Thursday, April 5, 2012

Homemade Chocolate Chip Granola Bars!

In my last post I shared the recipe for the peanut butter energy bites which I love.  But my husband is not a fan of peanut butter, so I had to figure out another type of granola bar that he would eat :)
 He loves these...

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup honey
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 cups quick cooking oats {not rolled oats}
1 cup crispy rice cereal
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons mini chocolate chips

In a large bowl, stir oats and rice cereal together. Set aside.
 In a small pot, melt butter, honey and brown sugar together over medium
high heat until it comes to a bubble. Reduce the heat and cook 2
minutes. Pour in vanilla and stir. Pour over dry ingredients and mix
well to moisten all ingredients. Pour into lightly greased small jelly
roll pan {about 12x8x1} and press out to be about 3/4 inch in
thickness. {If your pan isn’t small enough, pack the mixture into one
side. You really want to press them down so they stick together.}
Another option is to mix the chocolate chips in when the mixture is still warm.  This makes it more of a chocolate swirl.
Sprinkle with mini chocolate chips and press down lightly. Cool in frige and wrap in parchment or plastic wrap and store at room temperature. I like to store it in the frige because it sticks together better.
**Another option for this recipe is to add coconut oil instead of butter, and some coconut flakes.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Energy Bites

Energy bites (no bake)

This recipe was inspired by pintrest.  There are many variations you
can use, but this is the way I have enjoyed it!

1 cup (dry) oatmeal
1 cup toasted coconut flakes
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup ground flaxseed
1/3 cup honey
1 tsp. vanilla

Stir all ingredients together in a medium bowl until thoroughly mixed.
 Let chill in the refrigerator for half an hour.  Once chilled, roll
into balls of whatever size you would like.  (Mine were about 1″ in
diameter.)  Store in an airtight container and keep refrigerated for
up to 1 week.
Makes about 20-25 balls.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Rainbow Birthday Party

For Lydia's 5th birthday I threw her a rainbow birthday party.

This cake was actually a lot easier to make than it may appear.
I made 3 cake boxes and separated the batter of each cake into two 9" rounds.
Mix a different color of food coloring into each cake round.
Layer the cakes with wax paper and stick it in the freezer for a few hours.
Layer it with icing and cover the outside with frosting and sprinkles. 

The decorations are a bit random, but everything I made Lydia was able to help me with :)

- sand art centerpieces

- skittles with rolos (The idea here is gold at the end of the rainbow...)


- Treasure Hunt
I took pictures of various things in the yard and put each picture in a number envelope.  Then I hid each envelope in order.  I gave the first envelope to the kids which led them to the next envelope and so on.  They were all pictures with no words because not all the kids could read.  The first child to the clue got to open the envelope.  The final picture led to the treasure...the goodie bags.

- pinata
You can't have a party with out a pinata!  I have always bought one from the store (which I would probably still recommend). Lydia and I had fun in the process of making this pinata out of paper mache. We blew up a balloon and mixed flour and water (and a little salt). 
Then ripped long strips of newspaper and smoothed them onto the balloon.  It took about 48 hours to completely dry.  Then we glued crate paper on it to add color!

- pin the Clouds on the rainbow
I colored a rainbow on poster board.
cut out a few clouds and glued cotton balls to them. (This is also something that Lydia enjoyed helping with).
I put velcro on the back of the clouds and on the poster board where the clouds would go.
For the game I put a blindfold on one child at a time and then gave them a cloud and they tried to get it in the right place.


I made these for Lydia's birthday snack at school.
It was a good alternative to cupcakes or cookies :)

I have found that if you want kids to get excited aboutk something, just put googley eyes on them! :)

Materials Needed:
Individual applesauce containers
Individual juice boxes
mini raisin packs (you could also use nerd packs)
Tootsie rolls
Plastic spoons
Googley eyes

Just hot glue it all together.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Yummy St. Patricks Day Treat!

I have finally perfected my cake pop recipe.
I have been trying different recipies becasue I really like the taste and there are so many ways to make them.  These are good to use as goodies at a shower or birthday party if you put sticks in them and wrap them in plastic.
This particular one is good for a St.Patricks Day treat!

box of white cake mix
(ingredients for that...eggs, milk, oil)
1/2 cup of whipped white frosting
melted white chocolate with food coloring OR easy melt tablets

Make the box of white cake as it tells you on the box.
Try to take it out before it gets brown on the edges.
Let it cool.
Crumble it up in a large bowl.
Mix in whipped frosting with hands.
Roll into 1 inch balls and place on wax paper in a baking dish
Place the balls in the freezer for a few hours.
Melt the chocolate in a bowl.
dip the balls in the chocolate using a spoon (cover it on all sides)
Place back on wax paper and pour some sprinkles on top.
Place in refrigerator until hardened.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Easter Egg Wreath

I did this project today with my craft girls, Jenny Stinson, Michelle Husbands and Jen Bolen.
It turned out to be a very fun and simple craft.

