Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Peanut Butter Rice Krispie Treats

So I've been reminded by a couple comments about the recipe I promised to post. I'm glad to be reminded because I'm very forgetful like that. So here it is.

Peanut Butter Rice Krispie Treats
1/2 cup margarine or butter
10 oz. mini marshmallows
1/2-1 cup peanut butter
6-8 cups rice krispies

In large saucepan melt butter and marshmallows. Remove from heat. Add peanut butter, stir until smooth. Stir in rice krispies. Press mixture into well buttered 9x13 pan. (I used cooking spray, it worked just fine.) Cut into 24 squares.

I thought that this would be really fun to make with M&M, but as I started I realized she wouldn't be able to help much because most of it was on the stove, but she did love to stir everything when I took it off of the stove. Enjoy!


Sunday, September 20, 2009

Tot school - three weeks worth!

Oh my, it's been three weeks since I've done a Tot School post. With M&M being in school three mornings, playgroup once a week, going to the library, the park, grocery shopping and doctor appointments our weeks are pretty busy. We aren't used to being this busy so it's just a matter of settling into a new schedule. I've found that my focus has changed from Tot School mode all of the time to wanting to do crafts during my free time.

I've also been wrestling with the decision to keep doing a letter a week. I think I've decided to postpone doing the rest of the letters until the beginning of next year. (With the exception of this next week because we are going to do a lot of apple activities.) We just have a lot of things planned in the next three months and I will probably end up doing a lot of arts and crafts for Autumn, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas. I've got the craft itch BAD! My mom is coming in November with her sewing machine to help me do some projects, but there is a lot of prep work that I need to do for the projects before then. Considering October starts this week (can you believe it?) November really isn't that far away. I haven't decided if I'm going to continue with Tot School posts until the beginning of the year or not either. We'll see. I might just end up posting about certain activities that we do without having one long post which seems to take forever. I'm really trying to simplify my life right now.

Anyway, it's been great weather here so M&M and I spent an afternoon on the back porch with sidewalk chalk. She started drawing some letters and then I drew a roadway for her to drive a little car on.

We made Peanut Butter Rice Krispie Treats using my mother-in-law's recipe. (I'll post the recipe in a separate post.)

We also did these sound eggs that I've been meaning to do forever. This idea came from Chasing Cheerios. I filled each set of eggs with beans, small seashells, rice, lentils, overhead counters (I think that's what they are), and stones. Then she shakes one of them and tries to find the match in the other color just by listening to the sound. She kept wanting to open them and cheat, but she did a really good job at recognizing the differences.

I've set up an art area in our playroom for M&M. (more about that in another post) I've set out stickers for her to use and this is what she did with them. She put them into "families". Everything that has big and little things are mommies, daddies, and babies.
M&M also painted one of those packaged ceramic figure kits from the craft store. The kit only comes with red, blue, yellow, and white. Once she used all of those colors she wanted more colors and mentioned that we can mix them together to make new colors. I pulled out the color wheel puzzle from the Target dollar spot and used it as a reference. We made green, orange, purple and pink.

When I first got these lacing cards M&M wasn't really interested in them so I put them away for awhile and just brought them back out. She only did one, but at least she went until the string was all done.

I got this doll from the dollar store and it was a great transition from the last activity because you have to lace on the doll's clothes and hats.

This community helper tools match game is from Kelly's Kindergarten. (Scroll down on the link.) M&M really liked this, but she needed a lot of help the first time.

I also got this game at the dollar store after seeing it on several blogs. M&M put the pegs in several times.

She wanted to hammer them in one of the times.

She also put marbles on top of them. I saw this on a blog, but I can't remember where, sorry.

I made these tongue depressor shapes a while ago, put them away and then found them recently. I got the idea for these from My Two Happy Homeschoolers.

With these popsicle sticks she is matching uppercase letters to lowercase letters. I've posted about this activity before here.

