Monthly Archives: February 2013

Cake – The Cobra Cake!

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Sometimess (and maybe it’s because I’m a total right-brainer), I get inspired to the enth-degree.  This was one of those times.  My son was crossing over from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts (I’m so proud!!), and his den was the “Cobra Den.”  Well, for his Blue & Gold ceremony, I made a 6′ long cobra snake cake.

Before I go into the step-by-step on how to make this slithering slab, let me give a shout out to my three helpers that gave up a couple of hours on their Saturday morning to help me pipe stars all over this bad boy:  Thanks to Lisa, Jennifer, and Annika!  Without their help, I’d probably STILL be piping stars today.

Step 1:  You need a 6-foot long, heavy-duty plank of wood. Don’t go cheap, because this cake gets heavy!! Wrap it in heavy-duty aluminum foil.  Also – see how dark it is outside?  I started putting this bad boy together at 5 am, so the cake would be ready to decorate by 9 am.  *Yawn*

Step 1:  You need a 6' long, heavy-duty plank of wood.  Don't go cheap, because this cake gets heavy!!  Wrap it in heavy-duty aluminum foil.

Step 1

Step 2:  Form your head and tail using rice krispie treat mix.  A good mix for this is 3 tablespoons butter (melted over low heat), 4 cups mini marshmallows (melted with butter over low heat), and 6 cups of crispy rice cereal.  You’ll need 2 batches for this cake.  Allow this to cool for about 5 – 10 minutes.  What you’re looking for is the rice to not be gooey and be able to hold its shape.

Step 2:  Cobra Snake Cake

Step 2

Step 3:  You’ll need 5 bundt cakes for this recipe.  If you don’t have a bundt cake pan, go look in the thrift store.  There always seems to be at least ONE there – or borrow a friend’s.  I found that a good baking time for a bundt pan was 325° for 40 minutes.  Let them cool before removing the cakes from the pan, and DON’T level them!  Leave that rounded top.  Cut 4 of the cakes in half.

Step 3

Step 3

Step 4:  Stagger the cakes on the foil-covered plank, so that you’re creating a continuous “S”-shape.  Without the snake head, this reminds me of pipes.  If you have a plumber in your life, this might be a good idea, too!

Step 4

Step 4

Step 5:  The last bundt cake should be cut like the picture.  You’ll need a piece that’s slightly less than 1/4, and another piece that’s slightly larger than 1/4.  The smaller piece will connect the head to the body, and the bigger piece will connect the body to the tail.  You can go ahead and eat that other half.  You’ve earned it.  😉

Step 5

Step 5

Step 6:  In this step, a couple of things have happened.  First, that slightly smaller 1/4 piece has connected the body to the head piece, of which has been built up to meet the cake.  Also, if you look under the cake, you’ll see a small blob of the marshmallow/rice mix.  Remember how you didn’t level the bundt cakes?  Well, you need that extra height and roundness to make it look more like a snake.  Unfortunately, they tend to roll on that round part.  By putting the mix there, you’re creating a sort of edible shim for it.  Don’t worry.  No one will see it once it’s decorated.

Step 6

Step 6

Step 7:  With your second batch of the marshmallow/rice treats, add the hood of the cobra.  You’ll reserve the rest for the tail and the shims, as you need them.  Don’t be afraid to really squish and scrunch this stuff together.  It sculpts really well!

Step 7

Step 7

 

Another View

Another View

Step 8:  Shape the tail to connect to that slightly-larger-than-1/4-piece.  Add shims to any cake that needs support in order for the cakes to touch – or at least be as close as possible.  It finally looks like a snake!

Step 8

Step 8

Step 9:  Get your friends over to help pipe stars all over your cake!  Just so you know, to cover this cake with buttercream icing, I used a total of 10 lbs of powdered sugar, 10 tablespoons of butter-flavored extract, 10 tablespoons of vanilla extract, and 10 cups of shortening.  Also, I do know that cobras don’t have stripes, and that they’re mostly solid, but I was making a cake for a bunch of little boys, and I thought stripes would break it up a little.  It “reads” well.

Step 9

Step 9

 

Close-up of the head

Close-up of the head

 

Back View

Back View

 

Have fun making your own snake cake!

 

 

 

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Level 2 Art – Watercolor Barn Owls

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The kids and I had a great time with this project!  I showed them a BASIC drawing of a barn owl.  We positioned it off-center, and it was a very good decision.  Once the owls were drawn very lightly in pencil, I had them lay down different watercolors and, with water, push the pigments out, creating a bloom.  They used the color strengths to create the illusion of feathers, and I love-love-LOVE how the owls took on personalities of their own!!  All the barn owls were created with the same instruction, and they each turned out so differently!  Oh, and one more thing:  This was their second time using watercolors!

