Virtual book club for kids

I love reading and I want my daughter to share the same feeling. So when I read about virtual book club for kids, I knew I would follow along.

I discovered it at the end of September, so I didn’t have much time to do the September book suggestions. The author was Mo Willems and because I live in a small (ish) town, my local library didn’t have a huge selection. And of course half of the Mo Willems books they did have were already out.

I was able to find 3 books, but not ones that were suggested.
I set up the reading experience as an indoor reading picnic ( idea from The Pinterested Parent).
I set out a blanket, fun snacks and our three books.

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We ate our snacks and read the books. Chloe was interested, but not overly.

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The books were ok, but I was disappointed I wasn’t able to find the suggested books.
Now that it’s October, there is a new author and new books. I will have more time to find books and do activities. Which I’m looking forward to.

What are your favorite kid books?

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Crock pot beef and pasta

I was planning on making this dish when I found out our friends with 3 kids were going to be in town and having dinner with us. This seemed like a perfect dish to make!
The day before I made it, I browned the beef with onions and garlic, and put it into the fridge overnight.

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The next morning, I added the beef, stewed tomatoes, 2 cans of tomato sauce and a few fresh cherry tomatoes into my crock pot. Also thrown in was oregano, basil, salt and pepper.

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After being in the crockpot on low for about 7 hours, I cooked two bags of bow tie pasta, and got some fresh spinach from my garden. Unfortunately, my garden didn’t have too much in the way of spinach this time.
Once the pasta was cooked, I added it along with the spinach, Parmesan and the mozzarella (along with some cheddar since I ran out of mozzarella!) to the crockpot.

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After mixing and letting it sit for about 20 minutes on high, I dished out the pasta for us and our guests.

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The verdict? Well, most if not all the kids had seconds. I think one even had thirds… So I guess it went over well!
Personally, it was not my favorite dish. BUT, if I can sneak tomatoes and even more spinach in, then I will be serving this again!

Painting with ice and water

Sorry I disappeared there for a bit! We got home from our trip and have been trying to settle back into regular life. Wait, what’s that?!
Anyway, a while back when I was looking at doing the northern unit, I saw a pin for painting with water and I thought you could also pair it with painting with ice cubes. But of course, I couldn’t find that pin again when I went to look for it. It didn’t matter though because it’s easy enough.

I set out materials on our deck for Chloe to use: paintbrushes of different sizes and one a sponge, a water dish and ice cubes in a cup.

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When Chloe saw paintbrushes, she couldn’t wait to get her hands on them. She started right away. I joined her, too.

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She enjoyed painting for quite a while. If I painted something, like a heart, she would come by and paint over it. She thought it was hilarious.

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After a bit, I tried bringing out the ice to paint with. Chloe ignored it and kept painting with the brushes. So instead, I painted with the ice while Chloe used the brushes. I drew different shapes with the ice, had Chloe identify them, and then she would draw the shape as well. Well… She would try anyway.

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Chloe loved doing this activity. It kept her busy for at least 45 minutes, and she didn’t even get to the ice. I loved the fact that there was no mess and it was basically the easiest activity for set up.

Butternut squash Mac and cheese

Feeding a toddler can be challenge. Trying to get healthy foods into them can be even more difficult.
Today’s recipe brings butternut squash into a kid favorite.
Here is the original recipe .
First thing, I put the peeled and cubed squash into a pot with veggie broth (recipe called for chicken stock), milk and garlic. I let it boil until the squash was cooked.

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During this time, I was also cooking my pasta.
When the squash was cooked, I put into a blender and puréed it.

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After the sauce is puréed, it is added to a bowl with the macaroni and the two cheeses. I used cheddar and mozzarella because it is what we usually have in the house, even though the recipe calls for different cheese.

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Once it is all mixed up, it is put into a greased casserole dish and topped with panko.

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The dish is baked for 25 minutes and then put onto broil for a few minutes. I should have had mine on broil for a few more minutes.

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I have made this a few times, and my daughter absolutely loves it. Noodles are one of her favorite things to eat.

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Gotta love garage sales

One of my favorite things about summer is garage sales. The town I live in has lots of young families, so the garage sales are usually pretty good (for me, anyway).
There are a couple reasons I really like garage sales.
1) I can buy things in perfectly good condition for my daughter at a fraction of the cost of new. No guilt on how much I spent.
2) because things are so cheap, if she doesn’t like them right away, I can store them in a closet until she’s older, even if only by a month. Or, I can store some items for trips etc. I did that for our last trip, and will do it for the next as well.
3) most garage sales have books. I’m a book lover. My daughter has several books. Ok, shelves full. And I’m always happy when more is added. So $0.25 and $0.50 books can’t be argued with! To the collection they go!

Some of you, especially those who know me, might be thinking that it was Chloe’s birthday only last week, and she got ridiculously spoiled. Well, you’re right. But I can’t help myself with garage sales. And like I previously stated, some will end up being put away for future use.
And on that point, some of her birthday gifts are put away for future use as well.

Here is my latest garage sale haul:

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A Dora tent for $2. It’s small but it’s also awesome.
A Dora pillow that turns into a blanket $5
A Cinderella Barbie $0.50
A sleeping beauty Barbie $0.50
And a lot of books $8.50
For a total of $16.50

Now this haul isn’t typical. I usually get just a couple items totally a few dollars. And I definitely don’t garage sale every weekend. We would need a bigger house if I did…

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Do you like garage sales? What kinds of things do you typically look for or buy?

I’m all about the kid stuff. I usually look for clothes and books. In the past, we’ve gotten patio furniture (whole set for $60), Chloe’s snow suit ($15), water table ($5), clothes for Chloe, pjs for Chloe, and of course toys and books. I love it!