Do Tell a Belle

Throw a Cheap TuTu Birthday Party Without Looking Cheap

By March 6, 2017 cheap birthday party ideas, General, Party Ideas
girl's tutu birthday party ideas

Your children very important to you. So of course you want to make their Birthday party nothing less than special and memorable for them. Many mom’s and dad’s find that the Birthday party of their little girl’s dreams can cost a small fortune. Money that can be set aside to begin their college tuition fund.

No need to fret. I have solutions for your party needs that won’t break the bank. Lets take a look at how you can have an amazing tutu Birthday party while still being frugal.


Girl’s Love To Play Dress UP
Make tutus and crowns for each girl attending, says Jae Craig  of designdalle.blogspot.com. If you are crafty, this can be a great party favor your your little girl’s guests.

ballerina birthday party ideas

Location, Location, Location
When and where? These are the first and most important questions that you need to answer when planning your little girl’s party. If you live in a warmer climate or if it is summer time, consider your local public park. Many parks have a designated picnic area which is perfect for hosting a family party. If a park is not an option, consider having your party at home or a family member’s home.

I love the idea of making pom pom’s out of tissue paper and hanging them from a tree like this example found on Martha Steward Weddings. Or even putting some pallets together and covering them with a table cloth and using pillows as seating as the one found on Kara’s Party Ideas.

Food
As you may have guessed. Food is my favorite part of any celebration. I love to cook and entertain. However, aside from the venue, food can be one of the most expensive parts of a party. However, you can easily cut the cost of food at a kids party with these simple ideas. Make it a pot luck event. Supply the burgers and hot dogs, and ask family members to bring a side dish. Buy your burgers, hot dogs, and buns in bulk. This will save you a lot of money. Or you can skip the meal and just serve chips, snacks, and of course, lets not forget the Birthday cake.

Guest List
The guest list for your Birthday party will naturally affect the cost of your event. The more people you plan to invite, the more seating and food you will need. If you want to keep cost down, keep the guest list small. Perhaps only inviting family members and close friends.

Invitations and Decorations
Part of throwing a fun party is the decorations and invitations. But they can eat up a good portion of your funds. Choose a color and them for your child’s party and stick to it. For a girl’s Birthday party, you might consider a ballerina theme with pink invitations, bunting, and some pink and white balloons.

ballerina invitation bunting and thank you card pink

Instantly download an invitation like the one above for $9. You can easily edit and print your invitation from home on premium white 8.5×11 card stock. This option is also good if you are running short on time and your child’s Birthday is quickly approaching. The invitation fits nicely in a standard A7 envelope. Depending on the number of guests you have on your guest list, this will cost you significantly less than having invitations professionally printed. And they look so much prettier than emailed invitations or the kind that you write the information in. Plus your guests will appreciate receiving an invitation in the mail. These invitations come with the fonts, so there is no need to worry about downloading them. See the complete line at www.diyInvitationDivas.etsy.com

Fun and Games
Fun and games are a fairly traditional part of a Birthday party. So if it is your wish to go with tradition, I have a an old favorite that won’t cost a lot, if anything at all. Musical chairs will add life to any ballerina’s tutu party. If you have never played this game as a child, I will wonder a tiny bit about you. Just kidding. The game is simple. All you need are kids, music, and chairs. Have one less chair than there are children. When the music plays the children dance around the chairs. When it stops, everyone has to sit in a chair. The one who is out has to stand aside. Then you take one chair away and repeat the process until there is one kid left. I loved this game as a kid and remember that it kept me and my friends entertained for hours.

Chipping In
Most likely, at least one other person in your family has thrown a child’s Birthday party. It stands to reason, then, that they probably know a little something about planning a party. You might even have a talented musician or magician in your family who is willing to chip in their skills to save you some money. Don’t be shy about asking for help from your loved ones, as they might be delighted to help.

tutu birthday cake

The Cake
What little girl doesn’t love cake? And what Birthday party would be complete without one. The Birthday cake is the highlight of the whole party. The cake of your dreams doesn’t have to cost a small fortune. Here are some suggestions. You can buy a cake mix, frosting, sprinkles and candles. Have dad take the guest of honor out for a few hours while you and the siblings work on baking and decorating the cake. It is a fun family project that you all will enjoy. If you are strapped for time, look at your local supermarket or bakery for a pre-made cake.

