Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Baby Food Jar Snowmen {tutorial}

So last week we made lots of yummy treats, but now I’m sure you’re wondering what the heck to do with all of them (besides eat them yourself of course!). Well we turned ours into neighbor and friend gifts. I had seen various versions of baby food jar snowmen floating around Pinterest but to be honest I never clicked or even repinned one. But here is my version:

baby food jar snowmen

Supplies Needed:

  • 3 cleaned baby food jars
  • White spray paint
  • Black spray paint
  • Black and orange acrylic paint
  • Strong glue, like E-6000
  • Scraps of Christmas fabric

Step 1: Paint one of the lids black and the other two lids white. Let dry.

Step 2: Put the lids back on the jars. On the jar with the black lid use the end of the handle of a small paintbrush to put two black eyes and 5 small black dots to make a smile. Dip the end into the orange. Place it on the glass and draw a line. This will automatically make a carrot looking shape.

Step 3: On one of the white lidded jars put 3 black dots going down.

Step 4: Fill each jar with your yummy treats. Did you miss any?

Find the Peanut Butter Chocolate Fudge here

Find the Thrasher’s Candy here

Find the Candied Pecans here

Step 5: Glue each jar to the next. Tie a strip of fabric around the middle jar like a scarf. Give to your friends and neighbors!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Just Dance Disney Party {review}

Thank you to Ubisoft for sponsoring this post. Please click here to learn more about Ubisoft. I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective. #UbiChamps

I generally feel like most video games are geared towards older kids. It can be really difficult to find games that are intended for my daughter and her cousin, ages 3 and 5. But at the same time, I don’t want my kids sitting on their bums playing all day. I’d rather they be active. So guess how super duper excited I was when I was asked to review Just Dance Disney Party for the Wii?

We took it over to my parents house for Sunday dinner so the whole family could play. Unfortunately the whole family didn’t get a chance…because Mackenzie and Skylar were too busy playing it themselves! This game is definitely a winner in their eyes. I asked Skylar (aged 5) if she liked it:

“um…a lot.”

Well folks, from the mouths of babes right?

No, but in all seriousness I have to say I was very impressed with this game. The girls recognized about half the songs on the list, with the other unknown simply because they came from Disney channel original shows that they aren’t familiar with, but kids a little older definitely would be.

just dance disney for the wii review

I had been a little concerned that this might go over the head of my 3 year old, but after helping her with the first couple songs, she got right into it and was able to follow along and earn stars all on her own. Many of the more well known songs had simpler choreography making it easier for younger children to follow along. And bonus! the lyrics to all the songs were at the bottom so kids can sing along as well. Plus the girls loved that the dancers were kids just like them and they had costumes that fit the characters they were portraying.

just dance disney review

Though the menu was a little much for Mackenzie, Skylar was able to pick up it fairly quickly and work it all by herself. Most of the menu options were represented by pictures, so you really didn’t need to be able to read. I do have to say, that though it is intriguing and fun that there are so many language options for each song, I would have preferred not to have select English every time I selected a song. Though, who knows, there was probably an option for this and we just didn’t see it.

just dance disney

Overall I have to say that we love Just Dance Disney Party. I love that it gives the girls something to play over at Grammy’s house on the Wii (before this my daughter honestly thought the Wii was just good for Netflix). Plus it’s active and engaging. Even when we didn’t have remotes, the adults were having fun dancing along. And apparently Skylar has asked to play the game every single day when she gets home from school! This is a great game for families with kids of all ages and will be joining our family activities on a regular basis.

Looking for a copy for yourself? You can find them at Amazon or Toys R Us. Just Dance Disney is also available for the X Box Kinect! Hurray!

Disclosure: I received Just Dance Disney Party to review. All opinions are 100% mine. No other compensation was given.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Candied Pecans {recipe}

Many of you may not know, but I have a humongous pecan tree in my backyard. Last year we didn’t get a single pecan. I blame the drought. But this year…oh man. In September one of pecan limbs actually broke and busted the lattice on our porch from the weight of so many pecans. I feel like I’ve been swimming in pecans. And I don’t like pecans. Yep. So of course I had to find a recipe that would use my plethora of pecans and that I would actually be willing to eat. And I did. Oh my goodness these things are addicting. I found the original recipe here.

candied pecans

Ingredients:

1 egg white
1 Tbs water
1 lb pecan halves (I actually have pieces in mine too since I cracked them myself and they work just fine)
1 cup sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 250*. Grease one cookie sheet. Beat egg white and water until frothy. Stir pecans into egg white until completely coated.

