An Exploration of Parenting by the Vowel

A Wonderland Tea Party for Three December 10, 2010

Filed under: Activities,Outings — edamomie @ 7:21 pm
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A:  Activities and O: Outings

With the impending blizzard that my neighbor deemed Snowmageddon, we are prepped with all sorts of indoor activities to keep the need to flee to warmer climates at bay.  First up: Tea Party. Prep work: teapot, cupcakes and napkins.


Teapot: Short & Stout

Teapot: Short & Stout

This work of art was discussed, designed and painted over a week ago at Paint Your Plate (I would link to a web site, but until their college web designer can work on it during winter break, they won’t be launching one) in the 50th and France neighborhood and shops.  They have a wide variety of stuff to paint – some of it functional and some of it useless, but charming and kitschy. The $45 pot came with use of all of their paints, brushes and tools. There was a self-explanatory plate that showed techniques like the toothbrush for splattering and stencils and stamps (which we found difficult to use on a curved surface).


I mistakenly assumed we could come back two days later to pick it up. Holiday season finds their kiln and workers with a bit of a backlog. That Tuesday we learned it would be 7-10 days. The kids handled that news fairly well.  After all, we had just painstakingly applied several layers of paint to this precious pot over the past 1.5 hours, and anticipated giving it as a birthday gift to Nana that weekend.  Oh well, there was Christmas right around the corner.

Sweet Pink Seat at Sweet Retreat

Sweet Pink Seat at Sweet Retreat


Fast-forward 9 days to Thursday. We picked up our little teapot and headed straight for part two of our Tea Party plan – cupcakes from Sweet Retreat. You can’t miss it – there’s a big bulldog cake in the window of their shop. Cupcakes are 20% off, making it an ever sweeter deal. We each select a different one – Vanilla Princess, Gingerbread and Cookies & Cream.


We chat with the super friendly cupcake-tenders for a bit and learn they placed second in the Childrens’ Theatre Company Birthday Cake Competition. How sweet – they did a Dr. Seuss themed cake. Oh and did we want four tickets to the show currently playing  there – A Christmas Story? We assured them we’d go and thanked them (I now have third-row seats for tomorrow’s matinee due to someone else’s blizzard fear cancelation).


Gifts not to be Lived Without

Gifts not to be Lived Without

I am giddy with the Christmas spirit at this point. Sur La Table on the corner was our last stop (madness from kids about not being able to also go to the Bead Monkey.). Sur is inviting – the kids get whisked away to the back of the store where someone makes them a hot chocolate from a machine ($69) that makes espresso to chocopinos (how could I not know what this drink is?). Drawbacks were the packets of 8 priced at $9, and for Calvin, that the HC was not kiddie temp so it “killed his tastebuds.” He worried about ever being normal again, then we quickly moved on to the napkin rack.


From fancy tea party to a martini-flowing cocktail party, they had it all. I almost picked up the “I childproofed my house. But they still found a way in,” napkins but instead, I appropriately opted for polka-dots. Ava also enjoyed the 3 older ladies in bikini’s poolside, “The older you get, the less the lifeguards try to save us.” They had all sorts of reasonably priced gifts from the mini herb chopper to the super difficult to find silicone egg poacher (how is my mother, who has been in search of this, living without it?). Could have browsed much longer, but it was a school night and we were set for the tea party.


Lego my Oreo

Lego my Oreo

Vanilla Princess Tea Party:
Friday afternoon tea was held promptly at quarter past four. The kids indulged in tangerine orange zinger tea and I opted for black chai. The cupcakes were yummy. We were quiet with frosting.


Suddenly it was dark and time for Charlie Brown’s Christmas. Calvin is fascinated by BigBen (PigPen) and why the snow doesn’t squelch his dust. We pause it a few times, rewind and watch the crew’s dance moves in slow motion. We all agree that the shoulder shrug dance by the kid in the orange is masterful (I marked it as a fave video on my channel at youtube.com/user/edamomie).


We’ll have plenty of time to perfect the dance this weekend and host a few more tea parties, seeing as though we’re in the midst of Snowmageddon.


Top Little Chefs: Just Bacon Desserts November 22, 2010

Filed under: Eats,The Unknown — edamomie @ 10:23 pm
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E: Eats and U: The Unknown

When I envisioned discovering super healthy recipes my kids would love, bacon was far from the mix. However, there is a whole host of recipes and underground culture of bacon-lovers. Think bumper stickers: Everything is Better with Bacon. I was curious about that theory.


I was also recently inspired by Bravo’s Top Chef: Just Desserts (admittedly I wondered how they were going to pull off a Bravo show of just desserts) and their quest to discover the sweet and savory. So when I came across the Peanut Butter Chocolate Bacon Cupcake, I knew I had my candidate.


Frosting Test

Frosting Test

When I pitched the recipe idea to the kids (ages 5, 7 and 7), I certainly got some inquisitive looks. This coming from Calvin who not so long ago thought a tasty steamer-type drink was adding chocolate syrup and ketchup to milk. Wait, so if we like bacon and PB and chocolate, we should in theory like the combo in a cupcake. They agreed that there has never been a cupcake they’ve tried and not liked. I had buy in. Ava made the list, I shopped on my own and we began with me, my two kids and my daughter’s friend, who was totally up for the task.


Lots of details in the recipe and with only a 2-hour playdate, we had a lot to accomplish. The girls came and went out of the kitchen. Later I read her “Weekend News” (Monday’s school assignment) to learn that when they retreated to her room and closed the door, they were playing fashone motles. She also noted that it didn’t go so well. My son thought it pretty cool that they left so he could take over. When they returned, he bossed them around. They were mostly okay with that.  They took turns measuring (oil, milk), pouring, cracking the eggs and stirring. They tasted everything, as a good chef should.


They all disappeared during the baking time, while I made what seemed like an enormous amount of frosting (I still have 3 cups leftover and it resembles the consistency of cookie dough) and way more than necessary chocolate drizzle. What went wrong quantity-wise? Couldn’t say. Will chalk it up to lost in translation. Luckily frosting and drizzle are forgiving.  I let the kids frost the cupcakes, exercising patience not to step in and redo.


The last step was creating the polka-dot wrap and bowtie tops so four of the best looking cakes could be sent home safely with Ava’s friend. Even though the insert slots for the base didn’t hold and had to be taped over, the concept was fun and the toothpick bows and ribbons assembly was easy for them.


Cupcakes with Trimmings

Cupcakes with Trimmings

The top little chefs fared well and we have all had our fair share of bacon. If you want for more, see Bacon Gets Its Just Desserts.  And if you still think the PBCB Cupcakes sound unappealing, just note that I used organic bacon and I halved the bacon in the mix. The rest of the bacon, unapologetically, is coated in brown sugar and sprinkled on top.


And the final pitfall: not only are they super appropriate for dessert, but with bacon, they will even tempt you at breakfast.


3.5 of out 5 stars – good on originality, not so heart-healthy. Lost points for frosting consistency were made up for in decor.


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