Easy Banh Mi Sliders

These easy banh mi sliders are the perfect balance of sweet, salty, and sour goodness that’s delivered inside a warm toasty piece of bread.  I wanted to create an easy version that would be quick to assemble and great as an appetizer or finger food.  These were made for a birthday party last weekend to try on unsuspecting guests.   They are simple to make, tasty and the right size for serving at any gathering.  For example, that upcoming Super Bowl Party you might be planning next month. Continue reading “Easy Banh Mi Sliders”

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DIY Minnie Mouse Birthday Party

My Laurel turned ONE this year and I wanted to make this a special day for her by throwing a DIY Minnie Mouse birthday party.  It’s an important milestone in her life and also marks our survival as first time parents.  She may not remember all that went on, but she will look back one day and see how much she was loved, hopefully.  🙂

Laurel loves watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and will only sit still for this show.  I’m not sure what it is, but it has saved us from a crying baby more than once.  Since I wanted a more girly theme, I picked Minnie to be the main focus.  For her colors I chose to keep it simple and used pink, white, black and silver.  Sometimes, my ideas are too ambitious but I’m thankful I have wonderful sisters, cousins, and nieces who help execute my crafting projects.

I found an easy DIY birthday cake smash photo booth online and gave it a try.  I already had a photo booth made from PVC pipes from another party that came in handy.  I used 48″x 60′ pink  bulletin board paper for the back drop and a large piece of plexiglass at the foot to keep the paper from scooting under a squirming toddler.  I also covered the PVC pipes on the sides with white gossamer fabric.  We draped the beautiful bow garland my sister, Mary made across the back drop and our photo shoot set was complete.  Here are a few good ones we captured with the help of my cousin, Anna.


For her Minnie Mouse outfit, I wanted an easy one of a kind dress that I could make.  I could have just bought her one, but it wouldn’t have been creative.  It is a combination of a circle skirt and apron.  I made it by using a circle skirt pattern to cut out the pink fabric and the tulle.  I used about 6 layers of tulle to make the skirt fuller and cut scallops around the bottom for a whimsical look.  I also cut a rectangular piece for the front and attached a couple of straps to tie around her neck.  To complete the look, she wore a black shirt and leggings.  For the ears, I knew a head band would not stay on since she is constantly moving around.  I made the ears out of glittery fabric (found with the pre-cut pieces of felt) and attached a bow with my hot glue gun.  I then attached two hair clips to the inside of each ear that will clip to the pigtails in her hair.  It worked well and her ears stayed in place until we took them off.

To help set the scene, I had a lot of fun creating the dessert table.  If you’ve seen Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, there is a segment called Minnie’s Bowtique which was the inspiration for this table.

For the back drop I used a large foam insulation board I got from my local hardware store for around $12.  I used more of the bulletin board paper from the photo booth to cover the board.  Then, I cut out a large black circle and two smaller ones out of poster board for Minnie’s head. For added sparkle, I made the border from glittery gift wrap.  The bow on top is made of white tulle and pink polka dots.  To keep with a boutique look, I draped white gossamer fabric over the top of the board.  For the bow displays, I used wooden dowels that I wrapped in white tissue paper and made bows out of glittery scrapbook paper.  The lollipop stands are each made from two blocks of floral foam taped together and covered with pink tissue paper.  I also used a silver sequin fabric to top off the white plastic tablecloth over the table for more sparkle.  The “happy birthday” banner was made with poster board circles, pink ribbon, and silver letter stickers.

For the center of the dessert table, I wanted a nice tiered Minnie Mouse cake that I could customize and decorate.  I picked up some black and white fondant from the store to make my cake decorations.  I rolled out the black fondant and made Minnie Mouse cut outs with a medium sized circle cookie cutter for the face and a smaller size for the ears.  I did the same thing for the topper using larger circle cookie cutters.  Then I tinted the white fondant with a tiny amount of red food coloring to make it pink.  I cut out small circles and pinched the opposite ends to form a bow.  Then I cut a thin straight piece of fondant to wrap around the center to complete the bows and attached them to the cut outs with buttercream.  I also cut circles out of the white fondant for polka dots.  The pieces were laid out to dry and harden over several days.  I went to my local grocery store bakery and ordered a two tiered cake that was white on the bottom and light pink on top.  The crystal band was an added bonus since it was included as part of the cake order.  I placed my white polka dots on the top pink tier of the cake and my black Minnie Mouses on the bottom layer.  The cake was topped with a few cookies and my larger Minnie Mouse fondant piece.

All that was left was for this cake to take center stage on the dessert table.  It tasted delicious and didn’t look too shabby.

