Monday, October 12, 2015

Five for Fall!

When I think of Fall, I think of chilly weather, hearty meals, sweaters and boots, pumpkin patches, colorful leaves, and apple pie. It's my favorite time of year! I'm also a bit of a Halloween nut. 

So in honor of October, here's Five for Fall: 4 new recipes and a craft!

1) Cheeseburger Casserole:

This is an easy week night meal with very little effort involved. It has the added bonus that the kids will eat it as quick as you make it. Ha! Visit: for the recipe. I Love Six-Sisters recipes and have a few of their cook books. Such yummy ideas!

2) Loaded Potato Cheese Soup:

This wonderful potato goodness is now one of our favorite fall soups! SOOO delish! Try it in a bread bowl! Visit: for the recipe and check out her other fantastic meal ideas! Plus, I love the name of the blog!

3) Pretzel Bites:

I thought homemade pretzel anything would be difficult, but as it turns out, it so easy and totally worth every ounce of effort. Perfect for football season! Visit: for the recipe. Lots of other great recipes to check out, and again, a fun blog name. :)

4) Baked Pumpkin Donuts:, Baker Beware! These are ridiculous! ...and by ridiculous, I mean so delicious you will eat them all and have calorie count regret. Ha!  Perfect Fall treat! Visit: for the recipe. For the glaze, it wasn't precise. It was 1/2 cup powdered sugar with about 1 tbsp milk and 1 tsp of cinnamon. Mix together and then dip donuts face down. Place on wax paper to dry. Or like her recipe above, you can roll the hot donut in cinnamon and sugar. Both were lip smacking good!

Candy Corn Jars:

And of course, our fun Candy Corn Mason Jars! Way too cute not to put out on the table with candles a glow or some treats hidden inside.


Mason jars
White, orange, and yellow acrylic craft paint
Sponge paint brushes
Small piece of sandpaper
Tape if desired

How To:

1) If you want, use tape to tape off your white and yellow sections. Just helps guide the lines. I didn't use tape since the wide sponge brush does a pretty even job. 

2) Start at top and paint the white. Get a good even layer on and let dry.

3) Paint the orange next and let dry.

4) Paint the yellow and let dry.

5) Repeat 2-4 for a second layer.

6) When jars are dry, distress a bit with sandpaper.

7) Tie twine around top.

Ta da!

Happy Fall! enjoy the cool off and change of season!

Happy pinning!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Homemade Kool Aid Playdough!

My kids have been asking to make homemade play dough and slime. Slime. Really? hehe. So I started with the play dough because it seemed the cleaner of the two.

My mom used to make me play dough as a kid that was just water, flour, and salt. She'd add a little food coloring and I'd spend the day making all sorts of animals, flowers, and whatever whimsy my heart desired. When my kids asked to make some, I felt a flutter of nostalgia and to the kitchen we went!

This recipe was easy, and for the most part, not too messy. It made quite a large amount, so I split each color between them. Turned out perfect! It was colorful, smelled good(doesn't taste good as my son figured out!), and was soft. Kids spent all afternoon with out an argument among them as they sat enjoying their creations...among them a tea set, flowers, dinosaurs, and Spider Man. Gotta love imagination! It also has lasted over two weeks!

Here's the recipe:


1 cup flour
1/4 cup salt
2 Tbsp cream of tartar
1 envelope unsweetened Kool Aid
1 cup water
1 Tbsp Vegetable Oil

1. Mix flour, salt, cream of tartar, Kool Aid, and water in medium saucepan. Stir in oil.

2. Mix over medium heat for 3-5 minutes until mixture forms a ball in the center of the pan. Dough will darken in color.

3. Remove from the pan. IT WILL BE HOT! Sit for just a moment to cool and then knead softly.

4. Store in airtight container or Ziploc bag.

The colors I used:

Orange- Orange
Yellow- Lemonade
Green- Lemon Lime
Blue- Blue Raspberry
Pink- Strawberry Kiwi

Depending on the flavors your store carries, you can match the packet flavor to the color fairly easily. I found the yellow light at first but it darkened up. You can always add extra food coloring.

Here was my inspiration. Recipe was from Pop on over to find more fun kids ideas!

                                do-it-yourself homemade art supplies

Enjoy the soft play dough with the kiddos. Obviously there's a future post on slime. Ha! Until next time.

Happy Pinning!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Piano Make-over!!!

