Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Midweek Moments-Llama Pancake Pops

The Llama Llama books are some of my favorites (okay, I have too many favorites)! I love "Llama, Llama Red Pajama" the best, wait, maybe I love "Llama, Llama Mad at Mama" or maybe "Llama, Llama Misses Mama". Clearly I can't decide. Since it's "back to school time" I chose "Llama Llama Misses Mama", but these cute and funny pancake pops could be used for any of the Llama books. These pancake pops are quick and easy, very little "Llama drama involved!

For each pancake pop you will need:
*Pancake batter of your choosing (I used a mix, but homemade is fine) See tips and tricks below
*A popsicle stick
*Candy eyes, chocolate chips, raisins, M&Ms, etc...

Preheat a skillet or griddle on medium heat. Using a big spoon drop pancake batter onto the heated griddle in an oval shape.

 Lay a popsicle stick down into the batter-almost to the top of the oval. Add a small amount of batter over the stick to make sure that it's covered.

 Add "ears" with the pancake batter near the top of the oval.

 Allow to cook until bubbles pop and stay "popped" and the edges are dry. Flip the pancake over, being careful with the stick as you flip. Cook on the other side until done.

Place the pancake on a plate and have your child add eyes, a nose, insides of ears, etc.... Eat! These cute pancake pops can be eaten as is, or dipped into syrup or jam.

Amazon has this book for a great price! Find it here...

Tips and tricks:
*When making pancake art of any kind, it's best to work with batter that is thinned out. When I make it from a mix I use almost equal amounts of mix and water. If you're making it from scratch just add extra liquid.
*These pancake pops could be adapted to many different animals and characters (green Yoda pancakes anyone?).
*As always remember-
                  You are making memories, not masterpieces!

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Midweek Moments-Strawberry Mice

Kindergarten started this week! I love my job, but today was day three, and I am TIRED! Today's Midweek Moment is a quick one, but such a fun one. The book I chose is "If You Take a Mouse to School", but there are so many other books that these mice would be fun with (remember the one about the little mouse, the strawberry and the big hungry bear??).

For each mouse you will need:
-A strawberry-washed
-a piece from a pull and peel licorice
-cereal like Cheerios or almond slices
-small chocolate chips
-a bamboo skewer or other pointy object

 Start by cutting the top off of the strawberry (a grown-up's job). Use the skewer to make a hole in the top of the strawberry. Have your child peel a single piece of the licorice off and cut it to the desired length. The licorice piece can be pushed into the hold in the strawberry. This is the mouse's tail.

Have your child push chocolate chips (pointy side first) into the strawberry near the point. These are the eyes and nose. For ears, your child can carefully push cereal into the strawberry, leaving about half of the cereal sticking out. I used to use almond slices for the mouse ears, but none of my girls liked almonds and I always had cereal around. If your family likes almonds-simply push almond slices into the strawberry for ears instead of the cereal.

Done-play and eat!

Tips and tricks:
*Make sure your child puts the strawberry on the table or another hard surface before they try to push things into it. This will make it easier to push things into the strawberry without squashing it.
*As always remember-
                  You are making memories, not masterpieces!

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Midweek Moments-Dinosaur Waffles

"How Do Dinosaurs Go to School?" such a fun back to school book! The dinosaurs show kids the right and the wrong way to act when they go back to school. This fun book needs a fun, easy snack! Dinosaur waffles are just the thing. 

For each dinosaur you need:
-2 toaster waffles (or homemade waffles if you would rather)
-chocolate chips, candy eyes, or M&Ms
-strawberry slices, mandarin orange segments, banana slices etc...
-CLEAN kitchen shears (no really!!)

Start by toasting the waffles. Toaster waffles are hard to cut with a knife, but can easily be cut with CLEAN kitchen shears. If your child is younger-cut the waffles into shapes for them and let them use the shapes to create their dinosaur. If your child is older, supervise them while they cut the waffles into shapes.

Start by cutting the waffles in half to make 4 half circles. Cut two of the half circles into triangles, rectangles, etc... Leave one half circle intact, and cut the last one into two bigger triangles to make a tail and a head/neck.

Using the intact half circle as a body, have your child assemble a dinosaur. This can be done in a number of ways. Decorate using fruit slices or other waffle pieces to make eyes, spikes, horns, etc... I've included a few examples, but let your child use their imagination to create their own way.

Eat! This is a fun breakfast, or after school snack! Can be served with syrup, other toppings, or left plain.

Tips and tricks:
*Having some of the prep done (strawberries and waffles cut) will make this art quick and easy!
*When cutting shapes, keeping them "general" will allow your child to be more creative.
*Don't like waffles? These could be made with pancakes too!!
*This same idea could be used to create animals or things! Waffle elephants?? Sure!
*As always remember-
                  You are making memories, not masterpieces!

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!