local food blog

Children

Cupcake pops!!!

Look what I made today!!!

This is from the amazing bakerella website, http://www.bakerella.com, this girl has serious talent! I gave it a go and they turned out pretty good, 4 hours of long hard work, but well worth it for the smile on the beans face!! I copied and pasted the how to for you that I borrowed from the site, give it a try, its fun and they are sooo adorable!

1 13X9 baked cake (from a box cake mix or from scratch … any flavor)
1 can cream cheese frosting (or about 2 cups equivalent from scratch)
1 flower shaped cookie cutter (1.25″ wide X .75″ tall)
1 package chocolate bark
1 package pink candy melts or white chocolate bark
bowls for dipping
wax paper
aluminum foil
lollipop sticks
sprinkles, m&ms or something similar for top of cupcake
small plastic treat bags and ribbon to package the Cupcake Pops
candy cups and truffle boxes to individually package the Cupcake Bites
styrofoam block

  1. Bake a cake from a mix or from scratch and cool completely. 

  2. Crumble cake into a fine consistency into a large bowl.TIP: If the texture is too coarse, you can run it through a food processor.
  3. Add can of cream cheese frosting or homemade frosting and blend together using the back of a large spoon. Blend thoroughly.
  4. Roll mixture into 1.25″ – 1.5″ size balls and lay on wax paper covered cookie sheet. You may want to periodically rinse and dry your hands off in between.
  5. Cover with aluminum foil or plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator for several hours.TIP: You can speed this up by placing in the freezer for about 15 minutes.
  6. Remove. Begin to shape into cupcakes using a small flower-shaped cookie cutter. (see below) Take the chilled ball and roll it into more of an oval and then slide into cookie cutter. Push it into cutter until about half fills the cutter and the rest sticks out of the top in the shape of a mound. Then push the shaped cupcake carefully out of the cookie cutter from the bottom. Set right side up on a wax paper covered cookie sheet. Continue with remaining balls.

  7. Once shaped, cover and return to freezer. (5-10 minutes)TIP: You can leave them covered in the refrigerator overnight if you want to do the dipping on the following day.
  8. While cupcake shapes are chilling, begin to heat up your chocolate bark.
  9. Brown chocolate bark for the bottoms. Pink or white chocolate for the tops.
  10. Follow the instructions on the package for melting. Most recommend heating for 30 second intervals at a time and stirring in between. You can also do the double boiler method.
  11. When you are ready to dip, remove from freezer and set up another wax paper covered cookie sheet.
  12. Take the cupcake shaped mixture and dip bottoms into the melted chocolate – just to the point where the mounded shape starts. Remove from chocolate, turn upside down and wiggle so that the excess starts to slide down slightly. Then lay on the wax paper upside down. If you want them to be lollipops, then go ahead and insert the lollipop sticks while the chocolate is still wet. Continue with rest of the cupcakes. You can also leave some without the sticks. They’re just as cute as Cupcake Bites.TIP: Dip end of your lollipop stick in the melted chocolate before inserting into chocolate bottoms. Not sure if this helps a lot, but it couldn’t hurt.

    DON’T – get water in the chocolate. Make sure your hands are completely dry. Water will cause the chocolate to separate and mess up all your hard work.

  13. Dry completely. (15-20 minutes)
  14. Once dry, dip the tops of the cupcakes in the pink or white chocolate. You may need to move it around a little to cover all the exposed areas.

    TIP: Let the pink chocolate sit for a few minutes after heating to thicken. This will help it from dripping down the sides of the cupcake.

  15. Remove from the pink/white chocolate and turn right side up. You may need to hold and rotate it if there is any excess so that it doesn’t drip down too far.TIP: You can use a toothpick to help cover any areas the melted chocolate didn’t cover.
  16. For the Cupcake Bites – just turn right side up and rest on the wax paper. Then go ahead and put a m&m on the top and add sprinkles while wet.
  17. For the lollipops, Continue holding and place an m&m on the top and add sprinkles. Let them dry in a styrofoam block that you have already poked holes into.
  18. When completely dry, cover the lollipops with small plastic treat bags and tie with a ribbon.
  19. For the Cupcake Bites, place in a candy cup and package in small candy truffle boxes to present individually.
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Frugal Outdoor Fun with the Kids | PerkStreet Financial Blog

Check out this great article I discovered today, they borrowed a photo of the bean for the article, and my flickr page alerted me to it!!! Glad they did, the article is fun and full of great inexpensive ways to get the kids out and moving this summer!!!

