Caramel Chocolate Pecan Turtle Recipe

This Caramel Chocolate Pecan Turtle Recipe is so simple that children can help make it (mine did) and it’s absolutely delicious.

Kid-friendly and a crowd-pleaser!

Caramel Chocolate Rolo Turtle Recipe

Caramel Chocolate Pecan Turtle Recipe

These Pecan Chocolate Turtles are beyond easy to make and I was able to make it WITH my kids. So much fun, and everyone thought they were delicious.

When I first made these, my one year old exercised fine motor skills by unwrapping the candies, while my 3 year old placed them on the pretzels. It was assembly-line cooking at its finest!

These delicious candies won’t disappoint you, I promise!

Ingredients

  • Mini Pretzels
  • Chocolate-covered caramel candy such as Rolos
  • Candied Pecan Halves (or regular pecan halves)

NOTES

If you don’t have candied pecans, try substituting M + M’s, cashews, salted pecans, etc.

*Inspired by this recipe

These are crazy good and so easy to make. Everyone loves them. Caramel Chocolate Rolo Turtle Recipe | TinkerLab

Directions

Pre-heat oven to 300 F

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper

Arrange pretzels on the sheet

Place a caramel chocolates on top of each pretzel

Bake for 4 minutes

Remove from the oven and gently press a pecan half on top of the warm chocolate

Cool and enjoy. To expedite cooling, you can put these in the fridge for a short time.

If you’re gifting these, package in waxed paper or cellophane.

Pretzel Turtles are so easy to make! They could be used for Christmas gifts and wrapped in wax paper or cellophane.!

Chocolate Pecan Turtle Recipe

When ours finally cooled I wrapped them up in wax paper and sealed them with a sticker.

diy gifts with kids

Easy Handmade Gifts | Cookie Dough Jars

Easy Holiday Gifts (that kids can help assemble) | Cookie Jars | TinkerLab

Easy Handmade Gifts, made by Kids

Could you use an idea for easy handmade gifts that kids can help with?

I’ve been thinking of different ways that my kids can get involved in gift-giving. They’re four and six, so it had to be something they could both help execute AND get excited about. Oh, and if the gift happened to look good, well, that would be nice too.

Well, friends, this easy cookie-dough-in-a-jar is just the project, and I would wholly encourage you to give it a try if you’re also looking for an easy gift to get the kids involved in.

Bonus: we have tested these cookies twice, and they are truly divine. They bake like chocolate chip cookies, with the added subtlety of oats, tart cherries, and walnuts. Feel free to leave the nuts out for nut-free cookies.

Handmade Holiday Cookie Jars | TinkerLab

Inspiration for this project came from Kids in the Holiday Kitchen (affiliate link), from Chronicle Books. My mother-in-law gave us this book a couple years ago, and it comes out every year for holiday cooking. The book is full of so many great ideas for cooking and crafting with kids in the kitchen. If you can grab a copy before (or after) the holidays, it will be worth your while.

If you click on the link you can peek inside. But I digress, for today I’m sharing how to make these rad cookie jars that are 100% kid-friendly.

Handmade Holiday Cookie Jars | TinkerLab

Start by cleaning and drying your jars.  The jars you’ll need for this are quart-sized mason jars and you can find them on Amazon: here (affiliate). I was surprised that the girls were so enthusiastic about this step. I found some little washcloths for them to dry the lids while I dried the jars.

Easy Handmade Handmade Holiday Gift } Cookie Jars | TinkerLab

Then we filled them. This was our favorite part. I filled a big bowl with each ingredient, one at a time, and then scooped out the appropriate amount for them to transfer into the jars.

Because we were making large quantities, I was able to find most of the ingredients at Costco. They carry tart cherries, organic sugar, and large sacks of flour. I was surprised that they didn’t carry brown sugar when we were there, but that’s easy enough to find elsewhere.

