Saturday, June 29, 2013

Popcorn Cake

We love popcorn in our house. Looove it. With butter and salt, maybe a little bit of the cheese powder. Nom, Nom, Nom! But not that microwave shenaningans, the real stuff. Personally, I prefer it from a local farm that we go to, but in a pinch I'll take the stuff from the grocery store. 

A while back I found this popcorn cake from Cookies and Cups. I knew it would be delicious and I would eat it all and not feel guilty. Well maybe a little guilty, but not guilty enough to stop. 

The boys and I are making cookbooks this summer and this is one of the recipes they chose for their books. 

First you have to make your popcorn. You'll need either 2 bags of microwave popcorn or about 9 cups of fresh popcorn. Make sure you remove any unpopped kernels!

Mix in some M&M's with your popcorn, however much you want. The more, the better. The original recipe calls for pretzels, but the boys weren't a fan of the pretzels. I liked it, they didn't. Dang kids ruin all the fun.

On the stove melt 1/2 a cup of butter and one 16 oz bag of mini marshmallows. If you have a helper, even better. All that stirring gets a little repetitive at times. 

Once the marshmallows are melted and smooth, let them sit for a minute or 2 before you mix it into the popcorn so you don't have melted M&M's.

Once slightly cooled, mix in with the popcorn.

Press your ooey gooey goodness into a bundt pan sprayed with cooking spray and allow it to cool. I don't have pictures of this part of the process, but I think you can figure it out. 

Once it's cool, enjoy! 

You won't regret making it, I promise!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Paper Flag Craft

The other day, at 3 o'clock in the afternoon, Dawson sat on the couch watching TV. Still in his pajamas, because that's how we roll in this house. You could tell his attention span was slowly disappearing by the fact that every part of his body was moving. Feet shaking, fingers tapping, funny faces being made. I knew the words were coming, the words every parent hates to hear. "Mom! I'm boooored!" 

I decided to be proactive and come up with something before that moment hit. I stood in the craft room, looked around and decided a paper craft was perfect. An American Flag paper craft. He loves American flags and using my paper cutter is the equivalent of giving him a giant bag of candy without an eating limit.

First we measured the picture frame to see how big we needed to make the background paper.

We got all of our colors together and cut them down to the shape/size we needed.

Here is where I'm going to throw a bunch of numbers at you and hope you don't get confused. 
The frame is 8 by 10.
The flag is 7 by 6 inch.
The blue part of the flag is 4 by 3 inch.
The stars and stripes are each half an inch.
Got it? Good!

Dawson glued the stripes on, every half inch. Our flag isn't exactly a perfect replica, but you get the idea.

We trimmed off the extra red, attached the blue square and I started the super fun job of punching stars out with our OLD and stiff paper punch. Dawson tried, but failed. Seriously, I'm 96% sure I got the paper punch in high school, early years high school.  I'm surprised it still works. I'm even more surprised I haven't lost it yet.

Dawson glued the stars on.

We glued the finished flag to the background, stuck it in the frame and we were done!

I think total this project took us about 30 minutes, start to finish. If you have antsy kids, cut all the paper out before you start and it would take even less time. 

Perfect for a quick 4th of July craft!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

I'm NOT a wedding planner

David and I have been "planning" our wedding for a year and a half now. Which in reality we've been planning for maybe 3 months total. Why? Wedding planning suuuucks. 

All you ladies that have pulled off fancy, fabulous weddings, kudos to you. It's just not something I can do. I've tried. I've thought long and hard about every detail, I've settled and changed my mind a million times. I've priced, I've budgeted, I've driven myself absolutely crazy. 

I'm done. DONE. 

Part of my stress was caused by money. Moola. The green stuff. Why is everything for a wedding so damn expensive?! David and I will be paying for this wedding 100%. Which is fine, but between 3 kids and a new house, we're on a budget. A tight budget. I don't want any wedding debt left when this is all said and done.

If I find a cheaper ceremony/reception site and the caterers are expensive. If I find a more expensive place and the caterers are even more expensive. I can't not have a caterer because it's state law. I might poison and kill my friends if I make the food myself, which is clearly my goal with this expensive wedding.

