Friday, August 30, 2013

Family Packing for Vacation (Or OCD packing as I call it)

With a 5 year old and a new baby, the thought of taking a Family Vacation To The Beach seemed both thrilling and challenging at the same time. As it is, I'm one of those "extreme over planners" and "Extreme Over packers" - Otherwise known to my family as the one with OCD :-)

For this particular trip I actually started my "Packing List For The Beach" (and yes, my word document, check off list had a title!) about two weeks in advance. I wanted to make sure that we wouldn't have to run out and pick up an item we forgot, when it would probably cost twice as much and we would need only a little.

In addition to the "Packing List For The Beach" (Which I will include at the bottom) I also remember seeing an idea online somewhere (pintrest most likely) about packing individual outfits into gallon size Ziploc bags.

This. Is. Genius.

We were going to be going for 5 days so I allotted 1 outfit per day (including socks and undies) for my 5 year old, and packed one additional Ziploc with an extra 2 bottoms and 2 tops (just in case). For my baby, I packed 2 whole outfits per day and a separate bag with onsies and sleepers.

The great thing about this idea is that by pre-planning and packing the clothes, I would not have to do the "dump and search" when trying to get them dressed in the morning. Not only that, but my daughter could pick from her bags and then dress herself. It was a win win as far as I was concerned. But, the GREATEST thing about this idea, is at the end of the day, the dirty clothes go right back into a Ziploc!!! No smelly clothes or food stains transferring to other clothes.

And I really did have fun planning all the outfits for the kiddies!

Here is a bad picture of what my packed suitcase looked like:

In addition to the kids clothes, mine fit in with theirs, meaning that I did not have to tote around 3 different suitcases with us. My husband packs light and only needed his small overnight bag.

I also packed separate bags for shower/bathroom stuff, and a small bag for meds, sunscreen, aloe etc.

Anyway, I am pleased to say, that we did not need to buy one additional item while on our trip. I obviously contribute this to my genius list writing skills, but my husband just thinks its because I had too much time on my hands :-)
Packing List For The Beach
Older Children - Clothing
q 5 full outfits, undies, socks, sweater
q 2 pairs shoes
q Bathing suit, cover up
q 2 pairs PJs
q Color book/crayons/Markers (other car travel items or rainy day items)
Younger Children/Babies - Clothing and Accessories

q 10 outfits, onsies, bathing suit, sweater

q Diapers, wipes, Baby shampoo, washcloths

q Bottles, tops, caps

q Formula, baby food, spoons

q Highchair, pack & play, swing, playmat

q   Stroller

q Pacifiers, blankets, bibs

q 5 outfits, boxers, socks etc
q 1 nice shirt/bottom for night out
q flip flops
q Bathing suit
q sweater/hoodie
Mom :
q 5 outfits, socks, undies, etc
q 1 nice outfit/dress for night out
q flip flops
q bathing suit, wrap
q sweater/hoodie

Beach Items

q Chairs

q Beach toys

q Blanket/ Towels

q Baby Powder (BTW, this is AMAZING at removing sand after leaving the beach! Just puff it on, rub in and off falls the sand!)

q Sunscreen

q Life Jackets

q Sunglasses

Personal Care
q Makeup, tweezers, Q-tips, perfume                  
q  Thermometer, Aloe Vera Gel
q Body wash/ pouf, Shampoo/conditioner, face scrub
q Razor, deodorant, shaving cream,
q Hairbrush, hair ties, Hairspray
q Motrin/Tylenol/sleeping aid/ decongestant, indigestion med
q Contact lenses/solution/glasses
q Mouthwash, toothbrush, toothpaste


q Kinect Game system

q Hard drive/movie drive

q Laptop/Charger

q Kindle/ Charger

q IPad/ charger

q Camera / Charger

q Ipod, earphones

Beach House accessories: (If you are renting a house and need linens)

q 2 sets Queen Sheets

q Extra Pillows

q Playing Cards/Phase 10 Cards

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Chicken Braid Extraordinaire

