Saturday, December 6, 2014

Enter this #HolidayHero contest by HubSpot to win two $100 gift cards!


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Sheril Brasher
YWAM San Diego/Baja
100 West 35th Street, Suite R
National City, CA 91950

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Sunday, May 24, 2009

Great and Easy Snack - Ants on a Log

I was a Brownie (young Girl Scout) when I was in elementary school and I remember, among other things, a snack that was listed in the Girl Scout handbook (I still have a copy of it somewhere). It was called Ants on a Log and I still eat it even today!! So for those of you who were never a Girl Scout, here is that wonderful snack that is fun and easy to make and your kids will love it!!

Peanut Butter

Very simply, you peal the banana (the log) and smother with peanut butter (the bark) and sprinkle on some raisins (the ants). It is that simple!!

This is a very yummy treat indeed!! Happy eating!!

*Variations: You can use celery instead of bananas or use celery with cream cheese and cranberries or peanuts. You could also use pretzel sticks and chocolate sauce.

Homemade Version of Lunch-time Favorite

So many kids in my preschool class would bring those yummy frozen round peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch. You know the ones I am talking about. They don't have crusts on them, cut in perfect round circles and stay in the freezer. They thaw out by the time the kids hit the lunch table. But when you buy them in the store they cost so much. I mean we are talking like $4-5 a box for only 4 of them!!! WHAT!!!

Here is a GREAT idea instead. Make them yourself. My friend Maria and her son would have a fun afternoon activity of making PB&J sandwiches from the whole loaf of bread to be frozen and saved for later. This was a great opportunity for them to talk about food and what goes into the things we eat and also getting him involved in making his own lunches. Kids are more likely to eat something if they have a hand in the preparation of it. Here is how you make your own, assembly line style.

Loaf of bread (white, wheat, doesn't matter, whatever your kids like)
Peanut butter
Jelly (my favorite flavor is strawberry)
Cookie cutter or wide-mouthed glass (you can make different shapes as well)
Ziploc bags
fork (to seal the edges closed)

Simply lay out the bread and slather with peanut butter and jelly. You may want to use the jelly sparingly as it will seep out the sides of the sandwich. Then, just cut out the center of the sandwich with your cookie cutter or glass and crimp the edges down with the fork (to seal the sandwich closed). Place in Ziploc bags and freeze. After the sandwiches have been in the freezer for about an hour, squeeze all of the air out of the bag so they don't get frost bite.

These will freeze for months and will thaw out by lunchtime.

Also, Pampered Chef makes a really awesome tool to use for this as well called the Cut-N-Seal(pictured below). This will save a few steps when making your own sandwiches. Make sure that you label the Ziploc bags with the date and the flavor of jelly or type of peanut butter if using multiple kinds. Happy Sandwich Making!!

Fun Card Game

So I was reading through various web pages today and found a really cool card game that would be really easy for small children. It may take a few times to get the hang of it but you can use different kinds of cards to play this games based on your child's skill level.


Directions: (slightly edited from the book's version)

3-13 players
Object: Get four cards of the same suit in your hand

Make a special deck of cards with four cards of the same suit for each player. (Example: If there are three players, make a deck with four hearts, four diamonds, and four spades.)
Shuffle and deal out all the cards.
Players look at their cards. If a player had four of the same suit dealt to him, he automatically wins.
If no one has four of the same suit, everyone discards one card face down to the person on their left.
Each player picks up their new card and adds it to their hand.

Repeat steps four and five until someone gets four of the same suit. This person is the winner.

For more options, play with UNO cards as they have different colors. You can use the colors instead of suits for younger children. Or make your own cards. You just need some sturdy paper (cardboard or card stock work well) and create some cards with shapes or colors. You could also use flash cards, you know, the ones that you use to teach your kids colors and shapes and such. Use the game cards from Candy Land as your cards. Use your computer to create personalized cards by placing your family members pictures on the card and the children have to get 4 cards with daddy on them to win. The possibilities are endless!!

The original game idea comes from Crazy Eights and Other Card Games by Joanna Cole

Basic Craft Supplies

So many people often ask what kind of stuff should you keep on hand for impromptu rainy day craft times. Well, I have compiled a list of MUST HAVES for most kid-art crafts. These are things readily available in most stores and are easy to store and inexpensive to buy.

Construction Paper - get the assorted pack. You can use construction paper for ANYTHING including just for coloring.

Crayons or Markers - you can NEVER go wrong with crayons and markers. These are essential tools for any budding artist.

Tissue Paper - This is fairly inexpensive and in some cases, free. Just save the tissue paper next time you get a gift. This can be used in a variety of ways. You can glue it to anything to add a little color and texture. Wad up small squares and add a 3-D look to any image.

Glue - Whether it is glue sticks, white glue, rubber cement, spray adhesive or hot glue guns Glue is a must have for craft projects. Now remember that each glue is different and each project is different. It is good to have multiple kinds of glue available to use as some things will only need a glue stick while other projects may need a heavier more sturdy glue. Either way, these different types of glue are inexpensive and last for a really long time.

Paper Plates - from masks to animals to Frisbees and beyond, paper plates are really easy to use for crafts. You can decorate them with just about anything and use your imagination to create wonderful masks or animals.

Paint - Who doesn't like to paint (well I don't like to paint big things like walls or houses, but little craft projects, heck yeah). One really good tip is buy powdered tempera paint. This can be found in most craft supply stores or look in your neighborhood parent-teacher store. This stores really easily and you can mix colors easily to create new ones. This is also really good to use because depending on how much water you add you can use this as finger paint (the thicker the better, lots of paint, little bit of water), water colors (the thinner the better, little paint, lots of water) or regular paint. I used empty water bottles (washed and dried) and would pre-mix some paint to have around as well. The powdered paint costs a little more but it lasts FOREVER!!!

