Posted in Cooking with the Kiddies, Uncategorized

Social Distancing in the Kitchen

In our normal life I don’t cook much, it’s not that I don’t like to cook, or am not very good at it, it’s just that I’m never home long enough to cook. A few years ago we starting using meal kit delivery.  We did Chef’s Plate for about a year but the kids found their meals a bit too adventurous.  We switched the Hello Fresh and have been getting their meal kits for a few years now.  With these meal kits I know that we are at least eating a well balanced meal at least 3 times a week.  Whoever is home first makes it and everyone eats when then can, rarely together.

Since school’s have been closed dinner time has changed dramatically in our house.  We have sat down to dinner, the 5 of us, almost every night for 2 weeks now.  I can’t remember the last time that happened.  I have kept up our Hello Fresh deliveries, mostly because that way I know whatever happens with food availability in the next couple weeks/months we ‘should’ have 3 well balanced meals a day.  The others days of the week I have started to cook again, and I am having fun with it.  I am trying to get through the many items that have been stocked in my pantry and freezer over the past year.  We are trying to support local.  Today we got fresh bread order from The Good Bread Company, and picked up a drive through market order from Heritage Lane Produce.  Earlier in the week we received a Dover Rocks Box, with cheese, bread and sweets from small shops in Port Dover. I dare to say that we are eating now better than ever (Eileen is becoming a bit of a cheese snob).

The other great thing is that there are so many chefs doing online cooking demonstrations for free, as many people now have more time on their hands.  There are many out there but the one I have been following is from another local business, Ritzy Cakes.   Michael Reitz is #chefisolation and he is posting video on the Ritzy Cakes Facebook page.  You can watch them live or look through their page for past videos.  Last weekend I made the crepes and tonight I made the Pasta Carbonara.  They were both awesome and devoured by my entire family.  On Saturday morning I’m going to tackle the Eggs Benny.  I love trying these new things, and it is a great way to keep busy and motivated.  The next time I need a cake for a birthday or other event I’m definitely calling Ritzy Cakes! (for some reason I can’t upload a photo of my crepes but here is the pasta)


Posted in Books, Cooking with the Kiddies

Little Book Adventure – Challenge #4: Inviting Pinkalicious to Dinner

We started challenge #4 by discussing the idea of characters.  I realized it is a difficult idea to explain without using the word character.  We talked about that a character is the who the book is about but that ‘who’ doesn’t need to be a person – it could be an animal or a thing.  I tried to use some simple examples such as the pigeon in Mo Willems Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus (example of an animal character), and Thomas the Train (example of a thing character). I sent Kaitlyn, Eileen and my niece Lyric to find a book with a character they all loved.  The two younger girls really had no idea what they were doing, as I quickly realized when they both brought me ABC board books.  Kaitlyn understood but was bringing me books she liked with more obscure characters.  I went to her bookshelf with her to find some more well known characters that her sister and cousin might also like.  First I suggested Curious George and was met with a look of disgust (not really sure why).  When I pulled out Pinkalicious her eyes lit up.  I quickly found Purplicious, and Goldilicious and rounded the girls up on the couch.  We read each of the three books and then I explained their task to them.  We were going to plan a dinner party and invite Pinkalicious to Dinner.

Now that they had picked the character it was time to get started.   First Kaitlyn helped me pick the menu.

Don’t worry we didn’t eat mice for dinner – it is to read mousse.  From this I found some recipes online and made a grocery list.  My nieces were with is for a few days and they are vegetarian, which is why we had risotto for the main course.  My kids LOVE risotto so I thought this was a good fit.  There wasn’t too much for me to prepare.  I had made coloured devilled eggs for Easter so this was pretty easy.  All you do is soak the boiled egg whites in water with red food colouring for about 30 minutes before adding the yolks back in for devilled eggs.  We found a pink brie recipe and pink risotto recipe online.  We bought a mix for strawberry mousse at the grocery story along with pre-packaged raspberry lemonade.  Not to much work but a successful, and kid friendly menu.

