May 31, 2013

Fun with the Kids Fridays: Snake O'Cups

Fun Fridays!! Woohoo.

Now that school is out we are in desperate need of fun projects and boredom busters.

These snakes are super fun and just about the most awesome thing ever. Just ask my boys.

They are obsessed with snakes. We have several books all about snakes, and they read them all the time. Their favorite snake fact:

There is a snake that farts up to 6 feet to ward off predators.

Every time the boys talk about it they laugh and laugh and laugh.

In one of the books, there was an idea to make a snake from cups.

Yep, that was going to happen.

A bunch of cups and an hour or so equals three very happy boys.

Here is how you can make a Snake O'Cups all your own--

You need:
colorful paper cups
red pipe cleaners
craft eyes
hot glue

Every cup, except the head cups and the first cup, will need 4 holes.

Two holes on the top on opposite sides of the cup and two holes on the bottom on opposite sides. Both sets of holes need to be about an inch from the top and bottom.

Punch the holes with a push pin, that will make it easier to put the brads in.

You connect the cups by putting one cup into the other. Then you attach them with brads through the top holes of the outside cup to the bottom of the inside cup.

The first cup you do only needs the holes at the top. This will be the tail. You continue attaching cups working towards where the head will be. Alternate colors, create a pattern. Basically keep at it until you have a snake to your liking. Our were about 17 cups long.

I will warn you that you will need to help. The brads were a bit tricky for little teeny fingers. The brads also really need to be fastened good. I mean they have to withhold any ensuing snake fights...that will occur, I promise you.

The snake wranglers will appreciate all your hard work though.

Just before you add the head, you will stop with a cup only attached at the bottom. Set it aside and make the head.

For the head, first make the tongue.

You need 2 red pipe cleaners.

Twist it together, leaving about and inch untwisted.

Then twist it all together.

Cut a tiny hole in the bottom of a cup and pull the pipe cleaner through using the left over inch to keep it in place.

With hot glue, attach the eyes on either side of the top of the tongue cup. Then glue that cup to the last cup of the snake body.

Draw some fangs by the tongue and....


The brads make the cups move very snake-like.

These are the only pet snakes our boys will EVER have.

When not being carried, they prefer to lounge in the sun.

My boys gave this project two very enthusiastic thumbs up. Now they can stop pestering me for their own pet snake.

Which is good, cause it was never.gonna.happen.

Happy Friday!!
Linking here:
Your Homebased Mom
Thirty Handmade Days

May 30, 2013

German Chocolate Caramel Bars

I originally had a version of these delightful bars years ago. I do remember loving them a great deal. I loved them so much I immediately wrote down the recipe on a 3x5 card...that is how you know it was awhile ago...pre-Pinterest.

The original recipe was called Knock Ya Nakeds.

A name which my boys found HEE-larious. They seemed to think the ability of a treat to knock ones clothes off was pretty impressive and a whole lot of funny.

When I handed out these yummy treats out to my boys, Middle took a bite and then dropped his pants.

"Mom! Look these were so good they knocked my pants off!"

It was right then I realized I might want to come up with another name, or there could be a whole pants dropping epidemic.

Hence the new treat name--German Chocolate Caramel Bars

Whatever ya call them, they are gloriously yummy. I mean GLOR-EEE-US.

The texture is similar to a brownie, but has that ooey gooey caramel layer. Throw in the nuts, and I am pretty sure I am gonna eat the whole pan.

The. Whole. Pan.

It is a good thing I work out.

These really are heavenly. I would be remiss if I didn't tell you to make them as soon as you can.

German Chocolate Caramel Bars

Print Here

1 box German chocolate cake mix
1 cup chopped pecans
1/3 cup, plus 1/2 cup evaporated milk (divided)
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 package caramel bits
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup milk chocolate chips

Combine cake mix, pecans and 1/3 cup evaporated milk, and butter. Press half of the mixture into  a greased 8x8 baking dish (for thinner bars use a 9x13 dish).

Bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes.

Melt caramel bits in a double broiler with the remaining 1/2 cup evaporated milk. When the mixture is completely smooth and incorporated evenly and in the vanilla.

Poor the caramel over the slightly cooled baked layer. Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the caramel layer. Drop the rest of the batter in spoonfuls evenly over the top.

Bake for 16-18 minutes.

Cool completely and cut into squares.

Have a glorious Thursday!

Linking Here:
Your Homebased Mom,
Thirty Handmade Days

May 29, 2013

Girly Grad Gift: Aprons

 Last night I had a pretty fun night with the young women at church celebrating the girls who were graduating. We had a little Senior Shower and got them all ready to head off to college. Each girl had a laundry basketful of useful little gifts that the other girls had brought them.

