Tuesday, June 30, 2009

What's Cookin' --Beef and Broccoli Noodle Casserole

I had some leftover roast the other night and decided to be a little creative with it. I took this from several recipes and created my own casserole. The general idea came from my crockpot stroganoff recipe.

Beef and Broccoli Noodle Casserole
8 oz egg noodles (1.25)
1 small yellow onion (.25)
1 stalk celery (.10)
1 Tbsp butter (.10)
1 to 2 cups leftover beef roast, cup up ($1.50)
1 head of broccoli, chopped ($1)
1 can cream mushroom (.30)
1/4 cup sour cream (.25)
1 tsp Worcester sauce (.05)

Approximate cost $4.55

1. Cook egg noodles as directed. Drain.
2. Put cooked egg noodles in bottom of 9 x 13 casserole dish.
3. On medium heat, heat onion and celery through for about 3 minutes.
3. Combine soup, Worcester sauce, and sour cream in separate bowl. Mix well.
4. Mix broccoli, cut-up roast, onions, celery, and noodles together. Add soup mixture over top. Mix together if you wish.

** If you have more than 2 cups leftover roast, simply add more noodles, broccoli and use milk to make the sauce thicker.**

To see a dairy free version of this, go here.
Check out more $5 Dinner recipe ideas here!
For more great recipes check out The Grocery Cart Challenge!


This is my almost 2-year-olds interpretation of the fireworks we saw last weekend. We sat her down and told her to draw some fireworks. I'm impressed with her drawings.

Simple Tip

We went through many cans of formula with my daughter. She was on a special formula that came in 16 oz sizes only. Each came with a little scoop. I saved several of these scoops. I keep on in the sugar container. It measures 1 tablespoon, which seems to be a popular measurement for many recipes. It saves time grabbing a measuring spoon and also needing to clean and put away one more thing.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Double Coupon

I had a $1/1 coupon that was about to expire for Secret deodorant. This is my brand that I use, but I haven't seen it on sale anywhere lately. But I couldn't let it go, especially since it was a coupon for a brand I always use. So, for double coupon Wednesday at the grocery store I hadn't met my five coupons to double. I knew that Secret would typically be more expensive at the grocery store, but if I could save $2 on the product I hoped to get a good savings. Turned out that it wasn't that much more expensive, if at all at some stores -- a quarter if anything. Thus, I saved and got a product I really enjoy. Paid $2.49 for the new Flawless. Not too bad!

Other deals I got today:
$1.77 for 12 pack of caffeine free Pepsi (store promo limit 5)
$2 for 2 Dole fruit cups, 4 packs (doubled coupon for sale item)
$1.25 for 36 oz Heinz Ketchup (double coupon)
$2 for 8 ears of corn (store promo)
$3.99 for 12 double rolls Cottonelle Toilet paper (double coupon on sale item)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

What's Cookin' --Chicken Fried Steak

This is the only way I like to eat cube steaks. So good and delicious. A little work, but it's not too bad for the flavor you get in return.

Chicken Fried Steak
This recipe is adapted from www.cooksillustrated.com.

3 cups flour
salt and pepper to taste
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1 large egg
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
6 cube steaks
4 to 5 cups peanut oil (don't substitute with another oil)

1 medium onion, minced
1/8 tsp dried thyme
2 medium cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsp flour
1/2 chicken broth
2 cups whole milk
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
cayenne pepper

1. Measure flour, 5 tsp salt(I use much less salt) and 1 tsp pepper and cayenne into large shallow dish.
2. In second shallow dish beat egg, baking powder and baking soda. Stir in buttermilk -- mixture will foam and bubble.
3 . Set wire rack over rimmed baking sheet (I put wax paper down instead of a baking sheet for easier clean-up). Pat steaks dry with paper towel and sprinkle each side with salt and pepper.
4. Place steaks in flour mixture and coat. Shake off excess.
5. Then dip coated steaks in egg mixture and coat with flour mixture again. Shake off excess and place on wire rack.
6. Heat one inch oil to 375 degrees in dutch oven (I use a deep stainless steal pan).
7. Place three steaks in oil turning once until deep golden brown. About 5 minutes.
8. Put on paper towel lined plate to drain. Set on an wire rack placed in oven at 200 degrees.
9. Repeat steps 6 to 8 with remaining steaks.

