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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

It's a Starfish, Sand, Beach Party!  Think driftwood, sand castles and fun. 
Let's start with the decor.

Sand castle centerpiece.  Click here.
Salt dough starfish.  Click here.
Sand stars.  Click here.
Driftwood star.  Click here.
We made the driftwood signs with a few nails and white paint.
Frames with seashells from Michaels.
Netting from Party City.
Onto the desserts!
My 'very talented' sister-in-law made this chocolately red velvet cake
with cream cheese frosting and graham cracker/brown sugar topping.
Doesn't it look just like sand?!  I loved it!


The 'rock looking things' in the middle were supposed to be
S'more Stars from this source.
Unfortunately my marshmallow 'stars' really wanted to be rocks.
They did taste amazing, though.
I also cut my Rice Crispy Treats into stars and set out some yogurt covered raisins.





Our Brunch Menu:

Make Your Own Omelets
Fresh Fruit
Star Pancakes

(AH) Awesome Husband made the pancakes look like stars.
I told you he was awesome!

Have you seen these fun Muffin Tin Omelets?  Original source- click here.
Step 1:  Have all omelet ingredients chopped and laid out.
Step 2:  Invite guests to put the ingredients they like in an assigned muffin cup.
Step 3:  Beat eggs, then pour the mixture to fill each muffin cup.
Step 4:  Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes.
They're the perfect size and it's so nice to have all the omelets done at the same time!
The table got a beachy treatment as well.
Netting, starfish, cork tiles (to look like sand), and seashells at each place setting.
I simply wrote names on the shells with a black Sharpie.

And of course I set up a photo booth
--this time with a beach umbrella. 
Smile everyone! 

Happy Birthday, Nana!  We love you!





Linking up to: IGottaCreate, 36thAvenue, FrugalGirls, Tatertots&Jello, 52Mantels, It'sOverflowing, IHeartNaptime, TheTablescaper, CraftOManiac, BrassyApple,
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Monday, August 27, 2012

 
Quick, Ultra-fast Toasted Coconut Marshmallow Pops.
Got 3 minutes?
That's all it takes for a snazzy dessert.  Perfect for your next party.
You could practically assemble these as your guests walk in.
Ready....Go!
 
 
Grab a bag of large marshmallows...any flavor.
We love these Toasted Coconut ones.  Mmmm.
Stick a lollipop stick in each one.
 
 
Melt chocolate in the microwave 1-2 minutes.
Dip the marshmallows in the chocolate...
(I only dip the tops...they look cuter that way.)
 
  
 
 Grab a bowl of brown sugar and stick the pops in to dry.  Done! 
How quick was that?!

Now, have you ever eaten one of these delicious things?
 
 




Linking up to: Uncommon, LilLuna, GingerSnapCrafts,
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Saturday, August 25, 2012


With 10 days before school starts, my kids have decided to start their own blog.
I'm not sure why my kids didn't come up with this idea in the beginning of the summer?



They have decided that doing MY craft projects and
letting ME take all the pictures and doing the editing was NO fun for them. 
(Can you believe their thinking?)
Plus, I made the little mistake of showing them how to edit their pictures on PicMonkey...
(Yes, it's a little addicting, I have to admit.)
Anyway...


The name they chose for their blog...
 
 
AH (Awesome Husband) got a kick out that name.
Me, not so much.
 

Well, now we have 2 more bloggers in the household wanting to use
the computers, the fancy camera, the memory card adapter, the craft supplies, etc. etc.

In fact, one child is reading over my shoulder,
'begging'
to get on the computer as I type this post!
What have I done?

It is quite amazing that they have put this blog together
with very minimal effort from me.

They are not allowing me to edit or make changes to their posts.
(We'll see how long this lasts!  Little do they know I have total control over their blog and computer use.)

This is THEIR blog.  (I have been told this repeatedly.)
 
And just wait until you read their blog posts.
They are VERY serious crafters and writers. 
I guess you could say that I taught them everything they know?
Including the over-abundant use of exclamation marks, multiple periods, spelling errors, etc. etc...

 
And the best part...
they call me their AM (Awesome Mom). 
Is that the sweetest, or what?!
(Wish that 'sweetness' would carry on in the real world, not just the blog world.)

 
To head to their blog (they would love you to visit) click here.
 
 
So far their posts include:
 
 
 
Linking up to: CraftOManiac, UndertheTableDreaming,
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Friday, August 24, 2012

Don't let summer slip away without making a sand castle.
We made this one for a fun, beachy centerpiece.

 
(Inspiration came from this post found on Pinterest.)
Quite the summer memory, don't you think?

Here's how we made our castle.

Tape together a castle using recycled items:  cans, boxes, egg cartons...anything you can find.
If possible use plain boxes, or turn the boxes inside out to hide any writing.
Masking tape works best because the sand will stick to it easily.
 

Now we're ready to get serious! 
Gather your Mod Podge, brushes and a huge pail of DRY sand!
Our sand came straight from the beach.
 

Slap on the Mod Podge with a brush and pour the sand on.
There's no need to be neat and precise.
Work quickly and don't be afraid of making a mess!
We put our castle on a cookie sheet to help contain the sand.
 
 
This is the perfect craft for kids who like getting their hands dirty!
(I keep waiting for my son to like messy crafts, but...he's still not a fan.)
Thankfully, my daughter doesn't mind one bit!
 

After you've covered the castle with one layer of sand,
tip castle to remove the extra sand,
then let it dry completely.
(Perfect time for a quick trumpet lesson from Papa.)
 
 
 
Now back to work....
Add one more layer of ModPodge and sand.
Cover all those spots that look bare and load on some more sand.
Let dry, then add on some decorations.
 

