Mickey Stained Glass Cookies

If you have a Mickey fan in your life, these Mickey Mouse stained glass cookies are a must – super fun to make (and even more fun to eat)


Cookie Ingredients:
3 C flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 C soft unsalted butter
1 C granulated sugar
1 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 bag of Jolly Ranchers, separating the red and yellow to use in the cookies
1 tablespoon to use to outline the opening circle
Patriotic star sprinkles

Cookie Cutter: mickey mouse head

Cookie Directions:
– Cream the soft butter with the sugar until the combination is smooth not grainy to the touch in a mixing bowl.
-Add eggs…Continue to mix.
-Add the vanilla.. Continue mixing.
-Sift the four, baking soda, and salt together.
-Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture.
-Continue mixing to make sure all ingredients are thoroughly blended.
-Make the dough into a ball, wrap it in cling wrap completely covering the entire dough ball.
-Put in the refrigerator for about 6 hours or overnight. Check to see if the dough is firm.
-Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
-Pull the cookie dough out of the refrigerator and sit it out to soften up a bit.
– Put flour out on the cutting board, rub flour on the rolling pin, and work some flour into
the batter. (if needed).
-Roll the dough out on the cutting board and using the cookie cutter begin to make your cookies.
-Line the cookie sheet with parchment paper.
-Using a metal spatula move the cut cookies to the parchment lined cookiesheet.
-Take a 1 TBSP and use it to get your outline of the center circle.
-cut out the circle.
-Place the cookies on the baking sheet and bake at 325 degrees for 6 minutes.
-While the cookies are baking, unwrap the candies from the wrappers and set aside.
-When the timer goes off, pull the cookies out and place 1 candy in the open circle of the cookie.
-Place back into the oven for another 3-4 minutes, or until you see the candy melted (wont take longer then 4 minutes)
-let cookies cool on cookie sheet for 30 minutes before moving the cookies.

Icing Ingredients:
2 egg whites
1 C powder sugar
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp vanilla
2 piping bag with a number 2 tip
2 bowl to thin the icing
2 squeeze bottles

Icing colors needed:
Super Red
Black

Icing Directions:
Combine all ingredients into a stand up mixing bowl
If the icing looks a little soupy add in 1/2 C powder sugar
mix on medium speed until stiff peaks form, about 5 minutes
Split the icing into two bowls
Add a few drops of Super Red food dye into 1 bowl
If you dont like the shade of the color, add 1-2 more drops
Add a few drops of black into the second bowl
Scoop some of the icing into the two piping bags
Using the remaining icing in the bowls, add 2 TBSP water into the bowls to thin out the icing.
Pour the thinned icing into the squeeze bottles.

Decorating directions

Take your cooled stained glass cookies and set them onto the cookie sheet
Add a few sprinkles into the “glass” part of the bottom cookie
Take one of your piping bags and pipe on a line around the cookie part of the bottom cookie
Place another cookie on top of the bottom cookie so that the icing becomes a “glue”
Let cookie sit for 30 minutes before decorating the top
Take the black piping bag and pipe a line around the top half of the cookie for the head
Using the red icing, pipe the bottom half of the cookie
Fill in the colors with the matching thinned icing colors
Let cookies dry for 2 hours before enjoying!

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Moving in as a Couple? 5 Tips for Realistically Making Your Relationship Work

Regardless of your age, moving in as a couple represents a major milestone in any relationship. It’s only natural to have butterflies and go over a bunch of “what-if” scenarios as you figure out whether or not you and your partner will be compatible under the same roof.

 

After all, there’s always the stereotype of couples who fight all the time because they’re totally incompatible lifestyle-wise. While there’s no one-size-fits-all to making your move-in work, there are things you can talk about and consider beforehand to decrease your likelihood of driving each other crazy.

 

If you’re already looking at apartments for rent or are simply mulling over the idea of moving in together, keep the following tips in mind as you plan your future space.

 

Figure Out Finances ASAP

Perhaps one of the fastest ways couples build resentment toward each other is by not having their finances sorted out from the word “go.” For example, you’re going to need to outline crystal clear expectations in terms of…

 

  • Whether or not you can afford to pay your fair share of the rent month after month (think: are either of you unemployed or between jobs?)
  • How you’re going to split the cost of weekly expenses around the house including groceries, pet food and other household odds and ends
  • Who’s going to foot the bill to take care of any necessary upgrades for the home such as applies or furniture

 

Set Boundaries at the Beginning

You also need to be clear in terms of what’s acceptable and what’s not in terms of noise, cleanliness and general behavior while you’re living together. While not everyone represents an “odd couple” situation where one partner is messy and the other wants everything spotless, it is important to compromise from time to time. If you’ve spent enough time together in your relationship, you probably already have a good idea of what to expect and what problems might arise.

 

Share Your Chores

Don’t leave the burden of chores on one person for any reason. Dumping such responsibility on your partner is a surefire way to form a grudge and start a slew of arguments.

 

Strive to do chores together if possible. Likewise, take care of nagging chores such as dishes and laundry together day-by-day to avoid major messes and keep each other from getting overwhelmed.

 

Make “Alone Time” a Priority

You may want to spend every waking moment together when you first move in; however, you may quickly find that you long for alone time. Try to carve out some space in your apartment where you can enjoy some peace and quiet, perhaps to read, unwind or focus on a personal hobby. Don’t look at spending time apart as a strain on your relationship, but rather a way to give each other more space.

 

Expect to Have Some Squabbles

No couple is perfect, plain and simple. You should expect to hit some bumps in the road during your first few weeks together: an adjustment period is totally normal. In the long-run, communication is key to cohabitation regardless of how long you’ve known each other.

