Thursday, March 16, 2017

Beauty and the Beast Paper Circuit

Our newest adventure has been paper circuits. For basic paper circuits, you only need some copper tape, led lights, and coin batteries. 

We started by folding a piece of cardstock. On the outside cover we traced a rose and colored it. We then decided where we wanted the light to be placed. 

On the inside cover, I folded one corner of the paper over to create a flap. Then I ran two pieces of copper tape down the piece of paper. One side of the tap was on the flap and the other was placed under the coin battery. 

The tape has to run down the page so one end of the light is on one side of the tape and the other end of the light is on the other piece of the tape. (The tape on the far left of my paper does not have to be there.) The right side of the paper is the led light pushed through. For more information about negative and positive ends in a simple circuit, see this pdf:

The flap must be flipped down so the tape hits the battery and closes the circuit. 

When the led light wires hit the tape and the circuit is closed, the light will shine. 

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Carrot Cheesecake Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

This recipe has been circulating around Facebook and looked delicious, so I made it for my sister's birthday today. We will be making it again! (Here is the original recipe:
I didn't use the nuts that the original recipe calls for. 

Cheesecake layer
2 8oz packages of cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1/4 tsp kosher salt
2 eggs
1/4 cup sour cream
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream

Cake layer
2 cups sugar
1 cup canola oil
4 eggs
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp cinnamon
2 cups shredded carrots

1 cup butter, softened
1 8oz cream cheese, softened
1 Tbsp vanilla
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
4 cups powdered sugar

Start by making the cheesecake layer. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Fill a large roasting pan with an inch of water. Place the roasting pan in the oven so the water preheats as well. 

Beat the 2 packages of cream cheese and 1 cup of sugar with your mixer. Add the 1/4 tsp salt and 2 eggs. Beat well. Add the 1/3 cup whipping cream and 1/4 cup sour cream and whip for a couple of minutes. 

Prepare a 9 inch springform pan by wrapping the bottom and sides with a double layer of tin foil. (It was very important to put two layers of tin foil on the bottom of the pan so the water doesn't leak into the cheesecake. Place a piece of parchment paper on the bottom of the pan. 

Put the cheesecake mixture in the pan. Place the pan in the middle of the water bath that is already heated in the oven. Bake the cheesecake for 45 minutes. Turn the oven off and let the cheesecake sit in the oven for another 30 minutes. Let it completely cool on the counter. When it is cool, take the outer edge of the pan off of the cheesecake and place the cheesecake in the refrigerator for a couple of hours. 

Meanwhile, make the cake. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 9 inch round cake pans. 
Beat the 2 cups sugar, 1 cup oil and 4 eggs in a mixing bowl. Add 2 cups flour, 1 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp kosher salt, and 2 tsp cinnamon
Fold in 2 cups shredded carrots

Pour into the pans and bake for 30 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes and then remove the cake from the pan. 

Place the cheesecake layer between the carrot cakes. 

To make the frosting, whip the 1 package of cream cheese and 1 cup butter. Add 1 tbsp vanilla and 1/4 cup whipping cream. Add 4 cups of powdered sugar, beating well after each cup. 
Spread the frosting on the cake. 

Beauty and the Beast Stained Glass Project

One of the third grade teachers at our school showed me this stained glass project. We thought it looked really cool, so we gave it a try. 

We printed Beauty and the Beast coloring pages and taped it to the table. Then we taped a piece of Saran wrap over the picture. (Make sure you tape it tight to the table.) 

We used a black Sharpie to outline the picture. Then we colored in the rest of the picture. 

The third graders taped their saran wrap to a piece of tin foil. We just taped ours right to the window. 

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Beauty and the Beast Photo Board

It's safe to say that we are a little excited about the new Beauty and the Beast movie! And the kids love photo boards, so we created this one yesterday. 

I usually get my tri-fold boards from the Dollar Tree. I start by drawing the design with pencil and then outline it with black Sharpie. I cut out the face area with an Exacto knife. Then I paint the picture with acrylic paints. 

I love the addition of these guys! There wasn't enough room to put face cut-outs of all of the other characters, and I couldn't decide which one to put on there, so I just drew all of them on the board. 

Mardi Gras King Cake

I have never eaten or made a King Cake, so I decided to give it a try today. I found a recipe on Pinterest and altered it only using the ingredients I knew our family liked. (Here is the original:

1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
1 cup milk
2 Tbsp yeast
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 drop lemon essential oil
1 drop orange essential oil
4 cups flour
3 Tbsp butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup powdered sugar
2 Tbsp milk
Colored sugar sprinkles

Start by creaming the sugar, salt, and butter. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Meanwhile, warm the milk in the microwave for about 30 seconds. Add the yeast, stir, and let it sit for about 5 minutes.
 Add the vanilla, orange, and lemon to the mixer. Then add the milk and yeast mixture. 
Add in the four cups of flour, one cup at a time. A dough will form that looks like the picture below. Oil the bowl, cover the dough, and place in a warm location for 1 - 1 1/2 hours or until doubled. 

Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes. Roll the dough out into a large rectangle. Spread the dough with about 3 Tbsp softened butter. Mix the 1/2 cup of sugar and 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon together and sprinkle on top of the butter.  Using a pizza cutter, cut the rectangle into three sections. 

Fold each section in half (longways) 

Braid the three pieces of dough.

Fold the ends of the braids together, forming a circle. 

Place the ring on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover and let rise in a warm location for about an hour (or until doubled). 

Bake at 370 degrees for about 15 minutes. 

Mix the 1 cup powdered sugar and 2 Tbsp milk together and drizzle over the warm cake. Add the colored sugar crystals on top. 

Slice and eat warm. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Sugar Cookie Bars

While looking for an easy treat for my son to take to his class for Valentine's Day, I came across these:
They took 30 minutes start to finish and the kids loved them! (So much better and easier than roll out sugar cookies!) 

1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
5 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda

Cream the butter and sugar together. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the vanilla. 
In a separate bowl, mix the flour, salt, and baking soda. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined. 
Pour the dough in a greased sheet cake pan. Bake at 375 for 10 minutes. (Make sure you don't over-bake.)

Frosting ingredients: 
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup Crisco shortening
1 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt
4 cups powdered sugar
5 Tbsp milk

Whip the butter and Crisco together. Add the vanilla and salt. Add the powdered sugar 2 cups at a time. Then add the milk and whip until fluffy. Add food coloring of your choice.

Spread the frosting on the cool cookie and add sprinkles of your choice. 

Cut into bars and serve. 

Monday, February 13, 2017

Valentine's Day Gratitude Hearts

Before February started, I had everyone fill out at least three hearts for each person in the family. They could write down something they loved about the other person or could write down something the other person is good at. Each day in February, I added a new heart to each person's bedroom door. (This could be used any time of the year!)

Valentine's Day Scavenger Hunt #5

Our 5th Annual Valentine's Day Scavenger Hunt. 

Scavenger Hunts are this Family’s Way
To Bring A Little Fun to this Valentine’s Day.
So Grab Your Siblings and Some Spirit, Too,
And Head Behind the Couches for the 1st Clue.

These Couches Are Comfy
And Nice for Resting.
Your Next Stop is Where
The Little Girl Likes Nesting.

Rachel’s Room is Messy
And It Needs to Be Cleaned.
So Let’s Move to Where
Lysol Wipes Can be Gleaned.

These Wipes Make Things Sparkle
And Shine With a Shimmer.
Another Clue Awaits
Where Dad Grills our Dinner.

The Garage is so Chilly
We Should’ve Worn a Hat.
But First, Check the Corner
Where the Boys Keep the Bats.

We’re Round 3rd Base
They’re Waving us Home.
The Jackpot Awaits
Where Mom Charges Her Phone!

Valentine's Day Claw Machine Box That Moves

My son has always loved the claw machine. So, we decided to try to make our own for his Valentine's Day box this year. While it doesn't actually pick up toys, the claw does move up and down. (Really the same result as the claw machines you see in the store!) 

We started by spray painting two sturdy boxes. Then we cut a large hole out of the larger box. We cut a flap in the bottom box to represent the toy drop out slot. The joystick is actually a test tube container we had from a science kit. We put water and food coloring in the test tube to make it look dark. We used modeling clay to keep the joystick in place. The press button is the circle from a used roll of duck tape. We covered that with fancy duck tape and hot glued it to the box. I found a $2 sheet of Plexiglas material from Menards. That slid right into place to keep the toys in place. 

The claw moves because of our Rule your Room LittleBits kit ( This kit has endless possibilities for the things kids can create. It is definitely worth the money if your kid is interested in circuits and creating things. We used the mechanical arm set up to make the claw move. The claw is just pieces of a wire hanger we cut and bent to make a claw shape. We hot glued and taped the claw pieces together and hung them from the mechanical arm. 

The last step was cutting a small hole in the side of the box to flip the switch on so the claw will move. 

Chocolate Banana Muffins

This is one of my favorite Taste of Home recipes. These muffins are preferred by my kids over banana bread. 

1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
3 ripe bananas, mashed
1/3 cup canola oil
1 egg
3/4 cup chocolate chips

Whisk the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, salt, and baking powder together in a bowl. In a separate bowl, mix the bananas, egg, and oil. Add to flour mixture until just combined. Fold in the chocolate chips. 

I line my muffin tins with paper and fill. Bake at 350 degrees for about 18-20 minutes. 

Remove to a wire rack to cool.