Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Year's Crafts

Here are some of the activities we did during our New Year's celebration (http://workingmomwonders.blogspot.com/2013/12/new-years-eve-balloon-countdown-for-kids.html)

Time Capsule Ornament: We cut up strips of paper and wrote our goals for 2014 on the strips. Then we placed them in the ornament. 
I interviewed the kids and wrote my own reflection of each kids' year. The printable came from http://todaysmama.com/2011/12/printable-end-of-the-year-time-capsule-question/

The firework craft was pretty easy and turned out pretty well. We cut the bottom of a toilet paper roll, and dipped it in a variety of paint colors. 

The kids made their own creation from there. 

While using the same paint, we made a hand print craft. 

The confetti launcher was a huge hit. I cut the top off a pop bottle. We placed a balloon on the end of the pop bottle. We made confetti from a hole punch and construction paper. Place the confetti in the pop bottle, pull the balloon down, and release. 

For the balloon drop, we used push pins to place a sheet in our sky light. We cut a slit down the middle of this old sheet. We put a piece of cardboard over the slit and placed balloons on top of the cardboard. When it was time for the release, we pulled the cardboard down and the balloons fell on the kids' heads. 

Puppy Chow

9 cups Rice Chex cereal
1 1/4 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups powdered sugar

Measure out the cereal in a large bowl. Set aside.  Place the chocolate chips, peanut butter, and butter in a microwavable bowl. Microwave for one minute. Stir. If it isn't completely melted, place back in for 30 seconds. 
Add the vanilla. 
Dump the chocolate over the cereal and stir until completely covered. 
Place half of the cereal in a gallon ziploc bag. Place the other half in a different ziploc bag. Dump about 1 cup of powdered sugar in each bag. Shake until coated. 

Easy Chicken Parmesan

2-3 large chicken breasts
1 egg
1 cup breadcrumbs
1 jar spaghetti sauce
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning (optional)
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1 cup mozzarella cheese
8 oz. spaghetti noodles

Clean your chicken breast and cut them in half (making them thinner).

Dip each chicken breast in a bowl containing one scrambled egg. Then dip the chicken in the breadcrumbs. 

 Meanwhile, heat about 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet. Place the chicken on the hot oil.
Cook for 3-5 minutes on both sides, or until browned. 

Dump the spaghetti sauce and Italian seasoning on the chicken. Turn down to medium high heat. Cover the skillet. Let simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through. While this is cooking, boil your spaghetti noodles. Stir the sauce and chicken occasionally.

When the chicken is fully cooked, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. 

Then top with mozzarella cheese. 

 When cheese is melted, it is ready to serve. 
Serve over cooked spaghetti noodles. 

Party Hats

To make our party hats, we cut a piece of 12X12 cardstock into two triangles. 
I stapled the ends together after measuring to make sure it fit on each of their heads. 

The kids decorated the hats with stickers and markers. 

Clock Craft

Our first New Year's craft was to make a clock to keep track of the time for our next activity. This craft would also be a great time teaching tool. We took a paper plate, two strips cut from foam, and a fastener. We attached the foam pieces for the hands of the clock. 
Then the kids used paint markers to put on the numbers. 

New Year's Eve Balloon Countdown for Kids

For New Year's I would much rather stay home and have fun with my kids. To make things exciting, I found some ideas on Pinterest and put them all together to make our own Balloon Activity Countdown. 

I started by making a list of all the activities I wanted to do with them. Then I assigned each activity a time. 
4:00 Paper Plate Clock
4:30 Make Cupcakes
5:00 Make Party Hats
5:45 Decorate Cupcakes
6:15 Dinner
7:00 Family Movie
8:00 Visit My Concession Stand for Movie Intermission
9:00 New Year's Questionnaire
9:15 Time Capsule Ornament
9:30 Sparklers
10:05 Toilet Paper Roll Fireworks
10:30 Make a Confetti Launcher
11:00 Make a Hand/Year Craft
12:00 (or whenever they are ready to crash) Balloon Drop and Toast

I wrote the activities on a piece of paper and cut up the strips. I folded up a strip and put it in a balloon. 

