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Thursday, February 26, 2015

Burnt On Mess: Meet Your Match!

I have never met a baked on mess that I can't handle. That doesn't mean I enjoy scrubbing dishes or anything, but I have a really easy trick to getting the worst mess to come off with no effort.

As you can see in this photo I baked a rack of ribs last night. It got messy. The BBQ sauce burnt quite badly. My husband asked me, with a smile, if I intended to throw the pan away when he saw how bad the mess was. 


Can you see how the edges of this burnt on mess have lifted off of the pan?  With one super simple trick you can eliminate 98% of the effort of getting this mess clean.

First, do not soak the pan or get it wet. Let it cool. When it is cool enough to touch without a pot holder or oven mitt grab your dish soap. Apply dish soap generously to the mess. Walk away from it. Forget it until the morning!

In the morning you can grab a kitchen knife, just in case you need it to help lift the edges of the baked/burnt mess.



video

As you can see in this video, I literally just grabbed the burnt on BBQ sauce and lifted it off.


If there is any remaining baked on mess, fill the pan with hot water. Add a used dryer sheet and allow it to soak. The remaining mess will slide right off of the pan when you are ready to wash!

Do you have a tip to help make things easier in the kitchen? I would love to hear it!



Saturday, February 21, 2015

Cupcake Liner Crafts

We are always looking for fun crafts to make! When I saw these ideas for cupcake liner crafts the wheels in my head started to spin. These ideas are adorable and easy enough for your toddler or preschooler to make!
I hope this collection inspires you to pull out your cupcake liners and start creating!




Your little princess will love making these Tutu Princesses from Well Nourished Nest.


On a rainy day you might want to try your hand at this Cupcake Liner Rainbow from I Heart Crafty Things.


These Cupcake Liner Butterflies from Crafty Morning might flutter their way into your heart!


If your little one likes Ninjago, don't miss this super cute and simple Ninjago Craft from Love and Marriage Blog.



If your little one loves all things Dino, you can't go wrong with this Cupcake Liner Dinosaur from Frogs, Snails and Puppydog Tails.



Do you have an idea for a fun cupcake liner craft? I would love to hear from you!
Thursday, February 19, 2015

Pizza : Kid Style

If my kids had a choice, I am sure they would eat pizza or chicken nuggets at every meal. Well, to be fair, I have no objection to eating pizza at every meal so they either get it honestly, or it is just a phase (that apparently I have yet to outgrow!)

If your kid love pizza as much as mine do, you will want to check out these kid friendly pizza ideas that are healthier than the variety that comes in a box.



English Muffin Pizza from Inspiration Laboratories


Pizza Bento Lunch from 3 Boys and a Dog



Little Red Hen Pizza from Pre K Pages


Heart Shaped Pizzas from B-Inspired Mama


Easy Mickey Pizza from ABC Creative Learning


How do you make pizza at home for the kids? 

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Winter Weather and Missed School

It seems as if my family has not had a regular week since Christmas break began. We have had snow, snow, snow for about 2 months now. Delays and of course school closings have been in abundance.

Wouldn't you know it, on top of missing so much school due to the weather, Roo was ill and he missed several of the days he could have attended in January. 

The scene in our backyard

We received blizzard bags from school as we have exceeded our calamity days. Roo blew through them in a few days. 

To make a long story short, I was growing concerned that he was going to start losing skills he has acquired, so we took a more intentional approach to learning at home.

One day we took a plastic cup and added some water to it after breakfast. We placed it on the deck and went about our business. Later I asked Roo to check on it. He was quite pleased to see a cup of solid ice awaiting him. 

We then sat the cup on the counter in the kitchen. It was 3 pm. We timed it to see how long it would take to melt. When I went to bed that night at 11, only a touch of ice remained. The next morning, my son was thrilled to see it was all melted back into water. He then proceeded to insist on having a bath... he carefully carried the cup of melted ice water to the tub. He climbed in and poured it over his head and laughed... Boys, I tell ya, they are funny creatures!

We practiced writing daily. We worked on shapes daily too. Write your name, write abc, make a cross, make a square, etc. He is pretty good at shapes. His handwriting is messy, but if you let him write really small his letters are great, if you can read them. 

