Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Who's that Girl?

I hardly even know who I am anymore. I have always tried to stay far away from making yeast breads. There was just something a little intimidating about it. I have made a few attempts in the past and decided it just wasn't for me. Last week I decided to give it another try. My mom gave me her bread maker so I started there. I was really pleased with the first couple of loafs that I made in the bread maker but after the first day they weren't too good except for toasting. Since then I have experimented a little more and I am so excited! I have made two batches of the best cinnamon roll I have ever tasted, a wonderful honey wheat bread that is just perfect for sandwhiches, a french baquet, and some cinnamon raisin bread. I just let the bread machine do the work and when it is all kneaded I take the dough out, shape it and let it rise again and then bake it in the oven. Everything I have made this way has turned out perfect!!! The real downside to this is that I am afraid I am going to gain back the 15 pounds I have lost since January. :( Bread is definately a weakness.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Teacher's gifts

I always prefer to make something for my kid's teachers. To me it just makes it more personal. I found this cute idea of dressing up large candy bars. It's quick, easy, super cute and I know they will be yummy! We just carefully took the wrapper off of the candy bars and traced it onto our favorite papers. We then cut out the pretty paper and wrapped the candy bar. For a final touch we used some clear glitter to accent the paper and tied it up with some valentine ribbon. The tag reads "A Sweet For A Sweetie" . The heart print in the middle is made with my children's thumb prints. Too, too cute!!!!

Valentines treats

I made these for Lauren's class party. I think they are super cute but I don't know if they were worth the time. All you do is cut little circles from a pound cake. I used Sarah Lee's frozen pound cake and to cut the circles I used a lid from one of my hair products. It was the perfect size (no worries...I washed it first). Then you microwave your frosting in 15 sec. intervals, stirring each time, until it is the right consistency for dipping in the cakes. I colored mine pink, red, and white. Then you take a fork and stick into each cake and dip the cake in the frosting and then using another fork slide the cake off and onto wax paper to dry. Add the sprinkles while the frosting is still warm so that they will stick. My kids loved helping me make these. They were able to eat the scraps after cutting the circles and they loved putting on the sprinkles. Another added bonus that my 5 year old really appreciated was that the frosting made everyone's tongues really pink.
Overall I think this is a very cute recipe and this really cuts down on the amount of sugar the kids will consume at the party. They would have to eat atleast a half dozen of these to equal 1 cupcake. Altough I would only recommend this if you are not trying to save time. You would think with store bought cake and canned frosting this would be pretty quick and easy. Anytime you have to dip small pieces of anything you should know better.

Boy Valentines

I wanted to make something that wasn't feminine for my son to give out to his classmates. I found this idea and I think it is perfect for Andrew. He loves dinosaurs! I love the way they turned out!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Fairy costume

We are going to Disney in a few weeks and we are going to the Mickey's not so scary Halloween party. The whole family is dressing up. We are really excited!!! You will have to check out my other blog in a few weeks to see some pics. It should be worth a look just to see me in my big fluffy tutu. Quite a sight. Anyways, I am making our costumes. I have some weird issues with halloween. I don't really sew but for the past few Halloweens I have really enjoyed making my kids costumes (although I do have to give my mom some credit for helping me with the sewing part last year). I just can't ever find the perfect costumes so I decide to make them. I try to find costumes that don't require too much sewing. This year I found the perfect solution. All of us girls are going to be fairies. I have made tutus and wings. Very easy and too cute!!!! So here is how you make the tutus:

For the purposes of this demonstration, the Tutu size we will be making is a two color, size 2T with a 19 inch waist and, upon completion, measures approximately 12 inches in length. Make adjusts to the following steps as needed with younger or older children (ie. shorter lengths for infants or longer lengths for teens).
STEP ONE: Gather all the items listed in the Materials List above in one central location. (All items not shown in photo.)
STEP 2: Prepare Tulle for cutting. In this example, the tulle was purchased on spools 6" in width. I measured the tulle for cutting at 20 inches length. (Due to size restrictions, the length in cut in photo is shown at 12 inches.) Don't worry about perfectly straight edges.After cutting the Tulle, measure and cut your elastic to the size needed. I cut my elastic for this project at 19 inches. You will need approximately 55 6" x 20" strips for this size project. Larger sizes will need more while smaller sizes will use less.
STEP 3: Once you have your elastic cut to the appropriate size, use a common household stapler to staple together the elastic. Be sure to check the back side of the area with staples to ensure that are bent inward to hold your elastic firmly in place.
STEP 4: Place the tulle in a "U" shape underneath the elastic. Try to keep the ends as close to even as possible to one another. Again, though, don't worry about perfection because slight variances actually add flair.
STEP 5: Bring the two upper portions of the tulle "U" over the elastic. Together, pull them underneath the curved bottom of the "U" for the beginnings of a knot. Pull tightly, securing the tulle against the elastic.Repeat this step until you have went all around your elastic. There should be no elastic visible when completed. If you wish to make a 2 or more color Tutu, simply alternate colors as you continue this step.
STEP 6: When completed, your tutu waistline should like the one in this photo. As you can see, there is no elastic showing.
STEP 7: (optional) To add a little style to your tutu, adorn the finished product with a satin bow. You can do this by cutting 48 inches of 7/8" satin ribbon. Tie in a bow, allowing for long streamers to lay against the tulle. Attach it to your tutu, using a clothespin to hold in place, and allow to dry for 24 hours.
STEP 8: Remove the clothespin after 24 hours, and your tutu is ready to wear!

