Great Oscar Party Ideas

Mrs. Fields Secrets Oscar Party
The hottest party in Hollywood is happening Sunday, but your house can be just as glamorous and fun with these clever Oscar party ideas. Invite some friends, don some fake eyelashes and get your acceptance speech ready because you’re about to to win best party host!

1. A range of flavored popcorns are perfect party fare. Have savory and sweet varieties.
2. These Tuxedo Cake Pops look so dapper. They might win best dressed.
3. You can recreate the Hollywood sign in a number of creative ways, but cupcakes would be dreamy.
4. Add a wedge of star fruit to give your bubbly drink the star treatment.
5. Make your napkins look like nominee envelopes for the ultimate touch.
6. Add your own labels to drinks so that everyone can enjoy an “Oscar Buzz.”

And don’t forget to download your free Oscar Dress Rating Card to keep track of your favorite (and least favorite) fashion looks.

25 Last Minute Valentine Gift Ideas

Okay, maybe you fell in love yesterday, or maybe you’re the ultimate procrastinator. Either way, you’d better put something together quick! Here are 25 great ideas to rescue you from the Valentine’s Dog House.

  1. Head to your nearest Mrs. Fields store and get a decorated Big Cookie Cake. Call ahead and have your own personalized message (up to 20 characters) inscribed in frosting!
  2. Write a love poem. Think you can’t do it? Think again!
  3. Fill your valentine’s car with balloons.
  4. Enroll them in a sock-of-the-month subscription.
  5. Prepare a relaxing bubble bath with all the right ingredients: candles, music, fancy soap, warm towels and uninterrupted time.
  6. Track down your valentine’s favorite old movie  and have a romantic movie night in with buttery popcorn.
  7. Send a special, meaningful text one word at a time, every hour on the hour throughout the day so your valentine is anticipating each one and putting the puzzle together.
  8. Find a karaoke track of your favorite love song and give a private concert.
  9. Remember the first meal you shared together? Buy the ingredients and prepare it yourself.
  10. Make a special playlist of meaningful songs. Print out the lyrics and make notes in the margins about how it relates to your love story.
  11. Is there a task that you valentine has been putting off? A squeaky door, a broken drawer, a watch that won’t work? Surprise them by fixing it (or having it fixed).
  12. Make a giant homemade greeting card out of a big cardboard box. Pull out the construction paper, markers, glitter and glue to make it oversized and over-the-top sweet.
  13. Call a local radio station and dedicate a song. (Make sure you valentine is listening!)
  14. Buy a book or find some video tutorials and give your valentine a thorough, relaxing massage.
  15. Write love notes on the bathroom mirror in lipstick, soap or dry erase marker.
  16. Prepare a virtual vacation with photos from around the world that you would love to take your valentine. Make imaginary plans and explore them together.
  17. Make a silly online card with Jib Jab.
  18. A heart-shaped cookie cutter can turn any food into a valentine.
  19. Create a photo slide show of the two of you together set to a favorite song.
  20. Record a video of yourself listing all the things you love about your valentine and email it to him/her.
  21. Surprise your valentine at work with a special picnic lunch.
  22. Go old school and make a clever candy bar poster.
  23. What’s your valentine’s favorite cocktail? Buy the ingredients and play bartender.
  24. Plan a last-minute romantic road trip.
  25. Build an adult fort and fill it with pillows, blankets, chocolates and a book of love poems.

The Best Homemade Valentine Ideas

Mrs. Fields Secrets Homemade Valentines

A homemade valentine is extra special, but doesn’t have to be extra hard. We’ve rounded up the best homemade valentine ideas on the Internet for you to try with your kids. Make them together and create some fun memories along the way!

(Clockwise from top left)
Homemade heart puzzle
 - Pretty paper, glue and scissors are all you need to get started. Try using old wallpaper sample books for interesting patterns and textures.
Handprint valentines - Super simple, but oh-so-cute, these sign language “I Love You” hands traced from your little one say so much.
Robot valentines
 - A little more time intensive, but ridiculously cute, these mini candy bars-turned-robots are a ton of fun.
iPod valentines - If you’ve got a little music lover, this valentine is perfect. Wrapped candy heart boxes with silver kisses for earbuds!
Illustrated valentines - Have your little one draw a heart design, then turn it into a coloring activity with this sweet idea.
Scratch-and-win valentines - This clever idea could be used in so many creative ways! Share a valentine wish or reveal a secret prize.
Homemade crayon hearts - Recycle your old crayon pieces in heart-shaped silicone molds, a perfectly useful valentine.
Paint strip bookmarks - A simple heart-shaped hole punch and some ribbon turns paint swatches into a sweet valentine bookmark.

