Star Wars Themed Birthday Party

When the party is quite close to the 4th of May, one can easily get tempted to celebrate a la “May the 4th be with you”. So for hubby’s latest birthday celebration, Star Wars theme it was. Because the very first Star Wars film came out exactly 40 years ago this month, all the more reason it was to have that theme.

If you get your inspiration from the very first Star Wars film, you will find that you are dealing with a retro-ish kind of futuristic/space-age theme. Nevertheless, we just decided to have fun inserting a bit of Star Wars themed something here and there.

Upon entering the party venue, the guests were greeted with these sign posts. So, which Star Wars place do you want to go?

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This is how the buffet table looked like before the guests arrived. Since it was the last month before winter, we kept the rest of the foods in the kitchen so that they would still be hot when the guests arrive and they’re ready to eat.

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One helpful tip – if you have a number of tried and tested recipes that you can incorporate into the theme, use them! That means lesser stress, because you’re more confident of how to make them and how they would turn out, having made them several times before.

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Sometimes, you can also just tweak the recipe a bit so that the dish would suit the theme. This Bantha Milk Punch, for example, is a tweaked version of the pink fruit salad cooler (beverage) that I have made before. Normally, red and green gelatin chunks are used, but for this party, I used blue gelatin chunks, to make this fancy beverage look more Bantha-milk-ish and Star Wars-ish. Unfortunately, the blue gelatin chunks, tapioca pearls,  and shredded coconut all sank to the bottom (as they normally do anyway), so you don’t really get to behold this lovely beverage in all its glory.

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You don’t even have to come up with all original ideas for your party. Your guests will most certainly forgive you if you pinch a few good ideas from other similarly themed parties shared online, such as the Yoda Soda.

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Many cake makers would surely have that special decorating tip that creates icing that looks like grass or hair (very thick strands, that is). I do have that…except that at the last minute, it decided to not work properly. Boo! A little bamboo toothpick to the rescue! Using a clean toothpick, I tried to recreate the hairy Wookiee look on these Wookiee Cupcakes.

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Hubby made this milk flan, a.k.a Princess Leia Flan. Normally, I wouldn’t serve it in a baking pan. However, since the industrial look of the pan worked well with the theme, I decided to send it straight to the buffet table.

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Thankfully somebody invented the blue food colouring! A few drops of that into the milk panna cotta that I’ve made a number of times and, voila! We got ourselves a nice plate of Bantha Milk Pudding. I just added a bit of chocolate syrup and a couple of Oreos on the top, for contrast.

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Organizing a party can be stressful and if you’re not careful, you can end up with so much to do in so little time. I would have loved a detailed R2D2 cake, but that would have been terribly time consuming. Instead, I opted to create a Galaxy Cake – blue butter cake base with buttercream icing and glazing in various shades of dark blues and purples, with silver sprinkles here and there.

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A funny behind-the-scenes story on this cake – In the early stages of glazing the cake, I didn’t quite achieve the midnight-ish blue that I wanted. So the first batch of glaze that went on the cake was more of a Cookie Monster kind of a blue. Hubby passed by the kitchen table and after I whined how I can’t seem to get the colour right, I jokingly told him, “How about we change the party theme into ‘Sesame Street’ instead of Star Wars?” He looked horrified! Lol!!! Thankfully, I managed to get the colours right in the end.

May the forks be with you…and the spoons and knives as well.

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And because photo props are just so popular in this era of selfies, Facebook, Instagram…and selfies.

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Just before the guests started arriving, I started playing the first Star Wars film DVD, showing it on the lounge TV, on low volume, so it’s more like a background feature.

After much of the eating and chatting, we played a few rounds of the “Storm Trooper Snatching Game”, as I’d like to call it. To play, you will need:

 – A box of styrofoam pellets/packing peanuts (imagine that they are stormtroopers)
– A few big, lightweight bowls
– A pair of chopsticks for each bowl
– A timer (your mobile phone clock timer will do)

 Each player gets a bowl and a pair of chopsticks. Set the timer to 30 seconds. When the timer starts, each player uses only his chopsticks to snatch as many ‘stormtroopers’ as he can, from the box and into his own bowl. No scooping is allowed. At the end of 30 seconds, whoever has the most number of ‘stormtroopers’ in his bowl wins the round.

