Tuesday, October 27, 2009

warm winter drinks for cold winter weather

We're expecting our first winter storm here in Denver...and it's already begun to snow.

So, I'm sitting in the bed, avoiding important tasks (like washing dishes, washing clothes, washing ANYTHING), and sipping a hot cup of cocoa from a mix my mother-in-law puts together and sends the kids each year when the weather turns cool. It's yummy!

But, I love her "from scratch" version even better.

My other favorite cool-weather drink is Wassail. I love to keep a big pot on the stove, and sip from it all day. I like a pretty tart, less spicy wassail.

So instead of cleaning, I'm searching Etsy for ingredients that will make my warm drinks even better this year...Here's what I've found...

Cocoa Power (for Breakfast cocoa) by Layla

Homemade Maple Marshmallows (also for cocoa) by whimsyandspice

Cinnamon sticks (for wassail) by itsmeowornever

Whole Cloves (for wassail) by bayberrymeadowherbs

And, to enjoy it all...a coffee cup in lime green by suzzeeholler

Recipes: (please let me know if you try one!)

Breakfast Cocoa
Serves 4

1/3 c. cocoa powder
1/3 c. sugar
dash of salt
1/2 c. water
3 1/2 c. milk
1/2 t. vanilla

In a saucepan, mix cocoa, sugar, salt. Add water. Bring to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil 1 minute.

Stir in milk, heat to boiling point, BUT DO NOT BOIL. Add vanilla.

If desired, beat with blender or frother just before serving (I never have). Top with marshmallows, whipped cream, or ice cream. Makes 4 cups.

2 quarts apple juice
2 1/2 cups pineapple juice
2 cups orange juice
1 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar
1 (3-inch) stick cinnamon
1 teaspoon whole cloves

Combine all ingredients in a Dutch oven (or big pot), bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes. Uncover and simmer an additional 20 minutes. Strain and discard cinnamon and cloves. Serve hot. Yield: 3 quarts.

Fantastic to leave on the stove during a holiday party...just let guests help themselves.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Yummy Pizza Dip

Take a warm appetizer to your next party!
Have you ever tried this easy appetizer? I had it for the first time at my bro-in-law's law school graduation party, and I've been thinking of it ever since! Here's my adaptation...

Hot Pizza Dip

8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 t. oregano
1/2 t. parsley
1/2 t. basil
1 cup pizza sauce
1 cup parmesan cheese
1 cup mozzarella cheese
2 oz. pepperoni (chopped)
1 small can sliced black olives

Mix dried herbs (oregano, parsley, basil) with cream cheese. Spread into shallow dish (pie plate, or small casserole dish). Top with 1/2 cup of each cheese. Layer pizza sauce, remaining cheeses, pepperoni, and olives.

Bake in 350 degree oven for 20 minutes, until hot and bubbly. Enjoy with tortilla chips or fritos.

If you are taking this somewhere, assemble at home, transport cold, and heat in microwave (covered) for 5 minutes until hot and bubbly.
Variations: you can add chopped green bell pepper, chopped onion, cooked sausage, mushrooms...any favorite pizza topping. Use italian seasoning instead of separate herbs. ANYTHING you'd like!
Let me know if you try it!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

John and I are leaving for Mexico in about a week and a half.


{but a 4 year old birthday has to happen first, so I can't get too excited yet!}
His parents are coming to stay here in mild-Denver with the kids, and we are jetting off to the scorching heat of the beach to celebrate my birthday.
So, last night I bought this sweet coverup from Anthropologie in what was an impulse buy for me.

{if you call impulse buy "I've been ooogling over this for 2 months, almost bought it several times, and finally saw it on sale, so I had a 30 minute coversation with hubby about maybe purchasing it, because you only turn 30 once, right?"}
Silky and flowy, turquoise and white, with hints of coral in the pastoral scene.
So, now I'm really getting geared up for a week in the sun, sipping iced down drinks, reading several good books, and not having ANY kids around. Here are some more etsy finds that are fueling my desire for this vacation to begin as soon as possible, inspired by my new beach duds:

Tibet (necklace) by polishedtwo, Abundance pillow by UmberDove, Margarita lip balm by soapcupboard, Lime Margarita handmade soap by LippincottSoapCo, Summer Sorbet (necklace) by karensugarmandesigns, Pierre Turquin earrings by ThePeachTree, Garlic Grater by studioelan, Medium clutch in red damask by KimberlyJonesDesigns, Stones Earrings by stavroula, The Vacation print by cassiabeck

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


I'm so flattered to have been mentioned in an Etsy Storque article called Etsy Finds: Trendspotting

In the article, they mention 3 new fun-for-summer trends:
~Tour de France
~Summer Dresses
~Vintage Cameras

My bicycle notecards, inspired after my brother Brian's love for cycling, were featured in the "Tour de France" category.

And be sure to check out my shop for discounted shipping on multiple items in my Christmas in July sale.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


Etsy is hosting their 2nd Annual Yart Sale.

{I know spell check is going to be so frustrated with me after this post.}

It's an Artistic Slant to a traditional Yard Sale:
Yard + Art = YART

{You can read more about the sale here.}

So, of course, I'm participating. I've listed a slew of non-personalized cards I printed up a few months back for the craft show I attended. The product I had left over has just been sitting in a box in my office, waiting for the right opportunity.

I've really slashed the prices on these items, since they aren't personalized, are smaller quantities, or on a lighter cardstock than I use now. But I would personally send an note to ANYONE on ANY of these!
Check out my yart sale section here.

