Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Winter Birthday Party Ideas for Kids of All Ages

Winter Birthday Party Ideas for Kids of All AgesWinter is a tricky time for birthday party planning not just because December is already a packed and planned month, but because it’s cold and you feel like your options are limited. But we at Ontario Bakery know parties and also what kid's love. There are many ways to have a fun birthday party in the winter...you just need some new ideas and perspectives!  
Change the date.
No matter what you do for the party, we highly recommend moving the party from December to January, if the birthday is in December. So many people will be gone for the holidays and you run the risk of having a low turnout and disappointed kids. So celebrate the birthday kids on their special day, but plan the party for the 2nd, 3rd or 4th week of January. It will be more fun, less stress and have more people available to show up.

Go with water.
Having kids sleep over at the house is fun, but even better is having a sleepover in a hotel where you don't have to clean up afterward. Reserve a suite or two at a suite-style hotel, where you can find rooms for under $100. Make it a swimming party while you're at it. It may be cold outside, but most suite-style hotels have indoor pools and meeting facilities, perfect for a winter pool party bash. Need a theme to go with it? Take our experts' suggestions and combine them to make it a luau-swim-slumber party.

Busy bodies
Consider a lego party! Many craft stores offer Lego building parties, but you can do the same theme at home for a fraction of the cost. Purchase small inexpensive Lego and Bionicle kits, or set up plastic buckets of assorted Legos for kids who like to create their own masterpieces. Create a Lego party theme with Lego cut-outs, a Lego cake and play hide-the-Lego games. Another idea would be to book a couple hours at a science and discovery museum! They’ll build, create, explore and love it!

Rock climbing
Let kids climb the walls all they want at a rock climbing gym. You can usually find one in most large cities and it's a perfect party place for energetic kids. They offer a variety of climbing structures to choose from, so they're great for children of all ages. If everyone's new to the sport, then go for the party package, which typically includes instructions and all the gear to keep them vertical for hours.

Ice skating and ice cream
Why freeze outdoors when you can have fun on the ice indoors? Take the party to an indoor rink for an ice-skating lesson. Hire one of the teachers at the rink or from a skating club to teach beginners the basics and pros some new tricks. To keep costs down, go out for ice cream after the skating and -- save the celebrating with the cake for home.


As you plan your birthday party, remember to call Ontario Bakery for all your birthday cake, cupcake and cake pop needs! We love creating custom baked goods for your unique celebration. Call us today for a quote!

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Simple Ways to Add More Sweetness to Your Holiday Gathering (and it’s not dessert!)

Simple Ways to Add More Sweetness to Your Holiday Gathering (and it’s not dessert!)The holidays can be a challenge for many people because family is not always easy to deal with. But what if the connection and table conversation could be sweeter?

We at Ontario Bakery  know “sweet” very well and we’ve learned from experience that it doesn’t just stay with desserts. Conversations and attitudes are key to keeping the peace during holiday dinners and we’ve come to learn the “sweet” is the secret ingredient. When you meet with your family and everyone is gathered around, it’s easy to get side-tracked and distracted by our hurts, memories and strong opinions. But what if you were to remember the word “sweet”? How would that change the atmosphere and direction of the conversation?

We want to share a few ways to keep things sweet and keep the peace this holiday season.

Play Sweet Music. They say that music soothes the savage beast and it’s true. Make sure there’s music playing in the background but keep it calm and neutral. Choose music that makes people feel good inside.

Talk About Books: Talk about the books you’re reading and stick to fiction if you can. Talking about fiction and fantasy is a perfect topic because it isn’t real and it also brings out the child inside.

Share Memories: Have everyone share a totally embarrassing story. Maybe focus on embarrassing things that happened at school or at work.  After the end of the story, have a show of hands of who can relate or has gone through something similar!

Care For the Children: Often times, these celebrations start a little early and children are hungry and restless. Give them snacks here and there leading up to the meal so they don’t have a blood sugar crash. And remember, large meals make a person tired or restless. So have an activity available after the meal for the kids to make sure they’re needs are met; like moving their bodies or relaxing with a movie.

Real Gratitude: Instead of the usual “sharing what you’re thankful for”, really be in gratitude. Before or after the meal, take turns sharing their gratitude for both the person on their left and one other person at the table or in the room. We as a society are great at sharing that we are thankful for food, shelter, clothing and such - but we fall short in sincerely sharing our gratitude for other people. When people feel they are appreciated, they do more of whatever has been noticed and appreciated. Appreciation creates a desire in our hearts to do and love well.

