How to Make Butter

 

There is nothing quite like homemade butter!  And, because it’s so simple to make, even the kids can get in on the action with this one!

We enjoyed making some homemade butter during homeschool and would love to share the recipe with you!

 

How to make homemade butter

 

Ingredients for Homemade Butter:

  • Jar with a screw on lid
  • Whipping Cream
  • Energetic kids!

 

Simple Steps to Delicious Butter:

  • Pour whipping cream into a jar that has a screw on lid.  I chose to use a small, plastic peanut butter jar we had scrubbed out, just in case we got a little carried away in our shaking!  Make sure you leave plenty of room for the liquid to move around in the jar.
  • Give the jar to the energetic kids and tell them to start shaking!  I had fun watching them jump up and down and get their whole bodies into the process.  (Unfortunately there was too much movement for a good pic!)
  • After shaking for 10 minutes a glob will have formed in the jar.  (This is your butter!)
  • Pour the contents of the jar into a small bowl.  The solid glob is your butter; the liquid is buttermilk.
  • Pour the buttermilk into a small container to save for later if desired.  Rinse your butter off with water to get the remaining buttermilk off of it.
  • If desired, add a bit of salt (or other seasonings) to the butter.
  • Enjoy!

homemade butter recipe

 

 

This butter is definitely better than any store bought I’ve ever had!

It would taste delicious with these homemade muffins!

 

How to Make a Cardboard Helmet for a Costume

 

This year my five-year-old decided he wanted to be Chop-Chop (from Skylander Giants) for Halloween, all because of a Happy Meal toy he has.  (Thanks, McDonald’s!)  This meant I got to figure out how to make a cardboard costume helmet.

 

In case any of you are still working on Halloween costume pieces (no judging here, I just started his costume this week), I thought I’d share how I made it.

How to make a cardboard helmet

 

 

How to Make a Cardboard Helmet:

I actually used cereal boxes to make the majority of his helmet.  To start with, you will need to cut a 2 inch thick strip of cardboard that fits around your child’s head.  I used tape to piece two strips together to make it long enough to fit him, securing it in a circle with tape.

Then cut two more strips of cardboard, taping them inside the circle and crossing in the middle (as seen in the picture below).  Be sure these two strips sit high enough for your child’s head to fit inside the helmet!

making a cardboard helmet

 (Tip:  A roll of paper towels is quite handy to hold your helmet while you work!)

You will notice one other addition in my picture, the start of Chop-Chop’s helmet decoration — a triangular nose guard.

At this point you can add in the start of a nose guard.  You could also add in side pieces to the helmet, like ear guards.  It all depends on how you want your finished product to look!

 

The next step is to fill in the top of the helmet.

I cut four triangular pieces to fill in the spaces left from the criss-crossing cardboard strips we have at the top.

To make them fit better I made a small cut upwards along the triangle’s bottom to allow me to overlap the bottom a bit, making the triangles rounder at the bottom.  (To curve around with the shape of the helmet.)

Again, I used plenty of tape, cutting off any pieces of cardboard that kept sticking out, until I was happy with the result.

 

building a cardboard helmet

 

Our toy Chop-Chop has a blue helmet.

You could paint your helmet, but I chose to use some blue duct tape we had to help make our helmet a bit more durable and a little more water resistant.  (Really hoping we don’t have rain!)

 

making a costume helmet

Here is my model for inspiration.

 

Once you have the basic part of the helmet completed, it’s time to get fancy!

Chop-Chop has a large crest on top of his helmet.  I went with a slightly thicker cardboard for this, using two pieces hot-glued together to make it even thicker.

To get my little trick-or-treater in on the cardboard helmet making process,  I asked him to color two large squares of cardboard the color he wanted the crest to be.  (Paint would be great for this, but I like using what I have on hand when possible, so we went with a sparkly gold crayon.)

Then I tried to duplicate the shape of Chop-Chop’s crest.  To fit it to your helmet, lay the helmet sideways on the cardboard crest you are creating and trace the top of the helmet.  You may need to trim a bit more here and there, but it will be pretty close to fitting that curve.

I used lots, and lots of hot glue to secure our crest to the helmet’s top.  (Tip:  Do one layer of hot glue at a time, allowing each layer to dry before adding more glue.  And remember, hot glue is HOT!)

Finally, I tried to duplicate the shape of Chop-Chop’s nose guard/decoration onto thicker cardboard as well.  Then I hot glued it into place.

 

Ta-da!

A homemade cardboard helmet to help transform any young boy (or girl) into character!

 

DIY cardboard costume helmet

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What costume pieces have you crafted from scratch?  I’d love to hear about it!

Encouraging Good Behavior: Reward Store

 

 

When we started homeschooling this year I wanted to have some type of reward system in place.  At first I made a sticker chart where they could earn small rewards each week.

Then I came up with something a little more concrete:  our Reward Store.

 

simple way to encourage good behavior in kids

 

I’ve found that having something more concrete that they can work towards is a HUGE motivator.

All of the items in our store were little things I had picked up at the dollar store and stashed away for a “rainy day.”  In the future, when our store needs restocked I might let them pick up items they’d like to earn.

I didn’t want to use real money for our store for several reasons.  So I came up with our own “store dimes.”

 

homemade coins for kids home reward store

 

 

Our dimes are simple circles cut from aluminum foil.  The kids each have a “bank” to save their dimes in.

Each of the items in our store is labelled with a price written on masking tape.

I made sure to have small items (lollipops and other small candies) that are worth ten cents each (one “dime”).  This ensures that they can always purchase something at the end of class if they have given their best effort and earned that dime.

Other items range in price from 30 cent ring lollipops, to 50 and 80 cents and even a dollar (or 10 of our dimes) for the larger items.  I plan on increasing prices over time, making each reward take a bit longer to earn.

I also included a few shared rewards in our basket, like going for ice cream.  This way the kids need to work together towards a few of the rewards.

 

The reward store has been a big hit with both of my students!

 

Not only are they earning small prizes for good behavior and trying their best each day at school, but they are also learning so much from our store!

*  They are counting by tens.  (That’s why all our coins right now are dimes!)  The youngest has learned that if he wants the 50 cent Silly Putty, he needs to earn 5 dimes to buy it.  We go over counting our coins by tens at the end of each lesson to see how much is in the bank.

*  They are both learning to save their money for what they want to buy.  The candy may be tempting, but they know that if they want to earn that Lego set they need to have ten dimes.

*  They are learning to make good choices.  “If I buy the candy I will enjoy it for a little bit, but then it will be an extra day before I can buy that Silly Putty that will be fun to play with for a long time.”

*  They are learning patience.  That first day my youngest didn’t understand that he wasn’t getting a prize out of the basket every day.  Now his attitude is a lot different!

*  They are learning to work together.  Remember those shared rewards?

 

As an added benefit they aren’t always begging for a “little something” when we go to a store.

 

So far our reward store has only been associated with school, but I am thinking we may eventually tie it in with good behavior throughout the day.  Maybe earning one dime for school and having a chance to earn a second dime for completing chores and having good behavior the rest of the day.  (If we do that, those prices will definitely be increasing a bit!)

 

Do you have a reward system in place?

I’d love to hear about it!

 

simple way to encourage good behavior in kids

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Sight Word Tic-Tac-Toe

 

 

Looking for a fun way to practice those sight words with the kids?

Make your own simple sight word game with sight word tic-tac-toe!

Halloween version of Sight Word Tic-Tac-Toe

 

To make your own sight word tic-tac-toe game, first draw a large tic-tac-toe board on white paper.

To re-use the game board, I slid ours into a plastic sleeve.  Then I used a dry-erase marker to write one CVC word in each square.  (You could also do sight words or even math problems!)

 

Next you will need some cute markers!  I used construction paper to cut out black bats and orange pumpkins for our markers.  I recommend making 5 of each; you want to have plenty for any ties you might have!

 

Halloween sight word tic-tac-toe

 

To play sight word tic-tac-toe:

Players take turns reading the words.  If they get the word correct, they get to put a marker in the square.  If they don’t read it correctly, they miss their turn and the other player gets to go.

The first player to have three of their markers in a row wins!

 

You could easily personalize the game using markers like princess pictures or cars (whatever your child is in to).

Since it is near Halloween, we went with the Halloween theme!

Halloween sight word tic-tac-toe

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