Tuesday, May 31, 2011


It is time for another GIVEAWAY!!!

I am so excited for this giveaway because I think you will find it useful and fun for your kiddos!

I have created a "Beach Themed" Short Vowel Review Unit which includes: a week long, day by day instruction packet as to how to use each activity (plus some great tips for teaching your child!), and fun games, worksheets, and assessments that will last you throughout the week and give you ideas/motivation to create other fun and educational activities. Also,  each vowel has it's own "poster" to use daily/weekly/or whenever! This unit is designed to help your child practice his short vowels and help him continue to be a great reader and writer. 

It is PERFECT for the summer or the beginning or end of a school year! It can be used by parents AND teachers and I am giving away this unit to THREE lucky readers! (after the giveaway it will be posted on my TpT store to be purchased)

Here's what you need to do:

1. Follow us or already be a follower (mandatory)

2. Tell me how/why you need this unit :)

3. Post about this on your blog or Facebook or wherever!

4. Add our button to your blog

Each entry can be a comment! The winners will be drawn next Monday, June 6th

Good Luck!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Fun Activities for Summer, part 1

I have been seeing SO many fun ideas floating around the internet and I just can't get enough. Here are two that I have seen that look like way too much fun. 

*Homemade Gak*

You need to click here to see a picture and directions. For some reason I can't upload any pictures!

*Kids Carwash*

This looks awesome. I seriously want to try it one day. Click here to get the picture and info.

Happy Summer!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Structured vs. Non-Structured Activities

We received an email a little while ago asking how many structured versus non-structured activities your child should participate in throughout the day and what type of activities these should be.

First of all, I view a "structured" activity as one that is planned with the intention to further your child's education. A non-structured activity is basically everything else....it's like "free play." It's the time when your child is just roaming freely, playing with toys by himself or wandering around. There's no planning behind it (which is okay too ofcourse!)

So, how many structured activities should you plan for your child?

I feel that you should try to have a few structured activities a day. However, "planned" activities don't necessarily mean you have to go out and buy something new or spend 30 minutes planning one activity for your child. A structured activity can be spur of the moment or random, as long as it's educational and enhancing the skills of your child. For example, each day I try to have a few structured activities that will work on areas that are on my 16 month old's level. We read 15 minutes a day but right now he doesn't have the attention span to sit for all 15 minutes so I break it up into 5 minutes (or less) increments throughout the day. Some of my structured activities are small, like counting the goldfish on his highchair tray. Even though he cannot pronounce the numbers he still points to them as I sing a counting song. We like to go on nature walks, and when we do I am involved. I point to things and help him say their names...t t t tree or r r rock. Or when we feel things I help him use his senses by asking questions like "Doesn't this rock feel smooth?" I try to plan trips to the library weekly to explore new books and try out new toys. I love the story time class and try to attend it as often as possible. I also love taking him to The Children's Museum or the Zoo. These are all "structured" activities that can be small or big...either way they are all focusing on Owen's education in some way or another.

This past week Owen and I worked on stacking to help his dexterity and motor skills...not to mention his creativity.

Art is a great structured activity that can be done with all ages and in many different forms.
Cooking is another great activity. We made homemade poptarts found here. They were delicious.

Water play is always a fun one and doing it in the bathroom when outside isn't an option works just as well. This was one of our "texture bins" for the week. Those of course are always a fun structured activity!

Some other activities we might do include: dancing, singing songs, reading Nursery Rhymes, learning about our body parts, going to a pet store, going to swim lessons, or talking about our family and church related things. Not all may seem mainstreamed "educational" but they are enriching in all different ways. We also have MANY activities for all ages on our blog that you might also enjoy.

As long as you are exercising your child's mind and body, you are providing him with the enrichment he needs.

These activities mentioned can be tailored to meet your child's needs and of course there are countless ways to do this for ALL ages. Get creative and search blogs, read books and ask questions to find the right activities for your child. I have always felt that there can be a limit to too many educational activities. However, I feel that as long as your child is having fun AND learning you can do as many activities as you want. But once the fun is gone and it becomes a boring task, enough is enough. :)

So, what do YOU do with your child throughout the day?? We would love to post all of your ideas and link them back to you!! Please share!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Recipe Fun this Summer (take 2)

I posted earlier this week some fun recipes to make with your kids this summer. Check them out HERE. Here are some more that I thought you might like! They won over these kids!