Sweet Talk: The biggest way to add sweetness is to find it and share it. Look for ways to compliment your family and friends. Let them know that you see them. Listen carefully when they speak. Smile. Say kind words, even if you disagree. No one is likely to change someone else’s opinion during these gatherings, so stick to loving each other.

These tips will help you to get deeper and closer to your friends and family members while avoiding unnecessary conflict during a time of togetherness.
And if it’s a different kind of sweetness you seek, be sure to contact us at Ontario Bakery to have the best desserts possible during your holiday parties and gatherings.


Happy Holidays!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

How to Create the Perfect Thanksgiving Feeling in Your Home.

How to Create the Perfect Thanksgiving Feeling in Your Home.Thanksgiving is just around the corner and we want you to feel ready for it. You’ve got your food planned out (have you planned for dessert yet?), you know who’s coming and you’re totally ready. But what about the table and your home? Have you thought about the look of it all? Ambiance plays a big role in any holiday gathering and you want your guests to feel like they’ve literally stepped into a holiday. So here are some tips to get you there.
Clean beforehand.
Don’t rush to get the house clean on the day of. Get the job done the day before or hire someone to do it for you. But be sure the house is clean and ready before the cooking starts, so that you can focus on the kitchen. And be sure that whoever isn’t doing the cooking, is doing the cleaning, so that everyone participates but that nobody feels overworked.
Set the mood.
Mood music isn’t just for the lovers and movies, it’s for every occasion of life. It’s not quite Christmas yet, so steer away from that. But classical and jazz are perfect options, because they’re relaxing while also beautiful and inspiring. They awaken a feeling of togetherness when people hear them. So be sure to good mood music playing in the background while your guests arrive and even while you cook.

Add candle light.
Candles of various height can be a great centerpiece for Thanksgiving. You most likely already have them in your home scattered in various rooms. Gather them all and add plain white candles or festive fall colors such as oranges, reds and browns.  You can also line your mantel and
Shelves with candles and tea lights!

Autumn flair.

Decorate your home and table with the feeling of fall. If you’re more of a minimalist and you don’t want to clutter your table with too much decoration, make use of a solid and bold autumn colored table cloth and then add a contrasting color of cloth napkins to create an inviting accent. Run a gold ribbon along the middle with the dishes set on top of them. Stand back and smile. It will look beautiful!  

Bring sweetness in.

What holiday isn’t sweet? On a decor level, place cinnamon and cloves - either fresh or as candles, around your home and table, so that the spice and warm surround the senses. For foods, make sure that the deserts you choose follow suit with coffee cakes, pecans, and pumpkin pies. Of course, if you want this task of your shoulders or are looking for better ideas, reach out and talk to us, your family bakers at Ontario Bakery. 

We love to celebrate with you, so reach out and let may your holiday be beautiful and delicious.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

How to Plan a Kid’s Party During Holiday Season without the Extra Stress

How to Plan a Kid’s Party During Holiday Season without the Extra StressIt’s not easy to plan a party during the holidays. People are busy, they’re traveling, and just the planning alone feels like an extra burden. But showing up with half the enthusiasm isn’t fair to the kids either, so it’s time to find some simple solutions that don’t add to the stress or already tight finances and time.
At Ontario Bakery, we’re all about having great celebrations that are both fun and simple, without compromising any of the quality, because we believe that no matter what time of the year it is, you should be able to enjoy your special day.

Sweet & Simple.
The good news, is that you aren’t throwing a wedding. Your child just wants to have fun with their friends, play and enjoy delicious treats. So skip the neverending Pinterest scrolling and keep it simple and sweet. Stick with a one to two color decor and a more vague theme, like superheros, autumn, christmas, or costumes. This allows you to decorate simply and for your guests to use their imagination without feeling limitations. A party with simple elements means you will have less to coordinate and worry about, giving you more time and peace of mind to enjoy celebrating the birthday kid of honor.

Small and Cozy.
Who do you really want to be there? Choose close family, closest friends and the ones you’ll have the most fun with. You don’t need to invite the whole school or neighborhood out of obligation. This is your day on your terms.  Remember that most kids will have one or two adults with them, making your guest list bigger. So keeping a party small makes it easier to manage and gives you enough time to mingle with your guests to make sure guests are enjoying themselves.

