How To Decorate Easy Angel Cookies: Letter A Snack

Apparently, I love to have alphabet series going on this blog. First I did Catholic alphabet crafts (which turned into Catholic ABC’s), then I moved onto a Bible alphabet craft series, and this year I’m doing Bible themed snacks. So here we go, A is for easy Angel cookies!

angel cookies recipe

I decided to do the alphabet snack thing with Violet this year because I wanted a 1 on 1 activity we could do together each week. In a larger family, sometimes things like this have to be fit in purposely as they don’t always happen organically. So my 4 year old Violet made these (almost) entirely on her own.

We started with my great grandmother’s secret sugar cookie recipe a bag mix and an angel-shaped cookie cutter. (I’m a real-life, homeschooling, business running, housekeeping mom, so yes, cutting corners around here is what keeps our world turning.)

how to make easy angel cookies

We mixed the dough, and began rolling out the cookies right away. I let Violet do most of the rolling, and all of the cutting.

kids making angel cookies

Bake according to package directions (or your great grandmother’s handwritten recipe card- whatev)

how to bake angel cookies

While they’re cooling, mix your icing. This is where I actually am sharing an old family recipe. It’s basically the best cookie icing you’ll ever meet. There’s no need to go around the edges and come back to fill, there’s also no swipes from icing with a knife, and there aren’t even any annoying icing bags that have to be filled or washed. Also, my kids have a lot of trouble icing from bags, and it’s impossible to get them to stop licking their fingers while they do it. Yuck.

easy cookie decorating icing for kids

Easy to make, easy to use cookie icing recipe for kids:

  • 1 Tbs heavy cream
  • 1 Tbs powdered sugar
  • 1 drop of food color

I mix this in several small bowls (or tea cups, or muffin tins) and we use q-tips to paint it onto the cookies. It coats the top of the cookies well, dries hard and shiny (so you can stack the cookies) and it’s yummy. No need to refrigerate the final cookie. Best part is, even the smallest kids are capable of decorating cookies this way.

easy cookie decorating for kids

We made pink, yellow and blue icing, and left one of the cups white. To decorate your EASY angel cookies, first paint the wings white, then paint the triangle of their dress the desired color. Leave the heads cookie colored. Viola- you’re done!

easy angel cookie decorating

I wanted to share this because all the angel cookies I found online were super complicated, and I don’t have any advanced cookie decorating skills. Even the kids were easily able to paint the angels like this.

angel cookies kids can make

In the picture below, children painted the 3 angel cookies on the left, and I painted the 3 on the right.

angel cookies

So there you have it- sugar cookie making and decorating with kids that doesn’t leave you wanting to pull your hair out. Another sanity thing: we just made one bag of them. Yes, we’re a big family, and yes, everyone just got a few cookies, and no, they didn’t last long, but a very large batch would have been time consuming and stressful to make. I chose sanity. :-)

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Tips For Teaching Letters To Preschoolers: Avoid These 4 Common Pitfalls

In many preschool programs (including my own) the structure is that the preschoolers learn one letter per week. This will be our 6th year in a row to have a letter of the week in our home! Before beginning letter lessons at your house, do you know the common pitfalls of teaching preschoolers their letters?

teaching letters avoiding pitfalls

Let’s start with a simple quiz. Can you spot 3 things that are wrong with this letter toy?

bad letter toy for kids

If not, then this article was written for you. Keep reading to find the answers.

Pitfall 1: Teaching The Capital Letters First

Around 97% of the English language is written in lowercase letters, so run with that. WHEN SOMETHING IS WRITTEN IN ALL CAPITALS, IT FEELS LIKE SOMEONE IS SHOUTING IT AT YOU. Also, when you’re teaching your child to write his or her name, don’t teach them in all caps. If you do, you’re just going to have to un-teach it and re-teach it later, which is just silly.

handwriting tips

Pitfall 2: Using Letters That Don’t Look Like Letters

This sounds so basic, but it is something many parents (and many many toy companies) don’t think about.