If you follow these tips, your child’s Birthday party doesn’t have to drain your bank account. Do you have ideas for saving money on a child’s Birthday party? We would love to hear them. If so, won’t you share them in the comments section below.

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Sunday Morning Brunch: Artichoke, Ricotta and Italian Sausage Frittata

By March 5, 2017 breakfast, Brunch and Bubbly, food, frittata, General, Recipies, Sunday morning brunch ideas
frittata artichoke italian sausage ricotta

Ever since I started writing my Sunday Morning Brunch installment I have had so much fun rounding up ideas for recipes to share with you all. Today’s recipe for an Artichoke, Ricotta and Italian Sausage Frittata is one that I developed over this past week.

frittata artichoke italian sausage ricotta salad

I love frittatas because they are easy to cook and versatile. You can customize your ingredients to include anything you like. I chose the ingredients for my frittata because I love how the flavors meld together to create a savory dish that you can have for breakfast, brunch or dinner. Just because frittatas are easy to cook does not mean that you should whip some eggs and ingredients together and hope for the best. The secret to a good frittata is the addition of dairy. They are best if you don’t skimp on the fat. So instead of skim milk, use cream. Or if you prefer to use yogurt for a more healthier option, go for the full fat version. Anything less will result in a spongy, lack luster frittata. And we don’t want that do we?

I have added some dollops of ricotta cheese and topped it off with some asiago cheese. The nuttiness of the asiago and the creaminess of the ricotta add a bit of specialness to this frittata.

Frittata’s are perfect if you are having a crowd for brunch. If it is just an intimate brunch, the leftovers keep well for dinner later on or to bring to work for lunch tomorrow. Keep scrolling to see my complete recipe.

Ingredients
1 tbl olive oil
6 eggs
1/4 Cup of Heavy Cream
Pinch of Sea Salt and Pepper
2 Italian Sausages
1/2 14 oz. Can of Quartered Artichoke Hearts
1/4 cup of Ricotta Cheese
1/4 Cup Grated Asiago or Parmesan Cheese
Sprinkle of Fresh Thyme

Directions
Preheat over to 350 degrees.

Grease a cast iron pan (or red copper pan…see my review) with olive oil and set aside for baking your frittata.

Cut Italian sausages into bit size pieces and sauté on the stovetop until cooked through. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

In a large mixing bowl whisk together eggs until the yolks and whites are combined. Be careful not to whisk too much or your frittata will fall flat upon cooling. Stir in sea salt, pepper, yogurt, artichoke hearts and sausage. Pour mixture into greased pan. Add dollops of ricotta spaced evenly apart. Cook in the oven for 20-30 minutes. After 15 minutes check your frittata to make sure that it does not over cook. At this time sprinkle on some grated parmesan cheese and fresh thyme. Return to the oven and cook for the remaining 5-15 minutes. You want to be careful not to overcook your frittata. If it is browned, then it is overcooked and the consistency will be spongy.

Are you serving your frittata for brunch? Why not serve with a side salad like my blue cheese crumble and pineapple over a bed of baby kale with shaved celery hearts. I know what you are thinking. Pineapple and blue cheese? You wouldn’t think that pineapples and blue cheese would go together. However, they are actually a perfect pair. Go figure? Here is a link to learn how to make this salad. Blue Cheese Crumble and Pineapple Salad.

