Monday, July 20, 2015

Swim Ribbon Display

I have three kids in competitive swimming. Soon we will be wrapping our third year of schlepping kids to pools nearly everyday, driving carpools, writing swim events on arms with Sharpies, Goggle management, sitting through four+ hour long swim meets, long-term screaming parents (not me, they can't hear us- trust me, I asked) and fun foods like Walking Tacos and Giant Dill Pickles from Costco. We get two weeks off around December and in March. The month of August is also a swim team free zone. Otherwise we go all year long. Most friends think we are insane.

"OMG- I swear you are pool-bound every weekend"

The kids need swimming. When they don't swim the month of August, they are climbing the walls, getting in trouble and breaking things. Yes, they are generally good kids. Kids are kids, they have a ton of energy. Swimming is the perfect thing for them. I love the sport because it is a team thing (Relays) and an individual thing (Personal Best times). There are swimming brackets based on age. So the kids need to learn to focus in order to achieve goals before they age up. Swimming is something you can do till you are in your 90s. At a recent swim meet, a Master Swimmer in her 90s swam at the meet. (I am totally serious).

And the best part? RIBBONS and MEDALS.

"OMG- How many ribbons do you have at your house? You should do a Project Runway inspired dress made from those ribbons"

"You could make a quilt from all of those ribbons"

So each kid had their own ribbon bin under their bed. The bins were filling up and I wanted to create something to hang them on the wall. I found a few ideas on Pinterest and on Etsy, but I wanted something that held MORE RIBBONS.

I bought the boards at Home Depot (approximately 48" x 12"), we painted them white (Semi-gloss), added 30+ white coffee cup hooks (again from Home Depot), then hand-painted the lettering. I wanted one saying to go across all three boards. I designed the saying on my computer, printed it out on letter sized paper, spliced it together and then traced it on the wood (pressing hard with a ball-point pen), then painted the words with a gray paint. This hand-painting took a while. It was a pain, so if you go for it be patient.

We placed the Ribbon Displays in the stairwell on the way to the kids Basement-zone. Now, after a meet they run down there to proudly hang up their ribbons. At the top, is my Daughter's ribbon display. She currently has the most ribbons. The middle child is catching up with her. And rounding out the bottom, is my little guy's ribbon board. He has only been swimming for a year. 

 12 year old kid to give a sense of scale.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Fruit Cake

For weeks and weeks I was pinning Fruit Cakes on Pinterest. And now, here it is! Layers of watermelon, with melon cubes in between and topped with kiwi, peaches, blueberries. I added kabob skewers to hold everything together. This fruit cake puppy went for car ride to a friends' party and everything was just fine.

I wanted to try the version with coconut cream frosting slathered with sliced almonds. That will happen. Stay tuned.

Friday, June 5, 2015

National Donut Day

Hello Donuts! National Donut Day is the First Friday in June. A clever gent at our office wrangled this gathering of donuts from around town. Woulette, Old Fashioned Donut Shoppe, Kowalskis, Lunds&Byerlys, Doughnette, Saloman, A Baker's Wife, Meloglaze, Sarah Jane, Glam Doll, Yoyo Donuts and Bogarts!

I counted 22 boxes of donuts and one lucky summer guest!

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Floral Crown (made from money)

So this summer I am shaking up the Graduate Gift situation. I saw this clever Money Necklace on theHouseThatLarsBuilt. I decided to give it a crown twist. The hardest part was finding dollar bills. I never have cash!

Then gather up some light gauge wire, tissues paper and ribbon (for a bit of flare). Click the link to follow Lars tutorial (and video). 

Saturday, May 30, 2015

DQ sassy cake

My eldest turned 12 years old. She is not one to savor simple obvious things. So of course, we could not have a simple cake that said "Happy Birthday". I love that about her. She is shaping up to be one amazing human.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Peter Pan

For most of the 1980's my Grandparents had Season tickets to the Minneapolis Children's Theater Company. I loved getting dressed all fancy, driving downtown and walking up the stairs across the red carpet to see a show. The hours I spent absorbing those amazing shows most definitely set me on my path as a designer and creative soul. I graduated from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, which is next door to the Children's Theater Company. Amazingly, our graduation ceremony took place on the Children's Theater Stage! The same stage that set my creativity on fire marked my journey into my design career. Now, I take my own kids to plays. I love to see how they react and what they love. I am inspired again and grateful that this tradition continues.

