Wednesday, December 26, 2012

See you next year...

I'm hoping that each and every one of you had a joyful and safe Christmas.  Ours was fabulous!!  It is after days like these that I feel extra blessed beyond words.  Life is truly wonderful and so are the amazing people who surround me!!  Most years I am sad to see the holidays go but I have to admit that I am ready.  I gave each of the kids a tree to undecorate today...I love to have them up early but once Christmas is over they are outta here!!  Back to Normal (if there is such a thing) we come!!

I am so excited to share with you some extra special & fun things but they will have to wait until after the NEW YEAR.  I am going to take the rest of year off to get my crazy but wonderful life back in order (the holidays always do a number on me).  I wish you all the best and hope that 2013 is one of happiness and love.  Sweet wishes-

Monday, December 24, 2012

Twas the Night before Christmas...

Twas the night before Christmas, when at my humble little home,
Three doggies lie dreaming of a holiday bone...

The trees are all lit, the gifts are wrapped and paid,
stockings are still not hung because mommy never got new ones made...

Kids are with their dad and his family tonight,
but will be here later to wake at mornings first light.

Unwrapping presents will be the first thing we do,
each taking turns and opening a few.

Tater's favorite gift will be breakfast of course,
while Tales will still be wishing that she had gotten a horse.

Sugared bacon and monkey bread will make the house smell so yummy,
fresh fruit and cup of coffee will be dance on our tummy.

With smiles on our faces and memories to make,
A long snowy ride to my parents we will take.

To spend time with friends and family we hold dear,
the true meaning of Christmas will become crystal clear.

A hug for Papa and Mamu are a definite must,
for we love them such BIG BUNCHES we are about to bust.

Playing games with cousins and having such fun,
are just a few of the moments that let you know the holiday has begun.

My sweet Mom & Dad will provide such a delicious spread,
while the thought of dessert will be in each of our heads.

The choices are endless with a family like ours,
I will have a little piece of each pie and a few holiday bars.

The day will end with more hugs and maybe a kiss under the mistletoe,
and the joy of spending time with family will be something we know.

Happy Holiday wishes from Sweet Taters and Tales to you,
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year Too!!

Sweet poem-

Friday, December 21, 2012

Weekly Thought-Week 50

Week 50-Christmas should be in your heart and not under the tree.

I am someone who LOVES to give gifts.  Going out and finding something that I think someone will love and watching them open it on Christmas is the best but as I get older and have more life experiences I realize that as much fun as that may are NOT what Christmas is!! 

Being a single parent on Christmas has given me a couple of different perspectives...first of all you just can't afford what you could on two incomes (now let me clarify that in saying that my kids WILL NOT do without...they are extremely blessed)...secondly you now have to share your most precious people over the holidays and that can be tough because kids are what it is ALL about (I should clarify that by saying that as hard as it is for me to share them...I know that they should get time with each of us & they enjoy it).  What I am trying to point out is that a few years ago Christmas was about buying gifts and although I still love to do that the meaning of Christmas has changed and become more about the time spent with those you love. 

My heart is always with my sweet babies, even when I don't have them but when I do have them I want to make every moment count.  Making memories and keeping traditions is more important then having the perfect gift under the tree.  Sweet life- 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Snowman Treats...

When you think of mini powdered doughnuts what do you imagine...besides breakfast!!  Well, if your mind was glued together with craziness and glittered with nonsense (like mine) then you would think of a snowman on a stick.  For some reason...beyond my comprehension...the other day when I passed the miniature powdered sugar doughnuts I thought of a snowman and how if you put three of them together on a stick and decorated them with fun candies it would be a really cool gift for some sweet kids I know...and an even more fun project for kids to make themselves (run-onnnnnnnn sentence over).  

I assembled my donuts, M&M's, mini chocolate chips, pretzel sticks, fruit by the foot and wooden skewers... 

To begin I put three donuts on the stick...

Then I realized that I didn't have anything for the nose.  So I decided to cut down an orange slice...

