“name” chocolates – personalized valentine’s day gifting (part 2).

My oldest two are now old enough that I feel like we can fulfill the necessary chocolate gifting that seems to be a Valentine’s Day requirement. I wanted to do something that felt special and personal. After all, isn’t that what the day is all about (and chocolate)!

I have hopes that the things handmade by me for them will be memories they can take with them. AND even on the days where I’m not at my best, they still know they are special to me partially because of these times and small gestures I did for them on my better days! In other words, may the good outweigh the bad in their beautiful minds. 🙂

For making the name chocolates, I have this silicone letter mold and I used dark and white chocolate ghirardelli melting wafers (the ones I used did not need tempering). Place the mold on a baking sheet (so that you can move it without the chocolate shifting in the mold). Melt the wafers over a double boiler and then with the help of a small spoon pour or drizzle the completely melted chocolate into the letters you prefer (or use a plastic squeeze bottle with a small tip/ opening for a cleaner approach). Next, use a toothpick to stir and even out the chocolate once it is in the molds. I then used my dough cutter to scrape over the letters to create a nice flat bottom. After you’ve evened out your letters, place the mold (still on the baking sheet) in the fridge or leave on the counter until completely cool or dry. When moving the mold, be sure to keep it as level as possible. Once completely dry, pop the letters out of the molds and put them in any sort of packaging you wish. I placed mine in a haphazardly sewn pocket that I made out of parchment paper (it just happened to be what I had on hand). The end! Enjoy!

Happy Heart Day!

P.S. – Speaking of chocolates. Check out all of this cuteness!

photo books – personalized valentine’s day gifting (part 1).

Every new year one of my resolutions is to get our family memories (photos, videos, menus from those special restaurants, tickets from our trip to the zoo, etc.) organized and every year I fall short or really long. :). BUT this year I’m using Valentine’s Day as a great excuse to start tackling the 30,000+ photos on my iPhone.

I took all the special photos for each kiddo from 2018 and made them into books. Even though I’m more of “a flip through a set of prints type” gal, I thought that books would be the best option for them and of course they make a great gift.

My goal is to do this every year. For it not to be so overwhelming next Valentine’s Day, I am saving (at the end of each month) all of those special photos of them/ for them to separate albums that I have created for each of them on my phone.

For creating and printing the books, this year I used the Shutterfly ap because I had already downloaded some of the photos there while making some projects for family members over Christmas. However, for the few photos I have printed in the past years I have done so with Artifact Uprising, Mpix, timeshel, and Chatbooks.

One of my favorites was the Chatbooks book below I did of my pregnant belly – what a special time. I love the quality of the photos (even though they are all Iphone) and the quality and matte-like finish of the cover.

(sorry for the detour)

Let’s hope the kids will be happy with some memories to hold onto- literally. I had so much fun looking back at this past year. Hopefully they will to. Now onto to tackling the remaining 29,800 photos! 😉

(They are also being gifted part 2 – see “name” chocolate post. Just in case they may not be as excited about the photos books as their future self might be.)

saturday morn. popovers & lemon curd.

(Meyer lemons)

Even Saturday mornings come early with a one year old in the house. However, I found myself laying awake anyway with anticipation of the possibilities of a slow Saturday that involves no extra curricular activities and no certain plans – perhaps just coffee with a friend this afternoon. The sun is beaming this morning (despite it being very cold) but increasing clouds and a wintry mix are supposed to take over the afternoon and night.

Speaking of Spring (my last post), I’ve been craving a lot of citrus and lemon these days. So with having plenty of time this morning, I thought I’d make one of my favorites – popovers. And in the early morning light, try my hand at making lemon curd to tag along with them for something different. The finished curd tasted rather good but I definitely need more tries to get this one right. Mine was far from spectacular when it came to thickness. It was more the consistency of a heavy cream vs a jelly. I’m blaming it on the little guy I had on my hip the whole time. 😉

Both of the popover and lemon curd recipes were from the Joy of Cooking cookbooks.

The Lemon Curd recipe was from the newer 75th Anniversary edition.

The Popover recipe was from the 1964 edition and is slightly different than the newer 75th edition’s Popover recipe (just in case you were wondering 🙂 ).

Joy of Cooking – Popover recipe

Ingredients:

1 cup milk

1 tablespoon melted butter

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

Preheat oven to 450°. Beat together all ingredients except the eggs just until smooth. Then add eggs one at a time. Do not overbeat.

