St. Patrick’s Day Food – Irish Soda Bread

Guest Post By Deirdre Smith

st. patrick's day recipes

I am so excited about sharing on No Time For Flash Cards today. I have been following this blog for along time and love Allison’s ideas. My son  (JDaniel) loves to cook and bake with me. With Saint Patrick’s Day drawing near I thought it would be fun to make Irish Soda Bread. Bread making has always been a challenge for me. The end products are usually too tough because I have over kneaded them. Bread that tastes like a rock or should I say Blarney Stone isn’t good at all.

While searching through recipes online, I found one for Irish Soda Bread that didn’t require any kneading at all just stirring called Amazingly Easy Irish Soda Bread on AllRecipes.com. My son loves to stir. This sounded like a great recipe for us.
It is super easy too. This one just required dumping in ingredients and stirring. We are both really good at that.
Here is the recipe:

Easy Irish Soda Bread

Ingredients:
3 cups of bleached flour ( I used unbleached.)
1 tablespoon of baking powder
1/3 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 egg
2 cups of buttermilk
¼ cup of melted butter
I added:
1 cup of raisins or a dried fruit your children like

Directions:
1. Grease the bottom of a loaf pan and preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
2. Dump in all the dry ingredients.

3. Mix them together.

4. Add the egg and melt butter.

5. Stir until all the ingredients are moist.

6. Add raisins and stir just until they are blended into the mixture.

7. Pour into pan.

8. Bake for one hour.
9. Let it cool overnight.

10. Eat!

 

 

JDaniel4’s Mom spent twenty years teaching children as elementary school teacher in Virginia and South Carolina before becoming a mom. Now her four year old son JDaniel is teaching her to explore the world through his eyes. She hosts a weekly link up called Read.Explore.Learn. that encourages bloggers to share ways they are extending ideas they have read in books with their children through crafts, learning experiences, cooking and more.

 

Playdough + Drinking Straws = Simple Fun

Guest Post by Cathy James

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Playdough is such a versatile play material that we really can’t get enough of it in our house. My elder daughter is nine now and we’ve been using playdough since she was around the age of one. We make a fresh batch using our favorite homemade recipe every few months and have it out to play most weeks. That’s a lot of playdough playing! I think it’s remained one of our favorite ways to play because we’re always adding new elements – new ingredients or accessories to give it a twist and invite the children to try the dough a different way.

Have you ever tried adding drinking straws to your playdough? This was a super frugal material for us as they’d already been used for scissor practise and making some contact paper art – but how would the kids use it with playdough? It’s always interesting to offer a new combination of materials, sit alongside an observe, and see what they children discover.

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Firstly, my 5-year-old discovered the drinking straws were great for making circle patterns in the playdough – and sometimes the playdough stayed inside the straw and she made lots of holes.

IMG_4619-1 Even more fun was discovering that with a gentle squeeze she could make lots of playdough worms pop out of the straws.

IMG_4640-1 She tested out how to make the straws stand upright in the dough and we mixed in some math play by ordering the straw pieces from the biggest to the smallest. She also made families by collecting all the straws into matching color groups – great classification practise while she played.

What could you add to your playdough this week to give you children something new to discover? We’ve tried chocolate, toothpicks, pencils and leaves with great fun results.

5733152631_944482ec16_mIf you’d like a printable version of our favorite playdough recipes, together with a year’s worth of ideas of things you can add in with your playdough, please stop by NurtureStore to get a free copy of our Let’s Play Dough ebook. I’d love to welcome you over on our Facebook page too – please come and like NurtureStore and I’ll keep in a regular supply of new play ideas.

 

Cathy James is the creative force behind NurtureStore a blog devoted to play ideas, kids’ crafts and fun activities.

Easy Envelope Puppets

Guest Post by Amanda
puppets

I’m always on the lookout for crafts that don’t involve a lot of…well, anything. I want something that is easy to set up, supplies I have around my house and something my kids can do without a lot of supervision! And this, my friends, fits all those qualifications and more!

envelope puppets

All you need is some crayons (check!), glue stick (check!), scissors (check!) and assorted envelopes (check!). So far, so good.

Let’s begin with the animal puppet. Take a long envelope, seal it and cut it in half.

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With the open side down, snip off the two bottom corners. (Save ‘em! We’ll need them in a minute.)

envelope craft

Now, turn the envelope around, color it pink, glue on those two snipped bottom corners and you have a pig! How cute is that?!

pig puppet

We made mice and frogs with this same idea (just round eyes and ears instead of triangle ears). You could make a whole zoo this way!

puppets

Our next puppet is a caterpillar. Or maybe it’s a snake. Or just a crazy little monster. It’s whatever you want it to be! Just take a square invitation envelope, fold it in half and cut off the outside top corner. Then make a “V” cut in the middle.

envelope craftWhen you open the envelope up (flap down!), you can stick your hand in, push two fingers out and you have a little puppet with antennas!

puppetsAren’t they cute? The one on the left kinda looks like Lord Voldemort, doesn’t he? Oh, well. My daughter thought he was cute!

