Friday, April 30, 2010

Cupcakes Anyone?

This week I put together this cute little cupcake kit for a friend of mine. She has two girls that are 5 and 6 yrs. old and I know for a fact that they like to help cook and bake. I haven't dropped it by their house yet, but I hope they will like it. Who doesn't like a cupcake every once in a while?!

For my cupcake kit, I simply put everything you need for them in a galvanized bucket I had gotten from the Target dollar spot. I included a box of cupcake mix, and hello, where have I been? I love to bake as you know, but I had never seen these Duncan Hines cupcake mixes. It is just a mix that makes 12 cupcakes. I thought it was great because sometimes that's all I want or need to make. Oh, back to the kit. I also included a container of icing, sprinkles, cupcake liners and cupcake picks that I made. I used neon green, orange and red so I thought it would be cute to wrap the icing container and sprinkles in coordinating paper. I know it was totally unnecessary, but it sure did make it cuter!! I hope this little cupcake kit will put smiles on their faces!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Glass Etched Gift

Yesterday Laci and I were happy to give her teacher a gift of congratulations for her recent marriage. She had just come back to school after being gone on her honeymoon for a week. We hope our gift was a sweet surprise for her.

I ordered a glass etched bowl from my friend Debbie that has her own business making and selling different items and gifts.However, glass etching is not a hard thing to do on your own. (Although,when your busy with a hundred other things, you order it) Here is a YouTube video that explains how to glass etch using vinyl. I've given Laci's teacher a few things monogrammed with the letter "H", which was for her maiden name, so I thought she needed something with a "D" for her married name. The bowl could be used for many things, but I thought I would fill hers with a little dinner of pasta sauce and spaghetti for the new couple. An easy and elegant gift to say congratulations!

Monday, April 26, 2010

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

Just a quick recipe to share with you today. I made these yummy White Chocolate "Pecan" cookies over the weekend to sell at our local Relay For Life event. I know the title says macadamia nut, but I only had pecans so that's what I made. They are very good with pecans, but even better with the macadamia nuts. Give 'em a try!

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies
1/2 c. butter or margarine, softened
3/4 c. packed brown sugar
1/2 c. shortening
1/2 c. white sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. white chocolate chips
7 oz. macadamia nuts, chopped ( I used 1 c. chopped pecans)

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease cookie sheets. Beat butter and shortening until soft and creamy. Gradually add sugars and beat well. Add egg and vanilla;mix well. Combine flour, soda and salt; gradually add to butter mixture beating well after each addition. Stir in chips and nuts. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto cookie sheets. Bake 10-12 minutes. Makes about 3 dozen.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Like Daddy Like Daughter

I came into the living room yesterday evening to find this. Our little Ivy icing down her knee just like her daddy. My husband hurt his knee about 2 weeks ago and has been wearing a knee stabilizer and on crutches. Every evening when he comes home from work he lays on the "little couch" as the kids call it and ices his knee. Ivy likes to go and help him out with it. She's so a daddy's girl! I guess she wanted to actually try it out, too. Left knee and everything. Just like my husband's. She didn't leave the ice on too long before she said, "That's cold mommy!"

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Carrying Cakes Has Never Looked So Pretty

Isn't it so cute?!!! I think so too!! Again, I'll start off by saying that I did not make this. I have a friend from church that recently started a business making and selling all sorts of things with vinyl. One day at church I told her that she might try monogramming cake carriers and she did!! Debbie did a great job with these. I love the polka dots and cute ribbon. To my knowledge these have been a hit. Of course, I had to get one for myself and I love it!! I've said this so many times in a blog, but if I had a Cricut, I could have made it myself. I've just got to get one! Anyway, these would make great gifts for the baker in your life. I gave one to my grandmother for Christmas. I told her to watch out when she takes a cake to church because everyone's gonna want her cake carrier. I'm sure everyone will still enjoy the delicious cakes that are brought to potlucks in this, but the cake transportation might give it a little competition!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Laci's First Audition

I feel like I've been super busy the past couple days. Maybe I'll have some new posts(with pictures) for you to look at soon. Today, part of my schedule includes taking Laci to her first guild auditions for piano. They are called auditions, but she is actually just being judged. Not sure why they call it an audition. She will play two pieces from memory. You can play up to fifteen pieces, but she's only been taking lessons for seven months so two is quite enough for her. She has them down pretty well and does a great job!She is excited to get her music club fraternity pin for playing her pieces. So, no matter how she is judged, I know she's practiced hard and done her best! That is what matters.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Family Home Evening-Treat

