Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Mess Free Finger Painting

I am primarily a stay at home mom, so I am always looking for fun new ways to pass the hours especially on those dreadful "rainy days". Well it turned out this was one of those and I had found just the pin for it!
Find the pin here 
I had recently bought and stored away the 2 main components of the pin: paint and gallon size ziploc baggies. I bought washable finger paint...just incase the bags did not stay sealed and the Ziploc brand bags with the actual zipper so I knew that they were indeed sealed.

After that it was simple. I taped down 2 sheets of white paper. Put a generous squeeze of two colors in each bag. Pressed out as much air as possible and zipped them closed. Then I taped over the zipper for extra precaution. I taped the bags down to the table with blue painters tape and that was it! They were SUPER easy and it says in the blog where I found them that you can peel them up and just store the bags for reuse! 

All the materials I used :)

Little Miss 

She really liked pressing puzzle pieces into make imprints :)

Happy Rainy Day Pinning!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Valentine’s Cookies

So I may be a working mom (and I love it) but I also love being a good daycare mom. Juggling those two things can be hectic but I am getting the hang of it! Lucky for me, I have my pinning partner in crime/ex-teacher who laid down the “good school mom rules” for me last year.  I learned that holiday parties at school are an important time for me to step up and pitch in. So now, I always try and send something for the teacher, something for the class and when appropriate, something for each little kiddo.

The most recent holiday festivity at daycare was Valentine’s day. I saw this pin and loved the idea!!


I was telling friends at work how I was going to make cookies and put heart shaped chocolate in the center instead of Hershey kisses. Well I have a friend who had one of “those” mom’s, the BEST school mom out of everyone. He insisted I make heart shaped cookies with heart shaped chocolates if I REALLY wanted to be a good mom (and that’s what his mom would do). So of course, I had to step up to the plate!

Let me start with…I’ve never made cut out cookies before. I’m sure I did plenty as a kid, but I can’t remember what I wore yesterday let alone what I did 25 years ago. So I got everything I needed to make the cookies and one night while my kiddo was eating his dinner, I started the debacle of me and the cookies. Betty Crocker has it down for dummies, the instructions on my sugar cookie packet had separate instructions for cut out cookies versus regular round ones! Thanks for that Betty. So I followed the instructions and still learned a valuable lesson: You need A LOT of flour! I am sure seasoned bakers can do with less, but me, I went through a few a cups trying to keep it all from sticking.

To sum up the debacle, I started with dough sticking to the rolling pin. Then dough sticking to the cutting board. Then more dough sticking to both (around the edges where I clearly didn’t flour enough). Finally, I got the hang of it and cut out some heart shaped cookies!

After the baking was done, I learned another valuable lesson: DO NOT move the cookies from the sheet pan to a cooling rack!!! After moving this cookie, I cleared some fridge space, put down hot pads, and put both sheet pans directly in the fridge to cool, worked like a charm.
This is what happens when you try and move the cookies to cool:
Melted the chocolate instantly :(
All in all, by the end, I got the hang of it, made some cute and yummy cookies and everyone was happy! I even packaged them in cute white and red polka dot boxes to send to school!

My Final Product

Happy Pinning! ~ Val

Toddler Foods List

So while scrolling through Pinterest yesterday, I happen to stumble upon a pin for a Toddler Foods List (LINK). Obviously the list itself wasn’t overly helpful since I already have a toddler and feed him for that matter! However I LOVED the original poster’s idea of storing the list. I find myself instructing grandparents of what foods in the house are okay for my son on a regular basis. Whelp, problem solved!

I wrote and printed off my list, found a sheet protector and voila! Best part is, you can write on the sheet protector with a dry erase marker, so if something from the list isn’t in the kitchen, I can simply cross it off the list of possibilities.
I also added my son’s daily schedule. This is another thing I end up reiterating to everyone.

The List

The List Posted in the Cabinet
Happy Pinning! ~ Val

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Love Map Art

My husband and I have been together for 12 years. And although HE says we no longer have to celebrate our "dating" anniversary....I say we DO. Its at the end of February so I have been trying to come up with something personal but not pricey as my gift to him. Then I remembered this pin!
This is so perfect for us :) We met in college (Salisbury University) and then moved back home to Baltimore County and got married there. Now we live in PA. So three hearts from three different place and times in our relationship.

I checked out the tutorial (click on link above) and it pretty simple. However, I was NOT going to search around forever for a frame to redo. So I bought one at Target for $24.99. It's a nice frame. Basic black with 2 glass panes you put pictures in between. Simple, clean, done.

Now I needed maps to cut out. I thought about printing maps off the internet but they wouldn't have that "map" feel so I needed real maps. I looked up the prices for maps on not as cheap as I wanted. Then I remembered the roadside welcome center 5 minutes from my house! Free Maps! Tons and Tons of them. This was the PA Welcome Center but they also had MD roadmaps and gave me 2 of each state for free! Score :)

Next I had to decide how to do the heart shape. They needed to be uniform and I didn't want to free hand them like the tutorial. So I used a large heart cookie cutter as my template. So easy. I actually got a set of 4 heart shaped cookie cutters on clearance for a $1 at Walmart after Valentines day. The large one worked perfectly. Traced and cut them out..took 5 minutes.

Then I chose a simple font and printed out the captions on regular printer paper. Used a glue dot to secure each heart and cut them to the same size squares. Another glue dot to stick them to the glass pane and I was done! 

Here is the finished product :)
before it was hung

up on the wall :)
Happy Pinning!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Press & Seal Fridge FAIL

Ok I'm not going to spend a lot of time on this one. But we said we would share the good, bad and ugly. This one would fall under "bad".