Before heading to the grocery store we decide to paint some pink pictures for the walls of the kitchen to decorate.  This was inspired by the art class which Pinkalicious had in the book Purplicious.  I got out the three paint palette trays I had picked up at the dollar store a few months ago and mixed red and white together to make a variety of shades of pink. I gave each of the girls a large piece of painting paper and let them create.

I love how Eileen has become so meticulous with her painting.  She decided she would paint a cupcake and took her time and patience and it looks like a cupcake!

After we returned from the grocery story the girls set the table with Grandma while I worked on the food.  We searched the house and pulled out everything pink we could find.  I managed to find 8 small pink plastic plates along with cutlery from our Princess Tea Party last May.  I also found some streamers and random balloons in the craft bin in the basement.

After that Kaitlyn quietly disappeared – and I didn’t realize how long she was gone unit she came back upstairs with her creation!  She had decided that we needed a real Pinkalicious for our party so she made one!  This was entirely her idea and it was AWESOME!

She also decided that Pinkalicious needed a proper invitation so she disappeared back downstairs to her craft centre and returned with an invitation.

Front of Invitation

Inside of Invitation

Everything was ready so the girls ran off to get dressed.  They found the fanciest pink dresses they could in their closets.  The table was set and Pinkalicious was waiting for her hosts!

Appetizers were ready to be enjoyed.  Yes, I know the crackers are not pink – I could not find any pink crackers in the grocery store.

Our pink risotto!

Finishing off with some yummy pink mousse (not mouse).

It was a fun afternoon preparing and a fun dinner for everyone!  Now I think I may just have to take the girls to see the Pinkalicious stage show before the summer is over!

Posted in Books, Cooking with the Kiddies, Craft Thursdays, Literacy Tuesdays

5 Little Ducks, a Donkey and a Wolf – MeMe Tales Readathon Week #1

I was very excited to learn about the MeMe tales readathon and we downloaded the app and the first books a couple of weeks ago.  However, as school had not finished yet we are a couple of weeks behind.

Week 1 of the Readathon was all about Animals.  We have tonnes of animal books at home but it was cool that both of the books for the readathon were traditional tales.  I am been trying to introduce the kids to nursery rhymes and fairy tales so this fit in perfectly.

We started with 5 Little Ducks.

The Five Little Ducklings
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The Five Little Ducklings

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This is a familiar tale and instantly my girls started to sing the song.  I went to iTunes and downloaded them the Raffi version.  They listened to it over and over again and then decided that they were going to act it out for themselves.  I sent them on a hunt to find as many toy ducks as they could.  Michael’s favourite toy is his stuffed duckie but we managed to find a bunch more, especially when we got into the bath toys!  We used two large pillows covered by my green table cloth for the hill (they called it the mountain), and we filmed in the backyard on a sunny day.  It took a bit of rehearsing and distracting of one little brother but it ended up pretty cute!

I got inspired to create a special breakfast for the girls around the duck theme. I found a gluten free pancake mix in the pantry and decided pancakes and fruit would be perfect.   The only problem was that most of my cool shaped cookie cutters are plastic.  I found a tutorial at Time 2 Save that helped me use tinfoil to copy my pastic duck cookie cutters.  This was supper easy and let me make duck shaped pancakes for breakfast.  They asked why they didn’t have 5 ducks each but I am glad I didn’t make that many – they each ate only 2!

Continue reading “5 Little Ducks, a Donkey and a Wolf – MeMe Tales Readathon Week #1”

Posted in Cooking with the Kiddies

Gluten Free – Mommy’s Turn

If you have been following my blog for a while you might remember that last spring my kids went on a trial gluten free diet for a couple of months.  If not you can check out my posts (2).  It turned out that my kids are fine with gluten but had other issues.  Now that I seem to have their diets mostly under control and they have not been getting as sick this  year (fingers crossed to keep it that way), I figured it was about time to think about what I eat.  I have had stomach issues for years, but I have not really worried about them lately as they  seemed to get better whenever I was pregnant or nursing (ironically).  That has been pretty much my constant state for the past 6 years but now that I am done having children I have been finding the problems coming back.  When this problem initially started as a teenager the doctor gave me some pills for the pain but not much else was done.  At one time I thought I had a chicken allergy but after taking that out of my diet it didn’t get any better.