Then I blew the balloon up and wrote the time on the outside of the balloon. 
I tied a  piece of yarn around each balloon and taped them to a section of our wall. At the time stated on each balloon, we will pop it and find the next activity. 

I am going to give the kids $5 worth of Monopoly money to spend at my concession stand. Here is a list of what they can buy. 
$1.00 Orange Crush
$1.00 Sports Blast
50 cents-Doritos
$1.00 Popcorn
$1.00 Puppy Chow
50 cents-Pick from the candy grab bag
$1.00 A Smore
25 cents-a piece of fruit
50 cents-Goldfish
50 cents-Applesauce

Monday, December 30, 2013

Homemade Butterscotch Pudding Pie

Butterscotch Pudding:
1/2 cup flour
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups milk
2 beaten egg yolks
3 Tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla

Pie Crust:
3/4 cup crisco
2 1/4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup water

Mix the flour, brown sugar, and salt in a saucepan. Add the 3 cups of milk. 

Whisk together and cook on medium heat until thick. 
Meanwhile, beat two egg yolks. (I have made this with the whole eggs too and it turned out fine.)
When the milk mixture is thick, slowly whisk a little bit (about half a cup) into the egg yolks to temper them. Then whisk the tempered egg yolks into the rest of the milk mixture, continually whisking. 

Cook until a little bit thicker. Take off the heat and add 3 Tablespoons butter and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Stir and cool. 

To make a homemade pie crust, use a fork to mix the Crisco and flour. 

Add the salt and water. Use your hands to mix together. (Don't over-mix)

This amount of dough will make two bottom pie crusts. Divide in half and roll out the dough to fit in your pie plate. 

Prick the sides and the bottom with a fork. Bake at 475 degrees for 8-10 minutes. 

Add the cooled pudding and finish cooling in the refrigerator. We topped our pie with Reddi Whip when it was served. 

Snowman Refrigerator

Our winter refrigerator decoration is a snowman. Instead of using construction paper, like I have for my past refrigerator decorations, I have found that using felt pieces is more practical if I want to reuse these. 
So, I cut eyes, a mouth, buttons, and a hat from black felt pieces. I cut a carrot nose from orange felt, and David picked out a decorative felt piece for the scarf. He picked a blue piece with sock monkeys on it. 

(It took two pieces of the decorative felt to make the whole scarf. Those were 50 cents each at Hobby Lobby. It took two pieces of black felt and one piece of orange felt for the rest of the snowman. The solid-colored felt was 25 cents each.)  Total cost: $1.75

January Activity Wall-Garden of Healthy Choices

The holiday baking season was a lot of fun for the kids (and me). However, I decided January needed to be a time to add more healthy choices to our menu. To make this adventure a little more exciting, I turned these healthy choices into our next activity wall.

Our typical activity walls are dedicated to different crafts the kids uncover each day. For this month's wall, I turned each day into a different fruit or vegetable. The fruit or vegetable the kids uncover each day will be the star of our meal that night. To add a little learning for my younger children, I dedicated each of January's five weeks to a different color. 

I started by making "garden row markers". I broke a flat crafting popsicle stick into thirds. I hot-glued a mini clothespin to five crafting stick pieces. Then I cut paint swatches for the five colors I am using. (red, orange/yellow, blue/purple, green, and white/tan)
I wrote the dates and the colors on the swatches and attached them to the row marker with the clothespin. 

Next, I bought a large brown piece of foam from Hobby Lobby (construction paper would also work fine). I drew five rows on the foam and hot-glued a row marker to each row. 
For the blue/purple week, I cut four random shapes from blue and purple felt. Then I cut seven shapes from green felt for week two. I repeated this step for each week. Then I wrote a fruit or vegetable on a small post-it and attached it to the back of each felt shape. 

