Tag Archives: present

Salt Dough Hand Prints

28 Jun

Inspired by these salt dough footprint keepsakes from The Imagination Tree, we made these salt dough handprints as one of Hubby’s Father’s Day presents:

We followed The Imagination Tree’s tutorial, so I won’t re-post it here, but will just say that it is oh-so-fun for the kids to mix and knead the dough and make the prints.

You can paint yours, but Jane and Sam were so delighted with the unpainted versions, that we still haven’t gotten around to it!

Read here for how we packaged them and to see the Truffle Brownie S’More Pops we made for Hubby on Father’s Day.

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The Outlaw Mom’s Truffle Brownie S’More Pops

24 Jun

For Father’s Day this year, I wanted to come up with a dessert that incorporated a few of Hubby’s favorite things:  chocolate, marshmallows and camping.

After rolling these elements around in my head, I decided to roll them together for my latest cake pop creation and voila! . . . the Truffle Brownie S’More Pop was born:

For variety, I also made my Choco Marshmallow Brownie Pops since – as I mentioned – Hubby loves chocolate.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 batch brownies (try using truffle brownies for a richly decadent pop)
  • 1/2 cup buttercream frosting to start – add more if necessary (try my favorite buttercream frosting recipe)
  • candy melts
  • lollipop sticks (or coffee stir stix in a pinch!)
  • 3 cups mini marshmallows
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • graham crackers (plain or cinnamon, depending on your preference)

Step 1

Follow my cake pop tutorial here to form your cake balls and attach them to a lollipop stick, substituting the cake for brownies.  Remember to use my tip here for working with the candy melts.

Step 2

While your pops are chilling in the refrigerator, melt the butter over low heat.  Then stir in the marshmallows, making sure to stir frequently, until completely melted.

Step 3

Gently hand crush your graham crackers (or place them in a plastic baggie and smash lightly with a pestle).  Avoid over crushing the pieces until they turn to cracker sand.  For the Choco Marshmallow Brownie Pops, shave your favorite chocolate instead.  Tip:  Use refrigerated chocolate and move quickly.  Refrigerate the shavings before topping your pops if necessary.

Step 4

Coat your refrigerated pops with a thin layer of the melted marshmallow mixture.  If your layer is too thick, the marshmallow will slide down the pop (see photo below).  Once the marshmallow dries, you can attempt to either twist the marshmallow “goo” around the stick to keep it in place or pinch it off completely.

{You can see here where the marshmallow has dripped down the stick}

Step 5

Roll your marshmallow-coated pop in the crushed graham crackers (or chocolate).  Re-refrigerate before displaying and serving.

For a finishing touch, I gave these cute little pops collars using the free “Tie-riffic” printables from Shindig Parties TO GO by simply punching a hole in the tops of the ties and sliding them up the sticks.  The stickiness of the marshmallow keeps the collars in place.

We also made this fun banner and incorporated smaller versions of the printed Shindig Parties TO GO ties as decorative tags for Hubby’s presents:

{Note our favorite wrapping paper:  kraft paper!}

Happy baking!

CRAVE IT. COVET. LOVE IT. This Week: Love All Things Owl

2 Jun

This week (and, well, every day lately) I’m loving all things owl, like this felt beauty from Lova Revolutionary:

And these phone cases are too cute, I just have to *hoot* about them:

Check out Lova Revolutionary’s Etsy shop here.

I’m so crazy about my latest feathered friend that I bought this ceramic owl vase/umbrella stand from Therapy:

and the Brooke and Hayley bedding from Pottery Barn Kids for Jane’s newly remodeled room.

Are you you as owl obsessed as I am?  Visit these links for a look at an awesome owl fondant cake and amazingly decorated “night owl” party, sweet looking sugar cookies, a hootlicious necklace and ring, a precious pink baby beanie and the best:  real owl love.

A Twilight Anniversary

19 May

After receiving an Edward and Bella calendar for Valentine’s Day (which prompted me to buy my own gift), I thought that the Twilight gifting was over . . . but, here is what happened on the morning of our anniversary:

Me:  (sleeping soundly)

Hubby & Jane:  (trying to muffle their activities downstairs)

Hubby:  Happy Anniversary!  (brings hot tea, a small gift-wrapped present and Jane to me in bed)

Me:  Happy Anniversary (ooh, what’s that pretty little package?!)

