Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Easy 30 Minute Recipe: Spicy Peanut Noodles

Welcome back everyone!! 

    Christmas is over and we find ourselves with a refrigerator full of "leftovers"!  Thankfully, we have a large freezer and decided to freeze half of our baked ham. mashed potatoes and collard greens.   

    Going through the refrigerator, I found a box of left over Lo Mein from Tuesday night.  I'm sure I'm not the only mother who eats the left overs so they won't spoil while the rest of the family eat something else.  right? right? 

    I love Asian food!  This dish requires peanuts and while "nuts" are really not good for my skin, it does not prevent me from eating, "Cold Noodles with Sesame Sauce".  I just make sure that I limit the amount of times I eat it per month.  This sauce is essentially made with peanut butter.  The dish is meant to be spicy and served cold, but I prefer it warm with lots of veggies, so I created my own version of it. 


  Lo Mein Noodles (or cooked spaghetti noodles);
  1/2 Cup of Cilantro
  2 Tsp of Garlic
  2 Tsp of Ginger
  1/2 Large Yellow Onion
  2 Tbs Honey
  2 Tbs of Lemon Juice
  3/4 cup of Peter Pan "Honey & Creamy" Peanut Butter
  3 tbs of Soy Sauce
  1 Tbs of Red Pepper Flakes


    Peanut Sauce Mixture:  Combine peanut butter, honey, soy sauce, ginger, lemon juice, garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes in a mixing bowl.  I suggest adding 1/4 cup of warm water to help loosen up the peanut butter.  Whisk until the sauce is smooth and well blended.  Add thinly sliced onion. 

    If your left over noodles are cold, heat them up in the microwave for about 2 minutes.  If you don't have left over noodles, you can use plain spaghetti noodles. Cook your spaghetti noddles as it is instructed in the box.  

   Add your noodles to the mixing bowl containing your peanut sauce mix and carefully mix them together until all the noddles are nicely covered by the sauce.  Add cilantro and your meal is now ready to eat!! 


Don't have some the fresh garlic or ginger? No problem, while fresh garlic and ginger is preferred, you can always use dry ingredients.  

4 Cloves of garlic = 2 Teaspoons of minced garlic or 1/2 teaspoons of Powder Garlic;
1 inch of fresh ginger = 2 tsp of Ground Ginger.

If you prefer your onions cooked  like my husband does, simply sautee your onions for about two to three minutes and then add them to your dish. 

Not a fan of spicy food? No problem, ignore the red pepper flakes.  

Extra Additions: 

Please feel free to add any kind of meat, i.e. thinly sliced chicken breast, shrimp, beef, even lightly fried tofu can be fantastically paired with this dish.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

DIY- Snow Globes

Hello Everyone!!! 

      The big day is almost here and my little ones at getting a little wrestles.  Due to unfavorable weather, they have not been able to go outside and play and boredom is starting to set in. 

      I know I have not posted any new hairstyles, but Ms. Bree's hair is still styled in two strand twists, but I will unravel all her twists on Sunday before we head out to Church.  

   Here is what her hair looks like now: 

      Now, I'm going to be sharing my friend Yari's idea!  This is a very easy and simple craft that all the kids will enjoy making.   Our scout elf, Snowflake brought the kids some snow globes as a gift, but because it has been raining heavily in the past couple days, she had no other choice but to use some of her magic to protect them.  Unfortunately, she had to disassemble them and the kids had to put them back together.  

    The Materials: 

  • Mason Jar (I already had these jars, but you can buy them at any store)
  • Glitter (1.99)
  • Their favorite figurine (if you think they will notice the figurine belongs to them, you can buy small ones from the Dollar Store)
  • Hot Glue Gun


(I did the following while the kids were asleep, after all, these were a gift from Snowflake)
  1. Hot glue your child's favorite figurine onto the inside of the lid;
  2. Let the glue cool;
     Below you can see Snowflake's special note to the kids  At the bottom of her note are the directions to complete the Snow Globe. 

