some more s'mores

I sent my sister outside to ask my husband where the propane torch was.
I had asked Santa for a kitchen butane torch after making these cupcakes for the first time last week, but Santa forgot. He did remember to bring me good cocoa powder though (brownie points for Santa).
My husband didn't like the idea of me and my sister in the kitchen with a torch, so he toasted the marshmallow topping again (he didn't trust me last time either). Can't say I really blame him.

These are really good though. Still not extremely s'morey but sorta s'morey. Last time I followed the recipe exactly, this time we used 2x the graham cracker, added more mini chocolate chips and added in a tub of marshmallow creme to the meringue.

funny papers

WiggysStuff added our Little Drama Queen bib to their See You in the Funny Papers treasury. :)

for the sweets

threesistersharvest added our Heart to Heart bib to their newest treasury!


back from "break"

a "break" that flew by way too fast!

We had our newest addition a few days after my last post, and have been happily adjusting to life as a family of 6 since then. My website and Etsy shop are now both back open as of a couple days ago.

Here's the first treasury we've been featured in since reopening:

It's been so nice to not have to do anything but cuddle babies over the past two months. And eat holiday goodies. I promise to get back to blogging regularly. I just have to ease back into it. Kind of like my pre-baby jeans. :)


a Lalaloopsy wardrobe

Your Spot Splatter Splash will need a change of outfit, of course...wait, I meant your kiddo's Spot Splatter Splash will need a change of outfit. There are 3 fashion packs available for the dolls - a yellow robe, a party dress, and a raincoat, normally retailing for around $8 each.

But good luck finding one. All the big box stores seem to be sold out. Toys R Us was offering a free fashion pack with each doll purchase, but then I blinked and they were sold out. You can find them on Amazon for about double the suggested retail price...and you can always try eBay.

Luckily for your (kiddo's) Lalaloopsy's wardrobe, there is a seller on Etsy by the name of Peppermint Piglet.

Her shop features handmade Lalaloopsy clothing creations.

Which we have been completely obsessing over.

Non-stop. {sigh}

Good luck choosing a favorite! {bigger sigh}

p.s. she does custom orders too!


the thrill of the chase...

...is already over. Very relieved but a little sad too.

There's nothing quite like searching for that hard-to-find Christmas gift that your little one is coveting for Christmas. Lalaloopsy Jewel Sparkles is now safely tucked away.

I had been searching/stalking Amazon, Target, Wal-mart, TRU...wherever Lalaloopsy dolls are sold. Even eBay but the prices are outrageous. Of course, the name of the game is to find them for the cheapest price, preferably with free shipping.

Last year the toy was the Disney Princess Sparkle Baby Ariel doll.

Whatever you do - do not trust a certain Big Box store that begins with a "K" and ends with a "mart.com" for Christmas presents. I was so excited to finally find Ariels in-stock somewhere so I had ordered 3 of these (for my 2 oldest and my niece). Not only did they hold the money for the dolls hostage/pre-auth in my checking account, but the customer service reps couldn't give me status updates. All they could tell me was that it looked like they would be shipping from a store "somewhere." Needless to say, the dolls never came. Didn't they know I had already sewn up sparkly green mermaid fins for the dolls so they could actually be little mermaids? Didn't their famous Martha know the hubby had built pink cradles for the dolls and I made little dolly blankets and pillows? ;)

There were baby Cinderellas and Snow Whites everywhere, but the girls wanted Ariel, just like every other little girl that Christmas. Just when I thought all hope was lost, we had a streak of mermaid luck and between myself, hubby, my sister and my sister's sister-in-law (love ya Rose!) we were able to find them at Target and Wal-mart in the week leading up to Christmas.

Back to Lalaloopsy. Last month I had already ordered Mittens Fluff-n-Stuff:

for the girls, thinking I was set (each for $25 on Amazon with free shipping, now the prices on Amazon have gone up for a few). Some of the other Lalaloopsies were sold out, and the girls had mentioned a couple of times they wanted a Lalaloopsy but were never specific. Somewhere between then and now they became obsessed with them. Caty now wanted a Jewel Sparkles (the one with the CROWN, like a princess, very important) and Colby thankfully wanted Mittens, who I already ordered.