I am sorry to say that this post is beyond over due. I finished the piano last fall! Sigh. So many things going on and time just got away from me. But as they say, better late than never!

Making over a piano is beyond a doubt my favorite project so far. I confess it was a ton of work (sorry folks, this one involves sanding!), but every bead of sweat was worth it! I get compliments on it every time someone comes over. Hey, an aqua piano is a pretty good conversation starter. And my daughter has begun piano lessons on it. I love how it turned out so much!  If you are thinking about giving your current piano a face lift, I say do it! It was so worth it!

Here it is before and after:

This is a 4 part process:

Part 1: Take piano apart into several pieces. I did NOT take out all the keys, however, you can if you want to. The keys are generally numbered. I just covered and taped mine up since I was trying to avoid extra work. Take the top lid and the key lid off.  Protect the insides folks! Cover and tape every thing up good and tight. You don't want the instrumental parts to get paint or dust from all the sanding in them. Each piano style is different so it may look different when you do this to yours.

Part 2: Sand that piano down! Every nook and cranny needs to be sanded smooth so that the old finish is sanded off. It should be nice and smooth to the touch. There are so many angles and sides to a piano. Make sure to get them all.

Part 3: Paint! I used Valspar Paint and Primer in One in the color Sea Kiss. Satin Finish. You will need to paint a coat, let it dry, then lightly sand it smooth. repeat this step for several layers. This helps it adhere and become virtually chip proof. It also helps it become smooth and streak free.

Part 4: Top coat! I used my every trust worthy Polycrylic in Gloss finish. This is a very important step as it seals the paint and protects from dings, dents, and chips.

Here's what you will need:

1) A sander(I used an orbit), and sand paper of various grits. The higher the number the finer the        finish. For instance 80grit is for sanding off the old finish vs 220 for sanding each layers of paint. You can experiment to what grit works best for you.
2) Tape and paper to cover the exposed areas.
3) Paint rollers and brushes.
4) Your choice of paint color.
5) Primer if you don't use a paint and primer in one.
6) Clear top coat.
7) Additive for the paint called Floetrol. It slows paint drying time down so you can't see the strokes. Great stuff!

Are you ready? On your mark...Get set... GO!!!!

Make sure you are in a well ventilated area! Take your piano apart. Make sure to save the hardware to the side so it doesn't get lost.

Tape it all up. Make sure the majority of dust and paint will be sealed out. Be gentle around the keys.

Sand it down. Don't be afraid! This takes a bit of time, but its really not that bad. Be gentle on the front legs as for most pianos they are not actually weight baring.

Bust out those paint rollers and brushes and start painting. If you are using a separate primer, paint a good 2 layers on first. Then paint. You can add the Floetrol to the paint by following its directions. Be patient as you let each layer dry. Then sand it gently smooth. repeat until it looks as you desire.

Clear Top coat! This was by far the hardest step. I do not advise adding Floetrol as it can cloud up the clear coat finish. Polycylic is water based and dries fast. While this is a good thing, it means you can see your brush strokes if you get hasty. So small areas at a time and be patient. If you have a paint sprayer, that would be ideal, but for those of us who don't, little bits at a time. Polycrylic is very wet and runny. I actually solicited some help from my neighbor who works with wood on a regular basis. I was trying to go too big too fast. He helped save the day! So trust me, do it right and you win every time. :)

Let it dry and cure before you set anything on it. I let mine sit for two weeks before I brought it in the house.

Lastly, with polycrylic or any type of clear coat for that matter, it will get "burned" if it gets too much direct sun. This means that it will yellow. Darker colors are less noticeable obviously, but if you go lighter, keep it mind.

I really hope I'm not forgetting anything...

This project took me a few weeks. I'd go out and work on it step by step. Bit by bit. In the end, the time I put in returned the favor by sitting in my living area looking cutesy!

My next project is to paint the wall behind the piano and do a new picture gallery. Where one project ends another begins!

If you have any questions, send em my way! I'd love to hear from you on your piano make-overs.

Happy Pinning!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Five Cupcake MEALS and some Cupcakes!

How's every one's summer going so far? Ours has been harried, hectic, and of course, lively! Trying to keep the kiddos busy while out of school.  I've taken them to the pool, to the park, had friends over, played outside with sidewalk chalk, rode our bikes and roller blades, busted out the Slip n'Slide, and generally they can be found with an ice cold Popsicle in hand. Summer time is in full swing!

