Seamingly Crafty

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Quick and easy Butterfinger Cake

My son’s birthday was this past week so, I wanted to make him a cake he would love. His favorite candy bar is Butterfinger.  Well as my brain was busy thinking about this cake, I imagined a cake that tasted like eating the candy bar with a bit of peanut butter frosting and drizzles of peanut butter and chocolate.  I began my search.  I found zero cake recipes that stood a chance against the cake I imagined.  So I went into the cupboard and pulled out what I had. Having only a few hours to do this, I winged it with what I had and came up with the recipe below.

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Did you try this recipe? What did you think? Did you make changes?

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Having A Fun Frugal Halloween

So my intention was to get on here and share all of my money saving tips for Halloween!  Of course around here, I sometimes get so busy, I barely have time to breathe 😉

Well I decided that even tho I didn’t share my Halloween throughout October, I’d share what I did to save money this season, still have a great party, great decor, and amazing costumes on a dime!

The Decor

We are a Halloween loving family! We literally could transform our home into a haunted house inside and out every year.  Although we don’t go quite that far we do decorate a lot.  This year we made a trip to the dollar store and grabbed some cool murals to decorate the walls with.  These added so much more depth to our house and just some clear tape and a couple bucks and we had a spooky backdrop on several walls.  These did double duty when we had our party cause they gave our guests several options for photo ops. 🙂

This one we taped onto the brick right outside our front door. *TIP* Dollar store boxing tape stuck and stayed on the brick! Be sure to tape all around to keep the wind from getting under it and ripping it off the wall.

We hung up several different jointed life sized cutouts as well.

these make fun decorations, and fun for party pictures when they are posed 🙂

DON’T THROW AWAY THAT BROKEN BATTERED HALLOWEEN DECORATION!!

As with most years our decorations get roughed up outside from the wind.  This year one of our decorations was in desperate need of some TLC.  Most people would just toss them out when they get as battered as this guy was!  Since I don’t have a picture of him I can explain what we did.  He started as a 2′ hanging skeleton reaper.  He has plastic hands and foam head and originally was draped with a greenish soft papery type fabric and a cheese cloth over that.  The green papery fabric (I don’t know what else to call it) was torn up really bad and since it wasn’t really a fabric more like a glorified paper towel there was no way to doctor it up with matching material.  So what we did was used some scrap black fabric, and black creepy cloth from the dollar store to replace his existing fabric.  We kept the cheese cloth as that was real and the older it is the spookier it looks 🙂  We used hot glue to attach the fabric and creepy cloth and I used a wire hanger cut and bent into a new hanger for him which I attached securely.  We now had a new from old decoration.  If you don’t want to re-do your similar decoration that is too battered to use simply cut off the re-useable parts.  In this case I would have saved the head and hands along with the cheese cloth for a different project.  Any decoration for outdoor can be upcycled or recycled into something new or updated.  Don’t toss it out save $$ 😉

We used the cheese cloth we took off of the decoration to wrap around 2 large dollar store skeletons we painted green to make mummies. 🙂

Creepy cloth can be purchased at the dollar store.

A must! It comes in black and gray.

CUSTOMIZE YOUR CEMETERY WITH FUN IDEAS

We had to touch up some of our outdoor headstones too.  This just required paint which I had on hand and some outdoor clear coat spray which I also had on hand.  We made a couple of new headstones this year.  We are scary movie buffs 😉 so of course our cemetery reflects that.  On our headstones we have:

Fred E. Krueger  his headstone is dressed up with a hand painted Elm St. Street sign and of course his razor knives glove laying on the grass in front of the headstone I made it with an old winter glove spray painted brown and cut out of foam board the knives.

Micheal Myers  his headstone is dressed up with his iconic butchers knife purchased from the dollar store it came white glow in the dark I painted it with silver and blood red.

Jason Voorhees his headstone has his iconic hockey mask screwed to the top corner and his iconic machete screwed to the other side.

Jedidiah Sawyer I haven’t come up with a way to incorporate his iconic chainsaw but I did lay some severed body parts from the dollar store by his headstone.  I’d love to hear chainsaw ideas!!

I made a small coffin a couple years ago to cover our fog machine. I also had purchased after Halloween a couple years ago 3 small headstones with tubes that attach to the fog machine.  even tho they were made for the machine I have, the machine melted the attachments.  I have yet to come up with a way to fix it but still put the headstones out.

