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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Strawberry Bars

There is very little that I love about a recipe that is complicated, needlessly so, and more than half of the ingredients for the the recipe can't already be found in your house.

The second thing I hate about a recipe is having to have a chopper this, a grinder that, and that oh, so special hand tool to make it.  This recipe requires nothing but brutal strength (well, not really), but some muscle is required, a BIG bowl and a good spatula to mix everything up.

So, given everything above, this recipe is perfect for that late night sugar craving or the forgotten school party the next day you had forgotten you signed up for.  

Fear not... 

The Strawberry Bar!

1 Box of Yellow Cake Mix
2 - 2 1/2 cups Quick Cooking Oats
3/4 cup Butter, melted
2 - 1 1/2 Cups Strawberry Jam
1 tbsp Water
Parchment Paper

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

Using a 9 x 13 pan; line it with parchment paper.

In a large bowl add the yellow cake mix, oats and melted butter; mix well until blended. 
The cake and butter should be well mixed and the cake mixture should look crumbly.

Place half of the cake mixture in the bottom of the pan, pressing well into the corners of the pan and patting it down to make the crust.  If you feel you need to take a little more from the remaining half set aside to fill in the crust, do so.

In another bowl mix the jam and water together.

Using a the back of a spoon or an off-set spatula, spread out the jam mixture on top of the crust.  If you haven't lined the pan with parchment paper do not spread the jam to the very ends of the crust or you will never get the bars out after it has been baked or even in one piece.

Sprinkle the remaining cake mixture over the top of the bars.  I like to press down slightly to adhere to the jam, but not hard enough to give the bars a smashed look.

Bake for 18 to 25 minutes or until the top looks slightly browned.

Let the bars cool; cutting them into 2x2 bars.  Store them in a air-tight container.
I like to place the pars in the fridge overnight to have them really set.

 * All photographs have an embedded watermark

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Christmas Flash Mobs

Lately I have been seeing an interesting amount of Christmas flash mob videos of people singing Christmas carols at malls, food courts and in airports, just to name a few.

I like the idea of people taking time out of their busy lives, during the holiday season, to do these. The flash mobs are fun, festive and even a little inspirational.  

I especially love how one camera captures a father telling his family, "Lets just make this quick, okay?" and later in the video you see him glued to the floor listening to the singers with a big grin on his face.

I have gathered a few of the videos that I thought were well done, even if a few of them happen to be corporate sponsored.  Joy is joy, no mater if it was paid for or not.

"In the darkness there is always a bit of light should you choose to see it."


Credit: Journey of Faith Flash Mob

Credit: Northlands Christmas Flash Mob

Credit: WestJet Surprise Flash Mob

Credit: T-Mobile Home for the Holidays

 Happy Holidays

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Black Friday

Save on your holiday purchses with coupon code: BlackFriday

Shop at:

Monday, October 22, 2012

Paper Mache' Pumpkin

Newspaper, whole and cut into 1" and 1 1/2" wide strips
Paints, Tempura or Art
Paint Brushes
Paper Towels
Aluminum Foil
Tray or Plate

Cover your working space with a table cloth or vinyl covering.
Cut the newspaper into strips of 1" and 1 1/2" wide Take aluminum foil and cover a tray or plate and set it aside. Pour a good amount of the starch in the bowl. (2"inches or enough to dip the strips)

Begin by taking the whole sheets of newspaper and smashing them into a ball.
Continue to do this until you have the size of the pumpkin you desire.

Sealing in the main body:
Take one of the 1 1/2" strips of newspaper and dip it into the starch; getting it fairly wet.

Holding one end of the strip with your left hand and placing your index finger and your middle finger together at the top of the strip (like scissors in a closed position) and slide it between your fingers pulling off the extra starch from the strip.

Take the wet strip of newspaper and place it at the top of the pumpkin and lay it down the right side of the pumpkin body, under the bottom and back up to the top of the pumpkin and seal it on top of the beginning strip. 
Take the next strip and repeat the same process again, but do it on the left side of the body at the same starting point on the top.
Turn the body so the first strip is facing you and repeat the same process on the other "middle" of the pumpkin. Keep turning the pumpkin and repeating this process until all the "middles" have been covered and you can no longer see the inside of the pumpkin. This process helps to seal he body so the pumpkin becomes easier to handle in the finishing process.

