Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Candy making!

We made candy this year, and had a lot of fun. I had someone ask me for the recipes so I typed them out for them...I figured since they were already typed, I'd go ahead and post them for everyone!


(Here is the site I got the recipe give credit where due:

It has good directions and pictures...but since you're here, and I've added personal ya go.

3 Tbs. (or 3 packages) unflavored, unsweetened gelatin

½ cup cold water

2 cups sugar

2/3 cup corn syrup

¼ cup water

¼ tsp. Salt

1 Tbs. Vanilla extract

powdered sugar

Prepare a 9x13 pan (mine was glass which worked great) by greasing and dusting with powered sugar.

Pour gelatin and ½ cup water into your mixing bowl (I would have liked a stand mixer for this, so if you have one, plan for that..otherwise, whatever bowl you will use your electric mixer with.) I hadn't worked with gelatin will be solid almost at once...don't freak will melt once you pour the hot sugar in.

While that is sitting, put your sugar, corn syrup, and water into a sauce pan. A heavy bottom one is best, but I did it in a light one just fine...just stir constantly and don't turn up the heat too much or it will scorch. Bring mixture to a boil. If you have a candy thermometer, you want to bring it to 250 degrees. If you don't, I've read you can boil for 1 minute and get good results.

Drizzle your hot candy mixture over gelatin mixture while mixing at low speed. Once the syrup is mixed in, add salt. As soon as it starts to fluff up and you aren't in danger of splatters, scrape down the bowl and turn the speed up on your mixture. At some point (I've read about 8-10 minutes, but I don't think I mixed for that long) the volume will stop increasing. At that point, add your vanilla. When it's mixed in, turn off your mixer.

Pour the mixture into your glass pan and smooth out the top some. Let it sit uncovered overnight.

When you are ready to cut them, dust a surface with powdered sugar (no, really...dust it plenty! Those things will be STICKY!) I used a pizza cutter. Cut one row at a time, then cut it in squares and coat each with powdered sugar until they aren't sticky.

At that point you can do what you want with them...even just eat them as they are. We melted milk chocolate chips and dipped them. With chocolate they are best stored in the fridge.

(wow, that sounds long...but it was really very easy...the most time consuming part was cutting and dipping them, but it was a lot of fun and I had Betty doing sprinkles while we chatted, so I didn't notice)

English Toffee

(source: )

1 Cup Sugar 
3 T. Water

1 Cup Butter

2/3 Cup Chocolate Chips

Mix the first 4 ingredients in a sauce pan.
Heat slowly over medium heat and stir mixture until dissolved. Bring to a boil until the color of a brown paper sack. Stir often (15-20 minutes keep it boiling). Butter an 8x8 inch square pan. Pour the mixture in the pan and place chocolate chips on top. When chips are melted, spread evenly over entire surface. Sprinkle chopped nuts on top, if desired. Let cool and brake into pieces. (my notes: The recipe on the blog actually calls for ½ cup butter and ½ cup margarine, but I used all butter. If you are using a thermometer, you want this to get to the “hard crack stage” which is 302 degrees. I like to pull it off about 298. When you are boiling your sugar, if you are watching the temp, it will seem like it takes a long time right around 220ish. That is about the point where the water is boiling off, and the temp will rise rather slowly. Once the water is all out the temp will raise rather quickly, so keep an eye on it to keep it from burning. I also wouldn't use a glass 8x8 pan again. I'd use a large cookie sheet with either parchment or a silicon mat. That way you don't have to fight to get it out of the pan and it can be spread out thinner, which is how I prefer my toffee. You would need more chocolate to cover it if it was done that way.)

Peppermint Bark

Ok, I have no recipe for this...I just it...  Prepare cookie sheet. I buttered then put plastic wrap on mine, but a silicone mat would be great too. Melt a bag of milk chocolate chips over low heat. Add a couple drops of peppermint oil. Pour and smooth out on cookie sheet. Mine didn't reach the edges, which I think makes it easier to get out. Let it cool in the fridge. Crush a handful of peppermint disks(I've seen recipes that use candy canes, as well). We used a cutting board and the pointy side of a meat tenderizer. Be sure to cover them somehow or they will fly everywhere. Plastic wrap worked well for this, but don't pound harder then you have to, or you'll have it everywhere anyway. Melt white chocolate chips over low heat, add peppermint chunks and spread out over the milk chocolate. Let set up in fridge then brake into pieces.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Christmas Advent Calendars

So every year, I try to do some kind of Advent Calendar with scriptures to read each night. I've actually had to re-do this list several time, and I'm sure you can find others if you did a search, but I'm going to post mine...for posterity or whatever :) I've tried to start with prophesies about Christ's birth, and scriptures talking about who he will be and what he will do, then I put the event's of His birth from the Book of Mormon on the 22, the story of the Wise Men on the 23, and we like to read Luke 2 Christmas Eve. I've left several days blank for things like stories out of the Friend or some of our Christmas books. (I know one year, I had it so it was a scripture every day, but I don't know how I did that, and I like to mix in some of those articles anyway) This year, I put them on the back of strips of scrapbook paper and we'll make a paper chain as we go.

