Sunday, March 30, 2014

Detroit Tigers Cake

I knew I probably wouldn't be able to draw an Old English D very well freehand on a cake, so I printed one out. I cut it out to make it a stencil. 

I lightly covered a 9x13 inch cake with white frosting. I placed the stencil on the cake. Using a star tip, I outlined the stencil with blue frosting. (I colored the white frosting by using blue food gel and a little bit of black food gel.) 

Then I took the stencil off the cake. 
I continued adding blue stars to the top of the cake. 

Then I added white stars to the "D" part. 

I finished by adding orange stars to the outside. 

Baseball Activity Wall

After a rough winter, everyone is feeling excited for the start of spring, but more importantly, for the start of Baseball! 

For opening day tomorrow, we not only turned our refrigerator into Paws (the Detroit Tigers mascot), but also made a baseball activity wall. 

I drew a field on a large sheet of white butcher paper. Then I painted the grass with green paint. I mixed brown and white paint for the diamond dust. I painted the bases with white paint. Finally, I drew an Old English D with blue glitter paint. 

I cut the field out and taped it to the wall. I then cut circles from white cardstock and drew red baseball lines with a red sharpie. 
Each ball will become a "game ball" or the activity for the day. The baseballs have various baseball, spring, and summer crafts on the back of them. (Most of which I found on Pinterest.) 

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Toy Story "Jessie" Costume

I found this idea on Pinterest (, and just adapted it using things I had on hand. 

The pants are a pair of my daughter's jeans with cow print felt safety pinned to it. (The felt sheets came from Joann Fabrics. I just cut the felt to fit her jeans.) You could use fabric for this as well, but the felt was very easy. 

The belt is a piece of black felt. I hot glued a circle cut from a red glitter foam sheet. (I think I bought this at Joann Fabric too.) I safety pinned the belt to her pants. 

The cuffs are pieces of yellow felt. I placed velcro sticky circles on the felt so they could wrap around her arm and stay in place. I hot glued red glitter ribbon to the felt for the accents. I also hot glued some white ribbon to the cuffs. 

The top yellow is cut from a piece of sticky-back yellow felt. (These sheets came from Meijer.) I also hot glued red glitter ribbon to that felt and then just stuck it to the shirt. 

We had a red cowboy hat, so I just taped a piece of white ribbon around the hat. 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Detroit Tigers Paws Refrigerator Decoration

We are ready for Opening Day! Go Tigers!

Last year, we made our Paws refrigerator decoration out of construction paper. ( When I pulled it back out this year, it was pretty faded, so I made the arms and legs out of felt pieces. To make it even easier, I hot glued magnets on the back of the felt. 

The hat, buttons, and shirt accents are made from construction paper. The face is a tiger mask I found at the Dollar Tree. I added some cotton balls to the top and some black felt for the mouth and nose. The eyes are google eyes. I cut out a baseball from a piece of scrapbook paper and taped it to one of the paws. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Spring Tulle Wreath

I took down the St. Patrick's Day wreath and made a spring/summer wreath to take its place. 

For detailed instructions on how to make these wreaths out of tulle, check out these step by step instructions:

For this wreath I used pink, blue, and purple tulle. I bought a package of paper butterflies from the dollar store and hung them from the wreath with thread. 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Bert and Ernie Fruit Treats

For Big Bird's Birthday party, we also created Bert and Ernie fruit treats. (Yes, I know they need some work, but the kids loved them!)

I cut an orange in half and cut out a slit for the mouth. I cut the tip off a strawberry for Ernie's nose. I used a banana for Bert, and also cut out a slit for his mouth.  I used candy eyes for the eyes. A mini marshmallow would work too. I cut up pieces of orange for the ears on both Bert and Ernie, and also used an orange piece for Bert's nose. I drew on eyebrows and hair with black food gel. Then I placed a slice of strawberry in each of the character's mouths.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Big Bird Fruit Cups

Tomorrow is Big Bird's Birthday! Last year we had quite the celebration ( This year, we also have some activities planned. 

To start, we made Big Bird fruit cups. They are made from cut pineapple and cantaloupe and grapes. 

Look for our other Big Bird Birthday activities tomorrow. 

Monday, March 17, 2014

Olaf Cupcake Cake

My kids loved the movie Frozen when we went to see it in theaters. So, they are extremely excited for it to come out on video tomorrow. We are so excited about it, we are throwing a Frozen party after school tomorrow. (Our copy of the movie is supposed to be waiting for us with the mail!)

So I started by creating an Olaf cupcake cake. I used 27 cupcakes to make Olaf's body. Then I swirled on white frosting with a large star decorating tip. I used black food gel to make the mouth, eyes, and eyebrows. I used orange melting chocolate disks to create the nose, and chocolate disks for the buttons. As a finishing touch, I shaped tootsie rolls for the hair and arms. 

