Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Washcloth Cupcakes

Good afternoon cupcake lovers! Guess what? Pressed Down, Shaken Together is having a month long cupcake party in July!! Isn’t that a GREAT idea for a link party!?! I linked up my Watermelon Cupcakes there and then remembered I made these cuties a while back {before I had a blog} for a dear friend’s baby shower!

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{This was one of my favorite gifts to make!} The bummer is – I don’t have any “how to make them” pictures from the shower… but I can tell you quickly & easily!

{HOW – TO MAKE YOUR OWN WASH CLOTH CUPCAKES}

YOU WILL NEED:

2 infant washcloths {I bought them in colors that coordinated with the baby’s room}
3 rubber bands per cupcake {Any color – but I like the outer rubber band to match the color of the cupcake liner I’m using, so I used white!}
Toothpicks
Red Pom Poms {Or any color you like, but red looks like cherries!}
Hot Glue

STEPS:

1. Fold the 1st wash cloth in half and roll tightly. {This will be your INNER washcloth}

2. Rubber band it together.

3. Fold the 2nd washcloth in half and roll it carefully around the first washcloth, {Facing the SAME WAY} just a little looser than the first. *Remember that the FOLD of the cloths need to be on the same side and also be on top to end up as the top of your cupcake!{You’ll figure out the balance you like, and after that, it’s easy.} I usually had to “Fluff up” the center of the inner cupcake a bit to give it that frosting appeal.

4. Rubber band it together. {Optional – use pins instead of rubber bands for the 2 washcloths. My friend also had a little girl, so I knew she would use the rubber bands. If you get really good at rolling you might be able to roll both washcloths and only secure it once on the outside with a rubber band.}

5. Place in coordinating cupcake liners and secure with a matching rubber band & set aside.

For the “Cherry” on top:
*Glue a red pom pom on top of a toothpick. Hold it carefully for several seconds until it dries then insert {carefully} into the center of your cupcake!

And voilĂ ! You’re done! You could go to a bakery and ask them for one of their half dozen or dozen “to go” cupcake boxes as a way to cutely wrap & gift these OR, like me, just place them gently on top of a gift basket:

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I hope you have someone to share these sweet cupcakes with! If you have any questions about how to make them - feel free to ask!! And don’t forget to check out ALL the cupcake love going on over at Pressed Down, Shaken Together!

Also linking up here: TATERTOTS and JELLO BEST OF 2011




Nothing But Country
Stay At Home Nation

Be Different Act Normal
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Monday, July 25, 2011

Good Deed Cards!

I am SO excited! The girls at eighteen25 created a punchable Good Deed Card! I am always looking for ways to build my kids' character, and these cards do just that!

When your child fills out the card, they get a treat! {i.e. Go out for ice cream, go out to eat at their favorite restaurant, etc.} I just made the bubble gum bribes jar which my boys already enjoy & is good for little moments & surprise rewards, BUT my favorite rewards are rewards that are FREE and that my kids are excited about such as: fill out a card = an extra 30 min. of video games or an extra 30 min. of staying up late! I can think of all kinds of other punch cards too like - a potty-training punch card, a homework punch card, a chore punch card... you get the idea! Thanks again eighteen25! I can't wait to try these out with my boys!!! Click on the picture below to save and print your own:


What works for you? In what ways do you encourage your kids? 


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Some more S’mores Anyone?

There is a surprise hiding inside these Pillsbury Crescent Rolls. My boys and I have enjoyed our camping vacation and beach bonfires this summer SO much! In fact – they keep asking for s’mores!! {Not something so easy to do at home sometimes.} So, I saw a picture on Pinterest {love that site!} and decided to make my own crescent roll s’mores!

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{YOU WILL NEED}


  • Mini marshamallows
  • Chocolate chips {I used mini chocolate chips since I had some left over from the watermelon cupcakes I made -- see post below}
  • Pillsbury Crescent Rolls
  • {Optional} Melted butter and granulated sugar

{STEPS}

1. Unroll the crescent roll dough

2. Place on center of roll mini marshmallows and chocolate chips. {To taste} TRUST ME ON THIS: the more marshmallows & chocolate you can fit in the better! The marshmallows seem to dissolve as they cook, so pile them on!! {Put about twice as much as I put on in this picture}

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3. Carefully roll the crescent roll like you normally would, being very careful not to lose any marshmallows or chips! You may need to pinch the crescent roll closed along the way – and you will definitely need to pinch it closed when you’re done:


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4. {Optional} Brush melted butter on top of each crescent roll and then sprinkle about an 1/8 tsp. of granulated sugar on top of each roll. {Next time, I'll probably sprinkle some graham cracker on top too so it is AUTHENTIC s'mores flavor! -- hind site is always 20/20} :)

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5. Bake according to the crescent roll directions. When they’re done, they should have this nice light golden brown glow:

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and when you open them, they should be full of yumminess!

