Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Breakfast Banana Bites

We are in a breakfast rut. Either toast with peanut butter or nutella, pancakes or waffles with a bit of fruit and either milk or yogurt. So, since little miss slept in today (and I didn't) I turned to Google for something new. I put in my search "Toddler Breakfast", I went through the first full page of results before hitting the jackpot: Banana Bites.

I started with a little sprinkle of packaged pancake mix. I added a small touch of nutmeg because it usually goes well with banana.

As per the recipes suggestion, I cut the bananas on the bias (at an angle) to make them bigger, and I used tongs to dip the banana pieces into the batter. They were a little hard to flip because they are so tiny, but I had success.

A yummy toddler breakfast, I added grapes, strawberries and milk.

I'd call this toddler approved. I gave her 6 pieces and she gave me back 2 full and 2 halves along with 2 pieces of strawberry.

I think I will be adding this to my rotation, it was a quick fix and she definitely liked it. Pus, there was enough batter leftover for a regular pancake: Mommy's breakfast.
Happy Wednesday, everyone. Hope it goes quick! It is pouring rain here, so we are heading to playgroup in our rain gear!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Tot School, week one

Our first week of Tot School seemed to be very successful. I think her favourite activity of the week was 'painting' with a bingo dabber. It poured all day Tuesday, so I thought it would be a great day for this activity.

I decided to keep her in her jammies, to save her clothes. A stained pair of PJs is no big deal, but I was afraid of ruining something nice.

She did put the dabber in her mouth a few times, but not as much as I had expected. I gently showed her how to dab with it and told her we don't eat it. Either way, she ended up with a slightly pink tongue, lips and nose!
Oops :-)
Admiring her work.

This was fun!
We did plenty of activities the rest of the week, including the pom and pipe cleaners that I wrote about last Monday. 

As I mentioned earlier, Tuesday was a very rainy day, so we played 'fetch' the ball down the hall. I threw a baseball, a spiny ball and a ball that lit up with contact down the hall. She chased and brought them back over and over. It helped run off some pent up energy and kept her occupied for almost 45 minutes! Pardon the state of my hall, we are currently in a tiny apartment and this is my storage area. Those are her Christmas and Easter dresses hanging on the wall!

Tuesday night, I spent 4 hours rearranging the hallway and living room to give us more running around and play space. Before this, I was rotating toys every few days. Now, she has access to everything, so first thing Wednesday morning she started hauling everything out! Wednesday is our playgroup day, it takes place at the community centre, Salean spends most of the time running from area to area. Wednesday afternoons rock for Mommy because she actually sleeps two hours after playgroup, so Wednesday isn't the best day for Tot School here. The most we got in was counting cereal at playgroup snack time.  She also spent another 45 minutes or so playing with her poms and cup. She saw them on the shelf and reached for them, pointing and saying "Da!", which is her way of saying "I want that!"

Thursday, we tried some sock sorting. My child has a strange obsession with socks. They are something to be danced with, tossed in the air, flung around and cuddled. So, I thought, what better way to get in some sorting practice than to sort socks!

I set a blue one on the bench and dumped the rest in her bucket I asked her to find another blue one, She proceeded to dump them, scoop them, everything but find a matching one.

She even tried to put one on! She did the same with her shoe at playgroup Wednesday, putting her sock/shoe on by setting it on the foot :-)

Friday ended up being a busy day. Daddy was home from work early, so he took us out to see the Easter Bunny (which ended up being a bawl fest), to look at motorcycles and out to dinner. We got some learning time in before we went out, though.

No, my child does not drink pop...according to Daddy, she steals bottles from him. I am sure this is just his excuse to avoid putting the in the recycling. But, she has about half a dozen stashed in various place around the room and she loves to toss, shake and kick them around.

We have 3 ring stackers, she loves them all! The first we got is the generic plastic one that just about every kid has. I am not crazy about it because it is cone shaped. Unless you stack them in the correct order, you can't get all the rings on, and this gets confusing and frustrating for her because she gets to the top and has rings to stack but no space to stack them.

