Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Alternate Halloween Candy Uses

ridiculous candy

This picture says it all.  Granted, my three girls did go to several Halloween events, but this 33 lbs. of candy is POST mom & dad raids, sneaky puppies, and grandparent sharing.  33 LBS!  Ridiculous!

It’s not even a question of ‘Do I want my kids to have this much?’ It’s not possible for them to eat this load.  They’re really not that much into eating it anyway.  They like to organize, trade, and otherwise bribe their parents with it, but as far as eat it?  That’s unfortunately, my job.  SO!  Here are some ideas I came up with and a couple I stumbled across online to get it out of the house faster, …enjoy!

1. Sort through and freeze the small colorful pieces to use on your gingerbread houses this winter.  A Rovang tradition.

gingerbread house candy


2. M&M duels: from Top 10 Scientific Uses For Leftover Halloween Candy

Whenever I get a package of plain M&Ms, I make it my duty to continue the strength and robustness of the candy as a species. To this end, I hold M&M duels.

Taking two candies between my thumb and forefinger, I apply pressure, squeezing them together until one of them cracks and splinters. That is the "loser," and I eat the inferior one immediately. The winner gets to go another round.

I have found that, in general, the brown and red M&Ms are tougher, and the newer blue ones are genetically inferior. I have hypothesized that the blue M&Ms as a race cannot survive long in the intense theatre of competition that is the modern candy and snack-food world.

m&m duel

3. Science experiments. Make hypotheses about the following scenarios and then test them.

- Does it float or sink?

- What happens when you microwave it?

- How long does it take to dissolve on your tongue? What does it do to your tongue? Make you drool?  Turn it another color?

“A group of engineering students from Purdue University designed a licking machine, modeled after a human tongue. After several trials, they discovered the machine took an average of 364 licks to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop.” {Website above}

- Drop lemon juice on it from a dropper and see what happens.

- Fun with Melting! from Candy Experiments 

Cover a baking sheet with tinfoil
Unwrap your candy and put it on the sheet. (Caution: never melt a jawbreaker!)  Hmmm…now I’m curious
Place in low oven (300-350 F) and wait to see what happens.
You might be surprised at what melts and what doesn't!

- Put a tray of unwrapped candies in the sun to see the effects of sunlight. Maybe add another row of the same candy with applied sunscreen? What happens over time?

- Unwrap two of the same kinds of candy. Drop one in a glass of water and the other in a glass of club soda. What happens?

- ONLY WITH A PARENT!!  Go outside on the pavement and light ‘em up!  Who doesn’t like playing with fire?  Again, adult supervision, please.

4. My personal fave TREATS FOR TROOPS!

This organization collects treats to send to the troops for lots of reason. A couple being a.) to bribe tiny local informants, thus saving American lives, b.) to serve as care package environmentally friendly packing peanuts, and c.) treat…for troops!

5.  Having a sick child at home with strep, I don’t have time to write up triboluminescence, but look it up and get you some Wintergreen lifesavers.  Science is awesome!!!

Gnome Fleece Puppy Bed

fleece dog bed

I’ll have to upload another pic of Sunshine on her fleece doggie bed in about 4 months.  Right now she’s 13 weeks old and already towering over her lhasa-poo sister.  (Jazzy still lets her know who’s alpha, though.)

Joann’s had a magnificent fleece sale with three entire aisles to choose from!  Armed with a credit card and a coupon, we filled the cart with all kinds of future projects.  As overwhelming as it was, they didn’t have any sunshine or sun themed fleece.  My girls love the movie Gnomeo and Juliet and chose this gnome fleece for our pup. 

So everyone already knows how to do the fleece tie throws- it’s all over blogland and pretty easy.  Turning a throw into a dog bed is as simple as stuffing it.  Done!  And by the way, I’ve found that it’s cheaper to buy the low end pillows at Wal-mart to use as batting than the real stuff at Joann’s.  We’re all about saving $$ for our Disney trip coming up.

