Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Cupid Cones

Target has all their Valentine candy on sale this week
and I went a little crazy buying some~note to self, don't shop when hungry.

I think I'm totally in love with cone bags.  I had some left over from making up the Cocoa cones at Christmas~they come in a package of 24 for $1.99 so they are a great deal!  There is just something fun about the shape that makes everything look even better than normal.  I made a few up for some friends I don't get to see very often that I'm missing today.

Tonight hopefully we'll finish off a project we've been working on for the last week~the kids are going to love it!  Everything seems to take so much longer to do in January, am I the only one who thinks that?  Candace and I have been doing all those crazy "To Do" list items~like pull and clean behind the fridge, the washer and dryer, re-string the blinds, sort every single Lego so they can be thrown around the play room next week.  Ya know, Mom stuff.  At least it was warm enough (yup 37 degrees) to fill up the kiddie pool for my duckies.  It was hard to try and snap a picture and not get completely splashed!
 Life's little pleasures.:)
 What do you in January?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Love Floats

It's been so cold here the last couple of weeks that we haven't been very motivated to craft.  The only thing I've been motivated to do is drop off my kid at school and crawl back under the covers to watch episodes of Psych!  Just kidding, while Candace sorts toys in her bonus room I've been catching up on all my touch up painting.  Sounds thrilling huh.  Definitely not blog worthy stuff.

I've seen this idea around for a while where you can use Cherry 7UP instead of root beer for a float.  I thought it looked so cute that I did it for my church Activity Day Girls last week. They looked great but Cherry 7Up left me just wasn't strong enough to balance out the vanilla ice cream.  So since we are busy preparing Science Project experiments in our house- we thought we would try an experiment of our own.  My daughter was all too happy to be the judge!

We tried Shasta Raspberry Creme Soda 


and Barq's Red Creme Soda.

Both are pretty tasty but I think the Raspberry Creme might be a tad better.
They were so easy to make for my girls~I pre-scooped the ice cream and stored them in the freezer until ready to go.  Add a couple of cute Valentine straws and who can resist?

Now if you really want something tasty you'll have to try these Italian Creme Sodas~
Head over to Butter With A Side Of Bread for an easy and delicious recipe for homemade Italian Sodas.  Yum!

Friday, January 11, 2013

"Heavenly" Gates

Hello!  Long time no post!  Life has been busy with Christmas, putting away Christmas, kids, and snow...lots of snow! Our kids were thrilled to have a snow day off from school, full of sledding, fort building, and a little work too.

I recently made "heavenly gates" as a prop for a church activity and thought it would be fun to share how easy it was to make. The gate had to actually open enough to let the little kiddies walk through, so with a some researching I came up with something that worked.    

I found my inspiration on a Halloween site...yeah, that doesn't sound so heavenly! :) They show you how to make fake Halloween cemetery fences for the front of the yard out of PVC and wood 1x2's.

For the main part of the gate that includes the PVC and 1x2's -I used the directions from Haunters Hangout. You basically drill large holes in the 1x2's and put the 1/2 inch PVC pipes through the holes.  The PVC is held in place with screws. also has several links to creative ideas for fake fencing.

For the outside PVC stand, I used the directions from the sprinkler PVC contraption Nicole and I made for the kids a couple of summers ago to ride their bike through.  It worked perfectly to hold the gate.

The nice man from Lowes helped me figure out how to hinge the gate to the outside PVC with metal hardware that you bolt into the 1x2 and then wrap around the PVC. I like that you can tighten the bolt to the size of PVC.  I know he thought I was a little nuts when I showed him my gate drawing and requested help in the PVC department.
I glued inexpensive plastic garden edging (just like the directions at Haunters Hangout) to the top and bottom of the fake fence.  I think the plastic edging really brings the gate to life along with gold spray paint.

I hope this comes in handy if you ever need to make gate props for church, plays, or you just want to make Halloween cemeteries in your yard! Maybe I will be brave enough to make one next Halloween!

Nicole and I are working on another headboard for our friend.  We are excited to show you!  Stay tuned!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Gingerbread Man Visit

Candace told me to share a funny letter I wrote to her little boy who sent
me his Flat Gingerbread Man (a version of Flat Stanley) right before Christmas break.
I was scrambling at the last moment for this one but I guess he enjoyed it so we hope you will too!

Dear Andrew~
Do you know who’s writing you this letter?  It’s me~you’re favorite Aunt Nicky!  Guess who I found hiding under my door mat the other day….I think you might know him~he’s the gingerbread boy!  He is the cutest little fella’ and has the funniest little giggle I’ve ever heard.  I was hoping that maybe it was you coming to visit me because you make me so happy!  I figured you would want me to take care of your little friend and I needed to think of something to call him, so I named him Gingy!

