by jcastles | Feb 29, 2012 | Birthday Parties
For my son’s 2nd and 3rd birthday we gave him a YGG Party. He loves YGG soooo much (well did–last year, lol). So for his 2nd birthday we didn’t do much decor but the cake was AWESOME!! We found an image online, blew it up, added the number 2 and sent it to a local bakery. We spent so much money on that darn thing and we threw half of it away. It just wasn’t as good as my normal bakery but geeeee I thought it was so far that particular day. Lesson learned…drive to the damn bakery! But it was still a beautiful cake….$80 worth!
We had a small party. Just family and a few friends. Here in Texas it was still warm that early September day so we were able to get some last minute splash time in!
For his 3rd Birthday I had to get a little more creative….well since i’ve done it before it had to be better right?! Well of course I googled…and I even pinterested (yup, made that word up just now!).
I LOVED the banner on this site so much I emailed her and she had sold hers on ebay recently but was sooooo kind she told me how she made it! Our banner, we actually loved it so much we made 2!!
I saw these chocolate covered pretzels for a snack and didn’t want to do all the characters so I stuck with Muno only. EVERYONE loved them and OMG they were actually tasty. I’d never had chocolate covered pretzels like this before. They were very simple to make too! I melted wiltons red candy wafers in a tall cup, dipped and swirled the rods (tap excess off) and applied an eye (found a pkg at walmart el super cheapo!) while the melted chocolate was still wet, and let dry on wax paper.
Then I found these cutouts on the YGG friends website. I printed on cardstock and cut out and just taped to our tile fireplace. And of course streamers!
The cupcakes and cupcake stand! I didn’t have a ton of extra cash to just buy the cake stand I wanted so I got this $5 cardboard one and mod podged scrapbook paper and ribbon in YGG colors and used scrapbooking sticker decals for the Happy Birthday and balloons. Probably cost me about $7. For the cupcakes I had Kroger make me 12 chocolate and 12 vanilla cupcakes with 2 different colors of green frosting (about $16–hell of a lot better than that darn $80 cake the year before). Then I made the Brobee horns out of leftover candy wafers from the Muno sticks. With all the decorating I just didn’t have time to make the cupcakes…I know bad mom!
I had to have a little bit of character wrapping paper going on too! Easy peasy! Green wrapping paper and the same images from the banner…..cut and tape!
Now for one of the BEST things in my opinion! A life size DJ Lance Rock as soon as you walk in the door! My husband worked with a lady that just so happened to have one (weird I know!). I got helium balloons and clipped them to his hand and gave them away along with their party favor bag (bubbles and chalk) when they left.
I LOVED this party!! So simple, so easy, and sooooo totally GABBA!!! We all had a blast! Especially this lil sweet birthday boy!
by jcastles | Feb 28, 2012 | Uncategorized
Is potty training as easy as ABC 123….no it’s not! Today is the start of our adventure with kiddo #3.
As I’ve said before my 3 yr old is Autistic…so some things he just doesn’t get right away. Potty Training is one of them! His teachers at school have been working with him a lot and doing a fantastic and we’ve been trying at home w/out pushing too hard. The only time we could get him to even want to sit on the potty was at bath time. Last night that little booger sat on the potty for 20 min and nothing! He counted, he sang, he counted again…sang again and still nothing. We left the room, stayed in the room, stood by the door…nothing. Finally we were able to get him off–what kid just wants to sit there?! Every kid i’ve potty trained never wants on the potty (worked in daycare for a good while–i’ve seen my share of those kiddies)!
Well this morning he said the magical words….”yellow”. That’s how he tells us he has to potty. We went in and voila, it happened! We’re hoping for a continuation but who knows. Today could have been a fluke! Maybe not, I dunno..
by jcastles | Feb 23, 2012 | Recipes
It seems all I do around here is make cupcakes! Well I have 2 special events coming up where I’m making cupcakes….I need practice! Luckily most of these cupcakes I’m giving away! It’s a funny thing…I don’t actually like sweet sweets, lol!
Most of my practice that was needed was making the frosting. I can make a delicious frosting but it’s never as thick as I want it to be and in the end I have powdered sugar ALL over my kitchen! Well as of today those days are OVER!! I have found the secret and am here to tell you what that is!
- 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), softened (not melted!)