The other two we got from family for Christmas. On is a colourful wooden ring stacker and the other is a wooden one decorated like a penguin. They are both labeled 18 months, but I brought the colourful one out a few weeks ago. She loved it! If she is paying attention, she can put the rings on the dowel fairly easily. I usually talk to her about the colours, naming them as she puts the on. Sometimes I lay them out flat on the table and point out which is first, second etc. Usually she ignores me and stacks them the way she wants.

She really likes the penguin one as well, I just brought it out last week. I don't think she is quite ready for it. The pieces are heavier and thicker, so she has a hard time stacking them. She really does not get the plastic flipper part laying on the floor by her knee. I have let her play with it twice and she has gotten really frustrated both times, although Friday she tried to combine them, so she didn't get as frustrated as she did the first time. I think I may put this one away for a few weeks until she has more practice with the colourful one.

The weekend was a busy one and the warmest we've had this year! We spent all day Saturday outside and we ended up with our first sunburns of the year. Being redheads, we get them fairly easily. Time to stock up on sunscreen! I also made some coloured pasta for later use. I only made one colour, bowties, if she likes that I will make more later.

So our first real week of tot school went well. I am hoping to plan more activities to go along with this. I want to start to introduce colours, but I think I may wait until about 18 months. It gives me time to collect items to go with each colour, as well.

Hope everyone had a great week!


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Friday, April 11, 2014

Jelly Bean Jars

Between the two of us, we have 5 nephews ranging from age nine to age one, and one more on the way in June. I decided the boys needed something different this Easter as a gift from their only girl little Miss. I saw this on Pintrest months ago, I didn't pin it because at the time, it didn't seem like something I would use. But, when I saw the big bags of jelly beans at the dollar store last week, I decided to go for it. Especially since I have lots of mason jars laying around.
This isn't just a jar of jellies, this is a jar with a secret! In the centre is a hidden envelope containing a toy car, some chocolates and a package of stickers.

My ingredient list. I used 4 bags of jelly beans for one tall and two short jars.
I made sure the paper fit in the jar height-wise, then wrapped the cars and stickers in it. I taped it up as small as I could get it.

A sprinkle of jelly beans into each jar, to hide the bottom of the packages.
After pouring jelly beans to cover the surprises, I shook the jar and used a chopstick to 'push' the candies and toys to be hidden in the jelly beans.

Two jars ready for covers! I put a name sticker on the cover of each as the toys inside were bought to be age appropriate.  

 The original pin just showed a toilet paper tube stuck in the jar and money hidden in the centre. So if you received it as a gift and threw it on the shelf, you'd be out that money. What a surprising gift it would be!
So, I hope the boys like their gifts of jelly beans and a surprise. And although it is early, hope everyone has a Happy Easter!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Easy Chocolate Waffles

Last night, I spent 4 hours rearranging our living room so we can have a bigger, better play area. I sorted toys, cleaned, rearranged books and furniture and made it look less like a storm went through and more like the Tot School that I feel Miss is ready for. In the time that it took me to peel a potato and plate breakfast, she made it look like this:

I think it is time to start teaching her how to put one toy away before taking another!

So, to go with our new play area, I decided to make a treat for breakfast: chocolate waffles. I searched a few recipes (while the tornado slept) and then made my own based off THIS one. I wanted one that was based on a mix because I knew I would not have a lot of time, and I was trying to prep a slow cooker dinner as well. The recipe was easy enough, I just basically added sugar, cocoa and oil to my mix. I halved the recipe and got about 1+1/4 waffles. I also didn't use the measure for the water, I just added enough until it came to the right consistency. I skipped the chocolate chips and walnuts.

Doesn't this look like a delicious breakfast for a 15 month old?

