Happy Halloween everyone! First I have to say I simply loved Dan from Weekly Waves guest post earlier this week if you haven’t read it you should. It really inspired me to try to make this weeks activity extra fun. As today is Halloween I really wanted to do a fun seasonal themed activity with the kids. The spooky bones seemed like the perfect simple activity…
Dan predicted one thing right, I burnt the white chocolate… TWICE! I am very used to working with regular chocolate but white chocolate is a completely different thing. It doesn’t melt like regular chocolate melts, it goes from being a little mushy to being lumpy and burnt in a matter of moments. But I am getting ahead of myself, let me start at the beginning.
As always Disney Pandora was playing, Penny and Jude were running up and down the hall, while I set out the ingredients we were going to need to make our spooky bones. It was one of the easier set ups, I put the mini marshmallows and the pretzel sticks in two bowls and put them on the table. I then went to melt the white chocolate, this is where I started having problems. I didn’t want to make a huge mess so I opted to melt the chocolate in the microwave. Usually if you put a little chocolate in the microwave melt it a little and then add more you won’t have problems and the chocolate comes out a nice glossy liquid, this is not the case with white chocolate. I played it safe only putting it in for about half a minute at a time to ensure that the chocolate wouldn’t burn. It burnt. I tried again, this time with a makeshift double boiler on the stove. Once again I played it safe and used all my former knowledge of melting chocolate, which I have a good bit of, to melt this batch of white chocolate. I swear I was looking at the pot the whole time and the chocolate went from a solid to a burn lump with no inbetween stage!
At this point I was frustrated naturally but I knew the show must go on, the kids were expecting to make spooky bones with of without white chocolate. I called the kids to the table and but on the song Dan suggested, Rather Be, and we started attaching mini marshmallows to the ends of the pretzels. After helping the kids figure out how to do it I pulled out my phone and went to google. I was determined to find a way to salvage the chocolate. I found one site that said if you add oil such as olive or canola to the burnt chocolate you can resurrect it. Guess what it worked! With a lot of stirring, oil, and a little heat I was able to bring the chocolate back from the dead. Before something else happened I quickly got the naked spooky bones that the kids had made and started covering then in the chocolate. Sadly because I had already thrown out half of the burnt chocolate I wasn’t able to cover very many of our bones but gosh darn it I covered as many as I could! Word from the wise when needing to melt white chocolate go get white chocolate that is actually meant to be melted down don’t buy the stuff in the baking aisle, unless you relish the idea of having to fight oil into it. Anyway the project is done, and I don’t think I will be touching white chocolate for a long time. Have a great Halloween!
The Pinning Nanny’s special guest! Weekly Waves very own DAN PARK!!! *applause *clapping *laughter. Thank you thank you, you guys are all too kind. So this week, Rebecca told me her kids are going to be doing a very SPOOOKY project. This week Rebecca and the children will be making “Spooky Bones”. Now I have been given the opportunity to imagine this scenario and paint a picture of how I would imagine it to go. However, to remain faithful to my own blog I’m going to paint a picture with the song I think will accurately depict this scene.
The song I’m going to choose is Rather Be. I originally wanted to paint this picture in a way that was wild and hectic, but I am going to give Rebecca the benefit of the doubt and say that this project will be a success becoming a blissful and spooky memory that these children will hold forever. It overall seems like a fairly easy project. However, usually anything that involves food and sticky material, there will be a mess to follow, but I am going to say that it will be a cheerful memory.
But let’s see how it’ll turn out in my head, and I suggest the reader to turn on this song while we are going on this little adventure. Rebecca will come in and the kids will greet her with a warm hug telling her about all the candy they want to eat on the upcoming holiday. Rebecca will then ask if they want the best treat of all: SPOOKY BONES! Obviously the kids will rejoice and scream for the spooky bones. Being the caretaker she is, Rebecca will have all the ingredients and get out the melting pot. Melting the chocolate she and the kids will prepare the marshmallows and pretzels. However, Jude think’s that these are Q-tips and sticks one in his ear. Quickly reacting Rebecca pulls it out, but the marshmallow gets stuck. Even though she pulls out most of it, there is still marsh residue. During this time the white chocolate is burning up!
Calm and collected Rebecca switches off the melting pot, as she swiftly washes Jude up. Penny is also being extremely helpful, helping Rebecca retrieve all the necessary equipment. All the while the children are laughing. Making a new batch of chocolate…10 minutes pass, they’re finally ready to cover the “bones”. They get through a ribcage worth of bones when Penny accidentally knocks over her bowl of chocolate onto Jude’s face. Instead of crying Jude says… “Look I’m a ghost now”. Penny dabs a spooky bone on Jude’s face and eats it. Then Jude, Penny, and Rebecca begin to laugh. They continue laughing while eating the rest of the bones, while Jude and Penny are getting cleaned up, and while they clean the premises. Looking back twenty, thirty years from now they’ll both know what a great Nanny they had, and that there was no place else that they would rather be. The end.
It’s Friday! (Que the sighs of relief ) I’m not going to sugar coat it today has been a hard day. Jude has been difficult and I am very excited that it is almost the weekend. I have one walk to and from Penny’s school, one fight over her taking a nap, and maybe two hours of homework to do and then I can enjoy the weekend! And I hope that since you are reading this you are enjoying the weekend too.
Quick side not I used store brand crescent rolls and Apple Gate Farms natural hot dogs to make these tasty mummies. Anyway onto the hot dog mummies! Yesterday was a great day, and the hot dogs mummies did factor into the greatness of the day. I had originally planned to do all the prep work for the mummies on my own and then call the kids in when it was time to wrap them, but as I was cutting the crescent rolls into crips Penny came up to me to see what I was doing. As soon as she saw that I was cooking she asked if she could help. Charmed by her enthusiasm to help I went and got a chair and had her put her hand on top of mine to cut the dough into strips. We then made the hot dogs look more like humans by cutting legs and arms into them. The whole time we worked together we bopped our heads and swayed to the music from Pandora’s Disney station, honestly if you spend a lot of time with kids a well cultivated Disney Pandora station can keep you sane.
Next came the really fun part. We each grabbed a hot dog and began to wrap them with strips of dough. It took a little learning and experimenting in figuring out the best way to wrap them so that the dough both stayed in place and the finished product looked like a mummy, but we got the hang of it and I think they looked great when we were done. Jude came over while we were wrapping them and wrapped one, but then got bored and so went back to playing We did have a laugh over the funniness of making hot dogs into mummies, the irony was not lost on Penny. Once they were all wrapped we popped them into the fiery tomb, otherwise known as the oven, and I put on the timer. There was no way I was going to burn those puppies, pun intended.
While the mummies were aging in their heated tomb I had to quickly throw together a side to serve with the mummies. I decided on serving the mummies with a side of golden nuggets, corn, and rudy juice, ketchup. Penny and Jude both loved the meal, however warning the inside of the mummies stay hot for a very long time so when serving to kids triple check that they are cool enough to be eaten.
I would call this activity an absolute success! It was a little time consuming for a lunch, it took about 45 minutes from start to finish, but I think the end result was well worth the time and effort. Plus they look supper cool when they are done. As an October activity these hot dog mummies are great, and I think I am going to make them a yearly tradition. So here’s to another week of successful activities with kids. I have been able to hold disaster at bay for another week, but who knows next week might blow up in my face, come back next week to find out!
I know I usually post the idea that I am going to try with the kids on Tuesdays but I had a paper to write and errands to run yesterday, among other things, and so it’s Wednesday. To anyone, if there is anyone, who was patiently waiting yesterday for my post I’m sorry. I thought about my post a couple times yesterday but that was mostly while I was trying not to get distracted from my paper and while I was out running errands. Ah, the life of a student!
Ok so now that I have bored you with my excuses, let’s talk about what I’m planning for this week. Keeping with the October theme of Halloween, this Thursday the kids and I will be making Mummy Dogs for lunch. As always I found the recipe idea on Pinterest and am now bringing it to you. It is originally a Pilsbury recipe and the Pilsbury website even has video tutorial on how to make them, for those that aren’t as familiar with the kitchen.
