Monday, July 23, 2012

Our newest crop

I am so excited about this

    I love home grown vegetables!  This was all picked last night!  It seems like everyday we pick more and more vegetables from our garden.  I cannot wait to make salsa and spaghetti sauce with our tomatoes.  Yum!  I bought canning supplies the other day.  I have NEVER canned in my life!  So any tips would be great.  We'll see how it goes.

Thanks for stopping by!


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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Fun with vinegar and baking soda

As a child one of my favorite things to do was build a volcano in the sandbox and have it erupt.  (Thanks to baking soda and vinegar).  A few weeks ago I saw an idea and decided to try it.

 Preparation of this activity is easy!  It is also the perfect activity for a 2 year old and a 10 year old ...not to mention a 28 year old.  There are few activities that entertain all ages.  This is one of them!

All you need is a pan, medicine dropper, bowl, vinegar, food coloring, and baking soda.

Pour baking soda in a pan

Then pour a couple Tablespoons of vinegar and a drop of food coloring in a dish.

Take the medicine dropper and fill it with vinegar and drop it onto the baking soda.

Your children will be amazed.

C and K were amazed and did this for an hour!

We had so much fun!  I hope you try this with your children.  They will love it!

Thanks for stopping by!
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Monday, July 16, 2012

Building block towers- One-to-One Correspondance

Today I have a simple, fun counting activity to share with you.   All you need is a pen or pencil, scrap paper, and blocks.

Write a number on a piece of paper and have your child build a tower using that number of blocks.  For example I wrote 3 and the girls picked 3 blocks and built a tower using those 3 blocks.  Now I didn't have a rule that it had to be stacking on top of each other (that would be another challenge).  The girls had a blast.

Let the children explore for a couple of minutes with the blocks before you start the activity. 

 I tore pieces of paper and wrote a number.  Then  C and A were to build a tower using that number of blocks.

She was so proud of her tower using 11 blocks.  (You can't see them all in this pic).

For A, she built a tower with 2 blocks on her own.  

This was such a simple and cheap activity. I spent no time on preparation and the girls had a blast building the towers.

Thanks for stopping by!


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Friday, July 13, 2012

Successful Herb Garden

    My husband and I decided to grow our first garden this year and it amazes me how much it has grown!!  These are pictures from our first herb harvest!  These pictures are from about a month ago.  Since then, I pick a bowl of herbs about every 3-4 days.

 Greek basil

Sweet Basil


    I have pesto and basil to last us until next spring already!!  And we are starting to have tomatoes that are ready to pick this weekend.  I cannot wait!   Did you plant a garden this year?  How is your garden doing?

Thanks for stopping by!

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Thursday, July 12, 2012

Dairy Free Homemade Chocolate Chips

     Have you ever wanted to bake something with chocolate chips in it and looked in the pantry to find out you didn't have any?  I have and it's so frustrating!  A couple weeks ago, I found out that C could no longer have dairy.  All the chocolate chips we had in the house had milk in them.   I decided to experiment with different dairy-free recipes I have seen on-line.

  The first one I tried was from Whole New Mom.  Her recipe called for agave nectar as the sweetener.  I did not have agave, but I used sugar instead.  The chocolate was bitter(too much cocoa powder) and crunchy(sugar did not dissolve).    Overall, I liked the concept of making my own chocolate so I kept this recipe in my mind.

    The second recipe I tried was from Heavenly Homemakers.  I absolutely love her site.  This recipe wasn't bitter, like the recipe above, but  it wasn't chocolaty enough.    She uses butter, but the recipe says you can also use coconut oil so I did.  I'm not sure, but I think the butter would taste much better, but I was looking for a dairy free version so butter was not an option. ( I did try a batch with dairy free butter and it was not a success).  She used sucanet for her sweetener and it made the chocolate crunchy.

   After testing those recipes out and making chocolate several times, I decided to combine the best of the 2 recipes to make my own adapted version of homemade chocolate chips.

