orange soda cocktail with stir stick on top of glass
Mother’s Day Cocktail ~ Clementine Ginny

A Mother’s Day cocktail that is quick and easy- and perfect for any occasion or celebration, actually! Enjoy this refreshing drink anytime and often! The idea for this cocktail started with the gift of acrylic stir sticks from Giddy Paperie and a quarantine limitation on available mixers. Making the best of the shelter-in-place means being creative with what we had! I liked it so much, I wanted to share…

silver tray with flowers acrylic stir sticks shot glass and pink square napkin

The acrylic stir sticks are a party all on their own, aren’t they? They are so cute and pretty. What a great way to mix your drink and to be able to tell whose drink is whose! I love the useful ways and the beautiful details they provide.

silver tray with gin orange soda lime slices and flowers

I loaded my silver serving tray with all of the ingredients and supplies and headed to my front porch to create this simple and tasty treat. All you need are a few ingredients…this recipe yields one drink made in an 8 oz. glass.

Clementine Ginny Cocktail

2 oz Gin (you can also substitute vodka)

5-6 oz. Izze Clementine Soda

Lime slices

Fill 8 oz. glass with ice.

Measure 2 oz. of gin and pour over ice.

Top with chilled Izze Clementine Soda

Add lime slices and stir.

Enjoy!

clementine ginny cocktail with orange soda and gin topped with limes and a stir stick

The stir sticks dress up an otherwise really simple drink. I love the orange color of the cocktail combined with the blue and white chinoiserie designs on the stir sticks. Giddy Paperie hand painted each design and then the designs were made into acrylic stir sticks. It is such a brilliant little party detail- I would love to have them in so many designs! From coffee to cocktails, a stir stick comes in handy!

orange ranunculus blooms and snapdragons in white vase with floral design

My favorite way to serve cocktails to a small group is on a decorative tray. With a few simple touches, you can have a beautiful display in no time. Start with a small vase of flowers- I used this small vintage Herend vase and loaded it with ranunculus and snapdragons. Remember to add limes, napkins, glasses, stir sticks, Izze, and gin. I used a shot glass to measure the alcohol.

tray with gin orange soda limes flowers and pink napkins

If you have festive glasses, those are always fun to use. If you don’t, your drink will still be pretty and festive with the orange color and the stir sticks and limes. I added several lime slices to mine because I like the flavor. You can decide what you think, but I love the slight tang that it adds.

tray of mother's day cocktail ingredients and cocktail with lime slices in it

Sweet and simple and easy to enjoy! I hope you love this cocktail- and I think every perfect drink deserves to have a fun name, don’t you?? 🙂 Here’s to you and the friends and moms that you celebrate!

orange soda cocktail with stir stick on top of glass

Cheers xo,

Lydia

Best Pavlova with Strawberries

I don’t know what it is about egg whites and sugar being baked at a low temp, but it creates magic in the form of meringue- and this meringue cake called a Pavlova. This dessert is named after the famous Russian ballerina, Anna Pavlova…and I can see why! Light, airy, delicate, lovely, sweet, and beautiful~ does that sound like a ballerina to you? That also describes this easy yet fancy dessert! I am no ballerina, but just the thought of this dessert makes me want to twirl. :). I made this dessert as part of our Mother’s Day celebration- my mom LOVES strawberries and so I always love setting a strawberry themed table for Mother’s Day in her honor!

I doubled the recipe so that I could show you how beautiful the large Pavlova is as a main event (shown above) and how pretty and dainty mini pavlovas look for more individualized servings (shown below).

As a child, I grew up with my mom baking meringue cookies each Christmas and they were always my favorite. I remember how she would tell me that you could never bake meringue on a rainy or damp day- and so it would make it extra-special to have to wait for the right day. The humidity will ruin a batch of meringue- I have tested the theory many times out of impatience in hopes that each time my mom would not be right. But we all know that mom is always right- and yes, baking meringue on a rainy or otherwise humid day does not work out well. So, please keep that in mind when you decide to make these. Damp weather makes for flat and chewy meringues- I speak from experience! And so, I want to share the Pavlova recipe that is a version of the meringue cookies I fell in love with as a child. Follow the recipe below for an impressive-looking and somewhat fancy desert! It is so much easier than it seems!

