Thursday, February 12, 2015

Valentine's Day DIY

Valentine’s Day 2015 is the perfect opportunity to let that someone special know how you feel- here are some two ideas to help you do just that!

No-Fuss Paper Roses
1. Take an 8″ red paper doily and cut a straight line to the center.

2.  Roll the doily, making sure the wrong side faces up.

3. Twist the end.

4. You may use floral tape to create a stem, or if you have it at home — green painter’s tape.

5. Optional: you can cover the stem with ribbon for a more polished look.

There you have it — a paper rose in seconds!  These paper doily roses are not only simple to make, they are also very inexpensive.  You can pick up half a dozen red paper doilies for $1 at the dollar store. A bouquet of these is certainly a stunning substitute for bows when wrapping gifts, but, with the help of some glue and magnets, it is also fancy having a beautiful collection of paper roses on the fridge!

DIY Valentine’s Cards  

This is SO simple! Just take a stalk of celery and cut it near the bottom to make a stamper. Dip it in whatever color paint you want and press onto paper! Let dry and decorate the rest however you want!

How easy is that??

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Friday, January 2, 2015

January Crafts for the Kids

Here are some easy (and fun!) crafts for the kids to help keep the cabin fever away!


  • Borax Laundry Booster
  • boiling water
  • jars or glasses
  • pencils
  • pipecleaners

- Create a shape out of your pipecleaners and attach it to the pencil {either with the pipecleaner or some yarn/string}
- Boil water and dissolve Borax into the water - I used about 4-5 tablespoons of Borax per glass.
- Put your pipecleaner shape into the glass being sure that it does not touch the sides of the glass.
- Let the pipecleaners sit in the solution for 24 hours or longer to reach desired effect.

Note - while Borax is a natural product, it should not be consumed or inhaled so be careful and follow the precautions on the box.

This game is fun for the whole family, and you likely have most of the materials to make it already on hand.

  • White cups
  • Black & orange craft foam or construction paper
  • White socks
  • Glue 
  • Scissors
To make our snowmen, I decorated six white cups using black and orange craft foam.  To make the snowballs, just tightly ball up three white socks.  That's it!  The idea of the game is simple; toss the snowballs to knock down the snowmen!

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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Happy Holidays!

There is nothing more magical than this time of year. Celebrate the season with your family with these fun crafts that will be sure to please!

You will need:

Cupcake cases
Glue or adhesive tape
String or ribbon for hanging
Glitter, sequins or other embellishments (optional)

How to Make a Cupcake Liner Christmas Tree:
OK, are you ready for the super simple tutorial? This has to be the simplest craft we’ve ever done. To make each segment of the tree, simply fold a cupcake liner in half and then fold it in half again so you have a folded segment as shown in the photo below. This activity is great for developing fine motor skills and all that folding led to some playful maths discussions about fractions, halves and quarters.

Once you have folded the cupcake cases, it’s a simple matter of sticking them together. You can either glue them together or use adhesive tape. Top each one with a little star shaped sequin and add any additional embellishments you want!

You will need:

Peppermint candies
Metal cookie cutters
Non-stick cooking spray
Parchment paper
Toothpick or skewer
Twine or ribbon

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spray the inside of each cookie cutter with cooking spray. Lay cookie cutters on baking sheet and fill with a layer of peppermints. Bake for 5-10 minutes. Keep an eye on candy as it melts, remove from oven when candies have melted together. Lightly coat a toothpick with cooking spray and use it to make a hole in each group of candies. Let candy sit inside cookie cutter until it re-hardens. Once hard, carefully stretch out the cookie cutter, pulling it away from the candy, to pop out your ornament.

