Sunday, January 31, 2010

Crockpot Chicken

I am so excited about this recipe! It is SO easy and SO delicious and if you are a busy mom, I think you’ll agree.  The best part is that you don’t even have to unthaw the chicken.

Ingredients:
6 boneless skinless chicken breasts (frozen)
4 oz. cream cheese
1 pkt. Italian dressing mix
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of celery soup

Sprinkle Italian dressing mix on frozen chicken and place in crockpot on low for 6-8 hours.  Do not add any water.  Break up chicken.  Add cream cheese and 2 of the 3 cans of soup (your choice) and let cook 1 to 2 more hours. Serve over noodles or rice.

Note: I used 1 can cream of chicken and 1 can cream of chicken and mushroom and it was delicious.  I also cooked on low for 6 1/2 hours and then almost 2 after I put in the soups. I served it over buttered egg noodles…yummy!
This is going to appear many times; I can’t believe I’ve been living without it!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Snow Painting

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I got the recipe for “Snow Paint” from the wonderful book First Art by Mary Ann Kohl (which I would highly recommend for toddlers…focuses on the process rather than the finished product)
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(It’s called Snow Paint because when it dries it’s supposed to look like snow; it has salt in it)

What You’ll Need:
1 c. flour
1 c. salt
1 c. water
Whisk together

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What We Did:
I gave my 3 year old a piece of dark paper first as I thought it would make the paint sparkle more, but I can’t really say that it did.
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So then I just gave him paintbrush type things (see above), an old toothbrush and whatever else I could find…
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Honestly, he wasn’t very thrilled with this until I added the food coloring. Then the fun began and he started mixing and swirling.
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I was bummed that my 19 month old slept through this. I think it would’ve been perfect for his age. Overall-not what I expected but a valuable art experience nonetheless!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Mitten Suncatcher

We’ve been enjoying Jan Brett’s The Mitten for a few weeks now so when I saw this idea on childcareland.com, I thought we’d give it a try.themitten
What You’ll Need:
  • any color cardstock or construction paper would work too
  • different colored tissue paper squares
  • contact paper or laminating machine
  • optional: markers, jewels, glitter, other decor
What We Did:
1. First, I drew a mitten on a piece of white cardstock. I then drew a 1 inch border around it and cut out the middle.
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2.  My little guy wanted to color it in with markers, OR you could paint it, or just use colored paper to skip this step.
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3.  Next, I put the mitten inside a laminating pouch, but if you’re using contact paper, just set it on top of the sticky side.

4. Have your little one put the squares of tissue paper in the inside.
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5. Close the laminating pouch and laminate, or put the other piece of contact paper over the finished design and seal. Cut out and put on window to admire.
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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Lacing Beads

Here is a very simple way I kept my 3 year old busy while I folded a basket of clothes...and worked on his fine motor skills at the same time.
I bought these craft beads at the Dollar Tree…
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then gave him an old shoestring, tied a knot on the end,  and had him lace the beads.  He thought he was making mommy a necklace :-)
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These can also be used for sorting by color, and in a year or two-patterning. I put the beads into a plastic zipper top bag with the shoestring for him to get out when he wants (providing that little brother is asleep).

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Gingerbread Fun

I’ve been promising my 3 year old since December that we would make gingerbread cookies and so we finally did it today.  We’ve been reading this version over and over again to the point where he can almost retell the entire story to me. We got the recipe from the back of the book.  Here are my little chefs all ready to go…
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Gingerbread Cookies

Sift into a big bowl and mix:
2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. ground allspice
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Beat together in another bowl:
1 egg
1 c. firmly packed dark brown sugar
2/3 c. molasses
5 tbsp. softened butter
Add dry ingredients slowly to wet mixture until well blended.
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Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.  Preheat oven to 350 F.  Sift flour onto your board and your rolling pin as you work to keep the dough from sticking.  Roll out a portion of dough 1/4 inch thick.  Cut out with your cookie cutter.  Decorate with raisins or other candy.  Place 1 inch apart on buttered cookie sheet.  Bake 8 minutes, or until slightly firm to the touch. Cool on wire rack.
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Can anybody else get away with baking and NOT giving their kids the beaters? I surely can’t!  The best part was when G-man kept watching to see if the gingerbread man was going to jump out of the oven (like in the book) …
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and so when they were baking and he was in the bathroom, I took one out of the oven and put it in the living room. He was SO excited and was running around trying to find it. He was surprised to find it on the couch!
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Then I pulled out some other gingerbread stuff I have gotten online or through my Yahoo groups. I’m sorry I can’t give you the links as I didn’t save these and can’t remember where I got them. But I will try to be better in the future so I can provide resources for you all.


