Thursday, March 31, 2011

Food: Frozen Chocolate Bananas

Frozen Chocolate Bananas were a treat we made when I was little. It was one of my favorites, fun and easy to do and yummy. I thought today as I was slicing up some banana for Squidgee that that would be a fun treat to make (without Squidgee because I can just picture THAT disaster. We waited for nap.). Then Griffin and I went to work.

What You Need:

3 firm, ripe bananas, cut into halves (OK, we only had 5 halves because I'd already given Squidgee half of one before I remembered to be brilliant.)
1 cup milk chocolate chips (we used Nestle.)
1/2 cup chopped nuts or sprinkles on a plate
1 tbs olive oil

6 Popsicle sticks (we wash and save ours from when we eat Popsicles)
a wax paper-lined baking sheet or tray
Pyrex measuring cup
a microwave
a freezer

What You Do:

Impale your bananas on their sticks. Lay them on the tray and put them in the freezer for 20 minutes of so, until their nice and hard and cold.

Mix your chocolate chips and oil in the measuring cup and pop it in the microwave for about 30 seconds, stir it, pop it back in for another 15 seconds or so. Keep adding on 10 seconds until it's all melted and smooth.

Dip your bananas one at a time into the chocolate, tilting the measuring cup and turning the bananas until their coated, use a spoon if you have to. Let the excess chocolate drip off. Then roll them in your nuts or sprinkles.

Put the bananas back onto the tray and pop back into the freezer for at least another half an hour. The eat up! Or don't, you can store them in the freezer for a while.

A Bonus Treat:

If you have leftover melted chocolate and nuts, just drop it onto the wax paper in spoonfuls and sprinkle some nuts on top. Then cool them in the fridge and you have some yummy candies to eat. Wasting chocolate just about kills me.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Mud Art

Mud makes good pies. It is also fun to bake into "bricks" by leaving it in the sun. You can also make a sort of drawing canvas, which is what we did yesterday.

What You Need:

a bucket
a shovel

What You Do:

Mix the dirt and water, way more dirt than water. I'm not sure of the measurements because we always sort of add a little dirt, add a little water, but I'd guess 4 or 5 parts dirt to 1 part water, add more water if necessary. It should be sort of like ice cream with a sheen. Shape it onto your driveway or sidewalk into a patty, it will pat smooth nicely and be very easily mold-able, the water will shine on the surface. Then you can draw on the surface with a stick. And the really cool part is that when you are done, you just pat the surface with the back of your shovel- pat, pat, pat- and then it's blank and smooth again.

The Right Consistency, or in Spiff's words "Gucky."

Spiff's art:

Spiff's art erased:

And art again:

Then when you're done you can let it dry and shovel the whole patty into a bucket and start allover again adding water. Or you can play bakery and pretend to eat while your Octopus serves you. It will be delicious.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Food: Pizza Faces

English Muffin pizzas have been a trend in my house this week. We made faces on them and now it's the only way to make them. In fact Spiff says "I will ONLY eat my pizza if it has a face on it." which might make for interesting fodder in future therapy sessions.

What You Need:

English Muffins, halved and lightly toasted.
Pizza Sauce (Ragu makes a good one.)
Shredded Pizza Cheese
Sliced Olives
Some chopped olives
foil-lined baking tray or cookie sheet

What You Do:

Preheat your oven to 425*. Lay your english muffins nook and cranny side up on your baking tray. Put a little sauce on each half. Sprinkle on your cheese. Let your kid make his face. Some days Griffin makes red pepper noses and other days he makes olive noses, this is if we decorate the pizza before Squidgee eats all the olives (it's like a race to the finish.). Throw them in the oven (not literally.). Bake for 6-8 minutes until the cheese has melted. Yum.

We like our food to have faces.

Printable: Ducks in a Row

Finally, it's spring! This puts me in mind of flowers and sun and bugs and baby ducks. Enjoy this springy coloring page.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Pteranodon Mobile

I designed this pteranodon mobile for my dino-kid a few months ago and after he got over the fact that I didn't make a bigger variety of pterosaurs ("It's a flock of pteranodons," I said, "They stick together." I didn't really know, but it seemed like a good answer out.) he wanted to know where the fish they were diving for were. So we made some of them too and stuck them on the ends. This is really more of a grown-up craft but my tyrant had a good time telling me what's what and how to do MY design. I'm sure yours will too and then in the end you'll have a great decoration for his room. Or her room. Not all tyrannical dino-kids are boys.

