Monday, December 1, 2014

Keepsake Baby's 1st Christmas Star

I collected the tags and scraps of the wrapping paper from the presents each of my children received on their first Christmases. From these I made keepsake Christmas stars that we put on our Christmas tree tops each year. One day my kids will take their own special stars and put them on their own Christmas trees when they are adults with their own homes. (I hope!) Here's how I did it.

I traced and cut out a *perfect* 5 point star out of heavy cardboard (matboard or heavy cardboard from the back of used up notepad will work. I've used both.). I was nitpicky the first star and then every star after that I traced from the original so that I am sure my third kid's star is a lot less perfect. (That's what happens, right?) But, if you want to have a guide or are a little bit of a perfectionist, use a protractor to make a pentagon (the base of your star) with interior angles of 108*. Then extend your lines beyond that until they meet to make your star's points. My stars have a pentagon base with each side being about 2.5" with the end result being a star that has a diameter (you know, if you stuck it in a circle.) of 10". (My high school math teacher sister is cringing I am sure.)

You could also do something like this and use it as a template for your cardboard.

Now, let's forget math because we don't need it any more. That's right, now it gets fun.

Rip and tear your wrapping paper so you have nice larger pieces and smaller pieces to collage on your star. Swab on some modpodge* put down some paper (using the bigger pieces first for a base) and swab over it. Wrap some around your edges and do both sides. It helps to focus on one side and then when that side is dry do the other side. Paste of sticker tags in the same manor.

Card tags, open and mod podge both sides and let dry. Then modpodge the back onto the star and glue over the right side of the interior (where people usually write) so that the flap can be opened later and the message read.

And that's it. Really simple and sweet.

Out of a heavy gauge wire I made a spiral in the shape of a cone that could fit over the top of a tree. At the top I twisted two loops between which would fit one of the angles of the star. Hope that makes sense.

*You can make your own modpodge with equal parts white glue and water. Shake them together in a jar with a screw top lid.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Jack O' Clementines

How awesome is this?

A Halloween lunch bag snack that is both nutritious and takes 5 seconds to whip up? Sign me up!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Halloween Jokes for Kids

This is not a crafting post but I thought I would share our favorite Halloween jokes! Every day I send a note in my older son's lunch with a joke on it (Admittedly, I repeat them after a couple of weeks. I only know so many good ones.) and this month we've been enjoying the Halloween themed ones. Here's a countdown to Halloween with 15 jokes for 15 days!

1. -Knock Knock!
   - Who's there?
   - BOO!
   - "Boo" who?
   - Oh, don't cry! It's only a joke!

2. What kind of witch goes to the beach for vacations?
    - A sandwich! 

3. What does a monster call his mother?
    - Mummy.

4. Why wasn't there any food left at the Halloween party?
   -Because everybody was goblin'.

5. Why wouldn't the skeleton cross the road?
    -Because he didn't have any guts!

6. What do you call a nervous witch?
    -A twitch!

7. Why didn't the vampire like the bumper cars?
    - They drove him batty!

8. What kind of horse does a ghost ride?
    -a night mare!

9.  What did the skeleton order with his drink?
     -a mop.

10. What do you get when you cross a ghost with a reindeer?
      - a cariboo!

11. What do you get when you cross a snowman with a vampire?
     - frostbite!

12. What kind of streets do zombies live on?
     - dead ends!

13. What subject is a witch's favorite?

14. What do you call it when a black cat falls off its witch's broomstick?
     - A catastrophe!

15. Why didn't the skeleton laugh at these jokes?    -Because he lost his funny bone!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Peek-a-boo Card: Haunted House

It's OCTOBER! That means we really get to dive into Halloween! One of my favorite holidays for sure! Candy, costumes, COLOR! All good things start with C. Cookie Monster and I are of the same mind.

And CARDS! We love making and mailing cards. They are a great, fun craft and a fantastic way to show your love. Who doesn't like getting a card in the mail? Nobody, that's who.

This is a neat lift-the-flap card that my octopi and I designed together especially for our favorite people last Halloween. (And I had to wait a WHOLE year to post it, do you know how hard that was for me!? Do you!?)

It was a fun project the kids really got into and allowed them to put as much craziness into it as they wanted while making a really cool finished product they felt pretty proud of. (So did I, I admit it.) The materials are basic, the result awesome. Just how we like our projects around here.

What You Need:

  • Card stock. We cut ours to fit a business envelope when it was folded, so 8.5"x8" or you can use the pre-drawn printable at the bottom if your octopi just want to color.
  • Gluestick
  • Exact-o knife or craft knife
  • crayons, markers, etc.

What You Do:
  1. Take your cardstock and fold in half so it's 8.5"x 4".
  2. On the front of the card, draw your haunted house with nice good-sized windows that will be easy to cut, big enough to draw a cute picture inside but small enough to fit a few peek-a-boo windows. We found 6-8 1"-1.5" windows to be a good size but it doesn't really matter so long as there's enough room around the windows to glue and seal up the card.
  3. Unfold your card and putting your card window-up on a cutting surface, cut out the windows on 3 sides (top, bottom, right) so to make flaps that open and shut.
  4. Open up all the flaps and refold the card so you see the underside. Trace out the window openings. 
  5. Open up the card and have your octopus color monsters in each of the traced out boxes. It helped my younger octopus if I colored around the windows so he knew what NOT to color. Those areas won't be seen once you seal up the card.
  6. On the inside, glue all around the windows and along all the edges of the card.
  7. Fold the front over the glued inside and seal it up.
  8. Now have your octopus color the outside of the haunted house.
  9. Peek-a-boo!

