Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Edible Wednesday: Cheater Cheesecake Bites

Get the milk out folks....get the napkins, and set the stop watch. You....yes you....can eat cheater cheesecake in less than 30 seconds! OK - so there might be a minute or two of prep time...but doesn't that beat the hour or two to make real cheesecake? This might be the one time anyone ever tells you it's ok to be a cheater! I'm a cheater cheesecake eater - and proud of it!
You need 3 ingredients! Only 3! No pan, no oven, no bowl or mixing spoon. I'm telling you - this is downright sinful and downright simple! Get a butter knife and a can opener for the pie filling.

Ok - so get some vaNilla Wafers, Cream Cheese & Cherry Pie Filling. (I guess you can do Strawberry Pie filling if you really wanted to - but I LOVE Cherries!)

Follow the steps in this image...
My husband was over my shoulder like a hawk while I was taking the photos, and when he finally popped one in his mouth he actually grinned. I thought I had made these before for him, but he smiled and said "Nope!" - not in all the 15 years we've been together? "Nope!". I guess that means everytime I made them - I ate them all too! But he sure was happy I made them for him now!
See how nice and bite size they are? Ok - maybe not so prim and proper to do that - but no one is watching! Go ahead! These would be *awesome* for party food, appetizers (I laugh as I type that!), etc. If you love 'em - tell me! If you don't love 'em - don't tell me! I might cry! -kg

Monday, March 29, 2010

Busy Monday: Upcycling Cards & Photos

I have had this stack of thank you cards, birthday cards, Christmas cards, engagement photos, family photos, etc, growing for YEARS now! Many years ago when it wasn't so huge - I knew I wanted to do "something" really cool with them...but didn't know exactly what that cool something was yet.
To be honest - I'm still not so sure. But I have a pretty good idea where I want to take it - so the fire has been lit. This could still take me a long time to complete - but I thought I'd document the process here!
Here's some of the ideas I had/have...
1 - I thought it could make a really nice garland. But then I thought - it will hang around for a while, get dusty, probably wrinkled and desheveled, and then taken down and discarded at worst.
2 - Then I thought I could just throw it into an open top frame (I saw one years ago in a PB catalog)...and let them all collect in there as we go along in life - that could still be really cool, but I can't find the open top frame.
3 - I thought - I could very easily use them for gift tags - (in a bigger circle)...or notes to my girls in their lunch - but then I'd lose them all - slowly but surely!
4 - Then I thought I can do a huge collage of Jesus - since all my friends and family that cared enough to send these awesome cards and photos - would in essence - remind me of Him. But I worry I won't do a facial collage enough justice - esp with it being Jesus! (still worth a try - so the idea is not lost).
5 - Then I thought I could do a random pattern design with all of them - maybe even a little impressionist style - capturing the feel of Starry Night.
So that's where I'm at. For all of you wanting to do something similar...here's what I used. A 1 1/2" scalloped edge punch since I didn't want just a plain circle (you can get them in any craft store in the scrapbooking isle). I am fuss punching the cards and photos - but using as much of the extra as I can (fussy cutting in sewing terms - is cutting the fabric for a quilt or pattern so you get a specific image on each piece of fabric - rather than just cutting and getting whatever you get). The trick is to make sure you use the punch upside down - so you can see what you are punching out.

There will be more to post about this in the future - but for now - I still need to make a dent in this box! and I am very determined! If you've done this already - I'd love to know.  -kg

Friday, March 26, 2010

Giddy Up Friday: More than 1 Way to Say "Good Job"

Today my daughter painted a picture. (She does that a lot! - Both do!). Sometimes she takes her time and sometimes she likes to experiment. All I could think to say to her was "good job"......boring!!! (The Dalmatian painting was hers from last year...love this one!)

That response got me thinking...I decided that for the rest of the weekend - I'm going to find more way than 1 way to tell my girls "good job"....Here's a few - and let's see if we can come up with more! 240 more to be exact!

So here's some of mine to start...(I'll have to go add these in there....)
1. Awesome!
2. That's the best!
3. Terrific!
4. Fantabulous!
5. That is out of this world!
6. So Cool!
7. Keep up the good work!
8. Wonderful!
9. Way to improve!
10. I knew you could do it!

