Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Dice Game for the Whole Family

My babysitter found this game idea and passed it along to my family. We had a great time tonight creating individual masterpieces.
Start with two dice. Place paper around one of them. I drew a different shape on each side of the die. (Circle, square, rectangle, triangle, star, straight line)
Each member of the family got a blank sheet of white paper. One person rolled the dice. Each family member had to draw the amount of shapes the dice showed. For instance, on the picture above, each of us would have drawn 5 circles on our sheet of paper. The shapes could be any size and anywhere on the paper. The next family member took a turn rolling the dice. After about 15-20 rolls, we decided to check out each other's pictures.
This is what we came up with...

 This is a great game to work on creativity, shapes, and counting. A great family game!


Sunday, April 14, 2013

Cinnamon Rolls

2 teaspoons of yeast
1 1/4 cups warm water
3 Tablespoons butter
3 Tablespoons Sugar
2 Tablespoons dry milk powder
1 teaspoon salt
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 Tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup corn syrup
Start by dissolving the yeast in the warm water in a mixing bowl. Add the butter, sugar, milk powder, salt, and 2 cups of flour. Mix it with a wooden spoon until the mixture is somewhat smooth.
Slowly add the remaining flour. When all the flour is incorporated, knead the dough for about 6 minutes. I use the hook attachment on my mixer for this step. If you don't have a mixer, you can knead it by hand.
Place in a greased bowl. Cover the bowl with a towel and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour. (To create a warm place, set your oven to 170 degrees for 30 seconds. Turn the oven off and place the bowl inside the oven.)
When the dough is doubled, punch it down and place on a floured surface. Roll the dough out to resemble a rectangle. (Just get as close to a rectangle as possible.) Spread the softened butter on the dough. You can use a spoon or your hand to do this.

Mix the cinnamon and sugar together in a bowl. Sprinkle the mixture on top of the butter. Roll the dough, starting from a long side.

Cut the dough in half first. Then turn each half into six pieces.
Meanwhile, mix the brown sugar, butter, and corn syrup in a small saucepan.
Heat until the sugar is dissolved.
Pour into a greased 9x13" pan. Spread with spatula to cover the entire pan.

 Place the 12 cut rolls on top of the sugar/butter/corn syrup mixture.  Cover the rolls and let rise in a warm place for about 1 hour.

When doubled, place in a 375 degree oven for 20 minutes.

After removing rolls from the oven, turn the pan over onto a cookie sheet.
Mix about 1/2 cup of powdered sugar, 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla and 1 Tablespoon of milk in a bowl. Drizzle this glaze on top of the warm cinnamon buns.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Rain Makers

We have been getting a lot of rain the past few days, so the boys and I started searching for crafts related to rain. Now, we don't need any more rain, but the boys thought the idea of making a rain maker was pretty neat.

We got an empty paper towel tube and a smaller cardboard tube we had saved with our other crafting supplies.  I took the ends off a box of Fiber One brownies and cut out circles to be placed on the ends of the cardboard tubes.

Tape one of the circles to the end of the cardboard tube.

Have the kids pick out a piece of construction paper to be glued around the tube.

Fill the tube with about 1/2 cup of rice. (You could do beans or pasta as well.) A couple of the posts I saw said to add a long cylinder of tinfoil to the mix. We just added the rice. The boys really just wanted a noisemaker. :)

Tape the other circle disc to the top of the cardboard tube.

 Our original plan was to decorate the paper with stickers and markers, but the boys remembered they got cool duct tape in their Easter baskets, so they used that instead.


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Chocolate Chip Cookie Pudding Cake

For this dessert, I start with my basic chocolate chip cookie recipe. (You could use refrigerated cookie dough if you don't have time to make homemade cookie dough.) I have also done this recipe with peanut butter cookie dough.
Cream two sticks of butter with 3/4 cup of white sugar and 3/4 cup of brown sugar.
Add two eggs and one teaspoon of vanilla. Make sure you let this whip together for a couple of minutes.

In a separate bowl, sift together 2 1/3 cups of flour, one teaspoon of baking soda, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.
Gradually add the flour mixture to the butter/sugar mixture. Make sure the flour is incorporated fully after every addition. (It usually takes 5 additions before all the flour is added.)

 Fold in 1 3/4 cups of dark chocolate chips.
Grease and flour a 9x13" pan. Spray your hands with cooking spray and spread about 3/4 of the dough into the pan (or enough to place a thin layer of dough across the entire pan). Refrigerate the remaining dough.

Bake the cookie at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown. (Don't overbake. It will brown and set more when out of the oven.)

 Place on a cooling rack until completely cooled.
Meanwhile, whip together one 8 oz package of cream cheese and 1 1/4 cups of powdered sugar.

Fold in about 3/4 of a cup of cool whip.

When cookie is cooled, layer the cream cheese mixture on the cookie.

Pour two small packages of instant pudding into a bowl. (Most of the time I use one vanilla and one chocolate, but feel free to use any flavors of pudding. This time I used one package of vanilla, 3/4 of a package of Oreo pudding, and 1/4 of a package of chocolate.) Add 3 cups of milk to the pudding mixes. Whip together for about 2 minutes. It will become pretty thick.
 Pour the pudding over the cheesecake layer.

 Top with cool whip. To decorate it a little more, I shave a little chocolate on top.

Don't forget you still have enough remaining cookie dough for about 20 cookies. Grease and flour a baking sheet. Scoop teaspoons of dough on the baking sheet and bake at 375 for about 8 minutes.

Chicken Fajitas

For a weeknight meal that comes together pretty easily, try these chicken fajitas. I start with frozen chicken breasts. Place them on a baking sheet lined with tin foil. They bake in the oven for about 45 minutes at 375 degrees.
While those are baking, I cut up some colored peppers and onions. About 10 minutes before the chicken is done, heat up about 2-3 Tablespoons of olive oil in a sauté pan. Add the peppers and onions.

On medium heat, cover the peppers for about 4-5 minutes, letting them get tender. Add about half of a bottle of Lawry's Baja Chipotle marinade to the peppers and onions.
When the chicken is done baking, cut it into strips and add it to the sauce.

Place mixture into a tortilla shell and top with shredded cheese and sour cream.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Duck Dynasty Paper Plate Kid Craft

When I asked the boys what craft they wanted to do today, they instantly said, "Duck Dynasty crafts!"
So, we opened up a picture of the Quack Pack and did the best we could to create a craft.
We started with paper plates and glued on eyes to four paper plates. We were going to dye cotton balls for the beards, but that process took too long. So, we made some puffy paint to use instead. Puffy paint is an equal mixture of Elmer's glue and shaving cream. I just added a bunch of food coloring to get as close to brown as we could.

We painted on a nose with cream paint. For Si, we made glasses out of a pipe cleaner. For his hat, we cut a hat out of white paper, painted it with green, brown, and tan paint, and swirled it together.

  For Willie, we found flag scrapbook paper to use for his bandana.

 Jace's hat is just a piece of white computer paper painted black and glued on.
 Phil's bandana is just white paper painted with the same colors as Si's hat.

The boys painted on the beards and moustaches.


We added a little shaving cream to Phil and Si's beards to resemble the gray color.