I love to have fun with paper, food, paint, music and events and just being creative in all of it. However, I don't feel the need to be a perfectionist nor a professional in any of my creations. I wish I could have a blog JUST about the art of cooking, photography, sewing, art, mothering, jewelry making, card making, dancing, gardening, deep spiritual thoughts, decorating, poetry, party planning, baking.... and the list goes on but I can't. I don't think I was created with the ability to focus on one task. I like all of these hobbies layed out before me and the freedom to pick whatever I choose depending on the mood or time I have.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Parasailing, What an Awesome Way to End My Year!

Soaring above sparkling turquoise waters over the beach in Ecuador  was not only breathtaking but to fly over it feeling my hair dance in the wind and smelling the fresh tropical breeze was, exhilarating.  My new prayer "Dear God, please give me wings to fly." 

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Squeeze Bottle Christmas Pancake Wonders

I love using my Squeeze Bottles to make pancake art!

You will need:
  • Squeeze Bottle
  • Pancake Mix
  • Food coloring

1. Mix your pancake mix as directed on box. 
2. Once mixed separate into different bottles but don't fill to the top.
3. Add your food coloring choice to each.
4. Put some butter or cooking spray on your griddle.
5. First, outline your pancakes as seen in picture.
6. Then fill them right away.
7. You can also spell out as show above we spelled Feliz Navidad.

Limitless options  for your pancake art! We made stockings, santa hats, trees, candy canes......

Thursday, December 15, 2011

How to Make Reindeer Antlers with Chocolate

I  am so glad you stopped by, I know your dying to find out how to make reindeer antlers from chocolate. NO more Mickey Mouse ears Reindeer Antlers for you.
Here it is, drumroll please:
You need wax paper, melted chocolate and a ziploc bag.

Last night I was rushing to get through my to do list of Christmas party goodies, classroom goodies, Christmas program sheep costumes etc..... To my surprise I discovered that using pretzels for antlers on my cupcakes wasn't going to fly like it did on my cookies. Mostly due to the shape. On my cookies they look like antlers on my cupcakes they looked like Mickey Mouse the rednose reindeer.

Frustrated and with little time to waste I tried something new that I vaguely remembered reading somewhere.  Desperate I trusted my vague thoughts, on how to trace shapes of things with chocolate onto waxpaper. 

I am here to report it's easy and it worked great. See for yourself Mickey Mouse the Red Nose Reindeer and Rudolph, big difference huh.
Here are the antlers cooling on wax paper.  If your afraid to mess up or want more intricate antlers draw them on first with a sharpie on the back side and then flip it over and trace with the chocolate.  In a small bowl melt chocolate and insert into a ziploc bag. Twist bag and make a small snip at the end to squeeze chocolate out.  They peel right off!

The truth of the matter is the kids could careless if they look like Mickey Mouse or Reindeer so don't fret and enjoy your holidays!

Teacher Gift: Snowman Candleholder

Between my two boys who are in 1st grade and Pre-kinder they have 16 teachers. Yes, that was not a typo, 16.  We love them all so every year it's a challenge to find an affordable to practical gift to give 16 teachers.  I felt a little pressure after writing this article The Truth About Teacher Gifts but I think it passed the sentimental and practical criteria. This year my boys made them this adorable Snowman Candleholder. 

Note they wrote Miss and Mrs. they are still trying to figure that one out.

I wanted a craft that they boys could make that was easy, practical and cute.  You need: a round shape glass or jar, construction paper, tissue paper and modge podge or your homemade version of it.

Cut tissue paper into fat, wide pc and start gluing them on. Let it dry and then add the face with the construction paper. Insert candle and your done, told you it was easy! Our boys had so much fun making their teacher a gift.
Another Snowman craft we made for class gifts:
Snowman Bubbles

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Sun-dried Tomato & Bacon Cheese Ball

Once again I came up with a recipe using my favorite ingredients: bacon, sun-dried tomatoes and cheese!  From the series Simplifying Christmas Gatherings: Day 2-Appetizer

12 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 cps (8 oz.) shredded cheddar
1/4 cp finely chopped oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
1 Tbsp. onion flakes
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cp of shredded mozzarella
chopped walnuts
1 tsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp. pepper

1 lb. crumbled bacon, cooked
1. In a bowl mix all of the ingredients above except for the mozzarella cheese and walnuts.
2. Once mixed, form into a ball.
3. Mix mozzarella and chopped walnuts and roll ball in it.
4. Refridgerate for a few hours or overnight.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Pears and Gingerbread Oatmeal Breakfast Bake

Our mornings are crazy, crazy and did I say crazy! I am hoping this last for a couple of breakfast meals this week.
I first had this when a friend brought us a meal after our baby was born. She said you can eat this lots of ways: for breakfast, for dessert, with milk, with out milk or with icecream.  The other night I envisioned this Oatmeal Bake with a Gingerbread flavor and pears. 
So now I am trying my craving out, enjoy!  This is one of our 5 Must Try Christmas Breakfast Recipes from Inspired by Family Magazine.

6 cups oatmeal
4 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. salt
1.5 cup brown sugar
3 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves

Stir in another bowl:
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 cups milk
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 cup molasses (if your molasses is strong in flavor or if your not a big fan of molasses/gingerbread flavor reduce amount)

sliced pears or apples

This recipes does not require flour. When baked it will rise like a cake but with a fluffy, crumbly texture.
  • Mix together first 7 ingredients.
  • Stir the other 5 ingredients in another bowl then add this mix to your dry ingredients.
  • Place in baking dish and layer on top thin pear slices. You can also dice them up and put them in the dry ingredients.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes in a lightly greased pan. Make enough for 6-8 people.
If you want it to be sweeter drizzle it with caramel sauce or for dessert add a scoop of vanilla icecream!
To reheat add a little milk or water, cover and microwave for 30 to 60 seconds.


