Thursday, February 26, 2009

15 Minutes : Play It : Repeat After Me

I've found that my little almost two year old is quite the copy cat right now so I like this game idea from Family Fun, especially since it gives us a chance to work on our "quiet" voices. Use a microphone or spoons to create a variety of sounds and noises.

1. Make a sequence of easy-to-say sounds -- boom, boom, bop, bam -- and encourage your toddler to repeat it. For added fun, hold toy microphones (or stand-ins, such as spoons) as you play, or pass one back and forth
2. Try various patterns of loud and soft sounds (most of the toddlers we know could use a little extra practice with their quiet voice).
3. Now try it with noises you can easily act out. For instance, make a long sound that swoops from high to low while you simultaneously bend your body down to the ground.
4. Put down your mic, then clap your hands and stomp your feet in a pattern, and see if your child can imitate it.


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

15 Minutes : Know It : Recycle

Last year we signed up for the recycling program in our area. I've loved teaching my kids to read the labels of our plastic containers to find out if they're the right number for recycling. I've also loved helping them sort through their papers, cereal boxes, cans, etc. to see what can go in our recycle bin. We all know how important it is to start going green. Check out your local waste management to see what kind of recycling programs are in your area.


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

1 Hour : Make It : Pizza

Making pizza on the weekend has been a tradition in our family for awhile now. Although we have our favorite kind it's fun to try new creations with different toppings. Making pizza's a fun family activity because there can be lots of involvement (making dough, rolling dough out, toppings) and there really is no messing one up. I think it would be fun to make small individual pizzas so each family member can create the pizza of their choice.

Here is a no fail pizza recipe. This is the one we use.

1 yeast packet (about 2 1/4 tsp)
1/2 cup warm water
1/8 tsp sugar
3 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt

Mix all ingredients and mix on medium power for 4 min. Let set for 1 minute and then beat again for 2 more minutes. Keep covered and let rise for 1 1/2 hours or until double in bulk.

Make at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes

image via Martha Stewart Kids magazine winter 2004


Monday, February 23, 2009

15 Minutes : Know It : Car Lessons

I read this idea in my FamilyFun magazine: Tape a "lesson" to the back of the front seat (ie. so the kids can see it). The picture in the magazine had a money sheet listing coins and what they were worth. I could adapt this idea to put up words we're working on, math problems, or shapes and colors. I would even try putting up copies of my favorite art pieces. Something to look at, something to think about, a little change from the "Alphabet game".


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

15 Minutes : Play It : Alphabet Cards

My daughter and I are loving playing with her new alphabet card set from eeBoo. We've used them for flashcards, memory, rummy, and even old maid. Click here to get your own set.


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

15 Minutes : Make It : Musical Instruments

image via Martha Stewar Kids magazine 2004

You'd be surprised what kind of great music can be created with things around the house. Making simple homemade instruments can be inexpensive and fun. Teach your children about rhythm and steady beats. Let them explore the music inside of them!

Here are some ideas of instruments that can come from your junk drawers and pantries at home:

Tambourine (pictured above): plated, beans or rice, tape
mini guitar: match box & rubber bands

kazoo: tissue paper, rubber bands , paper towel tube - poke hole near top

drums: any can

banjo: shoe box - cut out hole, rubber bands


Monday, February 16, 2009

15 Minutes : Make It : Valentine's Day Coloring

image via

My kids aren't quite finished with Valentine's Day, so today we're coloring loving pictures from Jan Brett.


Saturday, February 14, 2009

15 Minutes : Read It : I Will Kiss You

image via
I Will Kiss You (Lots & Lots & Lots) is a charming, funny love message from a mother to her child. The pictures are darling, and my kids love the sweet silliness: "I will kiss you when you play your drum, while you're chewing bubblegum." Excellent for bedtime or cuddle-time.


Friday, February 13, 2009

15 Minutes : Make It : Pretty Valentines

image via The Crafty Crow
Need pretty valentines? I thought this one was a lovely choice for teachers, grandparents, or anyone your little one loves. Here is a whole page, including the pink one above, of blue and pink mini-cards and gift tags.


