Thursday, December 18, 2014

Hayden's painted pottery tea set

When I was little, I used to beg and plead to play with my mom's tiny ceramic tea set she had gotten as a child. At first, she wouldn't let me anywhere near it, but eventually gave in, allowing me to have tea parties with it.

Recently, I started going to a pottery painting place near my house, mainly to visit with my sister-in-law while we painted gifts for those we love. I even brought my kids to paint their own projects. While there, Hayden was drawn to this adorable tea set (perfect for Santa's little helpers to go along with their cookies from yesterday's post), which was only a blank bisque at the time.

Now, some may say I'm crazy for painting this fragile set for my 5-year-old, but remembering back to how I felt about my mom's tea set at that age, I understood how much it meant to her. She asked about it weekly and picked out the exact colors (seriously, she had her heart set on specific paint colors) and design elements she wanted me to use (it had to have hearts, dots, her initial, a wave pattern and a mermaid, of course). Naturally, I did my best to fulfill her request, and this is the result.

When all the pieces are stacked up on the plate, you can't see the mermaid, but here's a better view. Thank goodness my daughter loved it, too.

Yes, I gave it to her last night, instead of on Christmas. I just couldn't wait to see her smiling face. If only Santa could have gotten a glimpse of her reaction, as it was so much better than how she reacted to him (poor thing; I thought she'd gotten over her fear).

I also can't wait to see the smile this other gift puts on someone's face when I give it to her. I painted this yarn bowl for someone else mentioned in this post. I wonder who it can be :-)


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Cookies for Santa's little helpers

In the past, I've done posts about "unbaked" (my term for raw vegan "baked" goods) cookies for Santa (I've always liked this plate of cookies for Santa and this recipe was quite memorable, as well), but this year, I decided to do something smaller for his little helpers. Since we've been watching "Prep and Landing" these last so many years, it got my household thinking about the elves who prep the scene before Santa arrives.

I kept this small task simple, using the base dough from the happy holiday turtle recipe from the other day (I found it on the Vega website, so I cannot take credit for that). It's amazing what you can make with this versatile dough.

First, I rolled some of the dough into little balls, which I pressed a chocolate chip into the center to create mini "kiss" cookies. Then, I  formed more dough into tiny cookies and decorated them with cacao nibs.

Sticking with the chocolate theme, I actually mixed some of the dough with cocoa powder to make a chocolate dough. I alternated both the basic dough and the chocolate dough to make mini striped cookies, yet another holiday classic.

Speaking of holiday classics, I made a quick raspberry jam out of mashed raspberries and chia seeds to use in the thumbprint cookies. I rolled the dough in little balls, and in this case, used my pinkie finger to press a well into the center of the cookie. I filled the center of the cookie with the jam.

I also used the jam to decorate a basic roll-out cookie. I rolled out some of the dough, cut it into candy cane shapes and painted stripes on them with the jam and some powdered spirulina. You could also add a bit of mint to make them taste more like a candy cane.

Lastly, I rolled some of the leftover dough into balls and covered them in finely ground coconut flakes, so they looked like snowballs. It couldn't be any easier.

So that's our plate for the elves. Will you be feeding Santa's little helpers this year?

Monday, December 15, 2014

Happy holiday turtles

After a long break from both blogging and Twitter, I've suddenly found myself involved again in social media. While tweeting the other day, I came across the cutest vegan turtle recipe posted by Vega. The sweet treats kinda looked like adorable turtles, so I just knew the kids and I should make them.

They were so simple to recreate. The recipe is posted here on the Vega website, but I'll give you a quick photo breakdown of how it's done.

First, we made a raw almond meal cookie base in the food processor, as shown.

Then, we pressed the base into silicone cupcake liners (the recipe said it would make a dozen, but we ended up with 10 larger turtles).

The base chilled in the freezer, while we whipped up some raw vegan date caramel. The caramel was dolloped on top of the cookie base and returned to the freezer.

Once set, the caramel-topped cookies were removed from the liners, covered in chocolate and decorated with pecan "turtle legs."

Lastly, we added "happy turtle faces" with chocolate chips and piped chocolate eyes and smiles.

