Friday, April 24, 2015

U is for Under

Take one look at this and ask yourself how I could possibly resist taking on this Pinterest project?




Found on bforbel.com

Naturally, I ran into a problem with having adequate supplies for the project. I had a sufficient amount of cats (NOT a sufficient amount of COOPERATIVE cats, but that's for later). What I DIDN'T have was a glass topped table. I looked on Craig's List and found one, a sofa table, actually, and I liked it, even though it didn't really go with my decorating style (which might be called Early Grandma). AND it was only $20. I mentioned it to Scroogy McScrooge (mistake), and he was less than supportive. MUCH less.

Not to be discouraged, I scoured my church building. I didn't find a glass top table, but I found a table with a glass top, which was going to have to do. I brought the glass top home, cleaned it, and set it on top of two stools. It wasn't a glass top table, exactly, but it was the best I could do.



Enter uncooperative cats.

Pete came to see what I was doing, but at 27 pounds, HE calls the shots on what he is or isn't going to do. He chose to hiss at Ruby and hang around in the same room, but he refused to participate in any other way. And in all honesty, I was a little worried about his fat cat ass breaking the glass, so I didn't press the issue.

Fletcher is the more docile of our three kitties. We call him Eeyore, and I thought I would get an "Ohhh, bother" out of him and then he would sull up and lie on the glass for me. I thought wrong.

Ruby was really the one I had hoped to bag.




She finally came around when I bribed her with a twist tie and a Hershey kiss to play with. 

She is UNDER the glass, trying to get the twist tie on TOP of the glass.


Outsmarting me.


Score! She's on the glass! Of course, she stole the twist
tie and ran off with it, causing an interruption in the photo shoot.

Ruby was afraid to walk on the glass at first. By the end of our project, she was trotting across it like a trained circus act. The only problem was I wanted her to SIT or LIE DOWN on it and not just walk, but I took what I could get.

Finally sat.



Fascinated by me lying on the floor under the glass.


Still fascinated. Came down to get a better look at me.

YES, I'M STILL DOWN HERE TAKING PICTURES OF YOUR FURRY BUTT!

Me from Ruby's point of view.

My assessment of the Pinterest pin?

The pictures were not taken by rank amateurs using an iPhone.

The cats were used to glass top tables and not freaked out by the illusion that there was nothing under them.

The cats were obviously drugged.

I'm still calling it a Pinterest win, in my and Ruby's own way.


Thankful All The Way

The good thing about my A to Z Challenge theme is that I have been making food and crafty stuff, a lot of which has been tasty or cute (not both). The bad thing is that it takes up a whale of a lot of time, and I'm so far behind in reading blog posts from my friends who are participating in the A to Z Challenge, let alone reading the ones from the bloggers I've met DURING the A to Z Challenge, that the whole thing makes me just want to take a nap. Before I do that, let me present this week's Ten Things of Thankful (and please forgive me if I don't get to everyone's posts this week): 

1. While I'm love, love, loving the A to Z Challenge, it's almost over! Six more entries and I will have A to Z Survivor status.

2. National Honor Society induction for Emma was this week. We've known a lot of the kids who were inducted for a long time, but one special group of six kids have gone to school together since kindergarten. They attended the same elementary school, middle school and high school and are all still friends. Emma knows every one in that group has her back, and that's a good thing.



3. Emma was sworn in as Student Council Vice President the next night. Very proud of her and her leadership skills.




4. Always thankful for 4 year old giggles. We are making a bouquet of flowers from our handprints for the bulletin board in my Primary class, and after I painted the first hand purple, pressed it to the paper, then wiped the paint of with a wet wipe, this is what we were left with:



Ohh, the giggles that ensued! Fortunately, my assistant was able to scrub the hands with soapy water and a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser and turn them from magenta to just pink.

5. Thankful for Mr. Clean Magic Erasers.

6. Still ant-free!

7. Sea salt and cracked pepper kettle fried potato chips from Aldi.

8. I get to see the College Boy this weekend! We're going to pick him up tomorrow and spend a little time at the lake house.

