Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Happy Leap Year Day!

Today is a leap year day.  Matter of fact the whole entire year is a leap year, but today we celebrate the actual day.  One extra day for a total of 366, and a make up day for the other 3 years that were just a little off.  What will you do with this extra special day...this quadrennial event?  Do something monumental? Sleep? Reflect? Leap out of a plane? Business as usual? Spend 24 hours straight at the magical kingdom of Disneyland? (you CAN do that, you know)  Well what ever you do be sure to live this extra day to the fullest!

I thought I'd give you a list a fun leap year/leap day facts:

  • Someone born on February 29th is referred to as a "leapling"
  • The odds of being born on a leap day are 1 in 1,461
  • Statistics show there are 4.1 million people world wide born on Feb. 29th
  • Due to legal issues in some countries that recognize Feb 29th birthdays on either March 1st or Feb 28th, Leaplings can run into hassles with birth certificates, drivers licenses, and entry fields on websites
  • Leap years were planned in years only divisible by four
  • Century years have to be evenly divisible by 400 to count as leap years.  So 1700, 1800, and 1900 were NOT leap years, but 1600 and 2000 were
  • Prisoners convicted in leap years will serve one extra day of time
  • Many annual salaries are based off a 365 day year so workers will also work one extra day as well
  • In Ireland it is tradition that women may propose to man on this day
  • In Scotland, if the marriage proposal was refused, the man then had to pay a fine in the form of a kiss, a silk dress, a rose, or a pair of gloves
  • People born on Feb 29th are said to have unusual talents and unique personalities
  • In order for leap day babies to celebrate a "golden birthday" they would have to be 116 years old to technically be 29 on the 29th.

So no matter how you spend this extra 24 hours be sure to try and make it extraordinary. Well, and hey, if I'm going to make the most of this extra special day myself, I better stop bloggin' hop to it!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

White Chicken Enchiladas

I was on Pinterest (yes, again - just can't help myself) a few nights back, and two different people that I "follow" posted recipes, almost simultaneously for white chicken enchiladas.  One was labeled as "seriously so good" enchiladas, and the other was labeled "the best chicken" enchiladas.  Was this a sign from the heavens that this was my next recipe to try?  I believe it was. Was there going to be a supreme enchilada battle of the ages over WHICH recipe I was going to attempt?  Yes. Yes there was. I checked both recipes out and they were pretty similar.  Both were pretty simple, although one seemed to have a bit more flavor added.  I decided to do a hybrid of the two recipes and see how it played out. (Full recipe and printable version available at bottom of this post)
Ingredients gathered: check.
First, summon all of your ingredients.  I liked this recipe because it had things I already had on hand for the most part: chicken, flour tortillas, sour cream, shredded cheese, chicken broth, etc.  
First I mixed the shredded chicken, 1 cup of the cheese, and 2 of the minced cloves of garlic in a medium bowl

Next, roll this chicken mixture up in a flour tortilla

and place in a 9x13 pan.  The original recipe said I would need 10 shells, but I ended up only using eight.  Perhaps I was over stuffing?  But I do like my enchiladas on the meaty side.
my "overstuffed" meaty enchiladas
Next, comes the creamy part, the sauce!  Start with melting the butter, add the flour and cook for 1 minute.

Next, add the 2 cups of chicken broth and simmer for a few minutes until sauce has thickened.  The last picture shows what it looks like after adding in the finely chopped peppers, the other 2 cloves of minced garlic, and the cup of sour cream.  

(Note: one recipe called for a 4 oz can of green chilies and the other called for a diced/seeded jalapeno of which I had neither.  I did have some left over Santa Fe chilies frozen from our garden last summer, so I used those) 

Add your seasonings here as well and don't under season, it will be very bland if you don't.  Also do not boil the sauce as you don't want the sour cream to curdle.  Simmering on medium is the key here

Next you want to pour this sauce over the pan of waiting chicken tortilla rolls
Lovely.  Then top with the remaining shredded cheese and toss in the 350º oven for 25-30 minutes.
When you open the oven door, this awaits you.  Can you smell it?  Yum.  We served it with chips, salsa, guacamole, olives, and it was quite tasty.

