Monthly Archives: February 2012

Doin’ the Monkey…Bread

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Pizza. Who doesn’t love pizza? You? Well, you can leave then.

For everyone else, I’ve got something you’re going to L.O.V.E. I give you Pizza Pull Aparts, also known as Pizza Bites, also known as Stuffed Monkey Bread. Do I even need to explain the reason I had to try this recipe? Yeah, I didn’t think so.

THE RESULTS

WHAT I LEARNED

*We used some leftover french bread dough we had frozen for rolls. It worked wonderfully.

*Ranch works just as well for dipping when you don’t want to bother making pizza sauce.

*If you only have shredded mozarella, don’t worry, it’ll still work. It’s just a bit trickier to pinch closed.

*Don’t be afraid of the garlic bits – just brush them right on with the butter. If you like garlic half as much as I do anyway.

THE VERDICT

Oh. My. Yum.

I’m going to admit that I’ve never made monkey bread before, but after this, it certainly won’t be the last time I do. The kids devoured it. And we couldn’t help but think of all the possibilities this gives us – we could stuff the bread with anything: ham and cheese, broccoli and cheese, chocolate even. I’m thinking that should be next – it’s okay to have chocolate for dinner, right? But maybe we’ll leave out the garlic.

The Glitter Jar

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Long, long ago in a galaxy far away…

I found this glitter jar idea and pinned it.

And then I tried it.

And now, I shall blog about it.

THE RESULTS

WHAT I LEARNED

*I originally made the jar with Batman (5) in mind because he has some sensory issues and is drawn to visual stimulation. I thought it would be good for calming him down when he’s worked up. Alas, it only holds his attention for approximately 13.2 seconds. If we’re lucky.

*Superman (who is 2) however, loves it.

*A little food coloring goes a long way. As you can see by our nearly black creation. Oops.

*You can’t use too much glitter. Trust me.

*A bit of cute paper and some glue can be a great way to cover things like “Salsa Verde 10/11” on used jar lids.

THE VERDICT

*I like it, but I won’t be making another one. Mostly, it just sits on the counter being ignored. Perhaps if I’d not been so heavy handed with the food coloring it would get more use.

Quietus Bookus

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Way back in once-upon-a-time time, when my dear husband and I were trying to figure out what to give our children for Christmas, he suggested I make a quiet book for Mr. Two Years Old (aka Superman). I agreed it was a great idea and forthwith set to work looking up ideas and pinning them to my trusty ol’ Pinterest boards. To make your life easier, I’ve moved all of these ideas to one Quiet Book board for you to peruse at your leisure. I’m nice like that.

Anyhow, so I’m gathering ideas and making lists of what I’ll need for supplies and my dear husband points out that I might as well make one for my 2 year old nephew as well, since we had their family for Christmas and I was sure to end up with extra supplies from the one I was making anyway, right? Note to the world: It takes twice as long to make 2 quiet books as it does to make one. Just, you know, in case you were wondering.

Oh yes, back to the making of the thing. I really liked the method and look of the quiet book shown here, so I decided to run with it. My one regret about that is that I wish I’d made the pages a couple of inches bigger than I did. Not a big deal, but still.

There are SO MANY great ideas for quiet book pages out there. I had a hard time narrowing it down and in the end, I probably did a few too many pages for one book…I don’t know, is 18 too many pages? Since it turns out the book can double as a pillow due to it’s thickness, I’m going to go with yes.

On to the book (prepare for picture overload):

The Cover, In All Its Glory

Here’s the cover. I saw one somewhere that had the child’s initials on the front and liked the look of it, but didn’t want mine to be quite so specific to one child, so decided to use the same idea to make the purpose of the book clear: Shut your trap. Of course, then my dear husband pointed out that it probably should have had ¬†2 “h”es. How do you type that? Two aiches? Two aytches? 2 Hes? Anyway, he said it should say “Shh” Whatever.

Funny Faces

I love this page. I got the idea for it from here. Actually, that book has some other awesomely fantastic page ideas as well. It looks like she actually made each little face piece from fabric, but seeing as how I lack talent and patience in that arena, I just made a bunch up w/the simple shapes in Microsoft Word, printed them out and laminated them. Alas, this page ended up being the most difficult, even though it was supposed to be easy peasy. I *wanted* the pieces to attach with snaps. With that in mind, I added snaps to my pages before discovering that I couldn’t find a glue strong enough to withstand the laminate piece being pulled on. Every glue I tried pulled the laminate from the snap and left the snaps together. Even gorilla glue. Actually, as a side note…I’ve never had gorilla glue work for me. Not a fan of that stuff. Anyway, I ended up using some velcro dots I had and attaching them to the snap and the piece, so now when Mr. Two Years Old pulls on it, the velcro comes apart and the snap stays together and it all sounds more complicated than it really is.

