No matter how many fancy desserts I learn how to make Rice Krispie Treats remain one of the most delish to gobble up. Using the traditional Rice Krispie Treat recipe plus a few jelly beans you can quickly make your very own birds nest perfect for a Spring dessert.
Rice Krispie Treat Bird Nests
makes approximately 16 nests
based on Original Rice Krispie Treat Recipe
1 Tablespoon butter
1 1/3 C miniature marshmallows (or 13 large marshmallows)
2 Cups Rice Krispies
mini muffin tin
Melt butter in saucepan. Add marshmallows and stir until melted.
Remove from heat, add the Rice Krispies and stir until completely coated.
Place a spoonful of Rice Krispie mixture in a greased miniature muffin tin. Make an indent in each Rice Krispie bird nest.
Place two jelly beans in each nest and let cool.
You could easily adapt this recipe to use large muffin tins, but I love the little bite-sized treats!
Let me know how they turn out!
Well it's still Winter here. Saturday brought us large snowflakes, and yes it was beautiful, but I am still ready for Spring! My kids are itching for more time to run and jump in the warm breeze! And I'm itching for easier ways to tire them out! Despite the snow we're continuing to Celebrate Spring with these beautiful, cheery butterflies.
YOU WILL NEED: colored 8 x 11 paper, scissors, markers/crayons/colored pencils, pipe cleaners, stapler/clear tape
Begin by folding the colored paper in half and drawing half of a butterfly shape.
Cut along the line making sure to not cut the folded part. If this is too tricky for your child (I helped Quinn) cut out the butterfly yourself.
Creating butterflies is a wonderful opportunity to teach older children about symmetry. Look at photographs of butterflies to observe how they are the same on each side, then have your child create his own symmetrical butterflies.
If you have little ones like mine simply give your child the opportunity to decorate paper butterflies.
Using pipe cleaners create the body and antennae of the butterfly and secure with staples or tape.
So easy! The perfect cheery butterfly (with cute boy growing up too fast!)
We created a butterfly sanctuary by taping our butterflies around the entrance to our living room. Quinn said "Every time you pass under the butterflies they will make people happy so we hug and kiss each other." Sounds good to me!
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Wouldn't it be great if I told you Beaches Resort in Negril
paid me to vacation there and then write about it? This TOTALLY didn't happen, but wouldn't it be great? Hmm, maybe someday. In the meantime here is the follow up to all of our vacation prep found here
. We had an absolutely amazing time in Jamaica. The weather was perfect, the staff was unbelievably kind to all of us and the ocean was perfect for little ones. One of the biggest hits is that Beaches has joined forces with Sesame Street. This means full access to the Sesame Street characters at no additional cost. We had a tea party with Abby, a dance party with Elmo, made cookies with Cookie Monster and practiced our ABCs with Zoe. I think my kids were ready to move there!
Thanks for the memories, Jamaica! We'll be in touch.
Here in Connecticut it is still freezing and an abundance of snow is still on the ground, but I am done with Winter. I love sledding and making snowpeople with my kids and the way the snow clings to tree branches is breathtaking, but every year around mid-February I become very sick of Winter. What's a Mama to do? Well, in our house we're celebrating Spring early! Time for a new series. Check back often for Spring-themed activities and recipes. Today we are beginning with Happy Garden Playdough.
YOU WILL NEED:
makes enough for 4 children
2 C flour
1 C salt
2 C water
2 TB vegetable oil
4 tsp cream of tartar
green food coloring
Pour first five ingredients into a large saucepan and stir together. This is a great opportunity to include your children. Show them how to measure the ingredients and pour them in.
More than one child? Have them take turns pouring ingredients and stirring. This is an easy opportunity to practice basic counting, verbal directions and patience. We sing "We stir and we stir and we stop. We stir and we stir and we stop. We stir and we stir and we stir and we stir, we stir and we stir and we stop. Next person!" It's a simple song that everyone can learn quickly and helps manage turn taking.
Add the food coloring and stir until completely combined.
Move the mixture to the stove top and cook on medium heat constantly stirring. In the beginning the playdough mixture will look like very thick pancake batter.
Continue to stir until a ball forms. Remove from heat and cool on a counter top. Be careful! The playdough will be very hot.
Once warm or cool to the touch your playdough is ready. I introduced the playdough with a plate of brightly colored flowers.
"Whoa, we get to use REAL flowers?" said Quinn. My children were so excited to explore the flowers. They smelled them, inspected the different parts and pulled the petals off. And of course figured out various way to incorporate the flowers with their new green grass playdough.
Our animal friends used in our snow playdough
were eager to play to. I think they are as sick of Winter as I am!
Come on, Spring! We're ready for you!
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Let's face it, getting dinner on the table while taking care of young children is not an easy task. 10 minutes to a hungry, cranky four year old seems like F-O-R-E-V-E-R. This is why I have decided to declare my love to whomever invented the salad spinner. Who is this genius who designed the perfect toy for my son? The salad spinner aids gross motor development, provides a multi- sensory exploration, scientific observation AND we have the makings of a salad? Perfection!
Begin by giving your child a head of lettuce and the salad spinner. This works best if you buy lettuce that is not pre-washed. If possible you want visible dirt! Have your child rip the lettuce leaves and place in the spinner.
Quinn: "Hey, look at the dirt! Is this from our garden?"
Me: "No, but it is from a garden. The lettuce grows in the dirt the same way as our summer lettuce."
Fill the salad spinner with water explaining that the lettuce is dirty and needs a bath. Give your child plenty of time to explore the lettuce in the water. This is a wonderful sensory activity. Quinn loved sinking his hands into the cold water and then inspecting the lettuce.
Of course, he needed to taste it too!
