My 3 Monsters: May 2016

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5.11.2016

Buy a Box, Give a Free Box PLUS a Delicious Churro-Inspired Snack Recipe

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #GiveABox #CollectiveBias


Hi guys!  Today I have a delicious snack recipe to share with y'all, but first let me explain the inspiration for it.  Do you have any silly little traditions in your family?  Maybe tradition is the wrong word.  I’m not talking about the biggies – like, anything involving Christmas or the major holidays.  Just silly little things you have always done, and maybe you don’t even remember why?  Like how I cut pizza with scissors because that’s just how my mom did it when I was growing up.  I didn’t even know that it was weird until long after I got married.  Or how my kids settle every argument by rolling dice, instead of Rock-Paper-Scissors style like normal people.

A big one in our family was the “Church Cheerios™”.  For years we marched our three small children into church every week in their Sunday best with baggies of cereal in hand. An hour is a long time for little kiddos to sit quietly and it was a fairly mess-less, wholesome snack to keep their busy hands, mouths, and minds occupied during church services.  This went on, Sunday after Sunday, for nearly a decade – from the time our oldest was a toddler until our youngest was well into Kindergarten.  My older sister did the same thing with her kids.  Maybe we learned it from our mom.  And I’m sure my daughter will someday take her kids to church, cereal in hand, because “that’s just what you do”.

It’s amazing when you realize how much of what we do as adults is influenced by our mothers. The way they do things day-in and day-out becomes etched in our memories and becomes a part of who we are. I think of my mom countless times every day as I find myself doing things that I have watched her do my whole life.  Whenever I make sloppy joes in my electric skillet.  Whenever I make my kids do “big cleaning” on Friday afternoon.  Whenever I sew something. Whenever I sit at the table long after I have finished eating so that my slowpoke eater will not have to sit there alone after everyone else has abandoned him. The way I make my grocery list and answer the phone.  All influenced by my mom. 

I feel blessed beyond reason with the family I was born into.  On days when I can barely keep it together raising my three teenagers, I remember my mom’s example.  If she could somehow manage to make seven kids (whose ages span fifteen years) each feel uniquely special and loved, I can do the same for my three.  And on days when I drop the ball a little, I take comfort in the fact that my kids have a pretty amazing grandma to turn to.

Delicious Churro Cheerios Snack recipe at my3monsters.com
While doing my grocery shopping at Walmart the other day I saw these exclusive, specially marked "Buy a Box, Give a Free Box" packages of Cheerios. All you have to do is buy a box of specially marked Cheerios™ at Walmart, visit the website to enter the code on the box, and fill out an E-card online for your special person to redeem at Walmart and receive a free box of cereal. Cool, right?  I immediately thought of my baby sister who recently had her first baby.  Who better to pass the "Church Cheerios™" tradition on to than our sweet baby Clara?!  It's fun to see my sister become a mother and join the rest of us in passing some of our mother's goodness along to another generation.   


My children have long since outgrown taking snacks to church and, much to their chagrin, are now expected to sit quietly through Sunday services sans cereal.  But we do have three giant glass jars of cereal sitting on the kitchen counter top at home for convenient after church -- or school, or late night -- snacking.  


Delicious Churro Cheerios Snack recipe at my3monsters.com
I wanted to try something a little different for an after school snack this week, so I made my kiddos some Churro Cheerios™ Snacks, or Churrios as my son called them.  It's a super simple recipe that is a riff on the old Hot Buttered Cheerios™ of the 80's.  I'm bringin'em back, baby!  I'm not even kidding when I say these only took about 5 minutes to cook up -- and barely longer than that for the fam to scarf them down.  These are so stinkin' yummy!

Churro Cheerios™ Snacks

4 C. Cheerioscereal
1/4 C. butter
1/4 C. sugar
1/4 tsp. cinnamon

Melt the butter over medium heat in a large skillet.  

When butter is completely melted, add cereal and stir to coat.  

Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until cereal starts to turn golden brown.  Watch it carefully because it will burn quickly if you leave it on the heat too long.  

Dump the hot, buttery cereal into a large bowl and add sugar and cinnamon.  Stir well to coat.  

Serve immediately.


Delicious Churro Cheerios Snack recipe at my3monsters.com
Who will you give your gift box of Cheerios™ to? A special teacher?  A neighbor or friend? Go ahead, brighten someone's day with a special gift!

Have a great day, friends!

Amy


5.10.2016

My Printable Confetti Banner Letters Today on Lolly Jane

Adorable set of Printable Confetti Banner letters by my3monsters.com for Lolly Jane.
Hi guys!  Today I am sharing these Printable Confetti Banner Letters over at Lolly Jane.  School is winding down and we are gearing up for summer pool parties and the many summer birthdays in our family.  This set of letters -- including the full alphabet, numbers 0 through 9, plus a few extras -- is perfect for making banners for all your summer get-togethers.  Head on over to Lolly Jane for the download link and instructions {along with a free coordinating party invitation template}!  

Adorable set of Printable Confetti Banner letters by my3monsters.com for Lolly Jane.

