With the arrival of fall just around  the corner and  Starbucks now serving their Pumpkin Spice Latte, are you ready for the season? This recipe for fun may put you and the kids in the mood. We have found a Pumpkin Latte Playdough for your little ones that just may become a new autumn classic at your house. Dinosaurs and Octopuses has the recipe for fun this week.

Here it is:

Ingredients
1 cup flour
1/2 cup salt
1 cup water
2 tbsp oil
2 tbsp cream of tartar
1/3 of the jar of pumpkin pie spice (the tiny jar)
maple extract
vanilla extract
food coloring

Combine the dry ingredients and the oil. Slowly add the water. Add a few dashes of each of the extracts and a few drops of red and yellow food coloring. Cook over medium heat, stirring until stiff. As it mixes you can see if you’ll need more food dye. Adding a little at a time until the desired color is  achieved. Turn out onto wax paper. The pumpkin pie spice was too spicy by itself, for my liking. The extracts make it smell sweeter, just like a pumpkin pie. Sniff the dough. Does it smell too spicy? Add a little bit more extract and knead it all together. If the dough is too sticky, add a little more flour. If it’s too dry, add a few drops of water.

Betsy, you must give this a try for Katherine.

Anyone looking for a copycat Starbucks Pumpkin Latte recipe? Give this one from the Kitchn a try!

Pumpkin Spice Latte
makes 1-2 servings

Ingredients:
2 cups milk
2 tablespoons canned pumpkin or 1 teaspoon of Torani Pumpkin Spice Syrup (your choice)
2 tablespoons sugar or sugar substitute – you can halve this amount
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1-2 shots espresso (about 1/4 cup of espresso or 1/2 cup of strong brewed coffee if you don’t have an espresso machine.)

Directions:
In a saucepan combine milk, pumpkin and sugar and cook on medium heat, stirring, until steaming. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla and spice, transfer to a blender and process for 15 seconds until foamy. If you don’t have a blender, don’t worry about it – just whisk the mixture really well with a wire whisk.

Pour into a large mug or two mugs. Add the espresso on top.

Optional: Top with whipped cream and sprinkle pumpkin pie spice, nutmeg, or cinnamon on top.

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sal-with-beard

Join Totally Kids fun furniture & toys for a day of Family Fun on Saturday, November 12th as we celebrate National Neighborhood Toy Store Day.

We are proud to be your Neighborhood Toy Store and we’re throwing a party to celebrate! Please join us!

Exclusives

Fun for the Whole Family

Bring the kids…and the grandparents and tell your friends to meet you here.  This is an event you will not want to miss!

butterfly-face

There will be so much to do, from trying out our favorite toys and games, to winning contests and featuring face painting by Cindy Lou!

Refreshments and snacks will be served.

Play fun games and win prizes. Each child who donates a new or gently used toy for families economically challenged by the affects of Autism will receive 50% OFF their favorite toy or game.

Register to win an Eco-friendly car!

All children will go home with a FREE prize.

Our experienced staff is looking forward to showing you the hottest toys for this holiday season.

 

An essential for back to school item we all know is the pencil and have them on our lists. Why not add  this cheesey pencil idea from Moneywise Moms to your list too? Hop on over and learn how to make these funky fun pencils.

Liz has done it again making back to school pencils a little sweeter. All that you need is right here, but for a beautiful how to pictorial hop over to Hoosier Homemade.

Back to School Candy Pencil Supplies

  • Rolo Candy
  • Hershey Chocolate Kisses
  • Yellow scrapbook paper
  • Pink scrapbook paper
  • Paper cutter {optional, but it’s really handy}
  • Black and Blue Marker
  • Aluminum Foil
  • Adhesive – we used tape, Elmer’s Extreme Glue Stick, Tape Runner
  • Scissors
  • Tags – string, paper and erasers

If any of you have great back to school surprise recipes, please send them our way.

 

ice-cube-painting

It’s a good day to melt some heat away.

There are many versions of ice cube painting. We’re going to try the Kool-Aid one but definitely outside today where it is very hot, not to mention MESSY. We’ll let you know how it goes and if it turns into semi-permanent body painting with colorful little fingers.

Share & Remember freezes liquid water colors by filling the trays with water first, then added watercolors & stirred which are left to freeze overnight.

ice-cube-painting-with-sticks

Keep the painting project less messy by freezing Popsicle sticks in the ice cubes.

Our approach will be to let the little Van Goghs cool off their hands as much as possible while creating their masterpieces hopefully on large sheets of paper.

Ice painted gift wrap!

Minieco put her 3 year old to work which resulted in brilliant and  most amazing gift wrap.

Our recipe was mixing 5 flavors of kool-aid with about 1/4 cup of water for each color, then freezing the colors into a few ice cubes. The less water you use, the more vibrant your colors will be.
We know that this will be super messy and must caution all that it will stain clothes and hands.

