This has become one of our family's favorite lunches. We call it the "snack plate." We grab some fruits and veggies, cheese, nuts, crackers, whatever we've got, cut it all up and throw it on a couple trays. Everything can be eaten with your hands, so no plates necessary, and the kids get plenty of options. Easy to cleanup, healthy, and the kids are happy. Win, win, win!
Friday, May 17, 2013
My sweet husband honored my one birthday request and built me a sandbox. Yes, for me! I may not be the one spending hours playing in it over the summer, but I will be the one spending hours sitting on the porch, making dinner, working in the yard, cleaning the house, or, if I'm lucky, reading a book while these little guys are entertained.
We got the plans for this sandbox from Ana White. Pete got most of the wood cut at Lowe's after he bought it, since we don't have a fancy saw. Then all he needed was a drill and screws. The instructions were easy to follow and he was able to finish it in 3-5 hours.
The seats on either side have hinges and fold down to double as a cover.
I love how it turned out... simple design and super sturdy. Now I just need to find a way to keep the sand from making its way into our house.
Monday, May 13, 2013
There's a reason I haven't been posting on this blog much lately (besides keeping my 4 children alive and somewhat happy). I've been working on the design and production of my Car Play Shirt! It's been a lot of fun (and a lot of work) designing this shirt and working out the logistics, and I'm excited to announce that these shirts are now for sale in our Etsy shop! The Car Play Shirt is the shirt that lets daddy stretch out and relax while playing with the kids. They make great Father's Day/birthday/Christmas gifts and offer a unique and fun way to interact with your children.
A couple years ago I posted my tutorial for the car shirt and since then have had an overwhelmingly positive response. So I decided to redesign the shirts and sell them to those who want one but do not have the time, resources or desire to actually make it.
I made two different versions of the shirt: one in full color that is ready to be worn and played on the moment it arrives, and a black and white version that can be colored in with fabric markers or paint, then given to dad/grandpa as a semi-homemade gift.
Both shirts have a welcome sign that allows you to personalize the car shirt by writing in the last name of your family. "Welcome to Jacksonville!"
With the black and white version the kids can make it their own. Kids always love playing with things that they put time into making, right?
And my kids love giving gifts that they help create. They could hardly wait to get their hands on this shirt.
Start by putting a piece of cardboard or poster board in between the front and back of the shirt so the markers/paint won't bleed through.
Pull the fabric tight around the board and use clothespins or tape to hold it in place.
Pull out your fabric markers and let the kids go at it!
Within seconds of showing the kids the shirt they were choosing the buildings they each wanted to color. John picked the store and one of the houses, Dan the gas station and the other house, and Joe was assigned the hospital by his brothers.
And I couldn't let the kids have all the fun! I helped by coloring the fire station.
Monday, April 15, 2013
My kids have never been the best raw veggie eaters. We're working on it. Until they start eating their salad, broccoli and green beans (I'm not giving up!), I have to be more creative with how I prepare and serve veggies, especially green ones, because those are scary. Pesto pasta is one place we have succeeded.
I have found that it doesn't matter what kind of green I use for the base... I've used basil (in the summer when we have a lot), cilantro, parsley, spinach, even a spring greens mix. Every batch I make is a little different, I just use whatever we have on hand. I don't normally measure things out, but here's the basic recipe, you can change it to suit your taste:
1 lb favorite pasta
4-8 cups greens (basil, cilantro, parsley, spinach or other greens)
1 cup nuts (pine nuts, cashews, peanuts, almonds, sunflower seeds, pecans, etc. or a combination)
1/3+ cup olive oil
1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1 tsp. salt
Cook pasta until al dente. While pasta is cooking, place remaining ingredients in a food processor.
I normally fill the food processor almost to the top with greens. I was just running low.
Pulse until smooth. Add more olive oil if needed.
When pasta has finished cooking, save a couple cups of the water and drain the rest.
Toss the pasta, pesto sauce and about 1 cup pasta water (plus or minus... add more water if the pesto isn't mixing well.) Then serve! I hope your kids (and you) like it as much as we do.
Tuesday, April 2, 2013
With each of the kids birthdays comes many gifts and well wishes from family and friends. So I try to spend some time in the days (or weeks) after each one helping the kids thank those who remembered them. I'm certainly not perfect at it, sometimes we forget, and sometimes a simple phone call or text is all I can squeeze in. But there is something about a handwritten note that I love.
I took this picture of Will the day before his birthday and thought it would make a cute thank you card. After printing it, I glued it to some cardstock so I could write a little note on the back.
I also love to have a stash of homemade cards on hand to use for birthdays and thank you's so we don't have to be scrambling at the last second.
Sunday, March 31, 2013
Friday, March 29, 2013
For Will's birthday I made a Cinnamon Apple Cake. I'm not a huge lover of cakes, but with whole wheat flour and 4 entire apples in this cake, I can't turn it down. And it is oh so yummy! I thought I would share the recipe.
This is a cake that the kids love to help with. My sister got us this apple peeler a few years ago, and it has become one of my favorite kitchen tools.
After I put the apples on, the kids can grind it through themselves.
And it makes eating the apples so fun! You end up with a very long string of apple peel, and a slinky of perfectly sliced apples. Then all I have to do is dice the slices up.
Cinnamon Apple Cake
2 cups white sugar
2 cups whole wheat flour
3 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking soda
1 cup oil
1/4 cup orange juice
4 cups apples, peeled, cored and finely chopped (about 4 apples)
Cream cheese frosting (whip together):
1/4 cup butter at room temperature
5 oz. cream cheese at room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter and flour a 13x9 dish. Combine dry ingredients and set aside. Whip eggs until frothy, about 3 to 4 minutes then add oil and orange juice and mix thoroughly. Add dry ingredients and beat with whip at low speed until thoroughly combined. Fold in apples and pour into prepared pan. Bake for 1 hour, covering with aluminum foil the last 20 minutes so the top doesn't get too brown. Cool completely, then frost.
And here's Will going at it. He used his thumb and index finger to pinch off tiny pieces, taking about 30 minutes or so to finally eat the whole thing. But he loved every bite!