- 3-4 cups confectioners (powdered) sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon table salt (only if you use unsalted butter)
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- up to 4 tablespoons milk or heavy cream
What to do
Beat butter for a few minutes in a mixer (paddle attachment works best). TURN OFF MIXER, so the sugar doesn’t blow everywhere! Add 3 cups of powdered sugar and then mix on the lowest speed until you have little clumpy sugar butter bits. Increase mixer speed to medium and add vanilla, salt (if you used unsalted butter), add 2 tbsp of milk or cream and beat for 3-4 min. If your frosting is too thin add more of the powdered sugar. If too thick add more milk/cream 1 tbsp at a time. Mix to the consistancy you want and voila. You’ve made beautiful sweet tasty home made frosting!!
Tip- To make the consistency you see on this cupcake I used 3 cups of powdered sugar and 1 tbsp of milk plus all the other ingredients.
by jcastles | Feb 20, 2012 | Recipes
It’s time to talk good ole comfort food. This side dish is so good you could eat it by itself! It’s definitely a favorite in our house.
Recipe (this recipe is for 6 small/medium taters)
potatoes, washed (1 potato per person; with or w/out skin)
1/2 medium purple onion, finely diced
1/2 stick butter (or 4 tablespoons if using tub)
cajun seasoning (we like Pamepered Chef’s)
montreal steak (McCormick–YUMM!)
seasoning salt (Lawry’s; about 1 tablespoon)
couple dashes salt/pepper
2 pieces of foil (about 10″ each for 5-6 taters)
ketchup (for smothering them in when they’re done!)
What to do
Wash taters. Peel if desired (we do 2 for the kids). Dice taters. Lay 1 sheet of foil down and put taters on top (leave about 1/2 inch around the edges you’ll need this later). Finely dice your onion and add to top of taters. Scatter your butter on top of taters. Add a good amount of seasoning salt. A couple dashes of salt/pepper. And if you’d like a lil kick add a couple dashes of montreal steak seasoning and cajun seasoning. Put your other piece of foil on your taters and roll all the sides up to create a closed pocket of taters. Bake at 350° for about 25-35 min on a cookie sheet. Or you can do our preferred method and cook directly on the grill for about 25 min. When done cooking open foil (you might even have to cut open)…BE CAREFUL, the steam is super hot. Add ketchup and enjoy!
**Remember if your making a smaller/larger amount your cook time will vary…the time and ingredients given above is based on our recipe of 5-6 small/medium taters.
I hope you enjoy them as much as we do. They go great with any kind of meat, sloppy joes, hot dogs, & hamburgers! Basically anything you’d eat a french fry with, lol!.
by jcastles | Feb 16, 2012 | Family
Web hosting is essentially a place for your website to live. From that point forward, you can manage and control your website as you please.
For web hosting, you will have several options. You can choose from virtual private servers (VPS)to dedicated servers. For this tutorial, I will be using a VPS from DigitalOcean. Once you have decided on a hosting provider, check out the websites of the providers to see what kind of packages are included.
The ideal website I would like to have is simple and easily customizable. As I mentioned earlier, you can edit any or all of the files you want, however, I would like a little more control. On top of WordPress, I will be using Zen Hosting as my blogging platform, so I will be using this platform as my base of operations. I won’t be needing to tweak my website much other than making minor changes and running a few tests to ensure everything is working properly. I always find it’s very important to also hire a local web designer, we recently needed a web site for a local area so hired a great web designer in Bridgwater as that was where that business operated and it just worked brilliantly as they obviously understood what was appreciated in that area.
I will be using WordPress, but all instructions in this section will apply to the use of any other blogging platform you might choose to use. You might want to start with your host to decide which of their platforms to use, since there are different options for web hosting, and services that offer dedicated hosting service for specific business as well.
Now that you know a little about creating and running a website, it’s time to create your first website. It will be a simple page that lists my favorite movies on YouTube. Upon clicking on the Site From link, you will be taken to a page with a File download button. Click that link, and you will be taken to a screen where you can enter the following information:
Hostname: YOUR-HOSTING-PROVIDER.digitalocean.com (Choose the best one!) Password: Do not use the same password you have used to sign up to your WordPress site, as you will be creating a new one (and therefore we will be using a different password). This will be your site’s username and password. You will be given a username and password when you sign up to WordPress. Use these!
Type: Blog (Choose the blog you will be blogging under) Filesize: 15MB (You can use a bit smaller or larger. I’m going to be posting a lot of data here, so you can feel free to use a smaller one if you like.) Note: Make sure you can access your WordPress dashboard if you are using Zen Hosting.
When you are ready, click the Download button, and we are done! Click the Apply button to save your changes. For security, you can choose to use a different username and password at any point. This is absolutely no need to do this if you are using this website as your main website.
Great job! You have just created your very first website, and now you need to get it running.
If you want to be able to track your progress, you will need to log in to your WordPress dashboard with your chosen username and password.