Saturday, June 30, 2012

Cover the Safety Railing

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When we took down my son's crib and upgraded him to a toddler bed, we would often go in and check on him after he had fallen asleep.  A lot of the time we would find him rolled over to the side with his head leaning ON the little safety railing.  The bed is made of metal, sounds comfortable, I know...
My husband mentioned that we should put something over it, immediately I knew what I should do...
I went to the dollar store and got a pool noodle.  I let my son pick out whatever color he wanted.  He felt like such a helper :).  I brought the noodle home and put it up against the bar, and cut it to the right length.
 I then slit it down the middle through one side, and...
 placed it on the bar, voila!  Much more comfortable!
Of course we didn't want to waste the other half of the pool noodle, so it has now become a sword, don't worry, it gets plenty of use :).

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Leftover Chicken Broth?

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When I am making a recipe that calls for chicken broth, I have noticed I don't always use the whole can.  I decided to try a little experiment and see if it can be frozen...guess what, it can be!  Yay!!  The only thing I had on hand was an ice cube tray, so I poured the leftover broth into that and put it in the freezer.  Once the broth was frozen I popped them out of the ice tray and put the cubes in a ziplock bag, and just kept them in the freezer.  Each cube is 2 Tbsp. of broth.   
Another 'experiment' I wanted to try was to see what would be the best way to use the cubes.  I was making a sauce in a skillet on the stove, and I needed just a little bit of broth.  I grabbed two cubes from the freezer and threw them in the pan.  They just melted, and it worked perfectly!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Laughed Out Loud

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I love finding things that make my day, make me laugh, smile, giggle, whatever!  I saw this on Pinterest, and I have to admit I really laguhed out loud.  Totally a mom thing!

There are tons more of these awesome sayings here.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Baked Chicken Taquitos

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These taquitos are SO good!  The tortilla is perfectly crispy, while the filling is creamy and flavorful, mmmmm...
Chicken Taquitos
Makes 12 Taquitos (about 6 servings)
  • 3ounces cream cheese
  • 1/4 c. green salsa (I got a good sized bottle from Wal-mart for $1.68)
  • 1 Tbsp lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 (large) clove garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp chopped cilantro
  • 2 Tbsp chopped green onions
  • 1 c. shredded Mexican cheese blend
  • 12 soft taco sized tortillas
  • 2 c. cooked shredded chicken*
*For the cooked shredded chicken I usually use 1 or 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts.  Cut them in half lengthwise so they can cook faster.  Season chicken with salt, pepper, garlic salt, paprika, onion powder, and chili powder.  Just lightly sprinkle each side of the breast with each seasoning.
Cook chicken in a skillet over medium heat until done.  (About 7 min on each side).  To shred the chicken you have two options.  If you have a KitchenAid you can take the chicken and throw it in with the paddle attachment, and turn it on (I think to number 4), for about 20 seconds.  If you don't have one, (like me), you can do it the manual labor way :).  Just take two forks and pull the chicken apart.  
 These are my son's cute little hands.  He loves to help me cook!
Preheat the oven to 425.  In a large bowl combine cream cheese, green salsa, lime juice, cumin, chili powder, onion powder, and garlic.  Once that's all mixed together add cilantro, green onions, chicken, and cheese.  Mix thoroughly.  At this point you can refrigerate the mixture until you are ready.
Once you are ready, scoop a large spoonful of the mixture onto the tortillas.  Put the mixture towards one side.
Starting on the side with the mixture, roll up the tortilla and then put the taquitos on a cookie sheet.   
Bake for about 15 minutes.  The edges will be a light brown.
You can top with sour cream, guacamole, pico de gallo, etc.  Enjoy!!
For a printable version of this recipe click below

Recipe adapted from here.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Spout Extender

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My son is ALL about having things 'his size'.  I think all kids feel the same way.  It makes them feel important.  
Well, a couple of things were on my mind when we created this next craft
  1. My son was getting too big for me to hold up to the kitchen sink when he needed to wash his hands, and,
  2. I felt bad holding him up to the sink because I always feel like the edge of the counter is pressing into his little tummy
So, we had just finished this bottle of Mountain Dew, and I thought we should put it to some good use!  Yay for reusing!!
 I first cut off the top of the bottle, 
I removed the wrapper and then cut out a sort-of rectangular shape,

I then cut it a little shorter, grabbed a rubber band, and attached it to the faucet.  My son grabbed his little kitchen stool, stood there, and washed his hands.  He was so proud that he could reach the water 'all by himself'.  

