Friday, August 16, 2019

Five Minute Food Art Friday-Monkey Toast

Back to school is either looming or already a reality for many families. I have so many favorite back to school books, but one of the classics that I love is "Curious George's First Day of School" My daughter Zoey, who will be starting college in just a few days loved this book. School days also meant crazy mornings at our house. This quick and easy five minute food art would make a fun, fast addition to breakfast before school, or an after school snack.

For each monkey you will need:
    -A piece of bread
    -Peanut butter, almond butter, or hazelnut spread
    -Something for eyes-chocolate chips, blueberries, cereal
    -Half of a banana

Toast the bread and put "blob" of peanut butter (or spread of your choice) in the middle of each slice of toast. Have your child spread the peanut butter around with a knife, or the back of a spoon. Spreading is great small motor activity for young children and spreading on toast is easier than soft bread.

Cut the banana in half and lay it on it's side. Allow your child to cut three slices of banana. Then have your child cut a small piece of the bottom of two of the slices. These are the monkey's ears. Place the banana slices onto the toast, one on each side. The last banana slice is the monkey's muzzle. Have your child cut it into two pieces  and put the pieces onto the toast to make the muzzle and the bottom of the monkey's mouth.

Have your child add eyes to the monkey toast. Quick and easy, and ready to eat.

Tips and tricks:
*Bananas are soft and easy to cut, but always keep an eye on your child while they are cutting!
*Spreading is a great skill for kids to work on, be patient and allow your child to practice this skill without worrying what the final product looks like.
*As always remember-
                  You are making memories, not masterpieces!

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Midweek Moments-Sunflower Pizza

Every day I drive by the most beautiful sunflowers, and it always makes me smile. I love the big flower heads, now starting to bend with the weight of seeds. I also love the small little wild sunflowers that fill empty lots and freeway medians near my home. Sunflowers are the epitome of summer. With back to school looming, it feels like summer is quickly coming to an end. I need to slip a few last little bits of summer in before I begin back to school stories and snacks. Sunflower pizzas are a great way to catch just a little more summer magic.

The book I chose is "This is the Sunflower", but there are several other sunflower books that could work.

For each flower you will need:
     Half of an English muffin
     Marinara sauce (about a tablespoon per flower)
     Cheese slices (can be different types of cheese)
     Sliced olives and or pepperoni
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place an English muffin half on a piece of parchment for each child. Add a spoonful of sauce to each muffin and have your child spread it around with the back of a spoon or a butter knife. Spreading is good small motor practice.

Next, give your child cheese slices cut into strips. Have your child cut triangles in their desired size and shape. This can be done easily with a butter or plastic knife. Cutting things like cheese slices is also good small motor practice, and an excellent way to introduce children to cutting things with a knife safely. This activity also helps children see that triangles can be make from rectangles, and vice versa. This is an important spatial skill.

Place cheese triangles around the outside of the English muffin (to make the sunflower petals). Leave space in the middle of the muffin. This space can be filled with sliced olives, pepperoni, or anything else your child likes on pizza. It could even be filled with a different color or kind of cheese.

Bake in a 375 degree oven until cheese is just melted. Allow to cool and eat!

Tips and tricks:
*Cheese petals can go off the edge of the muffin, but not too far.
*Write names on the parchment to ensure that everyone gets their own sunflower back!
*This same idea could be used to create animals or things! Pirate pizzas anyone?
*As always remember-
                  You are making memories, not masterpieces!

Friday, August 9, 2019

Five Minute Food Art Friday-Cheesy Barnacles

This Five Minute Friday Food Art may only take four minutes! Quick and easy, but definitely memorable. The book for today is "Barnacle is Bored" by Jonathan Fenske. This book makes me laugh more than it should, and anyone who has ever had to listen to a child complain about being bored should own this book! Barnacle is stuck and bored and wishes he could be a fish. He watches what happens to the little fish and decides that he's not bored anymore!

For each barnacle you need: a Babybel cheese
         candy eyes, M&M's, or chocolate chips  

Take the wrapper off the cheese and have your child remove half of the wax coating.

Using a butter or plastic knife, let your child make cuts in the cheese to create the barnacle's limbs.

 Then, just add eyes. You could use candy eyes, M&Ms, or chocolate chips. Press the eyes into the wax slightly.

Tips and tricks:
*Babybel cheese is soft and easy to cut, but always keep an eye on your child while they are cutting!
*If your child has never seen a barnacle, find a picture of real barnacles and talk about what barnacles look like and what they do!
*As always remember-
                  You are making memories, not masterpieces!

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Midweek Moments-Biscuit Pigeons

The pigeon-one of my favorite book characters. There is a little bit of pigeon in all of us somewhere. Every parent recognizes their child in some part of the pigeon's logic, and every child has used similar techniques to "negotiate" what they want. The story today is "Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus", but this food art could work with any of the pigeon books, or could be adapted to a variety of other animals.

