Eggs and Hearts

Raise your hand if you can’t wait for Spring!! (Do you see my hand? I’m the one jumping up and down.)

I’ll be honest, I’ve been having difficulty blogging, because I’m just having… difficulty. In general. (Speaking of difficulty in blogging, if it looks like I have some weird spacing in this post, I don’t know why that is. Let’s just agree to ignore it together.)

Today was a halfway productive day, meaning the first half of the day was great and I got lots done.. and then everything crashed.

But during that exciting do-everything phase, I:

-Cleaned my entire kitchen and living room (Some of you may be thinking that cleaning the living room shouldn’t be listed as a grand accomplishment. Allow me to introduce you to my son. He’s blurry for a reason.)

Image-Researched lunches with Dexter while coaxing him to eat.

-Packed a week’s worth of kiddo lunches. This *is* impressive, because I cut all kinds of foods into heart-shapes, sooo…. I’m kind of a big deal.ImageImage-And yes, I boiled and dyed eggs (I really can’t wait until spring!! Also, I thought it would be fun for Dexter. And it was.)

I also relied heavily the good ol’ internet. And so I shall share with you the links that made my half-way productive day possible:

-Do *you* know how to boil an egg?? I don’t eat boiled eggs, so I certainly didn’t.

-What about dying eggs? We did a very basic dye-job with food coloring and vinegar, but this site gives you some tips on getting fancy with the eggs.

-We lived on my kiddo snackumz Pinterest board today. These sites in particular (1, 2, 3) really got Dexter excited about the pre-packed lunch idea.

-Hearts, hearts, and more hearts. They’re pretty much the only cool shape I’m confident in free-handing, and thankfully, Dexter really appreciates them. But have you seen this awesome tutorial on heart-shaped carrots?? Not hard, and totally worth it.

Now that I’ve written out all the awesome parts of the day and avoided complaining about the (really, really) bad parts, I feel much better about all that’s transpired and I’m ready to spend my evening relaxing. Sigh 🙂

The Chronology of Croup Week

Last week is just a blur. This was the sickest Dexter has ever been, and it was pretty rough. My husband and I talked about how it was like doing the newborn stage all over again, because Dexter would wake up every half hour or so, coughing and panicking until I could comfort him and give him a drink of water. He slept all night with us for the first time ever, because it was easier to just hold him and a sippy cup of water than to fumble around like a zombie in the dark.

I have mental snapshots of events, but not a great recollection of what really happened. As I was going through my phone, I realized I had actual snapshots of events, mostly the nice parts (I don’t need pictures to remember the hard parts, those memories are pretty clear!!), and I was surprised by how much occurred in just a week. (Spoiler: A lot of these pictures involve food.)

Day 1

We had a wonderful family day at the aquarium, followed by supper at Jet’s Pizza. Super yummy pizza, as evidenced in the 3rd picture: Dex was dismayed, nay, horrified that Alex was putting the pizza away.

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Playing with action figures at Jet’s has become a family ritual. In the middle picture you can see Dexter’s guy performing pirouettes on some pizza crust.

At some point Dexty asked for some cupcakes. And so Alex decided to surprise us by taking us to Gigi’s Cupcakes. I seriously am not a fan of cake, but this was amaaaazing. Mine was Wedding Cake. The only reason I took a break from inhaling it is because I had to send a picture to my poor sister, who loves cupcakes. Sorry, Deb!!

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Little did we know, in a few hours Dex would wake up barking with croup.

Day 2

This not-too-bad day included making some no bake cookies. They look deceptively good. Trust me, they were weird.

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I started some soft pants for Dex using the basic pants pattern from Made. Poor Dex got worse soon after I started these, so they still aren’t finished. (Oh, and also because I start more projects later…)

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Day 3

The week included lots of lots of blankets, lots of snuggling, and  LOTS of tv. Poor Dex didn’t even feel like sitting up most of the time. Without pictures, my timeline is a little fuzzy. This may be the same night we took him to an urgent care clinic and were there for 4.5 hours. It was awful, he was feverish and crying to go home almost the entire time.

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Day 4

I tried out my Grandma Ona’s tuna fish patty recipe. They were so good, and one of the few things, besides croutons and dried berries, that I could get Dexter to eat. Of course, it was during a rare period of playfulness, so he had to be a sting ray and I had to feed him pieces of tuna fish patty like raw shrimp. (This is not completely random, we get to do this at the aquarium.)

