Wednesday, June 29, 2011

How to Make your own Play Sandbox

  When we go to the park, Lucy loves to pick up leaves, sticks, wood chips and dirt..yes dirt. She is very curious and that is a good thing. She learns. I wanted to buy her a sandbox which I'm definitely sure she will love. I saw one and it cost around $30-40. Well good news my friends..You can make one for less than $10.00.

 Mine cost around $6-7.




You'll need:

1 (50lb) bag of play sand ( at Lowe's for $5.00)

1 storage bin with lid - the under the bed type of container is better. We already have this so that saved us a lil bit

sand toys - target has a good variety of affordable even dollar sand toys. You can always count on the .99 cents store too.

measuring cups ( extra cups that you have in the kitchen that you rarely use)

Directions:

* Just pour the sand in, add some toys, and you now have a toddler sandbox. The lid comes handy since there's a lot of stray cats here in the area. ( sprinkle a lil bit of cinnamon to avoid ants.)




Easy right? I promise you .. Your kids will love it!










  




Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Toddler Meals and Munchies - part 1( cheap, easy and healthy)

When Big Sister approached 12 months, feeding time became a challenge. She was always a good eater, and i was very proud of that..then she pulled up a stunt on me.. refusing to eat foods that she used to love. We were both "experimenting" i think.. for her its the new world of homemade table foods..and as for me..adjusting to what will work for her appetite. Here's a few recipe that she loves to eat now ( without a fight!).. very easy and healthy and easy on the budget too. Some of these I make in batches, i would just freeze it in small containers ( im a forgetful one. so i put dates on each of the containers). Meaning i didn't have to cook everytime = more playtime with her..more me time..more family time. I added the cost too, though on some ingredients are already available in our fridge/pantry.

POTATO CHOWDER

1/4 C. cubed and cooked potato -- $1.99 / bag (8 lb bag on sale)
3 T. shredded mild Cheddar or American cheese -- $2.50 /package
1/4 C. milk
2 tsp. butter
Peas, carrots and/or corn, or shredded brocolli ( the only way I can get her to eat broccoli) - about $3.00 approx.
1/3 C. diced and cooked boneless breast or ground chicken  ( if you want to add..i didn't add meat this time)

Mix chicken, veggies, potato, milk, and butter in a small saucepan. Simmer over low heat for 10 minutes. Stir in cheese. Serve warm.


BOWTIE PASTA WITH KALE 

1 package of bowtie pasta -- $1.00 ( on sale)
1 jar of alfredo sauce ( Ragu) -- $1.50
1/2 cup milk ( whole or 2%..its up to you)
1 cup kale -- .99 cents a bunch
1 cup diced zucchini -- $.89/lb
2 tbsp butter ( or EVOO if you prefer)
salt pepper to taste

Cook pasta according to package direction ( add salt and olive oil). Melt butter. Saute kale until tender, then zucchini..add the Alfredo sauce. Mix with cooked bowtie pasta..add salt and pepper to taste.


VERY BERRY SMOOTHIE

1/2  cup Strawberry ( when the store have this on sale. i buy a few packages and freeze the, as they go bad easily..good for pancakes, shakes/smoothies, pies..etc) -- $1.25 /lb
1/2 Boysenberry ( or blueberries) -- $1.99
half sliced of banana - .24 cents ( approximate only)
1 cup whole milk - $2.19 a GALLON

Using a blender  , mix everything if wanted a lil thicker add less milk. I didn't put sugar as fruits is a good source of natural sugar.


GRILLED CHEESE WITH VEGGIE STICK AND AVOCADO DIP

2 slice of whole wheat bread
1-2 slices of Kraft American cheese -- $2.29 / package
butter
Carrots and Celery -- cut to strips
Half of avocado -- $1
milk ( i used Nido powdered milk, 1 tsp)

Heat grill pan or just a frying pan ( no big deal!) spread butter of each side of the whole wheat bread.. put the bread on the grill pan..top with cheese. ( a minute)..cover the bread with the other piece and press a lil. Set aside. For the Avocado dip, just mashed it and sprinkle with NIDO ( or any powdered milk ) ..mix until blended. serve with carrot and celery strips.



Monday, June 13, 2011

Homemade GROWTH CHART - Easy and made with Love ♥

We were hunting for a growth chart for big sister and was surprised on how expensive it was for a chart that is not even 5 ft! Hubby and I thought .."we can make one ourselves!"..and we did.

 At a big box baby store, a growth chart can cost around $30.00 ( w/o the tax, eek!). Ours cost less than $20.00, made with love and we enjoyed making it together.


Supplies:

1. Can of spray paint ($3.00/can)
2. Sawtooth ( picture hanger) , some screws too,..if u want to secure the chart better. ($3-4/pack)
3. Wood, 6ft x 51/2"
4. 8x10 craft felt cloth ($1 )
5. Cut out Craft animals ( .25 - .50 cents each)
6. tape measure, ruler, painters marker ( sharpie will work too) , Scissor, liquid nail/ Wood Glue, Pencil

Quick tip:
 Instead of using the felt cloth, you can also use cut out letters, or just paint the letters yourself too.
#1-3, can be bought at your local home improvement store, #1 u can also use craft paint. #4-5, bought at our local craft store. #6 supplies that are already in your house :)




Steps:

1. Since, we already bought a wood that is primed.We just took it outside for the paint job ( no brainer, should well ventilated of course!). We chose bubble gum pink.

