Thursday, November 29, 2012

Liebster Award :)

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One of my lovely followers nominated me for the Liebster Award.
It is an award you give to someone if you are loving their blog, and they have under 200 followers.

Thanks to Jessie @ Life with the Larsons for this!!

So here are the rules:
Each person must list 11 things about themselves
Answer the questions the person who nominated you asked
Choose some lovely blogs you want to nominate, and link up their info
Create 11 questions for the people you nominate
Go to their page and let them know you've nominated them
You can't nominate the person who nominated you

11 things about me:

I am horrible when it comes to exercising consistently. I go at it in like monthly spurts
   I love to bake
I love to eat mini desserts
My favorite color is blue
I used to work as a Medical Assistant, and I miss drawing blood and assisting in surgeries
I love to play Scrabble
When I was younger I wanted to have green eyes
My son and I have 'dance parties' to the radio in our kitchen all the time
I am teaching myself to make jewelry (stay tuned for that!)
One day I would love to have my hair and make-up done professionally
I actually like to clean, it makes me feel accomplished

Jessie's questions:

1. What is your guilty pleasure? S'mores (I eat like 1 a day), and chocolate dipped strawberries :)
2. First thing you noticed about your significant other? His smile
3. Why do you blog?  I originally started my blog because I had a friend who was making money off of hers, and I thought "hey, I can do that!" but it's become more of a place to share all of my tips and ideas. They were taking up too much space in my head :)
4. What is your favorite food? I don't really have a favorite, it's usually what I'm in the mood for
5. Date Night! What do you do? Cuddle on the couch, watch a movie, and eat popcorn
6. What did you want to be when you grow up?  A doctor and a dancer
7. What is something that made you laugh today? My son, he makes me laugh everyday! 
8. Favorite place to find a good deal? I have lots of different places... 
9. You have 1 hour to yourself. What do you do? I usually waste the first 1/2 trying to figure out what to do! Then I usually end up cleaning
10. Favorite dessert? Apple crisp, my mini fruit tarts, tiramisu... 
11. When is the last time you cried? It was a couple of days ago, I was watching something...now I can't remember what it was...

My nominations:
Michelle @ http://www.learningtobeamom.com/
Surabhi @ http://homekidsandcrafts.blogspot.com/
Sara @ http://tastysweetcupcakes.blogspot.com/
Hannah @ http://heavenlyhomesforeverfamilies.blogspot.com/

Head over and check out their cute blogs as well!

11 questions for my nominations:
1. What is your favorite time of the year?
2. What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?
3. If you could control the weather do you prefer hot or cold?
4. Where would you go for your dream vacation?
5. Favorite movie?
6. What is your favorite eye color?
7. Do you have any pets? How many?
8. What is your favorite Christmas tradition?
9. If you could choose an accent which one would you choose?
10. What is your favorite way to relax?
11. What is your favorite book?

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Super hero cupcakes

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Yesterday was a special day in our home.
The light of our lives turned 4 years old!
I just have to take a moment to brag here, bare with me :)
My little man is the sweetest, most caring, considerate, helpful, imaginative, playful, happy, handsome little guy.
I am so thankful that we were blessed to have him in our lives.
He is our everything!
We did not have a birthday party though, if you remember, we had a BIG Avengers themed party back at the end of August before we moved so he could celebrate with family and friends one last time.
(For that party we had a 
Check those posts out as well if you haven't before, they're freaking awesome :)
Ok, so since we did that huge party, we decided when it was his 'real' birthday we would just celebrate with the 3 of us.
We had a busy day full of activities and play.
Even though it was just us, I HAD to have some sort of cake so he could blow out his candles.

Since my son's 'birthday' party back in August he has been learning more about other super heroes.
His obsession has grown to now include members of the Justice League (Batman, Superman, Aquaman, the Flash, Green Lantern, etc), as well.
I first started out with just the Captain America shield cupcakes, but my husband challenged me and pushed me to try something more difficult.
I'm glad he did, because this is what I came up with.
I was really pleased with the outcome.

The Justice League themed cupcakes.
The Captain America shield cupcakes.

