Friday, December 16, 2011

Christmas Card Book

I'm sure like many of you, you wonder what to do with your Christmas Cards.  I have displayed them several ways in my house.  Hanging them from the mantel, placing them all over the house or taping them to the walls.  So this year I did a little more decorating on the mantel then normal and didn't want to add another thing to it.  I also decorated the walls a bit more this year so I was out of space.  What to do....what to do.... A Christmas Card Book.

-Cardboard--I used a thin one
-Scrapbook Paper or Christmas paper that wont tear easy.  I used 2 different patterns. 4 total sheets
-ModPog or Glue (what ever you have on hand)
-Binder Rings
-Hole Punch
-Embellishments (Stickers or whatever you want)

I started out with an empty box, it was a thin as a cereal box.  I cut off all the flaps and tried to make it as straight as possible.  I then took the cards I had received so far and laid them on top to measure.  I was able to get a pretty universal measurement I believe.  I made mine 6x8.  I then cut the paper a bit larger so I could make sure I had wiggle room in case I messed up. 

Next I put ModPog on one side of the cardboard and the back of the paper.  I was able to wiggle the paper around enough that I could get at least one clean edge.  I then pressed and rubbed firmly to make sure there were no air bubbles and that it was all glued together.

Let them fully dry and trim the edges.  Then do the same to the other side of the cardboard and paper.  I had to put them under a heavy book this time to dry flat.  Once its dry you can add your embellishments if you are putting them on there.  I didn't see anything I liked when I made a quick run to the craft store.  So I'm going to try to find something so I know what year it is or just write it on there with a Sharpie.

After I trimmed the edges again it was time to put it all together.  I had a 2 hole punch left over from my working in an office days.  It came in very handy.

Add the binder clips and you have yourself a book of cards. (I plan on doing this with the Baptism and Birthday cards the kids get.  Also thought of making an on going one for myself with cards from the kids and the hubby.)

Here it is on our mantel.

It was a very simple project.  The longest part was waiting for the ModPog to dry.  Hope you enjoy it. 

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Christmas Candies and Goodies

Wednesday is going to be my big Christmas Goodies making day.  I have a wonderful teenager who comes to my house to take care of the kids while I run around and get done what ever needs to be done... and faster.

I'm planning on making English Toffee, Pumpkin Chocolate Chip bread, Chocolate Chip Cookies and maybe Divinity.  Along with the last of the Christmas gifts I need to finish up

Wish me luck.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Bag of Girls

I noticed the other day My Mini Me was using her chips as dolls and playing with them.  I thought I should try to find her some little dolls to play with.  Then I saw on Pinterest a pin for a  Box O' Princesses from, which is so stinking cute.  The problem is My Mini Me doesn't know all of the Princesses yet.  She is getting the Princess barbie dolls for Christmas, but I don't think she would get the wooden ones yet.

I liked the idea of the wooden dolls because they can't really break and have no removable parts.  So I set out to make my own.  I bought the wooden dolls the other day, and today I am starting the drawings on them for the design.  I'm not the greatest artist, but I think I can manage this.  I'm going to start with a few simple ones and work my way up to something with a little more flare.  Ok mine will be simple, but my brother is an amazing artist and I'm crossing my fingers he can draw some girls on the wooden dolls for me to paint.  Gotta love people with talent. 

So my wooden doll making is starting today.  I will update this post with pictures as I get them moving along.

Being Sick Stinks

Being sick really cuts in to my fun time.  Over the weekend I was fighting a battle not to get an ear infection, and I won.  Then Monday morning I woke up with runny eyes and a stuffy nose and realized it was only the battle I won over the weekend not the war.  So my body has been fighting the bug and half way winning.  But I do realize that when I'm sick my kids get the bad end of the stick, but I think to them they love it.  Its cartoon heaven here at home.  O'well one more day and then I should be on top of the world again.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Wine Glass Tags

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving at our friends house.  There were about 30 people or so.  The food was wonderful, the kids had a blast and it was great to have so many people to chat with and just enjoy the day with.

Shirley,the Grandma, brought wine glasses for all the adults with tags of everyones name.

We used them the whole night to drink what ever it was we were drinking.  From water to wine, everyone loved them.

This is how she did it. 