One other thing I noticed was the inside of the enchiladas was rather dry.  Maybe I like a sloppy enchilada.  Maybe I like to dip my chips in the savory drippings or something, but I think if I make this the next time, I will add something IN the chicken/cheese wrap part such as a can of cheddar cheese soup, some salsa, or some of the cooked sauced to give it more moisture.  I will keep you posted if I make this again and any improvements I come up with.

Click for a printable version of the recipe I used

White Chicken Enchiladas

2 cups cooked, shredded chicken
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
4 cloves of garlic minced
10 soft taco shells
3 Tablespoons butter
3 Tablespoons flour
2 cups of chicken broth
1 cup sour cream
1 finely chopped jalapeno/or Santa Fe pepper seeded
1 teaspoon onion powder (optional)
salt and pepper or seasoned salt to taste

1.  Preheat oven to 350º.  Spray/grease a 9x13 pan

2.  In a medium bowl mix chicken, 1 cup of cheese, and 2 cloves of minced garlic
3.  Roll chicken mixture into tortillas and place into pan with seam side down
4.  In a sauce pan, melt butter on medium, stir in flour and cook for 1 minute
     Add broth and whisk until smooth simmer until it bubbles and becomes thick
5.  Reduce heat slightly and add sour cream, peppers, other 2 cloves of minced garlic
     onion powder, and salt and pepper or season salt to taste.  Do not let boil.
     Simmer on medium/low for a few minutes to combine flavors.
6.  Pour over rolled enchiladas in pan and top with remaining cheese
7.  Bake for 25-30 minutes and make sure the cheese is brown and bubbly. 

Monday, February 27, 2012

Can I substitute my substitutions?

So I have to tell you a quick story, as I've been cracking up lately at recipe sites.  I've been busy looking for a ton of new recipes and I always try to find ones that are posted with reviews.  It really does end up saving you time in the long run.

What I really enjoy is reading all the reviews in detail and THIS is where you can see if a recipe is really working or not, because if a bunch of people make the same kind of change in a recipe then you know to try their version of the recipe over the original posted one. Some are pretty basic, like switching butter for margarine, adding extra seasoning, added some extra liquid or dry ingredient.  That all seems pretty reasonable.  However I just start to shake my head when they really start to change up the recipe, thus making it an entirely NEW dish that is nothing like the original.  Ok so you want to make Asian inspired ginger soy sauce salmon dish, but you didn't have salmon so you used chicken and you don't like sesame seeds so you used pine nuts, and you don't have soy sauce so you used BBQ sauce... Um, brace yourself lady, but THAT's a new dish.

So I was on Pinterest (my other new love) a few nights back and there was this delicious recipe for a watermelon lime frosty beverage.  Sounded good so I clicked on it.  There were only two reviews but one of them said, well I didn't have watermelon so I used frozen peaches, and I don't care for limes so I used lemon juice.  Ha.  Made me guffaw out loud. She changed the two main ingredients so instead of having a watermelon lime frosty, this lady had made a peach lemon freeze. All while complimenting the original recipe as the "best she'd ever tried".  So remember, tiny changes good.  Too many changes = whole new ball of wax!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Crochet: Barbie Spring Wardrobe Part II

Well in our last Barbie crochet post, my daughters were picking colors and designs for me to make dresses for them.  I whipped up a few more over the course of the last week.  I should remind you, the color schemes were designed by the minds of 4-7 year olds, which, as it turns out, is not such a bad idea after all.  My girls have mad design skilz, who knew?  OK so this was the black and white one I came up with for my middle child:

