Diana Rambles: December 2011

My Kiddos

Saturday, December 31, 2011

December is always a busy month, but even more so with my son's participation in his school's arts night. Earlier in the semester he joined drama club and then auditioned for a small part in the (mini) play. He got the lead. He was HD (Humpty Dumpty) a grumpy, cynical, injured detective in Law & Order: Fairy Tale Division. Of course I was VERY proud of him, but I have to tell you that he was FANTASTIC! His puns and outbursts were well executed and timely.
My daughter also had a performance as an angel in our church Christmas program. She came up with her own outfit!
I am proud of all my talented children!!

New Years Bento

Friday, December 30, 2011

12/30: New Year's Count Down: toasted bagel & cheese clock with green bean hands, peas, apple & craisins, and 2012 out of fruit roll-ups.
linked to the following bento memes: Bento of the Week, What's For Lunch

Fresh Cranberry Salsa

Thursday, December 29, 2011

 Fresh Cranberry Salsa

12 oz package fresh cranberries
1/4 C green onion, chopped
1/4 C cilantro, chopped
1 small jalapeno pepper, optional
1 1/4 C sugar
1/4 t cumin
2 T lemon juice
dash salt

I actually made this recipe (no jalapeno) and served as a dip as found on this blog, and served with Wheat Thins. It was fabulous, although I will make it with just 1 package of cream cheese the next time I serve it as an appetiser. It was so good that I thought just the cranberry part would be GREAT on Mexican food. We had it with our big Enchilada Christmas dinner with my sister and her family and it was a big hit! I will be making this over & over during cranberry season...and will probably even use a little jalapeno!
I link to food memes listed here.
I link to creative memes listed here.

Silicone Cups Bento

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

I got this set of 6 silicone cupcake cups for a buck at the Dollar Tree last week. I wish I had bought more. I'll have to see if they have anymore when i got next.
12/28: Silicone Cups- pork dumplings, peas, orange, cheese, candies.

All Dressed Up Cape Review & Giveaway

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Denise of All Dressed Up Couture contacted me and requested a review/giveaway. She sent me the following cape set.
M is for Mei Mei, my daughter's AG Doll, and D is for Dori. These capes are adorable and well made. There are 2 solid colors (in our case pink & yellow) sewn back to back with a felt icon and initial. I like how the part that fastens around the neck is part of the overall cape and that it goes on with Velcro. My oldest almost got choked by a tie cape when he was little. I believe the Velcro of this cape would pull apart and the cape would come off if it gets stuck in something. My daughter is not a fan of the mask (she doesn't like wearing things like that on her face), but it's well made and matches the cape so nicely.

The All Dressed Up Etsy shop has all kinds of adorable items for both children and 18" Dolls. My daughter loves the matching girl & doll items.

Denise of All Dressed up is offering a Super Hero Cape for an American Girl or 18" Doll to one of my lucky Diana Rambles readers. The winner will get a choice of capes. This giveaway will run through 11:59pm CST on Monday, January 2nd. The winner will be chosen via random.org and notified on January 3rd and will have 48 hours to contact me. This giveaway is for the cape only! Doll not included!

Entry Rules

  • You must do the mandatory entry
  • Leave your email address with your mandatory entry if it's not available in your profile
  • Each entry needs to be a separate comment (remember to do multiple comments on those indicated as multiple entries!)
  • US addresses only
Mandatory Entry
  • Visit the All Dressed Up Etsy shop and check out the items. Come back here and leave a comment on what your favorite item for an 18" or American Girl doll is.
Additional Entries
  • 1 entry for adding All Dressed Up to your list of shop favorites at Etsy.
  • 1 entry for subcribing to Denise's Maine PURSEnalities blog feed.
  • 1 entry for liking the All Dressed Up Facebook page.
  • 1 entry for being a public follower of Diana Rambles via Google Friend Connect.
  • 2 entries for subscribing to my Diana Rambles Feedburner. Make sure you verify the subscription.
  • 1 entry for following me via Twitter @FreeStyleMama.
  • 1 entry (up to 10 each day...must be at least 2 hours apart) for tweeting about this giveaway on Twitter. Feel free to copy the following~ Enter to #win a Super Hero Cape for an 18" #AmericanGirl Doll #giveaway #contest ends 1/2 @FreeStyleMama http://tinyurl.com/AGhero Please leave the link to your tweet in the comment. (You get the tweet link by clicking on the '4 mins ago' time)
That is a bunch of entry possibilities. The more times you enter, the better chance you have of winning! I will publish each comment when the entry has been verified. **MAKE sure you follow the rules or the entry will be DQ'd!!**

Find Giveaway Linkies at~

Bailey's Mint Irish Creme Trifle

Monday, December 26, 2011

Last night we went to a Christmas dessert potluck. I made this delicious Bailey's Mint Irish Cream Trifle, although I didn't have a proper trifle dish so it was more like a bi-ful! LOL!

