Just a couple of Deatheaters…

We did a thing!

A local music hall (Vinyl Music Hall) hosted a Harry Potter Yule Ball (so cool, right?!!). Even though the hubby struggles with crowds, loud noises, etc, he promised he would try… so we bought tickets on a spur of the moment decision after learning that a friend of ours was also going.

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I personally *love* Harry Potter, but hubs tolerates it. He decided to go to appease me, haha. The Yule Ball featured a costume component, and I think that was the main reason he was interested in joining.

We both enjoy antagonists; villains are some of our favorite characters (but don’t get me wrong, I adore a good hero.) But when it came to creating costumes for this Yule ball, we totally wanted to go as Deatheaters!

We didn’t have a very long time to work on our costumes, roughly two weeks, but I think they turned out great!

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I made our cloaks, Joe whittled his wand out of a stick, I made mine from a chopstick and a marble (ha!). We decorated our masks with vinyl and paint. My Dark Mark “tattoo” was actually painted on and I was pleasantly surprised at how well it lasted during the night.

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After arriving, we put on our masks and had a few photo ops with other attendees. It was a blast! The band was amazing, too. Grand Theft Audio performing as Dumbledore’s Army. I would absolutely love to see GTA perform (as themselves) one day again.

There was also a costume contest! Can you believe that we came in second?! Second! What?!

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There was even a photographer from the Pensacola News Journal there, and he captured a few shots of the costume contest.

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We taste tested Butterbeer (it was alright…), took a Wanted Wizard photo, watched two artists paint, and passed out cold when we got home…we did all of this sober, too! FUN!

 

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I am already plotting my costume for next year. We definitely want to go next year. And I want another fun costume. I’m thinking … Dolores Umbridge? Molly Weasley? a Quidditch player?? The possibilities are endless!!

 

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New Adventures in Scouting

Well we’ve either done something brilliant, or we’ve dug ourselves into a deep hole. I’ve yet to decide.

What I have decided is that I have found a place that calls to me! Well, a second place (the first is the classroom. Oh how much I *love* being in there!!).

Ethan brought home a brochure for Cub Scouts and told us he was interested. We attended the sign up/information meeting, and here I am, two weeks later, DEN LEADER! Can you fathom?!

I’m not sure how it happened, other than being talked into it, discussing it over with the hubster and us *both* being incredibly excited to start this journey as a family.

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I’ve never been involved in scouting before, so I really don’t know what to expect, other than fun, long days, camping trips, badges, oh my!

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This past weekend we attended our first Pack Family Fun Day, and this coming weekend we have our very first Den Meeting. After meeting the boys and their families, I can say that I am incredibly thrilled to be starting this journey as Den Leader.

I have crazy organization, put together folders for the boys with print-outs of the 6 required adventures, our Den meeting schedule and a welcome letter.

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To help me keep track of the boys’ progress, I even purchased the tracking chart from the Scout store. I will use this to keep track of each boy, so that I know where each boy is. In my Den Leader binder, I have individual tracking sheets for each boy, so I can keep more detailed notes on their progress to earning their badges!

At our Pack Fun Day, the boys had an opportunity to earn an easy badge from the Boy Scout troop hosting us, all they had to do was show their knowledge of the Cub Scout handshake.

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I think we are going to have a wonderful time, and I can’t wait to share some of our adventures with you!

Do you have any experience with the Cub Scouts? I would love to hear your thoughts, tips, and memories!

Birthday on a budget

My darling littlest coconut turned one last week. I’m not sure how that happened, or even why the days have gone by so very quickly, but there he is, a chubby, sticky, happy little One Year Old.

First birthday

My baby, my little tiny human, is leveling up.

We had a small celebration with cousins, and we were so lucky that some out of town family was able to be here to join our fun.

Unfortunately, the party was around the same time as Thanksgiving, and let’s be honest, funds are not unlimited.