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Baby Kale Salad with Pineapple and Blue Cheese Crumble

By March 5, 2017 blue cheese, Brunch and Bubbly, Dinner Party, food, General, pineapple, Recipies, salad, Sunday morning brunch ideas
pineapple blue cheese crumble salad

Who would have ever thought that blue cheese and pineapple would pair up so nicely? I first discovered this unlikely duo while reading an article some years ago about food pairings. With blue cheese being my favorite of all fromages, this duo inspired me to create my baby kale salad with pineapple, crumbled blue cheese, and shaved celery. I lie to shave the celery because it give the salad a nice hint of celery flavor with out the obviousness of it. It is super easy to make. Read on to learn how.

pineapple blue cheese crumble salad

Ingredients
1/2 Cup Crumbled Blue Cheese
1 16 oz Can Chopped Pineapple (reserve the juice)
1-2 Stalks of Celery
4 Cups Baby Kale
1 Tbl Olive Oil

In a large bowl toss the kale and olive oil. Arrange on serving dishes. With a potato peeler shave the desired amount of celery on each dish. Top with blue cheese and pineapple. Drizzle a little pineapple juice over the top.

Serves 4

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Victoria’s Must Haves: My Real Red Copper Pan Review

By February 28, 2017 Boutique, General, red copper pan review
Red Copper Pan Review

my review of the red copper pan

Disclosure: There are some affiliate links below, but these are all products I highly recommend. I won’t put anything on this page that I haven’t verified and/or personally used. 

red copper gothem steel non stick pan review

I first herd about the Red Copper Pan on a late night TV infomercial. I have used non stick pans in the past and found that they would scratch and chip very easily. The non-stick Teflon pans contain PFOA or PTFE which can be bad for your health. What interested me about the Red Copper cookware was that it was free of PFOA or PTFE, it is non-stick, sturdy, and dishwasher safe.

Being a bit skeptical because of the negative review I found online, I wanted to try the Red Copper Pan for myself to see if it really works. While I have found that it does live up to its claim of not scratching, chipping or peeling into my food, the pan does stick a little. I use a small amount of oil and it seems to work fine. I also like that the pan conducts the heat so that my food is evenly cooked.

I have two of these pans and I love them both. While I haven’t put mine to the fullest test like they show on the television commercials, I have found that it truly is a great non-stick pan. I have had my pans for about 8 months now. I tend to use my pans to cook omelettes, burgers, grilled cheese sandwiches and pancakes. So far they are still like new where as the old teflon pans would look used by now. While I love to cook, I am not fond of cleaning up. The fact that this pan is dishwasher safe makes it a plus for me. I use the “normal” cycle as opposed to the “pots and pans” cycle when washing my Red Copper Pan in the dishwasher. Perhaps that is one of the reasons why my pans have held up nicely for me.

Three of my close friends also have Red Copper Pans and have experienced similar results to mine. My friend Gayle LOVES her set and says that it was one of the best purchases she’s made. My friend Judi does not like to cook much. She told me that she once tried to cook a grilled cheese sandwich in her pan and got distracted. She wound up burning her grilled cheese but her pan is still as good as new.

The costs of the pans are pretty reasonable. The Red Copper Ceramic Non-Stick 10in Cookware Pan retails for around $20.00 on Amazon. Red Copper Square Dance Non-Stick Ceramic Cookware by BulbHead retails for around $30.00 on Amazon. The Red Copper Ceramic Non-Stick 10 Piece Cookware Set by BulbHead as seen in the photo above (which I will be investing in soon) retails for around $100.00 on Amazon. As you can see, the price is pretty affordable.

If you love to cook like me and hate to clean up, also like me, then I recommend this pan. You can order your Red Copper Pan from Amazon by clicking here. I do want to try this pan in the oven. Perhaps form my next Sunday brunch I will make a frittata.

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Sunday Morning Brunch: Cranberry Lime Mimosa

By February 26, 2017 breakfast, Cocktails, General, mimosa, Party Ideas, Recipies, Sunday morning brunch ideas
brunch ideas, cranberry lime mimosa, mimosa ideas

What is better to serve with my breakfast sliders than my cranberry lime mimosas made with prosecco. If you are not familiar with prosecco, it is an sparkling wine similar to champagne, but is made in Italy. Recently I read an article that drinking prosecco is good for your health. So bottoms up! …in moderation of course.

