End of 2012 thing…

It’s true that we’ve only been in the blogging world for (almost) four whole months. However, it has truly been so much fun and with only a few (major) bumps in the road.

(Ok, yes our entire blog shut down and we lost all of our hard work, photos, and page views.  Twice…but hey, it could have been THREE times, right?)

We three sisters have always been close.  We are close in age and grew up sharing each other’s clothes, going on backyard adventures, fighting, and then forgetting about the fights so we could do more important things… like catching frogs and making up dance routines to the tunes from our pink cassette player 🙂

 Now we have all these kids that are best friends/cousins that are so close in age.  We are SO lucky that we live pretty close to one another.  But, since we’ve started this little website called Sugar Aunts, we have been talking even more frequently, calling each other daily, and going out on “Business Meeting” girls nights out (shopping, coffee, and laughing allllll night are common at all business meetings, right???).

So now, even though this little project is only in it’s baby stage and has a LONG way to go, we are so pleased to have YOU for readers and are SO thankful for that!

We were thrilled to share our ideas over the past four months…and SO look forward to the coming year and all that it brings!

Wishing you the Happiest of New Years and many blessings in 2013!
~Colleen, Leanne, and Erin

Our Top 5 Sensory Play Posts of 2012

This is part three of our end-of year review! Here is a run-down of our Top 5 Sensory Play Posts of 2012…

Growing MemoriesThe easiest sensory bin can be found in  your own backyard.   Some of the most memorable moments from my childhood were playing outside in the dirt.  I think getting back to basic play outside is very important in our child’s development. 

Water Beads Sensory Table:  We love water beads!  You will notice several posts with them, all of them being the same beads being used over and over again.  These little buggers allow for may play ideas and hours of fun. 

No Mess Sensory Play:  This fun activity allows for mess-free play.  You can add all kinds of different things inside the baggie for different sensory experiences.  The possibilities are endless.  You can change it around for different seasons, holidays, birthday theme…mix colors, textures, smells.
(This one was so much fun I had to include it too)
DIY Wrapping Paper:  Kids love making their own wrapping paper to cover gifts for friends and family.  It makes them so proud to be part of the present, and grandparents/aunts love receiving gifts wrapped in this special artwork.  Making your own wrapping paper is an easy and fun sensory project.
Light Bright Fun:  What is more fun than playing in the dark with a flashlight?  How about playing in a box with a light bright?!?  This fun sensory activity was a hit with the little kids. 
We are having so much fun reminiscing in all the fun we had in 2012 and excited to see what 2013 will bring!

Our Top 5 Fine Motor Posts of 2012

As part of an end-of year review, we wanted to share a few of our favorite posts in different areas of kids activities (Baby Play, Fine Motor, Sensory Play)

This is a collection of our favorite FINE MOTOR posts since our beginning Sugar Aunts almost four months ago…

Golf Tees and a Hammer:  This one was one of Little Guy’s FAVORITE activities   He still asks all the time to do the “golf tee game”.  In fact, he even picked golf tees for his Daddy’s Christmas gift at his preschool Secret Santa shop.  Not so he can go golfing…”So you can hit them into egg cartons, Dad”!

Magnet Play:  This was a fun one.  My kids ask if they can play with the corn bin constantly.  They love it! This activity was a fun one and really strengthens the small muscles of the hands.  It could be done with any theme…

Christmas Math:  This was part of our 25 Days of Christmas Play and such an easy activity to set up.  Big Sister loved using the pinch pins to do some beginning math.  Using the pinch clothes pins strengthens the intrinsic muscles of the hands and develops their tripod grasp.  This is a good one for those kids that complain of their hands being tired when they are coloring.  Use close pins on any cardboard/index cards/paper and it can go along with any theme or season!

Snowman Play Dough:  This one was really fun.  Play Dough is so great for developing fine motor skills.  Rolling, pinching, molding, poking…it works those small muscles!  You can use play dough in so many ways and with unlimited colors, scents, and going along with different themes.  Little Guy loved using his construction vehicles to play with this dough and we all had a blast making snowmen with this glittery, scented recipe.
Process Vs. Product Art:  This project is so great for developing mine motor skills in kids because the whole activity is based on the process of creating, using materials, managing tools (scissors, squeezing glue, peeling stickers…), and developing fine motor dexterity to grasp small beads/thread/bits of glitter…There are no expectations on the child, only exploration and creativity! 
This was just 5 of our play activities that focused on fine motor development.  We are so excited to come up with lots more in the coming year!  