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Day 5

By this point, Dexter and I were pretty much joined at the hip. We slept together, we ate together (or I ate and begged him to try), and we watched Scared Shrekless 30 times together.

We were settling down for a nap and he asked me to take a picture of us napping together.

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Day 6

The child still felt awful. Here he is with his bowl of croutons and 2 of his 5 or more cups. I offered him all sorts of drinks out of different types of cups to see what would entice him. He really appreciated getting to drink from mugs from my collection.

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A little while later, he was feeling ok, and asked for some play-doh. And I absolutely made him some play-doh.  I was so exhausted I just looked online for a no-cook recipe, and I actually really like the one we made. I’ll link that another day, because I made some changes. It was so easy that this is probably the play-doh I’ll make from now on!

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I stayed awake during one of his naps to get just a little bit of time to myself, where I could do something enjoyable and watch something besides Scared Shrekless. So I worked on matching up some squares for my postage stamp quilt.

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Day 7

I didn’t take any pictures on Friday, and I honestly could not account for anything that happened. Like I said, everything is a blur. I’m sure it involved a lot of blankets, a lot of snuggling, and A LOT of tv.

Day 8

Alex was finally off work. Through the week, Alex had to work, while I took care of Dex. Then Alex would get a short break, and then usually had to go back for conference calls. Then we were both up all night with Dex. But this wonderful Saturday, he took over completely, and he gave me the ENTIRE day to craft.

I worked on  a dress for myself until I realized I didn’t have all the fabric I needed. Boo. After that I started a quilt. There is a reason I decided to push all my other projects to the side and work on this. I’ll write about that another time.

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I thought it was kind of neat that I used up a bunch of nearly empty spools of thread. But that’s probably only neat to me. 

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Day 9

Dex was finally acting like himself!! He ate, he played!! I am one of those people who loses perspective and starts to believe that whatever is happening at the time is what my life will be like forever. So, I was certain that the cloud of sickness would never lift. But it did!

At this point, Alex and I looked around, and realized that our entire house was trashed. I’m not kidding, it looked like a family of hoarders invited a punk rock band to come and destroy their home.

So this was Get-It-Together day. Not just basic cleaning, we went all out and started decluttering as well.

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 Day 10

Today is pretty great. Dexter is playing and eating and drinking. He lost over 5lbs, which I obsessed over for days. But he is doing quite well now. Our biggest problem is that he is kind of a punk right now from getting his way for days. He definitely milked it, telling us, “I have a sickness!!”

He’s still enjoying that play-doh. And while he was working with it, he told me, in his stuffy little voice, “It’s impordant to make sings!!” I couldn’t agree more, baby :).

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Felt Food Tutorial and Patterns

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Here is the moment we’ve all been waiting for… (there’s totally a drumroll)…

I learned to create patterns in pdf form!!!!

I’ve been saying I’d do this for the longest time. It really wasn’t as hard as I was worried it would be. One day I’ll post about that for the other chickens out there Smile .

Patterns:

You’ll notice that most of the patterns call for cutting 2 pieces of felt, even for something flat. This is for stability, because you can warp or even tear felt pretty easily.

I tried to keep everything simple. All the stitching is on the outside, there’s no flipping or turning things inside out. And I did everything by machine.

Assembly Tutorial:

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Cheese: Probably the easiest thing you’ll make in the felt food world. Cut 2 rectangles of felt, and sew them together. Tada! You’ve made cheese. You have some creative options here: you can change colors for different types of cheese slices (think off white with stitched sprinkles for Monterey Jack), oval for provolone, and if you want Swiss, my suggestion is to sew circles, and then trim the holes.

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Bacon and Eggs: Felt food must-haves! Cut 2 egg whites and 1 yolk for each egg. Sew the yolk onto one of the whites, leaving a small opening. Very lightly stuff the yolk with polyfil and close the opening. Then put your 2 egg whites together, with the yolk on the outside, and sew all the way around.

For the bacon slices, I only cut 1 layer, because I felt like those lighter strips would be secure enough. Cut your darker bacon slices and 2 lighter strips for each slice. Just freehand those stripes, there is no reason to try to conform them to a pattern, and I think it would be more difficult to do so. Lay the light strips on top of the darker fabric and stitch around the strips.

