by Sharla

Adventure Time Birthday Party Cup Cakes

July 31, 2014 in Cooking, Deserts, Kids, Parties by Sharla

Adventure Time Birthday Party Cup Cakes DSC_0473

Look at that cute 11-year-old.  Smiling, party with friends, the summer sun shining down and her favorite show made in frosting on cupcakes.  Adventure Time cup cakes.  Right?!  Does life get better than that?  I admit, I’m crafty and creative but decorating cup cakes…that’s a different story.  Really, I’m not a bad cook, but this was way out of my comfort zone.  But how do you say no when your only daughter asks for her favorite TV show on her birthday treat?  You don’t.  You warn her it might not turn out perfect but you’ll give it your best shot.  Actually, they turned out great.  Sometimes, I don’t suck.  :)

What you need:

1 Box cake mix and ingredients to make it

Butter cream frosting, double the recipe (recipe below)

Classic color food coloring

Neon food coloring

Black food coloring*

Red food coloring*

Piping bags

Large round piping tip

Medium star piping tip 

Skinny round piping tip

Mini Marshmallows

Medium sized blue dragees (you know, those little can balls you can decorate food with)

*I know the red and black food coloring can be found in boxes of food coloring, but I find you get a much better hue if you buy a jar of coloring gel or a bottle specifically that color.  I bought mine from Jo Ann Cake Decorating & Foods Crafts at Joann.com as well as the dragees.  Amazon also has dragees if you have having a hard time finding them at a craft store.  

IMG_2104   

 

The Method:

Allow me a moment to get on my soap box.  There is absolutely no reason to make a cake from scratch for a bunch of kids.  They are going to love the cake no matter what, and box mixes are actually really delicious.  And don’t buy the expensive version!  I’ve tried them all, and trust me, they are all the same.

Make the cupcakes according to the box instructions.  Let them cool.

Meanwhile make the butter cream frosting.  Start by creaming the soften butter,  powdered sugar, and milk in a mixer until light and fluffy (on hight for about 5 minutes).  Divide the frosting into 8 different bowls, equal amounts in each.

Now, let’s color the frosting, this part is actually pretty fun.  I don’t actually list when to use the red, but for the pink hues you can dip a toothpick into the jar and mix to get just the right color.  I recommend decorating each of the cupcakes without the black face first, then do all of the faces at once.  Have fun with it, I mean, its Adventure Time after all.

  IMG_2092

Jake Colors:  

For his face and jowls mix 5 drops yellow and 1-2 red.  Play with it until you get the right shade of orange.  Be warned, this is the hardest color to get right so don’t be neurotic about it.  Once all of the cupcakes are put together it’s going to look great.

For his mouth, nose and eye background mix black.  Go crazy with that food coloring.  It is imperative that you have a high quality back food coloring, other wise you’ll end up with gray.  I bought my black from  Jo Ann Cake Decorating & Foods Crafts at Joann.com.

For his pupils just leave a bowl of frosting white.  

IMG_2094

Fin Colors:

For his face you are going for a peach color.  Again, mix a little color at a time to get it right.  I started with 3 drops of yellow and 1 drop of neon pink.

White for his hat and the ears on top (if you choose not to use mini marshmallows).

For his eyes and mouth use the same black used for Jake.

 IMG_2095

Princess Bubblegum Colors:

For her face use 1-2 drops of neon pink food coloring.

For her hair use 5 drops of neon pink food coloring.

For her crown use 5 drops of yellow food coloring.

For her eyes and use the same black used for Jake.

 IMG_2093

Lumpy Space Princess (LSP for short)Colors:

For her body use 5 drops of neon purple.

For her star use the same yellow you used on Princess Bubblegum’s crown.

For her eyes, eyebrows and frown, you guessed it, black. :)

Time to frost those puppies:

This is the fun part.  I admit, the idea of using so many different tips for piping frosting is intimidating for someone who isn’t’ used to using them (i.e. me).  Don’t be scared!  They are fairly inexpensive and fun to use!  You can spring for the reusable piping bags but I just bought a 100 pack of parchment paper ones for about $10.00 from Jo Ann Cake Decorating & Foods Crafts at Joann.com.  Just follow the instructions and tape the cone then cut the tip off about 1/2 inch from the bottom.  Remember, you are going to need 8 piping bags total (unless you are using reusable bags in which case you’ll have to clean you bag between frosting colors).