Delicious Whole Wheat Crepes
Makes 16 crepes
            - ½ cup whole wheat flour                                      - 3 large eggs
            - ½ cup all-purpose flour                                         - ½ cup 1% milk
            - 1 tsp. sugar                                                              - 2 tsp. butter, melted
            - ½ tsp. salt                                                                - ½ cup seltzer water (club soda)
1. Combine whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, sugar, salt eggs, milk, and butter in a food processor or blender; process until smooth, scraping the sides once or twice. Transfer to a bowl, cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or overnight.
2. Slowly whisk seltzer water (or club soda) into the crepe batter. Lightly oil a small nonstick skillet with a crumpled paper towel; heat skillet over medium-high heat. Ladle about 2 tablespoons batter into the skillet with a small ladle or measuring cup; immediately tilt and rotate the pan to spread the batter evenly over the bnottom.
3. Cook the crepe until the underside is lightly browned, about 30 seconds. Using a small metal spatula or a fork, lift the edge of the crepe, quickly grasp it with your fingers and flip. Cook until the second side is lightly browned, about 20 seconds longer. Slide the crepe onto a plate.
4. Serve with your choice of toppings (jam, powdered sugar, fresh fruit, syrup, or Nutella).


Banana-Nut-Chocolate Chip Muffins
Serves 12 large muffins or 48 mini-muffins

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large bananas, mashed
  • ¾  cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • Mini-chocolate chips or chopped nuts (optional)

1.    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat muffin pans with non-stick spray, or use paper liners. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
2.   Combine bananas, sugar, egg, vanilla and melted butter in a large bowl. Fold in flour mixture, and mix until smooth. Add chocolate chips and nuts. Scoop into muffin pans.
3.   Bake in preheated oven. Bake mini muffins for 10 to 15 minutes, and large muffins for 25 to 30 minutes. Muffins will spring back when lightly tapped.

Graham Cracker Bruschetta
-      Graham crackers cut in half
-      4 oz. softened less-fat cream cheese
-      2 Tablespoons of peanut butter (optional)
-      1 Tablespoon of sugar or honey
-      Toppings of your choice: (berries, nuts, sliced bananas, etc.)
Place graham crackers onto a serving plate. Combine cream cheese, peanut butter, and sugar in a bowl and mix with a fork until combined. Spread onto graham crackers and top with your choice of toppings. Enjoy!

~ No-nonsense Nachos ~
-       1 package of corn tortillas (about 6 in. diameter)
-       2 cans (15oz. each) black beans
-       1 tsp. chili powder
-       ½ cup bottled salsa
-       1 cup shredded cheese

1.    Preheat oven to 500˚.
2.    Half-fill bowl with water. Dip tortillas, one at a time, into water; shake off extra water and stack tortillas on cutting board. Use knife to cut stack of tortillas into 6 pie-shaped wedges. Spread tortilla pieces out in a single layer in baking pans. Bake for 3 minutes; then use mitts to remove pans carefully to racks. Use pancake turner to turn tortilla pieces over and use mitts to return pans to oven. Bake for about 2 more minutes, until chips are light golden. Use mitts to remove pans carefully to racks. Reduce oven temp. to 400˚.
3.    Place beans in colander and rinse with water until water runs clear.
4.    Wash and dry bowl. Place beans and chili powder in bowl and mash with potato masher until well blended. Use spoon to spread bean mixture in pie pan; cover with salsa and top with cheese. Bake for about 25 minutes, until cheese is golden brown. Turn off oven and use mitts to remove pan to rack. To serve, place pie pan on serving plate and surround with chips.
-Makes 6 servings

Homemade Lunchables
        - 12 Ritz crackers (or crackers of your choice)  
        -  6 squares of cheddar cheese
        -  6 squares of ham or turkey
Place a cutting board on the counter. Using a knife carefully cut 6 squares of cheddar cheese. Next place the lunch meat on the cutting board and cut 6 squares of ham or turkey. Place the stack of cheese in one corner of the Tupperware. Then place the stack of lunch meat in the opposite corner. Next place the crackers in the remaining corners of the Tupperware. Seal and place in your lunch box. Enjoy at school with a delicious piece of fruit, some carrots, and a drink!

