Archive | decorating RSS feed for this section

St. Patrick’s Party

15 Mar

Everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day!!!

We are getting ready for the St. Patrick’s Day parade, and to keep the celebration going, we will be going to the O’Rourke’s for their annual St. Patrick’s Day party.

Here are some ideas for you to help celebrate the occasion with your family and friends:

Candy Bar

Check out all the cute ideas for a St. Patrick’s Day candy/dessert bar from http://party-wagon.com/childrens-party-blog/2012/3/15/sweet-st-patricks-day.html

Image

Image

St. Patrick’s Day Printables

Found these through Pinterest and thought they were great:

http://livelaughrowe.com/irish-blessing-printables/

Image

St. Patrick’s Décor

Check this out for the fastest way to decorate with great colors:

http://www.twotwentyone.net/2011/02/thrifty-hurricane-tutorial/

Image

The real staples of a St. Patrick’s Day event – Corned Beef and Cabbage and Scones

Corned Beef is a really easy meal to make – and it definitely tastes better the next day.  Check out this super simple recipe:

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/corned-beef-and-cabbage-i/

Image

And being a 1st generation Irish American girl, I would never offer up a recipe for traditional Irish Scones off the internet – it’s just not done in my house.  You have to use my Aunt Bridget’s recipe to make scones

Image

Happy St. Patrick’s Day everyone!!!

This family friendly blog is provided by www.BaptismalGownsPlus.com.  We specialize in high quality, affordable Baptismal gowns, rompers & suits, First Communion dresses, girls headpieces and boy’s suits.  In addition, we have a full line of Confirmation robes for churches to choose from with sizes to fit any size Confirmation candidate.

Simple Super Bowl Party

29 Jan

Image

Are you ready for some football???? 

As it seems like we are getting busier and busier, the thought of all the preparations needed for a Super Bowl bash can seem too daunting to even attempt to tackle.  Here are some pretty simple options that may help make the Big Game memorable – without the hassle.

Image

TABLE DÉCOR:

How cute is this ‘tablecloth’?  All you need is a roll of craft paper, masking tape to make the 10 yard lines and white number stickers.  I think I might add end zones  on each end of the table by cutting out letters for the Bronco’s and the Seahawks.

Image

BUFFALO CHICKEN WREATH:

I tend to make a Buffalo Chicken Dip that is served from a crockpot using crackers or nacho chips to serve the dip. This is a really cute alternative that doesn’t take much longer in its prep time.  I’m also including the link to the blog post that gives you the recipe:

http://www.tablespoon.com/recipes/buffalo-chicken-crescent-ring/c7838ab9-a5ca-4e05-bbd7-c37579ece129?nicam4=SocialMedia&nichn4=Pinterest&niseg4=Tablespoon&nicreatID4=Post

Image

INDIVIDUAL SEVEN LAYER DIPS:

Take a cue from ‘The Girl Who Ate Everything’ and serve your 7 layer dip in individual plastic tumblers – this gives you the chance to have all your guests have the pleasure of a perfectly formed dip and not the inevitable ‘mush’ that this dip turns into once a few people dig into a big platter of this dip.  Here’s the link to her blog post with the recipe:

http://www.the-girl-who-ate-everything.com/2011/12/individual-seven-layer-dips.html

Image

CHEESY BACON OVEN CHIPS WITH CHIPOTLE RANCH SAUCE

Cheese and bacon – enough said!

http://vittlesandbits.blogspot.com/2012/02/cheesy-bacon-oven-chips-with-chipotle.html

Image

FOOTBALL STRAWBERRIES

How cute are these?  Pull out your Candy Melts and piping bag and pipe away…

Image

GAME DAY BINGO

How many people watch the Super Bowl for the commercials?  (Weird, isn’t it?  Imagine WANTING to watch commercials….)  This is a great idea to keep folks interested DURING the actual game – click on the link below to get to the game boards that folks can use to play football bingo.  Have a fun little prize for the winner.  You could probably play one round for each quarter to really keep your gang on their toes – all it will cost you is a few fun trinkets…….

http://www.sheknows.com/food-and-recipes/articles/813200/super-bowl-party-game-super-bowl-bingo

We hope these simple solutions help you pull together a festive gathering in no time – we will be pulling out all these stops in my house on Game Day.

This family friendly blog is provided by www.BaptismalGownsPlus.com.  We specialize in high quality, affordable Baptismal gowns, rompers & suits, First Communion dresses, girls headpieces and boy’s suits.  In addition, we have a full line of Confirmation robes for churches to choose from with sizes to fit any size Confirmation candidate.

Time To Put Away The Holidays…

3 Jan

Christmas has come and gone, and the 2014 is here.  Time to get back to the reality of what you house really looks like for the next 11 months of the year…

Happy-New-Year-card-2014-1

Here are some tips to help you tuck away all of the holiday decorations so that they are ready for next year:

Supplies I use to store Xmas decorations:

  • 3 drawer cart on castor wheels
  • Empty toilet paper rolls
  • Ziplock sandwich bag to hold cut floral wire
  • Ziplock sandwich bag to hold twist ties from the dry cleaners
  • Artificial Christmas tree boxes
  • Rubbermaid bins

Christmas Tree

The first thing you want to do is deal with the Christmas tree.  If you have a real tree, you will need to make sure the water is mostly evaporated from the tree stand.  Once our presents starting filling in under the tree, it was pretty much impossible for us to water the tree.  Hopefully you stopped watering your tree several days before you are going to be taking it outside….

Step 1: Remove the Ornaments

Most of the ornaments on our tree have 2 ornaments to 1 hook.  This actually serves 2 purposes – it makes the tree look fuller when the ornaments are on it AND it takes only half the effort to put them on/take them off the tree.  I’m all for minimizing effort around the holidays…

IMG_0728

We actually store our ornament on the hooks – just make sure you bend the bottom of the hook around both ornaments so they don’t pop off. I then place them back in the original containers that they came in.  Of course I can never get them all to fit the way they came, so I put the overflow into a drawer in a rolling cart that stores Xmas tree supplies.

IMG_4165

Step 2:  Remove the Ribbon

The wired ribbon I use is attached to the tree using floral wire.  To attach it to the tree, I use floral wire and twist it around the ribbon onto the tree in a clockwise direction.  To remove the ribbon, it just takes several counter-clockwise twists.  I keep the floral wire pieces from year to year as it saves all the time of having to cut a million new little wires each year.  As the ribbon comes off the tree, I wind it around an empty toilet paper tube – you can’t get any more low-tech (or cheaper) than that.  This helps the inside part of the ribbon from getting too tightly wound and helps to save the edges of the wire on the ribbon from getting all twisted around itself.  To keep the ribbon wound up, I use the really long twist ties that come back with our dry cleaning.  These are the best and once again, low tech and free (except for the dry cleaning bills throughout the year…)

IMG_0710

Step 3:  Remove the Lights

The lights are removed from the tree and just wound in a circle from our hand to our elbow – like you would roll up an extension cord or a hose…  The handy-dandy dry cleaner twist ties step in once again and are used to secure the individual strands together.  This helps them from getting all tangled up once the go into the box.  The box?  Just an old cardboard box that used to hold printer paper….

IMG_0750

Step 4:  Gather up the needles that dropped off the tree, spread the tarp and out it goes…

IMG_0753

I purposely leave the tree skirt on the bottom of the tree until the end.  It tends to catch the brittle needles that drop off the tree before most of them hit the carpet.  (We have a Berber carpet in our family room so you almost have to pick the needles off the carpet one by one because they get caught in the loops of the carpet – NOT FUN!)  Just fold up the tree skirt and carry it outside and shake it off.

IMG_0761

Now that the tree is bare, it’s my husband’s turn to step in with the tarp, the drill, and the muscle.  He spreads a tarp on the floor of the family room near the tree and he and my son lift it out of the base and lay it on its side. Our Xmas tree stand has a bottom brace that you drill into the bottom of the tree, He un-drills the brace and out the tree goes to the curb for the town to pick up.

IMG_0763

Whew – that was the first part of putting away the holiday…

Now for the rest of the house:

Our game plan for the rest of the house tends to be a search & rescue mission – search for holiday decorations and return them all to the kitchen table area.  From there, they can be packed up in as efficient manner as possible.  I try to keep the decorations for the different rooms together but at some point that became way too unwieldy.  95% of the decorations are on the first floor of our home so those 6 rooms are close enough to each other that careful packing of everything together seems to work out the best.

IMG_4160IMG_4162

Candles for all the windows are repackaged in their original boxes (from 21 years ago…) along with replacement bulbs and placed in a clear plastic bin with a folding cover.  This year the Xmas tree skirt was tucked in alongside the candles so they wouldn’t shift around in the box on their journey to the basement…

IMG_4168

The garland that hangs over the kitchen doorways stay decorated with ribbons and ornaments and gets folded into a box that held an artificial Xmas tree. Next year we just have to unfold the garland and attach it to the hooks that permanently stay on top of the doorways.  Easy peasy!

IMG_4174

The garland for the staircase gets put away in other large boxes – again – staying decorated and just gently folded for easy decorating next year.  Boxes and bins are labeled appropriately:

IMG_4173IMG_4172

Other decorations are carefully wrapped and stored in a large Xmas tree box and a very large Rubbermaid container (sorry I don’t know the exact size).  My son’s nutcracker collection goes into the Rubbermaid bin along with other very lightweight items so as not to crush the nutcrackers.  The bigger heavier items are stored in the large Xmas tree box with the heaviest items on the bottom and lighter weight items as you move to the top of the box.

  •  Sorry for the lack of pictures of these – this project went on way too long and I needed to get it done – stopping to grab the camera was just too much for me to bear…

All of these items are brought down to our basement and stored in the area underneath the staircase.  That way they are safe and secure with little fear that my son and his friends won’t play football, or basketball, or whatever else they may do and go crashing into my Xmas stash…

Some final notes for you to consider:

Now is the time to “pass on” the holiday decorations that no longer match your decor.  I passed on a 4 foot Xmas tree to my niece this year.  Now I am looking for a new home for the decorations that used to adorn that tree when my son was little…

IMG_4199

Save all the red ribbon for Valentine’s Day, but pack up the rest.  I saw Valentine’s Day candy in the store on Christmas Eve – really people???

red wired ribbon

Do something with the photo cards that you receive with all those smiling baby faces…  I tend to keep mine from year to year – tied up with a ribbon and labeled for the year.  These are excellent keepsakes of years gone by…  I’d love to hear what you do with you photo greeting cards!  Anyone want to share?

IMG_4183

Buy paper, cards, and ribbon for next year (on sale now).  And as a spoiler alert – this may be a little insight into a future blog post…

photo

This family friendly blog is provided by www.BaptismalGownsPlus.com.  We specialize in high quality, affordable Baptismal gowns, rompers & suits, First Communion dresses, girls headpieces and boy’s suits.  In addition, we have a full line of Confirmation robes for churches to choose from with sizes to fit any size Confirmation candidate.

Last Minute Christmas To-Do’s

19 Dec

It’s Not Too Late!

OK, it is just a week before Christmas and you are not ready.

Where do you start?

What do you do?

busy christmas

Before you throw your hands up and surrender, stop for a minute and evaluate what you CAN get done to make this holiday memorable. Here is a step-by-step guide on guide you through so you get the basics done before the holiday.

santa - xmas list

Make a List and Check it Twice

The first thing you should do is make a list of what you need to do. Let’s face it, you don’t have time to run around like a chicken with your head cut off!  Every minute counts and the more organized you are, the more productive you will be.

I am including a copy of a last minute To-Do list to be sure you get the basics done.

last minute - decor

Last Minute Decor

It’s not too late to make the house look festive

There are just a few simple steps (ok, except the step abut putting up the tree) that can be done in just a few minutes of your time.

Hang Wreath on Door – 5 minutes – tops

Hang Stockings – another 5 minutes

Candles in the Windows – 10-15 minutes – depending on how many windows you have in your house…

Set up Tree – whether real or artificial, this is a ‘must do’ for the holiday! Although this isn’t a 5 minute project, setting up a tree this weekend is a perfect opportunity to spend time with family

Cookies for Santa – don’t forget to put the cookies out for Santa! And a glass of milk! And don’t forget carrots for the reindeer!

Gifts Under the Tree – the final touch to make Christmas morning special

last minute - errands

Last Minute Errands To-Do

The better you are organized when leaving the house, the more effective your errands will be. Before you leave the house, make sure you take with you any coupons or lists you have. One of the biggest time-savers I have found is being able to buy stamps AND gift cards for many retailers right at the grocery store. So you may have to be a bit flexible when it comes to store selections or gift card amounts, but seriously, IT’S JUST A WEEK BEFORE CHRISTMAS!!!

Get Tree – chop one down, get one pre-cut at a lot, buy an artificial one – whatever you prefer

Pick Up Christmas Cards – if you ordered them online, swing by the retailer that is printing them for you

Shop for Gifts – If you live near a Wal-Mart or Target, you can seriously knock off a bunch of your list in these type of department stores…

Shop for Meals (don’t forget cookies for Santa & carrots for reindeer!) – Hmmm, one trip to the grocery store can help you with: food, beverages, items to include in a gift basket for a hostess, gift cards, stamps

last minute - correspondence

Last Minute Correspondence

Last Minute Correspondence For everyone that thought it was just way too later to properly wish your family & friends a Merry Christmas & Happy New Year – it’s not! The US Postal Service is working really hard to help folks spread their holiday cheer, but you need to ACT FAST so your wishes get there in time.

Christmas Cards – If you live near a store that offers a 1 hour photo service (Wal-Mart is my favorite for price, quality and speed) you can easily create a Christmas card in the comfort of your own home on their website. Don’t think you need to go through all the hassles of taking a picture of the kids all dressed up in their Holiday finest to get this card done. Lot’s of folks use family pictures from their vacation, or from when they cut down their tree, or any other time of the year when everyone looked happy. My standby holiday card includes a collage of my son playing basketball, baseball and football…

Facebook/Twitter Post wishing everyone a Merry Christmas – While Christmas cards can be sent to your closest family & friends, a lovely heartfelt post on Facebook or Twitter can reach more distant friends.

Thank you notes to staff – A must-do for this time of year. Taking a few moments to write a heartfelt card expressing the gratitude you have for your staff goes a long way for making them feel appreciated. The key here – handwritten notes. Your staff will know and appreciate that even at this busy time of year you took the time to focus on them.

Thank you notes to customers – Another must-do for this time of year. A heartfelt card expressing the gratitude you have for your customers is necessary to maintain relationships you have taken all year to build. If possible – handwritten notes to your largest customers. For companies with many, many customers, a printed card will have to do – if possible, a handwritten signature perhaps?

last minute - miscellaneous

Last Minute Miscellaneous Tasks

Last Minute Miscellaneous Tasks You could probably write a list of things you want to get done that is a mile long, but there is no sense getting caught up in the miniscule details that won’t let you enjoy your family time this holiday. Focus on the biggest things and be happy! Key words there – FOCUS and HAPPY!!!

Write up a menu and shopping list – remember, the better your list when leaving the house, the more productive your time will be while you are out and about

Wrap gifts – prioritize your gift wrapping by doing the gifts that need to be handed out first – teachers, bus drivers, staff – and then move on to the gifts for your hostesses and finally your family since those gifts will be given out last. And yes, you won’t be alone if you are wrapping gifts after the kids go to bed on Christmas Eve!

Put out cookies for Santa & carrots for reindeer – don’t forget to do this before the kids go to bed on Christmas Eve! You don’t want to give anyone an excuse to get out of bed on Christmas Eve because they realize they forgot to leave a treat for Santa. Especially if the elves are still wrapping gifts!

Follow Santa on a Santa Tracker – There are several apps and online websites that track Santa’s journey around the world on his way to your house. This has proven to be the best way to get kids to bed on Xmas Eve! They have to be asleep so Santa can actually come!!!

last minute - gifts

Last Minute Gifts

Sorry, I had to save the biggest task for last…

Last Minute Gifts Gift buying can actually take the longest time of all the tasks you have left to do. Remember that the most memorable gifts you can give are possibly to most unexpected. A generic gift card is nice for most folks, and I certainly love to get a gift card to Dunkin’ Donuts or Starbucks, but have you ever thought to give a gift certificate book to the local car wash, or how about the local movie theater? Gas cards are also a nice treat that most folks might not think of.

Keep in mind that people who get gifts from many folks (teachers, bus drivers, hair dressers) might very well appreciate even the ‘generic’ gift card over a tchotchke (aka chachki) item like a Worlds Greatest Teacher mug filled with hot chocolate fixings… although the hot chocolate might be nice, they really don’t need 30 mugs from this Christmas alone….

