Healthy Kid Snacks: Chocolate Zucchini Muffins {Gluten Free & Sugar Free}

GlutenFree SugarFree Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

These are quick and easy and a big hit with the kids. My kids don’t generally eat gluten free, but I do, so when I find something they love that I can eat, too, it’s a keeper.  And, these muffins truly taste like cupcakes. I don’t even miss the frosting—the mini chocolate chips add a gooeyness that put these over the top.  [Read more...]

Easy Peasy Gingerbread Houses

Milk carton gingerbread houses.

These milk carton gingerbread houses are so easy to make.  They are quick and fun, an activity that we were first introduced to when my kids were younger and attended a weekly play group. We’ve been making them ever since.

You will need:
***A pint sized carton (or cut a quart sized carton in half)
***Graham crackers
***Spreadable frosting
***Candy

Start with a half-pint carton and a stack of graham crackers.  [Read more...]

How to Make Cough Drop Lollipops

cough drop lollipops

How to Make Cough Drop Lollipops

  1. Check the package of your favorite cough drops to make sure they are safe for your child.
  2. Cover a baking sheet with foil, then parchment.
  3. Place cough drops in pairs on the parchment.
    cough drops to melt into lollipops
  4. Leave spaces for lollipop sticks.
  5. Bake at 275 degrees for 8 to 9 minutes.
  6. Remove baking sheet from oven and immediately roll lollipop sticks into melted cough drops.
    cough drop lollipops DIY
  7. Let cool.
  8. Wrap individually in a cupcake wrapper.
    cupcake wrapper around cough drop lollipop

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Beach Dough: Homemade No-Cook Play Dough Recipe

I have a super easy way to make homemade play dough without cooking it on the stove. I decided to make play dough that looked like sand, to go along with a beachy theme. My kids are somewhat obsessed with collecting sea shells and bringing them home, thus we have a huge collection.

Here’s one way to play with sea shells. This was a great boredom buster as well as fine motor skills for my preschooler. And my big kids started their morning with a calm, soothing sensory activity rather than, you know, the usual chaos of arguing over who gets the last bit of the favorite cereal.

no cook play dough recipe for beach dough

Our beach dough looks like sand, but has the soft and smooth texture of homemade play dough.

Homemade No-Cook Play Dough Recipe for Beach Dough

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup salt
  • 2 tbsps. oil (I used grape seed, because it’s what I had.)
  • 2 tbsps. cream of tartar
  • 1 1/2 cups boiling water
  • yellow and brown paint (I used washable tempera paint.)

The whole wheat flour really gives the dough a sandy look, however it smells rather, well, wheaty, so to cover this, you can add  1 tbsp. of your favorite extract (peppermint, vanilla, lemon, orange, almond) or a few drops of essential oil (lavender is my favorite).

Here’s the fabulous no-cook part:  I threw all the ingredients into my stand mixer, in no particular order, except for the paint.  I started the mixer and then added a squirt of yellow paint, a bit of brown and kept doing this until it looked like the color of sand.

I added a bit more extract at the end to make it smell really good.

Then I set it out for the kids to find in the morning, They each got a plastic container filled with Beach Dough and their containers of shells.
no-cook play dough

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My Favorite Gluten Free Muffins

gluten free, grain free, sugar free strawberry breakfast muffins

These are Strawberry Breakfast Muffins. They are gluten free, grain free and sugar free. And they are delicious.

Elana over at Elana’s Pantry has this amazing cinnamon bun muffin recipe. I’ve been making and eating these muffins as my go-to breakfast for a year and a half, ever since I went mostly gluten and grain free, and often sugar free. I triple the recipe and freeze them. They heat up quite nicely in the microwave for 30 seconds. In fact, every recipe I’ve tried from Elana has been amazing and delicious, so  go and check out her blog, her books, and her awesome food.

freshly picked strawberries

And, yes, I know this is a homeschooling blog and this post has only a little to do with homeschooling, but when we are on a learning break, I post about things like berries, and laundry, and guns. Just so you know.

So the boys and I went strawberry picking and I couldn’t wait to get home and try a few new things with our beautiful, fresh berries.

freshly picked berries ready for jam

First, I made my first ever freezer jam, which also happens to be sugar free.  It’s just strawberries and agave syrup. That’s it.  You can find the directions at Simply Gluten Free.

The jam must be frozen or used within a week. Next, I had a great idea of how to put some of this wonderful jam to use.  Elana’s muffins! Here’s what we did:

  • Make Elana’s basic muffin recipe, omitting the cinnamon topping.
  • Add 1/2 cup chopped fresh strawberries to the batter, folding them in gently.
  • Add a dollop of the jam to the top of the muffins just before baking.
    dollop of jam on muffins
  • Bake the muffins for 16 to 20 minutes. This is longer than the original recipe because of the moisture from the berries.
  • Serve with a pat of butter and a drizzle of honey, if you are so inclined.

picking strawberries

My kids love these muffins and do not, as a rule, eat gluten/grain/sugar free. It’s so awesome when I make something that I can eat and they love it, too.

My little assistant, Love Bug, had fun helping me in the kitchen, measuring and mixing.  And that, my friends, is how it is related to homeschooling.

strawberry muffins