Friday, June 25, 2010

Fun with Pen & Paper

You don't need a lot of fancy toys to have big fun. Here are three activities for you and your little ones and all you need is a crayon and a sheet of paper (or more for more fun!) These are also great if you have to take your kids to work and they need something to do!

Copy Cat - Give each person a sheet of paper and a crayon. The first person draws a shape. Everyone else then has to copy that shape on their own sheet. The next person adds to the drawing, everyone then copies that on their sheet. Continue until everyone has had a turn or keep going until everyone decides that the picture is complete. Notice how similar yet different everyone's picture is.

There once was a Girl... - Again give each person a sheet of paper and access to crayons. Everyone then has to draw the following sentence: There once was a girl, who lived in a house, under a tree, next to a river.  (You can say the whole sentence at once or one piece at a time). Again compare and contrast how different their girls, houses, trees, and rivers are.  You can try these other sentences:
There once was a boy wearing a hat who lived on a farm with lots of animals.
There once was a frog, who lived on a rock next to a lake with lots of birds.
There once was a puppy who was digging a hole next to some flowers in the backyard.
Or Make up your own!

Three Piece Suit - Give each person a piece of paper and a crayon. Fold the paper into three sections. On your piece of paper draw a head and shoulders in the top section making sure the shoulder lines go just slightly over the fold. Decorate it how ever you'd like 2 eyes, 1 eye, 6 eyes! no mouth, curly hair whatever you'd like. It could be a potato head, a lions head anything goes! When you're done fold your paper so that the next section shows but not the head. Switch with another person. Now everyone draws the torso of whatever character they'd like: it doesn't  have to be the same one you drew before, again anything goes. No arms, six arms, fur, a dress, a bow-tie. Again draw all the way to the hips making sure the lines go just slightly over the fold. Fold the page again and switch: now everyone draws legs and feet being as creative as they want.  When everyone is done unfold the pages and see what kind of Creations you've come up with!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

15 Minute Shrimp Scampi

Fifteen Minutes and 8 simple ingredients and have a delicious dinner!

What You Need:
Shrimp (peeled and deveined)
Chopped Broccoli
Instant Rice
2 Tbsp chopped garlic
Tbsp parsley
5 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup of Stock (seafood, chicken, or vegetable)

What To Do:
Saute shrimp in oil in a large skillet until pink. Remove shrimp from pan, reduce heat and add the garlic to pan.           While garlic is sauteing, cook instant rice according to directions.  Add stock to pan and allow to reduce by almost half. Melt the butter into the sauce and replace shrimp into pan. Rinse broccoli and add to pan while still damp. Sprinkle parsley and stir well.  Cover and heat through.

Serve over rice.

Variations: Use 1/4 cup white wine and 1/4 stock for a more "grown up" taste. Or toss with Angel hair pasta instead of rice.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Summer Fun!

Welcome Summer! Today is the first day of Summer and here are a few activities to welcome the sunshine and beat the heat!

Garden Hose Limbo: Create a straight stream by holding your thumb on the end of the garden hose, if you don't have a nozzle, and let kids limbo under it.

Sponge Race: Fill a kiddie pool (or other large bucket), set up small beach buckets  a few feet away. Using larger sponges have kids soak up water in the kiddie and race to fill up their beach bucket.

Water Balloon Race: Fill a beach bucket with water balloons and let kids race to see who can pop all their water balloons first. Add crazy rules like not being able to use your hands and watch kids stuff their shirts with balloons and roll on the floor!

Click here for more Summer Games

painting by: allisa rachelle

Rocket-ship Fruit Skewers

A summery fun way to get kids to eat (and play with) their fruit!

What You Need: Fruit any kind: Strawberries, Bananas, Watermelons, Cantaloupe, Honeydew, Peaches, Plums, Cherries, Pineapples.... really any kind; Skewers or Chopsticks if you have small children

What To Do: layout the fruit and let the children build a rocket ship, using a Banana or Strawberry tip as the nose of the rocket. 

Then Eat!

Friday, June 18, 2010

T-Shirt Pillow Keepsake

You've bought the cutest little baby shirt and your child has out grown it in a matter of weeks. You know she can't fit it but you can't bring yourself to throw it away. Make a keepsake pillow out of it. 

