Sunday, October 30, 2011

Homemade Tron costume


If you know my son Brenden then you know that he is in costumes more than regular clothing! His costumes mean a lot to him! We happened to be searching Netflix last week and saw that they added the newest Tron movie. My son fell in love with the costumes and their weapons. If you have a Netflix account and haven't seen the movie, you can watch it now on instant streaming! Furthermore, He begged me to get him a Tron costume so he could be that for Halloween. I looked online and they were sold out most places and when I found ONE place that had the costume in stock, without identity disk, it was around 50 dollars! NOT happening! =) I remembered that my mom gave him a SWAT team costume that was big so I was saving it till this coming christmas.... It was PERFECT because once you take off the "bulletproof vest" it was an all black suit! So here is what I did to make his homemade Tron costume!

I spent 4 dollars at Michaels on glow in the dark puffy paints, blue and natural colors. Then painted out the design on the all black suit by looking at a picture of the real costume online.

 For his Identity Disk, we had a small frisbee so my husband cut out the center with a jigsaw and spray painted it black!
 I had some black Velcro so I hot glued the soft side to the back of the costume and the ruff side to the frisbee (identity disk).

 Here you can kind of see all the Velcro I put on the back. I tried to put a lot in hopes that he could take the disk on and off all by himself. 

This is what the Identity Disk looks like on the back of the costume. He can successfully take it off and put it back on all by himself!
 Here is my boy in his new costume playing in the dark garage! =)
 A glow in the dark shot!
   tron costume
Tron boy climbing the walls!

I hope you all have a wonderful Halloween tomorrow! Stay safe and get lots of treats! =)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Cooking: Fun & Healthy Personal Pizza

I feel that one of my jobs in life is to take a food that most people would call "unhealthy" and make a healthy version!!! Here is one of the ways we make pizza at our house. What you will need:
  • Whole wheat tortillas (one per pizza)
  • a jar of pasta sauce
  • shredded cheese
  • 1/2 cup of ground veggies (carrots, spinach, broccoli, zucchini or any other vegetable you have on hand to put in your sauce)
  • Toppings for pizza that your family likes!

The first thing I do is get my sauce ready! Get out your food processor, magic bullet, or coffee bean grinder because we need about 1/2 cup of ground up veggies! For mine I used spinach and carrots. Dark greens are soooo good for us but kids normally don't eat them so I choose spinach a lot to grind up and add to my recipes. Also, spinach doesn't add any bad taste! For this you can use anything you have on hand but a tip is to try and use the stuff your children don't normally eat when cooked normally. 
 Here is the lid of my food processor to show you how diced up my veggies got!
 Add the veggies to you pasta sauce. I used Whole Foods brand 365 sauce. Their organic sauce is a great price actually comparable to "normal" grocery store sauce. If you are going to a regular grocery store to get your sauce PLEASE read the ingredient label!!! Most sauce now a days add sugar or high fructose corn syrup to it, even organic sauces! We don't need this extra sugar.....save it for the dessert right? You will find some without sugar but it's like a scavenger hunt, make it fun! =) Or another idea is to just use a jar of tomato sauce!
 Spread the sauce on the tortillas. If your child will look at the sauce and say.... what is that green stuff in there? Then you might also want to sprinkle the cheese on before you invite them to add the toppings.
 It's topping time, here is what we used! Two different types of cheeses, mushrooms (my kids LOVE them), and Natural hotdogs cut up for our pepperoni!
 They had so much fun with this and here are the pizzas ready to go in the oven. 350 degrees for about 10 min. Until your cheese is melted.
 Finished product! It will be a little harder to eat because your crust isn't thick so cut into small slices for your kids so they can hold on to them.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Craft/game: Indoor Tennis!

