Friday, November 11, 2011

Baked Oatmeal....

I love baked oatmeal and have wanted to share this one for quite a while. I just kept forgetting to get a photo for you all. It is so easy and fills the belly for hours. It is a great cold weather dish. It is better for you if you soak it overnight but in all honesty, I have never done that with this dish. It will change the texture but it is much easier on the stomach if it is soaked.  I just have never planned ahead with this dish to do that. If you do, let me know how it goes. I will try to do better the next time!

Baked Apple Oatmeal
From Molly's Cookbook

1 C. whole rolled oats
1 tsp. cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
1/4 tsp. sea salt
3 T. maple syrup 
1-2 peeled and diced apples. (I grate mine sometimes)
1 1/4 C. milk (I use coconut or almond milk)
Nuts if desired.

Preheat oven to 350.  Grease a glass pie plate. Combine all ingredients and mix well. Pour into pie plate. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed. Don't over bake. Remove from oven and allow to cool a bit. Serve with a little milk, whipped cream or yogurt if desired. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Tactile Creatures

Humans are tactile creatures. We were given the sense of touch for a reason and somehow, we learn best when we are using that sense. Touching inspires creativity and embeds images in our heads. We can soak up information through our fingertips. We learn best in dimensions. I try to foster creativity whenever possible. I will always buy sheet music, art supplies, creative experiences mostly whenever asked. My almost 18 year old asked where the modeling clay was on Saturday. When I told him we didn't have any, he responded, "Mom, this is a house of creativity! We need clay. We should have clay." 

He was right. We usually have clay but it was looking pretty shabby and I pitched it. Sorry. He went to Hobby Lobby, pointing out to me that he was the only "dude" in the store, and came home to sculpt "Terri" in all his moods. Each color indicated a different mood. Above is "calm Terri". Below you will see "angry Terri":

There were many more to follow. Here are all the "Terri's" after their photo shoot:

They are adorable and they make me giggle a bit. I love creative minds. He was right. We should have had clay. We will always have clay from now on. 

I try to provide a good tactile environment in preschool as well. Learning letters can be a little hard for 3 year olds. I have been using a salt tray for them to use their hands to "feel" the letters. It has been a hit!

Using jumbo letters, they can push them into the salt and then trace them with their fingers. This way, they aren't just seeing what the letters look like, they are feeling what they look like. I left this tray out when my kids came home and every single one of them made pictures in the salt. It stayed out all day and was a hit. Kids don't need video games. The best thing I ever did was to never buy a game station. 

Another hit at preschool is making "muffins" with beans and sorting items with tweezers:

This gives them an opportunity to work on their finger control, especially when using the tweezers. Cute little fingers!

My friend has a blog giving some great ideas for tactile experiences. She is a occupational therapist for kids and she has some great ideas! Check it out ; She is putting on my little sensory man we made at preschool yesterday. Her cutie is in my class. I will be stealing some of her ideas for sure! 

Go buy some clay. Pour some salt on a tray. Take away the video least for a while and let your kids create! 

Monday, November 7, 2011

Rainy Days and Rain Boots....

I woke to my alarm at 4:45 am and heard the rain hitting the window. There was a river running down my street and it was still pitch black. Yep...the gym was canceled. I couldn't possibly head out in that weather. Back to bed. It is hard to get things going on rainy days. I am so thankful that I have a day like today that can be scaled back to accommodate my rainy day mood. I am still in my cuddly robe, still bed unmade. I talked to my mom about the exciting Thanksgiving plans. I replied to emails and made cinnamon toast and a smoothie. I planned out my preschool plans on the 5 senses this week and almost have the dishes done. The garden was going to be finished today but now that has to be put on hold. I just may have to go see a movie with my husband instead. We both have Monday's off. Lucky Duckies. 

     I opened the pantry to see yellow rain boots next to the grain buckets. I love how having little ones around means that nothing has to make sense. I thought about how much I am going to miss the fact that little feet that once had yellow rain boots on were in my pantry. I will be sad at the day when things make sense. I will be sad when we are all grown ups. I love finding little finger prints. I love when the mirrors fog in the bathroom and small hands have drawn pictures in the steam. I love Tate's many, many pictures and notes covering my fridge; drawings of little ant people with top hats and nonsense words that mean something to him. I love to see my large son's name carved on his bed (don't tell him that, he got in trouble for that one) because too soon he will be missing from that location for good. I loved to hear 3 of my children singing to my daughter on the guitar last night in 3 part harmony. It was beautiful. I love that I can laugh every day at their funny sense of humor. 

Today is a day full of gratitude. How can it not be. It is fall in Arizona. It is cool and crisp and rain soaked. Everything is green. We are healthy and happy and the holiday's are around the corner. I want to capture every moment of it and make it last a lifetime. 

It is going to be a great week. Life is perfect just as it is. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


Because A. I hate to waste food and B. I love to freeze things; I am getting pretty great at using my ice cube trays. Ice cubes are just the perfect size for blending and thawing and a perfect measurement for so many things like lemon juice in a recipe or pesto in a sauce. 

Whenever I have a little smoothie left over, it goes in an ice cube tray to use in future smoothies. Slushy smoothies are the best but buying frozen fruit is expensive so using some frozen smoothie or frozen juice is great. I also juiced some apples and froze them with some of the pulp. 

I have a big basil bush that needs to be used so I am going to make several batches of pesto to freeze in cubes for the winter. I usually loose my basil plant around December when we get a freeze so I need to stock up now. Pesto freezes great. Take a few cubes out to thaw and toss in on some pasta for a quick dinner. Even better, toss it with some cubed new potatoes and green beans roasted in the oven. Yum!

Lemon season is around the corner and good thing as I just used my last lemon cube. Can't wait. There is always neighbors begging for someone to take their lemons. You can freeze all kinds of citrus for a great smoothie or to throw in a pancake when thawed for flavor. So many ideas. What have you "cubed"?

Another frozen favorite is freezing bananas. Bananas are best for you when they start to get the brown spots. The sugars are being broken down. You have to eat them before they get mushy but they are extra sweet at about this stage, just before the banana bread stage. You can usually buy them for super cheap, like $.20 per pound in a bag when they get speckled like this at the store. Buy them up, peel them, cut them in 2 inch chunks and freeze them in a freezer bag (they don't get brown). You can then throw them in a smoothie or make banana "ice cream" as seen in my post here for a quick and cheap treat. 

If you want to waste a little time, I found a new blog, thanks to April. I am in love. Check out Soule Mama here. Where in the world does she get all that time?