What goes in each jar

Recipe for Oat Walnut Chocolate Chip Cherry Cookies. For nut-free cookies, leave the walnuts out. You could replace the walnuts with another favorite such as pecans or almonds, and of course, the cherries could be replaced with raisins. Get creative!

Layer the following ingredients in the jar, in the listed order:

1/4 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup packed light brown sugar (tap the brown sugar down before you add the next ingredient)

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1/2 cup dried tart cherries

1/2 cup rolled oats (not instant)

3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Easy Holiday Gifts | Cookie Jars | TinkerLab

Once the jar is packed, you could cut a circle of fabric out as we did, and seal your jar ring around it. Add a tag with the following information:

Oat Walnut Chocolate Chip Cherry Cookies

Makes 24 cookies

Pre-heat oven to 375 F

Beat 6 tablespoons of soft or melted butter, 1 egg, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla.

Add all of the jar ingredients to the bowl and mix until well blended.

Drop in round spoonfuls onto cookie sheet.

Bake for 7-10 minutes (We like our underdone. If you do too, err on the shorter side).

Easy Holiday Gifts | Cookie Jars | TinkerLab

One more thing: Because it’s always a good idea to test a recipe before you gift it to a billion people, and, well, these are wicked good, make a batch for yourself first like we did. Yum yum.

Easy Holiday Gifts | Cookie Jars | TinkerLab

More Handmade Gift Ideas

Handmade cards that kids can make.

Handmade Valentine Cards with heart-shaped envelope

Last-minute DIY gifts to make with kids

How to Make Felt Ornaments with Kids

How to make sweet keepsake felt ornaments with kids | TinkerLab.com

I made these sweet ornaments with my three-year old and five-year old. Our original plan was to hot glue them together, but when our hot glue gun went missing we took the opportunity to turn this into a sewing party.

My preschooler surprised me and rose to the sewing challenge (I’ll share a photo of that in a moment), while my kindergartener was able to thread her own needle and learned how to tie off knots.

I did the bulk of the work on these, so I’d call this project a collaborationjust something to keep in mind in case you expect your little one to take the lead on this one! Children six and older should be able to do most of the steps themselves.

If you’re not up for sewing, take this as inspiration, and simply hot glue the whole thing together!

How to make sweet keepsake felt ornaments with kids | TinkerLab.com

Gather Your Supplies

How to make sweet keepsake felt ornaments with kids | TinkerLab.com

  • Felt
  • Thread
  • Hand-sewing needle. Tip: Use tapestry needles for small hands. These have bigger eyes that are easier to thread, and they’re a bit thicker.
  • Treasures to sew on: sequins, beads, jingle bells, and buttons
  • A couple straight pins to hold the felt together
  • Scissors that will cut fabric. Tip: I have a pair of scissors that are ONLY for fabric, since paper quickly dulls scissors.
  • Ornament hooks

Cut and Sew the Felt Ornament

How to make sweet keepsake felt ornaments with kids | TinkerLab.com

To cut the ornaments, I used our cookie cutters as templates. We used a candy cane, angel, and a tree. I cut the first one out, and then layered it on top of the next color of felt. Then I cut the subsequent layers, each slightly larger than the rest.

To sew the ornaments: 

  1. Poke a straight pin through the felt stack.
  2. Thread the needle with a long piece of thread. Make it double-long and knot the end.
  3. Sew a running stitch through the felt.
  4. Knot the thread in the back.

How to make sweet keepsake felt ornaments with kids | TinkerLab.com

Decorate the Felt Ornament

How to make sweet keepsake felt ornaments with kids | TinkerLab.com

To embellish your ornament, sew the treasures to the felt. We used sequins and jingle bells (not shown here), and you could also use buttons or beads. My 5-year old wants to add that you could also make designs on the felt with stitches.

How to make sweet keepsake felt ornaments with kids | TinkerLab.com

Hang your Felt Ornament

Twist the ornament hook into the felt.

Tip: For the tree ornament (below), I twisted it through two layers of felt and it took about ten seconds to poke through. To poke through four layers of felt on the candy cane, it took me about thirty seconds of twisting. 

