Thursday, January 29, 2015

Football Player Rice Krispie Treats

David has snack day tomorrow, so he was very interested in bringing a treat with a Super Bowl theme in mind. We saw pictures of these treats on Pinterest ( and decided to make our own for his classmates.

I made a double batch of rice krispies. (6 Tbsp butter, 2 bags of mini marshmallows, and 12 cups of rice krispies)

I filled a sheet cake pan with about 2/3 of the mixture. I put the remaining mixture in a smaller pan. I cut the large pan into 25 rectangles.

Then we dipped the bottom of each rectangle in melted dark blue chocolate discs. I used a spoon to cover the bottom half of each treat with the chocolate. We used white frosting to stick a vanilla wafer to the top half. I used an edible food writing pen to draw a face on the wafer. Then we used white frosting to write the numbers of some of the Seahawks players.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Quinoa Taco Bake

I was looking for some quinoa recipes and came across this one. (
I made a few changes to fit what I had, but we all loved this one! I will definitely be making this again. 

1 20 oz package of turkey burger
1/2 green pepper, diced
1/4 onion, diced
2 small cans of tomato sauce
1 10 oz can diced tomatoes with green chilies
1 Tbsp lime juice
3 cloves of garlic, diced
2 Tbsp chili powder
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
2-3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup quinoa

Brown the turkey burger in a saucepan. Add the green pepper, onion, and garlic. Saute for a couple of minutes. Add the lime juice, chili powder, cumin, and garlic powder. Stir. 

Next, add the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, and 1 cup of shredded cheddar. Remove from heat.

Meanwhile, cook 1 cup of quinoa in 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes. Reduce the heat and cover. Let simmer for 15 minutes. Add the cooked quinoa to the burger/tomato mixture. Place in a greased 9x13 inch pan. Cover with about 1 1/2-2 cups shredded cheddar cheese. Place a piece of tin foil over the pan and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Remove the tin foil and bake for 10 more minutes. 

This is really good on its own, but I really enjoyed it in the middle of a tortilla shell. My husband ate some with tortilla chips as well. 

Stuffed Green Pepper Soup

I pinned this recipe from the website: and decided to give it a try yesterday (with a few changes). I was really happy with how it turned out. 

1 lb turkey burger
2 Tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
1 onion, diced
1 large green pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 cans diced tomatoes
1 can tomato sauce
1 cup broth (I used chicken because that was all I had)
1 Tbsp parsley
1/2 tsp basil
1/2 tsp oregano
1 can chili beans (drained and rinsed)
1 cup brown rice 

Start by browning the turkey burger with 1 Tbsp of the olive oil and some salt and pepper in a large pot. When the turkey is browned, remove it to a plate that is covered with paper towels. In the same pot, add the remaining 1 Tbsp olive oil, onion, and green pepper. Let that saute for a few minutes. Add the garlic. Stir for about 30 seconds. Then add the tomatoes, tomato sauce, parsley, basil, and oregano. I added chili beans for added protein. 

Stir and let simmer 

When ready to serve, make your rice. Stir in some rice when you are ready to eat. Keep the rice and soup separate until just before eating. 

Sunday, January 25, 2015

2015 Super Bowl Commercial Bingo Cards

Last year I made Commercial Bingo cards for the Super Bowl:

The kids remembered playing and asked me if I was going to make more cards for this year. So, using the site:, I came up with these cards. I did move the images around so we have six different cards. 

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Homemade Candy Hearts (turned into sight word practice)

I made these candy hearts a few years ago, and everyone loved them. With edible food markers, it makes putting personal messages on them so easy. One batch makes a lot of hearts, so I turned half of them into sight words for David to practice. I made some of them into letter and number recognition practice for Rachel too. 


1 tsp unflavored Know gelatin 
1 tsp light Karo syrup
1/4 cup water
 3 3/4 cups powdered sugar (1 lb) (Plus extra for rolling out the dough)
essential oils or flavored extracts
food gel
food markers

Start by putting 1 tsp of unflavored gelatin, 1 tsp of light Karo syrup, and 1/4 cup of water in a bowl. Stir. Then put in the microwave for about 25 seconds. Stir again until the gelatin is dissolved. 

Place the gelatin mixture in a large bowl. Add one cup of powdered sugar. Using a hand mixer, beat until incorporated. Then slowly add the rest of the powdered sugar, one cup at a time. 

The mixture will be stiff after all the powdered sugar is added. 

Lightly coat a counter top with powdered sugar. Knead the dough until it is not sticky. I added probably 1/2 cup powdered sugar to the counter. Divide the dough into as many piles as you want colors/flavors. We did seven different colors. 

Put some food gel and flavoring on the dough ball. Food gel works so much better than food coloring. If you use food coloring, you have to add more powdered sugar because there is too much extra moisture from the coloring. I used essential oils to flavor four of my dough balls. I added 1-2 drops of oil. I did have some bubble gum, butterscotch, and watermelon extract that I added to three of the dough balls. For those, I added 1/8-1/4 tsp of extract. 
The oils I used were wild orange, grapefruit, peppermint, and lime.

