Sometimes when life gets messy you've got to spread around a little fairy dust to make it through the day!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Pina Colada Cheesecake

I had a can of frozen pina colada drink mix in the freezer that has been shoved around in there for almost two years now. We weren't sure what to do with it. I finally decided to search online for some recipes using the drink mix. I decided to make a cheesecake. I'm glad I searched because I would have never thought of that on my own. And...I've never made cheesecake before either! The recipe I used did not have me use all of the pina colada so with the remaining amount we made fruit smoothies for our snack for the daycare kids....yum!

Pina Colada Cheesecake Recipe


For Pie:
  • 2 packages (8 oz each) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup thawed frozen pina colada concentrate mix
For crust:
  • 1 1/2 cups finely ground graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 6 tbs butter, melted

For Pie:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended.
3. Add eggs; mix just until blended.
4. Stir in concentrate.
5. Pour into crust.
6. Bake 40 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool,.
7. Refrigerate at least 3 hours before serving.
8. Store leftover cheesecake in the refrigerator.

For Crust:
1. Mix graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter until well blended.
2. Press mixture into an 8 or 9 inch pie plate.
3. Bake at 375 degrees for 7 minutes. Cool.

Optional: top with your favorite pie filling, drizzle with chocolate syrup, mix crushed pineapple, a package of vanilla pudding mix and cool whip then put a spoonful on top...get creative! Yummy! 

Monday, March 21, 2011

Letter Blocks

After showing my mother-in-law Audrey's block letters on the wall shelf above her crib she said I should make some for my seven month old niece . So I set to work. When picking up the craft items for the tutu's, wand, etc. I also picked up 99 cent blocks and two 25 cent daisy wood pieces from Michael's. I already had paint, so I didn't need that. The whole project took me very little time to complete. The most time was spent waiting for the paint to dry so I could paint the next layer. I plan to give the blocks to her for Easter. Here they are below:

Daycare Themes - St. Patrick's Day

I love themes! I love holiday themes even more! It gives me the opportunity to be creative. I use a theme throughout the day with our meals, activities, and crafts. St. Patrick's Day was no exception.

The day started out with breakfast. We had green eggs and ham (pictured below), green apple slices, and "golden" toast.

 Here is the completed breakfast:

For lunch we had "golden" chicken nuggets, green jello with crushed pineapple, corn and milk. Note: I had thought we had lime jello, but I discovered we did not - instead I used pineapple jello and added two drops of green food coloring. 

For snack we had "gold coins" which was peanut butter spread between two crackers.

For our activity we colored leprechaun pictures I printed off the Internet. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Craft Projects Galore

When shopping at Michael's the other day I found that the tulle was on sale and they only had three colors left. So I picked two of the colors and put them in the cart. I decided I was going to make another tutu for Audrey using the two previous colors I'd purchased as well as the two new colors. Below is the completed tutu. I also made this one smaller than the other one so she could wear this one sooner.

While making the tutu's for my daughter and friend of mine asked if I'd make one for her. I used longer strips for her skirt. I measured the strips at 19 inches and then folded them in half to tie onto the elastic band. Here is her completed tutu:

I forgot to include in the earring picture frame project post what I did with the studs. I took a thin cardboard painted the backside (second picture below) and glued a cute patterned scrapbook paper onto the front. I then poked holes using a pushpin. I measured distance between the holes with a ruler. Finally I put the completed earring holder on a picture stand I bought at the dollar tree. Below are pictures of the completed project:


Easy & Quick Chocolate Cake

Easy & Quick Chocolate Cake

  • 1 chocolate or devil's food cake mix
  • 1 can (15 oz) pumpkin
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together dry cake mix and pumpkin. (I used a hand mixer on low speed).
  3. Grease an 13x9 inch baking pan (I used Pam cooking spray).
  4. Put mixture into banking pan. Using a spatula or knife spread the mixture evenly in the baking pan.
  5. Bake in oven at 350 degrees using the timing on the cake mix box.
  6. When toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, your cake is done.
  7. Allow cake to cool 10-15 minutes before removing.
  8. Cool cake completely before frosting. (We used store bought frosting; not pictured)
  9. Enjoy!
Note: You cannot taste the tastes like a delicious chocolate cake!
Thank you sister-in-law, Susan, for the recipe!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Yummy Doughnut Muffins

Doughnut Muffins

Muffin Ingredients:
·         ¾ cup sugar
·         1 egg
·         ¼ cup oil
·         ¾ cup milk
·         1 tsp vanilla
·         1 ½ cups flour
·         2 tsp baking powder
·         ¼ tsp salt
·         ¼ tsp ground nutmeg

Coating Ingredients:
·         2 tbsp butter, melted
·         ½ cup sugar or powdered sugar

Muffin Directions:

1.       Preheat oven to 350F.
2.       Lightly grease muffin tin with cooking spray.
3.       In a large bowl, beat together sugar and egg until light in color.
4.       Add oil, milk and vanilla to sugar mixture and combine.
5.       In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg
6.       Then pour into liquid mixture and stir to combine.
7.       Fill muffin cups ¾ full.
8.       Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.

