Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Itty Bitty Clothes

Once again this is not my creation.  I am not this talented and do not have enough time to tackle a project like this.

You are not going to believe these clothes.  Seriously, I had seen a set of them before and was still shocked.  If you are not sitting down, sit.

My mother in law, Mari, gave this doll to my four your old Ella.

 By itself not that big of a deal right?  You'll recognize it as a Cabbage Patch Doll.

But along with it, came these:

 Hand made outfits.  I've seen children who don't have clothes this nice.  Seriously, clothes that you buy in the store are not finished this well.  
The edges are finished, the insides are lined.

Check out this one, this was everyone's favorite:

Yes, she actually made that.  By hand.  Even the boots.  Can you believe those boots.  The grownups in the room took the doll away from Ella to play with it and dress it up.

We couldn't get enough of those boots.  
I'm wondering if she can make them in a women's size 8?

By the way, Ella has as an imaginary friend named Maisa Daisa, so that's what is printed on the dolls Birth Certificate.  Here is Maisa Daisa dressed up for bed.

 She even has matching slippers to keep her feeties warm!

Here are a few other outfits:

Check out the guess logo on the back of the pants!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Number One Room Mom!

This actually isn't one of my creations, but is such a cute idea, I definitely plan on stealing borrowing the concept.   

I love being able to help out in my kids classes at school.  Especially since each one of my kids has an awesome teacher.

Riley's teacher Mrs O. is incredible!  We just love her.   She also happened to be his 5th grade teacher and she and the entire class moved up to 6th grade together.  Did I mention she was teacher of the year in our district last year?  She is such a fun teacher but firm at the same time. 

About two weeks before Christmas, I stuck my head into her classroom for some reason, and she said she had a gift for me, but just couldn't hold on to it until Christmas.  And she gave me this cute little thing:

Is this not the cutest little gift ever?  The red thing is a actually a pot holder/oven mitt.  Inside the pastry bag is sugar cookie mix and of course there is the spatula and some sprinkles.  Tied into the ribbon is a cookie cutter.  Mrs. O. knows that I love to make cookies and I love how personalized this gift is to my taste.   And I feel like I won an award: "#1 Room Mom!" 

I actually did steal, I mean utilize, this idea for my sister for Christmas.  She loves Lemon Bars and asked if I would make her some since she is in town for the holidays this year.  I made her some of course, but I also found a cute yellow mixing bowl, a yellow oven mitt, yellow spatula, yellow measuring cups and a whisk.  I put all the dry ingredients into two disposable pastry bags and included the recipe on a laminated card.  I arranged everything in the bowl and filled the empty space with fresh lemons.  The possibilities really are endless if you would like to make a custom little kitchen gift.

So thanks Mrs O.  We love you!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Our Family Christmas Card

Last year I bought some really cute Christmas cards, stuck photos in them and addressed them all.  All that was needed was a trip to the post office.  
Those cards are still in my office in the basement!

This year, I was really struggling with the whole Christmas Card issue.  My camera broke in November and I didn't have a really cute family picture to use for our cards.  I kept pushing the cards to the bottom of my to do list.  Then one day when blog hopping, I stumbled upon this blog and her cute card that she did last year.   So, I quickly started taking pictures, but had a few little problems.  First of all Chris was out of town on business.  Next I was just using a Nikon Coolpix point and click and was having some issues with color.  (As you can see in Ella's picture)

My final issue, was when Chris got home, we quickly took a picture and I started editing the pictures together.  Only he wasn't holding the white board we all used as a prop very flat, which made adding the picture onto his board a little tricky.  So then I had to take his picture into Illustrator and try and fix it. 

So this was my final product. Marissa's version at Threaded Together is much cleaner but  all in all, I'm pretty happy with it, considering the time frame I had to put it all together and the different circumstances.  I used Adobe CS3 for the editing and just had the cards printed at Walgreens.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Best Visiting Teacher Ever!!!

