Alpha Mom » Wendy Copley http://alphamom.com parenting and pregnancy opinions and information Wed, 24 Jun 2015 18:32:39 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.5 Shortcut Peaches & Cream Donuts http://alphamom.com/family-fun/holidays/peaches-cream-donuts/ http://alphamom.com/family-fun/holidays/peaches-cream-donuts/#comments Thu, 04 Jun 2015 14:37:04 +0000 http://alphamom.com/?p=37278

The first Friday of June is National Donut Day and my family will be celebrating with these over-the-top peaches and cream donuts! Filled with juicy fruit slices and soft whipped cream, they are incredibly tasty and super easy-to-make when you follow our shortcut. And hey — the peaches make them healthy, right?

Peaches and Cream Donuts Recipe by Wendy Copley for Alphamom.com

 

To make four donuts you will need:

  • 3-4 medium peaches or nectarines
  • 8 oz. heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 glazed donuts (this is the shortcut!)

Peaches and Cream Donuts Recipe by Wendy Copley for Alphamom.com

Peaches and Cream Donuts Recipe by Wendy Copley for Alphamom.com

Start off by whipping the cream. Pour the cream and the vanilla into the bowl of a stand mixer and beat on medium high until the cream is the consistency you like. I personally prefer my whipped cream to be a little stiffer but a softer cream would also be lovely. Alternatively, you can use a hand mixer or just a whisk and a lot of elbow grease.

And you know what? It’s perfectly fine to skip the home-made whipped cream altogether and just bust out a can of Reddi-wip (another shortcut). (Your kids will probably like it better anyway.)

Peaches and Cream Donuts Recipe by Wendy Copley for Alphamom.com

Slice the peaches into thin slices. The thinner they are, the easier they are to layer on the donuts.

If it’s a little early in the year for good, fresh peaches where you live, you can sub in frozen peaches. Allow them to thaw completely before slicing.

Slice each donut in half horizontally and place the donut bottoms on  plates. Hold back twelve peach slices then evenly distribute the remaining fruit among the donuts. Smear a hearty dollop of whipped cream on top of the peach layers, then top with the remaining donut halves.

Peaches and Cream Donuts Recipe by Wendy Copley for Alphamom.com

Put another dollop of whipped cream on top of the donuts and add the last few peach slices as a garnish. Serve immediately.

Peaches and Cream Donuts Recipe by Wendy Copley for Alphamom.com

We tried eating our peaches and cream donuts with our hands at first, but it quickly became apparent that there was no way that was going to work. These babies are just too messy and juicy, so a knife and fork is a must.

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4 Flowery Ideas for Kids’ Lunches http://alphamom.com/family-fun/food-home/4-flowery-ideas-kids-lunches/ http://alphamom.com/family-fun/food-home/4-flowery-ideas-kids-lunches/#comments Thu, 14 May 2015 14:26:02 +0000 http://alphamom.com/?p=36601

Celebrate spring with four fun, flowery foods kids will love. These are perfect for a spring bento box lunch, or kids can eat them at breakfast or snack time.

Flower Apples

Four Flowery Ideas for Kids' Lunches - Flower Apples by Wendy Copley for Alphamom.com

Cut an apple into large rounds, then remove the core from each slice with a small flower-shaped cutter.

Four Flowery Ideas for Kids' Lunches - Flower Apples by Wendy Copley for Alphamom.com

If you serve these immediately they’ll look their very best, but it’s not difficult to pack them in a lunch box either. Sprinkle each slice with a little Fruit Fresh powder or dip them into a bowl of water with a little lemon juice squeezed into it to prevent browning, then seal them into an air-tight container.

Four Flowery Ideas for Kids' Lunches - Flower Apples by Wendy Copley for Alphamom.com

Serving Ideas: Bump up the protein by sandwiching a smear of peanut or sunflower seed butter between two of the apple slices. Delectable!

Veggie Dippers

Four Flowery Ideas for Kids' Lunches - Veggie Dippers by Wendy Copley for Alphamom.com

Cut slices of cucumbers, large carrots (both shown above), bell peppers, jicama or radishes.

Four Flowery Ideas for Kids' Lunches - Veggie Dippers by Wendy Copley for Alphamom.com

Use small cutters to cut each slice into a flower shape. Bonus: since you are cutting the outside of the vegetables off, you can save a little time and skip peeling them.

