Wordless Wednesday

Some words: While Auntie Maria was here she took some pretty awesome shots of Sweet P and some great pics of our little growing familia. Here's a shot of Sweet P and I'll post a few more once I get the originals from Auntie M.

The "shirt" she has on is the Farmer's bandanna.

The Bible as a Student and Teacher's Guide

I'm gonna be really honest with you all and tell you that I grew up Catholic and there wasn't a whole lot of emphasis put on the Bible. Don't get me wrong. I had a Bible (it was Precious Moments with my name engraved on the front and I still have it), I just didn't know what to do with it. Eventually I opened it and read a few pages, but if I'm being brutally honest, the first few books of the Old Testament (past the Creation story and the flood) aren't exactly easy for a 7 year old to read and understand without a child's Bible.

All that to say that now that I have a child of my own, I very much want her to know the Bible and all its glory. At 31, I know VERY little of what is contained in those pages. I can tell you the gist of most stories and probably quote 1 or 2 verses (not kidding), but like I said, verses weren't something we focused on parochial school. (NOTE: I have NOTHING against parochial school, I simply wish the Bible had been a more integral part of my schooling).

And ALL that to say that we have 2 great toddler devotional books and a children's Bible on the way (she has one, but it's for older kids) to help us teach Sweet P about the amazing power of God. We read one of the devotional books on a regular basis (both are ABC designed) and we've dabbled in the other, but we're saving it until Tot School starts for us next week. We decided to start helping her "learn" verses. I wasn't sure how this would go and honestly I wasn't really thinking she'd "memorize" or even learn the verse, but thought it'd be something to talk to her about. I was AMAZED at what she retained.

We spent about 3 weeks on the first one (simply because I didn't change it) and before long all I had to say, "Let's say our verse..." and out of the babe's mouth it'd come. We've learned one other since then and are now on our 3rd. I have to say, that even if she doesn't retain the information, the Farmer and I are having a great time learning these verses! And they are so applicable to our lives! Here are our first 3. The first one is from ABC Bible Verses, the second we chose one night when she was having sleep issues and the 3rd is from Big Thoughts for Little People (we have an old version that was the Farmer's as a kid!!!).

I'm so excited to introduce Sweet P (and us!) to a new verse each week. Since we don't officially start our Tot School until next week we picked a random verse (the 3rd one) this week. Here's what we've used so far:

"A soft answer turns away wrath." Proverbs 15:1 (this is such a great verse for both moms and kiddos!)

"When I am afraid, I will trust in you." Psalm 56:3

"Jesus said, "If you love me, obey me." John 14:15

What are your favorite verses: to use as a teaching tool or otherwise?

Muffin Tin Monday

Muffin Tin Monday at Muffintinmom.com

I decided to use our mini ice cube tray for her lunch last week and it was too funny! It was like a mini meal. She loved it and I think liked the idea of having just a few things in each compartment. I definitely had to find some tiny things!

Clockwise from top left: Red tomato, yellow pear tomato, date, soynuts, blueberries, almonds, cheese, rice, homemade pickles and another red tomato.

See what other moms are serving up at Muffin Tin Monday!

Balloon Glow

This post is long overdue, especially since the Balloon Glow was oooh, 2 weeks ago.

Indianola has a hot air balloon festival every year in August, which is funny because I grew up in New Mexico and Albuquerque has a balloon fiesta every year in October. I once heard that the balloon fiesta in Albuq. stemmed from the one that began in Indianola, but I don't know how true that is.

The festival lasts a week and includes a balloon glow. It's held at dusk and involves the crowd counting to 3 to get the balloons to light up. It's pretty neat and Sweet P LOVED it this year. She kept saying "1, 2, 3 GLOW!!!!!"

Here is our night in pictures:

Where's the Mouse? Felt Game

If you haven't tried Pinterest then you should because it is fun and fun is good. (A little Dr. Seuss for ya). Anyway, the point in saying that is to say that now I don't have to scour the internet to find that idea I saw, I just look at my Pinterest and there it is! I love that and I love that I don't have to say "I don't remember where I saw this idea..." Now I can always credit the creator! All that to say that I found the cutest felt game on Pinterest and recreated it today while Sweet P and I played in the basement.

This project took about 5 minutes to pick out and cut the felt, draw the details and set it up for Sweet P. She had a great time finding and then hiding the mouse for the Farmer. This will be great to use to practice colors and I've debated writing letters (because she's already starting assigning houses to Gammie, Lily, Mommy and Daddy) on the roof of each house. Without further ado, here is this super easy craft.

The Craft: Where's the Mouse?