Here’s a link to my Instructable on making the coffin.

NOTE* Please follow your instructions that came with your fog machine.  My dimensions were cut to fit a small fog machine and I was sure to keep the end protruding out to keep the fog end cool.

SPEAKING OF CEMETERIES…

My daughter and I love these little headstones at the dollar store.

We grab one or two every year.  They make a nice mini cemetery for the mantel or coffee table etc.  We added some mini plastic skulls and mini skeletons from the dollar store.

While browsing Pinterest I came across this amazing life size spooky tree at 102 wicked things to do blog. I knew I didn’t have time to make it for this Halloween but as my daughter and I were cleaning up after making a Halloween wreath I thought Hmmm…. how about a mini spooky tree for our mini cemetery! YES!  So I kept the cardboard rolls from the dollar store ribbon we used on the wreath and followed most of the her instructions and created my mini spooky tree!  I LOVE IT!!  I added some purple spider LED lights also from the dollar store.

WHILE WE ARE ON TALKING ABOUT MY TREE FIND

Also on 102 wicked things to do blog I found a tutorial on how to make candles that look real but use cardboard tube and LED tealight candles from the dollar store.  We made 5 of them 3 for our candelabra and one for the bathroom candle holder.  She hit it on the head when saying you don’t want anyone catching on fire at your Halloween Party.  I actually had someone almost catch their hair on fire on my toilet… yes… toilet…. I had a tealight burning on the back of it thinking it would be safe. yes I thought it would be cause I don’t sit back and relax on the pot lol so these candles were an awesome SAFE way to spook up the commode. Find the tutorial HERE.

For the Halloween Party Costume contest I used her idea for the trophies!  They turned out great!

We also made 2 extras that weren’t featured in her tutorial.  Our categories were:

Best Costume

Most creative

scariest

funniest

best couple

most original

sexiest

penny pincher

party pooper

We purchased several skeletons from the dollar store. Some wood bases from the craft store some creative props a small piggy bank from dollar store a candle holder and we used a small skeleton we had already.  On Avery.com I chose small mailing label size labels I printed on 6 labels

The Austin’s Halloween Party
BEST COSTUME
2014

I made one for each.  On the Penny Pincher tag I added “start saving for next years costume” and put a penny in the bank. On the party pooper (the little skeleton) I added “next year wear a costume”

I made the background a goldish color on the labels. Printed them out on plain paper, cut them out and used mod podge to attache them to the bases of the trophies.  My daughter and I had so much fun making these!  And even more fun awarding them to the winners!

For voting I used 3×5 cards cut slits down one side to make 9 tabs, I decorated paper lunch bags and taped them to the wall around the voting table.  Taped up simple rules for voting (ie. only vote once for each category) and left the cards and several pens on the table.

——>Click Here to go to 102 wicked things to do<——

SPEAKING OF COSTUMES

This year I spent a lot of time on my daughters costume leaving very little time for my own.  So I decided to go simple and be a Witch.  All I did was make a simple tutu skirt out of tulle and ribbon.  I purchased a hat from the dollar store.  Used some scrap black fabric and the extra tulle and modified the hat to fit my liking. I wanted it to be crooked and longer.  I used floral wire glue and grocery bags to form the end.  Here is what I made for a buck and some free colorful leaves from my yard 🙂

THINK FRUGAL! PARTY TIME!

To keep the food cost down, we chose to do a taco bar.  We purchased taco meat from our local GFS store along with taco shells and a big bag of shredded lettuce, cheese sauce and tortilla chips.  I diced 5 medium tomatoes 2 large onions and served shredded cheese, sour cream, black olives etc.  I kept the meat and cheese sauce hot in crock pots laid out the spread and done.  I also made some witches hats zombie fingers and even put out some powdered donut holes covered with a couple black spiders (spider eggs) 🙂

I bought a few different flavors of 3 liter pop and made fruit punch and iced tea.

All our supplies were purchased at the dollar store.

That was some of our 2014 Halloween!

To wrap up this post I’ll leave you with a few pointers and must haves list for the dollar store.

