Friday, April 29, 2011

Simple DIY Felt Food


I'm kind of a lazy crafter. What I mean by that is that I look for the easiest way possible to do things. I look for the simplest way from A to B (that's kind of an inside joke, sorry). Ok, where was I? Right! Felt food. I've been wanting to make some for Sweet P for oh, ya know, MONTHS, but have always been afraid of the sewing aspect. I can sew. Sorta, but not in that fancy hand-sewn-strawberry kinda way. Anyway, it scared me. Then I saw some fabulous felt food that involved NO sewing! Just scissors! And I thought, "Ooh boy, that is my kinda felt project." I still put off making it until Tuesday afternoon when Sweet P pulled her high chair into the living room, sat her baby doll in it and wanted to feed her. I gave her a celery stick, but then thought "Hey! Perfect opportunity to make felt food!" (And it kept her occupied while I whipped up dinner!)

To start I cut out two pieces of bread, a tomato, a piece of lettuce and a slice of swiss cheese (I know swiss cheese is white, work with me here). She LOVED it. I swear that kid stacked that sandwich every which way possible, pretended to take bites, fed her baby, fed the Farmer. It was perfect.
The next day I added to her sandwich and cut out pickles, an onion, a tortilla/pizza crust/wrap and a tiny piece of red pepper (that has since been lost). I also cut out 2 pieces of rye bread (darker brown), peanut butter and jelly. She stacked it all together and had a felt wrap for lunch (just kidding).
Later that night I thought she needed something that looked like a real slice of pepper and not a tiny C-shaped piece so I cut out a green and a red pepper. I cut a red piece that slightly resembles marinara sauce and 3 tiny mushrooms for a pizza.
Needless to say, she has a ball with it and I can't believe it took me so long to do this! I free handed them (again, because I was too lazy to draw a pattern) and used felt scraps. This is SUCH an easy project and I truly believe anyone with scissors can do it, even a child who is scissor ready could have a ball making his/her own felt food!

Let me know if you make your own! I'd love to see it!

Click here to see where I'm linking up.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

2 Going on 13

On Sunday (Easter), I called Sweet P into the bathroom so I could explain the way church might go that day. I have found that explaining things to her BEFORE we do them helps her be more flexible when those things happen. For example, explaining that she'll have to sit on my lap on the airplane, that she needs to hold my hand in crowded areas, that she has to stay by mommy at the library, etc. So this wasn't something new.

She came in with a random toy in her hands and I said:
"Okay, I need you to listen to mommy."

She looked at me and I said:
"It might be crowded at church so you may need to sit in mommy's lap."

Her: "All done."

Me (surprised because she didn't try to hand me the toy when she said all done): "All done, what?"

Her: "All done listening to mama."

And there you have it. My not-quite-2 year old going on 13. All done listening to mama. How do you not laugh at that?!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Easy Homemade Macaroni and Cheese


I've been craving homemade mac and cheese lately and this recipe is super duper simple! Easy to make and only takes 20 minutes to prep and 30 to cook.

The Recipe: Homemade Macaroni and Cheese

What you need:
4 tbsp butter
4 tbsp whole wheat flour
4 cups organic whole milk (you can use skim or 2% or soy)
4 cups shredded cheese (any type)
16 oz. of cooked pasta (macaroni, rotini, penne)
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp garlic salt

Topping:
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 tbsp melted butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter in a sauce pan on medium heat, then add flour. Cook for 3 minutes, whisking often. Stir in milk and spices and simmer for 15 minutes. Stir often. You can boil the pasta on another burner while you do this and they finish around the same time.

Add 3 cups of cheese to milk mixture and stir until melted. Pour in cooked pasta and stir. Dump contents into greased 9x13 inch pan. Mix butter and bread crumbs until well coated and sprinkle on top with remaining cup of cheese.

Bake for 30 or minutes or until slightly browned.

I used rotini the first and second time I made this and penne the third. It tastes great with both. If you aren't into spicy foods, omit the red pepper flakes (but they make it taste amazing). I also created a Sweet P friendly version with soy milk and she loved it.

PS. That picture doesn't do it justice.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Vegetarian Alternatives to PB & J

As vegetarians, we get asked the same question A LOT.

"What do you eat?"

Most of the time we just say "anything, but meat." The question comes up a lot around Thanksgiving. I always think this is funny because turkey is really only like 1/16 of the meal. Anyway, as vegetarians we eat a lot of peanut butter and jelly. But we do have some tasty alternatives for sandwich fillings.


Pimento cheese sandwich
Recipe:
1 cup shredded cheese
2-3 tbsp mayo
1 tbsp pimentos
splash of pimento juice
(Auntie K likes to use pickle juice instead of pimentos)

Recipe:
hummus
tomato
spinach or lettuce
mushrooms
pickles

Grilled cheese (standard or with spinach)

Grilled veggie sandwich
Recipe:
2 slices of colby jack cheese (NOT singles)
sliced mushrooms
roasted red peppers
spinach
artichoke hearts
olive oil
Pile veggies on two slices of whole wheat, ciabatta or french bread. Drizzle with olive oil and top with cheese slices. Bake open faced in the oven on 350 for 10 minutes.

