Monday, October 24, 2011

Monday Meanderings - Halloween Snacks

With Halloween fast approaching, I went on a hunt for some great snacks to prepare.
Here are some of my favorites.

First we have Taste of Home with these adorable Marshmallow Witches. They look quick and easy and may be great for kids to put together.

Our Best Bites made these cute Mummy Dogs and Monster Jaws.

Cute As A Fox made these very cute, er I mean scary, Monster Rods. I love these!!

Have a great Halloween!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Jack O Lantern Paper Cut Story

As I was looking around online, I came across a great pumpkin paper cut story on Dr. Jean's website. I thought this would be a great story to recreate with kids and gave it a try on my own son.

I changed her story a little bit to make it more relevant to my son's activities. Please go to Dr. Jean's website for the original story, but ours went like this.

Once there was this funny little lady that lived in an orange house. Her house was different because it was shaped like a half circle and the sidewalk came straight out of the bottom of the house.

Now this funny little lady wanted to go outside and sweep her sidewalk but she had trouble getting her broom out the door so she had a long door cut for her broom handle. Now she can go outside and sweep any time she wants.

Now this funny little lady had a new problem. She liked to wear a tall pointed hat whenever she went outside to sweep but her hat kept getting knocked off when she tried to go out the door. She decided to have a special door cut just for her hat to fit through. Now she can wear her tall, pointed hat anytime she wants to go outside and sweep.

Later, she wanted to get some pet bats, but they could not get inside the house. She decided to cut out a special window for her bats to fly in and out of. Now the bats can come and go as they please.

So on Halloween, the neighborhood kids went over to the funny little lady's house and knocked on the door. She came to the door and said "I have a surprise for you! Now close your eyes!"

The house is a Jack O Lantern and inside the house is the funny little lady and she is wearing a witch costume and playing with her pet bats! I then let my son decorate the Jack O Lantern with witch and bat stickers and it is now hanging proudly on our door.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Tuesday Teachings - Fall Counting

We have been trying to work on our counting skills lately and there is no better time than Fall! There is a vast selection of items to count and make patterns with.

We started with a package of Halloween rings that I purchased for $1.00. Our rings included spiders, bugs, skulls and bats. We worked on several things with these rings: Counting all of the rings, sorting the rings by colors, sorting the rings by shapes and then patterning. For the patterns, I would either use colors to show the pattern or I would draw the shape. My son would then have to figure out which rings matched my drawn patterns and put them all in order.

The next thing we worked on counting was acorns. There is a huge abundance of acorns available right now, so we might as well put them to use. We counted acorns, we poured acorns from one container to another and we used a spoon to scoop acorns from one container to another.

The last thing we counted was leaves. We went outside and collected a variety of leaves from trees, shrubs and plants. Once we were back inside, we counted all of the leaves and then we sorted them by size from smallest to largest. Next, we sorted them by colors and worked on our patterns.

It can be inexpensive and fun to work on counting when you just take the time to look around you and see the abundance of items available. Go on a nature hike and then go home and count your bounty!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Monday Meanderings - Halloween Costumes

Here are some more great Halloween costumes!

This pink flamingo costume is one of my favorites! It is made by Tangled and True. She does not post directions but it looks pretty clear cut. Pink shirt and pants, pink tutu, pink hat and pink feathers. The eyes could be Styrofoam balls and the bill, a stuffed sock with black felt on the end.

Here is a great owl tutorial from Pure Joy Events. This costume begins with a regular hoodie and is no sew! It doesn't have to be pink, it can be any color.

Parents Magazine has a great tutorial for an adorable Little Lamb. It is no sew and easy to put together.

This Lego costume cracks me up every time I look at. We can thank Family Fun Magazine for the specifics on how to put this together.

Okay, I have not looked for these balloons so I am not sure if they are affordable or not, but this was too cute not to post. Coolest Homemade Costumes has this Paratrooper on their page and I want to be this!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Lima Bean Ghost

In honor of Halloween, we made some ghosts today with nothing but a permanent marker and some large dried Lima beans. I think they turned out adorable. Once we played with them a bit, I went back and made identicals and we turned them into a game of memory.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Tuesday Teachings - Candy Corn Learning

I love Fall and especially Halloween! It is my favorite time of the year as the colors are beautiful and there are lots of opportunities for learning.