The Chicken braid is one of the easiest "go to meals" in my house. Its one of those meals that you can literally make out of anything you have in your refrigerator. I usually make mine using chicken, but I have used beef, steak and have even made a veggie version for the nights we pretended to be vegetarians.
The picture above is the Easy Way. But by all means, feel free to do it the SHW if you so desire (and the SHW is making your own dough).
Ingredients for this particular braid:
  • 2 cans of crescent rolls (Any kind works, but the Butter Flavor is particularly tasty!)
  • 2 chicken breasts, seasoned, cooked and either chopped or shredded
  • 1c. shredded motz cheese or cheddar (or whatever you have in your fridge - you can even use sliced)
  • 1 crushed clove of garlic (I cook mine in with the chicken)
  • 1 bag of double washed spinach (I keep mine raw and just mix it in before filling - the hot cooked chicken will be enough to wilt it down and it will be cooked additionally in the oven)
  • 1 microwaved bag of broccoli florets
  • 1/4c. mayo (or you could ranch if you wanted)
  • Salt and pepper to taste (I usually throw in 1 or 2 other seasonings - whatever I happen to reach first in my spice cabinet)
Optional fillers and tasty additions:
  • Broccoli
  • onion
  • sausage
  • peppers
  • mushrooms
  • Bacon (cause, everyone loves bacon!)
  • Cranberries
  • almonds
  • asparagus (Make sure this is fully cooked and soft before chopping and using)
  • Pre-Heat Oven to 350 degrees (this is my usual go-to temperature). While heating, cook chicken breast with your garlic until pieces are JUST cooked and no longer pink.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the chicken, spinach, mayo and cheese until everything comes together. Set aside.
  • Open your cans of crescent rolls and "unroll" the pieces. Place the long flat end (the bottom of the triangle) on a lightly greased tray with the point going to the side. With your next piece, place it slightly overlapping the long side of the previous piece, so that the point is facing in the other direction.
  • Do the same thing directly below, slightly overlapping the upper piece. Do this with all the pieces of crescent roll dough.
  • Press gently down the middle, slightly flattening the dough (this is where your yummy filling is going), so that when baked, the braid wont fall apart when you cut it.
  • Scoop the filling and put it along the center of the dough, trying to keep stray pieces from falling onto the pan.
  • Starting at the top, begin "braiding" the tail ends of the dough, cris-crossing or twisting the dough and pressing it lightly into the other side. I find that slightly folding the top up and over before starting the braid, helps keep in some of the filling.
  • Continue braiding all the way down, tucking the end in.
  • Bake at 350 for about 15-20 minutes until the crescent rolls puff and get golden brown.
  • Pull out, let cool for a few minutes and cut and serve. I usually pair my braid with a past salad, green salad or whatever vegetable I have on hand.
You can also make this a breakfast braid, by scrambling up some eggs, adding in some onions and peppers, sausage etc and do the same way. Try it with the Honey flavored rolls - gives it a nice sweet and savory combo!!

Kit Kat Kake

Like I said in my previous post, my husband loves anything with peanut butter. So for his birthday in January, I wanted to do something "different" then a regular cake he would expect. I randomly found some pictures of a Kit Kat cake when I was searching online for "Man Cakes" (This was a visually interesting search, BTW!) and found it. I thought it would be a perfect choice for him, and I knew I could incorporate the peanut butter somehow!!

There is, as always, two ways to do this cake:

The Easy Way
The Suzy Homemaker Way

For this particular cake, I went the SHW, and baked my own cake (my version of "funfetti") and made my own buttercream icing. Because I wasn't doing any icing work, I kept the consistency pretty sturdy because I was going to be attaching these Kit Kats.

For the Easy Way, purchase your premade and pre-iced cake from your favorite retailer or grocery store.


  • Cake (if baked or bought)
  • Icing (if home made, bought, or pre-iced)
  • 10 packs minimum of REGULAR sized Kit Kat Bars - each package contains 4 bars, This cake (9inch) took 40 bars. I would buy a few extra packs just in case some break or you eat some as you go (I could not resist, personally!)
    • ***NOTE - put these in the freezer for an hour or so before you use them - they melt pretty quickly, and this will prevent fingerprints in the chocolate
  • 1-2 LARGE bags of "topping"
    • In this case, I used Peanut Butter M&Ms - however, you can use crushed Oreos, jelly beans, Coconut, fruit etc etc...the possibilities are endless!!
  • A cake topper if you want one - I purchased this one at the dollar store, although it is supposed to be a table topper, it worked just as well for the cake.
  • Ribbon of any color or to coordinate with your topping

