Tag Archive for 'Gift Ideas'

Easiest Fudge in the World

Yesterday, Claire and I went to our MOMS’ Club Cookie Decorating and Exchange Extravaganza.  I wasn’t sure what to make, and then it hit me.  I could make the Easiest Fudge in the World!  You see, a few years ago, one of my sisters gave me a nice Christmas Gift that included the following recipe and ingredients.  It was an awesome gift idea and an even better recipe idea when you’re short on time!

I made four batches to bring to the Cookie Exchange (each of us brought four dozen cookies), and we ended up with a nice selection of cookies to give away or keep.  (Claire and I made up two nice plates for a couple of friends of ours — they were thrilled with the gift, and I didn’t have to bring home [and avoid eating] 48 cookies…it was a win-win!)

The Cookie Exchange was a great idea, and Claire had a blast during the decorating portion of the festivities.  It was nice to arrive with fudge and leave with at least six different types of cookies.  It makes it look like I slaved away in the kitchen for hours!  😉

Needless to say, the fudge was a huge hit.

So, here is the recipe!

Easiest Fudge in the World

12 oz. bag of chocolate chips
14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk

Combine ingredients in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave 2 to 3 minutes, stirring after each minute. Spread in lined (with waxed paper) 8 x 8 pan. Cool.

For real.  That’s it!

And, here are some notes about the recipe:

For the Cookie Exchange, I did 2 batches at a time, and it only needed 2 minutes in my microwave. Be sure to stir after each minute, until all the chips are melted. I put 2 batches in one 9 x 13 pan. I just let it cool on the counter, no need to cool in the fridge. In one pan, I sprinkled M&Ms on the top of the fudge and pressed them lightly. (The other pan was plain.) You can keep it plain or add whatever toppings you want.

It’s seriously the Easiest Fudge in the World. The hardest part is not eating the whole pan yourself. 🙂


Will it always be this easy?

“So, Claire…what do you want for Christmas this year?”

“A Christmas tree!”

And, this has been her answer consistently…and I can’t wait to see what she tells Santa when we see him in a couple of weeks, and I can’t wait to see his reaction.

After her birthday tomorrow, we’ll put the tree up, so maybe she’ll come up with a different gift idea then?

Either way, it looks like she’s going to be easy to please this year! 😉

Today is Day 29 of 30 in the NaBloPoMo Challenge! One more day to go!

NaBloPoMo is easy when you have an extra blogger in the house.

Momma and Daddy are getting Claire a real “big girl bed” for her room for her birthday. We found the one we wanted at a Major Retailer and then decided to peruse Craigslist to see what we could see.

Imagine our surprise at finding the exact bed for not even 1/3 of the cost, AND the sellers were including a bookshelf for free. Sweet!

My hubby went to check it out, and it was perfect. It was in excellent condition and really was the exact one we were looking at buying new. Needless to say, we were happy to take the pieces off their hands for less than we’d budgeted.

To get all the pieces home in his car, he had to dismantle the shelving unit, and the bed barely fit, but he made it! For the last few weeks, he’s been working on getting the bookshelf back together and making a bedrail (from our old crib parts) for the bed.

We found an awesome deal on a brand-new twin mattress, so we’re all set!

This last weekend, I helped him move the bed back out to the garage so that he can put the finishing touches on it. Claire knows that “Daddy’s project” is in the garage, which is why we’ve been parking in the driveway the last couple of days, but she has no idea what’s in store. I can’t wait to see her face.

Just seeing how excited she was about the bookshelf when we brought it up to Momma’s office on Sunday was awesome. She was thrilled.

Click to enlarge.

She likes to rearrange the occupants of the shelves.

She likes to rearrange the occupants of the shelves.

And, with some adjustments, she likes to type her blog.

And, with some adjustments, she likes to type her blog.

Those are her words. She uses, “I need to type my blog first!” as an excuse to not do things promptly. And, how can you argue with that? I mean, blogging is important…especially during NaBloPoMo! 😉

Today is Day 26 of 30 in the NaBloPoMo Challenge! Check it out!

The Build-a-Bear Birthday Party

On Sunday, one of Claire’s little girl-friends had a birthday party. We were invited to a local Build-a-Bear Workshop to help her celebrate. It was a great idea for a party!

Claire was extremely excited to go to this store, as she’d never been inside one yet. (Years ago, I had gone with some friends, but I hadn’t been in one recently.) Before we got to the store, I’d tried to explain to Claire what we would be doing, but I could tell she didn’t really understand.

No worries.
She’ll figure it out when we get there.

Or so I thought…

As soon as we walked in, she was overwhelmed. Our friends had paid for a special birthday package that included stuffed animals for each attendee. And, with the birthday package, each child was able to choose from a ton of different stuffed creatures on the display wall. We weren’t going to be doing voice-boxes or clothing, which are features you can add on if you choose. Honestly, just the stuffed creature was a fabulous and generous treat!

So, we told Claire to pick which one she wanted to make, and we made our way down the display wall. She kept trying to grab the finished example off of the wall. “I want that one!” she’d shriek with joy as she grabbed a hold of whichever precious creature had her attention. She wanted nothing to do with its empty equivalent in the bin below it.

