Celebrations, Parties, Recipes, Sweet

Giant Peanut Butter Cups and Birthday Banners

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We celebrated my husband’s birthday over the weekend.  He says he doesn’t really care whether or not I do anything for it, but I do like to try and make it special.  It is especially hard since I go all out for the kids birthdays and that leaves them expecting something spectacular every time there is a birthday in the house to celebrate.

I have tried planning parties/get togethers for him in the past and it has always been a big bust.  This year it was just our family of four and my brother and new sister in law who joined us for one final dinner before they head off across the country for school in Halifax.  My original plan was to try go-karting, but the weather wasn’t very cooperative and my silly husband preferred to spend the day hauling rock, raking out sand and laying the patio in our backyard.  We ended up just having a really nice barbeque dinner and I surprised him by making a giant cake version of his favorite chocolate bar:

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Inside the chocolate shell of his giant peanut butter cups were layers of chocolate cake, peanut butter buttercream frosting and chocolate ganache.  With that combo I knew it was going to be good, but I was still surprised how delicious the final result actually was!

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I didn’t really follow a recipe.

The cake layer was a boxed mix, baked in the bottom section of my giant cupcake pan to give me the right shape.

The peanut butter frosting was actually some leftover buttercream I had frozen from doing my brother’s wedding cake at the beginning of the month.  Once thawed, I whipped it in my stand mixer with a couple giant spoonfuls of peanut butter.

The outer shells were simply melted milk chocolate chips I spread with a spatula into the cupcake base section of the same giant cupcake tin.  I did it in two layers and once hardened in the fridge they were fairly easy to pop out of the pan in one solid piece.  This is a method I had done before for my daughters giant cupcake birthday cake so I was fairly confident it would work out.

The chocolate ganache layer on top was a basic ganache recipe made by melting the same milk chocolate chips with some whipping cream.  I did mine in the microwave to keep it easy.

I had the basic idea in my head and was very happy to discover this great instructional video on youtube.  I could post a recipe and directions, but MyCupcakeAddiction does such a great job that you might as well just check out her Make a GIANT Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup video!  Hers is prettier then mine, but in the end I was pretty happy with my results.

 

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I don’t decorate for my husband’s birthday as I would for the kids, but I do like to throw up a birthday banner to recognize the day and add a festive feel to the house for the kids.  I ended up finding some baseball themed paper plates and napkins at Michaels, so my 4 year old and I decided to go with a bit of a baseball theme since lately daddy has been really into watching the Toronto Blue Jays play.

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Do you recognize the letters in the birthday banner?  It is repurposed from Keira’s Snow White Picnic Party we had back in May.

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I loved the simplicity of this birch birthday banner I came across from scoutmob.com and was looking for an easy, inexpensive way to replicate it for her party.

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As with most of my projects, the solution was found within the aisles of Dollarama.  I came across these wooden letters in the craft section and grabbed a few bags to give me the letters I needed to spell out “Happy Birthday Keira”.  I needed a way to attach the letters to my twine, so I picked up a bag of mini clothespins at Michaels and decided to hot glue those to each of the letters.  As I was doing this I had a bit of an AHA! moment and realized that the clothespins would make the letters totally reuseable and reconfigurable.

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For the Snow White themed banner I picked up some apple wooden shapes at Micheals to fit in between the words.  I loved the little extra touch they added so I decided to add baseball’s to daddy’s birthday banner.  They have all kinds of great painted and unpainted wooden shapes at Michaels (pirate ships, puppies, lady bugs, cupcakes) so it wasn’t hard to find something that worked with my theme.  To attach them, I hot glued the same mini clothespins on that I had used for the letters.

And just to show how versatile this idea is, here are the same letters strung across the cake table I did at my brother’s wedding. (Which I still need to do a full post on!)

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The possibilities really are endless for spelling out everything from Happy Birthday to Merry Christmas or Happy Easter.  The ribbon or twine can easily be switched out to match your party theme and the inexpensive wooden shapes help add that little extra touch.  This is a great item to have in the party cupboard and mine has already gotten great use just in the two months since I made them.

 

Friday Favorites

Friday Favorites: Birthday Freebies!!

