Saturday, May 29, 2010

Paper Bag Craft (4th of July Decorating)

Finally! I have a moment to get started on that 4th of July craft! So what can I do with some colored paper bags and a stapler?? I think I can make a really cute decoration.

1) I started with paper bags colored red, white and blue.

2) I stapled one side of the paper bag to one side of another colored paper bag. I want the side of the bag to be able to stretch open. I stapled about an inch in from the top.

3) I continued stapling the different colors together until I got this:

Now I need to get some double stick tape to apply at the base of the bags. See how there are some gaps? I'd like them to be flush with each other. But I think this is a pretty good start for some bags and staples. You might just have to wait till the 4th to see the final product :)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Spilling Secrets- Baking

For those of you who follow my bakery blog: I just finished up a microphone cake for a customer. That is why I have not been able to create my paper bag craft.

I'm not sure how many of you have tried to achieve grey and black icing at home. It's not easy. It's actually quite easy to obtain a purplish grey. But getting a true grey??? Want to know the secret?? You have to use silver. If you use black you'll end up with a purple tone. But silver has a bluish undertone that will give you that "true grey". Now about black.... I think it's easier than grey personally. All you have to do is use a black food coloring gel. I use gels a lot because it won't dilute the frosting whether it's buttercream or royal icing. You can buy gels at your local craft store. Hope that helps all you bakers out there!

Monday, May 24, 2010

A Dream Vacation

Last night we booked a Disney Cruise! Starting in 2011 Disney will be offering cruises out of LA. Which means that a family such as mine doesn't have to pay 2,000 dollars to get to Florida. That is a very good thing. Going on a Disney cruise is such a dream for my husband and myself. Cruising is something we love to do. My husband and I actually met on a cruise about 8 1/2 years ago. To say the least, cruising is very special for us, it's like reliving the romance all over again. We've always been interested in the Disney cruises, especially because we have 2 young children who love Disneyland. And last night we checked out my sons school schedule and found a Disney cruise leaving out of LA during his spring break! Wooo-hooo!!!! I'm just beside myself with excitement. I'm ready to be pampered and dress up in fancy clothes and dance the night away! I guess it's time to hit the workout hard! I have a good 6 1/2 months to get in shape so I think I can do it. And now I have super-motivation!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Craft Planning

I have to run some errands this weekend and while I was looking through the ads I noticed a lot of red, white and blue. I realize it's not even June yet- but the 4th of July is quickly approaching. it might not be speeding here. But if you're planning on making some hand made decorations it'll be here before you know it. For those of you who know my holiday obsession- I'm still allowed to make and buy decorations for the 4th of July. My husband has put a ban on buying decorations for certain holidays. And in all fairness I do have a lot of storage bins in the garage filled with nothing but holiday decorations.

I need to come up with a few ideas for the 4th of July. I try to make it a special holiday in our house because my son was born on the 5th of July. So I try to make those two days super special for him. Here's what I have so far: Paper bags. Are you laughing yet? I'm serious. I'm going to make something really cool out of paper bags. What am I going to make? Not sure yet... but I'm sure after a weekend of brainstorming I can come up with something. I saw these bags while I was at the store and I think I can turn them into something cute.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Pick Strawberries Day

Did you know that May 20th is pick strawberries day?? I swear I'm not making it up! If you don't believe me you can Google it. I believe it's considered one of the Food Holiday days and not a national holiday. Which means those of us who work 9-5 can't get today off. But it might be fun to go to your local strawberry field and pick some this weekend. We live close to the Carlsbad U-Pick fields which is a great place to go. I highly recommend it if you've never been.

This year we've tackled the rabbit problem and have successfully grown strawberries in our backyard. Our neighbor outwitted their rabbits by placing a dome of chicken wire and painters tape around their plants. I wish I had a picture of's very comical. We outwitted the rabbits by planting our strawberries in a pot and suspending it from a bird feeder. It seems to have worked and the kids love getting warm, ripe strawberries from our backyard. For that matter I do too! Yum....

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A New Taste for an old Favorite

I love oil and balsamic vinegar. It's one of my favorite things in life. Along with a really good glass of wine and some outstanding food. I recently came across some interesting flavors in oils and vinegars. I came across Lucero. If you're wondering who they are visit their website: . They are Californian olive growers and have produced some award winning oils. And they have some surprising flavors in their repertoire. Some flavors of their oils include Lemon (which I purchased) and mandarin. And here's where it gets really interesting. Flavors for their balsamic vinegars include: blueberry, fig, red apple, peach and wild cherry. I purchased the blueberry. It's not overpowering, just a hint of blueberry flavor. It goes amazingly well with the lemon olive oil. I must say I have never tried that flavor combination before when pertaining to oils and vinegars. It's heavenly. It made my weeknight meal feel like an escape. And anything that can do that is worth sharing!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Minor Disasters