Jane:  (before I can get it unwrapped, flings it across the room, then shouts in random TV character voice) You’ll never find that again!  Ha ha ha HA.

Me:  Where is it?!  Where did you throw my present?!

Jane:  (brings me the half-unwrapped gift)

Me:  (What could it be, what could it be?!  I frantically open the present)  A palm-sized book on Edward Cullen?

Hubby:  That’s the last of the Twilight presents, I promise.

Jane:  Happy Grocery!

Me:  You mean “anniversary.”

Jane:  Happy Grocery!

Hubby:  Hey, yeah, what do we need at the store?  Do you want to go grocery shopping this morning?

Me:  (closing my eyes and trying to get back to sleep while visions of grocery lists and teenage vampires dance in my head)

Confetti Cake Pops and Easy Ribbon Box

6 May

Since my first shot at the cake pop, I’ve been busy trying to perfect my technique.  I took my own advice on this attempt and chose white candy melts to make the spring confetti really pop.

The lifesaver this time around:  disposable candy melt bags.  I’m never making cake pops again without this handy dandy device!  You can melt and decorate so easily and with virtually no mess.  The double-boiler method would still probably give you the best results because it keeps the candy melts at an even temperature for a prolonged period of time, but my life is all about shortcuts these days.

For a fun spring birthday theme, I tried three different pastel confetti designs:

(1) all over confetti

(2) confetti dots

and (3) an ice cream look (covering only the top of the pop)

These were a birthday gift for a friend, so I needed a portable presentation.  A beribboned styrofoam block (using colored tacks) worked out perfectly.  A few tied ribbons on the cake pop sticks and a rectangular piece of cardstock used as a gift tag completed the present.

Candy-Filled Easter Eggs

6 May

All the cracking, bashing and crunching made these by far and away the most exciting springtime activity for the kids!  They make a gorgeous hostess gift, too, and you can make them for any occasion.

Materials:

  • eggs (white eggs will take color better than brown, but you can do a few uncolored, brown eggs for variety – I even did some white uncolored eggs)
  • vinegar
  • hot water
  • McCormick food and egg dye in the regular and neon colors (a fun – and much faster – alternative to dyeing the eggs is simply decorating with markers or stickers)
  • a non-metal container
  • mini cupcake paper/foil baking cups
  • glue

Instructions:

For detailed step-by-step instructions, see not martha‘s excellent tutorial for Easter Surprise Eggs here.

I followed the color recipe exactly because her eggs turned out so strikingly beautiful, but the only recipe that developed into a similar color to hers was the blue – and still it wasn’t quite as robin’s egg/turquoise in color.

The Outlaw Mom’s Tips:

  • If you agitate the eggs, you’ll get splotchy color, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  In fact, Hubby and Grandma’s favorite egg was the one that turned out the most speckly.

  • If you use just-boiled water and highly acidic vinegar (like I did), when you drop your egg into the coloring solution, it will spin and fizz like crazy on its own, which creates the speckled effect.
  • Although most blogs advise not to move your eggs around, I found that dipping the eggs once for an initial coat, and then dipping additional times to increase the color intensity worked better than when I tried the recommended method of letting the eggs sit in the solution and then rotating halfway during the coloring time.  Submerging the entire egg or leaving the egg floating on top of the solution didn’t seem to make a difference (except that if you leave the egg floating on top, you’ll have to rotate four times – quarter turns).

  • When taking the eggs out of the boiling water during sterilization or the just-boiled water for the solution, do not lift the egg out completely vertically so that the boiling hot water drips down on to your finger!  Try a more horizontal angle.
  • Try an eggs inside of eggs look.  I chose Cadbury Mini Eggs as the main candy,  Marich Mint Chip Maltballs to go along with the speckled theme, and Jelly Belly Ice Cream Parlor  jelly beans for more of the speckled egg look.  Sconza Dark Chocolate Raisins finished out the mix.

  • Use mini-cupcake baking cups to seal your eggs.  Stickers don’t fold around the jagged opening as well.  I used polka-dot mini-cupcake paper baking cups for all the colors except the blue eggs, which I sealed with silver foil cups.

  • Present the eggs in a clear tin for a pretty and practical way of transporting this gift.  Alternate the eggs with layers of paper Easter grass.

