Friday, October 31, 2014

Unwrapping the Greatest Gift: A family Celebration of Christmas

Last year during the month of December, I read Ann Voskamp's book, The Greatest Gift.  I really enjoyed reading it as Ann beautifully wove together the stories of the Bible to remind us that the Christmas story does not stand by itself, but is part of the plan of God that had been unfolding for thousands of years.  You can find my review here if you are interested.  This year I received Unwrapping the Greatest Gift: A family Celebration of Christmas, by Ann Voskamp, as a birthday present, and I'm really looking forward to using it with my family.

At the beginning of this large and wonderfully illustrated book, you'll find instructions for how to purchase or print ornaments for your Jesse Tree.  There is an ornament for each Bible story, and the purpose of using them is "to come to the Christmas tree through the family tree of Christ".

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Cashew Chicken with a crockpot twist

I ran across this recipe on Pinterest, and it has proved to be delicious! It's from Recipe Critic, and what I love about this recipe in particular is that it is made with simple foods.

2 lbs boneless chicken breasts
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp cooking oil (whatever kind you choose is fine)
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 Tbsp ketchup
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 cup cashews

1. Combine flour, pepper, and salt. Coat bite-size pieces of chicken with mixture and brown in a pan with 1 Tb oil. Place in crockpot. I highly recommend not skipping this step. The first time I made it, I didn't really want to fry the chicken, so I just put it in without the breading, but it's not as good! :)

2. Mix together soy sauce, rice vinegar, ketchup, sugar, garlic, ginger, and red pepper. Pour it over the chicken.

3. Cook for 3-4 hours on low. Sprinkle with cashews and green onions and serve over a bed of rice. For a little extra fun, add egg rolls and fortune cookies to the side! 


Monday, October 27, 2014

Rainbow Writing Box

We're using the God's Little Explorer's preschool curriculum this year, and one of the tools we made to use with the curriculum turned out so well that I wanted to share it with you all. The idea first came from Motherhood on a Dime, so thanks for the inspiration!

We took an unused pizza box and taped all of the little cracks with packing tape so that it was well-sealed. This is an important step.

Then, Ada painted a rainbow inside of the box. I created the boundaries for her so that she could fit all the colors in there, but she did the rest.

Then, I poured some salt in the box so that a thin layered covered the bottom.

Ada used the box to write her letters and numbers, letting the rainbow peek through.

No worries about "messing up" because you just give the box a little shake and you're back to a blank slate.  :)

A great resource for having around when kids are just showing an interest in writing!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Pudding Spider Snack

This is a super simple spider snack. How's that for alliteration? But really, this snack is quite simple and easy and great for either handing out at Halloween or class snacks, which is what we made them for. We made a whole army. But I'm just going to show you the one, and how easy it really is.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Review: Pom Tree Kids

Between my boys and my nieces, I take care of lots of people who enjoy a good craft project, so I was happy for the chance to review a variety of projects from Pom Tree Kids.  I appreciate this company is dedicated to helping kids enjoy doing something that doesn't involve a screen!

The first thing we played with was a Pom Jewelry set, and while you might think it's strange that my boys enjoyed creating with it, they actually were not real bothered by all the pink and purple.  My older son chose some colors he liked to make a keychain to put on his backpack, and when he came home the next day he said someone had complimented it so he wanted to make one for them too!  My younger son put a variety of "charms" onto a bracelet, along with some fuzzy pom poms.  I think that the pom pom beads were a favorite of both boys, and while in theory the little plastic tube going through them would make it easy to them on a string, the thread that is included with this kit is too fat to go through the tube easily.  That ended up causing some frustration and I even had to go get a needle to get one particularly tough "bead" on.  The boys weren't real in to layering the flower shapes on top of each other, but I can see how another child would find that to be really fun.

Monday, October 20, 2014

DIY Fairy Costume

Okay so this isn't an entirely DIY princess fairy costume post. It's like- go buy some Dollar Spot Fairy wings and pair it with a cute DIY wand and wala- you have a costume! :)

We made this wand for a fairy birthday party Aly was invited to. And if Aly makes something, you better believe Ada will be making one too :).

Sunday, October 19, 2014

How I Tell My Child to Go Back to Bed Without Having to Go Upstairs a Million Times {a review}

When we lived in Kenya for a short time, we made some good friends who lived across the courtyard from us. We both had small children who went to bed early, but we also wanted to hang out together in the evenings to play games and eat a few of the sacred chocolate chips that a visitor just brought over from America. So, we used a baby monitor to play a game in one person's apartment while listening for the child sleeping in the other.

These days we're not playing games at other peoples' apartments while the kids are sleeping, but we have many other just-as-good reasons to be tuning into our little (and not-so-little) ones with the Motorola Digital Video Baby Monitor.

Scenario #1:
Three big kids are in their room, in bed, supposedly falling asleep. I check out the camera and see that Ada is actually standing up in bed, playing with her pumpkin garland that we just made. What?! SO, I could go up there and tell her to get back in bed OR I could click the button that enables the microphone on their camera and say, "Back to bed, little lady." You guess which one I chose.