Tuesday, 21 April 2015

New York, Hoboken and Carlo's Bakery!

I got a very special treat last week - I got to spend a week in New York while my hubby was there for work. It was a really wonderful week of sightseeing, eating, shopping and spending quality time with my other half.

New York is quite a remarkable place, you are never quite sure what you might see as you turn the corner.

One place I really wanted to visit while I was there was Carlo's Bakery.

The original one, in Hoboken, New Jersey.

I'd read about the queues one can face when you go there, but we seemed to have chosen a good day, it wasn't too busy. It looks a lot different now to how it looked in the TV shows.

There I am, that's me, in Carlos Bake Shop!

The cabinets were filled to the brim with delicious looking baked treats.

But there was one particular item that drew me to Carlo's, and it wasn't the celebration cakes! (This was just as well, or I would have been bitterly disappointed. The cakes they had on display were decidedly boring and ordinary.)

I was there to try Buddy's Lobster Tails.

We also threw in a couple of his famous Cannoli for good measure.

The Cannoli were nice, but as much as Buddy goes on about how smooth his cannoli cream is, we found it a bit grainy.

The Lobster Tails however, were a different story!

They were absolutely DELICIOUS! The pastry was crisp and flaky and the cream was incredibly smooth, light and flavourful, and there was a lot of it.

The Lobster Tail was a winner in my book. I am going to have to try and make them myself now, as that is definitely a pastry I want to eat again!

We wandered around Hoboken a bit, taking in the sights.

And found a marvellous view of New York across the river.

Friday, 3 April 2015

Rainbow Art Party

My little girl is very artistic, and will spend hours every day drawing and creating. This year she decided she wanted to have an Art theme for her birthday party. As we started coming up with various ideas for the party, we decided that we would pair the Art theme with rainbows as well, as we thought it would make for a very bright and cheerful party.

The cake is gravity defying, with rainbow cake in the paint can as well as the cake itself. The sponge is filled with vanilla icing, then covered with milk chocolate ganache and fondant.

Natasha decorated the white fondant by drawing all over it with edible markers, before I added all the 'spilled paint'.

For about 2 weeks before the party we were busy making all the bright, rainbow coloured decorations to hang around the room:
  • Paper rosettes spelling out NATASHA
  • Paint spattered table cloths

  • A balloon wreath
  • A melted crayon canvass 
  • Polka dot bunting (made by sewing card circles together to make a long string)
  • Rainbow balloons hung from the ceiling

  • And a piñata (ribbon pull type)

The party food was also rainbow coloured (wherever possible).
  • Rainbow jelly (jello) push pops
  • Rainbow fruit and veg
  • Rainbow coloured candy paint pots

We even had rainbow coloured plates and straws.

All sitting in a row at the back of the table, you can see the party 'bags' for the guests to take home. Each pot contains a little pipe cleaner craft project (to make little monsters) and some candy.

You can certainly tell that there is a party going on in there!

Once the party got going, we had plenty of fun activities and games to keep the kids busy. We started off with some 'cookie canvas' decorating. Each child got a large royal icing covered chocolate sugar cookie to decorate, using edible markers, rainbow coloured royal icing and various sprinkles. They made some really beautiful works of art!

Next up, we played a series of team games.
First, each team had to work together to see who could build the tallest marshmallow tower, using toothpicks (dyed rainbow colours, of course) and marshmallows,

In the second game, each team was given a white paper plate and a lot of little coloured stickers. The aim of the game was to completely cover the top of the plate in stickers, so that there was no white left shoeing at all. The winner being the first team to completely cover the plate (we then judged who came 2nd and 3rd by coverage).

The third team game was a drawing game. We had prepared a stack of cards for each team, with the names of objects on them, like Lion, Car, Octopus, Surfboard, etc. Each member of the team had to draw a card and look at it, but not let anyone else know what their object is. They then had to start drawing that object. After 15 seconds the clock stopped, and they had to pass their drawing to their team mate on their left (receiving one from the right at the same time). The clock started again and they had to continue drawing the picture now in front of them (but of course they don't know what it is supposed to be - hopefully the previous player left enough clues in what the drew), again with a 15 second time limit. This continued until the drawing once again found itself in front of it's original player. A point is awarded for every drawing that resembles what is was meant to be. As you can see, there were some very humorous results!

The "Marshmallow Girls" won the team games and each received a medal.

Then it was time to sing HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

 Followed by pulling the piñata ribbons - the birthday girl managed to choose the winning ribbon!

We concluded the party with 2 more activities. Sand Art, made using salt coloured with chalk (I crushed the chalk, then blended it into the slat in my MagiMix).

 And canvas painting - each child was given a small canvas, with there name on it, to paint.

It was a very successful party, the kids had a lot of fun, and were kept busy every moment.

Thank you to Claudette, who sacrificed her whole day to help with both setting up and running the party as well as cleaning up afterwards. You are the best!

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Visiting Teaching Thought for the Month April 2015 {Handout}

It is good for us to remember that no one of us is without sin, and that we should not hypocritically esteem ourselves above any others, for we know not what is in their heart. As Christ said: "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone..." (John 8:7).

The only man who has, or ever will be without sin was Christ, and no more humble man is there, without any guile or hypocrisy. To become more Christlike is not to prove to the world how good we are, but it is a look into our own hearts. Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin said: “To beguile is to deceive or lead astray. … A person without guile is a person of innocence, honest intent, and pure motives, whose life reflects the simple practice of conforming his [or her] daily actions to principles of integrity.”

Becoming more Christlike is striving to honestly BE the best we can be, patterning ourselves after Christ's example. President Dieter F. Uchtdorf said: "None of us is quite as Christlike as we know we should be. But we earnestly desire to overcome our faults and the tendency to sin. With our heart and soul we yearn to become better with the help of the Atonement of Jesus Christ."

Thank you to Wanda Lopez for the translation :)

If you would like to make fridge magnet pegs to display your Thought for the Monthclick here for the printable and tutorial.

Click links below for previous month's Thought for the Month