Halloween Spiderweb Game

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I really like looking for craft and activity ideas for kids on Pinterest. There are so many great ideas out there, and I get to try them out with the kids at work. We’ve repurposed old crayons into new crayons, made giant ice marbles by freezing water in balloons during winter, placed glow sticks in balloons, made moon sand, etc.

I had pinned this game awhile ago, to use around Halloween. We tried it out this week.

This process involved a bit of trial & error.

For the spider web, I used green painter’s tape.

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For the spiders, we used newspaper strips and black crepe paper.

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Here’s our web:

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The spiders began to stick to the web…

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Next time, I would experiment with different kinds of painter’s tape, or perhaps use masking tape instead. I thought maybe the crepe paper would stick to the tape better, but it didn’t have the weight to make it to the web, after the kids threw it. The newspaper was heavier, therefore moved further towards the web.

As more spiders were thrown, the web began to fall apart so I just kept adding more tape to it (making it look less and less like a web) 🙂

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The kids had fun playing this game, and we’ll be trying this again!

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“NYTimes rated best Chocolate Chip Cookies”

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This week I made Chocolate Chip Cookies. It was the original plan when I made Taquitos last week, but they got bumped when my pantry was short an ingredient. I’ve pinned a few Chocolate Chip Cookie recipes to my Yum board, but chose to try this one first because the caption with the Pin claimed: “The NYTimes rated this the best chocolate chip cookie recipe ever.” …Sounded like a great endorsement to me!

I knew we needed baking soda, and after reviewing the recipe ingredients, I realized the recipe required approximately 1.5 bags of chocolate chips (we had 1 bag on hand). J picked up the missing items and actually returned from the grocery store with 2 new bags of chocolate chips. He was excited to have found Ghirardelli brand chocolate chips – yum!

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My helper-cutie pie N and I started baking. Our only deviation from the recipe was using all purpose flour in place of the recommended mix of cake flour and bread flour. I figured it would work out since the blogger whom I pinned the recipe from notes that she did the same thing. Other than that, we creamed, sifted, and mixed to our hearts content, following the recipe to the letter. Then we hit a road block. We got to the finished-dough-stage, the ready-to-bake-stage, the looking-forward-to-eating-warm-cookies-tonight-stage, and I read that we’re suppose to “refrigerate dough for 24-36 hours” — what?!? Ugh, it took will-power, but we did it, we popped it into the fridge and waited an entire day cause we didn’t want to mess with “the best chocolate chip cookie recipe ever”. I’ll admit, I’m building some pretty high expectations at this point.

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The next day was my second challenge with the recipe – the dough was no longer easily moldable, but instead, very hard and quite a chore to scoop & bake. We persevered, surely the delicious reward would be worth it, right?

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A short baking time later… cookies! Unfortunately here was disappointment numero tres… I didn’t love them! I fully take responsibility that it could have been me, so I’m not going to knock the recipe… perhaps it was the flour variation, or oven temperature, or who knows, but they were simply “meh”… and we didn’t think they were nearly as good as the traditional chocolate chip cookie recipe found on the chocolate chip bags.

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So, in summary, I wouldn’t make this one again, but we still tried one more pin from the hundreds in the queue. In this case, you don’t know until you try, so no regrets.

Oh yeah, and what’s that you ask?…
What happened to the other bag and a half of chocolate chips?

Why are you asking me.
I haven’t seen them.
I haven’t seen any extra chocolate chips anywhere.
I would not eat a bag and a half of chocolate chips.
Don’t ask me anymore questions.

I dedicate this post to my witty brother… for a multitude of reasons, really. I have a feeling he’ll get this post and relate to it on a couple levels. xo

And we thank him for the really cute children’s book he gave my son: “I want my hat back”, by Jon Klassen – check it out, and this post will have a little more meaning for you too.

M&M Cookies

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I love baking…cookies, cupcakes, etc. But I tend to stick to the same recipes… the ones I’ve made over and over. I have pinned some pretty delicious looking baking ideas to Pinterest during the past year and it’s time to start trying the recipes!

This week I decided to make M&M Cookies. Who doesn’t like cookies? 🙂 They’re easy to share with family & friends…and easy to freeze any extras.

The full recipe can be found by following the link through Pinterest. I doubled the recipe, to have more cookies for sharing 🙂

Cream the butter.

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Add sugars, eggs, vanilla.

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Mix dry ingredients together, including the special ingredient, vanilla pudding powder.

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Add butter mixture with dry ingredients.

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Add the chocolate chips.

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Add the M&Ms..yummy! The recipe calls for mini M&Ms, which I couldn’t find at the store I visited. I liked the idea of the cookies having smaller pieces, so i chopped some of the regular M&Ms, and left some regular size.

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YUM!

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The recipe suggested using a baking mat or parchment paper on the baking sheets, which I need to make a habit of. A better alternative to greasing the cookie sheets (and helps the cookies to bake evenly).

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Finished!

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These cookies were a big hit! I will be making this recipe again. Mine didn’t turn out as flat as the original recipe (maybe due to doubling the recipe?), but they tasted great!

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What’s your favourite kind of cookies?

