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Winter Fun: Hot Cocoa Stirrers & Peppermint Snow

hot cocoa stirrers cup 2

I’m not sure what my little one loves more.  Hot cocoa or the marshmallows that adorn it.  I can’t bring myself to limit her marshmallow madness when we have hot cocoa.  Simple childhood pleasures.

We usually enjoy hot cocoa before bedtime, but what kind of mommy ups the sugar quota in the evening?  (ahem)

The other day Munchie and I made hot cocoa stirrers for our hot cocoa.  You know, because I might as well push the sugar thing to the max since I’m on a roll.

My girl was over-the-moon excited to decorate her chocolate-dipped spoons.  You can use whatever type of chocolate chip you like.  We used semi-sweet chocolate chips, but butterscotch and peanut butter chips are fun, too.

hot cocoa stirrers line up

Place about 1/2 a cup of chips in a microwave-safe bowl and heat in the microwave in 20-30 second intervals, mixing between intervals, until chips melt completely.

Dip plastic spoon (be sure to cover the front and back of spoon) in the chocolate, place on a baking sheet or platter lined with wax paper.  Then decorate with whatever candy you like.  We used:

  • mini chocolate chips
  • butterscotch chips
  • crushed Andes mint candies
  • flaked coconut
  • mini marshmallows
  • crushed Heath candy bars
  • Peppermint snow

My favorite is the Peppermint Snow which is simply candy canes (or hard peppermint candies) whiiiizzed up in a food processor.  I used my mini food processor which was the perfect size.  Plus, I didn’t have to drag out and wash my regular size food processor (lazy).

peppermint candies food processor

peppermint snowPeppermint Snow!

Let your decorated stirrers cool/harden completely before using.  My little one wanted to use one in her cocoa immediately so I placed them in the freezer for about 10 minutes to speed up the process .  These also make great little gifts–just be sure to let them cool/harden completely before wrapping.  I use small cake pop/lollipop clear baggies & tie with a piece of ribbon.

hot cocoa stirrers cupMunchie made a snowman. Cutie pie.

Looking for a hot cocoa recipe so you can start stirring asap?  You can check out my Creamy Dreamy Hot Cocoa recipe here.

Enjoy! ♥

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Bubble Pizza

I don’t have a clue where bubble pizza originated, but it seems many people have their own version of it.  My little one says this is easy-peasy-pumpkin-squeezy.  In the summer she said it was easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy.  🙂

Speaking of kiddies, this is a great recipe for them to take charge of.  It’s a versatile dish that’s actually perfect for a young teen to make…wink wink 😉  My 3-year old was able to do most of the work for the version pictured since she cut the mushrooms with her safety knife and put it all together with mommy only slicing the onions and grating the cheese.  I love meals like this where she feels like she “cooked” it all herself.

Since it calls for canned biscuits, I try to use a brand that has less of the unpronounceable words in the ingredients list.  We use Trader Joe’s biscuits, but other brands work just fine.  Add whatever ingredients you like or have on hand and have fun!

Bubble Pizza

Ingredients

  • 2 cans refrigerated buttermilk biscuits (I use Trader Joe’s biscuits which contain 8 biscuits per can)
  • 1 jar of homemade or store-bought pizza sauce (about 15 oz.)
  • 2-3 cups of mozzarella cheese, shredded/grated
  • Toppings of choice such as:  sliced mushrooms, cooked sausage, pepperoni, thinly sliced red onions, sliced olives, Canadian bacon, etc.
  • Basil, chopped (optional)

Preheat oven according to biscuit instructions (usually about 350°).  Grease/spray a 9×13 pan lightly.  Cut all biscuits into quarters and place in a medium to large size bowl.  Add sauce to biscuits along with 1 to 1.5 cups of cheese and all toppings.  Toss together, coating all biscuits pieces.  Transfer to the greased pan.  Top with remaining cheese (1 cup or as much as you like!) and basil.  Bake for about 25-35 minutes until biscuits are cooked through (check center pieces) and cheese is melted and a bit bubbly.  Enjoy!

Enchanted Cottage~Playhouse Dream

Earlier this summer we spent time visiting my family and one day stopped by a dear family friend’s home for lunch and chat.  To my little Munchie’s delight she had the opportunity (and what an opportunity it is for a child) to play in this custom built playhouse.

Such a touch of whimsy, this cottage playhouse.

Built for our friend’s grandchildren, such care was taken in the design and execution of this precious house.  The antique stained glass is from a restaurant the family owned for many years.  I’m so glad they saved it from destruction and placed it in the perfect new home. Continue reading

Summer Series: First Movie

Yesterday was a big day for my little sweetie.  She couldn’t wait to go to her first movie in the theater.  And I couldn’t wait to take her.  So we crossed off another item on our 102 Things To Do This Summer List and enjoyed the show!