What You Need: 

an old T-shirt
a pillow or stuffing
a sewing machine
scissor or stitch remover

What To Do: Turn the shirt inside out, depending on the size of your shirt, either remove the sleeves completely or remove enough of it to make it even with the body of the shirt. Sew close the neck and arm holes. Turn the shirt right-side out again. Stuff with the pillow and sew the waist of the shirt closed.

No-Sew Version: Use fabric glue to seal the arm, neck and waist holes.

This also works for any shirt you may not want to throw/give away like those from senior year, family reunions, walk-a-thons etc.

Stuffed Peppers

A yummy dish that uses few ingredients and doesn't take too much time to create. And who doesn't love a dish where you can eat the bowl too!

What You Need:
Green Peppers
ground meat
white rice
mozzarella cheese
spaghetti sauce
garlic, thyme, basil, rosemary

What To Do: Cut tops off peppers and remove all seeds. Arrange peppers in a baking dish. and set aside. Cook white rice according to directions. In a bowl sprinkle ground meat with a tsp. each of garlic, thyme, basil, & rosemary and mix well. In a skillet cook meat through until brown. Once cooked put on paper towel to drain. Combine meat and rice in a large sauce pan and mix well add spaghetti sauce a little at a time until consistency meets your taste.  Fill peppers with the meat/rice filling and top with cheese.  Place in oven and bake until cheese melts.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Father's Day Pillow Craft

Make Dad this simple throw pillow. It's a great way to say Happy Father's Day and perfect for little hands to make.

What You Need:
two pieces of felt , Scissors, Fabric Glue, Cotton stuffing and any other ornaments and decorations you'd like - fabric glue, felt letters & Shapes, buttons etc.

What To Do:
Take a piece of felt and let your kids decorate it by drawing with fabric paints, attaching felt letters and personalizing for dad. Craft stores sell pre-cut felt letters and shapes, so you don't have to try and cut out a set of golf clubs to stick on your pillow.

Then using fabric glue, close up three sides of the pillow by gluing the edges of the front felt to the back piece. Once dry stuff with the cotton and seal the last edge closing the pillow.

For very small kids, you can dip their hands in fabric paint and press onto the felt to make a handprint pillow keepsake.

Another fathers day idea is the Change Dish that was posted for Mother's Day!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Shoebox Fishing Game

This is the companion game to the box top coin flip game. When made together you can store the pieces inside the box and have two games in one travel case.

What You Need:
Construction paper
Blue & Green Pipe cleaners, pom-poms, feathers
small magnet
paper clips

What to Do: Line the shoebox with blue construction paper. Glue or tape pipe cleaners, pom-poms, and feathers to act as ocean features.

Cut fish shapes out of a different color construction paper. Attach a paperclip to each fish lining it in up with the fish's mouth.

Make the fishing rod by tying a piece of yarn to the end of a chopstick. tape a small magnet to the end of the yarn.

How to play: Place the fish into the shoebox. Use the rod to try and catch the fish. two players can take turns seeing who can get all their color fish out of the box first.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Now on Facebook & Twitter!

The Mommy Mayhem Survival Guide is now on Facebook & Twitter! A new way to follow, keep up with new posts and make suggestions about topics, crafts, activities and recipes you'd like to see! We're also searchable on Google and Bing!

Twitter: MmyMyhmSrvlGd

Homemade Miniature Golf

What You Need:
metal curtain rod - separated to make 2 clubs
old socks
a high bounce ball/tennis ball/ or handball
a shoebox

What To Do:
Make the clubs by separating the curtain rod and covering the ends with newspaper. Pad it up good for safety and to give kids a large area to strike the ball with. Cover the newspaper with a pair of old socks - one on each end. This is also a good way to help distinguish clubs - your club has your socks on it.

Use the shoebox as the hole, but cutting an archway into one end, and you are ready to play.

Indoors you can use furniture, shoes, cups, broomsticks etc as obstacles. Outdoors grass and concrete can act as rough and fairway, trees, hula hoops, buckets, etc can be obstacles. Make your course as easy or as hard as you want. Just place the shoebox down, arrange obstacles and putt!

Chunky Chinese Chicken

This is a recipe that my Dad has been making for years and years. I loved it as a kid and now my kid loves it! It's really easy and only needs a few ingredients.

