Thursday, January 26, 2012

Summer Fish!

It's summertime in the city at Bubbles Academy today! Get rid of those winter blues with a fish made out of a paper plate. It's time to put on the sunglasses, grab your fishing pole, and let's catch a fish!


  • 1 paper plate
  • 1 pair of scissors
  • White glue
  • Washable paint (color of your choice!)
  • 1 sticker eye
  • Feathers
  • Any other decorations (such as sequins, tissue paper squares, and buttons)

  1. Cut a small triangle out of the side of the paper plate and glue to the opposite side of the paper plate for the fish tail. 
  2. Mix together washable paint and white glue. 
  3. Paint paper plate and stick on eye above fish mouth. 
  4. Decorate as you please- have fun!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Week FOUR: Recap!

We had a SUPER FOODS DAY today! Not only was one of our Taste Buddies wearing a Superman shirt and cape, but we ate lots of different super foods. We ate sweet potatoes, blueberries, avocados, and black beans. What a healthy day! With those SUPER ingredients, we whipped up some sweet potato chips, black bean burgers, and fruit kabobs. It was just, well, super!

Week FOUR: Sweet Potato Chips, Black Bean Burgers and Fruit Kabobs

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, scrubbed and sliced 1/8 inch thick
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt, preferably sea salt
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges, for serving
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F, with racks in center and lower positions.
  2. Divide sweet potatoes between 2 rimmed baking sheets. 
  3. Drizzle with oil, toss, and spread them in a single layer on sheets. 
  4. Bake, flipping once, until centers are soft and edges are crisp, 22 to 25 minutes.
  5. Sprinkle with salt, and serve with lime wedges.

  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 can black beans, well drained
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 slices bread, crumbled
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp seasoned salt
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Oil for frying
  1. Sauté the onions till soft, about 3-5 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, mash the beans until almost smooth. 
  3. Add sautéd onions and the rest of the ingredients, except the oil, adding the flour a few tablespoons at a time to combine well. 
  4. Mixture will be thick.
  5. Form bean mixture into patties, approximately ½ inch thick and fry patties in a small amount of oil until slightly firm. 
  6. Make veggie burgers and enjoy!
  • Cantaloupe
  • Blueberries
  1. Chop cantaloupe
  2. Skewer cantaloupe pieces and blueberries on a kabob stick.  Enjoy!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Sweet Clothes for Children of All Ages

"Where can I find affordable clothes for my child that are comfortable, display a vintage aesthetic and invoke nostalgia?"

Sometimes, it's the simple things that are really special, and I cannot get enough of these darling appliquéd tees by Mini Boden. Just looking at them brings me back to my childhood, with their bright, popping colors and fun animal, truck and spring flower themes!

They are available in sizes 18 months to 14 years, and range from $24 - $34. Their subtle reminder of simpler times and childhood bliss are sure to make them as hit with both mom and child!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Balloon Art

We made balloon art in class today! Inspired by Jackson Pollock, our class splatter-painted with balloons filled with rice and made beautiful art work! The rice also makes a fun sound when you shake the balloons. This is a great, easy art project you can do at home. Just make sure you have a messy mat, because the paint will splatter!

  • 3 colors of paint of your choice
  • 1 piece of construction paper 
  • 1 balloon
  • 1/2 cup of uncooked rice
  • Funnel
  1. Blow balloon up about a quarter full. 
  2. The balloon should not get full of air, or else it will pop. 
  3. Using a funnel, fill the balloon with rice and tie off the balloon. 
  4. Dip balloon in paint and have at it!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Week THREE: Recap!

Happy Wednesday! We celebrated this chilly day in Taste Buddies today with some tortilla soup, corn dog bread, and strawberry crêpes! I must say, the corn dog bread stole the show. There was absolutely none left by the end of class, and we even had some Taste Buddies asking if we could make more. Yummy!


I forget how easy and quick tortilla soup is to make- you can make this recipe in fifteen minutes! I think the secret to this recipe is the refried beans. They give the soup a thick consistency that is filling and delicious. What a great way to warm up from the cold!

This is such a fun recipe that kids absolutely love! We used corn bread mix from Whole Foods, and the Taste Buddies diced the hot dogs and shredded the cheese themselves. This can be a fun snack, or even a meal if you would like to add more hot dogs. Tasty!

This is such a simple recipe. I love Stonewall Crêpe Mix for crêpes. We pre-made the crêpes and had the Taste Buddies chop strawberries and make whipped cream. The whipped cream was definitely the most popular aspect of this dish!