I figured it was time to give the G-Free diet a try for myself.  So far I have made it through one week with only a couple of slip ups.   I figured I should start with a bit of inspirational reading so I picked up a copy of Elisabeth Hasselbeck’s The G-Free Diet (and also a copy of her cookbook).  I am 60 pages into the book so far and have learned a bit – most surprising to me were the number of things with gluten in them that I would never have thought of (I read this after sealing a pile of envelopes that probably had gluten in them).  My one slip up was at school on Wednesday when we had cupcakes for my teaching partner’s birthday and I ate one without even thinking.  The biggest difficulty is snacking, especially when I am not at home.  I use to often visit Tim Hortons for an afternoon snack before picking up the kids from daycare and can’t do that anymore.  I haven’t yet, but this may lead to some weight loss due to less snacking.  I have been trying to plan ahead packing carrot sticks or G-Free crackers but I am not normally the person who plans ahead (for myself anyway).

So my major focus is my own diet, I am not making the rest of my family go G-Free.  Saying this they will be eating a lot less gluten as I am the one preparing the meals.  Our meal plans for the week are all G-free and sometimes I give them an alternative (I had a rice wrap while they had ww tortillas) but most of the time their dinners are 100% gluten free.  I even found a cool site with a weekly menu plan that we are going to try this week.

Sunday morning are our big breakfast mornings.  Lately Kaitlyn has been asking for waffles all the time so I thought I would try to make some G-Free waffles for all of us.  Using google I quickly discovered that most recipes called for tapioca flour or other strange ingredients that I don’t have but I did eventually find a recipe at Gluten Free Cooking School using ingredients I had in my pantry and fridge.  They turned out pretty good, even if they had a bit too much butter for my liking.  Kaitlyn kept saying that they were the best waffles she ever had and Michael ate his entire plate and seconds.  They have already decided I need to get strawberries to try with them next Sunday.

The biggest problem I have going gluten free in my small town is getting ingredients.  We have a pretty good natural food store and an aisle at the Superstore that I can get stuff at but the selection is limited.  I did discover that our favourite pizza place now has a Gluten Free crust and I tried it on Friday – awesome!

We will see how this new adventure goes but if it makes me feel better it is all worth it!

Posted in Cooking with the Kiddies, Craft Thursdays, Family Adventures

Happy New Year!

We thought we should do a few things at our place to celebrate the New Year.  Eileen woke up the other day to see the ground covered in snow and then declared that Christmas was finally here.  Then she looked around and noticed the tree and all the decorations were already gone.  To make her feel better we made banner to celebrate New Years.

I found a cute idea for a banner at Kaboose.  I didn’t have any nice felt around the house so we went by Walmart and I found some cool sparkly felt (the sparkles don’t show up very well in the picture).

I cut the strips out as the instructions listed and glued them on the string.  I found that they kept sliding with white glue so I used hot glue to make sure it would stay together.  The next day I sat down with the girls to make our banner.  I used the glitter glue to print each letter in uppercase and they put the sequins on.  At first I tried to get them to use small sequins but after a few minutes I abandoned that battle and let them do it however they wanted.

While it was drying before going on the mantle I decided that it would be a good time to watch Rudolph’s Shiny New Year.

I had PVRd this movie when it was on a couple of days earlier thinking the girls might like it.  It seems like all the good kids holiday specials are always on after the kids go to bed!  For a couple of years now I had been looking for a New Years show I remembered watching as a kid about a New Years baby and as soon as it started I knew this was the one.  This special starts right after Christmas when Santa gets a letter from Father Time telling him that Happy the New Years Baby has gone missing – and of course the only one who can find him in a snow storm is Rudolph.  Rudolph sets off and meets a number of new characters along the way in his search for Happy.  As an adult watching it there are so many inconsistencies that in history that it made my head want to spin.  For some reason I don’t have a problem with the more traditional tales and a flying red-nosed reindeer but a number of islands where the Father Time of each year goes to retire is a bit far fetched for me.  Kaitlyn actually asked me while we were watching it if the cavemen really lived at the same time as the dinosaurs (because of course they do on island 1 000 000 BC).  I did really like the use of time in the film in many of the characters.  This is a concept we have been working on and led us to decide we needed to make a special treat for New Years Eve.  The girls are going to a party with the cousins at Grandmas so we decided to make a cookie clock for them to take.

