Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Stampin' Up

I love invitations. I don't care if it's not "green". I do occasionally waiver on how expensive they can be, as with postage, but I have always loved getting mai. I cannot give up sending "real" paper invitations to the parties I throw. An Evite just isn't the same, and while a Facebook invite is certainly convenient, nothing sets the tone for a party like a clever invitation.

For the bridal shower I am throwing in August, I've finished the invites, addressed the envelopes, and even found the PERFECT stamps! I don't always worry too much about stamps, especially now that I don't get to the post office as often, but when I saw these "CELEBRATE" stamps I knew I had to get them to coordinate with my upcoming invitations:

I won't give too much away, but the colors (and sentiment) were just toooooo perfect! Of course, they only had ONE sheet, and I needed two, but I was able to supplement with these:

which also worked nicely, and are very pretty. They're both forever stamps, so you could stock up without worry of a price increase (supplemental stamps are such a pain - I always just end up putting on a 2nd full price stamp to save the hassle - I'm wasteful like that).

Pics to come!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Riding the bus was the scariest part...

I volunteered with the [MN]Love booth at Twin Cities Pride today, and got to play with some chalk:

Not a terrible rendition of the logo, right? I was pretty impressed with myself considering I did it on the fly/outside/stooped over an awkward table.

I didn't stay too long at the festival (had to get home to pump before my boobs exploded)but I did have a lovely visit with the folks from Visit Decorah and found out in addition to Minnesota and New York, I am also a legal wedding officiant in the great state of Iowa (and Wisconsin if I get a note)! So if anyone is getting married and would like to send me to either NY or Iowa, I would love to cross #161 off my bucket list!

If you haven't gotten your "Marriage is..." photo taken yet, look for the [MN]Love booth at Rochester or Duluth-Superior Pride festivals, and remember to vote NO on the ammendment in November 2012...

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Pumping Moms

I'm contributing to a new blog called Pumping Moms and my post is up today. You can read it here, it might eventually be a good resource for EP (exclusively pumping) moms. But if you are scared of boobs or breast milk, or if you'd rather not learn about my sore nipples (I completely understand) you should instead distract yourself with this HILARIOUS post from The Bloggess that Al sent me this morning.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Bucket List #100: Get my car detailed

I really should have taken some before photos, but it would have been too embarassing to post them. Most people's cars get gross after they have kids, but mine was almost too gross to subject a gooey projectile vomiting kid to, and that's not exaggerating. There were no floor mats, though you probably couldn't tell. There was more dog fur than Norm is currently wearing. And at some point an entire package of silver thumb tacks spilled everywhere and I continued to find them for years. So it was definitely time. And I was scared that whatever was probably growing under the seats could be hazardous to my daughter's health.

So the car went in, with the plan being have the trunk fixed (it stopped locking...which made it a guessing game whenever you put something in there - would it fly open and spill all over the highway? Would someone come along and realize they could just lift the lid and help themselves to my belongings? Not good) and splurge on a detailing.

And of course, it all went wrong from there.

The trunk problem was more than the latch, it was also the struts. And then the wrong struts came. And then only one of the right ones came, so they had to wait again. And my brakes were gone. And when they took apart the brakes to replace them, the knuckles were stripped so that had to be fixed or the car couldn't go back together.

This is why I avoid regular timely car maitenance, it always spirals into a giant disaster and I am traumatized. Which only means I save up even more problems for the next time. Viscious cycle.

Eventually they got it all put together, and I had to give back the cushy courtesy car we'd been tooling around in for over a week, along with a nice big chunk of $$$ that was certainly NOT in the budget at this time...

But the car is clean. And The Cupcake is safe from mutant french fries, thumb tacks, and whatever else was making a cozy home in the rubble.

If you google image search "car detailing," you get a ton of half naked ladies washing cars. Guess I had no idea what was going on when I dropped off my little family car.

Saturday, June 18, 2011


My cake was dry :( So sad.

Friday, June 17, 2011

5 Little Piggies

Not only is June here, but it's already flying by - where is time going? The Cupcake is racing through her 5th month, and we have some exciting events coming up this summer. Right now her main source of intrigue is her toes - which have finally emerged from the winter of swaddling/footie sleepers/baby socks and appear to be the best pacifier around. Who knew?