The recipe itself is simple, hot dogs, crescent rolls, and cheese. Depending on if we have cheese or not I maybe omitting the cheese. I don’t think that having cheese in them or not is really going to make or break this recipe, so I will let you know what my final decision and the outcome is on Friday. So yeah, this recipe is easy, you take the hot dogs and either slice them so that they have arms and legs or you leave them unscathed. Next you take little strips of crescent roll and wrap them around the hot dogs. Once you have finished your burial ritual on the hot dogs you pop them in the oven for about 15 minutes. And then voila you have perfectly wrapped and baked mummy dogs.
I think Penny and Jude are going to find this activity especially amusing. I believe the idea of making hot dog mummies is going to be really funny to them. Honestly think about it yourself it’s kinda funny. I can just see us making the mummies and laughing about how silly what we are doing actually is. My prediction is that this is going to be a fun and easy project…
There is always the chance that my prediction is not correct. For all I know this could be a complete disaster! (Think back to the flubber incident.) But what could go wrong? Fighting over who gets to do what could ensue. The crescent rolls could not be the right consistency, it’s happened to me in the past. The mummies could come out of the oven just looking like big blobs of crescent roll with a hot dog in the center and look nothing like a mummy. I could forget the mummies in the oven and burn them to a crisp. Burning them would be the true disaster. If I burn them I won’t have time to make another lunch for the kids before Penny needs to get to school and so she would be going to school hungry. That would make me the worst nanny ever! It’s ok I haven’t had a mess up since the flubber… I can do this! I hope I can do this.
To see what happens come back Friday. I’ll have all the yummy/burnt, disastrous/glorious results for you then.
Yesterday Penny, Jude, and I tried our hand at making the BOO signs. When I went to Michaels on Tuesday I decided to have them each make their own signs and so gotten the supplies to make two signs, one for each of them. While they were watching their morning show I got everything set up. I put a plastic table cloth down that we use when painting and set out their letters, a paint brush, and a cup of paint for each of them. They were so excited when they came to the table and saw that they were going to be able to paint.
They jumped right to the task of painting. At first they only wanted to paint the tops of the letters, but with some encouragement they were able to cover pretty much the entirety of each letter in the black paint. There thankfully was no complaint about the color of paint that was provided. And as they happily painted I realized I hadn’t eaten breakfast and so treated myself to a piece of toast with farm fresh butter, my dad works for a farmer, and the pumpkin butter the kids and I made last week. I just have to say that the pumpkin butter tasted amazing still, it has a good shelf life.
Anyway back to the BOO signs and kids. Once they got into painting they had a lot of fun. And like I predicted they got paint on themselves… It could have been must worse. They were able to only get the paint on their bodies. Plus they had come in their pajamas so I just kept them in those for the project as a safety measure so that when Penny went to school there wouldn’t be any paint on her clothes and Jude could go to bed paint free. So once they were done painting we had a cleaning party in the bathroom cause that fact that they didn’t get any paint on their pajamas is actually incredible considering the fact of the places and in some cases the amounts of paint they did get on themselves. Luckily I was able to clean them up and then we went on a walk to get some fresh air, and spend some of their energy, to let the paint start to dry.
We let the paint continue to dry while Penny was at school and Jude took his nap. After Penny got back from school and took her rest we finished up out craft. I had picked up a thing of ribbon while I was at Michaels that I had thought would look great with the black letters. What I didn’t know was there was going to be just enough ribbon to complete the difficult task at, seriously the hardest part of this project was tying those ribbons so that the letters and the bows looked good. My friend, Hannah, was there watching me tie the bows and she can attest to how much of a challenge it was. Don’t judge me until you try it yourself, those letters and pieces of ribbon did not want to be friends at first. However as you can tell by the final result they’re friends now.
It’s Tuesday again and that means it’s time to talk about a new craft and predict the outcome of making it. I have decided this week to make a seasonal door decoration with Penny and Jude. I found this idea on Pinterest a few weeks ago and I think it is going to be really cute. It originally came from a young married blogger who got into the seasonal crafts and came up with this BOO sign. I think the sign is really cute and I believe that the kids will really have a lot of fun making it.