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

1 Hour : Make It : Tweet Valentines

image via
I just printed out these darling bird cards for my kindergartener to use for her class valentines. Besides the novelty of being "handmade", these cards will also give her practice cutting and writing. Her teacher can thank me later.


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

1 Hour : Make It : Valentine's Breakfast

image via nordic treasure tours

As a kid my favorite memories of Valentine's day are of the breakfast my mom would cook up every year. Although the menu has changed, I still try to make Valentine's morning special for my kids and it just might be working . . . they've been asking me for weeks when we get to have breakfast with balloons.

We hope your Valentine celebrations are fun and festive. Let us know what your favorite traditions are! Check below for some of our favorite ideas.

The table: I try and create as much of a valentine theme as possible. Some years that means cute paper plates and other years it's my favorite pink and cream dishes. I'm also a sucker for M&Ms themed candies so they usually decorate the table too.

The presents: In elementary school my dad started giving his girls valentine presents (still does) and they were usually wrapped at our place setting in the morning. It always made me feel so special and loved and I wanted to carry it on for all my kids. They each find a little pink and red wrapped something waiting for them at the table.

The decor: Balloons are an absolute necessity at our home for Valentine's day. I usually sneak out the night before and get enough helium balloons to tie to the back of each chair.

The food: The valentine breakfast all started when my mom found a recipe for Cherry Coffee Cake and we never let her forget it, even to this day. Since I was the only one in my little family who could stomach that much sugar of a morning (and I hate eating a whole cake) we have varied our menu from year to year. The only stipulation is that it must have some resembles to the color or theme of the holiday.

This year we'll include:
Pink yogurt smoothies
Heart Whole Wheat Waffles (recipe below)
Strawberry syrup and whipped cream (because my kids requested it)
Bacon (because my oldest considers it to be in the "pink" family)
And possibly hard boiled eggs in my Danish egg cups (because they're cute)

Whole Wheat Blender Waffles

In Blender:
1 C whole wheat kernels (not flour)
1 C milk

Blend on high for 3 min

1/2 C milk

Blend for 2 min

1 egg
½ C oil
2 tsp sugar
¾ tsp salt
3 tsp baking powder

Blend till smooth and bake!


15 minutes : Play It : Valentines Traditions

image source

What does your family do to celebrate Valentines? Traditions are very important in bringing families closer.
Here's a cute one. And it's not too late to start.

Place a box of chocolate out where everyone can see along with a pen and strips on paper next to it. As you take a chocolate you have to write one "love note" to a family member and place it in the box. You can't read the notes until Valentine....something that would be so fun to do around the dinner table.


idea via


Monday, February 9, 2009

15 Minutes : Make It : The Write Card

We're making handmade valentine's for the kids' classes this year. I like this idea from FamilyFun. Especially since it doesn't involve more candy.


Thursday, February 5, 2009

RedRoko's Etsy Store

We're still working out some of the bugs (e.g. the banner), but want to invite all our friends to our new Etsy store.

Available for purchase is the Valentine's Day kit from our recent giveaway. And keep checking...we have big plans for more products you can enjoy with your children.


Wednesday, February 4, 2009

15 Minute : Know It : Necco Sweathearts

image via

Valentine's Day is right around the corner which means the consumption of little NECCO Sweethearts is rising quickly. Did you know every year NECCO introduces 10 new Sweethearts phrases that relate to current American trends and culture?

Check out NECCO's website for all kinds of fun facts and activities to do with your kids. There's everything from virtual plant tours, recipes, fun trivia and even games.

Perhaps knowing a little more about these popular candies will making the experience of eating them just a little bit sweeter.


Monday, February 2, 2009

Valentine's Giveaway Winner

Congratulations to the winner of this month's giveaway...Caroline Andersen.
Be sure to check RedRoko daily to try for other giveaways, and for great activities you can do with your kids.