Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Cadbury Creme Egg Cupcakes

As a big fan of Cadbury Creme Eggs this time of year you can imagine my excitement to see this pin for Cadbury Creme Egg cupcakes!!


There weren't any details included with the original post, so I winged it and made regular cupcakes and put Cadbury Creme Eggs in the middle. First I put enough batter to hold them up, then I placed them in vertically.

Then I poured the rest of the batter over the Creme Eggs and decided to tilt them horizontally so they would be completely covered.

I baked them as usual, iced them with some spring icing and they turned out picture perfect! Then I carefully packed them into tupperware, and put them securely in the trunk so they wouldn't slide around as we headed to my folks house for Easter Brunch...

This is how they appeared upon arrival :( Apparently either my husband drove to my folks house like a bat out of hell (I don't remember feeling my life was at danger at any point on this trip) or the icing was pretty soft and I should have put these in the fridge overnight to make the icing harden a bit for transit. As much as I love to blame someone else for errors, I'm pretty sure this one was on me.

Oh well, the good news is they still tasted pretty good. Here's one cut in the middle so you can see how they turned out. Not quite as pretty as the one in the original picture (I'm wondering if they froze the eggs before baking or something) but you can still tell there is a Cadbury Creme Egg in there. I'm not sure how I'd rate these. Fun to say there's a Cadbury Creme Egg in your cupcakes at Easter, super easy to make... and tasty, but much tastier than a regular cupcake?? Eh... a little extra sugary crunch in the middle which was nice, but they didn't blow my socks off like the Jack and Coke Cupcakes I made a few months ago.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Easter Breakfast!


I found this adorable idea for an Easter Egg lunch on Pinterest. I tweaked the idea and made it a breakfast that was waiting for Andrew with his Easter basket when he woke up on Sunday morning. He had cheerios, yogurt drops and of course a little easter candy :) He thought it was fun to eat out of the eggs and had fun shaking them and then seeing what was inside. We even took a couple of them with us to church for snacks/entertainment. Loved this idea for this year and look forward to adding the hunt element next year.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Indoor Fort Kit


I saw this idea several months ago and thought it was such a great gift for a kid! When my friend's little man's 4th Birthday came up I knew what he was getting. An Indoor Fort Kit!

I ditched the super hero theme and went for a camping theme instead. I found this great fabric and got 4 yards of it (cut into two pieces) and used that instead of sheets. I found some black burlap and thought that would make a great rugged bag to keep it all in.

Then I assembled the rest of the contents, some clamps, a flashlight/glowstick/whistle, and a pack of glowsticks (not pictured).

Next I made a quick drawstring bag to neatly store the entire for when it's not being used, (I love toys that store easily) and the fort kit was good to go! It was a fun gift to give, especially since I found out he'd never built a blanket fort in his 4 long years! His favorite part was the glow stick/whistle but I think he'll have fun when he gets a chance to build the fort too!

Did This Button!

I so wish this button existed! Then I could simply click did this and move on to the next thing instead of being so far behind on my blog! In my defense, I haven't had time to blog because I've been so busy actually doing things I've pinned! Up next... what I've been doing for the last few weeks!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Busy Bag - Memory / Matching Cards


One of the moms in my playgroup came up with the idea of doing a busy bag swap. If you're a parent on pinterest you've seen a few hundred different ideas for busy bags, or small activities to entertain your toddlers. The challenge is, who has the time to make them all, let alone the money to buy all of the different types of supplies etc...? So her idea was to get a group of twelve moms together who would each pick a busy bag and make 12 of the same project to swap right before spring break. We all make a project for our kid (plus 11 copies of that project) and walk away with 11 new ideas for entertaining and educational activities to keep them entertained in the car, on a plane, or even at home on a rainy day!

