Dishin' Up With Diane For September

Welcome Back To School!

I know some of you have already started, but here in MI we start the Tuesday after Labor Day!

A big theme for many teachers is APPLES so I want to center my "kids in the kitchen & classroom" around that delicious and healthy fruit this month.  Apples are also really big in this part of MI.

One of my favorite books to introduce the alphabet is Chicka Chicka Boom Boom.  Story time is in the afternoon and is often followed by our snack, so sometimes it's fun if our snack also relates to what we are reading and/or studying.

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Sometimes I'll ask several parents to supply the ingredients to a snack-activity so that my Y5's can make or create their snack.  Click on the link to view/print the Chicka Boom snack letters home.

Making a Chicka Boom alphabet tree is a fun fine motor skill for your students.  I was hoping that all the letters of the alphabet were in a box of Alpha-Bits cereal, but to my dismay when I dumped out the box, I did not find a good enough representation of the alphabet to make it a worthwhile activity for my students to try and find the letters in their name.

In fact, the letters G, J, M, S, U, & W were entirely missing from my box!

Instead, give a cup of cereal to each child and have them pick out 8 letters.

Later, if you want, you can give your students a graphing sheet and have them sort and then count the letters in their cup and graph them, then make a class graph of the entire box.  Did you find any letters that were missing too?

Click on the link to print an Alpha-Bit letter graphing sheet.

You can also compare your results to mine if you want to do some more math extensions. Click on the link to view/print my results. TeachWithMe.com's Alpha-Bit graphing results

My husband came into the kitchen and wondered what on earth I was doing, as I had cereal spilled out all over the counter.  (Our puppy Chloe was anxious hoping for a mishap.)

When I told him I was sorting cereal, he then wondered if anyone besides me even cared?  I thought sorting, counting and then graphing letters in a box of Alpha-Bits was a great math extension; besides I really wanted to know if every letter of the alphabet was in the box.  (The answer could not be found online.)

As you can see by my photo the ratio of letters in the box is way off, and the largest plate is the one with broken letters.  Perhaps that's where the missing letters ended up.

Could the Alpha-Bit missing letter mystery be because those letters are fragile and simply break up in the package?  This could make for a great discussion or writing prompt!  Anyway, my husband thinks I'm crazy.  Are there any other creatively crazy teachers with me?  I'd enjoy a comment or two for back up.

I made two different kinds of Chicka Boom trees.  One with chocolate wafer cookies (palm trunk) and raisins (coconuts) and one with pretzel rods and red grapes.

You can have both sets of ingredients available, and let your students decide which kind of tree to make, or simply pick just a few ingredients.  I find with my Y5's, that usually 1/2 of them do not like raisins.

If you do opt for raisins, you may want to soak them in water the night before. It was my grandma's "secret" for making the best oatmeal raisin cookies, as the raisins turned out really moist, plump and juicy instead of dried out.

Ingredients & Directions:

• Granny Smith apples. (Cut apple in 1/2 and then in 1/4ths.  One apple will be enough for 2 children's palm leaves. Each child needs 4 apple slices. 4 palm leaves.)
• Large bunch of washed red grapes.  Each child will need 3 grapes for their coconuts.
• Large box or bag of raisins.  Each child will need 9 plump raisins, 3 for each bunch of coconuts.
• 1-2 bags of long pretzel rods (Chicka boom coconut tree trunk) depending on class size. (I use 2 for each student because they LOVE them, but you could cut it down to 1.)
• 1-2 packages of chocolate wafer cookies depending on class size.  Each child will need 2 cookies for their Chicka boom coconut tree trunk.
•
• You could get a package of wafer cookies that has 1/2 chocolate and 1/2 vanilla and give your students a choice of flavors.  I find that my students will usually pick chocolate 3 to 1.
• I try to include giving a choice in as many activities as I can, because I believe it is a wonderful life-skill my little ones need to learn; however, I almost always limit it to only 2, at most 3 choices, otherwise things get overwhelming for them and they can't make a decision, or waste too much time.
• 1 large box of Alpha-Bits cereal. Give each child a cup full so they can choose 8 letters to climb up the trunk.  This is a nice counting activity for them. They can simply eat the rest, or do the sort, count and graph activity above with them.
• large paper plates
• Children arrange their Chicka Boom edible alphabet tree on their plate and then eat it.

