Panda Bear Rice Balls

panda snack

I am so blessed , after giving birth I have had so many wonderful friends offer help and guest posts for No Time For Flash Cards. This one is from a dear friend Amanda from ohAmanda and Impress Your Kids , she is sure to impress you with this cute and tasty edible activity!

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Is this the yummiest, cutest and most fun thing you have ever seen?! I saw this idea in a magazine and knew I had to try it. Well, after the panda-monium and panda-venture in the kitchen, I knew I had to share it with you! It’s an easy fun snack (or a full meal when coupled with some stir-fry) that introduces kids to new tastes and flavors, helps them with handling a knife and opens up conversations about pandas, other countries and cooking!

All you need is 1.5 cups of uncooked sticky/sushi rice, some celery stalks and a can of pitted black olives.

sticky rice

Cook the sticky rice according to directions. (We actually made ours with long-grain white rice by adding 3tb of rice vinegar, 1tb of sugar, 1.5tsp of salt after it was cooked)

While you’re waiting for it to cook, set aside a few whole olives for your panda’s ears. Then, give kids a butter knife and let them work on slicing the olives around its’ equator. My 4 year old could get about 3 cuts total on the olive.

panda snack

My almost 2 year old? Well, he tried!

panda food craft

Then take a 1/4c or 1/2c measuring cup and firmly pack rice into it. Turn them over on a plate or waxed paper and carefully remove to leave a mound of rice!

rice for kids

Use your whole olives as the panda’s ears. Then take your slices and use as eyes, an tiny down nose and an upturned smile! Cut a few pieces of celery to resemble bamboo and you’ve got your own panda playmates!

panda snack

My kids loved eating their pandas for dinner (along with soy sauce, broccoli and chicken). While they ate I read them two panda books that I just happened to have in our stash:

rosalie seidler

Panda Cakeby Rosalie Seidler

This is the cutest story about a Mama Panda who is making a special panda cake “that only pandas can make”! She sends her two sons to the market to buy the ingredients. The oldest panda decides to steal the ingredients from his animal friends (cherries from the birds, eggs from the duck, etc.) and then runs off to the fair to spend Mama’s money. While he’s gone, the animals visit Mama and demand their food back. But it’s too late—the panda cake has been baked. So, they all sit down to tea and cake! The animals are happy but when the young panda returns home, he’s sad to see his cake eaten up! This book has sweet illustrations and a fun cadence. It looks like it is out of print but I found it at the thrift store a few weeks ago and couldn’t pass it up!

panda book toddlers

Panda in the Park by Anna Milbourne

This was my daughter’s very first book. It’s an Usborne Look-Through book and tells the story of a panda playing hide-and-seek with his animal friends. It’s perfect for toddlers because of the bright colors, the bold questions and the fun holes and layers on the pages. It’s still one of my favorite books to read!

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Amanda is a former Children’s Pastor turned stay-at-home mom. She blogs her crafty parenting endeavors at Impress Your Kids and her daily life at ohAmanda. She is also a 2010 Disney Mom, a bibliophile and long time lover of purple!

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.

Cereal Bracelet Craft

Contributing Writer Kim shares this tasty , easy and really fantastically educational activity with us ! I love her perspective of having two children at different levels, enjoy!

Do you remember candy bracelets?  This activity puts an educational and healthier twist to that bracelet from your past.  All you will need are chenille stems, loop cereal (such as Fruit Cheerios or Fruit Loops), and an egg carton or muffin tin.

This activity is perfect if you have children at different levels of development because it can be implemented in so many different ways.  I have a toddler and a preschooler.  Activities that they can both do at the same time score big points with me.  I gave my daughter an egg carton and asked her to put the cereal in each compartment.  This works great for developing motor skills.

My son was given a muffin tin and asked to sort the cereal by colors.  While both of the children put the cereal in their containers, I folded the tips of the chenille stems inward to make sure the wire did not poke the children.

After my son was finished sorting, I gave him a chenille straw.  I asked which colors he would like to use to make a bracelet.  Out of six colors, he only wanted to use two.  So I asked him to thread the cereal onto the stem in a pattern of green, green, orange, orange. Depending on your child, you can do patterns of ABAB, AABB (like we did), ABCABC, or any other pattern.

