Category: Fun Stuff
Friday, October 31
Happy Friday! I hope you all had a great week and are having a ghoulish Halloween!
If you are on Pinterest or Facebook, today’s Show and Tell is for you! I have some info on Facebook and Pinterest settings that could make your news feeds include more of what you want to see.
Pinterest: Recently Pinterest changed the way you see the pins on your home page. Previously your Pinterest home page was chronological, so you would simply see the most recent pins from all of the boards that you follow. Pinterest recently adjusted this so your pin news feed is based on web cookies and your browser history. Essentially Pinterest’s smart algorithms are now curating your feed, pushing pins to the top that they think you will be most interested in as well as featuring sponsored pins more heavily. If you’re fine with this, then you’re all set! But if you’d like to get your feed back to the way it was before, you can do so. Here’s how!
- Go to your profile page on Pinterest.
- Click the gear icon in the top right corner and then select “Account Settings.”
- Under the first section “Account Basics” you will see a small section called “Personalization.” Switch both buttons in that section to “No.” Your feed should revert to the original stream.
Seeing Content from Facebook Pages You Like: Did you know that just because you “Like” a page on Facebook doesn’t mean content from that page will actually show up in your feed? In fact, it most likely will not. As I talk with friends I’m learning that Facebook users who do not manage pages have no idea this is the case. (People who do manage pages are very well aware – any given item I post on my Facebook page may only be seen by as few as 100 people and rarely tops 3,000, which does not match up to the nearly 18,000 likes I have on my page.) SOOOOO…if you “Like” a page and actually DO want content from that page showing up in your news feed, here’s what you need to do!
- Visit the page that you like.
- If you haven’t already, “Like” the page.
- The little box that says “Liked” has a drop down menu – click on that then select “Get Notifications.” Now that page’s content will appear in your feed.
Hope that’s helpful!
Here’s one fun food link for the week, this time on Cosmo: 15 Red, White, and Blue Snacks and Drinks to Serve on Election Day
As usual, show and tell is for everyone! Please share whatever you like. (Cute Halloween costumes are especially welcome!)
Saturday, October 25
Happy Saturday! I didn’t get a chance to publish this week’s Show and Tell post yesterday because I was at the AYA Summit for Women and Girls put on by ONE in Washington, D.C. It was AMAZING. I can’t even begin to process everything I saw and heard this week, which included meeting one of the girls who was kidnapped from school in Nigeria earlier this year. Needless to say, many tears were shed hearing so many inspiring stories. I will most definitely be sharing some of my week with you soon, but until then check out this news story the local D.C. CBS news did about the conference!
Today I would love to share a beyond-cute book with you that is perfect for the upcoming holiday season. My friend Kami’s new book Washi Tape Christmas came out this week. I received a copy and it is wonderful. I highly recommend it! You can buy it on Amazon, but if you buy it through Kami’s site you can get a signed copy! Even me, the most craft-averse person you will ever meet, is ready to dig out the washi tape and start creating!
Here are a few posts I wrote for Babble this week:
As always, please share your own stuff! And have a great weekend!
Tuesday, October 21
I have a monster of a post for you today (mwah-ha-ha!!!), complete with ideas for completely cute yet simple Halloween party table decor as well as a 13 (mwah-ha-ha!!!) ridiculously adorable Halloween recipes.
When it comes to entertaining, I keep it simple. I like to have a whole bunch of white serving dishes in storage that I can pair with a few accent pieces and a colored tablecloth for the occasion. Then I just throw a few decorations on the table – simple but elegant. A vase of flowers, a Christmas wreath with candles, a few pumpkins for a Halloween party…you know, SIMPLE. There’s enough going on to get ready for parties I just can’t go over the top with my decor. But I find by playing in a simple way with color and using lots of white dishes, the table always looks impressive.
My ruffle dishes from Q Squared NYC are just such pieces that come in handy for all kinds of occasions. The ruffle design is elegant and a little bit different than your standard white dishes. BUT…if you pair it with a black tablecloth and a few of Q Squared’s slate platters, those wavy white dishes suddenly take on a spooky air! Seriously, I can’t tell you how much I loved using these dishes to decorate a Halloween table! Throw a few pumpkins on the table and make Halloween-themed food and you’re all set!
I think Halloween food is the most fun food in all the land. Whenever October rolls around, I am always so impressed with the creative food I see in magazines and on blogs! Here are a few favorites I’ve found this year, including a couple I used for my own Halloween party decor!
My friend Kristen from Dine & Dish shared Frankenguac just this week. Is this not the cutest guacamole ever? Be sure to click through to Kristen’s post for details! (I put my Frankenguac on a slate platter and it was beyond adorable and a great centerpiece for the table.)
My friend Sommer from A Spicy Perspective posted these adorable Halloween skewers, which my kids happily gobbled up! I couldn’t find dark grapes, so I used blackberries instead. I think blackberries (i.e. black pickled brains!!!) might even be spookier. Check out Sommer’s post for more details! (The skewers looked perfect on the ruffle long platter.)
Here are a few more Halloween recipes I am dying to try! (Mwah-ha-ha!!!)
