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.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

behavior charts and potty training

One of the things I constantly encourage parents to use are behavior charts, incentive charts or reward charts whatever you want to call them they work like a charm for most children.   Consistency is key on your part, finding rewards that are not too luxurious and easily accessible and immediately "celebrating their success" is very important.
They work wonders on my boys, really!  I made one up for all the little battles we were having on a daily basis which were for things like chores, daily hygeine and drinking milk. They get to put a sticker on each space everytime they accomplish something from their chart.  They were so excited that they couldn't wait to do the next thing. 
Warning: The excitement wears off.We only use these for hard to manage problem areas which means they are not permanent in our home. They serve their purpose and then we remove them until we need them again. 
I am about to delve into potty training issues with my boys so I found these great potty training charts online from http://www.freeprintablebehaviorcharts.com/ They have fun ones with different cartoon characters or generic ones and even reward coupons like free movie, icecream,etc...  I usually make my own because our behavior situations usually vary but I was glad to find these cute ones. Say a little prayer for me as we take on this gargantuous task.  At times like these makes I realize all the little things my parents had to do and teach us that I took for granted. The joys of parenting:) 

Monday, March 29, 2010

sassy apron - hey good looking what you been cookin

I found a new love- aprons! I bought this apron for a $1 and then I cut it up and embellished it.  I cut the sides of the square shaped apron and gave it an A-line skirt look.  Then I used the no sew glue to hem it back up. I made the ruffle on the bottom of the skirt from ribbon and sewed it on.  No need for a sewing machine, it was done easily by hand but it would be faster if you did use a machine.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Elvis Cupcakes - peanut butter frosting and banana nut muffin

So I thought I was done with my birthday baking. My 6yr olds birthday falls on a school day so he insisted that I had to bring a cake to his class even though we just had a birthday party. 
Our tradition is to have a special b-day breakfast.  All he wanted was a fruit bowl and I made banana nut muffins so that I can transform them into Elvis cupcakes for his class later that day.

Deliciousness.  I of course took the easy route and made banana muffins from a box and added ripe bananas to them and then I made some homemade peanutbutter frosting that was A-mazing!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Super Hero Party

 Coloring Page Party Invitation- Practical and fun! I took head shots of the kids who were invited and then I printed them and cut and paste them to a coloring sheet. I glued the sheet to a heavy stock paper and on the back I put the invitation with the details.The Dessert Table- These cute little swirly pops are made from Marshmallow fondant. I found the recipe on http://www.chiccookiekits.blogspot.com/ the only thing I did different from her recipe was I put a oreo cookie behind the fondant to give it a crushy texture. Cute and super Sweet!> I also made Fruit pizza. Apparently not popular in Ecuador very few got eaten. I guess we will just have to take them home and devour them.
These were some fun super hero marshmallow fruit kabobs. I used fruit roll ups for the capes and mask. Detailed directions below.
Making a banner that says Feliz Dia was a lot shorter than making one that says Happy Birthday so we took the cultural route on this one.
The 3 layered cake is a mixture of frostings: rolled fondant, marshmallow fondant and cream cheese frosting is the middle layer.
The Activities
Started with Super Hero Karate training
I made some basic capes for the kids with fabric that didn't require sewing and I sewed on the ribbon. We used sticky foam to decorate them.
We had a visit from Superman. The kids were in awe! We did Faster than the Speed of Lighting Race.

Catch the bad guy game. They literally tried to catch our evil spiderman action figures. The trampoline turned into the bat cave.
Took pictures with Superman.

Laser beams attack game- using silly string.
Get the frisbee in the hole game.
Superman Freeze Tag.
As you can see I am not a perfectionistic nor a professional, just a mom who likes to be creative and wants her kids to have fun. This party was one of my most relaxing ones to plan and a lot of fun!We asked a friend to photograph the party so that made it even more relaxing. Having it outdoors was a great idea!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Spring is near, cute lil chickies are here

I had to bake something to test the fondant from below out so I made Strawberry Lemon Chickie Cupcakes. I used the fondant that I was so proud of from below. If I made these again I would just use normal frosting. Though I will say that the fondant held itself together a lot better than the frosting would of since I had to tote them around to 2 different schools. The recipe for the Strawberry Yogurt cake is on http://www.bettycrocker.com/ and I used boxed lemon cake to make it Strawberry Lemon.
Here they are all packaged up another plus about using fondant instead of frosting I don't have to worry about the frosting rubbing against the plastic bag. I gave these to my boys teachers with a note saying Spring is here End of the school year is near. The chickie w/ the note "Your my favorite gift" went in my sons lunch bag.

Making the fondant yellow is easy. I used Wiltons food coloring and with a toothpick just spread it around on the egg size fondant. Then I just rolled it around my hands and kneaded it until it was yellow. I used chocolate pieces for the eyes, pretzels for the feet and soft pink candy like taffy for the nose.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Sailing Spuds

My plans for dinner were to make Chicken Ranch Spuds. As I was making them I thought these hallowed potatoe shells look like boats. So for dinner our boys had Sailing Spuds. No time for creativity just serve the Chicken Ranch spuds w/o the sails.
Sailing Spuds
6 med/large potatoes
3 tbspn butter
1/2 cp sour cream
3tbspn cream cheese
dry ranch seasoning packet
cheddar cheese

It is fairly easy to make.
Bake potatoes in the oven at 450 for an hour. Make sure you pierce them with the fork several times before you bake them.
Once baked slice the top off so that you can begin to gut them. I used a melon baller but its much easier to use a spoon.
Put the skin to the side.
Mash the potatoes in a bowl and mix in the rest of the ingredients.
Stuff the skins with this mix.
Top with cheddar cheese
Bake for another 10min.
Cut lettuce in a triangle shape and celery into thin slices. Run the toothpick through the celery and lettuce to hold up the sail.