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{Which, they WERE, except like I was telling you before, I feel like I could have easily double the chocolate and marshmallows inside!!}
BUT, the final product was still SUPER MOIST and delicious! And the true test was my 10 year old son had a friend spending the night, so I put out the full plate…

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and this is what it looked like 2 minutes later:

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I’m so glad little man and I tried one first!! I forget sometimes how much {and how quickly} 10 year old boys eat! lol
But these were so easy, fun and delicious, I’ll definitely be making lots of versions of these stuffed croissants this summer! What kinds of summer treats do you make for your growing boys? {or girls!} I’d love to hear from you!

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Linking up here:
Making Monday Marvelous Linky Party
Todays Creative BlogTip Junkie handmade projects
Stay At Home Nation My  Favorite Things Friday Link Party!
Nothing But Country

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Watermelon Cupcakes!

Who loves watermelon?!? We do! The real thing AND these cool cupcake imitations! Summer is the perfect season for watermelon and if you want to try something new or need to bring something to share to a summer picnic – these cupcakes won’t disappoint!

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{EASY HOW – TO DIRECTIONS}:

You will need:

  • 1 box pink cake mix {I used Pillsbury Moist Supreme Strawberry Cake Mix}
  • 2-3 Eggs, oil & water according to cake mix box directions
  • 1/2 a bag of mini chocolate chips {I used Nestles Semi Sweet Chocolate chip morsels}
  • Green frosting {You can usually buy pre-made green decorating cake frosting – it comes in a spray can with its own decorating tools. OR you can make your own using your favorite vanilla/buttercream frosting recipe and green food coloring.} I’ve make these cupcakes both ways, and for this post I used the frosting from the can because it was for a last minute party & the can was easier. {I’m all about easy!}

{STEPS}

1. MIX the cake according to the box directions.
2. ADD about 1/2 the bag of mini chocolate chips and mix WELL.
3. Pour into cupcake cups – fill cups about 3/4 of the way full.
4. Bake according to the instructions on the box.
5. Once the cupcakes have cooled completely, pipe green frosting onto cupcakes and don’t be shy!
6. Enjoy!!!

I wish I had taken some pictures of steps along the way, but I think you get the idea! {Like I said – it was a last minute idea for a party!} BUT, they were a big hit! Here are a few more pictures of the cupcakes all dressed up:

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Little man {aka camera ham} is always willing to test mommy’s creations! <3

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And again…
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Thanks for checking out my blog! Let me know what you think or if you’ve tried these cupcakes! I’d love to hear from you!

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Linking up here:

Making Monday Marvelous Linky Party
Todays Creative BlogTip Junkie handmade projects
Cupcake Month!
Stay At Home Nation's My Favorite Things Friday Link Party!
Nothing But Country - Creative Creations Tuesday

Friday, July 22, 2011

Dear Life…

Dear Life, 

I have learned a lot from our walk this past 34 years. Like, how to tie my shoes, how to bake a cake and how to drive a stick shift. I’ve even learned some of the important things, like how to share, how to know when to listen and when to talk, and how to be a gracious winner {and loser}. It’s those losing moments that taught me the most though. In fact, if I had to do it over again, Life, I would probably write a few more letters:

Such as…

Dear Julie*, I’m sorry I put gum in your hair. I was young and stupid. 

Dear Matt, I’m sorry I stood you up at lunch that one time… I knew if I went I would marry you, and I wasn’t ready to have my life planned out for me yet. 

Dear Amber, I am sorry it has been so long since we talked. I know life {sorry Life} gets in the way, but I don’t know how weeks turned into months…and years so quickly... You are much too precious to me to throw away… 

Dear Kyle, I’m too good for you. No, I’m not being conceited. I was just too insecure at the time to realize how poorly you were treating me and I deserve better. {It took me a long time to be able to say that!} 


There would be good letters too though… 

Dear Kind Stranger, I will never forget that time when I lost my purse, and you held on to it, and answered my phone when I called. And waited, and waited, for me to find you. And not one penny was missing. 

Dear Kelly, thank you for being that friend that I could call at all hours of the night and in any time of need. You don’t know what those moments meant to me, even now. 

Dear boys. My boys. Thank you for your unconditional love, your forgiveness and tender hearts. You bring hope for the future and joy to my life. 

Dear Mexico, thank you for reminding me of the importance of HOME and to love my neighbors, near & far. 

Dear Malawi, thank you for completely humbling me and bringing me to my knees. You will always be in my heart. 

Dear Melanie, thank you for making me laugh uncontrollably and for showing me what it looks like to be a Godly woman and mother… everyone needs a YOU in their life… 

Oh Life, you shared a lot with me, but you didn’t tell me how complicated it would be!
I know that this was not the life I imagined for myself when I was young – but does it ever turn out exactly how we imagined? I get so ‘set’ on my plans I sometimes forget to look at God’s plan for my life. Because you know what? I am living out EXACTLY the life God imagined for me. And there is a lot of comfort in that. 

