Monday, October 31, 2011

Pizza Numbers and Shapes

Here is a fun activity to do with your little one and you can make dinner (or lunch) at the same time! I bought some pre-made pizza dough, sauce, shredded mozzarella and sliced cheddar cheese. You can use any kind of cookie cutters but I thought it would be fun to use the "numbers" cutters that came with my sons play-doh set (be sure to wash them well) to cut into the cheddar cheese slices. He is really interested in counting and learning his numbers, so this was a good activity for him. He also had fun squeezing and spreading the sauce and sprinkling the cheese on top.

After it baked, the cheeses had melted together. So instead of cutting it into pizza slices, I cut it using different shaped cookie cutters. It's much more fun to eat it this way :o)

Friday, October 28, 2011

Drilled Pumpkins

This is another awesome idea I found on Pinterest. And it was much easier than struggling to cut into the pumpkin with a large kitchen knife or one of those flimsy knives from the grocery store pumpkin carving kits. Although it was messier than I thought it would be. With every hole you drill, little bits of pumpkin come flying out. Next year we will definitely do this outside rather than the kitchen table.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Baby Blue Bear Beanie

This sweet little blue bear beanie matches this Carter's "Snuggle-me Sleepbag" with zoo animals print. It's a gift for a friend in my Mommy and Me class who just had a baby boy last week. I made it in newborn size but added on a couple more rows when I found out he was over 9lbs at birth! I hope it will fit him.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Easy Crockpot Chicken Tortilla Soup

This is the perfect time of year for soup and since my husband and I both love chicken tortilla soup, I thought I would try a crockpot version! I found this 5 star recipe on and only had to make a couple small changes.

boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces
2 (15 ounce) cans black beans
2 (15 ounce) cans Rotel tomatoes*
cup salsa
1 (4 ounce) can diced green chilies
1 (14 1/2 ounce) can tomato sauce (I had two 8oz cans and used both) 

Combine all ingredients into crockpot and cook on low for 8-10 hours. (I cooked it for 8 hours and it was PERFECT). When done, top with sour cream, avocado, tortilla strips or chips.

* Canned S&W organic diced tomatoes are on sale right now at Costco. You can get two packs of 8 (14.5oz cans) for the price of one! I used two cans for this recipe.

This recipe is seriously good. Even my husband said this was one of the best tortilla soups he has had. We ate it for dinner last night and for lunch today. I'm debating on whether I should freeze the rest of it or eat it again for tonights dinner!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Going Bananas

I feel like I am about to go bananas this week with the lack of sleep we're getting in this house. My 7 month old is up every hour all night long and my 2 year old seems to think the day starts at 5 am. Sleep training advice is more than welcome!

I'm not sure how I found the energy to crochet or cook today, but somehow I did. I found a free banana cozy pattern and since the apples got a cozy, I figured the bananas needed a sweater as well.

Now it's time to eat the bananas! One of my favorite recipes are the banana bites from Weelicious. They are little bite size pancakes with a slice of banana in the middle. Perfect for tiny hands and moms and dads will love them too! I often make these for breakfast. You can find the recipe here.

I've also got something cooking in the crock pot today. Check back tomorrow to see what it is!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Playing with Magnets

After all that cooking with canned pumpkin, I had to do something with the empty tin cans....
Say hello to these fun little magnetic robots!

I found this idea from Amy via Pinterest and liked her small scale version of TeachPreschool's large magnetic play set for a classroom. This project was very simple and my 2.5 year enjoyed helping me put it together and then spent a good hour rearranging all the magnetic parts. 

I wandered around the house and found things like lids, caps, alphabet O's and zeros, clothespins, sponges, and wire. I took a business card refrigerator magnet, cut it up and glued a piece of it to each object.  Once the glue dried, the fun began!

I would love to make more of these after a trip to the craft store to buy some heavy duty magnets and a hot glue gun. I also like the idea of using mini slinkies and multi- colored pipe cleaners. The possibilities are endless!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Crockin' the Pumpkin

I love this time of year. I get to wear my comfy UGG boots and I quickly said goodbye to my summer clothes and hello to my fall wardrobe. Full coverage clothing looks much better on this 6 month postpartum body. But you know what I like best about fall? PUMPKIN! You know fall is here when Starbucks starts serving their pumpkin spice lattes. This year I've been getting my pumpkin spice lattes iced. I don't care if its chilly outside, they are so delicious this way. Try it, you'll like it! Another yummy discovery this year: Jamba Juice's Pumpkin Smash smoothie. The Jamba Juice at my local mall is always serving little samples of this tasty drink. You won't be disappointed. So with all this craze over pumpkin, I just had to try this Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal recipe I saw on the Crock Pot Recipe Exchange.

Just throw in the ingredients the night before and by morning you have a hot breakfast waiting for you. This recipe is also vegan. You can find it here.

I also decided to bake some pumpkin mini muffins for our 3.5 hour drive to Seattle tomorrow.  This recipe is so easy and I had all the ingredients on hand.

Easy Pumpkin Mini Muffins:

1 1/2 c. sugar
1 c. oil
3 eggs
1 lb. can pumpkin
1 1/2 c. flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla

Measure all ingredients in a big mixing bowl. Beat together well for 5 minutes. Pour into mini lined cupcake pans (fill more than 1/2 full). Bake at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Hook, Line and Stitcher

I don't want to toot my own horn, but I'm feeling pretty good about the fact that I taught myself how to crochet less than a month ago. Who knew crocheting was so easy-peasy? One day while the boys were napping, I was doing a little online shopping and wasting away my husbands hard earned money on a crocheted sock monkey hat from Etsy. I thought to myself 'What am I doing? I am crafty, I can make this!" So I headed over to Michaels, picked up some yarn and a crochet hook, watched a few YouTube videos and BAM before I knew it, I had created these super cute apple cozies, then a bear beanie, pumpkin beanie, football beanie....and I haven't stopped since! If you like to crochet and want FREE patterns, check out the Crochet Pattern Central.

I made these apple cozies as a gift for my older son's preschool teachers. They were a huge hit at his school. The apple cozy pattern I used is from CraftyAnna.

For the Bear Beanie, I altered a monkey hat pattern from Easy Makes Me Happy. I love her instructions because you can choose the pattern based on size (0-3 months, 3-6, 6-12, toddler, adult).

This cute little thing was made for a friends baby boy who was born mid October. I used the newborn size pumpkin beanie pattern found here. It's stuffed with a newborn size halloween-themed onesie :o) The perfect gift for a little October baby!

I didn't follow a pattern for this toddler size Football Beanie. Once I got used to doing the earflap hat, I felt comfortable switching colors and getting a little creative. GO HAWKS! 
(photo courtesy of Shannon Erickson Photography)

These adorable newborn size flower beanies were made for my best friend who is expecting identical twin girls next month. The flowers are tied on, so she is able to remove them or switch them with different colors if she has trouble telling apart Baby A and Baby B :o) You can find the pattern at AlliCrafts blogspot. I can't wait to try more of her FREE patterns!