Archive | December, 2011
31 Dec

2012

 

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23 Dec
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Snowmen for Dinner and Other Fun Pasta

23 Dec

The Pasta Shoppe, LLC also has a wide variety of Holiday pasta.

This past week has been pretty hectic.  I had so many holiday cooking activities to do with the girls but both girls have been sick all week and not feeling up to doing much.  On top of them being sick, I had to figure out how to get last minute gifts and wrap them all.  While I was at our local Bed Bath and Beyond, I stumbled across this adorable Snowman Pasta by The Pasta Shoppe, LLC.  The girls LOVE pasta so I always keep pasta on hand for when I need a quick and easy dinner.  Grocery shopping is hard enough with two well kids, so when they are sick and cranky it is nearly impossible.  Tonight we will keep it simple and just add some tomato- basil sauce and a little fresh “snow”, grated parmesan cheese, to our Snowman Pasta.

Maddie has been talking about eating the Snowman pasta all day, so I decided to see what else The Pasta Shoppe, LLC had.  I was amazed to see they have fun shapes almost every occasion.  My favorites were:

Make a speical meal for your Brithday girl or boy.

Perfect for a SuperBowl party

Planning a baby shower, these would be perfect for a dish.

Check out their collegiate pasta collection. This is for my brother, don't worry VT friends and family, there is VT pasta for you too.

Loving The Pasta Shoppe, LLC.  You can never have too much pasta in your cabinet.  Perfect for soups, mac and cheese, pasta salad and much more.  Unfortunately, I just saw they are closed until January 3 for the holidays, but you can bet I will be ordering more fun pasta for the girls on January 4.

Disclaimer: I was not compensated for this post.  All opinions expressed are my own.  All images, with the exception of the Snowman Pasta, are from The Pasta Shoppe, LLC.

FunBites Giveaway

20 Dec
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CubeIt! and LuvIt! FunBites

My girls LOVE when I use FunBites for their meals.  Enter to win a FunBites of your choice (LuvIt! or CubeIt!) for your child by liking Tastefully Childish on Facebook and FunBites on Facebook. Write TC Giveaway on Tastefully Childish’s wall.  All entries must be posted by 11:59 pm, Tuesday December 27th.  Winner will be announced on Wednesday, December 28.

Don’t want to wait until December 28th?  Order FunBites and get free shipping by entering FreeShipDec2011. Good until Jan 1 2012!

Check out my post FunBites for Every Meal and the FunBites website to find out more about FunBites.

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FunBites For Every Meal

19 Dec

Meal time is a constant struggle in our house.  First I have to prepare the meal, which is difficult when the kids are battling for attention or screaming.  Then having to cut it in pieces because they love to use forks and are unable to cut themselves.  And getting them to eat the meal is another battle in itself, primarily for my older daughter, Maddie.  Pela, my youngest, will eat almost anything in front of her but Maddie is the complete opposite.  I am always looking for new ways to encourage the kids to eat, whether, they help pick the menu, help prepare and cook the meal, or getting creative and making shapes or faces with their meals.

I recently was introduced to FunBites.  I received a sample, for review, a few days ago and have used it for almost every meal since opening the package.  The first time I used  FunBites, Maddie was a little reluctant to eat it because she did not want to mess up the shapes.  She also only wanted squares, which surprised me because she is always drawing hearts.  But after a few minutes of talking to her and watching Pela eat the fun, bite-sized shapes, she ate hers.  Now she asks for “funsize”, what she calls it, when I make breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Some information about FunBites:

Created by Bobbie Rhodes, mother of 2, who found herself spending a lot of time cutting food into tiny, bite- sized shapes to make meal- time fun and less stressful.

Image from FunBites

FunBites  creates bite-sized magic featuring a cutter that quickly cuts food into small bites, curved blades that make cutting simple and a matching popper that instantly pops! out fun-shaped bite-sized pieces – so hands are clean, food is untouched.

Available in two fun shapes Luv it! (creates one big heart created from 10 geometric shapes) and Cube it! (creates 12 bite-sized squares).

FunBites is BPA free, works on any surface and is top shelf dishwasher safe.

