Thursday, November 13, 2014

How To Deal with a Scratchy Shirt Tag without Cutting It Out

It never fails, when it’s time to head out the door a catastrophe strikes. On this fine school morning, I thought we were good to go to the bus stop when I noticed my son doing some unusual dance moves and then he started scratching the back of his neck. On the clothing front, I’m lucky as he typically wears whatever I have ready for him without complaint. Today’s wardrobe malfunction was courtesy of a super scratchy shirt tag.
Knowing we didn’t have time to run upstairs to grab a different tagless shirt, my first reaction was to cut it out. After inspecting the tag, it was sewn down both sides solid, so we wouldn’t have been able to cut it out completely. Perhaps with a seam ripper, but lets face it we didn’t have time to grab a new shirt so we certainly didn’t have time to break out sewing tools. I needed to cover it up and make it comfy quickly, so I came up with the next best thing and slapped a bandaid on it. It worked!!! No more complaints and no more interesting dance moves.
Sure it’s only temporary and I’ll need to remember to remove it before throwing it in the wash, but it got us out the door on time and we didn’t miss the bus. If only all of life’s problems could be so easily solved by simply slapping on a bandaid!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Bat Decoration using Kid Handprints - Halloween Craft

I love all the super cute crafts my son brings home from school, especially when they include his handprint. Here’s a project he brought home from Pre-School last year just before Halloween.
It’s a bat with his hands cut out of black paper for bat wings! He loved cutting out the face of the bat all by himself, gluing on googly eyes and a pom pom nose, and he even added a smile with “teeth” (I love how he draws smiles that look like ladders right now). We hung it on a door to help decorate for Halloween. Can’t wait to see what art project he brings home next.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Brown Paper Lunch Bag Art - First Three Days of School

My son started Kindergarten and needs to pack a snack each day. After much research, we’ve decided to buy a reusable stainless steel PlanetBox lunchbox. Until our reusable PlanetBox arrives, I’ve been using classic brown paper lunch bags to pack his snack.

To make snack time extra fun, I decided to add some lunch bag art with a sharpie. He really looks forward to seeing his new design each day. Here are the first three lunch bags themed to celebrate his first three days of school:
Day 1: Happy 1st Day of Kindergarten!
Day 2: Peace Symbol / Day 2
Day 3: Day 3 - 2 - 1 Rocket

Apparently no one else in his class packs their snack in a brown paper bag. As we discovered when he asked us one evening, where we got all these brown paper bags from anyway?! :) He definitely keeps us on our toes, you just never know what a Kindergarten kid is going to say!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Making the First Day of School Breakfast Special

It was so fun to watch our son’s excitement build as his first day of Kindergarten was quickly approaching. Thank goodness he was so ready to ride the bus and start school on his own, because to be honest we are not morning people. In fact, our family picture could be used to define the phrase “night owls”. To help ease into our new early morning routine, I wanted to make a fun breakfast for the first day of school.

My idea was a homemade muffin with a paper banner topper. It was a busy time as my husband was traveling for work and muffins didn’t happen, but Grandma was helping so she made a stack of her famous gluten free Coconut Pancakes. I added a side of fresh strawberries and simply printed a banner that said “Happy 1st Day of Kindergarten!” when I was printing my son’s new backpack label. The paper banner was stuck to a toothpick with a glue dot and placed on top of the stack of pancakes.

Our son loved his special first day of school breakfast. Now hopefully we can keep up our early morning routine without having to run for the bus!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Back To School Teacher Gift - Excited to “bee” in your class! with Lip Balm

My son got to meet his new Kindergarten teacher, ride the big yellow school bus around town, and tour his new elementary school in preparation for his first day of school. He was super excited and wanted to make his new teacher a special card.

We decided to include a small gift with his card, a chapstick or lip balm whichever you like to call it. Since he has been totally fascinated with bees this summer and I’m trying to buy healthier products, we’re using a tube of Burt’s Bees Lip Balm for this project.

We designed a quick card on the computer with a big clipart bee in the middle and wrote:

"So excited to “bee” in your Kindergarten class!"

I was going to put “So happy to bee in your Kindergarten class!”, but he requested we use the word excited. I love that he is old enough to collaborate on projects adding his own personal touch. The card was printed on white card stock that was cut to size and attached to a slightly larger piece of blue card stock providing a colorful border.  To make it extra special, my son carefully wrote his teacher’s name across the top and signed his name at the bottom of the card.

