American Girl Sweet Shop

American Girl Sweet Shop w Doll

It started out innocently enough. Miss Priss needed (wanted?) a shelf to hold all of the American Girl doll food we made at Christmas, so her doll restaurant would seem more authentic. I found a Recollections “Embellishment Organizer” for 50% off at Michael’s (A LOT of assembly required). It really looked like a display at a bakery. Crafty obsessive idea brain immediately took over. Hadn’t Sewing Sister made miniature cakes out of plastic bottle tops? If I just picked up a few supplies, I bet I could make cakes. Did we really have enough American Girl doll food from Round One to fill the display? Perhaps not. And so, food production began again.

American Girl Sweet Shop

Wedding Cakes

  • Locate any and all plastic bottle caps. I used caps from anything I could get my hands on like water bottles, milk bottles, vitamin jars, juice bottles, and soda bottles. The more size variety you have, the better.
  • White plastic caps work the best, but I did use acrylic paint for the pale pink and pale blue cakes. It took about 3 coats of paint. If you have white bottle caps, no painting is required.

American Girl 2 Wedding Cakes

  • I like 3 stacked bottle caps the best. Stack them in graduating sizes. Run a bead of hot glue around the edge of a bottle cap and press it onto the center of the top of the bottle cap that goes beneath. Repeat for all layers.

American Girl Wedding Cake

  • Add decoration with the hot glue gun. I used satin flowers, 3-D flower stickers, thin lacy ribbon, and strings of mini pearls.

American Girl Wedding Cakes

Cupcakes

  • Collect twist off toothpaste caps. Thankfully, I had a stash of travel toothpaste tubes from the children’s last dental visit. My kids never put the lid back on the toothpaste tube anyway, so I did not think it mattered if I took the caps.

American Girl Cupcakes and Milkshakes

  • Drop a blob of hot glue into the bottom of a toothpaste cap. Squish one 3/4″ pom pom into the cap.
  • Smear a little Elmer’s glue around the top of the pom pom and sprinkle seed beads on the top.
  • Add a mini 5 mm pom pom if desired.

American Girl Cupcakes

Milkshakes

  • Taller, clear caps work the best for the milkshakes. The clear caps that cover the top of non-aerosol bug spray or suntan lotion are perfect. I also used small, clear bead jars.
  • Cut a straw to the needed length to stand in the milkshake cup. Run a small bead of hot glue on the edge of the inside of the cup and attach the straw.
  • Put a blob of hot glue at the bottom of the cup and press one 3/4″ pom pom to the bottom. Add a blob of hot glue to the top of the pom pom and press another pom on top. Try to avoid getting any hot glue on the edge of the cup because it looks smeary from the outside. Repeat one more time with a third pom pom.

American Girl Milkshakes

  • Smear a little Elmer’s glue around the top of the pom pom and sprinkle seed beads on the top. I used rainbow nonpareils sprinkles on a few of the milkshakes too.
  • Add a mini 5 mm pom pom if desired.

Donuts

  • Put a spoonful of powdered sugar in a small Ziploc bag. Add Cheerios and shake.
  • Put a spoonful of cinnamon in a small Ziploc bag. Add Cheerios and shake.
  • Remove Cheerios from the bags. You may need to brush excess cinnamon and powdered sugar from the Cheerio.

American Girl Donuts

Oreos

  • Using a round hole puncher, punch a ton of black and white circles from foam sheet.
  • With glue dots, build Oreo cookies. 2 black circles on the outside, one white circle in the center.

American Girl Oreo Cookies

Pies, Cookie Tray, Sponge Cake, and Petits Fours

American Girl Cakes and Pies

Materials

  • Plastic bottle caps, any and all sizes
  • strings of mini pearls, thin white lacy ribbon
  • mini 3-D flower stickers
  • mini satin flowers
  • hot glue gun
  • acrylic paint (pale colors)
  • 3/4″ pom poms
  • 5 mm pom poms
  • seed beads (variety of colors)
  • rainbow sprinkles (optional)
  • black and white foam sheets
  • glue dots
  • Cheerios, powdered sugar, cinnamon
  • small mirrors, mini Altiod tins, flat wood shapes (to use as serving trays)

American Girl Pink Wedding Cake

I have put the bakery display in Miss Priss’ room, although, I am not entirely comfortable with her actually playing with the doll food. It looked so perfect for a few short hours sitting on the shelf, untouched by little hands.

American Girl Set Up

This is how Miss Priss has it set up in her room.

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Middle School Book Club

maze runner

I am sponsoring a 7th grade book club this semester at my school. Even though I am having to deal with the 7th grade beast (I so admire middle school teachers), I love reading books for an “older” audience. Book selection has been a little bit of a challenge. I can’t get the students to agree on one book choice, and it has been tricky to find appropriate books.