The images above show the cool bus stop marketing for Peter Pan. Obviously, we could not get a shot of both the boys "flying". They were too busy chasing each other in most of the shots. We are going to see Peter Pan soon. My middle son's classmate is one of the Lost Boys. How cool is that a fourth grader!

They have a great $10 ticket program if you are not ready for a season ticket membership. Just get on over there!


Monday, May 11, 2015

Sugar Cream Pie

Sugar Cream Pie is heavenly, a bit like creme brulee. I found a few recipes online and made a new tweaked version. My first attempt looked terrible but tasted fantastic. I altered a few of the details make the beauty above.

Makes One 9" pie:
1 Deep Dish Frozen Pie Crust 
1/2 cup Granulated Sugar
1/2 cup Dark Brown Sugar
2 TBS Flour
Pinch of salt
2 cups Heavy Cream
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Bake the pie crust according to the directions. Set aside, to cool a bit.
pre-heat oven to 375˚F
2. In a medium mixing bowl combine, the sugars, flour, and salt.
3. Gently stir in the heavy cream with a spatula. Do not overmix or the pie will not set properly
4. Stir in the vanilla extract in the mixture
5. Place your baked Pie Crust on a tin-foil lined baking sheet. (do not skip this step)
6. Slowly pour in the mixture into the baked Pie Crust.
7. Bake for 20 minutes, rotate 180˚ then bake another 20-25 minutes. Large bubbles should cover the surface of the pie. The pie will not set when it comes out of the oven.
8. Cool to room temp, then chill in refrigerator for at least 4 hours (or overnight). Dust with confectioner's sugar before serving.

This pie tastes best, cold with a hot cup of coffee.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Chalk Globe

Around the world with chalky hands! My youngest son got the classroom Panda (Pang Pang) for the weekend. He wanted to do something EPIC with Pang Pang. He wanted to draw the world on the driveway. We used a hula hoop to start the globe. I lightly traced the hula hoop one time. Then lined up the hula hoop near the traced circle to get a bigger circle– making a dash, then connecting all the dashes.

Now, it's time for photos. I drag out the ladder and prop it up on the angled driveway, climb way up and attempt to direct the placement of kids. Cars drive by during this process and people stare. For once, I was not wearing a dress. We even had a few people pull their cars over, get out and come see what we were working on.

While we were taking these photos, my little guy dropped Pang Pang on the edge of the ocean. POOF, blue chalk all over one of his perfectly white cheek. I did my best to POOF it off, then vacuum with no result. We tried: Shout, carpet cleaner, laundry detergent, cold water, hot water, vinegar, hydrogen peroxide and washing it in the washer. I was going to do bleach, but I read online that sometimes it turns white things, yellow.

My kids go to a Chinese immersion school. Their faces turned white, eyes big… you are in so much trouble with the teacher. I must have spent no less than six hours trying to clean Pang Pang. I am not joking. Yeah, this is exactly how I wanted to spend my weekend. I waited all week for this fun. I texted my aunt, my dad and a few moms asking for help. I dug around on the internet. I tried everything to get that freaking Panda clean.

By Monday morning, I gave up. My hands were a bit raw. You could still tell there was so blue chalk but it was not nearly as bad. My daughter, said "It's fine. You will be okay". I was not okay, not at all. Around 3pm, the email went out from the teacher. She basically said that parents should not wash Pang Pang with colored things. Really? Come on.

That was not what happened! I am not that stupid. She knew we had Pang Pang, just talk to me about the blue cheek. I found out that she asked each student "Is it blue? Is it BLUE?" What kid is going to say no. I guess one kid did say it didn't look blue. I asked how that went over. My little guy said, not well.

Of course, I sent the teacher a note. I am a Tiger Mom myself. I can handle a Tiger Teacher. Another mom took Pang Pang home because her husband works at a dry cleaners. I guess Pang Pang got red stuff on him before (maybe lipstick?). The red stuff came out, but the blue chalk never did. Pang Pang is still blue and teacher… still not happy. But we have this really awesome globe photo!

Maybe, just maybe a white stuffed animal is not the best choice for a first grader to keep clean? I found out the year before the students had to keep the panda in a plastic bag. I am guessing next year, that Pang Pang will be back in that plastic bag. It will be awesome, like sitting on your Grandma's plastic-covered couches. Kids love to cuddle with a plastic-covered Panda. Our family ruined it for everyone. Stupid blue chalk.

