"The desire to create is one of the deepest yearnings of the human soul." - Dieter F. Uchtdorf -

Black Forest in a Bowl

This is one of our families all time favourite desserts.  And I love it because it's easy - kids can help!!!  And you can make it as big or small as you need so it's great for feeding a crowd.

 All you need are these four ingredients.
And you don't need this much whipping cream.  It was nearing expiry date and I needed to use it - so we just made our Black Forest a little more creamy than usual.

Bake your chocolate cake - we often do this the night before.  And you don't need to grease your pan or anything either.

Have one of your children rip apart the cooled cake into bite size chunks and line all the edges of your bowl.  We're using the lovely huge stainless steel bowl - the one that got dented when Carlee used it as a toboggan!

You'll notice we still have some cake left in the pan once all the bowl edges are lined.  We'll use that later, or eat it!!!

Make one package of instant chocolate pudding.

Have another kid whip up the whipping cream.

The first batch of chocolate pudding gets poured on top of all the chocolate cake.  I find it easier to pour in before the pudding has set too much.  Let it set in the pan between chunks of cake.

We put a layer of whipped cream over the pudding because we had all that whipping cream, but usually we don't - tastes great either way.  Now find another kid to spread the cherry pie filling over all the whipped cream.  (Carlee noticed that her dress matches the dessert!)

And find another kid to rip up the rest of the chocolate cake and throw it in on top of the cherries.

This helps fill up the hole in the middle of the bowl.

Now for the final package of chocolate pudding poured over top of the new layer of cake.

And the rest of the whipped cream goes on top.  We added a few chocolate shavings.  Cherries also look lovely on top.

We fed twelve people on Fathers' Day and used just over half the bowl - and they were pretty generous portions.  The leftovers tasted great the next day, so no worries!!!

We also love the vanilla version - white cake, vanilla pudding, banana slices, whipped cream and Skor bits.
Give them both a try - I dare ya!!! 

Chocolate Pretzel Treats

End of school rolls around and suddenly I have three kids who need treats for the parties they're having in their band classes.  Why couldn't they play the instruments that are assigned to bring a bag of chips?

Then, suddenly, I remembered something wonderful!!!  I remembered that I had pinned something on Pinterest (your online bulletin board for "pinning" things that interest you) that would be perfect for class parties.  You can check that post out here at How Does She.  And you really should check it out because she uses Rolos instead of Macaroons and has other yummy ideas too. 

The first step is to find a slave willing helper to place all the pretzels on the cookie sheet.

Next you'll want to give your baby a pretzel so she doesn't grab some from the perfectly placed pretzel platter.  (Skip this step if you don't have a baby.)

Then you place a chocolate of your choice on each pretzel.  Notice I have two different kinds of Macaroons.  The light coloured ones I bought but then ran out.  So I had to raid my food storage stash where I happen to have a case or two of Macaroons (must have comfort food in storage, and nothing is more comforting than chocolate and coconut!!!). 

Okay, this should be the first step - set your oven clock to 8:29 and your oven temperature to 350 degrees.  You're gonna pop these trays in the oven for about three minutes - just enough time to get the chocolate soft, but not completely melted.  To save energy, I suggest you might want to do this when you're baking something else, or you could put them out in the sun if it's hot out - hey, a new camping recipe!!!

Gather your slaves troops to press the peanut M&M's into the chocolate while it's all soft and pliable.

Work fast as they cool down pretty quickly. 
You could press anything on top - peanuts, almonds, skittles, smarties, gummy bears, radishes, jujubes, peas, marshmallows, etc.  Do specific colours to match special occasions (like Valentine colours Smarties for Valentines Day).  Oh the possibilities!!!

Aren't they cute?  And they're delicious eaten warm or cold.  I love the little bit of saltiness from the pretzels mixed with all the sweets.

Now I know what you're wondering:  how did the kids like them at the band parties?  Well, Carlee reported that they were the biggest hit at the grade 7 party.  Jas said the kids in the high school band would skeptically ask what they were.  After she explained and they tried one, they kept wanting more!

