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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Valentine's Day Paintings

On our snow day today, we all sat down and did a Valentine's Day painting. Everyone put their own spin on the project. :) 

Valentine's Day Brownie Treats

We decided to make these brownie sandwiches for David's Valentine's Day party at school. I made two batches of brownies and spread them in a sheet cake pan. I baked them for about 16-17 minutes. 
Then I used a small heart cookie cutter to cut the brownies. 
I piped red frosting on top of one of the hearts. Then I stuck another heart on top of the frosting. 

Finally, I sprinkled powdered sugar on top. 

Lombardi Trophy Valentine's Day Box

Still in the Super Bowl spirit, David decided he wanted to make a Vince Lombardi Trophy Valentine's Day box. We simply covered a tall box with tin foil. Then we cut a football shape from a piece of cardboard and covered that. I used an exacto knife to cut a slit in the top of the box and in the football. Then we hot glued the football to the box so it was slightly slanted. We taped on some accessories and it was done. 

Sunday, January 31, 2016

2016 Super Bowl Commercial Bingo Cards

We have been throwing a Kid-Friendly Super Bowl Party for three years now. Our party would not be complete without our homemade Commercial Bingo Cards. 
Using the website (, I am able to find the ads that are most likely to be shown early in the game, so the kids can win before bedtime. 

This year, I have made them on Google Docs so it is easier for others to use them for their own party. Simply click on the link below and you will receive five different bingo cards. If you need to make more, you can make a copy of this document and add more. 

Comment below if you have any questions. 

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Little House on the Prairie House and Peg Dolls

I have been reading a chapter out of the Little House on the Prairie books most nights to the kids. They love the books, and I love rereading the books that filled my childhood. 

I found a huge pile of Lincoln Logs just collecting dust in the boys' closet, so I decided to turn them into a model of the little house on the prairie. I got out the hot glue gun and started building. I had to make do with the sizes of log that I had, but I think it turned out pretty well.  The roof is actually the green flat pieces that come with Lincoln logs. I painted them with brown acrylic paint and hot glued them together. All of the other furniture is made from small and regular size Popsicle sticks. The loft is a piece of cardboard covered with some cork-board scrapbook paper I had. 
I bought a peg doll Nativity set after Christmas in the clearance at Hobby Lobby. I used five of the dolls from there to make the Little House characters. I used a pencil to sketch the clothing and face designs on each doll. Then I colored them in with Sharpie. I used white acrylic paint for the final touches on the girls' dresses. 

All of the furniture is Popsicle sticks hot glued together. 

I used a couple of pieces of cardboard to finish the peaks in the roof. 
The fireplace and kettle are all made from felt and hot glued to the house. 
Rachel had to make sure we had a crib and high chair for baby Carrie. Baby Grace will be added when we get that far in the series. 

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Fire Ice Cream

For a fun addition to your ice cream, try lighting it on fire. I took some sugar cubes and soaked them in lemon extract for about 30 seconds. I put one sugar cube on the top of the kids' ice cream and lit it on fire. The kids loved it! 

Christmas Tree Cupcakes

These chocolate pretzel decorations really look cute in a cupcake or can be used alone to dress up a plate of cookies. 

I put melted green chocolate in a disposable melting candy plastic bag. I swirled the chocolate on top of a pretzel stick that was on a piece of wax paper. I Immediately topped with sprinkles and let the chocolate set. Then I picked up the pretzel stick and placed in the cupcake. My kids don't like coconut, so I just sprinkled white sugar sprinkles on the cupcakes for the snow. 

Ribbon Wands

Rachel loves to play with ribbon wands at dance class. So, I decided to make her a couple to play with here. I just used plastic shower curtain rings I bought at Wal-Mart. I cut a piece of ribbon and double knotted it around the ring. They work very well and are inexpensive. 

Cookie Cake

The kids love the idea of cookie cakes, so I bought a couple of pans and tried them out. They turned out great! (Plus they take a lot less time than a batch of cookies.) 

(This amount will do one cookie cake.)
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup chocolate chips

Beat butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla. Mix in flour, soda, and salt. Add the chocolate chips. Spread in a greased pan. Bake about 15 minutes at 350 degrees. 

Decorate as you wish. 

Star Wars Birthday Cake for 7 1/2 Birthday

We like to celebrate the kids' 1/2 birthdays. Here is the cake we had for David's 7 1/2 birthday. 
He started the day with Star Wars pancakes. 

Thursday, December 31, 2015

New Year's Eve Balloon Countdown for Kids

Here is our 3rd Annual New Year's Eve Balloon Countdown of Activities. I will post updates at the night progresses. 

