How to Make Monkey Cupcakes

These adorable cupcakes are great for any monkey themed birthday party.

This is my second time to make them.

When the twins turned one, we had a monkey party.

Then this year when Matthew turned two, we had a monkey party.

You can make them too and they are certainly a crowd pleaser for kids and adults.

Here is what you will need:

  • 24 baked cupcakes (make our favorite cupcake recipe)
  • 1 batch of chocolate buttercream icing
  • 1 box of Nilla wafers
  • 1 box of mini-Nilla wafers
  • brown m&m’s
  • icing spreader
  • 1 cup of white buttercream icing (here is our favorite recipe)
  • red icing dye
  • black icing dye
  • 2 icing bags- one for piping black icing and one for red
  • icing tip- one with a small opening like what you would use for writing on a cake ( you can omit the last five ingredients if you choose to purchase already made red and black colored icing tubes)

How to Assemble:

Let your baked cupcakes cool 100%.

Apply a nice layer of chocolate buttercream icing to each cupcake using a spreader.

Next, cut your Nilla wafers in half using a sharp knife.

Do this to the mini wafers as well.

 

Add the large Nilla wafer half to the lower section of the cupcake, as illustrated below. This will serve as the monkeys mouth area.

Add two brown m&m’s to each cupcake to represent the eyes. (m&m emblem face-down)

Add the mini Nilla wafer halves to represent the monkey’s ears.

Now it is time to add the red mouth and the black nostrils for the nose.

You could use the tubed color gels that you can buy on the cake aisle at your grocery store. It would be easier than making your own icing, but I do not like it.

Make your white buttercream icing.

Take about half a cup of the icing and add red icing dye to it. Put it in your icing bag with the small writing tip.

Pipe red little mouths on the large Nilla wafer.

Take another half a cup of icing and add black icing dye to it.

Put it in a clean icing bag with the small writing tip and make nostrils on the large wafer cookie as illustrated below.

I also like to add black dots to the m&m’s for some eye detail, but it is not a must.

And you’re done!

How rockin’ are those?!

I am sharing these tips and pointers on these resourceful sites: i heart naptime,  the girl creativeC.R.A.F.T. craftomatic,  crafts keep me sane,   skip to my loumaking the world cutersumos sweet stuff mad in crafts, tip junkie, tasty tuesdaytempt my tummy tuesdaycraft edition hope studios, todays creative blog, sew much adosomeday crafts,  we are that family,  blue cricket designs,  somewhat simple,  paisley passionshouse of hepworths fun to craftfingerprints on the fridge, tidy moma few of my favorite things and  it’s a hodge podge life.   Looking for a more copious list? Here are over 50 sites to search for and share projects  and tutorials.

Strawberry Shortcake Kabobs

This idea was inspired by a tidbit I read in the July edition of Parent’s magazine.

Last year we made fruit kabobs for a bridal shower and they were adorable, yummy and practical.

Here is my version of Strawberry Shortcake Kabobs. These would be perfect for a birthday party, bridal or baby shower, holiday get- togethers or picnics. We had them the other day as an afternoon snack.

You will need:

  • 1-2 pints of washed strawberries
  • angel food cake
  • whipped cream
  • your favorite sprinkles
  • kabob skewers

 

Cube your angel food cake.

It does not have to be perfect cubes as your cake is likely round so some pieces will be odd shaped.

Slice your strawberries.

I needed to stretch my strawberries out, so I cut them into fourths (although the picture below only shows halves). You can simply cut them in half or use whole strawberries- you choose.

Grab your skewer and alternate with angel food cake and strawberries until the skewer is as full as you want it.

This is a fun step the kids can help with. You can have them build their own kabob if you like.

Once we’re done I like use kitchen sheers to cut the sharp end off of the skewer for safety reasons.

My kids have been known to use them as weapons. (The skewer that is.)

The kids love this step as well…. the whipped cream! Especially the canned kind.

Make a nice heaping of your favorite whipped topping on the individual plates you will serve the kabobs on.

And what makes whipped cream more fun than your favorite sprinkles?

Coordinate the colors to match the theme of your celebration.