In our church we have a program called Visiting Teaching.  Ladies are assigned a Visiting Teacher who checks in on them once a month and share a short spiritual message.  My Visiting Teacher is amazing.  She also happens to be my neighbor.

She is the mom to 13 kids.  She and her husband just celebrated 50 years of marriage.  She bakes the most amazing bread.  We have an auction at our church every year and people outbid each other like crazy to get her bread.  But I get the bread delivered straight to my door, right out of the oven.  And let me tell you...I brag about this a lot!!

Last month, for my birthday, she brought over some beautiful pink carnations for me.   I still needed to return her vase but I didn't want to return it empty.  On a little trip to Michaels I found these branch thingies that were 40% off.  (I have no idea what the proper name for them is)  I also found some ornaments in the clearance bin.  After I cut the branches to the right size, my 4 year old literally put this together!

My bad photography doesn't capture this, but the branches have really pretty sparkles on them.  We added a colorful bow and Voila!  A quick and easy little something to add to your Holiday decor. I would advise if making one for yourself, that you maybe add some glass beads to the bottom of the vase to weigh it down a little to counterbalance the height of the branches.  Unfortunately I had to quickly get this out of our house because our Kitty thought this was made especially just for her.  

Sorry kitty, my friend loved and wants to keep it!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Sshh! Princess's Sleeping!

I just love the vinyl lettering that you can apply right onto walls.  Long before the craze of Cricut's, Sillhouette's and other cutting machines that allow you to cut vinyl on a whim; my friend introduced me to this website:  It's a Sign!

Since I am not lucky enough to own one of the above mentioned machines, I still love to visit the website and covet the things I see there.  (I have neither enough money or wall space!)

So, I while back I made these for my daughters:

 (There's a lamp hanging directly above here, so the color is a little distorted.  The wall is actually lilac, as you will see in the next picture.)

My girls room is done in lilac and pink.  I picked out this design and simply put a request in the notes section detailing the colors I wanted when I paid for the order.  Lisa is great.  If you want something custom made, just contact her.

I originally intended to apply this vinyl directly to the wall but decided against it for two reasons.  First of all, we live in an old house and some of the walls have texture.  I was afraid the vinyl wouldn't stick properly.  (I was probably wrong - see below)  The second reason is that my girls share a room.  When I originally made these, my little one was in the crib and we weren't sure if we were going to end up with two twin beds or bunk beds and what configuration the beds were going to go in. I wanted to be able to move things around as needed. 

So, I ended up buying 2 white frames from Michaels.  I cut some scrapbook paper down to 11.5 x 11.5 to fit in the frame.  I selected a white background with subtle purple dots.  Then I laid the vinyl onto the paper.  Instructions are included.  Vinyl is repositionable on your wall, but you will need to be a little more careful on paper.  (If you notice, the design I actually chose has an oval around but I opted not to use that as it didn't fit in the frame)  I used some pink ribbon I had laying around and looped it through the existing hanger on the frame and tied it into a bow.  And voila - wall art for my two princesses!

Remember how I said I didn't think the vinyl would stick to the textured wall?  I found this vinyl princess castle set online and decided to give it a shot.  Not only did it stick just fine, my little one has peeled it off about a million times, and we have put it back up and it always stays!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Spooky Skull Crayons

I was making a little Halloween care package to send to my nieces and nephew in Las Vegas and I came across this cute idea from Homemade by Jill.  Custom made crayons!  Just too cute.  I decided I needed to make some to add to my package.

I found this ice cube tray at Party City and thought it would make a cute mold for the crayons.  I did like the end result but it took a lot of crayons to fill the individual molds and they didn't come out of the molds as easily as the cheaper candy molds.  Spraying the mold with Pam cooking spray helped a little.  It did take some effort to get clean once the crayons were unmolded.

The next mold I used was a very inexpensive candy mold that I got from Michaels.  It worked great!

