Kids Activities

Dr. Seuss Bday.indd

For a fun snack to celebrate Dr. Seuss’s birthday on March 2nd, go here.

I didn’t know if you knew it or not, but the Chinese New Year is coming up on February 10. This year will be the year of the snake. To learn more about this holiday click here.

With that in mind, I wanted to share a birthday party we had several years ago, like 9. This was looong before my blogging days. There are several pictures I wish we had taken. Oh, well.

Let me show you the inspiration for this party to begin with.

girls with hats via Pork Chop Tuesday

Precious, I know!

My mom had bought these adorable outfits for the girls. They wanted to wear them all the time! Megan’s birthday was coming up, so the outfit was the inspiration.

Couldn’t you just eat them up!

We made these little hats for all the girls at the party. That was one of the pictures we didn’t get.

We also did not get a picture of the cute little kimono invitations we sent out. We ordered them from Oriental Trading Co. They don’t even carry them any more.

cherry blossoms via Pork Chop Tuesday

I loved this party! We put it all together on such a shoestring budget.

These cherry blossoms were made from a stick from the yard and some pink tissue paper from the gift wrapping closet. All we did was cut out square stacks of tissue. Then we folded each square three times into a cone shape. Then we used scissors to round off the end. I used a pencil to help glue it to the branch with tacky glue.

paper lanterns via Pork Chop Tuesday

Homemade construction paper lanterns, along with a few store-bought lanterns, hung form a piece of scavenged bamboo in the garage. I wish I could relay the hysterical laughter and giddiness Mom and I experienced gathering this bamboo from a strangers yard and hauling it home in the trunk of the car!

We had some crafts and games of course.

One craft was to make a paper lantern of their own.

party crafts via Pork Chop Tuesday

This was very easy. Fold the paper in half “hotdog” style. Cut slits in the paper about 1/2 to 1 inch away form the edge. Open it up. Wrap it around. Staple it. Add a handle. The girls stamped their lanterns with some Chinese letters before assembling them.

The other craft was kinda hard. That is probably why we have not pictures. It took all hands on deck. We made folded paper dragons. They were cute. We decorated the heads with sequins and such. Then attached them to a bamboo skewer like a little puppet. Sorry there isn’t a picture. To tell you the truth, the memory of it isn’t real clear either.

Pin-the-tale-on-the-monkey was one of the games. Seems like when there is a birthday party, you HAVE to pin-the-something-on-the-something. It was the year of the monkey that year, so it made sense to use a monkey.

Pin the tail on the monkey via Pork Chop Tuesdaypin the tail on the monkey 2 via Pork Chop Tuesday

Then we had the cotton ball pick up game. Pick up the cotton balls with the chopsticks and put them in the take-out carton. Have teams race against each other.

chopstick game via Pork Chop Tuesday

Not everyone played by the rules.

chopstick game 2 via Pork Chop Tuesday

The last game we played was catch the dragon.

Chip made a great dragon head out of construction paper.

dragon head via Pork Chop Tuesday

Someone wears the dragon head. Naturally, this was the birthday girl. Everyone files in behind her and holds on at the waist.

We stapled black and red crepe paper streamers around the kids’ wrists for extra effect.

catch the dragon via Pork Chop Tuesday

The dragon runs around to try to catch the person at the end of the line. Then the next kid goes.

catch the dragon 2 via Pork Chop Tuesday

After the dragon game, we headed in for refreshments and gifts.

front door decor via Pork Chop Tuesday

More lanterns covered the lights in the kitchen. These large ones were made out of red poster board.

large lanterns via Pork Chop Tuesday

Snacks were goldfish crackers, mandarin oranges, chow mein noodles and “green tea” with paper umbrellas(green kool-aid).

table decor via Pork Chop Tuesday

Then came the fortune cookie birthday cake, homemade, of course.

fortune cookie cake via Pork Chop Tuesday

Bamboo skewers held the “Happy Birthday, Megan” fortune. No, it did NOT catch on fire!

take out boxes via Pork Chop Tuesday

Each girl went home with a take out box filled with folding fans, chopsticks, fortune cookies,  fish-shaped water toys, kimono stickers, more paper umbrellas, and maybe some other things I can’t remember. They also took home their lanterns and dragon puppets.

What a fun time for so little money!

me w-cherry blossoms via Pork Chop Tuesday

Happy Chinese New Year! (But not until the 10th)

Day 4 of BLOGtober Fest!