And of course, we’re still partial to this idea we shared a couple of years ago…

Glow in the Dark Bathwater

Mrs. Fields Secrets Glowing Bathwater
Have you ever heard of glowing bath water? This is such a fun idea that could brighten up bath time for your little ones, or even serve as a romantic surprise for your valentine. This idea is completely safe, non-toxic, non-messy and only requires two simple items to make it happen. Here’s what you’ll need:

Glowing Bath Water
from Growing a Jeweled Rose

1 black light bulb (or more, depending on bathroom lighting)
1 (2 liter) bottle of tonic water

Directions
Replace the bathroom light bulb or lamp with a black bulb (or bring a lamp into the bathroom to use the black bulb). Fill the bathtub with water, adding the bottle of tonic water as you fill. The water will glow a brilliant neon blue!

HINT: Use sponges or brushes to “paint” glowing designs or words on shower walls.

Recipe: Peppermint Marshmallows + Other Ideas to Spice Up Your Hot Cocoa

Mrs. Fields Secrets Peppermint Marshmallows

Keep warm from the inside out with these delicious ideas for spicing up your hot cocoa. Homemade marshmallows are a fun indulgence, especially with peppermint flavoring to add a little kick to your hot cocoa. Plus, try out our favorite recipes for Mayan-style Hot Cocoa and a Hot Cocoa cocktail for adults.

Peppermint Marshmallows

vegetable shortening (for preparing foil)
1 cup cold water
3 tablespoons (3 envelopes) unflavored gelatin
2 cups sugar
3/4 cups light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups powdered sugar

Directions
Prepare a 9×13 inch pan as follows. Invert the pan. Cut a piece of aluminum foil long enough to cover the bottom and sides of the pan. Place the foil over the inverted pan and fold down the sides and corners just to shape. Remove the foil and turn the pan right side up. Place the foil in the pan and press it gently into place. With a pastry brush or crumpled wax paper coat the foil thoroughly but lightly with vegetable shortening. Set aside.

Place 1/2 cup cold water in the large bowl of an electric mixer, Sprinkle the gelatin over the surface of the water and set aside. Place the sugar, corn syrup, salt and the other 1/2 cup water in a heavy 1-1/2 quart or 2 quart saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture comes to a boil. Cover for 3 minutes to allow any sugar crystals on the sides of the saucepan to dissolve. Uncover, raise the heat to high, insert a candy thermometer, and let the syrup boil without stirring until the temperature reaches 240 degrees. Do not overcook. Remove from the heat.

Beating constantly at medium speed, pour the syrup slowly into the gelatin mixture. After all the syrup has been added, increase the speed to high and beat for 15 minutes until the mixture is lukewarm, snowy white, and the consistency of whipped marshmallow, adding the vanilla a few minutes before the end of the beating. (During the beating, occasionally scrape the bowl with a rubber spatula. The marshmallow will thicken and become sticky — if the mixture crawls up on the beaters as it thickens, carefully wipe it down with a rubber spatula.)Pour the slightly warm and thick marshmallow mixture into the prepared pan and, with your forefinger, scrape all the mixture off the beaters. Smooth the top of the marshmallow. Let stand uncovered at room temperature for 8 to 12 hours or longer if it is more convenient.

Then sift or strain confectioners sugar generously onto a large cutting board to cover a surface larger then your pan. Invert the marshmallow over the sugared surface. Remove the pan and peel off the foil. Strain confectioners sugar generously over the top of the marshmallow. To cut into even 1 inch strips use a ruler and toothpicks to mark it every 1 inch.

Prepare a long, heavy, sharp knife by brushing the blade lightly with vegetable shortening. Cutting down firmly with the full length of the blade, cut the marshmallow into 1 inch strips. (After cutting the first slice, just keep the blade sugared to keep it from sticking.) Dip the cut sides of each strip into confectioners sugar to coat them thoroughly — you should have enough excess sugar on the board to do this. Now cut each strip into 1 inch squares. (You may place three strips together and cut through them all at once.) Roll the marshmallows in the sugar to coat the remaining sides. Shake off excess sugar. Store in a plastic box or any airtight container — or plastic bag.

Mayan Style Hot Cocoa
from Allrecipes

1 cup milk, warmed
3 tablespoons hot cocoa mix
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 pinch cayenne pepper

Directions
Mix the dry ingredients together in a mug, then pour hot milk in and whisk until combined.
RumChata Hot Chocolate

8 ounces hot chocolate
1.5 ounces RumChata rum

Directions
Stir hot chocolate and rum together and sip.

Bake This Not That

Around here, we like to adopt a sensible approach to sweets. Life is short and we think it should be savored. It seems that finding the right balance when it comes to indulgence is a key to happiness. If you’re trying to recalibrate after a particularly indulgent holiday season, here are some choose-this-not-that ideas for your favorite baked goods.