Gingy had quite the adventure at my house!  I live right up the hill in Boise where all the really tall trees grow.  Gingy was missing his family very much and wandered over to the gingerbread houses to look for them…..but they weren’t there.

Next he wandered into the Christmas villiage~but he scared all the villagers because he was so big!  They thought he was King Kong coming to make banana splits out of them!

So over to the kitchen he came to help me make some yummy cookies for the Christmas party tomorrow at school.  Gingy had to be careful~I almost ate him up when he was hanging out with the other cookies!  Yum!!!!

In the family room Gingy heard a noise!  As he got closer he saw there was a squirrel there.  You see I help rescue baby squirrels that fall out of their nests and raise them till they are old enough to live outside.  This squirrel’s name is Fifi.  She is the nicest sweetest squirrel ever!  Gingy thought she was the perfect size to ride and he’s always wanted to be a cowboy, so he hopped right on Fifi’s back and went for a trot.  All he was missing was a cowboy hat and boots! 
When Gingy was done with Fifi he needed to cool off and headed outside.  Before he knew it he was surrounded by big beautiful ducks.  “Be careful Gingy!” I cried!  Those ducks love to snack on anything especially tomatoes and little gingerbread boys!  These ducks are named Buddy and Jo Jo.  Buddy tried to take a bite out of Gingy and he barely escaped!  Can you see the duck slobber he left behind on Gingy?
 Gingy ran inside and hid inside Dad’s stocking till the coast was clear. 
Phew!  That was a close one!  Now that the coast is clear Gingy is headed back down the hill to you Andrew.  Thanks for letting your friend come visit me and keep me company today.  He is such a sweet cookie just like you are.  Merry Christmas and make sure to come visit me again soon!
Aunt Nicky

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Beef Empanadas

My Hubby's birthday is New Year's Eve and this year his only request was that I make him empanadas.
He served as a missionary in Chile and he actually tried to make empanadas for me
on one of our first dates.
They were miserable and I barely choked them down, wishing I had a huge napkin
to hide everything in while I also tried to convinced him I was "The One".

It's been a long time since then and I finally got a real authentic recipe from our neighbor who was a missionary in Argentina.  They are delicious and our whole family pitched in to put them together!

Beef Empanadas
8 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons (3/4 cup) vegetable shortening, melted
4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) vegetable oil
1 1/3 cup milk
1 1/3 cup water

2 cups chopped onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 lbs extra lean ground beef
6 hard boiled eggs, chopped
1 can olives, drained and sliced, black or green
1/2 cup raisins
Salt to taste

Prepare Dough:
Combine flour, salt, shortening and vegetable oil in large mixing bowl; stir to blend.  Heat milk in microwave until small bubbles appear around edges (about 4 min).  Add flour to mixture along with warm water.  Stir to form soft dough.  Knead on lightly floured surface until smooth (about 3 min).  Cover with plastic wrap and let rest 20 minutes.
Prepare Filling:
Saute onion in the oil in large skillet until tender and translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add garlic at the end.  Set aside onions.  Crumble beef into skillet, saute, stirring until browned.  Stir in chili powder and cumin.  Stir in olives, raisins, onions, and chopped eggs.

Form dough into 4 12" long rolls.  Slice each roll into 10 equal pieces and roll each piece into a 5 inch round.
Put about 3-4 tablespoons of the filling in the center of each round.  Moisten the edges and fold in half.  Press edges firmly together and twist along the edge to secure.  Each empanada should be very plump with filling.  Place on a greased cookie sheet until you are finished.

To bake: Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 15 minutes.
To fry: Heat oil till bubbles from immediately when a tiny piece of dough is dropped in oil.  Fry on each side until golden brown.  Drain on a paper towel lined plate.

Serve hot with salsa and sour cream.  We actually did a mixture of half sour cream half Chili Verde salsa for a dipping sauce and it was great!  I fried mine and they cooked so quick and were so good!  My daughter even ate them and that's a miracle in itself!  At 9 years old she has refused to eat anything besides chicken till this year~when finally the enticing smell of bacon cooking made her broader her horizon's as far as protein goes....

This makes a huge batch~for us 3 it means we've been eating empanadas every day this week.  We also made a few with just a cube of pepper jack cheese in them~which is great if you aren't brave enough to eat raisins, egg and green olive in the same bite!

I finished taking down all my Christmas decorations today.  Our kids only got 1 1/2 weeks off from school and it disappeared so fast!  We decided to put our blogging aside and enjoy them to the fullest.
I am happy that I get to put up Valentine stuff soon.  How long do you wait till you put up Valentines?
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