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I spent less than $7 on this party. Since we had a huge turkey dinner the day before (with the same people), we decided to have a simple party with chocolate chip cookies, cake, sweet tea, and Kool-aid (I’m a Southern girl, what can I say, haha).

I only needed to buy a few items for the party – cake mix ($1.48), icing ($1.25), table cloth ($1) and balloons (2 packs at $1 each).

Total cost (before tax): $5.73

 

After scouring Pinterest, craft magazines and Party City.com, I knew that I wanted a star theme with a birthday banner, a centerpiece, cupcake toppers, high chair swag, and a cute birthday sign.

There was no cost for the decorations, outside of the balloons, because I raided my craft stash.

I’m one of those crazy people who loves craft supplies. I will buy something because it’s pretty, or on sale, or there, then stash it away.

The stash in question this time was paper. I have too much paper (but I will never admit that, ever again!)

To keep it simple, and to not overwhelm me, I chose a basic primary color scheme and since Teeny Coconut loves red, it was an easy choice!

The biggest project was the birthday banner, which created a fun, whimsical effect when hung.

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The banner took a bit longer than anticipated, and Mr. Coconuts questioned my sanity (he pointed out I could’ve bought one for a buck at the Dollar Tree. And you could. But this one has style. It has spunk. It was made by me!)

It was simple, though. Here’s my process – using my cricut (or any cutter, or even your hands!) I cut out stars. Lots of stars. 30 each of red, green, blue, and orange. My stars were 1 3/4″ high. I also cut out the phrase, “Happy Birthday” in Don Juan font with each letter 7″ high and 3″ wide.

Next I stacked up the stars in the order I wanted them on the banner – orange, blue, red, green; then I pulled out my sewing machine, chose a coordinating thread color and off I went.

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Super simple. Just sew the stars, leaving a tiny bit of thread in between. Mine aren’t perfect, but the overall effect was so cool. Once I had about 15-20 stars (I lost count) I started adding in the letters. I patterned a star in between in each letter. After I finished the letters, I just sewed all the stars. I figured after the banner was completed, I could hang it up and cut off what I needed in order to make the banner the perfect size.

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I used the banner bits as further birthday decor and as the high chair swag.

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The centerpiece is another star project. I already had the red mason jar and thought it would be a perfect addition. I then used bamboo kebab skewers to attach stars in various shapes. The “1” is Birthday Bash font from Cricut Design Space.

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The picks are really easy to assemble. Cut out two of the image you want on the stick, and using a good quality glue stick, liberally apply glue to both sides, place the skewer on the wrong side of one image then layer with the top portion, lining up the image. Press the edges down firmly. Let dry over night and ta-daaaaa! (I’m sure this could be the same process you would use to make photo booth props.)

Same process for the cupcake toppers and smash cake decorations, but with toothpicks. So cute.

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My favorite part, however, is the framed saying. Oh, how I love that. I already have it hanging up in his room, with plans to drape stars around it on the wall.

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I found the inspiration on Pinterest, and whipped it up using my cricut, vinyl, paper, free fonts, glitter and glue (I already had the frame in my craft closet).

I had a brilliant idea, too! I didn’t want to hang it because I wanted it displayed on the table, so I used my recipe book holder to keep it sturdy and prominent on the table. Brilliant!

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The star theme really worked out. It was so easy to incorporate stars and primary colors and it didn’t cost me over $7 for everything…and I love it.

It was definitely a day to remember.

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White Chocolate Macadamia Nut cookies… and Creative Challenge submissions!

Hello again lovelies!

I am here to share with you a lovely new cookie (well, it’s not so new, but it’s my recipe), and three doodle/drawing Creative Challenge submissions.

Let’s get the Challenge out of the way first, then we can move on to drooling over my cookies (which are, technically, a fifth creation!)

Unfortunately, the Challenge submissions are “supposed” to be submitted by midnight Sunday night to count towards a contest of sorts, but with my busy life, I’m not worried about the contest, I’m just thrilled to have completed some of these daily creations!

