Thursday, May 29, 2014

Homemade 'Blizzard'

One evening last week, Mr Picky and I were watching television when I was hit with a craving.
"I want a blizzard." I said.
"Yeah, but to bad they are so expensive." came the reply.
I sighed. "Yup." Boo hoo, no blizzard for me. Just for giggles I did a Google search. And I found THIS. Of course, we don't buy plain vanilla ice cream, all we had was orange sherbet and mint chip fudge. Boo hoo, still no bizzard for me.

Fast forward to this morning, I've been to the store twice this week and have forgotten vanilla ice cream twice. Another sigh. I was digging through the deep freeze, rearranging boxes of chicken and loaves of bread...then I came upon this glorious picture.

I didn't know you were hiding in there! I grabbed what I needed and thought about how I could make a homemade blizzard with this, after all they have cookie dough flavour! The experiment started after my little jellybean went to bed.

Measure out the ice cream very carefully! I thought about halving the recipe, but changed my mind because a cup isn't really a whole lot.

My blender doesn't really work all that well. I had to shake it, mash the ice cream down and break it up with a spoon in order to get it to blend. Since the ice cream was from the deep freeze, it may have been to hard. I put it in the fridge freezer so it will be softer next time.

Deliciousness. As I said, a cup of ice cream isn't really a whole lot, but it made a nice little serving for one person.

It was very creamy, and almost like soft serve. Almost. I think this recipe would do in a pinch, but I don't think it is an exact replica. But, it is a nice way to liven up your ice cream! I will have to remember to grab some vanilla the next time it is on sale and try this recipe with some Smarties or other chocolate treats.

Hope everyone is having a great week! It has either been freezing cold or crazy hot here the last week and a half; and we have been insanely busy, so we kind of skipped tot school last week. But, I have a few new activities lined up to tell you about next week.

Have a good weekend, everyone!


Monday, May 19, 2014

Tot School: Painting with Water

We are linked up to: Tot School Gathering Place.

I am a day late, but we had a wonderful long weekend. This weekend is the unofficial start of summer. Camps are opened, boats are put on the water and parks open up for summer fun! We went for 2 long drives, visited a nursery for flowers, and visited both sets of grandparents. 

Last week was sunny and hot, unfortunately 2 days out of 3 of our long weekend rained. We got lots of outdoor playtime again. I stopped at the dollar store for some outdoor things and remembered something I had seen on Pintrest, painting with water! So, I purchased a paint roller, with a long handle for easier use; when we got home I filled a dish with water and set her to play on our little deck. 

She didn't do much painting, but loved dipping the roller and watching it drip. 

'Watering' the tulips, after she lost her sandals. I was quite surprised that she walked so easily on the hot stones and even the grass, as I've been told a lot of little ones fuss the first time in the grass barefoot. 

Washing a rock, she has quite the collection picked up from around the yard.

She was also all over Grandma's yard, which is covered in dirt, gravel and rocks, Saturday with bare feet. She is one tough cookie!! 

I don't have many other pictures from last week, but we worked on her puzzles, she finally figured out how to slide the pieces into the holes and she was so proud of herself!

We played with a paper toy puzzle I had made, but she had no interest in it. I put one of the papers in front of her, in this case a square, and showed her two toys, a block and a round coin from her piggy bank toy. I asked her which matched, but she just took the paper and ran. Maybe next time.

We didn't get a new sensory bin this week, I gave her the pom poms and she played with them with Daddy for a bit one night while I cooked dinner.

Our art project for the week came from THIS website. I cut a large and a small piece of paper the night before to be prepared. I started with the small, I traced my hand and then attempted to trace Salean's hand. I asked her if dolly wanted her hand traced, and I did. Then I laid dolly down and traced all around her. Salean tried to steal my marker. I traced dolly again, and again she tried to steal my marker. This was all trying to lead up to getting her to lay down on the big piece of paper to trace her. She was not interested. I gave her a blue dabber to paint the pictures, but she preferred to chew on it (I think her eye teeth are finally coming in because she has been chewing on everything lately and drooling a lot) when she started dabbing the footstool, I took it away and gave a crayon, but she tried eating that, too, so we ended up hanging the picture for all to see. I accidentally took the pictures for this project without a memory card, and since I can not find the cord for the camera, they are stuck there for now. I will update the post with pictures when I rescue them from the camera.

