Monday, February 14, 2011

Yummy Mexican Pizza

We love pizza around here.  I try to do pizza night about once a week.  This is one of our favorite pizzas and it is so easy to make.  My girls LOVE it too!

1.  Roll out pizza dough (fresh or purchased).

2.  Put crust on cookie sheet--I always use my Pampered Chef baking stone.  (I poke it with a fork to avoid bubbles.)

3.  Top with refried beans for the sauce.  (I know it sounds crazy, but it IS really good!)

3.  Add any toppings you would enjoy.  We chose chicken and peppers.  (I have also used ground beef.)

4.  Top with cheese and bake following your crust's directions.  We bake ours at 400 for about 15 minutes. 

5.  Enjoy!   

Games with Younger Children: Mancala

I was organizing the other day (an actual love of mine, yes, I have a problem!) and all of our non-kid games were giving me the sad eyes.  They were longing to get out and get played with.  Because our children aren't going to be really ready to use them for a long time, there isn't much chance they will come out anytime soon.  Soo, I decided instead of playing them the real way, we were going to need to do some modifications.  

I got out Mancala and decided it could become an organizing game instead.  The girls organized the little pieces by color.  They loved it.  Then, I asked them how we should play and they came up with other games.

If you haven't played it in awhile, there are really small pieces, so you will only want to get this out if you have bigger, small children! 

Cheesy Fresh Mushrooms

Here is an appetizer my mom made for us while we were growing up!  Cheesy Fresh Mushrooms.  Super easy and super tasty.  The only problem with sharing this with you right now is that I don't currently have the ingredients to make them!

1.  Wash mushrooms and scrub off any remaining dirt.  Pop stems out.

2.  Enlist assistant ;) to put a small cube of cheese in the mushrooms. We used Cheddar.

3.  Broil on high on foiled cookie sheet for about 5 minutes. 

4.  You want the cheese to be browned and the mushrooms to be soft.  I squeezed them to be sure they were done.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Barnes and Noble Online Storytime

Barnes and Noble has an online storytime that is really fun!  Each month they feature a book that is read outloud, usually by the actual author.  The pictures of the book show like a little mini movie while it is being read.  My girls really enjoy watching them!  (You can also watch the archived ones.)  This month is Pinkalicious by Victoria Kann.  Click here to check it out!

Online Storytime - Victoria Kann's Pinkalicious | Save 45% on Victoria Kann Books

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Free Kids Gardening Kit

If your house is like ours this will be an easy and enjoyable freebie to do because we always have Annie's Mac & Cheese. You just need to go here and have two UPC codes from Annie's products you have purchased between now and April 30, 2011 and they will send you a free gardening kit. My daughter will be excited when this arrives because she has already been asking when we are going to plant our garden. I think she is ready for spring or at least just ready for her never ending supply of cherry tomatoes in the garden!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Cheap and Easy Calendar Puzzles

Take advantage of those clearanced calendars and turn them into a fun puzzle! 

I used my new paper trimmer (love it!) and cut them into one inch strips.  I numbered them at the bottom as I cut them off. 

If you cut more than one puzzle make sure to mark them somehow so that you don't get them mixed up.  I put "A" on the back of my first ones and "B" on my second ones.  You could use stickers on the back as well.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Tips for Painting with Children

Now, I am not the biggest fans of 3 and 4 year olds covered in paint and therefore covering other things in paint, but my girls love to paint!  So, being the crazy lady that I am I let them do it...sometimes.  Here are a few tips I have learned while painting.

1.  Make paint shirts out of old shirts that have been stained and are going to get thrown away. 

2.  Use lids from finished food containers like peanuts or peanut butter for holding paint.

3.  Use cotton swabs or cheap foam brushes as easy paint brushes that can be thrown away.

4.  If you are looking for a large piece of paper to paint, cut open brown grocery sacks.

Annie Chun's Dinner Party

Recently I won an Annie Chun's dinner party!  They sent a prize box with all the rice, noodles, and sauces for 3 meals to choose from.  (I actually squealed when I got the box!)  I have to admit that I am not always a huge Asian food fan, but because my husband loves it and I love to try new recipes and food I thought it would be fun.  Wow!  I was totally blown away by how amazing their products tasted.  Another big deal for me is that all their products are natural.  Love that.

Our meal included:
1.  Appetizer:  Thai Satay

1 lb lean beef, pork, lamb, chicken or prawns
2 TBSP fish sauce or light soy sauce
1/2 cup Annie Chun's Thai Peanut Sauce
1 tsp Curry powder
1/4 cup fresh chopped basil leaves, cilantro or fresh lemongrass (if using lemongrass, slice crosswise into thin slices)
1 tsp fresh chopped red chili or dried red chili

1.  Cut meat into thin 1-2 inch strips and set aside. 
2.  In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well. 
3.  Marinate meat in sauce for 1-2 hours. 
4.  Thread meat pieces onto skewer and broil or barbeque. 
5.  You can also warm peanut sauce to brush on during cooking or for a dip after cooking.  Serves 2

Verdict:  Everyone loved this!  Our dinner guests were 9 adults and 13 kids under the age of 7 and they all loved it.  The kids kept coming back for more.  This was super easy to make and looked impressive. 

