Saturday, March 19, 2016

Transportation: Land

My boys absolutely LOVE trains. So of course I assigned myself Land Transportation. I gave the other moms air and water transportation. I would have loved to do those too, but one must share. :)

We started with a scissor practice skill worksheet. I made it on my outdated print shop program. I just had different vehicles one side, and a destination on the other. They had to cut on the lines connecting them, zig zags, wavy, etc.

 My cute Mr. W. decided to connect them all in one line back and forth. He ended up with one very long piece of paper.

We had some cute snacks. One day we made these cute buses. I covered the graham cracker in frosting for them, and let the kids add oreo wheels, golden graham cereal windows, skittles or M&M lights, and a teddy graham driver or passenger. Some of the kids wanted to make a car instead. They all turned out darling. 
Idea found here

The second day I made snack trains. I stapled paper cups together. On the front train I glued a photo of a steam engine that I found online. Then I let each child choose what they wanted to fill their "tenders" with. Some of the choices were teddy grahams, goldfish crackers, grapes, raisins, marshmallows, oyster crackers, crispy chow mein noodles, etc.

I found this adorable idea at Preschool Express. Jean Warren has lots of fabulous ideas there. 

We played a fun car graphing game also. I made a worksheet with a table on it. I put various car colors on each row, and we watched out the windows for the colors of cars they saw. Then we colored in a square each time we saw a car drive by. I live on a busier street, so even in the middle of the day we were able to see a handful of cars drive by. My boys liked this a lot, and worked on it through out the next few days. 

For story time we read   The Little Engine That Could, among others. I love the old classic by Watty Piper. Some of them have newer illustrations, but much of the same words, but I really love the old one, as do my kids.

After for an art project we made shape trains. I had the shapes precut, rectangles, triangles, squares, and a circle. I also precut a cloud/thinking shape. I had a demo already made to show the kids how to make their shapes into a train. They then added wheels, we did this by dipping an empty thread spool into paint. We talked all about how the Little Engine was brave and thought that he could do hard things. We talked about hard things that they have already learned to do. And then, we talked about things that are hard for them now, but that they thought they could do, and that is what we wrote on our cloud/thought shapes.
I found the idea of the shape train at Preschool Education, and added the think bubble myself.

"I think I can go downstairs by myself"

"I think I can pick apples"

"I think I can clean up by myself"

"I think I can change my clothes by myself"

I loved this little art project. The trains turned out very cute, and I loved seeing their little brains at work, and what they thought they could do and overcome. 

Of course we also had to play a classic train game. We lined up the little chairs that I have and I gave them tickets in every color of the rainbow. (or rather in the construction paper that I have). I found the idea at The Activity Idea Place. To ride the train, I would say, "All aboard the red train" and they would have to find and show their red ticket. We repeated with all the colors they had. They loved this, and we decided to skip a few other planned activities and continue playing this. 

and we absolutely had to play Red Light, Green Light!

Some of the fun songs we sang were:

Down By The Station
Down by the station
Early in the morning,
See the little pufferbillies
All in a row.
See the station master
Pull a little handle.
Chug, chug, Toot, toot.
Off we go!
Little Red Caboose
Little red caboose, Little red caboose,
Little red caboose behind the train, train,
Smokestack on his back, Going down the track,
Little red caboose behind the train, train.

                                                          This is a Choo Choo Train                                                             This is a choo choo train (Child becomes a train by squatting)
Puffing down the track (Child does actions that the rhyme states)
Now its going forward, (Child goes forward)
Now its going back. (Child goes back, etc.)
Now the bell is ringing (child pulls make believe bell rope)
What a lot of noise it makes (cover ears and make train noises)
Everywhere it goes. (Children move around the room at random.)

Saturday, March 5, 2016

April Fools 2015

I could have sworn that we made more things than this. I even have memories of making these Mushroom Cookies (scroll down a ways, it is a fun Alice in Wonderland birthday party.). But I cannot find photos of them anywhere. :/ But they did turn out to look very much like the photo she has, but they were a crumbly mess and difficult to make. 

The older two were old enough last year to rehash the kitty litter cake to trick the twins. I think that they enjoyed it just a little too much! 

Here they are taking out the litter box (we actually have a cat now, so this was feasible)

Just as they were about to go "dump" it outside, Miss B. took out a tootsie roll poop and ate it. The boys looked on in horror. Miss B could hardly contain herself. She thought their expressions were so funny, and that she was just too funny. It was great entertainment to watch!

Then she kindly offered the boys a tootsie roll log
The incredulous look of, "uh mom, what is going on here?"

and once they realized it was a joke, eating away at their yummy cake. 
I used the recipe found at Allrecipes

The older two also helped me make some candy broccoli. 

I have a photo pinned on pinterest, but it is a dead link. The basic, very easy instructions are to use fruity tootsie rolls, and shape into a broccoli stalk. Use a little to make into a ball/head type shape. Then I got them slightly wet and dipped into green cake sprinkles and/or non-pareils. My photo is a little blurry and doesn't do them justice, they actually looked pretty realistic. 

And be sure to check out my many other years of April Foolery

April Fools 2014

I think this was our April Fools Breakfast. Apparently I did not make a Fools Dinner, because there are no photos to prove it, and I don't have a memory of anything specific either. :)

I started with jello orange slices. These were actually pretty easy to make. Fun to serve and fun to eat. I found the idea and great instructions at Meet the Dubiens

I also served magical pre-sliced bananas. As the kids peeled them, they found them already sliced inside. I know I got my instructions from the Family Fun Magazine, but they no longer have anything on their website. The kids were surprised and wondering how I did it. I didn't take step-by-step photos, but I did find some at this cute blog
Word of advice, do these right before serving, as they start to brown around the needle entry and exit points. 

And then I made the teeny-tiny cinnamon rolls. These are actually about the size of a mini muffin. I wanted something I knew that Miss B. would eat. The funny thing is that these were the thing she was most hesitant to try. She was sure they were not what they looked like. They were pretty tasty, and much easier than homemade cinnamon rolls for a mom in a morning rush. 

I found the easy recipe using refrigerated crescent roll dough at Iowa Girl Eats

And a few reactions. :)

And be sure to check out my many other years of April Foolery

April Fools 2013

Since the twins are a little older, I rehashed some old tricks. Mr. T. and Miss B. knew them, but they were fun to play again. 

Here I added just a few drops of food coloring underneath Mr. W.'s cereal, so when the milk is added, it turns a color. 

I made a great "dinner".
We had fried chicken, baked beans, and cake with pink frosting.

I found the recipe for the baked beans and fried chicken at a great little blog, Kitchen Fun with My Three Sons.

I started with large pretzel rods, a little frosting on one end and dipped in melted white chocolate. Then shape a rice crispy treat around it in a drum stick shape. then after cooling cover in a candy coating and roll in slightly crushed corn or bran flakes.

I attempted to make the corn on the cobs to go with it. I should have used her method, because I what I tried failed miserably. I attempted to use candy corns stuffed into a twinkie (I saw it somewhere on pinterest). They do not stay in, and yeah, I gave up and ate a twinkie instead. Maybe I will try her method instead. 

The baked beans were yummy. I think the coloring on her's turned out a little bit better than mine, but they did look like the real thing. 

Our cake was meatloaf covered in dyed mashed potatoes, (you used to be able to view it online at Family Fun magazine, but since Disney bought them out, none of it is there anymore. :( ) but it may you could easily make this Spaghetti Torte Recipe if it fits your families taste better. 

And here are some kid reactions to our dinner:

For the pranks that the kids did, they made a mock cake and the world's tiniest popsicles.

We followed instructions for the Exploding Cake here. I thought that their's looked too uncake like, so we decided to tape the balloon onto an empty cool whip container instead. I set the older two to work on this downstairs while I worked in the kitchen on our surprise dinner. Because of this, the cake did not really explode as planned. In trying to secure the cake onto the bowl, they used a whole lotta duct tape. So much so that the hubs was unable to cut through it with the knife. It deflated instead of popping. But the hubs did not know what to expect inside anyhow, so he thought the joke was just that it was impossible to cut. A lot of laughs ensued, even if it did not go as planned. It was also very very tricky to frost a balloon, just FYI. lol

The world's tiniest popsicles were found at You have to scroll quite a ways to find them, and its just a photo. But it is basically a flat toothpick, broken or cut smaller, inserted into Mike & Ike's Candy.

And be sure to check out my many other years of April Foolery

April Fools 2012

If you have perused my blog at all, then you know that I LOVE April Fool's Day. I love silly harmless pranks, and especially food trickery. 

We do a have a rule, no mean tricks. Just fun. Because of my no mean tricks, I don't make food that my kids will hate. It might look like they'll hate it, but we have enough trouble with pickiness, I do not want to make them more scared to try to new foods. 

This April Fools I had to travel out of state to attend my sister's baby shower, so I had to do a lot of prep work before the holiday. I was coming back the day of, but knew I would only be home in enough time to make dinner. Because of the time crunch, things did not turn out as well as I had hoped. But the kids still had fun. 

I started with fake fruit cans. I found the idea at She has great instructions there, I'll just show my pics here, you can get the step by step there. 

What is this tom-foolery?
Okay, this is better than fruit!

And Miss B. enjoying the candy from her can after dinner

She also had this cute idea of carrots in a candy box, so I had to do that one too. I made these ahead in the hope that the hubs would give them to the kids for some foolery before I got home, but he said he wanted to wait until I was home. But it did mean that I got some photos of their reactions. :)

Because mine were made ahead and hiding in my closet, I didn't figure baby carrots would handle well. I filled mine with goldfish crackers instead. Keep the eggs for an easter egg hunt, if its not too late. Or just keep in that secret mom stash, chocolate therapy.

For our mock dinner I served lasagna and bundt cake, or did I?

We have done this for enough years that my kids know that if it looks like dessert then it is the main course, and if it looks like the main course, it is probably dessert. They are usually just a little hesitant to try, at least now. That first year, it was like pulling teeth to get them to try it. But that did make the trick a little more fun. Ha ha!

The lasagna was actually a lasagna banana pudding cake. I found it at The Food Network. While this tasted fabulous, it did not turn out looking very much like lasagna. I was unable to get a good red color. But it really did taste great. 

The bundt cake was more of a pizza biscuit bake. I found it at Taste of Home. It looked better than the dessert lasagna, but I wish the melted cheese would have looked more melty-drizzly, like a glaze. 

The kids made the drink. As much as they love being tricked, they also love getting to play tricks on dad too. This looks like some green koolaid, but its actually applejuice colored green. The kids added the food coloring, and they have overdone it a bit. :)

This is the usual reaction to all our jokes and pranks. 

Smiles and Laughter. 

Worth every effort made. 

And be sure to check out my many other years of April Foolery