Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Toddler Food - Broccoli Cheese Nuggets

I've moved to
You can find this post and more here

Today, I totally earned the title of "best mom ever" at lunch time.

I made peanut butter and banana sandwiches, homemade applesauce (see my recipe here), and homemade broccoli cheese nuggets. We enjoyed our lunches on the living room floor while watching Cady's favorite Mickey Mouse show. She is currently very happily napping, and I am happily sitting on my butt enjoying the peace and quiet.

I love these broccoli cheese nuggets. They are soft, delicious, and nutritious and my baby girl loves them. Plus, they are great to make a big batch and freeze in individual servings. They're ideal for toddlers learning to self-feed, but I am not ashamed to admit that I enjoy complimenting my own meals with these veggie nuggets.

1 cup fresh or frozen broccoli
1 cup breadcrumbs
1 1/4 cups shredded cheese (I prefer cheddar)
2 1/2 tbsp water
2 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1. Cook and chop the broccoli. I use my Chopper to save me time and energy here.
2. Combine the breadcrumbs, cheese, water, olive oil, and baking powder in a mixing bowl.
3. Stir the chopped broccoli in with the breadcrumb mixture.

4. Take small handfuls of the mixture and form into nugget shapes. Place them on a greased or foil-lined baking sheet. (I use foil out of pure laziness, but the cheese sometimes sticks when I take the nuggets off.)

5. Bake for about 10 minutes at 375*.
6. Flip the nuggets over and bake for another 10 minutes (watch so that they don't burn).
7. Serve warm.

This recipe is for a smaller batch, but I typically double the recipe and wrap 2 pieces together in seran wrap and then put all of my individual servings in a freezer bag. They are so simple to quickly microwave if you need a vegetable filler with your child's lunch or dinner!

After eating a few, we still ended up with 21 2-piece servings in the freezer.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Decorating the Baby...I mean tree

I've moved to
You can find this post and more here

We were pulling out the Christmas lights over the weekend, and I couldn't help myself but to snap this adorable photo of my little girl.

She's all decked out in her red polka dot fleece pajamas, pigtails in her hair, and entangled in Christmas lights.

There's nothing sweeter at Christmastime than witnessing the wonder through a child's eyes.

I love this girl.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thanksgiving Handprint Art

I've moved to
You can find this post and more here

I was feeling bold today. We did 3 painting projects. If you have (or had) a toddler, you might be thinking, "Is she crazy?".

Yeah, sometimes.

We missed a few days of art projects last week, and I had so many ideas that I wanted to do before Thanksgiving, which is only 2 days away.

First, I painted her hand brown and made a print on blue paper. This is to resemble the Mayflower. I cut out little white paper sails and used a glue stick to place them on the hand print. 1 done, 2 to go.

I cleaned off her little hand with a wet wipe and started painting the palm brown and the fingers different colors. I pressed it on orange paper and made a sad-looking turkey. Tried it again - still sad. Cady wiggles her fingers too much when I try to make hand prints with her. Oh well. I cut out the turkeys and glued them onto a plain piece of white paper along with the ship. 2 done, 1 to go.

The third project was only semi-planned. I knew that she was not going to be happy with me if I only made 3 hand prints with her and then put everything away when there were clearly several containers of finger paint sitting right there on the table. Avoiding the impending screams of toddler-hood, I gave her some scraps of white paper and let her paint with the brush or her fingers. She's only 15 months, so she doesn't know what she's painting; she just sees that she's manipulating the colors around on the paper. That's cool. I'll be creative.

I took her "scrap paper" paintings and cut them to look like leaves. Well, they kind of look like leaves.

I'm really creative in my head; it's the execution that's the problem.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Crock Pot Santa Fe Chicken and Rice

I've moved to
You can find this post and more here

I don't hate much (well, that's a lie, and I hate lies), but I really despise touching raw meat. Raw chicken is the worst. Ideally, the hubby cuts all of the fat and bloody parts off while I prepare everything else. Unfortunately, it was just me and the baby and although I'm sure she would love to play with the raw floppy chicken breasts, it was up to me to touch it. By. My. Self. Ew. But I sucked it up and did it and I'm glad I did because I made a delicious dinner with my handy dandy crock pot.

Need an easy slow cooker meal that will taste great? We love this dish.

5 boneless skinless chicken breasts, thawed and fat trimmed off
1 (14.4 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
14 oz chicken broth
8 oz corn
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
3 scallion onions, chopped
2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. pepper
rice or pasta

1. Combine all ingredients in the slow cooker except chicken.

2. Lay the chicken on top.

3. Cook on low for 10 hours (or high for 6 hours).

4. Shortly before serving, cook rice or pasta. We like this meal with rice best, but we also like to change it up with some pasta every now and then.