Today’s challenge was entitled “Fall Back”. Today is the day we are supposed to promote a post from the past.

Thinking about the topic, I first thought of my very first post called “Never Again Cookies”.  They were just so yummy but just so much trouble.

Then I thought of this post for Dr. Seuss snacks, because it seems to be well liked.

As I continued down memory lane looking at old blog posts, I realized that I never finished the Impressionist series. I had only one post left. That is so bad. It was over a year ago!

You can see the entire series over on the This and That page under The Impressionists Series.

So, here today, I finally will finish up the Impressionists! Hopefully this post will whet your appetite for the rest of the series.

Well, we finally made it to the Arts Center. Going to the exhibit was the whole reason we did the Impressionist study to begin with.

Mom and Dad went with us, so Dad took this great picture of me and the girls.

Megan even chose to wear that particular shirt because it looked like an Impressionistic painting.

There was no photography allowed at the exhibit.

The best I can do I show you the program guide.

We thoroughly enjoyed the exhibit. The artwork was quite impressive. It meant so much more to the girls, and to me, to have done our little study. I think it is something we will always remember.

We had lunch at Community Bakery in downtown Little Rock. I just love that place. Everything is so yummy! I like the fun urban atmosphere as well.

Even though it was warm and windy, we ate outside, just like the Impressionists would have. Turkey sandwiches on croissants!

Unfortunately, a man came and sat next to us and lit up a cigarette. Yuck! That made out outdoor experience not quite as nice but probably even more authentic!

After our lunch experience, we decided to head inside for dessert. Créme Bruleé!

You talk about yummy, now!

I think they liked the dessert time better than lunch time. Duh! It’s dessert! We were in the cool, non-breezy, non-smokey building!

Here is what the girls thought of the experience.


I much preferred actually doing the art to going to the exhibit. I was very glad to have studied about the Impressionists, because it enabled me to appreciate the art more. Getting a taste of French food was like icing on the cake. It felt almost like being an Impressionist sitting in a café discussing art.

Of the ones we did, I most enjoyed the first one and the Degas. I liked the first because it was new and exciting. I liked the Degas because I had fun making it an all-day event and replicating glass. Of the ones that we saw, I like the “Blue Dancers” by Degas and “The Foggy Parliament” by Monet.


The exhibit was very fun! There were two paintings that I can think of off of the top of my head. One was “Seascape–Isle of Shoals” by Chlide Hassam, and the other was “Paysage de mer (Seascape)” by Gustave Courbet. They were both extremely pretty, so real!

After the exhibit, we went to Community Bakery for lunch. We ate outside (like the French) and watched the traffic go by. We ate croissants with turkey inside, also chips and of course, drank water (like the French-kidding!) Then for dessert we had crème brulée, a famous French dish.

All in all, it was a great day!

P.S. I also got to paint and sketch, and watch a funny video about Monet.

I learned that when Monet got older, he got cataracts and saw a lot of yellow. A while later, he could see clearly again, thanks to some doctors.

My favorite part of the “learning” was the activities! My favorite painting was my fall leaf!

Well, here it is. The long-awaited “Pirates of the Secret Island 4: Mutiny on the Secret Island”.

The Premier was quite an affair. I begged, borrowed, and stole from various sources for weeks! We pulled off the party–swag bag, food, decorations, the works–for less than $50!

I think that was a pretty good accomplishment. Parties are fun. Paying for parties? Not so much!

The dress for the evening was “fancy”. We pulled out an old dress my sister had in college for Megan. Katie wore one of Megan’s hand-me-downs. One of the benefits of being a Sweet Adeline is having fancy clothes and jewelry. So, I wore something from my stash. Chip was on his own as far as his fancy clothes went.

The family had all worked tirelessly to prepare for the party. Food. Decor. Yard. Clothes.

I knew I had not timed things perfectly when it got to be 5:30 and I had not even gotten in the shower! There was still food and hair to fix before the guests arrived at 6:30!

Fortunately, Mom and Dad came early to help. Thank goodness! I would have never made it.

Next to arrive was the Dowlearn family.

Charley had to set up the special Hollywood style spotlights he made for the occasion.

Maybe he will leave a comment telling how he made them. Here is a hint.

More admiring fans, groupies, “agents”, and actors showed up on the scene.

