Adventures of the Non-Creative Mom

February 27, 2012

“Stained Glass” Window

My brother and sister-in-law gave my 4 year old these clear chips off of our wish list at Discount School Supplies and we have been playing with them on a light table and just a white plastic cover.  Since I had to lay down some new contact paper in our kitchen cabinets I thought why not use the left over for a craft for the kiddos.  Just as a warning for those with younger ones my 19 month old got the most pleasure out of taking the can I stored the chips in and over turning it every chance he got.  My four year old on the other hand loved it and I was surprised how meticulous she was about finding just the right pieces she wanted to use.

Here is her work in progress up close.  Those are just popsicle sticks I washed and let dry because she really seems to like just gluing the sticks together to make odd shapes.  I used the sticks to create a “frame” and then let her go at it making her own design.  She really liked the little circle pieces and dug through the entire can looking for them.  She also liked the “teeth” pieces as she called one of the shapes. Can you tell which one she was talking about? 🙂

Once she was done laying down the pieces I put down a second piece of contact paper over it to keep everything together.

We had some random colored shoe laces that were never used so I tape them onto her “window” so we could hang it up.

This activity pretty much kept her busy until bed time and she already told me she wants to do another one because she “already has a picture in her mind” of what she wants to do.

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February 25, 2012

Banana Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins

Filed under: Recipes — by dsuzuki @ 11:40 pm

I’m sure everyone with kids has had the experience where you take the kids grocery shopping and they beg for something and promise they will eat it and of course rarely do they finish it.  This happens all the time when it comes to bananas and my four year old.  She begs for me to buy bananas (and not just one or two but a whole bunch) and after eating half of one or two she’s done.  So then it’s left to me and my husband to finish them off.  Bananas are one of those fruits I just have to be in the right mood for so we always end up with those over ripe, black bananas.  Thus I set off on my hunt for a good banana bread recipe.  I tried one recipe after another and none tasted quite right until I came across this one in the Hawaii Soto Mission Cookbook my mom sent me.

I loved it and more importantly my kids love it.  It’s a loaf or muffin recipe but I usually make them into mini muffins and freeze them in quart size ziplocs.  Then every now and then we take out a bag to defrost in the fridge and then pop them into the microwave as a quick breakfast for the kids.  It’s also a great recipe to let the little ones help you out in the kitchen.  My four year old loves to mash the bananas and mix all the ingredients.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups mashed, ripe bananas
  • 2 cups flour, sifted
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup Wesson oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips or raisins
  • 2 tsp vanilla

Directions:

  1. Mash bananas and set aside
  2. Add flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt into a large bowl
  3. Add sugar, oil and eggs and stir until blended
  4. Add chocolate chips, bananas and vanilla; mix well
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour if using loaf pans, for regular size muffins 20 minutes and for minis I eye ball it and check it around 16-18 minutes

Now that I’m on a kick to try and cook/bake healthier foods I do want to try experimenting with less sugar and maybe replacing the oil.  Will have to see how it works out.

February 23, 2012

Friday Featured Product

Filed under: Learning,Manual Dexterity,Math,Motor skills — by dsuzuki @ 11:59 pm
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There are only a handful of products I love enough that I really suggest to friends and family so I thought what better way to spread the word than mentioning here.  So for the next few Fridays I am hoping to highlight some of my favorite products for families with kids. Note: I either purchased these items, borrowed or was given them as gifts from families and friends.

Today I wanted to highlight the game Mr. Pencil Saves Doodleburg that came with my daughter’s Leappad.  She got one for Christmas and she cracks me up whenever she tells me what she is playing because she says the name of the game with such gusto.  Sometimes I ask her where she learned something and the answer is “Mr. Pencil saves Doodleburg!!!” with both arms raised up in the air.

She loves this game and I’ve sat down with her a few times to watch her play because she’s always coming up with the most amazing, random comments that she says she’s learned from this game.  It focuses on skills like writing letters, numbers, tracing lines, drawing, colors, etc.  One day I was driving her to school and she tells me “Mommy, you are the left side of the car and I am on the right side.  That means we are sitting diagonal!”  I asked if she learned about diagonals at school and she said no it was from “Mr. Pencil saves Doodleburg!!!”  She’s gone on to mention learning about mixing colors, drawing various shapes and a couple nights ago she even started giving me a lesson about animation.  She, my 19 month old and I were doing some painting on scrap pieces of cardboard and I drew an ocean with fish jumping out of it.  Looking at the picture she tells me “Mommy, you can draw more frames so it looks like the fish are really jumping like in an animation.”  This shocked me because at 4 we have never talked about how cartoons are animated or about different frames that make up an animation.  I thought maybe this was something new that she was learning at school but nope, she shocked me again saying she learned this from Mr. Pencil Saves Doodleburg.

After all of these comments she has been making about what she has learned from this game and what she remembers even after not playing it for awhile has made me a huge fan of the game.  If you have a preschooler or a slightly older child (it’s rated for 4-7 year olds) then I highly suggest trying this game out.  It teaches some wonderful concepts, the letter and shape tracing has really helped my daughter slow down and really focus on what she is writing and things like colors, color mixing, etc really has helped reinforce what she is learning in preschool as well.  Definitely a 5 star game in my book!

