Thursday, February 22, 2018

The Puptastic Paw Patrol Birthday Party

A super cute puptastic DIY Paw Patrol birthday party!
Birthdays mean the world to me and whenever I get a chance I thoroughly enjoy hosting birthday celebrations. There is a charm in making a day special for somebody. There is a joy in seeing a bright smile show up on a face when they find your surprise waiting for them. Birthdays are my favorite! You know who else is my favorite? My baby doll niece Gubby.

She's the little bright spot of my life and literally the happiest part of my world right now. I love her more than I can even express or put into sufficient words and she loves her Beeya back too. Abbie and I have always made sure that she has super fun birthdays which she would remember years down the road. When she was an year old we hosted a princess themed birthday dinner. Then a wild jungle safari birthday celebrated the polka dot turning two years old. So when she turned three years old we had another awesome celebration to plan. Over the past few months Gubby had fallen in love with the Paw Patrol and every night we'd sit together and have our TV time, singing the theme song and cheering for the pups throughout. Therefore, this year the little Gubble Gum got her Paw Patrol themed birthday party!

A super cute puptastic DIY Paw Patrol birthday party!
Abbie and I worked with all our hearts to design the theme and then bring it to life for Gubby. She loved everything and seeing her excited made me feel like my heart had suddenly grown bigger inside my chest. That precious kid deserved a Puptastic Paw Patrol birthday party and so much more! We designed a little Paw Patrol scene and then added cuteness and colors and little details like paw prints to it. It was ... puptastic! Really!

A super cute puptastic DIY Paw Patrol birthday party!
Abbie and I had planned on highlighting Skye more than the other pups because Skye is Gubby's favorite. So we designed our background to be a sparkly version of the sky. We used a beautiful silver sequin tablecloth for the background. Abbie printed out cloud shapes and then we cut them up and hung them against the silver sequins to create our sparkly girly sky. We wanted lots of color too and for that Abbie made a pretty funky and colorful ribbons' garland which we hung on top at the edge of the sequined gorgeousness. It was the simplest of backgrounds yet it looked really pretty and made a huge statement - perfect for our theme! It looked really adorable! The birthday's decor was all about the details. We added fun bits here and there to make it look perfect. Here are some puptastic close ups to blow those minds off and away!

A super cute puptastic DIY Paw Patrol birthday party!
Birthday treats included The Paw Patrol Cake I made (Sara's Baked Creations - woohoo!), Abbie's Paw Patrol cupcakes and Doggie Treat cookies, and Pup-corn.

A super cute puptastic DIY Paw Patrol birthday party!
The Paw Patrol Cake by Sara's Baked Creations
"An adorable two tier Paw Patrol themed cake made to celebrate my niece Maryam turning three years old! The top features Skye flying high in the clouds against the Paw Patrol badge logo. The bottom of the cake has Marshall and Rubble on the ground ready to roll! Paw Patrol! Whenever you're in trouble, they'll be there on the double! No job is too big, no pup is too small! The cake is six and four inch funfetti sponge with vanilla buttercream! Made with all my heart and love for my little gubble gum!"

A super cute puptastic DIY Paw Patrol birthday party!
The insides of my cake had a hidden surprise for Gubby. I added a pink and blue striped effect inside and together with the funfetti sponge it was an adorable bright burst of colors! Gubby loved it! I think I've had max fun making this cake and it has got to be my cutest creation to date!

A super cute puptastic DIY Paw Patrol birthday party!
The Paw Patrol Cupcakes by Abbie!

A super cute puptastic DIY Paw Patrol birthday party!
Doggie Treat Sugar Cookies by Abbie! These were as delicious to devour as they were pretty to look at. The candy squigglies with the colorful sprinkles was a perfect treat for the eyes and they tasted PUPTASTIC! Gubby munched one up even before we cut the cake and unwrapped the presents!

A super cute puptastic DIY Paw Patrol birthday party!A super cute puptastic DIY Paw Patrol birthday party!A super cute puptastic DIY Paw Patrol birthday party!A super cute puptastic DIY Paw Patrol birthday party!A super cute puptastic DIY Paw Patrol birthday party!A super cute puptastic DIY Paw Patrol birthday party!
Abbie's Paw Patrol Cupcakes were so bright and colorful I wanted to keep them preserved forever. However, they were SO delicious I had one for breakfast each day until I had finished them all! *laughs* Abbie made funfetti vanilla cupcakes and then frosted them with vanilla buttercream in various designs and colors. She then printed out Paw Patrol cupcake toppers, cut them out, stuck them on colorful toothpicks, and added one to each cupcake. It looked like I was actually at Adventure Bay! In addition to the entire Paw Patrol, the toppers also included Chickaletta, Wally, the Paw Patrol logo, and some Paw Patrol themed number threes! These were adorable!

A super cute puptastic DIY Paw Patrol birthday party!
Abbie made some Pup Corn and we got Gubby a little Paw Patrol cup as a present to keep in her toy room. Abbie added a foil sleeve to the cup and in went the Pup Corn!

