Tuesday, November 30, 2010

I love syrup.

But I really love syrup with a smile. Have you ever noticed the cute smiley face on the Hungry Jack syrup cap? So awesome.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Turkey Treats for Toddlers

Bea wanted to bring Thanksgiving treats to daycare this week, so she and I made these Oreo turkeys to share with her friends. (As much as I love her helping me, geez-a-loo she makes it 100 times more complicated than it needs to be. But, that's OK. I'm glad she enjoys being in the kitchen with me.)

Anyway, here are our Oreo Gobblers. Turkeys-on-a-stick. Turkey Pops. (Insert your idea for a clever name here.) I saw these on a website called Cookies and Cups, but modified it to use Reese's Peanut Butter Cups instead. Because, well ... I really just wanted an excuse to buy a bag of Reese's.
Also, here's a handy-dandy tip on assembling them. If you try to cram the stick and pretzels and candy corn into the Double-Stuff Oreos, they'll fall apart. And it'll start to piss you off. So, you kind of need to take the Oreos apart first, place the stick and pretzels and candy corn into the cream filling, and then glue them shut with some melted white chocolate. Works like a charm. You'll thank me later.

Playful food for picky eaters.

Just trying to entertain myself at dinnertime and still put something on my kids' plates that they're willing to eat. 

Monday, November 22, 2010

Brown Bag Turkey Legs

“What’s this? A piece of toast? A pretzel stick? Popcorn?
What blockhead cooked all this? 
What kind of a Thanksgiving dinner is this?
Where’s the turkey Chuck!
Don’t you know anything about Thanksgiving Dinner!

Where’s the mashed potatoes!? Where’s the cranberry sauce?

Where’s the pumpkin pie!?” - Peppermint Patty
The 3rd grade classes at Gus' school are having a Thanksgiving lunch and movie party, and the parents were asked to provide finger foods for the kids to munch on while they watch "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving." I realize I could have sent a bag of pretzels and called it good. But that's just not gonna happen. We all know that. Instead, I decided to make 80 brown bag turkey legs filled with popcorn and plain M&Ms.

Way more fun than a bag of pretzels. But a little more time consuming. Seriously, I could have cooked 5 real turkeys in the same time it took me to assemble 80 of these crazy things. Oh well. The Fiskars website made these adorable turkey legs for Thanksgiving place cards at a kid's table. Genius. But they seemed so perfect for holding popcorn or candy or some kind of prize inside the bag, so that's what I did with them. I used white foam core board for the legs (found at Michael's, JoAnne's or Hobby Lobby), cut out white hearts from cardstock, and glued them to the ends. Then I just filled the bags with popcorn and M&Ms and stapled them to the "bones."

Hope the kids enjoy their movie treat, watching Woodstock accidentally toast & butter Snoopy's ear. God, I love that movie.

Friday, November 19, 2010


The sawdust has been flyin' out in Eric's workshop. He made not one, not two, but three big ball rockers last month. 

One is a Christmas present for a toddler in Colorado, one is a baby gift for a brand-spankin'-new baby boy, and one is looking to be adopted.

If you're interested, the orange guy in the middle is for sale. $150. (Christmas is only 36 days away. This would look pretty sweet under the tree! Give me a shout.) Made of both, ash & cherry wood, it promises to provide many happy childhood memories. Plus, it's got the official "Denneler" brand on the bottom. One of a kind, yes sir! 
(PS. Matt & Chrissy and Teresa: If you're reading this... bring your rockers over sometime and let Eric burn his logo into them. He always forgets to do that!)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Hoping for 2nd Place.

I do not want this in my home next year.

It's the Fantasy Football trophy for our Weishaar Family League. My brother, Kurt, bought it and asked Eric to build a wooden base for it so that he could have name plaques made and mounted on the bottom for each year's winner.

Last I checked, Sugar Rush (my fantasy football team) was doing pretty good. Almost too good. I might have to make some poor trades the next couple of weeks so that I don't end up needing to find shelf space for this lovely fella.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Whoooo needs a refill?

Apparently, I've had owls on the brain this year. First it was an owl invite for a baby shower, then Bea's owl costume, and now an owl-y holiday party invitation. Somebody stop me before I hoot again.

