Sunday, December 23, 2012

Week 22 Theme...

Merry Christmas Everyone!!!!

For this week since it is Christmas and it will be a busy few days, the Pinterest Challenge theme will be Elf on the Shelf. This year we decided to introduce Elf on the Shelf to our toddler, mostly because Pinterest had some great ideas on places to put him and things he could do. Really I think Pinterest should be making some of the profits of Elf on the Shelf. It ended up being a great success, our two year old loved to get up every morning and find our Elf, he named Snow.

This week I will be sharing all of the crazy things and some boring places our Elf traveled too. If it wasn't for Pinterest our Elf would have just moved back and forth between a few shelves. Check back this week to check out our Elf.

And Have a Merry and Safe Holiday!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Scrabble Necklace Tutorial

Only 3 days till Christmas! Everyday I get a little more excited.

This week I have been working on homemade Christmas Gifts, inspired by Pinterest of course. I saw this Pinspiration a few months ago and have been really excited to make this for my friends for Christmas. A personalized necklace with their initial on it. LOVE IT!!!!
The thing with Pinterest pins is sometimes you don't click on the picture to see where the link leads to. So when I was ramping up to go buy the supplies and get to work on this gift, I got on Pinterest and clicked the pin and it went to a page to buy this necklace for $36.99! Well that is a little too rich for me. I searched all over the internet to find a tutorial on how to make a Scrabble tile necklace, and fail. I have never made jewelery before, but I figured how hard can it be.

So with the help of this Pinspiration, and for a fraction of the cost of one, I made 12 necklaces. Here is how...

First I went to an antique shop that sold Scrabble tile pieces for $0.25 each. You can also find the tiles on, or you can just use your own scrabble game if you want.

Once I had all the tiles, I went to Michael's in search of a chain of some sort. I'm not a huge fan of fake chains, I didn't want my friends to have green necks. So I found a great alternative, and it came with the clasps I needed to make the necklaces. I went with waxed cotton cord. Each package came with enough hardware to make 5 pieces of jewelry for $3.99. I had to buy 3 packages.

Next I used my neck to guesstimate how long I wanted the necklace to be, once I finished one necklace I went and cut the rest in relation to how much longer or short I thought it should be. Then I set a side 2 crimp hardware pieces (included in chain set), 1 clasp (included in chain set), and 1 0.35in/9mm jump ring ($2.99 for a 85 pieces), for each neckalce.

For each necklace I used needle-nose pliers and crimped on the end pieces to both ends.

Then I used the pliers to open the ring on one side of the crimp hardware and applied the clasp, then closed the crimp ring

The next step I had a little help with. My husband drilled all the holes in the Scrabble tiles with a 1/16" drill bit.

Lastly, I used the needle-nose pliers to open the 9mm jump ring, put it through the drilled hole in the Scrabble tile, closed the jump ring. Now it's time to put the tile on the necklace. And Ta-da...

I did find that the wax cord was having trouble straightening out (like it had kinks in it), since it was wrapped around the board that it was packaged with. So I put it between a dish towel and ironed it at medium heat, and it worked like magic!

This was sort of a Pinterest Success, definitely an Olivia Success! I made one for me and I love it, I think my friends will love it too!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Neighbor Christmas Gifts

I'm getting so excited about Christmas, only 4 days away! I had a very successful shopping week, and successful Pinterest homemade gifts week. Now I just have to start wrapping and then I will be all ready for Christmas.

This weekend I am going to start giving out some of the Pinterest Pinspiration project gifts. The first Pinspiration was for a neighbor gift. We have the world's best neighbors and they deserve the world, but instead they are going to get these cute inexpensive gifts I made. :)

My inspiration came from this Pinterest Pin:
They just made Chex Muddy Buddies, added Christmas M&Ms, and put in a container. Since they used Starbucks Frappuccino Containers and I didn't have those, I went with a different container.

Muddy Buddies are so easy to make, here is the quick recipe (also found on the back of a Chex box)...

Chex Muddy Buddies

9 cups of Rice Chex (or Corn Chex, Chocolate Chex, Honey Nut Chex, even Cinnamon Chex is great)
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 butter or margarine
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 bag of milk chocolate M&Ms

1. Measure out 9 cups of Chex in a large bowl and set aside.
2. In a medium, microwavable-safe container, add chocolate chips, peanut butter, butter\margarine, and vanilla. Microwave uncovered for 1 minute, then stir. Microwave 30 seconds longer or until mixture can be stirred smooth. 
3. Pour smooth mixture over cereal, until evenly coated.
4. Then pour cereal into a large Ziploc bag (2 gallons, although I used a 1 gallon and it worked just fine).
5. Add powdered sugar to the bag. Seal the bag, then shake until well coated. Once that was finished, I added the mix back to the bowl (after I cleaned it), and added the bag of M&Ms.
6. Once it was all cooled, I added it to the containers I bought. I cheated a little, because last year my friend gave us Chex Muddy Buddies in a Christmas Tree container, so I found more of them at Walmart for $1.98 each.

I'm excited to give our neighbors their Christmas gift. I think the Chex Muddy Buddies are delish, and the containers are super cute; so I think it's a Pinterest Success. But the neighbors might not think that :P

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Week 21 Theme...

Christmas is right around the corner, NO LITERALLY it is just about a week away! Every year I am so wrapped up in everything Christmas time has to offer, that I get so behind on gift buying. This year seems even worse; I have some major shopping to do the next eight days.

Since we are a family on a single income, I like to make some sort of inexpensive homemade gifts for friends and neighbors. Thanks again to Pinterest, there are a million and seven ideas for homemade gifts. Maybe my homemade gifts can step it up a notch this year, with the help of some Pinspiration.

This week's Pinterest Challenge is to make homemade Christmas gifts for my friends and neighbors. I'm going to have to find time somehow in this busy shopping schedule this week to complete this task, maybe I should be looking a Pinterest Pins on time management instead. :P

I am looking forward to seeing what I can create on a budget, and hopefully it won't be too lame, so people will actually like it.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies

For this week of Christmas cookies, I made one other Pinterest cookie. Since I love my sweets and I eat too many cookies, I only tried out two recipes.

My sister use to love to make these cookies at Christmas time, and I use to love to eat them. So I tried my luck with this Pinterest pin, Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies:

Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies (Makes about 30ish):

- 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temp
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar, for rolling
- 30 chocolate kisses, unwrapped (I had about 36 cookies, so I needed a few more kisses)

1. Preheat oven to 350F. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
2. Mix peanut butter and butter until smooth with an electric mixer, or stand. Add brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Slowly add in the dry ingredients.
3. Place granulated sugar on a plate. Roll about 1 tablespoon of dough into a ball, then roll into the sugar. Place on cookies sheets, 2 inches apart.
4. Bake until the cookies begin to puff up, about 10 minutes. Remove from oven, gently press in chocolate kiss into the center of each cookie. Then return to the oven and bake for about 2 to 3 minutes, until cookies are golden and cholocate is soft.
5. Let cool on cookie sheet for about 10 minutes before transferring to a wire cooling rack.
6. Then Enjoy!

These cookies are amazing, just as good as when my sister makes them! This was a Christmas tradition success and of course a Pinterest Success!

Colorful Swirl Cookies

This week I have done a little Christmas baking. Thanks to Pinterest I tried a couple new recipes.

This Pinterest pin was my inspiration for one of the Christmas cookies I baked, recipe here:

Mine looked nothing like this beautiful master piece, and they weren't the best sugar cookies. But since I love cookies, I ate way too many of these mediocre cookies.

Colorful Swirl Cookies

- 2 cups of flour (The recipe that I followed, used regular flour, but the recipe they followed said cake flour. So maybe it would have tasted better with cake flour?)
- 1/2 tsp of baking powder
- 1/4 tsp of salt
- 2/3 cup of unsifted powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup of granulated sugar
- 2 1/2 sticks of unsalted butter
- 1 tsp of vanilla
- 1/2 tsp of food coloring your choice (and/or 1/2 tsp of any desired extra extracts)
- 1 1/2 cup of holiday sprinkles (I only used about 1/4 cup of sprinkles)

1. Mix together flour, baking powder, salt, and sugars.
2. Add in butter and vanilla extract, mix until smooth.
3. Remove half of the dough and roll it between two pieces of wax paper. About 9 x 11 (I think mine was more 11 x 11) and about 1/4 inch thick (I just eye balled it).
4. Then with the remaining dough in the bowl, mix food coloring (if you use a water based food coloring add a little bit of extra flour). Also add extra extract if you want, I added a little bit extra vanilla, but you could use mint, or lemon, or whatever you like.
5. Then roll out the second half of the dough, the same way as the first half. Then refrigerate for about 2 hours.
6. When firm, remove the top sheet of both halves of dough, brush the uncolored dough with water using a pastry brush.
7. Now put the two tops together and trim around the outside, to make straight even lines. Then roll up the dough into a long log, and roll into sprinkles.
8. Now wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 3 - 4 hours. Once refrigerated you can slice the dough log (1/4 - 1/8 inch slices) and start baking.
 9. Bake at 350 for 15 - 17 minutes. Let cookies rest on the cookie sheet for about 5 minutes, then move them to a cooking rack to finish cooling.
10. Then enjoy!

