Sunday, December 2, 2012

It's A Holiday... Recipe!

Our family is not quite "normal."  I think we've established that already.  The holidays are no exception.  So when Mel and Michele prompted us once again, I couldn't resist sharing.




Christmas Eve is a Crocker Family tradition.  We take turns hosting, and it's always snackie foods...  dips, meatballs, shrimp, cookies, libations...

I usually bring a chicken wing or taco dip, nuts and a cookie tray.  Please let me share my favorite cookie recipe with you - passed down through at least six generations, Miss Sassypants being the latest.

Grandma Drew's Soft Sugar Cookies

½ c. shortening
1 c. sugar
2 eggs
2 T cream
1 t vanilla

Add to:
2 ½ c. flour
¼ t baking soda
½ t salt

Roll out and cut; bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes.

Confectioners sugar

Stick with this recipe, and Santa's cookie plate will look like this on Christmas Eve:

Ketchup With Us

Saturday, December 1, 2012

The Pixie Chart

So it's that time of year again... time for the Pixie Chart. 

What the heck is a Pixie Chart, you ask? What???? I thought everyone knew what they were... all the way up until I got to college. When I mentioned it, people looked at me like I had seven heads - that was my first clue. So here's the deal:

I thought this went back to my Gram, but I found out a few years ago that it was actually her father, Papa, who brought the tradition to the family. Pixie Joe is Santa's head elf; he comes around to everyone's house every night in December to check on all of the children for Santa. These days I guess he'd be considered Santa's personal assistant. Anyway, when Pixie Joe comes, he marks everyone's behavior on a Pixie Chart. You are awarded certain color stars based on how you acted that day. Gold stars mean that you were very good. (In the rare occasion that you were Excellent, you get two gold stars!!) Silver means good, green is so-so, red is bad and blue is very bad. Two blue stars? Forget it... you were rotten!!! For every bad star, one present less will be under the tree; two less for very bad! Pretty good bribery tool for the holidays, huh??? My grandparents... they were no dummies!

Now that you know the history, you're probably thinking, "Kelly, tell me now... how do you make a Pixie Chart? I need to know while there's still time!!" Well, here you go:

You'll need a poster board. Along the left side, you list everyone in your family... parents, kids, even pets! Then you make a grid with columns for every day in December up through the 24th. On the bottom goes your star "Key," like a legend. Buy foil stars and leave them near the chart, wherever you hang it, so Pixie Joe will be able to find them. Every morning, the kiddos rush to the chart to see what P.J. thought of your behavior the night before! Like I said, what a perfect form of bribery masked by a holiday tradition!

Here is our chart for this year... Being that I'm the Crafty Insomniac, I went a little overboard with ours. I fired up the Cricut and popped in the Paper Doll Dress Up cartridge and went to town!

 Blank chart...  only the grid drawn!

 This little elf had a tragic sleighing accident.  We call him "Stumpy."

 The cast and crew are assembling in the craft room...

All of our supplies...   Ready to go!

We're almost there!  
Sassy was more interested in playing with the North Pole friends than helping me put things on the chart...

And Voila!  Here we are with the chart, ready for The Main Elf to make his visit tonight.

Of course, once I finally got Sass into bed, I had to add the finishing touches, a.k.a., GLITTER GLUE!

Incidentally, I've seen this "Elf on a Shelf." They're everywhere these days. I think it's the same principle as Pixie Joe, though it doesn't take it as far as the chart.  Personally, I think that those people totally ripped off our idea and commercialized it.  Bastards.

So there it is... in all its glory! Please tell me if you decide to try this out this year! I'm excited to see how many gold stars we all get this year. 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

What an Awesome Card!

So Snowflake Holiday
Shutterfly has elegant holiday invitations for your party.
View the entire collection of cards.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Can You Tell Me How to Get...

It was so exciting to finally be on our way to our friends' house early Saturday morning! We had been waiting for this weekend for quite a while, and didn't even mind being up early on a weekend. Why? Because we were heading to Philadelphia! Why? To go to Sesame Place to see the Imagination Movers with our friends!!

We arrived at the Kikikells homestead a little after 8 a.m. and transferred all of our things into her van. Her friend Lori and her daughter L arrived, loaded up, and once we got all of the girls strapped in, we were ready to go! (Well, after the van windows were decorated, naturally...)

Thanks to the Age of Technology, the three-and-a-half-hour drive went rather smoothly. Movies, snacks and iPods did the trick!

