Thursday, December 29, 2011

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Caramel Puffed Wheat

8:35 AM 1 Comments

If you love caramel popcorn you might like caramel puffed wheat. I love caramel popcorn but hate popping the corn and sifting it to make sure there isn't any unpopped kernels. I know it's easy but laziness gets to me sometimes.

Here's a quick alternative. Try puffed wheat cereal. It's ready to go. Just dump the box of cereal in a bowl. I also like using puffed wheat because it's safer for children and it doesn't get stuck in my teeth like popcorn kernel "shells" do.

Then, make the best caramel ever. This recipe is from Allrecipes. It's the best I've tried yet! Follow it exactly.


  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 5 quarts popped popcorn


  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F (95 degrees C). Place popcorn in a very large bowl.
  2. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Stir in brown sugar, corn syrup and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil without stirring 4 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in soda and vanilla. Pour in a thin stream over popcorn, stirring to coat.
  3. Place in two large shallow baking dishes and bake in preheated oven, stirring every 15 minutes, for 1 hour. Remove from oven and let cool completely before breaking into pieces.

Put the first 4 ingredients into a saucepan.

Heat it through until it begins to boil. Boil for 4 minutes. This is important. If it isn't boiled for the full 4 minutes, you risk your final product being grainy.

Add the baking powder and vanilla in after the 4 minutes and remove from heat. It will puff up and turn a really light color.

Pour over your puffed wheat.

Toss to coat.

Pour coated puffed wheat onto a baking sheet. (I used parchment paper on the bottom for easy cleanup.)

Bake at 250 for 1 hour. *See note below.

Stir every 15 minutes.

After an hour of baking and stirring every 15 minutes, remove the pan from the oven. Stir it one more time and then let it cool. You'll have sweet puffed wheat.

You can eat it straight from the bowl or add some milk for an amazing cereal! Yes, it's just like Honey Smacks or Sugar Puff cereal. This is my husband's favorite way to eat it.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Decorate Christmas

5:12 AM 0 Comments

My daughter LOVES Christmas. She loves to decorate the house, the tree, cookies, gingerbread houses, gingerbread men, etc. I came up with this felt solution to get out all her decorating energy.

I permanently added the rickrack on the gingerbread house.

Sequins were definitely a favorite decorating material.

I liked the sequin "ornaments"

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Christmas Stockings: Sewing How-To

8:59 AM 0 Comments

You don't have to make stockings out of plain felt. You can use regular cotton fabric to create a nice sturdy stocking that has shape. The trick is using Pellon iron-on stabilizer.

Here are easy step-by-step instructions to make a simple Christmas stocking.

You will need:

Stocking pattern
Fabric for your stocking and cuff
iron-on stabilizer (Pellon)
Hot iron
Sewing machine

*NOTE: This tutorial does not include a stocking lining. You can definitely line your stocking. I chose not to for the sake of easiness and simplicity. The stocking will hold up great without a lining.

1. Cut out your stocking pattern and fabric.

2. Open your stocking and place the WRONG side of the fabric over the SHINY side of your stabilizer- this is the "glue side." (When choosing a stabilizer, pick the thickness you'd like for your stocking. I chose a thinner stabilizer so make it easier to sew and turn my stocking inside out in the end. The exact stabilizer I'm using is Pellon 808 Craft Fuse)

3. Pin your fabric to the stabilizer and cut out the stabilizer.

4. Turn your fabric over so that the non-shiny side of the stabilizer is facing up.

5. With a hot iron, fuse the stabilizer to your fabric using a sweeping motion, starting from the middle and working out. (Don't iron over your pins. You don't want to melt them.)

6. Once most of the middle of your stocking is fused, remove the pins and iron/fuse the rest of the stocking. Make sure that the stabilizer is stuck on there really good. I iron and iron and iron until I'm sure it's stuck.

7. You should have a nice, crisp, thicker piece of fabric.

8. Now we'll work on the cuff. Cut out the cuff piece. If you are embroidering the cuff with a name, now is the time.

9. The cuff will go at the top. You will want to make sure the middle seam of the cuff and the middle seam of the stocking line up. You may have to fold the stocking to get it right. When you sew the cuff, the stocking will be open and not folded.

10. Depending on how wide you want your cuff, hem the top of the cuff and stocking all the way across the open stocking.

11. Sew the hem with a topstitch using a small seam allowance.

12. Do the same thing for bottom of the cuff. Press the seam with an iron and topstitch.

13. The cuff is now finished.

14. Pin the stocking, right sides together.

15. Sew your stocking! Here is what I did with the heal of the stocking where the fabric meets.

16. Turn your handmade stocking inside out and admire your work. Press it once more with an iron to get any wrinkles out. DONE!

Thanks for sewing with me today!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Symbols of Christmas Bag

10:05 AM 1 Comments

Do your kids need a little reminder of the true meaning of Christmas? I sewed and embroidered this bag with one of my favorite Dr. Seuss quotes. Inside the bag I included some symbols of Christmas. I'm excited to keep this bag of symbols and bring it out every year to remind us of Christ.

Here are some of the items I included in the bag.

Christmas tree: points to heaven and reminds us that God is eternal
Candy cane: shaped like a shepherd's staff, Jesus is the true shepherd that brings us into the fold. He cares for us and guides us. The red represents his great sacrifice and white represents purity. We are cleansed through his blood. Its shape is also a J for Jesus.
Star: wise men followed the new star
Presents: God's greatest gift to us is eternal life through his son Jesus Christ
Candle: Jesus is the light of the world
Angel: told the shepherds of the birth of Jesus

You might want to make your own bag or box with the little symbols too.

Dating At Home: Personalized Video From Santa

4:36 AM 0 Comments

This week's dating idea comes from the North Pole...and it's FREE!

We have a 3-year old daughter who loves Santa. For our date, we are going to make her a personalized video from Santa. It's extra easy and cute with Portable North Pole. The video is about 3 minutes long. Santa talks to your child and includes the child's name, age, where the child lives, pictures of the child, facts about the child, and what the child wants for Christmas. Santa then asks his elves to grab the child's file and enter it into the "naughty or nice" machine.

Click HERE to see a sample.

If you don't have children, make one for your spouse! Or maybe a friend. You decide whether the child (or adult) has been "naughty" or "nice."

Click HERE to get started.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Tradition of Christmas Stockings

10:57 AM 0 Comments

This morning we had our normal co-op preschool. Today we talked about the tradition of Christmas stockings.

The tradition of hanging Christmas stockings on Christmas Eve originate from Turkey. The story goes that there were three girls that couldn't get married because they were too poor to have dowries. St. Nicholas, who was the bishop of Myra at the time, threw three bags of gold down their chimney. The bags of gold landed in their stockings that were hanging up to dry by the fire. Now kids hang their stockings up on Christmas Eve in hopes that they will be filled with special toys and gifts.

After we talked about the story, we "sewed" our own stockings (two pieces of construction paper cut out in the shape of a stocking and yarn) and decorated them. We hung them on our Christmas tree. When it was time to go, the kids picked up their stockings which were "magically" filled with chocolate gold coins. We had a great time today!

TIP: To make it easier for kids to lace the yarn through the holes, wrap a piece of masking tape around the tip of the yarn.

I picked up a bag of chocolate coins at Trader Joe's and they are delicious!

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