Saturday, March 29, 2014

April Fools Day Menu Special

It's no secret, I enjoy food. I figure, what better day to play with my food than April Fools??? Most of this will be...very much adjusted or completely replaced for the littlest.

Breakfast: Pizza Pancakes
I have a good size skillet I can make this work in....Some definite topping changes to suit our taste though. Like strawberry sauce. And white chocolate for "cheese"

Story Time Snack: Brownie Burgers.
I've seen several of these around...but none exactly what I want. So, I'll make some brownies, cut them out with a glass or something to the size I want. Buns will be some sort of cookie. Strawberry jam for ketchup. Yellow gel icing for mustard. Gold sugar sprinkles for sesame seeds

Lunch: Jello Juice, "tomato soup" vanilla pudding, fruit
More of a snack bc lunch is usually pretty late when we have story time. Knox & fruit juice for the jello.

Dinner: Mashed Potato Cookieszucchini nuggets, not sure about real meat yet? I don't want to do meatloaf cupcakes...

Dessert: Cocoa krispies meatloaf, ice cream mashed potatoes with caramel gravy, taffy broccoli 
Will make the krispies with Koala Krisp by Nature's Path

Preschool Week 3 - Five Senses

I didn't do a good job taking pictures this week.....had a pretty hard time keeping her on task, too. Oh well, we did what we could.

Daily: Calendar (will post more about it soon), weather, how do you feel?, practice writing name, computer, color

Monday: Head Start instructor was out, we played with a really neat magnet board (I want one!!) that had 3 different options. 5 senses (which Miss O did great with), weather (also really well, though she had trouble differentiating spring and summer), and animals (this one was a little weird with the categories being 2 legs, 4 legs, feathers, fur, and scales, and she had trouble with it).

Tuesday: Story time at the library - butterfly stories and craft. practiced cutting and gluing

Wednesday: Practiced number writing in the Elmo book. There was an old lady who swallowed a rose.

Thursday: Used the granny from yesterday's printout to identify senses around the house.

Friday: Head Start Learn & Play. Apple - how does it look, smell, feel, taste, sound...

Thursday, March 27, 2014

REVIEW: Red Leaf Tea White Matcha

Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial.

I was really excited to see this review opportunity for Red Leaf Tea's White Matcha because I somewhat recently fell in love with a green matcha fusion tea. I wasn't quite sure what to expect because I've never tried a powdered tea...(I understand matcha itself is powder, but the one I tried before was pre-bagged).

So what is white matcha? "White Matcha is made in exactly the same way as regular Green Tea Matcha is made: stone ground to a fine powder. But we have done it with White Tea. Why would we offer you a White Matcha? For people who like Matcha Tea in its original form as a Green Tea, you know how flavorful and pure it is. We want to give that to all tea lovers. Whether you like Green Tea, Black Tea, White Tea or any other kind of tea, we want you to experience the Matcha in different flavors.
What does stone grinding do for tea leaves? It is quite simple. This is special process that does not take away from the flavor or take away any of the health benefits of original tea leaves. Basically with the stone grinding process, you are getting the highest quality tea in its purest form outside of just having straight from the tea tree. It is simple and straightforward, leaving tea leaves with tons of flavor and amazing healthful qualities."

The tea shipped very quickly, and the packaging was in good shape. So, let's start with that packaging....the pouch the tea comes in is great, the zip seal stays closed well, it's aesthetically pleasing...but there's something missing. Two somethings, in fact.

First, I would really love to see an ingredient list. Are there additives? Coloring? I did find this information on the website and, however, so I am not too upset by it. Perhaps not printing it on the packaging saves on cost? Anyway, according to the website the White Matcha tea is made of "Pure Matcha powder from white leaves,White Powder." And the following qualities:

 100% Pure Matcha
 Natural Flavors
 Artificial Coloring
 MSG/Chemical Additives

Simply put, I love most of that. Leaves only two questions - What exactly is "natural flavors"? And are the products GMO/would they be willing to get verified by a third party?

Second, there are no instructions. Again, this is something that can be found on the website and, but I guarantee there will be people who don't notice it. Still, I suppose it reduces materials. Perhaps it's just the smaller pouches that don't have these things? I can't really say.

 The tea itself...well, I'm not sure white tea is quite for me. I much prefer greens and herbals. That said, for being the white tea that it is, it's on par. A more bold white tea. The dry powder has a musky floral scent, whereas there is almost no scent when it's prepared. It's a deep murky brown, and has a lovely froth.

Takes a fair amount of mixing to dissolve the powder, probably would have been easier had I used a whisk as advised, but my whisk hardly fits in a mug. I did have some settling in my cup.