  1. 1. Put together your cake (if its the SHW), ice between layers and all sides - your frosting does not need to be perfect, because the Kit Kats will cover it
  2. Break open your Kit Kat bars, a few at a time, and leave the rest in the freezer while you work. I broke my bars down to have 2 pieces of 2 bars (this helps with the rounding)
  3. Starting wherever you want, gently press the bars into the frosting, making sure that the bars are touching your base (cake plate, cake stand, box - whatever) to keep it nice and neat. a two stack should give you about an inch-ish or so above the cake (where your topping will go)
  4. Tie your ribbon however you want, making the bow where you want your "front" to be.
  5. Open up your topping and start filling in the top of the cake where the Kit Kats are standing up. (if you are using a topper, put this on first and pile on top). For my cake, I also placed some around the corners of my square cake stand.
  6. Ta-Da! Your Kit Kat Kake is done!

I co-conspired with my sister in law and mother in law to show up at hubby's work, and took the cake to share. This cake is VERY sweet and really is only good in small amounts. The two bar Kit Kats around the edge was great for a cutting guide. However, you can probably mix up some flavors to create a sweet and savory cake if you found a good combo.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

4th of July Party Fun!

Here is a quick rewind to look at at some of my 4th of July yummys I made this year for our 4th of July Party.  I decided to do all the desserts for this party, so this is going to me a "sweet" post :-)


4th of July Triffle dessert -
  • I got 2 pound cakes (you can use angel food as well; I bought mine from the store, but you can bake these as well), sliced them into what looked like slices of bread, and used my star cookie cutter and cut out the stars. Save the scraps, because you can use this as a filler in the middle.
  • I used white chocolate pudding and whipped cream that was thawed out (You can make your own if you want to get technical with it), and used blackberries and raspberries as my red and blue.
  • I placed the stars around the outside of the dish and began filling the center in layers of pudding, berries and whipped cream as well as the extra pieces of pound cake. The flavors were amazing!


4th of July Oreo pops -

  • I used the Birthday Bash flavored oreos (but you can use any kind). I melted my white chocolate down in a small batch (this is a two step/freezer process) and with my pop stick, twirled it in the chocolate and placed it on the inside of the opened oreo, gently pressing into the oreo crème, and replacing the other side - make sure you have enough chocolate on the stick to hold the other end on.
  • Place pops on a sheet or plate and put in freezer for a min of 30 minutes, longer if you can.
  • Once the pops are set, melt down your batch of chocolate for dipping and gently place oreo in, swirl and gently tap on the edge of dish to remove excess. I placed mine directly into my pop holder, but on wax paper laying flat is fine to.
  • While the chocolate is still wet, add sprinkles, candies or whatnot to spice them up. I used sugar crystals in blue and red. Place back into freezer to set and firm

Table scape -
  • Here you can see some of the table scape of my oreo pops. To add a little something else, I had an empty glass cylinder I filled with minty blue and white candy bites.
  • There is also a Funfetti America Cake in the background (at the request of the Hubby) and instead of using the frosting to actually "frost", I warmed it up to thin it out, added some food color and drizzled it on. I added the enclosed star shaped sprinkles for some bling.

In the below picture is a few more of my table scape (Which needs much improving, but I got lazy by the time the party started).

Shown in the bottom half of this photo, is my layered jello desserts with red and blue jello and whipped cream on top.
In this picture below, I did a white chocolate covered strawberry then dipped in small grain blue sugar. This, ironically, was the most annoying dish to make, as I only used my fingers, and I kept dropping whole strawberries into the chocolate and there is really no way to stand them up to "dry", so most of my strawberries had flat backs from being placed onto the was paper after dipping.
Oh well - these were the first to go anyway!
In the second half of the photo is my red white and blue fizzy drink, which is just plain sprite with red and blue tinted, star shaped ice cubes. I found these trays at the dollar store and really loved how they looked...
**NOTE: Make sure your sprite is really really cold when you make this and wait to add your ice cubes until the last minute - by the end of the day (or whenever it gets warm enough to start melting the ice cubes), the fizzy drink will turn purple - which the kids actually really liked :-)


Peanut Butter chocolate eggs/balls (Knock off of Reese!)

My Husband is a peanut butter lover...any kind of candy or cookie or sweet with a peanut butter base is one of his favorite treats. This past Easter, he actually raided my Easter Basket and took all the chocolate peanut butter stuff (eggs, filled, covered - anything with the BP in it) and replaced it with the standard Easter chocolate and jelly beans. I like peanut butter too, ya know!

