Is This The Little Girl

My oldest daughter turned 12 in March but she wanted some fall pictures this year so we just captured her 12-year-old self just last week and WOW…where did my little girl go to?  She’s almost a teen and this is CRAZY to me!  I’m not old enough to have a teenage daughter am I?  I feel like I’ve just barely gotten out of my teens yet there’s proof in the pictures that she is indeed very much a young lady and not my little girl anymore.

She’s grown so beautiful both inside and out!

She’s almost as big as I am already…in fact she’s wearing my boots in these pictures.

All the ones in front of the teal building are my favorite!  They make her beautiful blues really stand out!

These last two images are my favorite of her.  Growing so big and so beautiful!

Love this beautiful blue eyes girl!


Orange, Pink & Tutus

My youngest turned 4 in January and I usually try to do my kids’ birthday photos as close to their birthday as possible but I was sick of all of her photos being indoors or in snow so I waited until there was a bit of color in our world.

I also try to make sure that their pictures reflect them and what they love and are into.  Since she started ballet this year I asked her if maybe she’d like to do her pictures this year in one of her ballet tutus.  To this I received an excited “YES!” followed by, “Can I wear my orange and pink tutu?!”

How could I say no?

Thankfully my orange and pink lovin’ ballerina happened to get a pink and orange umbrella for her birthday this year, because it was a rainy day and the umbrella made for some cute pictures!

Luckily there was a break in the rain and we were able to wrap the umbrella up…

… and trade the rain boots in for her ballet slippers!

Dressed in her favorite tutu and ballet slippers she played and giggled and I captured what is the pure blissfulness and adorableness of my little ballerina at play…

I love her little foot kicked up in this picture!

A successful play time and some great photos of my little ballerina!

I can’t believe it’s already been 10 months since I took this sweet little girl’s newborn pictures!

Newborn Photo

10 months older and even more beautiful!

Vintage Lady In Pearls!

We then switched from Vintage Beauty In Pearls to Vintage Bathing Beauty!

One of my favorite photos from this shoot…a big smile for her mama standing off camera!

The bar of soap proved to be a bit distracting to sweet Savannah but it made for some adorable photos!

Yes, that bar of soap was irresistibly fun…and apparently tasty too!

Beautiful Savannah…love those baby cheeks!

And my favorite picture with the bar of soap…the sneaky reach with a face that says, “Oops I got caught!”

Happy 10 months beautiful girl!

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!