We were running about a half hour behind what we had planned, so we opted for the first fast food joint we saw in town for lunch before hitting Sesame. It just so happened to be Chick-Fil-A, which I'd never been to before. Holy crowded, Batman!! There was not an empty seat to be found in the place! An older couple gave us their table when they left, though, so we were able to somewhat enjoy our food. I'll say, it was darn good!

We got to the park and back to the theater in time to see our friends Donna, Mel, Becky and Amy and their Minis, get our awesome new MM hoodies and find a seat before the first show started.

And what a show!

For this set of shows, Mover Smitty wasn't able to join the rest of the band. You see, he's a NOFD firefighter and wasn't able to secure the time off after the tour. We were, however, surprised to see Brian Coogan join them. Coogan is their road musician, and the last time they played Sesame he didn't join them.

The guys played three 30-minute sets that day, and we were there for all three. They combined their hits with their Christmas songs, as well as a few traditional Christmas songs and some great gags. It was a really great show, in spite of Smitty's absence.

After each show, the guys stayed out to meet fans. It's great that they do that... not many do. We made our rounds after the first show so Miss Sassypants could give each of the guys the paper Movers that we made (courtesy of The Crafty Insomniac, naturally!), and so she could give Dave his traditional bag of Goldfish. :-) He asked whether he was going to get a gift and a snack after each show. Smartass. Kiki knitted all of the guys red, blue & yellow scarves, so they were distributed then as well.

As we were about to leave the theater to get back in line to come back in for the next show, the SP staff told us that we could stay as part of Miss Donna's group, as she was on the VIP list. That was super nice of them to do!

The second show was just as awesome, maybe just a little more polished, and included an audience-induced impromptu popcorn confetti cannon... and afterwards, we all (as a group) hit the roller coaster. Ahh! The girls wanted to go in without us!! We let them, and I think they ended up going on three (??) times! By then we decided to head back to the theater, as the sun was starting to go down. Once we got in and got our seats, we pulled out the nighttime show gear: Christmas glow wands and necklaces! We has eleven Minis in our group at that show, and they were all so excited! Most of the Movers wore their scarves (which went perfectly with their suits), and they were very grateful for them once the sun set! We watched Kyle and Brian bundle up in theirs about 10 minutes into the show. The popcorn confetti made a comeback, and it was the highest-energy of the three shows that day. At one point, Kiki leaned over to me and said, "What the heck did Rich drink backstage?" Afterwards he told us that he was "high on caffeinated tea." LOL. He also thanked us for the confetti - told us that it really energized them. :-)

We all hung around after the last show chatting, and Rich suggested that we get a big group photo. Great idea, Richie!

After we left the park, the Mamas & Minis re-congregated at a local pizza shop to eat before saying our goodbyes (BOO!) and heading our separate ways, with our little group headed to our hotel for the night. It's OK, though... We drowned our sorrows in margaritas once we got there.  Incidentally, our room's window wasn't at the end of the room.  It messed me up royally.

So now we're home, and I miss my Mamas more than ever! One day just isn't enough, ladies... Christmas Break at kelbons's house!!!

Friday, November 16, 2012


Tomorrow we'll be in Langhorne, Pennsylvania surrounded by friends and ready for a day filled with fun and (I'm sure) mischief.

I, for one, cannot wait!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

5, 4, 3, 2, 1... Blastoff!

Well, I participated in my first Open House on Saturday, and while I didn't really sell that many things while I was there, I did take a few custom orders and handed out a lot of business cards.  In my opinion, it was time well spent.  Oh, and I managed to spend more than I made, thanks to the Thirty-One Gifts vendor.  

Ever since then, I've been busier than ever!  Today I finished the two orders from Saturday, and I have three huge orders behind those, waiting for my attention.  YAY!  I have to laugh, because when I first received these two Cricut cartridges ("Paper Doll Dress-Up" and "Everyday Paper Dolls"), I thought, "They're really cute, but I won't use them much!"  Boy, was I wrong!  I'm cranking out little paper bodies like a gingerbread cookie factory!  Just look at this adorable Thanksgiving set that I made for an order:

I also turned those same turkeys into customized place cards for a customer:

Before that - earlier in the week - these went out the door:
Imagination Movers!
(Scott, Smitty, Rich & Dave)

 Movers live-show bandmates Brian Coooooogan and Farmer Kyle

Gift Tags!

I am having so much fun with this stuff!  I wonder if they're getting sick of seeing me at Michael's, Hobby Lobby and Jo-Ann Fabrics?  Hmm...

Oh!  And did I mention that I got a brand-new cartridge for my birthday?  Heh heh heh...