For the final step, attaching the lip balm to the card, we considered three possible options:

1. Make two cuts into the card stock and slip the tube of lip balm through.
This option was quickly eliminated, since the card did not lay nice and flat when testing it.

2. Use a ribbon to tie the lip balm to the card.
The sample using ribbon looked good, but we ultimately chose the last option that was by far the easiest and didn’t require any cuts or holes punched into the card.

3. Use washi tape to attach lip balm…the winning option!
No wonder washi tape is so popular. It’s super easy to use, the adhesive works well, and it looks amazing! I can’t wait to use washi tape in more projects.

What a great day meeting the new teacher! Our little man is super excited for his first day of school. Now we need to tackle shopping for the long list of school supplies.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Sun Baked M&Ms - A Super Easy Craft and Recipe!

It’s the last few days of summer vacation, so we’re squeezing in lots of fun before school is in full swing, along with a more structured schedule.

This super easy recipe / craft activity was inspired by the famous Lisa Kudrow. I saw her on a talk show segment long ago sharing her go to recipe, Baked M&Ms. I laughed like crazy and knew that someday I would make these with the kiddos. Since then I’ve become a bit of a health nut, but when we got a big bag of M&Ms in a basket we won at a charity event, I knew making Baked M&Ms would be a fun once in a while treat we could all enjoy.

It’s a super hot week, so to make it extra fun and kid friendly (no microwave or toaster oven needed) we baked the M&Ms using the hot sun. I first set this activity up as a craft at the kitchen table with a bowl of M&Ms and plates for the kids to make their own designs.

We made a couple M&M flowers.

This design started out as a cool star that I thought looked like a fun firework, but when my son realized he was going to eat this creation all the M&Ms got pushed to the center and an outer ring of M&Ms was added changing the design into what he now calls a big sun. It’s funny how fast kids figure things out, in this case: Bigger Design = More M&Ms to Eat!

When everyone was happy with their unique M&M creations, we moved the plates outside to bake in the hot sun.

We left our M&Ms bake in the sun for about 30 minutes in the late afternoon. My son even checked “the oven” by looking out the window to see how they were baking. And we didn’t have any trouble getting a volunteer taste tester to determine if the M&Ms were sufficiently melty. After running outside to taste test one, my son gave a big thumbs up. Sure enough when I went outside to verify they were ready, you could see small hairline cracks on the M&Ms which means they are indeed melted to ooey gooey perfection. With the hard candy coating, they didn’t even create a mess.
See the small hairline cracks, Sun Baked M&Ms are ready to eat!
We all enjoyed a fun Sun Baked M&M picnic outside on the grass. My son loved Sun Baked M&Ms so much he asked if we could make Daddy a batch that would be ready when he gets home from work.

If you don’t have a beautiful sunshiny day, simply dump M&Ms into a bowl and microwave or put M&Ms on a baking sheet and stick in the toaster oven to melt, as Lisa Kudrow recommends. I don’t have exact baking times as we haven’t tried these alternate methods, but I’m sure they won’t take long before you can enjoy!

Our Summer CSA Experience - Week of May 22, 2014

What’s in the box this week? May 22, 2014

This week's USDA Certified Organic Share includes:
- Lettuce Heads - 2
- Scallions - bunch
- Radishes - bunch
- Kale - bunch
- Basil- 4" pot

Price is $15.00


What to do with all the fresh produce?
Fresh salads are the best! Even the kids are starting to eat lettuce, which they would never eat before.

We used the scallions to make Eggs Columbian, a recipe Ina Garten featured on her food network show.  It’s a breakfast burrito recipe, but we eat it on a plate without a burrito shell…so simple and so good!

I was never a fan of radishes, but I’m starting to like them on salads. Especially straight from the farm when they’re fresh, crisp, and spicy. My husband worked in the catering area of a convention center for his first job and actually filled entire rubbermaid plastic totes with hand cut radish roses to garnish salads. Maybe next year I’ll share a radish rose tutorial as he has lots of experience. :)

We selected a bunch of kale with purple stalks.  The kale was used in green smoothies. The kids love these and they’re an easy way to eat your greens. If you ever have too much kale, just wash it, remove the stems, and freeze it for smoothies.

We used the basil to make caprese salad and to top minestrone soup, pizza, and spaghetti.

Can’t wait to see what’s available next!