-Wire (She had extra hanging around in her craft supplies, so I'm not sure what kind she used.)
-Something to wrap the wire around to get the shape.  (Wine bottle neck, medicine bottle.. anything that is the size you want.)
-Tools... wire cutters and pliers
-Alphabet beads or what every you want to add.  I think this is up to you and how fancy you want to get.

-Wrap wire around  what every you are using to get the size you want and cut a bit larger so you can hook them together.
-Bend one side into a loop.
-Add your beads
-Put the wire around the glass steam then put the straight end through the looped side and loop it

They are very cute and a great way to keep track of everyones glass.  They were hand washed a few times during the day, so they held up fine.

Thank you to our wonderful friends for a great day and a new idea for me.  :-)

Friday, November 18, 2011

Chalkboard Table

I have a Little Tikes plastic table that was in need of a make-over.  So since my new obsession is chalkboard paint, I thought why not make it a chalkboard table?  I got a can of primer to cover plastic so the chalkboard paint would stick.  I have learned about myself that I suck at spray painting.  I blame it on the defective can.  :)  So I primed the whole thing, drips and all.  I just decided to live with the fact Id have to repaint it. 

So I mixed up some blue chalkboard paint and painted away.  I think I used 4 coats, but just with the kids playing with it today, I can tell its going to need some refining.  I guess I will just have to keep the blue chalkboard paint handy for some touch-ups.  The grand plan for the table is to have removable pouches around 2 of the edges so there are pockets for the chalk and whatever else the kids stick in there.  It needs to be removable so nothing else gets drawn on, I realized sometimes the crayons and chalk has to go away for awhile for me to catch up on the hunting and cleaning of all the places that were colored that weren't supposed to be.

Here is the table being used by the kids.  I love it, flaws and all.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Ice Cream Cake In a Jar

I wanted to do something different for my daughters 3rd birthday cake.  I am not the normal run of the mill mom.  I like to find something different and try it out.  Anyone can have a normal ol birthday cake.  But not many get an Ice Cream Cake In A Jar.

I'm not going to say this was easy, because it was very time consuming.  And I had a few set backs, but finally got it all worked out.

Step 1... Finding the right jar.  I used 16 oz and wish I would have used 12 oz instead. 

Step 2... I used the sterilize setting on the dishwasher to make sure they were all clean.  I put the flat part of the top in a bag used for delicate things in the washer so they wouldn't go all over the place.

Step 3... Baking bottom cake in the jar.  I got a white cake mix and added purple food coloring.  I then used a ladle so I had the same amount in each jar (Id say little less batter then you would use for a cupcake.)  I then baked them on 300 for about 25 minutes or until a knife comes out clean.  I used a lower temp so they outside of the cake didnt brown.  I wanted the purple to be seen.  I only put in 9 at a time on a cookie sheet so they would have room around them to cook.  I don't know if it was necessary, but it worked.

Step 4... I let them cool completely.  I then put frozen yogurt, (mishap 1 was tyring to use regular ice cream) in a  quart Ziploc bag, cut the tip, and piped some into the jars.  Put the lid on and store them in the freezer.

Step 5... I made 2 more cakes.  I used chocolate and vanilla and did a swirl.  I put them in a baking sheet so it was larger then a 9x11.  Once it was cooled I used a circle cookie cutter the same size as the jar.  I then added the cake round to the jar, put the lid on, and in the freezer they went for a few days.

Step 6... On the day of the party I made whipped cream frosting and put it in the quart sized Ziploc bags to store.
*** 1 small box of pudding, any flavor you want.  I think Jell-o would work too.
*** About 3 cups Heavy Whipping Cream
     Add pudding and 2 cups of whipping cream in to bowl and whip.  Add the remaining as needed to get the right consistency.

Step 7... When it was cake time, I took the lids off and cut a corner of the bag and piped in the frosting and topped them with purple sugar.

They were so yummy and everyone enjoyed them. 

Happy Birthday Emma.  I hope you had as wonderful of a time at your party as I had planning it out.  I love you my little girl.  I'm blessed to be your mommy.

Emma's 3rd Birthday Party!

I survived Emma's first real birthday party.  I seem to be having an issue putting up the pictures taken with my camera (stupid computer).  So the one from the phone have to do.

This is how I decorated the house.  Since we were doing an Art Themed Party, I thought simple but fun.

Front Door.  I had Chalkboards everywhere, so one on the front door made sense. 

