Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Cajun Chicken Pasta

I don't claim to know anything about food other than I like good food. I don't usually take pictures of food mainly because the food I usually prepare is nothing that anyone else wants to see. I'm no Foodie Girl (who, by the way, is amazing)! But this week I am on a roll with making some good stuff! Granted it's only Tuesday. With that being said, I must recommend this next recipe. I found it on Pinterest, shocking. It's easy, I don't like to make dinner that isn't, and it is "mmmm" as the Beans said after his first bite :)

 Ingredients

8 ounces uncooked linguine
1 pound chicken breast strips
1-2 tsp Cajun seasoning (or to taste)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 medium yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
8 oz fresh mushrooms, sliced
1/2 red onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium tomatoes, diced
1 cup fat free low sodium chicken broth
1/3 cup skim milk
1 tbsp flour
3 tbsp light cream cheese
fresh cracked pepper
2 scallions, chopped
salt to taste
cooking spray
What to do
1. Prep all your vegetables. 
2. In a small blender make a slurry by combining milk, flour and cream cheese. Set aside. 
3. Season chicken generously with Cajun seasoning.
4. Prepare pasta in salted water according to package directions. 
5. Heat a large heavy nonstick skillet over medium-high heat; spray with cooking spray and add the chicken. Sauté until done and set aside. 
6. Add olive oil to the skillet and reduce to medium; add bell peppers, onions, and garlic to skillet, sauté 3-4 minutes. 
7. Add mushrooms and tomatoes and sauté 3-4 more minutes or until vegetables are tender. 
8. Season with 1/4 tsp salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste. 
9. Reduce heat to medium-low; add chicken broth and pour in slurry stirring for about 2 minutes. 
10. Return chicken to skillet; adjust salt and Cajun seasoning to taste, cook another minute or two until hot, then add linguine; toss well to coat.




This particular recipe makes enough pasta to feed a small army so be prepared for a lot of left overs if you are feeding a family of 2 adults and 2 small kids.

Also, it takes about an hour from start to finish. My 'little chef' got tired of helping and waiting. Cutie :) It's not difficult, just time consuming.


Monday, November 26, 2012

Taco Soup

It's cold and a little drizzly outside, and in this house that means SOUP! (or chili). After a long weekend out of town for Thanksgiving, Busy and I went to the grocery for some MUCH needed food. I made my menu list for the week then made the grocery list and we headed out. The only thing on my mind as we made it up and down each and every isle was what was for dinner tonight: taco soup. Thanks to Pinterest, I have found the easiest taco soup recipe on the planet. And it was a huge hit with the kids, especially the Beans. So with the cold setting in and snow on the way, enjoy a delicious bowl of taco soup, baby style if you wish ;)


Taco Soup

1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15 oz.) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 (14.5 oz.) can petite diced tomatoes, drained
1 (15.25 oz.) can sweet corn, drained
1 (12.5 oz.) can white chicken breast, drained
1 (10.75 oz.) can cream of chicken soup
1 (10 oz.) can green enchilada sauce
1 (14 oz.) can chicken broth
1 packet taco seasoning

What to do

Mix all ingredients in a large pot.
Heat until warm, stirring occasionally.
Serve with crunched tortilla chips on top.
You can also top with shredded cheese if you like that kind of yummy thing.



Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Water Painting

While Busy was working on her winter art project today, the Beans was dying to get involved! Instead of handing over a paint brush and a tub of paint, we sat on the floor next to sister's chair and did some water painting. Water is one of his favorite things to play with so I put down a piece of blue construction paper (yes the same blue construction paper that I have used a lot lately. I said I had a stack full!). I gave him a paint brush and a little water and showed him what to do.



He had to study it at first but then got to work.



And to be perfectly honest, he enjoyed painting the floor FAR more than staying on the paper :) 


A Marshmallow Snowman

We are really on a roll with the winter activities this week! This morning I decided to purge some stale marshmallows and let Busy make a snowman. I got the idea here. And just so you know, a 3 year old who likes all things sweet doesn't care if the marshmallows are stale. She still ate a few :)



What you need:
blue construction paper
small marshmallows
2 skinny pretzel sticks
markers or glitter glue
googly eyes
white paint
glue









I drew a snowman with a marker first, then traced it with white glue and showed Busy how to put on the marshmallows standing up. 

This is a great art activity to help with fine motor skills. There is a visible line to follow and she is picking up the small marshmallows and putting them on the paper on the line of glue. 













Once all of the marshmallows are on the paper in the snowman shape, glue the pretzels on as arms. 


Then dip a marshmallow in the white paint and dot around the snowman to make snowflakes.












Glue on eyes, make a carrot nose and a smile. Busy wanted me to make a sparkly top hat and she made a light blue sparkly belly button ;)

After the paint dries you can add more glitter glue to the snowflakes or spritz on some spray adhesive and sprinkle some glittery snow white glitter.