5. Scoop the chicken mixture on top of your rice (or pasta).

I like to make a batch of this for dinner and then shred up the rest of the chicken and separate leftovers into toddler-size portioned containers to freeze. They make quick, delicious, and nutritious lunches for my little girl. Just make a small batch of rice or pasta to go with it and serve. Simple!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Puffy Paint Hand Print Turkey

I've moved to
You can find this post and more here

Seriously, who needs to shell out the dough for holiday decorations when you have a child? Art projects keep them entertained (and out of trouble) and then you can turn around and display it, passing it off as home decor. Of course, with the little ones, if you want it to resemble specific holiday items, you're going to need to "finish" the projects sometimes. Yesterday, this was our activity...

The hand print turkey: a Thanksgiving staple.

We've all made the typical hand print turkeys where you paint your palm brown and your fingers different colors and it looks like a turkey with feathers. They're adorable and all, but I wanted to do something a little different with my little girl for two reasons.
1) She never (ever) keeps her hand still enough for me to even think I could get away with painting her fingers different colors and then having the luxury of enough time to press her hand on a paper to make anything that resembles a hand print.
2) I needed something a bit bigger to replace the Halloween decorations we made last month.

Instead, I decided to let her paint with "puffy paint" and then I planned to trace her hand and cut it out in different colors to make larger "feathers".

How do you make puffy paint? Simple. Mix equal parts of shaving cream and glue.

It will look very fluffy. Then add a small amount of paint (too much paint makes it too heavy and you won't get the puffy look when it dries).

Then mix it together and start painting. When it dries, it is puffy on the paper. (It works best if you just leave it white, so be very stingy when adding paint.)

I let Cady paint the whole paper, knowing that I would cut it to resemble a turkey body when it dried.

This is what it looked like dried. I probably should've used less paint because it didn't turn out as puffy as it normally does, but the textured effect is still there.
Then I cut it out to resemble the turkey's body (which more or less resembles a Mr. Potato Head).

Meanwhile, I was able to wrangle Cady long enough to let me trace one really sloppy hand print. I cut it out (much nicer than it originally looked), then used that hand print to trace more hands in different colors. I made some of them longer so that the "feathers" would be staggered behind the turkey.

I taped the "feathers" behind the turkey body and used one of the red hands to resemble the gobbler. Then I used my scraps to cut out a beak and eyes.

I think it turned out to be super adorable and it's currently displayed (proudly) over the fireplace mantel...replacing last month's painted ghost art.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

DIY Growth Chart for Kid's Bedroom

I've moved to
You can find this post and more here

I saw this cute Cherry Blossom Art made from the bottom of a soda bottle. My first thought was, "I could easily do this and it would look really nice as a growth chart in Cadybug's room." (Her room is ladybugs and flowers.)

My second thought was "Well now I need to go buy a bottle of some kind of pop." We don't drink much pop around here, and if we do have any around, it's because I got a great deal on it around some sort of barbecuing holiday (i.e. Memorial Day or 4th of July). And it's always cans. They're easier to store and we can turn around and smash and recycle the cans for money.

So I went store hopping to get a bottle of pop (grocery store), then paint (Hobby Lobby), and then a pre-painted white shelf (Menards).

First, I drew the branch and painted it dark brown.

Then I dipped the (cleaned) bottom of the pop bottle in pink paint and strategically pressed it onto the shelf to look like flowers.

After it dried, we drilled it into her bedroom wall. Then I used a black permanent marker and a ruler to make hash marks at every inch on the side of the shelf. I wrote each foot on the side for easy measurement reading. It's much easier to make the measurements after hanging it up on the wall.

I marked the height she was at when she was born, and then we measured her on her 1st birthday, and plan to measure her on every birthday.

I loved it in my daughter's room so much, that when we found out our friends were going to have a monkey-themed nursery for their baby boy, my husband helped me draw a monkey to make a growth chart for them.

The adorable possibilities are endless.

Thanksgiving Noodle Necklace + Noodle Activities

I've moved to
You can find this post and more here

I don't know about you, but when I think about celebrating Thanksgiving as a kid, two things come to mind: pumpkin pie and colored noodle necklaces. The only pumpkin pie I make is the kind I can defrost, but noodle necklaces? I can do that.

I loved making a noodle necklace in preschool, but it never occurred to me how the noodles became so colorful. Turns out it's really easy to dye noodles and use them for numerous crafts. I used to mix paint with the noodles, wait all day for them to dry, and still have them be goopy and stuck to each other. This time I used liquid food coloring and it dried much quicker and covered them just as well!

Here are the plain mostaccioli noodles I used.

Then I added a few drops of food coloring and used a spoon to mix them.

Make whatever colors you like, but I chose red, yellow, green, and blue to make them look like Thanksgiving colors.

Then cut a piece of yarn for the necklace, and make sure it will be big enough for your child to pull over their head.
Start stringing the noodles onto your necklace. I had help. (If your child is old enough, this is a great hand-eye coordination activity!)

Tie it in a double knot and watch how excited your child is to wear a noodle necklace. They really cherish the strangest things...

Now, what to do with those leftover colored noodles? This is what we are doing...

Dump and fill activity with a tupperware container (meaning: she dumps them out and then puts them in my hand or back in the container, then repeat, and repeat, and repeat)

Sorting by colors

Counting the noodles

Shaking the container of noodles as an instrument while listening to music