Valentine's Rice Krispie Treat Fun

Oh my goodness, can I just say that Ashleigh is getting to be a cookie goddess!!?!?! Those Valentine cookies were too cute to eat. In fact when I went to her house and saw one half eaten I had a little anxiety attack. Kind of like how I hate to ruin the top of a new peanut butter jar, but way worse. It's like eating a work of art!

If those cookies make you tired, here's a couple of treats I whipped out in about 30 minutes.

Rice Krispie Treat Kisses!

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Just make your Rice Krispie Treat recipe and push the warm marshmallowy goodness into a little funnel! Just grease the funnel and push the Treat into the mold. I pop them right out and they hold their shape so I can use the funnel to keep making them. After I do take my freshly buttered hands and shape them a bit. My funnel is a little more rounded and I want to get just the right kiss shape.

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After they harden, wrap them up in a square of tinfoil. It helps to butter or spray the tin foil. I printed out little messages in blue ink on vellum to complete the Hershey Kiss look. And there you have some very personalized treats!

Or if you want to just put some Rice Krispie Treats in a pyrex like normal people, instead of cutting them in squares, use a cookie cutter to Valentine them up!

And really anything on a stick just begs to be eaten.

Naked treats. (Not that that kind of treat!)

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Treats covered in chocolate!

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Now go get some Rice Krispie Treats and make them immediately - or hide them from the kids until you do!

Linking up to Craft-O-Maniac C.R.A.F.T. and Making the World Cuter

You've Got... Mail Cookies!

I think about cookies a lot.
mailbox cookies

And I happened to be thinking about cookies as I passed the dollar aisle at Target the other day.
I saw these adorable little mailboxes that, I have purchased in previous years.  My kids used them to put "warm fuzzy" notes in.
mailboxes

This is when my kind of "a-ha" moment happened!   (Someone call Oprah before she goes off the air).
I could make sugar cookies that look like mail!  Oh yesssss!

Making a simple rectangle cookie is the simple part.
I used a ruler and a knife as I rolled them out, so they were roughly the same.
Then I frosted with some royal icing.  (recipe here)
I frosted all the way to the edge.  I'm trying to make a cookie look like an envelope...no small task.blank

As I experimented, I knew making the back of an envelope would be just as cute as the front.
So why not do both?
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Why not do both on the same cookie?
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Friends, I frosted the front and back!  Have I gone to far in the name of cookie mail?
I don't know, but I know I liked it.
It's like a reverse oreo.  More frosting, more sugar, more cuteness.
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In the name of frosting experimentation and my extreme indecisiveness, I made several versions.
The first envelope is outlined and then glittered with disco dust.
envelope 2

Envelope #2 is my realistic version.
envelope with hearts

Just one more layer of frosting for the "flap."  No licking to seal, although it would taste great.
side of envelope

I also experimented with the stamps.
I tried piping them right onto the cookie, and not filling it in (left).
Then I tried making them on a piece of parchment, letting them dry, then attaching them with frosting (right).
stamps

Now that I'm all practiced up, I may make my kids' teachers a mailbox full of "mail cookies."
teacher

This isn't a bad idea for someone you visit, as well.
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And I for sure won't forget to make some for my valentine.
Included will be a "mushy gushy valentine" note, (as Junie B. would put it).
cupid ln

Okay, this one might be taking mushy, gushy too far.
I ate this before my valentine could officially turn me in, to the cheezy police.
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So let's just bring it down a notch.
happy valentine's day

A simple message in a simple $1.00 mail box will do the trick, eh?
happy valentine's in box

Checking the mailbox just got way more fun!
If only there could be cookies (instead of bills) in my real mailbox...
I can dream.

p.s.  Soon, I will be sharing some recipes and more detailed cookie tips that work for me.  Stay tuned if you want more!

I'm linking to  Be Different Act NormalTatertots and JelloToday's Creative Blog and Blue Cricket Design!

Yummy and Fantastically Easy Stew

You all know my cooking skills aren't even in the same hemisphere as Ashleigh's. She and her hubby love all things cooking, herbs, fancy pots etc.

My hubby doesn't cook.
At all.
But the good news is that he also doesn't ever complain about what I cook (or don't cook).
And, he's easily impressed. So it works out well.
So, I thought I would post his favorite recipe that I make in honor of our 18th anniversary coming right up. (Thanks to my mother-in-law for giving me this family staple recipe)

And, it's soooooooooooo easy!

