{Guest Post} Go Dansker Mom, A Transplant Story

You may have figured out  by now, that I am a transplant.  I moved from from the DC area down to the Lowcountry back in 2005, thus making me what locals call, “a transplant.”  There are lots of us {the south is a lovely place to live!}….and it seems like I meet more and more each day!  Allison is one of my bloggy friends and writes over at at Go Dansker Mom.  She’s guest posting here today to tell you all about how her transition to being a “southerner” is going!

Go Dansker Mom - Guestpost on PalmettosandPigtails.com

I grew up in Maryland, near the Chesapeake Bay, and while that’s not up there with Maine or anything, it is still what I consider “northern.”  Over my life I have slowly moved further and further south and now I am raising 2 sons in “the Paris of the Piedmont” – Carrboro/ Chapel Hill, NC.

I love it here – the culture, the people, the pace, the opportunities – it is a great place to live.  HOWEVER, the northerner in me is noticing some differences here in the South that become more evident as my children grow up here.Go Dansker Mom's Guest Post about raising boys in the South- PalmettosandPigtails.comThe first thing, of course, is that my 4 year old is noticing accents.  It is hysterical to watch since he doesn’t really understand it all yet.

“Mom, Bryce drinks wuh-ter.”
“No, he drinks wAter.”
“No, he doesn’t.  He drinks wuh-ter.  We drink water.  Water and wuh-ter are different.”

So many conversations like this occur.  He thinks that my husband and I are saying entirely different words than his friends are, even though it is just an emphasis and pronunciation difference. I will watch with curiosity as he ages to see which pronunciations he adopts as his own.

He also cannot understand me many times as I speak much faster than most people in the world.  It seems like northerners speed up on the rest of the world in general.  I say something and my son will just blankly reply, “Pardon me, what did you say?”  I say I have about a 50% success rate of being understood the first time through.  If I slow down, though, no problems…although you know, it might all be a ruse of his to test me.  Hmmm.  Note to self: look in to this theory.

Another quirk my 4 year old does not understand is the use of “Y’all.”  I still say “you guys” and I have heard my son correcting his buddies at the gym nursery.  Not that either of these sayings are proper English but it cracks me up that he notices.

But it is fun being here, I wouldn’t trade it. For although my boys don’t have regular crab feasts as part of their upbringing and they won’t ever truly understand the importance of Old Bay seasoning, they are learning to call women “Ma’am,” and getting all the vinegar-based pulled pork barbecue they could want.

Folks here in the South are so warm and welcoming.  I’m still going to skip the Jell-O salads but all y’all should know I am proud to be considered a Southern gal.  Now excuse me as I am headed out to get some seersucker suits for my boys.  Best thing ever.

Go Dansker Mom, A Guestpost at PalmettosandPigtails.com

Allison is a freelance writer who lives in Chapel Hill, NC. She wants you to come visit her at Go Dansker Mom, but she also spends a lot of her time managing her popular local parents’ guide Mom in Chapel Hill. She and her husband have a 4 year old boy and an 18 month old boy so she spends a lot of time yelling, frantically, “BAD IDEA.” She wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

{Guest Post} Best EVER Smoothie Recipe

Hello There!!  Thanks so much for having me!  My name is Kristen and I blog over at http://3monkeysmommy.blogspot.com.  I’m a busy mama, I have a hubby, three little boys and a full time job.  I LOVE crafting, creating, cooking, and sewing.  I’m happy to share our favorite smoothie recipe.  We are constantly looking for healthy alternatives and better choices.  Hope you’re inspired to try these delicious smoothies!

This week my mission has been to make a good smoothie.  I should clarify that the ones I have been making are delicious… but they are chunky, seedy and most of the time too thick.

Last weekend a friend and I were discussing smoothies and how its impossible to make them the way that places that sell them do.  It’s impossible to get rid of all the seeds & chunks… It’s impossible to make that perfect consistency…. until today.


This morning I made the most perfect smoothie ever. I mean EVER.  Even my son commented that I should make them this way all the time because they are sooooooo good!!
 

Best EVER Smoothie Recipe:

(And when I say EVER I mean by me)



1/2 banana

7-8 frozen peach slices

1/3 cup frozen raspberries

1/2 cup milk

1 individual yogurt, frozen (I used a pineapple mango greek)

Add all ingredients & blend until smooth.  Enjoy! 

