Wednesday, February 15, 2012

30 Days of Pinterest- Days 16 & 17: Valentine's Day the Pinterest Way!

My cousin remarked on Facebook how she could tell which parents got their Valentine ideas off Pinterest when her daughter brought home her stash yesterday.
Two of our Valentine ideas came from Pinterest, and one Chaos Kid is too big and boyish for handing out Valentine's. (Although he was quite offended that a girl in his grade had a very large bag of lollipops and only handed a few to her friends, stuffing the remaining lollipops back in her locker. I said, you can't get without giving :)

Louisa still likes to give Valentines to her circle of friends, even though 8th grade is well past the classroom exchange age. I suggested she make these chocolate spoons that were originally posted on Sweetapolita. The friends can eat them, or dip them in hot chocolate.
On Sunday night, at 8:30, right before bedtime, I asked her if she was ever going to make these chocolate spoons. Of course she was still going to make them! It doesn't matter that it's almost bedtime ;)
She grabbed the last bag of chocolate chips (I had an unending supply for awhile because I WAY overbought at Christmastime) and began to melt them in the microwave. For one minute. When I smelled burning chocolate I asked her how long she had been melting it. "I don't know... awhile." Um, ya, chocolate is burned and I can't do anything to fix it. Last bag, mind you. I had two ounces of bakers semi-sweet chocolate, and maybe two ounces of white chocolate chips. Hopefully they would mix, and hopefully it would taste good! We melted them, added a little vanilla extract, added a bit of water to get it smooth and creamy, and it looked good. It was a melted Tootsie Roll consistency, and it tasted just like a Tootsie Roll.

I went on Pinterest to find some cute printable tags for her to add. I had her choose between two and she picked this one from Amy is the Party. Her favorite is the one that says, "you are the cheese to my macaroni" :)

Hunter and I made rainbow crayons in heart shapes, added a little coloring book from Oriental Trading, and printed a cute tag we found on Pinterest. We've been making rainbow crayons for years, and destroyed a few muffin tins in the process (before I learned to use silicone, cupcake liners, or the same muffin tin every time). It's a great way to use up ALL those broken crayons that accumulate in your house. I actually found broken crayons from when I was little!
There were two posts on Pinterest that featured the heart crayon. One came from Whipper Berry, and the other came from Flickr with clear directions on how to make the crayons.

I needed a cute printable to attach the crayon to, so I was excited when I found these on Pinterest from The Long Thread. Unfortunately, I didn't have any appropriate tape to attach a waxy crayon to a piece of paper. Hunter had written his "To" and "From" on the back of each tag, so I had to figure out how to attach the crayon, tag, and coloring book to something where we could see the back of the tag. Louisa suggested using the little bags we used for her spoons (I've had a stash of them for years and never used them for anything). I put the coloring book and crayon into the bag, attached the tag to the outside, and had a cute little gift for Hunter to give.

I realize there are parents who may think I'm one of "those" parents who always has to one-up the parents who send in traditional boxed paper Valentines. I do have to say that we've been home making our Valentines for 10 years and I don't see anything wrong with teaching the kids to be creative and go the extra mile for their friends. I'm not spending any extra money than I would on the boxed Valentines because I used things from around the house. Also, I was in the class yesterday afternoon helping the kids pass out their Valentines. All of the children were equally excited about ALL of the Valentines. Whether they were homemade, hand drawn, from the store, just a Valentine, just a piece of candy, it didn't matter. Each child was in awe over each Valentine they received.

Day 17 was all about cupcakes! I made these Cherry Almond Vanilla cupcakes from Better Homes and Gardens (in MINI!) for my gymnastics students on Monday. Yum just doesn't even begin to describe this. All the gymnastics students, and parents, went ga-ga over these.

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Monday, February 06, 2012

30 Days of Pinterest- Days 14 & 15: Birthday Cupcakes, and Super Bowl Food!

People keep asking me, "So for your birthday, do you have to make your own cupcakes?" Um... Ya! If I want special cupcakes to take to work and share with my friends, who else is going to make them?

On Thursday I traveled my very small city looking for vanilla beans to make these Double Vanilla cupcakes. Why is it so hard to find vanilla beans? Oh, ya, cause I live in podunk. I found them online for an amazing price, so I will no longer have to search around for them.