IMG_2083 IMG_2085 IMG_2086

To Create Lumpy Space Princess:

No need for a tip with this one, you’re just going to cut the bottom of about 1/2 and inch up.  Simply fill the bag with the purple frosting, twist tight at the top so frosting doesn’t escape and squeeze where you twisted the bag.  Start in the center of the cupcake and gently squeeze making 5 star arms continually applying pressure to the top of the bag and not lifting the tip until the star is complete.  

 

IMG_2087 IMG_2084   

You can use a tip in a piping bag one of two ways.  Your parchment piping bags should come with a small funnel that slips down into the bag.  If the opening you cut is too small just cut a little more.  Now slip the medium star tip into the funnel and use the screw circle to tighten on the outside of the bag.  

If you are uncomfortable or don’t have the pastry bag screw bottom, you just slide the tip into the bag.

Fill the bag with yellow and make a single star at the top of her head by squeezing lightly and lifting directly up.  

Last, use the small round tip and fill the bag with black frosting and pipe on her face.  I think it’s best to wait until all of the base work for each cupcake is done and then I did the black faces on all of them last.

To Create Jake:

Using a different bag insert your large round tip and fill with your orange frosting and smoothly cover the entire cupcake in a circle starting at the outside and ending in the center.  

Using a different bag insert the small round tip and fill with frosting.  To create the gowle use a lot of pressure and move the tip slowly in the middle of the face in a frown shape.  

Then create the nose, eyes, and mouth using the small round tip with black.

To Create Fin:

Start with the white frosting in a pastry bag with the large round tip.  Cover the top of the cupcake smoothly with white in the same way you covered the cupcake for Jake.  

Now clean the round tip and fit it into a new bag.  Fill the bag with peach.  In the center of the white make a smooth oval.  

You can pipe the ears of his hat on the top but we found mini marshmallows to be more fun.  Just stick two mini marshmallows on the top of his hat for the ears.  

For the face use the small round tip and black frosting and simply make two small dots for his eyes and, of course, a smile.

To Create Princess Gumball:

Fit the large round tip into a bag and fill with the light purple color.  Smoothly cover the top of the cupcake.  

Now fit small star tip in a bag and fill with yellow (you could also use a medium round tip to make her hair smoother).  Pipe the frosting down both sides of the cupcake meeting at the bottom.  Then create a line for her bangs about 1/3 from the top of the cupcake and fill in to the top.  

Last, fit the small star tip into a new bag and fill with yellow frosting.  I started on one side of the hair and swooped to the top center.  Complete by doing the same to the other side.  Finish the crown with a single blue dragee at the top.

For the Faces:

Here’s what they will look like faceless (don’t worry, it’s not scary).

IMG_2090

Fit a pastry bag with the small round tip and fill with black frosting.  Using the pictures as guides make each of the faces using black.  While I was doing this I found that all of my small dots had sharp tips from where I lifted the bag.  This is an easy fix!  I just got a cup of warm water and dipped my finger in and patted down the spikes.  

IMG_2088 IMG_2089

Adventure Time Achieved!  Happy Birthday, Olivia!

IMG_2096

    IMG_2101 IMG_2100

DSC_0474 DSC_0479 IMG_2103    

<3, Sharla

 

Adventure Time Cup Cakes
Yields 24
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
2 hr
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
2 hr
Ingredients
  1. 1 Box cake mix to include ingredients called for on box
Frosting
  1. 2 Cups powdered sugar
  2. 1/2 Cup butter (softened)
  3. 2-3 Tablespoons of milk
  4. 1 box classic food coloring
  5. 1 box neon food coloring
  6. 1 bottle red food coloring
  7. 1 bottle black food coloring
  8. handfull mini marshmallows
  9. handful blue dragees
  10. piping bags
  11. #808 large circle piping tip
  12. #18 small star piping tip
  13. small circle piping tip
Instructions
  1. Make cupcake cake mix according to instructions on box. Allow cupcakes to cool completely.
  2. In a mixer mix the softened butter, powdered sugar and milk until light and fluffy (on hight about 5 minutes).
  3. *Remember to double the recipe
  4. Follow decorating instructions on blog page.
This Is Do-Able http://www.thisisdoable.com/
As a side note, I had to include the party favors we made for the party.  I took an extra long pixie stick and wrapped a licorice rope around the length of it and secured with tape.  I found and image of Lady Rainicorn online (shown below), printed it and cut out the head and back legs and glued to each end of the licorice wrapped pixie stick.  They were a hit, and inexpensive!  Oh Lady Rainicorn, you’re so sweet! 

