Teddy Bear Toast

Teddy Bear Toast

Do you know what is totally cute and totally easy to make??

Teddy Bear Toast!

It’s just a few ingredients and only takes a couple of minutes, so whether you serve it as a snack or part of a meal, you are sure to have some excited kiddos.

Teddy Bear Toast

I toasted the bread instead of using un-toasted bread because it makes it easier to spread the peanut butter.  Less chance of the bread falling apart.

But you don’t have to use peanut butter.  You could use almond butter, nutella, cream cheese (polar bears), or whatever spreadable thing you thing vaguely represents a bear’s fur.

Then press on a banana slice for its ears and snout.  Top that off with two chocolate chips for eyes and a chocolate chip for his nose and you’re done!

I made a tiny hole in the banana slice snout to make that chocolate chip fit a little more snugly, but other than that, you’re pretty much just piling on the goodness.

The other thing is that this is easy for kids to make.  I usually just serve it up, but you could get your kids involved in the kitchen by letting them make their own bears.

Teddy Bear Toast

Isn’t that cute??

Share pics with me of your creations on Facebook!

Check out a couple other posts I’ve done about cute foods here:

Heart Shaped Strawberries and Sandwiches for Kids Lunches  CuteZCute Animal Palz Mini Bento Sandwich Stamping Cutter

Happy Eating!

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ABC Teacher Thank You Tags and Cut Out Cookies (Free Printable)

Printable ABC Teacher Thank You Tags

Well, now that the school year is starting again, I am reminded that I never posted about the Teacher Thank You tags that I made for my kids’ teachers at the end of the last school year.

Better late than never, amiright?

Anyway, I printed these up so that we could make some letter-shaped sugar cookies for their teachers and put them in little baggies.  This way the teachers would get a gift the girls made themselves and one that wouldn’t take up a bunch of space somewhere.

These tags obviously work best for teachers in preschool or kindergarten, but I think they would be pretty cute to give to a high school teacher too….. or is that just me??

Plus, I left a spot for your kids to sign the tags.  And that photo at the top of the post?  That scribble is actually how my 3yo was signing her name at the time.  I just wrote out her name on the back so that the teacher could remember who it was from.

Printable ABC Teacher Thank You Tags

All you have to do is print out the tags, punch a hole in them, and tie them to whatever gift you’re giving.

I picked up these snack baggies at Target and the string at the dollar store.

Printable ABC Teacher Thank You Tags and Cut Out Cookies

We made A B C cookies to match the tags.

Well, actually, we made A, B, C, D, and then the first letters of both of my girls’ names.

And we used these Wilton cookie cutters.

Printable ABC Teacher Thank You Tags and Cut Out Cookies

And the recipe I used was the same one I made last year to make some autumn leaves.

I just used different cutters and icing colors this time around.

Printable ABC Teacher Thank You Tags and Cut Out Cookies

I love baking with my girls.  They enjoy being in the kitchen and cooking is a great way to learn all kinds of concepts, though mostly we just enjoy eating the food we make.  :)

Printable ABC Teacher Thank You Tags and Cut Out Cookies

Remember to roll out the dough extra thick so that you get nice, soft cookies.

And don’t over-bake them – they’ll appear “almost” done when they’re actually done.

Printable ABC Teacher Thank You Tags and Cut Out Cookies

Mix up the icing using some Meringue Powder to make it nice and shiny.

This stuff is great.  It smells good and it lasts forever.

Printable ABC Teacher Thank You Tags and Cut Out Cookies

You can do just one color.  If you do multiple colors, please remember that you don’t need a lot of food coloring in each dish.  Unless you want super bold colors, like mine.

I had intended to go for a pastel look….. but I didn’t get there, obviously.  Can I blame it on my kids?  They WERE the ones distracting me after all…….

Printable ABC Teacher Thank You Tags and Cut Out Cookies

Anyway, the best way to ice them cookies is by just dipping them into the bowl of icing.

Make sure you stir the bowl between each cookie and let the excess drip off (or scrape it off the sides with the fork if it’s a LOT of excess).

Printable ABC Teacher Thank You Tags and Cut Out Cookies

Then just put them on the racks and let the icing harden.

See how thick they are?

*drool*

Printable ABC Teacher Thank You Tags and Cut Out Cookies

It makes plenty.  So you’ll totally be able to save some for yourselves.  Store the extras in a covered container.

And feel free to experiment with the icing – my 5yo did a few tie-dyed cookies.

So, first, here are is the PDF of the printable tags:

ABC Teacher Thank You Tags

And here is the cookie recipe that I used.  It’s the same one I used to make some colorful autumn leaves (scroll down for printable PDF):

Soft Sugar Cookies with Icing

Ingredients:

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla (or almond) extract
1/3 cup sour cream
3 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

Icing:
2 cups confectionery sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons meringue powder
1 teaspoon vanilla (or 1/2 teaspoon almond) extract
3 to 4 tablespoons water

Cream together the butter and sugar with a mixer until light and fluffy. Mix in the egg, sour cream, and extract until smooth. In a small bowl, combine the flour, salt, and baking powder, then slowly mix into the wet ingredients until just combined. Do not over mix. Separate the dough in half and roll each piece out between two sheets of waxed paper to a thickness of about 1/2 inch. Refrigerate dough for an hour.

Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Remove dough from refrigerator and cut out desired shapes with cookie cutters. Gently gather scraps and reroll on a floured surface. Place cookies an inch apart on parchment lined cookie sheets and bake for 9 to 11 minutes. Do not over bake! Take them out when they appear just about to be done, and before they brown. Let cool completely on a wire rack before icing.

Mix all of the icing ingredients together with a fork. Start with 3 tablespoons of water and add more, about a 1/2 teaspoon at a time, until you reach a consistency where a thick line of icing slowly and smoothly drips off of the fork when lifted from the bowl. Dye it your desired color, dividing it between separate bowls first if using multiple colors.

Dip the tops of the completely cooled cookies into the icing. Gently pull out the cookie and use a fork or skewer to scrape off excess icing without touching the cookie itself. Set cookie on top of a wire rack that’s positioned over waxed paper or foil and allow to harden completely, letting the cookies sit for at least an hour. Store covered.

**********

And click here for the free, printable PDF:

Soft Sugar Cookies with Icing

There you go!  Happy Gifting (…and eating!)

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Muddle and Match Book Review

Muddle and Match Book Review by Roaming Rosie

I love these Muddle and Match books!  They make great gifts but they also keep my kids entertained during both story time and long car rides.  The reason for this is because they are SO interactive.

The concept of the books is this:  you have three sections on each “page” that are all able to be turned independently.  So the story on the left and the picture on the right can be changed over and over.  You could end up with a cowgirl head, a fairy body, and a mermaid tail – kind of like the picture on the cover.  And then you can change it up again!

Another thing I love is the alliteration.  Each page of the story focuses on one letter – which makes it easy to incorporate these books into lessons of learning the alphabet.

The books themselves are like a board book with thick pages, and they also feature rounded edges.

And, you know, they are super silly and fun!  Which is an awesome way to help kids learn to love reading.

Watch my video review to see the books in action:

And check out the whole collection on my book site:

Muddle and Match Books

  Muddle and Match Adventure Muddle and Match Imagine

 

Muddle and Match Monsters  Muddle and Match Jungle Animals

Happy Reading!

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Zebra Zoo Cookies

Zebra Zoo Graham Cracker Cookies

Aren’t these CUTE???

I didn’t come up with the idea all on my own – I have my daughter’s last years preschool teachers to thank for it!  At the end of the school year, they sent home a “cookbook” of all the recipes they’d made.  My daughter was excited to flip through it and I let her pick out which recipe she’d like to remake first.

She picked the Zebra Zoos.

Now, they actually did theirs a little differently, so this is my version.

Below are all our store-bought ingredients that make this super simple to set up.  It’s the type of project where you can buy everything ahead of time and stick all the stuff in the back of the pantry until a rainy day.

Zebra Zoo Graham Cracker Cookies

You’ll need:

Graham Crackers

Vanilla Cake Icing

Animal Cracker Cookies

Black Candy Melts OR Chocolate Chips

Zebra Zoo Graham Cracker Cookies

The first step is to spread the icing over the graham crackers.

You don’t need a lot.  And you don’t need your Little Ones overdosing on sugar, so you may need to gently offer to help them smooth it out a bit.  :)

Zebra Zoo Graham Cracker Cookies

Melt the candy melts in the microwave according to the package directions within a small baggy (preferably freezer weight), then snip the corner off to drizzle the candy back and forth over the white icing.

This will make the appearance of the zebra stripes, which is where the treat gets its name.

Why did I use candy melts instead of chocolate chips?

First of all:  the black candy melts are darker than the chocolate chips.  Black instead of brown, so more zebra-like.  Also, I wanted the flavor of them to match the icing.  The candy melts have a vanilla flavor, like white chocolate.

[hint:  you can usually buy the candy melts at Michaels with a coupon.]

Zebra Zoo Graham Cracker Cookies

Then attach a few cookies by pressing them into the black candy melt stripes before the stripes have a chance to set.  (So, right after you draw on the stripes.)

Then enjoy!

Oh….. and it would behoove you to remember to coat your workspace with waxed or parchment paper first.  Just sayin’.

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Summer Fun Tip: Swim Diapers

Summer Fun Tip:  Swim Diapers Can Be Washed!  #momtips #frugalmom

Did you know you can wash swimmy diapers??

Because I feel like this is something EVERY Frugal Mom oughta know.

I remember reading it somewhere – a Facebook post I think – and I was a little wary at first.

But now I’ve done it tons of times and I’m so grateful I figured this out.  Cause those things are expensive!!

