Minecraft Valentines

My daughter’s first grade “class list” for valentines arrived in her back pack the other day reminding me that Valentine’s Day is fast approaching.

When I was in school we always made valentines boxes which was so much fun.  But my daughter’s school doesn’t do the boxes which is a bummer so we (mainly I) have made our own valentines for her class instead.  We try to make valentines that reflect whatever she is passionate about at the time…..Preschool we did superhero valentines and kindergarten was all about zombies.  This year it was a no brainer……Minecraft!!

My daughter is always drawing Minecraft characters on the back of her school papers and this week it even made it into her class journal….

IMG_1214

IMG_1215

We decided to make perler bead Creepers.  She made exactly one Creeper until she had to quit because her “wrist was hurting” so that left me to make the remaining 24 Creepers.

IMG_1206

But the awesome thing about this project is that I discovered a way to melt the beads without melting my bead board…..painter’s tape!!

I took painter’s tape and pressed it down over my Creeper….

IMG_1208

When I lifted the tape the Creeper came with it…..

IMG_1207

I then covered with my ironing paper and ironed the creeper.  Super easy and no melted bead board!!

After all of the Creepers were created I cut up some thin poster board and created valentines……

IMG_1212

The boys are getting green Creepers and the girls are getting the pink Creepers.  All that is left to do is have my daughter write her name on the bottom of each of these, which I am sure she will be happy to do on the first 5 and then it will become a challenge.

During the whole process my 3-year-old son kept asking where Steve was.  Needless to say he ended up with his very own Steve…..

IMG_1213

Thanks for stopping by………

 

 

Kaper Chart – Girl Scout Activity Assignments

I was asked to make our Daisy Troop a kaper chart (assignment board) for our meetings.  I love a good project so I accepted the challenge.

The girls have been learning how to take care of their planet and recycle so what better way to make something for the troop than up cycle something old?  I needed to use something portable and changeable since I am sure that a lot of the assignments will change as the year goes on.

I happened to have some baking sheets that I should have thrown out long ago so that was my something old.

IMG_1077

Project List:

  • Baking Sheet
  • Spray Paint
  • Chalkboard Paint
  • Large Plastic Buttons
  • Painters Tape
  • Acrylic Paint
  • Paint Brush
  • Chalkboard Markers
  • Scissors
  • Magnet Tape
  • Back of a picture frame
  • Super glue

The first thing I did was spray paint the baking sheet with a bright color.  I used Valspar Tropical Rainforest.

IMG_1087

After letting the spray painted pan sit overnight, I then taped up the sides with painters tape and painted the bottom of the pan with chalkboard paint.

IMG_1088

While the pan was drying I started working on my magnets.  I had some colorful large buttons that I bought for a rainy day project that were perfect for this.  I put painters tape in the middle of the buttons to cover the holes and painted with acrylic paint.  Then I wrote the girl’s names on a piece of paper and glued to the buttons.

IMG_1089

Next I put a piece of magnet “tape” on the back of each button.

IMG_1166

Next I needed to figure out how to get my kaper chart to stand and still be portable.  I grabbed the back of a picture frame and took out all of the metal pieces and spray painted it

IMG_1155

I am sure that I could have filled the holes and painted again to make it look cleaner but I was in a hurry to put it together.  I super glued the frame to the back of my chart

IMG_1164

I used my chalkboard markers to write the activities and added my magnets and was finished!!

IMG_1165

The chalkboard markers are erasable so the assignments can be updated as the girls grow.  The chart is portable and can be propped up anywhere.  I am thinking about making another one for my kids chores…….

A Superhero Party – SUPER Eats!!

What’s a Superhero Birthday Party without some SUPER Eats??  Not very super is what…….

So, let’s start with one of  the best parts of any birthday party…..The Cake!!

Here is a doodle of the cake that I texted my husband to which he responded, “Where in the world did you get that drawing?” and “What is that supposed to be?”  So apparently my doodle skills are a bit lame:

IMG_0632

I started putting my cake plan into action by making my topper.  Since I was doing an Avenger themed party I had to fit comics into the mix somehow.  Below is a picture of the topper which is foam that I cut into letters and mod podged comics over (very tedious work!!).  When it was done the letters were hot glued to sucker sticks:

IMG_0641

Time to work on the actual cake……..