Frugal Outdoor Fun with the Kids

Posted by Lynnae McCoy on June 21, 2010 in Personal Finance

This guest post is brought to you by Lynnae McCoy of Beingfrugal.net. She loves to blog, especially about helping other get out of debt.

bean on a railing
Creative Commons License photo credit: goat_girl_photos

School is out for the summer and kids everywhere are rejoicing. But across the nation parents are scrambling to come up with activities to keep the kids busy, before free play turns into sibling bickering. If you’re looking for frugal summer activities to keep the kids active and out of trouble, these ideas should help you out.

Letterboxing

Letterboxing has been around for years and was a precursor to geocaching. But unlike geocaching, you don’t need expensive GPS equipment to participate in letterboxing. All you need is a rubber stamp to represent your family, an inkpad, a sketchbook, a pen, and an inexpensive compass.

Once you have your supplies, go to www.letterboxing.org to find letterboxes in your area. Follow the clues, find the box, and stamp your journal. If you like, take a picture of your family at the clue site and write an entry about your hike to find the clue. Your letterboxing journal will become a lasting reminder of your summer treasure hunts!

Disc Golf

Grab your frisbee, find a course, and take the kids out for a round of disc golf! The rules are much the same as regular golf, but instead of using a golf club and golf balls, you throw a frisbee at targets.

Most courses are free, so the only expense to play is the cost of your frisbees and the gas to get to the course. An added bonus to this activity is that many courses are in parks and wooded areas, so pack a picnic lunch and enjoy the scenery while you’re out.

An Old Fashioned Water Balloon Fight

Water balloon fights are great, because for less than five dollars you can occupy your kids for an entire afternoon. Buy a bag (or two or three) of water balloons, and let the kids fill the balloons themselves. If they like, they can fashion forts out of blankets, outdoor furniture, and play structures, so they have a place to hide their ammunition.

The kids will enjoy the water balloon war on a hot afternoon. It’s even more fun when parents play along, as most kids think there’s nothing funnier than hitting mom or dad with a water balloon. After all the water balloons have been launched and broken, put the kids to work cleaning up the yard. From start to finish, this activity can take hours.

Camping

Whether you need to plan a frugal vacation, or you just want the kids to have a fun night under the stars, camping is a summer activity most kids enjoy. If you have a free weekend, pack up your camping equipment and head to your favorite campground.

But even if camping isn’t your thing, the kids can enjoy the thrill of sleeping under the stars in your own backyard. No tent? No problem! Have the kids make a tent out of blankets and a tree. Get creative and roast marshmallows over the barbecue and tell stories by the light of a flashlight. Just make sure to leave the back door unlocked, in case your little campers get scared in the middle of the night.

Obstacle Course

If you’re worried that the kids aren’t getting enough exercise this summer, make it fun! Grab some ordinary objects from the yard and make an obstacle course. Have the kids run around chairs, crawl under tables and run through the sprinkler. Make the course as simple or as complicated as your kids’ ages allow.

When your course is put together and the kids understand the rules, time them with a stopwatch. Have them run the course a few times, trying to beat their best time. This will keep them occupied for a long while, while wearing them out, too. You’ll appreciate it at bedtime!

With a little creativity, it’s not difficult to find frugal ways to keep kids busy over the summer


We have life

baby pumpkins!, originally uploaded by goat_girl_photos.

These darling baby pumpkins belong to my daughter, whom was sure that they would never grow. After a failed attempt to get sunflowers to grow in our last house, she was a little hesitant to try again. But here they are, beautiful, green and ready for the yard!!!!


Teen Werewolf Gangs Running Wild At Texas High School | The Frisky

Are these the things I have to look forward to in years to come? Oh man …life seemed so much simpler when I was a teenager!

Teen Werewolf Gangs Running Wild At Texas High School | The Frisky.


Another great Etsy find

How adorable are these?!! I have to order these for my little monkey, either that or I have to spend a little less time on www.etsy.com, shopping for all the great handmade children’s items. I tell myself its research, but really it is an addition; speaking of addictions….I hear that kettle boiling!!!!

Space Monkey and Alien Baby Shoes Booties Slippers

Space Monkey booties for your little girl or boy:) Avail in new sizes:) Fun space monkey with aliens in space ship bananas everywhere, too cute! Inside lined with red soft cotton. A great pair of shoes for your fun day at home, playtime or taken a nap. All items come from a smoke-free home. $ 13.00 usd
Sizes:
Newborn: 1-2"
0-6 month: 2 1/2-4"
6-12 month: 4 1/2-6"
12-18 month: 6 1/2-8"
18-24 month: 8 1/2-10"

Space Monkey and Alien Baby Shoes Booties Slippers by ventichai


5Qs – Visiting a Burmese Refugee Camp | Monday Mag

This article is an interview that my aunt had with Monday Magazine that came out today. Diane is the reason I am going to be chained to my kitchen for the next day, baking for her tea to raise money for the people of Burma. Its a great article and a great cause!

