Custom Tiny Prints Pillows

Custom monster pillow by Tiny Print with my son's art. I’ll be sharing my son’s 6th birthday party soon but for now I have to share this custom Tiny Prints pillow. They were super generous to send it to me. The theme of the party was “monsters” but instead of using ready-made party goods, we used his custom drawings since this is what he is really in to drawing at the moment. This custom pillow was great for decor during the party but also makes a rad keepsake for him.

Custom @tinyprints pillow with custom kid art. We made this one to match the theme for my son's birthday party. I mean, he drew a palm tree and a sun with sunglasses. I guess monsters need vacation too.

Custom @tinyprints pillow with kid's art. Perfect keepsake for kids! And after the party, it moved in to his bedroom. I wanted you to see it next a normal sized bed pillow for size. These are pretty big! They come in rectangle or square and you can use their ready-made templates for more decor friendly options. But I really love that you can upload your own artwork and get a custom-made item that you can cherish forever.

You can also follow this tutorial for making a pillow with your child’s own artwork!

Thank you, Tiny Prints, for sending me the pillow!

 

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Drinking More Water with Essential Oils

Using doTerra essential oils in your water. After a holiday season (shoot – it’s been since summer) of absolute gluttony my body is screaming for me to be more healthy. A bought of the stomach flu was the perfect transition in to living a healthier lifestyle. It made me quit junk food cold turkey. And it made me not like coffee!!! I’m drinking it again, and like it finally, but I’m no longer drinking more than one cup a day and some days I don’t even finish that first one. I mean, I don’t recommend trying to go find someone with the stomach flu to infect you. But if you want to start off the new year being a little more health conscious, I suggest starting with water. Easy, right?

New to life with essential oils #doTerraWe all need more water each day. And while we need the calcium from milk, we really don’t need any other types of drinks if we are trying to be eating more cleanly. Well, wine. You HAVE to have wine. So I’ve been drinking a bunch of water but it can get a little boring. I’ve started adding a drop of my fave citrus based essential oils to my glass to take things up a notch. Oh yeah, and I totally fell down the essential oil rabbit hole. (So I’m totally in love with them and was spending so much with my dealer – I call her that because it is a little bit like buying crack – that she had me sign up to be a wellness advocate so I can now sell them. I promise this blog won’t turn in to a hard sell of essential oils, but I will share them from time to time. My mind is vibrating with all kinds of ideas of how to use them in the kitchen! {not all are ok for ingesting – read labels, yo!}) You guys! I’ve been using a blend for my allergies that has changed my life. Maybe it is a placebo but WHATEVER! They help my symptoms and headaches but nothing else it all smells amazing!

Adding Wild Orange Essential Oil to your water #doterraJust a drop of this Wild Orange oil adds huge flavor to my water. And since the oil is derived from orange peels, it tastes like real orange. I’m not going to lie, it made my lips burn a little. But really it just felt like one of those lip plumper lipsticks. Wild Orange oil has “immune-enhancing benefits and is energizing and revitalizing to the mind and body.” At least that is what my book says because I literally just started using oils a few weeks ago and am still learning what each thing does. My kids like to have it in the diffuser too which is awesome for when you are having people over. It smells like you just cleaned your house! Water with essential oils is my new jam. And wine. I won’t quit you wine!

Looking for non-essential oil ways to drink more water? Try these recipes:

Muddled Tangerine and Basil Infused Water

Muddled Ginger Strawberry Sparkling Water

Muddled Raspberry Lemon Water

Muddled Ginger Lime Water

Visit my doTerra page if you want to see more about essential oils. OMG you guys, for real, the BREATHE blend is perfect for those days when my allergy medicine just isn’t cutting it. If you have a fave oil, let me know in the comments so I can keep learning. And I thought my husband was going to freak out but he started to feel sick and asked me to put some OnGuard on to his feet! Miracles do happen. Or if you have questions, email me! cupcakesandcutlery@gmail dot com.

*This post contains affiliate links.  Read more about my editorial policies here.