You need:
- Cardboard
- plastic easter eggs
- easter grass
- hot glue gun
- ribbon

Cut the cardboard into a wreath shape.
Glue two rows of eggs on the cardboard with the smaller ends facing out.
Stuff the grass in between the eggs then glue another layer of eggs on top.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Rubber Duckie Diaper Cake

I have found a new project passion...Diaper Cakes!

In a previous post I had shown the first one I made.  I put a "how to" link in that blog post as well.

This is my most recent diaper cake.
It is "rubber duckie" themed.

If anyone knows of anyone needing a diaper cake let me know! :)

Ready Made Snacks

My children are always wanting a snack after rest time or when we are on the go, so I decided to make them little snack bags that they can get for themselves or that we can take with us when we go out. The kids like to think they are in control of getting their own snack but I get to be in charge of what goes in them :)

- pretzel twists
- freeze dried fruit (pineapple, pear, and strawberry)
- animal crackers
- peanuts
- snack size zip lock bags
- basket or bin

Friday, March 2, 2012

Baby Shower - Diaper Cake

I had so much fun helping plan a baby shower for my friend Michelle Husbands this past week!
I thought I would share some of the decorations that I did. (with the help of Jenny Stinson!)

Diaper Cake:
I had SO much fun with this...I definitely want to make more of these!
I found a tutorial online that helped me to get started.
It is fun to find a theme and run with it.  For this diaper cake I went with butterfly/pink theme.

Crate Paper flower boquet:
This is a great, cheap craft that I found on pinterest.
It was a little time consuming, but once I got the hang of it then it was easy.
We used these as centerpices by setting them on top of vases and putting clear rocks in them.
Another idea is to place them on top of upside down wine glasses.


Napkin roses:
I got this idea from the crate paper flower boquet.  I used the leftover napkins and made them into roses and added green pipe cleaners as stems.

I also used the flowers around the diaper cake for a centerpiece...

Jenny made the punch with the rubber duckies in the bowl...SO cute! :)

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Picture Frame Dry Erase Board

Picture frame dry erase board...I love this project! 
I have made a number of these for around my house or as a gift.
The nice thing about this project is you can put to use an old picture frame that you have around the house!

...On this frame I hot glued the leftover paper to the frame.

If you were to make this as a gift for someone, you could just personalize it with their name using scrapbook stickers or any kind of letters.

Basic materials needed:

Picture frame
Scrapbook paper (or fabric)
Dry erase pen
velcro (optional)
Ribbon (optional - to hang)
Scrapbook stickers or letters (optional)

Decorate the scrapbook paper (example: "Remember" or "I love you because..." etc.)
Frame the paper.
Put velcro on the marker and side of frame. ( is best to place the marker upside down on the side so the marker does not dry up)
Hot glue ribbon to the back of frame to hang (optional)

Masterpiece Wall

This was my attempt at making a "Masterpiece Wall".  I saw an idea like this on Pinterest and decided to try it with my own little twist.

Materials Needed:
A wall that can be painted on
strips of magnet with sticky backs
child's artwork

*If I did this project again I would definitely use a stensil for the writing on the wall.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Ribbon Flip Flops

(This is a project I did with the leftover ribbon from the jewelry organizer)

All you need for this project is:
- a pair of basic flip flops
- ribbon of your choice
- hot glue gun

I wrapped the ribbon around the flip flop strap gluing a little at a time along the way.
Then once the ribbon is wrapped around the straps I tied a separate bow and glued it on.
I'm not sure how long these shoes will last on a 5 year old girl who is always playing outside, but she loves them and they are cute for now! :)

Jewelry Organizer

I opened my jewelry box the other day and all my neclaces and earrings were all tangled up, so I decided I needed to do something about it!
All you need for this project is:
- 1 or 2 utensil organizers or drawer organizers
- picture hooks
- hot glue gun
- ribbon

I just took the picture hangers and hot glued them to the drawer organizer.
I hot glued ribbon to the back of the drawer organizer and hung it on the wall.
(it is helpful to anchor it to the wall so it is not wobbly)

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Train Birthday

This post is in honor of my little nephew, Benjamin, who is a year old today!

Hudson likes trains A LOT!  I thought it would be fun to throw him a train birthday for his 3rd birthday.  He had a great time and I had a lot of fun putting it together.  I thought I would share some of those ideas in case there is anyone wanting ideas for a little boy's birthday.

This was a little involved, but it was fun to make. 

- 4 frozen pound cakes
- 4 jars of white frosting
- oreo cookies
- red licorice
- kit kat bars
- one ice cream cone
- one jumbo marshmallow
- gummy bears
- lolly pops
- chocolate mini marshmallows
- food coloring

*Start by placing the poud cakes in a row on a long platter (or a few individual ones taped together)
The pound cakes should be farely easy to shape and cut. 
*The first train I layered pieces of one of the cakes on top of the first cake
*The second and third are regular size pound cake
*The fourth is half of the first pound cake.
*Then I iced it all and decorated it as the picture shows.