I love the look of the big pavlova – and I would love to know which one you prefer (the large or the minis?). The biggest difference to me is in serving them. Below, I show you the Pavlova after it has been sliced. Expect the crust to crack and break a little when the dessert is cut. It gives it a rustic feel and is definitely not like cutting a flour-based cake.

Individual servings make the actual act of serving the dessert easier- it really depends on your guests and the feel you want to achieve. If it is more formal, I would suggest individual servings. If you are wanting a more casual feel, go ahead and make the show-stopping large version and don’t worry one bit when it cracks as it is cut. It is delicious either way!

This dessert is great for anytime of the year- but my very favorite time to make and serve Pavlova is during strawberry season. There is nothing like topping the dessert with freshly-picked strawberries and adding in other berries of your choice. I go with blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries along with the strawberries, but I am a berry girl. Choose your favorites or stick with just strawberries. If you want to continue with the strawberry theme, add strawberry touches to your place setting. This is really perfect for a Mother’s Day gathering. I love it when strawberry season and Mother’s Day collide!

Here, I used a white tablecloth and then added green pagoda wrapping paper down the center of the table as a runner. The gorgeous paper is from A Pretty Paper Company/Ruby Stripe. I love being able to change up the look of a table setting by incorporating beautiful patterns from wrapping paper. It makes a difference at a fraction of the cost of a customized tablecloth. Clean up is also very easy! No washing, dry cleaning, or ironing necessary when you decorate the table with a paper runner. Ruby Stripe sent me their pagoda designs in green and in white. I used the green background for the table and the white background coordinated perfectly with a small gift at the table for Mother’s Day. The fabulous compote that I used in the center of the table in lieu of flowers is from Parker Kennedy Living and is a vintage piece. I added trendy plates from Kate Spade in a strawberry pattern and her bright yellow china pattern to tie it all together. The adorable serving dish with strawberries in it and bees on the outside is from PKL-The Cellar.

Add in touches of pastel pink, and it will ground the bright, vivid colors and bring it all together. I added pink lemonade and pink satin ribbon to the gifts to bring in the small touch of soft pink that the table needed. I really love mixing patterns, and I feel like it works best when coordinated with white and with a solid, pastel color.

Here is my favorite Pavlova recipe…it is different from what my family usually thinks of for dessert- and they all love it. It gets rave reviews from the adults and the teenagers. I literally hide the dessert from my son so that he doesn’t decide to taste test too soon. He has been known to polish-off an entire dessert all by himself when no one is looking (which is also how we discovered his tree nut allergy when he was a toddler). I hope you love this as much as my family does. It makes it into the dessert rotation as often as I can- it is truly delicious! It is perfect for everything from a ladies’ lunch, to Mother’s Day, to a birthday celebration. Tell me your favorite topping on a Pavlova by leaving me a comment below and tell me what your family thinks of this dessert! Happy Baking!

Pavlova

You will need…

4 egg whites (use egg yolks to make Pots de Creme)

1 cup granulated sugar (spin it in the food processor for a few seconds to make it fine and it will taste even better)

1 teaspoon cornstarch

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Whipped Cream- made with…

1 cup heavy cream

2 Tablespoons granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon of vanilla

Strawberries (plus blueberries, raspberries, blackberries if you like)

DIRECTIONS FOR MAKING THE PAVLOVA –

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. You will reduce the temperature to 200 degrees after you put the mixture in the oven.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (I have tried using non-stick pans without parchment paper and it always sticks- you definitely want to use the parchment paper).

Using a mixer (handheld or upright), beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. This usually takes 5-7 minutes depending on your mixer.

