Political Map Done With Cupcakes

 

Political Map

My daughter decided to make a political map of South America for extra credit for her geography class. It was the last co-op class of the year and we wanted to celebrate the kids hard work with North Star Geography.

Creating a Political Map with Cupcakes:

  • My daughter can get 20 cupcakes per box of cake mix. This time we placed them together and treated them like a cake. She used black icing to create an outline of the country borders. She did her best to copy the outline from her atlas.
  • Once we outlined the countries we choose different colors of icing to fill in each country. It did take a little planning to make sure the same color did not get used for any countries sharing borders.
  • Next some blue icing for the oceans. We did decide to layer the icing so the gaps between cupcakes would be hidden. Most people don’t turn down a little extra butter cream icing. We really like the way the political map looked connected.
  • Now once the design is done, using toothpicks and address labels, we labeled the countries of South America.

For a little bonus we told her co-op that they had to name the capitals in order to enjoy a cupcake!

Of course creating a political map was easier then creating a topographical map but we might be up for the challenge over the summer. Yes the kids did know the capitals and were more then happy to answer the questions for cupcakes.

I recently have seen a periodic table done in cupcakes on Pinterest. Almost make me wonder if we could create an entire unit study on cupcake based lesson plans.

Political Cupcakes

 

Build Your Own Fort

 

Build Your Own Fort

My boys have a great amount of experience with building forts. Mainly our forts have been constructed out of blankets and other household materials. Today I chose a different medium to build your own fort, I thought it was time to get the boys in the kitchen.

We are studying the French and Indian War in All American History Jr. I thought it would be a great time to build a fort that resembled one that could have been constructed out of trees found in the New World.

Build Your Own Fort: Mashed Potatoes and Baby Carrots

  • cookie sheet covered with foil
  • mashed potatoes
  • baby carrots
  • peas (optional)

I thought it was a great time to teach the boys how to peal and dice potatoes. They loved the chance at being in the kitchen.

While the potatoes were cooking I read the lesson to them about the war. Then I covered a large cookie sheet with foil and flipped it upside to provide a base for the fort.

Once the potatoes were mashed, we built the perimeter for our fort. We constructed a thick layer of mashed potatoes in the shape of a rectangle.

Then taking baby carrots and placing them in the mashed potatoes we made the walls of our fort. If needed, we added extra mashed potatoes to help the carrots stand up. I am sure you could sharpen your carrots if you wanted a more authentic looking fort.

My boys could not wait for dinner! Yes, I was going to serve their fort with our baked chicken. I am sure you are wondering what happened to the peas that I had listed as optional. Well my husband came home and found this fort constructed out of food and he decided to cook some peas. He then attacked the fort with his form of cannon balls. The boys were up in arms over this.

 

 

Easy Gluten Free and Dairy Free Muffins

Gluten Free Muffins

Here is the original post on these tasty muffins, www.5dollardinners.com

I have found that it is easier to tell people what I can eat, then go through the list of what I can’t.  This post is for all my dear friends who want to share a morning muffin and coffee with me!

Gluten Free Muffins:Two Ingredients

Open the cake mix and dump into a mixing bowl, then open the can of pumpkin and dump into the bowl. Now mix together. I use two spoons to drop the mix into a greased muffin pan. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes. This will make 12 muffins.

Next week I am going to try adding a few extras like nuts or butterscotch chips to the mix. Gluten free cake mixes usually require a lot of butter, I love that I can skip the butter in this recipe. Since we don’t follow the directions on the cake mix these muffins are also dairy free. Which at my house means everyone can eat these!!!

Now grab that dusty can of pumpkin puree hiding in the back of your pantry and enjoy some yummy muffins. (P.S. If you only buy pumpkin on the end caps at Thanksgiving, look in the baking aisle near the canned pie filling)

Thanks so much Tricia for sharing!

Gluten Free

Update: I made a cake version with the same recipe.

Gluten Free Dairy Free Cake 

Cupcakes and Social Media and a Mission

 

cupcakes

Cupcakes hold a special place in my heart, not because of their yummy sweetness, but how God used them to minister to my family.

My 13year old daughter signed up for a 3-week missions trip. We then knew we had to raise support for her trip. Now my daughter took a cake decorating class a few months back and had been practicing her technique on cupcakes.

