Thursday, August 28, 2014

Easy Homemade Butter with Kids

This is one of those classic activities that everyone needs to try with their children at least once (or many, many times).  As part of our farm theme, we read The Little Red Hen and made adorable handprint hens to go along with it.  Then, we made our own bread and what goes best with homemade bread?  Why, homemade butter, that's what!
Easy Homemade Butter with Kids - Mamas Like Me
This activity is great for introducing science investigation of solids and liquids with young kids.

For this activity, you'll need:
Heavy cream
Baby Food Jars
Homemade Butter Supplies
We let our cream sit on the counter for a bit to bring it to room temperature.  This saved the kids from having to shake too long!

We filled our jars about 2/3 full of cream and made sure the lids were on tight.  (This is important!)
Easy Homemade Butter with Kids - Mamas Like Me
Then, the kids got to work shaking their jars.  I found it best to fill a few jars and let the kids pass them around.  That way, no one had to shake for too long and they still got excited when it was their turn to shake.
Easy Homemade Butter with Kids - Mamas Like Me
After about 10 minutes, the cream turned into butter (solid) with buttermilk (liquid) on top.  You can pour off the liquid or save it to use later.  We just poured ours off into the sink.  Then, I took a spoon to squeeze out any extra liquid and stir the butter into a nice creamy consistency.
Easy Homemade Butter with Kids - Mamas Like Me
Then, we added just a pinch of salt to our jars and stirred up the butter.

Seriously, this was the best-tasting butter I have ever had!  The kids loved it and couldn't wait to try it on our cinnamon raisin bread.  This would also be good in a classroom with just plain crackers or toast.
Easy Homemade Butter with Kids - Mamas Like Me
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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Little Red Hen Handprint Craft & Activity

Whenever I start planning a unit for the Daycare kids, I come up with a list of books and try to come up with activities and crafts to go with those books.  One of our favorite crafts with the Farm Theme books was this handprint hen with our reading of The Little Red Hen.  I love this book because it teaches kids that it's important to help out with work and that everyone can enjoy the rewards if everyone pitches in.  This is something we review every day at clean-up time!
The Little Red Hen Handprint Paper Plate Craft - Mamas Like Me

Monday, August 25, 2014

Kid-Friendly Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins

Summer at our house means fresh veggies straight from the garden. One day I hope that it will be our garden, but right now we're busy raising babies and I just haven't figured out a way to do both. In the meantime, we're blessed with wonderful family and neighbors that keep us supplied with all the extras from their gardens.

After getting a bunch of zucchini from my cousin, I couldn't wait to try out some muffin recipes with the kids.  They have decided that they will no longer eat my fabulous chocolate zucchini bread unless its in muffin form, which I'm fully convinced is because it looks more like a chocolate cupcake.  Since I aim to please, I've taken to making all my bread recipes as muffins (and mini muffins) to keep the little ones happy and chomping away.

These muffins freeze beautifully and are perfect for busy school mornings.  Plus, I feel better because I'm squeezing just a little more veggies into their day!  I've made these a couple times and I always double the recipe so we have enough for a few weeks.  I've also included extra modifications that I made for one of my daycare kids that has a soy and nut allergy, just in case you're interested.

Ingredients:
1 cup flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt

1 egg
1/2 cup vegetable oil (I've also used Canola oil in an attempt to make these soy free)
1/4 cup milk
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup zucchini
1 cup chocolate chips (You can also purchase soy free, nut free chips for this)

Directions:
1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a muffin tin with olive oil cooking spray.
2.  In a large bowl, stir together first set of dry ingredients (from flour to salt).
3.  In a separate bowl, blend together second set of ingredients (from egg to vanilla).
4.  Mix wet ingredients into dry ingredients until just blended.
5.  Fold in zucchini and chocolate chips.
6.  Bake for 20 minutes.  Let cool completely before freezing.

Makes 1 dozen muffins.
Kid-Friendly Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins - Mamas Like Me
 My kids ask for these all the time for snacks and breakfast!

For More Breakfast Ideas check out our:

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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Surviving the First 2 Weeks of Breastfeeding

As I type this (one-handed), my 3-week old is nursing happily, propped up by my arm and a Boppy Pillow.  With my first child, I never could have managed this.  In fact, I gave up nursing my first child shortly after he came home from the hospital.  Here are some things they don't tell you about having a newborn:

1.  It's HARD! - Everyone tells you how cute and cuddly newborns are, but no one really tells you how your life will be consumed with an endless cycle of feeding, burping, and diaper changing for the next few months.  Oh yes, and they'll sleep some in there too, but most of that will occur during daylight hours when your other children are awake and you have a million other things to accomplish.

2.  It's EXHAUSTING! - In case you missed it, that precious bundle will probably being doing most of their sleeping during the day and partying the night away.  Even if they are sleeping at night, they'll be expecting a feeding every couple hours.  That means you will not be getting enough sleep, not by a long shot!  And, you will soon begin resembling one of those zombies in Night of the Living Dead (and that's AFTER you manage to put on some concealer!)

