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Monday, April 20, 2015

Detroit Tiger Rice Krispie Treats

Today was snack day for David, so we thought it would be fitting to take in something to fit our Detroit Tiger theme for April. 

We made these snacks earlier in the year for the Superbowl and they were a big hit, so we just changed the jersey color and the numbers. 

I started by making a double batch of Rice Krispie treats. I pressed them into a greased sheet cake pan. Then I cut them into 25 treats. I spread on white melted chocolate to represent the jersey. Then I wrote on an Old English D and the number of all the players on the active roster. I put a little bit of melted chocolate on the back of a vanilla wafer and attached it to the top of each treat. Using a food marker, I drew on a face. (Because of lack of time, I didn't add all the features to the shirt that I could have, but the kids still liked them!) 

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Detroit Tiger's "Kids' Opening Day" Essay Contest

“Mumma…This was the best day of my life.” These nine words spoken by my six-year-old son, David, tonight bring tears to my eyes as I reflect on what an incredible experience we had today.  Thanks to the Detroit Tigers and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, today became a memory my family will have for the rest of our lives.

About a month ago, I came across an essay contest asking children and their parents to take a pledge to be healthier. Together, David and I wrote an essay and submitted it. You see, David is such a huge sports fan. He can tell you the stats of countless players, all of the teams they have played for, and even where they attended college. Instead of watching cartoons, David has been watching Sports Center since he was about three years old. He asks Siri the scores of games as soon as he wakes up in the morning. He turns down the TV and pretends he is doing the play-by-play. Instead of asking for toys for Christmas and birthdays, he asks for sports memorabilia. He is so invested in his teams and his players. So, when we received a call from the Detroit Tigers the Saturday before Easter, I knew this was going to mean the world to him. Furthermore, when he found out he was going to be representing first base, the excitement grew even more.

Today, Sunday, April 19th, we gathered about 20 family members and friends and loaded up on a small party bus (Thanks, Midnight Madness!), and headed to the game. The amount of people that gave up their day to support David just further justifies how blessed we truly are. The day could not have gone more perfectly.

While this may have seemed like such a small act to the Detroit Tiger players and staff, I will never be able to thank them enough for granting this opportunity to my son. Thank you Detroit Tigers for providing Kids’ Day festivities. Thank you Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan for sponsoring this event and for encouraging healthy lifestyles. Thank you, Miguel Cabrera for making a dream come true and for making David feel like he was the only person in that stadium today! Thank you family and friends for all of your support, not just today, but every day of our lives! Thank you all, from the bottom of my heart, for giving David “the best day of his life”.

Here is our essay and our pledge to be healthier:

After asking my six-year-old son how we could live a healthy lifestyle this summer, he quickly responded with, “Drink more water and play baseball!” He then added, “Well, we could eat healthier too and do some running.”

Our summers are definitely dedicated to baseball, swimming, going for walks, and working in my parents’ garden to eventually can the produce into various salsas and sauces. As a teacher, I am incredibly grateful to be able to spend valuable time with my children over the summer break. We make the most of every single moment. However, we have made it our pledge to do an activity together every day of the year (not just the summer). Being healthy is so much more than physical health. For us, being together and living in every moment brings the mental health we all need.

Children grow up so quickly and many adults are left wishing they had done more with their children when they were younger. I don’t want to be the same way.   I want to give my children every experience I can. So, doing small things like going on a nature scavenger hunt, baking a new recipe together, painting a picture, or going for a walk to the library fill our daily lives.

We pledge to not only continue this “healthy” lifestyle this summer, but to inspire others to find happiness through these activities. We blog our activities together at

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Detroit Tigers Painting for Kids

We started by finding a stencil to use. (I just google searched Old English D.) We cut it out and used masking tape to secure the D to the canvas. The boys took different approaches to putting on the blue background. One used a foam circle brush to dot on the blue. The other just painted the entire background blue. 

We pulled the stencil off the canvas. This one has a dark and lighter color blue. 

Then the boys used a smaller brush to fill in the D with orange paint. 

Here are the finished products.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Detroit Tigers Opening Day Cake

We have our own "Opening Day" party every year for the start of the Detroit Tiger baseball season. Our party is complete with hot dogs, peanuts, turning our refrigerator into Paws (, and cake!

Here is the cake we came up with this year...
The bottom layer is two 10x12in. cakes. The top is two 9 inch round cakes stacked. I covered them with homemade frosting right before I placed the fondant on the the cake (1/2 cup Crisco, 2 cups powdered sugar, 1/2 tsp vanilla, 2 Tbsp milk). 