You might enjoy reading this article for more information on prosecco. 11 Things You Didn’t Know About Prosecco.

mimosa idea, sunday morning brunch idea, mimosa recipe, cranberry lime mimosa

Ingredients Cranberry Lime Mimosa
Prosecco
Cranberry Juice
Sliced Lime

Directions for Cranberry Lime Mimosa
The directions are simple. Pour the bubbly. Splash some cranberry juice. Garnish with a lime. Enjoy!

Brunch and Bubbly Mimosa Bar Signs

Instantly download these mimosa bar sign, print, and place in an 8×10 frame. >> CLICK HERE

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Sunday Morning Brunch: Egg, Ham and Cheese Sliders

By February 26, 2017 breakfast, Brunch and Bubbly, food, General, Party Ideas, Recipies, Sunday morning brunch ideas
ham egg and cheese sliders brunch ideas

Today’s Sunday brunch recipe is a fresh spin on your traditional breakfast sandwich. Everyone is sure to love the egg, ham and cheese on a homemade herbed mini roll. It is a flavorful dish that is perfect for mid morning to early afternoon brunches.

ham egg and cheese sliders brunch ideas

Who knew that bread dough was so easy to make? I am an early riser so I whipped mine up this morning. One batch makes about 12-16 rolls. I like to make 6 rolls at a time and set aside the remaining dough to make a pizza during the week. For my easy bread dough recipe >>CLICK HERE

Ingredients For Homemade Rolls
Victoria’s Easy Homemade Bread Dough
1 tsp Fresh Thyme
1 tsp Fresh Rosemary
3 tbl Olive Oil
1 tbl Raw Sunflower Seeds

Directions For Homemade Rolls
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Separate Victoria’s home-made bread dough into small sections. Knead the dough a tiny bit more and let rise for about 10 more minutes.

Meanwhile, combine olive oil, thyme and rosemary in a small dish. Set aside to allow the flavors to infuse a bit. The longer you can marinate the herbs in the olive oil the better the taste. If you have 24 hours, fantastic! If you only have ten minutes, that is fine too. Your rolls will still taste amazing.

Next dry sauté sunflower seeds in a frying pan until they begin to turn a golden brown and the nutty aroma is released. Remove from heat.

Brush each roll with the olive oil mixture and sprinkle with sunflower seeds. Bake at 375 degrees on the middle rack for 12 to 15 minutes or until a golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool.

ham egg and cheese sliders brunch ideas

Slider Fixings Ingredients
6 Eggs
3 Slices Thinly Sliced Ham
2 Slices Baby Swiss Cheese
1/2 Cup Baby Kale
3 Thinly Sliced Red Onion
1 tbl Olive Oil

Slider Fixings Directions
Heat olive oil over medium high heat in a non stick frying pan. Cook eggs over-easy.

Cut the ham and cheese into 2 inch squares. Place 1-2 slices each on your home-made buns. Top with cooked egg, baby kale, and thinly sliced red onion.

You can use whatever ingredients you like for your slider fixings. For this recipe I am partial to the flavors of the herbed rolls combined with the eggs, tavern roasted ham, and baby Swiss cheese topped with baby kale and thinly sliced red onion. This dish goes well served with my cranberry lime mimosas.

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Victoria’s Recipe Box: Easy Bread Dough

By February 26, 2017 food, General, Recipies

home made bread dough recipe

Don’t you just love the smell of freshly baked bread? It reminds me of being a kid and going down to Water Street with my dad on Sunday mornings. The aroma of fresh baked bread from Whitman’s bakery while spending time with my father is a memory that I will cherish forever.

If you are afraid of making your own home-made bread dough, don’t be. This recipe is super simple. I like to use it to make pizza and rolls for my breakfast sliders. I also keep a fresh batch on hand to whip up some flat breads when unexpected guest arrive. Here is my recipe:

Ingredients:
3 cups of all purpose flour
1 tbl dired yeast
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup warm water
2 tbl melted butter

Directions:
Combine flour, yeast, sugar, and salt in a large glass bowl. Make a well in the center. Add water and butter. Using a wooden spoon, stir the mixture until well combined. Use your hands to knead the dough together. Move the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic.

