Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Here's a Halloween TREAT for you!

Remember that free e-book I was telling you I would post about today?  Well, here it is!  Happy Halloween, everyone!  Stay safe tonight!

Trick or FREE eBook? Download NOW...Uppity Owl Upcycles a Brooch. It's about a crafty owl who loves to upcycle! Retail $4.99 Amazon. Download Here: Have a Safe Holiday Everyone!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

World Pasta Day

HAPPY WORLD PASTA DAY!  Today, I was the teacher host for our homeschooling group, Home Scholars, and so when I realized that today was World Pasta Day, I ran with it.  Here are some ideas to celebrate your own pasta day!
For the same, I made these Spaghetti and Meatball Cupcakes (you'll see these all over Pinterest) using just a boxed white cake mix and canned vanilla frosting.
For the topping, you will need strawberry jelly (the squeezable bottle works best), Whoppers candy (for your "meatballs"), and white chocolate (to grate over the top of your cupcakes for "Parmesan cheese").
 Using a piping bag (or Ziploc), pipe on your icing (I added a drop of yellow food coloring to the frosting can to make it more pasta-like in color) to resemble a pile of spaghetti.  Once your "spaghetti" is in place, squirt a bit of strawberry jam on the top to resemble sauce, then add your Whopper to the very top.
 Finally, grate your white chocolate over your cupcakes to resemble Parmesan cheese.
 They look great!
For the lesson, I read facts from these two informative books ... Pasta by Jillian Powell, and ...
... Pasta and Noodles by Carol Jones.  Both were packed with all things to do with pasta!
After we discussed pasta in general and the different kinds of pasta shapes, we watched a short video on macaroni, called "Macaroni Polo" from our The Busy World of Richard Scarry: Good Times Never End! DVD.
 Then, after the video, we used different pasta shapes to make these Pasta Bar Graphs.  (This is a great way to illustrate numbers and groups of items.)
 Here are Mags and Olivia, sorting their shapes for counting.
Here are Grace and Stacey, doing the same.
 Again, here's Mags, coloring her bar graph!  :)
 Great job, Mags!
After our bar graphs were done, we used our pasta shapes to get creative and make pictures.  Here was my example for the kids, my map of Italy.
Here's Maggie, gluing on her shapes.
 Today's group!
 Maggie's masterpiece was this picture of her cat, with many bowls of "milk" (using orecchiette pasta, or "little ears").
 Here is Eric, showing us his pasta man, complete with farfalle bowtie and orecchiette hat!  :)
 Liam's "skeleton!"  :)
 Michael's rocket ship!  (I love his farfalle flames!)  :)
After we completed our pasta art, we learned the "On Top of Spaghetti" song using this great read, On Top of Spaghetti by Paul Brett Johnson.
Then, of course, it was time to dig into those cupcakes!
We had a great time!  Before I end this post, though, I'd like to share with you one of my favorite poems by Shel Silverstein in honor of today:


Spaghetti, spaghetti, all over the place, 
Up to my elbows -- up to my face,
Over the carpet and under the chairs,
Into the hammock and wound round the stairs,
Filling the bathtub and covering the desk,
Making the sofa a mad mushy mess.

The party is ruined, I'm terribly worried,
The guests have all left (unless they're all buried).
I told them, "Bring presents."  I said, "Throw confetti."
I guess they heard wrong
'Cause they all threw spaghetti!

Happy World Pasta Day, everyone!  :)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Happy Birthday, Emmett!

So, our kitten is one.  And, of course, being the corny, obliging Mom that I am, we had a birthday party.  For the cat.  (Oh, the things you do for your kids!) Enjoy the photos!

Here, Mags is working on Emmett's cake ... turkey pate with cat treats to decorate!  (Yuck.)
Once the candle on his "cake" was lit, we "meowed" the "Happy Birthday" song to him!
 He was eager to get his teeth into that cake!  (Glad someone was!)
 Best buddies!
And, of course, what's a birthday without presents?!  We wrapped his gift in Hello Kitty paper (very appropriate, we thought, as long as he doesn't mind the pink) and tied it with the paper cord he likes to bat so much!  
 What was inside?  A chirping mouse and a catnip-filled banana!
 The banana was a hit!  He got wild and started batting at me while I took his picture!
 Funny boy!
Happy birthday, sweet boy!
 Oh, what will this kid think up next?

Monday, October 15, 2012

You are invited!

YOU ALL ARE INVITED to my Usborne and More E-Party!
The holidays are only about 10 weeks away and what better gift for the child(ren) in your life than award-winning Usborne books?  If you haven't yet been introduced to Usborne, you've been missing out!  This e-party is the perfect time to introduce Usborne to your little reader(s)!  Just click on my party link to check out all the great products Usborne offers:
Even better?  Usborne offers a flat shipping rate of $5 and your order is on your doorstep in only 3-4 days!  They also offer great monthly specials (see the Customer Specials at and the Internet Specials at!
If you need assistance or have questions, please contact my consultant, Hannah Chambers, on the the site link.  If you "Like" her Facebook page, you can find out more about future sales, specials, and free book drawings (!
Here is one of the items I just bought Mags ... an interactive book for Christmas with a pull-back Santa in his  sleigh and four embedded tracks throughout the book!  She's going to love it!  

You only have until the 31st of this month to place your order, so don't delay!  Hope to see you at my e-party!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Edible Pumpkin Patch

So, here is the second dessert we made for today's church luncheon ... our "Edible Pumpkin Patch!"  In the past, I made cupcakes to look like apples using red decorating sugar, so I decided to make pumpkin cupcakes the same way, especially after I found some inexpensive orange decorating sugar in the Halloween aisles at Walmart.  (Orange is not an easy color to find, so I grabbed a few extra to keep on hand.)  I then expanded on the idea and decided to make a pumpkin patch, with both regular-sized cupcakes, and minis.  Of course, in true Rachel style, I just kept running with it.  (It's no secret that I'm a huge cornball!)  

To start, I simply used boxed cake mix to make the cupcakes themselves, then bought a can of the Duncan Hines Frosting Creations so that I could use this pumpkin spice flavor mix with it!  (It sounded better than just using red and yellow food coloring in a can of vanilla frosting.  And it tastes better, too!)
 After the cupcakes cooled, I iced them with the pumpkin spice frosting, then dipped them into a bowl full of the decorator's sugar.  Then, I got the idea to use chocolate candy corn for my pumpkins' stems, which I think worked out great.  (Just insert, pointed end first, into the tops of your cupcakes.  Instant stem!)
 Then, I took some green Laffy Taffy candies (sour apple) and shaped pumpkin leaves out of them, to stick onto the tops of my cupcakes.  (I was able to get three leaves from one candy.)
Once our cupcakes were ready, it was time to put together our pumpkin patch.  First, I used a large green platter (which I use every year for our corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick's Day), and placed the cupcakes all around it, being sure to mix up the sizes.  Then, I added the little Fall mix candy pumpkins into the cupcakes to add yet another size of the gourds.  (I also used one to hold up my wooden skewer with my patch sign.)  
Finally, using some icing mixed with a bit of Wilton green food coloring and a Ziploc sandwich bag with a piping tip on the end, we piped on some "vines" around our pumpkins.  Done!  And it looked great for our church's dessert table!  
 Here is a close-up of the sign I made on my computer.  (UUMC are our church's initials.)
See you again soon!