Monday, December 13, 2010

Muffin Tin Monday - Christmas Again!

Muffin Tin Monday at Her Cup Overfloweth

Hi there! It's that time again... no, not for that, silly! It's time for Muffin Tin Monday! The theme again is the holidays which, for us, means Christmas. :) Last week I saw this adorable reindeer sandwich over at Family Life, which led me to this wonderful reindeer sandwich over at Little Nummies. Now, I may or may not have mentioned my love for Rudolph and reindeers in general, but I just HAD to make Ashlyn a reindeer sandwich! And I may or may not have told hubby that I might make one for myself one of these days. ;) And the wonderful, sweet hubby he is, he offered to make one for me himself that very afternoon. ♥ But you didn't come here for side stories.... this time.

Hmmm... now that I upload the picture I see that his eyes aren't exactly perfect. *head tilt* Oh well! I still absolutely adore him! Along with her peanut butter and jelly Rudolph sandwich, Ashlyn had Craisins (reindeer poop - totally hubby's idea :D ) and carrots for the reindeer. And this is the first time I remembered to flip the muffin cups inside out so we could see the design (I don't use actual muffin liners very often so I was excited to do something a little different today). I got that idea from Muffin Tin Mom. :) Oh, Ashlyn ate most of her lunch, so that's always good.

Want to see what others did this week? Head on over to Muffin Tin Mom!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Looking Ahead to New Years

For a few days at least, the Christmas festivities have calmed down. Starting this weekend and on through, well, almost mid-January, we will be super busy. Which is why I'm thankful that today is the day I found out about the Day Zero Project because I actually have a minute or two to sit down and think about it. The Day Zero Project is pretty much where you create a list of 101 things you want to accomplish in the next 1001 days. It can be as simple as making dinner for a friend through visiting all 7 continents. It is very easy to add to and edit your lists right on the website, too. And it's all free to use! There is also a "Done" list for things you find that you've already done and a "someday" list for things you find or think of that you don't think you could accomplish in the next 1001 days (approximately 2.75 years) but want to do in the future.

Anyway, I'm still working on getting to 101 on my list (at this very second I'm at 33... just started... and you totally don't have to do a full 101, I just want to) and have a handful on my done and someday lists, but I had to stop and let you all know about it! I think it's an awesome thing. Everyone has stuff on their "bucket list" but rarely give it a second thought. For me, having a timeline to get these things done will help a lot. I don't have anything on my list that involves a whole lot of advanced planning, like visiting all 7 continents, mainly because we'll be moving fairly soon to who-knows-where and we just don't know what's going to happen in the next year. But I have some awesome things listed that I'm already excited to do and I'm going to officially start on January 1st.

I had already planned to complete the 365 Project and when I saw that it was one of the top 101 on the Day Zero Project, it inspired me to add it to my list, too. I also added to "read the Bible in 90 days" since I have already committed myself to that (you can see the button on my sidebar). There are also other things like "make a snowman" or "plant a window box herb garden" that I have always wanted to do and now have extra motivation to go ahead and do!

Anyone else doing or planning to do the Day Zero project?

**update: Nah... totally starting the Day Zero Project today. :) A few things I know I won't be doing until the start of the year (like the 365 Project I want to start on the 1st of the year) or until we move, but there are plenty of things I can start working towards and there is no time like the present!! I also plan on blogging about this every so often. Should be fun!**

Monday, December 6, 2010

Muffin Tin Monday - Christmas Trees

Muffin Tin Monday at Her Cup Overfloweth

I was so excited to find out that the next three weeks of Muffin Tin Monday, the theme is going to be the holidays! We've been majorly in the Christmas spirit around here (which I know will only grow when hubby comes back from school) so I knew this would be so much fun! Ashlyn has been absolutely obsessed with Christmas trees so I decided to focus on that this week.

Ashlyn had a Reese's peanut butter tree (which, as always, was taken out of the tin before I gave it to her to make sure she ate the rest of her meal first), a peanut butter and jelly Christmas tree, tree-shaped cheese, and some crackers. Nothing too creative, but when she started eating, all of a sudden she just cried out "TREES!" :) She ate everything except one or two bites of sandwich.

Sunday was also Walt Disney's birthday, and since we had our muffin tin meal on Sunday, I made sure to include a little hidden Mickey on the Christmas tree sandwich.

Now to start brainstorming on what to do next week... But for now, head on over to Muffin Tin Mom to see what others did this week!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Wrapping is DONE! Now Only About 1,492,048 Things Left To Do...