  1. Add the glitter to the empty jar;
  2. Add water to the jar (all the way to the neck- but if your figurine is a bit in the large size, I suggest adding a bit less water.  You can always add some more later)
  3. Carefully insert your inner lid with your special figurine
  4. Seal tightly, flip, shake and enjoy your special Snow Globe.

      And your snow globe is all complete!  


Monday, December 14, 2015

Oh No, He Touched My Elf!!!!

Hey Everyone!! 

       I am sure many of your are very familiar with the "Elf On The Shelf" Tradition.  Yes, it's a bit annoying at times but let me assure you that the kids truly enjoy having them.  We adopted our little scout elf, "Snowflake" approximately three Christmases ago.  

       Personally, I had never heard of the Elf on the Shelf before until my son, who was seven years old then, came home telling me all about it.  Since it's never too late to start new traditions, we decided to do it.  

      Yes, like most parents we have forgotten to move the elf a few times and we had to blame it on Daddy.  I know, such a bad wife.  But in my defense, in some occasions, my darling husband places the elf where I CANNOT reach her!! 

      Yesterday, we had a very unfortunate incident. Well, our little Snowflake did.  My son had invited some friends over to play and one of them TOUCHED our elf to prove to our kids that Santa and the elves ARE NOT REAL!!! 

      I can't deny that I was furious and seeing my daughter in tears broke my heart into a million pieces!!
     While we understand that every family believe in different things.  We truly wish some parents would take the time to explain to their children that it's never okay to destroy  someone else's dream just because they don't believe in Santa, or like in our situation, the Elf on the Shelf.  

     If this ever happens to you, here are a few tips for you to follow to make the situation better for your little ones.    You can use the very same tips even if your little one touches the Elf by mistake, after all, these are children. 

    First, you have to visit Elf On The Shelf.  You will find several activities for the kids as well as ideas for the parents.  

     If the Elf is touched by mistake simply do the following:

1.   Have the kids write a letter to Santa explaining what happened; 
2.  Write a letter back to the kids (this is optional); 
3.  Sprinkle cinnamon around where the elf is;
4.  Have the kids blow a kiss; and
5.  sing a Christmas carol 

     Our kids sprinkled the cinnamon on top of her little blanket, but that was my mistake, my written instructions were not as clear (obviously)... hahaaa 

       Let your little scout elf rest for 24 hours and she will be back to her normal self! 

   Below are the original instructions from the Elf on the Shelf website, we just changed it a bit because of our situation and we needed to address the fact that our son's friend doesn't believe in magic. 

         "Christmas magic is very fragile, and if scout elves are touched they may lose their magic. If your scout elf has been touched, you can apologize by writing a letter to Santa, or saying you’re sorry to your elf. Then, please sprinkle a little cinnamon beside him or her before you go to bed; cinnamon is like vitamins for scout elves, and it helps them get back to the North Pole. Once they arrive, the North Pole doctors will check them out."

    My husband and I put a letter together answering our children's questions and requests.  When our son wrote the letter to Santa, he apologized but he asked Santa for a favor: 

   "Please forgive my friend, ...... for touching our special elf and I ask that you can make him believe in you"...

     While our daughter wrote: "I hope you are not mad at us, I still believe in you"....

    Therefore, we had to write something back, but writing a response letter from Santa it's totally optional.  

     I am glad that this little incident didn't kill the joy or the magic in our house.  Our son will soon find out the truth but we would like to be the ones to tell him.  

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Recipe: Classic & Delicious Collard Greens

Hello Everyone!!

     Today I will be sharing with you my favorite recipe to the perfect Southern Style Collard Greens, a.k.a. My Momma's Delicious Collard Greens!

     I love food, just as much as I love the art of cooking.  Now, I have to admit that my cooking skills were very limited when my husband and I first got together, almost twelve (12) years ago.  

     During the last decade I have mastered many recipes and most of them are family recipes given to me by my mother in law.   I remember the first two years, she took the time to teach me how to prepare my husband's favorite holiday dishes, like "extra Cheesy Mac & Cheese, Collard Greens, Baked Ham, Candied Yams", and of course, his favorite "Water Gate Salad".