MUST HAVES:

skeletons large and small

wall murals

party supplies

mini skulls

mini headstones

spiders

crows

creepy cloth

ribbon

LED candles and mini string lights

TIPS/POINTERS:

The dollar store stock sells out FAST!  I missed out on a couple of things I really wanted cause I waited to buy them.  Start shopping for Halloween at the dollar store at the end of August.  The items that don’t sell out too fast are skeletons crows and spiders these they seem to re stock or over stock.

SHOP FOR HALLOWEEN CANDY AT 5 BELOW if you have one near you.  I try to avoid the dollar store for this because although you think you are getting a deal in some cases you aren’t. By the time you purchase enough bags of for example charms suckers to equal the amount you get in a grocery store bought bag you are paying the same price if not more.  Certain candies are ok to purchase at the dollar store like dum dums and pixi stix.  You can always price and weight compare before you buy.

SHOP NOW! Halloween clearance is up to 75% off right now!  You can get ribbon, decorations, etc. at a fraction of the cost! Even the dollar store clearances their Halloween stock.

Think simple for party food!  Stick to one theme. example tacos.  This will keep your cost low.  You can also make it a pot luck ask your guests to bring a spooky dish.  And always do BYOB (bring your own booze)  We do offer what we have to all our guests but I always throw BYOB on the invites so the guests know they are welcome to what we have but any special drinks they should bring.

Think simple for your decor if you host your party out in the garage or a tent.  We put up black poly plastic on the walls and over our not so sightly garage junk hung up some caution tape all around. DONE!  Our guests were welcome inside or out.

If you have your party outside or plan on having any outdoor activities ALWAYS have a back up plan.  We had intended to have spooky stories and pass the story game by the fire pit.  Hot apple cider by the fire pit, and Halloween movies on the back of our house using a friends projector for fire and a movie after games and stories for the kids.  However, the wind was horrible so we couldn’t put up the party tent and couldn’t safely have a fire and since it was so cold and windy we couldn’t do the movies either.  So instead we hung apples on strings for no hands apple grabbing game.  I printed out free coloring pages from crayola.com  and my daughter offered several board games for indoor activities.  I would have done more but I didn’t have a back up plan. 😛 the weather changes like crazy here!

That about wraps it up for this Halloween Post!

Until next time… Keep it Frugal!

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Lemon Patties

Well Happy Anniversary Seamingly Crafty!!  I was notified that yesterday was our 1 year anniversary!  I can’t believe it has been a whole year already!  I will be posting a freebie soon to celebrate!  Any ideas?? What would you guys like to see??

Well while you think about that lets talk candy!I found this amazing blog where a recipe was located for Peppermint Patties!  The recipe said you can use really any flavoring you like and I had lemon extract on hand so I chose to make Lemon Patties. 🙂

It was a very easy to follow recipe and only called for a few ingredients:
Powdered sugar
granulated sugar
butter
corn syrup
extract

I will say I think the recipe needed a little bit more lemon extract cause it tastes a little too powdered sugary.  Other than that they are great!

Another good idea would be to coat them in chocolate instead of sugar!

You can find the original recipe here.

Enjoy!

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Scones… Take 1

Lets talk Scones.. What are they?

My first Take on Scones.

A scone is a quick bread.  It is sometimes referred to as a biscuit.  However biscuits use animal fat as apposed to butter which is traditionally used in scones.  Scones can be either sweet or savory.  They are often enjoyed with tea.

Today I’ve been ordered by the doctor to take it easy and rest.  I have been having some hip pain and yesterday it was so severe I cried. 😦  So today I went to see my doctor and found out it is my sciatic nerve.  So I was ordered to rest, take it easy, and take some meds for a week.  So what better way to relax (besides crafting or sewing something ;)) than to bake! 😀 yeah!  My husband has been on this scone kick, a little joke between him and a friend.  Well all the scone talk has gotten me curious! I’ve always seen them never tried them.  Today I decided.. “I am going to bake some scones” 🙂  I figured since I’m a first timer at this I’d Google “easy scone recipe” several popped up and I briefly looked over a couple recipes and decided I’d try the one with the least ingredients.  I don’t know if that was a good thing or not.

So here is what this recipe called for:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut up
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar (use 1/3 for slightly sweeter scones)
  • 2/3 cup milk
See the entire recipe at food.com
Now after I have made the scones I look more into them.  I find that traditionally the basic scone recipe is:
  • 225g/2 cups self raising flour
  • 55g/½ stick cold butter
  • 1 level tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 150 ml/¼ pint milk
  • 1 egg beaten

Notice how it calls for an egg?

