Friday, July 25, 2014

Pineapple Carrot Cake Meal Bars

In my never ending quest for protein and recent quest for weight loss I've been experimenting with meal replacement bars.  I really wanted something made with real food that included all the food groups.  This recipe is inspired by a lentil cookie recipe from and it is Chiquita and Mommy approved!

2/3 cups lentils
2 cups water
2 cinnamon sticks (or 2 tsp ground cinnamon)

2 large carrots
6 oz pineapple juice
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder

2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup rolled oats.

1 cup dried fruit (craisins, raisins, or any other dried fruit in small chunks)

Let the first three ingredients cook either in a pan on low heat or in a crock pot until the lentils are nice and soft.  Remove the cinnamon sticks and let cool.

Throw the lentils and the next 7 ingredients into a food processor and blend very well.  Add flour and oats and blend just until well mixed.  Stir in the dried fruit.

Pour the mixture into a greased 9" x 13" pan (nonstick spray works fine) and bake on 375 for about 30 minutes.  After cooled cut into 16 bars (a pizza cutter works great!).  They will go bad so I recommend refrigerating them unless they'll be eaten in a few days.  With Chiquita I actually call them cranberry cookies because she loves the cranberries so much.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Hands on Learning: Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop #18

My favorite from last hop were both projects that appeal to me for their kinetic aspect.  They got kids doing things with their hands to really connect the learning:

1. Architecture for Toddlers from Laugh and Learn.

2. Duck Tape Flags from In The Playroom.

  We hope you'll join in the party! Just follow these simple guidelines:
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  • Link up any creative kids culture posts. Such as language, culture, books, travel, food, crafts, playdates, activities, heritage, and holidays, etc. Please, link directly to your specific post, and no  giveaways, shops, stores, etc. 

Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop

  • Please  grab the button above and put it on your blog or the post you’re linking up. You can also add a text link back to this hop on your blog post.  Note: By sharing your link up on this blog hop you are giving us permission to feature your blog post with pictures,  and to pin your link up in our Creative Kids Culture Feature board on Pinterest. 

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Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Fishy Ocean Craft

This craft was inspired by this craft from "My Picture Art Class" by Nellie Shepherd
(the same book where we found the Funky Fish Hat).  Getting craft books from the library has been a fun was to decide in crafts while encouraging reading.  Chiquita likes to look at all the projects, but isn't concerned with the results looking like those in the book, thankfully.

  • Tissue paper
  • Cardboard
  • School glue
  • Glitter
  • Fish cut-outs
  • Crayons
  • Any other craft supplies you want
With all the supplies out, I and handed her the fish cut outs and just let her decorate them however she wanted, trying to keep direction to a minimum (confession: the orange and silver fish is mine).  I cut down a few of the fish into other creatures for variety: the sea star, shell and jelly fish.  Finally I had to tell Chiquita no more fish because our cardboard wasn't large enough for more creatures!

Originally I planned to paint the cardboard blue like suggested in the book, but when it came time I didn't want to pull out the paint and deal with the additional clean-up involved with painting.  So I separated out all the blue tissue paper and poured lots of glue on the cardboard.  We spread out the strips of tissue paper until the whole circle was covered.  Chiquita decided on the placement of all the sea creatures while I wielded the glue. 

I really like the result!  I'm hoping to display this a little more permanently - maybe in Chato's room or the bathroom.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Jamberry Nails Giveaway!

When was the last time you had cute nails?

As a mom, it had been a LONG time for me!  Between changing diapers, making dinner and typing away I couldn't even get the polish on all my nails before they were smudged.  I didn't want to "waste" precious babysitter time or my hard earned money at the salon.  I just thought cute nails weren't going to happen for me!

Then I discovered Jamberry!

Jamberry nails are gorgeous, trendy nail wraps that are easy and quick to apply.  There's NO dry time so I didn't have to stop my busy life for a minute.  There's so many designs that I had no trouble finding styles that spoke to me.

After trying Jamberry myself I saw how excited people around me were about these cute nails and before I knew it I became a consultant.  With all the compliments on my nails I almost couldn't help starting to sell.