#16 Take Munchie to her first movie

How perfect that last weekend we went to the Scottish Highland Games Festival and yesterday we saw Brave?  A nice coincidence.

Anxiously waiting for her ticket.

Once inside she was rather thrilled to see the new Ice Age flick’s poster.  I’m not sure she’s even seen all of the first Ice Age movie, but she was excited to see this poster anyhow. Continue reading

Summer Series: Scottish Festival & a mini-road trip

Summer is flying by for us as we work our way through our 102 Things To Do This Summer List.  Here’s a little update.

#18 Attend the Scottish Highland Games

Sunday we spent the day at the local annual Scottish Highland Games.  I don’t think I have even a smidge of Scottish in my blood, but who cares?  I don’t! 🙂

Let the games begin!

Continue reading

Summer Series: Update plus Groovin’ Grapes (raisins) & Shaving Cream Finger Painting

We’re having a great time working our way through our 102 Things To Do This Summer List.  Although we’d be doing many of these things even without a list, it’s a lot of fun for us to read through it together and decide what we want to do each day.

Here’s what we’ve done so far:

#7 Mommy-daughter end of 3-yr old preschool celebration lunch & #8 Visit the bookstore and read books together: Free:

Last week I took Munchie out for this mini-celebration the day before the last day since it was the only day that worked out.  We combined 2 activities because that’s what her heart desired for our special day together.  Although we spend every day together, these planned celebrations are extra-special to her (and me!).

I didn’t have my camera, but here are some grainy photos from my phone.

We had lunch at the restaurant of her choice.  She chose it based off of how fun it looked on the outside.

Continue reading

102 Things To Do This Summer: Our List & Series

I meant to post this on June 1st, but sheesh, time flies!  Soon it will be holiday madness.  It happens every year.  One minute we’re splashing around in the pool, the next I’m writing Christmas lists and wishing for snow (which is just NOT gonna happen here).

Good times last summer 

And as much as I’m a cold weather, rainy day, cuddle up at home gal I do think it’s wonderful to embrace each season (be it hot or cold) and make the most of it all.  Yes, I do.  Even if I whine that I’d like more rain, that it’s too hot, that I like winter clothes better than summer clothes, etcetera, etcetera.   Continue reading

Bzzzzzy Bees

I can’t stop making cake pops.   And I don’t wanna. 

 They’re too fun.  And after my recent popping session with Sandi, I’m on a cake pop high.   

Sweet munchkin requested that we make the chick cake pops for her preschool class Easter treat for tomorrow.  My first reaction was, “Yea!  Totally sister!”  3 seconds later I had a flashback to her birthday.  Continue reading

Cake poppin’, cocktailin’, & calorie burnin’

Cake pops have been on the scene for a few years now and maybe the rage is exiting stage left.  If you’ve had the pops at a popular coffee establishment –ahem- you’d probably agree that it should make its final exit.  Not a good representation of the cake pop.  However, cake pops will remain a mainstay in this girl’s party & baking fun repertoire forever.  Yes, forever!

But the only cake pops I make (and that’s a total of 3 times) are done Bakerella style.  She’s the gal who has made cake pops for years, but what makes her extra-special is that she has an amazing talent for decorating them.  If you’ve oohed and ahhed at a cake pop at a party, on the cover of a magazine, or on a blog :), chances are the maker got the idea (and method) from Angie of Bakerella Wonderfulness.

But the real reason I love her?  She generously shares ALL her secrets of success–tips, ideas, and methods–thereby making it a breeze to do just what she does.  And no, she does not use that cake pop machine (and you don’t need it either!  Really, it’s so easy).  I had to throw that in there because I’ve heard the rumor spread by haters.

Stop hating, start popping.

And that’s what I did with my friend Sandi on Tuesday.  Continue reading

St. Patrick’s Day: Clover Cupcakes

We made these simple St. Patrick’s Day cupcakes today and I thought I’d share with you.  When I was a teacher, I made these for my cutie pie students and forgot about them (the cupcakes, not the students) until last week.  Continue reading

St.Patrick’s Day: Handprint 4-Leaf Clover

Here’s an easy St. Patrick’s Day art project for those of you with kiddos.  All you need is green paint, a large sheet of paper, and a paintbrush.  I painted Munchkin’s hand with green paint and then she made the 4 handprints on a piece of yellow construction paper.  I’m kind of glad we were out of white because the yellow is fun for the holiday (although the lighting in these pictures is off).  Then Munchkin painted a stem.  She was too impatient to wait for the clover to dry before we dotted it with glue and sprinkled glitter all over it.