Coating Directions:
  1. Melt butter in a small bowl.
  2. In a separate bowl, place sugar or powdered sugar.
  3. Dip/roll the sides and top of the muffin into the melted butter, then dip/roll the buttery muffin into the sugar or powdered sugar. Shake off the excess.
  4. Place muffins on parchment paper to dry.

Monday, March 14, 2011

More Borrowed Ideas

I'm happy to report that I successfully was able to drag (well sort of..) my husband and daughter to the craft store. Actually, while I shopped there, the two of them went window shopping at Scheel's sporting goods store. Michael's was packed, more so then usual. I quickly discovered that a lot of their items were on sale. And of course I took advantage of it! I picked up the following items: black and while elastic strips, black Velcro, metal hair clips, six rolls of ribbon, four bunches of Gerber daisy flowers, earring posts, wood blocks, two wooden 2-D daisies, a black paint pen, two rolls of colored tulle (purple and lime green), and three 8x10 picture frames. I also used their 40% off I feel I got a good deal.

Once I got home, after a stop off at Shopko and my parents house. I dove right into my projects while my daughter napped and my husband made us a yummy dinner. First I made the headbands and hair clips. Here is a picture of the final product:

I also added one of the Gerber daisy's and ribbon to the front of her tutu.
Here is an updated picture of that:

Finally, I made a fairy wand using a stick, ribbon, hot glue and tulle. For this I enlisted the help of my husband. He used our large board cutter to cut the strips for me. He cut the tulle into 5 inch strips. I used this website to help me figure out how to shape the tulle into a ball. 
Here is a picture of the fairy wand:

That's it for the projects I worked on yesterday. Today I hope to do a few more. You'll have to check back later for those. I'm also hoping to make a breakfast item I found while looking online for recipes. If it goes well and tastes good, I will post it on here as well. In the near future I will include some of the recipes I've been collecting recently that my husband and I have been enjoying.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Borrowed Ideas

Yesterday morning I went with my in-laws to a huge indoor garage sale. While there I immediately headed to the area where the children's toys, clothing, etc. were located. I was excited to find a child size wooden bench (can fit two children on it), a plastic toy lawn mower (Tyler always jokes about teaching the daycare kids to mow the lawn for him), a snow cone maker (never used and still package in its original packaging), a electric can opener (used daily for making meals for the daycare, we have one but it's breaking, this one was $2, so figured if I am going to buy a new one in the near future, might as well get this one), six Halloween plastic boxes shaped like Chinese takeout boxes (for daycare Halloween treats sent home), a cake tin that has six heart shaped molds (to use for Valentine's day snacks for the daycare or to make whenever I feel like having heart shaped individual cakes), and the DVD of Finding Nemo for $1. With all I got I only spent $8. I am very happy with my finds!

After an hour-and-a-half at the garage sale we headed to St. Mark's Craft Fair. I didn't purchase anything there, but had a great time going from booth to booth looking at all the neat items. I now have so many ideas of arts and crafts I want to make for Audrey and the daycare kids. At one vendor there was a cute little cape (perfect for daycare dress up or when I feel like being a "supermom" for the day). The cape was reversible. One side of the cape was blue with a Superman symbol. The other side was black with a bat man symbol. All I need now is to get some fabric and a sewing machine and I'm good to go. At another booth I saw a fairy skirt, wand and headband. A few weeks ago I made Audrey a skirt using an elastic headband and some colored tulle.

The skirts at this booth (and a few other booths) had a large fake flower and ribbon glued or sewn on to the front. I love that idea so I'm going to add that to Audrey's skirt. The fairy wand was a sturdy stick with ribbon wrapped around it and tulle on the top in a ball shape. It too had ribbon hanging down from the ball. Very cute! The headband was a standard plastic band with tulle tied to it standing straight up with fake rhinestones glued on it. I can't want to make that one. But I'll have to get a band first. Another booth had an infants white onesie (boys) with a fabric tie sewn onto it with a sewing machine. My favorite booth was one geared toward infant apparel. This is where I saw the boys onsie with a tie on it. I wound up talking to the lady for a long time. Turns out she does this on the side and is a full-time kindergarten teacher. You can check out her items on her website at Bebe Bowtique. Later today, if I can drag my husband and daughter out of the house for an hour, I plan to spend some time shopping at Michael's craft store so I can get started on these items while I am still excited about it!

