Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Chalktalk with JDaniel4's Mom

One of the biggest struggles I have during the summer is coming up with lunches and snacks. My kids are constantly hungry! I'm always on the look-out for healthy snacks that are budget friendly. I've seen a lot of posts regarding Muffin Tin Monday and noticed that my friend JDaniel4's Mom participates in this regularly. I decided to talk to her to find out what it was all about and to see how she handleslunches with her crew.

1.What is Muffin Tin Monday? 

Muffin Tin Monday is a weekly blog carnival hosted by Muffin Tin Mom. Moms from  around the world gather to post pictures on lunches they have created for their children in muffin tins. Some weeks there is a theme posted that most of the moms follow and other week’s moms are asked to come up with their own themes. There is a list of theme or no theme weeks listed on her site. It is so helpful if you like to plan your muffin tin in advance.

2. Do you only do this special meal on Mondays as a treat?
 We do a special themed lunch once a week. I do meals in muffin tins a lot. At lunch time and sometimes dinner time I ask my son if he wants to eat on a plate or a tin. I have five or six tins in a cabinet that is at his level. He is able to reach in and select his choice of tin.

3. How do you plan what will go in your Muffin Tin meals?
If there is a theme I go by the theme the Muffin Tin Mom has listed. If there isn’t a theme, I create a tin based on my blog theme of the week. Monday through Friday all my blog posts revolve around a weekly theme.
I try to use foods we already have at home in my tins although I have been known to use Muffin Tin Monday as an opportunity to try new foods out on my son.
Some tins are planned during the week and others come together as stand in front of my refrigerator and see what we have.
It is so helpful to look at what other Muffin Tin Moms have done and try to replicate them with my own twist. Muffin Tin Mom has a gallery set up on Flickr.

4.  What types of snack foods do you usually serve in the summer?
We are trying to eat a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables this summer. My son loves fruit chews. I am hoping to wean off them to real fruit.

5.  Do you have a set snack-time?
JDaniel gets a snack after naptime in the afternoon. We don’t have a set snack time in the morning. If we are going to eat lunch early, he doesn’t usually need a morning snack.

6. Where do you find your cute shaped muffin tins? 

I have found them all over. Target has had some their dollar section. I have purchased some from A.C. Moore and Michael’s with 40% off coupons. I have a bunny egg plate that I found on clearance at a grocery store for 75 cents. Some Muffin Tin Mom’s have talked about great tins they found at Goodwill. Holiday related tins seem to go on sale right before the holiday. Hobby Lobby has great cupcake liners that you can pick up very cheaply there.

7.  What is your favorite Muffin Tin meal so far? 

I loved creating the tins during the color series. It was fun to come up with all red, purple, blue, green, and orange foods. 

JDaniel loves the tins that I have used cookie cutters to make letters or shapes with. He loved his Dad lunch.

8. Do you have any tips for preparing and/or cutting down the cost of snacks and lunches?
We coupons and stock pile based on store specials at my house. I use Southern Savers and other deal sites to plan my shopping.

9.  What is your favorite recipe?
I made a quinoa salad recently that my family really enjoyed.
Quinoa Salad
1 cup rinsed quinoa
2 cups of water
2 tablespoons of honey (My friend Kathleen says honey is supposed to help with JDaniel's allergies.)
1/4 cup of lemon juice
1/2 teaspoons of coarse salt
3 tablespoons of olive oil
1 cup of cut up pieces of apple (It calls for Granny Smith and we had Gala.)
1 cup of finely cut celery
1/3 cup of raisins (It called for golden raisins and we had regular brown ones.)
1/3 cup of finely chopped parsley (We didn't have parsley.)
1/2 cup of chopped almonds, toasted ( I took a handful of almonds from a can of mixed nuts.)
Bring the quinoa and water to a boil.
Reduce heat and let simmer for 15 minutes. The quinoa will be tender and the water absorbed.
Let it cool.
Mix the honey, lemon juice, and salt. Slowly add oil until blended.
Add remaining ingredients to the quinoa and toss well.
Add the dressing and toss.
Season with salt and pepper.
Serve cool.
This recipe will feed 6 to 8 people. Both JDaniel3 and JDaniel4 has seconds of this

Reviews and Giveaways
JDaniel4's Mom is a former teacher and educational technology trainer who now blogs at JDaniel4'smom You can find reflections, reviews, resources for moms, giveaways and more on her blog.