Using a little frosting in the middle of the bottom two donuts I added the M&M's like buttons...

Then I used the fruit by the foot for the scarf.  Cut it to length, fold in half, wrap around between the top two doughnuts and then use scissors to cut the bottom like fringe...

I then used additional frosting to attach the two mini chocolate chip eyeballs, four mini chocolate chips for the mouth and the orange slice nose.  I also added the pretzel sticks to the middle doughnut for arms...


Wrap them in a cellophane bag and they are ready to give...

I really think this might just be my favorite project of the holiday season.  Tales, Harley, Lanie and I made some the other night and it was such a fun and tasty project.  Make them to give or have your sweet babies make them over the weekend for a perfect holiday project.  Sweet snowmen-

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Cookie Remake and Packaging...

Most years I am pretty prepared...I have thought out and planned my holiday baking, right down to the shopping list.  This year I find myself behind...I haven't wrapped...I still have a quilt to sew for a stockings are not hung because I am wanting to make new ones and holiday baking for friends and clue of what to do!!!  Then I remembered that over St. Patricks day of this year I gave you the recipe for a chocolate cookie that is made from a cake mix and topped with mint flavored cream cheese frosting. 

They are one of favorite cookies for a number of reasons...
1) They are super simple
 2) They bake up soft (my favorite)
3) Did I mention that they are super simple?? 
You literally only need 8 ingredients and that includes the frosting.  So as the countdown to Christmas continues (1 week by the way) and time is running seemed like an obvious and tasty choice for some quick gift giving.

To keep with the Christmas theme I decided to stick with peppermint.  The combination of chocolate and mint this time of year makes me a very happy mama!!  I dyed the frosting a pink color and topped with Peppermint baking chips...

I found them at Walmart in the holiday baking section.  I prefer them to crushed candy canes because they are soft like a chocolate chip.

The next step was packaging them up and although I like to bake...this is my favorite part.  I love taking a simple cookie and giving them a fun and festive look that is perfect for gift giving...

My supplies again came from  A little paper filler (from the Dollar Store) and some simple ribbon complete the look.
Sweet packaging-

P.S. To find the recipe go to archives on the right hand side of the blog.  It is under March 2012.  Enjoy.

Monday, December 17, 2012

A day of remembrance & a winner...

Today I had planned on sharing with you another way to gift cookies but in light of the tragedy in Connecticut I feel like today should be a day to reflect and remember. 
I am sending prayers to all affected by this terrible act (as I am sure you all are too).  My heart hurts for them and the grief they are enduring.  We all need to take an extra moment to love our family and hug our precious children tight. 


On a lighter note I want to take a moment to thank all of you for entering the giveaway that Lacey at ACH has so graciously donated.  There were a record setting number of entries but there could only be one winner and that is...

Shara Wilkie

Congratulations Shara.  You can pickup your fabulous prize at ACH anytime.
A big Thank you to all who entered!! 
 Sweet remembrance-

Friday, December 14, 2012

Weekly Thoughts-Week 49

Week 49-The Holidays make me happy!!

As you know...I am crazy about this time of year!!  It truly is my happy time!  This year is especially wonderful because I am in such a great place in my life...dare I say..."The happiest I have ever been!!"  That combined with the joys of the holiday season make my heart very full. 

*I love the giving that happens this time of year and I don't mean gifts...I mean the generosity to help others.  *I love the traditions that the holidays bring and passing them down to my sweet babies. 
*I love spending time with those I love. 

Sweet Holidays-


Don't forget to enter the giveaway going on right now for some fabulous items from ACH.  It is open until Sunday December 16th at midnight.  Winner will be announced right here on Monday...Good Luck!!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

A Christmas giveaway...

Today I have teamed up with Lacey at A Country Home Floral (ACH) to bring you a fabulous give away...because lets get real...what is Christmas without gifts?? 

