I love fun and festive ways to celebrate a holiday! As much as I love cakes, cupcakes are much easier to serve to a crowd, especially for serving to children. These simple bat cupcakes are super easy to make and assemble — you can “cheat” and use a boxed cake mix if you want to save a little time.
Stuff for the cupcake:
1 3/4 C flour
2 C sugar
1 C dark cocoa
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 C whole milk
1/2 C oil
2 tsp vanilla
1 C boiling water
1 C of unsalted butter (softened)
4 C powder sugar
4 TBSP heavy whipping cream
Orange, purple & black gel food coloring
Needed items for the Bats:
2 egg whites
1 C powder sugar
½ tsp cream of tartar
Gel food coloring, black
1 roll wax paper
Making the cupcakes:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.Next line each cupcake tin with paper liners. Begin mixing the flour, sugar, dark cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt together in a bowl.
In a second bowl add the eggs, whole milk, oil, and vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients. Begin to beat all of the ingredients together for three minutes on medium. After these ingredients are mixed slowly begin to add the boiling water, a little amount at the beginning, stirring as you add, then pour the remaining boiling water in. This may cause the batter to be a little runny but that is okay.
Now scoop the batter into the lined cupcake tins until about 3/4rds filled. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Remove the cupcakes from the oven allowing them to cool for 10 minutes. Finally, remove each cupcake from the pan placing them on a wire rack to completely cool.
On to the frosting:
Cream powder sugar and butter until mixture is light and creamy. If for some reason it doesn’t cream you can add a few drops of heavy whipping cream until it creams.
Test to see if the frosting can form and hold a stiff peak by getting a spoonful of frosting and turning the spoon upside down to see if the frosting stays on the spoon or falls off. If it stays on the spoon, you’re in good shape if not, add more powder sugar 1/4 cup at a time and mix well.
Divide the frosting equally into three bowls. Add several drops of each of the gel food colorings into each of the bowls. One color per bowl. Mix well until the color is througly blended.
Once frosting is ready, you can place it into a pastry bag with a large tip (we used a 13-inch tip) Scoop one color of your frosting at a time, putting it on one side of the bag. Add the other two colors of frosting to the two other sides of the pastry bag.
Twist the open end of the pastry bag and push the frosting to the top, test to make sure that the colors are mixed together, and frost the cupcake edges inward to the center of the cupcake. Top each cupcake with your Halloween sprinkles. Set the cupcakes aside.
And now the royal icing:
Combine all ingredients except food coloring in a mixing bowl mixing on medium speed for 4 minutes. If icing isn’t still enough, you’ll want to add 1/4 cup powder sugar until stiff.
Add several drops of black gel food coloring into the bowl, mixing well. Spoon the colored icing into a piping bag using a #2 tip.
Let’s make Bats:
Using a Halloween coloring book locate individual flying bats, outline the bats with a magic marker. At this point, you may want to enough copies of the bat to fill your cookie sheet. Taped these bats to the cookie sheet, tape the wax paper covering the bats. Using the black icing, begin by outlining all of the bats. Set aside. With the remaining icing add several drops of water and stir well. This should allow the icing to become more fluid. Using a small spoon, drizzle a small amount of the icing into the center of the outlined bat. Using the same spoon spread this icing throughout the bat making sure that it is fully covered. Set aside until totally dried from 4-5 hours to overnight. Test to make sure that the bats are fully dried by pressing your finger slightly on one of them. If it gives then it isn’t totally dried if no indention then it is dried. Cut away the tape and cut around the wax paper around each of the bats. Gently and carefully begin to peel the paper off of the back of the dried bat. Place the bat in the center of each cupcake.
Fabric softener is great for use in the washer, sure. But, there are so many other uses that you can take advantage of around the house. Here’s 5 uses for fabric softener that you’ve probably never seen before.
1. Remove Baked on Grime
Instead of scrubbing your cookware, soak burned on foods with liquid fabric softener. Full up the cookware with water, add a shot of fabric softener and then let it soak for about an hour. After soaking the cooked on grime will easily wipe away.
2. Keep Paint Brushes Soft
Nothing is worse than going to paint only to find that all of your paint brushes are hard and crusty. Next time you’re done with your paint brushes, clean them like normal. After all the paint is out of the brush rinse the brush in cup of water and liquid softener. Dry the brush and store it as usual.