Anyway, I came across this recipe this past weekend and made a quick batch to see what they tasted like and if they really did taste like Reese Peanut Butter Eggs. I made mine more of a ball shape (similar to cake balls) and I happened to have everything in my cupboard to whip these up.


 4 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 cups peanut butter (I had three partial jars I used)
1/4 cup butter, melted
3 Tbs  milk (I happened to have skim; just in case you are watching your figure :-) )
3 cups semisweet chocolate chips OR any type of melty chocolates
  • NOTE: I have about 10 pounds of unsweetened bakers chocolate and a few packages of semi-sweet blocks, so I couldn't really "measure" 3 cups. So I put in what I thought would be enough to cover all the balls I made - otherwise, you can kinda wing it
2 Tbs butter OR 2 Tbs of vegetable oil

1.  Combine peanut butter, powdered sugar and butter with electric mixer until combined. Add the milk, starting with 2 tablespoons, until it becomes a soft dough you can form into balls.

2. Form the dough into egg shapes about 3 inches long and 1/2 inch high (or into whatever shapes you'd like yours to be) and place on wax-paper lined baking sheet and place in freezer for half an hour to harden up

3. Melt chocolate (Chips, bars, bark; whatever) and 2 tablespoons butter (or vegetable oil)
  • You can melt these in the microwave safe dish, 30 seconds at a time OR
  • Double boil the chocolate until very smooth and liquid OR
  •  Do like I did, and melt directly into a small non-stick pot, over low low heat and dip into the pot

4. I used a wooden skewer to pick up my balls and placed them over the pot. With my other hand, I spooned the chocolate over the balls and quickly (but GENTLY) tapped it on the edge to release the excess.

You can do this step in any fashion you want; with a fork, pop stick or if you have the kitchen gadgets, use a metal steamer, place all the balls into it and pour the chocolate over it...gently swirl the balls to evenly coat and remove with a spoon to wax paper.

5. Place your finished balls into the freezer to chill quickly.

Overall, these really DID taste just like the peanut butter eggs that you get at Easter. My husband only got a few though - the rest went to work with me to treat the co-workers!!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Rosette Cake Quickie

By far, the rosette cake is the most simple and quickest posh looking cake to make. Even the most inexperienced cake decorator can pull this off, and do it in less than 10 minutes.
No, seriously, you can.

1. The Rosette Cake Quickie tools needed (if you don't want to bake your own cake or make your own buttercream):

  • Pre baked/ butter cream iced cake from your local retailer or grocery store
  • 3-4 (or more) cans of frosting (white if you are going to color it, or white if its going to be white)
  • Pastry Bag and a #1M size tip

2. Put the frosting in a mixing bowl and mix in a few table spoons of whole milk or whipping cream. This is to thin out the frosting to be smooth enough to gently glide onto the cake and come easily out of the pastry bag, but don't over do it - if its too thin, you will need to add more frosting. Make sure that the frosting maintains it peak if you pull a dab up with your fork.

3. Starting at the top edge of the cake, make your first rosette by placing the tip of the pastry bag slightly below the edge of the cake. While applying slow and steady pressure, make a circle around the center to the left (or right if you prefer - but practice both directions to see what look you want). Stop squeezing when the rosette is the size you prefer and gently lift.

4. Continue around the cake, making sure each rose edge touches the other.

5. Complete each row in this fashion. If you want, add some rosettes on the top too!

6. For some extra flair, add some edible shimmer dust or contrasting sugar crystals.

Here are some variations of the rosette cake that I have done in the past - some have mixed layers and I will do tutorials on those at some point :-)


DIY Headboard

DIY Headboard

Can I just say how EXCITED I am that I actually made this?? I'm so excited and pleased with the outcome, that I wish the rest of the beds in my house didn't have headboards just so I could make more!

I will try and be as detailed as possible with my tutorial and at the end I will post a few links to other sites that I viewed before attempting this on my own. Some of the tutorials seems like a LOT more work that what I experienced and I found a few short cuts to keep this project under 2 hours.  So, lets begin!!

