Category Archives: Holidays & Seasons

{Freebie} Father’s Day ‘Beer Pops’

I am endless fascinated by the numerous possibilities of the childhood classic: the Push Pop.

I decided to make one into a humorous ‘beer mug’ for Father’s Day.

2 beer pops by ReneesSoirees

I started with 2 dozen empty push pop containers (available here).

I baked a yellow cake mix in a 9×12″ pan, and when it cooled, I used one of the push pop containers as a type of cookie cutter to cut out circles of cake.

push pop container cutting out circles of yellow cake for 'beer pops'

Note above how I’m overlapping or leaving a bit of space where there’s no cake. That is to keep it from being too tight to get the cake out of the ‘cutter’. If you have an actual 1 1/2 inch round cookie cutter, you will be one happy camper. But I didn’t… so there you go.

Then I took a container of vanilla frosting, and put half of it into a bowl. I died that yellow and used it for the middle layer of frosting between the 2 layers of cake. You will have to make 2 layers of cake, because even if you have a bundt pan or something tall enough to make the leaning tower of cake pisa, it won’t be sturdy enough to go into the push pop container in one piece. Unless you are a much better cake engineer than I am. (Which is highly likely, now that I think about it).

Anyhoo, here is how the insides look after I do 2 layers of cake, a middle layer of yellow frosting, and a dollop of white frosting on top to act as the ‘beer foam’.

beer-pop-fillings by Renee's Soirees

Now, the tricky party is the handle. You may at this point want to go with a pilsner glass so you can skip the handle!  But if you still want to do it, I’ll tell you how.

I took some glue sticks, warmed them with a match at the points where I wanted them to bend. Then I hot glued the ends onto the push pop container. I won’t lie, it was tricky. You may end up enlisting the help of said Father, thereby ruining the beer pop surprise.

Beer Push Pops by Renees Soirees

Then I printed the sheet of Beer Pop Labels above, that I created (click here for this freebie!).  I just did it in color on regular weight copy paper, but you could also use cardstock. Then I cut them out with the various 2″ punches that I have (circular, scalloped, etc). Here are the punches that I use.

Push Pop cupcake made to look like a beer mug by Renee's Soirees

 

I hope you enjoyed my little Father’s Day or mens party craft.

Let me know if you make some, and how they come out!

🙂

 

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Egg Flower by Renee's Soirees

Easter Snacks

I love festive foods. Why bring a regular Deviled Eggs to a Spring lunch, when you could bring some shaped like a flower?

Last Easter I made a basic egg salad recipe, then used the hollowed-out eggs that would normally be filled for deviled eggs, and instead arranged them around a scoop of egg salad on a plate. The flower stem and surrounding ‘grass’ is made of parsley.

Technically this is easier than making deviled eggs, because the guests are filling them themselves (or just scooping them onto their plate).

 

Egg Salad flower on Renees Soirees

I also made some croissants stuffed with chicken salad. I bought the chicken salad from the local Fry’s (part of Kroger) store, because I happen to love their version.

Carrot Chicken Salad Rolls on Renees Soirees
Here is the how-to for making the ‘Carrot’ Croissants.

Chicken Salad rolls on Renee's Soirees

Easter treats by Renees Soirees

I haven’t decided which Easter treats I’ll be making this year…

If you are looking for inspiration, feel free to peruse my Easter Pinterest board!

Happy Spring!

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{Thanksgiving} Turkey Moon Pies

I *love* Thanksgiving.

And not for the food. I may be the only person in the country who doesn’t salivate over Thanksgiving food.

I love the fact that it’s a FAMILY-oriented, NON-gift-giving holiday.

I was perusing some past Thanksgiving pics recently, and had to laugh over the memory of what happened when I told my then-kindergartner to make a Turkey Moon Pie, like Mommy’s.

Kid's version of a Turkey Moon Pie

Apparently he went for the DINO TURKEY approach, and gave it two giant ‘teeth’.

And then he made a ‘Rarrrr’ face to go along with it.

Kids are just … the BEST.  🙂

If you want to see more about my son’s Thanksgiving antics, see the original post here.

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{FREEBIE} St Patrick’s Day printable!

I love decorating for holidays.

As in, ALL of them.

I hope I’m not alone here, and that everyone has a small (okay, medium) box marked “St Patrick’s Day” in their hall closet. Right next to the “Valentines” box, and the “Easter” box. Yes?

Okay, well even if you don’t change out your home accents seasonally like I do, you might enjoy having an Irish blessing in your home, all year round.

Just click on the image below to download / save the JPG of this 8×10 photo.

FREE Printable - Irish blessing by @ReneesSoirees

There are a few ways to print it. If you print it as an 8×10″ photo print, you can either print it at home on photo paper, or have it printed at a photo lab for somewhere between $1.46 (at Sam’s Club, for example) to $3.99 (at Walgreens).