Happy holidays!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

100% Pure Mystery

In my last post, I mentioned 100% Pure was having a worthwhile Black Friday sale. I was lucky enough to purchase one of their sold-out mystery bags. In case anyone is interested, here is what I got in mine.

I selected the Queen Mystery Bag for $30, which was to contain $130 worth of skin care products, including 100% Pure's amazing Coffee Bean Caffeine Eye Cream. Since I was in need of more of my favorite eye cream (it really makes you look more awake when you haven't had enough sleep), I figured it was worth spending slightly more to see what was in this mysterious bag.

Actually, it was more than worth the $30 price tag. Not only did I get my coffee bean eye cream and the Red Wine Resveratrol Eye Cream in a generous 0.6 fl. oz. size (this stuff lasts a while, as you only need a little bit), but I got everything you see in the top photo in a 100% Pure reusable fabric tote.

I love both of these eye creams and think they work great together. The coffee bean one tackles dark circles and puffiness, while the red wine resveratrol softens any crow's feet (yeah, I've got those; just means I smile a lot). They absorb nicely, layer perfect under my 100% Pure Tinted Moisturizer (I wear Peach Bisque) and don't irritate my sensitive eyes.

Speaking of crow's feet, my aging skin was excited to find even more age-protecting and age-correcting products in my mystery bag, including the Red Wine Resveratrol Scrub and Mask (I love its yummy grape scent and its gentle exfoliating properties), Super Fruits Reparative Cream (this is the first I've tried this one, so it will take some time to review it properly), Vitamin A & CoQ 10 Wrinkle Smoothing Night Cream (this really made my parched skin feel more moisturized last night and into the morning) and the Red Wine Resveratrol Nourishing Cream (yet another silky soft cream).

And that's not all. Also included in the bag for normal to dry skin is this Jasmine Green Tea Tonique, a refreshing toner in a convenient spray bottle (did I mention that the bottle is made of glass?). It's exactly what my skin needs this time of year; it perks up my complexion after a long day in the dry air.

Although my skin is aging and welcoming of good moisturizing products, it sometimes results in the occasional blemish. Therefore, I was happy to also receive the Purity Spot Treatment and Purity Cleanser in my bag. Now that my son is a preteen, he'll probably enjoy them, too.

Lastly, 100% Pure likes to add samples to their orders and this bag was no exception. My sample pack included two Honey Cream Wash Gingerade and a Kelp & Mint Volumizing Shampoo. I've been wanting to try their new hair care line, so this was greatly appreciated, especially since I missed out on the hair care mystery bag (it was only $15).

I really hope 100% Pure does more mystery bags like this in the future. Did anyone else get one? Did anyone get the hair care bag?

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Take a picture to make it last longer

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I've done so many Thanksgiving posts in the past that I didn't want to bore anyone with the same old recipes. However, I did want to share a pic of the scrumptious dessert my hubby bought me this year.

As you know, I'm a huge fan of Corarao Confections, so my man made sure I had a chance to try their Thanksgiving pie for today's holiday (unfortunately, it's sold out, but you can mimic the flavors with some of their blondies, caramel cups or pumpkin spice caramel bar, and your own pecans and pumpkin pie spice). It's so good that I needed to snap a quick pic before it disappeared (it was nearly half gone at the time of this photo). Yum!

Oh, and I just noticed that Coracao Confections is having an amazing Black Friday Sale: 30% off everything with the code BIG DISCOUNT from tonight at midnight through Sunday, 11/30/14 at midnight. You know I'll be ordering some :-)

Speaking of Black Friday sales, I already took advantage of one offered by 100% Pure. I can't wait to see what I get in one of their sold out mystery bags. Let me know if any of you picked up one, too.

Enjoy the rest of your holiday!

*I was not contacted by either company to do this post. I just love their products.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Berry Cherry Ice

Happy 4th of July everyone! Hope you are celebrating with some cool tasty treats. Hayden wanted to share her Berry Cherry Ice, which is her version of Italian ice. She actually prefers frozen fruit that is pureed in a food processor to the sugary-flavored ice version. This one is just frozen cherries and strawberries, blended into an icy consistency, and topped with some blueberries, a strawberry and a cherry. Yum!

