Friday, May 17, 2013

And The Award Goes To....

Girl Scouts can earn a variety of badges throughout the year.  Let me say that another way.  The girls can earn A LOT of badges.  Seriously, there is a badge for everything.  Picked up trash at the park?  There’s a badge for that?  Helped at a bake sale?  There’s a badge for that.  Went Christmas caroling at the retirement home?  There’s a badge for that.  These types of badges are called “Fun Badges”, and they are placed on the back of a girls vest.  Some troops opt to not earn these types of badges because of the expense. 
Not our troop!  The girls love getting these types of badges.  They proudly wear them on their vests, and some have earned so many that they ran out of room and put them on their bags.  These badges act as a walking history of the troop.

I had a good amount to hand out at our last meeting, and wanted to do something a little more than just throwing them in a sandwich bag and handing them over.  Search Pinterest (where else!), and you will find a ton of ways to distribute badges.  Some troops go above and beyond what I can even imagine!  I had seen these ribbon awards on several boards, and thought they were cute.  Here’s how I did it:

Gather up the following:
  • Cupcake liner (I found that the aluminum foil ones are best)
  • 1” wide grosgrain ribbon
  • Glue
  • Cardstock
  • Safety Pin
Flatten the cupcake liner with your hand so it will fan out into a circle.  You can stop there, or you can put the liners between the pages of a thick book, which is what I did.  This will really help you to flatten them.

Using the scientific “Eyeball Method”, determine the length of ribbon needed.  This is based on the amount of badges per girl.  Some girls will have longer ribbons than others.  Each award requires two strips of ribbon.

Put a little bit of hot glue on the back of the badge, and place on the ribbon.  Don’t worry about the badges getting stuck to the ribbon.  You are using such a small amount that it will be easy to pull them off.

Glue the ribbon to the back of the cupcake liner.

Add a little something to the middle of the cupcake liner – the sky is the limit.  You can cut a piece of card stock into a circle, write the scout’s name on it, and then glue to the middle of the liner.  I had these cute little circles in my craft stock, and they worked perfectly.

I put a safety pin on each award, which allowed me to pin the awards to the girls at the meeting. 

This is a great idea for the following reasons:
  1. The girls immediately pinned the awards to their shirts at the meeting.  I think they were into it, which is always a good thing.
  2. Having the award ribbons pinned to the girls ensured that the badges made their way home.  I always fear that badges get lost.
  3. The craft itself cost me $0 to make, as I had all of the supplies on hand. 

Until next time…..

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Time To Girly It Up

I pulled out the old sewing machine this weekend because I came across this idea on Pinterest, and fell in love with it. 

This is the Monkey’s R2D2 shirt.  She has had it for several years, but stopped wearing it because it’s not a “shirt for girls’.  Her words, not mine.  I can’t argue with her, because I did buy it in the boys section of Target.  I can never find cute Star War shirts for her (or for me!).  This is how I am going to “girly” things up until someone taps into that market.

Snip off the arms, snip off the neck, make a simply straight stitch on the front and back, weave a strip of leftover t-shirt (or ribbon) through, and tie it up.  Done!  Easy, right?  Check out the instructions over at Crafter Hours for full details.

Until next time.....

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Puff Mobile Challenge 2013

Ladies and Gentleman….Welcome to the 2013 Puff Mobile Classic!  Girls….start your engines.

This is a fun activity that you can do with kids, and with adults.  Gather up the following supplies: four (4) lifesavers, three (3) drinking straws, two (2) paper clips, a piece of paper, and a strip of masking tape.  Provide these instructions: Using these materials, construct a vehicle that is powered only by air.  You don’t have to use all of the items provided, but you can’t use anything other than what was given.

You will be amazed at how similar, yet different, the vehicles will be.


You can line all the vehicles up, and have a large race.  Or you can do head-to-head heats.  We did both at our Girl Scout meeting.

Ready!  Set!  Blow!

Until next time....

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Thin Mint Cupcakes

I made these cupcakes cakes last week for the Teachers Appreciation Luncheon at the Monkey’s school.  I was told that they were a big hit, and I am going to choose to believe it, because the container came home empty.

You can find my go-to chocolate cake recipe here.  Your Cup of Cake has some really creative cupcakes, and her photos are beautiful.

Normally, I would make a butter cream frosting and call it a day, but I tried something different.  I searched the web for a cream cheese frosting, and found one that was simple enough.  However, for the life of me I can’t remember where I got it from (so I can’t thank that person, or link to their page, which is a blogger no-no).  I will say that I tweaked the recipe a bit, as it was vanilla flavor, and I wanted a mint flavor.