 For the Captain America shield cupcakes, I just started with a star in what I considered to be the middle.
I just free-handed it.
 Go around the edges with the blue, and make it into a circle.
It doesn't matter if the edges look a little messy, you'll be covering it up with the next color anyways.
 Add the red and white lines, and you're done!
The Batman cupcake was my first 'hard' one.
I grabbed a pair of my son's super hero undies (yes, you read that right, don't worry, they were clean!), and I just looked at each symbol, and again free-handed it.
I 'drew' on the cupcake with frosting lightly at first, because I had no idea how it would turn out. That way, I could scrape it off and start over if I needed to.
I was pleased with how it looked, so I filled in the bat, and then went around the edges with yellow.
Again, the same technique was used for Green Lantern's ring.
My son and my husband both informed me that I used the wrong shade of green for the ring.
My bad!
Now I know for next time :)
The lightening bolt for the Flash.
My son was particularly excited about this one.
He thinks he is the Flash, and we don't tell him otherwise,
you should see him run ;)
I saved Superman for last, because it seemed like this would be the hardest one.
I actually drew the design on a piece of paper first, just to see if I even had the slightest clue of how to do it.
It wasn't too bad, so I moved on to the cupcake.
Again, I lightly drew the design first.
I then filled in the red.
I thought it looked pretty ruined, but I decided to keep going.
Added the yellow.
Looking a little better.
Then finished off with the blue and black detail.
My son decided he needed to decorate a cupcake as well.
This was his masterpiece.
I think I've got a little artist on my hands :)



Saturday, November 17, 2012

Mini Coconut Cream Pies

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Good morning all!
It's no secret that I love mini desserts.
Maybe I feel less guilty if I'm eating smaller portions...but I don't think it counts if I pop multiple ones in my mouth in one sitting...hmmm, oh well~
On to the recipe!
I feel like pies just come with territory when you're talking about Thanksgiving and Christmas, so lucky for you this post comes right before Thanksgiving, yay!
Guests at your holiday get-together will definitely appreciate the individual serving size :)
I first made these last year for Thanksgiving, and they were DELICIOUS!
Since then, I've actually made these a couple of times, and I've tweaked the recipe to save a little time here and there. Even with that help, they are a little involved, but SOOOO worth it, I promise!
You can do this a day in advance and refrigerate the dough and cream filling if that helps!
Here we go!
Pie Crust
1/3 c. cold water with an ice cube or two to keep it cold
1 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
2/3 c. shortening
Pour flour, salt, and brown sugar into a bowl. Using a pastry blender or fork cut the shortening into the dry ingredients until it starts to resemble pea-sized clumps.
Pour in a small amount of water and press the dough together, keep adding small dashes of water until you can form the dough into a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1/2 hour. 
(If you want to you can also leave it overnight)
When you are ready, break the dough ball in half and roll it out on a sheet of wax paper sprinkled lightly with flour. Cut out circles and place in a greased muffin tin. Gently push it down so it makes a little cup.
Poke a few tiny holes in the bottom so it doesn't puff up.

Bake at 425 degrees for about 8 minutes, or until they turn a light golden brown.
Let them cool completely before taking them out of the muffin tin.

Coconut cream filling
4 Tbsp corn starch
1 1/2 c. sugar
5 oz. sweetened coconut
1 c. milk (I used fat free)
1/2 c. heavy whipping cream or half and half
1 tsp. vanilla
3 egg yolks (don't throw away the egg whites, we will use those in a minute for the meringue!)
*Again, this can be made the day before and refrigerated until ready.
In a microwave safe bowl whisk together corn starch and sugar. Once they are combined add the milk and heavy whipping cream and whisk everything together. In a small separate bowl whisk the egg yolks together and then add them to the microwave safe bowl as well, again whisking everything together.
Microwave for 2 minutes and whisk the mixture together. Microwave the mixture again in 1 minute intervals whisking each time until it reaches your desired thickness.
Stir in the vanilla and sweetened coconut and refrigerate until it has cooled down, or you are ready to use it.
*It will also thicken a little more once it has cooled.

Now, you could top these pies with whipped cream, and I'm sure they would taste wonderful, but this Meringue is pretty simple, and adds that perfect last touch.
Meringue topping
3 egg whites at room temperature (make sure there isn't any egg yolk in there, trust me, I know from experience that it won't work!)
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. corn starch
6 Tbsp sugar
Using a mixer, beat the egg whites together until they look foamy or frothy.
Add vanilla, corn starch, and sugar and beat together until it looks kind of like whipped cream (see below).
That's it!
Fill the pie shells with the cooled coconut cream filling, top with the meringue and sprinkle a few pieces of sweetened coconut for looks :)
Once they are assembled, you can then pop them back in the oven on a cookie sheet for 3 or 4 minutes at 425 to give the coconut on top a slight 'toasted' effect.
(Let the pies cool completely again before trying to move them. Again, I've learned this from experience!)
These pies are delicious right from the oven or even the next day!
Hope you have a great holiday season :)

Recipe adapted from here.

Friday, November 16, 2012

My first guest post!

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Hi everyone!
I'm sharing this yummy recipe for my first guest post today over at 
Come on over and say 'hi'!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Fine motor activity

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Hello everyone!
Hope you are all having a great week :)
Thanksgiving is just 1 week away! Can you believe it??
I am very excited to be able to see family for the holiday, nothing beats that!

Today I've got an awesome activity for the littles.