There was also renewed interest in this dry erase book. She is doing really good at tracing letters.

We made bug racers. Got the idea from here. It's made out of the cups from an egg carton, put faces on them and pipe cleaners for antennas. Make a ramp, put marbles under them and race!

Ours aren't nearly as cute as the ones on the link.

This counting activity came from Childcareland. Using clothespins M&M put the correct amount on the circles. These plastic clothespins are a lot easier for M&M to squeeze.

This is a syllable count game. I did this one not knowing if M&M would understand. I tried to explain it to her, but she didn't get it. Maybe 3 is too young to teach syllables? I don't know. Has anyone else tried something like this with toddlers?

I loved these color matching pictures from Homeschool Creations. I printed them out, laminated them and had M&M match them using these pocket charts from the Target $1 spot.

I saw this idea somewhere to take the backing off of stickers and then have kids take the stickers off and match them up with the holes. We tried this, but it didn't last very long.

Sometimes when M&M plays on the computer on Nick Jr. or she will print out stuff. She printed this Yo Gabba Gabba thing and then wanted to cut them out. I gave her the scissors and was expecting little cuts all over the edges like she usually does. Not this time! She actually cut around each card. I was amazed. My lesson learned during Tot School this week was never underestimate your kids!

I made these 5 frogs and monkey posters from the idea I saw at Izzie, Mac and Me. The graphics for the monkey posters came from The frog ones came from Childcareland. M&M loves pulling the monkeys and frogs off to match them to the number we are on.


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

One craft project down....

who knows how many left.

This painting project has been in the works for months now. I got an unfinished wooden hook rack and painted it all white. That's the way it was sitting for a while. I've gotten the crafty itch lately with looking for holiday crafts and I just had to do something. I haven't gotten it out before because of excuses like, Oh I don't want M&M to get into it, I'll wait until she goes to bed. By the time she's in bed I find something else to do, yadda yadda yadda. Last night I told myself, "Just do it!" I pulled out all of my painting stuff and went to work. I had no idea what I was going to do with it.

My creative wheels got turning...slowly...because they are a little rusty, and this is what I came up with. (Please don't look too closely and see how often I painted out of the lines.) :)

I will be putting this up in the playroom for M&M to use in her dress-up area to hang hats, dresses, bags, whatever she wants. I used a stencil to randomly draw the flowers on and then just used a very tiny brush to paint it in. There probably is an easier way I could have done it, but I actually really like to do the small detail painting. Painting like this is like a therapy for me. I haven't done it in a LONG time and it feels so good to do it again. I made many projects when I was a teenager that are sitting on top of my kitchen cabinets. Someone in the neighborhood I grew up in taught Tole Painting classes and me and my friends would go over there after school every Wednesday. Sorry, I'm just rambling now, but it's kind of nostalgic for me.

I'll take another picture when I have her dress-up area finished.

Oh to be crafty again....*sigh*. More to come!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Big Changes

So you might notice some changes on my blog. Jennifer over at My Two Happy Homeschoolers did this new look for me and I love it! I love the simplicity of it and the new features like the navigation bar and especially the new header. She came up with this idea. All I told her was that I wanted "something" to change from ordinary into extraordinary. I would have never thought of this. There isn't anything under the craft section yet, but there will be! I'm already planning a ton of craft projects for Hallowen, Autumn, Thanksgiving and Christmas. I have to plan now or I'd spend all my time planning and never getting anything done when it gets to close to the actual holiday. There will be crafts for kids and for me to do. Yay! It seems like it takes me months to do something that would just take me a couple of days because of all of the other wife and mother responsibilities that come first. I'm learning how to get and keep organized though which is very helpful in all aspects of my life.