Munch and crunch away at your Chicka Boom alphabet tree today!

Remember to take some pictures so you can post them in your newsletter.

Grapple Juice:If you've never mixed grapefruit juice and apple juice, give it a whirl for a yummy and healthy fall drink.

Ingredients
• 2 large apples (My personal favorite is Honeycrisp, but Gala is a close second, and then of course Granny Smith for it's sweet sourness.)
• 1 grapefruit
How to Make
1. Wash the fruit.
2. Core and slice the apples to fit your juicer.
3. Peel and slice the grapefruit.
4. Juice and Enjoy.

Grama Lydia's Apple Crisp and Ice Cream

My sister and I were allergic to so many things that my grama was constantly trying to dream up things my twin and I could have as a dessert.

Here's a delicious one that tastes wonderful hot out of the oven with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  Drizzle some caramel on the top for an extra special treat.  The cinnamon baking in the oven makes the entire kitchen smell yummy, and is one of my favorite fall fragrances to this day!

Ingredients:

• 2 large Honeycrisp or Gala apples, peeled, cored and sliced
• 1/3 Cup all-purpose flour
• 1/3 Cup old-fashioned rolled oats
• 1/4 Cup butter or margarine
• 1/3 Cup firmly packed brown sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
• 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
• Vanilla ice cream
• Caramel sauce
Directions:
• Prepare apples by peeling, coring and slicing.
• Place in bottom of a small casserole dish.
• Add oats, sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and butter in a medium-size mixing bowl

• Mix together until crumbly. Break up any clumps.
• Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.
• Serve hot out of the oven in small bowls with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
• Drizzle with caramel sauce. MMM MMM delicious!

Apple Smiles With Marshmallow Teeth:

Ingredients:

• White mini marshmallows
• Cream cheese
• Peanut butter
• Caramel sauce
• Red apples
• Plastic knives
• Small paper plates

Directions:

• Cut a red apple in half, then in 1/4th's then into 1/8th's.
• Each child needs 2 pieces. (1 apple will make enough slices for 8 children.)
• These become the 2 lips.
• Give each child a small paper plate, a plastic knife, and a dollop of "glue" (either peanut butter, cream cheese or caramel sauce.)
• I used caramel sauce in the photo.
• Children could also have one side where they use one of the spreads, and the other half where they use the other kind of spread.
• Spread "glue" with a plastic knife.
• Place mini white marshmallows on top of the "glue" on the bottom slice so they look like teeth.

• Spread "glue" on the remaining slice.
• Gently press this top slice on the top of the bottom "tooth" slice so the "mouth" is now shut.
• Carefully eat.  Mmmm Mmmm delicious!

Cinnamon Apple Rings:

For a yummy cinnamon apple recipe and adorable smile poem to go with it, click on the link. She made these for Valentine's Day, but I think her heart border still works for anytime.

I hope you enjoy these activities with your children/students.  Remember... "An apple a day keeps the doctor away!"

because they are such a healthy snack,

so eat up, and welcome back!

Until next time...bon appetit!

Dishin' Up With Diane For February

February is all about sweethearts and sweet treats, and lip-smacking delights! I've got some crazy concoctions for you to whip up with your little ones, that will have their sweet tooth more than satisfied.

Fizzy Sweet Treat: A Science Lesson For Young Students

Toss some "fizzies" in a plastic bag and dip a cherry or strawberry lollipop in it and you have one awesome treat for a little kid to experience.  I never really knew what was in my "Sweet Treats" as a child, nor why it sparkled and made my tongue all tingly, but it was great fun.  Your students/children can do this too and have a science lesson at the same time!

The basis of the sweet treat is confectioners' sugar.  50g will make enough for about 6 children.  For that amount you will also need a scant teaspoon each of bicarbonate of soda and citric acid.  You can buy the latter, in the form of white powder,  very cheaply, in small quantities, from the pharmacy.  Children will also enjoy having a lollipop to dip into the powdery confection.  I get the small "dum-dums" at The Dollar Store so that they don't last "forever".