BUT, I will give you a tip on printing it on the cheap… because I’m good like that :). 

Just take it to the nearest UPS Store on a thumb drive, and have it printed in color on regular paper for 29 cents (yup)!  Be sure to tell them that it’s an 8″x10″ image, and not to “shrink” or “adjust to fit” so it won’t change the size. Before you leave, borrow their paper cutter and crop the white border off. Make sure it measures 8×10″ on the paper cutter and if it doesn’t, ask them to reprint it.

Then put it in your purdiest frame and enjoy!

And the luck ‘o the Irish to ya!

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FREE Printable - Irish Blessing by @ReneesSoirees

 

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Ornate Frame with "We've Been Boo'd" text

{FREEBIE} “Boo” Sign & Ideas

We LOVE to “Boo” the neighbors. We usually buy an inexpensive Halloween-themed bag at the grocery store and fill it with small treats and games. If I’m feeling really ambitious then we will make a fun snack that we probably saw on Pinterest. For example:

Bat Bars!

Ghost Pretzels:

these festive and colorful cookies:
or Eyeball cookies:
This year I really wanted to make Pumpkin Snickerdoodles. But I was sick in late October, so we went with prepackaged Halloween games, and some fun spider lollipop treats:

You can get your free Boo Printable here:

Boo’d Sign & Instructions by ReneesSoirees

You can also see the sign I made last Halloween here, which has a different design.

What do you put in your Boo’d Bag?

 

fathers day party circle

Father’s Day toppers {Freebie}

Here is a tongue-in-cheek FREE printable that can be used for a variety of Father’s Day uses… punch them out with a 2″ punch of any style and mount them on toothpicks and stick them in cupcakes, or in side dishes like potato salad and coleslaw at your Dad’s Day BBQ. You can also leave them square, punch a hole in one corner and use them as gift tags.

 

The man in our house jokingly calls himself ‘The King’ (at least that’s the name of his computer login, LOL). I decided that, at least for Father’s Day, he could be King of the TV Remote, King of the Recliner, and King of the BBQ.

 

Fathers Day red and blue cupcake toppers

He has a great sense of humor, so I know he will get a laugh out of these. Especially because I stuck them in his favorite dessert, Oreo Cake! (Stay tuned for recipe coming soon!)

Fathers Day cupcake toppers stuck in a slice of Oreo Cake

Download your free Father’s Day printables HERE.

It is a PDF file and can be opened in any PDF reader (see Adobe.com if you don’t have one, but you probably do). I recommend printing them in color at home on photo paper, or commercially on 65 lb or heavier white cardstock (which you can do at UPS stores for around 39c, or approx 89c at Kinkos or Office Max).

I hope you enjoy these toppers, and I would love to see what you do with them!

easter lamb cake

Easter Goodies

Easter is my MOST favorite holiday. How could you not love the pastel colors, the spring blossoms, the fun activities for kids, and the message of hope?

We made this adorable Lamb Cake with the kids, who were able to do much of the decorating, because it was fairly easy. Plus they really wanted to sneak a bunch of mini marshmallows into their mouths in the name of ‘helping’.

lamb cake with marshmallows

side view of easter lamb cake from Parents magazine

The original diagram on how to cut the cake is missing from the recipe link, so this next photo will give you an idea of how it’s done. You start with 2 Sara Lee frozen butter pound cakes. Cut a few inches of one of the cake ends off, and place it on the top of itself, on the opposite side. That becomes the head. Cut another few inches off the backside again, and cut it again into a shape that would fit into a Dixie cup (approximately), to form the muzzle or face of the lamb.

man frosting a lamb shaped cake

An aside… The 3 cutest pics you can take of your man:

  1. Napping with a newborn on his chest
  2. Frosting a cake with his children
  3. Sewing props for his daughter’s play on a small, pink Barbie sewing machine  (Yes I have that photo, too, but he’d probably never frost another lamb cake for me if I post it. LOL)

And here is the finished product, with a very happy 6-year-old:

child with Easter lamb cake

In hindsight, I would probably skip the collar. It was a sweet lamb without having to be domesticated.

 

And here are some more Easter treats… RICE KRISPIE PEEP NESTS!

rice krispie candy nests for Easter

I made these in muffin tins… here is my previous post about how I did them.

And of course, the requisite HOT CROSS BUNS. Except I made mine with chocolate chips. Because that’s how I roll… (get it?)  🙂

chocolate chip hot cross buns for Easter

I brought my recipe back from Australia, so the measurements are not easily ‘translated’, but here is a similar recipe that I have also tried. That one calls for cinnamon chips, which can be difficult to find, so you may have to substitute chocolate chips anyway (oh the horror).

And finally, the photo that my youngest son will probably never forgive me for:

woman holding a baby in a bunny outfit

Hopefully he will forgive his mother’s CHEESEBALL side someday!  I already know he will probably get married on a remote beach somewhere, so there can be NO slideshow.  Haha!

