DIY Gifts: Baking Mixes in Jars

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I’m being a good girl and starting to upload all my back logged projects. Yesterday it was the Gingerbread Cookies in a Jar. So since I’m in the ‘jar’ing mood, I thought I’d carry it on by posting these DIY Foodie Gifts in a Jar.

As you all may or may not know, I was staying with a friend in Vancouver a few weeks ago. And since she was going to put up with me, my husband and my rowdy boys for a full week I had to find an exceptional hostess gift.

I could have gone and gotten her something for the house or a gift card, but I didn’t know what her house looked like (it was my first visit) and I wanted to show her in advance how much I appreciate the mess she would be dealing with by having us over.

So, I made two personalised food baskets full of random goodies and treats. I’ll share the full baskets with you later but for now I’ll start with four of the baking ‘mixes in jars’.

My friend is not a big baker but she has two girls and I know she likes the idea of doing baking activities with them. So I thought ready-packed baking mixes would be perfect for them. And subsequently I spent a week on the net and Pintrest trying to find the perfect recipes. I settled on the following:

Bakeralla’s Cowboy Cookies

Peppermint Stick Cocoa from My Recipes

Quick Bread in a Bottle from Sunset

– Gingerbread Cookies – my own recipe

I didn’t have time to create and print professional labels so I settled for the hand-written variety. But once I added ribbons and assorted decorations they turned out pretty great. They are also extremely easy to make, are quiet impressive and can be easily customised to a favourite recipe or ingredients.

Just keep in mind that a multi-ingredient recipe with a variety of colours and textures usually looks best.

And needless to say, my friend loved them.

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Gingerbread Cookie Mix Gifts

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This is super late. But we’ve already established that I’m a lazy, procrastinating, ADD, disoriented mom, right?

Anyway, here are the gifts Adam gave to his teachers for Christmas. It took me awhile to figure out what to get them because I’ve never done this before. Do I get just gift cards? Or a gift basket? Something personal? Something practical? Bake them something? It was a huge stressful dilemma, which annoyed my husband to no end because everything to me is a huge stressful dilemma.

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Anyway I decided to combine a little of everything. I wasn’t too comfortable with providing something %100 baked. What happens if they think it tastes awful? I also felt gift cards on their own were way too impersonal. So I did a little of both.

I made gingerbread cookie mix jars with really cool copper cookie cutters from Chapters. I also included a $15 gift card from Starbucks in case they hate cookies. Because which teacher doesn’t need gallons of coffee? I know I would, if I had to deal with 22 7-year old kids day in and day out.

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And yesterday we got these thank you cards back. I know they’re standard etiquette and all, but it still warmed my heart when adam proudly read them to me.

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The Price of Productivity; Cranky Kids & Sleeping on the Floor

So I didn’t post yesterday. I spent my day from 9am to 6pm driving around town running oh so many errands. And half of them were with a grieving Jo (he hates the car) and the other half were with both a grieving Jo and an over-tired and whining Adam. This is a quick time-line of my day:

– 9am – 11am At Superstore, where I stocked up on supplies for the houseguest gift basket. And a lot of other random stuff that looked so pretty, or so tasty, or so fun.

– 11am – 1:30pm Drove 35 minutes to downtown. Drove 20 minutes around downtown looking for parking. Queued up  20 minutes in the bank to get my compromised debit card fixed. Gobbled down a quick lunch with hubby in 10 minutes. Then drove 30 minutes to my family photographer design appointment.

The rest of the day was spent visiting Michaels, Walmart, the Dollar Store, the car wash and Pier 1 and spending way too much money (i’m going to cry).

Came home at 6 with very tired, grumpy and loud kids and had a quick dinner of leftover chicken masala and rice. I unpacked three tons of shopping and spent the last next hour hurriedly putting together the Christmas gifts Adam was supposed to take with him to school the next day.

At 9:30pm my husband walked in to find me asleep on a throw pillow on the floor.

But it was totally worth it. I finished the teacher Christmas gifts and bought all the supplies I need for my friends gift Baked Goods Gift Basket and my husbands wedding anniversary (which is tomorrow) gift box.