You’ll notice that all but one are in my Art Journal (that lovely journal hubby gifted me for Yule); it’s so relaxing and easy for me to sit in bed at night after the littles are asleep and doodle.

Of course, one of my submissions is from an amazing adult coloring book – you’ll see several challenge submissions from this book in the future, because it’s such a lovely book, and it features owls!!

Creative Challenge Submission #2

Captain America:

Captain, O' My Captain!

Captain, O’ My Captain!

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Creative Challenge Submission #3

Live your Life in Color

Color Bubble Burst!

Color Bubble Burst!

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Creative Challenge Submission #4

Owls all Around

Owl coloring book from Dover Publications

Owl coloring book from Dover Publications

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This page excerpt comes from the Owls Coloring Book from Dover Publications and can be found here.

and finally,

Creative Challenge Submission #5

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut cookies!

These are a special request from the hubs. Definitely his favorite cookie and trust me, it’s a pain to find the macadamia nuts! But find them I did, and then whipped up this batch of cookies, just for him. These cookies are crisp on the edges and super soft and tender on the inside with the perfect amount of crunch from the nuts.

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

It’s a pretty basic cookie recipe and I hope you enjoy!

  • 2 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 bag White Chocolate chips
  • 1 cup macadamia nuts
  1. Preheat oven to 350° and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cornstarch. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter and sugars. Add in the eggs, one at a time, followed by the vanilla. Beat until thoroughly mixed and fluffy.
  4. Slowly add the flour mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, until completely combined.
  5. Using a spatula, mix in the chips and nuts, until evenly dispersed throughout batter.
  6. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes (this part is optional).
  7. Drop by the rounded spoonful on the baking sheet, leaving room between cookies.
  8. Bake for 11-12 minutes or until edges are lightly golden.

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I’m so excited to be sharing 5 fun Creative Challenge activities with the blog today; I’m pretty happy that I was able to get one done for each day of the Challenge so far. I am happy to submit the cookie recipe, but I really don’t feel like it’s an original thing, I mean, seriously, I bake cookies all the time. So my next baking/cooking submission will not be a cookie; I’d like to really challenge myself.

I can’t wait to see what the future challenges bring out!

Amusing little quickie

When I bake up new things, I always like to get input from family and friends. My most recent concoction, the Snickerdoodle Cream Cheese cookie bars, have been taste tested, and approved for future baking, but with a few minor adjustments.

I thought I’d share that with you quick.

First, everyone has agreed that they need to be baked a bit longer, the middle didn’t seem to be finished quite enough for everyone’s liking.

Second, I need to make them less thick – remember, I baked ’em up in an 8×8. Next time, I have to use the 9×13 pan. Make ’em thinner and they’ll definitely bake properly.

Third, keep them in a preschooler free zone. Or you’ll end up with this:

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I couldn’t help but start laughing when I opened the lid and there was his little spoon.

Obviously these are a keeper.

Have you ever had to keep little fingers out of a dessert?

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Boom! Went the oven…

Friday, I totally had a hankering for some Toasted Coconut cookies.

Like, willing to pull out a frozen ball of dough and nosh, hankering.

You ever have a day like that?

So I did what any normal person would do (no, I didn’t eat the dough, although I should have!).

I preheated the oven.

Then it blew.

SPARKS EVERYWHERE!!

Scared the crap outta me!

*sigh* So I’m stuck until Tuesday with no oven capabilities (which means NO BAKING WTF?!). We go to town Tuesday for Joey’s VA appointment, so we’re going to swing by the hardware store and pick up a new heating element for the oven.

Luckily, I have a pretty handy hubby who can fix things like this. We live in a rental, so buying a new fancy oven is totally out of the question. But if I could, it would SO be one of these…

 

Bertazzoni Professional Series, 6-Burner Electric Double Oven

 

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I don’t even know how much that baby is. But if you have to ask… you probably can’t afford it, haha!

So for a few days more, there won’t be any baking happening up in here.

Bummer.

 

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