My oldest daughter just recently celebrated her 12th birthday.  Since going to Monsters University last June she has wanted that to be the theme of her birthday party this year.  As her birthday grew near she started talking about how she wanted me to print off movie tickets and set up a concession stand like I do when we have in-house movie theater nights for fun.  I started brain storming how we could make our home look like a movie theatre for her birthday and how to make it a bit different from when I surprise my kids with a movie theatre night at home.

The first step was the invitations…

The day of my daughter’s friend birthday party dawned and as my daughter went to school with these adorable…

Monsters University Cupcakes for her class

*Inspiration for these Monsters University Cupcakes came from Pinterest.

I set to work making caramel popcorn, per the birthday girls request.  Only this wasn’t your ordinary caramel popcorn it was…

Monsters University Caramel Popcorn!!!

*I searched the internet for dyed and colored caramel popcorn and could not find a recipe for it.  I found this Holiday Caramel Corn Recipe but it isn’t actually caramel corn it’s just sweet popcorn.  My daughter wanted caramel corn.  So I took our favorite caramel corn recipe for about 14 years now and made a few adjustments!  If you’d like this recipe then like this post and comment below with something like, “Please share you’re Monsters University Caramel Corn recipe?” If I get enough likes and comments, I’ll share it with you!

After the caramel corn was done I got to work at transforming my dinning and living room into

The Schroeder Movie Theatre

I hung red table mats from our dinning entry door, you know the cheap plastic ones that you can buy for $2 at Target or Walmart.  I then strung white lights around the door frame and hung a “Schroeder Movie Theatre” poster that also displays the number 12 because that’s how old the birthday girl is!

I then taped two pieces of black tag board together and put the Monsters University poster we got our daughter for her birthday on it.  I made up a “NOW SHOWING” banner to place above the poster on the tag board and hung it on our living room wall with white lights around it to look like a movie add you would see in a movie theatre.

Next was to ready the…

Concession Stand

That had a MENU…

Full of all the movie theatre outing necessities like soda and a LARGE bowl of popcorn…

…candy and some specialty popcorns like cheese popcorn and that super cool Monsters University Caramel Corn I made earlier that day!

They looked super cute in my coca-cola crate!

My daughter and her friends, and my three younger kids were each given a baggy with money in it to purchase things from the concession stand.  This is always my kids favorite part of movie theater night!

Then the birthday girl and her friends settled down on their bed in the movie theatre with their munchies and sodas and watched Monsters University!

The next day they made sock monsters!

My daughter put in a special request for lime green socks so she could make a Mikey Sock Monster!

We kept the Schroeder Movie Theater display and NOW SHOWING poster up for her family party the following weekend.  Only pulling back the drapes for easy passage as these guests would be going through this doorway more frequently.

We didn’t have a concession stand per se, but I did still set out a large bowl of popcorn and candy in front of our television where we had Monsters University playing quietly throughout the party, though nobody really watched it!  Take note of the cute balloon banner above the TV…the birthday girl made the Mikey balloons!

You may have noted that we didn’t have cake for my daughter’s friend party, that’s because I wasn’t sure they needed cake in addition to candy and caramel popcorn, not to mention all the un-sugared food they consumed that night.  But for the family party we had cake.  In fact we had two cakes!

The Cake Table!

Behind the table hung purple mats (Yes, those wonderful $2 ones from Target or Walmart!) and a balloon banner!

Beneath the balloon banner is a “Happy Birthday” banner that my daughter and I made together!  It’s doors, because…well if you’ve seen the movies you know why!  The banner also sports a Sully and Mikey, and Celia hangs below!

The table below the Monsters “Happy Birthday” banner was set with the cake display!

Lucky for me I have two coca-cola crates.  While the one held containers of popcorn on our entertainment center in the living room, this one beautifully displayed a plush Mike and Sully and our eating utensils!

On each side of this coca-cola crate was a cake!

The Mikey Cake!

The Sully Cake!

There’s more to this Sully cake than meats the eye…for when he was cut into you will see that the cake was made to look like…

Sully’s fur!

I got the idea for the polka-dotted inside from this pin on Pinterest.  However when I followed the link to Once Upon A Pedestal I found I wouldn’t be able to follow the directions for their cake because I don’t have a cake pop pan.  So I set out on an experiment waiting to see if it would work.  The hard part was that I had to wait until we cut into the cake at the birthday party to see if my experiment worked.  As you can see it did!