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Winter Break

First time in the snow!Why, oh why is winter break over?! I took a legit blog break this year and didn’t even think about “work” related stuff the entire time the kids were off of school. It was GLORIOUS! And I’m going to be honest, I’m having a rough time getting started again. I’ve been thinking about things to post but I can’t seem to motivate myself to actually doing anything more than that. And I’m okay with that. We had a fantastic break and I really enjoyed the down time with the kids. It wasn’t super glamorous.  The pictures aren’t styled and pretty. But that is winning, I think. 2015 is the year we live life for real. And it may end up on the computer. But we aren’t going to do stuff just to post it. I know I am not the only one that falls in to that trap. My thinking has shifted which means this blog will probably be changing too. But that sounds like too much work so instead I’ll just let you know posts will be sort of spotty this month. And now I’ll share what we did on winter break.

The kids got to experience snow for the first time!  Saddleback, a local church, invited us to come and check out the snow they brought in for after all their holiday services. They had SO much fun! And I felt like a big jerk since they are old and hadn’t been to the snow yet. We were pretty ill-equipped in the clothing department. Especially the gloves. They were silly little fabric things from Target that got really wet. And cold. Which in turn made their hands really wet and cold. I was sure my youngest had frostbite when we left. He didn’t, thank goodness. Then we got all bundled up and saw the new Annie. We loved it! Did you see it?

Almost got stitches...Then my little one decided it would be a good idea to try to slide down the hallway on a Pillow Pet. Needless to say that didn’t end well and we ended up at Urgent Care to see if he needed stitches. Thank goodness it was under his chin. They said it would scar but we didn’t have to do stitches if we didn’t want to. So we didn’t and as I sent him back to school this morning, it is all but healed! That could have ended up much worse and I’m so grateful for how it all turned out.

Allergy Testing.My oldest son got some allergy testing done to see where we are at with his food allergies. While the skin tests are pretty rough, I really felt like it was a good idea to let us know what’s going on with his nut allergies. He had never been tested for tree nuts before, only peanuts. He is still showing a pretty hearty peanut allergy but it has led us to look into tree nuts a little further. He tested negative for an allergy to cashews but walnuts came back super positive (that is totally my medical assessment…). We did a blood test to get a better look at the other nuts and have an appointment in a few weeks to find out those results. We also found out he wasn’t allergic to shellfish. He got to try shrimp on Christmas (thank you Grandma Marilyn for surprising him with it!) and he didn’t like it, but I have no doubts that he’ll really love coconut shrimp. We also found out that he is allergic to horses which is so random to me. He got the all clear to eat all the milk and eggs he wants which is awesome! So at least he has grown out of some of his allergies. I know it must absolutely suck to not be able to eat all the things like the other kids and he is really so good about it! He’s such an awesome kid!

Opening Christmas presents. Christmas Eve was spent with my husband’s side of the family eating his grandmother’s special Slovak meal. It was a big year for me. I blew out the candle from Jesus’ birthday cake. I don’t even know if anyone noticed, but usually one of the kids gets to it and they were at the kid’s table so I took it upon myself to blow it out. I’ve enjoyed their holiday tradition for probably 14 years now and I think that was my first time blowing it out. It’s the little things…And presents. Let’s not forget the presents.

Matching family pajamas.We woke up the next morning and guess what, we opened more presents! Every year we wear our matching family pajamas. Never mind the pocketknife my husband is wielding. Most of us were holding our favorite gifts and that was his. Mine was not the Nerf gun I am holding, but I felt like it would be odd to hold picture frames. My husband had the boys draw pictures of presidents for me and they turned out awesome! Then my parents came over for breakfast and we opened more presents.

Quality sister time.My sister came down for Christmas this year and it was so amazing to have her. We got to spend time hanging out drinking mimosas, chatting, watching the boys, and it was so needed for both of us. I didn’t want her to go home. I’m super excited to get to visit her in April!