I had some extra cupcakes, so I made a few "In Summer" Olaf cupcakes. This is just frosting tinted blue, Vanilla Wafers crushed for the sand, and a large marshmallow cut and shaped into a snowman. I used black food gel to decorate the marshmallows and stuck in a small piece of orange chocolate for the nose. 

Sunday, March 16, 2014

St. Patrick's Day Scavenger Hunt #2

So, I almost forgot about doing a scavenger hunt for St. Patrick's Day. (David reminded me at 7:00 tonight when he said he couldn't wait for the morning so they could do it.) This is what my husband and I came up with.

Clue #1: It's St. Patrick's Day, if you care. Why don't you go and check out your father's chair.

Clue #2: David likes that song about a fox. Now go look on top of the Xbox. 

Clue #3: This St. Patrick's Day hunt is as smooth as silk. Your next clue is where we keep the milk. 

Clue #4: We have one little girl and two big boys, you will find the next clue where you keep your toys.

Clue #5: I hope you have had fun finding all of your clues. Your pot of gold is where we keep our shoes. 

With each clue, there are three little pots filled with plastic gold coin pieces I bought from the dollar store. 

The pot of gold has a little present for each of them, along with some gold nugget gum and candy pieces. 

They will have chocolate Lucky Charms and green milk for breakfast. 

March Madness Poetry Bracket

So I am on a March Madness kick for my classroom activities this week. One of my English classes is going to start a poetry unit, so I created a poetry bracket for them to complete throughout the unit. Hopefully this helps give them a visual to remember some of the poetic devices. These are all poems in our literature book, but I am sure they are all available on the internet. 

Links to my other brackets:

Short Story Bracket:

Children's Story Bracket:

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Homemade Window Clings

The boys made their own window clings earlier this week. I taped a clipart image underneath a piece of parchment paper. Using puffy paint, they painted on the parchment paper. (You have to paint pretty thick.) We let the paint dry overnight. 
When they were dry, we removed the paint from the parchment paper. I don't think we painted thick enough because there was still a thin layer of parchment paper on the back of the cling. However, the front side of the cling stuck to the window really well. (They haven't fallen down all week.) 

Easy Shamrock Shake

My kids love McDonald's Shamrock Shakes, so we decided to create our own version. I just kept it very simple (2 ingredients), but the kids were very pleased with the results. 

Blend about 2 cups of Edy's Mint Chocolate Chip Ice cream with 1 cup of milk. 
The little chocolate bits make it so much better than McDonald's. If you want a stronger mint flavor, add a little bit of peppermint extract. You could also top with whipped cream and a cherry to make it look more like McDonald's. 

Friday, March 14, 2014

Cosmic Brownies

I found this recipe on Pinterest the other day and had to give it a 

1 cup sugar
2/3 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup butter, melted
2 Tablespoons water
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/3 cups flour
3/4 cup cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup cream
8 oz semi sweet chocolate chips (I used mini chips)
1/8 teaspoon salt
color candy

Whisk the sugar, brown sugar, butter, and water in a bowl. Add the eggs and vanilla. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Add to the wet ingredients. 
Stir until incorporated.

Pour into a 9x13 inch cake pan lined with tin foil. (Spray the tin foil with cooking spray first.)
Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. When done baking, cool on a wire rack. 

Meanwhile, make the ganache. 
Heat the cream in a saucepan on medium high heat until just starting to bubble around the edges of the pan. Pour the heated cream over the chocolate chips and add the pinch of salt. Don't stir. Let it sit for about 5 minutes. Then stir until the chocolate is incorporated.  Continue stirring periodically until your brownies are cool. 

When the brownies are cool, top with the ganache. Add color candy chips to the top. Let set in the refrigerator. 

Cut brownies when you are ready to serve. 

These taste so much like the Little Debbie Cosmic Brownies!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

March Madness Short Story Bracket

For my high school English classes, this is the March Madness Elite 8 Bracket I came up with. There are a couple of ways one could go about setting this up. 
I plan on sending a digital copy of each short story to my class Google Group.

If technology isn't available, one could have 5 copies of each story for the students to take turns reading and analyzing. They don't have to follow the bracket in any certain order. 

Or, one could do a combination of the two methods. 

Poetry Bracket:

Children's Story Bracket:

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

March Madness Decoding Activity

I had a lot of success with the St. Patrick's Day decoding activity we did today. It worked great for my 5-year-old as he practiced writing letters. I was pleasantly surprised at his concentration in completing this task. My 11-year-old asked to do another one tomorrow, so he enjoyed it as well. I had to split up the word madness because the 5-year-old still writes his letters pretty large, so I didn't want to discourage him if he didn't have enough room to write the letters on the lines. 

Rainbow Craft

To finish our rainbow theme of the day, we painted a rainbow picture.