It's the last day of my Family Home Evening installments so I thought I would end with a treat. Let's face it, the treat is probably the most anticipated thing. It could be just about anything, too;ice cream, brownies, fruit salad, pudding, etc. I think it's fun to see the kids make the treat when it's their turn to do it. I usually end up helping them a little with it if it has to be cooked, but they do a great job. With this particular treat above, Orange Icee, they helped put each ingredient into the blender. This icee is so simple and it's a cold, refreshing treat. You can get the recipe below. Also, visit my "recipes" section for more treat ideas.

Orange Icee
1/2 of a 12-oz. can frozen orange juice concentrate
1 c. milk
1/2 c. water
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 c. sugar
16 large ice cubes

Put all of the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Serves 3 to 5 people.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Family Home Evening- Activities

I'm continuing this week's Family Home Evening theme with activities. This is the part that my kids always want to get to. The really fun part! Their are so many activities you can do with your family. I think the important thing is that you are doing something together with all of your family. We've done all kinds of things for our activity, but here are some of them; play outside, make a craft, decorate cookies, board & card games, take treats to neighbors and friends, and yard work. One of our favorites is the Don't Eat Pete game that I have pictured in this post. The one above we received as a Christmas gift from friends. It's very nice, cute and laminated, so it will hold up well. It also has the directions printed on the back.

To play Don't Eat Pete, you use a small food item like Cheerios, M&M's, raisins, etc. and place one piece on each person. You pick one person to be "it" and then have that person go out of the room or hide their eyes while the rest of the group picks a person on the board to be Pete. Let "it" start to eat the food one piece at a time, when he goes to eat the piece that is on Pete everyone yells "Don't Eat Pete!" It is a cute game that my whole family likes to play!

We first played this game when my son was 2. A friend down the street made a game board(the one pictured at the bottom of the post) and gave them out at church and that's when we first played it. My son was "it" and finally got to Pete after eating almost every little Cheerio on the board. My husband and I said "Don't Eat Pete" and it scared him so bad! Poor little guy. He cried so bad and we ended the game. Luckily, their was no long term "Don't Eat Pete" trauma. He's 10 now and he gets excited when we play it. That game is just one of our favorites. Another one is "Hide The Thimble." Pretty simple. Just get yourself a thimble, send one person out of the room while another person hides the thimble, and then let the person come back in to find the thimble. A fun one!! I will also link you to a past post of the Candy Bar Game, which is another fun one! Enjoy those activities and have fun with your family!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Family Home Evening- Lessons

I'm continuing the Family Home Evening theme today with lessons or should I say ideas on where to get your lessons. When your kids are all different ages(mine are 2,6 and 10) it can be tricky to find ones that actually get their attention. Can't say that I've found the secret to that, but I have learned that even when you think they are not listening they might just surprise you with what they got out of it. I know this has happened to me. In the pic above are some of the resources we get our FHE lessons from; The Family Home Evening Resource Book, The Friend magazine, scriptures and pre-made lessons. Of course their are lots more resources than that, ie. internet, lesson manuals,or those you already have in your head,and etc. We've used the FHE resource book for many, many lessons and the kids really like the stories and ideas in The Friend. My husband is great at scripture stories so a lot of the time when it's his turn for the lesson he will do a scripture story with pics or have the kids act it out. That gets them involved and into the lesson and they usually like that. When it is their turn for the lesson, we try to give them ideas if they don't already have one. I have to say the gospel art picture kit is a great way to help them give their lessons. Although, our Trent man, who is 10, comes up with his own thing sometimes. I vividly remember a lesson he gave about making good choices and relating it to Star Wars and the dark side. That was right up his alley since he is a Star Wars fanatic. I'm really glad he got the correlation between the two. Another thing we have used is felt scripture stories and our felt board. A little something different.FHE is also a great time to have lessons on fire safety, an emergency plan, good manners ,etc. Now, I don't want you to think we always have nice, planned out , perfect little lessons cause we do not. We do try to plan, but even the best plan sometimes fails. Ours are usually short to hold their attention because we know they are really looking forward to the activity.