*If you don’t own a cake pop pan and want to know how I made my polka dot cake without one then like this post and comment with something like, “Please share you polka dot cake secret!”  If I get enough likes and requests for this recipe I’ll share it with you all!

It was a super fun party!  My daughter was thrilled and everyone loved the Monsters University decor and food!  

*If you want are wanting the recipe for the Monsters University Caramel Corn or the Polka Dot cake then don’t forget to like and comment below.  Enough likes and comments and your wish will be granted! But a heads up, I may not get a chance to post them until the week of the 14th because I am going to be enjoying some sun and warmth in Cozumel starting this Friday for 8 days and 7 nights!!!

Costume Birthday Party

For those of you who follow Life Exquisite on Facebook you’ll know that my oldest daughter turned 12  last week!  I am so excited to share pictures of her birthday and even though she has already had her friend birthday party I am waiting until after the family birthday party this coming Saturday.  So you’ll have to wait until next week to see what we whipped up for her Monsters University Movie Theatre Birthday Party.  However, thinking of her birthday reminded me that I missed posting a couple of birthday parties during my time off from blogging.  Today I am posting my 9-year-olds Costume Birthday Party!

Being that her birthday is so close to Halloween this was a really easy theme because everyone was able to come in their Halloween costumes!

The decorations were basically the same for her friend and family party, but first lets start with…

The Invite…

After the invites were sent out and the day of her friend party arrived I got busy decorating!  A costume party is the perfect party for a…

Photo Booth

The photo both was more of a backdrop for opening gifts at the family party but my daughter and her friends really enjoyed it.  I have many, many pictures of them as a group, and individuals.

I then set to work decorating the table for when the costume clad troop would arrive home from school.

The cake for her friend party was my first, and only, attempt at a cupcake cake and was very simple.

The cake table was set a bit differently for her family party and she wanted her cake to be decorated to look like her birthday invitation.

The cakes were the only thing different for her parties but the games stayed the same.  First we played…

Pin The Nose On The Clown.

My daughter and her friend modeled their clown noses post game!

The next game we played was a “Minute To Win It” game where you hold a straw in your mouth and need to use the straw to pick up rings from a table and transfer them to a bowl…without using your hands.  This one was very fun and even the adults got in on the action!

My littlest didn’t quite understand that she wasn’t supposed to use her hands!

It was a simple but very fun party!

Apologies for the blurry photos not sure what my photographer…uh hmm hmm (throat clearing)…was doing:-)


So sorry that I didn’t post a recipe on Monday.  I’m slow at getting back into blogging here.  I’m making up for it with sharing not one but two of my new favorite recipes!  They are so new that they just became a favorites last night!

I love Italian food!  LOVE IT!  I wish that carbs weren’t so bad for you because I think I could be completely happy with carb loaded pastas and breads making up 90% of my diet.  My favorite Italian cuisine includes white sauces and cheesy goodness!  Which brought me to last nights meal…

I found both these recipes on, where else but Pinterest!  The Confetti Chicken Pasta is courtesy of  Bake Cakery and the Breaded Cheese Sticks are courtesy of the Food Network.  You can link to theses recipes by clicking on the sites names aforementioned.  However I did make modifications to each recipe, what can I see it’s just who I am and I wanted to make these not so healthy recipes a bit healthier.

Confetti Chicken Pasta


16 oz. of Whole Wheat Penne Pasta (always cook al dente in salt water according to pkg directions)
tbsp. olive oil, divided
2 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts, cut in 1″ cubes
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
½ c. Onion, diced
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1 Yellow Bell Pepper, long thin slices (mom uses red, yellow and orange…)
c. Broccoli florets
c. Grape tomatoes


Cook your pasta and let it drain.  While pasta is cooking heat 1 TBSP of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and add chicken.  Sprinkle chicken with sea salt and freshly grated pepper.  When halfway through the cooking stage add the diced onion.  (Be sure to keep an eye on your pasta during this.)  When chicken is almost done cooking add broccoli florets and bell pepper, continue cooking until chicken is done and golden on all sides. Vegetables should be warmed and soft but not soggy or mushy.  Remove and let rest in a large bowl.

