The Chirping Moms

December 18, 2014

A New Educational Math App for Kids: Mickey's Magical Math World

Winter break is almost here!  With a couple weeks of vacation, I have been thinking of several fun activities for the family.  But all that time off also means lots of downtime and time spent at home.  For these quieter moments at home, one of our favorite toys to use with the boys is the iPad.  It not only keeps them entertained, but I love that most of the apps that we have downloaded are fun & educational.  We haven't downloaded new apps since summertime, so I am on the search for a few new & engaging iPad apps for my kids this winter.  This past week, we downloaded the Disney Imagicademy app: Mickey's Magical Math World to use with my four year old son, Andrew. 

Mickey's Magical Math World is the first app created by Disney Imagicademy.  This new learning brand, Disney Imagicademy, is created for families with children ages 3-8.  Disney Imagicademy apps are created to engage and enrich children through the power of imagination and creativity.  In Mickey's Magical Math World, children are invited to join Mickey and his pals on a magical space adventure that explores early number concepts.  On the home screen, children can choose to play with one of several favorite Mickey Mouse characters, including Donald, Goofy, & Daffy.  Each character has a different math skill that it is focused on: sorting, adding & subtracting, problem solving, counting, and shapes.  
  

Immediately, my space-loving son picked his first adventure to be with Mickey & the spaceship.  With Mickey, Andrew got to build his own little rocket as the app challenged him recognizing and identifying shape.  After building his rocket, he was off on a space adventure where he was asked to recognize numbers and colors on a spaceship adventure.


Another one of Andrew's favorite activities was the Donald's Alien number line.  Donald was asleep & in order to wake him up, Andrew practiced counting on a number line and waking him up with alien creatures jumping on top of Donald.  Andrew would laugh and laugh every time Donald was woken up.


Some of other favorite games in Mickey's Magical Math World include:  creating a rocket ship, recycling garbage with Goofy, & getting aliens to bed.  All activities, again, work on early number concepts such as: problem solving, patterns, & shape skills.  

Disney not only has created this fun app for kids, but also has created an iPad app designed just for parents, the Disney Imagicademy: Parents app.  
This app is an all-new free app that can be downloaded now.  In this Disney Imagicademy app, you can monitor your child's progress in Mickey's Magical Math World where parents can see their child's creations & share their accomplishments with family and friends.  I also love how you can encourage your kids with a virtual "high five".  Not only does the app monitor your child's progress, but it is a great parent resource that shares articles, Imagicademy-inspired activities, & information that will challenge you to engage with your child in a meaningful way.  This is my favorite part of the app where I can quickly grab simple activities, such as Tigger's Shooting Star Ornament, to do with them & read short articles about parenting.  

Both of these apps are available FREE in the iTunes store.  Click the following links to download the apps:  Mickey's Magical Math World and  the Disney Imagicademy: Parents app.   The MIckey's Magical Math World is ONLY compatible with iPad (2nd generation or higher).  The Disney Imagicademy: Parents is compatible with both iPhone and iPad.  I highly recommend these apps, especially for a child who is just learning early number concepts, as a great resource & fun game to have available to your child.

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I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

3 Ways to Use a Mason Jar This Christmas

Christmas is less than a week away! Today we're sharing 3 very easy holiday crafts to do with a mason jar. There's one idea for decor, one to use as a gift and one for the kids. Enjoy!

1. Simple Centerpiece
Supplies: mason jar, Christmas tree branches and ribbon, twine or burlap
Directions: Cut some branches off your Christmas tree. Then, simply tie some ribbon, twine or burlap around the mason jar and use it as a vase for the tree branches
Optional: Spray paint the mason jar gold, silver or red first 
2. Holiday Hostess Gift 
Supplies: mason jar, dish towel, holiday colored kitchen utensils (I used spatulas), ribbon and small card
Directions: Tie ribbon around the mason jar and attach the small card. Fill the jar with the utensils and dish towel. This is an especially fun gift if you're going to a holiday cookie party! 
Optional: Spray paint the mason jar gold, silver or red first

3. Snowman Milk Glass 
Supplies: mason jar, pom poms, orange paper or permanent marker, 
Directions: Cut a "carrot nose" out of orange paper or draw a nose on the glass with the marker. Glue the pom poms and nose on the glass to make a snowman face. Fill with milk and enjoy!
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December 17, 2014

5 No-Bake Holiday Desserts


I'm not a great baker.  I attempt now and then because Maggie and Alex enjoy it so much, but even my slice and bake cookies usually don't taste so hot. If I've baked you a dessert and it was good, it was probably Betty Crocker's fudge brownies from the box (that's my specialty). When holidays roll around, I like to try and come up with fun desserts that require as little actual baking as possible. Here's 5 desserts that we've enjoyed that require no baking: 
1. Frosty the Donut  
Supplies: white powdered donuts, black cake decorating gel, orange jelly beans or small orange candy 
Directions: Use the black decorating gel to makes the snowman's eyes and mouth. Stick the jelly bean or orange candy in the center of the donut. 