Gingerbread Memory and Gingerbread Shadow Match

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At bedtime Garrett said “Mom, that was so fun making gingerbreads”…it made the big old mess totally worth it!


Gingerbread Playdoh

This recipe came from a fabulous website Hubbard’s Cupboard.  If you’ve never been there, you should check it out! Tons of activities for little tots.

IMG_3206 Ingredients:
1 cup flour
1/2 cup salt
2 tsp. cream of tartar
Spices-Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Ginger,  Allspice (to your liking)
1 cup water
1 tsp. vegetable oil
Food coloring-green and red to make brown (I used a ton!)

1. Mix the dry ingredients together
2. Mix the liquid ingredients together
3. Stir together the dry and liquid ingredients

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4. Add food coloring to make brown
5. Cook the mixture on low-medium heat for 3-5 minutes, stirring constantly.
6. Knead the dough until it is soft and smooth.
7. Cool and store in an airtight container.
* Makes enough for 2 balls of playdoh, each fitting into a small butter tub .

Play! (notice the tongue? He sure is concentrating!)

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Gingerbread Mosiac

This is simple, but kept his little hands quite busy. I just drew a gingerbread man and cut it out.

Then he cut brown squares out of strips that I made of brown construction paper. Good cutting practice!

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Next, he glued the squares to the gingerbread.

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Finally, we put on googly eyes, raisins for the mouth, and gumdrops for the buttons.  On the left is the newly finished…and then about 30 minutes later with his mouth full, he told me that he ate the smile and the buttons. I wasn’t surprised. On the right is the poor gingerbread with nothing at all!

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Friday, January 22, 2010

Friday Fun

If you live around here, you know that we have been “iced in” for 3 days now, which means we haven’t been out of the house since Tuesday. I knew I had to come up with something today. Here are a few things that have filled the past few mornings…

Finger Painting with Chocolate Pudding
(on waxed paper)

I’ve had this idea on our “to do” list for a long time, so today we finally did it. They giggled and smiled the whole time.

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Of course, half the fun was eating it, which of course led to a big mess…
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Which then led to this….

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Snowman Snack
What eat a plain banana when it could be a snowman? I didn’t plan this so just used whatever we had around the house. Nobody seemed to mind it wasn’t perfect.

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Chalk Writing

Just another way to practice fine motor skills. My 3 year old doesn’t care too much for writing or even coloring so I thought maybe this would excite him-something a little different. It must not have been too exciting because it lasted about 30 seconds. But he did say he made a fish..do you see it? Ha ha.

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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Ice Cube Painting

Ironic, I had this planned even before I knew of our impending ice storm. The kids really liked this one!
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Ice cube tray
Food coloring
small popsicle sticks (I happened to have colored…)
Coffee filters
Kool-aid
White paper
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Directions:
1. Fill ice cube trays the night before and drop 1 drop of food coloring in each.
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2. Insert craft stick into each ice cube

IMG_31523. Freeze overnight
4. Watch your child’s face light up when he sees all the colors. “Paint” on coffee filters (see tip below).
5. When that gets boring, sprinkle Kool-aid on paper and have them “paint” the Kool-aid. They’ll be amazed at the pop of color.
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Of course, I had to make this educational so we talked about melting and spent the morning checking on our ice cubes to see if they had melted yet. Guess what color it ended up being when they all melted together? That’s right-brown! (G guessed red and yellow…)
Tips-if you try this I would recommend waiting about 5-10 minutes for the ice cubes to melt before you give them to your child. I didn’t and it was kind of disappointing that there wasn’t any immediate color. Also, if you have a 1 year old..take note that he/she will probably try to eat the ice cube which means food coloring all over the face! And the Kool-aid..well I’m sure you can guess what happened there. Icy fun on an icy day!