Tuesday, December 30, 2014


Yeah,  I know... Christmas is over. I had fully intended on getting this post out the door BEFORE Christmas arrived. Heck, I even intended to get it posted a good week or so BEFORE the big day b/c well, that would make sense now, wouldn't it? Well, let's just chalk that up as a fail. Looking on the bright side, they are cute, fun, and better late than never. Right? RIGHT!

PIN IT and put it on the crafting board for next Christmas! ;)

Things you MIGHT need (depending on what you decide to do) - let me stress MIGHT. You do not need all these things to make an ornament.

And here is a little diagram on how you put them together. Attaching the base to the shot glass is the tricky part. Make sure to seal your ornament shut with mod modge.

1. Punch out two circles with your 2" hole punch. One out of the white metallic cardstock and one out of some other type of card stock - a cereal box, an old greeting card, etc. Mod podge them together to make a thick circle that will be the platform of your globe. The white metallic cardstock should be what is facing up in the globe so it blends in with the glitter.

2. Glue your trinket in the center of your circle onto the white metallic side. You can put all kinds of different things in your snow globe as long as they fit. I used little dollhouse trees, silver spray painted plastic penguins and a house and snowman that I made out of white polymer clay. I got my trees from Hobby Lobby - four for $1.99. They were too tall, so I clipped them with a wire cutter and then reattached them to the base with hot glue to make them shorter.

3. Fill your shot glass with glitter - just enough to cover the base when flipped over. make sure to use chunky glitter. It looks more like snow and the super fine stuff will cling to the sides of your shot glass.

4. Take your Elmer's glue and make a thin line of glue all around the edge of your cardstock circle on the white metallic side. Please it on top of your shot glass and place something like a glass on top to weigh it down and hold it together. Let it sit for a few hours until the glue is dry.

5. Seal the ornament by putting a coat of mod podge around where the shot glass meets the cardstock. Let it dry for an hour or so. It dries much faster than the Elmer's glue.

6. Using hot glue, glue a pipe cleaner around the base of your ornament. It will cover up any imperfections of gluing the shot glass to the base.

7. String your baker's twine through your buttons and tie a know. Attach it to the top of the ornament with hot glue.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014


A few weeks ago I picked up a couple tubes of bath paint in the dollar section at Target and Ellis loved it! Being two, Ellis has a super short attention span, so the fact that she actually sat and painted in the bathtub for an extended period of time made me happy!

I am one of those people who looks at things and almost always thinks to myself  - I can totally make that! It is a blessing and a curse all at the same time. One 'I can totally make that' idea leads to several hours of mass producing bath paints in my kitchen. 

It is simple, cheap, super easy and fast.... unless you decide to make 24 bottles of it as presents for all your nieces and nephews. :)

When I made these, I didn't really use specific measurements. I dumped a box of corn starch in a mixing bowl, squeezed in what I thought looked like an equal amount of hand soap and mixed it with a whisk. I then added some water (one tablespoon at a time) until it was the consistency I wanted. I then added some gel food coloring. I always use gel vs. liquid b/c it gives whatever you are trying to color a more vibrant color. 

I got the soap at Costco - TWO (80 fl oz.) containers of hand soap for $8!!! I only ended up using one of the containers of soap and three boxes of corn starch (about $1 a box) to make 24 (4 oz) bottles. That's about 29 cents a bottle! You DO have to buy the bottles though. I got my 4 oz bottles off ebay for about 70 cents a bottle (after S&H) but I wouldn't recommend them. If you screw the tops on too tight, the tops bust. :( Hobby Lobby has some much better ones or you could just buy travel shampoo and conditioner bottles at Target! 

and the Magic Grow Bath Capsules from Amazon (12 packs for $13.93). 

Gift tags (free printable) HERE.
And just b/c they are too cute not to share, I am giving my littlest niece and nephew these adorable 'career' olliblocks from Caravan Shoppe

Also, do not forget to enter to win $100 to Consumer Crafts. Enter HERE.

Monday, December 22, 2014


When I was little, all I wanted to do was draw. I would sit for hours and draw the covers of my Disney movies. My Mom bought me every drawing medium you could think of – crayons, charcoal, color pencils, markers, etc. I remember my first set of ‘expensive’ colored pencils. They were from a small art shop downtown and I might as well have won the lottery that day. Much like today, all I wanted to do was create things.

My Mom saw this quality in me and she fed it every chance she got. I was in every art class in school and every art class in summer school. If there was an Art Cart event at a nearby park, we were there. Every gift was an art supply. I could sit for hours and paint, draw, sculpt, cut, and paste.