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Post Halloween Crash

Halloween.  I was not looking forward to it at all, for some reason.  Sassy, of course, was unbelievably excited.  I just have to share how cute she was!
Here we are in our Halloween outfits...  Sass and Helen, her American Girl.  Complete with coordinating tutu skirts and spooooooky tights!

And the costume:  Veterinarian!

Sassy and her BFF, ready to Trick-or-Treat!
(Yes, they're the same age.  The shortest and the tallest ones in their grade!)

The girls and their American Girl dolls, with their matching Halloween outfits!
The dolls are Helen and Olivia, by the way.  :-)

I hope you all had a great Halloween!  Now put the candy bar down and go to bed!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Is Sandy a Boy or a Girl?

Well, there's never a dull moment around this place... that's for sure! I've been keeping myself busy getting ready for the Open House and filling custom orders. Have you seen my latest product? I'll make your family out of paper dolls and frame them in a shadow box! They're proving to be quite popular. E-mail me at for more info on that one.

As if this wasn't enough to keep us busy, we were threatened with Hurricane/Tropical Storm/Post-Tropical Cyclone (really??) Sandy, a.k.a. Frankenstorm. And let me tell you, people around here panicked! Stores were devoid of water and bread, which led me to wonder whether people (other than myself and my family) gather 'round a lantern and eat loaves of bread and drink gallons of water together during power outages. So odd. As for us, we really didn't do anything special to prepare. I just had a feeling that everyone around here was going way overboard. I made sure there were batteries in the flashlights and my phone was charged. I mean, I still have to be able to access Facebook and Twitter!! I also made it a point to cut out extra doo-dads on my Cricut just in case we *did* lose power... That way I'd still have things to keep me busy. Don't need electricity to run a glue stick! All of the area districts cancelled school for Tuesday, so we were looking forward to sleeping in.

We managed to finally carve our pumpkin...

...and the wind started howling and the rain started coming down.  While dinner was in the oven, I went down into the basement just to see what was going on, if anything.  Yep, there was water - in the usual place.  But this time, I was finally able to see where it came from!  The culprit was the window in that part of the basement.  For some reason, it looks like the window well was flooding.  I felt kind of bad for the little toad family that lives in there, because one of them was trying to climb up the window!  Anyway, I took about seven gallons of water off the floor and hoped for the best for the remainder of the night.  And I took relief in the knowledge that the water was coming from the window & well, which is a relatively easy fix...  and not a possible crack in the foundation or walls of the basement!

We crawled into my bed around 8:30 (Daddy was at work) and snuggled up and went to bed.  It was so nice!  Daddy put her into her own bed once he got home and settled.  And the rain and wind continued.

We woke up to gray skies, no rain, no loss of power and a lazy day today.  Everyone got whatever they wanted for breakfast this morning, we made a delicious lunch of pizzaiola and rice, and I worked on a very special order for a customer.  This afternoon I had a phone interview for a temporary medical billing/accounts receivables job, then I traipsed back down into the basement to take care of the mess.  And to be honest, it wasn't as bad as we had anticipated!
 Believe me, I've seen it a lot worse this summer!

And here is the dirty, rotten culprit!  
 Note the mud staining the wall.  Nice touch.
  Scrub brush and I will be spending some quality time together soon!

Shop-Vac to the rescue!

Let us not forget to acknowledge the super-awesome boots!

Let me tell you, I have this down to a science.  My water-removal system is a well-oiled machine - Shop-Vac, bucket, sump-pump and hose.  It's so good, I was done in 45 minutes.  BAM!  Just in time for the rain to start again.

Tomorrow everything should be back to a semblance of normality.  Aside from the fact that it'll be Halloween and every child in the country will be on a sugar and adreneline high, that is!

Let me just leave you with this little nugget of Crafty Insomniac goodness...  hot off the presses.  Ladies and Gentlemen, may I introduce the paper version of the Imagination Movers!  (Live show companions included...)
Left to right:  Brian, Rich, Scott, Smitty, Dave and Kyle
My MM compadres will note that our friend Brian is not wearing his name tag, rather he's holding it.  You'll understand that one...
I'm not quite ready to put these ones on the sales block yet, but perhaps after the Open House.  If you're interested, let me know.  I haven't decided on a price point yet...

Don't forget...

Monday, October 22, 2012


I've been keeping myself very busy this weekend with custom orders, and it all started on a whim.  After we made our mini paper selves to ship off to Detroit with Kiki and family for the Imagination Movers show, I posted it on my Facebook page.  After a bit, I thought...  why not?  I offered up paper dolls in the likenesses of whomever anyone wanted!  It's kind of fun having your family made up into little dolls!  And boy, did the orders pour in!

The idea that started it all...

