About Me

I'm a teacher turned stay at home mama. I love finding things to make and do!


Thursday, March 31, 2011

Mocha Chocolate Chip Banana Mini-Muffins!

These little guys don't look like much, but they are pretty yummy!  I had to freeze most of the batch because it made so many.  I might suggest using less chocolate chips, because they can be pretty sweet.  The original recipe can be found here (I heart allrecipes.com).
The recipe with my changes:
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 cup applesauce (unsweetened)
½ cup white sugar
½ cup brown sugar
1 egg
3 ripe bananas
3 Tablespoons instant coffee dissolved in 2 Tablespoons water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ½ cups whole wheat flour
¾ cup white flour
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup semisweet mini chocolate chips
2 teaspoons flaxseed

1.   1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.   2.  Blend oil, applesauce, sugar, egg, bananas, dissolved coffee and vanilla in mixer for 2 minutes.  
       Add flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and flaxseed and mix.  Add chocolate chips.  Spoon into   mini-muffin cups.
3.  3.  Bake for 15 minutes.  Cool on wire racks.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Circle letters

Last night, I made A this set of letters.  I found the idea here.
I printed a set of letters from COAHS and laminated them.  Then I peeled off the back of two pieces of sticky foam.  Red is for the uppercase letters and blue is for the lowercase letters.  Finally, I cut the circles out.  I did get a flower punch, but the foam was too thick for it to go through.
I plan to have sentence strips with photos of friends and family with their names.  A can use her letter circles to match the letters to the names.  I will also use pictures of objects and things she's interested in. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


(picture is from pbskids.org)
 So A is into letters, letter sounds, and playing with Daddy's ipad.  The other day we decided to go onto pbskids.org to see if there were any games she would be able to play.  Enter: Lickety Letter Bingo.  It's a Bingo board with either uppercase letters, lowercase letters or a mixture of both.  Alpha-Pig says a letter and you need to click on it.  When you get all the letters, a picture shows up that you can print out if you want.  They also give you a "prize" which is usually a song/video you can watch.
A loves this game and refuses to try another one. 

Monday, March 28, 2011

Magnetic letters

A is very into letters.  I pulled out a magnetic letter set from my school stuff and let her put them on our front door.  You can't see this, but she has a tendency to take all the little pieces that she is playing with and hold them in her two hands rather than take one piece at a time.  She had fun naming the letters as she put them on and took them back off.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Special Delivery!

A got a package in the mail yesterday.  It was an early birthday present from her Nana and Papa!  She was very excited to see her easel, and had to try it out right away!  I love it because it doesn't take up any extra room.  It comes with a super strong magnet so you can hang paper up to paint.  It also switches to a chalkboard side.  Thanks, Nana and Papa!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Freezer food

So, everybody probably already does this, but I thought I'd do a quick post about it anyway.  Rather than buy pancakes/french toast from the freezer section, I make large batches of my own and freeze them.  For french toast, I cut them into french toast sticks (A went through a phase where she ate the sticks straight from the freezer--I think they helped with teething.)

You can either leave a few on the counter to thaw, pop them in the microwave or toaster and they are ready in seconds!  I rarely make breakfast for A the day of, simply because when she wakes up, she's ready to eat!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

I love it when she makes her own games.

After having our shamrock letter hunt over and over and over with both Mama AND Daddy, A found a way to completely occupy her time. 
She carefully pulled the blue painter's tape off of each shamrock piece...one at a time.  She went back and forth to the garbage can (about 26 times) to throw the tape away.  When she was finished, she asked for more.  I told her dad that I know what to do next time I need a few minutes to make dinner!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Quick tip

I was at a friend's house and it was getting to be lunch time.  As A and I were getting ready to leave, my friend was getting her daughter ready to eat.  She put an IKEA art smock on her as a bib.  The lightbulb went on over my head.  I had those!  We don't have too much trouble with A being a messy eater since she doesn't eat a huge variety of things.  She's also concerned about keeping her hands and face clean.  But these are perfect for when she eats juicy things like pears and plums!  

Why hadn't I thought of that?

I will mention that another friend had used these but ended up buying a Bumkins brand bib because she found these weren't completely waterproof for her little one.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Yes, we're a little bit Irish.

Here are a few things we did yesterday for St. Patrick's Day:

Sorting big and small shamrocks
A had a lot of fun with this.  Every time she'd use up all of the shamrocks, she'd look at me and say, "more!"

Shamrock lowercase letter hunt
We did this activity over and over and over.  I taped (with blue painter's tape) shamrock letters all over the kitchen and living room.  A carried her sand bucket and collected them.  She'd yell out the letter (her own idea) as she found it.  When she found all of them, she'd say, "hide!"  She would also yell, "Hooray!"

You can print your own uppercase and lowercase shamrock letters here.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Her favorite thing.

A loves to paint.  She asks daily.  We have so many paintings, we are going to need to find people to send them to on a regular basis!  We don't have an easel, so we just stick paper up on our dishwasher.  It's easy clean-up!  We're hoping to get this for our Learning Tower soon...maybe for A's birthday!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Pot o' Gold

 A has really gotten into doing art lately.  She especially likes stickers.  I found this Pot o' Gold printable at 2 Teaching Mommies.  I lightly colored in the little circles, so A would know which color sticker went where.  I also put the first four stickers on so she knew what to do.  I think she did a great job!  When she was finished, she wanted to color.  This was the perfect activity for her.  It was just long enough for her to stay interested.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Letting her eat what she wants

Okay, so I've mentioned A is rather selective in the foods she eats.  I may not have mentioned, however, that the foods she REALLY likes are foods I wouldn't consider a selective eater to like.  