Monday, September 14, 2009

i heart faces - Contemplative

This picture is of my daughter this past spring. It was starting to warm up outside, my 4 month old was asleep and so I did a photo shoot with her in our backyard. I can only wonder what it is she is thinking about right here. Oh, the mystery of a child's mind.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

My thoughts on school

It seemed as if I was the only one in the bloggy world that I knew of that was deciding NOT to homeschool my children. I have since found those that aren't as well. Ever since starting this blog and reading others, I have given homeschool more thought. Even after doing this though it does not feel right for me to homeschool. The thing is I still have 2 years until M&M is old enough to go to Kindergarten. But I do have her in two preschools right now for a total of 3 mornings a week. One of them is at a local church 1 day a week where she knows no one. The other is at somebody's home that I go to church with where she is with kids that she knows from nursery class on Sunday.

With this decision in mind I am still going to evaluate our situation again and again to make sure I am doing the right thing. It is nice to know that I have an alternative if things go really sour in school. (or I don't like the school schedule in the district we are in like where we are now. They have elementary kids starting school at 8:00 a.m. and high school kids starting at 9. The high school kids don't get out until like 4:00 in the afternoon. I think this is ludicris. Is this normal for across the country now or is it just where we live? Where I grew up elementary started at 9 and high school started at 8. In high school we got out at 2:30 p.m. Enough time to do extracurricular activities and still be home to help make dinner or whatever.) Sorry a little tangent there, I could go on with that, but I won't.

I know the reasons that some people homeschool or don't have to do with religious, social and even personal reasons. I know of some people that really like to have their kids home. But I don't believe I love my child any less because I am sending her off to school. I do worry sometimes about the things my children will encounter and learn about in school, but I know that if I teach them correct princples at home that they will be a shining light in the midst of darkness and evil that surrounds them in the world.

I used to be one of those that thought people that were homeschooled were socially awkward, and all of that stigma. But that's what happens when we are young and we don't have all the information for both sides of a situation. I will say though that two of my best friends (sisters) were homeschooled and they are A LOT more social then me, during school years and in college. I am a very reserved person.

I do have to mention some of the things that intrigue me about homeschooling. I like the flexibility that goes along with it. I learned somewhere and I think it's true in most cases that you can get more done in a shorter amount of time because of the one-on-one attention that children get. You don't have to worry about kids missing school if there is a family emergency or you want to take a trip during off-peak seasons.

I think I have found a new hobby in looking for and implementing new activities for M&M and I to do together in Tot School. I've learned SO much. I'm in the process of putting together a binder of all the activities that I've found so that I can use these ideas for future children like Bubba and any more that come along in later years. I look forward to being home when my kids get home, having a snack ready for them and helping them with their homework or doing an art project with them. This time will be dedicated to them because I will have hopefully had enough time during the day to do anything I need to do for myself or around the house.

So as with everything I write it this is just my opinion and I love that we can all write our own opinions and learn from one another through these blogs.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Favorite Photo Friday

So here's my second Favorite Photo Friday. It's another flower/nature picture. I took these pictures right after getting my new Nikon D40 camera a couple of years ago. I loved being able to focus on something and having the rest of it be blurry.

Since I decided a little bit ago that I wasn't going to put pictures of my kids on here I've decided to break down and do it. I've since learned how to do a "watermark" of sorts so I can at least have my stamp on it.

Someone asked last week what editing program I use. I use Picasa 3. I have Photoshop as well, but not the most recent one. I think it's CS? Is that an actual one? haha. I haven't taken the time yet to learn Photoshop yet, but I do like the free actions you can find online! I've just downloaded some actions for Photoshop and I'm really excited to use them.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Tot School Aug 31-Sept. 4

Tot School
M&M is 39 months old

We didn't do a letter this week, but our theme was centered around camping. It's been too hot here to go camping for real (at least for me) so I thought we'd "camp" in the family room this week. First we made Smore's Galore. The recipe can be found here. (The actual recipe came from my sister-in-law's sister-in-law.)

Then we set up a fort/tent made of chairs and blankets. M&M set up a bed in there and we had a lantern for light.