We read a lot of books! We discovered the fun of Pete the Cat and the Don't Let Pigeon... titles. We spent minutes (he is only 4 after all...) pouring over look and find books at different times in the days of never ending winter...We delighted in old favorites such as The Little Pumpkin Book, all of his Dinosaur Train books and Several from the Little Critter series.

We went to a pet store and looked at different animals. We talked about how birds come from eggs and what they eat. We oohed over guinea pigs, and pleaded with Daddy to get a bunny.

We observed footprints in the snow from a cat and a bird, then we checked out our own tracks and tried to write our names with footprints. Roo marveled at the cat prints. He thought they were "really cute".


It is funny, but initially I worried that winter would have negative effects on my son and his education, but I found the opposite was true. I found that the things he was not doing at school, he could actually do with just a little one on one attention. I will even admit, for about 9 minutes I indulged the homeschool fantasy. Then both kids were crying, the dog was barking and I said a silent prayer for good weather and I gave thanks for his preschool teacher.





Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The Day We Made a Straw Flute

I was working late one night when I got this idea... we could make straw flutes tomorrow. I wrote, in blue ink, the words STRAW FLUTE on the back of my hand.  Before I knew it I was waking up with a stiff neck on the sofa. I had maneuvered myself under the sofa cover and caught a few zzz's.

The next morning I noticed blue ink on my white leather sofa. What the heck? I examined it... backwards it read, STRAW FLUTE. A sighed a heavy, irritated sigh. Oh shoot. Well since this project was so important to me that I wrote it on my hand and created a new mess to stress over we might as well make the damn flutes...

So we did.

I have no idea if we did them 'right' but I know we had fun with the flutes for a few hours on a winter day.

I had 8 straws on hand, so we used all 8.


I cut them and put them in order from shortest to tallest.




Then I secured them to one another with clear tape.


My son grabbed it and ran with it, he was having fun making noise, on a very small scale.
Excuse the poor quality of the photo I was literally chasing him to get a pic!

So there you have it folks! We made an easy peasy straw flute and the 4 year old was busy and happy for a few hours that day.



Monday, February 9, 2015

Soothing Sick Little Ones

The kids and I caught a cold virus. Blah. We sneezed all over each other. There was massive amounts of nose wiping, coughing and general ickiness to go around.

It hit Roo first. Harper caught it next. She sneezed and sneezed. My heart broke into little bits each time for her. When it came knocking on my door I literally laid down and cried.

So, how did we manage to entertain ourselves when everyone was ill? We laid about in our pajamas and bathrobes. We snuggled under covers. We watched cartoons and looked at books.

You know my kids are sick if they are not running amuck, making messes and lots of noise.

One morning during tissue fest 2015 I pulled myself together and I was determined to clean up our home. As I wiped, swiped and picked up I noticed it was as quiet as it has ever been at my house. The only sounds were of light music from the cartoon.

Curious I tiptoed to check on the kids.

This is what I found.


Babies watching a cartoon



And they are getting along famously!




Roo gives Harp a smooch and says "Feel Better."


I hated that they were ill, but I loved that they found comfort in each other and snuggled up to watch a cartoon peacefully. I was proud of Roo for being so considerate and kind. I know he must have covered his sister up after she laid down on a pillow. What a sweet big brother!

Everyone is on the mend now thankfully!

With the illness being a virus there wasn't a lot I could do for the kids, at their age. But I will share my tips for making them as comfortable as possible.

I know the kids will fight it, but keep their noses clear! Use a bulb style syringe and saline, or something like the Snotarator.

Offer them plenty of fluids! This one is important! We don't want dehydrated little ones!

Lollipops will help stop a cough. This is a super mom trick.


If they are not hungry, indulge them a little. Ask them what they would like. If they want popsicles for dinner so be it.

Limit milk intake. It seems to make a cold feel worse.

Keep them warm! A snuggle fest under a quilt is a nice way to be comfy. When I was little and ill all I wanted was my mom. 


Encourage extra rest!

A gentle vapor bath designed for kids is a wonderful way to offer some relief from a snotty, runny and or stuffy nose and a cough.

On preschool aged kids and older apply vicks to their feet and put socks on them. This is so much more effective than rubbing it on the chest or back. 

