I LOVE everything about Valentines….okay maybe not the stuffed animals...or the big boxes of cheap chocolate but I love everything else. So when I thought of something fun to get my kids in the holiday mood I decided to make them a sensory bin.
We used to have a sensory table when I worked at a preschool and the kids loved it. Some would play in it all day if we let them. So I thought I would make one at home.
All you need is a big plastic container to start with. I found all of my items that I put in the bin at the dollar store. Oh the dollar store oh how I love thee…. Here is what I purchased.
2 bags of colored paper confetti, one red and one white
When it comes to holiday decor I would say I am rather traditional. Sometimes I steer away from the traditional color scheme but not all that often. So you can guess that all my Valentine decor is red, white and pink. It just suits me. I also happen to love phrases that sum up what the holiday is about or means. So I went to Hobby Lobby...don’t tell anyone I may be addicted and found some chipboard letters on sale to spell out the word love. All I did was go home and paint them alternating red and white with craft paint. Then they found a place on my mantle. Sometimes simplicity makes a bigger statement than chaos.
Well as we all know the month of February is the month of Doctors and Germs. So I thought a little lesson on staying healthy was in order.I feel like I am constantly reasoning with my daughter that there is a reason you have to wash your hands 50 times a day. I came up with a few ways to make her feel more comfortable with going to the doctor. Sometimes she just doesn’t like to go! I gathered a few things from around the house that we could play with to help her feel more comfortable.
You could also use a scale, measuring tape, and a rubber mallet as well.
I then found a really fun doctor’s checklist at Nick Jr. to help us remember what happens when she goes to the doctor.
We had a blast! I have to admit I actually liked being a patient for once!
So I love to do fun little crafts with my daughter, and lets face it she does to so this year I thought I would try something that we haven’t done in years past…..celebrate Chinese New Year. Now I don’t me we will celebrate in the truest sense of the word but in a simplified Americanized way.
Some of the few things we have done have been looking up our Chinese Zodiac. Did you know that the Zodiac calendar has twelve animals and each is like a horoscope that describes the person born in that yea? Well, I found a little wheel that explains a little of how it works on one of my favorite blogs Blue Skies Ahead. She also has the link to the zodiac wheel.
I also found animal masks to print out and use. We sure have had fun with those as well.
Now for the Americanized part of Chinese culture….Fortune cookies!!!
I also found a link to The Jew and the Carrot where she tells you how to make your own cookies. How cool is that? So I thought I can do that….so we did. I made a few minor adjustments to the recipe like I don’t use almond extract so I substituted lemon extract and I was also really good. I also omitted cardamom since I didn’t have it and hate to say it have never even heard of it before. Here is my adapted version and for the original check out The Jew and the Carrot.
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 egg whites
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp lemon extract
12 strips of paper with fortunes
In most cases you are supposed to mix the dry ingredients and wet ingredients seperate but I never do. I just mix the wet ingredients then add the dry and it seems to work out fine. Mix the batter until smooth.
Heavily grease a cookie sheet before putting the batter on in about three inch circles. I used this cookie cutter as a reference to see how big I wanted them to be. Which ended up being pretty big! Oh well, next time!
Bake at 375 for 5-7 minutes. Mine took at least 7 minutes but they were a little bit bigger.
Flip the cookies over with a spatula and put your fortune inside. Fold in half.
Fold in half again and set over the lip of a cup to help you mold the cookie into shape.
Set into muffin tin and allow to cool which doesn't take long.
Over the past few years I have found that I really have a love of cooking. Maybe that is because I didn't grow up with anything fancy or maybe its my way of creating but I really do love it. Part of the reason I like to cook is to satisfy the tastes of my family. Now when I say I love to cook I mean cook, not bake. I will bake occasionally and when I do my husband usually loves it. This is his favorite fall desert. He would describe it as a oatmeal cookie with baked apples. It really is that good.
Sorry about this first photo, my kitchen at night doesn't have the best lighting.
This recipe was adapted from allrecipes.com
2 c flour
2 c rolled oats
1 t ground cinnamon
1/2 t ground nutmeg
1 1/2 c packed brown sugar
1 1/2 c butter
2 quarts peeled, cored and sliced apples
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
In a large bowl, combine the flour, oats, cinnamon, nutmeg, and brown sugar. Cut butter into the mixture until crumbly
Cut apples and put into bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish
Put the crumb mixture on top of the apples
Bake at 350 degrees for 50 to 60 minutes or until the apples are tender
Enjoy this yummy, extremely unhealthy treat! Hey sometimes you can enjoy life a little.
I am really not much of a baker! I would much rather make an awesome dinner than bake treats, which is probably better on my waistline but when I saw this apron I knew I needed to make one for me. Now since I have a cute apron I also jumped full force into the fall baking frenzy. I have been baking up a storm. So you might need to make one of these aprons too so you can bake so delicious treats.
The full tutorial can be found at Delia Creates...I love her! Enjoy!
I like to cook and try new things. It brings me joy but we all have our favorite dishes that we ate growing up that just make us feel like we are right at home. This is one of those for me. I absolutely love this salad recipe. It makes me think of summer and BBQ's. So here it is I hope you enjoy!
Chicken Pasta Salad
1 package bowtie pasta
1 package tricolor spiral pasta
4 chicken breasts, cooked and cut
1 can kidney beans
2-6 strips of bacon , cooked and crumbles
2 bunches broccoli
1/2 red onion
1/2 bag frozen peas
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dry mustard
1/2 TBSP poppy seeds
1/2 c red wine vinegar
1/2 c sugar
1 c canola oil
Put all the salad ingredients into a large bowl and pour desired amount of pre-stirred dressing on top .
I read this book awhile back for a book club and really enjoyed it. The basis of this book comes from a true story where the two girls in the story were in a terrible car accident, one survived and the other didn't. The book takes you through the emotions of the family members involved and shows how they all made it through such a horrific ordeal. I recommend this book but this book is not lighthearted so just take that into consideration before starting.
I have a husband who loves to eat meat! I like it too but not nearly as much! He really likes it when I make his recipe so I am sharing it with you today with that I found oniheartnaptime and made my own adaptions.
2 tablespons olive oil
6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1/2 c teriyaki basting sauce
1/2 c Ranch style salad dressing
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
3 to 4 strips of bacon per chicken breast
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken breasts, and saute 4 to 5 minutes on each side, until lightly browned.
Place browned chicken breasts in a 9 x 13 inch baking dish. Brush with teriyaki sauce, then spoon on salad dressing. Sprinkle with cheese and slices of bacon. You may not end up using all the dressing.
Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, or until the chicken is no longer pink and the juices run clear.
To make the potatoes in this picture I just peeled and sliced the potatoes, put them into a baking dish and added some onion and cheese. I cooked it for about an hour in the oven at 350 degrees and they were done.