In a separate bowl mix sugar, salt, and cinnamon (I actually mixed them in a gallon sized ziplock). Toss the coated pecans in the sugar mixture to coat.

Spread pecans onto greased baking sheet and bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. This is very important. If you don’t stir, your pecans will stick to your sheet and will be very difficult to remove.

Let cool a little and then try to eat just one!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Thrasher’s Candy {recipe}

Today’s recipe comes courtesy of my in-laws. It’s one of my husband’s all time favorite holiday treats and there isn’t a Christmas that goes by that doesn’t include Thrasher’s Candy. Now you’re probably wondering what the heck it is. Well, it’s kind of a peanut butter corn flake candy. And super yummy.

Thrasher's candy recipe

Ingredients:

1 cup Karo syrup
1 cup sugar
2 cups peanut butter
5 cups corn flakes

Boil together the Karo syrup and the sugar. Remove from heat and add the peanut butter and corn flakes. Drop by tablespoon (mine are smaller in the picture so they could fit in baby food jars) onto wax paper lined cookie sheets and let cool.

And that’s it! Seriously! It’s so easy to whip up a batch. Enjoy!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Easy Peanut Butter Chocolate Fudge {recipe}

How could I let the holidays go by without posting at least a few things??? Especially when I have some tasty treats to share. See, my husband’s family always makes lots and lots of yummy treats for the holidays. When I married him, I happily adopted that tradition. We love to make some of his family favorites, as well as a few recipes of our own. This one is from our own kitchen, from a cookbook I have called 101 Things to do with a Potato. Yes, that is where I found the recipe for our super duper easy fudge. I sometimes call it my secret ingredient fudge.

chocolate peanut butter fudge recipe

Ingredients:

1 package (12 oz) milk chocolate chips
2 Tbs milk
1 c chunky (I actually use creamy) peanut butter
1/2 c warm plain mashed potatoes (this is about 1 small potato)
1 tsp vanilla
4 c powdered sugar
1/4 c chopped peanuts (optional)

Instructions:

In a nonstick saucepan, melt chocolate chips with milk over low heat, stirring constantly. Once completely melted, remove from heat and immediately stir in peanut butter, potatoes, and vanilla until smooth (the smoother you mash your potatoes the smoother your mixture will be). Stir in powdered sugar, one cup at a time.

Press fudge into a 8 x 8 or 9 x 9 pan. The recipe says to grease the pan but I would recommend using wax paper instead. The oil tends to get into the fudge while you’re pressing the fudge down, making it really greasy. Sprinkle with peanuts if desired. Cover and chill 2-3 hours. Cut and serve.

chocolate peanut butter fudge recipe

Now you can keep it all for yourself or share some with your friends! On Friday I’ll be sharing how I gave away my treats this year! Stay tuned for another yummy recipe tomorrow!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

The One Where I Explain Why I’m Taking a Step Back…

As you may have noticed, my posts have been a little sparse as of late. I have decided to take a step back from blogging for a little while. I don’t think it will be permanent, but I don’t want to put a specific time limit on my hiatus.

You might be asking, but why? (Or you might not care at all) Well I’ll try to explain the best I can.

When I first began blogging I really enjoyed it. I looked forward to writing every post and I loved seeing my numbers grow. It brought a lot of fulfillment to my life. I’ve always loved teaching (I was one before I became a stay-at-home mom) and I loved that through my tutorials I was teaching people. Plus I had always loved writing lesson plans and I felt like I was still continuing that through both my tutorials and my Mommy School.

However, lately, I have not felt that way. Instead my blog has almost become a chore to me. And I think my readers deserve better than a blogger who is doing it simply because she feels obligated. I started falling behind on posts and it was stressing me out, but I still couldn’t quite find the motivation to write. Not a good combination.