One of the girls next to me even excitedly whispered to me, "I got them an awesome gift. I got them plungers." To which we both giggled.

Sitting there among all that youth and beauty took me back.

As I stared at the Seniors we were celebrating, I just kept thinking to myself, "Was is it really that long ago?"

Unfortunately the answer was, "yeah it was that long ago".

No I would never want to go back to those days...I mean I still have the occasional dream I am back in college and I have forgotten to go to one of my classes for the whole semester. Needless to say I wake up in a cold sweat  every time.

However I do miss the excitement of striking out on my own for the first time.  I was such a geek and I loved every spatula, set of dishes, and dish towel I got. I loved picking out sheets and a comforter for my little dorm bed. 

I loved everything about it.

Now I get to give the grad gift of geek and get them all ready to be out on their own.

My little gift...


Cute little vintage looking aprons.

I have made aprons before. These lovely Ric Rac Aprons were probably my favorite. 

However, these lovely vintagey ones are coming in a close second.

They even fold up nicely and can be tied sweetly with their own apron strings. No wrapping needed.

Pair this little apron with some recipe cards or a little cookbook.

Happy Graduation!

Oh going to college and striking out on your own is so much fun.

May 28, 2013

Father's Day Gift: World's Best Pop

Here in our house we think we have the world's best uh Pop. This very special Pop has been warned to stay away from the blog today and any other day in the future that might be about gifts for his very fatheriffic self.

Back to our house and our bestest dad, well I am sure you feel the same way at your house.

Pretty soon there is a whole extra special day just to celebrate the one and only very special dad.

This year one of the things we are giving our dad is Soda...or Pop...



What do you say? Soda? Pop?

Me: Soda

Hubs: Pop

It is an on-going battle. Each of insisting we are the correct party.

For Father's Day (and only Father's Day) I will concede.

For Father's Day, it will be Pop. I gave a little hint about this project on Instagram. (Follow along @larissa_anotherday).

So for a Father's Day Gift, our World's Best Pop is getting a special crate of six different and unique bottles of soda. My boys had tons of fun picking out different soda, although I am pretty sure they only picked the soda according to the brightest color.

After they picked out the soda, I bought a plain crate and some spray paint.

I used some retro fonts and cut my phrase out of vinyl.

I spray painted the box white first. Then I applied the vinyl. Then I spray painted several coats of red over the vinyl.

After the paint dried, I peeled off the vinyl.

Then I sanded the crate to make it look a little more vintage.

I loaded up the  crate with some shredded paper and safely nestled the bottles in the crate. I printed off a little tag listing the flavors, so he knows all the yummy flavors he is getting.

The boys are already way to excited to give it to him and I am going to be lucky if this stays a secret until Father's Day.

I have a few other Father's Day gifts I am excited to show you. All really easy. All themed based (you know me and my love of themes). All made with love for our Bestest Dad.

So stay tuned!

Thanks for reading!

Linking Here:

May 25, 2013

Slow Cooker Saturday: Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal

Slow Cooker Saturday. Yum. Yum. I have another great Slow Cooker Recipe for you.

School is officially out. We can be a little more leisurely in the morning. A fact for which I am super duper excited.

Breakfasts are a bit of a battle at our house. Mostly because pancakes are the only thing that is unanimously agreed upon and I would rather not make them every morning.

Enter a breakfast that I can start the night before. Then make that breakfast appleicious and all cinnamontastic. Oh and did I mention that it is a healthy and filling oatmeal breakfast as well.


Kiddos happily devoured it all while snugly in their jammies.

Double Sold. 

Now that I know I can make breakfast in a slow cooker...well that might just be happening a lot more.

There will be far less squabbling at breakfast table now...well at least less squabbling about the food...hahaha...

Slow Cooker Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal 
adapted from Baked by Rachel

3 apples, cored and cut into 1/2" cubes
1 cup apple juice
1/2 cup water
1 cup steel-cut oats
2 Tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 Tablespoon ground flax seed
1/4 teaspoon salt
chopped pecans, garnish

Coat the inside of the slow cooker with cooking spray. Be generous, because if you aren't then it could super stick.

Add all the ingredients, but the pecans, into the slow cooker. Stir everything together and put the lid on. Cook on low for 7 hours.

Serve hot topped with the pecans.

Happy eating.

May 22, 2013

Have a "Kool" Summer Printables

The end of school is right there. Preschool actually already ended.

I decided it might be nice for Little to have something to give his classmates.