I, on the other hand, am funnelling my spare energies into planning a bridal shower for my soon-to-be sister in law, and would really like to catch up on my photo books eventually, but that may be a bit of a pipe dream. In all, things are pretty good. Definitely getting better. TC is still waking up 1-2 times a night, but she goes down pretty consistently between 9-10pm and is often still asleep when I leave on mornings I work, which makes showering and getting ready a lot easier. Between her swing, jolly jumper, and jumperoo she has all sorts of play areas that can occupy her time and allow me a few minutes to load the dishwasher, put away milk, or occasionally a small craft project.

Which means I will eventually have a few more things to post! I can't share too many of the bridal shower projects before the big day, but hopefully I'll get to work on a few other mini crafts soon as well, and I DEFINITELY need to organize my craft room before someone wanders up there and is trapped forever in the rubble.

Also, tonight I made a cake. Because I needed one. Mmmmm. I can hardly settle myself down for bed knowing I have a whole chocolate cake with vanilla frosting waiting in the refrigerator. Breakfast of Champions, to be sure. But TC is down for the count, so I'd better take advantage and catch some sleep myself. G'night!

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Romp in the Swamp Party Links - Halloween 2010

If you are looking for info, pics, tutorials, and inspiration for a Louisiana-themed party, here are all of the posts on my 2010 Halloween Extravaganza, "Romp in the Swamp." I've had the links in my sidebar as I worked on writing everything up, but now that we've moved on you can either click on the NOLA label, or one of the posts below:

Voo Doo Doll Invitations

Gator Farm (bathroom)
Talbot Strawberry Topping
Fangtasia (basement/bar)
Mardi Gras (living/dining room)
VooDoo Shop (nursery)
Using a "Scene Setter" (tutorial)

Recipes - Confetti Rice, Creole Mustard Dip, Swamp Juice Punch, & Crockpot Bananas Foster

Entertainment: Palmistry, Tarot, & Psychic Readings

Real Costumes:
Me & the Hubby (Mardi Gras Queen & Hillbilly)
Mardi Gras Themed Guest Costumes
Other Louisiana Themed Guest Costumes

Costume Idea Posts
General/Preliminary Ideas
Vampire Hunters (Female)
Ideas Using Black Contacts
NOLA Celebrities
BP Oil Spill
New Orleans Saints
Mardi Gras Ball
True Blood's Sookie Stackhouse
True Blood - Supporting Characters
HBO True Blood Costume Giveaway
Shifters, Weres, and Wolves
Fortune Tellers, VooDoo Priests/Priestesses, & VooDoo Dolls
Re-Purposing Graduation/Choir Robes
Hillbillies, Bayou Folk, and Swamp Creatures

Pre-Party Info Posts
Theme Announcement
Entertainment Announcement

Menu Previews:

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

[MN]Love and Marriage

The [MN]Love campaign was started to encourage marriage equity in our state. It grew in reaction to the legislative initiative to put a proposed amendment to the Minnesota State Constitution on the 2012 ballot. The amendment would define marriage as between one man and one woman, writing the discrimination against homosexual couples directly into the state's governing document. While our state legislators could not seem to find time to pass a budget (thus resulting in the impending government shut down, with its significant economic toll and many paychecks lost for state employees who actually DO their jobs...), they somehow decided it was a priority to ban gay marriages. Constitutionally.

In every other state where a similar vote has been brought to the people, gay marriage has been banned.

In support of the amendment, groups like NOM (National Organization for Marriage - yeah, right) have launched high-buck public relations campaigns ranging from disingenuous to down right offensive. I'm choosing not to quote or link to any of them.

Instead, I joined the [MN]Love campaign and had a family photo taken by Simon Scott Stromberg.

The "Marriage is..." Campaign asks Minnesotans to define what marriage means to them, and to share the photos "as a sign of your support for equality in our great and LOVING state!" I chose to get involved because I think these photos are a beautiful, personal, and truthful refutation of NOM's lies.

Anyone can have a wedding, but the legal ramifications of marriage are what truly define it for me and many other Minnesotans. As a married couple, we are officially a family unit for tax purposes, insurance benefits, Medicare, and social security. We have protections as far as custody of our daughter, survivorship, and next-of-kin decisions regarding medical care and end of life situations. If our relationship ends poorly, we have protections in the form of a process to follow dividing our assets, debts, custody, etc. In addition to the personal vows we took, we signed a legal document to become a married unit which reaffirms that marriage is a serious decision you cannot simply walk away from or reverse without consequence.