The batter should be no heavier than whipping cream. Fill the buttered muffin cups about 3/4 full. Do not overfill. Bake at once. After 15 minutes, lower the heat to 350° and bake 15-20 minutes longer. Don’t open the oven when lowering the temp. You can test for doneness by removing one of the popovers – make sure the walls are firm. If they are not cooked long enough, the popovers will collapse. (Joy of Cooking – 1964 edition)

*Serve immediately with a variety of toppings. You can make them savory or sweet depending on your cravings. The kids enjoy just a little powdered sugar and maple syrup.

Happy Saturday!

a pretty spring mix. via an unlikely inspiration source.

As of late, while scrolling Facebook various Wal-Mart home decor ads keep popping up in my feed. In the past few weeks the ones that have caught my eye have been farmhouse, mid-century, and boho themed. I have been nicely surprised by some of the pretty furniture and decor that Wal-Mart is now carrying and/ or that you can order from other companies via the WM website. I feel like they have really upped their game. Maybe it’s been “upped” for awhile and I’m just now catching on. 🙂 These ads have caused me to detour to their website more than once in the past month. Because temps have been hovering in the low twenties here recently – spring is on my mind (and less than six weeks away)! Therefore, a pretty spring mix brought to you by Wal-Mart. Yes, Wal-Mart!

( hobnail canister // dotted pillowcase set // rubbed glass bowl )

( pink juice glasses // dining chair // jute rug )

( pom pom curtain // caged table light // amber canning jars )

( stoneware canister // string lights // round floral jute rug )

( kids sheet set // mod chairs // enamel bread box )

( drinking glasses // round mirror // succulents )

L O V E + T A C O S – a “spicy” valentine.

I was trying to come up with something simple yet useful to give to a few of my favorite gal pals for Valentine’s Day. As I was making some taco seasoning for our family one day last week, I thought why not “spice things up” for them as well. Smile. It’s something that can be put to good use and oh how I love anything that I can put in a small jar.

I’m sure most taco seasoning recipes are fairly similar but I’ve used the one in Danielle Walker’s Against All Grain – Meals Made Simple cookbook for the past couple of years now. I love the authentic taste of it so much more than the prepackaged seasonings I used to buy.

Danielle’s Taco Seasoning Recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sea salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon ground dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 to 3 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper

Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl and store in a jar for up to 6 months. Makes about 1/2 cup.

XOXO!

three simple yet sweet non-candy valentines – free printables.

. . . or maybe not so sweet (because no candy). hehehe.

Anyways, here they are. ENJOY!

#1: Nerdy Valentine

This one is fun for everyone! It was my son’s school valentine a few years ago, but it would be great for teens or coworkers as well!

After printing, the only thing left to do is place a small hole above the top of the pocket to place the pen cap in. I used the manual hole punch and hammer from this kit that I’ve had forever, but anything that has an extended reach will work. I also trimmed down the top, bottom and sides a bit more. So the final size is more like 4.75 by 6.5 inches.

#2: Coffee Cup Valentine

This one is for your coffee loving friend! It requires just a little more work than the first.

After printing, use an exacto knife and a straight edge (I used a small ruler) to cut slits along the sides of the coffee cup about 2.5 to 2.75 inches long. These will be used to slide the wrap through so that it hugs the sides of the cup.

The wrap is also attached in the coffee cup printable below. There are two wraps per 5 x 7 inch page. For the actual valentine, I used white 100lb card stock and for the wrap I used a thinner kraft card stock that I had gotten from the local craft store.

Once you have your slits cut, gently pull open and slide your wrap into them. Then flip your valentine over and fold the wrap so that the ends overlap in back. You may want to cut down the ends before securing the wrap with glue or tape. Turn the valentine back over and place the gift card within the wrap. You can secure it a little more by placing a piece of tape on the back of the card – especially if you will not be putting the valentine in an envelope.

#3: Ribbon Valentine

Again, so FUN for everyone! For the first example, I made a little holder for some Burt’s Bees lip balm. Get it – “BEE MINE”. 😉 In regards to the holder, you can find several different tutorials online for these or you can purchase them. I used this leather ribbon to make it and it worked really well. Instead of a large ring (like what I used here) you can use a swivel clasp with a ring for a more substantial design.

After printing, I placed two small holes within the small heart on the ribbon. Then, with some string, I secured the holder and lip balm in place.

OR by following the same steps above you could secure a honey dipper in place. And for someone extra special – place the “Bee Mine” valentine with the dipper in a clear bag with a small jar of honey. Love this idea!

coffeecup.pdf

nerdyvalentine.pdf

ribbon.pdf

(all in 5 x 7 inch format)

P.S. – And just one more for the littles (or littles at heart). Glitter slime for your Valen-slime! One of our favorites from last year.

Happy Heart Day!!!