Thursday, October 20, 2011

E is for Egg!

Countinuing with our "E" theme, we talked about eggs. We read "The Noisy Egg" by Judith Nicholis. This adorable book has one of Isaac's favorie features--touch and feel pages! The book contained several different textures. Isaac especially enjoyed the fuzzy duck!

We read and colored a mini book called "Where is the egg?" (from 1+1+1=1's "Raising Rock Stars" Letter E Unit).

We spent some time playing with the Egg Carton Busy Bag and then we went outside to have an egg hunt. I scattered the eggs in the grass and thought Isaac would enjoy picking them up, but...

All he wanted to do was bang on the shed door with a stick! :)

Thursday, October 13, 2011


About Me
I'm a follower of Jesus, a wife to a wonderful man, and a mom to two little ones. I grew up in a small town in Pennsylvania and went to college at Cedarville University in Ohio, graduating with a degree in Early Childhood Education/Special Education and a minor in Bible.

I met my husband Michael at Cedarville (even though he grew up less than an hour from me back in PA!). We married and moved to Baltimore where I taught third grade in the city. We then moved back to PA and I began serving at our church as the Director of Children's Ministries. Michael and I moved three times in our first three years of marriage!

In March of 2010, we were blessed with our first son, Isaac. Then in July of 2011, our second blessing, Joel, came along. What an adventure it is raising two little ones who were born only 16 months apart!

When we were choosing names for our first baby, Michael and I had a terrible time trying to come up with a name we could both agree on. Since we waited for the baby's birth to find out if the baby was a boy or girl, we had to come up with two names we both liked! We finally agreed on Isaac for a boy (meaning: laughter). Soon after his birth, someone joked with us that we should name our babies in alphabetical order, since I'm the H, Isaac is the I and then we would only have a few more to go until we reached Michael, the M!

When we found out we were expecting #2, we actually both liked the name Joel (meaning: Jehovah is God). So we had our J! We'll see if we keep it going whenever our third little one joins our family, but for now we are HIJ...&M!

The Blog
I decided to start blogging in September of 2011 for a few different reasons. First, I wanted a way to chronicle the activities of our family. Second, I wanted to keep myself accountable to doing fun/frugal/educational things with my little ones. And lastly, in planning things for my family to do, I've found too many good things to just keep to myself, so a blog will give me a place to share them!

Busy Bag Idea: Egg Carton

I recently discovered a wonderful activity for little ones--busy bags (thanks to Unsolicited Advice)! A busy bag is a gallon-sized ziptop bag that contains an (often hand-made) activity that provides a child independent practice with some kind of skill. The busy bag can be pulled out when mom needs a few minutes--like when finishing up dinner prep!

I have made several busy bags and I hope to highlight them here soon. One of the first I put together is an egg carton activity.

  • Supplies: Half an egg carton, markers, and six differently-colored plastic eggs
  • Use the markers to color each section of the egg carton one of the colors of your plastic eggs
  • Allow your child to have fun removing and replacing the eggs from the carton, and matching up the colors if he is able (he'll grow into this part of the activity over time)
  • Place the egg carton and eggs in a ziptop bag for easy storage 

Skills your child will practice:
Isaac (19 months) enjoys playing with the egg carton for 5-10 minutes, but he usually ends up throwing the eggs!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

E is for Elephant (Muffins!)

Isaac loves to help in the kitchen. It seems like every time I go into the kitchen, he runs to his step-stool and signs "please!" Already, he's able to pour ingredients, stir, and rinse dishes. Hopefully his motivation to help will continue as he grows!

Elephant Muffin Ingredients
-3/4 cup peanut butter
-1 cup milk
-1/4 cup melted butter
-2 well beaten eggs
-2 1/4 cups flour
-1/3 cup brown sugar
-1 tablespoon baking powder
-pinch of salt

1. Using a mixer, blend together the peanut butter, milk, melted butter, and eggs.

2. Slowly mix in the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt.

3. Scoop into lined or greased muffin tins.
Please excuse the somewhat crinkled muffin cups. Isaac helped to put them in the muffin pan--great for hand/eye coordination and one to one correspondence, not so great for neat and tidy muffin cups!

4. Bake at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes.


I think I'll add some choclate chips next time because I love peanut butter and chocolate together. 

Monday, October 10, 2011

Spaghetti Squash Recipe

When our children were born, we were blessed to have family and friends from our church provide meals for us for weeks after their births. What a blessing to not have to cook or shop during those early weeks with a newborn in the home!

One of our friends from church brought us spaghetti squash. This was our first experience eating it and we loved it! Her recipe is below!

Ingredients: Spaghetti Squash, Butter, Salt, Pepper

1. Rinse the spaghetti squash and use a fork to poke holes all over it.

 2. Microwave for 7-9 minutes.

3. Cut the spaghetti squash in half from the stem to the base (be careful, it is hot!)

4. Clean out the seeds and pulp.
I let Isaac play with the seeds and pulp--what a great sensory activity! (I put a little cold water in the bowl to cool the pulp down.) Does anyone know if you can roast and eat spaghetti squash seeds like you can pumpkin seeds?

5. Use a fork to scrape out the squash from the shell. It should pull away easily and look like cooked spaghetti!

6. Place in a baking dish, dot with butter, and season with salt and pepper.

7. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees until soft, about 20 to 25 minutes.

What other ways have you cooked spaghetti squash?

Monday, October 3, 2011

Vacation Money-Saving Tip: State Park Cottage Rentals

This past weekend, we traveled from our home in PA to Cedarville University near Springfield, Ohio for Homecoming Weekend. Our little ones (ages 3 months and 19 months) did surprisingly well on the 8 hour drive!

We have found a great way to stretch our vacation dollars and to have a more enjoyable overnight experience for all of us--state park cottage rentals! We were able to stay in a two-bedroom cottage (that sleeps eight) for $85 per night. Our cottage at Buck Creek State Park included a full kitchen with dishes, pots/pans, and appliances; a flat-screen TV with Direct TV; towels and linens; a screened-in porch and a grill and fire ring. We loved having the extra room to spread out.

Isaac is excited to watch Mickey Mouse since we don't have cable at home!

Bedroom #1
Bedroom #2

Visit this website for a list of parks by state. Maybe you'll be able to find a State Park with cottage rentals near your next vacation destination!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Delaware Museum of Natural History

Family Photo outside the Museum

We love fun family outings, especially when they are free! For the last few years, Smithsonian Magazine has hosted Museum Day, when hundreds of museums around the country allow you to download tickets to get in for free! This year's Museum Day was on September 24, 2011. I've already got a reminder on my 2012 calendar to check for details about the 2012 Museum Day!

We chose to go to the Delaware Museum of Natural History. This was one of the first museums that Isaac has been to where he could actually interact and enjoy the exhibits! Joel had fun riding in the stroller and watching everyone!

In the Children's Exhibit

Joel and I being eaten by a T-Rex!

Checking out the Shell Exhibit

Examining the Warthogs