Monday, January 12, 2015

tea towel pillow

Winter clearance at the local Anthropologie store. I picked up this sweet little towel for around $7. Then I popped over to Goodwill to find a Target patio pillow for $3.99. I removed the existing fabric from the Target pillow, then placed the batting into the Anthropologie towel. I sewed up the sides by hand. I could have used a sewing machine but I wanted to binge watch "Homeland" on my couch.

Monday, December 29, 2014

gingerbread houses + dinosaurs

At our house we made about 12 tiny gingerbread houses. I found this awesome new cookie cutter at Target over the holidays. I cannot find the Sweet Creations Cookie Cutter at But I did find it here.

Back to the houses. I had the kids assemble them on paper plates. We decorated the freshly frosted houses with with Smarties, licorice, gumdrops, Holiday candy corn, candy melts, reindeer graham crackers, shredded coconut and mini M&Ms. After the houses were dry, we trimmed the plates close to the edge of the frosting. Then I snapped this photo with shredded coconut and dinosaurs (for a sense of scale). This cookie cutter would work for any seasonal celebration, Valentine's Day, Easter, 4th of July or Halloween.

Next, I would like to offer the houses to the neighborhood squirrels and wild turkeys. The hubby is not a fan of this said "plan".

Here is the cookie cutter. The photo is from

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Melting Snowmen

So adorable, right? Yes! The snowman head is an Oreo Truffle or a Cakeball Truffle coated with Bright White Candy melts. I made the heads first, allowed them to set. Then I made the melting puddle of white candy melt, place the snowman head in the melted puddle. Be sure to add the buttons before the chocolate puddle sets. The carrot nose is a Candy Coated Sunflower seed (from Trader Joe's). I drew the faces with Wilton's Edible Markers.
The hat is a mini Oreo cookie (just one side) with a Rolo. I used Candy Melts to secure the Rolo to the cookie. Be sure to attach the hat to the snowman head before the Candy Melts set. I also added a tiny slice of Twizzler to be a flower.
I also tried to make the snowmen faces with mini chocolate chips. I found it to be really tricky. I like the edible markers better. Just use your 40% coupon at Michaels or JoAnns to purchase the edible markers.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Santa drop

Naughty or Nice sign is from the Target Dollar store. The white deer head is also from Target Holiday 2013. The La-Z-Boy chairs have a Todd Oldham houndstooth pattern. My Mother-in-law ordered up these hand-crafted stockings from a friend in Iowa.

This year our little one confessed that he was sure he was on the naughty list but somehow, last minute Santa must have placed him on the good list. A giant sized HexBug Strandbeast and Zoomer Dino are parading through our home.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Cookie Business

This holiday I just went for it, I made 10 batches of my Great Grandma Marie's Famous Frosted Sugar cookies. No I did not count how many cookies 10 batches renders. I am sure my chiropractor would tell you that I should take a break. The cookies really are the BOMB. They are so smooth and I sneak a bit of lemon extract in the frosting for something different. Lemon extract was never in the original recipe. It's my own addition. My Aunt Betsy also makes these famous cookies. She would NEVER stray from the original recipe. I enjoy a little shake up. I have never been one to conform.

Orange Cranberry Pinwheels

Orange Cranberry Pinwheels are delicious! My hubby was bummed that they were "fancy" ones. He was hoping for the standard Mexi pinwheels. I do not care. I wanted to make something new.

4 flour tortillas
2 (8oz) packages of cream cheese (softened)
1 cup of dried cranberries (you could use any sort of flavor)
2 bunches diced green onions
1 tsp of garlic salt
1 orange for the juice and zest

Mix the cream cheese and garlic salt together until well blended. I used my KitchenAid mixer. I zested one entire orange and added the zest to the cream cheese mixture. Then add in 1 tsp of freshly squeezed orange juice.  Spread this mixture evenly over the tortillas.

In a small bowl, mix the cranberries and green onions. Sprinkle this mixture over the cream cheese spread. Lightly press the cranberry/onions into the cream cheese.

Roll up the individual tortillas, trim off the ends and wrap up in plastic wrap. I place them in the freezer for 20-30 minutes. Then take them out and slice each tortilla into about 10 even sized pieces.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

peppermint mocha cakeball truffles

Archer Farms Peppermint Mocha cupcake mix makes some dang good cakeball truffles. Everything you need is right in the box, the frosting, crushed peppermint bits and mini chocolate chips. Seriously this cake was awesome! This mix is not sold online, only in stores at Target. I am guessing it is a seasonal offering, so hop to it!