Here's your mental image: tan goop flying through the air. It came bounding over the kitchen ledge and hit the tile in the dining room. That tan goop was a rum-caramel. And it got everywhere. My one saving grace was that my husband came running in and immediately started helping. I think he saw the tears starting to form and it scared him..... although he did get mad when I got the camera to take pictures.... oops :)

Why I was making a rum - caramel concoction? My hubby asked me to make him bananas fosters cupcakes for his birthday. I made the banana cupcakes first. Then I melted butter, brown sugar and rum together to make the sauce in which I usually use for bananas fosters. I layered the sauce on the cupcakes to form a caramel type layer then topped with vanilla buttercream. They turned out so yummy. I was even impressed! Which is hard to do because I eat a lot of cake. Here's pics of the cupcakes after we cleaned up the kitchen:

I topped the cupcakes with a fondant circle with birthday wishes and a bowling ball. He decided that he wanted to go bowling for his birthday. I must admit it was fun, even though I am horrible at bowling. I think I almost threw the ball a couple times into the gutter, and no- not on purpose!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Playing Hooky

My hubby is a very reliable man. When he is actually sick, he doesn't take a sick day. He "powers through" as he would say. But yesterday, he took the day off in the middle of the week. And where the best place to go in southern California if you're taking the day off?? You might have said the beach, fair guess, but my hubby doesn't like the sand. Well... we went to Disneyland!!!

We had such a fun time. We just got our year long passes so I've been going a lot. But it was fun to go with my hubby during the week. Recently I've been discovering so many fun facts about Disneyland that I never knew before. For example.... you can get free ice water in a cup with a lid at any of the food places. I never knew that. I'll post more fun facts later, and I think I might have to do an entire post on the New Orleans area. I love that area. The buildings really look like New Orleans. And the beads hanging off the railing. All the shade. It very well might be one of my favorite places in Disneyland.

I think everyone needs to play hooky every once and a while, whether you're playing hooky at Disneyland or whether you're just play hooky from your household chores for a day. Hope you all have a wonderful Thursday.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Swim time

As my crazy schedule settles down and the kidos get back to feeling better it's time to go to the last swim class. My kids go to swim school in the spring to get ready for summer swimming.... at least that's the goal. My oldest one, almost 5 years, is actually starting to get it.

This year was Taylor's first year. She's only 2 1/2 and she wasn't too thrilled about getting her hair wet.

But she is holding her breath and I think the overall experience is good for her. Maybe in 2 more years she'll be swimming on her own too. At least I hope so! It'd be so nice to not have to get in the water every single time they want to go swimming. Right now, if they want to go it means I have to go. I really need to start working out again! I will not be posting pictures of me in the pool- lol!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Sick days....

I always forget that when my schedule gets crazy my kid's schedules get crazy too. If you have kids then you know that schedules are important to kids. They typically wake up at a certain time, eat at a certain time and sleep at a certain time. If one of these events gets thrown off schedule then a meltdown is bound to happen. If more than one of these events gets thrown off schedule then all hell can break loose. Or in my case.... your kid can get sick. I have a sick 2 1/2 year old princess and it's not a fun thing. In addition to trying to care for her I also have to keep my almost 5 year old entertained as well. Oh the joy of sick days.... what is a mom to do?

Here's my list of sick day suggestions:

1) Pull out the Legos. I love Legos. Kids can build with those for hours.

2) Make popsicles... or just pull some out of the freezer. Either way it makes kids happy and gets liquids into the sick ones.

3) Watch movies with popcorn. There's something about popcorn that makes movies better- don't you think??

4) Color. I know, this is standard. I pull out the Crayola Wonder markers and let my kids color while sitting on the couch. This way the sick one can still color and rest. If you don't know- Crayola Wonder markers only work on special paper- the kids can rub the markers on the couch with no affect whatsoever.

5) Playdough ....... as a last resort. I'm not sure if I'm the only mom who's not so fond of Playdough. In my defense, the stuff gets crumbly after a while and gets all over the place. And it honestly is a pain to pick it out of the carpet.

If all of the above ideas fail, here's some unusual ideas:
1) Dye paper with tea and make a pirate treasure map with your kids- they can pick out a treasure to place at the end.

2) Fill a shoe box with items. Cut a hole in the side. Have your child try to guess what items he/she is feeling in the box without looking inside.

3) Place different types of beans in a large bowl. Get small bowls and spoons for the kids. Ask them to separate out the different types. For some reason my kids find this activity fun, your might too.

Ok. Off I go to pull out some popsicles :) Wish me luck!!!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Finished :)

It has been a very busy week for me. I had large bakery orders due. And short deadlines. Add in 2 kids and a hubby and a dog- it makes for insanity. The good thing is I pulled through. I survived. I honestly am so sore all over.... who knew baking could be such a great workout! LOL! I guess when you are on your feet in the kitchen all day... literally all day.. and have a lot of stress it can make your muscles hurt. Well, the best part was that my customers were very happy. Which makes it all worth while. Here's some pics of the finished Alice in Wonderland cake, one cake I had due last weekend.

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