Sunday, October 20, 2013

put your hands together for fall

 Ok, corny title, I know. But this is hands down the easiest hands-on craft and it turned out handsomely.

W's tree. I love how he has the leaves at each finger.
Hands-on Fall
  • Brown and blue construction paper
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Glue stick
  • Foam leaf stickers (DollareTree find)
Trace your hand on brown construction paper then cut out and glue to blue construction paper. (Older kids can do this all by themselves!) This is your tree. Then let the kids go to town with the stickers making a fall tree! Quick, cheap, easy, and pain free for everyone involved!
E chose to show the leaves were all falling off the tree and blowing away in the wind. She also drew the wind with white crayon all over her tree and sky. Very creative!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

easy pumpkin muffins...domestic weakness style

Told you it was simple!
 Sometimes you just need to bake something. Wait, did I just say that? Yes, apparently fall makes me want to bake all things apple and pumpkin related.

My boss always has the ingredients for easy pumpkin muffins on hand and I've tweaked the recipe enough that I now like them too. Plus, it makes the house smell amazing.

This is my version of the pinterest rage "only 2 ingredient, only 2 WW points etc muffins." These are the same idea... but SO. MUCH. BETTER.

I leave things like this for my boss. yep.

Easy Pumpkin Muffins
  • 1 Yellow cake mix
  • 1 15 ounce can Pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon ground Cinnamon (heaping)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground Nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon (or less) ground Cloves
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12 cup muffin pan with adorable paper liners. In large bowl, mix cake mix, pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and vanilla until smooth. Spoon batter into the prepared muffin cups. Bake for 20-25 minutes (until a toothpick can be inserted into the middle of a muffin and comes out completely clean). Enjoy!
*Note- You can even jazz the muffins up by adding chocolate chips!

The End.
W has been known to sneak downstairs early in the morning, find a stool, climb up on top of the counter, and eat several before anyone else is up! If you add the chocolate chips, it becomes pretty obvious who's been sneaking muffins! That tip was free. You're welcome.

Apples and Pumpkins

Apple Garland
 Can I take a minute to say how much I love the DollarTree? Seriously, they have tons of craft stuff for cheap. If I swore, I would swear by this store! And don't just frequent one store, stop by different DollarTree locations. Every store carries a little different variety. Oh and the Target dollar section is great too!

For example, I wanted to make an apple garland but didn't have the time to trace and cut out the apples. Browsing in DollarTree, I came across these cute foam apples. PERFECT! I simply punched two holes close together and had W help me string them. He thought it was awesome!

And then there is the whole "it's halloween/fall and I must decorate a pumpkin" thing. Sharp objects and large produce items do not mix well with small children. So, I came up with my own little alternative. Here's how we decorated pumpkins.
  • Foam pumpkins from the DollarTree
  • A variety of shapes cut from black construction paper
  • Glue sticks
  • Squares of construction paper
The pumpkins actually had faces printed on one side so I just glued that side to the construction paper and no one ever knew!  I made a sample and then let the kids do the rest. I loved the results! Can you find the pumpkin with the mustache?
Both E and W were super into this craft. W is 3 and wanted to do all the pumpkins!
The sample

Pumpkin heads

Monday, September 30, 2013

ballet bun win

Ballet at 4pm means perfectly timing picking up E from the bus stop, having her eat snack in the car, dressing her in a small bathroom while trying to keep W out of the way, and if there is time doing reading homework in the 5 minutes we might have before class begins.
I have never done ballet so I know very little about it...only what my dancer friends have told me. But the ballet bun is apparently a big deal.
Last week I had everything planned out and packed including all the supplies for the ballet bun...and I forgot everything at home. I felt like the biggest moron. Thankfully, she is in a beginner class and they said it was okay for her to dance this time in her leggings. NANNY FAIL.
But this week, I made up for it. There wasn't any traffic or construction to hold us up and we arrived 15 minutes early. After dressing E, I attempted my first ever ballet bun. One of the head ballerina's showed me how to do it the first week and somehow I remembered.
Considering how much certain little girls (ahem, E) complains when their hair is being brushed or how much they might have fidgeted and twisted and turned, I was pleasantly surprised with the results.
Ballet bun success formula
One high tight ponytail+a little twist around with the hair+another ponytail+cute hair net thing+ tons of bobby pins = a happy teacher, an impressed momma, a proud nanny, and an oblivious little ballerina

Thursday, September 19, 2013

cavity free candy corn

Keep it simple.

