-A mostly true journey of a girl, her man and their three kids; all trying to live harmoniously in a house somewhere in Utah. Names and exact locations may be changed in order to protect the grouchy.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Cake on a stick?

Who knew, right? Well, so it happens, many many people in the blogging world are talking about these cute little treats. One of the best, whom I believe coined the phrase, "Cake Pops" is Bakerella. If you want to see talent on a sucker stick, stop by her website and be amazed.

Living in Utah, which HAS to be the craftiest place put upon the earth, I've seen these done a million and two ways. People are so creative it's borderline nauseous. Or maybe I'm jealous. Who can tell?

Anyway, for those of you who don't have a lot of time to check around, I'll show you the basic recipe.  These make nice individually wrapped snacks, neighbor gifts,  or if you're the husband, dessert. Remember, if you are looking for gorgeous, amazing cakes on a stick, type "cake pops" into Google Images. Then, try to refrain from laughing at my orphan treats. While giggling though, remember that they all taste fantastic once they're stuffed in your face. One at a time, friends. That is advice from experience :)

Ingredients-

-Cake Mix, any flavor.
-1 can of pre-made frosting
-3 eggs
-Oil and water (as directed on cake box)
-Sucker sticks (baking section of any craft store. I found mine at Michaels.)
-Meltable candy discs or chocolate bark.
-sprinkles, anything you'd decorate cookies or cupcakes with :)
-Styrofoam block/ box with pre-stabbed holes (to stick cake pops in when drying)
-cake pan, mixing bowl, cookie sheet, wax paper

1. Bake cake according to directions on box. Let cool completely.
2. Break up cooled cake into a mixing bowl. Stir in 1 whole can of frosting.
3. Mix until the consistency of cookie dough.
 4. Roll into balls and set onto a cookie sheet that will fit into your fridge. I always forget this part and end up using non-Utah approved words. Using wax paper saves a trip into the dishwasher....
 4. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes.
 5. Melt chocolate bark or candy discs according to package in the microwave.
6. Dip one end of sucker stick into the bark and then into a cake ball. You may want to only take out a few from the fridge at a time. Trust me, the cake works so much better cold...


 7. Swirl the cake pop into the melted chocolate, then stand up the pop on a piece of Styrofoam to dry. I don't have a picture of this step. Let me warn you, it is VERY messy. Chocolate will drip, you will try to lick it off your fingers, it will stick to your lips, along with the bits of cake you shoved in before...Ah yes, now I recall why I didn't take any photos...
8. Decorate those little suckers (literally) before the coating dries. (About five minutes). Reheat any coating as needed.. Dip them in toffee bits or sprinkles. Helpers ALWAYS make the job more fun. Especially when they do the cleaning up :)
 9. Wrap individually, or stick in a mug. The coating is hard, the inside is chewy-gooey deliciousness. A lot like a petit four. I'd like to tell you the shelf-life of these little babies; but you've met me, right? Nothing lasts long enough to go bad here...evah. ;)


 Have you made these before? Let me know how you do it. Enjoy!!

Happy Tuesday, friends :)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Christmas by numbers..

Hello friends,

I hope you're enjoying the spirit of the season. We're looking forward to the whirlwind of activities the next few weeks will bring. I hope the holidays find each of you well and at peace.

Now, onto some silly Christmas-by-numbers (in descending order) at the shellybean house...

146. The number of things I SHOULD be doing instead of posting on this blog.

15. Number of shirt boxes that have either tops or bottoms, but no partner. Similar to socks and tupperware at our house....

13. The number of Christmas cards I received from dear friends in the mailbox, along with the twenty-two I tried to mail without any postage stamps.

12. The number of kinds of cookies I baked this year, half of which are in my belly. Yum :)

11 to 0. The ratio of various rolls of wrapping paper in this house to rolls of tape.

10. The number of square feet of walking space after decorating for the holiday..

9. The amount of trips to the market for more eggs. Or milk. Or peanut butter. Or bread. Perhaps I should listen to the husband and make ONE list...

7. The number of times the following statement is used per day- "Santa is watching you right now!"

5. The number of stockings hung by the fireplace. 2 which were empty of last year's Hershey kisses.

4. The number of extra gifts I have for the "surprise" visitors I see only at this time of year :)

3. The number of UPS/ FED Ex men I know by name. Not kidding.  From deliveries! (get your mind out of the gutter...)

2. The number of "missing" candy canes from the tree per day...

1- bag of candy corn from Halloween I still can't part with. It matches the 1 lb. bag of Autumn mix I ate while contemplating the candy corn dilemma...

