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Thursday, April 17, 2014

S'more Cookies in a Jar

I went searching online for a recipe using peeps in a cookie recipe.  I have previously made a chunky chocolate version of this for shower prizes.  I found a Pinterest post at this blog. Go here to see the original   I don't have the machine she uses that cuts shapes, so I built mine from clipart which you are welcome to use.  On another post this morning, someone mentioned the waltograph font.  I downloaded it for free from    The recipe at  Michelle's website in the link above does not use any flour or other dry cookie ingredients.  Since the chunky chocolate cookies are a given, I decided to go with what I know works.

I didn't want to give the young adults coming for Easter a lot more candy.  But, I thought that they'd like to make these cookies sometime, and there IS candy in them.  

My cookies use cake mixes.  I am using quart size jars, so  I measured exactly and they use 1 cup + 1/3 cup + 1/2 cup of the cake mix.  I replaced the 1/2 cup of cake mix in the above recipe with crushed graham crackers.  I could only find pink peep bunnies.
Below is the photo from the above web site to give you a visual image of the jar.

Here are the jars I made with their labels (recipes) on them.   Since I made twelve of them, I am going to give you the amounts of ingredients I used.  In the post I got the idea from, she had her peeps at the bottom of the jar and used eight.  I put my peeps at the top of the jar and only used six.

  • I used one quart jars. I put 1/2 cup of Nestle chocolate chunks (11.5 ox bag) bottom of each jar.  It only took two bags to fill up the 12 jars.
  •   I used 5 boxes  of cake mix for 12 jars.  (2 boxes will do 5 jars).
  • I put 1/2 cup M & M's in next.  1 large bag filled 4 jars.  I used 3 bags.
  • I crushed up 1/2 cup of graham crackers (not finely) and used three sleeves.
  • I put 1/2 cup brown sugar in next.  One box filled 8 jars.  I used 1 1/2 boxes.
  • I put 6 peep rabbits in next.  They come 12 to a box.  I used 6 boxes.
  • I filled the space in the middle of the peeps with 1/2 cup chocolate chips. The bag was 11.5 oz.  One bag filled 4 jars.  I used 3 bags.   
 I  am giving mine to my daughters, nieces, and nephews.   I wish I had known ahead of time to buy the fabric squares.  But my jars are going inside insulated lunch sacks I got the kids.  Very practical.  Last year I gave them candy inside Tervis Tumblers.  They're all ready for a picnic or beach trip now.  I'm ready for a trip myself.  At least it's stopped snowing on the East Coast and they're not calling for rain this weekend.  I told the kids that if they didn't want to search for eggs, I'd give them each a square of Mr. Clean Magic Eraser.  They could hunt for finger prints.  The person with the dirtiest square would win a prize.  One of my nieces actually thought this was a good idea.  Ha ha.  

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Pirate's Boat, Hat, and Map for Pirate's Day at School

     I bought a new camera to take blog photos, but I haven't figured it out yet.  They still come out blurry.  But...we are making over 85 pirate boats with the first graders at school for the 130th day of school.  I have another post where it shows you how to make one out of a pizza box.  If you want to see it go here to see cardboard boat
       But, I couldn't do that with four first grade classes.  I worked and worked and worked on a pattern, so that the pieces would all fit on on 8.5" x 11" piece of cardstock.  I removed the color from the previous pieces I made to glue onto the cardboard.  I added more windows and cannons.    Why?  Because I made up a math counting sheet where all the answers add up to 130.
     There are 66 square window panes, 12 canons, 5 railings, 11 windows, 35 spindles, and 1 bow on the boat.   Of course, you could ask other questions to add up other things.
After getting so close in pattern making 101, I decided I had to have a bigger piece of paper.  So, I went up to the 11" x 17" size.  I know they have those sizes at school, but they don't normally have cardstock in that size at office supply stores.  Kinkos might.
I knew my husband's office did.  They use it for the front of  brochures.  

If you are looking at the bottom of the pattern, do not worry about the missing lines.  Those are flaps that tuck behind the back piece.  Just cut along the boxes as if the lines were there.  Cut out the entire outside of the shape.  Also cut out the two narrow triangle spaces on both side of the back piece with the three windows.  At the top, make a small cut to separate the two flaps at the bow.

