cupcakes & wishes. my two favorite things.

Jumpin’ bacon cupcakes!

Over the last year or so, Liz and I were fortunate enough to work on a wish for adorable Milo. Originally his wish was for a sensory room, but it was changed to a SPRINGFREE trampoline, something that he could enjoy with his favorite person ever, big brother SAM!


This was taken at the Springfree store in Issaquah. They invited Milo and his family to “test” the trampoline he would be getting!

Knowing how important sensory items were to Milo, his amazingly talented wish coordinator, Jessie, suggested we bring as many sensory items to Milo’s trampoline as possible. So to make his trampoline reveal extra special, we brought in as many things as we could – rope lights, an outdoor speaker (to enjoy his favorite jams!), and a pretty legit bubble machine.

Milo MAWWe decided to have a big trampoline reveal party with all of Milo’s friends and family last Sunday as a way to also celebrate his 8th birthday! And wouldn’tcha know it…Sunday was the ONLY day it rained in weeks. Of course, right?! None of the kids seemed to care. In fact, I’m not even sure some of the kids (ie: Magnolia) even noticed they were getting wet. 🙂


IMG_8049There were other things we tried to do to make the day special for Milo. We made them custom “WISH” shirts. I’ve never used these before but they are AMAZING. Basically you print on the sheet and cut out the design perfectly. It prints on a white background and it’s the white background that sticks to the dark fabric to make your print out stand out. Well, I learned another trick and didn’t even need to print anything! I cut out letters using my Cricut and ironed them on and voila! It looked like they were silk screened onto the shirts! Waaaay better than regular iron-ons! Okay, I probably just got more excited about this whole process than normal people should be…*deep breaths* (Cort – this was my idea for the Walk shirts!)

I also made Mom one of our famous tutu’s. She even wore it during her interview with Q13!


At this point, I should also mention that Milo’s favorite food is BACON. Can you blame him?! Seeing as he shares his “favorite food” with both me and Liz, I decided we needed to have bacon cupcakes of some sort to celebrate his birthday wish day. Thankfully staff at the Make-A-Wish office were willing to be my taste testers. I tested a Maple Bacon cupcake, a French Toast cupcake, and a Chocolate Bacon cupcake with Nutella frosting. The Chocolate Bacon cupcake won, hands down. I pretty much followed this recipe, but made a small, kinda-gross-if-you-think-about-it (so don’t) adjustment…

Chocolate Bacon Cupcakes with Nutella Buttercream Frosting

*Makes 12 cupcakes


Kim, I totally stole your cupcake pic because I forgot to take pics as I was baking/frosting. 🙂

Cupcake Ingredients:

  • 4-5 slices of chopped bacon (or more if you love bacon, like Milo)
  • *reserve 1/8 cup of the drippings after frying bacon
  • 1 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup of white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/8 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Frosting Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled (I used a double boiler)
  • 1/3 cup Nutella
  •  1 tablespoon heavy cream

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line muffin pan with baking cups.

2. Cook the bacon over medium-high heat. Drain and cool, reserving 1/8 cup of drippings. *I like to chop bacon before frying it. Seems easier to me, but you can cook slices of bacon and crumble afterwards if that’s easier for you.*

3. While the bacon is cooling, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add the hot water, buttermilk, oil, drippings, vanilla, and egg. Stir until just combined. Fold in the bacon crumbles. Batter will be very runny. Spoon batter into baking cups.

4. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Cool in pan on wire rack.

5. While the cupcakes are cooling, start making the frosting! Beat the butter and powdered sugar on low for 1 minute. Add the vanilla.

6. Add the melted chocolate and beat on medium speed for about 2 minutes. It should look very creamy.

7. Add the Nutella and heavy cream, then mix on medium to medium-high speed for about a minute.

8. Once the cupcakes have cooled, fill a pastry bag or Ziploc with the icing fitted with a star tip and make a pretty swirl. Garnish with bacon!