I picked the Memory/Matching Cards. My reasons we two fold 1. It looked easy and like something I could complete quickly, and 2. Andrew has some small books with pictures on the front and he was playing a seek and find type of game with his wonderful nanny where he looked for the one with the duck on the cover, then the one with the ball etc... I figured these cards would be a hit. Instead of using the images on the cards in the pin I decided to create my own. I used some images that Andrew loves and knows the words for (duck, ta-reee, cat, dog, ball...) so that he would catch on to the game quickly and be enthusiastic about playing. I also tried to mix up the colors so that later I can ask him to find the green things (the tree and the turtle etc...). I put these images together in a publisher file and then created a back with question marks for each card. I printed these up, on a single sheet of paper for each set of cards and laminated each sheet then cut the cards. (Ok, to be honest, I had a few issues with the laminating along the way... I don't even want to go into it here because the mistakes I made are too absurd to admit publicly, and my attempted solutions to the perceived problems are even more ridiculous! I'll just give you one small tip that should not have taken me more than 24 hours to figure out... be sure that your laminator is on the highest appropriate heat setting for the thickness of lamination sheet you are using, and maybe run it through twice to be sure it's all good.) So like I was saying, just ran them through the machine and trimmed them up, easy peasy. After trimming them into squares I found the corners to be a little too sharp, so I rounded all of the edges. I highly recommend this, I tried to tough it out but kept getting poked and the rounded edges really are so much nicer feeling and looking. Oh, and I recommend using higher quality paper (maybe even card stock) and springing for the higher weight laminating sheets. Makes for much stronger cards in the end.

Andrew and I have had a lot of fun playing different games with these and I feel like they have a lot of room to grow into more games. Right now I place them all out on the table face down and he flips them over and tells me what they are. Sometimes we match them (working on that) and other times we play a version of 52 card pick up he's invented that he calls "24 card toss on the floor and go find the duck"... his favorite of all of the cards :) I also have a solid sheet that I laminated but never cut that I lay out like a placemat and we match the cards to the "board." I think we're working our way toward the traditional memory game and as I mentioned before we can identify colors etc... as we get further down the road. I put the cards in little drawstring gift bags that I had leftover from my wedding favors (who's a hoarder??) and they are a great size to toss in my purse to take to a restaurant while waiting for our food or for him to play with in the car. I'm really happy with how this project has turned out and may be making more as we master the items in this set. I'm not sure how to make the images I used downloadable on this blog, but if you want me to e-mail you the file just shoot me a message and I'm glad to share.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Toddler Distractor for Diaper Time


Technically this was called a Treasure Bottle by the initial pinner, but who am I kidding, the pom poms, glitter sequins and paperclips that I put in the bottle aren't exactly treasure. But the gold I'm looking for in this project is something to keep my toddler still and entertained for the minute I imagine it would take me to change his diaper if he would just hold still! He loves to play, jump around and generally be active... (I know so unlike most toddlers ;) I love this about him 99% of the time, but the giggling while he rolls over and tries to get up when I'm dealing with a dirty diaper is not so funny... fingers crossed that this works. I'll do an update tomorrow when I see how he reacts. (Side note, I'm using super glue to put the lid on instead of hot glue... gel super glue so holds super strong and fills all crevices... I'll update on those results as well).

UPDATE: The Toddler Distractor seems to be working! Andrew was very intrigued by it and content to sit still long enough to get on a clean pair of shorts! I think I put in a bit too much glitter because you can't really see anything else when it's all shaken up, but the glitter is very eye catching so I do recommend it. I also recommend something that will make a noise as it clinks back and forth in the bottle. The paper clips did that in my bottle and Andrew loved it! Negatives so far... because it's a water bottle he keeps trying to drink out of it... the lid is on very securely so I'm not too concerned. He also seems to enjoy chewing on the bottom of the bottle a bit. Worst case scenario he makes a small hole and we get a little glitter water on the floor... cheap fix, new bottle :)

UPDATE #2: Less than a week later Andrew is officially over the "Distractor" and has found the best way to communicate that is to immediately throw it on the floor... moved my toes just in time. Oh well, good idea in theory... I'm thinking my next attempt may be something made of cotton or feathers so there's less chance of injury when the newness wears off.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Jack and Coke Cupcakes!


A little over a month ago I made Blue Moon Cupcakes for a Superbowl party. They were good, but a friend at the party who shares our preference for Jack and Coke over beer said "you should figure out how to make Jack Daniels cupcakes next" little did he know the power of pinterest. I was on pinterest a day or two later when this recipe for Jack and Coke cupcakes came up! SHUT UP!!! Seriously? I pinned the receipe and planned to make them for next year's party. But then, this same friend had a baby and we planned to go visit and take dinner... what better for desert for new parents than cupcakes with alcohol? Yeah, I couldn't think of anything either so I whipped up a batch.

