No-Bake Peanut Butter Balls

No-Bake Peanut Butter Balls - Plowing Forward

One of my favorite memories in life is making peanut butter balls with my mom and siblings.  These (and chocolate chip cookies) were our ‘go to’ activity when we got bored and hungry.

We used to make them for after school snacks back in the day and stuff them into our mouths as quickly as we made them.  We would attempt to make the biggest peanut butter ball ever. We would see how many tiny balls we could make with one batch.  These things are awesome.

Peanut butter-aholics will cheers me on this one.  These delicious little balls of pea-nutty perfection aren’t even that bad for you!

No Bake Peanut Butter Balls - Plowing Forward

The most fun thing about peanut butter balls is being creative with the surprise filling and the outer ingredient you roll them in.  The sky is the limit!

Begin by adding honey, peanut butter and dry powdered milk to a bowl.  A tip here lightly dust the measuring cup for the honey with non-stick spray.   It makes the honey pour right out of the cup, instead of fighting it out with a spatula scrape-by-scrape.


Once the ingredients are mixed, take a few tablespoons of the dough and form it into a rough ball. Use your fingers to make a well and add some M&M’s (these are mini ones), raisins, chocolate chips…you name it!


Carefully close the dough around the filling and roll it into a ball.


Have a bowl of something crunchy ready to roll them in.  We used to use wheat germ growing up, but now I use crushed up cereal (any rice cereal works well) or -for extra excitement- sprinkles!  PBB6

You could also use finely crushed up peanuts for an extra nutty layer.  Basically, you want to roll them in anything that will keep your fingers from getting sticky when you pick them up.


They are good to eat right away, or store in the refrigerator to let them harden slightly.

If you’re pregnant, these would be a simple but fun way to do a gender reveal…just fill the middle with pink or blue M&Ms!  So much easier than making cupcakes.

Make these for after-school snacks, packing lunches or you could even make some fancy looking ones for party snacking.  You’ll be instantly popular (as if you aren’t already). 😉

Happy snacking!!


Colored Ice Cubes


I reckon I’m all about making awesome things in ice cube trays lately.  Bristol is into solids now, so I’m making baby food and I have trays full of coffee cubes for my iced coffees.  YUM!  But I know that ice cube trays are meant to make ice, so I’m showing H20 some love today and making fun colored ice cubes!


Colored ice cubes make plain water fun for toddlers to drink, they make lemonade turn cool colors and -if you’re a cocktail hour type of guy/gal- vodka tonics are way more fun if you use colored ice.

These are -pretty much- just as they seem.  Color some water with food coloring (one drop goes a long way) and pour it into ice cube trays.



Once frozen, plop the cubes into a glass and be amazed at how totally rad (people still say that, right?) your bevie looks.




Snack Packs

Much like his mother, Evan enjoys a good snack while driving anywhere.  During the week, we spend our mornings at the gym and on the 20 minute drive home, I’m in for it if I have forgotten to pack a snack for the little guy.  I used to be frustrated with the annoying task of putting together a bag full of crackers, goldfish, etc when trying to head out the door with all our other garb.  I also wasted a lot of food because the constant opening and closing of chip and snack bags caused them to go stale faster.  Suddenly, I had an epiphany…I decided to make a bunch of ‘snack packs’ ahead of time (a total “duh” moment).  I’m passing this on to you as you may find the trick useful yourself (saves a lot of money over buying the pre-packaged snack packs, too).

Just purchase the snack sized ziplock bags and your kid’s favorite snacks.  Fill the bags as full as you want and place them in a basket or anywhere easy to grab in a time of need.  The ‘car friendly’ snacks we prefer are Mini Club Crackers, Veggie Straws, Goldfish and Mini Rice Cakes (of the cheese variety to be specific).  Throw them in a cute basket or container for easy grabbing-on-the-go and..boom…you have an extra 2 minutes to spare next time you are in a hurry. 🙂

On a quick side-note, I had my super-serious-ultra-dangerous surgery on Wednesday (ie: my outpatient, 45 minute surgery on my wrist to fix tendonitis).  All went well, but I don’t recommend opting to NOT be under anesthesia when given the option.  The local anesthetic hurt like crazy and I hearing the sound of them snipping tissue was enough to make me gag.  Recovery is not so bad, though. I was feeling well enough to attend kickboxing class the next morning…although I definitely didn’t try as hard as I normally do.  I can take the lovely bandage off on Monday and stitches come out next Thursday.  Not too bad!

I know...I look so tough...right?? (*sarcasm*)

Construction Themed Birthday Cake

For the momentous event that was Evan’s birthday party, I wanted to make a sweet construction-themed cake to celebrate.  I saw this idea on Pinterest and looked up a tutorial on the linked blog.  And, I must say…it turned out awesome!!  Evan’s cake was a masterful looking yellow and chocolate cake, stripped on the inside to resemble construction tape with a backhoe and dirt pile on top.  I decided I must share the method with you…it’s too cool not to try yourself!  My assessment of the difficulty of this baking-craft: It’s not highly skill requiring, but it does take about 30 minutes to assemble (after baking) and a steady hand.  Totally worth it!