Once the hook pokes through the felt, twist it off!

How to make sweet keepsake felt ornaments with kids | TinkerLab.com

Your ornament is ready to hang or to gift to someone special.

How to make sweet keepsake felt ornaments with kids | TinkerLab.com

p.s. This post took twice as long to write because my 5-year old decided she wanted to be a blogger today. 🙂

kid blogger

DIY Fabric Ornament With Kids

This post is sponsored by Gymboree. Bring a friend to a Gymboree store and sign up for Gymboree Rewards together and you’ll both SAVE 25% off an in-store purchase. 

Kids Crafts Ideas: Hand stitched fabric ornament with KidsKids Crafts Ideas: DIY Fabric Ornaments

These sweet fabric ornaments teach children hand sewing techniques while building fine motor skills, and they don’t demand that parents have a lot of fancy sewing skills to facilitate. Perhaps best of all, they’re heirloom quality and can be gifted or saved and used for years to come.

Hand sewing with Kids

As soon as the tree went up my kiddos begged me to pull out all of our ornaments, and we spent two full days decorating. We ooohed and ahhed over all of our hand made ornaments, some made by my girls’ great grandma! Last year we made stacks of salt dough ornaments and we talked about making something different this year.

My 4-year old has been interested in hand-sewing, and she came up the idea of making her own stitched ornaments. Great! Not only are they sweet, but children can make these with just a wee bit of adult assistance.

This is a good project for older children or children who have a little bit of sewing experience. We’ve done other sewing projects such as Toddler Hand Sewing and Preschool Machine Sewing, so my daughter was ready for this.

With cups of tea and cider poured (I highly recommend this step), this sewing experience was a soothing way to spend an afternoon connecting with my preschooler. If you have a child who’s interested in sewing, I’d encourage you to give it a go.

MATERIALS

  • Fabric scraps
  • Fluff such as cotton balls to fill the ornaments
  • Embroidery floss
  • Embroidery needle
  • Thread
  • Sewing Needle
  • Ribbon
  • Treasures and Glue gun (optional)

 Step 1

Kids Crafts IdeasChoose a shape and cut out two of them. One will be the front of the ornament and the other will be the back. I like to give my children creative freedoms whenever possible, so I encouraged N to choose the fabric. She picked out fabrics that reminded her of the holidays. I love that!

You don’t really need a tape measurer, but kids love them and they add to the fun. Oh, and you can see how big our ornament is. Maybe that’s useful?

Step 2

sew on heartSew any ornamentation you like onto each of the fabric pieces (before you stitch them to each other). N wanted a heart sewn to this one, so I helped her hold the fabric while she did all the sewing. Normally I’d help with two hands, but I had to pull one away to snap this revealing shot.

Step 3

circles stitched together

Stack your two pieces of fabric together with the right sides facing each other. Pin fabric in place. Hand or machine stitch around your shape, leaving about a 1.5″ opening. Be sure to lock your stitch at the end.

We hand-stitched ours. N made it about half way around before she lost steam and then asked me to step in. That’s fair…sewing can be tiring for little hands!

Step 4

fill with cottonTake out all the pins. Flip the fabric shape inside out. Fill with stuffing.

Cut a piece of ribbon, about 6″ long. Fold it in half.

Insert the bottom of the ribbon into the fabric opening. Stitch the ornament shut, being sure to sew the ribbon into the ornament.

Step 5

homemade fabric ornamentThis is where my toddler happily stepped in to play. Attach treasures with a hot glue gun. Don’t make our mistake! We “secured” ours with white glue, and they mostly flaked right off the next day.

When you’re done, hang them proudly on the tree or gift them to loved ones.

stitched ornament

You could also take a cue from a friend of mine who invited all of her friends to do a random act of kindness in lieu of birthday presents — and gift an ornament to a stranger or someone you know could use a thoughtful hand made pick-me-up.

What kind of hand made ornaments have you made, or are you planning to make this year?

