Archives for category: educational toys. Minneapolis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This Christmas there are few little people on our list who will be getting this weekend DIY project. Magnetic states is an idea from Natalme and looks oh so easy to create.

We have a couple of jigsaw puzzles of the United States that will be perfect to upcycle. Next step is attaching pieces of magnetic tape to each state. That’s it, back in the puzzle box and what fun they’ll have putting the states on their fridges.

The United States has a vast variety in the traditions, however, most come in the taste of the Christmas feast:

  • New England has Lumberjack Pie (a mashed potato crust, filled with meats, onion, and cinnamon.)
  • Pennsylvania Dutch serve Sand Tarts (thing, crisp sugar cookies)
  • North Carolina features Moravian Love-Feast Buns (faintly sweet bread of flour and mashed potatoes.)
  • Baltimore serves Sauerkraut with their Turkey (which includes apples, onions, and carrots.)
  • Virginia gives us oyster and ham pie.
  • Southern states have Hominy Grits Soufflé and Whiskey Cake (with one cup of 100-proof whiskey.)
  • Louisiana’s treat is Creole Gumbo. It can include ham, veal, chicken, shrimp, oysters, and crabmeat.
  • New Mexico has the Empanaditas–little beef pies with applesauce pine nuts and raisins.
  • Hawaii blesses us with Turkey Teriyaki marinated and cooked over an outdoor pit.   What is your favorite Christmas meal? Is it a traditional meal that you grew up with?

Handprint Ornaments – Tomorrow’s Memories

Salt dough ornaments are so very easy to make.  Here is a perfect clay recipe for creating little hand impression ornaments giving you a head start on Christmas gifts. We like that it is non-toxic, made of food ingredients therefore safe for kids to play around with and squish, mush and squeeze the dough through their little fingers. It’s great for a quick economical, yet treasured gift for grandparents and other favorite relatives.  There may be a new tradition happening at your house too.

This clay recipe will harden when left out for a day or two and can then be painted and embellished if so desired. In humid climates, it may take several days to dry out. The drying time will depend on the humidity and how large your ornament is. To speed up the drying process, you can put it in the oven at 90 degrees for 30 minutes, then shut off the oven for it to cure. Remember to leave it inside the oven with the door closed.  You could also dry it completely in the oven for several hours.

Salt Dough “Recipe for Fun”:

  • 1/2 cup of table salt
  • 3/4 cup of flour
  • 2 tablespoons of mineral oil
  • 2 teaspoons of cream of tartar
  • 1/2 cup water

Mix all  ingredients together and knead it with your hands. If it is too wet, add a pinch more flour and if it is too dry add a bit of water. For a seasonal scent, add a small amount of cinnamon to the dough mixture.

This recipe yields a good snowball size ball. It is the perfect size for one keepsake hand print ornament. Flatten the ball out and press your little one’s hand into it. Pierce a hole with a drinking straw toward the top of the ornament for a festive ribbon that you will tie through once it has properly dried.

Kellie from This Blessed Nest made these hand prints with her twins.

If you’re not quite ready for Christmas preparations, then, let’s talk turkey.

Turkey Toes if you dare! Tickle the fancy of your Thanksgiving guests with these turkey toes aka what to do with leftover Halloween candy corn. This timely idea is provided by Laura Lee Lewis.

A great hostess gift!

Gobble Gobble!

 

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With the arrival of fall tomorrow 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 have 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.

Start baking!

Whether it’s for a bake sale or afternoon tea, wow your guests with these
easy slice and bake cookies. Create, bake in one of our ovens, and serve up! The set includes a dozen wooden cookies, a dozen wooden mix and
match decorating pieces, and toy wooden kitchen utensils.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leave Your Mark

Move over sand pails and shovels. We plan on adding this to our beach fun time. You can do it too! Have some fun while at the same time you can leave your mark.

It is so very simple, just hot glue foam letters, numbers or shapes on the bottom of flip flops. Think of the fun – leave your mark in the sand. Hint: remember that the prints will be a mirror image, so arrange the letters backward.

All Aboard?

Any little person that you know who goes loco for locomotives? Do the names Thomas, Percy, or Topham hold a special meaning in your household? How about The Little Engine That Could?

National Train Day is sadly no longer running. Budget cuts have ended the celebratory day which was originally created in 2008 by Amtrak a US passenger railroad service.

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Totally Kids fun furniture & toys wants to celebrate anyway and invites all young engineers to stop by and help us celebrate Amtrak ’s birthday.

Best of all, today or any day, practice your engineering skills with our classic wooden train sets.

Guide colorful engines, coal cars, freight cars, and caboose around great lengths of curves & straight track, whizzing by workers, trees and traffic signs. They steer engines in to fill the expansive roundhouse engine shed. Concentrating intently, they lift and carry railroad cars and freight with magnetic-tipped cranes.

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Test you train terms skill with this printout from Amtrak:

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Another year and this time we really thought that the last of the well – actually very well hidden Easter Eggs had been found…but they magically keep appearing.

Rather than packing them away we are making Egg Pops, a “cool” idea from Kailo Chic using our plastic eggs and just plain fruit juice.

