Pineapple Vodka Slushes

Finally…a new post!  What’s the occasion?  Well, I made these fabulous Pineapple Vodka Slushes that I haven’t had in a couple of years and I NEEDED to share them with you!

I hosted my book club last week, and we read The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey.  It’s a wonderful, fairytale-ish book that will make you long to visit Alaska, with its lyrical descriptions of the wilderness. Anyway, I wanted the refreshments to have an icy, Alaska theme, so my friend Krista’s Pineapple Vodka Slush seemed perfect.  I know, pineapples are tropical, but the slush part fit my menu!

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Pineapple Vodka Slush

  • 8 cups water
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 6 oz. orange juice concentrate, thawed
  • 3/4 cup lemon juice
  • 46 oz. pineapple juice
  • 1 liter vodka

1. In a large stockpot, bring the water and sugar to a boil and cook 3 minutes. Let cool.

2. Add all the other ingredients and freeze for at least 24 hours. I put mine in big plastic containers with tight lids to freeze it.  It makes about 16 cups of liquid, so I use two extra large rectangular Glad containers.

3.  After it’s been in the freezer for 24 hours, use a fork to “shave” it…just break it up into large flakes.  I scoop it into 8 oz. Mason jars, put the lids on the jars, and store them in the freezer until party time. Or until I have a light-night craving for one! This fills 20 to 24 eight-ounce jars, so it’s great for a crowd, and it gives you a reason to have extra boxes of Mason jars.

You can also top them off with a little ginger ale or seltzer, if you’d like to really drink them rather than use a spoon. Slush-ChaosServedDaily

The rest of our menu, if you’re curious, included smoked salmon with lemon pepper cream cheese and crackers, pecan tarts (because the heroine was always baking pies), snowflake-stamped almond shortbread cookies, pull-apart garlic cheese sourdough bread, and strawberries with chocolate mousse dip (because they ate moose through the winter to survive, but I didn’t want to search for a source of wild moose). Then my friend Patty also brought an amaretto cheeseball with pound cake cubes to spread it on, which was divine!

As you might guess, we enjoy good food along with our literary discussions.  I hope you’ll give these slushes a try…they’re delicious anytime of year!

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Captain America Birthday Party (and Printables)

So the third grader celebrated his 8th birthday last weekend…and, of course, we had to have a party!  He just wanted to invite a few friends over for pizza and a movie after school on Friday, but I still wanted it to be a little bit festive. And do a little baking and crafting, of course.

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I designed the invitations in Photoshop Elements…you can download them by clicking here.

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For the party favors, we bought red, white, and blue Hot Wheels, giant erasers that looked like blue and white striped lollipops, and blue raspberry lollipops.  The erasers and Hot Wheels went into white lunch sacks, then I punched holes and tied the bags with red and white bakers’ twine.  We stuck the lollipop sticks through those same holes.  I printed shield labels, the birthday boy cut them out, and we glued them on.

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Click here to download the favor bag labels

During the movie, we had a mixture of healthy and not-so-healthy snacks…they devoured all of it.  The little pretzel and cheese snacks looked a bit like a shield, and we had red Twizzler bites with blue and white York Peppermint Bites.  Also, we had veggies and ranch dip, apples and marshmallow dip, and Cool Ranch Doritos (the birthday boy’s favorites). We also had popcorn, but I forgot to add it to the table before I took the photo.Party-Snacks-ChaosServedDai

Since we were watching the movie in the living room, I didn’t want colored drinks spilled, so we just had water…but look at the cool labels I made for it!  (Hydra is the evil organization in the movie, so “Hydrate” worked out punnily well!).  Party-Water-ChaosServedDail

https://app.box.com/s/hwu5hyqv1gyovwosyuhh

After the movie, we had pizza, opened gifts, and, of course, ate cake and ice cream. For the cake, he wanted a Captain America shield…easy enough, right? I made a two-layer, red and blue cake using the recipe for 1-2-3-4 Cake that I found on the cake flour box.

To make a multi-colored cake, you mix up the cake and divide the batter into smaller bowls, one per color you want to have in the cake. Tint the batter with food coloring, then start spooning it into the center of the greased and floured cake pan, letting each color spread out on its own (you can hurry it a bit by tapping the pan on the counter), then adding a big spoonful of your next color and so on.  Be sure the batter has leveled out before baking, but don’t use a spoon or your finger or anything, unless you want a swirly look that might blend together. Then just bake according to the directions.

