Ice Cream Sundae Kit

This is a cute idea that I put together as end of the year teacher gifts.  But it would be appropriate for any ice cream lover in your life.  And who doesn’t love ice cream?!Sundae Gift 2My kits included:

  • waffle bowls
  • sugar cones
  • chocolate jimmies
  • rainbow sprinkles
  • milk chocolate toffee bits
  • semi-sweet chocolate mini morsels
  • homemade hot fudge sauce
  • homemade salted caramel sauce (it only took me 4 tries and 3 different recipes to accomplish this!)

Sundae Gift 1Some other ideas:

  • chopped nuts
  • peanut butter chips
  • chopped candies
  • mini M&M’s
  • ice cream scoop
  • cute napkinsSundae Gift

The possibilities are endless.  And, really, it is all about the packaging and presentation.

Advent Calendar Ideas

I have this beautiful Advent calendar my sister gave to me.  The little doors open to reveal mini compartments that have the honor of housing little treats.  Advent calendar 1Of course with 5 kids, the dilemmas are:

1. What to put inside?    and          2. Who gets it?      oh yeah, and    3. Can it be cheap?

Here’s how I do it:

On the back of the box is a list indicating who opens the door on which day.  So with 5 kids, each child opens 5 doors between December 1 and December 25.

The following items are inside (one item on each day and each child eventually gets the same thing just perhaps not in a row.  For example, I put in 5 quarters and each child will have one by Christmas.  Inside a few doors the kids will find a scripture from the Christmas story or a nice idea (like “Say a prayer for someone.”) to remind our children what this precious season of Advent is really about.  Click here to get the verses.

  • Quarters (each child gets 1)
  • packs of gum
  • hair accessories for the girls and chap-stick for the boys
  • fun ribbon (they LOVE using mine)
  • foil wrapped chocolate Santas

The options are endless and don’t have to cost a lot.  Comment and share with us how you prepare for Christmas.

Turkey Veggie Platter

Some of you may be wondering what you can throw together to take to Thanksgiving dinner.  Here’s a cute idea that you may already have the ingredients for and is sure to steal the show.We aren’t reinventing the wheel…you can find this same idea all over the Internet.  The great part is that you can make it your own with whatever you have in your crisper right now.  Here are the basics of how we did it, but feel free to substitute different veggies that you may have on hand.

Ingredients:

  • lettuce
  • carrots
  • cucumbers
  • a variety of peppers
  • celery
  • raisins

Directions:

Cover your platter with lettuce to make a nice fluffy backdrop for your turkey.  I used carrots and red peppers to make the feathers.  The sliced cucumbers form the body.  The bottom of a pepper makes a nice face.  I used pepper remnants to make the beak and waddle.  I used raisins for eyes, but you could use blueberries, black olives, or anything else that resembles little turkey eyes.

Halloween Block Party

Celebrate with your neighbors by organizing a block party this Halloween.  Yummy food, a few games and an excuse to don your costumes an extra day makes for a fun evening with friends and family.

We served “Halloweenies” (i.e. hot dogs) and Delicious “Ghoul”ash DinnerEven our healthy food fit our spooky theme with the Carrot and Raisin Jack-o-lantern.Bewitching Cupcakes for a spooky treat.Really, the kids just enjoy running around with their friends, but we did set up a few games for all to partake in.  Party goers could play:

Ghost Pin Bowling

(bowling pins from the kid’s toy stash decorated with white cloth, black string and marker faces)Mash the Mummies

(used veggie cans wrapped in toilet paper adorned with googly eyes)Jack-o-lantern Bucket Toss

(scored for 75% off after Halloween at Target last year!) Have a FABULOUS Halloween!!

 

Festive Fall Bridal Shower

We love a fall wedding and a fall bridal shower can be just as beautiful.  Autumn colors like reds, oranges, and golds lend themselves to beautiful natural decorations.

Simple arrangements of sunflowers, mums, and other fall favorites in mason jars wrapped with raffia ribbon.

  Textures like burlap and wood add a warm touch to the elegance of grandma’s silver and smooth white china.

Notice the burlap table runner along with mismatched, yet coordinating, napkins and chairs.

Uniformity is unnecessary when mixing and matching create the ever popular shabby chic feel.  Coordinating borrowed items makes the cost of hosting a shower more manageable, too.

Borrowed pumpkins coordinated with the fall theme.

Framing the invitation added visual interest to the table among the delicious spread of food.

