March 16, 2008

Pet Rocks

The other day I was looking for something to keep Max and his friends busy. We decided to make pet rocks. I had the boys go outside to collect some rocks. We came in a washed the rocks and divided them out. We had no idea what we were going to make. We just tried to use our imaginations. Max made a big yellow dog, Brock made a brown bear and Nicholas made a tiny green turtle. I made a lady bug for "Sadie Bug". I also ended up making a pig and a little duck (he reminds me of the one on Word World) It was a lot of fun. We just painted the rocks and glued them with the hot glue gun and used googly eyes and pipe cleaner for tails.

Travel Activity Book

We're going on a cruise in a few weeks and I wanted to make something to keep the kids busy on the plane to Florida. I got this great idea from Brad's Aunt Lynda. She made something like this years ago for her grandkids. I just kind of made it up from the way she described it. They turned out really cute. The total cost was probably $10 each.
6-8 gallon Ziploc Freezer bags with the plastic quick zip things
1-2 yards 1" ribbon
Toys from the dollar store ( ex.- chalk board/chalk, toy cars, plastic bugs, coloring books, crayons, stickers, card games, travel games, alphabet magnets, etc.)
I started out with a placemat that I found at Target. It was fabric with a plastic coating that you could wipe clean. I figured that would work great. I set the placemat lengthwise and face down and folded up the bottom about 2 1/2-3". Just enough to fit a coloring book in that spot. I sewed both sides up on the 3" part.Next, I turned the placemat right side up and sewed some ribbon along the length of the placemat down the center for the ties to keep the book closed. I left about 12-14" on each side to so I could tie. I just used tape rather than pins to hold the ribbon in place as I sewed the ribbon in place. I used a zigzag stitch just for fun.Next, I turned the placemat wrong side up and set the ziploc bags down so I could sew them down the center with a ribbon to keep them in place. The gallon bags are a little too long so when you lay them down, the seam end will overlap a few inches. I just made sure the zip end was about 1" away from the outside edge of the placemat. I set one bag on the left side and then the next on the right side, alternating and making sure the zip end was on the outer edge and the zipper was at the top of the book. (I hope this is making sense) I used tape to hold each bag in place .When that was done, I set the ribbon down the center of the bags. I cut the length of the ribbon about an inch longer than the book and tucked the raw edge between the ziploc bags and the placemat. I sewed down the center with zigzag stitch.It is done! From this point I just removed all my tape and filled the bags with items I purchased at the dollar store. I also found some cute things from Target's dollar section. I couldn't believe how much stuff I could fit in these books.
I made one for Max(3) and one for Sadie(14 mos). It was really easy to find stuff to fill Max's book. I'm having a hard time filling Sadie's. If you have any ideas on what could keep babies busy let me know. The only items I could think of were a cheerios, toys, books, mirror...let me know if you have any more ideas!

March 14, 2008

I'm Domestic

Ok, I'm officially domestic. I made my very own croutons yesterday. You heard me right, I made my own. I was out and I was making a salad and didn't want to go to the store. They turned out SOOOO good. Can you tell I'm proud of myself. Very simple, and very good. Way better than store bought. Here's the recipe.

Dill Croutons
1/4 cup butter
1/2 tsp dill
1/8 tsp. garlic powder or onion powder
8 slices french bread cut in 1/2 "slices then cut in 3/4" cubes.

Melt butter, add seasonings. Mix. Add cut up bread. Mix until bread is coated. Put on cookie sheet, spread them apart. Place in 300 degree oven for 10 minutes, stir then cook for an additional 5 minutes. Cool.

I had a dill seasoning mix from pampered chef that I used. It had dill, onion, and garlic in it, so I used 1/2 tsp + 1/8 tsp of the mix instead of the dill and powder. It turned out great.

You can also use parmessean cheese instead of dill for cheese croutons.

March 6, 2008

Chicken Tortilla Soup

This soup is way good. My mom brought me a pot of it and it went down quick! It has a lot of ingredients that you probably have in your pantry.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 med. carrots, finely chopped
2 tablespoons minced garlic
3 cups chicken broth
1 (14 oz.) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 cup mild picante sauce
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup frozen whole kernal corn
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/8 teaspoon paprika
2 cups chopped cooked chicken breast
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
Tortilla chips, sliced avacados, shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream

1. Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven over med. heat. Add onion, carrots and garlic. Cook until onion is tender, about 6 min.
2. Increase heat to high and add broth, tomatoes, picante sauce, beans, corn and spices. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 30 min. Add chicken and cilantro. Cook until thourghly heated.
3. Ladle into soup bowls and top with tortilla chips, sliced avacados, cheese, and sour cream, if desired. Serves 6
(If not eating immediately, add the cilantro at serving time for peak flavor.)

Crockpot Chile Verde

This is a great recipe with just a few ingredients. I just tried it for the first time the other night. It was really good and really easy!

Small Pork Roast (2-3 lbs?)
I 16 oz. jar Green Salsa Verde( I used mild La Victoria, I like it a little bit spicy so next time I think I will try medium)
1 16 oz. jar of your favorite salsa
1 tsp. cumin
Salt and Pepper to taste

Put the pork roast in the crockpot. Salt and pepper the roast. Poke holes in the roast, using a fork. Pour the jar of green salsa verde over top. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.
Remove pork from the crock pot and shred. Add the salsa and cumin to the remaining juices in the crockpot. Mix together. Add shredded pork to the mixture, combine together.
Serve chile verde mixture in warm tortillas with cheese and sour cream. Enjoy!