The lesson pictured above is from a group I was once in and we made lessons for everyone in the group. In this particular group their were 5 of us so we made 5 lessons. One for ourselves and one for everyone else. We included a song, lesson or story, treat recipe, visual aids for the lesson and some included a scripture. I really enjoyed this and still pull out those lessons and use them. The one above is about self worth. It is really cute. It talks about how we are all different , but have characteristics that make us special. I loved her little shape people cut outs, too. Some things I would suggest about an FHE lesson group is just to make sure the lesson isn't too involved or too long, document where you got your lesson or information, and make sure you read over the lessons you receive to make sure everything is accurate. You don't want to teach your family something you may not agree with or something that is false. So that's an important one to me. I know for us, having FHE and lessons can be hectic , but I know we will blessed for doing it anyway. What are some of your favorite lessons?

Monday, April 12, 2010

Our Family Home Evening Board

It's Monday, so that means it's Made By You Mondays time at Skip To My Lou. Today I want to share our family's FHE (Family Home Evening )board that I made. This would also be a great time to tell you that this week I'll be featuring different FHE ideas;lessons, activities and treats. So, stop by for a look.

Now on to the board. These might be old news for some, but I realized I had never featured this on my blog. If you're not familiar with Family Home Evening, it is a night that members of our church set aside each week, usually a Monday night, to spend time with their family. No ballgames, no practices, etc. Just spending time with the family. It usually consists of a little lesson, song, activity and some sort of refreshment or treat. My kids always look forward to Monday nights!

To make our board,which hangs in the kitchen and helps us keep up with which persons turn it is to do different things, I purchased vinyl with the title "Family Home Evening and sub-titles"conduct, song, prayer, lesson, activity and treat."I also got our names printed twice. You'll notice that mom is the only one with two jobs up there. Gotta change that! I bought an inexpensive board from Lowe's and cut it to fit the title. Luckily, I found the pegs and small wood tags our names are on in the clearance section for $1 a pack on the clearance isle at our Wal-Mart.I sanded, spray painted , drilled holes for the pegs, and then glued them in. I tied on some ivory grosgrain ribbon to hang the tags by and then attached two picture hangers to the back . Did I mention I did all of it without my husband's help! The whole board,including vinyl, pegs,paint,etc. cost about$25. I thought that was pretty good. We've had other FHE things in the past,wheels,posters,which worked fine, but I thought this would last us a long time and to top it off it's pretty! The kids look forward to moving the tags for next week's FHE! Stop by this week to see more ideas!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

My Favorite Banana Bread Recipe

Finally! I have found THE recipe for banana bread. I've tried quite a few of them and none of them were the IT recipe, but this one has become my favorite. I love banana bread and all the recipes I've been through are okay, but they're just too dry or not very flavorful until I pulled out the awesome Southern Living cookbook. I tweaked their recipe for Banana Loaf to my liking and have been using the recipe since. The bread is moist, has that nice little crunch on the top and you can actually taste that yummy banana flavor. Mmmmm. A warm piece of bread right out of the oven with butter is just sooo good! I can taste it now! Get the recipe below.

Banana Loaf
adapted from Southern Living cookbook
1 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 c. sugar
1 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 c. vegetable oil
1 tsp. vanilla
2 ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 to 1 c. chopped pecans

Mash bananas in large bowl of electric mixer. Mix in oil, eggs and vanilla. Add first 5 ingredients to wet mixture. Mix well. Add pecans. Pour batter into a greased 9x5x3 loaf pan. Bake at 350 for about 1 hour or until a cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes;remove from pan and cool on a wire rack. Yield: 1 loaf

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Store It In Style

Here's a little something for all of you that like to mod podge. Embellished storage boxes. Isn't this box just so cute?! For the record, it is not my idea or project. My friend, Renee, that recently moved made this cutie. She also made one that housed a baby gift for my youngest daughter which you can scroll down and see.