Craving cookies? Bake Cranberry Oatmeal  instead of Triple Chocolate Chip. You’ll save about 35-50 calories per cookie! You can also make half-size cookies by cutting each ball of cookie dough in half. (Remember to monitor baking times, which will be 3-4 minus less for smaller cookies.) A half-size cookie means half the calories. (Our Nibblers bite-sized cookies are a perfect way to indulge with balance.)

Craving brownies? Try our Reduced-Fat Chocolate Brownie recipe. Or, if you’re using a mix, swap applesauce for vegetable oil in your recipe. You’ll save calories and fat, but won’t notice a difference in taste!

Craving cake? Our No Frosting Chocolate Bundt Cake is so rich and moist, it does not need frosting (which saves a ton of calories).

Craving bread? The darker the bread, the better for your body. If you’re not a fan of whole wheat or multigrain, try using half and half (white flour and whole wheat) to ease into the flavor. If you’re used to buying artisan breads, ask the baker to pre-slice it for you extra thin. You’ll save half the calories.

Craving donuts? Our Baked Cake Donuts recipe is still one of our most popular. You’ll get the great flavor of a cake donut, with nearly half the calories.

Craving a sugary breakfast or snack? Try our Healthy Breakfast Cookies, Homemade Granola or these No-Bake Energy Bites instead of a pastry in the morning. They will satisfy your sweet tooth, but keep you from having a sugar crash. These are also great for an afternoon snack.

Cutting back on gluten? Our Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe is so good, you won’t believe that gluten didn’t get invited to the party.

Do you have other tips for being sensible with your sweet tooth? Share them in the comments!

Home Remedies for Dry Winter Skin

Harsh, dry winter air can do a number on your skin, but did you know that there are dry skin solutions hiding right in your kitchen cupboards and pantry? Check out these great home remedies:

For faces:

  • Avocado: Mash a ripe avocado and smooth onto a freshly cleaned face. Relax and leave on for 15 minutes.
  • Greek Yogurt: Spread a layer of yogurt onto a freshly cleaned face. Relax and leave on for 15 minutes.
  • Banana and Papaya: Mash the two fruits together to make a paste. Spread onto a freshly cleaned face and rinse after 15 minutes.
  • Honey: Spread warm honey onto a clean face and allow to cool and dry for 10-15 minutes. Wash off with a warm, wet cloth.

For hands:

  • Olive Oil: Work a few drops of olive oil into hands, especially dry knuckles.
  • Coconut Oil: A half teaspoon is plenty to serve as a rich and moisturizing treatment for dry hands or body. (Look for whipped coconut oil too, which is easier to spread.)
  • Apple Cider Vinegar: Wet a cotton ball with apple cider vinegar and wipe over itchy, cracked skin to soothe irritation. Follow up with an oil moisturizer.

For feet:

  • Baking Soda: Mix a 1/2 cup of baking soda for every gallon of warm water and give feet a 10-15 minute soak.
  • Vegetable Oil: Before bed, rub a modest amount of oil into cracked heels and feet, then cover with thick socks. Repeat for several nights.
  • Sugar: Create an exfoliating sugar scrub by mixing 1 teaspoon of sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of petroleum jelly in your hands. Work the scrub into dry feet (or hands, elbows, or knees), then wash off with a mild soap before moisturizing.

For bodies:

  • Oatmeal: Grind one cup of oatmeal in a food processor until you have a fine powder. Add powder to running bathwater and enjoy a moisturizing soak.
  • Grape Seed Oil: Keep a bottle of grape seed oil in the shower. After showering, blot dry with a towel and immediately apply a liberal amount of oil to retain moisture all day long.
  • Citrus Water: Add moisture to the air in your home by simmering a pot of water on the stove with slices of lemons, oranges, or grapefruits. (It smells great, too!)
  • Avocado Oil: Used as an after-shower or before-bed moisturizer, avocado oil can help keep skin soft and moisturized.
  • Seafood: Cook salmon for dinner, order the tuna sandwich for lunch, or simply take an Omega-3 supplement each morning. The fatty acids are great for skin and hair.
  • Spicy Foods: Herbs and spices like tamarind, turmeric, cumin and coriander help promote the production of collagen in the skin and help you retain moisture.

{Image via Pinterest.}

How to Clean Salt From Shoes and Boots

Salt. It’s delicious on steak, but terrible on shoes. Walking around in winter slush can be hazardous to the life of your winter shoes and boots. Here’s how to keep them clean and low sodium, using simple ingredients found in your kitchen and pantry:

For Suede Shoes and Boots: Use a stiff-bristled brush to get as much salt and dirt off as you can. Next, mix one teaspoon fabric softener with a teaspoon of mild dish soap and two cups of lukewarm water. Dip a toothbrush in the mixture, shake off excess, and gently scrub the stained areas of the shoes in a circular motion until the stain lifts. Use a dry cloth to blot them dry, then air dry.

