Simply Celebrate Life!
Shhh…It’s a Party!
A blue and brown mod theme for all sorts of parties!
Heidi was over for dinner one night and was talking about how she would rather celebrate a 1/2 birthday, than a December birthday. The month of December is just too busy with things like work parties, school parties, family activities, shopping, wrapping, baking, relaxing! So when she brought up this party idea, I ran with it. Here is a bit of how our conversation went!
Heidi: I really want to host a cookie exchange party.
Me: That would be fun, but do you even have time to host one?
Heidi: Not really, but I want cookies!
Me: How about doing it on a different holiday like Valentine’s or Easter?
Heidi: I guess, but I really want cookies now!
So I got the idea that she wanted cookies, and thought it would be nice to take the time to celebrate a fun birthday party close to Christmas. So the following week, I planned an awesome surprise birthday party for Heidi and our good friend Ivanna!
Heidi and Ivanna’s color is blue, at least to me. Ivanna has made it clear that she does not like pink! So I took the blue path with a light blue and brown theme. I think these colors really suit the birthday girls. Having a birthday in December can help you choose all sorts of themes, but I wanted it to be a traditional birthday theme, with no Christmas involved. I did cave a little when I made the Pecan Shortbread Christmas tree cookies and white and blue Sugar Cookie Candy Canes. I still kept with my colors.
These ideas and color scheme would be perfect for just about any party- baby shower, birthday bash, wedding, even a winter party!
Once I had my colors in mind I took a trip the scrapbook store and again, my luck, found some awesome paper on sale! I knew instantly that I would have a whole lot of fun with these colors so I stocked up and started planning some cute ideas.
Extra sugar and lots of fun!
We’re having a SURPRISE
Cookie Exchange Party
So please plan to come.
I like to keep things simple, but for the most part it never ends up being so. I realize if I have time to plan, then my mind races with ideas and I continue to add just one more thing, until my list has grown way over my head. Since I had some time to plan this party, I kept adding until I just had to say to myself, “STOP ALREADY!”
I simply used a plain white paper plate (we used bread bowls for our potato soup). I didn’t even have to use a table cloth because my natural wood table fit right in with my theme colors. You can attach a fun cookie cutter to a rolled napkin as a party favor too. I asked everyone for their cookie recipe beforehand, and used them to make each of our guests a cookie recipe book. The best part was this quote:
“A well balanced diet is a cookie in each hand!”
Heidi did something similar to this centerpiece for her dining room table, and I thought it would be great for this party. I just trimmed a few branches off my tree, and stole my husbands crystal light containers (yes, Sonny, that’s where they disappeared to!), used some of my on sale scrapbook paper, and there you have it!
I used a blue beaded garland to fill a gold charger to bring out those pretty colors. And I glued blue paper flower blossoms on a few branches.
Oh, and can you believe I hand cut all those flowers all by myself. I knew Heidi would think I was crazy for even thinking of not asking her for her punches, but I didn’t want her to suspect anything,
so I cut and cut and cut and…….
My surprise plan worked or at least for Ivanna. She came ready to do some work. Now Heidi on the other hand, notice how she is a little over dressed for coming over to help me move furniture around. Hummm… I questioned the curled hair and cute necklace as soon as she came to the door. Darn Chris, is all I can say!
Cookie Exchange Table
I’ve had this material for so long I almost forgot I had it. It was supposed to be for a baby blanket, but as you can see, it never reached that newborn baby. So I used it to add some color to the cookie exchange table. It was the perfect color. Now maybe I might just make that blanket since I found it…not!
I added height to my table by placing different size bowls and boxes under the material. This made more room for those yummy cookies.
I used my scrapbook paper again to make some cute cookie tags so we all knew exactly what each cookie was and who made them. And yes, if you’re asking, I was crazy enough to cut these out too… by hand!
A fabulous find at the Dollar Store! These fancy silver trays were perfect for our birthday girls, who had no idea they were going to be taking home 2 dozen cookies.
Oh, and I actually got a picture of Ivanna up close…her hand! She is so camera shy, just like me!
I’m sure there are bakeries that will make special cookie bouquets when requested, but on my side of town there are not many, if any to choose from. So, these homemade ones are not as fancy as those professional cookie bouquets, but I must say they were super fun to make! I used a sugar cookie recipe, rolled out a little thicker than normal, and placed a skewer through it before baking. The containers were another kitchen cabinet raid, my husbands crystal light containers.
I just kept saying to myself, it’s the thought that counts, and in this case I thought real hard about keeping my hand steady!
Bread bowls for soup are super fun and give you more time to relax after your party, it’s better than being stuck in the kitchen washing dishes.
Potato Cheese Soup
6 cups diced potatoes
4 1/2 cups boiling water
3 chicken bouillon cubes
1 1/2 tablespoons garlic powder
3/4 cups chopped celery
3/4 cups onion
3 cups milk, half & half or cream (I used 1 1/2 cups milk and 1 1/2 cups cream)
3/4 cup flour
3 tablespoons salt
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
2 cups grated Monterrey Jack
Combine the first 6 ingredients and boil until potatoes are tender. For the milk mixture, combine the milk, flour and salt. Add to the pot and return to a boil. Add the cheese by handfuls until melted. This is Heidi’s favorite Potato Soup recipe, seriously, it’s really good!