Bailey's Mint Irish Cream Trifle

Devil's Food cake mix
1 cup Bailey's Mint Irish Cream
2 packages instant chocolate pudding mix
3.5 cups milk
large container of Cool Whip
Peppermint Candy

Bake the Devil's Food cake in a 9x13 according to the directions. When it's cooled a little bit poke holes in the cake and pour the Bailey's in the holes. Refrigerate. We let ours sit overnight. Prepare the pudding with the milk and let it sit a few minutes to set. Make sure the Cool Whip has defrosted a little bit too. Crush your candy. I used green & red striped candy canes, but you can use Andes baking pieces, Keebler Grasshopper cookies or similar. You can even ditch the mint part of it all.

Divide each layer (cake, pudding, Cool Whip, candy) in thirds and layer them. Refrigerate for a little bit before you serve. Rich & delicious!!
I link to food memes listed here.
I link to creative memes listed here.

Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas Bento

Saturday, December 24, 2011

12/24: Merry Christmas- Candy Cane shaped Turkey & Cheese Tortilla Sandwiches, peas, orange, cheese, pickle, choc chip cookie
linked to the following bento memes: Bento of the Week, What's For Lunch

Christmas Party Recipes

Friday, December 23, 2011

Our annual Christmas party was 2 weeks ago and we had a great time. We had 50+ people including a handful of my son's college friends. They even participated in the White Elephant gift exchange. We have people bring a snack/appetizer to share. I enjoy making new recipes for the party and we always end up with leftovers, so next year I am going to make bringing food optional. We usually have the party on the 2nd Friday in December, but we moved it to Saturday due to a conflict with my younger son's participation in a play. We got lots of positive feedback from our friends, so I think we will have the party on the 2nd Saturday from now on.

I wanted to post the various recipes I made, but I realize I didn't take many photos. I will do my best with what I do have.

Oreo Stuffed Brownies

Brownie Mix
Package of Oreos

This is super easy to make! Mix your brownie mix according to the directions on the box. Dip an oreo in the batter until it's covered and then place into a (regular sized) muffin tin sprayed with cooking spray. There are 30 cookies in a standard package of oreos, which works out perfectly with the batter. Bake at 350 degrees for 12-14 minutes. Let the tin cool for a few minutes before removing. I find this recipe here.
Peppermint Chocolate Crinkles

Chocolate Crinkles- I used this boxed mix by Krusteaz. I found it at Aldi for the price it would have cost for all of the ingredients. I love Krusteaz brand, so this was a no brainer. I prepared the cookies according to the directions and when they came out of the oven I put a Candy Cane flavored Hershey Kiss on top of each cookie. Then I put the cookie sheet in the refrigerator so that the kisses would hold their shape. Not only did they look good, they tasted divine! The box came with 3 pouches of mix and I made another last week and added peppermint extract and crushed peppermint candies on top. They weren't very good! Stick with the Kisses!

Graham Crackers
Hershey Chocolate Bars
Almond Bark
Fruit Roll-Ups

This was fun to put together and my daughter did much of the assembly. The melted part of the snowman is made with melted almond bark. I carelessly added icing for the facial details so they looked melted also. I used a pizza cutter to cut strips from the Fruit Roll-Ups to be the scarves. The only thing I would do different is use more almond bark (even some under the chocolate) to hold it all together better. These were a hit!

Santa Party Mix

Red Candy Melts
White Sprinkles
Mini Marshmallows
Chex Cereal
Dry Roasted Peanuts
Christmas M&Ms
White Chocolate Chips

I wish I had gotten better photos of this. It was FUN to make and WOW was it GOOD! Melt the red candy melts according to the directions. Dip the Bugels in the melt and have them dry on wax paper (I used a silicone liner). When those are dry go through and dip each wide end of the Bugel in the melt again (you might have to remelt the candy) and then dip in white sprinkles or nonpareils. Then go back and dip the other end in the melt and top with a mini marshmallow to make adorable little Santa hats.
Melt the white chocolate chips (30 minute intervals on 50% power, stirring in between) and pour over the
Pretzels, Craisins, Chex Cereal, and Dry Roasted Peanuts and mix on a lined cookie sheet. When those are dry break apart and put in a bowl, mixing in the M&Ms and the Santa hats. I find this recipe here.
Party Punch

Container of Raspberry Sherbert
Pink Lemonade Frozen Concentrate
Lemon-Lime Soda
Citrus Slices

This punch was very yummy. I took the sherbert and scooped it out on a cookie sheet and re-froze it. This hardens the sherbert up quite a bit so that it will melt slowly when put in the punch. I made the pink lemonade concentrate with about 1/2 the water stated in the directions in the bottom of the punch bowl. I added the sherbert and then the soda. Finally top with the fruit slices. Isn't it pretty?! I find this recipe here.
I link to food memes listed here.
I link to creative memes listed here.

