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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Bake and cool your cupcakes.
- While they cool tear the rope licorice apart into single strands.
- Cut into smaller pieces you can make into petals
- When cupcakes are cool ice .
- Make letters to spell out MOM on one cupcake each or.. put it on a single cupcake.
- Make petals ( it’s easier to make them before adding it to the icing ) by pressing the ends tightly together.
- Add to the cupcake
- Add a candy middle.
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 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.
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.
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.
________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- We prepared the bread and butter.
- Met our customer at the door… that sign is sitting on our Recycled Music Stand we made a while back.
- Took his order
- Then I took his order- hey there are no rules to pretend play the waiter eats with the customers at our restaurant.
- Enjoyed some appetizers and ate our food.
- Then presented him with our bill. If you have older siblings this would be a fun part to practice addition, explain taxes etc…
Remember to have fun even if the only time you have to do it is dinner time on a busy weekday!
We try to eat healthy, and during Easter it’s hard with all the candy everywhere! I adore candy and my pregnant will power 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! The other could be if I had made it from scratch but I didn’t- but you can ! Either way they are both super simple and very very tasty!
- 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.
- Bake and cool your cupcakes.
- Ice them and add your jelly beans in the shape of a carrot!
- Eat more than you care to admit and send the rest to your husband’s office.
Frozen Yogurt Eggs
- 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.
- Pop 2 scoops of the yogurt in ( about 3/4 cup) and 1/2 – 3/4 cups of the fruit.
- 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.
- Pop out of the mold and enjoy ! These were a huge hit with my son.
I am always trying to find activities that can be part of a holiday we celebrate but aren’t so targeted that readers who do not celebrate it can’t use it either today or another time in the year. So this Letter C craft was born, carrots can be part of a unit on gardening, healthy eating or for us something we make in preparation for the Easter bunny.
- Gather your materials. You will need some cardboard ( paper will do but cardboard just makes it more substantial), a marker, a small dish, scissors, 3 or more green pipe cleaners, a sponge, hole punch, orange paint, a sheet of construction paper and glue if you are going to display it. Ours is resting on the blue paper in the picture but we didn’t glue it on, it’s part of our Easter craft mish mash on our table!
- Start by writing a C on the cardboard, I tried to make mine thicker at the top and thinner at the bottom to make it resemble a carrot.
- Pour some orange paint into a dish.
- Paint! My son loves this glass sponge and how it paints. I love that the sponges make the paint go thinner which makes it dry faster.
- Let it dry, cut out.
- Punch 3 holes in the top. My son was able to do this with help, the cardboard was too thick for his hand strength to do it alone.
- Chase your son around the kitchen when he runs off with the pipe cleaners pretending to conduct an orchestra. Try to decide if it’s brilliant or if you are just too tired and frustrated ( and pregnant) to indulge him when he says” No mama you need to play the Bassoon, I’ll be the trombone!” give in for a bit then consider bribing him with Easter candy just as he decides to come back on his own. Thread the pipe cleaners through the holes.
- Twist together.
- If you are gluing to the paper add glue to the back of the carrot , press onto the paper and let dry.
Want even more letter of the week crafts?
Check out my eBook Alphabet Crafts , it’s filled with letter of the week crafts from A-Z including 5 exclusive never before seen crafts !
Coco The Carrot by Steven Salerno is an absurd tale of adventure, and I loved it. Coco is a carrot who dreams of a life larger than the vegetable drawer . She dreams big and goes for it. Unlike most carrots that end up in stew she becomes a famous hat designer and is the toast of Paris with her Monkey companion Anton. If you are scratching your head but oddly intrigued you will like this book. It was long but my son sat with me giggling and telling me ” Carrots can’t do that?!” more than once. I loved it because it is so absurd that she is a carrot, but the story itself is about going for your dreams, hitting bumps in the road and realizing that your dreams shift and change and that’s ok. There is great bits of humor for the adults as well, something I always appreciate!
A Very Big Bunny by Marisabina Russo is a nice book about 2 bunnies that don’t fit in at school. This book opened a good dialogue between my son and I as we were reading about how both the tallest and the shortest bunny in the class got picked on. The students in their class were mean but not purposefully bullying, they excluded these bunnies because they simply didn’t fit. The part that hit me the most was when the teacher lined the kids up by height, and Amelia the tall bunny was always last. It just made me think of how adults so often single kids out without trying to be terrible, but really hurting them. All that aside, the book itself comes to a nice conclusion and I think it’s worth grabbing for any child tall or short!
Carrot Soup by John Segal is a cute book about planting a garden, in this case carrots, tending it and then reaping the rewards…. or maybe not. Rabbit carefully planned out his garden, took care of it but when it was time to gather all the carrots they were all gone! Throughout the pages there are hints to where the carrots might be, your child will likely figure it out before Rabbit does. My son liked this book and I loved reading it with him as he was rather exasperated that the Rabbit couldn’t figure out the mystery!