July 30, 2010

Bored? Make Your Own Board Game

The kids were fighting about which board game to play.  It was a toss up between Cranium and Hungry Hippos.  So, since I can't possibly favor one over the other, I suggested we make our own.  I took apart an old priority mail box (free, thank you post office) for the playing board.  I told the kids that all the best board games have a theme, so Beckett came up with "The Road of Evolution" which I wrote along the side.  The kids drew the game spaces with black markers and colored the pictures with crayons.

In our game, the players evolve from EGG to DINOSAUR to BIRD to DOG to HUMAN FORM.  Along the way they are sent back by lava pits, gravity, snails, ice, and the favorite... a SQUARP (a combo word for SQUIRREL-WARP) which was our favorite and least favorite space.  Landing on it warps you forward to a roll of the die which results in either an easy win or a rabbid squirrel attack which sends you back to EGG!  There was a strong influence from Doctor Who in the warping and interplanetary travel aspects here with no clear reason for things like Lava water in the dog bowl.
For playing pieces we used small toys.  I grabbed the Wizard of Oz mega blox pieces.  Beckett preferred to make his own pieces from some more small pieces of cardboard.  Holly made a princess and Beckett made an "angry face" and a "big zero".  We used the dice popper from our "Trouble" game because we thought that was more fun than rolling a regular die.  The kids loved it and after each game round we added to the blank squares to make the game more challenging and to give more chances to scream SQUARP at the tops of our lungs.  Holly added a space with "dog hair in egg" that sends you back to the starting egg, of course!

July 21, 2010

Create Coloring Pages from Photos

It's laundry day!  So, to keep the kids busy at home I printed some coloring pages for them from our family photos.  This is super easy if you have Photoshop!  Just take a picture, adjust the size to fit the printed page.

Then choose FILTER, SKETCH, PHOTOCOPY... or hey... if you have a photocopier, you probably get a similar result the old fashioned way!  We had a lot of fun coloring these today... and what happened to the laundry?  There's always tomorrow...

July 16, 2010

Ice Age Treasure Hunt

It's hot.  Really hot.  Somewhere around 100.  So, I decided to put a spin on an old favorite and make an ice age treasure hunt.  All you need is a bag of ice cubes (or make your own if you plan ahead), and some tiny treasures from around the house.  I chose some coins, buttons, and beads.  Of course if your items are clear or white it makes the treasure hunt more difficult.

Hide the treasures deep under the ice.  Then grab a bowl or a tray to to sort the things you find.  I gave Holly a tray to sort the treasures and sprinkled some glitter and sequins on top of the ice to act as a treasure decoy!

When the ice melted, Holly suggested that we add a little more water, put the treasures back in the water,  and let the Barbies go for an icy swim.  I thought that would be a great idea, so I added just one drop of blue food coloring to give the water a little more of an ocean look and the mermaid Barbies had a great time.  The melted ice water was really chilly and kept us cool outside for about two hours!

July 5, 2010

Purplicious Purple Cupcakes

My daughter asked me if we could make purple cupcakes.  Of course we can.  All it takes is vanilla cake and some neon purple food coloring.  I also put some colored sprinkles in the mix for a bit of a surprise.  Aren't they pretty?  I think they are definitely purplicious.  Now all we need is some lavender milk...

July 4, 2010

Fourth of July Icebox Cookies

Today I made red, white, and blue cookies for the 4th.

Started with plain sugar cookie mix.  Then I split it into four parts.  I left one part white.  Colored one part red, and colored the other two parts blue.

I rolled all  four parts flat between plastic wrap.  Then I stacked them up.  Blue on the bottom, then red, then white, and another part blue on top.  I wanted mostly blue, but you could do it another way if you wanted to.

Then, I rolled the stack into a log shape.  Wrapped the log in plastic wrap and put it in the freezer until firm.   Then just slice and bake. Oh, and don't forget to sprinkle a little sugar on top before you bake. I used clear sugar crystals.  What's a 4th of July without a little sparkle?

Easy and delicious and the kids can help.  The colored dough looks just like playdough!

July 3, 2010

Wild Eggs (Deviled Eggs)

There's no real reason to have this here except that I love deviled eggs.  And this is something you can make quickly when people are coming over that the kids can easily help with.

Standard recipe is:  place eggs in cold water and bring to rolling boil. Simmer 12 mins.  Do not overcook.  Peel and cut in half. I tried lengthways and sideways. Slice off a TINY sliver of the white on the bottom so your egg won't roll when you put it on the plate (thanks to Martha for that tip).

Hollow out yolks into a small bowl.  For a dozen eggs, I add about two tbsp organic mayonnaise, pinch of kosher salt, and a tbsp or two of sweet relish.  All three of these are to taste.  You can also add a dash of white pepper if you want to.  Avoid black pepper so you don't spoil the pretty look of the yellow egg with little black specks.  And I know some people add mustard... but I like it better without.

The kids can pipe yolk mixture back into egg whites with hardly any help.  Just put the filling in a ziploc bag (freezer bags are thicker and so a bit sturdier for kids to use).  Sprinkle with a smidge of paprika. SO GOOD.  Holly calls them "wild eggs"!  I call them GONE.

July 2, 2010

Inspiration: Disneyland Fireworks

Just got home from a long day at Disneyland.  Because it's close to Independence Day, they had a special 4th of July fireworks show.  The colors were so amazing, I started wondering how I could translate the fireworks into a painting.  Click on the images to see the squiggly fireworks up close.  Some of the images look like we could craft a firework picture out of black construction paper, with some pipe cleaners or chenille yarn glued on.  Let me know if you try it.  Of course, you also need some glitter at the end for the proper SPARKLE.