Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Activities for letter D

When making play dough I have Nathaniel help me as much as he can with the pouring and measuring. Once the play dough is ready we began to play. I make a capitol D and lowercase d and we talk about them and how they look. Then we try to make things that start with D like doll and dish ect. Nathaniel normally just pulls apart my creations but we have a lot of fun. You can do this with any letter.

*When making play dough I have Nathaniel help me as much as he can with the pouring and measuring. Once the play dough is ready we began to play. I make a capitol D and lowercase d and we talk about them and how they look. Then we try to make things that start with D like doll and dish ect. Nathaniel normally just pulls apart my creations but we have a lot of fun. You can do this with any letter.

*Find a large pan, one that you would roast something in. Then cut a piece of paper to fit into it and allow for some fun finger-painting play.

*Use that same dish pan, fill with water and a little drop of soap and pretend to wash plastic dishes, doll clothes, ect. You can always add measuring cups and spoons for pouring and exploring with water play. This can sometimes create more bubbles as well.

* Use the same dishpan and toss bean bags into it.

* Pretend to be doctors find a collared white shirt that your child can wear. Give them a note pad and paper for writing prescriptions.

* Make cookies together and talk about what you need to make cookie dough in order to use that to make cookies. Talk about what dough is.

If you have any more ideas for the letter D feel free to share them. :)

Pick a letter each week

There are many learning activities that you can do at home with your child. Set aside 10 to 15 min for circle time. In our circle time we sing the alphabet song while I help Nathaniel point to each letter with his magic wand. This helps with letter association and makes it fun. Next, I pick a letter to focus for that week and we talk about that letter and words that begin with that letter. At the same time I work in the sound of the letter which will help with early reading as your child learns to put the sound with the letter. Nathaniel is just starting to talk and over the last few weeks we have talked about the letter A, B, C and we are on D. What was so amazing was that after we talked about B and looked at Balls and made the B sound, he began saying "Ball" for the first time. We did this same thing with the letter C. We talked about how car starts with C and made the c sounds. Then later that week he started saying Car for the first time. What a great way to help expand your child’s vocabulary and encourage talking.

What to do while waiting...

Yesterday, I went to the doctor's for allergy shots. After getting the shot I am required to sit there for 20 min so they can check and make sure I didn't go into any sort of allergic reaction. I know this is for my own good but to sit and wait with a 1 1/2 yr old can be a challenge. We walked around the building, walked up then down the stairs many times. We rode the elevator several times but we needed to go back to the doctor's office for my quick check up. I decided it was time to play tea.

(Pretend play is very important for children of young ages. It allows them to explore and develop their language skills, learn new words and meanings. As they get older they have the opportunity to try on various hats in order to develop their personality and explore careers.)

We pretended that we were British and were having tea and crumpets. We talked about the weather, and what doctor's do and how there are many different types of doctors. We talked about the tea and how we like our tea.

I found that Nathaniel was very interested in this type of pretend play and it made that 15 min go by quickly and it allowed for some time to sit and rest.

When Changing your sheets... play

Every Friday I change the sheets on all the beds. I have made a fun game out of this. Nathaniel and I take the sheets and build forts to crawl in. We enjoy our pretend play while crawling through the sheets. Sometimes we are in a cave exploring bats and sometimes we are on a treasure hunt.

Frozen Popsicles

To ensure that my son get's his needed veggies ... for summer time I created a frozen popsicle recipe. Mix spinach with fresh pears or canned pears if you don't have fresh. Nathaniel enjoys eating these outside while exploring.

My sister had a great idea. She mixed Vanilla yogurt with fresh strawberries and then froze for a berry yummy popsicle.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Pasta with Tomato Cream Sauce

Hi everyone. I found another recipe the other day from The Pioneer Woman. www.pioneerwoman.com This one could be a vegetarian dish or a side item. I like to pair it with grilled chicken.

Pasta with Tomato Cream Sauce

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 whole medium onion, finely diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 cans (15 ounces each) tomato sauce or marinara sauce (I used tomato sauce)
salt and pepper, to taste
dash of sugar (I read to use 1 teaspoon of sugar per can of tomato sauce, so that's what I did.)
1 cup heavy cream
grated parmesan or romano cheese, to taste
fresh basil, chopped
1.5 pounds fettuccine

1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, reserving 1 cup of pasta water.

2. Heat butter and oil over medium heat. Add onions and garlic, and saute for a minute or so. Pour in tomato sauce and add salt, pepper, and sugar to taste. Stir and cook over low heat for 25 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Remove from heat and stir in cream. Add cheese to taste, then check seasonings. Stir in pasta and chopped basil and serve immediately. (Thin with pasta water before adding basil in needed.)

Monday, May 9, 2011

Veggie shake ideas

My little boy’s new found independence has moved into his eating habits. He has figured out that he can choose not to eat the foods that I place in front of him. Over the last year he has been an excellent eater and seems to eat everything and anything but recently he has been refusing foods. In order to ensure he is getting enough vegetables I have been making Veggie shakes.
2 cups Spinach, 1 apple, and several strawberries. Blend together and serve as a shake or make frozen pops with it. Nathaniel loves this one. I have also added one yogurt to this shake and if I don’t have strawberries I add blueberries or any other mixed fruit that I have around.
Another good Idea I got from Staci with Healthy Babies – Healthy Parents Playgroup – First 5 Yuba see link below for more info.
-          1 medium carrot
-          1 medium sweet potato
-          1 apple
I tried this shake and Nathaniel enjoyed it as well.

