Archive for the ‘Crafts & Celebrations’ Category

DIY Shamrock Shake Recipe (And Free Straw Printables)

Thursday, February 27th, 2014

DIY Shamrock Shake Recipe (And Free Straw Printables)

DIY Shamrock Shake Recipe (And Free Straw Printables)

DIY Shamrock Shake Recipe (And Free Straw Printables)

St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner!  This holiday makes me want to indulge in one of my all-time favorite treats… the oh-so-delicious Shamrock Shake. You don’t have to swing by your local fast food joint to indulge though because I have the recipe to this one and you can indulge in it for a fun family night treat any night of the week.

To grab the recipe for these easy DIY Shamrock Shakes, head on over to the Kenmore Blog to read all about these delicious treat.

Don’t forget to grab your free St. Patrick’s Day straw printables! Happy St. Patrick’s Day, friends!

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3 Favorite Ways to Top Off Your Dessert (Free Printables!)

Monday, February 17th, 2014

From our diy/craft contributor, Sarah.

Oh, my! You are in for a big treat today because Sarah Milne, from Sarah M Style, is an amazing crafting and design genius and she is joining us each month to share her knowledge. I am so thrilled to introduce you to her today and I know that she has many fun printables and ideas for our homes and crafts that you are going to be looking forward to her featured post each month! 

3 favorite ways to top off your dessert

February and March are birthday months for the boys in my life. In February, my little guy turns two, and in March, my husband, well, let’s just say he’ll be much closer to 40 than 35.  Whether it’s a homemade waffle birthday breakfast or a donut cake, we love our desserts around here! In my very first DIY and crafting post for MomAdvice.com, I’d like to show you three of my favorite ways to top off our sweet treats.


POM POM GARLAND

pom pom garland dessert topper

First, and my most fave, is this simple fuzzy and fluffy pom pom garland. Colourful and playful, it adds so much fun to your dessert. You could make this garland with tiny to large fuzzy pom poms or even craft your own poms out of yarn.

What you need.

Pom poms. Size and color of choice.
(I purchased an assorted bag from Michaels with my trusty weekly coupon.)
Twine or thread
Large needle
Scissors
Skewers, straws, small dowels

diy pom pom garland supplies

diy pom pom garland instructions

The how to.

  1. On your crafting surface, arrange your pom poms in your desired order.
  2. Thread your needle. Begin to thread the first pom onto the twine. Be sure to leave at least 5 inches excess on the end.
  3. Thread each pom onto the twine. Space the poms a desired distance apart.
  4. Once you’ve completed adding your poms, tightly secure the twine to your stick using a double knot. Trim your twine.
  5. Tightly secure the other end to your second stick and trim.
  6. Insert into your sweet treat.
  7. Dig in!


CHALKBOARD TOPPERS

diy chalkboard dessert toppers

I love that these toppers can be reused throughout the year and for all types of celebrations from birthday breakfasts to report card day! I found these small wooden shapes for less than 50 cents at Michaels and gave them a triple coat of chalkboard paint.

What you need.

Wooden shapes
Straws, popsicle sticks, or small dowels
Chalkboard paint
Foam brush
Paper towel or newspaper
Hot glue gun and glue
Chalk

diy chalkboard dessert toppers

The how to.

  1. Protect your crafting surface with paper towel or newspaper.
  2. Paint your wooden shapes using the chalkboard paint. When using chalkboard paint for crafts, I use a minimum of 3 coats. Allow for drying time in between coats. It seems to dry quickly.
  3. Attach your wooden shapes to your stick using a dab of hot glue.
  4. Draw or decorate your chalkboard topper for your occasion.
  5. Insert into your sweet treat.
  6. Dig in!


PAPER BANNER WITH WASHI GARLAND + FREE PRINTABLE

diy paper printable and washi garland dessert topper

Washi tape is a huge trend right now – and there are limitless crafts you can muster with it! My go-to topper are washi garlands. Paired with a paper banner, it makes a super sweet addition to your treat. I’ve designed two free printable paper banners in 3 colors for your next occasion.

What you need.

A collection of favorite washi tapes
Twine
Skewers, straws or small dowels
Free printable paper banner: {Click to download} HOORAY! or HAPPY BIRTHDAY

diy paper and washi garland dessert topper and free printable

The how to.

  1. Cut a 18 inch length of twine
  2. Cut your washi tape in equal or varied lengths and fold evenly over the twine, leaving 5 inches of vacant twine on each end.
  3. Print the free printable paper banner and trim.
  4. Secure your paper banner to the top of your sticks using a piece of washi or hot glue
  5. Below the paper banner, tightly secure your washi tape garland using a double knot or bow to each stick.
  6. Insert into your sweet treat.
  7. Dig in!

