Friday, March 29, 2013

Fun Ways To Decorate Easter Eggs With Kids

I haven't dyed Easter eggs in so long. I was very much looking forward to picking up that old tradition again with my son and my nephew. I didn't actually want to go buy the egg dyeing kits though...thankfully, I saw all kinds of ideas on Pinterest for decorating Easter eggs, so this is a sampling of the ideas we tried recently.

To see where we got these great Easter egg decorating ideas, check out this blog.

Photo from Pinterest

The two designs we tried were the melted crayons and the tie dye. The melted crayons was way fun and easy and my 2 year old son could even participate in that! That made it extra cool. Both my 8-year-old nephew and my 2-year-old son enjoyed it!! WOOHOO! Success!


The biggest tip I can give you is to make sure the kids don't touch the eggs themselves as the eggs are VERY hot. After I dried them, I put them in the egg carton so the kiddos could start coloring. That seemed to work brilliantly, until one side was done - then flipping them over was a bit of a challenge. For that, I used tongs. I used my hand the first time and ended up with melted crayon dried onto my skin - plus, they were still very warm. The boys were very good about not touching the eggs with anything but the crayons though and it worked wonderfully.

Gabriel, personally, preferred the tie-dyed eggs. They were, in my opinion, not quite as much kid-friendly work though. Dropping the food coloring onto a paper towel I had to do, but the boys got to squirt the vinegar/water solution and I think that's what Gabe really enjoyed.

I set the eggs on the paper towels because they were still very hot. Then, we wrapped them up and put them in a plastic bag for more than an hour.

The end result was pretty neat looking. Not so much on the hands - so watch out for that - if you are hoping to have nice looking hands for pictures or something in the next hour, you'll be severely disappointed; be prepared for some stainage...for a little while anyway.

So, our eggs may have looked a little better if we hadn't used brown eggs, but I still think they look mighty fine. And it was an enjoyable time had by all. Success? I think, yes.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Mini Bow and Arrow Set

I've seen many people post this little project to Pinterest, and I've been interested in giving it a try so the timing seemed perfect when I had my nephew, Gabriel, over for a visit.

To make a mini bow and arrow set, the directions are all in the pictures on Pinterest, but to give credit where credit is due, I will go to the source of the photo that I found on Pinterest. To see how to many your own mini bow and arrow set, check it out here.

Photo from Pinterest

I believe the popsicle stick that they used for this picture may be a smaller one than what my nephew and I used, but either way, it still worked out.

Word of caution about this project - it's a real bummer to do with kids until the very end, since to start you are whittling a popsicle stick and then letting said stick soak for an hour or more and then tying string to the stick - none of which is very fun, safe or necessarily least not for my 8-year-old nephew. So, he had a lot of time of just waiting around until the end when he got to design the bow once it was dry, and then of course shooting the "arrows" was fun as well. Some kids may enjoy the process though. My nephew is not one of those kids because he likes to help and be a part of all the action.

I call this picture...popsicle stick in water....

The hardest part of this project was getting the floss to bend the stick without making the stick also curve and curl in different directions a little bit.

In the pictures, it looks very easy to just tie the floss and have it sit nicely in the middle - I had no such luck. I tried superglue and then a glue gun, but they didn't seem to work. So, I ended up cutting a thin line in the top of the "bow" so that the floss would be taught without making the bow curve in more than one direction. I wish I had taken a picture of the curve so this made more sense, but I was far too frustrated to go to such lengths. Here is a picture of what I did do though.

Either way, the end result was fantastic with the bow being curved as it should and working very nicely with the arrows. The blog recommended cutting off the end of the Q-Tip with nail clippers, but I didn't have the wide clippers and scissors seemed to work just fine. It actually felt a little like I was using a "jack in the box" just waiting for the pressure of the scissors to clip the Q-Tip enough for the end to go flying. It was a highlight, I tell ya!

After it was all decorated by the amazing Gabriel, he went to town playing. He had trouble shooting the arrow, but I think that's part of the fun, right?? I think this would be a great idea of something to put in a kid's Easter basket. It's not that hard to make (once I sliced the tops of the stick) and they could decorate it after they've gotten it. What a treat!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Ivory Soap Experiment - Soap Clouds

Happy St. Patrick's Day! I hope you've all been loving your day of good luck and green foods...and everything else that St. Patty's Day means to you.

This post has nothing to do with St. Patty's Day. As a matter of fact, I thought it would be fun to try this experiment with Irish Spring soap instead - you know, because it's Irish and everything - yeah...well,...anyway, the only soap that will work for this experiment is Ivory soap. And this experiment is amazing!! Thanks to Pinterest, I found out about this project from this blog.

Photo from Pinterest

The only things you really need for this experiment are ivory soap - which is really cheap - and a microwave. And, if you want to continue to use the soap and make your own shapes and all afterwards, you'll want some cookie cutters and food coloring - that's it!

