Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Marbled Fall Cookies


     Over fall break this year, I made some cookies with the kiddos. This is a really fun thing to do with kids because it doesn't take a lot of time, but they are still fun to make and enjoy together. I got this recipe for marbled sugar cookies, and they were quick and easy and came out perfectly.

     Unfortunately, (or fortunately?) I couldn't get a picture of the finished product because they were all eaten before I got the chance! :)

     You can get the effect by separating the dough into different bowls and dying it, then arranging colored bits close together before rolling them out. As you might guess, re-rolling the dough more than once diminishes the marbled look (oh well). To learn more about this fun activity, go to the Land O' Lakes post on marbled sugar cookies.

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Russian Piping Tips

      Recently, I became interested in Russian piping tips and decided to try them out. There are three types- nozzles, balls, and the basic tip. The nozzle is the most well-known, and it is often referred to as just a 'russian piping tip'. 

     Then there's the ball tip- less common, and, yes, it uses up a lot of frosting. (;

     Finally, there's the last one- the pointed tip.

     There is a great variety of each one, and, although they can be really hard to master, the effect is really stunning. For starters, you're going to need a REALLY STIFF buttercream- and I mean STIFF. This will help the piped frosting keep its shape, and will also . Make sure that you don't keep your hands around the piping bag, that will make the frosting less stiff. For the nozzle tip, you start a little ways straight up from the cupcake (or whatever it is that you are frosting) and squeeze gently until the frosting touches the surface. Still squeezing very lightly, pull up slowly. Finish. You can add a little leaf off to one side- it works best if the leaf is leaning against the piped flower.

     We did not try the other two tips this time (we had enough on our hands already), but here are some pictures from Amazon.

     This is the set we got- it is good quality and comes in a pretty little box.
     Here are some of our results- as you can see, they are not yet quite professional, but some of them were piped by an 8-year-old. :)

     The above picture is a shot of when our coupler slid out of the bag while piping. I suppose that this happened because we cut the hole too large? This happened two times before we decided to stop using the coupler. That made it harder to change tips, but we managed.

     All in all, however, we really enjoyed the experience and are definitely trying these again.

Sunday, October 2, 2022

14 Gifts for Kids who Love Words


In our family, our kids really like reading and all things associated with it. Maybe you've found, over the years, that your kids do too, or maybe you're just looking for gift ideas. Either way, these fun ideas are sure to please.

1) Hanging Pod- these are really fun and cute mini hammocks that are perfect for reading in and super easy to install indoors or outdoors! We have this one- 
2) Poetry Book- these may seem basic, but they're sure to please, and they're fun to read together. Our favorite is most likely Poems to Learn by Heart.
3) Word Snoop- a really fun and engaging book on the English language. This book turns a dry and dull subject into a fun and lively one, with games along the way!
4) Book locket- these are so cute and adorable, and are perfect for your girls!
5) Books- these are my go-to presents when I just can't get anything else. 
  • E. B. White- Charlotte's Web, Stuart Little, and Trumpet of the Swan. Just can't recommend these classics enough! This box set combines all three. 

  • J. R. R. Tolkien- The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Read these in order to your older kids, or you can also let them read them by themselves.
  • Lewis Carroll- Alice in Wonderland. Again, this is a better book for your older kids who are able to understand more.
8) Bannana Grams- a fun word puzzle game. You can also find ones for kids who are learning to read.
9) Journals- these are fun, meaningful ways for your kids to express themselves privately, again, better for older kids. This is only one of many colors and types.
10) Black Light Pens- or other invisible light pens. Especially good for kids who love espionage.
11) Magnetic Words- these are good for younger kids and are helpful for learning to read and write.
12) Rory's Story Cubes- cubes with story prompts.
13) Bookmark Kit- there are plenty of these that you can find, and these are fun to make together! You can also create your own with colored paper strips, markers, and stickers. Get creative!
14) Blank Books- these are white books that can be both written and illustrated by your kiddos. (You can get them in many different colors).

     With the holidays approaching, these gifts are sure to make your book-loving young ones very happy when wrapped in colored paper or to find them in a stocking on Christmas Day!