Monday, December 22, 2014

spicy cakeball truffles

Spicy Chocolate Cakeball Truffles with Cayenne Pepper and Chili Powder. I have been intending to make these for months. I finally just gave it a go. I baked a basic chocolate cake, let it cool and then crumbled it in my KitchenAid mixer. I added about 1- 1 1/2 cups of chocolate frosting until the mixture is similar to Playdoh. 

For the spicy part, I added about 2 teaspoons of both Cayenne Pepper and Chili Powder. That is what worked best for my taste level. Start out with just one teaspoon of each and taste test a bit. Chill the mixture in the fridge for a bit, then roll balls. I dipped them in melted chocolate. I love gold glittery sugars with red hot details. 

They are the perfect treat with a cool coffee drink.

show me, don't tell me

Beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself. My mom always told us to be ourselves, do onto others as you'd have done to you, be kind to the underdog and work hard. I love this photo for the confidence in my Mother and the beauty of the composition.
What you do today is important because you are exchanging a day of your life for it. Not sure why my Grandma Marvel is holding my mom while chilling with a bear. But I love her sense of adventure. Life moves so fast, especially when you have kids. You have 940 Saturdays from the time your child is born until they are 18 years old. 260 Saturdays gone by the time your child is five years old. Use your time wisely.
Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.
A lie can get half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes. Drama, drama, drama. Do NOT save it for your mama. She doesn't want it and neither do you. Don't fool yourself lies, gossip, cliques and cold pricklies are not contained to junior high and middle school. They romp around for decades after. Not much you can do, but try to stay ahead of it or keep your head high.
A good laugh and a long sleep are the two best cures for anything. My Grandfather is the little guy standing.
Live in the sunshine. Swim in the sea. Drink the wild air. My Grandparents always had a sense of wonder and adventure. Lucky for my mom she was part of fun road trips as a small child. My sister and I got to go many places with our Grandparents: Oregon, Washington, Washington D.C., Florida, South Carolina, Hawaii, California, Trinidad, Tobago, the Cayman islands, Canada, Europe and even China. I am sure I missed a few other places. Bottom line, we had a sweet life with them. I am grateful every time I look through old photos.
Exist to be happy not to impress. Do your own thing. Do not worry what other people think, just make yourself happy.
You are not a mess. You are a feeling person in a messy world. I am a feeling person. I have been that way all my life. Even though I am 100% deaf in one year, I catch most everything around me. It's a blessing and a curse in the same. Some days I wish I could tune it all out. Life would be simpler.

I remember this day at the park. While we were walking to the playground we took a brown dirt path, green grass surrounded the path. I said to my mom "We are like the ants on a log. The green grass is the celery, the brown path is the peanut butter and we are the raisins... only we are walking raisins". I wonder what my Mom thought when she heard that. If she was like me as a parent she was thinking "When can I take a nap later today?".

Wonder where this all first started? click here.

Sunday, December 21, 2014


Gingerbread is heavenly. I could sniff these cookies for hours. My daughter feels the same way. This year I bought new cookie cutters that allow the cookies to sit on the edge of the coffee cup. Obviously I need to try a different gingerbread recipe. Next time they will be functional.

If you want to give it a try, the cookie cutters can be found at Ingebretsen's in Minnesota. Not in Minnesota? No problem. I am sure you could find this on the internet, like right here!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

wayzata post office

I stopped by the Wayzata Post Office the other day. It is the most adorable Postal Office I have seen in Minnesota. Then I did a bit of research and found out that this office might be closed. I will now stop there every chance to boost their sales. So if you are out that way, stop by and make a purchase.

"Built on the eve of WWII. The Minnetonka Avenue office was built in 1941 under the Works Progress Administration during the Great Depression. Its antique features -- dark mahogany millwork, a green- and rose-colored tile floor, and Mankato marble paneling -- are a striking snapshot of the era"

Friday, December 19, 2014

Golden Animal Jars

Oh yes, beautiful golden jars. Home-made up-cycled goodness. Want to know how to make them? You will need: plastic animals (Michaels and Target have good assortment), E6000 Glue (it's a must-have), gray spray paint, gold spray paint and jars with lids.

