Thursday, November 27, 2014

Pumpkin Sheet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

I found this recipe from Taste of Home. I altered their frosting a little bit though.

1 1/2 cups sugar
1 can pumpkin
1 cup canola oil
4 eggs
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cloves

1 8 oz cream cheese (softened) 
1/2 cup butter
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups powdered sugar

Beat 1 1/2 cups sugar, 1 can pumpkin, 1 cup oil, and four eggs in a bowl. 

In a separate bowl, mix the 2 cups flour, 2 tsp baking powder, 2 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp baking soda, 1/4 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp cloves. Slowly add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture. 

Add the batter to a greased and floured sheet cake pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. 

Set on a cooling rack until completely cooled. 

Meanwhile, beat the cream cheese, 1 stick of butter, and 2 tsp vanilla with a mixer.  Add the 3 cups of powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Spread the frosting on the cooled cake. We added some candy pumpkins for decoration. 

Monday, November 24, 2014

Turkey Sugar Cookies

I cheated a little bit with these cookies. I started with a sugar cookie mix so I didn't have to wait for the dough to chill. Anyway, after the cookies were cooled, I added a Reese's peanut butter cup for the head. I secured it with a little bit of frosting on the bottom of the peanut butter cup. Then I added the yellow, orange, and red frosting with a star tip. I added legs with a line tip. 

These could be done at this stage if you want it to look like the back of the turkey :) 

I added eyes, a beak, and a gobbler with the line tip. 

I made the ones below with chocolate discs insted of peanut butter cups incase anyone couldn't have peanut butter. I secured two discs together with frosting. 

Turkey Fruit Platter

This is one of the treats we came up with for David's snack day tomorrow. I dipped the apples and the half of pear in Sprite so they wouldn't brown. I cut the beak and feet out of orange peel and added them to the pear with a toothpick. I drew on the eyes and gobbler with food writing pens. 

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Sight Word Smashers

The kids' grandma sent me this idea from the website:

David thought this looked like a really fun activity, so we tried it today. 

I started by mixing equal parts of flour and water. I did 2/3 cup flour and 2/3 cup water for each color. Then I added a little bit of food gel coloring to each bowl.

I am pretty sure the next step was the kids' favorite part. They dipped cotton balls into each bowl until they were completely covered. (Make sure you have a towel handy for when they want to switch colors. It is a little messy.)  Place the dipped cottonballs onto a baking sheet covered with tin foil. 

Bake at 300 degrees for 40-45 minutes.

Let them cool. It only took about 15-20 minutes. Then I wrote David's school sight words on his smashers. For Rachel's I wrote the letters to her name. 

After he said each word correctly, he smashed it with his toy hammer. They are crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. Just a different way to practice site words. 

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Christmas Tree Shirt Made from Ribbon

I have seen some pretty cute outfits made from ribbon, so I decided to try making my own. 

While looking for holiday ribbon, I found that this type of project could end up pretty costly if I bought a bunch of sewing ribbon. So, luckily, I found some small spools of scrapbook ribbon at Hobby Lobby. It happened to be 50% off, so each thing of ribbon only cost 49 cents! (And there is a ton of ribbon still left.) 
I used a plain white shirt we already had. I started by sewing a piece of brown ribbon on the shirt. Then I pinned on seven pieces of looped ribbon. I pinned each one so the sewing process was easier. 
I found that using my ironing board to pin the ribbon on was easiest way to accomplish this task.

After pinning each layer, I sewed one line across the layer, attaching each piece of ribbon. See the picture below. Here the shirt is placed over my ironing board so I could pin the next layer on. 

The final step was to sew two equal pieces of red ribbon to the top. I then tied the two pieces into a bow. 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Paper Bag Teepees

The second craft we did last night was a paper bag teepee made from a small brown paper bag. This was very simple, but the kids seemed to enjoy making designs. I googled some Native American symbols and printed them out for the kids. The older kids took more time drawing symbols on the bags, while the younger kids just used the markers to create their own designs. To finish it off, I cut 2-3 inch strips on the top of the bag. Then I cut a door at the bottom. I tied the top with some string I had.

Suncatcher Turkey

Last night, a couple of my cousins brought their kids over for a craft night. One of the crafts we did was this suncatcher turkey. I started by folding a piece of brown cardstock and then drew the design shown below. I cut out the design and opened the paper. See the cut-outs in the picture below. 

