Sunday, February 28, 2010

Menu Plan Monday - March 1st


This is my first week linking up to Menu Plan Monday over at I'm an Organizing Junkie. I love getting new meal ideas, and this is a great way to do it!

Here's what we'll be eating this week:
Monday ~ Out for Valentine's Day to the Melting Pot, mmmm

Tuesday ~ Cheater Chicken Pot Pie

Wednesday ~ No Fuss Potato Soup

Thursday ~ Sunday Meat Sauce with Pasta (Haven't tried this one yet)

Friday ~ Orange Chicken Stir Fry

Saturday ~ Rummage aka Clean Out the Fridge

Sunday ~ Shepherd's Pie (will post the recipe one of these days)

I started using this Menu Planner and Grocery List from Queen of the Castle, which I have liked so far. Gets me away from my computer which tends to distract me and helps me plan the menu and grocery list much faster (at least so far).

That's the plan, we'll see how closely I follow it, eh?

~S

Friday, February 26, 2010

stART - Farm Flu

Each Thursday A Mommy's Adventures does a great blog carnival. You read a story to your child; then accompany it by art. 

We're still doing the Doctor unit from Hubbard's Cupboard. Today we talked about germs, so we read Farm Flu by Teresa Bateman.
 

This was a really cute story about taking care of people when they're sick, but not letting them abuse you about it. 
For our activity, I made this animal matching game based on the animals that are in the book. I printed two copies on cardstock and cut them apart.Farm Matching Game
We then played memory, sort of. She didn't quite get it; she flipped over one card, then flipped over the others one at a time until she found the other one. Hey, it's a great start!
 

~S


stART - Froggy Goes to the Doctor

Each Thursday A Mommy's Adventures does a great blog carnival. You read a story to your child; then accompany it by art. 

We're still doing the Doctor unit from Hubbard's Cupboard. Today we focused on doctor's tools.
Our story was Froggy Goes to the Doctor by Jonathan London.
There are a few things that I don't appreciate about the froggy books, like the mom (or dad) yelling to froggy, and froggy responding "Whaaaat?" I don't want my children to respond like that to me, so I usually try to use a different tone of voice than what is clearly meant by the author. Other than that, I like them and so does Kahlen, so we'll keep reading them.

For our activity, we used this set of Doctor Tools and Parts of the Body from Hubbard's Cupboard. To make it a little longer, I decided to glue them onto a piece of easel paper that I taped to the wall. I then gave Kahlen the glue stick and the set of body part cards and let her glue them on however she wanted.

So Kahlen's personality to line them all up instead of just sticking them wherever :)

While she was doing that, I put a roll of masking tape on the back of each of the doctor tool cards. Then she matched them up. We had to talk about a few of them, but after reading Froggy Goes to the Doctor and remembering her own experiences, she did really well.
After she got them all stuck on, I drew a D in pencil and tried to get her to trace mine. Of course, she didn't want to, she wanted to do her own. So, she drew a D with her marker. I think it looks great!
 

~S

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Tasty Tuesday - Southwest Chicken Burritos

Here's a simple crock pot meal:

{Ingredients}
  • 2 pounds chicken breasts, frozen or thawed
  • 1 package Zesty Herb Kroger marinade
  • 1 package Southwest Kroger marinade
  • 3 tbsp White Vinegar
  • 3 tbsp Vegetable Oil
  • 2 cups water

  • Pinto or black beans
  • Cheddar cheese, shredded
  • Tortillas
  • Optional: Sour cream, lettuce, any other taco toppings

{Directions}
  • Combine marinate packages in plastic bag. Take about half of it and put into a small bowl. Add vinegar, oil, and water. Mix well.
  • Place chicken in crock pot and pour marinade over the chicken.
  • Cook on high until chicken is done and shreds easily, about 5 hours
  • Shred chicken and serve burrito style with beans, cheese, and whatever else suits your fancy.

Of course, if you're needing a lot, you can double this really easily. Cook time is about the same too. This recipe makes enough for 6-8 large burritos.

~S

Monday, February 22, 2010

Mommy Monday - Tea Set

So Kahlen just finished her second sticker chart, hooray! For her reward, I took her to Target and we wandered around the toy department until we found the perfect thing.
We read a lot of books around here, and one we've read countless times is A Bargain for Francis which one of her aunts bought her for her second birthday. It's about a tea set, so when we saw this
I thought it was perfect! Of course, she did too and now she can't stop playing with it :)
We got it on Thursday night and let her stay up past her bedtime to play with it and promised she could play with it ALL DAY on Friday.

