Monday, October 31, 2011

Healthy Halloween Recipe: Jack-O-Lantern Sandwiches


  • whole wheat pita bread
  • cheddar cheese
  • cooked peas
  • pumpkin or circle cookie cutter


  1. Use a pumpkin cookie cutter to cut pumpkin shapes out of pita bread
  2. Slice cheddar cheese and place it onto the pumpkin, to that every spot except the stem is covered.
  3. Put it in the microwave for 15-20 seconds to melt the cheese.
  4. Place the peas on the pita with melted cheese to make a face
  5. Place the jack-o-lantern sandwiches on a baking sheet and put in the oven for 4-5 minutes on 350 degrees.
*If making ahead, after step 4, separate the sandwiches with wax paper and place in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Complete with step 5 when you are ready to serve them.

Healthy Halloween Recipe: Ghost Pitas

I got this general idea from, but modified it slightly. Here's my recipe.


  • whole wheat pita bread
  • cream cheese
  • raisins

  1. Cut a ghost shape (free-hand) out of whole wheat pita, using as much of the pita as possible.
  2. Spread on cream cheese, as evenly as possible.
  3. Use three raisins to make a ghost face: two for the eyes, one for the mouth.
*Make ahead: Separate each ghost with wax paper in an air tight container. Store it in the fridge.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Painting Pumpkins

For the first time at the daycare, we made a jack-o-lantern. I initially encouraged the kids to dig out the goo with their hands, but they weren't going for it. This was totally understandable since the stuff looks pretty disgusting, so I dug out the goo myself and separated the seeds while they watched. Then I gave them each a spoon, and we all worked on getting the rest of the pulp off the walls of the pumpkin. They really enjoyed picking the pulp up with their spoons and letting it plop onto the floor.

I told the kids they could try the pumpkin seeds after lunch. This prompted a meltdown for Noah, who wanted them NOW! He settled down after a while but showed his focus and determination by skipping lunch and holding out for the pumpkin seeds.

I guess it was worth the wait, because Noah loved them. So did B. Despite Aidas's initial excitement in the pumpkin seeds, he thoroughly loathed them. He spit them out and demanded that I get all the bits off his tongue! I thought that would be a bit excessive, and instead encouraged him to drink some water.

Another day, we painted small pumpkins. I gave them a tiny paint brush so that they could enjoy painting for longer than five seconds. They really had fun with this activity. 

Once they had dried, I put each of their initials on the pumpkins, and we set them out as decorations. Aren't they beautiful? I love all the Halloween decorations accumulating in our apartment!

Even though I carved the pumpkin, the kids got to choose the shape of the eyes, and whether the jack-o-lantern would be happy or sad, or mad. I set it out on the balcony.On a day when it was dark and rainy, I put the light inside (battery operated - no candle for us). The kids loved it. At one point, B. pulled up the little yellow chair and sat directly in front of the jack-o-lantern, studying it for some time. Oh so cute!

I had been trying to find pumpkin cookie cutters everywhere so that I could make jack-o-lantern cookies for our upcoming Halloween party. My mom found some that came as part of a pumpkin cookie making kit. Yes, I could have substituted this for the recipe that I was planning to use for our party, but instead we went ahead and made these cookies. Who says you can't have jack-o-lantern cookies twice in one week, right?

Aidas had not arrived yet (and Oscar was away, as he was much of this week), so Noah and B. were the designated bakers. They were both eager for turns with pouring in ingredients, stirring, and cracking the eggs (with assistance). They both got their own lump of dough to roll, and luckily there were two pumpkin cookie cutters, so there was no fighting about that.

Since it was a rainy day, Lucas and Maya came over for a play date. All the kids got to spread frosting on their own cookies, and I put faces on for them. Yummy!

On Thursday the kids each brought one of their vehicles to ride (or push) around the big block. We wanted to get a better look at some of the Halloween decorations on Pacific Avenue. It's just amazing, the detail that the people at some of these homes have put into their front lawn display. It's so fun! 

We love the giant Frankenstein at the corner of Pacific and Humberside. Noah's favourite, though, was this happy ghost hanging from the tree. 