My folks really got into their roles. Mom interviewed everyone as they arrived. The kids didn’t really know what to think about that. (Somehow, one interview didn’t get photographed. Sorry, Mac.)

The “Paw-Pawrazzi” was played by my dad. Be sure to click his picture and check out his credentials.

Megan thought it was great fun to “avoid” the paparazzi every chance she got.

The red carpet was great! I really struggled with this aspect of the decorations. I really wanted a RED CARPET. You know, Hollywood style. I thought about getting a remnant and spray painting it. That was just going to be too expensive, and it just wouldn’t look right. I looked all over town. I was really working on a shoestring budget. I was determined, or as Moe, at Carpet Mills in North Little Rock, said–persistent! A big thanks goes out to Moe for donating several carpet samples. I knew I needed more though! Mom found a red carpet runner at Party City. Yes, I realize it was only $6.99, but remember, SHOESTRING budget! I refused to give up! After hitting at least 3 more carpet stores, someone suggested Classic Carpets in North Little Rock. Tracy had a red carpet! He typically rents it out for $50. He let me borrow it for FREE! Thank you, Tracy! The long roll of red carpet was exactly what I wanted! The carpet samples extended the red carpet on down the sidewalk perfectly. Thanks a million guys!

Adoring fans brought roses for the actresses and Sonic gift cards for the actors. How sweet!

The director, naturally, was behind the camera, again.

“The Faceless Bartender” showed up for the gala, I think.

We really did some rearranging inside. As the actors and actresses entered the front hall, there was a curtain hanging in the hallway. This curtain usually hangs in my parents bedroom in the fall and winter. For the party, it hung on a shower rod. I’m pretty sure Mom and Dad use a regular curtain rod when they hang it. We used our white Christmas lights to light the entrance and the “theater”.

I moved the couch from it’s regular position, so we could fit the dining room chairs in the den in rows. This also required that two chairs, two tables,  a secretary, and a rug find a new home. (It didn’t all get put back after the party. I decided I liked some of the things in their new homes.) I used our TV trays between chairs. I thought folks might need a place to set their plates and cups. I borrowed some extras from Mom and Dad and the Dowlearns.

First, let me tell you about the table decorations and serving pieces. Then, I’ll fill you in on the food. Click the picture above for the details.

The gold table cloth is one that my Mother-in-Law bought at an after Christmas sale a couple of years ago. This was my first time to use it. It was perfect!

The gold chargers were an anniversary present one year. You can’t serve food off of them though, so I used clear glass plates that I think I got as a wedding gift almost 20 years ago.

The tower that the cupcakes are on is from my days as a Pampered Chef lady. It is from their Simple Additions collection. It’s been a while, so some of the pieces have changed. I sure have enjoyed my set though.

The punch bowl came from a garage sale about 10 years ago. I opted to use plastic cups rather than washing punch cups. The gold and silver paper plates were some Mom had leftover from some shindig. She couldn’t remember where she got them.

The adorable little spoons were borrowed from Chip’s Aunt Mary. Are they not the cutest?! The plate they are sitting on was a hand-me-down from either Chip’s mom or grandmother.

Red tray with popcorn bags was borrowed from Mom. Parmesan Stars were in a silver basket, another wedding gift. ( You can’t see the basket, but it’s there.)

Gold place mats were a wedding gift, too.

In addition to punch we had water with and without cucumber slices. It had to be on a separate table-actually an organ bench.

Please notice the film reels in this next picture. They were inspired by these. The price was a little different, however. Ours were made from cardboard I stole out of the neighbor’s trash. It was clean! Chip cut them out and spray painted them with paint that either Mom or I had. You might also notice the drape over the TV cabinet. My sister had a burgundy swag in the bathroom when she lived in this house. I didn’t want to use it, but I couldn’t part with all that taffeta. Glad I didn’t! The gold tassels came from an el cheep-o sale. The center of the drape is held up with a chip clip!

This is the PRESTIGIOUS Dowlearn Award that was given for the first 3 films! Don’t you love it under glass?

Once again, Chip is not in the group photo. Sad.

This is the “swag bag” the kids went home with. I’m really sad we didn’t get a picture of the treasure chest that held them. My friend, Cyndi, had a treasure box from work that came with Post-It Notes in it! I sprayed it gold and put the bags inside. Thanks, Cyndi.

