Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween + Pumpkin Pie Bites

Hello everyone! I just wanted to pop in quickly to wish you all a safe and happy Halloween! Being that this is one of my favorite holidays, I decided to whip up some delicious pumpkin pie bites late last night to share with you all! I was inspired by Miss Bakerella's pumpkin pie bites, but I didn't love her ingredient list so I made up my own pumpkin filling. These are super fun and yummy and perfect for your Halloween get together!

  • 2 frozen pie shells
  • 15 oz can pure pumpkin
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 cloves
First, pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees and thaw out your frozen pie shells. When they feel soft roll them out on a floured surface with a rolling pin until flat and thin. Using a cookie cutter or biscuit cutter, cut out circles about 4 inches wide until all of the dough is gone (depending on size, it should make about 20 circles). Spray a mini muffin tin with baking Pam and insert dough circles. Don't worry about making them look perfect; the dough should scrunch up around the edges naturally.

In a large bowl, combine sugar, salt, and spices. Whisk together and then add eggs one at a time. Mix until just incorporated. Slowly add in pumpkin and stir. Spoon pumpkin mixture into your pie shells and fill about 3/4 full. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the edges are golden brown and an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Immediately transfer to a wire cooling rack and then cool for about 20 minutes. Top with melted chocolate, whip cream, or enjoy them as-is!

I hope everyone has fun taking their littles out trick-or-treating tonight! Happy Halloween from my family to yours! XOXO

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Wedding Planning Wednesday - My Favorite Pins!

I cannot even begin to explain how valuable Pinterest has been to me for my wedding planning... To have all of your inspiration pictures in one place that can be added to any time? It's every planners dream! I can easily say that over half of my great ideas for my ceremony and reception have come from Pinterest. It's such a great source of inspiration! Today for Wedding Planning Wednesday, I wanted to share my favorite wedding pins. I am so happy that this amazing new site popped up... The timing couldn't be better!

I am obsessed with these favor bags. I love the burlap + lace combination and the clothespins on top! I will definitely be creating something similar to put our skeleton key favors inside. The only thing I would change is to have the little tag say Thank You instead of LOVE. So cute!

Lately I have been trying to figure out what I want our flowers girls to wear and carry. There are so many options these days from traditional basket to big, fluffy flower poms. I saw this picture and I'm now in love with the idea of doing little paper cones. I think it adds the perfect rustic touch!

You guys may remember that I'm doing my own florals for the wedding, so I've been looking for inspiration pictures for the bouquet wraps. I really love this burlap wrap with the lace coming from the top. It's so pretty! I would do a skeleton key instead of that little round pendant though!

Mando and I are trying to find a way to creatively display the seating arrangements. I love the idea of finding an old window frame and writing the names for each table in the squares. It's the perfect vintage touch, don't you think?

Are you sensing a theme here? I'm obsessed with burlap and lace and this ring bearer pillow is beyond perfect. How pretty are those fabric flowers? It's both rustic and elegant! I'm going to see if my amazingly talented sister can help me make something similar!

I've been obsessed with these burlap banners long before I even got engaged and now I can't wait to use them! I love the idea of Mr and Mrs banners to hang on the back of our chairs for the reception. It's little details like these that make me happy!

Have you used Pinterest to plan your events? If you're not on there yet you really need to sign up! And if you need an invite, just leave me a comment with your email address and I'll make sure to get you one!

Tonight we are off to meet with our amazing wedding planner (I just hired her this week!) to go over some of my ideas and to-do lists. It's getting to be crunch time! Oh, and I promise that next Wednesday you will get to finally see our engagement pictures. So excited! Have a great week everyone! XOXO

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Threadery

This past Saturday I had a booth at my first handmade market, The Threadery! It was so much fun meeting other handmade mamas and being inspired by the beautiful things they make! I had a lot of fun setting up and interacting with everyone there. Hands down best part was getting to see all of the kids (+ adults!) playing with my photo props and seeing all of my items through their eyes!

Let me just say, I was on a very strict budget for my booth... this was my first handmade market and I wasn't sure how it would go or how my things would sell so I didn't want to invest a ton in a fancy booth. With the money and resources I had, I think it turned out pretty cute! Of course nothing compared to the other talented ladies, but still good!

Here's a peek at some of the other booths at The Threadery. These ladies were oh so talented and did an amazing job decorating!

And of course I had to shop! There was way too many pretty things there not to! I picked up the cutest zippered pouch and hair clip from Olive Blue and this amazing flower necklace from Rellas Bellas. Love!

In the end, my booth didn't do as well as I'd hoped... I think a lot of the traffic was people browsing versus buying and I ended up spending more than I made! I'm still glad I tried it though and am chalking it up as a learning experience. I think my life is way too busy to do any more handmade markets right now, but who knows what the future will bring! I'm just glad I have a successful Etsy shop and get to spend my days making things I love!

Thank you to all of my friends and family who came by and shopped and supported me! It meant the world to me to see you there. And thank you to Nicole and Kristen for hosting this event! You girls did a great job! XOXO

Friday, October 21, 2011

Friday Favorites: New Items For The Threadery!

I cannot believe tomorrow I will be selling from my own booth at The Threadery! Eeeek! I am so nervous and excited. This is the first handmade market I've participated in and I'm really curious to see how everything will turn out. I hope Mama Matryoshka does well! I will take a million pictures and make sure to tell you all about how it went sometime next week!

For Friday Favorites I wanted to do one last sneak peak of the new items I've been working on for The Threadery. I can't even begin to tell you how hard I've been working these last few weeks so I hope you all enjoy what I've come up with!

Last time I showed you some cute Halloween items, but I also wanted to do something fall/autumn themed that could be used all through Thanksgiving! This way you get more out of your decor! I love this trio of pumpkin cupcake toppers. They can be used for both Halloween and Thanksgiving treats! This Give Thanks banner is also really pretty... I currently have it hanging underneath my mantle! I love the 3D effect that the autumn leaves have.

Of course I had to bust out the matryoshka cupcake toppers! I am a tiny bit obsessed with these and of course I had to represent my shop name! I love the idea of a matryoshka themed birthday party or baby shower and I think these would be a sweet touch! I also made a matching banner for my booth. Love!

I really wanted to do more boy themed decorations because I don't have many options in my shop right now. As a mother of a baby boy (who always complains about the lack of cute boy things I might add) it was really important to me to represent the little men! A popular theme for boys right now is monsters so I decided to make these cute (not so scary) monsters in a color theme of blue, green, and purple.

I have some pinwheels in my shop already, but I wanted to soften up the colors with a pastel palette. I think these would be gorgeous at a bridal or baby shower. Pinwheels always add a pretty touch of whimsy, don't you think? I love these soft colors; they remind me of Easter!

Aside from handmade cards, I really wanted to have some low cost items for my booth. Since photo props are hands down my most popular item at Mama Matryoshka, I thought it would be fun to make a 3 piece prop set. First, I made this vintage/1920/circus inspired set with a bowler hat, polka dot bowtie, and a big droopy mustache. I love how it turned out; the bowtie is my favorite! And with the holidays coming up, of course I had to make Santa props. These are so funny and that big white beard? Epic. I love this set for a silly Christmas card!

If you're in Southern California, make sure to stop by The Threadery tomorrow from 9-4pm. I'll be at booth #10! And don't forget, if you can't make it you can still get any of these items from my Etsy shop! Have a great weekend everyone! XOXO

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Wedding Planning Wednesday - Cake Tasting

This past weekend was all about the wedding planning! On Saturday we unexpectedly purchased our wedding rings. We meant to just go look but we both fell in love with 2 bands and ended up getting them that day. They are all off getting resized now (I feel so naked!) but as soon as I get them back I promise to share them with you! On Sunday we took our engagement pictures. Those will get their own post next week and trust me when I say you do not want to miss it! If you're friends with me on Facebook you have seen a few, but I cannot wait to share the rest! I am so, so happy with how they came out!

Another thing we did on Sunday was cake tasting! I already told you all about the design of our cake, but we had yet to pick a bakery! I wasn't having much luck searching online, but when Mando and I went to a bridal expo at Knott's Berry Farm a few weeks ago we ended up trying a sample of cake from their bakery. I don't know about you locals, but I for one, didn't even know Knott's HAD a bakery! We were both really surprised at how delicious the cake was and even more surprised at their great prices! So I called and set up an appointment with their baker and on Sunday we headed down there! We told her about our vision for the cake and she showed me some examples of similar cakes they've done in the past and then loaded us up with a great sample platter to take home and try! I was so excited to eat that cake, you don't even know! Here's what we tried...

I was really looking forward to the white cake with raspberry mousse because that's what we tried at the expo and it was amazing. When we tried it again it did not disappoint! We also loved the white cake with raspberry fruit filling; I'm a sucker for anything raspberry! I got samples of marble cake just to have a chocolate option, but I found it to be a bit dry so we decided against that one. We also weren't fond of any of the strawberry options, which was surprising because we both love strawberry! I'll be the first to admit, I'm not normally a lemon kind of gal, so we were both shocked to discover it was actually really yummy! I also made them give me a sample for fondant. Fondant is notorious for making wedding cakes taste dry and unappetizing so I was really scared it would ruin the cake. Surprisingly, it wasn't bad and as long as she spreads it really thin I think it will be really yummy!

Here's what we decided on: The entire cake will be white cake. The largest bottom tier will have the raspberry fruit filling because I think it's what most people would enjoy. The middle tier will have lemon fruit filling for a lighter, citrus option. The top tier, which will be mainly for Mando and I, will have our favorite which is the raspberry mousse! I think lemon and raspberry work really well together and it's perfect for our Spring wedding!

Today we will be meeting with a local taco truck to taste her food and then later tonight we have a meeting with a potential wedding coordinator. I'm really excited for both and can't wait to tell you all about it! Happy Wednesday everyone! XOXO

Monday, October 17, 2011

Broccoli cheddar soup

I mentioned in a previous post that one of my favorite things to eat during this time of the year is soup. There's something so warm and comforting about a bowl of soup that makes it perfect for chilly weather! I used to be really intimidated by soups due to a disastrous situation involving navy beans and a ham hock (don't ask) so making something so creamy and delicious was huge for me! Broccoli and cheddar is a classic and this easily became a regular in my cold weather cooking! It's also pretty quick and easy to throw together which is a huge plus!

Broccoli and cheddar soup
recipe adapted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe

  • 1/4 brown onion, chopped
  • 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 4 tbl unsalted butter
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 3 cups steamed broccoli florets

First, steam your broccoli and set aside. Grate the cheese and set aside. Dice 1/4 to 1/2 small onion, depending on your preference, and drop it into a saucepan with the chicken broth. Cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until onions are soft.

 In a separate medium saucepan melt your butter and then add the flour, salt and paper. Stir constantly for about 2 minutes.

Heat milk in the microwave for 1-2 minutes until warm and then slowly whisk it into the flour mixture.

Cook together for about 10 minutes or until soup starts to thicken. Stir in onions and chicken broth. Add steamed broccoli and grated cheese and stir until cheese has melted completely.

Cut up a few thick slices of fresh bread...

And enjoy! Make this soup on the next cold day... I promise you will not regret it! XOXO

Friday, October 14, 2011

Friday Favorites: Braids

Is anyone else obsessed with braids right now? Personally, I can't get enough! There are so many different ways to wear braids from fish tail to french and I love it all! My hair is super long right now while I'm growing it out for the wedding so I've been experimenting with a lot of different styles. I am loving the idea of incorporating braids into my wedding do! I found all of these great styles on Pinterest and I can't wait to try them out! My favorite is the bottom left; how gorgeous is she? I adore her make-up too!

We have a BUSY weekend ahead! Our annual chili cook-off on Saturday along with a day of pampering at the spa for this mama, and my hair and make-up trial, engagement pictures + cake testing on Sunday. Next week we are meeting with some wedding coordinators and taste testing with some food vendors and next weekend is The Threadery! And that's not even including all of the gym and music classes Cayden and I are taking together! I'm getting dizzy just thinking about it! I hope you all have a more restful weekend than we do... I can't believe Halloween will be here in a few short weeks! XOXO

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Wedding Planning Wednesday - Invitation Inspiration

It has been a busy, busy week in the wedding planning world! Mando and I have a wedding planning timeline and according to that we are actually way behind! A few of the things we are supposed to already have booked are the food, wedding planner, and invites. I've been extremely busy looking up Mexican food caterers because we aren't having much luck with the food truck idea. Now we are thinking of a taco cart and I'm pretty sure I have it narrowed to 3 places, so tasting will happen next week! We also may have found a bakery for our wedding cake so we're hoping to do cake tasting this weekend.

One thing I've been obsessing over this week is the invitations. Although it's a fun part of the planning process, it can also be really overwhelming. So many options! My biggest struggle so far has been narrowing down the 'theme' of our invites. I've been going back and forth between what part of our wedding theme we want to incorporate into them and I've narrowed it down to 4 options: lace, fun/kitschy, trees, or floral! 

Lace is a huge theme of our wedding. It will pretty much be incorporated into everything from our cake to my dress to the decor. I really love the idea of lace invites but it can be tricky! Do we add lace ribbon or do we print a lace pattern? I really love the two options above and I think they are very elegant. I just don't know if it's TOO formal for our casual outdoor wedding! These are definitely the more standard wedding invitation of the bunch! 

