Friday, May 27, 2011

Blue Crush {Beverage}

One rule: No making fun of my dolphin picture.  I *may* have had a thing for dolphins in the 90's. (Who didn't?)  And I *maybe* still have that picture shoved in the cupboard in my downstairs bathroom.  I *maybe* forget that I have it and then I find it and look at it for awhile thinking how much I like that picture and how I really wish I were snorkeling in the Carribean.  It makes me feel happy and peaceful.  And then I shove the picture back into the cupboard because for some reason I don't want to give it away and for some reason I don't want to decorate with it. 

So there you have it. 
My dirty little secret.  On to the drink.  It's really yummy. 

This was one of those drinks that tasted good while drinking it, and then that coconutty aftertaste hits and POW! Love it!  I combined a couple of recipes while looking for a Blue Drink specifically.  We were having a party to cheer on our favorite college basketball team playing in the Sweet Sixteen and the colors are blue and white.  You'll have to just try it!
You'll need:
1 packet unsweetened Blue KoolAid
  (I used Blue Raspberry Lemonade)
2 liter Diet Lemon-Lime soda
1/2 C. Cream of Coconut
1 tsp Coconut Extract

Combine all ingredients in a punch bowl or large pitcher.  The Cream of Coconut is heavy, so stir really well, especially before serving. 

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Teacher Appreciation Round-up

School is almost over!! (except for my poor nieces, who have year round school....they have to go to school even in JULY. That just seems wrong to me!)  I know Teacher Appreciation week was just a few weeks ago, but I always like to send a little something on the last day as well.  My kids have always had great teachers, and I like them to know how much I appreciate them and how much my kids will miss them.  (I doubt the teachers have ever made them clean the bathroom or pull weeds).  They really do have such an important job and I'm glad someone out there is willing to do it!

Here are a few ideas I have seen online and thought I'd share them with you.

I thought these were so adorable!! And they look yummy.  Not only are Rice Krispie treats delicious on their own--but add Strawberry or Cherry flavored Jello and you've got a Treat! ! MMM!  So adorable, and the kids could help make these too.  Check out Nothing But Country's tutorial on how to make these.

Here is a quick and easy treat to thank those special teachers.  Perfect to throw together if you're like me and wait until the night before, even though it's been on your to-do list for a week!! Thanks to Lil' Luna for sharing the printable for this one.

 I would have a hard time being a teacher.  I'm sure there are great rewards, but the germs alone just might do me in!  Hand Sanitizer is a MUST in these classrooms and check out this cute bottle  make-over from Oopsey Daisy.

For the past couple of years, I have made the teachers these Fruit Bouquets.  They were easy and fun to make, if you can find some good fruit for a good deal. (Thank you Costco!)

Thanks to all the great teachers out there! We really, really appreciate ALL your hard work.
I'd love to see any ideas you have seen out there--what do you do for your teachers?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Beach Towel Robes

Believe it or not, summer is right around the corner!! It seems to sneak up on me every year, but I sure am a summer girl!  Fireworks, snowcones, and SUN, SUN, SUN! I like to do a lot of fun things with the kids, but for sure one of our favorite activites is swimming. 

When it's time to get out of the pool though, ever notice how chaotic things can get?  Goose bumps appear, and suddenly everyone is starving and has to go to the bathroom.  We make a mad dash for the car, while I'm trying to carry a baby and all of our CRAP junk we brought, all while trying to keep our towels wrapped around our shivering bodies.   

 "Gee, how I wish we had extra hands, " I often thought to myself. 

Well, now my kids can carry their own stuff because their hands are free!
I saw this idea in Family Fun a few years back, and was excited to make them last year for my little squirts.  (AND, they are SO easy!)

 I picked up these swim towels last summer at Wal-Mart for $5.00 each.  Just fold the towel in half so it is inside out.  (The picture shown below is not inside out. Oops) 

 Do a simple straight stitch up both sides of the towel, but leave some room at the top for arm holes.