Next, add sugar (one Tablespoon at a time) and continue to beat at high speed until stiff peaks form. The mixture will be thick and glossy.

Add the vanilla extract and use mixer to mix it in.

Combine the cream of tartar and the cornstarch in a small dish and then fold into the egg white mixture using a spoon or spatula.

Spread the mixture in an 8-inch circle onto the prepared pan. Or, spoon small sizes onto the pan to make individual servings. The sides should be higher than the middle of the circle so that you can add the whipped cream and fruit to the middle.

Place the Pavlova in the oven and turn oven temperature to 200 degrees (F). Leave oven door closed and let bake for 90 minutes.

After 90 minutes, turn off the oven and let the Pavlova completely cool inside the oven. This step is part of the trick to the perfect Pavlova- I leave it for a couple of hours or more and let it rest. When you remove it from the oven, the Pavlova should have a crisp outer crust and will be marshmallow-like in the center. When you are ready to serve dessert, add whipped cream (see below for homemade whipped cream) and berries to the top of the Pavlova. Serve immediately and enjoy!

HOMEMADE WHIPPED CREAM RECIPE

1 cup cold heavy cream

2 Tablespoons Confectioner’s Sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Using the mixer, begin to whip the heavy cream until it thickens.

Add the sugar and vanilla extract and continue to whip until soft peaks form (don’t over beat the cream). You will have around 2 cups of fluffy whipped cream. It is best served immediately, but the whipped cream will typically hold its shape for a day if tightly covered and refrigerated. Just as a side note, the kids and I tried using Cool Whip as a substitute for whipped cream. Cool Whip was no match for the real thing- the Pavlova is so much better with homemade whipped cream and it is so easy to make!

xo,

Lydia

Flower Cookies for Mother’s Day or Any Day!

Hello Friends,

 I hope you are all doing well!  My blog has been on “pause” for  awhile mainly due to time contraints.  I am hoping to be back here a little more often and to bring you a few new things along the way.  My kids and I have been playing around with the idea of doing a video for you all.  I must admit, we can only improve from here!! We laugh at our first attempt, but you have to start somewhere…

 We make these marshmallow flowers every year in different versions.  I used to have my classes make these for their moms on Mother’s Day (we would invite the moms to a Mother’s Day Tea) when I taught school.  They have been a big hit for so many years, and so we thought we would start with something “tried and true” to bring you our first ever video.  Remember, we can only get better from here!! 🙂  It has been fun and funny to make the video- the kids love the bloopers at the end.  We hope you learn a little something that you can use- and we hope that your kids can learn from it, too!  We would love for it to be a video that they can follow along with and make something fun with minimal help from their parents.  Here goes…please watch our video below (and you can be our very first subscriber- we have 0!)…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_rGFz_ytJC8

PLEASE FEEL FREE TO GIVE US A “THUMBS UP” ON YOUTUBE BY CLICKING ON THE THUMBS UP ICON! 

 

Flower Cookies- Quick and Easy
You will need…
Sugar Cookies
Marshmallows
Skittles (or other round candy)
Sprinkles
White Icing
Food Coloring
1.  Combine the white icing with one or two drops of food coloring to make the colors that you want.  Make in small batches.
2.  Spread the icing on a sugar cookie.
3.  Use kitchen scissors (adults only) and cut a marshmallow into five “petals”.
4.  Put marshmallow petals on the icing on the cookie.
5.  Add a candy center.
6.  Sprinkle sprinkles on marshmallow petals
7.  Serve and enjoy!

 

Also happy to link up to href=”https://www.kitchenfunwithmy3sons.com” target=”_blank”>KitchenFun

MOTHER’S DAY PARTY IDEAS ~ BABY SHOWER IDEAS ~ BIRTHDAY PARTY IDEAS

Storybook Bliss created a stunning backdrop for this Mother’s Day celebration!  I love using silhouettes in a party design, and this one would be perfect for Mother’s Day party ideas, baby shower ideas, and first birthday party ideas.  Add in lovely flowers and gorgeous treats like Lynda did, and you have yourself a fabulous dessert table just ready for guests to enjoy!  I hope this party gives you ideas to use as you celebrate your Mom or any other special someone~ enjoy!

