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Lego and Candyland Princess Birthday Party

13 Mar

For Kylan and Kinzley’s double birthday party this year, they chose the themes Legos and Princess. My daughter, Katie, added Candyland to Kinzley’s Princess theme so we could use one color scheme for both…primary colors.


Lego Candyland Party Invitation front

I made this Lego shaped invitation on my computer and printed them out on yellow card stock. Here’s the outside.

Lego Candyland Party Invitation-inside

For the inside I created a Candyland game board with the pertinent information, cut them out and glued them inside the card.


Kylan's Lego birthday wall

This is Kylan’s Lego wall. Katie made the banner using a Lego font; she covered the two pictures with a plastic tablecloth and added paper plates to make giant Legos; she added paper Ninja eyes to the balloons; built the number 6 (on the table) out of legos; painted the Lego containers, and…

Ninja Lego Lanterns

She made these cute Ninja Lego lanterns…

Kylan in his Lego shirt

and made Kylan (and his brother Caden) Lego shirts!

Lego juice box covers

She made these Lego juice box covers…

Lego and candy decorated cabinets

She decorated her cabinets like Legos and made the giant candies on top. It looked so good!


Kinzley's candyland birthday wall

This is Kinzley’s Candlyland Princess wall. Katie made the banner and I made the giant lollipops from pool noodles and cardboard rolls.

Kinzley's candyland birthday wall2

Katie made the number 3 picture using thumb tacks; she made lace and gem princess crowns for the girls, and added a candyland game board.

Kinzley's In her Candyland Princess Dress

Here’s Kinzley modeling her “new” candlyland princess dress. Katie bought the dress for just 99 cents! She bought the shoes and tights. What a cute little Princess!

Candyland Princess Dress Lollipops

I made the sucker embellishments from felt and ribbon and added opal pearls. Katie added the stripped ribbon.

Candyland Necklace

Katie also made the colorful necklace.


Lego food containers

The menu consisted of beef and chicken tacos and burritos, refried beans, savory and sweet cream cheese tortilla roll ups and chips and salsa. She build the plate holder out of Legos, and I made the Lego taco holders.

Easy Lego Themed Taco Holders

Here’s a close up of the Lego themed taco holders.

Dessert and Goodie table

Here’s the dessert/goodie table.

Kylan's Ninja birthday cake

Katie made both cakes. Here’s Kylan’s Ninja Lego cake sitting on a Lego built plate.

Kinzley's giant cupcake cake

Here’s Kinzley’s giant candy cupcake cake. It has a chocolate base filled with cake.

Kinzley's giant cupcake cake INSIDE

Here’s what it looks like inside…how colorful! It was yummy too:)

Blowing out their candles

Kylan and Kinzley blowing out their candles.

Layered Jello dessert

In addition to cake, there was jello and cool whip dessert…

Chocolate princess suckers and Legos

Chocolate Legos and Princess crowns…

Lifesaver candy containers

Assorted candy including these served in lifesaver candy containers Katie made by gluing foam letters onto metal cake pans and spray painting them.


Favor table

Here’s the party favor table that includes…

Lego Soap

Lego shaped soap…

Lego necklaces

Lego necklaces I made for the boys and purchased Crown bracelets for the girls…

candy filled plastic bear party favors

and these candy filled plastic bear containers. Katie bought and filled the containers and I made the hats and labels.

It was another successful party!

Kylan's Lego Bedroom

Afterwards, Katie used many of the Lego decorations to decorate Kylan’s bedroom…he loves it!

Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Wands

16 Jun

Chocolate covered peanut butter pretzel wands

I made these for my granddaughter’s princess birthday party. They were a big hit with the kids and adults.


Peanut Butter Mixture:

1/3 cup peanut butter

1 tablespoon softened butter

1/4 teaspoon vanilla

6 tablespoons powdered sugar


Small star cookie cutter

1 bag Wilton Candy Melts

Pretzel Sticks


Mix peanut butter, butter and vanilla until smooth.

Mix in powdered sugar well, adding more if needed to make a stiff dough.

peanut butter filling

Roll dough out on parchment or wax paper, about 1/2” thick

roll out dough and cutout stars

Cut out shapes with a small star cookie cutter (dip in powdered sugar to keep from sticking) and place on a parchment or wax paper lined cookie sheet.

Repeat with remaining dough.

