Three Unique St Patrick’s Day Recipes

I have a little bit of Irish blood, but even if I didn’t, it is always fun to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. I was never one who went around pinching people who weren’t wearing green, but I have always enjoyed finding a recipe with something green in it. It seems as though you could plan an entire green dinner if you were so inclined.

With that in mind, I got on line and started searching for something to make for this St. Patrick’s Day for the family. Did you know that if you add green food coloring to drained pasta it will turn green? If you or your kids are not pasta eaters, you could add the food coloring to mashed potatoes or even rice. Hmmmm, sounds like there will be green pasta on my menu this St. Patrick’s day.
Green Pasta
Here are 3 unique St Patrick’s Day Recipes for you to try …

Shamrock Lime Sherbet Punch

This is a refreshing drink from TheCraftedSparrow.com that is easy to make and so tasty. This is kind of a throw back to what we would make when we were kids, but this recipe still works today with my kids.Lime Sherbet Punch

Ingredients:
* 7Up or Sprite
* Lime Kool-Aid mix
* Lime sherbet
* Pineapple juice

Directions:
You will need a pitcher. Grab your lime Kool-Aid mix and make it according to package details. Although I prefer adding only 1/2 cup of sugar instead of the full 1 cup it calls for. I then add all the juice from one 20oz. can of pineapple chunks. You can save the pineapple chunks for a smoothie in your freezer or fridge, you will just need the juice for this. This is what I had on hand, but you can definitely add a little more juice if you have it or love it.

In a glass place about two scoops of lime sherbet. Fill the glass 1/3 of the way full of your Kool-Aid, then fill the rest with your lemon lime soda of choice. Leave about an inch of room for your last scoop of lime sherbet. Add a cute straw and a wedge of lime and your done.

I also found two dessert recipes that looked easy to make and I haven’t made up my mind which one I will make. Who knows, they both look easy enough, I may just make both.

Crinkle Cake Cookies

The advantage to these cookies from eRecipeCards is how easy they are to make. Start to finish; you have cookies in about 20 minutes.

Ingredients:
* 1 standard Cake Mix (store bought box)
* 6 Tablespoon Butter, melted
* 2 Large Eggs
* About 40 Drops Green Food Coloring (add about 10 drops at a time and stop when you get the color you like)
* 5 Drops Wilton Brand liquid Flavoring (Mint), optional
* 1 Cup Powdered Sugar
* 1 Teaspoon Corn Starch

Cooking Directions:
* Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
* Melt the butter, allow to cool
* In a shallow dish, mix together the powdered sugar and cornstarch.
* In a large bowl, mix together the butter, cake mix and eggs.
* Add the green food coloring and Mint Flavoring and make very well
* Form into 1 TBS Size Balls
* Roll the balls in the powdered sugar mix and coat well
* Arrange on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper
* Bake for 8 minutes in pre-heated oven.
* Allow to cool on the baking sheet for one minute, then move to cooling rack.
Green Crinkle Cake Cookies
St. Patrick’s Day Bread

Finally, another recipe from the blog, BetterThanBurgers.net for a pistachio flavored St. Patrick’s Day Bread
This one also gets a quick start by using a store bought cake mix.

Here’s what you will need:
* 1 yellow cake mix
* 4 eggs
* 1/4 cup oil
* 2 Tablespoons water
* 1 (3 oz) pkg. instant pistachio pudding mix
* 1 cup sour cream
* 1/2-1 teaspoon green food coloring
* 1 teaspoon almond extract
* 3/4 cup chopped walnuts

Directions:
* Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
* Grease and flour two loaf pans.
* Mix all ingredients together until well blended.
* Pour into prepared pans.
* Bake for 40-45 minutes.
* Cool 10 minutes before removing from pans.

Sounds so easy to make and looks delicious too. And because it makes two loafs, I can put one in the freezer for a quick dessert later on.
St Patricks Day Pistachio Bread

May your joys be as deep as the oceans
Your troubles as light as it’s foam
And may you find sweet peace of mind
Where ever you may roam.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day Everyone!

3 Fun Valentines Day Recipes

There is so much you can do with the kids for Valentines Day. You can always find fun crafty things that everyone will enjoy doing with the Valentines Day theme. Or how about making personalized Valentines for family? With that in mind, today, I just want to share some easy recipes you can either make for the kids this Valentines Day, or have them help you make if they are old enough.

First of all these Valentine Pretzel Buttons are another version of something you might have seen before. You can really make these to fit any holiday, but they are a tasty treat anytime.
Pretzel Buttons
For the Valentines Day Version, here’s what you will need.
* Square pretzels
* Hershey’s Hugs (you can use Kisses, too, but I think the Hugs taste better and they definitely soften up better!)
* Plain M&Ms in Valentine colors.