The mold size was perfect.  Once the crayons set up, they released from the molds with no effort at all and cleaned up really easily with warm water and soap.

Making the crayons was a pretty easy process - you can check out Jill's post for her instructions. I simply grouped similar colors of crayons together, peeled off the wrapper, broke them up into small pieces and melted them using the double boiler method.  I covered a bowl with foil to make it easy to clean.  I was also able to fold the foil into a little spout to pour out the melted wax.

The best piece of advice I can give you?  Absolutely DO NOT use cheap crayons!!!!!  I started out using Crayola Brand, then switched to a cheap no name brand.  They didn't melt nicely and look at the difference when molded - not smooth or shiny.  And they crumbled after I unmolded them.  I switched back to Crayola brand and everything worked just great again.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Quiche - It's the Stuff that starts Wars!

A friend of mine asked me if I had any ideas for what she could serve for a luncheon she is hosting.  She wanted to serve something that would show off her Mother In Law's gorgeous china set.  I thought a slice of Quiche would look pretty on the plate.  Plus it's pretty versatile, one's you get down an egg and cheese mixture that you like you can add in any variety of ingredients that you like such as veggies or seafood.  So, I told her my friend I would send her over my recipe.  Then I was craving quiche so I decided to make one.

Funny thing is, no one in my house usually eats it.  On occasion my oldest daughter does.  So I made the quiche for lunch.  Gave my friend and her husband a slice each and I ate one.  The next day my incredibly picky eater son noticed the leftovers in the fridge at breakfast time and asked if he could have some and declared it the most delicious breakfast ever!!  By the next morning there was only one slice left.  My son wanted it and so did my daughter.  We were already having one of "those" morning and now they were fighting over quiche of all things!!  There was screaming, yelling, name calling.  My son was even trying to outwit my daughter with detailed "logical" arguments of why he should get to eat the quiche.  She declared possession is 9/10th of the law and ate it.  Needless to say I ended up making another quiche that evening.    Next time I just need to remember to never leave just ONE slice in the fridge!

Basic Quiche Recipe

Pastry for 9" one Crust Pie
1 1/2 cups cheese grated
4 large eggs
1 3/4 cups heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Filling of your choice*

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. 

Make the pie crust of your choice, or if you are like me get one out the freezer and let it defrost.  I always buy the Pillsbury kind cause I can keep them in the freezer and they taste good and I love the convenience.  Place the pie crust in your pie plate and make the edges looks fancy or rustic or however you like it.

At this point I usually pop the pie plate into the fridge while I get the rest of the stuff together to keep my crust from getting too soft.  

Next, you'll need to grate some cheese.  The original recipe called for Swiss which is not a big favorite in my household, so I usually do two thirds cheddar and one third swiss or mozzarella.  Try to use cheeses that you wouldn't mind eating a slice of.  

In a large bowl, lightly beat the eggs, add in the cream,  salt, pepper and dry mustard.  If you're the kind that like's Tabasco on your eggs and you want to spice it up a little you can add it a touch of cayenne pepper.  Give it a stir and make sure it's all mixed together.

Get that crust lined pie plate back out of the fridge and sprinkle it with the cheese and fillings of your choice.*

Pour the egg mixture over the top.  Make sure it's not filled completely to the top because it will puff up and if it's filled all the way to the top it will overflow and make a mess.

Bake for 15 minutes.  Reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees than bake for another 30 minutes.  Knife inserted in center should come out clean.  (If your quiche starts getting too dark, cover it with a piece of foil)

Let the quiche stand for 5-10 minutes before cutting and serving.

*Bacon is a big hit in the quiche in our house.  About 8 slices cooked crisply and crumbled usually does it.    Turkey bacon works fine too.    I have put in broccoli and diced ham too which was yummy and I had a delicious quiche at a restaurant that had asparagus in it.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Tea Towel Wedding Gift

A while ago, I saw the most adorable tutorial on Aly & Ash for a Mother's Day Tea Towel Cake.  I thought it was really cute, but both my mother and mother-in-law have well established kitchens so I didn't really have any use for it at the time but I loved it, so I book-marked it.