Day 1 - Luke 1:26-38
Day 2 - Matt 1:18-25
Day 3 - 2 Nephi 19:6-8
Day 4 -
Day 5 -
Day 6 - Moses 5:57
Day 7 - 1 Nephi 19:8-11
Day 8 -
Day 9 - John 1:14
Day 10 -
Day 1 1- Micah 5:2
Day 1 2-
Day 1 3-
Day 1 4- 1 Nephi 18-20
Day 1 5-
Day 1 6- 2 Nephi 25:13-14, 19
Day 1 7-
Day 1 8- Isaiah 7:14
Day 1 9- Helaman 14: 2-9
Day 20- 1 Nephi 10:4-6
Day 21 - Alma 7:9-13
Day 22 - 3 Nephi 1:1, 4-21
Day23 - Matt 2: 1-2, 9-11
Day24 - Luke 2: 1-20

We also are doing one using the list from Somewhat simple.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

apron pictures

So here is my first attempt at this apron. I think it turned out really cute. Because the bib is too short for me, Aimee will be getting this apron. It's a little big on her, but it will work just fine. I want to find a pretty button or something to put at the top...but that can be done later.

This is Betty modeling for us...see, a little big, but Aimee loves it, so that's all that really matters.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

New apron!

So, I haven't been feeling particularly crafty or creative or patient enough with my kids to do crafts with them...but I'm trying to get myself re-motivated.

Lately I've been longing to have pretty things in my house...but I can't afford to just go out and buy I'm trying to learn to make them. Right now, I want to work on sewing...I want a fabulous 50's style dress...I can see it in my head, and I've even seen a few online that I really like, but to get it just right, I know I'll have to learn how to do it myself. So, I'm starting on small projects and I'm going to try to work on them at least a little everyday.

Yesterday, I made an apron. I found this great tutorial that I followed exactly. It was really a good tutorial, and the apron turned out very nice! I had to rip out a couple seams because I wasn't paying enough attention to what I was doing...but her instructions were very good. My camera got left in the car that my husband took to work, so I'll have to post a picture later.

A few things I would change for next one. The bib on this one is too short for me. I'll make the neck tie in back so I don't have to do button holes. The waist ties, I'll fold over and sew then turn right side out...the ironing and hemming of those is a task I don't enjoy, so why do it that way when I like the other way better? :) Plus, I think it will look better so you don't have the back of a tie showing. And I may try one with a pleated ruffle...wouldn't that be pretty?

Overall, this was a very fun, easy project, and I think I'll do some measurements so my girls can make some for themselves.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Getting ready for the Tooth Fairy

So, the tooth fairy will be called in any day now, for Aimee's First loose tooth! It is a very exciting time around here. So, I made this little pillow for her. Cute, hu?

Supplies I used:
Paper (to draw pattern)
1/4 yard White fabric (I used flannel and 1/4 is more then you need, but you need that width)
White thread
Embroidery thread (fabric paint for the words if you'd rather)
Embroidery hoop
Sewing machine
Cotton stuffing

How to:

1) Draw the tooth shape for front and back of pillow. I filled a whole 8x11 sheet and felt it was a good size. make an oval/circle for top of pillow...same width as top of tooth shape. Draw small pocket, big enough for a tooth and then change/bills from tooth fairy.

2) Cut out the pattern and transfer it to your fabric...I used a washable marker in a light color. If your embroidery hoop is bigger then the tooth, do not cut it out first...let's just not cut it out yet, for ease of directions :) Cut out all but the front(at least the pocket if nothing else), leaving enough around the front to secure in hoop.

3) Hem the top of pocket if necessary. I folded mine over and ran a blanket stitch along the top with embroidery thread. You could just run it through your sewing machine. Secure tooth front in hoop and stitch pocket in place with embroidery thread. Write "Tooth Fairy" with light washable marker or soft pencil (remember to leave room for a seam). Embroider front(or use fabric paint, letter buttons, or whatever other embellishment you wish). I'm wishing I'd added "sparkles" with 6 point stars on mine, and will likely go back and add something.