My wrapping is all finished! Well, until hubby comes home with more stuff he's getting the little ones (gotta make sure our cat has something, too!) while in the states for work/school. I wanted to share a few things that I did.

I saw this reindeer bag on Family Fun and really wanted to make it. I was going to put one of Ashlyn's gifts in it, but Santa's bringing all the small things to put in her stocking. So I thought how cute would this be for Aaron's gift from the kids (again, including the cat :) )? Because I didn't really know what I was doing yet, I made it while Ashlyn was sleeping.

I didn't have pom poms so I just used a crayon to draw the nose. I love it! I'm definitely going to try out the tree and snowman next year, too!

I also made a few gift tags. Nothing crazy, just some stamps and embossing stuff I had lying around. I hadn't embossed anything in YEARS (since before I met Aaron) so it was fun breaking it all out again.

(I thought it was cute to hang the gift tag from one of the antlers.)

Aaron's been needing a hammer (we both swear we had one, but the elves took it to use in their toy workshop in the North Pole or something) so I got him one. Don't worry, it's okay that I say that on here, and this is why.

I didn't want to just throw it in a bag and I didn't want it to hang in the stocking because I'd be paranoid that it would fall and break something or someone. So I thought it would be fun and silly to just wrap it like this. So I made a silly little tag to go along with it, too.

I usually always just wrap things, slap on a tag, and be done with it. So it felt really good to get creative and have fun with my wrapping. I'm definitely going to be doing that more often, all year round.

How is your Christmas wrapping going?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Good Company, Hot Chocolate, and Christmas Shows!

Ack! I can't believe that I'm a day late telling you guys about this! I'm sure many of you know, but ABC Family started their 25 Days of Christmas programming last night with How the Grinch Stole Christmas. But after mentioning it to a friend, and finding out that she had forgotten about it, I had to make sure to remind everyone!

Now, I don't know about you, but Christmas shows and movies are one of my favorite parts of the season. I love listening to Christmas music while decorating, baking cookies, wrapping presents, etc. and then sitting down to watch Christmas shows in the evening. It really helps put me in the Christmas mood. My absolute favorite of all time is the original Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. I have it on DVD, I have a singing Rudolph set out right now (which Ashlyn plays over... and over... and over again), and I just love reindeer in general (not that you'd know that from my header or anything). Now, my daughter goes to bed at 8pm every night so she misses the main show for the night, but they are still showing fun things before that. Like last night, before the Grinch, they had a Dr. Seuss marathon starting at 6. Then tonight, while they're showing The Santa Clause at 8, they have A Flintstone Christmas at 6. So I am really excited that Ashlyn still gets to see some cool Christmas shows! I fondly remember watching holly jolly shows with my parents as a kid, cuddled up on the couch with some hot chocolate, and am so excited to continue that tradition with Ashlyn this year! If you love Christmas shows like I do, I really recommend checking out the schedule for ABC Family's 25 Days of Christmas!

What is your favorite Christmas show or movie?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Frosty the Snowman

Welcome to December! Ashlyn and I did the first Christmas craft of the season yesterday and I think it turned out so cute! I kept going back and forth on what I wanted to do. First we were going to make a Santa, then I decided on a snowman, then a different snowman, then a Christmas tree... and we ended up doing a snowman that was a combination of a few different crafts I've seen around blogland.

All it took was three paper plates (fairly different sizes), buttons (I knew I bought that pack of random buttons YEARS ago for a reason!), black and orange construction paper, red pipe cleaners, cotton balls, glue, and a hole punch!

I cut out the hat and the nose during Ashlyn's nap and got all the other supplies together. The black dots we used for the mouth were just made by taking a regular hole punch to the scraps of the black construction paper I used to make the hat. I put glue down where all the items were to go, and Ashlyn put them on. This would be cute just gluing the paper plates together in a snowman shape, but I remember like last year I saw a snowman put together like this (except probably with ribbon or something) and thought it looked cool. Sure, I helped a lot, but putting everything on the drops of glue (especially the small black dots) took some good hand-eye coordination. She did awesome! Ashlyn had a blast and it looks great hanging up on the small wall by our front entrance area! I think it's my favorite craft that we've done in awhile. Hmmm... it may be hard to top this one this Christmas!

Friday, November 26, 2010

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas!