Now here is the rule:  You're welcome to make these for your kids' parties too unless I have a kid in your kids class.  If that's the case, sorry, but you'll have to come up with your own treat!!!

Now, once again, I know what you're wondering:  that's only two band parties, I thought you had three parties that needed treats?  Well you're right, but Jordyn needed a gluten free treat.  But not to worry - I had another pin on Pinterest!!!  This one was called Peanut Butter Corn Chip No Bake Cookies.  I forgot to take pictures but you can check that out here at Skip To My Lou.  Mmmm - so good!

Map of Canada Pillow

I home-school my kids from Kindergarten to Grade 3.  So, I like to have educational things around, but I don't want my house to look like a classroom (unless it's the actual "school room" like we had in one house).  But most of our learning seems to happen right on the couch so the the old teacher can be comfortable!!!  So, a Map of Canada Pillow seems like the perfect addition to our home school - comfort and education in one!!!

Somewhere in blogworld, I've seen two maps of the USA.  They were both wall hangings - one was fabric and one was paper.  (Sorry, this was before Pinterest so they were only "pinned" in my mind and I have no link to send you to!).  But they were my inspiration to make a map of Canada.  Let me just say that 10 provinces and 3 territories is just a wee bit easier than 50 states!!!

The first step is to find a map you like.  I found a ton on Google and any regular person could just print a map out.  I'm not a regular person and decided to make this project take a little longer by tracing a map off my daughters school agenda.
(Actually, I don't have a printer right now!)
Now, listen carefully:  I used Heat and Bond (my second favourite thing after Mod Podge!), and the image you trace on the Heat and Bond needs to be backwards.  So, I traced my map with a marker that went through the paper, so I had the reverse image on the back of the paper.  And then I copied it, but you don't need to do that.

You trace your reversed image onto the paper side of the Heat and Bond and then roughly cut it out.

I initialled the provinces because when they're backwards its easy to get mixed up.  These are all pressed now onto the wrong side of the fabric (follow the instructions on your Heat and Bond!)

Now you cut them out properly.

Place them in their proper spots.  I kept the little Prince Edward Island to the last because I didn't want to lose it.  I'd love to visit PEI someday (yes, I'm a big Anne fan!)

Once everything was placed in it's proper spot, I peeled the paper backing off the fabric and put the piece back in it's place.

I double checked the exact locations of those east coast provinces with my map.  Gotta teach my kids correct geography!  When everything was exactly right, I ironed it all on - again, be sure to follow the instructions on your package.  It's probably only for a few seconds and if you over iron, it won't stick.

My family likes to throw around pillows - crazy I know and they most certainly don't get that from me!  So I knew that I had to do some reinforcements to my pillow before it goes flying around the room.
I slow-ly stitched around a lot of the edges - not every edge, that would have driven me insane!!!

Each piece has enough stitching on it to securely hold it in place.  I even changed to blue thread to stitch around the Great Lakes!
Hey, that could be a new puzzle:  where did mom start sewing with the green thread, and how did she do it in one continuous line?

I sewed my blue piece to a green piece and sewed all that onto . . . a drop cloth!!!  Drop clothes are pretty amazing and can be used for a ton of things - like curtains and chair covers, or, even to throw on the ground to protect your floor while you paint!!!  Sorry, got distracted by drop clothes (the best is from Home Depot for around $15 - it is all one big piece with no seams).  Back to the pillow - I clipped the green and blue edges and sprayed them with water to rough them up - a rag look.

Looking good, but still a little wet!  The edges did curl up nicely.

Here's another distraction - a cute distraction, but still a distraction!!!
She has to be right in on all the action . . .

. . . and have the best view of everything!!!
Yeah, nap time is definitely craft time.  And now I'm often crafting on my bed because she can't climb up there yet!

Oh, look - it's my clipped and frayed edges.

