Thursday, April 23, 2015

Homemade Mac & Cheese.

Last Sunday before we went out for the day, I poked my head into the freezer to see what I could find for dinner. The first thing I laid my eyes on, I grabbed. A package of sliced ham. 4 PM rolled around and I had absolutely nothing to go with it. I peered in the cupboard and found a box of Mac and Cheese. A meal the masses usually like, so that will do! While I was boiling the water, I changed my mind: who cares about the masses, I want homemade!! I quickly did a Pintrest search and found a simple recipe HERE. I cut the recipe in half, because 2 adults and a toddler can't eat that much! There were still plenty of leftovers. 

In the same amount of time it would have taken me to take the boxed variety, I made this delicious concoction. While the macaroni boiled, I made the white sauce; and while it baked, I fried the ham on the stove top. The only changes I made was less salt and I used crushed croutons on top. I don't usually keep Panko on hand, so it worked in a pinch. They gave it sort of a garlicky twist. I also gave it another sprinkle of cheese on top after the crumbs were added, just for kicks!

A decent sized toddler portion. She ate half the ham and it looked like she didn't touch the macaroni. I hope her sister is a better eater when her time comes! As for Mr Picky? He liked it, but didn't love it. He thought it was to chewy, and when I asked if I should make it again some day he just hummed, so I am guessing that is a no. Grr. I do agree, it was a little chewy, but otherwise I thought it was delicious.

So, another meal 'flop'...maybe next time!

Have a good week!


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Pom Sorting

Last week, we got a new addition to our little school area: a sand table! They were on sale and because she enjoyed the sensory bins I made the week before, we decided to buy one using the money the girls got in cards over the last year, which so far has been sitting in the piggy banks. They don't realize it, but this is the first toy they have saved for! Although she has been told many times not to sit in it, Miss Salean still loves to. Here it is on the first night filled with rice, but a few days later I emptied it and it had red (orange) lentils in it all week. They are now all over my house. She loved it, though! 

I decided this week to experiment with Tot Trays, which is basically a tray with a learning activity on it. I built this colour learning game myself. I gave her 4 large poms and 9 small ones in four different colours: blue, red, green and yellow.

 The labels on the cups didn't last long, Salean has a thing for peeling stickers off stuff.

I left it on her toy shelf presented as below, she was pretty excited to see something new!

I showed her how to divide the poms by colour, labelling them as we went. After we went through them all, I asked her if she remembered which a certain colour was. She got most right on the second try, so a little more work is needed there.

After a few hours, the poms ended up being spread all over the room. From what I could tell, she was experimenting on the bounciness of poms. By the end of the week when I collected them, I was only short one or two small ones, I am sure they will pop up somewhere!

Building on this,  I decided to try teaching a few shapes as well. She brought her magnet drawing bored to me, and after drawing Daddy, Mama and Salean (she forgot sister) a few times on request, I moved onto a little learning game.

I first drew 2 circles and a triangle. I asked her which were the same and which was different. She didn't understand, so I pointed out the circles were the same and the triangle different. After that, she got it every time. Like the colours, I labelled each shape and then asked her if she remembered which one was a triangle. She got it! I did the same with squares and a circle and then triangles and a square and then finally with the 3 different shapes as a test. She got most of the shapes on the first try!

 I was told by a speech pathologist not to bother teaching shapes, colours etc. since she is still working on talking; but in my opinion just because she can not say the word, does not mean she can't understand and show me what they are. This proves that she is ready to learn, even though she refuses to talk!

I hope everyone has a great week!

~ Natasha.

We are linked up to:

Saturday, April 11, 2015

A Week of Sensory Bins

Spring is here, sort of. The rain has come but we still have (literally) about 3 feet of snow, which means we are quite limited in what we can do outdoors. Monday morning, we were very bored, Salean was going stir crazy and so was I. We did a small painting project, pictures to go to her Great Grandmas with the photos we had done the week before. While I was digging through my craft bin, I found a bag of orange lentils that we had used last year. That might be something interesting to do! 

At first, I just put them in a small box, but she was having a hard time playing in it. There just wasn't enough space. I remembered a bin I had under the newbies crib, it originally had baby clothes stored in it, but they are now being worn as hand me downs.  This was a perfect size! With a little fuss (she thought I was taking it away) I swapped her toys over to the new bin and she played for over an hour! 

She really got into it, I added 2 dump trucks, an excavator, and a cup and measuring spoon.

Tuesday afternoon, I was digging in the cupboards for some paper towel, and a bag of rice fell out. This was one I bought at the dollar store that had been intended for a sensory bin, but never got there. I quickly dyed it while I made lunch and gave it to her the next day in the same bin with the same toys. Another hour was killed, yay! She came out of this one with slightly purple hands, but it wiped off easily.

Friday, I looked for the pasta we had used last year, it was a hit again. I put a dinosaur, 2 cups, a spoon and bowl in the bin. By the end of it, all her dinosaurs were in it.

We had a little lesson with the pasta, I scooped out a yellow tube and asked her to scoop out more. We then repeated it with blue penne and green bugs. She only played with this one for about 45 minutes, but once she filled the box with dinos, it became a little crowded and she lost interest.

Even the newbie, Savana, got into the fun with some sensory bottles I made almost a year ago, she is getting big and will be 4 months next week! She loved sitting and batting them around! 

So, because the little misses loved sensory play so much, we are going to get them a little sand table to go indoors. We rearranged the living room tonight to make space for it, and I purchased a few different items to go in it today. I can't wait until it is discovered! From here on out, Tot School will have sensory play included! 