Avoid the cheap letter magnets you can buy at the Dollar Store or Wal-Mart. They usually have weird blobs on the end of all the letters, much like the Times New Roman font, like these:

letter magnets

The alphabet magnets pictured below are my favorite. They’re offered in lowercase, and all the vowels are red (which matches the colors they will use in the All About Reading program they start in Kindergarten.) They’re also an affordable alternative to a genuine Montessori “movable alphabet.”

good alphabet letters

Also, avoid things with weird fonts. Some letters to look out for are “a” and “g” (example below.) Definitely avoid using fonts like this with preschoolers.

fonts to avoid with preschoolers

Pitfall 3: Teaching The Less Common Letter Sounds

There are a lot of confusing things about the English language. Let’s not throw all the weirdest stuff possible at our kids right at the very beginning, mmmk? Here are some examples of these to avoid:

  • The Letter C- use things that actually make the sound /k/, such as cookie. Don’t start with stuff that makes the sound /s/, such as “Cecilia.” (I know a lot of cute Saint stuff for kids uses St. Cecilia for the letter C. This drives me batty! Also avoid things that start with the sound /ch/, such as “Church.”)
  • The Letter G- use things that make the /g/ sound, as in garden. Don’t use things that make the /j/ sound, such as giraffe (or for instance, St. George.)
  • The Letter X- use things that make an /x/ sound rather than a /z/ sound. This can be tricky because words that start with x will make the sound /z/ as in “xylophone”, or they will say the letter “X” rather than making the sound, as in “X-ray.” To find something that makes the /x/ sound, you usually have to go with words that end in x, such as “fox”, or words that start with ex such as exalt. I usually break my own capital rules for this, and write the word with a big x for this lesson.

teaching letters avoiding pitfalls

Pitfall 4: Teaching Weird Vowel Sounds

Remember the rule above about teaching only one sound at a time? Well, that’s tricky with the vowels because they make lots of weird sounds. Teach your child that vowels are special, and they can say either their sound or their name. The sound of A is /a/ as in “apple”, but A can also say its name as in “ape.”

So for vowels, stick to just the most common sound and the name of the vowel. So O can say the sound /o/ as in “octopus”, or it can say its name as in “open.” These would both be fine examples to use for the letter O. An example of a poor choice would be “owl.” If you say it to yourself a few times, you’ll realize it’s not saying its sound or its name. It’s actually making an /a/ sound at the beginning.

Back to our quiz from the top. Now can you spot 3 things that are wrong with this letter toy?

bad letter toy for kids

  • First of all, it’s in all caps.
  • Second of all, the letters have those weird blobs at the end
  • Third of all, it’s much better to have letter manipulatives that are actually shaped like the letters rather than printed on squares, especially for kinesthetic learners.
  • Giving credit where credit is due: at least they used a word that actually sounds phonetically like the most common letter sounds.

Here’s an example of a very similar, yet much better letter toy:

letter toy for kids

  • It utilizes lowercase letters
  • The letters are shaped the way that people write letters.

I can also throw a few more “pros” onto this one. This example is self-corrective, so it’s impossible to put letters where they don’t belong. It also has dents where the letters go, so your kids can run their fingers in it (much like Montessori sand paper letters.) Melissa and Doug even went as far as to actually print the letter into the hole rather than just having an “s” shaped blob. Well done, Melissa and Doug. Well done. (FYI, if I were in charge of making this toy, I would also color code the consonants and vowels. Just sayin’.)

Now it’s your turn. What are your letter lesson pet peeves?

catholic abc

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DIY Mini Mass Kit For Kids- Mass Resources For Catholic Kids

You can find all of my Mass resources for Catholic kids here.

I am beginning a new series called “Teach Catholic Kids About The Mass.” Today, I wanted to share something with you that we actually did years ago. It’s a craft with a tiny altar, tiny altar pieces, and big fun for Catholic kids!

diy miniature mass set for catholic kids

The great thing about this Mass set for kids is that it’s cheap, easy to put together, and doesn’t take up much space at all. In fact, it’s all self-contained in one little wooden box.

self contained mass kit for kids

Materials Needed To Make Your Own Play Mass Kit:

  • Wooden Box (not those super tiny ones, but something about the size of half of a shoe box will do.)
  • Felt- one piece each of the following colors: green, red, white, purple (any other “Liturgical” colors you are interested in adding)
  • One Small golden “chalice” (You can find these at craft stores. Sometimes you can find them as small “trophies” at the Dollar Tree. You can clip the big handles off with scissors. Be sure to also check the wedding favor aisle at your craft store. This will probably be your most specialty piece to find.)cheap and easy mass kit for kids
  • Tiny wooden vases. Again, just check in that wooden st
    uff aisle at your local craft store, and think outside the box for finding things that could work as a vase.
  • Small wooden circle. Draw a cross on it for Eucharist.
  • Small fake flowers for your vases
  • 2 white birthday candles
  • Two wooden thimbles to use as candle holders. Wad some foil inside to give it a bottom and help the candles stay.