Friday morning rolls around, it's 7:00 (about 15 minutes before I'm going to get up anyway) and she comes into our room. Now, she's not really supposed to leave her room before I come to get her. She comes to my side of the bed, here's our conversation:
"Mommy, Nate stole my blanket"
"Kahlen, Nate did not steal your blanket"
"Mommy, Nate took my blanket and you need to get it back"
"Honey, Nate is in the living room in his pack'n'play, he couldn't take your blanket" (Not to mention he's not mobile and couldn't anyway!)
"Mommy, Nate has my blanket, can you come help me get it?"
"Kahlen, were you downstairs?"
"Yep"
"Why?"
"I was playing with my tea set." (Duh, mom, should be completely obvious!)
"Did you give Nate your blanket?"
"Yes, but then he took it and I can't get it back"

Right. After silently sharing a good laugh with hubby, down I went to retrieve the blanket.
I guess her tea set was just too tempting.
Later, she figured out that her sensory bin for the month, which has 2 pounds of beans in it, was the perfect compliment to her tea set since I told her that she couldn't put any real food in her tea set.
 
 I wonder what she'll do when it's time to put something else in her sensory bin...

~S

Tot School - Doctor

Tot School
Kahlen is 38 months

We are following the Hubbard's Cupboard curriculum for 2's called Joyful Learning so for last week and this week, we will be talking about Doctors. Last week focused more on body parts and such than it did doctors which will come this week.

Here's our trays for our first day:
 
 Our first activity was our stART craft using the book Kiss it Better. Go here to see the details. Next, she picked the dark blue tray which was our magnets / dot painting of B is for Band-Aid. 
  
While she worked on that, I worked on taking {ALL} the band-aids out of their wrappers. 
 
We were going to do a sorting activity with them, but she got bored quickly after making a few T's with them ("Hey, T is for daddy! I'm going to make him some more T's"), so we moved on.
Surprisingly, she didn't get bored with the next activity, which was tracing her name:
 
She did really well. She has not been able to write any letters yet on her own, but she's young to do that, so for now it's just practice. I made this worksheet here although I heard from a friend that DLTK also has one.

Last, we sang and played "Five Little Monkeys" on the couch. She would launch herself at me and I dipped her down to "bonk" her head on the floor and then hold her tight as I sang the part about momma calling the doctor. She wanted to do this over and over again! I think after three full times through the song I told her we needed to take a break! :)


On the second day, here's our trays:
 
Again, we did our stART project first by reading Eyes, Nose, Fingers, Toes. Go here to see the details. It was a long project with a lot of parts, which was great. 
After that, we sang our new verse song for this unit which is Luke 6:31 
Then, she did this tracing page that I found on First-School, which is another fantastic resource in case you've never looked there!
The last project was a collage using cotton balls, pom poms, band-aids and glue mixed with paint. She picked the blue paint which surprised me because she almost always picks purple.
 
She had a great time painting with the q-tips then just sticking them down to the paper. She also painted several of the cotton balls after gluing them to the paper. Of course, the band-aids were a big hit too. 
 
It was a nice change to not really have a purpose or finished product in mind for this one. It seemed like just what she needed after the focused first craft we did.

Here's my weekly plan sheet with a few of the other pages I used.


I didn't get any pictures yet, but her other favorite activity this week is combining her sensory bin of beans with her brand new tea set that she earned for completing her sticker chart. She could (and does) play with it for hours! I'm sure I'll get pictures one of these days :)


That's it for tot school from last week!

~S

stART - Eyes, Nose, Fingers, Toes


Each Thursday A Mommy's Adventures does a great blog carnival. You read a story to your child; then accompany it by art.

Our second book this week was Eyes, Nose, Fingers, Toes by Judy Hindley. Fun book, great pictures, and simple words made this one a hit. Kahlen was having the sort of day where this was perfect. After the story, we traced her body onto a long piece of paper (sorry, can't take a picture and trace at the same time).
I tried to get her to color it, but she wasn't interested, so she directed me and I drew her face. Then we used band-aids to measure different parts of her body. We measured her arm, leg, and torso. 



We started on the floor, but quickly moved to the wall in the hall instead because it was much easier. 

 
It's pretty tricky to get a picture of something hanging in the hall, but here's my attempt at capturing the finished product:
And there's our second stART project for the week

~S

Muffin Tin Monday - Orange

Muffin Tin Monday at Her Cup Overfloweth

This week for Muffin Tin Monday, the theme is Orange.
Kahlen is starting to look forward to her muffin tin lunches. On Friday, she asked me if it could be muffin tin Friday, and today I said "It's Monday, what does that mean?" She replied "Muffin Tin Monday!!!".