A well in the Mae La refugee camp on the Thai-Burma border

A well in the Mae La refugee camp on the Thai-Burma border

Credit: DIANE PENNOCK

5Qs – Visiting a Burmese Refugee Camp

Posted By: Otiena Ellwand

06/02/2010 8:00 AM

Diane Pennock helps the people of Burma

Victoria resident Diane Pennock knew little about the country of Burma (officially known as Myanmar) when she first decided to accompany a friend there in 2009, but meeting the Burmese people, who are some of the poorest in the world and have been dealt brutal cards (nearly 50 years under a military regime and a deadly cyclone that hit in 2008), changed her life. In a month’s time she visited 10 orphanages, a leper colony and a remote medical clinic, and knew she had to share her experience upon her arrival home. Pennock also knew that she would be back soon. Last January she embarked on her second trip—this time to the Thai-Burma border, where there are millions of refugees living in squalor. She volunteered with a few Canadian charitable organizations that work with Burmese orphans, met children who’d been bought and sold into trafficking and were now being protected in safe houses. She also met some of the Karen people, a minority group who do not consider themselves to be either Thai or Burmese and have been struggling to keep their identity for over 60 years. “The SDPC [Social Development and Peace Council, a.k.a. the Burmese military] routinely burns down villages and crops, beats and kills the men, forces the boys into the army, beats, rapes and kills the women and girls,” says Pennock. “When I was asked to speak, I talked about my family and my home, and how I have taken for granted the peace and security I have known all my life.”

Monday Magazine: Can you explain what you think the main issue is here?

Diane Pennock: How little is known about Burma, its political climate, the human rights violations and the plight of the people. I had heard of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel Peace Prize winner, but didn’t know she is Burmese and has been under house arrest for most of the last 20 years. And some people are aware of the difficulty that relief organizations had in getting into Burma after Cyclone Nargis. But for the most part, Burma is rarely in the news, the general public isn’t aware of what goes on there and, as a result, it isn’t high on the priority list for charitable donations.

MM: When you got to the refugee camp, what do you first remember about it?

DP: I was overwhelmed by the size of the Mae La refugee camp: 40,000 people living in close proximity, basic shelter, no running water, no electricity and very basic food rations. This is one of only 10 refugee camps on the border that are recognized by the Thai government. They have been in existence for 25 years or more; some of the children were born there and know no other life. There are also lots of informal camps that are built by the Burmese who have fled their country because of poverty and human rights violations. When the Thai army discovers these makeshift camps, they are burned down.

MM: What did you do at the refugee camp?

DP: While at Mae La I visited two dormitories for “unaccompanied children.” This includes orphans and other children who have arrived on the border without adult guardians. I met the young people who live in the dorms and gave a talk to encourage them to keep studying. They have so little access to the outside world, and although hungry for knowledge, they have no context for how it will help them. A sense of hopelessness permeates the camps and results in a high rate of suicide.

MM: What do you think is the most important thing for people to know about your experience?

DP: People sometimes ask me why I have become involved in the Burma issue, and there is no simple answer to that—except that we really do live in a global village, and a little-known country with an estimated 55 million people is being subjected to unimaginable atrocities and for the most part, the public knows nothing about it. If I had been told a couple of years ago that I would be doing this, I wouldn’t have believed it. Burma wasn’t even on my radar! And yet here I am.

MM: What’s next for you?

DP: Good question! I have to decide whether I am going back to Mae Sot to do volunteer work or to just continue the work from here. It is an interesting time for Burma, as the first elections held in 20 years are coming up in October. The Burmese have been patiently waiting for this election for many years, but most observers predict that nothing will change. It’s hard to say what will happen when the people realize that. M

There will be a fundraiser tea from 2-4:30 p.m. Sunday at St. Matthias Church Hall. Tickets are $15 at Ten Thousand Villages and Full Circle Studio Arts. All funds raised go directly to the Room To Grow Foundation in Mae Sot (roomtogrowfoundation.org). For more on volunteering at the refugee camps, contact Diane at burmaorphanfundraiser@yahoo.ca.


Alternate Cone-niverse

I needed a laugh this morning and this did it, found at http://www.abluestar.com a site that hosts random images from the web, the author of this is unknown. The title that I own LOL!!!!