Cake Ingredients:

  • 3 boxed cakes with all of the stuff you need to bake them as listed on the box (I used 2 red velvet and 1 blue suede)
  • 1 box black fondant
  • 1 box yellow fondant (of which I only used a pinch and I am still slightly bitter)
  • Powdered sugar
  • 4 cans of frosting (I used cream cheese and vanilla)
  • pinch of water
  • Cake leveler
  • 6-inch cake round wrapped in foil
  • Rolling pin
  • Pizza cutter
  • Silpat is not necessary but makes working with fondant much easier

I needed buildings!!  lots and lots of buildings!!  I ventured for the first time into the world of fondant…….and wow that stuff is fun (how can you beat edible play dough??)

I bought the fondant that was already colored and used my own tools of the trade.  I almost got caught by the “fondant roller” and “fondant cutters” at the store but I outsmarted them and used my pizza cutter and rolling pin.

I followed instructions by kneading and then rolling out the fondant pretty thin using powdered sugar if it felt sticky.  If you have a Silpat use it because I am sure it saved me a ton of powdered sugar:

IMG_0930

Once I had my fondant rolled out I started cutting building shapes and moving them to waxed paper for drying:

IMG_0931

Then I rolled out some yellow fondant and cut out little windows.  To stick them to the buildings I put a very small amount of water on the windows and lightly pressed them onto the buildings:

IMG_0932

I baked up 7 layers of cakes (which I wisely didn’t use 2 of them because I am sure that would have ended in disaster for a beginner like me).  I leveled each layer with a cake leveler (best $12 I have ever spent!!).  In the end I stacked 3-9 inch Red Velvet cakes on the bottom, topped that with a 6 inch cake round wrapped in foil and then topped that with 2-6 inch Blue Suede cakes.  I used Red and Blue because that just screamed Captain America.

I used cream cheese frosting on the red velvet layers and vanilla icing on the top layers.

Once the cake was frosted I started attaching my buildings to the sides of the cake.  The buildings were slightly firm from sitting while I baked the cakes.  I layered a few of the buildings by sticking icing to the back of a building and placing it over another.

After my buildings were added I topped with my topper and stuck a few superheroes up there too:

IMG_0940

It wasn’t quite a clean as I envisioned but when my son saw it he was very excited so it was a success in my book.

Snacks were next on the agenda…….

I had to get to work finding some super ideas for party snacks.  Of course my first step was Pinterest…..which never disappoints.

Unfortunately I can’t give credit to just one person because the things I decided to make were made multiple times by several awesome DIYers….so I will never know who had the original idea (I just know it wasn’t me).

Superhero Suckers have been popular for a while now…..I actually made these for my daughter’s preschool class for valentines day about 3 years ago.  I figured this was the perfect time to revisit this kid favorite:

Superhero Sucker Ingredients:

  • Suckers (I used tootsie pops)
  • Felt
  • Hot Glue Gun
  • Paper
  • Marker
  • Foam (I painted my foam with acrylics to resemble earth)

IMG_0956

Essentially the hardest part of this project is cutting out all of the little capes and masks:

IMG_0750

After everything is cut out assembling is easy……just put the sucker through the cape hole (I put a little dot of hot glue to secure it) and glue the mask to the sucker……easy peasy.  The little comic words I glued to the backs of the capes.

The next and simplest hero treat that I found were “Thor Hammers”

Thor Hammer Ingredients:

  • Cheese cut into blocks (I used Colby and Mozzarella)
  • Pretzel Sticks

IMG_0963

I left the ingredients for the hammers out and the kids put them together themselves.

Another popular superhero treat was the Captain America fruit tray.

Captain America Fruit Tray Ingredients:

  • Fruit Dip
  • Marshmallows
  • Blueberries
  • Strawberries
  • Round Tray
  • Wax Paper
  • Large star cookie cutter

IMG_0953

So this one had several different versions on Pinterest.  I kind of just went my own way with it though because I didn’t have the awesome round dividers and tools other pinners were using.  However I was lucky enough to have a large star cookie cutter on hand.