It's officially the beginning of the Christmas season (at least in our house)! I'm putting up the Christmas tree during Ashlyn's nap today so it will be all set up and ready to decorate when she wakes up. She's so excited about the Christmas decorations that have been up at the Navy Exchange for a couple of weeks now so I can't wait to get the house decorated! Our house isn't the only thing transforming with some holiday cheer... I'm going to be changing the background and stuff like that on the blog, so if you come visit and things look a little funny, it'll look better soon. ;) I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and have a great Christmas season! Time to plan some fun Christmas crafts and get ready to enjoy all the activities coming up!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

My family and I wish you and yours a very happy, blessed Thanksgiving! Have fun, be safe, and chow down!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Heeeeere Turkey, Turkey, Turkey!

So remember my list of baking I want to do in the next few weeks? Well, I completed one of them! I made Bake at 350's turkey cookies! I used her sugar cookie and royal icing recipes and they turned out perfectly! Here is the finished product.

Sorry it isn't that great of a picture. My piping/decorating skills aren't perfect by any means, but I still love my cute little turkeys! It was easier than I was anticipating and SO YUMMY! I've always been fine with sugar cookies, but this recipe is just better than the plain ol' recipe I used to use. We took some over to a friend's house the night I made them and they were impressed. Not only with how they looked, but how they tasted. My friend's husband said he isn't a sugar cookie fan, but he really enjoyed those! I already have plans to make snowflake sugar cookies for my Christmas cookie exchange coming up for people to nibble on. If you've never decorated your cookies with royal icing, I highly recommend trying it out. It is so much fun!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Happy 4th Anniversary, Aaron!

Today marks 4 years that I have been married to my best friend. Aaron, I want to thank you.

Thank you for making me smile every day.

Thank you for always being able to make me laugh. Even if it's while feeding me to the ducks.

Thank you for being a part of my family and being there when I need you, whether that means sharing in my joy or helping me put together my broken heart.

Thank you for being the best Daddy to our two little girls.

Thank you for supporting me in anything I decide to do like trying out cookie decorating or a new belly dancing class. Thank you for our movie nights. Thank you for showing interest in whatever I may be obsessed with at the moment, even if that is Twilight! Thank you for understanding my undying love of Disney, and even feeding that obsession.

Thank you for always looking for special things to surprise me. You know me so well and always know if I'd enjoy something.

Thank you for loving me. Thank you for being my everything. I love you with all my heart.

Muffin Tin Monday - Thanksgiving

It's Muffin Tin Monday!

Muffin Tin Monday at Her Cup Overfloweth

This week's theme is Thanksgiving. Yay! I prefer to do our Muffin Tin Meal on Sundays, but I wanted to include my turkey cookies (which I had intended to make on Saturday) and didn't get them done until Sunday. AND we were going to a friend's house for dinner so a dinner tin wasn't possible. :) But that's okay... we had a lunch tin today!

Ashlyn had a cornucopia made of biscuit and filled with turkey and provolone cheese, apple slices, blueberry Craisins, and a turkey cookie! I wanted to make the cornucopia out of croissants, but the NEX was completely out (they were out of a lot of things this close to Thanksgiving). Can I just say that making the cornucopia with a biscuit is much harder than I was picturing it would have been with the croissants? Maybe I just didn't know what I was doing. ;)

Check out Muffin Tin Mom to see what others did this week!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Toilet Paper Roll Turkey

I told a friend that I would watch her 4-year-old daughter for a couple of afternoons this week. So I decided to choose some crafts for the girls to do! I saw this toilet paper roll turkey over at Just For Fun and thought it would be perfect! Especially since I tend to save toilet paper and paper towel rolls every now and then specifically for crafts. Honestly, I wasn't feeling brave enough to have both my 2-year-old and my friend's 4-year-old paint the toilet paper rolls, so before the other little girl came over, I covered the rolls in brown construction paper.

Then I cut out the pieces for the head, wings, and face so everything would be ready (though I did forget all about the feet... I may add that to Ashlyn's).

Then both girls put the pieces all together (with a little help from me, putting on the drops of glue) and colored some paper (which was then folded accordion-style) for the tail. I thought it turned out super cute, even with the forgotten feet! :)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Keep Calm and BAKE ON!

One thing you should know about me is that I love to bake! I love to try different cookie recipes and decorate my creations. I have a few new things I'm going to be trying out here in the next month or so.

First of all, I am hosting my 2nd Christmas Cookie Exchange! I tried a new cookie recipe last year (Red Velvet Shortbread cookies) and am going to make a new one again this year. I have two recipes I want to try and in the next few weeks (with a short break because my husband is going to be leaving for school and he sneaks cookies as soon as I get them out of the oven is my taste tester) to decide which one to take to the cookie exchange. Choice number one is Alfajores (Argentine Caramel Sandwich cookies).

photo from Better Homes and Gardens

Choice number two is Cinnamon-Sugar Roll cookies.

photo from Better Homes and Gardens

How delicious do those look? I can't wait to try them out!