Menu:

  • Egg, sausage, and cheese breakfast casserole
  • Roasted potatoes
  • Cheddar apples
  • Mixed fruit
  • Cream cheese breakfast bars
  • Mixed greens with pears, blue cheese, and candied pecans dressed in a maple viniagrette
  • Carrot cupcakes with cream cheese frosting
  • Bloody Marys
  • Spiked apple cider
  • Orange juice, water, coffee, and assorted teas

    The adorable fall banner from Etsy looked beautiful on the beverage table.

The lovely bride (in red) and a few of her bridesmaids.

Baseball Treats

I live in a household full of baseball players.  That means that between birthday parties and end of the season parties, I’ve made quite a few baseball themed treats.  Now, in the midst of baseball playoff season with the World Series quickly approaching I thought some of you might be interested in trying your hand at some of these treats.  Whether you want cupcakes, cookies, or cakes, feast your eyes.

2012 thru 2013 2250

2012 thru 2013 1803

2012 thru 2013 632

Baseball Party cupcakesDSC_0196DSC_0181DSC_0370GetAttachment[1] (2)

Bewitching Cupcakes

This adorable cupcake will make a frightening impression on your guests.  We served them at our Halloween Block Party.

Supplies

  • 1 chocolate cake mix
  • green frosting (you can just used food coloring to dye vanilla frosting)
  • black and white straws (cut into 2″ lengths)
  • black witch shoes (use construction paper to cut shoes shapes)
  • glue

I found the straws on Very Jane.

Make cupcakes as directed on the box and frost with green icing once cooled.

Cut witch feet from black construction paper and glue to straws.  Stick into the cupcakes, feet up.

DING DONG!  The witch is dead!  Happy Halloween!

E. Claire Dessert – Yum!

Lovingly named after Mary’s first child, you’ll love this dessert. It couldn’t be easier…or more delicious.  Bringing this will make you the hit of any picnic, but don’t count on there being any left to take home.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pkg (5.1 oz) vanilla pudding mix
  • 3 cups cold milk
  • 1 tub (8 oz) whipped topping, thawed
  • 1 box graham crackers
  • 1 container chocolate frosting

Mix vanilla pudding mix with 3 cups cold milk and let stand until soft-set.  Fold whipped topping into prepared pudding.  Line a 13×9 pan with graham crackers, breaking if needed to fit pan.

Pour ½ of the pudding mixture onto the graham crackers.  Top with another layer of graham crackers.

Pour remaining pudding mixture onto the graham crackers.  Top with a final layer of graham crackers.

 

 

Remove lid and foil liner from frosting container, and heat for 20-30 seconds in the microwave or until it pours easily.  Pour over final graham cracker layer and spread to the edges of the pan.

Refrigerate until set.  We have enjoyed it the same day we assembled it, but prefer to make it a day ahead.

 

Taco Bar – Perfect for Cinco De Mayo or any other Night

Make your own taco night is a staple at our houses, but you can kick it up a notch for Cinco de Mayo or any other night by adding our Simple Summer Margarita and decorating with our Colorful Mexican Paper Flowers.

We serve:

  • soft flour tortillas and hard corn tortillas
  • ground beef, seasoned with packaged taco seasoning (‘cuz it’s easy)
  • salsa
  • sour cream
  • shredded cheddar cheese
  • lettuce
  • guacamole
  • refried beans (not pictured)
  • Spanish rice (not pictured)
  • tortilla chips (make a great topper if you choose to go the taco salad route)Our kids love this do-it-yourself meal because they get to play a role in their own meal prep.  Our husbands love it because it is delicious and they can get their fill. We love it because it is fun and it is always a crowd pleaser!

Muy bien!!

S’mores Salad

If you thought this recipe had anything green in it, think again.  Periodically I have my kids come up with their own recipes for dinner and dessert.  When my son Grant asked if he could prepare dessert one evening, the S’mores Salad was born.  It was such a hit at our house I used it at Girl Scout camp.  The kids loved it and the adults raved about it.S'mores Salad 3

Ingredients:

  • Golden Grahams Cereal
  • Milk Chocolate Chips
  • Mini Marshmallows

Dining In – Assemble the ingredients in individual oven safe (or microwave safe) bowls and heat until the chips start to melt a little.

Dining Out – At camp, the campers layered the ingredients in plastic cups and let them rest in the sun.  After lunch each cup had transformed into its own gooey-goodness.S'mores Salad 1

S'mores Salad  2S'mores Salad 5