Butterbeer Popcorn from An Edible Mosaic (because I simply cannot resist anything Harry Potter!)
Well, that list should keep you busy until Halloween rolls around next week. Happy Hallowen!
This post was sponsored by Q Squared NYC. As always, all opinions are 100% my own. Seriously, those dishes I used are PERFECT for Halloween. Get shopping!
Friday, October 17
I have just one quick thing to share with you today! I wrote a post for Babble this week called 9 Crazy Ways Parents Get Kids to Eat Their Veggies and it is pretty darn funny. I polled my friends for stories and got some great stuff. Be sure to click through and check it out! Also, how awesome is Owen’s “I Hate Veggies” face? He’s a natural! (As in, he really, truly hates veggies…little stinker.)
You know the drill…share your own stuff with us! Show and tell time!
Friday, October 10
One quick food link to share from Babble – making pumpkin rocks with my kids for all the neighbors. We had a blast!
It’s show and tell, your turn!
Friday, October 3
Time for Friday Show and Tell!
Do you have a comfort TV show? You know, TV that’s like eating a big plate of mashed potatoes and gravy? Gilmore Girls is mine. For sure. No question. I LOVE THAT SHOW. The only thing I asked for at Christmastime several years ago was the complete DVD box set, in all its low-def glory. (Nate thought I was nuts.) Even with the DVD box set, I can’t tell you how pumped I am that the show is finally on Netflix. YAAAAAAYYYYY!!!!! By the way, whenever I meet someone who loves Gilmore Girls as much as I do, we are instantly bonded. Family. I don’t know what it is about that show. If you are a fellow Gilmore Girls addict, you know what I mean. Okay, so today, you have to tell me if you are also a Gilmore Girls fan. And, if for some ungodly reason you are not, tell us what YOUR comfort TV show is! (Also, is it bad or impressive that I knew pretty much all 293 of these references?)
Just one quick food link from me this week on Babble, which includes a SUPER cute story about my 6-year-old Anna that totally makes me crack up: Copycat Recipe: Starbucks’ Double Chocolaty Chip Frappuccino.
Feel free to share other stuff, but mostly I just want to know if you love Rory and Lorelai.
Friday, September 26
Okay, so there’s a lot of “mom stuff” I don’t do. I’m not crafty. I don’t make baby food from scratch. I am a terrible gardener. The list goes on and ON. But I do absolutely love making my kids’ birthday cakes. Every year they tell me what they want and I figure out a way to make it happen! For Owen’s 3rd birthday he requested Ripslinger from the movie Planes, or as Owen put it, “the green bad guy plane.” I was a little nervous but I pulled it off! The best part was Owen loved it and today he’s asked multiple times to see pictures of the cake. (That splash sound you hear is me turning into a puddle on the floor.)
This cake was one of the easier ones I’ve done, so I have to share the step-by-step with you. Here’s how to make an airplane birthday cake!
- Bake a 9″x13″ standard cake. I used my favorite chocolate cake recipe (which you can find in this linked post) and it made for a nice tall cake, which gave the plane more height. I doubled the frosting recipe in that same post, which gave me enough frosting for the crumb coat and final coat with a bit left over.
- After you bake the cake, freeze it. Once it’s frozen, make one cut as shown in the diagram below, then flip one of the pieces so it lines up with the other piece perfectly when you stack them.
- The fat end of the triangle you created is the front of the plane – the smaller end is the back of the plane. Shape the front to round it off. Once the cake was done, I wished I had also angled the back end of the plane down a bit so that the entire plan had an upward slant towards the front of the plane, instead of just parallel to the ground (know what I mean?). Feel free to play with the shape or just keep it super simple like I did.
- I used one of the pieces of cake I cut off the front when shaping the nose of the plane to create the cockpit on top.
- Frost between the layers, and then follow the directions in my cake-making guide post for frosting (freezing cake, crumb coat, etc.) The beauty of this cake is you only need ONE COLOR OF FROSTING! Save a bit of white for the window, but other than that you can just make all the frosting one color.
- For the wings and things, I used cardstock! Just cut them into the shape you like and then stick the shaped wings and things right into the cake. You can get colored cardstock or just color white cardstock with a permament marker the color you want he wings to be. (Since I was making Ripslinger, I also made the flames out of cardstock colored with permanent markers and stuck them to the side using frosting as glue.) Don’t worry, no marker transferred to the frosting anywhere!
- The propellors were 2 popsicle sticks colored with black Sharpee marker, broken in half and then stuck in the front. I should have put a black circle of frosting or a Junior Mint on the front in the middle of the propellors. I didn’t, but you can!
- White frosting and black piped frosting made the window in the cockpit, and chocolate chips, stuck pointy side in, served as the eyes.
Show and tell time! I just have one quick share today. I put together a really fun post for Babble of CRAZY stuff my friends’ kids have eaten. It’s pretty awesome. Be sure to click through and check it out!
As usual, feel free to share anything you like in the comments, it’s show and tell after all!
