using everything he gave me… this is my creative life to live.

A Cookie Monster Bash – Ethan’s First Birthday Party July 2, 2012

I can’t believe our little cookie monster is already a year old!  I’ve been planning his first birthday party for about 9 months now, down to the very last detail!  I’ve been handmaking 3 banners and many signs, embossing every napkin, preparing many batches of cookie doughs, planning and making games and even had Grandpa hard at work on some amazing outdoor activities for the littles.  Aside from not so great weather the party went off without a hitch.  We had over 60 guests and an absolutely amazing photographers who captured every moment. 

Photos were taken by our dear friends Jamie Crone and Gina Sainsbury and we are blessed by their talents.  Not only was I able to host the party and visit with everyone – I didn’t miss a moment because of the 600+ photos that were taken. 


 I used a variety of rubber stamps, cricut cartridges, paper punches, and my sewing machine to create the ticket effect as seenonpinterest!  See the 3rd and 4th pictures below…


Banners, Decor, Signs and Games

I used my Cricut to cut 12 letters that hung from above the garage.

I hand paperpieced several signs – I love how this banner turned out!

Plus I’m taking it apart to use as accents in our family scrapbook.

A small poster that has baby pictures of David and I for comparison.

I sewed small cookie beanbags for the littles to toss into Cookie Monsters Mouth.  inspiredbypinterest!

My dad this amazing “Cornhole” game that is double sided.  One side is blue and we put laminated cookie monsters that I made out of cardstock on it – the other side is a great terra cotta color for everyday use!

My father made these tire teeter totters for the smaller kiddos – if only we’d had better weather for the kids to be out playing more!  inspiredbypinterest!

This next project took me months (a year actually) but actual months to put together.  I used a picture for each month of Ethan’s first year as the 1, 2, 3 oclock stations on this clock whose hands are adhered at 1:38 (pm) the time Ethan was officially welcomed into this world on June 6 of 2011.  The detail is the border – a picture from every day of the year.  Well just about, for some reason I missed some days in October but it turned out amazing!  This is put together on a peice of left over sheet rock from when David was finishing the interior of our garage.  It’s painted to match our dark walls and will soon be hung on the lighter walls that grace our stairway to the upstairs.

The quote I put in the center of the “clock” is the quote that is engraved on our wedding watches (the gifts we gave to eachother) as well as on Ethan’s first scrapbook layout which details his every moment of his 15 day stay in the NICU.  I love this quote, it is truly timeless.  QUOTEBYHENRYVANDYKE 

I use the Canon IP1700 and it has so many print options for sizes of photos.  Each border picture is only 1/4″ squared in order to fit them all.


One last sign will be shown at the end of this post…


The Buffet is open!

Da-da the grill master manning his post…




Sweet Street – My Dessert Buffet

I bring home milk jugs from work to recycle and one day as I was rinsing one out from Costco I thought – there is something here for the party – these can make great cookie monster cookie “jars!”  It worked great!  The eye’s had to be bolted on after we spraypainted the outside.  We made 3 of these cute jugs.

My party tip for the beverage bar is to make ice cubes of each drink you are serving.  This way your beverage stays cold and when the ice melts your beverage doesn’t get diluted!  I made white milk and chocolate milk cubes, blue raspberry kool-aid cubes and orange sherbet cubes for the monster juice.  It works great and looks fabulous!


Click here to see some of my cookiemonster inspiration


The Cakes

I made Ethan a small banana cake so we wouldn’t end up with blue carpet.  He wasn’t very interested in it though – too many people and new toys around!

My First birthday cake for my baby!  David had to help work the fondant and Grandma piped the rice crispie cereal head I created to assist due to my terrible hand strength.  The cake turned out so cute!



When you choose your party theme… commit to it!  I had cookie monster in my,  a neclace, a ring, cookie monster fingernails and toenails, made a shirt for Ethan with a cookie monster patch and found a tee-shirt for dada!  My men are so supportive of their silly momma and what fun we had!  Happy birthday my sweet little Ethan – Next year I’m thinking TOY STORY!

I will link recipes soon for all my tasty creations!  I hope you enjoy them as much as we do!


St “Peppermint” Patties Chocolate Mint Brownies March 16, 2012

Our favorite Irish holiday is fast upon us which inspired me to hit the kitchen after devouring one of my favorite treats… peppermint patties.  Shortly thereafter I made a new discovery in the bakingisle that I just had to test out.  I hope you enjoy my quick and easy recipe just in time to make some gooey St Patricks Day treats!