Someone, anyone, please tell me why I have to pay my caterers to cut my cake?? Am I not capable of cake cutting? I've seen prices anywhere from a flat $50 to .50 cents a slice. Ummm...really? I should become a cake cutter. That's where the money really is!

Photo booths are fun. Want one at your wedding? $700 for 4 hrs. Have fun with that!

Want to serve alcohol? $500 for the bar, but your guests will have to buy their own drinks. Oh yeah, don't forget the police officer you need to have at the door at $40 an hour if you have a little drinky drinking going on.

My wedding guest list went from 130 to 60 (that didn't even include David's list!), just so I could afford to feed people. I shouldn't have to pick and choose which one of my friend or family is more important to me! 

The list goes on and on and on. It's just toooo much!  

The other major stress factor was that this wedding was just not ME. I'm planning my day and I'm planning it to make everyone else happy. Whyyyy? I've never been that girl to dream about her future wedding and all the perfect details. Hell, up until I met David, I never wanted to get married! 

So I say,  Fuck it. I'm done. I'm not planning this day to please everyone. I'm not having a big ol fancy shindig that will leave me wracked with debt, tired and bored. 

I'm going redneck. 

Nah, not really redneck. But I am going to have a backyard wedding. Well, reception really. We finally settled and rented a small indoor garden area that fits 30 people for the wedding itself. No decoration necessary because it's already gorgeous. 

For my reception, It's going to be in my backyard. I'm renting a tent. Catering in some local food places that aren't going to charge me $40 a person to feed, getting a cake from a bakery that I choose, having a mother trucking bonfire (complete with s'mores), maybe some yard games and having FUN. My kind of fun. 

So to any of my family and friends out there, I hope you all understand. It's not the fanciest thing, but I'm not the fanciest girl. I just want to enjoy the day (and the months leading up to it), have all my friends and family come spend it with us and have fun!

Monday, June 17, 2013

DIY Dino Canvas

Lately I've been working on making decorations for Corbin's room. I finally got around to painting it and decided that some dollar store vinyl stickers was just not enough. I've made a few things, but wanted to give Corbin the chance to make a few things as well. Something he could be proud of when he looked at them. 

I've had this pack of 3 small canvases sitting around for well over a year now, with no real purpose. So I found one.

I cut some dinosaur shapes out of vinyl using my silhouette and attached them to the canvas. Which by the way, attaching them to the canvas was a giant pain in the butt. GIANT.

Corbin picked out a few colors he wanted and went to town painting them.

While I watched Corbin paint I realized he is exactly like his Dad. A perfectionist through and through. I find it an annoying quality in his dad (sorry, David!) but it's quite adorable in Corbin.

While the paintings were drying, Corbin decided he wanted to mix some paint colors. We had tons of paint left and it made for a fun way of learning what colors make other colors. Since I used a piece of shipping wrapping paper on the table, I let him go to town with painting that as well. Most of the time he made brown, but oh well. He had fun.

Anyways, back to the project. After the paint had dried we peeled the vinyl off to let the dinosaurs show.

I haven't quite figured out where I'm going to hang them in his room yet, actually, I haven't figured out where anything is going in his room so far. I'll let you know when I figure it out!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

The most amazing Banana Bread EVER.

I love me some Banana Bread. I've had many different breads in my 30 years and honestly this is my favorite by far! It has an awesome banana flavor and it's insanely moist. It's a recipe we will make over and over again, it's just that good.

I had some over ripe bananas just waiting to be made into delicious bread. It was actually probably my 5th bunch of bananas I had saved with good intentions. This time they were not going to waste!!

The boys helped me mash, mix and whip up this delicious bread in no time!

 My recommendation is that you try this bread as soon as possible. Like today. You won't regret it!

This recipe makes one loaf. I prefer to double or occasionally triple it so that we can freeze some loaves for future banana bread cravings. We all get those, don't we?

Banana Bread

1/2 cup of butter, melted
1 cup of white sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp of salt
1/2 cup sour cream
2 medium bananas, mashed
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional, we don't use them)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan.

2. In a large bowl, stir together the melted butter and sugar. Add the eggs and vanilla, mix well. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt, stir into the butter mixture until smooth. Finally, fold in the sour cream, walnuts and bananas. Spread evenly into the prepared pan.