As the weather is starting to get colder, we need to have physical activities inside for our children. 
Indoor tennis is so much fun for  "children" of all ages. I put quotes around children because even I like to get in on this game! Here is what you will need:
  • A wooden ruler for each person (I got mine for 50 cents at target)
  • acrylic paint and brushes
  • paper plates, if a special holiday is coming up use that theme.
  • knife or sharp  pair of scissors
  • clear packing tape

First thing I did was give each child their ruler to paint the way they like it. 
 Here is a close up shot of my daughters ruler. Then I let them fully dry.
 This next step will most likely will be done by an adult. I used a knife to cut two lines in the middle of a paper plate. About and inch apart and as long as your ruler.
 Then you weave your ruler through your lines and tape it in place. I taped the back and the front sides.
 Here is our finished product. These are the paper plate paddles for the game. We also taped the ruler a little, where you would be holding it but you don't have to do this. Since it's Halloween time, we used halloween paper plates. Get thanksgiving plates and play with your family after dinner to burn off some extra calories or get christmas plates and pull them out when the kids have nothing to do on that long break from school!
Now all you have to do is blow up some balloons and use those as your balls. If you have little ones, I would blow up a balloon for each child and let them try on their own to keep it off the ground. With school age children you can have them play a game and hit it back and fourth to each other over a line on the ground or a piece of furniture. The video below is me and my son playing a short game!
video

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Crafting with Mod Podge!

Yesterday was my sweet little Kiki's 3rd birthday! The theme was cupcakes!
 We had her party at a place with a coffee shop and a large Gym for the kids to play. For a party favor we wanted to give out balls to everyone and we wanted to incorporate the cupcake theme. So I brought out one of my favorite craft supplies called Mod Podge! I love this stuff and I use it ALL the time! If you haven't heard of it, you are missing out! It is a non-toxic, waterbase all-in-one glue, sealer, and finish! This means you can use it like glue then paint it over top and seal it to whatever you are making. Mod Podge comes with different finishes too: matte, gloss, and even glitter! HERE is their website so you can find out more!

So this is what we did to make cupcake balls.
We colored cute cupcakes that I printed out off the computer for free. HERE'S the link if you want them also. They are so cute and fun to color!
 I cut out the cupcakes and then painted Mod Podge on the back. Use it like you would use glue!
 I placed the cupcakes over the ugly bar code on the ball, then painted the Mod Podge all over top of the cupcakes.
 Here is what kiki's ball looked like right after I painted Mod Podge all over the top! Let it sit till fully dry.
 I like the gloss finish Mod Podge, it gives a nice shine to your crafts! Here is Kiki playing with her birthday cupcake ball at her party! Completely sealed for hours of fun! =)
 The kids with their  cupcake balls! =)
*Since it's halloween time, i'll give you a few other ideas of how I've used Mod Podge. We painted some of our pumpkins with acrylic paint and if anyone else has done this then you know that if you leave these pumpkins outside then the paint washes away with the rain. After the acrylic paint was dry, I sealed it with Mod Podge so we still have our fun painted pumpkins sitting outside! I also used fun Halloween paper and cut out the first letter to my children's names and sealed them on little pumpkins. Also, I let the kids use Halloween stickers on their pumpkins and sealed them on with Mod Podge!

You can do so much with this stuff!
I will tell you one other thing I did when I first got married. I bought an old lamp shade at a thrift store. I printed out a bunch of black and white photos of my husband and me and then Mod Podged them all over the lamp shade. To bad I don't have a picture to show you but it was a cool unique lamp that hardly cost me anything! =)

Friday, October 21, 2011

Halloween Craft: Balloon Ghosts


Ghost Balloons are an easy cheap fun craft to make with your child to decorate your house or just to play with! It's so nice to have decorations that kids could just grab off the wall, throw around a bit, and then hang back up! If they get destroyed during playtime, just make more! =) All you will need is:
  • a white plastic grocery bag
  • a white balloon
  • a sharpie marker
  • a piece of string (about 3 feet long)

Here is my ALL white plastic grocery bag...