Eggsicles

Fruit juice
Plastic Easter eggs
Sucker sticks
A large nail and thumbtack
Small funnel or piping tip to fill the eggs

First tip the eggs upside down and poke three holes in the bottom. Two of these holes are for letting the air escape when filling the egg, the third one should be in the center of the bottom. Make this center hole bigger using the large nail. You will need it to be as big as the popsicle/sucker stick.

Once that is done, and you have your egg carton full of eggs, use the piping tip to fill each one until almost full.

Then poke in the popsicle stick and place in the freezer until firm.

 

What do you do with your left over plastic Easter Eggs? Please share your good ideas.

Happy Passover

We send happy wishes to all of our friends and family near and far away celebrating Passover tonight.

Passover or “Pesakh”begins at sunset today. It’s an eight day celebration observed every year by the Jewish religion. It commemorates the freeing of the Israelites (biblical name for the Jews) from slavery after centuries of poverty and oppression under the reign of the cruel Egyptian, Pharaoh Ramses II.

Families celebrate Passover by sharing a Seder. With special foods, songs, and customs, the Seder is the focal point of the Passover celebration. Seder means order, and the passover story is read in order from a book called a Haggadah.

This wooden child size Passover teaching set includes a Seder plate, goblet, two pieces of matza, bottle of wine, prayer book Afikomen and matza covers.

Although there are a number of food-related traditions that are observed during Passover, perhaps the most important part of the celebration is the ritual retelling of the Exodus story. In the Torah’s Book of Exodus, Jews are exhorted to tell their progeny about the enslavement and escape of the ancient Israelites. The act of recounting this story in a ceremony known as Magid forms a key component of the Seder feast, and it is told from a special text known as the Haggadah. The ceremony is meant to be interactive and inclusive, and includes questions and answers, special blessings, discussions, and songs. The story is usually told in both Hebrew and the native language of the majority of the guests attending the feast, according to tradition.

Apples 4 the Teacher explains Passover:

Fearing that Jews were becoming too strong, a Pharaoh decreed that all male Jewish babies were to be killed. Jocheved and Amran, a Jewish couple, wanted to save their infant son – so they put him in a basket that floated him down the river. The infant was rescued by the Pharaoh’s daughter and she raised him as her own son. She named the baby Moses, which means ” take from the water.”

When Moses grew up, he empathized with the Jewish slaves and tried to get the Pharaoh to free them. The Pharaoh refused – so there were 10 plagues sent down to Egypt: Blood, Frogs, Lice, Beasts, Cattle Disease, Boils, Hail, Locusts, Darkness, and Slaying of the Firstborn. The name Passover comes from the Plague of Slaying the Firstborn. The Angel of Death passed over the homes of the Jews who had put lambs blood on their doors.

After the 10th plague, Pharaoh agreed to let the Jewish slaves go. They gathered up their belongings quickly, and didn’t have time for their bread to rise, so they had to bake it and take it the way it was. This is why the Jewish people eat matzah during Passover.

As the Jews were fleeing, Pharaoh changed his mind, and sent his army after the people to bring them back. Moses parted the Red Sea for the Jews to cross, and as soon as they were safely to the other side, the waters closed on the soldiers, drowning them all. The Jewish people were free.

Happy Passover!

 

There have been so many super Easter Egg decorating ideas sent to us. Here are a few more that you might find inspiring.

 

 

 

 

 

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Thumb print eggs were a rather “handy” idea from Family Fun.

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Life Hacker knows “it’s what’s on the inside that counts”. Learn how to make some Chinese Tea Eggs.

 

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If you find chocolate inside your egg, you know it is a “good thing“; thanks Martha!

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If you’ve been dying to find a safe eco-friendly Easter Egg coloring kit – search no longer. Included are dyes made from purple sweet potato, paprika, beta carotene, red cabbage and blueberries plus 2 soy crayons for decorating.

 

Then oh my goodness, hopping back to thoughts of tomato planting. Can you really believe that fish heads, egg shells and aspirin are the ticket to growing amazing tomatoes? Love Apple Farms has a colorful odorless pictorial of this interesting process.

I really meant “getting stones” to share with friends.

Skip to My Lou makes these perfect for St. Patrick’s Day, little Blarney Stones complete with a hidden surprise.

She tells us : “Tradition says if you kiss the Blarney Stone you will be given the gift of gab. You will be able to talk eloquently and convincingly.”

If they don’t look appetizing to you, please realize that ingesting is not the intended end result. They do have a fun little surprise tucked inside.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We always make Blarney Treasure Stones the weekend before St. Patrick’s day for our little neighbor friends. Hope that you give this a try too. It’s another great project to do with little ones from Skip to My Lou.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ah, come on. You too must have some friends that would enjoy getting stones on St. Patrick’s Day.

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Thought that I caught the luck of the Irish when finding this easy to make treat. It will be a big hit at our house without a doubt. Plus it is another perfect make together recipe for all hands, big and small.

 

KB Designs has the easy to follow directions with pretzels and white chocolate chips.