Fewer and fewer young people are choosing marriage these days. Marriage might be in danger, but it is in no way because of GLBT couples seeking these same protections. Allowing gay marriage would strengthen my, and every other marriage in the state by showing it is an important legal transaction. Legal marriage encourages a culture of monogamy, commitment, and stability. All of these things are good for families, for public health, and for the economy.

Weddings, the celebration of a marriage pump millions of dollars into the state economy each year, and we are way behind on extending marriage to this 10%+ of the population - in these hard economic times, why on earth would we not welcome these celebrations?

This is not a "gay issue." Please do not think it doesn't affect you if you are already married or allowed to marry - an act of bigotry written into our state constitution harms us all. It devalues not only our marriages, but every other law and foundation of our government when we allow corrupt ideals to find legal footing. Be sure to vote NO on the amendment in 2012 - I want The Cupcake to grow up in a state where she aspires to be married and have a family (if Grandkids are anywhere as amazing as GrammyCupcakes seems to think they are), where that decision is hers to make (with a little input from mom, of course), and where we support healthy, loving relationships of all forms.

The most important part of marriage is likely not the legal transaction, it is the promises. When two people enter a union, they set the parameters of their relationship in terms of what they value - be it religious, social, familial, etc. It is what makes every relationship unique and why we choose the partner we do - because we wish to build a life together under shared ideals. This part of marriage is not legislated, but without the legal aspect of marriage it is only recognized by and significant to the couple involved. We need the legal aspect of marriage to make it more than a fading tradition, and to give value to ALL marriages, including those based on different belief systems than our own. It is why I believe that

"Marriage is OUR choice, not our neighbors'."

This isn't American Idol. This shouldn't be up for a vote. Our politicians should be ashamed of themselves for making it into one - we certainly didn't vote on any of their marriages, nor should we. Now that they have taken this action, it is important to act. Vote NO on the constitutional amendment in 2012, don't write discrimination into the constitution.

Get involved:
Minnesotans United for All Families

Monday, June 06, 2011

State Fair Bridal Shower - MORE FOOD!

I may have saved the best for last when it comes to the State Fair food we served, and all the credit here goes to GrammyCupcakes and her support team who spent days peeling potatoes and assembling kebabs. Everything was SO YUMMY! Here's the "rest" of the menu:

Lunch on a stick! Everything that can be is on a stick at the MN State Fair, so beef and chicken kebabs were a wonderful choice. They were marinated in seasoning and grilled to perfection.

Next up was a mashed potato bar with all the fixin's:

"Champion Croissants", lightly toasted:

And my mother's famous turkey salad, clearly "Best in Show":

As usual, there was WAY too much food, so I got to take home a LOT of leftovers :) I forgot the signs for the beverages, but we stuck with the State Fair theme there too - "fresh squeezed lemonade" (not really) and "All the milk you can drink" (and you didn't even have to pay the $0.50!):

And there's some coffee in between there for good measure too :) The beverage dispensers were a great deal at Costco, but the real stars of the beverage station were the cups! Those are official MN State Fair cups, which the staff ever so kindly allowed me to purchase (for a GREAT deal even) when I called and explained the party. Thanks MN State Fair, you are definitely the epitome of Minnesota Nice!

And that brings me to the end of my State Fair Bridal Shower projects - by all accounts it was a rousing success and the bride was quite smitten with her unique and special day. If you missed any of my recaps, you can click on the "StateFair" label to see all of the posts related to this party, and please if you find any of this inspiring, drop me a line

Saturday, June 04, 2011

State Fair Bridal Shower - FAIR Bingo!

I'm feeling a little full after all of the recent food posts, so before I get to the main food table I thought it would be a good time to take a look at the bingo game I created for the party. Since we were having a lot of people and didn't want to take up all of the time (and because I couldn't think of a 5 letter word with the categories I wanted) I scaled the board down to 4 X 4 instead of 5 x 5. Each letter in the word F-A-I-R stood for a category, Food, Agriculture, Interests, and Rides.

I created a bingo template on PowerPoint and printed boards with empty squares. Then I scoured Google images for all of my pictures. To ensure all of the boards were different I decided on 16 different choices for each category, which was easy for some (food) but harder for others (rides). Case in point, there was a SkyRide, Sky Glider, and Sky Wheel, all of which look totally different but could be confusing because of the names. I alternated between photos and cartoons and just basically chose images I liked. For the "interest" category I included all of the different things to see and do at the fair that weren't food, rides, or agriculture - everything from Butterheads to the Butterfly House, from FairDo Hair styles to Creative Activities contests, concerts, politics, you name it.