While my son was threading his cereal, I tried to show my daughter how to thread the cereal onto the stem.  As soon as we got one piece of cereal on she would chomp on it and giggle.  It was extremely cute and provided her with a ton of fine motor skill practice, but didn’t help me get a picture to share with you.  My daughter is only 19 months old and is not ready for patterns, but simply threading the cereal onto the stem is a great activity.  She also just used the chenille stem as a hockey stick to shoot the cereal onto the floor.  We will just call that a hand-eye coordination building exercise.  Mommy didn’t appreciate it very much and put an end to it quickly.

When my son was finished threading the cereal we talked about the pattern and how it made the string look a certain way because of the pattern.  I put on a purple and a red at the very end and asked him if those two matched the rest.  We talked about how those two didn’t fit in with the pattern, so he decided they needed to be taken off.

To make it a neat bracelet we simply wrapped the chenille stem around his wrist and twisted the ends together.  Now you have a great snack to finish up your fun learning activity.  The best thing about this snack is that it is portable and can be taken along for the fun.

My son’s preschool class does this activity on a regular basis.  As you can imagine it is a big hit with the girls, but met with the same enthusiasm from the boys.  I want to thank my son’s preschool teachers for providing me with a fun learning activity that is so easy to do at home.  I know they aren’t the ones that originated it, but they shared it with me and I thought I would share it with you.

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Kim is a contributing writer for No Time For Flash Cards, a mom to a toddler, a preschooler, and a foster parent, too. She juggles her day by trying out fun activities and crafts with the kids. After all, she is just a big kid herself. See what she has been up to over at Mom Tried It.

Pretend Play- During Dinner!

Pretend Play

My husband commutes into the city everyday and we are left with little family time during the week. So to fit some family fun in we decided to turn dinner time into play time ! My son and I planned the meal, the menu and even met my husband at the door “in character”.  It was a blast! Pretend play is a major part of preschooler’s play and there are ample opportunities to learn or simply connect with your kids within pretend play.

  1. Gather your materials.  Grab some paper and a marker to make a menu and get your food cooking! A you can see our menu was kind of spendy! Let your child set the prices. Pretend Play
  2. Make some table settings that are appropriate for the restaurant you are pretending to be, for us it was a local fish and chips shop so we gathered up some ketchup, tartar sauce and set the table with the obligatory water.  We rolled our silverware in paper towels and taped it with some paper.  Pretend PlayPretend Play
  3. We prepared the bread and butter. Pretend Play
  4. Met our customer at the door… that sign is sitting on our Recycled Music Stand we made a while back. Pretend Play
  5. Took his order Pretend Play
  6. Then I took his order- hey there are no rules to pretend play the waiter eats with the customers at our restaurant. Pretend Play
  7. Enjoyed some appetizers and ate our food.
  8. Then presented him with our bill.  If you have older siblings this would be a fun part to practice addition, explain taxes etc… Pretend Play

Remember to have fun even if the only time you have to do it is dinner time on a busy weekday!

Easy Frozen Easter Treats

frozen easter treats We try to eat healthy, and during Easter it’s hard with all the candy everywhere!  I adore candy and my pregnant willpower is um… not really strong. So when I decided to make some fun treats I wanted at least one of them to be truly healthy. These frozen Easter treats are fantastic and the molds are available at discount retailers like Walmart. So it won’t break your bank either. * This post was written in 2010 but the molds are still available in 2014! I saw them this week at Walmart*

 

 

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a silicone mini cake pan ( they still have Easter themed ones at both Target and Walmart in my area), a blender,  low fat vanilla yogurt, and frozen or fresh fruit of your choice.  Easy Easter Treats
  2. Pop 2 scoops of the yogurt in ( about 3/4 cup) and 1/2 – 3/4 cups of the fruit. Easy Easter Treats
  3. Blend Easy Easter Treats
  4. Pour Easy Easter Treats
  5. Freeze ( we froze ours for 2 hours and they were perfect- formed but not rock hard.) If you freeze them longer just let them thaw for 30 minutes  in your fridge before serving them so they are soft enough to eat with a spoon.  Easy Easter Treats
  6. Pop out of the mold and enjoy !  These were a huge hit with my son.  Easy Easter Treats

Almost Homemade Carrot Cupcakes

Easy Easter Treats

  1. Gather your materials. Grab your favorite carrot cake and cream cheese icing recipes or boxed mix and a tub of icing, orange and green jelly bellys . I should note that although I did use a mix I also mixed in 1/4 cup of crushed pineapple and it was very very yummy.
  2. Bake and cool your cupcakes.
  3. Ice them and add your jelly beans in the shape of a carrot!Easy Easter Treats
  4. Eat more than you care to admit and send the rest to your husband’s office.