Mini Cupcake Flowers

A while back a saw some cute daffodil marshmallows over at the Seven Year Cottage and immediately pinned them. On my pin, I wrote, "These would be cute as mini cupcakes too!" I have to say, I think I was right. I love these adorable cupcake flowers.

I actually gave these mini cupcake bouquets as mother's day gifts and to my daughter's dance teacher on the last day of class.

The photos I am showing are from the dance teacher's bouquet. For the Mother's Day presents, I mixed and matched the pink(see below) and yellow flowers together.
For her dance class, I did the little pink flowers for all the kids. Funny side story, the teacher told everyone to bring a snack to share on the last day of class. I was the ONLY ONE that brought anything. I had a bunch of mini cupcakes leftover and I just brought them all. It's a good thing I did too. Everyone loved the cupcakes, so that's good. The pink cupcakes are just mini petal liners from Wilton. That hyper link will take you to Amazon so you can see them. I bought mine at Joanns.


Now I am going to show you how to assemble the cupcake flowers as well as cut out the daffodil petals from a cupcake liner.

Supplies:
  • Mini cupcakes baked in yellow liners
  • Lollipop sticks - I used two different lengths for some variety in the bouquet
  • Melting Chocolate 
  • Yellow Frosting
  • Crystal Sugar or any kind of sprinkles
  • Yellow regular size cupcake liners
  • Scissors
1. Poke a small hole in the bottom center of your cupcake with a sharp knife. You don't want to cut deep, You are really just making a way for your lollipop stick through the liner.

2. Dip the tip of  lollipop stick in melted chocolate and insert it into the bottom of the mini-cupcake. Let the chocolate harden while the cupcake is inverted.

3. While the chocolate sets-up, cut your daffodil petals. I'm going to tell you all the directions first, then show you pictures for all the steps.
  • Fold the cupcake liner in half
  • Now fold in thirds
  • Fold the whole thing in half again
  • Starting on the side opposite the crease, cut from 1/2" down in a rounded arch up to the top. This forms the petals. 
  • Snip a very tiny bit off the tip. This is the hole for your lollipop stick. Smaller is better!
  • Open your flower up






4. Now that we have the liners all ready, lets get back to the cupcakes. Carefully frost the mini-cupcake. I like to hold onto the cupcake, as opposed to the stick. If you get too forceful the stick will come all the way through the top of the cupcake.


5. Press your cupcake into your sprinkles or crystal sugar. I love this technique so much! It looks great and you don't have to perfectly frost your cupcakes. It covers up any imperfections.


6. Slide your completed petal cupcake liner up the stick so it stays right beneath the mini cupcake.


7. Arrange your cupcakes into Styrofoam as you decorate them. These can get top heavy, so make sure you have something to weigh down your base with. I use dry pinto beans on top of my Styrofoam, it works great.









Ashley

Leap Frog Summer Camp

Thank you to LeapFrog for sponsoring my post about Leapfrog Summer Camp. To sign up for LeapFrog Summer Camp, please click here. #CleverLFCamp #spon 


I hope everyone had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend. My 6 year old son had his last day of kindergarten on Friday. He is really excited for summer. Oddly enough though, my kids spent over an hour on Friday afternoon working on learning workbooks at Grandma's house. I love that my kids are like little learning sponges. 
This summer we are planning to have a lot of fun, but I want to make sure we don't lose all those skills we spent all year learning. Research indicates that when kids return from a long summer break they have lost about 1 months worth of learning. Yikes! I plan to combat that my signing my kids up for the Leap Frog Summer Camp. 
Leap Frog Summer Camp is an 8 week program geared toward 4-7 year olds. The program starts June 4 and runs through July 28, 2012. Each week there will be themed printables, activities, and crafts to help your children explore geography, writing, science, and art. Do you want to know the best part? The program is free!

Since the program doesn't start until June 4, you can't get a look at the activities yet. However, you can head over and sign up for the parents newsletter. Every two weeks they will send you Summer camp emails and info starting on June 3. I grabbed a quick screen shot when I was signing up, so you can see what it looks like.


I mentioned that I have a six year old boy, well I also have a 4 year old girl. I think they are just as excited as I am for Leap Frog Summer Camp. Thanks for helping me out Leap Frog and doing all the prep work for me.
When I was looking over the website, I saw that they will also have weekly contests for books and games worth $50. There will even be a grand prize worth $500. We love Leap Frog products at our house, so I will be entering and keeping my fingers crossed I might win something fun!
I hope you will join me at Leap Frog Summer Camp this year. There is a link to sign up at the top of the post and in my side bar. Let me know if you are participating too. I would love to be able to share your experience with you! I'll be checking back in a few weeks to let you know how it is going.