For gravy
1. Carefully strain oil and put brown bits back in pan with 2 Tbsp frying oil.
2. Turn heat to medium and add onion and thyme for about 4 minutes.
3. Add garlic. Cook for about 30 seconds.
4. Add flour and stir well for about 1 minute.
5. Whisk in broth, scraping up any brown bits.
6. Whisk in milk, salt, pepper, and cayenne and bring to simmer on medium-high heat.
7. Cook until thickened about 5 minutes.
8. Spoon gravy over steaks.

**My husband likes this without the gravy, but it is so good not to make the gravy with it that I always make it.

For more great recipes checkout The Grocery Cart Challenge!

Think outside the box

My daughter just loves the moon. So anything with the moon in it has cheers for days. Recently I borrowed Go,Diego, Go! - Moonlight Rescue from the library and it was on our TV every day for the two weeks we had it.

If you look on nickjr.com you can find a lot of printables. I found this moon puzzle printable. I laminated with contact paper, added magnetic tape to the back and put it on my daughter magnetic board that we have screwed onto the wall at her level. Simple way to take a coloring page to the next level. Of course, she is just happy carrying the moon around with her.


After buying a new item, I take a second look to see if there are characters on another tag as I'm removing price tags. If it is a Dora shirt or Princess shoes (not that we buy these that often and on sale when we do), they often come with a bonus. The tags are usually made of cardstock with a cute picture. How can you let that go to waste? With a quick lamination they become a lasting treasure. Well, as lasting as anything is in the hands of a toddler.

I typically laminate or use clear contact paper and place magnetic tape on the back. I put them on the refrigerator for my daughter to play with. She may bend them or they might get lost. But that's okay -- it cost me hardly anything to make. I also do this with magazine pictures. I rotate the magnets for variety.

Monday, June 22, 2009

$5 Dinner Challenge -- Scallops and Bacon Spaghetti

The original idea for this came from this recipe, which tastes so good. Tonight I changed it up a little and added scallops (my grocery store sells small scallops on sale for $1 for 8 oz) and broccoli. Granted they aren't the highest quality of scallops I could buy, they still taste pretty good. This recipe could easily be done with fresh scallions and broccoli from the garden cutting the cost down in order to buy higher quality scallops.

Scallops and Bacon Spaghetti
16 oz small scallops ($2)
2 slices bacon (.80 or less)
1 broccoli head, chopped (.99)
1 cup scallions (.10)
3/4 lb spaghetti (.75)
2 cloves garlic (.25)
1 tbsp lemon juice (.15)
Total = $5

1. In large pot cook pasta. Drain when done and reserve 1/2 cup pasta water.
2. While pasta is cooking, fry bacon in large skillet on medium until browned -- 6 to 8 minutes.
3. Put bacon on paper towel using slotted spoon.
4. Add broccoli, scallions, and garlic to skillet. Cook, stirring frequently.
5.Add scallops for 3 to 5 minutes.
6. Add 1/4 cup of pasta water and bring to just a boil.
7. Add scallop mixture and lemon juice to pasta. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Thin sauce with pasta water as needed.
8. Sprinkle with bacon on top.

For more frugal recipes, check out the $5 Challenge!

Father's Day Weekend

Saturday it finally felt like summer. The air was warm and we did "summer" things. In the morning, we went to the farmer's market on a mission to find strawberries. I realized that strawberries are one of the few fruits that I don't get a big allergic reaction from making them very highly wanted when they are in season. We grabbed some other vegetables and listened to a live children's band, which my daughter loved. She was dancing all around and for some reason had to do it in the hot sun.

