January 25, 2012

Mad Scientist Potions

Princess B is 4 years old and needed to build up her hand muscles. A friend of mine suggested having her play with pipettes and colored water. This was a fantastic idea. 

Princess B loves to play Mad Scientist and create evil potions. 

To create the ingredients for the potions, simply put a few drops of food coloring into assorted cups, add some water and place a pipette in each color. 

Use an empty cup to mix the potion in. I like to use a clear glass so she can see the potion inside.

This activity not only helps strengthen hand muscles and helps with dexterity, it also helps with color recognition and color mixing. Princess B loves to see what happens when she mixes all the colors together.

Recipe Exchange Party

Lets face it, women love to get together and have a good time. But sometimes, we need a little excuse to make time in our busy schedules to do it. One inexpensive, and fun way to get the neighbors out of their houses is to host a Recipe Exchange Party. 

A Recipe Exchange Party is a party where you exchange recipes. Everyone who attends brings either an appetizer, main dish, or a dessert along with copies of the recipe to share with everyone. In addition everyone also brings copies of two additional recipes to share. The idea is that by the end of party, you leave with essentially a new cook book, and you will have already sampled a third of the recipes in it. 

As a Recipe Exchange Party hostess, all you need to provide are: your own dish and recipes to share, beverages, plates, napkins, silverware, and index cards for guests to write what their dish is. You can go as simple or as elaborate as you like. 

I also created stations, individual areas for beverages, appetizers, main dishes and desserts. 

While your guests are enjoying the food, sort though the recipes your guests provided and create a packet of the recipes for each guest.

This is a really fun and inexpensive party, and a great way to get together with your girlfriends and try some new recipes.

January 15, 2012

Winter Yarn Wreath

Now that the holidays are over and the Christmas decorations are put away, my door looked a little boring and sad. I was wandering through mu local arts and crafts store the other day and stumbled on everything I needed to make a wreath to cheer up my depressed front door, and it was all on sale. How could I pass this opportunity up? I've seen a lot of inspiration on Pinterest, it couldn't be hard or take long to create a yarn wreath right? This is where I was wrong. It's an easy project, but boy does it take some time. 

To start out, you will need: a wreath form, yarn, hot glue, and accessories to glitz up your wreath.

My supplies cost about $12.00. Not a bad price for a wreath. 

Once you have gathered the supplies to make your wreath, you start by wrapping the yarn around the wreath form. This is the time consuming step. I recommend starting this step while the babies are napping, and you need to kill two hours. In fact this is a great time to pop in a movie and get comfy. Once you start you can't stop until it's done. Perhaps I should have thought it through a little more when I started this project. 

Fast forward two hours and your wreath is starting to look wonderful. However, at this point you may be more interested in tossing it out the door, rather than hanging it on it. But don't, you will have wasted two hours and have nothing to show for it. Trust me, it will be worth it. 

Once you get your base layer of yarn on the wreath form, use another color to wrap around the wreath. Then wrap the color the opposite way around the wreath to create these fun little X's.

Next add some bling. Lay the accessories out to get an idea of what you want where, then once you have everything right where you want them it's time to use some hot glue and stick them in place. 

Viola! You have a  wreath, that was totally worth the time. I'm already planning my next one... Sorry Mr. M. 

January 8, 2012

Brownie Cheesecake

I went to a group get together today and wanted to bring something yummy. This brownie cheesecake recipe is super easy, and perfect for anyone who has never made a cheesecake before.

To start, you will need a spring form pan. I actually found mine at Goodwill for a dollar.

Boxed Brownie Mix and ingredients to make brownie mix.
16oz Cream Cheese
3 Large Eggs
1/2 Cup Sugar
1 Tbsp Vanilla
1/4 Cup Sour Cream

Prepare the brownie layer. Follow the directions on the box. Use the baking time that is closest to the pan size you are using.

Mix Cream Cheese, Sugar and Vanilla together until well blended. 

If you don't have a Kitchen Aid Mixer, you can use a hand mixer, you will just want to cut up the cream cheese into cubes and slowly add the cubes into the bowl, otherwise your beaters will get clogged and your mixer will sound like it's about to die. 

Add the Eggs to the mixture. And continue mixing.

Add Sour Cream and mix until everything is well blended.

Pour on top of the baked brownie crust and bake at 325* for 35-45 minutes.

Once it's baked, allow it to cool, then refrigerate for 3+ hours. 

If you are running behind schedule, like I usually am, and don't have 3+ hours to let the cheesecake cool in the fridge, you can stick it in the freezer for an hour and that works too.

Before serving, remove the cheese cake from the spring form pan and onto a platter or cake stand. Garnish with berries, pie filling, whipped cream, or any other garnish you like.

January 4, 2012

Scarf Organization

Anyone who knows me, knows I love to wear scarves in the winter and any other season where I can get away with it. Over the years I have accumulated a collection of scarves. My problem has always been, where to store them when I am not wearing them. For awhile I had a shelf and then a drawer in my closet that housed them, but they always had wrinkles and it was hard to find the perfect color for my outfit du jour.  Then one day while playing around on Pintrest, I found several creative ways to store scarves. Using these suggestions, this is what I came up with, and I only spent around $5 (this makes Mr. M happy).

I found shower curtain rings at a local store that were on clearance for $.75 for a package of 12, I bought two. Then I bought an inexpensive curtain rod for around $3. 

With the help of my husband (Mr. M) I hung the curtain rod on an empty wall in our bedroom. I then placed the shower curtain rings on the rod. The rings are "C" shaped, which makes it really easy to hang up and remove scarves. 

Not only does this project organize my scarves and keeps them from having ugly creases; it also adds a little "artwork" and color to our room.

January 1, 2012

Bird Seed Wreath

It's wintertime in Michigan, what better time to feed the birds. Making a bird seed wreath is a functional, inexpensive, and kid friendly way to do this. Princess B (my four year old) helped me with this project. 

To start you will need:
4 cups of Wild Bird Seed
4 Packets of Unflavored Gelatin 
2 Cups of Water
1 Ice Ring/Jello Mold or any other pan with a hole in the middle.

 Empty the packets of unflavored gelatin into a pan. Add the water and place on the stove. - Princess B helped with this step!

Heat mixture until the gelatin is dissolved and just comes to a boil.  

Add bird seed and mix together. - Princess B thought it was a gooey mess.

Pour mixture into Jello Mold. 

Place Jello Mold into the refrigerator for at least two hours. We left ours in over night, just to be sure. 

Once the wreath has hardened, tie a ribbon around the wreath, hang on a tree and wait for the hungry birds to find it and enjoy. 

Tip: don't use wired ribbon, as it may cut into the wreath.

Happy New Year

Since it's New Years Day, it's time to start the resolutions. My 2012 resolution is to start a blog. So, here it goes. This blog will be my outlet. I love to be artsy and crafty, sort of like a Martha Stewart on a budget. My plan is to post recipes, home decor and organization ideas and tips, crafts (for adults and kids) and more. Stay tuned and we'll have some fun together this year.