Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Halloween Cake

It's getting to be that time of year where a lot of you are planning Halloween parties for your kids so I thought I'd share the cake I made for our Halloween party last year. 

Presentation is very important with a Halloween party dessert, which is why I put it on a very cool purple plate that looked like a spider web with spiders crawling on it. That's also why I added some finishing touches to the top of the cake that weren't for eating. It looked adorable and went perfectly with the Halloween theme of the party.

- Cake mix, boxed or make your own, you just need to end up with a cooked bundt cake. I used Trader Joe's Vanilla Cake & Baking Mix.
- Pillsbury Halloween Funfetti Vanilla Frosting, it comes orange and with the sprinkles to put on
- Some plastic skulls, snakes, bats, etc. You can find these at Dollar Tree, Party City, etc.

There you have it. It's very easy to make a cake like this but it is oh so adorable!

You can also see our spider web guacamole in the corner of the picture. If you'd like to make that as well you can make your own guacamole and put it in a bowl, or just buy a container from the store and leave it in that container. Then you put some sour cream into a ziploc bag and cut a hole in the corner of the bag and squirt it onto the guacamole in a spider web shape.

Our Favorite Fall Books

Here's a list of some of our favorite books for the fall time with links to where you can purchase them yourself. Or just search for the titles of these books at your local library, we have found many great fall stories there.

These are listed in no particular order, but I will say my top favorite on this list is Apple Picking Time. It's a beautiful story! There's also some nonfiction fall books on this list because we take everything as an opportunity to learn and not reading some factual books about some of the most important things of fall would be a shame.

1. Biscuit Visits the Pumpkin Patch by Alyssa Satin Capucilli

2. Apple Pie ABC by Alison Murray

3. Applesauce Season by Eden Ross Lipson

4. Why Is It Fall? (Why Do We Have Seasons?) by Sara L. Latta

5. The Big Leaf Pile by Josephine Page

6. A Is for Autumn by Robert Maass

7. Apple Picking Time by Michele B. Slawson

8. Rainbow Magic Special Edition: Autumn the Falling Leaves Fairy by Daisy Meadows

9. Arthur Jumps into Fall by Marc Brown

10. Life Cycle of a Pumpkin by Ron Fridell

11. Apple Farmer Annie by Monica Wellington

12. Fletcher and the Falling Leaves by Julia Rawlinson

13. The Life Cycle of an Apple by Ruth Thomson

14. The Berenstain Bears' Harvest Festival by Mike Berenstain

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Fall Bucket List 2015 70 fun family ideas

We LOVE fall and we are so excited to get started on our Fall Bucket List! I hope that you can also enjoy these ideas with your family to have a wonderfully fun fall season this year. There are a few Halloween and Thanksgiving things on this big Fall Bucket List of ours, but there is obviously tons more crafts and treats to make for those two holidays and they will probably get their own posts later on. Also, keep checking back because we will be coming up with a lot more fun fall things and posting about them as fall goes on as well.

1. Go apple picking.

2. Take a nature walk and collect leaves to preserve into a leaf book.

3. Take a hayride, we get one at the place we go apple picking.

4. Make an adorable leaf sun catcher from Fantastic Fun and Learning.

5. Attend fall themed programs at your local library, we've already been to one about leaves.

6. Make pumpkin ice cream.

7. Take an educational field trip to a cider mill.

8. Make acorn hand prints from Crafty Morning.

9. Of course go to the pumpkin patch, take pictures, buy pumpkins and gourds.

10. Paint pumpkins.

11. Carve pumpkins.

12. Host a Halloween party.

13. Make an autumn sensory bin like this one from Sow Sprout Play, we have everything on hand already for this bin, can't wait to make it!  

14. Get family pictures taken outside.

15. Teach your children why the leaves change colors.

16. Rake leaves or collect them in a kiddie pool for "swimming" in like we did once.

17. Do a hay maze or corn maze.

18. Make smores.

19. Bake an apple pie.

20. Make pumpkin pie play dough.

21. Donate food to a food bank and/or volunteer.

22. Do a trunk-or-treat.

23. Make homemade applesauce.

24. Have pumpkin waffles.

25. Have pumpkin pancakes.

26. Have pumpkin muffins.

27. Watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade.

28. Play football, teach your kids the basics.

29. Sensory play with the insides of a pumpkin.

30. Watch Halloween movies.

31. Have a candy apple making night, there's tons of recipes out there and cute things to try! You could even just set out apples, caramel, and some toppings of your choice like a candy apple bar.

32. Make hand print turkeys.

33. Do this 1st Thanksgiving Time Line activity from No Time For Flashcards with your kids. We did it last year and will definitely do it again, it was so educational and helps kids understand the meaning behind the holiday.

34. Teach your kids the life cycle of a pumpkin. There are simple books about it at the library, and a couple years ago I printed out this great printable on it.