Did you know that Ivory soap is the only soap that floats?? Well, I didn't. I learn new things every day. I saw this in the blog linked above, so I'm sure you didn't need me to tell you, but I really thought it was fascinating...for all of you who still bathe in rivers and lakes and such. hehe.

Anyway, we put the soap in the microwave and watched a soap cloud form. Oh. my. goodness. gracious. It was so cool!

Notice my nephew's handy work on the microwave? He's really into labeling things right now and I think that rocks!

After the soap was all fluffified, we gently handled it so it wouldn't fall apart on us too much and once we were ready for it to be re-formed, we squished it bunches into a bowl. When you start the squishing, make sure you do it over something - it really does fall apart like dust or snowflakes and it's easier to just not have to worry too much about the mess. 

I hear there are many fun things you can do with this soap cloud, including having your kiddos get in the tub and sprinkle it over them like it is snowing. I do hope to try this someday. What we did, though, was make ourselves some reshaped soaps by just adding a little bit of water and food coloring into our freshly crumbled soap.

From there, we flattened it out (a bit) and pressed cookie cutters into it. I'd recommend leaving the cookie cutters in for a few minutes, otherwise the goo will come right back up with it. 

Once the cookie cutters are removed, the soap will need to set for quite a while - like multiple days, but the final result is...well...ugly...and fragile. But, usable! This was fun, not too time consuming, entertaining and exciting for me, my nephew and my son. I'd say it was a ugly success, but a success just the same and way fun. 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Mr. Potato Head Printable

A while ago on Pinterest, I found this really great idea to print a Mr. Potato Head Printable and then color it, cut it out and put magnets on the back. This was such a fun idea and is great way to get kids ready for a road trip too...more on that in a minute.

I, unfortunately, don't have many pictures to go with this post as I did this project with my kiddos (my niece and my nephews) quite a while ago and I am having a heck of a time finding the pictures I took from it, so I'll just tell you about it as best I can.

The image from Pinterest did lead me to a blog that wasn't helpful at all for finding this printable, so I'm not even attaching a link to it. I just copied and pasted the picture from Pinterest into a Word document and made it as big as I possibly could. The image was slightly pixelated, but the kids didn't seem to mind that at all.

Image from Pinterest
The kiddos really wanted Mr. Potato Head to have a body as well and I was pretty sure I couldn't botch an oval shape too much, so I made the body and the kids colored that in as well. After I printed it out, I had the kids color in all of the Mr. Potato Head features and then I cut them out.  I took it one step further and laminated the pictures so they'd last a little longer and hold up a little better. This did make for two more steps as not only did I laminate them, I then had to recut the shapes. At least it wasn't that big of a deal. :)

Next, taking just a little strip of a magnet, the kids and I applied the magnets to the back of each piece of dear old Mr. Potato Head.

So, the coolest part about this? Did you know, you can use a metal cookie sheet for a magnet board? Yeah, I'm sure you did. I did not, but once I figured out this genius idea, I was pumped! The kids each had their own cookie sheet (which can travel nicely in the car if it's a small enough cookie sheet) and all the pieces were able to stay on each of their sheets. It was fantastic! When the kids were all done playing with it, we were then able to put all of their pieces into a little ziplock bag for playing with more at a later date. My nephew, Mickey, is still wanting to create new features for his Mr. Potato Head. I'd say this was a successful little project and worth a try.

Hopefully I'll find some of the pictures I took at some point and will be able to post those on here.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Cleaning The Shower

Oh how I adore long, hot showers. I dread the moment the water is to be turned off and I quickly grab my towel so that I can attempt to be warm again. It really doesn't take that long to warm back up, but still...showers are incredible.

You know what I don't adore? Cleaning my shower. Bending over, reaching, trying not to get wet as I wash down the walls. Yeah, that's no fun. However, the end result is quite lovely...until I'm in the shower and I see that I missed a spot! D'oh!!

Until I hear that sweet, sweet Pinterest song. Thank you, Pinterest, once again, for your brilliance! This specific pin on Pinterest didn't go to a blog, so I'm just posting the picture of the pin here so you know exactly what to do.

Photo from Pinterest

I've actually been using this method for a few months now and I am in love with it! The convenience cannot be topped. Still having the luxury (and now an even better excuse) of a long shower, and having it constantly clean is a dream come true. I know...I set my sights high, I tell ya.

It's so very simple to make and easy to use. My biggest recommendation - as far as this specific brush goes (and most others, I suspect) is that you will want to make sure it can be in a semi-standing position so all the liquid doesn't come out. The best way to do that, for me, was with my shower caddy. And to see a great Pinterest idea in action, check out this easy shower caddy holder!

