Taste Testing Tuesday – #2

It’s time for another Taste Testing Tuesday! Today we will be trying ways to eat bell peppers or sweet peppers. In doing a little research on bell peppers, I found out that they are high in Vitamin A, Vitamin C and Vitamin E. They have lots of iron and anti-inflammatory properties. So not only do their vibrant colors of green, yellow, orange and red make them appealing to the eye, they are also healthy to eat.

Bell peppers are easy to prepare. Simply cut out the stem area at the top and discard. Cut the pepper in half and throw away the seeds that are inside. Rinse and just that easy, you are ready to try a yummy way of eating them!

One suggestion is to cut the pepper in quarters and then each quarter in half to make little “boats”. Fill each one with your favorite egg salad or a cheese mixture.

You can cut the peppers in slices and use your favorite dip for dipping. Try using sour cream and adding some spices like cilantro, parsley or dill. For some reason, kids love dipping their food in something…lol.

Another idea I came across was for bell pepper nachos. Slice the peppers in thin strips and sprinkle some grated cheese on top. Heat in the oven or microwave just until the cheese melts.

If your kiddos just don’t go for peppers but you’d really like to sneak some healthy goodness into their diet, try hiding finely chopped pieces of pepper in things like meatloaf or meatballs. Or run the peppers through the blender and add them to pasta or spaghetti sauce. However you try them, I hope you can use these ideas to get some awesome bell peppers into your kids’ bellies! 😉 Be sure to stop back next week for another Taste Testing Tuesday! (And for fun crafting ideas in between!)

It’s Butterfly Time Again!

It’s that time of year again when you might find those cool looking yellow and black striped Monarch butterfly caterpillars! We found our first one a couple weeks ago.

I brought the caterpillar inside and gave it it’s own cool apartment to live in. I gave it plenty of fresh milkweed leaves to munch on with a few drops of water on them and a stick for climbing to the top of its apartment . Within just a couple of days, it had gone into its chrysalis.

Then the waiting and watching began. Yesterday I noticed that the chrysalis was turning a darker color so I knew that the time for hatching was getting close. This morning when I got up, this is what I saw:

Hello, world! The new Monarch butterfly has arrived! 🙂

This Monarch butterfly is a girl. After giving her a few hours to plump up her wings and dry off, I took her outside. As soon as I walked outside, she started fluttering excitedly around in her apartment! She was ready to go! I took the lid off, let her crawl up onto my finger and she flew off before I could even get her completely out of the apartment. Good bye, beautiful lady! We wish you well! 🙂

The plight of the Monarch butterfly concerns all of us. Their population is really struggling. Their numbers are down 53% over last year for the ones that winter in Mexico. Those that overwintered in California this last year have decreased by 86%! So we need to try and help them as much as we can. Planting native nectar plants such as the common milkweed, swamp milkweed and butterfly milkweed. And avoid using pesticides. Let’s all help preserve these beautiful creatures!

Taste Testing Tuesdays – #1

Happy Tuesday, everyone! We are starting something new today that I hope to continue at least through the month of August and maybe longer. It is often hard to get kids (and adults) to try new foods thus my idea was born for Taste Testing Tuesdays. We will try some different foods with different dips, for example, in the hopes of finding some ways kids (and adults) will enjoy eating foods they might ordinarily avoid. We will make it a little more fun by letting the kids record what they think of each item which will also make it nice for mom and dad to have a way to remember who likes or doesn’t like what! So let’s start our first Taste Testing Tuesday!

Today we’ll try raw carrots with 4 different items to dip them in. And we’ll try them plain, just by themselves. Feel free to change out what items you use for your kids. For our taste test we used Ranch dressing, French dressing, Sour Cream and Honey Mustard.

Put 5 carrots (at least, more is great!) on each person’s plate and add a little bit of each dipping item too.

The first carrot should be eaten plain (if you can get away with that) to see if maybe that will be their favorite way to eat raw carrots.

Try each type of dip with a new carrot so the flavors don’t get mixed together. (Unless, of course, they LIKE mixing the dips together and they will eat the carrots that way! Then have at it! Lol) As they taste each item, have them record on a piece of paper what they think of that combination. A smiley face for “Yes, I like it!”, a face with a straight mouth for “It’s ok.” and a frowning face for “No thank you!” Here is one idea for how you can set up your chart:

I used an 8 1/2 x 11″ piece of printer paper. The squares are 1″ in size. Then I added “Carrots” at the top so you remember which item this chart is about. I put names down the left side and the name of each dip across the top.

This is what it looks like with the faces filled in.

Maybe the kids will think of more food that might be good for dipping carrots in and this chart has room for recording 3 more. My hope is you will find some combinations that will make your kids ask for more raw carrots! (Though there may be those that only like to lick the dips off the carrot and not actually eat the carrot. Ha!)

Rusty thought it looked like fun and that he should be involved too. Since raw carrots are actually good for dogs, I gave him one to try.

While he thought it was great fun to toss the carrot around and chase after it, he didn’t really like the idea of eating it. 😉 I enjoyed our first taste test and found some combinations that I might want to try again. Good luck and have fun! Tune in next Tuesday for more Taste Testing Tuesday fun!

