Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Stella & Dot Mother's Day Giveaway!

Mother’s Day Giveaway!

Win a $25 Gift Card to Stella & Dot and give the Mom in your life a gift she will never forget for Mother's Day.

To honor the Mother's in our lives, my friend Katie is giving away a $25 gift card. Enter to win by following these two easy steps.

1. 'Like' her page: www.facebook.com/katielovesjewels
2. Comment on her Stella & Dot page wall telling her Candace sent you and:

Why does the Mother in your life deserve a $25 gift certificate to Stella & Dot for Mother's day?

It's as easy as that!
Katie will pick a winner on April 29th at at 4:00pm PST!

Be sure to share this giveaway with your friends because new fans are eligible to enter too!

Have fun!! We can't wait to read your comments about why the Mom's in your life are so amazing!

Make this a Mother's day to remember!

Check out some of these items

Check out all the gift ideas at: 

Brownies - Gluten Free, Dairy Free of Course!!!

Chewy on the outside and velvety soft on the inside!
and did I mention...very chocolaty!

I have been on a chocolate and potato rampage lately! (not together...but one after the other...like McD's fries and then a chocolate muffin) lol!  We have some major changes going on and it has been CRAZY! We recently accepted a job change for my husband and are moving 10 hours away and we just bought our first house, and it's all happening in like a 3 week time frame! So big changes but exciting as well!  I am SOOOO ready to have my own room! (no I didn't kick my husband out, but baby B is finally going to get his own room after more than12 months of never ONCE sleeping through the night!)  But when stress,changes, being extra busy,  and hormones come calling...that's when those cravings kick in! lol!  We spent the last week up in Omaha (yes I cried about it...leaving Dallas to go to Omaha didn't sound that appealing) and it was so frustrating trying to figure out what to eat since I can't have dairy or gluten...it's like extra sucky!  So anyways, now we're back home and I don't feel like spending $8 on a 4 pack of muffins and I remembered this brownie recipe that I adapted to be gluten free for my sister a few years ago...so I just adapted it even more so it is now gluten free and dairy free.  These are dense and super chocolaty and aside from the vegan butter sticks, don't need a much of special ingredients like most gluten free baking recipes. Even if you have no dietary restrictions, you'll enjoy these, just substitute the vegan butter for real butter. 

No Gluten, No Dairy....Totally Delicious!

1/2 cup Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks
1/4 cup of Hershey Cocoa Powder
1 cup Brown Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla
2 Eggs
1/4 cup Gluten free Corn Starch
1/2 tsp Salt
1 cup Ghiridelli Semisweet Chocolate Chips
Double check to make sure they are still dairy free as sometimes products change

Preheat oven to 350.
In a medium saucepan, melt the vegan buttery sticks and stir in cocoa powder.  Stir in the brown sugar and vanilla.  Break eggs into a separate bowl and whisk in a little bit of the warm chocolate mixture to temper the eggs, then add to saucepan and whisk all together.  Mix in the corn starch and salt and then stir in the chocolate chips and mix till melted and you have a smooth consistency.  
Pour the brownies into a greased 8x8 inch dish and bake for 25 minutes.  The Brownies will seem like they are not done when you check because of all the melted chocolate in there, so do not be tempted to let the brownies bake more than 25 minutes, just remove them from moven when the timer goes off and let set on a wire rack.  ENJOY!  

Monday, April 25, 2011

How to make a Pillowcase Dress

How to Make a Pillowcase Dress 
with matching headband

Supplies for Pillowcase Dress
3/4 yard fabric (that is ~45 inches wide) or more if needed mine is made to fit a size 4
5/8 yard of contrasting fabric
at least 90 inches of matching 5/8 inch wide ribbon
matching thread

I made my pillowcase dress to fit my size 4 daughter, so depending on the size of your child you may want to cut your fabric a little longer and wider for a bigger size or smaller if needed.

Wash, dry and iron fabric.

Fold fabric till you have 9.5 inches across.  Cut your fabric to an 9.5 x 20 inch rectangle, repeat so you have a front and back piece.  You should now have two 19 x 20 inch pieces of fabric.  Fold your contrasting fabric in half and cut two 7x11 inch rectangles, when you unfold you have two 7 x 22 inch pieces of fabric for the bottom band of the dress.

For the armholes, with fabric folded in half down the center of the dress, on the top corner opposite the folded edge, mark two inches in from the side and 4 inches down.  Cut out armhole with a slight curve as you go as shown in picture below on both dress pieces.

Open fabric and lay flat, right side of fabric facing up.  Take you long contrasting piece of fabric and fold it in half lengthwise so it is now 3.5 x 22 inches and iron flat.  Place it on top of your dress piece, lining up the raw edges of the contrasting panel with the raw edges of your dress piece.
Pin in place along the raw edges and the sew together.

Press bottom band down and iron everything flat.  Repeat with second dress piece so  you have two identical pieces. that look like this.

Line up the two dress pieces with the right sides of the fabric facing each other and pin the sides. Make sure that the seams between the main dress piece and the bottom band line up.

Sew along the entire side of the dress starting at the armhole and sew all the way down to the bottom.

Now for the armholes, I just used the iron to press the seams in about a 1/4 inch then folded it over a second time and pressed and pinned to create a finished edge and then stitched over it.

Then folded and press the top edge of the dress by an inch and stiched along making a 5/8 inch casing for the ribbon.

Cut your ribbon in half so each piece is about 45 inches.  You can always trim it shorter if desired afterwards.  Thread the ribbon through the casing.  I attached a safety pin to one end of the ribbon to help push it through.