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Monday, June 28, 2010

Big Summer Fun Link-Up

Sorry about getting this posted so late in the day. I had to hit the discount bread store early this morning for discount Monday. I try to do this at least once a month to stock up on all our bread products for the month. I love that I can get whole wheat specialty bread and whole wheat buns, bagels and English muffins for so cheap! This seriously helps our budget. Someday I might actually make my own bread, but I'm not there yet. Freezer is full, lunch is eaten and now I'm finally getting around to blogging! :)

The past couple of weeks two of my kids got to participate in swimming lessons. It has boosted their confidence greatly!  My son has almost finished all the levels and now is comfortable swimming free-style, back stroke and the butterfly.

 My 8 yr. old finally conquered her fear of the diving board! That was a big step for her. Her swimming skills have improved greatly.

The rest of us spent time at the pool too. I'm so grateful for a wonderful pool community to belong to. This is how we've been spending most of our summer days lately.

I hope you've been stopping in to see what Big Summer Fun Sarah from Digital Reflections has been doing with her family!  Today she has a great post on Capturing the Best of Summer.  Also, if you haven't already, check out what her family did for 50's week!

So what fun summer things have you done this past week?  Was it a craft? Good summer recipe? Vacation or field trip?  We'd love to see what other have been doing this summer too!  Feel free to link up on our Big Summer Fun Blog Hop! Though it's not a requirement, linking back to the this post or grabbing our Big Summer Fun blog button for your blog would be nice! ;)  Can't wait to read what you've been up too.


Friday, June 25, 2010

Read & Do: My Heart is Like a Zoo

I found the cutest book the other day while visiting the library. When I thumbed through the pages, I fell in love with the bright, simple, graphics and they screamed, "Make me!" So I did. :) I also thought that this would be a perfect craft project for my Glue Dots Summer Bonding Project. Bloggers around the net are creating summer craft projects using products from Glue Dots (Thanks Glue Dots for sending me a sample pack!) You can find even more information on this summer crafting opportunity on the Twitter Moms discussion board or on the Glue Dots Facebook page.

My Heart is Like A Zoo by Michael Hall The simple rhymes and bold pictures wonderful illustrate how love can be many different things, such as eager as a beaver, steady as a yak or silly as a seal.

CRAFT: Silly as a Seal and Jumpy as a Frog.
1 lime green/light green craft foam sheet
1 red craft foam sheet
1 purple craft foam sheet
1 glitter purple craft foam sheet
Mini Dot N' Go adhesive by Glue Dots
Craft Glue Dots

1 dark green craft foam sheet
1 light green craft foam sheet
1 large google eye
1 white or yellow craft foam sheet (for background)
Mini Dot N' Go adhesive by Glue Dots
Craft Glue Dots

What I loved about using Glue Dots for this project was that I was able to make the pieces ahead of time and create craft kits! By using the craft glue dots from the sheets, I applied the glue dot on the back of the foam pieces and left the liner on. I love that I can do this and will be creating more craft kits to have on hand.

We started off making the seal craft. I did occasionally have to help my 3yr. old peel off the liner, but by the middle of the project she had the hang of it.

We had the book open to the page we were making. We looked at the picture and talked about if the heart was over or under the large heart (working on position words). Then we would take our craft piece and do the same.

Then once we had all the pieces together, we used the Mini Dot N' Go roller to apply adhesive to the seal and stick it on the background. My 3yr. old was able to use this roller, but I did have to show her how to push down hard so that the dots stuck. She loved using the roller.

The completed craft! I love how it turned out. I have an altered clipboard in her room that we will hang this artwork on. An easy way to display crafts!

We also went ahead and put together the frog.

Another easy craft based on the book. She was so proud of both projects.

