Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Neighbor update and bargain websites

My neighbor is still hospitalized but talking, moving and hopefully will be physically ok soon. As related in yesterday's post, he and two of his campground buddies were outside when the tornado hit. It was so sudden, nothing was showing on the weather channel, which is what the men were watching on a small TV outside. Jeff's RV was knocked over onto the three men for a few seconds, then picked up and dumped in the lake. Had it not be carried off, there may have been three casualties instead of one. His friend that died had massive head injuries and apparently died instantly. Jeff's cell phone worked long enough for him to dial 911 and get out the words "tornado" and the name of the campground before he lost his phone connection.

In the inexplicable way that tornadoes work, two women were in a trailer that was tumbled over and over. One was visiting the other from her RV parked maybe one hundred feet away. The visitor's husband was inside their trailer with either the TV or radio on and knew nothing of what happened until he heard yelling outside. He and others near him were not touched by the tornado's force at all.

Not to dwell on the sad or scary, I thought I would share some websites that Better Homes and Gardens listed in a recent issue, proclaiming them their favorite bargain sites. I have checked them all to make sure that the links work, but have not registered at the ones that required that, only because I haven't taken the time or the particular category didn't appeal to me at the moment.

Coupons and Discounts
Coupon Mom
Living Social
Smart Source
Home Furnishings
Estate Sales
No Better Deal
One Kings Lane
Shop Goodwill
Garden Tools
Ace Hardware
A M Leo
Picnic Essentials
Bungalow Co
LA Fresh Group
Picnic Trend
Shop Kir DeVries
Beauty Basics
Beauty Steals
Beauty Ticket
Big Discount Fragrances
Eyes Lips Face
Fragrance Net
Haute Look

I can't neglect to add BHG, always a good source of ideas, after providing this list and a personal favorite of mine for online shopping discounts, Retail Me Not. With that one, enter the name of the store to see if discount promotions are available. Often with a large store like J C Penney, more than one deal is mentioned. I have found it is worth the time to figure out if free shipping is a better deal than a percentage off coupon. Also with Penney's, if you have print catalogs at your home, sale prices may vary between catalogs. Last fall I ordered a bedding from one sale catalog and the matching curtains from another. I saved $15 per pair . You'd like to think a sale is the same sale until the promotion is over or stock is depleted, but that isn't always the case.

Happy browsing everyone!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Mother Nature at her scariest

Mother Nature was at her scariest Sunday night when she delivered a tornado without warning. The greater Detroit area was under a storm watch for most of the day, but the threat of severe storms was canceled some time in the afternoon. My next door neighbor was at a private campground north of here, near the Port Huron area. He is now in the hospital with broken ribs, a punctured lung and a concussion. The following quote is from the local ABC station's website and the embedded clip has his wife talking about what happened. She was at home when this occurred.
"The St. Clair County Sheriff's Department has confirmed that one person was killed at a campground in St. Clair County after a twister hit in Clyde Township.
The National Weather Service now confirms an EF-1 tornado struck at the Fort Trodd campground Sunday afternoon.
The man who was killed has been identified as 75-year-old James Anderson from Mount Clemens.
Three people were transported to Port Huron hospital in downtown Port Huron.
Two of the victims are listed in fair condition. The other person is listed in serious condition.
Several trailers were tipped over, one was even sent into water nearby. There is serious damage at the campground as well."

After something like this, I realize just how good and simple my day was Sunday, as well as yesterday and hopefully today.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Easy snack mix and ultra easy appetizer

Everyone probably makes some version of this snack mix. What made this one a hit at the fireworks party was one simple addition....butterscotch chips!
I used one bag of M&Ms dark chocolate which were in the house but not favored by my guys, one bag of regular M&Ms, a 12 oz can of salted peanuts, 1 cup of cashews, 2 cups of raisins and one 11 oz bag of butterscotch chips. Two people who claim not to like butterscotch loved this combo of flavors.