Week 1 – Halloween Nails

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I love to paint my nails and I am always practicing with different designs and tools. So, I have decided to start with nail pinspiration and I admit that several of my posts will be nail designs. I have been checking out lots of different Halloween nail options and decided to start with a cute candy corn design.
Here is the process:
I started by doing my nails in a nude gel color. (Process not shown) I did this to have a smooth base. Also, the gel polish does not come off with nail polish remover so if I make a mistake with the candy corn design, I can easily remove it and start again on top of the gel base.
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Next, I painted my ring fingernail black and painted the rest white.
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Then, I used a make-up sponge with yellow, orange and white nail polish to create the candy corn look. I put a stripe of yellow, orange and white nail polish in a row on the sponge. Then I lightly pressed the sponge onto each white nail.
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For my black accent nail, I wanted to paint several tiny candies. I used the same method as above, however, I used the most narrow and pointy part of the sponge and ended up only being able to fit two as I made the stripes too big.
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Finally, I did a touch up on all nails and applied a top coat. Here is the final result.
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Baked Creamy Chicken Taquitos

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Well, I’m simultaneously part way into a couple other Pinterest inspired projects (aka story of my life), but since they’re not yet finished I can’t post them on here yet… so I’m struggling to keep up with our weekly posts. To stay on track, I figured I could make a recipe… that’s something I could start & finish in one evening. Not that it’s a competition, but I did observe that Sus finished an Infinity Scarf in one night, yet Taquitos are more my finish-in-one-night speed – potatoes/patotoes. My last knitting project is an unfinished baby blanket… for a sweet pea who’s now 12. No, not 12 months… 12 years @@ (that’s my symbol for wide eyes). But let me get back on track…

I have a Pinterest board dedicated to recipes titled Yum. When I went back to review, two things happened:
a) I realized I’ve done a whole lotta pinning, but not so much making and baking,
b) I was hungry and wanted to make it all – I’ve pinned a whole lot of deliciousness!
Then I remembered the very first recipe I did make from my Pinterest board, actually Susan and I made it together when she was visiting. Needless to say, we were less than inspired and it’s no longer pinned to my board. Lets hope this time would be different…

I planned to choose a baking project to do with N, and after browsing my board, I wanted to make Chocolate Chip Cookies. But when I was an ingredient shy and it was nearing dinner time, I chose an entree instead – Baked Creamy Chicken Taquitos. They made the cut since I had many of the ingredients on hand that needed to be used before we went out of town for a couple days. I also had a large cooked chicken breast leftover from dinner the night prior, so this was a perfect way to reinvent these leftovers.

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https://pinningcousins.wordpress.com | From Pins to Projects

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N was the cutest little helper…

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But he wanted to eat more than help at times… he was pilfering so much cheese from the recipe that I ended up giving him his own plate of ‘you-can-eat-this-cheese’

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https://pinningcousins.wordpress.com | From Pins to Projects

No need to reiterate the recipe here, as the site linked from my Taquitos pin has it perfectly explained, and they have prettier food photos.
The only 2 things we did differently were using classic red salsa instead of green (it’s what we had on hand), and we used medium tortilla shells, cut in half and rolled the long way for each taquito.

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The recipe made two trays. After I put the second tray in the oven, I realized it made a lot and I probably should have frozen some instead… but, it turns out they were all eaten very quickly.

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They were a big hit – we loved this recipe and will definitely make it again – delicious!

Fall Leaf Lantern

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Fall is my favourite season…I love all the colours of the leaves! Mixed with the crisp, sunny weather, it’s the perfect transition from Summer to Winter!

When I saw this Fall project, I thought it would be perfect…as it also involved another favourite of mine: mason jars.

I love the way mason jars look, I’ve devoted a whole Pinterest board to them, they always seem to be hidden in cupboards & basements, yet I haven’t completed a single mason jar project… No more excuses!

First step is to collect leaves and press them for at least 36 hours. I pressed them between layers of wax paper with a book to weigh them down.

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Other materials needed: Mason jar, Mod Podge, a paint brush.

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I just used the Mod Podge I already had, but in the future I will experiment with other finishes.

For this jar, I painted the inside of the jar with Mod Podge, pressed a leaf on each side, and then covered the inside of the whole jar with a top coat.

It took a few days to dry, and still hasn’t dried completely underneath the leaves.

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Finished product:

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I am currently working on another jar, this time with the leaves glued to the outside of the jar. I’m interested to compare the look of gluing the leaves on the inside vs. the outside (Gluing them on the outside is definitely easier!).

Update: Gluing the leaves to the outside of the jar is the way to go! Easier to handle, and any adhesive that hasn’t dried yet is hidden on the inside of the jar.

Sibling Photo

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I’m constantly pinning beautiful photos that I’m inspired by to my Photography Pinterest board… I would love to capture my own version of them all. So often when I attempt a photo with a specific composition in mind, I quickly realize it’s not as easy as it looks!

I was inspired by this Pin, and really happy with how my version came out…

Photograph by Joanne Day | https://pinningcousins.wordpress.com | From Pins to Projects

…But behind every favorite photo, there’s typically a whole lot more taken in my attempt to capture the vision. Here’s a series of behind the scenes images that I took on this occasion. Although these “outtakes” probably won’t be seen by many, I still love them… I love how they tell the behind the scenes story. …How they show it was NOT this easy-perfect-moment that I just happened to capture, but rather, real life with a 2 year old, and executed with a helper. The truth is N is so sweet with his baby brother, and gives him kisses regularly without being asked, but to photograph in the right setting/lighting/background… well, that took effort. Capturing my favorite photos isn’t always easy… but oh so worth it!

Photographs by Joanne Day | https://pinningcousins.wordpress.com | From Pins to Projects