Blog Archives

7 clever kitchen tips that just may change your life

October 28, 2014
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I’m always on the lookout for tips that make my time spent in the kitchen more efficient and effective.

kitchen tips

I guarantee that some of these smart shortcuts and ingenious ideas will have you saying “Why didn’t I think of that?”…

The next time you make any recipe that calls for shredded chicken just remember this terrific timesaver that we found on Blue Cricket Design. Instead of pulling out the cutting board–use the beater attachment on your Kitchen Aid Mixer and you’ll be finished in less than a minute.

Got a recipe that calls for cutting butter into flour? Katie from Good Life Eats recommends keeping some butter in the freezer, then grating it with a cheese grater. A great tip for bakers that make lots of pie crusts or biscuits.

Love garlic but not the peeling? Follow the easy instructions on The Pin Junkie and you’ll be in business in no time at all–you’ll be amazed at the easy two step process.

This technique will come in handy the next time you’re serving up pancakes to the little ones. End the battle with a fork and knife by cutting their pancakes with a pizza cutter…perfect every time! Brooklyn from Cook and Craft Me Crazy believes this shortcut is a must for every mom out there.

We all love the convenience of a non-stick spray…but maybe don’t care for the all chemicals or preservatives in it. Just 2 Sisters can show you how to make your own at home–using just olive oil and water. Extra bonus: it’s a moneysaver!

You’ve spent all that time baking a beautiful cake. Here’s the inside secret to keeping it fresh after you cut it–sliced bread and toothpicks. Wanna know how this works? Just head over to Created by Diane where you will find all the details.

Your cutting board may not be as clean as you think it is. Rachael from All Kinds of Yumm was amazed at the results when she used fresh lemon and kosher salt to disinfect hers. Head over to her blog to check out the before and after.

Like helpful tips that simplify your life?  We love sharing our finds. Don’t want miss out on our future features… simply sign up to receive these blog post in your inbox.

mug cakes in minutes

October 24, 2014
By

Satisfy your sweet tooth and cake cravings quickly (and quite cutely) with a mug cake!  I whipped up this caramel apple number from our Mug Cakes recipe book for a fall evening treat.

mug cakes book Here’s what you need:

2 tablespoons of unsalted butter

1 grated apple

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1 egg

2 tablespoons milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 cup sugar

6 tablespoons self rising flour

pinch of kosher salt

caramel sauce

whipped cream

 caramel apple mug cake In a large mug combine the butter, cinnamon and apple and microwave for 30 seconds until butter is melted.  Whisk in egg with fork.  Stir in milk, vanilla and sugar, then add flour and salt.  Beat the batter until smooth.  Fold in the caramel sauce and divide into two mugs.  Microwave separately for 1.5 to 2.5 minutes each until risen and firm.

mug cake recipe

Top with whipped cream & caramel sauce and enjoy this warm autumn treat!

Like sweet treats that are easy to make? We love testing our recipes in the books we offer. Don’t want miss out on our future features… simply sign up to receive these blog post in your inbox.

c and g news feature 10.23.14

October 23, 2014
By

Local business using Loops of Love to raise money, awareness for breast cancer

By Joshua Gordon

LOOPS-LOVE-full

BERKLEY — Through family and friends, April McCrumb knows three people who have had to deal with breast cancer in one way or another.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and the outreach spans fundraisers all over the country.

But McCrumb is trying to reach out to the local men and women dealing with breast cancer by offering her own recognition program, Loops of Love, at her business, Catching Fireflies, in Berkley, Rochester and Ann Arbor.

“My cousin dealt with breast cancer, my sister-in-law’s dad and my friend’s mom, so with me alone there are three people in my life that have dealt with this,” McCrumb said. “Our company is supported by people who are mostly women, and there are plenty of other problems out there, too, but this made sense for us. We have been around for 14 years, and we thought it was time to do something that celebrated this month.”

Through Loops of Love, members of the community can nominate someone they know who has battled breast cancer and create a pink loop of paper that will be intertwined with other loops and displayed in all of McCrumb’s stores.