how to make small candle holders

Here is the pretend altar, totally ready for pretend Mass! :-)

play altar table

 

I love that the storage box itself actually becomes the play altar. Your kids can set it up for all different Liturgical seasons.

easy small mass kit for kids

This is a perfect craft to pair with alter server and priest peg dolls! :-)

catholic peg dolls with altar servers

how to make priest peg dolls- catholic kid craft

Another great pair with this is my Mass book for kids so they can read the parts as they “play.” More Mass resources for kids coming soon! :-)

Picture Book of the Mass

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Tell Me About The Catholic Faith (and more) – Book Reviews

Today, I’m reviewing some of the books from the Ignatius Press / Magnificat line for children. Overall, I’ll say that I’m impressed. It always puts a smile on my face to see quality stuff put out for Catholic kids. :-)

review of tell me about the catholic faith

I opened the Tell Me About The Catholic Faith book and was instantly thrilled with the adorable and colorful illustrations throughout the book!

holy land map for catholic kids

One of the things I love the most about actually Catholic stuff for kids is I don’t have to worry about the message being… well… off. Whenever we have materials made by protestant faiths, I’m always worried about the message, especially when pertaining to the Eucharist. In the first paragraph, it talks about how many books there are in the Bible. I thought, “Yay! It will actually  have the right number of books because it’s Catholic!”

how many books in the bible mistake

For anyone who doesn’t know off the top of their head, there are 73 books total in the Catholic Bible. This was pretty disappointing. I haven’t noticed any other errors in this book, but I haven’t yet read them cover to cover. (FYI- This is a typo- it is not the number of books in the Protestant Bible.)

Overall, I do recommend owning this book. It is visually appealing, has great information for Catholic kids (and adults) alike, and each 2 page spread is self-contained, making it perfect for including with short lessons. I wish I had this book last year for Lydia’s First Communion prep. I have totally recommended it to all of my Catholic friends. Lydia has read most of it completely on her own, and loves the comic book pages the most!

mother teresa graphic novel style for small catholics

There are several different illustrators, so different pages have a different feel, and I like that.

They also have a book that’s Tell Me About the Catholic Faith for Small Children. This book is also cute, but everything in it is extremely brief.

tell me about the catholic faith for small children

It covers the same material as the one for older kids, but there is just a sentence or 2 about each thing.

book for small catholics

Overall, if I were spending my own money on these, I would just get the one for older kids and skip the one for the littles. There are plenty of books that are more appealing to small kids, and it seems a little redundant to own both of them.

for small catholics

I also got to review their set of graphic novel style Bible books, and these were a huge hit here!

catholic children's book review 5

Kids (even reluctant readers) love the comic book style format with tons of pictures! These books also have contained page-spreads, so there is a definite beginning and end to each story. I love that because it means kids don’t have to read it cover to cover. It’s also perfect to pull off the shelf and refer to for a specific Bible story.

catholic children's book review 4

Lydia (age 8) loves to read these independently, and is becoming more familiar with her Bible stories.

catholic children's book review 2

Again, it is nice to have books that are actually from a Catholic perspective so I don’t have to worry about the message of the stories being weird.

catholic children's book review 3

There are 4 books in this set: The Parables of JesusGospel StoriesActs of the Apostles, and the Miracles of Jesus. I like how the books are divided because it’s organically teaching my kids the definition of a parable, a miracle, etc.

I recommend all of these for reading-age children, mostly because I find it really obnoxious to read graphic-novel style books out loud to my kids. The ideal age group I would recommend these for would be from 6-10.

catholic children's book review 6

It’s hard to tell in these pictures, but the books are super high quality. The covers are slick and almost a little puffy. They really seem like they’re going to last through all my  kids. :-)

catholic children's book review 1

You can see how we organize our children’s books here. I like to own Catholic books, because they generally can’t be checked out from the library. If you can only afford one for now, I highly recommend Tell Me About The Catholic Faith. I think you’re going to like this series of books. :-)

You can check out more of my reviews here. Also, be sure to check out my free printable reading charts for kids!

Disclaimer: I did receive all of these books for free in exchange for a review. I do not recommend things to my readers that I don’t like- all opinions shared are my own.

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