As you may remember, my daughter loves to bake. I was perusing Pinterest for some new cupcake recipes for us to try, and stumbled across several that had nothing to do with a sweet tooth. A light bulb went on. Wouldn't it be fun to do a week of "cupcakes" for dinner? The kids would think its a hoot! Mind you, these recipes are not full of sugar and spice, but full of flavor in every bite. Below you will find 5 recipes for dinners in a muffin tin and a new scrumptious cupcake recipe to boot!

Yes, the kids indeed found the week of cupcake meals deliciously fun and ate every bite!

Here is my list of fun "cupcake" dinners:

1)  Mac and Cheese Cupcakes

These Mac and Cheese Cupcakes were so easy and so darn good! The Ritz cracker bottom sealed the deal. The mac and cheese sticks together well and doesn't make for a huge mess when the kids take the wrapper off. My only advisory is to make sure you do as directed in her recipe and spray the liner with cooking spray so it doesn't all stick to the paper, especially the Ritz cracker bottom. Kids really enjoyed this different take on Mac and Cheese. For this tasty recipe click here:

2) Taco Cups

This recipe is an adaption from several. Basically its a taco in a wonton instead of shell.


2 lbs ground beef(or turkey)
Taco seasoning of your choice
Re fried beans (optional)
Wonton wrappers
Cheddar cheese or Monterey Jack
Your choice of taco toppings such as lettuce, tomato, sour cream, hot sauce, etc.


Brown ground beef. Add taco seasoning. Add refried beans to the meat and 1/2 cup water if you want at this stage.( I did not use the refried beans.)

Meanwhile, spray 2 muffin tins with cooking spray. Fill each well with a won ton wrapper. Now spray the won tons lightly with cooking spray. (This helps make them crispy)

When beef mixture is ready, fill each won ton half way. Top with cheese. Place in oven at 350 degrees. Bake for 10 minutes. (Many recipes layer a second won ton, meat, and cheese to add a second layer. I did not as my pan was too shallow.)

Serve hot with the taco toppings of your choice. I also served mine along with some fresh juicy watermelon. Fresh fruit always compliment tacos in my opinion. Ha!

I also tried these with mini muffin tins which were just as successful.

These required zero effort and were a fun new way to do Taco Tuesday!

3) Deep Dish Pizza Cupcakes

These little deep dish pizza's were a total hit with the kids! Used those little mini peperoni's and string cheese instead of shred. Cheesy pizza treat! Served these along side an Italian salad. For this fun recipe go to:

4) Mini Pot Pies

I also adapted this recipe from several recipes I saw. I kept it as simple as possible so it was fast and easy.


1 to 2 cooked chicken breasts cut into bite size pieces
1 to 2 cans 8 count biscuits
1 can cream of chicken
Bag of frozen mixed veggies(your choice what kind. I stayed simple and used carrots and peas)
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a skillet, cook chicken breasts until cooked through. Removed and cut into bite size pieces.

In a bowl, mix chicken pieces, frozen veggies, cheese, cream of chicken soup, and salt and pepper.

Spray muffin tins with nonstick cooking spray. Place a biscuit in each well and press against sides and bottom to form a cup. In each cup, place a good amount of the filling. I'd say 2/3 full.

Bake at 400 for 10-15 minutes. 

Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes. Serve.

These were surprising! They were just like little pot pies and my kids gobbled them up! A must try!

5)  Mini Meatloaf aka Individual Meatloaf

This recipe is straight from my Better Homes and Gardens cookbook. Sorry Pinterest, sometimes outside sources trump all. Se La Vie...


2 eggs beaten
3/4 cup milk
2/3 cup dry bread crumbs
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
2 tbsp snipped fresh parsley(you can use dry to substitute)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dried sage, basil, or oregano
1 1/2 pounds ground beef, lamb, or pork
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp dry mustard

In a bowl, combine eggs and milk. Then stir in bread crumbs, onion, parsley, salt, sage, and 1/8 tsp black pepper. Add meat. Mix well. Add the mixture into each well of a greased muffin tin. Pat into the wells. 

Bake at 350 for 30-45 minutes(depending on your oven) or until internal temp is 160 degrees. Spoon off fat.

In a small bowl combine ketchup, sugar, and mustard. Spread on tops of meatloaf. Bake about 5-10 minutes more.