Below is my working list for the book club. Several I have ruled out because I think they are better suited for a high school kid. A few were recommended to me, and they are in my “to read” pile.

In the end, I probably could have had a dystopian society book club because the students picked between Maze Runner and Divergent as the first book pick, then traded books with each other, then read the sequels. We just moved on to the Fairy Tale/Fantasy genre, which I forced on them because I wanted to go see the Oz movie as an after school field trip.

The students unanimously picked The Recruit to read after we finish the Fairy Tale books. I anticipate that decision will change by the next meeting. Anything I could add as suggestions to my students? Any advice about the books in the “to read” list?

divergent

Dystopian

  • The Maze Runner series by Dashner
  • Divergent series by Roth
  • Matched trilogy by Condie
  • Ship Breaker by Bacigalupi (slow start, high school)
  • The Chocolate War by Cormier (high school level)
  • Life as We Knew It series by Pfeffer (high school level– could not put this book down)
  • City of Bones, Mortal Instruments series by Clare (8th grade+)

peter and the starcatchers

Fairy Tale

  • Entwined by Dixon
  • Wizard of Oz series by Baum
  • Peter Pan by Barrie
  • Peter and the Starcatchers series by Barry
  • The Grimm Legacy by Shulman

the recruit

Mystery/Spy

  • The Recruit, CHERUB series by Muchamore

On My To Read List

  • Gods Among Us (Divine Masquerade Series) by D.C. Belton
  • Confessions of a Murder Suspect by James Patterson
  • The Apothecary by Ian Schoenherr
  • Red Scarf Girl by Jiang

Making MS Word Work

We did it. We wrapped up the research projects a few weeks ago (envision happy dance), and the papers even had a bibliography attached to each one.

Going through the notetaking and paper writing process with my 4th graders was a challenge. Getting them to format the papers correctly was excruciating. If your child is at an age where he is beginning to type documents for school, there are 6 word processing functions that I find make editing and publishing documents a whole lot easier.

save as

Save As

Save As

  • Designate one folder where a student saves his documents all the time. My students have a dedicated computer they use in the classroom. There is a folder with their name on the desktop of their assigned computer. Every document a student types is saved into the same folder. Using the Save As feature, I show them how to navigate to their folder.
  • Parents, set up a folder for your child’s writing assignments ONLY on your home computer. Teach your child how to save in the same place every time.
  • I also recommend setting up a naming system. In my class, students always save documents as their name followed by key words from the project (TheRoomMom Barbie Research or TheRoomMom Aslan Essay).
select all

Select All

double space

Double Space

Double Space

  • Double space the entire document at one time. Students like to type a little, then play with formatting, then have mismatched spacing and fonts. After the entire document is finished, change the spacing at one time. I recommend the Select All function to highlight the entire document, then choose the double space (2.0) line spacing.
tab button

Tab

Tab Button

  • Always use the Tab button to indent when starting a paragraph. When students use the space bar, words are out of alignment and look messy. I dislike messy.

Ctrl+c (copy), Ctrl+x (cut), Ctrl+v (paste)

  • These are the 3 most valuable shortcut keys in my opinion. Rather than messing with right clicking which inevitably ends up de-highlighting text, I teach my students these 3 shortcuts. I also use these shortcut keys for copying, cutting, and pasting images.
formatting tool

Formatting Button

Formatting Button

  • This is a teacher’s best friend. If students have words jumping all over the page, turn on the formatting tool. It shows all the background buttons a student has pushed in the document. If a student pressed the space bar a thousand times to move something to the center, it shows little dots. If a student hit enter multiple times, a paragraph symbol (backwards looking P shows up). If a student hit  the tab button, an arrow appears. I can fix a lot of funky formatting in a student’s document by turning on the formatting key.
undo

Undo

Undo Typing

  • And finally, when all else fails, hit the counterclockwise arrow and undo the most recent typing!

I created printable pages with all of my MS Word Student Tips. The printed directions included screen shots and step-by-step directions, so rather than showing the students over and over how to double space, I can tell them over and over to look at their instruction page. I have the “cheat sheets” available in my Teachers Pay Teachers store. You can download them for free!

What is your best keyboarding or formatting tip for students?

There’s a Crack in My Tooth

TheRoomMom

Let me set the scene for you. About 3 weeks ago I visited the dentist for a teeth cleaning. The dentist asked how my mouth was feeling in general. I admitted that I had some twinges here and there. Dr. Teeth located a cracked filling and a crack running down the side of the tooth beneath.

