Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Toilet Paper Roll to Easter Treat Tutorial

Easter is just around the corner, but you've still got time to whip up some of these adorable treat boxes for classroom parties and baskets of course!  And they're so easy - even a rabbit can make them - ha!
Toilet paper rolls
Orange acrylic or tempera paint
Clear nail polish or Mod Podge spray gloss
Green tissue paper
I had actually seen these made up as candy corn treat boxes last year at Halloween, but never had time to make them in the Fall.  And then I got to thinking, why not use that same shape to make carrots and Easter Bunnies instead?
I never actually got farther than painting the roll white for the bunny, but you can figure it out from the instructions below and I think they would be adorable as well!  Simply start by painting your rolls with tempera or acrylic paint.  I had tempera paint on hand, so that's what I used.
I would have stopped here, but the paint I had dried very dull and I wanted them to be shiny.  You could certainly spend a little and get glossy finish paint or try spray paint, but I decided to try clear nail polish instead.  Again, it was what I had on hand and since I'm usually crafting while supervising homework and starting dinner, I'm frequently left to 'make do'.  Hey, it was smelly, but it worked!
However, if you're going to be making lots of these, I would go ahead and grab the Mod Podge glossy finish spray - much faster and less smelly!  Once it's dry, you're ready to glue down one end.  I had Elmer's on hand, so i held it together with a clip for a minute or two before moving on to the next one, but tape runner or hot glue would make quick work of this if you're making in bulk for baskets or classrooms.
Now you're ready to fill 'em up!
Then grab your green tissue paper and make your carrot tops!  I made mine two different ways and liked them both.  On some I cut several squares out and fringed the ends.  On others, I pinched the squares in the middle the same way you would to stuff a gift bag.
Now the trick to making the carrot shape is to seal the roll on top by pinching it closed in the opposite direction from the bottom.  This gives you the triangle shape you need for the carrots and reminds me of the little cream packets they used to have at restaurants when I was a kid too - yum!  Since I'm not planning on these being reusable, I simply inserted my tissue paper tops and stapled closed.  The tissue paper seems to hide the staples just fine and they're easy to open as well!
We'll be passing these out tomorrow at the class party!  Aren't they cute?!
Happy Easter Y'all!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Easy Easter Cloche

This is a re-post of an Easter project from last year, but with so many awesome, new bloggy friends, I thought I might share this quick and easy idea again! Sheep and I spent some time doing a few new projects during Spring Break last week, but we also started pulling out our Easter decorations from last year and this is one of my favorites. You might even have everything you need to complete this project at home already! So, what are you waiting for . . . hippity, hop to it!

With all the other activities going on this month, Easter has really sort of hopped up on me - ha! But I managed to locate some of my decorations over the weekend and make a couple of new things too!  I don't have a real cloche, but I've seen lots of cute ideas using them, including nests, and decided one of my glass cake stands would work just as well for this project!

As usual, I put my own spin on it, by simply buying a small grapevine wreath and filling it with Spanish moss to use as my nest. I just love the springy color of this moss so I will be finding more uses for it!

The wooden eggs nestled inside were hand painted by my cousin many years ago and I just love them! Aren't they exquisite? She is a true artist! I have several more, but only three would fit in my tiny taste of Easter, so the others are up on my mantle in baskets - out of Snacks' reach! It will be nice when he's a little older and things can 'come back down,' but for now Easter will have to stay under glass!

I have a few uncompleted Easter projects from last year as well, including a new wreath for my door. Hopefully (or should I say Hop-fully?), I will get these wrapped up this week. What are you up to for Easter this year?

Friday, March 15, 2013

'Shamrocks' Thin Mint Cookie Pops!

