Feb 27, 2013

Kid's Felt Quiet Book

I am a proud Aunt.  I have 5 awesome nephews and 1 adorable niece...and they melt my heart.  As a crafty lady, I love to make things for them.  Absolutely love it!  

This past Christmas, I made my two littlest men Felt Quiet Books.  I wanted to give them a fun activity to do in the car when they came to visit me...and yes, it is a little *hint hint* aimed at my sisters to come visit me more.  :)   A lot of work, but totally worth it.  The boys LOVED them!  

(sorry for the photo quality - my camera was dying right before Christmas...of course, considering Christmas is one of the main times one would WANT a working camera, sigh.  No worries though; I rectified the situation and have since purchased a new one.  But I do apologize for the quality of these!)

Front Page:  Nephew's Name with a Camera.
Inside the camera flap is a picture of the cute little guy.  :)
 First and Second Pages:  Clock and Sports Tic-Tac-Toe
In order to help teach him how to tell time, the hands on the clock move around.
 Tic-Tac-Toe with Baseballs and Basketballs!  They attach with velcro.
 Third and Fourth Pages:  Noah's Ark and Race Car
 Noah's Ark opens up to reveal the second in the pair of animals.
 And they are FINGER PUPPETS!
The racecar drives up and down the street, and parks in the red garage. 
 Fifth and Sixth Pages: Washing Machine Socks and Seasons Tree
 We all know that socks are notorious for getting eaten by the washing machine.  So I tasked my little men with making sure they come out of the washer with a pair!  And they can work on their motor skills by buttoning them on with their match.
 The Seasons Tree has velcro pieces for each season.  They are all stored in the green grass pocket.  Since there is snow on the ground outside my window as I type this, here's "Winter" snowflakes.
 "Spring" flowers
 "Summer" green leaves.
 "Fall" orange leaves.
 Seventh and Eighth Pages:  Planting Your Garden and Mr./Mrs. Potato Head
The garden is planted with carrots, peas and radishes.
 Mr. Potato Head
 Mrs. Potato Head
Back Page: a trusty little pocket to store all the extra pieces. 
 Binding - a simple hand-stitch through all the pages.
 I LOVE how the book turned out!  And I hope it provides oodles and oodles of joy and laughter, for years to come.  :)

Feb 21, 2013

Baked Apple Oatmeal Pie

The military seems to be their most savvy in sending their airmen away from family around any sort of holiday (Christmas, birthdays, anniversaries, Valentine's Day..).  Maybe it's a power trip for the uppity-ups.  I think they pride themselves on the ability to mess with people, just because they can.

All that to say, my husband was out of town on TDY (temporary deployment, for my non-military followers) for Valentine's Day.  However, I have a really sweet man....I mean, I could go on and on and on about all the things I love about him.  I won't, because I don't want to sicken you with all the lovey mush but actually have you stay to continue reading.  But I can't possibly go without saying one - even though he was away, he had flowers sent to me!  And not just our house so that I could enjoy them, but to my office so all my co-workers could see how much I'm loved.  Love him!  Aren't they gorgeous!?!?
He got back in town really late on Friday night, so we decided to celebrate over the weekend instead.  After letting him sleep in on Saturday, I woke him up with breakfast in bed!  :)

I purchased fabulous serving trays (similar to the one below) on Amazon for a steal.  And even better, I used a bunch of my SwagBucks to help pay for them. :)

The only bad part about breakfast in bed is having to get out of bed early to make the breakfast.  I'm sorry.  I am NOT a morning person.  I can stay up way late before I pass out, but morning is not my friend. There was no way I was going to wake up super early to slave all morning in the kitchen.  No sir.  So, in order to allow for maximum sleep but still provide a fabulous breakfast (cereal was not an option, folks), I decided to make it the night before and just warm it up in the morning.  *Perfect!*

Baked Apple Oatmeal Pie
Oatmeal Pie
2 medium apples, chopped into small cubes
2 cups Quaker® Old Fashioned rolled oats (not instant)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 cups fat free milk
2 eggs
1/3 cup sugar free maple syrup
1/4 cup unsweetened natural applesauce
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Candied Pecan Topping
1 cup chopped pecans
1 large egg white
1/4 cup brown sugar
dash of vanilla extract

First I made the candied pecans, as they bake at a lower temperature.
1.  Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F.  Line a cookie sheet with wax paper, and spray the paper with cooking spray.
2.  Beat the egg white until almost stiff.  Add brown sugar and vanilla.  Stir until smooth.
3.  Mix in the pecans and stir until completely coated.
4.  Pour the nut mixture onto the prepared cookie sheet, and bake approximately 10-15 minutes (until browned).
5.  Set aside to cool.

 Now for the main dish....
1.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Spray a 9.5" pie dish with cooking spray and set aside.
2.  In a large bowl, mix:  apples, oatmeal, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, allspice, and salt. Stir to combine.
3.  In a medium bowl, combine: milk, eggs, syrup, applesauce, and vanilla extract.  Wisk until well combined.
4.  Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, stirring well.
5.  Pour the mixture into the prepared pie dish and bake on a cookie sheet for 40 minutes.
6.  Cover with foil, to keep the top from getting too dark.  Bake for another 5-10 minutes.
7.  Cool on a baking rack.
8.  Cut the pie into 6 wedges.
9.  Serve with a sprinkling of the candied pecans.
*If preparing in advance, like I did, cover overnight.