Classic 50's style dress with matching headband
This one turned out pretty classy.  My friend claims it is  so cute she would wear it and asked if I can make grown up sizes... hmmmm we will have to see about that.  The next style was dictated by my eldest, and she wanted a blue and purple Easter dress, so this is what I came up with:
Easter Dress Front                                                                                                  Easter Dress Back
Instead of doing black and white stripes, I just made one large purple stripe and added in some tiny pearls around to make it more fancy and "Eastery".  Also what Easter dress is not complete without a fancy hat?  So I made a simple hat to complete the ensemble. The next dress they wanted was a full length dress in the colors of the rainbow.  This one turned out very colorful

Pretty rainbow ball gown                                                            Close up of all the colors.  Love it!
So now Barbie is set for any future rainbow ball.  I like the scalloped "cloud" edge around the bottom of the dress.  Rainbows rock, good idea girls!

Here's all the latest Barbie spring fashions together on the runway
Oh and then right before press time, we had a late entry. My youngest informed me she wanted an all purple dress, so I cranked one out last night
         My first attempt at a "ruffle" dress                                                      Close up of the ruffle effect
I did two layers each of DC rows, and each time I started a new row, I tried to build it slightly behind the first row.  This left the top layer in tact, as I was hoping this would give it a three dimensional ruffle layered look.  All in all, I think Barbie has never looked so classy! 

Corn & Cheese Chowder - Testing a Pioneer Woman recipe

So I must admit I'm a big fan of Ree Drummond, aka "The Pioneer Woman".  I have her cookbook and am having tons of fun trying a lot of her recipes.  I've been watching her show on the Food Network as well and trying some of those new recipes on the show not yet in a cookbook.  Last night I thought I'd try one that looked pretty good on her show, a corn and cheese chowder.  Here is a picture of what is suppose to look like, from her blog:
Ree's lovely soup with bread bowls
Here is also a link to her website with the play by play recipe, if you want to make it, which you should:  
Corn and Cheese Chowder by the Pioneer Woman 

I am just trying these for my family to see how we like them, make a few small changes, and see how it turns out.  The most fun I had with this recipe was chopping up all the bell peppers.  It was so colorful I had to take a picture
I'm a pepper, your a pepper, she's a pepper, he's a pepper, wouldn't you like to chop a pepper too?

So I chopped them all up real purdy like and though the recipe didn't call for it, I added a few cloves of garlic using my handy dandy garlic zoom, mostly because I couldn't resist using the cute thing!  Then I dumped each thing into the pot one at a time, sauteing in butter a few minutes each just like she recommends.
Pretty peppers in the pot

After the peppers, butter, onions, and garlic, the next thing I added was the bacon, then flour, seasoning, the chicken stock, the milk, etc.  One thing I changed was the amount.  We have three little girls, so technically I'd be cooking for 5, however they eat like birds most of the time and tend to frown on my cooking experiments as  actual "edible" food, so in reality this is just for hubby n me.  So instead of doing 3 cups of stock, I did 2, and instead of 2 cups of half/half I did 1 cup. I did add the whole amount of cheese though, because really, you can never have too much cheese, no?

So I let it simmer on low and get all nice, thick and bubbly.  Didn't have bread bowls on hand but had a crusty loaf of french bread that went nicely with it.  Hubby seemed to really like this soup.  I thought it had a nice warming effect.  The peppers were very mild and added just a hint of heat.  The kids on the other hand, wanted NOTHING to do with it.  This is despite the fact they love corn and cheese in any amounts.  I do think the bell peppers gave this soup a more "grown up" taste, hence the shunning. 