To sew the pillow cover, I just did an envelope style.  I even used the finished edges of the drop cloth so I wouldn't need to finish any edges.  So easy!

And there is the finished back view!

And the finished front!!!

And yes, we've already had a geography lesson and I sewed everything in the proper place!!!

My Patriotic Pillow has now been packed in a box, waiting to make its debut in our new house, along with my quilted maple leaf wall hanging.  Next years Canada Day project will be a long wall plaque to hang over my maple leaf that says:
"God keep our land Glorious and Free".

Puppy Cupcakes

My Katia went to her little friend's birthday party and came home with this most adorable puppy!!!  Isn't it just the cutest thing ever?
I suggested to Katia that before I help her eat it, we should take some pictures of it!
  My friend Heather is just so creative!  And you should taste the chocolates she makes!!!  (Actually, maybe you shouldn't because that would mean less for me!) haha

The nose is two little marshmellows side by side with the icing over them.

The first thing Katia did was break off the ears and eat them.  I asked her if the black parts were edible or if it was black cardstock (cause that's what it looked like!).  So she ripped off an eyeball and said "Yup, you can eat them!"
I liked the fact that she could eat one cupcake, and then save the other one for later.
And yes, she shared!  I got one tiny little bite.

Dinner/Message Board Redo

I made these wonderful Dinner Menu and Message Boards a while ago - you can read all about that here!  Anyway, the boards are working exactly as I hoped they would - meaning that we use them all the time and are all getting trained to check them for messages.  And there are no more annoying little pieces of paper floating around with messages on them, or no messages scribbled on that important paper I needed.

However, the colours weren't quite working for me yet - probably because I got a huge book of lovely new scrapbook papers.  I figured out that it was the pale yellow I didn't like - so it was time to rip it apart!!!
After much deliberating, I chose this pretty light teal colour and simply glued it on over the yellow.  (Yes, that is my bed I'm working on, mostly because my baby hasn't figured out how to climb up on it so I can work in peace, not like at the kitchen table!)

Yes, I'm loving these colours much more - not that I have anything against yellow (unless I'm supposed to wear it - blech!).  Oh look, I put a little strip of the same paper near the bottom too.

That "I Love You Message" has been on there for months.  I can't bring myself to erase it!!!

Notice the little strip of new paper right below the green - that's over yellow too, and just ties the boards in nicely to each other.

And there are the two boards side-by-side.

And here they sit in my temporary kitchen - very convenient right by the phone.

Oh yes, my Kitchen Hours - you can read about them here!  And you'll see that I'm telling the truth about how long that Love message has been there!!!

And to wrap it up, I really recommend these boards!!!  The Dinner board makes me plan ahead somewhat!  (I can do better - notice the empty, unplanned spaces!  I just find that my days go so much smoother when the dinner menu is already planned.)  And the Message Board . . . let me compare it to Pinterest - how did I ever live without it???

Spaghetti Dogs

Can this really be me doing a post about food?  Well, this one intrigued me.  I saw a picture of this in blogworld (before Pinterest so I don't remember who to give the credit to - sorry) and wondered how in the world they got the noodles through the weiner.  I was so eager to find out how they did it that I didn't really stop to think about it - just sped read the blog to figure it out.  And then I must admit that I felt a little silly!!!
Do you have it figured out?

Looks kinda scary eh?
Okay, I know you're all smarter than I was!  Here we have the weiners and noodles cooking together in the pot.  And here's the way they looked just before going in the pot.

I broke my noodles in half, but if you want them to look more like squid, leave them whole.  I shoved four noodles through each weiner.

Here's another tip:  don't get distracted while you're cooking them.  I over cooked mine a bit which made the noodles pretty soft, so some of them were breaking off at the point where they came out of the weiner.

So since the weiners are already meat (yeah, right!), I just made up some meatless spaghetti sauce to serve with our spaghetti dogs.

So, go ahead and cook it for your family and see if they can figure it out!!!