Give this Very Cool Recipe for Fun a try.

Happiness is not a destination

 

Watching the ant cycle can be both interesting as well as educational for all of us.

Did you know that the established queen will lay eggs that will grow into larvae which closely resemble maggots? The larvae will grow and shed their skin several times, where they will then resemble white ants. Finally, they will emerge as full grown ants. As your AntWorks habitat matures you may notice that the ants get bigger and bigger. This is a normal phenomenon, as the first generation ants are usually much smaller than subsequent generations even though they are the same species.

With the AntWorks ant habitat, you can watch ants create 3-D tunnels in the amazing space gel. This miraculous gel is based on a 2003 NASA Space Shuttle experiment to study animal life in space and test how ants successfully tunnel in microgravity. This space-age gel serves as both habitat and nutrition for the ants. Watch as the ants turn a brick of aqua-blue gel into a fascinating colony of tunnels! This is the first time anything has been created that enables you to view these awesome creatures at work. The AntWorks Gel is non-toxic and contains the necessary nutrients to promote healthy growth in the new colony. Watch ants live, work and tunnel in the nutritious gel as they create series upon series of intricate tunnels. Ants are highly intelligent, organized, numerous, and strong. With their largely developed brains, their compassion for fellow ants and ability to work as a team, their amazing physical strength-often carry 20 times their body weight, and an innate predisposition for a healthy attitude toward work. This ant habitat is easy to care for since the ants need NO food or water.

Ant History

Ants are insects that evolved from wasp-like creatures over 100 million years ago. Today there are over 12,000 species of ants that have been classified.

Ants form colonies that range in population from a few dozen living in small natural cavities to millions that live in larger structures they build in the ground. The colonies consist of three types of ants. Sterile, wingless females, fertile males, and fertile females referred to as queens. The sterile female ants serve as soldiers or workers in the colony.

Ants work together in colonies to build their habitat and recreate. The process can be fascinating to watch for children and adults alike. Due to the fact that most ant colony behavior takes place beneath the ground, humans must use ant habitats or ant farms to observe ant colony behavior.

Scientists claim ants can carry more than 50 times their body weight.

Myrmecology is the scientific study of ants, a branch of entomology.

Does this bring back memories?  The Original Uncle Milton’s Ant Farms may be familiar to many parents and grandparents. Totally Kids fun furniture & toys  still have available for you today.

 

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Watermelon Shark

Watermelon is a great way to hydrate and you can’t let summer pass you by without dazzling (or frightening) the fam with this shark. Rachael over at Sun Scholars shows you how to make this amazing  Watermelon Shark, this week’s Recipe for Fun.

Gotta make this for my brother who didn’t take bath for months after seeing the movie Jaws. Lucky for him we had a shower.

Staying hydrated during this heat wave can be a challenge. Evenflo offers 5 tips on how to defeat the heat:

Tip # 1: Either mostly or completely cut out soda from your child’s diet. There is no nutritional value in it, and all it does is dehydrate their body even more than it already is. If your child is going to miss the soda, try giving them water with some fruit slices that will naturally add some flavor and sweetness.

Tip #2: Provide your children with snacks that will not only fill them up, but hydrate them. For example, cucumbers are almost completely made up of water, which makes them a light, refreshing snack. Other good choices are watermelon, citrus fruits, grape tomatoes, and colorful bell peppers. If your child gets turned off by the veggies, try cutting them into fun shapes or providing a healthy dip like yogurt or hummus, which also gives them a protein punch.

Tip #3: This one helps when you have kids who are too “busy” playing to stop to munch a snack, is to make it fun. My daughter almost always comes running when I make fruit caterpillars for her. All you need are toothpicks and fruit (just be careful if you give these to small children). Kids can even help make these, which can be a fun learning activity as well. Your child can make patterns with the fruit alternating grapes, blueberries, strawberries, or kiwi pieces. You can also make veggie caterpillars, which when you add some small pieces of cheese, adds some protein as well. The munching possibilities are endless!
Tip #4: Here’s a simple one, if you know you’re heading outside to be in the sun, try to get your kids to drink some extra liquids before you leave, so you won’t have to worry quite as much once you get to your sunny destination.

Tip #5: When your kids have their hydrating snacks and drinks, make sure you join them! It’s just as important that mommies take care of themselves as well. You set the example for your kids, so if they see you taking care of yourself, chances are they’ll follow!

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Want to know when a Watermelon is ripe? Please let us know your tricks.

School has been out for a while now and quite possibly you may be ready for a little help keeping the kiddos entertained. Here are a few tried and true boredom busters. Go ahead and give them a try and let us know what you think.

DIY Foam Paint

Boredom Buster #1DIY Foam Paint
Learn how to make a foam paint from just 3 ingredients you may have ready and waiting at your house. Round up shaving cream, craft glue and some food coloring then pop over to Dabbles and Babbles for the easy instructions.