Moving on.

Pages 3 and 4
Bead Counters

A lot of quiet books have a page like this in one way or another – I think it’s a pretty standard addition, so I don’t really have anyone to give the credit to, but I like it.

Tic Tac Toe

I got the idea for this page from here, where I also got several other ideas. I actually love almost every page in that book, so if you’re looking for some great ideas, don’t skip over that one! I didn’t want mine to take up 2 pages, though, so I made the green “playing field” a pocket. See where the stitching is different on top? Yeah, that’s where it opens. I might as well tell you right now that all of my pockets are reinforced along the top with an extra layer of flannel bonded to the back of the felt because I didn’t want it stretching out.

Let’s Go Camping!
Tent With Finger Puppets Inside

Alright, so “Let’s Go Camping!” is one of my favorite pages. I’m pretty sure I came up with the idea on my own. Which is probably why it’s one of my favorites. I wanted something with a zipper, so here it is and there are two little finger puppet people who live inside. Cute, no? The fire? Well, it’s just a fire.

Pages 7 and 8
Brush the Lion’s Teeth

The lion, oh the lion. I got the idea for the lion from here Рseriously cute lion Рand the teeth brushing from here, where I decided that the monkey, though awesome, demanded much more work than I am capable of. Plus, I wanted to use the lion. Too bad my lion turned out looking mostly psycho instead of cute. Se la vie.

Buckle the Dog’s Collar

The dog idea came, once again, from here. Told you she had some great pages! And it was freakin’ hard to attach that collar. Just so you know.

Car Track in the Middle

I saw several different books with a car track in them and l.o.v.e.d. the idea. Unfortunately, I ended up in a time crunch and I didn’t get different road signs made, which was my original intent. But Superman loves this page nonetheless.

Pages 11 and 12

Just your basic shape and color matching pages.

Match the Shapes

The outline of the shapes are here in white so they can be matched up with their counterparts…

Match the Colors

…and colors over here. Funny thing about this page. When I was making the books, I accidentally wrote “Math the Colors” on my nephew’s. Oops! Had to go back and squeeze a “c” in. At this point, you might like to know that I used Crayola Fabric Markers for when I needed markers. They are heat set, so apparently, they should be able to handle being washed, which will never be tested in this instance because I’m not sure the rest of my workmanship would survive a trip through the washer, but there ya go.

Shark and Pirate Ship

Superman LOVES pirates. LOVES. So I totally copied the pirate ship from this book. The shark is attached to the page with a ribbon and can hide behind the water. The pirate ship doesn’t do anything but sit there. I was *going* to make it so you could raise and lower the flag and add an anchor, but time was not on my side.

Pages Something and Other (What are we on now?)

Mailbox. Found it here. And here. The flag goes up and down. Letters stick to the other side with velcro.

Last Two Pages
Puzzles

This quiet book (yes, it’s that same one I keep linking to) had some cute puzzles. I worked not as hard on mine and made the pockets on the same page as the puzzles because I didn’t want to take up more space. There’s a star and a heart.

Notebook and Pen

And the best for last. No really, I think this might have been my very best idea. At least, I *think* it was my idea. After looking at so many different books online, I’m starting to wonder if I saw it somewhere else or not. Anyway…it’s a pocket for a notepad and pen. I don’t know about your kids, but my kids only last so long, even with the mother of all quiet books, but give them a pen and some paper and they’ll last…at least 5 minutes longer. So that’s exactly what I did. We usually end up with some stickers in there too. Who doesn’t love stickers?

So there you have it – more than you ever wanted to know about what took up almost the entirety of my time in December. Yeah. It was a lot of time. I can’t believe I made two. I’ll probably never make another quiet book in my life.

Natural Looking Curls

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Yes, my friends, this is yet another curling your hair trick. What can I say, I like having curled hair but alas, I was endowed with only natural straightness. What really drew me to this method of hair curling, was that it does, indeed, look much more natural than using a curling iron the traditional way. So, of course, I tried it out.

THE RESULTS

From the front
Sideview so you can see more

WHAT I LEARNED

*My awkward arms + my hair’s ODD made this a bit…awkward…to do on some of the curls. Perhaps because I kept switching which direction I was doing the curls. I don’t like all my curls to go the same way.

*It took a long time (like 45 min I think? I don’t know, wasn’t timing it)

*Didn’t last as long as I hoped it would.

THE VERDICT

I liked the results. I didn’t like the time it took. I’m not sure the amount of time spent in proportion to how long it lasted makes it worth it. That said, I can’t remember how big my curling iron is, but I *think* it’s bigger than an inch – maybe an inch and a half – so I think I’ll try it w/the 3/4 one next time and see how long that lasts. So yes, I’ll try again. Maybe even today. :)