To make the embellished boxes, she used a photo/video storage box from Hobby Lobby, measured and cut out scrapbook paper and then used Mod Podge to adhere it to the box with a coat on top, as well. Think of all the possibilities with the many different scrapbook papers that are available. Renee also used her Crop-a-dile to embellish the one she gave me with colored eyelets. Another cute and crafty touch. You could coordinate the boxes with just about any room decor or theme,too. They're a great way to store toys, books, small dolls, hats and more. You could also use it as a gift box as she did for my baby gift. I'm sure the recipient would be very pleased to get something that doubles as storage. We can all use more storage. Have fun mod podging!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Rice Krispy Candy Nests

Hope you all had a wonderful Easter weekend. We sure did. We got to spend time with my mom and dad on Saturday, which was fun. The kids had a good time hunting eggs and getting all those goodies in their Easter bucket from Nana and Granddad. It was also nice to watch the General Conference of our church. It always lifts me up and feeds my spirit. A great way to end an enjoyable Easter weekend.

Now, on to these little nests. I know Easter is over, but I thought I'd show them anyway. I first saw this idea in last year's Easter edition of Paula Deen magazine and knew I wanted to make them. So when my son's school sent home a paper saying they were having a bake sale to benefit Relay For Life and were asking for goodies, I knew these would be a great item.I tried to make the packaging attractive as well so my item would stand out and say "buy me." I placed each one in a plastic baggie with the little zipper part on the top cut off, stapled on a label and added a cute ribbon. I was happy with finished product. Not sure how well they sold because I couldn't attend the sale, but I hope they made a little money for a good cause. Get the recipe below.

Rice Krispy Candy Nests
adapted from Paula Deen magazine
6 cups Rice Krispy cereal
3 Tbsp. butter or margarine
10.5 oz. bag marshamallows
1 bag Cadburry Robin Eggs
pat of butter for greasing pans

Lightly grease 24 muffin cups with butter. Melt 3 Tbsp. butter in large pot over low heat until melted. Pour in marshmallows and stir until smooth. Remove from heat and stir in cereal. Mix well. With clean and buttered hands, put about one handful of mixture into each muffin cup and make a little well or indention in center for candies.Place 3 robin eggs in center of each nest.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Easter Cookies

Yesterday was Laci's Easter egg scavenger hunt at school. Her teacher asked if I would make cookies for the kids to eat after their hunt. You know I love to bake so my answer was yes! I thought this might be a good time to decorate some sugar cookie cut-outs with royal icing. The first time I have ever done this. I saved myself a little work and just used a sugar cookie mix and then cut them out with my egg shaped cutter. I used a meringue powder icing recipe I found here at the Joy of Baking site. She has a regular royal icing recipe using egg whites and the meringue powder one which, like the name says, uses meringue powder instead of raw egg whites. I divided up my icing, colored it and filled piping bags to outline and "flood" the cookies.I'm a little on the fence about the whole royal icing decorating. They turned out good, tasted good and the kids loved them, but they are time consuming. I think these types of cookies might just be "holiday" cookies for me. Maybe at Christmas, Halloween or a birthday. Overall they were a hit. I also made my regulars, Chocolate Chip with holiday M&M's. Can't go wrong with those.

These little bunnies enjoyed finding their eggs throughout the school. It was a fun alternative to a regular egg hunt.

I look forward to a great Easter weekend and while the eggs, bunnies and baskets are all fun, I remember my Savior and try to teach my little family that He is the reason we celebrate Easter. I'm thankful that He atoned for my sins and was ressurected. I know He lives and loves us. Happy Easter.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Easter Sand Buckets

This year instead of an Easter basket, we are giving our kids an Easter sand bucket. I know,right. We're mixing it up and living on the edge. Hahaha!! Since we will be going to the beach in June, I thought, "why not?". We just store away their baskets,which, don't get me wrong, are always fun for the kids, but Easter is the only time they get used. My kids don't really care what the Easter goodies are housed in. They are just excited to get something fun for them. That said, the buckets will get a lot of use at the beach in a couple months.

I found these buckets with shovel at Wal-Mart for $1 each. My kind of price. Then I personalized each one by painting the kids' names on them with white acrylic paint. I'm not counting on the paint to stay on the buckets once the kids start playing with them. If I had a Cricut, which I SO want,or some other cutting tool, I would have used vinyl for their names and they would stay on longer. Use what you have, right. I then filled the buckets with goodies and a few small toys. I try not to go overboard because I know they will have had about 3 egg hunts,with candy, plus an Easter basket from Nana and Granddad by the time they even get their buckets on Easter Sunday. I hope they will like this fun bucket and look forward to using it at the beach!

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