Let stand 5 minutes and then serve.

I've used this go to recipe for 10 years and haven't found one I like better. Hey, if its not broken!

~And lastly, for our sweet tooth, Blackberry Lime Cupcakes:

What can I say about this tart treat? Its perfect for summer that's for sure! These feature a lime cupcake with Blackberry butter cream frosting and a blackberry to garnish. My daughter and I had a great time trying these out. I gave a plate away to my neighbor who gave me a big two thumbs up! For this delightful recipe visit:

I hope your summer is going on with out a hitch. If there's any struggle start with the cupcakes first! ;)

~Happy Pinning!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

It's Summer time!!!

Summer is here!!!! Normally I'd say FINALLY! But this has been an unusually warm year. School is out, the temps are hot, and I've already been sun burned. Bust out the Slip N' Slide and lets do this right! Ha!

Here are some fun summer ideas to try with the kiddos! Side walk chalk, hand print art, and a tasty cupcake recipe. We had so much fun with these!

Break out the sidewalk chalk and create your own masterpeice! Google has some great ideas!             

I am a HUGE fan of capturing my kids hand and footprints in new ways. I love to hang them up on display, and its fun to look back and see how small they really were ...  Oh how fast they grow!

These cupcakes were delicious and so easy! Visit her blog for the recipe.

Root Beer Float Cupcakes perfect for rodeo days

These cupcakes were delicious and moist! A must try this summer! 

I hope that everyone has a safe and enjoyable Fourth of July! I hope to get back to posting to the blog more regularly again. Keep an eye out for some more summer fun!

-Happy Pinning!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Super Mario Birthday Party!!!

It's a Me! Mario!, Amanda. hehe. This is by far one of the funnest birthday themes I have done! Pinterest had so many clever ideas, I improvised here and there, and Ta Da! A Super cute, Super Mario party!

My birthday boy only had two requests, 1) that the theme be Super Mario, and 2) that he had two cakes(one at his party and one on his real birthday).  He loves Mario Kart on the Wii you see, and he can beat any one of us in a race. Kids these days seem to be born with technological skills. My baby can open my phone! Anyhow, I digress....I planned his Super Mario party, and yes, he got two cakes! The party was a total hit, and the birthday boy had a blast!

Today I will be sharing with you all the links and how to's. Seriously, the easiest, yet cutest party I've done, and it was very inexpensive on top of it! Less that $75 for EVERYTHING! 

The background for the invitation was FREE! Here's the link:  There are more than one background to choose from too. I used an editing program to add the words. So easy! Printed them out, put them in envelopes, and sent em on their way!

Next, decorations. I apologize for the quality of the pics. They're from my phone!

The decorations were simple and really easy! Here's what made the backdrop/mural:

3 light blue plastic table clothes from Walmart- .97 each
2 packs colored construction paper from Walmart- $1.88 each
2 green, 1 red, and 2 white posters from Walmart- .33 cents each
= $8.32 for the big wall display!

I taped the blue table clothes up on the wall to cover as much space as possible. It was the main part of the background that everything else would go on. I actually used those double sided sticky squares sold in the hardware department. They can hold up picture frames and so forth? I needed a good hold since it had to support other items.

I then cut out the words for Happy Birthday with the white sheets in the packs of construction paper. I just free handed it. I glued the letters onto the yellow construction paper. Then I used brown construction paper and a black sharpie to make the "bricks." I taped them up above where I wanted the food table to go. I just laid them side by side. I should mention, I used duct tape!

Next, I cut out the green poster to make the tube, stem, and leaves of the... flower? Venus fly trap? I never know what these are called. hehe! Then I cut out a Pacman/circular shape from the red poster, and lastly, I cut the lips, teeth, spots of the flower and clouds from the white posters. With a remaining peice of red and white poster, I also made the little mushroom. :) I just glued the smaller pieces like the teeth, lips, and spots to the red poster and then taped the bigger parts together on the wall. Again, I used duct tape so they wouldn't fall down before the party ever got going.

And we cannot forget the Goombas! The brown mean mushrooms. I just cut out brown paper in the shape of a potato and cut out eyes and angry eyebrows. Oh and round feet. SO easy!

These were my little table toppers. I spray painted little terracotta pots green, and then I printed out the characters on cardstock and taped them to lollipop sticks. I placed part of a foam ball in each pot and secured the stick. Then used a little green paper streamer to hide the foam.

