Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Intergenerational Learning

Recently I suggested to my Mom that we start a photography challenge with my kids. The idea is that every few weeks we will all have one specific thing to focus on when taking a picture and then all share the our results. I am hoping that it will be a learning experience for all of us and that it will be interesting to see each of our photos next to the others.

I am mostly doing this in conjunction with my Photography blog so the posts will be there but I will up date you with the address to see them at here.

So without further delay here is the first post.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Display for our Bucket List

Today the kids and I set up our summer bucket list home display. We used paint chips in blue, yellow, and orange. All we did is fold them in half, write one of the items on each paint chip, and hang them over a string that runs from one side of the wall to the other.

There is a bucket hanging from one end of the string to put the cards in once we have completed the list item. I was thinking we would write our favorite thing about each item on the card before putting it in the bucket.

Meal Plan Monday: Week 14

This week we are starting up coach pitch baseball so we are going back to the crazy schedule that demands dinner that can be eaten picnic style. I call this dinner in a box because we got containers at Ikea that we can add or remove spacers to create up to three separate spots in the box.

With summer starting (Ha! It is about 58 here and rainy) I have been wanting to do more on the grill so I am going to integrate that into the planning this week. We also brought home a ham-hock from our visit to the my husbands parents so I need to use that which means split pea soup.

Day 1: Split pea soup
Day 2: LO soup
Day 3: Dinner in a box, BBQ Chicken, Artichokes, nectarines
Day 4: Chicken salad with peaches and avocado (Dinner in a box) with this dressing
Day 5: Stuffed squash
Day 6: LO Stuffed Squash
Day 7: Fish curry

Stuffed Squash:

Three acorn quash or any other small squash halfed, seeded, and cooked until a fork can easily poke the flesh. (Cook in the oven open side down on a rimmed baking sheet with about 1 inch of water at 350f).
1 recipe of the filling for sloppy joes found here
Scoop the sloppy joes mix into the bowl of the squash sprinkle with cheese and place in the oven under the broiler to allow the cheese to melt
Serve with salad.

Chicken Salad:
Pull the chicken off of 3-4 left over peices of bbq chicken
3-4 hand fulls of lettuce or spinach
2 Fresh peaches cubed
1 avocado diced
1/2 dressing recipe

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Take Me Out to the Ball Game

One of the items on our family summer bucket list was going to a baseball game. We put this on our list because our son is playing coach pitch baseball over the summer and my husband is coaching. We thought it would be fun for them to go see a game being played. So my husband and son went with my father-in-law to see the Rainiers this weekend.

We drove up to Tacoma to see the Rainiers play on a lovely rainy afternoon. Just like Washington to be 60 and rainy in late June.  Luckily it was not raining too hard and so they were not to uncomfortable hanging out and watching the game. All reported that it was fun to go see the game. We will probably do this again next year when my daughter might be able to sit through a game so we can all go.

You can check out our whole summer bucket list to see what other ideas we have for the summer and what we have already completed. 

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Taking Off the Training Wheels

Do you want to know the best secret about how to teach your kid to ride without training wheels? It is awesome and works so well. Well I will tell you but first you have to hear about how well it worked for us.

A few months ago my son told me he wanted to try riding his bike with out the training wheels. So we tried the way that my Dad taught me. You know with me walking/running along side him holding on, poised to let go as soon as he was going fast enough. Well that failed miserably. I was way to scared that he would fall because I could feel him leaning way over to the side and he was getting frustrated that I would not let go. Lets just say that experiment ended in lots of tears from both of us.

So my Mom tried the same technique to no avail. My husband might have tried too but I can't really remember. When all was said and done we put the training wheels back on and decided we were just not ready for this step yet.

About a month later during the pouring rain we were playing with one of Aiden's friends and I was chatting with the friend's Mom. She told me that her kids learned to ride without the training wheels by taking the training wheels off BUT ALSO TAKING THE PEDALS OFF!! Just make sure feet can touch the ground so they can use them to push the bike. Who knew (maybe you did but our family definitely did not).

So a few days ago it finially showed some signs of summer here and my husband took the pedals and training wheels off. This was in the evening right before bed and so my son practiced inside (I know what were we doing with that). Over the next two days he probably practiced a total of 15 minutes.

Yesterday he came to me and said I can balance now put the pedals back on. Lets just say I was sceptical that he was really going to be ready after this little time but we did it. Outside he went with my husband and pedals but no training wheels. Guess what...he could ride the bike! No falling and no false starts! OH MY GOSH!! SO EXCITED!

