Thursday, April 28, 2011

Children Learn What They Live

If children live with criticism,
They learn to condemn.
If children live with hostility,
They learn to fight.
If children live with ridicule,
They learn to be shy.
If children live with shame,
They learn to feel guilty.
If children live with encouragement,
They learn confidence.
If children live with tolerance,
They learn to be patient.
If children live with praise,
They learn to appreciate.
If children live with acceptance,
They learn to love.
If children live with approval,
They learn to like themselves.
If children live with honesty,
They learn truthfulness.
If children live with security,
They learn to have faith in themselves and others.
If children live with friendliness,
They learn the world is a nice place in which to live.

Dorothy Law Nolte

Monday, April 25, 2011


Children learn by touching, tasting, feeling, smelling, and listening. They love to help prepare food and cook because they can use all their senses. Children like to eat the foods they make. Plan ways the children in your care can help you. Be sure to consider the age of the child.

Two-year-olds are learning to use the large muscles in their arms. They will enjoy activities such as:

  • scrubbing vegetables and fruits
  • wiping tables
  • dipping vegetables and fruits
  • tearing lettuce and salad greens
  • breaking bread for stuffing
  • snapping fresh beans

Three-year-olds are learning to use their hands. Try activities such as:

  • pouring liquids into a batter
  • mixing muffin batter
  • shaking a milk drink
  • spreading peanut butter on firm bread (This may be messy!)
  • kneading bread dough

Four- and five-year-olds are learning to control smaller muscles in their fingers. Offer them experiences such as:

  • rolling bananas in cereal for a snack
  • juicing oranges, lemons, and limes
  • mashing soft fruits and vegetables
  • measuring dry and liquid ingredients
  • grinding cooked meat for a meat spread
  • beating eggs with an eggbeater


1. Good cooks of all ages always wash their hands before cooking.

2. Tell children to wait until the dish is done before sampling it. This will help prevent illness.

3. Expect spills and messes.

4. Children have short attention spans. Give them quick, simple jobs, and give instructions one at a time.

5. Children get excited and forget. Repeat directions as often as needed.

6. Young cooks need constant supervision.

7. Give children jobs to help with cleanup.



Children love to knead and shape dough. Allow plenty of time for the children to do as many tasks as possible.

3 to 3 1/2 cups unsifted flour
1 package dry yeast
4 teaspoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons soft margarine
1 1/2 cups very hot water (105-1150F)

Combine 1 cup flour, sugar, salt, and undissolved dry yeast in a large bowl. Mix thoroughly. Add margarine. Add very hot water gradually to dry ingredients. Beat 2 minutes. Add 1 cup of flour or enough to make a thick batter. Beat 2 or 3 minutes. Stir in enough additional flour to make a soft dough. Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap.

Let rise in a warm place for 45 to 60 minutes. Stir dough down and turn out onto heavily floured surface. After washing children's hands, flour them and have them knead dough until it is smooth. Shape dough into one large oblong or let the children experiment with different shapes and sizes. Try pretzels, animals, letters, numbers, or holiday shapes.

Place on a greased baking sheet and let rise (40 to 50 minutes for a large loaf, less time for small shapes). Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit (40 minutes for a large loaf, 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown for small shapes).


flour tortillas
cooked ground beef, cheese, refried beans and other vegetables for tortilla filling

Give a tortilla to each child. Fill with cooked ground beef, cheese, and/or vegetables.


1 stalk celery
1 apple
1 cup seedless grapes, cut in half
1 banana
1 orange
1 cup low-fat lemon yogurt

Have children wash the celery, apple, and grapes. Children can peel the banana and orange. An adult should cut the fruit and celery into bite-size pieces. Have children place fruit and celery in a large bowl. Add yogurt and mix well.


low-fat mozzarella cheese slices (1 slice per child)
English muffins, sliced in half (1 half per child)
fruit (an apple, banana, orange, or seedless grapes)

Have the children wash the fruit. Children can peel bananas and oranges or pluck grapes from their stems. An adult should cut the fruit into small pieces.