 Grab Your Free Printables HERE:

DIY Happy Birthday Dessert Topper

DIY HOORAY! Dessert Topper

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How To Make A Knitting Needle Holder From Vintage Linens

Monday, February 10th, 2014

From our managing editor, Jami Boys.

You may not know it, but Jami, from An Oregon Cottage, has been writing on here for a year now. She handles all of our regular features like our weekly notebook, the giveaways, freebies, and round-up posts that you see on our site. She has become my right arm and I would be lost without her. Jami has a diverse background in frugal homemaking, manages her own blog, manages this blog, and is my new managing editor. How is she managing it all? I have no idea! But, I am so excited she has agreed to share her expertise on frugal homemaking with us!

How To Make A Knitting Needle Holder From Vintage Linens

I love vintage linens, especially linens that women have used their time and talents on to create works of art using embroidery, drawn-thread techniques, applique, crochet edgings and other needlework crafts. Since cruising thrift stores is a major pastime of mine, I have amassed quite a collection because I have a hard time leaving such treasures in a heap on a table.

How To Make A Knitting Needle Holder From Vintage Linens

However, I’m not a purist and I recognize that since we don’t use doilies, table runners and other small linen items in our homes anymore, I need to find other ways to be able to use and appreciate these little pieces of art once again. In the past I have made cafe curtains from old tea towels, pillows and tote bags from tablecloths and attached small embroidery pieces to the tops of ready-made pillows. Reusing these special pieces is also a way to use worn or stained linens that still have useable areas.

Since one of my other favorite hobbies is knitting, today I’m sharing how I transformed two vintage linens – a table runner and a pillowcase – into rolled knitting needle holders to organize and carry both my straight and circular needles. And the best part? It’s super easy and uses only straight line sewing!

How To Make A Knitting Needle Holder From Vintage Linens

Supplies Needed

(same for all types of linens)

Vintage linens – table runners and pillowcases for this example worked best because they were long enough for 13″ straight knitting needles (if making a needle holder for crochet hooks, tea towels would be long enough).
Coordinating ribbon – a 32″ piece of ribbon for tying in a bow. A grograin ribbon where both sides are the same is best.
Fabric marker – either vanishing or eraser style
Straight pins, sewing machine & coordinating thread

How To Make A Knitting Needle Holder From Vintage Linens

How To Make A Needle Holder From a Vintage Table Runner:

1. Fold linen piece with wrong sides together, using the needles you want it to hold as your measuring guide. Leave a top flap for folding over either over the needles or the other way, depending on if you want to see the tops of your needles (this example has the flap cover the needle tops, the next goes the other way leaving them visible). Pin edges where they meet.

2. Fold ribbon piece in half and insert folded edge 1/4″ into pinned edge; pin in place.

3. Set your machine to a longer stitch length (3.0) which makes a cleaner stitch for decorative sewing and doesn’t bunch as much as smaller stitches can.

4. Sew a straight line right along the edge of your linen. My embroidered runner had a crochet edge, so I sewed right where the crochet started.

5. As you come to the ribbon pinned to the edge, make sure it is straight and sew right over it, catching it in the edge.

6. Use a fabric marker to mark where the needle pockets will go.

7. Start at the bottom of the folded pocket and make marks at intervals for the individual needle pockets. For the 13″ bamboo straight needles I used here I made 1-1/4″ pockets which held sizes 13 to 5. You can make the pockets all different sizes as well for a custom needle holder (see below).

8. Use the marker and a ruler to make marks evenly up the inside pocket at about 3-4″ intervals – just enough that you can follow with the sewing machine.

9. Starting at the bottom of the large pocket, sew from the first mark straight up to the top of the pocket, using the marks as a guide. Bar-tack at the beginning and end to lock in stitches (sew back and forth one time before starting and ending the seam). Repeat to make remaining individual needle pockets.

How To Make A Knitting Needle Holder From Vintage Linens

Add your needles to the pockets. I like to organize them from largest to smallest.

How To Make A Knitting Needle Holder From Vintage Linens

Fold the flap over the needles, roll up keeping the embroidery visible, and tie with the ribbon. That’s it! Pretty easy, huh?

How To Make A Knitting Needle Holder From Vintage Linens

I also made a needle holder from a pillowcase that had embroidery and a scalloped crochet edging. The benefit of using a pillowcase is that it comes out thicker, liked a lined fabric.