Now, I've made many batches of cake pops and have even decorated my daughter's 2nd birthday cakes (two regular cakes and two mini cakes). I LOVE making cake pops and the cakes were generally very fun to make (though I honestly did get frustrated at times since it was my first time). I also really admire all the cookies Bridget makes over at Bake at 350. I have finally decided to try out decorating cookies with royal icing! Yeah, I'm sure I'll get frustrated at times since I really have no idea what I'm doing, but I'm excited to try it out. Maybe I'll find a new passion! Then again, if I fall in love with it, I'll be making cake pops and decorated sugar cookies for every get together I go to. Not that anyone has ever complained that I bring cake pops wherever I go. ;) Anyway, since Thanksgiving is a week away, this weekend I will be making these cute treats.

photo from Bake at 350.

Well, I'll be trying to make them, at least. :) Like I always say, even if they don't turn out cute, they'll still be yummy!

Stay tuned because I will definitely be posting how everything turns out. First up... the adorable turkey cookies!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Muffin Tin Monday - No Theme

Muffin Tin Monday at Her Cup Overfloweth

It's Muffin Tin Monday again! This week's theme is the Food Pyramid/Nutrition, and I had a slight idea of what I wanted to do, but I kinda went my own direction this week. I didn't really follow a theme at all. I just put Ashlyn's food in a cute, buggy tin.

Ashlyn had (starting from the top and going clockwise around the tin) broccoli, ranch dressing to dip, half of a turkey and provolone sandwich on sourdough, strawberries, the other half of the turkey and provolone sandwich.

Ashlyn didn't eat much, but she seemed to enjoy it. She has tried strawberries before and didn't like them, so we tried again. Hubby put a tiny sprinkling of sugar on them to help with any tartness, so I'm not sure if she liked them because of that or she has just developed a taste for them now. I'll break some more out for snack today or tomorrow and see how she likes them. :)

To see what others did this week, head on over to Muffin Tin Mom!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Get the Perfect Christmas Card or Gift from Shutterfly!

I have to say... I LOVE Shutterfly! I have ordered prints, photo mousepads, and calendars from them and everything has been wonderful quality. They even ship to APO/FPO addresses, which just makes my life (as a military wife living overseas) that much easier. We are always excited to get our new calendars. 2011 will be our 3rd year ordering one and I can't wait to finish it up and order it! And each year they change up their available backgrounds so you can make sure you have a different, awesome calendar each year (at least this has been true for the soon-to-be 3 years I've been making them). Here are a couple of shots from our 2010 calendar.

It is a blast picking out the perfect background and layout for our pictures.

This year will be the first year I'll be ordering Christmas cards. There are a ton of options and I am still deciding what to choose! Here are 3 of my favorites... which do you like best?

Retro Kaleidoscope

Get Glowing

Oh Holy Night

Disclosure: I will be receiving 50 free Christmas cards from Shutterfly for writing this post. But the opinions are 100% mine.

Bloggers get 50 free holiday cards from Shutterfly… sign up:

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Ashlyn's "Hand" -ywork! (Corny, yes, I know)

I have seen this project all over the place but can't remember where I first saw it. But anyway, I wanted to do a cool fall project with Ashlyn and this seemed perfect.

I just traced Ashlyn's hand and part of her arm on brown construction paper and glued it onto white cardstock. Then I cut out some tissue paper squares. I put down a dot of glue and Ashlyn would put the tissue paper squares down. This was our first time doing a craft involving glue. She enjoyed it for a minute or two but quickly lost interest so I had to fill it in a little. I love how it turned out, though!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Muffin Tin Monday - Tea Party

It's that time again!

Muffin Tin Monday at Her Cup  Overfloweth

This week there was no theme for MTM. I knew for awhile that the next no theme week I wanted to do a tea party. Well, I felt a little uninspired by the time I got around to doing it (yet again I wasn't able to do it on Sunday like we like to do, so she had lunch in a muffin tin today) so I did just a quick little meal.

