This is another quick Pinterest project that was done this past week.  It was my first full day home with all three kids and my husband was working late that night.  I knew we needed a little something to keep us going and break up the day a bit.  My kids love donuts (shocking, right?) and this project looked pretty simple.  I honestly just looked at the picture and copied it, but I have seen credit given to Family Fun Magazine for the idea.

Here are your supplies: donut holes, Nutella (or caramel sauce, for any non-chocolate people… I KNOW you exist : )), chocolate sprinkles (they don’t really taste like chocolate) and pretzel sticks.

Simply dip a donut hole into the warmed Nutella, roll in sprinkles and stick half of a pretzel stick in the top.  So easy, my 2-y-o picked up on it with no trouble at all.

We had a pretty good assembly line going after a minute.  They were both so engrossed, they didn’t mind sharing.

They turned out really cute… and yummy!

 

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… and because I am a bit antsy, I made a diaper pouch for Jonathan’s diaper bag yesterday.  There just happened to be enough scraps left over from the original project, so I had everything on hand that I needed except for the webbing to close up the top.

I used a tutorial from Noodlehead that I happened across as I was browsing my bookmarks.  I got the proportions a bit wrong, so the liner is a bit too small, but until we are using bigger diapers, it won’t matter.  Overall, I think it is pretty cute and it will keep the diapers from getting all smushed up.

Now, I officially take a little break from crafting again. In less than 24 hours, I will be holding a new baby in my arms, after all!

There is something to be said for perseverance and determination.  I had to have a lot of it while working on this project, that is for sure.  The idea is simple enough and the tutorial was clear and simple to follow.  The problem is me.  I cannot sew in a straight line.  When taking on a task which requires one to sew about 100 consecutive straight lines, this is an issue.  I also cannot cut in a straight line.  More of the same problem.

On with my story.

I saw this tutorial on Made for a faux chenille blanket and liked it, but had no real reason to make it.  Enter about-to-be-baby-boy.  Then I was so sure I *had* to make one for him.  I didn’t start sewing until after the other two kids were born, so I was really excited to pick a project for this one.

Ella helped me to choose the fabric.  It is not something I would normally choose, but the main print with lime and white on the cobalt background caught my eye (how could it not?).  I gathered my supplies and started to sew… and sew… and sew.  The monotony was actually kind of soothing.  I sewed as I looked out over the lake this summer.  The lines are a bit wonky, but the overall effect is pretty nifty.  Then I started to cut and before I knew what happened, I had cut a HUGE hole in the fabric.  Well, Dana had a hole, too, and fixed it, so I pressed on… and cut about 10 more of various sizes.  But I was determined to finish the doggone thing.

Finally, today, after much heartache, I finished it.

I made some makeshift patches for the larger holes and will patch the smaller ones as they become problematic.  I just couldn’t leave it unfinished.  The “back”, which is the side with the elephants, is not the prettiest thing ever, but the front is pretty nifty looking.

I am not a fan of the white bias tape, but this was no time to learn a new skill and make my own.  Not great, not the worst thing ever.  I conquered.

** This post linked to Made By You Monday at Skip to My Lou! ****

We had Ella’s rainbow-themed 4th birthday party yesterday.  I LOVE that she chose the theme of rainbows over her original theme of (gag) Disney Princesses.  I have had quite enough of the princesses.  The change came after I spotted a rainbow-striped polo dress in Carter’s one day and knew Ella would flip over it.  Sure enough, she loved it and when I suggested a rainbow party, she never looked back.

It is still quite cold here in Michigan, so we had to add a layer of clothing under the birthday dress so Ella was warm enough for school. She didn't mind one bit!

I decorated the kitchen the night before her actual birthday using the tried and true Martha Stewart tissue paper flowers using rainbow colors, and I made a simple banner to hang in the kitchen and later at the party.  These banners had always mystified me for some reason, until a friend told me how she makes hers.  I used scrapbook cardstock, a small decorative bucket to make the circles and my printer for the letters.  It was SO easy.  When it came time to string it up, I used a barbeque fork to make the holes because I didn’t have a hole punch and it worked perfectly.  Ribbon would have looked better, but that’s a LOT of ribbon.  I used twine and once it was all together, I don’t think it mattered much.  Ella loved the banner and informed her not-yet-two-year-old brother that if he happened to forget that it was her birthday, he could just reference the banner.  Nice.  Nothing like some fresh four-year-old sass to start the poor guys’ day.

...mangled curtains courtesy of my children...

