Thank You Cookies

Someone got a sweet box of hand delivered thank you cookies today. And I got to make my first batch of cookies in the new house. 🙂 Seriously folks, my kitchen is amazing. I have counter space for miles and I am LOVING it!

Take a look at these beauties. They may be my favorite hand-painted cookies so far that I’ve ever created. I watercolored all of the floral images and patterns onto the white royal icing then piped the words in a rich deep blue.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Make Hand Painted Cookies

I’m gearing up for the holiday cookie rush and thought I would post a quick tutorial on how to make beautiful hand painted cookies. These cookies are some of my absolute favorites to make. You can get so creative with them. img_8037

WHAT SUPPLIES YOU NEED:

Cutout cookies cooled and iced with white royal icing

Gel paste food colors (I use these from Americolor)

Vodka or other clear liquor

Paintbrushes & Palate

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Bake your favorite cookies and cut them out in any shape you like. I used my favorite sugar cookie recipe in these photos with 2 different sizes of heart cookie cutters. Next, flood the cookie with white royal icing. I personally use the Wilton recipe for royal icing. They have a fantastic video on how to make the icing. It’s easy and always turns out fantastic.

Once your cookies have completely hardened, decide on the design that you will paint. If you’ve ever painted with watercolors this should be fairly simple. I use a palette and use the vodka just like I would use water when painting with watercolors. The basic idea is the alcohol will evaporate rather quickly and leave the gel color on the cookies. You will not taste the alcohol at all. It gives absolutely no taste to the cookies. My set up looks like a bit of a muddled mess because the gel colors are very dark until you mix with a little water and paint. Now, start painting your design! And remember, these are cookies! They are going to be eat! So enjoy the process. They don’t have to be perfect. img_0009 14390932_1259083850789484_9029141849868723449_n 14495434_1259083820789487_1261728959774720957_n 14440810_1259083760789493_1445199661143683259_n 14370413_1259083740789495_3359613596808785537_n   Here is a quick look at how I painted these hearts. Oh if my hands would only paint that fast! I could really get a lot of cookies done!

If you would like to see some more great hand painted cookies take a look at my Pinterest board. My cookies pale in comparison to most on this board. There are some really amazing cookie artist on pinterest.

https://www.pinterest.com/sugargiggles/hand-painted-cookies/

How to Make Marshmallow Pops

Ok friends, this is my favorite easy peasy party recipe. They are supper easy and look fantastic with any party spread.

SUPPLIES YOU’LL NEED:

Large Marshmallows

Lollipop Sticks or Paper Straws

Candy Melts in your choice of colors

Sprinkles

waxed paper

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First melt candy melts for 30 seconds in the microwave. Stir then microwave another 30 seconds. Continue in 30 second intervals until melted.

While candy melts are melting, put lollipop sticks or straws in marshmallows.

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Now put the marshmallow in the melted chocolate and spin to cover as much as you would like. I like to just cover the bottom but you can cover the entire marshmallow if you like. Next dip the chocolate covered marshmallows in your choice of sprinkles. Get creative with this. You can use chopped nuts, sprinkles, graham cracker crumbs and an assortment of other goodies. Or dip them in dark chocolate and graham cracker crumbs to make S’mores on a Stick! YUMMY!!

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Now put the finished marshmallows on waxed paper and let the chocolate harden.

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There are endless possibilities for these yummy treats. How cute would it be to use the pink strawberry marshmallows for Valentines Day!

Ok, now let’s talk about how to turn making treats like this into a learning experience. First, I made these with my 4 (almost 5) year old. We counted marshmallows and sticks. We divided the sticks up and added them together to practice our addition. We talked about all of the colors of the rainbow while looking at the sprinkles.

With my 7 year old we talked about time as we melted the chocolate. We estimated how many sprinkles were left in the jar after we had used them in the recipe. We also did a little research on how cake sprinkles are made which lead us to the origins of chocolate and a long discussion about manufacturing.

Friends, you can turn anything into a learning lesson if you take the time to stop and explain things to your kids. How often are we so busy that we push them to the side in order to “get it done”. Teach your kids while you are busy with the mundane task of daily life. They often learn more in those circumstances than with any kind of prepared lesson. 🙂 Happy homeschooling!

Our new Countryman Baby and Cookies Galore …

Wow, it seems that everytime I post the months have just slipped by without me even knowing it. So much has happened this year. Lex finished the 1st grade with flying colors and Layla finished preschool and is gearing up for Kindergarten in the fall. And Ridley will also start preschool in the fall – but just 2 days a week. He is so excited to be going to big boy school and mommy is excited to finally have a little bit of a break during the week.

