Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Reindeer Sugar Cookies

I made these adorable reindeer cookies for a my mom's group holiday party last year.  I loved how they were so simple to make...and they were a big hit with the kids.

-Sugar cookie mix (or peanut butter, gingerbread)
-Whatever other ingredients you need to bake your cookies (butter, egg, flour)
-Red & black M&M's
-Chocolate dipped pretzels (like Flipz)...plain pretzels work just fine too.

Bake cookies as directed.

After removing cookies from the oven, immediately (slowly and gently) press two mini pretzels into the top part of the cookies for the reindeer's antlers. 

Allow cookies to cool a couple minutes on the baking sheet and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.  After cookies are completely cooled, add a little dab of frosting onto two black M&M's for the eyes and a red M&M for the nose.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Liebster Blog Award

Blogland is lovely, so much sharing and support! And in the spirit of sharing and support, Jessica at What's Fun Today?  has given me the Liebster Blog Award!  Thank you so much Jessica!  I'm truly honored!

The word 'liebster' actually comes from the German word for love, friend or dearest - very sweet!
The goal of the award is to spotlight up-and-coming blogs with less than 200 followers. The rules are:

*copy and paste the award on your blog
*thank the giver and link back to them
*reveal your top 5 picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog
*hope that your followers will spread the love to other bloggers

So without further ado (in no particular order), I would love to pass this award to:

The Learning Hypothesis
The Mud Pie Makers
Dinosaurs and Octopuses
Mermaids' Makings
At Home With Ali

I hope you will go visit these blogs and see what they offer including What's Fun Today?. Please leave them some blog love with comments and let them know I sent you!

Have a great day!!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Choo-Choo! Sight Word Train

My son has had a love for trains since he was a baby, and his love for trains hasn't wavered.  So you can imagine my excitement when I stumbled across A Mom With A Lesson Plan's sight word activity with trains.  How wonderful to incorporate some learning, with something he loves to play with on a daily basis!

-Train tracks
-Post-It Notes ® or Blue Tape

We first practiced spelling sight words.  I would place a letter on each train, jumble up the letters, and tell my son to spell a sight word.  In the example pictures, I asked him to spell the words "like" and "can".

Next, I had him practice forming a sentence (since he is required to write one by the end of the year).  I gave him four words and only gave him the clues on the trains itself.  The first clue is the capital letter (which he knows is at the beginning of a sentence).  The second clue (although it's hard to see in the picture) is the period at the end of the word "trains", which he knows comes at the end of the sentence.

Here he formed the sentence "I see blue trains."

Here is an example of another sentence:  "I like to run."  Again, I only gave him the four words, and he had to form the sentence himself based on the clues, and knowing how to read the words himself.

On Pinterest?   We would love for you to come follow Juggling With Kids!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Carole's Party Ideas ~Invite & Delight

Today I would like to introduce you to a friend and former colleague, Carole. She is graciously sharing with us three Thanksgiving crafts if any of you have any last minute decorations you need, please check them out.

Carole is a proud mom to two amazing children,  and is also a high school English and leadership teacher. During her free time she  LOVES to host parties for her girlfriends. 

With her busy schedule, she found it difficult to get together with her girlfriends on a regular basis.  So she found a plan and organize a monthly dinner for 12 of her best friends on the first Monday of the month.  She wanted to keep a consistent date, so that her friends could always plan accordingly.  Carole then plans all the food, decorating, and planning based on a theme she has chosen.  All her friends have to do is show up!  

She has been hosting these monthly dinners for five years now....with themes such as Cookin' Up A Top Chef and A Survivor Soiree.  And finally by some nudging by her friends, she is graciously sharing all her creative ideas through her blog Invite and Delight.  I am definitely inspired by her creativity and cute themes, and I hope you will check her out and be inspired too.  


Pumpkin Centerpiece

-28-30" dryer hose that is 4" in diameter
-Floral Wire
-Orange paint (I used Delta paint from Michaels)

1. Cut dryer hose with wire cutters.  
2. Use floral wire in several places to hold cut edges together to form a complete circle (drawn close in middle). 
3. Paint with orange craft paint.
4. Once dry, glue a twisted piece of a brown paper bag to the top center as a stem (glue upright).  
5. Add a piece of small silk ivy as the vine 4-6" or less, if desired.

-2 Sheets of Cardstock (2 colors)
-2 Brads
-Green Construction Paper
-Brown Pipe Cleaner

1.  Type your "I am thankful for (insert your idea)" spaced out evenly on strips of cardstock.
2.  Cut cardstock paper into strips -- 1.5" x 8.5"  (need 10 strips for pumpkin)
3.  Make a small hole in the center of both ends of each strip. 
(Use small hole puncher or another tool to make the small holes.)
4.  Alternate the "I am thankful" strips by color and put them into a stack.
5.  Feed the prongs of a brad thru the holes on one end of the stack with the metal circle 
of the brad resting on the side with the writing.  Secure Brad.
6.  Fan out the slips with the writing side facing the table.
7.  Pull up one strip and feed the prongs of the 2nd brad thru the hole with the metal circle 
resting on the blank side of the strips.  Continue putting strips on brad going in a circular pattern.
8.  When all of the strips are on the brad and you have formed a ball, 
secure the brad by pushing the prongs down in opposite directions.
9. Cut 2 leaf shapes from the green construction paper.  Make a small hole at bottom of each leaf.
10. Wrap the brown pipe cleaner around a pencil to make a spiral shape.  
Gently slide the pipe cleaner off to keep spiral shape.
11. Lift up prongs of brad, hold brad in place from below, and slide on leaves.
12. Place brown pipe cleaner next to prongs, push prongs down on top of pipe cleaner 
to securely attach the leaves and "stem".

