Monday, April 30, 2012

Ode to the Nutter Butter

I love Nutter Butters.
(Source: Let's Get Cookin')
I don't know that I've actually eaten one more than once, but whenever I look at one, I can imagine the taste, so I'm pretty sure I have eaten them.  And I think when it comes to store bought cookies, nothing is as versatile.

I think in parties. Seriously, every time I walk through the aisle or Michael's, the fabric store or the cookie aisle, I think of a party theme to go around it. I can't help it.

Obviously other people think the same way. And they come up with all the things you can do with a Nutter Butter. It's the perfect shape to be:

A face:

(Source: Penguin Stamper)

A shoe:
(Source: Amy Atlas Feature)

Pretty much any animal:
(Source: Raising Boys)
 Even if they're fake ones:
(Source: Confessions of a Cookbook Queen)

To fit in with every holiday:
(Source: 7th House on the Left)

(Source: Plain Chicken)
And there are mini ones?!?
(Source: Bargain Hoot)

And who can forget the yummy peanut butter taste?? That pretty much makes it perfect right there. Especially baked into a brownie.
(Source: Bake at 350)

There's only one (huge) problem. They don't sell them in Canada. Oh for shame! It seriously kills me. So I started a board for it on my Pinterest. It's titled Ode to the Nutter Butter.

Which probably means I need to write an actual Ode.

Oh Nutter Butter! I love you!
I never dreamed that such a perfect party food existed until you came into my life.

Had I have known you would be so difficult to find in stores near me,
I would have brought a special suitcase to fill with just you on my last trip to the States.
I would have spent an entire day's worth of my "duty free" amount to stockpile my cupboards.
I would have made friends with more Americans. Kind Americans, who would send you to me as special gifts.

Oh Nutter Butter! I love you!
Have I mentioned it's my birthday in less than 4 weeks?
Have I mentioned that the perfect gift would be to see you, in all your glory, under that wrapping paper?
Have I mentioned that all my party theme ideas include you? And that the spot left on the dessert table feels so empty without you?

Oh Nutter Butter! I love you!
Makers of Nutter Butter, hear my plea, and PLEASE send them to Canada.
I'll trade supermarket shelf space for you.
No one really likes the off-brand oreos anyway.
Or fig newtons. (well, we can convert them!)
And those cookies masquerading as chocolate chip? I'll trade their preservatives for your peanut-y goodness any day.

Don't make me beg, Nutter Butter.
Don't make me grovel.
Don't make me buy "pirate" cookies that have the same great peanut taste,
but lack your perfect shape. Pirates can't be shoes. Or turkeys.

Oh Nutter Butter! I love you!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Pin-ed It, Made It Party 04/27

Welcome back to the New and Improved Pin-ed it, Made it Party! We’re so glad you’ve joined us for some good old fashioned linky fun :)


Now on to the Features!

Top Viewed This Week!

Easy Citrus Punch from A Crafty Cook! This looks so yummy and refreshing! Perfect for summer :)

Our Top Picks!

From Rhapsody of Cacophony:


I love these washer jewelry sets from Crafty Imaginings! Stamped jewelry has totally been on my list of things to do soon. :) I may have to go to the hardware store soon. Hehe!

From Crafty Girl Squared:

We're Loving these tissue holders from Thrifty Crafty Girl!

From Finding My Way in Texas:

These just got put on my to do list! Super cute box shelves from NorthShore Days

Just a Reminder:

  • We’re no longer doing separate feature posts! The features will be posted right here before the link up every Friday. Each host will be picking their fave link and we will also be posting the Top Viewed link.

  • There will now be TWO categories! Pin-ed it, Made it & Everything Else! That means that this party is now open to ALL projects! :)

  • You may have noticed we have a new button :) The Fabulous Jac from babEblessings kindly made it up for us! There will be a matching banner coming soon :) She is starting a design business and has great rates!


    Please Remember to...

Please follow ALL 3 hosts.

Post our new and fabulous button on you blog so others can join the fun.

For all projects linked to the “Pin-ed it, Made it” category, please ensure you link ONLY projects you were Pinspired to create and that the original post that inspired your project is properly sourced. We want to play nice :)

For the “Everything Else” category, please do not post giveaways, items you’re selling or other link parties.

Pin-ed it, Made it!:

Everything Else!:

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Sneak peak at Blogapalloosa

Last week I mentioned that I was going to be part of Blogapalloosa. I've teamed up with 13 other bloggers and each day one of us will host a giveaway on our blog. Which means you have 14 days to win some fabulous prizes! Sounds great, right?

