Category: Arts and Crafts

Transformers, Roll Out! (semi-homemade)

When it comes to baking, I tend to aim more towards “perfect” than “good.” I usually bake from scratch, especially for my boys (the big one and the small one). But, for my son’s birthday, with a one-month-old baby complicating the picture, it was time to reset my kitchen navigation to “good enough.”

And this is the result, not too shabby!!

Transformers, roll-out!
Transformers, roll-out!

This cake was made with boxed cake mix, and pre-canned icing. Everyone at the party commented on how tasty it was! (Score!)

The Autobot symbol was made with a stencil of sorts. I printed off the logo from the internet, cut it out, put it on the white icing and used a toothpick to outline it. Then, using my store-bought red cupcake icing with a star tip, I piped on the logo. Easy-peasy, and the birthday boy was ecstatic!

I bought $8 Transformer masks and party favors from Amazon and balloons from the grocery store (Spiderman for the bday boy, they don’t have Transformers…). No decorations, no coordinated food spread, no organized games. Just happy little boys playing and having cake. It was a roaring success!

Another goodnotperfect day. Making a special day for my first baby despite having a new baby was pretty perfect to me!

Later gators,

Emily sig

Homemade Hot Chocolate and Easy Jar Topper

Homemade hot chocolate mix - perfect for a last minute gift!

Need a last minute gift idea?  Need to get it together right now using items you already have at home?

Great!  Try this out…

Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix

Homemade hot chocolate mix - my friends LOVED it!

What you’ll need:

  • Ball jar,  2 cup sized with a lid  (that’s a pint for those of you who, like me, can never remember. you can buy here)
  • 1 cup pure cane sugar (bonus points if you have Fair Trade non-GMO)
  • 1/2 cup cocoa (bonus points if you have Fair Trade)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla powder (I get mine at Sprouts from the bulk spice area, read on if you don’t have it)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Dash of salt

1. Add the ingredients to the jar.  Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix |

2. Put lid on jar.

3. Shake.Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix |

4. Label with these instructions,  “Place 2 Tbsp in a mug.  Add 3/4 cup hot milk.  Stir and enjoy!”  (If you didn’t have vanilla powder for the mix, instruct them to also add 1/4 tsp vanilla extract.)

5. For cool points, make a cute topper for the jar.  For extra cool points, write out the recipe for your appreciative recipient.  For over-the-top, best-friend EVER points, make a batch of marshmallows to go with the hot chocolate.  (Just kidding.  This is what I did for Laura and Mary so, of course, I need everyone to agree it was fabulous.  I really just had to rid my house of the one-zillion marshmallows that were tempting me hourly.)

Homemade Marshmallows |

Easy Jar Topper

While of course this is optional, here’s how you can make your homemade gift even more awesome.

  • Get some seasonal fabric.
  • Place your lid on top.
  • Measure out a square of fabric that holds approximately 2 lids side-by-side.
  • Cut out square with pinking shears.
  • Fold the square into a triangle and then into a smaller triangle.  Cut the tips off the outer points.

How to make a jar topper for gifting with Ball jars |

  • Place your octagon of fabric on top of the jar.

ready to tie jar

  • Secure with a rubber band.  Tie with ribbon if desired!

Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix |


Voila!  Holiday gift-giving complete!

Emily sig





What last minute gift ideas have you run across this season?  We’d love to hear from you!

Arts and Crafts Time!

Hello, campers!  Time for arts and crafts!

One of the things I love about having a child in the house is the excuse to do things like have arts and crafts time.  Which, by the way, I had before little man came along, but now I can have arts and crafts time without shame.

Last week, I got sick and tired of the wall decor in the nursery.  Two of the wall hangings had been bought quickly and without much consideration because, 2 weeks after having a baby, we put our house on the market.  We all know how important it is to stage the house.  This led to having two pictures that looked  something like this:

nursery before

Those are not the actual pictures, but they are closely related.  Sorry, I did take photos of the “art” but they have disappeared.  I think iPhoto rebelled against their lameness and deleted them for me.    They were printed on 10 x 10 canvas in that “no frame needed” manner.  In an effort to support “Reduce Reuse Recycle,” I decided we could reuse the canvas and make something NOT lame for my son’s room.

The boy loves trains.  We hear “choo choo” for various reasons all day long.  Or should I say “all the live long day”?  I’ve been working on the railroad… Naturally, we needed train pictures!

For arts and crafts time, we painted over the generic Babies ‘R Us pictures.  I almost let my toddler help.  Almost.  Acrylic paint is washable.  Then I decided he could continue to be restricted to crayons and his own project.  (I’m not sure that acrylic paint is meant to be ingested.)   I bought a third canvas to help round out the project.  After consulting the experts (our collection of illustrated train board books), I then sketched out the train cars, painted them in, and voila!

Choo Choo!
Choo Choo!

They hang right above the crib so that post-nap, he points out that there is, in fact, a “choo choo” in the room.    Here are the close ups.




It’s not perfect, but we had fun creating our own art.  :)  I hope this helps inspire you to create something fun and unique!   Check back Monday for a follow up of my dinner plans and a couple of recipes!


Emily sig

What fun projects have you done lately for arts and crafts!  We’d love to hear from you!