This was my sample piece that I made right along with the students.

This was my sample piece that I made right along with the students.

Annika's owl looks like it just heard something!

Annika’s owl looks like it just heard something!

Faith's owl looks sleepy and content.

Faith’s owl looks sleepy and content.

Cake – Wait… Cake?

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We now interrupt our regularly scheduled broadcast for some…  cake?

Yeah, yeah, yeah…  I know it’s not “homeschooling,” but every now and then I make a really cool cake.  I even took step-by-step pictures and have instructions, so in a way, it IS teaching!  Right?  Well, my son asked for a zombie cake last year.  Here’s what he got and how I made it – just in case your kiddo wants one.

Step 1:  Bake 2, round, yellow cakes.  Let them cool, and level off the tops.

Step 1: Bake 2, round, lemon-flavored cakes. Let them cool, and level off the tops.

Step 2:  Cut out a cardboard circle that's at least 2" larger in diameter than your cake.  I only had a box that didn't have a big enough surface to make a complete circle, so I used painter's tape to join two pieces together.

Step 2: Cut out a cardboard circle that’s at least 2″ larger in diameter than your cake. I only had a box that didn’t have a big enough surface to make a complete circle, so I used painter’s tape to join two pieces together.

Step 3:  Cover said cardboard circle in foil.

Step 3: Cover said cardboard circle in foil.

Step 4:  Center 1 cake on the foil, and smear strawberry spread (it makes for some great-tasting, yummy blood when you cut the cake!) generously on top.  Don't get too close to the edge, because it'll squish out the sides!

Step 4: Center 1 cake on the foil, and smear strawberry spread (it makes for some great-tasting, yummy blood when you cut the cake!) generously on top. Don’t get too close to the edge, because it’ll squish out the sides!

Step 5:  Place the other lemon cake upside-down on the first.

Step 5: Place the other lemon cake upside-down on the first.

Step 6:  Using two bottom halves of yellow, plastic Easter eggs and Sharpies, draw out some fun eyes.

Step 6: Using two bottom halves of yellow, plastic Easter eggs and Sharpies, draw out some fun eyes.

Step 7:  In a mixing bowl, stir the contents of 1 tub of lemon-flavored frosting and some green (food coloring or cake/icing coloring).  Not TOO much green, though!  We're not making a leprechaun zombie today.

Step 7: In a mixing bowl, stir the contents of 1 tub of lemon-flavored frosting and some green (food coloring or cake/icing coloring). Not TOO much green, though! We’re not making a leprechaun zombie today.

Step 8:  Mix the frosting and coloring together really well.  You don't want stripes.

Step 8: Mix the frosting and coloring together really well. You don’t want stripes.

Step 9:  Frost your cake, but leave an opening.  In this picture (because of where I put the eyes), it kind-of looks like a muppet!

Step 9: Frost your cake, but leave an opening. In this picture (because of where I put the eyes), it kind-of looks like a muppet!

Step 10:  Press the eyeballs in.  I made mine a little wonky-styled to create a "DUHhhhh"-look, but you can put them however you like.

Step 10: Press the eyeballs in. I made mine a little wonky-styled to create a “DUHhhhh”-look, but you can put them however you like.

Step 11:  Using some red piping gel, squit some wounds on his face.  Also give him his tongue.  The only red piping gel I could find at the time was sparkly, but my son said that was ok.

Step 11: Using some red piping gel, squit some wounds on his face. Also give him his tongue. The only red piping gel I could find at the time was sparkly, but my son said that was ok.

Step 12:  I used black piping gel to create the details.  I went around the eyes, colored in the mouth, put two nasal cavity holes, and gave him eyebrows.  Placing the eyebrows like I did gave him more of a vacant look.  If I had turned the eyebrows in toward his nose, he would have been an angrier zombie.  Just something to think about when you're making your own zombie cake.

Step 12: I used black piping gel to create the details. I went around the eyes, colored in the mouth, put two nasal cavity holes, and gave him eyebrows. Placing the eyebrows like I did gave him more of a vacant look. If I had turned the eyebrows in toward his nose, he would have been an angrier zombie. Just something to think about when you’re making your own zombie cake.

Step 13:  This step can be ommitted, if you like.  I found some mint-chocolate (brown and green) marshmallows at the store.  I thought it would be fun to put some teeth in!  Rawwwwrrrrrrr!

Step 13: This step can be ommitted, if you like. I found some mint-chocolate (brown and green) marshmallows at the store. I thought it would be fun to put some teeth in! Rawwwwrrrrrrr!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Level 2 Art – Watercolor Fluidity

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Art – Pantyhose – Wire Sculpture

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One dad thought these were spoons wrapped in a plastic bag.  I guess we fooled him!

One dad thought these were spoons wrapped in a plastic bag. I guess we fooled him!