2. Santa Cone
Supplies: vanilla ice cream, chopped strawberries, whip cream, chocolate chips and an ice cream cone
Directions: Fill a bowl with vanilla ice cream. Place the cone on top to make Santa's hat. Use the rest of the supplies to make Santa's face and decorate the hat.


3. Decorate A Christmas Tree Cone 
Supplies: Ice cream cone, frosting (dyed green or buy it green), small candies & sprinkles to decorate
Directions: Cover the ice cream cone in frosting and then let the kids decorate the Christmas tree with candy.



4. Christmas Spirit Ice Cream Sundaes
Supplies: Carvel's  Peppermint ice cream & green sprinkles. To make it even more festive, we added some cute Elf on the Shelf candies (ordered from Amazon). Carvel's new winter flavor, Peppermint, features Andes Mints and it's delicious! 


5. Carvel's Snowman Cake: This is the easiest, festive dessert around! Everyone loves ice cream cake and Carvel has a line of really cute holiday cakes. We chose a snowman for our most recent Christmas party and it was a big hit.  

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#GiveHappy and Shop OshKosh B'Gosh this Holiday Season!


Disclosure:  I participated in a Blog Blast Activation on behalf of Influence Central for OshKosh B’gosh. I received an OshKosh B’gosh gift card to thank me for my participation.


Make sure to check out OshKosh B'gosh this holiday season!  There are fun finds for children, sizes 0-12.  Right now, you can use this coupon to receive 25% off your purchase of $30 or more.  You can shop in store or online.  Click here to find your nearest local store or use online promo code: GIVE25 to shop online.


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December 16, 2014

Four Fun Craft Projects for the Holidays

The holidays are here and it's time for some festive ideas for easy craft projects. I love decorating my house for Christmas and doing crafts with the kids. This year, with a brand new baby, my time for crafts and decorating has been very limited. I ended up ordering a few Christmas decorations from Land of Nod. We used a some of the things we got to make festive craft projects.  
I used a set of red & white paper straws from The Land of Nod to make:
1. Paper Straw Garland
Here's a fun one that the kids can help with! 

Supplies: Red yard, paper straws, green loop cereal (we used Apple Jacks) and a small piece of tape. 

Directions: Cut the paper straws into pieces that are about 1 to 2 inches long. Cut the yarn to the length garland you'd like. Wrap the small piece of tape around one end of the yarn to help you thread the garland. Then, string the pieces of paper straws and the green cereal in a pattern you like. Last, hang on the tree and admire you're work!

2. Reindeer Milk Bottles 
These are perfect for a Christmas party or for leaving Santa his milk & cookies! 

Supplies: glass or plastic milk bottle, brown pipe cleaners, google eyes, red pom poms, red and white paper straws and glue

Directions: Glue the google eyes and red pom pom onto the milk bottle to make a face. Cut a brown pipe cleaner in half. Then cut about an inch off each half. Use the small piece to twist around the top of the large piece to create an antler. Glue the 2 antlers to the bottle. I used hot glue for this project, but if you want to let the kids help, use craft glue instead. Fill the finished reindeer bottle with chocolate milk and your reindeer is complete!
3. DIY Personalized Stockings

Supplies: Stockings, felt, scissors, fabric tape or masking tape 
I used the Urban Pine Stocking from The Land of Nod.
Directions: Cut the letters out of felt and use rolled pieces of masking tape or fabric tape to stick the letters to the stockings. A tip for cutting out the letters: print out the letter you need in block font. You can make the letter as large as you want before printing. Drawing letters and cutting are not my strong point, so I asked a friend to help! 
This is the fastest, easiest way I know to make personalized stockings! If you have time and like to hand sew, you could stitch the felt letters onto the stocking instead. This will ensure they last from year to year. 
4. "Deck the Halls" Instagram Banner 
I've been trying to think of something to do with all of my 2014 Instagram photos. I came up with a "deck the halls" banner for our hallway with some of our favorite photos. I used a set of gold letters from The Land of Nod. To make it really come together, I added some star ornaments, also from Land of Nod. The gold and glitter really light up our hall!

Supplies: Land of Nod Mini Garland set (or twine and cut out own gold letters), star ornaments, gold card stock paper, square photos printed from Instagram and tape  

Directions: Cut squares out of the gold paper, slightly larger than your square photos. Tape the photos to the gold paper. Cut or punch holes in the top of each gold paper square. Thread the photos, gold letters and stars onto the string. Hang and enjoy seeing your favorite moments of 2014! 