Red, white and blue sprinkles would rock for your 4th of July party!

If you’re letting kids make their own kabobs, this is an ubber fun step!

And you’re all done!

Super simple, or what?

I am sharing these tips and pointers on these resourceful sites: i heart naptime,  the girl creativeC.R.A.F.T. craftomatic,  crafts keep me sane,   skip to my loumaking the world cutersumos sweet stuff mad in crafts, tip junkie, tasty tuesday tempt my tummy tuesday, simply sugar & gluten-free, craft edition hope studios, todays creative blog, sew much adosomeday crafts,  we are that family,  blue cricket designs,  somewhat simple,  paisley passionshouse of hepworths fun to craftfingerprints on the fridge, tidy moma few of my favorite things and  it’s a hodge podge life.   Looking for a more copious list? Here are over 50 sites to search for and share projects  and tutorials.

How to Repurpose Jeans into Shorts

I have a very thrifty tip for you that I have done since Garrett, who is now 12, was little.   This works for boys or girls jeans and is ideal in a situation where you are unable to patch holes in the knees of pants. At my house, when my boys make a hole in the knee of a pair of  jeans, it is from inseam to inseam by the time they get home. But I have a mommy solution!

As I have discussed before, we are all about passing outgrown clothing on to the next child in line, but sometimes holey jeans must be re-purposed. What better than to re-purpose them into a pair of shorts.

Absolutely no sewing required.

All you need is a pair of scissors.

Here are a pair of jeans that are seven years old. They have been passed down from Garrett (my oldest son) and the twins have worn them out.

 

Pretty big hole, hua?

 

Simply take the scissors and cut jeans to convert them into shorts at the length you see fit. I like the length of the shorts to hit them at the knee, if possible.

Here are two pair that I converted.

As you wash them they will naturally fray, which I think looks cool.

 

Super simple and it did not cost a penny!

I am sharing this tutorial on these crafty and resourceful sites: i heart naptime,  the girl creativeC.R.A.F.T.  craftomatic,  crafts keep me sane,   skip to my loumaking the world cutersumos sweet stuff mad in crafts, tip junkiecraft edition hope studios, todays creative blog, sew much adosomeday crafts,  we are that family,  blue cricket designs,  somewhat simple,  paisley passionshouse of hepworths fun to craftfingerprints on the fridge, tidy moma few of my favorite things and  it’s a hodge podge life.   Looking for a more copious list? Here are over 50 sites to search for and share projects  and tutorials.

DIY Snow Cone Recipes and Tips

Sno cone?

Snow cone?

Snowcone?

You get the idea.

One of my readers, Martha,  asked if I could find her some recipes for making her own snow cone syrup at home. As we can imagine, during the summer months the costs really start to add up when purchasing pre-made syrup at the store. (Hi Martha. Thanks for being a reader!)

I figured if Martha needed a snow cone mommy solution, other’s out there would too. Here are some awesome recipes I found on the internet!

. . . .

Skip to my Lou  shows us how to use three simple ingredients, one of which would be handy-dandy Kool-Aid packets, to make affordable and simple sno cone syrup at home.   (photo courtesy of SkiptomyLou.org)

 

. . . . .

Skinny Chef has shared a yummy Blueberry Snow Cone recipe.  Again, just three simple ingredients. This stuff is easy! (photo courtesy of Skinnychef.com)

 

. . . . . 

Who said you can’t eat  yellow snow?  This recipe involves real snow, but you could certainly use shaved ice. The ingredient list is short and includes vanilla and lemon extracts. Yum. (photo courtesy of  stuck-on-glue.blogspot.com)

 

. . . . .  

Living on a Dime shares a great recipe which gives the option to use fruit juice and food coloring or a flavroed drink mix to make your snow cones.  (photo courtesy of livingondime.com)

 . . . . .

Feels Like Home shares with us How Not to Make a Snow Cone.   Apparently Jello does NOT make a great snow cone.   :)

 

Is there a resource or solution I can find for you?

