Friday, December 30, 2011

Slow Cooker Pork Ribs

I am looking forward to the New Year. How about you? However, I only have one more day to come up with some fabulous New Year's Resolution that I tend to forget several months in. There are only two that have ever really stuck. Four years ago, when I was pregnant with my first son, I started a journal to document my pregnancy. I write in it every so often still so I can remember the boys silly sayings and just fun family times. The only other New Year's Resolution that stayed in effect, was cooking new foods. I try new recipes all the time. It has paid off over the years and I have found a lot of new favorites. Here is one of them...

Slow Cooker Ribs


4 lbs pork ribs
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup ketchup
4 tbsp vinegar
2 tsp oregano
2 tsp Worcestershire
1 tsp garlic powder
1 cup barbecue sauce
1 cup sweet chili sauce (the secret ingredient)


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line baking sheet with foil. Season both sides ribs with salt and pepper. Bake for 15 minutes on each side. Remove from oven.

2. Place in crock pot. Mix above ingredients in small bowl for sauce. Pour sauce over ribs in crock pot and turn to coat.

3.  Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours. It only took me 4 hours which was quite a surprise. They were so tender I could not even take them out of the crock pot without some of the rib meat falling off the bone.

4. Enjoy! Happy New Years!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Handmade Christmas: Lego Table and Stable

Well, just as I was afraid of, my oldest son is not happy does not believe that Christmas is over. I told him today, and he said, "No Mom it is not!" I guess denial his one of the stages of grief. Ha!I hope you all had a fabulous Christmas or holiday season! Ours was wonderful...but quite hectic. I am glad the actual "Christmas Day" is over and we can go back to just enjoying the holiday season. Our house looks like Santa's sleigh crashed inside. (Mayhem) I hope Santa has good sleigh insurance because it is a complete disaster. I am not quite sure where I am going to put all of our new treasures. This is the before picture...

I started a tradition when my sons were born, of making one present for each for Christmas. Last year, I made a fire station (click here) and an I Spy Quilt.

This year I decided on a Lego table for my oldest and a horse stable for my little one. My mom found a little pink table at a garage sale for me for $4 and I spray painted it red. I miraculously found two Lego boards at another garage sale for $2 each. I hot glued the Lego bases down to the table and for under ten dollars...

As you can tell, I am a garage sale junkie, because I hate to pay full price for things. I found this stable at another garage sale for $3. With a little red and black paint and some horses, this little stable was transformed. My 21 month old adored it. He loves anything to do with cows and horses right now.

We had a wonderful Christmas. I forgot to mention, one of my three year old's favorite things, was passing out presents. My mom came up with a great idea a few years ago to label the packages with pictures, since they can not read yet. They love discovering who each present is for by the photo tag.

Happy Holidays! Did you make any special presents for your loved ones? I am always looking for new fun ideas!

Tags: DIY Lego Table, Make your own Lego Table, DIY Horse stable, Make your own horse stable, Trash to Treasure presents for kids

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Magic Toffee Brittle

I am convinced my three year old is going to be completely devestated when Christmas is over. He sings Christmas carols at all hours of the day and can't stop talking about baby Jesus and Santa Claus. I wish I could live in his little world of amazement and adoration for the holiday without any stress. I have to admit, I might just love it as much as him, but I have a lot more responsibilities that go along with it.

Today I brought lunch for all the staff at the surgery center I manage. I made crockpot baked potatoes (here) and my all time favorite Christmas treat... magic toffee brittle. This stuff is amazing and soooo easy and fast to make. The incredible part of this recipe is that it is made with saltine crackers. They add just the perfect salty balance to this sweet and magical treat.

1 cup butter (not margarine)
1 cup brown sugar
Chocolate chips
Chopped nuts
Saltine crackers

1. Preheat oven to 350. Line baking sheet with foil and crackers.

2. Boil butter and brown sugar for 3 minutes on stovetop. 

3. Pour mixture over crackers. Bake in oven at 350 for approx 5 minutes or until crackers float.  

4. Remove from oven and sprinkle with chocolate chips on top. Let the chips melt for a couple of minutes and spread with butter knife.

5. Sprinkle chopped nuts on top. Refrigerate until hardened and then break into pieces. I like to keep it in the fridge.

6. Enjoy!!!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Santa Soap for 99 cents

I am so behind on posting! We have been so wrapped up in the holidays, that I just have not spent any time on the computer until the last couple of days. The good news is we have been having a lot of great family time. The holidays are so hectic and overwhelming at times. I am sure you understand. However, this fast and easy Santa Soap cost me only 99 cents to make (I did already have some leftover supplies at home).