We should probably put this into the grown up soup arsenal around here.  This is the 4th soup I've made from scratch in the last few weeks, and I'm really starting to get the hang of how easy and tasty homemade soup can be.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

New Gadget alert! - Garlic Zoom XL

So, speaking of love and vampires (ok, I really wasn't speaking of vampires, mostly just love this week), but Vampires beware! This year has been a special year.  I know it's only a few months in to 2012 but I have fallen in love.  Yes I have fallen in love with garlic!  I used to hate the stuff, avoided it even.  Now that I am making a lot of recipes from scratch and homemade there is a lot of call for minced garlic here and there.  The key is not going bonkers and throwing a ton in... the key is a little goes a LONG way.  One day I was trying a new recipe and suddenly realized that sauteing garlic with butter gave off such a heavenly aroma! I was wishing I had a grilled artichoke heart or a lump of crab to dip and slather it in.  MAN it smells good and adds such a depth of flavor to the cooking.  So this lead me to a dilemma.  I am a novice garlic mincer, it's messy, and it can stink up your hands (and your breath).  Not to mention peeled cloves of garlic are small and therefore dangerous to chop (if you use inappropriate tools like a near by steak knife like I tend to do).  I had just bought a fancy garlic press a few weeks back, but all it seemed to do was smash the stuffing out of it, not produce much actual garlic to use, AND leave giant chunks of garlic behind I had to fish out with my finger, ug.  I was thinking there has to be an easier way!  Well thank goodness my hubby is a geek, because we get the think geek catalog and there, between the binary clock and the star trek pizza cutter was the answer to all of my prayers for $14... The Garlic Zoom XL.
The garlic zoom lx - isn't she a beaut?

Isn't is the cutest thing?!  So sweet.  My kids took one look at that and wanted to drive it around the counter, and here's the greatest part... they CAN!  Yes let me give you the exciting play by play:

toss a few cloves of garlic in the garlic zoom

So you get a few cloves of garlic.  I used three here.  Also if look closely in the back I have a jar of peeled garlic cloves (a very exciting discovery in the produce aisle with the refrigerated salad dressings.  So handy and ready to go whenever I need them).  Then close the lid and you are ready to roll.  Literally. 

Taking my garlic zoom xl for a drive around the counter

So with three cloves it feels like it's not going to roll at first, but just do a couple of back and forth rolls until the blades really start chopping and BAM, within a few seconds your garlic is being minced before your eyes.

The garlic zoom after zoomage.  Hello minced garlic I didn't have to touch
So now they say to open up the whole zoomer and take out the blade and removed the minced garlic, but I discovered that there is an easier way where you don't have to deal with super sharp blades.  With the whole thing still closed, turn it upside down and tap it into your other hand while holding a dish towel for cushion.  It will make all the garlic fall to the top of the gadget and then all you have to do is just pop open only the top lid (the one you opened to put the garlic in) and all the garlic falls out where you want it.  Note: I didn't take a picture of it, above is the first time I ever used it and was meticulously following the directions. 

perfectly minced garlic... HOORAY

Yes so just keep the thing closed, tip the whole thing over, tap it on a dish towel for cushion and pop up the lid and tap out your perfectly minced garlic. I rinsed the thing out with hot water then, get this, it's DISHWASHER SAFE to boot.  Hallelujah! I do realize Alton Brown would frown upon a "one trick wonder" gadget as he prefers multitaskers, but this one time I would say it's totally worth it!!  A garlic zoom a day keeps the vampires away!


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Love Notes

I was remembering my childhood the other day, and how my mom would sometimes put little love notes in our lunch.  A little encouragement, and "I love you" was such a sweet and easy gesture that really let you know how much you were loved, even when you were far away at school.  I thought, when I'm a mom I'm going to do fun things in my kid's lunches too.  Flash forward to now and almost every time they have a sandwich I will use a fun cookie cutter and make fun shapes out of them.  Who could resist a dog bone shaped sandwich or one made of four puzzle pieces you have to put together before you eat?  Sometimes I will put random fun things they normally don't get in there, popcorn, giant marshmallows, one time I put a bowl, a baggie of cereal and a quarter to buy a milk.  They were thrilled!

So this newfangled notion of all day kindergarten really put me on the spot these last couple of years.  I could write "I love you" or some other simple note on a napkin, but my kindergartener couldn't read just yet.  