Brush a large glass bowl with olive oil. Place the dough in the bowl and cover with a damp towel. Set aside in a warm place for 1 to 1 1/2 hours until the dough has risen double in size.

Punch down the center of the dough with your fist. Knead for an additional 2 minutes or until the dough is elastic and has returned to its original size.

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S’more Thanks – Healthy and Decadent Chocolate Recipe Hostess Gift Idea

By February 25, 2017 chocolate, Desserts, Dinner Party, General, Party Ideas, Recipies
home made chocolate recipe

Are you looking for a sweet DIY hostess gift to bring to a dinner party? I have created this fantastic recipe for healthy and decadent chocolates. Best of all this is an easy gift to put together. All you need is twine, a mason jar (found at Micheal’s), the ingredients (found in the recipe below), and the printable recipe card. Crafting a hostess gift from scratch is a wonderful way to make your host feel special. Handmade gifts are more personal, and the fact that they cannot be found in a store makes this a unique and memorable sentiment.

home made chocolate recipe

Once you have everything you need, tie the recipe card to a mason jar which has all of the dry ingredients layered on top of each other. Make a note to “just add wet ingredients” and add the recipe card to it with some twine or a ribbon. If your hostess loves red wine, pair the chocolate with a bottle of Pinot Noir and add it to your gift. Wrap the bottle with a matching “Thank You” wine sleeve (as seen in the image above) to tie the complete look together. You can even make these chocolates ahead of time and bring them for desert. Information on where to download a free “Just Add Wet Ingredients” card and “Thank You” wine sleeve can be found at the end of this article.

This decadent chocolate recipe uses all natural raw organic CACAO Nibs which is a Mayan super food that helps to boost energy and burn fat. No guilt there! In addition to the rich dark coco taste, they are high in antioxidants, magnesium and phenylethalaine. I like them because their texture adds an enjoyable crunch to this recipe.

Ingredients
1/2 cup CACAO Nibs (Found in health food stores)
3/4 cups almonds (or desired nuts)
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut
1 tsp cocoa
2 cups grain sweetened non-dairy chocolate chips
1/4 cup hemp milk
Dried cherries or cranberries
30 mini paper cupcake liners

Directions
Pulse the almonds in a food processor. Add CACAO nibs, coconut, and cocoa. Pulse a few more times. Add brown rice syrup and pulse until completely blended, scraping down the sides as necessary.

In a double boiler melt chocolate chips. Add hemp milk and stir until completely mixed. Add about 1 tsp of melted chocolate to mini cupcake liners. Layer with about a tsp or less of almond mixture. Don’t worry if the almond mixture doesn’t spread evenly. No big deal! Then add another layer of melted chocolate until the almond mixture is completely covered. Top with a dried cherry (my favorite) or dried cranberry. Refrigerate for one hour. Then enjoy after a long day with a nice glass of red wine.

Makes 30 Chocolates

home made diy chocolate recipe

If you would like to download the recipe card used in this article it can be found on Etsy at VG Invites or by clicking on this link >> Home Made Chocolate Recipe Card

FREE printable “Just Add Wet Ingredients” card and “Thank You” wine sleeves can be downloaded at www.VGInvites.com or by clicking on this link and scrolling to the bottom of the article. >> S’more Thanks I have repurposed this article from my S’more Thanks Bridesmaid Gift Ideas because I thought that it would make a lovely hostess gift as well.

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How I Got My Groove Back: Mantras For The Single Girl Arsenal

By February 24, 2017 General, How I Got My Groove Back
Mantra on the beach

What is a Mantra, you ask? For those of you who don’t already know, a mantra is a statement that is repeated frequently. When said and felt as if it is true, over a period of time, we begin to grow into that person. It becomes a part of who we are. I like to do mine first thing in the morning on the beach or in the evening as I am falling a sleep.

