Archive | February, 2013

I Haven’t Lost My Marbles

27 Feb

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I am sick of Winter!  I am getting cabin fever like you wouldn’t believe, and so are my boys!  Fortunately for me, while Big A is at school Little C and I have plenty of time to get messy!  Hey, kids are washable!

Today we decided to play with paint.  I pulled out an old cookie sheet and some marbles to do some fun marble painting.  Little C thought this was just about the coolest way to paint EVER!

I stuck a piece of paper on the cookie sheet and randomly dripped paint onto the paper.  Then Little C gently tipped the tray back and forth and side to side.  The marbles rolled through the paint and created some very colorful lines!  As the marbles rolled, they even made new colors, so this project was actually educational to a certain extent . . . although Little C is red green color blind, so he didn’t see the changes all the time.

After a few marbles paintings we decided to see what other patterns we could make.  Enter the monster trucks!  Little C rolled the trucks through paint and then rolled them on the paper, which made very interesting textural patterns.  The monster trucks will come clean with a little hot water, so we didn’t ruin and toys.  (pardon the mess behind him, I swear my kitchen island does not always look like that!


We also took out a rolling pin and wrapped rubber bands around it and experimented with the patterns that would made.  The possibilities for painting go so far beyond just plain old paint and a brush!  Now we have some beautifully colorful new artwork to hang on our “Gallery Wall” as well as in the playroom.












No More Tape on the Wall!

25 Feb

Big A's room beforeBig A has his cute little “office” under his bed where he likes to draw and build things with Legos.  Before we had the work area there and it was just a regular bunkbed, he used to tape things to the walls all over his room.  Drove me nuts!  Sometimes the tape would come off no problem, other times it would peel off the paint or leave a sticky spot.

When we transformed his bunkbed into a loft bed I told him that his office was the only place he could tape things to the walls.  That made it a lot better, but we were still finding that the tape was peeling the paint and I was getting really sick of touching up the wall!

On a routine trip to the Dollar Store I found some wonderful cork-board squares and some little dry erase boards.  Light bulb!  (that is a reference from Despicable Me, one of my favorite kiddy movies!)

As you can see from the before picture, there were photos, cards and papers taped to the wall.  I removed them very carefully!

The cork-boards came with little adhesive tabs that are wall safe, but since we don’t plan on removing them any time soon, even if they do damage the wall it will still be better that having damage everywhere all the time!  Right?  I think so.

I hung the dry erase board in the middle of the cork-boards because I am weird and like this symmetrical all the time.  Asymmetry actually gives me anxiety.  I know, I need help.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI really like how it looks, and Big A can easily change and add pictures to the boards any time he wants.  I thought it might be fun to leave him little messages on the dry erase board from time to time too!


Gluten Free Meatloaf “Cupcakes”

24 Feb

My kids were totally grossed out the first time I told them we were having meatloaf cupcakes for supper!  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABetter yet, meatloaf cupcakes with ketchup frosting!  But once they smelled them baking, and especially after eating them, Big A and Little C had a new favorite supper dish!  I love that even though I can no longer eat gluten products, I can still enjoy some of my old favorites, but this meatloaf is seriously the BEST meatloaf EVER!

  • 1 cup gluten free puffed rice cereal crushed
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1lb ground beef
  • 2 tablespoons dried parsley flakes
  • 1envelope dry onion soup mix
  • 1 egg
  • 4 tablespoons ketchup (2 will get mixed in and the other 2 will get spread on top)

Preheat your oven to 350, spray a 6 muffin tin with nonstick spray.

Pour crushed rice cereal in a mixing bowl, add warm water and let sit until cereal is softened.  Add ground beef, parsley, egg, onion soup mix and 2 tablespoons of ketchup and mix well.  I used my hands, it’s the best way to get it mixed really well.

Pack each muffin hole with the meat mixture, fill right to the top.  Bake for 20 minutes, remove from oven and spread on the remaining 2 tablespoons of ketchup, then bake for an additional 20 minutes.

