Category Archives: Kiddos

Banana Crumb Muffins

In high school (many many years ago) my nickname was Betty Crocker. I was always cooking and baking and bringing the goodies to school to share. One might have thought I’d go on to write cookbooks or be a famous chef. Well almost…I did minor in Family Consumer Sciences in college and thoroughly enjoy spending time in the kitchen creating. But alas, that is as far as it goes. Thankfully I married a man with an infinite appetite who is also not too picky about the food on the plate.

I may be passing this love for cooking along to my youngest son, my super “maker” as he is always asking to help “make” with me in the kitchen. He loves adding the ingredients and stirring, mixing, and of course tasting.

The big man is at school today and we have a trio of very over-ripe bananas that are begging to be utilized. Our freezer is literally packed with loaves of sweet breads, banana and zucchini.  So we made muffins. They are easy for breakfasts, snacks and lunch boxes. Nothing like home-made goodness in a school lunch to make you feel loved, right?

Banana Crumb Muffins
Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 large ripe bananas, mashed
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten lightly
1/3 cup butter, melted

Topping
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 tbsp flour
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tbsp cold butter
1/4 cup nuts (optional-we did not include these)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
1. In a medium bowl, mix first 4 ingredients. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, mix bananas (I use a potato masher to smash-up the bananas in the bowl I will use to mix all the ingredients-one less bowl to clean!), sugar, egg, melted butter.
3. Stir in the dry mixture until moistened.
4. Grease muffin pan (or use liners). I love Wilton Cake Release for greasing my pans. It’s quick one step and easy clean-up. Grease bottom only of pan. Fill cups 3/4 full.


5. Topping: Combine first 3 ingredients then cut in butter until crumbly.
6. Sprinkle over muffin batter.


7. Bake for 20 minutes until muffins are firm.
8. Cool for 10 minutes then remove from pan.

Enjoy with your little “maker”!
This recipe was originally found http://www.food.com/recipe/crumb-topped-banana-muffins-43509

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Leaf Garland Tutorial

About 10 years ago we planted our first Virginia Creeper vine at our previous home. Known for being a fast growing and hardy plant (likely to survived our snowy winters) my husband selected it mostly for its vivid fall color change. We loved it and it grew several feet in the first year!

So when we moved to our new home 6 years ago, we agreed on side of the house needed a good climbing vine to give our “cape-cod, Victorian cottage in the mountains” a little romance. I stopped by the local nursery and selected several vines. Upon my return home, I excitedly planted them and when my hubby returned home was informed that they were NOT what he wanted. They were not Virginia Creepers (I think they were English something or others which in my mind some how correlated with Virginia-yup that is how my brain works-eek!)

So we agreed to see if the new vines survived. I suspect he poured salt on them or something because not one of those vines survived the winter leaving us with no vines the next spring. The new homeowners of our old home agreed we could stop in and take a few slips to replant.  We have successfully transplanted the Virginia Creeper vines which are now thoroughly taking over the one side of the house giving it a charming feel that all “cape-cod Victorian cottages in the mountain” should have. And now that we are into fall, the foliage is changing from green to yellow to red…just beautiful. The hubs was right again! (don’t tell him I said that).

So today my boys ran into the house with handfuls of large red and yellow leaves. They wanted to do something with them. Still in a fog of sickness, I just couldn’t get into any king of major art project. So we made leaf garland….here’s how you can make your own!

Time: 10 minutes-maybe
Materials:
Leaves
Yarn (I think jute string would have been better but was too sick to go rummaging for it!)

1. Cut approximately 3-4′ of string/yarn

2. Begin making a knot (my husband, the master knots-man would know the name of this knot, half-hitch maybe?)

3. Slip stem of leave into open knot.

4. Tighten string around stem.  Repeat a few inches down the string. I would make the knot and then the boys slide the stem in place and tighten the string themselves. They really like doing things for themselves!

5. Continue until you have made a garland to your desired length.

Chocolate Birthday Wishes

It just isn’t a birthday without some form of cake…my boys know this as a golden rule. So when it was daddy’s birthday and I was sick they tried hard to understand why there was no cake. Sorry guys. Not wanting to disappoint anyone, least of all my kids, the next day, I dragged my sick little self to the kitchen and with the help of my super “maker” we prepared cupcakes (no not from scratch) but they turned out delicious none the less. It’s a fun activity to do withyour kids since cupcakes are hard to mess up.

 

Ingredients:
Box of cake mix
Oil
Water
Eggs
Chocolate Chips (optional:other things to jazz it up: marshmellows, coconut, marichino cherries, nuts or all the above)
Frosting (from a can for this one)
Frosting applicator
Sprinkles
A dash of patience and a heaping spoonful of fun!

1. Follow cake mix directions adding oil, water and eggs. Mix. Pour batter into cupcake pan with liners in place. Fill each no more than 1/2 full. For this we used chocolate cake mix and then sprinkled chocolate chips on top of the batter before baking.

Note: If you run out of liners as we did, you can cut 5″x5″ squares of parchment paper (the kind intended for baking). Place the parchment squares in the cupcake pan and add the batter.  These parchment cupcakes give a gourmet spin on a very simple dessert.

2. Bake as directed. Be sure to thoroughly clean all items that came into contact with the batter, preferably with your tongue! Mom taught me this little cleaning trick and I’m passing it on to the boys.

When done, remove from oven, let cool completely. Okay who am I kidding, you’ll need to cut into one hot delicious cupcake and eat it right away to make sure they are not aweful 🙂 Mom taught me that baking secret too.

