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up to my eyeballs in cakepops...

Friday, October 30


just wanted to post a quick glimpse into what my morning looked like today. i've got lots more pictures to share...(the ghost-version cake pops)...but i'm running these little treats up to the school.

IF...and i mean "IF"...i am consumed with halloween festivities for the rest of the day and i don't get another chance to post...
hope you all have a "SPOOK"tacular halloween...& be safe out there...

* cake pops inspired by the infamous bakerella...thanks for the ongoing inspiration!

"boo"tiful cookies...seriously!

Wednesday, October 28


oh how i wish i could claim having made all of these "boo"tiful cookies. i can tell you that i absolutely adore what marian from sweetopia can do with cookies. i mean look at the details in each one of those cookies!! it's SERIOUSLY amazing. i'm officially stating that i idolize & worship her abilities. not only is she brilliantly creative...she's also willing to share her secrets and tips. you MUST go check out her site. there are some A.D. orable frog & princess cookies you MUST see.

here's to my new-found friend - or in her own words..."cookie-decorating hobbyist"! (hobbyist? what? she needs to be selling these things...)

you ROCK the cookies!

fan of coldplay?

Tuesday, October 27

fan of coldplay? i know i am. as soon as i saw the post on twitter by @dearlizzy regarding some free music i went straight away and downloaded it. you should too. here' the link: coldplay

going to the pumpkin patch tonight, followed by creative carving...i'll take pics.
i've got the dinner in the crockpot ready to go and i've been able to get a good bulk done on my "to-do" list today. still have lots of crazy "loose ends" to tie up for halloween festivities know... ella's 1st birthday party. *wink*

the apple...


she adores them.
she goes crazy for them.
she squeals with excitement over them.
and she'll carry one around for hours if you let her.

but to eat it?
no teeth.
no luck.
only when mom cuts them up for her. *wink*

here's to a "tremendously productive" tuesday....

and for fun...don't forget to vote for your favorite holiday card.
see THIS post and then use the poll on the side bar...

they can't decide...

Monday, October 26


here are 3 holiday cards i finished for the shaw family...
they love all 3 of them and are having a hard time deciding which one they love most...
help them out - pick your fave & fill out the poll i've posted to the right...
you could even leave a comment as to the reason why...if you like.
i love hearing your thoughts...

happy monday people...waiting another day or two before posting the "how-to" on the invites i made. (i want to give everyone the opportunity to receive them in the mail before unveiling all of the details...) *wink*


5 minutes + 2 months = wonderful holiday gift

Friday, October 23

that's right...get a head-start on your holiday gift-giving by making some homemade vanilla.
i stumbled across the idea a few weeks ago and i've been itchin' to do it. it takes two months to "cure" so if you do it this weekend it'll be "perfect" for christmas.

i've already done mine. today. ten minutes ago.

homemade vanilla

it took less than 5 minutes and...well...that's it.
now all i have to do is order some cute bottles (maybe from here) and then print off the labels.
who wouldn't want some homemade vanilla? i know i would. *wink*

the recipe calls for 1 cup of vodka. i personally want to keep some for myself, (not the vodka people...come on)... AND give as gifts. if you'd like to do the same, i suggest tripling the recipe?

photo overlay: goam.17.ttvf from flickr

little ella pie...


some of my favorite pics from the other day - i caught ella staring at herself in the mirror...with her duck. (and no i didn't interrupt her in order to fix the gigantic bow stuck to the middle of her forehead...) *laughing*
FINALLY got all of the birthday invites mailed off. i'll be posting a "how-to" next week so you can get a peek into the entire process. it was fun...glad they are officially in the mail and on their way.

it's friday...have a beautiful weekend in your part of the world...
i'll be enjoying the annual mt. dora craft fair! (i can smell the fresh popped kettle corn already). heaven...

get your "spook" on

Wednesday, October 21

that's right's time to get your spook on!
where was i yesterday? i was up to some "ghoulishly" fun projects.
the projects actually started on sunday evening. the girls & i began the prep work for our annual "phantom pumpkin".

the phantom pumpkin is a tradition i started about 14 years ago. (did i just say that?) it's an idea i got from the dixon family. i was close to them during my teenage years and they would do this annual tradition in their family and i soooo said i would do this when i had a little family of my own.

