Wednesday, January 19, 2011

TOS Review: Maestro Classics

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We were lucky enough to receive the Peter and the Wolf CD in the mail in exchange for my review as part of the TOS Crew. I immediately flashbacked to elementary school where I was first introduced to this charming story. I was excited to expose my kids to it.

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What is it?

Maestro Classics is a series of CDs that introduce children to classical music through stories. Your 4-12 year old will enjoy brilliant performances by the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the greatest recording orchestra in the world. The Peter and the Wolf  CD and booklet package is party of their Stories in Music Series.

What do they offer?

Currently, there are 7 CD’s to choose from including:

  • Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel – timeless classic story
  • Peter and the Wolf – every child should own this great work
  • Tortoise and the Hare – a very fun version of this tale
  • Juanita the Spanish Lobster – sassy and funny from an English composer
  • Swan Lake – some of Tchaikovsky's most beautiful music
  • Casey at the Bat – everybody loves baseball, right?
  • Sorcerer's Apprentice – magical story and exciting music
  • Juanita la langosta espaƱola – great for anyone speaking or studying Spanish
  • What did we think?

    I thought this product was excellent!  This is a multi-faceted CD with much more than just the story of Peter and the Wolf. I loved that the CD came with an activity booklet with additional information about the story, composer (Sergei Prokofiev) and musical piece. It felt like a complete music lesson in itself.

    Although my son is a bit too young for the activities, I thought they were wonderfully created.   My 4 year old was very curious about the different instruments and he listened very intensely trying to follow the story and the characters. I definitely hope to add more of these to our CD library!

    The CD’s are priced at $16.98 or 3 for $45 and can be purchased here.  You can also listen to a sample of the CD and see a sample activity page here.

    Also worth checking out is this great page to help you incorporate music into your family. This company is really devoted to promoting music in the family, and what’s not to love about that?

    See what others are saying about Maestro Classics here!

    Disclaimer: I was given a copy of this product for free as part of the TOS Crew and this review is  my honest opinion.

    Friday, January 7, 2011

    Kool-Aid Ice Painting

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    This little activity made for some very yummy smelling fun tonight!  Here’s what we did:

    1.  Filled an ice tray with water
    2. Inserted craft sticks into each section
    3.  Had  a fun discussion about what would happen to the water if we set it outside
    4. Watched and checked ice cubes periodically throughout the day
    5. When frozen, we brought the tray inside and let the cubes melt slightly
    6. Sprinkled 4 different colors of Kool-Aid onto a piece of watercolor paper (make sure you put newspaper or an old tablecloth down!)
    7. Used the craft/stick ice cube as a “paintbrush”, and watched the powder magically turn into vibrant colors!

    Don’t forget to smell!!! 

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    Thursday, January 6, 2011

    Crockpot Turkey Macaroni Supper

    This recipe is from the Fix it and Forget it light cookbook.  And since we are trying to “lighten up”, I thought I’d give it a try. It was actually pretty tasty! I will definitely make it again. Here it is with a side of cherry jello and peaches.

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    Ingredients:

    1 tsp. vegetable oil
    1 1/2 lbs ground turkey
    2 cans tomato soup, undiluted
    16 oz. can of corn, drained
    1/2 c. onions, chopped
    4 oz. can  mushrooms, drained
    2 tbsp. ketchup
    1 tbsp. prepared mustard
    1/4 tsp. black pepper
    1/4 tsp. garlic powder
    2 c. dry macaroni, cooked and drained

    1. Heat oil in medium skillet. Brown and drain turkey.

    2. Combine all ingredients except macaroni in a slow cooker. Stir to blend. Cover.

    3. Cook on high for 3-4 hours or on low for 4-6. Stir in cooked and drained macaroni 15 minutes before stirring.

    Wednesday, January 5, 2011

    Marshmallow Mania!

    So what does a mom do when her kids are totally off the wall and she has absolutely nothing planned for them? Get out a bag of colored marshmallows! This little bag kept my kiddos entertained for almost a whole hour!

    We sorted them by color…

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    We made patterns…

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    We counted them…

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    We put them onto spaghetti and toothpicks…

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    We glued them to circles to make a snowman, which I didn’t take any pictures of.

    And of course, we ATE them!