I actually planned ahead this week and remembered to buy some orange food at the store :)

 
Top row: oranges, sweet potato, cheese
Bottom row: carrots, mac'n'cheese, orange m&m's
We also had orange juice in an orange cup

Of course, she ate the M&M's first and didn't eat the oranges or the sweet potatoes, but you can't blame me for trying, right? At least she ate all her carrots (without any dressing even!).

Since orange was an easy food, I did one for little man too:

 
He got sweet potatoes with tofu, squash & zucchini, and sweet potato chunks rolled in cheerio powder.
This was the first time I'd given him chunks of anything besides cheerios and he {LOVED} it! I guess we're on to finger food, eh?

~S

Friday, February 19, 2010

Free Photo Book from HotPrints


Are you in the mood to make an absolutely free photo book?
Hotprints is offering a free photo book every month! Thats right! Make one today and you can make another on March 1st! They also do not charge shipping!
How can they do this? Advertisers sponsor the free booklet and you will receive some with your shipment. However, they will not be attached to your book and will not take away from the books appearance in any way.
To make your book just go here and click on “Make Your Own HotBook” on the right side.
I just ordered my first one, we'll see how it turns out :)

Thanks to Couponing to Disney!

~S

Thursday, February 18, 2010

stART - Kiss it Better





Each Thursday A Mommy's Adventures does a great blog carnival. You read a story to your child; then accompany it by art. This has been a great addition to our curriculum. Since we're following the Hubbard's Cupboard curriculum for 2's now, it's actually already incorporated in the lesson plans, I just have to go find the books :)
 
This week, we read Kiss it Better  

 
which is a really sweet book about making it all better with a kiss and a band-aid. Good thing, though, that Kahlen is not obsessed with band-aids as I know some kids are, otherwise she'd be wanting a band-aid for every kiss I gave her! :)
This was the first day of our Doctor unit from Hubbard's Cupboard which I'll be posting more about after we do school tomorrow.

For our stART project, we stuck band-aids to a piece of paper 
 
and painted over them

 
I tried to get her to put more paint on the paper, but she just wasn't really in the mood I guess.
 
We were mostly successful :)
After the paint was all dry, we took off the band-aids:

That's it for this stART project!
What fun books are you reading to your kiddos this week?

~S




Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Crafty Wednesday - Fabric Wall Hangings

I have a large space above my dining room table that I've kept filled with Christmas and Valentine's Day decorations for the last few months, but I knew it was going to look pretty empty after I took down my cute banner. So, did I really want to spend a bunch of money for some decorative thing or did I want to make something and have it be affordable and just what I was looking for? When I saw this tutorial over at Make It and Love It, I thought it was EXACTLY what I was looking for!
 I used burlap, home decor fabric, and the wrong side of satin. I found them all in the clearance section at Joann's. I think the burlap added enough texture without the fun folding that is shown in the tutorial. The project took me less than two hours from start to finish (not counting the half an hour I spent wandering around the hardware store looking for someone to help me).

The cost for the project was around $25 including the fabric and wood. I'm sure I could have done it cheaper if I had been able to find the clearance section at the hardware store (silly Lowes, not being well organized) or if I had remembered that we already HAD scrap pieces of 1x2s from a different project or if I had a collection of fabric (which I do not since I don't even have a working sewing machine right now). Anyway, I still thought that was extremely reasonable for how great it turned out!
Easy, inexpensive, not time consuming; my kind of project! Thanks Ashley!

~S

Tasty Tuesday - Orange Chicken Stir-Fry

I was hoping to post this last night, but I ended up watching almost four hours of olympics instead. Since I don't have any channels at my house, I was watching DVR'd figure skating :)

Anyway, I've used this basic recipe twice now with different results since I had different ingredients on-hand. It essentially came out of my latest Food Network Magazine except that I changed the sauce, as you'll see noted in the recipe below.