The red velvet bags with gold tassels came from a close out sale a couple of years ago. I think I paid 5¢ each for them. Each kiddo got a copy of the movie. Actually, it had all 4 movies on the disc. Thanks to Ryan Kravitz for designing the label. They also got a CD with the still photos that were shot the day of filming. A $1 picture frame with the group photo, a star ornament/bookmark (that came from the same sale as the bags), and some hard candy rounded out the goodie bag.

I do hope they all had the time of their lives. It was all great fun!


I feel I should mention that one of our guests has severe food allergies. I had to be very careful that none of the indigents were even from a factory that uses nuts. Harder than you might think. I have a new appreciation for people with nut allergies.

Ok, so some of the snacks didn’t really have a recipe per se.

1. Cheese and crackers–I admit, I took the easy way out. I bought the pre-cubed cheese. I already had a variety of crackers. This was an easy appetizer.

2. Popcorn–Again, not rocket science. Place package in microwave for 3 minutes. Listen for popping to stop.I just had to have popcorn with the movie.

3. Veggies and dip–Just carrots and celery arranged on a plate with ranch dressing in a bowl.

4. Pigs in a blanket–Pretty easy. Roll lil’ smokies up in crescent rolls. Cook until done.  Barbecue sauce and mustard were available condiments.

5. Stuffed Mushrooms–These were really easy because someone else brought them! Whitney said she used the Pioneer Woman’s recipe but tweaked it a little. Whitney, please leave a comment and tell about your tweak.

6. Strawberry Tarts–I didn’t make these either. Whitney said all she did was let the berries sit in sugar for a while. The crust was made in a mini muffin pan. Put a scoop of the berries in a cooked and cooled pastry cup. Top with whipped cream.

7. Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting and gold sprinkles–Megan made the cupcakes. I decorated them. We used a boxed cake mix and ready to spread frosting. The gold cupcake liners really added a lot. I found them at Hobby Lobby.

8. Parmesan Stars–These were really easy. Thaw frozen puff pastry. I used a tiny star cookie cutter to cut out stars. The girls helped me by smearing olive oil on the stars as I put them on the pan. Sprinkle with shredded Parmesan cheese and black pepper. Bake according to package directions.

9. Bacon Wrapped Chicken–These turned out to be trickier than I thought they should have been. Mainly they were tricky because I was pressed for time. Cut chicken breasts into small pieces. Cut bacon strips into thirds. Wrap bacon around the chicken; secure with a toothpick. I melted some apple jelly and mixed it with a little soy sauce. I would have used orange, but  I didn’t have any. Brush on meat. Bake at 425* for about 10 minutes, turn and cook for another 10ish minutes. We had to cook them just a little longer.

10. “Fancy  Grapes”–Megan and Katie made these. Wash grapes and DRY COMPLETELY. While you are waiting for the grapes to dry, melt some vanilla almond bark. Poke a toothpick into the dry grapes then dip the melted chocolate. Immediately dip into graham cracker crumbs. The original recipe said to use peanuts. I had to improvise. Stand coated grapes on your serving plate while the chocolate is still warm. If you wait, they won’t stand up straight. These went like hot cakes! I think next time I will just use purple grapes.

11. Twice Baked New Potatoes–I was very excited to find the potatoes on sale. Buy one bag get one bag free! Boil the potatoes until fork tender, maybe just a little longer. I pulled them out of the pot a little too soon. Cut each potato in half. Slice a small piece off the bottom of each half of the potato so it will stand upright. Scoop out the potato flesh. Be careful to leave enough of a “wall” so your potato will keep its shape. Combine potato innards with a little sour cream and crumbled bacon. Spoon the potato mixture back into the potato shell.

12. Brownie Batter Dip–Aunt Mary sent me this recipe via Pinterest.  She served it at a shower at her house and said it was a hit! The same can be said of it being served at the Premier as well! Katie mixed this up for me. Mix an 8 ounce package of cream cheese with 1/2 cup of butter. Both should be softened. Add 2 cups of powdered sugar, a cup at a time, and 1 tablespoon of milk. Add 5 Tbsp flour, 5 Tbsp cocoa powder, 2 Tbsp brown sugar, 1 tsp vanilla, and 1 Tbsp milk. Whisk together. You can add more milk if you need to. We added mini chocolate chips at the end too! Put a scoop on a cute little fancy spoon and top with a mini Nilla Wafer. We had a bowl with extra dip and a dish of extra cookies as well.

