Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Kitchen Cabinets Done

My parents came to visit this weekend and you know what that means...my family gets fed too much food and long lasting projects finally get completed.

Remember this? I asked my father to build me some cabinets for our island during Christmas.

I finally got around to staining it, but never put on the doors because I didn't want to mess up.

Now, alas, the doors are put in place and my cabinets are complete.

The doors are identical to my original cabinets. You can see the original cabinets in the back on the left corner of the picture. The only thing missing now are some matching hardware, but I am not in a rush for that. I'm just in awe of how my cabinets turned out.

One thing checked off my list...a hundred more to go....too bad this holiday isn't longer than it is...

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Lego Birthday Party

Over the weekend, we celebrated E.'s 7th birthday with a Lego Birthday Party. When he asked for this, I really had no idea where to start. Fortunately, I found so many resources online that I wanted to do it all. Here are some of the things that made it to the party.

I started with hand made invitations. I went photoshopping away and designed these:

The most time consuming part of the invitation was modifying the lego man. I found an image of a surfer mini-figure to coincide with the pool party motif, but he had a beard, blond hair and no glasses....nothing like E, so off to the salon he went. I shaved off his beard, gave him some glasses and he got a new do.

When the kiddos arrived, everyone wanted to immediately jump in the pool and go swimming. If they were hungry, they got to snack on cheetos, oreos, chips, popcorn and wafer cookies.

Last year, the cupcakes melted in the heat so I kept those inside the house until after lunch. I also wanted the kids to have room for lunch which leads me to the lunch menu. We served homemade pizza (E.'s favorite). I made the crust into a square and added pepperoni slices on top to make it resemble a lego block. The kids also ate watermelon slices and chips along with their pizza.

After lunch was cake. I made this lego cake out of fondant.

One layer was chocolate and one layer was white.

The lego man was made from rice krispy treats.

Along with cake, we had cupcakes, and lego pops.

I used a cupcake stand to display additional cupcakes and candies.

I used my molds I had bought and made to make lego candy from candy melts.

I love the simplicity of the lego candy. They look so real, don't they?

I built a box to surround the lego pops out of duplo blocks.

I had fun decorating the different faces of the lego pops.

After eating cake and candy, the kids enjoyed some "lego" games. First up was guessing how many legos were in the jar. The winner got to choose between iron man lego set or a mini-figure key chain.

Then, the kids played a game I would like to call, the lego pick up game. I grouped the kids into 3 teams. Each team member had a minute or two to pick up as many pieces of legos using their chopsticks as they could before handing the chopsticks to the next person. When everyone had gone, we counted the pieces and the team with the most legos won a prize.

I ordered the kid chopsticks off of amazon and tested the possibility of picking up the legos with my kids beforehand.

The next game was seeing how high the kids could stack legos in a certain amount of time. The wind made it especially difficult, but the kids loved the challenge.

(re-enacted photos...I was too busy to take photos during the party)

After the games, it was time to go home. Each kid received a goodie bag. The goodie bags were just colored bags I bought at Michael's and applied 1.5" circles on the front to make it resemble lego blocks.

I went on the Lego site and nabbed some mini-figure pics to print out name tags on the bags for a personal touch.

Inside the bag, was a lego club magazine and a lego set (either an airplane or a car) that I bought at the Lego store (from the lego birthday kit). I did try to get last month's flower mini-build for the girls, but they ran out.

I also included a package of mini-figure crayons that I made and a package of either mini-figure soap or lego brick soap that I also made.

Since I decided to hand out juice boxes instead of individual cups, the kids got to pick out a lego-head straw to take home with them.

I am beyond lego'd out, how about you? In the end, the weeks of preparation was well worth it to see E. have a wonderful birthday. As thank you cards, I printed out a group picture of all the kids at the party. I don't know if their parents want their pictures online so I'll let you use your imagination on that one.

I hope you had a wonderful birthday E. You are definitely worth every minute spent.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Making a Lego Cake

Let me start this post by saying I am not an expert by any means and this would be my first time ever working with fondant. That said, I found it to be quite relaxing and fun. Here is my first cake I have made with marshmallow fondant.

I started by making my marshmallow fondant a few days before I made my cake (since it needs 24 hours to harden). I've read that fondant will keep for 2 months if properly stored.

