Hello Friends!

Welcome to a tantalizingly tasty treat of a blog hop hosted by my dear friend and fellow fan of all things literacy-related, Carla from Comprehension Connection

Before I allow you to "step into my kitchen," I am going to ask you to solve some fun riddles!  Those of you who read here regularly know that  I LOVE picture books and the characters in them that make them special.  Let's see if you can guess the one who will "star" in today's post!

Riddle #1 

Her lemon pie saves her job at the Rogers household!

Riddle #2

She "steals" home plate and then fills it with cookies for the neighborhood
baseball team!

Riddle #3

She makes fancy cream puffs filled with chocolate!

 If you guessed the ever lovable but always a little bit mixed-up 
AMELIA BEDELIA, then you are correct!  She's not very skilled in any real-life, daily tasks except when it comes to baking, but my students just love her antics anyway!  Be sure to include her stories in any cooking-themed unit you plan, especially this adventure about Amelia puzzling over different ways to "allow the the bread to rise!"  Carla has this great book companion resource  available in her TpT store 
for 50% off this weekend!

Before I proceed further with today's post, I must make a confession.  I am not the best cook or baker in the bunch.  My sisters all inherited my mother and grandmother's culinary skills, but I did not.  I burn brownies.  I leave out ingredients. I sometimes forget to set the oven timer.  My spice rack holds salt, pepper, and cinnamon.  

Consequently, I have earned the title of "The Queen of Take-Out" in my family. I have a list of stops on the way home from school that have drive-through windows and a local pizza place that delivers.  When it is time to happily contribute to family gatherings, friend's parties, and staff potlucks,  I just wander into my favorite bakery or deli, select something that looks good, and grab it "to go!" are probably wondering....

Why in the world did I choose to participate in a blog hop all about gourmet recipes and good eating?  

Because I needed a place to share the most beautiful cookie books in my collection, as well as a recipe that even "challenged" chefs like me can whip up with grace and style!

I know I've whetted your appetite now, so without further ado, I give you
TWO favorite picks direct from my classroom library that I purchased after attending the Mazza Summer Institute in Findlay, Ohio and meeting the fabulous artists that created them!  The museum is is the largest museum of original artwork by children’s book illustrators in the world. Mazza's goal is to promote literacy and enrich the lives of all people through the art of children’s literature.  It is a magical place with the hand-rendered pages of picture books by Jan Brett, Patricia Polacco, and Denise Fleming hanging in galleries.  It is a place that "feels like home" when I attend conferences there, and to where I return every other summer to learn from award-winning authors and illustrators.  Walter Wick, the mastermind behind the I Spy series, and James Dean, the creator of Pete the Cat, are two of the best that I have had the privilege of meeting and listening to.  When I stand patiently in their autograph lines, I feel like a "kid in a candy store."  It's like Christmas for a week in July and again for a weekend in November!

In 1998, I had the privilege of having this ingeniously-engineered pop-up book autographed by Robert Sabuda, paper sculptor extraordinaire.  When I bring it out to share at the beginning of each school year, it gets 
"Oooohs!" and "Ahhhhs!" 
and unabashed wonder and awe from my students.  The little mice wearing chef hats captivate my class, and they can't wait for me to read each rhyme, count on to the next number, and turn each page to reveal the new cookie masterpiece!  

Click {HERE} to see it and more "cookie books"on

I use this eye-popping and visually stunning book as the springboard for my favorite beginning-of-the-year circle game with my students.  After reading the story aloud, discussing the different types of cookies featured, and voting on our favorite pages, we gather in a circle to chant and play the "Who Ate The Cookies in the Cookie Jar?" game.  

This is a wonderful getting-to-know-you activity, and helps the children learn their new friends names and become comfortable speaking and sharing in front of the group.   I use a small yarn ball to pass, but you can use a squishy rubber ball or a Koosh ball also.  I start the game by making sure we are all sitting "criss-cross applesauce" with plenty of elbow room in our sitting circle, and then demonstrate a pat-my-lap and clap-my-hands pattern to set the rhythm.  Once we've practiced that, I add the call-and-response words....

TEACHER:  Who ate the cookies in the cookie jar?

CHILDREN:  Mrs. R ate the cookies in the cookie jar!

TEACHER:  Who me?

CHILDREN:  Yes you!

TEACHER:  Couldn't be!

CHILDREN:  Then who?

I then name the person sitting to my right and gently hand them the ball.  The fun continues until the ball has come back to me!  

Clara  (insert new student name each time) ate the cookies in the cookie jar!

CLARA:  Who me?

WHOLE GROUP:  Yes you!

CLARA: Couldn't be!

WHOLE GROUP:  Then who?

(Names person to her right)   _____________ate the cookies in the cookie jar!

This game is always the most-requested circle time activity throughout the school year!  The students really get a kick out of using great expression and silly voices when it is their turn to name the "cookie bandit!"  It helps to put the words on chart paper for easy reference (and reading fluency practice)!

The second "cookie book" I share with my eager readers puts a different spin on this familiar circle game.  Through the use of folk-art inspired paintings by artist Julie Paschikis, and a rhymed text written by George Shannon, it reveals the sequential steps and people involved in the process of growing, harvesting, transporting, and marketing the ingredients that go into making cookies.  I discovered this beautifully plotted farm-to-table journey while at the 2013 Mazza conference and thought, "Wow!  A book that helps me teach not only a Social Studies lesson about community and commerce, an important lesson about the value of teamwork, AND reinforces rhyming word pairs!"  I love to read the story once, discuss the sequence and the content, and then re-read it again and drop the rhyming word at the end of each line so that the group can gleefully call it out to me!

