Friday, October 28, 2011

Save the Bugs Sight Words Game

Bob Books has a Spider Web Sight Words Activity that is perfect for Halloween.  In fact, it would be a great way to incorporate a little education at your next Halloween party. 

Sight words are words collected and listed by a man named Dolch which, if memorized, expedite the reading process.  The lists are separated by grades Pre-K to 5 and begin with 220 words which children should know by the end of 1st grade.  This link may help you identify words for your game:  Dolch Word Lists.  I actually just printed the appropriate list and cut out the cards.
We've come up with our own version that would work in spring or fall and is adaptable to pre-readers and advanced readers alike.  Let's get out our crafting supplies and make some fun!

Save the Bugs Sight Word Game
  1. Use painter's tape to make a spider web on our floor.  (My angel thought this part was great because we could "legally" break the "No taping, gluing, coloring or painting on the house" rule!)
  2. Have your angel glue googley eyes on the bug plates from the Hefty ZooPals "Farm Collection".  Meanwhile, print sight words onto card stockand cut them together or write sight words on index cards.
  3. Stick a 1 inch piece of velcro (the soft side) to the bug's belly on each plate.  Then, we stuck a 1/4 inch X 1/3 inch piece of velcro (the hook side) to the backs of each sight word card.  If you do not want to use velcro, you can just tape the cards to the bugs.  But, by using velcro, the words can be changed without ripping the plates and the game can grow with the child's ability.
  4. You are ready to play the game.

The Rules
  1. One person is the Spider and the other is IT. 
  2. IT selects 3-5 sight word cards and sticks them on a bug. 
  3. Spider stands near the web; this is the nest.
  4. Spider tosses the bugs onto the web. 
  5. IT calls out one of the words on the web.
  6. Spider must walk the web to the bug that has the word that IT called out.
  7. Spider picks up the card and reads it. (To make the game harder, have Spider read the card and say another word with it.)
  8. Spider walks along the web back to his nest while IT tries to make a sentence using the word(s).
  9. If IT makes a sentence before Spider makes it back to the web, then IT "saved" the bug and gets the plate.  If Spider makes it to the nest before IT makes a sentence, then Spider "ate" the bug and keeps it. 
  10. The winner is the person with the most bugs.

Pre-readers:  To make this fun for pre-readers, use upper-case and lower-case alphabet letters.

Enrichment:  To make this fun for higher level readers, use vocabulary from books that they are reading or other languages they are studying. You may also make the web larger or require a subject  with a predicate and descriptive words in more complex sentences.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Boo! Halloween, Allergies and your Goblins

Don't let the idea of celebrating Halloween with an allergic child scare you!  Here is a re-post from last fall with ideas for your allergy-friendly celebration:

Just like many other moms, I am working overtime this week getting ready to celebrate Halloween. We are picking pumpkins to carve, roasting seeds to share, and trying on costumes. But, as we get ready for the fun, I am also thinking through the upcoming events to make sure that we are prepared for any allergic encounters.

I have had many people ask what they can to ensure that my angel gets to enjoy this fall fun. I always tell them the same thing. Give treats that aren't food. There are so many reasonably priced goodies that we can give and so many reasons other than food allergies to give something other than candy. You can read more about that on my blog: Fall is here - Halloween is coming!

But, the challenge of foods and Halloween only begins with the candy. I have to think about the dyes used in costumes (soy), the foods served at parties (corn, wheat, egg, cinnamon), and activities at school (bob for apples, painting icing on cookies, baking muffins). Navigating these things takes lots of creativity and time. I am always thankful to trusted friends and teachers who help me come up with ideas and take the initiative to provide safe activities for my angel.

One of my favorite places to look for ideas is Kids with Food Allergies. They have pages full of ideas and forums where parents can share ideas. Here are some posts that you might find helpful:
Whatever you do to enjoy this fun season, be prepared - have alternate treats for those who visit, carry medicines when out at parties, and educate your children. Let's all have a great holiday full of ghosts and giggles!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Legume Allergies

I recently read an interesting article about legume allergies on

My angel is highly allergic to peanuts and soy.  However, we also discovered shortly after the original diagnosis that she is allergic to all legumes.  We discovered it when we, per the nutritionist's suggestion, began eating chickpeas as snacks.  It didn't take long to discover that my angel's allergies didn't just stop with peanuts and soy but extended all the way from chickpeas and lentils to vanilla and cocoa.  It is easy to forget how many foods in our diet are legumes.  And, for those with grain intolerances, bean "flour" is often substituted in baked goods.  Double trouble for us!

So, it was to my surprise when I discovered an article sharing how legume allergies are a top 5 allergy in Spanish children.  Wow!

Here are links to two articles about legume allergies that I found interesting:

"Legume Allergy: lentils, chickpeas, peas, beans, and peanuts"

"Pea Allergy"

Monday, October 17, 2011

Broccoli Jjuk (Broccoli Rice Porridge)

According to, broccoli, onion and garlic may be introduced between 8 and 10 months of age.  This makes Broccoli Jjuk the perfect food for a wholesome family breakfast.