She ate the fruit and the cheese, but literally gave the waffles back to me. Better than tossing them on the floor, I guess. Needless to say, this recipe is not toddler approved.
I ate the other three quarters with a banana, the extra quarter I tossed. It was good, but not great. The cocoa was a bit bitter, so maybe it needed more sugar or a different type of chocolate. You can also see in the lower left that it did not fully integrate into the mix, which may have contributed to it as well.
Ether way, it was something new to try! We may not use this recipe, but I think I may try them again someday.
Hope everyone is having a great day!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Tot School: Poms and Pipe Cleaners.

I was featured for Tot School!
I have been reading a lot lately about Tot School. I originally found it on Pintrest, and followed the link to This Blog. I did a lot of searching and found so many things, so I was excited to 'enroll' our little jellybean. Tot School isn't school at all. It is just taking a little time out of each day to do child led play that is focused on learning.

Today I decided to try focusing on fine motor skills. I found many things online that included pushing / putting  pom poms, pipe cleaners or other small objects into a container. Most containers were chip cans, coffee cans or whitener containers, juice bottles, all things I don't have on hand or purchse. I dug out the poms and pipe cleaners and was digging through my cupboards trying to find something, anything, I could cut. Finally my eyes landed on a cup that was sitting on my cutting board. I visited Maine last Saturday and bought a cup of donut holes from Dunkin Donuts. I had never eaten there before, so we went for lunch; I brought them back for a treat. I emptied and washed the cup, then cut a hole in the top. I also picked out 2 of each colour poms in two different sizes: blue, pink, purple, white, yellow and green.

I showed her how to poke the poms through the hole. Some are larger and require a little more effort, and some small can be just dropped in. She took to it quickly, but preferred not to poke them through the hole. She made me take the cover off and she put them in and out of the cup.

After a few minutes, she tried to put the lid back on. I helped, but she quickly tore it off again.

Eventually she moved all the poms to her chair and walked away. I thought maybe she was done, so I started to put it away. I was met with loud protests.

I found her shovel and showed her how to scoop a pom up and dump it into the cup. She preferred to put them onto the shovel. She also accidently learned how to fling them across the room using the shovel. Thankfully, she was to surprised to do it again.

She decided to take a book break, but it only lasted half a minute. Back to the cup! I showed her how to drop them into the cup while standing. She tried it twice, missed once, and lost interest. I didn't push it.

Trying to take the lid off the cup after I had put it on again.

I tried to find something else for the pipe cleaners, but couldn't. So, I just cut them into thirds and gave them to her. I showed her how to poke them through the hole in the cover, but again she tore it off and preferred to just put them in and out.
I also caught her accidently dumping them.  She dropped one and when she bent over to pick it up, tipped the cup and dumped more out. It happened several times, she has yet to figure it out. It was funny, she looked like something out of a cartoon :-)

So, this as our first official Tot School session. I am hoping to find more ideas and post more about it in the coming weeks and months.

Hope everyone is having a great week!


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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Honey Glazed Chicken

For the last few months, I have been trying my hand at a bit of meal planning. I have so many cook books and cooking magazines just sitting on shelves, I made it my little New Year's resolution to attempt to make 2-3 recipes from them each week. I go out for dinner Thursdays with family, and Saturday is burger night at Grandma's, I figure on one night for leftovers and Sunday when Mr Picky is home is just a freebie for spur of the moment meals. So that leaves three days a week for cooking new things. I've been cooking Monday, Wednesday and Friday and leaving Tuesday for leftovers. Last week, I turned to the internet for new recipes, and this is where I found tonight's dinner.

It started with chicken and a lemon I bought for a recipe last week that I didn't get to use. I like Kraft's website because I can put in the ingredients I have, and it spits back recipes with those ingredients. Everything it gave me last night either didn't appeal or I was missing an ingredient. That was when I noticed a tab, user submitted recipes; this is where I found the Honey Glazed Chicken.

Little Miss was not napping today, for once I had to take her for a drive to get her to sleep. When we got home, I managed to get her in the crib to snooze so I could start dinner. I did step one, threw it in the oven and jumped in the shower. When I got out, I made the glaze and just as I was pouring it over the chicken, I heard a cry from the bedroom. So much for getting anything done today! But, that's OK, at least I got that far.