First you’ll need 2 equal sized round cakes of different colors.  You can either make 2 separate types of cake or make one cake and tint half of the batter with food coloring.  I made a yellow and a chocolate cake (and several cupcakes with the leftover batter).  And, yes…I totally cheated and used boxed mixes.

Once the cakes are baked, let them sit in the freezer overnight.  Cutting a frozen cake is MUCH easier than a crumbly room-temp cake.  When you’re ready to start, pull the cakes out of the freezer and begin by leveling the tops evenly.  I used a long, serrated knife.

For the first cut, move your knife about half an inch to an inch from the edge of the cake and insert it at a 45 degree angle.  Holding the angle steady, cut a circle around the edge.  Don’t worry about perfection.  As you’ll see in my photos, things get lopsided pretty easily, but once put together, you can’t tell.

Pop the circle out of the center of the cake and set the outer ring aside.  All of these steps will be repeated with the other cake, so please excuse my photos for bouncing back and forth between chocolate and yellow.

Now, to make the smaller circles more even, draw or trace a circle onto a piece of paper, making sure it is at least 1 inch smaller in diameter than the remaining circle of cake.

Use a small knife to gently scrape around the edge, creating a faint circle for you to follow along while making the actual cut.

Insert your knife into the cake at the same angle as the first cut (45 degrees) and follow your faint line around the cake.  Pop the circle out and repeat one more time on the small center of the cake (sorry…no photo here).

Once you’ve repeated these steps with both of your round cakes, assemble it by placing alternating colors back together…like children’s stacking cups!  It won’t look pretty.  In fact, I had to use pieces of my cake tops to fill in holes where things didn’t match up.  Here’s how it looked after I assembled and stacked the cake.

When it was time for the party, I whipped up some chocolate frosting.  After cutting a chunk of the top out and placing it on top of the cake (to create the “hole and dirt pile”) I frosted the cake…heavily of course.  Then I crushed up some Oreos and sprinkled them on the top to look like dirt.

Evan liked it and his cousins who were here thought it was “so cool,” which I accept as the highest compliment!

Kiddy Coat Hangers: A Tracing Tutorial

I started making these fun coat hangers a long time ago…like…pre-husband and pre-child.  It was back in a day when the most important things I needed to hang up were my purse and the coat that my dog Jimmy wears in the winter time (yes –  have a miniature horse sized coat that I put on my Black Lab/Doberman mix in the winter. He is, after all, my first child).  I’ve had several people ask me for personalized versions of these hooks and there is little more that I love than making things for other people.

Here’s how to make your own, should you feel inspired to do so (and I hope you do!)!

Start with a wooden craft plank.  This one cost me $3.99 at Michael’s.  You can also use scrap wood, like from old cabinets.  Using craft paint (I suggest Folk Art brand as it covers well), paint the base the color of your choice.  This wood typically drinks up a bit of paint, so don’t be afraid to lay it on thick over a few layers.  This will make the rest of the paint take more evenly.  Allow it to dry.

Drawing your own designs free hand is a creative fun way to color your board, but for this project, I decided to paint a clip art cow.  This is where it get easy (as if it wasn’t already).  Go online and find an image you want on your craft.  The key is to keep it pretty simple (or the K.I.S.S. theory, as my mom says -Keep It Simple, Stupid! Sorry…not calling any of you stupid.).  The more intricate and the more colors required, the longer this craft will take you.  You can see by my choice of artwork that I am not very ambitious today.

Once you have your artwork printed out, flip it over and scratch heavily with a pencil over the entire area you want traced onto the board.  Lay it on heavily so it transfers easily.  No need to be exact or precise…just scribble.  Brings out the Kindergartener in ya!

Once you have used up plenty of pencil lead and your wrist is tired, turn the paper back over and place it on the board where you want it to be. Secure the paper in place with tape.

*TIPS HERE*: Make sure to measure (don’t just eyeball it) as it’s a bummer when you get done and realize your image is too far to one side. Also, don’t forget to account for where your hook will be screwed in (I’ve moved my cow up on my board so the hook will sit underneath it).*

Now, simply trace the design.  Use your pencil to draw over the entire drawing.  Press firmly to insure the lead (or graphite, I should say) on the back of the page transfers to the wood.  Don’t be tempted to peek!  You risk moving the paper, causing the artwork to look misshapen after you’ve traced it.

Once you’re done, you should have a very faint outline of your image.

Now you’ve earned the right to paint (the fun part)!!  Start with the larger areas and move to the smaller.  I started with the white…

…then finished with the black.  Easy!

Once the craft paint is dry, hit your board with a coat or two (depending on how much wear and tear your craft will need to bear) of clear spray paint.

Lastly, it’s hardware time!  At your local Target or hardware store, you should be able to find a variety of hooks as well as picture hangers for the backside of the board.  Size small picture hangers suffice for this craft…unless you’re planning on hanging bowling balls from it. Most important thing here: measure, measure, MEASURE.

