White Chocolate and Coconut Fruit Salad

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I love creating new desserts, especially when it means that I get to trick my boys into eating more fruit than they otherwise would.

One day I realized that we had apparently purchased too many bananas, apples and pears and that at the rate we were eating them, more than half would end up in the garbage. I detest wasting food so I set up shop in the kitchen to make a tasty, healthy snack. Here is what I came up with!

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So much fruit at the end of its shelf life!

White Chocolate and Coconut Fruit Salad

Makes:                       4 to 6 servings

Preparation Time: 15 minutes from start to finish

Ingredients:20160702_162024

  • 2 Apples
  • 2 Pears
  • 3 Bananas
  • 1 small bottle of cream
  • A pinch or two of sugar
  • 1/2 bar of White Chocolate with Coconuts from Lidl

 

 1. Peel and dice the fruit. Mix them all together.

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2. Whip the cream until it becomes light and fluffy. Sweeten to taste with sugar.

 

3. Chop the white chocolate into bits.

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4. Arrange your glasses and begin layering your ingredients. Place a good layer of chocolate at the bottom of the glass, add a layer of whipped cream, then fruit, repeat until the glass is full. Finish the presentation with a pretty layer of chopped chocolate on the very top.

The children loved it! Usually I really have to force them to eat their daily bit of fruit but they kept coming back for more until the bowl was empty. I made it again a week or so later for a family visit and my goddaughter was ever so happy to help me chop the fruit in the kitchen.
White Fruit Salad

Let me know if you come up with any tasty variations of this recipe !

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Decorating the Hall

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We were fortunate enough to find a gorgeous reception venue in one of the most beautiful parts of Belgium.

The venue was Les Jardins de la Molignée… The gardens of the watermill in the beautiful Route de Maredsous. Don’t worry people, I’m driving up that way again on the 13th and will take the time to photograph every bit of the route for you.

I wanted to make as many of the decorations as possible. A wedding is expensive no matter how you do it but one of the best ways to not only save a ton of money but to make sure your wedding is as customized as possible is to make as much of your decorations as you know how to make. Here is what I did, perhaps it will give you some ideas.

The first thing that I had to make for the wedding ceremony was the pillows for the wedding rings. Our theme was ‘lovebirds’ so we were very fortunate to be getting married around Easter. At my favorite store, Ava, I found some wicker nests and feathers. I wove and sewed some white feathers into the nest, took my blue and bronze ribbons and made some of the most original ring bearer pillows I’ve ever seen.

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The bird on the tags was made with this Love stamp kit from Heyda (I found it at AVA but it is available through Amazon)

I used some more wicker nests, blue and white feathers and lovely dyed eggshells that were also from Ava’s Easter section to make my table centerpieces.

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The place settings and table linens were provided by the venue but I found these beautiful little feathers at Ava to personalize the tables just that much more.
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The rest of the decoration went quickly thanks to my sweet sister who had sent us a beautiful handmade pennant banner.
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We set up standing tables on the dancefloor for the appetizer part of the evening.
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Maxime helped me decorate the standing tables with artificial rose petals, confetti and candles.
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All that was left was to set up the receiving table with the card holder and guest book.
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Finally, the hall was ready for our wedding and we could go to our best man’s house for a pre-wedding dinner.

Bottled Thanks

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I wanted to make a simple decoration to give as a gift to the people who helped make our wedding possible, a kind of wedding favor for those friends and family who had gone above and beyond during the planning of our special day.

I discovered some pretty little glass bottles at two local stores: AVA Papier and Action for less than two euros each and I felt the inspiration start to brew.

Before I left AVA I grabbed a bottle of decorative sand in the same blue as my wedding invitations and some simple brown card tags. Honestly, if you’re lucky enough to live near one of these stores you need to go explore it a bit. The company started as a paper factory and has expanded to become a papercrafts extravaganza… where all the colors are coordinated throughout the store!

I don’t know how I’d have kept our wedding on a budget if I hadn’t discovered this place.

I had some blue feathers left over from the invitations so I put them to good use. I filled each bottle with an inch or so of the colored sand topped by a single fluffy feather and then I stuck the adorable little bird stopper tightly back into place.

I used my singing bird stamp on one side of the tags to help the gift coordinate even better with the wedding plans. Then I neatly wrote “Merci” near the bird and carefully signed the name of the recipient on the other side with my bronze gel pen and used my turquoise marker to give it a bit of a shadow.

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I cut lengths of brown metallic and blue satin ribbon, threaded the tag onto them and tied a neat little bow to hold it in place.

