Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Grandma's Gift

 We like to get creative here for birthday gifts, especially gifts for the grandmas. My husband likes to say, "It's not a good gift unless they cry." This gift didn't cause any tears, but it was pretty sentimental because grandma can hold her granddaughters' hands when she is at home. I feel pretty silly for not thinking about this project myself! As with most of my projects it was inspired by multiple pins on Pintrest. It's so easy and it keeps toddlers occupied for two days! Okay, not two days straight, but it does provide two activities on two separate days.

What you need: Salt dough, patience, oven, acrylic paints, paint brush.

Day 1: Unfortunately I didn't capture a photo of day one. But day one involves making salt dough (I googled a recipe). The real trick is to get the salt dough the consistency of play dough. You might have to add flour or water until you get it right. Warning: it took me a little while. Once I had it right, I pulled out two portions and rolled and shaped them into a circles. (I let my toddler play with the remaining salt dough. We had enough for her to make a couple cut outs while I shaped.) I pressed my little ones hands into the dough and baked the salt dough creations in the oven at 250 degrees for three hours. Now this is also tricky because the time might very, so check the molds periodically to make sure they don't crack or burn. When this process is complete the molds will look like the picture above.

Day 2: Painting! That's right. I dressed my toddler in her baking apron and let her go to town on her cut outs with water-based paint while I used the acrylic paint on the hand molds. We had a good time painting our projects together. My toddler liked it so much that she even painted the table, hence the water-based paints!

When we were done, I thought it was hard to see the print with just one color, so I emphasized the print with white paint. My mom loved them!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Cheesey Chicken Veggie Bake

So I think the name needs a little work. I'm open for suggestions. Anyway this is one of my go-to recipes on a hard day!

What you need: 
1 box of Velveeta shells (or the knock-off brand, I buy Kroger)
1lb of Chicken
1/2 Cup of chicken broth
1 bag of frozen veggies (I use the bag with peas, carrots, and green beans)
1 package of dry ranch dressing mix (again I buy the know off brand)

What to do: 
1) Defrost the chicken but not all the way because it's easier to cut partially frosted chicken. Cut Chicken into small 1-inch pieces.
2) Place the chicken in a pan on the stove and sprinkle it with half the packet of ranch seasoning.
3) While the chicken is cooking, boil a pot of water for the shells. Once it's boiling add the shells.
4) Stir the chicken. When the chicken is no longer pink add the vegetables. (You may want to dump out a little of the liquid, but not too much because it has all the good juices! I'm just not a fan of runny cheesey bake.)
5) Once the pasta is cooked to your satisfaction, strain it and add the cheese from the package. Mix the Shells with cheese in with the chicken and veggies.
6) Let it warm for a bit and test it. If it's a little bland stir in the remainder of the ranch seasoning.

My family loves this recipe and because it's easy, so do I! In fact we love it so much that the last time I made it, I forgot to take a picture and it was gone. So I will make it again so I can capture a yummy picture for you. Recipes are more fun when you see what you're trying to make. Don't you agree?

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Cookie Cutter Art

 What you'll need: Paper plates (or something to place the paint on), WASHABLE paints, cookie cutters, paper.

1) Let your child choose the paint they want on the plate. I like to guide my kids toward colors that will blend to make other colors so we can talk about it. (Red and Yellow make Orange, Blue and Yellow make Green you get the idea). Place the paint on a paper plate or other item sturdy enough for paint.

2) Help the child dip the cookie cutter into the paint and place it on the paper. It will make the image of the cut out. Then they can do it over and over again!

We chose Easter cut outs because we did this close to Easter, but it works for all sorts of holidays or all sorts of cut outs. Really kids just have fun with it. My little princess got so excited about it, she started to finger paint. It seems like that is how most of painting projects go these days! But here is the finished product:

Most people can't tell it was a bunny cut out, unless I tell them. It's pretty abstract!