Feb 24, 2014

Microwave Salt and Vinegar Chips-Crispy, Crunchy and Zingy.

What is your favorite flavor of potato chips?  Mine are salt and vinegar (and even as I type that I can feel my mouth salivating thinking of the perfect combination of sour and salt).  I just LOVE, LOVE, LOVE them.  I don't even buy them because I just can't resist them when they are in my house. 
What if I told you that you can make your own version of these sour and salty potato chips that are flavorful, and crispy and are made in your microwave oven.  Well it is true (and not only can you make salt and vinegar chips but you can make pretty much any flavor you want).  They are so easy and really, really yummy.
Here is what you will need:
Potatoes (I have used all different kinds-any seem to work) just remember that one potato makes a good amount of potato chips so it is better to peel and slice one at a time.
vinegar (white)
cooking spray
salt (I used a sea salt grinder)
simple slicer (mine is a Pampered Chef brand)
and the most important piece of equipment  A MICROWAVABLE COOKING RACK-I have found them most often advertised for cooking bacon.  I bought mine at a thrift store but you can buy them at Wal-Mart and other stores.

1. Start by slicing your potatoes.  I used the thinnest setting on my slicer.  I love using a slicer to make sure all the potatoes are the same thickness which makes them cook very evenly.  After slicing them put them in your saucepan and cover them with vinegar.  Bring them to a boil and then turn down and simmer until the potatoes are starting to get a bit soft (about 8-10 mins).  Let them sit in the vinegar to soak for about 20-3 minutes (the longer you let them sit the stronger the vinegar flavor will be).  After you have let them soak drain them in the sink and rinse with cold water to remove the excess starch. 

2. Arrange the slices on the cooking rack, trying not to overlap them too much.  Spray the tops with the cooking spray and sprinkle with the salt.  Now place the rack in your microwave and cook until light golden brown.  In my microwave it takes about 5 minutes but if you do just regular chips that you haven't soaked it takes a bit less time (about 4 minutes).  Every microwave is different so set your timer and then check the chips-they will become golden and crispy so if they haven't yet, then put them back in for another minute.  Then you will be able to figure out about how many minutes you will need for each batch.  Thicker chips need longer.  The time is something you will have to play with but they will crisp....I PROMISE.

See I told you they would.  The result is perfectly crispy, sour (but not too overpowering) and salty chips.  Just be careful because if you try to make too many batches your microwave might go on strike (mine did.... it got too hot and shut down for a bit but luckily came back on).  This method is not really practical if you wanted to make enough chips for a large party but  it is perfect for making enough for a dinner, or a picnic, or a snack or for your kids lunch.  My kids LOVE THEM.  I simply can't resist them. 

Want some other flavor ideas?  I have done plain salt, I have done seasoning salt, and  I have done salt and pepper.  There are so many possibilities.  If you try a different flavor, let me know.  I would love to hear some other flavor ideas.
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Feb 5, 2014

"What Does the Fox Say" Valentine Card and Other Forest Friends

Are your kids as obsessed with the song "What does the Fox Say" as mine are?  They just had to listen to it on You Tube one night, so we found it and I was sure there had to be something disgusting and distasteful about the whole thing because otherwise it just doesn't make any sense at all.  But it wasn't at all.  It was just.....well....dumb I guess.  But kids absolutely love it.  So when I was thinking about what to make my kids for Valentines day I was searching for ideas online and happened to see a super cut fox craft and that inspired my idea for this card:

I am going to fill the card with stickers (since my kids love to put stickers on EVERYTHING).  It is just silly, they will love it because we sing the song all the time at our house and change the words and the sounds.  I don't actually know any of the words or sounds but as long as you know the tune you can pretty much fake it til you make it.  I think any kid will get a major kick out of it.  I found the pattern for the fox hereI resized it in my word program and then cut out the pieces and traced them on paper.  I chalked the edges to give it extra dimension.  I stuck it on the card with foam dots to make it raised.  After making the fox my mind started racing thinking how cute it would be to have a whole set of little forest creatures to surprise my kids with on Valentines morning.  So I adapted the pattern, changed some of it and added new pieces and created this super cute forest friends set:
Meet Raccoon. 
 And skunk.
And you already know Mr. Fox
I am not sure exactly how I am going to use them all yet but I just had to share them with everyone.  They are really easy to make and so adorable.  They would be cute for any time of year, not just Valentines day.  If you would like patterns for the Raccoon and Skunk you can find links below. 
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Nov 19, 2013

DIY Clipboard Christmas Countdown

I know that great bloggers would have had this Christmas project ready and posted the minute Halloween was over, but great bloggers would have also posted more than 1 post in the last 3 months-so I guess I am not going for the "Great Bloggers Award" any time soon.  I actually have had my mind nearly completely focused on my in home preschool that I am doing and LOVING.  I haven't even really had crafty thoughts for a while but my great friend and neighbor has been helping get out of that anti crafts slump and I am starting to dream in paper crafts once again.  I decided that I wanted to put together a craft night for anyone in town that wanted to join.  I got word that some wanted to make a Christmas advent.  I needed to find something that would be fairly low cost, easy enough for even "non crafters" and could be completed before December.  I searched quite a bit on the Internet and came across this (and now sadly I can not find it again to site the source-if you have seen it let me know):

There were no instructions but I loved the idea and figured that it could be something that could be easily made at our craft night.  So I set out to create my own version.  And I ended up loving it so much that I just had to share (I know lots of people like to get together and craft over Thanksgiving-maybe there is still time for others to gather the supplies to make one).