The little flower pots I already had on hand. I only paid for the foam and sticks from Michaels. $5 total!

Below is a closer look at the food table.

Some Flower Power!

Don't slip on a banana. Just mini chocolate chips for the eyes.

 I served, pigs in a blanket, cheeto balls as "fireballs," bananas from Mario Kart, a veggie tray shaped like Flower Power, several kinds of fruits, and green Luigi punch! I got the table cloth, plates, napkins, utensils, and cups through in a party pack for $26! It also came with balloons and streamers. It was a great deal! I couldn't find any Super Mario stuff anywhere in the party stores here, so it saved me all around. Just showed up on my doorstep one day! 

 The cake!

Pinterest had so many cake ideas! But I'm zero percent experienced with things like fondant. Maybe its easier than I'm giving it credit for? I don't know, but not wanting to ruin anything, I just improvised. I printed out the characters on card stock and taped to lollipop sticks just like the table toppers. The cake was just a Funfetti box cake by Betty Crocker, but I made my favorite homemade butter cream frosting. You could just use store bought as well. To liven it up, I added rainbow gumballs around the bottom and lots of multicolored sprinkles for the top. Happy Birthday candles to complete! Pretty darn easy as cakes go.

We also played some really fun games! We played Super Mario Memory game. I just printed out the characters in pairs. So easy! We also played Pop the Bomb which was just black balloons. Lastly, we did a Yoshi egg hunt. The kids really loved that one!

Here is the link to free Mario Character printables as well!


And finally, here are my Pinterest Inspirations:
Photo 27 of 39: Super Mario Brothers / Birthday "Super Mario Bash " | Catch My Party
Super Mario Brothers Party Ideas: games, decor, food, tutorials, supply list and links
Super Mario Bro's Party {Series}: Food - now I can't get the theme song out of my head!
banana peels (mini chocolate chip eyes)
Mario matching game, this could be done with any theme, great way for a group cooperation activity
Super Mario Party Planning Ideas Cake Idea Supplies Decorations Luigi

Pretty Little Rose cake!

I've seen this rose cake idea several different times on Pinterest. I thought they looked so lovely! I just hadn't attempted it because it looked time consuming and difficult. The truth? So easy! You bake your cake and make your favorite icing. Ice your cake with a crumb layer, meaning it just has a rough coat of icing on it. Then using a piping bag with a star shape(I used a size 2 as recommended), pipe on spirals across the body of the cake. Start at the center of the flower and spin outward. Any areas that don't get filled by a flower, you just fill in with a bit of icing. It didn't take long at all and was effortless compared to trying to be smooth and perfect. If you haven't already, bake a cake and try it! You'll smile with pride and your friends will think you're a pro!

Happy Pinning!

Monday, February 23, 2015

A Very Frozen Birthday Party!

Sick of Frozen yet? Well my daughter isn't! I cannot even begin to count the amount of toys, clothes, books, pencils, etc she has that are Frozen themed. So it's absolutely no surprise that she chose Frozen for her birthday.

I should mention that I am far from a professional party planner, but I just LOVE a good party theme! I hit Pinterest and found all sorts of fun ideas to bring my daughter's party to life. Here it is in all its glory!

The invites!

The cake.....before toppers... Minty rosy swirls!

Frozen toppers added with candles! (Toys we had by the way. hehe)

Food table! 

Snowman pizza, Kristoff's Ice, Olaf noses, Olaf arms, Olaf buttons, blue punch and Ana's sandwiches!

Do you wanna build a Snowman game!

Pin the nose on Olaf!

We cannot forget a Frozen hairstyle! Elsa inspired!

My daughter had, as she put it," An awesome Frozen time!" Ha! I entertained 12 girls and they all had a fantastic time eating the Frozen food(while watching a bit of Frozen), playing Frozen games, and eating Frozen cake. Then wishing my daughter a Happy Birthday while she blew out the candles on her very Frozen birthday. :)

Here are my inspirations...they were much fancier than me, bet hey, she liked it and that's all that matters!
I could probably just hang one and make the kids their own "forts"
Great themed foods for a Disney FROZEN party via!!
Olaf Frozen-Themed Birthday Party Invitations!  {Free Printable from}
"Do you wanna build a Snowman?" game Frozen Birthday Party Game Ideas

Happy Pinning!