These were a winner. Lots of people loved them. Milo sure did. I saw him eat two of them. And he ate them both like this:

IMG_8098Little snafu’s happened throughout the wish – the rainy party, the unexpectedly early/late delivery of every single item, and 2 yards of playchips literally dumped in their driveway that we hustled and moved to the backyard in less than 20 minutes…it was all worth it for this very deserving family.  Milo, Kim, Eric, and Sam – it has been such a pleasure getting to know your family.  I can see why Liz was absolutely raving about your family even before the wish began. 🙂

To everyone else, please send happy thoughts Milo’s way.  He hasn’t been feeling well the last couple of days and could use all the wonderful sentiments! Milos family


**Photos posted with permission from the wish family.**

1 Comment »

Takin’ Requests

I’m pretty sure I have 2 maybe even 3 blog readers.  It’s a bit delayed, but this blog post is at the request of one of these two…HEE-SAN!  This is also in honor of her upcoming trip to Seattle this Fall.  Yup, I’m officially announcing it.  She told me this week that she’s planning to come up here, so I’m hoping that if its written down, it will actually happen. 🙂

I'm pretty sure both of you appreciate me posting this pic.

I’m pretty sure both of you appreciate me posting this pic.

She thinks that if she keeps sending me postcards from the paradise that she is lucky enough to call HOME, she can bribe me into visiting her.  Welp, its working.  If it wasn’t for that darn, pesky thing called MONEY, I’d totally be there.


I have to say, we’ve had some adventures, both in Seattle and in Hawaii.

nihongo no tomodachi2

Our Nihongo group. That basically meant us girls relied on the boys for the answers whenever we got called on.

ja9 & tiff up close    ja9 & tiff in waikiki

ja9 giving tiff a kiss

Weird crotch art. We thought it would be funny to take pics underneath it.

ja9, mitsuye, tiff @ waterfront  ja9 & tiff

Tiff suggested I make Chocolate Mint Cupcakes, so I decided to try it for Easter.  Pretty delish!  They tasted like thin mints!

Chocolate Mint Cupcakes

  • 8 Tbsp (1 stick, 4 ounces) unsalted butterIMG_8007
  • 1/2 cup Dutch processed cocoa
  • 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons peppermint extract
  • 1/2 cup sour cream

Buttercream Frosting

  • 8 Tbsp butter, room temperature (1 stick, 4 ounces)
  • 1 Tbsp milk
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 2 cups powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare a muffin tin by lining it with cupcake liners.

IMG_8009Use a double boiler or add an inch or two of water to a medium sized saucepan and place a metal bowl over it, bringing the water to a simmer. Add butter (cut into chunks), chocolate, cocoa to the bowl. As the butter and chocolate melt, whisk until the ingredients are well combined and smooth. Remove from heat and let cool to touch.

In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and baking powder.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs. Add the salt, the sugar, the mint extract and beat until well combined. Slowly add in the chocolate butter mixture and beat until combined.

Add in half of the sifted flour mixture, mix to combine. Mix in the sour cream. Mix in the remaining flour mixture.

Spoon the batter evenly into the lined muffin cups. Place in oven in middle rack. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until tops spring back when touched and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.


Let cool in muffin tin on a rack for 15 minutes. Then gently remove cupcakes from the tin and let cool completely before frosting.

Mix all ingredients for frosting. Garnish with a little fresh mint.

IMG_8020   IMG_8021











tiff & ja9 @ waterfront2




Hee-san, I can’t wait to see you this fall!  We have so much catching up to do!





P.S. In case you were wondering, this is why I only post dessert pictures. :)

P.S. In case you were wondering, this example of my dinner is why I only post dessert recipes. 🙂

1 Comment »

Go Hawks! (No I’m Not A Bandwagon Fan)

In case you didn’t know, I am NOT a football girl.  Baseball, yes.  Soccer, for SURE.