What you need:
several small pieces of colored felt, including one small gray piece for the mouse
black Sharpie or marker
large piece of black felt or a felt board

Cut colored felt pieces into the shape of a house. I did 8 houses, but 6 would be fine. Cut out a mouse from the gray piece of felt. Draw details on the houses and mouse. Hide the mouse under a house and ask your toddler "Where's the Mouse?" Or talk about the colors ("is the mouse under the pink house?").

Easy, right?!

Variations: hide a piece cheese and have the mouse find it, hide letters under the house, cut out other animal shapes

The possibilities are endless!

Note: In hindsight I probably shouldn't have done 2 green houses, but we can always eliminate one if it gets confusing for her.

Felt Owls

Once upon a time I told you I'd break down the elements of Sweet P's owl-themed birthday party and I never did!!! Sheesh, broken promises. Or are they? I didn't say WHEN I would post them did I? Well, better late than never.

I came up with the idea for these owls after seeing this AMAZING owl party at Snowy Bliss. My owls are not quite as large (mine were about the size of my hand), but this was my inspiration.
Sadly, I do not have a template. I drew it out on a sheet of paper, but since I don't have a scanner, I'm unable to share it with you. I drew the shape of the owl, a D for his stomach, circles for the eyes, triangle for the beak and wings, and cut each piece out.

I pinned the pieces to the felt and cut away. I made a practice owl and ended up making a few pieces a bit smaller on the next owls because of how the first owl turned out. He is now Sweet P's owl and we love him, but I do wish I'd made his tummy a bit smaller to begin with.

I made each one different for each of Sweet P's guests and this was definitely a labor of love!

The Craft: Felt Owl

What you need:
Embroidery floss
Large needle
Several different colors of felt
Batting or stuffing
Sewing machine for sewing the owl together
Buttons for eyes

Hand stitch the eyes, buttons, stomach, beak and heart, star, moon or unique piece to the front of the owl. Place the wings on the front of your owl facing inward and lay the back piece on top. Pin the back, front and wings together. Sew around the edge of the owl (remember to leave an opening to pull the owl through!). Pull owl right side out and stuff. Hand stitch to close.

Tada! You have a stuffed owl.

Note: Kiddos with baby siblings didn't get button eyes just in case they got a hold of the owl.

Simple Summer Salad

Remember how I said July was super hot? Well, I wasn't kidding. And some nights I just didn't want to turn on the oven so the Farmer and I came up with a super yummy salad. The best part? The lettuce and cucumbers were from our garden!

The Recipe: Simple Summer Salad

What you need:
Lavash chips (or another type of cracker)
3 cups Fresh spring mix or lettuce
1 large carrot
1 stalk of celery
2 marinated artichoke hearts
2 small mushrooms
1 small cucumber
parmesan cheese
toasted sesame seeds

Chop mushrooms, carrot, celery, artichoke hearts and cucumber. Layer chips/crackers in a bowl and top with veggies. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and sesame seeds. Toss with dressing.

The Recipe: Olive Oil Dressing

What you need:
4 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
sprinkle of:
garlic salt
Weber's Kick N Chik'n

Mix all ingredients in a small bowl with a whisk, pour on top of salad.

Both recipes make 2 servings.

Featured Crafter: Blair

As promised, today's featured crafter is my 11-year old cousin, Blair. She made these super cute flowers (among other super cute crafts) while she was here at the beginning of July. She made an orange one and one of the multi-colored ones for Sweet P and they are so dang cute!

She used a tutorial similar to this one at Lola Says What, but she doesn't use a cardboard backing and puts a rosette in the middle instead of a jeweled bead or button. Super cute!

They look time consuming, but she made them really quickly! They are attached to an alligator clip and she used a glue gun to make it all.

You want one dontcha?

Simple I Spy Bag

While cleaning out the kitchen cabinets a few weeks ago I found several bags of beans and grains we were never going to eat. You can use rice, beans or anything else you find. Our bag has red lentils, split peas and millet.

The Activity: Simple I Spy Bag

What you need:
Filler (beans, rice, etc.)
Plastic bag or plastic bottle
Small figurines, balls, letters, etc.

Fill the bag/bottle with the sensory item of your choice (rice, beans, etc.). Push small items into the bag and seal the bag. Glue the bag/bottle shut and tape over the seal (if using a bag) with packing tape.
We started with ours in a bag, then transferred to another bag when Sweet P bit a hole in the first one. Luckily I saw her do it and was able to confiscate it before the contents poured all over the kitchen! I'll be transferring it to a plastic bottle soon, since those don't tear quite as easily as plastic bags (even if she bites it!). In her defense, I think she really wanted to get the ball in there out.

She loved finding all the little knick knacks in the bag. This would be great for a car ride (not the plastic bag version! unless you fancy vacuuming up little tiny grains/beans).