Image via Kyla Roma


Sunday, December 4, 2011

Faux Feather Tabletop Christmas Trees

I know, there are tons of tutorials out there on how to make this trendy tissue paper trees and now I am going to add my 2 cents to the mix.

Using posterboard paper was really ideal or you can buy cone shaped foam.

tissue paper
Poster board that matches your tissue
styrofoam/plastic cup

1. First cut your poster board paper into a large rectangle and begin shaping it into a cone.  As shown in picture some of it may overlap and the ends may not come out even just cut the ends as needed.

2. Place cone inside cup and glue it in. This will give you a solid base for standing.
3. Cut tissue paper into long strips.
4. Then cut paper into little strips but not cutting all the way through just enough to where each strip hangs together.
5. Begin glueing, because I  used white poster board I had to cover the cone in red tissue paper first so later I wouldn't have to worry about white gaps showing.
For the second type of tree (tree on the right on mantle picture above)I used a different effect.
For this one cut tissue paper into squares.
Fold them up like this.  I don't like the ones that are twisted at the end and the front is fluffy so I folded mine to give it a more leveled look. 

Glue them on starting at the bottom first.  I made the mistake of starting at the top. 

Fresh Flower Christmas Wreath

Last year, in a magazine I saw this vibrant red fresh flower Christmas Wreath, and it was love at first sight.  I finally got around to making one this year. I LOVE IT!  Carnatations are resilient so I think it will last for awhile.

Floral foam
Floral Tape
Bright Red fluffy Carnataions or whatever color you want
Red Wide Ribbon

1. I could not find floral foam in shape of a wreath so I created mine buy cutting the blocks of foam and making a rectangle like this.
2. I used wooden skewers to secure it and then taped each side.  I would recommend that you use the green floral tape instead of the masking tape I have here:
2. Once it is secure begin inserting your carnations. Until the top is completely covered.
3. Then go around and place that wide red ribbon around the outside and inside of the rectangle.
4. Secure the ribbon with straight pins.

Yes, it was as simple as that!

Fun Christmas Party Game- Mr. Wright Christmas Book Exchange

This is such a fun game and the older they are the easier it is for it too flow.  Though I have played this game with preschoolers and kindergardeners, with some extra adult help.  We have also played this game on Christmas Eve with the whole family to decide who gets to open the first present on Christmas Eve. With this version we just pass around THE Card that says YOU GET TO OPEN THE FIRST PRESENT. Whoever ends up with this card at the end of the reading is the first picker.

  • You will need the short story The Wright Family Christmas
  • Each child should bring to the party a wrapped book either gently used or new. 
  • Have everyone sit in a circle and instruct them that when they hear you read in the story the words RIGHT or LEFT they need to pass the book in that direction. 
  • Everyone at the end should end up with a book that is not there own. If they do then they can switch with the person next to them.
This is one of the many Kids Christmas Party Games and Ideas from Inspired By Family Magazine.
picture credit: Billy Kids

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Frosty the Snowman Onesie

Gotta love the DIY way!  My adorable little birthday boy got to strut his cute little "milk belly" with Frosty on it.

Felt pieces: Orange, black
Fabric glue
Optional: needle & thread

1. I cut a carrot shaped nose by rounding the end.
2. 2 large circles and 5 small dots for the mouth.
3. I layed them on their first to figure out the placing and then I glued them on.
4. If you would like sew them on for extra support.  I know I will never use ours again so I just glued mine on. 
The birthday boy!

Frosty the Snowman Drinks

These were so fun to make!  All the kids at the party loved them!

Lemonade Sippers
Black marker
Ribbon or Fabric for scarf
Twizzlers for nose
Choco chips for eyes
Edible Marker for mouth

1. I drew the buttons with the marker and cut a strip of fabric for the scarf.
2. For the face I used a White Chocolate Sandwich cookie. You can buy them here they are called Tango if you can't buy them pre dipped just buy oreos and dip them in white chocolate and before they cool off add the face.
3. Choco morsels for the eyes, twizzlers for the nose and with the edible marker draw dots for the mouth.
4. I use corn syrup or white choco for "baking glue" to keep the face on.

For more Kids Christmas Party Ideas & Games

Sundried Tomatoes, Gouda & Bacon Quiche

I am one of those cooks who loves to try new challenging recipes in the kitchen but I skip right over a lot of the easy stuff.  One day I decided to make crossaints, yes, warning it is very challenging. At that point I had never made Pie Crust, which is a whole lot easier than crossaints. Silly I know but maybe some of you can relate.

One of the easy things I have skipped over is making Quiche so recently I have been experimenting with it. Three things I realized:
  • They are super easy to make
  • You can pretty much make any kind of quiche
  • I don't like crustless quiche
One of my many favorite flavor combinations is Sundried Tomatoes, Gouda and bacon. Your mouth will be bursting with flavors.  Here I made Stuffed Chicken with Sundried Tomatoes and Spinach recipe
So I am going to have at it adding this flavor combo into a Quiche!

prepared Crust either your favorite recipe or store bought
6 eggs
1 cup whole milk
3-4 pieces cooked bacon, crumbled
1/4 tsp fresh cracked pepper
3/4 tsp fresh sea salt
1 cup grated gouda cheese
1/3 cup grated mozzarella
1/2 cup chopped spinach
6 Sundried tomatoes chopped w/ a little bit of it's oil

1. Heat oven to 350.
2. Lightly grease a pan and press crust into pan and crimp edges.
3. Beat the eggs and milk until light and fluffy, add salt and pepper. Whisk in bacon, spinach, SD tomatoes, cheese. Pour into the prepared crust.
Bake for 35-40minutes or until set and not wiggly in the middle.