Tip: If you have time to prepare beforehand, paint each chopstick so that they’d look like lightsabers. I know snatching a ‘stormtrooper’ with a couple of ‘lightsabers’ does not look quite logical, but it’s just an added fun Star Wars detail. 😀

Bantha Milk Pudding

This recipe was derived from my Milk Chocolate Panna Cotta recipe but tweaked especially for the Star Wars themed party that we had. I didn’t make the chocolate layer because of time constraints, but you are welcome to include it if you want. Here is how I did my Bantha Milk Pudding dish for hubby’s Star Wars themed party:

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Ingredients:

1/2 cup cold water
2 packs unflavoured gelatin
1 cans condensed milk
2 cups cream
Few drops of blue food coloring
Chocolate syrup (optional)
2 Oreo biscuits (optional)

Melt gelatin in cold water.  Set aside.  Mix cream and condensed milk in a saucepan and cook over low heat until hot.  Add the melted gelatin and stir until well blended (approximately 10 minutes).  Remove from the stove and continue stirring to cool down the mixture.  Gradually add a few drops of food coloring until desired color is achieved. Stir well until color is evenly distributed.

Transfer the mixture into a mold.  Refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

To serve, turn the pudding upside down on a serving platter. Drizzle chocolate syrup on top and position the Oreo biscuits on the top center.

Baby Shower Games

People get excited before their wedding day. But do you know what’s more exciting than that? You’re right! A baby!

When the couple are expecting their first baby, they become quite busy with the preparations for the arrival of the new member of their family. Traditionally, before the cute little one comes out, family and friends throw a baby shower, not just to give gifts for the baby, but more importantly, to join in the pre-birth excitement.

If you are organizing a baby shower for the mother-to-be, it would be a good idea to include a few baby-related games in the party to indulge the baby-related excitement in the air.

Here are some great baby shower party games to consider:

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Don’t Say “Baby!”

This game is quite simple and does not require much preparation except for a bunch of pins. Each guest will get a number of pins (depends on the host) to attach to their clothes. If one says the word “baby”, she loses a pin to the first person who caught her saying the word. The guest with the most number of pins at the end of the party wins the game.

Who Knows Mommy Best

Prepare a list of questions pertaining to the soon-to-be mother. Produce many copies (depending on the no. of participants or guests) and distribute them to the guests. Provide pens and have them write down their answers. After giving them ample time to answer, the host announces the answer of each question and whoever get the highest score wins.

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Draw The Baby

All you need is a blank piece of paper and a pen for each guest. They’ll have to unleash their creativity and draw what they think the baby would look like when he/she comes out. You can ask someone (or perhaps, the mother-to-be) to be the judge and select the art work she likes best.

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How Many Candies Are In The Bottle?

Prepare a large bottle filled with candies. Remember to count the candies as you fill the bottle. At the party, have guests guess how many there are. Whoever guess the closest number gets to take home the bottle of treats.

Guess The Baby Food

Prepare 4-6 containers filled with baby foods. The foods should not be obvious. Label the containers numerically. Give out pens and papers to the participants and have them taste each baby food and write down their guesses on the paper. Whoever has the most number of correct guesses becomes the winner.

 

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Blindfolded Diaper Changing

You will need a number of baby dolls (as close to life size as possible, for best results, and you could perhaps borrow them from friends with young kids), a number of diapers, and same number of blindfolding materials for this game. Game participants will try to change the baby doll’s diaper while blindfolded. Whoever has the most impressive output wins the game.

Toilet Paper Christening Dress

This is a spin on the popular toilet paper wedding dress for bridal shower parties. In this version however, participants get to design a christening gown and dress up a baby doll using toilet paper instead of fabric. This game would go perfectly well with the Blindfolded Diaper Changing game, as you get to use the baby dolls in two separate games.

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Mom or Dad

Prepare a lip figure and a moustache figure. During the game, ask a set of questions that is answerable with “Mom” or “Dad”. The questions describe either the mother or the father of the baby. The participants will answer the question by raising either the “lip” figure (for Mom) or “mustache” figure (for Dad).It’s fun for your family.

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Guess The Baby Photo

Instruct everyone to bring their baby picture and try to guess who’s who. The one who first guesses, correctly, wins. This will be quite amusing because you will see some funny pictures during their infancy or childhood.

