Sunday, September 8, 2013

Creamy Chicken Orozo with Veggies

We came up with this recipe one evening as we were about to eat some left over chicken and garlic asparagus. We weren't to excited about eating left overs, so I opened the cupboards to see what we had on hand to make our chicken and asparagus into something else. Here is what we came up with!

1 can Cream of Chicken Soup
1/2 cup of Milk
1/2 cup of Cheese
1 cup cooked Orozo
1 cup sliced carrots
1 cup sliced asparagus
2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast

Combine all ingredients in a 9 x 13 casserole dish, cook for 25 minutes at 350 degrees, or until warm. We love this dish because it is easy, delicious and makes good use of leftovers! Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

5 Sensory Activities You Can Make at Home


I love to watch my little munchkin explore something new. She usually starts with excitement and then her face squishes up and she begins to really dig in and focus on the target of her attention. She is such a smart kid.

Sensory activities are an easy way to help your child discover uncharted territories and really appreciate all that is around them. Children are learning new tidbits constantly and sensory activities are a great way to direct that learning. Also, they tend to love them. The messier, the better!!

The best part of this is that all of these ideas are easy things that you already have in your home!
  • Flour is edible. Need I say more to talk you into this one? Everything makes seems to make its way into a toddlers mouth. I sometimes put this on my munchkins highchair tray while I am cooking. Instant attention grabber. I also like to add things to the flour. My favorites are rocks from the backyard and glass rocks.
  • Rice is so fun for a toddler to scoop. And pick up... perfect opportunity for working on those fine motor skills. Rice alone is fun but it's more fun with some milk caps in there. My munchkin loves to scoop the rice up and dump it out. She also loves to put the empty cap on top of the rice and fill them up.

  • Shaving Cream is so entertaining for kiddos. Munchkin likes to drive play cars through it. But even better than that is colorful shaving cream! Just a couple of drops of food coloring and your set. I like to draw in the shaving cream with my fingers and baby girl follows my lead. We draw pictures and "write."

  • Bubble water with Marbles is a lot of fun. The marbles get a little slippery from the soap. Bubbles are also slightly moldable. You can make Santa beards! Just use some Dawn soap and pour water over it. You can also use bubble bath if you have it. If you really want to add some fun, add some food coloring to the bubbles. 

  • Colored Spaghetti is also edible and allows for many learning opportunities! Cook your noodles as usual, separate into different Ziploc containers and dye with your desired food colors. I like to make this around lunch time and we play with it first and then eat it. We talk about colors and textures. Even better is that you can put the lid back on the container and save it for another lunch. Think about coloring the noodles for a holiday (ie. red and green for Christmas).

Friday, August 30, 2013

A Facelift for the Fridge


Ever since our little one came a long, the front of our fridge has been COVERED with pictures, invitations, greeting cards, emergency information, schedules, art work, save the dates, magnets, coupons, you name it, it is on my fridge! I might have a problem... I love receiving photo Christmas cards and birthday invitations, so long after the intended greeting period, these photo cards are STILL hanging on my fridge! So I am running out of space, I can't tell what is important anymore, and quite frankly, the fridge just looks like a hot mess!

I have come up with a few projects to solve the hot mess problem that is my fridge:

First project: Kid's Art Display Wall

Second project: Coupon Organization System

Third project: Coffee Table Flip Book

Now that I have purged the fridge front of most of what was cluttering it up, I organized what was left into a beautiful display of the most important (or favorite) things. Here is how I did it.

First I purchased an assortment of different sized picture frames from the dollar store. Then I chose three paint colors to paint the frames that match the existing colors in my kitchen. After painting the frames with primer then paint, I began filling the frames. I filled them with favorite pictures and then filled the largest one with corkboard instead of a picture and glass. My plan for the corkboard was to tack calendar pages to. I thought that would be a quick and easy way to change over to the next month instead of removing the backside of the frame etc. Lastly, I hot glued magnets to the backs of all of the frames. Once the hot glue was set, I arranged them on the fridge.

The silver clip magnets on the top of the bottom half of the fridge I use to hang invites for events that are upcoming, in the order in which they will take place.

There is still a lot going on here, but it is definitely much more organized, which makes my heart smile every time I see it!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

DIY Kitchen iPad Stand

Ever since I got my iPad mini, I use it more than anything to pull up recipes in the kitchen. I have a case that props it up, but it is at an angle that just isn't right when I am standing and it is sitting on the kitchen counter. I decided it was time to find a stand, similar to a cookbook stand, that was made for the kitchen.