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PB&J Sammy: I wanted everything to be as simple as possible, so these bread slices are flat, flat, flat! For each slice, cut 1 dark piece (that will become the crust) and 2 lighter pieces. This was actually the most difficult thing I did, despite trying to keep simplicity in mind. Sandwich those 3 pieces (light, then dark, then light) and pin the layers. You want to stitch around the edges of the light felt, catching all 3 layers. One of my slices came out perfectly the first time. The other slice slipped and I had to redo it a couple of times.

For the peanut butter and jelly, cut 2 pieces each and sew together. Super easy.

If you want to go a little further, you could make sandwich meats out of circles and ovals. I also want to make lettuce and tomato slices one day, but I just didn’t bother this time. Dexter already has a wooden sandwich set anyway. 

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Broccoli: I had a lot of fun making the little veggies! I was inspired by Dana at MADE for the broccoli and chicken legs for sure. In fact, I was probably most inspired by her felt food, because I saw how simple it could be instead of trying to create incredibly detailed 3D models of food.

Back to the broccoli. For each piece, cut 2 stalks, and sew those together. Cut 2 florets, my recommendation is to cut ovals just slightly bigger than you want your floret to be. This is another time where freehanding is going to be easier on you.

Ok, I said oval, but what I did was more like a little mushroom cap. You take your 2 little mushroom cap shapes, and freehand a broccoli shape around the top, leaving the bottom open.

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Next, take a little bit of polyfil and stuff the top. Then poke your little stalk into the opening, and stitch it closed. Like this:

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(Bet you can’t tell that I’m sketching these out as I go…)

Then trim your broccoli tops, and you’re done!

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Beans/Peas: Cut your 2 pieces. Sew along the curved back, leaving the inner curve open. Ball up polyfil into 3 little pea-sized… well… peas. Or beans. Put them in a row inside your shell. Sew up the inner circle.

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Carrots: These go together like the broccoli pieces. Sew your little carrot tops together, then sew the carrots, leaving the top open. Stuff with polyfil, then put the stem inside the opening and stitch shut. Then, I ran these guys under my sewing machine to create the lines. It wasn’t super easy, I had to help them along. Don’t “help” them so much that you break a needle. But some light pressure should be ok.

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Chicken Legs: I’m in love with these little chicken legs. Sew the 2 meat parts together, leaving the bottom open. Sew the 2 bone pieces together, leaving the top open. Stuff both sections with polyfil. I stuffed these a little more firmly, leaving it a little softer at both of the openings. Insert the bone into the meat opening (Ok, I just realized how creepy meat assembly sounds!), and stitch across all layers. 

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Cookies: You can make different kinds of cookies. Whatever you make, sew the add-ons to the top before you sew and stuff the actual cookie (or if you plan to hand stitch, you can do the add-ons at any time). Then sew most of the way around the 2 cookie layers, stuff lightly (you don’t want these to be too puffy), and then sew across the opening.

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Pancakes: These were the first items I made, and I couldn’t find them when I did my photo shoot, AND I only took one phone picture of them before I gave them away. I did not think ahead to when I’d be doing a fancy-schmancy tutorial.

At the time, I did these a little differently than I would now. You can probably see the batting peeking through. That was before I realized that stuffing with polyfil works just as well and actually looks better.

For the pancakes, cut 2 pieces, sew most of the way around, stuff lightly with polyfil, and close ‘em up.

For the syrup, cut 2 pieces, sew together.

For the butter, cut 2 pieces, sew 3 sides, lightly stuff, sew the 4th side. (I feel silly for typing out all these directions, since most of them are “cut 2, sew together”, but I wanted this to be as easy as possible for anyone making them!)

Now, when I made these, I thought I had just created the most amazing thing ever. And then I found these on Etsy. I guess there are only so many ways to make felt pancakes!

Oh, I also indicated on the pancake pattern that this is also what I’d use to make a hamburger. And yet, I have not created a hamburger bun pattern. I will do that soon though, because my sister has requested a hamburger for her boys. I’ll probably tackle the lettuce and tomato slices at the same time.

