Friday, December 31, 2010

Foodie Friday: Champagne Cocktails

If I had to choose a favorite type of white wine, champagne and sparkling wine would be far above all the rest.  It all started when Husband and I were engaged.  Seriously...is there any other extended period of time when you drink so much champagne?!  My favorite champagne is made by G.H. Martel...but sometimes I just want something a little bit more fun.  So just in time for New Year’s Eve...I’m bringing you a line up of champagne cocktails to help ring in 2011!  

Classic Champagne Cocktail

 
Image via MarthaStewart.com
Sometimes I’m just an old-fashioned gal.  The basic Champagne cocktail has been popular ever since the mid-1800s, and I just love it!  Here’s the classic recipe, as listed on MarthaStewart.com:

3 drops bitters
1 sugar cube
1 oz Cognac
4 oz chilled Champagne

Drop bitters on sugar cube; let soak in.  Place sugar cube in a Champagne flute. Add Cognac and top with Champagne.

Kir Royale
 
Image via wine-tasting-reviews.com
I don’t think there is a simpler recipe out there than the Kir Royale.  You can make it sweet or strong, depending on the proportions.  All you need is Creme de Cassis and dry Champagne or Sparkling wine.  Make sure to put the Creme de Cassis in the glass first and your drink will mix itself.

French 75
Image via SeriousEats.com
If you’re looking for a strong drink - look no further.  According to wikipedia, this recipes was said “to have such a kick that it felt like being shelled with the powerful French 75mm howitzer artillery piece”.  Here’s the recipe as cited on SeriousEats.com:

1 T cold gin
1 T lemon juice
1 or 2 sugar cubes
Champagne, chilled
Lemon twists, for garnish

Pour the cold gin and lemon juice in a champagne flute. Top with cold champagne. Garnish with a lemon twist.  As you serve the cocktail, drop a sugar cube to the bottom of the glass and watch the cocktail come to life as it fizzes and pops.

Black Velvet
 
Image via BBCgoodfood.com
Are you more of a beer drinker?  Try a 4:1 ratio of sparkling wine to black irish stout for a bubbly way to enjoy your celebration. (Recipe from FoodNetwork.com)

If you want to experiment some more, here are a few websites with more recipes. Yum!
AvalonWine.com (The geek in me loves the little bit of history also offered at this page!)
Martha Stewart
Food Network

Don’t forget to keep it safe...and have a happy New Year!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

New Year's Eve - A quick Roundup!

We're up in the mile-high city right now, enjoying the biggest snow flakes I've seen in a while.  In the meantime, I've taken a few minutes to pull together a few things to help you pull together a fabulous New Year's Eve bash!

New Year's Eve Tablescapes

The best thing about decorating for a New Year's Eve party is that you don't have to feel limited by anything.  Although black, silver and gold are very popular, colorful parties are just as much fun!
             2 - Simply Creative Insanity
             3 - Celebrations at Home Silver Gold
             4 - Bird Crafts 2
             5 - Hello Naomi (via Birthday Girl)
             6 - Elizabeth Ann Designs (via Save the Date for Cupcakes)
             7 - This Blessed Nest (via Birthday Girl)
             8 - Party Roundup at JC’s Loft (image ℅ Social Couture)
            10 - Southern Belle’s Charm (via Kara’s Party Ideas)
            11 - Celebrations at Home Bar

New Year's Eve Printables

Here are some fabulous printables for your New Year's Eve parties.  I'm loving the use of grey instead of black and the infusion of bright colors like red, blue and pink!
    1 - Celebrations at Home
    2 - Simply Creative Insanity Printable
    3 - Simply Creative Insanity Printables
    4 - The Giving Madam Printables



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Monday, December 27, 2010

Mama Monday - Christmas Recap

I have to admit, I was dreading Christmas this year.  Dreading it because December has been so busy, that I wasn’t able to do any of my Christmas traditions.  The only decorations in our house were those left over from the Cookies & Milk party.  We had purchased a small tree to decorate, only to find that it did not actually include the promised stand.  I wasn’t able to get gifts wrapped until the 23rd, and I never got my annual platter to the office.  It made me so sad.  

To top it all off, I was dreading the trip to see my family in Richmond.  I love my family, but it’s total chaos.  We have a pretty large family, and the partying starts on Christmas Eve and goes until late on Christmas night. Christmas with my family includes late night dinner out on Christmas Eve, a breakfast buffet at my sister’s house and then a large dinner buffet at my parent’s house.  

In the end, we all had a wonderful time.  It’s true, T was totally thrown by the insanity.  She was so tired that she passed out on multiple occasions.  But, then again, she had a total blast, too.  She was beside herself with excitement when she got to see my sister’s Shih Tzu, screaming “Goggie! Goggie! Goggieeeeeeeee!” (it’s a good thing the dog is pretty much deaf).  Her cousins couldn’t be more loving, and she handled the late nights really really well.  To top it all off, the snow started falling, so that we ended up with a good six inches of snow by Sunday night.  It truly was a very merry and magical Christmas.  

Later this week, we’re off to Denver to visit my mother and stepfather for New Year’s Eve.  I hope you and your family had a wonderful Christmas and will be back next week to share photos of our holiday season!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

Merry Christmas from our family to yours.


(card created via Shutterfly.  Click here for more information on Shutterfly's Christmas card collection)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Party Roundup

It seems like there have been a million parties floating around the blogosphere  over the last few weeks.  From photo shoots to real parties, there are so many that  make me wish I was that creative.  So,  instead of forgetting where everything is next year, I’ve pulled together the parties that I have found truly inspiring.  I’m sure there’s something for everyone in this roundup.  I wish that I could have posted more pictures of each party and made each picture a showcase of its own, but there were just too many.  Go ahead and click on each and every link.  You won’t regret it!

