Monday, October 29, 2012

An Adventure Time Halloween!

Last Halloween I made Julian a lion hat, a bear hat for myself, and painted my husband's face as a tiger.  (Lions and Tigers an Bears--oh my!)

This year I wanted us to go as Adventure Time characters, so I crocheted a Finn hat and bag for Juju, and a Jake hat for my husband.  I decided at the last minute to go as Cake, so I'm currently still working on mine, but here's a sneak peek at this year's costumes.

I got to model the Jake hat first since Terrance was at work!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Maple Cinnamon Sugar Cookies

Or Pancake Sugar Cookies :)

Juju helped me make these yesterday (we ate them all last night before I took any pictures, sorry!).  I was in the mood to make cookies, but as I don’t bake often I only had ingredients for sugar cookies.  I think sugar cookies are super boring (sorry) so I wanted to add something to them.  Again…not many ingredients to choose from, so I decided on maple syrup and cinnamon.   

It’s a pretty basic recipe so there’s a lot of room to experiment :D

Ingredients (Makes a little more than a dozen cookies depending on your cookie cutter shapes)

1 egg
½ cup melted butter
1 1/8 cup flour
¼ cup sugar
pinch of salt
2 tablespoons maple syrup (approximately)
2 tablespoons cinnamon (approximately)
powdered sugar

Blend the egg, butter, sugar, and salt.  Gradually stir in flour, maple syrup, and cinnamon.  For regular sugar cookies omit the maple syrup and cinnamon and add a bit more sugar (otherwise it’ll taste too floury).  You can also substitute the maple syrup and cinnamon with other yummy things like brown sugar, ginger, lemon juice, craisins, or I don’t know, use your imagination. 

Mix until it’s a nice consistent dough, then wrap up in plastic wrap and refrigerate for a few hours. (At least 1 hour but no more than a day)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Sprinkle cookie sheets and working surfaces with powdered sugar.  Roll out dough—do not make cookies thick or they will not cook well!  Less than half an inch should do.  Cut out your shapes with whatever cookie cutters you have.

Place on cookie sheet.  For added flavor/décor sprinkle with cinnamon sugar, raw sugar, or colourful sugar (I just didn’t have any T_T).   Cook for about 10 minutes.  Cookies should be pale in color, soft, but set in their shape.

Let cool and enjoy!  Juju, Terrance, and I sure did.

Some other ideas:

Since sugar cookies are so plain looking they could be a lot of fun for kids to decorate with candies and coloured sugar before baking and pipe frosting after baking.  You can also experiment with food colouring to make colourful cookies.

Fun shaped cookie cutters make sugar cookies way more interesting.  For half of our cookies we used a star shaped cookie cutter.  It's my favorite one. :)

If you don't have cookie cutters you can use the top of a cup to cut out perfect circles.  Juju and I actually used a shot glass to cut out perfect Juju-sized cookies lol.

Melt chocolate chips in a bowl and dip half your baked cookies in it.  SO YUMMY!!!  You can use regular chocolate or white chocolate.  If you use white chocolate you can mix in some food colouring for more rainbow fun :)

Halloween Pumpkin Carving Stencils

Halloween Pumpkin Carving Stencils -

I love Parenting magazine.  Here are some stencils to help you make the perfect Pumpkin Jack!

Friday, October 5, 2012

"How to Tell Your Parents You Got a Bad Report Card"

All parents hope their kids excel in everything they do, but the truth is--that isn't always the case.  I recently wrote an article, targeted towards youth, on how to confront parents about low marks.  In the article I emphasize the importance of being honest.  I also state that parents will appreciate a mature and responsible approach from their children. 

Read the article here.

Additionally, I'd like to say to the parents, try and be patient with your children.  It's really easy to get angry with them over things like low grades, but if you yell or do not give them a chance to explain themselves, you cut off communication.  The consequences of burning the bridge of communication far exceeds the consequences of bad grades.  If your child does not feel safe or comfortable confiding in you they may start to feel isolated, without help or hope, and may turn to other individuals for guidance--people you may not want advising your kids. 

Try and have discussions with your children.  Allowing them to open up to you may help them gain the confidence and skills needed to avoid having to talk to you about poor report cards and lead to more conversations about their personal successes.

Best of luck!