Ashlyn had apple hearts, tea pot turkey and cheese sandwich, and Babybel cheese with a flower cut out. She really enjoyed it and even nibbled on the Babybel cheese! She hasn't really liked it before (maybe she ate some of it in her pumpkin tin, but not much), but I figured I might as well try it out since she's starting to really like cheese now. She used to not like any cheese at all. Weird kid, I know. :)

Head on over to Muffin Tin Mom to see what others came up with this week!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Muffin Tin Monday - Trees, Leaves, and Harvest

Muffin Tin Monday at Her Cup Overfloweth

This week's Muffin Tin Monday theme is Trees, Leaves, and Harvest! We usually do our Muffin Tin Meal on Sundays, but I didn't want to do a fall tin on Halloween. Even though the base did trick-or-treating on Saturday night, I wasn't ready to be done with Halloween yet! So today Ashlyn had a muffin tin snack.

top row: apple tree (broccoli with red M&M's and ranch for dipping... I got the idea from a MTM post awhile back by Muffin Tin Mom), apple slices, Reeses Pieces (fall colors)

bottom row: cucumber flowers, grape tomatoes, apple slices

Ashlyn tried everything. The broccoli and cucumbers were new for Ashlyn. The tomatoes were reintroduced because she didn't like them a long time ago. Well, she didn't like the tomatoes. Oh well. Worth a shot! She really enjoyed the cucumbers and you know what her favorite part of the tin was? The broccoli!!!! Yeah, I KNOW! I was shocked, too. Well, okay, the Reeses Pieces were probably her favorite, but she really did just LOVE the broccoli. :)

Head on over to Muffin Tin Mom to see what others did this week!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Muffin Tin Monday - Halloween

It's MTM! Yay!

Muffin Tin Monday at Her Cup Overfloweth

This week is the Halloween theme and I've been looking forward to it for a long time now! But, unfortunately, all three of us have been sick this weekend so I didn't do the tin I really wanted to do. :( Oh well, I was still able to throw a little something together. Ashlyn doesn't have much of an appetite when she's sick (like her Mama) so it was very simple.

She had a witch-shaped piece of toast, some chicken noodle soup with princess shapes (she's going to be Cinderella for Halloween), and a special treat... a pumpkin cake pop! Not the best cake pop (it had fallen off the stick and my food safe marker was dying on me) but she loved the little surprise. :)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

A Look Back

Over at Funny Days with Mommy and Maddie, Amanda is reminiscing about past Halloweens and what her cute little girl dressed up as. I thought I'd join in! I know I have pictures of Ashlyn in her Halloween costumes on my header, but I thought I'd talk about them more. :)

October 2008
Ashlyn was about a month old and we didn't want to get a "real" costume for her. One day I was walking through the NEX and saw the cutest ladybug pajamas that came with a little hat, complete with antennae attached! It was just perfect.

October 2009
Both Aaron and I fell in love with this costume the moment we saw it online. We could just imagine how adorable she would be as a little tulip fairy! We were right. :)

October 2010
I know Halloween hasn't come yet, but this is her Halloween costume for this year. She has already worn it to our latest trip to Walt Disney World (last month) and she just loves dressing up in it! She'll also have a chance to wear it to the library's Halloween party the night before Halloween. So I know she'll enjoy that. I know you can't see her face in this picture (and I like the one in the header better) but I just LOVE how she's picking up her dress to look at her shoes. SO. CUTE.

Go check out Maddie's costumes over at Funny Days with Mommy and Maddie and submit your own pictures!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Precious Paper Pumpkin Painting Project

I had been trying to figure out for a little while now what Halloween/fall crafts to do with Ashlyn. I was about to throw out some poster board that I had used for a contest type thing for Ashlyn's birthday party last weekend when I realized that I could totally have her paint on the other side! I hadn't tried painting with her recently because it was just such a pain. I didn't have a set up that worked for us.

Late last week, I had an idea! We bought an inexpensive sheet awhile back to use as a drop cloth for messy crafts. That way we can just throw it in the wash and even if it doesn't get all the stains out (which we haven't had an issue with yet) it's only used for crafts so no big deal. Anyway, so I used pushpins to put the sheet on the wall. There was plenty to lay on the floor, too, in case any paint fell on the floor. After drawing a pumpkin in pencil on the poster board (on the back side that hadn't been used yet, of course), I taped the poster board to the sheet at Ashlyn's level. Then after pulling her hair back and putting a little apron on her, I let her paint!

After the masterpiece was dry, I outlined it all in a Sharpie and cut it out. It is now up above our TV as a wonderful decoration.

It would be really cute decorated as a jack-o-lantern, but I would like to keep it up through Thanksgiving, too, so I kept it as is. We both enjoyed the experience so much more than any past painting projects just because the set up worked very well for us. We will definitely be painting more often now!