Archive for January, 2007

Miniature Sweets

January 31, 2007

I purchased this pan made by Chicago Metallic at William Sonoma last year. I love it!


I have used it over and over again. It made perfect desserts at my niece’s lunch and has been a hit every-time since. I baked these little cheesecakes today but mine are not cool enough to remove from the pans. If you want a closer look here is a picture from the box.


I plan on deocrating mine and the plate for Valentine’s day—I’ll show you later!

The recipe on the back of the box it delish. I have adapted it slightly. Here is the recipe I use.

Mini Heart Chocolate Cheesecakes

You will need


½ Cup chocolate graham cracker crumbs

(1 pack of the 3 pack box yields 1 cup)

2 Tbs butter, melted

1 ½ Tbs sugar

1 pinch of salt


¾ Cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

8 oz. Cream cheese (softened)

½ Cup sugar

2 eggs

½ Cup sour cream

½ tsp. Vanilla extract

Have all ingredients at room temperature. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly spray pan, especially the sides. You probably could make these in a mini-muffin pan—-but this pan has removable heart disc bottoms that make it a breeze to remove the cheesecakes.

To make the crusts, combine cookie crumbs, butter, sugar and salt and mix until well blended. Divide the mixture between the hearts. Press evenly into the bottom of each well. It is about a tablespoon of mixture in each well. Bake crusts for 10 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack.

Reduce oven temperature to 275 degrees.

Melt chocolate (I use the microwave). I process in my food processor or with a mixer the cream cheese and sugar until smooth—-stop occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the sour cream and vanilla and blend. Add the eggs one at a time blending after each egg. Add the melted chocolate and beat until completely blended—again stopping to scrape down the sides. Pour batter into the crusts. I fill completely to the top.

Bake until the filling is set, 18-20 minutes. I place a pan of water in the oven while baking. I allow the cheesecakes to set in the turned off oven with the door open a bit for about 30 minutes after baking is complete. I then allow them to cool on the counter for another 30 or so minutes. I think the slower cooling helps prevent cracks. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours before unmolding. These freeze beautifully!

I decorate the tops with a little chocolate ganache. Heat 1/3 cup heavy cream (don’t substitute any thing less!), 1 T butter, and 1 T sugar. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Pour boiling cream mixture over 3 ounces (about 1/4 cup) semi-sweet chocolate chips. Allow to stand for 3-4 minutes. Stir until smooth. Pour onto tops of cheesecakes and smooth evenly.

I only see the round miniature cheesecake pan at William Sonoma this year. I have found the heart one here and here.



Heart Garland

January 30, 2007

I love hanging decorations from my ceilings.


I took a few different colors of cardstock (construction paper works too) and cut out different heart shapes. I did have access to a die-cut machine but don’t let that stop you if you don’t!  Hand cut hearts would probably me much more charming!


I sewed through them on my sewing machine with clear thread. Pull out a foot or so of thread before you start sewing so you have plenty to hang your hearts with.


I could never have too many of these hanging around!


Happy Kansas Day

January 29, 2007

Today we are celebrating the 146th Kansas Day. Kansas became a state on January 29, 1861. My son and I will spend the morning at the Kansas Historical Museum. If you would like to help Kansas celebrate and learn a little more about this fine state here is a sunflower coloring sheet, a Western Meadowlark, and a buffalo. Here is a sheet about our state symbols. You can even make your own Kansas flag.

I made this simple cake for my son’s class. The center is a chocolate cake made in a small cake pan or heat proof bowl. The petals are Twinkies–as many as you need for the kids. We added some chocolate chips to the frosted center, but you could also use chocolate sprinkles.


Leave a comment to this post and my son and I will pick one person to recieve some Kansas goodies. We will notify the lucky person by e-mail.

Valentine Soaps

January 25, 2007

Even the bathroom needs a little holiday cheer!


Paint Glycerin soap with acrylic paint. One side of the soap needs to be non-imprinted, so you have a nice area to paint on.


Melt paraffin in a double boiler situation. I used a metal measuring cup set in a pan of water. An old food can could also be used. Wax is highly flammable so it is best to melt it in water. DO NOT allow any of the water to get into the wax!


Brush a thin coat of melted wax over your painting. Do not paint the sides or bottom of your soap. The wax must be very hot to give a clear coat. It is probably best for an adult to do this step while wax is still at the stove so it remains very hot.



When you use your soap the wax will protect your paintings.


Envelope Refashion

January 23, 2007

I learned how to make this cute envelope pocket from Jessica Samuels, a Stampin’ Up consultant. Take one legal size plain or decorated envelope and measure over 2 3/8 inches from the edge of the envelope on each side. see red line


Cut this triangular area away from the flap of the envelope.


If you did not start with a decorated envelope, stamp or decorate over the entire envelope, front and back. I left lining area plain.