Then I painted each kid's foot with brown paint. They made a footprint on white cardstock. When the paint dried, we cut out the footprint. 

Meanwhile, the kids cut little pieces out of orange, red, green, and yellow tissue paper. 

I put a piece of contact paper, sticky side up, on the table. Then we placed the brown cut-out on top of the contact paper. The kids filled in the middle with the tissue paper. Then we added another piece of contact paper to seal in the tissue paper. Cut off the extra contact paper.  To finish the turkey, the kids glued their footprint to the contact paper. Then they glued on eyes and felt for the beak and gobbler. 

I cut out different sizes of the brown cut-out depending on the size of the child. This one was for a 3-year-old. The one above was for a 6-year-old. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Turkey Crafts with Cupcake Liners

 We made a couple of turkey crafts with cupcake liners tonight.  I found some colorful cupcake liners to be used for the feathers. We used scrapbook paper as a background to make it more festive. 

We glued the cupcake liner to the paper. Then we added a turkey body cut from brown scrapbook paper. Then we finished it off with some google eyes, and orange and red felt. 

The second one was a turkey puppet. We glued a cupcake liner to the popsicle stick. Then we glued on a circle cut from brown construction paper. The body is a brown paper liner (Reese's peanut butter cup paper). We added google eyes and orange and red felt to the face to finish it off. 

Here are the finished products. 

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Turkey Cheese Bread

1 Tbsp yeast
1 cup warm water
1 Tbsp honey
2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp olive oil or canola oil
3 cups flour
1 Tablespoon butter
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 tsp. garlic salt
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese, optional

Start by dissolving the yeast with the warm water. Add the honey. Let sit for a couple of minutes, until the mixture starts to bubble. 

Add the salt, oil, and 1 cup of flour. Stir with a wooden spoon. Slowly add the remaining flour. Knead with the hook attachment on your mixer for about 8 minutes. If you don't have a mixer, knead on a lightly-floured surface for 8-10 minutes. 
Grease the mixing bowl, cover with a towel, and let rise for about an hour in a warm location(or until doubled). I warm my oven by setting it to 170 degrees for 30 seconds. I then turn the oven off and place the dough in the warm oven. 
When doubled, punch the dough down and place on a lightly floured surface. I grabbed a handful of the dough and rolled it out into a circle for the body of the turkey. Then I rolled out the head and neck. I took a little ball of dough and made that into the legs. I used food scissors to cut little slits for the talons. Then I rolled out dough for the feathers. (There was extra dough left, so I made a small size pizza with that dough.) 

I covered the dough with some butter and olive oil. Then I sprinkled on garlic salt. The final step is to add the cheese. I added some cheddar cheese to give it a little color. 

Bake at 475 degrees for about 15 minutes. Dip in ranch or pizza sauce. 

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Essential Oil Neck Wrap for Kids

After seeing a tutorial for Essential Oil Neck Wraps on DoTerra's website: , I knew I had to try a smaller version for my kids. 

For the older kids (ages 6 and 12), I cut two fabric pieces 5 inches by 12 inches. 
Place the "pretty sides" on top of each other. (Both pretty sides will be in the middle with the rough sides facing out.) Pin them together. 

Sew both long sides together, leaving about 1/4 in. of fabric on the sides. Sew the bottom completely up as well. Then sew about an inch on both sides of the top piece. All you will be left with is a little hole on the top.

 Turn the fabric right side out now through this hole. (The pretty sides will now be on the outside.) You will want to use your fingers to push the corners out.  

Using a funnel, place about 1 1/4 cup of rice in the bag. 

Then sew a divider half way up the bag. 
Add another 1 1/4 cup of rice. 
Finally, sew the hole shut at the top of the bag. 

For my 3-year-old, I cut two pieces of fabric 4 inches by 10 inches. For her bag, I added just under a cup of rice for each square. This is what hers turned out to look like: 

This will help to see sizes. The bottom one is the adult size wrap...(The fabric pieces were 8 inches by 20 inches.) The adult wrap has 2 cups of rice in each division. The adult wrap was a lot harder to sew for someone that doesn't really sew--as you can tell by the incredibly crooked lines!

For two of the wraps, I used a flannel piece of fabric on one side and a cotton piece of fabric on the other side. 

Warm the child wraps up for about 45 seconds and place a drop of essential oil on the wrap. My kids like lavender. 
 These could also be used as cold wraps. 

