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Homemade Girl’s Pari Bodice

15 Apr

Part 2 of my Kapa Haka costume is the Pari Bodice.  This goes with Homemade Girl’s Piupiu Skirt.

You will need:

  • 1 black t-shirt($3.99 on sale at the Michael’s)
  • 2 – 9 in x 12 in stick-it felt sheets in red  & white( $1.29 per sheet at Michael’s)
  • Hot Glue Gun w/ extra glue sticks($1 for a mini-gun & $1 for a pack of glue sticks at the Dollar Tree)
  1. Turn -t-shirt inside out and then fold the t-shirt in half so that the arms are lined up perfectly.  Lay on a flat surface.IMG_4072
  2. Starting under the on arm, mark an “L” shape from under the arm up the shoulder and then mark another “L” shape on the collar side so that the “L” markings line up.   There should be about 2 inches between the 2.  (I used a silver sharpie to mark it but you can also use chalk.)
  3. Using sharp scissors, cut the arms and collar off of the t-shirt using the “L” shapes.  By having the shirt folded in half, you can cut both sides at once so they are symmetrical.  (Save the pieces you cut off for use later and for your Tipare.)
  4. Using the hot glue gun, fold over a small seam on the areas you cut to give the bodice a clean edge and glue down.  You now have a basic bodice. (If you are sensitive to the feel of the glue like my daughter, a small bit of cloth tape from the first aid aisle taped over the inside makes the fabric feel completely smooth.)
  5. Now plan out the geometric pattern you plan to have on your bodice and cut out pieces of the felt accordingly.  (I needed some black so I used the left over material from one of the sleeves.   Be sure to save the other sleeve and any left over felt for the Tipare.)
  6. Using the hot glue gun, glue your pattern to the front of your bodice.
  7. If your bodice’s neckline is too low, cut the tops and shorten the shoulder straps using the hot glue gun.



Homemade Girl’s Piupiu Skirt

7 Apr

I am a bit behind on my blogging and have so many little things to show but haven’t had the time to blog.  This month I am part of the Multicultural Fair at the elementary school.  We basically make a station about another country that has a craft, food, posters, flags, and more about a particular country.  This event came about because our town is mostly Irish and every year the school has an Irish Fair.  The PTA decided it was time for other countries to have their spotlight.  Last year, I was crazy and tackled both our own local native culture of the Lenni Lenape and Ghana.  Running two tables was complete madness so this year I am just doing one, New Zealand.  I chose New Zealand for the simple fact that my sister went on vacation there in February and I knew I would have some great pictures to share.

To represent the Māori people, I am making my daughter a Kapa Haka costume but ordering one for her to wear would use up my entire table’s budget.  I started thinking of how to make at least the Piupiu skirt myself and the idea grew to much more.

Homemade Girl’s Piupiu Skirt (on a budget) :

You will need:

  • 1 white half apron($5.99 at the Michael’s)
  • 1 fat black fabric marker($4.99 at the Michael’s)
  • 1 black permanent marker ($.99 each at the Michael’s)
  • 1 tube of liquid stitch($3.29 at A.C. Moore) – optional
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  1.  Using a pencil, mark on the apron where you plan to put your black lines. (My lines were spaced out from the top of the bottom fold:  1.5 inch, 2.5 inch, 3.5 inch, 6 inch, 7 inch, 8 inch, 10.5 inch, 11.5 inch, 12.5 inch and then a line below the belting and one in the middle of the belting.)
  2. Take your fabric marker and using the widest side, draw the lines horizontally across the apronIMG_0193.  Don’t worry if it is not dark enough because we will fix that later.
  3. Using the black permanent marker, clean up the edges of the lines and fill in any gaps.
  4. Take your scissors and cut vertical strips up to the belting but do not cut into the belt.
  5. (Optional) Using liquid stitches, curl your strips into tubs and glue shut to give it a cylindrical look like the flax they are really made from.



Now that the Piupiu skirt is pretty much completed I am ready to take the harder part, the bodice.

Homemade Girl’s Pari Bodice

Homemade Girl’s Tipare Headband

Lego Cakes

12 Jan

legocakeSomehow I found myself in the position of the one person who brings the unusual and fun dessert the kids all love.   In keeping up with this tradition, this past Labor Day I made Lego cakes. Using the basic recipe idea from Betty Crocker.  I modified it a little because I find the Wilton dyes to be a bit more stable in frosting.