So after trying to find a Jewel Sparkles online - I realized she must be the IT Lalaloopsy for the season. Sold out everywhere! Unless I wanted to pay over $40 on Amazon for her. But I called our local Target and the poor Lalaloopsy-clueless but helpful employee checked the shelves and told me he had "one Mittens, one Sugar Cookie, and one Sparkles Something." For $19.99!

I drove my very pregnant, very contracting self (if I can walk/talk/shop through them it's not the real thing right?) and the 2 youngests to Target to pick up the "Sparkles Something." Somehow I managed to distract Caty while placing the doll in the cart, covered it up with my coat and picked up the few last things we needed to prepare for new baby. Unfortunately they don't have the non-see-through red bags at Target yet, so my very pregnant, very contracting self became very coatless and freezing on the way to the car so that the coveted doll could remain a surprise from Santa at Christmas.

And my hubby (being the fantastic uncle that he is) is picking up a Mittens for our niece on his lunch break today because I totally got my sister on the Lalaloopsy bandwagon. :)

And I'm still pregnant. I think I'll go reorganize my tupperware cupboard so my mom doesn't freak when she gets here.


on vacation!

My Etsy shop and website are currently on vacation! Orders may still be placed through my website, but they won't be processed until November 20th.

{it's almost baby time!}


cupcakes from outerspace

Colby took 2 dozen spooooky aliens to her Halloween party at school today.

We got the alien idea from our Hello, Cupcake! book, and they are also the October picture for the Hello, Cupcake! 2010 wall calender. :) So we've been staring at the aliens in our kitchen for the entire month of October.

While I was assembling the marshmallow and donut holes for the purple aliens, I had a flashback to childhood and watching the Fragglerock episode with gorg butter. Does anyone else remember this? I tried explaining it to my sister last night to no avail. :) I told her to bust out the Fragglerock DVD that our parents gave us (er...I mean the kids) for Christmas last year.

You can also find instructions for the cupcakes on the Duncan Hines website here. They are made up of a vanilla cupcake (or funfetti of course - aliens have to be cool on the inside too, right?), half a marshmallow and a plain donut hole on top. We were able to find the chocolate covered sunflower seeds online for the eyes, and cut up black licorice twists for the antennaes.

Our local DQ sold me the "spaceship" sundae cups.


oven mitts + pot holders

just to take toasted pumpkin seeds and pumpkin-shaped cookies out of the oven

although our Christmas ones have been in year round rotation for probably the last 5 years or so...whoops!
these will all most likely suffer the same fate...
...especially because my sushi and jello oven mitts were lifted from my kitchen. To the hot pad heist mastermind: I know who you are. ;)


bewitchin' kitchen towels

Hanging dishtowels are one of my favorite quick projects. One of the littles loved to yank the towel down and leave it on the floor (just like all the littles before her), so hanging towels work out a lot better in our house! At least until they figure out how to unsnap things.

Earlier in the year I found this tutorial on Kleio's Belly blog - you can download the template and instructions here. Instead of a flannel lining I used my bib lining, and topstitched all the way around the fabric top edges. And I'm not patient enough for buttons, so I put my trusty snap press to work.

I liked how they turned out so much that I made a bunch more in all of my fun food prints. Then I made some more for my sister. And anyone else who had a kitchen. And now anyone who gets married/gets a new place/is related to me gets them with some matching ovenmitts and pot holders.

Below are the Halloween towels I finished up earlier! Some are destined for my momma's house.

All of the towels can be found at Target in the Halloween and kitchen aisles (and remember that you cut the original towel in half, so one towel gets you 2 hanging towels).

Someday I plan to add these to my website. Someday. When all the girls are in school...so maybe in say...5- 6 years? ;)


non-edible cupcakes

Not the burned variety, the bisque variety. These have to be fired yet, but are looking so cute. We ordered 30ish box-type bisque cupcakes from Art Craft Studio in Waterloo, and have been painting them with Mayco Wonderglazes a few at a time. We always love visiting the local paint-your-own place, but this project would have been unimagineably expensive there. These cupcakes were $1.50 a pop. Seriously. I think I asked him "How much? $1.50 each?" about 5x on the phone just to make sure.