The trend continued into high school. I remember going into the art studio as soon as I got done eating lunch. I would spend the remainder of my lunch period gluing tiny pieces of glass onto a wooden frame to make a mosaic mirror or making glass beads with a blowtorch. One day my Mom came home from work with an application in her hand for the local Dairy Queen. She had seen in the newspaper that they were hiring a cake decorator. She knew if was the perfect job for me. I filled it out, got the job, and spent the remainder of my high school years decorating cakes at not only the Dairy Queen, but the Piggly Wiggly as well. (Yes, the big time in cake decorating, I know! ;)

When it came time to discuss college, it was never a question. I was going and I was going for art. I don’t even remember trying to make this decision. It was like everyone, including myself, knew all along that this was the direction I was taking. I didn’t realize how lucky I was to simply KNOW what I wanted to do with my life until I saw the many college students around me struggling to figure out what they wanted to do with their lives, starting with their generals and hoping to figure it out by the time they finished their first two years.

So here I am, an adult. Like most of the world, I spend about 1/3 of my life working. According to Forbes.com only 30% of Americans actually like their jobs. So, I guess what I am trying to say is, THANK YOU, MOM - for making me one of the 30%. Thank you for noticing my passion and nurturing it. Thank you for guiding me into a career I love. I only hope to notice my own children’s passions and nurture them in the same way.

As parents, we all know feeding our children's passions in not always cheap, so I have teamed up with Consumer Crafts to give away a $100 gift card to consumercrafts.com! Consumer Crafts is my go-to online craft store with everything you could want or need at the best prices. 

Comment on this post either 
- what your child's current favorite activity or interest is or - what you would use the gift card to buy 
to enter the giveaway and unlock other ways to enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, December 15, 2014


Just in case you need a few more gift ideas for the little people in your life...

PLUS a fun giveaway from Educational Insights!
TWO lucky winners will a Magic Moves Electronic Wand! Enter below to win!

An endearing story of a Dad that teaches his daughter all about serving others by doing one “good thing” at a time. A great message with beautiful pictures illustrated by a third generation Disney artist, this book would be a great addition to your child's library. Watch the book trailer HERE.  

Living in Wisconsin, winters can be long... and hard... and boring... and filled with inside 'fun' for our kids, which can translate to a lot of screen time. Ugg. I love this toy bc it promotes active play indoors! It is one of Educational Insights best selling toys with fantastic reviews! Any toy that gets my kid up and moving is a win in my book! (WIN ONE OF TWO of these great toys - enter to win below!)

#3. MAGNA-TILES: $50-$120
These things are awesome. Even Logan and I can play with them for hours. We belong to the Children's Museum here in Madison and that is where we first saw them. They have a few sets in the arts and crafts area and Ellis will sit and build with them for a the majority of the time we are there. They are not exactly cheap, but they are worth the splurge!

I learned about this book from my co-worker. She is pretty much the ultimate gift-giver, so I get a lot of ideas from her. This is her go-to children's book for the holidays. I bought it for Ellis and we have read it several times in the past few weeks. It sums up winter in Wisconsin perfectly!

These ceramic plates, inspired by the famous Wooly Willy Toy, are such a fun gift! I got them for my niece and nephew a few years ago and they love them! They do encourage kids to play with their food, but I am ok with that! Half the time toddlers don't eat anyways, so they might have fun while you make them sit there. ;)

Living in a digital age, I sometimes feel like we forget how nice it is to play a good old fashioned game of charades. I loved charades when I was growing up. This game has separate decks that cater to all different age groups.

#7. BUGNOCULARS: $9.99
I loved catching bugs as a kid. Fireflies were my specialty. I love these bugnoculars b/c not only can you catch the bugs in it, but you can view them through the two magnifying glasses in the top! Ellis had something similar to this last summer, but it was from the dollar section at Target and lasted a whole two days. In those two days, I drew a bunch of bugs on cardstock, cut them out to make pretend bugs, and hid them around the house. She would search for them and put them in her 'bug house.' She loved it and would do it over and over. It was a great way to keep her entertained!

What kid doesn't love a fort? We don't have a huge house, so it is nice that the fort can be put up, but easily taken down for storage. Plus, the kids can put it together several different ways!

I am in love with these blocks! First off they are wooden, which I love and second they are great for toddles when they just want to build and then serve as a learning toy as they get older. Each block features information such as the state capital, motto, flower, bird, and tree. They are handcrafted in Michigan and made of Basswood grown in the Great Lakes area!

This story is about two girls, Julia and Simca. They are two young friends who agree that you can never use too much butter -- and that it is best to be a child forever. Sharing a love of cooking and having no wish to turn into big, busy people who worry too much and dawdle too little, they decide to create a feast for growing and staying young. A playful, scrumptious celebration of the joy of eating, the importance of never completely growing up, and mastering the art of having a good time, Julia, Child is a fictional tale loosely inspired by the life and spirit of the very real Julia Child -- a story that should be taken with a grain of salt and a generous pat of butter.

