Sunday, 10 August 2014

Cool Easy Snacks

Peanut butter and Jelly frozen pops
I love to make home made snacks as much as possible, and ones to keep us cool in the heat of summer are no exception.
The simplest cold treat to make I think are popsicles. All you need is some fruit juice (or other beverage) and some molds and sticks. I have been able to find molds for popsicles all over the place, from the local dollar store to my local major chain store.

To make you simply pour some juice into the molds, add a stick and freeze until solid. To step it up a notch, you can add some fresh or frozen chopped berries, or blend them all together to make fruit pops.

Making what we call smoothie pops is also a popular activity in the home here. What I do is take our favorite smoothie recipe and (strawberry banana, here) and freeze it into molds like the juice.
To make the pops melt more slowly you can add unflavored gelatin (or flavored as well if you prefer) before freezing.

You can also take different flavors of packaged instant puddings and make frozen pudding pops, or yogurt and freeze into yogurt pops.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

What a few hectic weeks!

Well, we are right into the new year, and no, I didn't forget about the blog. We have been really busy, playing, doing "school", visiting playgroups and generally trying to keep the cabin fever away.

It's April FIRST! and we are still below zero last time I checked the temperature.

I can't wait to get outside and plant our small balcony garden, build our garden boxes and plant some seeds. Even the pots were frozen to the ground and I haven't been able to find dirt in the stores yet. I had my partner bring in a large frozen pot of dirt last night and plan to get planting by tomorrow (it's still frozen!?)

I hope you all had a merry winter and I'm sure if you are in this hemisphere you are also looking forward to a wonderfully long awaited spring.

Have fun and PLAY today :)

Sunday, 19 January 2014

5 Great ways to get Moving (inside) this Winter

Hey there! A lot of us understand the feeling we get after having to spend weeks on end playing and staying inside for everything. Here are a few great ways to get moving indoors when the weather is too bad to go outside for long or at all.

1. Indoor Hopscotch
I took masking tape (I think painter's tape would work better because of the colour) and made a short hopscotch down the hallway on the way to the bathroom. The idea is that as you pass the grid you hop it to get to the bathroom. We used rolled up socks or small toys instead of stones if we were just playing the "right" way.

2. Kicking a ball down a hallway
I clear out the long hallway on a regular basis, and let the kids use it as a place to play and run. It's as simple as it sounds. They just stand at either end of the hall and kick the ball back and forth. Sometimes they chase it as well. We try to see who can get the ball past the other the most.

3. Bowling
Buy or make a bowling pin set and take turns trying to knock down the pins. See who can knock them all down at once 3 times in a row, or try to think of another way to play that is different. (Maybe backwards or upside down) 

4. Dance Party!
Pick some of your favorite songs and dance away! Kids can make up their own dance to show their family or friends. Remember, the music doesn't have to be typical kids music! What an awesome way to expose your children to the music you enjoy listening to and broaden their musical minds.

5. Animal Moves
What kinds of animals can you pretend to be? Monkeys? Big stomping elephants? Tiny squeeking mice? Hopping frogs or kangaroos? Try to think of how many different animals you can be and which movements and sounds to go with them.

What other ways are there to keep active and get the jiggles out?

Have fun, get messy and PLAY!

Saturday, 18 January 2014

December Activity Countdown: 10th, 11th and 12th.

We worked for a few days on a paper chain garland. I like to try and bring "oldskool" crafts back to light in our household. I look through many older science and craft idea books for my inspirations, and since we had no garland, when I came across this idea I decided what better way to decorate and have fun than to make one out of paper?

I spent some time cutting strips of different coloured construction paper the night before, and set up this invitation for them to play.
While all 4 of the kids (ages 2 to 12) used stickers and markers to decorate strips, mommy glued them into rings and attached them to make a beautiful paper chain.

This was only a small portion of the chain, and I think next Christmas season we will be trying other ways to make garlands to decorate the house.

Happy holiday crafting!

