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Saturday, November 28, 2015

DIY Advent (Christmas Countdown) Calendar


I put my advent calendar together the day after Thanksgiving...which is a record for me.  Typically I purchase the store bought kind that come with a candy in each compartment and I don't buy it until December.  I always felt that was a little "blah", so I wanted to make my own.  

I put together a video tutorial on how you can make your own quick and easy advent calendar.  I bought most of the supplies from the dollar bin at Target and a few other places.  It definitely cost more than the store bought chocolate advent calendar but I know my children are going to love it...and that's all I care about!  I hope you enjoy the video!!

  


Tuesday, November 24, 2015

DIY Christmas Wreath


Last year I bought "unbreakable" ornaments for our tree and I let the children have fun decorating the tree.  Of course that resulted in all the ornaments along the bottom of the tree and almost all the ornaments destroyed before Christmas.  *Sigh* 

With only 4 kid proof ornaments left, I decided it would be a great time to try a new Christmas color scheme.  After asking the Mr. for his ideas, he suggested Red, White and Blue decorations.  Done!  


I have never seen red, white and blue decorations in the store so this meant I had indirect permission to get crafty...right?!  I mean the whole color scheme is his idea...I'm just making it happen.  #muricanchristmas


For my first Christmas project I decided to make a wreath.  I've never made a wreath before but I think mine turned out pretty well (and it cost less than $25 to make).  


Are you ready to make your own?  Great! Let's start off with the supplies you will need:


Supplies:

  • Pine Wreath (small size, purchased 50% off at JoAnn's)
  • White Poinsettias (5 per stem)
  • White Eucalyptus
  • Another other type of accent holiday florals you wish to use (I selected blue berries)
  • 1 package of 22 gauge cloth wrapped floral wire
  • Hot glue gun and glue stick(s)
  • Wire cutters
Watch my video tutorial to see how to make your own wreath!  Click on the video below:




Thanks for stopping by!!!!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Turkey Lasagna Cupcakes Recipe


With Thanksgiving right around the corner, I thought I'd share a family favorite with y'all.  These "healthy" turkey lasagna cupcakes make great appetizers and they are also a wonderful way to monitor your food portions.  

Let's get started!

This recipe makes 30 Turkey Lasagna Cupcakes (serves 6-8)


Ingredients:   
  • Cupcake tins for 30 (I use two of the 12ct trays and one of the 6ct)
  • Cooking Spray (to coat the cupcake tins)
  • 1 package of round won ton wrappers (if you can't find round, then you'll have to trim down the square won ton wrappers to make them round)
  • 2lbs of ground turkey
  • Morton's Nature's Seasons (you can substitute this with salt and pepper)
  • 24.5oz Mezetta Napa Valley Bistro Homestyle Marinara Sauce (or your favorite brand)
  • 16oz Skim (or low fat) Ricotta Cheese
  • 1/2lb of 2% Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
  • Grated Parmesan Cheese
*Use your regular utensils to measure out the ingredients.*

Instructions:
  • To start, spray your tins with your cooking spray and preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  • Begin your layers by pressing your won ton wrapper into the bottom of your tin.  If you have the square wrappers, you can use a round drinking glass as a template to make the round shape.
  • Cook your ground turkey until completely done. Season with Morton's season all or salt and pepper.
  • While your turkey is cooking start layering your cheeses in your tins...half a spoonful of grated parmesan, ricotta and a sprinkle of the shredded mozzarella. 
  • Once the ground turkey if fully cooked, you can add a teaspoon on top of the cheese layers and then top it with a spoonful of marinara sauce and repeat the layering process. 
  • After you have added a second layer, you can leave your lasagna cups open faced...or if you prefer to have them covered, you'll need to purchase another package of won ton wrappers. The package I buy contains 60 wrappers total, which is only enough for 2 wrappers per lasagna cupcake.
When you're done, pop these babies in the oven for 15-18 minutes (if you're using dark metal tins) or 18-20 minutes (for lighter colored tins, like the one in the picture).  

Allow to cool  and harden for 5-7 minutes and remove them using a small spatula.


Buon Appetito...


...and Happy Thanksgiving!!!!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Pumpkin Pie Squares Recipe


*Previously published on my old blog (Distractions).*

This is one of my favorite recipes ever!!  A former coworker brought in this delicious dessert every year for the holidays and she was kind enough to share the recipe (so if you love it you can thank Sharon from Petaluma).

