{recipe & tutorial} Red Velvet Crackle Cookies

If there is one thing I always have in the pantry and fridge it's cake mix and cream cheese!  So, when I went to make some cookies for my husband's young men's church group I thought, what's better than the two of them together in a cookie?  These cookies are rich and chocolatey and all of the young men raved about their yumminess to my husband.
1 Red Velvet Cake Mix 
1 8oz Cream Cheese, softened to room temp
1/2 Cup Butter, softened to room temp
1 Egg
1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract
1/2 Bag of Semi Sweet Chocolate Chip Morsels
Confectioner's Sugar

First, beat together the room temperature butter and cream cheese.  Next add the egg and vanilla extract and beat until incorporated.  Now, mix in the red velvet cake mix, cover and chill in the fridge for 30-45 minutes. 
 Meanwhile, dust the chocolate chips in flour.  If you don't cover your chocolate chips in flour they sink to the bottom of the cookie while baking.  After dough has chilled add the chips to the cake mix and form into tablespoon sized balls.
 Next, roll the cake balls into a good amount of confectioner's sugar and place on a cookie sheet a couple of inches apart.  Then, take a cup and smoosh the balls down semi-flat.  If you don't flatten them a little they will remain in a ball form.
Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 10-12 minutes.
 These cookies are divine!  They are soft.  They are chewy.  They are so rich you won't need many to get your fix.  Enjoy!  We sure did.


{recipe} Strawberry Almond Whoopie Pies

Cake mixes make my life so much easier.  Let's face it-- with two toddlers running around easier is better in this case.  I put together these strawberry almond whoopie pies in a matter of minutes for a girls craft night get together and they were a hit!  Delish and easy I tell ya!
1 Strawberry Cake Mix
1/3 Cup Vegetable Oil
2 Eggs
4 oz. Cream Cheese, Softened to room temp
1/4 Cup Butter, Softened to room temp
1 1/2 Cups Confectioner's Sugar
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 1/2 Teaspoons Almond Extract
Directions & Assembling:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  While the oven is heating up mix together the cake mix, oil and eggs.  Next, using a rounded tablespoon scoop the dough onto your cookie sheet-- leave a couple of inches between the cookies.  Bake for 8-10 minutes.  Let cool completely on rack before assembling.
While cookies are baking beat together your cream cheese, butter, vanilla and almond extract with powder sugar.  Add small increments of the almond extract at a time.  I love the cherry flavoring it gives baked goods, but depending on how much you like the taste of almond extract you could add a little more or a little less (or omit it all together, but then it would be called a 'strawberry vanilla whoopie pie').  When assembling the cookies I use that same tablespoon and plop a good amount on one side and take the other cookie and close it up, pushing the frosting out the sides.
TIP-- don't push the cookies together too hard or the filling will spill out. Also, these cookies are much easier to eat after they have sat for an hour or two assembled.  That is, if you can resist letting them sit on the counter that long.  :)


{free printable & project share} Felt Valentines Envelopes & Simple Message Cards

These felt Valentines envelopes are all over the internet so it's nothing new here. I made these fun envelopes last year and thought I would share with a free printable.  Inspired by PotteryBarn Kids I made these out of heavy weight felt and followed this tutorial from The Crafting Chicks.
 I followed the tutorial almost completely, but added a little of my own flair with the glittery letters.
 Are these glittered hearts not so stinkin' cute?  I found them at JoAnn's for $2, but after looking at them I think they would be fairly easy to recreate.  All you would need would be two sizes of  wooden hearts, mesh backing, glitter and you're good to go.  If you don't have a drill you could easily attach some ribbon to the back with a staple gun or glue.  In fact, I just might make a sparkly heart bunting to hang above my fireplace.

 What else would complete these envelopes, but some printable Valentines note cards?
Download your note cards HERE.


{tutorial & free printable} Sweets for the Sweet Valentines Pillow Box

Today you'll find me guest posting over at Whatever DeeDee Wants with this fun printable.  Head on over for this FREE printable and assembling tutorial.
Valentines is  dangerous holiday for me!  I have no will-power when it comes to the sugary goodness found on isle after isle at the grocery store.  So this pillow box printable is going to help me get some of this candy out of my house and into someone else's.
 Uh oh... this little sweetie-pie has inherited the love of candy from his mother!  What's a mom to do?
 To download the Valentines pillow box printable go HERE.
Also, don't forget to head on over to Whatever DeeDee Wants for the full tutorial and other fun Valentines projects she has in store.


{free printable} Valentines Day Tags

Before I got married I referred to Valentines Day as "Single Awareness Day", but even those that are single can still get on the V-Day fun with these cute tags.  We've decided to mix it up this year and give out popcorn in brown paper bags to the little ones.  Heaven knows they'll get enough sweets from everyone else. :)
My little one LOVES popcorn and can smell it from a mile away!
 These tags could be used for your kidlet's friends, classmates or your co-workers.  Who doesn't love receiving a little sweet treat?
Download your tags HERE


{tutorial} Upholstered Headboard Squares

First I have to apologize...as I was knee-deep into my project I realized I had not taken any photographs with my camera so I pulled out my iphone and snapped a few blurry shots.  I wish the quality was better, but it is what it is.
After seeing this headboard on DIY Network webpage I immediately went into action to create my own little version.  Once I had collected everything I needed in order to finish this project it came together relatively quick.  Needed for this headboard project is:  Styrofoam Mattress Pad, Scissors, Upholstery Batting, Staple Gun, Wood Squares, Fabric, Wood Particle Board, Hammer, and Screw Gun.

 Please keep in mind this headboard is for a full-size bed so all dimensions stated are for such size.  I bought the wood at Lowes and since we moved to NM we don't have access to my father-in-law's tools so I had the man at Lowes cut the board into twelve 13.5" squares.  Did you know Lowes doesn't charge for such cuts? I was certain it was going to cost an arm and a leg, but nope it was free and fast!
First I cut the mattress pad into twelve 13.5" squares.  As for the batting I just eye-balled it.  When cutting the batting I made sure to leave a 4" over hanging border so it could wrap around easily for stapling.  I also cut my fabric using the same dimensions I used for the batting.  Next, I just stapled around the edges making sure to pull tightly.  If you don't pull tight on the fabric and batting it will pucker and look sloppy.  And nobody likes a sloppy headboard, right?

 The corners were a bit tricky because of the batting thickness.  I found that folding the left side in and then the top over that made the cleanest fold.
Tip:  If your staples don't go all the way in take a hammer and pound them down into the wood.
After all boards are upholstered I screwed them tightly into a board from the back.  This is were a friend or significant other comes in handy.  Four hands really are better than two sometimes.  I wanted the boards to be butted up against each other as tight as they could go, so my hubby screwed from behind while I pushed the boards together from the front.  Once all boards are screwed in place just lean against the wall behind the bed-- this helps keep the headboard in place.
Just FYI-- we tried a couple of wall mounting methods.  Our first fail was double sided sticky pads, but let's be honest they held for maybe 5 minutes.  Our second fail was hanging each individual board with saw tooth metal picture hangers, but we couldn't get the boards close enough together.  Also, with the hanging method the boards could easily fall off on the guests when they were leaned against, so this was a BIG FAIL!
Perfect for my guest bedroom and the many holiday guests we had joining us.


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