Week THREE: Tortilla Soup, Corn Dog Bread and Strawberry Crêpes

  • 2 10-ounce cans of diced tomatoes and green chilies, undrained
  • 2 14-ounce cans of reduced sodium chicken broth
  • 1 16-ounce can refried beans
  • 1/2 cup frozen whole kernel corn
  • 2 cups shredded cooked chicken
  • Fried corn tortilla strips or chips
  • Shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  1. Combine undrained tomatoes and chicken broth in a medium saucepan. 
  2. Stir in beans and corn. 
  3. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for five minutes, stirring frequently. 
  4. Add chicken and heat through. 
  5. Serve topped with tortilla strips and cheese, if desired.

  • 1 package cornbread mix (including other ingredients on back of box)
  • 3 cooked hot dogs
  • 1 cup of shredded cheese
  1. Pre-mix cornbread mixture. 
  2. Dice hot dogs into small pieces and combine with mixture. 
  3. Add cheese. 
  4. Mix together and pour into muffin tin. 
  5. Bake according to cornbread package directions. Enjoy!

  • 1 quart heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup of powdered sugar
  • Crêpe mix (including ingredients on crepe mix container)
  • Strawberries
  1. Pour heavy whipping cream and powdered sugar into a bowl and mix with an electric mixer until frothy. 
  2. Place strawberries on top of crepes and dollop with whipped cream. Enjoy!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Musical Instruments

"Where can I buy instruments for my child like the ones you use in class?"
It's no secret that most moms love Target.  It is our go-to for everything from diapers to duds for your child to look snazzy in.  Once in a while, you can hit the jackpot in the dollar section too!  It is usually well-stocked with goodies around the holidays, and they are perfect for small Valentine gifts for your child's classmates, or to stuff goodie bags for birthday party favors.  I was particularly pleased this week to find musical instruments for toddlers, such as tambourines, triangles, maracas, castanets, recorders, and harmonicas.  Every child loves to make music!  Of course, for your child's safety always be sure that they are age-appropriate.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Floor Painting!

I had a really fun Art and Music class yesterday, and I would like to encourage everyone to try what we did in class at home. Rather than using tables, I decided to switch up some things and have my class paint on the floor. My intention was for the class to trace the outline of their legs on the floor, and then glue on shoes and other fun decorations. However, it turned into finger painting on the floor, and boy was it fun! Art can be done anywhere, so this week try and have your child finger paint on the floor. You can lay down some newspaper in the kitchen and put some construction paper out and let them have at it! It will be exciting for you and your child, and you can just toss or recycle the newspaper when you are finished. Floor is the new table. Have fun!

  • Newspaper
  • Construction paper
  • Paint
  1. Lay newspaper down on floor. 
  2. Put construction paper on top of newspaper for your child to paint on. 
  3. Pour paint in a bowl and have child paint the construction paper with their fingers. 
  4. Get messy! Have a great time!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

WEEK TWO: Recap!

We had a full house today in Taste Buddies! There were ten little chefs ready to tackle spinach manicotti, corn salad, and Oreo truffles. I knew it was a successful today because most of the Taste Buddies left wearing their food (especially the chocolate) on their faces! What a great, delicious day! 

This is a such a wonderful recipe for kids and adults. It tastes great, and it is really fun for kids to squeeze the cheese mixture out of the baggie onto the pasta. I could eat this every week! 

We had the Taste Buddies chop the corn off of the stalk, which I think is a really fun skill for them to learn. Their are so many great sensory foods in this salad, from the cilantro to the vinegar. This is a great recipe for your child to practice smelling and tasting! 

One of my favorites! I highly recommend this recipe. It is so easy and fun, and great for a party or special treat. Caution: these go very fast! There were none left at the end of class!

WEEK TWO: Spinach Manicotti, Corn Salad and Oreo Truffles

  • 1 10-ounce package frozen spinach, thawed completely & squeezed dry
  • 8 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 15 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 cup shredded Romano or Parmesan cheese
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 box (12 to 14 shells) manicotti noodles
  • 3 to 4 cups marinara sauce
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. In a large bowl, mix spinach, cheeses (reserving 1/2 cup of the Romano/Parmesan cheese), eggs, salt and pepper. Stir together until well-blended.
  3. Place about 1 1/2 cups of marinara sauce in a 9x13-inch pan. Spread it around to cover the bottom.
  4. Place the mixed filling into a plastic bag. You can use either a frosting piping bag or a gallon zip bag.
  5. Snip the corner, gather the top and squeeze the filling into the corner. Hold an uncooked manicotti shell in your hand and squeeze the filling inside the shell. 
  6. Let it overflow on both sides. Place the filled shell into the sauce-lined pan. Repeat with remaining manicotti and fill the pan with the stuffed shells, until you run out of shells and filling. You should be able to fill 12 to 14 shells- if you run out of room in your pan, use a separate smaller pan to accommodate the extra.
  7. Cover the pasta with marinara sauce, using about 2 1/2 cups of sauce. Sprinkle 1/2 cup Romano/Parmesan on top. At this point, you can cover with foil and refrigerate until you're ready to bake, or you can cover with foil and place it in the oven immediately.
  8. Cover with foil and bake for 50 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 10 minutes.