The appetizer is called Texas Caviar according to a friend who shared this with me. Four ingredients with optional cilantro for a garnish and a few bags of tortilla chips will have you ready to party. 
Open, rinse and drain 15 oz cans of black beans, black-eyed peas and corn. Once drained, stir together in a bowl with a 16 oz jar of salsa. Refrigerate, covered, for a few hours and stir before serving.

I used mild salsa and even the young kids liked it. I think I will use medium next time, and I bet it would be good spread on a dish (instead of in a bowl) with shredded cheese on top and zapped to melt.

Yummy + Easy = 1lg014woohoo Pictures, Images and Photos

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Fireworks party

Even though I've scaled back on decorations over the past few years, I still have things for every holiday. Friday night was my city's fireworks display at a park located a half mile from my home. Relatives and friends come to our driveway to watch the event that starts shortly after 10 PM and lasts a good twenty minutes or so. I've given up trying to capture fireworks with my camera. Trust me, the display was wonderful.

The weather was perfect and Bill used a spray on the lawn hours before anyone was expected to control mosquitoes. It really worked! We don't use stuff like this often, but for an outdoor party it was great.
These photo groupings were done using Photoscape. I can see I am going to enjoy playing with all they offer. Photoscape is free, and a download is offered through a few sources.

We had around 30 people enjoying the display and eating through the night. Yesterday's post was about Cake Pops for this event, and tomorrow I will talk about a simple snack mix and an easy appetizer.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Cake Pops, perhaps a first and last

Can you stand one more cake ball post? This time I made cake pops. Bakerella and others do a beyond fabulous job on these. All those who excel will be happy to know that they need not worry about any competition from me.

I made chocolate cake balls with chocolate frosting in them. I dipped the ends of the popsicle sticks into melted chocolate before inserting them in the balls. I covered the balls in the same melted white chocolate before inserting them into a block of Styrofoam.

Uh oh....I didn't have enough Styrofoam to hold 47 cake pops.

Looking around for a substitute holder, hubby and I found nothing suitable so I went to Michaels to buy two more blocks. Styrofoam, for the purpose it was serving, is not cheap. I spent $8 on those blocks, plus whatever I paid for the original one last week.

One pound of chocolate melts didn't look like it was going to completely cover all the balls, so the last dozen got a half dip and were treated to very tiny red, white and blue round sprinkles. There is probably a technical trade name for them, but I am sure you are clever enough to get what I mean.
A few cake balls didn't hold up to being inverted on the sticks. One fell apart before decorating, two others had the nerve to wait until they were decorated. And let me tell you about my decorating disaster. I had half pound bags of red and dark blue chocolate melts from the cake and candy supply store. I melted a small amount of each in two squeeze bottles I have used for this purpose for years. My intention was to make star like designs, some red stripes with a small blue star or blue dots and other fun designs on the cake pops.

The colored chocolates were melted in the microwave, the same way I've done them for years, on a low setting. I stepped out of the kitchen to check for a minute and came back to smell something odd. The bottle with the red melts had split its seam near the bottom. It wasn't a bad mess to clean up. The melted chocolate and plastic had congealed into a sinister looking blob.

* sigh *

I melted more of the red in a measuring cup and used the tip of the spoon to drip red chocolate over blue squiggles.
Flavor-wise, they were a hit. Since many members of my extended family don't bake at all, they were unreasonably impressed with them. Bless their hearts. The 8 and 5 year olds loved them. I think I have attained celebrity status among those three kids, at least in the dessert department.
If I ever make these on a stick again, it will be only a few at a time for the kids. I didn't think to cover the Styrofoam with plastic or wax paper so I have blocks with dripped chocolate on them. Do I pick it off, shave a layer, or pitch it and say never again? I guess my mood will decide that later today.

In another post or two, I will talk about two super simple things I made for the gathering we had last night. No cooking was involved, just a can opener, scissors, a colander, bowl and spoon. That is my kind of cooking!

