No Need For The Sunday Paper

On with the fun! Who needs tha paper with links like these...

Dolls and Dinosaurs (photo credit above): This Handmade Peg Fairy is sooo sweet and believe it or not, you won't need any glue to make her!

Transforming Home: Mod Podge a Wood Letter Using Photos! OH, the possiblities are endless. Intimidated by mod podge glue? Don't be! Daniell gives a very detailed tutorial.

Looking for some fun Dr. Suess Activities and Crafts? Everything Preschool is a fantastic site to pour over. There aren't many pictures (which I love) but it's still got great content.


Scripture For Sunday: Romans 11:5-6

So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.

*there's more context to this, so I encourage you to read the whole chapter, but I was blown away by the simplicity of the verse. Essentially, if we think we can do something without God, through works, where can God's grace work?

Parenting Tool: Pennies In Your Pocket

One way to measure the amount of praise and encouragement you are showering on your children is to grab a handful of pennies and place them in one our pockets (if you don't have pockets, try jars). And every time you say something nice to your child, for example, "Good for you!", "I'm so proud of you!" or "I love you", take one penny from your pocket and place it in the other (empty) pocket. By the end of the day you should have no more pennies in the first pocket. Conversely, for every negative comment, take a penny away from the second pocket.

Your child deserves to hear you sing his (or her) praises.

Just a thought.

Muffin Tin Monday - Theme: ABC and 123

Welcome to another lovely edition of Muffin tIn Monday, the weekly blog carnival (that's a fancy word for gathering/link up) where us moms (We welcome Dads and caregivers too) get together and, blog across blog across blog, share the Muffin Tinn Meals we serve to our kids! What's a Muffin Tin Meal you ask? Simply put - It's a meal served in a muffin tin. It has become quite the tadition in this household and great way to serve a wider variety of foods in smaller portions - Perfect for little mouths!

This week's theme? ABC's and 123's. Here's what we did:

I am so excited for this week's Muffin Tin Monday! I am amazed that I made the theme work with what we had in the kitchen!
A is for Apples
B is for Bananas
C is for Carrots

1 scoop of Peanut Butter with a choco chip "1"
2 Orange Wedges
2 quesadilla triangles

The Muffin Tin Kids loved it! What did you make for Muffin Tin Monday? Won't you share it with us? Leave the URL link to your blog post or photo in the form below. And next week's theme is Dr. Suess!

No Need For The Sunday Paper

I'll just get right to it then. Here are links to some fabulous projects, crafts, and activities that are inspiring me this week:

Allie of No Time For Flashcards show her readers how to DIY a princess wand valentine! So simple and cute! And what a creative way to spread the "spirit of love". Did you know that there is an entire book of recipes for mug cakes? 101, to be exact. Oh, I am in love! I can't wait to try some of these!

Creature Comforts: I printed out twenty of these free printable blue and yellow floral notecards. They came out beautiful! I just love the simple elegant design. And they are great to have on hand for those quick notes you need to write!

Casa Camacho: I love this kids chore chart. Using photos for each child, Bobbi consructed a very simple layout and finished it with such cute papers! I am inspired!

Just Something I Made: Yesterday I wrote a post about why I want to go to the Blissdom Blogging Conference. Cathe has come up with a great way to support a friend who can't go to Blissdom: Create a "flat friend" to take along! Check out JSIM for the full details.

Scripture For Sunday
(Part of Paul's Letter to the Phillipians)
Phillipians 3:7-11
"But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead."

Why I want to Escape To Blissdom 2010

Blissdom Conference ~ Nashville ~ February 4-6 2010

The weekend of February 4-6, 2010 will bring not only this year's Blissdom Conference, but a huge milestone in my life. On February 7, 2010, I will be 4 years cancer free! And I would love the chance to celebrate this wonderful event with all the ladies who will be attending the Blissdom Blogging Conference in Nashville.