13. Punch–There are a thousand different punch recipes out there. This one came from my friend Kathy Zimmerman. Make a simple sugar by combining 3 cups of sugar with 3 cups of water. Boil for 3 minutes, until clear. Mix together one 12 oz. can of frozen lemonade and one 12 oz. can of frozen pineapple juice-mix both according to package directions. Add on 12 oz. can of frozen limeade-DO NOT DILUTE. Add to simple sugar. Put mixture in the freezer. When it starts to solidify, give it a stir every now and then so it gets slushy. When ready to serve, put it in your punch bowl and add a 2 liter bottle of ginger ale. Sooo yummy!

Well, that was our little party. It was a great time. I realize this was a really long post. Thanks for stayin’ with me. I guess I could have had about 15 different posts out of this one party. Oh, well. I wanted it to all be together. Plus, we were so crazy before the party started that no one got “blog quality” photos of the food.

Let me take you on a trip to the past.

Several years ago, oh, about 5 or 6, I was on my annual trek to Dallas for a Sweet Adelines competition. This left Chip and the girls at home to fend for themselves. That Saturday morning Chip, being the great dad that he is, asked the girls, “Y’all want to make a movie?”  Since I wasn’t there, I have to imagine there were squeals of delight as they scrambled around for costumes and props. There was no script. The movie was written and directed as the day progressed.

Please enjoy “Pirates of the Secret Island”.

These videos will be updated with higher quality videos soon. They just take longer to add to the blog. Guess I was impatient.

Weren’t the girls so little and cute?! Didn’t you LOVE the swords?

They had a great time making that movie. It was so fun to hear them talk about it when I came home.

The next year, they decided to make another movie. This time they made it when I was available to be part of the action. I was given the job of costume mistress. We dug out piratey-looking clothes, smudged some make up on faces, and made new “high-tech” swords.

“Pirates of the Secret Island 2: Return to the Secret Island”

What a difference a costume/props mistress makes!

A third movie was inevitable. The first two were just too much fun!

“Pirates of the Secret Island 3: Escape from the Secret Island”

I think that one is my favorite.

As if three back yard movies weren’t enough, Chip decided to do a 4th movie. This time Dash and Will needed a crew. So, the director sent out a casting call to some of the girls’ friends. (No, he didn’t copy the Indiana Jones movies and add aliens to the 4th movie. Can I just have a moment here? How? Why? What were they thinking? Aliens?! Ok, I’m better now.)

So, the 4th movie was filmed at the end of March. Each kiddo, or parent, was responsible for his or her own costume. I may have done ok on costume upgrades for two but four more was over my head. They all looked GREAT!

I did dress the part–the part of costume mistress. If you look really hard you can see I have on a skull and crossbones shirt. Oh, the things you can find at Goodwill!

What fun!

Pirate water was the drink of the day.

Pirate snacks were provided for the “wrap party’. The idea for the snack cups came from here.

I’ll show you the 4th movie in the next post, along with pictures from the Premier! For now, enjoy this little clip:

The Making of Pirates of the Secret Island 4

Well, I did it. I made it through my first year as a blogger!

I have learned quite a lot by being in the blogging community.

I’ve learned to be a little less fearful of technology.

I’ve learned how to use our camera better.

I’ve learned that some recipes are yucky! However, sometimes that is no fault of the recipe.

I’ve learned that it can be time-consuming to post when lots of pictures are involved.

I’ve learned that there are good days and bad days—at least as far as stats go. I really have tried to not obsess about the numbers. If you are a blogger, I’m sure you have had those sad moments when 2 people visit your site. But, I try not to obsess about the numbers. (As of this moment I have had exactly 10,000 views, 203 comments, and 25 subscribers. But they are just numbers.)

I’ve learned that if there is a blog I enjoy following, a subscription and occasional comment are appreciated.

I’ve learned that the blogging world is HUGE!

Here are some of the highlights..

My most popular posts seem to have been when I copied something off of someone else. Here is the little pom-pom necklace I copied from Little Miss Momma.

Pom Pom Necklace

Maybe you remember the Cat in the Hat treats very similar to the ones from Dollhouse Bake Shoppe.

Dr. Seuss Snacks

Lots of folks have checked out the Tie Dyed Fingernails post where I tried Victoria’s Rainbow Water Marbling technique.

Apple Straws and Trop 50 Review always get a few inquiring minds.

Then of course there is the Impressionist series. How could you forget that?! Can you believe I still have one more post to go up in that series?!