This past weekend my hubby and I attended the wedding reception of one of his coworkers.   I just love weddings and they were the cutest couple.

By the time I finally took a peek at the registry to buy them a gift, most of the stuff they registered for, had already been purchased.  Left on the list were were various kitchen utensils, dish towels etc.  While I love that kind of stuff, and know that it's a necessity for a new kitchen, opening a box full of wooden spoons and dish towels is kind of boring!  Thankfully I remembered Aly & Ash's cute tutorial that took dish towels and made them look like a tiered wedding cake.

You can check out the link above to Aly & Ash if you would like to follow their tutorial.  I just winged it.  I actually used a 9" round cake pan as the base and wrapped in some ribbon.  I used some double stick tape to adhere the ribbon and added the bow.  If you want to see how I make the bow, click here.  I used some construction paper to anchor the towels and cut them in different heights to make the two different "layers"  Once again I didn't use any particular measurements - just eyeballed it and adjusted it till I thought it looked good. 

For the third "layer"  I folded two towels accordian style.  The same way you would make a paper fan.  Then I folded them in half and stuffed them into the second layer.  Fluff them up a little until they look the way you want them to.  Then I just added in the utensils.  (I used tongs, whisk, zester, three pastry brushes, wooden spoon)

Thanks Aly & Ash for the tutorial.  And congrats to the beautiful bride Jen and her handsome groom Paul!!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Dr Pepper Cupcakes

Today is my friend Lynette's birthday.  She currently lives right around the corner from me, but in a few short weeks she and her family will be moving.  While they won't be moving too far, I won't be able to just run over any more, so I really wanted to make sure I made her a little something for her birthday.

Of course my go to treat always seems to be dessert.  I was wondering what to make for her and just kept thinking that she loves Dr Pepper.  I had heard of a Coke cake, so I wondered if there was perhaps a Dr Pepper treat and I found several recipes.  Having never made one before, I read some reviews and pieced together what sounded best.  I also decided to make a cupcake instead of a cake.  Lynette, like me and a few other of our friends, has been trying to shed a few pounds, and I thought a cupcake would be easier for portion control.  Plus cupcakes are just so darn cute! 

The recipes I found came with a variety of frostings and toppings:  Chocolate frosting, Peanut Butter Frosting, Chopped Peanuts, Chocolate frosting with pecans, Chocolate Ganache with Dr Pepper in it......  I decided to use Ina Garten's Chocolate Buttercream because I love how light it is.  You can click on the link for her original recipe.  Below is the recipe that I use.

Dr Pepper Cupcakes

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder 
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon (scant) salt 
1 cup Dr Pepper*
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
8 tablespoons butter, softened, cut up
2 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line regular size muffin pan with paper liners or spray with Pam.  This recipe will yield 24 cupcakes.

Heat the Dr Pepper in a small saucepan over medium. When it starts to bubble, reduce heat to low, add the chocolate chips and stir until melted. Turn off the heat and stir in the butter. Set aside to cool (about 10 minutes)

While the Dr Pepper mixture is cooling, sift together the flour, sugar, dark brown sugar, cocoa powder and baking soda; stir in the salt.**

With an electric mixer, beat the eggs, buttermilk, oil and vanilla, and almond extract for 2 minutes. At lowest speed, slowly add the Dr Pepper mixture and beat for 1 additional minute. Gradually add the dry ingredients (flour mixture), and beat until smooth by hand or using medium to low speed of mixer.

Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tins.  I like to use an ice cream scoop so that all the cupcakes bake evenly and look uniform.  Bake for about 20 mins or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool for a few minutes in the pan and then remove them to a cooling rack and allow them to cool completely before frosting.