This dough was so hard to work with. It was either too hard and cracking, or too soft and melting; there was no in between stage.  Plus, they didn't taste the greatest.  I mean I ate them like they were amazing, but they weren't. Also they crumbled everywhere. You can even see in my finish picture the sprinkle layer was parting from the cookie. So I think I have to call this a Pinterest Fail, maybe? 

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Week 20 Theme...

You my have noticed I love sweets, and I love to bake. Most of the Pinterest food pins I post are all delicious sweets.

So I can't have a month of Christmas fun without a week of baking Christmas cookies! This week I will be baking up some new cookie recipes for cookie exchanges and get togethers.

Baking is one of my favorite things to do around Christmas time, so I can't wait to try out some new Pinterest inspired treats. Hopefully I don't eat them all before they reach their destinations. ;)

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Christmas Center Pieces

This year I decided to update my Dinning Room table center piece, with the help of Pinterest of course.

I loved all the glass containers with ornaments in them, like in this Pinterest Pin.
Since I have a bunch of glass vases, I decided to use those and to add some Christmas floral to them. So I used the ornament in a glass container as my Pinspiration, but also got a little bit more creative.

I started with a plain glass vase and filled it with plain ornaments I found at the dollar store:
Next I added some very glittery Christmas floral (from Michael's) to the vase:
Then I placed it on a gold platter (also from Michael's), added some ribbon, hot glued some of the floral, ornaments and cinnamon scented pine cones to the platter:

Here is the front view:
Here is the back view:

I did make two for my table, still not sure if I love the two of them there together. I might move one to another table, but I'm not sure because it is starting to grow on me.

I did veer off of the original pin, but since it was my inspiration I will still call this one another success.

Oh Christmas Tree!

This week the Chapmans have been working on Decking the Halls for Christmas. We are still not completely finished, but I am finished with a couple of Pinterest inspiration crafts.

The first Pinterest Pin was a craft that my girlfriends worked on at a craft party. I wasn't feeling too well so I wasn't able to go, but I did steal their Pinspiration to create one at home. Here is the craft they did:
For the tree here, the artist hot glued tinsel around the foam cone first, then glued the ornaments all around it. I figured since the cone was green like a tree, I would skip this step.

Here is how I created my ornament tree:

I started with a foam cone from Michael's and started hot gluing lots of ornaments (from the dollar store) around the cone.
 I thought it would look cool if I used lots of different sizes. Hhhmmm, not so much.
But once I added the bow, put it on a silver platter, and added some left over Christmas floral (from my other project) to it, I think it looked pretty nice.
I ended up making two more little ones, and only used one size ornament. With the three all together, I think it came out pretty amazing. Especially since the big one was a little questionable for a while.
Here is what our stocking display looks like, with our beautiful trees...
Overall it was a Pinterest Success. If I had it to do all over again I would have used the same size ornaments for the entire large tree so it looked a little more uniform. That's what I get for trying to be creative.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Week 19 Theme...

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas! Well, not at the Chapman House.

This week we plan to Deck the Halls (and the rest of the house too)! With a little Pinterest help, our home might just be a little more merrier this year.

I love this time of year and I am excited to create some Pinterest Christmas crafts for around the house. I haven't picked out any particular crafts yet, but I'm sure I'll pick at least one by the end of the week. If not then this would be a really dull week :)

Check back later this week for all the Christmas Cheer!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Christmas Advent Calender

Today is December 1st, which means it's time to start the countdown 'til Christmas. What better way to count down than with an Advent Calender?

Thanks to Pinterest, there are about a million ideas on how to make an Advent Calendar. The main Pinterest Pin that inspired me was this pin. More detail here.
I loved this advent calendar because each day they have a Christmas family activity, rather than just having a chocolate or candy cane for each day.

For my advent calendar I used my foam board that I used for my Pinterest Halloween Costume for the background.
I also purchased some Christmas stock paper for $9.99, and cut out 3.5" x 5" pieces of paper. I decorated each of the pieces with some more paper and a number.
The stock paper I bought actually had a page with numbers, so I cut out all 25 numbers. This took me forever.
Next I used a glue stick and glued all 25 pieces equalish distance apart. I only glued the right and left sides and the bottom, so that it was like an envelope.

I also cut out 25 pieces of the stock paper into 2" x 3" pieces , punched a hole in the top and then tied some ribbon in each hole. This was for each day's activity, which I printed out and glued on the smaller pieces of paper. These are to go into each day's "envelopes".