Lacey's fabulous shop is filled with AMAZING things all year long but at Christmas time it becomes a magical place.  There are trees adorned with beautiful ornaments, stoneware, candles, fresh flowers, wreaths, linens, home decorations and so many other awesome things!!  In fact too many things to even begin to I took a few photos so that you can see for yourself...

The winner will receive a holiday candle and a set of dish towels, just in time for the holidays!!!
Keep them for yourself or give them as a gift.

You have until Sunday December 16th at midnight to enter a number of different ways. 

1) Comment on this post
2) Like or comment on my facebook post
3) Share my facebook post and GET TWO ENTRIES
4) Leave me or Lacey (ACH) a message on our Facebook pages
5) Go into ACH and enter your name

On Monday we will announce the winner right here and at ACH.  Good Luck and Happy Holidays!!  Sweet Gift-

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Giving a little extra dough...

My most favorite gift to give someone is something yummy and that goes for Christmas or anytime of year.  I think that home cooked gifts can make anyone feel special.  Instead of going to a store and throwing something in your basket, you are actually using your hands to create something personal and heartfelt.  Have I mentioned that I love this time of year?  Oh!  About 100 times you say!!  Oops, let me make that 101. :)

I'm sure we can ALL agree that getting a plate of delicious cookies can completely make your day.  The only thing better than that is getting a plate of WARM delicious cookies but that is hard to I have a plan!  Instead of giving them baked cookies...I will give them a little dough...COOKIE dough!!  It will be ready to bake and in just a few minutes their homes will be filled with the fabulous aroma of fresh baked cookies.  Another bonus is that if they aren't ready for it right now then it can be thrown in the freezer for up to 3 months.  Brilliant I say!!

Again I am using a container and lid from

One of my favorite kinds of cookies is Oatmeal...I just love the texture and softness.  My only request with an Oatmeal cookie is...NO RAISINS!!!  So this time I used a mixture of Mini Chocolate Chips and toffee bits.  Let me just say...that was a good choice!!

I began by making the dough...


2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/2 cup shortening (I prefer butter flavored)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
3 cups quick-cook or old-fashioned oats
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup mini chocolate chips
1/4 cup toffee bits

Preheat oven to 375°.  Beat all of the ingredients together using an electric mixer except the oats, flour, chocolate chips and toffee until well combined.  Stir in oats, flour, chips and toffee.

Drop by rounded tablespoons 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake for 9-11 minutes or until edges are golden and centers are set.  Remove from cookie sheet immediately and cool on wire rack.
Instead of baking the cookies I filled a container with the dough.  I then made tags to attach.  One with the name of the cookie and the other with instructions for how to bake them.

A little Christmas ribbon & it can be delivered to one of besties tomorrow...

This dough can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days and in the freezer for up to 3 months.
It is a perfect gift for anyone on your list.  Sweet dough-

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Sweet Coffee Gift...

For a lot of people (including by kids...BAD MOM ALERT) coffee makes the world go round...or at least begin rotating every morning.  I unfortunately am not a fan & that kind of makes me sad.  I sometimes envy all of the coffee drinkers who go to fun coffee shops and carry around cool paper cups filled with a yummy SOUNDING combination of flavors.  I think somewhere inside myself I feel like I am missing out on something.  Oh well...a cup of boring ol' tea is just going to have to do.

I do however like to give gifts that I know people will love.  So for the sweet secretaries at the high school and middle school who are like second mothers to my sometimes needy children...I thought this would be perfect way to say "Thank you for all that you do!!"

Before I get too far into the post I want to tell you that ALL of the fun cups, lids, spoons, straws, etc...were all purchased at  It is a great place to shop for fun gift giving containers because you can buy them in small quantities.  In fact you will see a lot of items from there over the next couple of weeks.

I started off with the flavored coffee mixture.  You will need 1/2 cup of instant coffee granules, 1/2 cup of non-dairy creamer (powder), 1 cup of sugar, 1/2 cup of cocoa, a pinch of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of peppermint extract.  

Combine all of the dry ingredients into a bowl and mix until well combined.  Then add the 1/2 teaspoon of peppermint extract over the top of the mixture and mix again...

