Friday, September 30, 2011

Halloween Yarn Wreath

Remember the 2X4 Wooden Pumpkins that I will be teaching for Super Saturday? During Super Saturday they are also making yarn wreaths. Since I am teaching a class and probably won't have time to make many of the other crafts, I decided to make myself one in the meantime.

I got this idea from our ward's Super Saturday blog. We are in full swing in the Porter house with all of the Halloween decorations. Ben and the kids put up the graveyard last Saturday. I'll post some more pictures of his tombstones soon. He's made a few more this past year.

Alrighty, he's my first yarn wreath-and I love it!

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I wrapped duct tape around the wreath and it was perfect since I was using gray yarn. The longest part was wrapping the yarn around the wreath. I rolled my yarn into a ball first to make it easier.

For the middle, I found clipart online and cut each piece out. Then, I used them as a tracer to cut them out of the felt.

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For all the supplies, it cost me around $7. Pretty good. When I got back home, guess what I found in the mail? Oodles of coupons from Joann's. Oh well, I know I will be back there soon!

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Can't wait to make another one!


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Toy Story 3 Alien Cake Pops-Tutorial

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My husband's only request for his birthday were cake pops. I decided since he works at Pixar, I had to come up with a Pixar themed cake pop. I decided to do some aliens since they looked the easiest and I could possibly be somewhat successful.



These are the materials that you need:
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1. Cake mix/Tub of frosting- I usually buy the one that is on sale.
2. Candy Melts-I got mine at Joanns.
3. Sucker sticks- Also, bought at Joanns.
4. Chocolate covered sunflower seeds-Joanns again:)

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5. Sour Sticks-Got them at the 99 cents store. Could also use the candy straws. I debated between the two but ended up with these because of color.
6. Cake Pop holder
7.Royal Icing for the eyes
8. Edible black ink pen

Once you have all the materials you are ready to go! I did these cake pops in one week by splitting up the steps by day. I don't like getting stressed out and when you have four kids, you never know how much time you will have to yourself to work on projects. Here is how I split it up:

Monday-Made the spaceship cake pop holder
Tuesday-Made the royal icing into eyes and let set in the refridgerator.
Wednesday-Made the cake. Let it cool , covered and set in fridge overnight.
Thursday- Crumbled the cake and made into cake balls. Put in fridge to cool. Dipped and decorated the rest.
Friday-Ben's Birthday! Delivered to Pixar.

Okay. . . let's break it down even more.

1. Bake the cake. Let it cool. I covered it and put it in the fridge overnight. You don't have to cool it that long.

2. Cut the cake into fourths. Crumble each section into large mixing bowl. Add 3/4th of the tub of frosting.
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3. Roll the cake into balls. I used an icecream scooper to make the balls more unified in size. It also proportioned everything out really well. I got about 44 cake balls. Put them on a piece of wax paper and into the fridge to cool.

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4. Now put the candy melts into a microwave safe bowl. I warm it up by increments of 30 seconds. Take it out after each time and stir.
*I have learned from past disasters that if you melt a spoonful or so of shortening, it makes the chocolate a thinner consistency which helps with clumping, gives a smoother look, and your cake ball is more likely to stay on the stick.

5. Take the cake balls out one at a time, keeping the others cool. Place on stick and dip into chocolate.

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*I had several cake balls fall off the stick and I think it was because the cake ball itself wasn't more solid.

6. The eyes I put on next. Here is how I made them:

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I made royal icing with 4 egg whites, 4 cups of powdered sugar and 1 tsp. of vanilla. I whipped the egg whites first and add the other two ingredients. I then used a ziplock bag and put some of the icing in the bag (which is very drippy). I cut a small hole in the corner and lined a pan with wax paper.

Drop icing onto the pan. After I made the white part of the eyes, I had some black gel that I dabbed into the middle. This was an experiment and worked out pretty well.

After days of setting, they were hardened (not as hard as I thought they would be). I gently took them off the wax paper and with the melted chocolate and a toothpick as my applicator, I used the chocolate as glue for the eyes.

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7. Next are the ears. I used chocolate covered sunflower seeds. I picked out the green ones and used the melted chocolate for glue again (by the way, I nuked the chocolate a couple times when I noticed it getting harder, didn't affect the chocolate)

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8. For the top of the head I used the sour sticks. I actually cut them in half because I thought they were too thick. Then I glued them with the melted chocolate and placed them on the top.

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9. Making the mouth was the trickiest part. I rush ordered a black edible pen I found on Amazon. I got two for about 8.00.

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**NOTE! These were horrible on the waxy chocolate surface. I could barely write with them. Since I was running out of time, I went online to see what other people had to say and they felt the same way. These pens do not write well on the candy melts surface.

"What did I do?" you ask?

I feel so brilliant when I chopped that pen apart and took out the ink tube in the middle. I squeezed the ink into a bowl and used a fine tip paint brush to paint on the mouths!

It turned out very easy to do and worked well.

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10. The cake pop holder was fun to make as well. Remember this exterior installation?

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Ben used it to make his tombstones out of and had some extra. I glued two pieces together and sculpted a dome for the space ship using a chisel. My oldest came up with the idea of using a clear bowl for the top. I put an alien inside the bowl to make it look like it was driving.

I used my cordless drill to drill holes in the foam.

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I was so happy when everything turned out because many times they don't. I'm glad that I had something to show in the end.

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Ben loved them and shared them with his team. They were impressed with the aliens that I think I have won the, "Most Awesome Pixar Wife" award!

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Well, that's what Ben says anyways!



Tuesday, September 13, 2011

It all begins with your name. . .

Who is the one person that kids think of the most?

Themselves.

It's all about them and why not take advantage of this time in their lives? Use their "All about Me" stage to teach them how to read and write.

Let's start where it all begins. . .

with their name!

Xander just started kindergarten and is loving every second of it. One day he came home wanting to spell him name everywhere. I took that excitement and got out anything I could grab so he could practice making his name.

Your kids can practice with pretty much anything. All you need is a creative mind to get you there.

Beans, Beans, Beans!

What about using some dried beans? Use them to make your child's name and work on patterning at the same time!
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Dominoes

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Blocks

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Playdoe

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Popsicle Sticks

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Some other favorite ideas are:
#1 Use shaving cream to write your name in. Spread it on your table and let the kids go wild with writing!
#2Pipe Cleaner is fun to manipulate into letters.
#3 Your bodies! If you have a classroom of kids, have them use teamwork to make words.
#4 Magnetic letters are a "must have" in your home.
#5 Any kind of dried food like beans and popcorn kernels.
#6 Paper clips. You can link them together and make letters.
#7 Toy cars. Line them up into letters and park them as you make your name.

When your child is done making their name, why not read a book about names?

These two are my favorite. . .

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After your child has mastered his or her name, guess what is next? Move onto names of people in your family.

Your child will find success in these activities and that success will fuel them as they continue to practice and learn in the classroom.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Fall Photo Session Offer

I am so grateful for all of my friends and their friends who have chosen me to capture their special moments this year. I have been blessed to have at least one session each month so far this year- a new record for me!

This has been a huge confidence booster for me and I just wanted to thank everyone.

So. . .

THANK YOU.

THANK YOU.

THANK YOU.

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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

2X4 Pumpkin Stack

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My friend is organizing a Super Saturday and asked me to do this pumpkin project. It's a pretty simple and cheap project to do.

You can go to Under my Umbrella for the tutorial.

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Here is what you need:
2x4
Berries
Yarn
Scrapbook paper
Mod Podge

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Easy and fun.