Creating the final look:
To finish the final look of your pumpkin you are going repeat the same process as above, but now use the 1" strips.
After laying the initial strip down in this process when you go to do the second strip lay it down in the same manner, but lay the strip slightly over the first strips edge. Remember to smooth the strips down as you go.
Repeat this process at least TWO times over the entire pumpkin.

When you have covered the body place a few small dry pieces of newspaper to the bottom of the pumpkin to keep it from sticking to the tray/plate. At this point your pumpkin should look li
ke this:

Stem of the pumpkin:Decide how long you want your pumpkin stem to be and choose the width of the newspaper strip to achieve it. 
Get the strip wet with starch and begin to turn the strip on to itself (like a fruit roll-up). Keep adding more strips till you have your desired stem thickness taking care to keep the bottom of the stem even.

Take the end of the stem and dip it lightly in the starch and place it on the top of the pumpkin.
Take the 1" wet newspaper strips and wrap them on the top of the pumpkin and over the top of the stem to the other side. Repeat the same "sealing process" to secure the stem into place.

Tear the 1" strips in smaller, more manageable wet pieces, and wrap them around the body of the stem to give it a more finished, smoother look. Let your pumpkin completely dry before painting it.

The finished product:Paint your pumpkin as you wish giving time in between coats to dry.
Happy Halloween!

* Please, supervise young children! 

Friday, October 19, 2012

Cheese Cloth Ghost

2 1/2 Yards Cheese Cloth
3 Small Buttons or Black Embroidery Thread
2 Liter Bottle
2 - 4 Balloons
1 Cup of Starch
Aluminum Foil

-Pour the starch into a medium bowl and set aside.

-Cover your tray with aluminum foil
-Blow up TWO balloons to about 6" to 8" round and tape the balloons to the side of the bottle making two arms.

-Blow up the TWO remaining balloons to about 3" to 4" round and set them aside.

-Fold the cheese cloth over so it is about 22" across.

-Dip the cheese cloth into the starch saturating it then squeeze out the remaining starch.

-Pull the cheese cloth apart returning it to its 22" across measurement.

-Using the middle of the cheese cloth as your guide put the cloth over the top of the bottle head and draping it over the sides of the arms of the balloon and straight down the front and back pooling the remaining cloth in a ghost like fashion in the front and back. The pooling in the front and back are what will give the ghost it's structure to hold it up.

-Take the remaining two balloons and place them in the front under the cheese cloth draping them over the balloons to create a wave.

-Let the ghost dry over night. Pull the ghost off its structure.

-Glue the buttons on for eyes or wrap embroidery thread into a small ball and glue them on to the ghost for eyes and a mouth.

* Do not use a candle under the ghost!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Scrabble Love

There's nothing like saying "I Love You" with tiles.

A great way to make a statement at the entry way to your home or among the family photos or on the wall in the privacy of your bedroom.

We have chosen a specific set of colors, but this is a custom print that can be made to match the interior of your home.

  Scrabble Love in Sand

Scrabble Love in Red

Scrabble Love in Chocolate

Scrabble Love in Blue

Scrabble Love in Purple

Scrabble Love in Pink

Scrabble Love in Mint

All ARD designs are protected by copyright and have an embedded watermarked

Monday, October 15, 2012

ABC is for...

Simplicity and color gets the job done in this new print.

It's sweet and brings back memories of your own childhood when you first began to write your own name in school.

Celebrate your child's name in print with our "ABC is for..." print.

Choose one of our color sets or let us know what you would like to see!

ABC is for... in Rust

 ABC is for... in Mustard

 ABC is for... in Ocean

ABC is for... in Orange

ABC is for... in Plum

ABC is for... Aquamarine

 ABC is for... Butter

 ABC is for... in Mint

All ARD designs are protected by copyright and have an embedded watermarked