Jun 30, 2013

Children's Museum of Pittsburgh

This past week I had to go to Pittsburgh.  We decided to make it a family trip and take Harper.  We were going to take her to the zoo, but it has been really rainy lately, so we decided to take her to the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh. 

If you are anywhere near that area, I recommend it for your little ones!  Harper isn't quite a year and a half and had a blast.  

There are a few floors with lots of great things.  They had a garage area, a Clifford Area, a crafting area, and lots more.  We finished the day there with the waterplay floor.  It was AWESOME!  Harper was in love!  This child is a little water baby, she loves to play in water.  She could have played all day.  I would recommend taking water shoes or Crocs, we didn't know about it so she went barefoot (that worked too).  I would also recommend a swimsuit.  

I was really impressed!  Click on this link to check it out!

Drying off at the end!

Sorry for all the pictures!  It was such a fun place, I can't wait to go again!

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Jun 29, 2013

Tuscan Garlic Chicken

Good morning everyone!  I'm sorry I have been MIA for a few days this week!  This has been the busiest week I have had in a LONG time!  I finally turned in the huge project for my class, what a relief!  I feel like I can get back to living life!

Last week I made a really tasty dinner for my family, it was a HUGE hit!  The chicken was cooked so nicely and the sauce was delicious!  If you are in the mood for some pasta, I highly recommend this dinner!

Tuscan Garlic Chicken      (Recipe found here!)

3/4 cup of all-purpose flour, also 1 tbsp. of it separately
1/2 tbsp. of salt
1 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
5 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 tbsp. finely minced garlic
1 red bell pepper, chopped into small chunks
1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
6 ounces of fresh spinach (I forgot to buy some, so I didn't add this)
1/2 cup of heavy cream
2 tbsp. corn starch
1 cup of low-fat milk
1 cup of freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 pound of fettuccini noodles

Please click on the link above for directions on how to make it...you won't be disappointed!!

I will say that I actually doubled the cream mixture and cooked 6 chicken breasts instead of 4.  It turned out really great!  I'm not a huge meat person but the chicken was actually my favorite part of the meal!  We also added a little bit of crushed red pepper on top of our chicken, it was a little added kick!

Stop by tomorrow for a cool place to take your kids in Pittsburgh (if you are anywhere close to there) and coming up this week: more fun things to do with kids, a dinner idea, and a tasty dessert!  I promise this coming week will be better!  Happy Saturday!

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Jun 25, 2013

Cookie Cake

It's time for Tasty Tuesday again!!  One of my favorite days of the week!  I have got a DELCIOUS cookie cake recipe for you all!

A few weeks ago I made the pudding chocolate chip cookies.  I haven't been able to stop thinking about them, they were so good!!!  My brother loves to have a cookie cake for his birthday.  He's not big on sweets but cookie cakes are a must have for him.  My mom suggested we make him one and I was right on board with that!  I thought we should use the same recipe I used when making the pudding chocolate chip cookies.  The only thing I did differently was to add M & M's along with it!

Here is the cake recipe:  taken from: http://www.iheartnaptime.net/pudding-cookies/  Her site is amazing, check her out!

1 cup margarine (or butter) softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
3.4 oz pkg. instant vanilla pudding mix (small box)
2 eggs (at room temp)
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/4 cup flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 cup of milk chocolate chips (or as many as you want)
1/2 cup of M&M's (or as many as you want)

For directions on making this cake, click on the link above!

Once it is cool it is time to frost.  I found the frosting recipe here:  http://www.playinghouseblog.com/2012/07/frosted-chocolate-chip-cookie-cake.html

I thought it did it the job, not too sweet but just right!

To finish off you can place the frosting in a piping bag and decorate the cake.  One piece of advice, if you aren't going to frost the whole cake I would suggest cutting the recipe in half.  I just frosted the outside and a few words.  I had more than half the frosting leftover, it was a waste.  Next time I would use half unless I frosted it all!  Other than that this cake was amazing!  We liked it better than the store bought, plus you know all the ingredients in it!!


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Jun 24, 2013

Birthday Fun

My brother celebrated his 24 birthday over the weekend!  We had a great time and I will share my dessert tomorrow, it turned out delicious!!

The birthday theme is rolling over in my post today.  I want to share birthday party ideas from a very special birthday, Harper's first birthday!

Earlier I shared that I'm not much for having parties.  I don't enjoy being the host because I always worry that people are having fun.  I worry if the food is good and there is enough of it!  Because I'm a crazy worrier, I just chose to have a very small family party.  Even though I knew it was going to be really small, I still wanted to decorate like crazy!  I love to decorate, especially with a theme!

Here are some fun birthday party ideas (mostly Pinterest inspired).  I hope you can get some inspiration or ideas for your next party!  

The theme was pink, orange, and polka dots!
I made treats to take home.  They were my peanut butter cup brownies.  I attached a note that said, "Thank you for celebrating our little "peanut's" first birthday!  They turned out really yummy!  I put them in bright pink treat bags. 