35. Make a few amazing fall themed bento boxes like these from Meet the Dubiens for your kids. Bento is so much fun, if you don't have a Laptop Lunch Box for your kids definitely look into it.

36. Teach your children all about apples, make sure they know all the parts. A couple years ago we did a poster board about the differences between the outside and inside of an apple and labeled the parts.

37. Zoo/petting zoo near you Halloween event.

38. Study Johnny Appleseed.

39. Do leaf rubbings.

40. Go to a kid friendly haunted house.

41. Go horseback riding.

42. Have a Harry Potter movie marathon.

43. Make hand print scarecrows like Crafty Morning.

44. Make a haunted gingerbread house like the Dating Divas. I love this idea, would be a great date or for the whole family. Kids will love this too!

45. Find a recipe you like for a tomato pumpkin soup and make it. I made one last year that was delicious.

46. Get some apple cider and see if your kids like it, or if you go to Trader Joe's don't miss out on the Cinnamon Pear Cider, my daughter's favorite fall drink.

47. Make pumpkin pie parfaits with this Weelicious recipe.

48. Make this adorable fall tree craft from Crafty Morning, they do a lot of cute stuff obviously!

49. Bake pumpkin snickerdoodles with this Cooking Classy recipe. 

50. Make a list of fall vocabulary/spelling words for your kids, study them, have a test.

51. Paint a pumpkin like a globe, very educational.

52. Making this pumpkin spice lattee oobleck is a must for us every year, from Learn Play Imagine.

53. Make a thankful tree or something similar. Last year I made a tissue box look like a turkey and we put in a little slip of paper with something we were thankful for each day and looked at them on Thanksgiving. I plan to keep this tradition going every year.

54. Make a pumpkin patch small world for your kids to play in. I've made one before, but it was inspired by this one from Buggy and Buddy. 

55. Take a hike.

56. Make corn cob dolls like The Magic Onions.

57. Roast pumpkin seeds.

58. Have your kids draw pictures of the fall changes and document weather in their nature journals.

59. Have a fun chili night at home or take it to the park in thermoses.

60. Make a pine cone bird feeder.

61. Read or tell spooky stories.

62. Do candy corn mani/pedis with your daughter, of course!

63. Go to a fall festival.

64. Donate clothes to charity.

65. Bob for apples.

66. Do a homeschool unit on fire safety, tour a fire station with a group of friends and kids as a field trip.

67. Make football cupcakes like Project Domestication.

68. Volunteer at a nursing home.

69. Have a family cuddle night outside stargazing.

70. Make a scarecrow.

Card Idea for Sending Pictures of your Child

Have you ever gotten pictures taken of your kids and wanted to send them out to family, realized you needed to put them in a card, but weren't sure what you wanted to say in the card? I came up with an idea I really liked that allowed me to send the picture, and let some family that doesn't always get to see Charlie and talk with her know some more about her. 

As you can see in the card I wrote "I thought you'd like to see a new picture of me and know some of my favorite things." Then I just listed her favorite things like color: pink in a row down the card.

I also think it's very important for kids to learn to sign their own cards. In the card above she was not in the mood and that's okay but it's still important to try to get them to do it as often as possible.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Painting Shopkins

My daughter is really into Shopkins right now and she's going to have a Shopkins themed birthday party in a few months and I thought we could display some of her art and that she could make some fitting the theme. So she would tell me what Shopkin she wanted to paint and I would set it out along with a big picture of the Shopkin on my computer.

I gave her the colors of paint she needed and enough brushes for each color. (We use washable tempera paint).

Here's her Pee Wee Kiwi.

Painting Netti Spaghetti, at this point we weren't using the computer anymore just the Shopkins themselves for inspiration.

 Here it is after just having painted it and before it dried.

Then once it dried she would draw their faces on with a marker. 

If your kids love Shopkins too this activity will definitely help them tap into their artistic side.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Sofia The First Glitter Sensory Bin

So I had some uncooked pasta that was spilled on to the floor and we weren't going to be cooking it after that so I thought I'd save it for making necklaces or sensory play or something like that. The only problem is these aren't the kind of noodles I would buy for that purpose, they were whole grain so they were darker and harder to dye and have the color show up well. But they still turned out pretty cute and my daughter liked the bin. 

To dye the uncooked noodles you put them into a large Ziploc bag, add a little bit of alcohol and shake it up to coat the noodles, then the food coloring, adding more until you get the color you want. Like I mentioned noodles that aren't whole grain are much easier to dye and get vibrant color out of. When they are still wet you can shake some glitter into the bag and shake it around as well. Then pour them out onto a piece of foil and let it dry, I often sit them in the sun for the drying process.

Then I put them into a purple plastic bin, and then added the Sofia the First characters that we have. 

It was a good way for her interest in these to spark up again and have some fun pretend play with them!