photo-19 photo-22 Unknown-4

by Sharla

Never Pay full Price at Jo Ann Michael’s Hobby Lobby or Amazon

July 29, 2014 in Creating, Halloween Creations, Kids, Parties, Sewing, Thanksgiving Creations, Valentine Creations by Sharla

  Image-1-6

This is a big promise, right? I know, I am aware. If someone offered me a pot of endless coupons for all of the craft stores I shop at, I might be a bit dubious (no I wouldn’t). So, let me be clear this is not advice for you creative types who are not willing to put a little effort into it (wait, a lazy creative type…that’s an oxymoron). This post comes straight from my heart, wallet, and experience (not necessarily in that order).

Here’s the deal (pun intended), I by 99.9 of my craft/sewing/decorating supplies from big box craft stores, namely Jo Ann, Michael’s, Hobby Lobby, and Amazon (I know Amazon isn’t usually regarded as a craft store, but they have, like, everything you could want and I don’t have to load up the kids in the car). I love a good deal and my Etsy business depends on a good price, so I have made a science out of getting the deal at these stores. Additionally, I’m super bossy when it comes to things I’m passionate about (i.e. books, advice, deserts) therefore my burning desire to help you save when you’re crafting can no longer go ignored. Thus, the tips I live by when shopping for creativity were born (generally, these rules apply to online shopping as well).

Jo Ann for Crafts, Sewing Home Decor and Casses
My first stop is always Jo Ann, CLICK HERE for Joann.com. I don’t know if it’s because they have so many options or because I know every isle inside and out.  Actually I think it might be because they have the most lenient policies when it comes to coupon use. Put on your seat belts, I’m about to save you some serious moola and here’s how to do it.

Sign up for the mailers!!! No, seriously, we all want to avoid getting more junk in the mailbox but Jo Ann doesn’t let down. When you sign up for mailers from Jo Ann, they mail you ads and coupons that are encrypted with a code that is linked specifically to you, so the more you use these the more coupons you get. However, you can only use mailer coupons once.  Period.  No really, they tear them up in front of you. :(

Sign up for text coupons  Have a smart phone? The possibilities with these are endless. Namely, saving money! As far as I know Michael’s and Jo Ann are the only ones who offer regular text coupons. You can use these coupons as many times as you want per day and in conjunction with any other coupon until the expiration date. It takes no effort to get them, just present your phone at the time of purchase. You can only use it once per purchase (but as many purchases as you want to make per day). To sign up for Jo Ann text coupons text BEADS to 56266 (JOANN). *Message and data rates may apply.

Sign up for email coupons. Junk mail, junk mail, JUNK MAIL! You hate it as much as I do, but don’t mistake junk mail for a great deal. 90% of the time Jo Ann emails include some sort of coupon. Jo Ann sends out the same emails over and over when they are offering a coupon and they don’t have a limit on how many email coupons you can use. If you have 3 in your inbox, you can use all three in the same purchase.

Get the app! Sorry to all of you out there who don’t have smart phones because here is another tip for one. Get the Jo Ann app. They offer a coupon every week as well as keep you updated on what’s on sale. The nice thing about the app is it is crazy convienient. Just open the app and use the coupon, however, unlike email coupons you can only use the Jo Ann app coupon once per purchase but there is no limit on how many purchases you can use it for as long as it’s not expired.

Guess what, Jo Ann accept competitor’s coupons! That’s pretty huge and I give it up to them. Woot Woot! There is no limit for how many competitor’s coupons you can use per purchase, but you can’t use the same coupon more than once and you usually have to have a hard copy of the coupons (but they will accept printed versions of coupons you find online).  Depending on the store, you may get away with using a digital coupon, particularly Hobby Lobby, but that’s not set in stone.  If in doubt, just ask!  What’s the worst they can say?  “No, and you’re banned for life!”  Ok, that might be my own fear, but trust me, it’s not reality.

Lastly, shop at Jo Ann Online and you can CLICK HERE for Joann.com Although you can’t use competitor’s coupons online you can use all of the others. Also, Jo Ann makes special offers to online buyers for shipping and additional coupons that can’t be used in the store.

