Radiant Orchid Summer – Fun with Design + Life + Kids

Sometimes, as a blogger, I get to do really fun stuff. A couple of weekends ago, I was invited to attend a crafting event hosted by a fellow blogger, Kim Wardell, who writes Design + Life + Kids, an awesome blog that’s all about modern design combined with loving family. This event focused around Pantone’s color of the year; Radiant Orchid.

It was a lovely summer afternoon and Kim gathered a group of fellow bloggers and interested crafters to enjoy some delicious cocktails, wonderful snacks and fabulous cookies. Oh, and there was a craft too! I put my new-found dyeing skills to good use as we dip-dyed picnic blankets.

The cocktails – a Watermelon Lemonade cocktail with vodka, was presented two ways – over ice, or made into slushies:

ice ball

Aren’t those spheres awesome? I love how Kim added slices of lime and strawberry for decoration. These were made using Zoku Ice Ball Molds. I was lucky enough to get a set in my swag ‘bucket’ – can’t wait to try them out. Also, I want to point out the orchids in the background – they were furnished by The Bouqs, another one of the many great sponsors of the event. They are an online flower delivery service, unlike any other out there. Definitely check them out next time you want to send flowers to someone special. I’m looking forward to using the coupon they left in our swag bucket…

The second presentation used the Zoku Slush & Shake Maker (in purple, of course):

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And, not to brag, but I got one of these in my swag bucket too…

For folks who didn’t want a cocktail, the Brandywine Valley Brewing Collective brewed a special beer just for the event – Radiant Orchid Blueberry Wheat. 

beer sign

These stunning cookies were provided by the fabulous Whipped Bakeshop – one of Philadelphia’s premier bakeries. Their artistry is unmatched:

cookies

Leave it to me to lead with the food and drink – this was a crafting party, right? The featured craft of the day was sponsored by Rit Dye. We all dip dyed flat sheets, using their liquid dye.

dye

Once we finished, we hung them on clothes lines to dry – don’t they look awesome? I’m hoping to convince Izzie that this will be a good birthday party idea some year…

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Mine’s the one in front that has a yellow hue to it. I’m still on the fence with how I feel about it. I learned a valuable lesson about dyeing – less chatting, more dyeing… Oh, also – buy the liquid dye. Just do it. It’s a little more money, but it’s so much easier!!!

In addition to the food, drink and crafting, we were treated to other drawings and giveaways from other wonderful sponsors – Minted gave away three prints, La Siesta gave away a super cool hammock chair to one lucky guest. Each of us walked away with a big swag bucket filled with lots of goodies – two bottles of dye from Rit Dye, fun books from Quirk Books, a lovely pearl necklace given by Panache BoxDreamfarm, a fun home accessories maker gave us a jot and a tapi, Bing gave us a calligraphy print and Bing Ads + Bing Rewards coupon codes, and the swag bucket was given by Casabella Clean.

Speaking of Minted, guess who forgot to bring her beautiful new business cards from Minted to the event? Yup, this girl. They are so pretty – I was so looking forward to showing them off, er, giving them out! Guess I’ll just have to show them off here:

biz card

 

I had so much fun at this event. I met some really creative women, enjoyed great conversations, and laughed a lot. Many thanks to Kim, her team, and to the many sponsors! It was a huge success.

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An epic reptile party

My darling son turned five recently. Like many five year-old boys, he loves reptiles, bugs, dirt, puddles, etc. When it came time to plan his birthday party, I knew I needed to incorporate one of his loves. Enter the ‘Reptile’ theme… The highlight of this event was the live reptile show, given by Snakes-n-Scales, – in my living room. I’m still trying to forget the fact that a boa constrictor was IN. MY. LIVING ROOM. (Please forgive the lack of focus in this photo – I must have been shaking. Or rocking back and forth.)

boa

Regardless of the live animals, we had a theme – and once I have a theme, there’s no stopping me.

First stop, Etsy. Hours and hours on Etsy. Because, that’s what I do. I have to look at and analyze every single reptile related item available on Etsy. Seriously. Anyway, I found an adorable printable package that had the invitation, and a series of printables from AR Party Printables. We worked together to customize the invite and other items. I was able to carry this theme through every element of the party.

Drink Tags (blog post coming soon!):

drink tags

Grown-up Drinks – Blueberry Mojitos:

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This is super simple – I used a 2 inch circle punch to make the tags and took a little piece of adhesive putty and stuck it to the side of the mason jar. Clean-up is simple, because the putty just comes right off and you are ready to use your mason jars for another purpose!

Goodie ‘Bags’ (click for more detail):

 goodie bags2

 Kid’s Drinks – Green Punch:

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Aren’t these adorable? I used half pint mason jars. I found these little lizards at the Dollar Tree and adhered them to the rings with a hot glue gun.  The ‘lid’ is just a cute cupcake liner that I found at Michael’s. Punched a hole in the middle of the liner for the straw and voila!

