Monday, November 24, 2008

My Favorite Sweet Potato Recipe

Since it's almost Thanksgiving, I thought I'd share my recipe for candied sweet potatoes. It's rich and yummy, and like all good things in life , probably has a million calories. But, who's counting?! The praline pecans on top are oh, so yummy and I always throw in some marshmallows for good measure. Delicious!

I found this recipe online years ago and I don't remember where, but it's yummy goodness, I promise!

4 cups mashed sweet potatoes
1/2 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
4 eggs, beaten
1/2 pint heavy cream
1/4 pound butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups chopped pecans
2 cups mini marshmallows, if desired

Butter one 2 quart casserole dish. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
In a mixing bowl, combine the sweet potatoes, sugar, vanilla extract, eggs and cream. Blend well, and spread evenly in casserole dish.
Prepare the topping by combining the butter, brown sugar, flour and pecans. Mix until crumbly, and sprinkle over sweet potato mixture.
Bake for 30 minutes in the preheated oven
If mini marshmallows are used, they can be mixed into the sweet potato mixture before baking, or can be added to the top when 3-5 minutes are left on the bake time.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Crayon Caddy

My sister asked me if I could make one of these, so here it is. Most of the crayon holders I've seen just hold crayons, but I thought it would be more useful if it held paper, too. So, I adapted the patterns for the crayon only holder and came up with this. Each one holds 12 crayons and a refillable pad of paper. They roll up and tie closed so they can be put in a backpack, purse or diaper bag. Cute way to take a craft on the go!
My next batch I'll have to fancy up a bit for my two fancy girls. They are each getting one in their stocking!

Aren't they fabulous?!

I've caught the green cleaning bug and now I've got a new cleaning obsession - the show "How Clean is your House?" The show is on BBC America and comes on a couple of times a day. If you haven't watched it before, I'll warn you now. You'll be blown away that people actually live in that filth. You will gag. You might even throw up a bit in your mouth. Even so, I love this show! First, there's those fabulous British accents. Second, the ladies that host the show (Kim and Agie) are a hoot. Thirdly, they have fantastic cleaning tips (did you know that sour milk will make brass shine?). But the best part of the show are the gloves! They never clean a house without wearing the most fabulous rubber gloves.

Since I decided that I had to have some and am way too cheap to buy them, I made my own. They turned out quite fabulous, if I do say so myself. Now, it's time to get cleaning!

Blue Bird

This is another one of our new wipe case designs, and I'm loving it! The little blue bird is so cheerful looking to me that I might just have to make myself one.

Countdown to Christmas

Here's a cute and easy way to count down the days until Christmas! You'll need the following:

~A small piece of lightweight metal (can be found at a home improvement store. Mine is approx. 5 x 7). Make sure it's a metal that magnets will stick to (not aluminum).
~Two pieces of printed scrapbook paper
~1 piece of solid color cardstock
~various ribbons
~magnets (you can purchase either the magnet "buttons" or a strip of magnet that you can cut to size)
~Modge Podge
~Felt tipped pen
~stickers or cardstock letters/numbers (can be found at scrapbook stores or craft stores)
~foam brush (to apply Modge Podge)
~hole punch

Here's how you do it:

1. Cut one of the printed sheets of printed scrapbook paper the same size as the piece of metal.
2. Place a thin layer of Modge Podge on the metal, place the cut piece of paper on top. Smooth out any wrinkles.
3. Cut the second piece of printed paper the same width as the piece of metal, and about 1/3rd of the length. Using Modge Podge, glue on to the bottom of the metal, smooth out any wrinkles.
4. After about 10 minutes, cover the front of the paper with a thin layer of Modge Podge (this will "seal" the paper and make it stronger and help keep the magnets from marking it).
5. Once dry, glue a piece of ribbon along the seam between the two pieces of paper.
6. Glue cardstock letters or place stickers along the bottom to read "days til Christmas. For my "Christmas" letters, I used the Cricut Plantin Schoolbook Cartridge.
7. Cut 12 shapes out of the solid color cardstock (I used circles, but you could use squares, tree shapes, ovals, triangles - whatever). I cut my circles on my Cricut machine using the Doodlecharms cartridge.
8. Glue a number onto each circle - 0-9. You'll need two number 1's and 2's. I used the Cricut Plantin Schoolbook cartridge for my numbers.
9. Outline/decorate the edge of each circle with a pen.
10. Punch a hole in the top of each circle and tie a small piece of ribbon on it.
12. Place a magnet on the back of each numbered circle.
11. If you have a hole punch that is strong enough to punch a hole in the metal you can do so then tie a length of ribbon through the holes to allow for it to be hung. Or, you could put magnets on the back and hang it on the fridge or display it on an easel.

Our own art gallery

There is no shortage of masterpieces that are created in our house and our old method of displaying them just wasn't cutting it. So, I created our own art gallery in the hallway. It was so easy to do and the girls love being able to change out their creations themselves. This is how you can create your own art gallery, too!
1. Pick out 3-4 different colors of paint (I used those small samples of wall paint that you can get at home improvement stores.

2. Paint solid color rectangles on the wall. Since creations can be made with the paper in portrait or landscape configuration, make sure you don't make them all the same direction. Make the rectangles larger than the size of paper that will be hanging in them so it will act like a painted "frame" around the picture once it's hanging. I did mine all by hand, but if the looseness of that will get your blood pressure going, use a level and a ruler to make the lines perfectly straight.

3. Paint swirls, stripes or polka dots on the rectangles so that they'll look fabulous even if there isn't a picture hanging on them. Use your imagination and have fun!

4. Head to the office supply store and pick up some binder clips or bulldog clips to hold the artwork. (I found my fancy clips at Staples). I put half of a Velcro dot on the clip and the other half on the wall. That way, the girls can pull the clips down easily to change out their artwork and then hang them back up again.