Links:

Now, I promised links to all the felt food that inspired me, but it was extremely hard to go back and find those!! I will add what I found, and maybe this was all. I know for some of the items I just did my own thing, making them look the way I thought they should look. But I truly don’t want to take credit for something someone else did, so I am sorry if I missed a link!!!

Dana at Made (The cutest little almost-2D picnic set! And I just noticed she has bread slices in there too, so maybe that’s where I got that inspiration as well as the broccoli and drumsticks)

Pickle Things at Black Wagon (This is likely an inspiration for the cookies.)

Stitches by Krustal (I didn’t get my cheese from here- I don’t think that sad little cheese slices are particularly inspired, as they are just squares- but I plan to use this as a jumping off point for my future hamburger bun, because the style is very similar to my felt food philosophy. And if you don’t want to wait for my version, which will probably only be slightly different, this would be a good place to go for a simple bun.)

Now, go have fun felt-fooding it up!!

Preschool Theme: Penguins

At the beginning of the year, I officially (re)started preschooling Dexter. I have created our curriculum for the year, and I’d love to share some of our activities and themes with you moms out there! I’ll be showing some pictures of things we did and sharing the resources I’ve compiled for that theme.

I was so excited about studying penguins last week, because I found some really cute ideas online. And I figured this would be a topic that Dexter could really get into. 

We started the week out by discussing penguins. I found some really informative books for kids at Mckay’s. Dexter loves books and he was able to stay engaged and learn a lot without just having me lecture him about the topic. 

I strongly suggest going by a used book store and loading up on books to supplement your preschool curriculum. I know a lot of people love to go to the library, and that’s great too. I spent about $25 on as many books as I could (most of my books were under $1), and I’m really glad I did that because I don’t feel the pressure to get to the library weekly. 

I borrowed some plastic penguins from my mom (thanks, Grandma!!!) so we could have imaginative play. Primarily, Dex enjoyed having the penguins slide down cardboard tubes. And we also let the penguins swim in some ice water. So, if you don’t have some play items that go with your theme, you could consider borrowing some like we did! Dexter was actually excited when we sent them back because he understood that they came from Grandma’s house. He even got really into writing (drawing) her a thank-you note to send with them.

We then watched March of the Penguins. If you’re an Amazon Prime member, you can stream this for free! Take note that there are several death-related scenes in the movie and be prepared to answer those questions! Dexter’s favorite part was when the babies came, and how they hid under their parents’ bellies. We snuggled in bed to watch it, and he kept telling me, “I want to hide in your tummy!” and would snuggle up against me and cover up with blankets.

For movement, we waddled around like penguins. We did this after watching our documentary, when Dex had a really good idea about how penguins move and sound. We also played Mama Penguin/Baby Penguin by having him climb on my feet and waddle him around the room. 

Later in the week, we looked for penguin songs on YouTube. I’m sure I’ve suggested this before, but it’s better to prep for this. I’ve made the mistake (a couple of times) of searching *with* Dex, and then stumbling across something soooo inappropriate. So take a some time during your lesson planning to find some cute songs that you may not know. 

Here are a few to get you started: 

These are just a few we found on the fly. If you don’t like the music/video etc, another suggestion is to learn the songs by yourself and teach them to you child.

 

The thing I was REALLY excited about was the fun snack for the week! 

I made him a little penguin environment. My penguins are SO SLOPPY, as my hands were shaking a little from the anxiety of having someone stand behind you and constantly say, “Is it ready yet?? Is it ready yet??” (Have I told you yet to prepare ahead of time when you can??) The good news is that kids will love them even if they are not perfect. I found this at Gourmet Mom On The Go. She used toothpicks to hold them together, but since I only made two at a time for one child, I just sort of pasted them together with cream cheese and hope. They are made from large and collosal black olives (I’d never seen a collosal olive, and they weren’t lying. Those things are HUGE!). You split them down the middle, fill them with cream cheese (I used plain), and use a slice of carrot to make the feet and beak! So cute.

Dexter helped me make the blue ocean jello. He just observed until we got to the cold water stage, so he wouldn’t get burned. 

I can’t encourage you enough to let your child help you cook as often as you can. Dexter LOVES to help, and he is excited to eat what we make together. 

I bought some pretzel goldfish and threw in some marshmallows for snow.

As I said before, he was super antsy to see what I was making him, especially since he knew it involved the jello we made. But I was so happy with his response: when I turned and showed him his surprise he said, “Oh yay!!!! It’s my birthday!!!!” Sweet, sweet, silly boy :). 

