Kid-Made Acorn Sugar Cookies

Just in case you’re looking for another dessert to add to the meal on Thanksgiving, here are some super cute cookies my hooligans made Sunday afternoon.  The did the cookie making, I made the icing, then they iced them…so I think that counts as made by them!

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I found the acorn cookie cutter at World Market, and they used our favorite Best Butter Cookie recipe from Land o’Lakes. Of course it’s our favorite…it’s like 50% butter!

For the frosting, I made pretty thin royal icing…2 Tbsp meringue powder, 1/4 cup water, 2 cups powdered sugar.  They dipped the front of the cookie for the light tan base coat (see how here), then dripped the darker brown icing and swirled it around with toothpicks, like we’ve made Halloween and Fourth of July cookies before.  I love this method of decorating cookies for kids because 1) it looks really pretty and polished and is very forgiving and 2) it’s a thin layer of frosting, just the right proportion of cookie to icing. We used Americolor gel colors….for the tan, I used 1 drop of yellow and 1 drop of brown.

Princess Thundercloud’s teacher has a birthday on Thanksgiving, so we’re going to take a few of these to her on Wednesday as a little pre-birthday treat. I hope she likes them as much as we do!

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Thanksgiving Platters

Today I’m sharing a couple of Thankgiving serving pieces that I can’t wait to use!  The first, a Grateful Hearts Painted Wood Plate, has been around our house for about twenty years.  I remember painting it when I was living in Denver while my GI Joe spent a year stationed in Korea. I did a lot of crafting that year, to make the time pass a little faster!

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All you’ll need is a wood plate, a white fine-tip paint pen, and a few bottles of craft paint (the 69 cent kind). Even though this project is 20 years old, I just saw wood plates at the craft store this morning.

I painted the whole plate a midnight blue, front and back, and let it dry, then traced cookie cutter shapes in the center for the leaves.  The tiny leaves are itty bitty stamps I used to have. After the leaves dried, I added the lettering and let it dry.  Next, I used a sponge to lightly add some rust-colored daubs all over it. Finally, I coated the whole thing in a clear polyurethane.

Obviously, this isn’t dishwasher safe, and I just use it for dry foods, like cheese and crackers.  This year, it’s on our coffee table for the fall, with a big jar candle on it.  I still love it, and the sentiment on it, after all these years!

The other platter I just made this year.  It’s a copy of one I saw somewhere…Macy’s, I think. platter-ChaosServedDaily

For this one, you’ll need a white platter and a metallic gold DecoArt glass paint marker. I just wiped the edge of the platter with alcohol, to make sure it was clean, then wrote my phrase around the edge.  I thought the little tic marks made it look prettier. If you make a mistake, you can wipe it off with alcohol.

Following the directions on the marker, let it dry and cure for 8 hours, then bake it at 375 degrees for 40 minutes.  You put it in an unheated oven, let it come to temperature, then start your 40 minutes.  The package says it will then be dishwasher safe, but I washed mine by hand, just in case.

My favorite thing about these pieces is that they have my handwriting on them.  Not that my writing is all that and a bag of chips, but I like the thought that my kids see it and will recognize it in years to come.  I still recognize my mom’s (and my grandmother’s, when I come across a recipe or note from her) writing when a letter or package arrives, and I want my kids to have that same little jolt of recognition some day.  In this world of emails and texts, we actually write far too little. Although I do have a callus on my hand from all the writing I’ve done since going back to school last January!

Anyway, I’m off my soapbox about handwriting…I just wanted to share why I think it’s important to incorporate your own penmanship into everyday life!

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TBT: Kid-Crafted Thanksgiving Leaf Napkin Rings

We made these a couple of years ago, and, much to the kids’ dismay, they’ve held up, so there’s no need to make new ones.  I did decide, however, that they could make a bunch of clay leaves and we could create some kind of centerpiece/candle ring/ garland for our table this year.  We haven’t completed it yet, so I’ll let you know how that turns out!

In the meantime, if your little ones are stuck inside by November rains, these Napkin Rings are a fun way to pass an afternoon!  And if you’re going to grandma’s for Thanksgiving, I’m sure she’d be thrilled to get these as a hostess gift! And here’s what I wrote about the project the first time around:

My hooligans love making crafts. I know, I’ve mentioned that before…but they constantly want to be crafting, and it’s challenging to come up with things that might actually turn out to be useful and pretty enough to keep!

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Recently we made these napkin rings, and the kids could not be more impressed with themselves.

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Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Oven-bake clay (like Fimo) in autumn colors
  • Leather cords
  • Leaf cookie cutters (ours were about 2” long)
  • Toothpick

First, roll out your clay.  We rolled snakes out of the different colors, twined two or three together, then sort of patted them together and rolled them out, to make a marbled effect. It’s really hard to make these ugly, with those pretty fall colors.