Flower Arrangements/terrariums:

flower arrangement

I already had these cool hurricanes. I filled the bottom with rocks I got from the Dollar Tree and added some plants from my water features(however, you could do this with plastic ferns or other artificial plants). Then we added in some of the plastic reptiles that we also sourced from the Dollar Tree, put water in the bottom and that was our centerpiece.

The turtle-shaped pizza:

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I used a turtle shaped cookie cutter, rolled out Trader Joe’s pizza dough, put on a little pizza sauce and cheese. To save time, we pre-cut the shapes and par-cooked them before the party. All we had to do at party time was add the sauce and cheese and bake.

The alligator-shaped cupcake display:

cake

I found this idea in “Hello, Cupcake”, a book by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson. It has lots of great ideas – if you love baking and cake decorating, this is a fun book. Theirs looks a little more professional, but it was about 200 degrees that day and the icing was so soft. Oh, and we don’t pipe icing on a regular basis, so, here you go. I still think it looked awesome – many thanks to my mom’s patient hands and piping skills.

In addition to these menu items, I served fruit salad, soft pretzel sticks and assorted sandwiches. Everyone had a blast. The other kids who love reptiles got to see and touch many of these reptiles, which was a huge thrill. Even the kids who were a little hesitant around reptiles seemed to have fun.  It was a huge success, despite the excessive heat. Parents and kids felt free to linger – which to me is always a sign of a good party.

Many thanks to Snakes-n-Scales, the folks who gave the presentation. All jokes aside, they did an awesome job. Nate was thrilled and they made sure all the reptiles stayed far, far away from me, which was much appreciated. They also ensured that all of said reptiles returned to their respective tubs and left my house. If you live in Pennsylvania, New Jersey or parts of New York (check out their website for specific coverage), I would highly recommend them. They are also a reptile rescue center, so the money you pay for the party goes towards helping animals.

BTW, did I mention there was a boa constrictor IN. MY. LIVING ROOM.???!!!! Not to mention, an alligator, python, lizards, giant turtles, I could go on…

 

 

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I love mojitos!!

I am a huge fan of mojitos. The refreshing combination of mint, lime, rum and soda water are incredible. Definitely a summer staple for me. I also love mojitos that have been doctored with fruits and different flavors. The basic mojito is a great starting point for lots of flavor combinations.

Recently, while procrastinating on Pinterest, I came across a recipe for Blueberry Mojitos from The Novice Chef. Of course, I was drawn in by the word ‘mojito’ but as I read the blog post, I was mesmerized by the gorgeous photos. Plus, this delicious concoction was pictured in a mason jar. I just love anything in a mason jar. If you want me to pin something of yours, put it in a mason jar. I will pin it, that’s a fact. 

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I changed the recipe a little, to my taste – doubling the mint and the sugar, but otherwise kept it the same. Mine are much more purple, which I don’t totally understand, but they were still pretty and more importantly, delicious.

mojitos

I made up a huge batch and served these at my son’s birthday party. I always like to have a little something for the parents who come and sit through these parties. They are great fun for a five year-old, but for the parents it is often a labor of love. It’s always a nice surprise to be remembered. Not necessary, but nice. For all you parents, who will be sitting through a kid’s party this weekend, I hope there’s something as beautiful as this waiting for you as your reward for being an awesome parent. Enjoy!

 mojitos close up

Blueberry Mojito
Serves 2
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup fresh blueberries, plus more for garnish
  2. 4 ou. white rum
  3. 20 fresh mint leaves
  4. 4 tsp sugar
  5. Juice of 2 limes
  6. 6 ou club soda
Instructions
  1. In a food processor or blender, puree the blueberries until smooth.
  2. In a cocktail shaker, combine the mint leaves and sugar. Muddle together with either a muddle, or a wooden spoon. The sugar helps to release the delicious oils from the mint leaves. Add the lime juice, rum and blueberries and shake well.
  3. Divide mixture between two ice-filled glasses, and top off with club soda. Give the drinks a stir and garnish with a sprig of mint, a lime wedge and some extra blueberries.
Adapted from Blueberry Mojito, The Novice Chef
Good at Everything http://goodateverything.net/
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Drink of the week (a little late)…

If you follow me on Facebook, you saw this picture of a delicious Lemon-Thyme Tequila Spritzer last Thursday:

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You also saw that I promised a recipe Friday, which has long since passed. Here’s what happened. After sipping on several of these beauties, I decided that I needed to play around with the original recipe, which didn’t happen until much later in the weekend.

When I started this blog (a distant three weeks ago…) I knew that I wanted to share tried-and-true recipes. I want my readers to be able to come here and know they are getting a great recipe. I promise that I will never post a recipe that I have not tested, tasted and approved. Lots of the recipes I will share will be from other sources. I will always credit and link to the original recipe. However, there will be many times that I will put my own twist or infuse my personal taste on something, which I will also share within the post. 

This recipe is no different. The original inspiration for this recipe came from a post on Pinterest, from another blog, Love and Homemade Recipes. I am a big fan of herbs in my cocktails, so I knew I had to give this one a try. The original recipe is lovely – though, I felt I wanted to tweak it a little for my tastes.

