Friday, January 27, 2012

Happy Brownhog Day!

No. That's not a typo. The other day, after I made these Groundhog Day macarons, my five-year-old daughter asked: "Are you going to eat that brownhog?"

My husband and I got quite the chuckle over that one. From now on, Groundhog Day will be known as Brownhog Day at the Denneler house.

This little critter, coming out of the ground to find his sugary shadow, is actually a Chocolate Teddy Graham. If you attach a mini chocolate chip to his face with some frosting and add some white decorator candies for the teeth, you've got yourself a mini groundhog. The "dirt" on top of the macaron is a mixture of chocolate frosting and crushed Oreos.

It's hard to believe that spring is right around the corner. We've barely had any kind of winter. Feels weird, but I'll take it.

Oh, and if you'd like to see more silly macaron ideas, then maybe you should join me at my next macaron class? I'm doing another Social, in-home cooking demonstration, at Adriene Rathbun's on March 24th from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. - Spring & Easter Macarons. Sign up here. I'd love to see you there!

Monday, January 23, 2012

POPular Calendar

Two weeks into the new year, I came across this Bubble Wrap calendar and couldn't resist buying one. I knew my kids would love to pop, pop, pop the days of the week. And they do! 

But immediately after hanging it up, I had to establish a popping rule: Gus gets even numbered days, and Bea gets odd numbered days. It was either that, or listen to "I get to pop it! NO!!! I get to pop it!" for the next 345 days.

So far so good. Plus, It makes for a fun daily ritual as we head out the door every morning.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Grandma's Cookie Jar

Have I ever told you this story before? It warms my heart.

I only knew one of my grandparents growing up. My Grandma Weishaar died when I was five years old, but one of the few things I remember about her, was this cookie jar. Imagine that, fond childhood memories that involve cookies. ;)

Anyway, when my Grandma passed away, they had an estate sale and sold all of the stuff in her house that family members didn't want, including this cookie jar. But oddly enough, 25 years later, I discovered it in my mother-in-law's basement. She had bought it at the estate sale, oh so many years ago. How crazy is that?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Giga Ball = Mega Fun

The weather this weekend was incredibly nice. Much too nice for my kids to be inside playing video games and watching TV. So, we inflated the Giga Ball that Santa Claus was sooooo smart to give Gus for Christmas. (Even though he didn't ask for it and wasn't the least bit interested in it when he opened it.) 

Think of it as a giant hamster ball for kids. They should rename it the Giggle Ball, because that's what my kids did for an hour - giggle. And roll. And giggle. And push each other around. And giggle some more. Then, when they were completely exhausted, they hid inside of it with their blankets and pretended it was a fort. I was tempted to crawl inside myself, but I didn't want to test the weight limit.

So much fun on a warm, sunny, January day! 

Monday, January 16, 2012


Here's a peek at something I begged Eric to start building this weekend. (He never should have said he needed a project. I have an endless list of ideas.)

Repurposed Flat File

Last fall, my friend gave us an old, flat file cabinet they couldn't use. Before seeing it, I had grand ideas of turning it into a cool coffee table for our living room or my brother's house. But after it arrived, and occupied half of my garage, I realized it was WAY TOO BIG to fit inside either of our houses.

Hummmm... what to do.... what to do? It was too awesome not to use somewhere, so I told Eric he should find a way to use it in the garage. He took out all of the drawers and reconfigured it for one small, one medium and one large-sized capacity drawer. Then he added wood fronts and a wood top, and installed some industrial-sized wheels underneath. 

Tada! He now has a mobile-woodshop-tabletop-workbench-storage unit. 

Monday, January 9, 2012

Winter Landscaping

The weather has been so incredibly nice for a Kansas winter. Almost too nice. My crocus plants are already coming out of the ground and it's only January 9th. I like to think it's just Mother Nature's way of apologizing for giving us such a crappy summer. 

Since it was so pleasant this weekend, we decided to tackle a tree-transplanting project in our backyard. Eric planted this lovely lilac tree about 5 years ago. But it grew much bigger than we anticipated and was leaning pretty good against our shed. So, shovels in hand, Eric and I dug another hole, 3 feet to the southeast of it's current spot. The kids were a big help. Not. Gus volunteered to take photos (that's usually my strategy to avoid hard labor), and Bea worked at a supervisory level, telling us to dig faster so that she could water the tree.

Have you ever wondered why they always find a dead body buried in a "shallow grave"? Well now I know — digging a deep grave is entirely too much work. Oh my lord, shoveling that clay soil was a chore. But it's done, and the tree looks happy. Let's just hope it roots down again and blooms sweet, purple lilacs again this spring.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Clinic-warming Gifts

We dropped by Redbud Pediatrics this week with some presents to wish them a happy Grand Opening.
I found these ceramic birds at Target - all the cute Valentine's Day stuff is out! The birds were Pepto Bismol pink, so I painted them blue. Then I made some tiny stethoscopes out of Sculpey and attached them to the sides so they'd look like the little doctor bird in the clinic's logo.

Then, I thought it would be nice if the clinic had a sticker/prize bucket. You know.... so kids can pick out a sticker or prize after their appointment. (That's always a big hit with my kids when they have to go to the doctor or dentist.) I painted and attached a mini ceramic bird to this orange metal bucket. Then, I added some custom stickers that I made with these round Avery Labels that I got at Office Depot. For some reason, I thought 120 stickers would fill the bucket a little more. It didn't. Oh well... leaves room for them to add their own stickers and prizes if they want.
If I haven't said it enough already, you should really check out Redbud Pediatrics. ;)

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Redbud Pediatrics, now open!

Today was the first, official day for Redbud Pediatrics

(Insert loud cheers & high-fives here.)

For the past few months, Eric and I have been working with his cousin, Dr. Rebecca Reddy, to create a fun & family-friendly pediatric clinic space - everything from the logo, to the wall colors, to the waiting room d├ęcor. Trust me, the only thing contagious here, will be the smiles. I'm thrilled to see it all finally come together. Take a look. Better yet, make an appointment for your child with Dr. Reddy & her staff. (They're awesome, and conveniently located at 1861 N. Rock Road.)
We worked with Trimark Signworks to produce the outdoor signs & awning.
Signs Now produced the vinyl graphics for all of the windows.
We used silly childhood phrases about health & medicine on the front windows.
Signs Now also produced this awesome vinyl graphic for the reception wall.
Love these sweet little birdies.
Eric, Bea, Gus and Dr. Rebecca Reddy before the big opening.
How can she be so calm? (BTW... that's what you want in a pediatrician!)
Eric made these decorative trees in the front entry that double as coat racks.
For the waiting room: a playhouse/drawing table, a bird bookcase & artwork.
Colorful, fun posters I designed for the walls. (Also printed by Signs Now.)
An adorable, blue, birdie bookcase that Eric built. 
Bea checking out her dad's craftsmanship.
So cute... I could just kiss that beak!
A kid-sized playhouse that can also be a drawing table.
And a little orange chimney to hold crayons or markers. Sweet!