Domino Cookies!

Let’s do one more post about fun things to do with dominoes. This time we’ll talk about making cookies to look like dominoes! Sound yummy?

I used a recipe that’s in an old Pillsbury cookbook. These cookies are simple to make and the kids could have fun helping you mix them up, bake them, decorate them…and then help eat them too, of course! Here’s a copy of the recipe:

First gather all the ingredients together. We use vanilla in place of the almond extract.

Here we are doing step #1 of the recipe.

Adding the dry ingredients…

Spreading the dough in the pan…

Spread the dough all the way to the edges of the pan. It will be a thin layer of dough. We also added sprinkles which the recipe doesn’t call for, but kids love sprinkles, right? (When decorating the cookies to look like dominoes, the sprinkles do rather take away from the domino effect, so you might not want to use them. But sprinkles are cool, so you decide. Ha!)

The recipe calls for 10-12 minutes of baking time, but our batch was getting a little too brown after just 10 minutes, so you might want to check your cookies at 8 minutes.

Allow the cookies to cool, then cut them into rectangular shaped pieces. I used a tube of purchased frosting for decorating. Just make a line across the middle of each rectangle cookie and add some dots to each side. Presto! You have dominoes!

Easy peasy! Domino cookies make a fun snack and go along with our other posts on learning with dominoes. Don’t forget to share your cookies! 😉

Domino Stacking Fun

Have you heard about domino stacking? This is an activity that we used to do when I was little but I never knew it was called domino stacking until just a few days ago. The idea is to stand the dominoes upright on the end edge and line them up in such a way that when the first one is pushed over, it starts a chain reaction that causes all of the dominoes to fall down without anyone touching them. It’s a simple concept but it does take some patience and a steady hand to line the dominoes up correctly without bumping into one and setting the whole thing off before you are ready! LOL

Begin by lining the dominoes up in a line, leaving a little space between them but only enough space so they will fall into the next domino and they will all fall down in order. Hint: the dominoes with square corners stand up better than the ones with rounded corners.

You can set them up in any design you like, just make sure they will fall into the next domino in line.

After you have them set up, push only the first domino in the line so that it falls over onto the second domino.

Here’s another setup I tried.

I could have spaced the dominoes a little farther apart and it would still have worked too. This one goes down fast! Watch closely!

This spiral setup was fun to try. 🙂

Just one more setup to show you and then you should try it for yourselves! I predict your kids will love it! This one kinda looks like an arrow. I was trying to make it go in 3 directions at the same time.

So dig out all your dominoes and have a family night of fun! Try out different setups and see what works. Get a little crazy and amaze yourselves at how awesome your setups are! 🙂

10 Ways to Learn With Dominoes

Remember the game of Dominoes? The small rectangular blocks that have dots (or pips) on them? Here are 2 boxes of them that we have, in case you need a reminder or you never heard of them before.

The game of Dominoes can be played several ways but for this post I want to concentrate on 10 ways to learn with dominoes while having fun. (They won’t know they’re learning!) 😉 First of all, dominoes sets come in different sizes so if you want to purchase a set, be aware of what you are buying. In the picture above, the set on the right is a double six set and has 28 dominoes. I found it for $5 at a Five and Below store. The set on the left is a double nine set and has 55 dominoes. They also come in sets of double twelve, fifteen or eighteen and of course, the bigger the set the more money it costs. And it depends on what the dominoes are made of…plastic or wood, for example. Dominoes may have all white pips or each number may use a different color for the pips.

So let’s get to the fun part of learning with dominoes!! 🙂 Let’s start with ideas for really young children and go up from there.

#1.) Colors – Have your child pick up a domino and see if they can tell you what colors the dots are. For each one they get right, let them keep the domino. After they have gone through the number of dominoes you think they should do for that time…maybe 10 or 15 to start with and build up from there till they can do all of them…let them play with the ones they’ve collected for knowing the right answer. Here you have pink and green.

#2.) Numbers – Using the same method as #1, have your child pick up a domino and this time, let them tell you how many dots are on each side. For each one they get right, they can add it to their stash to play with when they are done. In this picture, of course, the correct answer is 3 and 2.

#3.) Addition – Using the same picture, once your child can tell you how many dots are on each side, have them add the two number together. 3+2=5 Again, their reward is getting to keep the domino they get correct.

#4.) More addition – For more addition practice, try having your child pick 2 dominoes and add the top 2 numbers together and then the bottom 2 numbers. Get it correct, and they’re yours! In this instance, the answer is 2+3=5 and 3+1=4.

#5.) Which is number is larger? – This one is self-explanatory I think, but have your child tell you the number of dots on each side and then ask them which one is the bigger number. And, of course, you could also play this one by asking which number is smaller. Getting to keep the dominoes is, as you can see, the reward for learning the correct answers.

#6.) Double Digits – Ok, now we’re going to get a bit harder for kids that are a little older. Have them pick 2 dominoes and lay them side by side. Looking at the top 2 numbers of dots, have them tell you what double digit number they make. Using the dominoes in the following picture, the answer would be 43 and 51.