This can be done in a much more basic way, but I just kept adding to it :)

GAME #1:
We played "throw the coal into the train"

Draw a basic picture of a train on a pice of posterboard.
Cut a hole in the poster board in the "coal cart"
Get 5 black socks and fill them with beans.
Put rubberbands around the sock to tie it shut, then fold over the sock until it is like a bean bag.
The kids try to throw the bean bags ("coal") into the hole in the poster board ("coal cart").

GAME #2:
Train relay race. 
One child puts on a train outfit (we used a Thomas the Train outfit, but you could dress up as a drain conductor or anything like that) then runs to the other side and takes off that outfit and the next child puts it on etc.  The kids thought it was fun to dress up and run!
Matt had fun with this, too...

And of course, you can't have a party without a pinata!
I didn't make the pinata for this party, but I just made one for another party.  I will share that process and final product later :)

Saturday, February 25, 2012 a gift!

This past Christmas I was trying to figure out what I could give to people that would maybe be a little healthier than the traditional candy and cookies.  I decided to make this wonderful granola recipe that my sister in law, Kristin gave to me.  It turned out to be a great, easy, and and useful gift for people.

What you need:
mason jar(s)
string or ribbon
homemade granola recipe (see below)

8c rolled oats
1 1/2c wheat germ
1 1/2c oat bran
1c almonds
1c pecans
1c walnuts
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2c brown sugar
1/4c maple syrup
3/4c honey
1/2c veg. Oil
1/2c applesauce
1TB cinnamon
1TB vanilla
2c raisins or craisins or choc chips
( mix those in after baking)
1. Preheat oven to 300. Line baking sheets with parchment or aluminum foil.
2. Combine salt, brown sugar, syrup, honey, oil, applesauce, cinnamon,
& vanilla in a saucepan. Bring to boil over medium heat.
3. In a LARGE bowl, combine remaining dry ingredients. (except
raisins, or choc chips)
4. Pour liquid over dry mixture to coat. Spread the mixture evenly on
baking sheets.
5. Bake until crispy and toasted about 20 minutes. Stirring halfway
through. Cool, then stir in raisins, craisins or choc chips. Store in
airtight container.

Is It Really THAT Simple?! Peanut Butter...

Since being diagnosed with cancer many people have suggested that I try to eat more whole foods and try to cut out added sugars, preservatives etc.  I have been experimenting with this a little, but I welcome any and all advice or suggestions! 

One thing I have been doing is making my own peanut butter.  I had no idea it was so easy!

All you need is...

- a food processor
- peanuts

Just put the peanuts in the food processor for a few minutes until it becomes creamy then put in an airtight container in the refrigerator. 

My kids seem to like it even better than the store bought stuff!

Blueberry Yumminess!

I thought I would share a great recipe that I have used twice in the past two days.  No, it has not been all for me! ;)  The only name I could think to describe it is "blueberry yumminess"...


(Serves 6-8)
½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 tsp. lemon zest or more — zest from 1 large lemon
7/8 cup + 1 tablespoon sugar
1 egg, room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2 cups fresh blueberries
½ cup buttermilk


1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Cream butter with lemon zest and 7/8 cup
of the sugar until light and fluffy.
2. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until combined. Meanwhile, toss
the blueberries with ¼ cup of flour, then whisk together the remaining
flour, baking powder and salt.
3. Add the flour mixture to the batter a little at a time, alternating
with the buttermilk. Fold in the blueberries.
4. Grease a 9-inch square baking pan (or something similar) with
butter or coat with non-stick spray. Spread batter into pan. Sprinkle
batter with remaining tablespoon of sugar. Bake for 35 minutes. Check
with a toothpick for doneness. If necessary, return pan to oven for a
couple of more minutes. (Note: Baking for as long as 10 minutes more
might be necessary.) Let cool at least 15 minutes before serving.

Fray Family Creations

I am a mother of three.  Lydia (4), Hudson (3) and Samuel (1). I was diagnosed with breast cancer a year and a half ago.  Since I have been feeling better I have been doing a lot of crafting, cooking, and organizing. I have been inspired through Pinterest and I thought it would be nice to share some of my simple creations and organizational strategies as a stay at home, soon to be homeschooling, mother of 3!

This photo frame project is one that I did a few weeks ago. 
"Fray" is an easy name because there are only 4 letters.  If you have more letters you can do individual frames or get a custom made frame. 

For the first frame I took pictures that resembled certain letters from around my house and backyard. 

For the second frame I formed the kids to resemble each letter.  This was a little diffictult to make them sit still (especially Samuel), but it was well worth it!