0. The number of Christmas Carols/ Christmas Commercials/ Christmas Movies/ Christmas Decorations I want to experience after the 25th of December :)

0. The number of any of the above I'd be willing to change. We're making memories each and every day.

Merry Christmas, friends :)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

White Trash Question of the day..

"Momma, will you put that cute ham in the Macaroni and Cheese this time? asks the youngest, jumping up and down.

"Cute Ham?" I ask.

"You know, the one in that fancy little blue and gold can?

 Ahem. He was talking about Spam.

Aim high, people. Aim really, really high.

Happy classy Thursday, friends. :)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

In the winter we can build a snowman....



Hello, Friends :)

A lot of my very favorite memories of elementary school (both as a student and as a teacher) involve the arts. I miss the singing and dancing, painting and coloring, interpreting and acting out plays... All of it. I especially miss the silly, sometimes gaudy/sometimes beautiful/sometimes unrecognizable, gravity-defying craft projects. Mobiles, stockings, clay pots, crayon resists, lanterns, soup can pencil holders...etc.. You name it, I wanted to make it.

As a student, I couldn't wait for the day the traveling art teacher would make her way down the hall to visit our classroom. She would roll her cart-full of construction paper and other magnificent art supplies right to the front of the room. I remember gazing at whatever media she decided to bring that day, full of anticipation of which kind of magic she'd be showing us. I'd listen to her instructions and do everything I could to soak in all the colors and textures and techniques. Along with the others, I'd also hope that we'd complete our projects that day. A familiar question always was, "Do we get to take it home?", and then, "Can we take it home TODAY?"

As a teacher, I looked forward to any time I could share Arts/Crafts projects with the kids. I reveled in the satisfaction each child showed in their completed works. Smiles were wide, hands were filthy and the room was abuzz with sharing each little masterpiece. 

In reflection, I think what I love(d) most about art, is that it is so subjective. I remember asking the teachers (as my students asked me), "Is this right? Does this look good? Mine looks different than yours, what did I do wrong?" The answer was always the same. "You didn't do anything wrong.", or ,"How do YOU like it?" "How does it make you feel when you look at it?" "Projects are not suppose to be carbon copies of one another." The pieces were about individuality. Creativity. Confidence. Art in whatever form can give each of us that. 

Unfortunately, school is getting increasingly difficult for young children. The lack of play and time for the arts is being replaced with standardized tests and cookie cutter-minded behavior. There is hardly any time for children to express themselves creatively; individually or socially. I find this to be one of the most tragic mistakes in education today. Yep, I'm a bit passionate about it. Sorry. The point is, as a student or a teacher, I've come to know that the Arts give us wonderful opportunities to express ourselves. 

So, the next time your child brings home something wrapped in yarn or glitter, beans or pipe-cleaners; (or all of the above),  the next time something comes home strung on a necklace or dripping with glue or wet paint, take just a second to look for their little name at the bottom and know that what you hold in your hands is a one of a kind piece of art; made for you from the perfect, individual spirit of an amazing, artistic child. 

I thought I'd share an easy winter craft you could make with your kids. Or your friends. Or just you. No matter. My youngest was bored out of his mind on Friday night, so I taught him how to make some cute snowmen out of socks. If you're a normal human who has ever done laundry, you know you have at least ONE orphan sock lying around the house. (I have a whole basket of them.) Really, where in the world could 30-some mismatched socks go? 

 As with anything I show you on this blog, feel free to add or take away anything to make this project yours. I've taught lots of kids how to make these over the years, and i can bet you, that like all snowflakes, no two are the same.  Celebrate that individuality people- every chance you get :)

Ingredients for Sock Snowmen-

-One sock. Preferably plain white. Any size. I know I told you to use your individuality, and by all means, please do. But I must ask you at this time to NOT use yellow socks. (No one likes yellow snow, ladies. )

-Any kind of shredded fabric(thin strips), ribbon or string. You'll probably need about a foot of any of it.  Mix and match..

-Rice. About 3 cups per large snowman, 1 cup for kid's socks.I use whatever I can find in a big bag. Yes, I craft AND I am Japanese. I Loves me the rice :)

-Craft Glue-Rubber bands

-Various buttons, beads, markers

-Pipe Cleaners. Preferably Brown for the stick arms, but the youngest bedazzled his out with gold :)




1. Fill the sock with the rice. I wrap my sock around a glass to make it easier to help the little guy.



2. Pull up on the sock and pat down on the table to settle. Tie a knot at the top of the sock.

3. Bend over the top of the sock to cover the knot and create a "Hat".

4. Wrap the rubber band around where you want the neck of the snowman to be. Make sure it's fairly tight.


5. Use any of your fabric or ribbons to secure the hat in place (Not terribly tight) and to tie a scarf around his neck. Use thicker ribbon or fabric here so you can cover the rubber band.