 Have a great day, friends!

Amy


5.05.2016

MIni Succulent Planter Cakes

Darling Mini Succulent Planter Cakes in mason jars from my3monsters.com
A couple of years ago, I was given a little succulent in a mason jar as a thank you gift for something or other.  It was adorable and totally brightened my day.  Naturally, when I needed a few little thank you gifts recently, that idea came back to my mind.  And then I thought (a direct quote from my inner dialogue}, “You know what this idea needs?  More chocolate cake.”  There’s not much, in my opinion, that isn’t vastly improved by the addition of chocolate cake.  So I decided to fill the mason jar with chocolate cake and make little faux succulents out of fondant for the top, thus combining the two brilliant ideas into one super thank you gift.    These would be great as end of the year teacher gifts and they’re really, honestly, so easy to make.

Darling Mini Succulent Planter Cakes in mason jars from my3monsters.com

You will need:

Mason jars – I like the little squatty ones for this.
Fondant – store bought or make your own
Gel frosting color {if your fondant is not already colored}
Petal Dust and a small paint brush
Small cookie or fondant cutters
Chocolate cake mix
Chocolate frosting
Crushed Oreos

First, bake your cake according to package instructions.  I baked mine in a 9 x 13 pan – you can do smaller round pans or cupcakes.  It won’t make a difference.

While your cake is baking and cooling, make the fondant succulents.  Bear in mind that I am by no means a professional cake decorator, so my methods may be completely “wrong”.  I just do what works for me. The fondant, gel frosting color, petal dust, and shape cutters can all be found in the cake decorating section of any craft store.  I used store bought fondant when I made the succulents in the finished pictures, but it seemed very dry to me.  I decided to make my own marshmallow fondant when I photographed the steps to make the succulents below and I like it a lot better because I could control the color and consistency a little more.

Knead a hunk of fondant until it is soft and pliable.  Be sure to only work with a small piece of fondant at a time and keep the rest wrapped in saran wrap to avoid drying out.  Roll the fondant out to approx. 1/8” thick.  Use small cookie cutters as shown below to cut out the pieces for the smaller plant.

Darling Mini Succulent Planter Cakes in mason jars from my3monsters.com
Form the succulent by stacking up the layers of fondant from largest to smallest, staggering the leaves on each layer.  

Darling Mini Succulent Planter Cakes in mason jars from my3monsters.com
Press down in the center gently to stick all the layers together and start to give it some shape.  Curve and shape the leaves until you are happy with the look.  

Darling Mini Succulent Planter Cakes in mason jars from my3monsters.com


For the larger plant, begin by rolling out your fondant to approximately 1/8" thick, then cut two larger flower shapes and two smaller flower shapes.

Darling Mini Succulent Planter Cakes in mason jars from my3monsters.com
Use a knife to cut a small slit in the fondant in between each petal.

Darling Mini Succulent Planter Cakes in mason jars from my3monsters.com
Shape each petal into a more "pointy" shape as shown below.  You'll have to work fairly quickly so the fondant doesn't begin to dry out.

Darling Mini Succulent Planter Cakes in mason jars from my3monsters.com
As with the smaller plant, stack all four layers from largest to smallest, staggering the leaves so they don't overlap.

Darling Mini Succulent Planter Cakes in mason jars from my3monsters.com
Press down in the center gently to stick all the layers together and start to give it some shape.  Curve and shape the leaves until you are happy with the look.  To form the centers of the larger plants, roll a small piece of fondant into a ball.  Cut an X in the top of it with a knife and gently spread open slightly.  Place in the center of the plant then set aside.  

Darling Mini Succulent Planter Cakes in mason jars from my3monsters.com
It may be helpful to place your little plants in a mini-muffin tin to help them keep their 3 dimensional shape as they dry.   

Darling Mini Succulent Planter Cakes in mason jars from my3monsters.com
Use a dry brush to lightly dust the edges of the leaves with petal dust to give them a more realistic two-tone effect.
  
Darling Mini Succulent Planter Cakes in mason jars from my3monsters.com
If you don’t have cookie or fondant cutters, you could sculpt your plant out of the fondant, just like you would with clay.

Assemble the planters by scooping chocolate cake into your mason jars.  Make sure to gently pack it in so there are no air pockets.

Darling Mini Succulent Planter Cakes in mason jars from my3monsters.com
Top cake with a layer of chocolate frosting.

Darling Mini Succulent Planter Cakes in mason jars from my3monsters.com
Sprinkle crushed Oreos in a ring around the outer edge of your frosting, leaving the center free.

Darling Mini Succulent Planter Cakes in mason jars from my3monsters.com
Arrange fondant succulents on top, using a dab of extra frosting to stick them in place if necessary.

Darling Mini Succulent Planter Cakes in mason jars from my3monsters.com
To finish them off tie a ribbon around the rim of the jar and possibly attach a cute little fork and a tag.  They’ll be a huge hit with their recipients, guaranteed.  

Have a great day, friends!

Amy


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