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day thirteen:: Chalk it up to LOVE

Saturday, January 29, 2011

day thirteen:: Chalk it up to LOVE
I found these adorable heart shaped chalks.... some are even marbled pink & white! I fell in love with them and knew I had to incorporated them in my 14 days of Valentines. I thought it would be cute and fun to package them as candy. 
1. Go get your heart shaped Chalk & candy boxes (Martha Stewart Collection) from Michael's.
2. Place each heart shaped chalk into a cupcake liner.... maybe even try a pink one or red to add more color!
3. Fill the remaining holes or area with candy. I filled mine with red, pink and white candy corn! What  fun variation from the Halloween color scheme. (I'm secretly hoping they come out with a St Patty's Day variation too! Sorry I got side tracked - on to step 4.)
4. Now all you have to do is add a simple bow and print day 13 tag here.
5. Deliver to your special ones!

Have a GREAT day!!!

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day twelve:: Owl Love

Monday, January 24, 2011

day twelve:: Owl Love

Aren't these cute! My little niece would not put the mini bucket down! 
1. Buy these cute min buckets at Michael's for .89 cents
2. Fill with any treats. I filled mine with peanutbutter M&M's because they are my valentines favorite( feel free to insert your valentines favorite candy).
3. Print our tag here.
4. Deliver to valentines.

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day eleven:: Be Mine

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Wow! I can't believe were on day eleven already! Don't you just love this little whit chocolate teddy bear?

day eleven:: Be Mine
1 Buy a chocolate animal. (I bought a teddy bear at Walmart for only 50 cents!) I thought he need a little gift to give the giver so I also added a chocolate with swirls of carmel in it... they are delish!!!! (Albertson for $3. 59 a bag)
2. Wrap your little guy up in a simple bow and down load our freebie tag here.
3. Deliver to those who need a little love from you!

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day ten:: Cupid's Chokehold

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

day ten:: Cupid's Chokehold

A couple years ago Skittles came out with these heart shaped vessels filled with Skittles for Valentines. I have been using these ever since. I like them because they already come completely packaged!

1. Pick up some Skittles in a Heart Shaped container (I got mine at Walmart for $1, but I know Target also carries them for the same price)
2. Tie a bow or you can just deliver as is, but don't forget to attach our tag! You can download it here
3. Deliver to who has a cupids chokehold on you

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day nine::My Heart Beats for you

Saturday, January 15, 2011

day nine:: My Heart Beats for you

1. Grab this extra large kiss (you can't tell from the photo but it is 2"x2" Hershey Kiss) from Albertson $1.29
2. Wrap in a clear baggie attached with a purple bow.
3. Print and attach our tag here
4. Deliver to those that make your heart beat

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day eight:: Bursting with XOXO for you

day eight:: Bursting with XOXO for you!

1. Get a note pad from Target in their dollar bins (they have 3 or 4 options and all of them are really cute!) This was only $1!
2. Make a big bow with tulle around it. Note: if you live where it is snowy or raining you will want to put your note pad in a clear baggie :)
3. Print our tag here
4. Drop it off to your Valentines.

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day seven:: XOXO

Day 7:: XOXO 

This would hands down be my favorite treat/day! I have already gone through 2 WHOLE bags! I can't get enough. I love cinnamon candies and especially these branches cinnamon hearts. They are a little stronger than normal cinnamon bears and coated in sugar.... can it get any better?!

Shopping List:
clear box from Michael's .80 (they will say they don't carry these, but they do. I had to search for them in the store. They are with these white boxes from Day 1 and with the metal tins in the craft section)
Branches cinnamon hearts that are divine!

1. Place the cinnamon hearts in the clear box (you will have to shake it a bit to get it real full.
2. Print our tag here 
3. Tie with a pretty bow and deliver!

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day six:: Cozy up with some PINK hot chocolate!

HOT PINK hot chocolate..... how fun is that?! This day is a little more expensive then the rest, but I couldn't resist putting these two items together- pink hot chocolate with a smores pop! I would love anyone that brought me this! You can make a smores pop or buy it for $1 at Walmart (but I will be experimenting with this later, oh the possibilities!)