Now that we’re into the second semester (already!), Most of the art projects will be scultpure.  I found this great idea through Pinterest, and then I adjusted it to work for me.

**Edit:  I was contacted by Dr. Manal Helal, a professor and sculpture artist in Egypt, and he states he’s the originator of this idea (see the comments below).  I’m all for giving credit where credit’s due, but when an idea comes from the internet, sometimes origins can get a bit muddied.  Please check out his video, dated in 2010.  Thank you, Dr. Helal, for sharing your artistic vision and idea with the world.  My students really enjoyed the project!

I used 16-gage wire, and gave each child about 4-5 feet of it.  One of the parents donated the wood blocks (4×4), and drilled two holes in them (about 1-inch from the edge) that the wire would tightly fit into. I told the kids to push an end of the wire into a hole of the block.  Once they had about 3-inches coming out the other side, they were to take their needle-nose pliers and make a loop.  Then they were to lay the loop as flush as possible against the block.  They did the same thing to the other end of the wire.

After they got the wire put through the block, I had them gently bend and twist the wire to get it into a smaller shape.  Then I gave each kid a knee-high nylon stocking (Walmart has them in the lingerie department at 2 for .33), and had them put the hose on over the wire structure.  Before they did this, though, I showed them how to bunch up the hose gently, so it wouldn’t snag on rough skin or nails.  The boys had a particularly good time being goofy with this.  They covered not only the wire, but also the block. Once this was done, I told them to re-shape it however they wanted – just as long as there weren’t any sharp or pointed edges.

When they were satisfied with the shape, I gave each of them a pot of home-made gesso (3 large bottles of white acrylic paint mixed with 1/2 gallon of white glue), and instructed them to cover it completely (including the base), paying heed not to leave any holes.  That was Day 1.  On Day 2, I had them coat their sculpture once again.  It was a much faster class.  Duh!

On the third day, The sculptures were nice and dry, so we talked about how the pieces had ‘movement,’ and when they painted them, they didn’t want to go against this.  I told them to follow the wire, which was the natural shape and flow.  Some kids ‘got’ this, and some did not.  That’s ok, though – as long as THEY like it.  On Day 4, the kids completed painting them, and they did a great job!

For the last day, they sprayed a clear coat sealer on it, and that gave it a beautiful, glossy look.  When that was dry, they turned their sculptures over and clipped the pantyhose to get rid of the bulk.  They also cut the wire loops off.  Once the metal was flush with the wooden base, they placed a piece of felt over it to finish it off.  They’re all so proud of what they did – and I am, too!  The debriefing portion of this project was one of the best parts.  I swear I love these kids.

This is the above sculpture completed!

This is the above sculpture completed!

Anchor Chart – Minecraft Main Idea

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Minecraft Main Idea Anchor Chart FTW!

Minecraft Main Idea Anchor Chart FTW!

The Angry Birds Cause & Effect Anchor Chart  seemed to be a big hit, so I decided to make another ‘pop culture’ one for my class.  All the kids are raving about “Minecraft,” including my son.  It’s a building game, and the goal is to mine different elements and build stuff up, but beware the monsters, for they’ll tear down your structure!

Anyway, what better way to get a Main Idea (idea) across but to use Minecraft?  I was even clever enough to put some puns in there, like “craft,” “pick,” “rock,” “dig,” and “build.”

At the bottom of this post, you’ll find all the parts I used to make this anchor chart.  Unlike the Angry Birds chart, I had to do a LOT of digging for the right graphics.  Hopefully, this will save you some time.

Minecraft Main Idea Anchor Chart!  For The Win!

Schooled in Love Minecraft Anchor Chart Parts

Art – Light Source Pumpkins

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To give the kids a taste of what light sources are, we tried a fun activity using their oil pastels on black paper.  Most of the kids got the concept through this guided project, which made for an excellent springboard to the next part.

The concept was fairly easy, using a sphere.

The concept was fairly easy, using a sphere.

Once the kids got this down, I had them make pumpkins.  First, I showed them how to draw a good, quality pumpkin.  I heard that some of them liked that so much, they went home and drew pumpkins everywhere.  My kids are so cute.  Next, I told them to draw a large pumpkin toward the bottom, and a smaller pumpkin toward the top of their black paper, in white oil pastel (this was for depth!).  They were also to draw a white frame around their paper.  They were to color the sections of the pumpkins in the same way they just finished the sphere, and then put on a stem.  After that, they were told to draw three horizontal jagged lines to divide the background evenly.   I had them use a dark green color for the bottom, a middle green for the next, then a light green section, and a light blue for the top.  Lastly, they added the shadow in black.  Not only were the kids impressed with their own work, but their parents were, too!

Aren't these cool??

Aren’t these cool??