Friday, May 6, 2011

Mother's Day Ribbon Banner

If you know me at all, you know that my favorite crafts take just a few "ingredients". This one calls for a couple sheets of accent scrapbook paper, 3 sheets of colored cardstock (or less), a coordinated ribbon (I prefer grosgrain), a 3 inch circle punch, 2 inch scalloped circle punch, double sided tape, a stapler and a computer printer.

My accent paper is Sandylion/Disney 'Mini Flowers' design (RMDWSCB83, the same I used for my Paper Pyramid favors). For the cardstock, I chose bright pink, peach and yellow. Then I printed the letters of "Happy Mother's Day" on all three sheets, using capital letters in the Diamond font at font size 54. Don't forget to add an apostrophe after the letter 'R'!

The 3 inch accent circles get stapled to the ribbon, then the cardstock circles attach to the 3 inch circles with double sided tape, covering the staple.

The ribbon loop at the top of the hanging ribbon is not a knot (hee hee). I cut a separate piece of ribbon, about 7 or 8 inches, and made a figure eight with it (stapling its center), then tucked the hanging ribbon over that staple.

Hang one in the doorway of a mom you love:
I folded my banner and tucked it inside a cardstock favor box from Dollar Tree (8/$1) and put on a few foam flower stickers to fancify it.
I leave you with my favorite quotation on motherhood, by Mildred B. Vermont:
Being a full-time mother is one of the highest salaried jobs, since the payment is pure love.

Happy Mother's Day to all you great moms out there!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Two Dulcet Darlings

This weekend, with both days with heavenly temperatures in the high 70s/low 80s, we took the girls to our first Renaissance Festival. There was the requisite headlining act of jousting between two noble knights,

an array of sideshow street performers throughout the day - aerialists, jugglers, contortionists,

a petting zoo and an exhibit of rescued birds called 'Parrots of the Carribean'.
The most thrilling part of the event is that we met ROYALTY! The rest of the world can "ooh" and "aah" over William and Kate in London, but my two daughters were rubbing elbows with King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn right here in the USofA!
I was not expecting them to be so cordial with us commoners. What was even more adorable was they had a little ceremony to induct all the fair maidens to become 'Princesses of the Realm'.

First, they had to learn how to properly curtsey to the queen.
Then the queen herself taught them the secret (shhh!don't tell!) poem for them to address their subjects:
"Elbow, elbow. Wrist, wrist...
Touch your crown, and blow a kiss."
The little lasses were so intent on the queen's instructions. They all wanted to get it right. (All except for one hungry maiden, who was NOT abandoning her roasted corn on the cob, even when the queen was handing out their princess proclamation scrolls.)
I hadn't heard the royal poem before. Maybe that's why my legion of two are so insolent! At least they still blew their 'Queen Mum' a kiss.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Eggs, Eggs, Everywhere

We are inundated with eggs!

Eggs to DYE

Eggs to PAINT

Eggs to EAT


Eggs to HUNT

A beautiful weekend with my beautiful girls. I hope you all have had a wonderful Easter.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Today's Inspiration IV: Apothecary-Style Candy Dish

Lots of apothecary-style candy dishes were prevalent leading up to Halloween last year, most notable the simple-as-can-be tutorial on Dollar Store Crafts. I'm not exactly what you would call "speedy", but I consider getting one assembled before a year has passed pretty good for me. Easter candy tastes just as good! Supplies: Covered Candy Dish, Candlestick and powerful glue.



I know they're not fancy but for just about $2 a piece, they are perfect. So, how many days before they're empty?!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Ingenious Eggs

Plastic eggs abound this time of year. We've got several dozen around the house already, and we haven't even attended an egg hunt yet. So, what to do with the abundance of eggs now that all the treats and trinkets have been consumed/stashed away? Try what my daughter's preschool teachers did:
There are single syllable rhyming words written on each egg that can be changed at the turn of the shell (jet/let/pet/get; top/hop/pop/stop; etc.). What was also clever was that since they didn't want one child picking up a half dozen "-at" eggs, they used markers to draw color coded dots at the bottom of each egg cup to be sure that each child received all the variations.

One of my most favorite bloggers, Lindsey at Filth Wizardry, has created her own version called a 'Spinny Speller' on which uses small-sized duplo blocks for each letter. Then for early readers, she uses stickers with sight words on the wider duplo blocks to construct sentences.

These eggs are just a simpler, less expensive way to accomplish the same result. A bag of eggs and a Sharpie. Doesn't get much easier than that.