In early 2006, I was diagnosed with and incredibly rare uterine cancer called Endometrial Stromal Sarcoma. It was determined that I was Stage I and wouldn't need chemo or radiation, but that a full hysterectomy would need to be done. My daughter had just celebrated her 2nd birthday and my son was just 9 months old. From the day of my hysterectomy I have been cancer free! Woo-hoo! I am eternally grateful for every day I have been given by God. To read more about my story, you can go here.

Having cancer gave me a profound appreciation for motherhood. And blogging has been a huge part of sharing that joy. Blogging has given me a platform from which to encourage other mothers, to celebrate motherhood in a positive and authentic way and to be a part of a community across borders that is so special to me. And you, my readers, are a huge part of that community.

Beyond the sessions, speakers, and awesomeness that is Blissdon, I would also love the opportunity to meet some of my favorite bloggers like Cathe Holden, Laurie Turk, Jennifer McKinney, the ladies behind Blissfully Domestic, and so many more! I would love to learn from, glean from, and soak up the presence of the wonderful community of women that is Blissdom. And getting the chance to hear Harry Connick, Jr. live? Well, that would be just pure icing on the cake.

But, times are tough. As of right now, I'm not going to Blissdom.

So, that's why I am entering the Escape to Blissdom giveaway hosted over at Blissfully Domestic! The Blissfully Domestic ladies are giving away a full conference pass and two nights hotel stay at the Opryland Hotel. You can enter for your chance to win as well. To find out ways to win the Escape To Blissdom Giveaway , visit Blissfully Domestic.

I hope I win.

I feel a little bit like Meredith from Grey's Anatomy pleading with Derek when I say "Pick Me. Choose Me. Marry Me." Well, not the marrying part, but you get the idea. :)

Are You A Morning Person Or A Night Owl?

I have never been a morning person. Ask my husband. He will tell you that Grumpy McGrumperson lives at our house before I have had my morning coffee. I have been that way almost my entire life.
However, for every minute it takes me to wake up in the morning, I gain it in the evening. I am a thriving ball of accomplishment from 10pm to Midnight. I don't know if my brain has spent all day working out a plan and chooses that moment to kick in, but it happens most nights.
My mother, on the other hand is a morning person. Growing up, I have a clear memory of walking down the hall in the morning and seeing the light on in the kitchen and knowing she had been up for a few hours already. She always greeted me with a smile as she was preparing for her day.
I have often thought about those mornings since having children and wondered just how did she do it? I am not sure I will ever get to that point. I would have to trade in my late nights. And I like them.
So, I have been thinking...
Just like my mother's early mornings, my late nights can serve to prepare me for the day. It will just be the next day. I can prep and clean, and launder (and pre-preprogram that coffe maker) so that when the alarm goes off the next morning, maybe my grumpiness wont be so noticable.
photo credit: kevindooley
So, are you a morning person or a late night owl? Any tips and tricks for me?

Scooby Doo Birthday Party For A Girl

The birthday party for Muffin Tin Girl was a success! Thank you for all of your well wishes. I read here each comment. I am still amazed that 22 children and 15 adults fit into the house! The Scooby Doo theme for a girl actually went over well. I didn't go all out this year. No handmade invites or goodie bags. Just simple fun. Party City helped reign in the theme with a great selection of Scooby-Doo themed cups, plates and other birthday ware (No, they aren't a sponsor.)

My Sister-in-law helped me frost the cake and hand drew that awesome Scooby. To "girl it up" a bit, I hung paper flowers and had them laying on tables. Each child got to take home their own container of "Scooby Snacks" - a.k.a. Chex "Muddy Buddies".
We played a game of hide and seek through out the house - finding hidden dog bones.) There were an insane amount of presents - something I was not prepared for. I guess that's what happens when the entire kindergarten class comes! And I owe a huge thank you to my mom, brother, and husband who helped behind the scenes. I could not have done it without their help.

Muffin Tin Girl was skipping around, as is her normal fashion when she is excited, and said "Mommy, this is the best day of my life!".