Place cut outs in freezer while melting chocolate.

melt chocolate wafers

Melt Wilton Candy Melts (I used Colorbursts Brights) in a double boiler. I like to add 1/2 teaspoon of vegetable shortening to thin it out a bit.

insert choc dipped pretzel stick

Remove cut outs from the freezer. Insert a pretzel stick into the star to make a hole. Remove it and dip the pretzel tip in the chocolate and insert back into the star. Place the wands back into the freezer for about 15 minutes.  NOTE: Don’t worry if some of the stars crack when you insert the pretzel. Once it’s covered in chocolate you can’t tell.

dip peanut butter wands

Once the wands are hardened, quickly dip into the melted chocolate, shake to remove the excess chocolate and lay back onto the cookie sheet to harden. You might want to do a few at a time, as the peanut butter mixture softens quickly. When completely hardened store in a ziplock bag or air tight container.

peanut butter wand center

Here’s how they look inside…Mmm, good!

3 Things To Do With Your Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

26 Jan

I decided to make some chocolate chip cookies the other day. Since there’s just me and my husband, I knew we wouldn’t eat all of them before they got stale, so…

Chocolate Chip Cookies

I baked cookies from half of the dough (I added some mini M&Ms because I didn’t have enough chocolate chips).

Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Sandwiches

Then I took some of the cooled cookies and made ice cream sandwiches. I wrapped them in wax paper and then in a ziplock bag and put them in the freezer. We had one that night…Mmm, the cookie was crispy on the outside and soft on the inside!

Frozen Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

With the remaining dough I rolled them into balls, laid them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and placed them in the freezer.  When they were firm, I put them in a ziplock bag and then back into the freezer. 

Later, when we get a craving for some chocolate chip cookies, all I have to do is pull them out of the freezer and bake them. 

Here’s my favorite Chocolate Cookie recipe. It makes about 32 – 3” soft and chewy cookies. 

2 sticks butter, melted and cool

2 1/4 cups flour

1/4 cup oatmeal

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/4 cups brown sugar

1/4 cup sugar

1 whole egg

1 egg yolk

2 tablespoons milk

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

2 cups chocolate chips

1/2 cup chopped pecans 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 

Stir together flour, oatmeal, salt and baking soda in a large bowl.  Set aside. 

Pour melted butter and sugars in mixer bowl and cream on medium speed.  Add the egg and yolk, milk and vanilla and mix until well combined. 

Slowly add the flour mixture and mix until thoroughly combined.  Stir in the chocolate chips and nuts. 

Chill the dough for about an hour. 

Quickly roll into walnut size balls and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet, about 3” apart.

Keep excess dough in the refrigerator until ready to form and bake. 

Bake for 10 – 12 minutes or until golden brown.  Leave them on the cookie sheet for a few minutes, then remove them to a cooling rack.  Cool completely.

Gift Giving Christmas Ideas

15 Dec

If you’re still in need of some easy homemade gifts to make for Christmas, here’s some suggestions.

Homemade Christmas Scent Potpourri

twofrugalgals christmas scent in a jar

I love this idea of filling a jar with fresh citrus slices and spices! The recipient simply adds the contents into a pan and simmers it on the stove. Mmm, bet it smells marvelous! It’s on my to do list. Here’s the link:

Bird Seed Wreath

winter bird seed wreath

I made this for my mom last year. It was easy and fun to make. Here’s the link:

Homemade Pop Tarts

Family Says homemade pop tarts

How cute are these! What child wouldn’t want to pop these in the toaster. It’s on my list of things I want to try for the grandkids. Here’s the link:

Homemade Kahlua

homemadegiftguru homemade kahlua

I made and gifted this recipe last year. It’s really easy to make and tastes great! Here’s the link:

Homemade Coffee and Almond Caramel Corn

A perfect companion to the Homemade Kahlua. Here’s the link:

Last year I made the Coffee and Almond Caramel Corn for my kids using my puffed caramel corn recipe and it turned out great! I just added a little coffee extract to the recipe and added chocolate covered coffee beans and almonds after it cooled…yummy!

Sweet and Spicy Nut and Pretzel Mix

sweet and spicy nut and pretzel mix

For those who likes things on the spicy side, this snack mix does the trick! Here’s the link:

Chocolate Covered Rice Krispie Bites

Chocolate covered rice krispie bites

Here’s another treat the kids will love. They’re quick and easy to make from pre-packaged Rice Krispie Bars. Here’s the link:

Peanut Butter Granola Bars

Caden eating granola bar

Here’s a healthier alternative for the kids. Here’s the link:

Homemade Soups, Breads, Casseroles and more

Homemade food items make great Christmas gifts.  My husband and I make large batches of our “specialty” recipes like hamburgers, chili, buffalo chicken chili, pizza soup, barley soup, baked ziti, lasagna, bagels, etc.  We label and freeze them in plastic and foil containers to give to employees and family as gifts.  What’s also nice about this is that our freezer get stocked up too! 