9. Pinterest wins that aren't even part of my A to Z Challenge! I found this cute picture on Pinterest that I pinned, but when I went to get directions to use it at preschool, I found out it wasn't a craft but a print you could purchase on Etsy. That's okay, I just made my own pattern, and the kids made the dandelion fuzz with Q-tips dipped in white paint.



10. Can we just take a look at that rainbow cake again? I think it's worth a thankful.




Are you ready to be thankful? Join us at the best little blog hop in the blogosphere and link up, below.


Ten Things of Thankful


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Thursday, April 23, 2015

T is for Teeth Whitening

For my Pinterest project theme for the A to Z Challenge, I have cooked. I have made jewelry. I have cleaned my burners. I have killed insects. Today, I whiten my teeth.

Maybe.

Here's the pin:


Found on livelaughandlovewithlana.blogspot.com


Activated charcoal, which is made from real, honest-to-God charcoal, like the kind you use in a grill, I kid you not, is used to treat poisonings and drug overdoses in hospitals. It can also be used to treat, um, flatulence issues, to lower cholesterol and as a hangover remedy.

And it is said to whiten teeth.

Challenge accepted.

Walmart no longer carries activated charcoal (hmmm, wonder why?), but after a Facebook plea by me, my friend Tracy offered to bring some to me. It comes in capsule form, and the first order of business is to empty the charcoal out of the capsule. The directions did say that the charcoal stains and gets EVERYWHERE (it does) and to take care when using it. Since I was in the upstairs bathroom and really far from the kitchen (and it's been confirmed that I'm lazy), I used a plastic spoon as a receptacle for the charcoal (don't make me explain why I have plastic spoons in my bathroom). 

Ruby was oddly attracted to the charcoal capsules.


I couldn't pull the halves of the capsule apart, so I had to cut it open.
It may have been for the best, since yanking it apart probably would have
sent charcoal powder flying all over the bathroom.

The next step was to dip a wet toothbrush into the charcoal and brush for two minutes. Oh, and to remember that it stains, so be careful.

The rest of the story is best told in pictures:
















All done and brushed with the minty freshness of Colgate.

Here is my before and after picture:

I need braces.
Can you tell a difference? Pretty sure it's minimal, if any.

I felt like I needed more evidence than just my experience, so, after bribing him with the promise of baking him a lemon cake (sucker), I convinced my husband to try it:

He has a very small mouth (which he passed to our daughter
and has cost us thousands of dollars in orthodontic treatment).
He is also now complaining that his mouth feels like an
aquarium, but he's exaggerating, because the charcoal was,
believe it or not, tasteless. Dry, but tasteless.

Still not seeing a real difference, although the Pinterest pin SWORE everyone who tried it saw immediate results.

One more guinea pig (whom I bribed with the promise of cooking supper and actually did):

MANY THOUSANDS of dollars to fix those teeth....

Okay, maaaaybe I see a real difference, but I think I'm still going to have to say this one was a Pinterest FAIL (and you can thank me in advance for sparing you any pictures of the inside of the sink, with black spit splattered everywhere).

But don't take MY word for it. PLEASE try this challenge yourself. And post pictures.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

S is for Shaving Cream Painting

Preschoolers love anything involving paint. 

I found a paint project for my Pre-K class to do that used paint but wasn't messy (for them). 

Shaving cream painting. And it's really cool!

Here's the Pinterest pin:





Cool, huh? And it was (mostly) easy!

We gave each child a paper plate, a small mound of shaving cream, and a plastic knife. The child's job was to spread the shaving cream evenly on the plate (we helped them after they goobered it around the plate a bit first). 



Next, we squeezed some acrylic paint in horizontal stripes across the shaving cream and gave the child a toothpick, showing them how to drag the toothpick through the shaving cream and make patterns with the paint.





When the child was satisfied with the way the paint was mixed, we laid an egg cut from white cardstock onto the shaving cream and pressed very gently, then peeled the egg off.

Pressing egg onto shaving cream.



Gently lifting the egg from the shaving cream.