The fondant recipe: Melt one 16 oz bag of mini marshmallows with 2 Tbsp water in a large bowl. Melt on 30 second intervals, stirring after each round of 30 seconds...about 1 1/2 minutes total. 

Add 3 cups of powdered sugar. Stir until smooth. Put Crisco on the counter. Knead in about 3 more cups of powdered sugar. Put Crisco around the ball of dough. Cover with Saran wrap. Place in an air-tight container until ready to work with it.) 

I colored some of the frosting blue by using black and blue food gel. I still have to work on my rolling and smoothing of fondant, but this is as good as it gets for now. 

I colored a little of the fondant orange and covered the circle cakes and made some paw prints. 

Both D's, the baseball, and white strips are from the white fondant. I used red frosting to stitch the baseball and black frosting to write "Opening Day 2015". 

The boys' favorite accessory is the hat. I made some Rice Krispie treats and molded it into the hat shape. The trick is to spray your hands with cooking spray to be able to mold the warm Rice Krispies. I covered the ball part of the hat with blue fondant. I did the bill part of the hat separately. Then I stuck them together. The top of the hat is just a piece of fondant. 

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Lemon Chick Cookies

The kids wanted to make something tonight, but we didn't have a lot of time before bedtime. So, we pulled out a yellow cake mix and looked at a picture on Pinterest to come up with these. 

We mixed a yellow cake mix, 2 eggs, and 1/2 cup oil with the hand mixer. I added 1-2 drops of lemon essential oil and mixed it together. 

Then we placed two different sizes of cookie dough balls on a greased baking pan. Make sure the little ball touches the larger ball. Bake for about 12 minutes at 350 degrees. (I got 11 cookies out of this.) 

Put the cookies on a cooling rack. Immediately place two mini chocolate chips in the warm cookie for the eyes. I cut orange chocolate disks into triangles for the beaks. 

Then I piped on some orange frosting feet. 

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Dog-shaped Homemade Hot Dog Buns

A friend posted these on my Facebook wall a few weeks ago. We used our own bread dough recipe and gave them a try today. They were a huge hit! 

I started with my white bread recipe. It makes two loaves of bread, so I made one loaf of bread and turned the other half of the dough into the hot dog buns. 

Ingredients for the bread: 
2 cups warm water
1/3 cup honey
1 1/2 Tbsp yeast
2 tsp salt
6 3/4 cup flour

I let the dough double after I had it mixed. Then I divided it in half. I let half of it rise in a loaf pan. I made nine dough balls with the remaining bread dough. I placed them on a baking stone and covered them with wet paper towels for about 15 minutes. 

Then I shaped the dough balls into ovals. I cut two slits in each oval with a knife and let the dough rise (covered with a towel). I let it rise for about 20 minutes. 

Then I cut little slits in the dough and placed a black bean in the slit for the eyes and nose. 

I baked them for 12 minutes on 350 degrees. 

Then I cut a slit with a serrated knife and placed a cooked hot dog in the "mouth". 

Strawberry Muffins

I saw this recipe on Facebook today and thought it sounded really good. These muffins are delicious! David said they are his new favorite muffins. 

1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups chopped strawberries
3 tsp sugar
3/4 tsp cinnamon

Cream the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl. Add the egg. 
In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, and salt together. Add the flour mixture and the milk alternately to the creamed mixture. It took me four separate additions. 

Then add the vanilla. 

Fold in the strawberries. 

Grease a muffin pan and divide the dough into the 12 spots. 

Mix the cinnamon and sugar and sprinkle it over the muffins. 

Bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes. Let muffins cool on a cooling rack.

Bunny Pancakes

We have seen lot of pictures of the "bunny butt" pancakes, so we decided to try them today. It was very easy. We just did a large circle and two small ovals. Then we added a sliced strawberry for the paws and a dollop of Redi-whip. 

Friday, March 27, 2015

Cookies for the Movie Home

The boys' elementary school went to see the new movie Home today to wrap up their month of reading activities. I saw cookies like these on this website (, so I decided to try our own version.

 I had leftover fondant from the calculator cake I made earlier in the week, so all I had to do was make purple sugar cookies. I started with my basic sugar cookie recipe:
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
4 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt

After creaming the butter, sugar, egg, sour cream, and vanilla, I added some purple food gel. If I had to do it again, I would add more color because they were a little dull in color after they baked. 

Mix all the dry ingredients together and slowly add it to the creamed mixture. Let it sit in the freezer for a couple of hours. 

