Homemade Lipstick

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I needed some summer colored lipstick so the Teen Queen whipped me up a batch of a color crayon I picked out.  She was babysitting and the purple is the color the little girl picked out to make for her mom 🙂

You can see how we make our lipstick on my facebook page here:  ChasenChanceRanch Lipstick

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Hot Chocolate Cones

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With Valentines day coming our way, these are a perfect treat for anyone!  Who doesn’t like to receive any simple homemade gift?

These have been around for a few years and we really enjoy sharing them.  You can see step by step how to make them on my Facebook page  here:  Hot Chocolate Cones

Making Maple Syrup

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We tapped 2 maple trees in our yard this year to collect sap.  This is a super fun project for the kids.  They get off the bus and run to the buckets to see what has dripped in during the day.  This Syrup is the best you will ever have!!

IMPORTANT NOTE:  keep in mind it takes about 40 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of syrup.

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In 4 days we collected 6 gallons (after losing a gallon to a bucket falling off the tree because of the wind).

Today I decided to process what we have so we can prepare over the next few days to boil a few more gallons before the season is over.  The best time to collect the sap is when the days are sunny and above freezing temperatures yet the night is below freezing. The season may be short or long.  You will know it’s over when the sap stops dripping from your tree.

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We bring the sap in and pour it through a mesh strainer lined double with cheesecloth.  This filters out the impurities.

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You are left with clear pure sap.  The best way to store it is to keep it in cold temperatures until you are ready to boil it.  I store it in the refrigerator.

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When you have enough to boil, fill the pot and bring it to a rolling boil.  NOTE:  this throws off humidity and will fill the whole house.  I open a few windows and don’t mind the humidity as it feels tropical!

The sap will boil down and each time add more to fill the pot using all the sap you have collected.  I started with 3 gallons in our bucket and boiled 6 gallons over the course of 6 hours.  I also scoop out the foam every once in a while.

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The sap will begin to turn a light amber color.  When you get to this point it’s important to continue boiling until the syrup begins to foam.  That is when you know it’s ready.

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It’s a darker color and will thicken.

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Remove from the heat and strain again through the cheesecloth into your mason jar or container you are using to store it in.

You can cover it tightly after cool and store for up to 6 months in the refrigerator.  You can also can it (I personally have never done that but there are directions all over the internet).

Our 6 gallons yielded 1 pint of syrup but the tween queen had to have a separate container she could eat with a spoon before I could get it all in the jar for a picture!

INSTRUCTIONS:

Collect sap

Strain through cheesecloth and store in the refrigerator

TO MAKE SYRUP:

Fill a large pot with the sap and bring to a boil

When it boils down keep adding the rest of your sap until it’s all in the pot

Continue boiling stirring once in a while and removing the foam when needed

Test to see if it has turned a light amber color after it has boiled down the final time

Continue boiling until the sap is beginning to boil and foam, is darker in color and is slightly thicker

Remove from heat and strain through cheesecloth into the container you are storing it in

Let cool and store in the refrigerator for up to 6 months

Molasses on Snow Candy

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This recipe is from the Little House on the Prairie Cookbook.  This is one of my favorite Little House books and we try all different recipes from it.

One of the favorites of the kids is the Molasses candy you make using snow.  Every year they are excited to make their first batch and will make a few throughout the winter.  It’s a simple recipe and fun for the kids.

Here is the batch the tween made.  She likes to make swirly designs where I like to make small round circles perfect for popping in your mouth.

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Once you are done you store outside covered so the snow stays frozen and keeps the syrup hard like candy.

I actually really enjoy the flavor of this candy as well.  It’s nice to break off a little piece whenever that sweet tooth hits!!

Molasses on Snow Candy (as taken from the Little House on the Prairie Cookbook)

1 cup of dark molasses

½ cup brown sugar

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Fill 2 cookie sheets or cake pans with snow and leave outside to stay cold

In a large sauce pan combine molasses and brown sugar and bring to a boil stirring frequently

Boil on medium heat approximately 5 minutes (it will boil up which is why you need a large pot)

After 5 minutes drop a tiny drop into a clean glass of cold water

If the drop dissolves boil another 2 minutes (or if you are candy thermometer person heat to 245F)

If the drop stays in a soft ball remove from heat

Bring one pan of snow in and slowly pour syrup onto snow making designs or in circles

Continue until the syrup is gone.

Store in the freezer in the snow or outside covered (we store it in the closed grill with waxed paper on top).

When ready for a piece of candy, peel up only the amount you are going to eat keeping the rest on the snow until ready to eat!!

Homemade Fondant and Pound Cake

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My 12 year old (the tween) amazes me sometimes.  Yesterday was one of those days.  She was bored with the weather being bad and declared she wanted to make homemade fondant and make our pound cake to surprise her brother when he is home from his hockey tournament.  She made the cake above.  I was amazed how she took the initiative and made this very impressive cake with his jersey and number on it.  It took her literally about 4 hours.