Chef Pettit’s Lemonade & Soda Pop Cupcakes
Soda Pop Cupcakes:
1 box of yellow cake mix
1 can of lemon lime sparkling water
2 Tbsp. lemon rind
3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
~ Preheat oven as directed for cupcakes on the back of the cake mix box. Line 2 cupcake trays with cupcake liners. Next pour the cake mix into a mixing bowl. Add the can of sparkling water, lemon zest and lemon juice to the cake mix. Beat on medium speed for 2 mins. Pour the batter into the cupcake liners and bake as directed. Let cool for 10 minutes and then remove from pan.

Lemonade Frosting:
2 Tbsp. butter (softened)
2 tsp. lemon rind
2 tsp. thawed lemonade
½ tsp. vanilla
8 oz. less-fat cream cheese (not softened)
3 ½ cup powdered sugar

Beat butter, lemon rind, lemonade, vanilla, and less-fat cream cheese in a bowl on high until fluffy.  Add the powdered sugar just until blended. Don’t over beat.
Chill frosting for 1 hour.
Frost the cupcakes and store lightly covered in fridge. Serve COLD!

Let us know what your favorite kid friendly recipes 

are and we will share them on our blog!!!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Mom's Who Teach Mondays

Featuring: the Teacher Mum

We love ALL of our readers and are so excited to be featuring this fabulous mother who loves to teach: TeacherMum
Thanks TeacherMum for contributing to our "Mom's Who Teach Mondays" articles!

Last week our very own newspaper was released! Our launch was fantastic, the “excitement was palpable” (my principal’s words) and the kids had a hard time controlling their delight. Instead of an 8 page newspaper, we managed to produce 24 pages of material written by primary school children for other kids to read. I have been informed that our school’s marketing committee were so impressed with our newspaper, that they will now be publishing it on the school’s website as a marketing tool. My reporters are going to be so chuffed. I crawled across the internet looking for ideas for our newspaper, and I really struggled to find them. Usually only high schools and universities make papers. I would like to challenge other primary schools to make their own newspaper. The benefits are numerous. To help get you started, these are the articles we included in our first edition of the year. Most of these ideas belong to the reporters. Where relevant, the photographers I had hired took photos to accompany the articles.
  • We made our cover using this incredible tool on http://www.wordle.net/
  • Meet your reporters and photographers page (A photo of each with a fun comment, like what they could not live without)
  • Editorial
  • Comments from new students on what they think of our school and how they are settling in
  • Interview with the school principal and a special cartoon of him drawn by a student
  • Interview with the head prefects of the school
  • Adverts for school clubs
  • Class reports or quotations about school excursions and camps
  • A great piece of writing from a teacher about her first day of school
  • Interviews with our past reporters and what they are up to now
  • Latest and Greatest Technology review
  • Freakiest and Funniest Facts
  • Animal Extinction Report
  • Future Report on the 2012 Apocalypse
  • Playground report: The Flying Shoe (As luck would have it, when I was on playground duty this week another kid lost his shoe, which landed on the roof – so now we have Flying Shoe 2 in production for our next edition)
  • Photographs of the playground at lunchtime – taken by our photographers
  • Six to Nine: Six questions were asked to nine different children and their answers were all published (kids love seeing themselves in print)
  • Fundraising Report on The World’s Greatest Shave
  • Book Review
  • School chess and debating report
  • Yummy Fun Recipe page
  • Puzzle and Jokes page
  • The Sports Report
  • A music article on Rihanna
  • A back page competition
Our next newspaper is in full swing. The reporters have come up with some great ideas which are currently in production:
  • A playground report on the amount of rubbish lying around
  • A movie review (which involves looking up which movies are coming out in the next holidays and writing a blurb on them)
  • Organising for a teacher to write a guest article. I have one teacher writing an article about funny things that have happened to him in all the primary schools he has worked in.
  • A poetry page (You have to love Americans – they have something called Poem in my Pocket Day! How amazing is that? I have been given permission to adopt this idea at our school and we are going to promote it through the poetry page)
  • Science experiments
  • A review of vegetable rice from the school canteen (hopefully that will go down well and the canteen will still let us stick our newspaper ads up at their checkout.)
  • What is happening in Year 3? This involves a reporter visiting the Year 3 classroom for a period and writing about the kinds of things they are doing there.
  • Articles on kids in the school and what makes them special. We already have an article on a kid who is a great cartoonist.
  • An interview with a kid in high school to find out if high school is all it cracked up to be.
  • Travel Page
  • Environmental Awareness Page
  • Lunchbox review as in, "What's In Your Lunchbox?"
Each reporter has their own press ID badge. We have more reporters wanting a position in our paper. Unfortunately there is no more space in the club…but we willingly accept articles from anybody! If you have any more ideas for me on what kids should/could be writing about for their school newspaper, I would love to hear them.