Lego Cakes:


  • 2 box of cake mix – the flavor is your choice but we used white vanilla
  • 2 cans of white frosting
  • 1 bag of standard sized marshmallows
  • 3 – 1oz Wilton icing dye bottles – Golden Yellow, Red-Red, and Royal Blue
  1. Bake the cakes according to the packaging in 13×9-inch pans.  Be sure to grease the pans well because you want it to be easy to remove without any cracks on the bottom.
  2. While the cakes are baking, cut at least 20 marshmallows in half.  You want to make sure you have enough so going a little high is okay.
  3. When the cake are finished baking, wait 20 minutes and then carefully remove the cakes from the pans and onto a flat surface.  I used cookie sheets for this.
  4. Freeze both the marshmallow halves and the cakes for at least two hours.
  5. Take two bowls and put half of each frosting can in each.  This leaves you with 4 portions of frosting.  Put 1 portion to the side.  In the other 3, add dye to each to reach the desired Lego colors(red, blue, yellow).
  6. Cut the tops of the cakes where it domed off using a serrated knife to give you a flat surface.  Cut the cakes each into rectangular portions.  (As you can see some of my cake had an accident so one of my rectangles is smaller than the others.)legobaseplate
  7. ***I made a special display for my cakes using printed images of the Lego green baseplate on top of cookie sheets and covered them with cling wrap.  You can display yours how you wish but it made the Legos look more Lego-like to be on their own base.
  8. Place the 4 pieces of cake neatly upside down on the display you are using.  Lightly frost the outside of each cake the color they are going to be and then put the cakes back in the freezer for an hour.  Then finish frosting each cake.
  9. Nolegoblocksw the fun and messy part, take you marshmallow halves from the freezer.  Carefully frost the halves to match each cake and place into location to look like a real Lego building block.   When you are finished the cakes should look like several Legos.  This step can be really messy so be careful.

Now, sit back and watch the smiles because every kid loves to eat a piece of Lego cake!




Rainbow Magic Birthday Party Idea

11 Jan

Rainbow Magic PartyAs I try to get things hammered down for Skyler’s birthday this year, I realized that I really should share what we did last year.   She wanted a theme that was not really made from items you would find in your regular party store so I had to get creative.  She wanted a Rainbow Magic party.   The A.C Moore had a deal that for $50 and supplies, we could use their party room and they would clean up all the mess.  The party would transform the guests into their own style of fairy.

For those who don’t know, Rainbow Magic is a book series that comes in sets of 7 that are all written under the pen name, Daisy Meadows.   (Tip: To find the real author just look at the back of the title page for the “Special thanks to” and you will see the true author’s name.)  After learning one of our neighbors wrote one of the books, Skyler became a bit obsessed and collects as many of these books as she can.  We are fortunate that to have found many at the local library on sale as part of a “Fill-A-Bag” special for $2 a bag.

As the guests arrived, they received their pair of wings and had glittery eyeshadow applied which were bought at the Dollar Tree.   I sprayed their hair with glittered hairspray from Party City and topped their heads with wreaths that I made from silver garland from the clearance bin from Christmas items at the Dollar Tree.

Rainbow Magic WandCraft 1 – Magic Wand:

Supplies per child:

  • 1 Heart Shaped Wooden Wands
  • Opalescent Glitter
  • White School Glue
  • 2ft strand of Colored Ribbon – pink, purple, or aqua(I picked spools from the clearance bin)
  1.  Paint the heart end of the wand completely with the glue.
  2. Sprinkle the opalescent glitter all over the glue.
  3. Tie the ribbon at the middle around the base of the heart around the wand stick.

Craft 2 – Fairy Tutu:

Supplies per child:

  • 3 ft strand of Colored Ribbon – pink, purple, or aqua
  • 25 – 2 ft strips of 6″ Colored Tulle – it comes in 25 yard spools (We used Dark Rose, Wisteria, Aqua, and Purple)
  1. Fold the tulle strips in half and knot them around your ribbon strand.  You may alternate colors or do it all in one color.  It is really up to the wearer’s preference.
  2. When all the tulle is tied to the ribbon, tie onto the wearer using a traditional bow at the back.

rainbowmagicparty2Rainbow Magic Cupcake Toppers:


  • Small package of wooden cocktail forks
  • Wood glue
  • Color printer
  • Laminator (If you do not have access to a laminator then clear packing tape can work as a substitute.)
  • Print Paper
  1. Search and print pictures of the various rainbow magic fairies you wish to have on your cupcakes.  Great websites for this are Rainbow Magic and Rainbow Magic UK.  Paste them into MS Word making the graphics about 2 inches tall and print.  For standard box of cake mix you will need 24 fairies.
  2. Cut around the fairies leaving some of the white boarder.
  3. Laminate the fairies using the laminator.  If you are using packing tape, just place a piece or packing tape on either side of the fairy to laminate each inside the tape.
  4. Once again, cut around the fairy and leave some of the clear laminate around the edges.
  5. Glue one cocktail fork to the back of each laminated fairies.