Facilitate the Fun.
You don’t have to facilitate the gaming olympics but keeping games around are  real boredom saver. Small activities for young ones could be coloring, or painting on parchment or bubbles. For older ones you could have jenga, ring toss or cards. As other parents ahead of time to monitor different activities to keep the safety and fun in flow.

Less is More.
Most people’s kids have a hard time sitting through an extended gift giving time. One option is to treat it like a wedding. Have the presents stacked on a table and allow the child to open them at home. This allows the fun to be the focus and an added bonus is that the child is able to take time to draw or write out thank you cards to his kind friends.

At Ontario Bakery, we know kids, parties and celebrations better than anyone. We’ve baked more custom baked goods than we can remember and we’ve got plenty of parties left in our kitchen. So as you plan, let us help you keep it smooth and simple with our custom baked, delicious birthday cakes.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Don’t Miss this Easy and Delicious DIY Recipe for Salted Caramel Sauce!

Don’t Miss this Easy and Delicious DIY Recipe for Salted Caramel Sauce! The beauty of Autumn is all around us as well as it’s spirit, crisp air and golden leaves. So it’s only natural that we’re craving pumpkin spice lattes and creamy caramel drizzled on the finest apples, pears and freshly baked goods! But why not have an unending supply of your very own salted caramel sauce at home, so you can add it to every baked fruit, cake or winter drink you so desire? It’s way easier that you might think, to make this amazing sauce, so we at Ontario Bakery, felt like it would be perfect timing to share a recipe from one of our older posts with you… because you deserve to enjoy it and we don’t want you to miss out! 
The truth is, this caramel sauce is so easy to make, you’re going to be hooked on having it around. All you need to know are the techniques to stick to and avoid and your sauce will be perfect. Thankfully, the Brown Eyed Baker had a great recipe to pass on to you and we've got it right here!
How to Make the Perfect Salted Caramel Sauce at Home:
Caramel can be intimidating, but the more you make it, the more you will get a feel for the look and the smell, and it will become second-nature. For those just starting out, here are a few tips:
  • Stir the sugar initially to help it to melt evenly, but stop once it has completely melted to keep it from seizing.
  • If you’re new to caramel-making, you may find a thermometer will help to guide you. The caramel should reach 350 degrees F on an instant-read or candy thermometer. If you aren’t able to obtain a thermometer, you can use visual cues for doneness. The caramel should be a deep amber color and should have just started to smoke. The line is very fine here. If you don’t cook it long enough it will be too sweet with little depth of flavor, but cook it too long and it will be burnt and unusable. Once you’ve done it a few times and see the color and can experience the smell when the thermometer hits 350 degrees, you will have a better idea of how to eyeball it when you don’t have a thermometer.
  • Be sure to use a saucepan that is larger than you think you might need. When you add the butter and the cream, the caramel will bubble up violently.
It's that simple!  Once your caramel has reached it's peak flavor and consistency, generously pour into a mason jar or similar container. Now, you have a fantastic homemade caramel sauce that you can dip apples into, drizzle over brownies or even flavor your coffee with! 
At Ontario Bakery, we love caramel and get excited over the opportunities to use it. But we get excited about everything we make! Our cake and buttercream recipes are the original scratch recipes since the beginning. A cake from Ontario Bakery says it all to the customer: quality, uniqueness, and a true desire for a good tasting cake to serve your guests.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Have the Best 40th Birthday Party Ever with These Fun Ideas

Have the Best 40th Birthday Party Ever with These Fun IdeasReaching that point in your life where you cross that mile marker from the fun and young thirties into the so called “mature” time of the forties, can be really depressing and downright scary. So how do you celebrate what you’re afraid of?
First of all, it’s vital to remember that you are not your age. How many seventy-five year old women out there have the energy of someone thirty years younger than them? They put the rest of us to shame? And you might want to bring it back to the fear of your face or body aging or changing. I understand. This is a big one in our society. You may not be convinced after a short blog post, to see things differently, but I do ask you to let yourself think about it. What defines you? Societal expectations of beauty? Or the depth of your heart, mind, your character, dreams and aspirations? As your life progresses, you have the opportunity to see it as a journey of learning, experience and loving; not just how long you can last with your visible youth. With age comes wisdom and deeper love. Don’t throw the honor of that away with your desire to stay young forever. There is freedom in allowing yourself to age. Sure, care for your skin and retain your youth. But don’t fight the process of life along the way, because that will leave you forever unhappy and discontent.

That being said, it’s time to celebrate this special transition with your friends and family in a special and very fun way. Here’s how:

Have a theme.