So I had the BRIGHT idea one morning to pick up a couple of different party napkins while I was at the grocery store.  They were only a small amount of money and there were so many themes to choose from.  
Just a small assortment of our fun napkin arsenal.  You can always add to it, that's the fun part.

Each day my daughters could open up their lunch and find a surprise face or favorite character to greet them.  They loved it!  I started stocking up, any time after a holiday I'd snag a bunch on clearance.  (Note: I try not to buy any with holiday words on them, I try to keep it generic, so they can be used any time of year).  Now it's been a full year and I have a cute little arsenal of fun napkins to choose from.  Like if we are wishing for a snow day I can toss in a snowflake napkin from last winter's clearance sale.  If it's their birthday I send a happy birthday napkin.  Who wouldn't want to open their lunch to see a friendly Hello Kitty or Minnie Mouse looking back up at you?  Anyway, just thought I'd pass the tip along.  I'm thinking they will be diggin' these surprise napkins notes even long after they can read the real "I love you"

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Hot Lava Love

You know there are those time as a mom when you are tired, worn out, and plumb exhausted.  It is those exact times when one of your little ones crawls up into your lap and snuggles with you that can make all the difference in the world.  It can change your whole day, your whole outlook on life.  It can give you that boost of energy needed to carry on doing endless mundane tasks like dishes and laundry and dinner prep.  

So during one of those extra long days my youngest (she's 4) came up to me with a big grin on her face.  She was wiggling her fingers and said what I thought was, "Mama, I'm covering you with love.... I'm covering you with love".  Awww.  My heart just melted.  Like the Grinch I could feel it growing three sizes.  I could leap tall buildings with a single bound, I could do another load of laundry and get dinner ready with one hand tied behind my back!  All was right again with the world, thanks to my sweet and caring thoughtful daughter.
My heart, now filled with love and joy, thanks to the love of a child

 Really sweetie?  You love mama and are covering her with love?  Thank you so much that was so sweet of you to say... she then interrupts me.

NO Mama, not LOVE.... I'm covering you with hot LAVA.  She wiggles her fingers sneakily again at me "I'm covering you with hot LAVA, I'm covering you with hot LAVA" while beaming from ear to ear.

Oh... I see.  Well that's a little different.  Lava. Love.  Sure it almost sounds the same....  The first way I was covered with admiration, respect and adoration.  Now I'm covered with fire red burning magma from the center of the earth scorching everything in its path. Sure.  I can see how you would get those mixed up little one.  But she was so adorable in her wiggle finger lava covering I had to laugh anyway.  So now when I think of lava I think of my heart just melting... in a good way...

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Easy Glass Votive: Pretty and Fun

I thought I'd give you an extra "bonus Valentine's craft.  I originally did this as a Christmas craft with my MOPS group, and it was a big hit with all the moms.  Makes great little homemade gifts for friends and family too. 
Christmas Glass Votive with fabric paint

After the Valentine Doily heart T-shirt craft yesterday I had all this left over fabric paint that was still wet and I didn't want to let it go to waste, then I remembered I had a few of these glass votives left over and knew I could make some Valentine's day themed ones.  Now I know you're saying, wait a second here, did you say FABRIC PAINT?  Wouldn't those be made of glass, not fabric?  Well I'll tell ya, these won't ever go in the dishwasher and I would recommend not getting them wet in any way, but if you are just going to use them for tea light candles or the new pretend tea light battery operated candles, it will work just fine.

Ok so you will need:  A 4 inch glass votive (found at the Dollar Tree).  Mine was a round cylinder shape but you could go for whatever size and shape you want.  The round lends itself to easier taping which I will show you in a minute.