So here's your chance to add to the list. Please keep the words kind and loving - no profanity - after all, this is all about being positive to those around us - esp our children! I set a goal of 250 more positive ways to say "Good Job". Pleas3 share this link with others. No words should be repeated - for the sake of coming up with the longest list without repeats! When it's all said and done - I will transfer the list to a PDF to share! We have until April 25th (1 month) to try this! Thanks everyone!
-kg

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Edible Wednesday: Cat Cupcakes

Good Morning on this rainy day...These Cat Cupcakes have been on my mind lately because my daughter's 7th birthday is coming up soon. I can't for the life of me - remember why I made them almost 3 years ago, but I did - and I later submitted them to Family Fun magazine for a contest. I didn't win - because it was for cakes - and this is a cupcake...Where was the love for the little cakes back then? Really people!!

For all you cat lovers and cupcake lovers out there...here you go....

You'll need - Cupcakes - yum!
3 Nonpareils per cupcake
6 - 1 1/2" pieces of Twisted Twizzlers (not as good as the real stuff - but works well here!)
2 Yellow M & M's (Yellow - are more believable - but Blue and Brown might work just as well!)
Regular Frosting (Frosting tip and bag for the nose and mouth - or a can)

Chocolate Frosting (The tube you throw in the microwave and melt the chocolate - for the eyes)

Step 1: First make the eyes - so the chocolate hardens. And then break some of the Nonpareils for the ears. I found it easier to score the back of them, which breaks them nice & easy! Then cut up the twizzlers for the whiskers with kitchen shears.

Step 2: Frost the cupcakes

Step 3: Place the whiskers and then the Nonpareils towards the lower half of the cupcake.

Step 4: Place the eyes, and poke in the ears.

Step 5: Finish with the Pink frosting to make the nose and mouth shape. (My daughter's helped with this part!)

Step 6: Enjoy!

Have a great Wednesday! Meow! -kg

Monday, March 22, 2010

Busy Monday: KG Photos

Last week before I got sick I was at one of my daughter's school's taking pictures during class time. I can't share pictures of the kids - but I did take a few pictures of some of the "works" in the classroom. It's just too much fun - I wish I went to school here when I was little! It's a Montessori curriculum and it's awesome!!!
 Here's just a few  pictures I snapped of the "Colour Tablets". I'll be sharing more photos once in a while on Mondays!I love to capture the world around me - and the world my children see on a regular basis.
Enjoy your busy Monday! See you tomorrow. -kg

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Edible Wednesday: Fluffernutter Balls

Ever since I made my first fluffernutter ball in the second grade at GSS in Texas...with Mrs. R.B. - I have thought about them, remembered them, and have wanted to make them again.

I don't remember her smearing anything in my hands - but I remember rolling the mess together and forming a ball. I'm not even sure I remember eating them!? I think the freedom of this mixing sticky yummy stuff - was most of what stuck with me all these years (no pun intended!).
So we picked up some fluff at the grocery store the last time we were in there...and more peanut butter. While waiting for dinner to be ready, I decided to let the girls make some fluffernutter balls and have all the fun so I could take pictures! (You can mix them in a bowl....but kids will love this tactile experience!)
They thought the peanut butter felt different than the fluff and squealed with each one I put on their hands...and giggled often! As they began smooshing it, it took no time at all for them to begin forming a ball and peeling it off their hands. This isn't a totally clean activity - but it can be contained easily!
So get some fluff, peanut butter (or sunbutter or something else if you have nut allergies)...use equal amounts, and start mixing. After you've mixed it - you can roll the ball in crushed oreo's, coconut, melted chocolate or anything else you want for some simple truffles. Enjoy your edible wednesday! -kg

Monday, March 15, 2010

Busy Monday: Cupcakes and Eye Candy, want some?

Here you go!