Friday, 17 January 2014

December Activity Countdown: Dec 7 and 8

I have to admit we didn't do much in the way of "activities" on these couple of days. Not all the children were home, so we mostly just read some favorite winter and Christmas/holiday themed books, and snuggled in together to watch a couple of our traditional Christmas movies.

One of the favorite books and videos here is How the Grinch Stole Christmas.Every year I pull out the Book and the old VHS tape (we really have to get a dvd version one of these years) and watch the video over and over again.

We sit together and read the book throughout the weeks before Christmas, and talk about the spirit of the season. About how it's not all about us, and about how we must live the spirit of the season throughout the whole year. About how we must all care for each other and the planet around us.

There are other books and movies that get pulled out for the Holiday season around here, of course. This is just our favorite.

Here is a list of some other books and videos we use throughout the Christmas holiday season to get into the spirit of the season.


1.Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer
2.The Polar Express
3. A Charlie Brown Christmas
4.A Christmas Story
5. National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
6. The Christmas Train
7. Dot and Spot's Magical Christmas Adventure
8. The Nightmare Before Christmas (I can categorize this into Hallowe'en fun, too)
9. Little Drummer Boy
10. Frosty the Snowman


1. A Letter to Santa by Gaby Goldstack; Illustrated by Caroline Pedler
2. A Cricket's Carol by Mark Kimbell Moulton
3. Richard Scarry's Christmas Mice
4. The Elf who lived next Door
5. Santa's Magic Bag by Susan Karnovsky
6. Franklin's Christmas Gift by Paulette Bourgois
7. Merry Christmas Mom and Dad by Mercer Mayer
8. The Littlest Christmas Elf  by Nancy Buss
9. Silent Night a pop up book
10. I Spy Christmas: A book of picture riddles

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

December Activity Countdown: Dec 5 and 6

 December 5th I decided to make some playdough out of a recipe I found using cornstarch and baking soda. DD asked if she could help cook it on the stove and since I was closely supervising, I said yes. I believe it's important to say yes to as many experiences as possible to give children (and the adults around them) many experiences to learn and trust themselves.
After it was finished cooking and cooling, instead of adding colour, I added a tablespoon of cinnamon to the dough for a whole new sensory experience.

The youngest one did try to eat the yummy smelling dough, but soon learned that it did NOT taste like it smelled and spit it out.
The next day I got brave and had the kids do some stamp painting with christmas themed stamps. I used home made paint (recipe will be posted under recipes and other fun stuff)
It did not get as messy as I thought, and not everyone was as into it as I thouught. DD and the little big man got right into dipping the stamps (and even their hands, of course) and putting it up on the paper on the wall. My petit Monsieur wouldn't even come to the hallway to check it out, even after I said "we're painting on the walls!"
Funny how what they like one day might not be enjoyed the next.
To minimize the mess I used newspapers on the floor and cleared the area around them as much as possible. And for a 5 and a just turned 2 year old they were really a lot cleaner with it than I expected.
(I was Imagining paint on the walls and floors and ceilings as well as themselves. there actually wasn't a drop anywhere but the paper they were using and newspaper on the floor.)
Definitely something I will try again during different times of the year.

Don't forget to have fun! Get down and play, learn, discover and explore with your children. They might have surprises in store for you.

Monday, 6 January 2014

December Activity Countdown: Dec 3 and 4

Our next activities weren't much different than the first couple of days. The kids enjoyed making their very own foam gingerbread people.
Even the older one (12)  got involved and enjoyed this little activity, even though he thinks he is starting to get too old for little projects like this. Again they used glitter glue, small confetti and jewels and of course who can forget googly eyes to complete the character.
The 4th day of December we had fun with 2 activities. The little boys, who are both 2, played with some home made salt dough. My petit monsier used his trains and cars to make imprints in the dough, while the little big man just enjoyed squishing it and rolling it in his hands and on the table.

I also set up a small quiet time activity that consisted of colouring winter scenes with markers.
They all had opportunities to choose what page they wanted to colour and went at it.