I put together a little Candy Corn math puzzle for us to use this week. It was easy to make. I just drew a pattern on a piece of card stock. It was just a triangle with rounded edges, anyone can draw that. Next I cut my pattern into three sections.

The bottom section was traced onto Orange paper and cut out. The middle section was traced onto yellow paper and the top section was traced onto white paper. Once these were all cut out, I decided to use mine for number skills. I wrote the number word on the orange sections, the number on the yellow sections and then drew number dots on the white sections.

Next I set these out for my son to put together the puzzles. My son is only 4, so I only put out 5 full candy corn pieces at a time. Keep in mind that each puzzle is three pieces so it may be intimidating to a child to see lots of pieces on the table.

There are several other examples online of people making candy corn puzzles for education. Here are just a few:

Mrs. Freshwater's Class (free printable, letter recognition)

Mrs. Schmelzer's 1st Grade (Consonant-Vowel-Consonant words)

Have fun learning with your Candy Corn activities!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Monday Meanderings - Halloween Costumes

With Halloween fast approaching, I thought it would be a good time to post some homemade Halloween costumes that you can make inexpensively!

First we have Mom Inc Daily with an adorable Octopus Costume that she was able to whip together in no time. Not to mention, the supplies were cheap.

This next costume is on my list of possibilities! Geek Mom did an amazing job of turning her son into a tractor. Wonder if I can talk my son into being a tractor?

On Coolest Homemade Costumes they have this adorable Oompa Loompa costume that would be easy to recreate.

I will be back next week with some more great homemade costumes!

Friday, October 7, 2011

October Family Fun Calendar

For some reason, Blogger deleted my October Family Fun Calendar prior to posting it live. Here it is though!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Tueday Teachings - Combating the High Costs of Food

As families struggle to make ends meet, the deck seems to be stacked against us. If your household is anything like mine, you are shocked each time you walk into a grocery store. Most budgeting programs advise you to spend 10% of your annual income on food, but most Americans average spending a little over 20%.

Every household wants to cut costs and save money, but that can be hard to do when your paycheck is stretched tight for just the "essentials". I have found some websites that I hope can help. As you are looking at these websites and trying to save money, get the kids involved. Let them figure out the cost per serving of your food, how much you can spend at the grocery to use only 10% of your income. Which item is really more affordable, the smaller package or the larger package?

First, the Iowa State University Extension Office has a great website called Spend Smart, Eat Smart. There is great information on here about how to save money. There is a section that shows you how much you should be spending at the grocery. How to find the best deals in the store and then there is a recipe section with the cost per recipe and the cost per serving broken down for you. I know what you are thinking: "I can not cook from scratch, I need convenience foods!" We all need some level of convenience in our lives, I understand this. I have a family and a full time job too, but I also want to spend my money on experiences for my family, not just food.

For recipes, I love Food Hero! They have some great and economical recipes on their website, as well as some food storage hints and tips. I personally can not wait to make the Chicken and Dumpling Casserole. My family loves Chicken and Dumplings, which is already an inexpensive meal, but this I can make during the week after work. This website is a product of Oregon State University and it has lots of recipes. You can get a free membership and save your favorites in your own recipe box.

Another great website for inexpensive recipes and general frugal ideas is Cheap, Healthy, Good. They do whole foods as often as possible but are not ashamed to use some convenience items also. I have made a few recipes from their website and I highly recommend them! In addition to the great recipes, the blog is very funny to read. It is written by 3-4 ladies with a great sense of humor and a large desire to help people.

What are some of the things you are doing to save money?
Menu Planning?
All homemade?

Share your ideas with us.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Monday Meanderings - Columbus Day

I have searched high and low for some great Columbus Day ideas! With Columbus Day one week away, this should give you time to get everything ready!

First we have Jonah Lisa Dyer with some great cork boats that they set sail. I know for a fact that if you call a store that does wine tasting or even a restaurant that serves wine, they will often time just give you corks. Ask nicely and be sure to thank them!

Next is Hallee the Homemaker with a great New World map to make with the kids. You can discuss the length of the journey and relate it to the kids. How do they feel when they have to go someplace new? When they do not know anyone? How do you think the explorers felt?

I love paper mache and this globe from The Crafty Classroom is perfect.

Every holiday needs a snack or two!

Milk Allergy Mom has an easy apple boat.

While Super Mom Moments made her snacks for a "Tangled" party, they could work just as easily for Columbus Day.