Saturday, February 13, 2010

Oh La La . . .Spa

For her 7th birthday the Little Princess wanted to have a spa party. Because, of course, 7 year olds love to have manicures, pedicures and facials. And even though it was planned at the last minute it turned out to be a fabulous party.

First, I found these super cute "pamper party" invitations at Sent them off via email. So simple and so perfect, too!

On the day of the party, the hostess from Lil' Ladies showed up with everything needed to transform our apartment into a day spa for the girls. I made the smocks out of men's t-shirts. The girls loved wearing them along with their new thongs (flip flops).

After the face mask, foot soak and massage, pretty polish and glamorous make up the girls were hungry for pizza and, of course, birthday cake.

Check out the cool rainbow cake I made for the occasion. (Directions here). There were lots of "oohs" and "ahhs' as we cut into the seemingly plain cake to reveal the rainbow of colors! Such fun.

Happy Birthday, Little Princess. You're growing up too fast!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Sugar Overload

Australia, in many ways, is strangely inconsistent. People here, it seems, are quite health conscious. Sport and physical fitness is heavily emphasized in school. But when it comes to birthdays, our school encourages children to bring cupcakes. I think they do this because they don't want kids bringing in full cakes that the teacher has to cut and serve! If every kid brings in cupcakes on his birthday, that would be approximately 2-3 sugary treats a month. It seems like a lot to me, but, when in Rome . . .

The Little Princess celebrated her 7th birthday one week after school started. She wanted to bring cupcakes and she wanted them to be special. Here's what we came up with:

Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes

I've made these cupcakes before and, frankly, they didn't turn out so great. When I filled the cones with batter and baked them, they never "puffed up" properly, and my cones were sort of flat on top. So this time I decided to cheat. My new method is much easier, and the results are better, too.

Step 1:
Bake the cupcakes in regular muffin tins. For you lucky people in the U.S. who can buy decent cake mixes at the super market, this part is easy peasy. For those of us in Australia, well I'm getting pretty good at making cake from scratch.

Step 2:
Fill the cones with candy. We used Smarties, which are an Aussie version of m&ms.

Step 3:
Invert the cupcakes and "glue' them to the cones using royal icing.

Step 4:
Decorate with frosting and sprinkles.

Step 5:
Create some kind of crazy contraption to transport these beauties to school. Duct tape is your friend for this project.

I do believe the cupcakes were a hit. They certainly met the sugar overload requirement, and got rave reviews from the Little Princess and her friends.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Too Good to be True

I've been in Australia for nearly 11 months. And for 11 months I have been queuing up inside the petrol station whenever I need to fill up my tank. That's right, there is no pay at the pump in Australia. You can imagine what a pain this is, especially for those of us with kids.
And then today, while driving home from the SupaCentre, the low fuel light went on in the car. I pulled into the nearest petrol station and was shocked to see something called ePump! Yes, there were what appeared to be credit card machines attached to the pumps. I was so excited!
However, as I read the instructions I realized that I had gotten my hopes up for nothing. The ePump only works with their special everyday money credit card! All the poor saps (like me) with regular old bank credit cards are completely out of luck.

So, after all that, it really was too good to be true. I had to stand there, pump the petrol (by the way there are no little levers you can use to hold the pump for you either), and then go inside to pay for the fuel.
The only person happy about this arrangement was the Little Buddy, who scored a pack of gum from the mini-mart.
No pay at the pump- just one more reason why I try to get my sweet husband to fill up the car as often as possible!
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