Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Open Very Carefully: A Book with Bite by Nicola O'Byrne and Nick Bromley

This charming book is not one to read when you want to settle your child down before bedtime. But it's exactly the book you need when you want to spark a little one's imagination and explore the magic of books. The story starts out as most stories do, "Once upon a time..." but it takes less than twenty words before an intruder shakes things up.

The intruder is a crocodile, and he's made his way into the story of "The Ugly Duckling," which, of course, throws everything into a frenzy. Your child will help intimidate the crocodile and take a very active role in cajoling the intruder into leaving the story.

I highly recommend using this book in your co-op shifts. Have it on hand for when children get grumpy or need to be refocused. Once you've read it aloud a time or two, kids will enjoy picking it up and "reading" their own versions of it, especially when they get to the end where they can stick their little fingers right through the crocodile's escape hole.

This is Nick Bromley's debut children's book, and we're sure to see great things from him in the future. If you'd like to see more of Nicola O'Byrne's imaginative illustrations, visit her website and blog. You can find some of her picture book recommendations (also great ideas for your babysitting co-op shifts) at this post, which lists her personal favorites.

Happy reading!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Peanut Butter Balls

When my kids get home from school and they have that exhausted look in their eyes, it's important to get peanut butter in their mouths as quickly as possible.

Enter peanut butter balls.

When blood sugar is low, the world is a dark and hostile place. But with a couple of peanut butter balls in the stomach, suddenly the sun bursts forth from behind the clouds, and amazingly, there's enough energy for running outside to play.

Peanut Butter Balls

1 cup powdered milk
1 cup natural peanut butter
1/2 cup honey

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl or mixer. Roll them into balls and place them on a foil or parchment paper-lined cookie sheet. Place the balls in the refrigerator for at least one hour. Keep them in an airtight container in the fridge for those moments when your kids need some quick protein and calories.