I think we’ll be making these for other occasions, too.  I see Fourth of July flag eggs, pumpkin eggs, Santa eggs . . . the cracking is irresistible fun!

CRAVE IT. COVET. LOVE IT. {Mother’s Day Edition} Covet Hermes’ Un Jardin Sur le Nil

4 May

This week I’m coveting the fresh green fragrance Un Jardin Sur Le Nil from Hermes:

Perfect for a Mother’s Day gift, you can snag this scent – one of four in Les Jardins Collection – for $90 at Neiman Marcus’ Scent Event (going on until May 8th) and nab four travel-sized fragrances in a colorful straw tote for yourself!

The Rise of Spring: Easter Craft & Baking Recap

28 Apr

I’ve always looked forward to back-to-school sales in early August, which mark the imminent start of the school year ahead.  New academic apparel means Halloween – the first official “holiday” of Fall – is around the corner, with Thanksgiving soon to follow, and Christmas rounding out the holiday season in early Winter.

This trio of festivities continually make Fall my favorite season with all the crafting, baking and planning involved for each occasion.

And of course, Fall wildly surpasses all other fashion seasons.  Autumn collections deliver, with bold classics for the serious fashionista.  Spring and Summer looks, on the other hand, tend to fall short.  They’re so full of – well – frivolous frippery, if you will.  Yes, platform sandals and gauzy blouses get my heart in a tizzy, but after the thrill of neon brights and florals wears off, you’re just left with a few flimsy pieces.

The same it was – I thought – for spring and summer crafting and baking.

I never thought I would say this, but I think Spring may be nudging out Fall as my favorite season.

Maybe having kids has gotten me all soft.  But it seems that my yearning for mellow autumn days of melancholy sunlight and the chill of winter solitude has been replaced by a fondness for chirpy chicks, fuzzy bunnies, bright pastels and the zippity-do-da of Spring.  Could it be that I’m ready to drop my teen angst at the ripe old age of 35?

With peppy springtime projects like candy-filled eggs, confetti cake pops, painted puppet boxes, sprinkled cookies and paper mache eggs, I just might be.

Candy-Filled Easter Eggs

All the cracking, bashing and crunching made these by far and away the most exciting springtime activity for the kids!  They also make a gorgeous hostess gift, too.

Materials:

  • eggs (white eggs will take color better than brown, but you can do a few uncolored, brown eggs for variety – I even did some white uncolored eggs)
  • vinegar
  • hot water
  • McCormick food and egg dye in the regular and neon colors (a fun – and much faster – alternative to dyeing the eggs is simply decorating with markers or stickers)
  • a non-metal container
  • mini cupcake paper/foil baking cups
  • glue

Instructions:

For detailed step-by-step instructions, see not martha‘s excellent tutorial for Easter Surprise Eggs here.

I followed the color recipe exactly because her eggs turned out so strikingly beautiful, but the only recipe that developed into a similar color to hers was the blue – and still it wasn’t quite as robin’s egg/turquoise in color.

The Outlaw Mom’s Tips:

  • If you agitate the eggs, you’ll get splotchy color, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  In fact, Hubby and Grandma’s favorite egg was the one that turned out the most speckly.

  • If you use just-boiled water and highly acidic vinegar (like I did), when you drop your egg into the coloring solution, it will spin and fizz like crazy on its own, which creates the speckled effect.
  • Although most blogs advise not to move your eggs around, I found that dipping the eggs once for an initial coat, and then dipping additional times to increase the color intensity worked better than when I tried the recommended method of letting the eggs sit in the solution and then rotating halfway during the coloring time.  Submerging the entire egg or leaving the egg floating on top of the solution didn’t seem to make a difference (except that if you leave the egg floating on top, you’ll have to rotate four times – quarter turns).

  • When taking the eggs out of the boiling water during sterilization or the just-boiled water for the solution, do not lift the egg out completely vertically so that the boiling hot water drips down on to your finger!  Try a more horizontal angle.
  • Try an eggs inside of eggs look.  I chose Cadbury Mini Eggs as the main candy,  Marich Mint Chip Maltballs to go along with the speckled theme, and Jelly Belly Ice Cream Parlor  jelly beans for more of the speckled egg look.  Sconza Dark Chocolate Raisins finished out the mix.

