Wednesday, June 26, 2013

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut "Cookie Cakes"

I have started baking more because now Lexi is old enough to help me in the kitchen. Don't get me wrong, I baked before but my hubs is not a huge fan of sweets, so we tend not to go through cookies and cakes like we do salty snacks.  But it seems Little Miss has developed a bit of a sweet tooth (like her mama) and loves to have the occassional yummy dessert!

Though the hubs isn't a big chocolate fan, he has a bit of an obsession with all things white chocolate.  We decided to make a twist on a class white chocolate macadamia nut cookies by turning it into a cool ice cream style cupcake, perfect to help beat the heat!

This recipe is super simple.  Bake the cookie dough in the bottom of a muffin tin, with a liner and pop in the freezer for 20 minutes.  Then add a scoop of your favorite ice cream (we like good ole' homemade vanilla low sugar Blue Bell).  Freezer again for about 2 hours then take out of the freezer, remove the paper and top with yummy whipped cream, drizzle topping and even toasted nuts or fruit.  We kept it simple, but you could get really creative. 

My sister came to visit during a rare break from PA school and they had fun baking together!

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookie Cakes

1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups brown sugar

2 eggs
1 Tbs. vanilla
2 3/4 cups flour
3/4 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
2 cups white chocolate chips
1 cup macadamia nuts

1. Mix butter and brown sugar until nice a fluffy.  
2. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well.  
3. Add flour, soda and salt and mix well.  
4. Add chips and nuts and mix to combine.  
5. Scoop into paper lined muffin tins and bake 11 minutes at 350. 
6. Remove from oven and let cool for 2 minutes.  Place in freezer for 20 minutes
7. Remove from freezer and top with ice cream.  Spread and freeze for 2 hours.
8. When ready to serve, remove from freezer, remove paper liner and top with whipped cream and other desired toppings.

Recipe adapted from

These turned out super yummy...the lack of color doesn't do this treat justice.  I can also see a "Strawberry Shortcake" version with a sugar cookie, strawberry topping and a slice a strawberry being delicious. 

Monday, June 24, 2013

Red Week: 21 Months

We have been working on colors, so I decided to break the next few weeks into a "color of the week" for our weekly theme.  This will help us explore each color in depth and look at language and vocabulary associated with each.  We are still talking about all the colors throughout the week but many of the sensory and art activities will focus on our weekly color. We planned sensory, art and tray activities around red this week! You can see our trays on the bottom shelf along with Lexi's rolled up mat that she uses during tray time, our red toys for our toy rotation on top of the shelf and our art hanging above. 
Here we are apple printing.
Reviewing our colors by sorting animal manipulatives by color on our color mat.

Do-A-Dot Marker activity, practicing our aim and grasping skills.

Color Drop activity to reach and drop pom pom in the matching colors chute.  I think Lexi liked watching the pom pom fall to the ground more than she cared about getting the colors correct but it was still fun, nonetheless.

A gross motor "Color Run" game we made up on a rainy day this week, combining two of our color "board" games together for some activity fun.  I'll explain this more later in the week!

Do-A-Dot Markers...we made pictures, then practiced aiming for making the dots right on the smiley faces and finally tried to color the apple by aiming for all the dots.  Making Learning Fun has tons of free Do-A-Dot printables you can use with these markers and they are a great way to practice early pencil grasp development.

We practiced matching the right rainbow foam piece with the right color on our homemade puzzle.

Each week I will be making a color themed discovery basket with found objects from around the house.  I spend 15 minutes Monday morning rounding up red toys and objects from all over the house and use it throughout the week.  This is a great language development tool to work on vocabulary and also a wonderful way to develop imaginative play.  It's so fun to watch the ways a child "plays" with these tools and toys in unconventional way.

My DIY magnet board covered with red objects.  Lexi always likes playing with magnets each week and she loves her homemade pom pom ball magnets.  I found a rainbow do-a-dot sheet online, laminated it and used it for a pom pom magnet activity on our board this week.

Our sensory bin this week involved red dyed rice and a scavenger hunt for hidden red buttons.  I think a red finger puppet was snuck in before the pictures after he escaped from our discovery basket :) Lexi LOVED this activity and later in the week I threw in the magnifying glass to help her "search" for button.  

In our reading nook we displayed and read our all our books with red spines from our book collection.

Lexi created this activity herself (aka she brought be these beads and spoon and was begging me to create something with them).  So this week we practice spooning beads into the ice cube tray compartments and counting beads as we dropped them into each space.  Lexi loves counting objects.  When she counts she can only say "oh, two, oh, two" but she still point at each object and likes me to say all the numbers.  

And for some fine motor practice we hammered golf tees into styrofoam and practiced tracing some alphabet letters with tees.

Montessori MondayNo Time For Flash CardsTuesday Tots
Thursday, June 20, 2013

Golf Tee Hammering

This week was "Red" week and one of the fine motor skills we worked on was hammering.  This was the "favorite" tray this week.  It's simple and very inexpensive but can provide lots of fun sensory exploration as well.   Lexi kept coming back to this again and again.  Think of how much fun this would be with a giant piece of Styrofoam from inside a refrigerator or TV box. 

For materials, simply gather any size or shape of styrofoam, various golf tees and a toy hammer.  We used a small play cup to collect the tees and for an added challenge I traced a few alphabet letters for her to practice aiming.  She loved hammering, but also just poking the tees in the holes and trying to put them as close together as possible.
This is a unique twist on a simple hammering toy and since the tees are small they require more precision, so it's great for a child who has mastered their hammer/peg toy!



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