Category Archives: Winter

My Little Chef: No Bake Holly Cookies

J and his grandma made these cute no-bake Holly Cookies for Christmas.  They turned out really cute and created minimal mess (my favorite, especially during the busyness of Christmas). 

INGREDIENTS

  • 30 Large Marshmallows
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 stick of butter
  • 4-4.5 cup cornflakes
  • 2.5 tsp green food coloring
  • 1 package of Red Hots
  • 

WHAT YOU DO:  

  1. Melt marshmallows, vanilla and butter in bowl together in the microwave (or in double broiler).
  2. Stir in food coloring and then add cornflakes, covering all with the green marshmallow mixture.
  3. Scoop individual servings on wax paper. 
  4. Add 3 red hots to each scoop.
  5. Let them set before serving.

Snow Cream

Winter continues.  I think all parents get a little tired of being stuck inside right around this time of year.   The good thing is I’m getting to try out lots of activities with J.  With the unusual winter we’re having, many of those activities involve snow.  I brought out the snowbox again today and J played for a full hour.  

This afternoon we tried snowcream for the first time.  Yes I had never tasted it either, being a true southerner.   Honestly, I had never heard about it until this year!!  So I googled it to find a recipe and J and I mixed up a batch together.  J helps me cook or bake each Friday; this was by far the easiest thing we’ve made together.  He helped me pour the sugar, vanilla, and milk into the snow.  Using specific directions like “fill the cup with sugar” or “empty the cup” is always good reinforcement.  Of course he also helped stir until it looked just right!   He loved it…. eating it that is.  I mean really loved it.  I think he would’ve eaten the entire half gallon had I not stopped him. 

Here’s the recipe:

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 gallon snow
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups milk

You'll need these ingredients.... plus snow!

DIRECTIONS:  Collect snow as it falls inside a bowl.  Add sugar and vanilla to taste and then add milk until you see the right consistency.

The recipe is from allrecipes.com http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Snow-Ice-Cream-II/Detail.aspx

**I made only about half a gallon and think I added too much sugar (half a cup). It was VERY sweet!  I’m sure that’s one reason why J loved it so much!  Next time I will start with less sugar and work up. 

22 months

Age Attempted: 22 months

Try Again?  I’m sure this will become a special snack each time it snows!  As he gets older he can measure out the ingredients and eventually read the recipe too.

Snowbox

In the midst of our 2.5 foot snowstorm last weekend, this southerner realized…. it takes a lot of time dressing a toddler for snow!  Do I dress him up first or get dressed myself?  Then once we got dressed (probably overdressed!), it was still too cold and windy outside.  J also hasn’t gotten the hang of mittens (at least not the thick waterproof ones), they really impede his ability to do anything outside and when we remove them his hands are freezing in no time.  Something clicked in my brain one day, why not bring the snow inside!  A snowbox solved all my problems!  I just bring the blow up pool inside and fill it up with snow! Add some shovels and dump trucks and J is in heaven.  He could enjoy the snow and the blessings of a heated home at the same time (and mom can too)!  He dug, dumped, built a miniature hill for his rubber ducky to sled down, built a snowman, a snow wall (that of course was crashed a couple dozen times), and of course he loved letting a snowball melt in his mouth!  This was a great idea and he continually asks for more snow in his pool.  He loves it.  It’s really easy to set up and clean up. 

22 months

22 months

 

21 months

Age?  21 months but could be done much earlier

Try Again?  yes yes yes

Outside Snow Spraying

Well, we got over 2 feet of snow yesterday so I planned some more snow activities to entertain J with.  After the snowstorm blew over, I bundled him up to do some painting outside.  I read about this idea online.  I brought along a spray bottle filled with water and a few drops of food coloring (just one in our case, but of course the more colors the better!).  I first showed him how spraying the water on the snow turned it orange.  It didn’t go as well as I had hoped.  He couldn’t handle the spray bottle on his own so I ended up doing all the spraying.  He watched and told me what to “paint” in the snow.  I should have taught him how to use the spray bottle inside where it was warm and he had less distractions. 

Another problem was the water kept freezing in the spray mechanism, clogging the spray bottle.  It was really cold!  It was fine as long as I was continually spraying, but if I stopped for any length of time it would freeze up and stop working. Shaking it around, getting some fresh water up in the spray mechanism was all that was needed to unblock it, but it was frustrating. 

Anyway, I can see how an older toddler or preschooler would like this, but J was a bit too young.  I should’ve just let him paint with paint brushes.  Afterall he had a 4 foot wall of canvas after the driveway was shoveled!

Age?  21 months, but it would work better when he’s older and can work the spray bottle himself

Try again?  Yes,but probably not until next winter at least (he’ll be 2.5); it’s easy to prepare and no clean up necessary

Snow Paintings

A friend of mine recommended using spray bottles and food coloring to create a masterpiece in the snow.  Of course I had no food coloring and I couldn’t find my spray bottle… so I improvised with Kool-aid and medicine droppers.   J and I went outside to create some homemade snowcones.  Eventually mom’s fingers were freezing …. J was having so much fun that he was oblivious to his blue fingers (and no, I didn’t have blue Kool-aid).  I made an executive decision to move this activity inside. 

I filled a couple trays with snow, threw some paintbrushes in with the medicine droppers and let J create.  Forty minutes later, he was still having a blast (though the activity had morphed into stabbing colored ice with the dropper, creating a new favorite of his, holes!).   To keep the activity going this long, I added a blank slate of fresh snow every 10 minutes or so. 

I also had him in the blow up pool to keep J contained with this activity.  Much safer on the carpets/furniture this way!  It also really helped to keep him focused.

Snow painting

Age attempted?  21 months (this activity could definitely be done younger and I’m thinking would be enjoyable when he’s older too)

Try Again?  Definitely yes; he loved it

**It’s snowing again and he’s already asking to paint the snow!

Gluing Cotton Balls

This is a great first attempt at gluing.  It went better than using a glue stick actually.  I just put a small amount of glue on a paper plate and showed J how to dip the cotton ball into the glue and then onto the paper.  The cotton ball is the perfect size for his hand.  He doesn’t end up with glue all over his hands with this activity. 

This first time I had J glue cotton balls wasn’t too creative.  I was really just filling time with an idea in the back of my head (I think it was from the Toddler Busy Book). As you can see with our example, it isn’t too impressive.  It has been snowing outside earlier that week, so I told him we were going to make a snow picture.  That was enough for J. :)  It was simply good practice for him, but not necessarily a project to frame.

Please don’t laugh at my snowman.  I just decided to show him how to stack three snowballs on top of each other, to create a snowman.  I grabbed the nearest marker and quickly added a hat, face and arms.  He was impressed.  God bless this child who loves mom’s poor artwork!   

Age attempted:  around 19 months I think; I definitely could’ve tried this at an earlier age.

Teachable Moments:  I didn’t really capitalize on this!  I just focused on teaching him the purpose of glue and how to correctly use it.

Future Potential:  Have him glue the correct number cotton balls next to the number fo the day.  Have him fill a shape (work on inside/outside; filling) with cotton balls; clouds at the end of a rainbow,  hmmm… that’s all I’ve got!