Split the English muffins. Give each child one half. Have the children place a slice of cheese on each muffin. Toast the English muffins until the cheese melts. Have each child top his or her muffin with fruit.

Reprinted with permission from the National Network for Child Care - NNCC. Van Horn, J. E. (Ed.) and L. Horning (Ed.) (1995). Cooking with children: kids in the kitchen. In Todd, C.M. (Ed.). *Family child care connections* 4(6). Urbana, IL: National Network for Child Care at the University of Illinois Cooperative Extension Service.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Color Easter Eggs Naturally With Dyes From Your Kitchen

The most beautiful dyes for Easter eggs come from foodstuff you probably already have in your kitchen.

I have been delighted with the results of the colors I have tried and my friends have been thrilled to receive them as springtime gifts. The colors are very unusual -- gentle, earthy, soft, and very vibrant, without being harsh like the artificial dyes -- and when I tell people the colors come from plant dyes, they always want to know the origin of each color.

To color these eggs, you boil the eggs with the dyestuff, rather than boiling the eggs separately and then dying them.

Here are the general directions:

1. Put raw, white-shelled, organically-raised eggs in a single layer in a pan. Cover with cold water.

2. Add a little more than a teaspoon of white vinegar.

3. Add the natural dyestuff for the color you want your eggs to be. (The more eggs you are dying at a time, the more dye you will need to use, and the more dye you use, the darker the color will be.)

4. Bring water to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.

5. Quickly check the eggs for color by removing them from the dye liquid with a slotted spoon.

If the color is as desired, pour off the hot dye liquid and rinse the eggs immediately in cold water to stop the eggs from cooking. Continue to change the water until it stays cool in the pot because the eggs are no longer releasing heat. Drain and allow eggs to cool in the refrigerator.

If you wish a deeper color, strain the hot dye liquid into a container, then rinse the eggs immediately in cold water to stop them from cooking. Continue to change the water until it stays cool in the pot because the eggs are no longer releasing heat. Drain the last of the cold water, then cover the eggs with the strained dye liquid. Add more water if necessary so that the eggs are completely covered. Put into the refrigerator immediately and keep eggs in the refrigerator until the desired shade is achieved. Overnight is good. Longer than about twelve hours some of the colors just get muddier instead of deeper, and the lighter shades are more vibrant.

Try these foods to dye your eggs:

Red - Pink -- lots of red onion skins, cranberry juice, or frozen raspberries.

Orange -- Yellow onion skins

Brown -- Red beet skins or grape juice (produces a beautiful sparkling tan), coffee.

Yellow -- Saffron, tumeric or cumin, orange or lemon peels, or celery seed.

Green -- spinach, or carrot tops and peels from Yellow Delicious apples for a yellow-green.

Blue -- Red cabbage leaves make the most incredible robin's-egg blue.

Deep Purple -- Red wine makes a beautiful burgundy color

Tips for successful results:

* Use filtered or distilled water. Chlorine and other chemicals will work against the dye, making it less intense. Buy distilled water or use your own filtered water.

* For deeper colors, use more dyestuff or let the eggs soak longer.

* For even coverage, cook eggs in a pot large enough to hold enough water and dyestuff to completely cover the eggs, even after some of the liquid has evaporated during the 15 minute
of boiling.

* Again, for even coverage, if you continue to soak the eggs in the refrigerator after cooking, make sure the eggs are completely covered with the dye liquid.

* Blot the eggs dry or allow them to air dry, as for some colors the dye will rub off while still wet. On the other hand, if you wish to make a white pattern on the egg, you can rub off some of the dye for some colors immediately after cooking.

* Make sure eggs of different colors are completely dry before piling them up in a bowl together, as wet dye from one egg can transfer to another.

Read more about natural dyes for Easter eggs at [].