Four Flowery Ideas for Kids' Lunches - Veggie Dippers by Wendy Copley for Alphamom.com

Serving Ideas: Serve the veggie flowers with hummus or ranch dip or sprinkle them on a green salad or mix them into a pasta salad to make it extra pretty.

Ham Rose

Four Flowery Ideas for Kids' Lunches - Ham Rose by Wendy Copley for Alphamom.com

Two make a ham rose, you’ll need one or two slices of deli ham — depending on the size of the slices you are using. Cut the ham into strips about 1 inch wide.

Four Flowery Ideas for Kids' Lunches - Ham Rose by Wendy Copley for Alphamom.com

Wrap a strip of ham around the inside edge of a silicone baking cup. Add more ham strips, one at a time, taking care to overlap the spots where the ends meet up. Work your way toward the center one layer at a time. As the space in the middle gets smaller it can be difficult to fit the long strips in, so cut one in half and use those smaller pieces. When the hole in the middle of the cup is about an inch wide, roll a strip into a spiral to fill the remaining space.

Four Flowery Ideas for Kids' Lunches - Ham Rose by Wendy Copley for Alphamom.com

Serving Ideas: Tuck your ham rose into a bento box for lunch, serve it with a scrambled egg at breakfast, or cut a few more flowers from cheese slices and eat them with crackers.

Fruit Cups

Four Flowery Ideas for Kids' Lunches - Fruit Cups by Wendy Copley for Alphamom.com

Flower cups are a fast way to make a lunch a little cuter and they might just entice your child to eat their fruit before they dig into their dessert. I’ve used clementine wedges and green grapes to make the ones shown here, but you can also use raspberries, blueberries, strawberries or small melon balls.

Begin by putting a bit of fruit in the bottom of a silicon baking cup. There’s no need to be fussy with this part — you’re just filling the space a bit.

Four Flowery Ideas for Kids' Lunches - Fruit Cups by Wendy Copley for Alphamom.com

Next, arrange a circle of fruit neatly around the edge of the cup. This is the time when you should be a little fussy.

Four Flowery Ideas for Kids' Lunches - Fruit Cups by Wendy Copley for Alphamom.com

Finally, add a bit of fruit in a contrasting color to the center of the cup. Voila! You have yourself an edible daisy!

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St. Patrick’s Day Breakfast: Shamrock Eggs with Rainbow Fruit http://alphamom.com/family-fun/holidays/st-patricks-day-breakfast-shamrock-eggs-with-rainbow-fruit/ http://alphamom.com/family-fun/holidays/st-patricks-day-breakfast-shamrock-eggs-with-rainbow-fruit/#comments Fri, 13 Mar 2015 14:13:33 +0000 http://alphamom.com/?p=36277

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with a cute, but easy-for-a-weekday-morning breakfast for the whole family. Arrange eggs and toast on a plate along with and a composed fruit salad, then add a little extra Irish symbolism in the form of a “spinach shamrock.”

St. Patrick's Day Breakfast: Shamrock Eggs with Rainbow Fruit by Wendy Copley for Alphamom.com

For each plate you are making you will need:

  • eggs
  • half an English muffin
  • a few spinach leaves
  • strawberries
  • Clementine wedges
  • mango
  • green grapes
  • blueberries
  • red or purple grapes
  • a small heart shape cookie cutter and/or kitchen shears

Here’s how you put it together:

 

St. Patrick's Day Breakfast: Shamrock Eggs with Rainbow Fruit by Wendy Copley for Alphamom.com

We’re going to start by cutting the pieces to make the shamrock. I’m assuming you don’t have a shamrock cookie cutter sitting in a kitchen drawer, but if you do, feel free to use that to cut a shamrock out of a spinach leaf. If that’s you, go ahead and skip this next part.

For the rest of us, there are two other ways to assemble the spinach shamrock. I used a mini heart cutter to cut three shapes from individual spinach leaves.

 

St. Patrick's Day Breakfast: Shamrock Eggs with Rainbow Fruit by Wendy Copley for Alphamom.com

Spinach is not as easy to cut with a cookie cutter as some other materials. I found that I needed to press down hard with the palm of my hand and really put some weight behind it. Wiggling it back and forth across the cutting board while I was pressing also helped.