Friday, June 22, 2012

No-sew Super Why Cape, Mask, and Why Writer

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For a while my son started really getting into a show called Super Why.  It's all about teaching kids how to read, I believe it's on PBS.  His favorite character on the show is the main one, Super Why.
Super Why image was found through Google.

I thought it would be so fun to turn my little guy into Super Why, he LOVED the idea as well.
So, I took an old shirt that didn't really fit anymore, turned it inside out (so I could see the seams), 

I cut along the inside of the inseams from the bottom all the way up and around the neck.  Don't cut the neck.  Voila!  Instant cape.

 For his mask I took a square of felt and an old stretched out hair tie, 
 I drew the shape of the mask on paper and put it up to my son's face to make sure the size would be right,
 Cut out the mask and two eye holes,
 Cut a small hole in the sides of the mask, cut the hair tie in half, and stick the ends through the small holes.  Tie the ends in a knot so it won't come back through, and done!
For the 'why writer' I took a foam sheet (purchased from the dollar store $1 for a pack of 32), and cut out a '?' shape,
 I just taped the '?' to the end of a pen, and done!
 He was SO excited, he ran around the house 'changing the stories' (it's from the show).
After I finished all that we watched the show, (he of course had to stay in costume), and he turns to me and says, "Mommy now can you please make me Super Why's flying shoes?"  Yeah, that one might be a little more difficult :)

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Marbled Fondant

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This was my second attempt ever at using fondant, and I thought I would try something new, again.  One of my brother's was having a birthday/Sunday dinner at my parent's house, so I figured was a good excuse to bust out a new cake.  

I made the fondant a light almost mint green color using regular liquid food coloring.  It was also my first attempt at a two-layer cake.  Yay!  

Yay's for me:  I didn't roll the fondant out as thin this time.  Also, the bottom part of the cake looks much cleaner and almost perfectly flat/straight edged  all the way around, and pretty dang good if I do say so myself :)

Boo's for me:  I probably should have finished off the top somehow, maybe even written 'Happy Birthday' or something, but to be honest, we were running a little late, (I didn't quite give myself loads of time to finish this...)

After covering the cake in the green fondant I had some left over and thought I should experiment with it.  I wanted to do a design and change the color, so I grabbed some liquid blue food coloring and started to mix it into the fondant with my hands.  

The result: this cool blue marbled looking fondant.  I cut it into strips and laid the strips around the two layers.  (They kind of look like strips of gum huh?)  

A helpful hint: to get the fondant to stick, moisten the side that will be placed on the cake with a tiny amount of water.

Much better than my last attempt!  Practice makes perfect!  Endless possibilities here, don't be afraid to try something new!!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Mini Fruit Tarts

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These are by far my favorite dessert!  I was so happy when I found a recipe for them, they are SO easy!  Don't they look heavenly? :)

Mini Fruit Tarts
  • Tart Crust:
  • 1-1/2 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup superfine sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick), chilled
  • 1 egg yolk, broken with a fork
  • Cream Filling:
  • 2-3/4 cups milk (I use nonfat milk, but any type will work)
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Combine flour, sugar and salt in food processor. Cut butter into 8 slices and add to flour, pulsing several times until mixture resembles oatmeal. Add egg yolk.  Pulse until all ingredients are moistened but not yet a solid ball. (See note below if mixture seems too dry.) Lightly press into a ball, cover and chill 30 minutes.
  2. Pull off small amount of dough and roll out with rolling pin.  Using a cookie cutter, cut out circles and fold over the back of the mini-muffin tin  with fingers being careful to keep thickness consistent.  
  3. I poke three small holes in the tart so the air has somewhere to escape and the bottoms are flat and even. 
  4. Place the shells in the oven and cook at 350 degrees for 10 minutes, 20 minutes for bigger tarts. Watch carefully as the time can vary according to the thickness of the crust and also the size of the tart.  (Since the ones I make are so small they cook a lot faster).
Once tarts are cooked, remove from muffin tin and let cool completely.
Cream Filling:
  1. Add milk, sugar, cornstarch, salt, and egg yolks, (in that order) to blender. Blend 5 seconds and pour into 2-quart glass microwave-safe bowl. Microwave 6 minutes on HIGH, whisking until smooth after 3 minutes, then every minute thereafter.  (My microwave takes a little longer to work, so if the cream isn't the right consistency continue microwaving in 1 minute intervals, whisking after each minute, until you've reached desired consistency.
  2. Add butter and vanilla and whisk until smooth.  (The cream filling can be made in advance and refrigerated.  I refrigerate it once it's done just to help cool it down a little).
  3. Assembly:
    1. Fill each baked tart shell with cream filling. Top with fruit of your choice.  In the tarts pictured here we used strawberries, peaches, and blackberries.  My husband wanted to take them to 'the next level', and he melted chocolate chips and an Andes mint, let it harden in the fridge, and then cut small pieces to go on top as well.
1. If dough in food processor seems too dry to press into a ball, add a teaspoon or two of milk.
2. Tarts are best eaten the day they are assembled.  If I don't need to make all of them at once I will put the dough and cream in the fridge.  They will both be fine for a couple of days.

