Category Archives: Holidays

Valentine Chair Backer

I hope you had a wonderful holiday season.  Ours was full of fun and family… and bronchitis.  I’ve been down for nearly 3 weeks with the stuff.  Yesterday was the first day I felt like myself again, so I put away all the Christmas stuff and got out a few Valentines Day decorations.  I don’t decorate for every holiday, but there is something about Valentines Day that I like.  I’ve always left little notes and treats for the kids on Valentines Day–probably because my mom did the same for us kids when we were young.  A couple of years ago, Pottery Barn had these way cute chair backers, which are perfect for leaving little notes and treats for the kids.

They are also $20 each.  Yikes!  I knew that was going to happen.  They didn’t look really hard to make, though, so when I came across a tutorial for something similar, I made my own.

The tutorial is over at Our Scoop, and I highly suggest you check it out!  It is a great tutorial and super clear and easy to follow.  I made one for each of the kids and one for Mr. Type2Fun and myself.  It cost WAY less than the $100 it would have cost us to buy five of them at Pottery Barn.

There are two different styles–one with ruffles {perfect for girly girls} and one without.  I used embroidery floss to embroider their names on the front of the pouches.  They just attach to the chair backs with straps that button to the back of the pouch.

We’ve had them for about two years now, and the kids love opening them up on Valentines morning.  I leave them up for a few weeks before the big day, and the kids can put whatever they’d like into their sibling’s {and parent’s} pouches.  No peeking until Valentines Day!

The pouches are nice and deep and hold quite a few notes and treats.  Then the kids all get to open their pouches at breakfast on Valentines Day.  I like that it encourages them to think of their siblings, and they usually end up writing heartfelt notes that I couldn’t drag out of them any other time.  Sometimes, they even use their own money to buy each other treats.  It’s astounding, and it wouldn’t happen any other time of the year, but you know what?  I’ll take it! :-D

 

I’m linking up to these parties this week.

Marshmallow Santa Treats

One of the things we love about Disneyland is all the yummy treats they have.  Our favorite place to get something sweet is Pooh’s Corner in Critter Country.  One of our friends suggested we try a tigger tail on our recent trip to The Happiest Place on Earth, and boy were we glad we did!

These little treats had layers of marshmallow, caramel, white, chocolate, and sugar sprinkles.  They were so yummy, but at $5 each, I just couldn’t buy more than one.  I promised the kids that we would try to make our own at home.  I thought it would be cute to give them a holiday twist, so we made them into Santa treats instead.  Want to make a few of your own?  Here’s what you’ll need…

  • 1 bag regular sized marshmallows
  • 1 bag Kraft caramel bits
  • Vanilla flavored Candy Quik or white chocolate
  • Red sprinkles
  • Sucker sticks
  • A handful of chocolate chips
  • Yellow food coloring

Start by skewering your marshmallows on your sucker sticks.  I used 3 marshmallows per stick.

Pour your caramel bits into a medium sized pan and add 2 tablespoons of water.  Heat on a medium-low setting, stirring constantly until smooth.  Once your caramel is completely melted, spoon it over the marshmallow sticks.

Make sure your marshmallows are completely covered, and tap the stick gently against the side of the pan.  Remove as much of the caramel as you can by tapping the stick against the side of the pan.  This will give you less of a caramel “pool” under your treat.  Try not to wipe the marshmallows with the spoon.  The hot caramel tends to melt the marshmallow a bit, and you want to coat them with caramel without smearing marshmallow everywhere.

You may have to return your caramel to the heat for a few minutes every so often.  I’ve found that after a few minutes the caramel starts to set and becomes tricky to work with.  A return to the stove (on low) makes the caramel easier to work with.  Once you’ve coated your stick, place it on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet.  When you’ve got all your marshmallow sticks dipped, place the cookie sheet in the freezer for 15-20 minutes to set the caramel.

Melt your Candy Quik (or white chocolate) according to the directions on the package.  Dip your frozen caramel marshmallows into the white chocolate and return them to the cookie sheet.  Sprinkle with red sugar sprinkles while the white chocolate is still wet.  Return to the freezer for 10 minutes.

Melt a few chocolate chips in a Ziploc bag and snip off the tip.  Draw belts and buttons on your Santa treats.

For the belt buckles, I added a little yellow food coloring to my Candy Quik.  I put the yellow candy melt in a Ziploc bag and snipped off the tip.  Then I piped on a belt buckle.  These were so easy and fun.  The kids absolutely love them, and I probably spent $5 total to make all of them.  (I already had the sucker sticks.)

Be careful.  These little guys are sugary and rich!  Enjoy!

Our Entryway & Mudroom {Dressed up for Fall}

I’ve been working on a few projects here and there, trying to make sure our house is warm and welcoming {and clean!} for our Thanksgiving guests.  I pulled out a few more fall decorations and painted a cute sign for the top of the shoe cabinet, so I thought I’d give you guys a tour of the entryway and our “mudroom.”

This is the first thing you see when you walk into the house.  We used to have a console table that served as a dumping ground for my kids, and it drove. me. nuts.  So I popped on over to Ana White’s site and built a shoe cabinet for the kids’ shoes.

Now all our shoes are hidden away, and the cabinet is just narrow enough that the kids can’t pile all their crap on top of it.  I love it.  And it is just wide enough for me to decorate for the seasons.

See my fun new sign?  I found the tutorial on Ella Claire Inspired, and I knew I had to make it.  I used some plywood that was left over from my trumeau mirror, and as I was making it, inspiration struck!  I painted a cute Christmas sign on the back (which I’ll show you soon) so I can just flip it over in a few weeks.  Nice, huh?

On the opposite wall of the entry, just behind the front door, is my new trumeau mirror.   See that big wide base at the bottom?  It serves as a sort of doorstop for the front door.