The Impressionists Part I

Pork Chop Tuesday readers really seem to enjoy the Critics’ Corner.

The Critics

I thought I’d let them add their favorite dishes from the blog thus far.

Chip: Dave Ramsey won’t let me buy tortillas

Megan: Chicken & Broccoli Braid and Snow Cream

Katie: Dago’s Delight and Snow Cream

One of my favorites had to be the Never Again Cookies. They were just so yummy, especially after all that hard work.

I hope you have enjoyed Pork Chop Tuesday in her infancy. It has been a lot of fun. Who knows what will show up in 2012—hopefully YOU!

Leave me a comment and let me know what your favorite post has been. Did you try some of the recipes? Pin them in Pinterest?

Did you miss some of the posts along the way? Be sure to go to “The Critics” page and “This and That”.

Thanks for reading my little blog. Tell your friends!

It’s another case of “I can do that!”

I guess it’s good that I have confidence in myself. However, I often tend to bite off more than I can chew.

I love seeing fancy cakes. I have even tried my hand at cake decorating. You can see some of my attempts here. One thing I have never tried using is fondant. I have mainly stayed away from fondant because I don’t particularly like the way it tastes. Maybe it’s more of a texture thing. Anyway, I have seen a ton of adorable cakes made with fondant. One of the amazing cakes I’ve seen, and if you are on Pinterest, you probably have too, is this camera cake.

Some gal’s hubby had this cake made for her for her birthday! Isn’t it awesome?! Check out the rest of her pictures here. They had it made at a place called Granny Schmidt’s in Pennsylvania.

I saw that picture and knew that was what I wanted for Chip’s birthday cake. He is a big photography nut and a Nikon loyalist. So, naturally, I thought I could do that-ha!

Ok, so I knew mine wouldn’t turn out quite the same.

Chip wanted an orange cake with chocolate frosting. He didn’t know he was getting a camera cake.

Yep, I baked the cake in a loaf pan and a tomato sauce can, cleaned out of course.

I did have to do a little shaving of the cake to make it the right shape.

Next, I frosted the cake. You’re supposed to use buttercream, according to the fondant directions. I had some ready to spread chocolate frosting in the pantry. Maybe the buttercream works better, don’t know.

I used some toothpicks in the “lens” part to hold it onto the rest of the cake. More on that later.

This is the fondant I used.

I went with chocolate because I thought it might taste better. I also thought it would be easier to tint. I got on facebook and picked the brains of my cake decorating friends. They made it sound simple enough. Well, our little Walmart didn’t have black food coloring. I thought I had some at home, so no big deal. Wrong! No black food coloring. I didn’t have time to truck it up to the “big city” to get food coloring. So, we had a brown camera cake. I think I would have worn myself out working the coloring into the fondant anyway.

Here is how the fondant looks out of the package—like a lump of clay.

The pros really make this look easy. Maybe because they are artists before they are cake decorators! I do not claim to be an artist at all! My kids laugh when I draw stick figures!

I did like playing with the fondant. I felt like I was back in my Play-doh days. Except fondant is not as pliable as Play-doh. I still got a workout.

I didn’t have all the fancy fondant mats and rollers and smoothers and cutters. I just wasn’t going to make that kind of investment. That green thing you see is one of those baking mats you can put in the oven. It was smooth on the back side, so I used it.

Once I had the fondant rolled to about the size of my mat, I picked the whole thing up and draped it over the cake.

You may notice the absence of the “lens” here. I figured it would be easier to cover the body and the lens separately, so I removed it, covered it, and stuck it back on with my handy dandy toothpicks.

Ok, let me explain why I have a picture of a corsage box in this post.

I wanted the lens to have a more glass-like appearance. I cut out the bottom of this box to use for the glass. Sometimes being a pack rat comes in handy.

The Tootsie Roll was for that little red swoosh on the front of the camera. I figured since we had a ton of trick-or-treat candy laying around, why not use it!

I will admit, I cut some corners that I shouldn’t have cut.  Rather than use a reusable pastry bag for my piping, I used a plastic baggie. Don’t do that! My baggie sprang a leak right onto my cake! Don’t worry, it was pretty easy to fix.

I don’t think my kitchen had ever been quite this messy before! (Yes, those pictures are blurry. Taking a picture of the carnage was an after thought.)

I think it turned out pretty cute, even if my skills are far from professional.