We started by making a batch of soft sugar cookies.  We had a recipe from that we had used to make our reindeer cookies a few weeks ago, and they worked really well, so we used it again.  You could easily use refrigerated cookies dough from the grocery store.  Since this was an experiment and we weren’t sure how it would turn out we decided to simply make them circle shaped.  We have an awesome box of 101 cookie cutters that has a number of circle cut outs so we picked the size we thought would work best.  After chilling the dough for a couple of hours the girls helped me cut them out and bake them.  I let them cool overnight and then I made a glaze using another recipe I found at  This recipe made enough for the cookies we needed for our clock but not for all the cookies we had made.  I made two batches of glaze – one in blue and one in green.  All I did was dip each cookie in the glaze and then let them dry.  After they were dry I used some buttercream icing and piped on the numbers.  The girls picked gummy worms for the arms of the clock and I used a chocolate wafer for the middle.  You could also use liquorice.  It helped to secure the arms with some more icing.

Next week while Kaitlyn and I are still off school I think it will be a good time to do some more activities on time, but this was a great start!  And yummy too!

We decided we needed to do one more thing for New Years, especially since they would be at Gramma & Grampa’s house.  Make noise makers!

We found a cute idea at Kibmoou.  We first called Gramma to bring over any empty water bottles, we didn’t have any.  She brought over a few different types and we picked the Gatorade and Powerade bottles because they had the biggest openings.  I went through my pantry and picked out a number of things that would make noise in a bottle: navy beans, rice, white beans and split peas.  I put a small amount in 4 bowls and told the kids they could experiment to see what filler would make the sound they liked best.

Eileen picked the navy beans because their sound was the loudest.  Kaitlyn mixed them with a heavy concentration of rice because she it made the sound she liked.  Michael just put in anything he could get his hands on.

Our bottles had large openings but if you had smaller openings you might want to use a funnel.  After they were full I glued the lids on so they would have not escapees.  As an aside make sure your bottles are clean and dry before starting, otherwise it won’t work as nicely.

We took off the labels and got started with the decorating.  This style of decoration is very easy at this time of year because we had so much tissue paper from Christmas presents.  First I gave them scraps of white tissue paper.  They each covered their bottle by gluing on the tissue paper using glue I had diluted in water.  They would lay the paper down and brush the glue on with a paint brush.  We let them dry a little, not completely and then I gave them a bowl of mixed colour tissue paper and let them make their designs all over their shakers.

Kaitlyn pretty much did Michael’s for him but Eileen’s persistency was impressive.  I have been very excited with how much patience she has been showing with her crafts lately.  Other than Mommy smoothing a few edges she did the entire thing herself!

We let them completely dry overnight and then I added some ribbon for them today.

Now that I am done my last blog of 2011 I am going to take the kids cookie clock and their shakers over to Gramma & Grampa’s for the girls (who are already there) and then I am going to come home, put on my comfy P.J.s and enjoy some fajitas and a movie with my Gord and Michael.

Wishing everyone a Healthy and Happy New Year!!!

Posted in Books, Cooking with the Kiddies

Cookies for Santa

Christmas Eve is a busy day in our family as we do our Christmas celebrations with Daddy’s side of the family so we have to bake our cookies for Santa on the 23rd.

First we read our book for the day: Max’s Christmas by Rosemary Wells.

The Max and Ruby chain is one of those great ones where the books came  before the show.  There is quite the online discussion about the absence of Max and Ruby’s parents and many parents have a strong dislike for the show but it doesn’t bother me that much.  Maybe because I have kids that remind me of Max and Ruby..  At first it was Kaitlyn and eileen with the younger mischievous Eileen always ruining her best laid plans but now it is definitely Michael who is destroying the girls’ tea parties and other adventures.  I purchased this book a couple of years ago for Eileen when she was the recreation of Max.  Ruby describes the idea of Santa to Max who doesn’t understand why he can’t stay up to see Santa – as usual Max asks those incessant simple questions like every toddler.  This is a great book to read a couple of days before Christmas.

