Tennessee – Home of Graceland

Busy as a Bee

Ever heard the saying “Busy as a Bee”?  Wonder where it came from?  Well, bees are busy all day long gathering nectar for food.  They collect the nectar from flowers.  They also pollinate fruits and vegetables – they do this by spreading pollen as they fly from flower to flower.  This helps the plants to germinate into fruits and vegetables. 

So a bees day is spent flying around locating flowers, gathering the nectar and then flying back to the hive.  Their day is very routine and they do not like to be interrupted.  An intruder to their routine is likely to get stung.  A bee sting does hurt and many people are allegeric and it can kill them if not treated right away.

When my sons were little, I was glad to get their first bee stings out of the way so I could rest assured that they were not allergic to them.  It may sound awful, but I wanted to be there for their first sting so I can see how their body reacted.  They did cry, but my magic bee sting paste made of baking soda and water always made it feel better. 


Anteater Hand Puppet by Folkmanis

Anteater Hand Puppet by Folkmanis

Anteater Hand Puppet by Folkmanis

Facts of Interest:
  • the anteater can be found in the grasslands, swamps and tropical forests of Central and South America
  • they are one of the few mamals without teeth
  • their tongue can stick out more than two feet and lick at a rate of 160 times per minute
  • they consume 35,000 ants and termites a day
  • females give birth once a year to a single pup which they carry on their backs for several months
  • the coloring of the baby allows tit to be camouflaged against the fur

Blueberry Cookies

Blueberries are a wonderful fruit to add to your diet – they contain lots of good things for us.  Have you ever thought of making blueberry cookies?  These will delight your kids as the are soft and filled with yummy blueberries.

Bluebrry Cookies


  • 6 Tbsp. butter
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • grated rind of unwaxed lemon
  • 3/4 cup blueberries


  1. preheat oven to 350
  2. line baking sheets with parchment paper
  3. beat butter and sugar together until creamy
  4. add egg and vanilla and mix well
  5. sift flour
  6. add flour and lemon peel to mixture and mix well
  7. drop teaspoon full of batter on baking sheet several inches apart
  8. bake 12-15 minutes or until a light golden color
  9. let cool on a wire rake

Don’t let the cookie monster get these delicious coo


Tapioca Pudding Recipe – A Fruity Treat

A cold pudding that everyone will love.  Add any type of fruit that is in season or your favorites – so many possibilities!

Tapioca Pudding Recipe


  • 2 quarts milk
  • 1 cup small pearl tapioca
  • 1 – 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup grapes, cut in half
  • 1 cup crushed pineapple, drained
  • 1 cup whipped cream


  1. whisk the milk, tapioca and sugar together in crock pot
  2. cover and cook on high for 3 hours
  3. in a bowl, beat the eggs and add vanilla
  4. add a little hot milk from the crock pot to the egg mixture and stir well
  5. add egg mixture to crock pot
  6. cover and cook on high for 20 more minutes
  7. chill the tapioca completely
  8. when cooled completely, add grapes, pineapple and whipped cream
  9. stir and serve

Tapioca is gluten-free.

Chicken Wraps – Kid Will Love This Hot Lunch

Kids just love pigs in a blanket – is it because they like hot dogs, or maybe they think the name is silly or perhaps because it is so different than your ordinary sandwich for lunch.  What ever reason, it is always wonderful for parents when their kids eat a good lunch without complaining or picking it apart.  Here is a twist on the Pig in a Blanket recipe that I am sure your kids will eat up and enjoy every bite.

Chicken Wraps


  • Dipping Sauce

                   1/2 cup sour cream

                   1/2 cup mayonnaise

  • Wraps

                     1 oz. envelop ranch salad dressing dry mix

                     2 Tbsp. vegetable oil

                     1 can refrigerated flaky biscuits

                     grilled chicken strips (either freshly grilled or pre-cooked )

                     2 Tbsp. butter


  1. Heat oven to 350
  2. Spray cookie sheet with cooking spray
  3. add 1 Tsp. ranch mix and oil to a bowl and mix well
  4. separate the biscuit and put on the cookie sheet
  5. using your fingers, shape each of them into a 6″ oval
  6. spread ranch mix on the top of each
  7. place about 3 chicken strips crosswise on each biscuit
  8. bring the ends of the biscuit over the chicken so that they overlap
  9. pinch them together to seal
  10. melt the butter and brush the top of the biscuits with it
  11. measure 3 tsp. of the dry ranch mix and sprinkle over the biscuit tops
  12. bake the wraps for 18 to 22 minutes or until light golden brown
  13. while they are baking, make the dipping sauce – put sour cream, mayo and the rest of the dry ranch mix into a bowl and mix well
  14. serve the chicken wraps  with the dipping sauce

You can experiment with the seasoning – perhaps your kids like a Mexican flair and you can use taco seasoning instead of ranch.  Mix it up – it is always fun to try something new.  As they used to say in an old commercial – “Let’s get Mikey to try it!”.

