Friday, June 28, 2013

Sensory Trays and "Frosty" Recipe Review

This is definitely another oldie but a goodie...something I fall back on like days like today when this mom is exhausted and outdoor time is cut short due to the rain (they played in it for a little while!)  Using a tray helps keep the mess "somewhat" contained.  But the main purpose I use it today was so each kiddo would work independently.  Today...that was needed, for whatever the reason.  Perhaps because of the overcast day...that does effect us all.

Good ol' baking soda and vinegar reactions.  :-)  They never tire of this.  They make clay volcanoes, bottle volcanoes, sandbox volcanoes...but this type of exploration tend to last just a bit longer so I personally like it. 

  Something about those two pictures above that I love.  :-)  
C. doesn't often show a lot of expression so that neat to see!
I often provide the 3 primary colors.  That last bowl was yellow, for the first 30 seconds.  A little tidbit for you, discourage them from putting the baking soda in the bowl at the beginning.  Tends to cause the "reaction" to disperse more quickly and then the vinegar in the bowl will not work on the baking soda of the tray.
They tend to get a kick out of the "end product".  Every kiddo that has done this with me has always ended their "work" by using ALL the tends to make a very colorful island.  Neat in itself!  I think I'll remember that when we are doing landforms.  :-)

 A. tends to spend a bit more time with exploring the materials with a plan, as you can see here.  He's 10 years old and loves this kind of play.  Never make the mistake of considering something a preschooler would get a kick out of "too young" for a 10 year old to be interested in.  I find that they love it just as much!  What I really liked this year was being able to do things like this with a mixed group.  A., being older, brought so much "to the table" and really sparked conversations!  
Something else we did today....
C.'s turn to help me
YUM!!!!  Definitely a keeper! 

This came across on Facebook.  However, when I clicked on it, it didn't take me to an actual site so I can't really "give credit" where it belongs.  So if you know the original site of this recipe, comment!  

This was suppose to turn out like the Wendy's Frosty.  To be truthful, even though we made it this morning, it's still not completely frozen because we put the whole bowl in the freezer.  I thought about putting it in cups but then we had to move on with our morning errands and it didn't get done until afternoon.  However...partially frozen is very yummy too!  :-)

Here you go...
8 C. milk and enough chocolate syrup to make it taste like chocolate milk.  (We didn't measure.)  Or you can purchase your own chocolate milk...1/2 Gal.  

14 oz Sweetened Condensed Milk

8 oz. of Cool Whip.

Mix together.  Preferably put in individual serving dishes and freeze.  We just mixed with a spatula...but next time we are going to see what happens if we mix it with a hand mixer.  I bet it will be frothy and freeze accordingly.

These cups are a bit big for child servings, FYI.  Next time, and yes, there will be a next time...we'll do smaller cups.  That'll freeze quicker also!  However, this mixture made 10 to 12 fourteen ounce cups.  The reason why it looks like there is actually cool whip on top is because the mixture had frozen on the top of the bowl and I divided it into the cups and poured the rest of the liquid into it.  There is not extra Cool Whip.

Like I said...yum (and a kid friendly recipe...we got some mental math going on while we were combining the ingredients)!
Of course, we need to get at least one picture of Mr. T, 'tis only fair!
 He was my supper helper.   Crunching up French Fried Onions for our baked chicken.  :-)  He's my expert fruit salad maker also.  The key to not going crazy with Mr. here is to make sure he is busy busy busy!  He loves to help in the kitchen, I would say it's his very favorite thing to do.  Hope it stays that way!  It's actually to the point now, 4 years old, that he's actually helpful!

On the note of helping in the kitchen....
They were very pleased when I bought a ham for supper one night.  :-)  And very willing to help chop up the left over...especially A. because he knew that Mac 'n' Cheese with ham was the next thing on the menu.  His (and his daddy's) favorite!  So, he got to help make the mac 'n' cheese for supper.  Really needs another couple inches on him so I don't have to stress about the gas stovetop's flames.  He still needs a stool.  So, of course there was just enough left over for the next day's lunch.  This is one of their favorite types of lunches.  Mine too!  EASY!
Those blueberries and strawberries were delicious!  I believe they were MI blueberries . Picked them up at Jay's Meat Market :-D  We made a trip there to see what it was all about...thinking maybe I could save some gas/mileage by not going to Meijer every week.  Not sure that will happen was worth the thought.  