Directions:
* Preheat oven to 200°.  (If your oven runs hot you may want to turn the temp down to 170°.)
* Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or Silpat.
* Place the pretzels on the paper and top each one of  them with the hugs.
* Bake for 4-5 minutes until the chocolate is shiny and soft (but NOT melting – they should still hold their shape).
* Carefully place an M&M in the center of each hug and press it down to spread the chocolate.
* Allow to cool completely (a few minutes in the fridge works perfectly) and enjoy! Thanks to GriffithsRated for the recipe.


This next tasty Valentines Day treat is so cute. Heart Shaped Cinnamon Rolls.
Heart Cinnamon Rolls
I don’t have a recipe for the cinnamon rolls, but you can find one or just buy some of the store bought ones and reroll them in the shape. Basically, instead of just rolling the cinnamon dough in one direction, roll the dough from each side to meet in the middle to make the heart shape. Once they are in the pan, you just pinch the bottom to finish up the heart shape. Again, thanks to PoppiesAtPlay for the inspiration.


And, finally, something really easy from Kraft RecipesJell-O Strawberry Parfaits.
Jell-O Strawberry Parfaits
* Just make the Jell-O according to package directions.
* Add some strawberries and pour mixture in a parfait glass.
* Set the glass in a muffin tin so the Jell-O is on a slant and put in the refrigerator to set.
* When set, fill the slant side of the glass with Whipped Cream and at a fresh strawberry on top for decoration.
* Looks fancy, but really only takes a few minutes to whip up.

Hope you will get a chance to try one of these easy recipes. Have a great time celebrating Valentines with the ones you love. Happy Valentines Day Everyone!

Travel Tools For Kids

Ah, a new year. Time to take a look back at what you accomplished over the past year and take a look at what you want to do in the coming year. I am always on the look out for fun crafts that the kids can do to keep them entertained. Pinterest is a great place to find just about anything I need to keep them busy. If you haven’t had a chance to start a Pinterest page, I highly recommend that you get one started. If you find something fun to do with your kids we would love to see what you are doing.

Of course, school and all the extra activities usually keep us pretty busy, but one of the things that we want to do more of this coming year is to do more traveling. In previous years, financial limitations and just the age of the kids kind of kept us from taking time for family vacations. Well things are looking better financially this year and the kids are old enough now to really appreciate new adventures to some fun places.

So, with the plan to do more traveling, this year I have put together a couple of travel tools for the kids. First, I started a map with all the places we have visited and plan to add to it each time we visit someplace new. I don’t know about you, but it might be fun to try to make a visit to every state sometime.
Travel Map
So far, really the only places we have been are the places we have lived and back to visit parents and grandparents. I found this map from MrPrintables.com on Pinterest where you can download one of their maps. I have started this out, coloring in the states we have visited and put in the city we visited. Now, my plan is to print one for each of the kids and they can take it from there. Every time we visit a new place they can color and decorate the state however they want.
Removing Ink From Containers
I also found out how to remove ink from plastic containers at SweetPenniesFromHeaven.com. (Just so you will know, use 100% Acetone (nail polish remover) to remove the ink.) I hate to throw away things that can be reused, don’t you? Well, now that I can get the ink off, I am going to have the kids decorate a yogurt container to go along with the place we visit. Now they will have a container to store any treasures they find while we are on vacation. I think I will be sure to date each of the containers so we will have a time stamp to also remember our travels.
Containers With No Ink
Looking forward to some great adventures in the coming year. Hope you and your family will have a adventurous year ahead too. If you have any thing special you plan to do for the New Year with the family, let us know, we always like to hear from readers.

Snowman Soup – Slow Cooker White Hot Chocolate

So much of the country has been hit with early winter temperatures. Do your kids like to get outside and build forts or snowmen? When they come inside from a frosty afternoon of fun, there is nothing better to help warm them like a steaming mug of hot chocolate. Just wrapping cold fingers around a toasty mug of hot chocolate sounds great right now.
Snowman Soup
Instead of the usual packet of hot chocolate dumped in a mug of hot water, here’s a recipe from Rachel Lacy from FollowingInMyShoes.com for a decadent twist on that traditional hot chocolate to surprise the family with on a cold winter’s day: Snowman Soup or slow cooker white chocolate hot chocolate. This is a treat they will want you to make often once they have tasted it. Of course you will want to be sure to add the whipped cream, crushed peppermint candies and the cute snowman faces. The kiddos wouldn’t have it any other way!

