About Me

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Who am I? I'm a wife to my best friend. I'm 'mama' to two silly boys. I'm a full time mom, a cook, a housekeeper, a chauffeur, an errand runner, and a boo boo kisser. I'm a cake decorator and an aspiring crafter when I find time. Throwing parties are my true passion. I'm loving my life and trying to enjoy every minute with my boys!
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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Rain Gutter Bookshelves

I've been eying these rain gutter bookshelves on other blogs for a couple of years now.  I think its a great way to display books so that little ones will be more likely to read them, and I knew I had to do it.  Well I finally got around to getting all my supplies from Lowe's, so it was time to start the project! 

There are TONS of rain gutter bookshelf tutorials out there, so I won't make a new one, but I will tell you how EASY it was!  You can find everything you need at Lowe's or Home Depot.  I got the gutters (2) for $5.50/each (10 ft long, I cut them in half to make 4 shelves), brackets for $2 (I used 3 brackets per shelf), and the end caps for $4 (make sure to get the appropriate amount of right and left end caps).  The whole project, not including the vinyl quote, cost around $50-$60 for 4 shelves. 

All you have to do is use the brackets to hang the gutters, put some books on them, and let your kiddos explore the books!  I added a really cute Dr. Seuss quote from this Etsy shop to complete the project.  The vinyl was a pain to get on the wall, but I love how it turned out.

So if you've been thinking about doing this project...just DO IT!  Its so super easy, and sure to benefit your kiddo's imagination.  You'll be glad you did :).

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Review: Babycakes Cake Pop Maker

I've owned this handy little Cake Pop Maker by Babycakes for about a year now, and I love it!  I must start off by saying that these are not the traditional cake pop though.  They don't have any icing, which makes them less sickeningly-sweet in my opinion.  I'll go over a few helpful hints I've found through trial and error with this machine.

First, get piping bags.  You NEED piping bags to fill up the cavities with precision.  Plug in the machine and let it heat up (only takes a couple of minutes).  Make a standard cake batter, and fill your piping bag with it.  Snip a hole in the bag and fill up the cavities.  The trick is to fill it to just barely below the line.  This is the perfect amount of cake batter with no overflow.  Try and fill them all quickly, as the first ones have already started baking. 

Close the machine and set the timer.  Mine only took 3 minutes to bake, but yours might need more or less.  They're done when you can press one and it lightly springs back.  Use the fork tool to take them out and set them on the cooling tray.  Repeat step one of filling up the machine with batter.  While your second set is baking, transfer the first set to the freezer.  Keep on repeating until you've used all your batter.

You want the cake pops to be in the freezer for at least 15 minutes.  After that, take them out and get your sticks and chocolate.  Melt a little of the chocolate, dip the end of a stick in it, and put it in the cake pop.  Repeat with all cake pops.  Put them back in the freezer for another 15 minutes.  The freezer time is imperative because its what keeps the cake pops from falling off the stick (one of the most common problems people have).

Once your cake pops have been in the freezer for at least 15 minutes, its time to dip them.  Melt your chocolate (I use a chocolate melting pot by Wilton) in a narrow, deep bowl or cup.  Then take each cake pop and dip it.  You want to hold it at an angle, tapping it on the side of your dish while slowly spinning it, pointing downwards, to get the excess chocolate off.  Once it looks good, put it in the drying rack.  If you want to add sprinkles or any toppings, make sure to do it before the chocolate hardens.  Once more in the fridge and then the cake pops are ready to be packaged up or eaten!

This machine makes it easy to make pretty cake pops because they are all uniform in size.  No more rolling and messy hands either!  Here are a few pics of ones that I've made.  Enjoy!

*This post was not indorsed or approved by Babycakes, and no free products were given in exchange for this review.

Adam's Bug Birthday Party

I can't believe that my big boy is turning 7 in 4 months, and I haven't even blogged his 6th birthday yet!  I let Adam pick out the theme, and he chose bugs.  Creepy.  Crawly.  Bugs.  Yay?

 Decorating for this party was really easy.  I lucked out and Target just happened to have bug stuff in the dollar spot.  So I filled up with plastic bugs of all sizes to put on the party tables, etc.  Then I went to the local teacher supply store and bought some paper bug cut-outs.  I taped those to various places around the house.

Because I had it at a non-meal time, food was minimal.  I had chips with 4 homemade dips, individual dirt cakes, and of course a bug cake.