Have a glorious Easter!!

 

Valentine’s Day Treat Toppers

These treat bag toppers are a unique way to hand out valentines or Valentine’s Day treats, and they are suitable for classmates, coworkers, neighbors, teachers or friends.

various valentines treat toppers filled with candy

 

In my shop you can choose 2 of the topper styles from the following:

Collection of valentines day treat toppers
♥ Nerds saying (2 styles included)
♥ S’more toppers (2 different sayings – see below for an idea of what to put in the bag)
♥ Heart toppers (2 styles – can be used with conversation hearts, or do what I did and make homemade playdough and cut it out with a heart-shaped cookie cutter)
♥ Peeps toppers (4 styles included – you can buy Peeps in red or pink at drug stores, in 2-packs or multiple packs)
♥ Reeces Pieces topper
♥ Mint topper (I used York heart-shaped peppermint patties)
♥ Dum Dum sucker / lollipop topper
♥ A gift card holder for a teacher or anyone else who loves coffee or tea (2 styles to choose from)

S'more themed valentine treat topper

Each page has 2 toppers, so print up as many as you need (eg, 24 students divided by 2 = 12 copies) then cut them and staple them to the top of a zip-top bag. If you don’t have a color printer, put them on a thumb drive or camera card (like an SD card) and take them to a local copy store. It runs around 29c for a color copy, or 39c per color cardstock page at most print shops (UPS for example, but you could also price them at Staples, Office Max, Kinkos, or any local copy shop).

Paper with 2 treat toppers ready to be cut out

Here are downloadable instructions, but they really are very fast and easy to do. Even my first grader had no trouble helping me assemble them, and he filled out the “to/from” info on the back of each topper.

 

instructions on how to assemble a treat topper

 

UPDATE: Sonoran Living viewers, feel free to use the coupon code “ABC15” when you check out in Etsy, to get 15% off your treat toppers! (Good through Feb 14th, 2012, on this listing only).

Happy Valentine’s Day!!

 

{PRESS} TV Appearance

On Friday, February 10th, the crew from Renee’s Soirees will be demonstrating a Valentine’s Day craft on Sonoran Living Live, on the local ABC affiliate: KNXV, ABC 15. If you aren’t lucky enough to be in Arizona in February (it was 70 degrees today… just sayin’!), you can watch it online after the show. I will be doing this craft with some 6-year-olds. Wish me luck!!!

Heart Bark {recipe}

Photo of heart-shaped chocolate bark with heart sprinkles

 

I had some melting chocolate leftover from Christmas so I decided to purdy it up so I could give it away re-purpose it for Valentine’s Day. So I made some chocolate bark in a heart-shaped mold (specifically, this one from Wilton):

 Mini Heart Silicone Mold, large

Chocolate heart-shpaed candy in a red heart bowl

Heart Bark
by Renee’s Soirees

Ingredients:
8 oz milk or dark chocolate
8 oz white chocolate
2 tsp vegetable oil, divided
any pink, red, or heart-shaped sprinkles

Directions:
Melt the brown chocolate and 1 tsp vegetable oil in the microwave on 50% power in 30-45 second intervals, stirring in between. Do this until it is melted but not necessarily in a liquid state.  Drop by spoonfuls into heart mold. (You can also use a bar pan lined with waxed paper, or heart-shaped cookie cutters on a piece of waxed paper).  Carefully push chocolate around mold or cookie cutter until it covers the whole bottom, but try not to splash it onto the sides too much. Put pan in freezer for 5-10 minutes (or refrigerator for 15 minutes), until firm.

While you are waiting for that to firm up, melt white chocolate and 1 tsp vegetable oil in the same fashion.  Once the brown chocolate layer is firm and cold, spoon the white chocolate on top and even it out with a toothpick or small spoon. Sprinkle heart-shaped sprinkles on top and put pan in fridge or freezer until chocolate is cold and solid.  Gently push bottom of  silicone mold inside out to ease the candy out.

Unless you have 2 heart molds, you will have to reheat the remaining chocolate and repeat entire process again, as this recipe makes about 12 hearts, and the pan only has 6 heart molds.  But these are still surprisingly quick to make.

Yield: Approx. 12 chocolate hearts

Print version of recipe here.

Serve these at a party, or package them in a zip-top baggie with a Valentine topper, and hand out to classmates or coworkers!

 

Baggie of heart bark with a heart topper

Tip: Use a quality chocolate. I have also made these using a generic almond bark from a grocery store. It was AWFUL. I like the Wilton candy melts (available at craft stores), but you could also use Ghiradelli or Callebaut chips or bars.

Option: If you would like these to be a Peppermint Bark, add 1/4 tsp peppermint extract to each batch of chocolate. YUM!

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