What You Need:
4 Chicken breast or boneless thighs- cut into large chunks
eggs - beaten
Hoisin sauce
three tsp (or packets) of soy sauce
powdered sugar

What To Do:
Bread the chicken by dipping in the egg and then dredging in the flour. In a large saute pan heat the oil and then cook the chicken until golden brown and cooked through. Remove chicken from pan and let drain. when the oil has cooled a bit you want to discard it and wipe the pan quickly with a paper towel. Over a low heat, add the soy sauce to the pan. Then add one heaping tablespoon of Hoisin Sauce and stir. Once combined, add a tablespoon of powdered sugar and mix well. Add the chicken back into the pan and stir until well coated. It won't look like enough sauce but keep mixing.

Serve with white rice and vegetables - broccoli, carrots or snow-pea pods work best.

Note: Hoisin sauce can be found near the Soy Sauce in most Supermarkets. And you can easily adjust the amount of each ingredient to suit your families taste!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Virtual Vacation: Destination Australia - Games & Activities

Down, Down, Down!

What you Need: a tennis or hand ball - that's it!

What To Do:
Bounce the ball between players, when a player misses the ball the other player says "Down on one Knee" - the player who missed must then continue to play but know from a kneeling position. If that player misses again then they go down on two knees, then one elbow, two elbows and finally the chin when they can no longer throw and catch the ball. The winning player is the one last one left when all other players are out - if playing with more than two players.

What Time is it Mr. Wolf?

This game is very similar to Mother May I? with a twist. One player is the wolf the others stand at a starting line. Players then ask "What Time is it Mr. Wolf?" the wolf will respond with "It's -O'clock" then players then take as many steps as hours the wolf says ie 10 o'clock is 10 steps and 7 o'clock is 7 steps. When the Wolf chooses he can respond with "Dinner Time!" at which the players must reach the start line before getting caught. The caught player becomes The wolf. Or if a player reaches the wolf before "dinner time" they can become the Wolf.

Virtual Vacation: Destination Australia -Crafts


A Didgeridoo is an Aboriginal instrument usually made the the hollow branches of a tree. Each maker has their own unique symbols, carvings and designs, making this the perfect craft to allow kids to express their own individual creativity.

What You Need:
1 wrapping paper tube, or a few paper towel or toilet paper tubes, tape, scissors, glue, plain white paper or kraft paper, crayons/markers

What To Do:
If using more than one tube then tape them together end to end to create one long tube. Cut the white paper or kraft paper so that it will wrap around the tube without any overlapping. Allow kids to decorate the paper in their own designs. Once done, glue the paper around the tube.

When it's dry children will have a one of a kind instrument. Blow into one end with clicks, moans, hums, and make your own Didgerdoo music.

No trip to Australia would be complete without a boomerang. Make your own in two easy steps

What You Need:
x-acto knife or box cutter

What To Do:
!!ADULTS!!! cut out a boomerang shape (a wide V) from the cardboard.

Let children decorate - for a true Australian feel dip paint with a chopstick or q-tip to get line, and dots.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Virtual Vacation: Destination Australia - Recipes

  • Breakfast - Toads in the Hole

  • What You Need:
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Thick beef or pork sausages
  • 3/4 cup Plain Flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 1 tablespoon rosemary

What to Do:
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cook sausages by roasting or sauteing until cook through and golden brown. Sift flour and salt into a bowl and make a well in the middle. In a separate bowl whisk the eggs, milk and rosemary together. Add to flour mixture and mix until batter is smooth. Place the sausages in roasting pan and carefully pour batter over them. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until puffed up and golden.

For a more kid-friendly version use two tablespoons of mashed plums instead of or in combination with the rosemary.

Lunch- Zuchinni Fritata

What You Need:

  • 6 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 green onion- chopped
  • bacon
  • 1 small zucchini - sliced thinly
  • 2 tablespoons self-raising flour
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 1/3 cup grated cheese
  • 8 cherry or grape tomatoes, halved

What To Do:

Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a baking pan with non-stick spray. Place the eggs in a large bowl and add the green onion, bacon strips, zucchini slices, flour, milk, salt, pepper and half the cheese. Stir well.Pour into the baking pan. Arrange tomato halves on top and sprinkle with the rest of the cheese. Cook for 20-25 minutes or until set and golden brown on top. Enjoy hot or cold.