Just for giggles, here’s Sunny in her fairy costume.  Jasmine refused to be photographed wearing her lobster costume. 


Thursday, October 27, 2011

{James River Gypsy} Camera Strap Cover

camera strap cover

My sister combined two of my great loves (VT Hokies and pirate-y/steampunk look) to create this awesome personalized camera strap cover for my lowly Nikon D40 (hoping to upgrade one of these days.)

The colors are perfect for fall, and I actually squealed over the skull and cross bones metal accessory, but WAIT!  There’s more!

camera strap pin

How genius is this??  You can detach the fabric flower and wear it as a barrette or pin it somewhere flashy.  Now I can accessorize and COORDINATE with my camera strap cover  Totally over the top and my personal MO.  She knows me well!

camera strap protector

Here’s the part that kills me…she doesn’t measure.  Anything.  Ever.  Not recipes or crafts.  And yes, it fits!  I know because I put it on my camera, then realized I couldn’t take pictures of it.  Heh. 

{singing, Oprah style} I loo-ooove iiiit!  Thanks, Manda!

Monday, October 24, 2011

{James River Gypsy} Bamboo Fairy Wands

fairy wand
I don’t quite remember how she acquired such an awesome stash of bamboo stalks, but my sister’s family has been extremely creative with them.  I’m still kicking myself for not having my camera with me when my brother-in-law erected a trash bag/hose shower Survivor style for the kids in the back yard. 
Their most recent creations are 7 ft. tall Halloween lawn creatures with jack-o-lantern heads.  (I’ll try to figure out how to add a pic from her FB page.)
Anyway, gifts between us are usually homemade or second hand.  So when she announced they were indeed traveling to our house for my 4 year old’s fairy-themed party, I knew she would be doing something fabulous!  Yes, these are bam-BOO fairy wands…one of a kind!  Well,…three of a kind.
bamboo fairy wand
beaded princess wand
bamboo princess wand
If I find ONE puppy tooth mark on these….dog burgers!~  jk


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Madeline’s 4th Fairy Party

I’ll admit it.  I show my children love by throwing them fun, what my family would refer to as “over-the-top” parties.   I consider it over-the-top when you break the bank, and I really didn’t (for this one).  Heh.
fairy birthday girl
We’re kicking it off with a fun birthday banner! 
pink red green fairy party
The paper pack is from Stampin’ Up, and I used Cricut Cartridges (Storybook for “birthday” and CTMH’s cartridge for “Happy”).  What I was the most excited about is the background.  I saw it used in a display at Michael’s and immediately asked if they sell it.  They DO!  It’s bulletin board background found in the education section for teachers.  There are all kinds too.fairy birthday party
On the table:  a fairy planter used to hold napkins, tissue paper lined clear bowls for goldfish and pretzels, fairy terrarium, extra goodies, and favors