Almond butter and banana sandwich

Egg salad sandwich (the Farmer wouldn't touch this with a 10 ft pole)
Recipe:
2 hardboiled eggs
1 tbsp mustard
1 tbsp hummus or mayo
chopped pickles
Chop in mini food processor until it reaches the consistency of your choice (I like mine well blended). Serve in pita or on whole wheat bread.

What is your favorite veggie sandwich?

Monday, April 25, 2011

Muffin Tin Monday


Muffin Tin Monday at Muffintinmom.com

Auntie Rosita sent us bunny cupcake liners with bunny/chick toothpicks. I've never used liners for MTM because I didn't have any and didn't want to buy any (call me cheap), but she had a great time with the 2 in this tin. Though I haven't used them, I've seen the inside out trick several times!
Clockwise from top left: grapes and cheese in a cross shape, dried coconut and pumpkin seeds, hummus, pitas, dehydrated bananas and green beans.

Here's what was left:

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Tot School: Easter Week


Sweet P is 23.5 mos old

What a great week we had, even though we spent most of our days inside due to yucky, rainy weather. We did lots of Easter-inspired activities and spent a lot of time
with the Farmer.

Monday
AM: Playdate at an indoor playground with friends.
PM: We dyed Easter eggs with the Farmer. This was a tough activity, but she had a really good time looking at all the colors and coloring on the eggs.
I got out her sleep tent and she had a blast letting all her dolls slide down the "slide."
She did the egg matching activity and played with the Farmer before he went to his soccer game.
Tuesday
AM: Discussed Palm Sunday and read from Bible for Me: Easter and The Easter Story (a bible sticker/activity book from Nana) about Jesus riding into town on a donkey. We have a stuffed Jesus doll and I had him ride in on her stick horse. She thought this was really fun, although she wasn't a fan of waving the palms we got at church. She also liked saying Hosanna!

I don't have pictures, but we watched 1+1+1=1 letter C PowerPoint for toddlers and did the letters E and C on Starfall. There were matching activities with the E and C letters and she did really well sorting big E and little e.

I got out a basket of ribbon and let her go to town with it.
Playdoh with eggs and cookie cutters. I also gave her these animal candle holders (for birthday candles) and she liked digging around in the playdoh with them.
Auntie K gave her a marker that has a marker on one side and a rolling stamp on the other. It took her awhile to figure it out, but she loved the stamping.

Wednesday
AM: Sweet P spent the morning with the Farmer, while I worked. They played in her room and went to run some errands. Before her lunch we planted our indoor garden (which will eventually become outdoor). She loved this activity and scooping the dirt, see more pictures here.
PM: After seeing several pics of kids blowing bubbles on Facebook, I decided we'd brave the cold and try to blow some bubbles. She doesn't quite have it down, but I figure we'll get plenty of practice this summer! She puts her mouth on the wand, which doesn't always create the best bubbles! Even though she didn't blow any, she had fun with all our different wands and watching me blow them.
After bubble blowing we read about Jesus washing his disciples feet and I washed her feet in the kitchen. She thought this was so fun and wanted me to wash them again and again. Afterward, she played in the bowl of water and wanted to wash my feet. So cute.
We also had some fun with sunglasses!
This memory game came with our Easter egg kit so she matched up the pairs and then I tried a game where I set 3 in front of her. I told her what they were and had her repeat them, then I told her to close her eyes and I took one away. She knew the one that was missing twice, but I think it may have been a coincidence!
Thursday
AM: Playdate at a friend's house

PM: After her nap we did several activities with paint! I found the bunny and chick ideas at Meet the Dubiens. I cut out shapes while she was sleeping and she glued them to the paper with my help. Then I painted her hands and we did the whiskers and feet. She really liked having her hands painted, but wasn't too into the egg painting we did afterward.
I saw this on B Inspired, Mama! We dipped Easter egg halves in paint and painted with them. She was more interested in painting with her fingers though!
Do a Dot: I made a C page inspired by 1+1+1=1 with C items: caterpillar, cat, car and cross. I'd tell her to color the cat, the car, etc. and then she went to town on the rest of the page.
C is for Cross: I slipped this page in her Trace Erase board and she had a fun time drawing all over it.
Stickers: I gave her a bunch of stickers and let her decorate a birthday present for her friend G.

Friday
AM: We read about Jesus' death on Friday morning, then we had a doctor's appt and grocery shopping. We got home just in time for lunch and some coloring. Then she took a 3 hour nap!
PM: Sweet P spent what was left of the afternoon with the Farmer and then we went to a Good Friday service that night.

