Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Read With Me Wednesday: The Help

I know, many of you have probably already read The Help by Katherine Stockett.  I am such a nerd, I thought it was some kind of self help book, and had no desire to read it.  That sounds even nerdier in writing than it did in my head!  But I finally picked up a copy from the library, am not quite finished with it, but have loved every minute of it!  My new favorite book of 2011 – so far.  I am so in love with these women, their trials and heartbreak, and their strength and courage.  Absolutely loving it.

The Help
written by Katherine Stockett
464 pages

What perfect timing for this optimistic, uplifting debut novel (and maiden publication of Amy Einhorn's new imprint) set during the nascent civil rights movement in Jackson, Miss., where black women were trusted to raise white children but not to polish the household silver. Eugenia Skeeter Phelan is just home from college in 1962, and, anxious to become a writer, is advised to hone her chops by writing about what disturbs you. The budding social activist begins to collect the stories of the black women on whom the country club sets relies and mistrusts enlisting the help of Aibileen, a maid who's raised 17 children, and Aibileen's best friend Minny, who's found herself unemployed more than a few times after mouthing off to her white employers. The book Skeeter puts together based on their stories is scathing and shocking, bringing pride and hope to the black community, while giving Skeeter the courage to break down her personal boundaries and pursue her dreams. Assured and layered, full of heart and history, this one has bestseller written all over it.  (Publishers Weekly)

A few other books I have read and enjoyed.  Sort of those good, calming, relaxed, kind of books that are just nice to read.
The Girl With a Pearl Earring
written by Tracy Chevalier
256 pages

imageFlying Home
written by Rachel Ann Nunes
320 pages

imageThe Quilter's Apprentice
written by Jennifer Chiaverini
272 pages

imageJoy in the Morning
written by Betty Smith
304 pages

Guest Posting at Craft Goodies Today!


Bunny Sneak Peak

Friday, March 4, 2011

Three Really Random Things

Whew!  I finally found my keyboard under that huge pile of snotty tissues!  I think those you who have been sick gave me your bug.  Alas, I’m sure I will survive. 

So here is my post full of randomness, blame it on the cough medicine and my brain being filled with snot. 

{First Random Thing}

I have been meaning to post about this, in fact many of you have noticed it already, my little blog got a nice little facelift a week or so ago.  I would love to take the credit, but it wasn’t me. 

The story.  Back before Christmas I won a give away from Leelou Blogs!  The best part was I didn’t just win one thing, I won three!


My very own {Belle Dangles Jewelry Organizer}

Seriously brilliant!  So simple, but so convenient!



A credit to this fabulous shop {The Lavish Loft}


And . . . .

Wait for it . . .


A blog redesign from the fabulous Julie over at Leelou Blogs.  She does awesome work, has tons of free stuff, and was so wonderful to work with.  She has tons of great designs some for free and others for a very reasonable price.  If you are looking to get some work done (on your blog, that is) I would highly recommend going with Julie.


If you read your blogs in a reader, or haven’t been to visit lately, here is a quick peak and the new design:



My favorite part, I told Julie how much I loved this room re-do from Bee in Our Bonnet:


I think she did a wonderful job turning a room into a blog design!


{Second Random Thing}


This was our Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss dinner.  We had Green Eggs and Ham CupsCrepes with this yummy Strawberry Sauce.  (All recipes found at Our Best Bites, are you so surprised?)  And these for dessert:



{Third – and last – Random Thing}

Thanks to these awesome/fun/creative bloggers for sending some traffic my way this week:



Thanks for staying with me.  Sorry for the randomness.  Hope you have a WONDERFUL weekend!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

I {Heart} The Hokey Pokey Kitchen

So I have been sort of on a kid kick lately.  My last few posts have been centered on creating things for kids.  Hope you’ll bear with me for another one.  Lets be honest, it’s not just for my kid, I love it it too. 

Point of my blabbering:  I found this awesome new blog about creating fun themed food all around children’s books. 

I got this sweet comment from Aleena, from The Hokey Pokey Kitchen, yesterday:

“Thanks for posting all your wonderful ideas!! We made Dr Seuss Cat in the Hat fun treats yeterday @
Come visit us.. thanks for sharing your ideas.. i am also making cupcakes tomorrow... we are making the sneetches s mores cupcakes!! hope urs turn out well!!!!”

My next thought was “Sneetches S’mores Cupcakes, what in the world would those look like?!”  (I admit I even tried to Google it – nothing.)  Well today, she posted them, and they are beyond my wildest imagination.


Sneetches S’more Cupcakes

I cannot wait until she shares how to make the Sneetches.  I’m off now to make my totally lame copy cat been done a thousand time Thing 1 and Thing 2 cupcakes . . .


But first three more favorites from The Hokey Pokey Kitchen:



Where the Wild Things Are lunch



The Grouchy Ladybug “healthalicious snack”



Harold and the Purple Crayon crayons

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Cat in the Hat Hats From TP Rolls

We made these in anticipation of Dr. Seuss’ Birthday tomorrow.  Again, we love the Cat in the Hat around our house. 

I have been collecting TP rolls FOREVER, like probably since Halloween.  (I just had this visual picture of our house being over whelmed by TP rolls.  Maybe I haven’t saved every single roll since then, but I have quite a stash.)  As each holiday comes, I just know that I am going to find something fun to make with them.  Well for Dr. Seuss’ birthday I have finally gotten around to using them! 


