Saturday, December 31, 2011

Oreo Penguins

My kids love Oreo cookies, and they are the obvious cookie of choice for making penguins!  To make this snack, I first twisted apart an Oreo cookie.  I placed the cookie side with the most filling on the plate and cut the other side of the cookie in half to make the wings.  I used a mini Oreo for the head and stuck it in place with icing.  The eyes are white icing with Oreo crumb pupils, and the beak and feet are also icing.  The blue footed penguins were made because there is a blue footed penguin in one of our favorite penguin books - 365 Penguins.

Here are a few penguin books that we like:

 Penguin Day by Victoria Winteringham is a fun picture book that follows a colony of penguins from dawn to dusk.  We especially like the silly illustrations of penguins doing laundry, bathing, and making art!!!

365 Penguins by Jean-Luc Fromental and Joelle Jolivet is cute and it offers a good amount of math fun!  On the first day of the new year, the mailman delivers a penguin to a family.  Well, day after day the penguins keep coming and the family has no idea who is sending them or why.  The family, obviously, runs into a few problems feeding and caring for the penguins.  On New Year's Eve, the family discovers that all of the penguins were sent by their uncle, the ecologist.  He explains that the planet is heating up and the penguins territory is getting smaller, so he was hoping to introduce them to the North Pole, but due to exporting restrictions, he was forced to send one penguin a day to the family.  

Penguin Dreams by V.L. Walsh - a cute book about a penguin with big dreams.  

 Antarctic Antics:  A Book of Penguin Poems by Judy Sierra - a fun collection of poems in which the author imagines life in the Antarctic through the eyes of the chicks in an emperor penguin colony.

Penguin Pairs:  Counting by 2s by Amanda Doering Tourville - count by 2s adding up the penguins as you go along.  This book is part of a series called "Count the Critters".  The other books in the series feature odd or even numbers, counting by 3s, and more.  

Tacky the Penguin by Helen Lester- this is a great book about a penguin who is a bit odd, but his oddities pay off in the end.  This is a good book to use for teaching tolerance or individuality.

Do you have a favorite penguin book?  

I am linking to Read Explore Learn and  What My Child is Reading at Mouse Grows, Mouse Learns.  
Hop on over there to find out what others are reading and learning!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

New Year Snack

This week we are reading The Night Before New Year's by Natasha Wing.  We are big fans of Natasha Wing's books.  In this one, the family is determined to stay awake on New Year's Eve to ring in the new year, but after fun and games and sweets, the little ones are sleepy.  

It always takes a while to get used to the new year, so we are writing, saying, and even eating 2012!

I made this snack with vanilla yogurt, sprinkles, granola, kiwi, and bananas.  The fancy toothpicks for dipping the fruit made it extra special.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


I took two sugar cookies right out of the oven and added chocolate chip details (eyes and mouth on one cookie, buttons on the other cookie).  The chocolate chips melt, but stay in position nicely to look like snowman details.  I added an orange icing nose, a fruit leather scarf, pretzel stick arms (attached with a tiny bit of white icing), and a plain sugar cookie for the bottom.  

These are delicious served with white hot chocolate (melted snowmen?).  The white hot chocolate recipe (actually called Snow Flake Cocoa) can be found at allrecipes.

One of our favorite snowman books is The Snowman by Raymond Briggs.  This is a beautiful, wordless book about a little boy who makes a snowman (all by himself, no less) and at night the snowman comes to life.  The boy shows the snowman all of the wonders of human life (television, a lamp, ice cubes, etc.) and then the snowman takes the boy on a magical, wintry adventure.  The boy is returned to his bed before his parents wake up, but the next morning he runs outside to find only his new friend's melted remains and a few lumps of coal.

What is your favorite snowman book?

Thursday, December 22, 2011

An Ornamental Snack

I made this snack for R.  She loves strawberry jelly and cream cheese.  I cut the bread with a biscuit cutter and then cut a tiny square out of extra bread to make the top of the ornament.  Then I spread strawberry Polaner All Fruit over the top.  I put a little cream cheese into a sandwich bag and cut the corner off to pipe the designs on the ornament. 

This snack is great to share with just about any Christmas book.  Here are two that we enjoyed this week:

Christmas is Here! by Siobhan Ciminera.  This is a Strawberry Shortcake easy reader.  I love this book to go along with this snack because the book has directions to make a strawberry ornament (made with paper, not strawberries!).  Thanks to Almost Unschoolers for recommending this book as part of a series of Christmas books that include crafts or recipes.

The Biggest Christmas Tree Ever by Steven Kroll.  Clayton the town mouse and Desmond the country mouse team up to bring the spirit of Christmas to Mouseville.  We have read a few books in this series by   Steven Kroll and we always enjoy them!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Reindeer Cookies

For a special treat, I made reindeer cookies for the kids.  I melted chocolate chips in the microwave following the directions on the bag.  Then, I spread the melted chocolate over the top of Nutter Butter cookies and added pretzel twists for antlers, candy eyes (I have used icing or mini marshmallows cut in half and dotted with chocolate or black icing to make eyes in the past), and a red m&m candy for the nose. 

To go along with this treat, we read Olive the Other Reindeer by Vivian Walsh.  This is a cute story about a little dog named Olive who thinks she is a reindeer when she mishears the lyrics to the song, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.  Instead of hearing "all of the other reindeer," she hears "Olive the other reindeer".  It's a fun book!

Christmas Stars

After school one day this week, I gave C and R chocolate pretzel stars I made following the directions at Almost Unschoolers.  She actually used peanut butter chips, but I used melted chocolate chips to hold the pretzel sticks in the shape of a star.

Before they could eat them, we read The Christmas Story by Jane Werner.  I told them they could eat the stars when they knew why I made stars to go along with this book.  They both said they knew why, but I still made them wait until we got to that part of the book.

"Behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it stood over the place where the child lay.  When they saw the star, the wise men rejoiced and were glad."  

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Make Your Own Snowman Snack

This week, we read Snowmen at Christmas by Caralyn Buehner, a great book about how snowmen celebrate Christmas.  This is a companion to the best selling book,Snowmen at Night, and it is just as wonderful.  We love the little snow children and snow dogs, and little details like the snowman crossing sign on one page.  The illustrations are beautiful, and there are hidden pictures to find on each page.

To go along with this book, we enjoyed a make your own snowman snack.  I gave the kids banana slices, 
pretzel sticks, raisins, mini chocolate chips, and orange icing.  

You could also add fruit leather for scarves and berries or sliced fruit for hats.  There are so many possibilities!