Archive for March, 2010

The Azaleas are blooming!

April 2010
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April 2008


Quick and easy Easter eggs

Remember last year I made made these egg suncatchers with Maya and Clara?  Well, I still had the middle egg part of the foam sitting in Clara’s project box, so I decided we better use them up at some point!  This morning before Daddy took Clara to OMSI, we made some little Easter Egg collages.  They were easy and even Grandmoo got in on the action.

Step 1:  Cut out eggs from foam if you don’t have some stored in your art box.

Step 2:  Color on the eggs with markers while mommy gets the other supplies out.


Step 3:  Add glue!!

Step 4:  Put on beads, foam shapes, etc. as you see fit.  We ended up making some beach scene eggs.  Who knows where that came from.


Step 5: Hang them up somewhere for easter decorations!

I Spy Bottle

Back in January, when we were planning a crazy road trip to the Bay Area to meet my niece (which was weirdly snowed out), I made and bought a bunch on things to entertain Clara in the back seat of the car for hours at a time.  Most of them were fun for a while, but then she got over them.  The I Spy Bottle that I made has been a huge hit since then, though.  She likes to shake it up, then look at her “list” and see if she can find anything.  I got this brilliant idea from Pink and Green Mama.  Since we are doing some potty training this week and need to stay at home for a few days and we have a birthday party in need of a present on Sunday, we spent part of the day making one for Clara’s friend Sophia.  Shhh… don’t tell.  It’s a surprise!

Step 1: Gather a bunch of little items and take a picture of them.  This is what we put in Sophia’s bottle.  Clara’s has a bit more in it since I had more time to think about it.  It doesn’t take much, though and it could be anything that would fit inside an empty pop bottle.


Step 2: Put all your small objects into a clean, dry pop bottle with a lid. Make sure to look VERY serious while you do this.


Step 3: Add rice to fill up the space and “hide” the objects. All I had that I wanted to use today was brown minute rice (yuck!! I bought it once and decided that the 40 minute wait for normal brown rice was totally worth it) and that wasn’t all that pretty, so we added a few tablespoons of sequins to make it a bit nicer looking. Make sure that you leave at least an inch to two inches at the top so that you have room to shake it around to look for the objects.


Step 4: Hot glue all around the threads of the lid and twist it on tightly. That should keep toddler/preschooler fingers from opening it. You could alternatively use super glue if you had it.

Step 5: Print out your picture and cover it with contact paper. Punch a hole in it and tie it around the top of the bottle. That way you’ll know what objects to look for!

Step 6: Play “I Spy” or just shake it up and see what you can find!

Freezer Stockpile: V-8 Chili

This is going to be my last freezer stockpile recipe.  Not because I’m not enjoying it, but because my freezer is getting rather full, my due date is fast (although not fast enough…) approaching, and I have actually quite a few people who have asked if they can bring me food, too.  So, I think we’re set.

This is my favorite chili recipe.  It is BPA free, yummy in vegetarian style or bastardized with meat, and has a ton of veggies in it, which is great if your kid will eat it.  Clara eats it about half the time.  She used to love it, but now she thinks she doesn’t like chili anymore.  No problem, though.  She ate almost all of the different veggies and beans as I was making it.

V-8 Chili (adapted from a Cooking Light recipe)
3/4 lb. ground beef
1 onion
2-3 cloves garlic
2 red bell peppers
2-3 tomatoes
2 zucchini
1/2 -1 jalapeno
2 cups homemade black beans
2 cups homemade kidney beans
1 can of V-8, any variety (spicy, plain, low sodium, etc.)
Salt and pepper
2 T. cumin (more if you’re a Bassler)
2 T. chili powder
1/2 cup chopped cilantro

1) Chop all of your veggies while the ground beef browns in your dutch oven. If you would like to make this vegetarian, omit this step and add some olive oil. Make sure your toddler sou chef tastes all the veggies as you chop.
2) Add the veggies and cook for about five minutes, or until they begin to soften up. Add beans and the secret ingredient, the V-8. It won’t look like there is enough juice, but just you wait!

