Monday, December 30, 2013

Christmas Cookies: My search for the perfect recipe

As the holiday baking season comes to and end I am thrilled to say that I finally have come close to making cookies that look almost as good as these
Glorious Treats
Or these
Glorious Treats

 I am still perfecting my baking skills (one more semester to go!!!) my cut out cookies would always  end up looking like this looking like these.

Not hideous but not quite right

After much trial and error I finally found a recipe that works for me. Its from one of my favorite cookie bloggers The Sweet Adventures of Sugarbelle you can find it here

So this year I am so excited because here are the cookies I made for my son's classroom this year. They also received my seven year old's stamp of approval. He said they looked cool!!!!

These cookies were inspired by Dear Sweet Cookies

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Happy New Year

Happy New Year

Hope everyone had a blessed holiday season. The best thing about starting a new year is new opportunity to work towards your dreams. 2013 is the beginning of my placing priority on my dreams.   I have some big things planned for me in 2013...NO resolutions for me just going to make sure I make this year better than the last. Maybe go back to school to become a pastry chef, planning a few parties and getting that much closer to achieving my goals.  What ever your goals for this year are just take slow, small steps equal big change. I wish you much success in whatever it is you want this year.

The Classy Crafty Mom

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Have a Happy*Less Stressful* Thanksgiving

We all know that with the holidays come a certain level of stress. This year my goal is decrease that stress as much as possible. Here are some things that can be done to make sure that happens.

1. Begin your day with exercise:

I know, I know, with all that you have to do sleeping in an extra half hour seems like the best option but I beg to differ. Starting your day with some exercise is a great way to get you going for the full day ahead. Exercise is known to increase energy, relieve stress, and releases endorphins in your body that elevate  your mood. So starting out your day with a workout will help you deal with the family member that gets on your nerves with a smile, give you the energy to get through all that cooking or traveling and starts you out burning calories...which we know we will be taking in lots at dinner.

2. Let Others Help

For me this is the pot calling the kettle black. I am notorious for thinking I am a supermom and that I can do everything myself...and each time I try I crash and burn by the end of the day. When someone offer to help you don't say "Its ok I got it"....accept it so you can enjoy the holiday too.  I understand that everyone cant cook, let that person set the table or entertain the kids.  Help is a wonderful thing. It takes some of the pressure off of you and allows you to spend time with your loved ones and that's what the holidays are about.

3. Don't be afraid to ask for help

 Sad but true sometimes people just don't offer to help. I am also guilty of  trying to be the hostess extraordinaire and often don't ask for help. I look at those pictures of parties and table-scapes  from Martha Stewart, David Tutera or the Tom-Kat Studio  in awe...the thing that makes those as wonderful as they are is that there is a team of people that work together to pull it off. So if the professionals don't get it done without a team..why should you.

4. Tell that one family member what they can do with there opinion

There is always that one family member that has something to say about your clothes, kids, weight what ever.  Words do hurt and can ruin your holiday, so prepare ahead. Expect that person to be a jerk, and come up with some responses ahead of time to deal with them. I know how good it would feel to tell them to F-off, tell them in a way that puts them in there place and allows you to still be that classy person you are.

5. Limit (Exclude) The Alcohol

Not everyone is a happy drunk, and happy drunks are even irritating.  If there are problem drinkers on your guest list limit the alcohol to a glass of wine during dinner. If you are not a wine drinker exclude it all together...nothing ruins a holiday dinner like drunk family members arguing, fighting or just getting on everyone's nerves. If you want to have a drink save it for after your guests leave as a salute to yourself for pulling off a great holiday dinner

6. Don't forget the kids

As a mom I know all too well that a recipe for disaster consists of bored unsupervised children. Make sure you have things planned for the little ones to do. (board games, DVDs, or putting on a play for the family)  Have the adults take shifts in supervising the kids in an activity, or even pay teenagers in the family to look after the kids. Some of you may question the pay the teenager part...but think about it teens are always in need of cash and giving them $20 for keeping an eye on the little ones for a few hours makes them feel appreciated and teaches them the value of earning money.

7. Don't forget about you

You started your day with taking care of you (exercising), make sure you continue that  trend throughout the day. Take a break if you start to feel overwhelmed, take a walk before your guests arrive and  sit down and have dinner with your family. Take time time to enjoy your family. I can't stress this point enough DO NOT LET ALL OF YOUR GUESTS LEAVE WITH OUT HELPING YOU CLEAN UP. The last thing you want to do at the end of the day is have to do all that cleaning by yourself. This does not make you a bad hostess this makes you a smart hostess. Nothing says thanks for having us over like helping the hostess get her home back in order.

