"Lo, Children Are An Heritage of the LORD: and the Fruit of the Womb is His Reward" - Psalm 127:3

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Too True...

My nine year old just shared a joke with me.  He made it up on his own.  It went like this...

Hey Mom, do you know what the difference is between an umbrella and me?

Mom - No. What?

You can shut an umbrella up.

Yep, That's true.  :)

I Love Our Thrift Store

 How cute is this little cowboy?  We got his whole outfit at the local thrift store for 50 cents total (shirt and pants).

The shirt is a Wrangler denim western shirt - too cute!

He wore it to church Sunday.  I tried to get a good picture on my phone to text to his sister, but he was being goofy.

 Yesterday my youngest two were watching it snow - heavily.  I intended to get a picture of it, but didn't do it right away.  I was waiting for it to quit so you could see how much snow we got - maybe 3-4 inches all at once, heavy and wet.  Then next thing I knew, the sun came out and it all melted.  The boys were standing on the stack of daycare cots.  Not what I intended them to be used for, but they sure like being able to see out the window.

Here's another miscellaneous picture.  Our nine year old earned a blue ribbon in the Air Rifle County Shoot for 4H last week.  I already posted about that, but our local website had a story and picture about it so I thought I'd add that to the blog.  He is the second from the left - in the front row holding his targets down to his side.

Allergen Free/Vegan Healthy Apple Pie Cookies

I thought I would try a variation to the banana oatmeal cookies I normally make my one year old.  You know, those simple ones that just amount to smashing a banana and adding oatmeal and raisins. He loves his banana raisin cookies, but I've been thinking of changing it up.  And boy, these ended up smelling and tasting like apple pie - only these are much healthier!  No butter and very little sugar.  These are amazingly good too :)

 I started by peeling and chopping an apple, until the pieces were pretty small - no bigger than a large pea.  (This is a no-measuring recipe, my favorite kind.  Just keep dumping things in until it looks good and holds together nicely).  I used about 3/4 of a large apple (it had a spot I had to cut off).

 I added a single serve packet of organic unsweetened applesauce.  You could use whatever you have, but I have to be careful that the only thing in his apple sauce is apples.  I also added a little cinnamon - maybe about a teaspoon, and a couple tablespoons of brown sugar.  Then I mixed that all together.  YUM this smelled good.  You could add a little nutmeg if you like the extra spice, but I didn't think the one year old needed it.

I put maybe a cup of oats in my chopper and chopped them up awhile.

This is what it looked like when I stopped.  I wasn't going for "flour" just for a smaller oat - so the cookies would be a little smoother. But usually I just throw the oats in with the fruit and stir.  It works either way.  So I added that to the fruit mixture, gave it a good stir, and used the spoon to drop  cookies onto my baking stone.

 The ones in the front are banana raisin cookies which I made since I had a lone banana, and extra space on the cookie sheet.  These cookies don't spread at all, so they can be placed right next to each other on your cookie sheet.

While we're at it, I'll tell you these cookies are not crispy - they are more chewy - more cakey if that makes sense - only they're pretty dense.  If you are looking for a recipe that really resembles that cookie texture, this is NOT it.  But they are good, and they are not too sweet - exactly what I want to feed my "allergic to everything" child.  I make them mostly because they are something he can eat with his hands, and he can have them for breakfast or any other meal.  They are also a huge hit for daycare snack time - either just for him, or for everyone.  It's hard for him when everyone else gets crackers or store-bought treats and he can't have any.  I also have to pack everything with us for him when we eat out, and these are easy to grab and go.  Bonus - all he is eating is oatmeal and fruit.  Definitely a healthy option.  Even if he eats the whole batch all he has had is a cup of oatmeal and 3/4 of an apple.

This is what they look like 15 minutes of baking at 350.  I found that the banana cookies were done after that amount of time, but the apple cookies (thanks to the wetness of the applesauce) needed another 4-5 minutes in the oven.  And now that they have cooled, I find that they're still pretty sticky so they probably could have gone even longer than that. The apple cookies smell like apple pie too and have that amazing apple pie flavor.  Holy cow, these were good.  They are way better than the banana cookies.  I see baking a lot of these in my future ;)  And they're vegan too, so when my 22 year old comes to visit, I'll make them for him too.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

4H Shooting Competition, Loads of Daycare Fun, and A Roller Coaster

 This has been a busy week. (Yeah, I know. I say that every week).  This week, our nine year old competed in his first 4H shooting competition - this one was for air rifle.  He didn't win, but did well enough to earn a purple ribbon. Pretty good for his first competition in 4H.  He will have his archery competition in May, and he's starting a class on shotgun shooting next week.

He also accomplished a major childhood feat this week.