From your basic scone ingredients you can add some add ins like cheese, dates, raisins, etc.  by simply adding any dry ingredients to the dry mix and wet when adding in the wet mix.

Well on to my scones…

So I followed the recipe at food.com and found several problems:

For starters I ended up over working the dough because of 2 reasons.  1. the recipe says to form the dough into a ball and flatten into a six inch circle, then goes on to say cut each six inch circle into 6-8 wedges… ok, no where did it say to separate the dough into 2 balls and roll into 2 six inch circles… so I had to make 2 circles.  2. the recipe says you can work in the butter with your hands… not a good idea unless you just came in from the freezing cold and your hands are freezing cold.

I wanted lime scones so I added lime zest and lime juice to my wet ingredients.

I get my dough cut into wedges placed on the baking sheet and put in a preheated 425F oven for 12 minutes.

I end up with a heavy burned on the bottom scone! 😛

What did I do wrong!?

First I think the recipe called for too much flour!  My scones had an uncooked flour taste.  Also I think 425F was just too hot! My scones burned in 12 mins and weren’t very golden on top.  They also did not rise.  I believe this is because the dough was too warm and over worked.

So next time I am going to make sure all my tools are cold including the baking sheet and bowls!  Also I’m going to place the dough in the freezer for 30 min. to help it rise when it’s cooked and be flakier!

Stick around for my Take 2 🙂

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Regrow Food at Home

I’ve always had a green thumb as long as I can remember.  I think it was a trait passed down from my Grandmother cause my Mother also has a green thumb.  Something about growing plants.  🙂  I have always been interested in growing seeds from produce I buy at the store.  I have had a lemon tree growing in a pot for 12 years now, that I started from a seed I saved from a lemon.  1 more year and it will start to bear fruit.  Lemon trees take 13 years to mature.  I recently found out to trick them into thinking they are older to bear fruit much sooner you can prune a stem from an old lemon tree and root it.  I think that may be one of my next projects!  Anyway, that is just one thing you can regrow at home.  Today I’m going to be talking about my latest veggie I decided to give a go at regrowing and so far it’s coming along very well!

Celery!

Yes, you can regrow celery you bought at the store!  Here is how..

photo ©Stacey Austin Seamingly Crafty

Start out with a head of celery.  Cut off the stalks close to the bottom leaving about an inch or two.  Set your stalks aside, we are going to fix those up later in this post.

photo ©Stacey Austin Seamingly Crafty

you will end up with this.

The bottom of the celery head is where the roots will grow from.  Your celery head may have a few small roots already growing from it.

photo ©Stacey Austin Seamingly Crafty

Don’t be discouraged if it doesn’t.  As you can see mine didn’t and was cut really close to the stalks.

Next you can choose to plant your celery out in your garden or you can start it in water in a shallow dish inside or in a pot inside if you wish to grow it over the cold months.  I chose to plant mine in the garden.  When planting in soil plant it down just enough for the nubs of the stalks to sit even with the soil or just under.  In my photo below mine where even but with watering and rain they got covered.  Be sure to water your celery after planting it and be sure to keep the soil moist.  After the roots take well you won’t have to worry so much about the soil staying so moist.

photo ©Stacey Austin Seamingly Crafty

Here is my celery about a week after planting it.  (don’t mind the mess, we were in the process of cleaning up after a storm)

When preparing your celery for regrowing, you can also choose to snap off the stalks leaving only the center most hearts of the celery and plant that.  This will grow your stalks much faster.  🙂  This process I am going to try indoors over the colder months.

So whichever way you choose to regrow your celery enjoy! and please share your experience with me!! 🙂

Now lets talk stalks.

Cut off the tops of the stalks and recycle in compost or use for stock or to feed your bunny 😉   The leaves can be used in salads and can also be dried and used for seasoning.  Clean the stalks well.  I use my potato brush to scrub them.  Store them in a Ziploc bag until ready to use.  OR  If you notice your celery getting limp, simply place them in a container with water stored in the fridge.  They will crisp up in a few hours or less.   I use bottled or filtered water for this.

