motherhood

S’More Tartlets

SMORE TARTLETS www.platinumblondelife.com

S’mores are a childhood favorite of mine, but they have always been reserved for summer nights by the fire. Mother’s Day isn’t typically a holiday the family gathers around the fire, so I opted to bring the marshmallow toasting indoors. I felt that by creating individual S’more tartlets it would not only elevate the traditional S’more but would give the treats the optimal marshmallow to chocolate ratio.

Tools:
Kitchen Torch
Six 4″ Mini Round Tart Pans

Ingredients:

Graham Cracker Crust (Note: I used Momofuku Milk Bar’s graham cracker crust recipe.)

  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/4 cup milk powder
  • 2 Tbs granulated sugar
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 4 Tbs (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream

Chocolate Filling

  • two 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Bars coarsely (8 oz) chopped
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 Tbs light corn syrup
  • 2 1/2 Tbs unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 bag Jumbo Marshmallows (I used about 25 marshmallows (4-5 per tart) & ate at least 3 in addition but who’s counting?)

SMORE TARTLETS | www.platinumblondelife.com

Instructions:

Combine graham cracker crumbs, milk powder, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl.
Whisk butter and heavy cream together.  Add to dry ingredients and stir together until evenly distributed. The mixture should hold its shape if squeezed tightly (if it doesn’t add a bit more melted butter).  Press mixture immediately into tart pans. Cover pans and place in freezer for 20-30 minutes.

Place chopped chocolate in heatproof bowl. In small saucepan heat heavy cream and corn syrup to near boil. Pour heavy cream mixture over chocolate. Allow to sit for a minute. This will begin to melt the chocolate. Stir in butter until all chocolate & butter is melted and evenly combined. Use a medium scoop to transfer chocolate mixture into the middle of the chilled graham crusts. Immediately begin to place marshmallows into the mixture. This will help to evenly spread the chocolate into the tarts. Work fast because chocolate chills quickly.

If serving immediately prepare your work space to start toasting marshmallows. If you don’t have a kitchen torch you can place the tarts in the oven with the oven set on broil for a few minutes (watch them like a hawk as marshmallows toast in minutes and you’ll likely have to move your tarts around to get an even toast). Otherwise store your tarts in the fridge and toast just before serving for best results.

The S’Mores tarts were a big hit, and I had a fabulous 2nd mother’s day with my little man.

Mother's Day

Curious George Themed 1st Birthday Party

Quentin's Party
For my little man’s first birthday party I decided to take two things he loves: books and his plush Curious George, whom he constantly hugs, and allow them to inspire his big bash. With all the ideas out there on the interwebs (hello, pinterest) I knew I had no excuse for throwing a lame party!

First Birthday Invites

I started by designing the invitation in photoshop, utilizing PBS’s coloring book images of George. I simply colored the images I wanted in photoshop, resized them and placed them in my layout. To give the invite (and party) a bit of a modern flare, I created a chevron pattern in photoshop to utilize on each of the paper products I was going to create*. For another modern touch I added a QR code to the invitation, so guests could scan the code and instantly RSVP to “The Mom In The Yellow Hat.”  Once this invitation was done, it really set the bar for everything else.  I saved money by designing and printing the invitations myself, so I ordered red A7 envelopes from Paper Source, and used their envelope liner kit and a photo of Quentin reading with George to create photo liners.

 

In edition to the invites and the envelope liners, I created cupcake toppers, straw flags, and a Happy Birthday flag banner.  I repeated the fonts, colors, images and patterns to keep everything very cohesive. My circles for the cupcake toppers and flag banner were two inch in diameter. For the toppers I punched out using a 2 inch circle punch, then taped two circles over a 4-Inch Lollipop Stick

Happy Birthday Banner

I really loved the idea of having guests sign Quentin’s copy of ‘Curious George and The Birthday Surprise’ (He has this copy: A Treasury of Curious George)  Inspired by this sign, I created a chevron sign that said “When I’m older I’ll be curious about who was here to celebrate with me. Please sign my book & leave a note for me.”  and framed to place on the table next to the book.  In edition to the book and sign, I used Quentin’s own George related toys as centerpieces.