So, my philosophy going forward? Is to have this: 

Pure Grace –
Philosophy: one of the best tools for longevity and good health is not just taking a walk outdoors but taking your walk while holding the hand of God. When we walk in gratitude for each and every moment, we empower ourselves by empowering our spirits. When we breathe in nature through our eyes, ears and lips, we become certain that not only are our souls eternal, but that God knows how to manage our lives, our troubles, our worries and our days better than we do. So today and everyday “let go and let God.” 

I read that on a bottle of lotion. I swear. And it is fabulous! 

God has blessed me with 34 years, and by his grace I hope for {at least} 34 more. So Life, ready? Let’s walk, my friend. 

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{*All names have been changed of course. Even the good ones.}

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Sweet Rewards

 Most days my kids are pretty good. They help out around the house, use their manners and play well together. I’m a little old fashioned in that I think that kids are expected to do chores & such because they are part of the family and that rewards are for those moments when they go the extra mile or do something without asking. But let’s face it, sometimes kids need a little extra prodding and, maybe I’m relaxing in my old age, but for as often as I nag them about things, I need to remember to praise and {sometimes} reward them for those times when they are doing something RIGHT! So, thanks to the girls at eighteen25 and their free printable I made this cute little bubble gum jar! 

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Taking a piece from this jar could be a reward or, as it is cleverly written, a “Bubble Gum Bribe” in a moment when you need an extra job done! {My boys couldn't even wait for me to glue this on before they wanted to 'test' a treat from the jar!!} :)

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All you do is print this out on white card stock, cut it out {with scissors or a 3” circle punch.} and glue it in front of a cute ribbon or glue directly onto the jar. Mod Podge works as well! {AND PS – see that backdrop behind the jar? That’s a little sneak peek into a little redecorating I’m working on in the boys’ room!} Hee hee!

And if I’m keepin’ it real -- my boys have their not so mannered MOMENTS. {You know what I mean.} And for THOSE MOMENTS, there is also a printable for MOMS that says this:

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Ha!! I love it! In fact, I was in such a hurry to make it that I just taped it on the side to see what it looked like & left it there! So now, when my boys are {ahem} a little rambunctious, I can pull this out of the cupboard & flaunt it in front of them while I eat a treat enjoy a little treat recharge! ;o)

Ready to make yours? Click HERE for your own set of free printable bribe & stash tags! 
{Oh - there is also one final printable tag on this link that is for teachers! It says “Teacher’s Treats”, but I am WAY too into summer to think about school right now! But it would be a great idea for a back to school teacher gift!}

I love them all, but my favorite is the “Mom’s Secret Stash” because it’s so unique! Now that I have braces, I guess I’ll have to get creative with Mom treats. Any ideas? How about you? What’s in your stash?


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Monday, July 18, 2011

Summer Beach Camping Trip!

 With life so full and fast-paced nowadays, it is even MORE important to take time to REST! {Remember when God created the earth? What did he do on the 7th day? That’s right! He RESTED!} And we’re not even creating the earth. I’m lucky if I can create a clean house most days! But, it IS a reminder that even God thinks resting is important, and I’m not one to argue with God! So, my goal is to make sure that between summer cleaning and projects that the boys and I take as much time as we can to rest and do things together! SO, to start summer off right – we went camping!!! It was my boys’ FIRST TIME CAMPING! {Ever!} I had camped a lot growing up but have never had the chance to take my boys. So when opportunity {in the form of good family friends} knocked and asked us to go camping with them – we answered! It was an amazing time! And what is better than camping by the beach? {Not much, if you ask me} And hey – if ice cream is close by, you can’t really go wrong!

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Of course setting up the tent was job numero uno. Thankfully our friend Tod knew what to do and my son was old enough to help!

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All that hard work makes us hungry!

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{Hey, this camping stuff is pretty easy when you have friends who know how to set up tents and cook great food!!!} ;o)

But, of course, most of our time was spent at the beach!

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And what do most boys like to do? Dig holes!! This was the result of hours of hard work. {I wonder if I would get the same result if I needed a hole dug in my backyard??} :)

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One of the great things about beach camping, besides the beach, was that there were opportunities to do other things {like eat ice cream} …go on a bike ride

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and take part in the Junior Ranger program where the kids learned about the different types of animals in the ocean! Little man in particular enjoyed this morning!

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And we did A LOT of this:

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and this…

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Of course, no camping trip would be complete without a bonfire and s'mores!!

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Look at those JUMBO marshmallows my friend Valerie found!! 

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The only bummer about a vacation is having to end it! But, it was a great time, full of fun, rest and family bonding. 

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I’m so glad the boys loved their first camping trip! We can’t wait to go again! Where is your favorite place to go camping?

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End note: I was reminded today just how short and precious our time here on earth is and how important it is to cherish every moment I have with my two boys! They truly are a gift from God and I want to treasure every minute of time I have with them and raise them to His glory...
 "Pour out your heart like water in the presence of the Lord. Lift up your hands to him for the lives of your children..." Lamentation 2:19  xo
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