For Leather Shoes and Boots: Use a dry microfiber cloth to buff as much salt and dirt off the shoe as possible. Next, mix a tablespoon of white vinegar with room temperature water. Dip a rag into the solution and wring out any excess. Buff the stained areas and wipe dry. Allow to air dry.

{Image via Wikihow}

New Year’s Resolutions for Your Kitchen

Want to start your new year off with some great resolutions for your kitchen? Improve and organize the most important room in your home by incorporating twelve simple resolutions. Try a new one each week or even each month and reap the benefits of a better kitchen (and a better you, too)!

1. Keep the kitchen sink clean. Instead of using the sink as a holding cell for dirty dishes for hours (or days), commit to washing dishes immediately or loading them into the dishwasher. It takes barely a few seconds more to move the dishes along, and now your sink is always ready for food preparation.

2. Clean the garbage disposal. Eliminate odd smells coming from your disposal with this simple remedy. It’s worth doing once a month, or whenever you notice odor Pour 1/2 cup baking soda down the drain immediately followed by 1 cup of white vinegar. Allow it to bubble and fizz. Once it’s quiet, turn on hot water and allow it to run for 3-5 minutes. While the water is running, cut a lemon into quarters and turn on the garbage disposal. Put the lemon pieces down the disposal, one piece at a time until it is gone. Enjoy a fresh, clean scent.

3. Switch to reusable grocery bags. If you’re not already in the habit, start now. Clear out your old grocery bags, take them to a local recycling collection site, and invest in some durable grocery bags. You’ll save money, clutter, and the planet! Plus, the heavy duty reusable bags come in handy for much more than groceries! Another hint: after unloading your groceries, store your reusable bags in the car. That way you never forget them.

4. Replace baking soda boxes. If you use baking soda to keep your fridge, freezer, and cupboards smelling fresh, it’s probably time to replace them. When you buy replacements, pick up an extra set and set a reminder in your email or smart phone to replace them in 3-6 months.

5. Clean your appliances. When is the last time your stand mixer, toaster, or coffee maker was cleaned? Never? Ouch. Grab some disinfectant wipes and give it a thorough wipe down. Use toothpicks or Q-tips to get gunk out of hard to reach places.

6. Toss out old spices. How old is that paprika? Take inventory of your spice rack and toss anything Jurassic. Use this helpful guide to know how long spices last.

7. Defrost your freezer. If you have a deep freezer, take time to defrost it at least once per year. It will help it last longer and will also keep your frozen foods better preserved with even temperatures.

8. Wash cupboards and baseboards. You’ll be surprised at the fresh gleam in your kitchen after taking a warm, soapy rag to cupboard doors, handles, and especially baseboards. This is an especially good idea during cold and flu season!

9. Clean your oven. No need to dread this task. Most modern ovens have a self-cleaning function, but if not, there is no need to buy dangerous chemical cleansers. A spray bottle of water and a box of baking soda will do wonders.

10. Clean your dishwasher. If you’ve never done it, it’s time to give your dishwasher a break and a special clean cycle. Think of it as a spa treatment for your hard working machine.

11. Toss old plastic containers. They seem to breed in the dark cupboards and drawers, and soon they are falling out and overtaking everything. Find matching pairs and keep no more than two or three containers and lids of each size. Donate or recycle extras.

12. Use menus and shopping lists. This simple habit will save you time, money and space in your fridge and pantry. If you need help getting started, download a menu-planning app and commit to using it for a month. You’re likely to notice that you spend less, eat healthier, and have a more organized fridge and pantry because everything that goes in and out has a purpose.

May your new year and your kitchen be clean and bright!

Homemade Heating Pads

Here’s a cozy DIY idea that’s perfect for a cold, winter night. It keeps you warm and smells great and can be reused again and again. With just some simple sewing (use old fabric scraps or clothing) and ingredients you might have in your kitchen, you can create homemade heating pads. Here’s what you’ll need:

Homemade Heating Pads
1/2 yard of fabric
7 cups dried cherry pits, buckwheat, flax seed, or rice
1 sprig dried lavender or peppermint

Directions
Cut a piece of fabric to 20 x 14 inches, then fold in half lengthwise, right sides together. Sew one short side and one long side together with 1/4 inch seam allowance.  Turn the fabric right side out and push corners out. Fill the bag just less than half full with your dried ingredient and dried herb. Close the open end of the bag with a top stitch.

To use: Heat in the microwave about two minutes, then apply to cold fingers or toes for up to a half hour of warmth!

 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...