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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Practice Measuring with Rice

Pretend Cooking And Practice Measuring With Rice Activity For Kids

This is one of those activities I love:  easy to set up, great for learning, and free.

That’s a hard-to-beat combination.  :)

Anyway, while busy in the kitchen/laundry room, I set this up for my girls and was amazed at how involved they became.  We’ve done similar things with dried pasta, but we hadn’t used rice for anything in awhile.

I put two large, two medium, and two small bowls on an old cookie sheet.  I provided two small measuring cups and two measuring spoons, and dumped some rice into the two big bowls.  Then I stepped back.

There was measuring, scooping, pouring, touching, and a general sense of busyness.

And silence.

It was so strange.  I’m not used to my 2yo and 4yo sitting so quietly together for so long.  But they were involved in their project.  There wasn’t even any arguing.  No “she’s touching me!”

Just concentration.

It didn’t last forever, of course.  Eventually the 2-year-old discovered that the rice made a neat sound as it sprinkled out over the tile floor, and so I wasn’t really able to keep and reuse most of the rice as I’d hoped.

But it was worth it.

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Momism #8: Crusty

Momism 8

Sandwich crusts, pizza crusts, crusty pieces of unidentifiable charcoal-y chunks of something that fell off the food that was grilled… this is the fate of moms.

Not a particularly terrible fate, however, if you’re a carb lover like me.  (And a fan of burnt chicken skin, but, really, that’s another story.)

Either way, I find many a crust entering my life nowadays.  :)

Octopus Hot Dogs and Seaweed Zucchini

Everyone should want to have fun with food.

Personally, I think everyone should make an octopus-shaped hot dot at least once in their life.  And if you have kids, they – more than likely – love hot dogs.  So:  problem solved.  Go and make yourself some octopuses for dinner.  Or octopi.  Either way.

And to get extra creative, dab on some mustard eyes and throw them in a bed of zucchini seaweed:

octopus hot dogs with seaweed zucchini

Okay, I know:  my “seaweed” looks a little mushy.  That’s because I shredded the zucchini kinda small.  Looked a little more like angel hair than linguine.  Still, it gets the point across.

To make the hot dogs, I sliced through them before cooking them.  You could them boil or microwave them.

To make the zucchini, I shredded it, and then threw it in a frying pan with some olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder for a few minutes.

Granted, my kids were far too excited about the hot dogs to pay much attention to the zucchini, but they did eat a little.  If you’d prefer, you could always serve the dogs over some spaghetti that you cooked with a little green food coloring instead.