Tuesday, June 10, Last day of School:

3:10 pm: 8-year-old Lauren jumps off bus shouting “Yippeeee!”

3:20 pm: Lauren moans, “I’m bored.”

Wednesday, June 11, First day of summer vacation:

Conscientious mother considers strategy for luring children away from TV without igniting insurrection.

Mother suggests, “Let’s play the alphabet game! We’re up to ‘M’. We can make Muffins!

Children stare glassy-eyed at enthusiastic mother who recognizes that muffins are a minimal motivator.

“How about we make Marshmallow Monsters?” – A faint sparkle returns to children’s eyes. “How about we let the Marshmallow Monsters attack the Muffins!?” – NOW, they’re interested, – at least enough to get off the couch and enter the kitchen.

We called 5-year old Dave’s best friend 5-year old Jack and his mom to join our party. Jack brought over ‘M‘ things: Macaroni, a Monkey, and Magic Markers. While they played outside, I made oatmeal cherry muffins. When the muffins were done and the rain began, the children assembled at the kitchen table to construct the Marshmallow Monsters out of marshmallows and toothpicks. They colored them with the magic markers and I stuck macaroni into the arms so the monsters could have claws.

.Then the Muffin v.s. Marshmallow Monster war commenced. The moist Muffins were no match for the mighty Monsters. Some muffins were eaten, while others were mutilated and mangled. One Marshmallow Monster died when pierced by multiple toothpick swords. The mothers watched with slight shock as their sweet children delighted in the brutal madness and mess. And to think I had lured them away from PBS’s “Reading Rainbow” to play war games with food. I’ll have to mull over the sense of that move.

Anyway, the pre-schoolers did have food fun with an alphabet game, and they now know the sound ‘M’ makes. After we cleaned up the mess, Lauren showed Dave and Jack how to write upper and lower case ‘M‘s. I put away the few remaining muffins which were enjoyed at breakfast the next day.

Click on ‘continue reading’ for the muffin recipe and to see more pics of the our Muffin and Marshmallow Monster war.

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