For each serving you will need 3-4 heaping teaspoons of the mix.  So I packaged enough of the mix for at least one serving into a small clear bag, along with instructions of how to make it. --Add 3-4 heaping teaspoons of mix to 1 cup of boiling water--

To add a little extra chocolate and peppermint flavor I dipped a few spoons in melted chocolate and sprinkled them with peppermint candy.  You could use a plastic spoon but I just couldn't resist these cute little things.  I especially love that you can write on them with a Sharpie!!  So cute...

Then it was just a matter of making them look adorable.  I also wanted to be sure that it was something they could make and enjoy at work without any extra supplies.  I put a little filler in each coffee cup along with the peppermint coffee mix, two wrapped spoons and a coordinating straw.  To the outside of the cup I attached a message and description of the gift...

I hope they are pleasantly surprised and holding a cup of hot coffee right now.  Sweet coffee-

Monday, December 10, 2012

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

Even though the weather may not be aware of this...Christmas is in 2 weeks!!  I hate to break that bit of news to all of you precious readers out there but it is true...14 days and this whirl wind we call Christmas will be here and gone.  I'm a little sad about that for a couple of reasons-
1) My house decorating has been more of a work in progress then a completed the time I am finished it will be time to take it down. :( 
2) I have a ton of awesome ideas to share with you and I haven't even started yet...I better get busy!
3) I always tend to feel a MAJOR let down when Christmas is over and the New Year begins...silly...I know.

So to begin my Christmas posts (incredibly late) I thought I would share some of my home decorations.  The last three years I have lived in three different homes for Christmas.  For me that means reworking and reinventing my existing decorations to fill a new home with cheer. 

My mantel shelf in the front room is my new "favorite" place to decorate.
I added garlands, raffia, a cute Santa, my "JOY" letters and a few other items to finish it off...

To my hutch I used an old bottle to hold some fresh cedar boughs and few other fun things...

 I have to tell you that I have 3 trees in my house.  Now that isn't a typo, you really did read 3!!
The kids have one for all of their ornaments that we have collected over the years and
I have one that I keep simple (because that how I roll...hehe) and then there is the kitchen tree...
I just love this little tree and the ornaments on it...

My sweet mama gave me this old lantern just before I decorated.  A little ribbon, garland and a star make it perfectly festive...

A look into my kitchen...

This snowman is one of my newest additions (thank you to the girls at Bloomers)...

More kitchen...

To finish the coffee table in the living room I used an old antique sewing machine drawer, two different garlands and a red candle...

So as you can see it is beginning to look a lot like Christmas at our house and I am promising that it going to look A WHOLE LOT LIKE CHRISTMAS on this blog over the next few weeks.
Stay tuned-Sweet Christmas-

Friday, December 7, 2012

Weekly Thoughts-Week 48

Week 48-What I have learned about myself in the last week...I am not SUPERwoman and I may be multi-tasking impaired!!

Some of my faithful readers may have noticed...I have been M.I.A.!!  Not completely missing...I am really still right here where I always am but missing from the bloggosphere!!  Everyday this week I tell myself...I need to get a blog up...and everyday the 100's of mini-desserts I am making for an event this weekend take over my evening.  Now don't get me wrong...I AM VERY thankful for the business and extra money this is providing my family...especially this time of year...I just can't seem to get ANYTHING else done.  I had previously thought that I was a master multi-tasker and now I realize that I was just fooling my silly self because NOT SO MUCH!!  Anyhoo...I just really wanted to let all of you know that I am trying but much to my dismay I have realized that I just CAN NOT get everything done!!!  Please hang in there with me...I promise some great things are coming!!  Sweet time management-

Friday, November 30, 2012

Lacey's PB Cup Cuppies...