A really likes celery.  Like... a lot.  Celery is considered to be one of those foods that are a choking hazard due to all of the strings.  Here is how we got around that (for the most part.)

1.  Peel the back side of the celery stalk.

2.  Cut into smaller pieces.  Then break the celery stalk from the inside out.  Do this gently, so the strings stay attached.  Slowly pull the strings off of the back of the celery.

Here is the finished product!  Now, some strings might be sneaky and stay inside, but A has figured out how to eat around them or just put it down and choose another piece.
*I heard about peeling celery on an episode of Jon & Kate Plus 8 a while back.  Emeril Lagasse was a guest and he showed them how to do this.  I don't think it was due to the choking hazard thing...it was more due to texture I guess.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Baby Pancakes

On Saturday, I made a big batch of pancakes to freeze, and A LOVED the little baby pancake I had given her and she asked for more.  I decided to make a few batches of "baby pancakes" too.  Do you think she will even look at a "baby pancake" now?  Nope.  (Although she did eat a few while we were out to eat, as long as she could use a french fry as a fork...silly girl!)

Friday, March 11, 2011

Colorful sorting

I gave A some pom poms and a little paint palette and had her put a pom pom in each little circle cup.  She sorted them by color and named the colors while she did it.  I think she did this twice before she took the pom poms and threw them over her head exclaiming, "whee!"  I guess this is too easy.  We might try this again when introducing patterning.  She can make different patterns with the colors of pom poms.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Potty training on the go

We started potty training...sort of.  We're just really watching A and encouraging her to use the potty for #2.  She's been doing this for a while, but hasn't always wanted to stop what she was doing to go into the bathroom.  So we started using a chart and giving her a purple and blue Fruit Loop if she's successful (the only colors she likes!)
When we are on the go, we use this potty (which is awesome, by the way) that fits in the diaper bag.  We just flip the sides out and put it on top of the toilet.  I also have this on-the-go bag with her potty chart (just like the one at home), the same stickers and her Fruit Loops.
You can print your own boy and girl potty charts here.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Shape collage

I got the idea for shape collage here .  She used sticky foam shapes.  I decided to cut some shapes out of colorful paper, tape contact paper (sticky side UP) to the table, and let A stick all the shapes she wanted to the contact paper.  When she was done, I took a piece of white paper and stuck it to the contact paper.  Simple and fun!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


We got the Marbleworks out recently and A had so much fun!  she would choose the piece and Daddy or myself would help connect the pieces.  We would give her four marbles and she would watch them go through all of the loops and turns.  I believe this set is from Discovery Toys.  This is a fun toy to play with, but definitely one that is only brought out under close supervision because of the marbles. 

Monday, March 7, 2011


Last week, we worked on shapes.  I got this shape matching game idea from a blog that I can't seem to find right now!  I traced shapes from A's shape puzzle and laminated them.  I put two envelopes on the wall and all of the shapes in a bowl near the envelopes.  I showed A how the circles go inside of the circle envelope and the stars go inside the star envelope.  She LOVED it!  When she was done, she would immediately ask for, "more please?"  I eventually added a third shape to see if she could sort 3 at a time and she could.  Such an easy project to make and so worth it for A to play with it for so long!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Practicing pouring

I purchased these two clear measuring cups at The Dollar Tree so I could teach A how to pour.  She loves helping me cook in the kitchen and one of her favorite things to do is "dump" or pour the ingredients.  I liked these measuring cups because they are clear, and it's easy to see whatever is inside.
We put the empty cup in a clear shoebox and she poured the beans.  She did this over and over.  It was very entertaining for her, and her pouring skills improved with practice.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Quiet Time Box

Several months ago, A was taking a very short nap, leaving me with very little down time during the day.  I'm home with her all day until about 30 minutes before bedtime (when Daddy comes home), so my down time is much needed in order to rejuvenate for the rest of our day.  After looking on some forums and talking with my sister-in-law, I decided to make a special quiet time box.

I put safe toys in this box and stored it under A's crib.  When she would wake up, I would put her on the floor in her bedroom with low light and quiet music playing, pull out the box and walk out of the room.  I only pulled this box out after naptime, and I put a baby gate in the hallway.  This way, she could wander out of her room into mine where I would be (folding laundry, reading, etc.) but not get into anything unsafe.

It really worked!  She's back to taking a good nap, but the box is still under her crib and she takes it out occasionally to play with.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Egg Carton Game

I made this game for A when she was 15 months old.  I cut holes in the bottom of an egg carton, and stuck clothespins in each hole.  A would carefully take each clothespin out of the hole and then try to put them back.  She played with this toy a lot and if I bring it out, she'll still play with it.  I remember her having a harder time putting the clothespins inside the holes than taking them out.  Now she's a pro and can do both quite easily. 

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Art Box

When A began doing art projects, I put together this little art box.  It was nice to have the materials at my fingertips, but away from hers.  Whenever she saw it, she would want to bring it out.  She's still that way today. 
-watercolor pad
-coloring book
-Play-Doh and Play-Doh tools
-watercolor paint
-paintbrushes with paint already inside
-glue sticks
-painter's tape (to tape down paper for A to paint or color on)