Clothes Pin Caterpillars

My dear friend Jenna recently made some clothespin caterpillars with her kids. Check out her crafty-ness!

Salamon's Salamanders ©

The kids and I went to the dollar store last weekend because I was in the mood to craft. We picked up some puff balls, paper plate animals (which we will make soon) and some sun catchers to paint. This weekend was my step mom’s birthday so the kids and I made her caterpillars to put on her plants.

You will need:

A glue gun
Pipe cleaners
Sequins
Puff balls
Scissors
Clothes Pins
Sharpie

Our supplies Our supplies

I had the kids each make two and pick their puffs. Five fits well. I lined them up in front of the clothes pin and then I put a single layer of glue down.

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Puff balls in place. Waiting for the kids to pick out the eyes and antennas Puff balls in place. Waiting for the kids to pick out the eyes and antennas

Then the kids picked out their eyes and antennas.

all lined up! all lined up!

Finished product! This is fairly simple. The kids were a bit disappointed that…

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Chocolate Caramel Pie

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I have a feeling that this would turn out better in a different kind of pie plate, but oh my goodness, it is so delicious! I got the recipe from here and they had simple directions, my favorite kind!
What you need is:
•bag of Oreos (36 cookies)
•1 cup butter
•2/3 cup brown sugar
•1 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
•12 oz bag of dark chocolate morsels (I used Hershey’s)

The crust is made by mashing up the Oreos and mixing the smashed cookies with 8 tbsp of butter.
We smashed them with a wooden spoon before putting them in the Magic Bullet

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Chiara loved smashing the cookies!
Once your mashed up cookies are well combined with the butter, press the mixture into your pie plate, original blogger used a 2″ torte dish and hers was much prettier than mine! My crust was also a little mushy because a certain little girl kept stealing my Oreos! Once your crust is pressed, put it in your freezer for 10 minutes so it can set.

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Ready for the filling!
For your caramel filling you combine the brown sugar and 8 tbsp of butter over medium heat, whisking until it’s well combined and boiling. Continue whisking your boiling mixture for about a minute then remove from heat. Whisk in 1/4 cup of heavy whipping cream and ensure the mixture is smooth.
Let your caramel cool about 15 minutes before pouring into your crust. Put it back in the freezer for 30-45 minutes to let it set, but not freeze completely.

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Caramel ready to set.
Last step is to make your chocolate topping. Bring your remaining 1 cup of heavy whipping cream to a simmer then pour over your chocolate morsels. Let them sit for a few minutes and then go to town whisking until it is a smooth mixture. Pour over top of your caramel and return to freezer to set yet again.
As I made my pie the night before, I placed mine in the refrigerator overnight and it was perfect the next day.
When your ready to eat, sprinkle some sea salt over the pie for a nice little kick.

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As I said, my crust was a little mushy, so the pie didn’t slice that well, but as previously stated, super delicious!
Happy dining all!

Snowflakes with the Family

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Simple, decorative and a great family activity. What else do I need to say? With as much time as I spend at work, I love doing things with my kids when I’m off. A few days ago, we introduced the kids to the art of making snowflakes!
Our printer broke a few months ago, after purchasing new ink cartridges and paper, of course, so I have a whole ream of white paper. The kids and I made a bunch of snowflakes by folding the paper in quarters. Tony then put his two cents in, after referencing the boy scout handbook, and started diamond folding the paper.
There are a ton of stencils for different snowflakes available through Pinterest, of course I found these after we made most of ours.

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Chiara was having fun just putting straight cuts into her folded paper.

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Arthur was very intent on his desgins, using my scrapbooking scissors.
As long as they’re having fun, that’s really all that matters!
Then, after you’ve made as many as you like, use some scotch tape, you should have it around anyway from all that wrapping, to stick them in your windows!
Make like Elsa, and make your own snowflakes!

Best Pumpkin Bread Ever

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So I don’t really remember where I got this recipe, but I found it about a year ago and it is amazing! Last year we carved a lot of pumpkins! Four for us and an additional three for a friend. We’ve really been getting into it the last few years, so she had asked us to carve a few for her Halloween party.

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See? An awesome pumpkin carving!
So I had a lot of pumpkin guts, and having my Pinterest addiction, I couldn’t just throw them away! I pureed the guts, without the seeds, to make my own pumpkin, even better than in a can! Then I found the following recipe:
•3 1/2 cups flour
•3 cups sugar
•2 tsp baking soda
•1/2 tsp salt
•1 tsp cinnamon
•1 tsp nutmeg
•2 cups pumpkin puree
•4 eggs, well beaten
•1 cup vegetable oil
•2/3 cup water
•2 tsp vanilla extract
You start by combining all of your dry ingredients and mixing them together.