Ashley
This post is sponsored by LeapFrog. I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective, and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Mario Father's Day Card 2012

It is time to update the Father's Day Mario card printable.I have offered it in years past, and I always think it is a big hit. If you haven't seen it before, here is how it works. I have created a Father's Day printable that looks like the Mario title screen. You can simply print out this first image and you are all good to go.



Click on the image to get it full size and either save it or print. The full size image should fill a regular 8.5 x 11 sheet.
Option 2 is for those who are comfortable with Photoshop or some other program that will edit PSD files. You can customize your card to make it fit your need a little better. You can change:
  • Dad's Name
  • Dad's Birthday (Currently the date of Father's Day in there)
  • Number of Kids (Coins)
  • The year(In case you use next year or beyond!)

Here is what you need to do to customize your own:
Step 1: Download the font "Press Start" and install it - It is a must!!
Step 2: Download the MarioCardDownload2012.psd file. (After you click the download link, there will be a 20 second delay before you can actually download the file.)
Step 3: Open in Photoshop(or GIMP)
Step 4: Select the text layer you want to change
Step 5: Using your Text Tool change the text to your desired text
Step 6: Print and enjoy!



I am a little bummed I can't just keep using this same card every year for my husband. I still really like it! Maybe I'll have to get creative and come up with another video game themed printable. Is your husband or Dad a gamer? What is there favorite video game?






Ashley

Father's Day Craft: Fishing Pole Treats

Today I get to show you all about the fun craft play date we had. We made some really adorable Father's day crafts and we got to use Elmer's Single Painters #GluenGlitter.


You can purchase Elmer's Painters one marker at a time for only $1.97 each at Walmart. Perfect for when you just need one specific color, you don't need to buy a whole pack anymore. Look for a display like this in the craft aisle of your local Walmart.

Do you want to see what other cool things I found at Walmart? You can see my whole shopping experience in my Google+ album HERE.

Okay, let's get crafting. When I was trying to think of some fun projects to use my Elmer's Single Painters on, I knew I wanted it to be a Father's Day gift AND something that kids could make. I called on my good friend Vanessa for help, and she had just the project in mind. One of the reasons I love the Elmer's Painters is because they are so kid friendly. They get to paint, but it's much more like using a marker which they are used to. It cut down on so much mess.

Supplies:
  • A reel of some kind. My friend Vanessa is handy with power tools so she cut out some reels and fish for us. You could use a thick dowel for the reel instead, with no problem.
  • A wooden or paper fish. The Elmer's Painters would work great on some card stock too. The fish needs two holes, one for the eye, and one to attach your wire to.
  • A trendy tube/long plastic tube for Dad's favorite treats. Here is an online resource for the tubes or you can check local craft/scrapbook stores too.
  • Elmer's Single Painters in a variety of colors
  • Craft wire to act as your fishing line
Step 1: Drill a hole in your reel/dowel. You will be gluing your tube of candy into the hole, so make sure it is a good fit.

Step 2: Paint your fish and reel. We let the kids pick the colors they wanted and the went to town with the foam brushes.

Step 3. Let the pieces dry completely and then decorate with Elmer's Painters. The kids got the biggest kick out of this. I had my daughter decorate one side of the fish. Then on the other side I wrote, "You're a 'REEL-Y' awesome Dad."

Step 4. Poke a hole in the lid of your tube with a nail and secure your craft wire. This picture is the underside of the lid. You can see the wire coming through the lid. Then the wire is wrapped around the lid a few times.

Step 5.  Fill your tube with candy. We used Swedish Fish, but M&M's fit great too. Really any candy that fits in the tubes will work. Hot glue the tube into your reel. Attach your fish to the other end of the wire.

My daughter had so much fun making these. We are going to make them for the Grandfather's too! No play date is complete without some delicious snacks. I picked up all the snacks at Walmart too.
 
Thanks to Vanessa for playing and crafting with us. It was a lot of fun.

For information about all of Elmer's products you can check out their website: www.Elmers.com, Facebook: www.facebook.com/elmers , or Twitter: www.twitter.com/elmers.
I am a member of the Collective Bias™ Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias™. #CBias #SocialFabric




Ashley

Puterbugs Giveaway

This is the last week of school for my kids. I can't believe summer time is already here!At first I thought I would never get used to having my oldest in kinder but now I don't know what I am going to do with both kids home all the time!

I was recently introduced to a really unique program by Discovery Kids called Puterbugs. Discovery Kids Puterbugs is the only interactive class experience available that teaches children, in a fun and age-appropriate way, the full scope of technology skills in today’s digital world. In a safe environment that promotes a healthy foundation and proper tech etiquette, the program helps children master skills that range from basic file navigation, Internet, and keyboarding skills to an understanding of the latest technology, such as mobile apps and cloud computing! 