6th birthday! OMG. How cute is this kid?! My baby turned six a few days after Christmas. So…more presents. This kid is silly and funny and so special. And I love being his mom. I can’t wait to see the grown up version of this kid. I mean, I can. I don’t want him to grow up fast. But this guy is interesting. I wonder what he’ll become. It’s exciting. And see, you can’t even tell he split his chin open a week earlier. I also learned that if the fate of the world rested on my cake decorating skills we would all die. I am just TERRIBLE at it!

Wine Tasting in Temecula.Then I got to head back to Temecula for some wine tasting. This was a mother/daughter trip with some very close friend’s of the family and it was an amazing time! We visited Lorimar again (because I just can’t get enough) and wrapped up with Almond Champagne at Wilson Creek. It was a quick getaway, but super fun.

Snow in Temecula! And we woke up on New Year’s Eve morning in Temecula to snow!!!!! It was sheer luck that we were there when it snowed as it is not something that happens often. My car was covered and I was a little worried about driving on the roads. We stopped and had breakfast before heading home to let the roads melt a little. I managed to get all the way back to my house in Orange County with snow still on my car. The boys were able to have a snow ball fight in front of our house! We wrapped up 2014 by taking the boys to Dave and Busters for some afternoon gaming and then came home to enjoy some family time, trying to make it until midnight. The boys were fine. I almost didn’t make it.  And then I welcomed in the new year with the stomach flu. Not cool. I’m still not back to normal. So I’m probably going to go sit on the couch and watch Food Network now. I’m sure there are good things to come from this blog. At some point. :)

Happy New Year!

 

Happy Holidays

Happy Holidays! I wanted to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a happy holiday season! In an effort to find balance and actually share the holiday joy with my family I’ve decided to take a few weeks off of blogging! I’ll be back next year to have some more crafty fun. And you’ll totally understand why we are wearing turtlenecks when I post our Christmas card for this year…Now I’m off to bake and decorate and spend some quality time with my family! Merry Christmas!

 

Candy Bar Trains for Christmas

Make candy trains for Christmas! I’m SO excited to share this post with you guys! Did I say that yesterday too? Well, this year I am sharing a bunch of really fun holiday things that mean a lot to me. You know, like wine cake and such. Because cake with wine is VERY exciting. And today I’m sharing these awesome candy bar trains! This is something me mom made when we were growing up. And while I don’t remember making my own, I think these are the PERFECT alternative to gingerbread houses. Gingerbread houses can be so hard!!! Unless you glue gun the walls together, they often collapse and seem a bit fragile.  But these trains are a little bit easier and such a fun idea for families to do together at the holidays.

Make candy trains for Christmas! When I told my mom that I wanted to do a post on her trains, she searched her archives and came up with these written instructions for how she made them including a supply list. And then she left on a cruise. So I poured over her instructions and started gathering materials. And then got busy and put off making the actual train. And weeks later, my mom was back in town and I was finally ready to take photos of the candy bar train making process. So I invited her over to help me put it all together! I love having my mom help with posts! We pretty much followed her instructions this first go round but I can’t wait to make more and really get creative!

Make candy trains for Christmas! We got everything together and did a little mock-up before starting glueing things together with the royal icing. In doing so, we learned that candy has changed a bit since she first made these. Some things are larger and some things are smaller. Feel free to use whatever candies you think are best and please you, aesthetically. Also, she used to make a train track out of thin black licorice laces. I couldn’t find those anywhere! I also had a hard time finding rolls of Lifesavers (which we didn’t end up using anyway) and the larger Tootsie Rolls which make perfect logs. I feel like you can’t go wrong by buying the candy that looks fun to you and then see what you come up with. And if you have kids, the extra candy certainly isn’t going to go to waste…

Make candy trains for Christmas! We made (I say we, but really my mom made it) royal icing which would act as the glue to hold the train together. We probably could have used a little less of the icing but we wanted to make sure that things stuck really well.