Here is a list of the people you may want to remember at this time of year:

Hostesses

School Teachers

Religion Teachers

Bus Drivers

Nanny/Babysitters

Cleaning Lady

Postal Worker

Garbage Removal

Hair Dresser

Door Man

Parents

In-Laws

Kids (from parents)

Kids (from Santa)

Friends

Co-Workers/Boss

Grab Bag Gifts (Gift Exchanges)

Don’t forget to have a few extra gifts stashed away for that awkward exchange when someone hands you a gift and you just weren’t prepared to give them something…. some items that you can have ready include – bottle of wine, gift cards, tin of cookies and nice ornaments. Go as far as actually wrapping these gifts (including a bow) and marking them with a post it note with the contents. This will help to disguise the fact that you didn’t think there would be a gift exchange with them this year….

Merry Xmas-Happy New Year from BGP

This family friendly blog is provided by www.BaptismalGownsPlus.com.  We specialize in high quality, affordable Baptismal gowns, rompers & suits, First Communion dresses, girls headpieces and boy’s suits.  In addition, we have a full line of Confirmation robes for churches to choose from with sizes to fit any size Confirmation candidate.

Pumpkins, pumpkins everywhere!

14 Nov

Between jack-o-lanterns for Halloween and pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving, it seems like pumpkins are everywhere for the months of October & November…. Growing up I thought they were just for Halloween, but the older, more mature (?) me appreciates so many things about pumpkins…  Here are just a few of those things:

Decorating With Pumpkins

There are SO MANY ways pumpkins can be dressed up for the season.

Here is a link to our post on How to Make a Pumpkin Planter

how to make a pumpkin planter

How about these pretty pumpkins?

pretty pumpkins collage

You can carve your Pumpkins…

carved pumpkins collage

Cooking with Pumpkins

Make a Pumpkin Shake:

2 scoops of vanilla ice cream

1/2 cup of milk

3 tablespoons of pumpkin purée

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Tastes just like pumpkin pie in a glass!

pumpkin pie milkshake

Pumpkin Bites – see our previous post for how to make them

IMG_2280

Roast Pumpkin Seeds:

2 cups pumpkin seeds

1 1/2 TBSP butter

1/2 tsp salt

1/8 tsp garlic salt

2 tsp c

Preheat oven to 275 degrees.  Clean and dry to seeds.  Melt butter in saucepan and stir in salt, garlic salt & Worcestershire sauce.  Add seeds and stir to coat.  Spread seeds on a single layer on a large un-greased cookie sheet.  Cook for 60 minutes stirring at the 15, 30, 40 and 50 minute marks.  Allow to cool and store in an airtight container.

roasting pumpkin seeds

Pumpkin Soup (courtesy of Allrecipes.com)

Makes 8 to 10 servings6 cups chicken stock1 1/2 teaspoons salt

4 cups pumpkin puree

1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley

1 cup chopped onion

1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

5 whole black peppercorns

Directions

  1. Heat stock, salt, pumpkin, onion, thyme, garlic, and peppercorns. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 30 minutes uncovered.
  2. Puree the soup in small batches (1 cup at a time) using a food processor or blender.
  3. Return to pan, and bring to a boil again. Reduce heat to low, and simmer for another 30 minutes, uncovered. Stir in heavy cream. Pour into soup bowls and garnish with fresh parsley.

pumpkin soup

And finally, you can always store your false teeth in them!

pumpkin with teeth collage

This family friendly blog is provided by www.BaptismalGownsPlus.com.  We specialize in high quality, affordable Baptismal gowns, rompers & suits, First Communion dresses, girls headpieces and boy’s suits.  In addition, we have a full line of Confirmation robes for churches to choose from with sizes to fit any size Confirmation candidate.

Make an Autumn Wreath

7 Nov

Make an autumn wreath

Make an Autumn wreath

Now that Halloween is over, you can put away all the ghosts and jack-o-lanterns until next year.  The Autumn season is still in full swing so now is a perfect time to make a beautiful wreath that celebrates the colors of the season.

 

A grapevine wreath is very easy to work with and has the perfect natural look to go with the Autumnal colors.  Your choice of flowers and a bow can dress up or down the look of your wreath.