Of course when I say whipped up, it wasn't quite that simple... first there was shopping for the ingredients. I did a quick scan of the list and made a mental note of what I didn't already have and planned to go to the store later that day. Ran a few errands and found I had more time than I thought so figured I'd go to the store and surely I'd remember everything... not sure why I thought that, my memory is horrible... I guess I forgot. Got some wrong stuff, forgot other stuff, went home and realized back to the store it was.

This time I made sure I had the whole list with me. And while that helped a lot I think my general lack of cooking (particularly when it comes to things from scratch) hurt me a little bit. For example, unsalted butter? Never heard of it... the closest I could find was unsalted sweet butter, is that the same? If not it makes a good substitute because it's what I bought and used. Next up, preferably Dutch-process cocoa powder? Does Hershey have a cocoa powder plant in Holland? If not I'd say they make something pretty darned close, because that's what I used. Heavy cream... heard of that, figured easy enough... hm... the closest options I could find were organic heavy whipping cream, and whipping cream. I went with whipping cream, if that's not right it seemed to be a good substitute.

I made the cupcakes, filling and icing all in the same day. I had enough time, so not a big deal, but it wasn't a quick process. Well worth the effort though, they turned out AWESOME!!! The coke added to the cupcake batter gave a nice hint of coke flavor, the whiskey in the chocolate ganache was just enough for a little nip... and then there's the icing... shazam! A little powdered sugar, a little butter and a boat load of Jack Daniel's! It's like having a shot with every cupcake. A delicious, delicious shot... enjoy!!!

Jack and Coke Cupcakes - Makes 20 to 24 cupcakes.

Coca-Cola Chocolate Cupcakes

1 cup cola
2 sticks unsalted butter
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
at room temperature
2/3 cup sour cream at room temperature

Ganache Filling

8 ½ ounces semi or bittersweet chocolate
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1 to 2 teaspoons Jack Daniel's (I suggest 2 - in this case more is more)

Whiskey Buttercream Frosting

6 cups confections sugar
1 ½ sticks unsalted butter, at room temperatue
6 tablespoons Jack Daniel's


Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 24 cupcake cups with liners. Bring 1 cup cola and 2 sticks butter to simmer in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add cocoa powder and whisk until mixture is smooth. Allow to cool for at least fifteen minutes.

Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt in large bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, whisk eggs and sour cream in another large bowl to blend. Add the sugar and whisk to combine. With the mixer on, pour in the cola-chocolate mixture and beat just to combine. Add flour mixture and beat briefly on slow speed. Using rubber spatula, fold batter until completely combined.
Divide batter among cupcake liners, filling them 2/3 to 3/4 of the way. Be really careful about not overfilling them – this cake rises and will spill over. I put the batter in a plastic bag and pipe it into the papers. Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, rotating them once front to back if your oven bakes unevenly, about 17 minutes. Cool cupcakes on a rack completely.

Ganache Filling

Chop the chocolate and transfer it to a heatproof bowl. Heat the cream until simmering and pour it over the chocolate. Let it sit for one minute and then stir until smooth. Add the butter and whiskey and stir until combined.

Let the ganache cool until thick but still soft enough to be piped.
Meanwhile, using a 1-inch round cookie cutter, an apple corer, or a paring knife, cut the centers out of the cooled cupcakes.

Put the ganache into a piping bag with a wide tip and fill the holes in each cupcake to the top.


Whisk the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, for several minutes. You want to get it very light and fluffy. Slowly add the powdered sugar, a few tablespoons at a time. It does make a difference. The frosting will be less grainy, and require less sugar to thicken them up.

When the frosting looks thick enough to spread, drizzle in the whiskey and whip it until combined. If this has made the frosting too thin, beat in another spoonful or two of powdered sugar. Don’t worry about trying to use all 6 cups, just use your intuition and stop when it seems thick enough.

Ice and the cupcakes and top them with Wilton’s white sparkling sugar and Haribo gummy colas.

EDIT: I made these again for my brother in law's birthday but decided to take a little short cut. I bought cake mix and substituted the water with coke... much faster and just as good! Here's a pic of how they turned out!

