Thursday, October 29, 2009

Cookie Monster Day - Nov 2

November 2nd is Cookie Monster Day and here's a recipe for some very cute cupcakes.

Cookie Monster Cupcakes

For cupcakes:
2 1/3 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
12 Tbsp (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 c. firmly packed light brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
4 eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 c. buttermilk, at room temperature
24 oreos, one side twisted off and reserved for frosting

For filling:
2/3 c. whipping cream
1 Tbsp powdered sugar (I just pulsed some granulated sugar in a mini food processor)
1/8 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 c. oreo cookie crumbs, made from reserved oreo sides

For decoration:
1 recipe buttercream, tinted blue
1 small container of blue sugar sprinkles, place in a small bowl for dipping
white candy melts
oreos, halved with sharp knife

-Preheat an oven to 350 degrees.
-Place cupcake liners in cupcake pan.
-Place one oreo in each liner, cream side up.
-In a large bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside.
-In another large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth.
-Gradually add the brown sugar and continue beating until fluffy.
-Beat in the vanilla.
-Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
-Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the buttermilk and beginning and ending with the flour, beating after each addition.
-Divide the batter between the prepared liners.
-Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cake comes out clean, 19 to 24 minutes.
-Transfer the cupcakes to a wire rack and let cool for 15 minutes.
-Let the cupcakes cake cool completely before filling and frosting.
-Meanwhile, make filling: In the bowl of an electric mixer, whip the cream, sugar and vanilla until stiff.
-Gently fold in the cookie crumbs.
-Scoop the mixture into a piping bag (or gallon sized Ziploc bag), and using a 1M tip, inject filling into each cupcake by sticking the tip into the middle of the cupcake and squeezing a bit.
-Frost the cupcakes with blue buttercream.
-Dip tops into blue sprinkles.
-Use white candy melts for eyes and half oreos for mouths.

Yields 24 cupcakes
Adapted from Good Things Catered

Monday, October 26, 2009

1.Cut eight 1 1/2-inch pieces of black pipe cleaner and bend for spider's legs.
2. Glue one end of each pipe cleaner to the center of a glove. Then glue the other end to the glove, keeping the legs bent. (Glue a leg on each finger so the spider can "crawl" when your child puts it on.
3.Glue a large black pom-pom to center of glove to cover pipe cleaner ends. Glue on small purple pom-poms and googley eyes.

This idea was adapted from

Freaky Fliers

*Paint a cardboard toilet paper roll white; let dry.
* Stand a styrofoam egg in one end of the roll; glue to hold. Let dry.
* Drape a piece of white tissue paper, then a layer of gauze, over the craft, long enough to puddle slightly at the base. Pull tissue and gauze tight over the egg and tie a length of gauze around the ghost's "neck."
* Cut two ovals out of black construction paper and glue them on for eyes.

Adapted from

Pumpkin Maracas

* Cut out a section (top and bottom) of an egg carton and fill one side with dried beans.

* Glue the sides together, with an ice-pop stick coming out of the middle.

* Paint with orange paint, let dry, and push a green pipe cleaner into the top as a stem; slip on a green construction-paper "leaf" and bend pipe cleaner over in a loop.

Adapted from

No-Carve Pumpkin

You'll need:

* Black contact paper
* Empty water bottles
* Orange soda
* Green electrical tape

Cut jack-o'-lantern faces out of contact paper and stick on front of bottles. Fill with orange soda, twist caps on tightly, then cover caps with electrical tape.

Adapted from

Sock Spider

You'll need:

* Black adult-size tube sock
* Craft glue
* Wavy pipe cleaners
* Googly eyes
* Needle and black yarn

Turn the sock inside out. Starting at the open end, begin rolling the sock into itself until it forms a tight ball. Glue the bottom closed, and then glue four pipe cleaners, cut in half, to the bottom of the sock to create legs. Bend as you like. Glue two eyes to one side of the sock. Then, using an embroidery needle, knot and thread the yarn through the bottom, and hang from a window.

Adapted from

Bony Beads

You'll need:

* Craft glue
* Medium-size shell pasta
* Ziti pasta
* White craft paint
* Elastic string

To make "skeleton bones," glue two pasta shells, open side down, to each end of a piece of ziti; leave enough space in between to pull a string through. Paint each bone white, and let dry. String bones to desired length and knot the ends together.