Saturday the 4th was my birthday. I'm Chaos Old now, and that's ok with me. I started off my birthday celebration with a Chaos Cupcake Tattoo (yes, really), designed by my friend Theresa. I also made my delicious cupcakes and took them to work Saturday morning. My fellow gymnastics instructors enjoy a cupcake or two.... or three ;) And then I also have a few other special people to share them with (like favored students, bosses, and Hunter's 1st grade teacher... no, I'm not sucking up at all...)

The few changes I made to the recipe are:
I had to double it because these cupcakes were going to feed about 20 people, and this recipe yields 12 cupcakes.
I used 1 1/2 vanilla beans in the cupcake batter, and then that leftover 1/2 vanilla bean in the buttercream.
I only had King Arthur White Whole Wheat flour, so the cupcakes had a bit of a different texture. Still yummy and very vanilla-y, though!

Then we come to Sunday. Super Bowl Sunday, that is! This certainly would have been my favorite day of the entire year, had we a repeat of last Super Bowl. My Packers, winning, game of their lives... that sort of thing. I have no love, or even like, for either the Giants or the Patriots. I had actually planned on boycotting the entire thing, until my 10-year-old, who all season had no interest in the Packer's amazing 15-1 run, suddenly had the urge to watch the Super Bowl and root for the Patriots. Yay. Me.

The highlight of my day was definitely watching the Puppy Bowl on Animal Planet, though. Awwww!!!!!!!

I had already decided to ship Chaos Husband off to a Super Bowl party at his friend's house, well equipped with man-food like Buffalo Chicken Dip, and Jack Daniels Cupcakes. He made the dip, and I worked on the cupcakes, both of which were a hit, I hear.

I promised the kids an extra special treat at home to watch the big game with. I've been waiting for a fun occasion to try out Chocolate Covered Katie's Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip (surprise ingredient included!) Yes, this is a vegan/vegetarian blog, so there are ingredients that us meat-eaters might not be used to. However, if one can bring oneself to get over it, and look past the fact that you're eating cookie dough with chick peas in it, it's all good. And deliciously good! I did not tell the kids any of the ingredients in the cookie dough, and they were eating it by the large scoop fulls. I also gladly let them have seconds, and thirds. Really, the worst ingredient was the brown sugar I used, and I didn't even use that much. I just added sugar "to taste".

Louisa ate it with pretzels, I kept scooping up moundsful with graham crackers, and Drew just licked it off his plate. I will have Chaos Husband try some today and see what he thinks, without telling him what the surprise ingredient is ;) I used regular milk in this, but I think it would be great with almond or coconut milk. Especially to keep it totally vegan.

My final Super Bowl treat was sort of an experiment. A combination of two "power cookie snacks" I found on Pinterest. First there's the No Bake Healthy Treats from Pretty Fluffy, and then there's the Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Cookies from Chocolate Covered Katie.
This is what I came up with:

Peanut Butter
Rolled Oats
Dried Apricots

(no idea what the measurements were. I eyeballed everything)

Throw it all in my brand new Kitchen-Aid Food Processor that my mommy and daddy bought me for my birthday... :) Mix it all up till it forms a ball. Then scoop it out, make little bite sized balls. and eat! It tasted like peanut butter cookie dough.

I am now half-way through my 30 Days of Pinterest project. 15 more days to go! More food, more crafts, and maybe more of looking at other aspects of Pinterest.

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[Special Birthday Cake made for me by Louisa. Chocolate Banana with Ganache frosting. Moist, dense, rich, layers of flavors, everything I love in a cake. She did a great job!}

Thursday, February 02, 2012

30 Days of Pinterest- Day 13: I Can Eat My Fruits and Veggies!

This is another one of MY pins, but at least I'm being productive :) I mean, I did have a full day of school and work today.
Here in the Chaos House, we seem to slip into non-healthy eating modes from time to time. Mom gets lazy (and busy with school and work) and doesn't cook as healthy as she should, the kids get lazy and don't pick up those fruits and veggies at snack time like they should, and Dad gets into his Sunday afternoon watching football all day and snacking zones.

Drew came home from school the other day and told me that he is going to only eat the cold cut sub sandwiches from the lunch line (versus the fried food they offer in the daily lunch menu line), and always take a fruit or vegetable (except not the apples because the kids don't use the tongs when they grab the apples). I feel that when our kids give us those signals, we need to be active in following up on them. We need to be consistent in helping them achieve their goals, as well as showing them we can meet the same goals. So what does that mean for Chaos Mommy? All junk food is out right now. Yes, even cupcakes. (Except my upcoming birthday cake :)

I came up with a little daily chart to help the kids keep track of their fruit and vegetable intake. I think it's cute :) Please feel free to print it out and adapt it for yourself at home.

