Posts Tagged ‘Crafts & Activities’

Sweet nothings

May 19, 2009

It was yet another week of steady Florida rain. In and of itself, the rain is not an issue. But when it is preceded by a week of a sick kid cooped up in the house waiting to feel better so she can GO OUTSIDE AND PLAY, well…it’s an issue. So there we were, desperate for diversion and crankiness loomed on the horizon.  We had made some paint crafts the previous day and when I suggested a similar project, my daughter’s lack of enthusiasm could be felt from across the room, where she sat begging to watch TV. So I countered with a cheerful “let’s make cookies!” Now that got her moving!

I was almost knocked down by the  powerful SWOOSH of a child dashing by me and into the kitchen. By the time I made it in there after her, she had already pulled the kitchen chair up to the counter and was demanding a wooden spoon. At that moment I thought, “gee I really hope I have ingredients to make cookies”. Something I probably should have considered sooner. Thankfully, I had the makings for a batch of sugar cookies. Well, technically I didn’t have enough butter. But part butter, part margarine, part shortening sugar cookies would do just fine!

Ingredients in...

Per the recipe (which I quickly took off the back of the sugar bag), I needed to chill the dough for an hour. To an almost-three-year-old an hour might as well be forever, so we went ahead and rolled the dough out anyway. It was definitely stickier than if we had chilled it. Here’s a handy tip to help with clean up when making cut out cookies…parchment paper.

cookies 014

I cut out a large piece of parchment paper and used painters tape to attach it to the table. It serves two purposes. First, it keeps the mess off the table so all I have to do is roll up the paper and toss it into the trash. Second, because it is a fairly nonstick surface, less flour is needed. When you have a child who likes to toss the flour all around, the less flour the better! If you haven’t used parchment paper in your baking, I highly recommend it. It will help your cookies brown evenly and reduce the need to grease the pan (works great for cakes too)!

My daughter is getting pretty good at using the cookie cutters. I help her roll the dough out by using a mini sized rolling pin that I purchased just for her. After that, she chooses the cutters she wants and presses them into the dough.

cookies 016

My original intent is to have her cut out all the cookies. I know she will have a lot of fun with this. But while the first batch is in the oven, the baby lets me know in no uncertain terms that she needs to be nursed NOW. One look at the clock reminds me that it’s past lunch time and nap time is coming up too. I decide to take care of the children’s bellies and deal with the cookies later. During nap time, I cut out cookies from the remaining dough. My daughter’s disappointment will be eclipsed by her delight of the next step…decorating!

I had planned on whipping up a quick batch of icing…powdered sugar, butter, vanilla, milk. Simple. Quick. Then I look at my sink. My sparkling clean sink. Next to my sparkling clean sink is my sparkling clean mixer and my sparkling clean mixing bowls. I had just washed everything. Did I really want to do it all again? A quick peek in the pantry reveals…

cookies 020

Thank you Pillsbury for making life a little easier!

cookies 028

And thank you sprinkle makers for making sprinkles look so darn colorful and cheerful!

Nap time is over and the fun begins!cookies 033

After frosting a few cookies she informs me that her hands are too dirty and that “you should frost them mommy”. The sprinkling of happy sprinkles is what she is really after anyway.

cookies 035

And boy can she sprinkle! I mean, thick coats of sprinkles on each cookie. I have to go behind her and shake off the excess. But what a beautiful collection of happy rainy day sugar cookies we created!

cookies 037


Magic Butterflies

April 22, 2009

Magic Butterflies float above my daughter’s bed. They flutter and fly sending sweet dreams tumbling into her sleepy head.

These peaceful butterflies were born out of a morning of aggravation and a commitment to not be wasteful. In one of my delusional moments where I refuse to accept the fact that life is more complicated with two little ones, I decided to venture into the grocery store to do some shopping. And by grocery store I mean Walmart…on a busy Saturday…you get the picture.

With the baby strapped into a front carrier and my toddler in the shopping cart, I felt like productive Super Mommy! After an hour of maneuvering around oblivious shoppers and trying to keep my toddler happy while also attempting to continually bend down without spilling the baby out onto the floor, I was turning into Super Cranky Mommy instead. So by the time I got to the coffee filter aisle, I just wanted to get the trip over with. I didn’t even glance at the package in my hand before flinging it into the cart and making a mad dash to the checkout lane.

It wasn’t until the next day when I went to make that glorious pot of morning coffee that I discovered I had bought filters that were too small.   So there I was stuck with 150 filters that I couldn’t use, but refused to throw away. They had to be good for something right? And so began the search for craft projects that involved coffee filters. I was thrilled to learn they can serve a purpose after all when I discovered the butterfly project. You can find the complete instructions for this project at

My daughter loved painting with the watercolors and the colors bled very nicely and quickly onto the filters, which was perfect for a 2 year old attention span. I placed old dish towels underneath the filters as we painted them in order to absorb all the water.

The filters' metamorphis

The filters' metamorphous

After we finished painting, we laid them on a baking cooling rack to dry and went outside to play. By the time we had run around the yard for awhile, the filters were dry. After we folded them into a fan shape, I used pipe cleaners (she picked purple ones) to twist around the filters creating the antennas. I then used fishing wire and tied each butterfly to one of my daughter’s hangers. I was able to tuck the hanger under some heavier items on the shelf above her bed as an anchor. You could easily tape these to a shelf also for the same effect.

Now she lies in her bed and watches her butterflies float and tells me proudly that they are “so pretty Mommy and I painted them myself”. Her love of the project was completely worth the aggravation that preceded it. Five coffee filters down…145 to go!

Magic Butterfly

Our Magic Butterfly