What are you doing with all your Girl Scout Cookies?
If you're like me, you're a sucker (Ha - Sucker!) for those little entrepreneurs in uniform - especially when one of them is yours!  Needless to say, we have lots of girl scout cookies on hand about now, so Sheep and I thought it might be fun to experiment with making some recipes that use girl scout cookies as a main ingredient!
St. Patty's Day is literally just around the corner, so we thought we'd better give this idea a try and quick!  I am happy to report that after only a some trial and error with the candy bark, we have a winner!
I wanted to call them "Leprechaun Balls" but Sheep suggested Shamrocks, so we went with that instead.  She didn't seem to find my name for these tasty treats all that funny.  Eight-year-olds . . .
'Shamrocks' Thin Mint Cookie Pops
1 box Girl Scout Thin Mint cookies, crushed
5 oz. (approximately 2/3 of block) cream cheese, softened
White candy bark
Green food color
Green sugar sprinkles
Mix crushed cookies and cream cheese together to dough-like consistency.  Form into 1" balls.  Melt candy bark according to instructions.  Add green food coloring to melted bark and stir to achieve a uniform color.  Dip cookie balls in melted bark and place on waxed paper to harden.  Alternately, roll cookie balls in green sugar and place on waxed paper.  Insert popsicle sticks if desired.  Enjoy!
I don't know about you, but we really struggled with the candy bark.  Not sure why. I just know that I personally have never used the stuff very successfully, despite my continued desire and numerous attempts.  Hence the alternate instructions using only green sugar.  Sheep actually liked the ones rolled in sugar better than the dipped ones because they weren't as sweet.  And I do have a picture of those too.  Somewhere . . . .{Sigh.}
We had actually abandoned the candy bark altogether, but went back to it one last time after we had gone with the sugar, so you can see some of the sugar sparkles in the bark.  It actually looks really pretty, but certainly not a necessary step.
In the end, our original idea worked and has been 'leprechaun' approved too!
The weather here has been lovely this week and with any luck, we'll be out on the boat on Sunday.
What are your plans for St. Patrick's Day?

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Bake a Blue Ribbon in Honor of Pi(e) Day!

Well, I'm sure you've heard by now that it's National Pi(e) Day and what better way to celebrate than with something yummy!  I am on my way out the door to grab ingredients for Sheep's FAVORITE pie now, but thought I would share some pie recipes from a few of my past posts before I did!
Clockwise, from top left:
and a
Although the last one's not a pie you can eat, the results of this recipe are even sweeter, so be sure and check it out!
Happy Pi(e) Day!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Make Your Own American Girl Doll Chairs

This was a quick and easy solution to the 'chair dilemma' that was presented to me by the birthday girl when she decided she wanted to play musical chairs with the dolls during her American Girl Doll Sleepover.  We were expecting 12 (Yes, 12!!) American Girl Dolls and their 8-year-olds to be in attendance, so I needed to come up with chairs for the evening that would be inexpensive as well as adorable.
Thankfully, I had just bought a new pair of shoes (yay, me!) and was inspired by the box, which I thought could easily be converted into a chair.  And, with nothing more than a kitchen knife to cut the bottom and some colorful duct tape to piece it together, it was!
Alas, I was able to get the rest of the boxes FREE from a local shoe store (Thanks DSW!), so mommy didn't need to shop for more shoes (Awwww).  Though it didn't stop a pair from jumping in my basket while I was collecting the stash of boxes one afternoon.  They were 75% off and oh sooo stinkin' cute!  But I digress . . .
Anyway, I found that the box chairs worked best when cut a little more than half-way, because you lose some of the length for the seat once it's inserted into the lid.  Also, because of the expense of the duct tape (the most expensive part of this project BTW), I actually ended up trading some of the larger shoe boxes that were given to me with some of the narrower boxes in my closet already, just to save tape.  Using the narrower (sandal) boxes, I was able to get about 2 and 1/2 boxes covered per roll using the patterned tape - there's less per roll on the patterned tape, so keep that in mind when you're calculating how much you'll need!
Although I originally thought these might be simple enough to enlist the birthday girl for some help, duct tape turned out to be more challenging for her than I planned, so give yourself a little time if you're planning on making a dozen lke I did!  I chose to insert the cut end into the box lid to give it lots of stability and to make it easier to cover, but you might be able to have the cut end facing out as well.  I liked the look of the solid chair though, don't you?
And here they are, all lined up and ready to be played with!
The dolls and their girls just LOVED them!!
While we got our craft on, the dolls had their own 'Meet-N-Greet!'
Most of the dolls sat in their own chairs for cupcakes!  Then the girls used them to set up a theater for the dolls while they watched an American Girl Doll movie themselves.  So creative!

