Homemade Finger Paints!!

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Looking for a new craft idea for the little ones?!?  Why not get creative by making your own finger paints!  Since they are made with corn starch, they are also gluten-free for those with allergies!!  Even better, let the kids help you determine the colors so they can have their own custom paints!!

  • 3T Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 Cup Cornstarch
  • 2 Cups Water

Combine all in saucepan and warm until it thickens.  Cool and pour into containers.  Add food coloring of your choice and mix well.  Grab the paint brushes and have a fun day of painting with the kids!!

Baked Apples With Rhubarb

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With spring here and gardens starting to bloom, what better way to welcome the season than with loading up with fresh produce?!?

Here is a great way to introduce your little ones to rhubarb while at the same time serving something they already know (and hopefully love), apples!!

  • 4 Crisp Apples, cored
  • 1 lb rhubarb, cut into 1″ long pieces
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup honey or agave nectar
  • 2 cups orange juice
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Toss the rhubarb with the sugar, honey, orange juice, and black pepper, set aside.
  3. In a deep ceramic baking dish, place the apples cut side down, cover with the rhubarb mixture and place in the oven to bake until the apples are tender but still intact.
  4. Baste with the pan juices every 10 minutes. Remove from heat.

Garden In A Glove

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Are you looking for a creative way to get your little ones excited about growing their own herbs and veggies?  If so, this is a fun way to teach them about gardening while at the same time doing it in a way to catch their attention!

Supplies:
plastic gloves (kind used by food servers; nothing fancy)
permanent marker
5 cotton balls
water
5 seeds (5 different varieties is optimal but 5 of the same variety would work)
bread bag twist tie

How To:

1. Write the names of each variety of seed on each finger.
2. Moisten the cotton balls so they are just wet.
3. Place seeds on the cotton ball. (Choose the number of seeds based on the size of the seeds. For example, a bean probably only needs one seed while carrots several.)
4. Slide the seed and cotton ball into the labeled finger. Do this for each variety.
5. Gently blow air into the glove and twist to seal in the air. Wrap a twist bread bag tie around the end to keep it closed.
6. Place or hang the glove in a warm window and watch what happens.
7. Once the seeds have sprouted, you can cut off each fingertip and plant the cotton ball and new seedling in soil for further garden/plant learning.

Source: Full Circle Gardener

Apple Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal Makes The Perfect Addition To Mother’s Day Brunch!!

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What better way to show Mom how much you appreciate her than by making breakfast for her?!?  This recipe is easy to make and is a perfect recipe to let the little ones help with the preparation!!

  • 2 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups skim milk
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 large Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and diced

Optional Toppings

  • brown sugar
  • raisins
  • dried cranberries
  • chopped almonds

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Coat an 8-by-8 inch baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, combine oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking powder and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk together milk, applesauce, butter, egg whites and vanilla.
  • Pour wet ingredients over dry ingredients and stir until combined. Gently stir in diced apples. Pour oatmeal mixture into prepared pan.
  • Bake for 20 minutes or until oatmeal is golden brown and set. Remove from oven and serve warm. Add additional toppings to baked oatmeal, if desired.

Source: Two Peas and Their Pod

Handprint Vase Makes The Perfect Mother’s Day Gift!

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Mother’s Day is less than a week away and what better way to show her that you care than to help your little ones make a handprint vase to put her flowers in?  These are easy to make and require very little supplies, so let your little ones pick out their favorite colors of paint and get to work!

Supplies:

-paintbrush, ribbon, mason jar, gift tag, flowers

Directions:

  • Start by cleaning out your mason jar.  Make sure it is dry.
  • Pour some paint into the mason jar and start swirling it around until the entire inside of the jar is covered with paint.
  • Pour out the extra paint and let it dry overnight.
  • The next day paint the child’s hand with a contrasting color paint.  Place their hand gently, but firmly on the mason jar.  Give it a little push on their hand and fingers to make sure they make a good hand print.
  • Once the hand print is dry add a nice ribbon and tag that reads “Happy Mother’s Day”.  Add a flower (or a couple flowers) to the vase and give it to Mom.  She will surely love it!!

Source: Crafts For Kids

Strawberry Granola Bars

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Yesterday we told you about the benefits of strawberries and today we have an easy recipe for a healthier alternative to traditional granola bars!  You can make these in muffin tins for smaller bite size snacks also!

Makes 20-24 bars
3/4 C almond butter or nut butter of your choice
1/3 C honey
1 tsp vanilla
2 large bananas, well mashed
1/3 C ground flax
3 C old fashioned rolled oats
3 C crispy cereal or granola
2-3 C fresh strawberries, chopped
1/2 C chocolate chips

  1. Prepare a 9×13 pan by lining it with plastic wrap or parchment or wax paper. Or prepare two muffin tins with paper liners. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the nut butter, honey, vanilla, mashed bananas and ground flax seed. Mix well and add the rolled oats and cereal and stir until incorporated. Add the strawberries and chocolate chips and gently stir them in.
  3. Press the mixture into the 9×13 pan or divide the mixture between the muffin cups and press down well.
  4. Once the mixture is packed well, place them in the freezer and freeze completely, 4-6 hours or overnight. Remove from the 9×13 pan and slice into bars.
  5. Individually wrap and store in an airtight container in the freezer or simply remove from the muffin tin and place in an airtight container or sealable plastic bag to store in the freezer.

Adapted From: Food Doodles

Health Benefits of Strawberries

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Strawberries are traditionally one of the favorite fruits with children because they are sweet in flavor, easy to pick up, and have a soft texture.  These berries are also full of essential nutrients!  Did you know that 1 cup of strawberries provides 100% of the RDA for Vitamin C?!?

Here are a few benefits of consuming strawberries and adequate Vitamin C!

  • High in fiber!
  • Enhances immune function
  • Enhances iron absorption
  • A deficiency in Vitamin C causes bleeding gums, loose teeth, weakness, hemorrhaging of hair follicles, poor wound healing, swollen ankles, and diarrhea.
  • Provides an excellent source of Manganese and Potassium which are essential for proper bone growth and health!

Uses Of Strawberries: Throw them in smoothies, on top of cereal or yogurt, mash them to make your own jam or cook them down to make a quick simple syrup for desserts!

How To Buy: When looking for strawberries look for berries that are bright red in color and firm.  Dull red berries indicate that they are overripe and will not only spoil quickly but are usually not as flavorful.