Thursday, November 29, 2012

Minted - Holiday Cards

It's the most wonderful time of the year! I am so excited for December I can hardly stand it! Tis the season for holiday baking, homemade candies, listening to Christmas music all day long, putting up the tree and of course picking out our family's Christmas Card! This year I am super excited for our cards because we get to show off our new addition to the family, our little boy Sam who will be 9 months old on Christmas Day. This year has been a huge blessing and the best year of my life with the birth of Sam. I can't believe how fast the time has gone and how much our little guy has changed over the last 8+ months. He is so active right now, crawling, talking all the time "da da, ma ma, ba ba", teething, waving and always smiling. He is so expressive and I try to capture as much of it on camera and video as possible! Yes, I'm one of those crazy moms that has her iphone or camera on her at all times so I don't miss a thing.

It was such a treat to have my friend Jamie of Jamie Lou Photography take our photos for this year's Christmas Card. She has already photographed Sam for his newborn pictures and some Fall pumpkin patch photos so I knew these holiday pictures would be amazing. The backdrop was a local Christmas Tree farm. One of my favorite parts about Christmas is the tree, so being amongst hundreds of trees for our photos couldn't have been any more perfect! I am thrilled with how the pictures turned out and it was definitely hard to choose which one to use for our cards. She captured so many candid moments of Sam, I just smile every time I look at them!

This year since it is our first Christmas as a family of three I wanted to make sure our cards were extra special. I decided to go with Minted to have our holiday cards printed. They have quite the selection of cards from traditional, fun and whimsical, vintage and simple and modern, there is definitely a card that will appeal to everyone. Their designs are so happy and cheerful and their fonts are so fun. I have seriously browsed their site a dozen times just trying to narrow down the designs I like best. So many beautiful cards to choose from!

The card that first caught my eye was this adorable Twisted Peppermint Holiday Postcard. I absolutely love the idea of sending a postcard in the mail. With options for pictures on both the front and back, and your return address already printed, you save half the time in addressing your cards. Not to mention there is no envelope you have to lick over and over a million times!

Here are a few of my other favorite cards.

I love this card for two allows me to include 2 photos and the design is spot on with the strand of lights since Sam is holding his own lights in his photo. Love that expression on his face! 
This card couldn't be more perfect! Sam is growing and changing so much lately, and he is definitely getting into things that he shouldn't be every chance he gets! I don't think he is quite old enough to be on Santa's naughty list though, do you?

Minted offers so many great features for customizing your holiday cards. You can have photos on the front and back, choose from a variety of envelope selections and even have a decorative slip liner in your envelope to match the theme of your card. Their site is so user friendly and allows you to maneuver from one page to the next with ease. An awesome feature they offer is the Find it Fast. If you are in a rush and don't have a lot of time to upload the same photo over and over into a bunch of different card options this is your solution. Using this feature all you have to do is upload your photo one time and it automatically places the photo in all of the available card layouts so you can view them at the same time. So simple, easy and brilliant! Here's a peak at our little Sam in an assortment of cards.

One of my favorite categories they offer is Baby's First Christmas. How could you not adore a Christmas card with a sweet sleeping little baby on the front. So many adorable options to choose from.

Not only does Minted offer holiday cards, but they have wedding invitations and save the dates, birth announcements, business stationery and even party decor themes. They truly are a one-stop shop for all your paper needs throughout the year. They offer truly original designs on thick luxurious paper. So if you are looking for the perfect holiday card you will definitely want to check out all the fun options that Minted has to offer.

I can't wait for our holiday cards to come! Stay tuned and I will reveal the card we picked once they arrive!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Pumpkin Cookies

Wishing you all a Happy Thanksgiving and a wonderful day with the ones you love! It's been an amazing year as we were blessed with our little boy Sam and I can't even imagine my life without him. He brings us so much joy, happiness and laughter each day! I can't believe he is already 8 months old! We are so thankful to have him in our lives! I recently made these pumpkin cookies as a "thank you" to Sam's daycare workers. They take such great care of him while we work and I wanted to show them our appreciation with a little fall treat! This time of year you can't go wrong with anything pumpkin as far as I'm concerned so I thought pumpkin cookies would be super cute to show our appreciation.

I also packaged up some cookies and took them to the post office! I am a frequent visitor to our local post office and so from time to time I like to say thank you in the form of sweets! They are always so excited and appreciative when I bring them in some cake pops or cookies.

So on this day let's all remember to "slow down" (I know this is extremely hard for me) and spend time with family and remember to say "thanks" and be appreciate for all of the blessings in our life!

Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Pumpkin Patch Cake

I having been dying to share this adorable 1st Birthday cake with you all! I absolutely love the idea of a "pumpkin patch" themed cake for a fall birthday. It can't get much cuter than this can it? This cake was so easy to make, as you can see the famous fall "candy pumpkins" are the star of the show! So no need to spend hours making your own fondant pumpkins, just grab a bag of these little candies and you are all set! I used brown fondant to create the fence around the sides of the cake and the sign. Using some green tinted buttercream and the Wilton tip # 233 I piped grass around the base of the cake and around the pumpkin clusters on the top.