Snap/sugar peas were what the boys wanted from Jay's.  :-D  It's the one thing I miss about not having "Grandma's" garden this year...the looking forward to the fresh peas.  I never had trouble getting the kiddos to help weeding the garden during the time that the peas were on!  I'm not a big fan of peas in any other form.  :-D

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Sensory: Frozen Jello

One of my goals for this summer is to provide sensory play activity for my kiddos.  My eldest, 10 years old, still gets very excited with this...and it's just plain good for my other two.  :-)

Yesterday's sensory experience was from The Imagination Tree.  What an awesome blog by the way!  So many great ideas!  

T.'s turn this time to "have the show".  Made him a happy camper!
Adding a little fine motor component and had him cut the tops off the Jello bags before dumping.  

 C. observing and wishing it was him.  He likes anything that involves making food.  :-)
We used whatever Jello was on we had a package of blackberry fusion, a package of berry blue and two packages of grape.  Yes, C. wanted to try it.  Ha!  It tasted like grape.  We let it sit on the counter over night but I think next time I'll go ahead and put it in the fridge so it's a bit firmer when we stick it in the freezer.

Jello is frozen!
"It's cold!  It's heavy!"

 Getting started...first do we get it out of the bag?
 I decided it was just easier to bring out the dramatic play tool set for their initial play.  Plastic tools don't work the greatest but they seemed content. 

Water bottles do make the defrosting to happen more quickly.

Impressed that C. thought of something before he did.  :-)  Clamps!
 Working together to thaw/smash the last large chunk.

I was hoping it would get to the point that it did in Imagination Tree's...where it would turn into an actual jello texture.  However, my kiddos were enjoying the water a bit too much for that to happen.  :-)  I took the youngest in for a nap and by the time I came back out they had it completely watered down.  

Their consensus was, yes, let's do it again!  But we each want our own.  :-)  So, that's quite a bit of jello!  We'll be looking for a jello sale!
There are a couple days in the week that are rather full so those days we do "easy for mom" sensory play.   
Yep, easy...dump the playdough toy container in the middle of the table so all can reach.  :-)  

Actually, only one child did playdough, another did flubber and the other worked with Incredible Foam.  I find that having three different materials to work with encourages them to explore longer because they'll "switch" in the middle.  ;-)  

Enjoying our summer...hope you are too!

Monday, June 24, 2013


Wow!  It's been a long time since I've posted anything to either one of my blogs.  I had planned to be so diligent but life got in the way as usual. 

Recap of the 2012-2013 school year:  Eventually all five students were enrolled in MVCA (Michigan Visual Charter Academy), an online public school that uses the K12 curriculum.  Quite an experience.  Pros and cons like everything but enough pros that we are giving it another go for the 2013-2014 school year.  I found that it was a very busy time for myself as I tried to figure out just how to go about having 6 kids in this small house and accomplish everything that needed accomplished.  I found that a lot of my own plans and want-to's went to the back burner.  So hoping that this next year can be a little different in that regard.  I'd love for them to be a bit more independent and have a little more choice than what happened this past school year but I'm not sure that is going to work out the ideal way (in my opinion) due to the space issues in this very small house.  So, I'm exploring options this summer.  :-)
Summer Fun
An oldie but a goodie!
Step 1:  (not pictured)
Dissolve 1 tsp. of Borax (laundry aisle at grocery store) into 1/2 C. HOT water.

Step 2:  Measure out 3/4 C. of COLD water into a bowl. Add food coloring if you desire.  Remember that the flubber will be lighter so use LOTS of food coloring.  :-D
Measure out 1 C. of liquid glue (I have always used Elmer's) and add to cold water.

 Combine...this is fun in itself!
 Not pictured:  add the dissolved borax into the glue/water mixture.
 He loved this part!  It is messy.  We did get food coloring splattered on his shirt before I asked him to take it off.  He told me it looked like what he thought muscle would look like!  After stirring for a minute or so, remove it from the excess water and onto a easily cleaned surface.  :-)  Then work that flubber!

 Ta-da!  It's no longer messy after it's been worked for a bit.  More like a rubber texture.  :-)  4 year old stated it felt like jello.
 Fun stuff!
Even C. enjoyed it after the "slimy" process was done.  A., of course, loved the whole process of making it.

I actually chose A. to make the flubber because I knew he'd be able to handle the complete slimy process whereas I'd end up doing most of it with C. or T. once they got started.  But it also fell in the category, for A., of following directions.  Somewhere in the last two years A., 10 years old, lost his capability of following verbal and written directions.  :-D  So the goal is to incorporate recipe reading and following through for him this summer.