Mouse Inspired Party in a Box

Wednesday, May 22, 2019 No comments
 A lot of my favorite friends are turning 40 this year (as well as myself).  I've spent a year trying to think of the 'perfect' gift for each friend based on their personality and our friendship.  I don't know what their true thoughts are, but I know I feel satisfied with the end product.
This gift box was shipped out to my Disney Loving friend, Maurine.  I can't be there to celebrate her birthday, so I've provided a little party in a box.  If she isn't spending today at the parks, I know she will be there soon, so I sent her a birthday girl baseball t-shirt I made, some mouse ears I bought on etsy.  I also sent 6 little shirts, and a onsie that said "birthday squad" for her four kids, nephew, and godson.  I found some cute little straws at target, and then made my own card and some 'confetti.'
I have one more gal in my inner circle who celebrates after me, and I have a different idea for her gift, less of a box of events since we will get to spend it together.  But first....my big day arrives in less than two months :gulp:!

DIY Cards

Thursday, May 16, 2019 No comments

Working at an elementary school there are always a lot of babies.  I try to stock up on cards anytime I feel inspired.  These blank cards I snagged at Hobby Lobby when they were half off, and I use them for a lot of seasonal cards as well, it skips having to glue down scrapbook paper.  This go 'round I used some little star pins I bought recently, scrap fabric, buttons, and bakers twine.  I cut out the word baby with my cricut (and happy for a birthday card).  I pushed the pin through the fabric, then stapled it down to give it some personality, and then glued down the button.   I stitched a little zigzag....which I would normally sew, but I didn't feel like pulling out my machine....and.....I'm ready for babies that are headed our way next school year!  

DIY Balloons

Monday, May 13, 2019 No comments
 At the end of the week, my family will be celebrating my aunt's 60th birthday.  There, I said it.  She doesn't read my blog anyway.  So, I'm putting together a whole flamingo themed party, and I wanted some fun number balloons to throw into the mix.  I'm sure this has been done before, but I decided instead of ordering balloons in a shiny color, I wanted this specific ballet slipper pink balloon, so....I snagged some numbers....
 I actually got them on clearance, but have since seen this size at the dollar tree, but the nice thing about the clearance aisle is it didn't matter what color they were.
I blew them up and then sprayed them down.  It only took one coat and so far the spray is holding strong!  I'm going to try to add details next go 'round, but in the meantime, I'm excited for the possibilities of personalizing these balloons!

Banana Split Salad

Thursday, May 09, 2019 No comments
I use the term 'salad' really lightly here, but there are a few fruits in here, so it almost counts.  But, it's summer, which means jello desserts in my book!  I found this recipe via insidebrucrewlife and I had to give it a go.  It was delicious!  
Ingredients:  3/4 oz box of instant banana pudding, 20 oz can of crushed pineapple (don't drain), 8 oz Cool Whip (thawed), 1 c. mini marshmallows, 1/2 c. walnuts (finely chopped), 1/3 c. mini chocolate chips, 2 ripe bananas (sliced), 20 oz of maraschino cherries (drained and halved)
Instructions:  Stir together the pudding mix and pineapple until dissolved and thickened.  Fold in your Cool Whip.  Gently add marshmallows, nuts, chocolate chips, bananas, and cherries.  Place it fridge for one hour.  Add bananas right before serving (I tossed mine in lemon juice and put them in when I made the salad and they didn't brown).  

Crock Pot Ranch Corn Chips

Monday, May 06, 2019 No comments
I had a bag of Fritos that were headed toward expiration.  I bought them for the winter and the snow day that never was where I was going to sleep in and then make frito pie.  But....summer is almost here, so I'll get over the lack of snow now and look forward to the sun.  I saw this recipe via recipesthatcrock and decided to give it a go to jazz up these little corn chips.  
Ingredients:  9.75 oz bag of corn chips, 1/2 c butter (melted), 1 pkg dry ranch dip mix
Instructions:  Pour corn chips into a 6 qt crock pot.  Mix the melted butter and ranch dip.  Pour over the chips and stir as you pour (until well coated).  Cook UNCOVERED for 2 hrs, stirring every 20 minutes or so.  Spread them on wax paper or foil to cool.  Store in airtight container.  