Unfortunately about 2 hours after everyone left, Kya promptly threw up and I spent the rest of the night by her side. I think she caught the stomach flu. It's been going around. Poor girl hasn't been up and about yet. I snapped a photo from my phone.

Happy Birthday Muffin Tin Girl!

6 years old today... wow. I can hardly believe you are so big! I am so very proud of you.
Happy Birthday, Sunshine.

Muffin Tin Monday

Hip Hip Hooray For Muffin Tin Monday! My kids love our weekly tradition of Muffin Tin Meals on Mondays and this week was no exception.

There is no theme this week, but you are welcome to do your own theme if you wish. I'll keep ot short and simple this week. Did you make a muffin tin meal for your child? Won't you share it? Leave the url of your blog post or photo in the form below. Want to participate, but don't know what to do? Be sure to visit past muffin tin monday posts, or the many links of past particpants.
*Special thank you to Theresa on twitter and Taz Designs for my new blog design. I can't say enough good things about Theresa, she's fabulous and I love my new design.

No Need For The Sunday Paper

So, what do you think? The Muffin Tin Mom is sporting a brand new look! I just love it. There are a few minor add ins, so bear with me. A super huge thank you to Theresa of Rock On Mommies for my blog design! Rock On Mommies is a site dedicated to enriching the lives of moms beyond motherhood with topics like fashion, fitness, mommy tips, and more. Be sure to check out Rock On Mommies.

I will also be hosting a giveaway this week in honor of the new blog design. More details to come soon!

To celebrate the new look, here are this week's links:

Zakka Life shows her readers how to craft an adorable gift box using of all things a paper cup! (photo credit above). So cute! (Found via One Pretty Thing) I think they would make adorable cupcake boxes!

No Time For Flashcards: I love this wishing tree craft. I just love it. NTFF Reader Cathy sent it in and I think it is the perfect activity for the new year.

This Word Family Game (she used paint chips!) from The Snail's Trail is the perfect learning activity for any early or beginning reader. She uses it as part of her work box homeshooling system. Be sure to check out the rest of her blog if you are a homeschooling mom - she has excellent ideas!

Don't forget, tomorrow is Muffin Tin Monday!


1 Corinthians 13:1-3

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Pardon the dust....

If this blog looks a little wonky over the next few hours, I'm making a few changes....

please pardon the virtual dust

Preschool Activity: Sorting

I love sorting activities for preschoolers. I think it is because there are so many different ways to inject learning into this fun activity. Little ones hardly realize they are learning foundational concepts that are the building blocks for not only further education, but for life.

They can increase their knowledge and awareness of numbers, colors, shapes, and size. You can count and sort almost anything! From cotton balls and beads to superheroes and teddy bears, the possibilities are endless. Even the putting away of toys is a "sorting" activity: All the blocks go here, all the cars go in this box, all the ponies in this one,etc.

So the next time you see a bunch of M & M's try having your little one separate them out for a little improvised learning. Or, you can purchase smaller items at the store (like the baubles above that I got on Christmas Clearance). But purchasing items is not necessary, use what you have. Go on a hunt around the house. You might be suprised with what you find!

How to Make A Clay Heart Necklace (For Kids And Grown Ups!)

My new crafty love is clay. Clay is great for little hands. Your little one can pound it and smush and mold it into different shapes. There are some you can bake and some that air dry, Some come in different colors and some come ready to paint. Today we made heart necklaces out of clay. We painted them and even through on a dash of modpodge and glitter. This is a great activity to do together with your child. Muffin Tin Girl and I now have "matching" clay heart necklaces (hers is white and mine is pink). And Muffin Tin Boy made me a special keepsake heart.

Clay heart necklaces are simple to make. However, there are a few tips and tricks to be aware of. The first being: Don't expect perfection. Clay is a fickle thing. Just the slightest touch by a hand can change it's shape. Use a gentle touch, however, if you are doing this with kids, just let them do whatever. Seriously, you won't win.