 

St. Patrick's Day Breakfast: Shamrock Eggs with Rainbow Fruit by Wendy Copley for Alphamom.com

I still had trouble getting all the way through with a few of my spinach leaves though (especially over the center stem), so for those I just snipped the uncut part with kitchen shears, using the indentation from the cookie cutter as a guide.

 

St. Patrick's Day Breakfast: Shamrock Eggs with Rainbow Fruit by Wendy Copley for Alphamom.com

If you don’t have a heart cutter either, you can cut the shapes by hand. Carefully fold a spinach leaf in half, then cut a half heart shape with the shears. I found that the spinach leaves tended to crack a little using this method, but it wasn’t noticeable on the finished plate.

 

St. Patrick's Day Breakfast: Shamrock Eggs with Rainbow Fruit by Wendy Copley for Alphamom.com

Next, toast half an English muffing and scramble an egg. Put the egg on the muffin, then assemble the hearts to make a shamrock as shown up above. I used a leftover spinach stem for the shamrock stem.

St. Patrick's Day Breakfast: Shamrock Eggs with Rainbow Fruit by Wendy Copley for Alphamom.com

Finally, put a few rows of fruit on the plate to make a rainbow: strawberry, orange, mango, green grape, blueberries, then red grapes. Even better, if you have a bit of extra time before school have your kid arrange the fruit. I made three rows, but you could do more or less depending on your child’s appetite.

Now, I know some of you are reading this right now and thinking, “Are you kidding me? She just told me to buy six kinds of fruit and then used three bites of each one on the plate! This woman is cray-cray.” I get it! That would be craziness. But I’ve got you covered! While you’ve got all that fruit out, use it to make a super quick fruit salad. Chop up a bunch of the strawberries and the rest of the mango, then peel a few more of those clementines and throw them in a bowl. Add a few big handfuls of the grapes and the blueberries and give it a stir.

St. Patrick's Day Breakfast: Shamrock Eggs with Rainbow Fruit

Voila! Rainbow fruit salad! Pack some of it into a small container and throw it in your kid’s lunch box and now you are the fun mom or dad who makes a St. Patrick’s day breakfast and lunch. Woo hoo! Go you! Plus you have a healthy pre-dinner snack or something to put next to a frozen waffle or a piece of toast at breakfast tomorrow morning.

Or, you can do it the other way around. Instead of buying each type of fruit individually, grab a container of fruit salad from the grocery store deli and pull pieces of fruit out of that to make your rainbow. It will save you a few minutes in the morning and I promise your kids won’t notice if one of the colors is missing from their rainbows.

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Healthy Snack: Fruit Salsa with Cinnamon Pita Chips http://alphamom.com/family-fun/food-home/fruit-salsa-cinnamon-pita-chips-healthy-kid-snack/ http://alphamom.com/family-fun/food-home/fruit-salsa-cinnamon-pita-chips-healthy-kid-snack/#comments Thu, 26 Feb 2015 17:46:48 +0000 http://alphamom.com/?p=36181

I have a new weapon in my never ending quest to find healthy snacks that excite my kids — fruit salsa with cinnamon pita chips. This recipe is crazy simple — it’s basically just a finely chopped fruit salad — but it’s fast to pull together and everyone in my house loves it. I love it so much that I have to leave the room while my boys are eating it or I will push their little hands out of the way so I can have it all for myself. Bwah ha ha ha!

A bonus of this recipe is that you can make it with frozen fruit and it will still taste terrific. This far into winter we are all getting a little tired of apples, bananas and oranges so it’s nice to shake things up with the bags of stone fruits and berries that are stashed in the freezer. If you use frozen fruit for this, be sure to thaw and drain it completely before putting the salsa together. Of course, it would be equally delicious with fresh fruit once that’s in season.

Fruit Salsa with Cinnamon Pita Chips by Wendy Copley for Alphamom.com #HealthySnack

 

Ingredients you’ll need for the Fruit Salsa with Pita Chips:

  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries (thaw and drain first)
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen cherries (thaw and drain first), cut into a 1/4 inch dice
  • 1 heaping cup apple, cut into a 1/4 inch dice
  • lime zest (optional)
  • cinnamon-sugar pita chips

Directions to make our healthy Fruit Salsa:

Fruit Salsa with Cinnamon Pita Chips by Wendy Copley for Alphamom.com #HealthySnack

 

Begin by chopping the fruit into a fairly small dice. You’ll want a bit of each kind of fruit on the chip when you scoop it up and if it’s too large the big pieces will fall off. Don’t bother cutting the blueberries because it takes forever and makes a huge mess.