The glue will be less visible once it all dries.  Also, if you sprinkle the glitter when the paint is still very wet, you don’t need the glue!  Why am I shouting?

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Easy Valentine Kid Craft

Here is a fun and easy craft my little girl did today.  So simple that I didn’t have to do anything except prep supplies (love that).

All you need is tissue paper (I used pink, red, white, and fuchsia) cut into squares, Elmer’s glue, and a sheet of paper.  Draw a heart in pencil on the paper.  Spread the glue all over the heart.  When I taught elementary school the kiddos would place a square of tissue on the eraser top of a pencil and then press it down on the glue.  Since my girl is 3, I decided it best to have her scrunch the paper and press it down on the glue instead.

Hard at work while I cleaned up the kitchen after lunch.

And voilà!  Her tissue paper Valentine’s Heart Art.  I asked her who she would gift it to and after a few seconds of thought she said it was for me.  Sniff.  I’ll take it:)

Valentine’s Day: Simple Breakfast

Valentine’s Day always seems to creep up on me and then in a flash it’s over.  So I try to do little things before Valentine’s Day is upon us to enhance the sweet holiday.

Today we had a pre-Valentine’s breakfast.  Very simple and it put the biggest grin on my munchkin’s face.

Heart-shaped scrambled eggs, Valentine plate and cup, and heart sprinkles on Greek yogurt with red cherry puree were easy ways to V-Day the meal.

Just as tea tastes better in a delicate teacup, my girl says her food is “so delicious and beeee-yoooo-tee-ful” when I serve it on a little tray.  🙂  I was incapable of passing on a genius mathematical gene, but I sure passed on something just as important: The Food Tastes Better When Served On A Platter Gene.

Success.

Kids are Cool: KidsBookyBubbles

My hilarious friend Sandi (her propensity for being incredibly funny and clever has nothing to do with this post, but I needed to let you know) has two beautiful little girls (Amelia and Audrey) who recently started a blog.  They’re not only as clever as their mama, but they’re tech-savvy.  And I’m not.  And that makes me jealous.  But I digress.

Wait, first I have to say that when Sandi’s eldest daughter Amelia was a wee little baby I stopped by their house and she was snacking on avocados.  I remember thinking, “That baby is so cool.  I want a baby like that baby.”

And now I have a 3-year-old and today she poked her avocado slice with a Ghiradelli Chocolate Squares wrapper fork and said, “Fee Fi Fo Fum, I smell the blood of an avocado on my plate!” Poke.

I still love her and think she’s pretty darn cool.  But I’m hoping she loves avocados one day soon.

Moving on…

Amelia and Audrey’s blog, KidsBookyBubbles, is just for kids.  They started the site “because they thought it would be fun for kids to share stories that they write with each other, because who wants to read stories written by grownups?”  I agree!  🙂

I’m not a kid (well, technically I’m not) and I can’t stop reading the stories on KidsBookyBubbles.  Such a great idea.  There’s something about having your writing published that boosts the self-esteem and encourages you to keep writing.  When I was a teacher, the children would beam with pride when I hung their writing on the wall or created books filled with their stories and essays.  Remember how excited you were to share your work with your parents at Open House?  Good memories.  I’m betting this site amplifies that feeling for the young authors.  And I support that in full!

If you know a young one who would like to submit a story for publication on KidsBookyBubbles, you can do so right on their site.  Or you can just follow KidsBookyBubbles like I do and enjoy the work and imagination of today’s youth:)

Turkey Day Crafts

My little girl recently turned three (sniff) and now more than ever she looks forward to any and all crafts I put in front of her.  Not surprisingly, many craft projects around here involve food.  oink.  This is a little late for Thanksgiving, but I wanted to share what my girl and I made for our Turkey Day crafts.  Since we were headed to my in-laws for Thanksgiving this year, sweet girl asked to say grace for our meal and wanted to “put nametags and turkeys on the plates.”  Your wish is my command, Little Gobbler.

I know these Oreo Turkeys have been around for ages and who hasn’t made a fingerprint turkey?  I care not—these are too much fun to pass up and Little Turkey had a blast.  So did I!

Fingerprint turkey nameplates. Cute little fingers.

These little cookie turkeys may not be perfect, but that doesn’t bother me a smidge.  She had such fun making these and they were a hit at dinner.

I love the wonky eyes. I say A+!
 

Turkey army

One turkey left standing. The rest have surrendered to Mr. MacGregor.

With turkeys in hand, we carefully transported our army to dinner where Little Gobbler quickly busied herself getting her masterpieces on the table.  I’d say a perfect start to our Thanksgiving meal.

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