Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Science project: Food-dye Color Wheel

Every year about this time I start to really, REALLY crave color. Like clockwork, every January I start scheming about decorating with yellow or orange or something bright just to liven things up a bit. It's been a little better this year because my kitchen is south-facing and everything is white and light blue, so it feels nice and light and airy. 

That being said, I still think more color this time of year is great. So, the kids and I made this fun food-dye color wheel the other day. It was a great little science and art project. (What could be more fun that mixing art and science?!!?)

It was such fun, and I couldn't believe how patient the kids were (ages 3 and 5), just staring at the colored water move slowly up the paper towels and mixing together. We learned about color-combining  and the color wheel. We also learned a bit about osmosis, diffusion, and siphons.

Here's what you need to make this fun color wheel:
6 clear cups
6 paper towels
red food dye
blue food dye 
yellow food dye

Here's what you do to make the color wheel: 
1) Fill 3 cups with water and mix in red food dye into one, blue food dye into the second and yellow food dye into the third. 
2) place the cups in a circle as shown above with an empty cup in between each of the 3 you already made with the primary colors in them. 
3) fold the paper towels into about 1-inch strips and place each end into adjacent cups. (I snipped off a bit of each paper towel to make them shorter.)
4) Watch as the dyed water seeps up the paper towels and combines into the empty cups to make the secondary colors of orange, green and purple.

After all the colors had mixed, we took them out of the circle shape and made rainbows and such with them. Fun little science project with the girls. Certainly added more color to our day!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Super Hero Masks - FREE Pattern

Do you have a little super hero at your house who just might need
a mask or two or three to hide his secret identity?

Well the heros at my house sure needed one!
So like usual, I dug through the pile of scrap fabric in my basement and came up with these
Super Hero Masks. You might just have the right stuff laying around to make your own!
A little felt and elastic and you're set!

Here's how to make your own...
I just cut out 2 of the shape I wanted for each mask. Cut some elastic. Sandwich the ends of the elastic beween the mask layers, one end on each side. Sew around the mask's outer edge and the eye holes. That's it!

Easy huh?!
Of cours you might need to make a few in case you little super hero's identity changes every so often.
I mean, batman in a green mask? Just doesn't work.
Or here's another idea, make the mask REVERSABLE!

Then your little hero can change from one super hero to the next in a FLASH!
(Or maybe hero to villian?)
And though this project is already affordable AND easy, I thought I'd make it just a little bit better by giving you the FREE super hero mask pattern!
There are 2 child-sized super hero masks and one baby size super hero mask.
(if you want to join in the fun you'll have to increase the size on the kids mask a bit, sorry all you super moms)

So here it is! Sew a couple of these up and have a super day!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Egg-free muffin recipe

Remember me mentioning the cruel irony of my-chickens-just-started-laying-eggs-but-now-I-can't-eat-them?

Well, it's kind of a drag. I happen to really like eggs. A lot. Few things are as yummy as an omelet.
And not only can I not eat omelets or fried eggs or poached eggs or boiled eggs or....
BUT I also can't enjoy waffles or pancakes or french toast or quiche or muffins or.... So, breakfast is pretty much a drag. 
I eat hot cereal. 
And sometimes I eat toast and fruit. But mostly hot cereal. (Which, btw, I have become a bit of an oatmeal connoisseur, and I must say a warm bowl of steel cut oats with fresh blueberries, brown sugar and slivered almonds is mighty fine). 

Anyway. Breakfast was getting rather boring, so I came up with this egg-less muffin recipe.

The first time I made them, I think I ate 6 or more (over the whole day period of course). They are scrumptious. Truly yummy. Admittedly, they don't have a fluffy muffin texture--they are a bit dense--but I truly didn't mind a bit. They are delicious and very versatile. 

I've toyed around with different versions of this egg-free muffin and really everything has been great. The recipe here is for lemon dried cranberry muffins but orange marmalade dried cranberry muffins are also good as is maple pecan muffins.

Without further ado, here is the recipe.