     Now, I'm the one who prepares the entire Holiday Dinner all by my little self.  While some of the dishes may look like it requires a lot preparation time, let me assure you that is not the case.  

     In order to save time but mostly my sanity, I prepare some of the dishes ahead of time. Like the collard greens, I cook them and then freeze them.   I take the collard greens out of the freezer to thaw at least 12 hours before serving and then just simmer them until they are thoroughly heated. 

      The Ingredients: 

2 Bags (16 oz) of Fresh Collard Greens (I use Glory Foods- it's what Mom uses, so why change it right?) 
5 Cups of Water
3 Cups of Chicken Broth
2 Containers of Ham hocks
3 TBS of Vinegar
1/2 Cup of Sugar
1/4 Tsp of crushed red pepper flakes
Salt and Pepper to taste


    Place water, chicken broth and ham hocks into a stock pot;  bring to boil then lower the heat to medium.  Let the ham hocks cook for approximately 45 minutes to an hour.   (Tip:  I like my collard green meaty, but if you don't then reduce the amount of ham hocks)

    Once the ham hocks are a bit tender, remove them from the pot. 

    Add the sugar, vinegar, salt, red pepper flakes and collard greens. 

    While the collard greens are simmering in the pot, cut the meat off the ham hocks.  

    Add the diced meat into the pot and stirred.  Let the pot simmer until the greens are tender.  

     And now you are ready to enjoy this delicious dish! 

Thursday, December 10, 2015

How to Easily Create a DIY Christmas Shirt

Hello Everyone!! 

     This week is almost over and we continue to prepare for Grandmother and Papa's arrival.  They will spending time with us during the kids' winter break! 

     Today is Ms. Bree's Winter Feast at school and after the feast, the kids will be doing a short Christmas performance that I can't wait to see it.  

     For this performance, the girls were asked to wear a long sleeve white shirt with a Christmas design on it and uniform bottoms.  You would think, that finding a "Christmas" shirt during this time would be easy... but after a few trips to different stores proved me how wrong I was!! 

     I could not find a "white shirt" with a Christmas design on it and when we finally found an "ivory" shirt, it was the wrong size.  

      Ms. Bree was a bit sad when we realized that most likely she would have to wear a "plain" white shirt.  But like any good girl, she didn't make big deal or had a temper tantrum.  She just simply said, "why can't we make our own?"  My creativity hat went on and I looked at her and said "you know, you are absolutely right, we can do this!"

We purchased the long sleeve shirt from Walmart ................. $3.97

     While she was at her dance class I made a super fast trip to the Dollar Store and purchased the rest of the embellishments. 

Foam Glittered Christmas Trees.................................... $0.99 
Jewels.................................................................... $0.99
Foam Glittered Snowflakes ................... $0.99

      I used Fabric Glue that I had previously purchased from Michaels.  Fabric Glue can be found at any Walmart or at any crafting store.  

 The above 3 pack is the one I bought from Michaels' for $3.99.

       This is the first time I do this, so I explained to Ms Bree, that she had to be extra careful, because I didn't know if the embellishment were going to stay on.  

     She loved helping me create this shirt and her excitement to wear it this morning... well, that's priceless to me!  

     If you can't find the perfect shirt for a program or for any occasion, remember that you can do a lot with simple foam cut out shapes and fabric glue.... I sure did!! 

Friday, December 4, 2015

DIY: Ribbon Christmas Trees

Hello Everyone! 

The countdown to Christmas has begun and our little Elf, "Snowflake" has taken our letter to Santa Claus.  Soon, it will be Christmas morning but first, let's put on our "crafting hats" and start by creating some beautiful Ribbon Christmas Trees. 

These Christmas Trees made out of ribbons are so cute and they have become very popular in the last couple of days.  

I originally crafted these trees for our children's teachers as a "Thank You" for all the hard work they do.  

I have to say that the response from all of our fans.... really overwhelming !

The Materials: 

  • Small Box of Pins;
  • Ribbon of your choice (approximately 3 to 4 spools);
  • Foam cone, I used the medium size cone, approximately 3-7/8 inch x 8-7/8 inch.
  • Something to use at the top.  A 3D Star would be ideal but it all depends on you.  I used Small/medium size poinsettias to match the ribbons, and some really nice floral decorations I found at Micheal's.
  • Scissors.
  • Ruler.