Well, today I'm giving you a sneak peak at what you can win on MY blog during my day of Blogapalloosa.


 A 4T (ish - it could probably fit 3T-5T quite easily since it's adjustable), easy on/off (yeah velcro!) chef hat and apron set, hand made by me. The pink fabric has little tiny polka dots on it that don't show up on camera, so I think it's even sweeter in person.
And the giant ricrac! I had a hard time not just keeping it for my girls. And yes, now there is yet ANOTHER project on my list of things to make them!

Oh and of course I had to include some matching recipe cards, because every new chef has to start her recipe collection at a very young age. :)

So, if you have an aspiring chef or baker, or you know a little girl who needs this set (granddaughter, niece, friend, neighbour down the street...basically anyone around the age of 4), grab the blogapalloosa button and put it on your blog so you don't forget to stop by for a chance to win.

<a href="" target="_blank"><img src="" alt="Blog-a-pal-oosa" width="125" height="125" /></a>

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Simple Layer Skirt with Ruffle

Mark referred to me as a clothing factory yesterday. I think I'll take that as a compliment. :)

It's totally addicting, this making clothes business. I haven't stopped. I recently counted and I still have 7-8 more sewing projects to get done between now and July (when it will be time to start on all the fall ones, so I'm thinking this will never be done).

Don't worry, all you non-sewers, I have no plans to turn this into a sewing blog. And birthday party season is upon us, so you will be seeing a bunch of projects for that. I don't know who is more excited, Mady or me. :)

The weather has been gorgeous this weekend. I didn't really get to enjoy it too much though because I started working on the never ending project. Let's just say it involved a lot of chiffon and ruffles. Good thing the girls enjoy playing outside and out of my way since it's hard to walk through a living room of ruffles.

So, since working on the project that won't die end, I needed a reminder about simpler times. Like when I made this skirt for Mady. In a nap-time. Yup, it's that simple.

(oh the sass! Check out the foot! I fear asking where she gets it from...)

Some of you will recognize this fabric from the apron set I made. Well, Mady requested a dress from it. I didn't have enough left for a dress and the fabric store didn't have any more in stock. But thankfully there was enough (with the addition of a ruffle on the bottom) to make her a skirt and that seemed to appease her. I used Dana's Simple Skirt tutorial from MADE (the layered version). I love her stuff. Her whole blog makes me happy!

So if you need a quick skirt and you don't have a ton of fabric, this is the way to go.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Garden Cake and Bee Smash Cake

Last week some friends from college asked me if I would make the cakes for their daughter's first birthday. I'm always honored by such a request!

They were doing a garden theme so they requested a bigger cake for the kids covered in flowers and bugs and then a smaller smash cake that was a bumble bee.

Both cakes are covered in buttercream (some day I'll be able to get it as smooth as fondant!) because, really, no one actually LIKES the taste of a fondant covered cake.  All the decorations are marshmallow fondant. Because they actually taste good.

You can find my inspiration cakes here and here (but be warned, as I tell my sister, my versions are always slightly dorkier. Ha!).

I think the mushrooms are my favourite. :) They were also the most fun to make.

 The other sides of the cake:
(How was this one taken at the same time, in the same spot on my table, yet this one actually shows the real colour of the table? Some day I'll figure out basic photography!)
Here is the bee. I realized after I delivered him, that I forgot his little antennae. Sorry little bee. I hear you got smashed anyway... 

And no bee is complete without a stinger. Well, unless he's a dead bee. Oh geez. I'll stop.

 Happy Birthday Nova! Hope you had a fabulous birthday.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Pined it, Made it Linky Party

The day has come and I'm totally excited that I get to be the third co-host for the
Pined it, Made it Party :)


First off let me introduce the Hosts!

and me, Melanna from Rhapsody of Cacophony. Since there are 3 hosts, anything you link up here will appear on all three blogs. How cool is that?

Here's how it's going to work.

    • Each week each host will be picking their favourite link from the previous that will be posted right here before the link up party every Friday. We will also be posting the Top Viewed link.

    • There will be TWO categories! Pined it, Made it & Everything Else! That means that this party is open to ALL projects!

    • You may have noticed our fantastic button! The Fabulous Jac from babEblessings kindly made it up for us! There will be a matching banner coming soon. She is starting a design business and has great rates so keep that in mind... :)


    The New and Improved Rules:

    Please follow ALL 3 hosts.

    Post our new and fabulous button on you blog so others can join the fun.

    For all projects linked to the “Pined it, Made it” category, please ensure you link ONLY projects you were Pinspired to create and that the original post that inspired your project is properly sourced. We want to play nice :)

    For the “Everything Else” category, please do not post giveaways, items you’re selling or other link parties.