Hair Clippie Holder Craft

I lead my daughter's girl scout troop and I organized a Christmas party for our meeting this month. I assigned each girl a secret pal and they were supposed to make a craft for their buddy. My daughter recently discovered the hot glue gun so she wanted to make some kind of craft with it. She thought of gluing gems on a piece of wood. My hubby cut a small piece from a scrap he had. My daughter sanded it and then painted it black. I outlined an M on it for her as she had a girl named Maddie. When that dried she went to work with the hot glue gun. She is very meticulous and careful and didn't get burned at all. Here she is in action.
When she was done with the M we decided to add a ribbon to hang it and then we added 2 hanging ribbons so her friend could hang her hair clippies on it. We glued the ribbons on and then I reinforced them with a staple gun.
I link to food memes listed here.
I link to creative memes listed here.

Quick Christmas Bark

Thursday, December 22, 2011

My hubby started a new job last week and he's really enjoying it and his co-workers. I just asked him at dinner if he'd like to bring a Christmas treat in for his co-workers tomorrow and he said yes. This took all of 10 minutes to put together with ingredients I had on hand. 2 hours total with chill time.

Chocolate Bark

2 bags of Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
Toppings of choice:
I used red & green candy cane crushed, Christmas M&Ms, mini marshmallows, and red & green crystals

Put the choc chips in a microwave safe glass bowl and microwave for 30 seconds at a time on 50% power. Stir in between. I think I did about 5 rounds of this. Spread the melted chocolate on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper. I used my new silicone liner that I got from Aldi for $5! Sprinkle toppings all over chocolate and then refrigerate. When the chocolate has hardened (about 90 mins) remove from the fridge and break apart. This super simple recipe has many variations out there. It looks pretty with a layer of white chocolate underneath regular chocolate. I'm going to make this variation for Christmas and use the toppings above instead of nuts.
I link to food memes listed here.
I link to creative memes listed here.

No New Bentos!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

I am sick! Some kind of upper respiratory thing...not sure. I'm not sleep very well at night, but I am not feeling too bad. As of last night I am done with fall activities, cards & packages are all in the mail, and outside of food, all is bought & wrapped for Christmas. Today is the last day of school before winter break for the kiddos. So now I have the time to be sick. LOL!

We've also been battling LICE again. UGH! My daughter first got it in May and then it came back in July. I think that she might have spread it to the neighbor kids and then they sent it back over here. But this infestation that I found last Thursday seemed to come out of no where. No one else in her class has had it, so we cannot figure out the source. That really doesn't matter cause I am on the assault! My attack includes olive oil soaked on the head for a few hours, several comb-throughs with a metal nit comb, tea tree oil added to our shampoo, everything washed & dried on hot settings, vacuuming, and the stuff that can't go through the dryer are out in the garage for a while. We've had no lice or nits since Friday, but my attack hasn't softened. I did keep Dori home on Friday & Monday, but she was happy to return to school today as it's pajama day! I was supposed to run the class party this afternoon but the teacher is going to cover it since I am sick. With the kid having the next 2 weeks off I will probably relax my assault a little bit, but the nit check with go on every other day. We will probably continue to use the tea tree shampoo and blow dry hair from now on. I am so thankful for a good washer & dryer in our home in times like these!

I had a few good ideas for a bento today, but I just told my daughter to have school lunch. She was happy about that. I am not even sure what was on the menu for school today. OK...just looked it up and it's spaghetti. She should do a good job of eating that. Not sure if I will make bentos over break or not. I would suspect that some muffin tin bentos might happen.

I still have a few blog posts to catch up on. I need to do our Christmas party post. I have a few great recipes from that to share. I also have a craft project to post. And I have a giveaway starting next Monday that I have to prepare. We have NO plans on tap over the next 2 weeks so I should be able to catch up. My hubby started a new position last Monday (within the same company...just a different department/location) and he gets all of next week off, so it will be laziness around here with EVERYONE on break! Fine by me!!