He literally grabbed his jello and had it down within about 3 seconds. It was amazing to behold. (Also note that he is wearing his penguin pj’s! He gets really excited to dress according to our theme.)

Other food ideas include eating foods that penguins eat. Their diet consists of fish, shrimp, and squid. We had some fish, which he was so excited about, since it’s penguin food and all. I don’t eat shrimp, but now he’s really excited to try it with Daddy someday. And, well… we’re just not doing squid. He can check that out on his own time.

I was really happy because we were able to take a field trip to the local aquarium to see the penguins there! Normally those penguins are shy, but this time they were very playful. Find out if your town has an aquarium or zoo where you can see animals you are studying!

I had originally planned for us to study the letter P, but he just doesn’t seem interested in the alphabet right now. I worked on phonics some by pointing out words that start with P, but that was about it. 

For art, we did a penguin coloring sheet together. I’d planned for us to paint craft sticks like penguins and play with them, but we just didn’t have the time. (The craft sticks I’d suggest using are like these snowmen.)

There was so much more I’d hoped to do, but just didn’t have the time for. Here are a few more links and suggestions I collected: 

Related Sesame Street videos: 

Colors: Black and White

Shape: Oval

Supper: Brought To You (and by you, I mean me!) By Pinterest!

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I have been so crazy into Pinterest lately! It’s so addictive, and really… quite the time waster. We’re in the midst of moving, and during my downtime, you will almost always find me drooling over something on Pinterest :).

So, in order to not JUST be a pin-hoarder, I’ve been actually getting off my butt and trying out some of those ideas!

Since I’ve just gotten back into chewing, food is often on my mind. So I’ve been going to my Food I Must Try pin board for inspiration.

Last night I made Roasted Cauliflower (I’ll direct you to the actual link. It seems kind of weird to send you through Pinterest when all the credit goes to these bloggers!!). It was very nice to try something different. We are never willing to eat plain cauliflower, but this is all dolled up. We had cheddar brats, so I wanted to make sure we also had a veggie in there. This went surprisingly well with those!

Tonight I decided to try the Guiltless Alfredo Sauce. I was certainly skeptical. I mean, what’s alfredo without a little guilt?? Probably gross, right?

But this was good! The only downer about the recipe is that it calls for grated parmesan, and I think she means shredded. I was reading the recipe off my phone, but now that I see the picture on my computer, it’s certainly shredded parm. Now, this probably changed the way my sauce behaved, because grated parm makes a gritty sauce. I bet it would have been smoother if I’d used shredded. But by the time I started to wonder, all I had was grated cheese and a half-made sauce, begging to be alfredoed. So what are you going to do??

Despite that difference, it was still pretty dang good. You can see in the picture above (And be thankful for that picture, crappy as it may be! I was pretty hungry and couldn’t be bothered to take more than a quickie phone shot!) that I threw in some grilled chicken, some leftover peas, and some of that leftover Roasted Cauliflower! I will definitely make it again! And it’s nice because the recipe makes a fairly decent sized batch, so I can use that sauce for other things through out the week.

Thanks, Simply Recipes and Our Best Bites, for your recipes, and thanks to Pinterest for helping me find them!

Sneaky Snack: Kale-Apple Smoothie

Having recently had jaw surgery, I’ve experimented heavily with pureed and mashed foods. I was so excited when a past issue of Real Simple Magazine had a list of 10 smoothie recipes! I have only tried one of them, because the store I went to only had kale in bulk. I figured I’d just try to knock that out before I ventured onto the next smoothie recipe 🙂

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But we are LOVING this recipe for Kale-Apple Smoothies! Dexter and I do, at least. My (ultra-picky) husband took one sip and made a face. So I guess it’s not for everyone. But considering my 2 year old gets super pumped about it, it’s worth trying once!

It’s such a pleasant green color, and it’s packed with things that are great for you: kale, celery, banana, and a bit of apple juice. I also added a bit of spinach today!

While I was trying to do a quick photo shoot, Dex leaned over my glass and said, “MMMmmmm, smells dewd!”