And there are hundreds...maybe thousands of other etsy-ers selling in this great yart sale. Last I checked, there were over 25,000 items marked down and labeled YART. (just search YART from etsy.com)Baby Cocoon by beachwalkphoto, Gold Teardrop Earring by alanajoy, Mini Scallop Oval Tags by papertivity, Handmade YoYo hair accessory by littlestboutique, Tea Party Play Food by craftyanna, Roll.n.Go crayons by lilBdesigns

You can also see some of my designs featured on these blogs:
the little pink needle
paper cakes finds

Happy Yart Sale-ing

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Sand Dunes

We had a great time camping and playing at the Great Sand Dunes National Park.
Here are some photos:

Friday (overcast and playing on the dunes)

Saturday, sun was out, playing in the water.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Denver Children's Museum

Today we visited the Denver Children's Museum, and had a great time!
The last time we were there, Grayson was only crawling, so it was MUCH harder. This time, I was smarter (took less stuff) and the kids enjoyed themselves much more.

Because we love Dora, we always ask the question, "what was your favorite part."

(when watching the tv show, and responding to Dora, my kids answer "My favorite part was WATCHING!....oh my)

So I asked...

Mommy: Grayson, what was YOUR favorite part of the Children's Museum?

Grayson: My favorite part was PAINTING!
Mommy: Caroline, what was YOUR favorite part of the Children's Museum?
Caroline: My favorite part was SHOPPING!
And being a vet.
Wouldn't you love it if YOUR vet looked away while performing surgery on your cat?
So obviously, now you're thinking, "Michelle, what was YOUR favorite part?"
Michelle: My favorite part was when the kids got tired during storytime, so we packed up to leave....only for both kids to NOT take a nap at home. Seriously. They were worn out. We played hard. What gives?

This plan for the summer, the wear-them-out-in-the-morning-so-they-sleep-the-afternoon-away plan, is backfiring on me!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

carpet burn

Grayson is doing this (super fun) thing where he sleeps on the floor instead of his toddler bed.
(I think I've mentioned before the wonderful way he lays on the floor and kicks his bedroom door.)
He must have slept on the floor at naptime, today. FACE. DOWN. because he has a stripe of carpet indentations in a line down his forehead and nose.
How can you sleep on your nose?

Monday, May 25, 2009

2nd First Date

Our first date (John and me) was way back first semester, freshman year of college.

I don't remember what we did. I think it was attending a free concert for "cultural events credit" at our school. He may remember differently. I don't know if we even called it a date!
But, a local church in Parker is giving us the opportunity for a 2nd first date, this coming Sunday.
Southeast Christian Church, where Caroline attended preschool this past year

(please wait a moment while I remember how sad I am that school is out for the summer)

Thanks...anyway...the church is providing a special evening for couples. Including FREE childcare (AND they feed them pizza), free showing of the movie FIREPROOF at the theater of the Wildlife Experience, and the chance to go out to dinner ALONE afterwards and discuss! They'll keep our kids from 5-10:00!

We've yet to see the movie, Fireproof. I've heard great things about it. Our church bought tickets and gave them to the firemen at the station next to our church building. My real-life friends have blogged about it here and here. I'm excited to see it.

If you're in Denver, and want to get in on the free, open to ANYONE action...register here.

I'll let you know how it goes!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

heatherty featherty

Awhile back, Heather ordered some calling cards from me.

When she came to me recently, looking for business cards for her new etsy shop,
we worked out this trade. She made this adorable dress for Caroline...
And I will make her some cards!

Right now she is having a contest on her blog. She's looking for help with a tag line for her shop. (mine is "personalized papers"). If you win, she'll make any custom sewing project for you! Think dress for your little princess, superhero cape for your boy, or a bag for yourself.

Let me know if you enter!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

WIN IT from Peony Paperie- ENDS SATURDAY

Head on over to The Shopping Mama for their "It's in the Bag" Giveaway Bash. They (The Shopping Mama AND the site, Etsy it Up, are giving away LOTS of fun things this week.
This week, you can enter to win ANY item from my shop, Peony Paperie. Click HERE to enter. You'll have to check out my shop, choose a favorite item, and then leave that item name in the comments.

You can earn extra entries too, and Kate of The Shopping Mama spells them out on her site.

I'd love for someone I know to win something for free! So head on over, say something nice about my shop, and WIN!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Naomi & Rebekah

New cards for Peony Paperie.
These have the feel of a handpainted initial, and a handwritten name, on gorgeous, textured paper.
I've been working on some new designs that work WITH my new printer, and not against it, and I think these fit the bill perfectly.

Sunday, May 3, 2009


It's springtime...or at least it SHOULD be.

Weather in Denver is NEVER what you'd expect.
But, since it's at least springTIME (if not springWEATHER) we've been seeing our fair share of bunnies.
First, we visited Tagawa Gardens, when a bunny adoption agency brought out bunnies to hug and love.
I think their adoption requirements are almost as difficult as adopting a child (home visits, classes, background checks, etc.).
Then, after 16+ inches of snow... we found this in our basement window well:

It would take me pages and pages to describe the adventures with this TINY bunny in our basement.
...chasing it around the basement
...trying to keep in in a box
...chasing it around the basement, again
...letting it go
...watching it jump BACK in the window well
...leaving it's box, food and water in the window well (since it clearly WANTED to be there!)
...chasing it around the basement, time 3
...not telling the children it D.I.E.D after 2 nights eating celery and sleeping under a towel.
..."releasing" the bunny in the bushes...you know, to go back to it's mommy.
...feeling horrible that we're just THAT BAD at caring for animals
So, here are some cute bunny ideas for spring. No chasing this bunny out from behind boxes in the basement! Just cute, all the time!