We 'hot glued' on some blue glass rocks and
the salt dough starfish we made from this post.
 

It's quite the centerpiece, don't you think?




 


 

Linking up to: Tatertots&Jello,
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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

 
 
It's been awhile since I've done a salt dough craft...
 
 
Remember this project with salt dough LEGO guys from way back when?
 
 
 
I wasn't sure if I was ready to tackle another one,
but when I saw this tutorial I knew I had to try. 
 
Make your own starfish?  Really?  Yes!
Possibly the easiest salt dough recipe and project you'll ever make...
 
Salt Dough Starfish
2 cups flour
1 cup salt
1 cup warm water
Mix it up into a dough.
 
 
I forced my kids to help me. 
We've apparently hit the age where "Mom's crafts aren't cool anymore."
"We want to do our own things."  "This isn't fun, mom."
That is until the doorbell rings and a neighbor girl walks in.

"Oh, this is so cool, can I help?" she says...
"Wow, you guys are so lucky your mom does this stuff with you."
"Can you come get me the next time you make things?"
 
I almost died laughing as I watched my kids' faces!
I promise I did not pay the child or plan out her perfect timing.
Thankfully, she saved the day and I had lots of help.

 
 Step 1:  Take a piece of the salt dough and
flatten it into a small 'cookie' sized circle.
 
 
Step 2:  Using a table knife, cut out a star figure.
 
 
Step 3:  Shape starfish with fingers.
 
 
 
 
 
Bend, flatten, pull, round the edges, etc. 

 
Step 4:  Use a toothpick and poke holes and draw on spines.
 
 
Step 5:  Make a hole in the tops of the starfish that you want to hang.
We used a pen cap to make the hole.
 
 
Step 6:  Bake the starfish in the oven on 200 degrees for many hours...
or place outside in a warm spot for a day or two.
 
 
 
Of course in the Seattle area, it takes forever for anything to dry.
I ended up cooking them upside down to help, after a few days of them sitting out.
 
Once they're finally dry....display!
(I might go back and put a clear sealant on them...or maybe not?)

Here's a sneak peak from our Starfish Party
blog post coming soon!
 

Notice the starfish? 
 




Linking up to: TheFrugalGirls, Tatertots&Jello,

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Monday, August 20, 2012

We made these fun number pretzels at our Back to School Party.


and then we made them AGAIN for our Starfish Party...
(post coming soon!)


Making your own pretzels is pretty easy, especially if you get your kids to help.
Just remember to plan some time (at least an hour) for the dough to rise.


SOFT PRETZELS

In a small bowl, dissolve 2 packets of yeast (4 tsp.) with 1 tsp. of sugar and 11/2 cups warm water.

 Let set 10 minutes until creamy.


In a large bowl mix 5 cups of flour with 1/2 cup of sugar and 1 1/2 tsp. of salt.



Make a well in the middle of the mixture and pour in 1 Tbsp. of oil and the yeast mixture.



Mix and form into a dough. If mixture is too dry, add a Tbsp. of water.
Knead dough for 7 to 8 minutes on a floured surface until smooth.


Oil a large bowl and both sides of the dough. 

Place dough in bowl and cover with plastic wrap.
Let the dough double in size, by placing it in a warm spot for about an hour.



Preheat oven to 450 degrees. 

Once dough is risen, turn out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 12 equal pieces.

Roll each piece into a long rope (or a snake). 

Twist into a pretzel shape.

For our school party we made the pretzel into the grade number of each child.


 For the Starfish Party (coming soon) we made the pretzels into stars.
Some long, some short, some with smiles.



In a large bowl, dissolve baking soda in hot water.


Once all of the dough is shaped, brush on the baking soda solution
and place on a greased baking sheet.
Sprinkle with kosher salt.
    Bake in preheated oven for 6 minutes, until browned.
    Watch carefully, these things cook fast!
    (It was so sad when I burned an entire pan without watching them!)


And then our favorite part...EAT!
For the Back to School pretzels, we brushed them with butter and salt.



For the starfish pretzels, we brushed them with butter and sprinkled on
cinnamon and sugar...and ate them warm!



AH (Awesome Husband) couldn't believe how tasty these were!
He was drooling for more after he licked his fingers clean.
My kids were amazed that we could make pretzels just like they do in the mall.
Personally, I was a bit surprised too.
Watch out Auntie Annes!


This recipe was modified from All Recipes.com
Soft Pretzels
Ingredients
4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 1/4 cups warm water
5 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/4 cup baking soda
2 cups hot water
1/4 cup kosher salt, for topping

Directions:
In a small bowl, dissolve 2 packets of yeast (4 tsp.) with 1 tsp. of sugar and 11/2 cups warm water.  Let set 10 minutes until creamy.
In a large bowl mix 5 cups of flour with 1/2 cup of sugar and 1 1/2 tsp. of salt.
Make a well in the middle of the mixture and pour in 1 Tbsp. of oil and the yeast mixture.
Mix and form into a dough.  If mixture is too dry, add a Tbsp. of water.
Knead dough for 7 to 8 minutes on a floured surface until smooth.
Oil a large bowl and both sides of the dough.  Place dough in bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Let the dough double in size, by placing it in a warm spot for about an hour. 

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
In a large bowl, dissolve baking soda in hot water.

When risen, turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 12 equal pieces.
Roll each piece into a rope and twist into a pretzel shape.

Once all of the dough is all shaped, brush on the baking soda solution and place on a greased baking sheet. Sprinkle with kosher salt.
Bake in preheated oven for 8 minutes, until browned
Enjoy!

 



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