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A MOTHER’S DAY CUPPA

I am honored to share this beautiful tribute to Mother’s Day that Sharon, of Cakes by Sharon, designed.   With the fond memory of her mother’s enjoyment of a cup of tea- a cuppa, as they say in Australia- Sharon included a gorgeous tea set, a gorgeous setting, and gorgeous photos of her “mum”~ and yummy sweets, of course!

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HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY

This is one Mother’s Day Soiree that will leave you feeling bright and happy all over!  Cris, of Crissy’s Crafts, designed a party by the pool to celebrate Mother’s Day with friends and family- these ideas would look equally gorgeous indoors or out!  AND, Amanda’s Parties to Go is offering FREE printables from this party in her shop! Great ideas and freebies, too!

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DAFFODILS FOR MOTHER’S DAY

Cheery yellow daffodils are such a beautiful way to celebrate any occasion, and I love how Norene, of Party Pinching, incorporated them in her dessert table for Mother’s Day!  With these gorgeous ideas on a budget, you can wow your mom on Mother’s Day and help her feel as super special as she is!

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CAKES CAKES CAKES

Oh MY!  Four very lovely and very talented ladies pooled their amazing cake decorating skills and designed the most fabulous dessert table as a celebration of Mother’s Day!  Using the same color palette of pinks, blues, and whites, each decorated cakes and brought them together for one STUNNING display!  These cakes would be welcomed at any celebration at any time of the year- they are gorgeous!

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HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY

I think family photos are so sweet to have and to look back on.  I wanted to share this beautiful image with you for Mother’s Day- shared with us by Molly White.  

This photo was taken almost 30 years ago and yet looks timeless as it shows the special bond between a mother and child. 

And so this Mother’s Day, remember to step from behind the camera and capture sweet moments with your children, mothers, grandmothers. 

You’re not supposed to be doing any of the work, anyway~

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY from The Party Wagon!

 


Thank you, Molly, for sharing your sweet photo!

Photo by Ron Kerr of Kerr Studios- Atlanta, GA

For those of you requesting recommended photographers…

Rene’ Eason Child Photography, Atlanta

Jo Reeves Photography, Atlanta

Kim Busby Photography, Atlanta

Kim Lee/Real Photography

Three Sisters Photography, Auburn, AL

Photos By Hazel Cromer, Thomaston, GA

COOKIES AND CREAM~ Simple Mother’s Day Dessert Idea

We all know moms love flowers and purses…and COOKIES!  So, why not put them all together for a simple but pretty and delicious dessert!

These gorgeous cookies were baked by Ginger of GINGERSNAPS CUSTOM COOKIES in Athens, Ga!

Ginger bakes custom orders one order at a time so everything is fresh and delicious~

GingerSnaps Custom Cookies helped us add a little pizzazz to our Mother’s Day desserts.  I love how the children can do this one and serve it to their grandmothers.  They feel soooo special getting to be in charge of the dessert.  They scoop the ice cream and then decide which adorable cookie to place on top.  EASY!!  Oh, and just add sprinkles as requested by the kiddos.

Place in a pretty dish and the moms, grandmoms, aunts, and sisters will feel very special!

GINGERSNAPS CUSTOM COOKIES offers a big variety of choices.  These are some of my favorites for summer.  What a great addition to a party or idea for a hostess gift or teacher gift! 

AND SOME MORE OF MY FAVORITES…

Ginger serves the Athens area.  Please order 2 weeks in advance.

YOU CAN FOLLOW GINGERSNAPS CUSTOM COOKIES ON FACEBOOK!

https://www.facebook.com/pages/GingerSnaps-Custom-Cookies/118998441771