DID YOU KNOW…

Celery is known as a “negative calorie food”  This is the idea that your body will burn more calories digesting the food than it will extract from the food.  YES! score! 🙂

Celery is also a good alternative to smoking… I know this from personal experience and experiences shared with me by others.  When trying to quit smoking carry around some celery in a small bag.  Whenever you feel the urge to smoke chew on some celery.  🙂  It worked for me.

There are many other foods you can grow from your fridge and pantry.  Coming soon I’ll talk about potatoes and pineapple 🙂

 

In the meantime remember my last post about my sweet peas?  Here is an updated photo.  My how they’ve grown in just 7 days!

photo ©Stacey Austin Seamingly Crafty

 

Until next time… Keep it Crafty! 😉

 

 

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Grilled Zucchini Pizza Style

photo ©Stacey Austin Seamingly Crafty

I came across a recipe for this on Facebook that called to bake the zucchini.  Our brilliant ever changing weather in the Chicagoland area had us a few really hot days.  I absolutely did not want to turn on the oven but I wanted to try this recipe.  So I decided to try it on the grill!  Zucchini is a great veg for summer and eating healthy!  It makes an amazing bread and goes great with tomatoes.  So if you are in the mood for pizza but don’t want the extra carbs and grease try this out.

What you will need:

1 Zucchini per person

grape tomatoes

Italian mix shredded cheese or just Mozzarella

olive oilsalt and pepper

garlic powder

oregano

Start out by slicing your Zucchini in half long ways.  Brush each half with olive oil.  Salt and pepper to taste and sprinkle with a good amount of garlic powder.  slice the grape tomatoes into disks and put a few slices on each zucchini half.  Cover each half with cheese, as much or as little as you like. sprinkle with oregano.

photo ©Stacey Austin Seamingly Crafty

heat your grill.  focus your heat on one side of the grill.  You don’t want the skin of the zucchini to burn.  brush the low or no heat side with olive oil and place the zucchini halves on that side.  They will stay level if you place them between the grate lines on the grill.  Don’t let them tip or the cheese will slide right off during cooking.  Close the grill and allow to cook 25-30 mins.  check on them every 5 mins or so to make sure they are cooking evenly.  Rotate them every 10 min. so the ones closer to the flame don’t burn.  Once the cheese is nice and golden and the zucchini is tender they are ready to come off.

You can enjoy them as a side or as a main dish for lunch or light dinner.

I hope you enjoy!  I would love to hear any comments or trial and error!  Also if you added a different ingredient and how it came out!

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Frozen Grapes Anyone?

photo ©Stacey Austin

This has become a party favorite at our parties.  I usually use seedless red and green grapes.  These were just to have in the freezer for a quick snack and the grapes were on sale 🙂  yes yes I do lurve me a good sale! Especially on produce!  I mentioned these grapes in the The Big day… Sweet 16 to remember post.  These grapes are always the first to go!  They add a nice cool healthy treat to your food table.  I also recommend these guys for summer BBQ’s and just to have in the freezer for an after school snack!

What you’ll need:

Seedless Grapes
granulated sugar
bamboo skewers

 

I start by washing the grapes.  This can be done however you choose but I like to get as much of the impurities off them as possible.  I don’t like the idea of eating pesticide.  Anyway to do this when I get home with my produce. I fill up the sink with cold water and add a cup of vinegar then I put all my produce in it and swish around.  The vinegar will clean off any wax, pesticides etc. that are lingering on the fruit and veggies. Drain the water and rinse thoroughly.  Once your grapes are clean pick them off the bunch and put into a colander.  Grab a baking sheet and set aside.  rinse the grapes again with cold water (the water is needed to hold the sugar) and start putting them on the skewers and setting on the baking sheet.  Once you have them all done sprinkle the grapes with sugar.  How much sugar you use is up to you, you can omit the sugar completely.  I try the grapes and if they are sour I will add a bit more sugar if they are sweet then none.  Put the baking sheet in the freezer.  Once they are frozen you can transfer them to a large Ziploc baggy or freezer container.