Then I made a mini Kiki up as a Thank You for hauling our Mix across state lines...
Ain't she purdy??

It was fun taking the orders...  seeing what everyone chose for their "outfits" and the like!  Plus, I got to stalk people's Facebook pages when I needed specifics on things like what their husbands' hair looks like or whether their ears are pierced...  Anyway, I know that some of the orders have made it to their destinations, so I thought I'd share them!

Here we have Miss Amy, my first order.  She requested a pink shirt and cowboy boots!  :-)

This is Barb, a.k.a. Steroid Barbie.  A sneaky little devil ordered her and...
Imagination Mover Scott and had them sent to Miss Barb as a gift!

As of this afternoon, I've finished up the first round of custom orders.  I even had a request for a zombie version of someone...  that was fun!  So if you're looking for a paper doll version of yourself, family members, friends, or (yes) even Imagination Movers, e-mail me at and we'll get you all set up! 

In the mean time, check me out at my Etsy shop!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Whatever You Do, Don't... Fall... Asleep!

As a teenager, I was a horror movie junkie.  But to be honest, I had one real love.  He lived in a boiler room and he terrorized you in your dreams.  Johnny Depp was one of his first on-screen victims.  I even had a poster of him in both of my bedrooms!  (Yes, I had two bedrooms.  Don't judge!)  So when Mel and Michele asked us to Ketchup with them again, I was ready!


In 57 WORDS OR LESS, retell the plot line of your favorite horror movie. And, if you can find one, be sure to include a movie clip of your own.

Nancy's parents and their friends offed child killer Freddy Kreuger years ago, and now he wants revenge.  He comes to you in your dreams, so whatever you do...  DON'T.  FALL.  ASLEEP!

  I'm your boyfriend now, Nancy!

Ketchup With Us

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Startup

So I'm not sure what I expected, but this "business startup" thing is a lot of, well, work!

I've been going practically every waking moment...  doing something with it.  My mornings used to consist of getting up, getting ready, getting Sassy off to school, then doing the morning dishes, checking my Facebook and Twitter pages...  then (yes, I'll admit it) usually going falling back to sleep on the couch for an hour or two.  Not anymore!  Now as soon as I'm done with the dishes I'm out in my office working.  Cutting out paper on my Cricut, assembling paper pieces, putting together inventory listings, creating forms, printing labels, packaging product...  you name it, I'm doing it!  I've set up my Etsy shop:  I've set up my Facebook business page:  I've put together flyers and made business cards.  I'm rocking the business startup!

This happy little birthday cake just about put me over the edge this morning with the sprinkles.  Oy!  lol

Of course, all of this is time-consuming.  Very time-consuming.  To the point where I am almost feeling guilty...  almost feeling a bit neglectful!  Well, it's probably because Miss Sassypants said to me today, "Mommy, could you just not be on your Cricut or your computer or your iPhone?"  Face slap!  I've been so obsessed with building up my product inventory for my first Open House that I can think of nothing else!  This afternoon when we were working on homework together (I had to quiz her on some map questions), she gave me major attitude when I didn't go through the list in order, to the point where she got her first Time Out in months!  When it was all said and done, we talked about it and I got the distinct impression that this was the heart of the matter once again.  This time the point is that she wants to be involved!  We sat together and she put the product labels on the baggies of my paper balloons; she was pretty happy about that.  She wants to help so badly and can't understand that I can't really let her because each one of these little guys is money.  They need to be darn near perfect.

This afternoon, though, we sat down and made paper doll versions of ourselves.  See, our very good friends over at What Kiki Say are heading to Detroit this weekend to see the Imagination Movers.  Usually, we do concerts together...  we're kind of known to travel as a quartet.  We're K2E2!  This time we're not able to make the trip (I'm heartbroken...  I we need my our Movers fix!)  Instead, we're sending along a treat.  Knowing that the boys get a little tired of sweet treats (and that they try to steer away from sweets in general), we made homemade Chex Mix for them to share with the crew on the bus ride.  I thought it would be funny to "go along for the ride," so Sass and I attached paper versions of ourselves to the container!  And here we are...  in living color!

Here I am in all my glory...  including my infamous lime green Crocs!
And here's Sassy...  in her Movers suit, as per her request.  She can't make anything easy for Mommy!

It was a fun project to do together, and I think the guys will get a kick out of it.  At least, I hope they do!  :-)

So here we are...  trying to find the balance.  I just keep telling myself that once I get my inventory built up, it'll get better, right???

And remember...  for all of your paper needs:

Thursday, October 11, 2012

I Did It!

