Sunday, May 30, 2010

Melissa's Peanut Butter Oat Cookies

My sister adapted a peanut butter cookie recipe to make it a healthier one, and she actually made it even tastier!  I love the honey and oats with the peanut butter.  This makes a small batch, about 1 1/2 to 2 dozen cookies, which is good because we eat them all so fast!

1 c peanut butter
1/2 c honey
1 c rolled oats
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla (optional)
Mix together.  Bake at 350 for about 12 minutes.  Yum!!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The bean box

We had a great weekend here.  My mom, sister, and nieces came to visit, and it was wonderful.  We made a trip to the zoo and enjoyed ourselves around the house.  One thing I pulled out to amuse the kids was the bean box.  I made this particular box over a year ago, but we've had others in the past.  It can be a great amusement for preschoolers and early grade-schoolers indoors during rainy or winter weather.  It was particularly wonderful when we lived in the small apartment. This time, however, we pulled it onto the deck because it's nice and sunny, and I wanted to let my 1-year-old niece play, too.  (My 1-year-old daughter was napping, which is good since she would have tried to eat the beans.)  Kids love scooping, measuring, sorting, and pouring things, and this is a really inexpensive toy.  I took an old shoe box and filled it with kidney beans, split peas, popcorn, lentils, and black beans.  You can use any combination of dried beans/legumes, but I liked the different colors and textures in this mix.  So did the kids.  Then we made pictures.  Here is Alaina's:

Here are the boys' machines:

Sometimes we make mosaics, and sometimes they just do whatever their imaginations desire.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Fruit Pudding

My mom has a recipe for Virginia Apple Pudding.  It's fantastic.  Then Dad planted a peach tree, and Mom made it with peaches.  I loved that even more.  It's a fast and easy dessert that I've made so many times.  Then I decided to try and make it healthier, by making it whole wheat and reducing the sugar, and I've found that it's still delicious, even with the healthier changes.  I love it warm with a little vanilla ice cream.  Actually, the ice cream is rather necessary, because otherwise I'd burn all the skin off my tongue from trying to eat it too hot!  It also makes a great breakfast, or snack, or whatever...Here's the recipe I use now:
1 stick butter (1/2 c)
1 c whole wheat flour
1 c milk
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 c sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 c fruit

Preheat the oven to 375 and put the butter in a 2 qt dish to melt.  I then mix everything else except the fruit with the melted butter.  Then mix in the fruit.  Bake for 45 minutes. 
I've made this recipe with apples, peaches (my favorite one), strawberries, blueberries, mixed berries, and maybe pears.  If I haven't tried it with pears, I should.  The pictured fruit pudding has strawberries and blueberries in it.  It was good....

In other news, the wedding was beautiful (as most all weddings are), and we had a great weekend. Here is my family at the reception.
It's kinda hard to see Elijah since he was bouncing around behind us.  Malachi is probably complaining about something in that second picture.  He looks like he's ready to whine.  That's all for tonight.  I'm already looking forward to having fruit pudding for breakfast....

Thursday, May 13, 2010

This and That

The end of the school year is a busy time for us!  I have been a neglectful blogger lately.   I have been busy, though.  I finished a Waldorf doll and listed her in my etsy shop.  I am really happy about how she turned out. 
Also, I signed the boys up for swimming lessons.  Their second lesson is tonight.  They are looking forward to it, and I hope this keeps up.  Last year, they did good at first but then we had issues.  I hope to have them both able to swim alone this summer, at least to the point that they can fish themselves out of water if they fell in.  Here are some pics of them goofing off.

Our baby chickie loves rocking chairs!  (This was actually my rocking chair when I was little.  All of my kids have enjoyed it.)

We are heading north to Warsaw tomorrow.  Nathaniel's cousin is getting married Saturday.  I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Purple Milk

Malachi loves pink milk.  You know the kind, made with the store-bought high fructose corn syrup and fake flavoring.  I wanted to get away from that, but he's rebelling against plain white milk, so I decided to try a new concoction that I felt better about giving him for breakfast: purple milk.  He helped me make it, and he kept calling himself a "chef".  Here it is:
1 c water
3/4 c sugar
1 c blueberries
(Next time I make it, I plan to try 1/2 c honey instead of the sugar, but I'm telling you what I came up with today.)
Put everything into a sauce pan and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for about 30 min.  Put in a food processor and puree.

I put a tablespoon into a glass of milk and let him stir it up. 
As you can see, it was a hit.  I plan on freezing tablespoon-sized servings for future use.  It should last a while.  If your kid minds the specks in the milk, you could strain it first, but we're not too concerned about that here!
Lydia and I also discovered that this tastes great mixed with plain yogurt!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Children's Picture Books

Have I mentioned that I absolutely LOVE children's books?  I've worked as a page in the library, a preschool teacher in a daycare, a high school teacher, and now I'm a mom, so I've had various experiences that have led me to explore juvenal literature.  Really, though, the main thing is that I just love books, for all ages.  I've always sought to engage my kids in reading, too.  Here are some great picture books for the toddler/preschool crowd:

Piggies by Don Wood.  I love Don Wood's illustrations.  He has so many books I love, including King Bidgood's in the Bathtub.  But I was mentioning Piggies, so about that one: this is pure childish fun. The illustrations are just fantastic.  Most libraries have this one, so check it out.  My one-year-old likes it, and my five and seven-year-olds still think it's a fun book.

Bed Hogs by Kelly DiPucchio and Howard Fine.  In keeping with the pigs are fun theme, this book is lots of fun to read.  Malachi in particular has always responded well to rhyming stories, and this one is a great read aloud.  The pictures are great, too.  We've checked this out at the library so many times!  One of these days, I'll have to buy it, for myself or someone else!

Eat! Cried Little Pig by Jonathon London  Yes, one more pig book.  This one is by the author of the Froggy books, but it is so much better!  It's another rhyming one that is funny.

A You're Adorable by Matha Alexander.  This board book has illustrations to go with the 1940s song.  I'm not sure if I sing it exactly right, since I've never actually heard the song, but it doesn't really matter.

Barnyard Dance by Sandra Boynton.  I love Sandra Boynton's books, but if I had to pick a favorite, it would be this board book, Barnyard Dance.  But also check out her others!

Counting Ovejas by Sarah Weeks and David Diaz goes through colors in English and Spanish.  (ovejas are sheep in Spanish)

Where is the Green Sheep?  by Mem Fox.
Wag a Tail by Lois Ehlert 
Kitten's First Full Moon by Ken Henkes
Just a Minute: A Trickster Tale and Counting Book by Yuyi Morales

And I will mention two of my all-time favorites: The Dragon Takes a Wife by Walter Dean Meyers, and Herbert the Timid Dragon by Mercer Mayer, but both of these are out-of-print and hard to find.

I'm sure I will think of about 10 more I should suggest as soon as I log off, but that's it for now.