3. Remove Old Wallpaper
Nothing compares to the frustration of trying to remove wallpaper. It just tears into small pieces and will take forever to get it all off. Use a cap full of softener and a quart of water mixture. Use a sponge to apply the solution to the wallpaper. Let it soak for about half an hour and you will be able to easily scrape off the wallpaper.
4. Clean Hard Surfaces
A tough cleaner, stain remover, and dust repeller can be made by mixing a 1/4 cup of softener and a cup of water in a spray bottle. Use the solution to clean shower doors, glass tables, counters and more. It’s like magic on water stains, give it a try!
5. Get Rid of Static Buildup on Carpets
This one is a two for one special. Mix a cup of softener into your favorite spray bottle and fill the rest up with warm water. Mix it well and spray your carpets. It will make your carpets smell great and get rid of all the static that hold onto and attracts dust.
Fabric softener is great in the washer, but these 5 uses for fabric softener are even greater. I’ve personally tried out all of these and stand by what’s said here. Did your favorite use make the list? Do you have another use that we missed? Let us know in the comments!
If you are a teacher, or just a parent who likes to contribute to the classroom, you might be wondering how you can help stock the room for less. Take a look at 7 ways to get free things for your classroom, so you can go into the school year prepared and still within budget. It is fairly easy, and just takes a little creativity. Take a look below to get started.
1. Put an ad out through social media.
Each year teachers retire, and in turn have tons of supplies they want to get rid of. Put an ad on your social media pages asking for these materials. Offer to pack and haul them away in exchange for keeping what you can use.
2. Write to product companies.
Write a simple letter or email to product supply companies asking for samples and savings. Let them know you are an educator and have them ship to the school address. Chances are they will be happy to send a sample or two, especially if you offer to share your feedback about the product.
3. Get the community involved.
Ask neighbors, family, and friends to snag items at penny sales or gather supplies they are no longer using. Hold a drive to gather these items to use in your school. The other teachers will love you for it and it is a great way to get others involved.
4. Find freebie pages.
There are thousands of freebie sites on the internet. Do a simple Google search for “free stuff for teachers” and see what you can dig up. There are typically surveys and short forms you can fill out to get free samples and materials for your room.
5. Call local businesses.
See if local businesses are willing to come and give a presentation to the kids and bring freebies with them. For example, call the local dentist office and see if they will come and speak to the kids. They may even bring free toothbrushes. You can also ask local businesses if they wish to hold a supply drive or donate materials to your school. It is a tax write off for them, so they may be interested.
6. Enter those contests.
There are quite a few contests in the fall where teachers can sign up to win electronics and materials for their rooms. Keep your eyes peeled for store displays, ads on packaging, and contents on the local level in your town.
7. Don’t be afraid to ask.
Never be afraid to ask for the scraps that others may toss out. Ask local businesses for their scrap paper. Local art and craft stores may give you there opened or damage products. If you see the opportunity, embrace it. Let companies know that what may seem like trash to them is usable to you, and to contact you if they should be getting rid of anything.
Think outside the box and keep your mind open to opportunity and chances are, you can snag all sorts of freebies for your classroom. Every little bit helps, so snag these items as you come across them and in time, you are sure to build up a nice supply. This was just our list of how to get free things for your classroom, do you have any tips to add?
Is your lawn in need of CPR? It wouldn’t surprise me if so. Warmer weather, while fun for the entire family, can be especially harsh on your lawn. Less rain coupled with the sun beating down on it all day long can cause it to dry out and turn brittle which in turn, makes it look horrible. It also makes your lawn grow extremely fast. Learning how to care for and manage an overgrown lawn can help you make sure that your home shows a healthy and well-manicured yard.
Ensure proper watering – Keeping your lawn healthy will help to ensure that it doesn’t become overgrown. To do that, you’ll want to make sure that it is properly watered. Whether you do that with a sprinkler system on a timer or your backyard water hose is your choice.
Water at the correct time – Before you water, make sure that you’re doing so at the correct time of day. Watering in the morning or evening is generally best. When you water in the afternoon, you’re watering during the hottest part of the day. This can have the opposite effect on your lawn. You can cause it to burn rather than helping it be healthy.
