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!!

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Midweek Moments-Firework Sugar Cookies

This week is the birthday of our country! I always told my kids that Independence Day is the day that the colonists sent a letter to the King of England and said, "you're not the boss of us anymore". In honor of Independence day, today's story is "America The Beautiful" and our snack is Firework Sugar Cookies.

Start with your any sugar cookie dough you like. This could be easily done with a purchased pre-made sugar cookie dough, or your favorite cookie recipe. I included my favorite recipe below if you are looking for a new one.

Roll the sugar cookie dough out to desired thickness (1/4 inch to 1/2 inch thick). Cut into circles using a cookie cutter or glass dipped in flour. Place each circle onto a small piece of parchment paper. Put 1 T of water in small bowls-one for each color and add 4 drops of food coloring to each. Use clean paint brushes (one for each color) to paint fireworks onto each cookie dough circle. Move parchment carefully onto baking sheets. Bake according to recipe directions.

Want to watch it be done? You can see our video here...

Tips and tricks-
*Putting dough on small pieces of parchment paper before painting makes moving your "art" easier, and helps keep everyone's fingers on their own art.
*Food coloring (even diluted) can stain clothes and surfaces. Wear paint smocks and cover surfaces.
*To keep colors from getting muddied, use just one brush per color and don't switch brushes.
*As always remember-
                  You are making memories, not masterpieces!

My sugar cookie recipe comes from Nan Day who was from my hometown of Nephi. It's my go to recipe for sugar cookies.

Nan's Soft Sugar Cookies

2 cups of sugar
1 cup butter or shortening
3 eggs
1 T vanilla
1 t salt
3 t baking powder
5-7 cups flour
1 c milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium mixing bowl, or the bowl of a mixer cream sugar and butter or shortening together. Add eggs, and vanilla and mix to combine. Mix in salt, baking soda and milk. Add flour two cups at a time until it becomes a stiff dough. Roll out 1/4-1/2 in thick and cut into desired shapes. Bake on ungreased cookie sheet 8-10 minutes. Makes 2 dozen large cookies.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

The beginning of this journey...

The journey of a 1000 miles begins with a single step. You would think that the final steps would be the hardest, but often it is the first steps that are the most difficult to take. This journey has been in and out of my mind for several years, but taking the first steps into the unknown has been more difficult than I imagined. I love to do activities with children, and I am absolutely in my comfort zone creating art with little people and their parents.  Putting my ideas and activities out into the great unknown world of the internet is much scarier.

So, why am I taking this uncertain step? 

I love the connection between art and literacy!  Connecting art to literacy helps children have another way to ponder, connect to and process things that they have read or listened to.  

I love the way that art helps children learn about their world!  Art helps children learn more about the world that they live in, while developing creativity, problem solving, confidence, spatial sense, focus, and an understanding of how things interact with each other.

I love food art! There is only so much room on your refrigerator doors! As a mother of four girls I remember the days of too many drawings, and no where to store them all. Food art is great because you create, then you eat! Creating food art makes is easier to shift the focus from the product back to the process.

I know that being a mom is hard work! I love Pinterest and making cute little crafts, but everything we do with our children doesn't have to be picture perfect. The memories you are making with your children are the important part! 

I'm giving you ideas and suggestions, but don't feel like you need to follow me exactly.  Use what your children like, use what you have, find ways to make projects your own. Several years ago I had a mom call me that has been in one of my classes to ask if she could use Skittles instead of M&Ms because her daughter didn't like chocolate. Please, by all means adapt these ideas to fit what you have, what your child likes, or what you feel comfortable feeding your child.

You will notice that sometimes I use peanut butter, food coloring, bread and other things which are allergens. Sometimes I don't. If your child is allergic to these things, adapt the craft or choose one that better fits your child.  

You don't have to make a special shopping trip to create a memory with your child.  I have tried to keep things simple and give you options to use things that you have on hand. I'm working on a list of things to stock in your pantry that will help you be ready to make food art anytime.

The books I choose are stories that I love! Once again, I am just giving you ideas and suggestions. Does your child have a favorite book? Maybe something that you see will give you inspiration to create food art for a story that YOU love!