Cook with Books: Mouse Mess

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Cook with Books: Mouse Mess from the Homeschool Share Blog

My nieces came to visit for an “Art Day,” and I decided we could throw in a “cooking” project, too. After all, culinary art is art!

We read Mouse Mess by Linnea Riley–a short, rhyming romp about a mouse who snacks his way through the kitchen. After the tale, we got started on our cracker snacker lunch.

Cracker Snackers

I gathered lots of fun ingredients. I split the dining room table into two spaces for the girls to work. One side was savory. The other side was sweet.

You could use any of the following combination of ingredients for the savory snackers:

  • Crackers, Appetizer Bread (bases)
  • Sliced Boiled Egg
  • Sliced Cucumbers
  • Sliced Tomatoes
  • Peanut Butter (and Jam)
  • Cheese Spreads
  • Cheese Slices
  • Pepperoni or Ham Slices
  • Olives, Pickles (for toppers!)
  • Goldfish Crackers (another good topper)

Cook with Books: Mouse Mess (Homeschool Share Blog)

You can really let your imagination go wild for the sweet snackers:

  • Graham Crackers (base) Did you know they come in cinnamon and chocolate, too?
  • Peanut Butter
  • Nutella
  • Vanilla Pudding
  • Fruit Slices (any kind!)
  • Berries (for toppers)
  • Mini Chocolate or Peanut Butter Chips (a favorite, for sure)

Cook with Books: Mouse Mess (from Homeschool Share)

I let the girls go to work, and work they did. The combinations were fantastic and delicious!

Cook with Books: Mouse Mess (from Homeschool Share)
Happy Eating & Happy Reading!

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Cook with Books: The Three Little Pigs

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Cook with Books: The Three Little Pigs from the Homeschool Share Blog
My friend, Carmen, is a super creative homeschooling mama of three.

To meet the needs of all three ages of her children (plus some extra kiddos, too!), she read several versions of The Three Little Pigs. The children then wrote their own play, created sets, planned a menu, and made invitations to a “Backyard Dinner Theater.” They had a few rehearsals and created simple costumes before the big show.

The menu was quite elaborate:

Pigs in a Blanket
Mini Ham Sandwiches
Curly Tail Macaroni and Cheese
Curly Tail Pasta Salad
Veggie Tray
Sticks (pretzel sticks)
Straw Stacks
Bricks (Peanut Butter Rice Krispie Treats)
Piggy Punch (Pink Lemonade)

Grandparents were invited, and it was a fun night!

You could certainly replicate her entire production, but for this post, I am just going to share the easy recipe she gave me for the Straw Stacks.

Cook with Books: Making Straw Stacks (Three Little Pigs)

Straw Stack Treats

1 bag chow mien noodles
2 cups chocolate chips
2 cups butterscotch chips

Melt chips together. Pour melted chips over chow mien noodles. Use two spoons or a large cookie scoop to crate straw stacks on waxed (or parchment) paper. Let set. Store in an airtight container.

Enjoy! Happy Reading!

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Cook with Books: The Rainbow Book

Cook with Books: The Rainbow Book (Homeschool Share Blog)

When I saw The Rainbow Book by Kate Ohrt, I knew it would not be enough to borrow it from the library. No. We had to own it. Each page brings a kaleidoscope of paper-cut colors, making it truly beautiful. It also provides a base for discussion of various emotions: alert, calm, energetic, fiery, exciting.

The Rainbow Book is also the perfect literature selection to go with Rainbow Fruit Kabobs.

Rainbow Fruit Kabobs Recipe

You need lots of colorful fruit–one kind of fruit per color.

Cook with Books: The Rainbow Book (Homeschool Share Blog)

Red: watermelon, strawberries, cherries, red raspberries
Orange: cut oranges, mandarin oranges, cantaloupe, mango, peaches
Yellow: pineapple, golden delicious apples
Green: honeydew, green grapes, kiwi slices, avocado slices
Blue: blueberries
Purple: blackberries, grapes (red or purple), plums

Don’t forget to add wooden skewers to your shopping list, too.

The child can help prepare the fruit by washing it. Then you can finish the prep by chopping and slicing.

Cook with Books ~ Rainbow Fruit Kabobs

We assembled the kabobs by adding the fruit in order of the rainbow.

Enjoy your treats–the book and the food!

Cook with Books: The Rainbow Book


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Cook with Books: A Camping Spree with Mr. Magee

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cook with books A Camping Spree with Mr. Magee

Fall is a great time for camping!  If you’re planning a camping trip, you will definitely want to check out A Camping Spree with Mr. Magee, by Chris Van Dusen.  This picture book tells of Mr. Magee and his dog, Dee, who have quite an adventure when they decide to take the trailer out for a weekend in the wilderness.  The entire story is done in rhyme and is fun and easy to read aloud.  You may recognize Van Dusen’s art style from his illustrations in Kate DiCamillo’s Mercy Watson books.  Here, too, they are bright and cheery and go along well with the story.


Whether you’re camping away from home or in your own backyard, s’mores cones are a fun variation on the traditional campfire snack.  All you need are:

  • sugar cones
  • chocolate chips
  • mini marshmallows


Step 1:  Fill your cone with marshmallows and chocolate chips.


Fill it up to the very tip top!


Step 2:  Wrap the cones in foil and put them on your grill.  How long you have to wait will depend on how big your fire is and how melty you want your chocolate and marshmallows!

5Step 3:  Enjoy!  These are not as messy as traditional s’mores, thanks to the cone!  After we made these, we started brainstorming all the variations you could make…peanut butter, mint chocolate chips, peppermints…Just about anything you can think of!

Happy camping!

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Cook with Books: Jamie O’Rourke and the Big Potato

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Cook with Books Jamie O'Rourke and the Big Potato
St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner and this month we have a wonderful book and recipe to help you celebrate!  Jamie O’Rourke and the Big Potato is Tomie dePaola’s retelling of an old Irish folktale.  Jamie O’Rourke is known for being the laziest man around, and when his wife, Eileen, is unable to dig up the potatoes, Jamie fears he will starve.  He heads to church to talk with his priest, but on the way he meets a leprechaun.  Instead of giving Jamie his pot of gold, the leprechaun talks him into taking a seed for the biggest potato in the world.  Jamie takes the seed home and plants it and soon finds that even though he’s not going to starve, he’s got a whole new problem on his hands!

This month we have a super simple recipe to share with you.  In fact, it’s so simple, I’m not sure it really can be called a recipe!  All you need are the ingredients pictured above.

hard to cutPeel your potatoes and chop them up.  This may be hard for your smaller kids to do.

cuttingWe had to switch to a kids’ knife, which was much easier to use!

choppingYou want bite-sized pieces!

mixPour some oil over the potatoes and stir; then add dry ranch dressing mix–or any other seasoning you’d like.

ready to bakePlace them in a baking dish and pop them in the oven.

finishedYou’ve got a simple and yummy side dish in just about an hour!

Here’s the “recipe” for you:


  • potatoes
  • oil
  • seasoning


  1. Peel the potatoes and cut into bite-sized pieces.
  2. Put the potatoes in a bowl and add oil and seasoning mix and stir well.
  3. Bake at 375 degrees for about 45 minutes.


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Cook with Books: Ed Emberley’s Fingerprint Drawing Book

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The books we feature in the Cook with Books posts are usually stories, but this month we have a fun activity book to share with you!  Ed Emberley’s Fingerprint Drawing Book is a terrific book to bring out on those cold winter afternoons when the kids’ energy is high and yours is low.  Kids of all ages can follow the simple steps to make fingerprint pictures without much help at all, which makes this an excellent book in my opinion!  When they’re finished with their pictures, the kids can try out these easy thumbprint cookies, too!

thumbprint ingredientsThese cookies are so good and easy to make.  You’ve almost certainly got everything you need on hand!

butter and sugarStart by creaming your butter and sugar together.

eggsNext you’ll add your vanilla and the yolks of two eggs and then mix again.  My kids actually did really well for their first time trying this!

flour and saltAdd the flour and salt and mix until you get a smooth dough.  At first it will look very crumbly, like the picture above, but stick with it and a nice dough will form.  Let the dough chill in the refrigerator for half an hour or so.

jellyRoll the dough into one inch balls and then place the balls on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  Press your thumb down into the middle of the dough ball to make a little indentation.  Fill the cookies with whatever kind of jams or preserves you prefer.  I love that everyone can have a different flavor if they want!

messSome kinds of fillings will make more of a mess than others, but even though they may not look Pinterest-worthy, they are still delicious!

finished thumbprintsThese are so easy and make such a pretty tea time snack!

Here’s the full recipe:


  • 2 sticks of butter
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 cups of flour
  • jams or preserves of your choice


  1. Cream the butter and sugar together.
  2. Add the two egg yolks and the vanilla to the butter and sugar and mix well.
  3. Add the flour and salt and mix until combined.
  4. Chill the dough in the refrigerator for at least half an hour.
  5. Roll the dough into one-inch balls.  (I got about two dozen from this recipe.)  Place the balls on a parchment-lined cookie sheet and press down with your thumb to make an indentation in the dough.
  6. Fill the indentation with your favorite jam or preserves.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for about 12 minutes.


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