2013
Feb 06

Hedgehog Snack

by Hannah Holt »

4 comments


Today, I have a snack you can whip up in less than a minute. It’s the Peanut Butter Hedgehog Snack:

What you’ll need:

  • A tablespoon of peanut butter
  • A handful of stick pretzels
  • Three raisins

Place a dollop of peanut butter on a plate. Balance a few pretzels in the peanut butter (you might want to break the pretzels in half). Don’t forget to put two pretzels along the sides for legs. Use raisins to form the eyes and nose. Ta da! You’re done. Consider serving it with a side of sliced apples for added healthy deliciousness.

In the next few weeks, I have a bunch of upcoming posts that I’m super excited about, including:

  • Another round of paper dolls
  • Ideas for an aviation themed birthday party
  • A post that’s so top secret I can’t tell you about it…

Don’t want to miss a post? Follow along on Facebook or Pinterest.


2013
Jan 21

Yin Yang Cake

by Hannah Holt »

16 comments


Two years ago, twin girls joined our family.

Now my wee girls are busy toddlers.

On the outside, my girls are mirror copies of each other. They look so much alike that they still don’t “know” their own names (People are always mixing them up, so they get a lot of name confusion.)

However, they don’t need to know their names to know who they are. They’ve always had distinct personalities. One of my twins likes to walk around the house with me, chatting away in her half-speak. My other girl prefers to sit and look at the pictures in books. Give her a chunky puzzle and she’ll be entertained for most the morning. Of course both my girls love being read to, played with, and taken on walks. But watch them for more than thirty seconds, and it’s not difficult to figure out who is who.

If having twins has taught me anything, it’s this– genes may shape a person, but they don’t make one.

So for their second birthday, I couldn’t decide if I wanted to make them separate cakes or one cake. I mean, two cakes is a lot of cake! In the end, I decided to make two separate but connected cakes. I call it the yin yang cake:

1. I took this recipe for marble cake, but instead of marbling it, I poured the chocolate and vanilla batter into separate nine-inch cake pans. I also adjusted the baking time from 50 minutes to 25 minutes.

2. After the cakes cooled on a wire rack, I cut each cake into the yin-yang shape. I did this by tracing the bottom of the cake pan onto paper, folding the paper in half, and making sure my yin and yang signs were well balanced.

3. I made one batch of vanilla butter cream frosting, divided it into two bowls, and mixed 1/2 cup of unsweetened cocoa into one bowl of frosting. I ended up with one bowl of vanilla frosting and one bowl of chocolate frosting. I stacked and frosted each side of the cake separately.

4. Then I brought the two cakes together (using spatulas) to have one yin yang cake.

It’s a cake with something for everyone. You could have a slice of vanilla cake or a slice of chocolate cake… or a little of both!

 

 


2013
Jan 14

DIY: Ring Toss Game

by Hannah Holt »

6 comments


Birthday season in our house has just begun. Three of my children have birthdays in the next three weeks. So while I usually try to write up healthy snacks on this blog, the next few weeks will probably have a lot of cake and games.

Speaking of games, today I’ll show you how to make your own ring toss:

To make the ring toss you will need…

  • 18 wooden popsicle (craft) sticks
  • three wooden dowels
  • a big box
  • masking tape
  • a craft glue (like Tacky)

1. First, make three rings by gluing the popsicle sticks into hexagons. Each “ring” will have six sides and needs six sticks, like this:

Let the glue dry overnight. Note: We tried making rings with pipe cleaners first, but the fuzzy rings didn’t have enough momentum for longer throws.

2. Have an adult use a sharp knife to punch three 1/4 inch slits into the top of the box. Wedge the dowels into the slits and secure them with the masking tape.

Note: If you want to decorate the box, it’s a good idea to do this before securing the dowels.

3. Create a masking tape line on the ground a few paces behind the box. Line up behind it for a chance to throw.

Other optional activities with this game:

  • Decorate the rings and/or the box
  • Assign different point values to each of the three dowels
  • Cut the dowels into different heights for an added ring toss challenge

 


2013
Jan 05

Pirate Party, Aaarg!

by Hannah Holt »

14 comments


My oldest recently celebrated his golden birthday. He was really excited about the “golden” part. Perhaps I let him get a little too carried away with birthday madness, or maybe I got carried away myself.

But whatever the case, I helped him plan a pirate themed birthday, and it was a lot of fun. Maybe every other year I’ll let him do something like this.

First I let him design his own invitations:

I helped him pick out fonts and colors, but not bad for a seven-year-old, eh?

Then we went to the party supply store, where I accidentally left my budget in the car.

But our games were cheap. We had a pirate obstacle course that included walking the plank [couch], climbing up the crows nest [stairs], going under a pirate cave [the table], and hopping across rocks.

We also had a treasure hunt leading to gold [of the chocolate variety].

We topped off the evening with a pirate ship cake:

Here’s how I made it:

1) A few days before the party, I preprepared two 9×13 inch cakes, wrapped the cooled cakes in plastic wrap, and placed them in the freezer. Freezing cakes doesn’t affect the texture, and it makes them easier to carve. I used this recipe for chocolate cake.

2) The day of the party I placed one of the unwrapped but frozen cakes on a bread board lined with aluminum foil. Then I frosted the top of that cake with butter cream frosting, and topped it with the remaining cake.

3) I used a cardboard cut out as a guide for cutting the boat shape.

4) I used some of the extra pieces of cake to build up the front and back of the ship, like this:

5) Next I tapered the sides of the cake to more resemble a boat.

6) I frosted the outside of the cake in no-cook fudge frosting, added dried butter cream details*, and topped it with a pirate action figure. Fondant would have made a more elegant finish, but I can’t stand the taste of fondant.

7) Finally I rammed three small dowels through the cake and prayed that they would stay up. They did. So I made a few black sails out of construction paper and called it good. {I removed the sails and masts before lighting the candles.}

*This is how you can make dried butter cream details. In hind site, royal icing details would have been easier to work with, but my butter cream details held up.
1) Draw the designs you want {I made porthole windows}, on wax paper. Then make a batch of butter cream frosting.
2) Pipe the frosting onto the designs and let it set for at least a day but preferably two.

3) Using a knife, carefully transfer the dried butter cream details onto the freshly frosted cake.


2013
Jan 02

Printable Thank Yous (with Toys)

by Hannah Holt »

6 comments


This year I wanted to do something special for my Christmas thank you cards.

After Christmas I took pictures of the gifts we received and fashioned them into cards like this:

You can click on the pictures for a larger image.

I should perhaps explain the nails. This year for Christmas my mother gifted us a few family heirlooms. Among the collection of antiques and nostalgic items were four square nails. This type of nail was common in construction in the early 1800’s. Nails with round heads and shafts weren’t developed until the late 1800’s. So there you have it– four printable thank you cards and a bit of nail trivia for your next cocktail party.

Also, if you are looking for more crafts to do this New Year, I’m running the Twelve Days of Craft-mas on my Facebook Page. Come on over and check out some of the festive crafts we’re doing, including pudding portraits: