Archive | May 2014

Red, White & Blue Strawberries

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Having been born in the Philippines to my Navy father and Filipina mother, I have patriotic blood running deep within. I’ve lived in the Philippines and Japan. Been to Canada and Mexico. When you step off American soil onto foreign land, it is in that moment that you recognize and appreciate what it means to be American. The government of the United States is the result of a revolution in thought. It was founded on the principle that all persons have equal rights, and that government is responsible to, and derives its powers from, a free people. These rights are guaranteed no matter your race, your gender, your religion, your sexual preference, your socioeconomic class or any other psycho-social classification. The right to be educated, more specifically the right to be an educated woman, is the right I cherish the most.

We are in the middle of the long holiday weekend. It is Memorial Day weekend. A time to remember and give thanks to those who guaranteed our American rights. The soldiers in all of our branches along with first responders serving at the local level, the firefighters, EMTs and police officers serve to protect our freedom. Freedom isn’t free. It has been paid for with blood. Let us all remember why we are gathering with family and friends for cookouts over this weekend…this holiday reminds all of us how blessed we are to live and be a part of the great

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA!

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We will be bringing to a cookout some patriotic red, white and blue strawberries! Really easy to make! Rinse and dry off ripe, fresh strawberries. I chose to use short shish kebab sticks and pierced the strawberries through the stem (but not all the way through the tip of the strawberry). You can omit this and just hold the strawberry leaves when dipping. Place blue sanding sugars in a small bowl. Melt down white candy coating (found around chocolate chips used for baking) in a small but deep enough dish that allows you to dip the strawberries 2/3 up to the stem in white candy. Gently shake off the excess. Gently dip the coated strawberry 1/3 the way up in blue sanding sugars. See the photos for how much white candy melt and blue sanding sugar to use. If using shish kebab sticks, place sticks in a styrofoam block until the white candy melt sets. If not using shish kebab sticks, gently lay the dipped strawberry onto wax paper until the white candy melt sets.

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We are also taking one of our favorite desserts with us, our Strawberry Pretzel Dessert! Yum, yum, yum! Be safe friends and family and give thanks to those who deserve our respect this memorial weekend!

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Happy Mother’s Day

Looking for a unique, inexpensive and super thoughtful Mother’s Day gift? Look no further! Make her therMOMeters! 

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They are pretzel rods dipped in white candy melt with a drizzled red line and drizzled black hash marks. They were so easy to make! Literally took a total of an hour to make over 60 of these! The hardest part was finding 60 intact pretzel rods! I used 3 squeeze bottles (like for ketchup and mustard) to make these. I filled one bottle with the white candy melt discs. Popped the plastic bottle in the microwave for 60 seconds. Then I squeezed the bottle and put it back in for 25 seconds. Although I filled the bottle to the top with the candy melts, once they melted down, it was about 1/2 full. I just put more candy melts inside and gave it another two times in the microwave at 25-30 second increments squeezing the bottle between cycles. Make sure the white candy melt goes all the way to the top! Do not put on the lid. Lay out wax paper. Dip the pretzel rods straight down into the bottle. Gently swirl the rod in a circular motion over the bottle opening to allow the excess candy melt to drip back down. Lay flat on the wax paper. Repeat until all rods are dipped. I had to refill the plastic squeeze bottle one time with candy melt discs and put it back in the microwave. Toward the end, I would dip the rod and gently squeeze the bottle (don’t squeeze so tight that you are touching the rod inside) and the candy melt would come up the rod and cover it. Repeat the same steps in melting the red and black candy melts in their own bottles. Squeeze a dollop of red (to create the bulb) and pull down the length of the white. Repeat until all rods have red bulb/lines (be sure the white is fully set before squeezing on the red). Once the red is fully set, squeeze black hash marks in even increments up the rod). These were so easy to make and so cute. 

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Here’s the tag above that you can download and paste into a Word document. Just right click over the picture and choose something like “save as” and save it to your computer. Tie the tag with a ribbon around the rim of the mason jar for the cutest Mother’s Day gift ever!

LPN Graduation Party

craftycreativekathy.wordpress.comI am so proud of my husband! He stuck it out and saw it through! Going back to college in  your 40’s is no walk in the part but he was determined to show our children it is never too late to dream and never too late to learn! With the help of family and friends we threw the biggest surprise graduation party I’ve ever been to! There were around 90 family and friends there to celebrate with us! In 19 years together, I’ve never been able to surprise the hubby. He always figures it out if I’m up to something and often can guess exactly what it is I bought him for his birthday or Christmas…it’s quite annoying! But no more! I got him good and he was so humbled by the show of support and love! Just wanted to share a couple of goodies I had made for his party and also what went into his Thank You baggies!

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First I have to throw up a picture of the 3 loves of my life! When you graduate from nursing school, it is all about the pinning ceremony. It is during this ceremony that someone you choose who is important to you pins you officially making you a nurse. Steve from the beginning wanted our sons to pin him! It brought tears to my eyes seeing my 2 1/2 men on stage! A very proud Pack moment for sure!

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No grad party (or any party I have anything to do with, lol) is complete without cake pops! I found these awesome Wilton mini cupcake liners that went perfect with my famous dip and drop cake pops. I made the personalized flags to complete the cake pops!