Ingredients:

• 50g icing sugar
• teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
• teaspoon citric acid
• lollipops

Directions: Mix all the powders together thoroughly.

Why does it fizz? It's a reaction between the citric acid (the same acid as in lemons) and the bicarbonate of soda, which is an alkali.  In this case the chemical reaction happens on your tongue, as the two dry ingredients mix with water (saliva) they create a gas in the form of lots of tiny little bubbles.  The bubbles provide the tingle in your mouth.  You are creating the same chemical reaction when you drop a bath fizzy bomb into your bath water.  The active dry ingredients-which again include bicarbonate of soda and citric acid-react when they meet the bath water.   Try doing this with vinegar as the liquid and get a real fizzy, bubbling result.  The reaction happens immediately because the vinegar is the liquid.  Combining vinegar and bicarbonate of soda is actually an old-fashioned cleaning recipe, used to help remove suborn stains in the kitchen,  I use this chemical reaction in September during my dinosaur unit and add red food coloring to the vinegar so that it looks like lava.  I put all these ingredients in my students' baby food-jar volcanoes and they have fun watching them erupt!  Keep your "Fizzy Sweet Treats" dry.  Store in little re-sealable plastic bags ready to dip your lollipop in,  or in a plastic food container.  You could also add some red Kool-Aid for a splash of color for Valentine's Day.

Shake It & Make It - Ice Cream In A Bag

If you've got a few minutes, you can make another Sweet Treat with your students and have more science fun in the classroom.

Ingredients:

• Tablespoons sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
• 1 cup milk
• 6 tablespoons rock salt
• 1 gallon-sized Ziplock baggie
• 1 pint-sized Ziplock baggie
• 1 bag of ice
• plastic spoons
• Optional: Red, Pink & White sprinkles

Directions:

• Fill the gallon-sized bag 1/2 full with ice.
• Add rock salt to the bag and seal.
• Pour sugar, milk, and vanilla into the small baggie and seal.
• Place the pint-sized bag into the large bag and seal.
• Shake the bag for 5-7 minutes.
• I put on a zippy dance CD and my students "shake it up" and dance with their bags.
• Take the small bag out of the large bag.
• Open the small zip bag and enjoy your ice cream with a spoon!
• Put the other students' small bags into the other large bags and repeat, 'til everyone has made a bag of ice cream.
• Because it's close to Valentine's Day when I'm doing this, I buy some sprinkles and we add this to our ice cream too.

Cinnamon Heart Ornaments:

Ingredients:

• ¾ cup cinnamon
• 1 tablespoon all spice
• 1 tablespoon nutmeg
• 1 cup applesauce
• 1 ½ tablespoons white glue
• 1 drop cinnamon oil added to the white glue to make them really fragrant.

Directions:

• In a bowl, mix ¾ cup of cinnamon, 1 tablespoon all spice, and 1 tablespoon of nutmeg together.
• Slowly stir in 1 cup of applesauce.
• Pour in 1½ tablespoons of white glue.
• Mix well until mixture is stiff.
• Pour the mixture onto some wax paper.
• Press another sheet of wax paper over it and roll it out to ¼-inch thickness.
• Cut out hearts with a cookie cutter.
• (I use a mini copper heart cutter so that I can make more hearts with some to spare in case a child breaks one.
• How many you get out of a batch will entirely depend on how big your cookie cutter is.
• Use the scraps and roll out the "dough" to make more.
• Poke a hole near the top of each heart with a toothpick.
• If you are doing this with only one or two children, use a bigger heart cookie cutter, and poke a hole with a straw.
• Just an FYI don't do this on Valentine’s Day, because it takes about a week to dry (at room temperature).
• When dry, string with a ribbon. These make wonderful Valentine's Day gifts and your home or classroom will smell absolutely fantastic while you're making them!