Green Toys Divided Plate
Green Toys Divided Plate

Try serving the Chicken Wrap on this divided plate by Green Toys.  You can use one of the sections for the dip, one for the wrap and the other for a piece of fruit.  The Green Eats children’s dinnerware is made of 100% recycled milk jugs right here in the USA.  They are free of BPA, phthalates, PVC, melamine, and external coatings.  They are dishwasher safe and come in a choice of 4 colors – orange, yellow, green and blue.  Check out the entire line of children’s dinnerware by Green Toys at http://www.cowandlizard.com/category/children-s-dinnerware




Leaf Art Journal

Encourage the love and respect of nature with your kids and start a Leaf Art Journal.  Kids can collect leaves throughout the summer and record their collections in an art journal.

Items Needed:

  • blank notebook
  • colored pencils
  • tree identification guide (try your local library)
  • scotch tape


  1. Gather your materials together
  2. Collect leaves throughout the year.
  3. Press the leaves between clean pages in the journal and tape the leaf stem onto the page to help keep it in place
  4. On the page, you can record such things as where and when you found the leaf, a description of it’s characteristics (size, shape, color, etc.) and anything else that you want to record.
  5. Use the tree guide to identify the leaf so you can record it in your journal along with any other interesting facts.
  6. Draw your own pictures of the leaf and/or the tree it

The Cats Meow

NEW Little Cat Puppet by Folkmanis

Little Cat Puppet
Little Cat Puppet


  • domestic cats belong to the species felis catus and were first tamed by humans as early as 4000 years ago
  • cats are skilled rodent catchers – large rodent populations in human settlements may have been what first kindled the relationship between people and cats
  • ancient Egyptians worshipped a cat goddess called Bastet – many ancient Egyptians mummified their pet felines after they died
  • almost a third of households in the US are home to at least one cat – some estimate that over 100 million cats exist worldwide
  • born hunters, cats have excellent hearing and can see very well at night
  • they are quick, agile and are outstanding climbers’their long tails and whiskers help them keep their balance
  • when cats fall from a reasonable height, they are usually able to land on their feet – this talent is called the cat righting reflex and is possible because of their extremely flexible backbone
  • cats make a wide range of sounds, from gentle purring to loud meows to violent hissing and growls
  • cats exhibit complex and sometimes unmistakable body language – an arched back usually means they feel threatened, while a tail pointed is a sign of happiness or greeting
  • cats also communicate by scratching and leaving their scent to demarcate the boundaries of their territory
  • scientists only recently discovered that cats have a very unique way of drinking -  in order to get liquids into their mouths they tap the surface with the smooth tip of their tongue to create a column of liquid, which they then trap in their mouths
  • a cat laps 4 times a seconds so it is impossible to see this action with the naked eye

NEW Baby Sea Otter Hand Puppet by Folkmanis

Baby Sea Otter Puppet

Baby Sea Otter Puppet

  • baby Sea Otters are called pups
  • Sea otters are the only kind of otter that give birth in the water
  • female sea otters usually give birth to just one pup at a time
  • mother sea otters nurse their pups while floating on their back but promptly teach them to swim
  • unlike other otters that have a layer of blubber to keep them warm, sea otters depend on two layers of fur to keep body heat in and cold out – the outer fur shield their dense inner layer of fur, which is full of millions of tiny air pockets – this is why otters are such fastidious groomers

Media & Tools – What can I draw with? – Part 2

Art Journal Kits

Art Journal Kits


PENCILS – Regular old No. 2 pencils are great to start with, chances are you have plenty around your house.  A wide variety of artist pencils are available in different harnesses ranging fro 68 (softest and darkest) to 6H (hardest and lightest).


COLORED PENCILS – Use the side of the lead to color in larger areas, use the tip for sharper details.  The more pressure you use, the darker the color.  Slowly build up layers of color and try blending different colors together.  Water color pencils are fun too, you can wet the tips or use a paint brush with a water wash after drawing with them for a painted effect.


PENS – Try different colors and thicknesses.  Regular ball point pens are great for doodling.  Gel pens, paint pens or opaque ink pens can be fun too.


MARKERS – These are great for adding vivid color quickly.  Long straight strokes are good for filling in areas of color.  Experiment with different marker thicknesses.


CHARCOAL – Charcoal comes in several harnesses and forms:  sticks, vines, and pencils.  Use for dramatic shading effects, especially when rubbed into the paper.  Use an eraser for highlights.  Careful, it can be messy!


COLLAGE SUPPLIES – Go on a treasure hunt around your house!  find photos, paper, newspaper and magazine clippings.  Use the decorative papers in the Art Journal kit.   Don’t forget the scissors, double stick tape and glue!