 

Snowflake Collage Activity for Kids

Are you looking for a meaningful process-oriented art project to do with the kids this winter? I have an answer for you with this snowflake collage activity for kids.

snowflake collage activity for kids

Have you made snowflakes with your child? Once you get started, making snowflakes can be completely addicting. Last year, when my older daughter was three, we made PILES of snowflakes and this year she turned into a snowflake-making machine about a week before Thanksgiving. The good news for us Californians is that we’ll be knee-deep in snow by December at this rate!

Snowflake Collage Activity for Kids

snowflake activity for kids

Step 1: Cut Snowflakes

There are lots of ways to make paper snowflakes, and my favorite tutorial for easy, good looking snowflakes can be found by Maya over at Maya Made.  This also happens to be a favorite blog of mine, and you’ll probably enjoy getting lost in the images of her gorgeous farmhouse and handmade loveliness.

We used a pack of precut tissue circles like these from Discount School Supply, but any tissue paper or other thin paper will work equally well.

snowflake activity for kids

Step 2: Lay them out over a sheet of card stock

4-year old N set hers out on top of two sheets of card stock that she taped together.

snowflake collage activity for kids

Step 3: Get your Mod Podge and Palette Knife ready

I spread a thin layer of Mod Podge onto the paper to which N deftly attached each snowflake. She was in charge of the layout, which included some beautiful layering of colors. After she placed the snowflake, I added a little more Mod Podge to seal it in place.

Watered down white glue will also work if you don’t have Mod Podge, but I’d encourage you to invest in some because it works so well for all sorts of collage activities.

gluing-snowflakes-down-e1353915804190

Step 4: Keep making snowflakes until you’re done

Snowflake collage activity for kids

Step 5: If your dad’s birthday is coming up, turn it into a gift 🙂

Or, proudly hang your masterpiece and welcome in the winter season.

It’s all about the process

Like all the projects on this site, I hope  you’ll take this inspiration and run with it in your own direction. Or better yet, your child will take it in his or her own direction. Happy exploring!

You might also enjoy

Rolled Paper Snowflakes

Hanging Holiday Stars

Last-minute DIY activities to make with the kids

 

Last Minute Easy Handmade Gifts To Make With Kids

Could you use some ideas for last minute, easy holiday gifts that kids can help make? The following four projects are great gifts for friends, neighbors, grandparents, and even stocking stuffers.

And my 3-year old helped make all of these projects, so they’re also all kid-tested.

holiday gift kids help make

Beaded Ornament Activity KitPipe Cleaner Ornaments for Christmas | TinkerLab

Collect a set of basic supplies (pipe cleaners and beads), and pull together your own craft kits for friends or cousins with young children.

Supplies: Pipe Cleaner Bead Ornaments

This post includes affiliate links

Easy handmade gifts | Make a beaded ornament kit | TinkerLab.com

Make a Sheet of Directions

Directions

  • Choose a pipe cleaner
  • Sting the beads onto the pipe cleaner until it’s roughly 1/3 full of beads
  • Move all the beads to the middle of the pipe cleaner
  • Create a circle of beads
  • Twist the pipe cleaner to secure the top of the circle
  • Make a hook
  • Hang it on your tree

Make it

Easy handmade gifts | Make a beaded ornament kit | TinkerLab.com

I folded a piece of card stock in half, typed (with this typewriter) “Make and Ornament” on one side (you could also stamp, print, draw this on, etc.) stapled up the sides, and attached an example of the activity to the side with a piece of clear tape.

Easy handmade gifts | Make a beaded ornament kit | TinkerLab.com

We filled the envelope with a small baggie of assorted beads (from a few big bags that we sub-divided) and four pipe cleaners that I prepared with a little bead-stopping loop at one end.

