December 29, 2011

Big Yay Paper Chain Company

Quite often I find I have friends in far away places counting down to something exciting. And I want to help them celebrate. So I developed my own paper chain kit company. It's not a true company, as I don't sell anything and no one buys anything. But nonetheless, I've made it look like a paper chain company. And here's the only product the company has:

Big Yay Paperchain Company is a company that sends out build-your-own paper chains. I personalize each package, with stickers and patterned papers for the event.

With each kit I offer an instruction sheet. It explains how to make a paper chain. It also provides details about how many links are provided (enough to fulfill the countdown), as well as the day the countdown should start. I print that sucker out on plain paper, add a lovely black cardstock backing, and then get creative with a whole punch. I loop ribbon through the punched holes to make it more decorative. I'm pretty sure I haven't looped the ribbon the same way twice.

When my friend was getting a (much needed) divorce and was counting down the days until it was final, I used girl's night out style paper. For my friend that was coming to visit, I used papers patterned with things about the area I live in. Another friend was counting down the days until her deployed husband came home, so I used Americana type paper. You get the idea.

For the themed paper links, I use 12" x 12" scrapbook paper. I get 13 1" wide strips out of the paper (each is 1" x 11"). You'll need to figure out the quantity, which can be difficult since time keeps on ticking while you're creating and while it's in the mail. This is why I usually provide a start date.

Package it all up with a little stapler. This makes the kit complete. Then mail it out.

I've only ever had good response from these. I don't ever tell the person it's in the mail. They know nothing about it until a random envelope shows up in their mailbox. And it's from some company called Big Yay! Paper Chain Company. Who wouldn't love that?!

Noon Year's Eve Party Invites

So, I love celebrating holidays with my boys. But I also love their bedtime. And that just doesn't kive with New year's Eve. Heck, I'll likely be in bed before midnight. So, i'm throwing a noon Year's Eve party for the under 10 crowd.

First step is always the invite, right? I saw this confetti cannon idea and just had to do it. So I did (and you'll see i'm showing all of you on my lovely worksurface that's been through hell and back. Feel free to ignore the lime green lines and whatnot. they're not a aprt of the invite)

First step was figuring out the party details. then making an invite on a long string of confetti. Confetti canons are about 1" in diameter, so you don't have a lot of room to work with. I used one side of the squares to write "It's a NOON Year's Eve Party" and the other side to provide details. We're starting the party at 10:30 so the kids can play, make a craft., eat lunch, and do the countdown (complete with balloon drop) at noon. Anywhoodles, make the invite.

Then empty the confetti cannons. Two ways you can do this. 1) take off the label and remove the "seal" at the top. Dump everything out. or 2) Release the cannon, shooting confetti and streamers in your house. then reset the cannon by pushing down real hard and twisting until the cylinder is locked again. Up to you.

Fill the cannons: fold your invite in. Add 1" discs of paper or pretty paper napkin (like I did) to separate the invite from the cylinder pusher thingy and the confetti. Fill as full as you wish.


Cover the cannon with a piece of paper cut larger than the top. Use another strip of paper/napkin to hold the cover on. Tape the edge of the strip down, but not the paper (just like how the cannon was assembled when you bought it).

Cover the outside with paper/napkin. The napkin had the colors I wanted, so it was an easy solution.

Add a strip of paper at the bottom (made on your home computer) that says "Twist Me" and then has a directional arrow. My graphics abilities are limited to MS Word, and even I can do this. you can too!

Tape it on.

Hand out the invitations. See your invited guests' faces light up.

I've passed out a few of these already (the party's Saturday, afterall), and everyone has loved the invitation! So easy and festive.

December 11, 2011

Snow Writing

We live where it snows. And being stuck inside sucks. So, we have to get creative.

a ketchup squirter, 1/4 C of rubbing alcohol, food coloring, and water make it more fun.
The more food coloring, the deeper the colors. The pic below was taken hours after the boys played outside. The color's still there. Too fun!

Breakfast is served

This is straight from Pinterest. Well, sort of. They used waffles. I used french toast. They used bacon. I used sausage. They used yogurt. I used powdered sugar. But yeah, it's from Pinterest.

Silly Elfkins!

Elfkins is a lovely little creature that's joined our family this Christmas season. And like all little Elf on the Shelf recruits, he gets into a bit of mischief while we sleep.
Every morning Toddler Moose goes on the hunt for Elfkins. And I always know the second he's spotted because I hear "Silly Elfkins!"
Below you'll find the many different ways we've found him when we wake up in the morning.
Elfkins stole the star on the top of our tree. I'm guessing he was jealous of the position, so he took it over. Silly Elfkins!
All the little boys in my house have colds. Looks like Elfkins might be coming down with one too. And we all know lots of rest is exactly what you need when you're sick. Silly Elfkins!

