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Have you watched Cupcake Wars on the Food Network?
Professional bakers race against each other and the clock to create the
best tasting and best looking cupcakes.
3 judges taste and critique the cupcakes, choosing the ultimate cupcake winner.

--that's just what we did!

Two teams competing against each other--

Team Blue and Team Red.


Various supplies were set out and the working space was divided and taped off.

Plans were sketched out.

Chocolate batter and Pink Lemonade batter were mixed.

Cupcake tins were filled, 

baked and cooled.

Then things REALLY began to 'heat' up!

(Injury on the set, but the show must go on!)

Cupcake decorating in progress.

Hurry, time is running out!

And now, the judges...


 Three highly regarded cupcake connoisseurs were brought in for the occasion:
(aka- Papa, Uncle Tim and Nana)

(Notice the presentation of cupcakes for the judges!)

These judges know exactly what they're looking for in a perfect cupcake.

Let's see how they taste.


The critique is favorable!

The judges 'dive' into the deliciousness!

 Messes are made from their sampling.

Team Red and Team Blue are both declared winners!

And that concludes this episode of...


Thanks for tuning in!  Now who gets to do the clean-up?

*Many thanks go to Papa, Nana, Uncle Tim and Aunt Carolyn for making
CUPCAKE WARS a success!

Linking up to: LifeInspired, AtoZebraCelebrations, WildlyOriginalLinkParty, 52Mantels, TheFrugalGirls, SerenityNow, LinkPartyPalooza,

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West coast people don't talk much about Bermuda.  Hawaii, yes...but Bermuda?
When my husband mentioned he had a industry meeting in Bermuda, and would I like to join him,
I thought he was talking about the Bahamas. Of course I wanted to go to the Bahamas!
No, not the Bahamas, but Bermuda.
You mean, like...the Bermuda Triangle, Bermuda?
Will I make it home?

Surprisingly, Bermuda is not in the Bahamas.  I think maybe that Beach Boys song has everyone confused.... You've heard Kokomo..."Bermuda, Bahama, come on pretty mama.."  Well, I'm blaming the song for messing up my geography.

Bermuda is located in the Atlantic Ocean, 580 nautical miles east of North Carolina
and over 800 nautical miles north of the Bahamas!

Bermuda is a self-governing British overseas territory.
They have their own currency, the Bermudian dollar--which is par with the US dollar.
The stores take US money or Bermudian money...very convenient.

They drive on the left side of the road.

There are no rental cars, only mopeds.
Cars are allowed only for residents, but most people drive a moped.

Bermuda shorts are part of the everyday dress code in Bermuda.

I had no idea how difficult it is to take pictures of people while you're walking!
How do those tabloid photographers do it?

We stayed at the Fairmont in Southampton.
This beautiful beach was a 2 minute trolley ride away.

Bermuda's sand is so soft and I was surprised that it didn't get hot to walk on.
The sand has a pink color hue from a tiny organism called red foraminifera that breaks down in the ocean and onto the sand.

AH and I swam and snorkeled in the 'bathtub-temp' water, but thankfully we never ran into a Portuguese Man-O-War!
We did see many, large and colorful fish...and a few barracudas!

The food at the many Fairmont Resort restaurants was amazing!

We love to eat seafood...squid, shrimp, fish
--and of course ice cream over a warm chocolate cake!
(We celebrated our anniversary of 18 years!  Don't we look happy?!)

To get to the city of Hamiliton (Bermuda's only city and capital)
We took a 30 minute boat ride.
These beautiful Bermudian homes lined the coast.

I was loving the colors and the shutters on every window!

Once in Hamilton we walked the streets full of high end shops, restaurants and cafes.
(Not to mention Bermuda shorts and mopeds everywhere!)

Have you noticed that every picture has sun and blue skies?
Yes, Bermuda's weather is picture perfect!  (It was in the 90's everyday we were there.)
It is very humid, but being from Seattle, we soaked it up!

On our last night we were entertained with ethnic Bermuda dancers!

The dancing was fast paced foot work all to rhythmic drum beats.
Small children and a few adults dancing in unison.
The costumes were bright and colorful with tall headpieces
that had peacock feathers sticking straight out.
So fun to watch!

What a great trip...and we made it home without a visit into the Bermuda Triangle!

Have you ever visited Bermuda?

 Linking up to: LinkPartyPalooza,

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While it may be very early for a Back to School blog post in our area,
(We don't head back to school until after Labor Day.)
we do know a few kids and teachers who start school in August. 

Why not start the school year off with a fun Back to School Celebration?

My kids didn't mind having a Back to School party meant new school supplies--which they love! (The little converse hi-tops were worn by my nephew.  He had outgrown them and I swiped them.  Aren't they cute?  Perfect prop for my party theme.) 

I decided to 'step it up' a notch this year and have a  'theme' for our Back to School Party.
 It's a 'foot themed' party.

Not only do I want my kids to have a 'toe'tally great year, 
I want them to start the school year off on the 'right foot.' 
Last year was a bit rocky of a start, so this year we're making an effort to
discuss what happened and how we can all work together to have a great school year.

A few treats, a few new school supplies and a few decorations helped set our theme.

A Back to School Foot Themed Party!

New notebooks encouraged the kids to give this year their 'heart  and sole'!

New athletic socks for my son and crazy toe socks for my daughter 
were tied up with this adorable shoe ribbon!

A toe polish treat was packaged up for my daughter.

Lunch was 'foot themed' of course!
Foot long hot dogs, a foot long carrot and 2 'feet' of watermelon.
I used a foot shaped cookie cutter to cut the fruit.
(You could also substitute a foot long sub sandwich instead of the hot dogs.)

While eating, we talked about the upcoming school year and how they could 'step it up.'
We discussed subject areas they wanted to improve in, classes they would like to get better grades in.
How they could make new friends and help others.
We also discussed 'steps' we could take as a family to make the year go smoothly.

 After lunch we had a few treats.  Licorice is always a favorite.

 Nutter Butter cookies with red Candy Melts made the perfect painted toenails.

I used a foot cookie cutter to cut the crispy rice treats into flat feet.

After treats, we headed outside for some games involving your feet, of course!

We played a fun game called 'Paper Step'.

Each player receives 2 sheets of paper.  Object is to get to the finish line first.  Players must only stand on their papers, not the ground. If player falls off the papers, they have to start at the beginning.  It's constant moving of the papers to step on them and get to the finish line.
The kids beat me every time!

Once we were tired of that game, out came the sidewalk chalk and a mission.
Make the coolest hopscotch ever!

A hundred squares later (no joke!) with twists and turns and backward jumps, they were finished.
Of course I had to try them out...what a workout!

It gets a little harder each year to come up with new and exciting activities with my 'tweens'.
(I can't believe my kids are that old!  Too bad they can't stay in elementary school.)

I knew I had pulled off a successful Back to School Celebration when I overheard my son talking about it later.
His exact words, "It was actually pretty fun."

(Yes, I did it! Score!)

To see our Back To School Party from last year, click here.
Hope your kids start off on the right foot this school year!

Linking up to: FantasticThursday, WeeklyCreative, WildlyOriginal,TheFrugalGirls, FridayFlair, SerenityNow, Tatertots&Jello, ShareYourCreativity, CraftOManiac, FundayMonday, IHeartNaptime, AtoZebraCelebrations, thechirpingmoms,
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