  • Measuring tape
  • Pen and paper
  • Black marker
  • Peg Board
  • 3 Rolls of Quilters batting (I used High Loft and got the large, 96in x 46in size)
  • fabric of choice (Enough inches/yards to cover plus 2 inches on all sides)
  • Heavy duty stapler
  • Spray adhesive
  • Buttons of choice (I used Shank Buttons, but I feel that any type of button can be used)
  • Heavy duty thread (I used an upholstery thread)
  • Upholstery Needle(s)
  • Scissors  
1. Measure the width of your bed and allow for 2 extra inches on each side. Then measure how high you want the headboard to be. We choose to do 3 feet up from the top of the bed. To be more dramatic, you can surely go taller. But remember, the more headboard, the more rows of button you will have to do (depending on the spacing you like).
2. Lowes had sheets of pegboard for really cheap (I will include a price list at the end) and we were able to get it cut down to 80x36 (and we have extra for other projects I might want to get into!)
I chose to use pegboard because some of the tutorials I found online all needed drills and precise markings and measuring etc. I did not want to use a drill and all that math involved made me nauseous. Peg board was the perfect solution and it was as simple as counting the holes and circling the placement of where the buttons would go.
3. As you can see in this pic below, I still needed to count and recount a few times until I got all the markings even. I only had 14 buttons so decided to do 1 row of 5, 1 row of 4, 1 row of 5. I would probably had done more rows, but the buttons I liked in the store only had 4 packs of 3. I chose another pack of 2 that had a gold design on it to add some flare to the headboard. But you can get creative here and do what makes you happy!

4. I counted out the holes and spaced the buttons evenly starting in the center of my first row, lengthwise, working down. It took a few tries to get the spacing right, but after the first row, it was easy. I marked each placement of button with a black circle. You can see where I X'd out a few places during my counting :-)
5. Next, flip the board over so your markings are face down. This piece of pegboard was pretty big for the size we used, but I used my wheelbarrow and the dog kennel in the garage as saw horses and a small old end table to help support the middle. I made due with what I had :-)
6. I used the Loctite spray adhesive because it is really really good at holding fabrics, woods, plastic etc but still able to adjust if you need to. Plus, when you flip it over and need to staple to the pegboard, having it stick and not flop around is a HUGE help.
I first opened up my packages of quilters batting and unrolled it, but did not OPEN it to be a single layer - however, I did have to make sure the ends were lined up (like making sure the corners and edges of a sheet are lined up when you are folding laundry) before placing it on the board.
Once all the batting was straight, I laid the first layer down and made sure it was flat and no bumps. It doesn't need to be perfect, but try and make sure there are no major wrinkles. I sprayed the pegboard on one side after lifting the batting, then placed it back down. I then lifted the other side of the batting, sprayed the pegboard and gently pulled and laid that onto the board so that the batting was taught.
I repeated this step with the other two layers of batting. Before I put my fabric on, I did iron it flat, but attached it in the same fashion.
Side note about your fabric: Depending on how tall your headboard will be, you MAY need to sew two sections together to fit over your pegboard. I wanted to avoid this step, so another reason we only chose a 36 in height. The fabric I choose was a cream color linen blend, and was 45 inch width. Make sure you check the width on the bolt so you don't get home and realize its not wide enough. Also, I got my fabric from Wal-Mart in their sewing section, for $2.44 a yard x 3 yards.
7. Turn over the pegboard so your markings are now face up. Now comes the fun part - getting staple happy!!

8. Trim away excess batting and fabric so that there is about 2-4 inches on each side. This may be more or less depending, but a good 2 inches is the best to have. (sorry my pic is a little blurry!) 

9. After you have trimmed away the excess, start at the top of your headboard in the middle and gently pull the fabric up, over and down to the pegboard, securing with a staple. Do this along the long side every 5-6 inches.

10. Repeat on the other long side, but pulling a little tighter to get the fabric nice and tight against the batting.

11. Once you have done both long sides, start on the short ends, starting in the middle and working out. When you get to the corners, do a simple "wrapping paper" fold to create neat corners. Staple 5-6 staples down the length of the seam to secure. Repeat on other side and other 3 corners.

12. Once you have gotten all the fabric stapled down, go back and staple between original staples, and much closer together, pulling the fabric tight on all sides. This should create a nice smooth edge all the way around, and make a nice flat smooth front side.  You are now ready for your buttons!!