How To Make A Knitting Needle Holder From Vintage Linens

How To Make A Needle Holder From a Vintage Pillowcase:

1. Follow the same steps outlined above, but make sure that your pillow decoration will fold over the way you want – either covering the tops of the needles or leaving them visible. You can see above that I left mine visible as I usually have the sizes marked on the needle tops and being able to see them will make them easier to find. If you plan on traveling with them and think they may fall out, cover them with the top flap.

2. Sew right along the edge of the case to make the seams for the large pocket before marking for your needle sizes. I made this case to hold some smaller 9″ bamboo needles and some circular needles.

3. When making custom sizes like this, it’s best to start measuring from each edge the sizes you want and work towards the center, so the last center pocket can be a larger or smaller size. In my example, the two outside circular needle pockets on each side (4 total) were 2-1/2″, the next three pockets on each side were 1/14″ and the center pocket is 2″ which ended up being perfect for the size 15″ needles.

How To Make A Knitting Needle Holder From Vintage Linens

You can make holders for all your needles – double pointed, circular, crochet hooks, or any others that you use. And wouldn’t these make a sweet gift for the crafters in your life? I know they would appreciate not only having their needles organized, but also the beauty of the original handiwork.

Vintage Linen Paint Brush Holder

Not a knitter? If you have paintbrushes to organize, you can make holders this same way for them, as this example from Jeannie Oliver showed on Instagram.

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Gluten-Free Olympic Doughnuts

Thursday, February 6th, 2014

Gluten-Free Olympic Doughnuts from MomAdvice.com.

If there is one thing you know our family loves it is doughnuts. In honor of the upcoming Olympics, I am sharing a delicious gluten-free baked doughnut recipe that you can bake up as a treat for those opening ceremonies. This gluten-free doughnut recipe is as easy to put together as our other wonderful doughnut recipes and are so fun to decorate for the holiday.

Today’s project is sponsored by Walmart. Almost everything you need for this project can be found at their store!

Gluten-Free Olympic Doughnuts from MomAdvice.com.

One thing you will need to create these doughnuts is a doughnut pan. When I first started baking doughnuts, you had to order an item like this online and through specialty shops. Now you can find it right on the shelves at Walmart, in the same aisle as your cookie sheets & baking pans. The price on their Wilton doughnut pans is $7.19.  I have two of them because most recipes yield 10-12 doughnuts and it saves me time in the kitchen. These two pans have paid for themselves over and over again for our occasional sweet weekend treat!

Because I am new to gluten-free baking, I am using a gluten-free all-purpose mix to save me time in the kitchen. I bought a batch of Better Batter for my pantry and I have found that it is yielding impressive results for all of my baking needs. Buying it online from the company in bulk has saved me some money and storage in my pantry, thanks to not needing to buy multiple flours to blend. The bonus is that this mix does contain the Xanthan gum right in it. If your mix does not contain this, you will need to add that ingredient separately.

These doughnuts are light, fluffy, & sweet. The first things my kids remarked on was the spice in them. Although there is just a pinch of nutmeg, this ingredient really pulls through in the doughnut. For non-Olympic doughnut events, a sprinkle of powdered sugar on these is a delightful morning treat.

Gluten_Free_Baked_Olympic_Doughnuts-5

To make your Olympic-themed glazes, I simply made one batch of my favorite glaze and then added food coloring to each dish to reach the desired color. To achieve your black, if you are just working with a standard set of food colorings, equal portions of blue, yellow, and red will help achieve the color you are after.

Gluten_Free_Baked_Olympic_Doughnuts-4 Looking For More Fun Ideas to Celebrate the Olympics? Let’s take a peek at some more fun (and frugal!) ideas!

Fun Ways to Celebrate the Olympics

Olympic Medal Cookies

What could be sweeter than receiving an Olympic medal? How about an Olympic Medal filled with a cookie? AlphaMom offers this sweet little Olympic craft to do with your little ones. Stumped for a cookie idea?  I highly recommend an Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Sea Salt Cookie for your medal filling!

Olympic T-Shirts

Dress up a white t-shirt to dress up for the Olympic games. with a simple painted ring pattern on an inexpensive thrift store shirt, this is a craft that is easy enough to do with kids of all ages. Kate’s Creative Space offers this fun craft idea to her readers to celebrate the games.

DIY Olympic Torch

What child doesn’t dream of carrying around their very own Olympic torch. Hoosier Homemade showcases a fun craft that you can do to create your very own Olympic torch made from some commonly found items at your local craft store.

Olympics Party Fun

Why not throw a party for your family or for a group of families to celebrate the Olympics? A Small Snippet has you covered with everything from patriotic foods to great Olympic game ideas to play together, to fun ideas for decorations that don’t cost a lot.