The biggest problem I could see with this was that the strawberries would stain the marshmallows and turn them pink……but I found a solution!  I made wax paper dividers between the strawberries and the marshmallows and it worked great.  I turned my star cookie cutter upside down and put fruit dip in it.

Up next are Hulk Smash Marshmallows.  One of my son’s favorite heroes is Hulk so he had to have some representation on the snack table.  I found that a few pinners were dipping marshmallows in green chocolate and putting jimmies on top…..they were super cute so they definitely made the cut

Hulk Smash Marshmallows:

  • Green chocolate melts
  • Jumbo marshmallows
  • Paper Straws
  • Chocolate jimmies
  • Edible marker
  • Foam Block
  • Large sucker wrappers with ties (or sandwich bags and ties)

IMG_0959

To start I stuck straws in my marshmallows and melted my chocolate melts per the instructions on the package.  I dipped my marshmallows in the melts and then dipped the top of the chocolate covered marshmallow in the jimmies.  Once I had a foam block filled I stuck it in the fridge for about 5 minutes to harden the chocolate.  When the chocolate was hardened I put my “Hulk Smash” face on them with the edible marker.

I made a rookie mistake with these guys and purchased small sucker wrappers which didn’t come close to fitting around them.  To right my wrong I cut the tops off of zip lock sandwich bags and they fit perfectly.

The cake table turned out great!  and I had another perfect opportunity to use my chalk markers!!

IMG_0967

Now to plan my daughter’s birthday party in March…….I better get busy 🙂

A Superhero Party – Photo Wall with Props

Superheroes are all the rage in this house.  Both my son and daughter love the heroes (and the villians).  When I asked my soon to be 3-year-old what type of party he wanted to have he mentioned about 5 different superheroes and since 4 of the 5 were Avengers we went with it……

I have wanted to try to make a photo wall and props for a while now but never had a reason…..so now was my chance.

Luckily we have a chalkboard wall in the kids playroom and a Superhero theme is easy…..just draw some buildings.

I grabbed my new chalk markers (which by the way are AWESOME) and a straight edge and went to town:

IMG_0755

It looked very plain so I decided to add a little bling but since I am not much for drawing on the wall, I grabbed some copy paper, markers and scissors and made some bling to tape to the wall:

IMG_0762

I also played around with making a big moon and other things in the background but couldn’t make it work so I kept it simple.

The next thing I needed to work on were my props.  I painted a Captain America shield on a cake round and then did a few pencil drawings on some poster board:

IMG_0860

Then I painted them (with acrylic paints), cut them out and hot glued a stick to em (Yes, I know Wonder Woman is not an Avenger….she was a special request from my son).  I also took the opportunity to fix my daughter’s Harley Quinn mallet that took a beating during Halloween:

IMG_0864

The next prop I made was a fun after work project one day……

IMG_0871

Thor’s Hammer……which my daughter claimed as her own:

IMG_0924

The last prop that is very important for a superhero is a cape, so we made some out of plastic table cloths:

IMG_0872

I cut the table cloth in a “cape” shape:

IMG_0866

Then I cut a straight line from the corner towards the middle:

IMG_0868

Then cut a half circle on each side of the cut leaving two long pieces to go around the neck:

IMG_0870

Then I attached Velcro to each side for easy connecting.  My cutting was not perfect but the kiddos didn’t mind and I got 5 capes out of each tablecloth:

IMG_0884

Party Time!!  My son insisted on wearing his Joker costume which was a bit off theme but it was his birthday so he got his way:

IMG_0943

The kids had fun!!  I had a great time taking pictures of the little heroes:

IMG_0989

Up next will be “Super Food”…….stay tuned………..

 

 

Selling Those Cookies……Girl Scout Cookie Signs

It is that time again……Girl Scout Cookies!!

I have a bit of a love / hate relationship with cookie time……I LOVE eating them but hate that I have zero self control and can eat 1/2 a box in 30 minutes.  I hate most of the work selling/delivering them but LOVE seeing how excited my daughter gets when she makes a sale (which was not always the case)……Last year my little Daisy Scout was not thrilled about the whole selling cookie thing…….

