-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!
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