Happy holiday crafting! 
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Cranberry Bread Pudding

The holiday season is upon us & I have the perfect holiday recipe to share with you.  When I think about the holidays, I think about a special holiday breakfast or a sweet, warm dessert to share with my family and friends.  I decided to test out a new recipe & have created Cranberry Bread Pudding.  With the holidays upon us, it's hard to turn down all the sweet treats that are offered to you at parties and gatherings.  But I do know that I can modify my own recipes to limit my sugar intake while baking at home, but still enjoy the sweetness of the holidays.  For this recipe, I decided to replace the white sugar with the Splenda Sugar Blend and the brown sugar for the Splenda Brown Sugar Blend.  This recipe would make a great dessert or a special holiday brunch dish.
Cranberry Bread Pudding : The Chirping Moms

Cranberry Bread Pudding

Ingredients:
Bread Pudding
  • 14 slices of day-old stale bread, crusts removed & cubed (I used regular white bread, but next time I would like to try a crustier bread, such as french bread!)
  • 1 cup cranberries
  • 1/2 tsp. orange peel
  • 6 eggs
  • 4 c. milk
  • 1/2 c. Splenda Sugar Blend
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2-1 cup of walnuts (optional)
Vanilla Sauce
  • 1/4 c. Splenda Brown Sugar Blend
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1 pinch of cinnamon
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 tbsp. of butter, melted
  • 1 1/4 cup of whole milk
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
Directions for Bread Pudding:
1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2.  In a greased 13 x 9 pan, layer the bread cubes, cranberries, & orange peel.
3.  Beat the eggs, milk, Splenda Sugar Blend, vanilla, & cinnamon together.
4.  Pour over the bread cubes & cranberries.
5.  Bake in oven for 60-75 minutes. 
6.  Let set & cool out of oven. 

Directions for Vanilla Sauce:
1.  Mix the Splenda Brown Sugar Blend, flour, cinnamon, & salt in a bowl.
2.  Beat eggs, melted butter, & milk in a separate bowl.
3.  Stir together in a saucepan & cook over medium heat for 5-10 minutes.
4.  Pull off heat and add the vanilla.
5.  Pour over the bread pudding.

The bread pudding can be served warm or cold. 

Cranberry Bread Pudding : The Chirping Moms

When you are baking this holiday season, make sure to check out the Splenda Brand products that are available, including the ones mentioned in the recipe above. We are teaming up with Splenda to join the Splenda 365 SWEET SWAPS Initiative.  The average American consumes more than 22 teaspoons of added sugar a day.  That's more than TRIPLE the recommended amount for women & more than double the recommended amount for men.      The Splenda 365 SWEET SWAPS Initiative promotes  replacing added dietary sugar with Splenda Sweetener Products and making small, easy lifestyle changes that can lead to big results over time.  You can visit www.365SweetSwaps.com or www.Splenda.com for tips and recipes to help you save calories from added sugar all year long.  You can also submit your own recipe recipes through the Splenda 365 Sweet Swaps Tumblr sit via the following submission page: www.365SweetSwaps.com/submit.


Cranberry Bread Pudding : The Chirping Moms

We hope you enjoy our cranberry bread pudding recipe.  
And here's to sweet treats, but healthier choices, this holiday season!
 
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Disclosure: This post is part of the SPLENDA® 365 SWEET SWAPS TM Blogger Program by McNeil Nutritionals, LLC and The Motherhood, who sent me products and compensated me for my time. Opinions, experiences and photos shared here are my own, and I hope you enjoy them. 

December 15, 2014

Dressing Siblings for the Holidays {& Mini Boden Giveaway}

From Christmas cards to holiday parties, it's fun to have a few cute coordinating outfits for siblings. They don't all have to have the exact same thing on, but coordinating styles and colors make for great, festive photos. While you might want them to coordinate, you'll probably have a better chance for smiles in the photos if they are comfortable too. Our favorite place for coordinating holiday styles for siblings: Mini Boden. What's great about Boden is each seasons' line has clothes for both boys and girls  and sizes from newborn through 12. Each season, the line has a certain theme, with certain colors, so it's easy to order items that coordinate. Last night Boden kicked off their huge winter sale, and items are marked as low as 50% off. It's a great time to shop their site. 
This winter, I decided to go with coordinating coats and hats from Mini Boden for my crew. I loved the bright colored coats for girls this season and thought the Fair Isle hats for all three would be adorable. These coats and hats made for a great Christmas card this year! 
Here's a note from Julie about her picks: 
I loved this adorable jumper.  The polka dot pattern & deer appliqué are so cute!  I love the Boden dresses & jumpers because you can get more than one year out of it & look forward to using it next year as well.  The sweater comes in the Fair Isle pattern that I am loving right now and is adorable on Abby.  It looks so cute with the jumper.
Andrew:
The polo shirts from Boden are perfect for my rough and tumble boys because they can be used for everyday play, as well as times that they need to get dressier.  I love the selection of bright, fun colors.  I chose the lined knee patch pants based on their high ratings & LOVE them.  They are super durable and are built to last.
Aiden:
I think I may have passed my love for hoodies down to my boys & this colourblock hoodie is comfortable, yet stylish.  I love the fun, bright colors in the sweatshirt.  Aiden loves soft & comfortable pants, so when I saw the track pants, I knew that he would love these.  They are super comfortable and fit great!

Now for the giveaway: 
We are excited to announce that we're sending one lucky winner a $100 Boden gift card. To enter, simply visit the Boden Sale and comment with some of your favorite picks from the sale! 
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