Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Teachers Gifts! Crazy cheap and oh so cute.

It's the end of the school year. Thank God. I am not a morning person. Which apparently can be genetic because you wake up my 3yr old before she is ready....she turns into Gollum. The pillow is her precious. Unless its a weekend. Then of course she will happily jump out of bed like a kanga-freaking-roo and is pissed if I don't follow suit. So yeah, school can go ahead and be done. That means its time for teachers gifts. I've seen some cute ones, some cheesy ones, and some elaborate ones over the years my kids have been in school. This is the one I made last year and they LOVED them. And I loved the price and effort I put into it LOL. We made one for the school nurse, she helped my son so much with his eyedrops so well after his eye surgery and really went above and beyond for his comfort. She is the sweetest thing. She was tickled to death with this gift and told me that her daughter was so envious when she brought it home, she had to make her one. That's a seal of approval for sure right there ; )

At the palace of awesome that is Hobby Lobby I got 4 of these acrylic picture frames. I was lucky and they were half off too. Cha-ching. They have a variety of sizes, you can pick whatever size you like of course, although I think these 5x7's are perfect for a desk or counter. So get your frames then head to the aisle of scrapbook paper. I found some reacher themed stuff, one that was just nice to look out and then found this manly wood panel looking one for one of the dude teachers. He can't be putting some flowery deal on his desk I'm sure. So you just slip your paper on into the frame.

Next pick out some peak and stick letters. You can get a flat sticker type of course but I liked these foam ones that had some depth to them. And the brown looked good with my wood grain paper. I used my 40% off coupon on my Hobby Lobby app and got them for a buck something. If you don't have the Hobby Lobby app on your phone, you should get on that asap. I do not remember things. Things like printing off a coupon before I leave to go to the store. Planning ahead. Half the time I don't even realize I'm going to go till I drive by and the sweet awesomeness inside the store reaches out to me, into my car and turns my steering wheel in that direction on its own. It's gonna cause an accident one of these days I'm sure. So having the app is a must. Plus there is multiple coupons on there sometimes. Win. So use your letters and spell out your name you want on the top of your frame. Of course some names are too long so you could do just their first initial. Or "Mrs S" or something.

I bought a multi-pack of post-its. Make sure your colors coordinate well. Honestly I don't remember the exact price of the post-its. Not much, couple bucks. Now you can just peel off the back piece and stick it on the front of the frame but I added a little double sided tape on the bottom half of it too, just in case. You don't want your gift to have the main piece fall off. Lame. So do that, center it and stick it on the front.

So there you go, cool, cheap teacher gift that they will actually use and looks fun and pretty on their desk. When they run out of post its, they can easily add more. I'm pretty sure they can figure it out how to "refill them". They're teachers after all.
Got the smart stuff ; )

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Personalized iPhone cases with Clear Case Insert

So I recently got the iPhone 5. I think I was more excited for the cases than the actual phone. There are so many amazing cases! However I am partial to the personalized ones. Especially the ones with your kiddos pic on it, I love it. You can get them from a number of places, shutterfly, tiny prints, casetagram, etc. Theyre usually about $40. Not a horendous price but I knew evertime I had a new great pic of the kids, or a holiday themed pic of them I would want to swap it for another one.  Thats gonna add up some $$$ in not too long. While I feel I will probably still order a case from one of these sites with my absolute favorite pic of the kids on it, I found a way to have more. For on the cheap. And no, it certainly does not look cheap, it looks rather awesome if you ask me : )

First you want to find a clear case for your phone, This is the one I ordered and I love it. Inexpensive, but works great, it is a true clear not a frosted clear as some are and would obscure your picture, and it is also a rubbery material which I like. Very easy to hold, doesnt block the charger slot of any other aspects of the phone, and most importantly, you can see your pic perfectly through it.