As are most things in my life, this was kind of last minute. I was sitting around with an extra minute or two and decided, "Why the heck not."

I raided Hubby's not-so-secret stash of Kool-aid. Found puh-lenty of those little packets.

Next I grabbed some striped paper straws from my not-so-secret stash of party supplies.

Then I went to my trusted PicMonkey and I made up some simple tags.

Put it all together...BAM easiest little end of the summer treat ever. 

I made a sheet of these simple and fun printables and now you can make your very own KOOL gifts.  Click on the link and you can download them to your computer.

Download HERE

 Then before you know it you will have a whole pile all ready to go to school with your little one.

Then you can pretty much guarantee they will be just the most liked ever. Plus they will smell like Kool-aid.

What is not to like about that???

Only a few more days of school over here. Ahhh. Then the invasion begins.

Linking Here:

May 20, 2013

Teacher Gift: A TOTEally Awesome Teacher- FREE Printable

I can't believe the end of the school year is practically here. 

I can't believe it is almost Summer and all too soon I am going to have to be entertaining a small pack of wild and crazies. Ugh, let's not think about that just yet...

For now let's focus on all the wonderful teachers. I love great teachers. Every time I go into one of the boys' classrooms and help out I am reminded at just how hard it is to be a teacher. I sure want to make sure great teachers know they are great teachers.

Teacher's Appreciation Week was only a few weeks ago. I shared with you my Teacher Appreciation Gift "Thanks for Being a SOAPer Teacher".

Even though the two are close together, I also like giving an end of the school year gift to our teachers.

I really wanted to make a tote and use the cheesy phrase "TOTEally Awesome Teacher." Then I found this gloriously Summery chevron and I knew the bag was meant to be.

I gave a little sneak peak of this Teacher Gift yesterday on Instagram

Yes people I have finally joined and I am slowly...okay not so slowly...and very surely loading up my Instagram with photos. Follow along (@larissa_anotherday)

I designed and sewed this little tote bag. (tutorial in the works)

Perfect for our teachers to haul things to the beach, the library, or a park during their Summer break.

Then once school is back in they can TOTE around (hehehe, sorry I had to) planners, lunch, books, and other teachery things.

I folded the bag up and added in a coordinating little chalk board. I was fortunate to have some of these chalkboards left over from Little's Charlie Brown Birthday Party.

I tied it all up with a scrap of fabric that I had left over from the inside lining.

Then I printed off  the tag that I designed in PicMonkey.

Then I slipped the tag on the gift. One TOTEally easy and TOTEally lovely gift for one TOTEally awesome teacher. Really I just couldn't seem to help myself...hahaha.

Such an easy and fun way to thank a teacher. 

Here is a tag you can download by right clicking and saving it to your computer.

You can just attach it to any tote--store bought or handmade. Easy as that.

What is your favorite way to thank your awesome teachers?

May 16, 2013

Recipe Thursday: Guacamole AND Pico de Gallo

Years and year and year ago, my very cute and somewhat blonde sister (blonde in her youth naturally and now not so naturally) gave us many opportunities to reflect on her blondness.

One instance was a funny little phone conversation that went a little something like this--

Me: "So Sister Dear (yes I am proper and affectionate like that), when is your next day off of school?"

Sister Dear: "Um not like until October." (I totally added the like. She may or may not have said that).

Me: "Oh, do you have Columbus Day off?"

Sister Dear: (in a know-it-all tone) "Uh...Rissa...I don't live in Ohio (at the time we lived in Ohio)." You could almost hear the DUH!

Me: "Uh Sister Dear, Columbus Day is for Christopher Columbus...not Columbus, Ohio."

Sister Dear: "Oh...hehehehehe...I should probably know that."

Another Sister Dear blond moment has much more to do with this post.

During a trip through the drive through with my dad, my dad happened to be saying something about guacamole and about how it was made from avocados.

To which Sister Dear said, "Oh really? I thought guacamole came from guacomolies."

Insert Silence. Chirp. Chirp. Chirp.

Followed by some serious laughter.

Dad: "Uh no." (as he wipes tears of laughter from his face).

Thanks to my Sister Dear I will always think of guacamole coming from guacamolies.

Truth be told for most of my adult life this amusing little tale was all that I liked about guacamole. I am not a huge fan of avocados. Therefore, guacamole never appealed to me. Which is CRAZY because I love, love, luh-ve tortilla chips and salsa.

Which should of course reason that I would also like guacomole. Alas, it didn't seem to matter how much I liked tortilla chips and dips into which to well dip them...I just couldn't appreciate guacamole.

