Category Archives: In the Kitchen

Oh, Christmas Tree – An Edible Craft For Little Hands



Cute, eh?

Forget the messy gingerbread houses when it comes to my little ones.  We’ll save those for the big guys.

For my Littles, this idea I found on Pinterest ( ) was the perfect answer to “How can we have some Christmas fun without blowing an entire afternoon with cleanup?”  You can find the original blog post here:

We mixed a little practical life skills in the kitchen with some fine motor stirring and sticking to come up with a very festive treat.  Since Noah is starting to approximate the word “tree,” (he says “ee”), this was just the kind of language-based activity I was looking for.

Activity:  Sugar Cone Christmas Trees

Supplies:  Sugar (ice cream) Cones, Candy Sprinkles, White Icing, Green Food Coloring


  1. Mix icing and green food coloring until you have the desired shade of green icing.
  2. Spread icing to cover the outside of an upside-down sugar cone.
  3. Either roll cone in sprinkles or place sprinkles on cone to represent ornaments.  (You’ll need large sprinkles if you’re going to place them individually.)
  4. Eat or place as decoration.  (These look great as decorations for centerpieces or buffet accents).

I started off this craft with the intention of just the Littles (Noah – 6 with DS, Bella 4, and Seth 2) working, but once the Middles (Leah – 11, Andres – 8 and Eden – 7) caught wind of what we were up to, our table was full of busy hands.  The fun was definitely worth the mess.  I find that keeping the kids busy really helps them enjoy each other.  Idle afternoons seem to take their toll on everyone.

We all had a sumptuous snack at the end of that activity, sans my husband who sat on the sidelines gagging at the thought of eating straight icing and ice cream cones.

He doesn’t know what he’s missing!

Pincer Grasp and Finger/Hand Strength – It’s For the Birds . . .

. . . Chickens, I mean it’s for the chickens.

One things most books about teaching children with Down syndrome will tell you is that you have to make the lesson or activity you’re teaching relevant to the child. In other words, they need to see a real-life purpose and payoff to their effort. From experience I can agree that “because I said so” is not generally a good enough reason to get Noah motivated when it comes to learning something new.

Today after lunch Noah ran into the kitchen and pointed to the tortillas but signed chicken. I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what he wanted, but Andres decided Noah must want to feed the chickens a tortilla. Whether that is what he really wanted or not is debatable, but Noah said his trademark “yeah”, took his tortilla outside, and promptly used a beautiful Pincer grasp to tear a strip off his tortilla and throw it to the chicken who was pecking at his feet.

A strip for the chicken, a strip for Noah – ew ew ew – patterning – check.

Holding tortilla in one hand and tearing pieces with the other – bilateral coordination – check; Pincer grasp – check; one more thing Noah can do independently – check.

I know what you’re thinking – like you’re really going to rush right out and buy a chicken for junior just so he can practice his Pincer grasp. Hmmmm. I’ve read your blogs – you might.

For the fainter at heart, how about a trip to the park to feed the ducks? Even the neighborhood birds might volunteer to entertain your little guy if you can attract their attention. For them, scatter the pieces on a bird feeder and keep an eye out from a window. If you already have feeders that birds use, this will be a breeze; otherwise, you may have to prime them with birdfeed for a couple weeks. Kids love the blessing of being a part of God’s provision for the birds and the beasts.

If no birds are available, make this into a snack activity. Have your child tear the tortilla into strips and then into pieces and then dip them into applesauce.

Another snack idea is to have your child use a dull knife to spread peanut butter on a tortilla they can then eat or roll and eat.

Of course, you can use bread for this activity, but the tortillas hold their shape when torn, so it allows for more precise hand and finger work.

This post comes to you today courtesy of Noah – I doubt I could have come up with this on my own. Thanks, Buddy.

DIY Gingerbread Granola

I know.

It’s not December.

It’s May.

But I miss gingerbread and eggnog.  And I’m getting a little tired of the same old granola every day.

Enter Pinterest.

Gingerbread Granola
Gingerbread Granola – Yummmmy!

Click on the granola for the link to the recipe.  You know those awesome  ginger snaps that you buy in the brown paper bags?  That’s what this tastes like.  Add a little milk and it’s like cookies and milk for breakfast.  Except it’s all natural – ginger, crystalized ginger (okay, I’m not sure if that is “all natural” or not, molasses, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon; you know, the basics.  This recipe is definitely going into the “Big Book.”

My little assistant, Noah, was a big help with all his stirring and pouring that makes granola such a great kitchen project to do with kids.

I had a little trouble finding the crystalized ginger until I remembered I had seen it in the bulk bins at our local grocery store.  If you can’t find it at your grocery store, try a Whole Foods, Central Market, Trader Joes or other health food or epicurean store.  I promise, it’s worth the trouble.