Best Ever Smoothie Recipe from 3 Monkeys' Mommy - PalmettosandPigtails.com
Best Ever Smoothie Recipe from 3 Monkeys' Mommy - PalmettosandPigtails.com
Best Ever Smoothie Recipe from 3 Monkeys' Mommy - PalmettosandPigtails.com
FYI: I froze the yogurt in the individual container, and then just ran a little hot water over it to pop it out.  I think this is the key to getting the perfect consistency. 

This amount will make a large smoothie.  Large enough that I shared with my boys. I add 2-3 tbsp of ground flax seed every other day for breakfast.  It certainly changes the consistency of the smoothie, but its delicious all the same.

Hope you enjoy!  I’ll be making this again tomorrow morning :)

Kristen


{Guest Post} Reward and Consequence Jars

Hi there! I’m Jen from de Jong Dream House. I’m super happy to be guest blogging here at Palmettos and Pigtails because it’s my very first time guest blogging! I “met” Shara on a Facebook group of crafty bloggers supporting each other, and what better way to support each other than inviting a friend over to your cyber home. (Thanks, Shara!)

Reward and Consequence Jars - A Guest Post by De Jong Dream House on PalmettosandPigtails.com

A little about me. I’m a sort-crunchy mama who blogs about green living, DIY décor, recipes, sewing, organization, and our life as a Dutch-American family. My hubby Niels and I started our blog just over two years ago when we started building our dream home: an energy-efficient, earth-friendly, and universally-designed. Our early posts document the journey from dream to reality. Since we’ve moved in, I’m blogged about things like how to keep track of missing socks, organizing with tension rods, how to make homemade (sort of healthy) Nutella, and my adventures in sewing.

Now that it’s summer, my space-and train-obsessed 4 year-old is home with me all day again. He just finished his first year of preschool. Back in September, I was in tears leaving my baby at school– even though he was only going half days two days a week. On his last day of school, I thought, “Oh no! I’m going to miss my breaks!” Can you relate?

Like most kids, our son *occasionally* has a hard time making good choices. Around the time D turned four, he discovered his independence and strong will. Time outs were not as effective as they once were, so I had to adjust my discipline strategy. Hello reward and consequence jars!