Place the fruit in a bowl and stir to combine.

Fruit Salsa with Cinnamon Pita Chips by Wendy Copley for Alphamom.com #HealthySnack

If you have a lime hanging out in your fruit bowl and you want to be fancy, zest it and mix that in too. The salsa will still be good without it, but the tangy zing adds a bright note to the mixture and helps offset the sweetness of the fruit and the chips.

Fruit Salsa with Cinnamon Pita Chips by Wendy Copley for Alphamom.com #HealthySnack

Set the bowl out along with some cinnamon-sugar pita chips and watch your kids demolish it.

If you don’t have this exact combination of fruit on hand, you can easily modify this recipe to use what you do have in the house. Pear can be exchanged for apples, swap peaches for the cherries, etc. Or you could go tropical and mix mango, pineapple and kiwi.

Fruit Salsa with Cinnamon Pita Chips by Wendy Copley for Alphamom.com #HealthySnack

 

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A Special Lunch for the 100th Day of School http://alphamom.com/family-fun/food-home/100th-day-of-school-lunch-bento/ http://alphamom.com/family-fun/food-home/100th-day-of-school-lunch-bento/#comments Thu, 15 Jan 2015 17:13:42 +0000 http://alphamom.com/?p=35835

The hundredth day of school (also known as the “100 Days of School”) is coming up for kids across the country! In many classrooms, especially those in younger grades, students keep track of every day of school that passes and have a celebration of some sort when they reach the 100th day. Depending on when your school’s first day was (and how many weather cancellations you’ve endured this year) the hundredth day of school will probably fall some time between late January and mid-February. My kindergartner reports exactly how many days have passed at dinner every night — 89 as I’m writing this — and he has already started collecting one hundred objects to bring in to school in a few weeks. Meanwhile, I’ve planned out a special lunch that mixes the number 100 and other school icons for him to take to school when the time comes.

100 Days of School Bento Box Lunch by Wendy Copley for Alphamom.com

Ingredients you’ll need to make this 100 Days of School Bento Box Lunch:

  • pretzel thins or other cracker
  • sliced cheddar cheese
  • sandwich bread  and condiments
  • blackberries
  • sugar snap peas
  • carrot
  • cherry tomatoes

Here is the equipment you’ll need:

How to make this special 100 Days of School bento box lunch:

100 Days of School Bento Box Lunch by Wendy Copley for Alphamom.com

Place the pretzel thins in one of the sections of the lunch box. Use small letter and number cutters to cut “100 DAYS” from a slice of cheese. If you don’t have small alphabet cutters, you can cut the letters out with a knife.

100-days-of-school-lunch-3

Place the cheese letters on top of the pretzels.

100-days-of-school-lunch-4

Use the bus cookie cutter to cut four shapes from a slice of bread. Stamp the bus image into two of them. Cut bus shapes from the remainder of the cheese and use them to assemble mini-sandwiches along with any condiments you’d like to add.  Place the sandwiched inside the silicone cup and place it in one of the sections of the lunch box.

100 Days of School Bento Box Lunch by Wendy Copley for Alphamom.com

Give your child a basket of blackberries and ask them to count the little juice pods on each one (these are called druplets). Only place blackberries with exactly 100 druplets in the lunch box.

Just kidding! That would be ridiculous! Don’t really do that! Just put a handful of berries in, then add your school-themed cupcake pick.

100 Days of School Bento Box Lunch by Wendy Copley for Alphamom.com

Trim the sugar snap peas to fit in the final section of the lunch box. To make this go really quickly, place the container you are using on top of the peas, then use the edge as a cutting guide. You’ll only need to make two quick cuts to make the peas exactly the right length.

100 Days of School Bento Box Lunch by Wendy Copley for Alphamom.com

Now we’re going to make a 100 with two cherry tomatoes and a baby carrot! Cut a baby carrot so that it’s the same length as a cherry tomato.

100 Days of School Bento Box Lunch by Wendy Copley for Alphamom.com

Place the carrot and the tomatoes on top of the snap peas in the lunch box to form the number 100.

Ask your little counter to read you the numbers in his lunch box then send him off to school with visions of 100 dancing in his head.