(we used black, orange, purple, lime green and yellow for the Halloween cupcakes, after they're fired the cupcake in the middle will look like a candy corn cupcake)

Some of the Halloween ones are for an early birthday present for someone who doesn't read this blog, and the plan is to paint the rest of the cupcakes in the other holiday colors and get those fired in time for Christmas. We'll give away a full holiday set to the aforementioned non-blog-reader and will keep the other sets for ourselves. The kiddos are so excited about this project!

Art Craft is working on a few mini dessert pedestals for us to pick up on our next trip so that for each holiday a cupcake or 3 can be displayed out on the table.

If you live in the Waterloo area, you need to check out Art Craft sometime (if I remember right I think he said they don't ship). They have been in business for over 60 years and have every mold imagineable, and if they don't have it they'll make it. They have an entire room bigger than our first floor filled with molded bisque that is ready to go in the kiln. All at amazing prices. I found them on the Mayco website, called them up, placed the order for the cupcakes and they were ready to pick up in a week and a half or so. We'll drive back up there to get them fired because they do that at an amazing price too. An entire kiln load for less than what the local paint-your-own was going to charge to fire one single cupcake.

And yes, of course we bought the Moonlight glitter glaze to paint on after they're fired. :)

On a side note, I finally got these hung up the other night! For these simple batmobiles (haha) I used different black and white fabric scraps for the bats, and lined them in the middle with batting to give them a nice weight.

(that's my aw-dorable niece behind the bats)

And yes, these have glitter too. Rhinestones for eyes, glitter glue for a smile (at the request of the littles) and glitter glue around the edges. It is so so hard to get off the glitter train people.


duct tape + candy corn

A craft that involves candy, a glue gun and duct tape? Yes, please! We totally made a candy corn wreath. A manly man could *almost* make this wreath without getting a demerit on his mancard. Or at least wrap the duct tape around the styrofoam for his wife.

I, on the other hand, am trying to resist the urge to spray it down with glitter.

You can find the how-to on the Woman's Day Halloween craft section here. The kids stayed away from the glue gun of course - they were too busy sorting out the "good" from the "bad" candy corn. Sugar rush!

There was about half a bag of candy corn left over - if you don't feel like eating it (ha!) you can always do something similar to this made by Kelli from the Random Thoughts of a Supermom blog. I love that you can reuse the bottles for all of the holidays, replacing the candy corn with m & m's for Christmas, Valentine's Day, etc. Hobby Lobby has a bunch of cute jars to choose from.

She used her Cricut for the vinyl letters, but you could find a seller on Etsy who makes custom vinyl stickers if you don't have a Cricut (wish I had one).

the best part of today was...

Artist Stephanie Corfee added the cutest printable coloring sheet to her facebook fan page yesterday. Perfect for the times when your kids come running into the kitchen while you're making supper and say: "Mooooooom can I have a snack?" You can distract them until the spaghetti is on the table with crayons, markers and some printable Stephanie Corfee artwork!

The best part of today was...(last night's answers)

saying: "I love you"
playing with: "Reece" (one of her bff's)
eating: "donuts"
hugging: "Reece"

saying: "hugging" (lol)
playing with: "pink mermaid"
eating: "cupcake" (one of these)
hugging: "mom and dad"

If you click on "download in high resolution" under the pic on her facebook page you can save it to your computer and print it out at full-size. :)


how to make Oreos even better

We brought home a package of Halloween Oreos from the grocery store yesterday. It is so hard to resist Oreos to begin with, but around the holidays it's inevitable that a package or 2 will make it home with us. Especially because the 3.5 year old pronounces them like "ariels" and it's just so darned cute when she asks for one.

So after school we turned most of them into the Halloween colored version of these. We added 1/3 cup of cocoa powder to the batter and dyed the cream cheese mixture orange, which makes them taste extra good...that's what the taste testers said. ♥

new treasuries from this week

Thank you to PrincessDesigns, siblingspecialtees and theshortstop for adding our bibs to their newest treasuries!


signatures for soldiers

Before we headed inside the store this afternoon we noticed that there was a table set up with quilts draped on it. On the backs of the quilts they were requesting that shoppers add their signatures for soldiers. After the quilts are all signed they will be shipped overseas to soldiers where they can read the thank-yous, signatures and well-wishes. The girls each got to pick out a fabric marker and happily signed their names.

our new art installation

Last week hubby tackled a project from the honey-do list - the kids' art wall. We had a blank wall next to the fish tank in the dining room that was driving me bonkers trying to figure out what to do with it. At first I was thinking a huge vinyl graphic something (family tree? growth chart?) but that wouldn't work because of the texture of the wall.