6. Choose buttons, beads or extra fabric to decorate your snowman. Use glue directly on the snowman and then add buttons...

7. This may be easier if you lay the little guy on his back...

8. Wrap a piece of pipe cleaner  through the back of the snowman's scarf and then towards the side.

9. Add a mouth or a nose with a Sharpie to look like a smile. (My little guy's snowman is riddled with a loose tooth)
And there you have it. A cute snow family. I'm glad there was a little glare because I made the baby snowman out of the most dingy sock known to man.
I said I was artistic, not proud, people! :)


Have fun, my friends :) 

Friday, December 3, 2010

And the winner is......

Hello Friends!

Thanks to all of you who joined in the latest handbag contest. I appreciate each of you taking the time to not only enter, but also for your never-ending support of the store and this blog.  Two of you have talked to me this week about buying new bags and the rest of you already own one or six (yeah, you know who you are...)  Though it may seem sappy and sweet, (yes dear readers, I've been criticized for being too positive) (huh?), I will never forget how kind each of you have been to me. I am in a wonderful place right now and it has everything to do with the amazing people in my world.



Are you ready??

Remember, I'm old school....

 On to the drawing..... I am so glad I didn't have to choose the winner ...I personally know each one of you!! Hey, shellybean. is a small, just-starting out business. It's exactly the way I need it to be right now...

All who entered are in that cute little Christmas box...



 After shaking it up, we pick out a winner...


 The youngest says, "I can't read this kind of language!" Cursive writing.

Can you read it?


The winner is Stacey T. !! Yay and Congratulations!! E-mail me your address and I'll be sending you out your new "Stacy-bean" bag!! I hope you enjoy it :)



 Have a wonderful, peaceful, chockful-of-love weekend,  friends!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

What is in that GORGEOUS bag?

Happy Tuesday, friends!

Well, the holidays are in full swing and I don't know about you, but I am already exhausted! November was all kinds of busy and December promises to be even more so. March must be one heck of a romantic, BarryWhite, get-it-on kind of month, because December yields us the largest crop of family and friend birthdays in all the land. Add Christmas and New Year's Eve into the mix, and you've got one heck of a strewn-out party. In fact, the poor husband shares his birthday with our family's famous "New Year's Eve Party". The very last day of the long year. By that time, people are sick of singing, wrapping gifts, smiling, blowing out candles and eating anything that comes on a cracker, platter or a toothpick. Bless his heart, he always gets the short-end of the stick... But enough about him.

Seriously though, I wanted to take a second before the holiday rush and thank everyone who has supported the Artfire Shop this year. I have had the best time designing, sewing, and selling my bags both in the shop and from the home studio. Business was better than I ever imagined and I feel blessed to have worked with so many of you. I'm not sure when I'll get to replenishing the store again, but I did want to share one of my new designs with you. Before going through the trouble of naming, listing and pricing the new bag I said to myself, "It's the holidays, why not give it away?" and then I said, "But, I love this bag, maybe I should keep it."And then I said, "No, someone will love this bag. If they don't want it, they could always give it away as a gift.." And then the husband asked, "Why are you having a conversation with a tote-bag?" Unto which I shook my head in disgust and let him know that it's a handbag, not a tote. Silly man.

So. would you like a free HAND-BAG? I'm giving this one away.



 It is one of my favorite designs so far. I hope you like it as much as I do. If you don't like it, for heaven's sake DO NOT enter the drawing. If you DO like it,  leave a comment below. I want to know 3 things. What two items are in your purse at all times and what is the weirdest thing in your purse right now. Be honest :) If you are leaving a comment as an anonymous person and want to be entered in the contest PLEASE list your real name or e-mail at the end so I know who to contact. You have until 8 o'clock this Friday to enter.  BTW, if you win this little baby, you get to name her design for the store. Yay!!

I'm leaving the 1st comment as an example for the drawing. No, I'm not eligible. Or am I? I'll have to talk it over with myself and get back to you..... :)

Good Luck, Friends :)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

White Trash Comment of the day...

"I don't know if I would have opted for the glass-top stove if I knew I couldn't make Jiffy Pop on it.." quote from yours truly, who was devastated at today's finding.....

Happy Happy, blessed Thanksgiving, friends :)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Be older, shellybean...

On the grocery list today:
1. Hair Color
2. Prescriptions
3. TUMS
4. Oil Of Olay- Regenerist
5. Sensodine toothpaste
6. IcyHOT heating pads
7. Calcium Chews
8. Control-top ANYTHING..