Yummy Recipes for Easter

With Easter just around the corner, it’s time to finalize all the plans, whether you’re planning a family get-together at home, or going to your friends’ home for a big luncheon.  Naturally, we’d love to bring an Easter-y dish to these events, so here are some ideas for you, in case you need them:

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Baked Salmon Fillets Dijon

The Dijon-styled mustard makes this Baked Salmon Fillets special. The bread crumbs and butter toppings give a perfect palatable crunch in every bite.

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Creamy Spring Peas with Pancetta

If you don’t want to break your diet, have some Creamy Spring Peas with Pancetta on your Easter table. It’s a totally guilt-free meal!

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Deviled Eggs

Who would not want a tasty Deviled Egg on holidays? This recipe has deeper meaning when prepared during Easter because of its egg ingredient. The Deviled Egg recipe is ideal on big gatherings, such as Easter.

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Edible Easter Egg Tart

Make your Easter a tutti-fruity holiday with this Edible Easter Egg Tart. With cream cheese and sugar cookies, this egg-shaped Easter Egg Tart will be an excellent dessert for your loved ones.

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Delicious Egg Salad for Sandwiches

This Delicious Egg Salad Sandwich is ideal for moms who want a yummy snack and want it quick. With 35 minutes of your time, this Easter snack will be ready to be served.


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Tangerine-Glazed Easter Ham with Baby Carrots

This large Easter ham can make a promising dinner with the use of tangerine juice and freshly peeled carrots. One can savour its goodness in every chunk!


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Hot Cross Buns

Make your Easter delightful with these fluffy hot buns on your table!

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Meringue Wreath

Create happy Easter moments in your home with this fruity Meringue Wreath!


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Mouse’s Macaroni and Cheese

If you’re a cheese lover, then this Mouse’s Macaroni and Cheese recipe will best suit your taste. It’s an easy-to-prepare meal for the whole family.

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Blossom Bread

Twisted into a beautiful floral shape, this Easter Blossom bread is perfect for someone who loves a rich, tasty dough stuffed with sweet jam.

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Saddle of Lamb

Using rosemary sprigs, lemon zest, butter, and leaf parsley, this Saddle of Lamb recipe will surely be a star during your Easter dinner.

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Scalloped Potatoes

The Scalloped Potatoes recipe is simple and easy to make. With 50 minutes of your time, you can already have a delectable side dish ready to serve.

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Caramelized Onion Twice-Baked Potatoes

Bring a unique twist on your potatoes during Easter by making this Caramelized Onion Twice-Baked Potatoes. It’s an ideal side dish to be paired with your roasted lamb meat.

Alternatives For The Traditional Bridal Bouquet Toss

A florist for the wedding has been booked. The flowers have been chosen.

On the wedding day, the bride gazes dreamily at her bridal bouquet, smells the lovely blossoms and feels like it’s the most romantic scent in the world. The florist has done a great job.


Bridal bouquet by Adelaide Flower Mill

Then, hours later, comes that portion of the program. That part where the bride is supposed to throw her bouquet to the bunch of single ladies at the reception. Oh, wait…is she going to just throw it the traditional way? Or does she remember to consider the mixed feelings that female guests have regarding the bouquet giveaway? Nowadays, it’s not always that simple anymore.

Bouquet toss may or may not be the most anticipated part of a wedding. For many, it might be exciting to see who’s gonna catch the bride’s bouquet and possibly become the next bride. However, for some, it can a bit awkward because it only highlights those women who are not married or don’t have partners. They might feel uncomfortable to be identified as single.

To make everyone happy, you can always make some twist on your traditional bouquet toss.  Here are some ideas to consider:

Anniversary Dance

          All married couples join the bride and groom on the dance floor. As the DJ plays the music, the emcee announces which couple will be eliminated according to how long they have been married. The last couple remaining on the dance floor, the one married the longest, will be given the bridal bouquet or a special present.

Wedding Cake Charms by LostPemberleyDesigns

Cake Charms

          Little charms on ribbon are tucked under the icing of the wedding cake. You can put as many charms as you want to accommodate more people. Each charm depicts a fortune. Example, a dollar for wealth, shamrock for good luck, a baby carriage for a child, wedding ring for the next bride or groom, etc.

 Multiple Flowers

          Instead of a bouquet toss, prepare many single stems of flowers that look like the one that you have in your bouquet. Place a motivational quote to each flower by tying them up with ribbons or gift tags that match your wedding decors. Place these single-stem flowers on a vase near the entrance with a sign to invite all women to take one. This will let all women in the wedding feel special, not just the singles ladies.

