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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Rainbow cupcakes

Wow, these cupcakes were delicious!  They are my new favorite dessert.  I first saw them here and then got the recipe here.  I made them because we were having friends in for the weekend and I thought they'd be fun for the kids.  Not only were they fun for the kids but all the adults loved them as well.  YUM!  I don't think I've ever added sour cream to a cake mix before but it does wonders.  And homemade frosting is splendid.  I don't know why I've haven't done this before.

Ingredients for both the cupcakes and homemade frosting.

The batter.

Batter divided into five colors.

Cupcakes cooling

The beginning of the frosting.

After at least 8 minutes the most wonderful thing happens!

So yummy!

The first taste tester.  He approved!

**Things I'd do differently next time:
Add more coloring to make the batter brighter.
Strain the frosting like directions tell you too.

You can change this up with as many or few colors as you'd like.  What a cute idea for a party!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Hopefully you're all wearing green today, making green food and doing all things green!  There are so many fun things you can do with St. Patrick's Day.  When I taught second grade we had all the students make leprechaun traps (at home, which the parents loved us for!) and then they set them up on or around their desk on the eve of St. Patty's Day to try and catch one overnight.  The leprechauns always came in the room and knocked over every trap or at least touched it in some way but we never caught one.  They left a fun mess of glitter and gold in the room though which was always fun for them.  I plan to start this with my kids.  Maybe we'll do that next year. :)

Yesterday my daughter's friend came over and we made leprechauns from a paper plate.  I saw the idea here.  All you need is a paper plate, construction paper, scissors, glue and a pencil.  We also used a pink pom pom for the nose.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Modge Podge wood letters - Easter

I saw these Easter wood letters at Hobby Lobby and immediately thought it'd be a fun Modge Podge project.  I'm new to Modge Podge.  I've been wanting to try another project and this one was perfect.  It's my first project to do with letters.

Easter wood letters
Modge Podge
Scrapbook paper
Wood stain
2 foam brushes
sand paper
pencil, scissors & credit card
Ink distresser

1. Trace letters face down on the back of the paper and cut out.

2. Use foam brush to stain the sides and back of wood letters.  Let dry.

3. Apply layer of Modge Podge to front of letter with second foam brush, lay the cut paper on top of the letter and use credit card to smooth out the paper.  Get all the bubbles out from underneath.

4. Let dry for one minute.
5. Use sandpaper to sand edges of paper. 

6. Use Ink Distresser to stain edges or blot wood stain with a cloth on edges.

7. Use foam brush to apply Modge Podge all over the the front and side of letter.  Don't worry Modge Podge will dry clear.
8. Let dry.

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Spring Brownie Treats

Today we were having a playdate and my daughter requested brownies to share with her friend.  I didn't want plain old brownies so I put on my thinking cap and looked in the pantry to see what we could come up with.  I had some leftover Vanilla wafers from a few weeks ago so I thought we'd try dipping the brownies in melted chocolate/candy wafers.  This was really easy and fun for everyone.

We made a pan of brownies following the directions on the box and let cool.  Use your favorite cookie cutters in the brownies, then place on wax paper.  
Melt the wafers in a heat resistant bowl in 30 second intervals, stirring between, until completely melted.
Dip one side of brownie in melted chocolate or use spoon, spatula or your utensil of choice to spread chocolate on top of the brownie.  
Sprinkle decorations immediately before the chocolate sets.

The kids loved them!

After we cut out the brownies we had a lot of leftover brownies.  What to do with leftovers???  I have never made cake balls but I have eaten them and I have read Bakerella's website many times.  I decided to make Brownie improvision to the Cake Ball recipe.  Before you look at how mine turned out please keep in mind this is the first time I've ever made anything like this and I had no idea what I was doing.  Next time I'll use a different technique for dipping.

I didn't want all the balls dipped in white chocolate so I melted some chocolate chips.  I won't do that again.  Lesson learned that they are messy!  They don't dry fast like the wafers do.   

Put the remaining brownies in a bowl and add in chocolate frosting.  Mix together.  I used a potato masher to break up the brownies.  Form into balls and then line up on a cookie sheet or in mini muffin pan and put in freezer for a few minutes until they are firm (not frozen).  Melt chocolate.  Roll balls in melted chocolate and put on wax paper to dry.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Shamrock Layered Jell-O

Do you like lime Jell-O?  You should try this!  I saw this in February's Family Fun magazine using red Jello-O with heart shaped cookie cutters.  When racking my brain for something fun to do for St. Patrick's Day I thought of the red Jell-O but instead of red using green with a shamrock cookie cutter.