Dinner - Lamb Chops with Mash Potatoes & peas

What You Need:
1- rack of lamb
olive oil


What To Do:
Cut the rack into lamb chops. Mix thyme, rosemary, and garlic in a few tablespoons of oil, rub over lamb and let marinate for at least fifteen minutes. Grill the chops or sauté them in a pan with a tablespoon of oil.

cut the potatoes in to chunks. boil potatoes and peas in a pot of water until the potatoes are soft. Drain, then add a splash of milk and a tablespoon of butter mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Drink - Cranberry Crush

What You Need:
Cranberry Juice
your favorite berries (strawberry, blueberry, raspberry,etc.)

What To Do:
Blend ingredients together and serve.

Virtual Vacation: Destination Australia - Folktale

The Origin of Narran Lake

Old Baiamee said to his two wives, Birranulu and Kunnanbeili, " I have stuck a white feather between the legs of a bee and i am going to follow it so that i may get some honey. While i go for the honey, go you two out and get frogs and yams, then meet me at Coorigil Springs where we will camp, for the water is sweet and clear there."
The wives took their net bags and yam sticks and went out as they were told. When they collected all the yams and frogs they could carry, they headed to Coorigil Springs. They were tired when they arrived and seeing the sweet, cool water they longed to swim. They built a small shade and there they left their net bags and yam sticks with the food they had found. When the camp was ready for the coming of Old Baiamee, Biranulu and Kunnanbeili removed their belts and placed them near the shade. Then went swimming in the Springs. And while they were enjoying the cool water they where swallowed whole by two Kurrias - crocodiles. After they ate the girls the dove under the water and into a narrow pass to the Narran River, they took all the water from the springs with them.
Old Baiamee still making his way to the bee's hive, followed the bee to a patch of Salt flowers where it hid. "Something terrible has happened to my wives, for the bee would not hide otherwise. I must make my way to Coorigil Springs." When he arrived he saw the shade his two wives had made along with the net bags and yam sticks, but he did not see the wives. He found their belts and called after them. When there was no answer he went to the edge of the spring and saw the tails of the Kurrias going through the narrow pass. "This is the work of the Kurrias, They have taken my wives through the narrow pass to the Narran River. Well do i know the the passage and will go there at once."
Arming himself with spears and woggaras, Old Baiamee made his pursuit. Soon he reached the deep hole that joined the Coorigil springs and the Narran River. There he saw the the hole was dry and decided to head to the river to get in front of the crocodiles. Swiftly Old Baiamee sped through short cut after short cut until at last he reached the end of the Narran. He hid behind a dheal tree and waited for the Kurrias to come into sight. As the kurrias came near they separated. Quickly Old Baiamee hurled spears one after another wounding both Kurrias. They wiggled and writhed in pain and lashed their tails about making great big hollows in the ground. The water that which was stopped up by the kurrias soon filled the hollows. Fearing they would get away he pulled them from the water by the spears and killed them with his woggaras.
Baiamee cut open the kurrias and removed his wives bodies, they were covered in slime and very still. He thought they were dead. Soon a swarm of ants came and removed the slime from their bodies. The sting of the ants woke the girls and they rose to their feet. Baiamee came to them and explained how he had saved them from the Kurrias. And warned them about swimming in holes where Kurrias hunt. The bade them look at the water now that killed the area. "Soon will the black swans find their way here, the pelicans and the ducks. where the dry land and stones once were, in the future there will be wanter and waterfowl. From now on, when the Narran River flows it will run into this hole and make a big lake in this place."
And what Baiamee said has come to pass as the Narran Lake proves, with its large sheet of water spreading for miles the home of thousands of wildfowl.

Virtual Vacation: Australia

Australia is the land down under. The only country that is also a continent has a rich, vibrant, history full of twists turns and intrigue. Take this virtual Vacation and learn all about Aboriginal cultural, it's original settlement by British criminals and the long influx of immigrants that make Australia one of the most diverse countries in the world. And multiculturalism isn't the only diversity in Australia, the land has everything from deserts to Rain Forests.

Come taste the fair, play the games and experience: AUSTRALIA!