Brocolli Jjuk (Broccoli Rice Porridge)

1/2 of one broccoli top
1/4 medium onion
1 clove garlic
2 C water
1/4 t salt
3 C cooked rice
2C water
  1. Chop onion into large pieces.
  2. Place onion, broccoli, garlic and the dash of salt in a pot with 2 C water.
  3. Cook vegetables over medium heat until just soft.
  4. Using an immursion blender or table top blender, blend the vegetables until pureed.
  5. Return the chopped vegetables to the pot.
  6. Add 3 C rice and 2 more cups of water to the pot.
  7. Cook on low heat until the rice begins to break down.  Add water 1/4 C at a time, if necessary.
  8. Salt to taste and serve.

Shortcut:  If you have steamed broccoli leftover from dinner, you may omit steps 1 - 6.  Place the onion, garlic and steamed broccoli in a blender with 1/4 cup water and blend until pureed.  Place the vegetable mixture in a pot with 2 C rice and cook as indicated in Step 7.  Salt to taste and serve.

NOTE 1:  If your baby angel has not eaten onion or garlic yet, I would use EITHER the onion OR the garlic.  You may also decrease the amount of those spices until their baby tummies adapt.

NOTE 2:  To kick the flavors up a notch and the nutrition, too, use chicken broth instead of water.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Where are the Dot to Dots?

I had a fun discussion with a clerk in the bookstore yesterday.  I was buying some of those watercolor sheets by Melissa and Doug.  The ones where you use a dab of water to activate the color and then paint until your hearts content.  As I checked out, the clerks and I began to ask:  "Where have all the watercolor books gone?"  I don't mean these new fancy ones that let you color the picture any way you want.  I mean, the old fashioned ones with little color dots all over the page.  When you wet the dots with water, they become paint for you to color the picture.  Where have they gone?

As we contemplated this loss of a great childhood friend.  One of the clerks said that the dot-to-dots were gone, too!  What?!  No more dot-to-dots?  He informed us that you can find two or three pages of them in coloring books and that no more.  So watercoloring books and no dot-to-dots!

I can't bring back the watercolor books so, in honor of the lost dot-to-dots, here are links to some fun ones that I found online:

Activity Village is one of my favorite sites for all things printable.  They have dot-to-dots.  Here are some for Halloween:

Here are some other sites with dot-to-dots: has dot-to-dots like this fall leaf. has dot-to-dots like these for Halloween:
Jack-o-lantern face
Haunted mansion
Black cat has dot-to-dots like the Mushroom  or the Apples that use counting by 5. has dot-to-dots like this gardening teddy bear.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Googley Eyed Jello Blobs

"Beware of The Blob!
It creeps, and leaps, and glides and slides,
Across the floor, right through the door
And all around the wall.
A splotch, a blotch,
Be careful of The Blob!"

~ Theme song from "Beware fo the Blob", 1958

Halloween is coming and great ideas abound all over the web!  Recently, I was inspired by glasses of "Googley Eyed Green Blob" over at Make and Takes.  I saw those blobs and thought, "Why not make these edible?"  And so I did!

Googley Eyed Jello Blobs

1 pkg Jello (I like green)
jars of all sizes, no lid necessary
1 bag of googley eyes of various sizes
  1. Wash the googley eyes and leave them soaking in a bowl of water.
  2. Line your jars up ready to fill.
  3. Mix the jello according to the package directions.
  4. Pour the jello in the jars.
  5. Place the jars in the refrigerator for about 2 hours, until the jello is still wiggly but beginning to solidify.
  6. Remove the jello from the fridge and using a fork, place one or more pair of googley eyes in each jar.  While the eyes float, you may push them down slightly to alter the effect.  careful not to touch the tops of the jello too much or it will ruin the smooth jello surface.
  7. Place the jello back in the fridge.
  8. Once the jello is solidified, cover with a lid or plastic wrap until ready to serve.
  9. When serving, remind kids NOT to eat the eyes.  INSTEAD, have the kids collect the eyes on their plate then count the eyes, add and subtract the eyes, count the pairs, etc.
IDEA:  Because the googley eyes float so well, it is hard to place eyes peering out the sides of the jars.  But, you can make half batches of the jello, then fill the jars halfway.  Once the jello begins to solidify, push the eyes down the sides of the jars at the surface.  Finish chilling.  Finally, fill the jars with the same color jello and allow to solidify. 

AVOID CHOKING HAZARD:  These googley eyes pose a choking hazard when put in the food.  When making this for young children who may accidentally eat the eyes, glue the eyes to the outside of the glass.  The look is fun and safe.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Groupon, Really?!

In recent months, I have been shocked by some of the humor used in Groupon's "Groupon Says" column.  As school began, Groupon ran an article offering suggestions for kids as they return to school.  In the article, one of the suggestions was geared at poking fun of kids with peanut allergies.  At the time, I didn't bother commenting on this because the joke was so poorly worded that I think it confused people more than it did poke fun or even create humor.

