Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!!!!!

I hope you and your family have a very safe and spooky Halloween tonight! Both kids had holiday parties today that I was able to attend. They are now running off bottled energy in the backyard, just waiting for trick or treating tonight. Very exciting!!! Hope you all have fun tonight!!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Halloween projects

I thought I would share a few Halloween projects I've been making. The first is a cupcake gift set I gave to a few family friends. Everything you need to make a fun set of Halloween cupcakes with your kids!! The papers are from Scrap N Supply Shack's October kit. Very fun to put together!!

See that little paint can? So cute, my good friend Beth sent that to me. It was perfect to alter it and add some M&M's. Yum!! I also made these 4x4 mini pizza boxes. I got the idea from Splitcoaster Stampers and knew I had to try them out. Here's where you can find the tutorial. I'm giving these out to co-workers tomorrow, they are of course filled with candy!!

I also shared this before, but thought i'd share it again! It's a Spooky banner I made using a Maya Road mini scalloped album and big letters I cut on my cricut. This is hanging in our living room. So spoooky!!

That's about all for now! My kids are so excited about Halloween and so am I! I will have a scary vampire and cute ladybug running around the house. Stay tuned for photos!!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Our wonderful ocean

My hubby just got home from his field trip/camping trip with his college marine biology class. They went to San Simeon, which has some of the most amazing tidepools anywhere. It was cold and foggy and misty all weekend but they found some fantastic creatures. See the mist over the ocean!!

They saw lots of things...Nudibranchs

Purple Crabs

Monkeyface Eels-look at those stripes on his head...and that bump on his head, too cool!

Clingfish(Gobiesox), these guys are so cute. They look like big tadpoles and are perfectly adapted to living in the tidepools. Why? Because they have a big sucker that lets them cling to the rocks and stay put. Gobiesox Suck Rocks!!!

Look at these kelpfish. Again, perfectly adapted to living in the green and yellow kelp!!

Sculpins. Look at that pink one!!! What color algae do you think he lives in???

Next time you look into a tidepool, you might be seeing more than you think. He found at least 50 fish in a tidepool he emptied with his students. They had a bucket brigade going and once all the water was emptied, fish just started jumping everywhere! He also visited the elephant seals. Central California is one place where the elephant seals haul out on land to have their babies and mate. How cute is this little guy??? Looks like a napping sausage!

Lots of juveniles trying out their swimming skills!

I can't wait to take the kids there. We haven't been yet with the kids and they are going to love it. Craig goes at least twice a year with his class and I think we will be going on the next trip for sure!!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

I'm in LOVE

With this book!!!!
Twilight Pictures, Images and Photos
And I didn't think I would be. I think i'm a bit late to jump on the Edward and Bella bandwagon, but my girlfriend is a BIT obsessed with it and told me we couldn't be friends anymore unless I read it. I think she is secretly filing down her husband's incisors at night so he's more vampire-like, but that's another story. So I finally picked up the book and started reading. It's definitely a page turner and it doesn't hurt that Edward is the most gorgeous vampire to ever live. Seriously.
twilight Pictures, Images and Photos
Even my son asked me the other day when I was trying to sneak in a few pages while 'watching' him in the bath...MOM! What are you reading and why can't you stop it!!! Little does he know of the lure of books, the ability of books to pull you into the story and not let you go. Well, actually maybe he does know. Every morning when he gets up (early!!!) I find him reading a book in bed. And I can't get him to come downstairs for breakfast. So I think he knows.
Twilight Pictures, Images and Photos
I knew it was bad when I left my gym bag at home and grabbed my book to take to work. I usually workout during my lunch hour, but when I grabbed the book instead so I could sneak away and read for my lunch hour, I knew RIGHT THEN I was hooked.
[twilight] Pictures, Images and Photos
Now i'm on book 2...New Moon and I need to wrap up this post so I can go read. Because I really need to get to the gym tomorrow!!!
twilight Pictures, Images and Photos

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Cake Pops and chocolate bars...the breakfast of champions!

I am a regular stalker of this awesome food blog, Bakerella. I've been wanting to make cake pops for a while now and decided this was the weekend to do it!! You can check out Bakerella's blog post for instructions. I wanted to make some pumpkins and ghosts or skeletons, but unfortunately the experience took me in a different direction. I bought some edible food writers at my local craft store...and they sucked!! They didn't write! UGH! I even had my poor husband messing with the pens and they either glopped all over the place or just didn't write. So my pumpkins ended up with half written faces and not looking too pretty...

One actually looks like he got into a pumpkin fight and has a pumpkin black eye. My white cake pops did not dip well or smoothly, for that matter. And my writers didn't work, so no cute skull faces. So I just redipped them and covered them with Halloween sprinkles (thanks mom for the sprinkles! they saved the day!!)