Sunday, February 26, 2012



Vootbeer! (Vodka + Rootbeer) Yes please! I gave up caffeine for lent and knew how that would affect my mornings, but didn't think through how it would affect cocktail time. I'm typically a jack and coke girl... but coke has caffeine, so what what I to do? Hm... vodka and cranberry? WAIT! I flashed back to a pin from several months ago for vootbeer! Vodka (no caffeine) + Root Beer (also caffeine free) = Vootbeer. Surprisingly delicious and a fun word to say!

Gel Nails


I am someone who gets regular pedicures, but pretty much only gets a manicure for major events... weddings etc... what's the point? I typically chip them within a day or two and I'm not huge on color on the fingers anyway. I can appreciate it on others, but for me I'm transported back to 8th grade with lee press on nails.

Skip to next week... I had a big event and after going and going for months and really going and going that week I found myself with a spare hour before it was time to set up. Wanting a little pampering/relaxation I went for a manicure. I would have done a pedicure, but I was wearing boots, so eh... I'd heard of the gel nails and when the lady suggested it I figured this was good chance to try it out. I'm almost 5 days in and not the slightest hint of a chip! I went with a very light pink so it's just a clean neutral look. I'm a big fan.

Sock Bun Curls


I kept seeing sock buns and sock bun curls posted on pinterest, but I didn't really get the big deal. Sure, it's a neater bun than that knot I tend to throw my hair up in on most days, but I didn't get it when I saw pictures and moved on with my life. Then someone pinned a video about how to do a sock bun. I was bored, watched it (all 7 minutes... like I said, I was bored), huh, well that's pretty simple. Then I noticed that the girl who did the sock bun video had a sock bun curls video... sure I have another 7 minutes, what the heck. OMG, life changing! The video itself is a little long, but well worth watching if you don't know how to do a a sock bun. If you do, long story short, put a sock bun on the top of your head with slightly damp hair (not wet, just damp... 2-3 times through with a wet brush should do it) and sleep in it overnight. Wake up with amazing curls that practically make it look like you sat in hot rollers for a long time. Too much curl for you? Brush it out and get some great big waves. TIME SAVER!!! I highly recommend you give it a try. If you don't love it, try again, you did something wrong.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Valentine's Day Apple


One of Andrew's favorite words (and fruits) is 'apple' these days so when I saw this pin for a healthy Valentine's Day treat I knew I wanted to do this for him. He LOVED it! He got so excited to see the big apple and immediately went to town! Great alternative to candy and cookies (not that we didn't have those too :)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day Desert

Pink Hot Chocolate!


So simple and so cute. Get white hot chocolate and add a few drops of red food coloring for a cold weather Valentine's Day treat! We'll be having this tonight after dinner :)

UPDATE: 3 bottles of wine later (see Valentine's Day Calzones post) we forgot about having hot chocolate. But I still thought it was a cute idea worth sharing so I made some a few days later to try. To be fair, I'm not a white chocolate fan to begin with, so I thought it was ok, but I'd rather just have regular hot chocolate.

That being said, the pink look was cute and very festive for Valentine's Day. Just one drop of food coloring for a light pink. 2-3 for hot pink. I'm thinking little girls especially would think this is a really neat treat.

Heart Shaped Calzones for Valentine's Day Dinner


Here's a quick sneak peak at what I'm planning to make for Valentine's Day dinner in case anyone needs an idea. I'll come back to edit this post after I've made it and let you know how it goes.

When I clicked on the pin the initial link says "Kids will have fun helping to make these cute calzone hearts for dinner." Perfect, sounds like they are something that matches my cooking skills nicely. What could go wrong?

UPDATE: What could go wrong is... I could make the mistake once again of not reading the directions all the way through before starting something. When will I learn?!?! I scanned it and read the part where you mix the dough but somehow skipped right over the part where you "let sit for 1-2 hours" before continuing. Oops! That's going to really mess up my plans to have dinner in a half hour "because it only takes 10-15 minutes to bake!"

