Saturday, October 19, 2013

Running behind... My boy is now 9!

I haven't blogged in a full year, geez... What a slacker! Well, it's time to try this again. First of all last summer at that 8th birthday party with the baseball themed cake we gave my son gymnastics lessons as a gift. He started going one hour a week and loving it! Then he started begging to compete, so now we can add "gymnastics mom" to the list of hats I wear.
Here's a great pick of my little gymnast with his coach (who sadly is moving away this week). He's smiling here but there were definitely some tears too!

So when that 9th birthday rolled around my son asked for- you guessed it- a boys gymnastics cake! Well I searched every corner of the Internet and found thousands if girl cakes for inspiration but for boys there wasn't much to choose from. No pre-made figures to purchase, nothing! 

I knew from the Scooby Doo cake I did when he was 4 that I definitely did not want to use modeling chocolate again, what a mess!

So I tried non-edible Polymer Clay. I purchased all the colors I needed and some cheap sculpting tools at Michaels and went for it.

The polymer clay has to be baked after you sculpt it, but I did it a few days before the party so it was ready as soon as the cakes cooled and were iced.  The only apparatus I couldn't figure out how to make was rings, so I make a chalk bucket instead. I also sculpted the gymnast to look like my son, right down to the tuft of hair that always sticks up in the back.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Bleach Pen Art tutorial.

I visit Pinterest on a daily basis and always find such great ideas! One such idea came from The Next Bird.
She got a spot of bleach on a pair of pants and instead of throwing them out she grabbed a bleach pen and created a design around the spot! Genius! I went to my local Goodwill second hand store and got this lovely brown GAP t-shirt for $3.00. I bought a bleach pen from Wal-Mart.
It's hard to tell but I used chalk to sketch my pattern before I went nuts with the bleach pen. you can sort of see the faint chalk lines on the above picture... I also stuck a piece of cardboard inside the shirt and stretched it as snug as I could.
This is what the shirt looks like with the bleach on it - working its magic. I left in on for about 30 minutes. My drawing did not turn out completely symetrical. The beach pen flowed faster than I thought and so my first few lines were a little crazy but with a few deep meditative calming breaths I was able to still create a whimsical fun pattern.
After 30 minutes it still looks about the same, but you can tell that its working. I rinsed it and washed it and I'm wearing it right now... as I type this... and I'm not posting a photo because when I ate dinner I spilt salsa on the front of it... true story!  Once the bleach is washed off the lines are a soft brownish pink color, not a white color like they are in the photos. If you happen to be cruising your local thrift store and see a forlorn plain old t-shirt without a closet to call its own... give it a forever home and a new look with a bleach pen!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Baseball Birthday Cake

My son turned 8-years-old last week! Every year he picks a theme and I always make a cake for him.  This year the theme was baseball and more specifically the Texas Rangers.  I did not take pictures of the process on this project (I really don't want anyone to see what a messy state my kitchen is in when I'm in the midst of the creative process!).

The cake was made from two box mixes cooked in two 11x9 cake pans. I used this blog's suggestion for making box mix cakes taste like they are scratch made and ended up with a beautifully rich moist cake!

Note that the score is 8 to 0 in the 8th inning, since my son is 8-years old!                                           I followed Clockwork Lemon's directions for making Marshmallow Fondant. In years past I have purchased store bought fondant and it has done its job - looking smooth and pretty, but this stuff, did all of that and TASTED GOOD too! Very few guests peeled the fondant off, most just ate it!
I also purchased the baseball players that are on the cake from They are a product called Kaskey Kids Baseball Guys. This was also a present for my son, which I let him have as soon as I was done using them for the cake! I honestly would have put fewer players on the cake as they were a little too big to be to scale and the cake ended up a bit crowded, but we couldn't have a game without a full roster on the field!!! Could we?!?! I vetoed my son's idea to have two additional red-team players as base runners!
The base paths are crushed graham crackers and the outfield wall is made of graham crackers sprayed with edible food color spray. I used royal icing for the bases, foul lines and distance markers on the outfield wall (the numbers are the actual distances of the Texas Rangers Ballpark in Arlington). Finally the foul poles are wooden shish-ke-bab skewers.
Below are pictures of cakes from previous years - Just as a Bonus!