I folded the color and extract in the dough with my hands. I just kept turning and rolling the dough in my hands and on the counter top until the color was all incorporated. Using food gel instead of food coloring makes a lot less of a mess on your hands and counter top. 

Then I placed a piece of plastic wrap under each dough ball and another piece on top of each dough ball. This keeps the the dough from drying out while you roll the other colors and shape into hearts. 

Pick one of the colors and roll the dough ball out with a rolling pin (while still in the plastic wrap).

Pull one piece of the plastic wrap off the dough ball. Put a little bit of powdered sugar on top. Continue rolling out the dough with your rolling pin. I roll it out pretty thin. 

Then flip the dough over on a lightly-covered powdered sugared surface. Peel the plastic wrap off the dough. 

Using a heart fondant cutter, I cut out the heart shapes and placed on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper. Repeat this process with the other colors. 

Let all the hearts dry on the parchment paper. When they are dry, write your message with the food pen. 

Here are some of the sight word hearts we created. 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Traditional Cinnamon Rolls

I have never strayed from my cinnamon roll recipe ( until last night. I came across a new recipe in the Taste of Home magazine and decided to give it a try. It resembles my usual cinnamon rolls, except it made 24 rolls per pan and used vanilla instant pudding in the dough. I didn't finish these until 10:30 last night, so the pictures aren't that great! 

1 package of yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 cup milk
1/2 package of vanilla instant pudding (the small box)
1 egg
1/4 cup melted butter
1 tsp salt
3 1/2 cups flour

1/4-1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup butter, softened

3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp water

Dissolve the yeast in the warm water and sugar. In a separate bowl, stir the pudding mix and milk together for about a minute. Let it sit for another minute. Then add the egg, butter, salt, the yeast mixture, and 2 cups of flour. 

Add remaining flour and knead for about 8 minutes. Grease the bowl, cover, and let the dough rise for about an hour. 

Punch the dough down and divide in half. Roll out on a floured surface. Spread each half with about 2 Tablespoons of butter. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar mixture. Roll the dough jelly-roll (or hot dog) style. Cut each half into 12 equal parts. 

Place each piece cut-side down in a greased 9x13 inch pan. Cover and let rise for another 30-45 minutes. Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes. 

I melted 1/4 cup butter and added 3/4 cup powdered sugar, 1 tsp water, and 1 tsp vanilla. Spread the frosting on the rolls. 

This dough was really soft. Now I am not sure which recipe I like better! 

Easy Baking Soda Volcano

It is amazing how entertaining a little bit of baking soda and vinegar can be for the kids. Matt came home from school today and told us about learning about lava flow. So, we decided to make a volcano and add another visual to what he learned today. 

The kids are very impatient when it comes to waiting for reactions to take place, so we didn't have time to make a volcano that had to dry. 

We mixed 2 cups of baking soda with about 6 Tablespoons of water. We stirred it together in a bowl. The kids just played with the mixture for a little while. It reminded us of snow. 

Then we formed a little volcano on a baking pan. I pushed a hole about 3/4 of the way down the middle of the volcano. 

We were going to wait a couple of hours until it dried a little bit, but I think we only made it 20-30 minutes. The kids used eye droppers to put a little diluted red food coloring on the outside of the volcano. Then we added about 1/4-1/2 tsp of dish soap to the hole of the volcano. 

The kids each had an eye dropper. They took turns squirting vinegar in the the volcano hole. We let it settle a couple of times and observed the outside of the structure. We talked about the effect lava has as it flows over the surface as well. We were able to get quite a few reactions out of this volcano. Then, because we have to make a mess with everything we do, the kids added other ingredients to the pan and created their own "soup". 

Monday, January 19, 2015

Dove Hand Prints

These peace hand prints were really easy to make and went along well with our Martin Luther King, Jr., dream craft ( 

We simply traced our hand prints and cut them out. Then we added an eye and beak. The younger kids drew some other illustrations on their pictures. 

"We Have a Dream" Craft

Tonight we talked about Martin Luther King, Jr., and his famous dream speech. I drew a dove on a sheet of construction paper. Each of us chose a paint color and made fingerprints in the middle of the dove. Then we wrote what our dream is in each of our circles. We each put our color fingerprint by our dream heart.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Polar Bear Oreo Treats

David had snack day today. He gets very interested in picking something out to take to share with his friends. He couldn't wait to make these. It really was a lot of fun and didn't take a lot of time. 

We started with double-stuff cookies. We found some that had vanilla cookie on one side and chocolate on the other. These were Great Value brand. We did get some regular Oreos, but if you make these, they definitely have to be double-stuff. The marshmallows do not fit inside the regular Oreos very well. 

We opened the cookies and slid two mini marshmallows inside to make the ears. We pressed the cookie back together. We did have some that cracked if we pushed too hard. The softer the marshmallow, the easier this process was. 

Then we dipped the cookie in white chocolate. I used a fork to maneuver the cookie in the chocolate. The fork helps remove excess chocolate as well. Put the cookie on wax paper. 