Reward and Consequence Jars - A Guest Post by De Jong Dream House on PalmettosandPigtails.com
The basic idea we want to impart is that D always has a choice. He can make a right choice or a wrong  choice. That is up to him. When he makes a right choice, there may be a reward. And when he makes a wrong choice, there may be a consequence (we didn’t want to use the word punishment or discipline). Most importantly, if he make a wrong choice, he can still choose to seek to make it right. (We made the printable below for his room to help him remember).
Reward and Consequence Jars - A Guest Post by De Jong Dream House on PalmettosandPigtails.com
This was a super easy project to do. The hardest part was coming up with creative rewards and consequences that would be meaningful for our son. We purposely avoided chores as consequences because we are teaching him that helping around the house is just part of being in a family. We don’t want him to see chores as punishment. D loves trains, cars, space, books, technology, and time with mommy and daddy, so our list corresponds to these things.
Reward and Consequence Jars - A Guest Post by De Jong Dream House on PalmettosandPigtails.com
The first consequence I wrote down was “grace.” As a family of faith, I wanted to take advantage of this opportunity to teach D that grace is getting something better than we deserve. The first time D pulled the “grace” card, we had a great conversation about God’s grace and it really hit home for him. It stuck with him when we were on vacation and we didn’t have the jars with us. He made a bad choice so I said, “I think you’ll need a consequence for that.” He got really quiet for a moment, and then he said, “I choose grace!”
As a general rule, we aren’t rewarding with food, although we do have a few food-related rewards below. Rewards are given when he does something above our expectation, without asking to be rewarded for it. For example, if we are at the store, and without prompting, he holds a door open for a mommy with a young child.
Our list of rewards includes:
  • play a game with Mommy or Daddy
  • stay up an extra 15 minutes at bedtime
  • 50 cents for the save jar
  • do a special project
  • make cookies with Mommy
  • go to the toy store (this does not mean getting something, but just to look. He has to save up for toys. He enjoys looking a toys and writing down what they cost so he can save up).
  • have a safe dessert
  • do a puzzle together
  • go to the library together
  • pick something from the save box (we have a box of toys, books, and small items that we can use for gifts in pinch, but also that D would like. They are things I pick up on sale for no particular occasion).
  • watch a movie with popcorn
  • read an extra book at naptime or bedtime
  • 15 minutes on the iPad
  • “just the boy” car ride
  • ‘Jama walk. (This is when he gets all ready for bed, but before he goes down, we take a walk around the neighborhood with him in his pajamas)
Our consequences include:
  • grace
  • no space shuttle for the rest of the day
  • no tv for the rest of the day
  • bedtime at 7pm (his normal bedtime is 8pm)
  • one less book at nap/bedtime (we normally read three)
  • no trains for the rest of the day
  • no blocks for the rest of the day
  • no using Mommy’s iPad today
  • 15 minutes in your room alone
  • 50 cents from the spend jar to share jar
  • no Legos for the rest of the day
  • give away a book (this is his least favorite)
  • extra chore (because we are trying not to associate chores with punishment, this tends to be a special project that wouldn’t be on a chore list, like putting away 10 items that are out of place)
  • no cars for the rest of the day
Another general rule we followed is that a consequence only lasts a day. A day is a long time to a preschooler. We are teaching him that God’s mercies are new every morning, and so are mommy and daddy’s.
Reward and Consequence Jars - A Guest Post by De Jong Dream House on PalmettosandPigtails.com
I cut up the strips, folded them tightly, and put them in the corresponding jars, which I labeled “rewards” and “consequence.” Our smart boy started noticing when me and his daddy made good and bad choices because he wanted to get peeks at what the other strips said! He also started doing good things without being asked, but then said, “Do I get a reward now?” It only took a time or two of us reminding him that he doesn’t get a reward if he asks for one, so now he’s much sweeter about being helpful.
Reward and Consequence Jars - A Guest Post by De Jong Dream House on PalmettosandPigtails.com
For the most part, the jars are working out well. He does have a bit of the same stubborn streak that Niels and I both had, so sometimes he just chooses a consequence when he really wants to do something we’ve asked him not to do. That’s clearly frustrating to us, but for the most part, he is understanding the correlation between his choices and the results of them, and his behavior has improved.
A big thanks to Shara for letting me take over her blog today. I’m rolling out the welcome mat for all of you to come visit me at the de Jong Dream House. And if you really like what you see, you can follow us on Facebook, Pinterest, Blog Lovin’ and/or Twitter.
Keep livin’ the dream!
Jen

{Guest Post} Mom to Mom: Water Park Tips

This year, when my aquarium membership expired, I decided to put our entertainment budget towards season passes to our local water park. It has been awesome! Between Memorial Day weekend and the date of this writing (the middle of June) we had visited the water park more than 10 times! Between our sporadic visits the last few summers and our frequent visits so far this year, I have definitely learned what works and doesn’t work for me and my kids when visiting the water park.

Mom to Mom: Water Park Tips from MommyJustine - Guestpost at Palmettosand Pigtails.com

 I have met a few moms this year that look at me like I am nuts when I say that I come 2-3 times per week. One [a mother of 3 young boys] said to me “It’s just smuch work! I couldn’t do it more than every once in awhile!” Granted, I don’t have 3 boys under the age of 6. But, waddling around at 7+ months pregnant with two kids in tow could become overwhelming. The secret to a minimally-stressful, fantastic day at a water park (or pool or beach) isn’t just one key thing. Here are some of the things I’ve learned to do to keep it fun:

Mom to Mom: Water Park Tips from MommyJustine - Guestpost at Palmettosand Pigtails.com

It’s in the bag.

The pool bag and it’s contents are the foundation for a great day.