1623723_10202568480965513_693327651_n

This year she is ready to go…..made herself a goal and is excited to meet that goal.

We are planning on heading out into the cold temps and snow early next week to sell in our neighborhood so we needed something to fit over her coat since it will be hiding her uniform.  I want those peeking through their blinds deciding whether or not they want to answer the door to know what she is selling. (Come on we all know that these cookies sell themselves and normally the door opens for cookies….before I had a Girl Scout I was just hoping one would stop buy so I could get the hookup).

I had seen on Pinterest where girls were wearing signs, so while tooling around the craft store I saw some cake boards and put my plan into action.

Project List:

  • Enlarged Pictures of the Cookies
  • Markers
  • 12 inch Cake Boards (2 for each sign)
  • String or Yarn
  • Something sharp to poke holes in your Cake Board
  • Copy Paper
  • Glue or Tape

So I started by taking pictures of the cookies off of the order form with my phone.  I called the local copy store and asked them if I could email them the pictures and have them enlarged to 12 inches in diameter. (The copy store is an awesome place to make friends with…..they help me with a lot of my hair-brained project ideas and it is normally super cheap.)

IMG_0827

The cake boards I purchased have some sort of shiny coating that was not working with markers so I took some white copy paper and wrote the name of each cookie using each cookies traditional color.  Next pasted the copy paper to my cake board and then pasted my cookie on…..front board was finished!!

IMG_0834

On to the back board…..so the original idea was to have a cookie on the front sign and the back sign but I forgot to tell them I needed 2 copies so I had to figure something out for the back board.  After some thought and looking at the order form I see where they now give you different ideas on the form as to what you can do with the cookies……..So that is where EAT ‘EM, FREEZE ‘EM and GIFT ‘EM was born.  Again took white copy paper and wrote my tag line with marker and pasted the paper to the cake board.

IMG_0835

Once the boards were done it was time to put them together.  I grabbed some yarn and something to poke a hole in the cake boards (I used a bamboo kabob stick).  I poked holes in the boards and tied the yarn to the first board and grabbed my daughter to measure, then tied the back board on.  I made one for each of the traditional cookies…….thinking maybe the girls can also wear them when we do our cookie booth later.

IMG_0838

I know there are a lot of parents/leaders helping their girls sell so if you need an idea this was an in expensive and easy way to go and the older girls can do these practically on their own with the right tools 🙂

 

TV Land Peg Friends…..

There are several 1960’s/1970’s TV shows that many of us 80’s kids grew up with.  Honestly, I was surprised when I got older and familiar with IMDB just how old some of the TV shows that I grew up with actually were.  None the less they were and continue to be timeless.

My Peg Friends in this post represent some of that timeless TV…….

Up first is The Andy Griffith Show (1960-1968).  Things seemed so easy in Mayberry……..Where the shadiest characters you could run in to were Otis the town drunk or Ernest T Bass the town troublemaker…….

Below is Andy, Aunt Bea, Opie (and his fish), Barney, Gomer and Goober:

IMG_0627

Next we have one of my ultimate favorites……Bewitched (1964 – 1972).  I always thought Elizabeth Montgomery was absolutely beautiful…..and I totally wanted to be able to wiggle my nose and have my hearts desire……

Below is Darren, Samantha and Endora:

IMG_0617

Another TV show favorite was I Dream of Jeanie (1965 – 1970).

Below is Jeanie and Major Anthony Nelson:

IMG_0616

Next up is Happy Days (1974-1984)…….where I had a slight crush on the future Charles in Charge which oddly enough I didn’t paint.

Below is Fonzie, Richie, Joanie, Mrs. Cunningham and Mr. Cunningham:

IMG_0621

And Finally……I Love Lucy which is not quite 60’s or 70’s (1951 – 1957).

Below is Ricky and Lucy and her bottle of Vitameatavegamin:

IMG_0619

Hope you enjoyed this trip down memory lane and if you have somehow been able to avoid any of these classic TV shows I highly recommend that you check them out 🙂

 

Ode 80’s Cinema Presents…….Two Slightly Tardy Christmas Movies

The weeks leading up to Christmas were super busy as always so this post is a bit tardy but I am willing to bet someone still has their Christmas tree up.