When it is chilled, roll some of the dough on a lightly floured surface. I rolled them pretty thick (about 3/4 inch). Using a heart cookie cutter, I cut out the dough. Then I trimmed off the bottom of each heart. I placed a piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet and baked 9-10 cookies at a time at 350 degrees for 8 minutes. (Don't overbake them.) Immediately move the cookies to a cooling rack after they bake.  I got 30 large cookies from this batch. 

While the cookies were cooling, I rolled out my fondant and cut the eyes. I used regular frosting behind each eye to get them to stick. 

Then I used the blue food gel in the corner of the picture below to add some color to the eyes. 

The next step was to add some black frosting. I just use Wilton black decorating icing that comes in a tube. I attach a tip to the top of the tube. I added a dot in the middle of the eye and drew on a mouth. I then rolled some shapes from the fondant to be used as teeth. 

I colored my remaining fondant purple and placed two circle blobs on the side of the face for the ears. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Easter Canvas Painting

"Painting with a Twist", "Lushes with Brushes", and various other companies are popping up around our area. The idea is that adults get together and paint a picture by following an instructor's lead (and drinking a little wine). 

Well, most of the time, kids aren't invited to these types of establishments. But, my kids love to paint, so I decided to try the concept (minus the drinks) with my kids at home tonight. 

We decided to paint an Easter picture with a sunset and a cross. 

I got a package of 10 small canvases from Joann Fabrics a few months ago when they were half off. 

I gave the kids blue, purple, red, orange, yellow, white, and pink acrylic paint. They each had a cup of water and a towel to dry their brush. 

We started by brushing on lines of different colors.

Then we blended the lines together. We left a little bit of the bottom unpainted. Then we let them dry for about 10 minutes. 

Next, I added some black acrylic paint to their tray. They painted on a hill with the black paint. Then they added a cross. They decided they only wanted one cross on theirs. They did a great job, and were really happy with their results. 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Flower Cupcake Cake

It has definitely been a week of birthday celebrations. A good friend of mine had a birthday today. This is the cake we came up with for her... 

I started by arranging 20 cupcakes on a large baking pan covered with tinfoil. 

Then I did a swirl design with purple frosting for the flower petals. Her favorite color is purple, so we did the flowers in purple. Then I swirled chocolate frosting for the center of each flower. I cut up little pieces of white chocolate for the middle as well. Then we added green frosting for the stem and leaves. 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Carrot Footprints

I saw a picture of these on Pinterest, so we decided to give it a try for our first Easter craft of the season. I painted Rachel's foot and she painted the boys' feet orange. Then they put their footprint on a piece of white cardstock. We cut out the footprint and glued on some shreds of green cardstock. Then the kids wrote their names and 2015 on the carrot.

Basketball Rice Krispie Treats

For David's snack day this week, we made these "March Madness" basketball Rice Krispie treats. 

I made a double batch of Rice Krispie treats. (Melt 6 Tablespoons of butter in a large pan. Add 12 cups of mini marshmallows. Stir until melted. Add some orange food gel to the melted marshmallows. Then stir in 12 cups of Rice Krispie cereal.)

Spray your hands with cooking spray. Pull out a handful of the mixture and mold it into a circle. Place the circles on wax paper. You may have to respray your hands with cooking spray a few times. Cover each ball with Saran wrap. Then draw lines on the Saran wrap with a black Sharpie. 

Calculator Cake

I made this cake for a family friend yesterday. He is also a math teacher at our school. I borrowed one of the calculators he uses with his classes and made this replica.  

I started by making the fondant: Melt one 16 oz bag of mini marshmallows with 2 Tablespoons water in a large bowl. Melt on 30 second intervals, stirring after each round of 30 seconds...about 1 1/2 minutes total.

Add 3 cups of powdered sugar. Stir until smooth. Put Crisco on the counter. Knead in about 3 more cups of powdered sugar. (There were about 2 cups of powdered sugar left in the 2 lb. bag.) I had a lot of fondant left, so you could probably cut this recipe in half. 

Put Crisco around the ball of dough. Cover with Saran wrap. Place in an air-tight container until ready to work with it. 

I divided the fondant and made black, gray, yellow, a little green, and a little blue. I also left some white. 

I covered the cake with regular frosting. Then I rolled out the fondant and placed it on the cake. I cut the buttons out of the rolled fondant. I wrote the numbers and words on the buttons with a fine writing tip. 

The equation on the screen equals his age.