 
Free Christmas Printables
No one gets more excited about Christmas than kids.  And seriously?  They are just so much fun to see this time of year.  So it’s no surprise that some of the most creative parties are either for kids, or make us feel like kids again.  Bright, fun, full of pattern and joy, these parties are sure to entertain you from age 1 to 92.
    1 - Fresh Chick Design Studio (via The Party Dress)
    2 - Bird Crafts Christmas Candyland
    3 - Celebrations at Home Candy Coated Christmas
    4 - Frog Prince Paperie
    5 - And Babies Make Four (via The TomKat Studio)
    6 - Glorious Treats  Gingerbread Party
    7 - Anders Ruff Vintage Holiday
    8 - Design Editor (via Amy Atlas)
    9 - Mom’s Guide (via The Party Dress)
    10 - Shindig Parties to Go (via Kara’s Party Ideas)
    11 - Wants and Wishes Design (via HWTM)


Free Traditional Christmas Printables
You can never go wrong with the traditional colors of red, gold and green at Christmas.  There is something comforting and reassuring about a party that celebrates Christmas in a familiar way.  All of these parties infuse traditional elements, but have something special and spectacular that sets them apart from all the rest.     1 - Pizzazzerie     2 - Celebrations at Home Cocktails & Cheers     3 - Celebrations at Home Red & White Christmas     4 - The Candy Buffet Company (via Save the Date for Cupcakes)     5 - Tracy Lau (via Swanky::Chic::Fete)     6 - Green Apple Paperie (via Save the Date for Cupcakes)     7 - Sweet Little Parties (via Save the Date for Cupcakes)     8 - Two Sugar Babies (via The Party Dress)     9 - Anders Ruff  Classic Holiday Printables

 
Free Modern Christmas Printables
Red, Gold and Green may be classic; but who says that you have to use those colors to celebrate the season?  There has been an abundance of parties this year that have infused non-traditional color palettes and themes such as pastels, teals, aquas - and even a Moroccan themed party!
    1 - Bonito Designs (via Save the Date for Cupcakes)
    2 - Cake Ink (via Save the Date for Cupcakes)
    3 - Glorious Treats
    4 - Tradewind Tiaras (via The TomKat Studio)
    5 - Sweet Girly Mommy (via Bird Crafts)
    6 - Anders Ruff Snowflake
    7 - Save the Date for Cupcakes (via HWTM)
    8 - CupKate’s Events
    9 - Pepper Design Studio (via The Party Dress)
    10 - Save the Date for Cupcakes/TomKat Studio
    11 - Marie Claire Idees (via Save the Date for Cupcakes)
    12 - Dough a Deer (via Save the Date for Cupcakes)
    13 - Kate Landers Events
    14 - Sweet Tooth: Dessert Meets Design
    15 - Sweet Tooth: Dessert Meets Design Pink
    16 - Green Apple Paperie (via Save the Date for Cupcakes)
    17 - Beth Beattie Branding (via The Party Dress)

Free Rustic Christmas Printables

Not everything needs to be shiny and bright.  These  parties infuse rustic and earthy elements that showcase just how beautiful nature is during the wintertime.  
    1 - Be Inspired PR (via HWTM)
    2 - Celebrations at Home
    3 - Sandra Downie Events (via Pizzazzerie)

 
Free Printables for a White Christmas

Christmas is so vibrant and colorful; but there is just something to be said for  an all  (or mostly) white party. These parties are the perfect example of how this theme can be  classic and modern at the same time.  
    1 - Alchemy Blog (via Save the Date for Cupcakes)
    2 - Anders Ruff
    3 - Frog Prince Paperie (via Swanky::Chic::Fete)
    4 - Candy Buffet Company (via Save the Date for Cupcakes)
    5 - Call Me Cupcake (via Save the Date for Cupcakes)




Want more printables?  Find 100s more here:  2013 Christmas Printables2012 Christmas Printables, and 2011 Christmas Printables
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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Sparkly Letter DIY

I know I promised a round up of Christmas parties today, but there are so many (over 50!) that I’m working on getting everything organized.  In the meantime, I want to share with you one of my favorite crafts for the Christmas Milk & Cookies party:  the letter holders for the buffet labels.  The pictures from the party really don’t show the depth of color, or just how sparkly and fun they are.  The best part?  They are totally reuseable.  Seriously, we’ve moved them over from the buffet on top of our TV cabinet to hold Christmas cards from family and friends (we don’t have a fireplace, so we have no mantle).

Typically our Christmas cards become a total mess, but these are a great way to display them without worrying about cards fluttering to the ground from either the air vents or my toddler running around all over the place.

Honestly, I got the idea for these letters from a display of 1.5 inch cookie photo holders at Kohl’s.  At $4 a piece on sale, I knew I could do something just as fun for less.  Not to mention, they didn’t have all the letters I was looking for.  Now, I really wanted to make letters that looked like baked sugar cookies, but I’m just not that talented, so I switched to plain old glitter; which I think turned out to be better for the display in the long run.  The hardest parts were finding letters that would stand on their own (I wanted smaller, but these letters from Michael’s were the best I could find at the time), and something to use to hold cards.

I looked up tutorials on how to twist wire, how to embellish plain photo holders and the like, but I wanted something simple - REALLY simple.  I was about to go forward with giant paperclips from Target, but then I ran across these fellas from Dollar Tree:

They’re perfect for this application!  You know it too, because I’m not the first person to think of using these little cuties.  I won’t bore you with all the specifics of adding glitter to letters.  I think it’s pretty self explanatory: paint, glue, glitter, let dry, glue ornament hook to the back.  I used gorilla glue, but a hot glue gun would have probably been faster.



Hope everyone has a happy Wednesday...only a few days left until Chrustmas!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010