Victoria advice on mantra

Every girl should have at least one mantra to help her feel confident and beautiful. Here are a few that I have picked up in my lifetime and cultivated as my own either through books, movies, or self reflection.

• I am a woman unlike any other – The Rules by Ellen Fein 

• Not every man is worthy of my love. Those who are must prove themselves. – Unknown Movie

• God renews my life. – Then I take a moment and sit there and receive God’s renewal. Whether I receive divine inspiration or not, the goal is just to be in receiving mode. This one has been life changing for me.

• Every day and in every way I am a strong, confident and successful woman. I am enough. – Me. I developed this mantra through deep introspection. I found that I was not feeling strong, confident or successful at the time. To say that I am has helped me to become that which I am meant to be.

My advice to you: Say one or all of these daily. Or perhaps you have some mantras that are suited just for you that you would like to practice. It is not enough to just speak them, but you must also feel them in your heart. I like to say mine when I first wake in the morning and as I am falling a sleep at night.

I have some additional literature that I would like to share with you if you are feeling unattractive and down on yourself after a break up. A great read to help get you back on track to being the Goddess that you are is Mama Gina’s School of Womanly Arts by Regena Thomashauer. Several years back I had the pleasure of attending one of her events in New York City and the energy of all the women who attended was amazing and very inspiring.

So many people have been through something similar in a break up. If I can share what I have learned through my experience, then perhaps I can help to show women their worth and bring them a lot of happiness.

If you have a mantra that you would like to share with my readers, I would love to hear it. Please leave your comments in the section below.

 

 

 

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The Perfect Wine Pairing with New England Clam Chowder

By February 22, 2017 Cocktails, Dinner Party, Party Ideas, Recipies, wine
white wine pairing with new england clam chowder

Above photo courtesy of Frank “The Bald Guy” Donnino www.mybaldphotographer.com

Have you ever wondered what wines pair well with a hearty bowl of New England clam chowder? As you may already know, I am partial to the reds when it comes to wine. While a nice red will pair perfectly with a Manhattan chowder, it’s best to look to lighter styles of wine to compliment a cream- or broth-based chowder. That is why I consulted with the experts on perfect pairings. Best of all, these wines are in the $15 to $20 range.

Ashley, who is a wine expert at Wegman’s in Massachusetts, has suggested Decoy’s Sauvignon Blanc as her number one choice for this dish. According to the winemaker’s notes “This inviting wine combines bright citrus aromas with richer layers of kiwi and honeysuckle. On the palate, a perfectly balanced mouthfeel underscores pure flavors of Key lime, orange zest and Honeycrisp apple, all of which carry through to a long and lively finish.”

If you feel that a Sauvignon Blanc is a little to light for your taste, perhaps you would like a medium bodied white like a Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Gavi or Riesling, as Charles from wine.com suggests. If you prefer to place your order for wine online, wine.com has a wonderful pairing guide to help you choose the very best wines for your dish. Here is the link >> www.wine.com/v6/aboutwine/pairingfoodwithwine.aspx

Chateau Ste Michelle’s 2014 Chardonnay wine pairing with New England clam chowder

If there is an award winning white wine in my book, it will have to be Chateau Ste Michelle’s 2014 Chardonnay. While I am not one for Chardonnay, the first time I tasted this at a wine tasting with some dear friends on Federal Hill in Rhode Island, I fell in love and bought a whole case. This fresh, soft style of Chardonnay is an appealing, food-friendly white wine. It displays a bright apple and sweet citrus fruit character with subtle spice and oak nuances. It is sure to be a hit at your next dinner party.

If you are looking for a wonderful New England clam chowder recipe, look no further. I love to cook and this is my very favorite recipe that I have cultivated and perfected over the years. To try my chowder recipe CLICK HERE.

Are you throwing a wine lover party or wine tasting? Why not send your guest a paper invitation in the mail. You can order either printed or printable invites if you are short on time. Order yours through Victoria at VG Invites

wine lover party invitation

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