Apples For Teachers

I admit that one of the things I miss most about teaching are the treats. I know not exactly the response you expect from someone as excited about education as I really honestly am… but it’s the truth. It seemed between my two classes someone was always celebrating something. Well I think we should celebrate teachers at the start of the year, get them as excited about a fresh start as we are.  My son went back to preschool this week and we made these cookies for his teachers.

I got the recipe from here

  1. Start by making your dough – the above recipe was good but the cookies came out crumbly- I added an extra 5 minutes baking and it made it better. My son loves helping me bake and it’s a fun thing “special event” you can do at home if a younger sibling is napping. I try to get all the ingredients ready so he can just pop them in.
  2. While the cookies are baking gather your materials for the apple bags. You will need some paper bags, zip locs,  red crayon or marker, scissors, and green pipe cleaners.
  3. Color your bags red.
  4. When the cookies are cool pop them in the zip loc.
  5. Pop them in the paper bag and cinch the top with a green pipe cleaner bent into a leaf.
  6. Trim the top and it’s ready to be given to your teachers!

Alphabet Cookies

It’s the process not the product right? Well it definitely was when we made these alphabet cookies. I swore I had cookie cutters but alas when I went to look for them they were MIA so we molded letters instead. The activity was a huge hit and a fun special treat. My son laughed with me when we checked on the cookies and they were unrecognizable. THey were still tasty and we still had fun with letters, so I say it was a success!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some cookie dough, a cutting board, knife and pan.
  2. Start by portioning out the cookie size for your child. Since I was using premade dough I just sliced it. 
  3. Start creating.
  4. I got my son into making letters by making some and asking him to guess what they were then he made a few of  his own. 
  5. We also made extra long ones that my son used the knife to cut to size. He loved this.
  6. Pop them on a tray.
  7. Bake – check on them and laugh hysterically – obviously less dough should have been used.
  8. Luckily the O ( my son’s initial) was still an O after I poked the middle a little and he enjoyed it at snack time!

Have fun with your creative time, take failures in stride and remember it’s the process not the product!

Mother’s Day Cupcakes

Mother's Day Cupcakes

In the spirit of full disclosure these were actually made for my husband’s office, it’s his birthday today ( yay he’s older than me again) and he needed to take in treats. So I hit two birds with one stone and decided to make them mother’s day themed and make them with my little man. Kids love to help cook and bake and my main tips for a peaceful experience are, expect a mess, don’t worry about perfection and eat a healthy lunch before making them so when the sugar hits their belly it’s not as dramatic! We had fun writing out the letters and making shapes with the candy.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need your favorite cupcake mix and icing or recipes. Also to make the flowers and letter designs some rope licorice, and pink round candies.  Mother's Day Cupcakes
  2. Mix your cake – I have no pictures of this because I had everything laid out in bowls, the oil, water and eggs and my son was so helpful he through them all in. I usually pre crack the eggs into a bowl and let him dump them in when I am making something that egg shells are hard to fish out of.
  3. Bake and cool your cupcakes.
  4. While they cool tear the rope licorice apart into single strands.Mother's Day Cupcakes
  5. Cut into smaller pieces you can make into petals Mother's Day Cupcakes
  6. When cupcakes are cool ice .
  7. Make letters to spell out MOM on one cupcake each or..  put it on a single cupcake.Mother's Day Cupcakes
  8. Make petals ( it’s easier to make them before adding it to the icing ) by pressing the ends tightly together.Mother's Day Cupcakes
  9. Add to the cupcake Mother's Day Cupcakes
  10. Add a candy middle.Mother's Day Cupcakes

Have fun however you make them . Oh and a tip that worked great for us this time. If you have a mini cupcake pan, put a few spoonfuls in that and let your child have a little cupcake before decorating the larger ones.  This totally satisfied my son and made me feel better about how much sugar he consumed.  I also had a mini one ( ok 2)and was able to leave the big ones alone !

Mama Books That Make Me Cry

Here are my top 3 books that require kleenex:

A mama for owen

A Mama for Owen by Marion Dane Bauer makes me cry every time I read it, and not just because I am pregnant. It’s a true story about a baby Hippo who lost his mama in the Tsunami that so many other babies both creature  and human did . The story is one about friendship , about adoption and about love. See Owen the little Hippo finds Mzee a big old giant tortoise and even though they are different species, and Mzee is a boy, Owen treats him like his mama.

Love You Forever by Robert Munsch is perhaps the classic tear jerking picture book. I read this for years and years to children and had no problem getting choked up, it never bothered me, then I gave birth and I can’t read it without sobbing. The premise is simple, a mom sings this simple song to her son as he grows ” I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, as long as you’re living , my baby you’ll be.” until she can’t sing it anymore and it’s his turn. For days after I read this I tear up as I lay my son in bed. * Edited to add that many readers have commented that they do not like this book at all! What do you think? Leave a comment and tell us!


Hair for Mama by Kelly A. Tinkham is beautiful. The story is about a little boy who is desperate to find some hair for his mama who has lost hers to chemotherapy. Marcus wants mama to be in the family photo but she doesn’t want to be the way she looks. His mission comes to a climax when he shaves off all his own hair hoping to give it to his mama. When the barber sweeps it up with the other hair on the floor Marcus is heart broken and goes home in tears. I was sobbing reading this, I knew it was a story about a mom having cancer but the way the author wrote it , it was magical. The complex emotions this little boy felt for his mom and she for him, jumped off the page and you can’t help but cry. I wasn’t sad ,I was touched by the love and desire to fix his mom and make everything better, and his parents tenderness to his feelings. I can’t recommend this book more highly. I should note that this is not a book for toddlers, I would probably wait until a child is 4-5 before reading them this gem.

Make Cookies Simple!

Tips for
Baking with Toddlers
( and a toy garbage truck)

Baking is a great tool for teaching toddlers about the senses. Kids can touch, smell, taste, see and even hear things while baking and cooking. However lately baking hasn’t been as much fun at our house . A certain 2 year old demands to use the mixer, and not in a safe way. When I say no, the theatrics start and the fun we were having comes to an end. So instead of giving up making cookies all together I came to a compromise, so we can keep learning and having fun.

  • Be realistic about your expectations, taste testing is pretty much guaranteed no matter how many times you ask them not to.
  • I use pre- mixed dough. I like store bought because I am irrationally terrified of salmonella, and I know my son will taste test , as will I. If your toddler and you can happily do the steps of making your own dough, by all means do. There are great lessons about measurement that come from that step.
  • Skip steps your child has had issues with in the past- don’t give them up forever just for now. For us this means no mixer, I’ll try again soon but not yet. It may be touching a hot stove that is a trouble spot for you, in that case focus on the mixing and bake after your child is in bed for nap or the night. Small adjustments can be made to keep having fun.
  • Put the premixed dough into a bowl and have your child mix it up, feel it and knead it.
  • Add fun things into the pre-made dough. This adds a step of mixing that can be done by hand, without a huge mess. I have added candies to sugar cookies, chocolate chips to peanut butter, dried fruit to oatmeal and in these pictures my son is adding toffee bits and chopped pecans to chocolate chip dough.
  • Allow your child to roll the dough into balls with their hands, use the rolling pin or cookie cutters!
  • Do not bake with your toddler when you NEED to have 3 dozen cookies for a bake sale or church party. The stress of making enough cookies may be too much if a bowl gets knocked over, or too much dough gets eaten.
  • After you bake enjoy your cookies and ask your child to tell you how they did that, you’ll be impressed with how well young kids can recount the steps you followed.