Orange Chicken Stir-fry
{Ingredients}
  • 3-4 tbsp oil (vegetable or peanut)
  • 1 pound or about three boneless skinless chicken breasts, sliced or cubed
  • 1 egg, separated
  • 1 tbsp cooking sherry
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 3 cups vegetables (use whatever you like or whatever you have on hand) The first time I made this, I used broccoli and summer squash. Second time, I used carrots, zucchini, and summer squash
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 to 2 tbsp ginger fresh is better, powdered works okay too
  • 2 scallions, minced
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of sugar
  • 1/2 cup Orange Chicken sauce from Panda Express found a double pack at CostCo last time I was there, yum!
  • sliced scallions, peanuts, sesame seeds, sliced jalapenos, and cilantro for garnish
  • 2 packages ramen noodles
{Directions}
  • Whisk together egg white, cooking sherry, and cornstarch for marinade. Place meat in gallon ziplock bag and add marinade. Refrigerate for about an hour (or less if you forget like I did).
  • While meat is marinating, cut veggies into bite-sized pieces.
  • Heat 1-2 tbsp oil in wok or skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken, drained of any excess marinade. Cook until almost done, then transfer to a plate.
  • Discard the oil and wipe out the pan.
  • Heat the pan over high heat, 1 to 2 minutes. Add 2 tbsp oil, garlic, ginger, scallions, salt, and sugar. Stir-fry about 30 seconds.
  • Add the vegetables, starting with the ones that take the longest to cook; stir-fry until crisp-tender.
  • Add the chicken and sauce and stir fry until veggies and meat are completely cooked. Garnish with sliced scallions, peanuts, sesame seeds, sliced jalapenos, and cilantro, or whatever combination of those you like :)
  •  Cook ramen noodles and drain. Throw away the seasoning packet!
  • Serve stir fry over noodles. Add extra sauce if you want.
Extremely tasty and a good one for me since the vegetables are incorporated with the meal! ;-)

~S

Monday, February 15, 2010

Tot School - Valentine's Day, part 3

Tot School

Kahlen is 37 months.

This is part three of what we did for Valentine's Day activities. See here for the first day and here for the second day.

Here's our tray line-up for the day:

 On day three, we started with our stART project.
Then we did the heart pattern match up game that we already had done last week. She thought it was fun, but it lasted less than two minutes.

Next, we worked on our letter V dot page.

First, we used our pom-pom magnets and cookie sheet to trace the letter.

Then we used dot paint to color in all the dots. She didn't really want to only dot her paint once per circle, so I gave up and let her do it however she wanted.

I didn't get any pictures of our last activity. She decorated two paper hearts. Then we stapled them together almost all the way around and stuffed it with newsprint. I then finished stapling it and we played "hot potato", well sort of. We sang our memory verse and passed it back and forth. Whoever ended up with it did not win. She seemed to enjoy it overall, but I think it would have been better if there were more people (i.e. Daddy) to play with. Maybe next time!

~S

Tot School - Valentine's Day, part 2

Tot School

Kahlen is 37 months.

This is my first week linking up to Tot School. As I mentioned last week, we started using trays to organize our activities. We do tot school twice a week, usually on Tuesdays and Thursdays, in the morning when my little man is sleeping. 
This is day two of what we did for Valentine's day "school". You can see our first day's worth of activities here. We just started doing more learning activities and less straight crafts, which has been going really well. She started showing interest in learning her letters, so I'm going with it.

Most of our activities come from Hubbard's Cupboard Joyful Learning curriculum, with a few additions and modifications.

Here's our trays from the first day:
 
First, we made a heart shaker that I found on No Time for Flashcards

 
 
I just taped around the edge because my stapler was misbehaving.
Next, we laced a heart.

She thought this was great. She took her time and made sure that she got every hole. She then decided to give it to Buela (my mom) for Valentine's day since we were going to see her later for lunch. I was very impressed with how well she did.

After that, we sang our memory verse from Hubbard's Cupboard. She's always surprising me with these songs. She doesn't seem to be paying attention the first few times I sing and sign it, but then she'll just start singing it on her own one day. Sometimes she asks me just to "talk" it too, which means not singing it. She then repeats me verbatim. It's been great!

We got down from our chairs and played hopscotch next. I made five large hearts and wrote the numerals 1-5 on them. I then made papers with a corresponding number of hearts on it. I randomly pulled one and had her count the number of hearts and jump to that large heart, which I had taped to the floor. Oops, forgot to take pictures.

The last tray was her red vanilla playdough that we made the first day, but she wasn't really interested in it today. Instead, I added an activity. We got these Alphabet Lacing Beads in my last order from Oriental Trading Company. I had already made her this Letter File Folder Game (Thanks, Mama Jenn) but didn't really have any great ideas for her to play with it yet since she's just beginning to recognize all her letters. Combining the two worked great. 
I pulled a complete set of letters from the beads and had her match them up. We talked about the letters as she matched them up. She wasn't as frustrated with this activity as she has been with other letter activities, which was great.



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