Grab your crock pot and these ingredients:

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2 lbs stew meat
2 medium onions sliced
6 potatoes, peeled, cut into large cubes
6 carrots, peeled and sliced
4 ribs celery, diced
large can or jar of tomato juice (V8 or generic)
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoons pepper
2 Tablespoons sugar
3 Tablespoons dry tapioca pudding

This takes 5-6 hours on high in my crock pot

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If you come home from church and this meal is ready to eat with some french bread your family will love you.
18 years of experience people :)

Baby's First Year Frame


First of all, it's been so fun to follow Season 2 of Crafting with the Stars. Contestants, hope you have a Little Ceasars close by or that your kids can get their own cereal, cause mama needs to craft.

So, my baby, like my sixth, think it's my last, kind of baby, is turning one. And, I might be having an emotional breakdown. And really, who needs therapy when you can craft yourself out of a funk. :)
















I had this Tilano Transfer Kit given to me by a great friend for my birthday. With this kit, you can take anything, photos, text, artwork and transfer that onto any medium such as wood, glass, concrete, metal or walls. Since I was having a little nostalgia I decided I finally had the right project to give this kit a spin.
























I wanted to capture his first year, so I cyber gathered 12 pictures, one a month and then edited them in Photoshop. I cropped in close on his face, changed it to black and white and increased the contrast.

Then you take 2 of your very precious 3 8.5 X 11 sheets of transfer paper to the local copy store. Ink jet ink won't work, only laser toner. Read the fine print. Even though the images were black and white, the directions said to print it in color.

Next, paint both the surface you want to transfer onto and the transfer paper with the Transfer Medium from the kit. I decided to transfer onto glass.
















When it was dry, I cut my images up and placed them on the glass.















The next step is to brush more Transfer Medium onto the surface, the glass in this case, put the pictures face down and use the scraper tool to push all the air bubbles and excess Transfer Medium out. The directions warned not to get the Transfer Medium onto the back of the paper, so just wipe the scraper.















That needs to dry for 3 hours. Then with a wet foam brush, brush water onto the back of the paper until it becomes transparent. That means the image transfered properly. (This is the part I was crossing my fingers).















But, it worked! Insert happy dance!















12 happy baby faces that make me happy even though he is a year old. And, I possibly need chocolate therapy in addition to craft therapy to deal with this one.

Themed Play

I'm pretty bad at scheduling play dates, much less do I plan activities.

But I've been inspired by a blog to create "themed play" for my kids and their friends.

On this occasion, it was robots!  We made a robot, built a "robot" with blocks, had a robot treat and read a robot book.  It didn't go perfectly, but I felt good knowing I was trying.  And I know the boys had more fun and less time to disagree about what to play.
robot

Great ideas I copied, huh!
But, have you ever had a blog you loved, but kept it a secret on purpose?  You didn't put a link to it anywhere even though you check it a few times a week?  You didn't tell any friends, or family about it? I don't know where this selfishness came from, but it's true.  Sad, but true.

But, I'm feeling generous today.
(and I must give proper credit to my themed play inspiration)

Because I love you, my bloggy family.

So, I'm going to share this site with you that will knock your socks, shoes and possibly other things off.

You ready for it?  Brace yourself?

You might wet your pants at the...
beauty
creativity
photography
kid crafts and
plethora of ideas!

Okay, here's the link... Katherine Marie Photography.

You're gonna love it!

Denim and Flannel Quilt

One of my endearing/annoying personality traits to my poor enduring hubby is that I can be a hoarder.
Not the kind where small children go missing in my piles of junk, just the kind where I feel the need to save random things.
He has patiently waited out the box of lace phase, is currently enduring the soda can pop tops phase, and everytime we clean out the garage has lovingly asked why I have 3 years of old jeans in that corner.

Well people, I have redeemed myself...at least with the denim.
Not just one denim quilt, but two.
No applause necessary.
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I needed some cool, manly bedding to match the snowboarder mural Ashleigh and I painted. Here is my cool, not manly baby catching his 3 minutes of fame in my picture.
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First, save jeans for 3 years. Or go to the thrift store and make your garage happier. It took less than I thought, about 8 pair of jeans per twin size quilt. But, I also used half flannel so you can adjust accordingly.

