A lot of change happens in seven years! Little girls grow from having sweet little tea party celebrations for their 7th birthday, to being full-blown teenagers! This was a very sweet little party for my once-girly girl. It’s so fun to look back on all of this, to see all of the love and details that I shared with a small group of girls, hosted for an authentic tea party at our home.
I was so happy and still feel so blessed to have had the time to do this party, just the way we (my daughter and I) wanted! We made some special memories that day. All of this does seem like a lifetime ago, so thank goodness I’m crazy about documenting and taking family photos. If it weren’t for having these images in my archives, we may have forgotten! Remember, this was seven years ago, so even though paper pom decorations seem outdated now, they were a new thing back then! We did have this little dessert table, celebrating the first day of Spring as our theme, since March 20th is my daughter’s actual birthday. The colors throughout the decorating was pink, brown and golden.
I decorated with bird cages and pretty pastel eggs. Every girl invited went home with a cute little wood goodie-box, with “spring” printed on, and a pretty ribbon with their name tag.
The edible details on the table were fun to make too. I’m not the best at frosted sugar cookies but I made it happen with a teapot cutter and painted the number 7 or the first letter initial of each girl at the party.
Of course there were cupcakes. I wanted them to be so pretty for the sweethearts, and went with chocolate, pink vanilla buttercream, candy pearls and handmade tiny-teapots that I sculpted with sugar gum paste, fondant and edible paints.
The dining table was made extra special with details that I knew they would appreciate. I used poms for the birthday girl’s seat at the head of the table. I didn’t sit at all, as I was serving them food and tea the entire time. They had nice plates, cloth napkins, vintage gold cups for water, floral tea cups for tea (of course) and each girl had a little bird and place-card. They were happy to sit at a “fancy” table and use their very best manners. It was so sweet!
There was a little candy table too with even more sweets. I just couldn’t have enough! I kept with the little pink-bird/spring theme and made fondant birds to top the lollipops. I used this as part of the party favor and girls took from this table to add to their little take-home boxes.
Then there was my sweet little girl. This was such a precious memory! We picked out a “fancy” dress in the party colors and added some simple white gloves. She was so happy. Of course, I kept this dress and always will.
There was our little Peanut too, her buddy and our dog at the time. He passed away around Christmas time last year. He was in the mix when we took photos before the party. It’s fun to see him in these pics too.
The cake was all about my girl. I was getting good at handmade decorations, but covering tiered cakes in fondant was still relatively new for me at the time. This was the end result, with a custom color for the pink. She loved it. I still love it too! It’s just another precious memory and a special part of this day.
This was the little cake topper I made. My baby was the pink bird. xox At the end of the party, I set aside all of the decorations from the cake, and set them in a plate for her to enjoy in her room. This was short-lived with a curious 4 year old brother, but it was fun to admire while it lasted.
Another detail I made was handmade hair pins – a different one for each girl. My little pink bird wore the headband with the little feather.
In another area of our room, I decorated with more cute eggs, pink and a silhouette we had done of my daughter at Disneyland. (I wish we had done this for our son when he was little, so I would have a set.)
Here were our sweet guests! Love this so much! At the end of the party, we played music and they danced! It was all such a joy. All the girls were there, including my mom, some friends from school, and her big sister loved watching the fun. In this pic, she was still a teen! She’s now a grown-woman. Life is good. This was all love!
This is a wonderful throwback that I wanted to re-post and share. It’s fun to look back and think, “I actually made all of this!” It was so much work but I’m always amazed by what love and dedication can do.
I absolutely loved working on this wedding. The bride and groom are very special to me. With all of my heart, I wanted to be sure they enjoyed everything detail to their heart’s desire. They are both so humble and I had to really work to get their details.
It was also very memorable since the desserts served more than 500. With all of the love and details, and because I baked alone, this would be a job that would require more prayer than usual. Everything worked out for the best and when my work was done, I felt amazing – like I had just climbed a mountain!
The bride surprised her groom and guests with my “Lumberjack” groom’s cake. It’s something I started making for my husband many years ago. He’s not a huge fan of dessert, but he loves bacon. It’s a vanilla-custard cake with freshly crisped bacon folded in, topped with maple butter cream and more crisp bacon. There was a long line to get a taste of this cake, and it was the first dessert of the evening to vanish. I was a guest at the wedding too. I thought it was funny when I heard someone remark “she must have found that idea on Pinerest.” I chuckled a bit and remembered that I started making this particular recipe for my husband before Pinterest even existed! (I must be getting old.)
The bride chose the colors and the floral. Her friend put all of the arrangements together, with the use of some of my jars and vases. They were gorgeous and really set the tone for very welcoming and beautiful tables. I was so thankful since the flowers really tied the tables together and made them beautiful.