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I seriously love this kid, and I’m glad that I’m able to find ways to give him things that he both loves and are healthy for him! He calls it his “smoozie” and today he said, “Oh, a smoozie for a healthy snack!!!” I was really thrilled to hear him say that, partially because it’s super cute lol, but also because I hope I’m teaching him to make good choices for his health, and to be excited about it!

He get’s his “smoozie” in a sippy cup, and it helps if that cup has a larger opening. The smoothie is not a juice, it will have little veggie bits in it, so it can clog up a sippy nipple. Or you can just brave it like I did the first time, and give your child an open cup with a straw. If you don’t mind getting green smoothie EVERYWHERE. Seriously. Everywhere.

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Also, as a side note, our preschool lesson this week includes learning about the color green. This is a great suggestion for a green-week snack, because it is so pretty and vibrant!

Picky Kid Tip: Hidden-Veggie Bread

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My sister and I have been making veggie pancakes for our picky boys for a while now. I always make a big batch and freeze them, but it just takes so long! It occurred to me the other day to attempt spreading the batter into a cookie sheet and baking it. It worked, and it shaved off as much as 45 minutes of work!!!

I always just throw leftover soups or veggies into these mixtures, so I really have no set recipe. I’ve played with the consistency a lot, so I’m learning what works best. But I start with a base of 1 cup of dry pancake/waffle mix and add an equal amount of soup or pureed veggies. Then I add any meats, cheeses, or chopped veggies. The consistency needs to be about the same as normal pancake batter, so you can add a little more liquid or puree to get it there. I kept it just thicker than pancake batter in order to spread it into the pan. This particular batch includes leftover tomato bisque, stage 2 baby food peas, and chopped spinach.

This is my batter after it was spread into a sprayed cookie sheet. I had to take the pan to the living room to get any sort of decent lighting lol.

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Then, I baked it in the oven at 350. I do not know how long I cooked it, as I was distracted by a 20 month old who was screaming for bread. I would estimate 15 minutes, give or take. I just kept checking it until I was certain it was cooked through.

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I cut it into squares and set it out to cool before serving and freezing.

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And, as usual, Dexter was a fan 🙂

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Recipe: Lemon Raspberry Bars With Cream Cheese Filling

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This is what happens when you see someone else is having lemon raspberry cake (thanks Kaedra!!) but you don’t usually like cake AND you don’t have a recipe for anything lemon-raspberry-y.

Using a basic cookies-from-cake-mix recipe, I came up with this delicious monstrosity:

Step 1: Preheat oven to 350.IMG_6033

Step 2: Soften 1/2 stick butter.

Step 3: Start telling your husband a story and accidentally melt the butter entirely.IMG_6010

Step 4: Add an egg.IMG_6013 

Step 5: Add dry lemon cake mix. Use organic, so your dessert will be inherently better.IMG_6005

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Step 6: Stir until you realize there is absolutely not enough liquid to moisten the dry cake mix.IMG_6016

Step 7: Soften another 1/2 stick of butter. Correctly this time. Feel pride.IMG_6018

Step 8: Decide there is STILL not enough liquid and add 1 Tbsp milk at a time until it seems right. This takes 2 Tbsp milk.IMG_6020

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Step 9: Fold in 6oz of beautiful raspberries.IMG_6024

Step 10: Decide to pulverize the raspberries instead of gently folding them into the batter. IMG_6028

Step 11: Find a clean  pan. If you don’t have one, wash only one pan. You wouldn’t want to do any extra work. Dollop batter onto the pan in heaping spoonfuls. If you have extra batter, just put it into any other cooking apparatus and be done with it. IMG_6032

Step 12: Bake for 9-12 min. IMG_6034

Step 13: In the meantime, prepare filling/icing. Combine 8 oz spreadable cream cheese, 1/4 c powdered sugar, and about 1/3 tub of leftover store-bought butter cream icing.*

*Not all butter cream icing has streaks of green in it, but you can achieve this at home by sticking a knife with already tinted icing into your nice clean icing. Just throw the rest of that tainted icing back into your cabinets and save it for a rainy day.IMG_6037

Step 14: Blend filling/icing ingredients until smooth.IMG_6041

Step 15: Note a burning smell. Confirm that your haphazardly dolloped batter is now spilling over the sides of the pan and landing on the heating element of the stove. Yum! You’re almost done!IMG_6044

Step 16: Realize that during baking, your batter became a cookie conglomerate.IMG_6045