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Woodland Monogram Ornaments http://alphamom.com/family-fun/holidays/woodland-monogram-ornaments/ http://alphamom.com/family-fun/holidays/woodland-monogram-ornaments/#comments Thu, 11 Dec 2014 14:15:40 +0000 http://alphamom.com/?p=35603

Bring a little of the outdoors inside with these cute woodsy monogram ornaments. To make them pull wood sticks from your yard or pick them up from the ground in a neighborhood park then pair them with a few items from the craft store.

Woodland Monogram Ornaments by Wendy Copley for Alphamom.com

Supplies to make these ornaments you will need:

  • 3-4 inch wood or chipboard letters
  • wood glue — I used this because it was what I had on hand; I’m guessing Elmer’s school glue would probably work fine. Be sure to choose glue that dries clear.
  • thin sticks, no more than about 1/4 inch in diameter
  • ribbon
  • cute, dimensional stickers — candy canes, snowmen, snowflakes, animals, etc.
  • decorative moss

Woodland Monogram Ornaments by Wendy Copley for Alphamom.com

Tutorial for making wood ornaments:
Begin by poking holes in your letters so that you can string ribbon through them for hanging. This is a job that is better for grown-ups to do.

Next, break the sticks into short lengths of approximately the same width as the letters. This is a great task for kids! You can just break them by bending them, or if you want to be a little more precise you can cut the sticks part way with a pair of scissors and break them apart the rest of the way.  I found it was helpful to break a bunch of sticks all at once so we had a nice pile with different lengths to choose from when we started the gluing.

Woodland Monogram Ornaments by Wendy Copley for Alphamom.com

Add a thick layer of glue to a small section of the letter. Don’t cover the hole you punched!

Woodland Monogram Ornaments by Wendy Copley for Alphamom.com

Add pieces of sticks the same width as the letter to cover the glue. Press the sticks into the glue for a few seconds to make sure they’re really stuck to the letter. If a bit of glue squeezes up into the space between the sticks that’s OK. It will help secure the sticks in place and it will dry clear so it won’t be noticeable.

 

Woodland Monogram Ornaments by Wendy Copley for Alphamom.com

Continue attaching sticks until the entire letter is covered. A few tips:

  • Be careful not to cover the hole that you’ll put the string through when you’re adding sticks because it will be very hard — if not impossible — to get the ribbon through once it has dried. Ask me how I know!
  • I think the letters look good when the sticks overhang the outer edges of the letter a little, but be careful the keep the sticks flush with the inner edges. Even a slight overhang can end up obscuring the holes in the middle of letters (A, B, G, R, etc.).
  • Placing the sticks on the letters horizontally generally works much better than placing them vertically. Smaller sticks tend to attach to the flat surface of the letter better and it’s also easier to cut them down to the right length.

Woodland Monogram Ornaments by Wendy Copley for Alphamom.com

You’ll find that some sticks don’t nestle together as well as others which can result in gaps that allow the base letter to show through. Tuck small pieces of decorative moss into these spaces to cover them up. Make sure they are connecting to the glue on the base so they’ll stay put!

Woodland Monogram Ornaments by Wendy Copley for Alphamom.com

Allow the letters to sit for a few hours until the glue has dried completely.

Woodland Monogram Ornaments by Wendy Copley for Alphamom.com

Cut a piece of ribbon about 6-7 inches long. Thread it through the hole in the top of the letter and tie it to create a loop for hanging.

Woodland Monogram Ornaments by Wendy Copley for Alphamom.com

Add stickers to decorate the letter.

Woodland Monogram Ornaments by Wendy Copley for Alphamom.com

Hang the ornaments on a Christmas tree, in a window or use them as a super fancy tag on a gift.

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Turkey Sandwich Food Craft for Thanksgiving http://alphamom.com/family-fun/holidays/turkey-sandwich-food-craft-for-thanksgiving/ http://alphamom.com/family-fun/holidays/turkey-sandwich-food-craft-for-thanksgiving/#comments Fri, 14 Nov 2014 15:56:29 +0000 http://alphamom.com/?p=35231

Help get your kids excited for Thanksgiving with this cute and healthy sandwich that looks like a turkey. Fill it with  PB&J or whatever else your child likes, or with leftovers from the feast.