46627_980267688638_10725174_52211445_4895820_n     V__2F4B

However, my Dad goes on these weird kicks and he decided this year to be obsessed with the Seahawks.  It started even before their season started.  Unfortunately for him, I am the closest thing he has to a son, so I tried really hard to be excited whenever he talked about them.  I tried to pretend to be excited when he invited me over to watch the games and when he tried talking about players (I only knew of Wilson, Lynch, and Sherman because they were great wish-granters).  I didn’t really get into it until they made it to the playoffs.

Now before you jump down my throat and call me a bandwagon fan, let me tell you why I am NOT a bandwagon fan.  Even though they won the Super Bowl, I could still care less about football.  I think its a ridiculous game and if a 260 pound man was chasing me for a football, I’d happily hand it over to him.  However, I am PROUD of what the Seahawks have done for Seattle and for all they accomplished this year, even if I don’t understand it all.

My favorite part of the Super Bowl was the food…that’s a given right?  We sorta skipped Chinese New Year so we incorporated that into our Super Bowl food.


Jello, spam musubi, roast, barbeque ribs, broccoli salad, chow mein, and cupcakes! What a feast!

I was in charge of the cupcakes.  And naturally I had to make them 12th man themed.  I was so into the theme, I even used blue and green baking utensils!  This is normally a red velvet recipe, but I substituted the red for green.  I don’t recommend blue.  It turns out a dark teal that is ugly.


This is Earl Thomas IV with a 12th Man Cupcake!

12th Man Cupcakes (aka Green Velvet Cupcakes)
2 ½ C all-purpose flourIMG_7848
1 ½ C sugar
1 t baking soda
1 t salt
1 t cocoa powder
1 ½ C vegetable oil
1 C buttermilk, room temperature
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 T green food coloring
1 t white distilled vinegar
1 t vanilla extract

Cream Cheese Frosting:

1 lb. cream cheese, softened
2 sticks butter, softened
1 t vanilla extract
4 C sifted confectioners’ sugar

IMG_7887Preheat the oven to 350°. Line 2 (12-cup) muffin pans with cupcake papers.

In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder. In a large bowl gently beat together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla with a handheld electric mixer. Add the sifted dry ingredients to the wet and mix until smooth and thoroughly combined.

Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake tins about 2/3 filled.  *In case you didn’t know, an ice-cream scooper is the most awesome trick to making sure the batter is evenly distributed in your cupcake liners!  Bake in oven for about 20 to 22 minutes, turning the pans once, half way through. Test the cupcakes with a toothpick for doneness. Remove from oven and cool completely before frosting.

IMG_7893    IMG_7896

For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla together until smooth. Add the sugar and on low speed, beat until incorporated. Increase the speed to high and mix until very light and fluffy.

IMG_7899   IMG_7917

IMG_7913    IMG_7914


Marissa has always been a sugar fiend, but I think its safe to say that the 12th Man Cupcakes were a “hit!” Har har har.

All in all, I’m proud of the Seahawks (although I’m still not a football fan) and I’m relieved the Super Bowl wasn’t a nail biter.  And I’m sure my Dad is glad he doesn’t have to explain the game to us anymore.  Let’s put it this way…my Mom’s favorite play of the Super Bowl was the “pitch” at the beginning that went over Manning’s head and when Harvin ran all the way to the “touchdown zone.”  I’m not even that bad.  I knew it was “hiked” over Manning’s head (which is still wrong, but at least I had the sport) and that Harvin ran it into the end zone.  I’m pretty sure I’ll forget it all by next year.  I’m ready for Spring.  Bring on the Sounders and Mariners!


Leave a comment »


I’m a crafty girl, not a practical girl.  So I’m not sure why in my mind, decorating (ie: paint and glitter) pumpkins would be less messy than carving them.  Wrong-o.


Looks like the tooth fairy sneezed on my pumpkin.

Cortney, Julianne and I decided to have an impromptu craft day because we were feeling festive and wanted to decorate some pumpkins.

IMG_7779     IMG_7781

Cortney tried to paint her pumpkin neon pink which turned out just looking like a bright (normal) pumpkin.  So she decided to bling it up with some old jewels we had leftover from her Bachelorette Party.

