December 22, 2012

People Puppy Chow

So, I have heard of making this recipe for years but always thought it looked gross.  People rave about it, but it looked too messy to make. 
However, today I got an itch to make a new snack for the kiddos and I had all the ingredients in my pantry.
So, what the heck!  Here goes...

What you'll need:
6 C Crispix cereal (I used corn chex cereal)
1/2 C peanut butter
1 C chocolate chips
1/4 C butter
1-2 C powdered sugar

The recipe I tried said to microwave the PB, Butter, and chocolate chips in the microwave for 2-3 minutes stirring once during microwaving(is that even a word?).  Other recipes said to melt the PB, butter, and chocolate chips all together on the stovetop.  I did the microwave b/c it was faster.  It seemed to work out fine with the microwave. 
While the microwave was going, I measured out the 6 Cups of chex into a large bowl and put the powdered sugar in a large gallon ziplock bag. 

I poured the melted PB, butter, and chocolate chips over the chex and gently stirred with a rubber spatula.  GENTLY stirring is the key and it actually took alot more stirring than I thought to get all the chex evenly coated. 
Then I scooped all the covered chex into the ziplock bag with the powdered sugar.  It fit perfectly!  Seal the bag and gently shake so they are all covered with white sugary goodness. 

Then pour the mixture onto wax paper or a cookie cooling rack. 
Wait till they dry and then serve.  Store in an airtight container.

It was suprisingly easy and really not messy at all.  I think I might actually make it again, that is if the kids like it.  They are still napping:)

December 18, 2012

DIY Kid's Felt Board

As a continuum of finding things to make for my 3 year old to do on cold winter days, I came up with making her a felt board.
I had a picture frame in the garage that my husband had kicked over and broken the glass out of.  I was going to throw the frame away, but held onto it in case I could find a good use for it and viola!
My mom was visiting and was kind enough to go to Walmart for me to pick up felt.  I told her any color, any kind since I didn't really have it all planned out in my head how the board was going to look yet.  I had just gotten home from my surgery a few days earlier and thought this would be a nice project since I was housebound for the next couple of weeks.
My mom came home with the felt, some of which already had sticky backing.  We used these to make the background of the board and it worked great. 
Then we spent the next 3 hours creating, cutting, and hot gluing all the little pieces that would go on the board to create little scenes for my daughter. We made things for a city, outdoor activities, camping, etc.

 I put all the little felt pieces we made into a zip lock baggie and when she woke up from her nap she was thrilled to play with it.  It turned out better than I expected, since I am usually a planner and prepper and had not pre-thought this project out.
Love it and she does too!

December 12, 2012

Advent Calendar

I've read for years about people making their own advent calendars and starting the 'countdown to Christmas' tradition with their kids. 
This year I decided to try my hand at making one and saw a cute  picture on Pinterest that made me think I could make one with stuff I already had in the house that would take me less than an hour. 
Yes, this was the kind of cold weather, Saturday morning I was having...half the motivation needed for a great advent calendar, so I decided to settle for making a good one.  Until next year of course, because that's when I'll have the energy.  At least that's what mom's always try to convince themselves of...having energy as our future super mother selves:)
Here is what I ended up needing:

paper cups
wax paper
rubber bands
sharpie marker
'treats' to put inside each cup
packing tape
cardboard for the backing
Get all 25 cups for the countdown and fill them with your selected 'treats'.  I have 2 kids, so of course I have to put 2 of the exact thing in each cup. 
Cut small squares of wax paper big enough to cover the tops of the paper cups(I used our bathroom paper cups my kids use when they brush their teeth).  Leave enough wax paper over the edge of the top of the cup to secure it taught with a rubber band.  (yes, glue is in the above picture, but I found glue to not work so well with this project in any manner)
Number the wax paper with a sharpie marker 1-25
Take the packaging tape and tape the bottom of the cups to the cardboard that you precut to the shape of a Christmas tree.  It's not gorgeous, but it's Done!