Clean any trash – If you’re dealing with an overgrown lawn, the chances are good that there is at least a few pieces of trash or debris floating around in there that you can’t easily see. Even a simple piece of paper can cause your lawn to look bad if a lawn mower gets ahold of it. Go through the yard with a fine tooth comb and make certain there isn’t anything that the mower will “eat” or that could damage your mower.
Mow slowly – When you go to mow an overgrown lawn, make sure that you mow slowly. Even if you checked thoroughly for trash and debris, you may have missed something. In addition to that, high grass is incredibly hard on a mower so if you move too quickly, you can cause your mower blades to get caught or your mower motor to stall out.
Collect mowing scraps – One mistake that a lot of people make is leaving the grass clippings lie on the ground. Doing this makes it so that the lawn underneath can’t receive the sun, water or air that they need to be healthy. To prevent that, make sure that you’re collecting the clippings as you mow or that you rake them up afterwards.
Edge properly – Edging your lawn properly will do two things. First, it will look much cleaner and a lot more professional. This is especially important if you have a HOA that manages things in your neighborhood or are trying to sell or lease your home. Secondly, it will help keep things under control from the outside in. You won’t have to deal with weeds growing in from the outside causing the rest of your lawn to become “under attack” from them.
Manage weeds – Once you have your lawn cut back and a bit more under control, make sure that you are managing the weeds that will grow. You can either use a commercial weed killer or make a homemade weed killer, but make sure that you do treat them. Allowing them to grow will only cause your lawn to quickly become overgrown again.
Mow often – Finally, make sure that you are mowing and edging often. Your lawn will only become overgrown when it is neglected. By making sure that you are mowing, edging and watering properly and on a regular basis, you will keep it looking amazing and healthy every day.
- 1oz Cherry Vodka
- 1oz Malibu
- 1oz Spiced Rum
- 4oz Sprite
- 1 Tbsp. Grenadine
- Maraschino cherries
I loved cooking when I was a child. By the time I was 8 years old I was making dinner for my family and looking through my mom’s cookbooks for fun. Now that I have kids of my own, it’s important to me to share my love of cooking with them. Curious Chef products are the perfect tools to do just that.
There I so much to love about bringing kids into the kitchen with you and Curious Chef is committed to this idea. Curious Chef believes that teaching children to cook builds essential life skills like self-confidence, good eating habits, promotes ownership, fosters math and science skills, listening and following directions, teaches vocabulary and encourages spending family time together. These are all qualities that I truly believe are benefits to teaching children to cook and I was delighted to find a company that shared my own feelings so closely.
Curious Chef products impressed me with their quality right from the start. For example, Nylon knives are serrated and have a blunt tip to be safer on skin. The knives are sized down for small hands with button grips on soft touch handles to keep hands safe. No detail is overlooked in making these knives the perfect implement for a child to learn good knife skills safely. All of the Curious Chef line is made of nylon or silicon, is dishwasher safe and BPA free. These wonderful kitchen tools are all child sized without looking “babyish”. They have sturdy bases, color coding and wide pouring spouts. The attention that was paid to the design of Curious Chef’s tools will be immediately obvious to you.
My daughter now tries to get into the kitchen every opportunity she can get. She loves the Curious Chef apron because it feels to her like a “grown up” apron. I love the sturdy construction, adjustable straps and large pockets. My daughter’s favorite tools are the Pie Kit. She is slowing mastering lattice crust much to my husband’s delight and my diet’s dismay!
The best part of Curious Chef is that they make EVERYTHING your child could need in the kitchen. Knives, cookie cutters, spatulas, whisks, bowls and on and on. These are real working tools, not toys that will really make your child feel like they can cook. I am so excited to be planning kitchen projects with my daughter so that we can work through all of her tools and she can learn how to use all of them.
I have been completely delighted with every Curious Chef product I have tried and I am eager to explore some of their other kitchen items. If you are looking for a great way to incorporate STEAM lessons at home, Curious Chef kitchen tools are the very best product line available to help you do just that.
To learn more about how cooking in the kitchen helps kids learn, check out Miss Sarah’s post on 7 things kids learn from cooking
Foreclosures can have a devastating effect on families and communities. There are still too many homeowners struggling to make their mortgage payments or facing the prospect of losing their homes. About one in 13 homeowners nationwide has fallen behind on his or her mortgage payments, putting them at a higher risk of foreclosure.