Because you are folding the paper up along the sides of the large triangle which makes the bottom, you can do this along the edge of a desk or table.  Then fold up the three back boxes.  With the flaps turned up, use a glue stick and rub it along the plain flaps and fold those over each other.  Fold the back up and it will stick to the top flap.  Fold the two front flaps in, glue, and stick together.  The teachers were delighted that it was such and easy project.  The team ordered 18" dowels from  We are going to write pirate stories on the sails.

 If you punch a hole in the middle of the top and bottom of each sheet, it should slide right onto the dowel. This will be printed on 8.5" x 11" paper.

I love, love, love this clipart

Landscaped lined sail with smaller more lines for eager writers
If the kids want to make patterns on the sails, I would have them write their stories in their journals, then do final copies in INK on the sails, so that they could lightly color over their printing. Or they could print on one side and color the back.

 I tried to hold a dowel up with clay the team already had, but it did not work.  One of the teachers suggested gluing marshmallows into the boat.  I have thin styrofoam sheets I might cut up.  If you have a suggestion...please leave a comment.  I could use your ideas.
Surprise:  there's an extra.  I found a pattern for a pirate's hat on Pinterest.
8.5" wide if you're printing it

I folded a piece of 12" x 18" black construction paper in half (the fat way) and printed out the pattern so that it fairly fit the one half. (I had to make it smaller than an 8.5" x 11" sheet of paper).  When I cut it out by placing it on the fold, i cut the slit open in the middle.  It fit exactly on my head with a front and back.  It's an awesome design. I  AM going to make them in foam for the Fourth of July, but add ribbons to them.,  but since we are making 85 of them, it was too expensive. I am using sentence strips for the bands. We can just measure them around each student's head and staple. So...I folded ANOTHER piece of 12" x 18" construction paper in half the skinny way.  I cut the first hat in half by continuing the slit until I had just a front and back piece.  I put that piece on the second construction paper and enlarged it with a pencil freehand so that it was 2" bigger on the top.  This way the sentence strip doesn't show. 
                 I edged the hat with a white crayon.  You could have the kids paint the edges or glue them and sprinkle white/colored glitter on the edges.

 I glued the two hats together ONLY on the ends, then slipped it over the sentence strip hand and stapled the paper to the bottom to the sentence strip band.

You only need one skull and bones per hat.  The kids can color the scarf any color they choose.  Just glue it on the front of the hat.  I ordered turkey feathers from in bulk.  Just like Yankee Doodle stuck a feather in his hat, so will we.  By the way, when they called him a "macaroni" it meant he was a "dandy."  I love telling first graders about that expression.

    I used two lengths of 6 foot brown paper glued and taped together to make the map. I already had the pirate icons from the office Margarita/Pirate party last September.  So I enlarged them.  It was my hubby's idea to use the blue painters tape (1/2") to make the 12" square boxes.  I numbered the bottom row 1-6 and the left hand side A-F to make a grid.  I will explain the the first graders how to use the grid to find things on a map.  
    I am also going to tell them a story about how the island was overcome with frogs and the pirates had to figure out a way to deal with them.  Since we've discussed simple machines, I am bringing in my two stomping catapults to have them fling bean bag frogs onto the map.  They will earn points for their class by landing on the icons--which are worth different points.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Four Carnival Games

The four carnival games for our office party are displayed here.  There was a LINE to play them.

     Here is one of four of the carnival games I am making for the State Fair Rodeo Chili Contest party.  I found the fish balls (they are stuffed) on  I didn't want bean bags because they'd be too easy to throw.  These little guys are lightweight and make the game more difficult.  
     As usual, I love to reuse party props.  You've seen my wooden wagon at four other party's being used as a serving piece.  So, when I needed a target for my "Gone Fishing" game, it seemed perfect. was too big for the space, so I used one of my wicker boats as the target.


I also wanted to reuse my woven boats from the Margaritaville party.   I have molded chocolate fish.  I also found the mold on  I bought three sheets that mold eleven goldfish each.  No carnival is complete without someone winning goldfish.

Here is the individual package.  I added some blue cardstock waves and secured the little cellophane bag with a topper.  If you look carefully, the blue dot has a tiny company logo on the left.