    Time to Party!!

    Pined it, Made it:

    Everything Else:


    Tuesday, April 17, 2012

    How to Potty Train

    There are a few baby stages I loathe.

    1). Before they can sleep through the night and wake up ALL. THE. TIME.

    2). When you're just introducing solid foods and you have to feed them things and provide variety, but due to age restrictions (dairy, honey), lack-of-molars restrictions (raw veggies), coordination restrictions (soup) or just plain picky eating, you feel like there is NOTHING you can feed your kid. It's annoying.

    But I think my least favourite "baby" stage is kind of the last of the baby stages. Potty Training. I hate most things about it. It's a good enough reason for my to not have any more kids, I hate it that much.

    1). I hate that you spend a week solid in your house. And not even all of your house. Basically just the bathroom and the rooms that have easily washed surfaces (which is pretty much just the kitchen at my house).

    2). I hate that for the next 2 months you can't leave the house without having a panic attack the whole time that your child will have an accident to top all accidents, and that you have to go back to carrying multiple changes of clothes.

    3). I especially hate the feeling like it's never going to end.

    I don't claim to be an expert, but since I've spent the last 5 days working on potty training little Katie, well, I feel like I know everything there is to know! (and yet somehow, still nothing!)

    My Potty Training Toolbox
    -Big kid underwear. The real stuff, none of those pull-ups!
    -Treats for the child (we like mini marshmallows)
    -Treats for mom (this is the only part I like of the whole process. I prefer chocolate. Right now I'm polishing off the rest of the mini cadbury cream eggs)
    -Salty snacks (cheese flavoured crackers are the favourite, but anything that makes them want to drink works)
    -A variety of juices and other sweeter beverages
    -A "wetsy betsy" style doll (a sibling or friend who is proficient on the potty works too...)
    -Stuff for cleaning up the accidents (there WILL be accidents as they have to learn what happens when they don't run!)

    My Plan
    We go hardcore cold turkey around here. No pull-ups at night or reverting back to diapers. Yes I end up doing a lot of laundry. But it seems less confusing to the child. And then I don't feel like I'm having to train twice. I DO use pull ups if we're going somewhere that I think an accident would be traumatic to the child (in a new environment) or that would be a disaster (say at a wedding or in a fabric store!). I buy THE smallest package and I use no more than that (well, that's how it worked with Mady...). We don't call them pull ups or mention their diaper-like abilities. We called them princess panties and they were special for when we went out. That's it.

    First thing I do on day one: I greet them with a big smile, take them to the potty while announcing that they're a big kid. We play it up as the biggest deal ever. I get them to sit on the potty while we trade their diaper for the underwear. If you can't get them to sit, bribe with a marshmallow. Often kids go at this point because it's first thing in the morning. Success breeds success, so if you can start early in the day it's great. I don't make them sit for long, just as I explain the process.

    Then I give them a good nutritious breakfast. They'll be consuming a lot of sugar and probably won't feel hungry for lunch, so it's the least I can do.

    Then basically you tell them over and over "tell me you if you need to go potty!" "Are you still dry? Yea!!!" (my years of children's ministry training comes in handy at this point for that over the top excitement!) Every 10-15 minutes have them go to sit and just hang out. Sing songs, read books. We rolled a ball for a while, whatever gets them to stay sitting. The more time they spend on the potty the more likely they are to have success.

    If they have an accident, try to scoop them up before they finish and run so they can finish on the potty. Then take them back and practice running when they have to go. Do this a bunch of times (5-10!).

    We also used our "wetsy betsy" style doll (it's actually a baby alive) to show her the baby going on the potty (baby got a treat too!) and then having an accident and practice running to the potty a bunch of times (I'm not kidding 5-10 times - you lead the first few times and then have them show you what to do for the rest until you know they've got it).

    When they succeed you praise to the point of extreme. Give them a bunch of treats (we do 5 mini marshmallows at first). Give them more snacks and more liquid to drink. Basically this all takes 15 minutes and it's time to sit again.

    I start the day giving water (once the juice comes out they never want water again), then I do a fruit juice or two and then I'll move to more sugar (iced tea, lemonade) options if I can't get them to drink otherwise.

    About 2 hours before they go to sleep, I quit giving them any liquid (if they're parched, then they get a teeny bit, but I avoid it if possible). If they have an accident I clean them up and put them back to bed. Make sure they go before bed. Then for night-time, about 1-2 hours after you put them to bed, rouse them just enough to go potty. Do this until they get up on their own at this time, even if they're trained the rest of the time. Basically you're teaching them to wake up and go at that time every night.