You'll need a few things to make this project:

  • Clay - the kind you bake (ON SALE until Saturday at Michaels for 88 cents)
  • Cookie Cutter in heart shape (mine happens to be the kind for cake fondant)
  • A knitting needle, toothpicks, and a Plastic or metal roller (grey - pictured above)
  • A necklace chain (I found a small ball chain necklace at Michaels, but I know sells them too)
Here's how:

1. According to the clay package directions, knead the lump of clay for 2 minutes. My kids loved this part.

(this is my "fake" kneading picture :) )

2. Roll out the clay so it is around 1/4 to 1/2 inch. Using the shape cutter, punch out a heart. You want it to be thick enough to make a hole in the side.

3. Be careful not to smoosh the heart too much (with kids this may be impossible to control). Poke a knitting needle or toothpick through the side (Doing it through the top is much easier, and might work better for younger kids, but doesn't lay as flat). This is important: Make sure the hole is large enough for a chain to fit through before you bake it!

4. Bake according to package directions: Typically 15 minutes at 275 degrees. Let cool completely before handling.

5. Paint as desired. If you buy the clay colored, you can skip this step. It does come in a rainbow of colors, but my kids liked painting it.

Optional step: add light coat of Mod Podge decopauge glue and sprinkle on some glitter. Below is an example of the hole at the top of the heart.

6. Let dry, string the completed heart on a necklace chain and wear with pride and when people compliment you on the necklace, you can say "My son/daughter made it!" or "I made it!".

Candy Cane Heart Craft Fail

Last week, if you were around Twitter you might have read the tweets about my candy cane heart mishap craft fail. I even caught some of the wreckage on video. I wanted to share with my blunder because 1) I wanted to give you a good laugh and 2) I wanted further explain the hard truth that, for every crafty success story, there are two or three crumpled messes waiting in the wings.

It all started when, realizing I did not have parchment paper, I assumed decided that aluminum foil would "work just fine" to melt the candy canes together.

I was horribly wrong. Let this be a lesson in following directions.

Here's the video, so you can see my mess in action.

It's good to document our failures sometimes, no? They keep us humble and remind us that not everything works out perfect the first time around. Or the second.

Read how, the third time around, I successfully made Chocolate Covered Candy Cane Hearts

Muffin Tin Monday - Theme: Back To School/ Learning

Muffin Tin Monday is a weekly blog carnival held here every week where we come together to share the muffin tin meals we have made for our kids. Sometimes we do a theme, sometimes we don't. For more info on that check out the MTM FAQ and if you are new here check out past Muffin Tin Monday posts.

It's that time, after Christmas, where we all get back to the daily family routine. My kids went back to school this week and I love the chatter over the dinner table about their school day. My son is an innate helper, always wanting to assist in any job that needs doing. Muffin Tin Girl always wants to share the latest drama at school which at this point in her life consists of who will be Daphne and who will be Fred, when they "play "Scooby-Doo" on the playground.

Even with their sweetly different personalities, there's one school time activity both kids love: Art. Painting. Coloring. Crafting. Collaging. More Painting. So we decided to do an Learning through Art MTM.

Every Artist needs their supplies:

  • White Chocolate "Paper"

  • Mike and Ike "Markers"

  • Tic-Tac "Crayons"

  • Nerds "Collage Materials"

We used these as toppings for ice cream. (But mostly they ate everything separately. Incindentally, nerds + ice cream = yummy!) They only picked at the tic-tacs as well (kinda glad). I had also made starburst "colored pencils", but someone snuck a few while I wasn't looking. Can you say "sugar high"? We normally don't gorge on sugar like that, but it was fun for a night. Muffin Tin Girl said "Mommy you make the best Muffin Tins." and Muffin Tin Dad said "Mommy really knows how to do dessert." Might have been the sugar talking.

We all played the Wii together to work out the sugar high. Good times.

*note: next week, no theme. It's MTGirl's birthday, so I'll be swamped.

What did you make this week for Muffin Tin Monday? I have it on good authority that some of you have prepared some fun things to share, can't wait!