We have ours hanging up in our hallway outside the kids rooms so that they can 'punch' through the wax paper each night before going to bed. 
It's been alot of fun and I think I'll be making the 'great' version of this next year:)

December 09, 2012

Snowmen Milkjugs

So, it's wasn't even December and my kids were itching to get into the Christmas Spirit. 
I am loving this, because I am a Christmas gal...but even more, Christmas is totally my husband's holiday.  He loves decorating the second Thanksgiving is over.  For this, I AM THANKFULL.

Something I saw on Pinterest was a cute little idea for a lit up milk jug decorated like snowmen. 
I had 'pinned' this idea weeks ago so had already cleaned and dried out 2 milk jugs for my kiddos. 

I got out the glue, construction paper, and safety scissors and let them have at 'em.  My 3 year old little a little help with the cutting out of specific shapes, per her instruction:)
I put my OCD mommyness away and let my kids create their masterpieces anyway they wished.  They turned out super cute. (yes, I am biased)

Here is what you'll need:
colored construction paper
one milk jug per child
one string of holiday lights per milk jug

-First get ahold of your empty milk jugs.  one per child.  clean and dry them. 
I just put a little dawn dish liquid in the empty milk jug, fill with a little hot water, put the top back on, and shake shake shake.  Then I empty the water down the drain and sit it upside down in my dish drying rack over night.  Done!

-Before starting the project, take some sharp scissors or a knife and cute a whole in the back of the milk jug big enough for the string of lights to be put through and into the jub.

-Lay out your supplies and let the kids cut and glue their shapes out of construction paper to reveal their 'faces' on the milk jugs. 

-Allow the glued faces to dry and then put your string of lights inside the milkjug.  Make sure to remember to leave the 'teeth' end of the plug out to be plugged in.  (you don't want to fish the string of lights into the jug and then go to plug it in and realize you put the 'teeth' end of the lights in first and now cannot plug the lights in.
 You can put these little guys anywhere you wish.  I've seen them as part of fronth porch and yard decorations for Christmas.  We decided to use then in the kid's rooms as additional festive night lights for the holidays. 

*My husband and I always unplug the lights before we go to bed in case of a fire.  The jugs do get warm but not necessarily hot.  We just unplug them as a preventative measure.

Happy Decorating!

September 08, 2012

Garlic and Sundried Tomato French Bread

I was cooking dinner and went to the freezer and was flabbergasted when I found NO TEXAS TOAST! If you know me and how much my kids love that stuff you would be just as appalled as I was. 
What' s a mom to do?
I had to figure out how to spruce up some .99 cent french bread I got on sale at the bakery.  Luckily, I had some sun dried tomatoes in the fridge left over from another recipe and I always have garlic (thanks to being married to an Italian man). 
I sliced the french bread and laid it flat on a cookie sheet.  then I took some butter and spread that on the tops of the bread, added some chopped up garlic and sun dried tomatoes and drizzled it all with extra virgin olive oil.  I broiled it to a golden brown and it was a hit.  
(sorry i have no 'after' pictures do to quick consumption of the end product):)


May 25, 2012

Spruce up your popcorn

For a treat I like to add little sweets to my kid's popcorn.  It's especially fun on friday night movie nights:)
I give everyone their own dixie cup of popcorn.  You can really choose from almost anything to top your popcorn with.
M & M's
gummy bears
swedish fish
chocolate chips
yogurt covered raisins
dried cranberries

On this night I picked gummy bears, yogurt covered raisins, and mini marshmallows for our popcorn toppings.  It's just a way to change things up once in awhile.

May 04, 2012

Home Made Ball Pit

(please disregard my son's wounded forehead.  He fell off off his scooter the day before)

Since the weather has been beautiful lately, we've been practically living outside.  So, on this one day that it rained, it seemed like my kiddos had cabin fever worse than ever. 
I decided to pull out an oldy, but goodie that my ingenious husband thought of years ago. 
I took our old small baby pool that we bought from the dollar general store and blew it up.  We have about 4 bags of ball pit balls so I emptied a couple of bags into the pool and made our own ball pit.