So that was our week in a nutshell. This week is going to be a busy one, and it is supposed to rain all week. We can't seem to get a break from it! I got a new raincoat and boots for little miss last Saturday, so we may have to go for a puddle walk some day this week!

Hope all you Canadians had a great long weekend!!


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Homemade Toy Puzzle

I am constantly trying to find new ideas that are cheap to keep my little jellybean entertained while I do chores or cook. This is another that I stumbled upon while searching the pages on Pintrest. The pin led to THIS blog, it is the fourth activity down.

I started by cutting three pieces of construction paper into quarters. Each one will be a different puzzle. I just eyeballed it, so they are a bit uneven. I don;t think she will care :-)

I just went through the pile grabbing random toys and tracing them with a pencil. After, I went over the pencil marks with a permanent black marker.

I labelled each one so I do not have to keep all the toys with the cards, I can just dig them up as I bring them out to play.

Also, if for some reason they last for a long time, I can use them when she is older to teach about the names of the toys.

I don't plan on bringing out all 12 at once, that will most likely overwhelm and confuse her.  I will start her out with one or two at a time and gradually move up to probably six t a time.

So, that was today's 15 minute minute nap time craft. I plan on introducing them sometime this week

Hope everyone is having a great week!


Sunday, May 11, 2014

Tot School: Outdoor Play

We are linked up to Tot School Gathering Place.

Happy Mother's Day to everyone!

Last week, Spring officially arrived in our little corner of the world, and it is about time!! We only had one rainy day, the rest of the week was sunny and hot, sunburn weather! I got two sunburns, boo. Miss Salean was lucky and didn't get any, but I took more care about how she was dressed in order to avoid it. So, needless to say, we spent just about every day outdoors and had barely any time for tot school. Here is an overview of our week, mostly outdoor activities.

We had a BBQ at Nanny & Grampy's house, and learned how to play soccer! Daddy giving little Miss some tips on how to kick the ball. She doesn't quite get it because she still has difficulty standing on one foot in order to kick.

Cousin showing how it is done. He is seven months older than she is, and will be two this week coming! Happy Birthday, cousin!

This picture was caught by pure luck! She was running and offering the ball to Daddy and screamed just as the camera caught the moment!

We spent two mornings at the lovely place pictured below.

This beautiful lake is the water reservoir for East Saint John. There are walking trails and a wonderful playground. We spent half an hour Wednesday morning and over two hours Thursday morning here with some new friends.

Excited for a new playground! 

Vroom, Vroom!

This walkway was the only one that was 'open' like this, the rest were solid like the steps below. She was a bit wary at first about crossing it. She stepped on it and off a couple times before going for it. 

Figuring out her own way to get down the stairs. She just suddenly started doing this last week. Before this, she would slide down on her bum. She now crawls backwards down the stairs, the same way she has been getting off beds and platforms for a few months. 

We spent Thursday at another playground, mostly on the swings, she really seems to enjoy them!

Saturday was a damp day, we had an impromptu hockey lesson in the yard. We showed her how to hit the ball with the stick, she tried several times then simply bent down and swatted the ball with her hand! Smart little cookie! 

 She was successful a few times, and she really enjoyed it. We tried the same activity Sunday morning with a toy golf club.

Break time on big cousin's bike! 

Back at the ball swatting, it was really good for her eye-hand coordination. 

To backtrack, Monday was our other rainy day, we focused a half hour or so on her stacking cups. She absolutely loves these, I ordered them through Discovery Toys using a gift card from Huggies diapers that I got from their points. Thirteen months of baby wipes added up to a nice gift, and I don't regret the extra money plus shipping I paid.