  • You know those plastic baggies that you put produce in at the grocery store? They are perfect for wet swimwear.  Keep a few of those in your bag at all times! (Bread bags work great too! Recycle, recycle!)
  • Take one, big bag. I currently use a giant, reusable shopping bag from Marshall’s that cost 99 cents. The bag really needs to be big enough to hold everything you need.  Juggling more than one bag is bound to be a burden on your fun. Not only will you have more things to carry (or beg your children to carry), but you also will have to hunt to find which bag contains which needed item at any given time.
  • I pack my bag the night before. I am much more likely to forget something if I wait until the day of, when the kids will be circling me with all sorts of questions and requests. Packing at night allows me time to think through everything I will need.
  • Besides the typical stuff (towels, sunblock, etc.) I also pack a water proof pouch for my camera, phone, season pass, and a few dollars for drinks.
  • Even if your park has a “No Outside Food” rule, pack empty water bottles for your kids. Every park will have a water fountain, so you can fill them up when you arrive and keep your kiddos hydrated for free.

Mom to Mom: Water Park Tips from MommyJustine - Guestpost at Palmettosand Pigtails.com

Timing is everything.

  • Plan your day so that you arrive when the water park opens. You will likely beat the crowds, and be able to choose a lounge chair in your ideal child-supervising location.
  • If you have bigger kids that intend to ride the larger slides, do that right as the park is opening. There will be short or no lines, so they may be able to ride several times in the same amount of time that they could ride once later in the day.
  • Don’t wear yourself out by ping-ponging all over the park. If you plan to visit all of the different areas, start with the one furthest from the entrance and work your way back out. I don’t stick to strict time limits, but I do have a loose time frame in mind. (ex: 15 minutes each at the slides, wave pool, and lazy river, and then hanging at the kiddie pool until we are ready to head home.)
  • If you will be staying through lunchtime, plan for that. Don’t wait until your kids are complaining of starvation to try to decide whether to stay or go. I usually pack a lunch, but occasionally we eat at the park’s snack bar. And I always give my kids the lunch plan ahead of time. This helps to avoid the “But I want a hot dog!” meltdown right as I open our packed PB&J.

Mom to Mom: Water Park Tips from MommyJustine - Guestpost at Palmettosand Pigtails.com

Better safe than sorry.

  • Before and upon arriving at the park, explain to your kids the importance of listening to the lifeguards. Be sure to point out who the lifeguards are and go over any park rules (feet first on the slides, for instance).
  • Make a plan in case you get separated. Establish a meeting place.
  • Practice what to do in case they do get lost. I tell Man Cub to go to the nearest lifeguard, and then we practice what he will say, including his full name and my full name.
  • Establish a “zone.” When we are at the kiddie pool, that is Man Cub’s “zone.” I remind him that he is never to leave his zone for any reason. Not with another kid, not with another grown up, never. If we move to another area, like the wave pool, then I remind him that now that is his “zone.” This      ensures that even if I lose sight of him for a moment or two, I do not have to worry that he has wandered off.
  • Go over the rules and emergency plan every single time. Your kid may roll their eyes, but they are more likely to observe the rules and remember what to do in the event of a real emergency if it has been repeated and repeated again.

Mom to Mom: Water Park Tips from MommyJustine - Guestpost at Palmettosand Pigtails.com

The really big thing is to just have fun! Don’t take things too seriously. Don’t start your day expecting it to be stressful. Play with your kids and have a fun, fabulous, and safe summer!

Mom to Mom: Water Park Tips from MommyJustine - Guestpost at Palmettosand Pigtails.comJustine is first and foremost a follower of Christ, which is the most central part of her life. She is also wife to a US Navy sailor, referred to on the blog as her ”fella” and two sweet little ones; “Man-Cub” and “Girl-Child.” Justine is expecting our third biological child in August 2013 and is currently in the process of adoption from the foster system. She loves to cook, clean (really!), craft, sew, decorate, and throw parties!  You can go read about her about her ever-busy life over at MommyJustine.

“Marco?”……{Why I need a guest blogger or five}

So.  Once again I’m off.  Whoever told you that life slows down in the summertime was downright lying.  Our life speeds up to an almost unmanageable pace in the summer.  Don’t get me wrong, we do fun, awesome things….but when will we breathe?!?!

Our July has already flown by….and it just started!  We start the month off with a week at our friends’ lakehouse.  In the middle of the month we are blessed to have lots of company, swim lessons and Vacation Bible School.  The last half of the month we travel {possibly one last time!} up to Maryland to help my parents pack up the house {it’s already on the market!!!}, and to help welcome our new Goddaughter into the world {to join her big sister Lulabelle!}.