I don't know why I am so Halloween-crazy this year. I think it's because the kids are old enough that we can really have fun with it. Stay tuned: I'm not done with Halloween blogs just yet. Monday is our daycare Halloween party, and we have Lucas, Maya and Marlaine joining us to celebrate!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Ghost Sock Halloween Craft

  • white sock
  • black felt
  • thick Popsicle sticks
  • white glue
  • tissue paper
  • marker
  • orange pipe cleaner
  • scissors

  1. Place the sock upside down so that the toe is at the top. (The toe area will be the head of the ghost).
  2. Socks should be about 8 inches long. If longer, cut the bottoms off to make them this length.
  3. Place the Popsicle stick inside the sock, horizontally, about 4 inches from the top. You will need to pull at the side of the sock and stretch it, so that it will hold the stick. These are the ghost's arms.
  4. Help kids to scrunch up a an individual piece of tissue paper.
  5. Hold the bottom of the sock open and have them push the tissue paper as high up as possible. They will likely need help to get the tissue paper past the Popsicle stick and into the toe of the sock. Continue doing this until the sock is filled with tissue paper right up until an inch or two from the bottom.
  6. Using the black felt, cut two circles that are 2 inches in diameter for the eyes, and one that is 3 inches in diameter for the mouth.
  7. Using a marker, lightly mark a dot where each of the eyes, and the mouth should go.
  8. Give the kids the glue and a Popsicle stick. Have them scoop up some glue with the Popsicle stick and  apply it to one of the dots. Give them an eye or mouth to glue onto it.
  9. Once they have finished the face, you can write their first initial on the front of the ghost using the marker. 
  10. To make the bottom of the ghost look more "flowy", cut 1-inch vertical strips all the way around the bottom.
  11. Thread the orange pipe cleaner through the top of the ghost and tie it at the top. Hang the ghost for all to see!

Collecting Leaves

We have been enjoying the fall season, whether taking a walk around the block, playing out back, or going to the playground. We even visited High Park Playground (which we haven't done for a very long time). We met Marlaine and the twins there. The twins and the 3 older boys are actually all on the slide in the photo above.

Above, the big boys are gluing foam ABC's, dinosaurs, farm animals, stars and trains while Oscar roams around on the floor. Actually, he has recently been pulling himself to a standing position! One of his new favourite activities is standing at Noah's bedroom window, enjoying the view.

One day, I gave each of the kids a brown paper bag with their name on it, and we all went outside to collect leaves. We went around a different, larger block so that we would have more variety to choose from. For the first half of the block, Noah walked and collected leaves. He got so passionate about it that he started picking up nearly every leaf, regardless of its quality. But who says a few dried pieces of leaf desperately hanging onto a stem isn't quality? Not Noah!

At the halfway point, it was Noah's turn to ride in the wagon while Aidas and B. searched for their favourite leaves. We gave some leaves to Oscar to hang on to. He obviously needed to be closely monitored lest he consume an early lunch of leaf and paper bag. (He LOVES a good paper snack!) Aidas and B. started out collecting leaves, but eventually became far more interested in trucks and fire hydrants. 

Later that day, we emptied our leaves onto the table. (I had disposed of the "unhealthy" ones.) We attempted  a leaf colouring activity. You know, the one where you put the leaf under the paper, then rub your crayon on top of the paper until you see the shape of the leaf? Well, apparently they are not quite ready for this yet. Not only was it difficult for them to do, but they also had trouble seeing the leaf shapes after I helped them to colour. We'll give it a try again next year when Noah is 4. Perhaps we'll simply try gluing the leaves onto paper in the meantime.

Here are Aidas and B., having a blast with Noah's wooden train set (which has been greatly embellished by a birthday gift from Auntie Krista and Uncle Scott). Oscar loves to take the track apart, which does not please them.

And here's the sleepy-head. It usually takes quite a while for Noah to agree to leave the comfort of his bed after we wake him up from his nap. (He is always the last one still sleeping.) If I really want him to get out faster, we all have to leave his room (once he is fully awake) and take the party to the living room. Only then will he demand to be freed.

We've also been visiting the Early Literacy Program at Indian Road Public School. There are so many activities for the kids to enjoy there! It's a very busy place and I barely have time to snap a photo. The two pictures above were taken on a day when we met Marlaine and the twins there. The lady that runs the program is absolutely fantastic. We love her, and the way she runs music circles. 

We played hockey outside one day. I had to show the boys how to hold the stick again, but once I did they caught on pretty quickly! Oscar crawled around chasing after his own ball, basically using his hand as a hockey stick.

And here's the little guy practicing his crawling skills at Lithuania playground. He's getting lots of head bonks and bruises, which I remember so well with Noah and Aidas at this age. In fact, he sustained a minor injury shortly after the tunnel picture was taken. Poor little guy!

We played Grocery Store with Noah's new pretend cash register this week. In one picture, we have our youngest customer ever making a purchase at Loblaws. In the second picture, we have B. purchasing eggs by opening the carton and choosing his favourites. I had no idea eggs were sold individually!