Here is our list of 25 family Christmas activities (The first and last one are the first and last activity, but I mixed the rest up, so each day would be a surprise):
1. Adopt and Name Our Elf on a Shelf.
2. Make Paper Snow Flakes.
3. Make hot chocolate.
4. Make the house smell like Christmas.
5. Read a Christmas Story.
6. Go out for a Christmas Treat.
7. Make a treat and share with a friend.
8. Make wrapping paper.
9. Visit Santa Claus.
10. Decorate cookies.
11. Color a Christmas Picture.
12. Do something nice for someone.
13. Make a new Christmas Ornament.
14. Play a game with the family.
15. Call a friend or relative we haven't talked to in a while.
16. Sing Christmas songs.
17. Send a letter to Santa.
18. Donate a Toy.
19. Tell a Christmas Tale.
20. Drive (or walk) around and look at Christmas Lights.
21. Watch a Christmas Move and eat Popcorn.
22. Enjoy Candy Canes.
23. Share favorite past Christmas Memories.
24. Have a Picnic by the Christmas tree.
25. Put out milk and Cookies for Santa (don't forget about the reindeer).

Here is the final look of our Advent Calender:

I think it came out great, and I'm excited to do all the activities with my family! I just love this time of year. Another Pinterest Success!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Week 18 Theme...

December is less than a week away, which means it's time to start getting into the Christmas spirit.

For this week's theme I am going to use a collaboration of Pinterest Pinspirations and create an Advent Calendar. My first Christmas Pinterest Pin, I'm exited!

I found an advent calendar pin that has a fun family activity for each day up until Christmas, instead of just a chocolate or candy cane each day. I am definitely going to work that into the design.

I'm looking forward to all the Holiday Season's Pinterest Challenges.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Mini Apple Pies

My Thanksgiving desserts had a theme: mini. I wanted to make individual, personal desserts. So along with my mini cheesecakes, I made mini apple pies. You can't have Thanksgiving without apple pie!

My Pinterest Pinspiration came from this Pinterest Pin. Recipe found here. 

Mini Apple Pie
- Eight cups of apples (I used 7 large granny smith apples, it was about 3lbs of apples)
- 12 Tbsp of flour 
- 1 1/2 cup of sugar
- 4 Teaspoons of cinnamon
- 1/4 - 1/2 tsp of nutmeg (I used in between the two)
- 4 Tbsp of chilled butter (Cut into 24 equal  pieces)
- 2 boxes of Pillsbury Pie Crust (chilled not frozen)

This recipe makes about 24 mini Apple Pies.

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
2. Peel and Cut all the apples into 1/2 inch bits. Then mix in the flour, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Make sure all the apples are evenly coated.
3. Grease a cupcake pan, then roll out the pie crust and cut circles to cover the bottom of the cupcake pan. I had to try a bunch of different circle sizes, and still think mine were too small.
4. Next fill each lined pie crust cavity with the apple filling. Then put 1/24 of the chilled butter on top of each pie.
5. Roll out the remaining dough, to create a cover for each pie. I cut little circles.
6. Place in the 400 degrees preheated oven for 18-22 minutes, until golden brown.
7. Once cooled down, top with some ice cream and enjoy!

Everyone loved these mini Apple Pies, and there was much less of a clean-up with individual pies. The only problem is between peeling and cutting all the apples, and rolling out the dough a few times, these pies seemed to take forever. So they were very, very tasty, just pretty time consuming. It's a Pinterest Success, but I'm not sure if I will ever make these again.

Mini Cheesecakes

Thanksgiving was a huge success this year, mostly because I was only in charge of desserts. I have to thank Pinterest for my delicious desserts; without Pinterest my desserts would have been store bought from Publix.

The first Pinterest Pin I decided to make was Mini Cheesecakes. Here is my Pinterest Pinspiration for these amazing bite size snacks. Here is where the recipe is from.

Mini Cheesecakes
- Two 8-oz packages of cream cheese (softened to room temperature)
- 3/4 cup of sugar
- Three eggs
- 1 tsp of vanilla extract
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice (I used an actual lemon, not from a bottle)
- Dash of lemon zest (I used about two pinches)
- Mini Nilla wafers (not reduced fat, the other recipe says they float, I just took their word for it)
- 1 can of pie filling (I used strawberry, but you can use whatever you want)

This recipe makes about 60 cheesecake bites.
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Mix together, with an electric mixer, cream cheese (make sure it is room temperature, you can also microwave them for 10 seconds), sugar, eggs, vanilla, lemon juice and zest until smooth.
3. Line a mini cupcake pan with mini cupcake liners and place a mini Nilla wafer face-up inside each one.
4. Scoop cheesecake mixture onto wafers, filling the cup about 3/4 full. I found a tablespoon of the mixture was just about perfect.
5. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.
6. Refrigerate. Once chilled, scoop on pie filing on top of each mini cheesecake, then chill once more before serving.
7. Then enjoy!!!!

Theses were a huge success, everyone loved them and they were gone pretty quickly. I definitely will be making these again, they were quick, easy, and amazing! Pinterest Success!