I don’t like fondant and will never eat a cake that has it.  The store bought fondant is gritty and normally not very good tasting and we have had some from bakeries that are not that good either as it’s thick.

This homemade marshmallow fondant was really good and SIMPLE!!!  It’s smooth, and just enough sweetness when rolled out to add a nice flavor to the buttery pound cake we make.  She used white icing glue we had on hand to attach the pieces.  It takes a bit to try and the cake came out perfect.  It will be a nice surprise for her brother when he returns late tonight!

Here are some of the pictures of her work and our recipes for our family pound cake and the recipe she used for the fondant.

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Our family POUND CAKE recipe:

3/4 cup butter (a stick and a half)
1 1/2 cup sugar
4 eggs, separated
3 tsp. baking powder
2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup milk

Cream sugar and butter. Add egg yolks until combined thoroughly. Add Vanilla.  Mix flour and baking powder together in a separate bowl and add alternately with milk. Set aside.  Beat egg whites until just stiff and fold into batter.

Bake in well greased tube pan or cake pan (we used a 9×9 and 2 small loaf pans) for 30 minutes in 350 degree pre heated oven until just browned and toothpick test comes out clean

 

MARSHMALLOW FONDANT  (super easy to make!!)

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces miniature marshmallows (4 cups not packed, or half of a 16-ounce bag)
  • 1 pound powdered sugar (4 cups), plus extra for dusting
  • 2 tbsp water
  • Food coloring or flavored extracts, optional
  • Yield: 1 1/2 lbs fondant

Preparation

  1. Dust your counter or a large cutting board with powdered sugar. Place the marshmallows and the water in a large microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for 1 minute, until the marshmallows are puffy and expanded.
  2. Stir the marshmallows with a rubber spatula until they are melted and smooth. If some unmelted marshmallow pieces remain, return to the microwave for 30-45 seconds, until the marshmallow mixture is entirely smooth
  3. Add the powdered sugar and begin to stir with the spatula. Stir until the sugar begins to incorporate and it becomes impossible to stir anymore.
  4. Scrape the marshmallow-sugar mixture out onto the prepared work surface. It will be sticky and lumpy, with lots of sugar that has not been incorporated yet–this is normal. Dust your hands with powdered sugar, and begin to knead the fondant mixture like bread dough, working the sugar into the marshmallow with your hands.
  5. Continue to knead the fondant until it smoothes out and loses its stickiness. Add more sugar if necessary, but stop adding sugar once it is smooth–too much sugar will make it stiff and difficult to work with. Once the fondant is a smooth ball, it is ready to be used. You can now roll it out, shape it, or wrap it in cling wrap to use later. Well-wrapped fondant can be stored in a cool room or in the refrigerator, and needs to be kneaded until supple before later use.
  6. If you want to add coloring or flavoring to your fondant, flatten it into a round disc. You might want to wear gloves to avoid getting food coloring on your hands during this step. Add your desired amount of coloring or flavoring to the center of the disc, and fold the disc over on itself so that the color or flavor is enclosed in the center of the fondant ball.
  7. Begin to knead the ball of fondant just like you did before. As you work it, you will begin to see streaks of color coming through from the center. Continue to knead until the streaks are gone and the fondant is a uniform color. Your fondant is now ready to be used or stored as outlined above.

 

Antique find art

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At the antique shop we visited the other day (read about it here), the tween found this shell box.  It was only $5.00 she explained and was full of tiny shells she just KNEW she needed.  My first thought was…HOARDER.  Ok, I’m sorry but she is.  She just LOVES junk and junk which has lots of extra pieces is even more appealing.  But it is her allowance (they feed the animals in the afternoons while I am at work and clean stalls) and I let her spend it.

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Shell box and $1.00 glass pieces

Well to my surprise, she really did NEED that junk.  When I came home from work yesterday she asked me about a shadow box I had purchased that was too small and we never returned it.  I gave it to her along with some glue and this is what she created:

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M is for Meghan one of her best friends

She took the shells and complemented them with some pretty glass rocks from our local dollar store.  She then decorated the frame.  She used every little shell in that box.

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It is all drying today and she will save it to give to her friend as a Christmas present.

Hmmm….maybe she isn’t just a hoarder after all 🙂

Natural Bird Food

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When there is some down time in our house and the kids are looking for something to do I try to find things that are educational for them as well as fun.  Making our own bird feeding vines are always something they like to do.  You can make these year round using all sorts of things.  It’s inexpensive, easy for the kids to make, and fun to watch the birds pick at.

Today the kids were bored while I was at work so they popped some corn with grandma and used some raisins to make a few hangers.  It’s only been a few hours and the birds have picked away at quite a bit.  But that’s ok as the kids bagged up the left over popcorn and can make some more later.

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