I printed out a bunch of each photo on white cardstock, cut into squares, and then used a glue stick to randomly paste pictures into the squares on my empty bingo cards. It went pretty quickly even though I made over 40 bingo cards.

Each guest received a sheet of colored dot stickers to use as markers, and the caller drew cards from a basket. It was a hit! Guests had fun reliving their fair memories while looking at all of the photos and discussing their favorite fair fun, and winners got a cute little prize from GrammyCupcake:

Canning jars full of candies or nuts and dressed in little gingham frocks. It was very country chic to choose from the giant basket of options:

If I ever learn how to post PDF documents I might come back and add my templates here - but sadly I haven't acquired those skills yet :( In the meantime, I might be willing to share if you email me at and promise to share a photo of your party! I'd love to hear/see if anyone is using any of these tips for their own State Fair themed event.

Stay tuned for a few more projects and click on the "StateFair" label to see all posts about this bridal shower.

Friday, June 03, 2011

State Fair Bridal Shower - Sweet Treats!

Any State Fair go-er knows the main attraction at the Great Minnesota Get Together is THE FOOD! Best way to experience the fair is to taste it, so we had a lot of fun defining the menu for this State Fair themed bridal shower. My favorite was the dessert table:

First of all, the signs were just laid out in PowerPoint - the rainbow is an option under "format background" and the font for both the large "FAIR FOOD" and the individual food signs is Coffee Tin from 1001FreeFonts (look under western). We kept the serving pieces simple in white and glass so that the food really stood out, such as:

Kettle Corn! This is one of my favorite fair (and ballpark) foods. My mom makes really good homemade kettle corn, but due to time constraints we "outsourced" with Amy's Organic Kettle Corn and holy cow is that good too. And a LOT easier. The large popcorn bowl we've had forever, and the smaller boxes are leftover from the Hollywood Halloween Party I held a few years back. We also set up a secondary kettle corn station downstairs to make for easy snacking:

The above popcorn box was actually packaging for the zebra popcorn I was forced to buy on sample day at Costco when I fell for it head over heels :)

There's an entire booth at the MN State Fair that sells only cereal bars in every flavor imaginable - Rice Kristie Bars - so we made rice krispie bars on a stick (just the traditional recipe cut into long strips and speared on grilling kebabs). Cotton candy was another must-have fair food, and while you can rent or even buy machines to make your own, we weren't quite ready for that mess, and mini bites would be more suited to the occasion. So instead I bought bagged cotton candy from Target (just $1 for two flavors!)I cut it into strips and carefully wrapped it around lollipop sticks (in the cake and candy making aisle of Michael's or JoAnn's). We displayed both treats by poking their sticks into a block of styrofoam wrapped in tissue paper and taped to the table for support.

Those aren't really Sweet Martha's Cookies, but I swear I've seen the dough in the freezer case - we just couldn't find it when we were shopping for supplies. So we faked it. Costco cream puffs were a bite-sized reference to the giant State Fair cream puffs, and the eclairs just seemed to compliment the cream puffs :)

And rounding out the smorgasboard were a selection of "blue ribbon pies", a fun alternative to cake, and a nod to the folksy baking competitions in the Creative Activities building. We cut the slices small so you could freely sample more than one :)

Mmmm, I'm hungry again just looking at it all!

Click on the "StateFair" label to see more posts related to this bridal shower, and stay tuned for more pics and projects from the event!

Thursday, June 02, 2011

State Fair Bridal Shower - Fair Food "Appetizers"

"Appetizers" was GrammyCupcake's description of this table when she was planning her menu, and most of the cute cred here is all hers - namely this fantastic veggie display:

That's "Farm Fresh Veggies" and "Down Home Dill Dip," representin' the agriculture showcased at that thar State Fair.

"Make Your Own" Pickles on a stick - it's like a snack AND a game :) And the chafing dishes on either side held mini corn dogs and battered cheese curds, perhaps THE most iconic fair foods in convenient bite sized servings :)

YUM! And just like the State Fair, there's plenty more to eat...Keep watching for the "main courses".

To view all the posts to date related to this State Fair themed bridal shower, click on the "StateFair" label.