Sunday, November 18, 2012

Let it Snow...with paint

So with all of the fall activities we have been doing lately, it's no wonder that yesterday Busy was ready to start with some winter crafts. And I'll be honest, I'm ready, too. Our first winter art project was an oldie but goodie. I remember doing this when I was a kid. We broke out the white paint and glue and created this masterpiece:














I mixed the "snow" by using equal parts white glue and shaving cream. Whip it together with a paint brush then start painting. Busy added googly eyes to make a snow monster and a pouf ball as a nose on my snowman. The cool thing about this concoction is that it dries puffy!




I got the idea for our next project here. They use a canvas, which is one thing that I don't just happen to have lying around. I do, however, have a stack of large blue construction paper, so clue construction paper it is.

Step 1: Create a snowflake using tape. I used blue painter's tape because it peels off easier.



Step 2: Using white paint, paint all over the paper. After she painted, I went back over it to make sure all of the taped snowflake was covered with paint.



Step 2: Wait for it to dry then peel off the tape to reveal your beautiful snowflake. 


When using a white canvas, you can use various shades of blue paint instead of white so when you peel off the tape it creates a white snowflake. You can also use white paper. It's cheaper than a canvas, but I must say that it looks really cute on the canvas.


Friday, November 16, 2012

Fine Motor Activities

Recently a good friend of mine wrote on her blog that her 3 year old son's teacher mentioned that he may need to work on his fine motor skills. Wanting to help (not being pushy, I hope) I got to thinking about all of the things we do at our house that help with fine motor development that she could use with him. With help from other blogs, we have lots of ideas. Here is a list of them along with the blogs where we got them.





                            Clothespin Color Match

                         My HomeMade Montessori

         Instead of making a box, I just used poster board and
                               drew with markers.








Clothespin Letter Match

I used to do this in my classroom to practice spelling words when I was teaching.














JDaniel4's Mom















Seeking Kingdom First

You don't have to do this with words. You can also have them trace shapes and numbers. 















Manipulating Magnets

Busy and The Beans 

After cutting, I asked Busy to help by putting the small pieces of pipe cleaners in the bottle.











Play Doh

When I was teaching, the OT used therapy putty to help develop fine motor skills. We use Play Doh and I hide either marbles or googly eyes and tell her how many she has to find. It's like a Play Doh scavenger hunt :)












Toothpick Hole Punches

Creative with Kids

Alissa does this on a foam plate. We just put the paper on the carpet and punch through. You can also have them punch through letters or numbers.









Pom Poms

Hands On : As We Grow

Jamie was doing this with a little one so I had to tweak this one a bit. We use oversized tweezers and with a dry erase marker I wrote numbers in the bottom of the muffin cups so Busy uses one-to-one to sort the poms.






Cutting

The Princess and The Tot

I used narrow and wide strips. She can cut the narrow strip in one cut. The wider strip offers more of a challenge because she has to cut twice. (close then open, then close again)








Stickers

ABC and 123

Again, you can use letters or numbers for extra practice.









Toothpicks

Craft to Art

This is so much fun! You can make basic shapes like a triangle or 3D shapes like a pyramid, so they are working their fine motor skills and learning different shapes at the same time. You can also make letters or numbers. The possibilities are endless :)












Beading

Art for Little Hands

As she was stringing beads, we were also working on patterns.











Rice Bucket

This rice bucket has been in our house for a while now. What's  hidden in the rice is constantly changing. There have been colored beads to sort out, foam letters, foam numbers, googly eyes and many other things that have to found either with fingers, tweezers or chopsticks.

*The next time you are at your favorite Japanese restaurant, ask them for the children's chopsticks that are reinforced at the top. They make a great fine motor tool.







Clothespins

Pinching the clothespins and attaching them to the drying rack helps develop hand muscles.










There are some really great blogs out there that can offer a wide variety of activities, you just have to look. Hopefully I made it a little easier by putting some of our favorites in one place :)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

I Cry

There is something about my son that makes my breath catch and my heart skip. I remember holding him the day he was born, sitting in the hospital room, just the two of us. Looking in his eyes there was something about him that I couldn't explain. It was a feeling that I had about him that I couldn't quite put my finger on. Whatever is was or is, he is simply a very special boy. His laugh is like medicine for the soul, his eyes look into you instead of at you, his touch is soft and his love is gentle yet crushing. He is the love of my life and it makes me cry that he will be 1 in two weeks. I know that may seem silly. I was so excited for Busy to turn 1, but I am met with a lump in my throat when I begin to think about November 29th. It may be because he may be my last. It may be because time has gone far faster this time around. Whatever the reason, I am so proud of the little man he is starting to grow into. I just wish he would slow down the growing part.

So with tears in my eyes, I gathered some of my favorite pictures of the Beans from the first year of his life. It is absolutely amazing how fast time flies when you're having fun.