Adapted from

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Turkey Centerpiece

Materials Needed:
Pine cones: One per turkey.
Feathers: Available at most craft, dollar or mass-merchant stores.
Felt: Any color you've got will work just fine!
Googly Eyes: One pair.
White poster board
Craft Glue
Twigs: Optional, if you want your bird to have legs.
Hot Glue Gun and Glue Sticks: Kids and hot glue don't mix, so make sure you do all the gluing!
Markers or crayons

Have your kids collect some pine cones from the yard. Live in a city or in the tropics and don't have easy access to fir trees? Go to a nearby park or buy some Ponderosa pinecones online to help the founders' Girl Scout troop. (So helpful! And so much less fattening than buying their cookies!)

Plug in your hot glue gun so it's out of your kids' reach and insert a glue stick.

If you want your turkey to have legs, have your child flip the pine cone onto its side so you can hot glue on some small twigs. (She may need to make a turkey tripod and glue on three legs to get the thing to balance properly.)

Next, have your child draw a silhouette of a small turkey head and neck onto a piece of the poster board and then color it in. (If you're artistically challenged, find a picture of a turkey online or use one of the zillion turkey coloring pages your kid brings home from school in November as a guide.) She can sass it up with some glitter, if she's making a fancy turkey!

Get your kid to cut the wattle (yep, the flap of skin that looks 'like your mother-in-law's neck…oh, sorry, that was mean!) and beak out of felt.

Have her glue the felt pieces onto the head and neck cutout.

Next, have your kid stand back while you grab the hot glue gun and stick one googly eye on each side of the turkey head.

Hot glue the head and neck onto the pine cone.

Have your kid use craft glue to glue on a fan of colorful tail feathers.

If she's inspired, encourage your kid to make a turkey for every place setting. Then she can make a name card for each place setting and you can hot glue it on!

Hand her some silverware and plates when she's finished. Why not get her to set the table while she's at it?

This idea was adapted from Parents Connect

Preserved Fall Leaves

Materials Needed:
Wax paper
Dish towel
Warm iron
Fall leaves

Give your kid a paper bag and head outside to collect fall leaves. Look for leaves of all shapes, colors and types.

Once you have 5-10 leaves, head inside and plug in the iron (put it on the medium-warm setting).

Have your kid carefully lay the leaves out on a sheet of wax paper, making sure that there is at least an inch of space between each leaf.

Place another sheet of wax paper over the leaves.

Cover wax paper with a dish towel.

Use the iron to melt the wax paper around the leaves. You should apply firm pressure for 1-2 minutes over each leaf.

Help your kid to trim the leaves (leaving about 1/4 inch of wax paper on the outside of each leaf)

If the wax paper starts to lift off of one of the leaves, just reheat the iron and press firmly for 30 seconds.

This idea was adapted from Parents Connect

Paper Autumn Leaf Magnet

Materials Needed:
Cardstock or heavyweight paper: The back of a cereal box will do.
Fall leaves: The more variety the better.
Tissue paper: Yellow, green, brown, orange and red.
White glue
Paper plate
Magnetic tape

Get outside and into the fresh air with your kids and hunt down some autumn leaves in different shapes and colors.

Head back inside and have your kid place one of the leaves on a piece of cardstock.

Help him trace around the leaf with a marker.

Then, have your kid carefully cut out the leaf form with scissors.

Repeat the process with several different shapes of leaves for variety.

Next, have your kid pour a big glob of glue onto the paper plate.

Have our kid cut or tear the tissue paper into a bunch of approximately two-inch squares.

When he's finished, it's time to cover the leaves in tissue paper.

You can have your kid crumple each square into a tiny ball, spitball-style (yuck!). Then, when he's got a bunch of tissue-paper balls, he can dip them, one at a time, into the glue and attach them to his leaf cut-out.

Alternately, he can wrap the squares, one at a time, around the end of a pencil and dip that into the glue and then stick it onto the cardstock.

He should continue gluing until the entire leaf cutout is covered. He can use one color per leaf or two or three different colors of tissue paper to make the leaf look more authentic.

When all the leaves are covered, set them aside to dry.

When the glue is dry, attach a small piece of magnetic tape to the back of the fall leaf and hang it on the fridge for a festive Thanksgiving.

This idea was adapted from Parents Connect

Corncob Painting

Materials Needed:
Corncobs: Cooked or uncooked, but not already eaten!
Tempera paint: In all colors.
Paper plates: Otherwise known as "the artist's palette."
Artist: Your kid.
Newspaper or a plastic tablecloth: Unless you want a multi-colored dining room table.
Paper: Big sheets of butcher paper are great, and so are cut-up paper bags!