IMG_7775Julianne pained a cool design on hers and realized after she was done that maybe she should have painted top green.  I think it was pretty cool with the colors she used.

IMG_7791    IMG_7794

I love me some glitter.  So its no surprise I glitter-ed my pumpkins.


This was my Pringles guy pumpkin and his faceless wife.

In honor of our punkin day, I also made Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread.  I needed to test the recipe before a Halloween party but I don’t like pumpkin, so I made it in hopes that Cortney and Julianne would be my taste testers.


Ignore the baking powder and use baking soda as the recipe calls for.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread
3 C white sugar
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
1 C vegetable oil
2/3 C water
4 eggs
3 1/2 C all-purpose flour
1 T ground cinnamon
1 T ground nutmeg
2 t baking soda
1 1/2 t salt
1 C miniature semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour three 1 pound  three 9×5 inch loaf pans.  I only had 2 big loaf pans, so I also used 3 small loaf pans to replace one big one.


In a large bowl, combine sugar, pumpkin, oil, water, and eggs. Beat until smooth. Blend in flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, and salt. Fold in chocolate chips and nuts. Fill loaf pans 1/2 to 3/4 full.

Bake for 1 hour, or until an inserted knife comes out clean. Cool on wire racks before removing from cans or pans.






I don’t like pumpkin.  Actually I figured out, I think I don’t like nutmeg.  It was pretty though and Cortney said it was a good recipe, so I’ll take her word for it. 🙂


Happy Halloween!

Leave a comment »

“Just Like You”

Even though this has nothing to do with wishes or cupcakes, I promised Yvette that I would blog about a movie I made exactly 3 years ago (wow…  has it REALLY been that long?!).  I have always been interested in video production and ever since Tadd made his first film, I had been itching to make my own.  I had had an idea for a movie in my head for awhile, so in the summer of 2011, I finally wrote the script.  It was basically about a nerd who likes a girl who is attracted to jocks so he learns to play a sport the only way he knows how – with video games.  Of course it didn’t go as planned for him.  After I wrote the script, I realized I needed someone to “nerdify” it for me.  There was an entire section that needed video game jargon.  Fortunately, Tadd told me I knew of a hard core video gamer…Arthur.  I had no idea.  I gave him the script and he nerdified it better than I could have ever imagined.

Here’s Just Like You, back on YouTube.  Bloopers are YouTube too.  I have the greatest friends.  The only payment they received for their participation was food.  Thank you Arthur for helping me write the script.  Thank you Raeya and Yvette for the costumes and for being excited about this project with me.  Thank you Yaochiem for your impeccable acting skills (we better hang out soon before I ask you to be in another movie).  Thank you Marissa, Roy, David, Lexter, Carly, and Brent for being the most talented extras ever.  And last but certainty not least, thank you Tadd.  Had it not been for your encouragement and perseverance, I probably would have given up before filming even began.  You kept your cool when I couldn’t and you have an unbelievably amazing eye for cinematography.

Here are some random facts about Just Like You:

  • All of the characters were named for a reason or were named after people: Harold To (because his nickname would be “Harry To”), Hannah Kuso (because “hanakuso” means booger in Japanese), Tristian (he was my “little boy” and favorite customer from Sushi Land), Justin (I knew he was going to be sorta a jerk, so I named him after Justin Timberlake.  Not sure why, but in my head, JT has always been a jerk even though I’m sure he’s a perfectly nice guy).

nerdy yao & missy

  • Because Hannah smells like “the perfect concoction of sunshine and summer picnics,” she is wearing yellow in EVERY scene.

raeya costume check2    raeya's sunshine back

  • I had 9 pages of storyboards drawn, which, if you know me says a lot since I LOATHE drawing.  I attempted to film the first few shots I drew from my storyboard and then got overwhelmed.  Tadd swooped in and took over just about all of the filming for me.  If he was in the scene, he would explain the shot to me before we recorded his scene.

raeya & yao ugly

  • The fantasy scene wasn’t supposed to be filmed in the rain, but it was the last day before Raeya had to go back to school and it poured.  I was really disappointed with the weather, but thanks to Tadd’s amazing cinematography skills, it ended up working out better than if it was sunny!