Snowflake-Making Kit

Supplies

 

Easy handmade gifts | Make a Snowflake Activity Kit | TinkerLab.com

Easy handmade gifts | Make a Snowflake Activity Kit | TinkerLab.com

Supplies

Tissue Paper Circles or Coffee Filters

I prepared an envelope the same way, with typing, stapling, and filling. This time we placed a short stack of colorful tissue paper circles and a few pre-made snowflakes in the envelope for inspiration. If you don’t have circular tissue paper on hand, a stack of flattened, round coffee filters or squares of upcycled magazines would also do the trick.

Include directions on how to make a snowflake: I love this tutorial for making snowflakes from squares of newspaper squares, from Maya Made.

Homemade Sugar Scrub

Easy handmade gifts | Make your own sugar scrub | TinkerLab.com

This is a nice way to spread some pampering cheer that will shine away rough wintery skin, and they couldn’t be easier to assemble. Here’s what you’ll need:

Supplies

  • Glass Jar with tight-fitting lid
  • Sugar
  • Grapeseed Oil
  • Essential Oil in your favorite smell
  • Decorative Fabric or Paper
  • Paper Label
  • String or Rubber Band
  • Small wooden spoon (optional)

Collecting materials was the most time consuming piece of this project. I found the jars and wooden spoons at Daiso, a Japanese dollar store that rocks my world, and the essential oil was from Whole Foods. I used grapeseed oil (Trader Joe’s) because it’s virtually scentless and has a long shelf life, and I included a wooden spoon so that my friends can scoop out their scrub without adding bacteria into the jar. It’s not really necessary, but I think it’s a nice touch.

Easy handmade gifts | Make your own sugar scrub | TinkerLab.com

I wish I was more scientific about this, but I’ll tell you how I made it and hopefully it will make sense. We filled 1/4 of the jar with sugar, added enough grapeseed oil to coat it, and then mixed it well. Then I added sugar to the 1/2 way point, added more oil, and mixed it again. I repeated this until the sugar-oil mixture was about 3/4″ from the top. I added a little more oil so that it floated on top of the sugar, making the whole mixture easy to stir. Once it was nicely blended, I added about 30 drops of grapefruit essential oil.

How much oil should you add? I added the essential oil, smelled it, and then added more until I was happy with the strength of the smell. I thought about using lavender, which I also had, but the grapefruit smelled so refreshing and it complemented the green fabric.

Lastly, I covered it with a circle of fabric (traced with a bowl), secured it with a rubber band (to hold that heavy spoon on tight), and wrapped a gift tag on with some baker’s twine.

Pecan Chocolate Turtles

Chocolate Caramel Pecan Turtle Recipe

These Pecan Chocolate Turtles is so simple, absolutely delicious, and I made them with both my 1-year old and 3-year old. My one year old exercised some fine motor skills by unwrapping the candies, while my 3 year old placed them on the pretzels. It was assembly-line cooking at its finest!

They won’t disappoint you, I promise!

diy gifts with kids

 

Find the recipe here.

More Ideas for Easy Handmade Gifts

Cookie Dough in a Jar, easy for kids to help assemble

Handmade cards that kids can make.

Handmade Valentine Cards with heart-shaped envelope

 

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Make Cardboard Tube Snowflakes

Cardboard Tube Snowflakes | TinkerLab

When I saw this toilet paper tube star garland on Creative Jewish Mom, I knew my 3 year old would enjoy it. We didn’t have any toilet paper rolls on hand, so I improvised with what we had.

Supplies: Cardboard Tube Snowflakes

  • Chipboard Box or Cardboard Tubes
  • Scissors
  • Stapler or Tape
  • Glitter

chipboard tube snowflakeWe made them from a chipboard box (very sturdy, just like toilet paper/loo rolls) and from construction paper (not so sturdy, but it worked well too).

chipboard tube snowflakeI cut the front off a box of yummy cookies, and then cut that in half.

chipboard tube snowflakeThen I stapled them right up like a toilet paper roll.

chipboard tube snowflakeNext, I cut vertical strips to about 1/2″ from the bottom.

chipboard tube snowflakeSpread them all out to reveal a starburst or snowflake.

chipboard tube snowflakeAnd then added glitter glue to make them a bit fancy.