 

Prep the flowers and leaves for your wreath by cutting them off the longer stems:

Autumn wreath - prep

Now is the time to make the bow for your wreath.  Our How-to guide can be found in this post:

Autumn Wreath - make the bow

Dry-fit all of the pieces on the wreath until you get the look you want.  We recommend you take your time with this step so that you are truly happy with the final look.  Remember, there are no wrong answers here, and you can’t make any mistakes.  Enjoy this step and let your creative juices flow!

Autumn wreath - dry-fit

Once you are happy with your wreath, now is the time to hot glue all the pieces together:

Autumn Wreath - put it together

That’s it!  Your Autumn wreath is all finished.  Now all you have to do is hang it and enjoy!!!

 

This family friendly blog is provided by www.BaptismalGownsPlus.com.  We specialize in high quality, affordable Baptismal gowns, rompers & suits, First Communion dresses, girls headpieces and boy’s suits.  In addition, we have a full line of Confirmation robes for churches to choose from with sizes to fit any size Confirmation candidate.

Fun and Fast Halloween Snacks

31 Oct

What does everyone automatically think of when they think of Halloween?  CANDY!

But what I have found is that the kids that hang out at our house for Halloween night prefer snacks other than candy.  Of course they will dig in to their candy bags after Halloween, but for the party night that is Halloween in our neighborhood, here are some fun and easy ideas that you can try for your little ghouls & goblins!!!

Halloween Snack Mix

1 Bag Chex Mix

1 Bag Candy Corn Harvest Mix

1 Bag Peanut M&M’s

1 Bag Plain M&M’s

Combine in large bowl.

Could this be ANY easier???

halloween snack mix

Banana Pop Ghosts:

Bananas

White Candy Melts

Mini Chocolate Chips (for eyes)

Popsicle Sticks (lollypop sticks don’t support the weight as well…)

Wax Paper

Cut bananas in half and freeze them for 30 minutes. Insert Popsicle sticks and dip them in melted white candy melts. Add eyes & freeze until ready to serve.

Kids love these little ghostly creations!

ghost banana pops

Cheese-Fingers

Courtesy of FamilyFun Magazine

Mozzarella string cheese

Green bell pepper

Cream cheese

Use a paring knife to cut each string in half and then round off one end to make it look like the top of a finger.  Carve out a shallow area where the fingernail will be – just below the rounded end of the ‘finger’.  (You may want to use gloves or plastic wrap so your fingers don’t smudge the texture of the cheese.)

Mark the joint right below the nail as well as the knuckle joint by carving out tiny horizontal wedges of cheese, as pictured.

For the fingernails, slice a green bell pepper into 3/8-inch-wide strips. Set the strips skin side down on your work surface and trim the pulp so that it’s about half as thick. Then cut the strips into ragged-topped nail shapes and stick them in place at the ends of the fingers with dabs of cream cheese.

Watch the kids (and adults) reactions when they check these out!

cheese finger food

Carrot-Finger Food

Courtesy of FamilyFun Magazine

Vegetable dip

4 long carrots

1 medium carrot

Softened cream cheese

Sliced-almonds (5 to be exact!)

Baby carrots

To prepare them, just fill a serving bowl with your favorite vegetable dip. Wash and peel 4 long carrots for fingers and 1 medium carrot for a thumb.

With a paring knife (a parent’s job), cut a flat, shallow notch in the tip of each carrot. Then use a dab of dip or softened cream cheese to glue a sliced-almond fingernail atop each notch.

Stick the fingers in the dip, as shown, and serve with plenty of peeled baby carrots for dipping.

A creepy way to serve veggies and dip!

carrot finger food

Dracula Donuts

Glazed donuts

Chocolate chips (for the eyes)

Plastic Dracula teeth

The Dracula teeth go in the center of the donut, press 2 chocolate chips point side down into the donut for the eyes.

This is ALMOST as easy to make as the Halloween Snack Mix and will get a great reaction!!!

dracula donuts

Stuffed Pumpkin Peppers

Since you have to eat dinner on Halloween, I suggest you make these to start your night out – I made these last week and my family loved them…

Green, red, orange and yellow peppers

Hamburger

Rice

Spaghetti sauce

Shredded mozzarella cheese

Using a paring knife, cut jack-o-lantern faces into the peppers.  Boil the peppers in water for 10 minutes.  While the peppers are boiling, brown the hamburger meat and cook the rice (I use minute rice for the quickest preparation).  Mix together the hamburger, rice, spaghetti sauce and mozzarella together and stuff in the peppers.  Bake for 30 minutes in a 350 degree oven.

stuffed peppers

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!