3. Bake at 350 degrees F for 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Allow bread to cool completely before cutting.
You're welcome. I know you'll be thanking me later!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Blowing up a bar of soap

It's all over Pinterest right now. You take a bar of Ivory soap, microwave it and play with the fluff it creates. Have you seen it? Have you tried it?

I bought a 3 pack of Ivory soap about 6 months ago and finally got around to doing this with the Monsters. 

If you haven't seen it, I'll give you a quick run down of what to do. 

Cut a bar of Ivory soap in half and place it on a piece of Parchment paper.

Gather your audience in front of the microwave.

Place the soap in the microwave and cook on high for a minute or 2. I set my timer for 2 minutes and kept an eye on it. I think I pulled them out just a tiny bit after 1 min. Use your best judgement. 

After a little bit, your soap will start to grow!

Careful taking it out of the microwave. It was hot. I wasn't expecting that much heat out of a minute long cooking.

You'll end up with this crazy pile of fluff.

Give it to your kids and let them go crazy. I let my boys tear into the fluff on the deck, it's easier to clean up that way. It's not wet at all, it's just flaky and really messy.

The boys played and put all the flake pieces into a bowl. 

I've read on various websites that if you add water back into the soap shavings you can mold it into new bars of soap. You are supposed to add water until just moistened. Like Pie crust. I could never make a pie crust either, so that's probably why we failed at this part.

We tried though! Corbin mixed the soap and the water up for us.

We separated the mixture up and added a little bit of food coloring to it and the boys pressed the mixture into cookie cutters.

We left them outside to dry for a day or so, but I think we added too much water. They didn't stay together at all. Oops. 

Then I got lazy and left them outside still instead of cleaning them up. It rained. My table was covered with bubbles. But my deck is really clean!

The boys had fun with it. Honestly, the clean up was a bit overwhelming to me, but as a one time activity I'll survive.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

What a day...but we have kittens!

When we moved into our new house we wanted a kitten. After searching I found a 6 month old kitten on Craigslist. We met up, she was adorable. We took her home and named her Luna (Lovegood).  We all fell in love and she was spoiled rotten.

We wanted to do the responsible thing and get her fixed, but it seems we were doomed from the get go. We were given a pregnant cat, without being told about it.

So we waited and watched her grow, read up on cat labor, made her a nesting box and kept on waiting.

Then she disappeared. 

I was certain she had gotten outside somehow. We searched for her, set out food and went to bed insanely upset. 

The next morning David went to work and texted me around 6:30 am. He told me to listen in the living room because he thought he heard Luna up in the ceiling. I went and listened, but it wasn't only Luna up there, there was tiny little kitten meows too. 

David left work and started the hunt for the kittens.

Step 1...attempting to locate the kittens in the ceiling. I had already tried and failed, but David wanted to see if he could find them. It's an ego thing. 

We couldn't see past all of the ducts, beams and all the other shenanigans that is in a ceiling. Although the cats did go crazy when the flashlight shined anywhere near them.

Step 2... wandering around the living room attempting to pinpoint their exact location with only the sound of their meows.

It sounded like they were near a particular vent, so david took the vent cover off and bent the actual vent back.

Surprise! There was Luna staring right back at us.

Step 3...cutting a big freaking whole in my ceiling.

Step 4..cutting a bigger hole. David could see the kittens, but they were too far away, he had to be able to actually get his upper body into the ceiling to get them.

Step 5...locating the kittens. Luna had 4 of the little guys next to her, in the insulation, but one little guy had made his way across the ceiling on the opposite side of the whole. I apologize for the crappy picture here, it's not easy to take pictures in a ceiling! He looks like a little rat, doesn't he?

David slowly rescued the kittens, one by one and put them in the nesting box that we had prepared for Luna before she went into labor. Dang stubborn cat. 

5 adorable little kittens and one happy Momma kitten later.

The birth of these kittens was definitely eventful. I'm happy to say they are all healthy and Mom is doing great! Wish me luck in the next few weeks as these 5 little bundles of fur gain their walking legs and start terrorizing my house!