Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Bee A Great Babysitter

For my 12-18 year old Young Women we held a Babysitting 101 class as an activity last week.  I thought it was a great activity because looking back to when I was babysitting I could have definitely done a better job and could have had a lot more babysitting jobs had I had a little training.

We talked about some basic first aid and then went over the handouts I put together.

We really just stressed the need to talk to the parents to find out what the rules and expectations are.

We wanted the girls to know some basic information about the family in case of an emergency.

 We wanted the girls to realize that babysitting can be a lot of fun, and parents appreciate it when you don't just let the kids watch TV and play video games the whole time they are gone.

 I found a list of good children's books online and added some of my kids's favorites to spark some ideas for the girls when they go babysitting.

Sometimes to get a great idea you build off of others.  We compiled a list of fun things to do with kids to spark the creative juices. 

We didn't actually make a kit but I wanted to give the girls an idea of what they could put in the kit.  I put all the handouts in a really cute floral folder I found at Target in hopes that the girls would have everything in one place and remember where it was!

I don't think the girls were super excited about the activity when they found out what it was since several of them had taken a Babysitter course already but all of them were asking questions telling stories and by the end I think it was definitely safe to say it was a success.

Add to Your Kit

I was able to turn this idea into a reality with the help of this wonderful blog:

Monday, October 29, 2012

Crib Quilt

This quilt is a crib sized quilt I made for a charity auction.  it is 6 x 10 squares with a 3 inch white border, I was a little short on fabric for the top and bottom so they were only 1 1/2" but it still worked.

I had several 6 inch squares on hand, so I used 4 different fabrics and laid them out in the order I liked. I used a solid blue background and a pink binding.

Fabric Pattern:
1 A, B, C, D, A, B
2 D, A, B, C, D, A
3 C, D, A, B, C, D
4 B, C, D, A, B, C
5 A, B, C, D, A, B
6 D, A, B, C, D, A
7 C, D, A, B, C, D
8 B, C, D, A, B, C
9 A, B, C, D, A, B
10 D, A, B, C, D, A

I like to lay out my pattern on the ground and then stack my squares in order, however there are many ways to do this.  So I had 10 piles of 6 squares.

Then I assembled the quilt top.  I took my first stack of squares and sewed A to B right sides facing with a 1/4 inch seam, C to D right sides facing and A to B right sides facing.  So you have a nice little train of 6 squares.  Snip the strings.  Then you unfold your 3 rectangles.  Open AB and place CD on top of it right sides facing and sew your 1/4" inch seam, trim your edges open up your ABCD and place your AB rectangle in the right position right sides facing and sew with 1/4" seam.  Trim your edges and when you open it up you have your first row.  A, B, C, D, A, B all sewn together.

Repeat the process for the other 9 rows.  Then press your seams open so they sit nice and flat.  Once you have your rows sewn and pressed then you can attach them together.  Put row 1 and 2 right sides together and pin starting in the center.  Line up your seams and working from the center out place your pins at a diagonal so that when you sew it will stay in the right place and you will have crisp corners.  Pin 1 to 2, 3 to 4, 5 to 6, 7 to 8, and 9 to 10.  Then sew 1,2 section to 3,4; 5,6 to 7,8.  Then the 1,2,3,4 to the 5,6,7,8 and the 5,6,7,8 to the 9,10.  After your quilt top is all sewn together press open your seams.

Attach your border to the quilt top and again press open your seams.

Make a quilt sandwich: The back right side down extending a few inches beyond the dimensions of the top, batting lining up with the back, and the top layer is the quilt top right side up and pin them all together in place.  I machine quilted this quilt, but you can tie at this point if you want.  I machine quilted with a 1/4" border inside each square.  Once quilted attach the binding.

For the Binding: 3" strips sewn together to make one long strip big enough to go around the entire quilt.   Press the seams and then fold in half wrong sides together.  Start about 1/2 way down a side and pin your binding to quilt leaving a 6" tail before you start to pin along one edge raw edges lining up with the raw edges of the quilt and sew with 1/4" seam.  Miter your corner if desired.  Then pin along the next section, miter your corner, pin and repeat until you reach where your starting point is leaving another tail.  Open up both tails and mark where they will meet on both pieces Pin the tails right sides facing.  Use a ruler and mark your seam line.  Sew your seam line and trim excess fabric finger press open the seam.  Fold in half and lay down flat along your quilt edge and pin in place. Starting a little behind where you stopped sewing before back stitch and sew the remaining binding in place extending past your original starting point and back stitching there also, securing in place.  Snip all your loose ends.  Flip the binding over to the other side and you can either hand stitch the binding using a blind stitch or you can machine sew in place.  I have found using clear quilting thread works well to attach the binding to the other side.  Make sure you move your needle and sew as close as you can to the edge while still catching all the fabric making a secure end.