I am sharing this tutorial on these crafty and resourceful sites: i heart naptime,  the girl creativeC.R.A.F.T.  craftomatic,  crafts keep me sane,   skip to my loumaking the world cutersumos sweet stuff mad in crafts, tip junkiecraft edition hope studios, todays creative blog, sew much adosomeday crafts,  we are that family,  blue cricket designs,  somewhat simple,  paisley passionshouse of hepworths fun to craftfingerprints on the fridge, tidy moma few of my favorite things and  it’s a hodge podge life.   Looking for a more copious list? Here are over 50 sites to search for and share projects  and tutorials.

How to Make Candy Pacifier Party Favors

Looking for a precious and super simple party favor for an upcoming baby shower? Wait until you see these!

All you will need is:

  • lifesavers
  • gumdrops
  • royal icing (you can buy it prepackaged and you just add water)
  • icing bag and small tip
  • ribbon

How to Make Candy Pacifier Shower Favors

First, gather your supplies.

 

Prepare the royal icing and place it in an icing bag assembled with a tip that will allow the icing to flow easily but with control from the bag.

Use the royal icing to attach two lifesavers together making a  ‘T’ as the picture below illistrates.

 

Next, use the royal icing to glue a gum drop to the top of the lifesaver ensemble as illustrated below.  

Let the royal icing dry for a couple of hours to ensure the candy is secure and intact.

 

Then use ribbon, you can go as expensive or inexpensive as you want, to make a necklace strand that will allow your guests to wear these delicious party favors at the baby shower.

 

How simple was that? And they are so stinkin’ adorable!

I am sharing this tutorial on these crafty and resourceful sites: i heart naptime,  the girl creativeC.R.A.F.T.  craftomatic,  crafts keep me sane,   skip to my loumaking the world cutersumos sweet stuff mad in crafts, tip junkiecraft edition hope studios, todays creative blog, sew much adosomeday crafts,  we are that family,  blue cricket designs,  somewhat simple,  paisley passionshouse of hepworths fun to craftfingerprints on the fridge, tidy moma few of my favorite things and  it’s a hodge podge life.   Looking for a more copious list? Here are over 50 sites to search for and share projects  and tutorials.

Editing Photos

My good friend Kim recently purchased her first DSLR camera. Digital single-lens reflex camera, in layman terms. I’ve been telling her about some online editing programs, specifically the editing program I use for the photos that I post here on my site. I know all of this can be a little overwhelming, but I figured a post would be a great place to share some the online tools I use as well as illustrate just how easy it is to edit and give your photos a whole new life and a new story or spin.

I use Picnik.com, which is owned by Google.   Anyone can get a free account and it is super duper easy to use!

There is a paid version of their program as well, but it is very affordable. The paid version gives you access to all of the premium editing features and it allows you to store up to 100 photos at a time. I do their month to month option for $4.95, but you can get a year long premium membership for around $20.00.  With all of that said, when you’re just starting out, the free version is perfect.

The interface is so user friendly, yet gives your photos a professional feel. I know people who use it just for their personal use, as well as for editing their photos for their blogs and even professional photographers who use it as their main editing tool in their business.

I am going to share two photos that Kim sent me from a family event we were both at this weekend. (She has no idea I am doing this….) Hi Kim!

Editing Photos Using Picnik Online

Here is the original photo untouched:

  

 

. . . . .

For this edited version I:

  • cropped (edit tab)
  • clicked autofix (edit tab) this button automatically evens out all the tones and brightens it a bit
  • click cross process feature (create tab)
  • add text with color (create tab)

 

. . . . .

For this edited version I:

  • cropped (edit tab)
  • clicked autofix (edit tab)
  • clicked vibrance(create tab) vibrance is a premium  feature, but the one I use most often
  • added my site as a watermark in text (create tab)

 

 

. . . . .

For this edited version I:

  • cropped (edit tab)
  • clicked autofix (edit tab)
  • clicked 1960′s feature with rounded corners (create tab)
  • added a quote using text (create tab)

 

. . . . .   

Here is another original photo of Matthew with my friend Kim’s oldest son Sean. Hi Sean!

 

. . . . .

