Creative Ways Link Party #43 and Features

Well, it's Wednesday again! Not just any Wednesday, though. Today is my birthday! Yep, I'm 29....again. Ha! Not really. I'm way past that, but I'm okay with it... the wrinkles, gray hair, and extra pounds are signs that I am blessed beyond measure. (even though the extra pound thing I'm working on rectifying) Besides it being my birthday, it is also time for this week's Creative Ways Link Party! I'm so excited to see the fabulous recipes, projects and thoughtful posts you bring to the party each week.

Here's what you may have missed since the last party...

Food for the Soul ~ Philippians 4:13 | Homemade Mint Milano Cookies

Also, I shared on Facebook that my How to Make an Easter Garden post was featured in a sweet online publication called Kids Nation Magazine. This particular issue has several fun Easter/Spring projects to do with kids.


Okay. Time for features...Check out some of my favorites from last week...a few less than normal... I ran out of time. Cut me some slack... it's my birthday ;-)

Isn't this DIY Polka Dotted Lucky Banner by Typically Simple just adorable? I love the variegated greens in the dots!


This Skillet Chicken Pot Pie by Cooking with Curls looks like the perfect comfort food. I could go for some right now with the chilly weather we're having!


I loved this Bedside Table DIY by Greco Design Company. Recognize what it was in its former life?


I'm speechless... oh wait... I'm not. I want these Caramel Twix Cookies by Swanky Recipes more than anything else in the world at this very moment. Don't they look amazing? 

If you missed these wonderful posts, be sure to click through their links to check them out! 

To see some of the past features, check out my Creative Ways Link Party Features Board on Pinterest. I'm hoping that will bring your posts even more exposure! I hope you'll follow along! 


Link Party Guidelines
  • Please link up to 3 of your family-friendly DIY Projects, Crafts or Recipes...your Creative Ways
  • Please link to a specific post on your blog, not just your home page.
  • Please do not link up Etsy shops or giveaways.
  • Please follow Posed Perfection by clicking on one of my pretty, colorful buttons on the sidebar, and let me know so I can follow you back.
  • I'd love for you to add the party button to your post, a visible link back on your post, or a link on a party page. We want your creative friends to join us too!
  • Be sure to visit at least 2 links and leave some comment love. 
  • By linking up to this party, your are giving authorization for your projects/recipes to be featured with a photo and a link back to your blog.
    Posed Perfection
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    Would you like to get notifications for the Creative Ways Link Party posts and the other recipes and projects I post throughout the week? Make sure you SIGN UP TO GET EMAILS delivered right to your mailbox so you don't miss a thing! You'll find the place to follow right under the pretty social media buttons on the sidebar. I can't wait to see all your Creative Ways!
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    Remember, this is a party... be sure to mingle! Please don't link up and run. Visit a couple of the posts above yours and just practice kindness. We all want to hear, "Well done!"



    Homemade Mint Milano Cookies ~ Cookie of the Month Club

    Happy Monday morning to you, my friends! How was your weekend? We've been hunkered down in the house all weekend due to snow and icy roads. Fortunately, it gave me the chance to do a little baking for my family. I was recently invited to participate in a Cookie of the Month Club with a different theme each month. Of course, I jumped at the chance to bake cookies! I love the challenge of a monthly ingredient or theme too. For March, mint was chosen. Being a longtime fan of Pepperidge Farm's version, I decided to make up a batch of Homemade Mint Milano Cookies. I hope you enjoy this minty cookie recipe as much as my family did! (I will save one to try on Tuesday after my Whole30 is over ;-))

    These Homemade Mint Milano Cookies are such a good imitation, you won't even miss the real thing!

    They are really quite simple to make and don't require any crazy ingredients. In fact, I didn't need to buy a thing... all staples I had on hand.

    Homemade Mint Milano Cookies Ingredients

    Here's what you need: butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, egg whites, flour, baking powder, salt, chocolate chips, and peppermint extract.

    Homemade Mint Milano Cookies in process.

    Prepare two pans with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Begin by creaming together the butter and powdered sugar with an electric mixer.

    Homemade Mint Milano Cookies in process.

    Beat for 2 minutes, then scrape down the sides.

    Homemade Mint Milano Cookies in process.

    Add in the egg whites and vanilla, mixing to combine thoroughly...the consistency is a little dare-I-say chunky, but it all comes together in the end.

