Monday, November 26, 2012

Clay Santa Hands part 2

So my first attempt at these failed horribly. The baking soda clay hands were a very nice white, but dried and cracked. So it's back to salt dough.

 2 cups of Flour
1/2 cup of Salt
1/2 cup or less of Water

 Start by mixing all the ingredients together. When you have a nice playdough type clay roll it out onto a floured surface and push your childs hand into it. (TIP: You could just trace your childs hand on paper and use it as a template for the dough- but you will not get the indents that way). After that cut out around the hand carefully and play on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

Bake them at 200 for over an hour. I actually had to flip mine and put them back in the next day because they didn't cook long enough. Once they were dry we painted them. These will make great little gifts for the grandparents we won't see this Christmas.

Snowman pancakes

It is that time of the year already. I'm guilty for starting Christmas up the day after Thanksgiving, a tradition started by my husband. This morning we had Snowman pancakes. Simple enough we made the pancakes three different sized circles. Chocolate chips for face and buttons. The only difference is that I gave ours a strawberry scarf instead of bacon and whip cream snow instead of marshmallows.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Easy Kid Christmas List

Simple enough. I printed this letter to Santa from the original blogger page. I really liked it because instead of a spot for only toys it makes the kids choose other items for Christmas.They gave the list to our elf on the shelf to take back to the North Pole

Grout cleaner

So while I was waiting for Thanksgiving dinner to cook at my moms house I was determind to see if this pin actually worked. About 3 1/2 years ago my grandma had her niece tile her kitchen floor. After about a year or so the grout began to darken and it never looked clean no matter how often we cleaned it.

I got out a bowl and place
7 cups water
 1/2 cup baking soda
1/3 cup ammonia (or lemon juice which is what I used)
 and 1/4 cup vinegar

I mixed it up and poured it over the grout and let it set. With a scrubber I found under sink I began scrubbing away at it. You could actually see the dirty water! I was amazed.

It really does work! It is a really big work out though and worth it on special occasions. My mom wouldn't let me finish because it was about half of her kitchen floor is clean and the other half isn't. Note the different colors in the grout in this picture?

Thanksgiving rolls

For Thanksgiving (yes I'm a few days behind) we made these rolls at my moms house to go with Thanksgiving dinner.

2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 1/8 cups lukewarm water
3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus more for brushing on top of baked rolls
1/4 cup non-fat dry milk (if you can't find dry milk like me, we substitute normal milk)
1/2 cup instant potato flakes

Dissolve the yeast in 2 tablespoons lukewarm water and a pinch of sugar. Let it activate (should only take about 8 minutes)

Add all other ingredients to the bowl, and when it's ready add the yeast and water mixture. Mix the ingredients until they form a dough. This was seriously the softest dough I've ever kneaded.

Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl. Then place in a warm spot and let it rise for about an hour, until it has doubled in size.   Once it has risen Lightly grease 1 12-cup muffin tin or 2 6-cup tins. Gently deflate your dough. Divide the dough in 12 equal pieces. Take one piece and divide it into thirds. Shape each third into a ball and place the three balls into a muffin cup. Repeat for the remaining 11 pieces. Let them rise a second time until doubled.

Bake at 350 for about 25 minutes.

They were pretty heavy rolls (which I find happens a lot to me. It also could have been that my mom only has a semi working convection oven, not a real oven.). They were still good and went over well with everyone.

Elf on the Shelf ideas

Alrighty, at first I must admit I did no want one of these "creepy little elves" in my house. I didn't get the point in them.. I assumed it was to keep an eye on your kids so that they knew Santa was watching (which is actually true). So I bought a different elf at Safeway and called it our Elf on the Shelf and named her Tinsel. It wasn't until I came across them on pintrest that I decided I had to have one. The things people do with these dolls are hilarious. We bought ours over a month ago with survey points I earn so it cost me nothing but time.

 The reason he is in different spots is because every night he flies back to the North Pole to tell Santa what he saw that day. You don't have to even do silly things with the elf. All he has to do is move spots. Someone just got creative and decided to.Now there are a lot of people out there who do not do them. I've even seen a blogger bad mouth the parents who do. I feel like that is taking it a little far. If you don't want to do them, that's fine but don't be rude to people who want to. Not doing an elf doesn't make you a bad parent- teaching your child to put others down for wanting to does.