It's smooth at the beginning, a little dryer at the end. I enjoyed the flavor more after I let it sit and cool off, so perhaps I will use the rest as a chilled tea, or sneak it into some smoothies to get the health benefits without all that oomph.

You can buy the tea yourself on or They also carry a crazy variety of other flavors (like CHEESECAKE Matcha and  Turkish Green Apple), so you're bound to find something you should like. Not to mention the kid's section of fruity, junk free herbals.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Menu Plan Week of March 25-31

Where's my warm spring weather??? Growl. Oh well, this meal planning thing is definitely helping me actually cook something decent for dinner. I really needed that, as most nights we were having mac n cheese or whatever scraps of something I could scrounge up last minute.

Last week highlights:
Meat pies and green parmesan butter noodles for St Paddy's day. (Miss O would NOT eat the green noodles even though butter noodles are one of her faves). I was singing about Mrs. Lovett's meat pies the entire. time. I was making/eating these.

Super yummy stir fry - a rainbow of colors to celebrate spring! - over rice

Tuesday - chef salad to finish off leftover boiled eggs
Wednesday -  rotisserie style chicken breasts & caprese flatbread
Thursday - burgers & cheddar tater tots
Friday - chicken pot pie
Saturday - taco salad
Sunday - turkey sausage, biscuits & gravy
Monday - sandwich/leftover night

If there are recipes for the week, I will have them pinned here.

And then I will move them here with a review after I've tried them.

See more MPM at OrgJunkie

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Preschool Week 2

Alright, I really hope as it is now officially spring, the weather will stabilize...a little. I want to be outside!!

I found a nifty little resource. Teachers Notebook. Free to sign up, all sorts of lessons, activites, teaching aids...probably the majority of them are for purchase, but there are so many freebies! I think this will make it easier for me.

Daily stuff: Practice writing name, introduce house number, color. Computer/screen time as seen fit.

Monday: Head Start instructor came out - feelings puzzles and games, one was a memory game and she did pretty well. Good at identifying feelings, but can't explain how she can tell. Colored a rainbow. Worksheet - traced letter L and identified things that start with L. Feelings faces on shamrocks.

Miss Em wanted to color, also!

Tuesday: Story Time at the Library - Read about caterpillars, made a caterpillar puppet.
Outlined a picture to help her stay in the lines

Wednesday: Make up day for Head Start - matched lowercase to capital letters, self portrait with parts of body.

Thursday: Dyed eggs, did some climbing at the park, made bread. Ostara story and coloring/counting sheets from Pooka Pages

Friday: Found this book at Dollar Tree, doing some work in it. Cut and glue practice.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Ostara Egg Dye Experiment!

First and foremost, SPRING IS HERE!!! YAY! Happy spring equinox, folks :]

Second, this year, I'm using natural egg dyes. And let me tell you, it's an event. If you want bright, bold eggs, this is not a quick-dye method. At all. BUT it is chemical free and they are beautiful and, in my opinion, worth the trouble. Would I do all of these on a budget? Not the yellow. Spices aren't cheap. The rest? Yeah, probably.

I used these four pages to concoct my dyes:
Door to Door Organics Colorado
Blue Bonnets and Brownies
The Kitchn
Thy Hand Hath Provided

In the end, I made my dyes as follows


4c water
1T vinegar
1T salt
2 rough chopped beets
2 bags wildberry zinger


2c water
2c grape juice
1T vinegar
1T salt
2 bags raspberry zinger

**I think I did something wrong here - it just some weird film on the eggs and I didn't like how the color was coming along so I scrapped it and dispersed the eggs into other colors.


4c water
1T vinegar
1T salt
1/2 red cabbage, rough chopped


4c water
1T vinegar
1T salt
4oz spinach
3oz blueberry
1T turmeric
**this didn't go well - I ended up adding blue food coloring bc it was yellow beyond fixing. maybe if you skip turmeric altogether it would be better


4c water
1T vinegar
1T salt
4T turmeric

(stir VERY well)

Simmer 20-30 min, strain reserving liquid for dye. Let cool to room temp. Place eggs in colors until they reach your desired saturation (hourssssss -- for sanitation reason I have to tell you to put them in the fridge during this process)

And the results?

This was after a couple hours. I think the pink looked better at this point.

Another hour or so later. I got tired of waiting. you could leave them overnight in the fridge :] There are 3 brown eggs in the picture: a pink, a green, and a blue. The ones that are a little lighter were the ones I moved from the purple.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Menu Plan Monday week of March 17

My menu last week got a little off come Thursday as we had a surprise Chuck E Cheese trip in the afternoon so dinner didn't exactly happen. So, I've brought the chicken tacos over to this week. I forgot the tortillas anyway. I'm going to add an extra day on here and actually do my plans from Tues-Mon after this week because I usually do my shopping after story time on Tues. Happy St Patricks Day by the way! Not really a fan of the guy, but hey, love me some Ireland! ;]
Also, Happy Ostara a little early - yay Spring is here!!

