Friday, June 28, 2013

Star Spangled Skewers

This is a great cooking activity to celebrate the Fourth of July.  And it’s healthy! 
Before you begin any cooking project, here are a few tips:

Cover your kitchen table with a plastic table cloth, this makes for easy clean up.
Put a kitchen towel out for each child.  This defines their workspace.
Have a roll of paper towels ready to use if needed.
Have all of your materials, ingredients, utensils, cutting boards, etc. ready to go.

I call these “Star Spangled Skewers”.
Most important is the preparation of the child.
Everyone has an apron, and everyone washed their hands.

For this recipe you need
12 inch skewers
Blueberries, strawberries, bananas
Mini marshmallows
Wash and dry the berries.

Cut the tops off of the strawberries and then cut each one in half.
Cut the bananas.  
Children can help with the cutting.  Use plastic knives.  I like to cut down one side of the banana to make it more stable on the cutting board.  Make small cuts in the banana where you want the child to cut through.  Show the child how to hold the fruit on the cutting board with one hand and press with the knife until it goes all the way through to the board.
Have a bowl on the table for garbage.  Thanks to Rachael Ray for that.
Now we assemble.
Seven of the skewers need to have the strawberries and bananas alternated so there are 13 pieces of fruit on each one, start and end with a strawberry.
The other five skewers need to have strawberry, banana, strawberry, banana, strawberry
Then finish with alternating the blueberries and marshmallows.

To display use a flat board like a cutting board and arrange the skewers to look like the American Flag.
Everyone who cooks can help clean up.
So assign jobs.

Shaun will you please take the cutting boards to the sink, one at a time.
Lily will you carefully dump the contents of the garbage bowl into the trash?
Ava will you collect the towels and bring them to the washer?
I will collect the knives and the table cloth.  Wrap all the table mess in the plastic table cloth and clean up is easy!

These Star Spangled Skewers are fun to make, but they are even more fun to eat!!!

We will soon put a video up of this segment, check back to see the fun!

Thursday, June 27, 2013


I have started a YouTube channel!  I just put up a test video.  I will be shooting a cooking video with some of my nieces and nephews tomorrow.  When it is up, I will let you know.  We will be making Star Spangled Skewers!!

Kindly take a look and check out Ziggy the day after we got him.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

This one's for you, Dad. - CAMP!


Camp is a great way to spend the summer.  To be honest, I believe that some unscheduled time is vital for children to develop their own interests, learn to entertain themselves (not with screen time), and learn to be who they are.

But 12 weeks of unscheduled time is a lot for a child.  It is said that students tend to forget about 40% of what is learned in school during the summer months.  This means teachers cannot just dive in with new and unexplored curriculum.  Time must be spent REVIEWING!  No fun for anyone.

Camp is a good way to continue learning and exploring in a supervised manner.

There are many types of camps.

In every community there are camps that specialize in activities.  This is a good way for a child to explore something they have an interest in whether it be a particular sport or a visual or performing art.  Lego camps have become very popular.  The key is that it is something that interests the child.  The child should be part of the decision making process when it comes to choosing a camp.

Day camps can provide a variety of activities too.  There are camps that give children sports, arts, games, and nature activities throughout the day.  These are great camps for children who have a wide field of interest.

Sleep Away Camps are great for older children.  Children who choose a sleep away camp should have experience staying overnight at the houses of friends or relatives.  The first experience should be for a short amount of time, whether it is a week or two.  You can increase the duration if your child has a positive experience.  I would not send a child who is under the age of 10.

All camps should have the following:
Experienced and qualified staff members
Clean and comfortable facilities
A planned schedule of activities
Staff certified in first aid and CPR

I highly recommend students attending camps.  It helps students grow, it leads to self confidence and self discovery, and it can be the source of wonderful memories.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

No Math For Me

It is often challenging for parents to get their children to practice academics over the summer.  The truth is, children forget about 50% of what they learned the previous year during summer vacation.  Teachers spend 4-6 weeks reviewing information that the students knew last year.  Seems like a faulty plan.  (That's why I am for year round school.)

So I have a new blog at, please take a look.  It is a fun way for elementary students to read and practice math a little bit.  I will add to the blog every day or two.  Students can send me their answers in the comment section.

I will include the name of the first responder with the correct answer in the next episode.  So send the blog to students, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and friends.  Let's see where the No Math For Me adventures take us!