Items in day 6:: cozy up with me!
Pink Hot Chocolate $1.49 at Michael's
Smores Pop $1 at Walmart
Clear cellophane bag with pink hearts .59 cents Michael's
(this would also be cute in a pink mug)

1. In a clear baggie add the pin hot chocolate mix and the smores pop (but put the smores pop upside down so you can see that the pink hot chocolate label.... it looks better and more balanced!)
2. Fold down baggie and punch two holes at the top of the bag and string through a bow.
3. Print our tag here
4. Attach tag and deliver to your loved ones
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day five:: Struck

Thursday, January 13, 2011

I usually like to have a few days that are non candy and I feel like today should be one of those days. For my non candy items Target has the best selection. I have to confess I usually get all of my Valentine items at Target, but this year for some reason my Target still has not put out their Valentine candy! Luckily for me they had put out their Valentine dollar bin items. You can find some real finds in there.  Like this pink and purple mini clip board. I knew I had to use this when I saw it.

Download the tags for Day 5:: struck here

1. Print our tag and Top 5 things I heart about you list
2. Hand write your top 5 reasons you love your Valentine
3. Clip to your mini clip board from Target in their bins near the front ($1)
4. Wrap in cellophane or in large plastic baggie and tie with pretty ribbon (mine's from Costco) 
5. Attach tag and deliver to your Valentine.

This year I have decided I'm going to Valentine my bestfriend because I'm moving and I want to make sure she know how much I love her.... I know she'll know it from me so it's not going to be that much of a secret, but I don't care. I just want her to know how much I appreciate her friendship. Have you decided who your Valentining yet?
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day four:: more love and chocolate

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

When I saw these billion dollar bars at Albertson's I fell in love! I love giving things like this... things that are fun, cute, creative and have amazing packaging and typography!

1. Pick up one of these 1,000,000 bars up at Albertson's ($1.00 not to shabby!)
2. Tie a big red bow and attach our lovely More love and Chocolate tag. Down load it here
3. Attach tag and deliver to those you heart! 
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day three:: you rock

Day 3:: You Rock!
This is a simple day.... 
1. Print our Valentine tag here
2. Place "rock suckers" or "rock candy" in a cellophane bag and we tied ours with velvet ribbon (it really adds a special touch). We got our rock suckers at Michael's, but you can buy them online at Gygi's
3. Deliver to you Valentines!
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day two:: love you more than cake

Day 2:: Love you more than Cake
1. Start with this brown paper take out container (from Michael's $1.00)
2. Print out this adorable tag here
3. Make a mini cupcake topped with Valentine candy and sprinkles or mini cake.
4. Place some crinkle cut paper at the bottom and place a mini cupcake or cake and wrap with a simple bow.
5 Deliver to your special Valentines!
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day one:: Hello Valentine

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Day one:: Hello Valentine! 
1. I started off with this white paper box from Michael's (only 80 cents!!!) 
2. Spray mount the "hello valentine" tag to the top of the box.  Download the tag here
3. Turn box upside down and open the lid to trim off sides after you place it on the box so it fits perfectly. 
4. Fold pink or red tissue paper into box 
5. Stack 3 cookies on top of each other tied with pretty ribbon and place in the box.
6. Tie a bow around the box. (My ribbon is from Costco)
7. Deliver to your Valentines
You have just completed your first day!

Cherry Chip Cake Mix Cookie Recipe

1 Cherry Chip Cake Mix
2 eggs
1/2 cup of oil

Preheat  oven to 350.  Place the egg and oil in a mixer and then add the cake mix. Mix for about one minute or until everything is well blended (the batter will be thick.... don't worry!) Find a heart shape cookie cutter and place on a baking sheet with parchment and place the cookie dough in the cookie sheet evenly (about 1/2 of a inch).  Remove cookie cutter and continue leaving a inch or so between cookies.  Bake at 350 for 8 minutes. If your cookies spread too much you can cut them with the cookie cutter after they had cooled a little. These are simple and delicious cookies that are perfect for Valentine's Day. 

Note: make sure your heart shaped cookie cutter fits in the box before you make them!
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14 days of Valentines

Monday, January 10, 2011

I really do love this time of year. Being single I have dreaded a few Valentine's Days, but not since I discovered 14 days of Valentine's. About 4 or 5 years ago I was the Compassionate Service Leader in my Church. A few girls were struggling so I thought what could brighten their day, especially around the single awareness day! This is where 14 days of Valentines was created. I choose 2 girls that I was going to be their Secret Admirer. I decided I was going to drop something off to them each day (kind of like the 12 days of Christmas) instead of one goody on Valentine's Day to make them feel more special.  I have to say, that first year especially was my favorite. It was fun to hear and see how excited they were about their little gifts each day (they had no idea it was me!) It made my Valentines, so I decided I would do it each year and I have. So now I want to share this treasured tradition with all of you! This can be tricky and time consuming.... so here are the things I have learned over the years with this act of kindness.
1. Have multiple goodies prepared because some days, you just run out of time.
2. Think about where the people live that you are choosing.
    Are they your kids?
    Your neighbors?
    Some friends across town (if so I would suggest selecting two that are in the same area)
    How many people are you going to Valentine? I have always done 2, I think if you do more than that I       would suggest that they live close or in your own house!