I did it! I made the ever intimidating Fondant

I wanted to use fondant for the boys b-day cake this weekend but I wanted to try it first just in case it was a complete disaster. It wasn't a disaster but it was a lot of work. I am sure once I make it 50 times I will be able to say that was easy but at this point it was a long process. Probably not going to happen.
I was breathing and swallowing powdered sugar. Everytime I swallowed it was sweet. It was hard not to inhale the pound of powdered sugar flying in the air. Can you gain weight from inhaling,ha?
You have to knead it til your arms are numb. A bit of exaggeration but you do knead until the fondant doesn't stick to your fingers. I used a Wilton recipe from one of their fondant books. It called for glycerin, gum paste, powdered sugar, clear vanilla extract, unflavored gelatin. I must say this one did taste good. This is the fondant with yellow coloring. That I used for my little spring chickies. Thats another for another post.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Super Hero pops

For months I have been planning my boys birthday party in my head: Super Hero theme. This weekend is the party and its time to put all those thoughts to action; much, much harder to do.
I was very proud of my little idea until I tested it on my boys. They were not as excited about it as I was. So onto plan b: Super Hero Cookie pops.

Super Hero Marshmallow Pops
-fruit roll ups
-pieces of chocolate
-edible writing pen
-lollipop sticks
The fruit rollups were used for the mask and capes. They stuck on to the marshmellow on its own.
Plan B: Superhero Cookie Pops
Same ingredients as above except you use your favorite sugar cookie dough and then dress it up.
Again I used the fruit roll ups for the mask and cape but drawing in the eyes this time.

Now onto experimenting with fondant for their cool cake I have drawn up. I am a bit intimidated by fondant but here we go.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Bruschetta and Roasted Tomato Soup

Though I am not a big fan of making things from scratch in this isolated case I have to. In this country the only tomato soup you can buy comes in powder. Actually, I don't mind making things from scratch but if I can buy it and it taste just as yummy than my theory is "just buy it". This is fairly easy just be careful when you puree. Make sure you don't fill the blender too high. I usually put a towel over the blender to avoid a messy kitchen wall and counters. It is delicious and family friendly! Our 2 and 5yr old love it!

Roasted Tomato Soup

• 6 cups (3 pints) cherry tomatoes
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 teaspoon pepper
• 2 tablespoons butter
• 4 garlic cloves
• 1 cup chopped onion
• 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
• 4 cups chicken broth
3 tablespoons of sugar
2tspns of oregano
2 bay leaves
2 slices of bacon
1 med red bell pepper
• 1 cup whipping cream

1. Heat the oven to 400°. On a baking sheet, combine the cherry tomatoes, red pepper sliced in fours, 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, 3 garlic cloves and the salt and pepper. Toss the ingredients to coat evenly and spread them in a single layer. Roast the tomatoes until they are shriveled with brown spots, about 35 minutes.
2. In a large pot, cook bacon, then add butter over medium heat. Add 1 garlic (mince this one) and onion and sauté until softened, about 6 minutes. Add the canned tomatoes with their juice, the broth, 2 tblspn sugar, oregano, bay leaves and the roasted tomatoes, garlic and red peppers, including any liquid on the baking sheet. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, for 30 minutes.
3. Using a food processor or blender, puree the soup until it's smooth. Return it to the pot and stir in the cream and 1tbspn of sugar. Without letting the soup boil, warm it over medium heat, stirring often, until steaming. Add salt and pepper, if necessary. If you want it a bit sweeter add another tablespoon of sugar.
4. Serve with Bruschetta. slice french bread, brush olive oil over each slice, italian seasoning, garlic paste or salt and mozzarella. Bake in oven until toasty and cheese has melted.
5. Lay a slice of bruschetta over soup.
If you choose not to use bacon then add 1 tblspn of olive oil.

Friday, March 5, 2010

this is why i don't have a blog on the art of baking

Double Chocolate disaster in a row.

For months I have been wanting to bake those amazing chocolate ooze treats: Molten Chocolate Lava Cakes. Thanks to my fabulous hubbie I was able to put together the recipe with his help.

This is what they are supposed to look like. The rich and thick chocolate is supposed to come oozing out of the middle. I was very careful in removing them out of the pan b/c I didn't want the finger lickin good ooze to come out onto the pan. So I finally got them on a plate and lightly sprinkled powdered sugar on them as the instructions requested. And both me and my hubbie stood over them with a fork ready to burst open the volcano and have the lava gush out. Fork went in and nothing came gushing out. HUGE disappointment! Apparently, I overcooked them so the ooze cooked but they still tasted yummmay!

Tonight I tried to make Rachael Rays Peanut Butter Stuffed Milk Chocolate Sandwich cookies Yumminess for the dinner party I had. I followed all the instructions on there step by step with the exception of using an electric mixer. For me this was quite the accomplishment until my cookies ended up looking more like chocolate crunchy crepes. Super thin, hard and flat. So then I added more flour and tried again. This was an improvement looking more cookie like and not so much like a crepe. I spooned the Peanut Butter filling in the middle and made cookie sandwich out of them and noone could tell this was a baking disaster.

Lesson to be learned: waste not, eat lots.