However, Groupon's latest "joke" is much more clearly worded, and their opinion of children with food allergies much more clearly noted.  Groupon has advice on how to build "The Ultimate Treehouse".  Among their list of suggestions, they have recommended children, "Ditch that outdated 'No girls allowed' sign in favor of the modern 'No peanut allergies allowed.'".  Groupon, really?!

I know that this is Groupon's attempt at humor, but, is it appropriate to make fun of someone's life-threatening illness?  And, how many people "Liked" the article?  Appaulling!  In an age where we are struggling with children who are bullied because of their allergies... When society is still coming to grips with this increasingly common and life-threatening illness... As schools search for ways to accomodate the newest disability... Is it really acceptable to make these jokes?  If this sign were to read, "No blacks allowed", would that be an acceptable joke?  NO!  And, to joke in this way about these children is not appropriate either. 

Children born with food allergies are no different than any of us.  These children are born with an immune system that attacks food.  The same foods that you and I take for granted, their little bodies fight as though in a war, a war that can lead to death.  To make fun of these children, to encourage further isolating them, IS NOT ACCEPTABLE!

Please stand up for these children.  Let Groupon know that this is wrong.  Fight for these kids.



The Groupon Says article:

"The Groupon Kidz Quorner: Your Ultimate Tree House

Hey, kids who have unlocked the awesome secret of reading! Here's your guide to building the ultimate tree house, tree fort, or awkward tree duplex you share with your former best friend who changed during summer camp. Let's get started!
  • Find a tree in the backyard that can support your ambitious plans and the growth spurt your lying mother insists is coming "any day now."
  • A well-armed tree fort needs plenty of ammunition. Fill your tin buckets with as many collected chestnuts, pine cones, dog bones, unseasonal snowballs, and dad tools as you can find lying around.
  • A good fort layout is still available in the 1952 Dennis The Menace story arc entitled A Few Good Menace, where noted terrible boy Dennis the Menace starts a counterfeit money ring.
  • Ditch that outdated "No girls allowed" sign in favor of the modern "No peanut allergies allowed."
  • Why go up into a tree, when you could go down into a well and become a TV star?!"

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Prime Rib on the Fly

I believe that we know each other well enough, now, that I may make a little confession:

I love beef!

My apologies to the the cows.  I've seen your pleas for me to "Eat Mor Chikin", and believe me, I do! But, the smell of a burger on the grill makes my head swoon. 

I know that after this post, I will get letters shouting the unhealthy attributes of too much beef.  In fact, I am hoping that my doctors aren't reading this post, because they will surely give me a lectures!

My favorite cut of meat is the prime rib.  Yes, champagne taste on a beer budget.  When it is on sale, you can bet that my family will feast.  I will find any holiday for an excuse.  I will save every penny.  All so we can bring home a morsel of beefy goodness.  Today, I pay tribute to this great meat witha quick and easy recipe ... Prime Rib on the Fly.  Enjoy!  

Prime Rib on the Fly

2 slices prime rib, cut to 1/2" or 1"
1/2 bag of fingerling potatoes
5 garlic cloves, peeled
garlic powder
1/2 T oregano
rice oil
  1. Drizzle 2 T rice oil in the bottom of a large, non-stick skillet.
  2. Heat the skillet on medium and preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.
  3. Wash and pat dry the prime rib.
  4. Sprinkle one side of the meat with salt and garlic powder.
  5. When the skillet is hot, place the meat in the center of the skillet, seasoned side facing down.
  6. Sprinkle the unseasoned side of the meat with garlic powder and salt.
  7. Cook for about 5 - 7 minutes until that side is browned but the meat is not cooked through.
  8. While the meat is cooking, wash and quarter potatoes, placing the cut pieces in a bowl of cold water to prevent browning.
  9. Once the meat is ready, flip and cook for another 5 minutes.
  10. When this side is cooked, turn off the heat.
  11. Place the potatoes and garlic cloves in the skillet around the meat.  Sprinkle with oregano and salt.
  12. Place the skillet in the oven and cook for about 15-20 minutes until the meat is cooked to the desired donesness.  If the potatoes are not cooked through, remove the meat, toss the potatoes and place  the skillet back in the oven for another 10 minutes until the potatoes are fully roasted.
  13. Delicious when served with Dad's Famous Mushroom and Onion Steak Topping and Garlicky Cauliflower Buds and Baby Brussel Sprouts.

BTW:  Who is Leif Erikson, anyway?

    Monday, October 3, 2011

    Cucumber, Mango and Radish Salsa

    1 cucumber, seeded, peeled and cubed
    2 mangoes, peeled and cubed
    1/2 bunch radish, very finely chopped
    3 green onions, finely chopped
    1 1/2 T cilantro, chopped or dry
    Juice of 1 lemon
    1. Place all ingredients in a bowl.
    2. Taste and adjust salt and cilantro.
    3. Serve on tacos or as a side salad.