Sunday, May 27, 2012

Learning Colors!

Color Flashcards 
I cant take all the credit for this idea - I pretty much saw it somewhere on Pinterest. I thought it was a genius way to teach colors to Grace!
Since I am at Lowes all the time right now with us remodeling and adding on to our house, I am always in the paint section looking for ideas for the kids new room and our new room and bathroom. Those color cards are paint sample cards! I took one of each color, glued them onto cardstock and wrote the color name on the back. Punch a hole and clipped it on a ring. Grace absolutely loves these! (and if they are ruined, it's okay.)
Sometimes we just flip through them on the ring and say the colors, sometimes I show her the color and then the word, sometimes I take them off the ring and play "games". For instance,  I will show her two, ask which one is 'red' and now the majority of the time she grabs the correct card. She gets to keep it and we work our way through the pile. She may not be able to talk much yet, but she definately knows what we are saying! I am convinced Yellow is her favorite color too. Proof that you can take anything and make it educational and to her, fun times playing with Momma.

The internet is full of free coloring sheets! Once we introduced crayons it was over, she loves coloring. I like to find alphabet sheets or childrens Bible Story sheets. (Both give me something to talk about while making sure she doesn't eat the crayons!) My favorite part is when she is finished, she is so proud of her creation and carries it around showing whoever comes over. Her little are creations are my favorite decorations. :)

Toddler Painting

It was a beautiful day out again yesterday and I have been waiting for a good time to make these "paints" and let Grace play! Even though these are technically 'edible', they really aren't a snack or to be eaten. If she tasted it (which she did) it was okay, since it was all food. It actually tastes kind of strange, so she only tried it once.

Recipe: (Filled all 7 jars perfectly)
4.5 tbs sugar
3/4 c. corn starch
3/4 tsp salt
3 cups water
Mix all the ingredients in a saucepan and warm until it thickens, stirring so it doesnt become chuncky. Let it cool, divide into jars and add food coloring. That's it!

Ours became thicker as it cooled, so if it is too gooey, mix in a little water to be more paint-like. I liked the goo for Grace to experiment with. Surprisingly, nothing stained her skin. We tossed her in the bath immediately after we were done and it all came off.

We put her in the yard just for an easy clean up. I would really suggest doing this outside or in a contained area (high chair, empty bath tub, etc.) I gave her paper and a couple old paint brushes and let her go. (The food coloring didnt seem to stain her skin, but I didnt trust it on clothes, so diaper time it was! Disposable at that - I love my cloth prints too much to risk staining those a random color too!)

I am absolutely the parent that wants my kids to be kids. I want her to be "okay" with getting a bit messy sometimes. This paint goo was all over her hands, body and hair when we were done. (I'd show that adorable mess, but I dont put naked baby pics online.) She is a girl by all means. She would rather play with her purse, phone and babies instead of the trucks and balls. But she also loves to make a mess and get dirty. Let your kids explore!

The aftermath of art.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Edible Playdoh

Maybe it is the teacher in me, but I am so excited that Grace is at an age where I can really dive into educational playtime! I love finding ways to introduce her to new sensory learning - texture, tastes, motor skills, experiences - she has so much fun! I sometimes forget that she is only 14 months, but then at the same time, she is 14 months...never too early to learn and try new things!

Since she also likes to eat/taste absolutely everything still, I try to make many of the crafts edible if I can to prevent her from eating chemicals. I loved this recipe for edible playdoh and she ate a little and played a lot. She had fun learning how to squish it, pat it, tear it, make shapes and use cookie cutters in it.

Equal parts Peanut Butter, Honey and Instant Dry Milk.
Then add more dry  milk and flour to thicken it and make it less sticky to whatever consistency you like.
Make sure it is stored in an airtight container when not in use. I would toss and make new after a week or so.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Today I Made - Salsa

Pinterst gave me a little inspiration, but I didnt like their recipe so I crafted my own. First off, if you know me, you know I hardly cook with a recipe or measure anything. That's for baking. :) I will do my best to list an approximate.

This salsa isnt spicy at all. Next time I might add a little jalapeno to give it a little kick.
I cheated and used canned tomatoes. I hate tomatoes and chopping them, so if I can get away with a can I will. This year I will try to grow my own (for the only purpose of this and canning pasta sauce) then I will cut them. Anyways...

2 cans diced tomatoes
1 can chopped green chilis
half a bunch of fresh cilantro
minced garlic - like one spoonful scoop
dash of garlic powder
half a bunch of green onion
red pepper flakes (here you can do just a couple shakes or a lot)
1tsp at least of salt. I like salt so I did a bit more.
half a small onion
half a medium bell pepper

Throw it all in a food processor. (I chopped it down into smaller chunks first) I did the tomatoes seperate because I didnt want them as fine. Then I just mixed it all in a big bowl. Give it a couple hours in the fridge to really taste the flavors. This made between 3-4c. of salsa.