Sunday, June 16, 2013

Plants Versus Zomies Birthday Party

For Parker's 7th birthday we did a Plants Versus Zombies Theme. The banner Chad made for Parker was totally awesome!

Parker loved the cake I made him!

I made individual dirt cakes for everyone. I made the sunflowers out of gum paste and junior mint candies.  The caution cones, pea shooters and fence around the cake were also made of from gum paste. The big caution cone on the zombie head was made from an ice cream sugar cone and more gum paste. I used  Lu cookies for the headstones. I used the Wilton 3-D Skull Pan to make a red velvet zombie head. The eyeballs are Lindor White Chocolate Truffles. And his teeth are mini marshmallows. The bottom layer was a marble cake with my cream cheese frosting. I used Wilton's food color paste to make the green and grey color.

I used green Twizzlers to make the stems for the flower pots.
I also had some fun RIP, eyeball, and hand picks that I stuck in cupcakes and flower pots.
I wanted parents and kids to have their own dessert to take home in additional to goodie bags.
Chad found some Plants Versus Zombie toys on Amazon. There are so darn funny! 
Dimensions® 3-D Skull Pan

Here's my cream cheese frosting recipe...
Cream Cheese Frosting
2 packages Cream Cheese
1 container Fleischmann's Olive Oil Spread - approx 1 cup
1 bag Confectioner's Sugar - approx 10 cups
tsp Vanilla Extract
Let cream cheese set out until room temperature. Combine cream cheese and Freshman's until smooth. Slowly begin stirring in powdered sugar. I cover my mixer with a damp towel to prevent sugar dust flying everywhere. Add a vanilla and continue mixing for about 10 minutes. If you prefer your frosting a bit thicker, simply add more powdered sugar.
Here's my dirt cake recipe....
Dirt Cake
1  package Oreo cookies
1 package cream cheese, room temperature
1 stick of butter, room temperature
4 small packages instant French vanilla pudding
4 3/4 cups milk
16-ounce carton Cool Whip, let sit out until soft
Use food processor to crumble Oreos until they look like dirt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine cream cheese and butter, and stir until smooth. Set aside.
In another large bowl, mix together instant-pudding mixes and milk. Fold pudding mixture into cream-cheese mixture. Fold in whipped cream.
Alternate layers of "dirt" and pudding mix.

I also made Parker a fun Happy Birthday banner.

Here's a close up of a brown glitter letter.
Parker certainly had a great birthday this year!

Our Kitchen Updates

Back in December we started on updating the kitchen by changing the color again. Although I loved the color, Chad was not loving it. It definitely feels like a more modern color now. I love it with all the shades of brown, plus it really looks nice with the stainless steel appliances and my stained glass.
Chad installed both up lighting and under the cabinet lighting. I love way it reflects on the glass tiles.
In January I had Natural Stone World come and install the granite. I had 3 different companies come give me estimates. They all said my kitchen measured about 65 square feet without a back splash, and they all were very similar in price. It became clear I needed to have them do the counters. Notice that small piece of granite on the cabinet by the refrigerator behind my Kitchenaide. Natural Stone World won my business because they were the only company to tell me I would need a piece of granite in that corner. If not, there would be a gap between the counter and the cabinet. Because the walls aren't perfectly square, if a piece of paper or food crumbs fell in that small space I would never be able to them out.
One other small detail that made Natural Stone World stand out was suggesting to extend the counter just slightly past the wall. It really looks fantastic! This picture was taken before Chad added the case molding.
We asked the people that bought our last house if they would consider selling us the stained glass lighting we had in the kitchen. Luckily they really did not like it and wanted new lighting. Yay! At first Chad thought I was totally off my rocker wanting to ask them to sell it to me. Especially knowing that we would have bought it twice. But Lowe's only sells one style now,  the rest of the lighting has been discontinued. I couldn't help it, I just love it and think stained glass fits beautifully in a craftsman style home.