Michael’s Arts and Craft Supplies
Moving on. I like Michael’s Free Shipping on $50+ at Michaels.com because they also have a great selection, but especially on things that Jo Ann doesn’t carry. The other reason I go to Michael’s is for their paper/scrapbook supplies. I’m sorry, but Jo Ann can’t touch Michael’s in this area. Here we go:

Sign up for mailers! Again, this is a great option at this store. They not only include what’s on sale but they offer special coupons in mailers that can’t be found any where else. But remember, you can only use mailers once per purchase.  I signed up in the store when I was checing out.

Michael’s also offers text coupons. Same deal, you can only use the text coupon once per purchase. To sign up for Michael’s text coupons, text the word JOIN2 to CREATE (273283).

Yes, they also have email offers, but not every email offers a coupon. Most of the time they are just letting you know what’s on sale, but occasionally they bless you with a coupon or 10! Really, they are worth watching for in you inbox because when they do finally send a coupon it’s usually with 10 others.

Get the app! Just search the Michael’s app on your Smart phone, its totally free!  Michael’s is much more structured about their app coupons. They always have a 40% off one regular priced item coupon in their app, but they digitally track when you use it. Once you use it it’s gone until it expires and a new one is offered.  Each coupon is good for a week, so just using the app you can get 40% off one item every week.

Michael’s accepts competitor’s coupons but, again, you have to have a hard copy. Printed versions are accepted, but they have never accepted the coupon offered on a competitor’s app.  Also, every time you shop there you get a 40% off coupon with your receipt.  Check out this link to read the full coupon policy for Michael’s.

Hobby Lobby
Hobby Lobby is the warehouse of craft stores. It’s dizzying going in there. Some people find it overwhelming, other’s love it! I have found that if you can’t find what you are after at other craft stores, Hobby Lobby has it.

Here’s the bottom line with Hobby Lobby and coupons, they are extreamly strict. As far as I’ve seen, they don’t offer coupons in the mail (please correct me if I’m wrong about that because I would love to have some) or email. They do not accept competitor’s coupons and they only let you use one coupon per purchase.  Click here to sign up the their meal offers.

Having said that, get the app!  They do continuously offer a 40% off a regular priced item on the app and you can use it as many times as you want, as long as it’s not on the same day.

Check their sale items.  They are, however, great at putting things on sale. Take for instance their ribbon. I think they have the best selection so I keep an eye on their ads and when ribbon goes on sale I always head over. It’s always on all ribbon so no need for coupons, just buy as many as you want and the sale price applies to all of them.  Keep an eye on their sales by signing up for emails and their app.  I will say that a friend of mine went shopping for items she needed for a specific project and started at Jo Ann with coupons in hand.  Then, on a whim she stopped by Hobby Lobby to see if they had the same items and how the prices compared.  Everything she found at Hobby Lobby was cheaper, even without coupons, so she re-bought all of her items from Hobby Lobby then went back to Jo Ann and returned the others.  Just Sayin’.

Amazon
I know what you’re thinking, “Amazon—craft supplies…what’s the connection?” I get it, but Amazon offers sales regularly as well as used items at a discounted price.  Plus, if you are an Amazon Prime Member you can get discounted and free shipping on many of your purchases, amazon Arts/Crafts/Sewing.
Did I mention you can order while the baby sleeps?  Big.  Fat.  Win.

Last thing, if you are bent on saving money but have a lot to buy, go through the line more than once.  I have been known to shop at Jo Ann, check out, go to the car and drop off my stuff, then go back in again and buy the rest of what I needed.  I did this by using their email, text and app coupons.  

Ok, I have now offered you the the Holy Grail to saving while crafting.  I don’t want any excuses, get out there and create something!

<3, Sharla

by Sharla

Daily Doable 7/22/14

July 22, 2014 in Daily Doable, Kids by Sharla

Image-1-3

Over the years, Matt has taught me a great moto. When it comes to raising kids, you can’t force good behavior, happiness, or high quality choice making. Actually, that is true for anyone, young or old. The way to inspire those around you (including you kids) is to teach them a good way and then let them choose. Yes, sometimes this includes hard consequences, but the reward for good consequences is the real teacher.