The frosting recipe is from the Magnolia Bakery. I put frosting between the layers, then a thin coat over the entire cake, with more on the sides. I decided to go old-school with Wilton star tip decorating.

To make star-tip decorations, you just use a star decorating tip, spoon your frosting into the bag, then squeeze a bit and release to make stars. It’s pretty therapeutic, really, because it doesn’t take a lot of concentration. I just cut out a paper star to the right size, and iced around it with blue and red, the removed it and filled in with white.  I added more stars of red and blue around the bottom (which hides any uneven areas of the icing along the edge). And it’s an “F” because that’s his first initial…not because I graded my decorating skills!

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The only decorations we put up is this set from the party store. I’ve used these murals before for birthday parties, and I think they rock. They’re about $6 and cover a 5’ x 6’ area…so they’re great as photo backdrops. The hooligans like to put them up in their rooms afterward, and they look great in there, too! (And y’all thought my kids have magazine-perfect rooms, didn’t you?  Well, they don’t!)

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Finally, one of my cardinal rules of having a party…you have to send a hand-written thank you note.  I figure, if they care enough to spend time picking out, buying, and wrapping a gift, the least you can do is spend five minutes thanking them for it. Yes, you’re right…he should have written these to the moms, since I’m sure that’s who actually did all that work for the gift!

Here are the matching thank you cards I made…not a lot of space to write, so a third-grader isn’t intimidated by a bunch of white space. And as I tell them, the guests are not going to be comparing thank you notes, so they can write basically the same thing in each one!

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Click here to download these thank you cards

We didn’t want to spend a fortune on this party (because, really, why?), and, in all, it was around $75, including buying the movie on DVD. I think it was a total success!

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Fun and Easy Kid Thank You Notes

One of my favorite things about my kids growing older is that they’ve learned to write…and now they can write their own thank you notes, instead of me doing it!  Granted, Princess Thundercloud just finished kindergarten, so her writing skills are super slow.  For her birthday, I made some simple fill-in-the-blank thank yous for her to complete. They’re a little impersonal, I know, but she gets the concept of gratitude a little more when she has to put in a bit of effort to thank people!

For the front of the panel card, I made a collage from her party and printed them in 5×7 size at Costco…39 cents each, I think. I used Photoshop Elements to make the collage, but you could easily use an online service such as Walgreens, Costco, or Shutterfly. Those are just three that come to mind, not necessarily a preference. In the actual collages, the guests faces showed, not snowflakes, but I wanted to protect their privacy on the internet!

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To finish the cards, I printed this fill-in-the-blank form on white cardstock, then cut them in half. I used adhesive to stick them to the back of the 5×7 collage, so that a small amount of white matted the collage. I’ve made collages before with the fill-in part in the center of the 5×7, but there are two problems with those The photos have to be really small to leave space for the writing, and it’s hard for little ones to use a Sharpie to write on photo paper, without mistakes, that is.

Anyway, just click here to download the fill-in-the-blank portion.

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Princess Thundercloud felt so grownup, writing her own notes, and her little guests loved getting a photo of themselves from the party.

Speaking of her party, we did a Frozen theme (because what else would she want, as a 6-year-old girl this year?).  I found lots of great ideas on Pinterest, including her cake, which was a little like her big brother’s Campfire Cake from December.  It has hard candy “ice” shards, which are hard to see here.

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It was her first sleepover party, and it turned out to be a lot of fun…we watched Frozen, of course, with snacks of white cheeseballs (Bunnytails left from Easter), snowman noses (carrots) and arms (pretzels) with ranch dip, some lemon Muddy Buddies that were powdered sugar covered, and frozen grapes. The frozen grapes were the biggest hit of the whole smorgasbord! Oh, and we also made individual pizzas, but there’s nothing Frozen-themed in that!

I also copied some water bottle labels that I found online and wrapped those around small bottles.

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The party favors were simple…just blue rock candy sticks with a little snowflake-embellished tag tied on them. I used a snowflake shape from Photoshop Elements on a blue background, left a strip of white, and printed them.  Then I just made a tag from kraft cardstock using a tag topper punch from Stampin’ Up! and tied the tag on with some sliver and white ribbon. Easy-peasy.