Cream Cheese Mint Frosting

  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 3 oz. cream cheese softened
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 ½ tspn. Peppermint extract
  • 16 oz. 10x sugar
  • Green food coloring
  • Thin Mints (for garnish)

Cream the butter and cream cheese together, and gradually add the powered sugar.  The frosting will appear thick and lumpy.  Slowy add in the milk, and mix until well blended.  Mix in extract, and then mix in the food color.  There isn’t any specific amount of coloring to add – use your best judgment.

Of course I had Thin Mints on hand (what Girl Scout leader doesn’t have a box in the freezer).  If you didn’t stock up during the last cookie sale, you could always use the Keebler knock off version.  However, I highly advise against that, and ask that you support your local Girl Scout!

Until next time.....

Monday, May 13, 2013

Beach (towel) Bunny

The Monkey went to a birthday party over the weekend to the Philadelphia Zoo.  How cool is that party?  We talked about what kind of gift she wanted to give her friend, and her first thought was a toy.  I don’t know about you, but our basement is full of toys – I don’t want to add any more clutter to someone else’s house. 

We already did the candy bouquet, so we went with the Bunny basket .  I found this picture on Pinterest , but it didn’t provide any instructions, so I just figured out what to do by looking at the picture.  I got all of the supplies at Target – one large beach towel, a pair of flip flops, a beach ball, a bubble wand, and a swimming goggles.

Here’s how I constructed the bunny:

Lay the beach towel out, and fold down the top half.  I placed the beach ball in the center of the towel.  Roll the towel as if you were rolling a piece of sushi (‘cause you do that often, right?).

Secure the bunny body with goggles (the goggles act like a rubber band).

Angle the flip flops at the top of the bunny’s heads so they resemble ears, and place them in the folds of the towel.

You can’t see from the picture, put I placed the large bubble wand between the ears.  I hoped to put a bow on it to make it a girl bunny, but I didn’t have enough ribbon on hand.  We put the card behind the ears to hid the wand.

I topped it off with a hair clippie I made.

There you have it.  A non-toy birthday gift!

Until next time.....

Thursday, May 9, 2013

More Teacher Appreciation Ideas

It’s still Teacher Appreciation Week!  Have you made sure to thank a teacher this week?  The Monkey has brought in something little for her teacher each day this week, and here’s the recap.


Super easy!  All you need is some ribbon, a pack of Extra gum, and tag.  We wrote Thanks for Being “Extra” Special to Me.  So easy even a caveman can do it.


I found these awesome (and free) tags over at Make Bake Celebrate.  I bought extra cookies during the last Girl Scout cookie sale with this gift in mind.  Did you know that Girl Scout cookies freeze well?  Remember that next year when you see scouts selling outside in the cold!  Using some ribbon I had on hand, I wrapped up three boxes of cookies, and attached this cute tag.  She gave one package to her teacher, and dropped off the other one to the staff in the front office. 


This is another easy gift to put together.  It’s fairly inexpensive, and in fact, you might already have the supplies on hand.  Wrap up a bottle of nail polish, emery boards, and nail polish remover, and attach a tag to the package.  I wrote this oh-so witty saying on the tag: I Would File You Under “A” for Awesome!.  File…get it?  The gift had nail files in it….get it?

Now to start thinking about tomorrow's gift.

Until next time.....

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Thank You "Berry" Much

It's teacher appreciation week, and just like the rest of the free world, I headed to Pinterest for ideas.  I love the Monkey's teacher. She has been such a positive influence for her.  In fact, if it were not for this teacher "fighting" for her, the Monkey would not have been accepted in to the school's gifted program.

The Monkey wants to give her teacher a gift each day this week, and here is what we did on Monday.  The idea came from, where else, PINTEREST!  I had the strawberry scented soap and strawberry sanitizer on hand, as well as the wrapping supplies.  I wrapped them in tissue paper, placed them in a gift bag, and tied it up with a ribbon.  I simply wrote "Thank You Berry Much" on a piece of construction paper, and tied it with the ribbon. 

Not going to lie -- I had this stuff on hand from a recent great sale at Bath and Body Works!

It doesn't matter if you give a teacher a gift, just make sure you tell them THANK YOU!

Until next time....

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Treats For Your Feet(s)

Is it just me, or is planning a birthday party stressful?  It doesn't matter where you have it at -- the stress is still there.  Just trying to come up with the idea or "theme" of the party throws me over the edge.  The Monkey has celebrated her birthday in the past at the local rock climbing gym, the bowling alley, the movie theater, the farm, and at our house.  Let me state right now...never again will it be at our house, at least not until she is older.  Cleaning the house, preparing the food, asking kids not to jump on your couch, cleaning up the spills....ugh.  I am all too happy to show up somewhere, and allow them to take care of that stuff.  It's such a good feeling just to hand over some money, and walk away from the mess.