Enjoy the rest of your day :-)

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Tails doll

My son is growing up so fast. I can't believe he'll be in middle school next year. I'm lucky that he still considers me to be a cool mom on occasion (gotta cherish those moments, as they are few and far between), like when I made him this Tails doll.

Jacob is a huge fan of video games, especially the classics. One of his faves is Sonic the Hedgehog, along with the other Sonic games that followed, which is why he had me make him a Tails doll (not to be confused with the original Tails character; confusing, I know).

After drawing multiple sketches of Tails doll, showing me the character on screen and dropping many more hints, he finally convinced me to construct one out of old t-shirt scraps, cotton balls and pipe cleaners (that's how he ended up being poseable). Although our finished Tails doll doesn't look exactly like the one from the game/comic (I think ours looks more like the Fantastic Mr. Fox, but with two tails), Jacob says it is perfect, which is the best compliment ever.

To my surprise, I was able to make the whole Tails doll, using only material from the sleeves of the old shirts. I guess that means I can sew Hayden some more dresses.

Speaking of Hayden, I thought this picture of her and Jacob walking at yesterday's mini Relay for Life was so sweet. I hope they stay close forever.

But back to the t-shirt Tails doll, what do you make with old t-shirts?

Monday, May 26, 2014

Berry Patch

In my mind, this weekend is the start to summer, although the calendar says it's not for another few weeks. We've been enjoying the beautiful weather with various outdoor activities, such as Hayden's end-of-the-year preschool beach picnic/graduation, Jacob's field day, swimming and a day at the berry patch.

Growing up, I was lucky to have a strawberry patch in my own backyard, but since that is no longer the case, it was such a treat to go berry picking today. Hayden was quite the natural at finding the best of the bunch. I wonder what we'll do with all those berries. Any ideas?

Hope you are having a lovely weekend, as well. Happy almost summer!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

A "warm & fuzzy" t-shirt transformation

Hi everyone! Hope all is well. I just wanted to share this simple "warm & fuzzy" t-shirt transformation from the other day. It's a fun way to pass down old t-shirts from a big brother to a little sister.

My son Jacob likes to wear basic white tees to bed at night, etc., and recently moved up to the next size. Rather than tossing them, I pass the tees down to my daughter Hayden by putting our own unique spin on them, as seen in the photo above. She's wearing a "warm & fuzzy" t-shirt dress, polka-dotted with "warm & fuzzies" (brightly colored poms poms from the "warm & fuzzy" jar; you've gotta earn those pom poms by being a good girl ... or boy).

To turn a basic white tee (I've used boy's size medium or large) into a girl's dress (Hayden is a 4T or 5T), I trace the outline of another dress onto the t-shirt (make sure to turn the shirt inside out first; I forgot to do that in the mock demo pics, as I had already completed the dress at the time).

Then, I pin it in place, sew along the lines for the sides (you don't want to sew the arm holes shut), cut off the excess and sew around the arm holes to finish).

This is how the seams of the dress look from the inside (I couldn't get Hayden to take the dress off after I put it on her ... actually, she is still wearing it).

To decorate the dress and make it special, I tied ribbons on the shoulders and sewed them in place. I also sewed on a bunch of "warm and fuzzies" (pom poms) in a polka-dot pattern.

Hayden was so happy with the final design that she wanted to do a photo shoot (I still don't know how I feel about posting clear views on her face on the Internet anymore, which is why I tend to crop out her eyes or post pics of her looking down/to the side), while blowing bubbles in the dress.

I can't believe I caught some bubbles in this shot.

Enjoy your weekend!

Monday, March 10, 2014

The unconventional challenge

As you know, I'm a big fan of "Project Runway" and any spinoff of the show, such as "Project Runway All Stars," "Project Accessory" (I once posted a Q&A with one of the finalists), and now "Project Runway: Under the Gunn."

My favorite challenge is the unconventional challenge (I tend to be a bit unconventional myself sometimes), so I was excited to see the contestants making designs completely out of items found at the beach in last week's episode. Hayden and I were quite found of Sam's winning design, which we replicated with recycled paper (old wrapping paper scraps and a brown paper shipping bag) and blue painter's tape.

