Family Tree

My mother asked me to bake a cake and decorate it for a family get-together over the weekend. Because I am not a professional cake decorator I needed to find a simple way to make a cake that was presentable to my entire family. Early last week I decided since the cake was supposed to represent my entire family I would do a family tree.

While discussing it with my daughter she had the wonderful idea to make cupcakes instead of a sheet cake...so much easier! We had decided to cut out gum paste leaves for each cupcake and write everyone's name on them.

When we explained our idea to my creative husband he had the amazing idea to make apples instead of leaves which turned out looking so much prettier against the green cupcakes.

My younger sons joined in to help make cupcakes and cut out apples. This project turned out to be a family project that I enjoyed very much.

We baked 96 cupcakes (we had to have extras for snacking and those many accidents). We also cut out and decorated 40 apples (a few of these didn't make the trip).

The apples are made from tinted gum paste that we rolled out and used a cookie cutter. Apple shaped cookie cutters are hard to find so I reshaped a heart-shaped cutter. The little leaves are also gum paste. I used chocolate frosting to make the stem and it was a great glue for attaching the leaves.

The trunk of the tree is chocolate cake. Each of the cupcakes in the tree was frosted green and then I used a leaf tip to decorate with small leaves before putting the apples on top. The "grass cupcakes" were frosted green and then I used a grass tip.

Such a simple cake was a big hit with our extended family. And so much fun for my immediate family to work together.

 It would be a cute cake for a classroom as well.


Drawer re-organized

My silverware drawer was in need of organizing. It was one of those things I had every intention of doing since the day we moved into this house...6 years ago.

Last night I finally tackled it! I used some extras I had laying around. 
An unused yoga mat...they work wonderfully as drawer liners.
Left over laminate flooring
A few screws
a little effort and some time

The result is so much more useful and eye-pleasing.


I'm a Little Teapot...

I rescued this little teapot from the trash and gave it a good bath...not bad looking.

Unfortunately, I couldn't find the lid and I rose motif on the front didn't match my decor.
That was easily corrected with a little bit of paint. Amazing how big a change a little bit of paint makes.

I could have chose a brighter color that would have better highlighted the design but my kitchen accent color is green.

So I added color with flowers. These daffodils made this little teapot sing!

A teapot that was on its way to the city dump yesterday is the centerpiece on my dining room table this morning.


Popsicle Stick Pencil Cup

I purchased a huge bag of colorful popsicle sticks at one of those "everything for a dollar" stores. 

Now what to do with all these pretty sticks?

Project 1: Pencil Cup...or flower vase....or small flower urn

This project took only a few minutes with the help of little hands.

You'll need:
Empty & Clean vegetable can
Popsicle sticks 

This project was so quick because the popsicle sticks were the perfect length for the size of my can.

Simply glue the sticks side-by-side around the outside of the empty can. I alternated colors for a rainbow effect but I think it would have been just as pretty had I used all the same color or only 2 colors for a striped effect.  The natural colored sticks would look nice as well.

After the glue has dried, add a ribbon to finish. 

I love raphia!

My daughter needed a pencil cup for her room.

More popsicle stick crafts are in my future.

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Daffodils - First Hint of Spring

I love it when the daffodils start to peak from beneath the ground.  It's the first signs that spring is getting close.

We have tons of them that grow near the barn and make for a beautiful photo opportunity...especially when you put my gorgeous daughter in the middle.

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Toes In the Sand

When my family takes a vacation to a beach, we always take a picture of our toes in the sand.

I love to look back over the years and see how their feet have grown.

We also write the beach name and year in the sand and take a picture of that. The next time we visit a beach I will combine the pictures into a single photo. 


SpongeBob Valentine Box

As we discuss ideas for this years Valentine Box I begin to remember boxes from years past.

One of my son's favorites (at the time, not so much into SpongeBob now) was a SpongeBob box we did a few years ago.

It was very simply made from a gift box, markers and some glitter. Inexpensive...but the time we spent together working on it is priceless.


Fire Truck Valentine Box

Valentine's Day has always been about the girls.  So if you have little boys you know how hard it can be to decorate a box with a masculine touch. No little boy wants to carry a box covered in red hearts and pink ribbons to school.

Luckily for me, my husband has a gift for the creative and can always come up with something my little guy can be proud to show off.

Last year dad helped create this fire truck work of art.  

He even added a fancy little led light in the light bar that could be toggled on or off. As well as lots of other detail.

It was a hit with all and Seth liked it so much it still sits on his book shelf in his room.


And so we begin....

I guess I should kick this blog off with an introduction.

I was drawn to the blog world last year. Times magazine did an article on the top 10 blogs. One of which intrigued me and I became addicted. Any of you that are dedicated bloggers know that one blog only leads to another. So here I am...to see if anyone cares what I have to say.

My name is Jessica. I live in a small town in the Arkansas River Valley, more specifically I live on River Mountain which overlooks the Arkansas River.  My husband is both my soul mate and best friend. Our biggest contributions to the world are our wonderful children; Abbigail, Ethan and Seth.

Although my family is my most important job, I feel the need to have a day job to help support them. I am a .net developer for an environmental. I've worked in the technology industry for almost 15 years now and some days I actually enjoy it, albeit, an extremely challenging field of work.

I reserve the right to go in any direction with this blog. Anyone that has ever had a conversation with me will confirm I have very random thoughts.

And so we begin...