2.  Main Dish:  Classic Chicken Chow Mein

1/2 package of Annie Chun's Chow Mein Noodles
2 TBSP vegetable oil
1 clove minced garlic
1/2 tsp fresh grated ginger
1 cup of boneless skinless chicken breasts, thinly sliced
1 cup sugar snap peas
1/2 medium purple onion
1 cup julienned bell pepper (yellow, red, or orange)


6 TBSP of Annie Chun's Chinese Stir Fry Sauce

  1. Cook noodles as directed (al dente); drain, rinse and set aside.
  2. In a wok, heat vegetable oil over medium high heat.
  3. Add garlic, ginger and chicken to wok and stir fry for 3-4 minutes or until chicken is cooked.
  4. Then add onion, snap peas, and bell peppers to chicken and cook 2-3 minutes more, just until vegetables are crisp.
  5. Add in sauce and noodles.  Stir fry until ingredients are well mixed and coated with sauce.
  6. Serve immediately.  Serves 2-3

Verdict:  The adults all loved this as well.  The noodles were super yummy and fun.  The sauce had an amazing flavor.  The kids weren't as into this one, but some did like it. 

(Picture is before the coconut sauce was added.)

3.  Dessert
Black Peal Sticky Rice with Mango and Coconut Sauce
(We used the bananas to make it more kid friendly.)
1 can (28 oz) of coconut milk
7 TBSP white sugar
1 peach or ½ Mango or ½ Banana (sliced up)
1 package of Annie Chun’s Rice Express Black Pearl Rice

1.  Move coconut milk from can to bowl for mixing with sugar.
2.  After mixing the sugar with coconut milk in the bowl, heat it up for 2 min in the microwave.  Stir and make sure sugar is dissolved.
3.  Heat up Black Pearl Rice for 1 min in the microwave (as directed on packaging), and place rice on plate.
4.  Add sliced fruit on the rice and pour ¼ cup of heated coconut milk on the top.
5.  If the fruit is not sweet enough, add more sugar to the coconut milk or sprinkle a bit of sugar on top of the fruit and coconut milk.
Serves 2

Verdict:  Yum!  I was a little nervous about how this was going to turn out, but it was so great.  The adults were in LOVE.  Several of them commented on how they liked how it felt like such a healthy dessert.  The kids were split on about half of them liking it and half not caring for it as much. 

We had so much fun creating and participating in this dinner party.  Everyone had such a great time and the food was absolutely amazing.  We live in a small town and so we were talking about where we can go to get Annie Chun's products.  If you wonder that same thing, click here and it will take you to the store locator section of their website. 

Here is the video we took of the party.

These are some of our favorite products we have tried so far.  I wanted to show you their pictures so that you know what you are looking for in the store!

Chow Mein Noodles 3D    Korean Barbeque Sauce   Thai Peanut Sauce     Chinese Stir Fry Sauce   Black Pearl Rice 3D

The Alphabet’s Healthiest Food Academy

Looking for some healthy, kid-friendly recipes? Check out the blog Super Healthy Kids. Amy is going to start a fun new series tomorrow called The Alphabet's Healthiest Food Acadamy where she is going to feature a new letter each week for 26 weeks. She'll give us healthy food ideas and recipes for that letter. PLUS, she is doing a giveaway each week!! 

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Popcorn: Over the Stove

One of our favorite snacks is popcorn.  We have it several times a week.  My air-popper died and I didn't want to buy a new one because I enjoyed the space in my cupboard it left behind.  I remembered that when I was a child we used to make the popcorn over the stove.  I thought I would give it a try--yum!  Sooo good!  And, soo easy.

Here is how to make it:
1.  Put a large pot on the stove.  (Get large bowl ready to dump finished popcorn in.)

2.  Add oil to lightly coat bottom of pan.  (I don't measure it.  I did for this post and used 2 tablespoons.)

3.  Add enough popcorn to cover the bottom of the pan in a single layer. (I also don't measure this.  I used 1/3 cup for this time.)

4.  Turn stove to medium-high. 

5.  When the popcorn starts to pop, turn the stove off and shake the pan back and forth over the burner until the pops are almost done.  

6.  When the pops are almost done, take off the pan and dump the popcorn into the bowl.  Shake a little salt on if you would like and enjoy!!

Getting to know us: Cheri

Who am I? I have been struggling to figure this out for the last three and a half years. Since I was about 7 years old I wanted to be a teacher, then was studying to be a teacher, and finally I was a teacher. After my daughter was born I left teaching to be a mom and struggle find my identity again. Now I have come to realize it's because I am no longer just a teacher. I am now a teacher, a wife, a mom, a chef, a maid, a chauffeur, an event coordinator, and so much more Some days I miss being just a teacher, but really I won't trade it for the world. I taught special education and kindergarten and now get to be a part time stay at home mom and part time barista serving people their morning coffee before my loving husband starts his day. This allows me to be home with my beautiful girls (3 and 1 month) most of the time. We live in the wonderful rocky mountains and try to enjoy the beautiful world God has created around us any chance we get. So, come on over and enjoy a latte or a hike.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Getting to know us: Emily

Born and raised in Iowa, I have wanted to be a teacher since I was little.  I had the opportunity to teach some with Title 1 Reading and then in a combined 5th and 6th grade classroom in a Christian school.  Now though I spend most of my time teaching my 3 girls (4, 3, and 11 months) as I am a stay-at-home mom.  I have been married to my biggest supporter for almost 9 years now.  We are a good team and a true definition to the phrase “opposites attract”!  I love talking, coffee, laughing, cooking, reading blogs, and did I mention talking?  I love creating and want to learn how to build furniture.  (Although I don’t know how to use them, I love tools!)  I enjoy being frugal and have a new fascination with being rather granola-y!


We are glad to have you here.  Thanks for stopping by.  Our hope is that you will be encouraged and get some ideas to use along your journey in parenting!