{holiday} Happy Valentine’s Day

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*NOTE* This is NOT a sponsored post.  I bought this little gadget because I wanted it…it was not given to me to try or blog about.

 

Last night seemed to be the perfect time to try out my new little gadget, the babycakes cake pop maker.  The perfect time because, first, I wait until the last minute to do stuff, and second, because I needed to make treats for the teacher luncheon at school today.  Ok, so I mixed up a regular chocolate cake mix and poured it into a big squeeze bottle I have.  *I think the squeeze bottle made it ten times easier*  I heated up the babycakes and filled each little pocket almost to the top.  It works kinda like a waffle iron.  If you get it too full it just runs out of the sides.  Trust me, I did this a few times and it didn’t seem to alter the cake pop in any way.  After about four and a half minutes cook time, I opened the machine to find 12 cute little perfectly baked chocolate cake balls.  Which, by the way, really do taste like chocolate cake.  Honestly I was afraid they might taste like Easy Bake Oven food…you know?  I popped them out and set them to cool on the handy dandy little pop tray that’s included.

Traditionally, I guess cake pops stand up on a stick with the pop at the top.  Cute, yes, but I would have had to find some sort of display to hold them and I was running out of time and energy…I decided to go with sitting pops.  I’ve had a set of 25 red and white paper straws from Hey YoYo for a while now.  I figured they would work as little handles for the pops.  Since I was serving to a large crowd, the handles also work well so that everyone is not touching all the food, kwim? I cut the straws in half (good straws, by the way) and dipped the ends in some melted chocolate wafers before I speared the cake pop.

I dipped the whole pop in the melted chocolate wafers and sprinkled them some cute mini hearts.  I added flags to just a few.

The teachers loved them and I spared a few for our dessert tonight.  Happy Valentine’s Day!

{valentine’s, freebie} can you handle s’more Valentine printables?

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Remember these?  I’m guessing you probably do.  It’s been, by far, my most popular post.  Thanks again to Jeni for suggesting it.  I recently had a comment on that post from  Jen, suggesting a Valentine themed s’mores printable.  I thought it was a great idea.  I tweaked the design a little…and just happened to find white and pink marshmallow hearts at Walmart!  Perfect!  Pink toppers with little white and red hearts on them…too cute!  But I have a son.  The printable is pushing it for him, period.  A pink printable with pink marshmallow hearts would put him over the edge.  So I made one in blue too.  I used the pink marshmallows with the pink printable and white marshmallows with the blue printable.  The front says ‘I need s’more friends like you’ and on the back are the directions on how to make a quick microwave s’more treat. I added a little space to write a ‘to’ and ‘from’ also.

 

The download is a two page pdf file.  When you click the link, it will pop up on your screen.  You can either print it right there (print both pages or just the one you need) or save it.  I printed mine on white cardstock that I bought at Walmart. Cut out the toppers, score them down the middle and fold over a clear cello bag.  I used a 4×9 inch clear Wilton treat bag that I also found at Walmart (can you tell which store is closest to my house?).  Staple the folded topper over the folded cello bag.  You can grab the download here.

 

Enjoy!

p.s. I already sent them to Jeni and Jen…they got first dibs on the new printable for their awesome ideas!

p.p.s. I love when you guys leave comments on the post saying that you downloaded :)  It gives me an idea if they are really usable…and cute.

p.p.p.s Just a little reminder that these are for personal use only.  I design them so that I can share with you.  You may make them for others, but please don’t share the file (just send them over, they can download for free, too!) or sell it.
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Today's Creative Blog

{freebie} Lollipop Wraps for Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is one of my favorite holidays.  I can be all pink and red and sparkly and cutesy…and it’s totally acceptable!

You know I’ll all about cute, easy, and cheap.  Here’s a project that fits all three.  And it’s the cheapest kind of cheap…free!

Allow me to introduce…lollipop wraps, or lolly wraps for short.  Little lollipop tents that require no glue to stay together!  Easy for little hands and bigger hands, too :)

Just print, cut, score, and punch a hole.  A lollipop fits right in and it’s done!