A few weeks ago I was down in Delaware visiting family. At the same time, a friend of mine was also down there visiting her family and decided she had to introduce my girls and I to this really cute cupcake shop called Sas (aka Sweet and Sassy) Cupcakes. Because I always take my camera with me whereever I go, I took some yummy pictures inside to share with you! One of the cupcakes (the mint chocolate chip) was devoured before I could get a picture of it. It looked really yummy - but my daughter didn't save me a bite! My chocoholic one ("Decadent Triple chocolate cupcake filled and topped with dark chocolate ganache") kept me quite busy! My other daughter got the one below...Chocolate topped with Cookies 'n' Cream!

The store was so pretty and colorful. What photographer wouldn't want to snap some picture of these huge canisters of color...sugar....sprinkles....so delicious! Enjoy and please no drooling!

For more info about SAS click their link I posted above...go visit them - grab a cupcake, or candy, or a feathered birthday hat...and don't forget the milk! (and no - they didn't pay me to take these pics and post them...I just did it on my own and I didn't receive a free cupcake for it either...I paid for them all....and of course the milk too!) -kg

Friday, March 12, 2010

Giddy Up Friday: Trapping Leprechauns


So last year, my oldest daughter came home from Kindergarten on St. Patty's day and said,
http://familyfun.go.com/assets/cms/crafts/catch-a-leprechaun-st-patricks-day-craft-photo-420-FF0309LEPRA03.jpg"Mommy, mommy, guess what - one of my friends caught a leprechaun last night!"
"Really? How did she do that?", I replied.
"She made a leprechaun trap!"
(oh - of course - why didn't I think of that?)
"Next year, mommy, can we trap a Leprecahun?"
With my oh so famous response...."We'll see honey"! And off she went as the dreaming set in!
So this year I had to discover how to make a Leprechaun Trap, so we can make one of our own this weekend, because the whole point of making a Leprechaun Trap is to catch the wee little Leprechauns so they will have tell you where their gold is. If they are captured, they must hand over their gold, but those mischievous leprechauns don't always tell you the truth!

Here are a couple of websites I've found that have some ideas and lists of items for your traps.
Suite 101
The most basic Box Lid Trap 
http://www.carolineoncrack.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/03/luckycharms.jpgFamilyCrafts.About
GeekDad Traps

Here's a couple of great books to read while making, setting up and waiting for that little wee one to trap!
The Leprechaun Trap
The Night Before St. Patrick's Day
Highlights Kids Online Story

And here's some yummy treats to whip up and then eat, while making, setting up and waiting for that little wee one to trap!
Martha Stewart Cupcakes
Green Velvet Cupcakes (my mouth is watering)
Jello Lover's Beware! 
And of course don't forget the box of Lucky Charms!

And now I go to rest - and make plans for our trap building this weekend. If you make one too - post it on the Kid Giddy facebook fan page! Have a great weekend! And good luck trapping a leprechaun! -kg

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Edible Wednesday: Adventures in Making Butter

The adventures of butter making only started last year. I thought it would be so much fun to make it - since it's so easy! As we shook it - I ended up writing a song about it during February Album Writing Month last year. This awesome artist Jacob Morales ended up demoing the lyrics and the song is awesome! Because it was so easy - and so much fun - I knew I had to share the joy of making butter!

Here's what you'll need:
Heavy Cream
Small Clean jar
Pinch of salt
1/4 - 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
Any other ingredients - Honey, Chives, etc

The first ten minutes:
I'm shaking as much as I can. I can hear it sloshing back and forth. A few minutes done and it's getting thicker. It's hard to shake since my arm is tired. My daughter is taking turns with me - but sets it down. I'm shaking and typing at the same time and feeling spastic!!! (I corrected all my typos). I think it it's coated so thick against the wall of the glass that it doesn't feel like I'm shaking anything anymore. When the timer goes off - I open it up to find foam - thick, peaked, rich creamy foam! It looks so pretty!