Melted Crayon Shapes

Heart Crayons

My daughter made these heart shaped crayons for Valentines with her kids. They would make a nice Christmas gift too using old muffin tins or cookie cutters wrapped with foil. Here’s the link:

Felt Snowman

Felt Snowman Friends display

Any child would love to have one of these cute snowmen that they can put out every Christmas. They’re quick and easy to make. Here’s the link:

Kids Seatbelt Pillows

Angry Bird Seatbelt Pillow

These kids seatbelt pillows are really popular now. They’re great to have for those long trips and can be made from their favorite cartoon character fabric. They’re easy and inexpensive to make. Here’s the link:

Hope these ideas help!

Caden’s Fire Fighter Birthday Party

17 Nov

It’s always fun helping plan my grandkids birthday parties.  This year Caden wanted a fire fighter party, and that’s exactly what he got yesterday.

caden kylan and kinzley at fire station

First, everyone met at a local Fire Station for a tour.  Here’s Caden (in the middle, wearing his Paw Patrol Necklace I made him) along with his brother, Kylan, and sister, Kinzley.


Fire Fighter Party Banner

Here’s his Happy Birthday banner I made.  The fire fighter I made on my cricut machine using the Everyday Paper Dolls cartridge I borrowed from my niece…thanks Lisa!

banner close up

Sorry for the blurry picture!

For the fire, I cut out flames from card stock.   Yellow first, then traced it onto orange and cut it out a little larger, traced the orange onto red and cut it out a little larger.   Then I stapled them together and taped it to the back of the banner. I hand rolled each layer forward, giving it more of a 3D effect.

fire hats above cabinets

Katie lined up fire hats along the top of her cabinets above the food counter.

Fire Fighter party gift table

This is the gift table.  She also laid out sippy cups and hats with the kids name on them.

Food Counter

Fire fighter 3 alram chili

The menu was simple.  Spicy 3 Alarm Chili (my husband made it),  False Alarm Chili (I made to top the hotdogs)…and all the toppings.

firehouse dogs

Firehouse Dogs in the crockpot…and my Dalmatian hot dog trays. There was also a fruit platter, BBQ and regular chips, punch and pop to drink.

Dessert Table

No birthday party is complete without a few sweets!

fire fighter dessert table

Katie did a good job on this. In the yellow buckets she has labeled: Stop, Drop and Roll and filled them with gobstoppers, lemon drops and Tootsy rolls. There’s also black licorice “Rescue Ropes”, red licorice “Fire Hoses”, chocolate dipped marshmallow “Flames”, chocolate dipped pretzel rod “Match Sticks”, Oreo “Fire Truck Wheels” and of course a Fire Truck cake.

Fire fighter goodie bags

Each child also received a goodie bag filled with treats and toys.  Katie bought the bags on sale (after Halloween sale) and I ironed on the fire truck picture.

rice krispie fire truck suckers

For the goodie bags, I made these chocolate covered Rice Krispie treat (boxed) Fire Truck suckers.

blowing out candles

Here’s Caden blowing out his candles.  Katie said this morning, he told her he really liked his birthday party…yea!

My Whole Wheat Almond and Apricot Biscotti

16 Nov

Whole Wheat Almond and Apricot Biscotti

I’ve been trying to think of what I could make to go with some flavored coffee I’m making to give out at our annual Christmas Eve party, and came up with biscotti.  Coffee and biscotti…a perfect match! 

At first I thought they might be difficult to make.  Boy, was I wrong!  I wanted to make a more healthier version, and these Whole Wheat Almond and Apricot Biscotti fit the bill.  They turned out good and crispy, with a nice nutty, almond flavor. 

Whole Wheat Almond and Apricot Biscotti

3/4 cup whole wheat flour

3/4 cup flour

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 eggs, slightly beaten

2 tablespoons 2% milk

2 tablespoons coconut oil (or canola oil)

2 tablespoons honey

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

2/3 cup chopped dried apricots

1/4 cup coarsely chopped toasted almonds (raw preferably) 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

Lay out a long sheet of plastic wrap (for forming the dough) 

Combine the flours, brown sugar and baking powder in a large bowl and whisk to blend.

Add the eggs, milk, oil, honey and almond extract and stir until the dough just begins to come together. Add the chopped apricots and almonds. With floured hands (dough is sticky), mix until the dough is well blended. 