Have a good week, everyone!


We are linked up to :

I was featured for Tot School!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Colour Matching with Paint Chips.

Lately, Little Miss Salean has been taken with matching. She pulls out a sheep from both her puzzle and her farm, showing me pointing "look, same!" Socks are matched, Pictures in books, balls, even patterns. We were watching Sesame Street and they were counting red mushrooms with white dots, she ran and grabbed her red ball with white dots, pointing to show me it was the same.  I decided to take advantage of this natural curiosity and made a colour learning game with paint chips and cups. 

 I cut up a paint chip for each primary colour, red, blue and yellow. I found three plastic cups and covered them with construction paper of matching colours (I had to use a crayon to make the red, as oddly our package of construction paper did not have red in it). I put the paint chips into another cup and showed her what to do, naming the colours.

I was quite surprised, she really took to it and got all but one in the right cups. She quickly realized her mistake and corrected it. 

After a couple of rounds, she got a bit bored with the colour matching and just started dropping them into random cups. It occupied her for about 10 minutes, though, which is a fair amount of time for a busy 2 year old.

Even though she can not say the colours, I am hoping this little game will teach her to recognize the three primary colours, and then we can move on to some secondary ones, like green, orange and purple.

Hope everyone is having a great weekend!


We are linked up to:

I was featured for Tot School!

Friday, March 27, 2015

Lemon Chip Muffins

One day last week, I got to go to town without the toddler. Taking advantage of the trip, I stopped at the Bulk Barn, one of my favourite stores. It is hard to go in there with 2 kids, because their carts are to small to put the baby car seat-carrier in, it is difficult to carry the baby or push a stroller and a cart at the same time, and it is even harder to allow the toddler to walk because it is very enticing for little fingers; rows and rows of bins filled with sweets and surprises, at a perfect height for a little one to get into! 

Anyway, last week, I got to go in a take a peek around. I found a new treat! Lemon flavoured baking chips. I decided to get a handful or two just to try them out. When I got home, I figured the best recipe was chocolate chip muffins, with a minor tweak, of course. HERE is the recipe I used. 

Without the contrasting chocolate, they look a little plain, but they turned out delicious! I had one for breakfast for the next few days, as did Little Miss, of course.

The little one liked them, but I wouldn't go so far as to say she loved them. She ate about a half of one at a time. Mr Picky didn't like them, of course. It is the lemon, he thinks it tastes like dish soap.

Either way, I will be making this one again. I have enough lemon chips for a do-over and we always have chocolate chips on hand so I will try those as well. Maybe they will get a better reception that way.

Hope everyone is having a great week!


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Inside Out Chocolate Chip Cookies.

I have been doing a lot of baking lately, muffins for breakfast, cookies for Mr Man to take to work, and rolls for meals. Instead of making the same few recipes over and over, I have been trying out some newer ones that I have been finding around the internet. This one is a backwards chocolate cookie, I found the recipe HERE

The first thing you can notice is that mine are a lot gloppier than the original bakers. This is because she states they have to be refrigerated for 2 hours and then rolled between the palms. It was 8:30 PM, and I was tired from chasing a toddler all day and taking an hour and a half to get an infant to sleep. There's no time for waiting around, they have to go in the lunch bag at 4 AM, so I just scooped them onto the pan and baked them off.

My cookies ended up a little flatter because of this, no big deal. I found these cookies tasted better the next day, after they were cooled. They had a more chocolatey taste. Mr Picky liked them, but said they were a little to sweet to be an everyday cookie. The recipe will go into my remake file, but it probably won't be one I use right away. 

Have a good week, everyone!  


Friday, March 6, 2015

Winter Storms

As I mentioned before, we have been getting a lot of winter storms this year. We actually had a green Christmas and up until mid-January it looked like we were in the clear...then the tides turned on us and we have been getting dumped on since. Our city declared a state of emergency in one of the older sections because there was literally no where to put it, they had to shut everything down so it could be removed. We have had two more storms since.

Each storm has dropped between 30 and 50 cm, which is 12 to 20 inches. And we have had (that I can remember) about 5. As well, we have had quite a few snow days that have just dropped between 5 and 10 cm (2 to 4 inches). These pictures are from February 25th, when they called for 10 cm but we ended up getting 25.

The morning started with the snow below the windows. By about 1:00 PM, it was over the windows!! This is not blown into the screen, this is actual accumulation. Our windows are about waist high to Mr Picky, and he is 6 feet tall, so these windows are about 3-4 feet off the ground.

The above is the snow outside Salean's bedroom window. This is not started in a spot that had snow plowed from the drive way, nor is it in a spot that it drifts into. This is purely snow just dropped onto the ground and piled up. Poor Mr Picky had to climb over our porch railing into waist high snow piles to shovel out the windows. He said if he left it, they would leak when it started melting. 

Mr. Picky got home around 11 AM, we are glad he came home early this day the roads were getting terrible. I took this picture at about 2 PM. All that snow on his truck had been dropped in 3 hours.

And finally, my car, which appears to have gone missing. It hadn't been cleaned off at all during the storm. This was taken around 2 PM. Around 3:30, it suddenly stopped snowing and the sun came out, it turned into a beautiful day!

This was hopefully the last major storm this winter, although not to jinx it, we usually get one good one in March. Altogether, our city has had about 185 cm (74 inches, or 6 feet) of snow drop since mid-January

Please, Mother more snow!!

It's almost Spring have a good week, everyone!