  • 5 ears corn on the cob, shucked
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, seeded & diced
  • 1/2 cup red onion, minced
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 medium jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup light mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup seasoned rice vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons granulated white sugar
  • 3 medium limes, zest and juice
  • Salt and freshly-ground black pepper
  1. Grill the corn dry with no oil until you begin to get some char marks on the corn. 
  2. Cut the kernels off of the corn after grilling and place them in a large bowl. 
  3. Add the bell pepper, onion, cilantro and jalapeno.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, lime zest and juice. Whisk to combine the dressing ingredients and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  5. Pour the dressing over the vegetables (you may wish to dress the salad lightly and not use all of the dressing, so add a little and then assess if it needs more) and toss gently.  Enjoy!

  • 1 package (8 oz.) Philadelphia cream cheese, softened
  • 1 package (16.6 oz.) Oreo cookies, finely crushed (about 4-1/4 cups), divided
  • 2 packages (8 squares each) baker's semi-sweet chocolate, melted
  1. Mix cream cheese and 3 cups cookie crumbs until well-blended.
  2. Shape into 48 1-inch balls. 
  3. Dip in melted chocolate; place on waxed paper-covered baking sheet. 
  4. Sprinkle with remaining cookie crumbs.
  5. Refrigerate 1 hour or until firm. Store in tightly-covered container in refrigerator.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Recalled Products?

"How can I find information about product recalls?"

Head on over to to find information on all product recalls nationwide to keep you and your family safe!  For example: 

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, Bugaboo Bee Strollers have been recalled due to “fall hazard”. Parents should stop using these immediately. The strollers were manufactured by Bugaboo Americas of El Segundo California. Four incidents have been cited where the strollers front wheels lock while in motion, causing the stroller to fall forward. The strollers in question were produced between July 2011 through September 2011 and are printed with the month abbreviated and year, e.g. “Jan.”  The strollers were also sold by: Toys R Us, Buy Buy Baby, and other baby product stores nationwide. Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled strollers and contact Bugaboo or the retailer where the stroller was purchased to receive free replacement swivel wheels.

Consumer Contact: For additional information, contact Bugaboo at or at (800) 460-2922 between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. PT Monday through Friday, or visit the firm’s website at .

Thursday, January 5, 2012


There's no business like snow business! This is a great winter project that  you can adapt to whatever materials you have in your house.  I suggest using real buttons for the snowman. You can also use fabric scraps for the snow instead of newspaper! Happy Winter!

  • 1 sheet of white construction paper
  • 5 buttons (3 for the tummy, 2 for eyes)
  • 1 orange peice of construction paper
  • 1 sheet of any color paper
  • Newspaper or fabric scraps (cut into small squares)
  • Glue/paintbrush

  1. Have your child paint one piece of any color construction paper with glue. 
  2. Glue on newspaper scraps. 
  3. Cut out three circles out of white construction paper and one carrot nose out of orange paper. 
  4. Assemble snowman on paper and glue buttons on top. 
  5. Sprinkle project with glitter and let dry. Have fun!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

WEEK ONE: Recap!

Happy New Years! Forget the black-eyed peas- we started off Taste Buddies with macaroni and cheese. We also made an apple salad and s'more pastries. It was a delicious way to celebrate the new year!

Mac and Cheese is one of my favorite things to  make with kids. It is super tasty and it is really fun to let them help you shred the cheese. If you would like to make smaller portions for your child, you can always have them scoop the mac and cheese into cupcake wrappers and bake the mac and cheese in a muffin tin.

I could not believe how much the Taste Buddies liked eating the bleu cheese in the salad! I was so impressed with how willing they were to try a new smelly cheese. Feel free to add a bit of red onion
to this salad as well. I suggest making a lot of the dressing and using it all week! It's one of my favorites!

We used real vanilla marshmallows in this recipe instead of marshmallow creme. I think this is a great recipe for a kids' party or a backyard camp out!  Enjoy!