“Well, sweetie, that’s a great choice!” I’d say, as I tried to wrangle the stuffed example toy away from her and hand her the empty shell.

“Nooooooooo! I don’t want that!” she’d scream, shoving the limp, lifeless hide away from her. “I want that one!” she’d beg, pointing to the stuffing-filled finished product.

I tried explaining that we would be filling it with stuffing. It will look like the one on the wall when we were finished! Honest…it will!

She thought I was insane. How can that useless and boring piece of faux fur even compare to the wonderful, glorious stuffed toy on the wall? And, why are you pointing to those things and asking me to choose if you won’t let me take the one I want? What kind of trick is this?


Claire wasn’t the only one who didn’t get it. Other confused little girls in our party were distraught over the horribly inadequate choices we were forcing them to make.

But, it didn’t take long for the Party Coordinator to get the party started, and soon, things were on a roll.

If you’ve ever been to a Build-a-Bear Workshop, you know that you put a little heart into each animal. Well, for the Birthday Girl, they had an added bonus. Each child picked two hearts. The Party Coordinator then had the kids take one of their hearts, kiss it and make a Birthday Wish for the Birthday Girl. Then all of those hearts were sewn into her bear. The remaining heart was put into their own stuffed animal.

Then the lifeless shells were stuffed with fluff. Finally, the creatures started to take shape, and the party goers understood that we weren’t completely crazy.

In fact, they were ecstatic.

A little word of warning, though…the stuffing of the fluff machine nearly scared the stuffing right out of Claire! It’s rather loud, and as soon as that thing turned on, she shot over to me in a flash. When it was her turn to stuff her animal, she held my hand, and insisted that I be right there to help her, which wasn’t a problem, but it wasn’t something I’d expected to be an issue.

After the stuffing of the animals, the kids were able to “wash” their creatures at the Washing Station (no water is involved, but there is air that shoots out of “sprayers”)…pretty cool! Then, from there, the girls went to the Cardboard House Station and got to color houses for their new best friends.

So, what did Claire finally choose?

After manhandling practically each and every toy, she finally decided on a hot-pink leopard, which she named Jasper. Yes, we have a real Jasper here…and now he has a sister.

“This one is a girl-Jasper, Momma!”
Obviously. 😉

Click photos to enlarge.

After the party, they were both ready for a nap!  Here they are sound asleep.

After the party, they were both ready for a nap! Here they are sound asleep.

Build-a-Bear-Jasper came with a printed Birth Certificate, a Cardboard House, Stickers, and a Coloring Book.

Build-a-Bear-Jasper came with a printed Birth Certificate, a Cardboard House, Stickers, and a Coloring Book.

As you can see, Claire loves her new best friend.

As you can see, Claire loves her new best friend.

All in all, it was a wonderful idea for a party. It is one that I may actually consider doing for one of Claire’s birthday parties in the future, because she had so much fun! Plus, the store handles the decorating, the clean-up, and how can you not have a good time?

Well…once you figure out that you won’t be forced to play with an empty shell of a creature, the more fun you’ll have! 😉

Note: This is not an official review of the store. This is purely real life turning itself into blog fodder. 😉

Today is Day 17 of 30 in the NaBloPoMo Challenge! Check it out and/or join in the fun! A new best friend AND a post for Day 17? Chosen, stuffed, and complete!

More precious than jewels

Yesterday, Claire had her Young Preschoolers Class, and just like all the other times, I barely got a “Bye, Momma!” out of her when I dropped her off and signed her in. I decided to take all of this as a good sign that she’s adjusting well to the independent life I want her to lead. This is, after all, the reason we put her in these classes.  The classes meet on Mondays for just an hour-and-a-half, but they are a great way to start nurturing her independent spirit.

Still, I won’t lie; it stung a little.

No kiss.
No hug.
Barely a wave.

I tried to not let it bother me, and I left quickly…partially for her benefit and partially for mine.

I went to an appointment and ran some errands before making it back to the parking lot a few minutes early.

When it was time to pick her up, she was thrilled to see me. My heart swelled with joy, and I realized that she still loves me. She still needs me.  Of course, I already knew this.  Duh.  Right?

Anyway…imagine my surprise when she showed me a gift she’d made for me in class. Something just for me!

Click photo to enlarge.

A new bracelet for Momma

A new bracelet for Momma

The teacher had the kids make bracelets with beads and pipe cleaners. What a great idea!  They could make one for whomever they chose: someone else or themselves.  She chose to make one for me!  And she put the beads on all by herself!  My new piece of jewelry is gorgeous, and I love it. (And, Claire took this picture of me and my new bracelet when we got home!   She did a great job!!)

She babbled all the way home about her adventures in the class and how she’d picked all of the colors “especially for YOU, Momma.” My heart melted and ran all over the front seat of my car when she said that. Why had I even let those other thoughts creep into my mind?

So, I may not get a kiss or a hug every time I leave her for the class, but I get the peace of mind knowing that she’s growing up into a well-rounded, socially-strong individual, who still loves her Momma.

And, sometimes, I get really cool jewelry out of the deal, too.


Today is Day 4 of 30 in the NaBloPoMo Challenge! Check it out and/or join in the fun! And, with that…my outfit AND the post for Day 4 is complete!