Step 17: Decide to make a cookie-bar casserole. Chill filling/icing while cookie mass cools, then stack cookie-filling-cookie into a casserole dish.IMG_6049

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Now, despite how horrendous this thing looks, and all the trouble I had while constructing it, it tastes really really good. Especially that filling. It taste almost like cheesecake. I will use it in the future with other desserts. Also, if I ever make this again, I am just pouring the batter into a casserole dish, baking it as cookie bars, then icing it after it cools. But you learn as you go 🙂

Dexter’s First Cooking Experience

We tried the Polenta Pizza Stackers by Cooking With My Kid. They were really yummy comfort food (think pizza grits, but better). If you’re interested, make sure you head over there for the recipe!!

I decided to brave it and let Dex help! He stood on a chair (I made certain he was supported on all sides) and helped me spread Smart Balance onto a pan. He really liked playing in that 🙂 It was awesome seeing his little finger marks all over the pan 🙂

Then I let him help me use a butter knife to slice the polenta. He thought that was the best. He chuckled the whole time 🙂 And he also broke a lot of the slices and ate them lol. Ours were way uglier than CWMK’s 🙂 We need to work on our slicing skills.

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Thankfully our oven stays cool on the outside, because Dexter felt the need to monitor their progress.

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See? Ours were all jagged from bad cutting and a chubby little snacker.

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Dex was able to help me put a tomato sauce on two of them before he decided the most important thing he could contribute was thumb-sucking. Can you guess which two were his?

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He also “helped” with the cheese by eating a chubby handful while I sprinkled.

These things looked awesome after they cooked! And they smelled great. Dexter realized when they were baking that they were pizzas. He’s so smart 🙂

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Dexter gobbled these up!

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I give these a 4 overall. I will certainly make them again, they were easy, pretty yummy, and Dexter really enjoyed both making and eating them. Plus, I can feel good about serving them because they’re really healthy. But I think I will play around with cheese and sauce to find the perfect flavor combo!

Cooking With My Kid & Preschooler Meal Planning

I found an awesome website today (actually, I found several great sites…) and I’m so excited about it! It’s called Cooking With My Kid and the author has created tons of healthy kid-friendly recipes that she makes with her son. Now I can’t wait til Dex is able to help me out in the kitchen!

A few recipes I plan to try this week include:

Broccoli and Cheese Stromboli (This looks incredible)

Baked Spinach and Rice

Naan Pizza (Dex LOVES pizza! Any time he sees a pizza box or hears us carelessly use the word he starts shouting and crying for pizza. He says “pee”, but we know what he means lol. Plus, I really like the idea of single serving pizza for our lunch so we don’t have crazy amounts of greasy pizza taunting me for days.)

Warm Tortellini and Pesto Chicken Salad

Breadless BLT’s (Maple turkey bacon??? YUM!)

Polenta Pizza Stackers (I’m really excited to try pre-made polenta!)

And then I REALLY want to try the Peanut Butter Quesadillas. They include peanut butter, apple slices, and honey. But our pediatrician really wanted us to wait til Dex was 3 before introducing peanut butter. Maybe I can get away with it sometime by making a regular cheese quesadilla for him.

On a similar note, we’ve been nearly out of groceries for… hmm… a couple weeks? We’ve just been getting what we need as we need it and eating out way too much. It’s really difficult to take Dexter grocery shopping and Alex is too busy to do the shopping or to watch Dexter so I can go.

But after a few weeks of eating crap I’m going to bite the bullet and take Dex out tomorrow. It’s amazing what having a child does to your conscience. I can’t feel good about just feeding him whatever, so I’m going to do whatever I can to get good food for him.

Up until now, I’ve often eaten separately from Dex, giving him whatever mostly healthy thing I can scrounge up while I eat… well… whatever else I can scrounge up 🙂 But now I’m going to take on the mindset of preschool meal-planning. When I worked for daycares and preschools, the meals are set in advance and include all the healthy things kids need and the teachers eat the same thing. It will be healthy for both of us! Here is a link to some dietary guidelines for preschoolers, and a website for toddler meal plans I want to check out.

How do you ensure your child gets the nutrients they need? Do you model healthy eating, or do you find this to be very difficult? Any favorite (and super easy!) kid-friendly recipes?