Valentine Strawberry-Chocolate Swirl Half 'n Half's

A room mommy brought these cupcakes in for her daughter's February birthday treat. She got the recipe from the Internet and shared it with me.  Makes 24 cupcakes

Ingredients:

• 1 package strawberry cake mix (plus ingredients on the box to prepare mix)
• 2/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
• 4 ounces cream cheese
• 1 cup strawberry frosting
• 1 cup chocolate frosting

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. Grease or use paper baking cups in a 24 muffin pan.
3. Melt chocolate chips in microwave for 30 seconds. Let child stir, and microwave for 10 second intervals until melted.
4. Prepare cake mix according to directions, letting your child help with each step depending on age and skill level. Separate half the batter in a different bowl.
5. Combine melted chocolate chips and cream cheese to one batter.
6. Beat with mixer at medium speed until blended.
7. Using chocolate batter first, spoon chocolate and strawberry batter’s side by side in muffin cups about two-thirds full.
8. Bake for 16 minutes or until tooth pick that you insert, comes out clean.
9. Cool cupcakes in pan for 10 minutes before placing them individually on wire wracks to cool completely.
10. Let your child pick which frosting he wants to be in charge of . They spread the frosting on one half of each cupcake.
11. You spread the opposite frosting on the other half.
12. If you want to get fancy, take a Popsicle stick and swirl the center, making a little peak in the middle.

I hope you enjoy these sweet treats with your little sweeties!

May you have a love-filled February!

January Recipes

The snow’s melting; look at all that mud! That’s what these no-bake cookies remind me off…little mud pies! And that’s just one of the reasons they are so much fun for kids to make.

Ingredients:

• ½ cup milk
• 1 stick margarine
• ½ cup cocoa
• 2 cups sugar
• 1 teaspoon vanilla
• ½ teaspoon salt
• 3 cups oatmeal
• ½ cup peanut butter

Directions:

• Blend cocoa, margarine, sugar, milk, and salt together in a pot.
• Put pot on low heat and cook ‘til blended and melted together.
• Remove from heat.
• Add vanilla, peanut butter and oatmeal.
• Mix well.
• Drop from spoon onto wax paper.
• Let cool.
• Mmm mmm delicious!

Build a Sweet Treat Snowman!

Ingredients per person:

• Hershey Chocolate Kiss
• 3 large marshmallows
• 1 piece of red licorice
• 2 thin stick pretzels or 2 shoestring potatoes
• 6 raisins
• 8” paper plate
• Popsicle stick
• Toothpick
• Small tube of red gel
• 1 can of white frosting

Directions:

• Cut raisins into 1/3rds so that students can use them for eyes, noses, and buttons.
• Cut licorice in ½ and then in ½ again and then slice it down the middle lengthwise. This is the snowman’s scarf.
• Pass supplies out to students.
• Have students design their snowman on their plate.
• The kiss is the snowman’s hat.
• Give each student a spoonful of frosting. They use their Popsicle stick to “glue” their marshmallows together and stick their accessories and facial parts on. The raisins might stick on by themselves if they pick at the inside with the toothpick.
• Children can poke a hole in the sides of the snowman with the toothpick and insert their potato sticks/pretzels for arms.
• Adult puts a red gel smile on each snowman.

Ingredients:

• 2 cans white frosting
• Popsicle sticks
•  Things to decorate the snowman face: Raisins, red hots, M&M's, Skittles, colored gum drops, Fruit Loops etc.

Directions:

• Set up the decorations on paper plates at a table. Children choose which things they want, putting them on their plate and then return to their seats to decorate.
• Give each child a spoonful of frosting and have them frost their cookie "face" with the Popsicle stick and then decorate their snowman.
• Take a group photo of all the frosty faces and then "crunch-nibble-munch!"

Snow Covered Logs

Ingredients per person:

• 1 banana
• 1 tablespoon peanut butter
• ¼ cup shredded coconut (There will be some leftovers.)

Directions:

• Cut banana in half lengthwise
• Spread peanut butter on the halves.
• Press together like a sandwich.
• Sprinkle the coconut on a sheet of waxed paper.
• Roll the banana in the coconut until completely covered.
• Chill in fridge for 15 minutes.