You’ll Need:

1 Box of Betty Crocker Dark Chocolate Brownie Mix

1 bag of Parsons Peppermint Patties (my personal preference)

1 Can of Duncan Hines Frosting Starter (Brilliant!)

1 Duncan Hines Chocolate Mint FrostingCreations Packet


Now grab your favorite brownie pan – my go to pan is the PerfectBrownie pan, especially for gooey creations such as these!



Chop up 17 peppermint patties and set aside.  Mix brownie mix as directed by the package.  Gently stir in the peppermint patties pieces and bake according to the directions on the brownie mix for the pan you have selected.  You may need to add 3-5 minutes to baking time due to the addition of the patties.  Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before cutting and removing from pan.

Stir frosting packet into frosting starter as directed by packaging and top each brownie with a a healthy dollop using a 1″ cookie scoop.  Use remaining patties and top off each brownie as shown above.   Refridgerate to set brownie and frosting.  Enjoy and remember – calories don’t count on holidays!!!           






Three Day Weekends to the Rescue February 20, 2012

I Loooove three day weekends!  They are just the perfect length of time to do all the things I’d like each weekend.  It’s President’s Day today and aside from the “perfect storm” that was the latter part of Saturday this has been just an ideal weekend. 

Friday evening we tidied up the house, did laundry and enjoyed a great movie: Warrior

Saturdays are family day in our house.  We take Ethan swimming at the Y, go our for lunch and do what ever shopping needs to be done.  This weekend aside from our normal stop at Huckleberry’s to get organic fruits and vegies for Ethan and their AMAZING Chicken Artichoke Pasta Salad for us, we decided to take advantage of all the Presidents Day Sales around town.  This little momma has been spoiled with a new stainless steel microwave, stove and dishwasher (fridge yet to come) as well as a new leather sofa and finally… my dream come true… a new giant squishy leather rocking/recliner chair!  Oh how I’ve longed to have a big cozy rocking recliner in my tv room!  All in all our day was busy but pleasant – especially when we top it off with dessert at FroyoEarth “Cake Batter” yogurt covered in Butterfingers!  YUM!!!

So we made it home to relax and have some good food.  Saturday night was Ethan and Momma night as Papa had guys night to attend.  Cut to a PerfectStorm for the rest of this evening – oy!

Finally it’s Sunday!  I survived the “storm” that was Saturday night and have awoken after a long, warm and restfull slumber.  It’s 9am.  Feed Ethan Breakfast, eat my breakfast, prepare and freeze 3 lbs of taco meat, 2 pot roasts, 6 baconeggandcheesemcmuffins, 4 mini meat loafs, feed Ethan lunch, prepare 3 pans of greenchilisourcreamchickenenchiladas with roasted tomato and corn rice, 2 batches of homemade chili, pureed pears, pureed apples, cook dinner, bake Smore’sCookies for dessert and sit down to watch the CostaConcordiaDocumentary with my boys.  Whew – it’s now 9pm and I’m exhausted.  I’ll watch a little Celebrity Apprentice with David before hitting the sack. 

The brilliant part of all of this is I still have today.  A Monday with no work!  A day for momma to spend in her studio blogging, crafting, sewing, watching movies and playing with Ethan.  That is the beauty of the 3 day weekend.  A day to spend with the family.  A day to tend to a bunch of freezer meals for my boys.  And a day just for me in my studio.


The Perfect Storm of February 18, 2012

Filed under: about me,family,motherhood,movies,recipes,storms — cyurik @ 3:51 pm
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This perfect storm began as many do…  quietly, creeping up on you when you least expect it.  Saturday morning was definitely the calm before the storm.  A lovely morning as every Saturday is – it’s Family Day.  David, Ethan and I spend our Saturday’s swimming, going out to lunch and shopping as needed. 

This Saturday started out a little different as we decided it was time our little man needed a hair cut.  But this was not just any hair cut… it was his FIRST hair cut.  I’ve been putting it off as long as possible as I was determined that his golden locks would never be cut – he was to be my lil surfer dude!  But in reality it was getting in his eyes, long and fuzzy around his ears and not to mention the tiny mullet he’d been working on in back.  

So my little hobbit went in for a trim.  I just knew that the second we trimmed his hair he would look so much older and no longer be a cutie little baby.  And it was partially true…  He is still of course our cutie little baby but he looked 8 years older instantly!  Ethan sat on my lap for his trim and I bawled the whole time.  But he is darling and looks so handsome with his fancy hair do!

After my emotional start to the day (causing slight winds and maybe a trickle of rain in the days “forecast”) we went about our Saturday routine.  After a long day of shopping and eating we made it back home a bit worse for wear.  David had some things to do around the house and was then heading out for guys night. 

