December 27, 2013

It's winter...and there's nothing like a good cup of rich, creamy, and smooth hot cocoa to warm you up... To make it special for grown ups, I added a tiny spoonful of rum...for the underage kiddos, however, you must skip that part of the recipe. Enjoy and have a Happy New Year!

INGREDIENTS (serves 2):
  • 2 cups of milk
  • 2 packages of Starbucks Double Chocolate Hot Cocoa Mix
  • 1/2 cup of Half & Half (creamer)
  • 3 Tbsp of table cream (Nestle: Media Crema)
  • 2 Tbsp of rum
HOW TO PREPARE:
  • Pour milk into a small pot and cook at medium heat
  • Just before it starts boiling, reduce heat to low, add the 2 packages of Hot Cocoa Mix, and stir for 1 min
  • Add the creamer and stir for about 30 sec
  • Add the table cream slowly and stir continuously for about 2-3 minutes (until the table cream dissolves)
  • Add the rum and stir for 20-30 sec
  • Turn off the heat and serve in a mug
  • Optional - Add 1 Tbsp of table cream on top with a sprinkle of the left over hot cocoa mix powder from the package

December 16, 2013

 I'm a newbie blog mom and seeing all these blog buttons everywhere with the names of the moms' blogs and boxes that say, "Grab My Button" or "Add our Button to Your Blog", etc. It never crossed my mind I needed one...I just thought, "Ok, expert bloggers really know how to do this stuff", and I moved on...
Until recently, I was chatting with a wonderful friend of mine, a tennis teammate from college. She is a blogger, a great one with lots of expertise when it comes to designing blogs, adding widgets, etc. (visit her blog at http://sneakymommablogdesign.blogspot.com). She suggested that I add a button to my blog to help advertise it. "Well," I thought, "How do I do that?" I didn't even know I could create my own design and illustrations! So, I did what everybody else does nowadays, I googled it! I found interesting and helpful tutorials and tips, but when it came to actually adding a "Grab my Button" HTML code, I was struggling...
I contacted my friend again, and she gave me a wonderful site that made everything so easy! I'm going to give you a short tutorial on how to make a blog button and how to add the grab box to your blog. However, if you are a newbie like me and need more help designing your blog, go to Sneaky Momma! She has tons of tutorials and tips to help you out!
 
STEPS TO MAKE YOUR BLOG BUTTON:
  • First you need to create your design. I'm a children's book author/illustrator, so I have a digital program to create my own design and drawings. However, if you have a PC, you can create your own design using a program called Microsoft Paint. Here's the link of the tutorial for you to learn how to use it: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows7/products/features/paint   
  • If you prefer, you can also just use a photo. Be creative! 
  • Next, save your work or photo to your computer.  
  • Go to an online photo site like Photobucket http://photobucket.com/and upload your design/photo. Photobucket is easy to use. You can even sign in with your Facebook account. 
  • Once your photo is on Photobucket, go to "Edit Photos" and click on "Resize". Choose 125 Width and 125 Height and click "Apply".
  • Go to your Blogger, sign in, and go to your Add Gadgets layout (where you want your button to appear). This page is going to ask you to add the HTML code.
  • On that site, you first input the title of your blog, your blog URL, and then your image URL. For the image URL, go to Photobucket, click on your photo, and you will see a box on the right side that says, "Links to Share this Photo". Choose the "Direct" link from that box. If you just click on it, it will automatically copy for you. 
  • Back to the Code Generator site, if you like the way it is, just leave the rest set to "auto". Or, if you wish, you can change your border color, type, size, etc. 
  • Click "Preview". You will see an HTML code designed for you. If you like the way it looks, copy that code. If not, go back, make changes, and click preview again. 
  •  In your Blogger, paste the HTML code into the HTML gadget box, add a title such as "Grab my Button" or "My Button", etc. Save it. 
That's it! You just created your own button! Hope this is very helpful for you. Happy Blogging!


    December 6, 2013

    Christmas is around the corner, and for all the busy moms out there, I wanted to offer you and your little ones more ideas and FREE printables to create easy and fun Christmas gift bags (the "Goody Bag It!" collection)! It’s very affordable, since all you need is either a plain gift bag or brown bag, scissors, and glue (I like to use “glue dots”). Go ahead, have fun, and Merry Christmas! :D

    • INSTRUCTIONS:
    • PENGUIN/FOR A GIFT BAG (small card included)
    • Save the printable in your computer and print it on a photo "semi glossy" paper
    • Cut the hat, penguin, feet, and small card
    • Glue the body parts and hat as shown in the photo
    • Use a hole punch to punch a hole in the corner of the card
    • Insert a small string into the hole of the card and tie it to the gift bag handle
    • Add the gifts inside the bag
    • Enjoy! And have a wonderful Christmas! 
    • SANTA  CLAUS/FOR A BROWN BAG
    • Save the printable in your computer and print it on a photo "semi glossy" paper
    • Cut the hat, ball for the hat, white band, eyes, eyebrows, nose, beard, body, hands, and feet
    • Add the gifts inside the bag 
    • Cut the dotted lines on the hat and put middle tab over one side of the brown bag, and the two pointy outside tabs will hold the bag closed from the back (i.e., keep bag closed)
    • Cover the outside of the hat with the white band
    • Glue the body parts as shown in the photo
    • Enjoy! And have a wonderful Christmas!