Another Awesome Guest Post over at Palmettos and Pigtails!With that said, I can’t even answer you with a “Polo” right now, because I’m busy packing.  No time for games.  So, what I’ve done is invited a few of my closest bloggy friends to keep you company while we attempt to relax at the lake and spend some family time together.  So scattered throughout the month will be posts from some AWESOME moms….talking about everything from NOT being a first time mom to crazy addictions.  Tune in to my guest bloggers this month to read all about it.  And yes, I’ll still be around too…just not as much as usual!

So please, please be nice to my friends….and go check out their blogs.  And don’t forget my awesome July sponsors {see them over on the sidebar?}…go visit them too, and tell them I sent you!

Have a fabulous month!!!

Palmettos and Pigtails

Guest Post over at Disney Insider Tips

Exciting news!  Remember all of those Disney posts I wrote a few weeks back in anticipation of our trip?  Well, they have been so well received that I was asked to guest post over at Disney Insider Tips today.

Disney Insider Tips

So, give me some love and click above to head on over there to see what I wrote about!

Palmettos and Pigtails

Guest Blogger: Betsy’s Baby Cupcakes!

As y’all probably know by now, little Amelia has arrived.  So, not that you aren’t important to me, but we have shuffled some priorities around this week as we get settled as a family of four and entertaining family who have come to support us!  Don’t worry, I’ll be back soon….in the meantime, please enjoy some Tutorials!  The first is written by my besty, Betsy (say that five times fast!).  Enjoy (and feel free to bring me some of your yummy cupcakes!!) =)

Hellooo!  I’m so excited to be a guest blogger here this week.  If you are a regular, you may know me as the mommy of Jayna’s little pal, Lulabelle, who pops up regularly in these blog posts.  I am Betsy, Shara’s very most favoritest friend from her olden days in Maryland.  I have had the pleasure of knowing her for about 15 years now, and my hubby has known her even longer, as we all met in Sunday School and youth group at our church in Laurel, MD.  I love art and making things, my large/crazy extended family, and my small/sweet immediate family, God and my church, and I have the biggest sweet tooth of anyone I know!

In the past couple years, I’ve found some ways to combine my love of art and sweets.  In college it started with painting baked goods (donuts, cupcakes,
cakes)…

…and has since morphed into making edible creations (fancy cakes and cupcakes).  I still love to paint, but it’s so rewarding to have someone bite into your creative project and devour it!  And to be honest, not many people (including my husband, who I happen to live with) want a bunch of donut paintings hanging in their houses, so they end up taking up a lot of space in the junk room…not so with cake and cupcakes!

Here’s one I made for Buggy’s 1st Birthday Party:

Here’s another one I did for a tea party-themed birthday:

Please come visit my Facebook Page, Betsy’s Cakes to see more of my favorite creations!

Alright, so in honor of my new, absolutely wonderful, blessing of a 2nd god-daughter, Amelia, I’m going to make Cute Baby Cupcakes!  Heartfelt congratulations to Shara, Dave, and Jayna!!!  These cupcakes are great for baby showers.  I also made them recently for a thank you to our beloved nursery workers at church, with a cake to go along and display my thank you message.

I love to try new recipes from cakecentral.com and tweak them to my liking.  That is an awesome website for cake and cupcake makers – novice and genius alike – with forums to ask questions and recipes galore.  For today’s Amelia cupcakes, I’m going to go with a chocolate chunk cake and cream cheese frosting, but one of my favorite things about these cupcakes is that you can go with any flavor, thanks to the decorations.  For example, I LOVE chocolate frosting, but with a lot of my cupcake orders, the customers want a frosting color dyed to match the theme of the party and chocolate does not work for that…with these ones, you can make your baby blanket any color to match the party and still have your yummy chocolate underneath.

So first, choose a flavor and bake your batch of cupcakes.