This is about how much space I left for the arm holes. 

I cut a half circle for the neck hole.  BE CAREFUL!  It probably does not have to be as big as you think.  I may or may not have had to stitch some of it back up, as the opening was too big and kept falling off their shoulders.  Use a shirt to measure or start with a small half-circle and then work your way bigger as needed. 

I did a little zig-zag stitch around the neck hole because I liked how it looks.  You could do a straight stitch as well.  I left some space so it would fray a little bit. (We're so rugged around here!)

Hit the pool in High Style and ROCK that swimwear!

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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

**Winner of the Spring Flower Balls!! **

Congratulations to

[#22 Jolie: I also signed up for email updates! Can't wait to hear what you did for the delicious salad with sugared almonds!]
*winner was chosen using

I will contact you or send me an email with your information so I can get those sent out to you!!

Thanks to all who entered! This has been a fun week and I appreciate all the nice comments and followers.  Check back this week for a fun summertime towel tutorial, an awesome drink recipe and a Teacher Appreciation Gift round-up!
as always,

Monday, May 23, 2011

Strawberry Feta Salad (with homemade Poppy Seed Dressing)

I have a really hard time deciding favorites.  There are always just so many variables to consider.  My mood.  The time of year.  Who I am with.  All these situations make it difficult for me to find definite favorites.  That being said, this salad and I have had a great relationship for about 3 years now and I can honestly say that this is probably my favorite salad. Usually. 

 Some friends and I got together for lunch the other day, and three of us brought this salad.  Obviously, it's a good one.  Everyone out there has probably tasted this salad in some form or another, but this is the one I keep coming back to.   Juicy strawberries;  creamy, salty feta;  crunchy, sugared almonds and the sweet poppy seed dressing all join hands to have a serious party in your mouth.  The dressing is really easy to throw together, and will last in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks.  Easy to keep in there and eat it everyday for lunch. 

Poppy Seed Dressing:
1/2 C. Mayo
1/4 C. Sugar
2-4 TB Milk (depending how runny you want it)
2 TB Red Wine Vinegar
1 TB poppyseeds
 Blend all together. 
Strawberry Feta Salad:
Any combination of leafy green/red lettuce,         
   Spinach or Romaine lettuce
Sliced Strawberries
crumbled Feta Cheese
Sugared Almonds
Poppy Seed Dressing

Sometimes I add cut up grilled or breaded chicken for a heartier meal.

Combine the all ingredients in a salad bowl except dressing.  Add dressing right before serving.  I don't necessarily add a whole dressing recipe to my salad, just add some, stir and see if you need more.  This salad does not keep well after it has been mixed. (usually not a problem though, as it always goes really quick!)

Other options:
fresh peaches (I love this in the fall!!)
Mandarin oranges
Red onion

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Sunday, May 22, 2011

Sugared Almonds

This post may seem like an unimportant page to read, but I wanted to share this tutorial with a lot of pictures before I posted tomorrow's recipe for Strawberry Feta Salad.  Mmm. It's my favorite salad.  The sugared almonds are definitely a major part of this deliciousness. Here we go.

All you will need is sugar and almonds.  I like to use the sliced almonds, but slivered would work well too. 
I have never actually measured the almond to sugar ratio.  I just grab a handful of almonds, then a handful of sugar.  My pan looks like this.  
It has always worked out just fine! Let's face it, almonds are really good as they are. Add some sugar and WOW, they are even better.  You can't lose. Add a little sugar, or add a lot; it'll be great.

If the thought of not measuring freaks you out, start with a 2:1 ratio of almonds:sugar.  AND make a double batch because you'll end up eating half of them before you put them on your salad.  Promise.

Mix the almonds and sugar together, and on med-high heat you'll just keep stirring.  This is what it will start to look like (if you can see the detail in the picture) the sugar will start to clump together.  Just keep stirring.