You then want to chose your photo. I love this black and white one I took of the kids recently. They are both actually looking at the camera and smiling so you know huge success. I use PicMonkey for all of my pics, its amazing. If you want to make one like mine with the pic in the middle and the chevron in the background this is how I did it. First I went to Google and image searched grey chevron, it looks good with everything.Of course you can choose anything for your background. Save that pic and edit it in PicMonkey. This is your main pic, you will want to crop it. In the crop area, click the area where it says No Fixed Proportions. This will give you a menu of fixed sizes. One of them is iPhone 5, chose that. Now in the left side menu chose Overlays. At the top it will say "chose your own". You then chose the pic you want to add to it. It will show up small, you can adjust the size of it to how you want and situate it how you want on your background. I then chose the text feature, picked one I liked and did my kids initials. You can make it as large as your want and arrange it whereever. Now if you just want a pic on your phone case, no other background, text, etc. you can just do the first step uploading your pic to PicMonkey and then cropping that pic to either iPhone or iPhone 5 size depending on which one you have. Keep in mind when choosing a pic you will have to cut out the hole for the camera opening so dont choose a picture that will be messed up by removing that part of it. When your pic is all done save it. Something I have noticed with PicMonkey, or maybe its just my computer, when you save the name of your pic, type .jpg at the end of the pic name. If you dont, it will ask you if they can do it for you and for some reason it doesnt save it right and just spins and spins. If you dont remember to do it and they ask you, just hit cancel, then save it one your own with the .jpg at the end.

So now you have your picture, you just need to print it out. I use Microsoft Publisher for these things, its very user friendly. Open a new Publisher file and insert the pic onto the page. Now the actual size you want for your picture to fit into the iPhone 5 case is 4 1/4 by 5 7/8. For the iPhone 4 its 2 1/4 by 4 1/2. You may need to play with your pic to make it fit perfect in that, a lil crop here or there but not much. Now I went ahead and made several case pics and inserted them all on this document to print out at once. Then when you want to change them out you have a lot. I used soft gloss or matte photo paper but I think any type of photo paper would be fine.

Now that you have your case inserts printed out, you need to cut it out. Go ahead and cut it out as is, and then round the edges with your scissors to the shape of the case.  Go ahead and place your insert into the case and using a pencil draw around the camera hole. I use one of those small razor blades that is on a pen like handle to cut it out. Once thats done, SHAZAM you have your insert! Pop it on it and your case looks great. Now you dont have to just do this with the computer. You can get scrapbook paper and cut it to size and use it. Mod Podge a pic you like onto scrapbook paper and stick it in there. As long as its reasonably flat, stick whatever you like on in there. Within reason.....


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Cute totes for your winter gear

Hello. Yes, I have not posted on my blog for almost a year. Yes, I am an awful person and a procrastinator. 'Nuff said.

I get excited opening my closet. Not my bedroom closet, ugh, damn its messy. That later. I currently am excited when I open my coat closet. That was not so last week, in fact I was super annoyed and irritated every time I opened the door. One one of the many 'sucks' of winter is having to wear scarves, gloves, hats, blah, cold, blah. We have a lot of them and I swear they were EVERYWHERE. Well one trip to Michaels and of course inspiration struck and no more. I picked up these too sweet to resist initial luggage tags for $2 a piece. An 'S' for our last name, and one for each of my kids first initials. Pair them up with some recently acquired totes from my sons room (he packed alot of his toys up and away, *sniff, sigh*) and there ya go. Instead of all of our winter gear thrown up on the shelf and falling down constantly they are now all in there own lil place. In their own pretty and fun place. Hence, I love my closet.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Awesome Lego Birthday Party!

My son, Chase, like just about every other nine year old in the US, LOVES Legos. They dominate his room. And the rest of the house really. Have you ever stepped on one of those in bare feet? It will make you believe death by Legos is a real thing. Well Chase of course wanted a Lego themed birthday party. It was a lot of work, but I think it turned out great. I was of course an over achiever so there is a couple things I wanted to do that I didnt end up acomplishing, but the party was a great success and most important, Chase loved it!