February 19, 2012

Skippyjon Jones Shapes Up by Judy Shachner & the Shape Game

This was the latest Skippyjon Jones book we borrowed from our library.  Silly as usual while playing with shapes like hearts, circles, ovals, etc.  Other than the octagon nothing really new that my 4 year old didn’t know but she just loves watching Skippyjon’s antics.

Since my four year old daughter and I read this book and I am also working my 19 month old on his shapes and colors I decided to try out this game I saw on Pinterest. It was called Escape the Volcano Shape game and my kids loved it!  She provides a downloadable file for all the pieces and dice cut out which is awesome.  I printed them out and used my laminator to make them a little more durable since I knew the kids were going to be rough on them.  I’m so glad I did so especially for the dice.  I laminated it, scored the insides of where you had to make the folds and then taped it together.  Both kids got so excited about rolling the die that it got squashed multiple times but fortunately the laminate allowed the die to pop back into shape.

I initially thought only my daughter was going to get into it but my son  had so much fun watching her jump and sing and do all sorts of crazy things that he really got into it as well.  The shapes and colors were a breeze for my daughter so I would have my son tell me what shape she landed on and what color was it.

Then she would practice her reading to figure out what each piece said.  I was surprised how many sight words she now recognizes and she was able to sound out most of the other words.  There were some longer ones like “compliment” that stumped her but once I explained it I was pleasantly surprised with the things she came up with.  One task was to compliment someone and she said how sweet her “chubby cheeks” Michael was and the second time we played she said she loves how silky my hair is.  One of my favorites was watching her sing her favorite song which surprised me because she chose Rockabye Baby.

One thing I did learn after we played it the first time is definitely have to put the pieces closer together although I was impressed with how far my daughter did manage to jump.

And she also didn’t like that there were only 1s and 2s on the die.  So I used a sharpie to add a 3 side to it.  I think I am also going to create a few more pieces with other shapes like a star, oval and maybe a few other pieces.  I definitely suggest trying out this game.  It got the kids moving, laughing (loved watching her donkey kicks) and had a few surprises (like lollipops are her favorite treat).

February 9, 2012

Skippyjon Jones Color Crazy by Judy Schachner

Filed under: Books — by dsuzuki @ 11:09 pm
Tags: , , ,

So I have an embarrassing confession to make that exhibits just how clueless and un-observant I can be at times.  Until we received a short book along with our Scholastic book order about Skippyjon Jones and what he can be by reading books I had no clue what these books were about.  A friend who works at Keplers mentioned Judy Schachner was coming to do story time awhile back and I figured “eh, never heard of her.”   Then about a month ago it was bedtime, we had rest our usual three books and my daughter was begging for just one more book.  She brought this one to me  and while I was curious about what this Skippyjon Jones craze was all about I just wanted to put her to bed and go rest myself.

I figured it was short enough so why not read it to her.  So here’s the embarrassing part…I was so tired and rushing to get through it that I took the first sentence “I’m Skippyjon Jones a Chihuahua to my bones!” quite literally and assumed he was a dog.  It wasn’t until we read another Skippyjon Jones book that I realized he was actually a CAT!  My husband laughed at me but come on…those big ears…the mask and he called himself a chihuahua for goodness sake.  Yes, I know still how unobservant can I be?

Ok, but now back to Skippyjon Jones Color Crazy.  My four year old is in love with these books so I had to request all the books my library system had because she kept begging for them.  This one quickly became one of her favorites.  It is about Skippyjon Jones drawing all sorts of things but with his own unique take on their colors.  He colors a pink sky, yellow grass, purple water, etc.  My daughter found this so silly she could not stop laughing and we would talk about what color should the sky really be or how would she like it if the sky were to be pink.  It’s made for a lot of fun bedtime discussions and I have to admit for some interesting pictures in the days following.  She even questions why in one of her games they only let her choose green to color the trees.  She was so put out that she could not color them purple. LOL.

This is definitely a book to check out for those Skippyjon Jones fans and for those kids who like to use their imagination to see the world in new ways.

February 3, 2012

Friday Feature: Melissa and Doug Puzzles

Filed under: Learning — by dsuzuki @ 4:50 am
Tags: , , , ,

There are only a handful of products I love enough that I really suggest to friends and family so I thought what better way to spread the word than mentioning here.  So for the next few Fridays I am hoping to highlight some of my favorite products for families with kids. Note: I either purchased these items, borrowed or was given them as gifts from families and friends.

Today I wanted to high light the Melissa and Doug puzzles and in particular the alphabet and number puzzles.

My daughter received the number puzzle as a gift when she was 2 or 3 and she really enjoyed it.  Especially since when you put the number back in it’s spot it actually talks.  Where it has really amazed me is with my 18 month old.  He absolutely adored this puzzle and was able to count to 10 by around 14 or 15 months and able to put them all in their correct spots.  Now he’s gotten to 11 and 12 and can say some of the higher numbers although he still sometimes gets confused and will say “one one” or “one two”.  My parents were so impressed by how much this puzzle helped that they bought him the alphabet version and my son quickly took to it as well.  He knows most of his alphabet now and I credit that mostly to the sight words dvd and my father working with him playing with these two puzzles.

No matter how many times I put these puzzles away in the toy closet my son always pulls them out to keep them on his table and constantly brings me various letters to tell me what they are.  He also points out various letters on the covers of books I am reading or in the newspaper.  In general I love Melissa and Doug puzzles but if you have to pick just one or two I would definitely suggest these two.

Other featured products:

Sight Words from Preschool Prep