Valentine’s Strawberry Heart Donuts

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Just thought I’d share the sweet treats I baked up to add some festive-ness to the day – baked vanilla donuts with strawberry glaze.

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In case you’re wondering how I did it, you can find the recipe here. Beware though. The recipe says it makes 8-10 donuts.

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That estimation is incorrect.

 

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Valentine Fortune Cookies

I thought I’d quickly share the fun treats Dan and I made for my little cousins this Valentine’s Day – homemade fortune cookies!

Following this recipe (yes, I trusted Paula Deen to come up with a way to make fortune cookies – no butter in these at all, what?), I made the batter, spread thin circle on a silicone baking mat,

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and folded the burning hot cookies.

How to fold: First, drop th fortune in the botto half of the cookie circle. Then, bring the top part down to meet the bottom. Finally, bring the cornered edges togetehr to form the traditional fortune cookie.

I let the cookies harden up while hanging on a drinking glass.

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The key is to move quickly – drop the fortune in, fold the cookie, let it hang. You really want to move as fast as possible because the cookies are so very hot when you take them out of the oven.

I came up with fortunes like “Dream Big!” “Hugs!” and “You’re the best!” I hand wrote them on small pieces of light pink scrapbook paper.

When the fortune cookies cooled, I put 3 to a cute hearts bag, and tied a Toy Story 3 valentine to it.

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What a cute little treat!

Valentine’s Day Mantel

I finally got my Valentine’s Day decor up. There’s not much of it, so it was really just laziness that it took me so long.

Last year, I showed you the heart garland and heart pillow that I made. Those have been put to use again.

The main upgrade for this year was the mantel I decorated in our living room.

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It’s the first thing you notice when you walk into the apartment, so I like to keep it festive and change the decor out each season/holiday.

The wall art in the frames were easy to do. I printed out this printable from Scrapaholics.

For the red frame, I found a Valentine’s Day card I had given Dan last year, centered it in the frame, then backed it with pink scrapbook paper.

Those little tea light holders are from Ikea, though I bought them years ago and doubt they are still available.

I still had some of those felt cut out hearts from last year laying around, so I used some leftover red ribbon (from Christmas) and some mini laundry pins to hang them.

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Pretty simple, but I really like the way it looks.

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NYE Ball Drop Cake Pops

Happy new year to all!

Yes, this post is a couple days late, but better late than never.

I’ve had a great couple weeks of holiday fun, so I wasn’t posting as regularly. Alas, my holiday mini-vacation is over and it’s back to my normal schedule starting today.

I had to share these fun cupcakes and cake pops.

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The dropping ball is a chocolate donut hole dipped in glaze and silver sprinkles.

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The cupcake itself is funfetti.

I won’t chronicle the making of this dessert, other than to say that I used a cake pop maker. My review: it’s an OK product, but buying a spherical cake mold would probably be better.

I had some extra cake pops, so I wrapped them up pretty and brought them separately.

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We had a great time ringing in the new year with family and friends that we are blessed to have in our lives.

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I wish you a healthy and happy 2013! Here’s to another great year!

Tree Trimming with DIY Felt Garland

Christmas Craft #2 this year is complete! (See Craft #1 here if you missed it.)

I had intended to make felt circle garland for my Christmas tree last year. Somehow, the holidays got away from me and a couple days before Christmas, I realized (1) I hadn’t cut out any of the felt circles, (2) I didn’t have access to a sewing machine, and (3) there is no way the garland was being made in time for Christmas this year. Oh well, the best laid plans.

This year, I set out on this project early, so I could get it done. Even then, I was still frantically cutting out circles while at my in-laws’ house to use their sewing machine. This project definitely got some big help from my family.

I used this blog tutorial as my basis for the project. It had the wonderful idea of ironing freezer paper to the felt to get better shaped circles. Genius.

Once the freezer paper was ironed on, I used a shot glass and a sharpie to trace a ton of circles.

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You can guess what came next – lots of cutting. In total, we used 2 sheets of felt each of red, white, and green.

When the circles were cut out, it only took a little tug to remove the freezer paper from the felt.

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To make the sewing process go quicker, we stacked the circles in the order they needed to be sewn: red, white, green.

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Finally, Dan’s mom got out her old and trusty sewing machine and showed me how to use it in a very, very basic way. I found it most difficult to keep sewing at a steady pace while having to constantly feed another circle into the sewing machine.

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I ended up only sewing about 20 circles myself until the pros took over and I went back to my great skill: cutting.

We ended up with a pretty long piece of garland that was maybe 25 feet long.

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Dan draped it on the tree the next day, and I was so happy to have the cute whimsical garland I’d been wanting for over a year.

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We’ll be sure to enjoy this craft for years to come.

Last Year’s Advent Calendar, This Year’s Activities

Remember this Advent Calendar that I made last year?

Well, I pulled it out of the Christmas decoration box and put it right up on the wall.

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I’ve been coming up with Christmas activities for us to do over the last few weeks, and I made a printable, cut out list.

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I decided this would be easier than making tags again. Just print, cut, and you’re done.

All I needed was the calendar itself to get the days of merriment rolling.

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The Advent calendar starts on December 1, so I’m ready to go for whatever Christmas fun is lined up for tomorrow.

Happy almost December! I can’t wait for the season of Christmas lights, hot chocolate, family, and friends to begin!

Star with Royal Beauty Bright

As I mentioned on Monday, we decorate for the holidays on the day after Thanksgiving. While watching Elf.

I love how homey and peaceful the apartment feels with the glowing lights of the Christmas tree, so I always want the tree and decor up as soon as possible. That works fine for the stuff we put out every year, but not for all the wonderful Christmas crafts I always intend to make, then run out of time.

Not this year. I picked out just a few crafts to make, so I wouldn’t overwhelm myself in trying to make a winter wonderland in my living room. One of the first items on my list to make was this natural wooden star, which I think turned out quite well.

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Making it only took about half an hour, once I gathered up all the sticks from outside. It wasn’t super easy finding suitable sticks while walking down local streets in Chicago, but I made do with what was there.

To keep the sticks together, Dan drilled little holes in the sticks and used thin wire.

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I didn’t like how the wire looked, so I took some red, white, and green yarn and wrapped it around the wire for a bit of whimsy.

I wanted it to light up, so I strung mini battery powered LCD lights through the branches.

I knew the perfect place to put the star – on the shelf behind our couch. It’s the first thing you see when you walk in.

The star looked lonely up there buy itself, so I added a mini Christmas tree with old looking bells, a sparkly white dove, and a framed Christmas saying. First, I had the famous Elf quote: “The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.” See above. But, as much as it made me smile every time I saw it, the print didn’t really go with the more natural, toned down elements in the room that I wanted.

Out went the Elf print and in went this wonderful chalkboard printable that I got from here.

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Yes, I jumped on the chalkboard bandwagon. I love the look.

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Christmas craft project #1 this season…SUCCESS!