Birthday Party Theme: Mickey Mouse Clubhouse

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For my daughter’s third birthday, I decided to re-create the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse since it was her favorite show at the time. Continue reading


Chocolate Buttercream Icing

Magnolia Bakery’s Chocolate Buttercream Icing


1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons milk
9 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled to lukewarm
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups sifted powdered sugar

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Vanilla Buttercream Icing

Magnolia Bakery’s Vanilla Buttercream Icing

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
6 to 8 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

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Life Changing Vanilla Cupcakes

Magnolia Bakery’s Vanilla Cupcakes

choc and vanilla cupcakes2

I first visited Magnolia Bakery in NYC about 3 years ago.  They were giving out samples of several cupcakes while I was waiting in line.  I tasted the Vanilla Vanilla cupcake and it changed my life!  I had never tasted anything like it.  I ate as many as I could during the visit.  Since I could only take so many with me, I had to figure out a way to hold me over until my next visit.  So I got the recipe online, tweaked it to perfection and here it is.

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I’m No Chocolate Lover, But These Chocolate Cupcakes…

Magnolia Bakery’s Chocolate Cupcakes

After tasting Magnolia Bakery’s life-changing Vanilla cupcake, I couldn’t wait to try the chocolate.  I prefer it with Vanilla Buttercream Icing.  But if you are a chocolate lover, you can pair it with Chocolate Buttercream Icing.

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Girls and Dolls: A fun peek inside American Girl Place

Recently, I took Journey to American Girl Place in NYC.  She has been dying to get her doll’s hair done ever since she realized that the store has a hair salon.  Journey has also been wanting to take the doll to the hospital in the store.  Luckily, she is smart enough to know that getting your hair done is much less expensive than going to the hospital!

If you’ve never been to this store before, I must tell you it is unlike anything you have ever seen.  Three floors of everything that you can imagine…all for dolls.   You can create a doll from a selection of 40 different skin, hair and eye color combinations.  Plus, you can add accessories that match your little girl’s physical appearance and interests like glasses, sports equipment, musical instruments and so much more!  In addition to the hair salon and hospital, the store also features a café and a photo studio.

After we got our hair appointment, we went to see if the café any cancellations for lunch.  (A few days before our visit, I tried to get a reservation at the café for lunch, but they were booked.)  Luckily for us, they did!  When it was Alexandria’s hair done (that’s the dolls name—at least it was on that day, it changes quite often), the stylist confirmed the hairstyle that Journey had chosen as she strapped Alexandria into her chair and put a cape around her neck.    Then, the stylist proceeded to give us tips on how to do the dolls hair.  Turns out, the process to achieve Alexandria’s hairstyle is the same as the process that I use to do Journey’s.  But there’s no way, I’m spending that much time on a doll’s hair!

Fresh from the hair salon, we headed to the café for lunch.  It was quite an experience.  Each doll is placed in a booster seat and served tea.  If you do not have a doll, they will lend you one to dine with.  The set price for lunch includes an appetizer of cinnamon rolls as well as a plate of fruit, cheese and warm pretzel sticks.  I assumed the menu choices would be limited to chicken fingers, PB&J and the like—I was wrong.  I enjoyed a grilled vegetable panini and sweet potatoes fries.  They had a nice selection of salads and other entrees as well.   And for dessert—a fruit kabob, a heart-shaped piece of vanilla cake and a flowerpot filled with chocolate mousse, topped with crumbled Oreos.

As we left the store, Journey said, “I’m sure she’ll need her hair done when we come back for Christmas.  Next time we’ll have afternoon tea.”

For store locations or to purchase a doll online, go to