  • Coconut Oil (I use Trader Joes)
  • Cocoa Powder
  • Vanilla
  • Agave Nectar

1.  Melt 1 cup of Coconut Oil in a saucepan on low heat.

2.  Once melted, remove Coconut oil from heat and stir in 1/2  cup plus 2 Tablespoons of Cocoa powder, 2 teaspoons of vanilla, and agave nectar to taste.  I usually add 6-8 Tablespoons of agave.  The more you add, the softer the chocolate is.  (It doesn't set up as well).  Taste the chocolate to decide if you need more.  But I would rather have it be a little softer and taste delicious. 

3.  Pour the chocolate in a small pan.  I use a 9 x 9 round cake pan because that's what I have.  Place in refrigerator or freezer to set.  

4.  After 1 hour, it should be set. (I usually don't wait longer than 20 minutes).  Take it out and cut into small chunks.

 So yummy!  I could eat the whole bowl full.

 You could also serve it in individual glasses for a special treat.

 C approved!  That's saying a lot when it comes to eating dairy and wheat free.

This chocolate is delicious.  Go in the kitchen and make some right now!  C did not like the first 2 recipes I made, but she loves my adapted version!  It takes 5 minutes to make and that is all.  You can eat it plain, add it in baked oatmeal, or add it in granola.   It is easy to make and delicious. 

Please note:  These are different from the chocolate chips at the store; they are pure and soft.  When baked, they melt.  If you put them  in the right dish, they make a delicious, yummy recipe.  If you are making these you are most likely looking for a healthier, gluten and dairy-free, or homemade chocolate chip recipe.  Please keep that in mind and enjoy.

Thanks for stopping by!


Friday, July 6, 2012

Counting Fun with Fish

     Today I am going to share a counting activity with you.  I found inspiration here.  The kids had  fun painting, counting, and singing.   This project has a secret that I on

Here's how we made it

  • Velcro
  • card stock for bowl
  • cardboard for fish
  • numbers (or marker to write the number)
1.  Draw a fish pattern on a piece of paper and cut it out.

2.  Trace the fish on cardboard.  I made 5 fish for each child and then a couple extra.  (When working with kids things seem to disappear or tear and it's much easier to make a couple extra when your making all of them than to have to go back and make the part that's missing.) 

3.  Cut out the fish and attach soft, furry Velcro on the back of each fish.  (Yep that's the secret!  Children can remove the fish) 

4.  Draw a fishbowl and cut it out.  The stronger the paper the better!  If you have extra cardboard that would be best.   (Or if you can laminate it that would work great too, but do step 5 first).

5.  Have your child paint the bowl blue, coloring, or markers would work fine. I knew for best coverage for my children paint is the easiest.

6.  Put numbers on the fish.  You can do it or have them do it.  My children loved doing it and they were saying the numbers as they were putting it on. It was great number practice.

7.  Let the bowl dry for several hours, overnight would be the best.  (I didn't and we had one wounded).

8.  Place the rough Velcro circles on the bowl once it is dry.

9. Have children place the fish on the Velcro and show them how you can remove them.  Sing the counting song posted below.  I used the children's fish and put them in a pile and counted with them while singing the song. They loved it!  Be prepared to do the song over, and over, and over again.

      For snack, we had goldfish crackers.  While they were eating, I was singing the song and would take one of their crackers away.   They just laughed and laughed.

Sidenote:  C's bowl has an extra velcro on it  because after we were finished she saw the extra fish that I made and wanted to put the number 8 on there.  I went ahead and let her.  She can count to 10 easily so is not confused by seeing 1-5 and then 8.

Counting song
1, 2, 3, 4, 5  I caught a fish alive
6, 7, 8, 9,10 I let it go again
Why did you let it go?
Because it bit me so. ( I add a sound effect "ouch!"  Kids loved it.)

Thanks for stopping by! 


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