Happy New Year 2014!!! Hoping to make this year the best one yet!

Happy New Year 2014!!! Hoping to make this year the best one yet!

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A Saturday Silly!!!

A Cajun named, Jean Paul, moved to Texas and bought a donkey from

an old farmer named Ben for $100. The farmer agreed to deliver the

donkey the next day.

The next day, Ben drove up and said, “Sorry, but I have some bad news.

The donkey died.”

“Well, then, just give me the money back,” said Jean Paul

“Can’t do that. I went and spent it already.” Replied Ben

“OK, then. Just unload the donkey,” said Jean Paul.

“What ya going to do with him?” asked Ben.

“I’m going to raffle him off,” said Jean Paul.

“You can’t raffle off a dead donkey!” uttered Ben.

“Sure can. Watch me. I just won’t tell that he’s dead,” said Jean Paul.

A month later Ben met up with the Cajun and asked, “What happened

with that dead donkey?”

“I raffled him off, I did. I sold 500-hunderd tickets at two dollars apiece

and made a profit of $898,” said Jean Paul.

“Didn’t anyone complain?” inquired Ben.

“Just the guy who won. So I gave him his two dollars back,” said Jean Paul.

Hope you got a laugh out of this one 🙂

Happy Saturday.

Rebeca~

The Day After….& To New Beginnings!!

The Christmas craziness is now over. I hope you all got to share these special few days with your family, friends and loved ones and were able to create some new memories to last a lifetime. I was blessed to be able to spend an evening with my husband’s side of the family and also an evening with my side of the family. I also got to share some time with several of my close friends. I couldn’t have asked for more. My husband has wanted a boxer puppy ever since we met, so I was lucky enough to find one for him as his Christmas gift. Meet our new little addition Ruby. She was born on October 1st and along with our two kids, one cat named Spike and a fish, she completes our family.

 Ruby2

We even had a puppy party at our house to welcome her home and to meet all the family pooches.

puppy party

As we come to the end of 2013, we reflect on all we have to be grateful for. With all the trials life has brought my way near the end of summer, my faith has gotten that much stronger because of it. I started an online Etsy business  which has been slow but I have finally found my FOCUS and I am so excited to see what 2014 will be bring. If you would like to check out my shop – you can look here http://www.etsy.com/shop/rustickexpressions Although I don’t have a lot of things on there just yet, I will be working very hard to fill it up with lots of rustic, shabby chic and vintage items that I hope many people will love just as much as I love making them.

I am starting 2014 with a new attitude and commitment. I am setting new goals and am hoping 2014 will be my greatest year ever.  I want to remind those that have been discouraged that you don’t necessarily need a new opportunity in the New Year, but instead you can develop a new commitment to your opportunity. If you are a crafter like me, or even if you’re not and you provide some sort of service instead, consider that gift you hold in your hands, it’s a big world out there and it is time to share that gift. There is NO better way than to be self-employed  if that is what you choose to do. But it takes HARD WORK, DETERMINATION, MOTIVATION & A POSITIVE ATTITUDE.

Here are a few quotes I plan to live by this new year…

“Luck is a dividend of sweat. The more you sweat, the LUCKIER you get” – Ray Kroc

“Anything you’re good at contributes to happiness” – Bertrand Russell

“Love the life you live. Live the life you love.” – Bob Marley

“You make a living by what you earn; you make a life by what you give.” – Winston Churchill

I wish you all many blessings this new year!

XOXO

Rebeca~

Caught between a WARM and a COLD place.

I live in Northern MN. Nearly 20 years ago I took my first adventure south to go visit a friend in Naples, FL. It was then I KNEW I was meant to live somewhere warm near the ocean. Since then I have returned to FL twice, gotten a passport, went to Jamaica twice and to Mexico three times. I LOVE IT. Don’t get me wrong the snow can be pretty and I enjoy the white stuff at Christmas time, and I really like having the four different seasons (although it really only feels like 2 most years because spring and fall seem really short and summer always goes by too fast). Unfortunately My hubby and children are not on the same page with me to get out of here, nor do I think I would be happy living so far away from the rest of my family either. My dream one day is to own a quaint little rustic cottage on the ocean and that all my family and friends will someday get sick of this frigid cold weather and move with me.

Anyway, after typing paragraph after paragraph and deleting each one because I kept getting a little off focus – my point of this post is to discuss what cold weather does to people and I NEED to know if people from the south and other WARMER countries experience these same issues.