You can grab the printable here

I even made a video to show how to assemble them…

Enjoy!  As always, I love to see pictures of the printables you make from my site.  You can upload your photos to our Facebook page!  (plus I have exclusive freebies on the FB page)

{etsy} cute little ABC book

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These little books were an idea that came to me a long time ago.  My kiddos were barely starting to trace letters; they’re 8 and 10 now.  Badge books were big then…business card little scrapbook pages that were slipped into plastic badge holders and tied together with ribbon.  I had made some for family and friends, one that was even in Scrapbooks, Etc. magazine {I’ll have to find a photo}.  One day someone, somewhere said something about them and it sparked an idea.  Those little plastic holders were almost like lamination…I bet those write-on/wipe-off crayons would work on them.  They do and so do wet erase markers.  And they can be attached to the binder rings with a little ribbon so they don’t get lost.  The little ABC book was born!  Since then, we wore a few of them out and we’ve shared them with friends.  I even had a friend comment on a Pin of these that her kids loved them.

I decided last week to offer them in the Etsy shop.  It’s a 7 page pdf file with all 26 letters in both upper and lower case.  I also included a cover page card, 2 blank cards, and 13 sight word cards to practice.  It’s easy to make…plastic badge holders and binder rings can both be found at Walmart in the office supplies or any office supply store…and it’s a great size to stick in your purse or the car to keep little ones busy.  We used ours a lot riding in the shopping cart at the grocery store and at baseball practice for big brother.  I used them in my preschool classroom, too. And if you wear it out or mess it up…just print another one!

These books make really cute gifts, too, for little friends.  If you’re interested in looking, you can find the book here in the shop.

{Learning} FREE Alphabet Card Printables

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As some of you may know, I am a ‘retired’ teacher.  I mean, before I had the kids, I taught school.  I’ve taught middle school math, third grade, fourth grade, pre-K, and even adult education. That covers just about everybody, right?  It’s hard to say who my favorite group is…although it can be much easier to deal with kids than adults {wink}.  I do always enjoy the itty bitty ones.  Learning is still fun for them and it’s so easy to make the learning fun.  It’s hard to make your 10 year old son’s writing-an-interesting-paragraph assignment a barrel of monkeys.  It’s a whole lot easier and way more fun to learn about letters by building them with crackers and then eating them!  I miss those fun lessons…which is way I’m really excited to have the opportunity to share some fun and educational activities for all ages on the Tip Junkie blog over the next month!  {I feel like I’m back in my dorky teacher groove!}

And what’s a fun lesson without a cute printable??  You can see 25 worthwhile activities to do with alphabet cards and even download your own set of cards over at Tip Junkie.  (they will probably do best printed on cardstock)

Have any other great ways to use alphabet cards?  Come join the discussion on our FB page!

Frozen Hot Chocolate

We are a Texas family living in Maryland.  Brrr.  Add to the fact that Maryland actually gets cold.  Really cold.  And snowy.  Real snow.  So far, the kids have had at least 6 snow days and several delayed days.  I’m getting used to the 5:30 am automated phone call from the school district…and running out of fun ideas to keep the kids in check.  So, I came up with frozen hot chocolate.  I’m sure it’s been done before.  This is our version.  I’m not out to reinvent the wheel, just pt my spin on it!

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I made hot chocolate in mugs using mix we had in the pantry.  {This was before we got our Keurig machine…would have totally used it!}  Once mixed, wait for the hot chocolate to cool completely.  When it’s cooled, stir again (the chocolate will settle).  Then, pour into a freezable container. I used a silicone brownie pop mold I found at the craft store in the baking section.  I filled the mold and put it in the freezer.

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After two hours or so, I brought the mold out and inserted sticks for holding.  I used lollipop/cookie sticks I picked up at the craft store, but popsicle sticks and even straws would work just as well.  Place the mold back in the freezer overnight. The hardest part of this fun treat is waiting for the hot chocolate to freeze!  When you are ready to eat the pops, dip just the bottom of the mold in a sink of hot water for just a second or two.  The hot chocolate should pop right out!

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Fun variations to try…

Use plastic popsicle makers, a silicone muffin pan, or an ice tray to make your pops

Use the hot chocolate ice cubes to cool down hot cocoa

Add crushed peppermint or mini marshmallows to the mix for a fun surprise

12 Days Blog Hop: Day 10

You know I love Mari!  She’s made the cutest little reindeer for today’s project!  Run over to her blog and check it out!

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12 Days Blog Hop: Day 7

It’s my turn again!  For those of you who don’t know, I used to teach elementary school.  And preschool.  And I have a couple of  rugrats of my own.  Which, I suppose, is why I love kid friendly projects.  I have a few educational and fun projects (under The Hybrid Kid name)  in my store, like this one (which is one of my all time favs).  I think these projects foster together time, fine motor skills, and a development of creativity.  Today’s project is a favorite.