Here’s what you’ll need:

 Ingredients

Organic lemons, sugar, thyme, good tequila (I use Patron), and sparkling water. First thing you want to do is make the simple syrup. If you are able, make this in advance, so it has time to cool and the thyme can to infuse the syrup. Combine 1 cup sugar, 1 cup water, the zest of 2 lemons and a bunch of thyme (the more you add, the more thyme flavor you’ll get) in a saucepan. If you are unable to make the syrup in advance, put more thyme in. Bring syrup to a low boil and simmer for 5 – 10 minutes. Let syrup cool completely. 

By the way, does everyone have a zester? It is an indispensible kitchen tool that will make quick work of the zesting task. I also use mine for grating small amounts of parmesan cheese or shaved chocolate. This is what one looks like. You can buy them at any kitchen supply store.

rasp

 Ok, back to the recipe. Squeeze the juice of six lemons and strain the juice into a small pitcher (1L). Add 1/2 cup tequila to the pitcher, the cooled simple syrup, a handful of ice and fill the remainder of the pitcher with sparkling water. Stir well. Float some lemon slices and sprigs of thyme in the pitcher for decoration. Fill some pretty glasses with lemon slices, a sprig of thyme, ice and the spritzer and enjoy!

This is a delightfully refreshing drink – I hope you love it as much as I do!

Lemon-Thyme Tequila Spritzer
A deliciously refreshing summer cocktail.
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Ingredients
  1. Lemon-Thyme Simple Syrup
  2. 1 cup sugar
  3. 1 cup water
  4. 2 organic lemons, zested
  5. 10 sprigs thyme
To prepare drink
  1. 6 lemons, juiced and strained
  2. 1/2 cup good tequila
  3. sparkling water
  4. ice
  5. lemon slices
  6. thyme sprigs (for garnish)
Instructions
  1. Combine sugar, water, lemon zest and thyme sprigs in saucepan. Bring to low boil and simmer for 5 - 10 minutes. Cool completely.
  2. Strain simple syrup and pour into a small pitcher, combine lemon juice, tequila, a handful of ice, and fill the remaining space with sparkling water. Stir well. Serve over ice with lemon slices and a sprig of thyme for garnish.
Notes
  1. Try to make the simple syrup ahead of time and leave the thyme sprigs in the syrup to infuse more flavor.
Adapted from Kelly Brisson, The Gouda Life
Good at Everything http://goodateverything.net/

 

 

 

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What I bring to a potluck

This past weekend, we gathered with all the families in my son’s preschool class for an end-of-the-year potluck. While most people brought lovely salads, fruit, juice boxes, etc. I brought sangria. Now, one might argue that sangria might not be appropriate for a school potluck. I don’t need to argue with you, because you are wrong. Want to know how I know this? Because it was gone. Not a drop left. And I only had 1.5 glasses.

This recipe is for a classic red wine sangria and is divine. I have been making it for years and have perfected my recipe over time. I rarely share it. Mainly because I’ve only written it down once to send to my friend Marcy and I lost that email long ago. I always have to email her for it. Thankfully, she is very organized and can send it back to me quickly. I’m sure she’ll be relieved to know she will never have to send it to me, ever again.

The key to this recipe is using freshly squeezed orange and lime juice. Also, try to find Valencia oranges, they are much sweeter. If you cannot find Valencia, you may need more sugar. I ended up making a double batch, but the recipe below is for a single batch. My apologies if this is confusing…

Here’s what you’ll need:

ingredients

A dry red wine – this one is a Pinot Noir. Don’t spend too much on it – there are lots of great options under $10. You’ll also need sparkling water, Valencia oranges, limes and a pear. Not pictured, granulated sugar.

To start, place the sugar and wine into a pitcher or beverage dispenser and stir to dissolve the sugar. Next, get working on the limes. You’ll need to juice some and slice some – a total of seven to eight limes.

lime juice sliced limes

Pour the juice and drop the lime slices into the pitcher. The next step is the oranges. You’ll need a total of seven to eight oranges, some to juice and some to slice.

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Pour the juice and drop the orange slices into the pitcher. Onto the final step – the pear (there will be two in the picture, since I doubled the recipe, plus, I thought the pears made a nice pair…hee hee). Slice and throw it into the pitcher.

  pears sliced pears

Refrigerate overnight. Add one cup sparkling water right before serving.

sparkling water  

Enjoy!

Sangria
Serves 6
A classic rendition of an all-time favorite.
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
18 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
18 min
Ingredients
  1. 3 sliced limes
  2. 2 sliced Valencia oranges
  3. 1 sliced pear
  4. 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  5. 1/2 cup fresh lime juice (approx. 4 limes)
  6. 1 cup fresh orange juice (approx. 5 oranges, preferably Valencia)
  7. 1 bottle dry red wine
  8. 1 cup carbonated water
Instructions
  1. Put sugar and wine in a pitcher and stir to dissolve. Add limes, oranges, pear, sugar, lime juice and orange juice into pitcher. Refrigerate overnight. Add carbonated water just before serving.
Notes
  1. (double batch pictured)
Good at Everything http://goodateverything.net/
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