Purple Sauce Slurpies

Ingredients:

• 6 cups applesauce
• 3 cups grape juice
• 24 paper Dixie cups
• 24 Popsicle sticks

Directions:

• Combine applesauce and grape juice in a large bowl.
• Stir until blended.
• Spoon equal amounts into Dixie cups.
• Freeze for 1 hour and then insert Popsicle sticks.

From a Liquid To a Solid

In January we study liquids turning into solids and then melting when they get hot.

A fun way that I demonstrate the liquid to a solid with my students is making Popsicles.  As a behavior modification technique I write the word Popsicles on the board and circle a letter at the end of each portion of our day, if everyone has performed/behaved appropriately.  It helps them clean up, line up, stay focused, get their work done etc.  When all the letters are circled, we take the Popsicles out of the freezer and see that the liquid has turned into a solid!  We also let one melt in the sun on our shelf to see a solid turn back into a liquid.

Popsicles with a Punch

Ingredients:

• Red Hawaiian Punch or juice of your choice.  This is my Y5’s favorite.  The blue Hawaiian punch is also a fun color for winter.
• Tupperware molds or Dixie cups + Popsicle sticks.

Directions:

• Pour liquid into molds.
• Put covers on
• Put in freezer
• Run under a bit of warm water to loosen the molds
• If you don't have molds, use Dixie cups, fill them 1/2 full and freeze for 1 hour.  Insert Popsicle sticks.
• When ready to serve, remove paper.

Ingredients:

• 2 cups flour
• 1 cup butter
• ½ cup sugar
• 1 cup walnuts
• 1 tsp. vanilla
• 15 oz. package Hershey Kisses
• Powdered sugar

Directions:

• Combine sugar, butter and vanilla in a large bowl and beat until fluffy.
• Chill the dough.
• Shape dough around unwrapped individual chocolate kisses.
• Put on greased cookie sheet.
• Bake 12 minutes at 350 degrees.
• Set pan aside to cool
• Roll in powdered sugar ‘til completely covered and looking like a slightly dirty snowball.

Kool-Aid Cool-Snow Cones

Ingredients:

• 2 Cups crushed ice
• 2 Cups sugar
• ¾ Cup water
• 1 package unsweetened Kool-Aid

Directions:

• Combine sugar and water in a pot and bring to a full boil.
• Remove from heat.
• Stir in the Kool-Aid
• Chill.
• Crush the ice cubes in a blender.
• Put the ice in a cup or cone and pour the Kool-Aid syrup over the ice.
• Eat with a sippy straw spoon.
• I’ve also used real “just-fallen” clean snow for that special touch of “winter wonderland magic!”

Yogurt “Snow” Fun Pops

Ingredients:

• 2 cups vanilla yogurt
• 6 oz. frozen orange juice
• 1 teaspoon honey
• 2 teaspoons vanilla

Directions:

• Mix ingredients in large bowl ‘til blended.
• Pour into ice cube trays.
• Freeze for 30 minutes and then insert Popsicle sticks.

Dreaming up frozen concoctions with a kid in the kitchen can be "snow" much fun, especially if your state is a bit on the warmer side!  I hope you have a great time with yours.

These recipes were all rather on the "cool" side, but January is also National Soup Month so why not have a nice bowl of your favorite some frosty day, especially if your state is on the colder side like mine is in Michigan.  MM-MMM-Good!  And you won't be alone while enjoying this comfort food.  According to Lifestyle Magazine approximately ten billion bowls of soup are consumed by Americans every year!  Bon Appétit!

December Recipes

Let’s trim the Christmas Cone! This is relatively inexpensive so that you could do it with your students at your Christmas party for a fun snack that they would create. Or do it during your Christmas Tree theme day.

Ingredients:

• Sugar cones
• Green frosting (I bought a pre-colored tube. You could buy a can of white frosting and then color it with green food coloring.
• Green food coloring
• Sprinkles, I used two different kinds. (You could also use red hots)
• Popsicle sticks
• Waxed paper

Directions:

• Make sure everyone has washed their hands.
• Give each child a sheet of waxed paper to place their cone on.
• Give each child a dollop of frosting, Popsicle stick and cone.
• Children frost their cone with the Popsicle stick.
• Give them some sprinkles, or red hots.
• Children decorate their tree by pushing the red hots into the frosting.
• If they are using little sprinkles they can roll their tree onto them.
• When they are done, take a group picture and then the children can eat their trees.