This is a resource for great binding tutorials!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Halloween Carnival

Last year I helped my 2 friends and my Youth group organize a Halloween carnival for my church, and this year I ended up planning another one and I took charge of the one for my son's scout troop also.  My kids were bouncing off the walls because they had so much fun.  After searching the internet using past ideas and scanning Pinterest for any other good ideas, these were the games that we have used over the last 2 years.  We had about 10 games or so running and it seemed to work really well around the gym:

Cupcake walk: This one is a classic and always a favorite.  Have numbered squares or even colored Halloween coloring pages placed in a circle on the floor.  Make smaller versions cut up and placed in a bowl to draw the winning square each round. Find fun music to play, we used Halloween Kidz Bop.  Play the music and the kids walk around the squares when the music stops whoever is on the winning square is the winner. Can choose to hand out prizes/candy instead of cupcakes.
Fish for prizes: Another classic.  Make 2 fishing rods (stick) with string and clothes pins attached at the end of the string.  Decorate something to hide the prize givers in the back we had access to white boards on wheels, this worked perfectly.  Then the kids cast their string back behind the "pond" where you attach the prize to the clothes pins.
Bean Bag toss: Decorate and Cut a few holes in a big cardboard box and kids have to throw ping pong balls/bean bags into the holes.  Or you can make a cornhole type game.  We have done both ways and both were successful

Ducky Match: have pairs of numbers/shape/colors on the bottom of a dozen small rubber ducks (or even Hershey kisses) when a child picks a match and they get a prize
Pick a boo: Static lollipop board (This year we used a peg board, last year we made a cardboard tree) with tootsie pop's decorated as ghosts.  A few of the "ghosts" sticks were marked on the bottom with a color, if you picked a color you get a special prize, if not you just get to keep the Tootsie Pop.
Donuts on a string:  Use a stick or even a broom handle and tie a few strings from it.  2 volunteers will hold the stick parallel to the ground where donuts are tied to the strings.  The children have to eat the small miniature donuts off of the string without using their hands

TP Toss: The kiddos line up behind a set line and have to throw a roll of TP (3 tries) into a new clean Toilet seat attached over a box, prizes are tootsie rolls

Life size tick tack toe:  My kids really liked this one.  Use painters tape to make a large gameboard on the floor, we actually had 2.  You can use Witch hats and paper pumpkins or really whatever you can think of as game pieces 
Can Prize Toss: prizes are placed in 10 decorated tin cans glued to a piece of cardboard covered in fabric, there are 3 small beanbags so the children get 3 tries, whichever can the bag lands in is the prize that they will get (when we didn't attach the cans they fell down and moved all over but attaching them to cardboard is completely optional)

Carnival Can knock down game: Stack 6 cans in a pyramid pattern and give the kiddos a few tries to knock them over with tennis balls

Candy Guessing Game: Fill a jar with candy and know how much is in the jar.  Have the children write their guess of how many candy pieces are in the jar, whomever is the closest gets to keep the candy!
Cup Game: Use 3 cups you cannot see through and have a prize or ball under one of the cups with the cups all around and then the kiddos have to guess which cup the prize is under
Pumpkin Carving/Decorating Contest: Have the children coming decorate a pumpkin and assign each a number.  The kids can all vote on their favorites and count the votes and award prizes at the end.  We did prizes for the top 3.  You could have winners for different categories if you wanted.
Drop a coin into a bottle:  we used pennies and gave each participant 3 tries.  The bottle we used was a 2 liter bottle cut off on the neck right before it opens up to the full width of the bottle
Push an apple with your nose:  We set up 2 lines about 20 feet apart and had up to 2 children go at the same time.  They push the apple from one line across the other using only their nose.