Make candy trains for Christmas! My mom’s diagrams were very detailed about the front train car. But the rest of the cars can be whatever you want them to be. Have fun with it!  This is the back of the first car by the way.

Vintage Christmas miniaturesA few years ago my mom gave me her tin of vintage miniatures that she used for her trains and a few other food crafts she made.  So many memories in that tin! It was awesome to go through and remember all the old plastic figures and show them to my kids.

Make candy trains for Christmas! We let my son decide where Santa should sit. I think he made the right decision.

Make candy trains for Christmas!Our second train car holds a bunch of presents and toys and the final car is the log car. It dawned on me that it would have probably looked a little bit more like logs if we stacked another row in the center and on top of the bottom row. But it’s been probably 30 years since we’ve seen one of these trains so…we forgot. I just love how it came out!

Make candy trains for Christmas! How fun is this tree?! I added a little more royal icing to look like snow.

Make candy trains for Christmas! And of course we added edible glitter to have even more of a snow-like look although it is pretty hard to see. Like gingerbread houses, these are edible, but since all of the candy has been manhandled I wouldn’t recommend eating them. My kids asked so incessantly that I finally said they could eat their cars. Turns out all the different flavors of candy don’t taste that great together. So they stopped eating them instead of picking the candy off individually…dummies. (Yes I just called my kids dummies. But as a joke. That is kind of ironic. Especially since my 3rd grader had to go ask his teacher how to do one of his homework math problems since I couldn’t figure it out…)

Make candy trains for Christmas! I think this will be a tradition that we do with our kids every year. And I can’t wait to share it with the cousins and friends!

Make candy trains for Christmas!I put my train on a cake board that I got from the local craft store. It came in a pack of 5 so you could easily have each kid make their own mutli-car train.

Make candy trains for Christmas!When my youngest son got home from school he skipped lunch (truth be told he had candy for lunch) to make his train. He was so excited! He’s almost 6 and this was really easy for him. Where we had used a piping bag and decorating tip, we gave him a little paint brush to use with the royal icing and it worked really well. In hindsight, we probably would have had a cleaner look if we had used the paintbrush.

Make candy trains for Christmas!This would be a super fun idea for a family holiday party. I had only bought 6 of the large candy bars but the candy used to decorate was very plentiful. I could have made a ton of train cars by just picking up a few more Snickers bars, which is what we’ve always used. I guess you could use a different kind. But you would ruin Christmas…so…

Make candy trains for Christmas!We ended up having a last-minute playdate after school that day so my older son and his friend decided to make them too. Turns out, with a little imagination, your train car can be a sports car.  And a new tradition may be born.

Here is a very general list of what you might need to make a candy bar train with 3 cars like I’ve made above:

Large Snickers bars for the train cars (so 3 Snickers bars for the full train I made)

Fun Size Snickers bar for the front car

14 Peppermint candies for the wheels (note: the first car has 2 extra wheels – and they probably aren’t called wheels are they…)

1 gummy fruit slice for the corn catcher at the front of the train

4 Werther’s or several Lifesavers for the front of the train car

1 JUJU Bee for the light on the very front of the train

1 Gum Drop for the front train car

1 Lifesaver and 1 Rolo for the smoke stack on the first train car

Thin licorice laces to connect the train cars. Can also be used for the train tracks if you decide to add them to your cake board

14 M&M’s for decoration on the wheels

Several Tootsie Rolls for the log car.  The full size work best but you can also stack the Midgees if you can’t find the regular ones.

White edible glitter for snow

Royal Icing and a pastry bag and tips. You can also use a smallish paintbrush instead or if you have a young child where a pastry bag might be too hard to manage.

Assorted Miniatures

Tweezers might also come in handy (if you want to be all type-a about it)

To make Royal Icing: 

3 level TBSP Meringue Powder

4 cups powdered sugar

6 TBSP water

Put all ingredients in a large bowl and beat with a mixer for 7 to 10 minutes.

If you make one share it with me on instagram!!!! Tag me at @cupcakescutlery and use the #cupcakesandcandytrains