Saturday, June 29, 2013

Volcano Experiment

We were just sitting around tonight watching the Tigers and browsing the internet when we came across a picture of a volcano. We decided we needed to spice up the night a little bit, so we went to the party store, bought a 2-liter of Diet Coke and some Mentos and created our own volcano.

I started by wrapping the mentos container in paper.
Secure the edges and take out the mentos.
Tape the paper to the top of the opened 2-liter.
Place a toothpick through the paper, just above the tape.
Drop 6-8 mentos into the paper. Pull the toothpick out and stand back.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Strawberry Cinnamon Rolls

Here is another recipe I found on Pinterest that I had to try. They turned out great! I changed up the process a little bit from the original recipe, but used the same ingredients:

  • ¾ cup milk
  • ⅓ cup butter, softened
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 tbsp instant yeast
  • 3¼ cups all purpose flour
  • ¼ cup white sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 egg

    • 1 cup strawberry jam (+/-)
    • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
    • 2 cups sliced strawberries
    • 1 cup powdered sugar
    • ¼ tsp cinnamon
    • 3 tbsp milk
    Put the milk and butter in the microwave for about 2 minutes. Stir until the butter is melted. Let this cool while you mix the other ingredients.
     Mix the yeast with 1/4 cup of warm water. Meanwhile, mix 2 1/4 cups of flour, 1/4 cup sugar, and 1/2 tsp of salt in a bowl. Place the flour mixture and yeast mixture in a mixing bowl. Add one egg.

    Using a wooden spoon, mix the ingredients together. Add the milk and butter mixture. Stir until all incorporated. Then turn your mixer on low and slowly add one more cup of flour. Mix for about 8 minutes, or until a soft dough forms. (If you don't have a mixer, knead for about 10 minutes on a lightly floured surface.)
     Place a damp towel over the dough. Let it sit for about 10 minutes.

    Roll the dough out into a large rectangle.
     Spread strawberry jam on the dough. Sprinkle with cinnamon and top with chopped strawberries.
     Roll up the dough and seal the edges.

    Cut the dough into 12 pieces. (I cut it in half first and then cut each side into 6 pieces.)

    Place in a greased 9"X13" pan.  Cover the rolls and let them double in size. (About 30 minutes)Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
    Meanwhile, mix 1 cup of powdered sugar, 1/4 tsp of cinnamon, and 2-3 Tbsp of milk.

    When the rolls are doubled in size, bake them for 25 minutes. Invert the rolls on a baking pan as soon as they come out of the oven. Drizzle glaze over the rolls and enjoy.

    Chicken Taco Dip

    While searching Pinterest one night, I came across this recipe for a chicken taco salad:

    Instead of making this a salad, I turned it into a dip.
    • 1 Rotisserie chicken 
    • 1 green bell pepper, diced
    • 1 can black beans, rinsed
    • 1 can sweet yellow corn
    • 10-15 cherry tomatoes, diced 
    • 4 green onions, sliced
    • 1 package of romaine lettuce, chopped
    • 2 ripe avocados, diced
      For the dressing:
    • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
    • 2/3 cup Greek yogurt
    • 1 tbsp ranch seasoning
    • 1 tbsp taco seasoning
    (I only used about half of the dressing from this amount above.)
    • Doritos or tortilla chips for dipping.
    Start with a large bowl. Chop the lettuce and put in the bowl.
    Add the tomatoes.

    The green pepper.

    The green onions

    The avocado
    The drained corn and rinsed black beans

     I took the skin off this chicken and shredded the breast meat. I only put in about 1 cup of chicken. The rest of the chicken was saved for the kids to eat plain. This dip would be great with or without the chicken. It isn't a necessity.
    Mix the yogurt, mayo, ranch seasoning, and taco seasoning. I only used about half of this dressing for one batch of dip. I didn't think it needed more dressing, but if you like a lot of dressing, you may want to add more. Try it with half first though.

    Mix the dressing with the salad and use Doritos or tortilla chips to scoop the dip.

    Tuesday, June 25, 2013

    Moon Dough

    I want to warn you before you start this craft: it gets a little messy! :)
    We started by dumping a little cornstarch on the table in front of each of the kids. (About 3/4 of a cup)
    Add about a cup of shaving cream to the top of the cornstarch. Then have the kids pick a color of food gel. Drizzle some of the gel over the shaving cream.
    Now have the kids start working the ingredients together. We had to add more shaving cream to get the dough to form. As you work with the mixture, if it feels crumbly, add shaving cream. If it is very wet, add a little cornstarch. (A little goes a long way.)

    When we finally got it to the perfect consistency, it felt exactly like the moon dough you buy in the store.

    (Yes, this did get on the floor. It vacuumed up pretty easily though. However, you might not want to do this in a room that has carpet.)

    Summer Kite Craft

    The boys picked this craft idea from Pinterest. It turned out really cute and was extremely easy and didn't take a lot of time. We started by cutting a kite shape out of construction paper. (We actually used paper scraps from our Father's Day tie craft.) They glued the kite to a piece of construction paper and drew a line from the kite.
    Next we glued on some cotton balls for clouds and mini bow tie noodles for the kite string.