Here, there is so much depression as soon as the fall colors fade and the temps start to drop. I think a good 50% if not more of the people I talk to (and I am just referring to how they/we are during the winter months) are so negative. Seasonal affective disorder is HUGE. All to many people are on anti-depressants. People seem to really change and NOT for the good during the winter months. Me, being a people pleaser have a difficult time with this because I am constantly thinking I have done something wrong to make them angry with me. Thankfully I have come to realize it is NOT me, it is the weather. I am certainly included in this group I am referring to – however, being unemployed at the moment, other than for myself, it has given me the opportunity to really think about things such as this and I for one am going to fight mother nature full force with all natural Vitamin D and be happy no matter what it takes. I will no longer let myself get sucked in to sadness, depression etc. because it is a VICIOUS cycle once you jump on that bandwagon. It is often too cold to be outdoors and do things so people are trapped inside and go stir-crazy. The drama seems to be 10-fold during the cold months. What better things are there to do when trapped indoors other than start nasty rumors and argue right? WRONG – you sit down and you make awesome crafts and you try to sell them on Etsy to make a living 🙂 People are moody and crabby all the time and it is enough to drive you insane. I just want to surround myself with happy positive and inspirational people (therefore I am not leaving my house till the temp gets above 50 in June). I was going to try and contact the Duck Dynasty crew seeing as they are HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY and ask if I could hang out with them for awhile BUT it seems at the moment they might not have all their ducks in a row. LOL So as I said, I am reaching out to my fellow blogging community and would LOVE to hear back from you on where you live and what people are like around you. The people here will say it is the same everywhere but I have been other places and beg to differ. I don’t want anyone thinking this is the worst place on earth to live because really it is a beautiful place IF your not me and long for sand between your toes, the sound of waves crashing, the sun seeping through your skin – ahhhhh I can close my eyes and feel it now. OH WAIT, that is my electric heater that is beside me. Dang it. I really would love to hear back from you on this so please reply with some feedback – where you live, what its like, how people act during the different seasons etc. it is much appreciated 😉

I will be anxiously waiting to read some good stuff over the weekend on this topic.

Have a Fantastic Friday!

Rebeca~

 

 

 

 

These are a few of my favorite things – Packaging Tips for your TASTY treats!

This has been pretty popular around Pinterest, and is definitely something I will be using tonight when I start my holiday baking fun with my kiddos. 

Pringles cans for packaging your cookies – and the best part about this is that even if you don’t have a pringles can, they are very affordable to purchase, AND you get to eat the pringles first 🙂 There is also a smaller version of the original can so you can make even more to share.

All you need is the pringles can, double sided tape (or you can use glue of any type), wrapping paper (you can even have you kids draw on a piece of regular paper white or colored (this makes it extra special for grama and grampa), and of course any style ribbon, twine etc.

Here are a few photos of some cute ones I found on Pinterest. Some have more than the items I described above – just use your imagination and go with it.

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If you would like to see step by step on these pringles cans – check out this video I found on YouTube.

http://on.aol.com/video/creative-cookie-tins-made-of-old-pringles-cans-517585337

 

Because I am a HUGE LOVER of Mason Jars, I think this one is pretty cool too. Let’s face it, treats come in a variety of sizes and shapes so the pringles can might not be the best fit for all. Even just a ribbon around the neck of the jar and a cheap bow on top makes these very adorable. I think I am going to use this one for our Peanut Butter Balls. Will posts pics of my own designs as soon as we do them.

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I showed you a picture of this in my last post but will share again. Perfect for things like Muddy Buddy Treats, pretzel mixes, caramel popcorn etc.

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Similar to the pringles can – you can upcycle a soup can or any kind of can. Make sure to use the kind that are NOT sharp on the inside (Bad lesson learned when using these for a different project)

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Just about any dollar store has cute coffee mugs – so give this one a try..and here is the link to make these exact and perfect treats for a coffee mug. http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/white-chocolate-cashew-coffee-biscotti-10000000833343/

White Chocolate-Cashew Coffee Biscotti

As always – have a BEAUTIFUL DAY!

Rebeca~

Tasty Tuesday Christmas Treats – YUMMY!!!

Well technically it is now Wednesday but I couldn’t get this posted earlier – technical dilemma’s (gotta love it). But it will still be just as good 🙂 One of the most perfect things to do with your children is bake. It is also one of the most loved gifts from the heart. Here are a few ideas from my home to yours – hope you enjoy.

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies – (Don’t be shy on the powdered sugar.) One of my grama’s specialties and my favorites….

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Recipe makes about 4.5 to 5 dozen.

Ingredients
  • ¾ cup oil
  • ¾ cup cocoa
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2¼ cups flour
  • 1 cup powdered sugar (for rolling)
 Instructions
  1. Mix oil, cocoa, and sugar until it’s about the texture of wet sand. Stir in one egg at a time, making sure to incorporate each egg. Stir in vanilla, salt, and baking powder. Sift in flour and stir to combine.
  2. Refrigerate 2-3 hours or overnight. Form into 1″ balls. Roll each in powdered sugar to coat well. Place on a cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray, covered with parchment, or lined with a silicone baking mat.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes.
  4. Cookies will still look slightly dough-y. Don’t over bake them! Leave them on the warm pan 1-2 minutes and the heat will continue to set the cookies. When cookies are set enough to move, transfer to a cooling rack.