All the kids play stringed instruments, and we needed a mirror for them to practice in.  I’m still thinking about making that whole wall into a “R” monogram wall, but it will have to wait until after the holidays, I think.

Then just down the hall is our “mudroom” of sorts–and I apologize in advance for the ugly pictures.  This hall is SO dark, and there is no natural light.  I had to use the flash.  Ugh.  Anyway, we have a really wide hall that serves as the mudroom for the kids.

This was my very first Ana White build.  When I saw the plans posted, I knew I had to overcome my fear of power tools and get building.  Mr. Type2Fun and I built this bench and shelf in a few weekends, and I never looked back.

Each kid has a basket in the shelf for homework supplies (pencils, markers, erasers, etc.) and one on the bottom for soccer balls, cleats, clogging shoes, etc.  Then they have a hook for a backpack and one for a jacket.  They use it most of the time, and it’s nice to have an actually place where things are supposed to go.  :-D

It’s been a little chilly in these parts lately.  I’ve been burning my favorite Bath & Body Works Pumpkin Caramel Latte candle, and between that and the fall decor, it feels so warm and homey around here.  It almost feels like we have an actual fall season here in Arizona!  Have you decorated for fall, or are you on to your Christmas decorating?

My Favorite {Fall} Things

It’s finally Fall!  You can tell because the weather is no longer in the triple digits here in Arizona.  We have cooled down to about 90 degrees.  ;-)  But even though we don’t officially need jackets over here, I still enjoy a lot of the traditional fun that comes with a changing season.  Like these…

I love these Pumpkin Caramel Latte candles from Bath & Body Works.  I have been burning them since October hit.  I even bought several of them because I loved the smell so much.  They make my house feel all warm and homey, like I’m baking away–which is nice because sometimes, I don’t set foot in the kitchen all day.  I always grab a few when they are 2/$20, and I make sure to use my coupons so they are extra inexpensive.  I love having a candle burning when I’m home.

I am also a big foodie, so when it is no longer scorching hot in my kitchen, some baking actually does take place.  One of my favorite yummy fall treats is November Cakes.  We made them back in August (here), but they are soooo gooey and caramel-ly (is that even a word?) that you just have to make them when the weather cools down.  My kids love them with a mug of hot chocolate in the mornings.

Another one of my favorite recipes is the Loaded Baked Potato Soup from Disneyland’s Carnation Cafe.  If you’ve never tried it, you must the next time you visit Disneyland.  It is amazing, and this recipe is pretty perfect.  Every time I make it at home, I get this overwhelming urge to go to Main Street USA.  It’s perfect for a chilly Fall evening, and you can find the recipe here.

But my very favorite new Fall flavor is this…

Oh my gosh!  This stuff is to die for.  I’m not even a big gingerbread fan, and I could seriously eat this by the spoonfuls.  You can pick it up at Trader Joe’s for about $4 a jar.  I knew we had to make something yummy with this as soon as we found it.

So I searched the web and found this yummy recipe from The Three Little Piglets.

I followed the recipe exactly, and they came out pretty dang good.  They have a little more of a muffin texture, so we even ate a couple without frosting.  My only advice would be to watch your baking time closely, because these will dry out fast.

We washed out a plastic berry container and packaged up a few for some friends.  Add some ribbon, and you’ve got the perfect Fall treat.  Yum-O!

How about you?  Do you have any Fall favorites you wait all year for?

{Spooky} Halloween Vignette

Now that I have my shoe cabinet finished, I feel all motivated to decorate for the seasons.  I didn’t think I was going to decorate for Halloween, but then Beth over at Home Stories A to Z posted her Halloween Mantles Link Party, and I was inspired!  So I pulled out the Halloween box and got to work.  I needed a wreath, but I was trying to do this on the cheap, and wreaths are so expensive.  I found this little beauty at Goodwill.

Gorgeous, no?  Yeah, not really.  But once I pulled all the ribbon and hot glue off of her, gave her a coat of spray paint, and added some Spanish moss and a dollar store raven, she was perfect.

And the vase filler for my DIY cloche?  That came from Dollar Tree, too.

Only before I got my hands on them, they were quite different.  They were an almost fluorescent shade of white.  I swear they could glow in the dark.  I added a bit of my favorite Ralph Lauren glaze, and they were perfect!

But one of my favorite items has to be my faux mercury glass potion bottles.  I was actually considering making this very item when I came across them in Kohl’s.  They were on sale for $13.99 for the set, but I had a $10 off coupon.  All three bottles cost me $4!  I couldn’t even make them for that.

Everything else I already had, so this little vignette cost me under $10.  The kids love it when we decorate for the holidays, and I have to admit, I do, too.

Have a great weekend!

 

Linking up to:  Today’s Creative Blog

 

Halloween Mantels

The Fall Decor is Going Up!

Ever have one of those days when nothing is going right?  Every single last project I was working on hit a snag yesterday.  The house was a mess and life felt chaotic.  I was D-O-N-E… and it was definitely showing in my mood, too.  Then I remembered I that it is technically autumn, even if it is still over a 100 degrees here in Arizona.  So I spent a few hours cleaning up.  Then I carted out all the fall decor and started putting a few things up in our music room, which is the first room you see when you walk in the door.

I dragged out my dollar store ceramic pumpkins…

…and my autumn vase filler.

My dollar store birds stay up year-round, but they still make me happy.  They were hideous robin-type birds from Dollar Tree, but they got the same makeup that my candlesticks did, and I adore them now.

And just like that my mood improved.  Have you ever made a few little changes to a room, and it makes all the difference?  My head feels clearer, and I can think straight again.  So now I am off to put up the rest of the fall stuff.  Those other projects can wait a few days.