This family friendly blog is provided by www.BaptismalGownsPlus.com.  We specialize in high quality, affordable Baptismal gowns, rompers & suits, First Communion dresses, girls headpieces and boy’s suits.  In addition, we have a full line of Confirmation robes for churches to choose from with sizes to fit any size Confirmation candidate.

How to Make a Pumpkin Planter

17 Oct

how to make a pumpkin planter

Some of my favorite things about this time of year are pumpkins – and mums – so I thought it was the cutest thing ever to put them together!!!

Most of the supplies that you will need to make this planter are pretty obvious – a pumpkin, and a plant.  You can certainly use any plant you would like, but I think the mum is the seasonal favorite…  You will also need something to cut the pumpkin with, something to scrape out the pumpkin with (forgot to put this in the pic below), and the supplies to make a bow – or use a pre-made bow.  Instructions for making a bow can be found in last weeks post: https://baptismalgownsplus.wordpress.com/2013/10/10/step-by-step-how-to-make-a-bow/

pumpkin planter - supplies needed

Step 1:  Cut the top off the pumpkin and clean out the guts.  It took me a little while to get the diameter of the circle right so that the pot fit in the pumpkin snugly.  Start a little smaller than you think and gradually make the hole bigger until you’ve got it right.

pumpkin planter - clean the pumpkin

Step 2:  Bleach the inside of the pumpkin to attempt to keep the mold away… and hopefully keep the planter from rotting right away.

One note of caution – to avoid the pumpkin from rotting prematurely, take the pot out of the pumpkin before you water the plant.  Let the excess water drain away for just a few minutes and then replace the flower pot back in the pumpkin.

pumpkin planter - preserve

Step 3:  Put it all together

Once the inside of the pumpkin has dried out a little, and once you made your bow – come on, you can do it – here are the instructions…  https://baptismalgownsplus.wordpress.com/2013/10/10/step-by-step-how-to-make-a-bow/

Put the flowerpot in the pumpkin – add the bow – and put it somewhere where you can enjoy it for the season!

pumpkin planter - put it together

What do you think?  Will you try to make one of your own?  Please share what type of planter you will make and where you will put it in the comments section.

Anne-Marie Dunn is the Owner of www.BaptismalGownsPlus.com.  We specialize in Baptismal, First Communion and Confirmation Apparel for both boys and girls.

Step by Step – How to Make a Bow

10 Oct
Make a bow - step by step guide

Ever wonder how folks make beautiful bows out of ribbon? Turns out, it’s not nearly as hard as you might think. Here is a step by step guide for you to follow so you too can make beautiful ribbon bows for every holiday or occasion.General things to consider before you begin:
• How many ‘loops’ do you want in your bow? When making a bow, you make it from the center outward (and backwards) – the more loops, the fuller the bow
• What kind of ribbon do you want to use? Wired ribbon can be molded and will keep its shape
• Is your ribbon one sided or two? One sided ribbon means that there is a front side (with a pattern or glitter) and a back side (that is plain). Two sided ribbon is the same on both sides. In the instructions below, two sided ribbon doesn’t need to be ‘twisted’ between loops since both sides are the same. 

make a bow - supplies needed

• Spool of ribbon
• Scissors
• Floral wire – green or silver – I prefer to use the wire that blends the best with the ribbon

Make a loop with the ribbon and then twist the one sided ribbon a 1/2 turn so it's ready for the next step.

Depending on how large you want your bow to be, make the center loop by making a circle with the ribbon that will be proportional and hold it with your fingers (front side of ribbon showing). For one sided ribbon, you will need to make sure that the top of the ribbon is facing upward before you start the next step. Where you are holding the ribbon loop together, you need to twist the ribbon a ‘half turn’.

Make the left side of the loop - like when you make the loop when you are tying your shoes...

This first loop will sit on the top of the bow – next to the center loop – so it should be the smallest of all the other loops. Other ‘left side loops’ will be slightly larger than this loop and will sit ‘behind’ this loop. This loop of ribbon is similar to the loop you make while tying your shoe. Hold the loop with your thumb and pointer finger.

If you are using one sided ribbon, you need to twist the ribbon a 1/2 turn so that when you do the next step the pretty side of the ribbon is face up.