I went ahead and made a template for you. It is half the size of the project we made and will fit on a background of 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 craft foam. Sometimes that size craft foam is easier to find. If you decide to share the printable with others, please link to this post and not directly to the printable. Thanks! :) (See my printables terms of use)

I wrote this blog post while participating in the
TwitterMoms and Glue Dots blogging contest to be eligible to receive a $30 gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here.

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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Wordless Wed.: Why I'm not going to Relevant

Back in February I blogged about how I was excited about possibly attending the Relevant conference this coming October. Well here's why I'm not going :) :


How Does Your Garden Grow?

We have had soooo much rain lately! One of the many reasons I went with a Square Foot Garden in my backyard is that the ground stays too wet after it rains. I'm so glad my garden is able to drain! Right now the back yard is kind of squishy. Still more rain in the forecast this week. The good thing is that I haven't had to water anything! :)

Well my garden has really been growing since I last posted. My bush beans are getting huge, tomatoes are appearing and my squash, cucumbers, pumpkins are growing like weeds!

This is my garden that's just outside my backyard. It is the first time I've planted anything in it. I am so happy that the plants are really thriving! I didn't have time to prepare the soil as I would have liked, but I did manage to add a couple bags of compost. In this garden I have my raspberry starts, 2 pumpkin plants, 2 zuchinni plants, 2 watermelons and 1 acorn squash. I figure they can all go wild growing everywhere. :)

I can't wait until we are able to pick some of our vegges! Like I mentioned before, on my summer to-do list is to learn how to can some of the tomatoes and green beans. My kids enjoy seeing how much the plants have grown since we've first started our garden.

This week my little girls will be doing some activities to go along with Muncha! Muncha! Muncha. (Supplemental books: In the Garden: Who's Been Here? and Vegetable Garden by Douglas Florian.)

Homeschool Share has a whole lapbooking unit based around Muncha! Muncha!Muncha!. We'll be using the printables found there.

There are also some songs, snack ideas and more found on Here.

We'll also be taking some ideas from Totally Tots: Once Upon a Book-Muncha!Muncha!Muncha!

After we do some fun gardening things this week, I hope to bring the kids to our local musuem where they have a World War II canning and Victory Garden display. We saw part of the garden when they first planted it, but I'm sure it is huge now!

So that's on our list for some Big Summer Fun!  Don't forget to link up your summer plans for the past couple of weeks on our Big Summer Fun Blog Hop. I plan to post this weekly through the summer on Mondays.

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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Getting to know the Crew

I am excited to be a part of the 2010-2011 TOS Homeschool Crew. I will get to review various homeschool/educational products during the year and share those reviews with you! The Crew is divided up into two teams this year, those reviewing products for younger children, and those reviewing products for older children (middle school and up). I'll be a part of the younger children crew. Since it is such a big team, we thought that doing a weekly blog walk would be a great way to get to know other homeschoolers. So for this week here are the featured TOS Crew blogs!

1. Second Star to the Right and Straight On Till Morning
Participates regularly on the Weekly Wrap-Up Meme.

2. Surviving The Testosterone
This post of hers had me laughing: Never a Dull Moment with Boys

3. Family Style School
Love her post about Snack Baskets

4. School Around The Bible

5. 1628 The Story of The Goebels 5
Oh my goodness-I want a Yogotherm!

6. Morris Family Madness
I think my kids would like doing Horses for Healing too

7. Homeschool Musings
Love the Paint Tape City idea!

8. Homeschooling (and then some!)
Oh my girls would love these: Girls and their Baubbles

9. Heartfelt Homeschooling
Aww, Pringles the Goose -- love that they are helping and learning at the same time!

10. following Him home
Apryl is a very talented artist and photographer as well as homeschool mom. I hope she shares more of her work! :)

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Monday, June 21, 2010

What are you doing this summer?

Last week was the busiest week of my summer. I'm still tired but totally fulfillled. My children and I participated in a week-long event at our church called SERVE. SERVE WEEK began at our church in 2002 with 30 youth who served our local community for a week. Now in our 9th year, SERVE has expanded to include over 300 participants ages 3 to 19 and over 200 adults serving in leadership!  Yes, even 3yr. olds! :)

I had originally planned to have a big recap post of our week for today, but due to water issues in our home, I need to get off the computer and finish cleaning up the mess. The good thing is I got a new washer and dryer out of it! :)

So I'm curious as to what you all have been doing this summer. Have you done any cool crafts? Vacations? Other summer fun ideas? If you have a blog post about it, link up!