This is how my mom and I decorated the dining room.  I made pom poms to hang from the light.  They were a really cute addition to the room!  Here is a link for making them.  Pom poms

I went to JoAnn Fabrics and purchased pink and white polka dot fabric.  My mom turned it into a table runner, it made the table pop!  I also added a few framed pics of Harper throughout the room.  We had orange plates and pink polka dot napkins.  The tray had cookie dip, graham crackers, and animal crackers (chocolate and regular).  I also had Harper's smash cake on the cake plate.  

One banner I made.  I used the Cricut to cut out all the letters and banner pieces. 

Another table in the room filled with cupcakes (I went with these instead of a cake). I also had popcorn funnels (using scrap book paper) filled with Reese's peanut butter cup popcorn.  I also had an All About Harper book out.  I will share about that later. 

I made cupcakes for the guests.  They had little "one" sticks in them.  I used the Cricut to cut out the scalloped circles.  I printed out 1s on the computer.  Next I glued the white paper to the pink circles.  Then, I taped it to a toothpick and stuck them in the cupcakes!  Really simple but it added something really cute to the cupcakes!

More banners!  The top banner is just a plain banner.  The bottom banners are her monthly banners.  I took a picture from each month and added them to the wall.  It was a great way to look back at the first year!

Here is an up close!  I made cut-outs on the Cricut that said each month.  I also taped each picture to a different scrapbook paper, it made the pictures pop!  Finally, I did pink and orange polka dot clothespins.  My husband actually did all the polka dots for me, they turned out so sweet.  Something so simple but it added a lot!  (We painted the clothespins)

I previously shared how I made the number one.  Loved it!

Last banner, it went around her high chair.  I also found an adorable fabric party hat at Hallmark!

Another picture...

I also found this sweet frame at Hallmark.  I now have her one year old birthday picture in the frame, I love this frame!

I made her a cupcake bib to match the party theme.  I found fabric at JoAnns that I liked.  I cut out a cupcake bottom and used regular (I believe) wonder under to attach it to the bib.  I just followed the directions on the package for it.  I purchased the plain bib from Hobby Lobby. For the frosting I used this tutorial to make the swirly pieces.

Finally, here is my little birthday girl in all her glory!

I also got a plain pink onesie from Hobby Lobby and wonder undered the big "one" on it.  I also took puffy paint and outlined it.  Finally, I made the tutu using this tutorial.  

There you have it, fun first birthday (or any birthday) ideas!  I hope you have enjoyed it! 

Happy Monday, I hope you all have a wonderful week!  Stop by tomorrow for my birthday theme continued (one more day) and find out how my brother's cake came!

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Jun 23, 2013

Quick craft and family fun

This has been such a beautiful weekend, I hope you all are enjoying it!!!   I know I am, so much so that I have been too busy to blog, sorry about that!   I had intentions of making a fun treat to share for summer parties but I ran out of time.  I will blog about it soon, I promise!! 

I'm working on my masters in reading and I have a huge project that is due Wednesday so that is taking A LOT of my time as well.  I will be relieved when Wednesday gets here!  I hope I can get back on track after!

Anyways, I mentioned a few weeks ago that I was going to be an arts and crafts teacher this summer.  Last week was the first week, it was lots of fun!  We have two different age groups 3-5 and 6-10.  We did a few projects from kits and then one from Pinterest.  I'm going to share a really cute and quick craft project that would be perfect for a little one.  We did these with our 3-5 year olds.  They really enjoyed it, mostly because they got to paint!  I thought it turned out really cute!

Here is what you need:
A paper plate (a flimsy one)
Cotton Balls
String or yarn

Cut the paper plate, I didn't quite go to the half way mark.  If I cut it in half it would have been too small, I just cut off a small chunk at the bottom.  You can decide what works best for you!
Next, hole punch the top of the rainbow.
Then, ROY-G-BIV the rainbows :)  They used their creative licenses to make all kind of cool creations!  
We waited awhile for the paint to dry.  Some paint wasn't dry because many little ones used paint overload but it all worked out.
Once the paint was dry, we fluffed out the cotton balls and glued them to the bottom of the rainbows.
Finally, we tied a piece of yarn to the top to hang up.  

They turned out cute and like I said, the kiddos had a lot of fun doing these!!  By the way I found this on Pinterest but I forget where.  I didn't save the link.  It is on there though! :) 

Stay tuned for more crafts in the next few weeks!!!

I also have to share what my family did earlier today.  My dad decided he wanted to take us to Pymatuning Reservoir.  He said we could watch ducks climb on the backs of carps.  I didn't really know how this was possible until I got there.  Oh my goodness, hilarious, and gross all at the same time!  There must have been thousands of carp swimming, trying to get any kind of food people would throw at them.  Then, swimming right behind the carp were tons of ducks.  Every once in a while the ducks would hop right on top of the carp and try to go for some food too.  It was amazing, definitely one of those cool, have to see at least once sights!

Here is a link with more information:  http://www.roadsideamerica.com/story/2204

So many carp!!!

She was pretty amazed by this trip!

She LOVES her Papa!

Here is one duck on the carp!

Such a fun Sunday!

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