The cupcakes were my favorite element of the party and were honestly the most time-consuming.  But for a small-ish family party, it was worth the effort, especially when I saw the smile on Ella’s face when she saw the inside of her cupcake.  I saw the recipe on The Girl Who Ate Everything (I will add recipes at the end of the post).  I loved how vibrant and happy they looked.  Rather than use standard cake mix only and canned frosting (which I have been disliking more and more each time I eat it) I used the modified cake and frosting recipes The Girl posted.  They were a huge hit and the coconut extract in the frosting not only added to the fun feel of the rainbows, but it had everyone guessing and raving.  I will use that frosting recipe for a very, very long time.

I will pause here and say my cupcake frosting skills are seriously lacking.  It kind of put a damper on things to have flat looking cupcakes.  Beth… please help me!

Another favorite element for me was the rainbow fruit platter with “cloud” fruit dip.  Ella has loved fruit from the time she was in the womb and having fresh fruit really brightened up the dinner menu (broccoli cheese soup and hot sandwiches).  I used strawberries, mandarin oranges (“not the ones with the yucky white stuff” per request of the birthday girl), pineapple, kiwi, blueberries and grapes.  They were arranged in a rainbow pattern on a platter and the idea was to have the fruit dip placed as a cloud, but the fruit took up all of the space.

I also made rainbow pudding, an idea I saw here just in time to whip some up for the party.  I wanted to use smaller cups but didn’t have enough time to search for them, so I made a double recipe of vanilla pudding, tinted it in 6 colors and layered it up in the glasses.  They were WAY too big for the kids, but still looked cute and the kids got a kick out of them.

Ella had a wonderful time and I think everyone else did, too.  She may be my only girl, so I had an extra fun time making everything bright and fun for her.

Now… planning begins for Benjamin’s birthday party, which is at the end of next month.

***  Recipes ***

Modified White Cake Adapted from Our Best Bites

1 White Cake Mix

2 eggs

1 cup sour cream

1/2 cup milk

1/3 cup vegetable oil

Combine all ingredients until incorporated (about 30 seconds), then beat on medium high speed for 3 minutes.

To make a rainbow, divide the batter into bowls equaling the number of colors you plan to use.  Tint the batter.  Line cupcake tins. I had 6 colors and used a healthy teaspoon of each color for each cupcake.  I started with violet and worked my way up to red, smoothing each color out after adding it.

Bake according to directions on the cake mix box.

Frosting From The Girl Who Ate Everything

3 sticks butter

6 cups powdered sugar

5 tablespoons milk

1/2 teaspoon coconut extract

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

dash of salt

Mix butter and powdered sugar until light and fluffy.  Add coconut extract, vanilla extract and salt and combine well.  Gradually add milk (you may not need it all) and mix 2-3 minutes until fluffy.

“Cloud” fruit dip

1 large container marshmallow fluff

8 oz cream cheese, room temperature

Put fluff and cream cheese into a bowl and mix until well blended.  Chill until ready to serve.

 

I finally got outside to play with the kids today and thankfully, it was cold enough that we could play around with our creations from a few days ago.

 

A fellow “Crafty Dr. Mom”, Laura, posted a picture of her son playing with some of these on facebook last week.  They looked so fun and I knew the kids would love them.  They are super easy to make.  Just grab any and every plastic container you can get your hands on, add water and food coloring (if you know it will be cold enough so that you don’t have melty ice on your hands… it may stain.  Laura used colored bath tablets, but we didn’t have any and I was too impulsive to wait to get to the store), and set them outside to freeze.  Ours were ready the next morning, but I didn’t remind the kids about them because they were getting a bit melty in the sun.  We actually lost a couple because they re-froze and got stuck to the driveway.

Ella is really into blocks right now, and she thought they were pretty neat.  I think I will make a second batch so she can have more building options.

Benjamin didn’t care for them much, which was not a big surprise.  He is far more interested in shoveling snow and finds blocks useful for knocking down only.

I handmade exactly one gift for Christmas this year.  How lame am I?  Pretty stinking lame.  I did manage to bake cookies for the first time in years, though, so I will consider that a start.  And I made several other birthday and thank-you gifts over the year.  Considering I didn’t even sew prior to that, I think maybe I should give myself a break.

At any rate, one I saw this tutorial by Adrianna at Crafterhours (posted on Samster Mommy), I was in love.  My niece is obsessed with Cinderella, so she was the lucky recipient.  It turned out super cute and, of course, Ella wants one too.  The tutorial is simple to follow… finished length is about ankle-length on an average 3 1/2 year-old.

 

I am sure you can all breathe easier knowing that the birdfeeders dried overnight.  Therefore, the adorable redheads have their gifts and my sugar cookies are baked and waiting for icing.  (I will post the recipe for those later.)

This is a fast, fun and satisfying project.  It would actually be a superb January-is-boring activity to do with the kids.  For the details, please visit Saltwater Kids.

And yes, I put these on my Christmas tree to take the picture, but they are for the out-of-doors.  Enjoy!