Sunday, December 28, 2008


A little Christmas gift to myself is no post this week.

Check in next week and hope you have wonderful holiday memories!

Sunday, December 21, 2008


This is hands down the best gingerbread recipe for making a Gingerbread House.

SMMART SCIENCE: Talk about the different forms that a solid can take when you observe the dough form of a solid and the baked cookie solid form. Also, take notice that a solid can be a powder when you observe the spices. You can talk about how many ingredients come together to form a mixture and make something new.

SMMART MATH: You can count the number of candies that it takes to cover the roof, make a path, or circle the doorway. Create shapes with candy to form the windows, doors and designs.

SMMART MUSIC: Turn on some holly-jolly music to enjoy while you enjoy time together.

SMMART ART: You are creating a gingerbread masterpiece...colors, shapes, patterns.

SMMART READING: Use any left over icing to pipe out your child's name in cursive. Pipe the name out on wax paper and let it sit until its hard. Then peel off the wax paper and your child can eat his name.

Gingerbread House Dough (courtesy of my friend Kindy)

6 and 3/4 c flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 and 1/2 c light or dark corn syrup
1 and 1/4 c packed brown sugar
1 c margarine or butter
1 Tb cinnamon
1 and 1/2 tsp ginger

-Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix dry ingredients and spices together in a mixing bowl.
-Combine sugar, corn syrup and butter in a pot and heat until melted while stirring continually.
-Pour heated mixture into dry mixture and combine well.
-Cool the dough so you can handle.
-Pour dough out onto floured counter so dough doesn't stick. Kneed dough until workable and ready to roll out.
-Roll dough out into 1/8 to 1/4" thick. Cut dough into pattern. You can search for a pattern of your choice online. (You may also wish to cut out shapes of snowmen and Christmas trees to adorn your Gingerbread House yard.
-Bake 8-10 minutes on Parchment paper lined cookie sheet.

(If you wish to use the scraps, bunch them together in a ball and microwave for a few seconds until the stiff dough becomes pliable again)

Makes 4 to 5 homes the size in my picture or many little houses.

Royal Icing

3 level Tb meringue powder
4 c powdered sugar
5-6 Tb water
(*optional: 1 Tb corn syrup for shine)

Beat on low 7-10 minutes till forms peaks

Makes 3 cups

Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Here is the link to the video for the SMMART ART: Teaching Your Child Great Art segment. It won't stay up long, so take a look:
Thanks for watching and tune in for
SMMART READING on January 14, 2009!

Sunday, December 14, 2008


Works every time...

What kiddo can resist dipping their finger into straight sugar for an instant reward after they correctly draw a letter (or word).

You may wish to reserve this activity as a postlude to a healthy meal.

Pour out just enough sugar to cover the bottom of a cake pan, or a cookie sheet. If you have a beginning letter writer, the cake pan is sufficient. If you wish to work on spelling words, then you need the room that a cookie sheet provides.
You can guide your child's finger in the correct letter formation first and then let him try it on his own.
After a while, the sugar gets a little sticky. We also use rice for this activity as a good substitute. (You can try flour, oats, split peas, lentils...) It also makes times that we use sugar a little more special.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Be sure to tune into "Good Things Utah" abc4 on Monday, Dec.15 at 10 am
for some SMMART ART ideas!

Sunday, December 7, 2008


This activity requires a little more preparation than most of the SMMART activities, but the payoff is well worth the effort. You are introducing your child to great pieces of art and their masters. Select a variety of works from different genres for this game.

Search the internet, magazines, or thrift store books for pictures of great masterworks. The internet is a flexible resource so you can shrink pictures and paste onto a document, ready to print.

This is one website that I find useful: (Olga's Gallery)

Find pictures of great art masterpieces. Shrink the pieces to smaller than 3X5 and print them in duplicate. Cut out each picture and paste each picture onto the back of a plain 3X5 notecard. Be sure to label the picture with the name of the artwork and artist. You may laminate these or use contact paper to aid in longevity of this card game.

Now you have duplicate pictures for a "Masterworks Matching" game. As you turn over each picture or make a match, be sure to verbalize the name of the artwork and each artist.

It won't be long before your child is naming them before you!


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