And “the winds” started to pick up…  What I haven’t mentioned is that I’ve been battling some “chest pains” for weeks now.  All you nursing moms out there better know these chest pains as plugged ducts/mastisis etc…  I’ve had it all – ugh.  And the pain really set in late in the day.  Well right when David was getting ready to walk out the door he heard me shout in pain and came upstairs to find that while I was changing Ethan’s diaper he kicked me smack dab in my “chest” leaving me crying in pain.  “What happened up here?” he asked.  “Ethan kicked me right in my “chest” and now he is laughing about it!”  “Babe, he doesn’t know what he did…” David consoled me.  “I know that doesn’t make it hurt any less…” I sobbed.  But like us moms do I put a smile on our face and I bucked up laughing and playing with my little one.  So off David went to meet up with the guys. 

With Ethan now in his high chair I set about the task of making my dinner while I fed him his.  Slowly moving about the kitchen singing silly songs and dancing here and there I noticed Tyson (our min pin) slowly creeping into the kitchen which is against the rules.  In effort to practice my LoveandLogic I began the Uh-Oh song…  the “storm winds” are really kicking up now…  “Uh-oh, someone’s coming up on a little crate time… this is so saaadddd.”  As I bent over to gently hook Tysons collar so I could lead him to his crate I stepped on both of his front paws in my chunky soled slippers.  This tornado formed from a supercell thunderstorm for sure!  “Arr Arr arr…grr… snap!” Tyson screeched in pain and turned around quicker than I can fathom and BITE!  He laid into my pinky finger.  I must have jumped ten feet in the air and let out the screechiest of screams, instantly crying in pain. My my finger bled and bled, all the while little Ethan just watched his crazy mom from his high chair. 

The storm was full force now for sure.  I cried and cried.  Exasperated by the ongoing “chest pains,” realizing no matter how perfect of a mom I try to be something will knock me off the perverbial supermom pedastal I strive for and betrayed by my beloved best friend of a pooch…  I couldn’t take any more.  I gave Ethan bites of dinner while taking turns running my bleeding finger under the sink.  I tried calling David but he had a hard time hearing my ranting between sobs.  I was able to tell him though that he didn’t need to come home.  The dog bit me, but I would live.  I just needed to melt down and boy did I.  So what did I do after you ask?  Well as us moms do, I picked myself up, dusted myself off, put a smile on my face and bucked up.  An hour later I got my dinner in the oven…and in the mini crockpot of homemademackandcheeseandsliders for one, fed Ethan a bottle and finally sat down in the living room to watch a movie.  I deciced as I was trying desperately to eat my dinner, and that I prayed to come out of my stormy weather and that I love my little guy and my little misdirected canine unit that I should watch of course… 

Ahhh, Ethan fell asleep snuggled up on a blanket and realaxed to watch an entire movie without interruption.  And as all storms do, it came to an end.  Hallelujah!  Now, it’s time to prepare for the next… 

Woooshhh, was that wind I hear?  “Uh-oh…..”


One S’mores Cookie Recipe, Three Adaptations January 23, 2012

Filed under: about me,cookies,recipes — cyurik @ 2:09 am
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I recently blogged about a S’mores recipe I came across that were DELISH! but I just knew they needed the one ingredient I grew up on and of course, I even put it on my s’mores by the campfire as a child.  All hail JIF!  So a big shout out to Amber@SprinkledwithFlour for sharing her recipe, inspiring me to add a PB Twist and allowing me to get in touch with twelve-year old me, warming my snowy weekend with plates full of warm cookies!  In the adaptations below I’ve added one main ingredient – the graham cracker and changed them up with peanut butter or caramel…  The base recipe is the same as shown in the link above except the changes noted below AND – I ALWAYS use DARK BROWN SUGAR!  I never even buy regular, dark is just too delicious and gives my cookies the extra umph I’m always looking for.

Adaptation #1 – The Caramel Hypothesis: When my husband first tried the original recipe last weekend he loved them but also said “mmm, I bet these would be great with caramel in them!”  A collegue at work wondered the same thing and mentioned Ghirardelli Caramel Squares.  I thought maybe a layer of milk chocolatey and caramel goodness would be magical for them both…  While they were yummy I did discover that the caramel has a tendency to explode in the oven a bit.  If you filled the pan with a solid layer of graham crackers and wanted to spend a small fortune on the good stuff (Ghirardelli Squares) then I bet they would be less messy when baking…

 Adaptation #2 – The Peanut Butter Permeation: I thought I’d try adding PB in two ways to be thorough in my research.  First I mixed it directly into the cookie dough creating a peanut butter chocolate chip cookie base with marshmallows and hershey bar added on top as the recipe states.  It gave it a more peanut butter cookie texture with a little crumbly action and was fine but I knew it wasn’t quite living up to it’s full potential.  My stroke of brilliance came when I spread the PB in a hearty layer on a graham cracker square, added my scoop of cookie dough then added marshmallow and hershey bar as the recipe calls for.  YUM!!!