The day before the party, I decided to make my lego figurine. Since, I hadn't ever worked with fondant, I had no idea how long it would take.

I took a basic lego mini-figure as my guide for proportion.

I used rice krispy treats to shape the lego figure.

Next, I covered the individual pieces before I assembled them. You need to cover the rice krispy with frosting in order to get the fondant to stick to it.

The day of the party, I covered my cake. Since you cannot refrigerate fondant after covering the cake due to condensation, you cannot make the cake too early. I've read that fondant will keep for 3 days once covered, but I wanted the cake to be as fresh as possible so I woke up early the day of the party to cover my cakes.

I dusted my counters and took out my fondant. Sorry for the poor images, it was too dark outside to get natural light so I had to rely on my horrible kitchen light.

Roll out your fondant. Since I am a newbie, I had no idea how thick to roll my fondant out. I bought a new roller and roller rings. The rings enabled me to know exactly how thick to roll the fondant out. It was well worth the price.

Next came time to covering my cake. I had one layer of chocolate and one layer of white cake with cream cheese frosting in between. I had prepared the cake the day before, leveling it, and covering it with a crumb coat.

Lay the fondant over the cake.

Use your hands to guide around the cake, removing any wrinkles that form. Use a fondant smoother to get the fondant extra smooth.

Cut around the edge of the cake with a butter knife.

Tuck the ends under the cake.

Here's my final product. I baked a square cake to make the lego pieces. The top was made with mini-oreos. I would have taken pictures of this process, but it was such a sticky mess, I didn't want to stop to take pictures in between. Time-wise, it took me about 1.5 hours to make the lego figurine, about 2 hours to cover all the lego squares (they were the worse to cover), and another 2 hours to cover the cake, make the details, lettering, and to assemble the final product.

I don't know much about the construction, but after watching a few cake challenges on HGTV, I decided I may need some support so each lego square was supported with a piece of cardboard and wooden dowels underneath. There was also a center wooden dowel through the lego piece so there would no be shifting. We wouldn't want those lego blocks to slide off as the birthday boy was making a wish, now would we?

The Lego man had a cross dowel to support both arms and a center dowel to hold up the head and torso. I decided to add a number 7 since E. was turning 7 and for the first time, he didn't want a "7" candle, but he actually wanted 7 individual candles.

Right before the birthday, I added his name for a personal touch. I used letter fondant cutters to make the letters. The best gift ever was to see E.'s face when he saw the cake. That face was just priceless and it made the hours of work all worth it.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Marshmallow Fondant

My goal was to always make cupcakes for E.'s Lego Party. That was until I saw dozens of cakes online and became inspired. However, I had never made a cake out of fondant before. Most years, I order a cake from the store, but after finding a recipe for marshmallow fondant with many good reviews, I figured I would give it a shot. The worst that can happen is that I resort back to my cupcake plan.

Marshmallow Fondant

  • 1 (16 ounce) package miniature marshmallows
  • 4 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 pounds confectioners' sugar, divided


Grease all bowls and utensils with Crisco before starting.

I even greased my dough hook and mixing bowl.

Place the marshmallows in a microwave-safe bowl, and microwave on High for 30 seconds to 1 minute to start melting the marshmallows.

Stir in vanilla extract and add coloring to the hot marshmallows. Stir until desired color is achieved.

Add a cup of powdered sugar to the mixing bowl.

Pour the marshmallow mixture into the mixing bowl and slowly beat using the dough hook.

Add powered sugar, one cup at a time until the dough is no longer sticky and a bit stiff. Reserve some powdered sugar for kneading.

Rub your hands thoroughly with Crisco and grease the counter with more Crisco. Remove the dough and begin kneading. As you knead, the dough will become workable and pliable. Continue kneading until the fondant is smooth and no longer sticky to the touch, 5 to 10 minutes.

Perfect shade of blue?

Form the fondant into a ball, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and let sit over night to harden. To use, roll it out onto a flat surface dusted with confectioners' sugar.

A few more batches... You could just make white fondant and add coloring afterward, but I've read, it is more work to knead the color afterward. Therefore, I made 4 batches of fondant. 3 of the batches I quartered the recipe and one batch, I halved the recipe. Half the recipe was enough to cover my 9 inch 2 layered cake with fondant to spare.
Related Posts with Thumbnails