Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Falling Leaves Card

With Fall well underway, we decided to do a fun little card project to celebrate the season.

 This card project will probably be best with children 4 and up. It involves a bit of cutting, but mommy can always help out with that. The only thing Elijah (3) was not able to do was cut out, write, and tie the yarn. But he was able to Do A Dot the paper and stamp and glitter the acorn.

So, let's get started!

Here's what you'll need:

white paper
card stock to make a card, or ready made card
acorn (or other fallish) stamp
Do A Dots, markers, crayons...
yarn or decorative trim

Some of the supplies didn't make it to the picture. Ha!

 First, Do A Dot, or color, all over the piece of plain white paper.

Encourage your children to put colors over turns out really neat! When the paper has been sufficiently colored in, cut out little leaf shapes from it.

We traced leaf shapes onto the paper and cut them out.

 We added in the little leaf vein after they were all cut out.

Next, we stamped and glittered an acorn shape onto the front of our card. I had the children do that first and then fill in the rest of the space with their leaves. We painted glue over the stamp, stamped it down, and then glittered over it.

After that we glued the leaves onto the card. I told the children to arrange them on the card to look like they were falling off a tree.

Card with the glitter acorn and leaves.

 As we made these cards, we talked about why leaves change color and fall off the trees at this time of year. THIS is a good site explains why this happens. Basically, there is not enough sunlight during the winter to keep up photosynthesis, so the chlorophyll stops being produced. Then, when the green chlorophyll goes away, the red, orange, and brown pigments that are in the leaf all along are able to be seen.

After we glued our leaves on we made a little tag for the outside of the card. We chose it to say "Happy Fall" but yours could say "Happy Thanksgiving" or a sweet cheesy saying, "Happy Fall Ya'll".  :)

We cut around our tags with fancy scissors. Then, we glued them in place. We also put a little bit of brown ink around the edges of the tag. It kind of gives it a little vintage look. Just slide the edge of the paper across an ink pad on all sides. Very easy, and it gives your card a finished look.

Now, all that is left is adding on your little bit of trim. We chose some thin yarn and tied it around the top of the front flap of the card.

Voila! A sweet little falling leaves card perfect for sending to a special friend to brighten their day.

Silly faces:)

We have some fun things planned to share with you in a couple of weeks; some kids Christmas crafts and Christmas cookie recipes, and some more stocking stuffer ideas. Oh, and a fun little Thanksgiving/Christmas garland! Come back soon!! Blessings:)

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Easy Guacamole ~ A La Emma


Guacamole is something I like to make. Here is the recipe!!

1 or 2  avocados
 1 clove of garlic
1 T olive oil 
juice from half a lemon or lime  
salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients until most clumps are gone.

 Serve with tortilla chips if you want. We had ours with white chicken enchiladas!

We have been sharing lots of recipes with you all lately. We'll be back next week with a fun Fall card craft! Have a great weekend!

Caramel Apple Popcorn

This recipe idea came about completely by mistake...but I'm so thankful it did!

We got the October issue of Martha Stewart Living and on the cover is a caramel apple and a little cone of caramel corn. There is a little caption that says something about livening up caramel apples and caramel corn. Well, when I read it I thought it was a recipe for Caramel Apple Popcorn. My first reaction was, "YES! Why have I never thought of that?!?!" Then I exclaimed to the kids that we needed to make this popcorn, which, of course, was met with gleeful shouts of  "Yes please!" "I love popcorn!" etc.

I turned to the page indicated on the cover to turn to, and all it said was, paraphrased, "Add some cashews and a drizzle of white chocolate to liven up your caramel corn and put a dash of sea salt around your caramel apples....". I decided to go back and re-read the cover, and realized I had been quite mistaken.

Emma was convinced that we had a good idea, so we went with it. And we're sharing it with you!