What You Need:

A few sheets of colored card stock
the template
a couple yards of string
a paper plate (it's what I had but you could stick two dowels in a cross formation for the top.)
a hole punch
glue or tape for reinforcement

The template:

What You Do:

Using the template, cut out pieces for 6 Big Pteranodons (A) and 3 Little Ones. (Or however many you want.) And 3 Fish. Piece the pteranodons together by sticking the cut slit of the wings into the cut slit of the body. The pieces will be perpendicular. Voila. I strengthened and made them more together by gluing a piece of cardstock on each side of the body, above and under each wing but you could do tape.

Decide your order of pteranodons. 2 big ones, 1 little one and a fish on the end of each. Through all the pteranodons, punch out two holes, one on the top of the body, one at the bottom. Cut strings, tie one to the top of the pteranodon, one to the bottom, tie the next guy onto that string. Put a string on his bottom. Tie on the last guy. Tie another string to him, tie on his fish. Do this with your other pteranodons, making three strings of pterosaurs and fish. Make your strings varying lengths so they're not all bumping into each other, but keep them relatively similar so you don't upset the balance. I'm sure you could figure out the math to make it perfect, but I sure didn't.

On your paper plate, punch two holes near the center of the plate and tie a piece of string through, looping it. That's your hanger. Now, put three sets of 2 holes equidistant around, so that the two holes are about .25-.5" apart. Your three strings of pteranodons are going to get tied through these holes. Do it, tie them, I dare you.


Show it to your dino-kid and listen patiently while he tells you what you did wrong and then teach him about the phrase "Artistic License."

Now if you're doing the dowels, you'll have to make a fourth string of pteranodons, so happy cutting!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Window Rainbow

Here's another tissue paper rainbow craft. It's an easy one and nice to hang in the window where the sun shines through.

What You Need:

Black construction paper, 9x12 (or any color will do, right?)
tissue paper in the rainbow colors
glue stick

What You Do:

Cut a strip out of each color of tissue paper to be about 6" x 1". Fold the black piece of construction paper in half length-wise and then, through both sides cut out a rectangle leaving a 1" border all around. (I folded our paper in half again and cut the square right on the fold to make it easier to cut. So like a block C shape). Open it up so the windows are right on top of each other. Along the top and bottom of the bottom window, glue. In rainbow order put down your strips so that they span the window, an end at the top and bottom. Put the strips right up against each other, one by one. Voila. Glue around the top, empty window and close it over the bottom rainbowed window to make a rainbow sandwich. Hang it up in a window.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Pot of Gold Rainbow

We go to a lot of birthday parties and use a lot of gift bags. This means we also have a lot of tissue paper. I happened to check and we had all the colors for a rainbow. My kid loves rainbows and tomorrow is St. Patrick's Day so I could not resist. We made a Rainbow with a Pot of Gold at the end. It was definitely a parent-assisted endeavor with all the cutting involved but there was plenty for little fingers to do- glue, glue, glue and even some fun stretching and crumpling which my toddler was more than happy to assist my preschooler in.

What You Need:

tissue paper in rainbow colors, cut into long strips 1" wide.
white cardstock
cotton balls
string, cut about double the length of the tissue strips
hole punch

What You Do:

Cut your cloud out of the white cardstock. Ours was the full 8.5 inches wide so all 7 strips of color could sit nicely in a row along it. Take your glue stick and glue a line along the back of your cloud. Put the ends of the tissue strips on this line, one by one, right along. Do it backwards- purple (or "violent" as my kid calls it) to red so when you turn it over it's in the right order (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet.). Pat, pat, pat.

Turn it back over. Cover the front of the cloud with more glue and stick cotton balls all over it, stretching them out a little to make them more, I don't know, wispy and cloud-like. Voila, rainbow and cloud. You can stop here, or you can add your pot of gold:

We folded a scrap of cardstock in half and cut out a pot shape, then colored one side of each black. Then we crumpled up orange tissue paper and stuck it on the blank back of one along with one end of the string. Then we glued the other side of the pot on top of that for a tissue sandwich, having both black sides facing out.

Hole punch the top of your cloud. String the other end of the string through that, leaving enough to tie a loop for hanging. Knot it and tie that loop.

Hang it up in a window.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Paper Bag Robot

Or Monster. It started out as a robot but, as we painted, I think it's more of a monster. Still Spiff insists it's a robot, and you know as well as I do that 3 years experience trumps 30. We've all done the paper bag heads (two eye holes and arm holes in the sides), but we added some arms by taking a paper towel roll, cutting it in half and then cutting each open from end to end so it could wrap around Spiff's forearms easily. They kind of reminded me of the old slap bracelets we had as kids. In fact, it's probably the arms that made it a "robot" in Spiff's mind. I am sure you could use two toilet paper rolls instead. If you're like us, you have tons of those too. Now pardon me, No. Two is throwing salt shakers.