For each loop created, Catching Fireflies will donate $1 to The Pink Fund, a metro Detroit organization that helps people affected by breast cancer handle their bills.

“It is surprisingly crazy how many people who know somebody affected by breast cancer, as we have been doing this for about two weeks and we have over 300 loops between the stores,” McCrumb said. “We are able to use our stores, email contacts and social media sites to reach out so people can recognize someone they know that has gone through this horrible phase. People who may not know about it come into our stores and see the loops behind the counter, and we can explain it to them.”

And it is the chance to talk about breast cancer that made this program attractive when McCrumb and her workers were trying to come up with ideas on how to recognize Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

“Like anything, when the spotlight is on an issue or problem, it does bring more money in for the cause,” she said. “The ALS (Association), they did the ice bucket challenge and that raised a ton of money. The fact that there is one month to shine the spotlight on breast cancer and that helps to boost the money raised, we want to be part of that.”

Molly MacDonald founded The Pink Fund in 2006 after being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005. As she stood in line at the local food bank, she said she couldn’t believe there wasn’t something out there to help families like hers.

“I could not believe there was no support to help working women like myself,” MacDonald said. “Me working was critical to my family’s survival, so I bought a book on how to start a nonprofit organization, and we have helped close to 700 people and had close to $1 million in funding.”

Now cancer-free, MacDonald and The Pink Fund look to pay nonmedical bills for men and women with breast cancer who are unable to work or who lost income because of treatments. The organization gets between 80-90 new applicants every month, and it funds every qualifying applicant for up to 90 days. The Pink Fund usually spends up to $3,000 during that time.

“I think a lot of people are very much aware of breast cancer, but they are not aware of the financial side effects of treatment,” MacDonald said. “With treatment often comes the physical and mental inability to work, but if you can’t work, you can’t collect a paycheck. Some people won’t complete treatment and return to work because they can’t afford to lose everything. We are trying to help people understand that one side effect is the financial toxicity of care.”

Throughout the month, McCrumb has been picking random, nominated people to send a care package that includes a gift card and a bracelet. Thus far, she has sent about 40 packages.

Even when the month is over, McCrumb hopes her small effort can help someone in need.

“I think it is sad that people are going through this, but it is beautiful to take this time to recognize them,” she said.

To nominate someone for Loops of Love, visit Catching Fireflies at 3117 W. 12 Mile Road in Berkley or at 203 E. University Drive in Rochester. You can also emailservice@catchingfireflies.com.

our picks that pack a grin

October 22, 2014
By

We love seeing smiles on our firefly fan’s faces as they make their way through our whimsical world.  We get to surround ourselves with these funny finds all the time and here are a few of our favorites…

picture a day notecards

We all have a school picture (or two) that we would like to forget` but not with hilarious school pictures. These picture day notecards are too funny to not to share with others. $14.95

finger eyes

It’s usually true that simple is best and sometimes surprising the simple silly things that will entertain children for hours. I love these little eyes. You can make the silliest faces with just your hand. You can wear a glove or paint your hand to make it even more fun! I also speak from experience when I say when you are not wearing the googly eyes, you can hide them around your home or office to give the next person who comes along a fun surprise. ;) $1.95

awesome citation

When someone you know is being extra AWESOME, they deserve a little reminder of their awesome-ness! This notepad would surely brighten up someone’s day and send a laugh their way!! $4.95

fantasyland

I laugh every time I see this sign, I love it. I think it would make for a great little pick me up gift or even just as a subtle reminder that it’s okay to live in your own world sometimes. $9.95

dog hair towel

 

I got my first dog about four years ago and painstakingly vacuumed and taped my clothing and furniture, it didn’t take me too long give up the ghost and embrace everything that came with my new friend! This towel is the perfect reminder to let go and enjoy! $9.95

ann taintor sticky notes

 

These sticky notes describe my life perfectly! I get a kick out of them every time I go to grab one on my desk. I have also given these as little gifts and everyone has enjoyed them as much as I have. Check out the other sticky notes by Anne Taintor, they will surely make you giggle! $4.00

monkey nail dryer

 

