Friday, February 21, 2014

Crafts: From Gift Bag to Craft Mat

My daughters received the most precious gift bags for their birthdays and they have been sitting in my closet for months. They are just too precious to throw away or to toss around the house. I just had to find a better use for them. As my daughter was playing with her Play Doh I thought to myself, 'she needs a better surface for her Play Doh and crafts.' That is when it hit me... the gift bags! Why not transform her bags into her craft mats. It's quick and simple. Then Wala! your little one has more space for crafts.  

Pick your bag. The thicker paper the better.

Cut the bag into two pieces. You want to fold in the flaps to make them more sturdy.

Take them to a place where lamination is done such as Staples or Lake Shore. Should cost between $1-$2.

Trim the frame of the of the bags. Be sure not to cut to close to the paper or it will undo the lamination.


Thursday, February 13, 2014

Graco Car Seat Recall

February 10, 2014
Car Seats
Graco Children's Products, Inc.
The Danger:
There has been difficulty in unlatching the harness buckle. In some cases, the buckle becomes stuck in a latched condition so that it cannot be opened by depressing the buckle's release button. It may be difficult to remove the child from the restraint, increasing the risk of injury in the event of a vehicle crash, fire, or other emergency, in which a prompt exit from the vehicle is required. There have been no injuries reported.
The recall includes 3.7 million model year 2009 through 2013 toddler and booster child restraints. The models include Cozy Cline, Comfort Sport, Classic Ride 50, My Ride 65, My Ride with Safety Surround, My Ride 70, Size 4 Me 70, Smartseat, Nautilus, Nautilus Elite, and Argos 70.
Sold At:
What To Do:
Graco will provide a new and improbed replacement harness buckle to affected customers. For more information, contact the company by phone at (800) 345-4109or by email at
For More Information:

Monday, February 10, 2014

Food: The Best Chocolate Cake Ever

We love chocolate in our house! Anything chocolate will not last longer then 5 minutes in our kitchen. I have tried several chocolate cake recipes and have never been completely happy with the results until I found this recipe, Extreme Chocolate Cake, on It has many good reviews and is actually a really yummy recipe. However, I decided to add and change some ingredients to make it the perfect recipe for me.  This has become my staple chocolate cake recipe and since Valentines Day is just around the corner I wanted to share it with you. I find that the addition of melted chocolate and coffee make it a richer tasting cake. I melt the chocolate chips in a heatproof cup in the microwave and then pour the hot brewed coffee in the cup so that the chocolate is easier to pour into the batter. The original recipe calls for 1 cup of liquid and I reduced it to 1/2 a cup because I find it moist enough but not too runny with half the liquid.  The hot liquid really does make this a very moist cake. Also, the frosting recipe is so perfect I didn't change that at all. I recommend using springform cake pans for easier baking and removal of the cake. This cake is the perfect chocolate goodness for anytime and especially sweet for Valentines Day.

Hope you all have a great Valentines full of yummy eats!

Best Chocolate Cake Recipe:

2 cups white sugar
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup melted dark chocolate chips
1/2 cup hot brewed coffee

Frosting from Extreme Chocolate Cake Recipe on

3/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
5 1/3 cups confectioner's sugar
2/3 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray two 9 inch cake pans with cooking spray or you can grease and flour them. Mix together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt for about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla and mix for 3 more minutes.  Brew one cup of coffee. In a heatproof container put chocolate chips in and melt in the microwave for 30 seconds at a time until the chips are melted. Pour coffee in the chocolate chip container and mix with a spoon until most of the chocolate is melted. Pour the coffee-chocolate mixture into the batter and slowly mix in for 3 minutes. Pour batter into the prepared pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes.  Check with a toothpick to make sure cake is done. Let the cake fully cool before frosting about 20-25 minutes.

For the frosting, cream the butter until light and fluffy then add cocoa powder and confectioner's sugar alternating with milk and vanilla. Beat until fluffy and spreadable. Frost the cake to your liking.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Yo Pops Cake Pops to make you go YUM!

I first became introduced to cake pops three years ago when I walked into a coffee shop and saw the most adorable treats on a stick. I thought how could anyone eat something so cute. So, I did and I loved it. It was crunchy, chewy and like nothing I ever tasted before! Recently I came across Yo Pops Cake Pops and was impressed by how she took it a step further with the designs. I thought what better way to say I Love You this Valentines day then with a Yo Pops Cake Pops.

"My first cake pop eating experience was 3 years ago when I took a pop home from a baby shower," says creator of Yo Pops Cake Pops, Chris. "I remember biting into it and instantly loving the mushy deliciousness coated by the soft chocolate shell. It was divine!" she said, "A co-teacher gave me the Bakerella cake pop cookbook for my birthday a couple of years ago and I read the entire thing cover to cover in one weekend," she said. I too have a cake pop book, but after a couple of batches I was done. Chris had other thoughts. As many great things it started as a hobby, then about a year ago when her son went off to college, her friends and family encouraged her to take it a step further. And that is how Yo Pops Cake Pops was born.

"I can credit my preschool teaching background and love for arts and crafts as creative influences for designing little pieces of art on a stick. Since each pop is handmade (with love) every order is a time

consuming project." And she has yet to encountered a project that she couldn't master? "I've yet to face a challenge I couldn't conquer, however a request for the Battle at Gettysburg cake pops did leave me a bit stumped" she says. The possibilities are endless, for it's the customers imagination that she brings to life in a Yo Pops Cake Pops. "The most complex order I've ever filled was for 100 wedding pops, each one unique to look like the wedding guests. That order took two days to complete." Now that is impressive! How do you think you look on a Yo Pops Cake Pops?

It seems that it has been word of mouth, Instagram and Facebook that has continued to bring costumer new and old coming back for more. One of her surprisingly biggest client is a dentist. He recently placed a  60 dozen order during the holidays to give as gifts to colleagues and potential clients. If the dentist gives it a thumbs up, I think it's good enough for us.

Don't think your limited to chocolate or vanilla, you have your choice of vanilla, chocolate, yellow, red velvet, carrot, cinnamon, lemon & strawberry to be wowed by. For more information go to Facebook business page under Yo Pops Cake Pops or email, or text/ call me at (818) 618-5315.