I like doing activities like this with the kids because it is always good when you can send them home with something. The kids are so proud to show their parents what they have made and the parents usually are excited to be getting a gift/something they can put up and say their kid made that. Parents love bragging about their kids and crafts are a great way of allowing the parents to do that. Plus I mean come on decorating for the seasons can get a bit much so anytime I can help out I try to. This sign will add a little pop to the front door or wherever else in the house the mom decides to put it. I am even rolling around the idea of them each making their own sign so that they can go on their bedroom doors. We shall see how much the supplies are when I go to the store later today.
There are a few components to this craft; we are going to have to paint the letters, which the kids will LOVE. They love painting and not having any lines to stay in will make it even more fun! I’ll just cover the table with old news paper and let them go crazy. Then after the paint has dried we will have to attach the letters together with ribbon to create the sign. My thinking is that we will do the painting in the morning before Penny goes to school and then after she gets back and has her rest we will attach the letters.
So now comes the part when I imagine what could go wrong while making this craft and second-guess my desire to make it with the kids. Here we go! Paint is messy! The painting could get out of control, they could start flinging their paint brushes around in the air getting paint all over the room and windows, making me have to spend my nap time break scrubbing the room down. A paint fight could occur in which I would have to spend ample time cleaning them up and making Penny presentable for school and then go back and clean the room. They could not want to paint the letters in the colors I have. Paint could get on their clothes and their mom may not send clothes for them to change into. And yeah, paint, paint is dangerous! Maybe this was a bad idea… I guess you will find out on Friday if this idea was a disaster or the perfect way to decorate a door. Until Friday then!
The pumpkin butter was a success! I am so happy to report that yesterday I made pumpkin butter with the kids without a hitch. Ok maybe almost without a hitch is a better way to put it. As I was setting up all the stuff to make the butter the kids went a little crazy. We were at my house yesterday and my mom was taking care of two kids herself. Usually Penny and Jude get along famously with the kids my mom watches, let’s call them James (5 years old) and Amy (2 years old), but yesterday was different. I was in the kitchen pulling out all the ingredients when BAM pandemonium! Amy pushed Jude, Jude took Amy’s toy, James desperately wanted a hug from Penny,Penny didn’t want to give James a hug, and EVERYONE was screaming! I ended up having to discipline Jude and deal with all the screaming before I was able to start the pumpkin butter.
Once the madness was over I got back to the task at hand, making the pumpkin butter. Just before all the drama I had set all the ingredients out so I called James and Penny over to help me measure and put the pumpkin and the white sugar in. Then I had Jude come over and help me with the brown sugar. And finally I had little Amy help me stir it all together. I held off putting the spices in until 30 minutes from the end of the cook time because I had seen in another recipe that by doing that the spices came through better. And so with the pumpkin and sugars mixed in the crock pot I let it cook on high for the 3 hours, stirring occasionally to stop it from burning. Every time I took the lid off to stir it I was hit with the pungent smell of pumpkin, it was a good way to spend a few hours. As I said in my prediction, I almost forgot about stirring it at one point because I was doing homework luckily my best friend, Hannah, was down stairs and stirred it for me.
The end result was delicious. Hannah having a sweet tooth craving decided to bake a little Busy Day Cake while the kids were napping and I was doing homework. By the way Busy Day Cake is a great easy recipe for when you need a quick no fuss cake. And so after the kids got up from nap I cut up slices of cake and served it with the pumpkin butter on top. Let me tell you YUM! There is nothing like fresh cake with fresh pumpkin butter on top! Needless to say the kids were happy, not only did we get to make something in the morning but we got to eat it over cake in the afternoon. I think this recipe is great and would encourage all those who don’t want to go through roasting their own pumpkin to try out this recipe. The kids were pleased and so am I, I mean how could you not just look at the end result!
October has arrived and with it all things fall. Through my pinning I was able to find four activities that fit the theme of the month, fall and Halloween. In this first week of October I have chosen to make pumpkin butter with the kids. They love toast and so anything to put on top of it is sure to be a hit. The pin led me to a blog post by the blogger Recipes that Crock. A funny name I must admit.