Our Top 5 Baby Play Posts from 2012

We’ve posted tons of fun activities for babies, but here is a list of my favorite from 2012.

1.  Learning about emotions through play

This is a fun activity.  I love that it teaches emotions while having fun.  And what baby doesn’t enjoy playing with fridge magnets?!
This activity would be perfect all year round – I’m thinking a snowman face, a heart-shaped face, a sun face, a flower face…the possibilities are endless!

2. Indoor play: baby edition…spoons and cups

So why do I love this play idea?  Because it is soooo simple!  Babies are entertained by the simplest of things, especially things they see their mommies and daddies using every day – like cups and spoons!  I also love that this activity involves very little prep and little clean-up – great for a working mom!

3. Baby Play! (aka Brain Building)

Baby Boy loves playing with balls.  He loves playing in the kitchen cabinets.  Combining the two makes perfect sense!  My Baby Boy could drop balls into that box and take them out all day long.

4. Messy Play Day!

This post shares a few fun and very messy play activities.  I love that the babies were involved in the messy day.  What a fun way to play with (and learn about) textures.  A pool full of green spaghetti…now that’s creative!

5. Sensory Light Box

I love, love, love this light box.  And as for Baby Boy?  Well, he loves playing in boxes, he loves crawling into tunnels, and he LOVES lights!  Yeah, this is right up his alley!  So are you taking down your Christmas lights and throwing away some boxes from holiday gifts?  Maybe it’s time to create a fun, cozy play area for your little one.

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls Recipe

These Overnight Cinnamon Rolls are a staple in our house on Christmas mornings.  

I’ve been using this recipe for years and wanted to share since most recipes that I have seen for cinnamon buns take a little longer to to prepare. And then you need to warm up the dough before you bake them in the morning.  These are perfect for easy prep on a busy Christmas Eve (or any old day)! We love to share recipes that are perfect to get the kids cooking in the kitchen.  This is a multi-step recipe that will work little minds. And, the cinnamon rolls are so gooey and delicious that the kids will want to make them every weekend!

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls that are perfect to make for Christmas morning or any holiday.  Get the kids in on the baking for a cooking with kids learning activity.

Overnight Cinnamon Roll Recipe

The dough is prepared and rolled the night before…and in the am, just pull out of the fridge and pop them into the oven.  The gooey-ness of these cinnamon rolls goes perfectly with snuggly blankets, hot coffee, and family 😉

1 cup milk
1/3 cup butter
1 package of yeast
1/2 cup sugar
4 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
3 eggs

Cinnamon filling:
1 1/2 cups brown sugar (I used dark brown sugar, and it was perfect)
3 Tbsp cinnamon
3 Tbsp flour
1 stick of softened unsalted butter

2 cups confectioners sugar
2 Tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla

Warm the milk in a saucepan until it begins to bubble.  Remove from heat and add 1/3 cup of butter. Let the butter melt. 

In a mixing bowl, combine flour, yeast, salt.  Stir in the eggs and milk mixture.  Beat well. Once it has pulled together, dump the dough out onto a flour dusted counter.  Knead until smooth, adding flour as needed.  Knead for about 5 minutes.  

Cover the dough and let it rest while you prepare the filling.  Mix brown sugar, cinnamon, flour and soft butter together in a bowl until crumbly.  

Roll the dough into a large rectangle shape.  Cover with filling mixture and roll lengthwise.  Seal the edge of the dough with a little bit of water.

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls that are perfect to make for Christmas morning or any holiday.  Get the kids in on the baking for a cooking with kids learning activity.
Use a long piece of dental floss (Not mint flavored!) to cut the roll.  Slide the string under the roll and cross to cut the dough.  This way, you will get nice cinnamon rolls that aren’t squashed.  

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls that are perfect to make for Christmas morning or any holiday.  Get the kids in on the baking for a cooking with kids learning activity.
Place them in a casserole and admire their gorgeousness.
    Overnight Cinnamon Rolls that are perfect to make for Christmas morning or any holiday.  Get the kids in on the baking for a cooking with kids learning activity.

Cover the uncooked cinnamon rolls and keep them overnight in the fridge.  When you pull them out the next morning, let the dough warm up on the counter while you pre-heat the oven.  Bake at 350 for about 20 min or until the house starts smelling cinnamon-y and golden.  