On the back side of the bow (the side away from the center loop), twist the ribbon so that the front side of the ribbon is facing upward and ready to make the right side loop. If you are using a double sided ribbon, you can skip this step.

Make the right side of the loop - remember - like tying your shoes...  and don't forget to twist!

From the back side of the bow, make the loop for the right side of the bow – same loop as when you tie your shoe. Hold the loop with your thumb and pointer finger.

Repeat steps 2, 3 and 4 to add as many loops as you would like to your bow - the more loops, the fuller the bow.

Continue to make as many loops as you want for your bow
Repeat steps 2,3, and 4 as many times as you want (left loop – twist – right loop) for your bow.

Make a large loop with the ribbon which will eventually represent the "tails" of your bow.  The loop will be cut in half so make the loop as large as you'd like so that 1/2 it's length will become one "tail".

To make the part of the ribbon that hangs down, you need to make one larger loop from the back of your bow. This single loop of ribbon will become 2 ‘tails’ that hang from the finished bow, so the length of this loop should be twice as long as a finished ‘tail’. Secure this loop to the rest of the ribbon by using approximately a 5 inch length of floral wire. The floral wire should be thread through the center loop of the bow and twisted several times (10x or so) at the back of the bow. The bow can be cut away from the remaining spool of ribbon. Any excess floral wire can also be cut away.

To separate the ‘tails’ of your bow, stretch the bow, press the bottom of the tail flat, fold in half(so there are 4 layers of ribbon) and cut the ribbon diagonally from the center of ribbon toward the outside edge.  If you are working with a wired ribbon, you are cutting from the plain edge toward the wired edge.  When you unfold the ribbon, you will have 2 tails that have a triangular cutout.

To separate the ‘tails’ of your bow, stretch the bow, press the bottom of the tail flat, fold in half(so there are 4 layers of ribbon) and cut the ribbon diagonally from the center of ribbon toward the outside edge. If you are working with a wired ribbon, you are cutting from the plain edge toward the wired edge. When you unfold the ribbon, you will have 2 tails that have a triangular cutout.

Did we inspire you to get creative and make your own bow for something special?  Please share what type of bow or where you are planning to add one in the comments section.

Anne-Marie Dunn is the Owner of www.BaptismalGownsPlus.com.  We specialize in Baptismal, First Communion and Confirmation Apparel for both boys and girls.

I’m In Love! And I Made An ABC Box

19 Sep

I’m in LOVE!!!                 with chalkboard paint.

chalkboard paint

I’ve seen so many cute projects on Social Media that use chalkboard paint and I finally decided to give it a try.  I figured I better start pretty small since my interest in crafts far outweighs my crafting ability….

I found an old index card box lying around in our office and thought that this would be something I could work with.  When I think of chalkboards, I think of school (when I went to school and they actually had chalkboards…) and then I thought of learning to write.

My niece Molly is 2, and can recognize her letters.  She can’t write properly yet, but she loves to put pen/pencil/crayons/markers to paper.  She once even demonstrated her artistic ability on my sisters freshly painted walls at home!!!  I thought this little box would be something she could carry around with her and play with.

Even though I was a little nervous (going back to my ‘crafting ability’ comment above), I jumped right in and gathered some supplies:

IMG_0105

The bottle called for 2 coats of paint and it certainly had good coverage – even on the first coat.  After waiting an hour, I applied the second coat.

ABC box - painting cover

Because the box has texture, I was afraid it may have needed a third coat – to fill in the tiny crevices and make a smoother writing surface.  I decided to test it out after I let it dry overnight.

testing ABC box

If it was for an extra special project that was going to get a lot of use, I would have probably added a third coat.  This project is for a two year old that will play with it for a few minutes and probably forget about it as she goes on to the next toy so 2 coats of paint is enough.

I finished the project with a little personalization so she could see the letters in her name.  Voila!

ABC box - final touches

Update:  Here is Molly with her finished ABC box…

Molly with ABC box

Have you ever used chalkboard paint?  What did you think – yeah or nay?  Share your thoughts with us by commenting on this post.

Anne-Marie Dunn is the owner of www.BaptismalGownsPlus.com

Please feel free to visit our website or send us an e-mail at Support@BaptismalGownsPlus.com to let us know what you think.