Super easy and for some reason the fun lasted all day.  It worked out great and made my day lots more manageable.  (I only had to keep the puppy away from trying to chew holes in it:).

April 29, 2012

Homemade Dill Dip

If you have kids you probably have noticed that they love to dip foods.  Even if it is a food that they particularly do not like...throw in some ranch or ketchup to dip it in and the plate is cleaned. 
My kids love dill dip.  In fact the entire family does.  We use it for dipping pretzels, carrots, cucumbers, raw broccoli...if it's dill dipable, we dip it.

April 15, 2012

Colored Cakes

One of the sweet pregnant gals in my Bible study small group was going to find out if she was having a boy or a girl and I thought we would celebrate the news.  So, I made a pink and blue layered cake to enjoy while mooning over her prego belly and diving into our Beth Moore books.
It's very simple to do.
I used a white cake mix so that my colors would turn out just the way I wanted them.
Make the cake batter exactly the way the box directions tell you to for two 9 inch round cake pans.  Before pouring the batter into the prepped cake pans, divide it in half.  Take some red food coloring and add just a few drops to one of the batters and mix-this will make you pink layer.  Take blue food coloring and add just a few drops to the other batter half and mix.  It's always best to add too little at first and mix and then add more coloring.

 Here is the gradual coloring to make pastel pink
After you have your desired color of batter (I wanted pastels so it didn't take much) pour the batter into the prepared cake pans and bake according to box directions. 

When they are fully baked and cooled, put the layered cake together like any other.  I used white icing. 
Here is what it looked like after the reveal.

For my son's 4th birthday he asked for rainbow cupcakes.  I did not take pictures of the process but here is what it turned out looking like.

We all loved them and they were so yummy.  My son definitely enjoyed them. 
To make these lovely rainbow cupcakes all you have to do is prepare the cupcake batter per the box directions.  Then decide what colors you want to use for your 'rainbow'.  Divide the batter equally into bowls that coordinate per color.  For example:  if you want 5 colors in your 'rainbow' cupcakes then you will need 5 bowls, each filled with the same amount of cupcake batter.  Use food coloring to make your desired colors.  Just put a few drops of the preferred color into each bowl of batter and mix.  Once you have your batter prepared to the color that you desire, just fill the cupcake tins.  It works best to use measuring spoons or 1/4 C measuring cup to make sure the colors are around the same amount per cupcake.  Simply layer the different colors in the cupcake tins and bake according to the package. 
Don't worry about colors running and not turning out well.  You can almost not mess this up.  It also helps if after you fill all the tins with the first color of batter, to tap your tins to get the batter to settle evenly.  Do this between each color that you add to the cupcake tins.  I used white icing to top off my son's birthday cupcakes and they looked great!

April 05, 2012

Butcher Paper!

I bought a kids easel at a Yard sale 2 years ago and it has been the best $8 I ever spent.  It came with a HUGE roll of butcher paper.  The other day it was cold, yet again, and we needed a change from the normal art projects that we do.  I had bought some new washable markers for the kids and placed them in makeup bags from the dollar store.  One for my son, and one for my daughter. 
All it took was some tape on either end of the butcher table to secure it to my dining room table and it provided about an hour of table coloring fun.  I was able to cook dinner and effortlessly keep an eye on my artists.  As a mother, it was a dream:)

I hope my roll lasts for a while longer because I don't really know where to go to restock it.  Someone told me that the local newspapers usually have left overs similar to this after printing the paper...a couple of feet on each roll that gets thrown out because it's not enough to print an entire paper on.  I'll have to investigate.
(On a side note, one Christmas I wrapped presents for our family in the butcher paper and let the kids decorate it with Christmas themed stickers and red and green crayons.  The family loved receiving Christmas care packages with the kids artwork as wrapping paper)
Do you know where I can restock my beloved butcher paper roll?