Despite my husband's highly offensive suggestion that we order a pizza, I powered through and figured we'd just have a glass or two of wine while we waited and instead of a family Valentine's Day dinner we'd have a nice dinner for two after Andrew went to bed. So I mixed up the dough and set it aside to rise. It took about 5 minutes to mix up and we cracked open our first bottle of wine. The wine went down pretty smoothly, Andrew had dinner, a bath and was put to bed and we came out and opened a second bottle of wine, to go with dinner of course. Huh, it's only been an hour according to the clock... and I wouldn't say the dough has doubled in size so I guess we'll just wait a bit longer... it turns out that waiting for dough to rise is much like watching paint dry. It's a very slow process, especially when you're hungry and getting drunker by the minute. Finally two hours had passed, the dough seemed much larger and I was ready to go. I rolled out the dough, cut out a heart shape with a knife and filled in the center. The only thing I don't like about the original recipe is that it doesn't give you any measurements for cheese and sauce etc... I suppose that's so you can make it to your liking, but I'm a fan of guidelines when cooking since I do it so rarely. I added ricotta to the mix as well and put them in the oven. A mere two and a half hours after dinner was started it was done! Naturally we wanted to have some wine with dinner, so a third bottle of wine was opened and we dug in. These turned out so great! Super easy and they may be my favorite new thing to make! I was concerned that the three bottles of wine had something to do with why we loved them so much, but the next day I made a birthday lunch for my dad and made them again (this time making the dough in the morning) and once again they were delicious! Aside from the wait two hours part, these are super easy to make, super quick and really tasty! I highly recommend!

ONE MORE NOTE: About 2 minutes before these came out of the oven I brushed some olive oil across the top. YUM!


1 pkg yeast
1 tbsp sugar
1 cup warm water
1 tsp salt
3 tbsp olive oil
1 3/4 cup white flour
1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
Mozzarella cheese
Marinara sauce
Turkey pepperoni


Step 1: Combine yeast, sugar and warm water and let set for 5 minutes. Mix remaining ingredients and then add yeast mixture. Let dough rise, in a warm place, for about 1-2 hours, until double in size.

Step 2: Roll out a small portion of the dough at a time, cutting two equal-sized hearts. Fill middle with filling, thin layer marinara sauce, turkey pepperoni, cheese, and then crimp edges with a fork. Set on baking tray. Bake at 400 for 10-15 minutes until lightly browned. Test to make sure dough is done baking. Serve with marinara sauce for dipping.

52 Things I Love About You


This pretty much blows any Valentine's Day card out of the water. It's 52 Valentine's Day cards in one... deck of cards that is. I did this project for my hubby for V-day this year. I had a spare deck of cards and sharpie, and it only took about 30 minutes to write reasons I love him on each of the cards. One note, sharpies will smear if they're not completely dry so I suggest laying them out to dry as you're writing them, then stacking them all back together at the end.

The hardest part of this project was coming up with the list of 52 things I love. Don't get me wrong, I love him in so many ways and for so many reasons... but when you actually start to write them down... 52 things is a LOT!

I started a list a couple of days before Valentine's Day because I didn't want to accidentally have a repeat or forget something. I'm glad I did because at my first attempt I had a little over 30 things and then kind of hit writer's block... then over the next day or two a few million little things happened that I wanted to add to the list and that reminded me what had been forgotten. It was a fun way to do it and to really take the few days leading up to Valentine's Day to appreciate all of the little reasons I'm lucky to be married to the man I am.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Minnie Mouse Hairclips


My friend's little girl is OBSESSED with Mickey and Minnie, and obsessed is putting it mildly. So, when I saw this post for Minnie hair clips I immediately thought of her. I was at the fabric store getting supplies for another project (see here next week) and picked up some black burlap that was great for both projects. These were so easy to put together. I recommend following the post to the video about how to make the "flowers" that are glued together to make Minnie. I hadn't made them before and was thrilled to find out how easy it was. I used a thicker piece of fabric for the head and thinner fabric for the ears. Hot glued them all together and made a bow with extra fabric from my Valentine's Day Garland project to make a bow. Picked up the right type of clips at Sally beauty supply and they were done. I can't wait to give it to her and see how she reacts!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Are you ready for some football? (aka food and commercials)

Blue Moon Cupcakes


So tomorrow is Superbowl Sunday. I suppose in theory it's a day about football, but in reality it's a day about eating a ton of food, hanging out with friends and it's probably the only day of the year you don't fast forward through commercials. We go to a big party at a friend's house every year where everyone brings some food to share. When I saw this pin for beer cupcakes I knew I wanted to make these.