yao & raeya wet

  • The props on Harold’s desk that weren’t really Yaochiem’s, they were Arthur’s, including the World of Warcraft boxes, multiple calculators, and the box of Benadryl.  Yup.  Arthur said “don’t nerds have allergies?”  I don’t know so I just took his word for it.

harold's math shirt

  • I bought Harold’s glasses from Ebay.  I didn’t realize they were being shipped from China so it took a little longer than I expected to get them.  But they ended up being the best $3 I ever spent.nerd glasses
  • Tadd improvised the scene of them dressing Yaochiem in the fantasy.  Totally unscripted, but by far one of the funniest scenes of the entire movie.

tadd, yao, raeya, yvette WET!

  • Yaochiem was always my first choice to play Harold, but I hadn’t talked to him in about 5 years before I asked him to be in the movie.  I miss you, Yaochiem!

yao as nerd               yao makeup

  • The scenes on the field when it was sunny took about 8 hours straight to film.

arthur & tadd sleeping

  • Raeya had to change at the field on the rainy day.  Instead of providing a luxury trailer for her to change in, I provided her with the backseat of my car.  Luckily my windows are tinted.

raeya, yvette, ja9 get ready

  • Bubble blowers are very hard to find in September because the summer stuff is mostly gone.  I ended up finding 2 of them at Rite Aid in Burien on clearance.  Carly and Brent didn’t know when we were hanging out that day that I’d be putting them to work.brent & carly bubbles

Hope you enjoy Just Like You!

Leave a comment »


I realized I’m due for a vacay to Hawaii this year.  I went for the first time in 2009 and then again in 2011.  I just sorta got used to going every two years and I’m sad this year I won’t be there.IMG_0959

Hawaii is the one place where its HOT and I don’t complain.  Well, don’t complain much.  And I get to hang out with Tiff.  Hee-san, we need to see each other more than just every couple of years.  🙂

ja9 & tiff up close

Miss you, Hee-san.

I also miss the food of Hawaii and well, the other people of Hawaii. 😉

Hawaiian McDonalds 20111021142417


Because of my recent Hawaii withdrawals, I decided to make guava cupcakes for Raeya’s non-Blue Angels party.  I tried many different recipes but they never turned out quite right.  Until Raeya sent me a recipe from her friend.  It was PERFECT.  The trick is to use concentrated guava juice.  As in leave a tube of Hawaii’s Own juice on the counter.  Genius!  There will be a little bit of concentrated juice left over in the tube, so just mix it with a little water to make unconcentrated juice for the gel.  I was so into it, I even listened to my Hawaiian playlist while I baked.  But its slim pickin’s.

Don't judge me.  This is a cute soundtrack.

Don’t judge me. This is a cute soundtrack.

Guava Cupcakes

1 (18 oz.) package Duncan Hines yellow cake mix
1 1/3 C thawed concentrated guava juice (Hawaii’s Own)
3 eggs
1/3 C vegetable oil
red food coloring
*doesn’t have to be Duncan Hines.  Use amount of oil and eggs listed on the box.  Replace the water with the concentrated guava juice.

1 ½ (8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened
½ C sugar
1 ½ t vanilla
1 ½ (8 oz.) container Cool Whip, thawed

Guava Topping:
1 C prepared (unconcentrated) guava juice
¼ C sugar
1/8 C cornstarch

Make the cake according to cake mix directions, replacing the water with thawed concentrated guava juice. Add red food dye until the batter is a pink color.


I think this was after about 6 drops of red food coloring.

Line a muffin tin with liners and bake according to box. It may take a few minutes longer to bake because of the guava juice in the cake.

For the frosting, beat cream cheese with hand mixer until fluffy. Beat in sugar and vanilla. Slowly fold in the Cool Whip and let it sit in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to become more stiff.

For the guava topping, make a paste out of the cornstarch and a small amount of water. It should be more of a liquid than a paste.IMG_7606

Add guava juice and sugar to a sauce pan, heat until it boils.