 

Moving in together is much more complicated than it seems on the surface. By setting clear expectations and communicating accordingly, you can actually look forward to your big move versus stressing out about it.

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What To Consider When Designing a Nursery

When you’re preparing to bring a new baby home, there’s so much to think about, from clothes and supplies you’ll need, to the logistics that will come with juggling everyday life and the demands of your new little one.

Another important component of preparing for a baby is designing a nursery, particularly if you’re first-time parents. You want a nursery that meets all your own needs since you’ll be spending so much time there with your baby, but also one that looks great, and hopefully that your baby can grow into as they get older and their needs change.

The following are some tips to follow that will make your nursery functional and stylish, regardless of your aesthetic.

Choose the Right Window Coverings

Window coverings are really important in the overall design of a nursery for a few reasons. First, you want to choose window coverings that are going to block out light, which is critical during those many hours your baby will spend sleeping.

You also need safe coverings, which is of particular importance as your baby gets older.

You might want to go with wooden blinds for the most light blocking, as long as you choose a cordless option.

You can then layer them with a valance or window panels to keep the look soft.

Build the Room Around the Crib

Once you’ve got windows covered, think about choosing the crib first. This will let you build the rest of the room’s design around that central piece of furniture.

Remember, when it comes to choosing a crib don’t go with a used or vintage option because of safety issues, and try to look for one that will convert to a toddler bed or a twin bed, which will be useful as your child grows.

Textiles

When people are designing a nursery, they’ll often pick the paint color or color scheme first, but then find that it’s more difficult to design the rest of the room around that.

Instead, choose the window coverings, then the crib, and then all of the textiles before considering colors. That way, you can pick a paint color that works with your bedding, your rugs and any other items you have in the room. It’s much easier to choose a single coordinating paint color, as opposed to having to base everything in the room around a color.

Create a Space For You

Parents often don’t realize that the person who should feel happiest in their baby’s nursery, at least for a while, is them. Choose colors that you find soothing, and create a space for you with a comfortable chair, and storage for items you’ll need while you’re in there.

This can be a nursing station, or just any area that you’ll find is relaxing for you.

Finally, if possible, try to install a ceiling fan in your nursery. Ceiling fans can help make you more comfortable when you’re with your baby, but they can also be useful in helping prevent SIDS, so they’re a great décor option to consider.

 

 

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6 Ways to Pay for Your Retirement

Work, work, work. You’ve probably been doing it for longer than you can remember.  But what about the light at the end of the tunnel – retirement?  With an increasing number of Americans reaching retirement age, the need to have a plan to pay for life after work become even more important.  So, with that in mind here are six ways to pay for your retirement.

 

  • Social Security

 

For better or worse Social Security has become the default option for paying for retirement.  However, it was never meant to be this way and according to some sources Social Security will run out of money by 2034 – if not sooner.  That being said, Social Security plays an important role in paying for retirement and you should take advantage of this option for as long as it is around.

 

  • Pension

 

Remember those?  While the pension has been under assault for the last 30-years nearly one-third of employees in large firms access to one.   This is good news as pensions provide steady income over your retirement.  However, it also means that most Americans will need another option to enjoy their requirement.

 

As such, the days of banking on a pension are over and with more and more employers shifting to 401(k) plans, you will need to make sure that whatever funds you have in a pension or equivalent, are safe and secure.

 

  • Reverse Mortgages

 

While it’s hard to escape the ads on TV these day, the reality is that reverse mortgages have become an increasingly popular way to pay for retirement.  The reason for this is two-fold.  First, homes tend to be the most valuable asset most people own.  Second, many baby boomers lack access to the cash they need for retirement.
This is why reverse mortgages have become a viable option for millions of Americans over the age of 62.  The benefit of using a reverse mortgage is that you can access the equity in your home without needing to make month payments.  Find out if you are eligible by checking out this short review of the advantages and disadvantages of a reverse mortgage.

 

  • Investments

 

If you are fortunate enough to have enough money left over each month to invest then this might be a great option to help pay for retirement.  While you might think that investing is difficult and time-consuming, Warren Buffet, one of the richest men in the world had proven that you don’t need to be a fund manager to make a killing in the stock market.

 

Back in 2008, Mr. Buffett challenge fund managers that he could outperform their investment strategies by picking an exchange traded fund (ETF) and sticking with it over the long-term.  As part of this bet, Mr. Buffet chose an S&P 500 Index Fund which returned more than 80% over the 10-year period.  Keep in mind, this including the Great Recession which essentially wiped out a lot of start market gains, and jobs and home values, in the last decade.

 

His result beat the picks of Ted Seides, a fund manager, who took the bet and chose five ‘funds of funds’ as his picks.  As such, there is a case to be made for a conservative investment strategy which can achieve sizable returns over time.

 

  • Savings Accounts

 

Granted the interest rates for savings account and Certificates of Deposit (CDs) are not great right now, but it is a better option than keeping your money in your mattress.  The benefit of keeping a portion of your money in a saving account is that that it is relatively accessible.  This means you will have enough money on hand to pay for expenses as they occur.  As such a good rule of thumb is to have enough to cover between three to six months of expenses on hand at any time.

 

  • Annuities

 

This is a fancy way to say fixed income.  The way annuities work is that you invest a chunk of money, usually to an insurance company, and then they will pay you back dividends over time.  The advantage of annuities is that they offer steady returns.  The downside is that it can be difficult to withdraw your initial investment before the annuity has matured.  Millions of retirees have chosen annuities to pay for retirement.

 

There you have it, six ways to pay for your retirement.  While there are other options these are some of the most popular.  Remember, you’ve worked for longer than you can remember so plan wisely to enjoy your golden years.

 

 

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