To get started you’ll need:

  • red and yellow bell peppers
  • sandwich bread and sandwich fillings
  • carrot
  • red bell pepper or tomato
  • icing googly eyes

You’ll also need this equipment:

  • a small leaf-shaped cookie cutter
  • a large, round cookie or biscuit cutter

Turkey Sandwich Fun Food Craft by Wendy Copley for Alphamom.com #Thanksgiving

Start by cutting the bell pepper into wide strips, then use the leaf cutter to cut eight pieces of orange pepper and four pieces of yellow pepper. If you don’t have a leaf cutter, you can just cut these pieces from the pepper with a knife.

Tip: peel off the tough outer skin of the bell peppers with a vegetable peeler. This will make it easier to cut through the peppers with the cookie cutter and I’ve found most kids are much more likely to eat bell peppers when the skin is removed.

Turkey Sandwich Fun Food Craft by Wendy Copley for Alphamom.com #Thanksgiving

Arrange three pieces of the orange pepper at the top of the plate. Add a row of the yellow bell peppers below that, and then finish the turkey’s tail by adding the remaining orange pepper pieces.

Cut two circles of bread with the large, round cutter and fill the sandwich with whatever fillings you are using. I used ham and cheese when I made this sandwich, but if you have leftovers from Thanksgiving turkey slices and cranberry sauce are kind of a no-brainer for this sandwich. Add the sandwich to the bottom of the plate so that the peppers are tucked under it a bit.

Cut a slice of carrot about an inch wide and two inches long. I cut a baby carrot in half length-wise and it worked perfectly.

Turkey Sandwich Fun Food Craft by Wendy Copley for Alphamom.com #Thanksgiving

Now give the turkey a face. I used icing googly eyes and a couple of small triangles cut from the yellow bell pepper scraps for the beak. The turkey’s wattle was made by cutting two small pieces of red bell out with the end of a drinking straw.

Turkey Sandwich Fun Food Craft by Wendy Copley for Alphamom.com #Thanksgiving

And now you have an adorable sandwich they’ll gobble up! (See what I did there?)

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Doodled Mandalas http://alphamom.com/family-fun/crafts/how-to-draw-mandalas/ http://alphamom.com/family-fun/crafts/how-to-draw-mandalas/#comments Thu, 04 Sep 2014 12:43:19 +0000 http://alphamom.com/?p=34316

 

My kids and I love to draw and doodle together. At least once per week I try to shut my laptop, ignore the chores and sit down at the table with them to sketch. Sometimes I give them challenges, other times we all make our drawings of the the same object and sometimes we do our own thing, but we always enjoy talking and creating together.

Earlier this year I started doodling a mandala in my sketchbook and when the kids noticed they started making their own versions. “Mandala” is a Sanskrit word describing a circle or disc. In the Hindu religion a mandala is a detailed geometric figure that represents wholeness or unity. While the mandalas we draw are not particularly spiritual in nature, I’ve found that they are soothing and relaxing to draw. They also end up being a lot of fun to make and they look great taped to the fridge.

Here’s how we do it:

Start by gathering a few materials. The only things you absolutely need are paper and something to draw with — a pencil, pen, colored pencils, marker, whatever. It’s also helpful to have something round to trace and if you or your kids like things extra neat a ruler can come in handy.

How to Draw Mandalas by Wendy Copley for Alphamom.com

I like to dive in and start drawing my mandalas freehand, but I’ve found that I can save a lot of frustration for my boys if I set them up with a basic circle structure they can build on before handing them a piece of paper. I usually trace around a cup or a bowl, but you could use a compass or draw it freehand too.

How to Draw Mandalas by Wendy Copley for Alphamom.com

I also like to divide my circle into quarters because this makes it a little easier to create patterns.

How to Draw Mandalas by Wendy Copley for Alphamom.com

 

I like to work inward from my initial circle and fill in the circle with geometric designs, then work outward from the edge of the circle drawing shapes and patterns in layers until it covers a great deal of the paper.