4) cut out fabric (if you haven't already) Place front and back together wrong side out.

5) Sew up all execpt the top of tooth. Place top of tooth along front so the hem will be on the inside. (I don't know how to word that, but I hope you have enough sewing experience to logic it out...)

6) Turn right side out. Wash by hand if it is neccessary to remove ink/pencil. Let dry.

7) Stuff (I used cotton filling). Turn seam under on back/top and stitch.

wow, that was a lot of steps...but it really wasn't hard. I did it in an evening, and think I could do another faster (I'm thinking of getting ones for Betty and Katie done while it's fresh in my mind) If I do, I'll post pics and maybe even scan in the pattern I made for you to I just need to find the going rate for teeth...anyone know what the Tooth Fairy pays now-a-days?

Thursday, March 5, 2009

A new place for books

First, not a lot of projects going on this week, cause we are mostly just enjoying our visit from Uncle Grady! The girls LOVE having him here! Lot's of giggles and wildness and running around...and that's just Grady :p

So, a while ago, I made plans for a sling style kids bookshelf. Then we moved and I didn't have access to tools to make it. Then I saw this which is kinda almost what I was wanting. (mine was a free standing unit with 3 "slings" with different depths...but for what I've got to work with, this will due....someday I'll make my cool freestanding unit)

So, I gathered the supplies. I'm wanting a lot of color, so I loved this fabric.
Then I had this bare spot on the wall that was perfect for it. It's right at Betty's eye level which is perfectly out of Katie's reach. I plan to make another one (got fabric that is the same colors, but with stripes). It's going to go below this one for Katie's books. If I were to make another one, I think I'd use a little heavier fabric, and for kids books, not make it quite as deep.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Book review!

You Can't Take a Ballon Into the Metropolitan Museum By Jacqueline Preiss Weitzman and Robin Preiss Glazzer

What a fun book! It's such an expressive story...with absolutely NO WORDS. My girls and I looked though it together and tomorrow we are going to use the references in the back of the book to look up some of the art pieces and learn some more about them. We're also going to talk about art representing life (as many of the pictures show this). This has also been a great book for my girls to look at on their own, since the pictures tell the story so well. Definitely one to check out!

Lots of catching up....Lots of fun experiences.

So, what have I been doing this last week and a half...where I am NOT posting my promised posts? We've been living life.
We did this art project from Art Project for Kids. The top two are mine. I've found that it works really well if I do an example before, then do one with them that is different to show that there are different ways to do things and to encourage them to use their imagination.

The girls built snowmen with their dad. how the snowman has arms? Guess they couldn't find branches.
We planted Wheatgrass to observe...we weren't real observant though, and we got a lot of mold in it...I've found some better directions and we're going to be starting this again this week.
I started home-made hankies. I saw a suggestion to make some out of flannel. This is the fabric I picked out for the girls. Now I just need to get around to hemming them.....

We had a rodent experence....We found this thing on the sidewalk when walking to get Aimee from school. I think it was acted very docile, and I thought maybe it looked like a gerbil, so I was worried it was someone's pet. We've been trying to teach our kids kindness...and because Betty had seen it, I couldn't just walk away. I used Katies hat (don't worry wasn't one of her good ones ;) ) and caught the thing. After getting it home, we looked on the internet to see what it might be. It wasn't a gerbil...we decided it was something wild that had been in shock. When we went to send it back to the wild "to go find it's family" it got a little spooked and reared up and showed it's teeth...definitly not domestic teeth. Well, my goal is giving my girls experiences...(and no-one freak out...nobody touched it, the hat was washed, there was no way it could have gotten loose, and I did not release it in our back yard.)

And lastly...We celebrated Betty's birthday!And here is the apron I made for her. I think it turned out sooo good! I had no pattern, and I really don't have a lot of sewing experience. I think I want to add pockets to it...but we'll see if I get around to it. Especially because Aimee wants one now too...and I think I do too :)

Monday, February 16, 2009

Creating houses

I found this fun website a couple days ago. She has so many fun ideas for little kids...So we learned how to draw houses today. We used graph paper, and just followed her instructions. It was really fun. I think I should have done an example before sitting down with the girls. Aimee did the two on the bottom. She wanted to put a fence in hers, but discovered when she tried to color it, that it was a little too intricate for she did a second one....Tomorrow, we are planning on painting (another project from her website). I also want to try to do some more projects to get the girls to work on straight lines.We also did a science experiment today. We talked about molecules and how they move faster when they are warm, and slower when they are cold. We heated water in one glass, and put ice in water in another, then we added food coloring (after taking the ice out of the cold one). I didn't get a good you'll have to do it with your own kids to see what happens ;) Be sure to have them make a hypothesis before you put the color in.