 

Peanut Butter Balls – guaranteed to go faster than it takes to make them 🙂

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Makes about 24 peanut butter balls
 
Ingredients:
  • 1 ½ cups creamy peanut butter
  • 1 cup crisp rice cereal, crushed
  • ½ – 1 cup powdered sugar (depending on how sweet you want it)
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ¼ cup quick cooking oats (or old fashioned)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
Optional: 2 tablespoons wheat germ

Optional: 8 oz chocolate bark, or any type of chocolate candy coating (chocolate chips work as well, just add 1-2 tablespoons of shortening )

Directions:
  1. Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer, mix all ingredients together except for the vanilla extract.
  2. Once the peanut butter mixture is smooth mix in the vanilla extract.
  3. Line a baking sheet with wax paper.
  4. Roll peanut butter mixture into bite size balls and freeze until firm, about 15-20 minutes.
  5. If desired, melt chocolate and cover peanut butter balls with chocolate. (Grama’s tip- adding 1 or 2 teaspoons of shortening to the chocolate helps the chocolate to thin out and makes it easier to coat the peanut butter balls.)
Other options are after rolling peanut butter balls into balls, roll in powdered sugar, crushed cereal or coconut. Keep in fridge or freezer – DELICIOUS!!!
 
Christmas Muddy Buddies – A favorite for all. To package it, use cello bags, pour in a small amount of Muddy Buddies then sprinkle in some M&M’s and repeat the layers. Then tie it with a red ribbon and put a cute Christmas to and from tag on it. This is a perfect gift for friends, teachers and neighbors!
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Ingredients:

  • 1 box (12.8 oz.) (about 13 cups) Rice Chex, Corn Chex Wheat Chex or Chocolate Chex cereal (or combination)
  • 1 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 6 tablespoons butter, cut into smaller pieces
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup Christmas M&M’s
Directions:
  1. Line 2 baking sheets with wax paper and set aside.
  2. Pour cereal into a very large bowl; set aside.
  3. In 1-1.5 quart microwavable bowl, microwave chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter uncovered on High 1 minute then stir.
  4. Microwave 15-30 seconds longer or until mixture can be stirred smooth. Stir in vanilla.
  5. Pour mixture over cereal, stirring until evenly coated.
  6. Add powdered sugar and gently stir into chocolate covered cereal.
  7. Spread cereal on the two baking sheets to cool.
TIP – Store in airtight container in refrigerator.

 Brownie Christmas Trees – Kids LOVE these! Well seriously who DOESN’T love brownies??

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Ingredients: 

  • Brownie Mix
  • Butter-cream frosting
  • Green food coloring
  • Decoration candies (M&M’s, sprinkles etc.)
  • Butter-cream Frosting
  • 1 stick of butter (salted, or unsalted), softened
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt (if using unsalted butter)
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-2  tablespoons milk, heavy cream or half and half.                                                                                                                         Directions                                                                                                                                                                                         
  1. Bake brownies in a 9×13 inch pan lined with parchment paper. Bake according to directions. Let brownies cool.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment, beat butter (on medium speed) until completely smooth (30 seconds to a minute). You can also place ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix ingredients using a hand mixer.
  3. Add salt (if desired). Add one cup of powdered sugar. Add vanilla and beat to combine. Add 1 tablespoon of milk or cream and continue beating. Add the remaining cup of powdered sugar and mix in. Add an additional tablespoon of milk or cream if needed to reach desired consistency.
  4. The frosting should now be smooth and fluffy.
  5. Add enough food coloring to reach desired color of green. Add only a little at first and slowly add more if needed.
  6. Remove parchment paper/brownies from pan and place on counter top.
  7. Using your Christmas tree cookie cutter cut out as many trees as possible.
  8. Let each child frost their Christmas tree brownie and decorate as desired. 
And Last but certainly not least (which is why the picture is MUCH BIGGER) – my lovely mom brought me these this morning – I can’t wait to make a WHOLE BUNCH MORE. They are heavenly!
 
Hot Cocoa Cookies – Thanks mom for saving the day!
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 Makes about 4 Dozen.

Ingredients

  • 1-1/4 cups butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3-1/4 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup or 4 envelopes Swiss Miss® Milk Chocolate Hot Cocoa Mix (Do not use No Sugar Added mix)
  • 1-1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup semi–sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup Kraft® Jet-Puffed® Vanilla Mallow Bits

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Beat butter and sugars in large bowl with standing mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla; mix well.
  2. Combine next 4 ingredients. Gradually beat into butter mixture until blended. Stir in chocolate chips and Mallow Bits. Cover and chill 1 hour.
  3. Drop 2 tablespoons dough, 2 inches apart, onto baking sheets.
  4. Bake 9 to 11 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.
  5. Cool on baking sheets 5 minutes; remove to wire racks and cool.

And thank you to Swiss Miss too for coming up with this tasty treat – – See more at: http://www.swissmiss.com/hot-cocoa-cookies-recipe.jsp#sthash.Zo1IAbAk.dpuf

Ok I suppose I better hit the hay – sure WISH I had this much motivation at 7AM. I have an internal clock that goes off every night at 10PM and says “lets get busy – there is no time to sleep” ha ha. I am a night owl plain and simple. No matter how hard I try to switch things around – it doesn’t work. As one of my signs that I make says “I could be a morning person if it started at noon”.

Peace to all and to all a good night!

Rebeca~