We then placed a white chocolate disc on top of the melted chocolate. This became the raised part of the nose/mouth. I added some black decorating frosting for the eyes, although mini chocolate chips would work really well too. Then we placed an M&M on the chocolate disc. I used some of the remaining melted chocolate to make the M&M stay on the disc. 

Hot Chocolate Marshmallow Treat

I saw a picture of these on Pinterest, so I had to give it a try. We had some extra chocolate from David's snack day treat anyway, so it was the perfect time to try it. 

I melted white chocolate melting discs in a microwavable bowl. I cut a little slit in the side of the large marshmallow. Then I dipped the marshmallow in the melted chocolate. I had some mini candy canes left from Christmas too, so I cut the top of the candy cane off and inserted it into the slit of the marshmallow. Then I melted some chocolate discs and spread a little of that on top of the marshmallow. I cut a couple of mini marshmallows into little pieces and put it in the chocolate. 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Snowman Painting with Puff Balls and Q-tips

For a quick craft tonight, we did a little snowman painting. The kids had three different sizes of puff balls. They dipped them in white paint and made a snowman. Then they added snow with a Q-tip and other features to the snowman with black paint. If we did it again, I would give them something smaller to make the face, but they were pretty happy with it. 

Monday, January 12, 2015

Snowmen Magnets

This craft was very simple and didn't take much time at all. The kids started by painting three popsicle sticks apiece. Then we glued them together with a hot glue gun. We cut hats out of black felt and glued those on. Then the kids picked out buttons and added them to the snowmen. The nose is orange felt. Then they picked out the piece of fabric they wanted to cut a scarf from. We glued those on. Two of the kids decided to draw on the eyes and mouth with a sharpie, and one of them decided to use buttons. The final touch was to attach a piece of magnet on the back. 

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Apple Bran Muffins

I used to make these all the time when I first got married. I found the recipe in 2005 from Recipezaar. I came across the recipe again last night and decided to make them again. Everyone likes them (even the kids!) and they are only about 90 calories per muffin. 

2 large apples, peeled and chopped
1 12 oz can of frozen juice (I used 100% apple cherry), thawed
1 cup water
1 1/4 cup bran flakes, crushed
2 cups wheat flour
1 cup white flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Spray two muffin tins with cooking spray. Peel and chop the apples. I used a hand chopper to save time. 

Stir 2 cups wheat flour, 1 cup white flour, 2 1/2 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, and bran flakes in a bowl. 

Add the apples. 

Add the juice and water. Stir until it is just moistened. Don't overmix. 

Scoop batter in greased muffin tins. 

Bake at 325 degrees for about 18 minutes. Remove from muffin tin and place on wire rack to cool. 

Snow Paint

On our first snow day, we also made up some snow paint. We mixed equal parts flour, salt, and water in a bowl. I did one cup of each, but that was more than we needed. If I were to do it again, I would only do 1/2 cup of each. 
Whisk the ingredients together. It forms a paste. The kids made some snowmen out of the paste. It takes a little while to dry, but it looks really neat when it does. For this snowman, David used a mini cupcake holder for the hat and some chocolate chips for the face and button accessories. 

Snowman Pancake

For our first snow day of 2015, we celebrated with some snowman pancakes. I just poured the pancake batter (1 1/3 cup flour, 1 1/4 cup milk, 2 Tablespoons sugar, 1 Tablespoon baking powder, 1 egg, 1/2 tsp salt) in a hot skillet. I let the two circles run together. After they were cooked, I added blackberries for a hat, mini chocolate chips for the eyes, mouth, and buttons, orange sprinkles for a nose, and a piece of bacon for a scarf. The kids loved them! 

"The Mitten" Activity

One of our mitten activities this week was to make a drawing. I drew a mitten on a piece of white cardstock and wrote, "My mitten is so big a ______________ can fit in it. The kids had a lot of fun deciding what to draw and then talking about how many things fit in the mitten in the story, "The Mitten". 

Muppet Birthday Cake for a "1/2" Birthday

I saw something posted a while ago about celebrating 1/2 birthdays for younger kids. Not to celebrate with presents and a large party, but to just acknowledge it with a small celebration. We decided to give it a try. The kids love helping make birthday cakes, and it is something I enjoy doing, so for David's 1/2 birthday yesterday, this is what we came up with. We really had a lot of fun, and the other kids are already planning their 1/2 birthday too. I figure I only have a few years where they will want to have these fun cakes, so why not maximize the fun while I can. 

Monday, January 5, 2015

Pizza Pinwheels

This is a Pillsbury crescent roll recipe that is very easy and tastes delicious. 

I started with a sheet of the seamless crescent roll dough, but you could use the regular crescent roll dough. 

Shape the dough so you have four equal rectangles. 

Spread Parmesan cheese and chopped up pepperoni on top of the dough. Spread mozzarella cheese on top of that. 

Roll up the dough, starting with the longer edges. Cut each roll into six pieces. 

Place the rolls on a baking stone or pan. 

Bake for about 15 minutes at 350 degrees. Dip in pizza sauce or ranch after they are baked.