No Need For The Sunday Paper

Such adorable cuteness in these monogramed heart tees for kids (sizes 2-8) by Jonahbonah on Etsy. (pictured above, phot via @jonahbonah) They would make a great Valentines gift. She also has many other monogramed tees in her shop. Check her out, she does great work!

I love the Raindrop Baby Shower theme that is subtle throughout this shower posted at Little Wickies. Simple, understated, and so beautiful.

Just Something I Made is a blog that I frequent virtually every day. There is always something to see/do/make. Cathe has done it again with a free pdf image of a mom (I think) busy at housework. - Ever wonder where all those past cultural icons of the 70's, 80's and 90's go to live (or die) in peace? This is the place. Find all your faves, from Rainbow Brite to vintage G.I. Joe, they're all there.


Scripture For Sunday

From 1 Peter 4:8-10

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms.

Chocolate Covered Candy Cane Hearts

Do you have leftover candy canes from Christmas? Have you seen them on sale for next to nothing at your local grocery store? Buy them all up. Because you will want to make this delicious treat after you read how simple these are to make.

You'll need a few simple ingredients:
  • Candy Canes (any size will do, I made mine with the large kind)
  • Parchment Paper or Silicone Baking Making
  • Melting Chocolate/Candy Coating (I used CandiQuick Brand)
  • baking sheet/bowls
  • Sprinkles (optional, but I think they add texture and visual interest)

Simple ingredients plus simple instructions make this a perfect activity to with kids. However, be prepared with large enormous amounts of patience as it can be very messy fun! Make sure to prep your work area and melt the chocolate before the kids get involved. You might also consider melting the candy canes together to make the hearts to cut down one step, but it's up to you. The Muffin Tin Kids kept sneaking bits of sprinkles when I wasn't looking!

Here's how to make it happen:

To make candy cane hearts :
(Based on a recipe from Skip To My Lou)
  • Preheat oven to 300 degrees
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat
  • Lay to candy canes together, rounded edges facing in, tips touching to make a heart shape.
  • Bake at 300 degrees for 3-4 minutes (keep an eye on it)
  • Remove from oven, let cool completely.
  • DO NOT line your baking sheet with foil (as shown). The heart will stick to the foil and it will be a MESS. Use the parchment paper. Trust me. The heart may flatten during/just after baking. I liked it this way as they are easier to eat. :)
To cover the hearts with chocolate:
  • Line another, separate baking sheet with parchment paper (This is where you will set the choc. covered candy canes out to dry/harden).
  • According to package directions, melt chocolate in microwave for 1 minute (some come w/ shallow microwavable dishes).
  • Hold the heart in one hand over bowl of melted chocolate and spoon it onto the heart. Once it is all but covered, lay it on the parchment paper. Drizzle chocolate over any uncovered spots.
  • Cover with sprinkles a will.
  • Note: putting the covered hearts in the fridge/freezer will speed up the hardening process.
Tips and hints:
  • If you will be making these with kids, be sure to have their full attention and use short, clear directions. Printing out this tutorial might even help, so they know what to expect.
  • Be careful with melted chocolate around children. It can be very hot. That's part of the reason we used spoons.
  • The melted candy coating will get everywhere and when dry, it hardens on surfaces, be prepared by lining your workspace or have a wet towel handy to quickly wipe up spills.
  • Baby wipes are your friend.
  • Apparently, kids believe there can never be enough sprinkles. Have ample supply on hand.

(Here is Muffin Tin Boy's creation. I swear there are candy canes underneath all that mess!)

(My first attempt at making the hearts was a serious Food Fail. More on that later.)

Kid Snacks: Teach Portion Control And Independence with Ball Brand Platic

When I read about how Asha over at Parent Hacks used snack sized plastic bags and Ball Brand Plastic Freezer Jars to put together smaller portion sized snacks for her kids, I knew I had to share it with you, my readers.