After my daughter's nap we got the bikes ready and took a bike ride. In the four plus years that my husband and I have been together, we have yet to take a bike ride. I used to bike all the time before I met him. He bought a bike last year with a trailer for our daughter to ride in, but last year my body wasn't up for bike riding. On Saturday, we biked 12 miles around a local lake. It was a little more than I expected to do for the first time riding for so many years, but we did it. And with nothing more than tired muscles the next day -- no soreness. This makes me happy that we can do a fun activity (mostly free) as a family and that I am back to my normal activity level. It really seemed to take almost two years for me.

For Father's Day we hung around the house. I made these tasty muffins. I think my husband didn't realize how much he need to just take a day off. And yesterday was a good excuse to do it.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Make your own mixes

I just found this website that has several ideas for making your own mixes at home.  Check it out here!  Surely using these would save some money.

Here are some examples of mixes listed:
Poultry seasoning
Italian dressing
Homemade Stove Top
Onion soup mix
Rice seasoning
Baking mix
Ranch dressing seasoning
Shake and Bake mix

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Target and Customer Service

If you check out and notice that something didn't ring up right, go to customer service.  Yes, it takes more time and even more patience, but it can really pay off.

Earlier this week I was on a mission at Target to get a deal on Pull-Ups.  They have a promotion that after purchasing three packages at $8.99 each you also get a $5 gift card.  I also had two $5 off coupons and one $3 off coupon.  Making this a really good deal.   I've never purchased Pull-Ups before.  I've been getting great deals on Easy-Ups at Target combined with coupons. 

I picked up my three packages that were right above the sign with the promotion.  Turned out to be the wrong size after I consulted customer service after checking out.  I was happy to get the right size and the $5 gift card.  The manager went to check out the signage and adjusted the cost for me for the packages I had picked up.  They were out of the jumbo size, adding to the confusion  So I actually got three mega packs for the price of three jumbo packs.  Since he did the adjustment they couldn't give me the $5 gift card, which was fine.  I felt I got a pretty good deal.  I actually only spent about $15 on 132 Pull-Ups after my coupons.  The customer service rep even gave me a $3 off coupon for a future purchase.  It pays to be polite.  

Now I worry that I am so stocked up on training pants that my daughter will be trained to quickly.  

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

What's Cookin' -- Fried Potatoes

This is one of those recipes that probably isn't that healthy for you.  But we really like to have fried potatoes once in a while.  With my daughter's milk allergy I hardly ever add butter to vegetables anymore.  This is one big exception.  She, of course, doesn't get to eat these.

Fried Potatoes
2 Tbsp shortening
2 Tbsp butter
1 small to medium onion
5 medium potatoes, sliced
salt and pepper to taste

1. Slice potatoes 1/4 inch thick.
2. Slice onion into strips.
3. Meanwhile preheat shortening and butter in nonstick skillet on medium heat on stove.
4.  Add onions and potatoes to melted butter and shortening. Stir often. Cook for about 30 minutes or until potatoes are done.  You may need to turn down the heat on the stove if it cooks too fast. 

**Different stoves act differently, so I would recommend cooking on a lower setting the first time until you know how quickly the potatoes will cook** 

Check out more recipes at The Grocery Cart Challenge!

Father's Day Ideas

Here a couple of items we have created for Father's Day.

The idea for this Father's Day card was inspired here.  In order to make it a toddler friendly project here are a couple techniques I used.  I cut out the pattern on blue paper (actually fed it through the printer), I colored an eye, I cut out large pieces of colored paper and used a small paintbrush to put glue on the back of each piece.  My daughter picked the color she wanted to add after I put glue on the piece she stuck it on the fish.  We put on as many as she wanted.  Note when doing a project like this have everything ready in advance, including a washcloth.  I noticed she really enjoyed glueing the pieces so I grabbed a another piece of paper and let her continue gluing on that sheet.  Don't every stop the project because you are done.  Let them create.

This is a really super and heartwarming gift. Simply (ha, ha) paint your child's hands and make handprints.  I chuckle because this is never any easy task with my daughter.  We ended up doing more finger painting after making the handprints, so have extra paper ready.

