Sep 11, 2012

That Almost Perfect Morning

You know that morning as a mom, that morning where everything seems to go off without a hitch. That morning when you wake up before the alarm, get in your exercise and a load of laundry before you wake up your child, who gets up without a fuss. That morning when you have made the lunches the night before, breakfast goes smoothly and you even have enough time to do a quick vacuum before loading up into the car on time. That morning that as you pull out of the driveway down the street you forgot to brush your teeth...welcome to my morning!

Aug 14, 2012

Fun with Pipe Cleaners

What do you do in Texas when it's too hot to go outside...have a campout inside!

We built our own campfire and monsters out of pipe cleaners Hotrod got yesterday at Nanny and Pa's.

Aug 9, 2012

All In One Meal Pinterest Recipe Success

So I have been putting my Pinterest time to good use this week. I have tried 3 recipies and have had great success. First was the homemade low fat ranch dressing recipe. Next was a black bean casserole (post to come later) and now an all in one dish with meat, veggies and potatoes in a yummy (not low fat) sauce. I changed it up a little to fit our needs and taste. Also, here is the original pin link on Pinterest. You can do this with beef, pork or chicken and change up the veggies to suit your family's taste this is just what worked for us.

First the ingredients: (and sorry for the picture quality, I was trying a new app and it turns out it diminished the megapixels)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees
4-5 pieces of your choice of meat (I used chuck steak this time)
2 cans of green beans (1lb of fresh if you can find good ones)
4-5 medium red potatoes (depending on how many you are feeding)
1 stick of butter (told you it was not low fat)
1 package of Italian Seasoning mix (I used Garlic and Herb for extra flavors)

Place the meat in the middle of a 9x13 baking dish

Wash and cut up the potatoes into cubes and place beside the meat

Drain the 2 cans of green beans well (I poured mine in a colander before starting so they would be good and drained) then place them on the other side of the meat.

Next melt the butter and mix with the seasoning packet and pour over the whole dish.

Now cover it in foil and bake for and 1-1:15 hours. If you are using fresh green beans and want them mush the longer the better and also with the beef it needed longer to be nice and tender. 

Then tada you have a whole meal in one pan. I served with some hot yeast rolls and apple pie. 

Aug 6, 2012

Homemade Ranch Dressing

Here is my latest Pinterest find. Homemade Ranch Dressing. Now if you are like me you like a little salad with your dressing (stole that line from my friend Jodie) and are trying to lose weight this is a great alternative. And now that I am seriously trying to lose 10 lbs, you know counting calories and exercising, not just cutting out the Blue Bell. I had to find a good low calorie salad dressing.

The store bought dressings you find out there are either high in calories and fat or have no taste. So I scoured the Pinterest site and found this blog post and went from there.

Here are the ingredients, Dannon Oikos Plain Greek Yogurt, Hidden Valley Ranch DRESSING mix, and  1% milk.

I took (2) 5.3 oz containers Plain Greek yogurt, which is about a cup if you buy the larger size, (1) package of Ranch Dressing Mix, make sure you get the dressing mix NOT the dip mix. You see 2 packages in the picture because I bought the double package but only use one. And 1/2 cup of 1% milk. Mix it all together and pour into a container. I used some small 4 oz mason jars and it filled up 2. Let it rest in the frig for about an hour before use so it has time for the flavors to meld and get to the constancy you are use to from bottled dressing.

Now using the Lose It recipe builder for a 2 Tbs serving (30g if you weigh your servings) comes out to a whooping...30 calories! Yep you read right 30 calories. I ate it on my salad today for lunch and it was better than any store bought dressing I have had. And so easy to make! 

Aug 2, 2012

Laws of Motherhood

Just as soon as you buy new underwear to replace the ones with holes your child will grow just enough to need the next size!

Jun 8, 2012

Best Laid Plans

Okay, I had this great plan to post something everyday of what we did or learned or introduced that day. However, time got away from me, laundry piled up, I got sucked into the Sons of Anarchy series, and well just didn't get it done so here is a quick recap of our week.

On Monday we got to go for our first swim and boy was it cold, and fun.

 Rainy day fun with a puzzle mixed with a little geography lesson

We got our hair cut on Wednesday and headed to get our weekly Wednesday Wacky Pack from Sonic. The only thing Hotrod cared about were the machines working on the lot next door.

Thursday I introduced Tanagrams. This is a great way to teach spacial reasoning, work on patterns and incorporate several other math related skills

It rained a couple of days here so another activity we did was a Pinterest inspired game with our Dolch words. I laid them down in a path and Hotrod jumped from word to word saying them as he went. If he missed one he had to start over. It was a great way to work out a little energy.

We continue to work on handwriting and he is enjoying it so much the now asked to practice, YEAH! This is a picture of a sailboat he drew after practicing his letters the other night. 

So there is a snapshot of our week. Maybe I will get better at posting, maybe not. Next week will be a little different since we start summer Museum School and swimming lessons. There will be big fun at TheRowdyRands house!

Jun 2, 2012

Another Great Week

The end of Mom Camp week 2 was a welcome sight. We had lots of fun and a few more outings. Nanny and Pa were back from their beach vacation so Hotrod got to catch up on some good grandparent time.

This week we worked in spacial awareness, built another sensory box, continued to work on hand writing and reading, measurements, memory recall, an capped it off with our first trip to the dentist.

All in all a great week! We are ready for the weekend!