Go with a decade you love, filled with your favorite movies and music. Dress for the era and get your friends to go along with it. Or choose a theme that feels more you - perhaps, black tie or tea party. Do what feels good but go with it and take plenty of pictures!

Laugh about old times.

Tell stories about your first kiss, crush or even your first big trip! If you're really feeling daring, talk about that first time you got in trouble and really learned from in. Talk about dating in your twenties, the college years, your families and the phases in life you’re so happy are over!

Bucket list.

You are never too old to dream. In fact, now is the time to to do it. Make a list of 25 things you want to do in the next year. From simple things like calling an old friend to major goals and wishes!  This is your special list on your special birthday. These are all things that you've either forgotten to take the time to do or just never found the time or the courage to take that big leap. Your list should be conquered in a year; making way for newer and better wishes.

Commit to something new.

Knowledge is gained through indulging in something new. Find out that one thing that you have been pining to learn for a long time. Enroll in a class or finally take the test to get certified in your passion.  Many people have long since been dying to learn dancing. But, for some reason they could not indulge into dancing ever. This is your big year. There’s no better time than your 25th birthday to get started with your new range of hobbies.

Indulge

Who doesn't enjoy a nice, relaxing bath or a long massage? Days can be long and work demanding; it's time to let it all go and relax with some time for you. Plan a day trip with the girls to a spa or hot spring resort. Think of it as a day to let the past be in the past and welcome the next new amazing adventure.
Embrace your next coming of age. And of course, we are happy to add to your experience as we love to make your custom birthday sweets!  Call us at Ontario Bakery and let us know how we can make your 40th birthday a delicious event!

Friday, October 7, 2016

Tips for Teaching Gratitude in Young Children

Tips for Teaching Gratitude in Young ChildrenWe teach our kids a lot of skills, like please and thank you. But do we really take the time to teach them gratitude? It’s easy to teach a child to be politely ask for what they want and be thankful for when they get it. But what about when things don’t go their way? What do you teach them then? At Ontario Bakery, we believe that one of the most important things to do is to teach children gratitude in the face of things not going their way. Because that’s real life. And if they can be thankful regardless of their circumstances, they will master gratitude indeed.

Less than the best
One starter way to nurture this skill in children is to prepare them for what’s possible. Allow them to imagine the best case scenario in their mind as well as the ‘less than best’ scenario. Ask them to think about the person giving, the shop owner, the cook, friend, teacher or relative. Role play with them for a moment or use storytelling to help them see the effort being given on the other end. Encourage them to try and imagine how tired the other person might be, the challenges they might going through as well. “And yet, here they are still giving their best to you.” It’s important to be thankful for more than the act or the item and be thankful for the person and the effort they’re putting in.

People over things
This is perhaps one of the most important pieces of wisdom I can leave you with. Teaching a child that people are more valuable than things, will help really instill the above points. We may not always get what we want. But the things we want are only things. The people behind the things are what last. They’re hearts are more fragile than our toys and our relationships last longer. Be sure that the person always feels more valuable than the item.

Set the example.
The previous is a harder one to practice, especially for adults. Think of how we can respond in extreme ways in the effort to protect our vehicles or electronics. We can sometimes say horrible things that crush the spirit of the child. It’s vital that we lead by example; be firm with the child that our things need to be treated with care, but not at the expense of the child’s feelings of worth. It is our job to make sure they feel loved and valuable, while also being clear about the standard. Additionally, do you exemplify point one? Do you see beyond the mistakes or ‘lesser than’ delivery and see the person behind the action? Do you see your child’s intention, tired and young as they might be, do you see their desire to gift to you or do well in your eyes? Are you telling them you are thankful? Our examples speak high volumes to the children in our lives and it’s vital that we commit to leading the way for them.

Regular thank-you’s
Be intentional about your gratitude. Have set times for normal giving of thanks. Perhaps use dinner time as a daily ritual for going around the table and thanking each person for whatever comes to your mind. For example, thanking each other for buying the food, making the dinner, cleaning the home, holding your hand, giving you a hug when you needed one, for using kind words… say whatever is appropriate, but everyone should have their turn at thanking and being thanked. This not only fosters gratitude in the child, but also in the home.

Try these tips and see how they fare in your home and life. And of course, we’d like to thank you for being dedicated and loyal customers to our family owned bakery in California all these years. Remember, whatever the occasion, if you’re looking for custom designed baked goods, Ontario Bakery is up for the job. Be sure to contact us today!