While they are baking, you can get started on your decorations.  Now, I love to work with fondant… its like a dream come true to get to play with PlayDoh again for me as an adult, and the fact that its edible and dyeable is just awesome.  But some people hate it.  Its verrrry sweet to actually eat, and its a little temperamental to work with, but I love it and think the look of the end product is definitely worth the work.  If you are totally scared of or against fondant, I’ll give you another option at the end of this.  :)

Confession:
I don’t make my own fondant.  If you want to try, there are great recipes on cakecentral.com, but for me, it’s just too time-consuming and too uncertain (consistency wise)… I buy Satin Ice brand at a cake supply store or online (cheaper).  It’s a good middle-of-the-road brand, not insanely expensive, but a great product.  Michael’s and all craft stores sell Wilton fondant.  Wilton’s alright for this project, and for just starting out with using fondant, but it’s not good for covering a whole cake, and it doesn’t taste very good… I’m just not a fan.  I’ve also seen Duff Goldman from Ace of Cakes has a new product line out.  I haven’t tried it, but price-wise it seems to fall in between Wilton and Satin Ice, so it’s probably similarly in-between in quality/taste — give it a shot if you don’t want to bother trying to find my Satin Ice brand.  There’s no magic formula for how much you need per project (that I know of anyway) but I’d say 2 lbs would be plenty sufficient for this project with a batch of 24 cupcakes.  Fondant comes in many colors, but it is easiest and cheapest to just buy white and dye it to your liking unless you need a really dark or really bold color.

To dye it different colors, you want to purchase gel food coloring.  Wilton brand of these at any craft store are actually great and the best deal (super cheap even).  A little bit of gel coloring goes a looong way, so buy the smallest containers they have and just get the basics – red, blue, yellow, and black, plus a brown.  While you’re at the craft store, also think about buying a black food coloring/edible marker for the eyes and mouths of the babies (you can do these with just the black food coloring gel, but it’ll make your life easier to get a marker).

Alright, so let’s get to work on some cute, edible babies!

1. Take some of your white fondant – start with maybe a baseball sized glob – of it and work it with your hands, add another baseball sized glob and continue
kneading.  Add a little bit of yellow and red gel food coloring to it using just the tip of a toothpick.  Knead all of the coloring in, folding it and squishing it a lot, just like PlayDoh.

*If your fondant gets dry and cracky, mix in a little dab of Crisco or shortening.  If it gets sticky, put a little cornstarch on your hands*

Add more yellow or red as needed in very small increments — you don’t want to end up with an orange, fake-tan baby — I like a pink tone.  You can also play with adding a little brown if you feel your skin color needs it.  To make the dark-skinned babies in my Nursery Worker Thank You Cupcakes, I used
actual brown fondant rather than trying to dye it.  You can also use softened Tootsie Rolls instead of brown fondant!

2. Once you have a skin color you are happy with, break off a chunk a little larger than a quarter, and roll it into a ball in your hand, and then flatten a little
bit.  Keep your extra fondant wrapped up in Saran Wrap if possible while you do this – it can dry out very quickly and if it gets hard and dry its pretty useless and can’t be brought back from the dead.  Put your first head on a cookie sheet (you may want to sprinkle your cookie sheet with a little cornstarch to make getting the heads off later easier) and then continue pulling off similar sized pieces of fondant and rolling them into balls and placing on cookie sheet until you have enough for all of your cupcakes.  Make an extra one or 2 heads for possible blunders(!) but don’t use up all of your flesh-colored fondant (we still need a little for hands, ears, and noses).  Pop them into the fridge.

Check on those cupcakes if they’re still baking, or breathe in the sweet aroma of cake in your kitchen if they are now cooling.  Ahhhh….

3. Pull off pea-sized pieces of your flesh-colored fondant for each hand, so 2 per number of cupcakes you have.  Roll each into a little ball and then flatten it
just a little.  Use a knife or toothpick to make 3 little lines along the side of each one, to represent fingers.  Set each pair of hands near each head so you
don’t lose track of how many you’re supposed to have!

4. Now you want to get out a little cup of water and a small paintbrush (or a q-tip will work) and get your heads out of the fridge.  Dab each of the now chilled
heads with just a little bit of water in the middle of each face.  Pull off teeny tiny pieces of your flesh fondant and roll into a little ball, and then pop each onto the moistened face one by one.  The water makes the fondant sticky, and sugar will bond with sugar when wet.