I would say the funnest thing I did for the party was the Lego plates. I just bought plain yellow square paper plates at Party City. I looked up 'Lego Faces' on Google Images and voila. Tons of faces to choose to draw on them with a fat black marker. It was honestly really fun. I tried to use Sharpie brand markers at first but there must be something not compatible with those and these plates. The black wasnt consistent and would swipe itself away. A good ol Paper Mate black permanent marker worked fabulous. Used it on every plate and the foam board seem above. They were so fun to draw!

I started simple but then ended up going crazy drawing Lego Wolfmen, Two Face from Batman, etc...

The girls were the funnest but the hardest to draw, purely because there is not a ton of female Lego faces out there. There is the new line of Lego Friends for girls that are cute, but they do not have the same look as original Lego mini-fig faces. So I had to take the basic female eyes and mouth and make a few up as I went along. Kinda fun that way anyway!

My sons favorites, of course this one, designed to look like him!

Another one of the kids favorites.

Lego Indiana Jones! Sigh, if only Harrison Ford had reallly been at the party.....

Making the Lego cake pops was definitely a bit of a challange. Mostly because I didnt have perfect cookie cutters to use as a shaper for the pops themselves. For the squares I put all the cake pop mix into a square metal baking pan and firmed it down as well as I could. I then let it cool and firm up in the fridge like that and cut out squares with a knife. I am sure there is a better way of doing this that would produce more angular square edges, but hey, this worked for me without having a cookie cutter supply store right next door. So they turned out pretty well. I just put the remaining candy coating into a Make N Mold squirt bottle and squeezed out VERY little dots on top of the cake pop squares for the Lego square look. Worked pretty good, very easy. Comes out so fast you dont even need to squeeze it!

As for the Lego Mini-Fig heads, they were definitely more on the difficult side. I looked all over town for something to use as a mold for the head shape. Nada. Couldnt find a thing. Not that I went to an actual cake supply store. That would have been too smart. Besides, as I was sitting in my living room picking up my daughters toys, I came across this lil guy in the picture. Gave it a good look and realized it was the exact shape of a Lego Head, top and all. So I lubbed up the inside of that baby good with Pam and shoved some cake pop batter in. Worked great. They were a little wider and shorter that I would have liked but I used my hands to shape em up right.

Now after I started dipping these things in the coating I discovered they were WAY too big and heavy for the dipping stick to handle well. I managed to get them all on there and only dropped one off the stick into the candy coating (dont worry, I saved him!) but next time, I am going to search every corner of this earth for a smalled but similar device to mold with. I ended up using black icing for their faces again because once again the edible ink pens would not work on the candy coating. I am going to start ordering it online instead of buying it in stores. See if the quality is better. But the smiles turned out ok. I wouldnt recomend em for traveling anywhere because a lot of the dang faces touched each other and smeared on the way to the party location, but looks and works great if you are serving them the same place you made them. A few faces survivied and they looked and most importantly tasted great!

I ordered these Lego molds from and they were AWESOME. I love them, going to make Lego candies and gummies just for no reason all the time now! Its so easy. The plastic one makes larger and thinner Lego shapped pieces and the silicone ones make the more exact sized Lego pieces and perfect Lego Mini Figures. Easy as pie on the chocolates, just melt the candy coating and pour it in. Sit it in the fridge. That is it. Easy as pie. Or shall we say easy as chocolate pie. Now the Lego gummies are easy too but take just a bit more time. All you need to fill up both of the silicone molds is one box of jello, 2 envelopes of unflavored gelatin (its right next to the Jello at the store) and water. You pour 1/3 cup of water, the Jello, and the 2 envelopes of gelatin in a small sauce pan. Let it sit for 5-10 min together then put the pan on the stove over medium heat stirring for just 2-5min. Remove it, let it cool just one min, pour it into the molds, and pop it into the fridge. Makes some awesome gummies!