Remove guava juice from heat and stir in the cornstarch mixture. Return to heat and bring back to a boil. Pour into a separate bowl and let it cool in refrigerator. If your cornstarch mixture made clumps in the topping then just separate it with a strainer.

Add a thin layer of frosting on top of the cupcakes and pipe a swirl border around the top to hold the guava topping in place.    Spoon the guava topping onto the cake and spread it around the top.

      IMG_7610     IMG_7612

I think its safe to say the guava cupcakes were a hit.  Raeya and Yvette seemed to enjoy them. 🙂

        IMG_7619    IMG_7617


You actually made it through this entire blog post?!  Mahalo!

You actually made it through this entire blog post?! Mahalo!

1 Comment »

Make-A-Wish has some CRAZY volunteers…

I’m not sure how Cortney always convinces me to partake in her crazy ideas.  We are currently working on a wish for a teenager named, Marri.  At this point, she is undecided on her wish.  She is debating between wishing to meet Justin Bieber or go to Australia.

We wanted to make a thinking of you gift for Marri.  Our original idea was to orchestrate an elaborate flash mob with all of our friends to a Biebs song and we were going to contact Nathan Adrian (her favorite athlete) and ask him to record a little message to use at the beginning.


Then we got real.  We sat down and made a list of all of her favorite things.  Justin Bieber.  Nathan Adrian.  Gorditos in Greenwood.  Bagels.  Purple.  Then we got together to incorporate all of that into a video.  The only way we could think to incorporate Australia into the video was to include a “Finding Nemo” scene.

IMG_7405This was Liz’s idea.  It was genius.

IMG_7403    IMG_7404
My living room became the Great Barrier Reef.

   IMG_7407   IMG_7408
We also had to make Bieber and Nathan masks to use later.

IMG_7410Tadd was amazing videographer.  We didn’t really give him any guidance, but he always gets the best shots.  And he makes a great Nathan Adrian. 😉

     IMG_7411     IMG_7413

The next scene was at Gorditos in Greenwood.  We were pretty embarrassed dancing outside at the beginning because it’s located on a busy road and there were LOTS of cars staring at us.  And then we would forget the lyrics to the song and start laughing.  It was Cortney’s idea to serenade a Gorditos’ famous baby-sized burrito during the “Baby” section of the remix.  So we created eyes in our burrito out of Tadd’s sauce and cut a mouth into it so we could cradle it and feed it a bottle.

IMG_7414  IMG_7417

IMG_7415Poor burrito baby.  It was delicious.

The next scene was shot at the waterfront.  But it started raining so we had to just hurry and film and get inside.  So sadly, no photos.  After the waterfront, we stopped by the Make-A-Wish office so we could film in front of the Make-A-Wish logo in the front office.

IMG_7420It took a few tries to get these shots right, but we got it eventually.

IMG_7422     IMG_7424

Filming took almost a full day, but it was totally worth it.  We hope Marri loves it as much as we loved making it.  The link to the video is below.  We also put together a short video of some behind the scenes footage.  The thing with music videos is that since you only have to use the video and not any of the original audio, the original audio can be pretty funny.

We’re thinking of you, Marri! video
Bloopers from Marri’s video

Leave a comment »

Too smart for toys and stuff…

My recent wish kid, Grady, is a smarty.  Way smarter than me (not that its that difficult).  He wished to go to Washington D.C.  He even figured out that he would be in Washington D.C. during the prime time for the cherry blossoms.

We knew that Grady was too mature for a traditional countdown calendar, or even a send-off backpack full of toys.  Toys and things just weren’t for him.  He liked newspapers, museums, and technology (Apple, not Microsoft).  So, inspired by my last birthday gift from Cortney and Randy, we decided to give Grady a special backpack of gifts and gave him a list of times he was supposed to open them.


PRESENT 1: Sunday Morning (the day he leaves Seattle), once your plane is in the air

IMG_7378      IMG_7371

He loved this smart kind of stuff.