It has been a while since I have paid tribute to 80’s cinema so it is time to do just that……..

It doesn’t seem like Christmas until someone flips the TV to TBS for the all day “A Christmas Story” marathon.  This year I was lucky enough to catch the movie from “the major award” scene to the end and then started over from the beginning.

Below are Mr. and Mrs. Parker (Mr. Parker with his blue ball), Ralphie and Randy:

IMG_0614

I have to admit, I do get a little emotional every time Raphie opens up that dang Red Rider BB Gun.

Another Christmas movie that is one of my all time favorites is “Christmas Vacation”

Below is Cousin Eddie, Clark, Audrey, Rusty and Ellen:

IMG_0615

These were really fun to make.  When making most of my “accessories” I use a thin foam but that was not going to work with Clark’s Santa hat because I needed something more cloth-like.  I had a paper towel sitting on the table to dry my brushes with and got a crazy idea.  I colored the paper towel with red marker and taped it together in the shape of a Santa hat then hot glued some cotton ball in all of the fuzzy spots.  Not too shabby for a paper towel and a cotton ball.

I painted quite a bit of peg friends over the past month so there are a lot more to share……..

 

 

Daisy Scout Financial Literacy Badge Activity

Tis the season of gift giving.  All of the girls have started to learn about the value of money at school so it was the perfect time to come up with an activity in Scouts to reinforce this valuable lesson.

Since it is the holiday season what better way to teach the girls about money then a Secret Santa Exchange.

I still remember back in the olden days (1980 something) having the opportunity to visit the Secret Santa store at school.  My parents would send me to school with a few dollars (I felt so empowered) and I had the opportunity to choose from what seemed like a whole department store full of goodies in the school auditorium.  I think my mom may still have the tin Santa cookie platter I bought for her when I was in the third grade……..

We wanted to recreate this experience for the girls while also giving them the opportunity to earn their Financial Literacy Badge.

The activity was set up into three stations:

  • Station one – Money Station
  • Station two – The Store (Daisy Scout Curiosity Shop)
  • Station three – Wrapping Station

The Money Station:

IMG_0149

Each girl was given a “purse” bag full of play money which contained $7.40 in change and bills.  At this station an adult reviewed the value of the money with the girls to prepare them for the store.

The Store (Daisy Scout Curiosity Shop):

IMG_0156

The girls shopped in pairs at the store for their gift exchange partner.  The items in the store ranged from mini fingernail polishes to bookmarks and pencils.  Each item had a value and limit listed on cards.  They were able to purchase several items at once or one item at a time.  It was fun watching the girls become comfortable with the money values as they shopped.  It was super fun watching them try to choose what the girl they were buying for would like (they really put a lot of thought into what they purchased).  If they got stuck we would pull out the money and help them count……but these ladies caught on quick!!

When they checked out they took all of their items in a “shopping bag” (blue paper lunch bags) to the wrapping station.

Wrapping Station:

IMG_0154

At the wrapping station we had socks available for the girls to stuff their gifts into.  After their socks were full they chose a ribbon and a tag to wrap around the top.

IMG_0160

After everyone was done shopping and wrapping the girls exchanged their gifts. It was so great to see how thoughtful the girls were.  Everyone was so happy to not only receive the gifts but also to give them.  We had a great time!!

Advent Calendar Fun!!

Well Thanksgiving has come to an end and now it is time for the month long celebration of Christmas in our house.

One of my favorite things as a kid was the countdown to Christmas…….

Over the past few years we have filled our advent calendar with candies for the kids which is pretty much sugar overkill.  With all of the cookies, cakes and candies of the holidays we really don’t need another opportunity to fill the kiddos with sugar daily.

This year I am going to try something a little different and I am hoping it turns into a new tradition for our family.

I decided to fill the advent calendar with family activities.  There were 2 things that I had to take into consideration when coming up with activities:

  1. 95% of the activities could not be too time consuming.  December is crazy busy and I wanted to make sure that it would be easy to fit the activity into our schedule.
  2. The activities had to be something that would keep the kids interested (If the kids are not buying it then it isn’t going to happen)

It took me most of the day to think of 24 different activities but I did it!!  Luckily we had a few things already planned that fit right into this project.