 Olympic Torches Made From Recyclables

If hitting your craft store for supplies to make an Olympic torch isn’t in your budget, this Olympic Torch from The Idea Room is made from common items you have in your home and recyclables. These torches are made from a paper plate, a paper towel roll, and red & gold tissue paper. This is one that even the smallest child can do. Be sure to lift these high and participate in your own round of fun family Olympic games.

Olympic Rings Necklace

Even moms can jump in on the Olympic excitement with this cute craft, from Remarkably Domestic, for an Olympic Rings Necklace. This necklace is made from simple rings covered in Chinese knotting cord to create those Olympic rings everyone loves so much. This would be a fun craft to do while watching your favorite games this year!

However you celebrate the Olympic games this year, I hope this post inspires you for your Olympic game watching!

Gluten-Free Olympic Doughnuts
Author: 
Recipe type: Breakfast
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10
 
These gluten-free doughnuts are so easy to make and can be a fun snack to share while watching the opening ceremony this year!
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups all-purpose gluten-free powder (I recommend Better Batter Flour)
  • 1 cup sugar (next time I may adjust to ¾ cup sugar)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • 2 tablespoons hot water
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla, butter, or almond extract
  • Betty Crocker Food Coloring Set (over in the baking aisle)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350º and spray two nonstick 6-cavity doughnut pans with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the flour with the sugar, baking powder, nutmeg and salt
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs with the oil and milk until smooth; add to the flour mixture and whisk until combined.
  4. Spoon the batter into 10 cavities of the prepared doughnut pans until about three-quarters full. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of a doughnut comes out clean.
  5. Let the doughnuts cool.
  6. In a bowl, mix together the confectioners sugar, hot water, and flavoring. Divide the glaze into five bowls and create your colors for the doughnuts. Dip or spoon the glaze over the doughnuts and allow the glaze to harden.

 

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Valentine’s Day Cupcake Liner Trees

Thursday, February 6th, 2014

Valentine's Day Cupcake Liner Trees from MomAdvice.com.

I’m so excited to share with you this easy DIY craft project for Cupcake Liner Trees for Valentine’s Day. These cupcake liner trees are unbelievably cute and fast to create.

I had so much fun creating our yarn trees this winter that I just knew I needed to recreate the magic for Valentine’s Day.  If you have a mantle or coffee table that could use some festive décor, then you will love this easy and inexpensive project. All you need are $10 in materials and you will have two festive trees in less than thirty minutes. Now that is a craft that I can get behind.

Head on over to the Kenmore Blog to find out how to make these easy DIY Valentine’s Day Cupcake Liner Trees!

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8 Beautifully Frugal Valentine’s Day Projects

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014

8 Beautifully Frugal Valentine's Day Projects from MomAdvice.com.

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and one of my favorite things to share here on the Goodwill Tips Blog is frugal ways to celebrate the holidays using items from your local Goodwill Store. You may have thought last year’s DIY Valentine’s Day Projectspost couldn’t be topped, but I think today’s projects are going to rival all that I shared last year. The best part is that they are both beautiful AND frugal- a total win for my wallet and my home!

Let’s get started with this year’s featured projects! Head on over to the Goodwill Tips blog to find out how to recreate all of these fun ideas!

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Gluten-Free Cake Mix Cookies

Sunday, February 2nd, 2014

 

Gluten-Free Cake Mix Cookies from MomAdvice.com

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner so I wanted to share a fun recipe for Gluten-Free Cake Mix Cookies that you could create as a fun treat to give or to share with those you love.

Gluten-Free Cake Mix Cookies from MomAdvice.comGluten-Free Cake Mix Cookies from MomAdvice.comGluten-Free Cake Mix Cookies from MomAdvice.com

Gluten-Free Cake Mix Cookies from MomAdvice.com

Walmart asked me to create a Valentine’s Day treat with one of their exclusive products they carry. Since I am such a big M&M fan, I decided to use their Red Velvet M&M’s in my recipe.

Do you ever have a really hard time with a recipe and then later wonder if it had ever been tested? That was the case with this project from start to finish. These cookies were supposed to be simple and straightforward, but the recipe ended up being written completely wrong. Thankfully for you, I spent a whole day figuring out what went wrong with this one and how we can fix it so that you can have an awesome baking day!

Please read this post carefully, I am offering you a load of tips for a successful baking day!! 

Are M&M’s Gluten-Free?

Let’s begin with the question, are M&M’s gluten-free? The answer is that most M&M’s are gluten-free. In fact, most of the varieties they typically carry, other than their pretzel variety, are gluten-free.