 January 1-4 is the color blue/purple. Our fruits and veggies are blueberries, blackberries, purple cabbage, and purple carrots. 

January 5-11 is the color green. The fruits and veggies are green beans, cucumbers, green peppers, kiwi, asparagus, green grapes, and leafy greens. 

January 12-18 is dedicated to yellow/orange. Our fruits and veggies are oranges, carrots, yellow peppers, yellow tomatoes, mangos, lemons, and starfruit.

January 19-25 is the color red. The fruits and veggies are cherries, apples, red grapes, raspberries, red onions and red peppers, tomatoes, and red potatoes.

January 26-31 is white/tan. Our fruits and veggies are brown pears, bananas, onions, parsnips, garlic, and white peaches.

The final step was to turn the shapes over and attach the "garden" to the wall. On a piece of grass scrapbook paper, I used a black paint marker to write "Garden of Healthy Choices". Now, each day, the kids can uncover a different fruit or vegetable. We will make that fruit/veggie the star of our dinner that day. 

Because my kids will still want to do activities after we cook dinner, I am going to try to center our activities around the week's color or the day's shape. At the end of each week, we will write/draw about our experiences with that week's fruits and veggies. 

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas Tree Waffles

For the second year, we have made Christmas tree waffles for breakfast on Christmas morning. I use my easy waffle recipe for this, except I added green food gel to the batter.


2 eggs, beaten
1 3/4 cups milk
1/2 cup canola oil
2 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
Green food gel

I added blueberries and raspberries for ornaments, and bacon for the tree trunk. 

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Easy Cheese Ball

This cheese ball is incredibly simple, yet tastes delicious. It also makes a large batch...perfect for holiday parties. 

3 8oz cream cheese
2 jars of Kraft Old English cheese
1 jar of Kraft Roka Blue cheese
2 Tablespoons vinegar
1 teaspoon garlic salt

Place all of the ingredients in a stand mixer. If you don't have a stand mixer, use a hand mixer. 

Whip the ingredients until creamy.

Serve. (If you would like to give these as gifts, take the label off the Old English and Roka Blue Kraft jars and place the cheese ball in those. You could decorate the glass jars with ribbon.) This cheese ball also freezes well if you aren't going to need it all right away. 

Easy Deviled Eggs

These deviled eggs are incredibly easy, take only a few ingredients, and are kid-approved. 

12 eggs
about 2/3 cup Miracle Whip
1 1/2 Tablespoons milk
salt and pepper to taste
Paprika (optional) 

First boil your eggs. (To boil my eggs, I let them come to a hard boil. They boil for about 1 minute. Then I cover them and turn off the stove. Let them sit in the hot water for about 12 minutes. 
Then drain the water and pour cold water over the eggs. Repeat this process until the water stays cold. Let them sit in the cold water for about 15 minutes.) 

Peel the eggs. Then cut them in half (hot-dog style). Take out the yoke and place in a bowl. 

Add about 1/2 to 2/3 of a cup of miracle whip, about 1 1/2 to 2 Tablespoons of milk and salt and pepper. Using a hand mixer, I whipped the mixture.  If it isn't creamy enough, add more miracle whip. 

Scoop the mixture into the empty eggs. Sprinkle with paprika (optional). 

Reindeer Food

I saw a picture of this on Pinterest and knew it was something my kids would love. 

To make reindeer food, all we did pour 1/2 cup oats in a bowl and the kids sprinkled in red and green candy sprinkles. Then they spread it out on the lawn for the reindeer. 

Elf Donuts

We are sending our Elf on the Shelf with a going away present tonight. Elf or not, these would be a cute thing for Santa to take back to the North Pole with him for the elves. 

I cut two squares from a piece of scrapbook paper. 
I folded a little edge all the way around each square. Then I made a tear in each corner so I could fold it into a box. 

I taped the corners together. To make the donuts, I dipped Cherrios into melted red and white chocolate. Then the kids put Christmas sprinkles on the chocolate. We placed them in the box. 
We put the box together and gave it to our elf.