 Then, attach the picture hanger and hook.  Attach the picture hanger first, followed by the hook (much easier this way).  Depending on the hook you selected, you may need to purchase shorter screws, however most smaller hooks come with short enough screws that will not stick out the back.  And there you have it…a fun addition to your mud room, nursery or bathroom.

How To: Melted Crayon Art

Who loves colorful, easy artwork that’s fun to make?  This girl does!!  And I’ve been dying to take a stab at my own melted crayon art ever since the craze has become popular.  Let me break down the complicated steps of this highly difficult, skill-requiring craft: 1) Glue crayons to a canvas. 2) Use your hair dryer to melt them. 3) Hang it on a wall.

It’s pretty easy-peasy!  Here is a little bit more of a detailed break down for those of you who are wanting to do ‘the melt’ yourselves.

I started out with a 16×20 canvas and a box of 64 crayons.  The whole box won’t fit on the canvas, so pull out the colors you don’t want.  I suggest getting a smaller box of crayons as well, so you can double up on the colors you really want to pop (I didn’t do this…mine are strictly from the 64 count box, but I’m wishing I would have added more of the brighter colors).

You have a choice at this point; you can leave the wrappers on, or take them off.  Totally up to you what “look” you would like in the end.  If you decide to remove the wrappers, simply soak the crayons in a bowl of water until the wrappers slide right off.  Don’t try to peel them off dry…it’ll take you forever.

When you’re ready to assemble, use a hot glue gun to fasten the crayons to the canvas, tip pointed down.  Go ahead and snug the crayons up against each other.  No need to leave room between.Make sure to have your canvas propped up on a flat surface, placing plenty of aluminium foil (or newspaper, I suppose would work) around the area to catch splatters.

Using the highest heat setting and the lowest speed setting, fire up the hair dryer and make those crayons sweat!  The rest happens naturally…it’s a science I like to call “gravity.”

In no time at all, you’ll have a neat work of art!  This one is going to hang in Evan’s room.  I’d like to build a black frame to go around it, but that craft is for another day. 🙂

Painting A Childrens Tree

I love the new “fad” right now of having a giant tree painted on your child’s bedroom wall.  It’s awesome.  So, naturally, I wanted to have one in Evan’s room, but I was astonished to find out how expensive the wall stickers can be!  Plus, I have had the *pleasure* of putting up wall decals before…it’s a pain in the rear!  “Surely,” I thought to myself, “I must be able to do this myself.”  And thank goodness I talked myself into trying this because it was fun and it looks great!!

Before we start, I have 2 apologies. The first is that most of these pictures were taken with my HTC EVO phone…in a time I call, “Pre-Cannon T2i.”  Sorry about the blurry, yucky photos. The second apology is that I don’t have pictures of all the stages of this process.  I get so carried away when crafting that I tend to forget to pick up the camera (or phone in this case) and snap a few pictures.  Again…sorry.

Now, on with the tree painting.


  • pencil (the old-school kind that you have to sharpen)
  • large eraser
  • craft paint (one color for the trunk, then as many colors for the leaves as you please)
  • 1 medium paint brush
  • small paint brushes
  • 1 sheet of paper
  • patience

Step 1: Do a Google Image search so you know what you want your tree to look like.  There are many types of tree ideas out there…go get yourself some inspiration!

Step 2: Practice drawing trees on paper.  It sounds silly, but having a little practice drawing those long, knobby branches is helpful when sketching out the full version.

Step 3: Using a pencil, draw the trunk of the tree on the wall.  Have a big eraser handy (not just the one on your pencil)…you’ll end up changing things quite a bit as you go along.  Make sure to take the time to step back and look at the big picture as you draw.  It will keep you from making the tree lopsided or off-balance.  This step takes a while, but do it right and you’ll be pleased.

Step 4: Paint the trunk.  Seeing your tree actually pop to life will make the annoying process of drawing-erasing drawing-erasing worth it.

Step 5: Draw the leaf design of your choice on a piece of paper.  Keep it simple…you’re going to be tracing the crap out of this leaf (excuse my French)!  Cut out the leaf and being tracing it onto your tree!  I did a pattern of 3 leaves on each branch, with the exception of areas I could only fit 1 or 2 leaves. 

Step 6: Paint your leaves!  Use a variety of colors or shades to give the tree dimension and life.  Get creative…get colorful!

Step 7: Take a good look at your tree and feel awesome about yourself!  If you want, you can go back and add more branches, leaves or detail to areas needing it. 

When you’re done, you’ve got a beautiful tree and it only cost you a few dollars worth of paint.  Plus, when your friends come over and ask who painted the tree in your nursery, you can either a.) brag about your skills or b.) pretend you paid someone big bucks to do such a personalized, fantastic painting. 

The only downside is that this paint isn’t the easiest to paint over once your ready to get rid of the tree.  You can see the texture through several coats of normal paint. So, before you try painting over it, use sand paper to gently remove some of the thicker areas of the tree.  Then paint over it with several coats of Kilz before painting over the tree.

Good luck!