Here goes the next 10 minutes:
My daughter is rolling it on the floor back and forth - wondering why it's not rolling straight and is complaining that the butter is "not listening to her"...she is frustrated that the floor is too slippery (it's a rug). She feels like she's making pizza. (She's funny!). I am shaking it continually and wondering if this is harder than an hour of karate! I'm pretty sure it is. But it will be yummier than karate at the end! I keep shaking even though it doesn't feel like it's doing any good! I feel like I'm shaking a small 5lb dumbbell - ok - maybe an 8lb! It's getting heavier. I look to the outside of the glass and find hope that this 10 minutes is almost over. The butter is forming and is pulling away from the glass and gathering together for a party! I walk to the kitchen to find the timer has only 4....3....seconds left. Yeah!But it looks a little chunky nasty...but - that's ok - I'm not done yet....Before starting the last 10 minutes, I pour out the liquid that has formed.

The last 10 minutes:
I stand next to the sink so I can dump out the liquids that are being separated every minute. The more often you discard the liquids the better off your butter will be. If you don't - it will begin to re-mix back into itself. It will also last longer the more you get out. At the 5 minute mark, we took another picture (I took one and so did my daughter)...and then we added a little pinch of salt and about 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon (use more to make it stronger!). The salt will make it last longer (about 2-3 weeks), the cinnamon will just make it taste *awesome* (that's me singing!). You really have to shake it until you feel there's no more liquid left in there!

I have now put it in the fridge to rest and harden. It looks like crystalized soft serve ice cream! It's pretty warm for March here in Maine, so it will help to firm it up. In a couple hours I will check on it again and shake it a few more times to get more liquid out.There's no shaking now - this is rock solid. We got most of the juices out - and the only bit of liquid I see is when I'm pushing it into the heart cookie cutter to take the picture! My daughter takes a couple pics too! She's so good to me - so helpful and cute!!

As I mentioned - we've only made this one other time. I didn't look at instructions or a recipe - we just did our own thing and tried it out. It's really fun for kids. You can do it by sitting in a circle - criss cross apple sauce style and play hot potato or something...or Pat, Pat, Butter....(like Duck, Duck, Goose). Have fun with it, make your own recipe (honey butter, or chive butter - yum!!!) Let me know what you try - leave it in the comments below so others can try it too! Feel free to add some food coloring on special occasions - make it fun! Thanks as always for reading...kg

Monday, March 8, 2010

Busy Monday: Leprechaun Pajamas

A long time ago my sister gave me this little pouch filled with m & m's and said they were "Santa's Pajamas"....I thought it was hysterical. I'm not sure where she got the idea from - but this past year, I didn't have time to make any pajamas for Santa or anyone else!
So earlier this year, I decided to make some Leprechaun pajamas! They aren't as big as Santa's (he's got some big britches!) - but with pointy toes and a little butt flap to boot - these are just as cute!

So here's what you need:
Green Felt 2 pieces per pajama set
1 piece of Black Felt
1 piece of Yellow Felt (bright - as in Gold)
Candy - something gold (either gold coins or butterscotch as I have - or something of your choice)
Hot Glue gun or Sewing Machine
Needle & Thread
And the Kid Giddy Leprechaun Pajama Pattern...

Step 1: Begin by cutting out all your pieces. Stitch or hot glue the buttons onto the front piece of the pajamas. On the other side of the pajamas (the other piece) - cut a slit in the back around the "tushy" section, no more than an 1 1/2" wide. This is where the candy will come out of - since the wee little Leprechauns like to hide their gold everywhere and in secret places!
Step 2: Sew or hot glue the back of the belt and the tushy guard onto the back piece. The belt should overlap the top edge of the tushy guard. And then sew the small section of the belt onto the front piece of the pajamas.
I did a 3 row stitch to avoid it ripping off by curious hands! Be sure to add the same stitching to the other end of the belt, as it will show on the front too (but you won't be stitching it down with the machine).
Step 3: Put both sides of the pajamas together and top stitch all the way around them, meeting end to end. You don't want any escape routes for the gold! After you've finished that, loop the gold buckle onto the belt and stitch with a couple of loops with a needle and thread.
Step 4: Stuff with gold, coins, candy - watever you'd like! M&M's and Jelly Beans work great too - if not better - since they will get down into the arms and feet!

Top o' the afternoon to ya!