*Some of the reviews I read said you should absolutely NOT use Diet DrPepper because when you heat it up, the artificial sweetener will turn bitter.
**I'm too lazy to sift my flour and white sugar, but I did sift my brown sugar and cocoa powder cause the humidity doesn't agree with that stuff.  (Or with my hair either!)

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

6 ozs bittersweet chocolate*
4 ozs semisweet chocolate
1/4 cup egg whites at room temp (2 extra large eggs)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 sticks butter, room temp
1 tsp vanilla extract

Chop the chocolates and place them in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan simmering water. Stir until melted and set aside until cooled to room temperature.

Mix the egg whites, sugar, cream of tartar, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Place the bowl of egg whites over the pan of simmering water and heat the egg whites until they are warm to the touch, about 5 minutes. Return the bowl to the electric mixer and whisk on high speed for 5 minutes, or until the meringue is cool and holds a stiff peak.

Add the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, while beating on medium speed. Scrape down the bowl, add the melted chocolate and vanilla and mix for 1 minute or until the chocolate is completely blended in. If the buttercream seems very soft, allow it to cool, and beat it again. 

*If you don't like bittersweet chocolate you could use all semisweet or any combination that you like that equals the weight of chocolate.  When my kids tasted it today, they thought it wasn't sweet enough so I ended up adding some powdered sugar and a little milk to sweeten it up a little. 

Ina Garten's original recipe calls for a pound and a half of butter!!!  I imagine that makes a huge batch of buttercream frosting.  I scaled it down to a third and it generously covered 24 cupcakes and there was some leftover.   I also omitted the coffee and rum.  If you were pairing this with something other than DP  you could could add in all kinds of other yummy flavors such as mint or orange.  Delish!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Ciara's Creations - Chocolate Cupcakes

Ciara loves going to Activity Girls!  She was especially looking forward to today because her teacher had a pool party planned.  The party was actually meant for the girls and their families but there were a few glitches when it came to Ciara's family attending.  Mom has a wicked kidney infection - yuck.  Simply being upright does not feel great right now.  Dad gets home a little late in the evening and worked from home yesterday to help care for the ailing mom, so ducking out of work early just wasn't going to happen today.  Thankfully several of our good friends offered to take her along with their own daughters.
I suggested to Ciara we make Brownies.  You know, the kind out of a box.  Dump in a bowl, eggs, oil, water, stir, dump in a pan, bake.  No fuss, and the best part, very little energy expended on my part.  But no.....Ciara wanted cupcakes today.  She wanted to decorate them for her friends.  Because she was disapointed that we weren't going to the party, I decided to go ahead and help her make the cupcakes.

 I helped her make little tags, and of course she had to put sprinkles on top!

The cupcakes are cute, but they have nothing on that cute face!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

My favorite Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

My husband Chris was visiting a family from our church about two months ago and asked me if I had anything that he could take along as a treat.  I had a variety of cookie dough left over, one of which was Oatmeal Raisin and so I made a sampler platter.  (That sounds a lot better than "leftover platter doesn't it?")  Anyway, a couple of weeks later, one of the little boys from the family, specifically requested that next time Chris came over, could he please bring some more Oatmeal Raisin Cookies.  So just for Curtis here is my Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Recipe.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup  brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups oats, uncooked (not instant)
1 1/2 cups raisins

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a cookie sheet with nonstick spray. 

Combine together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In a mixer beat the butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla extract. Increase speed to high and beat until nice and fluffy.

Mix  the flour mixture into the creamed mixture until the flour is no longer visible. (Don't over mix or your cookie will be tough!.) Stir in oats and raisins.   This is where your arm will get a little bit of a workout!

To get nice, even round shaped cookies, I like to use an ice cream scoop.  (Use a #40 size)  If you don't have a good size scoop you can make a ball with two tablespoons of dough, place on cookie sheet and flatten slightly.  Place cookies about 2 inches apart.

Bake for 11 to 13 minutes until golden, but still moist beneath cracks on top. Remove from oven; let cookies sit on baking sheet for 2 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool.