These were really easy to make and very tasty. They are different from most cupcakes in that they are not particular sweet. Much like Blue Moon beer the cake has that faint citrus and wheat taste, and the frosting is light and airy and barely there, just like the foam on top of a beer :)

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Valentine's Day heart garland


I saw this idea for a little simple Valentine's Day decor and thought it looked cute, easy and how long could it take? Turns out a fairly long time. I finished it all in just one evening and was very happy with how it turned out, so I'm still glad I did it, but there were several "what have I gotten myself into" moments along the way.

I started by making a heart template out of an index card and used that folded in half over felt folded in half and got into a pretty good rhythm of cutting out hearts... still, 150 hearts later and a blister on my finger from the scissors I was over it. At that point I had used up one sheet of each color (white, pink and red $.33 at JoAnne Fabric) so it was time to sew. I learned very quickly that it's critical to put the hearts into the sewing machine top first. I started point first and it didn't work at all! (If I'd read the details from the initial site that was pinned I could have saved myself that lesson.) Sewing all of the hearts together took about 5 minutes and turned out so cute!! I liked it so much when I draped it across the mantle that I wanted more for my bookshelves! I mean, that didn't take THAT long right??? Cut to two hours later and I'm once again thinking "what have I gotten myself into" and I'm surrounded by another 150 or so hearts. Ugh, such a whippin' but then I sewed them all together in about 5 more minutes and was in love once again.

So, if you can sucker someone else into cutting out the hearts I highly recommend this project and qualify it as quick and easy. If you're cutting your own it's still easy but not so quick.

What I do love about it is that because I used fabric instead of a paper chain or something like this it's a one and done kind of project. It's a fun little touch of Valentine's Day decor that looks great against the white wood of our mantle and build in booksheves, takes up no space in storage after the holiday and will be easy to pull out and put back up in minutes next year. Happy Valentine's Day everyone :)

Monday, January 30, 2012

Off to a great start....

So yeah, it's the last week in January and I'm already behind. In my defense Andrew and I have both been sick this week and my week started with a urgent nanny search because my nanny quit with only one week's notice and I had to go into massive nanny network/interview/trial mode for the first half of the week. On the upside we found a great nanny who Andrew loves and who I think is going to be a great fit for our family. The downside... I'm WAY behind on Pinterest projects!!! So, this week I plan to do two projects to make up for last week, and right now I'll share a couple of other ideas I found on Pinterest that were implemented last year.

Daddy Backrub Roadmap Shirt


I found this idea before Christmas and knew it was a must make! My husband is always begging for backrubs and my son is into cars... seems simple enough. I got some fabric markers, a t-shirt and got to work. It was super easy and a fun gift to see opened on Christmas morning. Andrew had fun driving the cars around on daddy's back and daddy got a mini back massage.

Paint Tape Finger Painting


I stumbled upon this pin and got inspired to pull out the finger paints that Andrew got for his birthday. We had a painting playdate and used the painters tape to hold down the paper and then got creative. We taped the kids' initials and let them go to town with the paint. The initials turned out really well so next we taped out some Christmas trees and used the green and red paint to cover the page. They turned out really well... I'm thinking this idea works for pretty much any occasion. Tape a heart for Valentines Day etc.... A few tips. Let the paint dry completely before pulling the tape off and use paper meant for finger painting. Regular paper gets soggy and tears when the tape comes off. Enjoy!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Medicine Bottle Check List


Talk about the stars aligning! I came home from the doctor with a sick baby and his first ever prescription medication... logged onto pinterest and saw this idea. So easy and so smart. Use a sharpie to make a chart on the bottle and check off when he gets medication. No forgetting a dose, no double dosing. Simple, smart, done.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Awesome Kid Bookshelves!


I AM SO IN LOVE WITH THESE BOOKSHELVES!!! I've never been so excited about a project and so thrilled with the result! If you have kids, you must make these!!!

I found this great idea for easy kid bookshelves about 6 months ago and loved it so much that I instantly pinned it... then I looked around pinterest and found about 15 different versions of the same idea. I pinned some of those, then looked at them and marveled at how simple and awesome they were. I kept pinning, and looking, and pinning... I know, I'm so productive! When I decided on my New Year's resolution I knew that I wanted this to be one of the first ideas I did. Then when Andrew got a couple dozen more books for Christmas I knew I had no choice.