In my opinion, it never hurts to add some fun details to surprises, like a menu (don't forget to dot your "i"s with little hearts!) 
To make it extra special, I themed the entire tray with pink and little hearts. :)
Even though I made this meal very Valentine's Day oriented, this dish would work for any day of the year...holiday or not!  It's very hearty, sticks with you throughout the morning, and tastes great!  I love the candied pecan topping!

Hope you all had a wonderful Valentine's Day!

    Feb 14, 2013

    Happy Valentine's Day!

    Happy Valentine's Day!  
    I hope it's filled with love, laughter, and happiness!
    ~ Sarah, Art of Domesticity

    Feb 10, 2013

    Pink Candy Stripe Nails

     Are your nails ready for the Grammy's "Mani Cam" ?  Mine are!

    Undercoat - Revlon Quick Dry Base Coat
    Base coat - Vibrant fuchsia nail polish.  I don't know the name brand, as it is completely rubbed off the bottle.  It's the left bottle in the above picture.
    Stripes - Loreal Jet-Set Shine pink polish.
    Top Coat - Revlon Quick Dry Top Coat

    Feb 8, 2013

    Low-Fat Brownie Truffles

    Valentine's Day is not my favourite holiday.  Christmas has always, always, held that title in my book.  But Valentine's Day has never even been close.  Mostly because I was single for the VAST majority of my life. :/  Now that I'm married, it's more tolerable.  At least I have a reason to celebrate it!

    The best part of Valentine's Day is that I can eat chocolate, with a minimal amount of guilt.  Justification is bliss.

    So to chocolate making I went.

    Low-Fat Brownie Truffles
    1 brownie mix box (I used Betty Crocker Fudge Brownies....so the amount of water/flax/applesauce is based off of that recipe)
    2 tablespoons milled flax seed
    6 tablespoons water
    2/3 cup unsweetened natural applesauce
    1/4 cup water
    4 oz fat-free cream cheese, softened
    1.5 cup semisweet chocolate chips, melted

    1.  Mix the flax seed and 6 tablespoons of water together.
    2.  Combine the brownie mix, flax mix, applesauce and water together.
    3.  Bake brownies in a 9" x 13" according to box directions. Do NOT overbake, as they will get too hard to form truffles.
    4.  Let the brownies cool completely.
    5.  Once cooled, scoop the brownies into a bowl and mix with the softened cream cheese.
    6.  Stir until thoroughly combined.
    7.  Line a cookie sheet with wax paper.
    8.  Scoop out 24 equal amounts of brownie and cream cheese mixture.  I used a cookie scoop so they were all uniform in size and shape.
    9.  Lay them out on the wax paper cookie sheet.
    10.  Place them in the freezer for about 30 minutes so they harden.
    11.  After the 30 minutes, melt the chocolate chips in a medium-sized microwavable bowl.  
    12.  On a fork, place your truffle ball into the melted chocolate and thoroughly coat.
    13.  Once coated, top with sprinkles. *optional - I did some with, and some without*
    14.  Store in the freezer, and remove a few minutes before serving.
    Happy Valentine's Day!!

    Feb 5, 2013

    Paper Bead Necklace

    A girl can't have too much jewelry.  Am I right??

    This Christmas I decided to make all the lovely ladies in my family a necklace.  And I wanted it to be something more than just store-bought beads strung together.  Not that there is anything at all wrong with that, I just wanted to make as many elements as possible.  So I went about making the beads myself!

    Let me tell you...this project is a GREAT excuse to sit and look through all of the magazines that have been piling up, especially around the holidays. :)

    While thoroughly enjoying my magazine perusal, and getting completely and totally tempted by every single little thing....I made a point to look specifically for pretty colours and patterns.  They will make the bead designs.  

    I started with toothpicks, Elmer's glue [Elmer's Glue-All White Glue, 4 oz. (Google Affiliate Ad)], and a bunch of magazines.  Then I cut long shapes out of the magazines, with the colour/pattern I wanted to emphasize at one end.  In the below picture, the polka dots were my intended target.
    Then I rolled the paper around the toothpick, making sure to roll evenly and tightly, with the thinner side at the end of the roll.  Once it is almost all the way rolled, add a dab of glue and press the end piece to the rest of the rolled paper, until it dries.  It doesn't take very long at all...maybe 10 seconds.
    I don't have a picture of the next stage.  Sorry!  Wanting the beads to be sealed and water-proof, I painted two coats (allowing to thoroughly dry in between) of Mod Podge Glossy [Plaid 131002 Mod Podge Gloss-Lustre Finish-8 Ounces (Google Affiliate Ad)].  In order to dry completely without getting messed up, I poked one end of each toothpick into a foam piece.
     Once they were completely dry, I strung them on Stretch Magic Cord [Pepperell SMJ-0517 Stretch Magic Bead and Jewelry Cord 1mm 5 Meters-Pk (Google Affiliate Ad)] and finished them off with a necklace clasp.
    Each necklace I made varied in length and bead combination.  It was fun picking out what beads I wanted for each person to personalize them. 
     Hope you have fun with this project.  I know I did!  And if you make one, please let me know how it turned out!  I'd love to hear about your experience and/or see pictures of your finished product. :)