  • Wilton Pearlized Silver Sugar Crystals Sprinkles
  • White cake mix
  • White frosting
  • Flowery cupcake cups
  • Rainbow Magic Cupcake Toppers
  1. Bake the cupcake according to the instructions on the package using the flowery cupcake cups in the pan.
  2. After the cupcakes are cool, frost them with the white frosting and sprinkle the silver sugar crystals all over the tops.
  3. Stick the fairies into the top of the cupcakes.
  4. They can be displayed on a cupcake tier platter.

rainbowmagicparty4Finishing Touches:

I used the same fairy images to print and glue to plain white paper bags to make goodie bags.  The plates, napkins, cups, and all other cute party accessories all came from Dollar Tree.  It seems the trend to have a meal at birthday parties right now.  Most have pizza but with Skyler being lactose intolerant that was not for us.   I simply bought 2 20-pience chicken McNugget boxes from McDonalds, a few cans of Pringles, and 2 cases of Caprisuns.

Note:  At the time of the party standard Caprisun products contained real sugar with the exception of their Roaring Waters line.  Sadly, in the last year, they have changed this to High Fructose Corn Syrup.  The  Caprisun Super V and Caprisun 100% Juice Blends are still all natural but my kids aren’t really found of most of the flavors, especially the Super V Apple.  At this time, I have yet to find an alternative that the kids like.   They hated Honest Kids juice after trying both the Super Punch and Tropical Tango Punch.

Time to Make the Cookies

2 Jan
Peppermint Swirl Cookie

Chocolate Peppermint Pinwheel Cookie

All through the holiday season my sister was on a serious baking kick from cookies to cakepops.  Her cookies came our amazing and she used a simple resource to find all of her recipes.  Each cookie was made from scratch using recipes she found at the Food Network’s 12 Days of Cookies and in their cookie recipe database.

Her top favorites that made it to Christmas Eve, Christmas, family visitors from out of the country, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day parties are:

Florentine (Italy)

Florentine (Italy)

  1. Throwdown Chocolate Chip Cookie from Bobby Flay – These cookies were the favorite of most with their light and crispy texture.
  2. Snickerdoodles adapted from Georgia Cooking in an Oklahoma Kitchen by Trisha Yearwood (c) Clarkson Potter 2008 – A favorite among the non-chocolate eaters.
  3. JIF® Irresistible Peanut Butter Cookies by JIF® – My mom kept sneaking these cookies when we weren’t looking.
  4. Triple Chocolate Cookies by Bobby Flay – Please note that this recipe contains pecans.

    JIF® Irresistible Peanut Butter Cookie

    JIF® Irresistible Peanut Butter Cookie

  5. Ginger Snaps from Alton Brown – These spicy cookies have a little kick to them but go great with pumpkin pudding.
  6. Coconut Macaroons from Copyright 2002, Barefoot Contessa Family Style – They were perfectly moist without being mushy.
  7. Chocolate Peppermint Pinwheel Cookies from Alton Brown – Be sure your extract is peppermint as general mint extract can contain spearmint and alter the flavors.
  8. Florentines (Italy) from Food Network Kitchens – These were my personal favorite.
  9. Hazelnut Tea Cookies by Aida Mollencamp for 12 Days of Cookies 2008 – These were my daughter’s personal favorite.
Ginger Snap

Ginger Snap



Hazelnut Tea Cookie

Hazelnut Tea Cookie

Triple Chocolate Cookie

Triple Chocolate Cookie

Coconut Macaroon

Coconut Macaroon

Throwdown Chocolate Chip Cookie

Throwdown Chocolate Chip Cookie

Lactose Free Pumpkin Pudding

25 Dec

Merry Christmas!PumpkinPudding

Lactose hurts Skyler’s stomach something fierce so we avoid it as much as we can. She loves pumpkin pudding and at the holiday time it is hard to find anything made without milk. I adapted several recipes I found online to make a pumpkin pudding for Christmas day that not only tasted great for everyone else but was lactose free.

