Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Pinewood Derby/Blue and Gold Banquet

As you may have noticed my sister is extremely creative and talented. So for anyone who would like to see what the other end of the spectrum may look like, I'm posting our Pinewood Derby and Blue and Gold Banquet pictures (which we combined). We did ours on a Saturday morning and we were done and cleaned up less than 2 hrs. later.



Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine Mice

My son's first grade Valentine party was today and as the Room Mother I wanted to come up with a fun Valentine's craft.  I knew I had seen mice made out of Hershey's Kisses with hearts for ears before, but as I was shopping for supplies and not being able to find what I wanted we decided to improvise and my son wanted to make the mouse edible.  So here is what we came up with:


The eyes are NOT edible! We used frosting to hold everything together.  The bottom is a large Conversation Heart, the face is a Hershey's Kiss, the eyes are googly eyes, the ears are small Conversation Hearts, the body is a Whopper, and the tail is a Pull-a-Part Twizzler.  It was super cute and I had all the kids make one to give to their teacher so she could have a basket full of mice to take home.


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Baking

This is a loaf of bread my 7 year old made from a Family Fun Cooking with Kids cookbook. He did it all by himself (with the help of a Bosch mixer) and I admit I did help round out the shape a little. It was fun to just hand him the ingredients and measuring cups and watch him work. It was very tasty as well.


This next recipe is for whole wheat bread using hard white wheat that I got from my mother-in-law. I have made many loaves of bread and experimented with several recipes, but I think this will be my go to recipe from now on. It turned out beautifully on the first try (that's a first), it tastes good and my kids really like it. A few things, I only have a hand grinder to grind wheat, so I would cut this in half and only make two loaves at a time. The second thing I've learned is to let it knead in the mixer until it passes the window pane test, which means you can gently stretch a small piece of dough and it doesn't rip apart but rather gets to the point that it is translucent.

Hard White Whole Wheat Bread

5 c warm water
2 TBSP yeast
2 TBSP Brown sugar to start the yeast growing
Then add 2/3 c oil
2/3 c honey
2 TBSP lemon juice
2 TBSP salt
14 - 15 c White Wheat flour (just enough for the mix to clean the side of the bowl)

Mix in Bosch for 8 minutes. Let sit about 10 minutes, shape into loaves, let rise until it just starts to clean top of bread pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.



The last recipe is for super easy, super yummy homemade granola. Since I don't like coconut, I leave it out. I also don't use the maple extract because I like the flavor of the nuts and oats more than the mapley taste. I received this recipe from my husband's cousin.

Granola

3 cups old fashioned oats
1 cup sliced almonds
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup coconut
1/4 cup plus 2T maple syrup
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup plus 2T brown sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 capful of maple extract

Mix the oats, almonds, pecans, and coconut on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.
While the oat mixture is baking, put the remaining ingredients in a saucepan and heat on medium until the sugar is dissolved.
Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees. Mix the oat mixture with the syrup mixture, then spread out on the baking sheet and bake an additional 20-25 minutes.

A Few Random Things

This is our recycling center. I got one of those $10 laundry sorters from Walmart and I put plastic bottles in one, cardboard in another, and grocery sacks in the third. Plus this way if they ever get dirty or start to smell bad, they can be laundered. I let the kids make the labels to involve them.
Our family needed new stockings this Christmas because the old ones were too big and I had tried to pad them, but the batting just fell to the bottom and clumped there. It took a long time to decide on fabric but I really like stripes and Walmart had several different colored yet similar fabrics. I let the kids pick their favorite ones and then I freehanded them by tracing a store-bought stocking and adding a white strip around the top. The insides are lined as well and if I ever decide I want to put their names across the tops, I can.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Cub Scout On Time Board

At the beginning of the year, we moved all of the Cub Scout dens to the church. The parents wanted a centralized location to drop off children, which is understandable. What I don't understand however, is that since we have done this, the boys have started showing up later and later. When you only have an hour, this can be a problem. In an attempt to stop this trend, I asked my husband to make me a way to track and reward punctuality, and preparedness. I gave him a few thoughts, and he more than delivered. He is AMAZING!
 He cut out a board and drilled holes in it. In the holes he inserted skewers cut to size. On top are 1/4" dowel pieces with a hole drilled in them. (The names I printed with my labeler, the Be Prepared and other writing was cut with my Silhouette).
 Here is the most amazing part- there is no glue holding this together, but everything stays in place even upside down.
Yet the caps are easily removable to add more beads.
Hopefully it works. I am going to give the boy(s) with the most beads a prize at the next pack meeting. Which should be fun- it is our Baloo & Gold Banquet this month. So much to do still, and so little time.