Caramel Apple Popcorn

15 Cups popped corn ( 9 T kernels )
1 C brown sugar
1 stick of butter
1/4 C honey or pure maple syrup
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 C chopped dried apples
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. baking soda

Heat oven to 200*. Place popcorn into a roasting pan. In a sauce pan, over medium, heat sugar, butter, honey or maple syrup, salt, apples, and cinnamon; stirring occasionally, until bubbly around edges.  Continue cooking over medium heat for 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in the baking soda until foamy. Pour over popcorn and stir until evenly coated. Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.

We just used these apple rings from Trader Joe's.

And actually, we made two batches, one with cinnamon and one without. Hands down, the cinnamon is the favorite! But, it's still really good without it. The apple is a nice little addition to the caramel corn. Next time I may try using fresh apples, I'm curious how it would turn out.

Stirring, stirring, stirring.

When we made it, we sprinkled the apples over the popcorn after we put the sauce on. This proved a little tricky trying to get the apples evenly distributed. So, I think putting the apples into the sauce would work a lot better.

Ready for the oven.

It was so much fun creating this recipe with my daughter. The whole family loves this popcorn!!


Friday, October 19, 2012

A quick post about pumpkin seeds

I had a couple of requests to do a post about roasting pumpkin seeds. So, here you go!

After rinsing and cleaning the pumpkin seeds, place them into a bowl and cover them with water. Add 1 teaspoon of salt. Cover and let sit overnight on the counter. Soaking the seeds makes them a little easier to digest. 

After soaking, rinse and dry the seeds.

Heat your oven to 300*.

Place the dried seeds onto a baking sheet. Pour about 1-2 T of olive oil over them. Sprinkle on some salt and pepper. We also added about 1/2 tsp of cajun seasoning. It added a nice little kick to the seeds. In the past we've used garlic powder and italian seasoning.

Stir around the seeds to coat them all thoroughly in the oil and seasonings. Now, they are ready for the oven!

Place the seeds in the oven and set the timer for 20 minutes. When the time is up, stir the seeds around the pan and place back in the oven for 20 minutes more. After this time is up, remove from oven and taste one to see if it is done. It should be slightly crunchy. If it's not exactly to your liking, replace in the oven for another 5 minutes or so. Then remove and let cool.

There you have it! Tasty roasted pumpkin seeds! Enjoy!!

Oatmeal Pumpkin Pancakes

What's better than the smell of spices and pumpkin first thing in the morning? Not much, I assure you!

We were in the mood for pumpkin pancakes, but something a little different than we usually have. So, we took a recipe for Oatmeal Banana Pancakes, and switched it around to accommodate our yummy pureed pumpkin that was hanging out in the fridge. After some tweaking, we came up with the perfect recipe!

 3/4 C oats
1 1/2 C flour
1/2 C brown sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
pinch of salt
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
dash of allspice (my pumpkin pie spice didn't have this in there, so we added it.)
1/2 C kefir or sour cream
3/4 C milk
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 C oil
1/2 C pumpkin puree

Combine all of the dry ingredients into a large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine all of the wet ingredients. After thoroughly combined, add to the dry ingredients. Mix just until combined. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Melt frying fat of choice (butter, coconut oil, olive oil, etc.). Cook up pancakes.

I used to really dread making pancakes, because by the time I got to sit down and eat, everyone else would be finished. Pancakes are delicious, but, let's face it, they're a little time consuming. The kids would be done and washing up and I would still be flipping in the kitchen. So, now, I heat the oven to 170* and as each batch of cakes are finished, I put them on a big platter and stick them into the oven to keep warm. This way, we can all sit down and have breakfast together...and the pancakes are still warm and delicious!

Emma loves measuring the baking powder
Wet ingredients together
Emma re-reading the recipe to make sure it's correct
Cooking up the tasty cakes!

Our platter full of goodness.
 Pumpkin pancakes are one of our favorite breakfasts in the fall. We can't get enough!