Couple highlights from last week (which I managed to accidentally delete, but the recipes and commentary are on pinterest still lol):
The broccoli chicken rollups...I should have pounded the chicken and rolled it better, but I'm lazy.

And dumplings!! I love dumplings. Real ones, not biscuits. The chicken in the crockpot was wonderful, but the dumplings I really prefer on the stove top...

Monday - St Patrick's day! Shepherd's pie in handheld form and green butter noodles
Tuesday - pizza and salad
Wednesday - Chicken tacos
Thursday - Ostara! Beef & Veggie stir fry over rice, honey bread 
Friday - Asian chicken noodle soup
Saturday - baked spaghetti
Sunday - Leftovers/sandwiches
Monday - parmesan crusted fish

If there are recipes for the week, I will have them pinned here.

And then I will move them here with a review after I've tried them.

April Fools is the next 'holiday'! I'm excited. Not so much for pranks...but mixed up food! Fun!

See more MPM at OrgJunkie

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Preschool Week 1

Let's get this school thing started!! I've decided to incorporate what we're covering in story time...I will have to alter it slightly though because this week at story time was our St Patrick's Day party, and I will be doing St Patrick's as well as Ostara related things next week, as that's when they are. Which left this week kind of up in the air as far as theme. So, since we have been working on Miss O writing her first name without visual aid for Head Start, I thought we'd just do more around that this week while we got started.  We didn't do a lot, just getting a feel for this school thing.

Daily this week: write name, practice problem letters, discuss our street name, read books. computer/screen time (nick jr, reading eggs, etc) here and there

(Will add pictures later)

Monday: Head Start teacher came - worked on car and street safety, puzzles, and counting

Tuesday: Story Time at the library - Letter bingo, door hanger craft.

Wednesday: me book, legos

Thursday: number 7 activities, feelings, signs for feelings

Friday: Head Start Learn & Play, did a preschool assessment from Marie and Me Learning

So next week, I'm looking at five senses, St Patrick's day, and Spring/Ostara

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Wordless Wednesday

Linked up at Carrie with Children

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The Preschool Decision

There's been discussion about preschool lately amongst the mothers of our 4/soon-to-be 4 year olds.... I think I've decided to skip it and homeschool for pre-k. This decision was made in large part due to finding
this post by mud hut mama. Also because I don't want to send Miss O to a private school and the public school she would be attending isn't exactly great.

Besides, this way I can teach her the things I want her to know. So, with that decision made, I figure I may as well start now. The main purpose of this blog is to keep me on track, right? Right. I will take the rest of the week  to figure out some (basic) lesson plans and we will get started and stick with it! I hope I can encourage her to enjoy learning. She is ahead in most areas, but has difficulty with fine motor skills and gets very frustrated with writing especially.

For right now, I'm going to link up these pages for my own reference.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Yummi Pouch Review

So, I previously mentioned that we practice Baby Led Weaning. I'll get into what that is more another time, but essentially it's letting the little eat real food (not pureed) at their own pace.

However, sometimes we need a little something that travels well. We had been buying those 3-4oz pouches at the store for over $1 each. They weren't quite cutting it in the oz department and those suckers really add up! That's where Yummi Pouch comes in. "Yummi Pouch reusable food pouches encourage healthy snacks for active kids. Our eco-friendly food pouches are freezer safe, dishwasher safe, BPA-free, Phthalate-free, and can be filled with healthy blended snacks and easily taken on-the-go, no spoon required!"

I managed to snag four for about the price of a store-bought pouch each on, thanks to a mama in my due date group. And at 6oz capacity, I have a pretty happy little belly.

So far, I've only used it for purees for Miss Em (9m), but I plan on expanding to smoothies and yogurts for Miss O(3yr) as well. The sport size would be great for her. Miss Em does well with the pouch all by herself, throwing it across the room when she's finished...and it only makes a little mess along the way ;] The caps/spouts of these, the store bought pre-filled pouches, and other reusable pouches seem pretty universal. Yummi Pouch makes a little spoon attachment, but I've also seen a silicon spout extender from other brands that would be handy for self feeding.

The pouches are easy to clean with a bottle brush, or as previously mentioned, they are dishwasher safe. Be sure to dry thoroughly to prevent mildew. I've had no issues at all with the zip seal, it passed the squeeze test no problem! The opening is big enough that they are pretty easy to fill, also.

I love these pouches and would absolutely recommend them to those using purees in any capacity.

You can purchase the classic set on the Yummi Pouch website 6 for $14.99. They also come in sport size (10oz) and mini (2.5oz), as well as many accessories.