It's almost the first official day of fall. Already, the PSL (pumpkin spice latte) is being served, leaves are changing colors, temperatures are dropping, and everyone is stocking up on candy.

Yes. I did just use candy as a segue.

Check out those glue sticks
This year, I decided to make my own healthy, cavity free version of a traditional fall favorite-- candy corn. I found this on pinterst and made a few tweaks to make it work for me.

Cavity Free Candy Corn 

  • Orange, yellow, white, and black construction paper
  • 3 plastic bowls
  • Glue sticks
  • A white crayon

Such straight lines!
 First, tear up the yellow, orange, and white construction paper into small pieces. Size and shape do not matter. Place them into the plastic bowls. (While it is easier to tear several pieces of paper at a time, take the time to tear each piece separately. It will be difficult to separate them later and will make it more difficult when the kids are trying to glue the pieces onto paper).  
Next, draw a rounded triangle on the black construction paper using the white crayon. (It is easier for kids to see than pencil).
Then, divide the rounded triangle into three horizontal sections. (Reading ready kids might enjoy writing where each color goes to practice spelling and reading).
Finally, Place glue on one section at a time and glue the corresponding construction paper pieces. It's easier for kids to work on one color at a time. (We started at the bottom and worked our way up). The object is to cover as much of the dark paper as possible.

Aren't they cute?!
E is almost 6 and thought it was like a super cool jigsaw puzzle trying to get the crazy torn pieces to fit together and cover up space without leaving gaps. W is 3 and had fun grabbing little handfuls of paper and slapping them on the paper. Both were occupied for quite a while and their parents were thrilled!
Left to Right- E age 6, W age 3, Me age unknown.

A healthy candy corn "recipe!"

Sunday, September 15, 2013

apples and spice and everything nice

Confession- I'm not much of a morning person and I'm even less of an oatmeal gal. But occasionally, I like to do something nice for my family. Like make breakfast for mom on Mother's day. (Yeah, I make it to family breakfast on Mother's day and Christmas.) I found something on pinterest that lets me do something nice for my family and not have to get up early! Apple cinnamon crockpot oatmeal! I really dislike oatmeal, but this is good stuff and super easy!

Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal 

You will need:
  • 2-3 sliced and diced apples (you don't have to peel them)
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar (I use less)
  • 1 heaping tsp cinnamon (seriously, HEAPING)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 heaping cups oatmeal (yes, heaping again)
  • 4 cups water
  • a crockpot

Prince keeping me company during my random late night cooking escapades
While the original recipe says to just throw in the apples, they don't get cooked enough for some members of my family...AHEM. So first, place all the apples in a skillet with 1/2 cup water and cook on med-hi heat until soft. Then, place the cooked apples (and what's left of the water) in the bottom of the crockpot. Next, pour in the brown sugar and cinnamon. Place the 2 cups of oatmeal on top of this. Finally, pour in 4 cups of water. Do NOT stir. For some reason this step is important. Cook on low overnight for 8-9 hours. Don't forget to plug in the crockpot! Stir well before serving.

I usually make this around 10:30 or 11 pm and it is ready in time for the early risers by 7 AM. If you are not getting up with the birds, leave a note out with direction on when the oatmeal will be ready and a reminder to stir before serving. And the great thing is, you can keep it on warm for a while and so it's still hot when everyone else wakes up (whenever that may be).