One of the major ingredients is sweetened condensed milk which by its name alone implies lactose. I have a simple recipe for a Lactose Free Sweetened Condensed Milk that can be adapted to many allergy types. You can find it at my Lactose Free Sweetened Condensed Milk blog. A search on Google will bring up many other methods as well.


  • 1 package of Jell-o Instant Pudding – Vanilla, French Vanilla or Cheesecake(We used French Vanilla)
  • 2 cups of Lactose-Free Milk(If you are using any other milk alternative you will be using 1 1/2 cups.)
  • 1 29 oz can of 100% Pumpkin Puree (You don’t want anything else in there to mess up the flavors.)
  • 8 oz Lactose Free Sweetened Condensed Milk(You can use any type but this link is to mine)
  • 16 oz of Whipped Topping – like Cool Whip(If you are looking for the healthy alternative try TruWhip. It comes in a 10 oz which would work fine but your pudding will be less creamy.)
  • 8 oz tub of Whipped Topping(Once again, the healthy alternative is TruWhip. This is to top off your pudding so you can sacrifice some for the recipe itself if using the alternative.)
  • 1 tsp of cinnamon(You can use pumpkin pie spice as an alternative. You may also add more to taste if you wish.)
  • 1 package of ginger snaps


  1. Mix the pudding powder with 2 cups of milk alternative.  If you are using Lactose-Free milk then use it cold.   If you soy or nut based milks then heat them first before mixing.  (Jello Instant Pudding and Soy Milk)
  2. In a large bowl, combine pudding, pumpkin, lactose-free sweetened condensed milk and cinnamon.  Stir until mixture is uniform throughout.
  3. Slowly fold into the mixture, the 16 oz tub of whipped topping.
  4. Transfer to your serving bowl. (I made individual portions using 9 oz clear, plastic cups and garnished the serving platter with mini-marshmallows.)
  5. You can top the pudding with the 8 oz tub of topping or serve it on the side.
  6. Serve the pudding with ginger snaps for dipping.

Lactose Free Sweetened Condensed Milk Recipe

15 Dec

This recipe as written is for those who are lactose free. If you need to be dairy free, substitute the lactose free milk with your preferred milk alternative like almond milk(Skyler’s preference), soy milk, rice milk, coconut milk, hemp milk, sunflower milk, or oat milk.


  • 2 cups of lactose free milk(we used 2% but if you want less fat then use the percentage of your choice)
  • 8 cups of grandulate sugar – separate into 4 cup portions(you can use raw sugar as well but the taste will be slightly different)
  • 1 tbsp of pure vanilla extract(you can use the imitation but note that this form can contain unhealthy chemicals)


  • 5-6 Glad LockWare™ Extra Small containers(You can use alternate containers that hold 8 ounces or more.)
  • 4-quart saucepan(This should give you plenty of room to prevent it from over-boiling)
  • 1 wooden spoon


  1. Place the milk alternative into the saucepan and, using a medium flame, heat until scalded.
  2. While stirring add 4 cups of the sugar and 1 tbsp of vanilla into the saucepan and continue to cook for 5 minutes.
  3. While stirring add the remaining 4 cups of the sugar into the saucepan and continue to stir until the mixture reaches a taffy-like consistency.
  4. Let cool for around 5 minutes.
  5. Divide mixture into containers and store in the refrigerator.  They can be stored for around 3 months.

Homemade Advent Wreath

8 Dec

This is the first year that I have not taught kindergarten religious education for my church. For 2 years I taught the little ones and had a great time. The text that the church used was not really great on the kindergarten level so I would design my own program using many resources. My favorite site for information comes from a blog called Catholic Icing. Not only does she have a ton of great ideas but she has many downloads as well. Perhaps in another blog I will post all the religious education resources I used but this blog is really about how to make your own Advent Wreath.

This year my children are attending the family program that meets once a month rather than the weekly program I volunteered with last year and the year before. Part of their homework for the month of December was to make their own Advent Wreath to be on display at their house.