So, next time your kids are hanging at your office or you need to write some bills, grab an envelope and start a puppet factory!

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Amanda is a stay-at-home mom of two who blogs at OhAmanda.com and Impress Your Kids. In her former life, Amanda was a Children’s Pastor — overseeing, organizing and developing ministry for kids in nursery through middle school, but now that she is a mom, her “skills” are used up on her kids!

Preschool Letter Activities

Guest Post by Jenae – I Can Teach My Child

Young children need plenty of opportunities recognizing and forming letters before they can become proficient at writing them.  Since the fine motor dexterity to form letters on paper sometimes doesn’t come until late in the preschool years, creativity is key!  When an activity blends multiple domains of early childhood development, this helps to engage your child even more. Here are just a few ideas for teaching letter recognition and letter formation in a fun and engaging way!

Window Streamer Letters
All you need for this activity is several small suction cup hooks and crepe paper streamers.
Place the suctions in the shape of the specific letter you are working on.  Then tear off small pieces of the crepe paper streamer and let your child place them on the suction cup hooks to form the letter.  The wonderful thing about this activity is that it blends language development (learning to recognize the letter) with fine motor development (the small muscles in the hands used to attach the streamer to the suction cup hooks).
Magic Wand Writing in the Air

Attach several pieces of ribbon or yarn to one end of a

dowel rod.  Let your little one create the letters in the air using the “magic wand.”
Playdough Snake Letters
Write a large letter on a piece of paper.  Show your child how to roll the playdough in order to create a “snake.”  Then have him (or her) trace the shape of the letter using the playdough snake!

What fun ways do you and your child practice forming letters?

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Jenae is a wife, mother of two boys’ ages 3 and 1, and former first-grade teacher. She loves spending time with her family and sharing fun and educational activities for young children on her blog I Can Teach My Child!

Gardening With Kids and Giveaway!

Today’s guest post is from Valerie  the author of Frugal Family Fun Blog where  she writes daily about her obsession with inexpensive crafts, family activities, and all around good times on a budget! For the past couple of years, her family has rented a 600 square foot garden plot from her township that proved to be an endless source of learning opportunities for her daughter Emily.
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Getting Started In early Spring, we had lots of fun starting seeds indoors! This helped to give Emily an appreciation for how long it takes plants to grow. She took very good care of her seedlings.

Next, we planted seeds and transfered some of the seedlings over to the garden plot. We found it helpful to have a kid-friendly garden layout, so as to avoid any little feet accidently squashing plants. Some good options include: raised beds, container gardening, or going with a square foot garden layout.

Kid-Friendly Garden Ideas

1. Raised Beds

2. Container Gardening

3. Square Foot Garden Layout

We chose to go with a square foot layout, which gave us plenty of vegetables and was a clear way for Emily to navigate her way around the garden without fear of stepping on any of the seedlings.

To be even more kid-friendly, we even gave Emily her very own space within our lot where she could grow whatever vegetables or flowers she wanted. She chose lots of broccoli, tomatoes, lettuce, and marigolds!

If possible, give your child his/her own special garden space!

Ten Gardening Chores Kids Can Do:

  1. Planting Seeds
  2. Making Seed Markers
  3. Watering Plants
  4. Weeding (with supervision)
  5. Harvesting Vegetables
  6. Loosening Soil
  7. Laying Down Straw
  8. Decorating the Garden (handmade mobiles, pinwheels, banners, etc.)
  9. Picking off bugs.
  10. Collecting Seeds for Next Year’s Garden

Garden Themed Books! Of course, we took advantage of our local public library as much as possible over the course of the Summer. Our favorite “garden” reads are The Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss….

….and Seeds! Seeds! Seeds! by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace.

Garden Crafts!
Some of our favorite garden activities were making garden stones using quick dry cement, an empty cereal box for a mold, and decorating with glass gems and sea shells…..

….and decorating a photo frame with dried beans (which Emily learned are also seeds). There are many more gardening craft ideas on Frugal Family Fun Blog too!

With lots of hard work, our garden was in full bloom!

Gardening is one of the best ways for kids to learn about where their food comes from, basic plant biology, and exposes kids to nature. As an added bonus, we saved lots of money by growing our own organic vegetables! I made a fun garden goody bag for Emily to harvest her vegetables in, and it was a great hit! I love to share good things, so I thought you might like one too!

Now the fun part — One lucky reader will win a personalized garden goody bag, similar to the one shown above! To enter, leave a comment on this post and be sure to leave your email address in the comments field. Giveaway is open to all US and Canadian residents. Winner will be chosen by random.org and giveaway ends Saturday, June 19th @ 6:30PM EST.

Good luck!!

Congrats Luna!!  You Won. Check your email !