Tuesday, April 27, 2010

It's time for a Cinco de Mayo fiesta!

So it’s almost that festive time of the year: Cinco de Mayo is a Mexican victory festival observed by Mexican-American communities and primarily in Puebla, Mexico. This day celebrates patriotism, unity and Mexican heritage.

Why not have a little celebration with your kids, they will love it! Here are some of our family favorites!



• 2 ripe Haas avocados
• 1/2 bunch fresh cilantro,leaves chopped
• 1/4 medium red onion, diced
• 2 jalapeño peppers, stemmed, seeded and finely diced (optional)
• 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
• salt and pepper freshly ground, to taste


1. Cut the avocados into halves and remove the seeds. Peel the fruit and place in a mixing bowl.

2. Have kids mash avocados with a potato masher or fork until chunky. (Good luck stopping them from mashing into a thin paste!) They can add the remaining ingredients (after grown-ups have chopped the jalapeños) and mix with a fork

Photo credit above:american feast dot com

Celebrate Cinco de Mayo crudités

Celebrate Cinco de Mayo and get your kids to eat their veggies with healthy crudités in the colors of the Mexican bandera nacional, or national flag.


• Pea pods or green beans
• Jicama, cut into strips
• Red pepper
• Green pepper
• Orange pepper


1. Arrange pea pods, jicama sticks, and red pepper strips on a platter as shown, then center a green pepper ring and the bottom of an orange pepper on top.

2. Set out your snack with dips in the same festive colors: green guacamole, white ranch dressing, and red salsa.

above photo credit from: Family fun

In Seattle WA there is a wonderful bakery called Trophy's and in the past they created a cupcake in honor of the holiday it's the Margarita Cupcake, a Lime Cupcake made with lime zest, fresh lime juice and lime oil topped with tequila and lime Buttercream and finished with candied lime zest and salt.Yum! I wonder if Trophy ships to DC...

above photo credit from: trophy cupcakes

For your Cinco de Mayo celebration, why not make your own pinata to add to your festive decor? Making a pinata is a great craft to do with the whole family. With just a few simple supplies and a little imagination, you’ll have a beautiful pinata in no time. Hang it up in the backyard or the park for your Cinco de Mayo celebration. The kids will love it! Here’s how to make it:


2 cups flour
3 cups water
1 balloon
Newspaper, cut into long inch strips
Paint, crayons, or markers
Colored crepe paper


1. Blow up a large balloon and tie the end

2. Mix the flour and water together until it makes a smooth paste

3. Dip the newspaper strips into the flour and water mixture

4. Carefully place the strips on the balloon until it is covered, leaving a hole at the top

5. Set aside and let the balloon dry

6. After the it feels pretty dry, place another layer of newspaper dipped in the mixture over the balloon and let dry again

7. Put one more layer of paper on the balloon – be sure you still leave the hole at the top

8. Now the fun part- when it’s completely dry, pop and remove the balloon

9. Get your creativity going and paint your pinata with different designs and colors

10. Traditional pinatas are made in a pointed star shape and have colored crepe paper from the sides and bottom so feel free to add some colored crepe paper to your pinata.

11. Punch 2 small holes in the top near the opening and string a large piece of string through the two holes

12. Fill your pinata (through the hole you left at the top) with candy, toys, or any other fun surprises. In order to keep the prizes/candy inside from pooling in one area, also fill the pinata with leftover newspaper strips or crepe paper.

13. Your done! Now you need a good place to tie pinata and a stick and and a blindfold.

If you are an advanced pinata creator, use your imagination to create a fun design like a flower or an animal shape. Try using thick colored paper filled with scrunched up newspaper and glue or tape to add any details to your basic pinata structure.

idea and photo from:Purple trail

Cactus ring toss

How To Play The Game:

1. Player stands behind the starting line and gets 3 large rings.

2. Player throws the rings at the cactus and needs to hook one of the arms to win.

3. If the player is not successful they go to the back of the line and lets someone else have a turn.

4. Take a picture of your guests with the big cactus

above photo credit: ultimate party shop dot com

How do you celebrate? Any ideas we'd love you to share them with us.
It's time for a Cinco de Mayo fiesta!SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Spend Earth Day with your kids

photo credit: blog dot music notes dot com

Tomorrow is Earth Day --and it's the 40th Anniversary of the holiday. It's a great time to learn about our planet and how to take care of it! Here are a few great ways to share this day with your children.