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Yesterday was my birthday.  Leading up to the not-so-big day, I decided to try and take advantage of as many birthday deals as I could and signed up online for all kinds of loyalty clubs.  There is a lot of good stuff out there and it was a fun to see my email inbox full of birthday wishes and coupons this week.  After some printing and planning, we set out for our day…

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We began the day with breakfast at Denny’s where I got to enjoy a free Grand Slam – I just had to present photo ID and purchase a drink.  I opted for the French toast slam and the kids shared their own junior grand slam with eggs, bacon and pancakes.

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Next it was off to the mall to pick up my free birthday gift from the Sephora Beauty Insider Club, check out the Lego store and try to find some new pyjamas for the baby.  We accomplished the first two items, coming home with an adorable mascara and face highlighter from Sephora.  I guess the PJ’s for the baby will have to wait.

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The morning went quickly and it was soon time to head to Grandma and Grandpa’s.  We made a quick stop at Booster Juice to get my free birthday smoothie for Camden to enjoy on the car ride and I stopped through the Starbucks drive through to get my free Birthday latte – Mmmm, Pumpkin Spice!  The email from Booster Juice was for a full size smoothie, but I had them just give me a snack size for my little guy.

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With the kids safely at Grandma and Grandpa’s, I went and met my husband at the new house for our 1:00 appointment with the finisher.  We got to go over our plans for the shelving in the closets and check out the progress on the house.  The cabinets were all in and it was a nice birthday surprise to see that the bathroom countertops had been installed.

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After picking up the kids the plan was to go for ice cream, but they have been sick this week and both desperately needed naps.   I received birthday emails for ice cream from Baskin Robbins (buy one cone get one free, $5 off a cake), Dairy Queen (buy a med blizzard get one free and $3 off a cake), and Marble Slab (free small cone with one mix in, $3 off a cake).  Luckily my husband picked up a DQ cake on his way home from work so we did end up getting ice cream in the end!

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The good thing about most of these freebies is they are valid for the entire week surrounding your birthday.  I plan to redeem my free birthday burger from Red Robin this weekend and we’ll likely take advantage of the BOGO Orange Julius when we are out and about.

Looking for other Birthday Deals?

Milestone’s emails out a gift certificate for a free entrée if 3 other entree’s are purchased.  The website also makes mention of a free birthday “surprise dessert”.

Join Red Lobster’s Fresh Catch Club to receive a coupon for a free entrée on your birthday.  When you join the club, you also get a sign-up email with a free appetizer or dessert.

Sign up for the Boston Pizza BP Buzz and receive a free starter for joining, free dessert on your birthday, and a free two topping individual pizza for your first anniversary.

The Body Shop will send you a $10 off coupon to use during your birthday month, but you have to sign up for their Love Your Body Club at a cost of $10.  I don’t buy enough from The Body Shop to feel this was worth it, but it does give you 10% off all purchases throughout the year so it is a good deal if you do shop there often.

Old Navy emails out a birthday coupon for $10 off your $50 purchase.  (Just fill in your email address at the bottom of the webpage.) I have been needing new pants for my son so I think I might take advantage of this.  I might also top up the order with those PJ’s I still need for the baby!

Michael’s sent me a birthday message and coupon for 20% off my entire purchase.  This coupon is good for the whole month so I am sure I will come up with a project/reason to make use of it in the upcoming weeks.

So there you have it – sometimes it pays to give out your email address.

Know of any other freebies I missed?  Please share in the comments!

Friday Favorites

Friday Favorites: Target Party Aisle

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After much anticipation, I was very excited to have Target finally arrive in Canada.  I could spend hours browsing the entire store, but my favourite aisle by far has become the party aisle.  The selection of character brand supplies is excellent and I like the modern patterns and bright colors on some of their more generic themed supplies.

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I decided to take the kids yesterday to pick up a few things for a small birthday celebration we will be having on Monday. I have been eyeing up this felt “Happy Birthday” banner for months so I decided this was a good excuse to finally buy it.  Although I found it too late, it would have fit in perfect with my Go Dog Go party.  It is a nice basic piece and I am sure I will find lots of use for it with future celebrations.

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Next we perused the pet aisle to find the perfect gift for the birthday girl.  A squeaky cupcake seemed to fit the bill!

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And when you have a three year old in tow, no shopping trip is complete without a trip through the toy aisle.  While my son checked out the latest hot wheels, I got a start on my Christmas shopping and grabbed this Little People set for my littlest person.  She loves her Princess Castle so I was very excited to find this set.

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Now to get to work on the DIY decorations for the birthday girl’s cake!