The glaze is quick to mix together and pour over nice and bubbly brown cinnamon rolls. 


       Overnight Cinnamon Rolls that are perfect to make for Christmas morning or any holiday.  Get the kids in on the baking for a cooking with kids learning activity.

These are so good the next day too, just warm up covered, in the oven.  

  Overnight Cinnamon Rolls that are perfect to make for Christmas morning or any holiday.  Get the kids in on the baking for a cooking with kids learning activity.

This recipe was originally posted in 2012.  I’ve updated the images to include in our Cooking with Kids series.  We’re cooking our way through the alphabet and are up to letter X for Xmas Cooking (There really isn’t much to go on when you are cooking with “X” foods so X-mas it is!)

Stop by and see what the Cooking With Kids team have cooked up:

Candy Cane Kiss Sugar Cookies from Frogs and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails

Looking for more Cooking With Kids recipe ideas?  Try some of these:
           Quinoa Lettuce Wraps  

Q is for Quinoa: Quinoa Lettuce Wraps | R is for Rice: Vegetable Rice | S is for Spaghetti: Leftover Spaghetti Cups | T is for Tomatoes: Hidden Veggie Crockpot Marinara Sauce

Chocolate Dipping Party

Day 25 of 25 Days of Christmas Play

Brings Christmas Preparations, Getting Gifts Ready, and DIPPING CHOCOLATE! 
This was our Second Annual Chocolate Dipping Playdate.  And it was another success!  
Each mom brought some chocolate, an item to dip, and kids that were ready to play with friends 🙂  They left with exhausted kids…and a huge tray of assorted chocolate covered items to take to holiday parties/gift to family (or eat before the chocolates actually made it to any holiday festivities)!

We had a lot of fun with some moms helping to melt chocolate, some dipping, one running the treats between the kitchen and dining rooms, and a couple supervising the kiddos.  

Check out this spread! 

Later, I had my kids get some gifts ready for family.  They did some painting, 

Sorted out our gifts…
Have you seen our Gingerbread salt dough recipe? It’s not too late to make this easy project for a special someone!
Wrote out a few gift tags…
(We used our Christmas Stampers play idea and cut the paper into tag shapes).

Counted out the gift bags…

We have had so much fun sharing our 25 Days of Christmas Play with you.  
See them all together in a collection, here.  
I have loved hearing news that you and the kids have enjoyed one or a few of our ideas!  This has been a fun month in our house and hope it was for you too.  We are so excited to enjoy this holiday together with lots of snuggles, laughs, play, and love!  
I finally got the Christmas card finished…just a little late this year. There may just be a New years card this year…  
Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas and Wonderful New Year! 

DIY Handprint Ornaments **25 Days of Christmas Play**

Day 24 of 25 Days of Christmas Play
Handprint Ornaments made with salt dough!

I wanted try making these cute salt dough handprint ornaments I saw on The Imagination Tree earlier this week.  The recipe was simple and it was so FUN!  My daughter had a blast mixing the dough with her hands for a long time.


I rolled them out pretty thick so they had to bake for several hours on low heat (200F).   I baked them on a silicon baking sheet that had some textured bumps on the back.  I let them sit out overnight turned upside-down to make sure they were nice and hard, ready to paint!


My daughter had so much fun with this one.  Little guy thought it was pretty neat feeling when he pushed his little hand into the dough.


We decided to make it pretty simple, just paint the handprint one color and the outside another color.  I painted their names and the year on the back with black paint to make it stand out. 


String a little string through the holes and tie them in a knot, Ta-Da!  Simple handprint ornaments to enjoy for years to come!



I am so happy to have these little handprints!  I don’t want to think about how little they are going to look when comparing them next year…these little babies are growing so fast! 
Christmas modified paper for holiday handwriting for kids

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  • Recipe Sharing
  • Winter Writing Prompts

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DIY Christmas Memory Game **25 Days of Christmas Play**

Day 23 of 25 Days of Christmas Play
We made this fun little Memory Game with wrapping paper and Christmas stickers.  Big Sister LOVES to play Memory (and she’s pretty good at it too…she beats us most of the time)!

She had a blast with this easy game and we have been having fun playing Christmas Memory! 
Only a few more days of Christmas Play are in our series…but you can see them all Here