These instructions are from They have step by step pictures. I did sew my elastic together instead of stapeling it and I didn't add the satin ribbon. However I did embelish our tutus with rinestones in various random spaces.

The Wings:

Obtain four wire hangers. You might like to buy the type of coated hangers. These hangers are easier on the fingers when you bend them. Or, you can obtain them for free from your local dry cleaners, as they often recycle the hangers or even try to throw them away. You can also use a very thick beading wire, if you are making small wings -- 16 gauge or lower.
Start with two hangers. Cut the hook off down to the point where the wire spiral starts. Then bend the spiral part on one hanger to the right and on the other hanger to the left.
Take the two twisted parts and overlap them. Wrap them tightly with duct tape.
Repeat this process with two more hangers.
Bend the hangers into your desired wing shape. Often the top wings have a wider shape and the bottom ones are skinnier - it will assist you if you look at photos or illustrations of butterfly wings. You can also make great dragonfly wings by just making them have a long oval shape.
Use duct tape to join both sets of wings. You will now have 4 wings. At this point the wire structure is complete.
Take 4 knee high socks. You can get them at pharmacies, supermarkets and department stores. Stretch one over each wing. Pull it tight to the center and then twist the entire set of wings as you hold the end of the nylon. Usually you can then hook it on one of the ends of the wire hangin out. Otherwise, just twist them and hold the ends of the nylons to the center until all four wings are tight. Wrap them once again in the middle to hold the knee highs tight on the wings.
Wrap the middle of the wings with velvet and glue it with hot glue. Make sure to put the glue seam toward where your back will be so it's not showing.
Spray paint the edges of the wings before painting them. You can use acrylic paints and glitter to top off the wings.
Make the arm bands. You can use elastic head bands if you want color, or use elastic. It's good to put the elastic on before the velvet center in case you need to hide an elastic seam. To put the elastic loops on, first tie a knot in the elastic so it's a loop, then put it around both top and bottom wing on the right side, and bring the loop through itself between the wings. This is an easy way to put them on without having to sew them. If you do it right, the knot will be on the back side of the wing where it won't show.
Add feathers if you prefer the angel wing type to the guazy kind. This can be done with a lot of patience and store bought feathers by attaching double-sided tape to a wing and sticking the feathers on. Do one wing at a time and make sure the feathers go on with the quil going up. Do both sides of each wing. (Start from the bottom so that the next row of feathers will cover the quills of the lower row.)

These instructions came from They also have a cheesy but helpful video on their site.

I never new how easy tutus and wings would be to make but if I can do it, anyone can.