I snipped with scissors at the ankle side of either side of the seam and then ripped the pant up near the top. Then cut across the pant where you bend at the hip. I didn't want to add the part of jeans with pockets on mine but you totally could. I also left the seam on a few strips to mix it up a little bit. I ended up with lots of strips of jeans.
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Then I trimmed each piece of denim to between 3 and 8 inches wide and cut a strip of flannel the same width. I sewed them short edges together to make a long strip at least 60 inches long. Some were just denim on one side, flannel on the other. Some I put the denim in the middle and flannel on either side, and vice versa. Just random, my style.

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When I had a bunch done I laid them out on the floor to find the pattern I liked. Making sure light and dark denim was balanced and the was dispersed with the flannel looking good.

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And sewed them together one by one.
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I pieced it together until it was 90 inches long. Put the batting in between the top and a layer of flannel. I decided to try stitch in the ditch to quilt it. I turned to my handy quilting teacher You Tube to learn how. Basically stitch right along the seam so hopefully it doesn't show.

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I put the binding on it and then made another quilt the same. I planned to put different flannel on the back to easily differentiate whose blanket it was but I had a little math calculating problem and had to use the same. So, I at least put a little tag on the binding of each quilt so the boys can tell them apart.
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The boys love them and I am hoping they love them forever.
Sorry honey, but I still can't get rid of the pile of jeans because now I have some plans for denim purses. :)


Linking up to It's Fun to Craft, Tidy Mom, Finding Fabulous And Fingerprints on the Fridge

Garden Shower

Once upon a time, two fabulous friends were expecting baby girls.
Everyone wanted to celebrate with them, including Kathryn and I!
We got together with friends, made invitations, planned and made decorations.
The preparations were a blast in and of themselves.

The invitations were Kathryn's assignment.  She found cute floral paper made a pocket for the simple yellow invite.  The colors in the paper are what we based our color scheme on.  She used her cricut to make these cute branches and blooms.  We had some good laughs as we assembled them together with friends.
invitation

The group effort continued with decorations.  Kathryn and another friend slaved away over tissue paper flowers and pompoms.  And when I say slaved,  I mean it in the most fun, "crafting slaving" way.
pom poms

Hmmm...  Where have you seen these shelves before?  Oh, here!
I pulled my normal decor off and my friends came to decorate while I tinkered around, doing a little cleaning.  They actually went and cut these darling branches and added small tissue paper blooms, to match the invitation.  They think of everything, I tell you!
shelf

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Kathryn whipped this baby out the day of, in between carpools, set up and tissue flowers.
shelf 2

Oh, and she whipped out this and put it in the large frame above my buffet.
I think she has a secret personal assistant I don't know about.  She does projects so fast and so cute!
buffet

Another friend came up with these adorable favors which also doubled as decor!  Genius!
shelf 4

Who knew a simple brown box could become so stylish?
favor

But don't worry, the theme doesn't stop there.  Look at the colored chocolates inside!  Fabulous, Lauri!
favor 2

Who doesn't love some bread and salad?  I planned the menu and the many friends who wanted to help brought ingredients.  When you're hosting, it's hard to remember to get good pictures.  Good thing my friend grabbed some shots of the table!

(Pretend my ugly calendar isn't ruining this picture and pretend my table cloth is ironed...thanks!)
table

My cake stands are going strong.  Here they were, painted pink.  They are now all red.
table 3

I had these menu's out for directions on how to make two different kinds of YUMMY salads.
They were just suggestions and people could treat it like a salad bar if they wanted, but I couldn't resist trying to be bossy with their food!  ;)
menu

I made these menus by painting a simple, unfinished frame from Michael's.  I took the glass and paper out.  Then I sprayed several coats of chalkboard paint on the back piece of wood (that is meant to hold the picture in place).
menu 2

The chicken and tri-tip are on the wrong sides in this picture, but you get the idea, that they could start on either side and and grab a roll too.
table 2

Now comes the fabulous cake skills of my friend Kristy.  She's been taking classes and made this beauty for dessert.  She matched the invitation/theme perfectly with those branches and blooms!
cake

I wish I didn't wait to take pictures until dark.  But the point is to enjoy the party, right?  Well I did!  I thoroughly enjoyed getting together with friends who were excited to get creative and throw a party.  The cute pregnant girls appreciated every detail and most of all, the great company!

The best part of this story is that they lived happily ever after.
Two healthy baby girls have blessed two great families!

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