What I found with the Red Velvet M&M’s though are that they are gluten-free, but in high times of production, like Halloween & Valentine’s Day, Mars uses alternative facilities to make its candy and some of those may introduce cross-contamination risks. These Red Velvet M&M’s are ones that could have been cross-contaminated. If this is of high concern, look for the plain M&M’s, preferably mini-M&M’s to help your dough hold up better. 

It is always important to read your labels carefully and know that Mars Chocolate always promises to call out any wheat, barley, and rye ingredients by name, as well as any cross-contamination risks on their labels. I recommend this information page for finding which Valentine’s Day candies are safe to eat.

Gluten-Free Cake Mix Cookies from MomAdvice.comGluten-Free Cake Mix Cookies from MomAdvice.com

Tips for a Successful Dough

As, I am a big fan of the Betty Crocker cake mixes, I used this to create my cookies.  As you can see when I mixed the ingredients together, this dough is very crumbly. To help make this dough really hold and stick together, add 3-4 teaspoons of water to the dough, until it really comes together. This will help when slicing your sugar cookie rolls.

The recipe that was written did not add this to the dough and so when I sliced them, the cookie dough crumbled. I had to add my water later and chill them again for another three hours. Once I sliced with the liquid addition, the dough held much better.

If you need these cookies to be dairy-free as well as gluten-free, please read the notes in the recipe on how you can create these without the butter.

Gluten-Free Cake Mix Cookies from MomAdvice.com

Tips for a Successful Sugar Cookie Log

One more thing, I learned while creating this cookies is that it is better to make your sugar cookie roll WITHOUT the M&M’s in it and then add them to your cookies after so you can get beautifully clean slices.

Trying to cut through these Red Velvet M&M’s was a real challenge so I would encourage adding them after or just doing these cookies as a drop cookie. To do a sugar cookie roll, as pictured above with M&M’s, seek the mini varieties. Again, read the packaging carefully to insure that they are safe for eating.

Gluten-Free Cake Mix Cookies from MomAdvice.com

Wrap your sugar cookie roll in wax paper and chill for three hours or more. Once you are ready to bake off your cookies, preheat your oven to 350 degrees and then slice them and place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet or a well-greased cookie sheet. I prefer parchment paper, both for the ease of clean-up and how beautifully these cookies will set up.

Allow these to cool and then transfer. These cookies are very delicate in texture so you will want to give them plenty of time to set up. 

Gluten-Free Cake Mix Cookies from MomAdvice.com

What Do They Taste Like?

These cookies are so delicious that you will NEVER know that they are gluten-free. The dough is so flavorful and the healthy dose of vanilla in the batter makes these taste like a cookie dough that you truly slaved over. The addition of the candies adds that yummy chocolate flavor that I think every good cookie should have.

With these helpful tips, I hope you will have a successful baking day and hope that this easy treat idea will help as you plan your own Valentine’s Day treats this year!

Can I Freeze These?

Cookies can be frozen! It is recommended that you wrap them in aluminum foil or in a resealable plastic bag for up to one month. Let the cookies thaw on the kitchen counters overnight before serving.

What Other Ways Can I Spice Up These Cookies?

If you can’t have chocolate, there are many other ways you can spice these easy cookies up.

Add Sprinkles- Lightly beat one egg white and brush the tops of your cookies with it, then sprinkle with gluten-free sugar sprinkles.

Add Zest- Add 1 teaspoon of grated lemon, orange, or key lime zest

Switch Your Extract- Try a different extract in your dough like almond or butter

Make It Spicy- Add a pinch of nutmeg, cinnamon, or dust the tops with the egg white & a cinnamon & sugar combo.

Gluten-Free Cake Mix Cookies
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3 dozen
 
Cake mix cookies that can be gluten-free and dairy-free for a fun treat to share for any holiday.
Ingredients
  • 1 package (15 ounces) yellow gluten-free cake mix
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter- if dairy-free replace with vegetable shortening, MELTED
  • 1 large egg
  • 3-4 teaspoons warm water, just until you see your dough pull together
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup M&M’s or read the post for other ways to spice up these cookies
Instructions
  1. Place the cake mix, butter (or vegetable shortening), egg, water, and vanilla in your mixing bowl and beat on low speed until well-combined.
  2. Using a spatula fold in the M&M’s (if mini-sized) or reserve to press these into each cookie after they have been cut (if large-sized)
  3. Place the cookie dough on a sheet of wax paper and then press with your hands to form a long,approximately 12 inches long and 2 inches in diameter. Tightly roll the dough and chill it in the refrigerator for at least three hours or overnight.
  4. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease two cookie sheets well or cover these in parchment paper.
  5. Unwrap the dough and transfer to a cutting board and slice them in ¼-3/8″ slices.
  6. Place the baking sheets in the oven and bake until the cookies are lightly browned on the edges,7-10 minutes.
  7. Let the cookies fully cool before transferring.

walmart_mom_disclaimer

Have you ever made gluten-free cake mix cookies? Do you have any tips for beginning gluten-free bakers on ways to increase success with cake mix cookies?