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All in all, it was a fun, easy party, and the thank you notes (remember, that’s the real point of this post!) took no time at all to make. Love parties like that!

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Campfire Cake

Way back in December, in the midst of the Thanksgiving-Christmas-school break madness, our eldest hooligan had his 10th birthday. The party was scheduled for the day The Lone Ranger (with Johnny Depp) came out on DVD, because that’s what he wanted to do at his party…eat pizza, watch the movie, have cake. He’s not a very social boy, so that was all the celebration he felt comfortable having. And he deemed any decorations or themed party games too babyish.

You know I couldn’t let a party happen without something themed, though, so I came up with a cool cake that looked like a campfire. (I saw the idea on Pinterest and ran with it from there, so it’s not totally an original thought.)

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I’m sure you won’t believe me, but this was probably the simplest cake I’ve ever decorated. I started with a boxed mix (from Duff, at Target) for a rainbow cake . And, yes, it had artificial colors, but the remaining ingredients were okay. The boy loves rainbow colors, so I relented.

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For the shards of “fire,” I followed this simple recipe for hard candy.  I added peppermint extract for the flavoring and liquid, not gel, food color.  I didn’t stir it much once I added the coloring, so that it would look swirled.  After I poured it into a parchment-lined sheet pan, I let it cool completely, then used the highly technical meat mallet and knife point method to break it into shards.

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I wound up with way more fire than I needed, but it was tasty to snack on for a couple of weeks after the party.Cake-Candy-ChaosServedDaliy

The only other part I had to figure out was the toasted marshmallow border. Fortunately, one of my neighbors (have I ever mentioned that my neighbors are possibly the best ever?) had a mini-torch for crème brulee and I borrowed that. Man, it worked so well…I think I may need one of my own.Cake-Torch-ChaosServedDaily

Look!

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Assembling it was simple…I mixed up a batch of chocolate buttercream frosting and frosted the cake, then place the shards in it. They had to go quite a way down, to keep them from tipping, then I frosted over the holes they made. I broke Pirouline cookies to resemble logs and placed the toasted marshmallows around the edge. Ta-da!Cake-Cut-ChaosServedDaily

The birthday boy (and all of his friends) thought the shards of fire were the coolest, and I was pretty darned impressed with my abilities.

Now I’m trying to talk Princess Thundercloud into a similar one using blue shards of “ice” for her Frozen-themed party this weekend. Wish me luck…she checked a book on cake decorating out of the library two months ago and has chosen a cake that looks like a jewelry box with a necklace and nail polish bottle on the top. Really? Shards are so much more fun!

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Cookie Exchange Invitation

One of my favorite holiday traditions is hosting a cookie exchange. It’s a simple premise, doesn’t require much preparation, and, most of all, gives me a chance to catch up with friends over Saturday morning coffee.

I try to plan the exchange for a couple of weeks before Christmas, for just a couple of hours, to step away from the hustle and bustle of holiday preparations and just enjoy a fun morning. I hope you’ll find time to fit in an exchange with your friends and neighbors!

For today’s post, I made this cute invitation in about 15 minutes using Photoshop Elements and a digital download from Stampin’ Up!. Did you know Stampin’ Up! has a huge selection of digital downloads?  Well, they do, and several holiday-themed ones are on sale through the end of November. This happens to be one of them!

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I used the Homemade Happiness Printable (Item 132192, on sale for $2.07), then just added the details for my party. Easy-peasy!

You can see all of the digital products available at 30 percent off by clicking on the photo below. That will take you to my website, where you can then easily see the specials.

MDS Seasonal Sale - 30% off

Here’s a peek at a few other digital downloads that are included…it’s so hard to decide which I need!

 

Jingle and Joy Kit (Item 132793, on sale $8,37)

Tag It Printables (Item 130984, $2.07 on sale)

Holiday Wishes Greeting Card (Item 131470, $1.37 on sale)

You could easily add a photo to this card, if you wished. There are also photobook templates and many other items on sale right now…check it out and simplify your holiday!

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Throwback Thursday and a Fabulous Fall Party!

As you may or may not know, I’m a contributor over at the blog Live Creatively Inspired. If you’ve not visited, you should!  I’ve found so many great ideas for decorating, ways to simplify my life, and generally fun things over there. And this month, we’re trying something new…after a week of wonderful posts about fall, it’s all winding up with a WhatchmaFALLit linky party. If you have a blog, be sure to stop by starting Friday (tomorrow) to link up, or, if you don’t blog, come by and get inspired by all the creativity!