Adaptation #3 – The Stay Puft Stratum Innovation: And the winner is…  ahhh yes…  the cookie with a layer of marshmallows on top of the peanut buttery goodness!  I prefer this version for it’s simplicity – now there is only ingredient to add 4 minutes from the timer buzzing (Hershey) but am torn because I love the look of the of the toasted marshmallows baked into the top of the cookie and I also love the look of the marshmallows barely reaching the surface of the cookie when a layer of them is added on top of the PB.  I’ll probably just continue to make them both ways from here on out! 

So there you have it, it’s like Nutter Butters and S’mores met and had a gooey little love child for all to enjoy!  Remember to have a glass of ice cold milk on standby!  Happy Dunking!


S’mores Cookies January 16, 2012

Filed under: cookies,recipes — cyurik @ 12:06 am

 Yummy S’mores Cookies are a Big Hit!

 I came across this recipe recently and just knew I had to try it sometime.  After battling several weeks of illness in our household I decided we deserved a treat after our Sunday family dinner tonight (resolution alert!).  I prepared them exactly as the recipe states, but stay tuned…  I have some twists coming as while these were magnificent – I remember S’mores just a bit different growing up so I will be putting the Yurik spin on the recipe in the near future.   

 Now get baking and don’t forget a tall glass of MILK!


Comforting Sunday Lunch… December 21, 2011

Filed under: recipes — cyurik @ 12:34 am
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Ham & Swiss Sliders with Homemade Macaroni

It was a chilly Sunday afternoon several years back and I was working with an old friend on a new project when she made the most delicious little sandwiches I’d had in quite a long time.  Of course I pleaded for the recipe and quickly jotted down the simple steps as we enjoyed a lunch that filled our bellies and satisfied our souls.  Unfortunately months later when I went to make these yummy sandwiches the pencil had worn away from my then, very buttery fingertips.  Queue sadness… 

Then 8 weeks ago I discovered what a brilliant person or group of people created in Pinterest and ta-da!!!  There was a picture of the buttery sandwiches I have such fond memories of!  I was overjoyed.  I quickly followed the link (thegirlwhoateeverything) and hit the kitchen!  The recipe that follows is my adaptation of the one I found on Pinterest.  Please try them both, google for others and of course, adapt it for your taste buds but most of all, ENJOY!


12 Rolls, 36 Slices of Ham (sliced thin for sandwiches), 24 Slices of Swiss (small slices)

1/2 Cup Mayonnaise, 1/2 Cup Miracle Whip 

3/4 TBLS Poppy Seeds, 2 TBLS Ground Mustard, 1 Cup Melted Butter, 2 TBLS Minced Onion, 1 TSP Worcestershire

1) Mix Miracle Whip and Mayonnaise and spread onto each half of all 12 rolls.  Lay bottom halves of rolls snugly in a 9 x 13 pan.  Layer each roll with 3 slices of ham folded into quarters and top off with 2 slices swiss cheese followed by the top of each bun.

2) Mix all sauce ingredients together is a medium bowl and pour over the tops of your sandwiches.  I like my sandwiches rich and buttery so I use all of the sauce on my sandwiches and spread the sauce with a plastic  pastry/basting brush.  With all 12 snug in your pan very little sauce will sit on bottom so I’ve not had any problem with soggy sandwich bottoms. 

3) Cover pan with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes (time varies depending on your oven).  Uncover and bake another 2-5 minutes for light brown, slightly crispy tops and serve warm.


This delicious homemade Macaroni recipe is my adaptation of a recipe I received from my sister Emily.


4 Cups Macaroni Noodles, 8 TBLS Butter, 4 Cups Shredded Sharp Cheese, 2/3 Cup Sour Cream, 2 Cans Campbell’s Cheddar Soup, 3/4 TSP Salt, 1 Cup Milk, 1 TSP Ground Mustard, Fresh Ground Salt & Pepper to taste.

1) Cook Macaroni in a large pot for 8 minutes.  Just enough to give the noodles a head start, not to fully cook them.

2) Meanwhile, in a medium pot melt butter and shredded cheese until smooth.

3) In crock pot mix all remaining ingredients together until smooth.  Add cheese mixture and noodles and cook on low for 2-3 hours, stirring periodically.  I have a newer digital crock pot and it comes out perfect and creamy after 2 hours.  Enjoy!