Tie the ends of the ribbon together on each side and your pillowcase dress should look like this

Matching Headband

Plain Headband 
you can use one you have lying around or pick one up in the jewelery and accessory section of your local craft store.
Fabric scraps from pillowcase dress
Glue Gun

Heat up your glue gun.  Take a long fabric scrap that is around 1 inch wide (it doesn't have to be perfect).  Put a bit of hot glue on the underside of the headband and then press on the scrap of fabric and begin tightly wrapping the fabric around the headband at and angle working upwards.  You can add more hot glue to the underside of the headband as you go to keep the fabric secure.  Leave a little extra fabric at the ends so you can fold and tuck it under and glue into place.
 For the Flower Rossett, I used the scrap fabric from the coordinating band along the bottom of the dress, you can follow the instructions on my Flower Accessory Tutorial Here.  Then I just hot glued it to the headband.

Easter Outfits - Pillowcase Dress w/ Headband & Baby Boy Romper

I decided last minute to make some simple matching Easter outfits for the kids Saturday night.  I have been wanting to make a pillowcase dress for forever so this was a good time to finally whip one up.  I always thought they looked easy but after making one, it was so gratifying because they really ARE so easy and look so sweet, what more can you ask for...almost instant gratification!  The romper for my 12 month old son took a little longer but it was still pretty simple, it only took longer because I was being cheap and didn't want to pay $13 for the pattern I found at the store so I made my own pattern, but I made it as simple as possible....No diaper changing access and I didn't even take time to make button holes and sew on buttons for the straps, I went with Velcro.  Well....B didn't seem to like wearing his outfit as much as J liked her dress.  He kept ripping it off, which was easy to do with Velcro.  Oh well...it worked for the day, and the fabric was 50% off at Joann's so I'm not too worried if he never wears it again.  I just had this idea it would be cute if they were matching for the day.

Baby Boy Romper

 Pillowcase Dress w/ Matching Headband
 Two things I was excited that we got the kids for Easter was the Jesus Storybook Bible and Bedtime Blessings.  The Jesus Storybook Bible has beautiful colorful illustrations on every page and it tells the stories in such a great way.
The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His NameBedtime Blessings 1

We were planning on doing this activity but ended up using up all our eggs when we dyed them.  Here are some instructions for resurrection cookies with a printable chart that I'm going to try and remember to do next year.

And finally, here are 2 videos, Amazing Grace is just such an amazing song with an amazing story behind it.  If you haven't watched the movie Amazing Grace yet, add it to your list!  Plus I love this version of it.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Weekend 2 - Easter Eggs in a Nest

Easter Eggs in Bird's Nest

 Today we decorated eggs using crayons and an easter egg dye kit.  While we waited for the eggs to dry, we went for a little walk outside to collect some twigs for our bird nest. 

Then we made a bird's nest for the eggs using a brown paper bag and smooshing it up, and taping it in place on the bottom, then used a glue gun to attach broken sticks to our nest.  I got the idea for the bird's nest from this months issue of Family Fun Magazine.  They also had a really cute idea for decorating easter eggs with melted crayons that I wanted to try but forgot about it until we had already cooled the eggs.  

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Easter Weekend

Last night we attended a Good Friday service at our church, it was so beautiful.  The chairs were set up in a circle with a cross in the middle that was lit up.  The music was beautiful, every song was amazing.  Then our Pastor spoke and as he stood behind the cross that was set up, it was casting a shadow on him. As he spoke he was looking at us through the cross and we were looking at him through the cross, and he made the point, "What if we could look at everyone through the cross of Christ?"  We would not judge each other, we would not hate each other, we would love them, have forgiving and understanding hearts because we would see others through His grace.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Mom and Baby Portrait

Portrait of Mom and Baby, Pencil

I finally got this portrait done recently and have been waiting to post it on here since I wanted my winner, Crystal from the hit mom blog Wanna Be Balanced, to be surprised when she received it.  She was the winner of my custom portrait giveaway I held.....let's just say it was a while ago.  Anyways, we all know how it is with little ones to sit down and complete a bigger project, especially one like this because I need a good chunk of time to just sit down and focus on it without interruption.  I was feeling a little rusty when I pulled out the art supplies, but as you can see I had such a cute picture to work with, I was really happy with how it turned out!  Thanks Crystal for being so patient with me, I'm sure you probably figured it wasn't going to happen! lol!

Getting the final coat of fixative to provide protection from smudging and light damage

Friday, April 1, 2011

Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting! Happy Birthday SweetPea!

Gluten Free Cupcakes with Dairy Free Buttercream Frosting

Well, we got home from our trip late a night and the next day was J's birthday! She is now FOUR years old and I can't believe it, although now that she is officially 4, she feels very big and has been acting as mature as possible.  Such a cutie.  Anyways, I had a box of better crocker Gluten Free cake mix to make up, (I use earth balance vegan buttery sticks instead of butter when making it) but then I had no clue what to do for frosting.  It was a crazy day, I didn't have time to go to the store, I was out of everything plus every recipe I have for frosting calls for milk, butter, heavy cream, whipping cream, ect.  I was SO happy when I found this recipe which only used shortening, water and confectioners sugar and luckily I had just enough of everything to make half of this recipe.  Which was the perfect amount.  The Sprinkles weren't really sticking so I poured them all into a bowl and then rolled the frosted cupcakes in the sprinkles after I had already stuck on the M&Ms (I just took the M&Ms off when eating for the baby and I to make it dairy free again).  Anyways, this frosting was super good and it made me so happy when J saw her cupcakes, she looked at them and her eyes got real big and then she asked "Are those gluten cupcakes for other kids?" and I said, "No, honey, they are your birthyday cupcakes made special for you. They have no gluten at all!" She was SO excited!  And as far as taste, these were just as good as any other box cupcakes with frosting, no one felt deprived in this house!