April 01, 2012

Homemade Pizza with the Kids

One of my favorite things to do is have the kids help me cook.  What's that saying...if you let your kids help cook they are more likely to eat it.  Well, not in my kids case.  But, we have a good time preparing the food together anyway. 
Here is how my munchkins make their own personal pan pizza. 
I make the pizza crust dough in my wonderful bread machine that I cannot live without.

Recipe for 1.5 lbs homemade pizza crust in the bread machine:
1/2 tsp salt
3 C all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
1 C water
2 Tbsp. olive oil or vegetable oil
Add all lingredients, liquid first, to bread machine per instructions.
Love this recipe b/c you don't have to have bread flour and it takes like 45 minutes to make.

When the pizza dough is done in the bread machine, I grease the bottom of 2 round cake pans and spread out the dough in each.  (One pan with dough for each kid).  I put the mozzarella cheese and pizza sauce in their own kid friendly small bowls and give the kids a spoon and tell them to have at it.

I love how my son sneaks in a spoon of marinara sauce.  Yum!  I can't blame him and the whole point is to have fun and feel creative.

Smiles of delight make it all worth it. 

Bon Appatite!

March 27, 2012

DIY Waterproof Sandbox Cover

I previously posted how we use a plastic kiddie swimming pool for our sandbox.  But, it had no, I made one.  A waterproof one. 
It's super cheap, and super easy, and works perfectly.  Here are the steps:
You'll need:
A vinyl table cloth (size to fit-a 70 inch round works perfect for our sandbox).  This one was $3.99 at the local Walmart)
Straight pins
a sewing machine
Wide elastic
One safety pin

Take your vinyl tablecloth out of the package and lay it out on a flat surface.  Fold about one inch of the outer edge in, towards the underside, and secure it with straight pins.  Do this all the way around.

Set up your sewing machine, and sew a simple stitch all the way around the entire outer edge.  The only thing to remember is to only sew the edge of the folded tablecloth because you need to leave a hollow space along the perimeter large enough to string your wide elastic through. (this will all be clearer the more we go through the instructions-it really is EASY).

After you have sewn the entire perimeter of the tablecloth, remove all the straight pins.  Cut one small vertical slit anywhere you choose along this perimeter.  This is a very small slit just big enough to get your elastic into to string it all the way through. 
Take your large elastic and put a jumbo safety pin in one end of the elastic.  This will help you string the elastic through the entire edge of the tablecloth.  It will also help you find the end of the elastic if you ever loose it in the process inside the tablecloth edge.  I also had to buy a few packs of the wide elastic and sew 2 of them together to be long enough.  Not a big deal.

This is the slit that you should have cut into the outer edge of the tablecloth.  This slit will be the opening where you insert the wide elastic.  I always attach a gumbo safety pin to one end of the elastic.  This helps me to feel and lead the elastic through the entire edge of the tablecloth and also helps me find it if I lose my place.  You'll be doing this 'blind' since you cannot see the elastic and safety pin while feeding it through the edge of the tablecloth.  When you have fed the elastic all the way around the perimeter of the tablecloth and have come full circle to the slit that you cut; simply pull the 2 ends of the elastic and tie a knot to secure all your work.

When you are done you'll have what looks like a giant shower cap:)
Here is the top view.
 Here is the underside of the sandbox cover

Viola!  That's it.  Super easy, simple, cheap, and it takes about 30 minutes to do from start to finish.

Here is our sandbox

And...tada!  Here it is with the waterproof sandbox cover on it.

Here is the evidence that it is waterproof.  (Last year I made the same thing but in a different pattern and it held up to feet of snow piled on it and never let one drop of moisture into the sandbox.  I just like to change things up and make a new one every summer with a different print on it).

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