Sunday, February 26, 2012

Jeff's Jiffy "Cracker Jacks"

This month's Random Recipe Challenge was to go back to the cookbook you used in your first challenge. I couldn't do that as I got rid of that particular book in the great Fit Two Children Into My House clean up. So, I went to my second challenge - for which I had used Loaves and Fishes: A "Love Your Neighbor" Cookbook. I tried to let Simon pick the recipe for me, but it turns out that my particular three year old has no interest in being random. He completely refused to open the book in any but the tradition fashion (he is also the only three year old I know who enjoys pointing out the spine, front over, end pages, and title page of a book - so really I was asking too much of him if I expected "random".") I did the random flipping and came up with Jeff's Jiffy "Cracker Jacks".

Jeff's Jiffy "Cracker Jacks"
1/4 cup margarine
1/2 cup honey
6 cups popped corn
1 cup peanuts

1. In a saucepan, heat honey and margarine over low heat until blended.
2. In a large bowl, mix popcorn and peanuts. Add sauce and stir.
3. Spread mixture onto a large pan.
4. Bake at 350F for 7-10 minutes.
5. When cool, stir, and it's ready to eat.

Simon and I made these while Stone was away at a Super Bowl party (I have as much interest in watching American football as in getting a toe cut off). I enjoyed the mixture a great deal, as did Stone. Simon, however, objects to sticky food and would not partake.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Cheerio Bird Feeders

These were a great deal of fun and a fantastic way for Simon to practice his fine motor skills. I got the idea from Preschool Playbook.

We started with four pipe cleaners and a bowl of Cheerios (okay, not Cheerios, whatever cheaper, circular cereal we got at Aldi). I put a loop in the bottom of each pipe cleaner to stop the cereal falling off. Simon and I took turns threading cereal onto the pipe cleaners until they were full. We made a counting game of it. I put on five - he put on five. I put on six - he put on six, etc. I put a loop in each end when the pipe cleaner was filled.

Simon, with a bit of a lift, hung the feeders from our deck.

The birds haven't had a chance to get at them yet, since it has been raining all day. I am sure they will enjoy them once we get another bit of sun.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Blossoming Tree Craft

We enjoyed reading My First Chinese New Year several times while Simon was learning about the holiday at school. (Don't even get me started about what a fabulous job his school did - they even had the head of Asian Studies from the largest university in the state come in and give a preschool appropriate talk on Chinese culture. I love Simon's school!) Simon liked the part in the story where the family buys blossoming branches to decorate the house. We made our own fingerprint blossoming tree inspired by Crafty-Crafted.

I drew the "tree" first with brown crayon. Simon dipped his finger in red paint to make some of the blossoms, and then dipped my finger in paint to made the rest.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Construction Vehicles in Shaving Cream Snow

It was my friend Kendra's brilliant idea to spray shaving cream on the table and let construction vehicles play in the "snow". I included a can of shaving cream (which has seen us through several crafts) and some small construction vehicles in last week's stash. It was brilliant fun! The small trucks got buried in a snow drift, so we had to bring in the recycling truck and Scoop to rescue them. (The trucks washed off very easily and are no worse for wear - the same may be said for the child.)

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Santa Fe Enchilada Bake

This recipe (which I found on the back of a package of cheese) was delicious and far less labor intensive than making actual enchiladas. I put it together the night before, so that I only had to bake it when I got home from work.

Santa Fe Enchilada Bake
1 lb chicken, cut into bite sized pieces
1 large onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
2 cups salsa
12, 6" corn tortillas
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups finely shredded Mexican style cheese

Spray a large skillet with non-stick cooking spray. Saute chicken, onion, and green pepper until chicken is cooked through. Stir in salsa and corn. Arrange 6 tortillas on the bottom of a 13x9" baking dish. Cover with layers of 1/2 each chicken, sour cream, and cheese. Repeat layers. Cover with foil. Bake 40 minutes or until heated through, removing foil after 30 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

January Bulletin Boards

Yes, this is a strange post since the vast majority of my followers are not teachers. I am posting this mainly so that I don't forget these for next year:) Also, I am so proud of my fabulous co-teacher who did the actual work of putting these together.