3) Add your spices and bring to a boil, then cover and turn down to a simmer for about an hour. Stir every once in a while. This will get very juicy. You might like that. I like my chili to be a little bit thicker, so I pulled off the lid for about the last 15 minutes and it thickened right up. Stir in the cilantro at the last minute. Serve with or without cheese and chips, on nachos, on loaded baked potatoes, or any other way you like to eat chili! This made about three meals worth of chili for us.

Baby birds!

What a beautiful spring day here!  I am loving it!  We went to the playground and had a picnic lunch. I have the best banana bread in the world baking as we speak (I needed to use up bananas).  The chickens are roaming the yard, happy as can be.  I’m about to go outside and plant my lettuce in the raised beds.  It’s sunny with a little breeze and I have been hanging outside in only a long sleeve t-shirt.  What could be better?  A post about baby birds, you say?  Why yes, I agree!

Clara has become obsessed with the idea of eggs and baby birds hatching.  Just in time for spring.  What a coincidence.  Actually, I had next to nothing to do with this obsession.  I only played off of it because it is awfully adorable to watch a toddler “hatch” plastic easter eggs in a nest made of pillows and then pretend to teach the baby birds how to fly.  We really have been doing a lot of that these days.

Grandpa Bob sent over this awesome bird’s nest in a bird house that Daddy built to look at. The eggs were so tiny! Smaller than jelly beans, even. I wish I knew what kind of bird’s eggs they are!

We have also been reading this “Cat in the Hat” book a lot. Clara has become a little obsessed with it. Which is okay. For our first real non-fiction reading, it’s not too bad. There are a ton of them, too, The Cat in the Hat’s Learning Library, so I may be getting more from the library. But, for now, I will be reading Fine Feathered Friends: A Book About Birds multiple times a day.

With this obsession in mind, I made her a little present. I knew she would love it. It was not a surprise, as she saw the book that I got the pattern out of and demanded that I make it for her, even though I was planning to anyway. It took me about a week of evening knitting after she was asleep. It would have been faster, but I was too tired on some nights to work on it. Which came first? The birdie or the egg? In this case, I know the egg came first ’cause I made it.

The baby bird hatches out of the egg, then can fly around the room to his heart’s content. I just used all sorts of leftover yarn that I had in my yarn bag, so the beak color is a little funky, but I like it. I took some pictures of Clara playing with it. Notice the attitude in the first one? The second is of her hatching her little egg.
I can think of worse things for a toddler to be amazed with! Maybe we’ll have to make a point of filling our bird feeder so we can see what comes to visit in our yard.

Freezer Stockpile: Zesty Slow Cooker Chicken

I admit it.  I’m exhausted.  It’s true.  It has caught up to me.  So, this easiest freezer stockpile recipe ever was perfect.  It took all of about five minutes of work.  I’m not even kidding.  I did it almost exactly as the recipe stated, but I’ll re-post it here.

Zesty Slow Cooker Chicken

  • 6 frozen skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 1 (12 ounce) bottle barbeque sauce
  • 1/2 cup Italian salad dressing
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce



  1. Place chicken in a slow cooker. In a bowl, mix the barbeque sauce, Italian salad dressing, brown sugar, and Worcestershire sauce. Pour over the chicken.
  2. Cover, and cook 3 to 4 hours on High or 6 to 8 hours on Low.  Shred chicken with two forks.

We served this on whole wheat hoagie rolls with lettuce and banana peppers with a side of sweet potato fries.  It was brilliant.  I didn’t get a picture of the presentation because we were hungry and they were good!!  But here’s the finished leftovers ready for the freezer.


Art Wall Update #3

Here’s the current art wall… with all new pictures!! Woo hoo!

Right to left, top to bottom:

1)  Feather collage birds (more about the bird obsession later)

2)  Cherry Blossoms

3) Fabric doll dress up (thanks, Courtney!)

4)  Tie-dye hearts (I only kept two out of about two dozen)

5)  Foam shape dinosaur (another obsession!)

6)  Shoelace painting (thanks, Michelle!)

7)  Snow Globe Snowman (no longer really all that seasonal, but I just love how these turned out and it did snow a little this week)

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