Friday, March 31, 2017

Weekly Wrap- Up: Our "Spring" Vacation Week

Evan finished off his math book last Friday and Ian was taking an end of unit test in his math book when I told the boys that we'd be taking this whole week off from school.  Each of them took turns saying "except for spelling" "except for reading" "except for math"... and I said no excepts; the whole week!  No work.  We need a break and this is a good time to take one.  We tried to plan something fun to break up each day but expected to spend a lot of time around the house just relaxing.


On Friday, they each took their spelling tests and got a 100.  Ian did decide to just do two of the three pages in his unit test on Friday and asked me to set out the last page for him to do on Monday so I guess he'll be doing a bit of work on our week off but I hope that's all.   Alec whipped through two more pages in his math book and all three boys did a bit of reading.  Evan finished up Cheetahs while Alec read a couple more chapters in the Crystal Keepers.  We read two more pages in Dead of Night and learned about the religious customs of the African country Mauritania reading the book Deep in the Sahara.  Ian asked to do an art project using chalk pastels, drawing either a boat or a lighthouse-- so I went in search of a project and the two older boys and I spent a good portion of our morning drawing and using our chalks together.  I love how they came out!  The boys and I all pitched in and cleaned the kitchen; giving it a good deep clean.  Then I told them they were on their own for the rest of the day.  They created new buildings and items in Minecraft, played video games, worked on the puzzle we have set up in our dining room and played card games.







Saturday Ian headed off to work and the younger boys spent the day playing with my sister's two boys when they came up to visit.  After dinner we played a family game of Qwirkle and then Ian and his father played Cribbage.

Ian had a friend coming over to play on Sunday and Alec headed off to the woodworking shop with his father to work on our new fireplace mantle.  They brought it home to check the measurements at lunchtime and the boys and I played Qwirkle before dinner.  After dinner we went for a hike in the woods and Ian finished his night playing another game of cribbage.

I am just loving it so far! 


Trying to figure out what animal was roughing up the tree 

Unusual tracks in the snow



Monday morning Ian went off to exercise and then settled down to finish his math unit test.  We all piled into the car and went to a paint your own pottery studio.  We had never been to a pottery place before and the boys had fun exploring and playing around with adding paints to their pieces.  We can not wait to see them all fired, shiny, and finished!  On the way home we stopped to get some groceries.  By the time we got home it was lunchtime and all three boys decided to watch Families of Ghana.  I was glad because even though we're on school break that movie was due back at our library.  I promised I would not make them look it up on the map or read any books about Ghana this week.  Once the movie was over the younger boys went to battle Yu- Gi- Oh cards while Ian and I played rummy.






Families of Ghana [NON-US FORMAT, PAL]

Evan had a follow up appointment with his Dr. on Tuesday so we had no plans to go anywhere else but I did promise to help Alec made his cupcake of the week-- Boston Cream Cupcakes when I got home.  It was quite the learning process that we tackled together.  We learned how to make pastry cream!  He filled his cupcakes and learned to make ganache too.  Ian, Alec and I played quite a few card games including rummy, cribbage, and the Clumsy Thief.  Alec had Ian and his dad eat their cupcakes for snack at the same time and critique him like the judges do on Cupcake Wars.






The boys wanted to just stay home on Wednesday but I did convince them to run out long enough to get a few errands done.  Ian asked me to buy him another model car kit while Alec ended up with a book: Yo-Kai Watch Epic Showdowns.  Ian read the manual to our car and figured out to sync my phone to it;something I have been wanting to do for a long time but have not gotten around to.  Alec read his new book on the way home while Evan and Ian downloaded Pandora to my phone.  Once home, Ian realized he could not work on his new model kit until he got quite a few new bottles of paint in the right colors.  He went to play outside with his trucks instead.  Evan and I went on a short bike ride around the neighborhood.  The younger boys and I watched a few episodes of Cupcake Wars while Ian watched Popular Mechanics for kids.  Alec and I played a few games of Sequence and then Alec, Ian and I all played a few rounds of Uno.   After dinner we all headed to the woodworking shop and helped my husband stain, putty and prepare the fireplace mantle for all the finish work. Alec did most of the puttying while Evan learned how to apply stain.


Sequence Game

Thursday morning Ian and I tried to find his modeling paint but after trying a few stores we decided to just order what he needed on-line.  We stopped at the library to pick up even more books and movies and the boys begged me to read the first few chapters in The Candymakers And the Great Chocolate Chase.  Alec read Z is for Zookeeper to us all too.  Ian spent most of his morning outside playing in the sand while the younger two boys made up their own How to Train Your Game.  After lunch we headed out hiking with my sister.  We found a new hiking spot to try and while it was a lot of uphill climbing the boys had a great time with all the boulders.  









Linking Up With:
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Thursday, March 30, 2017

Dirt Cake Cupcakes

After watching another few episodes of Cupcake Wars again over the weekend, Alec really wanted to try his hand at making cupcakes with a filling.

He decided to try making Dirt Cake Cupcakes;  A vanilla cupcake with a pudding/cookie/cool whip filling topped with cream cheese frosting, Oreo cookie crumbs, and a gummy worm.




Use your favorite vanilla cupcake recipe.  I'd share the one we used but we were not all that happy with them.  They were kind of wet and spongy in texture; not light and flaky like tend to enjoy but I reminded Alec that it's all part of trying out new recipes!

We let them cool at room temperature for a few hours after baking then we used our new cupcake corer to take out the middles of each of the cupcakes.




We mixed up 1 cup milk and two small boxes of vanilla instant pudding in our stand mixer.  We folded in 1/2 a container of cool whip and about 1 cup of crushed Oreo cookies.




We put the pudding into a gallon size Ziploc bag and used it to fill the middle of the cupcakes.  It took a few tries before he was able to really control the pudding so we used a napkin to wipe off any excess from the cupcake top.



We had a TON of pudding left and poured the rest into a few pudding cups with some leftover gummy worms and cookie crumbs for some dirt cake mini cups.

Using our stand mixer once again we creamed together 1 stick of butter, 8 oz. cream cheese, 2 tsp. vanilla extract and 3 cups powdered sugar.  Once we were happy with the consistency and taste of the frosting he piped frosting onto each cupcake.



We laid a gummy worm across the top of each one and then rolled the cupcake top in a bowl of crushed Oreo cookies.   Occasionally we rolled them in Oreo cookie crumbs first and then put the worm on top.




He was so proud of his completed cupcakes and they were delicious!






They tasted just like a traditional dirt cake!  The mix of Oreo, pudding and cream cheese was just right.


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