Here are some of the features of the Puterbugs program:
* Keyboard Skills, Technology Terms & Usage
* Letter & Number Recognition, Reading Readiness
* Leadership & Teamwork Development
* 1 Laptop or 1 child taught by a certified instructor
* Exclusive Software Designed for Ages 3-7
* Alignment with the NETS (National Education Technology Standard)

I am constantly amazed at how my small children act like sponges when it comes to technology. My four year old can start a web browser, navigate to Netflix, find the kids section, and pick the exact show she wants. She learned all of this just by observing us interact with the computer. I love that Puterbugs is focused on teaching children practical computer skills in age appropriate ways. Puterbugs was geared especially for 3-7 years old. I also really like that Puterbugs was developed by Discovery Kids. Discovery is a brand I know and trust.


My local Puterbugs franchise(Phoenix Metro) is run by Mr. Ken, the owner of FutureKiddie.com. I have spoken with him and not only is he knowledgeable but you can tell he is really passionate about what he does. He really believes in what he does and I am so excited for my kids to take a Puterbugs course from him. I am also excited about the cool mom points I am going to get. My kids are going to be thrilled that they get to "play" on the computer once a week for four weeks. 


Mr. Ken has generously offered TEN spots in a Puterbugs class for me to giveaway. I am so excited about this. You will get to choose which location and dates you would like to attend, subject to availability of course. Click HERE to see a list of current locations and course dates. This giveaway is open only to those in the Phoenix Metro area that are willing and able to attend.

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

**Disclaimer I am being provided enrollment to Discovery Kids Puterbugs. All opinions are 100% my own.**


Ashley

Southwestern Chicken Packets

Today I am a sharing a great grill recipe perfect for your next summer barbecue. These would be a really delicious addition to your Memorial Day barbecue too!  I am happy to show you how Smart & Final can help you put together the perfect barbecue this week. They have some great sales from May 23-29, 2012.

Down 32 lbs in six weeks

This is more of a personal post, so feel free to skip it if that isn't your thing. I'll be back with a recipe soon! 

Spoiler alert: This post is about how I lost 32.5 lbs in six weeks. If you are curious about some more details, you can keep on reading. :)

How not to make pop treats, an anti-tutorial

**Disclaimer: I think it's important to laugh at ourselves every once in awhile. So please take my anti-tutorial in that spirit.**

It's Friday and I don't know about you but I sure could use a break. I thought I would try something a little different today and show you an anti-tutorial alternately titled, "learn from my fail", or "How to succeed by doing exactly the opposite of what I did."

I decided to make some cookie dough pops for an event where I needed to bring a treat to share. It is easy to do, you just use your favorite cookie dough recipe and replace each egg with 2 Tbsp of milk. I rolled them into balls.


No Fall Hanging Dishtowels

At my house we suffer from chronic "dishtowel on the floor" syndrome. The silly things just won't stay on the oven door. Today I am going to show you some cute dishtowels that won't fall down. The secret is that they are buttoned on! All you need is a dishtowel, a pot holder, and a button.






Slow Cooker Lasagna

I love this recipe for slow cooker lasagna because you don't have to cook the noodles first. My family loves to make this on Sundays. When we get home from church we have a delicious smelling lasagna ready for us when we walk in.

Slow Cooker or Crock Pot Lasagna

1 pound bulk Italian sausage
1 medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
3 15 oz cans tomato sauce
2 Tablespoons Italian Seasoning
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (8 oz)
1 container (15 oz) part-skim ricotta cheese
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
15 uncooked lasagna noodles

1. Cook sausage and onion in 10-inch skillet over medium heat 6 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until sausage is no longer pink. Drain.
2. Stir in tomato sauce, Italian seasoning, and salt.
3. Mix 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese with the ricotta and Parmesan cheeses. (Refrigerate remaining mozzarella cheese while lasagna cooks.)

4. Spoon one-fourth of the sausage mixture into 6-quart slow cooker. top with 5 noodles, broken into pieces to fit. (Note: I just put one layer of noodles, in my slow cooker it is usually less than 5 lasagna noodles)
5. Spread with half of the cheese mixture and one-fourth of the sausage mixture. Top with 5 noodles, remaining cheese mixture and one-fourth of the sausage mixture.

6. Top with remaining 5 noodles and remaining sausage mixture.
7. Cover and cook on Low heat setting 4 to 6 hours or until noodles are tender. Note: Do not try to cook on high, the outside edges of the lasagna will burn. Trust me on that one.
8. Sprinkle top of lasagna with remaining 1 cup mozzarella cheese. Cover and let stand about 10 minutes or until cheese is melted. Cut into pieces and serve.

We always serve this with a salad and bread sticks. It is so delicious! 





Ashley