Texas Roadhouse Rolls

Wednesday, May 01, 2019 No comments
I posted the butter recipe two days ago, and now....it's on to the rolls.  I made these in advance.  I did all the rising steps, but then put them (covered) in the fridge overnight to stop the rise, and then put them out about an hour before I baked them the day of the anniversary party I was hosting.  I did this last Thanksgiving as well.  It's a great way to have homemade bread, but not have to add it to the workload of the day when you are hosting a big group.  I was able to make 24 large rolls out of this recipe.
Roadhouse Rolls
Ingredients: 2 c. milk, 3 T butter (melted), 1 T active dry yeast, 1/2 c. warm milk, 1/2 c. sugar (divided), 1/2 c. honey, 7 1/2 c. flour (divided), 2 eggs, 2 t. salt
Instructions:
1.  Heat milk in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Bring to a boil and remove from heat.  Let cool slightly.
2.  Combine yeast, warm water, and 1 T sugar in a mixing bowl.  Allow it to sit until it bubbles.
3.  Add the rest of the sugar, honey, milk, and 3 1/2 c. flour to the yeast mix.  Mix together.
4.  Add melted butter, egg, and salt.  Mix well.
5.  Add additional flour 1/2 c. at a time until dough pulls away from the side of the bowl.  Let it rest for 5 minutes.
6.  Knead dough for 5 minutes  Add more flour by the T if it gets sticking.  Don't add so much it dries out your dough.
7.  Grease bowl, coat all sides of dough by flipping it once in your bowl.  Cover loosely with greased plastic wrap.  Let is rise in a warm spot for 45 minutes (should be doubled in size).
8.  Punch it down.  Place on lightly floured surface and roll it out until its 1/2 inch rectangle.  Fold it in half so it's 1 inch.  seal the two halves together with a quick roll.
9.  Cut the dough in 2 inch squares and place on a greased baking sheet.  Cover loosely with plastic wrap.  Allow to double in size (about 1 hour).
 
10.  Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes.  I brushed mine with a little butter before baking, and when they were golden brown I removed them.  Serve warm.

Cinnamon Butter

Monday, April 29, 2019 No comments
I recently helped my mom throw an anniversary party for my aunt and uncle.  One of their favorite places to go is Texas Roadhouse, which is famous for its rolls, in particular, the side kick-the cinnamon butter.  I found this recipe via thereciperebel and made it in advance.  I put it in the fridge overnight and then sat it out a few hours before the meal so that it would be easy to spread.  
Cinnamon Butter Recipe
Ingredients:  1/2 c. unsalted butter (softened at room temp), 1/4 c. liquid honey, 1/4 c. powdered sugar, 1 t. ground cinnamon, pinch of salt.  
Instructions:  Beat the butter, honey, cinnamon, powdered sugar, and salt until smooth.

Cornbread Casserole

Thursday, April 25, 2019 No comments
Sometimes you just want corn.  I know, I know, it's not a 'healthy' vegetable, but it's delicious.  This makes a quick little side dish for any bbq….serve along side lots and lots of salad, of course.

Ingredients:  
1 box corn muffin mix
1/2 c. butter (melted)
1 can cream style corn
1 can whole kernel corn (drained)
1 c. sour cream
2 eggs
8 oz Cheddar Cheese (shredded)

Instructions:
Grease a 9x12 pan.  Preheat oven to 375.
Mix all ingredients (minus 1/2 of the cheese).
Pour into pan and top with the other 1/2 of cheese.  Bake 50-60 minutes until the center is firm.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

Monday, April 22, 2019 No comments
If you have a sweet tooth, this is the pie for you. It also doesn't hurt that it's super simple to throw together.  I took it this week for Easter and nobody complained.  It will for sure stay on the rotation.  

Peanut Butter Pie
Ingredients:  Premade Oreo Pie Crust 1 c. creamy peanut butter, 1 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese (softened), 1/1 4 c. powdered sugar, 1 8 oz container cool whip (thawed), 1/2 c. mini chocolate chips.  
Instructions:  Use a beater to combine the peanut butter and cream cheese.  Once it's well combined, add the powdered sugar.  Last, add the cool whip.  Pour into your pie shell.  Top with mini chocolate chips and chill for at least an hour before serving.  

Air Fryer Quesadillas

Thursday, April 18, 2019 No comments
 I'm always looking for something new to take to lunch.  I also have been trying to explore recipes with my air fryer.  This was so yummy and so easy to put together.  I wrapped each of the quesadilla in foil and I'm heating them in a little oven we have at work in the morning.
I bought (already made) fajita chicken, a bag of these peppers and onion blend in the freezer section (above), Mexican style shredded cheese, and flour tortillas (I bought the smaller ones, rather than the burrito size so they would fit in my air fryer).  
I set my fryer to 370 and layered the tortilla, cheese, onions and chicken, more cheese, and a second tortilla).  I sprayed the top with cooking spray, cooked for three minutes, flipped, sprayed, cooked for 3 more minutes.  The only tricky part was flipping these.  I used a spatula and tongs and a few times lost a little filling (though it stuck pretty well thanks to the cheese).  The air fryer made these really crisp which I loved.  
Here's a little peek at the inside.  Side note, the original recipe called for you to set the little basket on top of the tortilla while it backed so the tortilla didn't puff up.  I didn't have this issue, but...if you do...or future me does, there's a tip to try.