For now, we are just focusing on stacking and size gradients. Eventually we will work in colours and numbers, as each one is numbered in order. They have the number written on the side and on the inside bottom, as well as raised dots representing that number from 1 to 12.

I can also use them for animal recognition, as each cup has a different animal on the bottom. 

We got one day of sensory play in this week, the bin had pom poms in it. I got the idea from THIS list, which I found on Pintrest, of course.

I tried to get her to focus on putting the different colours and sizes into the baskets, but she had no interest in it.

She mostly slid some down through the bottle and put a lot on the floor. After, I got her to help pick them up and put them in the baskets; this was very successful.

So, that was our week in a nutshell. Next week is supposed to be nice again, so I think I may try to plan some outdoor activities in our yard. Our sensory bin will be a messy one, so it can be outside. It hasn't quite gotten warm enough for water play, though. Hopefully in a few more weeks!

Hope everyone had a great Mother's Day! 


Friday, May 9, 2014

No Machine Homemade Ice Cream

A few weeks ago, I found some homemade ice cream recipes. I was excited! I love ice cream! I couldn't wait! Then, I started pricing ice cream makers around my city, and got sticker shock. Boo. I was resigned to eating from the 4 tubs already in the freezer (ice cream is expensive, so I stock up when it is on sale).

A few days ago, I found this recipe for homemade ice cream without a machine. Yay! Thank you to Jamie Cooks it Up!I had most of the ingredients and I quickly ran out to get the last one.

Because I had a request for Maple Walnut and I am not wild about maple flavour (I am not a very good little Canadian), I made two flavours. My second is my favourite, chocolate mint chip. I used my cookie scoop to take two little bites, since it is only 9:30 in the morning.

I mixed it into one big batch and then divided the mixture into two empty ice cream containers. They are big enough to be able to mix in everything easily and have expansion room.

To the first I added 2 drops of peppermint, 2 drops of green colour and a handful of chips. They sunk to the bottom when I stirred it, so I added a few more on top.

The Maple walnut got 2-3 drops of maple flavour, which automatically coloured it, and a handful of walnuts. I learned from the first batch and added the nuts after stirring in the flavour. I gave it another stir after adding the nuts, but they didn't sink so much. Science! Chocolate is denser then walnuts. I put them in the freezer overnight and this morning had this lovely sight.

I love this recipe and am definitely going to use it again, especially since I found This Page with a bunch of yummy add-in recipes. The ice cream turned out creamy and not to sweet. And, not including add ins, it cost  less than a tub of ice cream! It was 2.99 for the cream and 1.99 for the milk, I got two half tubs that usually cost 6.99 each (I try to get them for 4.99 or less).

It has been a hot and sunny week, spring is finally here! It is supposed to rain all weekend, but it is a good time to start making ice cream. Yummy, delicious ice cream.

Have a good weekend, everyone!!


Sunday, May 4, 2014

Tot School: 16 Months

We are linked up to Tot School Gathering Place

Our little Jellybean turned 16 months old Wednesday, where has the time gone?! She isn't really talking yet, but babbles pretty much nonstop. She understands just about everything she is told and is pretty good at one command instructions, once in awhile she can manage a two command instruction (like "Pick up the toy and bring it to me", as opposed to "Pick up the toy." and "Bring it to me"). Her favourite animal is the duck, and she calls "Gwa Gwa" whenever she sees one, real or toy. She greats people with a loud "Haaa!" and a wave, and she loves to scream and shriek! She is about 25 pounds and 32 inches tall, loves to go for walks and runs, and is quite the climber! She is still not much of a napper, but usually sleeps from 7 PM until at least 7:30 AM.

In the next few months, I plan on focusing on words. We are currently working on "up" instead of her standing there with arms outstretched. She doesn't seem to understand how to make the P sound. It all comes with time. I was planning on starting colours when she turned 18 months, at the the end of June, but I may wait until the end of August. We have to move at the end of August, so I may wait until I get her in her new room so we can have a dedicated Tot School place instead of the living room, but that all depends on the size of our new place. When she turns 2, I will slowly start to introduce numbers up to 10 and then finally the alphabet. My long term goal is mastering all three by age 3 to 3.5, especially since she will be starting kindergarten at 4 years 8 months, due to her late birthday.  It is a lot to master, but with time and patience I think we can do it!