If you aren’t a fan of ketchup, substitute 4 tablespoons of cream of mushroom soup.  I like to serve it with mashed potatoes and a veggie.  You could easily make up a double or triple batch of these and freeze several of them for another night!



Gluten Free Lasagna Rolls

23 Feb

These delicious gluten free lasagna rolls are are a less messy way to serve lasagna.  You can do an entire pan and serve all at once, or freeze a few and just eat one at a time.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

  • gluten free lasagna noodles
  • your favorite pasta sauce- I use Prego Traditional
  • 1lb ground sweet Italian sausage-or spicy if you like it hot
  • Ricotta cheese
  • shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Italian seasoning
  • cooking spray

Preheat your oven to 350

Start by cooking the pasta.  I roll is one serving so depending how many people you are feeding or how many you want to freeze cook as much as you need.  While pasta is cooking brown the Italian sausage.  I like to put the cooked sausage in my Ninja chopper to get it really finely chopped before putting it into the rolls.

Mix your ricotta cheese with the Italian seasoning, again depending on how many rolls you are cooking.  When I make 12 rolls, I use about 2-3 tablespoons of seasoning.  Add a few sprinkles of mozzarella cheese and mix well.

When the pasta is ready, lay it out flat and spread on the cheese mixture first.  Next add a layer of the finely chopped sausage, then top with a layer of sauce.  Roll it up and place in a well greased glass baking pan.

When all the rolls are in the pan, pour the remaining sauce over the top of them and add another sprinkle of mozzarella over them.  Put in the oven for about 20 minutes or until all the cheese has melted and is hot and bubbly.

Freeze any remaining rolls in a Tupperware or freezer bag and reheat whenever you want a fast meal!



Making Fun of Winter

22 Feb

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe met another on of Mother Nature’s bratty children today!  Winterstorm Felicia came by for a visit, dump more unwanted snow on us, cancelling schools all over.  We are sick of Winter, sick of being stuck indoors . . .

Wait . . . Who says we have to stay indoors?  As long as temps are above zero, we can-and should- get outside every day!  The kids need to burn off some energy and we all need a little fresh air!  But, what to do outside?  Here are a few of our favorite Snow-filled activities.

Snowman- Kind of a no brainer!  Build a snowman, decorate him with things you can find in your own back yard.  Don’t feel like making the typical snowman?  Make a snow dog, snow bear, snow tarantula . . .  whatever you and your kids can conger up, the wackier the better!

Snow fort-another no brainer, but always a hit with the kids.  We like to use the large hill of snow from the plow as our starting point and hollow it out to make a cave type fort.  But however you build it, it will be fun until it melts!

Snow darts-Not really “darts”, but a fun game.  Make a target on wood or cardboard and take turns throwing snowballs at it.  The bigger the target the easier it will be for smaller kids.  You can use a waterproof paint or thick permanent marker to draw the target on.

Snowball freeze tag- A classic playground game with a Wintery twist.  Instead of just tagging people to freeze them, the person who is “it” throws snowballs at them, if you are hit you freeze in place until someone unfreezes you by tagging you.

Snow paint-My kids LOVE this one because they can draw on the snow, their snowman or any other snow creation they’ve made.  We’ve made a couple of ways and they all work very well.  Mix a few drops of food coloring or some Kool Aid into a spray bottle of water.  Spray the snow to paint your design or paint clothes on your snowman or snow angels.

Freezing bubbles- It has to be pretty cold out for this to work, but we’ve tried it and it was pretty cool.  Blow bubbles on a REALLY cold day outside.  They will freeze in the air and sort of shatter!  But it only works in pure frigid temps, so it’s one of those “we are only going to be outside for 10 minutes” types of activities.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Sledding-You don’t need a huge hill in your yard for the kids to enjoy sledding.  My kids like to sled down the snow pile the plows make, sledding into our yard.  They have a race to see who reaches the bottom first, or see who can sled the farthest into the yard.  The best part is it’s not such a huge hill that I have to keep pulling them back up!  Don’t have a hill?  Shovel all your driveway snow into a nice pile for them, pack it down really good and sled away!

