One of my favorite things to do with my kids is to read books! It’s good for me to have some quiet and calm time with the kids and to just focus all my attentions on them for a little while. Our shelves are quite well stocked at home from baby shower gifts, birthdays and garage sale finds! We also make it to the library about once a week and get new books to read together. Usually we go when it is story time at the library and enjoy the time of reading, songs and rhymes together. Story time is one of MY favorite activities, and I think the kids enjoy it too! :) Zoe (19 mo) is just starting to get into it, and Sammy (almost 3) thoroughly enjoys participating in everything!
Make your own Playdough July 30, 2008
My friend, Debby, sent me this recipe for playdough that she got from a seasoned preschool teacher.
Mrs. Clifford’s Preschool Playdough Recipe
1/2 C salt
1 Tbl Alum (sold with the spices at the grocery store)
2 C all-purpose flour
2 C BOILING water
2 Tbl vegetable oil
1 pkg unsweetended kool-aid (I got the generic from Aldi & it worked great! makes all kinds of fun colors)
*Mix flour, salt, alum well in a large bowl (I used my Kitchen-aid with great results). Add boiling water, oil & kool-aid. Mix well, cool & then knead until desired texture. Store in ziplock bag (s). This recipe will stay soft for weeks! (we made ours a month ago & it’s still in great shape!)
Warning from Debby: Kool-Aid makes the playdough smell very yummy and her toddler was hard to convince otherwise! :)
My favorite activities as of late, have included fun ways to bond with my girls. We hosted Brigitta’s sleepover last Saturday and the favorite activity, out of many was simply making English muffin pizzas. I was shocked! Basically what I did was to set out all the topping stuff on the table (a mix of different shapes and sizes) and then handed over English muffins to the girls. They had a great time putting on stuff and were very creative in their designs. Then they munched on the leftover toppings which was a great way to get them to eat veggies! The pizzas cooked for 5 minutes under the broiler and the girls LOVED them. The key is to buy actual pizza sauce which comes in a plastic squeeze tube and a little Italian seasoning. The girls got to be creative, I did not have to cook, they ate veggies, and they are done in minutes, and we laughed a lot.
Another really fun idea this past summer was to take a big roll of paper and have the girls paint different visual representations of our memory verses. All my girls had a great time and were a complete mess! It was a fun way to get them to talk about application of verses and my girls just plain love anything creative.
A few cool websites for modest clothes July 28, 2008
With Shade, I’d order up a size, especially for shirts you plan on wearing without anything under it. The way that these shirts are finished varies, some are definitely made only for going under things, like the cap sleeve by Shade. The finished cap sleeve, however, is great by itself.
DownEast has been pretty true-to-size for me with “the wonder tee”, but I don’t wear it alone.
Some items mention not machine-drying, but I’ve not had problems.
This is a messy, but fun activity for your kids. I think it’s appropriate from age 2-8 or so. (Then again, I’ve seen teenagers fascinated with the stuff, too, but not for very long.) Mix 1 part cornstarch and 1 part water. I think a cup of each is more than enough for one child. It makes this very strange substance that hardens if you pick it up and roll it in a ball in your hands, but then melts when you take pressure off. It’s also fun to put a spoon in it and tell your child to try and stir it.
It seems messy, but since it’s cornstarch, it just wipes up easily. You can also add a drop of food coloring, but that sometimes dyes the hands.
I tried this with two very active girls, age 5 & 7. They were entertained for an hour, twice.
MacGourmet July 25, 2008
For all you mac users out there…. I just discovered and am trial-running a program called MacGourmet. It can store your recipes in an easy-to-read format and you can use it to make meal plans, shopping lists, pretty menus and cookbooks. It’s pretty easy to figure out by reading applicable pages of the user manual and you can import recipes from your computer or from recipe sites. For you really tech-savvy ladies out there, you can sync it with ical.
You can buy MacGourmet online for $25. You can also try it for free for 20 uses before you buy to see if you like it. The meal plan plug-in costs $10, but looks to be one of the most helpful aspects of the whole. It has a 30 day free trial.
If anyone out there uses it, please comment and tell me what you think.
This is a very impressive-looking bread. It looks like artisan bread, but you can make it yourself with minimal work. The only drawback is rising time… it’s overnight.
No-Knead Bread Yields one 1 1/2 pound loaf
3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
¼ teaspoon instant yeast
1¼ teaspoons salt
Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed.
1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 cups water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.
2. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.
3. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.
4. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.