And, then we add in BREASTFEEDING!
Breastfeeding the First Few Weeks - Mamas Like Me

Monday, August 18, 2014

50 Color Crafts & Activities for Preschool

This month, I'm teaming up with the wonderful ladies of All Things Kids to bring you a series designed to celebrate Back to School.  We're sharing tips and activities for all moms, whether you homeschool, public school, private school or something in-between.
 photo BacktoSchoolSeries_zps23d9a403.jpg
One of my Daycare Kids favorite things to learn about are colors!  Last year, we did an entire unit focused on each color of the rainbow!  Here, I've gathered over 50 of our favorite crafts and activities that focus on the colors of the rainbow along with some helpful recipes for creating your own colorful sensory materials!
50 Color Crafts & Activities for Preschool - Mamas Like Me

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

10 Farm Themed Books for Toddlers and Preschoolers

As part of our Farm Theme, we are exploring lots of fun books about farm animals and life on a farm. Here are some of our favorites:
10 Farm Themed Books for Toddlers and Preschoolers - Mamas Like Me
The Cow Who Clucked by Denise Fleming -  This is a fun book for preschoolers that follows a cow through his trip through the farm looking for the animal that has stolen his "Moo".  As we read this book, the kids supplied the sounds for the farm animals and thought it was so funny to hear me "cluck" for the cow.
Big Red Barn -  The same way you love Goodnight Moon for it's melodic rhythms, you'll adore the simple, rhythmic text that tells all about a day in the life of a barnyard.  This is a great book to wind down with before nap or bedtime!
The Very Busy Spider - This is a favorite in our house with my 2-year-old.  I love the spider keeps working until she completes her task.  My 2-year-old loves all the animals and the sounds that they make!  This is a great, repetitive text for toddlers and the simple, bright pictures from Eric Carle are sure to please!
BARNYARD DANCE! - We love the silliness of this board book with it's square dancing barn animals. It always brings a giggle to my little one's face!

Giggle, Giggle, Quack - My kids just love these books about Farmer Brown and Duck.  In this one, Farmer Brown goes on vacation and leaves his brother instructions about how to take care of the animals.  Unfortunately, that tricky Duck has changed the instructions to suit the animals....pizza, anyone?  

Maisy's Morning on the Farm - The simple text and bright colors will delight your kids as they follow Maisy through a few chores during a busy morning on the farm.

The Little Red Hen - My Daycare Kids loved this story and the lesson it taught about teamwork and helping out. 

Little Blue Truck - This adorable board book has lots of truck and animal sounds that my 2 and 3-year-olds love!  The Little Blue Truck gets stuck in the muck helping a dump truck, but he has lots of animal friends to help him out.  This is a great book for reinforcing friendship and helping each other out.

Little Hide and Seek: Farm - This board book is perfect for toddlers! They will love searching under the flaps to find the hidden chick.  The I-Spy pages are filled with adult and baby animals, farm equipment, tractors, and farm products. 
   

How Big Is a Pig? - This fun rhyming book teaches young kids animals and opposites. It is filled with unique illustrations of felt, beads, and sequins that are so much fun for the little kids. My 2-year-old loves this one!
 


Want more ideas for spending time with your kids?  Be sure to follow us on our Facebook or Pinterest pages and sign up for emails to keep up with all the latest crafts, activities, and kid-friendly recipes!

 

Monday, August 11, 2014

10 Ways to Make Your Kids Laugh


One of the greatest joys of parenting is listening to our children laugh.  Here are some of our tried and true methods of setting off the giggles with our children:

10 Ways to Make Your Kids Laugh - Mamas Like Me
1.  Sing Silly Songs--Make up your own words to their favorite songs.

2.  Start a Tickle Fight.

3.  Tell some kid-friendly jokes or make up your own.  I have yet to find a child that doesn't enjoy a good Knock-Knock joke!

4.  Watch people eat something gross--One of my husband's favorite games when working with teens and children is to have them taste-test baby foods.  This one is even a classic at Baby Showers.  There's something about those grossed-out faces that are just hilarious. 

5.  Make up your own silly dances and be sure to perform them with your kids.

6.  Make Silly Faces.

7.  Don't underestimate the power of bodily function noises. - I have four boys so naturally anything involving burping or tooting is hilarious in our house.  They are especially enjoying the many noises coming from their newborn baby sister!  This isn't one you have to try for, just go with it when it happens and don't be afraid to laugh along with them.

8.  Play a silly prank. - Here are some harmless, fun practical jokes for kids.

9.  Pretend to make a mistake - Whether it's mixing up who's birthday it really is, pretending to run into the wall, or just mixing up someone's laundry or breakfast, kids love to see us make silly mistakes and have fun with it!

10.  Laugh With Them - Laughter is contagious!  The best way to get your kids laughing is to have fun together and enjoy laughing right along with them.

Bright Starts™ is the kid's brand where Fun Comes First™.  They are all about making your kids laugh!  Their smart solutions for parents and their babies provide convenience, value, and FUN throughout each day!
10 Ways to Make Your Kids Laugh - Mamas Like Me
Recently, we had the opportunity to try out the new Jungle Fun Ball Climber™ from Bright Starts™, which is one of three new toys that they will be debuting as on of the sponsors of the BlogHer 2014 Conference.  This interactive toy has kept all four of our boys laughing and sharing for the past few days.  My 2 and 3-year-olds are enchanted with the silly songs and rush to grab the balls as they pop up from the tree trunk and travel down to bounce into the hippo's mouth.  My older boys love to make their brothers giggle and pretend to race their balls through the toy, grabbing and spinning them along the way.  My favorite part is listening to them laugh with each other.
  10 Ways to Make Your Kids Laugh - Mamas Like Me
You can discover why baby laughter is so important, measure your baby’s own Baby Laugh Index™, and much more at www.babylaughindex.com.

You can also keep up with all the latest Bright Starts toys and parenting tips by following them on their social media: Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, YouTubeTwitter.
Bright Starts is also offering one lucky reader one of these Bright Starts™ toys: Jungle Fun Ball Climber™, Hide 'n Spin Monkey, or 3-in-1 Step 'n Ride Lion™. Just leave a comment below telling me what makes you and your children laugh! 
Want more ideas for spending time with your kids?  Be sure to follow us on Facebook or Pinterest and sign up for emails to keep up with all the latest crafts, activities, and kid-friendly recipes!


 
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