On to last week's activities! It was another rainy, cold week. Blah. We actually had to go back to our winter coats and hats to go for a walk! But, we got one trip to the playground to play, she loved climbing and swinging, but was meh about the slide.


I found this ring toss game at the the dollar store, she broke it after a few minutes. I taped it up. She was able to put them over the stick easily, but wouldn't toss them. 

We worked on puzzles again this week, swapping out last weeks farm one for a zoo one. 

We played with play dough a couple of times. Our first experience is recorded here, the second didn't go so well. She mostly cried. 

This weeks sensory bin had rocks in it, I got them at the dollar store. 

She only played with it for a short time each day, she just didn't seem to have much interest in it. Maybe next time. She mostly enjoyed putting the rock into the cup and dumping them out.

This was all the pictures I got last week. I kept forgetting my camera in the car! We also read a lot of books, she is getting really good at sitting through short ones. Up until a couple weeks ago, she would leave after only a few pages. This weeks book favourites seemed to be 'On the Night You Were Born' and 'The Belly Button Book'

We only got one art project in, I traced a picture of  Napkin Man a 15 minute show about feelings on the CBC, she loves the intro theme and dances to it. The station shows kids pictures of Napkin Man, so I gave her a picture to paint. I plan on scanning it and sending it in. I haven't got that done yet, and I didn't get a picture of it. 

And finally, I have been continuously trying to get her to put one toy back before taking another. I have been doing this by watching for when she pulls down another telling her we need to clean up one before another and then doing just that. She can't lift some of the bins and baskets, but at least she is putting the lids back on them before taking another. I am taking this as a sign that the lesson is sinking in.

Well, that was our week, next week is supposed to be sunny and hot, yay! So hopefully we will get in some outdoor activities. 

Have a good week, everyone!


Friday, May 2, 2014

Quick & Easy Fudge

Just about every time I am invited to a baby or wedding shower, a housewarming or any other potluck, I am asked,  or rather told: bring fudge. And I comply. It disappears, and always at least one person asks for the recipe, I freely give it out but letting them know my source.  It's no secret that I stole the recipe from a TV show I saw several years ago. Because of copyrights and such, I am not going to name names, but she is the queen of the 30 minute recipe!

So, super easy fudge, in 3 easy steps and 4 easier ingredients!

Quick & Easy Fudge.

2 Cups Chocolate chips
1 Cup Butterscotch Chips
1 + 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (seen here in a Tbsp measure for photo purposes)
1 can sweetened condensed milk (NOT evaporated)

Pour all the ingredients except vanilla into a thick bottomed pot. Turn on medium heat.

Stir together until about half melted, add vanilla extract and continue stirring until all the chips are melted and it is smooth (between 8 and 10 minutes)

Pour into lined pan, refrigerate for 30 to 45 minutes. Cut into squares.

I have made this recipe dozens of times in the last 10 or so years, and learned a few things along the way.

Lining the pan is NOT a suggestion. Do it. Trust me. Greasing the pan or spraying it makes for slimy fudge.

Make sure you get condensed, not evaporated milk (think chocolate soup). I use store brand, but if it helps, use Eagle Brand, NOT Carnation. These are the top brands of condensed and evaporated, around here at least. Also, condensed usually comes in smaller cans with the pop top, evaporated does not.

Make sure the butterscotch chips are fresh, I find they do not melt properly if I use a half bag that has been sitting around.

When the star of the show was making the recipe, she said you can throw anything in it (and she did) cranberries, raisins, nuts, marshmallows etc. etc. The only thing I add is walnuts, and it is seldom.

Also, she said 1/2 an hour and it's done, I find it is a bit difficult to cut then, so I like to let it sit for 2 hours at minimum. Most times, I make it the night before.

Three easy steps... Melt ... Cool ... Indulge.


Have a good weekend, everyone!