UNTIL now.

Goosh! I love this guacamole. Like scarf down half the bowl "checking" it to see if it tastes good enough to serve guests.

My guests didn't get much. Hanging head in shame.

So how does a girl who doesn't like guacamole even decide to make it.

Well see there was this Mexican Fiesta First Birthday party...oh you remember it? Yeah I went a little overboard.

My menu was more for 40 people instead of the 15+ that we had. I wanted to cover all of my Mexican food bases.

So guacamole was made. The great news is that this recipe also required me to make another tortilla chip favorite...Pico de Gallo.

So today I am sharing with you not one, but TWO recipes. To tortilla chip favorites. Two dips.

We are DOUBLE DIPPING in a completely socially acceptable way.

This is a super easy and basic recipe. You shall have some yummy dip before you know it. Now grab that bag of tortilla chips and get ready to munch. Mmmmm. Now I wish I had some tortilla chips and some of these dips in the fridge!

Happy snacking!

Guacamole AND Pico de Gallo
The Pioneer Woman 

Printable Recipe

Pico de Gallo:
equal amounts of the following:
chopped cilantro
diced white onions
chopped Roma tomatoes

2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely diced
salt to taste

The cilantro, onions, and tomatoes once chopped and/or diced should be in equal quantities. Basically that means if you have two cups of tomatoes, you need two cups of both onions and cilantro.

Seed the jalapeno. Very finely dice the peppers.

Mix the cilantro, onions, tomatoes and jalapenos in a bowl. Squeeze the juice from half a lime over the ingredients in the bowl.

Sprinkle with salt. Stir to mix everything together.

Taste to make sure the flavor is good. Add more salt if needed.

Use in the same day.

If making guacamole (and I really think you should), set aside the pico de gallo.

6-8 avocados
1/2-3/4 cup premade pico de gallo

Slice and remove the pit from the avocados. Scoop into a medium serving bowl. Salt and then mash with a fork.

Add in a heaping pile (1/2 + cup) of your reserved pico de gallo. Squeeze the juice from the other half of the lime over the guacamole. Gently fold in the pico de gallo to the avocado.

Taste. Add more pico de gallo if necessary.

Don't forget to check out my other RECIPES.

Follow along with Just Another Day in Paradise

May 14, 2013

The Sweetheart Sewing Kit

Recently my baby sister left to serve an 18 month mission for our Church.

There was a lot of preparation in getting ready for her to leave.

One day my mom was listing off what they still needed and one of the items was a sewing kit.

I excitedly said, "Oooh let me take care of that!" Yeah I am a nerd like that and something as little as a sewing kit excites me.

I know I could have bought one, but heck she is the baby and she is doing something fantastically awesome. So I figured she could use a little sewing kit made with love.

I designed the sewing kit to open and close like a tiny notebook.

I used some of my more vintagey and lovely fabrics. She is going to Oklahoma and I really wanted a gingham dress and eyelet lace petticoat kind of feel. Basically I wanted it to scream county fair, blue ribbon pies, and mending on the front porch of a ranch house.

I have watched Oklahoma! the musical way too many times...

Funny story, once on Christmas Eve (technically Christmas Day) at three in the morning my siblings and I found ourselves unable to sleep. We were under strict instructions not to wake up our parents until 6am. As a tradition on Christmas Eve, we all slept in the same room. This room just happened to have a TV. So we turned it on and randomly enough this movie was all that was playing. So we all watched this movie together.

Ahh...good times.

Okay back to the sewing kit and wanting it to like a county fair...

This might be a little over the top with my theme...but I kind of love it.

There are pockets on both sides.

One side is a divided pocket to hold the cutest and daintiest scissors. There is also a felt flag banner to keep safety pins on.

I also managed to find a pink measuring tape.

My sister insisted that she didn't think she would need a measuring tape, since there probably wouldn't be much measuring. I went along with her...

...until I found the pink measuring tape.


The pocket on the other side is a vinyl pocket with a velcro closure.

I bought mini rolls of thread and displayed them proudly in the clear pocket.

I added more felt details...because when have I ever not LOVED adding felt to a project.

I sewed a heart-shaped piece that holds needles.

I also cut more felt banners to hold spare buttons. I only attached these banners at the top so that the buttons were accessible.

The whole sewing kit easily folds closed and velcros shut. She can easily pack it away. It takes up no room at all.

She will always be ready to face any sewing/mending mishaps. AND she can do it with pure Oklahoman style.

Plus, I hope when ever she uses it she will remember how much I love her.

Kind of like I am sending her the prettiest hug from so far away.


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