Microwave Rainbow Play Dough

Last year we made green play dough. To follow our rainbow theme of the day, we made 6 colors today.

I broke the original recipe down to make smaller batches, all different colors. 

1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup water
1/2 Tablespoon oil
1/4 cup salt
1/4 Tablespoon cream of tarter
food coloring

Microwave for 1 minute. Stir. Then microwave another 40-50 seconds. Place dough on the counter and let it cool a little bit. It becomes softer when kneaded. 

Rainbow Waffles

I used my easy waffle recipe as a starting point:

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

Divide the batter into six bowls. I used food gel to color the batter.

There are a lot of different patterns you can make in the waffle iron. The kids loved them! 

St. Patrick's Day Decoded Message

I am always trying to find creative, fun ways to get my 5-year-old to work on writing his letters. So, on our snow day today, I created this alphabet decoded message worksheet for him. My 11-year-old likes to do these too, so it will work for both of them. (For him, I am also adding a list of St. Patrick's Day words for him to put in alphabetical order.)

Find the secret message—decode using the alphabet chart…

1=A                 8=H                 15=O               22=V
2=B                 9=I                  16=P                23=W
3=C                 10=J                17=Q               24=X
4=D                 11=K               18=R               25=Y
5=E                 12=L               19=S                26=Z
6=F                  13=M              20=T
7=G                 14=N               21=U

____________   ______________ 
            19                            15

____________  ______________  _______________  _______________ _______________
            12                                       21                                     3                                     11                                              25

______________  _______________                       
            20                                          15

________________  _________________  __________________  __________________
            8                                             1                                              22                                                5

________________  ________________  ____________________!!!
             25                                              15                                             21       

The words Matt is going to alphabetize are: Rainbow, Shamrock, St. Patrick, Clover, March, Magic, Gold, Good Luck, Celebrate, Luck, Leprechaun. 

If you would like the word template, send me your email address. 

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Easy Mini Egg Rolls

I stumbled upon this Asian Chopped Salad mix when we were at Sam's this weekend. (I have seen it at the local grocery store as well.) I decided to try this as a filling for mini egg rolls. I dumped the salad in a saute pan, added the sesame ginger dressing that came with the salad, and half of a bag of chopped bean sprouts. I covered it and let it cook for about 3-5 minutes. 

I added about a teaspoon of the mixture to each wonton wrapper. I wet three corners of the wrapper with water, folded the dry corner over the mixture, pulled each side corner over top of that, and then rolled it over until the final corner sealed everything in. 

I placed the egg rolls on a baking pan sprayed with cooking spray. Then I sprayed the tops of the egg rolls. I baked them at 425 degrees for about 15 minutes.
Dip them in your favorite sauce...sweet and sour, hoisin, peanut, sweet chili, etc. 

Leprechaun Handprint Craft

For this craft that I found on Pinterest, I painted the kids hands with orange and white paint. Then I drew on a hat and they painted it green. We used black and yellow puffy paint to draw on a mouth, nose, and hat accents. We glued on google eyes to finish the craft. 

Fruit Pizza Cookies

I love fruit pizza, but when I make a big one, a lot of it goes to waste. So, I bought a package of sugar cookies and baked half of them. Then I mixed 3 oz of cream cheese and 3 oz of marshmallow fluff. (Just do about equal amounts of each ingredient, regardless of how much you want to make.) 
When the cookies are cooled, frost them with the cream cheese/marshmallow topping. I let my kids decorate their own cookies with the fruit pieces they wanted. 

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Banana Mocha Cake

My mom found this recipe in a Penzeys Spices magazine and shared it with me. 

3 ripe bananas
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 1/2 cups strong brewed coffee, cooled
1 cup oil
1 tsp. vanilla
2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
2 3/4 cups flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 cup chocolate chips

Mash the bananas and mix in the brown sugar. Add the coffee, oil ,vanilla, apple cider vinegar, cinnamon and salt. Mix in the flour and baking soda. Pour in a 9x13 inch cake pan. 
Top the cake batter with the chocolate chips. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, or until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean. 

Slice and serve. 

Monday, March 3, 2014

ACT Reward Cards

90 cookies, 45 cupcakes, and 40 brownies later, I have enough rewards for my Juniors taking the ACT test tomorrow. To determine which treat is their reward, I made these simple scratch-off reward cards. 

I found an ACT logo and copied it 9 times on a document. Underneath each logo, I typed, Congratulations! You put forth 100% effort today. Thank you for your time and commitment.
Reveal your reward below:

I wrote brownie, cookie, and cupcake on the sheets of paper. I covered the name of the treat with contact paper. 

Then I made a mixture of 2 parts gray paint and 1 part Dawn dish soup. I painted over the contact paper. 

Here are the treats...

When the students are done testing, they will each get a card. Then they will scratch off the paint to reveal their "reward".