Then there was the wedding cake! I incorporated their floral choices and the piping detail they requested for the center of each tier. Those were the days, when I did multi-tier cakes, and covered them in fondant! I remember working quite hard to perfect the way I would create that buttercream details in white, onto the ivory. I was so pleased when it finally worked!
I’ve made pie buffets for my own family gatherings, but this was the first one I catered for a wedding reception.
It was important that the dessert buffet be untouched, until the cake cutting ceremony. With this many guests and with the number of children present, we thought it was a good idea to have a polite and friendly reminder.
To make the labeling, I printed out the menu and used punch-cutters from Martha Stewart, along with some of the pre-cut pieces her line offers.
The family worked very hard, to have handmade touches throughout the reception. The groom was in charge of building the beautiful backdrop for the dessert tables. There were four, 8′ tables needed to set all of the cookies, cupcakes, groom’s cake, main wedding cake and pie buffet.
This was such a joy and a wedding I will always remember.
It has taken me this long, nine whole months, to go back to the work for this beautiful wedding last September. To be honest, I would skip the photo and video history from this entire month, because it all seemed too painful, as this wedding day of September 3, 2016, was just a day before my dad’s last trip into the hospital where he would stay before he passed away on the 26th.
I worked that whole month while going back and forth to see my dad in the hospital almost every day, taking care of the kids and trying to be super mom/wife/sister/daughter. The background of my life was very difficult, but I’m my dad’s daughter and that means I would do whatever it took. I even catered a wedding the weekend after he passed away. I cried a lot, but the tears didn’t get in the way. It was a happy distraction.
Now that it’s about to be Father’s Day, and my first one without my dad, I thought I’d face the weight of it all and just go for it with this post. Dad would have wanted me to. He would have been so proud of me to share my work, as he was most definitely my biggest fan and would re-post everything I ever did regarding my work. (To be so loved!)
This was a spectacular wedding and my personal favorite from 2016, because I got to do it all for the customer/client. This whole family stole my heart. Mom and Dad wanted the best for their daughter and her wonderful groom, and I was so very happy to have the opportunity to work with them to make it all happen.
We had a really nice time at the tasting appointment, and I loved how much they appreciated what I had to offer. Mom, Bride and I would work together for about a month to get all of the details just right.
The reception was held at the gorgeous Darlington House in La Jolla. I love this venue and have had the pleasure of catering weddings and events here a few times. Everyone at this location is nice, super professional and both clients and vendors are very well cared for.
One detail, on this hot day, was the shade. They were able to bring in a couple of umbrellas to do the trick. Over exposed desserts for an outdoor venue is such a shame and thank goodness we were able to work it out.
One of the first and most important requests, was to have an abundant assortment of desserts and especially cupcakes, for the dessert table. Vanilla Italia with Lavender buttercream minis, was at the top of the list.
They had a bunch of minis in their assortment but also enjoyed standard size cupcakes that are deluxe and can only be done in the larger size, including Key Lime with a graham cracker crust, and Champagne With Strawberries.
They were able to please the sugar-free needs of their guests, with our fresh seasonal berry and vanilla cream parfaits. The gluten-free offering were our Flourless Brownie Bites.
The cake was definitely the center piece and to be honest, I don’t remember what flavors I made for their three-layered, 8″ cutting cake! I know they will forgive me and what matters is that they remember!
I do remember putting the floral arrangement together at the venue and was beyond-blessed to have my friend Karen there/on-site from Franco’s Flowers, who referred me and worked on all of the gorgeous arrangements for the reception. She started the topper and gave me a bunch of clippings for me to go for it. It was so big and so gorgeous! I didn’t want to leave any space on the top of that cake, with so much beauty to work with.
Here are the incredible farm tables that Karen adorned with stunning lifted centerpieces. This was when eucalyptus had just made their way into being popular for weddings and I’ve noticed them as a special detail for almost every wedding I have catered since this day.
One other detail that I was able to provide for the reception, were creating the custom favors. Again, we worked on these special details together. Each bag had a paper inside, a stamp that they ordered and I placed, a paper doilie and a short wooden clothespin for all of the guests to take one. All of the chocolate chip cookies were baked and placed that morning.
Since last year, my daughter has become an important member of my team – getting things prepped for big catering days, and she is instrumental in helping me to carefully set all of the desserts to their special place onto the dessert table(s). We are so good at it, that we barely talk anymore. We are on the same wave length, with little to no stress at all. We just get it done, and with plenty of time to spare. I love this time together. I know she loves the work and our special time too. These opportunities are truly appreciated, and rewarding for us as a family in so many ways.
Thanks for being here! Please contact me with any questions or comments. I’d love to hear from you.
It’s that time of year again – First Holy Communion season. I have really enjoyed the opportunities I’ve been given to make cakes and special desserts for this celebration.