You could be more creative than me and use a heart or make it more like a card.  This was the best I could come up with the day I did it. My 22-month-old is into everything these days and this poem fits perfectly.  
Sometimes you get discouraged
Because I am so small
And always leave my handprint
On furniture and wall

But everyday I'm growing
(I'll be all grown someday)
And all those tiny hand prints
Will surely fade away.

So here's a final handprint
Just so you can recall
Exactly how my fingers looked
When they were very small.

© T. Lambert, Jr.  May 1978

For more poems go here.

This is a similar project to what I did last year.  It is a laminated book with pictures of my daughter with her daddy.  Each page has familiar text making it easy for her to look at and "read."  Each page starts with Me and my daddy... and is finished with an activity such as read or go to the zoo.  Last years was "I love my daddy because..."  Not seen in the photo: I still have to hole punch the sides and I use binder rings to hold the book together. 

Monday, June 15, 2009

Garden planning

I posted a while back about how we have 10 garden beds in the backyard at the house we are renting.  During the time it was to plant the seeds and plants, I was was in allergy misery (and although it's better, I'm still worn out because of all the sneezing).  So, my ambitious husband got the garden rolling and has been doing the upkeep.  We have so many vegetables coming up that I'm a little worried what we are going to do with them all.  I figure having some recipes in mind and freezing option available is the only way to stay organized once all these vegetables start coming in the house.  Of course, we will probably give a lot away, too.

I recently picked up Preserving Summer's Bounty, edited by Susan McClure and the staff of the Rodale Food Food Center at the library and it's been a useful tool in helping figure out what to do and make.  I really like that this books breaks down how to blanch common vegetables and that it has a lot of recipes that are relevant to using the foods grown in a garden.  It also has tips for freezing, canning, preserving and drying fruits and vegetables. 

Here is a start of some recipes and freezing ideas I've come up with.  
Frozen Broccoli
Zucchini fries
Frozen beans
Beans with onions
Frozen squash
Tomato Sauce
Tomato Paste
Tomatoes frozen
Frozen Peppers
Pasta Salads
Frozen Peas

Baked goods
carrot cake
carrot muffins
pumpkin bread
pumpkin pie
zucchini bread

Combinations of frozen vegetables
Broccoli, cauliflower, carrots
Peas and carrots

This is just my first reflection about what I'm planning to do.  I'll be adding to this list as I come up with more ideas!  Any suggestions are helpful, too.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The worst haircut I've ever gotten

I had to leave my awesome hairstylist behind a few moves ago.  We've moved a couple times in the last few years and it presents a challenge for me to find someone skilled to cut my hair.   Bumble and Bumble products are great for my hair and after college I began to see a stylist at a Bumble and Bumble salon. At that salon had the best stylist I have ever had.  She was the type who I could say cut it anyway you want and it always turned out great.  When I moved in with my husband I went to a different Bumble and Bumble salon and the stylists that cut my hair there do a very good job -- no complaints.  But with the next move, I struggled.  The first stylist cut my fine, thin hair into a less than functional style for my hair.  I searched for a Bumble and Bumble salon, but none were in the area.  I went to an Aveda salon, which was okay.  But it just seemed that I never got that polished haircut.  You see my hair is hard to cut and style.  It's limp, thin and fine.  It can't just be cut without knowledge and skill.  I settled for this salon until our recent move.  After our last move here I went to a nearby Aveda salon that charge $34 a haircut.  I just couldn't pay that much for a haircut.  Not to mention that the stylist didn't give it that polished look either. It was a good haircut, but not worth nearly $40 by the time I pay tip.  

My husband, who knows how hard I try to save every penny and dime, suggested I go to the place that cuts his hair.  They charge $15. Note I call it a place.  It's one of the "places" you see on every other corner.  He said it's always busy and was confident they could give me a "professional" haircut (his words, not mine).  I thought I could at least give it a try. You never know. So I called this place the other day and gave my sob story.  I have fine, thin hair and I need to find someone who can cut it.  The guy who answered the phone said he could cut it.  He had cut my husband's hair in the past, so I thought we'll give it a try.  My husband thought he would do a good job, too.