One hand in the cookie jar takes the cookie out.
How many hands put the cookie in
is what the world's about.

Hands that feed and milk the cow.
Churn the butter and guide the plow

Hands that clothe and feed them all.
Heal and teach.
Large and small.
Hands that help the hands that help
are what the world's about...
many put the cookie in,
so one can take it out.

See this book on Amazon {HERE}.

Note that a recipe for three dozen sugar cookies is also included at the end of the story!  Wouldn't they make a yummy treat after read aloud on a Friday afternoon before bus time?

Both of these books can also be included in a holiday thematic unit you plan for the month of December, and I've made this companion resource FREE through Sunday, August 18th! The short, simple poems can be copied in half sheets and stapled into booklets for your students to perform as group choral reads, or reading them to a partner during our Read To Someone block of the Daily 5.  There are also creative writing and rhyming activities included in the packet that are sure to keep your students engaged!  Small pictures of the characters are provided that can be laminated and hot-glued to popsicle sticks to be used as retelling puppets at a literacy center as well!  

I thank you in advance for leaving constructive feedback when you download it from my TpT store!  Be sure to click the green star next to my photo while you are there to receive notification about new products and additional freebies! Enjoy!

The related recipe I am sharing today requires absolutely NO BAKING and has been BIG hit every time my daughter has made it for parties!  Served with Animal Cracker cookies, graham cracker, and pretzels, Monster Cookie Dough Dip is--in the words of Rachel Ray--"truly delish!"

I found this version online at 
and pinned it immediately for future reference!  

Click on the picture below to see it on 
my Holiday Idea board!  Feel free to follow all of my Pinterest boards while you are browsing!


Now that I've got you thinking about heading to your kitchen to whip up something yummy to snack on, it's time to add yet another ingredient to our blog hop mix and share the giveaway we are serving up this weekend.  Enter using the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Be sure to hop on over to my friend Selma's blog, Learning Fundamentals, where she's shared an easy and tasty school night dinner idea, as well as a fabulous freebie activity for Kinder chefs who enjoy dramatic play!

You can also find the entire map for the hop by clicking this button!


As always, thanks so much for stopping by!  Even though I may be a little absent in the next week or so as I head back to meet the crew coming to Room #2, know that I wish you the very best as your new year begins, and feel privileged to share ideas with you that I hope make your school days a little easier and a full of learning fun!  

Continue to share your story, hold a song in your heart, follow your dreams, and teach your children well!

 photo jennifergiff-3.gif


  1. Oh my goodness...this is a fantastic post filled with all kinds of personal tidbits! I love it, and since you've linked to my unit, I'll do it 50% off over our blog hop weekend! :-)

    1. Thanks for making your Amelia Bedelia unit a bargain, Carla! Does it come complete with one of her famous lemon pies? Ha! Thanks for your kind comments and for organizing this "Mmm! Mmm! Good! hop!

  2. So cute... and now I want sweets! Have a great blog hop!
    Kids Math Teacher

    1. Who can resist M & Ms in their party dip, right!? Thanks for stopping by Lucy!

  3. I love the pop-up book! My kinders are going to 'eat it up'- well I hope not literally! I can't help but fall in love with your little elf...Sally DRAKE! ;) How cute!! And that dip...oh out graham crackers here we come!!!!
    Have a great start to a new school year!
    Jenn :)
    Crayons & Cuties In Kindergarten

    1. Don't you just want to "scratch and sniff" and hope the smell of peanutbutter wafts out of your computer screen? I hope your students enjoy the pop-up book as much as mine do!

  4. I love when you share exactly what you do with your kids and books. This helps me so much! I have a tough time with TPT stuff because I don't know what to do with it once I get it all set up. I would love it if you would post more of here is what I made or downloaded from TPT and here is exactly what I do with the kids. I am definitely going to do who stole the cookie with my kids in the beginning of the year. Thanks!!!

    1. I will be sure to include more step-by-step activities in future posts! Thanks so much for the suggestion! The "Cookie Jar" circle game is just so simple and such a smile-producer in the early days of the school year! Enjoy!

  5. I love these books and great tips! I really want something sweet right now:)

    1. You have my permission to help yourself to some Oreos dipped in milk! I'm glad you enjoyed the book recommendations!

  6. Amelia is great! Thank you for sharing this!

  7. Love all of this fun post, Jennifer! Thanks so much for sharing all of it :) I especially love the pop-up book!

  8. Thanks for sharing! We love Amelia and who doesn't like cookies!?!?

    Teaching Momster

  9. Thanks for your great book choices, Jennifer! Cookie Count looks like lots of fun!

    Kay @ Sommer Pride

    1. I shared Cookie Count with my new group on Thursday, Kay! They were mesmerized by the pop-up gingerbread house at the end!

  10. I love your cookie poetry pack! Thank you so much! The cookie dip looks delicious - scarily so! I'll have to make it for an event so I don't eat it all myself. :)
    Teacher Treasure Hunter

    1. The cookie dip is addicting, Melissa! Beware! Glad you like the cookie poems! The holiday characters make me smile!