Quinn was fascinated by the mechanics of the salad spinner. "When I push this down, how does it make it spin? We explored the inside and the different parts of the spinner. Look at the amount of dirt that is left in the water! Repeat.
Quinn played with the salad spinner for over twenty minutes. At the end of his play I had a little boy feeling empowered that he helped make dinner, lettuce ready for the salad bowl and a child invested in his meal.
I love hearing from readers! What's your child's favorite "non-toy"?
Yesterday we were scurrying around finishing Quinn's school valentines, baking treats, playing hide and seek games (love the squeals of delight even though they hide in the same place every time!) and just attempting to fill the day. With three kids I find we keep our sanity by keeping the day busy.
During a lull Quinn put his head down in my lap. As I brushed the hair off his forehead he looked up at me with those same baby blues I've known for four years. In that moment I realized that in my attempt to stay busy I had not taken a moment to truly gaze into Quinn's eyes that day. The way a tiny amount of gold was peeking through his blues, the small scar on his forehead from when he fell into the coffee table. He looked up at me, and I stopped to see how old my little one is starting to look.
Quinn at 6 months
It is easy to get caught up in keeping our life busy, but this moment solidified an important lesson for me as a parent. Sometimes it is less about what we are doing with our children and more about how thoughtful and present we are in the moment. In that moment the toys and projects vanished, and Quinn peacefully lay in my lap neither of us ready from him to grow up quite yet.
Time to be the coolest parent on the block again! With chocolate in abundance this time of year why not set up a special chocolate tasting event? Even better this activity incorporates a little math lesson as well. Get ready for the tastiest math lesson ever!
YOU WILL NEED: a variety of chocolates (I used an assortment of Dan's Truffles and cut them into bite sized pieces), white paper, markers/colored pencils/crayons
Start by creating a chocolate tasting sheet for each participant. I photocopied the chocolate wrappers on my home printer and then put a YES box and a NO box next to each chocolate. Each sheet was labeled with the participant's name.
Give each participant a plate with bite sized pieces of chocolate. Label each chocolate using a small piece of paper.
As a group taste one piece of chocolate at a time. After tasting a piece of chocolate each participant decides whether he liked it and colors in the Yes box or No box.
After we enjoyed the delicious job of tasting the chocolates we collected our findings on another piece of paper to figure out that was our family's favorite chocolate.
Quinn loved this activity so much he wants to keep track of our dinners now too. Stay tuned, I think we have a little mathematician in our house!
What's your favorite chocolate? Looks like we are a dark chocolate family!
When it looks like this outside and you've watched way too many kids' shows and froze their noses with outdoor fun, it's time to get baking! With Valentine's Day quickly approaching this is the perfect day to make Peanut Butter Heart Cookies.
Peanut Butter Heart Cookies
adapted from Hershey's Kitchens
1 package Dove Heart Chocolates
1/2 C butter
3/4 C all natural peanut butter
1/3 C sugar
1/3 C packed light brown sugar
2 Tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 C all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
Heat oven to 375°F. Remove wrappers from chocolates.
Mix butter and peanut butter in large bowl until well blended. Add 1/3 cup sugar and brown sugar and beat until fluffy. Add egg, milk and vanilla; beat well. Stir together flour, baking soda and salt; gradually beat into peanut butter mixture.
Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in sugar and place on ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned.
Immediately press a chocolate into center of each cookie. Don't worry, the cookies will crack around the edges. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely.
Mmm, chocolate and peanut butter, the perfect Valentine's Day treat!
Oof, well, here in Connecticut we are hunkering down for 18-24 inches of snow! I actually love playing in the snow with my kids, but with the weather only in the 20s it looks like we will be spending a lot of time indoors too. This homemade granola recipe is adapted from one my aunt gave me. My aunt's recipe is unbelievably delicious, but 12 tablespoons of sugar was too much to give to my kids on a regular basis. So I gave myself the difficult task of tinkering with the recipe and eating lots of granola in the process.
3 C old-fashioned oats
1/2 C slivered almonds or sunflower seeds
¾ C shredded sweetened coconut
3 tbsp pure maple syrup
3 tbsp packed brown sugar
¼ C coconut or vegetable oil
2 tbsp warm water
½ tsp salt
Preheat oven to 250° F. Line cookie sheet with aluminum foil and lightly grease. Toss first four ingredients together in a large bowl. In a separate container, whisk syrup, brown sugar, oil, water, and salt until thoroughly blended.
Stir the oat mixture into the syrup mixture.
Spread mixture out over the baking sheet and bake approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes or until lightly browned.
Let cool and then break into pieces. The granola is delicious on its own or if you want a really amazing treat sprinkle it on top of vanilla ice cream. My son made it even more decadent by adding pineapple chunks and chocolate chips.
Feel free to be creative! Add different types of nuts. After baking mix in dried fruit. Happy baking!
I love hearing from readers! What is your favorite way to eat granola?
Children's literature is an essential component to any learning opportunity. Throughout the year I rotate the books on our living room and bedroom bookshelves. In addition to simply providing great literature I like to include seasonal books as well. Here are some of my favorites for Valentine's Day.
Franklin's Valentines Paulette Boureois
Biscuit's Valentine's Day Alyssa Satin Capucilli
Max's Valentine Rosemary Wells
Where is Baby's Valentine? Karen Katz
The I Love You Book Todd Parr
Clifford's Valentine's Day Norman Bridwell
The Best Thing About Valentines Eleanor Hudson
Arthur's Valentine Marc Brown
Happy Valentine's Day, Little Critter! Mercer Mayer
Maisy's Valentine Lucy Cousins
Lilly's Chocolate Heart Kevin Henkes
Baby's First Valentine (Baby's First Series)
Tucker's Valentine Leslie McGuirk