For this edited version I:

  • cropped it (edit tab)
  • selected the bunny tone feature (create tab)- this is an ‘Easter’ feature that lightens your picture signifigantly
  • selected the vignette feature (create tab)- this is what gives the photo the darkened edges
  • added text with my site address (create tab)

 

See how much the picture changed? Same images, so many possibilities! And it really is simple!

You can also save your edited images to a card, disc, etc., and take them to the local drugstore or print shop and print pictures to your hearts content.   

 

I am  sharing  this post on these  crafty and rsourceful sites.

How to Make Lego Marshmallow Pop Party Favors

 

I made these  Lego Marshmallow Pops a few weeks ago for the twins’ fifth birthday party. They are so much easier to make than you might think. Of course it involves melting candy wafers- one of my favorite things to do!

Ready? Here we go….

You’ll need:

  • 1 bag of big marshmallows
  • yellow candy wafers
  • double boiler
  • serrated knife (cuts the marshmallow with ease!)
  • sucker sticks (craft store)
  • icing bag and small writing tip (for making the face)
  • black gel icing dye
  • Royal Icing (I bought the boxed stuff that you just add water to- so easy!)
  • treat bags and black ribbon (if you want to wrap them up)

 

Use a serrated knife to cut the top of the marshmallow off as shown below.   

 

Use a coupler from an icing bag, or something of the same shape and size, to cut a hole in the marshmallow top that you just cut off.  

 

Now you are left with three pieces like this:

 

Take the small round marshmallow piece and press it to the top of the large marshmallow piece. If you need to use a dot of water to make it stick you can do so.  

Insert a sucker stick in the bottom end of the marshmallow ensembles as the picture below shows.

 

Next, dip the marshmallow-ed stick into your melted yellow candy wafers. (When I dip you dip we dip. Remember that song? Or am I the only one?)

 

Resemble a Lego head yet? So cute, hua?

Now, let it cool 100%. Use a floral foamy block to stick it in while it cools.

 

Once the Lego heads are cool, mix up some Royal Icing. I buy the boxed/bagged kind from the craft store or cake supply place. You just add water- so simple!

 Once you’ve mixed the icing, add some black gel dye to it.

Place it in a piping bag with a small writing tip on it. I used a #2 tip.

 

Pipe little eyes and lips onto the Lego heads. Use Lego faces you have as a template.  I just stuck with smiley faces and dot eyes.

 

Now you can use cellophane treat  bags and some black curly ribbon to finish up.

Pop them in the goody bags and you have a hit! A crowd pleaser for sure! :)

 

I am sharing this tutorial on thesecrafty and resourceful sites. Thank you Living Locurto for the awesome tutorial and pointers to get me started.

Best Cupcake Recipe Ever!

This is my go-to cupcake recipe. It comes from the same cupcake cookbook as the Chocolate Buttercream Icing recipe- Cupcakes from the Cake Mix Doctor. Her cupcake recipes are what I would call a semi-homemade, as they start off with a boxed cake mix, and as the name suggests, you doctor it up.

 

You’ll Need:
1 pkg plain butter golden boxed cake mix
1 8oz pkg reduced fat cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 large eggs
1 T vanilla extract

 

Preheat oven to 350.

Mix the cake mix, cream cheese, sugar, water, oil, eggs and vanilla in a large mixing bowl on low speed until well blended and then kick it up to a medium speed. I love to use my free standing electric mixer. Stop the mixer to scrape the sides if needed. Continue to mix until smooth and well blended.

Line your muffin pan with cupcake liners. I like to use a medium sized melon-type scooper to fill the cupcake liners 2/3 full. Usually this is one and a half scoops.

Bake for approximately 25 minutes. Use a knife or toothpick to ensure the center is done before removing them from the oven.

Transfer them to a wire rack where they will cool completely before you ice them.

This recipe makes 24 standard size cupcakes. They are dense and incredibly delish!

Once cool, ice your cupcake and decorate with a cool cupcake topper like these lego candies,  or for an extra treat try cookies on a stick or even embellish with simple figurines and loot as we did for the pirate cupcakes.

Before the party add a fun candle and you’re sure to have an amazingly fun birthday party.

