Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween / Harvest Festival Fun

Happy Halloween! Last weekend we went to a pumpkin patch which was a lot of fun. We painted our pumpkins and once they were dry, my kids decided they wanted to carve them into jack-o-lanterns too. They did all of their own painting but mommy ended up doing most of the cleaning and carving of the jack-o-lanterns. My kids are still not fond of the pumpkin "goo".

I wanted to share a few fun Halloween activities for you to enjoy with your children:

~Make orange play dough and add some pumpkin or apple pie spice for a yummy scent. I have a play dough recipe on my website.

~Make orange goop. Again a recipe is on my Lesson Plans Plus website.

~Bobbing for apples. I like to stick craft sticks into the apples.

~Add shaving cream (or whipped topping) to pie tins and add orange food coloring. Pretend that it's pumpkin pie and let your kids stick their hands into it and play.

~Add some water, orange food coloring and dish soap into a plastic bin, give the kids some bubble wands and other water toys such as small cups, etc.

~Make hand print bats. Press both hands, palm side down onto black paint then press hands onto a piece of construction paper so that the wrists are touching. When dry, add a face.

~Paint a large paper plate orange and then press paper face cut-outs onto the wet paint to make a jack-o-lantern. Add a brown or green paper stem.

Fun Books to read to your children:

The Pumpkin Patch Parable by Liz Curtis Higgs (Note, this is a Christian based book)

The Pumpkin Patch by Elizabeth King

It's Pumpkin Time by Zoe Hall

Too Many Pumpkins by Linda White.

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Friday, October 24, 2008

Low-Fat, Low Sugar Pumpkin Dessert

It's that harvest time of year again when I start thinking about using pumpkin more. I love canned pumpkin because it's inexpensive, convenient and 100% natural. I have an easy and delicious pumpkin dessert that I would like to share. I used to make this dessert each year around Thanksgiving with my preschool classes and I continue to make it with my own children at home. It's called Creamy Pumpkin Mousse and I obtained the recipe years ago from a chef "Mr Food" who made it during a segment on one of our local news channels. It's diabetic friendly and figure friendly. It's also easy for kids to help make this recipe.

Creamy Pumpkin Mousse

1 Can (16 ounces) solid pack pure pumpkin
1 package (6 oz) instant sugar-free vanilla pudding
1/4 cup low-fat milk (I use fat-free)
1 tsp cinnamon
2 cups frozen light whipped topping, thawed (I use a small tub of fat free, sugar free whipped topping)

1. In a bowl, use an electric mixer on medium speed to beat the pumpkin, pudding mix, milk and cinnamon

2. Fold in whipped topping until thoroughly blended then spoon into serving bowl. I like to sprinkle a bit of cinnamon on top because it looks pretty. Cover loosely and chill until ready to serve.

I know that I haven't offered up a challenge in awhile so I would like to challenge everyone to give this recipe a try. It's a great way to get another vegetable into your kids because it's "disguised" as dessert. Let me know how you and your children like the creamy pumpkin mousse. Maybe it will become a seasonal regular at your home as it is at mine.


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Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Fall Fun

I hope that everyone is having a wonderful fall. The leaves are starting to change colors and there is a chill in the air here in Michigan. I love this time of the year. My children and I spent this evening creating pumpkin art. My kids painted and decorated large construction paper pumpkins and they also worked on smaller tissue paper pumpkins that we will as fall decorations in our home. I set out a variety of materials for my kids to decorate their pumpkins and they enjoyed using paint, glitter, shape cut-outs, colored pom pom balls, tissue paper, small beads and wiggly eyes. These are no average jack-o -lanterns. It's fun to provide a bunch of materials and let your children be creative.

I want to share a resource that I recently discovered. A Kid's Heart is a fun site offering many free online games and printable activities for children. They have a page of autumn activities that you might enjoy so check it out when you get a chance.

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