Saturday
AM: We had a fun-filled Easter egg hunt and brunch with some dear friends. What a great time all the kids had. Sweet P loved picking up the eggs and opening them to see what was inside! We spent the whole morning there.
PM: Despite it being cloudy and cold, I took Sweet P to the playground because we desperately needed some time outdoors! We played and then took a quick walk. After we got home we made a toilet paper bunny! I love his little cotton ball tail.
We read several Easter books before Skyping with Gammie!
Sunday
AM: After church, we headed out to the farm for an Easter egg hunt and picnic. It was a much nicer day and I'm so glad we went! Sweet P also got to dig in the garden and look for worms! She wouldn't hold them though even though I was tough and held one out for her!
PM: She played outside with the Farmer and then we took a family walk before an early bedtime.

Find out what other moms of tots are doing at 1+1+1=1

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Easter Inspired Lunches

We've made a lot of Easter-themed lunches this week. Here are a few of them:

Bunny Theme
The bunny is a cheese and mushroom quesadilla with raisin eyes and nose and yogurt mouth. Celery, carrot and grape flowers, carrot sun and hummus cloud. The random rock on the left is a mushroom. There were 2, but a little hand snatched one before I shot this.

Cross Theme
From top left: grapes with bunny toothpick, pumpkin seeds, plain yogurt with cinnamon and banana pancakes cut into crosses and hearts.

Flower Theme
Top (from left): Sauteed asparagus, dehydrated banana chips, leftover stir fry
Bottom: Flower-shaped whole wheat mini bagel with melted cheese


Friday, April 22, 2011

The Last Supper

Last night Sweet P and I read about the Last Supper so I decided to make her a "last supper" themed dinner and she had a great time with the "bread" and "wine."

Cottage cheese wasn't really part of the theme, she just needed more protein. I tried to think of something clever, but it wasn't coming.

The green beans are palm branches. We talked on Tuesday about Palm Sunday and read about how Jesus rode into town on a donkey while people waved palm branches and sang and cheered Hosanna in the Highest. She waved them around a bit before eating them.

The grapes are, of course, to represent wine, but I also had "wine" made out of blueberry juice and water. I thawed frozen blueberries in the microwave and poured the juice into a dixie cup. I added water to it and it stayed dark purple. She loved it and even said "mmm, bluebewwies!"

The "bread" is made out of cheese quesadillas. I don't have a circle cookie cutter so I used the bottom of an Easter egg and I must say it worked really well (might have to keep one in the cookie cutter bin).
Did you do anything with your family on Holy Thursday to remember the Last Supper?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Earth Day Indoor Garden

Yesterday the Farmer and I helped Sweet P plant an indoor garden. Auntie Rosita sent me this link as inspiration, but I skipped the eggs and went straight for the carton. This was the perfect activity for a cold and rainy day like yesterday.

The Farmer has TONS of grass and flower seeds so he picked out a few for Sweet P to plant. He put dirt in a terra cotta pot (but we ended up moving it to a smaller container) for her to scoop out of into the egg carton.

What you need:
egg carton
potting soil (organic if you can find it)
grass or flower seeds
spray bottle with water
spoon and a pencil
plastic liner
plant markers (optional)

Sweet P scooped soil into each hole of the container and then we poked a hole using the pencil to make a place for the seeds.
The Farmer labeled each area so we'd know what was what. We planted seeds according to the directions on each seed packet. Sweet P sprinkled the seeds in and then we covered the holes.
With my help she sprayed each hole until saturated with a spray bottle of water. Place the egg carton on a plastic liner (we used the lid of a bin of spinach) to catch any water that may soak through the carton.

Here's what we planted:
Cosmos
Yellow Marigolds
Orange Marigolds
Little Bluestem
Big Bluestem
Switch Grass

My daughter LOVES dirt so she loved this activity and scooping the dirt. At one point she just started digging in the pot of soil with her hands, while we finished the planting.

I'm SO excited to watch these grow. I'll post the progress of the plants over the next couple of weeks!

This is a simple activity that involves sensory play, gross motor skills, recycling and making the earth a more beautiful place! We hope to transplant these to a garden (like this one!) for Sweet P once they get too large for the carton.

Linking up here, here and here!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Egg Matching Activity



While going through my scrapbook stuff the other night I found some fun paper (that I have way too much of) and decided to make eggs out of it. After I cut them out I tried to think of ways we could use them.
We started out with color matching. When Sweet P sees things that have pairs, she automatically starts pairing them up.
As she paired each one, I encouraged her to feel the texture of each egg (the paper was textured) and she did so with her face. Some of the pieces were fuzzy, one was sparkly and the others had raised decorations.
Once she'd paired them I cut them all in half and matched them up with a different color.
It took her a minute and the Farmer showed her how to do one, but then she successfully matched each color to it's correct bottom.
Another easy and cheap activity. All you need is some colored paper. This could be done with construction paper, cardstock or scrapbook paper.

I'm linking up here and here.