The project cost $13.00 for all of the supplies (and each participant had to bring their own Christmas paper).  I found the clipboards at Walmart, and the hooks (in the hardware section by the towel racks and stuff).  I bought the tags online from Ebay and got them for much cheaper than you could anywhere else.  The stands were purchased from Michaels crafts (I had a 20% off your entire purchase coupon-you can get one by signing up for their e-mails).  I was going to use letter stickers and number stickers but they were way out of the budgeted amount so instead I found an adorable printable number set (found here at Ziggles) and created my own tag that says "days until" and Christmas.  Having them printed or copied some place is much more affordable than buying packaged stickers.  We used spray glue to attach the paper to the clipboard and then spray glue and double sided tape to make the tags.  I bought hangerless tags but we created our own using crochet thread (4 " pieces).

This is what the hooks looked like.  These were attached with hot glue to the clipboard after the background paper was put on.  I tied a couple of ribbons through the holes on the hook to dress it up a bit.

I created these "Days Until" tags that were glued to a double layered tag cut from cardstock.

The clip on the clipboard was disguised with bits of ribbon tied around it.  

We used mounting tape to give the tags a raised look and I actually ended up using it on a lot of my tags.

Here is what it looks like from the side with the stand.  I love the big lump of brightly colored tags.  So fun and festive and exciting for the kids.  I am going to put a little activity on the back of each one so we have something to do each day as we count down.

I started with a blank board and created my tags from #25 down to 1.  

This is #25.  I used the pattern that you can find here (to make a felt nativity) and downsized it and cut it out of paper.

I wanted to give you an individual look at all the other tags.  I loved creating these.  Some are simple and some are more complicated.  After I made each one I said, "that is my favorite" but ended up loving the next one even more.
For #22 I cut the tag to the shape of the reindeer face (this is from an old Pebbles in my Pocket paper piecing pattern).  I used the same idea only cut it a different size.  I wrapped bakers twine around this antlers to give him a "tangled up" look.

For #18 I wrapped a long piece of yarn around the tag and tied it with a piece of bakers twine off center.  #17 is made with a 3D sticker.

#16 came to me in my sleep.  I cut the tag down the same size as the snowman.  

#12 has 3D pom pom ear muffs and a yarn scarf. 

#8 is made from a BUNCH of teeny tiny holly leaves I cut from green cardstock.  The berries are small glue dots covered in glitter.  #5 might be my favorite.  I cut little letters out of chipboard (and after remembered that I had chipboard letters already premade) and sprayed them with spray glue and then wrapped them in mini bakers twine.  I attached them with glue dots.

#4 has a scarf cut from a piece of an old t-shirt.  #2 has 3D bows made from bakers twine and ribbon and #1 has a 1 1/2" piece of satin ribbon tied around it.  

I am so happy with how it turned out.  Making the tags was a bit meticulous but that is just because I had so many ideas that I wanted to do.  You could make them much simpler for sure.  I originally wanted them to all coordinate but in the end I love the variety and all the different tags.  The kids will be so excited to see "what comes next."  I can hardly wait until December 1st to put it to use.   We are going to count from 1 to 25 but you could count backwards too, or just put one tag on at a time.  I love the big pile of tags to go through and it will help the kids see that we are getting closer to Christmas as the pile gets smaller and smaller.  Tis the season for major craft inspiration and wonderfully fun paper projects.  Enjoy and please share.

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Sep 3, 2013

Witch Hat Party Favors

 These are a cute and easy party favor idea-you can adjust the size to suit your needs and fill them with anything you want.  The only thing is if you plan to glitter them then make them ahead of time so they can dry properly.
To begin you will need:
Black cardstock (you can get one and half pattern pieces on one piece of 8.5x11 paper)
Double stick tape
Glue Dots
White glue
Small Black pom poms
Thin wire
1. Trace and cut pattern pieces
 2. Run a piece of double sided tape along one straight edge of the witch hat (I have it hanging over the edge about half way so that it can't be seen when the cone is formed.
 3. Roll the hat piece to form a cone shape and hold the sides together to adhere the tape.  (This was a bit tricky and I felt like it was good to hold it with a paper clip for a while just to make sure it was stuck).
 4. Adhere cone (top of the hat) to the brim of the hat with a bead of hot glue.
 5. Embellish as desired.  I found ric rac worked the best for laying nicely around the hat.  Next we will make the spiders.
 6. For these you will need one long piece of wire and 3 or 4 short pieces (about 1 1/2" in length).  I made my spiders with 6 legs because I couldn't remember if they had 6 or 8 but then I found out it was 8 but mine were already made so oh well-in crafts it doesn't matter.
 7. Take the long piece of wire and curl it around a pencil leaving 1 inch on each end uncurled.
 8. Stick on end of the wire into the top of the hat.
 9. Now stick a pom pom on a glue dot and pull up.
 10. Stick your short wires to the back of the pom pom on the sticky glue dot (don't worry how they look-you can bend and adjust them after).  Cover them with another glue dot.
 10. Stick the spider in place catching the hanging end of the wire.
 11.  Lastly, run a bead of plain liquid crafters glue around the edge of the hat brim.
 12. Dip the edge in the glitter to cover the whole edge.

 12. Now if you want to put some treats inside then once the hat is dry stick the candy inside the hat.
 13. Cover the opening with a piece of tissue paper (that way it is easy to get into to get the prize).
 A perfect Halloween party favor for parties, birthdays, school or work.

Happy creepy and cute crafting.
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