Fold both sides of the envelope to the center. I think it is easier for children if you place a piece of cardboard in the middle to have a guide for folding. My cardboard measured 4 3/8 ” X 4 1/8″.

Remove cardboard and place 1/2 of a hole punch about 1 ” down (depending on the length of your flap. It should be about at the center of the side of the flap when flap is folded down YIKES that is hard to explain) from the flap fold on each side.


Run ribbon through the holes on the front inside out to the back of the envelope. I used about 24″ of ribbon.


Place candy or a card in your refashioned envelope.


Fold in the sides, then fold down the flap and tie your ribbon.


It’s not long until Valentine’s Day!

Lollipop Lollipop

January 19, 2007

Last Wednesday we made homemade lollipops. While the kids can’t participate in every step, there is plenty to do. LorAnn’s makes the most ingenious Pencil Pops. This little piece of plastic molds in the lollipop in place of sucker sticks. When the lollipop is finished it then will fit onto a pencil. If you want to use lollipop molds like we did you must make sure to buy the molds that have a space made for the pencil pop. We used 3 sheets of molds, yielding 15 lollipops.

Old Fashioned Lollipops

2 cups sugar

2/3 cup light corn syrup

¾ cup water

1 tsp Flavoring (we used LorAnn)

¼ tsp Liquid Food Coloring

Candy Thermometer

Lightly spray molds with cooking spray and insert pencil pops into your molds.



In large saucepan, mix together sugar, corn syrup and water. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Bring mixture to a boil without stirring. This syrup gets very hot. Children must watch the next steps from afar!


When syrup temperature reaches 260°F, add the coloring. DO NOT STIR; boiling will incorporate the coloring into the syrup.


Remove from heat at 300°. Watch closely from 260° to 300°, the temperature will rise quickly. Remove from heat. When boiling has stopped, stir in flavoring. I then CAREFULLY pour the mixture into a heat proof ceramic pitcher or glass batter bowl. This makes it easy to pour into the molds. It also allows you to be able to slightly reheat the mixture in the microwave if it cools too quickly. Immediately pour syrup into the molds.


After lollipops have cooled they may be removed from the molds. Stick pencil in pencil pop.


We wrapped with lollipop bags and ribbons.


Enjoy! Have a great weekend!


January 18, 2007

We made these sour cream container look alikes last year for Valentine’s Day. This simple design allows for lots of creativity. We used white cardstock that we stamped with hearts, but colored papers, paper with your writing and drawings or other decorative papers or materials (wallpaper etc.) could be used.

We started with half of a sheet of cardstock. We then stamped hearts on the paper.


Put double sided tape down the short side of the paper. Then roll the paper up to make a tube.



Gently squeeze the tube on one end. Place a piece of double sided tape at the end on the inside so when you squeeze the end all the way shut it will stick. Squeeze the end shut. Take a paper crimper (This thing is a HUGE hit with my kids—well worth the bucks!) and crimp the end closed. We crimp enough into the container that we have 4 or 5 crimping lines.



Fill the container with treats and or some trinkets. Now gently squeeze the other end in the OPPOSITE direction. Put tape along the inside at the end and then crimp shut. The crimping really makes it look just like a sour cream container.



Sick Day X 2

January 16, 2007

We were up early this morning (before 4). My action figure is sick—horrible headache, cough and fever. If my crafty guy needs some entertainment today we will give these cootie catchers (in honor of our excess cooties) a try. Here are instructions with a printable template. If he feels like it we will get a head-start on his Valentines. He wanted to make these long pyramid boxes. Here is a printable template( Sorry it is no longer available). Mirkwood Designs has templates for cards and boxes if you are looking for more ideas.

I’m glad my husband was wanting something sweet last night and made some cookie dough. Our little boy boys will need a warm treat today. It is 3 degrees!

We think these are the best chocolate chip cookies!

Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 Cup Brown Sugar

¾ Cup Sugar

1 Cup Butter (softened)

1 tsp. Vanilla

2 Eggs

3 Cups Flour

1 tsp. Salt

1 tsp. Baking Soda

2 Cups Chocolate Chips

Cream the butter and sugars. Add eggs and vanilla. Stir in flour, salt and baking soda. Add in chocolate chips. Bake at 350° for about 11-13 minutes. We like our cookies soft and chewy in the center and very lightly golden around the edges.

My oldest son just entered the room and announced that he has a headache and…….

Google Reader

January 15, 2007

I want to introduce my smart and handsome (available- all you SF girls) nephew. He works for Google and has been working very hard to make our lives easier.


If you would like to be notified when I have posted on my blog, just go to Google Reader  for a quick tutorial on how this program works. You no longer have to random check your favorite blogs to see if they have been updated—Google Reader does it for you. It also keeps all of your favorite sites in one place– how organized! It is free, simple to use and easy to install. I (okay he did it) added Google Reader to my toolbar (an option when you download) to make it really convenient to see updated blogs. Give it a try!