Enjoy! 🙂

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Light Lime Slaw

Photo ©Stacey Austin

Here in the Chicagoland area we have had our annual few warm days in early spring.  I do love these days I only wish they’d stay longer.  As I type there are ice balls bouncing off of our picnic table in the backyard.  Sigh.  Well during those couple of warm days I got to feeling like I’m coming out of the winter hibernation finally and felt like having a nice light dinner.  In our home we are big fans of the show Chopped.  I think this is because ever since being a young girl I remember experimenting with food.  My very first food I cooked, aside from toast, was french fries.  I remember going through my Moms seasonings and shaking random seasonings into the hot oil with the fries.  This was exciting for me.  My Sister and I were being babysat by my Aunt so I felt lucky being able to cook with very little help. While her and my sister did their hair and make up I cooked.   The fries turned out great from what I remember.  Ever since then I have enjoyed crafting food. 😉  Well lets get back to this light dinner mood I was in..  Winter is full of oven cooking, hearty meals and comfort foods and to me summer is all about light meals and BBQ’s.  So I decided to make mini tacos.  I wanted something different tho.  I wanted a summery twist.  So I went in the fridge and pulled out the cabbage, and limes  and thought hmm, I can turn this into something awesome.

Light Lime Slaw

Ingredients:

2 cups shredded cabbage
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil

2 limes

½ tsp sesame seeds

½ tsp celery salt

pinch of red pepper flakes

pinch of cracked pepper

In a large bowl whisk together the olive oil, juice from the limes, celery salt, pepper flakes and cracked pepper.  While this sits for a few allowing the juices to absorb flavor from the seasoning toast the sesame seeds.  The more you toast the nuttier the flavor.  For this slaw I like them very lightly toasted.  You can also choose to leave the seeds out.  Once toasted add them to the dressing and whisk.  Add the cabbage to the bowl and using tongs toss until well coated.

I made this to top our mini tacos.  It can be added atop baked chicken breasts or even fish.  🙂

Enjoy!

 

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The Big Day… A Sweet 16 to Remember.

I do hope everyone is enjoying this weekend!  Well the big day came and went and I am satisfied with the results! It was a great party!  I am going to share all of my prep and party planning.  I saved big money on my daughters sweet 16 party by cutting a few corners and doing the work myself.

We started the day finishing up food prep and getting all the snacks ready. The menu was simple, I didn’t want to have a ton of leftovers and I didn’t want to over spend on food, too much food means too much time away from doing other important things.  So we kept it very simple.

MENU:

  • sub sandwich
  • mostaccioli
  • garlic bread
  • strawberry cheesecake salad
  • frozen grape kabobs
  • assortment of chips
  • crackers and cheese
  • salsa
  • water
  • assortment of soda
  • sweet tea
  • pink lemonade

For starters we ordered a 6ft sub from the Walmart Deli.  We had ham, turkey and American cheese on the sub and had all the condiments on the side so everyone could choose how they wanted their sandwich.  I found that it is much cheaper to order a full sub as opposed to ordering individual sandwiches or even a cut sub.  It is so simple to just cut it yourself.  The sub can be divided and wrapped in saran wrap and put in the fridge until it is ready to be cut later in the day. I cut the sub into individual sandwiches and arranged it on a large platter.   I made a large pan of my ‘famous’ mostaccioli.  ( I have several people that ask if I’m making it for every party, I think they secretly only come for the cioli.. lol) 🙂 I can make a large pan of it for as little as $10.  The most expensive thing in it is the cheese.  The mostaccioli was prepared the evening before and cooked in the oven the day of so it was a very quick and simple dish. For garlic bread to go with the pasta I used 4 cans of biscuits cut each one in half and stretched each piece a bit then sprinkled with garlic powder and oregano and baked as directed.  I made frozen grape kabobs the day before the party.  These are simple and easy to make and cheap if you get the grapes on sale.  Because they are frozen they keep for a while in the freezer!  Trust me this will be the first dish to go.  🙂  I found a recipe on Google for a strawberry cheesecake salad. Sounds yummy right!?  It is!  And very simple to make! Most of the prep for this salad can be done the day or night before the party.  I mixed the liquids and powder the night before and also cut the strawberries and sealed in a Ziploc.  The only prep that can’t be done before hand is the cutting of the bananas because they will brown if they sit too long so those get cut just before serving!  Check out the recipe below!

photo and recipe from food.com click here for recipe

I put out a tray of assorted snack crackers and a cheese spread.  Potato Chips, pretzels, tortilla chips and salsa were put in bowls and all set out on tables for a simple snack item in reach.  For beverages I filled dispensers with Country Time pink lemonade and homemade sweet tea.   I also had bottled water and 4 3 liters of soda.  I wanted to make sure we had a nice assortment of beverages.  Remember not everyone drinks carbonated drinks!