For a printable version of this recipe click below
Recipe adapted from here.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Fondant Roses

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I know I'm no where close to be a pro at cakes or fondant.  This was my first time making it and using it.  Setting my sights high, I know!  I searched Google for a tutorial on how to make fondant roses, and I found this video.  (I didn't have a sheet protector, so I actually just put it on the counter with plastic wrap.  I also don't have the color paste, so I just used regular food coloring, and it wasn't sticky.  I also didn't have the gum stuff she mentions, and the roses held up on their own.  Wow, you'd think if I was missing so many components I would have failed...I defeated the odds ha ha:)).  I was super excited because it looked so easy, and it really was!

My very first rose, I know it's not perfect, but I was so proud!

After making a couple I didn't want to lay them on the counter because the petals would flatten, so I inserted toothpicks in the bottom and stuck them into my dish sponge, and it totally worked!  They stayed like that until I was ready to put them on the cake.

This was the final product.  I kept the toothpicks on the roses and stuck them into the cake.  I learned something while doing this cake, I rolled the fondant our too thin, so you can kind of see the cake through the fondant, so keep that thicker.  Also, I had to put a border of frosting around the bottom because it wasn't nice and even in some parts.

Also, some of the fondant started drying out, and that's where I got the little cracks around the edges of the petals.

I'm so glad I decided to try this.  I'd always wanted to, and I definitely learned some tips for next time!  If you don't try, you'll never know!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Happy Birthday Banner

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A couple of years ago for my son's 1st birthday, we had a small party for him at our house.  I wanted to do more than just balloons and streamers for him, so I decided to make a birthday banner.  Now, this isn't something I just printed out on the computer, because I decided I wanted it to last a really long time.  I also wanted it to be able to use it for other children (who will come in the future) as well.

I went to the local craft store and purchased black fabric.  I folded it over, (more for thickness than anything...maybe I thought it would help make it sturdy...I don't know), and I sewed it together all around the edges.  I also picked up felt squares in all different colors.  I think they were sized 8x11.  I cut out the letters to spell 'HAPPY BIRTHDAY' and sewed them on.  With the leftover felt I decided to trace my son's hand, cut it out, and sew it on as well.  I wanted to remember how old he was when that hand print was done so I wrote a number 1 on the hand.
Each year since I have traced his hand on felt, cut it out, and sewn it onto the banner. 
I have only used white felt for his hand prints, I figured when we have another child I will use a different color specifically for them. 

I thought it would be fun to bust that out for birthday's down the road and see all those cute little hand prints :)

Friday, June 15, 2012

DIY Stamps

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I saw this idea a while ago on Pinterest, so I thought I'd give it a try.  I mean, who doesn't love stamping things??
This idea was so awesome on lots of different levels, you only need five things,
  • milk or juice lids
  • glue
  • scissors
  • foam sheets (so I went to the dollar store and picked up a pack of like 32 for $1)
  • and and ink pad or paint
Now let your imagination run wild!  All you do is cut out the picture/shape, glue it onto the milk/juice lid and let dry, then stamp away!  I love this because the sky is the limit, I asked my son what pictures/shapes he wanted on his stamps, and these are the ones he chose:
A fish, star, Christmas tree, and two dinosaurs.  

Since then (which was a few months ago), we've gradually collected more lids and just added to our collection.
We started collecting lids from the Simply Orange Juice bottles, those ones are BIG.  We've added a sun, a car, a house, a pumpkin, an arrow, a smiley face, a flower, a lightning bolt, a stick figure 'daddy' and 'big boy', and a stick figure 'mommy'.  I know they look so messy, they've just been used a lot, and as you can see we started using paint on the stamps as well.
Idea adapted from Vanessa's Values.  