    Tuesday, January 4, 2011

    The Best of 2010

    It’s hard to believe 2010 has come to an end.  Here is a short recap of our year.  Now… don’t have too high of expectations!  Heck, I decided not to write a Christmas letter this year because I didn’t think I’d have enough exciting events to write about. But if you’re a mommy, then you know that every second is precious and eventful, and so…I shall write!

    January

    The first thing that come to mind when I think of January is that we got pregnant! I remember sitting at our good friends’ house on New Year’s Eve and wishing and hoping that it would happen soon. Our miscarriage in September was surprising and heartbreaking. I was very ready to be a mom again.

    February

    Of course, me being impatient and anxious, I took a pregnancy test immediately and found out the good news right around Valentine’s Day. My hubby was out of town for work so when I got home, I shared the exciting news in a fun and interesting way. That, my friends, shall remain our little secret!

    March

    All I seriously remember about March is feeling absolutely lousy, and wishing with all my might that the 12 weeks would be up so 1) I would start feeling better, and 2) we could TELL someone! It was so difficult to keep the big secret.  Morning sickness takes on a whole new meaning when you have other kids to take care of!

    April

    The news is out!  We told my family at Easter. I had concocted a plan-Garrett stood up on a chair and said “My mommy has a baby in her tummy”. Of course, in the midst of the choas nobody heard him, so he had to repeat himself. We told my in-laws by writing a note with sidewalk chalk on our driveway.  I can’t remember exactly what it said, but it was some cheesy poem that I made up.

    May

    I can’t think of anything for May! I guess nothing too exciting happened this month.

    June

    June is always busy. Both of my nieces birthdays are in June and Colin turned 2! We celebrated each with a party.  We also took a fun camping trip to Jellystone park. It was the boys’ first camping experience (other than my parents) and besides the train 50 feet away and the unbearable beds, it was fun ;-) June 14th was also the 1st  anniversary of my brother’s death. Time does not heal by the way…

    July

    One of the highlights of July was camping with my parents and my brother’s family.  We stay with my parents in their camper and the kids absolutely adore it.  Garrett has already started asking when this year’s trip will be. There’s just something special about a campfire and kids…magical almost. I hope to continue the tradition. (ahem..mom!)

    August

    My 33rd birthday-not too exciting. Just a reminder that I’m getting older and the big 40 is getting closer every year. Sometimes it’s hard to believe how quickly time goes by, but it also reminds me to treasure the time that I have and live in the moment. We also took a trip across the state for my nephew’s birthday party. We had a fun time going to the zoo and also the State Fair. Staying in a hotel room with 2 (now 3) little boys is always an adventure!

    September

    Garrett started preschool! This was  tough decision for us, but 4 months in, I think it was the right one. 2 days a week for 2 1/2 hours is a great outlet for him.  He loves going  and I’m confident that a little time away from home is good for him. He is my little socialite after all. I also joined a local moms group (formerly MOPS) here in town and have met some fabulous women.

    October

    Welcome baby Austin! We were blessed with our 3rd little guy on the 25th. My labor and delivery was a piece of cake (at least compared to the other two) He was and still is, an absolute delight!

    November

    November was just kind of a blur. I think most days were spent just trying to keep my head above water. Getting used to 3 kids was quite an adjustment. I was so so blessed to have 30+ meals delivered after Austin’s birth which I am so incredibly grateful for. That was a huge help. Grant also turned 34 this month.

    December

    We had lots of fun getting ready and preparing for Christmas. The kids were at a great age for projects, crafts and lots of time snuggling on the couch reading.  We also had a bunch of snow dumped on us this month, which gave us a good reason to stay home.  Grant and the boys made one heck of a snowman!  Garrett turned 4 towards the end of the month, but we still haven’t had his party. The poor guy-his brother woke up at 6 a.m. the morning of his party and puked all over his bed. Needless to say, the festivities were cancelled. We’re shooting for this weekend and hopefully mother nature will cooperate. Grant and I also celebrated our 5th anniversary. Our weekend getaway was unfortunately canceled because of the snow. Big bummer.

    Final thoughts

    All in all, a wonderful year at our house. I am so grateful for the health, both physical and mental, of my family. Raising these boys is the greatest challenge and joy of my life.  If I could have wished for my “dream” life 5 years ago, this would be it. I’m living my dream! How many people can say that? Some days are rough, and God knows I get stressed and lose my patience. But at the end of the day when the house is quiet,  I just feel overwhelmed with joy and happiness at what is my life.

    Welcome 2011!