I am always looking for easy cleaning tips. So I saw this pin about putting Press & Seal paper on your fridge shelves and thought thats simple and seems like it would be affective.

Buying the Press & Seal was easy and cheap so I figured why not? Well then I tried to "press and seal" it to my fridge shelves. I washed and dried them thoroughly. Tried to press. No luck. Tried to seal. No dice. My shelves look just like the ones in the picture. But it DID NOT WORK. 

Oh well, I have come to love Press & Seal for left overs. So at least I have that. 

Happy Pinning!

Pink Chocolate Chip Cookies

Valentine's Day motivated a lot of pins in my household...(check out the Heart Shaped Crayons :) due to the fact that my daughter had her first Valentine's Day party at day care. I signed up to bring cookies and I wanted to bring something yummy and unique.

Pinterest is great for recipes. But as I've learned, they can be a little to schamancy for my taste or baking ability. I searched for a while and settled on these PINK chocolate chip cookies!
Find the pin HERE
I actually found another pin initially but after reading some reviews I found out that they had some issues and they had redone the recipe. Which is the recipe I used. 

I really like this recipe because it was EASY! Sugar cookie mix + powdered sugar + flour + egg whites + red food coloring + butter + chocolate chips. Thats pretty much it! You should really follow the directions and not bake longer than 10 minutes because they will start to brown...which would make them NOT pink :) 

The only thing I would have done is really committed and added some more food coloring. But all in all, they turned out great. Tasty & pink! 

Happy Pinning!

Heart Shaped Crayon Valentines

Color Your Heart Out!

As an elementary school teacher for almost 10 years, I have received A LOT of valentines. I totally understand the convenience of buying the prepackaged valentines in the box. But having received somewhere around 300 of them... I wanted to make unique Valentines for my daughter to take to her daycare exchange.

Now months and months ago, I saw this pin and thought they were so cute! And as luck would have it I came across a heart shaped Wilton pan on clearance at Michaels (one of my happy places) in the fall which I immediately snatched up for $2.50. And then I waited..... :)

February was finally here! It was finally time to make the crayons. I have tubs of crayons in my basement from my aforementioned teaching days so I didn't have to buy any crayons. I know the pin says use old broken crayons....but you are going to need more than a few broken pieces and a variety of colors too. So go buy a pack or 2 of 24 crayons. I had mostly Crayola but I doubt the brand or type matters.

All excited, I started peeling the crayons by hand. BIG MISTAKE. Not only is it annoying, its takes forever and makes a huge mess. So I ran off to the interwebs and found out that you should just use a utility knife and slice down the side...and wahla. That was so easy that I ended up peeling A LOT of crayons.

Now it was time to melt the crayons. When I actually read the pin above it said that she "couldn't imagine how to use a metal pan" since she had a tough time getting the crayons out of the silicone pan she used. GREAT. My clearance pan is METAL. Of course I ran back to Pinterest and found this pin which was perfect! (note the metal pan :)

Heart Shaped Crayons

Now what I also liked about this pin was that she made solid colored crayons as opposed to the mixed up swirly ones. I am a crayon purist apparently and I wanted to make solid colored ones. I followed the directions from blogspot show in the picture is the link. Most important things: 1) spray the pan with cooking spray and 2) freeze them after melting the wax. Here are some pics of my first batch ( I made like 5 batches...I said I peeled A LOT of crayons)
Before Melting

After Melting

Pretty cute!

Once I had all 48 crayons completed I had to figure out how to package them. I went to google and searched for some templates and labels. I pinned the circle template and the labels so I could use them again next year. (Hey I already have the pan....) I bought mini red and white gift bags at..yup...Michaels for 59¢ each. Stuck the crayons on the circles and the labels on the bags. I really loved how cute they were! Each toddler got 3 easy to hold heart shaped crayons to color for Valentines from my daughter...I felt like a good mommy on Valentines Day :) 

Happy Valentines & Happy Pinning!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Crockpot Chicken Tacos

If you can't tell by now, I like to keep it simple. When reviewing the various recipes on Pinterest, I like to save the ones with the fewest ingredients and easiest cooking methods. That brings me back to my slow cooker and the 3 ingredient Crock pot Chicken Tacos fit the bill!

Since I had chicken breasts on hand, I used what I had left, 5 Purdue boneless skinless breasts, and purchased one 16 oz. jar of Pace salsa and a pack of Taco Seasoning. Mix the seasoning with the sauce and pour over the chicken, that's it.

I cooked it on high for 4 hours, shredding the chicken at the 3 hour mark and giving it an hour to soak up all that salsa/taco mix goodness.

Serve with soft or hard tacos, lettuce, cheese, sour cream or anything of your liking and you have a family friendly dinner everyone will enjoy!!
LINK to Recipe 

Happy Pinning! ~ Valarie

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Easy Storage Cabinet Update

I have small cabinet in my powder room. Its simple with clean lines so I like that. What I don't like is the clear-ish window panes in the front that make it very easy for everyone to see what I'm storing in there. Sorry boys but yes my feminine products have to be stored somewhere. Anyway when I came across this pin about sprucing up plastic storage drawers with scrapbook paper I immediately thought of this cabinet!
Original Pinterest Pin with Plastic Organizer
Ok pretty easy, right? Buy the paper, cut the paper, glue/modge podge the paper. In my case I did not Modge Podge the paper in. I simply measured 3 identical sized pieces for each window pane and cut them out. Put a small dot of hot glue in each corner and stuck them in. I wanted the ability to take them out if I want since I used scrapbook paper that matched the black/white damask motif I have going in my powder room (well my whole house actually...). So EASY! Once I remembered to buy the paper, which was 59¢ a sheet...It took me literally 5 minutes to measure, cut and glue. Here are the before and after :)

Happy Pinning!