist. Although they yelled at me for my infrequent flossing and the fact that I still have my wisdom teeth, they told me that I have been doing a fantastic job at brushing. Even though I am 28 years old, it is always nice to hear that my dental hygiene skills are top-notch! However, even better than the praise, was the goodie bag I received at the end of my visit. Although the goodies have changed since the day of Birthday parties, it still brought a smile to my face.

I can’t wait to use my new toothbrush, toothpaste and floss!

I really know how to have a good time.

A Gift for Your Budding Chefs

Taste Buds (formerly known as Cupcake Kids) has just launched their first cooking product. If you have a small child (or even someone who is child at heart) this is a great holiday present.

The kit contains Taste Bud’s favorite cookie recipe and is easy to personalize by adding “cookie bling” (i.e. chocolate chips, sprinkles, marshmallows or more). They are easy to make and will definitely create fun memories in the kitchen, not to mention tasty treats!

While you are on the website, check out their winter class list. The gingerbread classes are a favorite among budding chefs and teachers.

Pizza Party

One of the great things about working at Cupcake Kids is learning fun new recipes. The most popular party that Jessi offers is the “Make Your Own Pizza Party.” I have to say that I became quite the expert in pizza making. Back in November/December of 2008, Jessi worked with a Charter School in Harlem to host field trips for their countless Kindergarten classes. So for 3-4 weeks straight, I would entertain groups of extremely well-dress eager chefs. We would talk about how yeast makes dough rise be releasing gas (like a burp), how honey makes the dough sweet, and how whole wheat flour is a little bit healthier than all-purpose. It was certainly a very tiring time, doing back-to-back classes for a few weeks straight, but I am now a proficient pizza maker. And last night, I put those skills to use.

I decided to make some pizza dough and use up some of the homemade marinara sauce I made Sunday for the baked ziti Matt and I enjoyed during Man Men.

Please enjoy the recipe, as written by Cupcake Kids! I highly recommend trying this at home!

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The pizza turned out alright, but I must admit, every time I have made it at home, it isn’t as good as the end product at Cupcake Kids. There must be a secret ingredient that the kids put in when I am not looking… oh wait, I think that is called slobber, boogies, and 5-year-old love!

Be Your Own Boss – Cupcake Kids!

When I was in college, I had a friend, Jessi Walter, who was a few years older than me, that I looked up to like a sister. She was one of the nicest people I had ever met, extremely smart, and would give me advice whenever I asked for it (which was probably too often!) I loved hanging around her room – it was clean and organized and she had the most amazing hand-painted furniture.  I always felt like I was in a real house, as opposed to a dorm room when I went over there. Whenever I was there, I just felt happy.

I am so glad that we have reminded friends over the years. She is still one of the nicest people I have ever met, extremely smart, and she still gives me advice on life. Now, instead of hanging out in her dorm room,  we hang out in the Cupcake Kids! kitchen.  Every time I walk into the space, I feel that same sense of happiness, that I felt when I walked into her dorm room many years ago.

The idea for Cupcake Kids! was born when Jessi Walter decided to combine her love of kids and food in a practical way. Jessi set out to create a company that would provide students with hands-on cooking experiences designed to provide them with the opportunity to have fun in the kitchen while learning about food and nutrition. Jessi believes that creativity and education in the kitchen play an important role in a child’s development and help kids to build self-confidence and independence. For 4 years, she has been giving this experience to the kids of NYC.

Formerly a Vice President on Wall Street, Jessi’s passion for kids and food and her entrepreneurial spirit have taken her on a new adventure. Jessi graduated from Harvard in 2003, where she earned an economics degree and was a member of the Women’s Swim Team. As one of the oldest of 23 cousins, she has a passion for kids and their development. In her previous life as a swimmer, Jessi started a company offering technique lessons for young swimmers and brought the same enthusiasm and fundamentals to the pool as she brings to the kitchen today.

What sets Jessi and Cupcake Kids! apart from other child-centered companies is the pride that Jessi takes in her work and ultimately in her company. I’ve had the pleasure of helping out with Cupcake Kids! for the past 2 years. Jessi’s focus is on coming up with lessons that entertain, as well as educate, the “budding chefs” who visit her kitchen. She wants them to walk out of the kitchen with a smile on their face and a new appreciation for food and a sense of accomplishment. They gain confidence through measuring, mixing and baking. By combining ingredients to make a delicious treat, these children are able to see their successes right before their eyes, and taste them too! The excitement that Jessi, and her teachers, have for cooking and food is passed on to the children.

 I am so proud of Jessi for all that she has accomplished. I am also honored to have been a part of it  and I can not wait to see what the future holds for Cupcake Kids!

Please visit the Cupcake Kids! website to learn more about classes and birthday parties and, visit Facebook to become a fan of Cupcake Kids!