2015
Oct 26

Kitty Litter Cake

by Hannah Holt »

7 comments


This attention grabbing Halloween cake is deceptively delicious. If you’re brave enough to serve yourself a scoop, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Kitty Litter Cake

Kitty Litter Cake

18.5 oz spice cake mix (flavor optional, choose your favorite)

2 5.1 oz packages instant vanilla pudding 

12 oz vanilla wafer cookies, crushed (a blender works well)

6 to 10 Tootsie Rolls

1 kitty litter pan (new!)

1 plastic pooper scooper (new, too!)

green food coloring

  1. Prepare the cake and pudding according to package directions. Add a few drops of green food coloring to 1 cup of the cookie crumbs and set the rest of the cookie crumbs aside.

  2. Crumble half of the baked cake into the kitty litter pan. Spread half of the pudding over this layer.

  3. Add the rest of the cake on top of the pudding and cover with the remaining pudding.

  4. Sprinkle the non-colored cookie crumbs into the pan with the cake/pudding mix.

  5. Soften the Tootsie Rolls by placing in the microwave for 10 seconds on high and shape to resemble cat scat. Arrange the Tootsie Rolls on the cookie-pudding cake mixture.

  6. Sprinkle all with the green cookie crumbs. Serve with pooper scooper.


2015
Sep 28

The Cup of Truth: A Life Lesson From Caramel Corn

by Hannah Holt »

10 comments


caramel corn

Caramel corn is one of our favorite fall snacks. It’s crunchy and oh so delicious! It’s easy to make, too, as long as you have a Cup of Truth nearby.

What’s a Cup of Truth?

It’s simple. I keep a cup of ice water on the counter next to my caramel pot. When I think the caramel is finished I take a small spoonful of syrup and drop it into the ice water (aka: Cup of Truth). The water cools the molten caramel quickly, so I can test to see if it’s reached the perfect hardness.

Removing the caramel from the heat too soon turns it into a sticky mess. This type of caramel corn will dislodge dental fillings!

Removing the caramel too late will burn it. YUCK.

There’s a small window of caramel perfection. Hence the need for a Cup of Truth.

cup of truth

My kids all hang out around the Cup-o-Truth because they like sneaking cool bits of caramel before the full batch is ready. While they linger for sweet snitches, I talk to them about feelings and stuff. I say, feelings can be like a pot of boiling caramel.

Sometimes someone does something so mean it makes you bubble with rage. You might even want to spill your thoughts right then and there.

But friendships can been ruined unnecessarily that way…and dental fillings, too.

How do you know if feelings are truth or just heat-of-the-moment steam?

Put them in the Cup of Truth.

  • take a breath
  • take a walk
  • sleep on it
  • put it on ice

Once feelings have cooled, it’s easier to see what (if anything) needs to be discussed. Then you can speak with confidence, knowing the words will be the right words. (And not a sticky mess.)

Okay, now who’s hungry?

Carmel Popcorn

1 cup butter

2 cups brown sugar

½ cup light corn syrup

1 tsp salt

½ tsp baking soda

1 tsp vanilla

5 quarts popped popcorn

  1. Melt butter in a thick bottomed pot on low heat.

  2. Add the sugar, corn syrup, and salt to the pot. Then increase the heat to medium and stir until boiling.

  3. Boil for about four minutes without stirring. The caramel will resemble the color of a brown paper bag when finished. Check for hard crack readiness by spooning small amounts into a cup of ice water. The caramel should be crunchy (not squishy).

  4. Remove from heat and add the vanilla and soda. Mix well.

  5. Use a spoon to drizzle the popcorn with the hot caramel. Stir the popcorn with a spoon every few minutes until completely cool. This will keep it from clumping together.

  6. Enjoy!

2013
Oct 29

Ginger-Spooks & Pumpkin Puppets

by Hannah Holt »

7 comments


This week I had a hankering for gingerbread. It might be too early for Christmas music and gingerbread men, but it’s the perfect time for ginger-spooks!

ginger skeletons

Boo! I followed this recipe for ginger cookies, and frosted them monster-style with a simple glaze.

{Note: to pipe designs on the cookies, I filled a sandwich bag with frosting and snipped off one of the corners with scissors. No fancy cake decorating supplies needed!)

ginger skeletons2

They were frightfully good!

We also made paper bag pumpkin puppets. I always keep lunch bags around the house. They are cheap and have so many uses. I cut pumpkin faces and features from construction paper and showed the kids how to glue them to the bags.

 

pumpkin puppetpumpkin puppet1

Happy Halloween!

pumpkin puppet2

 


2012
Oct 16

Five No Carve Jack-o-lanterns

by Hannah Holt »

9 comments


Sharp knives and preschoolers don’t exactly mix, but my four-year-old loves jack-o’-lanterns. We’ll carve a pumpkin or three this year of course, but I’m not going to let him wield the knife… yet.

In lieu, I wanted a few more hands-on pumpkin opportunities for him. Here’s what we did instead.

1) Painted Jack

Supplies needed: Paints (we used acrylics) and brushes

2) Masquerade Jack

Supplies needed: A paper plate, paints, sequins, feathers, tape or glue (I did the cutting for him)

3) Crafty Jack

Supplies needed: Wiggly eyes, a pom-pom, a button, tape or glue

4) Modelling Clay Jack

We both had fun with this one.

Supplies needed: Modelling clay (It will stick to the pumpkin.)

5) Chalkboard Jack

Supplies needed: Chalkboard spray paint, chalk

My son had fun with all of these, but I asked him to pick a favorite. He chose the modelling clay activity (and that was the easiest to do). So there you have it. Easiest is best. Happy pumpkin season!


2012
Oct 10

No-sew Animal Hats

by Hannah Holt »

4 comments


Last year for Halloween, I wrote a post about no-sew animal costumes. At the time, I had several people ask me about animal masks/hats.

Because I don’t sew (unless it’s astro-turf), this is the method I use. This post could also be titled… What to do when your child comes home and says this:

What You’ll Need

  • a balloon
  • tinfoil
  • newspaper strips
  • 1/2 cup white flour
  • 1 cup water
  • paint (or other decorating supplies)

1) Inflate the balloon until it’s about the size of your child’s head. Then take tinfoil and shape it around your child’s head. Shape any ears, beak or other animal features with the tinfoil as well.

2) Place the balloon in a bowl and let the tinfoil rest on the balloon (so the tinfoil will hold its shape better).

3) Mix the water and flour well. Dip the newspaper strips in the flour mixture. The newspaper should have a thin coat of paste. Cover the tinfoil with the newspaper. It will take a couple of coats. (You do not need to cover the underside of the tinfoil.)

4) Let the newspaper dry for 24 to 48 hours.

5) Once dry, paint the head piece the desired colors. This is what we ended up with:

6) Just for added measure I created a wattle by painting part of a kitchen glove red, and I glued on white feathers as well. Here is the final chicken hat:

By they way, do you know who a chicken’s favorite composer is?

Bach, Bach, Bach!