FunBites has been a great addition to our meal time.  With a simple rocking motion you can turn food into bite-sized shapes for any meal.  We have used it on omelets, bread, pancakes, pizza, quesadillas and even pork chops.  The only meal I had difficulty using it on was the pork chops but managed to break through but needed to pull a few pieces a part. It was still easier than cutting it into small pieces.  FunBites is small enough to fit in your purse or diaper bag to bring along when you go out to eat.  They are also great for a last-minute stocking stuffer. Visit www.funbites.com to purchase and to find out more.

Thank you  FunBites!

FunBites for Breakfast:

Ham and Cheese Omelette Squares with Heart Bread and Butter

Yummy FunBites!

Banana Chocolate Chip Pancakes

Our Pancake Person

FunBites for Lunch:

MomMadeMeals Pizza Pocket with a FunBites touch.

FunBites for Dinner

FunBites Soy, Ginger Pork Chops (a little tough to cut but managed to do it)

Loving FunBites!

Disclaimer: I did not receive compensation for this post.  I did receive a LuvIt! and CubeIt! FunBites for review.  All opinions expressed are my own.

An Afternoon of Baking

16 Dec

For the past 2 years I have been class parent for Maddie’s school.  As class parent I was in charge of organizing a holiday gift to the teachers, from the families.    Last year I shared duties with another mom.  She picked up coffee and donuts for the teachers in addition to a gift card for each of the teachers.  I wanted to do something edible but different because I knew there was no way I could get both girls ready, go to Dunkin Donuts and still make it to school by nine.  I can barely get Maddie there on time as it is.  Since Maddie loves to bake, I decided that we would bake cookies.  While Pela napped, we spent the afternoon baking six dozen cookies.  We had Betty Crocker Oatmeal and Sugar cookie mix that you just add butter and eggs to, so we used that.  I wanted to add a special touch to the cookies so I let Maddie pick ingredients to add to them.  We ended up with Sugar Cookies with Peppermint (crushed candy cane) and Chocolate Chips, Sugar cookies with M&M’s, Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies, and S’more Oatmeal Cookies.  The girls and I tried each type of cookie when they were finished. They were delicious.  We will be making them again next week when my friends come over for a holiday dinner with the girl’s.

I found adorable clear candy cane bags at Tribeca Treats to package the cookies once they were cool.  Each teacher got two of each kind of cookie.  While, I was at Rite Aid the other day getting M&M’s, I stumbled across individual holiday Swiss Miss Hot Chocolate ornaments that I decided would be great add to each bag of cookies. I had been really worried about it but it turned out to be a great addition to the gift card.  It would also be a great gift for your child’s friends if you want to do something small for them.

Peppermint Chocolate Chip Cookie:

Crush 4 candy canes

Mix crush candy canes and chocolate chips into sugar cookie mix.

Follow baking instructions

S’more Oatmeal Chocolate Chip:

Add Chocolate Chips to Oatmeal Mix

Place on cookie sheet and bake for 5 min

Meanwhile, cut large marshmello into slivers

After, 5 min, take out  cookies and add sliver of marshmellow

Sprinkle crushed graham cracker on top

Continue baking for 5-7 min

Pasta…again

12 Dec

For the past week, Maddie has asked for pasta every night.  The other night she had a few of her friends over and I cooked Mac and Cheese and Noodles with Butter for them.  I so much pasta leftover I used it for lunch the next day. I didn’t want them to have the same meal as the night before so I made my own concoction with what I had in the refrigerator.  Last week, I saw my husband add ham to his pasta l and thought it was a great idea so I added ham and broccoli for the girls. They ate it all up, and asked for more.  I didn’t have time to measure everything but this is how I made it:

Pasta: I used leftover egg noodles, add a drop of white truffle oil and a little olive oil; heat in microwave or in a pot on the stove.

In a separate pan, heat ham ( I used Rosemary Ham from Whole Foods). Once heated cut into tiny pieces.

Meanwhile, cook broccoli (use frozen or steam fresh).

Mix together pasta, ham and broccoli.

Add grated Parmesan cheese and serve.

It was quick, easy, and I tried it and liked it.  Be careful not to over do it with the truffle oil.  If you don’t think your child will like it, you can omit it.