My daughter is constantly changing her nails, and this little guy helps her speed things along. It really does work, it’s very quiet, and Sooooo adorable. Plus, it puts a smile on your face! $13.95

reasons my kid is crying

I love the stories in this book! We have all seen kids crying and never once thought about how ridiculous the reason could be. As a mom I can relate and think this would be a great gift for my friend who is expecting. It would be a funny way to prepare her for the craziness that is parenthood : ) $15

boston terrier retro print

 

If you own a Boston Terrier or a similar breed, you know that their farts can clear a room! But you still love them. These smart, clown like animals have so much energy that you can’t help but love them! This retro art print says it all in only a few words. A perfect gift for this kind of dog lover!  $21.95

tipsy wine glasses

These tipsy wine glasses are sure to bring on a good laugh while sipping on wine with your favorite pals! The question will be is it your eyes, the number of wines you’ve had or is it the wine glass?!? It’s also a fun gift for the perfect hostess. Cheers! $25.95 set of two

coffee note pad

 

This magnetic notepad never fails to make me laugh. Not only is it super convenient to keep track of my endless to do list, but as a graduate student, I can definitely relate. $5.95

cat hat book

 

With Halloween right around the corner… how could I resist this book?!  I’ve never made our cat Tuesday wear a costume, however she will be modeling these silly hats on Instagram leading up to the 31st $9.95

Do you like seeing what team catching fireflies is loving? We’re happy to share some of our favorite finds.  Simply sign up to receive these blog posts in your email and you’ll be in the loop & get our latest scoop.

spooky sips that will send a chill up your spine

October 21, 2014
By

We continue to be amazed at the creative recipes that fellow bloggers come up with–and Halloween is no exception. You’ve come to the right place whether you’re looking for the perfect Halloween Party punch or searching for a few tempting cocktails for the adults.

spooky sips for halloween

We’ve even included one liquid refreshment that will light up the night. Happy Haunting!

This drink may look gory, but it tastes amazing according to Krissy from Self Proclaimed Foodie. Her delicious Vampire Cocktail will surely get stir up some conversation at your Halloween get-together.

Amber from Dessert Now Dinner Later concocted this colorful Candy Corn Punch with the magic of “layering”. Want to learn how?-head over to her blog to get all the details.

What would Halloween be without a little Black Magic? This creepy cocktail is ghoulishly dark and is brimming with the luscious flavors of citrus and black cherries. Sound intriguing?-Adventures in Cooking has the full recipe here.

Amy from A Healthy Life for Me scared up a few spirits and created her own flavorful drink for Halloween…the Witch’s Brew Cocktail. Surprisingly, this thirst quencher has a twist of coconut and pineapple~a treat for the tastebuds!

Turn down the lights, break out a black light and wait for the excitement to begin! Head over to Girl Loves Glam to find out the secret ingredient that McKenzie uses to make this eerie version of a classic lemonade that she calls “liquid ghost drink”.

Here’s a yummy way to warm up your little trick-or-treaters after a long night of roaming the neighborhood…Halloween Hot Chocolate! Debbie of Made from Pinterest used a basic recipe of white hot chocolate, then explains how you can really get creative with your color and topping choices.

What little ghost or goblin wouldn’t like a taste of this Spooky Shirley Temple? Now that marshmallow-y peeps are available for almost holiday, it’s easy to conjure up a ghastly drink for the kiddos and that’s exactly what Kellie from Nest of Posies did (and even added in some Pop Rocks for a little extra color and excitement).

Like festive drinks to celebrate the season? We love sharing our finds. Don’t want miss out on our future features… simply sign up to receive these blog post in your inbox.