I bought a bag of 72 balloons, took the black ones out, got the tire pump, and got my arm workout.  These were also a source of entertaining the kids after we had painted and eaten.  They all had some and were playing and having a blast.  Along with the roller coaster in the hallway.

I used those Command hooks to hang them but I didn't like them showing so...

Tissue Paper Flowers over the hooks.

I also made the Happy Birthday Banner out of chalkboards. (Not the best picture, but you can understand what I did.)  I used the Command strips on here, and since I was already making flowers, I made extra.  Darn I wish the picture was better because it is so cute

"Happy 3rd Birthday Emma"

And now the cake.  On Pinterest I keep seeing 'Cake In A Jar'.  I went one step more and did "Ice Cream Cake In A Jar'

I had a table set up in the Great Room with a long coloring page and crayons for the kids to color on.  All the adults noticed how quite the party was with the kids coloring.  I had easy, kid-friendly food for everyone.  Sandwiches, chips fruit and dips.  The main event was everyone painted their own Masterpiece.  I bought 11x14 canvases and paint and the kids did their magic.  No phone pictures of all of this, but they will be added once I get the camera and computer to love each other again.

All in all we had an amazing time and Emma had a blast with her friends coming over for her very first real Birthday Party.

We sent home with each child their own Artist Kit.  It had a chalkboard, doodle pad, glow stick, crazy straw, coloring book w/crayons, chalk, candy, notebook, pencil, and a spiral drawing kit.  I know I went overboard.  But o'well it was fun had by all.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Balloon Garland

Since there is really no Art Themed birthday items at the party store, I'm trying to come up with a colorful way to decorate the house for the Big 3 coming in a few days. 

So I blew up some balloons and tired them to some curling ribbon  (you can use a needle and heavy duty thread too, but I went with the ribbon) and hung them up.  I used a tire pump to do the balloons... my arms hurt.  But I'm building muscles.. I can feel it.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Fantastic Flubber Fun

If I haven't said it already... I love Pinterest.  So many wonderfully fun ideas.  I ran across a few Fantastic Flubber recipes.  So here is our first batch of Flubber and Emma is having a blast playing with it while her brother sleeps.

This recipe makes a big batch, so if you want to have a few different colors cut it in thirds before mixing the 2 mixtures together.

Glue Mixture:
1 1/2 cups warm water
8 oz Elmer's glue (Can use Clear Elmer's glue for a slim look)
Food coloring

Borax Mixture:
3 tsp Borax
1 cup warm water

Mix both very well.  (Split off in separate bowls if making different colors.)

Add borax mixture into glue mixture. 

You don't need to stir the mixtures together because its a chemical reactions that makes it Flubber.  When it looks like a glop of stuff  take it out and kneed it for a few minutes.  If will feel wet but that will go away as your kneed it. 

I'm not sure about storing it.  But I'm going to put it in a Ziploc and see if that keeps it.  If not, looks like I need to stock up on Elmer's glue. 

Crock Pot Roasted Chicken

When I was at Costco I bought whole chickens.  Usually I boil them and de-bone them and freeze the meat.  It doesn't have alot of extra flavor and I save the broth.  Since I have 2 very full freezers I had to think of something else.  Then I remembered that little red crock pot I'm trying to use more.  So I grabbed some stuff and got the chicken ready.

Here is the before.....


1 whole chicken washed, giblets removed, and dried
1/4 cup or so of chicken broth
1 large onion, roughly chopped
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper
Herb of Providence
Sweet potato cut into even chunks (optional)

1- Rub oil, salt, pepper, and herb of providence all over dried chicken.  Inside and out
2- Stuff half of the onion into the chicken
3- Put sweet potato into pot
4- Put chicken into pot
5- Add broth, don't pour over chicken it will wash the seasonings away.
6- Add remaining onion
7- Set on love for 7-9 hours.  Depending on how fast your crock pot cooks. 

I have some carrots that I softened before I froze them and I will be adding them the last hour of cooking.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Awwww Pumpkin

I love pumpkin season.  Not only do we get to decorate or carve pumpkins.  We get to eat them.  I always get at least 8 sugar pie pumpkins.  I got a pretty good amount this year.  Here is my 134 oz of pumpkin.  Here I come pumpkin pie, pumpkin dip, pumpkin pudding, pumpkin cookies...... pumpkin pumpkin pumpkin.... I'm happy.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Yup its chalkboard paint

Yes that is chalkboard paint.  And yes its purple.  I'm so excited. 