You can also let your child come up with their own pasta creation.  Enjoy!

Crafty Cards

9 Dec

Every year we get so many adorable holiday cards from friends and family and I never know the best way to display them.  Last year, I tapped them to the window and as soon as it got colder the tape came off ; leaving all the cards piled up on the windowsill until the holidays were over.  Maddie  loved taking her friends cards from the pile throughout the day and would always want to take a few to bed with her.  Needless, to say I would find them all over the place and had to pick them up every night and put them back into a pile on the window sill,   This year I decided to incorporate our cards into our decorations.

The Girls' Room

I was on Babble the other day and saw the post on 15 Ways to Display YOUR Holiday Cards.   I loved the idea of using clothespins and string but I wanted to give a little holiday spirit.   The past couple days have been rainy and nasty out so I needed something to do with the girls, mostly to keep Maddie busy during Pela’s nap. I decided it would be fun to turn our clothespins into Santa, Reindeer, Candy Canes, a Christmas tree and anything else Maddie wanted to do with her clothespins. When Pela was awake she was able to help color clothespins and pass materials to Maddie.  We had a lot of fun working on them together and will make more as we receive more cards.

"Elf" decided to join our friends last night

This is adaptable, your child can decorate your pins any way they like don’t necessarily have to do a holiday theme.   It is fun to let your child’s creative mind be put to work.  I plan on letting Maddie decorate non-holiday clothespins to hang pictures and artwork in her room.

A few of our holiday pins

Here is how we did our Holiday Clothes Pins:

Any activity with young children require adult supervision at all times.  We used a hot glue gun so I made sure to discuss safety with Maddie before and I was the only one to use the gun.  Before she placed objects on I made sure the glue was not too hot for her.  You can also use a heavy craft glue.  I had the sign from a previous year and thought it would be cute for the ribbon to come out from it.  You can do yours with or without a sign in the middle.  A wreath would also be great for the center.

What you need:

  • Assorted colored pipe cleaners (We used a mixed variety of sparkle, basic colors and holiday colors)
  • Crayons
  • Google eyes
  • Small Pom- Poms (we used black and red)
  • Medium White Pom- Poms or Cotton Balls
  • Assorted colored glitter glue (we used red, green, gold, silver and white)
  • Star stickers
  • Heavy Craft Glue or Glue Gun
  • Ribbon (we used thin red and green above our table and white in the girls room)
  • White Thumb Tacks

Reindeer:

Color clothespin Brown

Antlers: Cut gold sparkle pipecleaner, 1 long, 2 short- Fold longer one in U shape and  twist shorter one around each side.

Eyes: 2 google eyes

Nose: small black or Red pom- pom

Mouth: Glitter Glue

Santa:

Color clothes pin red, leaving a small area 3/4 of the way up, blank for Santa’s face.

Beard: White Glitter Glue

2 google eyes

Nose: small red pom- pom

Ball on hat: cut small piece of white pipecleaner

Candycane:

Color clothespin red

Twist red and white pipecleaner toegether, shape into small J and cut desired length

or use Red and White glitter glue and draw stripes

Snowman:

Color clothespin white

Body: 3 large white pom-poms

Buttons: 3 small black pom- poms

Nose: Cut off small piece of orange pipecleaner

2 Google Eyes

Mouth: gold glitter glue

Hat:  Shaped pipecleaner (use any color you prefer)

Scarf: Ribbon folded in 1/2 and glued together, use any color

Christmas Tree:

Color clothespin green

Use glitter glue for “lights”

Place a star sticker on top

Once you create your clothespin friends, string ribbon on wall and clip clothespins on and hang cards.

HAPPY CRAFTING!

Melissa and Doug: Fueling your Child’s Imagination

7 Dec

Last week I attended the Melissa and Doug showroom for a MomTrends event.  Walking into the room, I wished I was a kid again.  It was every child’s dream.  So many great toys in one place from wooden and felt food to complete the face drawing pads to puzzles and puppets galore.  Melissa and Doug have provided educational products for over 23 years and I’m pretty sure every parent or teacher I know has at least one if not more Melissa and Doug products in their home or classroom.  The most valuable features of their products is that they fuel your child’s imagination and encourage creativity whether they are dressing up as a chef and “cooking” in their kitchen, creating and designing an art project, or putting together a puzzle.

