Friday, November 5, 2010
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Usually we like to leave before the crack of dawn to ensure maximum amount of sleepy time. Kids still in their pjs, little traffic on the road, plenty of coffee for us grown-ups. Our latest travel didn't allow for such, though, since our oldest had preschool on the day of travel. That's when the plans come in handy.
First up, the Easy Lunch Boxes. I can't help it... I love them!
The peas and strawberries are frozen, but by the time we wanted to eat they were defrosted and ready to go... plus, you can get organic produce SO much cheaper by buying it frozen! If you want to keep your yogurt cold, add some of that frozen fruit to it... someone taught me that great tip and it works like a charm. And don't let the pinch of powdered sugar fool you even though it makes my kids feel like they're getting something quite special. That is one packed muffin... I experimented with spelt flour, applesauce, sweet potato puree, and raisins. Mmm... recipe to come!
The other thing we sometimes do is "Treat Hour." I take along a little dry erase strip or small chalkboard. At the beginning of each hour the kids get three stars or smiley faces or whatever we want to draw. At the end of the hour if they have at least one "thing" left, then they get a treat out of the bag. Here are some examples from our latest travel:
The trip is normally between six and seven hours, but I keep the entire box of lollipops in there just in case it takes longer. Between, I don't know, poops or spit ups or feeding or potty stops or... you get the picture of why we might need a back up to the back up plan. :) The other things include dollar store items like mini eye-spy books, activity pads in their favorite character, snack bags, candy rings, and a coupon for a smoothie stop. I try to pick out of the ordinary things that can keep them occupied for a good chunk of the hour ahead. The less kids are bored, the better!
We also like to keep a ready supply of other entertainment... music, Bible stories and other books on tape or CD (hitting up the library before hand is great for new titles), etc. Water bottles, favorite blankets and stuffed animals, and a few books per child are other things we make the most of (preferably titles they haven't read in a while or a couple of new books from the library).
Any successful traveling tips you use? We'd love to hear about them!
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
After digging through the pile I came away with this:
$100 worth of goodies for... $10*!!
I had already decided that my summer babe would have some sort of ice-cream shin dig this coming year because I found the cutest banner and napkins at Michael's on clearance. Add these fun things above... 2 slip and slides, 5 beach balls, 2 kiddy pools, ice-cream shaped sidewalk chalk, beach toys, bubble blowing accessories, etc... and we've got ourselves a "Fun in the Sun" party. Come July we'll make a big tub of homemade ice-cream with toppings, and I think we'll come in at $25 or less! Not to mention, some of the items in that pile are stocking stuffers and Easter basket items.
I do so love myself a good deal.
* At the "Dollar General" for those of you who might also have access to the savings!
Thursday, October 14, 2010
2 cups of whole wheat flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup Sugar in the Raw or regular sugar
2 sticks butter- softened
1 can of pumpkin- 15 oz.
Optional: handful (or two or three) of chocolate chips
Mix dry ingredients. Mix wet ingredients except pumpkin. Mix dry and wet together, then fold in the pumpkin and chocolate chips. Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 min. Makes about two dozen.
And you do know this trick, don't you? Fill a plastic baggy with icing, snip off a tiny bit at the end... your very own piping bag! You know, so you can top those cupcakes with cream cheese or chocolate frosting.
Of course, you need something to wash it down with. Something pumpkiny at that. Here's another treat you can share with the kiddos because, despite its name, it has no caffeine or coffee in it.
1/2 cup pumpkin
1 cup milk
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tbsp. (or more) pure maple syrup
1 1/2 cups ice
Optional: 1-2 tbsp. natural sugar if the above isn't sweet enough for you
Blend together and serve... with a dollop of whipped cream should you want pumpkin pie in a cup!
Monday, October 11, 2010
Still if we can't put pumpkin in it, surely we make it into a pumpkin. Our girls thought it was a fun idea for a Friday family night.
Collect a few simple ingredients... pre-made or homemade pizza dough (we used the whole wheat kind from Trader Joes), sauce, pepperoni cut into semi-circles and triangles, and sliced olives.
Oh and, mercy, cheese is missing from this picture. The horror! Of course, you need cheese. Melted until bubbly, delicious cheese.
Sprinkle a little flour on your surface and roll out the dough. Use a pumpkin shaped cookie cutter to make your jack-o-lantern outlines. Top with sauce and cheese... then pepperoni eyes and mouths.
Bake for about 15 minutes until dough is firm and cheese melted. Dressing up and peering through the oven door optional.
While on the subject of eating, my eldest daughter started pre-school this year. We searched around for a fun and practical lunch system, and I was so glad to stumble upon Easy Lunch Boxes! I love the compartments, the cut down on waste, the fact that it comes with four boxes making it great for family picnics, the BPA freeness, the dishwasher safeness... AWESOME! Makes packing a lunch pretty fun, I must admit. Even end of the month, gotta get to the store leftovers!
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Friday, September 10, 2010
Monday, September 6, 2010
Monday, August 30, 2010
When I walk in this room now, I can seriously breathe a sigh of relief. Everything has a home. There is a reasonable amount of furniture occupying the space. Each wall and surface is filled with things that are inspiring and encouraging and things I love. This room is no longer a dumping ground for junk or extra crap. And I LOVE IT!!
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Sure, it's had its challenges but it's also been full of sweetness and times we don't want to forget. Sometimes I am struck by the notion that my three, three and under likely won't remember all the little things we did in these days. But somehow I just know that one experience builds upon another and another. In the end, they all add up to what I hope they will remember as a rich and loving and warm and even imperfectly beautiful childhood.
To help in their reflection, the last two summers we have memorialized some times in small ways. Last summer we took an unused small scrapbook and glued in pictures, ticket stubs, brochures, and the like. Then we wrote simple captions at the bottom of each page so we could "read" the summer's adventures together.
This summer we bought us some dollar frames from Michaels and the girls sponge painted them. I wrote the words "favorite memory" on the frames and then let my kids peruse a bunch of pics on our computer. They picked one of their favorites, we printed the photos out, and then we glued them on some remnant scrapbook paper to put inside the frames.
The girls love looking at the frames in their rooms. Next summer or even next season we can replace the pictures with what each girl is currently loving.
Another way, I hope, for them to remember how much I love making their childhood special.
Happy memory making!
Friday, August 13, 2010
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
We recently made "sandwiches" the night before we went on vacation. Open faced PB on whole wheat bread... strawberry raisin eyes, banana noses, string cheese mouths. We were a little bit giddy... ya think? :)
Often I will pull out random ingredients and play around. This day I helped them make cute, little mice to get started.
Then I armed them with extra supplies for more mouse making... graham crackers and PB, mandarin oranges, bananas, raisins, and pretzel sticks.
This evolved into a pretty creative Mama and Baby Elephant from my three year-old and a ladybug from my two year-old.
I still can't figure out where the two year-old got her inspiration??
Best of all is hearing them giggle while shouting, "I ate his nose! His eyes are gone! There went his mouth!"
Yes, there is a new rule in town... DO play with your food, after all!