This summer, that same teacher is asking different families to watch her dog in exchange for some Chinese lessons. A fellow parents wants me to volunteer to watch the dog, so I can dye it blue. The teacher never even asked us. I am guessing we are on the not-to-be-trusted list. Oh well, we tried. Next year we get "Da Da" the hand puppet. I really hate him. I might put him in a plastic bag for good measure.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

S'mores Cakepop Truffles with Graham Cracker Crumbles

OMG. So good, Chocolate S'more cakepop truffles with graham cracker crumbles. I made a basic chocolate cakepop truffle, dipped it in chocolate candy melts. Then I drizzled Wilton's S'mores Candy melts on top and sprinkled a bit of crumbled graham crackers for texture.

I can't find the S'more Candy Melts online. I bought them at my local Michael's Arts and Crafts (Minnesota).

Monday, May 4, 2015

Painted Globe

I found a globe that I wanted, but it was $30. Then I found this Threshold Globe at Target for $14.99. I wanted a pop of color, so I picked up this Hand Made Modern paint (also at Target) in Goldenrod Satin. Two coats and done! One of a kind and all mine.

Monday, April 6, 2015

show me, don't tell me

Be all in or get out all out. There is no half way. My mom in a Easter basket in the 1940's in Minneapolis. She was an 1980's Tiger Mom. She was the kind of Mom that made kids' parents sign a legal form saying it wasn't her fault if they got hurt on our playground. She was also the same Mom that would come outside to that playground on a very hot summer day with popsicles. "Hey, you kids want a nice popsicle? Yes? Okay, well here's a bag... fill it up with weeds and then you can have one". Insert eye roll from offspring and the downward stare of shame.

"Kym, your mom is so weird"

Now that I am a mom, I think that weed trick was freaking brilliant. And the legal form, also a good plan. Her fashion sense was still a bit off, but no one is perfect. 

Be curious not judgmental. Easter with a really creepy bunny 1980's style. I still have that dress. I can't get anyone to fess up who made it. I love the knee high socks and black shoes.

Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened. Well this bunny is certainly more creepy than the previous bunny! I asked my Mom about this one. She can't remember when or where it happened. I told her it looks like outside a parking lot. Why did they let us sit with this bunny? He or she had to be a bit hot? Clearly I am okay with allowing my sister to get close but I won't have any of it.

Effort is attractive. I remember this day. We didn't have baskets for some reason, so my Grandma Marvel gave me her hair scarf and pulled out a plastic bag from her purse for my sister. Grandma always saved plastic bags. She would fold them up neatly, keeping a few in her purse and the rest in one kitchen drawer. They also had a paper cup filled with the rubber bands from the newspapers. Who reads a newspaper these days? I think the last time we had one delivered to our house was 2004.
You go and find who you really are, and do not let anyone stop you. It's me and my wild hair in the early 1980s. I am outside my Grandparents Towers Condo near Hennepin and 1st St South (Minneapolis, MN). You can see the Grain Belt Beer sign in the distance. That sign is still there.
 You must know what you want, to find what you want. My mom in the 1940's.
Death leaves a hurt no one can heal. Love leaves memories no one can steal.  12 years ago my Grandpa Bill passed away. He is the fella holding the baby (my Dad). My Grandma Winnie and Bill would bicker up a storm. I should have video taped them. They would have made some killer Vine clips. Grandpa Bill died a little over a month before my first child and his first Great-Grandchild was born. It's hard to believe that time has gone by this fast. I am grateful for the time I had with my Grandparents. They were a big part of my life and I still miss them very much.

Wonder where this all started from? click here.  I was asked by a few folks if I sell these images. I just started up a Society6. Check it out if you might be interested in a print or two.

Pom Pom Berries

So cute, little pom pom berries. I have so many ideas. This is just the beginning. At first I made my own fork version of a pom pom maker, then I tried using my hands, then we just bought the Clover pom pom makers at Michaels. Of course, we bought them one at a time and used our 40% coupon! Forget what people say, just go buy the Clover Pom Pom makers. It's way easier for the kids and is worth the investment. We bought four different Pom Pom Makers for a total of $8.40.

Over the summer, my Dad found a giant bag full of yarn from my junior high crafting days. I took the yarn beast home knowing that I would find something to do with it. Then, it was Spring Break for my kids without fun traveling plans… I knew it was time to tame the yarn beast.