Week ONE: Macaroni and Cheese with Bacon, Autumn Apple and Spinach Salad, and Peanut Butter S’more Turnovers


  • 12 ounces (1 package) center-cut bacon, chopped into 1-inch pieces
3 tablespoons butter

  • 1 pound pasta (elbows or shells), cooked until very al dente- still the slightest bit crunchy
  • 5 1/2 cups whole milk, heated until warm

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme

  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, or more to taste

  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

  • 12 ounces sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded & divided

  • 8 ounces herb & garlic flavored goat cheese, crumbled

  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
6 slices white bread, crusts removed, torn into pieces

  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.  Butter a 3-4 quart casserole dish.
  2. To prepare breadcrumbs: Place garlic and parsley in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade and pulse until they’re minced.  Add bread pieces and pulse until bread turns into crumbs and mixture is combined. Pour in butter and pulse until mixed in. Remove breadcrumbs to a bowl and set aside.
In a large skillet, sauté bacon until it is almost crisp. Remove bacon to paper towels to drain. Spoon out oil from pan, reserving about 1 Tablespoon of bacon drippings. 
  4. Add 3 Tablespoons butter to the bacon drippings and heat to medium. When butter sizzles, add flour and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. 
  5. Slowly pour hot milk into flour-butter mixture while whisking.
  6. Continue cooking, whisking constantly, until mixture bubbles up and becomes thick. 
  7. Remove pan from heat and stir in thyme, mustard powder, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper and nutmeg. 
  8. Stir in 3 cups cheddar and goat, and Parmesan cheeses.

  9. Stir cooked pasta and cooked bacon into the cheese sauce. 
  10. Pour mixture into prepared casserole dish. It will be very soupy.
  11. Sprinkle remaining cheddar onto the pasta. 
  12. Scatter herbed breadcrumbs over the top.
  13. Bake until browned on top, about 30 minutes. Check at 15 minutes to make sure the breadcrumbs aren't browning too quickly (if they are, just place a sheet of foil loosely over the top). 
  14. Transfer dish to a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes.  Enjoy!

  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice

  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

  • 2 teaspoons honey

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 1/2 cup thinly vertically sliced red onion

  • 8 cups bagged pre-washed baby spinach
  • 1 large firm, sweet-tart apple, cored & thinly sliced

  • 1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
  1. Combine juices and spices and stir well with a whisk.

  2. Combine onion, spinach and apple in a large bowl.
  3. Drizzle with dressing; toss gently to coat. 
  4. Sprinkle with cheese.


  • 1 box puff pastry (2 sheets), thawed

  • 3 whole graham crackers, gently broken into quarters
  • 9 small milk chocolate bars 
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

  • Small bowl of water
1 egg whisked with 1 tablespoon water to make egg wash
1/2 cup jarred marshmallow fluff)
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or spray with nonstick spray.
  2. Lay puff pastry on cutting board. Working with one sheet at a time, cut on three folds, creating 3 rectangles (about 3" x 10" each). 
  3. Cut each 3 x 10 rectangle in half. You'll have 6 pieces to work with for each sheet of pastry.
  4. Lay graham cracker on 1/2 of each square and top with chocolate that has been cut down to match the length of the graham cracker.
  5. Spread 1 tablespoon of peanut butter on top of each chocolate bar.

  6. Wet edges of pastry and fold in half to meet opposite edges. 
  7. Gently push edges together to stick; use fork to seal edges together and create ridged pattern. 
  8. Repeat with each turnover until all are sealed up. Gently move sealed turnovers to baking sheet with a small spatula.
  9. Brush turnovers lightly with egg wash, then use a sharp knife to cut two small slits into the top of each turnover.
  10. Bake 15 minutes, or until turnovers are puffed and golden. 
  11. Remove from oven. Let cool for 5 minutes. 
  12. Scoop marshmallow fluff into a zip bag (do not close).
  13. Microwave for 8 seconds to soften. 
  14. Zip bag and snip a small piece off of the corner of the bag. 
  15. Drizzle marshmallow onto the top of each turnover. Serve immediately!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

"What's Going on in There? How the Brain and Mind Develop in the First Five Years of Life" by Lise Eliot, Ph.D

Usually I pick a book of the week for the little ones, but this week I've had my head wrapped around our new "sports-themed" Creative Movement curriculum.  I've been spending time with my nose in some of my favorite "teacher resource" books.  So this week, I'm sharing my absolute favorite book that breaks down how our little bookworms grow: What's Going on in There? How the Brain and Mind Develop in the First Five Years of Life by Lise Eliot, Ph. D.  This book is a great tool, both for those experienced with early development and those who are new to the subject.  Dr. Lise Eliot could not be more perfect to write this book, since she is a mother of three AND and a neuroscientist.   While the book is detailed and scientific, I find Eliot's detailed explanations easy to follow and extremely helpful.  I highly recommend it for understanding what is happening in your little bookworm's head!  Happy learning!

Miss Becca is taking the week off, but Bubble Bookworm's Open Play Story Time will start again next week on Thursday at 4:00 PM!