13. I used shank buttons, but almost ALL the tutorials I looked up online talk about "Button covers" and spending hours cutting out squares of fabric, wrapping it around the button, putting on a back, and THEN sewing it into the headboard. Not to mention these hours of work, the button covers are semi-expensive and come in only packs of 5-8. This work is in attempt to match the buttons to the fabric of your headboard. I could care less, and actually think that a contrasting color or metallic is more fun and WAY more inexpensive.

Here is a photo of a shank button and then the button covers:


See what I mean?? Seems like too much damn work. I did not want to spend hours doing button covers or buying special tools to do these so I bought 4 packs of 3 gold shank buttons, and a 2 pack of a mixed metal (gold/silver) to do in my second row of 4.


 14. Thread your needed with a good amount of thread - I think I used about 2 or 3 arm lengths. I threaded the needle and then tied a knot at the end (Tying both strands together). Starting with your top row in the middle, poke through your marked hole through all the bating and the fabric. You should still have a nice long tale on the back, which you want to keep.

15. On the front of the headboard, thread your button with the needle, and do it twice, just to make sure it is secure, especially when you have to really pull it on the back to make it tight. Once you have threaded it twice, put it back in through the same hole and up through the pegboard. At this point you should have two ends of the thread, and the button should be "snug" against the front side.

Make sure your thread is not wrapped around and funky on the front before you begin to tighten.


16. Once you have both tails back through the board, you can tie a regular double knot (like tying shoes) to give a little extra structure. Then starts the most tedious (and painful?) part - securing the buttons down and pulling them tight to make the indentations of tufting.
17.  With both tails of the thread in one hand, pull firm and as tight as you can. In the other hand, have the stapler ready and get staple happy!! I found that doing a zig-zag pattern with the thread and staples held it better. I did one staple, then pulled thread over and slightly to the side and then another staple and then folded over the other way and staple and so on.  After I knew the thread wasn't going anywhere, I tied the two ends around the last staple and made a knot and cut the remaining thread.
18. Working out to each side, repeat this process all the way across. When done with the first row, begin the 2nd row, in the middle, and working your way out.

19. Ta-da! Your headboard is complete and ready to hang! Here are some views/pictures of the finished product. We hung ours on the wall using 4 nails horizontally in the wall in the studs and threaded some picture wire through a few of the holes in the back and hung on the wall. It was flush, straight and looked fantastic!!!

Pegboard - Lowes, $12.98
Fabric - Wal-Mart, $2.44 x 3 yards, $7.32
Quilters Batting - Wal-Mart, 6.87 x 3, $20.61
Spray adhesive - Wal-Mart, $3.97
5 packs of buttons - Wal-Mart, .98 cents, $4.90
1 pack of upholstery needles - Wal-Mart, $1.98
Upholstery thread - Wal-Mart, $2.98
Total Cost: $54.74
 - Tightening the thread on the back of the board was the most tedious and I think that a pair of gardening gloves would have helped to prevent "thread burn" on my fingers. But be careful, because the gloves might cause you to pull too tight, and could snap the thread.
- For a more "Cushy" headboard, you can add more layers of batting or get an upholstery foam to place on pegboard and then your layer of batting and then material. I didn't do this because they didn't have it at Wal-Mart and online research showed that it would have been almost 3 times as much cost as I spent on my 3 rolls of batting.
- If you do use foam, there is an extra step of removing a small cylinder of foam at the site the button will be going (this gives it a really deep recessed look). However, this will add on $$ and time (neither of which I wanted to spare!)
- A second pair of hands would be helpful, but not necessary. I was able to maneuver all by myself (and it was for a king size bed) so anything smaller should be easy!
If anyone has any questions, please let me know!!! Enjoy!!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Luau Party

Here are some ideas for a luau party that I found really fun and bright and gave a lot of pop to my party!


These are super easy to do, however I had to get a little creative when I realized at the last minute that I didn't have any powdered sugar to make butter cream frosting for the top. So I improvised.
1. I used white chocolate melts and colored it blue, and while it was warm, dipped in the baked cupcakes...
2. I put about half a package of graham crackers into a Ziploc baggie and beat the heck out of it with my rolling pin. When they were all grainy like sand, I put them onto a plate and dipped half of the cupcake into it, creating "sand" on the blue "water".
3. I used gummy bears as the sunbathers and drink umbrellas as their protection. Even though I didn't have frosting, the chocolate turned out nice and they did taste yummy!

