Saturday, February 18, 2012

homemade crayons

What parent of a toddler doesn't find broken crayons all over?  If broken crayons and capless markers were worth their weight in gold, I'd be rich!  This is a great way to repurpose all those broken bits lying around.

What you'll need :
-silicone molds (the one's I used were mini cupcake molds my Wilton).

Collect broken crayons, if you don't have an abundance of them just peel the paper off and cut into small pieces (.5" or so).

Add the crayon pieces to the silicone molds, fill them about halfway.
We mixed up all our colors but you can keep them all in the same color family if you'd like.  They're your crayons, make them however you please.

I had my three-year-old help me with the peeling and filling part.

In an oven preheated to 225 degrees 'cook' the crayons for 10-15 minutes.  Check them at the 10 minute mark.  You're looking for each mold to be totally liquid, you don't want any chunks of crayons remaining.

Let them cool in the molds, then once they've cooled you can pop them out and color away!

The possibilities are endless and your little one will love creating new masterpieces with these!


Friday, February 17, 2012

melted crayon heart banner

My intention was to get this craft posted this weekend, as it was a Valentine's Day craft idea... but, a stomach bug had a better idea.  My oldest was up all night Saturday sick and then woke up again Monday sick.  Yuck!  Needless to say I spent the weekend disinfecting and didn't have much time for bloging.  But, it's a cute idea and doesn't just apply to the Holiday.

-scrap paper (2 pieces)
-wax paper (2 pieces)
-dish towel
-pencil sharpener
-small hole punch

First, set up.  Because you'll be keeping your iron on the lowest setting (no steam) there's no need to haul out your ironing board.  Just lay down a clean dish towel to protect your counters.

Put down the scrap paper, then the first piece of wax paper.  This is where you'll put the crayon shavings, and eventually cover with the second piece of wax paper.

Peel all the paper off your crayons, great job for the little ones.

I taped my scrap paper (white) and first piece of wax paper, to keep it from rolling back up.  If you don't have tape handy you can always enlist the help of a dinosaur, or two.

Using the pencils sharpener (I started out with one with a plastic blade and quickly switched to a metal blade) sharpen the crayons and let the shaving fall where they may on the wax paper.  There's really no rhyme or reason to this part just make sure you keep them to the center of the paper.

Cover with your second piece of wax paper.

Then put the second piece of scrap paper down.  You'll be creating a kind of paper sandwich, scrap, wax, shavings, wax, scrap.  Turn the iron on low and once it heats up glide it over the scrap paper.  You don't want to press down or hold it in one spot for too long as it will burn the wax.  All you're doing here is heating the wax shavings enough to melt, it doesn't take much.


Did I mention the importance of the scrap paper?  This is what happens when A) the crayon shavings are too close to the edge and B) are too thick.  A thin layer of the shavings is all you need.

Once the paper is cool, draw or trace hearts (or whatever shape you desire) onto the wax paper and cut out.

I used a small hole punch and some ribbon to make a banner.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

homemade window clings

I'm not sure which I love more, Brooklyn's creations or the huge smile she gets on her face once I've displayed her artwork for all to see.  Although at this point our fridge has just about all it can handle... so this is a great way for her to be creative and to have fun with her art after it's done!

What you'll need : 
-liquid glue
-food coloring
-paint brushes
-plastic page protectors

You don't have to use a template but I found with Brooklyn it helped serve as a guide on where to paint (and you'll see later on that it really didn't matter...).  Just draw, or print out a picture for them to paint and slide it into the page protector and have at it.

Start by putting some glue in a bowl (in my case a small plastic cup) and mix in the glitter and a few drops food coloring.  I put in just enough glitter so it made the consistency thick enough to paint well on the plastic.

Now, paint!  The more glue, the better because you want it to be able to stick to your window later on.

Also - we ended up doing three (Brooklyn was done after the first two) different colors.  I started out with the first color and after she was done with that color I added a few drops of a different color, I wouldn't add any more than three different colors because then you'll just end up with brown or black.