I finally did it and I love it.  It was very easy and cheap to make.  I did 2 coats because I didn't do such a great job the first time around.  I was to excited and just wanted to see if it really worked. :-)

Here is what you do.

1 cup of any paint. (I went and got purple wall paint since it was for my daughters birthday)
2 Tablespoons of Non Sanded Grout
Mix well
Paint away

Will post more pictures of more projects to come. 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Slowly getting organized

I am a slob by nature, but living with another adult who isn't and hates piles and clutter, oh and 2 kids, I'm trying to change my slobish and piling ways.

Here is my first step towards a non clutter:

I keep seeing this on Pinterest (which I love) but didn't like that there were screws and nails involved.  So I used my removable hooks and went to town.  I also used some painters tape and a level to make it all pretty.

Here is another of my steps.  Used bigger Command hooks ... I think they need to be a bit bigger, so next time I'm at the store I'm getting bigger ones.

Our new Halloween Traditions

Last year for Halloween dinner I made Dinner in a Pumpkin.  It was cute but not the best.  So this year I was bound and determined to master the Dinner in a Pumpkin.  I went to all my regular recipe sites looking for the perfect one.  I found one that looked promising, but I didn't have all of the ingredients.  Could be because I thought of doing it at nap time on Halloween day and had a million other things to finish so going to the store wasn't in the cards.

I used what I had and it turned out wonderful.  It was cooked and had flavor and everyone but my daughter ate it.  Shes in her picky phase....again.

Stuffed and in the fridge waiting to be cooked with a smile on his face. 

Still smiling and in the oven.

All cooked and a beautiful deep orange color.

His insides.

Here is the recipe I used

1 medium/small pumpkin (Sugar pie ones seem to taste the best)
1 lb ground beef
1/4 large sweet onion
1/2 Jar Alfredo Sauce
1/4 Jar Pasta Sauce
1 can Italian diced tomatoes
1/2 shaved Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 C cooked rice or al dente pasta
1/2 t basil
1 t Italian seasoning

1:  Clean your pumpkin out and save the top so make the top a pretty cut.  Salt and pepper the inside.  Draw your Jack O'Lantern face with a sharpie
2: Preheat oven to 350
3: Add 1 T of olive oil to skillet and let it heat up
4: Add onions and cook until just tender
5: Add ground beef and cook until just almost done
6: Drain off fat/oil
7: In a large bowl add the meat mixture and everything else.  Mix very well
8: Stuff the pumpkin
9: Put top on and place it on a cookie sheet in the oven for 1hr or until the pumpkin meat is done.
10: Put on a plate and serve

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

DIY Paint Palette

My daughters 3rd birthday is coming up and every morning she wakes up and says, "It's my BIRTHDAY!"  Looks like this was the year to have a real party. not just the family party.  So the planning has started.  The only problem is she isn't "in" to any one thing.  I keep searching for a theme for her party but couldn't find anything that worked.  As I was searching I found a book themed one, this would be really cool if she was a few years older.  I wanted the kids to have fun and since none of them read I didn't see having all these book activities as a very fun time.  B and I keep tossing ideas around, then it hit me.  An Art party.  What kid doesn't love to color and paint.  The party is still a couple weeks away which means I'm hunting for everything.  One activity we are doing is painting.  Sounds sorta everyday, but I got canvases for all the kids and came up with this cool idea for a paint palette.

-Plastic plate  (I used some plastic plates I had extra leftover from her baptism.)
-Hot Glue
-2 oz plastic cups (Like the kind your salad dressing is sent in for take out)

Step 1:
Glue cups onto plate

Step 2:
Done  :)  See how easy that was.  I used 6 cups.

I plan on putting another cup in each holder for easy clean up and then kids can take the palettes home with them.  I am also going to write each child's name on the plate.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Crock Pot Meals

So this is my first try at preparing crock pot meals and freezing them.  This is the beef.

And this is the chicken...

Since I was doing the big preparation, I made a crock pot meal too.  Since I had everything out anyways and I sure didn't feel like making another meal.

It didn't look all that pretty to eat, but it was very yummy.  So I am trying a frozen meal tomorrow and plan on doing the prep work for the pork and turkey in my frig. 

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Darn it...

Yup my brain is in over drive again... I have my crock pot/freezer meals project running around in there.  Now I have added Emma's school Halloween party, her birthday party and chalkboard paint.  This is going to be a fun weekend.