For my daughter (who is two) we are not even going to start her with training wheels, straight from trike to bike (no pedals or training wheels). Just make sure her feet can fully touch the floor.
One summer bucket list item down 69 to go!

Summer Bucket List: Challenge

I recently joined a summer bucket list challenge which means I needed to make a bucket list! My plan is to write a list and then create new blog posts to go with them when I finish one and then link it up to the list. So here goes.

1. Library Summer Reading Programs
2. Star gazing
3. Camping (even if it is in the back yard)
4. Daily journal for the 5 year old, picture for the two year old
5. Eat a Rainbow Challenge
6. Summer scavenger hunt
7. Run in the sprinkler
8. Plant child friendly garden
9. Dinosaur eggs
10. Mountain dew glow bottle
11. Forts!
12. Pick Strawberries
13. Pick Raspberries, marionberries, blueberries, peaches
14. Watch fireworks
15. Catch bugs and talk about parts of an insect, draw pictures of them
16. Popsicle stick puzzles
17. Have a tea party, invite kids friends
18. Go to the fish hatchery
19. Make Moon Sand
20. Make playdoh
21. Photo shoot of the kids with funny props
22. cloud watching/naming-talk about weather cycle
23. Make a volcano
24. Go visit Mt. St. Helens (active volcano)
25. Balloon tennis
26. diversity with eggs
27. moon cycles with oreos (this will be a major treat for my kids!)
28. Make dry erase letter tracers/word tracers
29. Pick an animal day
30. Play hotel
31. Use vinegar to blow up balloons
32. Make animals out of hand and foot prints
33. Picnic
34. Kayaking
35. World learning day
36. Yoga 2 times a week
37. Fly our kite
38. Bubble snakes
39. Make humming bird feeder
40. Sandpaper art grocery bags
41. Water fight!
42. Family contribution chart (chore chart by another name)
43. Eye spy bottle
44. Go swimming
45. Load and Tote (see
46. Build with blocks/knock them down
47. Go to the farmers market
48. Fill the sensory table with something new at least every other week if not more
49. Homemade shrinky dinks (
50. Yarn obstacle course in the hall
51. Bubble painting
52. Do at least 10 science projects (ideas:
53. Giant ice cube dig
54. Fairies in a jar
55. make ice cream
56. water balloon target practice
57. sidewalk chalk
58. baseball game
59. glow bubbles
60. beach
61. Make pie
62. Go to a concert in the park
63. Hula hoop
64. Learn to ride bike without training wheels (5 year old)
65. Go to OMSI
66. Go to a theme park
67. See a waterfall
68.  Make rocket packs
69. Watch a meteor shower
70. Make gak

I reserve the right to add to this list as I see fit ;)

Thanks to Cuegly for many of these ideas. Pintrest is awesome too! Keep in mind that this list will get filled in with links/pictures as I go (and maybe more ideas).

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Summer Challenges

Around the blogosphere summer challenges are sprouting up as quickly as the dandelions in my yard. However, the challenges are much more welcome. I love that they provide us with something to aspire to over the summer so that we don't get sucked into the feeling that there is so much time now we will manage to get it all done.

We are getting involved in a summer reading challenge, not just the one through our local library, although we are doing that as well. There is a really fun site that is all about kids books. The blogger is providing a list of summer reading challenges and we are going to try and keep up. We do a lot of reading in our family already but I am hoping will bring a new spice to our summer reading. You can check out this challenge over at the link:

There is also the 30 day Mom challenge which is a list of things that should help make people connect with their kids and find joy in each moment a little more.
There is a summer bucket list challenge where they provide resources and you can follow along with their bucket list or create your own. I am going to do this one but need to have a few days to put together my bucket list ;) I will post it here when I am done for all to see and then I will update it when we have completed something of the list.

Last but not least the challenge that we are doing in our family is a rainbow of foods challenge. Technically this will probably be included in our bucket list. :) We are creating a place-mat that has a rainbow on it and laminating it. Each day when the kids eat their meals and snacks they get to find the colors and use dry erase markers to color part of the rainbow. At the end of the day we will see how much of the rainbow they have filled in and they can get a sticker if they have at least 5 colors (this is going to challenge me to make sure to provide enough variety in color). I think we will do a small reward at the end of the week if we have at least 5 stickers. Like maybe a special outing or movie night with treats like dark chocolate and popcorn or something. Feel free to print out this rainbow and follow along with us.
Feel Free to Print Me

What is on your bucket list for the summer? What big plans do you have? Are you doing any challenges?