Motivational: Stay on top of your work. Don't get snowed under!

Standards Highlight: Text Features

Reward: Students who master a skill get to be a penguin (the weird black lines on their chest are where we have written their names). 

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Kidney Bean and Spinach Soup with Cornbread Waffles

This lovely soup came from the World Market cook Soup, a Christmas gift from my fabulous husband. I adapted it for the crock pot.

Kidney Bean and Spinach Soup
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
1 corn cob, kernels stripped off
2 cups kidney beans, soaked over night
4 cups water
4 cubes chicken bullion
1 bunch spinach, washed and shredded
1/2 lb chopped bacon

Place all ingredients in crock pot. Cook on low for 8-10 hours, until flavors are well blended.

Simon helped me make cornbread waffles to accompany the soup. The recipe actually comes from the back of a Jiffy Mix box - it was easy and delicious.

Cornbread Waffles
1 pkg Jiffy corn muffin mix
1 egg
2 tbsp butter, melted
3/4 cup milk

In medium bowl, stir all ingredients until just blended. Cook according to waffle iron instructions for regular waffles.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Wild Horses of the Ozarks

I know, I know, you are wondering...what the heck is going on with your blog? Are you interested in food or preschool crafts and what is this horse nonsense? My apologies if I am a bit spastic - with two jobs, a 3 year old, a baby on the way, and a husband who works while attending grad school, I am intent on enjoying all aspects of my life and just sharing whatever is on my mind/camera. I suppose the name of my blog could be - The Many Facets of a Working Mom.

I came across these pictures and thought they were worth a share. These are from a trip to the Ozarks, more specifically to the Mark Twain National Forrest, in December. There were three herds of wild horses in the area. All of them are rumored to have originated during the Great Depression when farmers had to chose to let their horses go or watch them starve. We came across this herd grazing in a large field. They were lovely, and not shy of our car or camera.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Drunken Swiss Steak

This recipe was adapted for the crock pot (and my need to cook with wine) from Everyday Family Suppers. Swimming all night and all day in white wine gave the onions a delicious, pickled flavor. (I put everything in the crock pot the night before and leave it in the fridge so that it is ready to start cooking in the morning when I leave for work).

Drunken Swiss Steak
2 lb round steaks
1 large onion, sliced
1, 15oz can diced tomatoes - undrained
1 cup dry white wine
salt and pepper to taste

In a small bowl, mix onion, tomatoes, wine, salt, and pepper. Place steaks in the bottom of a slow cooker. Pour tomato mixture over steaks. Cook on low 10-12 hours. (If it is the weekend, or you happen to be home, I am sure that it could cook on high in 4-5 hours.) Serve over egg noodles.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Panda Bear Craft ...and other fun with shaving cream

This was meant to be a polar bear based on this craft, but since I chose to make some changes, I feel that it ended up looking a bit more like a panda bear than a polar bear. This is in keeping with this week's theme for our stash, I suppose, since Simon is learning about Chinese New Year at school.

We started with:

Shaving cream
White glue
Two large black circles, cut from construction paper
Three small black circles, cut from construction paper
A "v", cut from construction paper
A circle of cardboard, cut from the back of a cracker box

We mixed 1/8 cup of shaving cream with 1/8 cup glue in our bowl, then had a lovely time smearing it all over our cardboard. Simon carefully placed the facial features on top. After a night of drying, this was our finished product.

The texture of the paint is fantastic, and Simon is fascinated with how it is dry but still a bit pliant.

After we had put our bear together, Simon still wanted to play with the shaving cream. I helped him spray it all over the table, and then we had fun writing our names in it and making a mess. (A mess that smells good and is easy to clean up.)

I used to do this when I taught preschool, until the powers that be decided the kids might try to eat it and dictated that whipped cream be used instead (which is only a good idea if you like children who smell of sour milk). I assure you that Simon ingested no shaving cream and had a lovely time.