what you do is, every october - a week or so before halloween - you put little treats together for your friends or neighbors and you "doorbell ditch" them. along with the treats you leave behind, you also leave a "note of instructions" encouraging them to pass along the kindness by doing the same thing for their friends or other neighbors.

i've seen some things circulating on the web over the past week...apparently this is NOT a new idea. however, it looks like most people refer to it as "boo-ing" your neighbors or friends and it incorporates a picture of a little ghost. i've turned it into a "pumpkin" theme but it doesn't matter HOW you choose to do it - it's all good fun. (and frankly, for me personally, my goal was to take the "scariness" out of the holiday and add some wholesome goodness to it).

we end up doing things just a little different every year. if we have the time & energy to do home-baked goods then we go for it. if not, packaged candy works just as well.

this year, thankfully, we had the time & energy. and's what we started working on sunday evening:

sugar cookies with royal icing...

keeping it real - sunday night was a bit of a disaster. we weren't doing the piping bags correctly - my fault - and we ended up with a lot o' mess and little patience. i went to bed worried the girls, (mostly ema), would never want to do any sort of creative project with me ever again.

but monday i took the day to regroup while the girls were at school and i figured out the
way you are SUPPOSED to pipe royal icing. it's AMAZING how much of a difference it made - not only in our cookies, but in our attitudes and in our end result. what had started out as torturous ended up being a lot of fun.

we started out with small cookies on sunday and then upgraded to a batch of large cookies for monday night.

here are the large cookies:

this was ema's favorite that she made.
(i helped write "beware" but the idea & sprinkles were all her own)

and here's clara's favorite. she used little candy jimmies for the spider - so cute.

i picked this one as my favorite just because of the creative genius behind it...
(the only other thing to salvage a broken cookie would be to eat it). *wink*

and here are our 3 big cookie picks together...adorable, aren't they?!

and then there were the smaller cookies from sunday night...
despite our piping problems they still turned out really cute!

clara was so proud of her "pacman-like" ghost

i think this little "boo" cookie came out cute - despite the air bubbles

and em liked this green "blob" cookie she created -
it looks so "monsterish" with the mix of green & orange sprinkles

we finished up the cookies monday night
& began packaging up the goods tuesday afternoon

we decided to put the cookies in these little bags i had leftover from many moons ago...

along with the cookies we added candy too.
here's em prepping the m&m's.

and i could NOT resist getting these cute little morsels.
i ADORE the candycorn-ish wrapping - although i find the taste to be too sweet for me.
i bought these strictly for the wrapper-appeal...
are these not the cutest?

here's one finished bag - compliments of clara.
we used two different packaging options -
a large white kraft bag or a smaller "take-out" box

i'm so proud of how hard they worked together to get this done.
(don't be mistaken...em got off track several times and quit a couple of "jobs"
before deciding that making dinner & doing dishes was NOT the better option.) *wink*

and so here they are...
all packaged up and ready to go.
(they even wrote names on the bottoms of the packaging
since they picked out special cookies for each family/house).
didn't clara do a GREAT job at arranging these on the table for me to take a picture?

all loaded up in the tray and ready to be transported to the car.
(notice the "spooked" sign stuck in there? more details to come)

& not every year...but some years...
we dress up in camouflage to help take things to that next level...
this year proved to be one of those years...*wink*

this time last year, little ella pie was a month out from being born...
and now she's in my arms...participating with us.
& obviously confused about what's going on...*laughing*

j was the "get-away" driver this year which allowed me to do the doorbell ditching with the girls. it was a good time. (and even after 2 hours of deliveries, we still have 4 more houses to do). our list really SHOULDN'T consist of 10 homes, but since we are the ones that "kick-start" the tradition every year, it's hard for us to NOT include so many families. (and we STILL can't get to everyone we'd really like to).

and so....since i can't possibly "spook" all of you...
i figured i'd help you all get your own "spook" on...

THIS is what i've been wanting to share with you....
THIS is my little project that i've mentioned a couple of times.
THIS is my very own original version of the "phantom pumpkin".
and i want you to have it...

(simply click on the link to download & then print)

Phantom Pumpkin PDF height="500" width="100%" > value="">
i hope you LOVE it but more importantly, i hope you USE it. (and if for some reason you don't love my "spooking" version are a couple of links to some other sites offering printable "boo-ing" instructions). familycrafts & beenbooed

halloween hugs & cRyPtiC kisses to you all....

(if you have any issues printing the .pdf let me know. this is the first time i've used scribd).

picture-perfect (moment & weekend)

Monday, October 19

how about THIS picture-perfect polaroid of ella - taken this morning. she's been most fascinated with "toilette" paper...ripping it to shreds right off of the roll. it's become one of her most favorite things to do, as of late... she's lucky she's so darn cute...*wink*

hope you all had a beautiful weekend. the weather here was spectacular...highs in the upper 60's low 70's. it was "picture-perfect" weather - so that means it was also "perfect-picture" weather. which leads me to my happy announcement that my camera and i have officially become reunited... this comes after 6 weeks in repair and $310 dollars later). grrrrr! i was so happy to pick it up on friday. NOT so happy to hand over the money.

without my camera, i would have missed out on this:

may i introduce you to....

miss lily

i was lucky enough to be able to take pictures for her & her beautiful family over the weekend...
this picture was one of my favorite candids...look at those sure are beautiful miss lily... i'm looking forward to looking through the rest of their pictures.

i've got lots of running around to do today. but i wanted to mention that i was able to work on the little project i'm making for you. i'm hoping to share it with all of you on, watch for it.

in the meantime...make the most of your monday!

* i used that darn poladroid to convert my photo to a polaroid...yeah...i's cool, isn't it?

happy "poladroid" friday...

Friday, October 16 friend celeste posts a link about "poladroid" and so i HAD to go check it out and play with it. (i mean afterall....if it's good enough for JT...then it's good enough for me...right?)

those are raw pics from this morning..."pre-getting ready for the day" pics. (shhh...hadn't even brushed my teeth yet...*laughing*)
but ella's tummy was full - that counts for something?

poladroid is easy. fun. and i love the sound effect it makes when you click and drag your photo into the polaroid icon. (and then it actually sits and develops on your a real polaroid) -! and honestly anything will make those phone pictures of mine look better. *wink*

polaroids are making a come back...just incase you didn't know. you can add polaroid effects to your photos by using rollip too. there's a new fuji instax camera that produces "mini" pics...and here's a side by side comparison that elsie did - a polaroid and a fuji - right next to each other.

here's to the start of a happy friday! and a great weekend...
what choo got?

a little sneaky peek...

Thursday, October 15

so after much deliberation, i've decided to give you a "sneaky peek" at ella's birthday invite. (i, of course would reveal the entire thing except that i know there are those of you out there who will be receiving these in the mail. and shouldn't there be SOME sort of element of surprise?...i think so?) *wink*

this is a "phone picture" taken straight from the computer monitor...image quality is lovely, isn't it? *snickering*

the colors are chocolate brown...wait a already KNOW the colors. i've only been dreaming up this little party for the last few months. you remember the colors from this post...nevermind the details then. (and by the way - the little ella pie turned 11 months old yesterday....*gasp*...followed by a really long *sigh*)

i'm working on something for all of you. something i'd like to share - just because i want to. it's a little something for the upcoming holiday...and i'm hoping you'll love it and use it and share it. (and now that i've mentioned it, i must be fully committed to finishing it for you - i LOVE the accountability). for must wait.

...enjoy the rest of your thursday!


Wednesday, October 14


do you hear it? the magic? it's the new song by owl city. it's called fireflies. it's a happy little song. still don't hear it? here's the magical video. push play. & enjoy.

**and thanks goes to rhonna for the heads-up about it yesterday on her blog. so refreshing.
and you can bet your bottom dollar i'll be trying out the pumpkin butter she posted about too.

finalizing the birthday invite order this morning. should i give you a sneak peak? or save it as a surprise? hmmm....let me think about that.

wednesday...make it magical.

a beautiful tuesday...

Tuesday, October 13

hello world. it's a beautiful tuesday morning. and here are some beautiful things i have found that i'd like to share with you:

first of all, it's all bakerella's fault. (if she hadn't posted these beautiful cupcake stands yesterday, i wouldn't have been led to the other beautiful things i found from victorian trading co.)... thanks bakerella...*wink* go see her post with her snickerdoodle cookie cupcakes beautifully displayed on these stands...