It reminds me of when my sweet daughter had her special day. I can’t believe that five years have already passed us by. She was just a little girl back then – I could hold her a lot more easily, that’s for sure! Now she’s a beautiful young lady, 13 years young. I’m so blessed!
I have already posted my son’s more recent Sacrament-celebration, so I wanted to dig into my archives and share the details of our celebration at home, with only family on that day in May, 2012.
My daughter loved Baby’s Breath flowers so I went for it, to decorate a little dessert table. I had a lovely larger arrangement made too, with white lilies and hydrangea, to make it gorgeous for my baby girl.
My friend Karen made that arrangement, as she has made many important days at home, all the more special with her work.
Sachi’s main request was a large creme brûlée and lots of fruit. So I placed cherries, blackberries and strawberry pops to dip into chocolate, onto plating to make them beautiful. I made cookie pops of her choice too. We had more than enough for our little celebration at home.
I knew that this was going to be the best day of her life so far, and it really was. It was emotional and very precious for me too. Here we were, right after the Mass, just outside the church doors.
I did her hair that day, in a special up-do. I also let her wear the pearl and diamond earrings that I wore on my wedding day. I wore the earrings that my husband gave me when she was born. (I always think about what I’m wearing, and how it has some sort of meaning to me.)
I also had her carry the purse that my own grandmother made for me, for my First Holy Communion, when I was seven years old (so many years ago). My Nonna also made my entire dress, that was totally crocheted, with a custom made slip as well. Oh my goodness. It was so memorable! At that time, it was the best day of my life too.
I can’t remember the little things that my sweet girl placed in that purse, but I think there was a Rosary and a flavored chapstick that she could re-apply as many times as her heart desired.
I feel so sentimental about this photo with my parents after the Mass. I love the content and the baby face of my daughter, and the joy of my parents being together with her. What a blessing, that my kids have had a close, loving relationship with their grandparents. It’s a gift. Like me, they are still very much missing my dad, their “Pop-Pop.” I’m grateful that my mom can be right here alongside us every single day.
I thought it was so cute, as my husband, her sister and brother and I were leaving the parking lot to St. Mark’s Church. She was so happy, that she was twirling around and around. There was no regular walking – more like floating and skipping. If I could go back to this day, if only for a moment, I would! xox
Now for the professional photos taken by my friend, Corina. She did such an amazing job, capturing the essence of every shot I hoped to have (and more). These photos were taken a little more than a month before the big day, so that we could mail out a formal announcement to our family and friends.
My friend told me, “It’s not the dress that makes the girl, it’s the girl that makes the dress.” It’s so true, and I love that she chose this simply-timeless and classic dress. I had it cleaned and preserved so that we can continue to love it and one day, she can show her own children.
There’s something so beautiful and precious to me, about little hands holding a Rosary. I still love holding those hands too.
I truly cherish these images, and have her announcement in my office to look at every day. For you, these might provide some wonderful ideas on specific shots for your own special occasion.
Thanks for being here, to let me share these moments with you.
I love this time of year, and I love when peaches come in season, especially when I can enjoy them from a local farm or they are home-grown. There’s nothing like freshly-picked fruit. It has a more delicious flavor and intense aroma, much like a heirloom or vine-ripened tomato, versus a typical store-bought tomato. I love them!There’s also something so special about the simplicity of a cobbler. It’s a classic and must-make if you have fresh fruit on hand. I’m showing you how to make my favorite peach cobbler – a classic, egg-free-version and the cupcake-version. This recipe is one that my family has been using for several years. I confess that I took this from my husband. (He’s an excellent home-cook and prefers super-pure and simple flavors.) I’m taking the recipe up a notch and showing you how to reserve the nectar when cooking the peaches, to make a delicious peach nectar reduction, or syrup.I’ve decided to share my “crazy” over peaches within the next few posts, with lots of awesome ways to work with this delightful fruit. Stay tuned for the recipes for my Peach-Brulee French Toast and Baked Peaches Alaska. (I can’t wait!) If your not a huge fan of peaches, no worries! I use this exact same recipe for making Nectarine Cobbler and Fresh Berry Cobbler. So if you prefer those flavors, simply follow the recipes that I’m sharing, with the alternate fruit(s) of your choice. In the mean time, join me in making this dessert and let me know how it goes! Mili’s Sweets Peach Cobbler Recipe – classic and cupcakes Peach prep: Between 3 and 1/2 cups and 4 cups of fresh peaches, diced 1/2 cup filtered water 1/2 cup granulated sugar Batter prep: 1 and 1/2 cup self rising flour 1 and 1/2 cup milk (I used lactose-free, fat-free milk, but any variety will work.) 1 cup granulated sugar 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract Pan Prep: 3 tablespoons salted butter, meltedHere’s what you’ll