 

 

Do you have a favorite cupcake or birthday cake recipe that you just love and want to share? Do you prefer to try something new each birthday or grab something from the bakery? I would love your input!

This tip/tutorial will be shared on these crafty and resourceful sites.

How to Use Candy as Cupcake Toppers- Lego Birthday Party

Cupcake toppers that you find at the store can be limiting and boring. I always want something special, something personal, something that says…. WOW!

With that said, I have learned to get creative when decorating my cupcakes.  Think outside the boring pix.I like to find my own way to bring my birthday party theme to life with my cupcakes!

One way to do that is to find a candy mold that matches your theme. You can buy plastic molds at craft and cake supply stores.

You can also find silicone molds. Some can even be placed in the oven. I found these on ebay.

If you’re feeling adventurous, you can make your own silicone molds. I’m Topsy Turvey has a great tutorial on how to make your own.  

How to Make Candy for Your Cupcakes

Melt your candy. I use a double boiler, you can do it in the microwave if you prefer.

Fill your molds…

Let the candy cool 100%.  You will know they are cool when the candy is pulling away from the edge of the mold. Place the candy on an iced cupcake and you are good to go!

 

Tips for Melting Candy Wafers

  1. Use a double boiler.
  2. The microwave is an option for melting candy as well- I just prefer a double boiler. I can keep a better eye on the candy as it melts.
  3. Use low/med-low heat.
  4. If you cook it too fast and too high the candy will turn into a hard ball.
  5. When using the stove method, stir often during the melting process. You do not have to stir constantly, but do give it a good stir every few minutes.
  6. Once all of the candy has melted, it will stay creamy for longer than you think. If you are going to use an icing bag like I did to pipe the melted candy into your molds, let it cool 10 minutes or so. This will keep the candy from burning your hands as you squeeze it into the molds.
  7. Another option for getting the melted candy into the mold is to use a plastic bottle designed specifically for melted candy wafers. These are the same bottles that some use when decorating cookies with icing. You can find them at a cake supply or craft store.
  8. Once the molds are filled, place them in the fridge to hurry along the hardening process.

 

What is your favorite cupcake topper? Share the fun ways you decorate and any tips you might have!

This project will be shared on these crafty and resourceful sites.

How to Make a Cupcake using Spa Socks- An Affordable Valentine’s Day Gift

This is a super simple Valentine’s Day gift that would be perfect for a teacher or loved one this year. This project is certainly flexible and could be customized for any holiday. This would also rock as a party favor for an older girls birthday party- you can easily find the socks in childrens’ sizes.

I originally found this tutorial on Seven-Thirty-Three’s site and just had to share it with you guys.

Here is what you’ll need for each gift:

  • one pair of spa socks (Target has 2 pair for $2.50 in the dollar spot)
  • hot glue gun
  • a rubber band
  • card stock (I used brown- $0.69 a sheet)
  • scissors (or a cutter for the card stock)
  • festive cupcake liner
  • festive ribbon ($0.99 at the craft store for 3 yrds)
  • treat box adequately sized (pkg of 3 for $2.99)
  • candy

Here is how you assemble…

Start with a pair of festive spa socks. You can get them in just about any color, combination, pattern, or just plain Jane.

Roll the socks like this….
Once rolled, secure the socks with a rubberband.
Next, take a 2 inch wide strip of card stock and wrap it around the bottom section of the socks to cover the rubberband. Use a few dabs of hot glue to secure the card stock in place.
Wrap festive ribbon around the card stock. Secure it with hot glue. You can make a sweet little bow with it, or just leave it as simple as you’d like. Feel free to embellish as much as you want. I opted for simple.
Place the cupcake in a cute cupcake liner.
Assemble your treat box. If you cannot find decorative boxes that match the holiday occasion, you can always find plain white treat boxes at your local craft store, party supply store or cake supply shop. (These particular boxes are 3 x 4.5 x 4.5.)
Place the cupcake with liner in the box and toss in some candies such as chocolate Kisses.
Close the box up and you’ve got a gift!
How simple was that?
I will be sharing this craft on these sites.