 Since it's oats and fruit you can enjoy these completely guilt free!  Right?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Khalil Wedding Cookies

This past weekend, I was lucky enough to get to attend the wedding reception for these two cuties:

 Aren't they just adorable?  The groom is from Nepal and met the bride in Utah.  The world truly is becoming a smaller place everyday!

I made cookies that were going to be placed on the table as favors.  The colors were gold and green so I was a little nervous, because gold doesn't translate well to icing.  But I found this amazing edible glitter that I fell in love with.  So hours and hours of hand-painting later here's what I came up with:

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

It only took thee years and three days!!!

About three and a half years ago, this little fella was born:

A little while later, I bought this fabric:

 (Yikes!  Ignore those wrinkles in the picture!!)

You see, I was super excited to finally become an aunt.  Both my sisters had been aunts for years and I was the only one who wasn't an auntie.  My husband had some nieces and nephews but I was just couldn't wait for my sister's son to be born.  So when she decided to decorate his room in the Disney Cars Theme I thought, you know, being the cool aunt that I am and all, that I would make him a blankie.  Donovan LOVES blankies.  So I started to make him one - no big deal, made a ton of them before, I'll just whip one right up.  The cars cotton fabric for the front, some blue fleece for the back and I cut some strips to make a cute little gathered ruffle.  I pinned the whole thing and decided the ruffle looked too girlie.  I kept trying to "boy" it up a little and couldn't decide what to do, so I threw it in the closet and left it there for three years.  Phew!  Problem solved!!

Fast Forward a couple of years and I decided to clean out said closet.  Donovan still loves his blankies and still loves the movie Cars so I decided its time to finish this darn blanket.  I added some checkered flag fabric for a border, left off the ruffle completely and swapped the blue fleece backing for red fleece for a little contrast.  Then I top stitched it around the checkered flag border.

Since my dad was traveling to my sister's for a visit, it was good motivation to just get it done so I could send it with him.  But my sister has had two daughters since then and guess what?  They like blankies too!  So I couldn't send one for Donovan and not for them.  So I made a quick run to Hancock's and found some Tinkerbell and some Disney Princess Material  and over the next two days made two more blankets for the girls.

For Princess Meagan:
(This fabric is really cute - the princess dresses have sparkles on them!)

And for sweet little Mackenzie

So it only took my about three years (and three days) but now all three of them have a 
blankie from their aunt Clair!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Turkey Pot Pie Sandwich

I hardly ever watch daytime TV anymore, but I was in the living room vacuuming and one of the kids had left the TV on.  Rachel Ray was cooking something up so I stopped to take a peek.  She was making Turkey Burgers and it just so happened I had ground turkey in my fridge waiting to be turned into Turkey Burgers that very night!

But she put a little twist on the whole thing, and it looked soo yummy I thought we would give it a try.  The original recipe can be found here.

As usual I modified it according to the ingredients in my pantry and the picky eaters in my family.

Open Faced Turkey Pot Pie Sandwiches

2 lbs Jennie O ground turkey
2 tablespoons Dijon Mustard
Lawry's Seasoned Salt
Finely Chopped Parsley
Finely Minced Garlic
Ground Black Pepper

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 can chicken broth
1 can mixed vegetables, drained
Mix the first six ingredients together in a large bowl.   I didn't measure out my spices - I just eyeballed it.  I then separated the mixture into 8 patties.  (I cooked four and put four in the freezer for later)

Cook the patties in a large pan - mine took about 5 minutes on each side.   When the patties are done cooking, remove them from the pan and then add the butter to the same skillet.  Next add in the flour, whisk it together and cook it for about a minute.  (Just long enough to cook out the flour taste)  Next added in almost all of a small can of chicken broth and bring it to a boil.  Last, add in the canned veggies and cook until the veggies are heated through.

I'm sure this would be much tastier with fresh veggies or even frozen ones, but since I didn't have either, I had to go with the canned stuff.  We just used toasted hamburger buns instead of the English muffins.