Ghost Waiter: The children carry a balloon on a paper plate to a designated place you can mark it with tape on the floor.  If  they drop their balloon they have to go back and start over

Box Maze:  The Young Men put together this one and my kids are still talking about it.  They collected large appliance sized cardboard boxes and using duct tape made a maze out of them.  They had the lights down and a smoke machine going and it was an absolute hit!

We had all the children come wearing costumes but we did not have a costume contest.  I ordered a selection of prizes in from Oriental Trading and we held a Trunk or Treat outside in the parking lot after the carnival was over.  

This is one of those activities that my kids look forward to every year and it's nice to have a good selection of games listed in one place!  I hope your kids enjoy them as much as mine do.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Cake Decorating

My son turned 8 this August and asked for a Pokemon birthday cake, so using a great new skill I found with the help of Pinterest this is the cake I made for him.

We have a tradition of making cakes for my kids and it is something that they look forward every year and sometimes I wonder how I am going to make what they ask for, this trick was a life saver!

I used a regular box cake mix and baked it into 2 8" rounds.  After about 10 minutes of cooling I removed them from their pans to finish cooling on racks.  With a bread knife I cut the domed top off of the base so that the top would sit on it flat.  After the cake was completely cooled I started to frost.

I refuse to buy frosting when it is so easy to make, so I made a quick batch of butter cream frosting.

1 lb or so of powdered sugar
1/2 stick of butter softened (1/4 cup)
1 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt
about 1/4 cup of warm water/milk (for this cake I used water)

In a mixing bowl add vanilla and about a cup of the powdered sugar and beat with an electric mixer until blended.  Add a pinch of salt and the vanilla.  Alternate adding the liquid and the remaining powdered sugar a cup at a time mixing well after each addition until you reach your desired consistency.  The great thing about making your own is you can control how much sugar and how much liquid you put in.   Once you have your bowl of frosting then you get to make colors!  I always like to leave white in my big bowl and pull out frosting for the other colors in case you have to make a different color later that you forgot while you were mixing, it just saves from having to make a completely new batch of frosting, and if you find you need more frosting, you can just add more ingredients into the frosting you have instead of starting over or making a bunch of colored frosting you wanted white.

Once you have your yummy frosting that you sampled to make sure it wasn't poison... then you can layer your cake.  On the base put a layer of frosting on the top and place the top layer in place.  Then frost all around the sides of the cake and finish with the top.  I wanted a smooth finish on the top because I made the transfer.

Now this was the new part for me and I will never have to freehand with frosting again!

Go online and pick a coloring page for whatever you want on the cake.  Find a piece of glass that will completely fit over the image and then wash the glass.  Tape the coloring sheet facing up like it would if you were framing it to the underside of the glass.  Then tape a piece of Wax Paper on the top of the piece of glass, you should still be able to see your image.

I sprayed a paper towel with non-stick cooking spray and coated the wax paper, I don't know if this was necessary but I wanted to make sure the frosting came off when I needed it to...

Mix the colors you need from the left over frosting if you haven't already.  An easy way to make your own piping bag is to use a zip top bag and clip the corner.  You can use whatever decorating tip you want and slide down in the hole (Make sure your hole isn't bigger than the base of your tip).  Once your tip is loaded use a glass and flip the bag over the top.

This makes a super easy way to fill your bag with frosting without frosting your hands in the process, however sometimes that's not a bad thing...

I purchased these on my last trip to the store which will make it easier to change the tip from bag to bag, otherwise you have to fish it out or destroy your bag by pulling the tip out of the end, which can be super fun, especially when using black frosting...

So, once you have your colors loaded in your bags then you get to "color" in the picture.  But you do it backwards, starting with the details first then the color.  So on the Pokemon picture I started with my black outline.  Then over the top of that I filled in the yellow for the body with a fairly thick layer 1/8-1/4 inch thick.  Then I filled in the blue, and then the red.  When I was done I could not see any of the black lines on the back it was a solid layer of yellow, blue, and red frosting.  Then I put the whole thing in the freezer for about 30 minutes.

After I was sure the frosting was firm, I removed the tape from the wax paper so it was no longer attached to the glass, then positioned the image where I wanted it over the frosted blue base. I quickly flipped over the wax paper and carefully helped the beautiful frosting picture peel off the paper and into it's place on the cake!  Voila!  You are now the master cake decorator.  Once the image is in place write in your words and decorate however else you would like to.

Not a bad turnout for a first try!

Check out the blog that brought provided the wonderful inspiration:

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