Elfkins took s a bubble bath in our sink. And washed his back with a new toothbrush for Toddler Moose. Silly Elfkins.
Elfkins found our orphaned sock stash and decided to play in it. He also wore a new pair of Christmas socks (Dollar Spot at Target), and brought a new pair for me and Toddler Moose, as well. Silly Elfkins!
Elfkins must love hot chocolate as much as I do. He snuck into the stash and decided to have a cup. Silly Elfkins!
We've been in a bit of a cold spell in Mooseville, so I imagine Elfkins jumped into the fridge to warm up. His pipe cleaner and pom pom ear muffs and felt scarf are sure to speed up the process. Silly Elfkins!
Elfkins started his career in our main living areas. His first foray outside of the norm was into the playroom. Here he was found spying over all the toys from a wall hanging. Silly Elfkins!
Looks like Elfkins got into the pantry and the playroom again. The goldfish from the pantry and the fishing pole from the fishing game. Silly Elfkins!
One night I wrapped all the presents to go under our tree. But I'm lazy, and didn't bother with bows or ribbons. Elfkins was just trying to help me out. Silly Elfkins!
High atop our cabinets Elfkins got high centered while flying around in the barn from our Uno Moo game. Silly Elfkins!
Toddler Moose had been behaving so well - even being kind to his little brother - so Daddy moose and I wanted to treat him to a movie. Elfkins must have overheard our plans because the morning o the movie we found him sipping on soda from a movie theater cup, eating popcorn, and hanging out with a gift card to the movies. Silly Elfkins!
Every year we get an ornament for our kids. The ornament always symbolizes something that happened during the year. 2011 marked many things, among them the first plane ride for both. Elfkins made the job easy on us and found airplane ornaments for the boys. Silly (and thoughtful!) Elfkins.
On Elfkins' second night with us, he spent a long time decorating the dining room with garland and snowflakes. He must have needed to rest after all that hard work. Silly Elfkins!
On his very first night with us, Elfkins made it quite easy on Toddler Moose. He hid in a stocking while munching on a candy cane from our tree. Silly Elfkins!

Moose Tracks:
Many of the ideas are inspired by pins I saw on Pinterest. Many are original, at least to me.
I'll post again with all the fun Elfkins gets into in a few days. weeks.

Pineapple Cookies

It's not Christmas time without a batch of Pineapple Cookies somewhere in my life. Since moving out of my parent's house I've been responsible for creating these every year. My mother still does, as well. But my father typically eats them all before I ever see them.

Pineapple Cookies

1 1/2 C Sugar
1 C butter, softened
2 eggs
1 C crushed pineapple, undrained
1 tsp baking soda
1 Tbsp cool water
3 1/2 C flour
1 C chopped nuts
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350.

Cream butter and sugar. While the mixer is doing it's thing, measure out pineapple in juice. Add soda and water.
To the creamed butter/sugar mixture, beat in eggs, one at a time. Blend in pineapple mixture. Fold in flour, salt and nuts.
Drop by large tablespoons onto cookie sheet. Bake 15 minutes at 350.
Let cookies cool. Enjoy as is, or drizzle with frosting (recipe below.)

Frosting recipe:
3 Tbsp crushed pineapple with juice
2 Tbsp white corn syrup
2 Tbsp sugar
~2 C powdered sugar

Boil pineapple, corn syrup and sugar. Sift in powdered sugar until thickened to desirable consistency. Drizzle over coolies. Allow to cool.

Moose Tracks:
These cookies are quite bread-like in consistency.
To store, stack between sheets of wax paper. These bad boys will stick to each other like crazy.

Bacon... Fudge?

You heard me. Bacon Fudge. Bacon Maple Peanut Butter Chocolate Fudge, to be exact. The original recipe was found via NPR.

1/4 C butter
1 14oz can Sweetened Condensed Milk
1/2 C Peanut Butter Chips
1 1/2 C Chocolate Chips
1/2 tsp maple extract
1 lb maple-flavored bacon

Step 1: Cook bacon until crisp. Crumble.

Step 2: Combine all ingredients, except bacon, in a large saucepan.

Step 3: Stir mixture over medium heat until chips and butter are melted and smooth.

Step 4: Remove from heat. Stir in bacon, reserving about a 1/2 C of bacon pieces for topping.

Step 5: Pour mixture into foil-lined and greased square pan. Sprinkle remaining bits over the top, pressing in lightly.

Step 6: Cover. Let set in fridge at least four hours, preferably overnight.

Step 7: Cut into squares (about 7x7, or 49 total.) Served best at room temperature.

Moose Tracks:
I'm lazy. I also don't like too much maple in my life. So I did precooked/precrumbled bacon bits - regular flavor. One bag of that did this recipe justice.
This recipe is crazy simple. There's no need to boil anything, no need to worry about temperatures or candy thermometers.
I've adapted this recipe in other ways. By changing up the extract or leaving out the bacon, you can create so many different fudge types.
Earlier today I made peanut butter fudge, chocolate fudge, mint chocolate fudge, and raspberry chocolate fudge - all using this recipe as the base. It's kind of perfect.