Then when school started the girls were bringing home tons of papers that they were so proud of and excited to show off - our fridge overfloweth. :) We needed to expand their art gallery/showing-off space!

So he made a trip to Lowe's and came home with hooks, wire and clothespins. After an hour or so he had it finished, complete with adjustable wires. I can have the wire hang with slack or straight across. I'm surprised he didn't hook a motor up to it to make it revolving! ;)

The art gallery changes daily, so you never know what you'll find.

(the broom closet door needs to be painted. ooh new idea - paint the door and put the growth chart on that)

Even shopping lists make the gallery! I was making sweet and sour chicken, and Colby wrote down a few things I spelled out for her that we needed Dad to pick up on his way home. :)

We want to paint/decoupage paper/stamp words on the clothespins as an afternoon art project sometime soon. They love their new wall, and it's fun to talk about what new things they hung up while we all finally sit down for supper at the end of the day.



baby bib "blanks"

On Friday I completed a custom order of all-white bibs for a baby shower. The guests are going to be decorating onesies and these bibs with fabric paint for the new arrival - such a cute idea! We did a mix of the three sizes I offer, and used cream and white chenille as well as yellow and green minky for the backings. The momma-to-be isn't a fan of pink so we stuck to gender-neutral colors. :)

burp cloths too!

I love how they turned out - I'm thinking I might add a bib/burp cloth "blanks" package option on my website for baby showers.


almost too perfect

So my momma loves Halloween and Rod Stewart. I don't know what/who she loves more. I am always amazed at what you can find on Etsy. Who. Knew.

Rod Stewart album Halloween Candy Dish from mosaichick on Etsy

Her birthday is veryclose to Halloween, so it's her favorite holiday (and she passed her love of Halloween onto me). When she turned 50 last year we had a Halloween-themed bday party for her, complete with a dvd slideshow of Halloween over the years.

♥ She's a good witch, my momma. I'm the princess with the crazy cowlick. My younger sister is the little punkin'.


pumpkin spice lattes

In case you haven't noticed, Pumpkin Spice Lattes are back at Starbucks! It's kind of hard to miss - seems like everyone and anyone are posting status updates on facebook about them. There's even a fan page for them! :)

Reading all those status updates made me want one, of course. Crave one. But being pregnant and living a 25 mile round-trip away from the nearest Starbucks put a damper on my pumpkin latte parade. But at around $4.50 per cup, I guess it helps out the checkbook.

Luckily there are tons of recipes online for a pumpkin spice latte. We tried one yesterday and it tasted like pureed pumpkin pie with way too much nutmeg. Liquid nutmeg with some pumpkin. It was awful. Latte fail.

So we tried a new one this morning! It was very yummy (results are in the pic above). I doubled the recipe, added a bit more sugar but didn't double the spices (except for the cinnamon) as I was a little spice-phobic after yesterday's attempt. Here is our modified version:

- 4 cups milk

- 1.5 cups of strong brewed coffee (we used decaf)
- 4 T canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
- 3 T white sugar
- 3 T brown sugar
- 4 T vanilla (seriously)
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp ground cloves
- 1/8 tsp nutmeg
- teeny tiny pinch of ginger

Whisk together the coffee and milk, then whisk in the pumpkin, spices, sugar and vanilla.

We did put it in the crockpot, but since we wanted to try it right away we just warmed up a few mugs in the microwave and then let the crockpot warm up the rest for a couple hours. We topped ours off with chocolate syrup, lots of whipped cream and sprinkles. And Halloween marshmallows for the kiddos. And maybe me.

Instead of a crockpot, you could always use one of these bad boys too. I bought one for hubby a couple years ago as a funny Christmas gift (but it does get used almost daily during the winter).

You'll probably want to add spices to taste - warm up a bit and see if it's to your liking before adding more. I'm more of a hot cocoa person vs. a coffee person - so you may want to add more coffee or use espresso for a stronger coffee taste.

You could probably mix up a batch to keep in the fridge and warm up a mug at a time for a day or two for your own pumpkin spice latte fix.