2nd Birthday - Nemo

3rd Birthday Scooby Doo

4th Birthday-Daffy Duck

5th Birthday - Scooby Doo (Take 2)

6th Birthday - Batman

7th Birthday - Spongebob Squarepants!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Travel Doll House

I have to get something off my chest! I did not come up with this idea! I'm not even really going to give any kind of tutorial here... But I will link you to the genius whom I chose to imitate for this masterpiece.
She had this brilliant idea to use 3 Ring Binders to make a doll house that can be stored on a shelf when not in use.  I used her tutorial for the kitchen chairs and loosely adapted her bed and living room furniture tutorials as well.
All four rooms of the Travel Dollhouse I made!

I know, friends and family, you are wondering, "Why in heaven's name would Joy endeavor to make a travel dollhouse!?!? Surely not for her 8 year old BOY!!!"

My answer is, "Of course not!" It's for a dear family friend's little 7-year-old Barbie lovin' daughter!"
So here is a room by room breakdown of what I did:

The Living Room

In each room I created a "curtain" to hang on the three ring binder rings to conceal them. I also only made focal furniture, anything else I created by putting pictures on the walls of the room. Like end table, lamps and the fireplace. I found a template for a picture frame and used those along with a family photo that I stole uh, borrowed, off of my friend's facebook. The family photos on the wall made her daughter squeal with glee (literally! She squealed!!) The only place I deviated from the tutorial is that I made an ottoman instead of a coffee table and I hand stiched the furniture instead of using fabric glue or a hot glue gun (mainly because I couldn't find my hot glue gun!)

The Bedroom

The bed was just a piece of foam matress pad that I cut into a rectangle I sewed a cover for the foam and a comforter. The "two" pillows are really just one, that I sewed a line down the middle of, to make it look like two. The bed sits on a black cardboard box. Google Images is the source for the furniture on the walls.
Once again I used a family photo of the little girl and Tinkerbell from a recent Disney trip.

The Kitchen

 Thanks to Ikea's website and this doll has some stellar appliances in the kitchen! The kitchen table is a thread spool and a CD (and a magical little thing called krazy glue!)

The Bathroom

The bathroom provides everything Barbie needs to look her best! Sink, Bathtub and mirror... No toilet... she'll have to take care of that need somewhere else! The sink is a little prep-bowl from Tuesday Morning and an awesome gravy boat (once again from Tuesday Morning - on clearance) makes a prett good bathtub.

Throughout the house there are several impressionistic paintings on the walls. I got those from Dollhouse Decorating who got them from

So, there you have it! This was a really fun project, however it was time consuming... and truthfully... I'm thankful I have a boy!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Spam and Taters

I love Spam! There I said it... You may all mock me now, if you please.
As a kid my mom would make fried Spam sandwiches, and anytime there was 'ham salad' guess what the secret ingredient was? Yep! Spam!

When I met my husband I confessed that I am a food snob - It's TRUE! 
For example - I will NEVER eat a generic Pop-Tart!  Toast-Ums are just NOT the same!
He agreed wholeheartedly!
(This is how we knew it must be real love!)

But then we both admitted the truth. Despites the fact that we are both "foodies" we will not ever disrespect or shun the canned goodness that is Spam... It's just too wonderful to scorn!

My husband taught me a new recipe and today I want to share it with you!

There are two ways to make this delectable treasure. The pictures below are the "baked potato" version but I'll briefly explain at the end how to modify this for the 'skillet potato' version.

1 can of Spam
1 Bell Pepper
1 Yellow Onion
Salt and Pepper to Taste
Season Salt to Taste
2 Tbs Butter or Margerine

Dice Spam, bell pepper and onion into cubes. You can go larger or smaller on the cubes, a larger cube is obviously easier and faster, but be consistent so that everything cooks evenly.
Place butter into hot skillet.
Put bell peppers only into skillet. They take the longest to cook so you want to start them first.
When the bell peppers are about halfway cooked add your onions.
Season the vegetables.
Once the Onions are translucent add the Spam and heat for a few more minutes to cook Spam.
Baked Potatoes! For years we wrapped our Baked Potatoes in plastic wrap before placing them in the microwave and then my husband discovered that if you wet the potato thoroughly before putting it in you don't need to wrap it. Just wet it and then nuke it for 3-4 minutes. Re-wet it and then flip it and nuke for 3-4 more minutes.