Glass bottle wedding favors

There you have it, an incredibly simple thank-you gift made with about € 3 of supplies and finished in a matter of minutes and the recipients adored them!

The Dress

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I was never really one of those little girls who dreams about her wedding dress. I never really started thinking about what I’d want to look like until I was in my mid twenties.

This is often one of the most stressful parts of wedding planning but I found a great way to remove some of the burden from my shoulders.

Originally I was going to make my dress. I have a pattern on hand which I bought many years ago and still love.

McCall’s Pattern 4713

M4713, Misses'/Miss Petite Lined Bridal Gown

I fell in love with this pattern in part because they had a fashion doll sized version of it available as well. What a sweet idea, make matching dolls for my flower girls!

McCall’s Pattern 4740

M4740, Alicyn Wright's 11 ½

I was so excited to make this dress for myself… until I started looking at fabric prices. I would be spending more or less 400 euros simply for the fabric!

I started to ask myself some hard questions. Would I have the time to make it? How much stress would I be bringing down upon myself if I sewed this myself? Did I even have enough sewing experience to be ABLE to make this dress?

My fiancé wasn’t overly fond of this dress at all. Would it be worth it to spend all that time and effort making a dress that my future husband wouldn’t even like?

We decided to scrap the ‘make my own dress’ idea completely. I spent a week looking for affordable wedding dresses available online and the next time the boys were home we sat down as a family to look through them all in hopes of finding one that everybody would like.

Finally, there it was!Oooh, now this is pretty... Trumpet / Mermaid Off-the-shoulder Chapel Train Lace Wedding Dress - € 200.49

This dress was fantastic! It was on sale for about 160 €.

Even though I had to pay about 50% of the price in taxes, the total price paid for the dress was less than half of what I would have spent on fabric to make my own. When I noticed that the dress would be custom-made to my measurements I no longer had any reason to hesitate.

I was so nervous about ordering a wedding dress online but I couldn’t have been happier with the results. The dress fit like a glove the first time I put it on and I received many compliments throughout the ceremony.

The only alteration that I had to do was to shorten the sleeves as I didn’t like the length of them.

The next time I need a quality dress on a budget I will be sure to shop here again.
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Organizing our Blue, Bronze and White Wedding

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April 11, 2015 was not only our seventh anniversary but also the date of our wedding. There were many DIY components to our wedding as we were trying to save as much money as possible.

I have decided to share with you all of the resources I used to plan our wedding as well as some tutorials for the various projects I made. Perhaps they may prove as useful to you as they did to us!

The first step when one is planning a wedding is to get organized!

I signed us up for The Knot right away. This website has many checklists and inspirational photos to help you get an idea for your wedding. I was really hopeful about this site as I know many other brides who have used it. Unfortunately only an American couple will get the full benefit of what they have to offer. Mostly we used this site to look for ideas and to organize our guest list.

The next thing I did was create a board on my personal Pinterest account to brainstorm everything about the look of the wedding.

https://www.pinterest.com/mistyrae82/wedding-plans/

Every time I saw an image or link that I liked, I would pop it into the wedding board. Every few weeks I would make Philippe sit down and look at the board with me so that we could eliminate ideas which didn’t please both of us. This also helped me narrow down our colors and theme until we had something definate.

In order to have a physical place to keep track of our plans, I downloaded this free wedding planner from Worldlabel.com’s blog. They have so many free labels and printables there that I’m sure I’ll be a frequent visitor.

These resources were invaluable. I don’t know how I’d have kept everything organized without them!

Setting a date was easy. The first thing we had to do after that was find my dress.

Once we found the locations for the wedding and had everything reserved, we needed to create the invitations and a website. The website took a lot of thought since I needed to find a wedding site provider which would allow me to create both English and French versions for our various guests.

I finally found a great service. Twowed is a fairly simple wedding site creator but it is the only one I found which allows multiple languages for a great price. $30 for unlimited use is just about unheard of these days.

Here is our site so that you can maybe get some ideas for your own. We even created a facebook event since it’s thanks to Facebook that we found one another.

After deciding on a location for the reception, we had to create a plan for decorating the reception hall.

I wanted to prepare some wedding favors to thank the people who’d been invaluable during the planning.

The ceremony had to be planned down to the last detail… though that is next to impossible in Belgium!

Then it was time to start thinking of what I would do for thank-you cards and gifts.

Now that it’s all over, I need to start thinking of what to do with the photos and what I can do with the leftover decorations.