At the end of October my lil' ol' blog turned 1 year old and to celebrate I gave away a dozen personalized cupcakes to one sweet reader.  Lacey Ringulet (the owner and creative mind at A Country Home Floral) was the lucky winner.  We spoke a couple of times and I would pick her brain about different things that she enjoyed to eat.  Fortunately for me she is a food lover (like myself) the sky was really the limit.

I thought about going for something that was not really my taste because it is nice to step outside of your comfort zone and because all of you coconut lovers out there may NEVER get a recipe from just isn't my favorite.  The fact is that...I JUST COULDN'T DO IT!!  In my original conversation with Lacey she told me her favorite candy bar was a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup and I couldn't shake matter how hard I tried to divert that out of my mind I ALWAYS came back to this tasty combination.

To begin I started with a chocolate cake mix.  I have never had much luck (because of the elevation here- 4800 feet) with homemade cake recipes.  Plus "doctoring up" a regular cake mix is not only 10 times is also fabulously moist and delicious. 

To make the cake you will need 1 chocolate cake mix, 1 small package instant pudding mix, 4 eggs, 2/3 cup oil, 1 cup milk, 1/2 cup sour cream and 1 teaspoon vanilla...

Mix the ingredients with an electric mixer for 2 minutes on medium speed(mixture will be thick) and then transfer to your lined muffin pan.  Be sure to only fill each cup about 2/3 of the way full.  Bake at 350° for 15-18 minutes or until tooth pick inserted in center comes out clean.  Allow to cool completely on wire rack.

For the frosting you will need 1/2 cup of softened butter, 8 oz. of cream cheese, 1/4 cup of peanut butter, 4 cups powdered sugar and vanilla extract...

Mix the ingredients with an electric mixer and pipe the frosting on each cupcake. 

Use a knife to spread the frosting out.

Dip the top of the cupcake into melted Wilton chocolate...

While the chocolate is still wet top the cupcake with a chunk of what else...A PB Cup...

Once bite into this little piece of heaven and you are going to be hooked!!

Sweet winner- 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Weekly Thoughts-Week 48

Week 48 -Giving is better than receiving!!

I love this time of year because it is such a great time to thank and remember those who are there for you throughout the year.  A simple gesture of kindness can brighten a day quicker than anything because lets face it...everyone likes to be thought of (Ok, receiving is good too)!!  Taking a moment to remember your mail man/woman, garbage driver, child's teacher, neighbors, great friends...whom ever it is that you want to say thank you too is such a nice and heartfelt gesture.  I encourage all of you to surprise someone with a small token of your appreciation this holiday season. 
To get you all in the mood, throughout the month of December I will be sharing with you many ideas for simple and affordable things that can easily be put together for those people on your gift giving list.  Sweet giving-

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Christmas "JOY"...

Thanksgiving 2013 has officially been put in the books.  It was a wonderful long weekend filled with family, food and a ton of fun...I couldn't have asked for anything more!!  As much as I love Thanksgiving I am always excited for the Christmas season to begin.  For me it starts the moment my stomach is full of turkey and I am on the road with my mom & sisters in search of Black Friday deals.

To get myself in the mood for decorating I decided to make a fun and adorable decoration to add to my already giant collection.  It is a simple project that can be completed with only a few items.

Card board letters (purchased at Jo Ann's for $2.99 each), yarn of choice and my always handy glue gun...

Using my hot glue gun to hold the yarn in place...I began wrapping the yarn around the letters.  It gets a little trickier on the small edges but just use a little more glue and it will work well.  It truly is a project that anyone can accomplish...I promise.

The finished product is a perfect addition to my home for the holidays.  I love the yarn I chose because it reminds me of a cozy sweater and who doesn't love cozy this time of year.  I can hardly wait to finish up the decorating and share it with all of you.

Sweet Joy-

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Weekly Thoughts-Week 47

Week 47-Today I am thankful for my life. 

I can hardly believe that Thanksgiving is tomorrow!!  The holiday season has snuck up on me and I usually don't let that happen.  Parenting has been A WHOLE LOT of challenging the last week and so I feel a little blindsided by Turkey Day!!  Luckily my sweet mama is taking most of the burden of preparing our meal and I just need to bring a salad and dessert because I think if it were up to me a frozen dinner would be served this year. 