The supplies I used:

  • 4 LED Flameless Votive Candles – the only seem to come in white($1 for a 2-pack at the Dollar Tree)adevent1Advent2
  • 1 4-inch LED Flameless Candle – we bought off-white but you can use white as well($1 each at the Dollar Tree)
  • 1 Plastic Pine Wreath($1 each at the Dollar Tree)
  • 1 Package of permanent markers – make sure there purple & pink in the pack($1 for a 10-pack at the Dollar Tree)

1. Using a purple permanent marker color 3 of the votive candles purple. Then using the pink permanent marker color the remaining votive candle pink.

2. Lay the wreath in the middle of a table for display. Place the 4-inch candle in the center of the wreath. Place the 4 votive candles around the edges of the wreath so that they are squared with each other.

Our homemade Advent Wreath.

Our homemade Advent Wreath.

If you are looking for a craftier version of the Advent Wreath that children can do for a classroom activity, then head over to Catholic Icing.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Christmas Ornaments

2 Dec

tmnt5So I decided to make my oldest two nieces and oldest two nephews their own Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle ornaments after seeing them on a friend’s tree. It is really rather simple and it makes for great fun for the TMNT lover. When my nieces and nephews were little they would play TMNT and, there being 4 of them, each would be their favorite turtle fighting Shredder and other assorted bad guys. They also did this with Mortal Kombat.  Remember Ninja Turtles are not just for boys.

You will need:

  • 4 Green Ornament Balls($1.50 for a 5-pack  at the Dollar General)
  • 4 – 9 in x 12 in stick-it felt sheets in red, orange, blue, & purple(Around a $1.50 per sheet at A.C. Moore)
  • 1 package of 8mm wiggle eyes 35 ct (Around $1 a pack at A.C. Moore)
  • Tacky Glue ($2.59 for a 4 oz bottle at A.C. Moore)

tmnt21. Measure 9 inch strip on each felt color. You need the strip to be around 10mm – 12mm wide so that they wiggle eyes will fit with room. (My strips were 18mm wide.)

2.tmnt3 Peel off the paper backing on one strip. Wrap the strip around the ball slightly top of center. Press firmly to stick any creases.

tmnt43. Using the craft glue, glue 2 of the 8mm wiggle eyes onto the colored felt.

I made them each a set for I ended up with 16 Ninja Turtles.


Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Ornaments.
Please note: Glue is still a little wet on the eyes.

Happy Thanksgiving and Wreck-It Ralph

22 Nov

When flying monkeys attack!

I found some gift cards to AMC Theatres in my wallet. It is nice to find extra money. There was $32 on the cards combined so I was able to take the kids to see Wreck-It Ralph. I figured that Thanksgiving morning was a great time to go because most people would be home getting food ready. We are going to my sister’s house and I prepped everything we needed last night.

The kids loved the movie. Skyler said, “More awesomer than awesome. And even more amazinger than amazing.” All in all I think that is a pretty good review. She got a bit scared at some parts and held my hand.  From an ADHD standpoint the movie kept their interest the whole time.  There was no complaining or even bathroom breaks.  Even the soundtrack kept Skyler from wanting to leave until the credits fully finished.

When we left they both posed with some of the cut-outs for upcoming movies.

Boy, that Gandalf is one really tall guy!

After we headed to my sister’s for her annual Thanksgiving dinner tradition. We were light on the usual 40 people the 18 of us managed. I made a veggie tray to try and keep my Thanksgiving light and

My “thing” for family events is making an unusual but fun dessert. In the past I have made dessert sushi, rainbow jello, PB&J cake, chestnut cakes, pumpkin pudding, etc. This year I made a Kit-Kat cake which looks amazing but is really simple to put together. Make either a chocolate or vanilla round cake. (I made the white cake.) Frost with your favorite icing. (I used white icing as well.) Fencing the entire cake in with Kit Kats. I found the regular size too big so I used the size you give out on Halloween. The frosting acts like glue for the Kit Kats. Wrap the cake with a holiday themed ribbon to hold it together and to make it look fancy. Top the entire cake with m&m candies. I picked out the blue and green ones so that there were only fall colors for Thanksgiving. If you are partial to peanut butter you can also use Reese’s Pieces. It came out really cute.

Out traditions on any holiday includes and overload of desserts, more than any human can actually consume.  This year with so many missing we thought we had a manageable amount but, alas, we were still left with a ton of extra sweet goodness.

The only sad note of the day was that their father didn’t call them for Thanksgiving. The kids tried to call him but his phone kept going right to voicemail. Tristan was more okay with this than Skyler. He said that daddy never asks him questions anyways so it was okay but Skyler was really upset.