I laminated the paper and the kids are using dry erase markers to tick off their servings of fruits and veggies. Then I stuck magnets on the backs and hung them on the fridge.

I added "smoothies" because we drink a lot of smoothies. Our smoothies consist solely of fruit (fresh or frozen), milk, and occasionally yogurt, so they definitely fit on this sheet. I also added "bonus fruit" and "bonus veggie" for if they go over their daily amount, or if they eat a salad that just has so many servings of vegetables that it's hard to keep track. I told the kids they can include canned fruit and vegetables, dry fruit, frozen, fresh, anything except juice. The only problem I've encountered is trying to get Hunter to understand that just because he's crossing off the "apple", doesn't mean he had to eat an apple. It's just for illustration.

Right now my goal is to get the kids to shoot for 5 fruits and vegetables every day. Once we reach that goal, we'll go from there. Hunter's used to "getting something" when he fills out a chart, so he's trying to figure out what he will "get" from this. I mean, what 6-year-old wants to hear, "You'll get a lifelong love of healthy foods, a healthy body, and a reduced risk of cancer and heart disease!! {smile}"? Ya... not many ;)

Happy Eating Healthy!! (Except the occasional cupcake because, you know, cupcakes are all about portion control! {wink}

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Wednesday, February 01, 2012

30 Days of Pinterest- Day 12: Memory Frames and a Yum Treat

I've got three projects today, to make up for being quiet the last few days.

The first is a project I immediately wanted to do when I saw it on Pinterest. It is from the Home Goods Blog. The idea is to take some of your old recipes, such as those handed down from a grandma, and frame them to hang in your kitchen. Love this idea! I have hand written recipes from my Grandma and Mom, but none from my other Grandma (aka. Granny). My Granny did type out quite a few recipes just for me when I got married. She disliked her handwriting, so she typed mostly everything. My grandmother had Parkinson's Disease, and found some days difficult to write. The recipe I chose for her was obviously not a good day, but it's my favorite. My mom hand wrote quite a few recipes for me when I got married, also. Most of them are my favorite foods growing up, like her famous lasagna.

When I started my 30 Days of Pinterest, one of my main rules was that I was not going to spend a lot of money on this. I was going to use up the mass stores of craft supplies, baking supplies, and *stuff* that's already in my house. However, when I came across these picture frames, I had to have them. They match exactly what I plan on, eventually, doing with my kitchen (natural shapes, natural tones, wrought iron, that sort of stuff).

The recipe on the left is my Granny's famous "Pink Stuff". She actually called it Buttermilk Salad, and for the longest time after she gave me the recipes, I was disappointed because she didn't give me the "Pink Stuff" recipe. Little did I know, she didn't call it Pink Stuff! The recipe in the middle is my mom's Porcupine Meatball recipe. I chose this because it was always the one recipe I requested for my birthday. And it's so time consuming that she didn't make it any other time except my birthday, at my request. Lastly, my Grandma's recipe for Apple Crisp. My favorite part of this recipe is that underneath Apple Crisp, she wrote, "Grandpa's Favorite". I have made this exact recipe for my grandpa a few times, and he was delighted.

These Memory Frames will go on a wall in my kitchen, as soon as I can get my husband to "want" to hang them for me :) And before I get bombed with the whole, "You can hang them yourself," thing, my kitchen walls are slightly crumbly because they are made with an old dry wall. It's just best if he does it so I don't have a gigantic hole in my wall.

The next Memory Frame is a beautiful idea to show the Chaos Kids some extra love. The project was originally posted on Kristen Duke Photography's blog, and for more decorating with pictures ideas, check it out!

Between school, homework, and work, my days are busy. I feel too many days go by without me having a chance to tell the Chaos Kids I love them, they make me proud, and to keep up their good work. When I came across this picture idea, I knew I had to get it done. There's a big empty wall in the upstairs hallway by their bedrooms, so what better place for some "I Love You Because" reminders?

The last project from the blog Big, Bold, Beautiful Food is a delicious treat, snack, side dish, whatever you need it for. Even if you are NOT a fan of cauliflower, I promise you'll love this. And it's economical. I actually should have picked up two heads of cauliflower for my family of 5. I will do that next time. I followed directions in the recipe, except shortened the cooking time a bit. They were definitely done after 16 minutes. Paired with some barbequed chicken drumsticks, this was a delicious dinner!
Happy Creating and Eating!

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