Saturday, January 30, 2010

Punxsutawney Phil Comes to Breakfast

Tuesday, February 2, is Groundhog Day.  Last year, I saw these groundhog day pancakes at Gourmet Mom on the Go and bookmarked them with the intention of making them this year.  Well, believe it or not, I remembered and actually made them this year.  I think they came out great.  This is how you make them:

First, cut an apple in half and take out the core and seeds.  Then fill the hole with a scoop of peanut butter.  The peanut butter is not necessary, but it adds some protein and tastes yummy.
Then, place each half of the apple cut side down on a plate.  This will provide the base for two groundhog day pancakes. 

Next, make some pancakes (any recipe will do) and cut a small circle in the center of your pancakes.  Lay the pancake on top of the apple and place a doughnut hole ("munchkin" in this neck of the woods) on top of the opening.
The munchkin is the groundhog's head.  Cut a mini marshmallow in half and use some icing to stick both halves on as the whites of the eyes.  Then use more icing to stick some m&m's on for the eye color.  Stick a red m&m on for the nose, and two peanut butter chips for ears.
We used some green icing to look like grass and pink icing for some spring flowers. 

Now, let's just hope that Phil does not see his shadow.  We are ready for some spring weather here in the northeast.

Have a happy Groundhog Day!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Thursday, January 28, 2010


We have been enjoying a few penguin books this week and we made the cutest paper plate penguins to sit and read with us.

If you would like to make your own paper plate penguin, click on the link above for directions.  I like this craft because you only need two paper plates and paint.  We used googly eyes but they aren't necessary. 

Here are the penguin books we are enjoying:
Penguin Dreams by V.L. Walsh - a cute book about a penguin with big dreams. 

Antarctic Antics:  A Book of Penguin Poems by Judy Sierra - a fun collection of poems in which the author imagines life in the Antarctic through the eyes of the chicks in an emperor penguin colony.

Penguin Pairs:  Counting by 2s by Amanda Doering Tourville - count by 2s adding up the penguins as you go along.  This book is part of a series called "Count the Critters".  The other books in the series feature odd or even numbers, counting by 3s, and more. 

Tacky the Penguin by Helen Lester- this is a great book about a penguin who is a bit odd, but his oddities pay off in the end.  This is a good book to use for teaching tolerance or individuality.

We strongly recommend all of these books!
To see more book projects, check out stArt at A Mommy's Adventures.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Texas Treats

A lone star sandwich!

Blue corn chips (this plate of chips became nachos!).  According to The United States Cookbook by Joan D'Amico and Karen Eich Drummond, Texas grows more blue corn than any other state.

We also learned that chili is the state food of Texas, and we will be happy to enjoy some chili this weekend! 

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Cactus Painting

I enjoyed cactus painting more than my children did.  I found the painting to be very relaxing and I loved the texture of the dry paint.  C and R enjoyed it too, just not as much as I did. 

First, I drew a huge cactus on a large roll of paper.

To make the cactus paint, I mixed together 1/4 cup liquid laundry starch, 1/4 cup water, 2 TBSP green paint, and 1 cup salt. 

Then we painted the cactus and left the paper on the floor to dry.  When dry, the paint has a rough texture.

We did this project as part of our Texas studies for our Fifty States Project.

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Gingerbread Cowboy

The Gingerbread Cowboy by Janet Squires is a wild western version of the classic tale.  A rancher's wife is tired of baking biscuits and decides to make a gingerbread cowboy instead.  When the rancher peeks in the oven, the gingerbread cowboy takes off running.  Instead of the usual cast of characters, he encounters a horned lizard, a roadrunner, a band of javelinas (not sure what these are??, I have to google them), long-horned cattle, and a coyote.  The book is a fun read.  I love all the different versions of The Gingerbread Man.

I thought about making cowboys out of real gingerbread, but we opted for the paper version instead.  I drew the outline of the gingerbread cowboys, and C and R filled in the details.

Here is C's gingerbread cowboy.  He didn't want to cut it out because he drew some details around the cowboy.  His details are all things that the rancher's wife used to make the cowboy.

R wanted her gingerbread cowboy cut out, and here it is:

We made some silly cowboy hats too!  The hats are just card stock cut in the shape of a cowboy hat with a paper bag band stapled around the back.

These silly hats made us laugh for quite a while!  Some cowboy fun is a great way to begin learning about the state of Texas.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Camping in the Living Room

C and R have been asking to have a camp out in the living room for a few weeks now and we finally did it last night.   This was our first camp out in our new home so I had to post some pictures.

We enjoyed some s'mores. 

T recently got braces so s'mores are probably not a good idea for him, but I hated to exclude him from the fun so I made him one or two.  No damage done.  Phew!

After our special treat, C, R, and I snuggled up in sleeping bags and watched An American Tale 2, Fievel Goes West.  T watched a few minutes and then decided he had things to do.  I thought the movie was funny and cute, and it ties in nicely to our Texas studies. 

This is a picture of C and R laughing really hard at one part of the movie.  They didn't even notice me taking the picture.

It was a fun night and hopefully the first of many living room camp outs in our new home.  (When is it no longer our "new" home?)