Hailed as "The Queen of Green" by the New York Times, Debra Lynn Dadd has been a consumer advocate for products and lifestyle choices that are better for health and the environment since 1982.

Visit her website for 100s of links to 1000s of nontoxic, natural and earthwise products, and to sign up for her free email newsletters.

Article Source:

Article Source:

Monday, April 18, 2011

Thomas the Tank Engine Pedal Train: A “Really Useful Engine”

For generations, Thomas the Tank Engine and all of his friends have been charming young children, along with their parents. The antics of mischievous cars and the lessons about positive behavior and character traits have helped kids laugh and learn for over seventy years. If you have children, you have probably watched as Thomas and the other engines work hard to earn the highest of praise from their beloved Sir Topham Hat – to be called a Really Useful Engine. Now you can bring Thomas home to your little ones; the Thomas the Tank Engine pedal train will quickly become their new best friend as they pretend and grow together.

About the Thomas the Tank Engine Pedal Train

This top-quality ride-on toy will let your preschoolers live out their fantasy in style. Made from heavy-gauge steel, the Thomas pedal train features an adjustable pedal assembly, lead-free and rust-proof paint, and high-traction tires for safety. While costlier than your typical ride-on toy, this pedal train is built to last, as well as to keep your child safe during outdoor play. Recommended for children ages 3 to 6, this toy exceeds all U.S. safety regulations and will last for years of tough use. Perfect for home use, the Thomas the Tank Engine pedal train is also ideal for a day care or preschool setting.

Where to find the Thomas the Tank Engine Pedal Train

You can find the Thomas the Tank Engine pedal train at the lowest prices through A Kid Place. Our web site focuses on the highest quality educational toys and children’s furnishings without the high prices you will find at boutique children’s stores. You will find thousands of items by the top manufacturers for nursery and playroom furniture, waiting room toys, pretend play, puppet theaters, arts and crafts, and much more. Get ready for Spring and outdoor play with the Thomas pedal train and dozens of other whimsical and fun pedal vehicles.

Friday, April 15, 2011

The History of the Coke Machine

Whether you are old enough to remember the first Coke machines, back when a bottle of icy cold Coca-Cola cost only a nickel, or you are a fan or collector who specializes in vintage Americana, the American Retro coke machine is the perfect addition to your family room or patio area. For the enthusiast, here is a little bit of the history of the ubiquitous Coke machine.

The First Coke Machines

Coca-Cola was already the most popular American soft drink when the Coke machine first appeared on the scene in 1929. The original machine was a basic ice chest with the Coca Cola logo on it, manufactured by an Indiana company known as Glascock Bros. Manufacturing. It could be found in drug stores and malt shops everywhere; the 6-oz. bottles sold for 5 apiece.

The 1930s – Pre-WWII

Throughout the 1930s, Glascock Bros. continued to manufacture their signature Coke machines; the smaller models were designed to fit on store counters, or they could be wall-mounted to economize on limited space. A larger, “standard” model was available on casters so that it could be moved easily; the cooler held crushed ice to keep the drinks cold and refreshing, in keeping with the “Ice Cold” label that appeared on every machine.

World War II Era

In 1937, two companies – the Vendo company and Vendorlator Manufacturing Company – merged to form a single soda machine manufacturing firm. The resulting company produced over 5,000 coolers, which were installed at military bases and factories in keeping with Coca-Cola’s pledge to provide free soft drinks to all of the nation’s servicemen during wartime.

Postwar Years

The post-WWII Coke machines, in particular, are considered to be works of art and are highly prized by collectors. The first coin-operated machines featured white-over red units; thirsty customers would insert their nickel, then open the door and retrieve their bottled Coke.

With the American Retro Coke Machine, you can bring a little piece of vintage Americana into your own home. These exquisitely designed models are authentic down to the last detail and create the perfect conversation piece for your family room, bar area, or outdoor patio. You can find these vintage-style Coke machines, along with other great products from American Retro, at A Kid Place.