Friday, June 25, 2010

The truth about the woman's restroom....

This was sent to me in an email. It made me smile, nod and even snort. I hope you enjoy it too.
When you visit a public bathroom, you usually find a line of women, so you smile politely and take your place. Once it's your turn, you check for feet under the stall doors. Every stall is occupied..

Finally, a door opens and you dash in, nearly knocking down the woman leaving the stall.
You get in to find the door won't latch. It doesn't matter, the wait has been so long you are about to wet your pants! The dispenser for the modern 'seat covers' (invented by someone's Mom, no doubt) is handy, but empty. You would hang your purse on the door hook, if there was one, but there isn't - so you carefully, but quickly drape it around your neck, (Mom would turn over in her grave if you put it on the FLOOR!), yank down your pants, and assume ' The Stance.'

In this position your aging, toneless thigh muscles begin to shake. You'd love to sit down, but you certainly  hadn't taken time to wipe the seat or lay toilet paper on it, so you hold 'The Stance.'
To take your mind off your trembling thighs, you reach for what you discover to be the empty toilet paper dispenser. In your mind, you can hear your mother's voice saying, 'Honey, if you had tried to clean the seat, you would have KNOWN there was no toilet paper!'

Your thighs shake more.

You remember the tiny tissue that you blew your nose on yesterday - the one that's still in your purse. (Oh yeah, the purse around your neck, that now, you have to hold up trying not to strangle yourself at the same time). That would have to do. You crumple it in the puffiest way possible. It's still smaller than your thumbnail.

Someone pushes your door open because the latch doesn't work.. The door hits your purse, which is hanging around your neck in front of your chest, and you and your purse topple backward against the tank of the toilet.
'Occupied!' you scream, as you reach for the door, dropping your precious, tiny, crumpled tissue in a puddle on the floor, lose your footing altogether, and slide down directly onto the TOILET SEAT. It is wet of course. You bolt up, knowing all too well that it's too late. Your bare bottom has made contact with every imaginable germ and life form on the uncovered seat because YOU never laid down toilet paper - not that there was any, even if you had taken time to try. You know that your mother would be utterly appalled if she knew, because, you're certain her bare bottom never touched a public toilet seat because, frankly, dear, 'You just don't KNOW what kind of diseases you could get.'

By this time, the automatic sensor on the back of the toilet is so confused that it flushes, propelling a stream of water like a fire hose against the inside of the bowl that sprays a fine mist of water that covers your butt and runs down your legs and into your shoes. The flush somehow sucks everything down with such force that you grab onto the empty toilet paper dispenser for fear of being dragged in too.

At this point, you give up.. You're soaked by the spewing water and the wet toilet seat. You're exhausted. You try to wipe with a gum wrapper you found in your pocket and then slink out inconspicuously to the sinks. You can't figure out how to operate the faucets with the automatic sensors, so you wipe your hands with spit and a dry paper towel and walk past the line of women still waiting.
You are no longer able to smile politely to them. A kind soul at the very end of the line points out a piece of toilet paper trailing from your shoe. (Where was that when you NEEDED it??) You yank the paper from your shoe, plunk it in the woman's hand and tell her warmly, 'Here, you just might need this.'
As you exit, you spot your hubby, who has long since entered, used, and left the men's restroom. Annoyed, he asks, 'What took you so long and why is your purse hanging around your neck?'

This is dedicated to women everywhere who deal with public restrooms (rest??? you've GOT to be kidding!!). It finally explains to the men what really does take us so long. It also answers their other commonly asked questions about why women go to the restroom in pairs. It's so the other gal can hold the door, hang onto your purse and hand you Kleenex under the door!

Happy Friday everyone! I hope today is the start of a glorious weekend for all of you!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Where did the weekend go?

Do you find yourself asking that question every Monday? How about asking where the week went every Friday night?

