Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Snowy owl craft

My Daisy troop did a fun and easy craft that they were still able to put their own mark on.  We're working on the 5 Flowers, 4 Stories, 3 Cheers for Animals journey.  This was a great craft that was clean, as we were meeting in the school library that meeting, and required little help from the adults.  Also a huge bonus.

What you need:

Pinecones - I used the ones from my neighbor's tree.  They're the kind with the flat bottom that you often see used with Christmas decorations.
5-6 cotton balls per pinecone
google eyes - We had some that were self sticking and my practice had regular glue, I think I preferred good ole Elmer's for this particular project
Brown fleece
White fleece
Glue or glue stick

-Take the cotton balls and slightly pull them apart to make them look like cotton candy, then stuff it in the openings and all around the pinecone
-Cut out the feet and the wings and use an extra little triangle from the brown fleece to make the beak
-Attach* the feet, wings, eyes, and beak by putting the glue on [the beak, wing, eye, beak], not on the cotton ball or pinecone.  Happy flying!
*If you have girls that are a little heavy handed with the glue, you may want to use the glue stick, the glue will ooze out a bit through the fabric if you use too much.

Some of the girls were quite creative and used their extra material clippings to make accessories for their birds.  We had owls wearing aprons and hats when we left!  Others were able to get their owl's wings to stick out to make it look like it was flapping.

This is Sunshine's owl.  She said that her owl was cold!


ChiTAG Fair

Well we went to the ChiTAG Fair this weekend and, no surprise, had a great time.  The one downfall was that it was absolutely gorgeous out and we spent what was probably the last nice weekend of the year inside, but at least we had fun and we were together.  Which is the most important.

The sheer volume of toys and games, people and booths is overwhelming.  Where to start?  What to look at?  What to play with?  Bug had his opinion pretty much immediately and wanted to ride on a little riding toy.  He had a bit of a hard time as it was meant for children 3 and over but Monkey, Sunshine and my niece all had a great time on them.  I had to finally get them out of there and let other kids have a turn.  The others, understanding there was more to see, wanted to keep going; Bug was dragged, screeching and kicking.

Before the screaming incident.

My baby Bug doesn't stay upset for long though.

Once again, the Citiblocs were a huge hit, for big kids

As was the Plan Toy area although this year all 3 of them enjoyed it.

I couldn't get Bug to hold still for a shot, I thought it was fitting to get him when he was going crazy on the rocking horse.

I found some great toys that I will definitely keep in mind for my kids as well as nieces, nephews, and friend birthday gifts.  All 3 kids had a great time and both boys and mommy fell asleep on the way home.


Monday, November 19, 2012

Birthday party!

Bug was a trooper for his party.  He went down for his nap at 12:30 instead of 1:00-2:00 and slept through everyone coming in, talking, and the dog barking.  He even managed to sleep through the next 45 minutes and stayed asleep until almost 3:00 which, considering there was so much noise and chaos, was pretty impressive.

He wore his Halloween costume but insisted on trying on his new coat that he received as a gift.  Off came the costume and on went the coat.  He would have put the snow pants on but we were able to hide them from him for a bit.

I found a cake on pinterest, apparently an oldie, my mom told me she did the exact same thing for my sister.  It was easy and adorable.  Well when I say easy, I mean it was easy to decorate.  I had a bit of a problem getting the cakes out of the pans.  They crumbled out of the pans and I had a batch of cupcakes burn.  I think I ended up making 4 boxes of cake (instead of the 2 I needed).  Hubby wanted me to give up, but I persevered and came out with a cute cake.  The next day I couldn't find candles and had to use tea candles.  This is what happens when one spouse puts something in a spot so it will be "ready for the party" and the other spouse doesn't, then that other spouse is "helping" and puts them away in a different spot than you would normally put them away.  Oh, I (Hubby) put the cake on top of the refrigerator to keep little hands from grabbing at the cupcakes, Bug had already grabbed on and started licking all the frosting off.  Unfortunately, it was warm up there and the frosting started to melt, especially on the cake (the cake that was held together with frosting).

Not the best lighting, I took it the night before on a whim with the thought "just in case something happens" the next day the frosting had slid off the lion a bit.

Stripping down to try on his coat.

Despite what Monkey thinks, he really does NOT need help opening his presents.

We had lots of presents, lots of food, and best of all, lots of family to celebrate my baby's birthday.


Friday, November 16, 2012

Homemade applesauce

I love, love, love applesauce and so does everyone in the house.  I also like baking new things, especially things that smell good.  I don't know too many things that smell better than cooking apples with cinnamon - it's no wonder there are so many candle companies that make Apple Cinnamon scents, it's because it's delicious!  Growing up my mom used to make cooked apples in the microwave sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar.  It wasn't anything amazing or unusual, but we always liked it.  I decided to try my hand at applesauce on the stove.  It shouldn't be too difficult, if you cook apples long enough you can smash them: so that's exactly what I did.

I used 4 apples and quickly realized after it was on the table that a 1:1 apple/person ration would be best.  So when 5 people were at the table, we were sadly, 1 apple too short.  I'll go ahead and redo this again using 6 or 7 apples, they were a big hit and, although not a ton of work, it is enough work that I want to make sure everyone has enough.