    Homemade Mint Milano Cookies in process.

    Finish off by adding in the flour, baking powder and salt, mixing until creamy and smooth.

    In a pinch, a ziplock bag can be used instead of a pastry bag for piping cookies. Stuff the bag into a tall cup before transferring dough to make the transfer easier.

    Transfer dough to pastry bag outfitted with large round tip, or into sturdy ziplock back, snipping off a corner. I like to put my ziplock into a tall wide-mouthed glass to make the transfer from the bowl to the bag easier.

    Piping Homemade Mint Milano Cookie dough onto parchment paper.

    Pipe a 2-3 inch line of dough and then return the way you started, creating a really tight "U". Leaving about 2 inches between cookies to allow for spreading, continue piping the dough until it is all gone.

    Homemade Mint Milano Cookies getting frosted.

    Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, or until the edges are just a bit golden. Place on wire rack to cool completely. The filling is prepared by placing the chocolate chips in a microwave-safe dish. Cook on high for 1-1 1/2 minutes, stirring to make sure the chocolate is smooth. Add in the peppermint extract and stir to combine.

    Flip cookies over so that the bottoms are facing up. Carefully spread a layer of the chocolate mint mixture over one cookie and top with another.

    Homemade Mint Milano Cookies getting frosted.

    Voila! You now have a Homemade Mint Milano Cookie. Now continue with the rest of the cookies before your chocolate hardens up again. ;-)

    No need to buy the packaged cookies anymore! These Homemade Mint Milanos are the perfect substitute!

    Homemade Mint Milano Cookies 
    (makes about 2 dozen cookie sandwiches)

    Cookies
    1/2 cup chilled unsalted butter cut into cubes.
    1 cup powdered sugar
    3 egg whites
    1 tsp. vanilla extract
    1 1/4 cup flour
    1/2 tsp. baking powder
    pinch of salt

    Filling
    3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
    1/4 tsp. peppermint extract

    Preheat oven to 300 degrees and prepare 2 pans with parchment paper. Cream together butter and powdered sugar for 2 minutes. Scrape down sides and add in the egg whites and vanilla extract, mixing until thoroughly combined. Again, scrape sides and add in the flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix until the dough is smooth and creamy. Spoon carefully into pastry bag outfitted with large round tip or into ziplock bag with corner snipped. Pipe directly onto parchment paper a 2-3 inch line and return back the way you started. It should resemble a really tight "U" shape. Continue piping cookies 2 inches apart until all the dough is gone. Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until edges become just slightly browned. Remove from oven and cool completely.

    Once the cookies are cooled, pour chocolate chips into microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high for 1 minute. Stir. Continue to cook in 30 second intervals until it is completely melted. Stir in peppermint extract. Turn cookies over and spread chocolate mixture on underside of 1 cookie and top with another. Continue in this fashion until all cookies have been made into sandwiches. Store in airtight container.

    Homemade Mint Milano Cookies are the perfect afternoon pick-me-up paired with a cup of tea!

    How about it? Are you ready to make a batch for yourself? These Homemade Mint Milano Cookies are the perfect afternoon pick-me-up with a cup of tea and some friends. I might have to try making these with orange extract sometime too. What's your favorite Pepperidge Farm cookie? Have you ever attempted to make them yourself? You should give it a try!

    These Homemade Mint Milano Cookies make a great substitute for the store-bought variety. You probably already have everything you need to make these buttery mint cookies at home.

    Need more cookie inspiration? Check out some of the other Cookie of the Month Club members' March Minty Cookie Recipes!


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    Food for the Soul ~ Philippians 4:13

    It's a Bible verse I've tried to ingrain in my children, and one that I find myself reciting often... Philippians 4:13. "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

    I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. ~ Philippians 4:13

    Anyone out there with a green thumb? Is there anyone who couldn't keep a house plant alive if her life depended on it? Well, I'm somewhere in between. I've killed my fair share of plants over the years, but surprisingly, some plants that I just knew wouldn't make it have outlived many heartier varieties. Take this plant, for instance. When I bought it in 2009, we were living in a hotel near St. Louis, Missouri. We were there for my husband's job for 6 months. Anyway, I wanted something to make the hotel room seem a little more homey. So, I bought a potted plant at Aldi that actually included 3 different plants in the same pot, the one pictured above, a pothos and some other really cool plant. I was able to keep all the plants in the pot alive throughout our stay.