A super cute puptastic DIY Paw Patrol birthday party!A super cute puptastic DIY Paw Patrol birthday party!
We scattered Gubby's birthday cards here and there in the birthday decor. There was a Skye card too!

A super cute puptastic DIY Paw Patrol birthday party!
The Adventure Bay balloon added even more life to the party. Abbie then printed out pictures of the pups and stuck them to colored foil balloons. So we had balloons for every pup on two sides of the display. Oh and do notice the paw prints scattered all around the floor! I thought that was super cute and such a tiny detail which added a big wow to our theme too. Also notice Rubble's yellow truck in the picture. The pups' cake toppers I'd used on my cake came with toy trucks and these were basically gifts for the Gubble Gum. So I used the pups on the cake and their toys as decor.

A super cute puptastic DIY Paw Patrol birthday party!
Over all everything came together into one funky, cute, and adorable version of Adventure Bay - our little Adventure Bay for our little Gubble Gum. Gubby gets all shu when it is time to cut the cake so once we'd dressed her up in pink, just like Skye, it took a while for her to finally start laughing and checking out all the decor! Kids, I tell you! *laughs* At the end of the day the Paw Patrol Birthday Party was an absolute success. After all for Gubby's Bua and Beeya no job is too big, no auntie is too small! We've officially got to be the coolest Auntie team on the planet! Love you so much Gubboo!

You can find many more detailed pictures of the Paw Patrol Cake over at Sara's Baked Creations! So come find me on Facebook! Lets connect on Twitter! Oh and also Instagram! I promise, it'll make your feed so much more delicious and mouth watering! *laughs*

Abbie and her awesomeness is all over her beautiful blog Abbie's Adventure Diaries! Go check her out because she is just plain AWESOME! No lil sis- big sis bias involved here! Haha!

Monday, February 19, 2018

Two of My Most Favorite Lady Celebs

The world of television is full of a sea of people. Actresses of all ages, looks, and genres come and go and while some can bring awesome life to characters or be brilliant actors on screen, I end up falling in love with a rare few in real life. Very few ladies appeal to me on a personal level where I admire them for more than just their acting. Today, I'm talking about two of my most favorite lady celebs and why I love following them on social media so much. These are the two beautiful ladies Blake Lively and Hilary Duff! I've loved them for years and seen them grow up, literally. So why do I love them so much?

They've played awesome characters!
Lizzie McGuire, Sam, Terri, Olivia - you name it! Duff has played some of my most favorite characters and given some of the most classic girly movies of all time. I always loved how hopeful her movies were and how perfectly imperfect each one of her characters was. I think if I were to choose which one of Hilary's roles is my favorite I wouldn't be able to because I loved everything she did. She was the typical feel-good kind of character who'd leave you with all those positive feels. In Blake Lively's case I can actually tell you how I fell in love with her, the precise character that did it; Serena Van Der Woodsen! I loved every single bit of Serena and how perfectly Lively played the  'turning over a new leaf' character. Serena was funny, beautiful, smart, positive, and determined to do good in her life. Watching both Hilary Duff's and Blake Lively's characters made me want to believe in happy endings!

They're both stunning and aging gracefully!
Do they know magic or something? How is it that they're growing older and looking even more beautiful than ever!? It's like the two women grow prettier by the day. Especially Blake in this case. I mean, did you see her pregnancy? She STUNNED even when she had grown so big. I've seen a lot of pregnant ladies lately and trust me, some of them have been ... ungraceful (I'll try to be sweet). Lively's pregnancy was beautiful! She's effortless. Both Duff and Lively are effortlessly charming. I love them so muchhhhh!

They seem to be really good at heart!
Charming and sweet. Could they be any more perfect? I follow both these beauties on Instagram and they are a treat for my feed, honestly! It's not just their looks but their hearts too. They both have such good thoughts about the world. Lively has spoken about crucial issues like child pornography and Duff has worked with philanthropic causes aimed for kids and animals and what not. They actually care and they're actually so kind. Oh and their 'mother' mode is just so cute! Their social feeds show how much they love their children and what an awesomely close relationship they have. Beautiful women with beautiful hearts! Is that a tear in my eye?

They have a kick ass attitude towards living!
They are so not the typical stuck up perfect faces which celebs can sometimes be. They both have a super lovely, lively, kick ass attitude towards living life. They follow their hearts and take crazy decisions and try whatever they think they would like to try. Lively's posts on Insta about eating donuts always lifts up my mood too! Hahaha!

These women are far from perfect and you can see that, yet they are just so perfect!
Hilary and Blake, I love you! I hope they always stay the same; charming, beautiful, and relatable!

Friday, February 16, 2018

The Wacky Finds Series ~ Volume 34

It's time for Volume 34 of The Wacky Finds Series!
These are a monthly series I started out of sheer awe of how crazy things around me are! Here's what this is about ... Ahem Ahem: When my awesome self steps out of my bed each morning I meet a world of crazies. People, things, phenomena, and acts of nature which are simply too unusual to miss and not record! The Wacky Finds Series will cover all the weird stuff that I find along my way; good weird, awkward weird, bad weird, I-totally-don't-get-this weird .. all kinds of weird shall be recorded and snapped without any discrimination!