Egg-free muffins
makes 10 muffins
1 c. whole wheat flour
1 c. all-purpose flour
2 ½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
Dash of nutmeg
1/3 c. sugar
½ c. dried cranberries
2 Tbsp honey
2/3 c. almond milk (or rice, soy, cow…)
¼ c. coconut oil (or butter)
1 lemon, juiced and zested

  1. Preheat oven to 400. Lightly grease or use paper liners in 10 muffin cups.
  2. Sift together the dry ingredients in a bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix the honey with the milk, coconut oil, lemon juice and lemon zest. Combine with the dry ingredients.
  4. Spoon into prepared muffin cups. Bake for about 20 minutes until golden brown and firm.

Note: For a variation, omit the lemon juice and zest and use jam or orange marmalade instead of the honey. For still another variation, omit the lemon juice and zest, use maple syrup instead of the honey and add coarsely chopped pecans.

Click here to print the recipe.


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Drawstring Bag

It seems that after every Christmas or birthday there's always some organizing to be done. This year was no exception, and after a few weeks of toys scattered throughout the house, I went to work.
This drawstring bag was one of my solutions.

Its quick and easy to make AND easy for little ones to use.
Here's how to make your own...

You can make any size you want, but I'll just use a 12x12 bag as an example.

First cut your fabric. For a 12x12 bag, cut a piece 12.5 inches by 26 inches.
(to make other sizes: cut the width you want plus 1/2 inch by DOUBLE the length you want plus 2 inches.)

Fold your fabric in half (so its almost square). Make sure the right sides of fabric (the nice side you want to see when your done) are together. The folded edge will be the bottom. Sew down each side 1/4 inch from edge. Zig-zag stitch close to your seam. (This stops the fabric from fraying too much.) Leave the top open.

Fold the top of the bag over 1/4 inch and iron.

Now fold over 3/4 inch more and iron again.

Now unfold the last fold.

Sew one button hole on each side of one of the side seams. (Make sure your 1/4 inch fold stays folded and your button holes do not extend below the crease of your 3/4 inch fold.)

Refold your 3/4 inch fold and stitch close to edge all the way around. 
This creates a casing for your drawstring.

Lace your drawstring in one buttonhole, all the way around and out the other buttonhole.
(Your drawstring should be DOUBLE the width of the bag plus 4 inches. So the string for a 12 inch square bag would be 16 inches.)
Tie the ends of your drawstring together.

That's it! you're done!

Here's what we used our new bag for...

Now what will you put in yours?

If you like this bag, here are some others (with tutorials) you might like as well!

Basic Bag

here's where we link

Friday, February 15, 2013

President's Day food: Abraham Lincoln Cake

I made this fun Abraham Lincoln cake last year for my daugther's preschool class. As far as cakes go, it's pretty healthy (whole-wheat flour, low-fat, not a ton of sugar) and pretty yummy too. Plus, it was a big hit for their President's Day celebration!

Spiced Apple Cake

2 c. whole-wheat flour
4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
 6 oz. chopped dates
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. applesauce, apple butter, or pear butter 
1/2 c. apple juice
2 eggs
6 Tbsp. oil
2 apples, cored & grated
1 Tbsp. chopped walnuts

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease and flour an 8-inch round cake pan.
2. Combine together the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Then mix in the dates and make a well in the center.
3. Mix the sugar and applesauce together in a bowl. Gradually stir in the apple juice. Add to the dry ingredients with the eggs, oil and grated apples. Mix thoroughly.
4. Spoon the mixture into the prepared cake pan, bake for 60-65 minutes or until done. Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool.
5. To add the outline of Abe Lincoln (or whatever you want), download a silhouette from the internet, cut it out, lay it on your cake and sprinkle powdered sugar all around it. The remove your stencil and voila, you have a cake. :)

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Valentine's Day Photo Cards

Happy Valentine's Day!

Last year Emily made these photo Valentines of her kids, and I thought they were the cutest thing since baby bunnies, sooooooo I made some myself this year of my 3 cute girls. All pretty in pink. Love it. :)

This little one, luckily, isn't mobile. The trick with her was just getting her to stay looking at me and smiling once I put the camera up to take her photo. Took a few tries, but we got it. Photos taken to achieve this one: 42.

Now this lovely little almost-3-year-old was a bit of a challenge (and that's being generous). Getting her to hold still, look at me, and giving a good smile was TRICKY. I coaxed, bribed, got irritated, sang songs, etc. I think in this actual picture we are singing a song. Photos taken to achieve this one: 129. Thank goodness for digital cameras. 

