Friday, July 30, 2010

Guest Post Free and Fun Friday: Scavenger Hunts with Melissa (Nouns and Violets)

I'm a big fan of scavenger hunts because they can easily be adapted for all ages and played at home or on the go. You can gather the items, shout out when you see them (similar to I Spy), or snap pics to turn it into a photo scavenger hunt. Set a time limit to make it a contest or keep it running as an on-going game. Play it like Bingo by making a game piece and giving the first person to find the items and cross them off a prize.

The possibilities are endless and you can use scavenger hunts to teach or entertain. You can tell the kids what to look for, write them down, or use pictures to create a list for young children.

As a teaching tool
At Home
Use this fun game to teach children about colors, shapes, and numbers. Let them look around the house for blue objects, like a pen or piece of candy. Ask them to find things with a certain shape, like a circle coaster or ball. Have them look for three things that have a number on them.

Out and About
Read a story about local birds in your area. Take a walk in your neighborhood and try to scout some of the feathered friends you read about. Don't forget your camera! Back at home, you can reinforce your learning with a craft and make a simple bird feeder with materials you have on hand.

Just for Fun

At Home
Kids enjoy the annual Easter egg hunt so why not give them another day to enjoy the fun? Instead of eggs, you can hide any group of objects like blocks or toy trucks. Or, just let them look for common items like a glue stick or string. For some evening entertainment, pick up some glow sticks at your local dollar store, scatter them around, and have a glow in the dark scavenger hunt!

Out and About
Most kids I know don't like to shop. Turn a mundane afternoon at the mall or grocery store into a game. Look for a person wearing a cowboy hat or green shoes. Find a man with a mustache or a woman pushing a stroller. Search for a perfume sample, sales flyers, or an ATM machine. Or, take the game outdoors and find things in nature like a smooth rock and something plastic, twisted, or sticky.

However you choose to play, make sure it's age appropriate and safe. Most importantly, have fun! 

Our guest blogger: 
Melissa Choate is a native Phoenician and stay at home mom to a teenage girl and one year old son.  Her blog, Nouns and Violets, is about family life and fun stuff in Phoenix.  Her pink laptop is like an extra appendage - she is rarely seen without it!  When she's not spending time with her family or blogging she's working on a novel that she hopes to finish sometime this century.

Guest Post Free and Fun Friday: Apple Head Sculptures with Funky Mama Bird Betsy

Free, Fun and Freaky – Apple Head Sculptures
Did you know that you most likely have the supplies on hand to make some fun and freaky looking sculptures with your kids? Dried apple head sculptures are fun to make at any of time of year and are limited only by your creativity – not your budget.
What is an apple head sculpture, you ask? Well, since a picture is worth a 1000 words, I'll save myself a few thousand and show you some pictures instead.

These were made last winter by my step-son, husband, me and my step-daughter respectively. An apple head sculpture consists of a fresh apple that you peel and carve and a body made out of anything you happen to have at home. Over the course of a week, the apple will shrivel and shrink into a lightweight and freaky head. At this time, the sculpture can be stood up on a base or hidden in random areas of the home to startle unsuspecting people with their grotesque grins.
Sound fun? Want to make some? Here's what you'll need:
·         One apple per person
·         Apple cider vinegar
·         Apple peeler
·         Knife
·         Hot glue gun
·         Any of the following – sticks, popsicle sticks, pipe cleaners, fabric scrapes, loose feathers, shoe boxes, plastic container lids, construction paper, buttons, glitter, paint, string, cotton balls, yarn – or anything you have around the house
To make an apple head, peel the apple, leaving as much of the flesh as possible. Next, carve a face into the side of the apple. This is a bit like carving a pumpkin, but the head will remain solid; you won't be removing its innards. Young children may need some help with this step.
Paint the apple face with apple cider vinegar, making sure to completely saturate all areas of the head. The vinegar is what will keep the head from rotting before it dries out, so it's very important to get adequate coverage.
Next, it's time to make a body. We used Popsicle sticks and pipe cleaners, but twigs in the yard, paint sticks or even tooth picks will work.
Now you can decorate your apple person. Remember, the head will shrink, so anything you stick into or on the head will become comically large over time. If you check out our photos above, you'll find a rock star, an alien, a super hero and a fashion model – you're limited to what you can make only by your imagination.
Leave your nearly finished sculptures out to dry someplace warm for about a week. At this time, the formerly heavy headed figures will be very light weight, and you'll be able to create stands or displays for them to sit in. Use shoe boxes, plastic lids covered in fabric or paper, or more Popsicle sticks propping them up in back to hold them upright. You can display an apple head sculpture for a few months in the right conditions and their freaky, wrinkled grins are sure to attract attention no matter where they are.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Guest Post Learning Activity: Sign Language with Melissa (Nouns and Violets)

Letter C

Letter A

Letter T

 What does that spell?  :)

Long before babies learn to speak they are often trying to tell you something. Every mother has held a crying child trying to figure out if they want to eat or are missing their pacifier or favorite snuggly toy. Toddlers may throw temper tantrums when they're frustrated at not being able to get their message across. Sign language is an effective communication tool because research suggests children can learn and use signs before they can talk.

