Wordless Wednesday: We Love Thomas!

Create With Kids: Easter Egg Rattlesnake

We've had some rainy days here, but there has been only one thing on our 3-year old's mind this week. 

Going outside to play. 

When it was still raining out this morning and he asked me again if he could go outside, I decided to get out those plastic eggs from Easter and try this colorful Easter Egg Rattlesnakes project. 

And can you guess the first thing he wanted to do after we were finished?  Yes, he wanted to take his snake outside to play!

2 whole plastic eggs
15-20 plastic egg bottoms
dried beans {or safety pins, paper clips}
String, thread or embroidery floss
permanent marker

1.  Check to see if your eggs have holes in the top and the bottom.  If not, you will need to make a hole in the eggs with a drill.

2.  Start by threading the string through one of the whole eggs. 

Tie a knot at the bottom so that the egg won't slip off and add the dried beans.  Close the egg and tape it together.  Leave a long length of thread on the end and cut it.

3. Thread the egg halves onto the string.

{During this step, we were able to talk about colors and patterns.}

4.  Thread the string through the bottom and then the top of the second whole egg for the head.  Make a knot in the string and cut any remaining string, leaving 1 1/2 - 2" for the snake's tongue.  Add eyes and nostrils with a permanent marker as shown in the picture at top.

Banana Bread Cookies For Breakfast

I've been drooling over these Banana Bread Doughnuts for weeks and I knew these would be a special treat for the boys.  There was only one problem: I don't have a doughnut pan.

Sure, I could have made banana bread muffins.  But who wants a muffin when you could have a doughnut?

And then I remembered using a pastry bag to make the heart-shaped whoopie pies and thought it might work to make doughnuts.  I decided to give it a try this week.

What came out of the oven resembled a pancake more than a doughnut.  My son asked, "What kind of cookies are those?"

And so the boys had cookies for breakfast. 

They didn't seem to mind.

With a little cinnamon icing drizzled on top, it's almost {almost} as good as a doughnut.  The only thing missing is the chocolate chips!

Create With Kids: Recycled Bottle Bird Feeder

We had some birdseed leftover from the Pine Cone Bird Feeders project, so on a warm, sunny day the boys and I went outside to make these fun and frugal bottle bird feeders.

1-liter bottle
craft knife
2 wooden spoons
large cup hook

1.  Measure 4-inches from the bottom of the bottle and draw a 1/2 in. asterisk on the side of the bottle.  Rotate the bottle 90 degrees and make another asterisk 2-inches from the bottom of the bottle.

2.  Draw a 1-inch wide circle on the opposite side of each asterisk.  With the craft knife, cut out the circles and slit along the lines of the asterisks.  Insert the spoons through the circle and then through the asterisks on the opposite side.

3.  Use a funnel {we made our own paper funnels} and a scoop to fill the bird feeder with birdseed.

4.  Twist a large hook into the bottle cap, put the cap on the bottle and hang it in a tree.

Fat Quarter Bag {Tutorial}

My mom can sew anything from a wedding dress to a cabbage patch doll.  Unfortunately, I did not inherit her sewing talent.

Despite my lack of sewing skills, I somehow managed to convince my new husband of just six months that I could make curtains for our apartment and baby clothes for our future children if I only had a sewing machine.  My gift on our first Christmas as husband and wife was a brand new Kenmore sewing machine.  

That was 7 years ago.

In those seven years, I have made one shepherd's costume for our little boy who was supposed to be in a Sunday School Christmas play.  Things didn't go as planned that day and it turns out all my hard work was for not.

When I noticed these Fat Quarter Bags on Pinterest, I decided it was time to dust off the sewing machine and give it another try.  My husband didn't bother to hide his surprise.

It took me three tries to get those handles on correctly, but what a sense of accomplishment when I finally got it right!  They will fit perfectly in the Operation Christmas Child boxes that I am working on this year.

Since I thought the original directions were written for a more experienced seamstress, I put together a tutorial for beginners:

7/8 - 1 1/2 in. wide ribbon
2 fat quarters {one main color, one contrasting color - makes 2}

 1.  Cut fat quarters in half so that you have four pieces that are approx. 11" x 18".  Take one main color and one contrasting color and put right sides together.

2.  Cut two pieces of ribbon 16" long.  Place one ribbon in between fabric on an 11" side.  Pin ribbon 2" from edges as shown.

3.  Match up the edges of the two fabrics and pin the 11" side together. 

Repeat steps 2 and 3 on the opposite 11" side and sew a 1/4" seam on both 11" sides.  {I used 1/2" seams so that the salvage edge would be hidden}.

4.  Open the seams and iron them down.  Match the seams up so that they are in the center between the two fabric pieces and pin together.  Pin the edges along both 18" sides.

Sew the 18" edges together leaving a 3"opening on one side of the lining fabric.

5.  Turn fabric right-side out through opening and topstitch opening closed.

6.  Put lining fabric inside main fabric and admire your new bag!

See the original pattern at Make and Takes for ideas on adding finishing touches such as topstitching around the top of the bag, and giving your bag a "boxy" look.

Summer Favorites: Chocolate Malt Shake

My dad loved those chocolate malted milk ball candies and I can remember my mom buying a great big box of them for the whole family to share.  This chocolate malt shake reminds me of those days.

I originally made this recipe for my chocolate-lovin' husband, but I enjoy it as well - it tastes just like a malted milk ball in a glass!   It's the perfect dessert on a warm summer night.

Chocolate Malt Shake

Makes: 2 Servings

3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup caramel ice cream topping
      or caramel syrup
2 cups chocolate ice cream, softened
3 tbs. malted milk powder
whipped cream and grated chocolate, optional

In a blender, mix the first four ingredients until well blended.  Pour into chilled glasses and serve with whipped cream and grated chocolate, if desired.

Adapted from: Taste of Home magazine, Collector's Edition 2000

Crocheted Ponytail Holder {Tutorial}

This week I started a couple of Operation Christmas Child boxes for 10 - 14 year old girls and I thought these fun ponytail holders would be a nice gift to add to the boxes.

yarn needle
G {4.25 mm} crochet hook
"ouchless" elastic ponytail holder
 {found these at The Dollar Tree!}

1.  Attach the yarn to the elastic with a single crochet.

2.  Continue with single crochet around the elastic, crocheting over the tail.

3.  When you come to the first single crochet, gently push the stitches together without stretching the elastic out of shape.  Continue with single crochet until the elastic is completely covered.

4.  Chain 1 and put the hook through the first single crochet.

5.  Single crochet.

6.  Chain 8.

7.  Single crochet in the next single crochet to form a loop.

8.  Chain 8.  Continue single crochet and chain 8 pattern to last single crochet.  The loops should start to have a ruffle-y look.

9.  Slip stitch in last single crochet and fasten off.  Weave in ends.

Here's the written pattern:

Attach the yarn to the elastic with a sc.  Sc around the elastic and gently push stitches together.  Sc until elastic is completely covered. 

Ch 1.  Sc in first sc.  *Chain 8, sc in next sc; repeat from * across to last sc.  Sl st in last sc.  Fasten off.  Weave in ends.