    A couple of months after we moved back to Texas, I decided to repot the plants into individual containers. For quite awhile, two of the three were thriving. The one above... not so much. It was just one stem with a few leaves when I potted it. It was usually pretty droopy, then it would perk up. Then the soil would sprout mushrooms, and a couple of new leaves would sprout. It was constantly in an awkward state of being... growing and then drooping and dropping leaves.

    After a couple of years, the really cool plant (I don't recall what it was, but it looked like colorful vertical twisted and ruffled ribbons) just couldn't seem to stay healthy. It was losing leaves like crazy. I finally had to say goodbye to it, even though it was my favorite. All the while, the pothos continued to grow in its leggy fashion and the other freckle-leafed-awkward-but-determined little plant grew to the point of having to be repotted again. Now, 6 years from the time I bought it, this plant is a beautiful picture of not giving up... even through the awkward, pruning times. (Okay, that may be a bit of a stretch, but I'm still encouraged by it's growth over the years, and the fact that in spite of some lapses in care on my part, it has persevered and stood the test of time.)

    So, what does my pretty plant have to do with our Bible verse for the week? Well, maybe nothing, or maybe something. Have you ever noticed how easy it is to give up on your goals when things get hard or monotonous? Likewise, failure and trials can suck the very life out of us. Going through rough times often takes its toll on us physically, emotionally and spiritually. We can often feel and look like my little freckled plant during the growing stages...awkward, droopy and discouraged. When I am faced with circumstances that try to drain my strength and zap my confidence, this verse almost always is the first one that comes to mind. God's Word never fails to encourage my heart and to keep me growing into the person He created me to be. I am not alone in my trials, for I have a friend in Jesus.  I CAN do all things through Christ who strengthens me... and so can you!

    May we continue go grow in the grace and knowledge of the One who gives us strength!

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    Creative Ways Link Party #42 and Features

    Hello, Friends! It's Wednesday night! You know what that means! It's time to show off your latest and greatest creative endeavors at this 42nd Creative Ways Link Party. If you've been stuck at home with cabin fever, have been in a bit of a slump, or just seeking out new ideas, this party should give you lots of inspiration.


    In case you missed any of the posts here on Posed Perfection from last week, here's a snapshot with some links to take you right to them.



    Before we get into the party, have you all had the chance to enter the Gigantic Luck of the Irish Giveaway that I'm co-hosting? You do not want to miss this opportunity to win one of THREE $500 Paypal Prizes! Head on over to put your name in the Leprechaun's hat to be one of the winners! Click on the link above to be taken right to the giveaway!

    Okay, are you ready to see which posts caught my eye from last week's party? Grab a snack, this could take a while... I was suffering from an acute case of indecisiveness (or as my daughter says, decidaphobia), so there are a few more than usual. ;-) I didn't think you'd mind.

    Check out these gorgeous DIY Beaded Tassel Necklaces by Made in a Day! I'm picturing a thinner version of myself wearing one of these with a cardigan-topped white t-shirt and jeans. :-) Love those vibrant colors!

    These Easy Sweet Potato Rolls by All She Cooks are a delicious and sneaky way to add in some good nutrients to a sweet breakfast treat.

    Did you see the metal pipe challenge that many bloggers participated in? I think this Metal Pipe Laptop Table by Home Remedies was my favorite! Love the rustic-industrial vibe it's got going for it.

    Joy Love Food brought this delicious looking Coconut Almond Chia Seed Pudding to the party. I'm going to have to try this soon. I have never made chia pudding before, but am excited to try.

    I love this clever Cupcake Holder Craft Supply Storage  by A Homemade Living . Great way to repurpose a kitchen service piece that only gets used occasionally.

    These Paleo Nachos by My Life Cookbook truly spoke to my heart...er...my stomach. Being in the last week of my Whole30, I'm excited to try this healthy recipe!

    Isn't this DIY Galvanized Hanging Bedside Table by Grace Langdon Art the coolest thing ever? I may have to incorporate one of these into one of our bedrooms. 