Any whooooo.... this is a giant, owl-shaped, postcard invitation that I designed for some very dear friends of mine in Wisconsin. Every December they host a Hot Buttered Rum Party in their home before the holidays. And every year, my friend sends me the date & time of the party and sets me loose to design whatever I want. Seriously. She doesn't even ask to see a layout. I just design something crazy-fun, get them printed and ship them to her. So even she's surprised when they arrive in the mail. BEST. CLIENT. EVER.

Believe it or not, this is my 22nd year to design their invitation. What???!!!???? That can't be right! I was only a junior in high school (1988), and living next door to the Kolstes, when Deb asked me to make a "fun" postcard for their party. And I've done it every year since. Would you also believe I've never attended a single party? Hummm.... maybe I should surprise them one of these times. 

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Bea the Owl

I really loved Bea's owl costume this year for Halloween. It turned out way better than I thought it would. And yes, I made it. (I'm an art director, people. I do this kind of stuff for a living. Well, sorta.)
Like I've said before, I don't sew. But I can iron. This entire costume was ironed onto two pieces of 1-inch upholstery foam with heat-fusing transfer paper. I think I went through 15 yards of the stuff. But it worked like a charm. (Pretty much destroyed my ironing board cover and a few fingertips, but that's OK.)

I didn't have a pattern, but I sort of made one from an owl-themed baby shower invitation I designed last year. The retro owl "look" has been very popular lately, and I really wanted to make it work as a costume. 

The best part was, it was soooooo soft. I used polar fleece and felt fabrics, inside and out. I knew it would have to be super cozy or Bea wouldn't wear it. She liked it so much, she lounged on it like a pillow.
She won BEST COSTUME at the WSU Trunk-or-Treat party. But once again.... my best intentions for a fun costume turned to tears. Bea tripped going up some neighbor's stairs when we were trick-or-treating and did a face-plant onto the cement. Ouch. An ugly bruised chin and lots of sympathy candy later, she was OK.

Oh how my kids have to suffer for their mother's love of Halloween.

Gus the Squirrel

So, I've had a few questions about Gus' Halloween costume this year.
1. Why a squirrel?
Well, this summer we put a bird feeder in our tree that attracted a very hungry squirrel. Gus became quite fond of his new friend and enjoys watching him in the backyard, even taking photos and videos of him occasionally. So it didn't surprise me when he said he wanted to be a squirrel for Halloween.
2. Did you make the squirrel costume?
No, we did not. I could probably bake a squirrel-shaped cake, but I don't sew. And neither does Eric. I looked online and found a company through eBay called Milanoo that will custom-size any of their costumes for you. No, it wasn't cheap. But Gus wanted to be a squirrel. And of course, I wanted him to be the best darn squirrel possible. (He's only going to want to trick-or-treat a few more years, so I splurged. Go big or go home, right?)
3. What is that big acorn/nut he's holding?
That is Gus' treat bucket. We took a gigantic, plastic, hollow Easter egg, cut a hole in the back, painted it, and paper-mach├ęd the top to look like an acorn. Then Eric put a handle on it so Gus could use it to hold his candy. (It was heavy as hell, especially filled with candy. It seemed like a good idea at the time....)
4. How does he see out of that mask?
Not very well, in fact. There was a black window screen in the mouth that he could look out of, but the view was pretty obstructed. Not ideal, especially for night time trick-or-treating. Next year, we're definitely going to attempt a mask-free costume. The poor kid needed a personal escort to get him anywhere.
5. Was the tail heavy?
Yes. We added an extra hook on the back to keep it from dragging on the ground and tipping Gus backwards. He still, occasionally, needed some help maneuvering in crowds. But everyone loved petting the super-furry tail.
6. Will you ever let Gus pick out a store-bought costume?
Not likely. ;-)

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Bags O' Boobs

Some of you may remember the "boob cakes" that I've baked the last couple of years for a volleyball tournament cancer fundraiser in Salina, Kansas called Dig for the Cure. The 3rd Annual Dig for the Cure is happening this weekend, and I decided to change things up by baking 36 Bags O' Boobs: i.e. Cookies for the Cure.

The chocolate-nippled varieties include: Chocolate Cha-Chas, Sugar Sisters and Peanut Butter Blossoms.

If the war against cancer can be fought with butter & sugar, than I'm a lethal weapon.
Chocolate Cha-Chas
Sugar Sisters
Peanut Butter Blossoms