do: First, you’ll want to prep the peaches to cook them. Wash the peaches. Cut out the pit and cut the fruit into cubes. I prefer the taste of leaving the skin on the peaches. You’ll want to cut small pieces, suitable to be bite-sized for a small child. I used about six small peaches to make 4 cups of fruit. (I wanted extra to use at another time, so between 3 and 1/2 and 4 cups of fruit is good.) In a pot, at medium heat, place the 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup of sugar. Stir to dissolve the sugar. Add the fruit. You’ll notice that you can’t really see the water below the fruit. That will change, once it starts to cook. Bring the water to a boil. Once you see a bubble or two, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 8 minutes. When the fruit is cooked, it will still have some firmness and the juices will have risen up to the top of the fruit.Remove from heat. Strain the fruit so that all of the nectar is reserved in a bowl and the fruit is in a separate bowl. Allow the fruit and nectar to cool, while you prepare the pan and the cobbler batter. The next step is preparing the cobbler batter. In the bowl of your standing mixer, place the self-rising flour, salt and sugar. Use the paddle attachment (I used a scraping-paddle attachment) and put the machine on ‘stir’ or on the lowest-possible speed. While it’s turning, add the 1 and 1/2 cups of milk, add the 1/2 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract. Once completely combined, stop the mixer. There will be no lumps in the batter.I’ll start by showing you how to prepare the cupcake-version of peach cobbler. The ingredients will be the same for the classic cobbler (recipe above), but the prep and timing is a little different.HOW TO MAKE PEACH COBBLER CUPCAKES Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. For cupcakes, you’ll want to use foil liners. Place all the of liners. This recipe yields about one and a half dozen or about 18 servings. Melt 3 tablespoons of butter. Add a teaspoon of melted butter into each foil liner.Next, pour the batter into the liners. Do not fill to the top, as the fruit and nectar will take up space. The butter will show at the sides. That’s what you’ll want to see.Next, spoon in fruit, until the batter almost reaches the top. Then, spoon on the peach nectar that has been reserved and cooled.Bake for 22 minutes. You can check that the cupcakes are completely cooked-through by using a metal skewer or long tooth pick.Allow to completely cool. When I made Cobbler Cupcakes for clients, when I was catering, I would top this cupcake with fluffy vanilla butter cream and the peach-nectar reduction as a garnish. This treat would also taste amazing, topped with a small scoop of vanilla bean ice cream or fresh whipped cream. Now, I’ll show you the alternative, classic way to serve peach cobbler.HOW TO MAKE CLASSIC PEACH COBBLER I like using a pie pan to bake the classic version of peach cobbler. Just like the cupcake-version, all of the the ingredients in the recipe above are the same. The prep and bake time will be a little different. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Place 3 tablespoons of butter at the bottom of the pie pan and allow to melt in the oven. Remove from the oven and prepare the batter.Pour the batter, a little less than half way to the top of the pie pan. (Please note that the cake will rise up and over while it’s baking. When it has cooled, the cobbler will rest to be even with the edge of the pan.) Fill with fruit and spoon on a generous amount of the cooled nectar. You’re about to get ready to place this in the oven, but first, I want to tell you what to do with your extra nectar and cooked peaches. I never waste when it comes to fruit while baking, because there are so many ways I can repurpose the goodness. We don’t want all of the incredible nectar and peaches to go to waste, so whatever extra you have, save it for later. I place everything in mason jars. If I’m not using the nectar by the next day, I’ll freeze it. If I’m not using the peaches by the next day, I’ll use my pressure cooker to can the peaches, and save them for another date. (Once you have from-scratch canned peaches, you’ll never buy them at the store again.)Back to baking your cobbler! Bake for 45 minutes, or until it has completely cooked through. You can check by using a metal skewer or long tooth pick, at the center of the cobbler. It’s done when the stick comes up clean. The outer edge of the cobbler will be darker than the center and that’s what you’ll want. It has a different texture because of the sugars. It will not taste burnt. Most of the time, the imperfections are what make things special and therefore, perfect the way they are. Allow to completely cool. Now, let’s make something special with the reserved nectar. Mili’s Sweets Peach-Nectar Syrup Recipe (Peach Nectar Reduction) Here’s what you’ll need: 1/2 cup reserved nectarHere’s what you’ll do: Pour the nectar into a small saucepan, at medium heat. Allow to bubble. Once it comes to an overall-bubble, remove from heat. There’s no need to stir. It will thicken as it cools. Once completely cooled, it will be a very flavorful and beautiful reduction. If you decided to continue to cook the nectar, it will become a candy. (Now, that’s not such a bad idea! It just takes a little more time, and you’ll want to start with more nectar. . . .Maybe another time?)I make reductions all of the time. It’s the best way for me to incorporate deep, genuine flavor into my cakes and frostings. My favorite way to use these syrups, is for drizzling to the top of cake and ice cream. Enjoy your Memorial Day Weekend! xox, Mili