PRESENT 2: Monday Morning, after you wake up


I forgot to take a picture of this one wrapped.  Postcard stamps and a pen.  He had family that wanted to pay their own way to join him on his trip but couldn’t get the time off from work, so I figured he could send them a postcard. 🙂

PRESENT 3: Tuesday night, before you go to bed

IMG_7377     IMG_7369

I knew he’d be visiting a LOT of museums, so I found this fun album on Amazon so he could save his ticket stubs and add pictures later.

PRESENT 4: Wednesday night, while you are waiting for dinner to be served to your table

IMG_7380      IMG_7372

My co-volunteer found these at a store at Bellevue Square.  Grady is such a smarty.

PRESENT 5: Thursday morning, after you eat breakfast

IMG_7383      IMG_7373

Another puzzle from Bell Square.

PRESENT 6: Friday night, after you pack up all of your suitcases

IMG_7381      IMG_7374

His favorite game was Monopoly.  I thought this might be a fun travel game for the plane ride back home.

PRESENT 7: Saturday evening (the day he flies home), once the movie starts on the plane

IMG_7382      IMG_7367

Grady’s favorite snacks.  You can’t watch a movie without snacks.

PRESENT 8: Saturday night, when the shuttle drops you off at home

I forgot to take a picture of this gift.  I wrapped a framed photo of his family with us volunteers and wrote a note on the back of the frame.  I handed it to him at the airport so he could open it when he got home.

This was a fun version of a countdown calendar/send-off backpack for an older, mature kid.  Happy wishes!

Leave a comment »

Royal Treatment for a Princess

I have to say that Princess wishes for little girls are my favorite.  They allow me to run away with my imagination. 🙂

For my most recent Princess who wished to go to Disney World, I was inspired by our Team Walkstars Costumes.


Our shirts listed the names of wish kiddos that we worked on together. Anna, Sarah, Tyler, and Yoselin.

I decided that my wish kid and her little sister needed tutus to go with the tiaras and wands that we already had for them.

Lilly’s favorite Disney character is Minnie Mouse and her sister’s favorite is Princess Aurora.  Luckily, they sell Disney ribbon at Joann’s.  A little pricey ($5 I think?) but sooooo worth it.  I purchased a total of 4 yards of tulle to match the ribbon but I would suggest at least 5 yards.  These tutus were made for 4 year olds.  We used 10 yards for our grown up tutus.  It’s better to get too much tulle than not enough.  Each time we’ve made the grown-up tutus, we’ve had to go back to the store to get more.  And by “we” I mean we send Cortney’s husband, Randy, off to Joann’s. 🙂

Anywho, back to the matching ribbon and tulle.

IMG_7148     IMG_7147

Cutting the tulle into little strips was always my LEAST favorite part of making tutus.  But Cortney found a much easier way of cutting it.

(you only need to follow steps 1 and 2)

The next step is to tie the ribbon so that it is tight across.  I tied mine between two chairs.  Then take a strip of tulle and fold it in half.  With the half way point/loop facing downwards, put the loose ends into the loop.


You will continue this with all of your strips of tulle. IMG_7156

Don’t bunch your tulle too tightly together at the beginning.  You want to make sure you have enough tulle for the entire length of the ribbon.  You can always bunch it together tighter later.  The more tulle you use, the more full/poofy your tutu will be.


Once you’ve tied on all of your tulle, that’s it!  All they have to do is tie it around their waist!  I’ve used elastic in the past to make tutus, but ribbon is much easier.  It’s a lot less work because you don’t really have to guess what size the person’s waist is.  All in all, this is a pretty inexpensive fun thing for little girls and they each took maybe an hour at the most to put together.

IMG_7165   IMG_7166


Jasmine loved swishing her tutu around!


My co-volunteer, Linda, made a poster for us to bring to the airport.  It was a hit!  Lilly’s family loved it and asked us to save it for them when they got back from their trip.  IMG_7181It was also great because everyone in the airport knew where they were going and why they were there.  Strangers came up to talk to the girls to ask them about their trip and who they were going to meet.