Now its time for the sauce!


tbsp. butter
tbsp. flour
c. skim milk (may need to add more depending on the consistency you desire)
1/4 tsp. of red pepper flakes
c. Feta or parmesan cheese


In the same pan you cooked the chicken and veggies in, melt the butter over medium heat. Toss in the flour and stir, cooking 1-2 minutes. Slowly add in the milk, while stirring to prevent any clumps from forming.  Sprinkle in the red pepper flakes and allow to simmer until you see boiling action.  Stir periodically.  When your sauce begins to thicken and bubble, turn off the heat and add in your cheese. Stir until melted.

To assemble everything add the pasta to your sauce first so it gets nice and coated with sauce and then pour the chicken and vegetable mixture in. Enjoy!  It’s soooooo delicious!

Mozzarella Sticks


1 1/2 C breadcrumbs

1 1/3 C freshly grated parmesan

1 TBSP italian season

1 tsp garlic salt

4 eggs, beaten

1 1/2 C vegetable oil

6 string cheese sticks cut in halves


Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat.  Mix together the bread crumbs, parmesan, italian seasoning and garlic salt in a medium bowl to blend. Dip the cheese in the eggs to coat completely and allow the excess egg to drip back into the bowl. Coat the cheese in the bread crumb mixture, patting to adhere and coat completely.  Repeat dipping in eggs and breadcrumbs one more time.
Place the cheese sticks in the now hot oil and fry until golden brown, about 1 minute per side. Transfer the fried cheese to plates covered in paper towels to help absorb grease.  Serve and enjoy!

My family told me these were the best cheese curds I have ever made and they truly were pretty yummy-licious!

White Chili


I can never decide if I like traditional red chili or white chili best. They are both delicious and are the perfect comfort food for cold winter days!

Below is the white chili recipe I received from a friend about ten years ago and it remains my favorite in spite of the countless others I’ve tried. I’m pretty sure you’ll love it too!

2-3 chicken breasts
1 large onion
2 garlic cloves
10 C chicken broth
2-15 oz cans white beans
2 TBSP parsley
2 tsp chili powder

Combine all ingredients in a crock-pot and allow to cook for 4-5 hours. When chicken breasts are cooked use two forks to pull apart into bite size pieces. Enjoy!

Considering Lilies

Just a reminder to go follow my new blog Considering Lilies.  It’s the new home for my personal and spiritual writings.  You can also follow Considering Lilies on Facebook.  

Better yet, follow me at both places!  The more traffic I get on my sites the more widely spread it can become and I’ll be able to reach more people!

Go check it out now!

And remember to follow me here as well for recipes, crafts and family fun!  Yep, I’ve missed blogging and capturing life’s exquisite moments and it’s time to start up again!  I’ve already got a post in mind for Life Exquisite on Monday that bears something delicious to share with you!

A New Home

I love to write personal posts as I have been lately.  Posts that share my feelings, my God, what I’m learning about God and what I feel he’s showing me.

I also miss posting the carefree Life Exquisite posts.  The posts that are “Capturing Life One Exquisite Moment At A Time”.  I want to share my crafts, the things I do with my kids, recipes, birthday parties and more.

I feel that I need to keep Life Exquisite as it use to be, minus the outfit posts.  Sorry to those of you who like them, I’m over it though.  Maybe if I have a truly “exquisite” outfit I’ll post…but no promises.

I do promise to bring you the fun carefree posts of the past though.  So continue to follow me here at Life Exquisite!

I don’t plan on giving up my writings because I truly enjoy them.  They are a great outlet for me to be able to process what I’m feeling and going through and I want people who are going through the same things to be able to gain some hope or at least just the knowing that they aren’t alone.

I have copied my most recent LE reflective posts to my new blog Considering Lilies and this is where all my personal, reflective, spiritual posts (call them what you like) will be posted from here out.  I would love to have you follow me there and enjoy reading your comments, so please keep them coming!

If you connected with Monday’s “Words” post on my struggles with being a gentle and calm wife and mom then you’ll definitely want to join me over on my new blog because I have some follow up posts coming up!

You can also follow Considering Lilies on Facebook where I plan to post motivational quotes, scripture, maybe even a link to a song that’s speaking to me, if not daily then as much as possible!  All of my Considering Lilies blog posts will also be linked on the Facebook page just as Life Exquisite’s are to its Facebook page.

