When we started this blog and I decided to call it 3 Winks, and Madalynn drew our logo, my owl collection and my interest in owls began to grow. Owls became kind of trendy a few years ago, and I willingly hopped on board and I haven't jumped off. That is why, when my sister surprised me by sending me a couple of owl items in the mail a few of days ago, I was thrilled!
She had paid a visit to Hobby Lobby and got me these! I will show you the results at the end of this post.
First, I thought I would share a few owl crafts that I love. Some I have made, and some I am hoping to make.
I just found these free printable bookmarkshere at Wizarding Wares. As soon as I get some new colored ink, I am printing them.
I love these cute little hand warmers, filled with rice, and a cute printable tag from Our Peaceful Planet. I am sure that I have plenty of felt scrapes and rice to make these!
A couple of years ago, I found this pattern for these little owl ornaments at Better Homes and Gardens. I thought they were adorable and I made and sold them at the Ugly Sweater Express.
I also used this free pattern from thirty handmade days. I feel like these are a great gift for men and women alike! Who doesn't sometimes need that warm heat pack nestled against their neck. It may as well be a cute little owl when you do!
Just a couple more things that I would love to make;
This is from
Lovely Crafty home! So adorable!
Ready for a few fun owl facts?
#1 is my favorite The Audubon Society says that a group of owls is called a parliament! C.S. Lewis coined that description of a meeting of owls in The Chronicles of Narnia.
#2 Many owl species have asymmetrical ears that are at different heights on their heads. This helps them to pinpoint sounds in many dimensions.
#3 The reason owls can turn their heads 270 degrees is because they have a blood-pooling system that collects blood that keeps their brain and eyes functioning when the neck movement cuts off their circulation.
#4 The tiniest owl in the world is the Elf Owl, which is only 5-6 inches tall and weighs about 1 .5 ounces. In Arizona, we also have a fairly tiny species of owl. It is the Cactus Ferruginous Pygmy Owl! It averages about 6.5 inches in height and weighs only 2 .5 oz.
And now, on to the Owl Cake! Click on the pictures for directions and tips.
My sister had the really good idea of using a pumpkin roll for the tree branch! I love that idea, but I just used brownies this time.
Finally, in case any of you were wondering, if I could I would buy these dishes to set my table for all of Autumn! They are so beautiful!
They were saved from the blog of Memento Gift Shop in downtown Palm Springs. I haven't found the manufacturer yet, but I am on the hunt! If I find them, I will post it below! In the meantime, "Owl be seeing you!" (Couldn't resist. :))
*No luck so far, but Rachel Ray has this set below.
It is getting to be that time of year when there will be a lot of families and friends getting together for holiday gatherings. Our family loves to get together all during the year and when we do, we play games quite a bit. (We are all a wee bit competitive, but manage to keep it fun.) My husband and I both come from large families, and our own family is large by itself, so finding games that will involve a crowd can be a challenge. There are certain games that we love to play and have figured out the best ones and the best ways to include everyone. Also, some games are great to play with everyone, including the kids, and others are a little above the kid's heads and work better when the kids are in bed or off doing something else. So, here is our family's list of some great games to play when we are all together.
First of all, games for people of all ages:
1. SPOT IT That is the game you see two of my grandchildren playing in the picture above. It consists of a deck of round cards that have various pictures on them. Each card has at least one match to every other card in the deck. Players must find their match before their opponents do. There are many versions of this game, such as shapes and numbers, Disney or sports and there are multiple ways to play. During our recent wedding hub bub, when all of our family was here, this game kept the kids busy while the rest of us worked on wedding business. But, I did take some time to play with my grandkids and we laughed and had a great time. My sister and her girls, who were here for the wedding, enjoyed it so much that they had to get their own game once they got home.
2. UNO I'll bet you all know this game! This is one that works for the entire family or just adults. At our house, with just adults playing, we play our version of what we call "Killer UNO". That means we use 2 decks and we can stack Draw 2s or Skips or Reverses, etc. Man, it is fun. But with kids, we pretty much stick to the original rules because their hands and patience aren't big enough for the number of cards we sometimes end up with in Killer UNO. UNO is very educational for kids as they learn numbers and matching and to recognize letters and words. It is also good for them to learn to strategize. We also have a version of UNO calledUNO Attack! which the kids also love. If you have a large number of people playing, you can always add a deck to this game.
3. CHARADES has been around for a long time. Kids love it because they can act things out and ham it up. Once again, you may have to be a little lax on the rules with kids, but they love it. When we play, we divide into teams and each team comes up with ideas that are titles from books, movies, TV shows or songs for the other team to act out. Remember with kids to choose titles that they will be familiar with. With adults, you can go much harder. When one of my daughters was younger, she loved to play Charades so much that one year for Christmas she received the board game based on it called GUESSTURES. In this game, the actor must get his team to say a series of words before the timer goes off and makes all of his cards drop out of sight. I think my daughter still has this game!
Now, on to the games that are best for the older crowd, maybe starting at age 10.
4. SCRABBLE You may think that this game is only for four people, but when we go and visit my family in CA, we all get together and have a scrabble tournament, with a few boards going at once. Scrabble is a serious business with my extended family, and my 93 year old mother is a master at it. We have so many memories playing this game. I began playing at a young age and I know it helped me learn to spell better and increased my vocabulary.
5. Now, when we get together with Glen's family, TRIVIA games are the rule. There are a lot of trivia games out there. A popular topic is music and old rock and roll trivia. We tend to not play the actual games, but to just have someone go through the cards and ask the questions. We have used Trivial Pursuit and anything we can find on the internet. Here is one strictlyBeatles! There always ends up being a lot of impromptu singing and fun!
6. CATCH PHRASE is like a Hot Potato version of Password. Teammates try to get their team to guess a word while a timer starts ticking faster and faster. It can be played with as many people as you would like, which makes it a great for large families or parties. TABOO is another game that is very similar to this one.
7. SCATTERGORIES I really like this game! Players make a list of words, all beginning with the same letter, that fit into various categories. When there are more people than game holders, we have played as partners, and that is a lot of fun. Depending on your family or friend's sense of humor and ability to think out of the box, this game can be hilarious!
8.MURDER MYSTERY GAMES are a lot of fun if you plan ahead. My husband and I had one for years that we never made a point of using, although I wanted to. Finally a couple of years ago, we played it on New Years Day, when everyone was over for dinner. We had a great time. They even have these for younger kids to play, as long as they can read and there is someone to keep them on track. The title of the mystery can set the theme of the party. Ours was the Orient Express. I have seen some with a Luau theme, or a Mardi Gras theme for example!
9. APPLES TO APPLES is another game that depends on the personality and sense of humor of your group. We have found that the more you can think out of the box, the more fun this game is. If you have too many literal thinkers, it may not be as much fun. It is great because it can include many people playing it all at once.
10. Finally, our family's favorite game of all is one that costs nothing, but is side-splitting fun! We call it THE SENTENCE PICTURE GAME. To play this game, all you need is paper and pencils. Everyone starts with a stack of paper that equals the number of people playing. So, if 10 people are playing, everyone has 10 pieces of paper. On the top piece of paper, everyone begins by writing a sentence. It can be any sentence at all. When you are finished, everyone passes their stack of paper to the person next to them in which ever direction has been previously determined. When you are handed your neighbor's stack of paper, you read the sentence that they wrote and then put the sentence at the back of the stack. On the next piece of paper, you draw a picture of the sentence. Trust me, don't worry about being an artist, just do the best you can. The various types of artistry is what adds to the fun. After everyone draws their picture, you pass the stack of paper again. This time you look at the picture and put it to the back of the stack and then write a sentence that you think the picture is depicting. You can't peek at the original sentence! Get the picture? (ha ha) It is like playing telephone, only with sentences and pictures. (By the way, Telephone is a great game to play with kids who can't read yet). When the stack gets all of the way around the circle, the original person goes through and sees how much their intended sentence has changed. We always share the sentences and drawings with the rest of the group one at a time. I don't know if it is just the personality of our family, but we laugh so hard during this game! When we are all together, we always make sure we find time to play it.
I hope you try some of these with your family if you haven't already! Playing games together can be such a great bonding, memory making experience and a way to communicate with each other away from electronics!
Do you have any games that you love to play with your family that I haven't included? I am always ready to try a new game!
When I was growing up, sometimes on cold evenings, my mom would turn on the oven and make this incredible, tasty dish called "Surprise Fudge Pudding". I loved it because it had this wonderful fudgy sauce with a super moist cake and it was a surprise! I love surprises! It is a surprise because when you put the cake together, the cake batter goes on the bottom and the fudge ingredients go on the top in a powdered form. You add boiling hot water and stick the whole thing in the over and when it is finished, the fudge sauce is on the bottom and the cake is on the top! Magic!