#7.) Building fun – Ok, so your kiddo has earned some dominoes by knowing the correct answers and it’s PLAY time! Here, their (and your) imagination is the limit! Maybe try building dominoes up to see how high you can make it go before it falls down. This will seem like fun but it’s also teaching them coordination and about constructing things.

Or let’s just sit the dominoes on their sides and make a cool shape. Or it could be a corral for your horses. 😉 Let them play and see what ideas they can come up with on their own.

#8.) Line them up in order – Have your child line up a row of dominoes starting at the smallest number and building their way up to the highest number. Depending on their age, you might want to sort out the number of dominoes you want them to use. Or if they are a little older, let them dig through the dominoes to find the correct ones.

#9.) Drawing/tracing dominoes – Give your child a piece of paper and a pencil and markers/crayons and let them trace around a domino and color the dominoes however they would like them to look. For example, maybe they would like to use stars or squares instead of dots.

#10.) Matching the domino – For the last idea for today’s post, trace around several dominoes and color dots in to match some of the real dominoes. Depending on your child’s age, you can have the dominoes sorted out separately for those that match the ones you drew or for older kids, let them find the correct ones from the whole set. First trace the dominoes…

Then trace around the outline with a black marker and color in the dots. The kids can place the dominoes right on top of the drawn ones or directly beside them.

I hope you have enjoyed these suggestions and they will help your children learn while having a lot of fun with dominoes! 🙂

Make Penny Spinners With Crayola

I came across this fun DIY craft on the Crayola website. I am not an affiliate yet, but I do like their fun craft ideas and wanted to share this simple idea with you. 🙂 Penny spinners are something you can have fun making with your kiddos. Yes, they do use a penny to make them!

DIY Paper Penny Spinners Craft

Here’s a link to the website: https://www.crayola.com/crafts/penny-paper-spinners-craft/?j=187723&sfmc_sub=13461107&l=112_HTML&u=7110783&mid=7303527&jb=43&utm_source=Engaged_Subscribers_US_content&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=20200715_ciyweekly_pennyspinners&utm_content=crafts-paperpennyspinners&EncodedEmail=bml0YWZlcm5AYW9sLmNvbQ==

Wow! That’s a long website address! LOL I’m hoping to make some of these with our grandkids when they (hopefully!) come visit us soon! Yes, they spin!

Penny Paper Spinners_Step 10

Have fun spinning! 🙂

Look For the Comet Neowise

I came across this article about Comet Neowise and discovered that it is visible to the naked eye this week and weekend! What a neat thing to share with your kids!

comet-dan_half_width.jpg

We want to try and see it. It doesn’t happen very often that you can actually see a comet! Give it a whirl yourself! Here’s the website address of the article: https://www.almanac.com/when-to-see-comet-neowise-visible-july-2020?fbclid=IwAR0Om74w3C_yy8bh1obY_b4SbYJbN5FybIrKr_YxrTxnzMQaOHTWDp6L3BE#

We have a lot of trees where we live so we might go for a drive in the late evening and see if we can spot it. Good luck to you! 🙂

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Re-Purpose With Duck Tape

Here we go again with another re-purposing idea! Today we’re turning an empty Ovaltine container into a fun place to store something awesome. Never heard of Ovaltine? It’s an awesome chocolate powder that turns ordinary milk into yummy yummy chocolate milk! Mmmm! 🙂 It’s sad when the Ovaltine container is empty, so here’s a way to cheer you up even when the chocolate is gone. 😉

The Ovaltine container is made partially of cardboard so be careful cleaning it. You can wash the inside of the container but avoid getting the outside wet. Dry it quickly and completely and you’re ready to start decorating. There are many colors and prints available in Duck Tape, so find one you like.

I found this neat variegated blue with tiny stars.

Remove the lid of the container and set it aside for later. Wrap the first piece of duck tape around the top on the container, being careful to keep it as straight as possible. Following along the top edge will help.

For the next piece of tape, I chose to go along the bottom edge in the same way I did the top edge.

Add one more strip of duck tape around the middle of the container, overlapping on both the top and bottom strips of tape.

The can part is done! Now let’s make the lid look great too. If you have a compass, you can place the point of the compass in the center of the lid and extend the pencil to meet the inside edge of the lid.

Keeping the compass in this position, you can draw a circle that will fit the lid. A great place to find a cool picture for your lid is by using old magazine pages.

Draw the circle using the compass and cut the picture out with scissors. Using glue or double-sided tape, attach your picture to the lid. Here are a few pictures I found that I liked. Flowers…

More flowers…

A hummingbird with flowers…

Maybe you like animals better than flowers? How about this adorable kitten?

Or this beautiful foal?

There are so many things you could use to decorate the lid! You could color your own picture or use a circle of colored paper and decorate using stickers. Let your mind think up something fun to use from things you have around the house. If you don’t have an Ovaltine container, look around for something similar…duck tape works on just about any surface. If you use double-sided tape on the lid, you can change the picture later when you’re ready for something new.

I hope you enjoyed this project and you use your imagination when looking for containers to re-purpose using duck tape! Thanks for stopping by! 🙂