There are many available resources for parents to learn sign language. On many websites you can search by a specific word and view a short video of the word being signed. You can also purchase a self-teaching DVD or check your local community center to join a class.

You can begin teaching your baby to sign as soon as you can hold their attention for about ten seconds. Choose easy and familiar words first, like “eat” and “drink.” Abstract words like “sad” or “tired” are difficult for beginners. Try to sign the word whenever you say it so they will begin to grasp the connection between the sign and the word. It is important to be patient and keep repeating the signs. Eventually they will delight you when they tell you they want a drink by signing the word “thirsty.”

Sign language is a beneficial skill your child can retain through life. I learned at 13 years old through free classes offered at my church. After completing the lessons I volunteered as an interpreter in Sunday School for several years. Even without any recent practice I can still remember much of what I was taught and I'm able to communicate well when I meet a deaf person.

You can start doing sign language immediately. Although many people aren't aware of this, there are actually no predetermined signs for people's names. Get creative and make up one for your name now!

From our guest blogger Melissa Choate: 
Melissa Choate is a native Phoenician and stay at home mom to a teenage girl and one year old son.  Her blog, Nouns and Violets, is about family life and fun stuff in Phoenix.  Her pink laptop is like an extra appendage - she is rarely seen without it!  When she's not spending time with her family or blogging she's working on a novel that she hopes to finish sometime this century.

Guest Post Learning Activity: Fine Motor Fun by Tima (Living in Dar)

Ethan has hypermobility and DCD.  He goes for PT every week and really enjoys it.  Ethan also loves crafts.  So this week, I thought I'd try something which would really focus on his fine motor skills.

Since Ethan loves dinosaurs, I thought I'd let him decorate one of his own.  I traced a dinosaur picture onto coloured paper, gave him scissors, crayons and stickers.

Since Ethan had trouble cutting, I though instead of cutting it out for him, I'd let him do it himself.

He still needs some help, but that's ok.  He didn't get frustrated and that's what's important.

Once it was cut out, I let him colour it any way he wanted to.

I had to keep reminding Ethan to hold his crayon the proper way.

To add to his fine motor practice, I had Ethan put stickers all over his dinosaur.

The stickers are great.  They give Ethan the opportunity to get that pincer grasp going.


It's very simple, but Ethan had a great time and he got to practice his motor skills without even knowing it!

*Tima is the author of Living in Dar. Be sure to check out her great blog for more fun learning activities!

Guest Post Learning Activity: Fun with Shadows by Nicole (The Activity Mom)

I can't believe how fast the summer is flying by! There is still time to take advantage of the sun and have fun with shadows.
Here's what you do:
Have your child stand in the driveway so that they can see their shadow.
Use sidewalk chalk to trace their shadow.
Switch and have them trace yours.
This activity works well for all ages. When I tried it with my son, he was about 2 1/2 so he was just fascinated by the shadow and the tracing. Older children can really get creative with silly poses and trying to fit their shadow back into the outline. They could try to make their shadow into the shape of a letter and spell their name. The possibilities are endless.
A big thank you to Shonda for having me here today at Milk N' Honey Learn and Grow! 
**Nicole is the author of The Activity Mom.  She is a wife and mother of 2 children.  She has taken a break from teaching to focus on her children.  So, she started blogging to share all of her great teaching ideas with us.  I "met" Nicole on Blog Frog and am so glad to have her as a guest on Milk N' Honey.  Be sure to stop by and say "hi" to Nicole and thank her for her contribution.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Guest Post: What's on My Bookshelf? Hug by Jez Alborough (Tima- Living in Dar)

Shonda over at Milk N' Honey Learn and Grow asked if I'd contribute and talk about a book.  I'm so honoured.

Ethan's cousins gave him the book Hug by Jez Alborough for Christmas a couple of years ago.  At first glance, I wasn't sure about it.  It's a lovely picture book with exactly 3 words: hug, Bobo and Mommy.  Ethan was 2.5 at the time, and loved books.  Could he really enjoy a simple picture book?