Our total cost altogether for our entire food and beverage menu was just about $75.  I purchased as much as I could from the dollar store and Aldi and I made sure to grab what I needed in advance when there was a great sale and I had a coupon.  By making my own large pan of pasta I saved $40.  Compared to our local caterer.  So any entre you can make, like baked or fried chicken etc. that is simple for you do it yourself!!  You will save big $$!

The next step of day was putting up decorations.  The party colors were black and purple so all of our decorations were those colors.  We found this neat ceiling decoration on Pinterest and did it in the party colors.  We also used streamers.

photo from pinterest

We had plans to set up a large tent in the driveway where the dance floor would be however due to high winds we were unable to use the tent.  But the birthday girl didn’t seem to mind.

We put black and purple table cloths on all the tables.  Using Avery.com I made coordinating signs for each table.  On the gift table we placed a sign with the signature pillow I created a while back.  The guests were able to sign it when they placed gifts and cards on the table.

The sign reads: Sign my Pillow Pick a spot, and write a note, over time I’ll enjoy reading what you wrote, please be polite and leave some room for others.

I created a nice candy buffet in rainbow colors.  The birthday girls favorite candy is skittles.  We put another sign on the buffet table along with some bags and ties that had a little thank you card attached.  The candy buffet had skittles, the dum dum tree, marshmallow horns (unicorn horns), life savers, gummy bears, pixie stix, Twizzlers and gourmet marshmallow pops.  I used black and purple ribbon and circle tags that coordinate with the signs also made on avery.com as seen in this post for the sweet 16 invitations.

We left a space on one side of the candy buffet table for the cake.  A friend of mine volunteered to take on this cake my daughter wanted.  She had several different cakes she liked and my friend put all three of them together and came up with this gorgeous cake design.

We put together matching plates, napkins and silverware with coordinating circle cut outs for the cake.

I set up a photo booth for the guests.  My daughter and I spent 8 hours creating photo props.  We wanted to have a large assortment.  We also spent a few bucks at the dollar store for some neat glasses and a few other props.  I made signs for the booth explaining how to use it and also one for props and one explaining the photos will be mailed out after the party.  I also made a little sign for the entrance saying open on one side and closed on the other.  The booth wasn’t open the entire day because I of course needed the camera to take pictures.

we had a ton of props!

This is how the booth was arranged.

After the party we sent out the guests photos on these neat photo strips I created using adobe elements.

Once all the party preps were set it was time to party! 🙂

The festivities started with the birthday girl being crowned, My hubby and I found the this beautiful tiara at The Icing in the mall.

Her Daddy is so proud.

Opening the gift from us. I couldn’t book her favorite band for her party but I did the next best thing and bought her 4 tickets to see them next month. She was totally not expecting them especially having this big box to open. 🙂 She was so happy she cried.

That is it.  The day was absolutely amazing and I am sure it was extremely memorable for her!

Coming up I’m going to be posting info on how to make the food and a how to for the photo booth.

until next time..

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Beef Rice Soup

I snapped this picture with my iPod. not too bad. 😉

If there is one thing I dislike more than doing dishes and laundry it has to be cleaning out the fridge every Thursday morning and tossing the past weeks leftovers!  I don’t know about anyone else but it seems like to me when I make less there isn’t enough because everyone is starving! But when I make more I end up putting another meals worth in a container and into the fridge to be forgotten about and tossed on Thursday!

I have been in a soup mood for a few days now and today while looking in the cupboard for some soup nothing seemed to jump out and beg to be cooked.  I thought about dinner I had made the night before last and I grabbed the beef bouillon to make a broth.  Out of the fridge came the Veggie fried rice.  It was amazing, and it satisfied me in more than one way.  First It satisfied my soup craving and second it was satisfying knowing that was one less meal that went to waste.

I am assuming this might work with fried rice from a Chinese take out too!  I just might have to try it next time!

Here is what I did:

4 cups of water

4 beef bouillon cubes

approx. 1 ½ cups of leftover veggie fried rice.

1 tsp. crushed peppercorns

Bringt the water and bouillon cubes to a boil and cooked until the cubes dissolved

slowly add in the 1 ½ cups of fried rice and crushed peppercorns

boil about 5 minutes

serve with crackers!

 

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