Meal Plan Week 13

Before you shy away because this is a quiche and it seems to hard WAIT! Quiche is almost as easy as scrambled eggs and you can eat it hot, warm, doesn't seem to matter. PLUS, you can add in whatever things you like in eggs quiche is very versatile. The crust is really not that hard to make either but if you want it to be really easy in a pinch use a store bought crust. Serve with a green salad or some fresh fruit. Excellent.

For the record my 2 year old and 5 year old helped make this crust...

Day 1: Quiche-Brie, smoked salmon, asparagus, caramelized onion
Day 2: lo
Day 3: Baked Chicken (see link for past meal plan with recipe)
Day 4: LO Chicken Tacos
Day 5: Spaghetti
Day 6: LO
Day 7: BBQ burgers


9 inch pie crust (whole wheat)
6 eggs
1/4 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup whole milk
1 cup thinly sliced fresh sweet onions sprinkled with salt and pan fried in a dab of olive oil on medium low heat stirring frequently until caramelized
1 cup 1/2 inch slices of fresh asparagus fried with the onions after the heat is turned off
2.5 ounces smoked salmon flaked apart
1 cup grated brie (grate it right out of the fridge or it will be too soft)

Mix the eggs, whipping cream, and milk until beaten well. Add about 1/2 tsp thyme. Put the remaining ingredients into the uncooked pie shell. Cover with the egg mixture. Bake in a preheated oven at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes to 45 minutes. To test doneness poke with a tooth pick it should come out clean.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Music Friday: Bari Koral Family Rock Band

A little while ago I introduced you to a cd that is meant to help kids learn yoga in a fun way. This week is a continuation of that with a new song that my kids instantly thought was interesting. By the middle of the song my son was already starting to do the moves and by the end of the song my daughter was too.

Yoga has so many great benefits from focus, energy, strength, flexibility, to increasing positive emotions I think it is a great thing to teach kids.

The Bari Koral Family Rock Band has a song called, The Sun Dance. This is basically the Sun Salutation which is a flow of specific "warm up" yoga moves that get your body ready for the other poses (at least that is my understanding you may feel free to correct me if I am wrong).


I would also think about checking this song out on youtube because the video was part of what caught my kids attention and helped them see what movements to do. Once they get the movements down they could probably just listen to the song and know what to do.

Watermelon Cooler: Perfect Summer Drink

This SUPER simple and refreshing drink is cool and perfect for the hot summer days coming up.

1/2 cup 100% coconut water (rather than coconut milk)
1/2 cup watermelon
4-5 frozen strawberries

Mix all the ingredients with an immersion blender (or any other kind of blender).

This could easily be doubled/tripled etc for more people. Adding in ice would add to the icee like feel of this drink and make it even colder.

For more calories (if you have a little on who needs extra calories like mine were) you could use some coconut milk. Maybe 1/4 cup. Let me know what variations you come up with.

This is so simple that children can very easily help to add ingredients in. Help with measuring and pushing buttons on a blender. Little cooks in training and learning math through cooking! Woo-who!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Time for Strawberries!

It is that wonderful time of year again when strawberries are out and ready to pick. Yeah! I have been going strawberry picking since I can remember and my husband and I have gone almost every year that we have been together. In that time we have moved from Portland, to San Diego, to San Fransisco, and finally back to the Portland area.

Needless to say we have gone to a lot of farms! :) We have really liked many of them but our favorite area to go picking is Sauvie Island. There are more than a couple farms such as the Pumpkin Patch (yes they have u-pick strawberries, as well as other berries later in the season). Kroger Farms which also has lots of u-pick, and quite a few others. This year we went to the Pumpkin Patch and picked until our buckets were full and our kids were done.

Strawberry picking is a great way to show kids how food gets to our plant from a farm in a more direct way that is visual and tactile. Plus it is an easy way to talk about colors, and different parts of a plant, as work on fine motor skills (using those fingers to get the strawberries off the plants).

Monday, June 11, 2012

Meal Plan Week 12

Day 1: Lemon Chicken and Lemon-herb lentil salad
Day 2: LO
Day 3: Salmon and Strawberry Spinach Salad
Day 4: Chili and corn bread
Day 5: Chili and corn bread
Day 6: Grilled Cheese and tomato soup, salad
Day 7: Father's Day Feast: Prime Rib, Yorkshire pudding, artichokes


Lemon Chicken:

This is best with chicken that is not skinless/boneless but you can do it with either.

Enough chicken for your family for two nights
Two lemons
Seasoning Salt (msg free)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a baking pan place the chicken. Squeeze the lemon juice over all of the chicken. Sprinkle seasoning salt over each piece of chicken somewhat lightly (you don't want it too salty). Bake until a meal thermometer reads 165, turning the pieces occasionally.