Here is a summary of Dr. Teeth’s comments:

  • It is a pretty wide filling but is not that deep, so we will try to save the tooth.
  • I can’t be sure how big the crack in the tooth is until I get the filling off the top, but you can see here (zooms in on tooth with his camera, so I can see on the video display screen) there is a crack that runs right down to your gum line (insert gagging noises from TheRoomMom here).
  • I see this a lot from clenchers and grinders. Do you notice that you clench and grind your teeth at night? Many moms do.
  • We will need to make an appointment for you soon. I book longer appointments for this procedure to allow time for the Novocaine to really take effect (first good news TheRoomMom has heard).
  • Until you can get in here, I would chew on the other side of your mouth. It is possible that the tooth could crack off if you bite on something the wrong way (insert more gagging noises here).
  • We could replace it with silver again, but you have a wide smile, so I would recommend porcelain, so it would match your other teeth (this is possibly a compliment).

wide smile label

Here is a summary of TheRoomMom’s response:

  • Hyperventilating and/or vomiting.
  • I have been down this path before. Dr. Teeth is talking about an onlay, which is basically a partial crown. The last time I had this procedure, my former dentist could not get my mouth numbed properly, which we did not realize until we were working on the tooth. I tried to tough it out, but by the end of the procedure, I had melded myself to the dental chair. I was sweating; the dentist was sweating; I ended up with a root canal and full crown, and I never visited that dentist again.
  • I explain my anxiety to Dr. Teeth. His comment? “That sounds unpleasant.”

Cut to today. My cracked tooth and I arrive at the dentist’s office. As promised, extra time is given to numb the bottom right side of my jaw. In fact, Dr. Teeth explains the “cocktail” of Novocaine he uses that is delivered in 3 separate shots. I continue to try to chit chat with Dr. Teeth and his assistant even though I am fairly certain there is uncontrollable drool. We begin.

Here is a summary of Dr. Teeth’s comments:

  • We have to get the silver filling off first. Since the tooth is cracked, it is unstable, and we don’t want it to break further. I am going to vibrate the silver filling off with a tool that is much like an egg beater. Chances are the filling will crumble.
  • When we suck the old filling debris into the suction tube, it may sound like pennies in your vacuum cleaner. Umm– OK. When I hear pennies in my vacuum, I STOP the vacuum.
  • (To the assistant) Did you see where that piece of silver went after it ricocheted off my glove? Do you still see it in her mouth? I think it landed outside her mouth. I thought that filling would fall to pieces as soon as we touched it.
  • Oh, look. There are 3 cracks. One runs right around the tooth. Check out the buckling. It’s bigger than I thought.
  • You may be sore after the numbness wears off. We messed with your tooth quite a bit today. If you have a throbbing sensation that lasts after you lay down flat or drink cold water, that indicates dying nerves. I need to know about that right away. (translation– root canal!)
  • Come back in 3 weeks.
  • We have a payment plan.

Is it just me or do dentist visits get more traumatic with age? All in all, it did not hurt, he saved most of my tooth, and it went smoothly. I like my dentist, but I do go back soon to permanently fit the onlay. What can I do to alleviate some of the fear? Valium is an option.

Blogging 101

fireworks

I hit a mini milestone at TheRoomMom last week. I have written 101 posts. When I started the blog 9 months ago, I had a list of about 20 ideas, so I am a little thrilled that I have put together 101 ideas, and I still have a few more in the hopper. As I look back, there are definitely some posts that resonate better than others.

carpool sign hanging

According to my stats, my most popular post is Carpool Etiquette. I also had my best day view-wise on the day I published the carpool rules. Why? I linked to a hilarious carpool post by HotMessMom, and she shared my link on her Facebook page. Wham! I had over 300 views in an hour. It gave me a small taste of what it would be like to have a Superblog.

american girl diy dessert

My most popular DIY post is the American Girl Buffet. It is also my most popular Pinterest referral. Obviously, I need to make more American Girl accessories. I am not sure Miss Priss can handle it.

Jedi Robe and Lightsaber 3

I was surprised that the Tonka Birthday Party was the most viewed party idea. I was sure it was going to be the Star Wars Sleepover.

Back to School Teacher Emergency Kit Contents

The best teacher gift idea is the Teacher Emergency Kit. This also happens to be my favorite gift idea, and I plan to re-post again every August right before school starts.

Teacher Speak is the highest rated parent/teacher post I have. I guess we all need tips for parent/teacher conferences.

Flotsam and Who's Driving

My most popular book list is the Picture Book post. My favorite book list is the Classic Re-Makes.

breakfast cup close up

It seems Breakfast Cups are the best snack food. I must say readers, you made a good choice there.

Here’s to TheRoomMom!