Use the cookie cutters to cut out different leaves, then, with the toothpick, make a few veins in each leaf.  Bake according to package directions.  We draped some of our leaves over pencils on the baking sheet, to make the finished leaves a bit wavy.

After they’ve baked and cooled, use hot glue to glue two leaves together.

Cut your leather cords into 6” lengths and glue the leaves to the center of each.  Then all you need to do is tie them around your napkins.

Thanksgiving…it’s a family time, so everyone in the family should feel like they’re contributing something. And do you really want those grubby little hands preparing food? Keep ‘em busy with crafts instead!

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Thanksgiving Treats Jar

I happened upon some fun, fun candies at Target last week…Sixlets in fabulous autumnal colors, such as pearly gold, rich russet, and glossy chocolate.  I couldn’t resist.  Of course, they came in a plain ol’ plastic bag, so I had to dress them up a little for giving.

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I used a recycled Frappucino bottle and embellished it with a tag using my current favorite stamp set, Mingle All the Way. I realize you can buy little milk bottles for crafting, but they don’t have lids and, more importantly, cost about the same as buying a bottle with sweet, milky caffeine in it!

To make the tag, I colored my stamp with markers, the lighter (Tangelo Twist) one first, followed by Early Espresso.  I did two colorings of each, then “huffed” to get the ink a little wetter again, then stamped. Then I just rounded the corners, cut a piece of designer paper a little larger and rounded those corners, and adhered the sentiment to the background. I used the flower punch from the Itty Bitty Accents set to mimic the bittersweet flowers on the stem, putting little pearls in the centers.

After wrapping bakers’ twine around the neck several times, I tied a twig of silk bittersweet on with the tag.

To cover the lid, I wrapped gold washi tape around the edge, then used my Scallop Punch to punch out a circle of the same designer paper.  I used glue dots to make sure that stays on well.

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If there’s anything you need, you can stop by my Stampin’ Up! website anytime! Here’s what I used for this:

Mingle All the Way Clear-Mount Stamp Set, Item 135773, $17.95

Mingle All the Way Wood-Mount Stamp Set, Item 135770, $24.95

1-3/4″ Circle Scallop Punch, Item 119854, $16.95

Itty Bitty Accents Punch Pack, Item 133787, $16.95

Tangelo Twist and Early Espresso Markers, Basic Pearls, Corner Rounder Punch

The bakers’ twine and bittersweet twig were just in my crafting stash.

This was a fun, five-minute project that I’m sure will bring a smile when I give it away. If I don’t have to return to Target to replenish the Sixlets within it, that is.  It’s a long time until Thanksgiving, you know.

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Thankful Leaves and Frames

Every year, we do a different version of daily blessings for the month of November.  Last year, I used my Silhouette electronic die-cut machine to make giant leaves out of 12×12 scrapbooking paper. It took a few minutes, and they looked so pretty on the window in the breakfast nook!

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Last year was also the first time all three hooligans were able to write their own daily entries, which was kind of cool. Time-consuming with the kindergartener, but cool.

After cutting out the leaves, I was left with the negative cut out of the 12×12 paper.  You know I couldn’t just recycle that scrap…so I used poster putty to attach them to framed 12×12 scrapbook pages that I have framed and hanging on the stairway.  It made a fun, seasonal update that was easy to remove after Thanksgiving.

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I think we’ll do the same giant leaves this year. Or maybe inspiration will strike in the next week and I’ll have a new idea to share for next year!

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Five-Minute Salted Pumpkin Fudge

I’ve been tempted by the Pumpkin Spice Baking Chips at the grocery store one time too many…I finally gave in and bought two bags. Because, you know, if I bought one and loved it, they might be sold out and then I’d really be sorry!

When I got home, I looked at the bag for recipe ideas, and there were a couple of cookie ones on there.  But I despise making cookies. It’s a quirk. I do love making candy, though, so I decided to try to come up with a pumpkin fudge recipe. This one is simple, simple, simple! Not to mention oh-so-yummy, of course!

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Now, there is nothing natural or organic about those pumpkin spice baking chips, so don’t try to make me feel guilty about the ingredients.  Just enjoy the fudge! I based it on a recipe we used to make in our dorm rooms with chocolate chips way, way, way back in the day.

Five-Minute Salted Pumpkin Fudge

  • 2 (12 ounce) packages Pumpkin Spice Baking Chips
  • 1 can (12 ounce, I think) sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated milk!)
  • 1/2 cup roasted and salted pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
  • 1 tsp flaked sea salt

1. Combine the baking chips and sweetened condensed milk in a glass bowl. Microwave for a minute, stir, then microwave for another minute. Stir until chips are all melted and mixture is smooth.