In my quest to be organized, I wished a good friend Happy Anniversary on Saturday, proud that I looked at the calendar and remembered. Only problem was that I didn't read my own writing very well. It was her birthday, not her anniversary. Photobucket Maybe I can convince her that I am just really, really early getting anniversary wishes out to her!

Saturday was going to be a simple (ha!) day of catching up on housework. It didn't go that way for many reasons, most of them happy ones, but none as happy as having visiting royalty. The Prince of Sweetness came here with his father, Lord of the Lions (my son is inexplicably a huge fan of the Detroit Lions) to help grandpa (King of the Greens, both golf and our grass) trim our trees. It was hot and humid on Saturday so I wasn't setting foot outside to work up an unladylike sweat. It just wouldn't be regal. Instead I spread out a quilt and engaged the Prince in conversation.
He may not say much yet, but he is a good listener.

Later in the day, I worked on decorating a box for wedding envelopes. It didn't need to be done this weekend since the wedding isn't until October, but it was a reason to sit down instead of scrubbing a bath tub. (I'll get to that by Friday. One of the Fridays of summer.) The Lucite box is in good working order except for a crack on the back near one of the hinges. It didn't affect the structure, it just needed to be disguised. The stickers are from a company called Me and My Big Ideas, and were on sale at Joann's last week. I spent a little over $11 on them. The stickers have a plasticky feel, but look nice as they are a little puffy.
I would like to say that I am off to do something productive now, but today is the first day of summer and worthy of celebrating, don't you agree?

Iced tea, anyone? Photobucket

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Cake Balls, second time around

Ok, yesterday I said I had been so frustrated over my first attempt at Cake Balls, I was never ever baking or cooking again.

I lied. liar Pictures, Images and Photos

Tonight is going to be a salad supper at my knitting group. I made Cake Balls today that turned out much closer to the ideal picture I showed yesterday. Once again, I am not going to name websites because I read many while looking for advice. I took advice from here and there, and some bits of advice appeared in many sites.

I began with a yellow cake mix, baking it in two round layers. I like Duncan Hines.
I broke the cake layers in a large bowl. Anyone recognize the Tupperware bowl?
I broke it up further by using the mixer. Some use their hands, others use forks, and one woman wrote of using her food processor. Whatever works for you is just fine. That isn't butter in the bowl, it is canned frosting, Lemon by Duncan Hines.
When the frosting is well blended into the cake, it will almost look like cookie dough.
I scooped out balls, getting 45 of them again, and rolled them before putting the tray in the freezer. Depending on whose directions you read, you will never put them in the freezer, put them in for less than 5 minutes, put them in for an hour, or you'll put them in overnight. Mine were in for a bit over an hour. This photo shows the back half rolled, the front ones just having been scooped from the bowl.
This time around, I did not use Wilton Candy Melts. Wilton makes many fine products but I am not personally fond of their candy melts. When someone else mentioned this, I decided to try Kroger's brand as that was convenient. I melted the chocolate in a double boiler with the addition of a tablespoon or so of shortening to make it flow better. These first few were still looking a little rough, but I got better as I went along.
Since I still had white chocolate in a squeeze bottle from Saturday's attempt, I warmed the bottle in the microwave and added decorative lines to the balls.
They are resting on a sheet of wax paper while I decide how to plate them for tomorrow night's festivities. I'll be making them again next week when our extended family comes here to watch my town's fireworks. I think I will make them pops instead of balls, meaning they will go on lollipop sticks. I'll need to get some styrofoam to hold them while they set.
This looks much better than last week's dipped trio. The yellow cake with lemon frosting is a winning combination and the chocolate exterior makes it even nicer.

If you don't like melting chocolate or the idea intimidates you, the uncoated cake balls are really good as is.

I think pondering cake flavors and frosting combinations is going to be a fun past time.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Cake Balls

Have you read about them? Tasted them? Made them?