I’ll share each project individually but now I have to go continue poking Jo in his tummy because he’s standing beside me sticking his belly out and screaming for a poke.

Birthday Project 1 – Birthday Boy Plate

Welcome to the first official day of ‘Birthday Craze Week’. Since I am person with tons of free time, who does not have a toddler attached to her hip every single waking moment of her day, or an empty house that needs to become a home, or is in the throes of full depression and fighting to cling to her sanity, so I decided that I need to physically hand-make everything for my son’s upcoming 6th birthday. Oh and the fact that I’m cheap helped too.

Well not cheap per se, it’s more along the lines of broke. After traveling 10,375.35 km (yes I looked it up – sue me!) with two kids, setting up a new house from scratch and buying tons of winter clothes for four people to prepare for freezing temperatures (never really needed a sub-artic parka for the sand storms we suffered in Cairo) it’s understandable that I don’t have much money left for other things, plus I really would like to squander money on my very important niceties like manicures and expensive Starbucks coffee.

Okay, okay I know, I’m getting off topic. So I’ve been looking for money-less ways to make Adam’s birthday special. And one of things I decided upon was to get a special china set for Adam to eat his birthday meal on. After all, I can give the kid a break from the IKEA plastic plates for one day of the year. Motivated I go to my favorite place in the world, or as my husband likes to put it; my-other-lover, the internet and look for hand painted, personalized birthday plates. And this comes up:

That plate retails for $38 not including shipping! Yes you heard me right, a 38 bucks for a plate that was done in a kindergarden class. I can probably do better. I know I can do better. So I head off to Pier 1 (did I tell you how much I love Pier 1) and buy two plain white plates for $16. I know, I know, I could have gotten them from the Dollar store for much less, but it’s Pier 1! Then I’m off to Michaels to buy oil based Sharpie paint pens – I’m too lazy to use paints and a brush – and I’m all set.

 

Tools of the trade

Tools of the trade

These plates took me two hours to make. Then it was off to a 350F oven for 30 minutes to set the colors. They turned out pretty good if I do say so myself. So good, that I may start selling them online for $35.

What a pretty birthday plate – if I do say so myself

So have a look at my magnificent artwork. Tell me how awesome they are and how I am a much better painter than the original store-bought plates. If you want to really flatter me, tell me that I paint at a grade 2 level, much better than the kindergarden job done above. And if you’re feeling reckless, maybe you can order a few plates off me? I’ll even give you a special discount and sell them for only 60 bucks. And if you buy two, I’ll go even lower and give them to you at the extremely low price of $70 each.

Well, you can’t blame a girl for trying to make some extra cash to fund those Caramel Macchiatos.

PS: Can you tell I’m super proud of the plates by the amount of pictures I posted?

Awesome Chrome Ad – Reach For Those Tissues

I was watching random sitcoms on TV last night when this ad came up. Based on a true story, it was extremely moving and sweet. And I’m totally copying this.

I’ve always wanted to do scrapbooks for the kids, but the little ADHD me cannot commit to something that long. You should see my baby books; pages and pages of nothing. But this, this is so so much better. And appeals to the geeky parents me and me hubby are.

Now all I need to do is set up email accounts for both my kids. Maybe name one little.monster.that.will.kill.mommy.some.day@gmail.com and the other if.i.get.any.more.attached.to.mommy.i’ll.be.an.extra.limb@gmail.com. Then I’ll sending them emails of thoughts, pics, vacations and so on. Oh oh, what did I just commit to?

Anyway it is an awesome idea that I definitely consider starting. Thanks Google Chrome. Now need to figure out how to use Safari to do all that.

Perfect Box For KCups

I bought this new tea box in Egypt before we moved. I put in our tea varieties and since its only my husband who drinks tea it came down to only one; English Breakfast.

On the other hand I need to buy a KCup drawer for my new Keurig but decided to postpone the expense. So, there I was with tons of KCups and no place to put them and a tea box that was only 1/8h full.

So presto, problem solved. Took out the dividers from the tea box and now I have the best (and prettiest) KCup drawer ever. Even if it only holds 12. Now I only need to buy a tea box for the tea packets.

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