If there's one thing you guys should know about me by now, it's that I'm not traditional in any way. To me, traditional = boring and I will go out of my way to make sure that the things we chose aren't what you normally see at a wedding. Enter these invitations, completely opposite of the first ones. I absolutely love this kitschy style invitation and I think they'd be really fun with our casual wedding. The mustaches! I die! My only problem will be getting my extremely traditional fiance to agree with me on this one!

Another theme we are considering is a tree theme. After all, we are getting married at a nature center covered in 200 year old oak trees! This theme is definitely Mando's favorite. I do like it, but I'm not sure if I'm completely in love with the idea. I think the above ones are very beautiful though, and I know we could come up with something that works for us!

I am a little obsessed with these invitations from Rifle Paper Co. This company is 100% NOT in our budget, but I really love the idea of doing a unique floral style invitation. I like the vintage feel and soft colors and I think these go with our theme really well! My only challenge will be finding something equally pretty as the ones above!

No matter what theme we decide to go with, our invitations will be 100% custom. I've already been discussing ideas with my favorite graphic designer and I know she'll be able to come up with something we absolutely love. Now Mando and I need to sit down and really narrow down our options! Which theme do you love best? I'd love to hear!

We have another busy weekend ahead of us! This Sunday we are taking our engagement photos and I cannot be more excited! I can't believe it's finally here! Hopefully I'll have a sneak peak for you all by next Wednesday! XOXO

Friday, October 7, 2011

Friday Favorites: Fall Meals

It's finally starting to feel like fall around here, and I couldn't be more thrilled. We had our first big cold front of the season and even had a few rainy days this week! I love this weather. The air is crisp in the morning and you can't go out without a jacket at night. It's perfect for cozying up under blankets and lighting pumpkin spice scented candles. Last week I talked about my favorite fall fashions, but this week I wanted to bring it a little closer to home and talk about all of the delicious flavors in fall foods. First up, appetizers!

Fall is the perfect time for soups. There's nothing better than coming home from a chilly day out to a steaming bowl of soup packed with delicious flavors. I've been wanting to cook with squash this fall so this corn and squash soup sounds amazing. I'll definitely be giving it a try!

One of my all time favorite soups is baked potato. You just can't go wrong with bacon, cheese, and creamy potatoes. This recipe from Betty Crocker looks delicious. I can practically smell it through the screen! The best part? You can throw it in the crock pot while you're at the pumpkin patch and come home to a hot meal!

 Every October there is a big chili cook-off in my mom's neighborhood. Last year we entered and won, but this year my mom will be a judge. Chili is the perfect fall meal; its hot and filling and tastes amazing served with cornbread. How fun would it be to serve up chili and cornbread in a jar to your guests? I love that it's portable and easy to bring outside for a fall dinner party!

Another delicious traditional fall meal is pot roast. Juicy meat, tender vegetables, and creamy mashed potatoes; is there any better meal than that? This roast from Jenny Steffans looks so beautiful and inviting. I've never made a pot roast, but this year I'll definitely be giving it a shot!

For dessert, nothing says fall like apples. I've been dying to go apple picking and now I have the perfect excuse... I need to make these amazing crock pot baked apples! With butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon it's just like apple pie without the crust! Can you say yum?!

I'm just gonna put this out there; pies are my specialty. Cherry pie was one of the first thing I ever baked completely from scratch when I was a teenager and my mom immediately named me the pie crust queen. I love the methodical mixing and rolling resulting in the perfect buttery, flaky pie crust. This year I really want to try some different variations of pies, including these adorable individual apple pies. Don't they look delicious?

I hope some of you are able to make some of these delicious meals this weekend and enjoy that crisp air! We're off to the pumpkin patch with family and I can't wait to continue our yearly fall traditions! XOXO

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Wedding Planning Wednesday - Mad Libs

(1, 2, 3)

I've been trying to think of a fun way to keep my guests entertained during the reception and also something to break the ice and get everyone to talk and interact with each other at their tables. I came across the idea of wedding mad libs from a wedding featured on Style Me Pretty and I think it's so fun and clever. I used to love doing mad libs in high school and if you have a fun crowd they can be hilarious!

If you aren't familiar with mad libs, basically you place a list of fill in-the-blank words (nouns, adjectives, verbs) on one side for your guests to fill out. The sillier the words the better! Then you flip the page and fill your words into the blank spaces in the story on the other side. Usually the words are ridiculous and make the story really funny. You could read the best ones aloud on the microphone during the reception and then keep them to look back on for years to come!

You can find these online and purchase them, but I think it would be better to make your own! I plan to make use of the graphic artist in the family (AKA, my sister) to help me put something together. Then I'll place one at each table during the reception and let my guests have fun filling them out together!

What do you think of the idea? Fun or cheesy? I'd love to hear your opinions! XOXO