Ladies and Gentlemen, 

The Crafty Insomniac (the custom paper-crafting company-in-infancy) has now finished its first custom order!  YES!  I've had my first paying customer!!

OK, yes.  The customer is my sister-in-law, and I gave her a smashing deal.  I mean...  a deep discount...  but you take care of your family, right?

And the occasion?  My niece's baby shower.

Wanna see what I made?  Do ya?  I know you do.  (Please say yes!!)

OK, you've talked me into it.  Here it is!

You likey?

It looks so simple when you see it like this.  Simple and cute.  Truth be told, this little invitation represents many, many hours of work.  You see, when the giraffes came off the machine, the spots weren't fully cut out!  It took an additional ten minutes to finish cutting out each of the 32 invites by hand.  Lordy, I couldn't wait to be finished!  I'm so happy with how they turned out, though.  The final touch of the glitter glue tails did it for me.  :-)

So, remember...  if you're looking for anything in the way of paper goods, let me know!  I am currently in the process of building my inventory of paper-pieced embellishments like these:

Check me out at for more information on this venture!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

NYC: Day Two, or Our Rainy Day in the Big Apple

The girls were up bright and early Sunday morning to play with their American Girl dolls. Me, I was up at 2:30 in the morning... bolted awake from a dead sleep realizing that I'd forgotten to take my medication. Actually, it was the cold medicine that I really wanted the most. I had a wicked cold over the past few days and I finally felt semi-human yesterday, but it's always worse at night. Once that issue was resolved, though, it was all good.

We were ready to go, but we could tell that the weather was probably not going to cooperate with our plans. Tell me... How can it be 72 degrees and sunny one day and 50 & rainy the next? Oh, yeah... This is New York. By the time we all got ready and ate, and made out way to the bus stop (with a bonus ride on the New Jersey Turnpike, no less), we were turned away by at least three full buses before we could embark for the Port Authority. The kids didn't mind, though... They were having a great time playing!

When we finally made it over to the city, the real fun began: navigating our group of eleven through the New York City subway system to Battery Park so we could go see the Statue of Liberty! This was a surprise for the girls as well, and none of us had done it before! I'll say - the kids did great on the trains! When we got back to ground level, we stopped at a stand and got hot dogs to eat - Miss Sassypants refused. I'm not sure whether it was because she was still traumatized by the Polish sausage incident in Washington, DC, or if she thought we were having a "real lunch" later, but no one could talk her into it. Oh, well! Mine was pretty good!

We got our tickets and entered the Security line, which was interesting. Truth be told, I haven't flown since 9/11, but this was airport-style security! Everything went through x-ray machines and we went through metal detectors. Both the lady in front of me *and* my friend Beth had to take their shoes off! At least they got cute little paper slippers to wear! lol

The ferry first took us to Liberty Island, home of the Statue herself. It was awe- inspiring and something everyone should do at least once if they can! Sassy photo-bombed everyone's pictures, and that lightened her mood. That, and the half a bag of Goldfish crackers she ate on the ferry. We made our obligatory gift shop stop and snapped a few photos of the Manhattan skyline before getting back on a ferry for Ellis Island.

The door handles for the gift shop

It's amazing how they've restored much of the main building of the island into what it looked like 100 years ago. It's not hard to imagine what immigrants saw and experienced when they came through the doors and began their lives in America for the first time! It was very moving for me.

From there, we walked the few blocks to the World Trade Center site. Our objective had been to go to the 9/11 Memorial, and although it's free to go, you do need tickets. When we had checked weeks ago, there were no tickets available for this weekend, but we all still felt it was important to pay our respects. I'm so glad we did!

Right down the block, we found a pizza shop to eat dinner, and it was so good!

We hopped back on the subway and rode back into Times Square. We took all of the kids to Toys "R" Us and we rode the Ferris Wheel! Sassy and I ride in the Monopoly gondola with a really fun mother and son whom we didn't know. Afterwards we found the Lego department where you'd have thought Sassy had died and gone to Heaven! They had some pretty boss displays there!!

By this time it was dark and the rain was pretty bad, but we pressed on. We promised the kids ice cream, so we found a Cold Stone Creamery on 42nd Street. 

 Then two touristy souvenir shops later, we were back at Port Authority buying our bus tickets back to New Jersey. Back in our rooms, we cleaned up, got snacks and did some badass mamma-jamma things like punch out circles from basketball-textured paper for Beth's pre-K class before settling in for bed.

Tomorrow we head back upstate. Back to reality; back to our lives. I really don't think any of our girls will soon forget this weekend, though. I hope they all realize just how incredibly blessed they are to have opportunities like these in their lives! I know I sure do...