Place the dough on the plastic wrap and shape into a flattened log, approximately 12” long, 3” wide and 1” high.  

Form the biscotti dough

Lift the plastic wrap and invert the log onto a parchment lined baking sheet.

Biscotti After First Bake

Bake until lightly browned, 25 to 30 minutes.  Let cool for 10 minutes.

Lower the oven to 325 degrees.

Biscotti Sliced and ready for second bake

With a serrated knife, cut the log crosswise into 1/2” slices and lay cut side down on a baking sheet.  Return to the oven and bake until crisp, 15 – 20 minutes* (turning them over halfway through).  Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely. Store in an airtight container. 

*Note: Depending upon the humidity of your kitchen and differences in ovens, they may need to bake longer to dry out. After mine were cooled, they weren’t as crisp as I wanted them, so I put them in a 300 degree oven for about 5 minutes and they turned out perfectly crisp.

The Easiest Cupcakes I’ve Ever Made!

29 Oct

Orange soda pop cupcakes

Here’s my Orange Soda Pop Cupcakes…the easiest cupcakes I’ve ever made!  Sorry the pictures a little blurry!!

whisk cake mix and soda

I took a white cake mix and added 1 1/2 cups (or one can) of orange soda pop and mixed well. I filled up 6 jumbo cupcake holders and 4 regular and baked them.  350 degrees for 15 minutes for the regular ones and about 22 – 25 minutes for the jumbo ones…when a toothpick inserted in the middle came out clean.

soda pop cupcakes on cooling rack

And here they are fresh out of the oven…I couldn’t believe they actually rose with just using pop!

iced soda pop cupcakes

Once they cooled, I iced them with a small amount of cream cheese (1/3 fat), powdered sugar and vanilla extract frosting. My husband and I both liked them. They’re more dense and moister than a regular cake mix cupcake, and had a nice orange flavor.

So, the next time you want to make cupcakes but don’t have any eggs or oil. You still can… just add some pop! Hmm, how about crèam soda or root beer cupcakes? Sounds good!

My Spicy Cheddar Jalapeno Bagels

17 Oct

My Spicy Cheddar Jalapeno Bagels

I love my bread machine!  I use it to make the dough for whatever I want to make, like breads, buns, rolls, pizza crust, etc. It does all the hard work of mixing and kneading for me. You can’t beat it! 

I wanted to try my hand at making some bagels, so I looked online and found this basic bread machine recipe.  It got a lot of good reviews and seemed pretty easy.

Also, before starting I watched this video to get an idea of how to form, boil and bake them. The video was short and sweet and I only needed to watch it once.

Spicy Cheddar Jalapeno Bagels

I decided to make these spicy bagels to give to my son-in-law for his birthday.  He LOVES spicy foods (and bagels) and these definitely turned out spicy. 

I modified the basic recipe as follows:

Bagel Ingredients

1 cup warm water (110 degrees F)

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons sugar

4 tablespoons chopped jalapenos

2 1/2 cups bread flour (not all purpose flour)

3/4 cups whole wheat flour

1 tablespoon red chili flakes

1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

1 package active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)

place ingredients in pan as listed

Place the ingredients in the bread pan in the order listed above.

select Dough option_prep time

Select the dough option (08) and press Start.  It will take 1 hour and 28 minutes until the dough is done…perfect time to get things ready for the forming, boiling and baking steps.

prepare for forming boiling and baking

FORMING/RISING STEPS:  Pastry sheet lightly floured, knife, wooden spoon for making the holes, lightly greased cookie sheet and clean towel

BOILING STEP:  Pan with 3 quarts water and 3 tablespoons of brown or regular sugar, slotted spatula, cookie sheet with clean towel

BAKING STEP:  Cookie sheet with parchment paper, egg wash (1 egg white plus 1 tablespoon water), cheese and chili flakes for topping.  I was going to use corn meal to lay the bagels on but decided to use parchment paper instead.