The recipe states it should be basted a few times, instead I just flipped the pieces twice during cooking. If you do not like curry, I don't recommend this! It was my first go with curry powder and it packs a punch in the scent department! We went out to the mailbox after it was cooked and I could smell the curry on my jacket that had been hanging in the kitchen.

I served it with a deli salad, some sweet potato that had herb & garlic cream cheese mashed into them, and a packet of microwaveable rice. Toddler rating for the chicken is probably a 1 out of 5....she wasn't wild about it and she usually likes spicy food. She loved the sweet potato and the salad, though!

I on the other hand loved it! Although it didn't taste like either honey or lemon, two of the main ingredients. But when Mr Picky came home from work, he cleaned up the other two pieces. I really didn't expect him to like it, but he did!

Aside from the curry smell, I think I will make this again. I'm sure it will eventually grow on Salean. It turned out to be a delicious healthy dinner!

I hope everyone is having a great week!


Thursday, March 27, 2014

"Storm of the Decade"

It has been a crazy day and a half! The Canadian Maritime Provinces was just walloped with what they were anticipating to be the worst storm in ten years. They were predicting up to 40 cm (16 inches) and winds of over 100 Km per hour (~ 62 mph). That was in New Brunswick, where we live. In our neighboring provinces of Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, they were predicting worse.

It started Tuesday evening, flurries just after 5 PM. By Wednesday morning, we had about 3 inches and it appeared to be clearing up. Maybe it missed us? They had already cancelled schools and even closed the University and colleges and unfortunately by 9 AM the wind started picking up. Around 9:30, it started snowing again. I took this picture around lunchtime, it is directly outside our door. 

This second was taken mid afternoon outside the back door. The tree is about 15 feet away.

It took three tries to get the picture, the wind kept coming up making it a white out.

So, we stayed in all day. We were surprised to get a knock on the door around lunchtime, Purolator had a parcel for Salean! I used her Huggies points to help get a set of stacking cups from Discovery Toys. As the day wore on, we heard news of more and more closing. The malls and most stores shut down by 2 PM. The buses were hauled off at 4 PM. Snowplows and tow trucks that were not clearing for emergencies were off by 7 PM. Cars were being abandoned everywhere due to drifts. Finally, they closed the highway between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Since the bridge and ferry to PEI had been shut down earlier in the day, for the first time ever, all three provinces were on their own.

Every couple of hours, Mr Man had to go out for a precious smoke, each time he had to shovel 2 feet of snow from in front of the door. This is the pile he had created by about 10 PM, a few hours after the wind had shifted and stopped blowing us in. Please disregard the reflection of my messy kitchen. 

Here are a couple more I took at the same time, just before heading to bed. 

The wind howled all night but it had stopped snowing. Thursday dawned bright and cold. No school again today! The University and both colleges cancelled morning classes. 

Here are some pictures I took this morning while Mr Man started clearing. 

He had to get in the passenger side of the truck because it was drifted up the driver's side.

The drift that made up the end of the driveway. He estimates it is about 4 feet deep. 

There are two garbage cans here, believe it or not. One is completely buried.

The old snow pile from previous storms. It is probably about 6 feet high, as it was definitely over my head!

We are not getting out the back door any time soon.

Coffee was needed, so Big Red was dug out and then he blasted through the drift. He said the roads were not that bad. 

The below picture was after all the snow from around the house was pushed to the centre of the driveway so the snow plow could take it away. 

And they had to bring in he big guns: an excavator. The last time we had this much snow (in February) the regular plow got stuck. They were taking no chances this time! 

So, that is the big storm of the decade, at least in our little part of Quispamsis, New Brunswick. And now they are calling for oodles of rain the next three hopefully the snow will float away and we will finally get a proper Spring!

Hope everyone is having a good week!!