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Babywearing themed party October 11, 2015

Posted by Judy in parenting.
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DD turns 7 in two days. TWO DAYS! That means if I don’t get this blog post about her 6th birthday party up in two days, it will be seriously old news!

Six year old birthday parties are a big deal at our house. It’s the first party where we do more than just invite friends to come and play and eat cake. Additionally, there’s a theme. Choosing her theme was super easy. She is my junior VBE (volunteer babywearing educator) and has always loved all things babywearing. She totally shocked me at age two and a half when she was able to get her doll safely into a mei tai, on her back, by herself! She also loves to hold her own babywearing meetings with an oftentimes uninterested audience (her brothers 😀 ) So, the decision to have her babywearing as the theme was easy. What wasn’t easy was coming up with activities and games that fit the theme. Thankfully, my friend Holly, who throws the best and most creative birthday parties, gave me some ideas to get the creative juices flowing! (Thank you, Holly!)

We sent out invitations a few weeks in advance.

When guests arrived, they were met by this display, and the gifts were placed on top of the woven wrap
(The painting on the right was a gift from hubby when he returned from a work trip to South Africa. I adore this painting!)

Since people tend to arrive to parties not always on time, I like to have a filler activity for kids to do while guests arrive. The activity was to decorate the tail of a ring sling, which would be used in a game later on in the party. I made two mistakes: 1) glitter. . . . enough said! 2) glue, unsupervised . . . . The younger kids ended up dumping massive amounts of glue, which meant that their ring sling tail was never going to dry. Alas. They had fun, so I guess that was still a win!

Once they had finished making a mess decorating, I tossed a basket filled with scarves, aprons and other random pieces of cloth into the middle of the room and said, “Quick, it’s an emergency! We have to get our babies in carriers, but we don’t have any carriers! You’ll have to made do with what we have!” Watching them try to figure out how to attach their dolls with the basket goodies was pretty entertaining.  In the end, they all managed to be hands free, not necessarily safe for the dolls, but hands free!


For their efforts, the guests all got doll mei tais.

After this activity, it was apparent that the guests needed a bit of education on safe babywearing, so DD gave a little presentation on the different carrier types and how to use them. Something about doing it in front of friends rather than your siblings made it more nerve-racking, but she still did a great job!

She also helped them all get their dolls in their new mei tais. Much better, right?

Addy, Kellyn, Nibaw, Maya, Lily, Darby, Sara, Emily

The guests all wore their dolls/animals/etc in their carriers for the remainder of the party. It was helpful to have their dolls in carriers, rather than in arms, for the next game: an obstacle course. Some kids dove right in and ran pell mell through the course, some so vigorously that they lost their dolls! Ooops! Other kids took their time and were much more thoughtful and careful. Everyone had a fun time, though. What kid doesn’t love to run around like crazy!

At this point, the party had been going for about an hour. My plan was that the decorated ring sling tails would be dry. They weren’t, so playing “Pin the tail on the ring sling” was kinda messy, but fun! In true “Pin the tail” fashion, the tails were all over the place! But one child managed to pin it almost spot on.
pin the tail

The final activity was weaving. Woven wraps are a type of carrier, that are, well, woven! 😀 Each child got a little cardboard square with yarn, and they got to choose strips of fabric to weave. This was better suited to the older girls, who were 8ish, and they sat and weaved for a good 20 minutes. Even though the 4 and 5 year olds struggled with coordination, they still were able to create a nice little woven mat.

Once all of the activities were done, it was time for food! Coming up with clever babywearing themed snacks was not hard, especially since Babylonia happens to give MANY of their wraps food names.

We had wraps and cupcakes and a drink,
food 2

and fruit and veggies and crackers.
food 1

All in all, the party was a grand success, we celebrated babywearing, and everyone had fun!  That’s a win in my book!

The summer of food October 23, 2010

Posted by Judy in Recipes.
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For some reason, this summer I decided that I would try out all sorts of new recipes.  Maybe it was the fact that DH had a garden that was producing all sorts of wonderfulness, or maybe I just wanted to get out of a rut.  Either way, we tried some yummy new dishes this summer.