Now, my 5 1/2 year old was a real charmer. She has obviously matured as of late and been through school photos. Photos taken to achieve this one: 2! :) 

It's the perfect way to capture the memory of them--both how they look and what they are into.  What grandparent wouldn't like that?

Like Emily, I took their photos on a white sheet in front of a window then did some editing. I went through  little different process to edit though: I used the paint tool on about 15% opacity with white and just did layer after layer of translucent white "paint" from the far left corner to make a nice area for writing the words and a gradual transition into the photo.

Then for the words, I used variations of century gothic--regular, condensed, bold, medium weight, lighter color, bigger, smaller, etc.

And, of course we used the their felt Valentines hair clips, which turned out great with their outfits.

Hope you have a great Valentine's day! I know we have all sorts of things planned, mostly heart-shaped everything: pancakes, sandwiches, eggs, etc. :) Should be a great day with these 3 lovely girls.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Felt Hair Clips: Valentine's Hearts

It was time for some new hair clips at our house! 
And what could be cuter than some girly Valentine's pinks and reds?

I made several varieties (as you can see) by layering hearts and buttons. Honestly, I think I got a little carried away. I worked on it over a few days--once or twice a day when I had a minute I'd cut out some hearts and search through the button tin. Then, before I knew it, I had more hair bows then my girls need that's for sure.

Oh well, they're pretty cute. I think the pink one on the center bottom is my favorite, and it just so happens to match like a million of my girls' outfits.  The layered on the center top is my 5-year-old's favorite, while the "band-aid" ones are my 3-year-old's favorites. I must say, it never crossed my mind that they looked like band aids until she said that. :) Oh the mind of a little child. :)

I cut out the hearts, layered them, stacked them, put buttons on them and then decided to use some embroidery floss to add cute stitch marks on them. That little embellishment did the trick--now they look "finished" and cute as can be.

The girls were ready to wear them the very next day too. Even baby girl got to don one on her headband. :)

All decked out and ready for Valentine's!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Classroom Valentine's: Paint card bookmarks

 Don't you have fond memories of Valentine's day in elementary school? All those cute little "mailboxes" you got to make, the cards for your classmates. It's kind of fun now that my oldest is in school and we get to do fun stuff like that. It's extra fun because she is such a little crafter! :) This was what we decided to make for her classmates: Valentine's day bookmarks.

We made red ones for the boys and pink ones for the girls.  
And we think they turned out really cute--she's pretty excited to pass these out at her party.

And seriously, she just loves to craft. She wanted to make these between throwing up today. It was late afternoon and our day had kind of been a bust due to a stomach bug, but when I asked her what she felt like doing she just said, "I feel like making something fun--some kind of crafty thing." 

So craft we did. :)
Luckily we had already decided on this and had acquired the paint cards already. (I felt a little bad just taking that many from the store, but wasn't sure how else to acquire them?)

What was your favorite part of your childhood Valentine's day parties? 


Monday, February 4, 2013

Valentine's day craft: stick puzzles

My kids and I enjoyed this fun Valentine's day craft the other day--puzzles made out of Popsicle sticks.

It really was a fun craft to do with them--nothing like getting messy painting. We pretty much have a standard routine of painting followed directly by a bath. :)

And amazingly enough, I had all the supplies on hand to make this with them. 
It was as easy as 1, 2, 3: 

1) First, we painted some popcycle sticks and let them dry. 
2) Then, we painted Valentine's Day patterns on them. 
3) Finally, we played with our puzzles. :) 
They were a bit too tricky for my almost 3-year-old but fun and age-appropriate for my 5 1/2-year-old.

They wanted to make more, More, MORE, but alas, we were out of sticks. I think I may get some more though come our next holiday. :)

Friday, February 1, 2013

Heart Hand-Warmers

Want to warm someone's heart AND hands this Valentine's Day?

Try these cute little hand-warmers. 
Just pop them in the microwave for 30 seconds 
and put them in your coat pocket as you head out the door.
They'll keep little fingers nice and toasty warm.
(Not to mention they're just plain cute.)

They're so quick and easy to make.
You just need some fleece and rice, then
just cut, sew, stuff, and close.

Then make a few more.

And give them to someone you love.

linking here