The recipe appealed to me because it is made in a crock pot, which means the kids and I will do a little work in the morning and then we can go play while our pumpkin butter cooks. Crock pots are ideal to use when with kids, you can throw all the ingredients in and then practically forget about it until it is done. Like I said ideal! Crock pot cooking is also ideal when you have a lot to do and just don’t want to have think about cooking. Just don’t completely forget about what you have in the crock pot! Anyway back to pumpkin butter and the kids. Other than the recipe using a crock pot the ingredients and directions are really simple! In the morning the kids and I have to put all the ingredients into the crock pot and 3 hours later we will have a tasty treat. Now I have found a bunch of a bunch of pumpkin butter recipes that use an actual pumpkin to make the butter and as much as my little hipster heart would love to say I was going to use a fresh fall squash and not a can I can’t lie… I don’t have time for real pumpkin! When making butter from a fresh pumpkin you have to roast the pumpkin first and then cook it with the seasonings for on average 5 hours. That is between 3-4 hours of extra work that I just don’t have time for! And so this time I’m using canned pumpkin, judge me is you must.
Alright so here is the part of the post that I imagine what could go wrong while making this, hopefully, yummy fall themed spread. Can pumpkin is well stocked at my local food store so I don’t have to worry about another borax fiasco, thank God! However there are other things that could go awry. The kids could dump too much of any of the seasonings into the pot making it taste overly spiced or just plain gross. They could get in a fit that comes to shoving and then there goes the canned pumpkin flying across the kitchen and then SPLAT! on the ground. I could forget to turn off the crock pot after 3 hours and burn the what would have been tasty afternoon snack. I hope none of these things happen, cause I really want to eat some pumpkin butter!
So the stage is set; in 2 days I will arm myself with a mixing spoon and apron and attempt to flawlessly make pumpkin butter with Penny and Jude. Will it work? We don’t know but come Friday afternoon I will tell you. Stay tuned this adventure has just begun!
Yesterday was one of the most challenging days of my nanny life each year, the VNA Rummage Sale. Twice a year my mother, sister, and I go to a MASSIVE rummage sale in Far Hills. I’m not exaggerating when I say it is huge and hectic! As always I have Penny and Jude on Thursdays and so they join me at the rummage sale. Rummage sales are fun, and I always come away with some great stuff (Dooney and Bourke bag for $20) but every time it is difficult with the kids. Over the years I have learned to combat their lack of interest in my binge shopping with snacks.
Yesterday was like any other sale day, I had my game plan. I packed my backpack FULL of snacks! Snacks are a must whenever I take the kids anywhere. They came be used for many many purposes. If a kid is bored you can always say “Oh you need something to do? Here have this.” if a reward is needed for good behavior a quick “If you’re good in here, or for a certain amount of time, I will give you a treat.” and if a distraction is needed nothing works better than being able to grab a snack out of your bag and saying “Here have this!”
My clutch go to snack for Penny and Jude is peanuts and raisins. Now granted peanuts and raisins doesn’t work for every kid, i.e. the ones that are allergic to peanuts, but for everyone else it is a powerful snack! I keep this snack on hand because not only do Penny and Jude love it but also because I can feel good about what I am feeding them. Peanuts are a great source of vitamin E, protein, and antioxidants among other things. Raisins promote healthy eyes,bones, and dental, they also help fight against fevers and constipation. As a snack for anyone peanuts and raisins are a great choice but for kids even more so! As I said yesterday was difficult but I can say that thanks to two bags of peanuts and raisins I was able to do all the shopping I wanted.
When you are looking for a peanuty snack that has a little bit more sweetness to it I recommend the kids and my favorite peanut butter cookies. This recipe is super easy and doesn’t have a lot of ingredients. We have made this recipes so many times. Two summers ago we got in the habit of making these cookies every Friday afternoon as a treat. The kids loved it, I loved it, and their parents loved coming home to the smell of freshly made cookies until we realized we had more cookies than we knew what to do with.
Whichever snack you try enjoy it, both have gotten me out of a lot of sticky situations… ok and also into a few, word of advice when making the cookies with kids don’t leave them alone with an open jar of peanut butter, and if the peanuts and raisins are in a bowl keep it on a surface other than a couch. These two snacks aren’t mess proof but they are both so good, enjoy!