First up, Black Bean Tacos.  I made this dish twice, and it turned out much better the second time.  I love that it’s super fast and easy.  Not really what I’d call toddler friendly, but they didnt’ seem to mind the fact that the tacos would totally fall apart on them=)

When I found the recipe for Scalloped Tomatoes, I thought it looked fantastic.  It was pretty good, but not as good as  I   would have thought.  It was pretty oily and the flavor just wasn’t as rich as I thought it should have been.  I’m not ready to dump this recipe out, though.  Even though it takes FOREVER to make, I still think it has promise.

Shells are a favorite around here, you just can’t seem to go wrong with them.  The last time I made them, they turned out especially delish . . . I sauteed mushrooms, onions and bell pepper,  and managed to find some ricotta that wasn’t fat free (READ: had any taste at all).

We were so hungry, we dug in before I got a chance to take a pic=)

Pasta, in general, makes a rather frequent appearance at our dinner table.  For one, it’s super easy, for two, it’s quite toddler friendly.  Pizza is another favorite because, well, it’s pizza.  Need I say more?  Sooo, when I found a recipe for Pasta Pizza in my Better Homes and Gardens Pasta cookbook, I was sold.  I’ll probably make a few changes to how the “crust” is made next time I make it, but it was definitely a fun recipe.  I’m looking forward to trying their Taco Spaghetti recipe later this week.

One of the more plentiful items from the garden was acorn squash.  We still have a bunch stashed under our hutch . . .saving them for winter stews, or something.  Anyway, I found this recipe for Orzo Stuffed Acorn Squash.  Certainly not TDF, but pretty good.  I think I would probably add more parmesan cheese, and maybe a few more spices to the orzo.  But, it was a nice variation on the brown sugar and butter treatment that squash usually gets.

Hands down, the best recipe from this summer was the Polenta and Black Bean Casserole. DH is not really a fan of polenta.  Okay, so he just plain old doesn’t like it.  Unless it’s in this form=)  This is good news for me because I quite like polenta, so now I get to make it for dinner more often.  As an added bonus, this recipe is crazy easy.  Thank you epicurious.com!

My Jimmy John’s knock-off December 2, 2009

Posted by Judy in Recipes.
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So I have been craving Jimmy John’s sandwhiches recently.  Sadly, we don’t live anywhere near a Jimmy John’s, what’s a girl to do?  Go to the store, buy the fixin’s and make her own!  Here’s my little recipe, just in case you too are in need of a JJ sandwhich.  I like the #6, veggie, with extra veggies and avocado spread.

Here’s what you need:

  • baguette bread (toast it in the oven for about 3 minutes at 300 or so to get that crunchy outside soft inside)
  • tomatoes, sliced
  • cucumbers, sliced
  • alfalfa sprouts
  • provolone cheese
  • banana peppers
  • dill pickle spears
  • mayo spread (3T of real mayo + 1 or 1.5 T of buttermilk ranch)
  • avocado spread (I used Marzetti’s avocado dip and added some salsa to it)

Putting it together

  1. spread the mayo spread on both sides of the baguette
  2. place 2 slices of cheese on the bottom
  3. next comes the alfalfa, be generous
  4. place several slices of cucumber on top
  5. spread the avocado spread over the cucs
  6. top with the tomatoes and banana peppers
  7. squish everything together, get yourself a pickle and enjoy!

Fresh applesauce – one of fall’s perks October 14, 2009

Posted by Judy in parenting.

We live about 8 minutes from a large farm that has provided us with many hours of entertainment . .. . picking apples, tomatoes, broccoli, spinach, peaches.  DS LOVES going to the farm and especially loves to pick apples.  So I decided to try my hand at making fresh applesauce.  We picked 25 pounds of apples and headed home to make and can the applesauce.  I found a nice website with directions on how to make and can the applesauce.  I decided not to use ALL of the apples, just in case it didn’t turn out well, ya know.

My small pile of apples, about 18 pounds

My small pile of apples, about 18 pounds

Here’s what we did, step by step.

Washing the apples

I washed the apples in cold water and a wee bit o’ soap.  I then cut them into quarters, making sure to remove the stems.

Prepping and cooking the apples

I then cut them into quarters, making sure to remove the stems.  I cooked them in two different ways.  Most of the apples were steamed as that is the best way to cook them without losing nutrients.  The rest of the apples were boiled.

The three pots where the apples cooked.  That stock pot is a 12 qt pot, and it's HUGE!

The three pots where the apples cooked. That stock pot is a 12 qt pot, and it's HUGE!

The apples cooked down to this amount.

The apples cooked down to this amount.