Friday, June 29, 2012

Patriotic Cakeballs

This is how I made them...I am giving you directions for the white cake balls...

  • 1 devil's food cake mix
  • 1 can of chocolate fudge frosting
  • 1 package Wilton white candy melts

I made the cake as the box instructed. I let it cool for about an hour. Then I broke it into chunks and put it in a big bowl. I added about 3/4 of the can of chocolate frosting. I then mushed it all together. I used the Mix & Chop from Pampered Chef. (One of my very most favorite kitchen gadgets ever!) Here is a picture of it...
Image Detail

I then rolled the cake into small balls and put it on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper. I put it in the fridge for about 20 minutes. This allowed them to become firm and little easier to work with.
After removing them from the fridge, I melted some white chocolate melts in a glass bowl in the microcowave for about 1 minute 30 seconds and stirred it until smooth. I then spooned a small amount of melted candy into each of the wells of a mini cupcake candy mold (like Reese's Peanut Butter Cups would be) pan and pressed the cake balls down into the melted candy so the melted candy pushed up the sides a bit and formed a shell around the cakeball.
Spoon a small amount of melted candy into mold

Gently push cakeballs down into the melted candy
I refrigerated them like this for about 10 minutes. I then just tipped them over and popped them out!  Then I melted more white candy melts in the microwave and stirred them until smooth. I then took ahold of the cupcake bites and dipped them into the melted candy melts.  I sort of swirled them around to cover each cakeball completely and set them on wax paper to harden.  This only takes a couple of minutes. 

I did this same process using a red velvet cake mix and cream cheese frosting for the red cakeballs and a yellow cake mix and cream cheese frosting for the blue cakeballs. While the blue cakeballs were still damp from the top coat of candy melts, I added one white candy sprinkle to the top to represent the stars on the flag.  I then laid them all out in a flag pattern on a pretty white platter. This recipe makes LOTS of cakeballs (especially when you make 3 batches as I did) and they freeze well.  I popped them into Ziploc bags and will keep them in the freezer until our 4th of July party.  As guests are enjoying the little treats, I can easily replenish the platter keeping the flag pattern!

I got my candy molds at a cake and candy shop and I got the Wilton candy molds from Walmart. 

Linking up to this 4th of July link party -

Check out my Linky Party Page to see which other linky parties I am joining this week!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Camping With Cousins

This past week we went camping with my husband's brother and his wife and their three little girls as well as my mother and father-in-law.  The kids had so much fun with their cousins!

My brother and sister-in-law bring this little picnic table to every event and the six kids fit on it perfectly (at least right now they do!)  My MIL, SIL, and myself each made one big meal for everyone while we were there.  The first night my MIL made sloppy joes and macaroni and cheese for everyone!  Perfect kid meal!  My SIL provided us with a taco/nacho bar for lunch one of the days and I made BBQ pulled pork sandwiches and pasta salad for another dinner.  All three of us ladies took advantage of electricity hook up at our campsites and used our crockpots!  Gotta love 'em!

The other meals while we were there included pancakes and sausage, hot dogs over the campfire, and sandwiches. 

Oh, my goodness were the kids filthy!!!  There was a playground just behind our campsites and the kids loved swinging on the swings and playing in the sandbox.  They also went barefoot a lot while we were there so we were blessed with dirty little campers the whole time! That's what camping is all about!

The kids had so much fun playing with cousins! 

And Uncle Lane!

We had lots of adventures...

...hiking in the woods...


Cousin Abby declared Claire "Princess of the Forest" with a birch bark crown and a stick for her royal sceptor!

Oliver riding on daddy's shoulders - Oliver LOVED the walk in the woods and enthusiastically pointed out deer and snakes, trees and woodchips, and the sun shining through the woods.

 Best buds - I asked Claire what the best part of our camping trip was and she said "Playing with Molly!"

 Claire, Daddy, and Cousin Molly

Oliver exploring nature!  We had to make sure he stayed out of the poison ivy.  It was everywhere!

Gracy wore her bike helmet pretty much the whole camping trip!  You can never be too safe and she looks so darn cute in it anyway!

I took arts and crafts supplies with us.  The kids all loved doing watercolor paintings.  They each did several and used all the paper I had brought along!

Oliver even insisted on getting in on the art projects! He took it very seriously!

 The kids LOVED riding bikes and with not many campers at the park while we were there, we were able to comfortably allow them to ride around the loop in front of our campsites. 
They had so much fun!
Abby 6, Hugh 9, Gracy 6, Claire 3 1/2, Molly 4, and Oliver 22 months.
 The lake was just a hop, skip, and a jump away!  The kids were so anxious to go swimming and play in the sand together!

I guess this is their Vogue-style sassy look?!?!  We didn't plan for these poses, just happened!

The bigger kids hit the water immediately! They had smiles on their faces the whole time!

 Miss Molly floated around near the shore!

Oliver had no interest in getting in the water and was quite content to just collect sticks and throw rocks!  Worked for me!

Playing in the sand may just have been the highlight of the beach trip!

My beautiful beach baby!

Again - filthy kids, but happy kids!

We had some visitors while we were camping.  Oliver called these "munks!"

We were a bit surprised at how many racoons were hanging out around the campground and how tame they seemed to be.  A little too friendly, if you ask me!

Grandma helped Claire roast a marshmallow on the campfire.

Everyone slept VERY well!  The adventures with the cousins in the fresh air wore them right out!  Claire and Oliver snuggled so well together in the camper!

I know we provided them with amazing memories they will talk about with their cousins years from now!  It really takes so little to make them so happy.  This is what summer is all about!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

American Flag Pallet Art

If you are on Pinterest, you've probably seen lots of projects lately that involve wood pallets. 
I sure have seen a lot!  And what a great idea to repurpose pallets.  They are cheap (or free) and easy to come by! With the 4th of July quickly approaching, I wanted to try the American flag art idea I have been seeing.  I put my own touch to it and I really like how it turned out!


I started by telling my father that I wanted a pallet.  He thought I was nuts and with raised eyebrows, reluctantly agreed to deliver one to my house!

I began by using Krylon spray paints in red, white, and blue (of course!) I did not measure anything or draw lines or doing any prep work at all. (I'm sort of a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kinda gal!)

I first painted the red stripes on the flag.  I gave it two coats of paint and loved how the rough, rustic look of the wood still shown through the paint.  After the red stripes, I added the blue section for the stars.  You can see the blue extends just beyond the second row of nails.  That was my way of measuring.

I then gave it two coats of white paint for the white stripes.

I used Plaid brand stencils that I got at Walmart to paint on little white stars all over the blue.
I added them randomly just here and there with some half on/half off the boards.

I put scrap paper underneath to protect what I wasn't intending to paint.

Recently someone dropped off a big box of these plastic letters to me in my classroom.  They have little pokey tacks on the back like thumb tacks!  I knew they'd be perfect for what I had in mind. 
I stuck the letters into styrofoam and spray painted them blue.

I then added the blue letters just by gently pushing the tacks into the pallet boards. 

 I am very pleased with how it turned out.  What a great Independence Day decoration for my porch!  My father was surprised and impressed with the transformation his old pallet took on!  I have already asked my dad to send over the next pallet.  I'm ready to try something new!