 If you can actually find a plastic bag with no logos on it, you got lucky and you just have to cut off the handles at the bottom.
Most peoples plastic bags are from Target or Walmart so you will need two bags! Cut off the handles on the bottom, as pictured above, then cut all of the logo side out! Repeat this step with another plastic bag. Discard the logo side of the bags and just keep you two plain white sides.
Then cut bag into strips about an inch thick. They don't have to be perfect! You can even let older kids do this part! Stop a few inches from the top of the bag. Then set aside.
 Blow up your white balloon and have you child draw a spooky face on it with a black sharpie, Tie side up!
 Tape your plastic bag around the bottom of the balloon, tie a string to the top, and there you have it! A fun halloween toy/decoration!
Here is a video of my daughter playing with her ghost balloon! Fun Times!

video




Thursday, October 20, 2011

Cooking: Pumpkin swirl muffins


Here is my first post where I show you how I convert a normal recipe to make it a little more healthy for your family but just as YUMMY!
Pumpkin Swirl Muffins are a perfect blend of spicy pumpkin with a little swirl of cheesecake on top. My kind of muffin and a wonderful treat around the holidays! This recipe makes about 12 regular size muffins.

Muffins:
  • 1 15oz can of pumpkin  (I used organic)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil  (in this case you can also use olive or coconut oil)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar (There are MANY great substitutes for white sugar. I used Agave nectar which they now sell in most grocery stores but you might have to go to the health section. Stevia is a good natural choice or one of my favorites 100% Maple Syrup! You normally don't have to use as much as the recipe calls for so in this case I used 3/4 cup Agave Nectar.)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups all-pourpose flour (I blogged about white vs. 100% whole grain so you can understand why I would make different choices when it comes to this area and other options you have. I had Spelt flour on hand so I used= 1 1/2 cups Spelt flour. To make this Gluten free use Buckwheat flour)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Swirl filling:
  • 8 ounces cream cheese at room temperature (For those of you who are Lactose intolerant like I am there is a great substitute for cream cheese made by Tofutti and is pictured below)
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 5 tablespoons sugar (4 tablespoons of Agave nectar)
  • 1/8 teaspoons vanilla extract

Crust:
  • about 6 Graham crackers (Trader Joes has YUMMY Graham crackers made without high fructose corn syrup, pictured below)
  • 3 tablespoons of butter (dairy free option : Earth balance)

Start by preheating your oven to 350F (180C)

Mix pumpkin, oil, and sugar (agave) together.
 Add eggs, one at a time, combining thoroughly after each.
add vanilla
 whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices in separate bowl.
 Slowly add flour mixture to liquids, combining thoroughly and scraping the sides of the bowl with a spatula.
 Line you muffin tin with paper cups or grease.
 Here comes the fun part! Divide up the 6 graham crackers into ziplock bags and let the kids pound on them and make them into graham cracker crumbs! Heat up 3 tablespoons of butter in a bowl then mix in your graham cracker crumbs until moist.
 Evenly pour the crumbs in each muffin cup, then press firmly down to flatten on the bottom of the cup, making the crust!
 Then evenly pour your pumpkin muffin mix into each muffin cup.
 Now for the cheesecake swirl filling. Here is a picture of the cream cheese substitute I used.
 Mix together cream cheese, sugar(agave), egg yolk and vanilla until well combined.
I let my kids lick the beaters but you always have to be carful with this when raw egg is in the mixture!
Add a small spoonful of the cream cheese mixture on top of each muffin.
 Swirl with a skewer.
 Bake times:

  • mini muffins : 20-25 min
  • standard muffins: 25-30 min
  • jumbo muffins: 30-40 min

You will know they are ready when toothpick or butter knife stuck in the middle comes out clean.
Here is a picture of finished product, NO white flour and NO white sugar and showing off the YUMMY graham cracker crust!
*Two things you could do to add to these muffins would be to sprinkle chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans) to the top of the muffins before baking or add a cup of dark chocolate chips to your pumpkin muffin mix, mix them in before separating out into muffin cups!
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