Taco Pinwheels

Monday, April 15, 2019 No comments
I love a little spicy for sure, and as Cinco de Mayo approaches, I tried out this recipe using some of my favorite Tex Mex spices.  These are super easy to make, and you can adjust as needed (for instance, I tossed out the black olives and accidentally forgot to put in the green onions....ooops, regardless, they were great, so add and subtract).
Taco Pinwheels
Ingredients:
8 flour tortillas
1 8 oz blocks of cream cheese (softened)
1 taco seasoning packet
2 t chopped black olives
1 4 oz can of chopped green chilies (drained)
5-6 green onions, chopped
10-12 jarred jalapeno slices, chopped
Salsa (for serving)
Instructions:  
1.  Beat the cream cheese with the taco seasoning.
2.  Stir in everything else except the salsa.
3.  Spread mix over flour tortillas from edge to edge and roll up.
4.  Wrap in plastic wrap and put in the fridge for a few hours.  Remove, slice into 1/2 inch slices and serve with salsa.

Glazed Ham

Thursday, April 11, 2019 No comments
I think I've mentioned a time or ten I'm cooking through the Pioneer Woman Holiday Cookbook.  No time restrictions, just as the reason arises.  Instead of retyping the recipe, I'm just adding a few tips I learn along the way, and I'm not planning to blog the 200 plus recipes, just my favorites.  These are the ones I know I'll make again (probably this Easter), and a few things I wanted to remember that didn't make the cookbook b/c it's probably more a 'Christy thing.'  Here is where the original recipe lives for this ham.  
Here are the two things I learned.  1.  When you are making the glaze-watch it closely!  Mine boiled up and over (thanks to that Dr Pepper) really quickly.  I turned my back for a second and.....hot mess on the stove that resurrected itself the next morning and involved the fire alarms b/c of the sticky glaze I didn't get off all the way.  2.  I also bought a precut ham and I still studded the top with the cloves.  I just poked them around as much as possible, and then I removed them after.  I'm not sure if you are supposed to, but....I did.  The ham came with it's own glaze pkt, but I tossed that.  It was a noticeably more delicious ham!

Easter Charcuterie

Monday, April 08, 2019 No comments
 How about a little Easter charcuterie?  I live near a Great American Harvest Bread Company that sells little bunny breads near Easter (not an add). I picked one up this weekend and then emptied out my fridge to make a themed lunch because cute lunches are better.
Nutella and strawberries, cucumbers and spicy dip, cheese, turkey, and butterfly crackers.  Boiled eggs and carrots would be a fun addition too, but....I'm working with what I have!

Brunch Basket

Wednesday, April 03, 2019 1 comment
My pal Kelly loves brunch.  She had a tough year last year and I wanted to do a little something to acknowledge Easter as an adult, so I put together this basket for her with a 'brunch theme.'  I found the bacon and egg plastic eggs via Oriental trading, and the chick piƱata at the 99 Cent Store.  I grabbed some egg shaped gummies at World Market, and a little can of Mimosa.  I started to get Champagne and Orange Juice, but....decided the can was cute.  I also grabbed pancake mix, granola, marmalade, and maple syrup and some traditional Easter chocolates etc.  So....useful and fun.  I TRY to do Easter basket type things for friends each year, but my wish and my time don't always connect, so.....one point for me last year.  We will see what I can work up this year!

Ready to Pop Shower

Thursday, March 28, 2019 No comments

 Working in an elementary school, we host a lot of showers for the staff, but this year is a new record.  We have teachers pregnant, 4 of whom are due within a month or so of each other.  It's also spring, and testing season, which means a lot of after school meetings, as well as a wedding shower to throw, so we combined some of the mom's in a shower for all with a 'pop' theme.  We've done it many different ways (we each bring a dish, go to a restaurant and order appetizers etc), but this time just a few of us purchased the items and we divided it up.
 We have 3 girls and 1 boy represented at this shower, so we just went with a pastel theme and each mom got her own color assigned in a spot in the room.  We ordered cupcakes from Sams and added some blow pops.
 We also picked up some soda pop.
 I made a little tangle of balloons to go behind the food table, and another gal made a banner for the table, and then one for each mom.
 I bought some white buckets at the Dollar Tree, and a have a friend who owns a popcorn shop who delivered the popcorn.  If you life in the Dallas/Collin/Denton/Fort Worth Area it's called Grandpa's Popcorn.  It was delicious and he delivers/will set up.  I don't get anything for saying that, but.....a good company is a good company is a good company and it made life soooooooo much easier.  I ordered Jalapeno Ranch, Zebra, Caramel, Cheddar, and Regular.
 We put some dots on the staff tables, and balloons attached to our hostess gift for each mom.
 My favorite sign in is always a book.  Each mama got a book that the staff all signed to take home to their baby.
 Sometimes we buy a hostess gift, but this time we got baskets and each hostess brought an item for the basket so we didn't have to worry about splitting the cost (bibs, lotions, shoes, toys etc).
It was a really easy way to host a staff by and for a large group of folks.  And.....another one is in the books.