I actually made this for my son probably a year or so ago, but with our big move 2 months ago, it got thrown away.
The other day my son asked to do this activity again, and it was great because it didn't cost me anything to make it again, I already had everything on hand! 
Yay!
I love this activity because it promotes fine motor skills, and counting.
(Just a side note, I tried to find the blog I got the idea from, but to no avail. If you are out there, sorry I can't link back to you, but thanks for the idea!)
Supplies
empty egg carton
scissors
marker
tweezers
popcorn kernels (or small beads, nuts, etc).
 To start, cut off the top of the egg carton,
 then write numbers in each spot from 1-12.
Place the popcorn kernels on a table, and using the tweezers, have your child pick up a kernel and place it in the carton. They'll put 1 kernel in the #1 spot, 2 kernels in #2, 3 in #3, etc. 
 Hope your little one enjoys!
And, have a great holiday :)

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Thankful turkey craft

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Since it's the beginning of November, and Thanksgiving is on it's way, last Monday night for Family night I wanted to talk to my son about being thankful.
We have so much to be thankful for, and I want him to understand that everything should not be expected or taken for granted.
I know you have seen turkey crafts ALL over Pinterest, well, here's another one :)
I had taken down our Halloween paper plate crafts and again had our big, empty, white wall.
I decided a new craft should take their place.
This is the 'thankful turkey craft' my son made, that is now hanging on our wall. 
Supplies
paper plate
paint
toilet paper roll, or paper towel roll cut in half
construction paper
scissors
google eyes
marker
We first painted our turkey 'bodies' brown. 
(Is it weird that I think that wet brown paint looks like melted milk chocolate...you can see where my mind wanders to!)
While the plates were drying, we put glue on one side of some cream colored construction paper and wrapped it around the toilet paper rolls.
We cut out the beak and the red things (I honestly have no idea what those are called...gobblers??), anyways we cut those out of some foam sheets scraps from our craft supply box.
I let him put the face together all by himself.
His is the one on the left, he told me turkeys need two red things around their beak...
I then traced his hands on a couple different colors of construction paper and cut them out.
I asked him what he was thankful for, this is what he said...
I am so thankful for all that I have.
My family
 our health
safety and freedom
a warm home
food
friends
happiness
peace
struggles and trials
experiences
I feel like when I sit down and think about it, my list would be endless.
I am grateful for that.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Pipe cleaner activity

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A couple of weeks ago I purchased a pack of pipe cleaners, I was going to do an activity with my son I had seen on Pinterest. 
It was the one where you cut up the pipe cleaners, place them in a bottle, and use a magnet to move them around.
It looked really fun, but I couldn't find a magnet anywhere.
So, this is what I came up with instead.
Supplies
pipe cleaners
empty bottle (I just used an orange juice bottle)
a sharp knife
a push pin
a nail
Using the sharp knife, cut off the bottom part of the bottle. (Be careful!!)
 The easiest method I found for making the holes was to first poke the push pin though, 
 and then poke the nail through the same hole, and move it around a little to make it larger. Poke holes around the whole bottle.
 It probably only took about 10 minutes to make all the holes.
 At first I tried to have my son push the pipe cleaners through to the other side, but that took A LOT of concentration and patience. Something an almost 4 year old doesn't always possess :)
 He got a couple through all by himself, but I could tell it might not hold his attention much longer, 
 so I told him to just poke the pipe cleaners through any holes to make it look 'crazy'
 He loved it! 
 There was a lot of thought as to where he was going to put certain colors
 The finished 'design' :)
 Once he was all done we pulled out all the pipe cleaners, straightened them out a little, and 'stored' them in the bottle.
I love the flexibility of this activity, and that it can look different each time!
Do you have any pipe cleaner activities?

Thursday, November 1, 2012

November 1

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I'd have to say November 1 has a special place in my heart.
For a few different reasons.
I should start by saying, I was born in Canada.
In Canada Thanksgiving is in October. 
This means that after Halloween on October 31 there wasn't another holiday until Christmas (except of course Remembrance Day).
I'd have to say my mom is the biggest fan of Christmas, and I'd say she passed that on to us!
Since there wasn't anything standing in her way after Halloween, on November 1 at our house there would be Christmas music playing.
I am not lying!
My mom had every Christmas CD you could think of. We always listened to The Carpenters, Kenny G, Barry Manilow, Celine Dion, you name it.
Once we moved to the United States she had to wait to put up her Christmas tree until after Thanksgiving. 
It was hard :)
November 1 is also a special day for another reason.
It is my Grandma's birthday.
My mom's mom.
My Grandma passed away a couple of years ago, and I know it's still hard on my mom.
So, mom, this one's for you!
Happy beginning-of-the-Christmas season :)
Love ya!
These are some of the songs my brother's and I have embedded into our memories, enjoy!
(Sorry, you can't watch the videos here, but you can click the link and it will take you to YouTube) 




When do you allow yourself to start the Christmas season?

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