I chose to treat my guests to some yummy Cheesy Potato Soup. Let the season tell you what should be on your menu, and soup always sounds good on a cold wintery day! I bought some soup bowls at a local market, and let our guests fill them up as much as they could with Heidi’s famous potato soup, some even went for refills.
Here are the yummy cookies our guests brought! Recipes are listed below.
Marshmallow Surprise Cookies
Pecan Shortbread Tree
Sugar Cookie Candy Canes
Birthday Cake of Course
Are you noticing my flower cut outs now? I cut these out too. I know I’m super crazy for even thinking about it, but it was all worth it for my two buddies.
Cupcakes and Chocolate Milk
Each birthday girl got their very own sweet surprise chocolate cupcake.
This is one of my favorite ideas and the colors fit perfectly with the party. Easy and simple.
Party Favor Cookie Mix Bag
Since my guests worked so hard on making some delicious cookies to help me surprise the birthday girls, I had to tell them just how much I appreciated it. Of course with more cookies!
I filled plastic storage bags with the cookie mix and stuffed them in plain brown paper bags.
Thanks girls for helping me surprise my buddies. You’re awesome, and your cookies were too.
Cally, don’t hate me. I know right now you’re probably cursing me with nice words…
But you look fabulous!
Happy Birthday Ivanna & Heidi
Marshmallow Surprise Cookies
1 3/4 cups flour 1 cup sugar
3/4 cup cocoa 1 egg
½ t. baking soda ½ cup milk
½ t. salt 1 t. vanilla
½ cup butter, softened marshmallows
Whisk together flour, cocoa, soda, and salt. Cream butter and sugar
for 2 minutes. Add egg, milk, vanilla. Gradually add flour mixture.
Bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes. Place 2 or 3 marshmallows on top
and return to oven for 2 minutes. Let completely cool, then frost.
2 cups powdered sugar 1/4 cup milk 4 T. butter 1/4 t. vanilla 1/4 cup cocoa
Mix together until smooth.
Snickerdoodles 1/2 cup butter, softened 1/2 cup shortening 1 1/2 cup sugar 2 eggs 2 3/4 cup flour 2 tsp. cream of tarter 1 tsp. soda 1/4 tsp. salt 2 Tbsp. sugar 2 Tbsp. cinnamon Directions Heat oven to 400. Mix thoroughly butter, shortening, 1 1/2 cups sugar, & eggs. Blend in flour, cream of tartar, soda, and salt. Shape dough by teaspoonfuls into balls. Mix 2 Tbsp. of sugar and the cinnamon; roll balls into mixture. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheet. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until set. Immediately remove from baking sheet. Makes about 6 dozen.
Pecan Shortbread Trees
1 cup butter, softened
2/3 cups powdered sugar
½ tsp. vanilla
5 drops green food coloring
1 ¾ cups flour
½ cups chopped pecans
32 pecan halves
¾ cups white vanilla baking chips
Heat oven to 325. Grease 2 cookies sheets. Beat butter and powdered sugar until fluffy Add vanilla and food coloring
. Beat in flour just until mixed. Stir in pecans. Roll out dough and cut into Christmas trees. Poke the bottom with a fork and place 1 pecan half on the middle to make tree trunk. Bale for 15 – 18 minutes until firm but not browned. Cool and drizzle with melted White Chocolate. Sprinkle with sugar if desired and top with a decorative star.
Homemade Peppermint Oreos 2 boxes devil’s food cake mix 4 eggs 2/3 cup vegetable oil Frosting: 1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened 4 cups powdered sugar 1 teaspoon peppermint extract sprinkles or crushed candy cane for decorating green or red food coloring Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. In a large bowl combine cake mix, eggs and oil with a mixer. The batter will be very stiff. Pinch off pieces of dough ,and roll into 1 inch balls. Place 1 inch apart on prepared cookie sheets and flatten slightly with fingertips. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Remove immediately from the cookie sheets with a spatula and cool on a wire rack. In a small glass bowl, combine the cream cheese and butter until completely blended. Gradually add in the powdered sugar and peppermint extract and mix until the icing is smooth. Color frosting green or red if desired. Spread half of the cookies with icing and top with remaining cookies. Roll in sprinkles, crushed candy canes, or just leave them plain. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container or resealable plastic bags. Oatmeal Scotchies Cream: 2 cup Butter 2 cup Sugar 2 cup Brown Sugar 4 med Eggs 2 tsp Vanilla Add: 3 cup Flour 6 cup Oatmeal 2 tsp Baking Soda Stir In: 1 pkg Butterscotch Chips Bake: 35o* for 10-12 min Surprise Meringues 3 egg whites 1/8 tsp. cream of tartar ¾ cup sugar 1/8 tsp. salt 1 tsp. vanilla 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips ¼ cup chopped pecans or walnuts Directions In a mixing bowl, beat egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peak forms. Gradually add sugar, salt, and vanilla. Beat until stiff peaks form and sugar is dissolved, about 5 – 8 minutes. Fold in chocolate chips and nuts. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto greased baking sheets. Bake at 300 for 30 minutes or until lightly browned. White Velvet Cutouts 2 cups butter softened 1 8oz package cream cheese softened 2 cups sugar 2 egg yolks 1 tsp vanilla 4 ½ cups flour Directions Cream together butter and cream cheese until fluffy. Add sugar, egg yolks and vanilla. Mix well. Gradually add flour until dough forms. Chill for at least 2 hours. Roll out and cut out desired shapes.