Today, November 24th, We got our elf on the shelf. We decided he shows up right after we decorate the tree. His name is Peppermint, or just Pepper for short. Check back for all our ideas!

We got a visitor this year. Our Elf on the Shelf.
Day two:
Taking a nap


 Day Three:
Turns the Milk green

We decdied he was going to start off doing harmless things and then as the days progress he was going to get more entertaining.

 Day four:
Riding in a sleigh with Mickey and Minnie

Day five:
Cotton ball bath

The lighting in my bathroom is terrible, but here is Peppermint taking a cotton ball bath. You can use marshmallows and your sink. But I only have one bathroom so I can't be too extreme

Day six:
Convinces other toys to play board game

Day seven:
Makes a flour angel on counter
 I ddin't go crazy on the flour because I was going to have to clean it up.  Plus I didn't want to waste the flour. An alternative to that is putting the flour in a 9x13 pan

Day Eight:
Roast Marshmallows on a candle

To roast the marshmallow, I stuck it underneath a lighter for a few minutes

Day Nine:
Hides in a Jewelry box.
Now I would have loved to have done what the original blogger did, but that is extremely hard to do in the dark while your kids are sleeping. This was the closets I could get. Also I just found out through this blogger that they have added wire into their elf's body. See instructions here

Day Ten:
Packs the kids their lunches with random items in the cupboards/house
Peppermint really thought about what the girls might need to eat when they got to school: Sugar, condensed milk, lime juice, an onion, and soup still in a can. To get him to sit I taped his butt down... after he fell off the candle a few times I was determined to keep him where is is.

Day Twelve:
Replaces all photos in the house with ones of himself

Thankfully when I moved we did not unpack all of our photos or I would have been there all night!!

Day Thirteen:
Elf is playing Santa

I took a cotton ball and small double sided sticky tape to his face to get it to stay. A few days beforehand I hid the dogs under their bed (where they usually are, but closer to where I needed them). We got the sleigh from a Lowes Build and Grow workshop that was promoting Dreamworks "Rise of the Guardian"

Day Eleven:
 Builds Snowman out of marshmallows

 I Used Wilton food color pens and spaghetti sticks to make the snow men.  This was by far the most annoying one ever. 1) Because the Marshmallow snowmen kept falling over and 2) I still have yet to doctor the elf to make him bend and stay.

Day Thirteen:
Elf Graffiti- He uses window markers to color all over the bathroom mirrors

 Alright this one kinda happened quicker than I was planning. With my allergies kicking in yesterday I was so tired I went to "rest my eyes" while I waited for Hannah the night owl to fall asleep. Next thing I know I'm waking up an hour and a half into my nap disoriented wondering what the elf was supposed to do (a down side of owning an elf is this moment).
Our graffiti didn't show up as nicely as the other moms who used dry erase markers...

Day Fourteen (open because I'm not home).
 I decided there was no way I was going to try to bring him to grandma's house and get caught.

Day Fifteen:
 Stays up all night watching T.V with Barbie

This was a little hard because I had to se it  up right before I left for the weekend. I managed to do it without the girls seeing.

Day Sixteen:
Zip-line Elf

This was super fun to do.  First I had to wait until the girls fell asleep last night (of course since they fell asleep in the car they were crazy napped kids who had more energy!). I would have tied it to my tree, but it is one of those fake ones (don't judge me) and it is on a motor. So when the lights turn on the tree spins slowly in a circle. Super awesome. Only problem would have been if I had put the zip line it would have pulled the string into it. So I had to put it on the binds instead.

Day Seventeen
Piggy Bank thief
 I made the bag out of tissues, stuffed it with cotton balls and tied it with some yarn. I taped the quarter into his hand. We used a scarf to make it look like that is how he climbed up to the piggy bank. Then at the last minute I decided Aurora needed to be the getaway driver.

Day Eighteen:
He replaced all the stockings with the girls underwear.

Day Nineteen:
Photo Booth with Aurora and Barbies

The backdrop is a flat present I had wrapped.
To make the props you have to go to the original bloggers page and print them out. Getting all the dolls to pose was a very frustrating task. But we got it! Keeping the papers on the sticks (that I made too short) was also a little frustrating.  I had to use a LOT of tape... The girls don't seem to notice.