The printable:

Friday, September 5, 2014

Recipe: Frozen Berry Lemonade

This is a favorite summer treat of ours, but we've been so busy running here and there and everywhere that I had yet to share it with you. Now school has started and there has been a HEAT WAVE. It's been hotter this week and last than it has been all summer it seems. So our new favorite after school treat has been, of course, frozen lemonade in all of our favorite variations. I am sipping some raspberry lemonade goodness as I speak. (Or type. Let's not nitpick.)

What You Need:
  • a blender!
  • half a can of frozen lemonade base, like Minute Maid
  • 2 cups of ice
  • 1/2-1 cup of berries- strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, whatever says, "This with some lemon would be Heaven." And you can skip this and make plain old lemonade too.
  • cold water

What You Do:
  1. Put your lemonade, ice, and berries in your blender. Fill with water to make up 4 cups total.
  2. Push the on button.
  3. Cover your ears.
  4. Stop!
  5. Pour and enjoy!

Monday, March 31, 2014

Rainbow Cookies

Well, we just had St. Patrick's Day, a bake sale and a preschool rainbow color picnic all in one week, so of course I was on a mission to make something extra festive and brilliant. So Rainbow Cookies it was! There were a couple recipes online but they were either in grams (and I don't have the patience to bother converting to good ol' cups and other measurements that only make sense to Americans.) or YouTube videos (who has the time to WATCH somebody else make cookies?! No thanks!) So I used my brain and my mom's Christmas cookie recipe (which has the bonus of me KNOWING it's delicious!).

   In comparison to my Mom's cookies which require rolling out, cutting, rolling out, cutting, rolling out, cutting, (and baking about a hundred cookie sheets), then frosting in a million colors (Granted, they're beautiful in the end, but I'm over it about halfway through), these cookies were a cinch. The stacking of the colors into an arch-shaped log isn't terribly thrilling and a little time consuming (about a half an hour to mix the colors and stack the log) but after chilling the log, you're home free with just slicing and baking. And they are ADORABLE! and BRILLIANT! And everybody will want to know how you did it!

I did this in two days to spare my sanity and what little time I have in a day between drop-off and drop-off and toddler-feeding (seriously this girl eats 5 meals a day.) and then pick-up and pick-up. And, yeah, I'll admit it, I do this stuff during the day because I hate to see my adult time get eaten up by baking for bake sales and picnics. Also, I am blessed with children who think baking time is quality hang time.

OK, so, really, this is

1. Mix up your butter cookie dough, or sugar cookie dough. To be honest, I'm not sure what kind of dough my mom's cookies are but it works and tastes delicious and that's all I need to know.
Here's the recipe I altered to make the rainbow cookies. The real recipe for Christmas Cookies to follow.


  • 1 c. softened unsalted butter
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 3 cups sifted flour (Honestly, I just stir the flour in my canister before lightly spooning it into the cup, it's less of a pain in the caboose and the results are good.)
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
Cream together butter, sugar, vanilla and egg. Sifte together flour, salt and baking powder. Stir together flour, salt and baking powder. 

Add flour mixture gradually to butter mixture.

2. Roll the dough into a cone-shaped log. Divide into 6 sections with each ball being slightly larger than the last. (Ignore that extra ball in the background of my picture, I was doing a double batch.)

3. Put a thumbprint in the middle of each ball and put your food coloring in. I used gel colors. It was a little less messy and the colors are more vibrant. The small ball is purple, then blue, green, yellow, orange, then red is the largest.

(again, ignore my doubles, I was doing that double batch.)

4. Roll the purple ball into a log about 1" in diameter. Mine was about 7-8" long.
 (In the end the log was about a foot, just so you know.)

5. With each subsequent color, flatten the ball into a rectangle that will wrap around the log to make an arch. This is about how mine measured out: blue was about 2.5" wide, then green was 3.25, yellow4, orange 4.75 and red 5.5. With each color getting about an inch longer with every addition, because the log gets stretch a little longer every time you wrap a new color. Really smoosh them on there so there hopefully won't be gaps between the layers.

Keep going....

Keep going....


6. Put the log into the refrigerator for at least an hour. I did overnight, so onto:


7. Preheat oven to 375*.

8. Take the log out of the fridge. Cut the ends off, taking off only as much as you can to make a nice flat surface on either end.

9. Cut the rest of the log into slices 1/4" thick. Sometimes you'll get gaps between the colors, I just kind of smoosh the back together gently, sometimes I rock the log back and forth along the arch to smoosh the colors together more before cutting. So far they don't fall apart after baking so take that for that's worth.

 10. Bake on parchment lined cookie sheets, leaving a little space between them, for 10 minutes or until edges just golden brown.

11. The bottoms of the rainbows will be a little pushed out, so while the cookies are warm cut off the bottom of each rainbow with a sharp knife to get a nice clean edge. Cool on wire racks.

I suppose Skittles might sue me if I say "Taste the rainbow," but look at these, how can I resist!?