This was a very easy idea I had seen on pinterest. Just buy the basic color plain goody bags and some matching color scrapbook sheets. I used that same little toy of my daughters to draw the circles on the paper, dang that thing came in handy! It took us forever to cut them out and I so owe my friend Beth for having a few drinks with me as we cramped out scissor hands cutting those little guys out! Would have been up to 4am without her! So just tape em on the outside of the bag and voila, Lego Goody bags!
We wrapped Chase's gifts from us in basic color wrapping paper. That is one of the best things about doing a Lego themed Birthday party. Lego's are all the primary basic colors so all the supplies you need are usually the cheapest at the store because usually kids want the printed character stuff. Score for Lego! So I applied the same thing to the presents as I did the goodie bags. Taped on paper dots to give the impression of a big Lego. I also cut out some dots for a couple gift bag items that were not easily wrappable.

I found the recipe for Yoda Soda online. Not really exsclusively for Lego parties but my son is such a fan of the Lego Star Wars line and I thought it looked so fun that I printed up a label with Lego Yoda on it and there ya go, works for the Lego party. It was a HUGE hit with the kids. There were some more complicated recipes on the net but the one I chose was just Sprite and Lime Sherbert. Its very cool, you just put a scoop into the bottom of the cup and pour in the Sprite. It bubbles and kinda froths up and the lime color kinda glows through. The kids loved it, they all asked for seconds!

All in all it was a great party. I really enjoyed making all the stuff for it, it was a lot of work but Chase and the other kids really loved it as you can see below!

The party table graced by Lego Cake Pops

The kids made a big to do about picking out which plate would be theirs.

Im very happy I made all the girl plates, they were all about those.
LOL I made a TON of plates! Didnt want the parents to be left out, they need a Lego plate too!

Mr Cake Pop Man

Thats Chase Face for Yes Mom, the party rocks

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Love Day Cake Pops!

Couldnt resist sharing these! They were so fun and the heart shaped cookie cutter is so easy to use with the cake pops! Im going to be buying more crazy shapes ASAP!

For the neighbor boys

I couldnt resist laying them all out
My Cake Hearts Army

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Super Bowl Football Pops!

Ok totally just winged these. Or maybe I should say punted them. Ha. Ha. So funny I am. I just saw a picture of these, by Bakerella in her Cake Pop book, but it was a blurb on using different ingredients to make your pops, not the instructions for the football pops. So, this is how I went with it, guessed, and they turned out pretty ok! They will definitely go good with our baked wings! Go Giants! Bring on the commercials!

I basically followed along with the cake balls recipe in the book. Ive previously only made cake pops on a stick before and although that sounds harder, I found it to be easier. However that is probably due to the shape of the footballs. If they were round like an average cake ball, it probably would be much easier. I used Sugar Free cake mix this time, woo hoo, Im healthy. Not really because I used triple chocolate fudge frosting. Oops! I was also super excited to use my new cool green mixing spinner thing that I am sure had a technical name. Whisp! Thats it. Thank you Mommy.

So I did my best to mold them into football shapes by hand. That wasnt too very difficult, I did fail to make them all uniform in size though. I usually use an ice cream scoop for that purpose and I did start to do that here too, but decided to vary the sizes to see what size worked best for dipping the footballs. Yeah, it didnt matter. So now I have big ones and some lil ones. It works.

Basically all I did after that was dip them in the chocolate candy coating. I just sat them all the way down in the chocolate, spun them till they were all covered them picked them up with a large fork so the extra chocolate could run off. I used a large spoon to hold it stable while I kinda tilted it sideways to help with the run off. After I placed them on the wax paper I took a toothpick and traced along the bottom of the football to stop any run off from solidifying to the paper. It worked pretty good! I then used frosting to make the laces. I will not do this next time. I will use white candy coating. It ran too much, it was a pain. But easily wiped off and redrawn so there is that. Either way, I am happy with em! They're definitely not a perfect touchdown, but a solid field goal for the win! Im corney.