Wednesday, March 27, 2013


Maddie's writing skills are coming right along. See?

That's my Easter card, apparently.

While making Easter, I wanted to add some letter play. So we stenciled the word Easter onto a banner.

I cut out each letter and taped it down over a piece of construction paper. Maddie then used watercolor to paint our letters. We also did two Easter eggs to go with it. The letters are taped to a piece of fishing line that is draped across our wall.

Welcome Easter!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Taco Salad

I've been trying the Blood Sugar Solution diet in an attempt to kick my bad sugar habit. This diet bears a nice one-two punch by requiring you to give up wheat and dairy, too. It's been a challenge, but I've also made up some nice recipes out of necessity. This is one of them and we've had it twice this week!

Taco Salad


1 pound ground beef
1 medium onion, diced
1 jalapeño, minced
1 orange pepper, diced
1 tomato, seeded and diced
1 mango, diced
1 avocado, diced
1 head of romaine lettuce, chopped
Onion powder
Garlic powder
Ancho Chili powder
Mexican oregano
Cayenne pepper


1. Brown 1 lb. of ground meat and season with one teaspoon cumin, 1/2 tsp onion powder, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1/4 tsp ancho chili pepper and 1/2 tsp salt. (You can add some cayenne if you like a kick.) As meat is nearing done, toss in 1/2 a diced onion, and 1/2 of jalapeño pepper and cook for five minutes or until onions are translucent. Set meat mixture aside.

2. In a bowl, combine 1 diced tomato, the other halves of your diced onion and jalapeño, 1/2 diced mango, 1 diced orange pepper, 1 diced avocado, a handful of chopped cilantro. Season with a bit of salt (it helps everything juice) and toss.

3. Chopped a head of romaine lettuce and drizzle with olive oil, Mexican oregano and a dash of cayenne. Add a heaping spoonful of the ground meat mixture. And toss. Top with salsa/veggie mixture and serve.

For the picture above, I skipped the avocado and used some of my salsa mixture to make roasted avocado.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


Easter's on its way! And that is cheering me up with all the snrain (TM) outside.

Confession: I don't really love peeps. But I love how they look and all the cute sugary glitter of them. So I wanted to bring them into our Easter decorations this year.

Hence my peep pillows, made in a very simple way... Using felt (bet you never guessed!)

For this one, I used two 24" squares of pink and one square of the same size in yellow. On the back side of one pink square, I used soap to free hand a bunny peep. Then I cut it out, and layered the yellow behind it, so the front sides were both facing the same way.

I pinned around the bunny and sewed around the shape about a 1/4 inch from the edge. Then I sewed the two squares around the outside edges on all four sides.

Next I added my eyes and whiskers in black thread by hand. Then I matched the yellow-pink square to my last pink square, face to face and machine sewed them on three sides, turning them right-side-out when done.

I like to leave the top side open for my buttons. And this is the reason why I am obsessed with felt... You don't need to hem the top edge or sew a buttonhole. Just sew on the button and snip a hole that matches the size.

Seriously, this was an easy one. For the chick pillow I followed the same procedure and just used a pattern I found online here. The chick pillow proved a challenge for two reasons. First sewing around the chick edge was a lot more curvy! Second, of course, my bobbin went out and my thread snagged and well, sewing machine catastrophe! Luckily all my sewing snafus are pretty unnoticeable, so I have two bright cheery pillows!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Cajun Fried Rice (or Quick Jambalaya)

This recipe is for Greta!

I've tried to make Jambalaya from scratch before but it always comes off wrong-- either it takes Forever! Or it just tastes unbalanced.

I had planned another go when my daughter got sick and really didn't want Mommy to be in the kitchen cooking. Of necessity came this quick version.

Cajun Fried Rice

1. In a rice cooker prepare a batch of brown rice. (I used 1 cup of rice with 2 cups of water.)
2. Broil 4 andouille sausages, and then slice.

When those two things are done...
3. Dice one large onion and one green pepper, sauté in olive oil for about five minutes. Add a minced garlic glove (I use a micro grater to mince mine right over the pan).

4. Add sliced sausage and toss together on high.

5. Add 1 cup of water and 1 tbsp tomato paste. Season with Tony Cachere's seasoning.

6. Add rice, stirring to blend until water has evaporated.

And serve!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Family Photo


Ok, I look really bad in this photo, but it was a cute moment when we all had off and hung out in our jammies.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Sunday Morning

We have a little tradition around here that my husband lives for: newspaper and coffee.

When Maddie was born my mom gave me her old copy of The Mother's Almanac. In that lovely 1970s book was this awesome pre-reading activity:

Give a child a newspaper and some markers and tell her to find all the A's in the headlines. Maddie likes to choose a different color and use it to highlight each letter.

This captures her attention for hours as we work through the alphabet.

And as for the coffee part... Well, for lent I gave up sugar, milk and wheat. Subsequently I gave up coffee, since I can't drink it straight up. But the other day, I found this Happy Drink recipe. The verdict is still out, but it's better than nothing!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Searching for E-A-S-T-E-R

Easter eggs are not usually a big part of my family's Easter traditions. I have one memory of searching for Easter eggs as a child.

But it's a tradition I thought we could start with Maddie. So last year, I bought some plastic Easter eggs and sprinkled them throughout the house for her to find. She loved them. And kept the empty shells forever.

So when I saw this blog post on activities with Easter eggs, I knew that this would be a great hit, and a great way to kick off spring. I told you, spring started March 1.

To help Maddie work on her letter recognition, I made eggs with the upper case letter on top and the corresponding lower case letter on bottom. I split them all up.

Sometimes Maddie can be a little shy of reading activities, so I added a hook-- I hid all 52 (ok, 54 because I doubled one letter!) throughout the house.

This was all part of my plan for an engaging activity for when I was a little busy. We've been watching my sweet little baby cousin once a week, and I thought this would be a perfect during-bottle time activity. Except the first thing Maddie did that morning was find an egg...

So the whole activity was done before the baby even got here!

After she found all the eggs, she started putting them together. The color matching helped when it came to confusing letters. And putting these eggs together was a nice little motor skills challenge.

The finished eggs went into egg crates. Black Cat is a very big helper.

The whole activity was a huge hit. Maddie wanted to play again today, so I see some repeats coming down the line!