Please note that I did change this recipe a little but not too much.  I simply reduced the amount of pumpkin required.

This recipe has three parts: the crust, the filling and the topping so I will list all the ingredients below and tell you how much to use in each part of the recipe.  

Ingredients:
  • 1 package of Pillsbury Yellow Cake Mix
  • 3/4 cup of butter (1/2 cup for the crust and 1/4 cup for the topping)
  • 3 eggs
  • 2/3 cup of milk
  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • Baking spray or grease
  • 15 oz can of pumpkin 




Alright, now that you have everything you need, let's get started.


Getting Ready:
  1. Spray or grease the bottom of your 13x9 inch pan.  If you are using glass, I'm pretty sure you can skip this step.
  2. Set aside 1 cup of yellow cake mix to use later for the topping.
  3. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.


The Crust:
  1. Combine the remaining cake mix, 1/2 cup of melted butter and egg in a mixing bowl.
  2. Once everything is mixed, press the mixture into the bottom of your pan.  I find that using a spatula helps spread it somewhat evenly. 



The Filling:
  1. Combine the 2/3 cup of milk, 2 eggs and the 15 oz can of pumpkin (the original recipe calls for 3 cups of pumpkin pie mix or a 1 lb 14 oz can, but I only use a 15 oz can), blend mixture until smooth.
  2. Evenly distribute the filling over the crust.


The Topping:
  1. Combine the 1 cup of cake mix, 1/4 cup of sugar, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and 1/4 cup of butter.
  2. Sprinkle the crumbs over the filling.



Bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes or until thoroughly baked.  To check if it is thoroughly baked you can use a knife or a toothpick and put it in the center of the pan, if it comes out clean then it is cooked.  After it is baked, let it cool and add a little whip cream on top.


Right click the image below and save to print the recipe card







Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Sweetheart Halter Pattern Review


*This post contains affiliate links.  Also, I made this 8 months ago.*

When I bought the Sweetheart Halter pattern, I was a little disappointed that it didn't have actual pattern pieces...Although it's not difficult to cut out rectangles and squares, I am lazy.  This pattern sat in my pattern stash for a year before I finally decided to use it.  It was quick and easy to assemble this top and the pattern mixing options are limitless.  I wanted to make a girly Army inspired top for Violet and I think I nailed it!  She loves it because it's like Daddy's uniform and because Mommy tells her how cute she looks in the top.



I followed all of the instructions in the pattern except for making bias tape for the tie.  I didn't want to use up a lot of fabric so I just cut small strips and sewed them together.  The top looks fine to me and I have enough fabric to make something for Nik.  





I cut this out in a size 3T so it would last more than one summer.  The back drooped a little but the top fit pretty well.  I can't wait to make more of these tops next summer!  




    

Saturday, November 7, 2015

DIY Tulle Little Red Riding Hood Costume Tutorial


*This tutorial was originally published on my old blog.*

For the last few years I tried to get my act together in time to make Halloween costumes, but it never happened.  I told myself this year was going to be the year...no more excuses!

I looked in the stores for inspiration and I didn't see anything that caught my eye.  My son ended up spotting an Optimus Prime costume that he wanted so I bought his costume instead of making him one.  I felt bad about not making him something so I bought Transformer fabric and made him a Trick-or-Treat bag using Harts Fabric tutorial.  Sadly I had to omit the reflective tape because I had directional print and the width would require more than the yard I had in my stash.

I still had no idea what to make for my daughter...all I knew was that I didn't want to make something that required a lot of pattern pieces or sewing.  After perusing Pinterest I found a few cute tulle costumes that looked quick and easy to make.  It was a difficult deciding which tulle costume, but after consulting with the critics (my daughter and my husband) it was decided that I would make a Little Red Riding Hood costume.    


If you want to make your own Little Red Riding Hood Costume, here's my quick mini tutorial:

Supplies:
  • Craft Scissors
  • Measuring tape
  • White and Red Thread
  • White Crochet Headband (sold at Joann's)
  • Red Crochet Headband (sold by the yard at Joann's)
  • 15" inches of Black Ruffle trim (sold by the yard at Joann's)
  • 6" inch wide red tulle on a roll (I purchased 100 yards online)
  • 6" inch wide white tulle on a roll ( I purchased 100 yards online, however you probably need less than 25)
I used McCall's M6187 pattern for the cape, but I only purchased the main fabric and used bias tape instead of adding a lining.  If you don't want to buy a pattern, you can check out these great tutorial on how to make your own cape: 