So by the way, does anybody out there remember the jingle "The Incredible, Edible Egg"? Looking forward to eating some of the chocolate variety this weekend.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A McSorley's Initiation

Life is good when you get to gather with friends. Well, this trip was really about gathering with the hubby's friends. We were celebrating a milestone for him, after all. And what better place to celebrate than in NYC.
I have heard for YEARS about McSorley's. The fact their window advertises "We've been here since before you were born"; the sawdust covering the floor; the floor to ceiling eclectic array of memorabilia (including wishbones dating back to WWI); the crackers, cheese and pot of mustard tray; and of course, the half pints of beer they serve - light beer or dark are the only two beverage choices available - that are impressively served twenty at a time.  
So, this "saloon" has been in existence for 157 years. And, oddly, even though I attended high school just one block away from McSorley's, I had never partaken of the darks and lights until 2011. However, I have a deep, meaningful relationship with McSorley's since 2003, when I was pregnant with my first daughter, and together, we read this Joseph Mitchell book:  
In it, we found a perfectly fitting name for our daughter. Just like her turn-of-the-(20th)century predecessor, our turn-of-the(21st)century girl has a heart of gold, and hopefully a strong connection to the city her parents love. Cheers to my hubby's 40 years. I love you, honey!  

Friday, April 1, 2011

Four Basic Food Gr...What?!?

Don't you think every kid's lunch box deserves a little


Well, they do say it's non-toxic!

Alright, folks, go check your calendar. It's April Fool's Day!

Thought it was worth a little laugh. Hope you were able to pull off a few pranks before day's end, too. 

Monday, February 28, 2011

Seuss-inspired Daisy Gear

You've read 'Green Eggs and Ham' and 'The Cat in the Hat', but can you name another even rarer than that?

We are certainly BIG fans of Dr. Seuss in this household,
but we share a special fondness for this little-known work written by Theodor Seuss Geisel: 
Daisy-Head Mayzie was written by Dr. Seuss in the 1960s, yet it was published posthumously. It was made into an animated special for Hanna Barbera cartoons back in 1995, and as I just discovered on Wikipedia, is being made into a Disney/Pixar film in 3D. Wow!

So, how would you like to be just like Mayzie and have your very own daisy sprouting up from your noggin?

It's simple! Gather a sheet of white poster board, some yellow cardstock, a green foam sheet, popsicle sticks, and white daisy-shaped die cuts. (I used a set of daisy paper coasters from the Martha Stewart collection.) Other necessary tools: scissors, scallop paper punch, packing tape, double sided tape, tacky glue, exacto knife, stapler.

1. Start by cutting bands from the narrow end of the poster board, close to 2" tall. This band should be wide enough to encircle the head of any child.

2. Use the scallop punch to cut two yellow card stock centers of the daisy, one for each side of the daisy. Use a thin strip of packing tape to attach the popsicle stick to the daisy base, then use double-sided tape to adhere the centers, with one center covering the top of the popsicle stick.

3. Cut a leaf shape for each daisy from the green foam. Use the exacto knife to cut a slit in the widest part of the leaf. Slide the leaf onto the popsicle.

4. Put a few drops of tacky glue at the base of the popsicle stick and press onto the poster board band. Reinforce with packing tape.

5. When all the daisy "stems" are attached to the bands, the bands can be sized and stapled around the heads of the children you are going to read Daisy-Head Mayzie to. Take a photo of their happy faces, then send it to me!

I hope you have an opportuny to pick up your favorite Dr. Seuss book and participate in Read Across America Day on March 2nd.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Sugar Cookie S'mores

Shhhh...don't tell our dentist!
With temperatures in the 70s this weekend, we grilled dinner out, and then of course we needed to roast some marshmallows over the warm coals afterwards.  

Since there seemed to be some leftover Valentine sugar cookies in the kitchen (and let's face it, you know there is never a shortage of chocolate at my house), I figured what better way to use them up than to make Sugar Cookie S'mores? 
Beats a run of the mill graham cracker s'more any day. Well, at least any day that tops 70 in February!
Added bonus: Sloppy melted chocolate smooches, and a five-year-old who uses her marshmallow on a stick as a fairy wand. Introducing my little Marshmallow Fairy. The sugar intake nearly did make her airborne. 

Monday, February 14, 2011

Cupid's Peppermint Truffles

Do calories count on Valentine's Day? I sure hope not, because these little beauties are WHOPPERS!

I hosted a children's cookie decorating party at my house last Friday and I wanted to make some special treats for the moms coming as well. I had never made Oreo truffles myself before, but I have savored *a few* at a friend's home.