tricks, treats & more

October 19, 2014
By

Whether you want to deal out tempting treats, teasing tricks or dress up your costume… here are a few finds for your happy Halloween visitors.  First, the tricks…

halloween tricks

1.  Turn these gummy bugs into fireflies when you pick them up with magical lighted tongs $2

2.  Record your voice and play it back at high or low speeds for hijinks and hilarities  $16.95

3.  Whoopee cushions… one of the oldest tricks in the book!  $1.95

4. For more farting fun you will need to add the fartzooka to your arsenal  $9.95

5.  Twist and turn this putty and the colors will morph before your eyes  $11.95

6.  Snap crackle and pop these on your driveway for old time fun  $.75

7.  Can’t eat all your candy?  Use it for science experiments!  $14.99

8.  Who wouldn’t love an extra million in the bank?  ;-)  $.95

9.  Create this silly monster and watch him slowly melt into a blob of goo  $9.95

And some treats…

halloween treats

1.  This fluffy guinea pig is the perfect sized pet and requires no cage cleaning $12.95

2.  Boomerang + Helicopter = Fun Times $8.95

3.  Your fingernails won’t only look great, but also smell sweet with this great glitter polish $8.95

4.  Classic candy with a surprise fizz!  $2.25 for 3 packs

5.  Happy or sad… this mood ring will tell what attitude you have  $4

6.  Best tasting striped gum ever made $1.95

7.  Shoot monster eyeballs to keep zombies away!  $11.95

8.  How does this magical story end?  It’s up to you!  $6.99

9.  Ward off any visiting aliens with this menacing mini space gun $4.95

Dress up fun…

halloween costume fun

1.  Don’t want to clown around with a costume, just keep this handy nose in your pocket $4.95

2.  Doodle some colorful tattoos to add to your hippie or gypsy garb $5.95

3.  Color your own butterfly masks for a one of a kind design $11.99

4.  Add this mask to some cardboard boxes and tinfoil and you’ll have a really cool robot  $11.99

5.  Add a talking pet to your costume creation with these fun hand tattoos $6.95

6.  Draw your face on with these washable body doodlers $8.95

7.  Fly away with loads of candy with these pretty fairy wings  $18.95

8.  Turn your hand into a googly eyed friend  $1.95

9.  Need a few extra eyes for your alien design?  Look no further $8.95

Looking for more ideas… Shop ALL HALLOWEEN HERE

Do you like finding goodies that are outside of the treat bag? We’re happy to share some of our unique ideas.  Simply sign up to receive these blog posts in your email and you’ll be in the loop & get our latest scoop.

7 scary science experiments for little learners

October 14, 2014
By

It’s always helpful when you can incorporate a little fun with learning. Since we are in the midst of Halloween season, we thought it would be perfect to scare up a few creepy science experiments that teach as well as entertain.

spooky science experiments

These inventive experiments use mostly common household items…  so, let the spine-chilling & spooky lessons begin!

Malia of Playdough to Plato shows you how easy it is to teach the concept of a convection current with her adorable Flying Tea Bag Ghosts. She recommends using a bag that’s slightly on the thicker side (such as Tazo) for the best results.

Notice anything strange about these heads of Napa cabbage? These Vegetable Vampires have got a little capillary action going on! You’ll find this and lots of other fun experiments in Liz Heinecke’s book, Kitchen Science Lab for Kids.

You can turn a package of gummy worms into Electric Eeels! To find out the secret behind this wacky and weird experiment, head over to the Bitz & Giggles Blog where Sara tells all.

Transform your jack-o-lantern into an amazing Erupting Pumpkin with a little baking soda and vinegar. Just add your  own choice of food coloring for a spectacular show.

How can you make a paper ghost dance? With the magic of static electricity! Grab some tissue paper and a balloon, then  head over to  Inspiration Laboratories to get all the details on this fun project.

Ready to explore the different parts of the brain? You’ll find 5 Messy Ways to Play Brain Surgery on the Left Brain Craft Brain Blog.

Steph from Crafting In The Rain demonstrates how you can use Dry Ice to make a quarter dance and a hammer squeal. Sound like your kind of fun? Then definitely check out her demo videos here.