One of the reasons I feel in love with this house was because of the open floor plan.
It's nice to be able to cook and keep an eye on Parker playing in the living room.
There are a few other things we did in the kitchen to update it that are not obvious. Chad installed a pull out spice rack to the right of the refrigerator, added a pull out trash cans to the left of the dishwasher, changed the faucet, added pull handles under the sink and the under sink mount kit which holds sponges etc.
Yesterday Chad & I celebrated our 18 year anniversary! Wow! It does not feel real saying that. The time has passed so quickly. I don't feel any older, just a bit wiser :)
He bought me the most beautiful roses!
Chad added the case molding in-between the kitchen and living room. He did such a fabulous job! It really looks like it should have always been there.
Doesn't the case molding make a huge difference! And look at the difference a wide angle makes.
We added about 14 more inches of counter space. I helped Chad install these beautiful and huge corbels. Not only were they needed to support the longer counter, but they were needed for more character and style. It's really nice having a place to sit at the counter now.
Here's a close-up of the butterfly beige granite. I love it!

Hehehe, this picture is on it's side. The glass mosaic tiles came from Lowe's, a color called mahogany. My stained glass skills and tools certainly came in handy when Chad and I were putting the back splash in.

Here's a picture of how the kitchen looked before the makeover. This one and the next picture were actually used in the marketing of the house for sale.  A wide angle lens makes such a huge difference in getting a good picture of a room. You can't tell that the ceiling is so high and that the cabinets go all the way up. The counters really were in pretty good condition, but the granite is so fine now!

The kitchen is huge, so a light color was not necessary to make it look big and airy. The paint color was to close to the trim color.  All the trim and crown molding was not noticeable before.

Wide Angle Lens Love

I'm pretty excited about the new wide angel lens I bought for my camera yesterday!
 I've been wanting one for months. I finally went to Dury's in Nashville and bought a Tamron 10-24mm lens. It made it so much easier to take a picture of my bathroom. Before I would have needed to take 3 pictures just to capture everything in this one picture.
Back in December we painted our bathroom again. Yeah, I finally got around to buy the lens so I could take this picture. This color is from Valspar, it's called Bamboo. I think it's the perfect khaki, brownish, greenish color.  Look how all the wood and molding pops now! I'm lucky to have such a large bathroom and I love the vaulted ceiling!
And look at that beautiful orchid! My friend Cheryl bought it for me over 6 weeks ago and the blooms still look fabulous!
 Back in November I posted this picture of our bathroom after adding the picture frame molding around the mirrors. Seriously look at the difference the lens makes.
Although brown is my favorite color, this shade was just not perfect. We needed more contrast between the wood and wall color.
Do you remember this picture? I still do not understand why it was used to market our home when it was fore sale. Notice how the molding is lost with that light cream color.
 It definitely feels more spa like now!

Locks Of Love Donation

Now that summer is here it was time to donate my hair to Locks Of Love again. It had gotten so long that it was beginning to get annoying closing it in my car door all the time. lol
I do feel luck that it grows so fast. For the past 10 years, about every 2 years I have been able to donate at least 12 inches of my hair.
This year I was able to donate 15 inches! Wow! I did not realize it had gotten that long! It's kinda funny just how much darker my hair looked after all that length was cut off.
 Even with my salt & pepper :)
Locks of Love provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children in the United States and Canada suffering from long-term medical hair loss. Their mission is to return a sense of self, confidence and normalcy to children suffering from hair loss by utilizing donated ponytails to provide the highest quality hair prosthetics. 
Please consider donating your hair the next time you get it cut.
Here is their contact information...
Locks of Love
234 Southern Blvd
West Palm Beach, FL 33405
561-833-7962 (fax)

Our Backyard Retreat is Complete

I'm so happy to be finished with all the major outdoor projects! 
It's so nice to have such a wonderful space to entertain or just relax in.
Since we had the cement slabs poured at different times, Chad painted the concrete a light sand color.
To give us a little more privacy in the backyard, we built a 6 foot privacy fence that's probably about 32 feet long. We did not want to fence the entire backyard because we would lose the view of huge open field. 
 Weekends are beginning to feel more like a vacation. Now that summer is here, we've cooled the hot tub down. We can splash around in the tub while enjoying a little Bob Marley on the outdoor speakers. It's so nice having the outdoor refrigerator under the bar. We can keep plenty of drinks cold, and food to through on the grill. 

Chad did an amazing job designing and building the pergola. Not to mention the fireplace, bar and "brick rug".  I did the "easy job" of staining the fence, while he stained the pergola.
The landscaping has come such a long way since we bought our home last year!
Can you even believe it's the same place!?!