Oh…if you’re wondering why I chose the name “Considering Lilies” it’s because I want to truly trust in the promises of God.  As I mentioned before I have a hard time trusting anyone, even a God who’s never failed me.  Luke 12:27-28 is a verse that tells us to trust in God to provide for our every need, physical and emotional.  If he cares so much for the lilies in the fields how much more does he care for us?

God is able to do abundantly more than we can ever dream (Ephesians 3:20).  I’m standing on these promises and doing my part in seeing them through.


Words.  They are whispered out on winds of sweetness.  They are laughed out with joyful bliss.  They flow out with loving adoration.  They are shared with everyone we come in contact with on a daily basis. Especially those nearest and dearest to us.

Words.  They are yelled out with frustrated sighs.  They are spat out with bitter sarcasm.  They are screamed out with fury’s venom.  Especially at those nearest and dearest to us.

I lay in bed reflecting on hurtful words.  Words, that though I know were not meant, caused my mind to wonder for a moment if perhaps they were ever truly felt at times, and my heart hurts.  The pain tightens my chest and tears pool in my eyes.

I reflect on what I just started working towards myself the dawn of the very same day.  A desire to have self-control.  Starting with…my words.

It’s a goal I’ve made many times throughout my life.  One that I’ve obviously failed at, or I wouldn’t still be trying to conquer the unconquerable.  And it feels just like that unconquerable…perhaps that’s because James 3:7-8 tells me so…

This is scary; you can tame a tiger, but you can’t tame a tongue-it’s never been done.  The tongue runs wild, a wanton killer. (The Message)

Indeed that makes it seem pretty hopeless.

Many times words of fury, hurt, bitterness or anger travel from my mouth before I’ve even had time to think of them.  In my anger and pain I don’t take time to think of the other person and how the dagger I’m about to deliver with my words will hurt them.  My tongue runs wild…a wanton killer.  And all too often it runs wild on those I love most.

The man who stole my heart as a teenage girl, who looks to me as his helpmate and encourager will be quickly discouraged as I toss hates “eternal” words like “you always” or “you never” at him.

The precious jewels that make up this proud mama’s crown are so beautiful  and wonderful.  I tell them how much I love them as I hug and kiss on them, thanking God for their sweet, tender hearts.  But if in the next hour they pose too much a challenge to me, I forget their young tender hearts and nag, and yell until we’re all in tears.

These occasions, I’ll call them natural disasters (for they are just that to a family), should not happen.  I never wanted to admit to anyone that we have a home that suffers from natural disasters.  I never wanted anyone to know that sweet, little, has it all together me come undone on her family.

But I also don’t want to be like this.  I don’t want my children to remember me as a ranting, raving, mother, who has bipolar tendencies.  I knew I wasn’t the only derailed mother out there and I yearned to connect with other mom’s like this.

I began to subtly share some of my difficulty with friends, being careful not to reveal too much.  I didn’t want anyone judging my imperfection after all.  Yet I was desperate.  Desperate to be real with someone and have them be real with me.  Desperate to truly know I wasn’t alone.

Luckily God blessed me with friends who are imperfect too and together we found Lysa Terkeurst book Unglued.  I could relate to her unglued  stories and laughed when I read this in her 5 Day Unglued Challenge (link here)…

This is exactly what I’m afraid of!  This is what I fear my husband and children think of me, yet it’s the exact opposite of how I want to be known and thought of.

I want to have the quiet and gentle spirit that Peter speaks of in 1 Peter 3:4-5.  I want to be the Proverbs 31 woman whose husband rises up with words of praise and tells her “Many women have done well but you excel them all!”.  I want my children to call me blessed and be proud that I’m their mom.

So here I stand at the starting line of the very same race I’ve failed at a thousand times, with determination that I will do my best to prevent natural disasters from this point on.

I know that even though James 3:7-8 makes it seem impossible I serve a God who makes all things possible.

Philippians 4:13 

 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. 

Yes, I will have moments of weakness and words will be hastily spoken in anger or out of hurt, but maybe I can prevent the light drizzle from turning into a hurricane.

Wish me luck and maybe say a little prayer for me too.