Sarah from Digital Reflections has finished her Italy week and is moving on to 50's week! She'll be posting more details later today and tomorrow, so be sure to check out her site.


Friday, June 18, 2010

Big Summer Fun: Italy

Oh my goodness, if you have not been keeping up with what Sarah is doing during her "travel to Italy" with her kids this week, you need to head on over to her blog. So many terrific ideas: Biscotti, gelato, Michelangelo and more!  Oh, and on today's post, she has a cool  ice-cream maker giveaway!


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Fun Mess


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Chalk Talk with Paula Gilarde

Today I'm chatting with Paula Gilarde! Paula is well-known for her awesome scrapbooking pages. Paula creates paper, digital, and hybrid (paper plus digital) layouts. I thought she would be the perfect person to ask how to incorporate the crafts our children create and other memorabilia on scrapbooking pages.

1. What are some ways to showcase memorabilia such as pamphlets or crafts in our scrapbooks?

I often scan or photograph bulky items in my scrapbooks. I do this for digital or traditional scrapbook pages. I have occasionally included the piece of artwork but generally my kids like to keep it for themselves so I duplicate.

2. Do you have any examples?

He hearts art - I scanned my son's drawing and printed it onto cardstock

She makes art - I used my daughter's drawing and cut it up. That didn't go over too well with my daughter when she saw it so I generally scan now!

When Pigs Fly - I scanned the cartoon that my daughter drew and used it in my digital layout

Write - I took photos of the multi-page story my daughter wrote when she was in kindergarten.

3. If you take photos of crafts, what do you do with the originals?

If I don't want to keep the originals I let the kids have them = they hang them in their rooms or use them when they are playing school.

4. Do you have any hints for scrapbooking summer events and vacations?

I find digital scrapbook templates are the easiest way of incorporating a lot of photos on a page -- generally for events and vacations I have lots of photos. I'm a fan of Lynn Grieveson's two page templates - often the templates can be used individually or together as a two-pager layouts.

5. How do you get started on a page? Do you have a plan before or does the page just evolve?

I don't always have a plan. I'm usually much faster when I do have a plan though! Using ads for inspiration (photo placement especially) is one of my favorite jumping off points. I'm also a  big fan of using digital scrapbooking templates.

6. Since you do both digital and paper scrapbooking, how do you create your finished albums? Do you combine the two into one album? Create theme scrapbooks?

I paper scrap, digi scrap and I also do hybrid scrapbooking which combines the two. My paper and hybrid pages are all in the same albums -- I use the American Crafts D-ring albums because it's so much easier to move pages around. This is important to me since I don't scrapbook chronologically. I usually print my digital layouts in Shutterfly 8x8 albums.

7. What is your favorite recipe?

My favorite recipe: Layered Bean Dip from Cooking Light. This is so easy to make and so yummy!

  • 1  (16-ounce) can fat-free refried beans
  • 1  (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2  cup  reduced-fat sour cream
  • 1  cup  bottled salsa
  • 1  cup  (4 ounces) preshredded reduced-fat Mexican blend or cheddar cheese
  • Chopped cilantro (optional)
Preparation Preheat oven to 375°. Combine beans; spread in an 8-inch square baking dish. Spread sour cream over beans; top with salsa and cheese. Cover; bake at 375° for 20 minutes. Uncover; bake 10 minutes or until bubbly.

My name is Paula Gilarde and I live outside of Boston, Masschusetts with my husband Matt and my two children Molly and Tommy (7 and almost 6). I am an equal opportunities scrapbooker, spending most of my free time making paper, digital, or hybrid scrapbook layouts. I blog at Live.Scrap.Repeat. My work has been published in Simple Scrapbooks, Scrapbooks Etc., Creaking Keepsakes, and other idea books and magazines. I was named a member of the Creating Keepsakes Hall of Fame in 2007. I also teach a self-paced class called "How to Use Photoshop (Elements and CS) for Digital Scrapbooking."

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