( There are a couple of affiliate links in this post that may compensate me if you purchase through my site. There is no additional cost to you.)
Well, I was thinking about this dish the other night because it has been a little cooler in the evenings. (Just under 80 degrees, that is cool for Phoenix). In the daytime, it is still hitting 100. But the idea of this recipe caught hold of me and I wondered if I could do it in the Crock Pot? Guess what! I could and I did! Here is how I did it.
First, I sprayed my Crock Pot for easy clean-up! I preheated the pot to the low setting. Then I mixed up the batter (I will post the recipe below). Click on the pictures here to see what I am doing.
I let it cook for 1 and 1./2 hours. In the regular oven, it cooks for 40 min. The top will still be moist, but the mixture will be set. Things in the Crock Pot won't really brown remember.
I got so excited about the pictures, I almost forgot to give you the recipe! Here it is, I will give you both oven and Crock Pot versions.
Surprise Fudge Pudding
Spray the inside of the crock and preheat to the low setting while you mix the batter.
Cream 1/4 c. butter and 3/4 c. sugar in a mixing bowl. In a different bowl, sift together 1 and 1/2 c. flour, 2 and 1/2 tsp. baking powder, 1/2 tsp. salt. Add this to the butter mixture a little at a time alternately with 3/4 c. milk. Add 1 tsp. vanilla. You may also add 3/4 c. chopped nuts to the batter, but I never do that. I don't remember my mom doing that either. Spread this batter, which will be quite thick, into the bottom of your Crock Pot.
Blend together 1/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder, 1/4 tsp. salt and 1 and 1/2 c. packed brown sugar. Sprinkle over the top of the batter. Pour 1 c. boiling water over all of this. Put on the lid of the Crock Pot and let bake for aprox. 1 and 1/2 hours. (I checked it after 40 min., then after 30 more and then gave it about 20 to 30 more min. and decided it seemed done, and it was perfect. Depending on the size of your pot, times may vary.)
If baking in the oven, put into a 13 x 9 baking dish and bake for 40 min. at 375 degrees F.
Serve topped with ice cream while warm!
There is a little bit of this left in the fridge from last night. It is starting to look like breakfast this morning! :)
*I purchased my dessert bowls in Switzerland when we lived overseas many years ago. But, here is a link to some cute ones I found on Amazon.(And they are on sale!)
If you have been following this blog for a week or so, you know that I am on a quest to find an Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Recipe that will stand up to my husband's memory of his grandmother's cookies. I know, it seems an awesome task. It is worse because I think my husband feels bad that I feel the need to take upon myself this quest, and so now he describes each cookie I have made so far as delicious. Well, they have been delicious. But do they measure up to his grandmother's cookie? That is the question. And before anyone says that is because she made them with love, that doesn't mean anything because I make my cookies with love, too!
This week's recipe comes from Chef-in-training. You can go to her site for the recipe. It differs from last week's recipe in that it calls for 1 egg and a yolk. (Remind me to do a blog about left over egg whites!) It also called for both baking soda and baking powder. As you can tell by the picture above, they are slightly flatter than last week's cookie. Here is a side by side comparison:
My husband says that one of the most important things about a cookie is that it has to pass the milk test. That means that when dipped in milk, the cookie soaks up milk without falling apart.
"The cookie has to stand up to the milk test!"
Both cookies passed the milk test!
Personally, I am tending to enjoy this 2nd cookie the best because the flavor is somehow better. But, I did enjoy the slightly thicker nature of cookie #1. Something that may have made a difference in the texture of the cookies is that the raisins I used for cookie #1 were more moist than the brand I used in cookie #2. The dough for #2 did seem drier before I baked them than #1 did. It makes me wonder what the texture of #2 would be like if I used raisins that are more moist. Perhaps from now on I will use the moist brand of raisins. I may rebake these cookies to test this out. But, for now,Chef-in-Training is in first place.
*update: My son came over and said that he liked #1 better. My husband liked them both! Now I feel like I need to make both recipes side by side for a taste test! I am still voting for #2.
Creators of Hot Cocoa Bombs! (copyrighted)
Helen Reynolds: Mother of six children , grandmother to eleven! I love to cook, craft and create things and I especially love doing that with my family, So, when my lawyer daughter, Lindsey, my artist daughter, Madalynn, and I came up with the idea of Hot Cocoa Bombs, this blog was born. Then, one more daughter, with her technical and science skills, plus creativity has joined in to round us out! Read more about us here!