Dough is done

Here’s how the dough looked when it was done.  You can see pieces of Jalapeno and chili flakes.

lay dough on floured surface_cover_rest

Place the dough on a lightly floured surface, cover and let rest for 5 minutes.

cut into equal pieces

Cut dough in equal pieces.  I thought 8 would be good, but 12 would have been better…I ended up with some big bagels!

form bagels

Roll each piece into a ball, flatten, insert the end of a wooden spoon in the center, then using fingers and thumb, stretch open the hole to form the bagel.

lay bagels on lightly greased sheet

Lay the formed bagels on the greased cookie sheet.  You want the holes pretty large, as they will close up when boiled and baked.

cover bagels and let rise 20 minutes

Cover and let rise 20 minutes in a warm place (I turned my oven on 170 degrees for about 2 minutes, then turned it off).  I find this works the best.  Start boiling the 3 quarts of water with 3 tablespoons of brown or white sugar about 6 minutes or so before the end of the rise time.

risen bagels

After the 20 minutes, they’re ready to boil.  The bagels should not be doubled in size.

boil bagels 30 seconds each side

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Gently remove bagels from the cookie sheet and place in boiling water.  Boil each side for about 30 seconds.  Boiling the bagels sets the crust before they are baked. The longer you boil them the thicker and chewier the crust, but they won’t rise as much when baked.  I just counted to 30 then turned and counted to 30 again.

remove from water and lay on cloth

Remove bagels from the water with a slotted spatula and flip over onto a clean towel (by placing the top side down they’re less likely to stick to the towel).  Continue boiling the remainder of the bagels.

move to sheet brush with egg wash and toppings

Move the boiled bagels from the towel to the prepared cookie sheet (with parchment paper or sprinkled with corn meal). Brush with the egg wash and top with red chili flakes and cheese. Bake in 375 degree preheated oven for 17 – 20 minutes or until well browned.

finished spicy cheddar jalapeno bagels

Allow to cool on a cooling rack.  If you don’t plan on eating them right away, cut them in half and freeze.  

My husband and I split one last night…I just had to try one.  Yep, they’re spiiiicy!  Dave will love them!!

Hershey’s Kiss Filled Peanut Butter Blossom Cookies

9 Aug

Hersheys Kiss Filled Peanut Butter Cookies

For our camping trip I was going to make some Peanut Butter Blossom cookies but was concerned that the chocolate kisses might melt if it got too warm.  As an alternative I made the Peanut Butter Blossom cookies with the kisses inside.  To tell you the truth, I wasn’t sure if they would turn out, but THEY DID! 

I used the following recipe on the back of the bag: 


48 unwrapped Kisses

1/2 cup shortening

3/4 cups peanut butter

1/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup brown sugar

1 egg

2 tablespoons milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

granulated sugar (for rolling…I didn’t roll mine, but probably will the next time) 

Heat oven to 375 degrees. 

Beat shortening and peanut butter in a large bowl until well blended.  Add 1/3 cup sugar and brown sugar and beat until fluffy. Add egg, milk and vanilla, beat well.  Stir the flour, baking soda and salt together and gradually beat into the batter mixture. 

Shape into balls, push in a Kiss and gently work the dough up and around the Kiss and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. *Roll in granulated sugar, if desired. Repeat with remaining dough and Kisses. 

Bake for 8 – 10 minutes until lightly browned.  Remove to a wire rack and allow to cool.  The next time I make them for home I’ll probably drizzle some chocolate over the top…they’re rather plain looking.

My Chocolate Covered Rice Krispie Bites

3 Feb

My grand kids were coming over to spend the night, so I checked to see what treats I had on hand.   Other than some candy, I found one Rice Krispie Treat.   I figured I could give each of the boys a half, but then I got an idea.   I had some melting chocolate and thought, why not cut the Rice Krispie Treat into small pieces and cover them with the chocolate? So, that’s what I did.

Chocolate covered rice krispie bites

Didn’t they turn out cute?  Now, both boys can have three of these scrumptious looking treats rather than a half of a plain, boring Rice Krispie Treat.   Which would YOU choose?  They were so easy to make…here’s what I did.

cut treats_melt chocolate

I cut the Rice Krispie Treat into six pieces.   I put some of the melting chocolate in a glass bowl, put it in the microwave for about 1 1/2 minutes, checking and stirring every 30 seconds or so  until it was completely melted.

dip in chocolate and let dry

 Using a toothpick, I rolled the pieces in the chocolate and laid them on parchment paper to dry.

dip top_add sprinkles

 Then I melted some white chocolate, dipped the tops in it, added some sprinkles and let them dry.   Easy Peasy!

Chocolate covered rice krispie bites

Once they were completely dry, I put them in these mini cupcake holders I had leftover from Christmas. 

These Chocolate Covered Rice Krispie Bites would make a great treat idea for a shower or birthday party.   They can be covered and decorated in a variety of colors to match any theme.   What’s even better is that one box of Rice Krispie Treats will make 72 bites!   That’s a lot of bites for the price…and the melting chocolate isn’t expensive either.   They come in a variety of colors and flavors, and any leftover chocolate can be cooled on wax paper and stored in a baggie for future use.

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