I've mentioned this before yet I will say it over and over again: Abbie's drawings are awesome! She made this Cookie Monster for Gubby in her little notebook of cuteness! Love it! It's perfect, isn't it? I think I can't even draw the brick wall! Hahahaha!

I found these absolutely adorable mugs in Home Goods! They were perfectly wacky and oh so cute! The middle actually had a hole so I have no idea how funny drinking from these mugs would have felt! They were also a little too big so these little babies did not make it home with me.

That's Gubby's rickshaw toy! I think her Naana got it for her from Pakistan. For some strange reason it makes me laugh. It's super silly! There's this little thread she pulls at the back and it goes whoooooosh, speed of light! Real silly thing I tell you!

Okay, it is no surprise that a big number of my Wacky Finds revolve around my Auntie Tales! This kid, she has got to be the wackiest part of my life. Good wacky, of course! Check out this picture in which she's cuddling with her GIGANTIC stuffed toy! I've had some people call it a 'bear'. I think it's a doggie, no? Look at the paw and those ears. Definitely a doggie!

That terrible display of - what was it again? - gave me the shivers. It reminded me of Aragog from Harry Potter. It was like a GIANT spider was sitting there. Something about this display was horribly disgusting. It doesn't even look as bad in the picture as it looked to my eyes! HORRIBLE!

That's all folks! Until the next five wacky finds, have a wacky day!

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Masoor Daal - Spiced Up Red Lentils

As far back as I can remember in my life, there was always some kind of Daal present on our dining table. Dad never had a meal without Daal and when my siblings and I decided to lose weight Daal was our go to diet option. So all throughout my life Daal was always a prominent part of our diet. I have grown up loving all kinds of Daal so when I resolved to try new recipes this year, it was time to try cooking Daal for the first time ever. As if the heavens wanted me to cook Daal too, this recipe of Spiced Red Lentils popped up in front of me. It looked delicious and I just had to try it immediately.

This is a really warm and comforting Daal recipe - one which leaves you wanting more. It reminded me of the baked beans I used to look for whenever we were traveling and on vacation. The flavors are on point and it looks really yummy. It makes you feel really cozy and happy too! Impressive how much a Daal recipe can do, right? 

As much as I used to think cooking Daal would be difficult, this recipe proved me wrong. Once you have all the chopping done you let the stew cook up itself and just watch the beautiful orange colors cook. It's comforting to watch while it's cooking and delicious when you finally taste it. I loved the cooking bit just as much as I loved its flavors.

I found the recipe originally on NYT Cooking right here but I tweaked it a little bit so I'm posting my changes and step by step pictures right here. Enjoy!

  • Red Lentils (Laal Masoor Daal) - 1 cup (I soaked it in water for at least four hours)
  • Oil - 4 tbsp.
  • Onions - 1 cup finely chopped
  • Sweet Potatoes - 2 1/2 cups diced (I used one medium-ish potato)
  • Ginger - 1 tbsp. super finely chopped
  • Garlic - 2 cloves super finely chopped
  • Red Chili Powder - 1/2 to 1 tsp. according to taste
  • Coriander Powder - 2 tsp.
  • Cumin Powder - 2 tsp.
  • Turmeric Powder - 1 tsp.
  • Ginger Powder - 1 tsp.
  • Tomato Paste - 1 cup (I used canned tomato paste)
  • Chicken Stock Cube - 1 cube
  • Salt - According to taste
  • Cilantro - (Optional) For garnish
Soak the daal in water for at least two hours. I soaked my daal early morning and then cooked around mid afternoon. I had it soaked for around four hours and found it perfect for cooking.

Have all your chopped ingredients ready so cooking is easy peasy. Finely dice the sweet potatoes and fine chop the ginger, garlic, and onions.

In a large sauce pan heat the oil and add onions to it. Cook on medium high heat until softened.

Add the sweet potatoes and saute for about five minutes.

Next add the ginger and the garlic. Stir and reduce the heat to low so the potatoes can cook well.

After about two or so minutes add the lentils (daal) and all the spices.

Stir everything together very well. Let it cook for about a minute making sure it is well coated in oil.

Add the tomatoes and water and raise the heat so it starts boiling. Once it comes to a boil reduce the heat to medium so it's cooking at a fast simmer. You do not need to cover the pan with a lid, let it cook uncovered. Cook until the lentils and potatoes are soft. For me it took about twenty or so minutes.

After twenty minutes most of the liquid in my daal had evaporated. Check to see if everything has softened.

Add the chicken stock cube and a little water for it to blend in.

Once the cube dissolves completely, taste and adjust salt. At this point you can add a little water if you'd like your daal to be more liquidy or cook another minute if you'd like it to be drier. Do note that this daal soaks up some of its liquid after a while so you wouldn't want to let it be too dry.

Optional garnish with cilantro if you prefer and you're ready to eat it!

Trust me, this Daal does not disappoint. Oh and let me say this: leftovers are even better the next day! Pair it with boiled rice, chapaati, roti, paratha, naan, whatever you like. Eat it by the spoon if you will! It will only be exceptionally awesome, I promise!
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