Here is the set up after I glued that animals and dinosaurs down with the E6000 glue. I let them sit for the recommended 24 hours. The glue is super stinky and not good for you. So use it in a well ventilated area. I would not allow kids to work with it. 

After the animals are dry, prop up the lids on paper cups or empty yogurt containers. I spray paint outdoors. It is more ideal to be around be a bit warm outside with mild humidity. Spray a coat of gray to cover up the graphics and create a good base for the gold paint. Yes, this seems like extra work. It is worth the effort.

The finished product. Be sure that you apply light coats of spray paint. It is always better to add another layer of paint after the first layer has cured. Patience...
Oh look at this, my youngest took a bunch of my dinosaurs. I was digging around the house trying to find them for MY project.
I also sell tie shirts, floral shirts, up-cycled crayons and barrettes. A friend of mine has an annual craft sale at her home. It is a wonderful gathering of crafty women, wild offspring, tolerant cats and delicious treats. A good gathering for the soul. Love it.

Monday, December 15, 2014

show me, don't tell me

A measure of success is how we cope with change. The cute couple above is my Great-Grandparents, the Hukill's. I really don't remember much of Maybelle. I spent more time with Great Grandpa. He made wonderful homemade bread, loved jam, linguistics puzzles and had a great sense of humor. I heard once he gave my Dad an industrial-sized can of peas. My dad hates peas.
Nobody is superior. Nobody is inferior. But nobody is equal either. People are unique. Incomparable. You are You. I am I. The photo above is "Teddy Bear Day" from Winnetka Elementary in the early 1980s. I can't be certain, but I am thinking this is either first grade or second grade.
Being powerful is like being a lady, if you tell someone you are, you're not. Another photo featuring my Great Aunt Grace. Lady of adventure who was always traveling the world. She was powerful and bold, her actions told you that.
What is done in love, is done well. My mom is in the middle, her hair is perfection! I love this photo because you can really see how my mom is a blend of both of her parents. And they all look so fancy in their classic coats. 
Before you assume try the crazy method of asking. You know the saying if you "assume"... you make an "*ss" out of "u" and "me". My personal motto is "assume positive intent". Most people are doing their best to create good in the world, either for themselves or others.
Hurt me with the truth but never comfort me with a lie. My jaw dropped when I saw this photo for two reasons. Reason number one, it appears I am wearing footie pajamas and I am not screaming from being too hot. I am always too hot and I hate being hot. Reason number two, my Grandpa Stanley is hugging me. He was not much of a hugger and I am shocked there is a photo documenting a hug situation. 
Exist on your own terms and that is all. All kids, love to hide in blankets. It's fun, especially blanket forts.  At our house, you can find at least one blanket fort ready for your enjoyment. The only trick is knowing the secret password to gain access. And be prepared to get really hot in that blanket fort.
Wonder where this first started? Click here

Monday, December 8, 2014

show me, don't tell me

Givers need to set limits because takers rarely do. My Grandmother Marvel was always a giver. She always shared her food to the point of insanity. Once she cut a Snickers bar into 16 pieces so everyone could have a bite.
If life can remove someone you never dreamt of losing it can replace them with someone you never dreamt of having. I am still not sure the exact year of this photo, but I could safely guess the early 1980s. My sister and I were visiting our Great Grandparents in Ames, Iowa. Great Grandma was quite sick and my Dad wanted to see her. It was a tough weekend. Great Grandma was having many troubles remember everyone. It was hard to see such sadness in Everyone's eyes.
Trust that if the answer is no there is a better yes down the road. Adorable. This is my sister and I most likely 1982. My mom was a mega fan of turtleneck shirts. She was also a constant thrift store shopper. Back in the day, I was bummed out by that shopping venue. However, now I find myself joyfully cruising the thrift store scene.
One of the hardest things is letting go of something you thought was real. Santa time with the sister. This time she got the turtleneck shirt. Ha!
Never compare your beginning with someone Else's end. My Grandfather Stanley was a balloon master. If we went to a restaurant for dinner, he would always leave the waitress a tip with a dog balloon. He also made a clever apple balloon with a tiny Chow Mein noodle inside, for the worm.
Whatever makes you weird is probably your greatest asset. Classic Halloween costumes from the 1980s. I wish they would make these again.
Will is to grace as the horse is to the rider. Such Tom Foolery, playing in leaves with our snowsuits on. I am certain that mom was just confirming our snowsuits would still fit before the real Minnesota winter arrived.

Wonder where this all started? Click here