Well, I was wrong.  There is nothing simple about this book.  It's a wonderful book for children of all ages.  On the days when it was the 1st book Ethan wanted me to read, we could picture read in detail.  A wonderful story would unfold about a Chimpanzee searching for his mother, seeing mommies and babies everywhere entwined in hugs.  And on the days when this was book number 20, we looked at pictures and read the three words.

The art work is cute, but the simplicity of the eternal story of the child/parent bond is what makes this story shine.  It's one of those books that depends on the reader to help it come alive.

The best part of the book is, now that Ethan is 4, I can get him to read it to me.  He can tell the story.  It's great to see how his imagination comes through with the assistance of some wonderful illustrations.


**Thank you to Tima from Living in Dar for sharing such an amazing book.  I have to say, my son at 8 months was enthralled with the concept of the child/parent bond.  His giggle when Bobo sees Mommy is priceless!  A definite must have!!

Tima is a teacher and the mother of Ethan and lives with her family in Tanzania

Guest Post: What's on My Bookshelf? I Love You Through and Through by Melissa (Nouns and Violets)

I Love You Through And Through 
For my son's first birthday his Nana and Papa gave him the soft-covered board book, I Love You Through and Through. This sweet story is told in rhyme and teaches body parts and opposites. It's about a little boy who is loved for his inside and outside; he is loved for his hair and eyes, his giggles and cries.

The writing is geared for little ones up to preschool age but any kid will enjoy the cute illustrations of the spiky-haired toddler and his teddy bear. The story has an important message for all children to hear. As author Bernadette Rosetti-Shustak says, “I Love You Through and Through is about unconditional love and total acceptance.” Her inspiration came from conversations with her children and cousins about the absolute love they felt from their grandfather.

My one year-old son has a great attention span but this 24-page book is an easy and enjoyable read, one you will have fun telling over and over again. Through repetition children build listening, vocabulary, and memory skills. I like to settle in with my little guy for some cuddle time and wiggle his fingers and toes when I say the words, which is a great way to get him involved in the story.

I Love You Through And Through, snagged the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Award in 2006 and is a popular pick for many parents. You will appreciate this book “through and through... yesterday, today, and tomorrow, too.”

Our guest blogger today:
Melissa Choate is a native Phoenician and stay at home mom to a teenage girl and one year old son.  Her blog, Nouns and Violets, is about family life and fun stuff in Phoenix.  Her pink laptop is like an extra appendage - she is rarely seen without it!  When she's not spending time with her family or blogging she's working on a novel that she hopes to finish sometime this century.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Guest Post: Cooking with Funky Mama Bird- Worms in Dirt Dessert!!

Kids and Cooking – Worms in Dirt Dessert
Funky Mama Bird
I'm a big believer in getting kids into the kitchen and involved at an early age. This can be as simple as measuring and stirring, or as complicated as sautéing for the older kids, but having your kids take part in the building of a meal or dessert does several things:
·         It teaches confidence in the kitchen
·         Promotes fine motor control in smaller children
·         Gets kids enthusiastic about the food their eating, because they've seen how it's prepared and helped with the preparation
·         Promotes some family bonding
I'm a big one for doing activities with my step-kids that forces encourages them to use their imaginations. I've also been known to hand things to the one year old and encourage him to feel, dump, scoop and taste. The following recipe is one that kids aged 1, 10 and 13 and everywhere in between can all participate in and have some fun with. 

Worms in Dirt Dessert
This recipe can be modified significantly in several ways:
·         Use instant pudding or soy pudding in place of homemade
·         Use non-dairy cream cheese and readymade soy whipped cream
·         Use any gluten free chocolate cookie – we like generic wheat free cookies here, since Gunne Bear can't have wheat, but for purposes of this post, I'm using Oreos in the recipe.

Pudding Ingredients
·         2 Cups Milk
·         1/2 Cup White Sugar
·         3 Tablespoons Cornstarch
·         1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
·         1 Tablespoon Butter

Remaining Ingredients
·         Pkg of Oreo Cookies
·         11 oz of Cream Cheese, Softened
·         1 Stick of Butter, Softened
·         1 Small Carton of Heavy Whipping Cream
·         1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
·         Pkg of gummy worms

Pudding Directions
1.       To make the pudding, combine the sugar and cornstarch in a bowl and set aside
2.       On the stovetop, heat the milk until bubbles begin to form at the edges
3.       Pour in the sugar mixture a little bit at a time, stirring to dissolve
4.       Continue stirring the pudding until it begins to thicken, and coats the back of the spoon
5.       Remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla
6.       Set aside in fridge until needed

