Monday, November 29, 2010

A Weekly Calendar for Kids

I've been really busy lately working on all kinds of learning activities for Red Shoes.  This post is about a weekly calendar I made for him and his sister.  Whenever I mention let's say a visit from Nana & Papa or Grandpa & Grandma on Friday and it's only Monday, I know that I'm going to be questioned every hour of every day until it's Friday.  The concept of time for kids is complex.  This is a fun and educational visual tool that helps them grasp the concept.  Now when I get the question, "when are Nana & Papa coming? I just say, "go look at your calendar".  It works!

Here's what you need:
  • 2 pieces card stock
  • Velcro
  • magnets (the kind that come on a roll)
  • clip art
First, just take two pieces of card stock and tape them together. Once piece would look better, use what you have.  I wanted mine to be small enough to fit on the fridge, but big enough to really see.
 Second, print out all of your days of the week, etc.  If you want to use mine I posted them HERE

Next, you will want to print out your calendar clip art.  This is going to consist of your holidays, appointments, school days, therapies, playgroups, etc.  Mine can be found HERE.  You will need to personalize it for your child(ren).  For instance, add real pictures of grandparents, cousins, get the idea.

Then, just cut everything out...I have a laminator that I bought from Sam's Club (this one).  I absolutely love it.  I use it a lot.  If you don't have one you could take your materials to a office supply store or print shop.  That can get costly though...if needed you could use Contact paper.

Here's what ours looked like:

After your calendar has been laminated, you need to break out the Velcro and magnets. I found them both at Wal-Mart.

You need to take the Velcro fasteners and put one side on the clip-art and the other on the calendar. Use the magnets and apply them to the back of the calendar if you are going to be placing it on the refrigerator.

Then, you are ready to plan out your week.  Do this with your kids...they will love to help. It's best if you can put this in a high traffic area in your home.  The refrigerator works very well.  As you are cooking, cleaning, etc. you are right there to answer questions and talk to your kids about their week, the weather and so on.
There are so many things you can teach your kids from this calendar. The weather, colors, numbers, days of the week, seasons, and on.  Oh, and so that the kids know what day of the week it is, you can use a clip and have them move it each day, or smiley face, whatever works for you/them.  That is a really important part of the calendar. 

I gotta tell you, my two year old looked at it and said, "school bus, school bus, school bus, then no school bus right?"  I think she's getting this down! 

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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Natalie's Baked French Toast

I got this recipe from my friend Natalie years ago.  Here's a picture of us in all of our freshmen college glory. 

It's been forever since I've seen my good friend...and I miss her.  We both have three young kids and you should hear our phone conversations.  They would make you laugh, or maybe annoy you.  Probably depends on where you are at in your life.  Kids always need something, especially when their moms are on the phone. 

We've found that the best time for us to talk is when one of us is in our car with our kids strapped down in.  It's about the only time there is quiet in our lives.

Anyway, this recipe comes from Natalie and I think of her whenever I make it.  Which happens to be tonight.  Yes, breakfast for supper.  I do it at least once a week.  The kids like it and it's cheap. 

Here's what you need:
16 slices of regular bread, cubed (or 8 slices of heavy cottage bread, cubed
1 package of cream cheese, cubed
12 eggs
2 c. milk
1 1/3 cups syrup

1.  Cube up half of the bread and put it into a greased 9X13 dish. 

2.  Cut one package of cream cheese up into cubes.  Place on top of the bread.

3.  Cube up the other half of the bread and place on top of the cream cheese.

4.  Grab a carton of eggs from the refrigerator.  I got these beauties from my sister Jessie.  She's a great little chicken farmer.  Thanks Jessie!

5.  Crack the eggs into bowl.

6.  Add 2 cups of milk to the eggs

7.  Add 1 1/3 cups of syrup
8.  Mix it all up
9.  Pour the egg mixture on top of the bread and cream cheese mixture.  My original recipe says to refrigerate this overnight.  I've had it turn out great when I didn't have time to refrigerate it (like today for instance). Bake the french toast in a 375 degree oven for 45 minutes. 