Before the end of the night, these chairs had been used for a spa and waiting room as well.
And don't forget musical chairs!

Along with the jewelry they crafted and the cupcake wrappers we repurposed into doll tiaras, these sturdy little shoebox chairs made great party favors for all our guests!


Friday, March 8, 2013

Strawberries and Cream Cheesecake

 As much as possible, I try to bake and create using seasonal ingredients, not only because I think it's probably healthier to eat this way, but also because it's more economical.  And right now, it's strawberry season in these parts.  YUM!  We visited our local pick-your-own farm and market on Monday to reap some of nature's bounty and I promised to follow up with a new strawberry recipe for ya, so here it is!
By the way, this is a Sassy Pants original, born more out of desperation than inspiration because it seemed like I was missing at least one ingredient from any of the recipes I found while combing the web for something new.  It's sort of a combination of two or three different recipes, and a few alterations my MIL and I decided to make along the way.  Never the less - voila!
Strawberries and Cream Cheesecake
1 'Shortcut Shortbread' Crust
2 packages softened cream cheese
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1/2 C milk
1/2 C sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 - 3 cups crushed strawberries
4-5 sliced strawberries
whipped cream
For complete instructions on making your own 'Shortcut Shortbread' crust, go here!  Then press your 'Shortcut Shortbread' crust into the bottom of a springform pan and bake for 20 minutes at 400 degrees.  Cool completely while preparing filling.
For filling, empty one envelope of unflavored gelatin into 1/2 C milk and heat in small saucepan on low for 2-3 minutes until gelatin is completely dissolved.  Pour over two packages softened cream cheese and blend well.  Add vanilla and sugar.  Add strawberries and mix well.  Mixture will be fairly runny.
Line the sides of your springform pan with cooled crust with strawberry slices approximately 1/4" thick.  Pour filling into pan.  Refrigerate overnight or until firm.  Remove sides of pan and garnish with strawberries, whipped cream, mint sprigs as desired!
This recipe is quite yummy and would be a perfect ending to Easter brunch.  However, it doesn't taste like cheesecake to me.  Instead, it reminds me of strawberry jello salad, which is basically what I ended up with after tasting it and rereading my ingredients.  But what a beautiful alternative to jello salad's traditional presentation!  And the 'shortcut shortbread' crust elevates this dessert to something truly heavenly!
So why not give it a try when strawberry season arrives and let me know you think!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Froberg's Family Fun!

After a last-ditch effort at winter over the weekend, Monday arrived sunny and warm.
Ahhhh, spring!
March is strawberry season around these parts and we were more than a little excited to head out to our local pick-your-own farm in Alvin, TX to sample some of the state's sweetest!  Picking strawberries at Froberg's has been a family tradition since at least 2009 and like our family, it's grown and changed over the last five years as well!  Although we were surprised by the swanky new entrance (Ooooo-we - paved and everythang), we were happy to see the fields just as green and red and bountiful as ever!  And our favorite oak tree still stands in the center, inviting visitors to take a deep breath and stay awhile.  Since we visited after school on Monday, we didn't have time to stop and enjoy the picnic tables that were added a few years ago, but we were able to enjoy the farm in relative solitude at that time of day and it was heavenly.  These days my very-experienced field hands can fill two buckets with strawberries pretty darn quickly, so we did manage to squeeze in a little playtime and snap a few pictures before heading back home.  You can find your own local, 'pick-your-own' farm in both the United States (and other countries!) and enjoy an afternoon outdoors by simply heading on over to  We made 'smashed strawberry preserves' this afternoon, and another strawberry surprise I will be sharing with you soon!  In the mean time, I hope you enjoy this first taste of spring as much as well do!
Heading out!
This year we decided to head all the way out and work our way back toward the oak tree.
The infamous cheesy smile!
Fill 'er up!

Wow!  Check out this mutant giant strawberry!  And yes, we picked it!

"I got it!"  My big man!


Time to play!
Where's your shoe?!
 . . . and relax.

On the other hand, who needs strawberries when you've got something this sweet?!
I hope you love each other this much forever!
- Mom