November Gratitude Challenge

I often find myself searching for ways to show my children how to be compassionate, grateful, and helpful. These are difficult skills to teach, but they are extremely necessary. I am so grateful that my parents brought me up in a home where they were constantly doing things for other people. This is how I learned these traits. My mom was always inviting people over for dinner, espcecially if they were alone and didn't have anyone to eat with. She helped neighbors, friends, and countless other people with whatever they needed done. My dad was always volunteering his time either through the fire department or just fixing things that needed to be taken care of for the people in our community and family.

Teaching through example is a great way to show our children how to be contributing members in society that possess these traits. We often take dinner to those that have to cook for themselves, we make treats for others, invite neighbors over, or just sit down and talk to those that don't have many family members around. I hope some day my children realize that these small acts can make all the difference for the people we interact with. 

While scrolling through Pinterest last night, I came across a Gratitude Game. I thought this would be a perfect activity for my children to do for the remainder of November. While thinking further, I also thought this would be a perfect opportunity to share this challenge with my high school students. 

So, I created the challenge box as described from this website:

I started by tracing the outline for the number of cups I needed (We did 18). 

Then I used our utility knife to poke holes through the cardboard. (Make sure to cut the circle smaller than the traced circle. See the next picture for an example.) Cut out the circles with scissors. 

Notice that the circles are smaller than the traced circles. Hot glue the cups to the inside of the cardboard. 

Then we added our gratitude challenges for each day inside the cups. Here are some examples: 

  1. Smile.
Put extra effort in smiling wherever you go: Down the hall, in your classroom, at the store, etc.

  1. Help make dinner tonight. And be sure to thank the person that normally does this task.

  1. Do a chore without being asked. (Dishes, vacuum, dust, clean the bathroom, etc.)

  1. Write a thank you note to one of your teachers.

  1. Write something nice on a sticky-note and put it somewhere that everyone will see.

  1. Sit at a different table with different people at lunch today.

  1. Do something nice for a neighbor today...Take dinner to them, invite them over for dinner, rake their leaves, simply make time for a conversation with them, etc.

  1. Write a thank you note for a veteran, or post about your gratitude for the veterans on your social media. #HMC

  1. Do something nice for your siblings. If you don’t have any, do something nice for a younger person in your life.

  1. Write a thank you note to your parents, grandparents, or caregiver.

  1. Write a list of ten things you are thankful for.

  1. Focus on saying Thank You today. Every time someone does something nice for you, be sure to say Thank You.

  1. Compliment someone on a skill, talent, or strength they have.

  1. Donate something…(Clothing, old toys, food, pay for the person behind you in line, etc.)

  1. Post one of your favorite positive quotes on your social media, or hang it on your locker.

  1. Have a family movie night. Put away all electronics and embrace the time with those you love.
  2. Write a thank you note to someone that has always been there for you.

  1. Free Choice

  1. Share one of your talents with someone today, whether it be telling knock-knock jokes,
singing, or just being a good friend.

  1. Make a present for a friend or sibling and give it to them.

  1. Play a game of football (or any other game) together as a family.

  1. Make candy turkeys together as a family and give a plate to your neighbor.

  1. Make a thankful tree writing things you’re thankful for on the leaves.

  1. Write down a list of all the things that you love about [enter name here] and give it to

  1. Call your grandparents and say hi.

  1. Make turkeys by tracing your hands and write things that you’re thankful for in the

  1. Do something nice for everyone else in the family secretly.

  1. Make cookies and take them to a friend with a thank you note.

After placing one challenge in each cup, we hot glued a piece of tissue paper over the front of the cups. Every day we will punch out a circle to find our daily challenge.

I am going to challenge my high school students to complete this challenge as well and share their daily gratitude acts on Twitter and Facebook with #HMC (The name of the positive group we just started--Here 2 Make Change)

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Turkey Snack Bags

It is David's turn for snack day tomorrow, so we decided to make turkeys out of popcorn and goldfish. 

I bought a large bag of popcorn from the local grocery store and a large box of colored goldfish. The supplies made 30 turkeys. 

I put 2 1/2 handfuls of goldfish in a disposable glove. 

Then, I directed the goldfish into the finger spots of the glove. 

I added a couple of handfuls of popcorn and tied the bottom with an orange pipe cleaner to represent the feet.

Then I glued on google eyes with a little bit of craft glue. (I put a little bit of glue on a toothpick and then spread that on the back of the eye.) Then the boys taped on a piece of red pipe cleaner for the gobbler.