2. Let it dry and air out. With a tape measure , make the chart markings (inch and feet marks) in very light pencil. Make longer markings on the feet markings so you can see the difference between the inch and feet marks.

3.Using a paint marker or a sharpie make the markings permanent. . Mark the feet numbers,You can start with 2 feet (you will hang your chart up 2 feet off the ground) so you will have a 2 feet, 3 feet, 4 feet and 5 feet marker on the chart)

4. Attach the Sawtooth hook on the back, make sure this is straight and centered on your chart. We secured our with 2 more screws at the bottom since Lucy loves to pull. For our own peace of mind, its worth it.

5.Turn chart back over to front , now place wood animal shapes and letters on how you want it to be.  Piece by piece apply glue to the backs and place back on chart.  Make sure chart stays lying flat until IT DRIES COMPLETELY.



6. Hang it and voila...admire your work :)   ( use a sharpie to mark your kids height and date , if your a sentimental junkie like me)









Friday, June 10, 2011

KALE CHIPS AND SWEET PEPPER STRIP that your tots will love.

KALE CHIPS

Kale is included in the cruciferous vegetable family that have a lot of healthful benefits. I do have a toddler that have a strong opinion on foods, so I did a small batch of this just to try if she will like it. To sum up kale's benefits : antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and cancer-preventive benefits. For a complete info you can refer to this link http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=38

Here's the easy and yummy recipe for kale chips.

    1 or 2 big bunches kale, leaves chopped to chip sized pieces
    1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
    1 tablespoon oil ( EVOO, would be great)
      salt, to taste
    1-2 tablespoons favorite seasoning blend ( i skipped this for Lucy)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Pour the apple cider vinegar, oil and seasoning onto kale (in a bowl). Mix to coat all pieces.
Bake for 10 minutes or until crispy.
Makes: 3  Cooking Time: 10 minutes


YELLOW PEPPER STRIPS

Aside from its sweet taste, yellow bell peppers are known for its high content of Vitamin C. ( as well as the other bell pepper family). For a complete health benefits you can refer to this link ( just so i need to convince you more) http://healthbenefits-of.org/2010/05/the-health-benefits-of-bell-peppers.html

Here's the most simple snack you can give to your tot:

Yellow bell pepper , cut to strips ( be sure that your tot is a good solid eater, and as always, never leave them unattended..as sometimes they have the tendency to over stuff their mouth :) )
 Vanilla Yogurt ( or any flavor depending on your kids choice)
Salad Supreme , just a dash ( u can skip this if you like)

Sprinkle a lil bit of the Salad supreme on top of the yogurt for dipping. Put a fair amount of yellow pepper in your kids favorite plate. Yummy and healthy



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Enjoy!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Frugal Ways to Entertain a Toddler

Have you ever felt bad about not buying enough toys for your kids? And most of us, finds it challenging to entertain a toddler while trying to keep up with chores. Toddlers gets bored too and they do have a short attention span. There are frugal ways to entertain your toddler. Things around your house that can be interesting to them. Here's a few that our lil one loves to do:


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Sticky 1-2-3 ( 1-2-3 butterflies and planes)

Since they love to pull things down, this is a good play for them to learn numbers . I printed numbers (1-4), put a tape behind the cardstock and stuck it in the fridge ( in order left to right..1-4).  You can also do 1-10.
 Ask them to get it and put it on a basket. Every time he/she catches it, say the number on the




Lucy's Busy Box

It is hard to cook and wash dishes when u have a toddler screaming. As much as we want to give them our 24/7 attention, there are chores we have to do sooner or later.

the kitchen, by our pantry shelves..she loves to touch and play with everything within her reach.  Her busy box includes :  An empty crate, bowls, utensils you do not use..should be safe for them of course.



Lucy's mailbox

This keeps her busy for a while, what you need are:

  • an empty box ( can be a diaper box or a shipping box), -- cut a hole on top similar to a mailbox ( big enough so you van reach
  • mails, flyers, envelopes ( junk mails). 




Make a homemade play dough , it is easy , fun and colorful

Homemade Kool Aid Play dough


You can make a homemade Sandbox , for only $7 



Looking for more ways to entertain young one?




 


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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Kool Aid Play Dough



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Here's a fun, cheap and safe play dough recipe for kids!

Ingredients

1 cup flour
1 cup boiling water
1/4 cup salt
1 - 1 1/2 tsp of oil
1 packet of  Kool aid.
 Gel Food colors

Directions:

 For the Kool Aid: In a small mixing bowl , Mix the flour , salt and the kool aid powder. Add the boiling water ( pls be careful) and the oil. Give it a good stir.  I then placed the dough in my kitchen counter to knead it..it will be hot for a lillte while so you may want to give it a couple minutes to cool down. Just enough so you can knead it. To make different colors , you may do this in several batches or just double or triple the recipe


As for the Gel Food color:  Mix all the dry ingredients : flour and salt. Add the boiling water , a couple drops of gel food color and oil.  THIS IS THE DIFFERENCE : I added another cup of flour and a tbsp more of oil while kneading it. The coloring spread nicely and fast..less kneading.


Both recipe are just good, safe and too cute to look at.



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Store in the fridge using an airtight container.




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