So this mama thought I can put one post on Face Book to help put the word out on our new plan.

“Local Friends, Natalie needs to raise funds for her mission trip in April. Among other service projects, she will be spending a week at The Voice of the Martyrs. She will be selling cupcakes for Valentines Day at a $1 each. If you would like some yummy cupcakes please email me how many and we can work out the details. Thank you!”

Not only did we have a list for Valentine cupcakes, but also people started asking for Superbowl, Birthday and Baby shower cupcakes! Our family rallied with her and it became a team effort for some of her really large orders.

The amazing thing was I didn’t have to research clever ways to raise money, I noticed the talents my daughter had been given and focused on using them. She may not collect hundreds of books for charity or build wells in 3rd world countries, but God has given her gifts and I pray she always uses them for His glory.

 

Since she continues to bake and travel on trips, I have updated the post here.

More Menu Planning Info

Meal Planning
When you know your weaknesses and strengths, you can design a menu planning system that works for you.

  • I love organization but lack in the upkeep.
  • I am not a morning person.
  • I am limited on the amount of space I have. I only own one fridge with a small freezer on top.
  • I only have an attention span for a week worth of cooking.

On my refrigerator I keep a dry erase board that is designed to write in what is for breakfast, lunch and dinner. On Sunday night I summon the kids to get their binders and make the choices on what they are going to cook. Then they check their supplies and write what they need on the grocery list located next to the erase board. Some weeks we forget or get to busy, and we find ourselves foraging through the cabinets. Oops, great plans need upkeep.

Now my 11-year-old son is in charge of breakfast, which means he needs more supervision, then my older kids. I have him cook or assemble most of his breakfast dishes the night before. If he is making pancakes, we make them after dinner and reheat in the morning. If it is a casserole he assembles the night before and dad puts it in the oven on his way to work. That leaves me with one morning I need to be present to help him cook breakfast. Remember I am not a morning person!

Every Monday morning at 8am you will find me at the grocery store with my list in hand. Would you be surprised that the grocery store is really quiet at this time of the day? I can focus on my list and get in and out quickly. Now I have 6 people living in a 950 square foot house, no extra space here. The best thing on shopping day, my son is at home serving breakfast to the family.

 

Cooking Lunch

My daughter making hamburgers for lunch.

You might like reading my post on how I created cookbooks to help my kids meal planning.

 

Meal Planning for Kids

Cookbook
Homeschooling has a way of tripling the amount of meals needed to prepare in a home. Having 3 growing boys and 1 princess also increases the amount of food! Meal planning becomes a necessity to surviving the homeschool day.

This is how I solved the meal planning problems in my home.

Meal Planning Format:

  • Each child is assigned either breakfast, lunch or dinner.
  • They are then responsible to plan, cook and clean that mealtime.
  • About every year, I rotate the kids around to a new meal slot.
  • Yes, it does help that I have a house full of teens to actually cook.

Now meal planning has been my nemesis, the kids really struggle with coming up with ideas.

Meal Planning Cookbook:

  • 3-ring binder
  • stickers
  • Google images
  • recipes

After gathering my supplies, I first decided on a theme for each day of the week. For example: Monday breakfast would be something with syrup, and lunch would be something with hamburger. Once I had the themes I gathered about 4 or 5 recipes that would match each theme.

On the first page of the cookbook I typed up the scheduled lunch theme.

  • Monday is something with hamburger
  • Tuesday is salad something
  • Wednesday is cold sandwiches
  • Thursday is hot sandwiches
  • Friday is fun meals

On the first page of the cookbook I typed up the scheduled breakfast theme.

  • Monday is something with syrup
  • Tuesday is something with oatmeal
  • Wednesday is something with eggs
  • Thursday is something with cereal
  • Friday is something with bagels

Then using card stock as dividers; I labeled the dividers with each theme and decorated with stickers. The recipes were placed in page protectors and little notes were added on how to make things either dairy free or gluten free to handle the food allergies in our family. Using Google for some chef images, I decorated the front cover of the cookbooks.

Now when it is time to plan meals, my kids look at the theme for that day and pick one of the recipes. Then they write a shopping list for ingredients that are needed for their meal plan.

I have another post on how this meal plan for kids works.