Wordless Wednesday: Snow Peas

A few words: This picture is from June when we still had snow peas on the vine. Sweet P LOVED picking them and was pretty sad when the Farmer cut them down when they turned yellow and died.

Rice Fireworks

Yes, I do realize that 4th of July was a month ago, but I've been a bit behind on the blogging (if you hadn't noticed). But I'm making up for it now!

We made these fun little creations while Blair was visiting and what fun we had! I think they turned out pretty neat and even though it was pretty messy (aren't all toddler activities messy?), it was a great sensory activity for Sweet P.

The Craft: Rice Fireworks

What you need:
Colored rice
Construction paper
White glue

I painted one of Sweet P's hands red and the other blue and stamped them 4 times a piece to create the background of the firework (older kids can paint their own hand). Then, I drew one line of a glue at a time and had her sprinkle the rice on top. This worked well, but doing all the glue at once would work as well. We used separate colors, but realized later that the mixed rice looked so much cooler!

Sweet P's is on the bottom, Blair's is on the top and the middle firework was made by Gammie and Blair with leftover rice.

I found several tutorials for colored rice, but found that simply adding food coloring worked best. I added water to the blue and it took too long to dry (we ended up putting it outside where it baked dry in about 2 seconds). I just added food coloring and mixed until the rice was coated for the red.

How to make colored rice:
1/4 cup white rice
3 to 4 drops of food coloring

Mix well until rice is coated. Let dry for several minutes.

Cool Eats: Yogurt Dip

This dip is fabulous and so great for a HOT day (we've had plenty in Iowa...fun fact: it was the hottest July in Iowa since 1955). I ate it with this yummy Rosemary Lavash chip/crackers from Costco that I, of course, couldn't find again. Wah. I could go on and on about those chips, but alas, this post is about yogurt dip. I'll just look at the pic of the chips and remember them fondly.

And if you're wondering about that sweet little flower, it's a Mexican sunflower from our garden.

The Recipe: Yogurt Dip

What you need:
1/2 c plain yogurt
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tbsp tahini
1/2 tsp cumin

Combine ingredients in a small bowl and chill (or eat immediately). Serve with chips, crackers or fresh veggies. So good.

This dip is also great on falafel or other wraps.

Iowa Children's Museum

Last week my friend L invited us to go with her and her kiddos to the Iowa Children's Museum in Iowa City and we were so excited to visit a children's museum for the first time.

It did not disappoint! There were so many fun activities for my busy 2-year old and she went to town in the grocery store, hospital, Take Flight (aviation room), ImaginAcres (farm room with fun tunnel), PlayWorks theatre (dress up theater with stage0 and Block Party (lego room). It was the perfect size for preschoolers and a decent price for the activities offered. Here's our day in pictures:

Don't you love the tennis shoes with that dress? I think they really complete the outfit. Teehee!

Ice Play

I bought a silicone star ice tray at the $ Tree in July and have been waiting to see what I was going to do with it (it's been filled with ice for oooh, about 2 weeks now).

Last night while making dinner, I popped them into a container and let Sweet P go to town while I made veggie fajitas (yumm-o).
She had a blast with them (and even ate a few).
I gave her a cup and a few other tools to transfer with and away she went.
Such a simple, fun and if you used ice trays you already had...free activity! We talked about how they were stars, but I think she was more excited that they were cold (since it was SO hot yesterday). So go ahead, freeze some water!

PS. This could easily be done outside, but it was too stinkin' hot in Iowa yesterday afternoon (they'd have turned to water in about 2 seconds).

Strawberry Scones

If I'm being brutally honest, pregnancy makes me lazy. And that means instead of blogging, I take a nap. A nice long nap in my comfy bed while Sweet P naps the afternoon away (which she tends to do after playing outside on a hot day). So that is where I have been! But I'm back and hoping to have some posts to keep you busy reading for the next few weeks.
And without further ado, I haven't forgotten that I promised a recipe for scones. Gammie made these while she was here so I can't' take credit for this recipe, but they are sooo scrumdiddleeumptious.

The Recipe: Strawberry Scones

What you need:
3 c flour
1/4 c sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 c mashed strawberries
3/4 c unsalted butter (chilled and cut into squares)
3/4 c + 1 tbsp milk
1/4 c honey
2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix dry ingredients and cut in butter with a fork or pastry blender until the mixture is crumby. Warm milk for 30 seconds, then add honey and vanilla and combine. Add to dry ingredients and stir until well combined.

Plop dough onto a floured surface and roll out a bit. Fold in half, then fold in half again. Repeat so dough becomes flaky. Form dough into a circle about 1 in thick, then cut into triangles with a pizza cutter. Place scones on a cookie sheet and bake 375 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden.

Serve with regular or honey butter (and try not to eat them all in one sitting!).