I have no idea who first wrote about them so I won't credit any blog or recipe source here. All I can say is that suddenly I seemed to hear or read about them every time I turned around. The basic directions called for a cake to be baked, cooled, crumbled, well mixed with a can of frosting (or an equivalent amount of homemade frosting), chilled, then scoops of this mixture rolled into balls and chilled again. The last step was coating them in melted candy coating melts. They were supposed to look like this. In this case, a red velvet cake mix was blended with cream cheese frosting and milk chocolate coating was the final touch. This particular image was the most frequently found image when I googled for cake balls.
There are many recipes/instructions for these simple little things. The one I followed said to let the cake cool for 15-20 minutes. I baked a chocolate cake in a 9 x 13 pan. After 20 minutes, it was still pretty hot when I began cutting it up and transferring it to a bowl. I attacked it with my mixer to get the crumbly cake into finer crumbs before adding the frosting. I had two half cans of frosting on hand, one dark chocolate and one milk chocolate. Sounding good, eh?

I refrigerated the mixture overnight. The time to chill wasn't specific, it was late and I was tired. The next morning I scooped the mixture into balls and attempted to coat them with white Wilton candy melts. Crumbs were breaking off and getting into the melted white chocolate. Photobucket

I stuck the balls in the freezer for a while and tried this again. I should have anticipated the result. When warm chocolate meets cold cake ball, it doesn't flow gracefully over the ball, it sets in lumps. And in smears. And in frustrating ugliness. Photobucket
I truly wanted to be a southern belle at that point so I could pitch a hissy fit, but alas I am a Michigander. All I could do was slam things around the kitchen and vow to never ever cook or bake again.

Bill, witnessing this from the safety of another room, asked if I might feel better with the air conditioning on which would lessen both the humidity in the house and decrease the steam escaping my ears. I tell you, that man is as smart and he is considerate.

The air came on, I took a shower, had a cold diet Coke and re-entered the scene of the crime. I really didn't want to make a third attempt at creating what is in the above photo so I warmed the candy melts again and put them in a squeeze bottle, then drizzled the white chocolate over the balls.
I tasted one of the pathetic looking balls and thought they might be too rich. To know my sweet tooth, you would be shocked to hear that. Not knowing exactly how they were supposed to taste and feel, I thought they were too soft and too much like fudge....not that fudge is a bad thing.

I took them to my son's barbecue anyway, telling Kim that this was not my proudest moment, but maybe someone would eat them.

Holy cow....they were a hit! One man asked me if I had been a crack dealer in a previous life because these things sure were addicting.  Photobucket

The white squiggles tended to break as the cake balls gave way to pressure of fingers when being handled.  After researching this subject online, I've decided to try them again, probably later today. I will let the cake cool longer before mixing in the frosting. I will use less frosting to start off, adding more if I think it is needed. I will chill them only for a few minutes. I will not use Wilton candy melts. Wilton is good for many things, but their melts have never been my favorite and I can't recall why I even had them in the house. I will add some shortening to the chocolate melts I bought today and see if the result is smoother.

The cake mix is yellow and the frosting is lemon. Cross your fingers for me. I'll let you know how they turn out. Maybe I'll even save a few for you. Eating Pictures, Images and Photos

Monday, June 14, 2010

21 Bits of Advice

I've been short on time and long on things to do the past few days and it looks like that will continue into the week ahead.  I hate not posting and reading my usual list of blogs though, so I am procrastinating on my to-do list and having another cup of coffee while I write and read today. Actually, I shouldn't say write, I should say cut and paste. I got a kick out of these words of wisdom and hope you do too.

1. Do not walk behind me, for I may not lead. Do not walk ahead of me, for I may not follow. Do not walk beside me either. Just pretty much leave me alone.

2. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a broken fan belt and leaky tire.

3. It's always darkest before dawn. So if you're going to steal your neighbor's newspaper, that's the time to do it.

4. Don't be irreplaceable. If you can't be replaced, you can't be promoted.

5. Always remember that you're unique. Just like everyone else.

6. Never test the depth of the water with both feet.

7. If you think nobody cares if you're alive, try missing a couple of car payments.

8. Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes.

