zoo pretend play | free printables

I will be the first to admit that I'm always on the lookout for fun ideas to do with the kids.  I feel like some days there is only so many ways to play with playdough or dolls.  When I feel like that I have a couple websites that I love to turn to for some fresh, new ideas.  One of those sites is Let's Explore.  That site is just jam packed full of great ideas. One of the things I love to check is the free Monthly Ways to Play Download.  It's a sheet with ten simple activities to do with your kids. 

Last week I was feeling kind of uninspired with our play and checked out February's Ways to Play.  One of the ideas was to set up a stuffed animal zoo.  I thought this sounded like a lot of fun!  I decided to make up some little printables to make it even more fun.  First I made some little zoo admission tickets.  Then I made up some things for the zookeeper to use.  I made up a zookeeper feeding chart to keep track of the animal's feedings and some little tags animal food bags.  What fun we had playing zookeeper and ticket master to get into the zoo. 

We attached the animal food cards to paper lunch bags and we filled them with different colored puff balls which was a great sorting activity!  We loved making up reasons why a certain animal should have a certain color food.  Like of course the monkeys got the yellow puff balls.  We attached the zookeeper feeding chart to a makeshift clipboard and my little one loved checking off which animals had been fed.

Download Zookeeper Feeding Chart HERE
Download Zoo Animal Food Tags HERE
Download Zoo Admission Tickets HERE

If you download I hope you have as much fun playing zoo as we did!
And remember to check out Let's Explore!


good seasons italian baked potato

I made these delicious potatoes on Valentine's Day for my honey and I.  Really easy and they look very fancy too wouldn't you agree?  I was inspired by this pin on Pinterest.

Here's my super simple recipe

2 medium sized potatoes
2Tb melted butter
1/2 Tb  Good Seasons Italian Dressing

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Thinly slice your potato being careful not to cut all the way through.  Place potatoes in oven safe cookware.  Mix your butter and Good Seasons Italian Dressing.  Drizzle over the sliced potatoes.  Bake at 425 for 40 minutes.

The thing I loved most about these potatoes was some of the edges get kind of crispy!  Loved that!  These turned out great and had just the right amount of flavoring.  Enjoy!


valentine rice krispie heart pops

So I have seen the Rice Krispie Heart Pops done before but I've always seen people prepare the Rice Krispies in a pan and then use a heart shaped cookie cutter to cut out their hearts.  For some reason that seemed difficult to me and kind of a waste of the rice krispies between the hearts.  I decided to try making the hearts in a heart shaped silicone ice cube tray.  It worked out pretty well!

I'm going to keep my instruction short and sweet.  I first started by taking a pastry brush and lightly brushed margarine in my silicone heart ice cube tray.  I prepared a half batch of Rice Krispie treats according to the box directions.  While still warm I pushed the Rice Krispie treat mixture into the ice cube tray. Being as small as they are they really take no time at all to set up. I was able to fill 3 heart shaped ice cube trays making 42 hearts.  By the time I was done filling the trays I was able to go back to the first heart I filled and started pushing in the sticks.  Next I prepared my white chocolate for dipping according to the box directions.  I dipped each heart in white chocolate and sprinkled with festive sprinkles while still wet.  Pretty cute huh?


valentine bowling game

This is a super duper easy game that you can whip up in no time.  Room mothers I know are always searching for simple classroom games and this one certainly fits the bill.  This bowling game is made up of empty toilet paper rolls.  Simply print out the sheets, cut out, and tape on.  I whipped this up today and it kept all of my little ones entertained.  I had read a suggestion online somewhere that you can stuff socks into the toilet paper rolls to make them a bit sturdier and harder to knock down.  Easy Peasy!

Download HERE                                                             Download HERE


baked potato soup

There's nothing I like better than a quick and easy recipe.  Having 3 little kids underfoot doesn't leave me much time to be slaving away in the kitchen. I love to make homemade potato soup but I found my one recipe to be really time consuming and so I didn't make it as often as I would have liked. When I saw this recipe for baked potato soup my curiosity was peaked.  Not having to cut up and cook potatoes and then puree them sounded so appealing.  Baking the potatoes made making potato soup so much easier!  This recipe was a real hit!

Baked Potato Soup (adapted from Annie's Eats)
3 medium russet potatoes
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour, divided
1 can chicken broth
1 cup milk
1 tsp. salt
¾ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 cup light sour cream
For topping:
Sour cream
Shredded cheddar cheese
Bacon pieces

Prick your potatoes with fork.  Place on baking sheet and bake in preheated 400° F oven for 1 hour.  Let cool and then scoop out the insides of the potatoes into food processor. Pulse until broken up into smaller chunks. 
Melt butter in large pot.  Add about half of your flour and whisk into the butter.  Continuing whisking and cook for approximately 2 minutes.  Whisk in the chicken broth, milk and the remainder of the flour.  Cook until thick and bubbling.  Stir in the potato chunks.  Add the cheddar cheese and stir until melted.  Remove from heat and stir in the sour cream.
Your soup is ready to serve.  Top with sour cream, cheddar cheese, and bacon as desired. Source: adapted from Annie's Eats


cherry playdough valentine plus free printable

My preschooler and I had talked about what to make for the preschool Valentine's day party for her friends.  I gave her several choices and she really wanted to make her classmates homemade playdough. I found these perfectly sized containers at our local dollar store.  We decided to make the kids red playdough for Valentine's day.  I figured why not make it more fun and make cherry playdough?

The playdough turned out awesome and smelled sooo good!  In fact it smelled too good...my little one told me she was having a hard time not eating it and told me next time to just make plain playdough :).

We used the following recipe (adadpted from How Does She):

1 cup flour
1 cup water
1/4 cup salt
2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 Tbls. vegetable oil
1 package cherry kool-aid

Mix dry ingredients in pot first and stir well.  Add wet ingredients and stir.  Cook over medium heat stirring continuously until it forms a large ball.  Remove from heat and dump out onto wax paper on your counter.  When cool knead the playdough until nice and smooth and soft.

I wanted to come up with some cute little tag to put on the little container.  Unbelievable to me that the container was the PERFECT size to fit the scalloped punch that we had at home. I went to work in Photoshop and made up a sweet little cherry printable.

All wrapped up and ready to go...pretty cute huh?

Someone's pretty excited to hand them out to friends.

And here's my gift to you.  Please enjoy these Valentine printables. 

You're sweet Tags

You're a sweet friend tags

If you choose to download them I'd love it if you'd leave me a comment!  Also if you use them I'd love to see a picture...leave me a link in the comments! :)  Enjoy!


simple book heart valentine garland

I love surprising my chickadees.  Today they are going to be surprised with this book heart garland I whipped up while they were at school.

This is a super simple craft! I don't have a lot of time to craft so what I do has to be simple and fast.  I basically freehand drew some hearts and traced them onto old book pages.  Old baby name books are great for this type of project!

I cut them out and taped them to bakers twine.  Added some buttons with hot glue and we're done!  A little time crafting and it will mean a lot to my little ones!

How do you like to surprise your little ones?


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