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Chiara loves helping me make pumpkin bread. She gets really upset if I don’t let her help! After your dry ingredients are well combined, add the eggs, pumpkin puree, oil, water and vanilla. Make sure you get all of the flour from the edges of the bowl until it looks like this:

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This is usually where I have to watch it closely, Chiara tends to keep sampling it!
I have 4 mini loaf pans for making bread, the full batch usually makes 8 mini loaves. Be sure you don’t over fill the pans, or you will have a mess on your hands.

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Then you place them in your 350° oven for 45 minutes. After the baking, I usually dump them onto the counter to cool before sealing them in a Ziploc baggie. If you seal them while they’re still a little warm, they maintain that fresh flavor for up to two weeks. They stay good a little longer, but aren’t as squishy and yummy!
Happy baking all!

Fandom – itus

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So my world has fallen back into a semblance of normalcy. The final chapter of the phenomenal Mortal Instruments series was released. I have had sufficient time to read, re – read my favorite bits and skim back through the previous books and be happy again.
I’m trying to decide if I’ve become a whore of a fangirl. It’s sounds like a joke, but seriously! Harry Potter kicked it all off, making me crazy for the books, until all of them were out, then I had to wait for the movies, but that was ok because I knew how they ended! Twilight came along and sucked me in, those books were all out already, so it was just the wait on the movies. Onto the Hunger Games, the trilogy that took me less than ten days to read, but those movies are still coming, so I still take side trips to Panem. Divergent consumed me, that trilogy taking only 5 days to read, now it’s the wait on the movies there as well! Mortal Instruments I thought would be a diversion while waiting for my other books to release, but the vortex got me again! Soon followed The Infernal Devices. Percy Jackson was a quick read while waiting for the final Mortal Instruments, but still good.
Now I’m questioning my fandom loyalties. My tattoos show some of my loyalties, oddly the only one of the above mentioned series represented is Twilight (it’s a vague reference so don’t judge!). The above image is one I’m considering, but then I think of all the amazing images associated with the previously mentioned series! A trident or pine tree for Percy Jackson. Any one of the runes from The Mortal Instruments. Divergent had some amazing symbols for the factions. Hunger Games Mockingjay, need I say more?!
Does anyone else have these issues? I’ve only run into in the last year for the most part. Is it just a rash of good books coming out? Am I more susceptible to the imagery the authors are weaving in my mind? Truthfully I don’t care that I love so many series, because hello, books are good!

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Books themselves are never a problem. I mean, check the Kindle screen! My problem is seriously the tattoo thing. I will soon be the ultimate nerd, but non fans will see the tats and be afraid. Who else thinks this will be funny.
I don’t go off on tangents very often in my blog, this actually was meant to be a review, but I distracted myself. Maybe next time…..

Migraines

I feel I need to offer an explanation when I miss a post. That’s kind of weird for me! I’ve had a nasty headache since last night. Normally I just ignore headaches and they go away. Occasionally I take excedrin, but this one is tough. I’ve taken 4 rounds of meds since the onset and…… nothing!
I’ve also decided to take another break from blogging to try something. I’ve wanted to be a writer almost as long as I can remember. I’ve had story lines and characters dancing in my head and they want to be on paper (or on a computer). I’ve dedicated myself to my blog since March, and I started thinking, if I can focus that much on a blog, I should be able to give the same to my characters.
So I will be taking an undetermined time off to focus instead on writing my book. I’m not expecting it to be Twilight or anything written by the wonderful Nora Roberts, but I think I have a good story plotted. Who knows? Maybe I’ll have something else for you guys to read soon…..

Pity Party

I have a few things on tap for activities I’ve already accomplished. However I’m engaged in a pity party tonight so I can’t quite work up my normal enthusiasm tonight.
Have you seen the commercial of the balding father and son eating pudding? The father is explaining how work and life are so stressful and he needs the pudding. That’s how I feel right now, only I have no pudding.
Life isn’t exactly where I wanted to be as I’m approaching 30, but I’m pretty happy with myself. I may not have the position I want at work, but I have a job that pays the bills and experience that gets a little more varied every day. The real highlight of my life right now is my personal life.
I have a husband who is the love of my life, and I was lucky enough to meet him early in life. I’ve known him since I was 13 and I’ve been with him since I was 18 years old. We have 2 amazing children who just amaze me a little more each day, even when they frustrate me.
Today is one of those days that I am so thankful for my family. I was denied the opportunity to even interview for a position that I have been working for for the last 10 years. It sounds whiny, but I have never interviewed for a position that I didn’t get. Now I’m being denied the opportunity to interview because of the way something was phrased.
I feel like I’ve almost reached the top of the rope and someone just doused it with oil, and down I slide.
Sorry about the downer, but I needed to voice some frustrations, and the internet is such an easy listener!