This past weekend, the Monkey celebrated her birthday a week early at Toot Sweet, a local bakery, and it was great.  She invited nine of her friends to come and decorate cupcakes.  The bakery prepared the cake according to her directions.  She wanted each guest to have two vanilla and two chocolate cupcakes.  She picked up the color frosting they would use, and we chose to upgrade the party to include fondant.  The package also included a 1/4 sheet cake, which she designed.  She may be watching too many reality cooking shows, because she drew her design on a piece of paper.  We met with the baker, and they worked out the details.  The baker said she has never had a kid do that before!

Tables were lined up, and each guest were given a their own apron and hat.  Then the fun began, for the girls and for me.  I didn't have to do anything!  In fact, I sat outside and enjoyed the beautiful weather with my husband and my sister-in-law.  The bakery handles everything -- she explained what the girls were going to do, gave them directions and decorating ideas, and away they went.  They worked silently, and concentrated hard on their designs.  Once all the cakes were decorated, they were professionally boxed up and the girls got to take them home.

To put our own spin on the cupcake theme, I made sock cupcakes as party favors.  Search this idea on Pinterest, and you'll find a TON of ideas.  That's what I did.  Most tutorials will tell you to use the nice, comfy slipper socks.  I think these type of socks would be appreciated by an older girl, and not by the group of 9 year olds that attended the party.  These were pretty easy to assemble.  Here's what you need to do:

  • Pair of socks (I found a 3 pack for $1 at the....dollar store)
  • Tube of lip balm (I was able to find Blow Pop and Nerd flavored balm at the dollar store)
  • Rubber band, or hair band
  • Cupcake liner
  • Tissue paper
  • Ribbon

Lay the socks out, and then fold in half.  Place the lip balm at the "toe" end of the socks, and start to roll the sock from end to end.  You want the cap portion of the lip balm to show at the top of the socks, because this will act as the "cherry" on top.  Use the rubber band or hair band to secure the socks, and place in a cupcake liner.  I think that if you use the slipper socks, you won't have the gap that I had between the liners and the socks.  To help hide that gap, I used tissue paper.  I placed a small amount of paper around the "cupcake", and tied it with the ribbon.  Then I placed it in the liner.  Presto!  All done.

We also gave out some homemade hair bows, that had cupcakes on them.  I've been in a bow making mood recently, and the Monkey has been watching.  These bows were all her idea, and in fact, she made them (with a little help from me).  The cupcakes are actually buttons we found in the sewing section of the craft store.

One part of the birthday celebration now...another to go.  Her birthday is next week, so now we need to plan on her treats for her classmates.  Her request?  It has to be something we haven't done before.  Time to put on my thinking cap!

Until next time....

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Foodie Pen Pal Reveal Time!

Holy poop!  Did you know it’s already May 2nd?  I was supposed to post my latest Foodie Pen Pal package on the first of the month, and completed forgot that the calendar changed!  So here goes…

I got a package from Katie, who blogs over at Baking and Swimming.  I let her know that I would like to try new things, but in reality, I’m a super picky eater.   As in the past months, I let my pen pal know that I LOVE popcorn, and Katie did not let me down!  The first thing I took out of the package was a popcorn ball, which is the Monkey’s favorite.  She is always asking me to make them, and I don’t out of pure laziness.  Thanks for brightening up her day, Katie!

She also sent Wild Blueberry muffin mix, which I haven’t made yet, but will soon.  I love blueberry muffins…especially when they are having the HUGE sugar crystals on top.

Funky Monkey banana chips were tasty – freeze dried bananas with cinnamon.  It’s like healthy candy, so eating the entire bag is okay.

I have no idea what this stuff is.  The label said Popcorn Papa.  I like to call it “crack”.  Oh.My.Gawd.   It’s totally delicious.  It’s popcorn, covered in powered sugar and something else (maybe caramel, maybe heaven, who knows.  UNBELIEVABLE.  

Thanks a lot Katie for hooking me up with all of these tasty items!

I'm going to take a break from the program for May because the calendar is getting full.  But that doesn't mean you should.  Are you interested?

Here’s the down and dirty on the Foodie Pen Pal Program:
  • On the 5th of every month, you will receive your pen pal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your pen pal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
  • You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your pen pal!
  • The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats! The spending limit is $15. The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!
  • You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)
  • Foodie Pen Pals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you are to write a short guest post for your pen pal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month.
  • Foodie Pen Pals is open to US, Canadian & European residents.  Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. Same with Europeans. We’ve determined things might get too slow and backed up if we’re trying to send foods through customs across the border from US to Canada and vice versa.
Until next time.....