(i'll take the window in the background, the piece of furniture AND the cupcake stands...please)

i was then led to these retro/vintage-gorgeous-pieces-of-refrigeration-goodness...
i would be soooo happy to wake up everyday and pour myself a cold glass of rice milk from one of these gems! are these NOT spectacular? (thank you victorian trading co.). for a measly 5k, one of these could be yours...*wink*

next on the list...(also from victorian trading co.)

something about this cookbook holder just screams, "this belongs to jessica!"
there's that darn blue color again...perfect for those dream kitchens i shared with you...

and skipping right over to martha's site...a random picture that just made me happy...

i LOVE the color of that car and i LOVE that car
and then throw the pompoms on there and it's soooo perfect!
and the "just married" font used on the sign ties in the entire "vintage feel" - it's delicious to the eyes...

and then i have a crappy picture to share with you...being that it's from my phone...

the quality just does NOT do justice to the beautiful things pictured here.
these are the elements that are finally coming together for little ella pie's party!
see that gorgeous fabric i picked up over the was a steal!
thanks mom...for making me make a decision - i love the fabric even more each time i look at it! it was the right choice. *wink*

and so, there you have it. some beautiful things on this beautiful tuesday.
and if things don't seem so beautiful in your little corner of the world...find a way to make it beautiful. hugs to you all!

french lace cookies...

Friday, October 9

i've been itching to make these "french lace cookies" that i stumbled across a couple of weeks ago. i've never made them before and thought they might be something worth trying - & perhaps something i could have as part of ella's mini french bakery birthday party. (i know...i know...the party is still a month out and you are already tired of hearing about it).

anyway - here's how i spent part of my day on friday...won't you join me for some "french lace cookies - 101"...

please melt 10 TBSP. unsalted butter on low heat.

spread pecans on parchment lined baking sheet

don't these look scrumptious? these must be toasted for about 7 minutes @ 350.

while the pecans are toasting and the butter is melting prepare next ingredients

when pecans are done toasting...see how golden brown they've turned?
and i must admit they smelled delicious too.

after cooling for a minute or two these morsels must be chopped into small pieces.

butter is all done melting. it's time to add brown sugar.

after making sure there aren't any lumps in the brown sugar, kindly add the corn syrup, cream, vanilla & salt.

after mixing, stir in the flour, oats and chopped pecans.

tasty looking concoction...isn't it?

spoon 1 tsp. onto cookie sheet. it's very important to have them at least 3 inches apart.

wow - after 7 minutes of baking....
look how big they are.

and how thin, too. craziness!
let them cool for 2 minutes and then remove to cooling rack with metal spatula.

in sweden, the "rolled-up" version is apparently popular.
so i attempted it with my mini fondant roller. pretty good. kind of big though.
(and this must be done while the cookies are still warm)

so then i tried something with a smaller circumference; my wire whisk. - a little bit better.

how about just rolling it up with my hands? hmmm? too small?

here are the three side-by-side.
they are okay. i think i'll just leave them flat.

this is the reason they call them "lace" cookies.
when you hold them up to a light source there's a see-thru pattern resembling lace.
this picture almost makes them look like rice krispies?
they taste NOTHING like rice krispies though.

i decided the first batch is too big.
so instead of using 1 tsp. per cookie, i only used 1/2 tsp. this time.

the 1/2 tsp. were better but then i thought "why not make a "mini" size to go along with...
you guessed it....ella's mini french bakery theme.

so i tried 1/8 tsp. instead.
that is hardly ANY batter people. look at that!

even with that small amount of still produced a good-sized cookie.
here are all three.

i ended up eating quite a bit of these, unfortunately. i mean, they are so light and crisp that it hardly feels like you are eating anything. i think they were "okay". they weren't the most fabulous cookie i've ever eaten but they were "different". and i like different. and if you want to make a lot of cookies with a little bit of dough....THIS is the cookie recipe for you. i figured i could get 210+ cookies using the 1/8 tsp...isn't that ridiculous?

so...not sure if i'll make these for ella's party or not. they are delicate cookies. but again...there would be plenty to feed a crowd? (still thinking)

hope you have a marvelous monday. i have some fun things to share tomorrow.

oh...and if you want the recipe to the cookies, it can be found here.
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