2. Stir in pumpkin seeds and pour into an 8×8 pan lined with parchment paper. Let sit for about five minutes, then sprinkle with flaked sea salt. I didn’t wait, and my salt sank into the fudge. It still tastes the same, it’s just not as pretty as it could have been!

3. Refrigerate for at least an hour, until completely firm. Cut into 1” squares with a sharp knife, so the pumpkin seeds cut cleanly.

Makes 64 pieces of deliciousness

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Everyone in the family loved this, even my anti-squash-in-any-form hubby!

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Daily Gratitude Library Card Garland

Whew…that’s a mouthful for a title!  The actual Gratitude Garland is much less cumbersome and much more appealing…see?

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I based this on a set of stamps and a kit to make a similar garland in Stampin’ Up!’s Holiday Catalog, called Gratitude for Days.

I’ve made a couple of printables, though, that will simplify making your own garland, possibly even with supplies you have on hand!  And wouldn’t that help justify the next craft purchase you want to make?!

I downloaded a file for cutting the library card envelopes from Silhouette, but you could use small treat bags or small envelopes, both found in the scrapbooking section of craft stores. Mine are 2-1/2” x 3-1/2”, so something about that size. You’ll need 30 of whatever you’re using.   You can also find the miniclothespins there, and the bakers’ twine for hanging.

Once you have the envelopes made or bought, you can download this sheet of cards. I printed it on vanilla cardstock, cut into individual cards, (they’re designed to be 2-1/4” x 3-1/4”) and rounded the corners with a punch. Thankful-cards-ChaosServedD

I put the envelopes in a “random” color order that I liked, then added the cards so that they would also be different on adjacent days.  To finish it off, I created a sheet of numbers from 1 to 30 and printed that on white cardstock.  I used various punches and cut out the numbers and adhered them to the envelopes.  You can download the sheet of numbers here.  A couple of numbers are duplicated, so you can use whichever you like better!

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Then just hang up orange and white bakers’ twine wherever you’d like your garland, clothespin the envelopes up in numerical order, and you’re ready to be thankful starting November 1!

I made this for a friend’s birthday gift, and here’s how I gave it to her:Gratitude-Gift-ChaosServedD

I put the clothespins in a little tin, and I found just a small skein of bakers’ twine for her.  I thought it turned out to be super cute, and now I just need to find time to make a set for my own home!

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Hard Cider and Caramel Apple Basket

This Hard Cider and Caramel Apple Basket is one of my alltime favorite hostess gifts to give.  Although I’m not a huge fan of most draft beverages, I do have a weakness for hard cider. I think its sweet. crisp, flavor with a bit of tang goes perfectly with pizza, burgers, popcorn…you name it! I was thrilled to discover our favorite burger place in Washington has Angry Orchard Cider on tap, and then happy to find it at Costco, as well. But I do feel a bit lush-ish, having a whole case of it in the house! I need to share it, people…so…

I picked up a Halloween-themed bucket at Target, along with some Granny Smith and Honeycrisp apples. I just tucked a few bottles of cider, a jar of caramel sauce (I made my own, but you could also buy a jar, and even pour it into a Mason jar to make it look like you made it), and several apples into the bucket.  Voila!

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So go ahead and invite me over, already…you know you’d love to have this bucket o’apple deliciousness!

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TBT: Fall Bucket List

Woohoo!  It’s almost fall!  I can feel it in the air (it was 43 degrees here this morning and 75 and sunny this afternoon), and I’m beginning to see mounds of apples and pumpkins replacing the garden vegetables at the farmstand.

That means it’s time to break out my Fall Bucket List.  Yes, it’s been around a couple of years, but it’s still packed with the fun things we love to do in the fall…so we’re using it again this year! Here’s what I wrote about this time last year:

 

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Click here for a downloadable one for yourself!

Please ignore that the majority of these activities involve cooking and eating. That’s just how we operate here at Casa de Chaos. I printed this, framed it, and put it in place of one of my monthly calendars on our 3-month calendar (from my post in July).

Then I thought, “How cute would this be as an invitation to a s’mores campfire?” Pretty darned cute, is the answer. I resized them to be four to a page, printed them, and adhered them to standard 4-1/2” x 5-1/2” cards. Here’s what that looks like, and a link to print them for yourself.

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Click here to print your own invitations or cards

I’m so excited to start checking things off this list…but I guess I’ll wait until the weekend at least, so the whole family can join in the fun! I’m such a good mom.