Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Halloween Odds and Ends

Between the costume sewing, baking, helping with my sister's wedding, and general busyness of life, I have not posted much since, well, since Mr. Four was born.  I have tried to do some fun Halloween and fall activities with my little Mr.'s, and I've even managed to sneak in a few crafts of my own.  Here's a brief rundown of some of them.

I love the way my yarn wreath turned out.  I wasn't sure if it would end up a success or a huge craft fail, but I love the colors and the clean look of it.  Now I want to do more for other seasons.

My boys had a great time making these spiders.  They are just the right touch of bright and mildly creepy for our decor.

We made candy corn sugar cookies.  Mr. One and his friend cut the triangles, and sprinkled the cookies.  It was a fun treat to do together.  The tutorial is from Our Best Bites, using their sugar cookie dough with almond extract.  They were very yummy!

I made up this simple sensory tub activity for the boys, found here.  They had lots of fun searching for the ghosts and shouting, "Boo!  I found you!"

I can't wait for tomorrow's fun and trick or treating!  Luckily the force was with me in making our family's costumes this year (wink).  Pictures here in a few days. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Dinos on the Brain


I had quite a bit of peanut butter cookie dough left after the kiss cookie incident, so I decided to do something fun with the kids in order to use it.  I let them take some clean plastic dinos and make footprints in the cookies. 

They loved it.

They turned out great, although I would probably use a peanut butter cookie dough that was meant to be baked and eaten without the kisses, as this dough is much better paired with some chocolate.  My little dinosaurs loved them just the same though. 

The boys had a great time playing with my container of dinosaurs, making them roar and stomp around the house.

They had so much fun playing with the dinos, I started looking up some other dinosaur-themed activities for my boys to enjoy.

I found these great dino preschool pack from 3Dinosaurs and kindergarten pack from Royal Baloo.

We have had lots of fun excavating plastic dinosaurs from eggs in the past.  My kids love smashing the soil eggs with a hammer to find the dinosaur inside.  Luckily, we have done this activity at story time and at a museum activity, so I haven't had to make them myself.  However, here is a link for how to make your own.

*These are all great ideas, but, to be honest, we didn't really do any of these additional activities.  Ideas saved for another time!*

We did do some dino reading, because you can never read enough good books. :)

Here are some of my favorite dinosaur books:

We have two dinosaur books by Aliki, Dinosaur Bones and Digging up Dinosaurs.  Both non-fiction books contain information on dinosaur history, how they were discovered, how scientists find and put together the skeletons we see in museums, etc.  Both use easy to understand wording and illustrations to help children better understand the science of dinosaur fossils.

Dinosaur Time by Peggy Parish is an older early reader.  Although some of the science of the dinosaurs in the book may be outdated, it is a great easy to read book for the dino loving child. 

Dinosaur Roar by Paul and Henrietta Stickland is a toddler favorite at our house.  It is a rhyming book of dino opposites.  With simple text and cartoon-ish dinosaurs, my two year old especially likes this one.

The How Do Dinosaurs... series by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague are also favorites at our house.  They feature great detailed dinosaur illustrations, who behave (or often misbehave) like some of the children that may or may not be in your own home or neighborhood...  Humorous and warm, with simple rhyming text.

Danny and the Dinosaur by Syd Hoff was a personal favorite of Mike's and one I remember reading as a young child as well.  A dinosaur lives in a museum until one day, he wakes up and goes on an adventure with a young boy, Danny.  What little boy (or girl) hasn't imagined what it would be like to have their own dinosaur adventure?  Another easy to read book with an inventive story.

I have a feeling we will be having more dinosaur fun in the future, but for now, we are immersed Halloween activities.  More on that to come...

Monday, October 8, 2012

Peanut Butter Kisses

We spent Labor Day weekend in New Mexico with my brother's family and my aunt's family for my sweet niece's blessing.  It was a nice, lazy weekend full of family and food (I know this is a theme with my side of the family) and a trip to the breathtaking Canyon de Shelly. 

For our Sunday picnic, I decided to make cookies to share.  Late Friday night (we left Saturday morning), I began mixing cookie dough, in between the laundry and cleaning and packing.  Mr. Three, as usual, was wide awake and wanting to assist in all the tasks at hand.  Oh how I wish that kid would learn to sleep at normal child times...

In order to keep his little hands busy, and out of a bit of desperation on my part to get things done, I thought to have him help unwrap Hershey's Kisses for the cookies.  As I mixed the peanut butter and sugar, eggs and baking soda, he unwrapped.  I was making good progress with the dough, and Mr. Three was happily at work.  I had him on a chair right next to me, so I felt I was supervising him adeaquately.  Mike was in the other room working on packing.  Out of the corner of my eye, I could see the bowl of kisses getting larger.

"Good,"  I thought, "he's not eating all of them."

As the dough came together and my attention turned towards forming the cookies and adding the kisses, I noticed Mr. Three spitting into the garbage can, and I could see a kiss or two entering his mouth.  Then, I started to pay more attention to my little helper.

He had bit the tip off of his kiss and put the rest of it into the bowl.  "That's kind of funny.  Well, there goes one kiss," I thought.

Then I took a closer look into the bowl.

Every. Single. Hershey's Kiss had little tooth marks and no tip.

In his defense, I did tell him not to eat all of the chocolates.  And he didn't eat all of them.

Call it two year old quality control.

Needless to say, we weren't able to bring a whole batch of kiss cookies with us to New Mexico.  Luckily, there were lots of other sweet treats to share.

Now Mr. Three has his own bag of "special chocolates" that he will be eating from for a long time.

Good thing he's so kissably sweet himself and I can't get mad at this face for too long...

Kiss, kiss!

Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 egg
2 Tablespoons milk
1 3/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
48 chocolate kisses

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cream sugars, vanilla, shortening, peanut butter, egg and milk.  Add dry ingredients and mix well. Shape into small balls and roll in sugar.  Place on cookie sheet and bake for approximately 10 minutes, until slightly brown.  Place a kiss immediately in the center of each cookie after taking out of the oven.

Give someone you love a kiss or two today!