The Steps: 

1.  Cut the ribbon (about 4.5 inches long).  Tip: this is the time consuming part of this project. 

2. Start pinning the first row around the corner. Tip: Make sure is close enough to cover the cone.

3.  Continue to pin the strips of ribbon around the cone until you get to the very top.  (you may chose each row a different color. Remember this is your project.) Tip:  Each row should only be half an inch above each row.  

4.      I used a glittered snowflake foam sticker to cover the very top.  Each end of the sticker will cover the pins on the very top row, and will also cover the top of the cone. 

and your Ribbon Christmas Tree is now done!! 

We have now these beauties available for purchase! 

      Frozen Ribbon Christmas Tree
                                               The Traditional Ribbon Christmas Tree

We are currently taking orders, each tree is $15.00 plus shipping.  To place your order please email us your request to caramelcurlznswirls@yahoo.com. 

These are a great addition to your decor or as a gift!  

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

DIY: Guitar

Hello Everyone!!  

We hope that every single one of you had an amazing Thanksgiving Day with the loved ones. 

After that tiny break, it is time for us to catch up on some of our latest creations.  Today, we will be talking about the DIY Guitar Ms Bree made with her Dad.  

This project was called "The Sound Rubric Project" and it was for her Music Class.  The requirements for the project were: 

1.  Instrument most be created by using items found in your home; 
2. Must create sound; 
3. Must be created and decorated by the student (with the help of a parent, only when needed); 
4. Student must be able to explain how the instrument was created; and 
5. Student must be able to demonstrate how the instrument creates sounds. 

At this point I have to say that I am glad she did not choose a "piano". (Thank the Lord for small miracles).  This school year seems to be full of projects.  Maybe the explanation lays on the fact that Little Man is now in 3rd Grade and Ms Bree is in 1st Grade.  Things seemed to be a lot easier last year. 

Okay, let's move on, shall we.  In order to comply with the first requirement on the list, we had to figure it out how to create a Guitar from things that we have a home.

Our materials: 

Body of the guitar...... empty shoe box (small /thin preferred)
Neck of the guitar...... empty Paper towel roll
Strings......................... Rubber Bands

Now, in order to raise the rubber bands we needed somethings that it was small in size and that could be easily glued.  Daddy found two pieces of wood in his toolbox that worked perfectly. 

Okay, so here are the Steps: 

1.  Draw and cut a circle on the front of the shoe box;

2.  Measure, draw and cut a circle on the top of the show box (this is where you will insert the paper towel roll);

3.  (this step is optional) Wrap the shoe box with wrapping papers.  

4.  Carefully with your finger feel where the cut out circles are and cut the wrapping the paper.   Do this for the front and top circles previously cut.

5.  Insert the  empty paper towel roll.  If you need the roll to be a little more secure, you can place a piece of tape around the top and/or inside the front circle.

6.  Glue the two pieces of wooden sticks on each end of the box.  

7.  Place rubber bands.  (we used the large rubber bands.) 

8.  And last but not least... the decoration part! As you can see, a girl can never have enough stickers! 

This is a very cute craft that can be done with the little ones at home.  Especially if you have a little one who loves music.   The fact that most of the items were found at home, make this project one of the most inexpensive ones we have made this year, so far.  

This DIY instrument will always be unique for them.  Something they created with their own two little hands. Ok, you helped out a little, but come on, we have to be realistic and imagine what will happen if you let your little one use "Gorilla Glue"... :)

And the results were?

Ms. Bree received 100% for her project!! I was proud of her, because she was able to present her project in front of the class, and her Daddy was so proud of her because she remembered how to properly played the "strings".   But most importantly, SHE was proud of herself.  She picked the decorations, she helped wrapped the box and the empty paper towel rolls and she watched Barbie Rock & Royals enough time to know how to play the guitar like a PRO!!

Okay, well, let's not  tell her she's not ready to perform live yet!!! hahaaa