13th Birthday Party

 

sleeping bag invitation

The invitation: the sleeping bag is clip-art from MicroSoft Word. I changed the color of the bad for each invitation. (It can be printed in black and white onto different colored paper if you don’t want to use up as much ink.) I used an X-acto knife to create a slit at the top flap of the sleeping bag diagonally. Then I folded paper in half and glued along the 3 open sides to create an envelope. I cut the invitation narrow so the rectangle looks like a pillow in the sleeping bag. Slip the invitation into the diagonal slit to complete look.

 

 

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Indoor Smore Recipe

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When you can’t (or don’t want to) go outside (or build a fire), make smores in your oven or toaster oven.

CAM004591I like the square marshmallows for this, but cylinder-shaped work well too; I lay them on their side if I use cylinder ones.

Place chocolate square on 1/2 graham cracker and top with marshmallow. Toast on broil in oven or toaster oven watching until marshmallows begin to toast. *Watch closely, they burn VERY easy.

 

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Remove, top with other 1/2 of graham cracker, turn upside-down and slightly press to spread chocolate to the edges.CAM004621 Enjoy!

 

Alternate ideas:

Use your favorite cookie instead of graham cracker.

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Spinach Artichoke Dip

With chip

Makes a 9X13 pan

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Ingredients:

2 cups Parmesan cheese

1 (10 ounce) box thawed chopped spinach from frozen

1 (14 ounce) can drained and chopped artichoke hearts

2/3 cup sour cream

1 cup cream cheese

1/3 cup mayonnaise

2 teaspoons minced garlic

Grated Mozzarella Cheese (enough to slightly cover)

Directions:

Mix together Parmesan cheese, spinach, and artichoke hearts.

Combine remaining ingredients to first mixture.

Spray olive oil in bottom of 9X13 pan.

Spread mixture evenly into pan.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until surface begins to turn slightly brown.

baked

Grate just a little mozzarella cheese across top and broil for 2-3 minutes or until cheese is golden brown.

toasted

Serve with tortilla chips, crackers or toasted bread.

(Adapted from food.com recipe)

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Taco Seasoning – Homemade

1 Tbsp. Chili Powder (If you have chili lime rub, use it here)
1/4 tsp. Garlic Powder
1/4 tsp. onion Powder (or dice a bit of fresh onion)
1/4 tsp. Oregano
1/2 tsp. Paprika
1 tsp. Cumin
1 tsp. Salt (sea salt is best here)
1 tsp. pepper (fresh ground pepper is best here)

Add this to 1 lb. ground beef, chicken, fish or shrimp to make taco seasoned meat.

Helpful hint: To make your ground beef stretch further, add a can of drained & rinsed black beans as well as a can of fat free refried beans. If seasoning is too mild, double the recipe above.

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Apple Dippity Cake recipe

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Ingredients:

Cake:

3 Cups flour                                  1 Cup veggie oil

1tsp. baking soda                          2 Cups sugar

1 tsp. salt                                        3 eggs

1/2 tsp. cinnamon                       2 tsp. vanilla

1 Cup pecans (chopped)

3 Cups apples (peeled and chopped) (I used Granny Smith)

Sauce:

1 Cup packed brown sugar

1/4 Cup milk

3/4 Cup margarine

Topping:

Powdered sugar for dusting

Procedure:

Mix oil, sugar, eggs and vanilla till well blended.

Sift together flour, salt, and soda.

Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients.

Fold in pecans and apples.

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Best device for peeling, coring and slicing an apple (Pampered Chef product)

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Simple dice the coiled, peeled cored apple. If you don’t have this product, you will have to do this by hand.

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Pour into greased and floured bunt or tube pan.

Bake at 350* for 1 hour or until toothpick comes out clean.

While cake is still in pan and warm, make sauce.

Bring brown sugar, milk and margarine to a boil. As soon as it begins boiling, pour it over warm cake still in pan. Let sit until cooled.

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Once cooled, invert pan over serving tray and dust with powdered sugar.

(Modified from recipe posted by friend on Facebook.)