This is the 99 cent soap I bought at the store to transform into Santa. Start by removing the labeling and washing off the "goo" left behind.

Next, you are ready to paint. You will need  primer, red paint, black electrical tape, and gold tape or vinyl.
This is not the first time I have painted soap bottles. Look here for full directions on priming and painting the soap container. Once my paint was dry, I wrapped the bottle in black electrical tape and cut out a buckle from some gold tape. No talent needed for this project!

Guess who is ice fishing? I think it is hysterical.

I froze some gummy fish in the ice the night before so Jingle could do some ice fishing. The ice will melt by the end of the day and your kiddo can eat the gummy fish left behind. Oh that crazy Jingle...what will he do next????

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

DIY Nativity Creche

My mom made an early request this December for a nativity scene for her Willow Tree figurines. Would you believe the real one is $99. I just finally got around to making her one from scrap wood...for free. Funny part of it is, I did not realize how tall the Willow Tree figurines were before I started. Joseph is a giant! The first creche I made was too small, so she ended up with two different designs. Here is the Willow Tree creche design.

It is very simple but almost elegant at the same time. I used 1x6 boards as the bottom two levels and some bead board as the backing. The rest of the wooden pieces were just scraps I had laying around that I cut to fit. I ended up using mainly wood glue and then a couple of screws to hold the creche together. Of course, like I said earlier, there was the first design that was too small.

My mom had an antique nativity set she used in this one. My boys might just get to play with this one. They adore listening and acting out the Christmas story.

This nativity was made out of scrap wood as well. I painted both nativities with light beige. Next, I used a small piece of old t-shirt to rub on some wood stain for texture. I could not believe how easy these were to make...and of course I was excited I saved $99.

Tags: DIY Willow Tree Nativity Creche, Make your own Willow Tree Nativity Creche

Monday, December 19, 2011

Elf on the Shelf Ideas

The Christmas tree has been up for two weeks...and our little elf on the shelf Jingle has been on the prowl. If you have never seen this creepy cute little elf, and the story that accompanies him, you are missing out!

Look at my son's look of surprise when he realized the lego men had captured Jingle.

This is the original story. It is now plastered in every book store window...but it really lives up to its publicity hype. The elf flies back to Santa every night to report on how your child is doing. Oh...but make sure not to touch him or he will lose his magic!

I ran out of clever and creative elf on the shelf ideas last year, so I am started my research early thanks to Pinterest. I tried very hard to give credit where deserved, but so many pictures only linked back to Thanks everyone for these amazing and fun ideas!

Snow angel
Snow Angel

Elf on the Shelf ideas


Fishing for goldfish

Elf on the Shelf ideas
Message in the snow

Elf on the Shelf Ideas
Soft place to snooze

elf on the shelf ideas
Staying warm with the cold

Pinned Image
Relaxing in the tub

Our elf with an umbrella under the water/ice dispenser on our fridge.
Trying to keep out of the rain
(water dispenser)

Elf Ideas

Parachuting daredevil

Settling for a long winter's nap

Elf mischief for Christmas
Photo by Jen Mcken

Hot air balloon adventure

Start your engines!

Pinned Image
Bubble bath luxury

elf: Messing with the toothpaste.
Meddling with the toothpaste

Elf Kisses by Kims Kandy Kreations with Printable

Do you have any more fun ideas to share with me? I am always up for some new suggestions! Especially when they have already been kid-tested on your own little ones. Here is where Jingle will be in the morning...

And the next day...

Ice Fishing

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Candy Cane Playdough Favors with Printable

The kids are out for winter break, but it would not be Christmas, without a school party. We signed up for favors for the goody bags. I went to the store to look for an easy quick buy...with NO luck. It is hard to buy favors for 2 and 3 year olds. I went home discouraged, and decided to make some of my own. Playdough is so simple and easy to make, and it is a always a hit with the kiddos.

Here is a recipe for the playdough. There are a million around the Internet, but I have to say I like the Kool-Aid recipes best. The smell and color is amazing. Find the free printable here.

We made two batches of playdough. One was just plain and the other we used a red koolaid mix. Then we rolled them into logs...

And twisted them together into candy canes.

I sent them off to school. I found out later, the teachers actually let them play with them during the day. I was so happy that it was not another gadget treat sack favor, that never was played with.

On a funny was our attempt at making a gingerbread barn. Pitiful! I guess prepared crafts don't work well for me. Lol! We sure did have fun in the attempt.

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