How to Draw Mandalas by Wendy Copley for Alphamom.com

Here are some ideas for patterns, shapes and lines you can add to the mandala if you get stuck:

  • triangles
  • circles
  • ovals
  • arches
  • scalloped lines
  • zig-zags
  • wavy lines
  • checkerboards
  • spirals
  • flowers
  • diamonds
  • stars
  • curlicues

And these are some examples of mandalas my kids and I have drawn:

How to Draw Mandalas by Wendy Copley for Alphamom.com

Sometimes we are precise. Sometimes we’re loosey-goosey. We often like to add color to our mandalas, either by using colored pens or pencils when we are initially sketching or by coloring in the patterns and shapes we’ve made when we are done. One time we made a mandala entirely out of stickers. And sometimes when I draw the circle and hand it over to my kids they go in a completely different direction by drawing monsters or drummers in a flaming circle. That’s OK too.

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Bento Box Lunch http://alphamom.com/family-fun/food-home/teenage-mutant-ninja-turtles-bento-box-lunch/ http://alphamom.com/family-fun/food-home/teenage-mutant-ninja-turtles-bento-box-lunch/#comments Thu, 31 Jul 2014 12:55:32 +0000 http://alphamom.com/?p=33806

This post is sponsored by Target. More Turtles, More Bold and Daring Fun: Blur the lines of fantasy and reality with your favorite Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles at Target.

If I were to pick the over-arching theme of my nine-year-old’s summer it would have to be comics. He wakes up early in the morning to read comics in the quiet house before the rest of the family gets up. He pulls something out of his dad’s enormous comic book collection every day. He checks out big, fat comic compendiums when we visit the library and he sketches his own stick figure comic strips in a notebook he keeps under his bed. He loves both reading and drawing and comic books are a perfect mash up of the two.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Bento Box by Wendy Copley for Alphamom.com

One of his favorite activities is riding his scooter to the comic book store a few blocks from our house and spending some time browsing. He always comes back from these excursions excited to tell me about the cool things he’s spotted. Sometimes it’s a new installment of a super hero comic book, other times it’s a new issue from Disney or the Simpsons. I do my best to keep up my end of these conversations but I’m not always as well-versed in the comic-of-the-day as he would like.

Recently he came home with news of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. “Mom, did you know there are Ninja Turtle comics? It’s not just a movie.” Yes! I did know that! Finally I could hold my own. “Actually, the Ninja Turtles started as a comic,” I told him. “All the other stuff came later.” He was suitably impressed by this bit of knowledge so I regaled him with all the TMNT trivia I picked up babysitting my younger cousin in the 80’s and scored some cool mom points in the process.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Bento Box by Wendy Copley for Alphamom.com

Was I going to let my comic book cred die out after one conversation? Oh no, I wasn’t! I wanted to milk it for all it was worth! The next morning I grabbed a few groceries for a special lunch during a trip to Target and since there was Ninja Turtles stuff everywhere, I may have picked up a few other TMNT treats while I was there too.

When we got home, Wyatt helped me brainstorm ideas for a Ninja Turtles lunch and we made it together. (OK, OK! I’ll admit that I did most of the work. He got bored after brainstorming and started to read his comic.)

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Bento Box by Wendy Copley for Alphamom.com

Supplies for a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Bento Box Lunch

Ingredients

  • 2 slices of sandwich bread
  • 1 slice of cheddar cheese
  • sliced deli meat such as ham or turkey (optional)
  • mayonnaise or any other desired condiments
  • honeydew melon
  • cantaloupe
  • pizza flavored crackers
  • cucumber
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fruit snacks

Equipment

How to make a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Bento Box Lunch

How to Make a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Bento Box by Wendy Copley for Alphamom.com

Begin by cutting two large circles from two slices of sandwich bread. You can use a large cookie cutter for this, or you can use a big drinking glass or bowl — anything that’s about the same size as your bread. I used a stainless steel food storage container. Next trim a little bit of bread from the edges of the circles so the bread is a bit pointy at the top and thus more turtle-shaped. I stacked the two slices on top of each other before trimming so the shapes would match up.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Bento Box by Wendy Copley for Alphamom.com

Next, cut a mask and a smile shape from the cheese. I like to lay the cheese on top of the bread and score the basic shape I’m going for with the tip of a knife to get an idea of how it should look. You can get fancy and cut an extra bow shape on the end of the mask if you like, or if you want to keep it simple, just cut a strip that’s about an inch wide and trim it to fit on your bread. I used a large drinking straw to cut round eye holes in the mask but you can do those with the tip of your knife too.