After a couple of minutes, the almonds will start to brown and sugar will begin melting.  However, we're not quite done yet. 

Finally, when it becomes this beautiful golden color and the sugar seems to be sticky on the almonds, you are done.  This whole process should have taken about 6-7 minutes.  Just watch it because they could go from this point to overcooked pretty quick. 

Spread out the almonds on a plate so they don't form one big clump.  They will be hot, so if one falls on the counter, DO NOT just pick it up and pop in your mouth.  You won't be able to taste the salad until the next day....
Aren't they gorgeous? They are super delicious too! Be sure to check back tomorrow for the whole Strawberry Feta Salad recipe with homemade Poppyseed Dressing!! Mmmm. My mouth is watering already!

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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Spring Flower Balls


April showers bring May flowers!  We have certainly been getting plenty of rain (and snow) around here, but between my 4 year old daughter picking and the deer munching, I don't have as many flowers as I should!  I saw this darling idea at a bridal shower and couldn't wait to get started! The best news of all? All supplies were bought at Dollar Tree. I sure love that place....even though it becomes the Forty-Dollar-Tree each time I visit. 
Here's what you'll need:
Flowers (obviously)
Wiffle balls
Hot glue
Ribbon (if hanging)

Start by taking the flowers apart, leaving some length of the stem like this. If they are small flowers, they might have two or three blossoms all connected with one stem. It's fine...

Put some hot glue around the holes and tuck the stem inside, pressing the flower onto the glue.

If you want to attach a ribbon, do it when you have just a couple of holes left to fill.  The first ball I made, I put the string in first and it just got in my way the whole time. But maybe you're more coordinated than I am!   Put the ribbon through two holes and tie at the top.

Make sure your ribbon is long enough, mine were a little too short at first.
Use big flowers--it made the whole ball look bigger and fluffier. 
If the flowers are small, you can put a couple of stems in each hole.
You'll need 2-3 bunches per ball, depending on how big the flowers are and how tight you glue them on.
I wondered if these would be great smelling if I put some essential oil on a cotton ball and put it in the middle before I glued flowers on....but I haven't tried it yet.  Maybe they could help my car smell great!

And there you have it.  They sure add a splash of color!!

I got a little carried away with the picture taking....I wasn't sure what would look good! Here are all sorts of options.

*Contest Closed*

I want to give some of these away! Here's how to enter to win a set of Three Flower balls:

*Become a Follower of Happy Little Party, and leave me a comment telling me you did so
*Sign up for email updates to Happy Little Party and leave me a comment about it
*(If you already do these things, just leave a comment about it!)

Thanks and Good Luck!
Contest ends Tuesday, May 24 around noon
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Monday, May 16, 2011

Homemade Bird Feeder {Kid Craft}

The sun is finally shining here at our house and I love hearing all the birds chirping outside my windows!  Since my strawberries and peaches are not ready for the birds to eat yet, *AHEM* the kids and I wanted to do something to make their return more enjoyable.  We made the feeder using junk recyclable items found around the house.

You'll need:
Bird seed
paper plate
empty water bottle
piece of string
Peanut butter (optional)
Cut a small square out at the bottom of the bottle, this is where the seeds will come out. Don't cut it too big!

 Hot glue the bottle to your paper plate.  We spread a little peanut butter around the plate for an extra treat for those birds.

 Use a funnel and fill the bottle with bird seed.  I covered our square hole with some tape while we filled it up, so it didn't all come spilling out before we were ready.  Remove the tape after you hang it outside and gently let some of the seeds come out onto the plate.

 Tie the string tightly around the top of bottle and put the cap back on.  I tied a knot down near the neck of the bottle, and then another knot at the top to make a loop to hang it on a tree or hook.

 Hang it outside and then pray that birds actually come eat it, before your neighbors wonder why you hung trash on your front porch!!
PS. And seriously, if anyone knows how to keep the birds out of my peaches and strawberries this year, please let me know!!

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