 

Batting Practice

Boredom Buster #2 – Batting Practice

Autie over at icandy-handmade.com orchestrated an amazing baseball birthday party for her son Max that will totally wow you. Do not miss the party pictures. With the temps reaching close to the 100 F mark this week, what could be a more fun way to cool off than with Autie’s water balloon batting practice?

Batter up….

Use some pillows and a pair of dad-size T-shirts to "sumo wrestle."

Boredom Buster #3 – Sumo Wrestling

Sumo wrestlers wanted. (for fun) A couple of Dad’s oversized T-shirts and pillows – then let the fun begin! Check out the proof in pictures at all for the boys blog.

Thrill your kids with frozen dinosaur eggs.

Boredom Buster #4 – Frozen Dinosaur Eggs

It looks like a great week for some frozen dinosaur eggs. Paging fun mums gets the credit for this “cool” boredom buster.

Rainbow Bubble Snakes ~ outdoor fun

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Boredom Buster #5 – Rainbow Bubble Snakes

Housing a Forest has a new twist on blowing bubbles and creating some colorful rainbow snakes. This is another boredom buster with items you most likely have at your house.

We invite other ideas for Summertime Boredom Busters.

 

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https://i1.wp.com/ep.yimg.com/ay/yhst-36301388650840/melissa-doug-snake-jumbo-stuffed-animal-4.gifHow do you feel about snakes?
For me, it was just yesterday that when discovering 2 big fat snakes in my garden I had to face some facts. Upon the first meeting of these new inhabitants, deep inside me there definitely lived a strong but irrational fear of snakes.  Instinct of course took me directly to Google in an attempt to learn how to eliminate them.
 snake

 Unfortunately, most of the advice found online pertaining to the subject of “getting rid of” snakes was not helpful. Often mothballs were advised, but then actually found to be ineffective. Commercial snake “repellents” which can be purchased are usually made of the same chemical.

What’s a snake fearing girl to do?

It was suggested that mowing or cutting away all of the vegetation and brush in your yard would help, but this also removes the important habitat for birds, butterflies and other backyard wildlife. This certainly will not happen in my garden as the wildlife is what the garden it is all about.

What I gathered is that I must learn to enjoy and appreciate the snakes. My deep seated fear is just a psychological phobia that our culture helped instill in us. Oh joy!
And yet, as a group, snakes are some of the most harmless and important wildlife that we can attract to our gardens. In fact, the vast majority of snakes are 100% harmless to people. I am not alone though, as the most common reaction most people have when they see a snake is to want to kill or eliminate it.

What I also learned is that I am doing something right.

When snakes show up in your yard, it means the yard is a healthy ecosystem that is helping wildlife of all kinds to survive.

Shissy the Snake, shown above, might be a good way to desensitize kids a young age. She may be the only boa constrictor that likes to be hugged back! Professionals do recommend help in overcoming the fear of snakes, is exposure to an actual snakes. Starting out with Shissy could be the ticket before moving on to the real ones.

So today, on World Snake Day 2016 we will celebrate them.

Enjoy those snakes! Like all of the many mammals and birds that visit my garden, the new snakes will be given special names.

New mantra: snakes are beautiful and important wildlife.

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Krispie Stars

Celebrate America’s Independence Day with this week’s Recipe for Fun.  It’s another easy peasy to cook together with the kiddos.  It’ll be fun making and taking these tasty stars on a stick.

Ingredients

  • 2 stick butter or margarine
  • 1 bag (10-1/2 oz.) Miniature Marshmallows (6 cups)
  • 6 cups crisp rice cereal
  • 24 wooden popsicle sticks
  • 1 tube each: red, white and blue decorating gels
  • red, white and blue sprinkles
  • Large star cookie cutter

LINE 13×9-inch pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over sides of pan; lightly grease foil

Directions

1. In large saucepan melt butter over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat.
2. Add RICE KRISPIES cereal. Stir until well coated.
3. Using buttered spatula or wax paper evenly press mixture into 15 x 10 x 1-inch pan coated with cooking spray. While warm decorate with alternating rows of red, white and blue sprinkles. Cool slightly. Using cookie cutters coated with cooking spray cut into star shapes. Insert wooden stick into each, if desired. Best if served the same day.
MICROWAVE DIRECTIONS:
In microwave-safe bowl heat butter and marshmallows on HIGH for 3 minutes, stirring after 2 minutes. Stir until smooth. Follow steps 2 and 3 above. Microwave cooking times may vary.
Note
For best results, use fresh marshmallows. 1 jar (7 oz.) marshmallow creme can be substituted for marshmallows. Diet, reduced calorie or tub margarine is not recommended. Store no more than two days at room temperature in airtight container. To freeze, place in layers separated by wax paper in airtight container. Freeze for up to 6 weeks. Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes before serving.