Homemade applesauce:

6-8 apples - try to use at least 2 different types of apples and avoid sour apples like Granny Smith
3-4 Tbsp apple cider - I will probably use apple juice when cider isn't available
cinnamon and sugar to taste

1. Peel and chop apples into 1/2" cubes.
2. Place all the ingredients into a deep sauté pan*.  Cook covered about 20 minutes, stir frequently**.  Apples are done when they are soft enough to mash.
3. Mash them with a fork to the consistency/chunkiness you prefer.  Eat them warm or cold but remember, there aren't any preservatives and treat leftovers as you would any other leftovers.


*My pan is about 3" deep and 10" wide, the 4 apples filled the pan about halfway up.
**If you notice the pan is getting dry add an extra Tbsp of cider or juice.

I added a bit too much cinnamon to this batch.  Hubby said it tasted like really good pie filling.  Hmmm... maybe I'll be making some apple pie this Thanksgiving.  Maybe.


Turkey craft

I am thankful for...

all sorts of things, and so are my Daisies.  I am always amazed at the ideas these girls will come up with as well as the direction a thought will lead.  I love turkeys and they are a great craft but I am almost guaranteed to get a turkey-hand craft from school.  These are sweet and I love having the size of their hand marked out, but I didn't need to add to the collection.  Instead we made a turkey with their ideas and thanks written in their own first grade handwriting.  Simple enough project that you can help and do as much as you'd like or let the girls do it all.  I decided to cut the body out, the feathers, and write "I am thankful for..." on the body.  If I were to do it over, I wouldn't write on it.  Many of them rewrote on it anyways.


Construction paper, including brown for the body.
Glue/glue sticks
Markers or crayons


Cut the body of the turkey out in a peanut type shape.  I had thought about having the girls trace their foot, but envisioned 15 little girls not knowing how to tie their shoes and needing help.

Cut out "feathers", at least 5 per turkey.

Glue the feathers onto the back of the turkey and have the girls write different things they are thankful for on each feather.  If they are not able to write it, have them draw a picture of what they are thankful for.

Draw a face on the turkey.

Hang in your front window for everyone to see!


Monday, November 12, 2012

Apple pieces

I got the idea from eating apple chips and making pumpkin seeds.  I'm certainly not the only one who has thought of it and I'm sure my recipe isn't exactly original.  I'm not sure, I figure if I don't look other recipes up, I won't know and therefore I can claim this as an original.  :)

Cinnamon and sugar (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 250°F

2. Slice the apples as thin as possible, I recommend using a mandolin.  I also cored the apples, I know in the crispy bags, you can eat the seeds, but all I could think of is cyanide laced apple seeds.

3. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

4. Make a thin layer of apple slices on the parchment paper and stick in the oven on the second to bottom rack about 6" from the bottom.

If you are making it with cinnamon and sugar follow steps 1 & 2:

3. Use a very small amount of cinnamon and sugar.  You may choose to use only cinnamon.

4. Layer on the parchment lined cookie sheet and stick in the oven.

Cook it for 2 hours.  Flip the apples after about an hour.  These will come out chewier.  They will not be crispy as the bagged kind from the grocery store.  Either way, we finished 4 apples in 1 1/2 days.

My Pampered Chef mandolin.  I'm not even sure if they still sell them!  I've had it for years and (gee surprise, surprise) it works great.

In the oven.  Be sure to keep the door closed and only open a couple of times to keep it hot inside.  This was not what I would consider a thin layer.  Next time I will use fewer apples to allow for a thinner layer.

Mmmmm....  all done and ready to eat.

The cinnamon apples took a bit longer to cook and ended up being a bit soggier because of the extra sugar creating juice.  They were still very good and were gone before the plain.

The obvious advice:  I suggest not sticking your arm in to flip the apples but rather take the cookie sheet out.  If you decide to  not take this advice, at least use a mitt.

We never had a chance to store them in anything as they were eaten too quickly.


Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Dragon, the Witch, and Batman

The kids all had an awesome time trick or treating.  Even, or should I say especially, Bug got into doorbell ringing and collecting his own loot of goodies. There was no stopping him, he carried his own pumpkin and, except the last few houses when we were done ringing doorbells, he walked the whole time.  Monkey, or should I say Batman, was extra eager this year and ran from house to house with his bat-cape flying behind him.  Sadly the strap on his bat-mask kept coming undone and popping off of his face.  Sunshine was the best witch, quite original too.  Although I had a pair of black boots she could have worn, she insisted on her pink cowgirl boots; no self-respecting witch would not own a pair of pink boots!  She also won't wear make-up, but that doesn't surprise me, she won't let me put any kind of make-up on her, even at fairs when you can have a little heart painted on your cheek she will still decline the offer.

Monkey at his school wearing his costume, minus the mask.  They had a no-mask policy.

 No school party would be complete without the ever popular Halloween parade.

Loving his costume!  Don't tell Monkey he's a dinosaur, he WILL correct you.

A witch with sass... and pink boots

Waiting for Bug before they ring the bell.  Eventually Sunshine would drag him up the last 5 steps to get to the door.