After taking these photos I had to switch the dolls positions because he was eying Rapunzel and the girls would make a comment about him liking Aurora.

Day Twenty:
 Builds Fort out of oatmeal box and hides in the Christmas tree

Day Twenty-One:
Wraps girls door in crepe paper
It use to look nice and even, but while I was doing it last night the top left corner kept falling. Then I had to add mroe tape, which in return made my oldest stir and I thought I saw her eyes open. all in all, still cute and fun.

Uses Husbands razor
 Super glad I got this one ready before I fell asleep. The girls are both sick (stomach bug &  cold)

Elf has a sick day

Colds and stomach bugs have flown through our tiny little apartment. So I've been cleaning quite a bit. I thought it only appropriate to give Pepper-MinT a cold too.

T.P's the Christmas tree
Read The Grinch to some toys

Stuck in a bag of M&M's

Potty Humor
No Original Source

I set the bar a liiiitttle too high the other day.. They weren't impressed with being stuck inside the M&M bag.. so I had to pull out the bigger guns.

 Hiding in the candy bowl
Lego Men capture elf
I accidentally deleted the main photo of this one off my camera. This is the best I've got- right after this my daughter mentioned her cousin touched the elf and we went into "Emergency Elf Kit" gear.

I can't believe I missed the picture of this. He was sitting on our advent calender and there was a note saying : Santa's coming tonight!

OTHER IDEAS: These are ones I was going to use but eventually were nixed for whatever reason:

1) Elf colors in coloring book or makes a self portrait
2)Does "YMCA" with Barbies
3) Sets up dominos
4) Makes a Good Morning cup of Hot Cocoa
5) Makes mini pancakes for the kids
6)Spells out a message in cereal or candy
7)Builds a real snow man out of shaved ice in your freezer
8) Super Elf
9)Weight lifting elf

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Clay Santa Ornament

I wanted to make Santa hand ornaments for the family this year. The problem was it was an etsy type item and they wanted you to buy it. So I tried to solve the problem. I followed the directions, but during the drying process they cracked. I loved the white color they had, but they were not usable and therefore had to be tossed.

• 1 box baking soda (about 2 cups)
• 1 cup cornstarch
• 11/2 cups water
• Sauce pan
• Bowl
• Spoon
• Plastic wrap

1. Mix all the ingredients in a saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring consistently, until it is too thick to stir with a spoon.

2. Cool for 15 minutes, or until the dough is cool enough to touch. Knead it for about 5 minutes, or until smooth. Keep dough wrapped in plastic.
Once you have molded it, it will take 1-2 days for the clay to dry. The length of time depends on how thick your craft is: If it is a flat ornament, it may only take 1 day, if it is thick it will take much longer. This clay can be painted with either Tempera or acrylic craft paints.

I followed the directions, but during the drying process they cracked. I loved the white color they had, but they were not usable and therefore had to be tossed.

Monday, November 19, 2012

I am Thankful printable

Again another simple yet effective printable for Thanksgiving. A great way to remind kids to be grateful for what they have. Hailey also had to do it as a school assignment and so this was a two for one project.  Here is another cute one I have

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Disney Thanksgiving Coloring Page

Since there really isn't many Thanksgiving crafts around I saw this coloring page and knew it would be something that is simple and cute. All you do is print and color. Great to keep the kids occupied while cooking dinner. Check out the other ones I found:

Learning Printables
5-10 minute paper crafts
Turkey Hair

Friday, November 16, 2012

Turkey Cupcakes

With Hannah's birthday being so close to Thanksgiving, we only thought it fit to have turkey cupcakes to celebrate at school. I got the idea from this pin, but because I used mini cupcakes I didn't have a tip small enough to make the feathers look as realistic. Oh well, it was cute.

All I ended up just making quick up and down motions with a regular tip on the turkeys. Since I didn't have brown (but had black) I used that for the bodies.

Scooby-Doo Party

Scooby-doo! Where are you? What a fun theme.  To be honest it's nice not to plan a princess party, again. We started by making the evites (I always try to save a tree) it read:

Jeepers! The Creeper has been spotted in the courtyard outside of ____ Manor. We need your to help unmask the villain and solve the mystery of the missing birthday cake so we can celebrate Hannah's birthday.

