Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Perfect Cupcake Frosting

My mom perfected this frosting recipe and passed it on to me. I am not a huge frosting fan, but this combination is absolutely divine. I won't make another frosting again. It works great for getting the perfect cupcake swirl as well. I made a wedding dress cupcake cake last weekend and Memorial Day cupcakes this weekend with the frosting.

The recipe:
1 8oz package of cream cheese
1 stick of butter
3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
8oz cool whip

Whip cream cheese and butter together with a mixer.
Add vanilla and powdered sugar (one cup at a time) Whip together.

Add cool whip and mix on low-medium speed until light and fluffy.

Using a large star tip, pipe frosting on cupcakes. (I just used a ziplock bag with the tip pushed through one corner of the bag.) These cupcakes are great for Memorial Day or 4th of July. I dipped half of a strawberry in melted white chocolate and dipped the tip into blue decorating sugar and placed the berry on top of the cupcakes.

This frosting made a great wedding dress cupcake cake. The frosting maintained its shape and texture all afternoon.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Father's Day Activity Wall

 Our next activity wall for the year is centered around Father's Day. To start, I taped down some white paper on the floor. (Originally I was just going to trace the top half of my husband, but when my son saw how much fun it looked, he wanted a sheet of paper to lay on as well. So we improvised the wall a little bit.) The two lay side by side with their hands together. I traced them and cut out their shapes.

We taped the images on the "Activity Wall" and colored some clothing on them. I tried to draw on some faces, but they looked a little scary, so I just taped on a picture of my husband and son where the faces would go.

For the activity part of it, we cut out ties from different construction paper. There is an activity listed behind each tie. Every day the kids will pick one tie out of the "closet" (located on the other side of the hallway) to put on dad. The tie they choose will tell them the activity for the day.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Finger Painting Trays

All three of my kids will tell you that they love finger painting. They love to use their hands to create masterpieces. We have been doing this almost every night.

When we painted in the past, I put the paint on small paper plates. We seemed to be going through a lot of paper plates, so I tried to come up with a more resourceful way to go about this process.

We got some cheap tins from the dollar store and turned them into the kids' individual paint trays. I now have room to place many colors in this tin and the kids can do what they want with the colors. If they want to mix colors, they can. If they want to use them separately, there is plenty of room to avoid mixing.

I don't even bother washing out the tray when the kids are done. (The tin is becoming a masterpiece now too :) )

Banana Chocolate Muffins

My kids love banana bread.  I love baking, but I hate doing all of the dishes. This recipe takes care of all of those things. I found this recipe on Pinterest (http://myfriendsbakery.ca/blog/banana-muffins/)and altered it a little to fit my family's tastes.

You only need to use one bowl for this entire recipe.

Start by mashing three bananas in a bowl.

5 1/2 Tablespoons of melted butter
1 slightly beaten egg
1 1/2 cups of flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup white sugar
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Mix until just combined. Be careful not to over mix.
Scoop into 12 cupcake liners and bake at 375 for 18 minutes.

Place pan on a rack for about 5 minutes when done baking. Remove cupcakes from pan and enjoy.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Taco Dip

1 pound of taco meat
1 can of refried beans
1 cup of sour cream
2 teaspoons taco seasoning
shredded cheddar cheese
Spread platter with refried beans. (You might not have to use the whole can, depending on the size of your platter.)

Mix sour cream and taco seasoning together in a bowl
Spread on top of refried beans
Sprinkle taco meat on top of sour cream.
Add shredded lettuce and chopped tomato.
Sprinkle with shredded cheddar cheese. Refrigerate until ready to serve. (Olives are a good optional topping on this as well.) Eat dip with Doritos or tortilla chips.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Three-ring Binder Dollhouse

I came across the idea of a three-ring binder dollhouse while browsing through Pinterest. I decided to take that idea and expand upon it.  I wanted to add a "little boy" touch to the house for my son. So...we started by making the bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, and living room and then added the garage and farm. Since then we have added a salon and grocery store. We have plans for a laundry room and kids' bedrooms. The room ideas are endless!
Start by picking out your "wallpaper" colors for each room. This is just scrapbook paper cut to fit the binder. For a couple of the rooms, I did one color on the top and another on the bottom. Put modge podge (or a mixture of glue and water) on the binder and the back of the scrapbook paper. Place the scrapbook paper on the binder. 
To cover the rings of the binder, I placed fabric through the rings. They resemble curtains. To get the fabric to stay on the binders, I sewed a slot where the top and bottom rings of the binder are. Slide the fabric through rings.  

Then I went online and found images for each room. I just searched in Google for things like shower, vanity, bathroom pictures, end tables, closet, clocks, lamps, tool bench, window seats, tv entertainment center, etc. Print the pictures off and arrange them on the scrapbook paper. Place modge podge on the back of each of the images and place on the "wallpaper".

Next plaster modge podge over the entire page. It will look glossy when you first apply, but when it dries it will look as one picture. All of the images will be sealed on each page.

Other rooms:
The Garage
The Bedroom
 (The bed in this bedroom is made from wood scraps. I glued a small piece of wood to a larger piece to resemble a headboard.  I hot glued a piece of fabric over the entire bed. )

The Living Room
(The couch and chair are pieces of thick cardboard with fleece hotglued to the cardboard.)

The Farm

The Salon

The Kitchen

The Grocery Store

 My kids are constantly changing the arrangement of the dollhouse. These are some of the recent set-ups. The best part about this dollhouse is the binders can be folded up when they are done playing and placed on a bookshelf. We put all of the furniture in a little tote that gets placed on the shelf with the binders.