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I had to come up with some centerpieces for the large picnic tables. I try to always make something functional and making the centerpieces edible did the trick! I made thermometer rods! They are pretzel rods dipped in white candy melt with a drizzled red line and drizzled black hash marks. They were so easy to make! Literally took a total of an hour to make over 60 of these! The hardest part was finding 60 intact pretzel rods! I used 3 squeeze bottles (like for ketchup and mustard) to make these. I filled one bottle with the white candy melt discs. Popped the plastic bottle in the microwave for 60 seconds. Then I squeezed the bottle and put it back in for 25 seconds. Although I filled the bottle to the top with the candy melts, once they melted down, it was about 1/2 full. I just put more candy melts inside and gave it another two times in the microwave at 25-30 second increments squeezing the bottle between cycles. Make sure the white candy melt goes all the way to the top! Do not put on the lid. Lay out wax paper. Dip the pretzel rods straight down into the bottle. Gently swirl the rod in a circular motion over the bottle opening to allow the excess candy melt to drip back down. Lay flat on the wax paper. Repeat until all rods are dipped. I had to refill the plastic squeeze bottle one time with candy melt discs and put it back in the microwave. Toward the end, I would dip the rod and gently squeeze the bottle (don’t squeeze so tight that you are touching the rod inside) and the candy melt would come up the rod and cover it. Repeat the same steps in melting the red and black candy melts in their own bottles. Squeeze a dollop of red (to create the bulb) and pull down the length of the white. Repeat until all rods have red bulb/lines (be sure the white is fully set before squeezing on the red). Once the red is fully set, squeeze black hash marks in even increments up the rod). These were so easy to make and so cute. I did wrap each one individually for the party. I used wide mouth canning jars filled lightly with foil shredded paper on the bottom. I was able to get about 5-6 in each mason jar. It was so cute and I received a lot of compliments on them. Be sure to check out my other post on how to turn these thermometers into an awesome Mother’s Day gift HERE.

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Lastly, with that many people who attended his party, I knew I wanted to have the Thank You bags ready for guests as they were leaving (saving us time and money sending out Thank You cards in the mail). Also, it gave me the chance to personalize his Thank You gifts with a nurse theme! Enclosed in each bag was a tiny bottle of bubbles found at Dollar Tree (you get 6 for only $1.00). The bottles each had these cute graduation caps on top for the lids! Next there were 2 band-aids, 2 antibiotic packets and a lifesaver inside. I found these awesome thank you cards at Flower Factory. They were only $10.00 for 50 of the cards with envelopes! The inside was blank. I made a tag using Word. If you read the card, the Lifesaver candy really completed the bags! With fancy scissors the tags were cut out and taped down using double-sided tape. I also had a small wallet-size photo of Steve in his scrubs. The red bags themselves were purchased at Flower Factory and were around $3.00 for 12. A total of 48 bags were made and laid out on the end of the gift/card table. The Thank You bags were perfect! Big props going out to Rhonda who was the one who actually put the bags together for me! I couldn’t have done this surprise graduation party without the help of family and friends! Thanks to Beth, Rhonda, Lamira, Tami and Steve’s parents, Ingrid and Chuck, who provided all the food! Grilled Italian chicken breasts, boneless marinated pork, hotdogs and several different salads! What a wonderful memory we will always have!

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Congrats Steve, we are really proud of you!

Blessings

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I had a very ulterior motive when I started this blog full of crafts and recipes. With every recipe, I post the directions along with several photos. I am PHighting pulmonary hypertension. It is a battle I will lose one day. Before that happens, I want my children to have our family recipes.

Pumpkin Cake with Apple Cider Glaze – craftycreativekathy.wordpress.com

I want to create a photo book that is a Pack Family Cookbook full of the recipes we love and pictures of each step of the directions. Keeping the recipes all on my blog will make it easy for me to copy the recipes and photos over to a photo book. I plan on putting photos of our family throughout our personal cookbook. I will then make two copies, one for each of our sons. When pulmonary hypertension wins, the kids will have something that will always remind them of their mommy. That was always the plan. One day when they are adults, they can tell their kids that what they are eating for dinner was Grandma’s recipe.

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In the process of maintaining my blog, I felt compelled to share our story, our PHight with pulmonary hypertension. The problem with pulmonary hypertension is that it is a rare disease. Not many people know what it is. I am a nurse and didn’t know what pulmonary hypertension was. We all know what hypertension is. Regular (peripheral) hypertension is a common diagnosis. When you put “pulmonary” in front of it though, it turns into a nightmare. I bared all HERE about our PHight because awareness is the key…it is the answer. If awareness increases then funding increases. If the funding increases then the research increases. If the research increases then the treatment options increase. Eventually, we will have a cure for this dreaded disease but it starts with just raising awareness.

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My blog is just a tiny part of the enormous World Wide Web. I’m in awe when folks stumble onto my website. I don’t advertise. I don’t have sponsors. I am touched when someone finds my blog and takes the time to read about our PHight. I am humbled when they take the time to leave an uplifting comment. And today, I am speechless because someone who stumbled on my blog, took the time to read our story, found it in their heart to comment, went farther than I have ever imagined.

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Ms. Laura Young made a tribute donation in honor of myself to the Pulmonary Hypertension Association. This has never happened to me before. I have not ever met Ms. Laura Young. Our interaction was brief: she left a very kind comment and I responded with an appreciative comment. Yet this one person took the time to make a donation to the very organization that is funding some cutting-edge research on pulmonary hypertension. My goal with sharing our story was to raise awareness…never did I think it would lead to a donation.

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Thank you Ms. Laura Young. You’ve touched my heart. The world is full of amazing people and I’m thankful that one of those amazing people stumbled onto my little ol’ blog. Ms. Laura, you have made my day, my month, my year, and my life with your thoughtful gesture.

May God bless you always.