We had a campfire....

and pretended to roast marshmallows over it. I found the idea for these on

M&M's little furry friends joined us in our tent.

I hope to go camping for real in the next month or so when it cools down. It's more fun to camp when there's a slight chill out than sweating up a storm in a hot tent.

The rest of the week she played with her Melissa and Doug alphabet magnetic board.

She pulled the stamps out of the closet. I tried to teach her to remember to wipe off the stamp after she uses it.

This was a new one. I think I got these stencils at the dollar store or $1 section at Target. M&M really liked to color in the openings with a pencil. I think these would make a great activity bag. I hope to put togther some activity bags here pretty soon.

Then just some classic watercoloring. I had forgotten about our watercolors because I always just pull out the crayola washable paints. She likes the water colors because it involves water!

Not a lot of stuff accomplished, but we had a lot of fun "camping!"

Friday, September 4, 2009

Favorite Photo Friday

Before blogging came into my life learning about photography was one of my main hobbies. I also love to edit photos. So I wanted to combine two of my hobbies with what I will call "Favorite Photo Friday." I will either choose a picture that I have taken that week and edited or I will go into my archives of thousands of pictures that I have and post it. This is just something that I want to do because I have so many pictures from before I started blogging that I never got to post. ;)
If I ever make a book out of my blog I want those in there, etc.
Anyway, I know there's similar memes out there and I'm doing this for myself, but if anyone else wants to join in let me know so I can come check it out! I love looking at all kinds of photography; portraits, landscapes, any and all. I get inspired by looking at other people's pictures.

So here's the first one. This is one from my archives.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


I've made 2 desserts in the past 3 days. They are totally different, one is fruity, the other one is chocolatey. I thought I'd share the recipes since they are so yummy!

I made this first one in honor of my most favorite time of year, Fall! Peach Cobbler always reminds me of Autumn. This recipe is one I've eaten my whole life. It's so easy and so good! (Oh, it's actually a Crisp, not a cobbler, but I think it's even better than cobbler.)

Peach Crisp
2 cans (16 oz. each) peaches, drained
3/4 cup Bisquick baking mix

1/2 cup quick-cooking oats

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

3 Tbsp. margarine or butter, softened

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Arrange peaches in 8x8x2 inch dish. Mix remaining ingredients until crumbly; sprinkle over peaches. Bake until peaches are tender, 30-35 minutes.

This recipe doesn't make a whole lot. I haven't tried it yet, but I think next time I make it I'll double it because it is always gone way too fast!

I love to go camping during the summer, but that was when I lived in my home state in the mountains. It is way too hot where I am now to sleep outside. (I really don't know how I've lasted these last 3 summers.) Anyway, I hope we go camping later on this month or the beginning of next month when it is cooler. So instead of roasting marshmallows over a campfire I decided to make this next recipe instead. (There's a lot of instructions, but it's really not that hard to make.)
Smore's Galore
20 graham crackers
6 Hershey chocolate bars or 2 1/2 c. chocolate chips

1 pkg. small marshmallows

6 Tbsp. butter

3 Tbsp. milk

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. In an 11x14 inch. pan lay 12 graham crackers on bottom, filling in any holes with broken up pieces. Toast 2 minutes in oven, let cool. In microwave-safe bowl combine 3 cup marshmallows, 3 Tbsp. butter and 3 Tbsp. milk. Melt in microwave for 1 minute. Stir and add 3 chocolate bars. Whisk really good. Spread mixture over graham crackers.

In another bowl, break up the rest of the graham crackers into quarter/nickel size. Melt 3 Tbsp. butter in microwave and the pour over broken up graham crackers. Mix up with hands. Add the rest of the bag of marshmallows. Spread over chocolate mixture. Sprinkle 1 1/2 c. chocolate chips or the rest of the hershey bars broken up. Bake @ 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Cut with pizza cutter.


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