Book Sign Table

I covered all tables with a yellow table cloth. I decorated with paper fans and lanterns in yellow and red. I wrapped each yellow paper cup with black mini duct tape  and placed each on top of a yellow plate (for a yellow hat look). I wrapped yellow plastic utensils & striped straws (topped with straw flags, of course) with napkins and tied off with bakers string. I placed the utensils in a clear container purchased at the party store and used as a centerpiece on one of the tables.

Welcome

On our bar, I placed a framed copy of the invitation next to George wearing a Curious George party hat and a yellow framed chalkboard that I hand wrote a welcoming message on. In edition to more party hats, I made Curious George masks (attached to Wilton 6-Inch Sticks ), and printed coloring booklets for the kids using the templates available on PBS.

coloring books hats

I hung a poster featuring a photo collage (in the shape of the number one) of each of Quentin’s monthly photos. I also hung a large black foam board that I had handwritten Quentin’s “stats”. I had previously used that board as a photo prop for his one year photos.

Quentin's First Birthday Stats Chalkboard

For food, we had a local barbecue place cater (ribs, BBQ chicken, brisket, mac & cheese, baked beans, caesar salad, & pulled pork sandwiches). For drinks we served sparkling lemonade, sparkling blood orange soda, cans of san pellegrino in blood orange & limonata, soda, juice, and water. For dessert, we had peanut butter brownies (placed in chevron cupcake liners and topped with cupcake toppers), vanilla cupcakes with red liners and yellow buttercream & cupcake toppers, and of course a chocolate birthday cake in the shape of the man’s yellow hat with George peeking out from underneath created for us by Christina Rey of Sugar.

Quentin's First Birthday Cake

Happy Birthday Song

Quentin had a wonderful time opening and playing with his gifts. He even enjoyed a bit of cake. When our guests left, we gave them a magnet featuring some images from Quentin’s cake smash session.

Birthday Boy Opening His Gifts

thanks cake smash

*Note:  There are plenty of chevron patterns out there, but I opted to take a little bit extra time to create my own, thus I had complete control over color, width, angle, and spacing. Leave it to me to do it the hard way!

Hand Painted ‘Where The Wild Things Are’ Pumpkins: Halloween 2013

‘Where The Wild Things Are’ by Maurice Sendak was one of my favorite books from childhood. So last Halloween (when I was well into my third trimester) my husband and I agreeed that it would be adorable to dress our little boy as ‘Max’ on his first Halloween. Is it silly to plan a Halloween costume that far in ahead? Possibly! But I just couldn’t help myself. I purchased his costume from Pottery Barn in the 12-24 month size, and hoped it wouldn’t be ginormous on him. I tried it on him, and I swear he just owned the part of ‘Max’. So in honor of my favorite wild thing & in homage to the wonderful Maurice Sendak illustrations I painted ‘Max’ and a ‘Wild Thing’ on two of our medium sized pumpkins. They were a lot of fun to paint, and I tried to capture as much as the extraordinary detail in his illustrations in a quick acrylic painting on a pumpkin as reasonably possible. Where The Wild Things Are Painted Pumpkins Our Pumpkins Halloween 2013 Q with his pumpkins

Happy Father’s Day

Happy Father’s Day to Tim, the love of my life (before Q). Our lives changed forever in December when we welcomed this handsome little boy. Here are a few recent photos of Q with his daddy: 
King of the Mountain

Untitled

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 We are so fortunate to have a fast growing, smart, & happy little guy. I couldn’t imagine being on this journey without the guy we call “Daddy”. Thank you Tim, and all the other daddy’s out there for all that you do. 

Happy Mother’s Day!

Happy Mother’s Day! from Melanie B. & Tim S. on Vimeo.
I made this video of Q for my mother for Mother’s Day. It is a sweet vignette of what his day is like.

 It of course is my first Mother’s Day. Here is a picture of me with baby Q in the hospital back in December.
  My bundle of joy-born 12/5/12

For Mother’s Day, my husband gave me a locket with pictures of Q that he chose from my Instagram. I took a picture of Q holding the locket in his adorable little hand.

Happy Mother's Day From T&Q

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