How Fun!!!!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Child chore help

Okay...I'm definitely not an expert in this area but I'm learning so I thought I would pass on the things I have tried so far. First of all you would be surprised how much a child is capable of doing.
I'll start with my youngest. As you can imagine Andrew can't do too much but he loves to help. Sometimes it is more of a hassle then a help but hopefully I am starting to teach him about good work ethic even at his age (22 months). So some of the things he helps with on a regular basis is loading the washing machine and putting clothes from the washer to dryer. He loves doing this and always names the person whose clothes he is holding at the time. He likes to clean windows and mirrors. I spray, he wipes (then I do a quick wipe myself). He loves helping with dishes but I don't let him do this too much. It's just too messy. He loves vacuuming (after I'm done). He loves putting dishes in the sink after meals and throwing trash in the trash can. I can give him a sponge, wash clothe, or wipe and that will keep him entertained for a while cleaning any surface he can reach. So all in all he doesn't really make my house work load any lighter but at least he is involved while I am cleaning.
Lauren is at a tough stage right now or maybe it's her personality but she is not much of a cleaner. She loves to make messes but when it's time to clean up all of a sudden she is just way to tired. Her legs even stop working and she just plops down on the floor! Amazing, huh??? I really am at a lost at what direction to go with her right now so I am open to any suggestions. Right now the playroom door is locked as a punishment because Lauren and Andrew pretty much destroy it on a daily basis. It's tough because at least while they are destroying that room it allows me to have some time to clean the rest of the house but I am so sick of cleaning that room and it is tedious things like putting all the books back on the shelves and picking up crayons and it's almost not worth all the time and effort to try and get them to clean it up. So I usually end up doing it myself. Any suggestions?
Lydia is at a great age for chores. She has her on and off days like any of us but for the most part she likes for things to be tidy. These are things that I have tried with her. When I was first teaching her to keep her room clean I told her that everyday I would check her room sometime during the day and if it was clean I would leave a card on her bed. After collecting a certain amount of cards she could choose to do one of the following: pick out a toy, go to a movie, go out to eat with parents and no siblings, go to the mall, go play putt putt... We started off with the goal of 10 so she could see quick results then we worked our way up to 30. This worked really well to begin with but then she started slacking and I would check her room and although her bed was almost always made she would have clothes on the floor or a few toys out. I was a softie and would give her the card anyways because she did such a good job remembering to make her bed as soon as she got up. Then I found this website . It's a free website where you make customized chore charts and you get a cat to name and dress (kind of like webkinz). Anyways this allowed me to give her credit for making her bed but also point out the other things that needed to be done in her room. Also it encourages her to expand into other areas of the house and unlike my little guy she really is a big help. It's really a great website. I would encourage anyone with kids 3 and up to check it out. The child earns privileges and points for each job. The privileges are redeemed with the parents and the points are for purchasing things for the cat such as furniture or clothes. This seems to work for us and best of all it's free so why not give it a try?

Yummy Surprise Cookies

I made these cookies for a young women's lesson that I taught at church. The lesson was on the worth of souls and I attached the following story to a bag of these "surprise cookies":

Author Unknown
A man was exploring caves by the seashore. In one of the caves he found a canvas bag with a bunch of hardened clay balls. It was like someone had rolled clay balls and left them out in the sun to bake. They didn't look like much, but they intrigued the man, so he took the bag out of the cave with him. As he strolled along the beach, he would throw the clay balls one at a time out into the ocean as far as he could.He thought little about it, until he dropped one of the clay balls and it cracked open on a rock. Inside was a beautiful, precious stone! Excited, the man started breaking open the remaining clay balls. Each contained a similar treasure. He found thousands of dollars worth of jewels in the 20 or so clay balls he had left. Then it struck him. He had been on the beach a long time. He had thrown maybe 50 or 60 of the clay balls with their hidden treasure into the ocean waves. Instead of thousands of dollars in treasure, he could have taken home tens of thousands, but he had just thrown it away!It's like that with people. We look at someone, maybe even ourselves, and we see the external clay vessel. It doesn't look like much from the outside. It isn't always beautiful or sparkling, so we discount it. We see that person as less important than someone more beautiful or stylish or well known or wealthy. But we have not taken the time to find the treasure hidden inside each person.
There is a treasure in each and every one of us. If we take the time to get to know that person, and if we ask God to show us that person the way He sees them, then the clay begins to peel away and the brilliant gem begins to shine forth. May we not come to the end of our lives and find out that we have thrown away a fortune in friendships because the gems were hidden in bits of clay. May we see the people in our world [and ourselves for that matter] as God would.

I thought this would be great to do for family home evening too. I love the lessons in Young Womens.

Here is the recipe on the cookies:

1-1/2 cups butter-flavored shortening
1-1/2 cups peanut butter
2 cups sugar, divided
1-1/2 cups packed brown sugar
4 eggs
3-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 package (10 ounces) Milk Duds

In a large mixing bowl, cream the shortening, peanut butter, 1-1/2 cups sugar and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine dry ingredients; gradually add to the creamed mixture. Chill for at least 1 hour. Shape 4 teaspoons of dough around each Milk Dud so it is completely covered. Roll balls in remaining sugar. Place 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350° for 10-12 minutes or until set. Cool for 5 minutes before removing to wire racks. Yield: about 8 dozen.
(I used mini snickers and rolos and just cut them in half because the gas station I went to didn't have milk duds but next time I would try milk duds...I bet they would make the cookie perfect)

The verdict on this recipe: Very yummy!!!! The kids really enjoyed helping me make these. Even Andrew was able to help out on this one. This could be one of my new favorite cookies to make. The only down side to it is that candy is not something I keep in my pantry so I'd have to plan in adance for making these but they are so worth it.