Tic Tac Snow- Draw a giant tic tac toe board in the snow and gather some sticks and stones or other objects.  The kids can play a giant game of tic tac toe!

Snow Cookies- bust out some shaped sand molds or pails and have the kids make “snow cookies and snow cakes”.  They can use them the same as they do in the sand.  You can decorate the walkway with them or pile them high to make a fort wall.

For the birds- Create a birdseed mosaic in the snow,by making pictures with different colors and types of birdseed.  When you are done, you can watch the birds from inside as they enjoy eating your artwork.

I’m sure there are a ton of other fun things to do on a snow day, these are just a few of our favorites!  So what are you waiting for?  Go play in the snow!



Cars Valentines

7 Feb

Here is yet another Valentine’s Day craft!  We’ve been having a lot of yucky weather lately-Gee thanks Mother Nature for sending your kids Winterstorm Allen, Brianna, Charlie, Denise and now Elijah.  That’s enough of your kids already, Mother Nature!  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Alas, winter is a biatch here in the Arctic, so we do a lot of indoor activities!  Today we were slightly less creative in our endeavors.  I did not come up with this one on my own, rather I took the idea from Spoonful Crafts.  I get their emails a few times a month, and they have some really cute Disney themed crafts featuring your kid’s favorite characters!  Tons of printables too!  We made the Charm-ing Cars Valentines, which were really cute and simple for Little C to put together once we cut out all the shapes for him.  They even have a printable template for Lightening McQueen, Tow Mater and Sally, which makes it even easier because you don’t have to try and figure out what sizes to make the eyes and mouths and end up getting faces that look nothing like the characters you intended!

All you need is construction paper, markers or crayons, scissors and glue.  Cut out the shapes using the templates provided, glue the faces on and color!  So cute!  You could easily make enough of these for your child to hand out at school, or just make a few and keep them for yourself!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  They would be really cute party invites too, you could put all the party info on the back!

If you’ve seen Mater’s Tall Tales then you remember the part where Mater is in Japan and they are modifying him for street racing.  Modify!  Well, Little C felt that the Mater valentine needed to be modified so it could tow cars, so we added a tow hook!



Valentine Puppy Craft

5 Feb

Happy Tuesday!  We’ve been VERY busy today!  Little C and I attended a Fancy Outfit party at the local library, went out to lunch, worked on the letter “A”, AND made a Valentine’s Day puppy!  Wheeeew!  We are pooped out!  (Just an FYI- Little C picked out everything he wore to the Fancy Outfit party.  Can you tell?)OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We made this cute puppy entirely out of hearts.  I don’t have any specifics for heart sizes-like their dimensions or anything like that.  But I can give you some pretty simple instructions on how to make one yourself!

The first heart is the largest, it’s the purple one that makes her hind legs, or as Little C called it, her booty butt.  So, start by folding a piece of construction paper in half and cutting out the largest heart for the booty butt.  Place the heart point-side up.

Next cut out another heart using a different color of paper.  This will be the body.  You need to make it slightly smaller than the first one.  Glue this heart over the top of the first one.

Now cut out a third hear, smaller than the last, for the head.  Glue this one over the points of the booty butt and body, but glue it point-side down.

Now you need 5 small hearts for the ears, feet and tip of the tail.  Also cut a long curved tail.  Glue the hearts on top of the head and on the bottom of the body.  Attach the tail and glue a heart to the tip.

You can draw the face on if you like.  We used one more tiny heart for a nose and a belly button because Little C thinks everything MUST have a belly button.  He drew the eyes and mouth and had my write our dog’s name on the belly, then he “wrote” love you.  (he’s 3, he can’t REALLY write, but far be it from me to stop him from trying!)


There you have a cute Valentine puppy, or a Valentine for your puppy!  Little C hung his right above Moxie’s food and water so she could look at it while she eats!