He learned to blow bubbles with his gum.  :)

 (Sorry this is a really random post, but I don't have time to make separate posts for all we've done this week.)  Anyway, I thought I'd show you the simplest daycare meal ever.  (Okay, so that's totally not true, but this was EASY and the kids devoured it.)

It's just refrigerated biscuit dough, flattened out, with a little scoop of refried beans and a hunk of cheese.  Fold it over and bake.  I made some without the cheese for our dairy free kids (I have three in the daycare, but ours is also wheat free, so no biscuits for him.  I smeared a little of the bean on top of the dairy free ones so I was sure to know the difference.

They pretty much all ate three biscuits each.  Simple, and fairly mess free too.

 Not so with the crafts - ha.  They're plenty messy.  But we're having SO MUCH FUN with this curriculum (Star Brite).  The kids are so excited about lesson time.  They RUN to the table, and some of them even ask as soon as they get here if we can do our papers now :)

Here's some cuteness thrown in for free :)

And here's a major accomplishment.  Our four year old has figured out how to pedal!  Woohoo.  And yeah, that is the living room.  I try to protect this particular toy from the daycare kids because a couple of them are very destructive, and this is our four year old's special toy that he got with his Christmas money a year ago.  So I bring it in when they are out and only put it out when they are gone.  It's usually in the laundry room, but he figured out how to get it out and was riding it in the house... dirty wheels and all.

 Here's our latest greatest investment.  A Roller Coaster!!!

The Fed Ex truck brought it on Friday, which happened to also be a drizzly-rainy-cold day.  The kids begged to try it out, so we unpacked it and snapped the track together in the living room and had all sorts of fun.

It was a huge hit - even just to walk and climb and slide on.

All the kids loved it - even the daredevil one year old.  I only had one daycare kid who was afraid of it, but she is afraid of everything so it was no surprise.

The one year old has even figured out (along with everyone else) how to push the car back up the track, get on it, and push himself off, which is a huge deal.

Oh, and the box has proved to be just as much fun as the roller coaster. :)

Tonight was movie night.  We dragged our huge television in from the garage, and all the guys (plus one daycare kid) claimed their spots and watched Ice Age: Continental Drift.  It was pretty cute.

Did I mention how much the kids love the preschool curriculum?

Today I finished another book - The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak.  Wow.  Awesome book.  All 552 pages of it.  If you haven't read this one, you really should - especially if you're into Nazi Germany history.  Great book.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Preschool Fun

 Before I get to the preschool fun, I thought I would show you that I found a good substitute for spaghetti sauce for our allergic-to-nearly-everything one-year-old.  (Wow.  That's a lot of dashes.)  Anyway, most spaghetti sauces have something in them that the child cannot have, and I don't always have time to make some from scratch (shocked, aren't you?).  So today, while everyone else was having pasta he couldn't have, I made some of his rice noodles, and added a spoon of pumpkin puree.  He was in heaven.  Ate three helpings!  Yeah for simple solutions.  Maybe I'll try sweet potatoes too...

As of the first of April, I'm trying out a new preschool curriculum for the daycare.  So far I LOVE it.  It's called Star Brite and it is really good.  They have so many activities - 4-5 projects a day so far.  In fact, I'm debating over making it stretch so that we do one day's materials over two days.  It's kind of pricey - more than other curricula I've tried, but well worth it, given the amount of projects.  If I stretched it to make one month last two months, it would be very cost effective.  Of course then there is the problem of holidays not matching up, so I'm not sure that would actually work.  And having so many take-home papers makes me look really good, so I'll probably just use it as is for now... We'll see.

Anyway, we're getting a lot of cutting practice, which all the kids desperately need.  None of them are good at it.  My four year old cuts tiny pieces and tells me he broke his paper.  I tried explaining to him that cutting is different than breaking, but he's pretty sure the paper is broken *wink*

 I've had a few ideas pinned on Pinterest for art display areas for kids' work.  One had a beautiful flowery script saying "Masterpieces" and a place to hang art work.  Others use Picasso's quote "Every child is an artist."  Well, after trying vinyl on the wall I can say I'm not eager to try applying that again.  And I already have a huge bulletin board in the entryway, and no other convenient place to put take-home papers, so I sketched out big letters and let the kids go to work coloring and glittering them, then cut them out and stapled them up.  I wish now that I had outlined them by putting a bright or dark colored cardstock behind them because they don't show up so well on the fabric covered board.  But it serves the purpose and will be fine until I feel the need to do something about it.  I wrote each child's name on a clothespin and had them color the clothespin, and strung a piece of rope so we could hang everything without using a thumbtack every time.  (This is yesterday's collection of papers).

And here is today's work.  Fun!  I'm having a blast with this. And doing a formal curriculum is making our day go much faster.  It takes an hour to get through the projects alone - not counting calendar time and songs, books, etc.