So, I walk into this place and the receptionist was on the phone trying to figure out dinner.  She put the phone on hold and I told her I had an appointment.  She said have a seat.  The stylist who I thought was cutting my hair was doing a highlight.  A few minutes later, the receptionist called me to her chair saying she had to catch up on some e-mails (while I waited).  I guess she was cutting my hair.  I explained again that I had my fine, thin hair and need a style that grows out well.  I said the style that Victoria Beckham had a few years ago works really well in my hair.  She was confident and opted not to shampoo my hair.  Instead she spritzed water on my hair and on my eyes.  Okay.  She was interrupted a couple times with phone calls and walk-ins.  She put a cut into it and I told her she could go shorter.  She eventually got to a point where she asked me if she should layer it more or not.  I don't know.  I said just do what works.   She was rough with the comb -- again I have no hair to start with.  Kept squirting the water in my eyes.  I watched a the ways she cut the hair and thought "that's an interesting way to cut it."  A couple times she showed me the right side only and it looked okay.  Not a great job, but I figured it would do for another month.  As I was paying, I noticed she was the manager.  I used my $2 off coupon from the back of my grocery receipt and headed on my way.  I looked in the car mirror on the way home and couldn't believe how bad it looked.  I thought maybe the back is better or I just need to blow dry it out so it looks better.  When my hair air dries, there's not much life to it.

I came home and showed my husband.  He didn't see it at first.  Then we started to analyze together a little more.  Chunks missing in the back.  The left side had a really short layer in the middle giving me less hair.  That Victoria Beckham cut, that was supposed to make me look like I have more hair, was attempted on the left side while the right side had an entirely different style.  The back was so layered, it literally looked like someone just took a scissors to my hair in an angry rage.  

The next day I tried to style it again and again and again and there was just nothing I could do with it.  I called the place and told the person who answered that I was not happy with the cut I got.  She told me they guarantee their cuts for seven days.  I said "I'm not going back to your salon, I see what you can do."  She pushed me off to the corporate office and was told a refund check would be mailed to me shortly.  Also mentioned was giving that stylist more classes and education.  

So, I then tried to find a reasonably priced salon and that was a challenge.  I called around to the Bumble and Bumble salons and most of their haircuts are around $40.  In a city of nearly half a million people, there has to be someone who can cut my hair.  My next plan of attack was to try the mall.  I've been to the mall at night and notice that most of the salons in the mall aren't busy.  Not a good sign.  So, I called the JCPenny salon.  Gave my sob story again along with the "I need someone to fix a bad haircut" plea.  Thankfully, I was able to get in that night and had a fantastic stylist.  She not only fixed the haircut, but listened and knew what do do.  There were a few layers that were cut too short in the bad haircut that she said need time to grow out.  But she did a great job -- hooray, I found someone.  Price wasn't too bad -- $28.  I'll pay it if I can get a good cut and the fact that she could fix that awful haircut means she's got a little skill to say the least.  My husband said he could tell the difference once he saw the better haircut.

I can't believe the stylist that gave me that terrible haircut was the manager of the place.  She didn't show me the left side or the back, which was just a mess. Did she think I wouldn't notice when I got home? If she made a mistake, she should have tried to fix it or at lease admit she messed up.  My husband said, you would think the manager would be the most skilled.  Well, we learned that's not the case.  

JCPenny Deal

Yesterday, I went and had my hair done at the JCPenny salon (story coming on that).  I looked around the store after, and saw that they had T-shirts for my daughter at $3.19 each.  Great deal all alone, but I had a $10 of $10 coupon and from my salon visit I could fill out a survey to obtain a coupon for 15% off total purchase.  I went back this morning with my coupons in hand and my plan.  I purchased five 4T T-shirts with the hopes of paying about $1 per shirt.  Since we are pretty stocked for the summer, I chose the next size up for my daughter.  