Girls-Only Group Dance

          If you’re allergic to flowers you can have a group dance instead. Invite all ladies to the dance floor surrounding the bride. Then have the DJ play the bride’s favourite party music like “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” by Cyndi Lauper, “Material Girl” by Madonna, etc.

Pot-Luck

          Have a single pot which contains charms, ribbons, flower petals, candies, and a ring. All women who want to participate should gather together in the middle. At the count of three, the bride will break the pot and whoever catches the ring will be the winner. The winner will then take the bouquet as a prize.

Bouquet Presentation

          Instead of tossing the bouquet, you can make give it to your mother as a token of appreciation, or to someone you dearly loved. You can also pass it to the next couple that will be getting married, if there is. You may include a video presentation with a short speech before you give the flowers.

Breakaway Bouquet

          The bouquet to toss is a large set of flowers loosely tied with a ribbon. When the bride gets the bouquet, she discretely takes off the ribbon and toss. The flowers, then, go everywhere and every girl has a chance to get one.

Toss for a Prize

          Everybody is invited to participate. The bride will toss the bouquet in front of the crowd. Whoever catches it, will win a prize. Prizes could vary from 2 movie tickets, one night hotel stay, and dinner for 2 at a restaurant, or anything you want. This makes the party fun and competitive making everyone crazy to get the prize.

12 Etsy Finds For A Peach And Mint Wedding

My mum’s favourite colour is green. The deep green hue. It’s fine with me, ‘coz I can imagine it as emerald, or the fresh grass in the garden. But it’s not something I’d pick to pair with bright orange for a wedding.

Thank goodness for pastels!

The mint green and peach colour scheme is the lovely, sweet and delicate version of the otherwise not-so-appealing colour combination…and what a darling pair it is! Today, I’m sharing with you 12 of my loveliest Etsy finds that perfectly suits a peach and mint wedding…and here they are:

Rustic Flower LED Light by VENDecor

Peach Boutonniere, Country Wedding by LoveAccented 

Mint Green Peach Wedding Hair Comb by Jewelsalem

Mint Peach Wedding Centerpieces by OhLOLAandco 

Peach Pearl Wedding Jewellery by UrbanDaisyBridal

Mint Wedding Favors with Personalized “Mint to be” tag by MintFavorsAndMore 

Peach and Mint Earrings by Greenperidot 

Blush Bridesmaid Dress by RenzRags 

Mint tie for toddlers by LilGents 

Ivory, Peach & Mint Garter Set

Mint and Peach Bouquet by AMYOBridal

Mint Green Chiffon Bridesmaid Dress by SandyWatersStore

Italian Desserts

So, you’re planning a party with an Italian influence. What are you having for desserts?

To help you out, here are some of the well known Italian desserts. And nope, you just won’t be able to stop your mouth from watering, so you might as well get some tissues. 🙂

Gelato

Image by By Filipe Fortes from New York, United States

Gelato is the Italian word for ice cream, so this should be a hit at kiddie parties. In traditional Italian style, though, a gelato is a soft ice cream with at least 3.5% butterfat and contains a small amount of air. Milk, cream and sugar are the main ingredients of this cold sweet.

 Spumoni

Spumoni, as you can guess from the photo, is another ice cream sort of Italian dessert. But what makes it distinct is that it is made of layers of various flavors and colors of ice cream and also contains nuts and candied fruits. Pistachio, cherry and chocolate or vanilla are the most common flavors combined to make spumoni.

 Panna Cotta

Image from Toscana City Centre website

Panna cotta means ‘cooked cream’ and it is so because this dish is composed of thick cream, honey and egg white. With careful monitoring of time and temperatures, this dish could indeed taste like cooked cream. Later versions of panna cotta contain gelatin. This yummy pudding can be served with fruits and syrup.

Cannoli

Image by William Meppem

 Cannolo is the singular form of this word, which means “little tube” in Sicilian language. In plural form, they’re called cannoli. They’re made of tube-shaped pastry dough with a creamy filling (usually with ricotta content). They’re often served dusted with confectioner’s sugar.

Semifreddo

Semifreddo means “half cold”.  Most often, it is made by combining equal parts of ice cream and whipped cream, which gives it a similar consistency to a frozen mousse.