#11. ROWDY HORSE: $49.95
This thing is so darn fun! It has nearly 700 reviews on Amazon with 4.5 star rating. Our friends have one for their two boys and every time we go over to their house, Ellis loves hoping on it. She falls over half the time and it is hilarious! It is just a funny looking thing and I love it!

Enter to win one of TWO Magic Moves Electronic Wands from Educational Insights.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, December 9, 2014


Last month I was invited, along with 11 other women, to a fun little dinner party at my friend Reg's house. The delicious Mediterranean meal was prepared by her mother in law, Debbie. It wasn't just any old meal though. There is a bit of a back story why we all got together for this special dinner and I have asked Reg to tell it...

Why would anyone want to do something for nothing? (written by Reg)

It’s not often in life when you meet a person that wants to do something for….NOTHING! In a world where we are all out to find the perfect way to “get rich quick” (myself included), it’s not often that you meet a person that gets the most out of knowing she is making a difference in people’s lives. Enter my mother-in-law, Debbie. She's a fabulous cook, retired dietician, butt kicker of breast cancer and the epitome of the "average jane"! She can make a mean piece of chocolate cake and cooks steak like she’s the star of Hell’s Kitchen, but these days her decadent desserts are saved for special occasions, her slices are a bit smaller and her “meat and potato” meals are not quite as regular in her meal rotation. Debbie has always been known for her fabulous and fairly healthy meals, however, the day she learned she had breast cancer was the day that everything in her world (and kitchen) changed! Debbie dove head first into finding out what had possibly fed her cancer, how she could provide her body with the very best chance to keep the cancer away, and how to help anyone and everyone she could along the way. (In the most humble, loving, and YUMMY way possible!)

After sharing Debbie’s journey with my wonderful co-workers, they were all interested in what she was discovering, in addition to being curious if this could really be done in a fairly quick and “tasteful” way! So 12 woman (along with too many kids to count) piled into my kitchen for a night of learning, tasting, sharing, and most importantly, taking that first step towards supporting each other in the often times confusing journey towards healthy (and somewhat easy) cooking.

So after we had tasted a variety of different Mediterranean dishes, shared tips, talked about weight issues, taste issues, and picky kids/husband issues. We ended the night with a promise to meet back around the table in the near future for more support, ideas, and updates. When the last person had left the table I looked at my mother-in-law, who now had a little bit of dark chocolate on her cheek and big grin on her face, and asked her what she thought of the evening, she just beamed from ear to ear. This made me realize that in the end, making a difference in someone’s life is pretty far from doing “something for nothing”!

And of course, here are all the delicious recipes we got to try:


1 15 oz. can garbanzo beans (rinsed & drained)
¼ cup tahini (sesame paste)
¼ cup lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cumin
pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)

1. Process all of the ingredients in a food processer or blender until smooth.
2. Transfer to a serving bowl and chill until the flavors have blended. About 30 minutes.
Serve with veggies such as sliced peppers, cucumbers, carrots, etc.

2 tablespoons olive or grapeseed oil, plus a little more for the baking sheets
2 bunches of kale or collards, washed and thoroughly dried, ribs removed, and leaves torn into bite-sized pieces
A sprinkle of salt

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and coat 2 or 3 large baking sheets with oil.
2. Combine the kale and 2 tablespoons oil in a large bowl and massage the oil into leaves, making sure every bit is covered.
3. Arrange the kale in a single layer on the baking sheets and bake for 15-25 minutes flipping the kale now and then with tongs and turning the baking sheets or switching racks if the kale starts to brown too quickly in spots. The kale will go dark green and crispy; do not let it brown.
4. Sprinkle with seas salt. (You can do this either before or after baking)


2 cups cracked wheat (bulgur)
2 cups very hot water
1 cucumber, chopped
4 small tomatoes, chopped
1 bunch green onions, sliced
½ cup mint, chopped
2 cups parsley, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced

½ cup lemon juice
¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
salt & pepper to taste

1. Soak the cracked wheat in the hot water until the water is absorbed – about 20 minutes.
2. Drain any excess water.
3. Combine the salad ingredients, including wheat, mix the dressing ingredients together and stir into mixture. Chill.