Next we had to bake our cookies for Santa.  We had done a lot of baking leading up to Christmas so I wanted to keep this simple.  Eileen also reminded us that she told Santa in her letter that she was making him Chocolate cookies so I convinced her that chocolate chip would be a good idea.

To make it even easier we used the recipe on the back of the bag of chocolate chips for Chipits Chewy Milk Chocolate Cookies – a fail safe recipe that we had all the ingredients to in our pantry.  Santa loved them!

Posted in Books, Cooking with the Kiddies, Kindercrafts

The many 12 Days of Christmas

The 12 days of Christmas was a big theme for us this year, at school – and at home.  It all started with last year for Christmas Eileen received a copy of A Porcupine in a Pine Tree from her Aunt and Uncle.  This is a great Canadian 12 days of Christmas.

I had mad the decision to use this book at Christmas in my Kindergarten class a long time ago – but once we got started it took on a life of its own.  I started at the beginning of December by reading them the book.  Each child was given a large bristol board Christmas Tree and was told we were going to make the 12 days of Christmas.  This activity has a lot of teacher prep but it was totally worth it.  I had pre-printed and cut out all the gift for Christmas.  On the JK pictures I had stencilled in the numbers and on the SK pictures I simply put and empty box for them to print in the numbers.

My teaching partner suggested doing something to make the porcupine stand out at the top of the tree so we painted small doilies and glued them on the very top, and then put the porcupine on top.  We started with 3 ‘days’ a class but when we got to the higher days we only did 2 a class.  For 11 and 12 I saved time by leaving them in a strip and they just glued on.  It was a very time consuming activity and took us many classes but it was a perfect way to reinforce our numbers up to 12 that we had been working on in the month of November.  Feel free to use the file I made for the activity: porcupine in a pine tree, you will need to print in the number stencils if you wish for JK students.

On the last day we sequenced the story on the back on the tree.  This helped reinforce the idea of story sequencing and gave me an opportunity to introduce ordinal numbers.  I had strips for each day and first they glued them in order.  As this was a new concept I only gave one strip at a time (we had done the same thing with our numbers on the front).  It was much easier to track everyone as a whole class this way.  The same day we added the ordinal numbers before the sentences (1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc).  This I gave it them each in a pile and asked them to put in order themselves – it was a great way to see who had mastered their numbers and who still needed some help.

The best part was at the end when they took them home.  As we were learning each day we were also singing the song – complete with actions.  I found a youtube video from a class in Kitchener that I would definitely recommend checking out!!

To make some text to text connections I also read a few other versions of the 12 days of Christmas.  I found a treaditional version on the discount shelves of our local bookstore.  After reading it to them I played them the true classic 12  days of Christmas sung by John Denver and the Muppets!!

Next I read A Stork in A Baobab Tree: An African Twelve Days of Christmas. I would love to have done more time on this one in my class but we drew some great connections to what they do in African and how it is different and the same to what we do in North America.  For example “On the fourth day of Christmas my true love gave to me four market traders” – we discussed how many of us to to the market in our own downtown to get fresh food.

One book I ran out of to do with my class was A Pinata for the Pinon Tree.  This was our family book for December 15th!

This is the 12  days of Christmas in New Mexico.  When I picked it up I thought it would be a Mexican Christmas but instead it is a Southwestern Christmas.  The cool thing about this book is that on each page is shows one set of characters decorating for Christmas using the different items for the 12 days of Christmas but in the left hand part of the page is a grandmother character who is baking some sort of treat.  The treat is never mentioned in the story but at the end of the book is a recipe for Bizcochitos – a traditional New Mexican Christmas cookie.  It was very obvious that we had to make these cookies, but they called for a strange ingredient – aniseed.  The next Thursday when we went to market I asked the spice lady and she had aniseed!  We mixed up the batter and made a variety of Bizcochitos.  I let the girls pick from all of my cookie cutters so we had a wide variety of shapes.  These are a very different tasting Christmas cookie so not everyone may like them – but everyone we gave some to loved them!









I am looking for more great versions of The Twelve Days of Christmas to add to our library for future years.  If you have a favourite let us know!