Our finished product!

As you can see, the heart templates really made no difference but she still had a blast painting.  I think she might still be able to use the bottom part where she but it on really thick.

See how much glue I used?  It's hard to see the glitter not but it'll show up once it's all dry.

Make sure the glue is completely dry before removing the clings, at least a few hours.  This is a good craft to do in the morning then come back to in the afternoon to play with.


Friday, February 3, 2012

butterfly footprints

Let me just tell you how much I love my girls, and that if I could keep them teeny tiny forever, I would.  But since I know they grow up, and all too quickly, I love the idea of preserving some of their littleness. So when they get older and are screaming at me from the top of the stairs they hate me because I won't let them go to the movies with their friends because they didn't get their homework finished on time... I'll still have proof that, at one time, they really did like me ;)

What you'll need :
Canvas (or card stock if you want to frame it)
Foam brushes

Let your kiddos choose which colors they want their butterflies to be, mix on a plate until you get the desired mixture, and then have them put their 'stamp' on the canvas.  Make sure you do their right foot, then their left for the wings.

Even though it looks a little funky, I promise you both of my children do have all of their toes.  
It didn't come out perfect but you get the drift, it's more fun when it's not perfect, it gives each butterfly more character!

Once it's all dry paint the body of the butterfly with a small paint brush, and you're done!  I might go back and put their names on it or a cute quote about being sisters, etc... (and make sure to put the date and how old your child/children are on the back) 

Make it your own and enjoy the keepsake for years to come!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

crock pot gravy

This is so easy it's stupid! Well, not stupid, delectable actually.
I have tried making pan gravy and gravy from scratch and it never seems to come out quite right... too lumpy, too runny, no taste, too seasoned.  You get the picture.  

And when I make anything in the crock pot I hate to just toss out the juicy deliciousness that is left in the bottom of the pot.  So one night I decided not to, and give crock pot gravy a go. I figured if it turned out awful I'd still have the yummy meal I just cooked, so I'd still be in business - and my family fed.

Only it didn't turn out disgusting, it turned out fabulous!  Like cleaning-my-plate-with-my-finger-after-finishing-my-dinner fabulous.  Why had I not thought of this before?!

Once your meal is done cooking and you've removed it from the crock pot take some of the juice out of the crock pot and add to a small bowl, wisk in 4-6 tablespoons flour and add back into the crock pot.  Wisk until well combined.  Put the lid on and crank it on high for 10-15 minutes, or until it becomes nice and thick.  Spoon over your meal and voila!  It's like putting the cherry on a sundae.

It's delicious because it's gotten all the seasoning from the meal you just made so you don't have to fuss around with re-seasoning it!

Note : if you have a lot of little food bits left in the crock pot give it a quick skim so your gravy is nice and smooth.


crock pot pork tenderloin

This is a super simple, and super yummy, recipe.  Just ask my husband.

What you'll need : 
1 pork tenderloin, this one is about 2.5 pounds.
2 cans chicken (or vegetable) broth
garlic powder
italian seasoning
rotisserie chicken seasoning (if you don't have this season salt will do)

First, add the two cans of broth to the crock pot.  It's much easier to do this now as opposed to when you've just handled raw pork.

Then, season both sides of your pork.  I go pretty light on the salt because the rotisserie season has some in it already.  I never measure, sorry to all the by-the-book cooks out there, I just eyeball it.

Put the pork in the crock pot.  I did it fat side up but I've done it fat side down before and it's not made much of a difference.  It's fine if the chicken broth isn't covering the meat, in fact it's better if it doesn't because then you get all the seasoned bits when it's time to eat!

Cook on low (no, that's not a typo) for about 2 - 2 1/2 hours, this all depends on the size of the pork, if you're unsure if it's done grab a meat thermometer to double check.  Cooking it this way make it super moist and tender... it's hard to just have one piece!

Remember all those seasoned bits I was talking about... oh yeah!

No meal is ever complete without gravy so make some of my crock pot gravy, you won't be disappointed!