Crock Pot and Meal Freezing Do's & Don'ts

I thought I would be a good idea before I started this crock pot/meal freezing adventure to get some guidelines.  Do I really know what can and cant be frozen?  When do you add pasta or rice?  Should you add pasta and rice?  What about cream cheese and coconut milk?  So I set out to get some answers.  Here is what I can up with after a massive search.

1- If you don't put enough food in the pot you can burn the meal.  Make sure you are using the right size for the amount of people you are cooking for and how much food you are cooking.

2- Browning meat and softening the veggies may take a bit more time, but adds to the flavor.

3- Either spray the pot with nonstick spray or use a crock pot bag.  Makes for easier clean up.

4- Cut root veggies into about 1" squares to insure they are done in the same amount of time as the meat.  Also layer the root veggies on the bottom with the meat on top since they are slower cooking.

5- Put all your solids in first.  Then add your liquid.

6- Check for food doneness so it doesn't overcook.

7- Add the tender veggies, pasta, rice, seafood, dairy and fresh herbs in the last 30-60 minutes.

8- If you are using the herbs for flavor only, put them in a cheesecloth bag for easy retrieval.

9- Pre cook ground meat and sausage to render out most of the fat.

10- Don't preheat until recipe states otherwise.

11- Don't add frozen veggies, it can mess with the temperature

12- Don't fill the pot more then 3/4 full because the contents will expand while cooking.

13- Keep the lid on.

14- Don't reheat in the crock pot, the food could spoil.

15- Don't freeze the following: raw potatoes (can turn black), sour cream, lettuce, mayo and fully cooked pasta (under cook pasta if you are going to freeze it).

16- Label.. Label.. Label

17- Trim the fat off the meat to be frozen

So I hope this helps me and you make better meals.  Now that I have some guidelines, I'm ready to start.

Crock Pot here I come......

I have always had a crock pot, but never really used it.  Cooking in it for 1 always seemed silly to me  Now with 4 to feed, it seems like a good idea.  I'm a bulk food buyer anyways, so why not make it work better and easier for me.  Trying to figure out whats for dinner 6 nights a week gets crazy.  I always have a full freezer of meats (gotta love my hubby who got me the Food Saver last year for Christmas), veggies, fruit and herbs.  And my pantry is always stocked with pasta sauces, coconut milk, canned tomatoes and condensed soup.  Having these ready staples has helped in my meal cooking, but not so much the planning.  When we do our monthly Costco run I always get the big bag of veggies and other fresh items.  Which most of it ending up in the trash because I didn't use it or waiting till the last moment to freeze it and its too far gone.  So my mission, which I have chosen to accept, is to bag the meals and freeze them to be tossed into the crock pot.  Wish me luck.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Ghostly Handprints!

My MOMS® Club was over today for a Fall/Halloween playdate.  I found many different ways to do handprint art for Halloween, but didn't really 'love' any thing I saw.  Then I found The Crafting Chicks (  They had the cutest idea for Handprint Ghost.  It was love at first sight.

So here is how I did mine:

Step 1:  Bought 3 pack Canvas Panels 5"x7" and painted them with a high gloss black paint.  And yes I did that many.  We were having a houseful of moms and kids.

Step 2:  Paint the kids hand with white paint.  As you can see I had wipes ready for clean up.

Step 3:  Press hand fast..This was a challenge with the younger ones.  My sons is a smeared ghost and my daughters turned out beautiful.  When I was telling her how I needed her hand she informed me, "I know what I'd doing Mommy."  Gotta love preschool.

Step 4:  Awww the pretty hand print

Step 5:  Sprinkle glitter over the hand print.  (Missed the picture of this step)  Paint the eyes (and this).  Most of the hand have a ready made mouth, but if there isn't one then make a mouth too.  Write child's name and year on it with a paint pen.  I used a silver one.  I guess you could write it on the back if you didn't want it on the front.  I liked having it on the front. 

Let dry and display.  I added ribbon with hot glue to hang up.  (I changed the ribbon to black because I didn't like the white as much as I thought I was going too)  I was planning on getting some sorta Halloween ribbon, but every time I hit the craft store I forgot. 

This really was a great craft project for our playdate today.  Even though it wasn't a normal craft where the kids are doing all the work, the kids were all excited to paint their hands and watch me sprinkle the glitter and write their names.  I will keep this in my book of tricks.