Every Day Activities

Quick idea that worked well. I took out those little rainbow pom’s and two cups. Nathaniel and I first worked on putting the pom pom’s into the cup and then we talked about the different colors and worked on sorting them. He then enjoyed pouring all the poms from one cup to the other.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Every Day Activities...

Today, I got down on the floor with Nathaniel and we looked around. We talked about how tall things were like the kitchen cabinets and how the table used to be so tall and now he can reach it. I crawled around the house and we looked for things to talk about.  Then I pulled out the laundry basked and Nathaniel crawled into it. We pretended that the basked was a boat and that we were in the ocean. The seas got a little rough since it was raining outside and I gently bounced the basket up and down. We talk about the seagulls in the air and the dolphins and whales in the ocean. We also talked about the rain outside. I used a little wooden spoon as a paddle and pretended to paddle in the ocean and then Nathaniel wanted to give it a try. We had so much fun. You don’t need to buy a lot of expensive toys to have fun just look around and think creatively.
Art for today:
Warm Cornstarch Fingerpaint – from First Art by Mary Ann Kohl.
Dissolve 1  cup cornstarch into ½ cut cold water set aside. Boil three cuts water in saucepan on stove. Remove the pan add the cornstarch mixture to the hot water. Stir constantly. Place pan back on stove and boil for about 1 min, until clear and thick. Add ½ teaspoon food coloring. Be sure the cornstarch is dissolved before adding the food coloring. Allow paint to cool down and then paint together with the warm paint. Not hot. Talk about how it feels warm and soft. Talk about the different textures you can feel. Most important…. Have Fun!!!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

How to get the dishes done with a 14 month old

Ok. Getting the dishes done can be a challenge. Nathaniel has his own drawer for dishes. When I am doing dishes he takes his plastic dishes out and puts them in an oatmeal box and then when all his plastics are in the oatmeal box he works on putting them back into this drawer. This keeps him busy and allows me some time unload and reload the dishwasher.

Every Day Activities:

Finding activities that work well for children around 15 months can be a challenge. Nathaniel and I tried sponge painting the other day and it worked really well. I first taped a large paper that I pulled from our Art Easel. I then poured yellow, blue, and red paint on it. I cut the sponges into square shapes and had Nathaniel sit in his booster seat. I showed him how to dip the sponges into the paint and then move them around the paper. He had a great time. Other quick activities we did that day… we read Mother Goose Rhymes, this is great for gaining phonemic awareness and a wonderful activity to promote early reading.
I also found an old box and three golf tee’s. I taped the old box together and showed Nathaniel how to hammer the golf tee’s into the box. At this age he was more interested in just hammering onto the box, however with my help he did hit a few tee’s. I was very careful to put the golf tee’s away at this age they should not do this type of activity unsupervised unless it is just the box with a plastic hammer. Oh, by the way we used a plastic hammer.
The last activity we did that day was collecting about nine balls that go to various toys and we bounced them into my cupcake pan. I also set out a paper bag and when we were done bouncing and rolling the balls we put them into the paper bag and pulled them out. 
By: Angela Albertson  

Crunchy Parmesan Chicken Tenders

Hi everyone. I got this recipe from Giada De Laurentiis on the Food Network.

Crunchy Parmesan Chicken Tenders

4 tablespoons plus 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 pounds chicken tenders
1 1/4 cups freshly grated Parmesan
3/4 cup Italian-style seasoned bread crumbs

1. Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.
2. Brush 1 tablespoon of olive oil over each of 2 heavy lined large baking sheets. Place the buttermilk in a large bowl. Add the chicken tenders and stir to coat. Let stand at least 15 minutes and up to 30 minutes.
3. Stir the Parmesan and bread crumbs in a pie dish. Remove the chicken tenders from the buttermilk and dredge them in the bread crumb mixture to coat completely, pressing to adhere. Arrange the coated chicken tenders on the prepared baking sheets, spacing evenly. Drizzle the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil over the chicken tenders and bake until they are cooked through and golden brown, about 12 minutes.

By: Janine

Meat Loaf Sandwich

Meat Loaf Sandwich

I am not normally a fan of meat loaf but I tried this recipe and loved it.
5 sandwich rolls - I used buttermilk biscuits.
1 egg
1 can of stewed tomates
2 tb of fresh asil
1 lb of ground beef
4 oz of cheddar cheese
1 cup of fresh spinach leaves.
I added some extra veggies see below:

Combine bread crumbs, egg, tomatoes and basil with your ground beef. ( I actually used ground turkey) I then puréed 1 clove of garlic, added 1 cut of cooked puréed summer squash, carrots, and green pepper. I first steamed all the above and then blended it and added it to the meat. Mixed and then cooked at around 400 for about 40 min. I then cooked up buttermilk biscuits.

Presentation and it looks nice:
Sliced the buttermilk biscuit put a slice of meatloaf on top added the spinach and stewed tomatoes and then we ate. Nathaniel sometimes doesn't seem to eat chicken and taco meat by themselves but he absolutely loved the meat loaf. I think the summer squash gave it a touch of sweetness. We all enjoyed this dish.

Modified from Better Homes and Gardens March 2011 issue.
by Angela A.

Great Meal Ideas

This is something really easy that both Claire and Eric like!

I put chicken in the crock pot (can be any cut - I like legs and thighs).
I pour cooking sherry over the meat and season with seasoning salt, dried onion, pepper, garlic, etc. Really anything you like.
The I leave it in all day.

At night it's ready and I serve it with rice and some kind of veggie. I like to spoon some of the chicken juice over the chicken and rice on the plate.

This is so easy and can be changed based on what your family likes!
by Christina Z.