Egg Carton Buggy Mobile
photo credit and idea: Amanda Formaro

This cute little egg carton buggy mobile is a time consuming project, but the results are well worth the time invested! You can shorten the time of this craft by making it a group project. Let each child make one bug to hang on the mobile and it’ll come together in no time.


• 18 place cardboard egg carton
• Scraps of colorful patterned papers (wallpaper samples, old greeting cards) or construction paper
• Acrylic paints: red, orange, brown, light blue, green, purple, yellow, white and pink
• Scissors
• 2 black skinny chenille stems
• 9 flat-backed heavy pebbles, marbles, or other object
• White yarn
• 2 heavy twigs or craft dowels
• 9 medium black pom poms
• 18 small wiggle eyes
• White craft glue
• Acrylic sealer spray
• Paintbrush
• Hot glue gun


1. Remove the lid of the cardboard egg carton and save for another project. Place bottom of egg carton upside down and paint two sections with each color noted above (i.e. 2 red, 2 orange, 2 brown, etc). Repeat for a second coat and let dry. Spray all painted cups with acrylic sealer spray.

2. Cut the egg carton sections apart. Trim around the sections so that all you have left are colored cups.

3. If using patterned paper, most likely the backside of the paper is blank. If this is the case, fold the patterned paper in half, pattern on the outside. Put a layer of glue in between and stick together. This will create a piece of patterned paper that is patterned on both sides. If using construction paper this step is not necessary.

4. Cut leaf-shaped wings from the paper.

5. Separate the colored egg cups so that you have two groups of nine cups, one of each color.

6. Turn one group of colored cups over, set the other group aside.

7. Squeeze some white glue into each of the cups that are turned upward. Place a flat-backed marble into each cup and allow time for the glue to dry. This will give each bug enough weight that they will hang nicely on your mobile and will cut down on the lines tangling together. It will also help the bugs to “look” downward so that they are seen from the ground.

8. Cut 9 pieces of yarn about 18” long each.

9. Onto each of the egg cup halves with the marble in them, glue a black pom pom to the closed (bottom) end. Now pair up your colored egg cups.

10. To assemble each bug body you will need a pair of the same colored egg cups, a set of paper wings, an 18” piece of yarn and your hot glue gun. Pipe a layer of hot glue onto the outer open edge of the egg cup with the marble in it, place the wings onto the glue, the yarn in the middle of the open cup at the top, and then the other egg cup goes on last. Repeat these steps for each bug.

11. Now that the bodies are assembled you can glue the wiggle eyes onto the black pom poms.

12. Cut the black chenille stems into 2” pieces. Bend the ends or twist them around a thin handled paintbrush. Put a dot of hot glue on the straight end and push into the top of the pom pom. Repeat for the other antenna.

13. Cut another piece of yarn about 12” in length. Crisscross the two dowels and wrap with yarn to secure, add a dot of glue to reinforce. Be sure there is enough yarn left over to tie a loop at the top to hang your mobile from.

14. Tie each bug onto the dowels, two on each ‘arm” and one in the middle. Stagger the lengths and tie in place. When you have them where you want them, trim the excess

Friendly Robots
Photo credit and idea: family fun

These friendly robots are more than just good-looking; magnets hold their features in place, making the 'bots the metallic equivalent of a Mr. Potato Head.

• Tin can
• Electrical tape (optional)
• Hardware, and various recyclables such as bottle caps, keys, etc.
• Hot-glue gun
• Strong disk magnets


1. Open a tin can with a safety can opener so there are no sharp edges. (If you only have a regular opener, line the inside of the can's rim with electrical tape.)
2. Empty, wash, and dry the can.

