Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Fun Summer Ideas

The Idea Room compiled a great list of fun summer ideas.
It's hard to decide which to pick first!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Pretzel Sparklers

I am so excited the theme this week is 4th of July! I love holidays and this is one of my favorites. For a special snack this week we made pretzel sparklers. The original idea came from this picture:

Of course, like glitter, children flock to sprinkles. Ahhhh pretty but so messy! I should have known that the outside picnic tables would have been a better choice. (Everyone learns at daycare....)

Farm Week

I found so many great ideas on the web for a farm themed week.

The big kids had a pig report (did you know that pigs are ranked very highly on the list of intelligence? 4th behind humans, primates, and dolphins/whales- how could I have forgotten that from elementary school? I know- useless fact junky...)

Hand shaped sheep with cottony soft bodies were a big hit- the children always love tracing their own bodies to create new things.

Build-your-own barn with animals. I downloaded the templates and don't have the reference to give credit to the creator (can you tell I am married to a high school teacher who gives yearly lectures on plagiarism and citing papers?). I am still in the process of making my own and laminating it for an interactive Old MacDonald song activity.

Books we read:
Old MacDonald had a Farm by Jane Cabrera
Farmer Brown Goes Round and Round by Teri Sloat
There's a Billy Goat in the Garden by Laurel Dee Gugler

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Eating the Rainbow

A dry-erase chart to help the little ones know how their food choices are going for the day. Or a break from the chorus of "is it time for treats?" They know to fill in all of the colors before asking.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Indoor Fun Ideas

The weather is officially H-O-T! When we can't spend hours outside, or we already have- it is nice to have a few fun indoor activities. Familyfun has a few games we will try out, including this one:

Marble (or ping pong ball) relay with paper towel tubes.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Tattoos for Toddlers

What a clever idea and another great reason to splurge on a Silhouette! These personalized tattoos can be used to help your child be reunited with you in the event of a separation. Great for vacations or trips to busy places (or even a fun party favor for birthdays or celebrations). Beats the ugly sharpie method we may have used in the past.

Check out this article for more details.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Birds Week

For this craft we used found twigs with leaf and bird cutouts from the cricut.

The build your own nest was the favorite. I cut various lengths of multi-colored yarn for the children to form into a nest shape. They picked their own felt color eggs and we practiced counting them. On the table you can see a sheet with different bird nests (laminated of course!). On the reverse are a few birds most commonly found in our area- a perfect little cheat sheet for our around the neighborhood bird hunt.

Books we read:
One Rainy Day
Duck and Goose
One Duck Stuck

Songs we sang:

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day

This year the children made small dry erase board style note cards for their dad (and some for grandpa too!). We layered some photos and shout-out bubbles over original crayon art work. Laminate and add a thin magnet strip. Dad can scribble a to-do at work or home and erase over and over or children can write a little love note.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Lemon Yogurt Muffins

Our neighbor's Meyer lemon tree is full of ripe fruit. Thank goodness I never have trouble finding helpers in the kitchen. The original recipe, from, is delicious. I made a few minor changes:

1 3/4 C flour (I use half unbleached white and half whole wheat)
3/4 C sugar
1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt

1 egg
1 C lemon or plain yogurt
6 tablespoons butter or oil
1+ tablespoon(s) lemon juice

For mini muffins, preheat oven to 375 degrees and spray lightly with oil or use papers. For standard muffins, the original recipe recommends 400 degrees.

In a large bowl combine first list of ingredients. In a separate bowl mixing wet ingredients. Combine wet and dry until moistened. Pour into muffin wells and cook until lightly browned edges and middles are set, about 13 minutes.

Turtle Pool

This relic has been around since I was a wee one. It is just big enough for floating little boats or putting feet in and perfect to pull out on our first warm afternoon.

Bugs Week

I found these bug masks at the craft store for $1. As tempted as I was to break out the glitter again I am glad I did not. I would have been finding it in every nook and cranny- the children had a great time flying around the house.

The lady bug art was a big hit, and relatively easy to get together. The children were able to personalize theirs with any number of small black hearts- great for practicing counting.

Books we read:
Slow Snail
Noisy Grasshopper
Frances Firefly
the Very Hungry Caterpillar

Songs we sang:
Shoo Fly
Baby Bumblebee
The Ants Go Marching

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Ocean Creatures

Simple crafts can be fun for children- just add glitter. It is my nemesis: I love it, but it is soooo messy. Pop-up seaweed adds a little texture to an otherwise plain ocean scene.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Father's Day

Head over to One Pretty Thing for lots of cute Father's Day gift and card ideas. Use her "category" tab to find all the posts about one particular subject (plan a few hours- there are so many good projects!).

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Apple Cinnamon Quick Oat Muffins

I purchased the assorted box of organic instant oatmeal from Costco a few months ago. Both of my kids love warm, slow cooked oatmeal in the winter but it seemed out of place when summer came. They love picking a packet and eating it cold with milk. Neither would tolerate the green apple cinnamon flavor and I felt compelled to find something to do with those sad, unchosen packets.

So I adapted the "seminary muffin" recipe from It turned out great. Thumbs up from everyone. I hope you enjoy it too.

Apple Cinnamon Quick Oat Muffins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare muffin pans with papers or with cooking spray.

In a large bowl combine and mix :
1 large or 2 medium ripe bananas, mashed
1 egg
1/3-1/2 C unsweetened applesauce
1/2 C brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Add the dry ingredients then stir until incorporated:
1 C whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 C quick oats (or about three little packets)

I used a (24) mini muffin pan with spray. It took a short 14 minutes for these to brown lightly on the top.