Looking at various stands online, I came up with a brilliant idea to make my own from a broken cutting board that was left in our kitchen between the stove and the fridge when we bought our house. It is a cutting board that goes in a slot above a row of drawers and you just pull it out to use. Well we weren't using it because it had split running the length of the board.

My idea was to cut the good part of the board down to a little bit bigger than the size of my iPad and then use a small hinge to attach a "kick stand" to the back to keep it up while I cook. Not having many power tools, I called my dad to ask him if he had a jig saw I could borrow to cut it out. He said yes and agreed to let me use it. I took the board over to his house with my pattern sketched in pencil on it to have him help me get started with the saw. I should have known my dad better, he insisted on doing the cutting for me. Ok, thanks!

As my dad cut, his ideas on how to make this even better began to flow and I am so grateful. He took my super simple idea, and made it even better and I couldn't be happier! Here is how we made it:

  • Lightly sand both sides of the board
  • Sketch pattern on board
  • Cut board using a jig saw
  • Sand the edges of the freshly cut board
  • About 1/2 an inch in from each side, make an additional cut, parallel to the sides of the board almost to the top of the board, about 1.5 inches from the top to create "legs"
  • At the top end of your side cuts, make a 45 degree angled cut through the board
  • Use two screws at the top of the small side parts you just cut to create hinges for the legs
  • Cut a small strip of thin wood  and attach at the bottom backside of each one of the legs for support
  • Cut the finger pull from the original cutting board the same width as your iPad stand and use small finishing nails to attach it to the bottom of the stand (this is the part that holds the iPad)
  • Finally, drill a hole at the top of your stand to hang it in your kitchen
Many thanks to my amazing and incredibly handy dad for helping me so much with this project! My iPad stand is so much better than I dreamed up, and I am so excited to use it in the kitchen!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Banana Muffins for Tots


The mornings are a crazy time for our home. Between getting myself ready for the day and then getting my little one ready for the day, there is barely enough time to make a quick breakfast and get out the door. I found this recipe on Once a Month Meals and immediately went to the kitchen to make it! How great is this? Each batch makes about 24 muffins, give or take. I went ahead and made a couple dozen of these and then froze most of them for the school year.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup complete pancake mix (like Bisquick)
  • 2/3 cup of your favorite syrup
  • 1 banana cut into smaller pieces (Once a Month Meals said to slice and cut into quarters)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Mix all ingredients together. Pour into a mini muffin pan (remember these are for toddlers). Bake 12-15 minutes. Let the muffins cool and then flash freeze them. After that, toss them in a Ziploc bag and freeze them.

I followed the recipe from Once a Month Meals to a T! It turned out great! Thanks Lisa from Once a Month Meals.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Teriyaki Chicken


Tonight for dinner I made Teriyaki Chicken that turned out so yummy and juicy, even my toughest critic, the one year old, loved it! I used the method shared in the Fresh Baked Chicken Breast post from a few weeks ago to whip up this EASY dinner.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Pour 3/4 of a jar of your favorite teriyaki sauce into a baking dish.
Add fresh chicken breast to the baking dish of sauce.
At this point, I flipped my chicken breast in the sauce a couple times so they were coated nicely.
Cover the baking dish with foil or a lid.
Cook for 35-40mins.
Remove from oven.
Slice chicken breasts into thin strips.
Serve over rice, & enjoy!

 
I am still shocked at how much the toddler loved this. He has not been a meat fan really and so this was a big victory in my book. I love this method of baking chicken because it comes out so juicy. This is so easy, the possibilities are endless!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Bacon, Avocado, Tomato & Swiss Sandwich... BATS!


Okay, I have a secret... I hate lettuce! BLT's have always been my very favorite sandwich but I always skip out on the L (lettuce). That makes for a boring sandwich. I have come up with an amazing replacement to the traditional BLT. 

Ingredients:

  • Wheat toast
  • Turkey bacon
  • Sliced tomato
  • Sliced Avocado 
  • Laughing Cow Swiss cheese


Begin by toasting the bread. Once it's toasted, spread the Swiss cheese on the bread instead of mayo. Top it off with the turkey bacon, sliced tomatoes and sliced avocados.

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