Great Interactive Website

The Rapper Ludacris – Chris Bridges – has launched a super interactive website with the help of his 10 year old daughter Karma. Called karmasworld.com, it is filled with songs, stories and games for grades first through sixth. I found the games to be entertaining, fun and age appropriate.  They are also educational and have great kid appeal.

Peanut Butter Dip

Here is an easy to make recipe for a dip that will be perfect for summer picnics, parties or game nights.  Children love the sweetness and will eat the fruit and veggies without protest.

PEANUT BUTTER DIP:1/4 C creamy peanut butter, 3 oz. low fat cream cheese, 1-2 T. apple or orange juice, 1/2 t. cinnamon, 1/8 to 1/4 C unsweetened applesauce.

1. Combine the PB, cream cheese, juice and cinnamon in a food processor or blender until smooth.  Add applesauce, a little at a time, until it is the right consistency for a dip. Chill before serving with the following:

sliced bananas, carrots, celery sticks, broccoli florets, apple slices, graham cracker sticks, pretzel rods, or any assortment of fruits and veggies you choose.  It’s amazing how many things taste great with peanut butter.  Feel free to try it with non-traditional dippers such as pickles, pepper slices, sausage pieces or whatever. Refrigerated, it will be good for 2-3 days.

Let me know how you like it. It’s been one of our favorites for years. Happy Munching!

1…2…3…Butterflies!

Here’s a novel way to encourage children to practice counting and other math skills: try counting butterflies.  All across the US, volunteers are counting butterflies in the name of science. In 1975, the North American Butterfly Association (NABA) launched it’s annual butterfly count program. Volunteers from all over North America  join together on designated days to identify and count butterflies – no scientific degree needed. By using only your eyes and enthusiasm, you will contribute to scientists understanding of local butterfly populations and how they have changed over time.

For more information on where and when these counts take place check out the NABA website:naba.org

You can also learn more about butterfly counting at: monarchnet.uga.edu,  or at: butterfliesandmoths.org.

Happy Counting!

More Rainy Day Fun and Games

Here are two web sites that have a wealth of fun activities for all ages. They are especially useful on days when the kids are bored or stuck indoors.

1. woojr.com:  This site offers printable coloring pages for holidays and just about any category you could imagine. Animals are especially popular. You could download the pages and make story books with them or cut out the animals to have a puppet show. There are also crafts and activities for children of all ages and abilities.

2. Check out the Free Games you can download on this site: makeplaydough.com. There are even ideas for teens to decorate rooms or make gifts for friends.

No Cook Mother’s Day Treats

Who doesn’t love ice cream or frozen yogurt?  Even those with a lactose intolerance can now find a frozen treat to enjoy. Jazz up your favorite flavors to celebrate Mother’s Day with Make Your Own Sundaes.  A few fun toppings will turn an ordinary dessert into a party for mom.

Try any of the following: chocolate chips, chopped nuts, coconut, crushed cookies or graham crackers, mini M&M’s, crushed candy bars, chocolate syrup or caramel sauce, sprinkles, or whatever your favorite add-on might be. Don’t forget whipped cream. Decorate a large bowl with paper cut-out hearts or flowers. Make a Mother’s Day crown for the “World’s Best MOM, and serve the sundae with a hug and kiss.  I don’t know any MOM who could resist!

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!

Poetry Fun and lots more

I read about a wonderful site for children written by the prolific poet Kenn Nesbitt called http://www.poetry4kids.com.The site offers information on how to write poetry and has numerous word games, puzzles, interactive activities and a wealth of fun-filled information for children and anyone who loves poetry and word play. Check it out and play some of the games. I especially enjoyed the Balloon-Popping word game where I had to guess the word before all 11 balloons popped (guessing a wrong letter pops a balloon). It’s like the old “Hang Man” game we all played as kids.

More Good Books

Over the past year I’ve read three very different books where the past converges with the present to a very satisfying conclusion.  Each takes place in a totally different time period in history, yet all manage to weave intrigue, drama, and suspense into their tales. All three  involve a diary. All of them are highly recommended.

1. THE SHERLOCKIAN by Graham Moore blends the Victorian London of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (writer of Sherlock Holmes) with the modern day Baker Street Irregulars to solve a mystery.

2.REVOLUTION by Jennifer Donnelley is a YA that takes place in modern day Brooklyn where Andi Alpers reluctantly accompanies her father to Paris where she discovers the diary of Alexandrine Paradis, a heroine who  lived during the French revolution. When Andi retraces the steps of Alex into the catacombs of Paris, the past becomes the present in a terrifying, spellbinding tale.

3. THE PHYSICK BOOK OF DELIVERANCE DANE by Katherine Howe melds present day Cambridge Massachusetts with seventeenth century Salem during the infamous with trials.as the heroine tries to unlock the mystery of her ancestor and a missing book. But there is someone who wants the book even more and will do anything to stop her. This page-turner left me wishing the story would never end.

Any lover of historical fiction, mysteries, and just plain old fashioned story telling will love these tales of past and present.