I came upon a recipe for WHITE CHOCOLATE OREO TRUFFLES on and tweaked it a little. So here goes:
1 pkg. Oreos (or Newman's O's)
1 8 oz. block of cream cheese (Neufchatel or full fat, your choice)
1 12 oz. bag of white chocolate chips
1 Tbsp. canola oil
Wax paper
Sprinkles and toothpick "arrows" are optional.
Start by crushing the Oreos inside of the package. I did this just by using my hands, but you could use a rolling pin or other blunt instrument to help you get the job done if necessary. Next, blend them into the room temperature cream cheese by hand with a spatula. It will look very mushy, but don't worry.

Roll this mixture into 1 inch balls and place on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper. All of the handling can make the mixture become warm and difficult to keep its shape, so you may want to chill the mixture in its bowl to make it easier to form into balls. I was able to produce 34 truffle balls.

Place the cookie sheet in the refrigerator for at least a half hour before you begin to chocolate coat them.

When your truffle balls have chilled long enough, get your white chocolate coating ready. Place the 12 oz bag of white chocolate chips in a microwave proof bowl or pyrex measuring cup with the tablespoon of canola oil. Melt in the microwave in 30 second intervals until completely smooth.

Skewer each truffle ball with a frill-top tooth pick (I bought mine at Publix) and dip each one in the melted chocolate, spinning slowly to allow the excess chocolate to drip off.

Finally, sprinkle each truffle ball with a few Valentine hearts (mine came as a topping with a tub of Pillsbury frosting) before the chocolate hardens.

Serve on a fancy plate, and use a paper doily if you have one!

Any math geeks out there (like me) who are wondering about the full calorie count?
Full package of Oreos: 2100 cals
Full block of cream cheese: 560 cals
Full bag of white chocolate chips: 1680 cals
Full tablespoon canola oil: 120 cals
Total calorie count =  4460 calories
Yield: 34 White Chocolate Oreo Truffles,
making each truffle 131 calories each. Not really too bad...if you can manage to cosume only one!

Happy Valentine's Day, and I hope you enjoy somthing a little sweet with someone you love!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Snowcation (Day Five)

Yes, folks. We have made it to the end of the school week, effectively without sending the children to school. If you remember I reported we had five inches of snow Sunday night into Monday. Apparently according to my friend Christy, there is a standard ratio in Georgia that one inch of snow is equal to one day off from school. Or as I heard a Weather Channel meteorolgist report, "Five million people, five plows. You do the math." So yes, we were at home once again. Or were we?

NO! We broke free from our house arrest and we ventured out into the wild white yonder. No problems to speak of, except for a few shady areas where sunlight hadn't had a chance to fully melt away the ice pack.
The girls and I went out for lunch (Mmmmm, yummy burritos at Moe's) and then went on the hunt for more Rainbow Fairies books. My oldest just can't get enough of them, and I figure if she hasn't been in school all week but keeps pleasantly busy reading to herself, then I will do my part to keep her happy.
So with today's addition, 'Juliet the Valentine Fairy', that brings the count up to 10 that the girls own. The girls not only love to hear the stories and act out their own vignettes, they have also decided that the black and white illustrations inside the books are too mundane, so they have begun coloring the pages of the chapter books, too. That's a lot of mileage out of a paperback for $4.99 (or 75 cents if you're lucky enough to score one at a consignment store!).

Friday, January 14, 2011

Snowcation (Day Four)

OK, we're on to Day 4 of this snowy week. We've got to start getting creative to keep from going batty. Thankfully my two girls have deep wells of imagination, and they are proficient at entertaining themselves.

For instance, M is still getting a thrill out of her Rainbow Fairies books.
And B can find fun just in playing hairdresser to her Doggie and ballerina.
While I spent an hour 86-ing some of our expired pantry items (ew),
the girls were excited to decorate the remaining Hello Kitty cookies (purchased at the Target bakery) from M's birthday party. B's are the top two which were given pink grins and eyelashes; M's two have "rainbows" over Hello Kitty's head and a cherry pattern on her jumper.

We had some neighbors join us for indoor fun like making jewelry with pop beads and more hairdressing.
And now that our mail delivery has resumed (!), M was able to open a couple more gifts that were delayed by the storm.  
Our mail lady even paid us a compliment and said our driveway was the best clearing job she had seen by far. Do we own a shovel? Um, no. My husband dug through the garage and came up with a tile scraper he had bought at a home improvement store 3 years ago.
It's not meant to clear snow, but it sure beats a sheet of ice on our downhill driveway. Then again, he probably unearthed my ice skates while searching for the tile scraper, so maybe the sheet of ice would have been useful after all.