We also cut out a bunch of construction paper circles to create a paper dress similar to Oscar's runner-up design, but unfortunately, it didn't come out quite as tailored and sophisticated. At least we had fun making it, while watching "Team Umizoomi" and singing about our "super shapes."

Speaking of "super shapes," Hayden made this "Katy Perry Roar Dress" (as she calls it, since it looks like something she would have worn in that video) all by herself. She even put it on without any help from me.

We also made a fluffy pink Katy Perry-inspired dress together. Hayden was quite proud of the color-scheme she suggested (the original dress is either a cream or pale pink color), as well as her paper cutting skills.

Later, we made a paper flower ring to match.

Anyway, we just wanted to share with anyone who is still reading. I know we haven't been blogging much in the past couple months, but it's nice to check in with all of you every once and a while when we are inspired.

Is anyone else watching "Project Runway: Under the Gunn?" Does it inspire you?

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Obsessed with the paper dress

As you know, Hayden and I have become a bit obsessed with the whole paper dress thing (don't worry; we won't post too many of them), as seen in our last post and the one prior. Here is another one we made today. It is our interpretation of the Giambattista Valli dress Emma Watson wore to the 2014 Elle Style Awards. Hayden thought her hairstyle was perfect with the dress. I think so, too :-)

Thanks again to Mayhem for the inspiration. #FashionbyMayhem #InspiredbyMayhem

Monday, March 3, 2014

Let It Go, Let It Snow

We are so "Happy" (although that is a good song, too) that "Let It Go" from "Frozen" won Best Original Song at the Oscars last night, as well as being named Best Animated Feature Film. Hayden loves to sing it, as you can see in the photo above. I haven't been showing her face online lately, but since I knew she'd be seen in the following group shot, I made an exception (not to mention the fact that the one I tweeted with her face hidden looked a bit too much like something from "The Blair Witch Project").

#inspiredbyMayhem (the 4-year-old who makes paper dresses with her mom/posts them on Instagram), Hayden and I made this paper dress from "Frozen." Unfortunately, she opted to stay in her "Frozen" pajamas last night, due to the rain (which has turned into a ton of snow; yes, we are all snowed in today). At least she was still representing her favorite flick in our annual Oscar photo, while the rest of us dressed in character.

I dressed as Amy Adam's character from "American Hustle" and posed next to my Clark Kent hubby, who went with the hero theme of the evening (he is my "Man of Steel"). My son Jacob wasn't as psyched about wearing a costume, so he held a guitar and a cat (don't worry; it's a stuffed animal) like Llewyn Davis, while my dad opted to be Bruce Dern from "Nebraska" and Jack was Joaquin Phoenix from "Her."

My sister April and nephew Colin were also representing "Frozen." Colin found a way to make the snowman even cooler, while April took a more glam approach to her character.

My nephew Cameron had the whole Matthew McConaughey thing down, including his "alright, alright, alright." Here he is with his mom (my sister) Lori, who dressed as "Blue Jasmine."

Here is Lori again with her husband Darren, who took the group photo, rather than getting dressed up. He is a behind-the-scenes man.

My mom drew in some darker skinny eyebrows to be "Philomena."

My hubby and I posed for a pic ...

... but later I gave away his true superhero identity.

Oops! We forgot to use the red carpet, but Hayden and Colin made up for it.

As for the food, I brought freeze-dried strawberries in honor of "Gravity," as well as some "The Wolf of Wall Street"-inspired sushi (actually, I made California rolls, minus the rice, by filling hollowed out cucumbers with avocado, carrot and more cucumber) and raw vegan mini "burgers" (almonds, flax, beets, carrots, EVOO, balsamic vinegar, garlic, sea salt and other seasonings) on mushroom buns. Yum!

We also voted on who we thought would win the awards. Since we left before the end, I don't know who got the most correct (that's who gets to pick next week's Sunday dinner). Somehow I don't think it was me, but it still was a fun evening. How did you celebrate the Oscars?


Since posting this morning, Hayden and I made another paper dress that we liked from the Oscar's red carpet. Lupita Nyong'o always looks amazing this awards season, and last night was no exception. She made our best dressed list.

Here is our paper interpretation of her look. It even moves well.

This is how we secured the paper with some ribbon, so she can wear it again. Have you tried making a paper dress? Who was your best dressed of the night?