So take some masking tape and tape off the top 1/4 inch of the votive.  Make sure the tape is tightly pressed to the glass.  Do the same thing around the bottom of the glass.  I cut the masking tape in half down the middle to make it thinner and it would wrap around the base easier.  This gives the finished piece a nice edge and looks more professional than painting all the way up to the top or getting paint on the brim at the bottom.
fabric paint votive with tape removed
So then I just started dipping into my left over fabric paint with my round foam paint brush. Dabbing between the two lines of masking tape.  It is good if you use a transparent or sparkly color so it is more see through for this first layer  I used all three colors or purple, red, and hot pink here and there, adding some of the left over silver sparkle as well.  As SOON as the whole surface was covered the way you want it, REMOVE all the masking tape right away.  If you let the paint dry before removing the masking tape, it will stick in places and pull off chunks of dry paint with it.   If you have trouble getting the paint on you can also put your hand IN the candle votive and hold it upside down while you dab paint on.
Hold the votive with your hand inside of it to get a better angle to paint
This is how I was holding it while I was dabbing on the sparkly fabric paint.  Now you can let this part completely dry for an hour or two, or, if you are impatient like me, you can start hand painting decorative touches using metallic paint.  Metallic fabric paint is the best for this because it really stands out and adds some shine.  Thankfully, the tips of the paint bottles are very slender and lend themselves to some neat designs.  As you can see above, the Christmas ones I tried snow flakes, dots, holly, swirls, you don't have to be an artist here.  Since it was Valentines I added some hearts which I filled in, and some swirls.  I went back after and added some hot pink dots here and there as well.
Two glass votives using opposite colors
I did a second votive using the same idea, only reversing the colors.  The transparent layer looks awesome with a ton of sparkle, then the metallic layer comes out a bit in a raised 3D effect.

Here they are all finished the next day and standing guard over my pretty roses my honey gave me for Valentine's day.  They look even better when they are all lit up.  (See below)

Let me give you a list again of materials you will need to do this project:

4 inch glass votive
masking tape
fabric paint (both sparkly and metallic)
foam sponge brush
paper plate
steady hand and a couple design ideas in mind
tea light

And here they are all done and lit up.  Didn't they turn out so cute!! I know you want to run and make these.  The shimmer of the sparkle paint really reflects when the candles are lit.  Very romantic if I do say so myself.
finished Valentine's tea light candle votives

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine Craft: Doily Heart T-Shirt

Happy Valentine's Day!  I thought I'd post a quick craft I did yesterday for the girls.  I should clarify that I found it in Family Fun magazine last month and thought it was cute and I wanted to try it.  The link to family fun is here:  Family Fun Doily T-Shirt  It is slated as a craft FOR the kids to do, but me being the perfectionist I am, really wanted them to turn out nice so I ended up doing these ones FOR the kids.  This is what you'll need:

Prewashed T-shirt (not shown)
Doilies  (got a 12 pack at Walmart for $1.89)
Glue stick
Fabric Paint (I used metallic and sparkle)
Round foam brush
Paper plate (not pictured)

So the directions state to lay out the T-shirt and put a layer of newspaper inside to protect it.  The next step was to take a glue stick and gently dab some glue on the back of the doily and that way it will stick to the t-shirt.  My only trouble was, I thought they might want to wear it today (Valentine's) and I thought they'd have glue still all over it and the fabric paint says to let it dry for 4 hours but not wash it for 72 hours.  So, I didn't use glue.  I found out shortly after why that would of been better, but I just decided to "go" with it.

Don't mind the left over pumpkin plate, it was a good way to pour out some paint in a few shades and different styles, like metallic and sparkle. I ended up blending them all together in the end for a pretty cool effect so it worked out great. OK so I just laid the doily right on the shirt (don't forget to put the newspaper inside the shirt).  The back of the doily kind of had some raised grooves in it that made it stick to the shirt a bit.  I got out my little rounded end foam brush and started dipping in the paint.

My original intent was to put on a layer of metallic paint for shine, then I was going to go back over it with a sparkle color for extra glittery fun.  What I found out was that after the doily started to get damp with paint it wanted to stick to the foam brush sometimes and pull UP off the shirt.  Not good.  I'm sure this is the exact reason they want you to use a glue stick, but I digress... So  in the end I just made sure I went nice and slow and tried to hold the edges securely so the doily stayed in place.  So this first shirt I did in only one paint kind, metallic.  It had a nice shimmer to it, so it still was plenty reflective when I was done.

