Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Lucky Saint Patrick's Cupcakes

Happy Leprechaun Day, as my daughter would say!
I underestimated how long it would take to make these cupcakes, 
but they are festive and worth the time.

To make the rainbow cauldrons, you will need:
1 8oz block of cream cheese

Crush the cookies into crumbs, and blend them with the cream cheese.
Roll the mixture into 1 inch balls,
and chill them in the refrigerator for 30 minutes, or until firm.
While the balls are chilling, melt the chocolate wafers.
Insert a stick into the centers of the chilled balls, 
and dip them in the melted chocolate.  Place the balls onto wax paper to cool.

Once the chocolate balls are set, flip them over, drop some
melted chocolate to the flat side, and stick three Skittles™ on top.
Next, dip one end of the Airheads Xtreme Bites™ into 
the chocolate, and attach them to the cauldrons. 

These are actually easy to make, but they do take some time. 
Have the kids help.  It's a fun cooking craft.
The recipe makes about 28 cauldrons. 

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Valentine's Crafts

Happy Valentine's Day!
I love holidays because they're a time when my girls 
and I can work on some crafts and bake.

These gnomes are very easy for the kids to put together.
The trick is to skip the glue.
Use felt, foam, or paper heart stickers for cone hats.
Stick them onto hershey kisses, with the point facing up,
and wrap the hearts around the tip of the chocolate.
Place a small piece of double sided tape over the hat and foil, 
and firmly press on the eyes and pom-poms for noses.

Beaded hearts are fun and they can be used in a variety of projects.
Thread pipe cleaners with beads to the desired size.
Trim the ends, leaving room to twist them closed, to form a loop.
Shape the loop into a heart, and finish them off as
bracelet, necklace, key chain, or pencil topper.

Instead of cupids, my girls and I made little love dolls.
You'll need a pipe cleaner, one small bead, a wooden bead for the head,
and tulle ribbon (5 1/2" width) for the pom-pom body and hair (optional).

Fold the pipe cleaner in half, and from the open end, 
thread the small bead towards the bend, leaving enough room to form 
a loop or heart.  Twist the pipe cleaner a few times to lock in place.
For the pom pom body, cut 5 feet of tulle and wrap it around your palm.
Tie the center tightly together, and cut both loop ends. 
To add hair, repeat the same steps with a smaller tulle wrap.

Twist the pipe cleaner around the hair tulle and fluff the ends to form
a pom-pom.  Thread the wooden bead, and then add the body tulle.
Twist the pipe cleaner tightly round the body to lock in place, and fluff.
Trim and tuck the ends.  Using color pencils, draw the face.

Have a wonderful Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year 2015!

I can't believe it's New Year's Eve!
I woke up this morning thinking I need to start on some fun craft
activities with the girls, to prepare for our celebration.

I pulled out my craft box and found beads, bells, pipe cleaners,
pencils, and New Year's toys saved from last year.

 To make the sparkly crown, you need four pipe cleaners and
some beads.  Twist two pipe cleaners together for the base of the crown.
Thread colorful beads through the remaining two pipe cleaners,
and twist them around the base and make loops.
Have fun with this, and create your own design. You can't go wrong.

My girls and I are calling this a noise-maker wishing wand.
It's easier to manage if you thread the bells and beads first, and then
bend the pipe cleaner into a star shape - or any fun shape you wish.

Tape the end of the star to the pencil top.  Twist another pipe cleaner 
around the pencil to cover the taped pipe cleaner base.

Goody bags are nice to have.
I filled a zip-lock sandwich bag with a noise-maker, 
horn, bell necklace, and bracelet.
Here is a pdf of the goodie bag topper I designed, if you
would like to print it out for your treat bags.

We are ready for tonight, and had lots of fun this afternoon with the crafts. 
I love my daughter's "fireworks" crown.

Have a happy and safe New Year's celebration.
May this be your best year yet!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Holiday Love!

Wishing a holiday filled with....

Have the happiest of holidays
filled with love and laughter! -  Chiêu

Speaking of laughter...
My girls think my cupcakes are topped with
a spinach frosting in disguise.

It's actually white mousse with green
chocolate flecks.  I was going for a minty look.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Books and Smiles for Haiti

Over the past few summers, I donated copies of my books to 
Life Connection Mission, a non-profit organization serving the poorest
children in the Western Hemisphere.  
It was very heart warming to see the happy faces from the pictures,
and hear about how the children enjoyed having the books.

Last fall, I started the program Books and Smiles for Haiti,
 and invited authors, illustrators, and our children's book community to
join me in sending more books to Haiti.  The responses were overwhelming, 
and the books were distributed to the children this summer.  

Some books were given to the homeless shelter; many to the preschool,
1st grade teachers, and church supported by Life Connection Mission,
to be shared with the community's children.

On one special occasion, children were invited for dinner with the goal of taking
pictures to encourage people back here in the U.S. to sponsor them,
and help send them to school.  The children received small gifts, 
and the younger ones were given picture books.  I was thrilled to have the
opportunity to sponsor a little girl close to my youngest daughter's age.

I am thankful for the generosity and kindness of our contributors, 
Life Connection Mission, and the amazing people who spent their summer
in Haiti for their endless hard work and dedication.

Thank you Life Connection Mission, for sharing these wonderful photos.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

A Summer Frozen Party!

Ever since Frozen hit the big screen, it's been a favorite "everything" with
my daughter.  The songs, books, dolls, clothes - you get the picture.  
It was no surprise she asked for a Frozen birthday celebration, and after a long 
winter this year, snowflakes were the last thing I wanted to think about.

Voila!  A Frozen party without a single snowflake!
Instead of a snow garnished cake, I went with magical wintry breeze cupcakes.

I melted and piped white chocolate swirls and embellished them
with clear sugar sprinkles for an icy effect.  

Making these treats was fun!  
The girls loved the Frozen ring that topped the blue frosting.

The party wand favors were a hit, and easy to make.
  I hot-glued tulle pom-poms to the bottom of clear plastic tubes with a white 
fluffy pom in the center.  Fill the wands with blue and white Sixlets candies 
and attach a Frozen ring to each of them; they snap on perfectly.  
The cap of the wand should be on the bottom for easy access to the candy.  

To make the pom-poms, wrap two shades of tulle around your hand
about 7 - 9 times, and tie the center.  Cut the loops and fluff them. 
You can find great tulle pom-pom tutorials on youtube.

I couldn't resist including summer fun party favors too, 
perfect for boys.  Fill small beach buckets with colorful chalk, 
bubbles, and shovels.  I printed and attached this Olaf picture from
the Disney website.  My daughter loved her summer Frozen birthday, 
and we are looking forward to catch Frozen on Broadway!