-kg

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Seller Saturday: HappyCreations4U

Hey everyone....Phoebe from HappyCreations4U got her power back on...so today she's my happiest Seller Saturday! She's happy all the time - she's just one of the sweetest Etsiers I know!

Pink Flower FairyGreen Spotted Mushroom1. If you were a crayon, what color would you be? I would be blue, no wait...green. Hmmm I can never decide if my favorite color is blue or green (and all shades in between) so I choose both!! They are the colors of the sky, the sea, the trees and grass. I just love them, and I love them together even more!

Color Me Happy Necklace Playful Pandas2. Do you have a special talent? I guess being an artist is my best talent. I am also very passionate about karate but I don't know if I can call it one of my talents. (kid giddy says she can - you should see her in action! *sings* "awesome"!!!)


Pink Mermaid Necklace Yellow Spring Bird 3. Which season do you love the most? I love Summer! I just love summer because the days are longer and warm. I love being able to just put on a T-shirt and shorts and my flip flops and just go! I love the beach and the outdoors. During the summer you can just spend the day outside!

4. What made you want to open up your Etsy shop? I did my first craft fair over the holidays and it went pretty well. I had several people ask me at the show if I had an Etsy shop. I had been previously thinking about opening one, but that really set the wheels in motion for me. I just think it is so neat that Etsy is global.
Blue Dragon I have only had a few sales but one of the most exciting was a custom order for a woman in Portugal. Now that was cool! I love seeing where people are from and think "wow my little creations are traveling to different parts of our world!" I also opened my shop because I really want to make things that make people happy. My items are small but my hope is that they will brighten someones day and make them smile.

5. What is your favorite item in your shop today? I think my favorite item(s) are my dragons, the little blue dragon in particular. I really love dragons!

Thanks so much Phoebe for sharing your happiness. See you in karate soon - can't wait to order myself some pandas for the girls....didn't see those last time!!!

If you would like to be considered for a future Seller Saturday post please check out this thread on the Etsy forums for more information. Have a great Saturday/weekend everyone! Thanks! kg

Please remember all images are copyright and owned by their respective artists. Please do not copy!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Giddy Up Friday: Sewing for Beginners

OK - So I won't tell you where I was - and who I was talking to...but someone I know has an older child that wants to learn to sew. Since my younger girls are already into this (and sitting on my lap with me to sew)...I thought I would share how I got them started.

Granted many stores now offer mini sewing machines for children 8 and up. But they are not worth it in my opinion. The options and capabilties are few and far between. It also does nothing to "teach" them the art of sewing...which must start by hand! This is also happening with knitting machines and such. If a child is given a blanket they will stay warm for a day, but if you teach a child to sew a blanket, they will stay warm for a lifetime!

We are not going to make a blanket, but will start small instead. Once you have all the materials, this would make a great kit for birthday party favors or gifts for birthday or holidays. There is prep work and you will need a few supplies as follows:
  • 1 Eyelet Plier Kit (not a Grommet Punch)
  • Pieces of Felt (you can buy by the yard or buy many colors in the 81/2" x 11" size)
  • Yarn
  • Plastic Needle
  • Poly-Fil stuffing (it's not all created equal - mid price range is sufficient) (low is ok for this - but know that it will bunch - even if it says it won't! and it's not so soft!) you can also use Bamboo or other fillers
  • Good Scissors too. 
All of these items can be purchased from any craft store (AC Moore, Joann Fabrics, Michaels, Hancocks and even some in the big W store - the one I don't love to promote). If you go to any of the craft stores I have listed, be sure to sign up in advance on their websites for coupons via email. You can save 40, 50 or even 60% off on a single item! Crazy worth it!!!

OK - So here we go.

Step 1: Place 2 of your felt peices together and cut out your desired shape (circle, heart, square - anything simple). You can also cut out block letters and make the whole alphabet - one a day - it would take less than a month!

Step 2: Once you have your shape cut out, grab your eyelet pliers and all along the edge, punch holes approximately 1/4" apart from each other. If they are too close, the felt will tear easily. If it is too far apart, the stuffing can come out. Continue to punch holes until you've gone around the whole shape.