Have a blessed and happy Thanksgiving

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Pintrest Pick of the Week

Like so many others Pinterest is one of my favorite sites. Its a crafter's heaven of sorts if there is a cute diy project, recipe or party out there you will find it on Pinterest. This week the yummiest thing I have found is this recipe for Browned Butter Chunky Twix Cookies.  The recipe is from Sweet Treats and More. This looks so Yummy, cant wait to try this one!!! Enjoy

Browned Butter Chunky Twix Cookies
adapted from Sprinkled with Flour
2 c + 2 tbs all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
12 tbs butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg + 1 egg yolk
2 tsp vanilla
2 c chopped Twix candy bars
Preheat oven to 325. 
1.  In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium-high heat until melted.  Stir until brown in color.  Set aside and let cool until just warm.
2.  While butter is cooling, combine flour, soda, and salt in a bowl and set aside.  
3.  In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat warm butter and sugars together until thoroughly combined.  Beat in egg, egg yolk and vanilla.  
4.  Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients, beating slowly, until just combined.  Gently fold in Twix chunks.
5.  Scoop tablespoon sized balls of dough on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  You may need to mold the dough into balls a little bit.  
6.  Bake for 15-18 minutes (15 was the magic number for me) until just golden on the edges, but soft and puffy in the center.  Let cool completely before moving to a wire rack.  You may have some oozing caramel, but that's no biggie.  In fact, it's kind of my favorite part:) Just use a rubber spatula to remove.  

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Not so scary costume party

With Halloween being a few days away, I wanted to share some of the pictures from my children's annual not so scary costume party. I even made my first attempt to do a desert table, I enjoyed doing it and look forward to trying it again. I used some store bought items and added some Halloween touches to them. Look for links under the pictures for instructions. I purchased all of my supplies from Target's dollar section, Dollar Tree, Michaels and my table cover and napkins came from Party City.

I wanted to make sure I set the tone as the kids came to the door so I decorated my entry way

(Spooky signs: Target Dollar Section) Wreath Tutorial here

Some of the decorations around the house

Luminary Bucket : Target Dollar Section
Boo & Beware: Target Dollar Section, Spider Pumpkin Decorating Set Target Seasonal Section
Craft Pumpkin & Spider Rings Michaels ( I added the kids candy bags later, forgot to take a picture) 
A few more Decorations 

 Paper Fans: Party City (My brother in the background) 

And my favorite part of doing this party...My very first desert table!!!!!

Cookies made by me using my Wilton Round Pops Cookie Pan (recipe here) Wilton Cookie Icing and Wilton Sparkle Gel in Orange and Black (Can you tell I LOVE their products)  The labels came from Squared Party Printables Etsy Shop

Saw these on Pinterest from Picture Me Cooking

Chocolate Covered Oreos with Halloween Candy Sprinkles 

Yummy Brownies these were super moist they were breaking apart (made by my sister) 

 Made with Pretzel Rods dipped in Green Chocolate Candy Melts (Wilton of Course) Almond Slices and tooth-pics used to make lines on fingers 

I even incorporated the food in the theme 

Bat Wings:  AKA Chicken Wings

Bones: AKA French Fries

Here are the kids

Making a potion of V8 Splash, baking soda and vinegar (my sister is the lady bug wearing a tutu made by me) My cousin in the background taking pictures too 

Playing Pin the Nose on the Pumpkin

Playing Bingo

Posing for pictures

Here is my baby girl enjoying the party too

Her makeup didn't last very long 

My son dressed as Mario ( he didn't like his mustache)

The kids had a blast and my son is already asking about a Christmas Party. Truth be told I am looking forward to doing the next one too. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Ribbon Wreath Tutorial

Last year around mid October my five year old wanted to know why we don’t decorate the outside of the house Halloween.  My response to him was maybe next year.  So next year is here and he did not forget.  Browsing through the aisles of the stores if it was gruesome, bloody or scary my son wanted to put it in our yard. I have never been a fan of the creepy d├ęcor, so we came to a compromise of spider webs with tiny spiders in the bushes and Jack-O-Lantern luminaries on the stairs. There was something missing, and I couldn’t figure out what. So I took to  Pinterest for some inspiration  and found this ribbon wreath done by Tatertots & Jello