What you need:
3 3-oz pkgs of lime Jell-O
2 1/4-z pks of unflavored gelatin
1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk

First, dissolve 1 pkg of of lime Jell-O in 3/4 cup boiling water.  Stir in 3/4 cup cold water.  Pour into 9X13 pan and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Next, combine 1/2 cup boiling water and condensed milk.  In another bowl, dissolve both pkgs of unflavored gelatin in 1/2 cup cold water for 1-2 minutes.  Mix in 3/4 cup boiling water thoroughly, then combine with the milk mixture and let cool.  Slowly pour 1/2 of the mixture over the green gelatin using a spatula to slow the process.  Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.

Then continue alternating layers - gelatin mix, remaining milk, the last gelatin mix - chilling for at least 20-30 minutes between so that it sets.

Use shamrock cookie cutter to make your treats St. Patrick's Day festive!

**I only let mine set for about 20 minutes and that was not long enough.  The second layer of milk made the Jell-O underneath runny so make sure your check the consistency before you pour.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Free printables = facelift for playroom

We have lived in our home for a 1 1/2 now and I still have a lot of empty walls.  I am not very good at decorating.  I don't even know what my style is.  When I see something I like I contemplate if it will look good over and over and then usually go home empty handed.  I recently stumbled across a new blog Oh My Handmade.  I signed up for the RSS feeder to have new posts sent right to my inbox and in came Free Artwork with free downloads with adorable artwork for nurseries, playrooms, etc.  I was so excited because the artwork is so cute.  I knew immediately I wanted to use this one.
Both of my kids love books so I thought it so only appropriate to hang this one!  It was really hard to pick a second picture.  They are all so cute.  I wanted a gender neutral picture.  I knew it was going to hang near a window so I thought this one of the tree would be nice.
The files on the website are pdf files.  All I had to do was save the pdf, then I converted it to a jpg by saving as jpeg with new file name.  Then I went to the Costco website and uploaded the jpgs to the Photo Center, picked my size and picked up my prints.  I picked up two 8X10 frames at Home Goods and they were ready to hang.

I decided I should clean up the bookshelves and make them look a little more organized.


I think they added a nice touch to the room.

Now if I could just get around to ordering the other photo mats for the remaining picture frames to hang above the couch.  I've had the frames for over a year and only need three of four mats.  Ugh!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Oreo lollipops

Oreos on a stick and dipped in chocolate.  It doesn't get much better than this!  I saw this idea on How Does She here.  We were having some family over this past weekend and I thought this would be easy and fun to make for the kiddos.  Unfortunately I gave up desserts for Lent so I'm not eating any. :(  I'll be making more after Easter.  These are really easy to make.  You can get pretty creative with them and make them as festive as you'd like.  They'd be cute party favors.  Since we are currently in the St. Patrick's Day spirit we used Cool Mint Oreos and green sprinkles.

Here's what you need: package of double stuff Oreos, lollipop sticks (found at Hobby Lobby or craft store), melting chocolate, bowl, wax paper and sprinkles or whatever decoration you prefer.

Melt the chocolate in 30 second intervals, stirring between until chocolate is melted.  While chocolate is melting open up all your Oreos and lay out on wax paper.

Dip one end of lollipop stick into the chocolate and then press into the middle of the Oreo.  Close Oreo and let them dry for a few minutes.

Once they have dried dip the Oreos into the chocolate.  Make sure both sides are covered.  Then lay on wax paper to dry.  If you are using sprinkles for decoration use them immediately before the chocolate dries.

Enjoy your treat!!

Shamrock Blessings

Growing up with a last name like O'Rielly you can imagine my family might enjoy St. Patrick's Day.  As soon as Valentines Day was here and gone it was time to go green around here.  Our first craft was a fun shamrock.  My daughter really enjoyed this one!  Here's what you need: green paint (acrylic works best), paint brush, white cardstock or heavy paper, heart shaped cookie cutter, potato and a paring knife.

* I went to grab the 'green' paint and we didn't have any so we improvised and made our own!

Cut your potato in half and then press your heart shaped cookie cutter into the potato.  Use the paring knife to cut around the cookie cutter to cut away the potato.  You now have a heart stamp!

Paint the heart green.

Press the heart onto the paper four times forming a shamrock; reapplying paint each time.  Make sure you press down on all sides.  

We filled in the empty spots later.

After all four clovers are complete don't forget to add the stem.

After the paint dried I wrote an Irish verse around the outside of the shamrock.
"May your blessings out number the shamrocks that grow."