To celebrate I want to give FOUR of my readers their choice of a mani or pedi!  Winners can pick one of the designs below (clockwise from top left): Etched Leaf, Decorative Black, Arrowhead, or Popsicles.

Of course, if you can't wait for the giveaway you can order them on my website:  Make sure you check out the option to host a Facebook party since you can win free wraps as a hostess as well!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, July 7, 2014

Recycled Fish Hat Craft

Have you checked out my Latest Giveaway?
*This post contains affiliate links.  If you follow them and make a purchase I receive a small commission.  I was not compensated in any way for this post and all opinions are mine.*

This craft was inspired by the Funky Fish from "My Picture Art Class" by Nellie Shepherd.  It was really just inspired because we did it totally different!

Cut a nice big hole in the side of your plastic bottle - big enough that it can sit on your head.  For Chiquita that meant a big oval that was almost the whole side of the bottle.  If they don't want to wear it you can leave your bottle intact.  Chiquita really loved the idea of a hat from the book.

Cut out a tail and dorsal fin from cardboard.  Attach them to the bottle with duct tape - go ahead and cover the pieces completely with duct tape in your chosen color.  The standard silver color is great for a fish!  I actually used the plastic that I cut out the bottle for this but since it's curved it was hard to work with and I wouldn't necessarily recommend that.

Use the big hole punch to make LOTS of scales.  I originally intended to just use old coloring pages but Chiquita wasn't really happy about mutilating her pictures so I added magazines.  The glossy paper from magazines was nice I thought.  Aluminum foil would be really nice but we didn't have any used around and I didn't want to use new.

Add a stripe of glue near the bottom of the bottle.  Have your kid add the scales.  Continue with another line of glue above that, encouraging them to overlap the scales a little over the previous row.  Add until you get to where the bottle starts to narrow.  Add little strips (to avoid wrinkles) of duct tape until the "head" is covered.  Color pupils on two white circles cut out with your hole punch and glue them on for eyes.

If you want punch two little holes on either side of the fish and add yarn or ribbon to tie in on your little one's head! 

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Recycled Flower Crown

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Chiquita loves to have friends over and usually I'm just fine with letting them have relaxed free play.  Sometimes they get restless before going home time though and it's nice to have a simple craft to keep everyone happy.  Sometimes I just break out the crayons or playdough, but this time I decided to help them make flower crowns

I really love my 1 inch hole punch, I didn't expect it, but it has been well worth the investment.  For the flowers I punch some petals from mostly white magazines and used circles I'd cut out previously from construction paper.  I had the girls select a construction paper circle for the center, added some glue for them and had them add at least five petals.  We used this as counting practice - "Do you have five petals yet?  How many petals do you have?  How many more do you need?"

When they got tired of making flowers I grabbed an empty cardboard box (truthfully, I emptied the last of the fruit snacks out of a not-so-empty box because it was the right size) and cut strips for the head bands.  Just a tip - I took the open box and tested putting it on their heads to make sure it was big enough.  Then I adjusted the strip to fit each of them and used some duct tape (very fashionable, I know) to make the circle.

We glued on the flowers and had a photo shoot!  Chiquita is so cute about taking pictures now - she loves to pose!  These crowns were totally recycled but I think they ended up looking really sweet.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Milo Armadillo

Photo source:
Chiquita and I just read this cute book, Milo Armadillo by Jan Fearnley, in Spanish, though it was originally written in English.  It's an adorable tale of a little girl who doesn't get what she wanted but ended up with just what
she needed - Milo Armadillo.

Chiquita loved this book so much that she started asking for an armadillo for her birthday.  I have some little skill in crochet and knitting so I thought I'd see if there was a pattern for the armadillo from the book.

Good news = There is!
Bad news = It's a little beyond what I can manage with a 5 month old in tow.

So, to Grandma and Auntie (who are knitting whizzes) - here's a little hint:  This pattern from the author on Ravelry and the book in English or Spanish would make an awesome birthday present.

*Update*  Apparently the Spanish version is out of print! Since it's $100+ I don't think this is likely as a birthday present for a pre-schooler.  Grandma has informed me her plan is to create a bilingual book by buying an English version and handwriting in the Spanish text!  I think it's a great idea and will make the book extra personal for Chiquita.