My Life of Travels and Adventures: January 2014

Yogurt Pancakes - Make Ahead and Freeze

31 January 2014

This is another breakfast recipe that gets made ahead in batches.  Then in the earlier AM hours, a couple pancakes are warmed in the microwave for Reid’s early AM breakfast.  
I don’t know about you, but most days I am NOT a morning person.  And definitely not going to cook a breakfast.  

Ingredients
4 eggs
2 C yogurt (Plain, Vanilla, Strawberry, etc)
4 Tsp baking powder
2.5 C Whole Wheat Flour (or White Flour)
1 C Milk (Plus some to make thinner if desired)
2 Tsp Vanilla

Directions:
  1. Using an electric beater, mix the eggs, baking powder, milk, vanilla and yogurt together. 
  2. Slowly add the flour to the mixture. 
  3. Mix well.  Let stand for 5 minutes before using. 
  4. Using a griddle or pan, cook the pancakes.  Flipping once the back is mostly dry. 
  5. Enjoy. 

Let cool completely before storing.  I place a small piece of wax paper between each pancake and store in a ziplock bag.  

These are perfect for those busy (or lazy) mornings!  Just warm in the microwave and enjoy!

Be sure to follow my Breakfast Board on Pinterest for more yummy breakfast ideas!

Tot School - Car & Truck Theme

29 January 2014


See all of my Tot School Lessons Here
See all of my preschool posts Here.

Two weekends ago, we went on our first family vacation.  We headed loaded up the car and drove around Lake Erie to Detroit, Mi.  I planned this weekend trip to the Detroit Auto Show for Neil as part of his birthday present.  So, Reid and I spent the week before talking all things cars &trucks.   With a two year old, this is pretty much everyday too. 
Again, I kept our Sensory Bin simple.  

For the Tot Trays:
Supplies: Car shaped cutout (Thanks to Neil), Paint and Paint Brushes
Supplies: Fabric and Matchbox Cars
Supplies: Little People Cars, Trucks, Planes and Trains Book
These little people books are great.  Reid loves it when I ask him to find the truck, the car, the plane, etc on each page.  Such an easy idea for a scavenger hunt too. 
Apparently, roads around here do not need lines and when they do Reid likes to drive on the line not in between.  Who knew?
Supplies: Roadways from previous Tot Tray and Matchbox Cars
Reid's favorite part of the cars are the wheels so stamping some black circles and calling them wheels was a big hit. 
I pretty much have each of these books memorizes.  Beep, beep, beep!

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Banana Split Bars

24 January 2014

I originally saw this recipe on SkinnyTaste a while back and thought they would make a good snack bar for road trips and quick outings.  However, when I made these they turned out to be like a moist banana bread bar.  Not something that I want my toddler having in his car seat… Way to big of a mess.  
But these were quite tasty and okay for Neil to eat while in the car.  After a couple days of snacking straight from the pan, I cut up the remaining bars and placed them in the freezer for Neil’s lunch. 

Ingredients:
⅓ C Quinoa, rinsed well
½ C Water
2 C Oats
1 Tsp Cinnamon
½ Tsp Baking Soda
3 Bananas, ripe and mashed
1 Egg
⅓ C Moore’s Maple Syrup
2 Tsp Vanilla
¾ C Dried Cherries
½ C Walnuts
½ C Mini Chocolate Chips

Instructions:
  1. Preheat oven to 325F
  2. Grease a 9x13 Baking Pan
  3. Combine the quinoa and water in small saucepan and bring to a boil.  
  4. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.  
  5. Remove from heat. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes.  
  6. Transfer to a bowl and let cool completely. 
  7. In a large bowl, mix the mashed bananas, egg, maple syrup, vanilla and quinoa and stir until blended.  
  8. Add the cinnamon, baking soda and oats.  Mix until blended. 
  9. Stir in the dried cherries, walnuts and chocolate chips. 
  10. Spread evenly a flatten slightly in the prepared pan. 
  11. Bake for 30 -35 minutes. 
  12. Cool completely. 
  13. For easier cutting, refridgerate 20 minutes before cutting

These bars can be stored in the fridge for a week or the freezer for 3 months in an airtight container.  

I cut mine into bars and placed them in small snack ziplock bags before freezing…  for easy on the go snacks. 

Crayon Sorter - Matching, Sorting and Colors!

23 January 2014

See all of my Tot School Lessons Here
See all of my preschool posts Here.

I am all about learning, teaching and having fun.  So this project pretty much combines all of that.  A crayon sorter.  
A simple concept.  A simple design.  
And it works. 
I saw this on pinterest way back when a tiny infant.  You know almost 2 years ago. 
I took that and made it spin.  Literally. 
I used an old lazy susan that had been in the back of our kitchen cabinets for the past 10ish year.  Attached some colored buckets.  Added crayons and watched the fun begin. 
Reid loves this.  He puts the crayons back in the correct color when we are done.  
He matches the crayons while we are coloring.  
He spins the lazy susan to have fun. 
It is a big hit. And it looks so much nicer than a bin of crayons. 

