Saturday, October 31, 2015

Preschool Centers for the Home

Because we weren't able to get Rachel into a formal preschool program this year, Grandma Ruth has dedicated two days a week to bringing "preschool" to Rachel.. On the weekends, we like to lay out all the activities Grandma has brought, along with some of our own,  on the living room floor so Rachel and David can explore through the "centers".  Here are a few of our centers for the month:

Pattern Cubes:

Use the dropper to place drops of water in the Lego blocks and suction cups:

Hang the Barbie clothes on the "line":

Match the magnetic letters:

String some beads. The pipe cleaners have numbers on them as well, so they could put that amount of beads on the pipe cleaner:

Match the number leaf to the tree (sticky foam):

Frill in the missing numbers on the line:

Practice cutting:

Clip the correct number of clothespins to the block:

Pom-pom patterns and sorting:

Magnetic boards:

Fill in the correct number of black beans:

Use the magna-tiles to make shapes and figures:

Match the letters:

Use the geo-boards to match letters and rhyming words:

I didn't take a picture of one of their favorite activities, but it is pretty self explanatory. I laminated images of a boy and girl that don't have a face. The kids make faces out of play dough and put them on the laminated paper. (You can see this in the middle of the first picture above.)

The nice thing about these activities is they are easy to put together and really work the kids' motor skills. 

Paper Plate Pumpkin

We didn't have too much time to do a craft the other night, so we threw this one together in under 10 minutes. 

Rachel painted the paper plate and stuck on black cut-out shapes. We traced Rachel's hand on a piece of green sticky foam and added the hand and a brown stem. 

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Baked Apple Cider Doughnuts

We have been trying a lot of baked doughnuts lately. This recipe indicated the doughnuts should be fried, but we baked them instead and they turned out perfectly. (

3/4 cup apple cider
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 whole egg 
1 egg yolk
2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoons cinnamon
1/8 teaspoons nutmeg

Melted butter
5 Tablespoons sugar
1/2 Tablespoon cinnamon

Start by reducing the apple cider in a small saucepan over medium heat. The mixture will reduce to about 1/2 cup. (This will take a good 5-10 minutes.)

Beat the 3 Tbsp butter (softened) with the brown and white sugar. Add the vanilla and eggs. Beat for about 3-4 minutes or until light and fluffy. 

In a separate bowl, mix the 2 cups flour, 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder, 1/4 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. cinnamon, and 1/8 tsp. nutmeg. 

Add about 1/3 of the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Then add some of the cider. Then another addition of the dry ingredients. Follow with the rest of the cider and the remaining dry mixture. Be careful not to over-mix. 

Place the dough in a plastic baggie. Cut the tip off one of the bottom ends of the baggie. Squeeze the dough in a greased doughnut pan. The mini doughnuts baked at 350 for 7 minutes. The big doughnuts baked for about 10 minutes. 

When slightly browned, put the doughnuts on a cooling rack. Immediately dip the top in melted butter and roll in cinnamon/sugar topping mixture. 

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Fire Truck Graham Cracker Snack

David's class studied fire safety this week, so we decided to make these treats for his class. 

We covered a graham cracker with red frosting, used a mini Oreo for the wheels, pretzels for the ladder, and white frosting for the window. 

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Pumpkin Sheet Cake

1 can pumpkin (15 oz)
2 cups sugar
1 cup oil
4 eggs
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt

1 cup milk
4 Tbsp flour
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Beat the pumpkin, sugar, and oil with a mixer. Add the eggs, one at a time. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Slowly add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients. Pour into a greased 10x15 inch sheet cake pan. (I don't have one of those, so I placed most of the cake in a 9x13 inch sheet cake pan and put the rest of the batter in my doughnut pan (I got 6 doughnuts plus the cake). Bake cake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes. The doughnuts only took about 8-10 minutes. 

While the cake bakes and cools, make the frosting. Start by whisking the milk and flour in a saucepan. Let that mixture boil. (It will become very thick.) I placed that in the refrigerator to cool completely. Then beat the butter and sugar with a stand mixer. Add the cooled milk and flour mixture. Whip on the highest setting you have until it is light and fluffy. Spread on the cooled cake. 

Baked Potato Skins with Cheese and Bacon

Wash russet potatoes and slice them thinly. Place in a saucepan with cold water. Boil the potatoes for about 5 minutes. Drain the water and pat the potatoes dry. Spread them out on a greased baking sheet. Spray the potatoes with cooking spray. Top with a little salt and pepper. (I made a pan of just plain potatoes too.) 
Then spread cheese and cooked, chopped bacon on top of that. 

Bake at 375 degrees for 14-15 minutes. 

Spider Web Fine Motor Skill Practice

I saw a picture of something like this on Pinterest, so we set out to try to make our own. I had a little container that had holes in the side, so I used that. I strung white yarn through the container. Then I added spider rings I had from last Halloween. The kids used little plastic tweezers to pull the spiders out of the web. They really had a lot of fun with this.