Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Ping Pong Pet

Pets don't make very good ping pong partners. But that didn't stop Bea from trying to teach our cat, Cake, to play.

Bea and Eric were in the middle of a ping pong game on the kitchen table the other night when the cat hopped up and sat right down in the middle of the action. She didn't want to play, necessarily. She just likes to make her presence known, no matter what you're doing. (The same is true if you're reading the newspaper, eating a bowl of cereal, or trying to make the bed.) 

Ahhhhh.... cats.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Easy Calico Cat and Dalmatian Dog Cookies

After I made those calico cat sugar cookies for Bea's birthday in September, I started wondering what other spotted, dotted and creatively-colored animals you could bake using the same technique - Cows, leopards, cheetahs, Dalmatian dogs or maybe even zebras?

I made some more calico cats and experimented with Dalmatian dogs for my Handmade Charlotte tutorial this month, and they both turned out great. I especially love how no two cookies are the same. There's an element of surprise every time to flatten your dough.

To see my step-by-step instructions for Calico Cat and Dotty Dalmatian Sugar Cookies, head over to Handmade Charlotte. I'd love to see what fun and creative cookies you can create using this technique of colored, rolled dough. 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014


Chocolate always gives me joy.

Chocolate often gives me inspiration.

And this year, chocolate also gives to those in need.

Last week, I received this wonderful box from Seattle Chocolates. Not only was it filled with bits, bites and bars of beautiful chocolate deliciousness, but it was also filled with a message of hope and charity. 

From now through the end of the year, for every item purchased at www.seattlechocolates.com and every post of #chocolategives, Seattle Chocolates will donate a serving of fresh food to someone in need. Donations will be made through a network of food banks including the Food Bank for New York City, the Greater Boston Food Bank, the SF-Martin Food Bank and Northwest Harvest.

I'm going to join them by donating food to my local food bank - the Kansas Food Bank.

Thanks for the inspiration (and dessert), Seattle Chocolates

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Basket-of-Kittens Costume

Surprise. Surprise. Our cat-loving daughter wanted to dress up as a basket-of-kittens for Halloween this year. Two years ago, she went as a calico cat. But this year, she was a black "momma" cat with a litter of assorted kittens in her wicker basket. (A.K.A. The Crazy Cat Lady Starter Kit.)

Eric devised a way to cut a hole in the bottom without the entire basket falling apart, and then we used a piece of thick upholstery foam to fit snuggly around her waist so the basket wouldn't slide down. It worked great. She was able to walk, use her hands and move easily up and down stairs. 

She got lots of compliments and everyone seemed to like her trick-or-treat candy bag: a Meow Mix cat food bag.

I think if Bea had her way, she'd dress up as a cat every year.

Minecraft Steve Costume

Gus is 13 now - the age when kids still wanna to dress up for Halloween, but they kinda know they might be getting too old. 

Fortunately, he still wanted to dress up and help take Bea trick-or-treating this year. So, we let him pick an easy costume that we knew he'd be love and be perfect for: Minecraft Steve. (If you're not familiar with the online video game Minecraft, Steve is the main character.)

The pixelated box head was purchased at Target. The pixelated sword was a birthday gift last year. We bought the sweatpants and t-shirt at Walmart. And I made the pixelated treasure chest trick-or-treat box.

For the first time in years, his costume took very little effort to put together. (Which is probably why he loved it.) Gus was able to move and walk freely from house to house. One thing about the box mask though..... it was a little dark and made it hard to see at night. Maybe next year we'll skip masks and go for crazy wigs or funny face paint. (Assuming he wants to dress up next year. Like I always say - they're only this little for a short time. Gotta go crazy for Halloween while you can!)

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Oh my... October.

I don't know why, but October is always the busiest month of the year for the Dennelers. So many things to do, places to go, and people to see. Here's just a few photos of the month's activities that have kept us on the move.

Eric's Prairie Fire Half-Marathon - He finished in 1:36:05 (Gettin' faster in his old age, believe it or not!)

Applejack Pumpkin Patch - The kids' favorite, it never disappoints.

State Tennis - Watching our niece get 8th place at state. Hooray Abby!
2nd Grade Fall Music Concert - Bea was all smiles as she sang and played the rainstick at her school concert.

WSU Pumpkin Run - Eric finished in 19:57. He was 11th place overall and 1st in his age group!

Preparing for Halloween - making things sufficiently spooky around here. 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

You're Eating Me Out of House and Home!

Come on.... every parent has said it, and every kid has heard it: 

"You're eating me out of house and home!"

Here's a clever lunch box creation that illustrates the famous phrase. Sandwiched inside of a long metal pencil box, is a row of healthy, home-shaped bites. And even some broccoli trees to tickle young tastebuds.

Experiment with your own simple ingredients to make an edible row of houses, or see how I put mine together in my tutorial for SheKnows.

Cupcakes for lunch? Yes, please.

What kid wouldn't love to have a lunchbox filled with cupcakes?

These mini cornbread cupcakes cover all basic food groups - protein, grain, vegetable, fruit and dairy. (Don't forget dessert!) They go from savory to sweet, and would be a real treat.

Hot dog & mashed potatoes
Broccoli & cheese
Blueberry & cream cheese
Chocolate chip & chocolate frosting

Pack them for a school lunch or surprise your family with cupcakes for dinner some night. They're guaranteed to make a mmm...memorable menu.

You can find my super-simple, step-by-step instructions at SheKnows.


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