Here's how the total broke down:
Original Price: 5 shirts at 7.99 each ($41.95 with tax)
Sale Price: 5 shirts at $3.19 each ($16.75 with tax)
After 15 percent off: $14.24 total
After $10 off coupon: $3.75 total (tax was adjusted to new cost)

So, I got five shirts for $3.75.  That is 75 cents a shirt.  Ah, that feels so good to get a great deal!!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

It Really Works

I recently have been sending compliment e-mails to companies who have brands that I love.  I have gotten several free products from just sending e-mails and saying why I like their product.  I am pretty brand loyal with many items. 

If you have a product that you like, but don't know who makes it just Google it and normally the company will come up with it. 

One company that I've gotten a couple free items from is SC Johnson.  I recommend that you are honest and don't lie just to get free stuff.  They value the comments they receive and I'm sure they use the information for marketing products.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

What's Cookin' -- Banana Bread

This is my favorite, favorite, favorite banana bread recipe.  I actually like it so much, I haven't even tried another recipe in years.  I usually make two loaves and freeze one for later. 

Banana Bread
This recipe is from the Betty Crocker Cookbook.

1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter (I use unsalted)
2 large eggs
1 1/2 mashed bananas (3 to 4 medium bananas)
1/2 cup buttermilk -- see note below
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup nuts, optional (I usually omit this)

1. Preheat oven 350 degrees
2. Grease two loaf pans 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 2 1/2 or 1 loaf pan 9 x 5 x 3 inches.
3. Mix sugar and butter in large bowl.
4. Stir in eggs until well blended.
5. Add bananas, buttermilk, and vanilla.
6. Beat until smooth.
7. Stir in flour, baking soda, and salt until moistened.
8. Stir in nuts.
9.  Pour into two loaf pans or one loaf pan.
10. Bake for 1 1/4 hours or until toothpick is clean.
11.  Cool and enjoy.

**If you're like me you don't normally have buttermilk. If you use powdered buttermilk stored in the pantry, you don't need to make a run to the store when you have ripe bananas. **

For more great recipes, check out The Grocery Cart Challenge!

Great Website

There are some great printables on this Website called Childcareland.  Here's a link to the free printables!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Outdoor fun for a toddler

There are so many things to do outside.  My almost 2-year-old loves to be outside. Here is a list of things you can do with a toddler that will keep it fun and interesting.

  • Go for a walk in the stroller.  Talk about what you are going to see before, what you see during and what you saw after to get back home.  
  • Use a toy wagon or stroller and have your toddler take a baby or toy for a walk.  They can carry it, too.  This works on walking next to you.
  • Sidewalk chalk is fun to draw on the sidewalk.
  • Play with a ball.  Kick, throw, roll, catch, etc.
  • Play fetch with the dog.
  • Play in a sandbox.
  • Play with water in a water table or large rubbermaid bin.
  • Go to the park.
  • Find an open area at the park and run, run, run,
  • Use water to paint the sidewalk or wooden fence with a large paintbrush.
  • Ride bikes.
  • Go for wagon rides.
  • Listen for sounds -- birds, airplanes, squirrels, dogs, the wind, etc.
  • Look for the sun, moon and clouds.
  • Smell the flowers.
  • Talk about different flowers.  Teach the proper names if you know them.  
  • Look for bugs.  We often sing the Ants go Marching on our walks when she holds my hand.  Marching usually goes along with this.
  • Look at the different colors you see outside.
  • When we swing, I ask my daughter open ended questions.  She loves it.
  • Take a blanket and read some stories outside.  I haven't tried this with my busy bee, yet.  But I plan to soon!
Just a few ideas!  Have fun!

Blog Anniversary!

My one year blog anniversary was last week!  We were on vacation at the end of the week, so I wasn't able to post.  I thought it would be fun to post some highlights of the last year.  