fairy sugar cookies
I made these fairy cookies with royal icing ahead of time using flower, crown, and wand shaped cookie cutters.
fairy marshmallow pops
No, sorry.  These aren’t cake pops.  They’re just marshmallows dipped in melted pink candies and sprinkled with different kinds of sprinkles.  I suggest covering your foam cone in aluminum foil and hot gluing it to a candle stand.
fairy terrarium
I used a cake stand to make a quick fairy terrarium with a little decorated wooden birdhouse my girls painted, a fairy figurine, and some clay mushrooms, all nestled on a nest of faux moss.
drink station
The drink station:  pink lemonade of course with extra wide color coordinated straws and decorated little water bottles.
fairy bottle labels
The fairy stamps are from CTMH- Believe in Your Dreams, and Birthday Princess(?)
fairy station
As each guest arrived (wearing her own tutu by request), she was turned into a fairy by my 8 year-old helper fairies.  Each guest received dollar store wings, and a tiny crown, the girls blew bubbles around her, sprinkled glitter on her, and gave her her fairy name (middle name + favorite flower).
fairy costumes
My five year-old helpers were my “gift fairies.”  They took the gifts from arriving guests and put them in the appropriate place.
dress up station
Inside we had a dress up station
a doll house
face paint station
a face paint station
fairy lounge
and a fairy lounge where several fairy-themed books were collected.  Note the painted toadstool where Madeline sat to open her presents.
homemade fairy wands
After a little play time, the girls made fairy wands (dollar section at Michael’s) by decorating them with stick on jewels.
fairy party game
They needed their wands to play “What Time is it, Fairy Godmother?” 
fairy dancing
After several group shots and fairy dancing
The birthday girl blew out her candles.
fairy cake
Target does a really good job with birthday cakes in our opinion.  For this one, I chose the Tinkerbell cake, but I asked them to use the topper and accessories from the Fairy Garden cake.  Voila!
play dough favors
Each fairy went home with a package of sparkly purple play dough (see recipe) and rotini noodles I dyed pink.  They’re just fun to use with the play dough.  Each package was tied with a little bottle of bubbles and a fairy thank-you tag.
Lavender Sparkly Fairy Dough
3 cups flour
1 1/2 cups salt
2 TBS. cream of tartar
3 cups water
1/3 cup oil
3 TBS. food coloring (optional)
several drops of essential oil like lavender
a generous shaking of glitter
Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture forms into a ball. Remove and knead until dough is soft and has lost its stickiness. Keeps well in a sealed container for a good long time. This recipe makes enough for sharing.
The most adorable fairy of all was our 11 week old puppy, Sunshine!
puppy fairy
Enjoy!  : )

Friday, October 14, 2011

Let Me Be Frank- cupcakes

Frankenstein Halloween cupcakes
I saw these cupcakes on the Better Homes and Gardens website by way of Pinterest, and knew Madeline would be taking them to preschool for her 4th birthday.  I love, love, LOVE having an October baby!  The possibilities are endless…

Speaking of endless possibilities…did you know food coloring comes in an aerosol CAN?  Oh, yeah!  As I was spraying these marshmallows green (and turning myself into the Wicked Witch of the West), I was looking around trying to see what ELSE needed a green hue.  It was pretty late, so I’m saving it for when inspiration strikes.

Here’s the birthday girl in her fabulous birthday cupcake outfit made by a very talented local lady named Jennifer.  
cupcake shirt set

She specializes in handmade boutique-y looking outfits for siblings with her piece de resistance being her righteous matching head pieces for girls.  Her tent at our local craft fair was a-MAZ-ing!  If money were no object…

And just because I got a good chuckle during my preschool visit…
It’s “E” week at preschool this week, so here is an “elephant chain” to go along with the song I can’t get out of my head.  I’ll spare you…
Thanks as always for looking!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Face Painting With Gram

My mom does a bit of clowning on the side, usually at her work place- the YMCA in Lynchburg.  So during her last visit, we decided to get out the face paint and have some fun.face painting with Gram
The girls are painting Gram’s arms since she has a stringent skin care regiment.  I painted Madeline the cat, and my mom painted Savannah in the pink.  Don’t really know what she is.
Snazaroo is my favorite paint.  I know there’s better stuff out there, but it’s all I need and some what affordable.
face painting mommy
I am seriously lovin’ this rainbow cake I got from Diamond X(?)  It makes the uber-requested butterfly like a 2 minute quickee.  This is Lexi painting a flag on me- USA?  Australia?  Who knows….

The following three pics were painted on a different day, but I thought I’d throw them in just for documenting’s sake.
wrestler face paint
Savannah the professional wrestler (whose stage name is Merwoman!)
snake arm paint
With the shirt and the snakes…I’m hoping there’s no leather and a Harley in her future.  Buh!
Princess madeline face paint
And yet another picture of Princess Madeline.  I’m thinking I need to save the $15 per kid and just take the essentials to Disney with us next time we go.  She’s so happy!  : )

Thanks for looking!