9. If at first you don't succeed, skydiving is probably not for you.

10. Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach him how to fish, and he will sit in a boat and drink beer all day .

11. If you lend someone $20 and never see that person again, it was probably a wise investment.

12. If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything.

13. Some days you're the bug; some days you're the windshield.

14. Everyone seems normal until you get to know them.

15. The quickest way to double your money is to fold it in half and put it back in your pocket.

16. A closed mouth gathers no foot.

17. There are two theories to arguing with women. Neither one works.

18. Generally speaking, you aren't learning much when your lips are moving .

19. Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.

20. Never miss a good chance to shut up.

21. Never, under any circumstances, take a sleeping pill and a laxative on the same night.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Does Harley Davidson make strollers?

I need an awesome ride.    And a tatt.    And a 40 ouncer....of Enfamil.    Photobucket
Granny Camera won't be posting today. I plan on keeping her busy. She'll wipe the drool off my chin and I'll do the same for her.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Chicken and Crescent Roll Casserole

I won't often give recipes here, but this one is too good and too easy not to share. I got it from my sister-in-law, but in looking online, I see that it is everywhere from to Taste of Home's website. I won't claim that it is a healthy recipe if you are concerned with fat carbs or sodium. One site gave this nutrition info:

1 serving (1 cup) equals 426 calories, 31 g fat (9 g saturated fat), 68 mg cholesterol, 627 mg sodium, 17 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 18 g protein.
If I had known Bill was going to like it and eat so much of it, I would have taken a picture first. I don't think that the half pan that is left wouldn't photograph well. You'll just have to use your imagination. I should add that Bill doesn't like (or thinks he doesn't like) mayo, sour cream or water chestnuts in casseroles. He did recognize the water chestnuts but thought they were a good texture. Listen to him! I think he's been watching the Food Network!

Chicken and Crescent Rolls Casserole

3 c. cooked chicken, cubed
1 can chicken or mushroom soup
8 oz. sliced water chestnuts
2/3 c. mayonnaise
1/2 c. each onion and celery
1 (8 oz.) can crescent rolls
2/3 c. shredded Swiss cheese
4 tbsp. melted butter

Combine first 6 ingredients. Saute in pan until soft and bubbly. Pour in ungreased 9 x 13 pan. Sprinkle cheese over that. Separate rolls. Place on top. Melt butter and pour over top. Bake 25 minutes at 375 degrees or golden brown

Despite the fact that  I had chicken ready to cook yesterday, the day got away from me and I bought a cooked rotisserie chicken at Kroger to use in this recipe. I pulled the meat apart rather than cubing it. The celery I thought was in the refrigerator had disappeared so that was omitted. Hey, it's a casserole...I'm sure you can add a little, subtract a little to suit yourself.

This would be a great recipe to serve at a home party or to take to a pot luck. It is supposed to serve 8-10 people, but if you have a hungry husband who skipped lunch and really likes this dish, it won't serve that many. Photobucket

Monday, June 7, 2010

Urgent warning!!



 LOL Smiley Pictures, Images and Photos

(I had a different post planned, but Blogger wouldn't let me in for most of this afternoon.)

Sunday, June 6, 2010

More cupcakes!

Last week was my test run on a recipe and how-to directions from the books Hello, Cupcake and What's New, Cupcake. I still recommend these books, but I must be getting old and less patient as things didn't turn out as well as the photos in the books. I don't say that looking for sympathy or reassurance, I am just stating a fact. The ideas are still cute even with simpler adaptations.

Yesterday's cupcakes were for the birthday party of my 8 year old great-niece Allison. Originally I was going to make 4 cupcakes each of 6 different breeds. Somewhere along the line I said 'forget this' and went for easy. I worked on these for 4 hours Friday, and that didn't include baking time and searching for the right embellishments. It did include a trip to CVS for more Jelly Belly candies and mini M&Ms.