How to Make a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Bento Box by Wendy Copley for Alphamom.com

Next I made custom TMNT food picks. I found some cool picks with large circles on the end at Target that were just begging to be customized. I used a 1 inch circle punch to cut the Ninja Turtle faces from a thank you card (also found in the party aisle at Target), then I affixed them to each side of a couple picks with double-sided tape. You’ll see how I use the picks down below.

How to Make a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Bento Box by Wendy Copley for Alphamom.com

Use a melon baller to scoop pieces out of a honeydew melon and place them in one of the side dish areas of the bento box. I don’t have a melon baller, so I used a set of metal measuring spoons to do my scooping. This is a great job for a kid. Wyatt and I thought the melon balls looked kind of like turtle shells. Do you see it?

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Bento Box by Wendy Copley for Alphamom.com

Next, cut a slice of cantaloupe about a half inch thick. Use small alphabet cutters to cut “TMNT” from the melon slice. If the melon gets stuck in the cutters, ease it out by gently pressing on the edges of the letters with the blunt end of a toothpick.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Bento Box by Wendy Copley for Alphamom.com

Thread the letters onto one of the customized picks then add it to the box on top of the green melon balls.

How to Make a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Bento Box by Wendy Copley for Alphamom.com

No Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles lunch box would be complete without some form of pizza, right? I took the easy route and added a handful of pizza flavored Goldfish crackers. I tucked the second customized pick into the section with the crackers. Finally, I stacked a few slices of cucumber in the smallest section of the bento box. Again we thought they looked a little like turtle shells.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Bento Box by Wendy Copley for Alphamom.com

Fill a water bottle and tuck it in the lunch bag with the bento box, some TMNT fruit snacks and a TMNT napkin. If you slip a comic book in the bag too, you’ll be all set for a scooter ride to the comic shop.

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This post is sponsored by Target. More Turtles, More Bold and Daring Fun: Blur the lines of fantasy and reality with your favorite Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles at Target.

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Do-It-Yourself Robot Snacks for Kids http://alphamom.com/family-fun/food-home/diy-robot-snacks-for-kids/ http://alphamom.com/family-fun/food-home/diy-robot-snacks-for-kids/#comments Thu, 17 Jul 2014 17:28:33 +0000 http://alphamom.com/?p=33641

Do your kids ask you for snacks 200 times per day? Mine do. They ask me for a snack while I’m fixing their breakfast, before they go to bed, and when they are in the bath tub. Sometimes they ask me for a snack while they’re clearing the dishes off the table from the snack they just ate. I don’t want them to be hungry, of course, but I suspect that these requests are prompted by boredom almost as often as they are prompted by hunger pangs so I decided to make make snack time more entertaining by combining a craft and food with these do-it-yourself robot snacks.

DIY Robot Snacks by Wendy Copley for Alphamom.com

I began by setting out a variety of different foods to create with. The first step was to make a couple peanut butter sandwiches and cut them into rectangular shapes that could be used for the heads and bodies of the robots. Then I pulled little bits of this and that out of the fridge. My main goal was to provide the kids with a variety of shapes — sticks for arms and legs, circles for wheels, and smaller items for details — but I also used this as an opportunity to finish off the last of the blueberries and use up the remaining celery sticks before they went rubbery.

I ended up with blueberries, ranch dip, sliced olives, celery, carrots and radish slices. Some ideas for ingredients:

  • Sticks — carrots, celery, sugar snap peas, bell pepper strips, green beans, string cheese or pretzels
  • Circles — sliced radishes or cucumbers, bananas, carrot coins, cherries, berries, cherry tomatoes or grapes
  • Details — olives, blueberries, edamame, peas or corn

DIY Robot Snacks by Wendy Copley for Alphamom.com

Then I set the kids to work. I started my boys off by giving them each a couple sandwich pieces to use as the base but it didn’t take long at all for them to get into the nitty gritty of creating their robots. Honestly, I thought they would slap arms and legs on the plate and start eating in under two minutes, but they spent quite a bit of time adding joints, control panels and other details.

DIY Robot Snacks by Wendy Copley for Alphamom.com

They were both quite proud of their creations when they were finished and they even asked me to take photos and text them to their dad before they ate them.

When it was time to eat, the boys chowed down on their sandwiches and most of the fruits and veggies on their plates and they ate all the leftover ingredients I’d set out for them too. There may have been a few pieces of celery and quite a few olives leftover, but that’s cool because they didn’t ask me for another snack for at least another 30 minutes.

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