You Can't Have Your Cake and Eat it Too!

Friday, August 27, 2010

The Truth about the Winning Snowman Cupcake
at Cupcake Conference 2010.

I attended the Seussalicious Cupcake Conference in Salt Lake City at the beautiful Grand America hotel this past month.   It was an amazing conference for a group of Twitter/Bloggers who love cupcakes.  It was great to meet faces of blogs I've read or people I've tweeted with.  (Like meeting @LivingtheScream who realized I was her mom's neighbor and Emily Hill from "Is this Really My Life", see her post on #CupcakeConf). I also loved all the raffle giveaways and swag from different cupcake companies (and more listed on this site) and I can't wait to book the Fotofly session for my newborn.  See more #cupcakeconf pics on my flickr stream to the right.

The head chef at the Grand America gave us tips about making cupcakes (my favorite was that their buttercream frosting had egg whites to help give it that meringue fluffiness, and that they always use real butter for everything).  (Update Sept. 3, Grand America just posted their frosting recipe.)
They also had a cupcake decorating contest.  They gave all the attendees a cupcake, bowls of pretty pastel frosting, a variety of tips and sprinkle elements then let everyone start designing.  I created it just to have fun, not thinking I had a chance because after all, there were real bakers in the group and I loved all the other colorful designs.  When the pastry chef picked my cupcake as the winner I was surprisingly shocked.  I won a fun cupcake decorating kit from Orson Gygi (the kitchen supply store).

Seussalicious Cupcake designed by Grand America's Pastry Chef.
Ok, I have to confess. I was so excited I could not bring myself to eat it that night. #1 - it had too much frosting to eat it and #2 - I tried to take pictures of the cupcake but you couldn't really see the details and I wanted to show it to my mom who was at home tending the new baby, so..... do you want to know what happened to this prize winning cupcake?  I put it in the small groove of my dashboard for the ride home and while I was rounding the corner of the 1-80 spaghetti bowl the snowman flew across the dashboard and splattered into the windshield.  Oh man!  I was not happy. I was only minutes from home and had saved it all night just to show my mom.  I think I needed that to happen to help humble my winning ego.  When I walked in the door I thanked her for watching the kids and told her I won the contest. She asked if I brought the cupcake home to show her and I said, "I already ate it," too embarassed to tell her what really happened.
I can't wait for the next cupcake conference (which is currently being planned).  But just remember what I learned: You better eat a good cupcake as soon as you get the chance because if you hold onto it, it might splatter on the windshield. Or in other words: You can't have your cake and eat it too.
(I apologize for lying mom.) This is the cake I made for my mom "The Cookie Monster" back in May.

Personalized Guess Who Game - Family Style

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

My sister and I love to play the board game Guess Who when we get together. Yes, I know. I'm in my 30's and she is in her mid 20's and we still play kid board games. A few years ago I got the idea to customize our game with the faces of our extended family.  It turned out great and makes the game even better.  Just think of the possibilities.  You could ask "Does your person have a bald head?" - which could describe grandpa or the new baby in the family. 


Pick 24 favorite family members or friends. Find head shots of them or crop your favorite pics into a head shot. I copied and pasted pics into a word file and resized them to fit the holders in the game (this made printing on one page easier). The size of the holders depends if it is a newer or older version or travel size. 

Step 2 - PRINT & CUT
Once they were all the right size I printed that page onto white card stock and cut them out.  You could use a nice scrapbook paper so the back will have a pretty design while you print the pics on the white side.  Print three sets, one for the draw-card pile and a set for each player's board. 

Step 3 - REPLACE
Replace all the cartoon face cards with your family faces. The holders are a little tricky to work but the older version seems to be more sturdy. Place one set of cards in the draw pile and you're ready to play.

Step 4 - PLAY
Use standard questions or more personalized questions. "Does your person play the banjo?" or "Does your person like to ride bikes?"

The game can still be purchased at most game retailers. Click here.
I found 3 more copies of the game (1 large & 2 travel size) at a thrift shop (a great place to find board games). I also plan to convert them into family games to give as custom gifts (I gave this copy to my sister).  These game pics are 5 years old and I've had 2 kids since I made this it so I need to make a new game to keep at my house.

See another Guess Who Personalized example with closer pics At Second Street. Scroll to middle of post.
Another great example at The Madsen Times blog

This project is linked to the Tatertots & Jello blog weekend wrapup party. Take a look at what other bloggers are creating by clicking the button below:
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1 Fish 2 Fish Interactive Printable Placemat

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

If you found this activity on Pinterest, welcome! 
Be sure to check out my round-up of Dr. Seuss inspired projects by clicking the 'Seuss Link Collection' tab above.
Print it on turquoise or blue paper to look like water.

I created these One Fish Two Fish printable placemats for my son's co-op preschool.  I printed one for each child and placed it in a clear plastic sheet protector so they can reuse it. The kids loved using  Goldfish Crackers as counting pieces and once they were finished they ate them all up. Now you can pull out this placemat anytime your preschool children are ready for a game of 1 Fish 2 Fish. 

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Optional way to play: Roll a die to see how many fish to add to your fishbowl. Continue taking turns rolling the die until each bowl is full of fish. To download the  PDF click here. If you have problems pulling up the pdf, please email me (obseussed(at)live(dot)com).

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Read the Dr. Seuss book, One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, with your child and have them pay attention to the rhyming words.  Read the first part of the sentence and leave off the last rhyming word to see if they can fill in the missing word. 
Rhyming is a great pre-reading skill.

A great pre-school snack activity. We use these for snack time at home and now I've printed off a stack and sent them with a bag of goldfish crackers to school for snack time.