At the event, attendees went  on a scavenger hunt for Al’s Angels, a wonderful charity helping children and families in need.  Here are a few of my favorites I discovered on the scavenger hunt:

Snowman Stacker

Felt Cookie Decorating Set

Chef Costume

Wooden Easel

Trunki: a lifesaver for the airport.

Disclaimer:  I did not receive compensation for this post.  All opinions expressed are my own.  Each guest received a Trunki and stickers as a gift.

Tasty Gifts

5 Dec

We have so many people to buy gifts for during the holiday season and I never know what to get.  I always like doing a gift involving the girls.  Last year we made calendars and picture frames.  This year I was stuck on ideas until my mom came to visit over the weekend and brought the girls the Kids in the Holiday Kitchen, by Jessica Strand and Tammy  Massman-Johnson.  Maddie has gone through the book a few times picking out what she wants to make.  When she finally put the book down and wasn’t looking I was able to sneak a peak and found a few cute ideas to give as gifts for friends and/or family.  Below are two ideas from Kids in the Holiday Kitchen, that we will be giving to grandparents/ great grandparents this year.  I can’t wait to make them with the girls.

Jolly Cookie Jar 

Image from WilliamSonoma.com

This one-of-a-kind, do-it-yourself layered glass cookie jar comes with all the necessary dry ingredients already measured out! It is a “just add butter, eggs and vanilla” kind of gift, which will delight grown-ups and kids alike. Any favorite cookie recipe will do; however, we chose a recipe with walnuts, dried cherries and chocolate chips for a festive look and delicious taste!
Ingredients:

Note: Since we have allergies in our house we will not be adding walnuts. To make it personalized you can elimate the walnuts, cherries, chocolate chips and let your child get creative with what he/ she would like to add for the person they will be giving it too.

  • 1-quart wide-mouthed jar (with a lid) in glass or clear plastic
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup dried tart cherries
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats (not instant)
  • 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 3-by-3-inch piece white card stock
  • Hole punch
  • 16 to 18 inches narrow ribbon or kitchen string

Directions:
Add each ingredient into the jar in the order listed. After each addition, use a large spoon or a small fist to level and pack down each layer. Attach the lid.

On the white card stock, make a gift tag that includes the following instructions: “For scrumptious holiday cookies in a flash, preheat the oven to 375°F. Beat together 3 ounces (3/4 stick) softened unsalted butter, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract and 1 egg in a large bowl or mixer. Add the contents of the jar and stir or mix until well blended. Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake until golden, 7 to 10 minutes. Makes 2 dozen cookies. Enjoy!”

Punch a hole in a corner of your gift tag, and thread your ribbon or kitchen string through. When the tag is centered in the middle of the ribbon, tie the ribbon around the jar’s neck, or secure it under the threads of the lid. Makes 1 jar.

Adapted from Kids in the Holiday Kitchen, by Jessica Strand & Tammy Massman-Johnson (Chronicle Books, 2007).

Tasty Treasures (Fill with home made cookies from your child, we will be using decorated sugar cookies)

  • Newspaper
  • 6x6x4- inch craft box (white or natural color)
  • Assorted beads, such as rhinestones (any flat bottom is fine)
  • Assorted colored poms poms (my addition)
  • Assorted colored glitter glue  (my addition)
  • Assorted Holiday Stickers (my addition)
  • Good quality craft glue
  • Parchment or waxed paper

Directions ( I made my own shortened version of the directions):

On a work surface spread a newspaper, take the top off the box and set the bottom aside.  Let your child get creative and start decorating.  Once your child is done, let the glue dry for about 2 hours so that the decorations hold.  Line the bottom and sides of the box with a large piece of parchment or waxed paper.  Fill with your child’s favorite cookie.

Tip: These boxes are a very versatile craft.  Buttons, beads, pieces of ribbon, (you name it!) will all work beautifully.  Pom- poms add a fun dimension and contrast nicely with rhinestones.

Adapted from Kids in the Holiday Kitchen, by Jessica Strand & Tammy Massman-Johnson (Chronicle Books, 2007).