Well, this is the last “lesson” from our Impressionists Series this past summer. Believe it or not there will be one more after this one. Stay with me, please!

Our last Impressionist is Paul Gauguin. I will try make this a brief summation.

After spending time in the navy, Gauguin became wealthy as a stockbroker in Paris. His wealth afforded him the opportunity to explore a new interest—painting. His wealth also attracted a wife!

Gauguin became a talented painter. He was soon spending time at the Paris cafés with the likes of Pissarro, Monet, Degas, and Renoir.

Gauguin became a full-time artist when the stock market collapsed in 1882. Eventually, Gauguin was able to scrape up enough money to fulfill his dream of traveling to a warm, primitive place. He ended on the island of Martinique. He was able to complete 10 paintings during his four month stay. Unfortunately, Gauguin contracted malaria, then dysentery! He returned to Paris for medical attention.

After his return to good health, Gauguin spent time painting the coast of France. There he was influenced by a young artist who loved medieval churches and their stained glass windows, Émile Bernard. Gauguin’s art soon had brilliant flat colors outlined in black.

Gauguin was also influenced by Japanese prints and Cloisonné.

The activity the girls did is a reflection of the cloisonnism.

The first step was to etch a tropical scene with a ball-point pen onto a foam cup.


Next, they colored the cups with markers.

Last, they made sure there was a dark outline showing.

Here are the results:



I was wandering around Pinterest the other day. I can quit any time I want!!!!

Anyway, enough denial, I came across these wild looking fingernails. Aren’t they great?!

You can see more of Victoria’s artwork  here.

These are her Rainbow Water Marble nails. I had never seen anything like it in my life! Sooo cool!

Now let me just say, for those of you who don’t know me personally, I am not a fancy fingernail type of gal. Some friends convinced me to get acrylics once. Peer pressure!!! They looked great, but felt really weird.

I’m so bad about having my nails painted. If I get the slightest chip, I pick it all off.

My nails aren’t pretty either. Short and square and they split.

My teenage daughter, on the other hand—no pun intended—has beautiful nails. Long, strong, perfectly shaped. She is not a fancy fingernail type of gal either. She is, however, really in to tie dyed stuff. So, when I pinned the picture on my Pinterest board, I was thinking she might like it.

I was right!

She freaked out! As only a teenage daughter can do!

So, I did a little research to find out how to do this Water Marbling thing.

I came across this tutorial. I really should have scrolled down to the comments. Someone listed a youtube video. Yeah, we should have watched that first. Now I have watched it. We will use those techniques next time.

Here is what we did…

If you watch the video you will see right away that I did this wrong. Way too much polish. Aren’t the colors pretty though?

The swirling was fun, even if I did do it wrong.

I wrapped her finger tips with tape to try to not get as much polish on her fingers. THAT part I did right!

If you watch the video, you will see that she cleaned out the excess polish after each finger. I messed that up too. We learn from our mistakes!

I liked playing with the polish.

Well, here they are. Click the picture to see a closer image. You will see they are nothing like Victoria’s lovely Rainbow nails. Megan thought they looked tie-dyed!

It didn’t matter that mistakes were made. We had some good mom-daughter time. She seemed to like them anyway.

We will try again sometime—the right way. Victoria had lots of color combination ideas!

P.S. We wanted to use a non-pearl polish that was not $6. Megan had colors in mind that she wanted. I found lots of quick drying polish in bright colors. It was suggested to not use quick drying polish. I found our polish at Family Dollar of $1 a bottle.

P.S.S. Have you ever tried the Water Marbling technique? Leave me a comment, and let me know any other tips I need to know.

I’m sure that the Romans didn’t use decimals. This post is actually a continuation of the last one. We were using Cézanne’s technique of  painting with rectangles. This was the next day-thus the.V or .5 or not yet VIII! Well, you get it. I hope.

First we went outside and found a pretty leaf on the ground.

We came inside and the girls traced the leaves onto some paper. Then they cut out the leaf shape to make a stencil.

  While the girls worked on their stencils, I cut a rectangle shape into two halves of a potato. They both had to have a stamp, ya’ know.

Next, we taped the stencil over a fresh sheet of paper.

Let the stamping begin!

They were supposed to kinda’ leave the rectangles showing. I think they liked it better to not have it that way.

Finally, remove the stencil for the big reveal.


Megan's prints

Katie's prints

I think they liked painting with potatoes!

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