What I love about this idea, is not only the multitude of uses for the plastic jars (everything from petite smoothies and fruit parfaits to trail mix and dry cereal) is that it's a great way to, as Asha writes, teach portion control and independence. To read more about how Asha implemented this idea, be sure to visit Parent Hacks.

Above is what we did.
(red licorice bites, tangerine pieces, pudding/cupcake parfait with sprinkles, pretzel snack mix)

You spend a little extra time up, front putting the snacks together (kids can help too). However, it makes the snack time woes of "Mommmeeeeee, I'm huuuuunnnngryy..." easier to bear.

Is it me, or do the Ball Freezer Jars look mysteriously like Avent breastmilk storage containers?

Also, Ball Brand Plastic Freezer Jars are BPA free, diswasher safe, stackable and lock together for very tidy storage. Plus, they store in the fridge for 3 months and the freezer for a whole year!

Reader Poll!

Wordle: Reader Polll

As I welcome in the new year and look forward to 2010 (that's "twenty-ten", I asked around), I wanted to take a "state of the blog" poll and see how you, my readers are liking what the Muffin Tin Mom is dishing out. My aim is to encourage and inspire moms with only the "good stuff".

I have a poll up on my side bar for your to answer a few questions. If you are reading this in a subscriber, or by email, I would love for you to stop by and share with me either by poll or by comment. Here are the questions:
  • More kid crafts and activities, please. Can't get enough of 'em  
  • More crafty DIY projects, I love those!  
  • Didn't you use to do recipes? I want more of that . 
  • I don't have a preschooler.  Can you do projects, crafts, etc. for older kids?
  • More Muffin Tin Monday/Meals, baby!
  • Vlogs are kinda cool. Talk about more stuff
  • Reviews/Giveaways Hearing about cool stuff and getting a chance to win it is my cup o' tea.
So, check out the poll in the sidebar to your left and let me know what you think!

**I can't enable the multiple answers  box, so if you have more than one, just leave me a comment. :)

Muffin Tin Monday

Muffin Tin Monday is back and the Christmas holiday brought some fun muffin tin meal goodies to our house like a dinosaur shaped muffin tin and the silicone baking cups featured below. Muffin Tin Dad knows the way to my heart. :) If you are not familiar with the weekly blog carnival Mufffin Tin Monday held here at this blog, then be sure to check out the FAQ and past MTM posts. Here's what we had this week:

Clockwise from top left corner: Sliced Pears, Mozarella circles, Canteloupe Kebabs, Strawberry Yogurt with Sprinkles, Colored Fish Crackers, Granola

Wilton makes these square shaped silicone cups, they come in a pack of twelve and are perfect for MTM!

I hope that those of you that haven't done (or posted about it) a Muffin Tin Meal in awhile will consider rejoining the fun, we would love to have you !
Did you create a muffin tin meal for your child? Please share! Enter the URL to your blog post or photo share site in the form below! I look forward to seeing that everyone has done this week!

No Need For The Sunday Paper

Good Sunday to you all! This week brings another fine round up of links from around the blogosphere that are better than any stuffy doom-and-gloom ridden Sunday newspaper.

So here they are:

I love these charming and whimsical penguin paper printable bookmarks from Jinjerup. They look like just the perfect little touch to any reading experience!

Do you have an emerging reader in your family? Well, I do. My 6 year old is picking up sight words left and right and I found this article on Classroom Talk about how to constructively encourage beginning readers very insightful.

These wood peg and pipecleaner crickets by Ramblings of a Crazy Woman are so cute! Must make. Must make now! (photo credit above).


Scripture For Sunday

Romans 12:3

3For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.

It's good to be reminded, in humilty, of God's mercy.

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to the best readers in the whole world! Thank you so much for your readership and loyalty. The community and friendships I have built through this blog are such a blessing! If you can't already tell, I have been taking a little bloggy break. I realized that I have been going strong for over a year and it was time to just take a breather. Even if it is a mini one. I'll be back for No Need For The Sunday Paper and for Muffin Tin Monday, and back to regular posting then. :)