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Chinese New Year Family Tradition: We Are a Fortunate Family Felt Fortune Cookies

Monday, January 27th, 2014

Chinese New Year Family Tradition: We Are a Fortunate Family Felt Fortune Cookies from MomAdvice.com.

I love to create new holiday traditions with my family and today’s project is in honor of the Chinese New Year!  To celebrate, I am sharing a tutorial on how to make felt fortune cookies and a free printable that can be placed on a jar for a special Chinese New Year tradition.

I have partnered with Walmart on this project to showcase a fun project that you can do in honor of the holiday. All supplies for this project can be found at their store!

What is Chinese New Year?

Chinese New Year is the longest and most important celebration in the Chinese calendar.  The Chinese year 4712 begins on Jan. 31, 2014. A fun fact for this year is that this is the year of the horse.

New Year festivities traditionally start on the first day of the month and continue until the fifteenth, when the moon is brightest. In China, people may take weeks of holiday from work to prepare for and celebrate the New Year. Can you just imagine?

According to the Chinese legend,  Buddha arranged a meeting and asked all the animals to meet him on Chinese New Year. Twelve animals came and Buddha named a year after each one. If you were born in certain years, your personality is supposedly aligned with your animal. Those born in horse years are cheerful, skillful with money, perceptive, witty, talented and good with their hands. Since this is the year of the horse, if you have a child born this year, it sounds like you will have quite a talented and delightful child.

There are many great traditions around this holiday that include wearing red clothes which symbolizes fire and drives away bad luck, and a lantern festival, and one thing that Americans really seem to get behind is…

The  FEASTING.

Chinese New Year Family Tradition: We Are a Fortunate Family Felt Fortune Cookies from MomAdvice.com.

We are a Fortunate Family

Since the Chinese New Year is about feasting and family, I wanted to create a craft that would work for these two elements of the holiday. I love that many elements of this holiday focus on luck & good fortune. Incorporating this element, today we are making felt fortune cookies, but instead of filling them with predicted fortunes, we are going to fill them with all we are so fortunate for.

Because we are a FORTUNATE family. 

I love gratitude projects and thankfulness for all we have around the dinner table is definitely a tradition that I want my family to embrace.

Chinese New Year Family Tradition: We Are a Fortunate Family Felt Fortune Cookies from MomAdvice.com.

Supplies Needed

(All Available at Walmart)

Felt Sheets (any color)

3/8″ grosgrain ribbon

Floral Wire

Wire Clippers

Large Mason Jar

Scissors

Hot Glue Gun & Glue Sticks

1 piece of heavy cardstock

1 piece of white paper & pencil

Chinese New Year Family Tradition: We Are a Fortunate Family Felt Fortune Cookies from MomAdvice.com.

How to Make Felt Fortune Cookies

1. Using your ribbon spool or the bottom of your mason jar, trace a circle with a pencil or marker. Cut out your circle.

2. Snip a piece of floral wire, approximately the length of your circle, with your wire cutters. Add a line of hot glue, and place the wire in the center of the glue.

3. Snip grosgrain ribbon the approximate length of your circle and then secure over the wire with a little additional glue.

Felt_Fortune_Cookies_Tutorial-12

4. Fold your circle in half and then bend like a fortune cookie. Repeat the process until you have a jar full of fortune cookies.

Chinese New Year Family Tradition: We Are a Fortunate Family Felt Fortune Cookies from MomAdvice.com.

You can enlist your helpers to help make your fortune cookies. Since we have had UNLIMITED SNOW DAYS THAT NEVER END, I have many helping hands. Ahem.

The best part though, is involving them in the gratitude portion of this project. Using the writing prompt,

“I’m Fortunate For…”

Have children write down all the things that make their family special.

Chinese New Year Family Tradition: We Are a Fortunate Family Felt Fortune Cookies from MomAdvice.com.

Emily said, “I’m Fortunate For…that my family are GRATE dancers.”

What can I say? She comes from a long lineage of family members that just BRING IT on the dance floor!

Chinese New Year Family Tradition: We Are a Fortunate Family Felt Fortune Cookies from MomAdvice.com.

Mom & Dad can get in on the fortune cookie writing prompt too. Hopefully your husband doesn’t read this aloud and then ELABORATE endlessly on his AMAZINGNESS.