-An artificial sunflower or Gerbera Daisy
-Beige, red, and orange card stock
-Googly eyes
-Small magnet

1.  Trim the petals from one side of the flower as shown in photo. 
2. Make the turkey's face by gluing two googly eyes and a colored card-stock beak and wattle onto a large brown button or paper circle (cardstock was used here). 
3.  Glue the face to the flower center.
4. Glue the magnet to the back of the flower.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Don't Let The Pigeon Stay Up Late!

My children love Mo Willems's Pigeon series.  Our favorite is "Don't let the Pigeon Stay Up Late!"  If you haven't read these books yet, you should definitely check them out.  They're hilarious!  I found these adorably cute pigeon hand prints on a site called Mommy and Me Book Club, so we decided to make them after reading the story.

-Light blue paint
-Star puncher
-Googly eye
-Paint brush
-Cut outs (yellow pigeon beak, white collar, two yellow pigeon feet, yellow moon, yellow stars)

Start out by making the hand print with the light blue paint.   Then paint a neck and head next to the hand print.  Let the paint fully dry before adding the embellishments.  I used a hair dryer to speed up the drying process.

For  younger children, I added small dabs of glue onto the pigeon and gave them verbal instructions on adding the embellishments.

The girls working on decorating their hand prints.

My daughter loved gluing on the stars...

It's a pretty simple project for older kids...

Friday, November 18, 2011

Marble Painting

Marble painting is one of my favorite's easy for the young ones to do, the mess is contained, and it's simply fun. (Even I enjoy creating my own marble paintings)

-Baking Pan or a cardboard lid to a box
-Bowls/Egg carton & Spoon (optional)

Place your paper in the pan (you may need to cut it to fit, depending on the size of your pan).

I've done this marble painting two ways.  The first way is to dip the marbles into the paint first, then add it to the pan.  There's nothing wrong with doing it this way, but you'll find yourself re-dipping the marbles in more paint a few times before you're done.  If you want to try it this way, you'll need some bowls to put the paint in, or my favorite thing to use is an egg carton.

The second way is to just add a few drops of paint directly into the pan. Add 3-5 marbles and let the kids begin rolling the marbles around the pan.  This activity allows the kids to work on their hand and eye coordination as they try to get the marbles to go through the paint.

As the kids were rolling their marbles around the pan, they enthusiastically yelled out how the paint was turning purple.  This is definitely a great activity to talk to them about the primary colors (red, blue, yellow) and how artists can create secondary colors (green, purple, orange) by mixing two primary colors. 

Here are a couple samples of the creations that were made:

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Mini Marshmallow Shooter

We had a play date with our friends, so I decided to make these really simple, inexpensive mini marshmallow shooters that I found on Real Simple's website.

-Plastic cups
-Packing tape (not pictured)

First cut the bottom of your plastic cup.  If your cup cracks a bit, like mine did, I would just reinforce it with some packing tape.  Next tie a not at the end of your balloon, and cut off about a 1/2 inch from the other end. 

Next, using two hands, stretch the balloon over the bottomless cup.  Try to have the knotted part of the balloon directly in the middle.

Then finally, add some packing tape around the balloon to prevent it from popping off the cup.

Now put a few marshmallows inside the cup, pull the knotted end of the balloon and let go to shoot.

I have high ceilings in my house, so the boys were trying to see if they could get all the marshmallows to touch the ceiling.

Next time we play this, we'll have to go outside and see who can shoot it the furthest distance.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Vanilla Peppermint Cupcakes

I recently threw a Holiday themed party and made these delicious Sprinkles cupcakes. Sprinkles cupcakes are very popular here in Southern California.  Many people wait in long lines, sometimes an hour long, just to get these very dense, moist cupcakes.  I made three batches of this recipe, however I only made two batches of the icing.  I didn't feel the need to pile on the icing like they do at it is a very sweet, dense and creamy frosting.  I then topped off the cupcakes with 3 M&M's and a couple mint leaves to resemble holly berries. 

Sprinkles Vanilla-Peppermint Cupcakes 
via Oprah  Makes 1 dozen cupcakes

-Vanilla-Peppermint Cupcake:
-1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
-1 tsp. baking powder
-1/4 tsp. coarse salt
-1/2 cup whole milk, room temperature
-1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
-1 tsp. peppermint extract
-1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
-1 cup sugar
-1 large egg , room temperature
-2 large egg whites, room temperature

1.  Preheat oven to 350°.
2.  Line muffin tin with cupcake liners; set aside.
3. In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.
4. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter on medium-high, until light and fluffy.
5. Gradually add sugar and beat until well combined and fluffy.
6. Reduce the mixer speed to medium and slowly add egg and egg whites until just blended.
7. With the mixer on low, slowly add half the flour mixture; mix until just blended. Add the milk vanilla, and peppermint extract. Slowly add remaining flour mixture. Make sure everything is well blended.
8. Pour batter into paper cups.
9. Bake for about 22 to 25 minutes.
Let cool completely before frosting.

Vanilla-Peppermint Frosting

-1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter , firm but not cold
-1/8 tsp. salt
-3 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar , sifted
-1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
-1/2 tsp. peppermint extract
-1/2 tsp. milk

1.  In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and salt on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
2. Reduce the speed to low, and gradually add the confectioners’ sugar. Beat until well incorporated.
3. Add the extracts and milk and beat until smooth and creamy. Do not over mix or the frosting will incorporate too much air; it should be creamy and dense like ice cream.  If consistency is too hard; add a tablespoon of milk, one tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is achieved.