Before we bought the cookies, we tried this out with construction paper using the same process.

paper roll snowflake decorationAnd we hung them from the ceiling with a couple feet of baker’s twine.

paper roll snowflake decoration

paper roll snowflake decorationThey’re a bit wobbly compared to their chipboard box cousins, but my 3 year old is quite pleased with the results.

Because I’m sure it’s the same for many of you, it’s a busy time at Casa Tinkerlab. I’m half-way through sewing an elf costume (it’s the only thing my 3 year old has asked me for this season!), cookies are cooling in the kitchen, and homemade sugar scrubs are in the works. I plan to slow down on the posts through the end of the year. But do check back because I have a few more ideas in the hopper before the end of 2011.

 


{If you haven’t had a chance to read my interview about setting up a kids art space with the inspiring Jean Van’t Hul of The Artful Parent, take a look today, and leave a comment by 9 pm PST to be entered into the giveaway.}

Seven Ways to Build a Gingerbread House

7 Ways to Make a Gingerbread House | TinkerLab.com

Are you getting ready to make a gingerbread house? This article shares seven different ways to make a gingerbread house. Many of these are kid-friendly, and there are even a couple surprises in this group!

Make a Gingerbread House from a Mold

Note: This post contains affiliate links

Find a mold like this. While most of the work is done for you, you can still say it’s 100% homemade!

7 Ways to Make a Gingerbread House | TinkerLab.com

Graham Cracker Gingerbread House on a Milk Carton

This is the recipe my friend made for our toddler play date last year, and it was perfect for little ones. I know my friend had a hard time collecting milk cartons for all the children in our group, but once you gather the milk cartons, they’re easy to assemble. From Martha Stewart.

Graham Cracker Gingerbread House on a Milk Carton | Tinkerlab

Make a Gingerbread House from Scratch

Mama Smiles shows us how she made her house with a toddler (no small feat!) from scratch!

Seven ways to make a gingerbread house | Tinkerlab

Make a Graham Cracker Gingerbread House

Caked Alaska shows us how to make a beautiful graham cracker gingerbread house (unlike my ramshackle shanty town houses). And this post from Kelley Moore is also lovely.

How to Make a Graham Cracker Gingerbread House | Tinkerlab

Tiny Gingerbread House Perched on the Rim of a Mug

Oh my goodness! These are most definitely not for making with little kids, but what a show stopper! Couldn’t resist sharing these beauties from Not Martha.

Seven ways to make a gingerbread house | Tinkerlab

Gingerbread House from a Kit

Or, take the easier route with a store-bought kit. A Spoonful of Sugar Designs shares their Ikea kit. Lovely. These kits are easy to find in many stores during the holiday season. In case you want the ease of shopping online, this gingerbread house kit is the #1 Best Seller on Amazon (affiliate).

Seven ways to make a gingerbread house | Tinkerlab

Gingerbread Matzo House

Not exactly gingerbread, but we made these jelly bean matzo houses earlier this year and I couldn’t resist sharing, just to show that with some icing and candy, you can turn just about anything into a house.

Matzoh gingerbread house

More Handmade Holiday Projects

How to make Easy Salt Dough Ornaments and part 2: How to Paint Salt Dough Ornaments

Skip the candy-filled advent calendar and make a DIY Activity Advent Calendar

Make a Snowflake Collage

Make a Frozen Wreath

Winter Craft Collage Invitation

Don’t Miss out! Join the TinkerLab Community

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TinkerLab Newsletter

In case you blinked and missed it, TinkerLab rounds up all the great stuff on the internets on keeping you and your critters creative and wraps it up for you in a tidy newsletter! (And throws in some secret giveaways for good measure!)  – Yuliya P., San Francisco, CA

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  • How to simplify your life and make more room for creativity
  • How to make hands-on making a part of your everyday life
  • Easy, actionable ways to raise creative kids