If you don't have kefir, that's fine. Sour cream works just as well! And, if you want to learn about kefir, THIS site will tell you everything you would ever want to know! Basically, kefir is a super probiotic, and is insanely good for you!
I'm pretty sure Sophia is saying "Mmmm" as she eats.
Chunky cheeks!


To top it all off, we poured some melted butter and pure maple syrup over the top. It is SO much better than just spreading butter on top and then pouring the syrup over the pancakes. There is an almost caramel quality to the butter and syrup once it's melted together that is just divine!!! And, it's easier than buttering and syrupping every pancake.

Melted butter and syrup goodness.

Let me know what you think if you decide to try this recipe!! It's a favorite around here, to be sure!!


Monday, October 15, 2012

A Knight's Tale

Something fun happened this week. Elijah turned three!!!

We had a fun day playing, eating his favorite foods, and celebrating his sweet life! He even got to go to the pet store with daddy and found the special stuffed bird at Trader Joe's!

The weekend after his birthday we celebrated again with our family. We decided to have a little knight themed party. Elijah received some fun Imaginext Knight and Castle toys for his birthday, so we just kept running with that theme:) And Elijah loved it!

For party favors, the children and I made shields for the boys and tiaras for the girls. We sure had fun making special little favors with their cousins in mind. So here are two easy ideas for you.  Instead of doing one huge post with two tutorials, I will just post the links to the separate projects.

Pipe Cleaner Tiaras
Cardboard Shields

 Arm yourself! Swords at the ready! Shields up! There are dragons about.......

Baby dragons can be just as fearsome as grown dragons. Beware! :)

We had fun with this knight and dragon theme. The boys turned incredibly valiant right when those shields entered their hands. And the girls turned into fair maidens just as soon as their tiaras touched their heads. Imagination is so fun! :)

We played 'Capture the Dragon', which was bowling with water bottles. This was a great game for all of the kids to play, even our second to littlest cousin was able to play. She is 20 months old. And she knocked down every bottle. And it was adorable!

I found a clip art of a dragon on the internet. For the sign I printed it out in regular size and glued it onto a piece of cardboard. For the bowling pins, I printed them out as wallet size and taped them onto each bottle. I filled the bottles with a small amount of water so it wouldn't be so easy to tip over. Then, we set them up on the grass, grabbed a few balls, and went bowling!

Birthday boy attacking those dragons!


Go Emma!

Good job Austin!

Sophia loved it! However, she wants to train the dragons and keep them as pets :)

Here's Ella, knocking all those dragons down!

Nice form!
Happy birthday Elijah! You fill our lives with excitement and sweetness and we thank God everyday for giving you to us!
He got outfitted in cowboy gear from Grandpa and Grandma:)

Pipe cleaner tiaras

Emma and Sophia sporting their pipe cleaner tiaras. Edward with his shield.

My lovely little princesses love these tiaras! They make up quick and are the perfect accessory to wear to a special knight's birthday party!

What you will need:

assorted ribbon
craft pearls
small wired flowers

First, join two pipe cleaners together to form a circle. Twist the ends together.
Next, take your pearls and wrap them around your pipe cleaner circle. Leave a little tail on both ends. Untwist one side of the pipe cleaner and twist it around the pearls, so they stay in place.

Emma adding her pearls.

Sophia adding her pearls.

Tiaras with the pearls added.

Choose and cut your ribbon. I used about 12 inches. Tie it in a bow at the back of the tiara, allowing the tails to fall down with the pearls.
We are almost finished. Choose your wired flowers and twist them on to the pipe cleaner. You can twist a bouquet of them to the back near the bow, or in the front, or all around.

Emma's tiara. She chose to put the flowers in the front.
Sophia's tiara. She wanted her flowers in the back.

All of the princesses at the party enjoyed wearing their tiaras. They were fun favors, and got them using their imaginations!

Head on over HERE to see the rest of the fun at Elijah's Knight Party!