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.

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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!


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