Last Minute Gift Ideas for the 18" Doll Fan

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Need a last minute gift for your American Girl Doll Fan? Check out these great Etsy shops.

Dawn is a buddy of mine (who I've featured on this blog before) who is sewing & selling cute sundresses and matching skirt sets to raise money for the pending adoption. She has time set aside this weekend to sew and will ship on Monday. Click this All for Aliyah graphic to reach her shop.
I've featured Darci's excellent creations before on this blog. She is taking orders through tomorrow to be shipped out on Monday. Click this Catsmeow1 graphic to reach her shop.
Denise will be featured in a giveaway starting right after Christmas. You can visit her shop here.

Laptops for Africa

Friday, December 16, 2011

I am the Box Tops for Education Coordinator for my daughter's school and I frequent the BTFE website entering sweepstakes and finding easy ways to earn Box Tops. Tonight I ran across this link for Laptops for Africa. For every 100 views of “Experience the Journey”, Betty Crocker® Fruit Flavored Snacks will donate 1 laptop to a kid in Africa up to 51 laptops from 12/15/11-1/31/12. It's a nice video that isn't too long. You also have the chance to earn 5 Box Tops for your (chosen) school by sharing the video with 5 friends. It took me around 3 minutes to earn 5 and help earn a laptop for school children in Africa.

Pokeball Bento

The semester is over so my (oldest) son is home watching episode after episode of Pokemon.Yup, he's 18 and still loves Pokemon. Dori has been watching too and wants to be a Pokemon Master. For now she just gets a Pokemon lunch!
12/16: Pokeball- twisty pasta, apples, peas, Pokeball made from Provolone and red & black egg sheet

Rapunzel Tangled Birthday Party

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

rapunzel tangled party ideas
My daughter's birthday party was a few weeks ago. Her birthday seemed to sneak up on us which had me scrambling. I started the planning on a Tuesday for the party 4 days later. She wanted a Tangled Party and I didn't want to disappoint! Party planning wasn't difficult, just time consuming. I got most of the ideas for the party from this website.

First I created the invitation and emailed it out. Email me if you would like to get your own personalized invitation.
rapunzel tangled party invitation tangled birthday gift bag

tangled birthday gift bags
tangled birthday gift bags
tangled rapunzel gift bag
tangled rapunzel gift bags
We printed and laminated these bookmarks. Dori cut them ALL out, including enough for everyone in her class at school. We had the party guests string yarn through for Rapunzel hair, but Dori did the hair for her class bookmarks.
tangled rapunzel bookmark disney
Here she is cutting out her own Tangled Crown.
tangled rapunzel party printable
We also made luggage tags for each party guest.
tangled rapunzel gift tags
The cake was a combination of a Rapunzel Tangled Tower and Pascal (chameleon) Cupcakes. Here are some of the supplies.
tangled tower cake ingredients
My hubby made a base out of a block of wood with a dowel stuck in it. I took an 8" round cake and pushed it down the dowel for the base and covered it with green frosting for the grass. Then I stacked Pecan Rolls back to back and topped them with 2 cupcakes.
tangled tower cake directions
Then I decorated the tower with green icing vines and topped it with a waffle cone which had been iced with purple frosting. Rapunzel's hair flowed out and around the cake. It survived the car ride on my lap to the party location (mall).
tangled tower cake birthday
The cake was displayed at the party surrounded by the Pascal Cupcakes.
tangled tower cake birthday
Party activities included drawing Eugene's nose on his wanted poster. The boys got a kick out of being really silly with this.
tangled rapunzel birthday coloring
We also made Pascal Party Blowers. Supplies for this were purchase at Dollar Tree. Only $2 total for 8 blowers.
pascal tangled blowers craft
Here was the table where the kids made the blowers & put the hair on their bookmarks.
tangles arts and crafts
Here is Dori blowing her Pascal Blower.
rapunzel party fun ideas
Here is the Birthday girl and her Tower Cake & Pascal Cupcakes! I love how the sun was streaming in the windows and made it look like her crown was sparkling.
tangled rapunzel birthday party
As you can see the party was a success! My daughter felt special and had a great time.

Here are the Pascal cupcakes I took into school to celebrate her birthday a few days later. She passed out bookmarks to all her classmates and read a Tangled book to the entire class too.
pascal birthday cupcake homemade
We teach our children to be mindful of others, especially those in need. So we asked the party guests to bring mittens/gloves & hats to donate to local children in need. Here is a pic of my daughter after she decorated the Mitten Tree with her party donations.
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