Nanny and Pa's vacation
Got to play with a cousin
Spacial awareness with mazes
Practicing memory recall with Curious George
Fun with sensory box #2
Machine wars with mom! CAT v John Deere
Smile for the xray 

Jun 1, 2012

CAT v John Deere

Sensory Box 2

Well, we "built" our second sensory box this week and it was a big hit! Our second box is filled with home made moon sand. This was a great opportunity to incorporate many skills, counting, measuring, tactile and fine motor.

First we got all our ingredients, a total of 2! Then we headed out to dad's workshop!

First  Hotrod measured out 8 cups of flour, give or take, and a cup of baby oil.

Then came the fun, and the mess, the mixing! I did add a little more baby oil to make the mixture 'mold' better.

After the moon sand was good and mixed we practiced writing letters, building shapes, making hills, mushing it, and using all those good hand muscles needed for handwriting.

And, of course, in our house a project isn't complete unless we use machines in some fashion.

By the end of the day we had spent about 2 hours playing with the moon sand. It was a great experience and will be very helpful on those rainy or hot days when we can't get outside. Luckily we have a garage and workshop to make big messes in, and this can be very messy!

May 31, 2012

Ready for Summer

Do You Pin?

Are you on Pinterest? Are you one of the millions of others that spend 10, 15, 30, 60, 240, or a gazillion minutes pinning, repinning, planning your meals, redecorating your house, or just awing at what other people can do? Well I am!

I found Pinterest about a year ago when we were redoing Hotrod's room. From there I fell down the rabbit hole into a never ending journey of pinning. I have hundreds of people that "follow" my boards and I follow lots of others, but here recently I have re-evaluated my pinning.

When I started pinning I found I pinned everything even remotely interesting, crafts, food, sayings, how to climb Mount Everest, sure I might do that some day, sure...not. So I have started cleaning up my boards and checking out websites before I pin most things. I no longer pin or follow craft boards, just being real, I am not a craft person. I also don't pin if the link is to a tumblr site, they are just to hard to find the original post. If I find a pin I like and it just takes me to a picture I use this technique to locate the original post and then pin from there.

I now only pin thing I really think I will do or use. And I am going through my current pins and culling out the unrealistic ones. Also, my other issue with pinning is not having feed back from others who might have tried it and if it worked or not. Yes, I know I could go to the original post and see if there are any comments but when you are sitting in the grocery store parking lot and seeing what recipe you want to make, reading a list of comments just isn't realistic.

So am going to try and do two things to hopefully help others. One, I am going to start posting here in the blog what I have tried and wether it worked or not and two, adding a comment to my pin in Pinterest. I know this won't help others that have already repinned but maybe it will help future pinners.

So here is my first review: Plain Chicken's Bacon Ranch Potato Salad.

This image is from the Plain Chicken website!

 I found this post right before Memorial Day and for a recipe it fit 2 criteria, easy and few ingredients. So I tried out this last night to go with pulled pork sandwiches and coleslaw. It was a hit! Even left overs were good! So if you are looking for a good, easy, different potato salad head over to Plain Chicken and check it out!

May 25, 2012

Nana Camp 2.0

My partner in crime when I was still working had this great thing she did during the summers with her grandchildren. They would come over in the morning and would work on "school stuff" and play (swim) all afternoon. This way their parents didn't pay for day care or camps, Nana got to spend time with her grandkids and the kids got the benefit of not having brain drain during the summer. A win/win/win situation.

Now fast forward 5 years and I have now implemented some of the thing I learned from the one summer I helped out with Nana Camp.

Since this was our first full week without school we have tried to get a routine going so that Hotrod can continue with his learning and still have fun. Below are some of the fun things we did this week.

We began practicing Dolch sight words that he will need to know for Kindergarden. I got these great cards from this web site, laminated them and we practice a couple of times a day. As he masters a word I add another.

We have started individual and guided reading a couple of times a day. Here is the book that works on the short 'a' sound. He can now reading it entirely on his own. 

Here is the sensory box I made and talk about here and here. This has been great in two ways, one, he loves the tactile feeling of the beans and two, it helps him work on muscles that he needs for writing.

 Here he is practicing his writing 

Here are some numbers and shapes and I know he is 5 and some think he should be farther along in his writing but from where we were 3 months a go this is a big deal. 

He wanted to draw a machine for everyone to see!

Not everything was "work" we had an outing yesterday to Home Depot, one of his favorite spots to go. Here he is testing out drills. We learned the physics of the battery pack of the cordless drill being heavier and you need to adjust the way you hold it so as to not drop it on the floor. We also had a math lesson in spacing when we planted our flower bed that I posted about here.

 And by today (Friday) he was so worn out that he slept until 8 A.M. a rarity in this house. And as you can see his bed didn't get made until after his nap. Also he was so wiped out he didn't even want to go outside and play, which he has been doing for 1-2 hours every day too.

So these are just some of our fun Camp 2.0 projects for this week. Hope everyone has a great summer!

May 24, 2012

Planting for the Texas Summer

After the last 3 summers of trying to fight the Texas heat and the deer for my vegetable garden I gave up! This year Hotrod and I planted a low growing perennial that survived last summer's oven and spreads quickly to cover our large flower bed. What is this miracle plant you ask, it's a Mexican Petunia. We have blue, pink and White in the mix. I can't wait till they bloom!

Here is the proud Gardner!

Sensory Box Activity 2

Practicing our paleontology skills