3. Once cupcakes are cool, frost to your hearts content. I used a Wilton Cupcake decorator tube with interchangable decorating tips. Super easy to fill and clean up. Reausable too!

I added a simple little swirl top of frosting and then my little “maker” went to town dousing the tops of the cupcakes with sugary sprinkles.  He later made sure to point out to each of us that he “sprinkled that one” as we each devoured our chocolately goodness and thanked daddy for being born!  Happy birthday love of my life….I love you more than chocolate!

Cool Playdough

With my oldest son off to kindergarten I have more hours alone with my little man who is 3.  I admit it would be easy to get lots more work done with only one in tow, I am trying to be more present with him and enjoy our solo time together…like the early days with my first son.

Today we created play dough!  Here’s an easy and fun recipe I found at http://www.playdoughrecipe.com/

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup of salt
  • 1 cup of water
  • 2 tablespoons of cream of tartar
  • 1 cup of flour
  • 1 tablespoon of oil
  • Food coloring

Directions:

  • Mix the flour, salt, cream of tartar and oil in a pan.
  • Mix the water with the food coloring.
  • Add the water/color-mix to the other ingredients, stir well.  (it will be really runny…that’s where the next step comes in)
  • Cook on medium heat for 4-5 minutes, while constantly stirring.
  • When the mixture becomes “doughy”, remove from heat and start kneading. (the dough will be hot, so mind your hands)
  • When desired texture is achieved, the play dough is finished, enjoy!

When all done we put the playdough in a ziplock bag, pressed out all the air and stored it for later use…maybe when big bro comes home?

Soaring High with Cloud 9 Fabrics

Fell in love again today with Cloud 9 organic fabrics!  Check out some of the new collections.  I finding the Geocentric collection to be fun in a groovy modern way!  I am going to have to get my hands on some…very soon!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I really want to find something to do with these bottom two fabrics….maybe the boys need new pillow cases or bedding or pj’s or a drawstring bag or something!  The second one is just plain fun, hmmm will ponder the possibilities.

In the mean time, take a look at all the collections www.cloud9fabrics.com

 

Stack-em Up Fabric Cubes

I have 4 friends that are all preggers right now! It is such a fun time with babies arriving soon!  I’m a little inspired by all the baby-mania and here is a fun way to use up some scraps and create lasting toys for those little ones in your life!

Level: If you can sew a straight line-you got this one!

Time: about 30 minutes

Materials:

Scrap fabric – 3 prints (A, B, C) , 2 pieces of each print cut to 4″ x 4″ square for a total of 6 pieces

Light weight iron on interfacing (Pellon 911FF)

Thread

Stuffing (poly-fill works well)

1.  Cut out 6 4″ x 4″ squares of fabric and interfacing.  You should have 2 pieces of each print (A, B, C)

2. Iron interfacing to Wrong side of each piece of fabric.

3. Using this diagram, stitch squares together to form block.  Stitch fabric A-B-A-B. Then stitch fabric C to end piece A, stitch second piece of C to the bottom of the same end piece A.  Stitch end piece A to end piece B to form main square of the block. Then stitch pieces C to A then to pieces B. Leave a small opening for turning and stuffing when you stitch the last 2 pieces together.

Download the template here http://www.scribd.com/doc/97938721/Fabric-Cube-Template#fullscreen

4. Turn right side out. Stuff with batting.

Play Ball!

With 2 boys in the house I know that things can get, well, rough, to say the least. They are 200% boy. Each boy has recently earned their own set of stitches and I’m simply amazed we haven’t had the need for stitches sooner than this!

So moms of boys and of course girls, you will definitely appreciate these soft balls perfect for playing with inside the house, bedrooms, etc. They are soft, squishy and when Son A chucks it full force at Son B’s head, it won’t hurt (as bad.) Oh and it probably won’t even break the living room window! Bonus!

Level-Beyond Easy Peazy

Time: Seriously about 15 minutes

Materials

Scrap fabric measuring at least 10″ x 5″ – I chose 3 different fabrics here but you could do 6 different fabrics too

Lightweight Iron-on interfacing (I used Pellon 911FF)

Poly fiber stuffing (what you find inside pillows)

Hand sewing needle and coordinating thread

1. Print template. The template should print on a 81/2″ x 11″ paper. The template itself should measure approximately 9.5″ tall (top to bottom).   Click on this link (or copy and paste to your search bar), download template and print. http://www.scribd.com/doc/97350448/Scrappy-Ball-Template

Template Print on 81/2″ x 11″ paper

2. Cut out template. Trace template onto scrap fabric. Cut out fabric along traced lines. Do the same for interfacing. You should have 6 pieces of fabric and 6 pieces of interfacing.

3. Iron interfacing to the wrong side of fabric. Do this for all 6 pieces.

4. Arrange the pieces as you  like. Sew two pieces, right sides together, back stitch at beginning and end of stitch, along the long side

5. Stitch a third piece to these joined pieces. You now have 1/2 of the ball.

6. Repeat 4-5 for the other side of ball.

7. Join both halves of the ball by lining up the top and bottom (where the three pieces come together) with right sides together. Stitch all the way around the ball leaving a 3-4″ opening for turning and stuffing.

8. Turn right side out. Stuff the ball so it is firm or desired squishy-ness.  Stitch the opening closed using a needle and thread. (or if you’re less patient, use a zipper foot on your sewing machine to stitch)