I love how they show the covers of the books so that a kid who's not reading yet can still easily find their favorites, and be intrigued by the cover of a new book. I also think they look good and will help add a lot of color to his walls as we transition from super calm sleepy baby room to toddler room where he can be active and spend time playing with toys, reading etc.

I went to Home Depot and decided to spend a little more to get the primed wood, especially since I knew I was painting the shelves white I figured it would be a good time saver and probably only cost a dollar or two more. I had the guy there cut all of the pieces to the exact length for me. Then I came home and used wood glue to put them all together. We had a carpenter at our house at the time working on our fireplace remodel (pics to come as soon as it's completed as Pinterest was my main sourse of inspiration!) and he had a nail gun. I kept thinking I should ask him if I could borrow his gun, and considered using it after he was gone etc... but I felt wrong just using it and he seemed so busy during the day that I hated to bug him... so I went to option #2 and bought my own nail gun!!! Technically I've had a nail gun for a couple of years, but no air compressor to use it with, so it was new in the box... went and bought a compressor and ka-blam! My shelves were solid as a rock in a matter of 10 glorious minutes! If you have never used a nail gun I highly recommend it. AWESOME!!! I'm looking around our house for anything that seems a little loose or that could use some trim... ka-blam! Problem solved. Naturally while using the nail gun I wore safetly goggles and my pink hard hat - mostly because they are awesome.

I had family over and wanted their thoughts on how high to hang the shelves etc.. and was holding them up on the wall when Andrew came over un-prompted and started trying to put his books on the shelves!!! SHUT UP! They aren't even up yet and he already likes them!?! Not sure which is more awesome, the kid or the shelves!

But I digress... once the shelves were constructed I spent about an hour doing some very light sanding along the cut edges, wood filling over the nail gun holes and painting the shelves. This was the longest part of the job, and could be done much faster if you spray painted the shelves. But I wanted to match the trim paint in our house and had that in a can, so I went with that. I also used a brush because I had one handy, but a small foam roller would have been a lot faster... the one I had was full of dried paint from my last project (oops)and it was too late to go to the store that night to get another. Not a major time suck, but if you're going to go get the boards anyway, get a foam roller and be done faster :)

I left the shelves to dry for a few days in the garage (then realized that I hadn't painted the edges enough so touched them up and left them for 24 more hours... you can skip this step by being a little more careful when you paint, or as mentioned before, using spray paint, a roller etc...). Anywho... just trying to be helpful and learn the lessons for you :)

Once the shelves were dry it was time to hang them. Because I wanted to hang so many in a fairly small space I felt that making sure I had the spacing right was important. I was probably a lot more detailed than necessary, but they went up quickly and I AM SO HAPPY WITH HOW THEY TURNED OUT, so maybe it was worth the extra steps. I took a sewing tape measure and taped it to the wall... then I used painters tape to mark where I wanted the shelves on both walls... I played with the spacing a bit and was able to move the tape around to figure it out etc... see pictures below to understand what I am talking about. Once I was happy with the placement of the shelves I kept the tape measure on the wall and used it as my vertical guide the whole time. Next I found the stud and ran a piece of painters tape along the stud so we wouldn't have to keep finding it over and over again as we hung shelves on top of each other. With a shelf and a level in my hands and the power drill and a screw in my hubby's hands we had all 9 shelves up in about 30 minutes. I didn't bother painting over the screws because the books cover them so eh.... if it bugs me I can always fix it later.

While Chris gave little man a bath I took the 8 bazillion books we have all over the house and started arranging them. THEY LOOK AWESOME!!! And, most importantly they were a big hit with the little man! After his bath I asked if he wanted to read a book and then showed him the shelves. He said "wow!" and then we spent about 20 minutes reading new books. He kept jumping off of my lap to check out a new one and would bring it over to me, then see another he was excited about and would take the books and put them back on the shelves (SERIOUSLY!) and bring me another one! It was a great moment :) I put the paper books up higher so he can't reach them yet, and all board books on the bottom shelves so he can explore those on his own as well. Such a great project, so easy and so rewarding! HOORAY FOR PINTEREST!!!! (and shout out to the Just A Girl blog where this awesome idea came from!)

Friday, January 6, 2012

Wait! Don't throw away your Christmas cards!