*******************one of the best things about this recipe...*****************
This is all that has to be cleaned up!

Here's what your baked french toast will look like when it's done: It looks like I really burned it, but it tasted fine.  I probably just didn't get it mixed up as much as I should have. 

Thanks for the great recipe Natalie, and for your friendship.  Hope to see you before Swoosh goes to Kindergarten!
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Friday, November 19, 2010

Smiley Swoosh

Our little Swoosh is growing so fast!  He's smiling and really starting to "talk" to us.  Red Shoes and Happy Feet adore him.  He still seems a little nervous...probably due to his wild siblings running all around him.  He is getting closer to sleeping through the night, anytime soon would be really great!  He sits in his Bumbo seat and watches us eat our supper.  He seems pretty interested in that.  We're so happy to have our baby Swoosh. Pin It

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Happy Birthday Mom!

Today is my mom's birthday.  Happy Birthday Mom! 

This picture was taken during the fall of 1975, You were 21...if my math is right, but you know me and math.

You are such a special lady mom.  You are talented in so many different areas.  Beauty surrounds you in your home and gardens...because you make it that way.  Your creativity inspires me. From the way you play with your grand kids, to the things you create.  You are fun...and absolutely tops to the little people who live in my house (and to me too).  I'm so glad God chose you to be my mom. 

As I am in the midst of raising up my family,  I think of you often.  I remember the sacrifices you made, your work ethic and the lessons you instilled in us.  Thank you for all of that. 

I hope today is a special day for you.  I'm looking forward to celebrating with you later.

 Fall 1975

Fall 2010

And now a few words from Happy Feet:

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Monday, November 15, 2010

Mini Pumpkin Tarts

I'm in charge of dessert for Thanksgiving this year.  I thought it would be fun to make mini pumpkin tarts. Since I've never made a tart before, I thought I better do a practice run.

As a young girl I always loved it when there was a little extra dough left over. When that happened (which was almost always) grandma would help me make my very own pie.  That's a very special memory to me.

Crust Ingredients:
1 1/3 cups flour
2 T. sugar
1/8 t. salt
1/2 cup butter, cold and cut into pieces
1 large egg
2 T. water

Filling Ingredients:
1/2 of a 15 oz. can of pumpkin
1/2 of a 14 oz. can of sweetened condensed milk
1 egg
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. ginger
1/4 t. nutmeg
1/8 t. cloves
pinch of salt

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Place flour, sugar, salt, butter, egg and water in mixer.  Mix until it becomes one large ball of dough
  • Roll dough out of floured surface into little circles (my mini tart set has 6 pans)
  • Press dough into the pan so it fits into all the edges
  • Refrigerate dough for 10 minutes
  • Remove dough from refrigerator and line the tarts with aluminum foil. Place dry rice in each lined tart pan to keep the crust from bubbling up during the baking process.
  • Bake for 17-18 minutes
  • Remove the tart from the oven and remove the foil and rice. Return to the oven until for another 3-5 minutes or until the tarts edges are golden.
  • Cool tarts
  • Lower oven temperature to 325 degrees.
  • In a saucepan, on low heat stir together the pumpkin, salt and spices for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add sweetened condensed milk and heat until their are bubbles around the edges (not boiling).
  • Remove from heat and whisk in an egg until combined
  • Pour the filling into the cooled shell and bake for 15 minutes, or until the filling is set but still wobbly.

   Be sure to use lots of whipping cream and sprinkle with some pumpkin pie spice.

They turned out pretty cute. Red Shoes and Happy Feet were begging for more. My husband asked if he could take one for lunch tomorrow. I think they're all glad that I need a little more practice.

These would make nice gifts for friends or maybe someone who is living alone or might not be celebrating the holidays with their family. Just wrap it up and print off a pretty little Thanksgiving tag.  You can find the tags HERE.

Happy Thanksgiving!
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Monday, November 1, 2010

Halloween 2010

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