Sadly absent from list:
1. Any hair product from "Goody"
2. Teen Spirit antiperspirant
3. Laffy Taffy/ Jawbreakers/ Solid Caramels..
4. Spicy Salsa
5. Anything with the words "bikini fit" or "mini".


Proudly missing from list-
1. Depends Undergarments
2. Metamucil
3. Assorted hard candies with loud wrappers.

In due time, people......

Happy Monday, friends :)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Soup's On!

Hello, friends!

Let me just take a moment to say another huge thank you to all of you who are enjoying the blog. I love reading your funny and kind comments on here and on Facebook. As I've stated before, I am very blessed to have a good family and great friends....

It is cold out, kids! We're expecting another snowstorm, so for the most part we're living on hot chocolate and soup. I thought this might be a good time to share one of my favorite recipes. Chicken Noodle Soup. I know a lot of you make your own versions, but if you don't,  give this one a try. It's a keeper. As always, exact amounts of ingredients can vary. Feel free to add or take away anything in the recipe- You can rarely go wrong with soup :)


 You'll need-

-A bag of frozen or dry thick noodle pasta. Definitely cook these before you mix to make the soup. They will turn into a nasty mush if you add them raw. I boil them with 1 tsp of parsley.
-3 cans of chicken broth or stock
-2 cups of fresh or frozen diced cooked chicken. I use Schwann frozen diced chicken. It is precooked.
-3 celery stalks, diced
-1 medium onion diced
-2 cups sliced carrots. .
-1 TBS of chopped Garlic
-1tsp Oregano
-1 tsp. Thyme
-1-2 Bay leaves

 In a frying pan with a little broth, reduce onions, celery and garlic.

I use a gallon size baggie to mix the chicken, sage, thyme and oregano.


 Microwave carrots before chopping. It's a lot easier.

 Mix in carrots, chicken and a can of broth into reduced veggies... Simmer until softened. I usually am boiling the noodles at this time. They take about 20-30 minutes to cook...

 Add cooked noodles and remaining broth into that crock-pot...

 Add all of the contents from the frying pan, along with your Bay leaves... Set to low...cook as long as you want. Ours stays on all day until it's gone. I always keep extra broth on hand to add throughout the day.

 Serve with croutons or crackers and salad. Enjoy!! You can freeze the soup and reheat in the microwave....

 Again, we don't always have this kind of time. It's definitely a lazy-day kind of food...


 So you don't doubt my white-trashiness, know that I am NOT above serving this.....

...



....



Don't be jealous of the paper bowls OR my TRIX cereal- prize spoon. I only show you this because I am fresh out of sporks and wet wipes.

Stay full and warm, friends!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Orange you glad to use the restroom while I wash my delicates?

What the? Yeah, I know. But there isn't really any other way to introduce our main-floor bathroom. It is both the go-to bathroom for EVERYONE and the laundry room..

Because you can see it from our entry way, I have to worry about clean toilets AND keeping laundry baskets off the floor. I check for toilet paper rolls AND underclothes hanging out of the laundry chute.

I wanted to update the walls, the mirror, the lighting, and have a place to hide all my laundry junk. I also wanted to try a dark color. I fell in love with a curtain I saw last spring from Target. A trusted girlfriend encouraged me to try and paint the room a color from the curtain....my favorite color was best described as a bright pumpkin. I love dark colors, and only a few rooms in my house get enough sun to pull off such a color. The paint is called "fall leaves" and the Lowe's lady actually had to remind me that the color was not returnable. Oh ye of little faith.....

So here it is. I figured the pictures can tell a better story. I do love it. I realize it's different, but.. again. Whose blog are you reading?

And to answer the question of at least two of my family members...No. I will not be changing the color when winter arrives. I'm not that motivated! ...but now that I think of it, I've ALWAYS loved a nice Icy Blue....


Bathroom before (laundry on left)

After paint with curtains "hiding" laundry
Before...

After... Etagere from Target :)
Old mirror and reflection of my classy laundry!

smaller mirror, reflection of laundry..
Old lighting and mirror. Paint chips were so intimidating!

New lighting (Costco). We're economical (cheap, people)!

Do you like it? Is orange a ridiculous color for a restroom? How about a laundry room?


Happy Friday, friends :)

Monday, November 15, 2010

"You said not to put drinks on the wood...."

Yeah. That would be a quote from the youngest, who in lieu of a coaster, decided to use my iPad.


Again, Not using the coasters. ... That sit on that checkerboard. Inches away...


A few famous "crazy mom" phrases later....and


Whew. We are back on speaking terms. That was close.  Hug your children today, Moms. Just don't do it with your hands around their necks.

Happy Monday, friends. :)


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