Peanut Butter Dip: For Picnics and Beyond…

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.   If you have allergies to peanuts, try substituting another butter in the recipe.

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

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Alternative Speech Communication.

If your child has difficulty speaking or communicating verbally, don’t despair.  There are a lot of alternative ways to communicate, many of them available for tablets and smart phones.  Here’s one for a speech assist board app available through iTunes that you can check out. (I am not endorsing this product, just mentioning it as ONE possible option for augmenting communication.)  There are many other options out there, so browse the internet and get a sample of what’s available.

You can also consult with your local school district’s SPEECH/LANGUAGE PATHOLOGIST about other alternatives.

Speech assist board app:

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/speech-assist-board/id1176798722?mt=8&utm_content=buffer51d46&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

EducationalAppAdvice‏ @edappadvice

Book Giveaway – In the Red Canoe

This is such an inspiring story, I had to reblog it!

Writing and Illustrating

Congratulations to author Leslie A Davidson on her new book IN THE RED CANOE. She has agreed to participate in our book giveaways. All you have to do to get in the running is to leave a comment. Reblog, tweet, or talk about it on Facebook with a link and you will get additional chances to win. Just let me know the other things you did to share the good news, so I can put in the right amount of tickets in my basket for you. Check back to discover the winner.

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Ducks and frogs, swallows and dragonflies, beaver lodges and lily pads―a multitude of wonders enchant the child narrator in this tender, beautifully illustrated picture book. A tribute to those fragile, wild places that still exist, In the Red Canoe celebrates the bond between grandparent and grandchild and invites nature lovers of all ages along for the ride.

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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: http://www.naba.org

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

Happy Counting!

Use Native Plants For a Healthy Yard…and Planet.

Adding flowering plants to your garden supports earth-friendly pollinators such as bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds.  But not just any flowering plant will do.  NATIVE PLANTS are necessary in order for insects such as butterflies to reproduce.  Without pollinating insects, our crops and food supply is at risk.

What is a native plant?  A plant that grew in the US in free colonial days.  More importantly, the plant should have grown and evolved LOCALLY.  Plants native to Maine would not be the same as those found in Kansas.  To create healthy ecosystems, our gardens and farmlands are best pollinated by creatures that depend on NATIVES for their survival.  One great example is planting milkweed for the monarch butterfly – an endangered species.  While butterfly bushes ATTRACT these insects, monarch butterflies DO NOT lay their eggs on anything except the milkweed.   

Milkweed from my garden.

For more information about native plants in your area, visit: http://www.npsnj.org

http://www.natureconservancy.org

Also check out the children’s environmental site: http://www.Parade.com/turfmutt

Follow the “right plant, right place” rule when you plant your garden.  Transitioning to Native Plants makes a positive contribution to our environment and the future health of our planet and food supply.

Mother’s Day Craft: Easy Compass Flowers.

When I was a kid, my sister and I spent endless hours making fancy and colorful pictures using a compass and crayons or colored pencils.  We called these compass circles flowers and decorated the house with them.  You and your child can create a few of these easy “flowers” just in time for Mother’s Day.

You need: a compass, a clean sheet of paper, colored pencils, crayons or markers, scissors.

Draw two circles of the desired size with the compass as shown.  You will be able to make them darker later.

Now comes the fun part.  Place the POINT of the compass – NOT THE PENCIL END – on the circle edge.

Move the pencil from one side of the circle to the other as shown below.

Keep repeating by moving the compass point to the new line,  drawing the arc to connect with the outer line of the circle, until you connect the arcs into flower petals.  Smaller Circles can be made by adjusting the compass to a smaller circumference.

You can experiment with designs….there is no right or wrong way to do this. 

Color your flowers as desired.  

Use as a greeting card, or as package decorations. Cut them out and mount to sticks for “flowers”.  Why not give compass flowers a try?