Friday, October 30, 2009

Halloween Cupcakes with 10 Kids

Recipe for a big Halloween colored mess: Take 10 kids, give them each two cupcakes and let the loose on four colors of icing and a ton of Halloween candies and sprinkles.

We let them eat one after lunch and boxed up the other to take home. Many of these cupcakes were truly gag inducing - especially Max's double decker creations. Gross.

The kids gave this activity two very sticky thumbs up!

Halloween Crafting Craziness

The kids were out of school the last two days. It rained 99.9% of the time. Yesterday I had 10 children in my house from 6:30am to 6:00pm. It was . . . . loud.

Lovely Marsha came and helped me wrestle the crowd through a Halloween craft. We had no real goal with these, I just pulled out a bunch of crafty looking things, some candy and glue and let them go to town.

It was . . . . messy (but fun).

I am a Winner!

That's right. I won.

Well, an honorable mention, but I am not normally a winner of anything, so I am proud. Me and my crappy point and shoot camera, captured the above image of the kids tearing down a hill at the Caponi Art Park this summer. I entered it in their photography contest on a whim and received a nice little email letting me know I was chosen as an honorable mention. I'm almost embarrassed to link to all of the submitted photos because they are gorgeous and obviously taken by people with better skills, photo shop experience and better cameras. There is a reception at the park for all of us winners on Monday night.

No large cash prizes, just the fame and glory. I'll take it.

Recipe: Eggs Benedict Squares

This is another new recipe I tried on Wednesday. I served it to the kids for breakfast and they actually all loved it though most of them picked out the green stuff. I modified a recipe from Essential Mormon Celebrations which someone gave me for Christmas one year.

4 whole English muffins split in half
2 cups grated cheddar cheese divided (I did not have enough sharp cheddar, so I used a mixture of sharp cheddar, parmigiana and mozzarella)
1 cup chopped ham (I took 1/2 pound of deli ham and chopped it up)
3 cups cooked broccoli or asparagus. I used a bunch of asparagus and just cooked it really quickly in the microwave.
8 eggs (I used 10)
2 cups milk
1/2 cup chopped red pepper (I left this out knowing the kids would just pick it out)
1 t. dry mustard (I did not have any of this, so I added a bit of garlic powder and dry marjoram because it smelled good.)
3/4 t. salt
1/8 t. pepper.

Oven to 350. Take a 9 X 13 glass pan and butter it. Put the muffins in the bottom and then sprinkle them with 2/3 of the cheese. Add a little extra - I did. Sprinkle on the asparagus. Beat together the wet ingredients and then pour into the pan. Bake for 35 minutes or so and then top with the remaining cheese and bake again until melted. You can tell when it's done becaue it is puffy and firm when touched. This recipe came with a sauce recipe to pour on top, but it seemed like overkill, so I skipped it.

I snapped a photo the next morning when I was reheating this for my breakfast. Great leftovers and I did not pick out the asparagus.

Recipe: Yellow Spice Cake with Orange Cream Cheese Icing

On Wednesday, I baked this cake for the Teacher Conference Dinner at Red Pine. It caused me to forget about playgroup. Somehow I am losing some of my multi-tasking skills - or maybe I'm just losing my memory.

The cake is another from James McNair's Cakes
I took his Yellow Cake recipe and used the variation to make it a spice cake.

2 1/2 cups plus 2T cake flour
1T Baking Powder
3/4 t. salt
2 sticks unsalted butter at room temp
2 cups sugar (1 white, 1 brown)
6 egg yolks at room temp
2 eggs room temp
2 t vanilla
1 cup buttermilk room temp
2 t. cinnamon
1t. allspice
1/2 t. ground cloves
1/2 t. nutmeg (freshly ground if you have it)

Sift dry ingredients several times. Beat butter until creamy, add sugars and beat until very light and fluffy (about 5 minutes with scraping the sides). Slowly drizzle in eggs while mixing at med. then add vanilla. Set mixture to lowest setting and alternate adding wet and dry ingredients - make sure you scrape the sides and the bottom of the bowl really well.

Bake at 350 in two 9 inch greased and floured pans for 30 minutes.

I split my cake into four layers and filled with the icing. I just made up the icing, but here is about what I did.

Beat 1 stick room temp butter and 1 block (8 oz.) room temp cream cheese until fluffy. Add 2 t. vanilla and the zest of one orange. Add about 1/2 cup or more of sour cream and then start adding powdered sugar until the frosting is thick enough to spread and hold. Note: this cake will need a crumb coat as the cake has a very delicate texture.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Easy Halloween Craft

Have each child cut strips out of an 8 1/2 X 11 sheet of orange paper. I find it is simplest if you make small cuts along one edge so they know where to start. I love how kids need to stick their tongues out when they are really concentrating!

Once the strips are cut, give each child a sheet of black paper and have them start gluing them to form a circle. To save on time and mess, I drew lines of glue on their papers at this point and they attached the orange strips.

Cut out triangles and circles from other colors and let the children create stems, eyes and mouths.

That's it!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

After School Halloween Treat

I meant to make these on Saturday, but it's really crucial to have running water in your house because they are messy! So, we made them yesterday and gave them to the kids after school as a reward for each picking up 75 things in the disaster that is the toy room!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Halloween Party

I did not get many photos of Susan's super fun Halloween Party - mainly because I was taking photos with her nice camera (more camera envy) most of the night! She always has the coolest parties: chili bake off, pumpkin carving contest, costume contest, spooky stories, Halloween treats galore, pumpkin bowling, Halloween movies in the basement (we were watching Ghost Busters!), mummy wrapping game, dry ice freaky punch, mist machines, beautiful decorations and prizes for everyone. She really does a great job and I think this year she had something like 60 people in her house!