This was a little tricky, and the instructions I found on Pintrest and other sites, made it seem soooo easy. I guess it is if you had all the exact kitchen tools, but I'm not that organized and I just kinda wing it. How I did it:

1. Try and find the roundest melon possible, otherwise it ends up lopsided. Also, smaller is better as it needs to be functional (mostly, anyway).

2. Cut in half as evenly as possible. For me, this was the most challenging, but I managed :-) Once cut in half, use a melon baller to remove balls of melon until you are left with just a little bit of red before the rind. My melon baller broke half way through, so I had to wing it and used a spoon and some creative knife tricks

3. Gather all the other fruit you want to use - or you can just use watermelon if you really love it - but my little melon produced a lot of melon and I had a ton left over. I used strawberries, cantaloupe, watermelon and pineapples (Yes, it was a fresh pineapple and for next time, I will probably use the canned stuff - just to take off a few minutes of prep and mess).

4. Skewer the fruit in alternating pieces and set aside.

5. Use the skewers and insert them into the open cut side of one half of the watermelon. This will create a "grill" effect - however, be safe and use a potholder or towel when putting these in - one slip and you can have a pretty bad cut/jab. Once the grill is in place, use kitchen scissors to cut off the ends and are flush (as possible) to the melon.

6. Prop the "Top" of the grill at an angle on the bottom and add your fruit kebobs. The links and other sites I got this from say to put some celery in the bottom of shallow holes to make "legs" - I find this to be a sham and the melon and kebobs are way to heavy to be supported but just 3 stalks of celery. But more power to you if you can do it.

7. I made my kebobs with a side of fruit dip (another post) and put them on a fun bright flowered tray. Everyone enjoyed them and the grill was a hit!


I usually find a lot of my party supplies at the dollar store. They always seem to have themed stuff I can use - luckily while I was shopping for the luau, most stores had their luau/outdoor party stuff on sale or clearance - why? Because it was the end of summer! I guess it was perfect timing for me!
1. I found this pink luau table skirting at a party store for $3.00 and then fish net about for $2.00. The most "expensive" thing I really bought for this party was the umbrella toothpicks - they were 8.99 for a box of 144. However, you can get them on for way less, and if you have prime, its free shipping!
2. The drink dispenser is from Bed Bath and Beyond, and cost me only 12.00 with two coupons I had come across both online and in the mail. Totally worth it, as we have used it for many parties since then.
3. The hula girl and table confetti, flamingo straws and napkins (to the right) were all from the dollar store. I was very happy with these coordinated pieces :-)

A few other small touches:

1. Blow up flamingo from the dollar store
2. I put colored goldfish in a large mouthed glass vase for some fun.
3. I bought a coconut for decoration, but never actually used it
4. The top of  the pineapple I cut up for my fruit kabobs above was reused as part of a centerpiece in other cut fruit
5. All the guests had Leis (all from the dollar store) and even if they were only worn for a little bit, it added a nice touch!


Monday, August 19, 2013

DIY Color glass vase

I found this idea on Pintrest (as most of my randomness found here). I found the idea genius and a mental slap of, "why didn't I think of that?!"

Anyway, this was fairly simple and easy, but here are the step by step directions.

1. Find/buy clear vases in any shape. I found mine at my local thrift store for .40 cents each. Crazy right? These are the vases that delivered flowers come in that most people either throw away or get rid of.

2. At your local craft store, pick a color that you want to use as your accent color for the room. For these, I choose a burgundy color for my "PARIS" themed guest bathroom. the paint cost me .88 cents.

3. WASH AND DRY the inside of the vases well - otherwise the paint won't stick properly and/or will get dust granules under the paint.

4. SQUEEZE!! put in most of or all of the paint into the vase. While squeezing, rotate the vase so that all the edges and inside are being coated. When you have fully coated the inside, tip up the vase and return excess into the paint bottle.

(this may take a few minutes, but its important to get rid of the extra. ALSO, when returning the left over paint into the bottle, make sure to tip the vase at an angle, otherwise it will drip from the ENTIRE rim of the vase and make a big mess).

5. Stand up and let dry - I let mine dry for about 24 hours before I put in my silk flowers.

TA-DA! A shiny color vase for any room without paying 39.99 from a retailer...accent with a ribbon, charms etc to fit your room.



I am going to start this blog with the intention of posting at least a few times a month...These posts will include projects, ideas, recipes etc and any feedback is welcome :-)

So thanks for stopping by!

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