 We had several special activities planned for the kiddos.  When the first arrived, I had them make bug jars to catch bugs in.  Then we had a special visit from the ice cream truck!  Adam fell pretty hard running to the ice cream truck and skinned up his elbow, but a popsicle made it all better :).  Next was the bug hunt.  I gave each of the kids their bug jar and a net, and had them go to the backyard where I had hid about a hundred little plastic bugs.  I think this was their favorite part of the party, the kids had so much fun hunting for bugs!  Finally we opened presents and ate cake, 

I don't have any pictures on the favors, but they were fairly simple.  I found sand buckets at Michael's for a dollar.  I decorated them with a vinyl bug cut out.  The kids got to fill it with their bug jar and bugs they found and their net.  I also had some little bug bracelets and suckers in there, all from Oriental Trading.

Overall it was a fantastic birthday, and I can't wait to plan the next one in a few months!  I'll leave you with a picture of the birthday boy on party day, sporting his bug shirt :).

Vinyl in the Kids' Rooms (Graphic Spaces)

Ugh, the flu has officially hit our house, and is now slowly making the rounds.  First was son #2, then son #1, then me, and now hubby.  So needless to say, we've been spending a lot of the past week inside getting better.  I thought I would take that opportunity to put up the vinyl wall art I ordered from Graphic Spaces on Etsy.  The boys just got new bedroom sets- Pirate and Space themed, and I decided to go the vinyl route for a pop of color since I didn't want to paint the walls.

Graphic Spaces was awesome!  They have SO many unique and creative images its amazing.  And she creates all of her own artwork!  Shipping was super fast too, I was surprised at how soon they got here.  Seriously, if you're looking for some fun wall art, check them out!

I have to warn you:  These were a pain to put on.  Not because of the vinyl, but because I have old textured walls and they did NOT want to stick.  At all.  So it took a lot longer than it should have...and I may have uttered an expletive or two, but I finally got them both up.  With the exception of some air bubbles, they look fantastic and the boys both love them.  I'll post pictures of the finished product on my wall so you can see what they look like in real life.  Do you have vinyl on your walls?  Like it, or not?

*Note- this post is not affiliated with Graphic Spaces, and no products were given in exchange for this post.  They're just a great small business that I wanted to give a shout out to!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Cupcakes in a Jar

Let's face it...there are few desserts as cute (and yummy!) as cupcakes.  So many different flavor combinations, and the design ideas are unlimited.  I've played around with different pies in a jar, but this was my first cupcake in a jar experience.  I think they turned out fun!

I do not recommend doing it the way that I did.  I split up the cake batter into two different 9x13 pans, baked and cooled the cakes, and then used the jars upside down like a cookie cutter to get a round piece of cake into the jar.  Looking back, it would have been much easier to just bake a normal cupcake, unwrap it, and put it in the jar.  There wouldn't have been any waste that way.

Then I just frosted them with a piping bag like I normally would have, and topped them with a few sprinkles.  TaDa: Cute little cupcake to-go!  I plan on sending them to school with the kiddos tomorrow, I'm sure the teachers will appreciate a sweet treat.  These would be great for birthday parties too!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Fireplace Makover

I have a love/hate relationship with the fireplace in the kiddos' playroom.  Ok not so much, I just hate it.  I don't like the brick, the brass doors are ugly and dated, and the dark wood mantle had to go.  We don't use this fireplace at all...we're just not really fireplace people.  Plus its in the playroom instead of the main part of the house. 

I posted my plight on facebook looking for ideas on how to make it look better.  Originally I was planning on painting the brick, but my friends quickly talked me out of that.  I eventually decided on just painting the mantle and letting it be...until I had the great idea of hanging my newly-decoupaged letters on the brick to brighten it up some.  I'm mostly satisfied with the result...but those brass doors are still on my list of things to replace (when I happen to have an extra $600...eek).  Here's the after picture, tell me what you think:

To see how I decoupaged the letters, click here.

Decoupage Letters- How To

Decoupaging letters is an easy and fun way to add a pop of color to a bedroom, playroom, or any space!  You can make a child's name, or do the entire alphabet like me.  Its affordable too, if you can watch the sales at Michael's, JoAnn's, or Hobby Lobby and get the supplies at a discount.  Here's what you'll need:
  • Wood letters
  • Scrapbooking paper
  • Mod Podge
  • Foam paintbrush
  • X-Acto knife

First, brush the front of the letter with Mod Podge.  Use a thin coat and try to get it as even as possible.