Every year, we (the kids and I) make ornaments.  We keep them, display them, and gift them.  Our tree is full of handmade ornaments.  We even have a few that I and my hubby made from years ago!  And although it makes our tree a little bit hodge-podge, every single ornament on the tree belongs to a family member and has special meaning.  The decorating of the tree brings back lots of memories…’I made this one in 2nd grade when we lived in Texas’ and so on.

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For this project, you’ll need…

scissors (or a paper cutter, if you have one)

paper (either printed from our huge Grab Bag or scrapbook paper you’ve bought…preferably double-sided)

clear ball ornament

ribbon

First, let me say that I’m so happy to find PLASTIC ornaments this year.  In year’s past, we have used the glass ball ornaments.  Although they look the same and are still very pretty, they are glass.  So that meant being extra careful with sharp edges and little fingers and being extra careful with holding and hanging.  I am thrilled to find these…and at Michael’s…and on SALE this week!

Before, I called the girls in to begin, I picked a few digital papers from the Grab Bag and printed them as full 8.5″ X 11″ sheets on cardstock paper.  Then I turned them over and ran them through the printer again with a coordinating paper.  Basically, I made double-sided paper.  I trimmed the white edges off with the paper cutter. **VENT:  my blasted Mac and printer won’t print a full edge to edge page!  I think it’s a Mac thing, but it’s frustrating!**  Then I (or in this case, a good friend who came to help) cut the paper in strips.  The skinnier the strip the curlier it will seem.  These strips were probably between 1/4 and 1/2 an inch.

12days-ornament2Now take a pencil (or dowel or pen or whatever you can find) and roll the strips of paper around.

12days-ornament3When you pull the rolled strip off the pencil, you can either leave it curled on itself or pull it out in a spiral-y fashion.  Then tuck the curled paper into the clear plastic ball ornament.

12days-ornament4We actually set out the paper strips and some ribbon for the girls and just let them go.  They took all kinds of approaches.  Curling paper around the pencil, curling it without a pencil, using little bits of ribbon, you name it.  **Thanks C and A for helping us!**

12days-ornament5When they were finished, we put the little top back on the ornament and they tied a bit of ribbon to the top.  Then we added a little bit of skinny ribbon to use as a hanger.  I love that these were made by her, by herself.  And she likes that, too :)

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Because I used my ribbon and already had paper to print on, I spent less than 75 cents on each of these ornaments.  Not bad.  Did I mention that these fit perfectly in those take out boxes you can buy at the craft store?  Just wrap in tissue and pop them in the take out box…and of course use a tag from the Grab Bag…and it’s ready to go!

Some other ideas for these ornaments…

besides the paper twirls, add some ribbon, fake snow, glitter, or tiny jingle bells

monogram each one with a vinyl letter (using your Cricut) or letter stickers

these are perfect, gifts for aunts, grandmas, teachers, and friends

12 Days Blog Hop: Day 6

I can’t believe we’re halfway through the blog hop!  Hopefully, we are giving you lots of great ideas and, since we’re doing it a little early this year, lots of time to get these projects done!  Today we are back to Mari, who has made the cutest keepsakes.  I absolutely love Mari’s designs…always have.  And I’m especially fond of her because she gave me my first shot at designing!  Check out her Day 6 keepsake project

12days-header-day6Hop back here tomorrow for my next project…it’s kid friendly!

Cowboy Cookies and a Freebie!

Howdy, ya’ll!  Rodeo season is in full effect here in Texas.  We’re getting good use out of our hats and boots lately at everything from Go Texan Day to a first-grade Chilli Cook-off at school.  Today we’re making these Cowboy Cookies from Bakerella.  They are the perfect treat after a long day on the range…or school…whatever.  I followed Bakerella’s recipe, except I used regular M&Ms.  I mixed them up and threw them on the pan.  I made a whole batch to take to a meeting and even made a ready-to-bake jar for the hostess gift.  TIP: Use wax paper rolled into a funnel to load the ingredients into the jar.  Muuuuuch easier.  I used a bandana to cover the jar lid and tied it with some twine.  I used another bandana to line my basket to transport the cookies.

I made a label for jar and used a scalloped punch to cut it out.  I also made some recipe cards to take and share using Pamela Donnis and Krystal Hartley’s Wild Wild West digital scrapbooking kit, available at The Digi Chick.  My good friend, Jen, taught me a long time ago that’s a thoughtful gesture to share the recipe of the dish you bring.  It’s always appreciated.

I asked nicely and she’s letting me share the recipe card and jar label with you!  Here’s the pdf download.  Be a sweetie and check out Pamela’s blog, Keeping Life Creative, and show her some love for sharing with us!

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Yee-Haw!

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