Mom was right

January 12, 2007

and let it be known because it is usually never recognized—-but on this morning, I was right. After a morning of gently mentioning how cold it is, the windchill 4 and it’s snowing, one little boy finally gave in and put on jeans. Did everyone hear that? JEANS. My basketball jersey wearing son went out the door with JEANS, a LONG sleeved polo, a hoodie AND yes drum-roll please….a winter coat. Okay, I finally gave up about the hat but much to my amazement this boy, seconds later, ran back into the house saying, “It is COLD, where’s my hat?” Of course, I followed him out the door to snap this monumental occasion. For at least one day we are dressed appropriately for the weather. I saw the hat get whisked off as soon as the bus was in sight—– but at least from our front door to the end of our driveway—I was right and he was warm!


Scratch Art

January 11, 2007

We had friends over today and we made our own homemade “Scratch Art” paper. It is very simple and we can show you how. First color really hard all over your paper. You can use copy paper or cardstock. It should be waxy looking with NO white showing.

scratch-art-step-1-two-pictures.jpg scratch-art-step-1.jpg

If your friends are young you might want to draw a square on the center of the paper, not to big, and then cut it out when they are finished. This allows the edges to be colored and not destroyed.

After your paper is colored take black tempera paint(I used a washable kids paint by Plaid that I found at Wal-Mart) and mix in a drop of dish detergent. I would say maybe two tablespoons of paint with a good sized drop (like 1/4 to a scant 1/2 tsp) of regular dish detergent. Paint your entire page with the paint. Allow to dry.



When the paper is completely dry (takes about an hour), start scratching away. We used toothpicks.

Here are some of our masterpieces.


The end of the road

January 10, 2007

….for my snowflakes that were once lunch- sack flowers. I was totally enthralled with this idea when I made them and I couldn’t part with them after my niece’s lunch so– I cut holes in the edges and hung them back up as snowflakes for the winter.



It is just getting cold around here but I still think they must finally bid us farewell. I am thinking that ones made from pastel bags would be lovely for Easter. Oh wait, maybe red and white ones for Valentine’s Day…………..okay I just can’t let this idea go! I got a lot of mileage out of $1.29!

Baby It’s Cold Outside!

January 10, 2007

Cold weather is on the way.  This little cutie is modeling one of the more than 10 scarves my mother knitted this holiday season.  What a warm and cozy treat.


Sweet Megan

January 5, 2007

It is kinda dreary around here today so I thought I would share a more sunny day. These are the pictures from my niece’s bridesmaid’s luncheon.


It was held ON her wedding day. We just wanted to add all the stress and fun that we could possibly add to the day. It turned out fabulous even though we had our share of perils. Our electricity happened to go out from 7:30 in the morning until 15 minutes before the girls arrived at 12:00. It was quite a crazy morning with my wonderful aunt(my lucky house guest) holding me together, my dear husband shuffling food to my dear friend’s house to be cooked, and him also transporting my cousin’s daughter (another lucky house guest) to get a shower. I served a salad (recipe follows), Grilled Vegetable Panini, Bellinis, Mini heart Cheesecakes, and Heart shaped Sugar Cookies with icing flavored with vanilla and creme bouquet instead of the almond. Okay we also had jello shots and when the girls drank every single Bellini a few…..

Slippery Nipples -1/2 shot Butterscotch Schnapps & 1/2 shot Irish Cream.


I had the most fun decorating and setting the table.


I made cones out of paper and filled with chocolates for the back of each chair.


These flowers are made from white lunch sacks. Find out how to make them here.


The salad is delicious and from my special friend Karin.


Tortellini Salad

4 oz tortellini (cooked)

4 oz grilled chicken

2 artichoke hearts (sliced and drained)

1 oz of fresh spinach or other greens

12 sun-dried tomatoes (softened in warm water 20 mins. then chopped)

2 oz. feta cheese

3 slices red onion


2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 tsp dried oregano

1 Tbl. tomato paste

6 Tbls. Balsamic vinegar

Puree ingredients in blender or food processor then while processor is going add 1/2 cup top quality olive oil.

Toss dressing with salad. This makes more than enough dressing for the ingredients.


Do you think this violates child labor laws?

January 3, 2007

The new year is bringing us a new bathroom. After two days, everything has been removed—-the fun part for the boys. Now I await my new tub!!



January 2, 2007

or a book titled Weapons With PVC could possibly be my next calling. We have two days left of Christmas break and I am trying hard to not make another trip for PVC. Currently we are making Samurai swords and now the troops are requesting a catapult.


If you have kids to keep busy and want more ideas you can always try PVC Plans. Our favorite is the PVC Marshmallow shooter. For plans go here. The PVC Bow and Arrows are a blast and can keep a birthday party of 10 boys entertained! My boys now graduating to larger weaponry want to try a catapult and a mortar. They love The Art of the Catapult and Backyard Ballistics.