Supplies:
9 Small Buckets - I bought this set of 12 for under $10. 
Paint 
9 short screws

Directions: 
  1. Paint each bucket a different color.  It took 3 coats for me to get good coverage on all the buckets. My 9 buckets are…. Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Purple, Brown, White and Black.
  2. I also painted a red and blue line on the lazy susan.  The blue is just around the edge and red is actually along a dip in the wood.  
  3. Coat the lazy susan and buckets with mod podge.  This isn’t a necessary step, but I wanted this to be super shiny so I did 2 coats on each. 
  4. Once everything was completely dry, I laid out the buckets and had Neil screw them into the lazy susan. 
    He use short enough screws that the tips were not sticking out through the bottom of the wood.  You could also hot glue the tins on if desired.  
  5. Add crayons. 
  6. Enjoy!

This was a super simple project for me to make.  The hardest part was spacing the buckets.  I just eye balled it.  
The entire projected took maybe 30 minutes of hands on time (5 layers of paint/mod podge and some screwing). The worst was waiting for the paint to dry. 

PS: I dont have any pictures of Reid playing with this.  Sorry.  But he loves it.  Trust me. 

Buffalo Chicken Chili (and the Crock Pot Version)

17 January 2014

One lazy Sunday as I was baking up a large batch of chicken breast for the freezer, I was also browsing Pinterest and stumbled upon this recipe.  
Buffalo Chicken Chili
This recipe was a hit in our house.  Neil loved it.  I loved how simple it was to make.  A hit all around. 
Ingredients:

2 lbs Chicken Breasts, cooked and shredded
5 Tbps Minced Garlic
2 C Onions, chopped
2 C Peppers, chopped
4 C Carrots, sliced
2 C Celery, chopped
2 (15oz) Cans, White Kidney Beans, drained and rinsed
½ C Hot Sauce
2 Tsp Cumin
1 Tsp Paprika
28oz Canned Diced Italian Tomatoes

Instructions:
  1. Over medium heat, saute the garlic, onions, peppers,  carrots and celery for 10 minutes.  
  2. Transfer to a large pot.  
  3. Add the remaining ingredients.  
  4. Let boil. 
  5. Reduce to low heat and let simmer for at least an additional 30 minutes. 
Crock Pot Version:

If using a crockpot, you can use either uncooked or cooked chicken.  
  1. Over medium heat, saute the garlic, onions, peppers,  carrots and celery for 10 minutes.  
  2. Transfer to the crockpot. 
  3. Add the remaining ingredients… including either the cooked shredded chicken or diced uncooked chicken.
  4. Cook on low for 6 hours or high for 3 hours. 

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Winter Themed Tot School

15 January 2014



See all of my Tot School Lessons Here
See all of my preschool posts Here.

Well this is only week 1 of Tot School around here and I am happy to report that both Reid and I survived. 
I incorporated a lot of craft projects this week to ease us into structured time and it worked well.  
As part of Tot School, I also created a sensory bin.  I was (am) kind of eh on the whole sensory bin thing, so our first one was easy to create and clean up. 
Reid had a blast with it.  He liked hiding and then digging for the bells and slinky stars.  The ice cream scoop was used mostly as a launcher for the cotton balls but the tongs were a big hit.  
So far this activity creates a good distraction while I am preparing dinner.  I have Reid stand at the kitchen table and play in his bin.   
Of course sometimes there is a mess but that is expected. 

I also created 10 Winter Themed Tot Trays to help ease us into being home together all the time.  
My idea of a simple Tot Tray.
Reid loves sticking and peeling stickers so this activity was a hit.  

We ended up using plain ole white paint for the snowflakes not the glitter paint but it was still a fun activity.  

Several weeks ago, at story time there was a craft similar to this and Reid loved it. 

He had fun going dot, dot, dot on the paper this time.  Looks just like snow to me. 

Confession: We never go around to playing with this tray this week.  Oh well. 

Another confession: My washi tape collection is quite large....
For this tray, I lined up pieces of tape along the table edge and let Reid go to town. 
 He didn't quite create snowflakes but he still had fun. 

Reid spent forever painting these popsicle sticks.  After they dried I stuck them together with a dab of hot glue.  

Supplies: Ice is Nice by Dr. Suess, The Snowman Band of Snowboggle Bend by Cheryl Hawkinson and Snowflakes Fall by Patricia MacLachlan and Steven Kellogg

This was a fun craft for Reid.  Bonus point for not being messy.  
I used left over streamers from Reid's birthday party tore into little pieces for the snowflakes. 

Reid had a blast sticking the snow flakes to the contact paper and making it snow. 

Supplies: Babybug and Highlights High Five Magazines


All in all, it was a good first week of Tot School.  We had a lot of fun with each of these Tot Trays. 

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