We got the bracelets in the tube to glow.  The guests loved throwing the light rings.  This game was very difficult.

Flinging frogs with a net.  Small basket.  Hard to do, but fun.

Each gun held FIVE rubber bands, so you got 5 chances to hit the targets in order.  See the whole bucket of rubber bands.

Friday, February 28, 2014

County Fair and Rodeo Party

        I have been planning the Office's annual Chili Contest.  If you have been following my blog, you know I try to alter the theme every year.  The theme has to have cows and/or cowboys.  Last year it was a cattle drive themeThe year before it was an Old West theme.  One year it was a farm theme.  Because we ordered eight stand-up cows last year, I wanted to use them again.  So, with this year's them, I can put blue ribbons on them.  I ordered two cardboard standup horses to tie in the rodeo part of the theme.
The fair part of the theme needed some games and prizes.  The above photo shows some of the game pieces I have been gathering. Below is a photo from party set-up taken from my i-phone.  I have updated this post and have photos of the party below.

If you want to see the post with the description of the games and their cliparts, go  here.

       I bought the bean bag frogs for another party, and couldn't figure out how to use the nets to fling them.  Then I got the brainstorm to tie the bottom of the net up with a rubber band to make it shallow.  It now works great as a "flinger."  I am using a small napkin basket as the target.  I am printing up a graphic image to match each of the four games.  I will add those below.  I found the four wooden dinosaurs at Home Goods on sale.  They are piggy banks.  But, they are just the right size to fling three hooked-together glow bracelets over.  They are just sitting in the box for the display here.  The box will actually be wrapped in pretty paper and hold plastic food tubs.  I have ordered six goldfish balls.  Yes, that's right.  You can find anything on  This will be a toss game. Finally, the red, white, and blue stand on the left is a target.  I will have two rubber band guns which hold 5 nice size bands each.  The little flaps flip over when hit.
I am transferring the clipart above to the cardboard backdrops.

The first of the window panels to welcome you.

The second window panel gives you the fair theme.

The fourth panel continues the rodeo theme.

The third panel sets the rodeo theme.

You have to have a rodeo clown.


What County Fair and Rodeo wouldn't have a band?

You must have a roller coaster and bumper cars.

You can't have a fair without a ferris wheel.


 I built all of these panels (which will be enlarged to 40" x 60" panels for the big windows in our lobby.  I made them from bits and pieces of other cliparts.  If you decide to use any of them, they can only be used for non-commercial purposes.

I couldn't find a clipart of bleachers I liked ANYWHERE.  So I built my own.  I had a lot of trouble finding quality cowboys and crowds. Most of the people are bits and pieces of people.  I feel like Dr. Frankenstein.

Finally, below are the backdrop clipart pieces to date.  I'll probably tweek them before the party and add title signs.  I have LOTS more things to tell you about the party--like the desserts--but I will wait until I start baking  before taking pictures. Of course, I am molding orange chocolate gold fish, you're probably wondering.  I am waiting for the mold to arrive.  I got it on, along with the target shoot game.
Pig cookies, candied apple cake pops, and popcorn centerpiece.

Chocolate chip cookie dough crusts with cherry pie filling, chocolate pudding, and cream cheese and cool whip topping.
Ten foot iconic cowboy greeted guests.  We did put his arm on by the time the party started.

New this year are standup horses.  The two rodeo posters went behind them.

The cows went down the office's main hall this year.  Some wore prize ribbons.  Some got tipped (ha ha).   

Here is the prize wheel.  People wanted to win it. It had catagories, like candy, squishies, cups, etc. on it. People had a four game ticket booklet.  They turned in a ticket to play/win/lose.  Even losing tickets went into a raffle box for prize drawings later.

Prize table.  I used the top shelf for stuffed animals.  Our clients and friends loved my choices.  There was actually a line to play games.  The rubber band shoot was a favorite.

Table setting and three of the window posters

Ride the Bull photo op.  Pictures weren't crystal clear because you had to stand behind glass.  But we took Poloroid shots, so guests could take them home with them.  This turned out to be a very popular aspect.
Even the band got into the photos.  Notice the cow hats I found.

My husband and I riding the bull

pig cookies up close