Since we are on the topic of cake, no 1st birthday celebration is complete without a smash cake.  I always wanted to make a drip cake and I now had the perfect excuse to make one.  I kept it simple and used a boxed cake mix.  Then, I covered the cake in white buttercream frosting.  I chilled the cake in the refrigerator and made the pink ganache using white chocolate, a little bit of red food coloring and this recipe.  Once the cake was chilled, I poured the pink ganache over the top of the cake and slightly pushed out the excess to drip around the cake.  Before the ganache set, I decorated the cake with assorted cookies, more buttercream frosting and a Minnie Mouse fondant cutout I made earlier.  I think it turned out alright for my first time making a drip cake.

Here’s the birthday girl looking at the cake and not really sure what to do with it.  Unfortunately, this was a smash cake that did not get smashed.

We also had a special guest appearance by Mickey himself.  He lead us into singing the birthday song for Minnie.

We ended the party by the mantle where we opened the thoughtful gifts our family and friends brought.

The mantle was decorated with some Minnie Mouse toys and decor given by my sister-in-law, Kaonu and sister, Mary.  The pompoms are made of pink tulle my sister had made for my baby shower a year ago.  I thought it would be a great idea to reuse these and add Minnie ears.  We finished off the mantle with a bow garland to tie in with our Minnie’s Bowtique theme.

I had a wonderful time planning this party and seeing it come together for my daughter.  She has been a great joy in our lives and it makes me happy to daydream of future memories we will share together.  Thanks so much to everyone who helped out and brought gifts to celebrate our baby girl’s 1st birthday!

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Blackberry Banana Ice Cream

Blackberry banana ice cream is all natural and only uses three ingredients and a food processor.

Blackberries hold a special place in my heart because they bring back wonderful childhood memories.  My parents had a small patch of woods in our backyard where wild blackberry brambles grew rampant.  Every summer we looked forward to picking these little black jewels.  Just like their tart and sweet taste, their appearance at the end of summer evoked bittersweet feelings. Continue reading “Blackberry Banana Ice Cream”

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Stir-fried Wide Noodles

Stir-fried wide noodles was inspired by the popular Thai dish, pad see ew which uses these rice noodles as a main ingredient.  I don’t make it often because fresh wide flat noodles are difficult to come by and its very time consuming to make at home.  I was out shopping and found some at an Asian grocery store.  This recipe combines wide flat rice noodles, leafy green vegetables, and chicken into a delicious and savory meal.  Your family will want to stay home for dinner when you make this flavorful dish. Continue reading “Stir-fried Wide Noodles”

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Little Birdie Baby Shower

This year has been a very eventful year for my family and I had the opportunity to help throw a whimsical little birdie baby shower for my sister-in-law, Kaonu.  She is one of the most thoughtful and loving individuals I know and I was excited to do this for her. Continue reading “Little Birdie Baby Shower”

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Tissue Paper Flowers

These tissue paper flowers are super easy to make and very inexpensive.  You can find all the materials at Dollar Tree.  I made a bunch of these in different sizes for my sister-in-law’s baby shower.  The instructions are for the largest flower size.  You could trim off a few inches of the tissue to make smaller sizes.  Continue reading “Tissue Paper Flowers”

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Pin Up Bachelorette Party

My sister-in-law, Der got married earlier this year and I was so excited to help her bridesmaids throw a surprise pin up bachelorette party!  She loves everything vintage and girly so I had a lot of fun with this one.  It was an epic night spent with friends who truly love her.  There were so many amazing ideas and these are some that my sister, Mary and I had the pleasure of putting together for her.

Here I am posing with Der. She is the Marilyn Monroe look-a-like on the left.

Since this was pin up themed, we wanted to include lots of vintage ideas into the decor and food. Continue reading “Pin Up Bachelorette Party”

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Easy Custom Marquee Sign

I wanted to make an easy custom marquee sign for my sister-in-law’s vintage pin up bachelorette party.  We put this sign over the burger bar for a diner-like setting.

After combing through various DIY marquee signs, I was disappointed there wasn’t anything easy enough for me to try.  Then, the idea came to me while walking through Micheals. Continue reading “Easy Custom Marquee Sign”

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Easy Egg Rolls

Egg rolls are a perfect food and one of my favorites!  There are so many different versions out there and they can be very time consuming to make the old fashioned way.  But, I’ve found a way to make a popular recipe quickly without sacrificing taste.  This recipe may not be for everyone, but these egg rolls are mother-in-law approved, so I would say it’s worked well for me. 🙂 Continue reading “Easy Egg Rolls”

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