*Photos provided with permission from the wish family.

1 Comment »

Calling it an AMAZING birthday present(s) would be an understatement…

I just have to say, Cortney and Randy are awesome friends.  Well, Randy didn’t really have a choice.  He has become so crafty thanks to Cortney.  Bet he never thought he’d enjoy going to Paper Source or that we would send him on Joann’s runs to pick up more tulle for tutus.  Let me tell you about the birthday gifts they gave me…

The day before my birthday, Cortney stopped by the Make-A-Wish office to drop something off for the Gala and she also dropped a bag of birthday goodies.  She explained that they were numbered and I was supposed to open them at that time.

Enough gifts to last me the entire work day from 8am-5pm.

Enough gifts to last me the entire work day from 8am-5pm.

8:00 AM

IMG_7305     IMG_7307
Even though the cookie was broken, I knew this was 8am by process of elimination.  She knows there is no better way to start the morning off than with coffee.  And these peppermint Via’s are amazing!  She knows because I sent her a packet in the mail. 🙂

9:00 AM

IMG_7309     IMG_7311

I’ve been wanting some of this cute string, but have been too cheap to buy it for myself.  Love all the colors!

10:00 AM

IMG_7316      IMG_7317

She knows I love my Post-Its.  And she said she got these because she thought I probably think “WTF” a lot to myself at work.  She’s right.

11:00 AM

IMG_7321     IMG_7322

I had just seen these Junior Mints at Paper Source the day before and wanted them but told myself not to buy them!  Yummmm!

12:00 PM

IMG_7323I had to “open” this one a little early because we had lunch reservations at Boka at 12.  This one wasn’t wrapped for obvious reasons.  I’m really excited for it though.  I think I’ll use it for crafting and not actually for wrapping gifts.  It’s too pretty to use as wrapping paper!

1:00 PM

IMG_7327      IMG_7328

We got back from lunch late, so I had to open this one a little later.  Homemade cards and gift tags!  LOVE IT!  Perfect for when I’m too lazy to take out my own crafting supplies but I need a card…

2 :00 PM

IMG_7329     IMG_7331

This one was really heavy.  It was also one of my faves and I literally cracked up out loud.  Cortney follows me on Pintrest, and I pinned a holiday drink that I thought sounded tasty, especially since it was alcohol-free.  She printed out the pin and included all of the ingredients I would need for the drink.  This was my 2PM gift because she figured the coffee would have worn off by now and I’d be in dire need of another refreshment.

3:00 PM

IMG_7332      IMG_7334

Cute paper, a cupcake stamp, and washi tape!  I was told that Cortney couldn’t pick between 3 different kinds of washi tape, so Randy ended up picking this one of the 3 for me.  Love the chevron pattern and love the colors!  Reminds me of rainbow sherbert!  I’ve never used washi tape before so I can’t wait to test it out.  The possibilities are endless.

4:00 PM

IMG_7335     IMG_7336

Another funny gift thanks to Pintrest.  I pinned what I thought was a cute nail polish idea…nail polish with coordinating craft glitter.  So Cortney gave me a couple of nail polishes and matching glitters.  Can’t wait to try it out!  I would try it now if I hadn’t just painted my nails.

5:00 PM

IMG_7337      IMG_7340

Last but not least.  Cortney and I talk about intellectual books we like to read like “The Kite Runner” or “The Glass Castle” or Emily Giffin’s series.  I mentioned that my sister read Ellen’s book and loved it and I wanted to read it, just haven’t yet.  So she bought it for me because it would be a good book for the bus.

Needless to say, I was overwhelmed by the fun-ness and generosity of this gift.  This would be great to do to a wish kiddo.  Wrap a handful of gifts and have them open one when they get to the airport, one when their plane takes off, one when they get to their hotel room, one their last breakfast on their vacation, etc…

Thank you so much, Cortney and Randy, for making my work day on my birthday so much more bearable.

A little sweaty.

A little sweaty.

Leave a comment »