Wooden Craft Sticks - You can use these for mask handles, build boxes, "log" houses, picture frames, and so much more. The list goes on and on for the uses of Wooden Craft Sticks. These are great to have on hand.

Sharpies or Permanent Markers - Now I know you must be thinking "I would NEVER give my child a permanent marker to color with" and you are correct!!! There are too many ways this could go wrong and too many things to ruin but it is handy to have a permanent marker for writing on these wonderful crafts that your children create that will never come off.

Scissors - Most people have scissors around the house but how many of you have kid scissors. Buy a couple of pair of kid scissors (they come in round or pointed tip, round are great for small children) and let the kids practice their cutting skills. Draw lines on a paper and have them cut along the line. This helps develop their fine motor skills and improve hand-eye coordination. Just make sure they don't run with them!!

I think you get the idea. There are countless things to add to your craft supplies such as buttons. My mom used to have this huge jar of buttons and I loved to think about all the things I could decorate with them. Use them as eyes or a nose or use them as a 3-D button on a picture. You can also add glitter, but as my sister pointed out after her daughter got into some glitter, it gets EVERYWHERE. Clothespins are a good addition as well. The ideas are endless. I think that these are good basics that each person should keep on hand for those rainy days.

Quick and Easy Christmas Gift

I know, it is just now May (not even July) and nowhere near Christmas time, but as I have said before, I write as they come to me. There is no rhyme or reason, just that if I don't write it down when it pops into my head, I will forget it!!

A few weeks ago I talked about making Christmas wrapping paper. Well today I am going to share a really easy and meaningful Christmas gift that your kids can make. This can also be use simply as a holiday decoration.

burlap (this can be purchased at a fabric store or Walmart stores in the fabric dept)
2 wooden dowels (the thickness doesn't really matter)
Craft Paint (NOT WASHABLE) - Red, Green and Yellow
old paint clothes (since the paint is not washable, protect your clothing)
hot glue gun with glue sticks
Christmas Ribbon

To begin, make sure that your work surface and child is fully protected as this paint is NOT WASHABLE. Cut the burlap to fit the wooden dowels. Lay the burlap out. Place a bead of hot glue along the edge and center one wooden dowel on top of glue. Continue gluing until the dowel is wrapped completely in burlap. Repeat for the bottom.

Once you have your "wall hanging" you are ready to paint. You are going to want to paint "upside down" meaning you are going to be painting with the fingers up but when hung, the fingers will be pointing down. To do this, you simply place the "top" of the burlap closest to your body and the "bottom" of the burlap away from you.

Starting with the green paint, paint your child's hand completely and paint a row of hand prints near the "bottom" of the burlap (furthest away from you). Make sure that you reload your child's hand with paint often. Making a pyramid, move up one row and repeat, the number of hands getting smaller and smaller. Repeat until you have only one hand print at the top. (see picture for clearer understanding). Wash the green paint completely from their hands and move on the next task.

With the red paint, simply paint the fingertips or the thumbprint in red and have the child paint the "ornaments" on the tree.

For the star at the top, you can either paint freehand with a paint brush or you can use your child's hand print (this time with the fingers facing UP, opposite than the tree). Simply cover the hand in yellow paint and place hand on top of tree. You can also use a star sponge.

After the painting is completely dry, you can write the child's name and date on the bottom of the hanging with a sharpie and glue some Christmas ribbon to the dowel to create a way to hang this wonderful Christmas surprise.

Paper Bag Crafts - Pumpkins

Paper bags are such an easy and inexpensive tool when it comes to crafts. You know the ones I'm talking about. We used to take our lunches to school in them if we weren't cool enough to have the latest super hero or princess lunchbox. The ideas are endless when it comes to using these for crafts. It is, however, best to use brand new ones instead of recycling the ones used for lunch.

For now we are going to talk paper bag pumpkins. These are really great and easy decorations for the fall (I know, it is no where near fall yet, but I just write as they come to my mind). You can line the driveway or the porch with some of these or hang them from the ceiling for a party. Either way, they are really easy and kid-friendly!!

Paper Bags (lunch sized)
black construction paper
green tissue paper
orange paint (tempera or washable paint is best with small kids)
glue stick or white glue
paint brushes
newspaper (just a few sheets per bag)
rubber bands

To start simply have your child paint the paper bag with orange paint leaving about 1 inch brown at the top. Remember to open the bag so they paint the whole thing. The bottom can be painted or left as is. Remember this is kid-art, it is ok if there are streaks or missed spots. Let them do it!!!

While the paint is drying, use the scissors and cut out a few triangles and crooked mouth from the construction paper. Smaller children will need help with this. It might be easier to use basic shapes instead of trying to cut out a "jack-o-lantern" mouth.

When the paint is all dry, it is time to glue the face on. Using the glue stick (or white glue) have the children place the eyes, nose and mouth onto the pumpkin. Remember, again, this is kid-art. The face doesn't have to be perfect and unless your child is a perfectionist at the age of 2, it will NOT be perfect. It is OK!!!! Let them do it!!!

After the glue has dried, wad up the newspaper and fill the paper bag pumpkin leaving some room to close it at the top. Close the bag and secure with rubber band leaving a "stem" at the top.

Take the green tissue paper and create a "leaf" out of it. You can do this by cutting the tissue paper into the shape of a leaf with a long stem or go abstract and just have some green tissue paper sticking out of the top of the bag. Insert the leaf into the bag so that it is hanging out of the "stem".

For large pumpkins, use brown paper grocery bags, most grocery stores have them. These are great decorations to add to any yard or porch and are a great family fun project!!!