I found this awesome strawberry pom pom tutorial on

The first one we did, is the pink berry. The second one is the red berry. The third one is not currently pictured. My daughter didn't use enough yarn and it's a berry hot mess.

We have lots of ideas now, and want to try a lemon or orange! Even my six year old is loving this pom pom business! Be sure you have sharp scissors to snip the yarn.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Bunny Sugar Cookies

I saw this adorable bunny cookie idea on which was created by Baked Ideas
I thought "perfect, I can totally do that". My kids are allergic to whole eggs, so frosted cookies have become our Easter standard. I found some Wilton candy decorations at Target and Michaels. The glasses make this cookie the BOMB.

They are very easy to make. I am so serious. It is a regular gingerbread man cookie cutter, then one circle cookie cutter cut in half. We pressed in regular classic jellybeans and shaped the hands around the candies. We tried Starburst Jelly beans too, but the old school ones worked best. We also tried adding the sugar candies. They worked great! Baked at 350 for 8-10 minutes.

And of course, we made some eggs too!

Monday, March 30, 2015

show me, don't tell me

We travel, some us forever, to seek other states, other lives, other souls. My Grandma Marvel is the lady on the right with Barbara. Marvel never learned to drive a car. She was content to leave that chore to others.
Actually, I can. Oh Great Aunt Grace… forever doing exactly what she wanted to do. She hand painted this photograph decades ago. I am the keeper of most of the family photos. I wish I could have met her. I am certain we would have loved each others ideas.
 I don't want just words. If that's all you have for me, you'd best go. Grace again, this time in France during the 1930s.
 Do it right or don't do it at all. Check out those bright orange quilted coats. The kids would always ask my sister and I if we were going hunting in our orange coats. Nope, not going hunting. Our mom loves thrift shops and has no idea that Member's Only and Acid-washed denim are the 80's hot ticket item. Oh well....
Kind people are brave people. My Grandma Marvel is on the left. I just found out from my Mom this weekend, that the fella is John Beck (maybe Jon, not sure). John wanted to marry Grandma, but she passed. I wonder what this pie-eating evening was all about? Who took the photo?
Liking what you do is happiness. So I found nearly all the Easter Bunny photos in the ten or so boxes of photos that I have lurking in my uber messy office. There are literally bunny trails to navigate my office, so serious. The rest of the house is fine. You can tell in this photo that I am really not in the mood for this situation. I am wearing my ballet outfit, guessing practice is soon.

What I am looking for is not out there. It is in me. My Great Aunt Grace in WooSung, China (North of Shanghai) in the 1930's.

Wonder where this all started from? click here.  I was asked by a few folks if I sell these images. I just started up a Society6. Check it out if you might be interested in a print or two.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Rice Krispie Carrots

Spring is all about Easter business. My kids are allergic to eggs, so we usually make Bunny Bread, Frosted Sugar Cookies, Carrot veggie pizzas and now… Rice Krispie Carrots! 

When our youngest was little, he would say "Tarrots are Tasty. Bunnies love Tarrots". Now he is big and was a great little helper arranging bunches of edible grass. 

3 TBS butter or margarine
1 pkg 10 oz mini marshmallows
Orange food coloring (the amount you would like)
6 cups Rice Krispies
Edible Easter Grass
Green Candy melts
Orange Candy melts

In a medium sauce pan, melt the butter/margarine, add the marshmallows and then the orange food coloring. In greased bowl, measure out 6 cups of Rice Krispies. Start pouring the melted mixture into the bowl of Rice Krispies, mix as you go. Nicely grease a 9x13 pan with butter/margarine and evenly spread the orange Rice Krispie mixture. Press it down evenly and let it cool. I cut the pan into 24 carrot shapes (long triangles). 

For the grass topper, I used Edible Easter Grass from Target. It is Green Apple flavored but I really could not taste it. It comes in long strands, I cut them smaller and made bunches of 5-7 strands. I used Wilton Candy Melts as "glue" to hold the grass together. Once that bunch of grass is cool, carve a little hole in the carrot and add the grass bunch with a bit more of the candy melts. 

For the final detail, you could add orange candy melt drizzle for carrot texture. I placed the melted candy melts in a sandwich sized Ziploc bag, snipped the corner in order to drizzle the carrots.