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Chicken Taco Bowl

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Serves about 6

Ingredients:

4 thawed or frozen chicken breasts or thighs

1 pkg. taco seasoning mix (I make my own)

1 jar salsa

1 can black beans (rinsed and drained)

1 lb. corn (frozen or canned)

Topping:

Shredded Colby Jack Cheese to taste

Cilantro (chopped) to taste

Alt. toppings:

Dollop of sour cream

Fresh squeezed lime to taste

Base:

Cooked brown rice

Procedure:

1. Add all ingredients but toppings to crock potTaco Chicken Bowl

2. Cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 8 minutes

3. Shred chicken with fork as once chicken is tender enough to shred mixing occasionally if desired

4. Place cooked rice in bottom of bowl and cover with chicken taco mix

5. Top with topping of choice

(Adapted from Pinterest recipe)

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Caramel Apple Spice Muffins

It couldn’t be easier!

Two ingredients + 20 minutes = 1 dozen caramel apple spice muffins

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One can of caramel apple pie filling (or pumpkin pie filling) and one box of spice cake muffins

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Mix together with the back of a scraper until mix is moist

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Spoon into muffin cups (nuts and/or shaved coconut and/or cinnamon with sugar may be added to the top)

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Bake at 350* for 15 – 20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

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A Hopeful Heart book review

A Hopeful Heart by Amy Clipston is Amish fiction. When an Amish hotel maid, Hannah Glick, walks in to service a room, the wealthy businessman occupant, Trey Peterson, walks out of the bathroom after washing his face. Mortified, Hannah retreats and hopes to never see Trey again. However, once they do meet a second time, Trey and Hannah discover that they are both recent widows and develop a bond.

Meanwhile, Hannah’s community begins to distance themselves due to her developing relationship. Will Hannah and Trey be permitted to explore where their feelings might lead or will the community shun Hannah and her family?

The storyline was easy to follow and intertwined with other stories. I wasn’t engaged to such a point that I couldn’t put the book down. It wasn’t bad, just not gripping. Therefore, I would give A Hopeful Heart 3 stars out of 5.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com® <http://BookSneeze.com&gt; book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html&gt; : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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A Bride For All Seasons book review

A BrideA Bride For All Seasons by Margaret Brownly, Debra Clopton, Mary Connealy and Robin Lee Hatcher is from the Mail Order Bride Collection.

Each author writes of a mail order bride relationship from a particular season: spring, summer, autumn and winter. Each novelette was unique with unique circumstances. As might be expected, I enjoyed one more than the others. I have discovered that I don’t enjoy novelettes as much a full length novels because the characters and relationships aren’t developed as deeply. I also felt like I was just beginning to enjoy the cast of characters when the story ended. However, if you want a couple quick reads beside the pool this summer, this is the way to go.

Another drawback within the book is the proprietor of the Hitching Post Mail Order Bride Catalog; he changes the contents of each of the couples’ letters and thus causes the four couples to embark on a possible marriage upon false terms. Today, he’d be sued.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com® <http://BookSneeze.com&gt; book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html&gt; : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Once Upon A Prince book review

_225_350_Book.858.coverOnce Upon a Prince: Book #1 in the Royal Wedding series by Rachel Hauck is a fictional modern day romance.

Who could possibly help Susanna after the soldier she’s been dating for twelve years breaks off their relationship because he loves someone else? Who can help her when she suddenly quits her job as a landscape architect and ends up working at her parents’ restaurant? And who can help her when she finds herself being confronted by a vagrant after her tire goes flat? Of course! A prince! Prince Nathaniel. But she obviously doesn’t know he’s a prince. Susanna’s mom has him cleaning toilets and bussing tables at Rib Shack until Susanna recognizes his face on a coin from his country, Brighton. Though Nathaniel begins to develop affections towards Susanna, he explains that Brighton law prohibits royalty from marrying foreigners. Now what are they to do?

I enjoyed the twists and turns, vivid location descriptions and emotional tugs of this book. More than once, I found myself reading “one more chapter” just because I couldn’t leave the characters in their current state of turmoil. Romance and princes are my preferred elements in any book!

There was one character I couldn’t quite figure out why she was in the book at all, Aurora. She is an eccentric tent dwelling former politician who seems to prophetically declare what’s going to happen. I just didn’t see the need to add her to the storyline.

However, overall, I was very pleased with this e-book and will look for other books in this series in the future.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com® <http://BookSneeze.com&gt; book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html&gt; : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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