Just to be clear, I am in no way pushing Scouts. In truth, Matt and I have never really been fans, but when Davis turned 8 and entered the scouting world…well, he loved it. How can I deny a program that focuses on rearing great citizens, instills quality principles, and is so fun for most kids?! Ok, we can deal. Then, I was asked to be his Cub Scout Master. Yikes! Now I couldn’t pretend, I had to know my junk. I mean, doing crap that you hate for your kids is what being a parent is all about, right?

Well, today I went to Cub Scout camp with our pack. The verdict, awesome. Dirt, arrows, and silliness, every kid’s dream come true. But that’s not what I found great as a parent. What I loved was that those 20-something-year-old kids chose as their job to teach young kids about nature, earth, and team work. In a nutshell, if you can get your child involved with a program that teaches correct principles to live their lives, don’t pass it up. After they learn what the principles are, let them choose for themselves. The chips will fall, sometimes where you might not want them to, but the lesson is life long.
<3, Sharla

by Sharla

Daily Doable 7/8/14

July 8, 2014 in Daily Doable, Kids by Sharla

Image-1-2

How to get your kids to Unplug this Summer!

Remember the Daily Doable I did just one short month ago about spoiling your kids with doing what ever they felt like this summer?  Well, I lived up to that idea.  I spoiled them…..rotten….their drug of choice?  Electronics.  I created monsters, and it didn’t take lightning, but it did take electricity.  One day I realized that I saw my 9-year-old son for a grand total of 1 hour the whole day (I know that sounds kind of great) but he was playing the computer non stop (ok, he stopped to eat and use the bathroom).  But that’s not even the worst part.  It got to the point that any time I made the kids turn off their various electronic I had to deal with a grouchy, rude, down right angry mob!  Something had to be done.  

I have to give my husband the credit, he’s the one who spurred the change.  He woke up one morning and suggested that the kids have to earn electronic time by reading.  Hour for hour.  This got my mind going…what if we didn’t just have them read but incorporated a bunch of non-electronic options?  Thus, our effort to unplug began.  I sat the kids down and explained the plan.  They took it great (no they didn’t).  There was much weeping and waling and gnashing of teeth but I stuck to my guns.  Here is our plan.

Start with a Good Book

photo-25

For some kids, reading is not their idea of a good time, so it goes for Davis.  Unfortunately for those kids there is just way too much research on the crazy great benefits of reading for all ages.  So, that is where we started.  The kids had to start with one hour of reading before anything else.  When that hour is up they get one hour of electronic time.  

Let’s not torture them, though!  Head to the library or buy a book from Amazon Kids Books (you can get great books for under $5 if you buy them used).  Let them read what they like.  Your little guy wants to brush up on his Pokemon trivia, let him read a book on it.  When kids read what they are interested in they learn that reading can be fun and it helps them develop a love for it.

Practice makes Perfect!

photo-26

Another option for earning electronic time is to practice.  Olivia happens to play the violin, but getting her to practice is like pulling teeth.  All of them.  At once.  Slowly.  Maybe your daughter plays soccer, or your son plays lacrosse.  Even better!  Adding in that physical activity that playing electronics robs them of is a great option.  Again, one hour of practice equals one hour of electronics.

Play a Board Game!

photo-27

So, this is a little bit of a cheat because our BINGO game happens to be DVD BINGO (which which I got from Amazon Disney DVD Bingo), but it’s engaging and easy for little ones.  Dust off some of your old board games or splurge on a new one.  Another great place to get amazing educational games is from Lakeshore Toys.  

Do something Creative!

photo-29

I know this bucket looks like a mess (ok, it is a mess) but it’s a mess with creative potential!  Anytime I have to buy a craft something-or-other for the various things I do I put the left overs in this box.  It’s fun to get it out and let the kids go to town.  Encouraging creativity is a great way to help kids learn what they like, what they are good at, and even who they are.  You don’t need a lot of supplies, a box of crayons on an extra big sheet of paper is equally exciting. Again, a great way to stock up on unique craft supplies is at Amazon Arts/Crafts/Sewing.

Play Outdoors!

photo-28

I know this seems obvious, but my kids were so into their electronics I couldn’t even get them to go to the pool!  What is this world coming to?!  I think it’s fair to say that if you go swimming for a couple of hours, you get to play electronics for a couple of hours.

The reality in my house is that my kids love their electronics, and can you blame them?  Electronics are fun!  But, if you can stick to your own rules you can help them unplug and make it so that EVERYONE has a great summer!

<3, Sharla