Ingredients:

• 2/3 cup butter or margarine, softened
• 2/3 cup brown sugar
• 2 large eggs
• 1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
• 1 1/2 cups flour
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1 6-ounce package Ocean Spray® Craisins® original dried cranberries
• 2/3 cup white chocolate chunks or chips

Directions:

• Preheat oven to 375ºF.
• Using an electric mixer, beat butter or margarine and sugar together in a medium mixing bowl until light and fluffy.
• Combine oats, flour, baking soda and salt in a separate mixing bowl.
• Stir in dried cranberries and white chocolate chunks.
• Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.
• Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.
• Cool on wire rack.
• Makes approximately 2 1/2 dozen cookies.

Gingerbread Play-dough Recipe: Now is a great time to mix up a batch of gingerbread play dough! Put it in your kitchen center or have a 15-minute whole-group gingerbread play dough center and give each child a cookie cutter and a small ball of gingerbread play dough to make their very own gingerbread play dough boy!  Click on the link for this delicious smelling recipe. This is a fun activity to do after you've read the story.   Gingerbread Play-dough recipe

Christmas Greetings-Christmas Blessings Snack

Ingredients:

• Bugles® brand corn snacks
• Small pretzel twists
• Chex Mix
• Craisins
• Peanuts/Cashews
• Red and green M&Ms®
• Hershey's® chocolate kisses

Directions:

• Use even amounts of all the ingredients.
• Mix together in a large bowl.
• Each ingredient in the snack symbolizes something associated with Christmas.

Bugles : Symbolize trumpets reminding us that the world is heralding the news that Jesus is born

Pretzels : Symbolize arms folded in prayer thanking God for the reason for the season; LOVE the greatest gift of all.

Chex Mix:  Symbolize a blanket of warmth, comfort and joy

Craisens : Symbolize the holly berries that decorate our homes

Peanuts or cashews: Symbolize the planting of seeds of thanksgiving and peace on Earth.

M&Ms:  Symbolize sweet Memories and the Magic of Christmas

Hershey Kisses: Symbolize the love of family and friends.

If you'd like to make this snack as a gift and put it in a tin along with a note, click on the link to print a copy.

Christmas Blessings Snack Note

To make this adorable Hershey Kiss Mouse click on the link. His tail is the stem from a cherry that's dipped in chocolate. His ears are almonds. MMMMM-MMMM delicious!

Cinnamon Ornaments

Are something fun you can do with your entire class.  They make a nice gift that is relatively easy to make, incorporates math extensions, and is inexpensive.  If you had parents sign up at your Open House to bring things in when needed, draw from that list for your ingredients, or tie it in with your snack time and ask that parent to donate bulk size jars of applesauce.    A bonus of this activitiy is that  your room smells fantastic!

Ingredients:

• 1 cup cinnamon (The Dollar Store sells a large bottle. Wal-Mart has 2 for a dollar.)
• 1 tablespoon cloves
• 1 tablespoon nutmeg
• 2 tablespoons white glue
• 3/4 cup applesauce (Let drain in a strainer for several hours)
• Optional: cinnamon oil
1. Mix cinnamon, cloves & nutmeg together
3. Work mixture with hands until smooth and well mixed.
4. Roll out to 1/4 inch thickness cut with cookies cutters. (I use small hearts )
5. Use a coffee straw to make hole for hanging.
6. Put on wire rack to dry at room temperature for several days.
7. Turn twice daily so they don't curl.
8. Use ribbon to hang.
9. So they smell extra strong of cinnamon I spritz with cinnamon oil, and then let dry again.
10. How many you get from one recipe depends on how big your cookie cutter is.
11. Wrap gently in tissue to send home.
12. Remind students that they will break if they are not careful.

Well that's it for Dishin' Up With Diane for this month. I'd love to hear from you if you have a favorite December recipe or holiday tradition, or if you tried one of my recipes and had fun with it.  Drop me a line at diane@teachwithme.com   In the meantime, I hope you have a simply wonderful time with your kid in the kitchen!