Cat in the Hat Pop Ups


Cat in the Hat Pop Up

{To Make You Will Need}

TP Roll
Red Paper (I thought felt would be cute too)
White Cardstock
Cat in the Hat Pop Up Template (Can be downloaded {HERE})




{To Make}

Cat3Cut a piece of white paper that will wrap around your TP roll.  Cut and glue red paper, or color to make red stripes.  I cut my stripes about 3/4 inch wide. 



Cut out hat brim and hat top from template.  (Can be downloaded {HERE}.)  Only cut on the dotted lines.  Don’t forget to poke a hole for your dowel in the top of the hat.  (Trust me, it’s soo much easier to do it before you get it all attached.)  Tape/glue brim and top of the hat to the TP roll.  Those little tabs you cut should help it fit just right around the TP roll.   



Tape/glue red and white striped paper around the TP roll.  You should now have your little hat.  (I am hoping to make a few more, just hats for our place settings at dinner our Seuss themed dinner!)



Color and cut out Cat in the Hat pictures from the template.  (Can be downloaded {HERE}.)  Attach back of pictures to a dowel.  Poke dowel through hole in the top of the hat.  Have lots of pop up fun!






Looking for more great Seuss ideas?  Here are a few I have in my Dr. Seuss bookmark folder:


Is that not the most clever blog name.  Lots and lots of Seuss activities, crafts, foods, parties, even home d├ęcor. 



Love this FREE printable from 74 Lime Lane!



Last year Oopsey Daisy had a Seuss Extravaganza



Jenn, from Finally in First shares a ton of great activities she came up with for her first graders. 



Seussville is the ultimate internet stop for all things Seuss.

Thing 1 and Thing 2 Hand Prints

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss (on the 2nd)!  Last year when Dr. Seuss’ Birthday came around I was teaching and totally missed celebrating it at home with my Little Miss, so this year I was super excited to do some fun things.  I absolutely love Dr. Seuss!  One of our favorites is The Cat in the Hat, my daughter loves watching the Cat in the Hat show on PBS, we are always singing, “Here we go, go, go!”
Thing 1 and Thing 2 made out of hand prints.

{You’ll Need}
Peach paint
Light blue paint
White paint
Foam paint brush
Red paper
Thing 7Because it was a little nerve racking trying to take pictures of my two year-old during the process of making these, I am using my hands, which look all kinds of freaky to me, but it was better than worrying about having paint everywhere!

Thing 1

{Step 1}
Paint your fingers and the outside of your palm light blue.

Thing 2

{Step 2}
Press down on paper.  Trying to center it side to side, better than I did!

Thing 3


{Step 3}
Paint peach on the inside of you palm, slightly overlapping the blue from before.  Add a little more blue to your fingers if it has dried.  If you look at a picture from the book, they have white faces . . . I thought it might look a little freaky, so I took an artistic liberty and used peach.

Thing 4

{Step 4}
Press down firmly, trying to line up the tips of your fingers from before, but shifting position of fingers from previous print to fill thing blanks a little bit.

Thing 5Thing 6

{Step 5}
Dab a little paint on your finger for a neck.  After the paint has dried add details with a Sharpie.  Don’t forget the little white circle on the shirt.  We were able to fit both Thing 1 and 2 on my daughter's paper.

 Tomorrow I really want to make some Thing 1 and 2 cupcakes to celebrate!
image{Found at Kitchen Dough}

{Found at Goodlife Eats}

{Found at Sugar Swings}
I love that the heads are made out of Dum Dums dipped in white chocolate with blue frosting hair. 

Or a super simple route, these marshmallow pops:
{Found at Goodlife Eats}

Do you have any fun plans to celebrate?

Monday, February 21, 2011

Better-Than-Almost-Anything Cake

This is the Betty Crocker family friendly internet approved name for this cake.  At our house we have a different name for it, but I didn’t think it was appropriate for my nice innocent blog. 

Today your life will change.  Ok, not today, but the day that you make this cake.  Cake1


  • 1 Chocolate Cake Mix
  • Sweetened Condensed Milk  (Fat Free is ok)
  • Caramel Sauce
  • Cool Whip
  • 2 King Size Heath Bars (Now really if you’re making a smaller cake, you probably will only need one, but you tell your husband to bring home two so that you can can pretend to be surprised and confused and then eat the extra one.)


{To Make}

Bake cake according to the directions on the box.  A few minutes after it’s come out of the oven, take a knife to it.  Stab the heck out of it.  No, I have not gone crazy, you need those holes so the gooey caramel and Sweetened Condensed Milk will seep into the cake. 


After you have stabbed a million holes in your cake, pop open your Sweetened Condensed Milk poor it all over the cake.  Next, poor the Caramel Sauce all over.  (I only used about half the can of milk and half of the caramel, but if you’re making a 9 x 13, you might want to use it all.)  Doesn’t have to look pretty, duh you just poked holes all over it.  Now step back.  Lick your fingers.  Let the cake cool.  Let it cool very well. 


If it does not cool well, your Cool Whip will slide off the cake and look funny.  But chances are if you are the only person to bring a dessert to your Ward Party people will still eat it if it looks funny, because it still tastes the same. . . Just sayin’.


After it has cooled well (see above).  Spread Cool Whip on top.  While you are doing that have your 2 year-old or other kitchen helper crush up your Heath Bar.  “But, Ashlie, you can just by the Heath Bits now.”  I like the crushed up bars better.  You get bigger chunks.  But you can do what you want . . .


The last and final step, sprinkle crushed Heath on top of cake.  This was our Valentine’s dessert, so I tried to make it more Valentiney by making a heart out of the Heath pieces. 


Cut yourself a piece and en-joy! 

Note:  Really this cake tastes better the next day or a few hours after you make it, the caramel and milk soak in and make it oh so gooey and good!

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