    The Biggest Battles
    1). There is a point in the day when they get tired of the whole thing. You probably are too. They miss playing, they've spent so much of the day in the bathroom. Maybe they were fine until nap time, but then they woke up and you're still at it and they're just done. Pull out a new activity that's fun (blow bubbles in the kitchen!) or move the entire operation outside. Something to distract them and make them feel like they're still playing.

    2). Pooping. I have no wisdom on this front. It was a huge battle with Mady. It will probably also be with Katie. It just seems harder (probably because there is less chance to practice). It was almost the death of me. Just know that parents everywhere feel your pain. And if you've found the solution, teach the rest of us in the comments, please!

    3). Day 2. It's pretty much the worst. Either you have a great first day and then on day 2 nothing works. Or you had a bad day 1 and day 2 is just a fight the whole time. Day 2 will make you want to give up. You'll convince yourself that diapers were easier (they were - but expensive), that your child isn't ready (probably not true and really if you stop now you just confuse them making them less ready the next time). You may cry. You may scream. You may try to hide from your kid. Don't worry day 3 is typically better. Just push through one hour (or minute!) at a time.

    Sadly, I'm on day 5. Katie understand exactly what she's supposed to do. She just doesn't do it. Sigh.

    Oh ya, and treat yourself to a night off from cooking and order a pizza.

    Any other potty training tips? I need something to make me feel like I can tackle day 6...

    Monday, April 16, 2012

    Some Bloggy Business

    I've really been quite terrible this week. Can you believe I went to all the work of getting (not making, don't shame me!) my girl's easter dresses and then I didn't even get pictures in them? Don't worry, Grandma, we'll re-stage a pretend easter and take some pictures! And of course we did an easter egg hunt and had cute easter baskets and a took a ton of pictures. They just didn't make it onto the blog. Maybe if I get some time this week.

    I started potty training Katie this weekend. I blame that on my neglecting my poor blog. I wish I could say it's going glorious and after a mere 6 hours she's got the hang of it. It's been 4.5 days. She GETS it, she just can't do it. So, successes have only been because Mommy thinks enough time has passed and suggests a "just in case" run. It's tiring. She's a brilliant kid. I just wish her bladder muscles were as quick-learning....

    So, because of my depressed state (not really. I'm just being dramatic), I decided to share some fun news.

    Take a look at my side bar there on the right. You should notice a few new things!

    First - I have a new button. Isn't it purdy?? My new bloggy friend Connie (from Measured By the Heart) made it for me. Isn't she sweet? I love it! And if you want to display it on your blog, feel free. :)

    Second, you'll notice a nice blinking blog button there too. Make sure you read through the whole thing. You'll notice that it's got all the details for a really fun giveaway I'm part of. 14 days of giveaways! Oh yes you read that right. How fun, right?? I'll keep you posted on all the details. It's going to be great. And I might be whipping up something fabulous to give away for it. Okay, not might, I am. So if you have a little girl in your life, you'll want to pay attention. And feel free to take that button as well so that you can tell your friends all about it!

    And then I have some great news about some new stuff around here. I finally got smart and realized that people may want some different options of ways to follow my blog. I'm going to add the linky followers widget (as that seems to be the replacement for GFC for the non-blogger users). Any other ways you wish I had? If you have a request, let me know and I'll look into it. Just don't ask me to tweet. I suck at it.

    Lastly, I'm super excited to announce a fun link up party that I get to co-host with a couple other of my new bloggy friends. (Connie is making us a fun button for that one too. Can't wait to show you!)

    Basically you make stuff that you pinned on pinterest and link it up. Perfect for a pinterest-obsessed person such as myself. And I get to pick my favourites each week (so do the other gals). AND, if you link to one of our blogs, it shows up on all three. Less work, more exposure for you! How great is that? So be thinking of projects 'cause I want to see what you've been up to!

    Tuesday, April 10, 2012

    Say My Name...

    When you have a different name, you get used to having to spell your name or listen to people mispronounce it over and over again.

    I'm called Mel-anna  more than anything (probably because that's what it looks like...), even though I say it with an Awe sound in the middle (to rhyme with Donna and Shauna). Sometimes I correct people (mostly when I first meet them), but after I've known them longer than 2 weeks I feel really awkward telling them that they say my name wrong. I just hope that they pick up on this when I call them and say my name when identifying myself or from other people who say it correctly.

    Since I have a different name, I've turned it into a game and have started "collecting" ways that people spell it or say it. It really is quite fun!

