Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Pardon the Dust

Does anyone else feel like their home threw up on itself?  Anyone?  

 (and this is the better room...)

Excuse the lack of posts while I try to put my home back in order...

Wish me luck.  

I'm gonna need it.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Because the Orchard was Closed This Year...

The orchard we go to pick apples during Labor Day was closed this year.  No fruit.  What?!  Who's ever heard of an orchard with no fruit?!  Seriously.

I am really going to miss those freshly picked apples this year.  At least the ones in the store are pretty decent right now.

Now I have apples on the brain.  If you haven't seen this post with my favorite apple recipes, you won't be disappointed.

Here's some of the apple activities I have harvested to do with my boys at home.


I had Mr. Two pick apples (sort and collect the apple colored pom poms) so that we can use them in some future activities.  I gave him a huge bowl of pom poms and he loved finding the apples.

I found some great apple activities on Making Learning Fun that are on our to do list.  I love this 100 apples activity.  I also found an apple pom pom match game. 

Musings of Me has a cute apple mini unit that has some good stuff included.

I have a fun apple game in the works, hopefully to be posted soon...

If you missed these posts, here are a few more apple activities here and here we have done in the past.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Pumpkin Pancakes

It's no secret that I love pumpkins, and pumpkin recipes.  Here's my favorite pumpkin pancake recipe.  I used a recipe found in Better Homes and Gardens magazine several years ago, but added a few extras to make them even tastier.

Pumpkin Pancakes

2 cups all purpose flour
3 Tablespoons packed brown sugar
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-2 teaspoon cinnamon (I would use smaller amount if using chocolate chips)
1/4-1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (use 1/4 teaspoon if using chocolate chips)
(You could also substitute 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice instead of the cinnamon and nutmeg if you have it on hand)
1 3/4 cups milk
 3 eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup cooking oil
* package of semi sweet mini chocolate chips (you will not use the whole bag)

In a large bowl combine flour and other dry ingredients  In a second bowl combine eggs and remaining ingredients, except chocolate chips.  Stir milk mixture into flour mixture unil slightly lumpy.
Heat lightly greased griddle or heavy skillet over medium heat.  Pour batter onto skillet and cook until golden, turn when tops are bubbly and edges are slightly dry.  Makes 16 large pancakes (or about 20 smaller cakes).

*Now, if you want to give them more pizzaz, sprinkle a small handful of mini semi sweet chocolate chips over the tops of your pancakes after you pour them onto your skillet.

You can top these babies with good old butter and maple syrup, or if you want something really decadent, try adding my favorite buttermilk syrup (recipe from my Aunt Shelly, who has a serious talent for baked goods...)

Aunt Shelly's Buttermilk Syrup

2 cubes (1 cup) butter
2 cups sugar
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon baking soda

Boil ingredients together in large saucepan for five minutes.  Remove from heat.  Add about 1 teaspoon vanilla if desired.  Serve over pancakes, waffles or french toast.

Are you hungry now?

Monday, September 12, 2011

More Monster Fun

Remember our little monster play date?  Well, I guess there are lots of others who have had monsters on the brain (Halloween is just around the corner...) as well.

Here's a cute monster glove puppet and magnetic monsters I found online.  These are on my to do list.

I was thinking about the monster eye sort activity that we did earlier, and I wanted to somehow turn the basic concept into a game for my boys.  Here's what I came up with.  I hope you enjoy it with your own "little monsters."

Make a Monster Game (um, I am running out of creative game names...)

You will need:
playdough (make some of your own or just grab some at the store)
number die
color die
colored wiggle eyes
dish to place eyes in (so they don't end up all over your kitchen floor...)

How to play:
First, color a blank wooden cube with corresponding colors from you wiggle eyes (I only had 5 colors, so I left one blank).  If you want to be able to reuse your die, just color white dot or square stickers the colors you want, then stick them on.

Make a monster body out of playdough for each player.

Roll your colored die and number die together.

Add the same amount of eyes in the color your dice show.

If you have only 5 colors like me, you have two options.  You could color the blank space rainbow, and let your monster have rainbow colored eyes, or you could simply let them re-roll to get another color or choose any color.

Remove the eyes before rolling again to create a new monster on the next turn.

To extend this activity, compare your monsters.  Who has the most eyes?  Which monster has the least?

This is great counting practice, but also a good activity to strengthen those little fine motor hand muscles.  Pinching and placing the eyes will exercise those fingers.


Mr. Two loved playing this game, and told me he wanted to play it again another day.  Success!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Great Race

During Curriculum Night, this is the game that Mr. Two's preschool teacher had out to play and take home.  Although Mr. Two didn't want anything to do with playing it at the school, he really enjoyed playing this one at home.  Go figure.

Here it is:  (I take no credit for this idea, but I'll take credit for recognizing a good thing when I see it! :))


The Great Race

You will need:
one lima bean "die", with a 1 on one side and a 2 on the other (write with a sharpie)
game board (The game board is a line of ten boxes, numbered one to ten on a half sheet of cardstock.)
game token(s), which could be just another unmarked bean (oh, a tiny car would be fun as well)

How to play:


Each player takes a turn shaking and dumping the lima bean die.  The player calls out the number that is face up on the bean, then moves the token accordingly.  The first player to get their token to the number 10 wins.

Here's the most important part:

When a player moves his/her token, he/she doesn't count the number of spaces he/she is moving.  Instead, he/she names the numbers on the spaces through which he/she moves.

Example:  Let's say that my token is resting on the "3" box and I have "rolled" a 2.  As I move my token along the game board, I say, "4, 5."  If I "roll" a 2 on my next tun, I move my token and say, "6, 7."

This is a bit counter-intuitive, and kids will sometimes forget the rule.  If a child makes a mistake or forgets the name of a number, give him/her a reminder and hep him/her repeat the move correctly.

Have fun with this simple activity that creates stronger number sense.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Museum Fun with the Peanuts Gang

This Saturday we headed back to AMY for their Peanuts Play Ball exhibit.  Mike and I grew up reading Peanuts as kids and we love to watch the Charlie Brown movies during the holidays.  When we heard that they were doing this exhibit, we knew that we wanted to take the boys to explore.  They had lots of the comic strips hanging on the walls, as well as details about the Peanuts gang and their creator.  It would have been nice to go through the exhibit without kids for a bit to read all of the information, but our kiddos just wanted to get to the activities!


We made glow in the dark masks and played in the pumpkin patch dark room.  Mr. Two loved his mask and wore it through the rest of our time in the museum, until it ripped and he got a bit upset.  Good thing we have tape at home!


The boys had fun pretending to be Snoopy aka the Flying Ace.


This picture is for Grammy, our favorite piano teacher.  The boys loved the trying out Schroeder's piano, which played Fur Elise.  I couldn't resist striking a Lucy pose.


The boys threw out a few pitches.


Anyone need some psychiatric advice?  Mr. Three just wanted to swipe the wooden nickles and play with them throughout the rest of the exhibit.

Sending a letter to Snoopy.


Mr. One had a great time building his own kingdom, guarded by a loyal knight and a fierce dragon.


Mr. Two and Mr. Three tried their hand at some sketching.

Thank goodness they have a play area just for the under four years old set.  Mr. Three can only handle the older kid exhibits for so long.  Everything in this area is hands on, so that made him a happy toddler!  There are giant soft blocks for building, a puppet theater and a large play house to explore.  I didn't get any pictures.  I guess by the time we got there, I was a bit tired out!

It was a fun day to spend together as a family.