Remaining Directions
1.       Crush the cookies slightly so that they resemble large chunks – a good way to do this is by placing them in a plastic bag and having your kids pound them – if they are really into it, you can skip the next step
2.       Place the chunks in a food processor and pulse until the cookies are reduced to crumbs that resemble dirt, set aside
3.       In a large bowl whip the heavy cream until peaks form
4.       In a second bowl, combine the cream cheese and butter until smooth
5.       Fold the pudding into the cream cheese and stir gently until combined
6.       In the bottom of each bowl, place a layer of Oreo cookie dirt
7.       Add a layer of pudding mixture, followed by a layer of whipped cream, and another layer of pudding
8.       Top with another layer of Oreo dirt
9.       Garnish with gummy worms

Tips: Have your kids to the measuring, cookie crushing and layering if they are younger, and the actual mixing if they are older.


**Betsy is the author of Funky Mama Bird.  She is a writer, artist and funky wife.  She loves to explore her own unique perspective on life.  Be sure to bop on over and thank Betsy for contributing to Milk N' Honey for me!

Guest Post What's Cooking? Mystery Muffins by Tima (Living in Dar)

What's the mystery? Come find out......

It's baking day! Yeah! I love baking with Ethan. Today we tried out some Mystery Muffins. Ethan was super excited about the mystery part.

Sift together 1.5 cups flour, 2 tsp baking powder and 1/4tsp salt.

In a large bowl, blend 5 tbsp butter, 1/2 cup sugar and 1 egg.

Add flour mixture to the butter mixture in stages, alternating with 1/2 cup milk.

Fill the cups halfway with batter. Add a teaspoon of the "mystery" ingredient and cover with more batter.

Bake for 20 minutes at 350F.

So what's this mystery ingredient you ask? Well Ethan and I decided to have some fun. In one quarter of the cupcakes we stuck in a strawberry. Another 1/4 was raspberries, 1/4 Smarties and the last 1/4 cream cheese!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Monday Shareday!! Please link up! Thanks!

I love Monday Shareday!  
This week I have been super busy getting ready for a trip, so I didn't have time to browse blogs for great posts.
I'm sure you have one, so please link up and I will be sure to visit it as soon as I return!!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Guest Posts coming up next week!!

I am so excited to introduce some great guest bloggers who will be featured next week:

*Nicole is the author of The Activity Mom, she will post a learning activity on Thursday

*Tima is the author of Living in Dar and will be posting on Tuesday with cooking, Wednesday with a book post and Thursday with a learning activity.

*Betsy is the author of Funky Mama Bird and she will a post for cooking on Tuesday and a free and fun activity for Friday.

*Melissa is the author of Nouns and Violets and she will be posting about books on Wednesday, a learning activity on Thursday and a free and fun activity for Friday.

Look forward to a great week and I'll be back the week after!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Kumon Publishing Giveaway on Babybix blog!!!

I just found this great giveaway for some super workbooks for children starting as young as 2 years old.  There are skills for cutting, folding, pasting and tracing.  Head over to Babybix to enter today.  Giveaway ends 8/9.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

What's on our Bookshelf? Walking Through the Jungle

Oh, my, have you checked out Barefoot Books yet?  Well, I scooped this book up at the library and was so impressed.  This book also has a song CD with it.  There is some cute intro music and then the story is sung.  My son comes running to my lap when he hears the intro song.  This book is extremely cute and teaches so many wonderful things.  The author takes you on a tour of the world through different areas like the jungle, river, iceberg and other other places.  There is an action associated with each area such as swimming, trekking and climbing.  There is an animal hidden that comes out and makes a sound.  The beauty of this book is the repetition.  The tune is very catchy and I even like it.  The CD also offers a karaoke where you can sing the song with your child.  How fun!  Please check it out!  Barefoot books is my new favorite company.  If you or you know someone who sells these, let me know!  Thanks, Shonda

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Music Notes: Nancy Stewart- Plant a Little Seed

Recently I went to the library and found this cute little book and CD by Nancy Stewart.  I was so thrilled when I listened to it and my son started picking up on some of the words and sounds that Nancy made during her singing.  I was equally thrilled to know she is a local performer here in the Seattle area where I live.  This book and CD has great songs for children ages 2-5 with ideas for flannelgraph and other props.  The songs are very catchy and easy to memorize so you can sing them anywhere and your child can learn.  One of my favorite song is Lots of Cars.  My son loves cars and it helps me teach colors to him as well as learning that cars can go beep, beep, beep.

