Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St. Paddy's Day!!

What a fine St. Paddy's Day we had in the McIntyre house!! Plenty of corned beef and cabbage, green was worn by almost all (Vinnie boycotted claiming Italians don't celebrate. What's up with that??) and aside from my forgetting to pick up the Guinness, it was a lovely evening.

I have been a baking fool for the last couple of weeks. I found a great recipe for these WONDERFUL treats called Cake Balls. Sounds kinda nasty, huh? Well, they are DE LISH US!!! Now I have to admit, my first batch was definitely NOT pretty but they tasted amazing. And aside from being messy, they were simple to make. OK, I bet you're dying to know how right? Bake a sheet cake using whatever flavor you want. Just follow the directions on the box and bake that puppy. Then let it cool. Now if you have a house full of boys, HIDE THE CAKE! Mine dug into the first one before I could even get it cooled and I had to start all over. UGH!! So let the cake cool and then crumble up the cake. You might want to do this with your bare hands because it is much easier. You want to crumble it until it is literally a bowl full of cake crumbs. Then add a 16 oz. can of your favorite frosting and mix it all together. Roll mixture into golf ball sized balls (redundunt much?) and place on a cookie sheet. You can use a cookie dough scooper but I found it much easier to just use my hands. Once the sheet is full, place it in the refrigerator for a few hours until they are firm. You can speed up the process by placing them in the freezer for an hour which I did. Yes, I'm impatient. You want the balls to be pretty firm for this next part. (get your mind out of the gutter!) Melt one package of white chocolate or milk chocolate bark following instructions on the package. Once melted, remove balls from freezer and dip them one at a time in the melted chocolate and then place them on waxed paper. It is much easier for this process if the chocolate is very well melted. The chocolate hardens quickly so you may want to melt only a small amount at a time. Once the chocolate hardens you can dig in!! Here's a picture of what they should look like when you become a pro at this:

Obviously, these aren't mine. Mine looked like crap but tasted WONDERFUL!!! OK, so run your butt in that kitchen and make some balls!!!

On a sober note, it is once again that time of year when I have to give my little speech about the tragedy which is SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). I know it isn't a happy subject but I feel the responsibility to keep people informed.

For those of you who don't know, my Vinnie had a twin brother named Giancarlo. We lost Gino when he was 4 months old to SIDS on March 14th, 1993. At the time, it wasn't really discussed and other than a handout that was given to me along with a ton of other handouts when I left the hospital, I never really thought about it. In the 17 years since we lost Gino, the rate of SIDS deaths has dropped dramatically but unfortunately, they do still occur. The year after Gino passed away, the SIDS Alliance (Now First Candle) started the Back To Sleep Campaign encouraging parents to place their infants on their backs to sleep. This greatly reduced the incidents of SIDS deaths. So what else can you do to prevent SIDS?
  • Of course, ALWAYS place your baby to sleep on his back. Side and tummy positions are NOT SAFE.
  • Use a crib that meets current safety standards. The mattress should be firm and fit snuggly in the crib. Cover the mattress with ONLY a tight-fitting crib sheet. Portable cribs and play yard style cribs are also good choices.
  • Do not put anything soft, loose or fluffy in your baby's sleep space. This includes pillows, blankets, comforters, soft or pillow-like bumpers, stuffed animals and other soft items.
  • Use a sleep sack or other type of sleeper instead of blankets to keep your baby warm and safe.
  • Never place your baby to sleep on top of any soft surface. This includes adult beds, waterbeds, pillows, cushions, comforters or sheepskins.
  • Do not use wedges or positioners to prop your baby up or keep him on his back.

  • Make sure your baby doesn't get too warm during sleep. Use light sleep clothing and keep room temperature at what would be comfortable for a lightly-clothed adult.

  • Offer your baby a pacifier every time you place her down to sleep. If you are breastfeeding, wait until nursing is well established before using a pacifier (usually around 1 month)

  • Do not smoke while you are pregnant! Do not allow anyone to smoke around your baby after he is born!

  • Educate everyone who cares for your baby about these safe sleep rules!!

If you or someone you know has lost a child to SIDS, there are support groups that are wonderful in helping you get through this awful tragedy. For more information, visit FirstCandle.ORG or Call 1-800-221-7437

Alright, have a wonderful week! Enjoy this beautiful Sprin weather and hug your kids! They need it and so do you!!!

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

March Already?

Wow! Time is sure flying by! And I am in my creative mode! I have been on a roll the last couple of weeks and even took pictures of my projects. Yay me! The lovely lady above (or wherever she ends up when I finish this) is, of course, the one and only Marilyn. When we went to CHA I had the pleasure of watching Suze Weinberg create some fabulous things using melted beeswax and perfect pearls. So darn pretty and I am obsessed now. I've made about 6 now but I am trying to branch out and move on. The other one is a vintage pin-up girl. I am loving the old pin-ups.

So at CHA I took the Donna Downey canvas album class and I actually finished most of it. A miracle since I am famous for starting projects and never finishing them. The end result was so amazing. At least to me! But that's what counts right?

This is the first time I've actaully scrapbooked on a canvas and it was a lot easier than I expected. Same concept but a different medium. And I felt so artistic working on this!

I used Lumiere paint, Glimmer Mist, Distress Ink and the Donna Downey Iron-ons. I love the way the album turned out. If you haven't seen Donna's other new products, check out her site, DonnaDowney.Com, and see all of the awesome things she has. I was also able to use rub-ons on the canvas. Sooooo cool!

So my next goal is to create one project from the fabulous Donna's Yes! It's a Scrapbook! Series Fabric Scrapbooking. This book is so amazing and has some really great projects in it. The cool thing about it is she gives you step-by-step directions on how to complete each project, supplies you'll need, dimensions and pictures. Can you tell I worship the Donna? Uh, just a little.

And she's not the only fabulously creative lady I admire. Another fantastic talent that I just know is about to become famous in the scrapbook world is my friend, Daniela Costa of TheArtLifeShop.Com. She has some beautiful stuff in her shop and also teaches classes at local scrapbook stores. AND she is also teaching at Donna's Inspired Artist Workshop in North Carolina. I am so excited for her!! So head over to her shop, take a peek at her goodies and if you have a chance, take one of her classes. She is an amazing lady and I am honored to call her my friend.

OK, that's it for now. Last note, get out there and try something new. Whether it is some new crafty technique or something out of your 'box'. You'll be amazed at what you can accomplish!!