Here’s what you will need:

Ingredients:Slow Cooker White Hot Chocolate
4 cups Whole Milk
3 cups Half-and-Half
1 and ½ cups White Chocolate Chips
1 teaspoon Vanilla
Whipped Cream
Crushed Peppermint Candies
Jumbo Marshmallows
Mini Chocolate Chips
Orange Reese’s Pieces (or similar brand)

Instructions:
* Pour the Milk and Half-and-Half into a 3-quart slow-cooker.
* Add the White Chocolate Chips.
* Cover and turn the slow-cooker to LOW.
* Cook for 3-4 hours, stirring occasionally to help the chips melt.
* When fully melted, stir in 1 teaspoon of vanilla.
* Ladle the drink into mugs and add the toppings in the following order:
* Whipped Cream
* Crushed Peppermint Candy
* Snowman Marshmallows
* Serve and enjoy!

To Make Snowman Marshmallows:
* Slice the Jumbo Marshmallows in half (across the middle) to create round Snowman faces.
* On the sticky, “cut” side of the marshmallow half, add mini chocolate chips for eyes and the mouth and half of a Reese’s Pieces Candy for a “carrot nose,” pressing down on each piece of candy to help it adhere to the sticky marshmallow.

Hope you enjoy the hot chocolate recipe and stay warm!

Thanksgiving Blessing Mix

Thanksgiving is the time for family and friends to get together. Last year we were invited to a friend’s house for Thanksgiving dinner, what a treat. Of course dinner was delicious and spending time with friends was what made the day for us. One thing that stood out for me was our hostess made bags of Blessing Mix for everyone. I thought it was such a cute idea; we are going to make some this year for our Thanksgiving dinner. This is something quick and easy that the kids can mix up ahead of time. You can also take time when you are making it to talk to the kids about all the blessings in your lives.
Thanksgiving Blessings Mix
Here’s what you will need:
Blessings Mix in bowl2 cups Bugles brand corn snacks
2 cups small pretzels
1-cup candy corn
1-cup dried fruit bits or raisins
1-cup peanuts or sunflower seeds
1-cup M&Ms-brand chocolate candy
16 Hershey’s-brand chocolate kisses
Blessings Mix gift tags

Here’s how to make them:
* In a large bowl, gently mix all ingredients except Hershey’s Kisses.
* Place 1/3 to 1/2 cup Thanksgiving Blessing Mix in small cellophane treat bags.
* Add one Hershey’s Kiss to each bag.
* Close bag with chenille stem or twist-tie.

Here is an explanation of what each item in the Blessing Mix represents:

> Bugles: Shaped like a cornucopia or Horn of Plenty, a symbol of our nation’s abundance.
> Pretzels: Arms folded in prayer, a freedom sought by those who founded our country.
> Candy Corn: Sacrifices of the Pilgrims’ first winter. Food was so scarce that settlers survived on just a few kernels of corn a day.
> Nuts or Seeds: Promise of a future harvest, one we will reap only if seeds are planted and tended with diligence.
> Dried Fruits: Harvest gifts of our bountiful land.
> M&Ms: Memories of those who came before us to guide us to a blessed future.
> Hershey’s Kiss: The love of family and friends that sweetens our lives.

Blessing Mix Poster
Wishing everyone a Happy Thanksgiving, and don’t eat too much turkey. Save some room for your Blessing Mix!

Special thanks to 11Cupcakes.com for the tag and pictures.

Healthy Snack Ideas For Thanksgiving

Your kids have probably been on a candy overload now that Halloween is over. I know I try to ration out the candy that they have accumulated but it is not always an easy thing to accomplish. And I must admit that I have also indulged in more of the sweet treats than I should have. Just having all that sweet stuff around is hard to resist sometime.

Well, to combat some of the unhealthy treats, here are two snacks you can make for the kids keeping with the fall or Thanksgiving theme. I bet they will gobble them up.

First of all is a Pumpkin Patch Pudding Dirt cup. Of course everyone has seen or made this pudding at sometime, mostly with gummy worms mixed in. Well instead of using the worms, make it into a pumpkin patch instead. Make the chocolate pudding like you normally would. Crush up the chocolate cream cookies to spread over the pudding to give it that dirt look, then add a few of the mellowcreme pumpkins and a sprinkle of green sugar crystals, and it’s ready for an after school treat. If you are going to use this for a party, add the “Pumpkin Patch” sign to make it a little more creative. Looks like these would be fun for the kids to help make too.
Pumpkin Patch Pudding Cups
This next treat is also easy to make and a healthy way to eat “Candy Corn”. Try making the “Candy Corn” Fruit Cup with the kids for an after school snack. It’s all about the presentation! Stack pineapple, orange slices, and whipped cream or yogurt in a pretty glass and Voila! … A create this way to eat what is normally a sugary sweet candy.
Healthy Candy Corn snack
Thanks to ArtsCrackers.com and Listotic.com for the fun ideas.