Christmas Card Book

I LOVE this idea! I always hate throwing away people's great Christmas Cards at the end of the season, but I've never known what to do with them. Problem solved! This year I used this idea I found on Pinterest and turned all of my favorite photo cards into a book. I put our family's Christmas card on the front and tied all of the cards together with ribbon (I didn't have the metal loops handy). It takes up almost no space in our Christmas decoration storage and next year we can look at what all of our friends and family were up to a year ago. I found some cards I had from last year and made another book, and then made a third book that I'd saved from many years past. It was so fun to see how we've all grown.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Pinterest, you are my New Year's Resolution!

I discovered the awesomeness that is Pinterest several months ago and spent hours upon hours exploring and pinning awesome idea after awesome idea. Then I realized I hadn't actually done anything other than created one heck of an impressive to-do list. So around Thanksgiving I decided that 2012 was going to be my year of doing, not just pinning and planning. I figured then a good resolution for me would be to do at least one idea I've pinned a week. Seems like a resolution I could actually keep up with and think of all of the stuff I'd get done! Christmas made it really easy to get started and I've already used many of the ideas I found. Here are some of my favorites. Off to a running start...

Vodka Gummy Bears

I did vodka soaked gummy bears and jack daniels soaked gummy coke bottles. YUM and YOWZA all at the same time. Not sure what went wrong, but instead of gummy bears/bottles at the end I had two mason jars that were solid gummy shots. No problem, we got some spoons and let our friends dig in. The shots were STRONG... two spoons later I was feeling it. Not sure if this is something I'd make on a regular basis (what with being out of college for a bit now) but it's definitely a fun experiment! Enjoy!

Rocky Road Crockpot Cake

I made this cake for my family in Colorado over Thanksgiving. It got rave reviews from those who were able to stay up late enough to try it. I didn't take altitude into my calculations and it was no where near ready when it was supposed to be, but I let it cook longer, and longer, and longer. It was great the next day too. I'd be tempted to try it again now that we're out of the mountains, but without 20 people to help me eat it I can't justify it. I recomend giving it a shot though... oh and I used almond slivers instead of walnuts. Highly recommend!

Glowstick Bowling

We had a neighborhood chili cook off and we needed some activities for the kids after dark. Glow in the dark bowling seemed like a great way to go. In reality the bottles didn't really knock over well like pins should and the kids were over it pretty quick... but a new, and better idea was born. Glow stick ring toss! Glow bracelets were tossed onto some glow sticks stuck in the ground sort of like horseshoes. It was a great twist on this pinterest idea. Hm... maybe I should have pinned it?

Fall Photos

I saw this adorable pic of a white dog in fall leaves... hey wait, I have an adorable white dog, and a backyard full of leaves. Done and done!

Elf on the Shelf (aka Twinkle)

After seeing a few million fun pictures of others' elves around their houses we put a call into Santa to get our own special friend! We had so much fun and turned to Pinterest regularly for inspiration!

Advent Activities

I loved this idea! Instead of candy or a present each day to count down to Christmas we had advent activities. (ie baking Christmas cookies, watching a Christmas movie, doing a random act of kindness for a stranger, donating a toy and singing Christmas songs at the top of our lungs!) I'm looking forward to making this a family tradition for many years.

Christmas Ball Wreath

I don't actually remember which pin inspired this, but I have been looking for the right wreath for our door forever and never found it. So, this year I made one and I love it! Lots of balls, hot glue, super glue and one steering wheel cover (hey it was the right size and for sale at the same store as the balls) and ta-da!

Felt Christmas Tree for the Kids

I saw this idea and had to make one for my little man. Felt sticks to itself, so he can decorate and undecorate his own tree over and over. Undecorating seemed to be his favorite this year :) To keep it looking nice no matter how it was decorated I hot glued the star and gifts into place. Super easy, and super fun!

Wine Cork Ornaments

Easy, cute and a great hostess gift with a bottle of wine for Christmas.

The Best Cookies Ever

These are my all time favorite Christmas cookies and I haven't had them in several years because I couldn't find the receipe.

Pinterest - The gift that keeps on giving!

Months ago I saw these earrings on pinterest and thought they were great. Simple, beautiful, sparkly - what more could one ask for? I showed my hubby and what a wonderful surprise for me when I opened a Christmas gift from him and there they were! I had completely forgotten about them or that I'd ever shown them to him. Merry Christmas!