The key to everything here is DON'T wait until the paint is dry.  Pull it up as soon as you are done.  I read this from another mom blogger and it worked like a charm.  Came right up and it turned out great.  I decided to add the word "LOVE" in the space left by the doily and throw in a few hearts here and there for the finished effect.

I also did it in two other colors, so that each girl would have the same design, but the color of their choosing.  I did add one thing however.  Besides the metallic and sparkle paint I also added a third sparkle only color called "multi" that was silvery and very shimmery.  I ended up blending them all together on the plate, and then at the very end I finished with more multi silver sparkle.  It really made the finished shirts shimmer in the light, but kept the deep colors underneath.

 I added in the "LOVE" and the other hearts at my daughters specifications.  Here's the final outcome:

They are still drying here but I think they turned out cute.  Also I like how this particular doily has a hidden Mickey Mouse silhouette on the inside of the main heart.  Maybe next time I'll even let my kids try this!

Monday, February 13, 2012

House of Love = Genius!

Why didn't I think of this before??  Many people do gingerbread houses around Christmas time.  I had purchased a kit at the store with every good intention of putting it together with the girls over the holidays.  Matter of fact it's become sort of a tradition that we have my folks over for dinner to celebrate my mom's birthday and put together a gingerbread house, with both grandparents and grand kids working together to construct a tasty masterpiece .  Well not sure what exactly happened to the timing of things, but I remember gazing into the pantry a few days into January and thought, wait a second, I have a gingerbread house kit here, what the heck I am going to DO with it?  Well, I'll tell you, inspiration struck me in that very moment.  It was like a beam of golden light shown down upon me and a heavenly host of angels sang from above.

That's right, why not build a Valentine's gingerbread house?!!  Valentine's Day is the perfect holiday to construct a house made entirely of candy and frosting.  I was so excited.  I ran to the store to stock up on some of our favorite holiday themed goodies and treats.

I assembled the fine ingredients in a few bowls, tossed in a few left over candy canes, since they were the right color... gathered some of my favorite people and away we decorated!

We opted for using some left over canned frosting at our roof base.  This worked great because the royal icing they give you is really only enough for decorative touches, icicles, doorways, and the like.  This way we could slather the whole roof and lay the candy on thick.  Red hots make a lovely trim, don't you think?  We used the white royal icing afterwards to put the finishing touches on the roof lines and windows.

We went a little candy "crazy" but as you can see a good time was had by all!  Looks like we just started a new little family tradition.  You can buy a gingerbread house on clearance after the Christmas holidays and then just save it for Valentines day, to construct your own house of LOVE!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Crochet: Barbie Spring Wardrobe

So last year a few months before Christmas, I taught myself how to crochet my girl's Barbies a few Christmas outfits.  These were my first attempts.   Turned out pretty cute, even added some matching Santa hats for the final effect. Ariel that lucky gal even got a "snowflake" wedding gown and they have a simple single pearl button on the back to make it easy for kids to get them dressed and undressed.  The girls loved it!

So my oldest had the thought that, since it was February, if I could make some cute spring outfits for the Barbies.  So I took the original pattern (shown in the burgundy color) and added some cap sleeves, a cute white scalloped boarder and a belted yarn bow.  Here's a front and back shot, turned out really sweet. (Modeled by Princess Aurora)

Then I found a different Barbie pattern on line, using a rubber band (I used a small hair tie rubber band) to make a sleeveless dress that kids could easily pull up and it would stay in place. The skirt is ruffled/flared. I let my 7-year-old pick the yarn colors she wanted, hence the shocking pink and cotton candy stylings of any pop star circa 1985...

All in all I think they turned out pretty cute.  I'm going to play around with them a bit.  My 5 year old wants a black and white dress, so I'll attempt that next.

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