If you visit Nancy's website she has a bunch of other great material that you will want to check out.  I know I will.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Monday Shareday! Please link up!! Thanks!


It's Monday Shareday!
Do you have a great post that you want to share?  Just link up!
This week I found these great posts that I want to feature.  I just love reading all your wonderful and creative posts.

Silly Eagle Books

Vanessa at Silly Eagle Books has an amazing list of book related crafts that you will want to check out!

Mari-Ann from Counting Coconuts has some adorable ideas for Snack Time.  You will see a placemat that has all the outlines for napkin, fork, plate, knife and spoon.  Check it out!

Anne at Upstate Ramblings made a great post about her daughter using glue dots for a scrapbooking project using ducks.  It's too cute!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Winner for ImagiPLAY!!

The winner for these 3 awesome wooden toys from ImagiPLAY is KRYSTAL.  Thank you everyone for entering this giveaway!!


PS.  I just made a purchase from ImagiPLAY of this Alphabet Parade!  It features 26 animals that begin with each letter of the alphabet and they are very colorful.

See what you can find for your child to learn and imagine with at ImagiPLAY today!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Learning Activity: Playing with animals in a basket/box

Shrade has just discovered that he can put all his animals in a box or basket and push them around the house.  Sometimes he even sits in the basket with the animals.  It's so fun watching him learn and grow!  Shrade is actually practicing the art of cleaning up, in and out and learning how much can fit into a container as well as using gross motor skills such as pushing and carrying animals around the house. I didn't even have to "teach" him this!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

First Juice Review/Giveaway on my other blog: Knowlton Nest

Just wanted to let you know about a great giveaway over on my other blog: Knowlton Nest.  You who are followers and subscribers on this blog are eligible to enter too.  Thanks for visiting!  Enjoy!

Today I Ate a Rainbow Giveaway on "Can I Get The Recipe?"!!!

How do you get your kids to eat healthy food?  Well, if you need ideas, come enter this giveaway over at Can I Get The Recipe? and win a beautiful chart complete with magnets and shopping lists.  I entered!  Giveaway ends Tuesday, July 20.

What's on our Bookshelf? In The Garden

I just found the cutest book at the library called In the Garden.  It is made from 98% recycled materials.  The pictures are colorful and tells about what is growing in a garden.  The repeated text helps children to learn to speak and read.  Children are introduced to many everyday foods that come from a garden.  The last page gives ideas for growing your own cherry tomatoes, handy organic gardening tips and two yummy recipes (fruit slush and applesauce).  This is a great first book to familiarize children to the wonderful world of gardening.

My son loves discovering all the things that are growing in our garden!!

I am very lucky to be married to a wonderful gardener.  We have a great garden growing with many wonderful crops: potatoes, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, lettuce, peppers, onions, garlic, peaches, nectarines, plums, asparagus, tomatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, grapes, cabbage, cherries and probably some other things. (I didn't even tell about all the non-food vegetation we have as well like roses!)  We are also can a lot of our food.  We are so thankful to God for our wonderful crop!  This year was really exciting because we added a greenhouse to our yard.

Taken May 14
Taken July 2
Our greenhouse!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Music Notes: Laurie Berkner's Buzz Buzz CD

I always go to the library and I love to discover new and fun music to play for my son.  I recently picked up Laurie Berkner's Buzz Buzz CD.  It was adorable!  Laurie sings folk songs played with guitar and piano.  All of her songs are peppy and teach young kids such things as cleaning up, colors of a caboose and the valley of vegetables.  I love Laurie's fun way of relating to children and adults would be drawn to her music too.  I definitely will be checking out more of Laurie's music.  I also found her website and she has link to facebook where there is  contest for a weekly giveaway for one of her CD's.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Monday Shareday!! Link up, please!

Monday Shareday!!

Hi Blog friends, I just started this Monday Shareday link up.  I've been perusing my followers list and I find all these great posts that I want to share with you.  If you have a great post, please share by linking up, thanks!

Storybook Summer
Leandrea over at Coupons are Great is hosting a Storybook Summer.  She has lesson plans and pictures for you to use.  So far she's done The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Brown Bear, Brown Bear, Caps for Sale and Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.  Get some great ideas!

I love Angel's Food Kitchen and I found these yummy Amish M&M cookies for you to try.

Fun On A Dime

Michelle at Fun on A Dime is so creative and has posted a wonderful homemade watercolor paint recipe.  She also has a great Summer Fun Challenge Giveaway going on. 

What about you?  Do you have a great post to share?  Please link up!  Thanks, Shonda @ Milk N' Honey