Years ago before we had kids we bought a MINI. I went to test drive it thinking it was a silly little car that I would never want and left the dealership completely in love. Right before I had Lex I had to get rid of it. And I’ll admit it was a bit traumatic. I didn’t want to. I think I would have kept this car forever. I loved it.

Summer car

Last month we decided to trade the mini van in for something a little smaller that got better gas mileage. Here is our new addition. Her name is Rose and we’re kind of in love with her. She’s a 2014 MINI Cooper Countryman. The main reason I’m posting this is because when I was researching this car for a family of 5, I just couldn’t find any information. The information I found was people saying “You’re crazy for even thinking about something this small”. In reality this is a great car for a family. I hope this helps someone.

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This is our family of 5. My husband is 6’3. My kids are 2.5, 5 and 7. I don’t normally have the 7 year old in the middle because of the sibling fighting but I was trying it out this day. Usually the carseat is in the middle. All 3 of my kids are big for their age. (80th percentile and above) My daughter is leaning way over just to get in the picture. There is more than enough room for everyone to be comfortable. When we were considering another MINI I went to the dealership with a few carseats and tested them out in every configuration with all three kids with me. Seriously our Motoring Advisor was a saint.

When we bought the car we decided to get a new carseat. We had the Britax Marathon and it fit but it was VERY big in the car. I did a lot of research and found that the absolute smallest carseat/booster seat was the Diono Radian R100 Convertible Car Seat . This carseat is awesome. It is crazy heavy but super slim and folds in half so it is great for traveling. I haven’t tried it but I’m pretty sure 3 of these would fit in the back of the countryman.

We also had pretty large booster seats for the older two. We had the Graco ones with the cupholders. I bought two of the Bubblebum Boosters and they work great but are a little small for longer trips so I bought this Cosco which is still narrow and can be easily buckles. I do have to help them buckle most of the time.

Now let me tell you that I don’t do long distance trips very often. About once a year during the summer me and the kids go from Houston to south Mississippi to see family. It’s about a 7-8 hour trip. Normally we are cruisin’ around Houston – dropping kids off at school – going to church and the grocery store – nothing major. Oh and we’ve done a few trips to Sam’s Club with all 5 of us with no problems what so ever. The boot is quite large.  If I traveled very much I might think differently about having 3 kids right behind me.

The really nice thing is, now that the kids don’t have tons of room to haul junk around, my car stays clean!! My mini van was liking a rolling garbage can. I couldn’t keep the boxes full of junk out of it that my kids would try to haul around.

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Here is another picture of my friends’ family of 5 in her Countryman. She has 2 teenagers and is using the bigger carseat for her daughter.

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So, needless to say, I love this car. My kids love this car because we can put the windows down and the sunroof down and it’s like having a convertible. 🙂

When we travel we’ll probably get a rooftop cargo box. But even if we don’t, there is plenty of room for a weekend of luggage in the boot.

And just for cuteness sake, here is a picture of us washing the car last weekend.

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I haven’t been sewing or designing much at all this year but I have been baking lots of cookies and cakes. And when I say a lot I mean a lot. It started as a fun little venture and lately I’ve had at least one order a week which is really about all i can do out of my house. Here are some examples of the ones that I’ve made this year.

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This was my brother’s wedding cake. The flowers are silk and paper.

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Christmas Cookies. WOW. I made close to 500 in the span of a week.

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47th Anniversary Cookies for a dear friends parents. I had this old photo printed on an icing sheet that my local cake decorating store does. (Make a Cake Houston – If you are local check them out. They are incredible!)

Summersig

 

Birthday Celebration

I'm still in awe that my sweet girl is 4. Layla is the sweetest, most energetic and exciting little girl I know. She has the best sense of humor and a sparkle in her eye. I know that God is going to do something amazing in her life and I am so thankful that he blessed us with her. 

Her birthday party {the rainbow unicorn extravaganza) isn't until this weekend but we celebrated as a family on Monday night. I made some super cute cookies for the festivities. This is the first time that I used so many colors and created my own design. I absolutely love how they turned out. I'm so in love with the rainbow chevron cookies. 

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I'm not as fond of the rainbow stars but I do think the sprinkles added a touch to them. 

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Check back next week for an update on all of the rainbow unicorn fun. 🙂

Summersig

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