Some people may go their entire lives without ever having to face the struggle of foreclosure. If you are reading this, I hope that you are one of those people. But if you are or maybe it isn’t you, it is someone you know and love, I hope you are not going through it alone. It is a sad but true fact that most people who have foreclosure knocking at their door have no idea where to turn and they have no idea that there is actually help available to them.
And what is worse – many of these people fall victim to scams that not only will not help them but will make their situation even more unstable.
Making Home Affordable is a free government resource that can make paying the mortgage easier for homeowners who are struggling with their mortgage payments. With free help from HUD-approved housing experts, homeowners can avoid being scammed by those demanding payment for assistance.
When it comes to upfront fees, MHA tells homeowners, “Don’t Pay, Walk Away.”
o Through the federal Making Home Affordable program, many homeowners have received much-needed help to reduce their monthly payments, get mortgage relief, and avoid foreclosure.
o Telephone scammers often request payment by wire transfer services similar to MoneyGram, or completion of paperwork containing your Social Security Number. Do not make any mortgage payments by wire transfer, or provide any personal information, in response to these calls. If you receive unsolicited calls, always check with your mortgage company using the phone number on your mortgage statement, or call 888-995-HOPE™ (4673) to check its legitimacy.
o Beware of telephone calls urging you to take advantage of the Making Home Affordable Program. Beware of anyone seeking to charge you in advance for mortgage modification services. In most cases, charging fees in advance of a mortgage modification is illegal.
o Paying a third party to assist with your application may not improve your likelihood of receiving a mortgage modification. Beware of individuals or companies that ask you for payment, tout their success rate, or claim to be Making Home Affordable (MHA) or Home Affordable Modification (HAMP) experts.
The Making Home Affordable (MHA) housing counseling experts at 888-995-HOPE™ (4673) are available around-the-clock (24 hours a day, 7 days a week), in over 170 languages, and at no cost. They will help homeowners understand their options and design a plan to suit their individual situation.
Homeowners who are struggling to make mortgage payments can call 888-995-HOPE™ (4673) or visit MakingHomeAffordable.gov for free resources and information to help them deal with their mortgage problems and avoid foreclosure.
As American as apple pie they say. But, one thing we have to wonder is whether or not apple pie really is American. So, we decided to dig a bit and see if Apple Pie is something so American that we should celebrate this delicious dish as being an icon of Americana.
American as Apple Pie
As we celebrate the great American pastime of summer fun, relaxation and vacation, should we also make sure we keep the ideal of Americana going? We have certain things that many Americans see as a true American summer. This isn’t full of IPads and the perfect house on Minecraft. This is heading to the beach and camping. This is hot dogs, baseball and a picnic basket with apple pie included.
Well, when looking for a great apple pie recipe, I found out that the English back in 1381 actually made a pie-like pastry with the main ingredient of apples. WHAT?! Places like Michigan are major apple growing states. Plus, with all we hear about “As American as Apple Pie”, it just seems to be that apple pie must be American! We are, after told, that Apple pie is American!
So I decided to look a bit deeper to see if Apple Pie is really as American as we think it is. Well, yes, a search of “apple pie recipe” lands us with thousands of options, and millions of hits. But, how many are American and how many are from other places.
America, being a mix of cultures, has many different mini-Americas. Southern recipes are different than those from the northeast, and the Midwest has many differences. Look up California Apple Pie and you may find some vegan options, whereas the South my ask for lard over butter even. So I found out that there isn’t a single “American apple pie” either!
So, where did Apple Pie originate? The 1381 recipe I referred to earlier is found in Chaucer.
Chaucer’s Apple Pie Recipe
Inside a pastry filling, include:
- Cooking apples
- Saffron for coloring
Apple pie variations
The French also have a Tarte Tatin, the Swedish have their own version, the Dutch version uses an almond paste. So, each is unique, but, the American Apple pie is still original, and stands by as an icon of Americana. Really, each person who makes an Apple Pie will have their own touch to make it their own.
At least the typical American Apple Pie recipe usually showcases sweet and tart apples, some cinnamon and lots of sugar, no raisins necessary!
So, now that we know that apple pie isn’t just American, it is found a bit elsewhere, we should recognize that America, being a melting pot, is just that: a place to celebrate our freedom to be not-so-homogeneous. While you’re at it, check out our Apple Pie Jelly.
What’s your favorite way to make an apple pie? Do you know the recipe’s origin?