Hanging Hand Mirrors

 I'll get better pictures soon, but here's a little bathroom update.  I'm still waiting to purchase the bigger things (sink, floors, tub).  It's really hard to be responsible.  I've found a lot of the decorations though, including a small collection of hand mirrors.  It's really tempting to go buy a couple more, but I'm trying to give myself room to grow.
I wanted to hang these mirrors without doing any damage, and I decided to use the smallest plate hangers I could find which seem to be working perfect.
One mirror fit snug and hung without any rigging.  

BUT, this mirror was too small and the springs made it sort of flop a little from the wall (very technical terms, I know).  SO, I tied up the springs into place at the bottom using dental floss.  (Sticking with the theme there).  And it worked perfect.  

Philly Cheesecake Sliders

Monday, March 25, 2019 No comments
The original recipe called for you to jake these on sliders, but I had some sub rolls on hand.  The results were the same-yum!  I have not tried baking it, or using the frozen meat before, so those are two things I'll definitely add to the list which made these really easy!
The original recipe was from HomeMadeInterest, and it was a pinterest win!
Ingredients:  
12 slider rolls, 1 box thinly sliced steak (these are in the frozen section, but I actually found them at my store sort of in between the frozen meals and the fresh meat in a section with frozen fish etc), 1 green onion (sliced), 1 onion (sliced), 6 sliced of Provolone cheese, mayonnaise, 3 T butter (melted), onion seasoning (1 t.), salt & pepper to taste
Instructions:
1.  Preheat oven to 350.
2.  Separate the top and bottom of your rolls in an 11 x 7 inch pan.
3.  Cook the meat on the stove until browned.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Set aside.
4.  Use the same pan to saute the pepper and onions until tender.
5.  Spread a thin layer of mayo on the bottom and top of the bread.
6.  Layer the mayo covered base with the meat, onions, and cheese.  Top with bread.
7.  Brush with butter and onion seasoning.
8.  Cover with foil and bake for 10 min. at 350.
9.  Uncover and bake another 10 minutes until your cheese is fully melted.

Portable Fairy Garden

Thursday, March 21, 2019 No comments
A few years ago I brought all the fixings to help my goddaughter build a fairy garden when I went to visit her.  She has since moved several times, and it got me to thinking about those fairy gardens and how cute they are in the summer, but winter comes, and moves come, and when I ran across the idea of creating little 'houses' out of pots at craftsunleashed, I loved this idea b/c they store well in the winter and can even travel with you.  It would also be fun to create a 'theme' out of each pot until you have a little town.  
 I bought most of the 'stuff' at Michael's, but I found some plastic flowers (more weather proof), a small door, and some self adhesive moss at Hobby Lobby.  I'm an equal opportunity crafter.
 The door actually had a tooth on it, so I glued a pink flower over the tooth.  I then glued pebbles and flowers around the door, and stuck moss between the rocks.
I added some pink rocks and a fairy to the trivet below and it's ready for planting....and magic.

Teaching Tuesday: Egg Word Families

Tuesday, March 19, 2019 No comments
Here's a simple center for those left over eggs.  Make word families.  I just used permanent marker and added the family to one side (-op, -it, -ot, -ap, -et) and then added the letters to the other side students can spin to make words.  They can make words and write them down, and you could even slip a little answer key inside with all the words they should make and a QR code of you recording yourself saying the words.

St. Patrick's Day Shamrock

Thursday, March 14, 2019 No comments
I have been obsessing over all the pink/brown/orange/cream things going around the net these days.  So, I had an extra Shamrock from a GMT segment and decided to use up some of the 'ends' of yarn I keep in storage for projects just like this.  
Joann's had several different options for shamrocks, some unfinished, and this chalkboard shamrock, but the point is, I just needed the shape.
 I was using six different yarns, and the board is 12 inches tall, so I measured and drew off 2 inch lines using a silver sharpie.
 I glued some yarn around the bottom since it would be hard to wrap it around this area.
 Then I started wrapping.  I added a little glue as I went to keep the yarn in place.
 For the weird edges, I laid piece of yarn down and glued it flat, then wrapped and glued it around the edge.
I started at the top of the next line for each color and worked my way down just to keep things even.  
 In progress.
 Again, as I reached weird edge, I'd start there and wrap and glue, and then cover that up as I continued to wrap.  The bag doesn't look as good as the front.  If I were hanging this on my door, I'd cover the back with one piece of fabric, but this is going flush against a wall, so I didn't worry about that for this project.
Overall, I'm pleased with how it turned out and want to add some bunting etc.