* FREE PRINTABLES for non-commercial use only. Thanks!
Below are jpg images. You can copy and paste into your document program and adjust the size as needed.  Click here for the PDF.
One Fish Printable ObSEUSSed

I also made this one with some basic math for ages K-2 grades. Click here for the PDF. Or try this page with all my Free Dr. Seuss Printables.
One Fish Printable ObSEUSSed addition math

If you have a Dr. Seuss related post you'd like to share on ObSEUSSed, click on one of the Dr. Seuss Links tabs above.

Shared this project at:
Hooking up with House of Hepworth
Tatertos and Jello Weekend Wrapup Party
Somewhat Simple's, Strut Yourself Thursday

Shibley Smiles
Polly Want A Crafter, Monday Craft Linky Too Cute Tuesday
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Easy Felt Story Board: DIY

Friday, August 13, 2010

Make Your Own Story Board & Custom Characters

I found an ugly old brown frame at a thrift store that I spruced up with yellow craft paint.  I took the glass out of the frame and added a piece of felt (cut a little larger than the opening) and reattached the back of the frame to hold the felt in place.  The kids like to get this out during reading time to tell me stories.

You can use additional pieces of felt, some permanent markers and googly eyes to make characters to match your favorite stories so your kids can retell their favorite stories while moving the pieces.

Here is my attempt at the Lorax with a Truffula Tree and Horton from the Dr. Seuss books.

I got this set from Lakeshore Learning, it has velcro on the back of pieces and our kids love to make the alligator creep along and remove a monkey for each verse.
5 Little Monkeys Sitting in a Tree,
Teasing Mr. Alligator "Can't catch me."
Along comes Mr. Alligator quiet as can be...And...
SNAP! that monkey right outa that tree!
(Then do 4 Monkeys and so on)

This is another set from Lakeshore Learning.
The kids love the story of "The 3 Little Pigs" and they make the wolf blow down each house and make the pigs run to the next house.  They like the version at the end where the pigs make stew out of the wolf.
Lakeshore Learning has many more sets you could buy but I love the home made characters that you can customize to your favorite stories as well.
You could also print out pictures on cardstock and glue them onto flannel to make them stick to the board.

Try these printable sets from DLTK.
Or several other sites sell story sets too like Glitterful Felt Stories.
Update May 20, 2011: See how Shelby makes a felt board at Glitterful Felt Stories.

This project is linked to the Tatertots & Jello blog weekend wrapup party and Tot Tuesdays at Delicious Ambiguity. Take a look at what other bloggers are creating by clicking the buttons below:
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M&M Night - Family Fun Night

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Every Monday night we have M&M night. M&M stands for "Music & a Message" to our family. We like to sing and dance along with our player piano and read some type of book about a topic we need to discuss (like kindness or sharing or some type of uplifting message). Then we like to do an activity together, like play a board game or red light green light in our hallway. Then we finish with an M&M treat. Last week we made sugar cookies and added M&Ms for polka-dots. The kids always look forward to M&M night. We keep it short and 'sweet'. Try it with your family if you're looking for a new family tradition.

Home Diner

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The kitchen at our last house was Tuscan themed with copper accents. When we moved into our new house with white painted cupboards and stainless appliances we realized the copper would not work.  The counters had black tops and chrome edges and it reminded me of 50's decor. So we decided to roll with it and make it into a Diner. We call it our Soda Shop. 
I searched for months to find a used booth in the classifieds and finally found the smaller set the kids use as a snack and craft table. They eat at it when we have guests over. We have a menu on the wall with quick snacks the kids can order. They practice good restaurant manners and take each other's orders. Friends love to come over and play restaurant.

Our family loves M&Ms so I found this dispenser on ebay to leave out for the kids. We got the napkin dispenser at an antique shop and the straw holder at our local grocer.

The Diner now seats 16. Our new Grown-up booth can hold 8. We eat dinner each night at the Diner. We normally eat breakfast at the bar. I made the checkered curtains and strung them up with a wire from IKEA.  I have the fabric and plans to make an awning to hang above the window. Hopefully that will get done in the next few months. 
We listen to CDs on the "Juice Box" (Juke box) as the kids call it. I scored that for $20 in the classifieds too.
I found the checkered clock at a Checkers Auto store nearby on clearance.
I am always in search of metal signs (most are reproduced).

Book Character Tea Party

Monday, August 2, 2010

'Sally' loves to set up tea parties for dolls, Barbies and stuffed animals. This time she had a tea party for the Dr. Seuss characters. We got these at Kohl's during their Kohl's Cares Campaign. They were $5 each and they have the matching Dr. Seuss books for $5 each too.
'Sally' is 6 right now and will be starting 1st grade this fall. She just discovered 'Chapter books' by reading an American Girl 'Kit Learns a Lesson' She loved reading silently to herself and laughing and telling me about what she read.

Some of her favorites beginner books have been "Go Dog Go" by Dr. Seuss, Amelia Bedilia series, Step into Reading books about Barbie, Disney princesses or Fancy Nancy by Jane O'Connor, Berenstain Bears series, Books by Eric CarleFroggy series by Jonathan London and any books that include Strawberry Shortcake, My Little Pony and phonics box sets of Dora or Care Bears.  

B is for Books & Bedtime

Every night we hop on the couch to read books together.  We have an extra wide hallway that we turned into our reading spot just outside the kids rooms.  I made the Cat in the Hat curtains for 'Sally's' nursery when she was born and as we've moved we've used the curtains in our playroom or reading area. I made the curtain rod tabs to look like the cat's hat then I added red rick-rack to the bottom as trim. The bookshelf and closet are filled with classic children's books. After reading together as a family, 'Sally & Conrad' go to their rooms that are filled with more specific girl & boy age-appropriate books to choose from to read in bed.  Designating a reading spot is a great thing to have in your home.  The kids still read other places in the house but they know the routine is to read every night together in this special spot.


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