Now, my life has gotten a little busier lately, and I’m sure that’s contributed. I started taking care of a little baby boy, so having a 3 year old, 8 month old, and 8 week old takes a lot more time. I felt like I wasn’t being the type of mom and caregiver I wanted to be. I was always focused in what I needed to get done on the computer or what project needed to be photographed, finished, edited and blogged about. These past few days I’ve hardly thought about blogging at all. I knew I needed to write this post, but I wasn’t stressing about it. Instead I’ve been a lot more focused on my kids. I’ve noticed a huge difference in the way I treat my daughters and I think that there is all the explanation I should have to give as to why I’m taking a step back.

When I was discussing taking a step back with my ever-supportive husband he asked me what the drawbacks were. I explained that the biggest downside to me was that I felt like I was letting you, my readers, down. I mean, I haven’t even finished the Mommy School series. And my absolute favorite comments and emails I get are the ones telling me that I helped them. And that’s why I can’t say I’m giving up for good. However, when I do resume, it will be because I want to and I’m excited to, not because I feel like I have to.

I do want y’all to know that I have updated my tutorials page to include pictures. Hopefully this will make navigating past tutorials a little easier. I will eventually be doing this with my recipe page as well.

Thanks so much for understanding. I may check in here and there on my Facebook page. Also, thank you for being such fabulous readers, and I hope to see you all again!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Memory Quilt {tutorial}

A little over a year ago my brother got married in Florida. And this past week I finally finished his wedding present. Cause I’m that awesome. It’s also possibly because I got pregnant the week after his wedding, but whatever. At any rate, I had wanted to make something really personal to my brother and his bride. So I decided to make a memory quilt. It’s super easy, even if you know nothing about quilting (which I don’t). Plus it makes a great keepsake for any special occasion.

Supplies Needed:

  • White cotton fabric cut into squares (mine were 1” but you could go smaller. Totally your preference)
  • Batting
  • Fabric for the back (I pieced together some plain purple. I chose not to go patterned so the focus would be on the squares)
  • Fabric markers and crayons

Step 1: First you need to get all your squares filled out. I set out the squares with the markers and crayons at both my sister-in-law’s bridal shower and their actual wedding. They had a small wedding so if I had just done it then I might not have had enough squares! The guests had lots of fun writing notes, coloring pictures, etc. Just make sure they know to leave a 1/4-1/2” space around the edges.

Step 2: Decide how you want to piece it together. I laid out all the squares and then rearranged them to how I thought would look best.  And yes my white fabric actually had polka dots. I like the extra oomph it added.

personalized memory quilt

Step 3: After laying out my fabric I decided that I needed to break up the squares a bit. So I grabbed some of the purple fabric and cut strips the width of my yardstick. Starting with the first horizontal row I put a strip of purple to the right side of the farthest left square. Pin, sew, press. Then I repeated until I had the entire row connected with purple strips, creating one nice long row. Repeat for all the rows.

personalized memory quilt

Step 4: Now cut some nice long strips the same width. Connect the horizontal rows with these strips. Pin, sew, press. Here’s what the front looked like with all the pieces sewn together:

personalized memory quilt

Step 5: Cut your batting to be about an inch larger than the front on all sides. Now cut your backing fabric to be about an inch and half larger than that (I had to sew a couple pieces together to get the size I wanted. I just sewed right sides together then press open. Place the backing fabric down first, right side down. Next place the batting. Finally the front, right side up. Now for the edging. I tried to make this really easy on myself because I am not a quilter. I simply folded the backing in about a half inch, then folded in again a little over an inch, making for it overlapped the front of the quilt. I pressed the folds in place and pinned all the layers together. Then I sewed. Make sure you get all four layers in when you sew (folded back piece, front, batting, back). For the edges I simply sewed the bottoms first, then folded the sides and sewed, as seen in the picture.

personalized memory quilt

I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out and what’s more important is that the bride and groom are too!

personalized memory quilt

Now the (somewhat) newlyweds can snuggle together with memories of their wedding.

So what are some of your favorite personalized gifts to make?

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