Ghost Cookies

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Let's be honest, sometimes I'm kind of lazy.  Meaning I don't want to get a lot of dishes dirty if I'm just doing one small thing, for instance...

I made these ghost cookies for Halloween last year.  I only had to make a couple, but I wanted little faces on them.  Since they would have needed only  a tiny amount of frosting but more work, (scooping frosting into a bowl, tinting it with food coloring, scooping it into a frosting bag, and then making the faces...super hard work, I know), I came up with a spur-of-the-moment idea.  I was proud of it.
All I used for the eyes and the mouth, was one regular sized chocolate chip.  That's right, just one!  I sliced the tip off with a knife, which gives us the mouth, then cut the remaining base part in half, which gives us two eyes.

Easy enough.  Look at all that time I saved ;) 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Angry Birds Cupcakes

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This is my third and final post about Angry Birds!  (Thank heavens).  Not that I don't love all the fun things it's entailed for us, but, it's nice to have finally posted everything.  

In my previous post I talked about how I made and Angry Birds golden egg pinata for my sons' birthday party.  Well, I also made Angry Birds cupcakes.  These were so fun to make!
*Don't judge me by the way that cookie sheet looks, I'm going to have to use a trick I saw on Pinterest to get that back in spectacular shape ;)
So, here's how they were made:

I just used a box of cake mix, and baked the cupcakes accordingly.  Once cooled I divided the frosting into four bowls and added the food coloring.  After frosting each cupcake I then dipped each one into sprinkles of the same color.  (That's another tip from Pinterest, if you pour out the sprinkles into a bowl, plate, etc. and dip the frosted cupcake, it does a perfect even coating of sprinkles, and you don't have to shake off any excess).

For the eyes and eyebrows, I used frosting in a bag with a pointy tip.  The tummy of the red bird is just a marshmallow.  The 'golden eggs' are marshmallows with yellow frosting, and the piggy's snouts are also marshmallows with green frosting.  All the beaks are made from pieces of marshmallow which were dipped in yellow food coloring. 

And that's it!  They were a huge hit at the party!

Golden Egg Pinata

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For my sons' 3rd birthday he decided he wanted an Angry Bird themed party.  He also wanted a pinata.  At first he wanted a green pig, but later changed his mind to a golden egg.  I'm so glad he did!  After searching, I decided they were expensive, and I couldn't even find a golden egg.  I figured it would probably be more fun for him if we made our own, so here it is!

* If you can, try and do this a couple of days in advance so the paper has time to dry/harden.

What you'll need:
  • A balloon blown up
  • Strips of newspaper
  • a mixture of flour and water
  • garbage bag to cover/protect the table
Saturate the strips of newspaper in the flour/water mixture and lay across balloon.  Make sure to smooth it down.  Cover the whole balloon leaving a small opening in the top.
Allow to dry completely, and then repeat process again.  I think we did a total of 4 layers.  Once you have the desired thickness pop the balloon, and remove from inside.  Fill with candy, treats, prizes, etc.  We actually just left the hole in the top, but you can cover it with newspaper.  Since ours was a golden egg we painted it white (so the newspaper writing wouldn't show through), and then painted it a golden yellow.  I forgot to get string, so my husband poked holes in the side and we ended up using measuring tape from my sewing kit.

It was strong enough to stand up to 5 kids hitting it as hard as they could.

Not too shabby I'd say :)

Angry Birds!!

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Yay!  This is my very first blog post, and I'm super excited!  I've been wanting to do this for a long time, but never got around to it.  I did however save all my ideas and pictures for a day when I actually had time to do this, so here it is!

I have a little boy who loves Angry Birds.  One day while we were home I decided to make a 'life-sized' Angry Birds game for him to play.

First, I took a paper plate and drew the face for a red Angry Bird, and cut out the eyes.  Next, I let him color the plate.  To hold it on his face I just used a stretched out hair elastic, cut it, poked holes through the plate, and tied knots on the ends.
I then took the cushions off the couch, and rounded up any little sports balls I could find. 

Running full speed...
And the piggies were destroyed!

He loved this game!  After he knocked all the cushions down he would ask for the next level, which meant I had to line everything up again in a different way.

Thanks for reading!!

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