Do this for each face, then go back and dab each with water on the sides where ears will go.  Again pull off teeny pieces of your fondant to form ears.  You can be ambitious and try to make half circles, but in reality if you just make them into little balls, they’ll squish to ear-resembling things once you stick them on the moistened spots of the heads.  Pop in fridge to set up the bond.

5. Draw the eyes and mouths on, using either a black food-coloring marker or a small paintbrush and black food coloring watered down with a little bit of clear
alcohol.  (You can use water if you don’t have any alcohol, but it will take a lot longer to dry, so be extra careful not to smudge an eye as you pop your heads on your cupcakes.)

If your kitchen is warm, you may have to do this step in shifts, popping your cookie sheet of heads back in the fridge to cool periodically because fondant starts to sweat (condensate) when it goes from cool fridge to warm kitchen, and your food coloring won’t stick very well if your heads are sweating.

6. Frost those yummy smelling cupcakes.  I like a lot of frosting, and again because these decorations cover up your frosting almost entirely, don’t worry
too much about the look of it.  Many people won’t eat the cute fondant decorations at all, so you want them to have a normal amount of frosting underneath any decorations.

7. Pop each head onto each cupcake, making some looking up at you and others facing the side… Half of the babies will be on their backs with a blanket on them and the other half will be peeking out from under a blanket as if on their bellies.

8. Place about 3 chocolate chips, or a little extra fondant, or a Tootsie Roll, or any little candy, along the cupcake coming down from the head where the body
would be.  This just creates a little height under each blanket.  Pop them all in the fridge.

9. Now, let’s move on to some baby blankets.  Take some of your original white fondant – again I like to start with about a baseball sized glob – and knead it,
then add some gel food coloring of your choice.  Once you have a color you’re happy with, sprinkle a clean surface area with cornstarch and roll out your
fondant to a thin sheet  ~ 1/16” to ⅛”.  Use a knife or a pizza cutter to cut out roughly 2”x 2” squares (or a square cookie cutter would be super easy if you
have one!).  These do NOT need to be exact… blankets are wavy and soft, not rigid, so they look totally fine even if they come out longer on one side or
askew.

10. Take your cupcakes back out of the fridge and drape each blanket over the “body” of chocolate chips or whatever you use.

11. Attach hands, dabbing the chin area of each head with a little water and sticking them on.

12. If you want to get fancy, add some little sprouts of hair to the babies or decorations to your baby blankets and tuck a Teddy Gram in with some of them!
You can use frosting or fondant for either.  I used little pieces of colored fondant rolled out into a tiny snake and then curled up and stuck on with water
for the hair and little dots of some leftover frosting to make different patterns on a couple of the blankets.

…Adorable!

Now, if you’ve lasted with me this long and have had a terrible go at the whole fondant thing, don’t you worry.  There is a different version of these in the
awesome Hello Cupcake! book that uses all candy and found foods.  They suggest a mini vanilla wafer for a head and a softened, rolled out Starburst for the blanket!  Interesting!  I haven’t tried it, but give it a shot if you are against fondant.

Finally, I’m going to let you in on a secret of professional looking cupcakes.  The cupcake wrapper is key.  They make any cupcake look fancy even if you’re frosting has turned out gloppy and weird and your cakes are all lopsided, and they can tie in your color scheme beautifully and easily.  They are getting to be a huge trend now as cupcakes are so hot these days.

They sell all kinds of cool wrappers in the bakeware aisle of craft stores now and people make and sell them on sites like etsy.com where you can even request specific colors and patterns to go with different occasions and parties.  If you have one of those awesome Cricut machines, you can make really cool ones really easily, with intricate designs, etc.  But if you’re like poor old me, you can make fairly basic ones out of cardstock and make devoted best friends help you cut them out when you need about 50 million of them for a special cupcake order (thanks, Shar!).  Here  is a template you can print out on the cardstock or construction paper of your choice (again from my beloved CakeCentral site — you can find everything there and the people are so kind to share it!).  It is really nice with a scalloped edge along the top, which you can freehand or use specialty scissors to create. The cutting out process is a pain, so if you are under a tight time frame, check out the expensive but totally lovely pre-made options on etsy and at the craft store.  In fact, check them out anyway, they’re so cool.

Alright, that is my 2 cents on cupcakes and my latest creation in honor of Miss Amelia!
Hope you enjoyed!