Language & Culture
Music & Dance

Deciding on Discipline

One of the toughest jobs a parent has is as disciplinarian. It's easy to get swept up in emotion and add stressed, over worked, and over tired to the mix and you'll find yourself yelling and telling your kids to go to their rooms and not to come out 'til they're 30! Here are a few tips on how to deal with disciplining your kids.
This is not a referendum on spanking and having a discussion on how to discipline your child doesn't have to be a to spank or not to spank talk. What techniques you use, are up to you as parents. But the key to a good discipline is consistency.
  • First develop a punishment scale. Not every crime deserves the same punishment. So, don't give small missteps the same consequence as major ones. If you do, there is nothing to keep your child from acting out in a big way; and you'll forever need to think of bigger and badder punishments for them.
  • Avoid open-ended punishment. Make sure the consequence has an specific end time. Whether that's sitting in time out for 5 minutes or no TV for a week, having a set ending for punishments makes disciplining easier for you and the child. This helps keep infractions separate and you can be sure you are properly doling out punishment. It also keeps your child from feeling stuck in an endless cycle, where they need to be perfect. For example if you've taken away the TV for a week and your child misbehaves on the next to the last day, instead of adding another week of no TV, trying taking away phone or internet privileges. This way they feel the immediate sting of losing another privilege, in two days they get back the TV but still have to wait another 4 days for the phone.
  • Breathe. Take some time before doling out the sentence. In the heat of the moment we may not realize what is actually going on. Take a moment, you may remember that you took the frame off the shelf while cleaning and were distracted by a phone call when you told the kids to go play in the den -- Or that your son only hit his sister after being tormented about his new braces for an hour. Do the kids still need to be disciplined yes, but not to the same degree as if these acts were deliberate or unprovoked.
  • Reverse the Strategy. Reward the good behavior with lots of praise and attention. You don't have to bribe them or to shower them with expensive gifts for things like doing homework and cleaning their room. But noticing your kids when they do things right will help keep them from doing things wrong. Try things like letting a avid reader get an extra story at bedtime every day they have their homework done on time and their bed made, or let an outdoorsy kid get ten extra minutes of play just because she asked nicely and didn't whine.
  • Stick to it. Don't let your kids out of a punishment just because you're sick of them being in the house, or because you want to go out. This only teaches children that if they make a nuisance of themselves they'll never really have to finish out a sentence. Instead try a "work-release" program, where they can earn time off their punishment by exhibiting not just good behavior, but unselfish behavior. For example, for every hour they help clean the yard, sort recycling, etc., they get back an hour of playtime.
  • Don't make family time a punishment. As kids get older time with their friends becomes more and more important, but don't try not to force children to spend time with the family because they acted out in school. The last thing you want is for your kids to hate spending time with you as a family.
  • Be a Role Model! Modeling good behavior for your kids is prime. Treat them with respect and they will being to show respect to others, their friends and to you! Kids are smart and they pick up on things very quickly. Soon you will see a positive shift with less and less time and effort spent on correcting bad behavior.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

An Afternoon of Summer Fun

With five items that you can find in the dollar store and a hot summer afternoon you can have a world of fun! What you need: A hula hoop, a bouncy ball, a laundry basket, a pack of water balloons, and two beach buckets. Aside from the obvious games, here are a few other games you can play to entertain your little ones!

1) Snowcone Relay: Place the bouncy ball on top of one bucket, set up obstacles -like going around trees, down the kiddie slide, over the laundry basket, hoping through the hula hoop- and have kids take turns going through obstacles and pass the ball from bucket to bucket without using hands.

2)Laundry Basket Ball: toss, bounce, or roll the ball into the laundry basket using the buckets, and the hula hoop as obstacles to make it more difficult. Example, place the basket on its side and place the hula hoop a few feet away with the buckets upside down to form two towers half way between the hoop and the basket. Have your child stand in the hoop and roll the ball between the buckets and into the basket.

3) Target Practice: Place the hula hoop on the ground with a bucket in the center making a target. Standing a few feet away, toss filled water balloons at the target.

4) Dodge Balloons: Place the buckets a few feet away from each other with the laundry basket in the middle and put a bunch of filled water balloons in the laundry basket. Stand next to a bucket, on "Go" race to the basket and grab a balloon, race back to your bucket and toss the balloons into the other bucket, try blocking the other persons balloons from getting into your bucket.

More Water Games to Welcome Summer.

(Photo by Tom Anthony)