Of course, my youngest is at the point where I don’t really need to worry about this much longer, but if your Little One is like my little girl, who finds the pool, eh, “relaxing,” you’ll need swim diapers “just in case” much longer than you were hoping to have to buy them….

Anyway.

In the photo above you can see an example:  the one on the left has been through the washing machine and the dryer and the one on the right is straight out of the bag and unworn.  Almost the same, huh?

Here are a few tips:

* If there’s poop in the swim diaper:  throw it away.  Right in the trash.  That one’s done for.

* If there appears to be some pee in the diaper, it can still be salvaged by rinsing it out with the garden hose or something similar before washing.

* If there is no pee OR poop in the diaper after your child wears it to swim, I would still wash it before letting them wear it again.  It’s like a pair of panties and you don’t wear your underwear twice without washing them, do you?  Especially not when there’s chlorine involved.

* To launder these babies:  wash and dry just like they’re clothes.  I would say like bathing suits, but I don’t put those in the dryer.  But swim diapers don’t shrink like bathing suits do, so go ahead and toss them in the dryer.  Wash them with your regular load of clothes and dry them with your regular load of dryer-safe clothes.  If they’re still damp after drying, you can hang them up for a while.

I’ve never tried washing these more than twice – but hey, that’s still 3 wears out of something I used to throw away after using once.  Which was bad for the environment and bad for my wallet.  Let me know how they hold up if you’ve washed them more than that!

Or, you could use a reusable swim diaper.  But hey, when family and friends give me free disposable swim diapers, I’m gonna get as much use out of them as I can first.

Have you tried this?  Share your results with us here or on Facebook!

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Enough to Read

I was reading some reviews on GoodReads the other day, and I came across the profile for B.J. Novak.  On his page there were some questions people had asked him and as I browsed through them, I came across this:

(Feel free to ignore the random stuff in quotes since that refers to a previous commenter.)

novak

Wow.  Ain’t that the truth.

People DO have enough to read.  MORE than enough.

So why do it?  It kind of goes back to what I wrote last year in my post Why I Write.  I have to write.  It’s not really a choice for me (if I want to stay sane).  Writing is hard, but (not including being a mom, of course) it’s the only thing I really want to do and the only thing that makes me feel truly alive and fulfilled.

People don’t really need more books.  Even if you’ve got the most unique voice to ever hit the planet and your mind is overflowing with the next dozen Great American Novels.  People just don’t NEED it.  They’ve got enough to read.

So if you want to write, you have to do it first and foremost for yourself [myself].  Because you [I] want to.  Even if you [I] have to force yourself [myself] some days.

The end result is worth it.

And, on that note, I absolutely LOVE Neil Gaiman’s advice on how to easily become a writer.  Especially the part about Fox in Socks.  Because if your kids are like mine, as soon as you hit the last page and are silently praying thanks that you’ve survived it without your head exploding, your kids will request that you immediately reread it.

And that right there takes some REAL talent.

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Usborne’s “Noisy” Books Review

Noisy Books from Usborne Books & More (Review by Roaming Rosie)

Do your kids love to be noisy?  Because mine certainly do.

And, to be perfectly honest, the word “noisy” carried a rather negative connotation for me…. until I found these books!

I mean, I love when my kids get “noisy” by running around the backyard or playground and making a healthy ruckus…. but noisy TOYS?  No.  I avoid those things like the plague.

But when I started selling Usborne Books, I was intrigued by these.  Usborne has such amazing books, but would I like the ones that made sounds?  YES!  Would they be annoying like others I’ve found in stores?  Not at all!

In fact, even though my kids benefit by my being a consultant in that they get to read all the books that come through my house, the one I bought just for them was the Noisy Orchestra.  WE.  LOVE.  IT.  No kidding:  this thing rocks.  It has beautiful sounds, gorgeous illustrations, and it’s actually pleasant for me to listen to while my kids play with it in the car.

But the best part is – even though the orchestra book is our personal favorite – there are a TON of noisy/musical/sound to choose from and you can find one to fit the interests of the kids in your life!  Got a little one who loves monsters?  Pirates?  Trucks?  Castles???  We’ve got you covered!  :)

These books are rated for age 3 and up, but they’re also wonderful for beginning readers and early elementary ages.  Plus, they’re also sturdy enough when the younger siblings get hold of them:  rounded edges and thick pages for safety and a lifetime guarantee for accidents.  (Contact me for details!)

Here’s my video review of a few of the books:

And here are direct links to the books pictured above and featured in the video:

Noisy Castle

Noisy Circus

Noisy Diggers

Noisy Jungle

Noisy Monsters

Noisy Noah’s Ark

Noisy Orchestra

Noisy Pirates

Noisy Robots

Noisy Spooky Book

Noisy Train

Noisy Zoo

If you’d like more information about getting these books for free by throwing a Facebook party (anywhere in the U.S.!) or about how to become a consultant and enrich the lives of children by encouraging early literacy with amazing books like these, contact me on my book site or on Facebook!

Happy Reading!!

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