You will need: Refrigerator biscuits (or homemade dough)-2 biscuits per pigeon.
                        Blue and yellow food coloring (or any other color you want to use)
                        A candy "eye", brown M&M or raisin for the eye
                        Two small pretzel sticks per pigeon

This food art starts with a "roll" of refrigerator biscuits-each pigeon takes two biscuits. I like to use small pieces of parchment for each child to have their own space. Take the first biscuit and "flatten" out the top of the circle (to make it look like a half circle) this will be the body of the pigeon.

Use the other biscuit to make the neck, head and beak of the pigeon. This can be done easily by pinching some dough to make the neck, then forming the head and pinching a beak from the remaining dough.

Attach the neck to the body. This can be done by simple squishing the dough together. If the dough is having a hard time sticking, moisten each side with a little bit of water and then stick the pieces together. Be careful not to use too much water, a little bit on your finger is plenty.

Put 5 drops of blue food coloring into a small amount of water (1-2 tablespoons), and 3 drops of yellow food coloring in another 1-2 tablespoons of water. Paint the pigeon's body and neck blue. Paint the beak yellow (or paint it any way you want). Put onto a cookie sheet (still on the parchment) and bake according to biscuit directions.

Allow to cool until your pigeon is just warm to the touch. Add the eye (a candy eye, M&M, raisin or chocolate chip) to the pigeon's head (just one), and two pretzel sticks to the bottom (for legs). Allow to finish cooling.

Want to see it done? Find our video here....

Tips and tricks:
*Food coloring-even watered down does stain! Protect clothes and surfaces as needed.
*If you are working with more than one child, write names on the parchment paper to ensure that everyone gets the right pigeon back!
*To keep your colors from getting muddied, use just one brush per color.
*This same idea could be used to create other animals or things!
*As always remember-
                  You are making memories, not masterpieces!

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Midweek Moments-Watermelon Piggies

To me, nothing says summertime like WATERMELON! During the summer you can always find at least part of a watermelon in my refrigerator. I have so many stories that I love that have pigs in them (the Elephant and Piggie books from the last post for instance), but the story I want to use today is Ribbit by Rodrigo Folgueira. This book is about a little pig who wants to make friends with a pond full of frogs so he "Ribbits" at them. The frogs don't know what to think, so they aren't nice to their new friend. This cute little story is about friendship and more.

Today's snack is watermelon pigs (or watermelon pigsicles if you choose). Start with a slice of watermelon about and inch to an inch and a half thick. Cut a circle out of watermelon-a cup works great to cut your circle. Cut a smaller circle for the pigs nose.

 If you want to make a pigsicle the nose needs to be hooked on with a toothpick. Cut a rectangle of watermelon, and use it to cut two triangles of watermelon. Watermelon can be easily cut by children with a table knife. This is a great opportunity to practice small motor skills.

 If you're making a pigsicle, hook the triangles on to make ears. If you're just leaving it on a plate, no need to hook the ears or nose on. If you want it to be a pigsicle, insert a large popsicle stick into the bottom of the watermelon pig.

Chocolate chips make great eyes and nostrils, but you could use any small candies. Super easy and quick, fun for a summer day!

Want to see it done? Check out our video here....

Tips and tricks-
*Cut the rind off of the watermelon first to make sure your child doesn't get rind in their pig.
*As always remember-
                  You are making memories, not masterpieces!

Friday, July 5, 2019

Five Minute Food Art Friday-Apple Cars

Apple Cars! A quick and easy food art project for today-one of my favorites! These easy apple cars could be used with any story involving cars or transportation (Apple trains? Apple airplanes? So many options). The story I chose is "Let's Go For a Drive" by Mo Willems. I love the Elephant and Piggie books mostly because I love the back and forth conversations between Elephant and Piggie. This book is especially fun because it follows a pattern that children will recognize quickly, and has such quotable phrases as "drive, drive, drivey, drive, drive".
Apple cars are easy and fun. Simply cut an apple into slices for your child. You should be able to get six cars from each apple. Yes, that's my favorite well loved cutting board-just keeping it real!

 Two from each long side, one from each short side. The smaller pieces can be eaten, or used to decorate the cars.
Turn the apple slices on their side and poke two toothpicks in to serve as axles. Tip apple slices back up and push the toothpicks through the rest of the slice and out the other side. Put grapes, marshmallows or cereal pieces onto the toothpicks to be the cars wheels

Cars can be further decorated with the extra pieces of apple,  fruit snacks, fruit roll-ups, candy pieces etc... or can just be kept simple. Cut up fruit snacks will stick to the apple skin without using anything else, which is fun.

These cars with the gummy bear drivers are my favorite! Now you can take your cars on a "drive, drive, drivey, drive, drive"!

Want to see it done? Check out our video here...

Tips and tricks-
*Cutting the apple into slices is a grown up's job!
* Depending on the age of your child, most children can poke the toothpicks through. This is easier if the apple slices are turned on their sides first. and the toothpick is pushed through towards the table.  As with all sharp objects, supervise the use of toothpicks, but encourage your child to do as much of the work  as possible-they may surprise you!
*Always remember-
You are making memories, not masterpieces!!