    My Sweet Mission stole my heart with this Easy Hot Fudge Sauce. I may need to make up a batch to splurge for my birthday that's coming up ;-)

    Last, but not least, I was drawn to these Watercolor Agate Slices by Persia Lou for Delineate Your Dwelling. She provides a wonderful tutorial for how to paint these gorgeous works of art.

    If you missed these wonderful posts, be sure to click through their links to check them out! 

    To see some of the past features, check out my Creative Ways Link Party Features Board on Pinterest. I'm hoping that will bring your posts even more exposure! I hope you'll follow along! 


    Link Party Guidelines
    • Please link up to 3 of your family-friendly DIY Projects, Crafts or Recipes...your Creative Ways
    • Please link to a specific post on your blog, not just your home page.
    • Please do not link up Etsy shops or giveaways.
    • Please follow Posed Perfection by clicking on one of my pretty, colorful buttons on the sidebar, and let me know so I can follow you back.
    • I'd love for you to add the party button to your post, a visible link back on your post, or a link on a party page. We want your creative friends to join us too!
    • Be sure to visit at least 2 links and leave some comment love. 
    • By linking up to this party, your are giving authorization for your projects/recipes to be featured with a photo and a link back to your blog.
      Posed Perfection
      <a href="www.posedperfection.com" target="_blank"><img src="http://i1212.photobucket.com/albums/cc454/pianoprincessdesigns/creativewaysbutton_zps0fd67676.png~original" alt="Posed Perfection" width="250" height="177" /></a>

      Would you like to get notifications for the Creative Ways Link Party posts and the other recipes and projects I post throughout the week? Make sure you SIGN UP TO GET EMAILS delivered right to your mailbox so you don't miss a thing! You'll find the place to follow right under the pretty social media buttons on the sidebar. I can't wait to see all your Creative Ways!
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      Remember, this is a party... be sure to mingle! Please don't link up and run. Visit a couple of the posts above yours and just practice kindness. We all want to hear, "Well done!"


      How to Host a Super Fun "Un-Slumber" Party for Tweens

      Now that it's been almost a month since we held my daughter's birthday party, I've gotten some perspective on what it takes to host a super fun "unslumber" party for tweens. It seems like I'm always working with a tight budget this time of year, but that doesn't mean we can't pull off an awesome party to celebrate the birthday girl. My daughter was all about keeping it a small party and she didn't want it to be a full on sleepover, just having some friends over for a few hours. We settled in on an "un-slumber" party theme and things just started coming together. 


      My girl further decided the theme would be a Donut & Bacon Pajama party... how perfect is that? We started looking through Pinterest for ideas and working on a time frame, decorations, menu, crafts, etc. So, here are my tips for a simple, budget-friendly tween birthday party:

      1. Talk the party over with your tween to figure out guest list, general theme, date/time, and any ideas they want to incorporate (within reason, of course). For us, that always means there will be crafts. ;-)

      Easy Decorations for a tween "unslumber" party ~ Donut and Bacon Banner

      2. Get the house ready the day before with some easy decorations... the theme may determine what you choose. Keeping things simple, I came up with a Donut & Bacon Banner made from small white paper plates, construction paper and twine. 
      • For the donuts, simply free form cut some donut frosting out of brown, cut a hole in the center, glue to the back of a paper plate and glue on some "sprinkles" (hole punched confetti).
      • The bacon strips were simply made from red construction paper... again free-form cut. I glued on some natural colored construction paper strips for the bacon look.
      • Punch 2 holes in the top of each donut and bacon strip so that the banner stays facing forward when it is strung onto the twine.

      Keep the decorations simple for your tween's "unslumber" party. Donut cake, quilt for tablecloth and some stuffed animals.

      Because the girls were going to be doing some crafting in the dining room, I tried to decorate the kitchen eating area like a bed. Bringing out some stuffed animals and bright pillows, as well as spreading out an old quilt for the tablecloth. Some fun cereals in canisters, along with the stuffies, served as the centerpiece. Let's not forget about the Sprinkle Donut Cake. (Even less labor intensive than my Kit Kat Piano Cake from last year, it's just a yellow bundt cake with homemade chocolate frosting poured over the top and plenty of brightly colored sprinkles to give it the donut vibe... the girls picked up on it right away.) Speaking of donuts... and bacon...

      Fun crafts for a tween "un-slumber" party. Donut memo boards and bacon bookmarks.

