Friday, October 26, 2012

Fingerprint Fall Trees

This Fall I embarked on a new adventure...homeschooling Mr. R. (K5) and Miss E. (K4). This new adventure brings many joys and struggles. It is a continual learning process for me - learning how to teach each child (as they are VERY different in learning styles as well as personalities), learning how to balance family, school, work, church, and hobbies, and learning how to lean and depend more fully on God for wisdom and strength. Anyway, today after finishing up all our books for the day I decided to do something fun (and messy because to children the level of fun is directly related to the amount of potential for mess). So I got out the brown permanent marker, some cardstock, and the red, green, and yellow finger paints.
Draw a wispy tree on the cardstock with your brown marker

Then pour a puddle each of the red, yellow, and green finger paint into styrofoam bowls or onto paper plates.
Show the kids how they can get different colors, a marbled affect, etc. by combining the paints.

Let them create a fall scene of falling leaves using the paint and their fingertips :o)

Miss A (3), Mr. R (5), Miss E (4), and my pictures (in order from top left to bottom right)

There are lots of things that you can do with these pictures.
  1. You can laminate them and use them for place mats during the fall season.
  2. You can frame them.
  3. You can make a smaller one on folded cardstock and write a note to someone on the inside. 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Crockpot Creamy Chicken & Rice Soup

I had Chicken Noodle Soup on the menu for the night but that just didn't sound as good to me as Creamy Chicken and Rice Soup, so I changed the menu. Here is what I came up with on the fly (and it was quite delicious if you ask me or Miss S, who ate 3 helpings).

Favorite Kitchen Gadgets

Here is a list of my favorite kitchen gadgets and appliances, things that I would have a hard time living without. With Christmas coming up, these are some good gift ideas for that someone special in your life who likes to cook.

Aerobie AeroPress Coffee and Espresso Maker - I have fallen head over heads for my aeropress. It is really easy to use and even easier to clean, which is great for this busy mom who dislikes doing the dishes. We use it to make delicious Americanos every morning for breakfast and I even use it to make lattes and mochas since it's way cheap than buying a good quality espresso machine.

Slow Cooker
- I have a whole month's worth of crockpot meals and they really do make the day a bit less stressful. I have several sizes but my 6-quart programmable gets used the most.

KitchenAid Mixer - the hubby bought it for me with his first big Christmas bonus the second year we were married, I was due any day with our first child and he wanted to really surprise me. It gets used a TON in our house with all the baking that I do. I use the whisk attachment to make up some killer whipped cream, the bread hook for all kinds of homemade breads (pretzels, dinner rolls, breads), and the paddle attachment for pretty much everything else. We just recently purchased the pasta roller attachment (which is really fun to do with the kids) and I'd love to get the food grinder and sausage stuffing kit.
From 11/24/14-11/28/14, Kohl's is having a HUGE pre-Black Friday sale on these babies!

Coffee Grinder - fresh ground coffee tastes incredible, so much better than pre-ground.

Large Griddle - these come in handy for French toast, pancakes, grilled cheese sandwiches, etc. when you have a larger family or company.

Large Sauté Pan, cast iron skillet or stainless steel pan with a lid  - we use one of these three items every Saturday morning when the hubby cooks up his traditional breakfast skillet.

Meat Mallet - I finally got one of these and I love it.

Waffle Maker - you have to make waffles from scratch or sweet potato waffles but do not use a pancake mix as it just does not taste as yummy. There is also a recipe on Pinterest for hashbrowns using your waffle maker. Who woulda thunk it?! :o)

Cuisinart Food Processor with a cheese grater attachment - I hate how long it takes to grate a block of cheese and my wonderful hubby bought me one for our anniversary in 2011. I use it for way more than just the grater as it is amazing!

Disclaimer: I have not been paid to advertise any of these products. I just really, really love them and think that you will, too! Of course, this post may contain affiliate links in case you choose to increase my meager income by your purchase. :)

Monday, October 15, 2012

Rotisserie Chicken - Crockpot or Not

I love rotisserie chicken, but it's expensive to buy at the store. About 3-4 years ago, I discovered a recipe for homemade "rotisserie" chicken in the oven and absolutely love it! It's fast, easy, and inexpensive. [Rabbit Trail - I usually buy and then freeze 2-4 whole chickens when they go on sale for less than $1/lb at the local grocery store (my preferred buy price is under $ .79/lb but with prices going up...). Or I get whole chickens on "clearance" at the local Walmart, Target, etc. and then freeze them right away.] Anyway, I'm back from my rabbit trail. For my Crockpot Meal Challenge, I came across a recipe for "rotisserie" chicken in the crockpot and found this to be delicious and simple as well. I am including directions for preparing your chickens both ways but using the same recipe.

Monday, October 1, 2012

[Crockpot] Salisbury Steak

Today was the first day of my "Crock Pot for a Month" personal challenge, as I am trying to build my slow cooker recipe repertoire. I decided to attempt "Crockpot Salisbury Steak" from Moms with Crockpots. I wasn't disappointed! It was a delicious blend of beef, onion, garlic, mushroom, and black pepper. I know you can finish this dish in the oven instead of the crock pot but it really does help during that dinner rush. You know, the time when everyone seems to call, the baby has an explosion, the toddler decides to get into your garbage can, and the preschooler and kindergartner are destroying the living and dining rooms. Yup, those times that you feel you will lose the last ounce of sanity you have because you have no control over anything and dinner will be late or destroyed yet again. I digress...the nice thing about finishing this dish in the slow cooker is that you can start it during naptime and then let it finish cooking while you prep every other part of your meal. You feel like you've got things under control because the main dish WILL BE DONE at dinner time. So here's what I did.