Sunday, February 15, 2009


Ok, so this was mostly going to be about doing crafts with my kids...but I love doing some projects that my kids just aren't big enough for yet...and I still want to share them. So, you get big girl crafts too :)
I picked up this book in the library...I basically wanted something with new decorating pictures (I've been though mine so many times....) and I'm glad this was the first one I grabbed. She has some really fun ideas. (The cover is hard to read....Dime Store Decorating by Jill Williams Grover). She did this in her book. Mine didn't turn out quite as nice has hers (good thing I don't have as quality of photos, and you're not looking at mine and her's side by side), but I'm really happy with them. She also put her's in little clay pots painted in coordinating colors, but I didn't like the look of the pots, so I just did the glasses. And I didn't have all matching glasses...which I think is fun. I just did this with acrylic paint, so I can wash them off and do something different if I ever want to. I put them in my kitchen window, and they add such a nice burst of color and sparkle. Perfect for when we are waiting for spring to show up.

A valentine's day surprise

We wanted to do something special for daddy for valentine's day, so, out came the scrapbooking supplies so we could make cards. I couldn't post them before we gave them to him, so you are getting them now. It was interesting that with all the stuff I had out for them to use, all they wanted to do was use the markers and draw...oh, and put stickers on. Guess we need to do more drawing.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Valentine's Cookies

Well, as life goes, our party got canceled because Aimee woke up with a fever. I (being the mean mom that I am) made her stay home from school and miss her class Valentine's day party...but I know she was sick because she didn't fight me on it too hard. We had planned on cookies though, so we did cookies anyway. Nothing terribly creative...just frosting and sprinkles on heart sugar cookies. They still were fun for the kids, and turned out pretty. I put aside a plate for our neighbors (who were going to come to our party). Then we had some other neighbors bring us some cookies, so we sent them home with some of ours. Overall a productive day.

And what does a baby do during a cookie making activity? Well, she plays with the cookie cutters that spilled on the floor when the box got picked up upside-down.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

A New Year's resolution...just a little late.

This year, I made a New Year's resolution to do more fun projects with my kiddo's. At the time we were moving. We weren't going to have a lot of furniture, but thinking about it, I realized that I don't really care...who wants to spend a lot of time sitting on a couch anyway...I'd set up a great area for crafts (and we have a great chair for reading and bean bags for when we do want to watch TV.)
Well, with the chaos that goes along with a big move, I hadn't gotten any of it done, and I felt like my kids were watching way more TV then I'd like. They have been fighting a lot, and I feel that is a sign of boredom. So, I re-resolved to create activities for my girls. And look at what I got done today! This was all in boxes this morning. Now I have a large chunk of the office/storage room cleared(not pictured's still a large mess...just a little less of a large mess), and we'll be able to craft! Yay! :)
Originally, my plan called for a long craft table, with some kind of shelving for storage...well, I don't have all that yet, but I did have an extra small dining table. It will hold our supplies so they are easily available...the little table that is the girls' tucks nicely underneath when we're not using it, or we can use the kitchen table. I *think* I got all the craft stuff out of boxes...gosh, for the small number of crafts we've been doing, I sure have a lot of *stuff*...
So, I'm creating this's my special project blog. I'm promising to post something crafty, a fun activity, science experiment, book we're reading or adventure...with pictures if I can. I'll give how-to's when able, and give links to inspiration. I resolve to post on this blog at least 4 times per week!

Also, with this resolution in mind, we went and got library cards yesterday! The girls each got their own even. It was so exciting for them, and they were both so proud to be able to write their own names on their cards. Well, we each got to pick up some books. I'll let you know if I find any that are simply amazing. Well, I did! My sister in law introduced us to My Father's Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett a while ago, but we've only read the first one. It's the first book with chapters I've read to the girls and they loved it. We got it as a refresher, so we can read the rest of the trilogy soon. If the rest is as good as the first, I'd highly recommend the for any kid who likes to be read to...and maybe some who don't know they like to be read to yet ;)

So, coming up tomorrow! We are having a cookie decorating party with our neighbors. We may do some cards too. Fun stuff!