      3. Plan out some fun theme-related crafts... We made donut-shaped memo boards and bacon bookmarks. (I try to check out my craft stash first to see exactly what I already have that can be used.) Last year's crafts music themed.
      • The Donut-shaped memo boards with pom-pom pins were so much fun and a big hit. I loved seeing how each of the girls painted their donuts... each one an original. These started off as 3packs of cork trivets from World Market. My husband drilled out the centers of them for us and my little crafter and I gave them a base coat of cream-colored paint before the party. We brought out a few acrylic paints for the girls to choose from and let them go to town. Then we hot-glued mini pom-poms to thumb tacks for the finishing touch of "sprinkles".
      • The bacon bookmarks couldn't have been easier...or any cuter. Using some stiff red felt from when we made photo-booth accessories for another birthday party, we cut some rectangles about 6 in. x 2 in. and punched a hole in the top for a ribbon. The girls cut out some tan felt strips and hot-glued them to the red felt to give it the bacon look. Then came the googly eyes and little smiles. Adorable! 

      Serving breakfast foods at the "unslumber" party makes for an easy menu.

      4. Create an easy menu... we went with breakfast food. Since the cake was a "donut", we needed to incorporate some bacon into the menu. I knew my daughter was not too keen on savory breakfast casseroles, but didn't want to just load the girls up on sugar. World-wide-web to the rescue!
      • Delicious breakfast pizzas were the result after combining a few ideas I saw online. The girls loved them!
      • A giant fruit salad and cubed cheese were also set out. 
      • Bacon, bacon and more bacon! 
      • Orange juice, apple juice and milk were the beverages. 

      Games are almost essential at birthday parties. Why not pull out some old favorites like Twister and Jenga?

      5. Pull out some classic games to play, like Twister and Jenga, to keep them busy while you set up the next activity, whether it's present opening, getting the candles on the cake or until the party starts winding down and parents come to pick up the kids.

      Fun birthday gifts for tweens include elaborate coloring books, gift cards to accessory stores, purses and picture frames.
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      6. Open presents... everyone likes to see the birthday girl's reaction when she open's her gift. (Somehow, I did not get a picture of this... ) She received some wonderful gifts... Charming Charlie's gift cards, a blingy picture frame, cash, a cool purse, and a Secret Garden (by Johanna Basford) coloring book  and Papermate felt-tip pens - seriously, my favorite gift. I'm considering getting this for myself too. 

      Stressed out about planning your tween's birthday party? These 10 tips will help you plan a super fun "unslumber" party for your tween.

      7. Sing "Happy Birthday" and eat cake! We had homemade chocolate ice cream to go along with the donut cake. 

      Allowing time for spontaneous concerts and Minute-to-Win-It games are always a good idea when planning birthday parties for tweens.

      8. Allow time for spontaneous concerts or "talent" shows. I try to have a general timeline for the party, but almost never plan it out to the minute. It keeps me sane and lets the kids have a good time. We also did a Minute-to-Win-It game where the girls stacked chocolate donuts on their foreheads to see who could keep the stack on the longest. (I had this game planned in case we ran through all the other activities... all that was needed were mini donuts and a timer.)

      Find a fun trinket like eyeshades or nail polish to put in goodie bags for an "unslumber" party.

      9. Keep the "goodie bags" simple, or ditch them all together if the girls are going home with crafts they made. We found some inexpensive eyeshades to give the girls and threw in some small candies. Each one went home with their donut and bacon bookmark.

      10. Relax and have fun! Gone are the days of having to have every last detail planned out. After all, girls just want to have fun!

      Stressed out about planning your tween's birthday party? These 10 tips will help you plan a super fun "unslumber" party for your tween.

      Even if everything doesn't go completely according to plan, or you forget to do one of the activities, don't sweat it. If your daughter is anything like mine, she will love and appreciate the effort you put forth to make her birthday special. Got anymore tips for how to host a stress-free tween birthday party? I'd love to hear them!

      Need more craft ideas for tween parties?

      Magnetic Graffiti Memo Board for craft idea at tweet parties

      Girls love making bracelets. Why not have them make these Bohemian Button Bracelets at their next tween party?

      What tween doesn't love having jewelry with her initial? Make up some of these fun Scrabble Tile Necklaces as favors for your next tween birthday party.
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      I'm linking up at some of these great parties and