Here is the list that took me all day to create……

  1. Make Hot Chocolate…..LOTS of marshmallows
  2. Play Ball with Sookie (the family dog)
  3. Turn up the music and dance, dance, dance!!!
  4. Sing Christopher (our elf) a Christmas song
  5. Anna (my 6-year-old) reads a book to the family
  6. See mom for a special treat (I have a small toy for the kids)
  7. Play the hot and cold game
  8. Christmas Movie Night, Evan’s choice (my 2-year-old)
  9. Family after dinner walk!!!
  10. Family Hug!!!  Everyone gets hugs even pets!!!
  11. Mommy reads a book to the family
  12. Zoo Lights!!! (this will be our annual trip to the Zoo Christmas lights)
  13. Make Cookies!!! (another already planned activity with my mom and my sister)
  14. Write a letter or draw a picture and give to someone special
  15. Play a game (Anna’s choice)
  16. See dad for a special treat (another small toy)
  17. Make something special for the tree
  18. Daddy reads a book to the family
  19. Christmas Movie Night, Anna’s choice
  20. Pancakes for dinner!!!
  21. Play with Lilo (the family cat)
  22. Christmas Movie Night, Mom and Dad’s choice
  23. Scavenger Hunt!!!  (I have a small scavenger hunt planned in the house with a small prize at the end.)
  24. Leave treats out for Santa

I put all of the activities on scraps of paper:

IMG_0084

I stuffed the papers into the advent calendar.  I was careful to put the planned activities in the right dates and the less time consuming stuff on busy days.

The advent calendar is all ready to be hung on the wall:

IMG_0085

Things get so busy around this time of year and we get so caught up in all of the busy work that we miss out on quality time together.  The kids are growing up so fast and I really want to make sure we treasure this time with them.  I know eventually they are going to be too cool for family hugs and family dance parties so we are going to live it up while we can!!

IMG_0078

I am really excited to start this on Monday!!

EASY Caramel Apple Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Icing

Fall is here and (besides pumpkin) nothing screams fall like caramel apples.

Baking cupcakes is one of my many hobbies and I love to put my own twist on a box cake (I am not much of a “from scratch” kind of baker).

This Caramel Apple Cupcake recipe is easy and only pseudo homemade.

IMG_9817

The Cake Ingredients:

  • Boxed Spice Cake with ingredients needed to make it on the box (Eggs, Oil, Water)
  • 3 medium apples (I have used everything from Granny Smith to Gala they all work so you choose the type)
  • Caramel Apple Dip (found in the produce section of the Grocery Store)

Peel and chop your apples like so……

IMG_9806

Mix your cake batter according to the box instructions.  After mixing throw the chopped apples in the batter and mix them in.  Fill your cupcake liners with the batter and bake according to the box instructions.

Once the cupcakes are baked, cool them for a few minutes.  Add your caramel apple dip to an icing bag (or ziplock bag with the corner cut).  Then pump a teaspoon or so of the caramel into the center of your cupcake.

Mine looked a bit messy but don’t worry the icing covers the top……

IMG_9811

IMG_9812

Next it is time for the Cinnamon Cream Cheese Icing.

**I have made these with the Cream Cheese Icing that you can buy in the store and just sprinkled a little cinnamon on top.  It tastes alright with the store stuff but there is NOTHING quite a yummy as home made cream cheese icing…….NOTHING.  But in a pinch the store stuff is ok.**

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Icing Ingredients:

  • 8 oz package of cream cheese (room temp)
  • 1/4 cup Unsalted Butter (room temp)
  • 2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 tbsp Milk
  • 2 cups Powdered Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon

Cream together the cream cheese and the unsalted butter then mix in the other ingredients.  Mix on medium speed for about 2-3 minutes till smooth.

After the cupcakes are cooled and the caramel is inserted then it is time to frost…….

IMG_9817

The inside of the finished cupcake…….

IMG_9818

My daughter was excited to taste test this batch for breakfast (hey there are apples in there it is healthy……right??)

IMG_9819

The cupcake received 2 enthusiastic thumbs up and a request for another…….which was promptly denied.

Thanks for stopping by!!