    We found some people stickers I bought from Hobby Lobby a few months ago and put them on the page to finish it.

    Homemade Microwave Popcorn

    If you have heard the latest research about how terrible microwave popcorn is for you, I have the perfect alternative.
    Start by putting about an 1/8 of a cup of popcorn kernels in the bottom of a bowl.  

    Place a plate on top of the bowl and put them in the microwave.
    Turn on high power for 3-4 minutes. Just listen like you would for a bag of microwave popcorn.
    Now you are in control of the seasoning and butter you put on the popcorn. I melt a little butter and drizzle it over the popcorn and lightly salt it.

    Graduation Cupcake Cake

    This cake is made from white cupcakes. I started with a row of four cupcakes through the middle of the cap. Then I filled in with cupcakes to get this shape.
    I have a really hard time making true red frosting, so I used frosting that already came red. The black frosting is also wilton black frosting that came mixed. I put it in my decorating tool and piped it on the cupcakes.

    The diploma is just three cupcakes frosted together.

    Sunday, June 23, 2013

    4th of July Activity Wall

    We decided on a 4th of July theme for our next activity wall. (I am secretly making this a history lesson for the kids as well.)

    While we made this, I explained that the first flag the United States had did not look exactly like the flag we have today. For this activity wall, we made the first flag of the United States. We talked about why the first flag only had 13 stars and why the flag has 13 stripes. We used this website as a starting point to the history:

    I drew the 13 stripes on a piece of big white paper. I outlined all the red stripes with red paint. Then David painted inside all of the red outlines.

    Next we painted the blue square.
     We cut out 13 stars.
    On each star, I wrote what state it represented.
  • (1st) Delaware December 7th, 1787
  • (2nd) Pennsylvania December 12th,1787
  • (3rd) New Jersey December18th, 1787
  • (4th) Georgia January 2nd, 1788
  • (5th) Connecticut January 9th, 1788
  • (6th) Massachusetts February 6th, 1788
  • (7th) Maryland April 28th, 1788
  • (8th) South Carolina May 23rd, 1788
  • (9th) New Hampshire June 21st, 1788
  • (10th) Virginia June 25th, 1788
  • (11th) New York July 25th, 1788
  • (12th) North Carolina November 21st, 1789
  • (13th) Rhode Island May 29th, 1790

  • On the first day, the kids will see that the first star is Delaware. We are going to do a little bit of research about Delaware. After we do our research, I will direct the kids to their first activity. (I pinned a bunch of activities to a Summer board on Pinterest.) After they do their research each day, they can pick out an activity from that board.

    ***Addition: After doing this for a couple of days, I realized this was a perfect opportunity to teach the boys how to do research. So, we started a notebook. At the top of each page we wrote the name of the state and numbered the page 1 to 5. I talked to them about doing searches. For instance, I showed them that if they just typed in "Delaware" it wouldn't give them the facts they needed. I wanted them to find 5 facts about the state they didn't already know. So instead we typed in "Facts about Delaware" and got a great site for fast facts about all 50 states. This was also great writing practice for my 10-year-old. He worked on turning the facts into complete sentences.

    Monday, June 17, 2013

    Garbage Truck Cake

    For my son's 4th birthday, he decided he wanted a garbage truck cake. I made cake in three loaf pans. For the garbage part of the truck, I placed two of the loaf pans together with frosting. The third cake was cut up to resemble the front end of the cake. (It had a lot of frosting connecting the pieces :) )
    I used pound cake for this so it didn't crumble as much.
    The garbage can is a swiss cake roll with a Reese peanut butter cup on top. .I frosted both of them with blue frosting. The wheels are chocolate donuts with frosting and a chocolate chip in the center. The lights are twizzlers. The windows and grill in the front are Hershey bars with white frosting outlining them. The "garbage" in the back is trail mix.

    Hanging Baskets Transformed

    I don't have a lot of time (or skill) when it comes to planting flowers and picking them out. So, I found some really pretty hanging baskets. I filled the pot about 3/4 of the way with potting soil. Then I placed the hanging basket on top of the soil. I cut the wire off of the basket and I had a great looking pot!

    Father's Day Tie Gifts

    For this gift, we started with a ziplock bag. I cut the top off the bag. I taped two of the corners together in the back to make the tie shape.

    At the top, I cut a wider opening to place the candy in the bag. I then folded over the top and taped it next to the other taped corners. I also added a little saying that I found from

    Here's a special tie for you,
    To tell you Thanks for all you do!
    Dad, you are:
    You're the best a kid could have,
    I'm so glad that you're my Dad!
    Happy Father's Day!
    Love, (child's name).

    Then at the bottom, in smaller font it says:
    It's not another tie to wear,
    But maybe one that you could share?

    We taped on a triangle at the top to add a finishing touch.

    Father's Day Tie Crafts

    The boys decided they wanted to make a tie of their own. We started by searching our sports scrapbook paper. This sports themed paper became the tie of the craft. We drew out a tie on the back of the paper and the boys cut out their shape.

    Then we cut out the center of a paper plate. The boys decorated the neck piece part of the tie. One of them wanted to paint his, while the other boy wanted to draw on his design.
    We glued the tie on the neck part and cut a slit in the top of the paper plate and placed it around their neck.