Top your baked potato with Spam and Veggies and you can add cheese (as I did below) if you want to. My husband also added Cholula Hot Sauce and Sour Cream to his as well! Yum!

Now: If you want skillet potatoes then you will need to dice your potatoes (around the same size as everything else). Put them in the skillet with butter (or cooking oil if you prefer) and saute them until they are tender. Season with salt and pepper. (We also sometimes use season salt and garlic powder as well.)
Once the potatoes are cooked set them aside in a bowl while you cook the veggies and spam as directed above. Once the spam is cooked with the veggies add the potates back in and let them heat back up.

If you want a healthier dish you can use Spam Lite or Turkey Spam (both are pretty tasty). You can also cook everything in olive or canola oil both of which are heart healthy oils.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Coffee Mocha Smoothie

I tried this today... its pretty good... It's not any starbucks copy cat, its just a yummy goodness all its own.
I'm not a slave to the local starbucks, I just like sweet and yummy coffee drinks, so I didn't try to copy anyone else's drinks.. I just made my own. 
As I try it again in the future I'll post updates to let you know how I've improved or varied it.

Here's the official recipe:

3/4 c coffee
3/4 c milk
1/4 c sugar
2 Tbs. vanilla syrup
3-4 Tbs Hershey Chocolate Syrup
12 cubes of ice (about 1 and 1/2 cups)

Place all ingredients in blender and blend until ice is crushed smooth.
This recipe filled my glass twice.

White Mocha: melt white chocolate chips (1/2 c) in the microwave and mix them in (let them cool a little) in stead of Chocolate Syrup
Caramel: use 3-4 Tbs of Caramel Sauce instead of Chocolate Syrup
Vanilla: omit Chocolate Syrup and increase vanilla syrup by 1-2 Tbs.

If it sits for awhile it will separate. I read online somewhere that Starbucks uses a little bit of xantham gum to prevent the separation. I didn't worry about it because I drank it fast enough it didn't have time to separate.

Let me know if you try it and if you have any suggestions for improvement...

Friday, July 20, 2012

You Might Be a Cop If...

Dedicated to my dearest husband, who laughed at every last one of these...

Disclaimer: I did not create this list... I don't necessarily agree with the points of view presented in this list... This list is for entertainment purposes.... Lighten up, everyone!

You might be a cop if...

•You have the bladder capacity of five people.
•You believe that 50% of people are a waste of good air.
•Your idea of a good time is an armed robbery and a car chase.
•You conduct a criminal record check on anyone who seems friendly towards you.
•Discussing dismemberment over a meal seems perfectly normal to you.
•You find humor in other people's stupidity.
•You believe in the aerial spraying of Prozac and birth control pills.
•You disbelieve 90% of what you hear and 75% of what you see.
•You have your weekends off planned for a year.
•You believe the government should require a permit to reproduce.
•You believe that unspeakable evils will befall you if anyone says, "Boy, it sure is quiet tonight."
•A little "stick time" has nothing to do with baseball.
•(Can you say "TAZER"???)
•You refer to your favorite restaurant by the intersection at which its located.
•You have ever wanted to hold a seminar entitled: "Suicide...getting it right the first time."
•You have ever had to put the phone on hold before you begin laughing uncontrollably.
•You believe the Watch Sgt. is a crap magnet possessed by a demon.
•Your favorite hallucinogen is exhaustion.
•You think caffeine should be available in IV form.
•The person you're speaking with states, "That's not mine. I have no idea how that got there."
•You believe anyone who says, "I only had two beers" is going to blow more than a .15
•You find out a lot about paranoia just by following people around.
•People flag you down on the street and ask you directions to strange places.
•You can discuss where you are going to eat with your partner while standing over a dead body.
•You are the only person introduced at social gatherings by profession.
•You walk into places and people think it's high comedy to seize their buddy and shout, "They've come to get you, Bill."
•You do not see daylight from November until May.
•People shout, "I didn't do it!" when you walk into a room and think they're being hugely funny and original.
•You've ever started a sentence with the phrase "We had this awesome dead body earlier. You should have seen it."
•A week's worth of laundry consists of 5 T-shirts, 5 pairs of socks, and 5 pairs of underwear.
•You've ever referred to Thursday as "My Monday".
•You've ever written off guns and ammunition as a business deduction.
•Anyone has ever said, "There are people killing other people out there and you are here messing with me."