If you feel your child needs medical attention seek it! I am not a doctor, I am simply sharing how I helped soothe my littles during their bout of illness.



Thursday, February 5, 2015

Dear Weary Mom : A Victory To Be Treasured

Dear Weary Mom,



So we meet again. You might wonder where I disappeared to. I will warn you, it wasn't anywhere a Mom wants to be. I had moved into the restroom to get my son potty trained once and for all.

Roo is 4 and a half. Yes, nearly 5 dang years old. He is smart, adorable and I love him, but for two years now I have felt that the pull ups needed to go.

Roo can pee in the potty like a champ. He makes his mother so proud of his good aim, infrequent "Oops!" calls for dribbles, or misses. He is not above cleaning up his dribbles so mommy doesn't have to d it {SO GOOD My boy is!}

But guess what. The #2 situation was another story. He wouldn't. He knew when he had to go. He would change out of his big boy undies and find a pull up or resort to squeezing into his little sisters diapers, he would hide in his room, stinking up the place. Then he would say "Mommy clean  me!"

I started to have fears, would I be changing a pull up when my son was in college? He would have to go to a local school, something within an hour of me so I could go to help him when needed...

I talked to doctors. They all said he will go when he is ready. Encourage him, don't push him. Be patient.

Patience... oh, great. I have so much of that!

Well anyhow, nearing his 5th birthday, he is officially a potty pooper!

Last Saturday I woke up to hear "Oh no Mommy. Uh oh." He looked terrified. I asked him "Roo what is wrong?" He said "Mommy....clean me?" Just waking up I said "You need to potty?" He said no, but I got him into the restroom. Within a few minutes he had completed his task! We were so proud of him!


I thought it was a sleepy coincide at first, but sure enough, he has gone to the potty every time he has had to go for 5 days now. I have had to really coax him, as he wants to revert back to a pull up already. But, nonetheless, am one proud Mama! Way to go Roo!!

I will be honest, lots and lots of bribery happened. Roo got Frozen on dvd, The small story set for Frozen, hot breadsticks at his request. $1.15 for his bank, all in nickles. He often times will do something like clean off the table for me and say "Want a nickle! I cleaned!" This time it was "Niclkle Please... so we stocked up on nickles, He is still working on that bribe too. We have agreed that if he continues to use the potty next weekend we will go swimming. Bribery... not a single doctor recommended bribery... but it works for me. I am now down to one child needing diaper changes and my 15 month old is interested in the potty too. She will plop her little booty on it and sit to read. I have a hope she will be much easier to potty train.

Deary Weary Mom, if your little ones are potty trained Hooray for you! Please leave a comment and tell everyone how you trained for success.  If you are still battling the potty mama, just relax. Someday it will happen. Trust me!





Sunday, February 1, 2015

Fine Motor Feeding Fun


I don't blog about kids activities very often, but... I have kids. We do things! I take photos when I remember that my snazzy phone has a snazzy camera too... why not share some of what we have been up to?!


If my son had his way about it, from sun up to sundown he would wake up and play with his trains, dinosaurs and action figures. He would get a bath some time in the day, and he might want to go to school... only to come home and resume his constant play session on the dining room table. 

I have a knack for butting in and encouraging him to try new things. He is not always happy about it, but some days I can get him engaged in something new that has added benefits like fine motor skill practice.

The last time we visited the pet store my thoughtful kids wanted to get tennis balls for our old dogs. Roo had this idea of playing fetch. So I agreed that they could try to play fetch with the dogs and bought the balls they clamored for.  I had an extra ball and a few minutes of time, so I created a fun fine motor activity for Roo.


I found a box cutter and cut a slit into the tennis ball.


Then I made it fun by adding googly eyes.


I told Roo he needed to feed this dude his lunch, but he was being fussy. I gave him some varying sized pom poms and demonstrated how to get the dude to eat his food.



My son thought that was awesome! He was eager to feed the "dude". 


And there you have it folks. A 90 second (if that) project that combines fun, fine motor and best of all, no batteries or screens!

Roo likes feeding the dude pom poms and I love that he is working with his hands to develop coordination and improve his scissor skills which need practice.

What kind of things do you do with your kids to work on fine motor skills?