Awkward.

Chinese New Year Family Tradition: We Are a Fortunate Family Felt Fortune Cookies from MomAdvice.com.

Chinese New Year Family Tradition: We Are a Fortunate Family Felt Fortune Cookies from MomAdvice.com. Chinese New Year Family Tradition: We Are a Fortunate Family Felt Fortune Cookies from MomAdvice.com.

My husband designed this fantastic printable that you can attach to a jar. I just dabbed a little glue on my jar and attached this side. You could also print this on label paper or attach with a little double-sided tape to finish your project. (Grab the printable at the bottom of this post!)

If you are looking for dinner options, here are couple of great ones that I can recommend!

Gluten-Free Orange Chicken

This delicious gluten-free orange chicken would make a fantastic meal!

Peanut Ginger Chicken Noodles

These Peanut Ginger Chicken Noodles are always a big hit!

Weeknight Chicken Lo Mein

And this Weeknight Chicken Lo Mein is fast & easy to prepare!

However you celebrate this holiday, I hope this post offers some inspiration for fun ways to celebrate with your family.

Chinese New Year Family Tradition: We Are a Fortunate Family Felt Fortune Cookies from MomAdvice.com.

Grab Our FREE “We Are a Fortunate Family,” printable.

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Knitted Princess Leia Hat

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

Knitted Princess Leia Hat from MomAdvice.com.

Oh, you know I love a good knitting project! Today I am showing off my Knitted Princess Leia baby hat that I made. Not only that, but I am going to walk you through how to knit in the round for my favorite beginning knitters.

Knitted Princess Leia Hat from MomAdvice.com. Knitted Princess Leia Hat from MomAdvice.com.

Walmart let me choose any craft project I wanted this month and since I am in knitting mode this winter, I have been dying to make this cute little hat ever since I saw it on Ravelry.

Supplies Needed

  • 1 Skein Red Heart With Love in Chocolate ($3.84)
  • US 10.5 Straight needles (for knitting flat option)
  • US 10.5 Circular needles and set of 4 US 10.5 DPNs (for knitting in the round option)
  • Measuring Tape
  • Clipboard
  • Stitch Marker
  • Tapestry Needle
  • Scissors

Although, this hat can be knitted flat, I would love to challenge you to give knitting in the round a try. For a long time, I completely avoided projects that you had to knit in the round.

Four needles?

NO THANKS!

Unfortunately, if you never knit in the round you miss out on a lot of amazing patterns, particularly hand-crampingly tiny knits that would be stretched out when placed upon circulars.

Knitted Princess Leia Hat from MomAdvice.com.

I decided to create a picture tutorial for you to help guide you through your first knit. A quick search on YouTube should also yield great video tutorials. Let’s begin with this easy diagram.

1. Cast all of the stitches onto one double pointed needle.

2. Using your strong math skills (ahem) divide the cast on number by three and begin knitting that number on to your second needle. Be sure that you are beginning your stitches as the pattern states and not just knitting them. For this pattern, for example, you are doing a K2 P2 rib. You will want to be sure you are staying on pattern with your stitches. Place a marker on that second needle (at the end of the stitches) so it marks the beginning of your round.

3. Knit, in pattern, onto the next needle. You should now have three needles with stitches! Yay!

4. You will now be scooting and joining stitches on your needles, like in the triangle of needles above. You will use a FOURTH needle though, to begin knitting in the round. Just begin where you have placed your marker and begin knitting. Because I only have two hands, I am just showing how to set it up. You will use that fourth needle to begin. Continue knitting and scooting things, making sure your stitches are all facing in the same direction, particularly in those first two rows.

Knitted Princess Leia Hat from MomAdvice.com.

I love that these Princess Leia braids are not knitted. In fact, all we are doing is gathering yarn and braiding it like hair. I used a clipboard to clip the my hair to the top so that I could get nice and even braids.

Although the pattern says to measure these at 36″ long, I will admit that I am terrible measurer. If you are terrible like me, be sure to make both the braids and then trim them to be approximately the same length, otherwise Princess Leia is going to look a little lopsided!

Once I had the braid all gathered up, I trimmed all those loose pieces down and then secured it to the hat. These braids double as delightful little ear warmers.

Knitted Princess Leia Hat from MomAdvice.com. Knitted Princess Leia Hat from MomAdvice.com. Knitted Princess Leia Hat from MomAdvice.com. Knitted Princess Leia Hat from MomAdvice.com.

The pattern gives you the options to make it for a Preemie all the way up to an Adult. I admit, after I made this tiny hat, I felt the impulse to make one for myself. I mean, who doesn’t dream of being Princess Leia?