3. For facial features, arms, propulsion devices, and communication arrays, look for items around the house and at the hardware store. We used bolts, brackets, hinges, keys, wing nuts, switches, bottle caps, washers, knobs, and more.

4. Hot-glue the items to strong disk magnets.

Magazine Holder
photo credit and idea: Amanda Formaro

Don't throw away your kids' old cereal boxes! Turn them into attractive magazine holders with this handy Earth Day craft.

• Empty cereal box
• Scissors
• White acrylic paint or spray paint
• Light green and dark green acrylic paint
• Sponge or leaf shaped foam stamp
• Thin paint brush
• Sand paper or gesso/craft medium (we used Liquitex Basics Gesso)


1. Cut off top of cereal box. Halfway across top of box, cut at a 45 degree angle down to front of your magazine holder, cut straight across then back up other side at the same angle.

2. Lightly sandpaper outside of cereal box. (They are usually shiny, coated paper.) Alternatively you can paint a layer of gesso all over the box. Either one of these methods will help the paint adhere to the box.

3. Spray paint the box white, or paint on with inexpensive sponge brush. Let dry.

4. Cut out leaf shape from sponge or use a leaf shaped foam stamp.

5. Pour out small amount of green paints.

6. Use thin paint brush to add a swirled line all over the box, this is the vine.

7. Sponge paint (or use foam stamp) green leaves on front of box leading to sides of box. First the darker, for background leaves, then lighter for foreground leaves.

8. If painting more than one box, try to connect vines on each box so when set together they will match.

Mom’s Memo Board
Photo credit and idea: family fun

Get the message across with a repurposed cookie sheet.

• Non-aluminum cookie sheet
• Ruler
• Scissors
• Self-adhesive shelf liner
• Scrap of wood
• Hammer
• Large nail
• Empty can
• Glue (we used Crafter's Pick The Ultimate)
• Supermagnets
• Bottle caps
• Card stock
• Markers


1. Measure the back of your cookie sheet and cut a piece of shelf liner that's an inch wider and an inch taller. Stick the shelf liner to the back of the cookie sheet by peeling off one corner of the liner and laying it down on a corner of the cookie sheet. Slowly pull the backing away as you smooth the liner onto the sheet. Cut off the excess shelf liner.

2. To make a hole for hanging, place the cookie sheet over a piece of scrap wood and use a hammer to punch a nail through the center of the rim.

3. For the pencil holder, cut a piece of shelf liner that's about an inch taller than the can. Wrap the liner around the can so that the ends overlap a bit, then cut off the excess liner. Glue two magnets to the side of the can.

4. For the bottle-cap magnets, glue a magnet inside of each cap. Cut a piece of card stock to fit the cap, write a name on it, and glue it on top of the magnet.

Cooking with kids for earthday:

Photo credit and recipe: family fun
Earth Day Snack Bars

Chocolate: Africa's Ivory Coast is the largest producer of cocoa beans, the ingredient that gives chocolate its unique, irresistible flavor.

Coconut: The Philippines and Indonesia are the world's leading producers of copra, or coconut meat.


• 1 1/2 cups baking mix (we used Bisquick)
• 1 1/2 cups instant oats
• 1 cup packed brown sugar
• 1/2 cup softened butter
• 1 egg
• 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
• Coconut flakes
• Chocolate chips
• Chopped dried pineapple
• Raisins
• Chopped Brazil nuts


1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, combine the baking mix, oats, brown sugar, butter, egg, and cinnamon.

2. Stir the mix with a wooden spoon until you have a crumbly dough. Next, customize your international treats by folding in 1 cup total of the add-ins of your choice.

3. Press the dough into an ungreased 9- by 13-inch pan and bake for 17 minutes or until the center is set and the bars are slightly brown. Allow them to cool for 10 minutes before cutting. Makes 1-1/2 dozen 2- by 3-inch bars

Remember getting kids into the garden is a great way to introduce them to green living!

A fun thing to do on Earth Day is to go see Disney’s new Movie “Oceans!”

Disney's Oceans - opening Earth Day 2010

How are you going to spend your Earth Day?
Spend Earth Day with your kidsSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend