Thursday, November 29, 2012

Royal Family Kids Camp Dinner & Silent Auction

A couple weeks ago I helped with a fundraiser for Royal Family
Kids Camp, which is a camp sponsored by my church for children in
the foster care system. It was a huge success, raising $5,191!!! That's
almost half of the total amount needed for the camp this summer.
I helped decorate for the dinner portion of the silent auction. Since
it was a fundraiser, I really wanted everything to be FREE! Otherwise,
it kind of defeats the purpose of raising money!!!
The theme of the dinner/silent auction was a Family Fun Day.... the
organizers wanted people to stay at the church for the afternoon while
bidding on the different items. Two inflatables were set up, there was
a Wii set up for people to play on, and a room with all kinds of
board games was also set up.  So I used the "gaming" idea in my
I made 4 pennants out of paper that was already at church -

I made the letters look as much like Scrabble tiles
as I could - putting the Scrabble value beside each
letter. I separated the words with the pink star that is
in the middle of a Scrabble board.
Each of the 12 centerpieces was a different board game
box - Monopoly, Apples to Apples, Balderdash, Scrabble,
Moods, etc. with a fabric vase on top of the board game. The fabric
vases are just aluminum cans, wrapped in fabric, with a couple fabric
 rosettes glued on them. I hot glued cards from the board game to
a wooden stick, and put that inside the fabric vase, which also had
some fabric inside it to help hold the wooden stick in place.

It wasn't by any means AMAZING decorating, but I was pleased
that I was able to do all of that for ZERO DOLLARS!!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Cranberry Dip Recipe

I love this recipe so much (I got it from one of my bible study
leaders, Margene) and I know after you make it, you will too! It's
the perfect appetizer for Thanksgiving and/or Christmas!
I made it last week and took it to work, and it was a big hit =)

1 bag of fresh cranberries
1 cup of sugar
1 cup of apricot spreadable fruit (NOT preserves)
1 cup of pecan pieces
1 softened  block of cream cheese
crackers of your choice
Combine cranberries and sugar.
Bake at 350 for about 40 minutes.
The cranberries will "pop" and have juice coming out.
Stir in the pecans and apricot spreadable fruit.
Refrigerate overnight.
Serve over softened cream cheese, with crackers
of your choice (I used club crackers).

And that's it! So simple! Here's a few "in progress" pictures...

cranberries and sugar:

after baking:

add apricot spreadable fruit and pecans:

all stirred up, before refrigerating:

top over cream cheese and add crackers:

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Yarn Wreath for Baby's Door

Another great baby shower gift!!!

I used to always make diaper wreaths to give as baby shower
gifts (click here to see). They can hang on a hospital room
door when the baby is born, and then can go home with the family
and hang somewhere in the nursery.  But if you happen to
know what the baby's nursery will be ahead of time, a custom
wreath to go with the nursery decor is such a good idea too!

I made this yarn wreath for a baby shower gift a while back...
My coworker was hosting a baby shower for a friend of hers,
someone that I didn't know.  I offered to help her decorate the night
before the shower, and it turned out that the mom-to-be was there too.
So when I found out that she didn't have anything to hang on the
the hospital door, I knew I had to make something cute for her!
I had about 16 hours to pull something together...

I found out that the baby's nursery was vintage/chic, and I didn't think a
diaper wreath really went with that kind of nursery. So I picked a soft, thin
light pink yarn and wrapped it around a straw wreath form. I made a few
rosettes out of gray and white felt, and added a few green felt leaves.
I bought some glittery letters and hot glued them onto the wreath.
Not too bad for a last minute gift, huh? Sweet and simple =)


Friday, November 9, 2012

Not Yo Mama's Banana Pudding Recipe

You know something is gonna be good when it's a
Paula Deen recipe..... and thanks Cassie for telling
me about this quick and easy recipe!

2 bags of Pepperidge Farm Chessmen cookies
6 to 8 bananas, sliced
2 cups of milk
1 (5 oz) box of instant French vanilla pudding
1 (8 oz) package of cream cheese, softened
1 (14 oz) can of sweetened condensed milk
1 (8 oz) container of cool whip
Line the bottom of a 13x9 dish with 1 bag of cookies.
Layer the sliced bananas on top.
In a bowl, combine the milk and pudding mix and blend well.
In a separate bowl, combine the cream cheese and condensed milk
together and mix until smooth.
Fold the cool whip into the cream cheese mixture.
Add the cream cheese mixture to the pudding mixture and stir until well blended.
Pour the mixture over the cookies and bananas. Top with the other bag of
Chessmen cookies.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.


Thursday, November 8, 2012

Duct Tape Labels!

Found a great way to decorate water bottles using....

My sister and I recently did a gender reveal party with a pumpkin/fall
theme.  We found this candy corn duct tape at A.C. Moore that
was perfect for the party! The width of the duct tape fit perfectly over
the label of the water bottle, so we didn't even remove the original label.
Duct tape comes in all kinds of colors and prints and there's
sure to be one to go along with any kind of party theme you have! 


Monday, November 5, 2012

Microwavable Chex Mix Recipe

I'm so thankful for my friend, Danya, sharing her recipe
for this microwavable chex mix recipe! It's such a tasty snack
that can be made in a short amount of time!! I've only made it once
so far this fall, and I didn't even get to eat very much of it because
my husband devoured it! So I'll be making it again very soon.

3 tablespoons of corn syrup
6 tablespoons of butter
3/4 cup of brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
4 cups of rice chex cereal
4 cups of corn chex cereal
1/4 cup of chocolate chips (or M&M's)

Microwave corn syrup, butter and brown sugar for 1 minute.
Stir, then microwave for another minute.
Stir in baking soda and chex.
Microwave a minute and a half.
Stir, then microwave another minute and a half.

Cover a cookie sheet with aluminum foil.
Spread the chex mixture onto the cookie sheet.
Sprinkle chocolate chips on top.
Let the chocolate melt a little bit on the hot chex.
Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Store in an airtight container.


Sunday, November 4, 2012

~Aloha Party~

I'm a little late posting this... since it's now November!! Oops...
My sister and I were asked to decorate for my church's youth group party back
in August.  It was an Aloha theme, meant to kick off the new school year by
 welcoming the new 6th graders to youth group (Aloha means hello AND
goodbye... hello to youth group, goodbye to Awana). And here is what we did... 

Our church already had this hut-looking box from a previous Vacation Bible School.
So we covered the roof with a grass skirt and hung lanterns from it. My sister painted this
sign... "ALOHA! Grab a lei and some glasses and hula on into the party" and we displayed
Hawaiian sunglasses and lei's for the kids to wear during the party.

The hallway entrance had hanging tissue paper balls (a good tutorial here) and
streamer chandeliers. These were made by hot gluing strands of streamers to the
inside of a sewing hoop.
The doorway entrance to the youth group room had palm trees flanked on either
side (the tree part was also leftover from VBS... we just had to make the leaves)
and then we strung lei's in the doorway.

The food tables were lined with grass skirts. We ordered a beach ball cooler
from Oriental Trading for drinks to be stored in.  Another lady from church,
Debi, made the food for the party - I heard it was delicious but I didn't get to
 actually be there to eat the party food! The chairs were lined up around
the perimeter of the room, and every couple of chairs had a flower on it.

The front of the stage was lined with waves cut out of cardboard and painted blue. We glued
ALOHA, also cut out of cardboard, to the front of the waves, and added paper flowers.
A backdrop purchased from Oriental Trading was taped behind the stage.  We also had
a couple cardboard surfboard's and a SURF'S UP sign throughout the room.


This limbo stand was already at our church, so all we did was add a cute sign to it,
as well as purchase a bamboo stick, also from Oriental Trading.

Last thing from Oriental Trading.... a plastic photo backdrop of 2 monkeys surfing!
We taped the backdrop to cardboard so it would be sturdier, and hung it from these
black scrims. We hung hula hoops on either side of the backdrop, and added a couple
tiki torches (unlit of course) to some buckets and placed them beside the backdrop. 

My sister was able to make sacks for a game, called the Aloha Hop. I think by the end
of the evening, the bags were ripped to pieces!! They turned out so cute!
The Youth Pastor also rented a mat and sumo suits for the kids to have
wrestling matches! I think it was a hit....
My sister and I were glad to get to help put together some decorations for
this party.... it looks like the kids had a great time, and hopefully the
6th graders felt more at ease starting youth group =)

Saturday, November 3, 2012

WV vs. MU wreaths!

I made two wreaths to donate to a silent auction at our church
next weekend to benefit Royal Family Kids Camp, which ministers
to children mainly in the foster system.  It's a wonderful organization
and our church sponsors a week of camp for them each summer.
Anyways, there are plenty of both Marshall University and
West Virginia University fans at our church, so I figured these
wreaths would be just as good as any for people to bid on. I'm
curious to see which one will get a higher bid!!! 
Click here if you want to see how I made these wreaths.  I had
a harder time making the WV wreath - I think the blue deco mesh I
bought was harder to work with than the green (no, not because of the
color! a different brand maybe?) - OR maybe it was just because I
was sick when I made it! But I think it still turned out pretty cute.
If I was a Mountaineer fan, I would hang it on my door =)
And now, just a little plug for the fundraiser....
If you aren't already doing something amazing on Sunday,
Nov. 11th from 1:00-5:00 pm, come down to River Cities Church
(Huntington) and bid on some of the DOZENS of items up for auction!
And you can also get a spaghetti dinner for a great price - only $5!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Buffalo Chicken Dip Recipe

So I really thought every person in the world knew about
Buffalo Chicken Dip... but I made it for my bible study group
this week, and quite a few people said they'd never had it before!
So I figured I would share it, because it's SO easy and SO good! 
Note: there's a lot of variations of this recipe.
2 cans of pre cooked chicken
1 block of cream cheese
1 bag of mild shredded cheddar cheese
1 bottle of ranch dressing
hot sauce to taste
Put all the ingredients in a crockpot. Add as little or as much hot
sauce as you want. Cook on high for 2 hours, stirring occassionally.
Serve with chips - tostitos, doritos, fritos, etc.
Any leftovers are still delicious warmed up in the microwave!

So if you are one of the few who hasn't been lucky enough to have
this.... try it! But I'll warn you.... it's addicting!!!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Minnie Mouse Party for Abby

My niece, Abby, turned TWO in September! She is the most
precious little girl whose answer to every question is NO, unless
 the question involves food, then the answer is most definitely "uh-huh!"
I can't believe how big she is getting =)

So I just really have to brag on my sister-in-law, Kelly, and show
you the AMAZING cake she made for Abby's party! And it tasted
just as good as it looks... I was so impressed! 
And here's the birthday girl, loving the cake!!
I had forgotten that I ordered this cute outfit for Abby a while back - it's called
the Birthday Tutu. It had pieces of sparkly confetti and flower petals
inside the tutu =) I ordered both the tutu and the top from
They have low prices, fast shipping, and great customer service!! =)
Even though all our nieces and nephews get the gift of a contribution to their
college fund on their birthday (boring, but practical, and appreciated by
their parents!), I still like to try to find them a little something to open from their
Unc and Aunt Rachel =)  I found this cute little owl tote, and just ironed on
 Abby's name with yellow letters. I thought it was adorable and actually
would even carry this myself!
Love you Abby Brooke Neal!!!