Step 3: Cut one long strand of yarn (from your childs finger tips to the middle of their neck). Thread your needle. Do not place a knot in the needle but rather - let the thread go half way down the longest length.

Step 4: Decide which stitch pattern you think your child can do. Often times, children want to loop around front to back which is called a "Whip Stitch". Another easy stitch is the "Straight Stitch". For an older child ready to learn a new stitch, try the "Blanket Stitch".
To watch video's of how these stitches are done or to learn others - a simple google or you tube search will bring up plenty to watch. (please be cautious when viewing unknown videos on these sites with children present - as some may be mislabeled and inappropriate). Annie's Attic is also a great resource for various Stitch, Crochet, Knitting and Quilting lessons.
Step 5: When you start the stitching, don't put a knot in the end of the thread and leave a good 2-3 inches for tying the knot later. Continue the desired stitch around the shape and leave a 11/2" opening for the stuffing.

Step 6: Stuff the shape to be as fluffy as you'd like. Be careful not to over stuff with love, or it will rip the felt.

Step 7: When you are done stuffing, finish stitching the rest of the way. Tie a good knot with the ends, trim the yarn to about 2" and hide the threads down in with the stuffing. You can do this by poking the needle all the way though to the other side, pulling the left over thread into the center of the stuffie.

Repeat Steps 1 - 7 as many times as you'd like. When you child has mastered that or if your child is older, you can try felt shapes without punching the holes, and using a large doll needle that is rather dull (with adult supervision) and embroidery floss. After that, they can hand sew a small doll blanket using pieces of fabric with a much smaller needle and regular all purpose thread, and then someday will be able to sew on their own buttons, patches and make their own costumes!

My 5 year old daughter made the red heart you see in the top picture! (Thanks little elephant!) Have a great day everyone. If you enjoyed this post, please do leave a comment and let me know. kg

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Edible Wednesday: Do you like Green Eggs & Toast?


Do you like Green eggs and toast?

I surely like green eggs and toast!
I like green eggs and toast the most!

Since this is my lovely Leprechan week, and I'm still feeling a lot of love for green, and yesterday was Dr. Suess' birthday....I thought I'd combine my efforts and make some green eggs and toast! The eggs might be as you'd expect...but this is no ordinary toast!

Caution: Might cause way too much fun in the kitchen. By making this toast - I guarantee your children will want to do this OVER and OVER again...so please be prepared for the "Mommy can we, Daddy can we...oh please please please please please!"

Step 1: Here's what you need:
Eggs (how ever many you will need. I used 2 Jumbos)
2 Pieces of Toast
Green Food coloring
1 Unused Paint Brush (never been used in paint! - preferably "food safe")
Measuring cups or Mixing bowls

Here's what you do:
Step 2: Put 3-4 drops of food coloring in a your cup or container. Carefully break open your eggs and separate the egg whites from the egg yolks without breaking the yolks. Put them aside.

Step 3: Mix your egg whites with the food coloring.

Step 4: Begin cooking up your egg whites (this should be done by an adult) by pouring in the colored whites first.

Step 5: Then gently pour the yolks on top in the center of the whites. I like my yolks runny (if I eat them)...and will usually make my eggs "over easy". But to avoid breaking the yolks, I put a lid over it to cook the whites more. (I don't like runny whites).

Step 6: Mix a little food coloring with water. Not too much, 2-3 drops, and maybe a tablespoon of water. (Please be sure to use a new paint brush that has not been used in paints to avoid contamination or illness. Even better, you can find pastry brushes and cake decorating brushes I'm sure.) Dip your brush in the food color/ water mixture frequently and gently dab the color on your bread (white works best). To avoid children tearing and shreading the bread - you can always use a frozen slice of bread. When you have completed your "design" or "message" (school lunch)...toast it to dry out the water.

This works for many occasions! My kids love getting special messages on their sandwiches at lunch time! I don't do it all the time - but once in a while it's a real treat!

So - do you like green eggs and toast?
Do you like green eggs and toast the most?

Thanks for reading! Have a great day! -kg