Despite the fact that I struggled with these for the better part of the afternoon, everybody loved them. I had a bunch of friends and their kids over Sunday and served them. I had everybody guessing, especially the adults, how I made them. My son told me they were WAY better than cupcakes...I asked him why and my daughter chimed in...because they are on a STICK silly!!! Oh...of course! Everything is better on a stick!!

I also made these, chocolate chip cheesecake bars. Oh my, these were a little slice of heaven.

They were so goooooooood. I even used real butter, no saving calories on margarine this time! My husband loves chocolate cream cheese brownies I have a recipe for, so I decided to try something different. He loved them, I loved them, my kids loved them, the neighbors loved them. It is definitely a recipe i'll make again! I got the recipe from a food blog called Dozen Flours. I want to try every recipe on her blog. Seriously!!

Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Bars
by Elinor Klivans (author) & Kirsten Strecker (photographer)

1 & 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2/3 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325°F. Butter a 9″-square baking pan. Line pan with parchment paper, leaving enough to extend over the sides. Butter the parchment paper.

Combine graham cracker crumbs and butter until crumbs are moistened. Stir in chocolate chips. Press crust mixture into bottom of pan. Bake for 6 minutes. Set pan on wire rack to cool.
Cookie Dough
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Using an electric mixer, mix butter, brown sugar, sugar, salt, and vanilla extract at medium speed until smooth. Decrease mixer speed to low and add flour. Mix just until incorporated. Stir in chocolate chips. Set aside.

10 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar just until smooth. Add egg and vanilla extract, beating just until blended. Pour batter into baked crust. Drop cookie dough by teaspoonfuls over the top of the filling.

Bake about 30-35 minutes, or until set. Transfer to wire rack.

For chocolate topping, melt 1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips in a double boiler or in the microwave. (Tip: put the chocolate chips into a zipper bag and heat on 50% power for a few minutes. Cut the corner off the bag and squeeze the bag to make drizzling less messy). Use a teaspoon to drizzle chocolate over top of bars. Cool bars in pan completely, about an hour. (Stick the bars in the freezer for 5 minutes to set quickly if you're in a hurry).

Using the edges of the parchment paper, remove bars from pan. Cut into bars (clean the knife after each cut) and serve.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Coaster Box

I did this tutorial for a Coaster Box when I was the guest designer at Moments 2 Remember and thought i'd share it here. This is a great way to give a little holiday gift or just a thinking of you gift. You will need 5 3x3 or 4x4 sized coasters (get from your local bar!!) or cut pieces of plain chipboard to that size. You'll also need strong adhesive, modpodge, your favorite patterned paper, ribbon and matching embellies.

Cut your patterned paper to the size of your coasters (either 3x3 or 4x4). Adhere the paper to coasters using Modpodge or another strong adhesive.

Measure out equal spaces on the side of your coaster and punch 3 holes on each side. I used my cropodile.

Using the ribbon you picked out, tie all sides of the box together.

Then using your strong adhesive, line the 5th coaster around the edges with your adhesive. Attach it to the bottom of the box and let it sit and dry until it's good and tight!!

You could also cover both sides of the coasters with paper or paint if you don't like the raw chipboard showing. Then, fill it with whatever you want. A bag of candy, a scented candle, bath goodies, coffee, tea...wouldn't this make a super cute Halloween box for a neighbor or friend filled with fun Halloween goodies???

Go make one today!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Santa Barbara Zoo

This is my favorite zoo. Okay, I haven't really been to that many for comparison, but we love the SB zoo. It's small enough to do in a few hours without too many hills. Walking is not a problem, no need to rent a stroller anymore. You can feed the giraffes...

Feed the Lorikets...

Aren't those birds the most beautiful birds ever??? After this trip to the zoo last weekend, we went up to the pier and walked around. Got HUGE waffle ice cream cones, I think the kids were a bit overwhelmed!!

Kevin managed to finish his, but Kayla's went half eaten. It was also half melted by the time she parted with it. What a mess!! Even though it was rainy and cloudy and a bit cold...

...we had a great day together!!

Friday, October 10, 2008

What's Missing???

What is missing from this picture?????

Monday, October 6, 2008

Enchanted Garden Party

Kayla's 5th birthday party was last weekend and i'm finally getting around to sharing some pics. Let's start off with the cake...made by ME!! I had so much fun with this. The cake took about 2 hours in the oven to set up completely!

We also had matching cupcakes for the party. We had a real fairy princess come to the party for face painting...

A Butterfly Glider contest to see who could throw theirs the furthest...

Lots of parachute fun after the fairy FINALLY finished painting faces...

A Fairy treasure hunt where the kids had to find pieces to a puzzle, put the puzzle together to find the clue to where the fairy treasure box was. And the treasure??? Pixie sticks, of course!!

And 5 birthday candles on a cupcake!! Gee...that face painting didn't last long, did it!!

I think everyone had a good time, Kayla had a blast, we had fun and cleanup wasn't too bad. It was a beautiful day to be outside, a beautiful day to turn 5!!