Posted by Jane Maynard at 1:01 pm 8 Comments
Categories: birthday cakes, kids, Kitchen Tips, sweet things Tags: airplane birthday cake, birthday cake decorating, birthday cakes, cake decorating, friday show and tell, kids birthday cakes |
Thursday, September 25
Right now Owen’s birthday cake is in the oven. I will be attempting to shape it into Ripslinger from Planes a little later today. (Heaven help me.) Owen is sitting at the counter playing with a few of his Thomas trains while we wait for the cake to bake, chatting merrily away to himself, creating stories of near misses at the countertop’s edge. I am feeling beyond grateful for this moment.
Three years ago Owen was born on my birthday. Without a doubt it was my best birthday ever and Owen was the greatest birthday gift I could ever have dreamed of. Three years ago was also, without a doubt, the most traumatic day of my life. After a calm morning of labor, suddenly things changed. And, before we knew it, Nate was alone in the labor and delivery room and I was in an operating room being put under general anesthesia. Neither of us would witness Owen’s birth. Nate met him 15 minutes later. I met my son 2 hours after his birth.
I will never forget every last detail of that day. For nearly a year I would cry just at the slightest thought of those events. Now I just cry once in a while, usually when I least expect it. I always cry on my birthday, though. I can’t help it. I am just so grateful, it’s overwhelming. Grateful to have this greatest-of-all birthday presents in my life, playing with trains and asking me to play the Planes soundtrack yet again.
When I was being wheeled from the delivery room to the OR, I was a complete basket case. My anesthesiologist was a saint who talked me through the whole experience, with a calm and loving voice. The thing I was so fixated on was that I would not see Owen born like I had the girls. I couldn’t stop saying that over and over. As I look back it almost makes me laugh. There was so much on the line in those 6 minutes between discovering the problem (prolapse cord) and Owen’s birth. And the only thing I could think about was that I wouldn’t get the happy birth moment I had envisioned and experienced before. I didn’t think once about Owen’s mortality and, honestly, I am so grateful my neurotic brain didn’t go there, that I was protecting myself from those thoughts. I’m even more grateful that everything turned out okay in the end. We were so lucky.
I joke with people that Owen ruined my birthday. Not only did he steal it from me, but he turned it into my #1 PTSD trigger! Seriously, though, I love sharing my birthday with this amazing kid and I know that it is miraculous.
Life is good. It does not always go as planned. Sometimes it is more than we can bear. But it is always beautiful.
Happy Birthday, Owen.
Friday, September 19
Happy Friday. Prepare yourself for the best cooking video ever. (Owen’s made us watch it about 10 times already this morning. He also informed me that he wants a hamster now.)
Two fun food links for this week!
- On Babble: 3 Kids, a Mom and a Kitchen: Inside-Out Caramel Apples
- On Cosmo: 6 Ways to Stuff a Cookie
It’s Show & Tell, which means the whole class gets to share – show us what you’ve got!
Thursday, September 18
Have you ever undertaken a quest? I have not. I’m not a huge goal-making kind of person. I like seeing what opportunities arise in life and just going with it. Nate once asked where I saw my career in 5 years and I felt like hyperventilating! Making plans and goals is not my thing.
That said, I’ve decided to fight my natural instincts and undertake a quest. Set a goal. Accomplish a monumental task that I have actually planned on accomplishing ahead of time. And, to be honest, it’s a little scary. And telling you about it is making it even scarier.
I have a literary agent. She is fabulous. To not work with her on a book would be a crime, so I’m totally going for it. Except, I’ve been going for it for 4 years. She is very patiently waiting for my book proposal to hit her Inbox while I’m off having babies (done!), moving a few times (done!) and going through about 20 different ideas for a book, none of which I liked. But the stars are finally aligning. My agent and I have settled on a theme for the book that we are both really excited about. I am in a place in life where I can carve out time for writing a book. I’ve done a lot of the groundwork with my blog that I need to do before an agent goes out to sell my book. Basically, it’s time. I’m starting my quest.
My quest is simple…well, simple to describe, at least! I am going to finish writing my book proposal. It needs to happen. I need to know I gave it my all and then see where it takes me, see what my agent can do with it. Whether or not I end up as a bestselling author is beside the point. I want to know I tried, that I took advantage of this opportunity placed before me.
Today’s post is sponsored by Random House in support of the new book The Happiness of Pursuit by Chris Guillebeau. Chris had a quest – to visit every country in the world by the time he was 35 years old. Chris’s book talks about his quest as well as the quests of many other people he met on his journey, people he calls strivers. As I’ve read through the book and seen what makes these strivers tick, it’s been great food for thought. Bonus: his thoughts and suggestions are making me feel less scared of the journey!
Do you have a quest you’ve been putting on the backburner? Have you completed one? Are you still finding your quest? Please share your thoughts with me. I need moral support!
One lucky commenter will win a copy of The Happiness of Pursuit. Comments must be posted by Wednesday, 9/24 at Midnight PT, one entry per person, and the winner’s book must ship to a U.S. address. Good luck! Can’t wait to hear about your quests!
Comment #6 Ellen Patton was the randomly-selected winner of this giveaway. Congrats, Ellen!