4:30: Make 2016 dipping sticks from crescent rolls
5:15: Make chocolate fortune cookies
6:10: Make 2016 cheese bread
6:25: Make your own pizza or Stromboli for dinner
6:50: Decorate one cookie for Michigan State and one for 2016
7:12: Fill out the yearly questionnaire. 
7:45: Photo booth #1--Wear your favorite Michigan State attire. 
8:00: Visit the concession stand for the Michigan State game
8:25: Make pop-up fireworks
8:59: Open the surprise ball
9:28: Make fire ice cream
9:50: Play glow stick ring toss
10:18: Do the New Year's word search or color page
10:52: Photo booth #2-in Times Square
11:15: Do a 2016 painting
11:58: Silly string, balloon drop, noisemaker check 

Each surprise ball has a little toy inside an entire roll of streamer. They can't rip it. They have to unwind the entire roll. 

The cookie cakes for decoration

The Times Square banner I found at Party City. 

Glow in the dark ring toss...

Balloon drop. (This is a plastic table cloth I bought at the dollar store.)

2016 made from crescent rolls.

2016 Cheese Bread

Chocolate fortune cookies

Decorated cookies

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

"Buddy the Elf" Spaghetti Cupcakes

We had a "Buddy the Elf" day today. Here are the cupcakes we created instead of trying to eat real spaghetti with maple syrup and candy! 

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Popsicle Stick Catapult

For one of our 25 Days of Christmas activities, we made this catapult. The original pin we saw used jumbo Popsicle sticks, but I didn't have any of those. We used regular size Popsicle sticks and they worked great. I hot glued on a little disposable cup to hold the pom poms and marshmallows we were shooting. The kids had a blast! 

Make sure the rubber band that hold the two sticks in the front together isn't too tight. There are 8 Popsicle sticks in the middle bunch. The green one that you see in the picture is stuck between the bottom two sticks from the pile of eight. 

Microwavable Hot Chocolate Play Dough

We turned our microwavable play dough recipe into hot chocolate play dough. I started by mixing 2 cups flour, 1 cup salt, 2 cups water, 1 Tbsp cream of tarter, 2 Tbsp oil, 1 tsp vanilla, and the contents of 3 k-cup hot chocolates. (Cocoa would work too if you don't have hot chocolate on hand.) I added a couple of drops of brown food coloring to darken it even more. 

Microwave for 1 minute. Stir. Microwave for another minute. Stir. Continue the process until most of the moisture is absorbed. It took 4 minutes and 30 seconds total before I pulled mine out and started kneading it. (It will be hot. Make sure you let it cool before the kids play with it.) 
They had a great time adding "marshmallows" and having a little hot chocolate party. 

Throw the Snowball Cardboard Game

The kids turned our Charlie Brown board into a ball throwing game, so I decided to make them a snowball game out of another tri-fold display board. We have some fake snowballs that work perfectly for this. I just drew on the figures with pencil, outlined them with Sharpie, and painted in the details. I let the kids decide how many points they get for each location. 

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Peanuts (Charlie Brown) Photo Board

For the Peanuts 50th Anniversary special tomorrow night, we decided to create a photo board of our favorite Peanuts characters. I started with a tri-fold display board and free-hand drew the characters with pencil. Then I outlined the characters with black Sharpie. I painted most of the characters with acrylic paint. (Although, I did some of it with Sharpie.)

Rachel's favorite character is the little red-haired girl, so we had to incorporate her somehow. (So, Charlie Brown is thinking about her.)

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Gingerbread Arena (The Palace)

After turning Ford Field into a Gingerbread Stadium last year (, the boys decided we had to try the Detroit Piston's arena. Making gingerbread houses is a lot easier than I thought it would be, and for the sports' enthusiasts in our house, this is a perfect recipe you won't find in a kit at the stores. 

We made the gingerbread dough first (I got a recipe from 

6 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
4 teaspoons ginger
4 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks butter (softened)
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
1 cup molasses
1 Tablespoon water

Whisk the dry ingredients together in a bowl. Set aside. 
Using a mixer, beat the brown sugar and butter together until fluffy. Beat in the eggs, molasses, and water. 

Add half of the flour mixture to the molasses mixture. Beat until well combined. 

Add the remaining flour mixture and knead with your hands or the dough hook of a mixer. Wrap dough with plastic wrap and let sit in the refrigerator for a couple of hours. 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Roll out the dough to the size you need for your stadium. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured piece of wax paper. I did two longer sides, two smaller sides, a court, and two basketball hoops with stands and backboards. We also did mini gingerbread men for the players.  Bake the dough for 8-11 minutes on a greased cookie sheet, or until it starts to brown. Let cool before constructing. 

For the icing on the court and the stands, I mixed two egg whites with 1 1/3 cup powdered sugar. Whisk that until it is smooth. Then add another 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar. Beat with a mixer on high speed until you get the consistency you want. You may need to add a little more powdered sugar. 

For decorating the players and anything else that is red or blue, I mixed 1 cup of crisco, 4 cups of powdered sugar, and 4 Tbsp milk. 

The court...

David's favorite part was helping with the roster. 

Here is last year's stadium. I am guessing Comerica Park will be next year :)