Instructions:


To get started on your own tulle costume, measure your child's chest.  My 2 year old measured 20" inches so I subtracted 2" inches from that to make the tube 18" inches.  I thought 4" inches of white in the middle would be proportional for the center, however in retrospect I should have only made it 3"-3.5" inches.  The white section was cut from a single crochet bandeau (meant to be a tube top) so I used it's height (6" inches) to dictate the height of the entire bodice.  To create the red portion of the bodice I sewed 4 rows of the red headband to make the height 6" inches.  Once the red headbands were sewn together, I attached the two ends to the white center to complete the bodice.  I added the black trim after I finish the skirt but I wouldn't recommend doing that because it was difficult to sew with the poofy tulle in the way.  





Next, measure for the length.  Since my bodice was 6"inches, I subtracted that from the total length to get the length of the tulle bottom.  I wanted my dress longer (ankle length) in case it was chilly on Halloween.  In order to achieve the length I wanted I needed my tulle to be 18" long, which means I had to cut my tulle to be 36" inches long.  


I started looping the red tulle on the bottom row of the bodice and went all the way around.  For the second row I filled in the gaps and built the volume of the skirt.  

For the apron I wanted it to be 13" inches in length, meaning I would have to cut my tulle 26" inches in length.  I made a single row of the white tulle in the white portion of the bodice, and I made sure that there wasn't any gaps or holes.



To make the cape I sorta used McCall's M6187.  I cut the hood using the pattern and I laid the cape pattern on the fabric and cut it as if I was making a circle skirt.  The pattern calls for lining and pleats in the hood but I omitted them.  



Instead of using a pleat, I slightly gathered the cape to match the size of the hood then attached the two and covered the seam with bias tape.  As for the back seam I also used bias tape to cover the edge of the fabric.  I topstitched the bias tape down, sewing on the outside of the cape.






For the tie I used white ribbon from my ribbon scraps. 



To make the hem I used my rolled hem foot...it gave the hem a nice finish and saved me a lot of time!  If you don't own a rolled hem foot, I highly recommend buying one.


Thanks for stopping by!!!



Wednesday, November 4, 2015

DIY Starbucks Glitter Tumbler


I've seen the Starbucks Cold Cup Glitter tutorial and I thought to myself, "I can make that but easier"...so here's my tutorial for ya!

To start with, you need an empty Create-Your-Own Starbucks Collage It Tumbler. 

I stole this from Starbuck's website...our little secret ;)
Other Supplies:
  • Glitter Scrapbook Paper (The scrapbook paper that I found was very thick and difficult to roll up, I don't recommend buying cardstock like paper, thin paper is best.)
  • Pictures and/or stickers
  • Super Glue
  • Scissors
  • Pen/Pencil

Tutorial:
1.  Remove the insert from the tumbler and trace the outline on the back of your glitter paper.  Cut out your new background and try it in the tumbler, to make sure it will fit.  I originally cut mine too long and I couldn't screw the bottom back on.

See the bottom, the paper is too long!
2.  Once you have the proper size for your new insert, you can start decorating your glitter paper (I tried using double sided sticky tape but it wasn't strong enough to hold the pictures when the paper was rolled up, so I ended up using super glue).
3.  Cautiously insert your newly decorated insert (be careful not to snag any of the decorations).  
4.  Enjoy your new tumbler!!


Wasn't that easy?  No glue or messy glitter needed to make this awesome tumbler!





Persimmon Dress Patter Review


*This is a late post, I made this 7 or 8 months ago.*

I have been dying to make this dress, but the amount of pieces made it seem overwhelming.  As a result, the pattern sat collecting dust for a year.  We go to the local Air Force base a lot and my children love the airplane, so I wanted to make a fun outfit to incorporate the ABU print and the Air Force fabric.  After flipping through my pattern library I re-discovered the Persimmon Pattern (by Mouse House Creations) and I thought it would be perfect for mixing my prints (in a not so obvious way).

The pattern instructions are very clear and easy to follow.  My biggest problem was that I didn't pay attention to the instructions and I only pintucked the front.  Also, I feel this pattern might run small, I had to size up to a 4T for my 20 month old daughter (who typically wears 3T in other patterns). 



This pattern does have a lot of pieces (not to mention the lining) but it all comes together quickly and you get a very professional looking garment.  In fact, I'm in love with the dress...it looks great from the inside and the outside!


#aimhigh