Okay, now on to the fun part. Anyone can do this! You can bake something everyday or you can do completely store bought. I will have a mixture of homemade goodies and store bought goodies packaged to the hilt, giving you all my sources and buying from well know stores so anyone can do this! Each day there will be post on a goodie, packaging and downloadable tags to make the complete package perfect, easy and simple! You can mix and match the days and treats if you want or incorporate your favorite treat that you are famous for.  Tomorrow we will get started with our 14 days of Valentines kick off.

Here is a list of things you need to decide before Starting
1. How many people are you Valentining this year?
2. Where do they live? Is it gated? Do you know the code? 
3. Are you doing it as a Secret Admirer?

Day 1.... starts tomorrow!!!! I will also sporadically share some fun experiences that have happened while I've been Valentining over the past 5 years.

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chocolate bundt cake and ganache sauce... DELISH!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

When I went home for Christmas my Mom was making a chocolate bundt cake with a ganache glaze for a grooms cake. Luckily she made an extra one for us to taste test. It was soooo good. The whole family devoured it. Since Christmas I have made the cake twice! Once was for part of my nephew's Thomas the Train cake you can see it here.

Here is the bundt cake without the decadent ganache. Before I made this cake, I have to be honest... I was intimidated by ganache. It just sounds fancy, hard and easy to mess up. I was wrong! (at least with this recipe) This recipe for ganache is simple and simply amazing.  

This cake is very moist, chocolaty and rich. Enjoy!!!!  On this version I added a little crushed peppermint  on top to add a little christmas flare. I also, made mini bundt cakes and gave to some close friends for Christmas. I thought they turned out really cute.

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Thomas the Train Birthday Cake

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

My nephew Will turned 4 years old a week ago. We knew the cake would have to include Thomas the Train. He is obsessed with trains, especially Thomas. Will kept insisting that he wanted a train shaped as Thomas, but we knew better.  What he would like more is a cake with a real train that he could play with, and we were right! The cake was a HUGE HIT with ALL the kids. They loved the fact that they could really play with the train and the rocks were chocolate rocks that tasted so delicious.  

The cake assembly is very easy. You will need the following items:
1. A large rectangular cake 
2. A chocolate bunt cake (try to find a pan that has similar ridges like a mountain would have.
3. Thomas WOODEN track set (the wooden set is smaller and will allow you to a good size loop.
4. The Thomas Birthday Train or any Thomas & Friend train. (Note the birthday train does not include the third car on the end. I added that so Will could place with the chocolate rocks.)
5. Ganache to cover your  "mountain" with.
6. Frosting tinted green for the grass
7. Tinted cocoanut 
8. Chocolate candy rocks

How to assemble:
1. Bake both the rectangular base cake and chocolate bunt cake and allow to completely cool.
2. "Map out " your track. One you have that decided the placement of the track. Place under wax paper and outline the track. (You will place this under the track so your wooden set doesn't get dirty.)
3. Make your green frosting and frost the big rectangular base cake. 
4. Make your ganache and set it aside for a while so it can thicken a touch.
5. Place your wax paper and track on you base cake.
6. Cut your bunt cake in half. place half on the outside in two or three pieces 
7. Stack the other half of the bunt cake in three or four pieces on top of each other, in the middle of the track, creating a canyon for Thomas the Train to ride through.  Note: you want to make sure Thomas can fit (you might have to shave a little of the outside cake- this is easier before you ganache it.)
8. Pour your ganache over the chocolate bunting. This will hide any imperfections or cracks and makes it look more like a mountain with that rich deep chocolate color. 
9. Add the small details of the colored cocoanut and candy rocks. 
10. (optional) Add a birthday flag attached to a wooden skewer.  Free download is available below. Enjoy

 ***Note recipes  will be in tomorrows post.... so stay tuned!

Will just stood there looking at his cake. We told him he couldn't play with it until it was finished. It was torture for him! He just got his stool and stood there staring at it. As you can see from the next photo it didn't last long. Soon his little hands were making the train go and loading up his rocks. 
We were told "Thomas is on a schedule!"

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