Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Johnny Appleseed Activities

For the last 3 1/2 years, I have been doing what we call, "Mommy School" here at our house. Once my oldest hit preschool age, I started Mommy School and have continued on with it with each of my preschool age kids. I have many reasons for keeping my kids home for preschool, but the main reason is, I am selfish and want them home with me as long as possible.
When I plan my Mommy School schedule, I try to incorporate our monthly and weekly themes and activities to go along with that specific time of year or season. Usually around this time of year, we usually do a unit on Johnny Appleseed. Since I don't have any kids in preschool at the moment, we are taking some of our favorite activities we would usually do with Mommy School and continuing to make memories and build traditions. 
So, this last week was Johnny Appleseed week. We planned 3 different activities for 3 different days. I am often asked how I plan so many activities for my kids to do. It's all about getting organized and realizing that most activities with kids only last 20-30 minutes. If you have a plan and are prepared, these things take a small amount of your time, but the kids remember them for years to come.

 On Wednesday, we read some of our favorite Johnny Appleseed books and made some apple art. I just free handed a tree that the kids colored, and then they used pencil erasers to make apples on their trees.
 One thing we love about Johnny Appleseed is his awesome hat. My kids love to put my pots on their heads while we read about Johnny Appleseed. But this year, we made some hats of our own. I just took a piece of black poster board, cut it into 3 long pieces and measured those pieces around each head. Staple it together after you figure out how big you want your circle and then cut a pot handle out of your leftover pieces of poster board. Staple those on the inside of your circle. Easy as that! We were done in 5 minutes and I didn't have to wash any pots:)

 You can't have a Johnny Appleseed week without making something with apples. We made one of our favorite apple desserts to enjoy Friday evening. (Recipe below)
Apple Spice Cake

3 cups flour
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
3-4 Granny Smith apples, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 tsp vanilla

Caramel Sauce:
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup evaporated milk
1 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt

For the cake:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a bundt pan with cooking spray and set aside. Sift together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt.
In a large mixing bowl, combine oil, sugar and eggs. Mix on high speed until it becomes a lemon color. Gradually add the sifted dry ingredients until just incorporated. Add apples and nuts to batter. Mix to combine. Add vanilla and mix until incorporated.
Pour batter into prepared pan, and bake until toothpick comes out clean, 75-90 minutes. Remove from oven  and cool slightly on a wire rack. Invert cake onto wire rack and cool completely. Serve drizzled with caramel sauce.
For the sauce:
In a saucepan, combine all the caramel sauce ingredients, stirring until thickened to desired consistency.
Serves 10-12

Source: Martha Stewart

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