Thanks Teacher Mum!

If you would like to be featured on "Moms Who Teach Mondays" please email us at teachertomom@gmail.com
{Please note: you do not need to be an educator or past educator to contribute...just a mommy :)} 

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Cookin' in the Kitchen with the Kiddos!

It's almost summer...
the kids will be home...
what will you fill your days with....any ideas??

How about COOKIN' in the KITCHEN!

One of my FAVORITE places to be is in my kitchen! Those who know me well know that I have a passion for cooking and love more than anything to try new recipes. A few summers back I taught a kid's cooking school out of my house. I called it "Kid's Kitchen". We had a BLAST!

 I love experimenting with fun, healthy recipes and especially love when other people (kids included) LOVE my cooking. I thought I would share with you some of the KID APPROVED favorites from my "Kid's Kitchen".

Strawberry Mice
-         Fresh strawberries                      - Almond slivers
-         Mini chocolate chips                  - Red lace licorice
-         Black decorators’ icing              - Wedge of cheese
1.     For each mouse slice a section from the side of a strawberry so it sits flat.
2.    Press a mini chocolate chip into the tip for a nose, using a small dab of icing to secure it in place, if needed.
3.    Add icing eyes and stick 2 almond slivers into the top of the berry for ears.
4.    For a tail, use a toothpick to carve a small hole in the back of the berry and push the end of a piece of licorice lace into the hole. Serve these BERRY cute treats with small triangles of cheese. Enjoy with crackers!

Oven-Baked Carrot Fries*
Recipe from Williams-Sonoma: The Kid’s Cookbook

-       1 ½ pounds carrots (10 medium)                                  -  1 tsp. sugar
-       2 Tbsp. olive oil                                                           -  ½ tsp. salt
-       2 tsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary                           - pinch of pepper

-Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line the jelly-roll pan with aluminum foil.
-Using a sharp knife and cutting board, cut away the tip and end of each carrot. Place 1 carrot on the board and hold with one hand. Holding the peeler in the other hand, run it over the carrot always peeling away from you. Turn the carrot as needed to peel completely. Repeat with the other carrots. Using the sharp knife, cut 1 carrot in half crosswise. Next, cut each half in half lengthwise. Finally, cut each half in half lengthwise again. You will end up with 8 sticks from the carrot. Repeat with other carrots.
-In the mixing bowl, combine the carrot sticks, olive oil, rosemary, sugar, salt, and pepper. Stir with the rubber spatula until the carrot sticks are evenly coated with all the other ingredients.
-Dump the carrots onto the foil-lined jelly-roll pan, scraping out any herbs clinging to the sides of the bowl. Spread the sticks out as much as possible. Bake until the carrots are tender and well browned, about 20 minutes. Using oven mitts, remove the pan from the oven. Serve the carrot fries hot or at room temperature.


Pizza Roll-Ups
-        Guerrero Whole Wheat Tortillas (These are the best around!)
-        Handful of shredded mozzarella cheese
-        5-6 turkey pepperoni’s per tortilla
-        2-3 Tablespoons of pizza sauce
Place tortilla on microwave safe plate. Sprinkle tortilla with cheese, layer with pepperoni’s and drizzle with pizza sauce. Microwave for 30-60 seconds in microwave until cheese is melted. Roll up and dip in additional pizza sauce if desired.