Next, put the letter face down onto the paper.  Press it firmly to make sure its all stuck.  I repeated this with every letter, stacking the letter and the entire piece of paper on top of one another until all the letters were done.

You want to make sure the letters are dry before you start to cut them.  Take a letter (stuck to the paper) and put it on a cutting board.  Use the X-Acto knife to cut closely around the entire letter.

After all the letters have been cut out, its time to seal them.  Go over each letter with a coat of Mod Podge to seal the paper.

Let the letters dry, and you're done!  I decided to do all my letters in the same paper, but you could do coordinating paper for a different look.   I'll be blogging pictures of what I did with the letters next, so stay tuned!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Spaghetti and Meatballs Cake

This has got to be one of the easiest cakes I have ever made!  A fun cake for any occasion, especially April Fools Day!  There are several tutorials out there...I'll tell you how I made mine.

First you'll need the ingredients:
-A baked and cooled cake (I used an 8 inch cake pan, but you can use any size really)
-Your favorite icing recipe (I use buttercream dream always!)
-1/4 tsp cocoa powder
-A few drops of yellow food coloring
-Ferrero Rocher chocolates (can be found at most grocery stores and WalMart)
-Strawberry jam
-White chocolate

Begin by mixing in the cocoa to your buttercream frosting.  Add food coloring, one drop at a time, until desired color is achieved.

Fill your piping bag with the frosting (I used a #4 icing tip) and begin to draw squiggly lines all over the cake.  There is no perfect way to do this- just keep on making squiggly lines, overlapping, until the entire cake is covered.

Just barely warm up the jam in the microwave until it becomes soft enough to give it a good stir.  Top the cake with the "sauce".

Put the "meatballs" on top of the sauce...you can roll them in jam first if you want.

Finish the cake by grating some white chocolate over the top for "cheese". 

Serve and enjoy!

I "Wheelie" Like You!

I LOVE blog surfing!  There are so many great and creative ideas out there, I thought I would share one with you.  I came across these Wheelie Valentines about this time last year, and I knew I had to make them for my kiddos' friends.  Having two boys, it can be hard to find "boy stuff" this time of year, but I think this is a great alternative for all the boys out there.  Check out the link for the printable PDF.  We found our cars for pretty cheap at the Dollar Tree.

Valentine's Day Light Block (version 2)

Want a fun and easy way to add a little touch of Valentine's Day decor to your home?  A light block is fun and festive, and super easy to make!  I made a tutorial 2 years ago, but I wanted to show a different version.

First you'll need your supplies (I found everything I needed at Hobby Lobby):  One clear glass block with a hole in it, a strand of lights, glass frosting spray paint, Valentine's Day stickers, and ribbon.

First you will need to clean the block.  Run it under warm water and the sticker will peel right off.  Then dry it and clean the block with Windex.  Be careful not to leave any fingerprints on the front part.

Once the block is clean, you can spray it with the glass frosting spray.  Use sweeping motions to apply the spray.  I did 3 coats to get to the desired finish, and only on the front part....but you can do the entire block if you wish.  *I previously used glass etching cream to frost the glass, but I found this to be cheaper and easier, with a more even frosting to it.  I loved it!

After the block is dry, its time to put the lights in.  Then put the stickers on (you can use hot glue to really make sure it lasts) and lastly tie a bow around the block.  You can make it as simple (like mine) or poofy as you want.

Your block is finished!  Plug it in and enjoy your crafty creation :)

I'm Back! Playroom Re-vamp Part 1- Vinyl Tree

Its been a little over a year...but I'm back to blogging!  I'm excited to share new crafting and party ideas with you all, and I'll be adding the past year's crafting adventures over the next few days. 

I'm currently working on re-vamping the downstairs playroom.  I've got tons of great ideas (thanks pinterest!), and I'm slowly bringing them to life.  We'll start with the vinyl polka dot tree I recently added to the wall.  This was by far one of the easiest projects that I've done...no Cricut needed!

First I cut the trunk and branches from a large piece of brown vinyl.  I get my vinyl by the foot at H & H Sign Supply.  You can probably come up with a better looking tree than I did, lol.  Then I used vinyl polka dots from Amazon (you can pick your color scheme) and added them to the branches and the space above the tree.  You can add as many dots as you like, I think I'm actually going to add more to mine to make it bigger.

Easy as pie, and a great way to add a POP of color to any kid's room!

Watch for more playroom posts coming soon...including alphabet letters, rain gutter bookshelves, and more!