First up is a Dachshund. The snout and ears are cut from a Famous Chocolate Wafers. There are 30-some of these in a box for $4.69. If you need many of them, you don't want to keep breaking them. Cutting shapes, especially curved ones led to a lot of breakage.

The ears were left unfrosted, the snout had black frosting added. The beige sides of the doxie's face were supposed to be piped on with just a clip in the corner of a sandwich bag full of icing. I did use a decorator bag and tip because I had them, but wasn't happy with the lines of piping being so evident. Smoothing them over didn't work well. In general, I think they are cute but were time consuming. The eyes are white icing, brown mini M&Ms and a dot of black icing. The nose is a black Jelly Belly.
Next pupcake (cute name, eh?) was supposed to be a Beagle. I should have taken a photo of the one where I followed directions. It was a mess. The snout was supposed to be a regular size marshmallow on top of a frosted cupcake. You then frosted the marshmallow. Ever try to frost a marshmallow? 'T'ain't easy. His tongue was supposed to be half of a pink Circus Peanut. No one around here regularly sells regular Circus Peanuts, much less pink ones! To be fair, the books have resources listed for supplies used, but c'mon....who is going to order and pay for shipment when you only need a few of them and you want them in the next 24 hours?

The Beagle's ears are made from softened Tootsie Rolls. They were supposed to be on cut Chocolate Wafers (used as support) but this made them heavy and they fell off the cupcake. Humidity was not friendly to the softened Tootsie Rolls later in the day on Friday (when they were made) and the ears began to sag and slide off the pup's faces.
After I ditched the idea of following directions completely, this was the finished Beagle. His tongue is a fruit flavored Tootsie Roll and his nose is Junior Mint.

The Dalmatian presented the same snout and tongue problem as the Beagle. His ears are unfrosted and stayed in place better because they weren't so heavy. The Beagle's blue eyes and Dalmatians green ones are the result of a tube of mini M&Ms not having many brown ones per tube. I did buy more before decorating the next breed.
The ears would have looked better with more shaping, but I was amassing more cookies in the waste pile (later to be crumbled and served on ice cream?) so I left them as is.

Last of the doggies is a real chocolate, Chocolate Lab.
Those are Tootsie Rolls again for the ears and tongue. Eyes and nose courtesy of the mad dash to CVS.

I stopped breeding pupcakes at 14 and went on to simpler designs. I made 4 sunflowers with purchased sugar molded lady bugs.
Two spider cupcakes for the little boys who are bug lovers. The legs were supposed to be made of melted chocolate piped onto wax paper (following a template under the paper), hardened and placed onto of the cupcake. I knew they wouldn't travel well so I just piped frosting legs.
And lastly, four swirls of black on the frosted cupcakes with a tooth pick dragged through in opposing directions. I would definitely make these again for any occasion in pretty color combos.
I put all the cupcakes on the new stand I bought using a discount coupon at Bed, Bath & Beyond. It comes apart for easy, flatter storage than the wire stands. I had to put like cupcakes next to each other rather than stagger placement because sides, with ears etc, were touching.
The humidity got so bad on Friday, we turned the air conditioner on to preserve the pupcakes whose ears were getting droopy. God love my understanding husband!

We had to transport this stand (I was afraid to take them off) approximately 5 miles. I got into the car with them but couldn't close the door or fasten my seat belt. Bill came to the rescue. I held the bottom tier and braced the second tier with my thumbs all the way there. Bill promised to avoid sudden stops or crashes. He didn't think I would take well to the air bag deploying and getting frosting all over me. Have I ever mentioned that he can be a smart so-and-so? Photobucket

Oh, and just to make this trip more interesting, we had Colton, his diaper bag, a stroller, and our birthday gift plus those of both sons to Allison with us. Billy is taking a class on weekends and Chuck and Kim were at an all day long class at church. I think there was a square inch of space left in the car, but I wouldn't count on it. All that matters is that we, and the cupcakes, got there safely. Photobucket