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Our Snowman

This is all that is left of our snowman.  I wish I could say that he melted because it is getting warm.  I have a serious case of spring fever and it is still January. 


Our next state for the Fifty States Project is Texas!  Here are the books we are reading:

If you have any other book recommendations, please share them in the comments section.  We are looking forward to some great Texas projects. 

Friday, January 22, 2010

Penguins Playing in the Snow

We have created so many snowmen over the last few weeks that we had to move on to something different.  I thought penguins would be fun, and C has been learning about penguins in school so they seemed like the perfect craft subject.

C and R made snowy backgrounds by painting bubble wrap with white paint and then pressing the bubble wrap down onto the paper.

Once the paint dried, they made penguins out of hearts and sent them out to play in the snow!

For directions on how to make your own heart shaped penguins click here.
To get that messy hair, wake up and begin crafting immediately.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Books Before Bed

My friend Shannon posted pictures of her girls' bookshelves this week.  I thought this was a fun way to share what we are reading this week so I decided to post mine too.  My photos are a bit different than the bookshelf photos.  Lately, I have been setting a few books out on C's and R's beds and letting them choose a few every night before bed.  I took pictures of how I set them up.
 I usually read three books to R before bed.

(I am currently reading James and the Giant Peach to C.  We read one chapter of that book every night and we also read one or two other books.  He also reads to me every night.)

A Luau

The best way to complete a unit of learning about Hawaii is to celebrate with a luau!

A pretty floral tatoo and a few leis are necessary.

Decorating a door knob hanger with Hawaiian stickers is a plus.

Face painting makes the luau fantastic!
A local restaurant has theme nights every week.  We lucked out with the timing of their luau theme.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Snowman Cookies and a Tea Party

How cute are these cookies?

I saw similar cookies in The Popcorn Factory catalog and decided to make some myself.  We made sugar cookies and put the chocolate chips in right when the cookies came out of the oven.  This worked perfectly.  I then used orange icing to make the noses.  Super cute and yummy.

We enjoyed our special cookies with a spot of tea (orange juice for R). 

She is drinking from her favorite fancy tea cup.  She loves to be fancy!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Snowmen for Breakfast

I made snowman pancakes this weekend.  They are certainly not the healthiest things to eat for breakfast, but they were cute and tasty!   The eyes and mouth were made with mini chocolate chips and the buttons were m&m's.  I used a little orange frosting for the nose, licorice for the scarf, and pretzel sticks for the arms.  A little powdered sugar made them look even better.

The snowmen did not stick around very long. 
I was inspired to make these when I saw snowman pancakes on the Family Fun website.
If you are looking for a healthier snowman snack, click here to see the banana snowmen we made.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Shed a Little Light

Let us turn our thoughts today
To Martin Luther King
And recognize that there are ties between us
All men and women
Living on the earth
Ties of hope and love
Sister and brotherhood
That we are bound together
In our desire to see the world become
A place in which our children
Can grow free and strong
We are bound together
By the task that stands before us
And the road that lies ahead
We are bound and we are bound

There is a feeling like the clenching of a fist
There is a hunger in the center of the chest
There is a passage through the darkness and the mist
And though the body sleeps the heart will never rest

Shed a little light, oh lord
So that we can see
Just a little light, oh lord
Wanna stand it on up
Stand it on up, oh lord
Wanna walk it on down
Shed a little light, oh lord

Can't get no light from the dollar bill
Don't give me no light from a tv screen
When I open my eyes
I wanna drink my fill
From the well on the hill

(do you know what I mean? )
- chorus -

There is a feeling like the clenching of a fist
There is a hunger in the center of the chest
There is a passage through the darkness and the mist
And though the body sleeps the heart will never rest

Oh, let us turn our thoughts today
To Martin Luther King
And recognize that there are ties between us
All men and women
Living on the earth
Ties of hope and love
Sister and brotherhood
- James Taylor

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Snow Globes

This week, we read The Snow Globe Family by Jane O'Connor.  The book parallels a normal family with a miniature family that lives in a snow globe.  Both families are hoping for some fun in the snow.

We all enjoyed the book so much that we made our own snow globes.  I spent quite a bit of time debating which type of snow globe to make and eventually decided to steer clear of glass, water, glycerin, and epoxy glue.  I was inspired by the winter snow globe on the Crayola website, but we made a few changes.

First, C and R made wintry scenes out of Crayola Model Magic.

We placed the scenes into the lids of containers.  C used a container that used to hold cashews and R used a craft kit container (her container is a box, not really a globe, but that was what she wanted to use).  You can use anything that has a lid and is clear plastic.

We then put A LOT of white glitter in the containers and put the lids on tight.

There is no water in these snow globes, but the glitter works great alone.  We were very happy with the end result!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Cousin Sandra

My cousin, Sandra, lives in Florida and I saw her today for the first time in nine years.  It was so great to spend some time with her. She grew up in South Carolina, but also spent some time in Massachusetts and I have very fond memories of her from my childhood.  She is one of those people who just exudes confidence and is always very positive.  I think she is a wonderful person, and my children seem to feel the same way.

Hopefully, we won't have to wait another nine years before we see each other again!