Pretty, Right?  And perfect for my empty front door. So off  to Michaels  with my mobile coupons I went to get my supplies. Here is what I purchased (My ribbon choices were random I bought what I liked)
·         14 Inch Round Foam Wreath Form (I paid $5.99)
·         Three 5 yard spools of 1 ½ inch ribbon
·         One  6 yard spool of 5/8 inch ribbon
·         Two   3 yard spools of 5/8 inch ribbon
·         Two 5 yard spools of 7/8 inch ribbon
Other Supplies I used that I already had
Glossy black acrylic paint
Foam paint brush
Hot glue gun (some use pins, I prefer to use my glue gun)
Plastic table cloth  

First I painted my wreath black and left it out to dry 

Then I went about the task of cutting my ribbon into strips. I cut my ribbon into 4 inch strips. What I would suggest is before cutting your ribbon make a loop on the end, adjust the loop until you like how it looks then measure to see how many inches you need to cut each strip of ribbon. At this point I was wondering if  I had enough ribbon, it just doesn't look like much but it was more than enough. Yes I actually had some ribbon left over, maybe I should make a mini wreath too.

Once all my strips were cut I then glued they ends of each strip together to form a loop like this

sorry about the glare on the table I needed my flash

 Here is all the ribbon in loops. 

Next I started to add the ribbon to the wreath, I started with my 1 1/2 inch ribbon so  I could use the smaller ribbon to fill in any gaps.

 Then  I continued randomly adding more of the same color 

Continue adding ribbon of the same size until all colors are used 

Now that  I have added all of my colors I just went and filled in any gaps that were showing on the wreath.

Here is my finished wreath on my front door.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Makeup Monday

What a better way to start off the week than with a little something to pamper yourself with.  As moms we spend so much time taking care of everyone else that we often skip steps in taking care of our-self.  So each week we will feature beauty and wellness tips from Makeup and Martinis Chicago.
Makeup and Martinis Chicago is a beauty event/expo company founded by Angela Lee, that provides pampering events with a twist to women throughout the Chicago-land area. Also offering mobile spa services, private parties and makeup lessons. This weeks featured tip is radiant skin during the fall and winter months. After you have achieved that radiant look make sure you check out the tips to flawless foundation to give your skin a fresh clean look.

Radiant Skin During the Fall/Winter Months

by Angela Lee

One thing I think we all can agree on in the "windy city" of Chicago is that we rarely experience all four seasons. We typically witness the feel of summer and then a winter. There's not much time to prepare with the advantages of what spring and fall can bring. So with that being said, we need to prep our skin now so that we can still maintain that moist and healthy skin that we tend to experience more during the warmer months.

1. I always stress a daily skin care regimen regardless of what time of year it is. It's important to guide your skin at all times. Without a daily skin care regimen, your face and body are clueless and it's looking for direction. So when we're not training our skin with the use of regular skin care products, our skin is a little lost and it will react accordingly.

2. Always remember to moisturize. Utilizing an ointment that is oil-based as opposed to water-based during the winter months tends to prove to be more effective. The reason for this is because the oil will create a protective layer on the skin that retains more moisture than a cream or lotion. But make sure it's a non-clogging oil as we know this leads to breakouts.

3. Continue to use skin care products/makeup that have sunscreen in them. Even during the winter months, the sun still shines in the winter and it can also glare off of the snow which can still damage your skin.

4. Use a humidifier in your home. When we use our central heating systems, including space heaters, they tend to blast out hot, dry air. The use of a humidifier provides more moisture in the air which helps prevent your skin from drying out. And if you place several humidifiers in your home, this can distribute the moisture more evenly.

5. Avoid steamy hot baths and showers. I know when it's cold outside, I enjoy a hot bath myself but this is counterproductive as it breaks down the lipid barriers in our skin which can lead to loss of moisture. So it would be more beneficial to soak or take a shower in lukewarm water for a shorter period of time. Hey and one things for sure. The less time you're in the water, the less water you're utilizing, thus conserving and saving money on your water bill :).

Don't forget our upcoming event: "Iconic Beauty" will be held at Kanvas Salon and Spa in Tinley Park, Il on October 20, 2012!!! General admission is only $10. Purchase ticket here.