Saturday, July 7, 2018

Summer STEM Night

Rachel loved our Winter STEM challenge, so we decided to try a summer one. Using the materials in our home makerspace, we made a water slide, a bird's nest, and a tent. Each team made their own creation and then shared the finished designs with the other team.

Baked Apple Hand Pies

These pies are delicious! 
1 box of refrigerated pie crusts (2 crusts) or your could make your own dough
1/4 cup butter
3 medium apples peeled and chopped
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 Tbsp flour
1 egg white

1 1/4 cup powdered sugar
2 tbsp milk

Start by peeling and chopping your apples. Place them in a skillet with the butter, salt, nutmeg, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Cook this for about 5 minutes, or until the apples are soft. 
Add the flour. Stir and continue cooking for about a minute. 

Unroll your pie crusts. Using a circular cutter (mine was 6 inches in diameter), make individual circles for the pies. Fill the pie with a scoop of filling. 

Fold the crust over and crimp the edges together with a fork. I also picked the top of the pies with a fork to allow for steam to vent. Place the pies on a mat or parchment paper. Brush each pie with the egg white.  Bake at 425 degrees for about 15 minutes. 

When the pies are slightly browned, pull them from the oven. Whisk the powdered sugar and milk in a bowl and spread the glaze over the pies. Place the pies on a piece of parchment paper to cool and let the glaze harden. 

The glaze only takes a couple of minutes to set. These are best warm. 

St. Patrick's Day Scavenger Hunt #6

Well, I am a few months behind on posting...These were our St. Patrick's Day Scavenger Hunt clues this year.

Clue #1: The scavenger hunt starts now.
And the clues will show you how
To get the next spot
And go cold to hot,
So run off towards our chow

Clue #2: Our kitchen needs a little fixing
So it shines when Mom does the mixing
But we need some cash
So where is our stash?
Maybe the movie where a candlestick's singing. (Doesn't quite fit the rhyme scheme, but it works!)

Clue #3: The room in here is a pig sty
It's not fit for a queen or a king guy
So let's clean up the floor.
And then clean some more.
The vacuum is now your bulls-eye.

Clue #4 We always are cleaning our dog's hair.
It's messy but we really don't care.
He's old but he's happy
His mood is never crappy.
And he wants you to find a teddy bear.

Clue #5: Just one more stop on your trek tonight.
Soon you'll be done and it'll be alright.
You'll get gifts in a second
But don't you dare wreck it.
Go and look behind the red brake light.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Incredibles II Photo Board

We decided to make an Incredibles II photo board for the release of the new movie this week. We can't wait to go see it! 

Using this picture as inspiration, I drew the images on a trifold presentation board and painted it with acrylic paint. 

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Monkey Bread

The ice storm kept us inside this weekend, so we decided to try some new recipes. This is definitely a recipe I will be making again! (I found this recipe at and altered it a little.) 

1 Tablespoon of yeast
1 1/2 cups warm milk
1/3 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
1 tsp salt
5 cups flour

3/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp cinnamon
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup butter, melted

Optional glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
1 Tbsp milk

Start by measuring the milk in a glass measuring cup. Place the milk in the microwave for about 1 minute or until it is warm. Stir in the the yeast and 1/4 cup sugar. Let that sit for a couple of minutes to proof the yeast. 

In a mixing bowl, combine the melted butter, eggs, vanilla, and salt. Add the proofed yeast mixture. Add two cups of flour. Stir with a wooden spoon. Add two more cups of flour and stir. Using the hook attachment of the mixer, add the remaining 1 cup of flour and let the mixer knead the dough for about 4-5 minutes. Place the dough in a greased bowl and let rise in a warm location for about an hour. (I turn my oven on to 170 degrees for about 30 seconds to create a warm location.)

Punch the dough down and place on a floured surface. Roll out the dough until it is about 1/2 inch thick. Cut into 1x1 inch squares (mine weren't all quite that size; I did put some of the smaller pieces together.) 

Butter a bundt pan. 

Combine the 3/4 cup sugar and 1 Tbsp cinnamon. Sprinkle some of it on top of the squares. Roll each square into a ball and place in the cinnamon/sugar mixture. David had the job of rolling each dough ball into the cinnamon/sugar. Place a layer of the dough balls in the bundt pan. Sprinkle the layer with brown sugar. Add another layer of dough balls and sprinkle that layer with brown sugar. After two layers, I added a little bit of the melted butter on the top. 

Then add layers of the remaining dough balls and brown sugar. When finished, pour the remaining melted butter over the top. Run a knife around the edge of the pan and the center circle to let the butter run down a little. 

Bake at 350 degrees for about 33 minutes. 