Like to do fun projects with your kids that also include learning?  We love sharing our finds. Don’t want miss out on our future features… simply sign up to receive these blog post in your inbox.

wine time gift guide

October 13, 2014
By

Have a little fun with your glass of grape with some of these clever goodies for wine lovers.

wine time gift guide

1.  Does your glass of grape make you a little tipsy?  These whimiscal wine glasses won’t mind  $25.95 for a set of two

2.  Celebrate your favorite wines by showcasing the corks in the creative shadow box  $39.95

3.  Transform empty bottles into cool candle holders with these clever cork candles $9.95

4.  Keep your table looking tip top and give your guests a grin with these coasters $18.95

5.  No need to decide when is a good time for a glass of wine with this clock $59.95

6.  This cool trivet gives your wine corks a new purpose $13.95

7.  Cool your wine to the perfect temp and aerate it when you pour through this corkcicle air $24.95

8.  This magical Vinoventi will take the taste of your wine to the next level $39.95

9.  Eat h’orderves with ease using these wood wine glass tapas plates $21.95 set of 4

Do you like finding gifts that are outside of the box? We’re happy to share some of our unique ideas.  Simply sign up to receive these blog posts in your email and you’ll be in the loop & get our latest scoop.

savor the flavors of fall with a sip of sangria

October 7, 2014
By

Sangria isn’t just a fun, fruity  summer drink. It’s so easy to take your favorite bottle of wine and infuse the very essence of the season.

sangria recipes

Whether it’s abundant apple harvests, delicious cranberries, or a dash of tasty cinnamon–these flavors add up to a cocktail you’ll want to cozy up with….

The Effortless Chic Blog has a fabulous recipe for the Perfect Fall Sangria. Make sure that you stock up on cinnamon sticks to serve with these tasty drinks!

Christina of Dessert for Two devised this clever recipe for Sparkling Fig Sangria to serve to her out-of -town visitors. The only problem?–she can’t decide whether she likes it better served warm or cold :)

If you loved caramel apples as a kid, then here’s one you need to try…head over to The Wholesome Dish and check out Amanda’s grown up version of this childhood treat-Caramel Apple Sangria.

Here’s a recipe that you might want to tuck away for Thanksgiving (although, it will be here before we know it).  This easy-to-make Cranberry Sangria is the perfect drink to serve your guests this year. It can be made the night before and all you have to do is take it out of the fridge and let your friends go to town!

If you love lemon and lime–make sure you try this  Spiced Sangria With Citrus. Claire from The Kitchy Kitchen says that mulling spices were her inspiration when she came up with this delicious drink.

Another way to give your cider a kick is by adding some ginger brandy, white wine and club soda.  We made this for our annual neighborhood party this past fall and got lots of requests for refills.

Like pretty drinks that pack a punch? We love sharing our finds. Don’t want miss out on our future features… simply sign up to receive these blog post in your inbox.

baby bump gift guide

October 5, 2014
By

Little ones are born every day but statistics show that September and August are the most popular months for birthdays (must be all that winter snuggling :-)  So if you have  a new baby to meet or have an invitation to baby shower, here are some goodies that are sure to make any new mom smile.

baby shower gift ideas

1.  Show off your sonogram pic in this handmade frame & replace with a newborn photo when the bundle of joy makes their way into our world  $29.50

2.  Slip this sweet magnet into a congratulations card for the new parents  $5.50

3.  Personalized birth announcement prints are the perfect addition to a nursery wall $24.95

4.  Turn the baby’s room into a starlit sky with this octopus friend $19.95

5.  This sealed fortune telling baby tee is sure to get laughs at a baby shower $14.95

6.  Document your baby’s dearest days with this great card set (like I did with our baby, Marlo!)  $26.00

7.  It all goes by so quickly, take a minute a day to remember the special moments with this journal $16.95

8.  Babies change so fast and these month markers make for great memories (more pics of Miss Marlo) $15.95

9.  What’s more magical than dancing rainbows on the walls of a babies room? $27.95

10.  This blankie covers all the bases and sure to be a baby’s best friend (also comes in pink)  $23.95

Do you like finding gifts that are outside of the box? We’re happy to share some of our unique ideas.  Simply sign up to receive these blog posts in your email and you’ll be in the loop & get our latest scoop.

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hello there

April McCrumb

I'm April McCrumb ~ a creative gal from Michigan that loves to share clever gift ideas, simple recipes, my favorite tunes & all things crafty.  Thanks for stopping by my whimsical world. I hope you enjoy your visit.

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