    Mel-anna (very typical and it doesn't actually bother me as much as some of the others since it's understandable)
    Melaina (I think they know Mel-anna is wrong, but can't remember what vowel sound to switch)
    Melania (said Mel-lawn-yah) Like Donald Trump's wife.
    Melanie-ah (I don't know where this comes from...)
    Mel-ann-yah (another which vowel is different again??)

    And the spellings:
    I love putting things on hold and then going to get them and trying to glance at the hold ticket. Or at change rooms where they ask for your name to write on the door. Here's what I've had so far:

    I think most are based on the city Milan since that's what people think when they hear it. The last one is closest to the original Hawaiian: Malana

    It all just makes me giggle. What's the craziest way your name has been said, or spelled???

    Monday, April 9, 2012

    Katie, It's Great That You...However,...

    Katie, it's great that you like to brush your teeth. However, please just use YOUR toothbrush.

    Katie, it's great that you like to wash your hands so much. However, it would be better to not leave the water running for and hour while you play in the other room.

    Katie, it's great that you like to eat chocolate. However, next time you have to ask, even if your cousin offers to help you get it.

    Katie, it's great that you like to play on Mommy's computer. However, it would better if you didn't use your time "liking" everything on Pinterest. It may end up making me look quite scandalous.

    Katie, it's great that you like to colour. However, it would be helpful if your artistic abilities stayed on the paper instead of my walls, couch, fridge, television and Daddy's music stand.

    Katie, it's great that you are an early riser. However, I would appreciate if you didn't immediately go and wake your sister (even though she's your ticket out of the room). It makes her very grumpy.

    Katie, it's great that you like to work out with Mommy. However, I'm not doing "stroller-cise" so it would be better if you kept your doll stroller out from between my legs when I'm trying to do lunges.

    Wednesday, April 4, 2012

    Spring Wall Hanging (Wreath Alternative)

    I suck at hanging things up on my walls.

    It took my 4.5 years to hang a clock. I'm not kidding.

    Basically it's because I have no idea what I'm doing. I have super huge walls and think everything looks funny.

    But then at Christmas a found a good space for a wreath (my door style doesn't work and is on the side of the house any way, so I don't see the point of hanging one on it). After Christmas I made a winter wreath that wasn't really Christmas-y so that it wasn't so blank in the space once the Christmas wreath was gone.

    And then I made a valentine one.

    And then I was completely uninspired on the wreath front and so I left the valentine one up for about 5 weeks too long. Yes, really.

    And just when I couldn't take it anymore, I found my inspiration on Pinterest (isn't that where it all comes from lately?).

    The link didn't come from a blog, it was uploaded directly by a user (not sure if it's this person's actual personal work or not, so if you know the actual source, please share!). You can find the inspiration pin here.

    But I didn't have a wreath form to put it on and I didn't want to go get one. So I decided to go for a spring wall hanging instead of an actual circular wreath. The point is to not have a blank wall, so what does it matter it's shape, right?

    Some ribbon, a few fake flowers, some hot glue and my cute little bird houses make me smile.

    Tuesday, April 3, 2012

    Rolled Easter Baskets

    So last year, about a week before Easter, something caught my eye in blogland.

    Home made Easter baskets.

    Lovely, fabric, scrappy, shabby-chic, spring-y, not too big, not too small, not too juvenile, Easter baskets. They were perfect and I was utterly in love!

    There was only one problem.


    I had no idea if I could find supplies locally (sometimes a problem in Canada when you read American craft blogs) and since I have TWO kids there was no way I could only make only one and I had less than a week.

    So I put it on the list for next year, determined to do them.

    In January we had some warm weather that totally got me in the Spring mood so I dug out the tutorial and went in search of supplies.

    I was able to find the cording needed at Fabricland, but no one in any fabric store (not even quilting stores) had Honeybuns (some had Jellyrolls, but that was it and they're too big). I looked on Etsy, but the only stores that carried them (including the one linked to in the tutorial) were closed or on holidays.

    When I get an idea in my head, I have a hard time just waiting around, so I looked up the dimensions of the honeybuns (1.5 inches by the width of the fabric, generally 44-45 inches. 40 strips in each roll), bought a scalloped cutting wheel (they didn't have a pinking wheel. So weird) and went in search for my own fabrics to make strips out of.

    This project took me a long time not because it's hard, but because I ran out of some supplies (thick thread) and couldn't get back to get some. So finally a few weeks ago I got them finished. They look great up on my mantle. And I can't wait to fill them full of fun Easter goodies this weekend. Hopefully they last for years to come!

    Want to make one too? You can find the tutorial here.

    Linking up to the fabulous parties in my party tab. Check em out!