Turn the bread onto a serving plate. I put about 1 cup of powdered sugar and a tablespoon of milk in a bowl and drizzled that glaze over the top. (That would be an optional step.) Serve the bread warm. 

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Music Theme Dinner Party

We are getting ready to see School of Rock, the musical, so we decided to have a dinner and a movie family night tonight with a musical theme. 

We started with a vegetable music note. 

The theme continued with guitar cheese bread,

chicken "drumstick" tenders,

piano keys and drumsticks (or a xylophone),

musical note soft pretzels,

 and microphone cupcakes,

All of our plates were music notes, and we finished the night with a fruit "melody" smoothie. 

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Academy Award Party

We decided to throw our own party for the Academy Awards tonight. (Complete with our own red carpet!) 
I made this Oscar statue photo board out of a cardboard box. The base of the statue is a piece of black foam board that I cut up and hot glued together. 

Along with our cheese bread, burgers, red rope Twizzlers, and onion rings, we will feast on these red velvet carpet cake rolls. 

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Homemade McGriddles

1/2 cup maple syrup
1 1/3 cup flour
1 1/4 cup milk
2 Tbsp sugar
1 egg
1 Tbsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt

Start by lining a sheet cake pan with a silpat liner or with parchment paper. 

Pour the maple syrup in a pan and boil over medium-high heat. Keep stirring constantly when it starts to boil. 

You need to boil it for 2-3 minutes. If you have a thermometer, it should reach 265 degrees. It will darken as it boils. 

Pour on the liner. Let the syrup cool. I put it in the refrigerator to speed up the process. It only took about 15 minutes. 

When it is cool, the syrup will break apart into crystals. 

Whisk the remaining ingredients (flour, milk, sugar, egg, salt, baking powder) in a bowl. This is the pancake mixture. Make two small pancakes. Place the maple sugar crystals on top of the pancake batter. Flip the pancake and continue cooking. 

Put whatever you want on the inside...sausage patty; bacon, egg, and cheese; sausage, egg, and cheese; etc. 

Monday, February 19, 2018

Frozen Photo Board

Big Baller Brand Cheese Bread

Dough Ingredients:
1 cup warm water
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 tablespoon honey 
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons olive or canola oil
3 cups flour {give or take 1/2 cup)

In a stand mixer, stir yeast and honey into warm water. Sit for 5-10 minutes or until bubbles form and mixture starts to foam. Pour in salt, oil and half the flour and mix with a wooden spoon. Once that flour is incorporated, start adding flour in bit by bit until you get the pizza dough to the consistency you want: slightly tacky, but when you touch it it doesn't stick to your hands. Once you reach this stage, turn the mixer on high to knead for 6 minutes. Lightly grease the bowl & the dough so it doesn't dry out, cover with a towel and let it rise 1 hour. (I turn my oven on 170 degrees for about 30 seconds and then place the bowl in warm oven) 

After the dough has doubled in size, punch it down and shape...We do a lot of different shapes of bread for different holidays. I just rolled out the dough and used a pizza cutter to get the dough to resemble the BBB logo. Place the dough on a pan greased with cooking spray and cornmeal. 
Spread 2-3 tablespoons of butter on top of the dough. Drizzle a little olive oil over that. 
Chop up 3 cloves of garlic and spread on the top. If you don't have fresh garlic, sprinkle with garlic salt. Top with about 1/4 cup parmasean cheese and 1-2 cups of mozzarella cheese. Bake at 425 degrees for about 12 minutes. 
The boys thought this was a perfect All Star Weekend Treat! 

Stuffed Animal Bean Bag Cover

I wanted to make a bean bag for the kids' rooms, but wasn't sure how I wanted to stuff them. While looking around on Pinterest, I saw some people were buying bean bag covers and filling them with stuffed animals. We have a major stuffed animal problem, so I thought this was an idea worth trying!

I cut 6 squares, each measuring 20"x 20". For this bean bag cover, I used three different colors of fabric. I put 4 of the squares on the ground and pinned the sides together. I then sewed the pieces together. 
I added the 5th square of fabric to the sides (this will be the bottom of the bean bag).

Sew the other two side panels to the bottom panel. 

Then sew on the top panel. 

I added a piece of velcro to the bottom panel.

The other side of the velco was sewn to a side panel. This is where you will add your stuffed animals.

I then sewed the rest of the cube together. I reinforced the corners by sewing diagonally through them. 

Then flip your fabric right-side out and stuff with your stuffed animals. Close the velcro and you have a new seat! (and no clutter!) 

All of these animals fit inside this 20x20 cover. You could make the bean bag cover any size you want. 

Here is the finished product. I ended up putting an old blanket in first so it was smooth on the top.