Jan 17

Hearts A-flame Cake

by Hannah Holt »


This cake makes a dazzling impression at any children’s party.

What you’ll need:

  • chocolate cake
  • white butter frosting
  • orange butter frosting
  • red butter frosting
  • two Ziplock sandwich bags
  • 4-6 egg shell halves (saved from cake baking)
  • 4-6 Brach’s candy conversation hearts
  • lemon extract (pure, not imitation)

Step 1: If you need a recipe for chocolate cake, this links to my favorite. Also here is the recipe I use for butter frosting. Of course, ready-made frosting, and cake mix works as well.

Step 2: Frost the entire cake white.

Step 3: Spoon the orange and red frosting into two different sandwich bags. Snip a small corner off each bag (about 1/4 inch) and use the bags to pipe flames around the cake.

Let the kids get involved, and have fun with it.

Step 4: Carefully rinse and dry the egg shells. Arrange them on the top of the cake, like this…

Step 5: Place one candy heart in each egg shell and pour 1/4 tsp of lemon extract over each heart. It must be lemon extract (not vanilla or any other flavoring) because of the high alcohol content in lemon extract. (You won’t want to eat the hearts afterwards. It’s only for the effect.)

Step 6: Turn out the lights and have an adult light the hearts on fire. They will burn for a while. Blow them out when you are ready to eat cake.


Other Ideas:

For a dinosaur, dragon, or volcano themed birthday party when candy hearts might not be available, just substitute sugar cubes for the candy hearts.

Dec 26

DIY Electric Guitar Onesies

by Hannah Holt »


Perfect for the expectant mother or little rock star in your life

What you’ll need:

  • white onesie (size 6-12 m)
  • 8.5″x11″ sized iron-on transfer paper
  • pick a pattern Black or Red
  • an ink jet printer

Step 1) Pre-wash and dry the onesie.

Step 2) Download a pattern by clicking Red or Black (400 kB jpeg) and save it to your computer. Then print the pattern onto the transfer paper. (The printed pattern will be a mirror image of the final result. After step 3 the image will be reversed.)

Step 3) Follow the directions included with the transfer paper you selected, but here is the general process:

  • Cut around the pattern on the transfer paper, leaving 1/4 inch margins. Round all corners as sharp edges might peel later.
  • Place the pattern face down onto the onesie. Be sure to smooth any wrinkles.
  • Using a preheated iron (cotton high setting without steam), make small overlapping circles over the pattern. Press hard. The entire process will take a few minutes.
  • Remove the backside of the transfer paper and the pattern will remain.

Rock on!!!

Are you an iron-on maven? Please tell us your tips.

Dec 21

Joy in the World

by Hannah Holt »


The day-to-day demands of mothering can be wearying. And this year was a doozy.

One night last spring I sat at my computer searching in frustration for “how long before you don’t need to burp babies anymore” when I came across a mother’s chat board. There were some helpful tips. However, one commenter (happymother214) posted:

Don’t worry about how long you need to burp your baby? Just enjoy this time with your little one. It goes so fast.

Enjoy the moment? Six hours of sleep and showering were the miracles I prayed for daily. I shook my fist at the computer screen.

Yet strangely enough, this year has passed quickly. My babies no longer need me to burp them (although I feel no nostalgia about that). Any day now they will start walking. Soon they’ll pass the threshold from baby to toddler.

So now that I can breath again. Now that I CAN take time to enjoy moments with my children, I put together a short video diary of some of the simple things we do each day:

This Christmas I’m grateful for many things: sleep, showers, the occasional date with my husband… But most importantly I’m grateful for joy: having it, sharing it, and feeling God work in my life.

Dec 12

Christmas Activity Book

by Hannah Holt »

one comment

This book offers Christmas coloring and activity pages with a variety of difficulty levels.

To download click here (2 MB pdf file).

A few possible ways to maximize the fun:

  • Do a page a day starting December 15th and finish on Christmas Day
  • Save the entire book for Christmas Eve
  • Divide and conquer (Let the five-and-under crowd work on the easy pages, while older children work on the moderate to hard pages)
  • Let the kids color while an adult reads the Bible passages aloud

Have a very Merry Christmas!

P.S. For the answer key, click here.

Nov 28

Bejeweled Stars and Moons Snack

by Hannah Holt »


Instead of the traditional orange in your stocking, ask Santa to bring you these tropical treats this year.

What you’ll need:

  • Star Fruit (also called Carambola)
  • Persimmon
  • Pomegranate

(These fruits are usually found next to the Pineapples and other fresh tropical fruits in the produce section.)

Step 1) Gently wash all the fruits.

Step 2) To prepare the star fruit remove ends, thinly slice off the star’s points, and cut crosswise.

Step 3) To prepare the persimmon slice crosswise and remove the skin. (The skin is edible, but it’s a little chewy.)

Step 4) To prepare the pomegranate remove the ends (note: pomegranates will stain wooden cutting boards, so place a paper towel down first).

Score the pomegranate four times along the outer edges.

Place the pomegranate in a bowl of water and break into four pieces, using the score marks as guides.

Separate the pomegranate pulp from the juicy seeds under the water. (This helps eliminate staining from juice squirts and aids separation. The seeds will sink and the pulp will float.)

Drain the seeds and discard pulp.

Step 5) Decorate a plate with stars (star fruit), moons (persimmons), and jewels (pomegranate seeds).

I hope you enjoy this celestial snack!