I've been wanting and needing to be creative recently. I've always thought of myself as creative, but have been slacking when it came to actually making anything recently. So two weeks ago I decided it was time to let my creative juices flow again....and I've been loving it.

Here are some other things I've been working on lately:
- Holder for Audrey's hair bows

- Audrey's name using blocks on a wall shelf in her room

- A holder for my earrings next to may mirror in my room. I borrowed the idea from my cousin off of her website. 

Those are a few of the items I've made recently. I will post more on here as I make more. I will try to include the process for those who wish to "borrow" ideas from me.

I better get started on writing out my shopping list so I am not tempted to go overboard when I get to the craft store....that is known to happen from time to time :)

Friday, March 11, 2011


I like many first time mothers drug my husband and daughter to get their photos taken by a professional. I discovered the photographer while looking on craigslist for more items for the daycare. I'm always looking for a good deal when it comes to daycare equipment. Anyway, after spending all week driving my husband nuts trying on outfit after outfit on us all, it was time to pack everything up and head to her in home studio. I had spent many hours picking out the perfect outfits - spending time modeling them and precisely choosing matching outfits. I had chosen three outfits for Audrey. Of course we only got to two of the outfits before she decided she was done having her picture taken like she was a famous movie star. Without fail she, like many kids who get all dressed up, spit up all down the front of one of the outfits. It's like they are programmed to do this. When it was time to leave (after an hour), we couldn't locate the lid to her bottle. It wasn't until three days later that I discovered it had made its way to her diaper bag. But that was after contacting the photographer twice to see if it had been left behind! Boy did I feel dumb when I pulled it out of her bag! Audrey didn't want to cooperate during the photo shoot - then again she was only 7 weeks old - you try to get a infant to do what you want. The lady even commented that she was "going to get a run for her money". I was worried that we wouldn't get any good shots of her or us. Four days later my husband stopped over to pick up our completed CD of photos. I couldn't wait to load them on my computer and check them out. Wow! I was impressed. Audrey did better than I'd thought. Long story short, we got some pretty good pictures of her. Like the proud mothers I use to make fun of...I'm going to share some of these photos with you. The downs ?  Spit up down the front of a carefully selected outfit, Audrey didn't want a head band on that I had purchased specifically for this photo shoot and she forcefully verbalized her discontent to us several times, getting lost on the way there, forcing my reluctant husband to go along with my crazy ideas, an outfit not used that took me days to decided I wanted to use, and an exhausted mommy after spending hours getting us ready for a one hour photo session. The ups? Some fantastic pictures I'm so proud to show off!!

How I Got to Where I Am Today

A little background about me and my family. I am married to my fabulous husband, Tyler. We met in 2000. After briefly dating my good friend and discovering (mutually) they weren't met for each other, we began dating in 2001. Our relationship had many trials. Including Tyler bravely serving for 18 months with the Army Reserves in Kuwait and Iraq. In 2007 after a two-year engagement, we were married. I graduated that same year from the University of Nebraska in Lincoln with a degree in Education and Human Sciences. While at the University I majored in Inclusive Early Childhood Education. I'm often asked what that means - it basically means that the major includes early childhood education, elementary education, and special education. After graduation I substitute taught for LPS. I quickly (a year and some months later) discovered subbing was not for me. During this time of self-discovery and trying to decide what to do with this expensive degree I had obtained, a good friend asked if I was interested in starting a home daycare as she was needing affordable daycare with a trustworthy person whom she knew. I had toyed with the idea a bit in the past, but thought that no one would take me seriously as a daycare provider when I didn't have any children of my own yet. (I owe a lot to this family for assisting me in getting my business up and running.) Especially when I had so many sceptical family members and friends.

So I dove head first into starting up a business that I knew very little about. Yes, I'd worked in daycare centers, worked in the public schools, and had many practicum and student teaching experiences. But I didn't have a clue how to run an effective business. With the help of my husband, this very trusting family, and of course my bank account. I started purchasing the necessary items needed (and wanted - yes there is a big difference) to help get me started. Many days were spent dedicated to researching, "window" shopping, selecting all needed items and creating the necessary paperwork (for liability reasons). A year into caring for this little girl (I'd started watching her when she was six-weeks-old) I decided to become licensed. Besides needing a license to prove to myself that I was a professional and feeling why shouldn't I take the extra steps to become licensed so I didn't feel my degree had been a waste of my time and money. I also  felt I needed to become licensed if I was going to have anyone take me seriously. So that is how the daycare came about. In a way it found me. I've always loved my job (much more than any other job I've had), but now that I have a daughter I am so pleased that I can have an income while being a stay-at-home mother for her.