Lentil Salad: Click this link

Salmon, Strawberry, and Spinach Salad:

4 oz smoked salmon
1 pint strawberries
1 bunch spinach
1/4 cup walnuts
1/4 red onion thinly sliced
Honey-balsamic vinaigrette: 1 tablespoon honey, 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, 3 tablespoons olive oil, 1 clove chopped garlic mix everything but the olive oil the stream the olive oil in slowly while beating the vinegar mix quickly. Serve over the salad.

Chili: This is a very mild NOT spicy Chili

1 onion
1/2 red bell pepper
1lb hamburger or ground turkey
1 can stewed tomatoes
1 bottle 32 oz tomato juice
1 can black beans
1 T chili powder
2 t cumin
1/2 t coriander
1 1/2 t beef bouillon
cinnamon, sugar, salt and pepper to taste

Cook onion, red bell pepper and hamburger or ground turkey until meat
is done.  Add the rest of the ingredients, cook on low for 2-3 hours.

Serve with cornbread, cheese, and diced onions. 

Prime Rib and Yorkshire Pudding:

I have to get the recipe from my husbands Mom or click the links to get recipes I found online. :)

For those of you who do not know what Yorkshire Pudding is (as I did not until I had it at my in-laws) it is similar to a dutch baby pancake in look and texture but it is not sweet. It tastes best (in my opinion) with gravy or aux jus. It is tender and slightly chewy. It comes out of the oven all poofy like a dutch baby pancake does. Sometime people make them in a popover style by baking them in cupcake tins instead of a larger baking dish.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Alphabeticians: New Album

This week on music Friday I am letting you all know about the new album by the Alphabeticians, Junior. We attended their CD release party last weekend and the kids really enjoyed it. Not only did play play fun rock style kids music but they had a women who was making balloon animals who was amazing, and a great bubble machine.


If you like rock music I would suggest that you check this album out. Also if you live in the Portland area the Alphabeticians are going to be performing a lot over the summer including a free event at the New Seasons up in Vancouver, WA June 23 from 2-3. You should check out their full schedule here.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Iris Field Outing

Back in April we visited the Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm to get our flower fix. Now that tulip season has faded and summer has begun we thought a visit to the Schreiner Iris field near Salem, Oregon was in order. There are big beautiful Iris but also a couple of great display gardens that show the iris mixed with other varieties of plants to give you an idea of what you can do with your garden.

The garden is equipped with picnic tables and plenty of colorful benches through out the display gardens, perfect for sitting for a snack or a short rest. 

The kids had fun looking for bird houses, bees, lady bugs, and seeing the colors. They also enjoyed being spun around and around by my mom. I had fun pointing out that the little fuzzy thing on the inside of the Iris looks like a fuzzy caterpillar. I also enjoyed giving my kids a quick lesson with my camera, more on that to come eventually.

This was a fun place to take photos of the kids when they would cooperate which for some reason on the trip was not too often.

The next field we plan to visit is the strawberry field! I can hardly wait!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Meal Plan June 4-10

Day 1: Sausage and Broccoli Pasta with Salad
Day 2: Sloppy Joes (click links for recipes)
Day 3: LO Pasta
Day 4: T-ball Pizza Party
Day 5: LO Sloppy Joe's
Day 6: Stuffed Swiss Chard
Day 7: LO Swiss Chard

I have swiss chard growing in my garden that wintered over and was lucky enough to run into a recipe that looks like it will be yummy so that I can use some of it up. It is a new recipe to me so I hope that it is indeed good. Let me know what you think if you try it out.

The sloppy joe's recipe (linked above) is really good and not your average bear. It contains lots of veggies and the kids can help make them. I usually even add more veggies than the recipe calls for by including chopped spinach to the dish or chopped zucchini.

The sausage and broccoli pasta is one of my go to recipes because it is so so easy to do and my kids love it and I think it is very good too. Plus I can take it along in a thermos nicely as left overs the next time we have it, which is a dinner at the t-ball park night.


Sausage and Broccoli Pasta:

1 package of mild Italian sausage (or hot if you like spicy)
5  cloves of garlic thinly sliced
1/2 head of broccoli steamed until just tender
1 pound pasta
Parmesan for garnishing

While boiling the water for the pasta brown the sausage, when close to cooked through add the sliced garlic. About 1 minute later add the broccoli. Turn the heat off. After the pasta is cooked drain it and add to the "sauce". Serve with Parmesan.