• These ornaments are really so easy, but it may be helpful to make a trial run: Place one peppermint-filled cookie cutter into the oven to get an idea of how fast the candy will melt and how quickly it will cool and re-harden after you remove it from the oven.
• Squeeze as many peppermints, side-by-side, into your cookie cutter as possible. If peppermints melt into too thin of a layer, try layering peppermints in the cookie cutter to make a thicker, more sturdy, ornament.
• Don’t forget to be careful around the hot metal and melted candy! This is a fun craft to make with children, just be sure to provide plenty of supervision.
• Candy does get sticky if it’s handled too much. It should be fine after it’s hanging on the tree, but you can add a coat of clear sealer if you’d like.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Thanksgiving Recipes

Tired of canned cranberry sauce at your Thanksgiving table? Here is a great recipe to make it yourself this year!

Empty a 12-ounce bag of fresh or frozen cranberries into a saucepan and transfer 1/2 cup to a small bowl. Add 1 cup sugar, 1 strip orange or lemon zest and 2 tablespoons water to the pan and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves and the cranberries are soft, about 10 minutes. Increase the heat to medium and cook until the cranberries burst, about 12 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the reserved cranberries. Add sugar, salt and pepper to taste and cool to room temperature before serving.

Feeling a tad bit more adventurous? Here’s a delicious twist on the classic tradition!

 Slow-Cooker Apple Cranberry Sauce

4 medium apples, peeled, chopped
1 bag (12 oz) fresh cranberries (3 cups)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon grated orange peel
1/4 cup orange juice

  • 1 Spray 3-quart slow cooker with cooking spray. In slow cooker, mix all ingredients.
  • 2 Cover; cook on High heat setting 5 hours (or on Low heat setting 8 hours).
  • 3 Leave sauce chunky, if desired, or stir well to break down apples and cranberries more. Serve warm.

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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Halloween Party Ideas

Throwing a Halloween party? Here are some ideas to make your party a success!

Spooky Treat Holder

What you’ll need:
  • Mason Jars
  • Black & White Paint
Step by Step Instructions:

·      Dip the mason jars in the black paint. Cover each jar about three-quarters of the way down, leaving the mouth paint free.
·      Turn them upside down; let dry.
·      Dip the bottom of each jar into an inch of white paint. Turn them upside down again and let the paint dry.

Candied Apples with a Twist

Traditional candied apples get an elegant update with white chocolate coating and dark chocolate stripes. As beautiful as they are delicious, they're the perfect addition to a Halloween-themed table.

  • Apples
  • Tree sticks
  • White baking chocolate
  • Tube of dark chocolate frosting
  • Waxed paper
  • Sand away any sharp edges on the tree sticks, then sharpen each to a point on one end.
  • Melt white chocolate in a double boiler over low, even heat until smooth. Be careful not to get any water in the chocolate. Stir occasionally.
  • Pierce an apple with a stick. Dip the apple into the chocolate; let excess chocolate drip off. Place on waxed paper.
  • Once all of the apples have been dipped, place them in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  • When the chocolate has hardened, use the frosting to draw stripes around each apple. Let the frosting dry.

Halloween Punch 
Serves 6 - 8

  • 4 cups no-pulp orange juice
  • 4 cups pineapple juice
  • 2 cups club soda or ginger ale
  • 12 orange slices (optional)
  • For Garnish: Skewers with sliced grapes or seedless tangerine segments

  • Combine all ingredients in a punch bowl or pitcher. Add ice cubes (or the plastic ones that don't melt) and stir. Float the orange slices on the top of the punch. Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 3 days.
  • If serving in individual glasses, place a skewer in each glass after adding the punch.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

September 2014

The seasons will change this month, so here are a few different sources to help get your apartment ready for the fall!

For more information about The Hammocks at Orchard Park, please visit our website or call (716) 677-5300.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Celebrating July 4th 2014

Are you hosting a 4th of July party this year? Here are some party ideas to make sure your party is the best!

We want to wish everyone a safe and happy 4th of July!

The Hammocks at Orchard Park is one of the finest luxury apartment home communities situated in the heart of Orchard Park, NY.  Visit for information.