I can now, honestly, say that I don't mind cleaning my shower...if only I could get my son to clean his shower, we'd be set up! But, either way, this little handy trick left me thinking "how did I not know this already?!" It's a great tip and so easy to do. I'd highly recommend it...unless you like bending over your shower and trying to clean the walls without getting water up your sleeves and such, then this probably isn't the tool for you. He he he.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

No Sew Fleece Blanket

We are still in sweater and boots season, which means we are still in nice, warm, soft, cozy blanket season! So, making blankets seemed like a good project to attempt.

I know many, many people have already done this, but I never had, so I gave it a try. To see how to make this particular blanket, scroll halfway down the page once you click on this link.

Photo from Pinterest
 This little project should be very simple. Well, who am I kidding? It is very simple...if you are good with straight lines and using scissors. I, however, am not good at either of those things. So, instead of doing it exactly as the blog recommended, I layed out my fabrics on the floor as flat as possible and just cut them until they were fairly even. That worked out beautifully for me. The next thing I did was, with a ruler and a highlighter (or some color that was only barely visible on the fabric since I didn't have a fabric pencil or pen), I drew the lines that I needed to cut. This seemed to work out quite well for me as well. 

Everything else was really simple, but those steps are complicated for a person such as myself, so if anybody else has a problem with scissors (anyone??), I thought this might help you.

I did my knots as described in anewchelseamorning's blog. I thought it turned out pretty durned cute and it was so very easy. I was able to mindlessly do this while I watched a chick flick. It made for a lovely evening. The nice thing about this project, though, is that you don't have to do the knots as recommended; you can do whatever knots you want. Which made this project that much better when doing it with some of my little kiddos that were learning to tie knots. What a fun way to learn to tie your knots! Once you've pretty much mastered the knot tying, you have yourself a nice little throw blanket. I really liked this. 

This is a great project for yourself or to start for yourself and finish with little knot-learners (or the more advanced). I hope you get a chance to try this if you haven't already. It is definitely worth it and you can usually find great sales on fleece quite frequently! Plus, doing this with the kiddos is so rewarding! How cool is it to get to sleep with a blanket that you made yourself! So very cool!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Oatmeal Blueberry Applesauce Muffins

Finding a good, healthy breakfast for my son in the morning can be quite challenge...especially if it's not very sugary. So, recently, when I went to a friend's house and my son gobbled up her oatmeal blueberry applesauce muffins, I knew I needed to give it a try. This recipe isn't exactly off of Pinterest, but I know there are other Joy The Baker Blog recipes on Pinterest, so I'm assuming this one is probably out there somewhere as well.

The recipe is very simple, using mostly ingredients that you may already have in your home, other than the low-fat buttermilk. I never seem to have that on hand. But, it's easy enough to get, so that's good.

The only addition I'd make to this recipe, per my friend Katie's recommendation is to add 1 teaspoon of vanilla. I'm not sure what that does, but she knows - and I'm pretty sure it made this recipe 10 times better. In the last batch that I made, I added one banana as well, and that was a nice little twist on the recipe, but it certainly doesn't need it.

My son really enjoys these and the recipe makes a fairly large batch, so we end up freezing them, which also works out beautifully since they freeze and thaw nicely and otherwise they can get moldy fairly quickly if left in a plastic bag on the counter. Yep...I learned the hard way...

This is definitely a must-try recipe. Especially if you have toddlers who want to eat sweet and you want them to eat healthy. This is a great and tasty solution!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Freezing Cookie Dough

So...I'm cheating a little bit today; I'm not doing a Pinterest test. Instead, I'm going to blog about a great little tip that I use and love.

I love homemade cookies. Chocolate chip cookies are almost always my go-to recipe. Quick, easy and so tasty. But, it seems like I always have too many or not enough cookies or I don't have them when I really want them and I am feeling too lazy to make them. The solution: When I am in the mood to make cookies, I always make a double batch. And freeze about 3/4 of it.

The other nice thing about this is, I don't have to prepare them all for the freezer at the same time. If I get busy, I just do a roll of dough at a time and put the rest of the dough back in the fridge until I'm ready to finish it up.

I generally double wrap my cookie dough rolls to make sure they don't suffer from freezer burn; the first layer of plastic wrap being horizontal and the second layer being diagonal, that way you also don't end up with any exposed sections of cookie dough.

 The result: when I have that desire for a warm, soft chocolate chip cookie, I don't have to do anything more than take out one (or more) of my frozen dough rolls, let it thaw for about 10 minutes, cut it up and bake. It usually fills up one cookie sheet and that is just enough for the 2-3 of us that would be enjoying them for the evening.

I would so highly recommend this. It's wonderful and a great way to keep, from being a glutton due to my lack of control. Such a nice little treat whenever you have the desire.

I suppose, writing the date on the cookie dough would be a good idea as well, but I never seem to have them in the freezer longer than about 4 months and they've always come out just perfect.

Hopefully this will be helpful to some of you and you will now enjoy the benefits of your own frozen homemade cookie dough!