I made the caramel apples with the twigs in them as my house was without water for most of Saturday as the new water heater was being installed. They are pretty cute and I think we may try and make them with the daycare kids this week - maybe.

Recipe: Nutella Pound Cake

I found this recipe on-line at Food and Wine Magazine and decided to try it on Friday night. Here are my thoughts: Yum!

Yes, in fact it does take an entire jar of Nutella (I may have eaten a few spoonfuls while baking it). I think you need to put more Nutella in the top portion of the loaf as the Nutella seems to sink to the bottom. The loaf took a little longer to cook and needs to cool inverted for a long time in order to come out cleanly.

Nutella Pound Cake

  1. 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  2. 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  3. 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  4. 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  5. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  6. 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  7. 1 1/4 cups sugar
  8. One 13-ounce jar Nutella


  1. Preheat the oven to 325°. Lightly grease and flour a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan, tapping out any excess flour. In a glass measuring cup, lightly beat the eggs with the vanilla. In a medium bowl, whisk the 1 1/2 cups of flour with the baking powder and salt.
  2. In a large bowl, using a handheld mixer, beat the butter with the sugar at medium-high speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. With the mixer at medium-low speed, gradually beat in the egg mixture until fully incorporated. Add the flour mixture in 3 batches, beating at low speed between additions until just incorporated. Continue to beat for 30 seconds longer.
  3. Spread one-third of the batter in the prepared pan, then spread half of the Nutella on top. Repeat with another third of the batter and the remaining Nutella. Top with the remaining batter. Lightly swirl the Nutella into the batter with a butter knife. Do not overmix.
  4. Bake the cake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Invert the cake onto a wire rack, turn it right side up and let cool completely, about 2 hours. Cut the cake into slices and serve.

Halloween Craft

We made these out of two liter bottles on Saturday morning. They ended up being used for pumpkin bowling at Susan's Halloween Bash that evening. Left to right: me, me, Calvin, Max and Sophie.

I'm Waving A White Flag

Yesterday's Mission:

Stay home from church with nasty cold and two sick kids. Take a nap. Feel better.

Yesterday's Reality:
  1. comfort two sick kids with cough drops, herbal tea and water bottles
  2. greet kind neighbor who has come over to cut down some branches for me
  3. send Max off to church with Ken (our hard working home teacher)
  4. grab an armful of dirty laundry to take to the laundry room,
  5. pass by the basement stairs and smell natural gas (even with my congestion)
  6. call the gas company - they will be here in a hour - don't cause any sparks
  7. a half hour later we loose all power
  8. panic
  9. put sick kids in coats and boots and evacuate the house
  10. pull door close behind me
  11. realize I have just locked us out of the house
  12. the gas guy arrives
  13. call Kelly who looks in her house for a key - no luck
  14. Kelly texts Ken at church to see if he can see Lori who definitely has a key - no luck
  15. call Bryan and ask him to come down with a key
  16. hang out in the driveway for 30 more minutes with the gas guy
  17. be amused by neighbors pulling in and trying their garage door openers
  18. neighbors start coming over to ask the gas guy why there is no power
  19. Bryan arrives with key
  20. gas guy discovers gas leak on pipe leading into new hot water heater
  21. gas guy kindly fixes leak without charging me
  22. open all the windows in the house to air out the gas
  23. freeze
  24. about 1/2 later the power comes back on
  25. max returns home
  26. settle the kids on the couch to watch a non-sabbath movie while I clean
  27. visiting teacher Taran arrives with chicken soup (bless her)
  28. visiting teacher's husband goes downstairs to look at the non-functioning outlets and discovers major leak in the water pipe leading out of the hot water heater
  29. utility room floor is soaked
  30. call hard working home teacher Ken again to report leak
  31. feed kids soup and hustle them up into bed
  32. home teacher arrives to fix pipe
  33. water is turned off - no more cleaning for me
  34. home teacher calls in reinforcements
  35. James arrives to lend his plumbing expertise
  36. Ken and James make a trip to Home Depot
  37. water leak is fixed
  38. it is now 9:00pm and somehow I never got that nap, I do not feel better, the house did not get clean and I would like a re-do of my weekend!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Views From My Window - All Day Today

It rained and then it started turning to slushy cold looking stuff and then it started snowing and then is started REALLY snowing. All day long. I nursed a cold and drank 5 mugs of herbal tea, baked whole wheat banana bread, nutella pound cake and made mashed sweet potatoes - and ran a daycare. Now I am going to indulge myself with an evening on the couch in flannel Christmas pajamas, slippers and another mug of herbal tea and an as yet unwatched version of Jane Eyre on DVD. Here's to hoping I can keep my eyes open!

Harvest Parade in Halloween Costumes

Yesterday we walked up to the school to watch the Harvest Parade. I only had four children in tow and most of them wanted to wear costumes. It was chilly.

We sat out by the playground because:

the kids wanted to play on the swings
my camera is crappy and I can only take a descent photo outside
it was packed inside

Sophie was a winter princess (yard sale $3) and was prancing around in her hoop skirt all day.

Max was Boba Fett (and yes, I did have to google how to spell that) which came in a bag of lovely Halloween hand me downs from the Deans. I love hand me downs.

We stopped by the parties after the parade in order to warm up before heading home.

Here is Sophie demonstration her squash bowling technique. Those squash were not going to last long.

Max is now too cool for me when I try and snap his photo in front of friends. Sigh.

On the walk home, we had to stop and observe this dried up worm. Calvin kept saying "it just needs some water!" I don't think water would quite do it for this guy.

I am grateful their school still allows this tradition. The kids love it and look forward to it for weeks. I know a lot of schools nationwide have banned Halloween costumes. Sad.