 ---Taco Munch---
-          6 cups popped, unsalted popcorn
-          3 cups corn Chex
-          1 cup mini-pretzels
-          2 Tbsp. butter, melted
-          2 to 3 tsp. dry taco seasoning
-          2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
-          4 oz. cheddar cheese, cut into ½ inch cubes

1.    Combine popcorn, cereal and pretzels in a large bowl. Combine butter and taco seasoning and drizzle this over popcorn mixture. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and toss to coat.
2.    Store in an airtight container. Toss with cheddar cheese just before serving. Makes 10 servings.

 Crunchy Coated Chicken Breasts
Recipe from Williams-Sonoma: The Kid’s Cookbook
-    17 Saltine crackers                                         -  2 Tbsp. olive oil
-    ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese                          - 8 chicken tenderloins
-    ½ tsp. dried thyme                                          - 2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
-Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a jelly-roll pan with aluminum foil and set aside.
-Put the crackers in a plastic bag. Press down on the bag to release the air and seal the top. Using the rolling pin, crush the crackers to make coarse crumbs.
-Empty the crumbs into a shallow bowl. Add the Parmesan cheese, dried thyme, and a good pinch each of salt and pepper. Stir with the table fork until well mixed. Drizzle the olive oil over the crumbs and toss with the fork until the crumbs are evenly moistened.
-Rinse the chicken tenderloins with cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Place them on a clean work surface. Spoon the mustard into a small bowl. Using the knife, spread the mustard over the top of each piece of chicken. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
-Press the mustard-coated side of the chicken into the crumb mixture. Place the chicken, crumb side up, on the foil lined jelly-roll pan. Repeat with the other chicken tenderloins. Sprinkle any leftover crumbs on top of the breasts and pat them onto the chicken with your fingers.
-Bake until the chicken is no longer pink in the middle when cut into with the sharp knife, about 25 minutes. Using oven mitts, remove the pan from the oven and serve the chicken immediately.

Homemade Mac & Cheese
Recipe from Williams-Sonoma: The Kid’s Cookbook
-          2 Tbsp. butter                                                             -  2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
-          2 Tbsp. flour                                                               -  4 quarts (16 cups) water
-          1 & 2/3 cups milk                                                      -  1 pound rotini or fusilli pasta
-          1 cup shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese                        -  salt and pinch of pepper
-Put the butter in the large saucepan and set the pan over medium heat. Stir with the wooden spoon until the butter is melted, about 2 minutes. Add the flour and whisk it together with the butter until smooth and bubbly but not browned, about 2 minutes. If the mixture begins to brown, reduce the heat to medium-low. With the pan still on the heat, slowly pour in the milk, whisking constantly. Cook, continuing to whisk, until the mixture is smooth, thickened, and gently boiling, 5 to 7 minutes.
-Using a pot holder, remove the pan from the heat and add the cheddar and Parmesan cheeses. Whisk until the cheeses melt and the sauce is smooth. Cover with the lid and set aside.
-Put the water in the large pot and add 1 tablespoon salt. Set the pot over high heat, cover with lid. Be careful: The steam is very hot! Slowly and carefully add the pasta, then stir it with the long-handled wooded fork. Boil the pasta, uncovered, until al dente (tender but still firm to the bite), about 8 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent from sticking.
-Set the colander in the sink. Have the pot holders ready. When the pasta is cooked ask an adult to pour the contents of the pot into a colander. Let the pasta drain completely, shaking the colander a few times. Add the drained pasta, ¼ tsp. salt and the pepper to the cheese sauce. Stir until well blended. Serve immediately


Cookies and Cream Rice Crispy Treats
4 Tbsp. butter
4 cups mini marshmallows
8 cups rice crispy cereal
½ tray of Oreo cookies, crushed

½ cup chocolate chips, melted

Place butter in a large saucepan over med-low heat. Once butter begins to melt add marshmallows to pan. Continue stirring until all of the marshmallows are melted and there are no bumps. Turn off heat and remove pan from burner. Stir in cereal and Oreos. Pour into a large 9x13 inch baking dish. With the back of a large spoon that's sprayed with cooking spray press and smooth treats. Drizzle melted chocolate over top and let cool. Cut into squares.

Let me know if you like these...there are plenty more I can post!

Have fun COOKIN'!