Before the shaving cream is scraped off.
Using a spatula (a squeegee would probably work really great, but all we had was a spatula, so, yeah), scrape the shaving cream off the egg and discard.

And after!


You are left with an AMAZINGLY BEAUTIFUL, MARBLED-EFFECT EASTER EGG!

Make sure you tilt your iphone as you balance on the top step of a flight of stairs to take this picture,
making it look as though the bulletin board is hung crookedly on the wall, which it certainly is not.

PINTEREST WIN!



Tuesday, April 21, 2015

R is for Rainbow Cake

I almost backed out of today's planned (yes, I really do plan these things) Pinterest project for the A to Z Challenge. I woke up at 5:00 a.m. yesterday morning in a panic over how complicated the whole thing was probably going to be and searched through Pinterest for another project, but nothing jumped out at me, and besides, this was something I really did want to try.

Here's the pin:




Knowing it was a Martha Stewart recipe, I anticipated this to be complicated. I was right.

After a trip to Hobby Lobby for gel food coloring from the cake decorating department in all the colors of the *ahem* rainbow, I went home and got to work. (The total I've invested in this year's A to Z Challenge is now up to roughly $23,297, I believe). 

Several of the ingredients in the cake recipe needed to be at room temperature, which they weren't, so I set them (egg whites, milk, and butter) on top of the stove to hurry them along with the help of the vent from the oven that I was pre-heating. Half an hour later, I was able to start the cake. (The cake recipe wasn't difficult, but I thought the consistency of the batter was awfully thin. I realize a scratch cake and a cake mix cake are very different animals, but it still seemed a little runny to me 


See? Runny. Didn't seem right.


The next step is when the whole thing turned into a pain in the ass.

The batter had to be divided equally into six different bowls. In case you wondered, there really is no good way to do this, and certainly no NEAT way. I finally decided on using the ice cream scoop to divvy up the batter and keep each bowl as equal as possible, and I must say, it was ingenious, because three scoops per bowl was EXACTLY right.




Next, I squeezed in the gel food coloring, one color per bowl, and stirred them into the batter. Piece of cake (tee hee!).




Pain in the ass part again: each layer had to be baked in a 9" round cake pan that was greased (I used cooking spray), lined with a piece of parchment paper, cut to fit the bottom of the pan, and the parchment greased (or sprayed with more cooking spray). Dear Martha said to do this to all six pans.

WHO IN THE HELL HAS SIX 9" CAKE PANS LYING AROUND THEIR KITCHEN?!

I had exactly two pans, so I had to bake two layers at a time, then wait for the finished layers to cool for ten minutes before turning them out onto a rack, washing and drying the pans, and tracing and cutting out two new parchment paper circles to go in the bottom for the next two layers.





Three hours later, the layers were baked and cooled. Instead of Martha's frosting recipe, I went with a recipe of my own that I like rather well (1 cup butter or margerine, softened, one jar of marshmallow cream, two cups of powdered sugar, and a pinch of salt) and put the cake together. I thought the layers had a bit of a rubbery feel to them, but they LOOKED pretty.


Dig my early 1980's era Tupperware cake holder?

L


Does that look as tall as Martha's cake? I'm onto her.
Smoke and mirrors.


Looks pretty much like Martha's.


Yeah, I did this. 


The cake had a coarse crumb, but it tasted good. I think if I were to make it again (and I might, but not for a long, long time), I would forget Martha's recipe and use a white cake mix. 

Yes, it was a huge pain in the ass, but I'd still call it a Pinterest win.

***Special Note*** If I were to serve this cake to my preschoolers (or any other vibrantly colored food, like electric blue-frosted cupcakes), I would give them the same talk I'm about to give to you. After eating this, your poo most likely will turn green. You can test it if you don't believe me.

***Another Note*** I am aware of the hypocrisy of telling you this after writing in "M is for Magic Oil" that I am too ladylike to talk about such things, but if I make it a general statement that is not directly about me, then I can justify it.

***Yet Another Note*** My preschoolers always come to school the next time and tell me how I was RIGHT and THEIR POOP WAS GREEN! It is not necessary that you report your findings to me, but if you do, you won't be the first one to do so.