Then I made one single cupcake for Finn to enjoy as his smash cake!

Not only is this cake perfect for a fall birthday, but it would be great to accompany your Thanksgiving Feast! You could change up the writing on the sign to say "Give Thanks" or "Happy Thanksgiving" and it would be perfect. You could even make a pumpkin flavored cake with a cream cheese frosting...yum wouldn't that be an amazing end to your turkey dinner. So if you are still looking for a festive fall dessert, give this cake a try and grab the kids to help you decorate. I guarantee they will love scattering the pumpkins all around.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Apple Pie Cupcakes

Happy Friday! If you are heading out this weekend to start buying all your food for Thanksgiving next week, check out this recipe and grab a few extra things, like apples, brown sugar, cinnamon and pie crust because you are going to want to give these Apple Pie cupcakes a try! They are the perfect fall dessert and would be such a cute addition to your turkey feast this year! They are a moist apple cinnamon cake with an apple pie filling hidden inside! Topped off with light and fluffy brown sugar cinnamon swiss meringue buttercream and garnished with a cinnamon sugar apple pie crust!

So If you had already planned to make an apple pie for Thanksgiving this year, why not turn that pie into cupcakes and give this recipe a go! I promise you they taste exactly like apple pie and you won't disappointed!

Head on over to Half Baked to get the full recipe and step-by-step details and photos for how to make these adorable mini cakes that your family is sure to gobble right up!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Cake Inspired Birthday Cookies

Today's post is dedicated to my amazing sister Emily! It's her birthday today and I wanted to make her some "cake inspired" cookies to show her how much I love and appreciate her! This past year she became an aunt or "Auntie Em" as we now call her to our little boy Sam! Let's just say we are so blessed to have her in our lives and Sam is one lucky little boy to have her as an aunt! I am not kidding when I say probably about 90% of his wardrobe for the first almost 8 months of his life has been bought for him by her! Emily is constantly sending me text messages during her lunch break of new outfits she has bought for Sam! And if she comes across one that has something to do with "aunt" on the front, well of course she is putting it in her shopping cart! So today, although we are 725 miles apart, I wanted to send her some birthday love in the form of cookies! Lucky for her, my mom (our mom) is down here visiting us right now and flying home today to hand deliver these special cookies!

The theme for these cookies came to me from our numerous conversations we have had about cakes we come across online from other bloggers that we absolutely love and that she always tells me, "you should try this sometime"! The common themes for most cakes that grab our attention these days consist of ruffles, ombre, or sprinkles! So what better way to celebrate the birthday girl than with some of her favorite cake trends replicated on cookies!

So first up is the "ruffle" cookie and "ombre"! If you are a long time follower of my blog you may remember my Valentine's ombre cupcakes here, with the recipe and tutorial posted on Half Baked here. Using a decorating tip #104 and varying shades of turquoise I created these ombre ruffle cookies! I used a crusting buttercream icing instead of royal icing for these cookies so that I could get the texture I wanted when creating the ruffles.

Every birthday needs sprinkles am I right? Rainbow non pareils are my absolute favorite! I love the crunch you get when you bite into the cookie! I think my sister is pretty fond of rainbow sprinkles too. Afterall, here is what she requested for her birthday two years ago! Today she is celebrating the big "29"! Enjoy the last year in your 20s Emily!

And finally another "ombre" cookie using a technique I have been dying to try ever since spotting these cookies on The Sweet Adventures of Sugarbelle. All you need is a can of Wilton Color Mist and a piece of paper to spray the cookies in varying shades! Let's just say this took a little trial and error at first to get a feel for the spray can, but I finally got the technique down! Still need more practice though! Step-by-step photos are over on The Sweet Adventures of Sugarbelle so check it out!

I think these cake inspired birthday cookies turned out pretty cute and I can't wait for her to see them in person! I have also already taste tested them, and they are pretty yummy!

Happy Birthday Auntie Em! Hope you have a great day and enjoy your cookies! We will see you next month for Christmas! Sam can't wait to give his auntie a big hug and kiss!

Monday, November 5, 2012

The Lorax - 1st Birthday

I recently got to work on a super fun 1st birthday cake for my friend Jamie's little boy Jonah! The theme was The Lorax. I have not read the book or seen the movie, but Jamie pointed me in the right direction with what she was looking for! She wanted a smash cake for Jonah decorated in orange with yellow polka dots and then a larger cake covered in trufulla trees for the guests to enjoy! Each layer of the larger cake was dyed a different, yellow and green and then frosted in blue buttercream. Fondant truffula trees lined the outside of the cake. For a little something special, I used black and white striped paper straws to resemble the trunks of the truffula trees and then added puffs of cotton candy on top. I really love how both of these cakes came together and the fun color palette I got to work with. It was so much fun to see little Jonah dig into his smash cake! He was a little hesitant at first, but once his fingers hit the icing, it was all over and orange buttercream was everywhere! Hope you enjoy these pictures of Jonah's birthday cakes.

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