Real Food Snacks – DIY Trail mix

Organic pumpkin seeds, almonds, date pieces, raisins & dried apricots

Organic pumpkin seeds, almonds, date pieces, raisins & dried apricots

With a preschooler you always have to have snacks on hand. You never know when they are going to get hungry, and a healthy, energy-giving snack can mean the difference between finishing your errands and having to deal with a DEFCON 1 meltdown. In my family we LOVE trail mix. Nuts, seeds and dried fruits produce a tasty pick-me-up that never fails to make my Bean happy. We have found that by purchasing our trail mix ingredients separately from the bulk natural foods section of our local supermarket or co-op we not only get to customize what goes into our trail mix – but we wind up paying a lot less. The trail mix we blended in today’s pictures are made from all organic ingredients and cost less than $5/lb. The only prep required was cutting up the dried apricots. The next time you want to stock up on portable snacks, consider making your own trail mix blend.

Beans loves his trail mix!

Beans loves his trail mix!

Interpretive Art – Mixed media with a preschooler

A Man and His Horse

A Man and His Horse

Ever look at the clouds and pick out the “things” that you see in the billows of white & gray? Sure, we all have. Today’s art project isn’t far removed from a cloud watching exercise. This morning my three year old asked me what we could do “together”. I’m feeling pretty pregnant and pretty lazy so not a whole lot of adventures came to mind. I remember seeing a blog not long ago that featured these “blob” paintings – where the artist would paint a “blob” and then interpretively sketch a character out of the near-formless painting. I figured I could tailor the project to me and my pre-schooler’s particular needs. I set him up with some watercolors and let him paint till his little heart was content. Then we talked about what he saw in each painting. It was interesting that we both saw many similar “things” in the paintings. Under the Bean’s directions, I’d sketch in what he interpreted his brush strokes to be. Lots of fun – AND he’s very proud…

Dancing People

Dancing People

Buttercream Frosting

Thomas cupcakes with buttercream frosting

Thomas cupcakes with buttercream frosting

So, yesterday was the Bean’s birthday party. We held it at a local pizzeria – the party consisted of feeding everyone pizza, giving the kids (average age of 3) bop-balloons and noisemakers and handing out cupcakes. For all that there was zero planned activities for the little ones, they had a blast shoving their faces, volleying their balloons and blowing on their noisemakers.
My son helped me make the cupcakes for his party. He had a Thomas the Train themed party (go figure) so we used Thomas cupcake liners and toppers for the cupcakes. We baked both ‘yellow’ and chocolate cupcakes – IMO they were just “aright”. But we made a fantastic frosting that really set them off. I found this Buttercream recipe online. I doubled the original recipe and only added half the amount of vanilla. In lieu of milk I used hazelnut coffee creamer. The frosting was sugary and faintly salty all at once and held it’s shape wonderfully. I don’t often find a need to make frosting but would certainly make this buttercream again!
Beans enjoying his birthday cupcake!

Beans enjoying his birthday cupcake!

Living Room Wall Photo Project

Wall Photo Project

Wall Photo Project

So, I have some empty wall space in my living room that is just begging to become something more exciting. I really try to decorate with personalized art. I LOVE taking photos,so I felt the best way to fill the space was to collage some of my favorite family photos.
Here is a relatively easy, fun and inexpensive way to decorate a large wall area. I chose a few dozen of my favorite family photos and had them printed in B&W from Costco (I think they do the best affordable printing around here). Next, I went to the Dollar Store and bought an appropriate number of frames in various sizes and variegated shades of gold and silver. After framing the photos, I ripped the back stand off of the frame back and applied about a square inch of mounting tape on the corners of the frames’ backside. After laying out all my photos and finding the best looking “pattern” for my wall, I mounted them using a level, measuring tape and pencil for spacing. I intentionally left some blank spaces in my pattern so that I’ll have room for pictures of the new baby when he’s born. I’d like to find some oval frames for the Sprout’s photos to further the variety of the frames. All in all, this project cost me about $40. Not bad considering the size and personalization of final product.
I have done this project before using black frames of uniform size and it looks fantastic as well – though it definitely lends a more modern look.

A Day is as a Thousand Years…or: Cooking with a Preschooler

the Beans makes pizza

the Beans makes pizza

Man! My boy loves to do everything with me and I love including him. But, GEEEEEEEZ! Doing some things with Beans takes forever. Tonight I had some simple pizzas planned for dinner. You know, pre-made crust (Vicolo organic spelt & cornmeal) so just prep some veggies, throw some cheese on and, voila, dinner in ten! However, this evening The Bean just HAD to help. He gathered the produce, I chopped, he sprinkled and spilled, smeared and sneaked. Thirty five minutes and a disastrous kitchen later we put the pizzas in the oven. Fifteen minutes after that we took the pizzas out. Beans: I’m not hungry, Mama.

The Bean’s 3rd Birthday

Today is Beans’ 3rd birthday. Can’t believe time has passed so fast! We are actually having his birthday party on the 14th. My rational was that I needed to give people a bit of a buffer between the hubbub of the holidays and a preschooler’s birthday party. I know that *I* needed a breather. Anyways, stuff to know about the Bean as he turns 3.
He loves:
Thomas the Train
Goats milk
Cashews
Johnny Cash
The Beatles
Old pickups
Matchbox Cars
Reading stories
Basketball
Baseball
Coloring
Helping cook
“‘Zert” (Dessert)
Playing in the snow

He doesn’t like:
Washing his hair
Eating very cold things
Riding in carts

Happy Birthday Beans!

Beans

Beans