2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Salt and black pepper
8 chicken thighs, with skin and bones
2 large shallots, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup white wine
1 1/2 pints grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
1 package frozen artichoke hearts
1 cup pitted kalamata olives
1 cup pitted green olives
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano, divided

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Heat olive oil in a large oven-proof skillet over medium high heat.
3. Salt and pepper both sides of chicken thighs. Transfer chicken to skillet and brown for five minutes on each side. Remove chicken and set aside.
4. Add shallots and garlic and saute for three to four minutes. Deglaze pan with wine, scraping to loosen the brown bits. Add tomatoes, artichokes, olives, one teaspoon salt, one half teaspoon pepper, and one tablespoon of oregano. Saute for two to three minutes.
5. Nestle chicken in tomato mixture. Transfer skillet to oven and bake for 30 minutes. Use a large casserole dish if your skillet is not big enough to accommodate the chicken,
6. Garnish with one tablespoon oregano and serve immediately.


1 cup(s) walnuts (or almonds, etc.)
1 pound(s) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup(s) pistachios, coarsely chopped (or pumpkins seeds)
1/4 cup(s) dried cranberries
Cracked sea salt
Unsweetened coconut (optional)

1. Heat oven to 400ºF.
2. Spread the walnuts on a rimmed baking sheet and roast, tossing once, until fragrant, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and coarsely chop.
3. Line a baking sheet with nonstick foil. Melt chocolate in microwavable bowl on high 2 minutes. Let stand 1 minute, then stir until completely smooth.
4. Scrape melted chocolate onto the prepared pan and spread into a rectangle (about 14 x 10 in.).
5. Scatter walnuts, pistachios, cranberries and coconut evenly over chocolate. Crack some sea salt over the top. Refrigerate until set, about 1 hour. Break into pieces.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014


I really love gift-giving. If money grew on trees, I would buy everyone I know a Christmas present. Now if 'free time' grew on trees, that would be a dream come true because then I would totally MAKE everyone Christmas presents. A girl can dream, right?! There is something about the holidays that makes me want to sit at home all day in my sweatpants, drink tea, and make DIY christmas ornaments and felt advent calendars. If I ever get to any of those things, trust me, you will all hear about it. Don't hold your breath.

Anyways, turns out we don't have a 'free time' tree growing in our backyard, so that means everyone is getting store bought presents. Here are a few I have on my shopping list for my nieces and nephews.

Don't you just want to hop in?! My friend bought one of these for her niece and I guess she just LOVED it. And really, what could be funnier than a dizzy toddler?!

2. OLLIBLOCKS $12 digital download
You purchase and download the file, print it out, cut and modpodge the faces, bodies and legs onto little wooden blocks and you have one seriously adorable gift - or gifts depending on how many sets you chose to make. This is a great one for people like me who like crafting. You have to check out the Caravan Shoppe. They specialize in digital downloads for home, family, and fun and have the most adorable designs. My olliblocks are at the print shop right now. I can't wait to get started!

This thing is AWESOME! It inflates up to 3 ft, has won several awards AND it has a lifetime guarantee!!! As the tagline says, "It looks like a bubble, plays like a ball!" Check out their website for videos that show it in action.

4. BEKA BLOCKS $50-$300
Do you remember these as a kid?! I do! They are good old fashioned wooden building blocks. Ellis has them at daycare she can play with them for hours. BEKA is a St Paul, Minnesota company that makes all natural wood products that are made right here in the USA.

When I was little, my Aunt put together a beading kit for me and gave it to me for Christmas. It had all different kinds of beads, string, clasps, wire, and even pliers. I spent hours making necklaces and bracelets and I will always remember it as one of my favorite gifts. Even when I was little, I was crafty. All I ever wanted to do was create things. My Niece (almost 4) is a crafty little one, so buying for her is my favorite. I put together a little beading kit for her this year with things from Consumer Crafts. I have bought a lot of crafts in my day and trust me, this site has great prices and they carry pretty much anything and everything you could ever want. Here is what I put in her kit: storage box ($4.97) / various plastic beads ($1-$3) / string ($3.57) / key chain clips ($0.97) / ball chain necklaces ($2.37)

What kid doesn't love having their face painted? The size and price is perfect for a stocking stuffer!

I am a sucker for personalized gifts, so naturally, I am drawn to products like this one. I have seen so many companies try and do the 'put your kids name in a book' thing and to be honest, I have not been overly impressed. That was until I saw these books. They do not just pop your kids name into the story, the story is actually about your child going on an adventure to find each letter of their name. Ummmm... why didn't I come up with this genius idea?! Oh and the illustrations are adorable. I got one for my nephew and one for Ellis for when she is a bit older. This is the kind of book a kid keeps for a lifetime.

Yes, this is another favorite from my childhood. I would make beads and clay creatures for hours and my mom would bake them in the oven. This is a must for any crafty kid. Ohhh the memories!

9. DohVinci DELUX STYLER $5.99
It's a cross between a cake decorating set and a caulk gun! Fit a tube of the soft compound (from the makers of Play-Doh) into the styler, then squeeze to make 3-D dots, swirls, and lines on paper, cardboard, even wood. Leave the creation to dry overnight for a permanent design.