The fact is that even with the stress of parenting I feel pretty darn lucky to be living the life that I have been given.  I am blessed with an abundance of family and friends!!  I am dating someone who is amazing and lucky for me he has two sweet girls who bring even more joy into my life.  I am healthy and the happiest I have been in FOREVER!!  I have a job that I enjoy and allows me to be the mom I want to be.  My new home is MINE and it is warm, cozy, and perfect for my family.  Most importantly I have two beautiful children and even though times can get a little tough...I love them more than words could EVER express!!  Tater and Tales make my life complete.  Sweet thankfulness-

Be sure to tune in...Christmas will be taking over Sweet Taters and Tales starting Monday!!!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Candy bar going away gift...

Last week one of Tales good friends and her family moved to Colorado.  It is so sad when a good friend leaves you...especially when it is so far away.  I know that they will be friends forever but it changes things.  Luckily with today's technology they can face time, skype, email, text, and call when time permits. 

Before they left we wanted to make sure and have dinner with them (minus her Dad...he had already left).  We also wanted to take a little something special to her for a gift.  Something that would be inexpensive, yet cute and personal.  I decided that I was going to use candy bars to describe the many ways that Taylea was going to miss her.  It would be fun and could double as snacks for the long car ride they were going to be making.

To start I brain stormed and decided that these were the candies and sayings that I would use...

Gummy Bears-because you are a beary good friend.
100 Grand-because I wouldn't trade our friendship for 100 Grand.
Extra Gum-because our friendship is Extra special.
Snickers-because I love to Snicker with you.
Pop Rocks-because you Rock!
Mounds-because your are Mounds of fun.

This note was attached to the outside of a gift bag...

I then went to the store and purchase the candy I was looking for and used my computer to print out the sayings for each bar.  To attach the saying I used a hole punch and raffia...

It was a sweet gift for a sweet friend that Taylea will surely miss.  Sweet goodbyes-

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Budget Beef-Hamburger Hash

At my house breakfast for dinner is welcomed...if fact it may even be preferred.  Actually I think that my children could eat breakfast foods three times a day for weeks and be completely satisfied.  Myself, on the other hand...I love breakfast food...just usually not for breakfast.  I am not a breakfast eater...I try...I just don't love it at that time of the day but make it for dinner and I am all in!!

Most hashes are made with sausage, bacon or ham but this one I used some good ol' burger and it was delish.  The combination of all of the ingredients (even if some are a little unusual) really pulls this dish together in a tasty way.  Having it only use one pot makes it even pot meals rock!!! 

To make it you will need 1 lb. of hamburger, 4 medium sized russet potatoes (peeled and cut into 1/2" chunks), 2 grated carrots, 1/2 of a small onion (diced), 4 Tablespoons of heavy cream, salt & pepper to taste.

I began by browning the hamburger.  While it was cooking I peeled and diced my potatoes, diced the onion and grated the carrots...

Once the burger is cooked remove it from the pan with a slotted spoon and discard any remaining grease left in the pan.  I then added a teaspoon or two of olive oil to the pan along with the onion and carrots...

I cooked the carrot and onions until they were soft and then removed them from the pan with the hamburger...

Add 1 Tablespoon of olive oil and the potatoes to the pan.  To make sure they cook evenly and brown well I like to make an even layer and pat them down with a spatula.  You can also add a lid to them while cooking and the steam does a great job of softening them up quick...

Once the potatoes are cooked through I added the hamburger, carrots and onions back to the pan, along with the heavy cream.  Instead of making fried eggs in the mixture (because not everyone in my house loves them) I scrambled 4 eggs...

Make a well in the middle of the hash and pour the eggs into it.  Continue to cook until the eggs are as desired...

I served it with toast and jam...

A perfect and easy to clean up meal that will stick to your ribs and make your family VERY happy. 
Sweet hash-