Live Creatively Inspired

Here’s a little something I just might link up…some fun cat planters I made a couple of years ago for Halloween. I saw these spookily cute cat planters in a Better Homes and Garden Halloween magazine. I am such a sucker for those idea books…not any other holiday, but Halloween ones seem to leap into my shopping basket regularly.

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Our house already had two black urns on the front porch when we moved in back in July. They’re in need of painting, but I thought the distressed look worked well for Halloween. My kids love purple, hence the bright chrysanthemum “hair.” The sticks are daylily stems that dried on the plants in my flowerbeds, Yay me for not trimming those back when summer ended…procrastination rewarded yet again!

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For the eyes, I found non-copyrighted clipart online, then resized and changed the color using Photoshop Elements. After I printed them, I laminated them to protect from the snow which the natives tell me to expect any day now. Today it’s in the mid-80s, but I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt on this.

The decorative elements on the urn looked exactly like a cat’s nose and mouth to me, so it worked out perfectly. The little hooligan was so excited to see her brothers’ reaction when they got home, and they didn’t disappoint her, pretending to be terrified. I’m quite certain they were not, but it was nice of them to play along with her imagination. Sometimes they can be kind…and then it makes it worth having cats on my porch!

Pinterest Power Party

 

ATTENTION: We are currently looking for and scheduling co-hosts for this lovely Pinterest Power Party! If you’re a newer blogger, this is a WONDERFUL opportunity for you to grow! Don’t believe us? Keep reading!
 
A little word from Danielle @ Sew Much Crafting: It wasn’t until I started co-hosting blog parties that my blog really took off. It was scary for me to send the email the first few times – I didn’t want to impose on the bloggers hosting the party… But let me tell you – it was worth it! And now that I’m a host of two different regular parties, I realize that hosting bloggers are constantly looking for bloggers to co-host!
 
Even if you’re not a newer blogger, you most likely still want to see your blog grow. Don’t let that little encouragement for newer bloggers keep you from emailing us too! We’d love to schedule you as a co-host in an upcoming party!

If you’re interested in co-hosting, please email Danielle

{sewmuchcrafting [at] yahoo [dot] com} to find out which dates are available!****************************



Okay… Now that that’s out of the way.

 

Happy Wednesday, blog-land friends! Welcome to our Pinterest Power Party – and thanks for coming! If this is your first time, thanks for joining us!! Every Wednesday we host this party in order to focus on YOU – the readers! Do you have a DIY project, frugal gift idea, or delicious recipe you want to share? We want to see them and share them on our Pinterest boards too!!



Sew Much Crafting

 

Pinterest Power Party

 

 

 

Here are our little rules:

{1} Be a Pinterest Follower of your hosts and co-hosts {links below}!

{2} Put our party button on your blog post or party page! This will give our party more exposure which gives your fabulous links more exposure too!

{3} Pin the two links before yours! If everyone pins, we all get exposure on Pinterest!

{4} Please link up no more than four posts! They can be old or new – your old posts are still fabulous {even when they get pushed back by new posts!}.

{5} This is optional – but you don’t want to skip it!! Be a follower of our Pinterest Power Party board – we’ll be pinning each week’s features as well as others that just catch our eye each week! You can follow the Pinterest Power Party board here!

 
Heather @ Living on Love and Cents: Pinterest | Blog
Chrissy @ The Taylor House: Pinterest | Blog
Danielle @ Sew Much Crafting: Pinterest | Blog

 
Jessica @ Prairie Girl to Southern Belle: Pinterest | Blog
 
Megan @ Chaos Served Daily: Pinterest | Blog
 
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Each week we’ll be featuring some of our favorite posts!
If you were featured, grab our button – you’ve earned it!

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Again, if you’re interested in co-hosting our fabulous party, send an email to Danielle{sewmuchcrafting [at] yahoo [dot] com} – we’ll get you added to the schedule!



Are you ready to party and get your pin on?

Here are the features from last week!

{1} DIY Washi Tape Frame from Ashley’s Dandelion Wishes
{2} Entry Nook Organization from Harvey Ever After
{3} Baked Pizza Spaghetti from Sarah Lynn’s Sweets
{4} Peanut Butter Burgers with Slim Jim Fries from Half Baked Harvest