This was a great recipe for our family because our picky kids were able to just take the parts they liked.  For instance Riley just had a plain turkey burger on a bun with some cheese and I didn't have to cook a separate meal for him.    And it only took about 20 minutes to get dinner on the table!


A Very Belated Birthday Party!

It seems like things are never calm in our household and when Ciara's birthday rolled around this year, our life's were as hectic as usual.  School was coming to an end and baseball and softball was in full swing so we decided to postpone her party till after school finished.  We kept waiting for the calm to arrive, so we could have her party but finally decided if we keep waiting the party may never happen.

So today was the day.  She wanted to help me make a cake so we made two little cakes that we split and then filled with strawberry and buttercream filling.  I covered them with pastel colored fondant and from then on Ciara was the creative director.  She even made some of the fondant flowers - not bad at all for her first attempt!!

My fondant was really dry for some reason and I wasn't sure how to fix it, so I had a hard time getting the fondant to lay nice and smooth.  You can see all the cracks that developed.  Thank goodness Ciara wasn't as nitpicky as I was - she loved the finished product and I guess in this instance her opinion was the one that mattered the most!

Our Hero! - Happy Father's Day 2010

Due to a family members medical emergency last month, things were kind of really hectic around here!  Throughout it all, my dear husband was so supportive.  Coming home from work early, working from home, eating fast food, helping more with the kids and just being ready with a hug!   It would have been really easy to postpone our Father's Day Celebration to another day but I wanted to make we took at least part of the day to acknowledge how much Chris means to me and the children.

Thankfully a few weeks prior to Father's Day, I stumbled upon a great idea on one of my favorite blogs:

The kids and I assembled some of Chris's favorite snacks, placed them in cello bags and labeled them with cute labels:

(Pardon my poor photography and my kitchen tablecloth in the background!)

I found a cute blue wicker box on clearance at Michaels.  It had a cute mini chalkboard on the front.  The kids wrote little messages on it.  I'm not sure if Chris will use the box again but I'm sure we will find it a home around here somewhere.  So after a breakfast in bed of Eggs Benedict, the kids proudly presented their gift basket.

Happy Father's Day to an all around great guy, wonderful husband and fantastic dad.........
Our Hero!!!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Treats

Almost a month ago now, my stepfather had a stroke.  Needless to say, our life's were quickly turned upside down.  After a lot of ups and downs, I am thankful to say that he is now slowly but surely recovering.  He is currently in Rehab ward and has actually been there for about two weeks, but before that it seems like we never knew where he was going to be from day to day.  Started in the ER, to ICU, then to Neurological monitoring and then Rehab. 

Every single staff member that we came in contact with were soo kind and caring.  We wanted to make just a little something to show them that we appreciated them, so I started making cookies.  Because we were all so busy I opted for Chocolate Chip Cookies.  Easy to make and everyone loves them!  We made bags and bags of cookies.  Each bag had two giant cookies in it.

My favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe to use, is the Tollhouse Cookie Recipe.  I use an ice cream scoop to scoop the dough and then let it chill in the freezer for a few minutes.  This helps the cookies keep their nice round shape. 

A special Thank You to all those wonderful nurses, doctors, medical staff, rehab therapists, counselors and anyone else I might have forgot!

And to my mother:  You are AMAZING!!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Gift Baskets and Cookie Gifts

The Young Women at our church put on a small carnival to raise money to go to Girls Camp.  They needed donations for Door Prizes and also baked goods that they could sell.  I came up with the following.

 Green Butterfly tote with a cute mug, picture frame and flowers.

Pink Butterfly tote with a cute mug, picture frame and flowers.

Ice Cream Cone Sugar Cookies - perfect for summer!

Itty-Bitty Cookie Bites!

Flower Sugar Cookes on a stick

Rice Krispy Treats on a stick - cause everything tastes better on a stick right?