  • Use mini-cupcake baking cups to seal your eggs.  Stickers don’t fold around the jagged opening as well.  I used polka-dot mini-cupcake paper baking cups for all the colors except the blue eggs, which I sealed with silver foil cups.

  • Present the eggs in a clear tin for a pretty and practical way of transporting this gift.  Alternate the eggs with layers of paper Easter grass.

I think we’ll be making these for other occasions, too.  I see Fourth of July flag eggs, pumpkin eggs, Santa eggs . . . the cracking is irresistible fun!

Confetti Cake Pops & Ribbon Box

Since my first shot at the cake pop, I’ve been busy trying to perfect my technique.  I took my own advice on this attempt and chose white candy melts to make the spring confetti really pop.

The lifesaver this time around:  disposable candy melt bags.  I’m never making cake pops again without this handy dandy device!  You can melt and decorate so easily and with virtually no mess.  The double-boiler method would still probably give you the best results because it keeps the candy melts at an even temperature for a prolonged period of time, but my life is all about shortcuts these days.

For a fun spring birthday theme, I tried three different pastel confetti designs:

(1) all over confetti

(2) confetti dots

and (3) an ice cream look (covering only the top of the pop)

These were a birthday gift for a friend, so I needed a portable presentation.  A beribboned styrofoam block (using colored tacks) worked out perfectly.  A few tied ribbons on the cake pop sticks and a rectangular piece of cardstock used as a gift tag completed the present.

Wooden Spring/Easter Puppet Baskets

To make these springtime baskets – which make great children’s gifts – you’ll need:

  • wooden baskets (ours were $1 from Michael’s)
  • paint suitable for wood surfaces + a paintbrush
  • stickers
  • felt for the puppets (or buy pre-made felt puppets)
  • lollipop sticks (even a pencil will do – you just need something to prop up the puppet)

First, have your toddler paint the undecorated wooden baskets.  Let the paint dry overnight.

Then, decorate the painted boxes with stickers.

Finally, make your felt puppets or take your store bought ones and prop them up on a lollipop stick.  The easiest gift and super cute, too!

Easter Egg Sprinkle Cookies

These hard, cardboard-tasting “Ideal Sugar Cookies” were a total bust!  A little embarrassing because I gifted these to one of my friends, but it’s the thought that counts, isn’t it?  And they’re oh-so-pretty to look at.

The recipe was fine, but I doubled the butter and then tried to correct it by adding more of all the other ingredients and it just didn’t work. Of course, I used my favorite buttercream frosting, so licking off the sprinkled frosting was delicious!

“Paper Mache” Plastic Eggs

This is one project I couldn’t finish in time for Easter, but now that we have literally dozens of plastic Easter eggs littering our living room floor, I’m going to continue with the project anyway.  I only got so far as one egg, but the results are very cool.  Check out Sweeter than Sweets’ Tissue Paper Easter Eggs tutorial here.

Happy Spring baking and crafting!

Pretty Card and Cardholder from Specialty Cardstock

26 Feb

Here are the instructions for the card and cardholder we gave Hubby along with his specially gift-wrapped present.

Step 1:

This specialty cardstock pad is from Michaels.

Step 2:

Cut out a square for your card.

Step 3:

Fold the remaining rectangular piece in half, then unfold. Fold in the bottom corners of the right side and the left side into a triangle. Open the triangles and then fold the corners a second time. Then cut a sliver of paper from the inside corners folded in towards each other and set one aside. Cut a vertical slit into both sides (pinch the paper and then just snip once with a pair of scissors) and insert the saved sliver of paper into the slits horizontally. Use tape to secure the paper strip if needed.

Step 4: After writing your message inside the card, insert the card into the cardholder and you’re finished!

Easy Handpainted Wrapping Paper

23 Feb

Jane loves to paint, so we decided to create a specially designed, one-of-a-kind art piece for Hubby’s birthday wrapping paper.  This is just as easy as the simplest homemade wrapping paper we made for my Valentine’s Day present to myself, but a little messier.  And, the results are a lot splashier!

First, we headed to the easel and painted over our existing crayon drawings.

Then, we set Jane’s painting aside to dry.

Another masterpiece

Finally, we wrapped Hubby’s present and voila:

A gift beautifully wrapped in vibrant Matisse-like handpainted paper!  Hubby kept the paper instead of throwing it out, so I know we had a hit.

We also made Hubby this handmade card and cardholder from specialty cardstock:

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