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Rice Pilaf

Here's a nice alternative to plain rice and I really like to use it when I have veggies to use up.  I always like recipes that taste good and are made with ingredients I normally have on hand.   I found this recipe in Preventions Cookbook: Quick recipes for and from the freezer.

Here's the recipe if you plan to freeze it.

Rice Pilaf
1/4 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp butter (I omit this due to my daughter's milk allergy)
6 cups white rice, uncooked
2 cups chopped carrots
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped onion
8 tsp chicken boullion granules (I used 4 bouillion cubes)
4 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp pepper
4 freezer bags, 1 gallon

1. Heat olive oil and butter in large skillet over medium heat.
2. Add rice carrots, celery, and onion. Cook until rice is brown -- 5 to 7 minutes.
3. Cool rice.
4. Divide rice mixture into freezer bags (about 3 cups each). Into each bag add one bouillon cube, tsp parsley and 1/4 tsp pepper.
5. Seal and freeze.

To serve
1. Place frozen pilaf with 3 cups of water. 
2. Bring to boil, reduce heat.  Cover and let cook for 20 minutes or until water is absorbed.

For more great recipes, check out The Grocery Cart Challenge!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Make it up

We do a lot of singing around our house.  A lot.  Probably hours every day.  We have our favorite songs and we often change the words to our favorites to sing about what we are doing.  My daughter just loves making up new songs.  

Here's an example of one we made up swinging outside.

The Airplane in the Sky (to the tune of "The Wheels on the Bus")
The airplane in the sky goes vroom, vroom, vroom
Vroom, Vroom, Vroom
Vroom, Vroom, Vroom
The airplane in the sky goes vroom, vroom, vroom
All across the sky

(At this point I asked my daughter what other things are in the sky and we made up verses as she thought of them)

The sun in the sky shines brightly down, brightly down, brighly down
The sun in the sky shines brightly down all day long

The birds in the sky go tweet, tweet, tweet
 tweet, tweet, tweet
 tweet, tweet, tweet
The birds in the sky go tweet, tweet, tweet 
All day long

The moon in the sky shines on down
Shines on down, shines on down
The moon in the sky shines on town 
All night long

The stars in the sky twinkle, twinkle, twinkle
Twinkle, twinkle, twinkle
Twinkle, twinkle, twinkle
The stars in the sky twinkle, twinkle, twinkle
All night long

The clouds in the sky blow on by, blow on by, blow on by
The clouds in the sky blow on by
All day long

Making up songs is so much fun and really get that little brain working.  She was the one to come up with what is in the sky and surprisingly only picked things that are in the sky.  

Packing for vacation

We are taking a short 4-day vacation later this week.  Organizing can sometimes be a challenge when you have a toddler to pack for.  On top of that she needs dairy-free meals, so we have to make sure we have enough food for her along with soy milk.

Packing Tips:
1. Start one week before leaving.  This doesn't mean get the suitcases packed, but make a list and set some things aside that you will need.
2. Make a list.  Include everything.  I find that when I am packing I think of other items I need to take and if I don't write it down, I'm likely to forget it.  The thing with packing is that there is so much to organize that a list is the only way to go.
3.  Take a little extra than you think you need.  Take a few extra diapers, a extra change of clothes and a second pair of shoes.  You just never know what can happen.
4. Use baggies for traveling.  I put lots of things in baggies from my hot chocolate to spoons to napkins to shampoo.  The baggies in return can be used for garbage, such as diapers.  I also like that it is a little easier to find things if they are contained in a baggie.
5. Anticipate all weather.  At least in the Midwest.  
6. Don't forget medicine.  I always take some Tylenol and Benadryl for my daughter.  You just never know.  We always carry some ibuprofen for ourselves.
7. Have some cash with you.  Sometimes you just need a couple bucks here and there.
8.  Pack cooler with lots of ice if traveling long distance.
9. Pack new toys/books or favorite toys that have been out of sight for a while.  This will help in the car and to entertain while vacationing.  
10.  Have easy snacks for the car.  Cheerios, raisins, and other things that aren't too crumby. 


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