With this large amount of yarn, I can easily make three to four hats for less than $4! Score!

Thank you to Fiber Flux… Adventures in Stitching for sharing her pattern with the Ravelry community! Be sure to friend me over there- I love sharing & seeing your projects!

Grab the Pattern HERE.

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Chocolate Chiffon Cake with Peppermint Frosting

Monday, January 13th, 2014

Chocolate Chiffon Cake with Peppermint Frosting

In honor of MomAdvice.com’s tenth birthday, I wanted to share this recipe for an easy chocolate chiffon cake made with peppermint buttercream frosting, perfect for celebrating our special day with you. This chocolate chiffon cake is made from a cake mix and the homemade peppermint buttercream frosting is the perfect use of any leftover holiday candy canes you might have in your home.

10 Year Celebration

Since this is my own birthday week, we decided to devote this week towards celebrating this incredible milestone. Tomorrow I will be revealing our best giveaway yet and I will be calling upon you to help me fulfill our site’s birthday wish. I can’t even believe that the site has now been around a decade! Someone pinch me please!

In the meantime, let’s talk about making a birthday cake for our celebration.

Chocolate Chiffon Cake with Peppermint Frosting

Truth be told, this is my sweet little girl’s birthday pick this year. It is a family tradition that the birthday child gets to pick their birthday cake each year from my big stack of cookbooks. She had her heart set on a chocolate chiffon cake, but the one that was featured in the cookbook was a bundt cake and I knew she was looking for that traditional layered cake that makes all parties special.

I did some web searching and figured out how to make this into a layered cake and then frosted it with a beautiful peppermint buttercream frosting to finish it off. We had to tint it pink though…this is after all, Emily’s birthday.

Chocolate Chiffon Cake with Peppermint Frosting

I am a very humble cake decorator so I relied upon a few yarn pom poms on skewers to create a little cake banner over her cake. Peppermint candies crushed on top also act as a great eye distractor from my sad frosting skills.

Hey, a mom can’t be great at everything

 

Chocolate Chiffon Cake with Peppermint FrostingChocolate Chiffon Cake with Peppermint FrostingChocolate Chiffon Cake with Peppermint FrostingChocolate Chiffon Cake with Peppermint Frosting

We popped our cake in a cake carrier and transported it to Grand Rapids, Michigan where we took a family holiday in lieu of gifts this year. We got to celebrate Emily (just the four of us) and enjoyed several days of seeing the sites while enjoying a cozy cabin away from it all. I made my daughter’s birthday dinner request (a giant helping of Weeknight Chicken Lo Mein) and a  delicious slice of birthday cake was enjoyed by all. And I do mean ALL.

My husband, who seems to hate cake for some reason, wanted a second slice and the whole family agreed that this was the perfect birthday cake. The cake tastes so light and airy and the buttercream had just a hint of mint that added a creamy finish to the top of the slice.  It was the perfect ending to a perfect evening celebrating.

Now that we have covered the cake, tomorrow we will be covering the GIFTS.

Please come back tomorrow to see our big surprise!

Here’s a hint… this gift will help a thousand people! ONE THOUSAND PEOPLE.  Have I grabbed your interest yet?

See you tomorrow for the big reveal! 

Chocolate Chiffon Cake with Peppermint Frosting
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 16
 
A beautiful chiffon cake made from a boxed cake mix and laced with peppermint icing for the perfect duo of chocolate & mint.
Ingredients
  • 5 large egg whites
  • ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 package (18.25 ounces) devil’s food cake mix
  • ¾ cup water
  • ½ cup canola oil
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
  • ½ teaspoon pure peppermint extract
  • 3½ cups sifted confectioner’s sugar
  • 3-4 tablespoons milk
  • ½ cup crushed peppermint candies
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Set aside two greased 8″ cake pans.
  2. Place the egg whites & cream of tartar in a mixing bowl. Beat with your mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form (approximately 2-3 minutes). Set aside.
  3. Place the cake mix, water, oil, egg yolks, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Beat these until incorporated.
  4. Turn the egg whites out on top of the batter and fold it in until the mixture is light, but well combined.
  5. Bake the cakes until they spring back when lightly touched with your fingers, approximately 45-50 minutes.
  6. Invert them immediately and allow the cakes to cool for one hour upside down.
  7. Remove them from the cake pan and place them right side up again.
  8. Place the butter, peppermint extract, and 1 cup of the confectioners’ sugar in a large mixing bowl.
  9. Blend to incorporate and slowly add in the remaining sugar and remaining milk. If the frosting seems too stiff, add in an additional tablespoon of milk.
  10. Decorate with crushed peppermint candies on top.

 

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