Get a bunch of corn and have your kid help you shuck it. If you're having some for dinner, feel free to cook it up, otherwise, uncooked corn works just fine.

Prepare the work space by laying out newspaper or a plastic table cloth. (Be prepared, this project is very messy, so hide your upholstered dining room chairs!)

Pour the paint onto paper plates. One color per plate.

Lay out the paper.

Have your kid roll the cobs into the paint and then get him to rub the paint into the kernels with his fingers.

Next have him roll, press and smear the paint onto the paper with the cobs to create a cool abstract mural.

Let the painting dry and then hang it up in your kid's room. Next time he wakes up at 5 AM, he can admire his art instead of waking you!

This idea was adapted from Parents Connect

Countdown Calendar

Materials Needed
Empty egg carton: Huevos Rancheros, anyone?
Cardboard: An old shoe box or cereal box will do.
Glitter or glitter glue
Tempra paint and paint prush
White glue
12 small, inexpensive prizes: Like stickers or candy. They need to fit in an egg cell, so think smaller than 12 drummers drumming or a partridge in a pear tree.
Scotch tape

Whip up a frittata and give your child the clean, empty egg carton.

Have him paint it any color he likes with the tempera paints. He can add a little sparkle by flinging some glitter onto the wet paint.

Help him cut out 12 circles (about 1 ½ inches in diameter) out of cardboard. They don't have to be perfectly round.

He can jazz up the circles with a little paint and glitter if he so desires.

Have your child (or help your child) write the numbers 1 through 12 on the top of each of the cutout circles.

When the egg carton and circles are decorated to your kid's heart's content, have him close his eyes or leave the room as you fill each of the 12 egg cells with a little surprise.

Cover each of the cells with one of the numbered circles (not in numerical order, so it's a bit of a hunt) and tape them down.

Twelve days before the long-awaited event, have your child open up the cell numbered 12 and fish out his prize. The next day, he can open number 11, the following day number 10, and so on until the final day, when the long wait is finally over.

This idea was adapted from Parents Connect

Hallloween Treat Bags


Lunch bags: Brown, white or colored.
Hole punch
White glue or a glue gun with glue sticks: Kids and hot glue don't mix, so make sure you do all the gluing!
Craft foam: In Halloween-y colors like orange, black, green and purple. Or use precut foam Halloween shapes.
Googly eyes
Rafia or ribbon: In Halloween colors.
Embellishments: Glitter glue, craft foam letters, shapes, rhinestones, etc.
Halloween treats

Bust out your craft foam or your craft foam shapes and put your kid to work assembling a Halloween-themed face to go on his bag.

If he plans to cut out his own faces, help him measure a piece of craft foam as wide as his paper bag and half as tall.

Have him draw the outline of the face he chooses: jack-o-lantern, pirate, witch, skeleton, Frankenstein, etc. He can get inspiration online! Help him cut it out.

Once the face shape is done (either cut out or pulled, precut, out of the package!), have your kid use more craft foam to put facial features on his face. He can cut out a big crooked witch nose, creepy Herman Munster hair or jack-o-lantern teeth.

Have him glue the features onto the face. While he's at it, have him glue on googly eyes if he wants to.

Next, hand him the markers and let him go to town adding smaller details (like the wart on the witch's nose).

Once the face is completely assembled, have your kid glue it on to the front of his lunch bag—leaving three inches at the top to fold down.

Then, help him glue craft foam letters onto his bag to spell his name or the names of his friends. (Remember to leave three inches at the top of the paper bag!)

Have your kid add some embellishments to the bag like rhinestones, spiders, foam Halloween treats and gold dubloons for a pirate face. Or he can just use glitter glue to make it boo-tiful!

When the bag is completely decorated, let your kid fill it up with Halloween treats.

Fold over the top of the bag one inch and use the hole punch to punch two holes through the top, two inches apart.

Finally, help your kid thread the rafia or Halloween ribbon through the holes and tie them into a bow in the front.

Let your kid run off to give the treat bags to his friends while you "clean up" any leftover Halloween candy.

Adapted from Parents Connect

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Pasta Skeleton

This is a cute idea for a Halloween craft and easy for kids K-6.

This idea was adapted from Enchanted Learning