The case will take place _____.

**Character Dress (even just the colors) is suggested and appreciated, but not required**

Now I had been thinking about it for a while and decided that I was going to have the kids search around for the cake. Once all the sleuths were here we headed up to our apartment where they will notice shoe prints that I've cut out and taped to the ground.

This was annoying because I didn't want to actually download the pattern, so I had to copy the shoes and clean it up a little in paint then print off a set. After I cut the first one out I made extras just by copying them by hand. There was also left over icing on the door handle.


Before we start the search for the cake, we will play some games to get them ready.

 Who's Who:
 All of the kids hands were traced and numbered on a black board wall and they had to identify whose were whose. While I was busy tracing them the other kids were playing a game of Clue or Guess Who?

Sketch artist

 Give a description of the villain or suspect (Or in our case the missing cake!) The kids have to sketch a face to match the decrpition you give. To make it even trickier they had to draw the picture on a plate on their heads.

“Hannah’s cake is two tiers. The first tier is green with pink flowers. The bottom tier is white with colorful stripes. Around the cake are Mystery Inc. figures. Scooby doo is on top along with ‘Happy 7th Birthday Hannah’”
(Variation from game I found here:

Way before the party, I went through the house and found pictures of my husband, me, and the girls. I made us the suspect. Then I printed off the pieces of paper and taped them to the wall. They said things like : reason for possibly committing the crime and their alibi. It also mentions shoe size.

"What would you do for a Scooby Snack?"  

We chose several "Minute to win it games" and let the kids compete against each other. The games were optional to play.

Whack a Villain 

I took pictures of various Scooby villains, printed them off and taped them to 8 different water bottles. You then had to put a stocking with a baseball at the bottom on  your head. With out using your hands you had to knock over as many water bottle villains as you could before the minute was up. Who ever had more knocked over wins a piece of candy.

Face the Cookie! 
Place a cookie on player’s forehead.  Using only your facial muscles, move the cookie to your mouth.  This one will bring on lots of laughs!

Like, Groovy Moves
Wiggle a box that is attached to your waist filled with ping-pong balls until the box is empty.

The LAST game we played was :

Cereal decoder
Cut up two identical cereal boxes, all the pieces are equal size. In teams of two have them put the picture back together. To make it harder you could mix ALL the pieces up in one pile.We made this the last game because on the back of ONE box I wrote the first clue to where the cake had been hidden.

 Clue one:
"You've played some games and had fun,
It's time for cake but your work isn't done.
(Why the party has just practically begun).
 You're going to go on quite a quest.

Start in the room where the birthday girl rests.
The kids will end up in Hannah's  room. an envelope hanging from a balloon. We decided the next clue needed to be backwards. So the kids had to go to the bathroom to read it.

 Clue two:
Nice work, gang you found this clue!
I'm sure you know the next thing to do.
Bring your decoding page and head out the door
to the place where you'd roast tons of s'mores.

The kids then rush outside to the courtyard in our complex to the BBQ pit. The game continues for as long as you want. While they were outside it was a great time for us to pull the cake out of it's hiding spot. If there is another adult at the party have them do it. A great suggestion was: put it on the table. If you keep it hidden in the box imagine how excited all those kids are coming towards it... results? smashed cake.

Meanwhile at the BBQ pit... we decided it needed to be harder so we made them decode half of the message

 Clue  three: 
You are great detectives. that's the scoop
your next clue is hidden where you throw away dog poop
Which led them to one of the two doggie waste baskets outside out complex. No, it was not in a garbage. it was taped to the back of one of the signs... this way it was harder to see during the game.

Clue four
Add soap and water to this mix,
to get out dirt, grim and twix.
Your clothes will smell great and look it too,
in the room where you'll find the next clue

This brought them to the final clue by our laundry room. It read:

Clue five/ last one
The search is almost over, we're nearing the end
Go back to where the party Began.
It's time to sing "Happy Birthday" and make a wish
it's time to eat cake- we know it's delish. 

When the kids made it back to the dinning room the cake was all set up and ready to sing Happy Birthday!!

Photo props
Scooby Doo Cake