Potato Chowder (Dairy-Free Option!)

This is the kind of soup that warms you in and out on a dreary day. I don’t share much when I make a single batch.

For a small batch you will need:
3 medium sized potatoes
1 carrot (diced)
2 cups Chicken Stock
1 Cup Milk (I used Almond Milk and it’s delicious!)
1-2 tsp Oregano
1-2 tsp Basil
1/2 tsp Coriander
1/2 tsp Thyme
1 tsp fresh Garlic
1 pinch Turmeric
Salt
Pepper
+/- 3 TBSP cornstarch

To Cook: Quarter potatoes and boil in a large saucepan. Boil until water has reduced to only a bit standing (1/2 inch or so) in the bottom. Mash potatoes until they’re “chunky” and add stock and seasoning. My seasoning measurements (as usual) are approximate, season to your liking! Use a whisk to combine potatoes and seasonings. Your potatoes ad stock will slowly become creamy mixture. While stirring, add milk. Add diced carrots and thicken with corn starch. Simmer for a while for better flavor!

Make Fun Stuff: Fly Me To The Moon!

In the first Make Fun Stuff post, (which you can find here) I showed you our pirate ship. Today I’m going to show you a new mess that you can enjoy making with your little one on a new frontier: Space! We had a blast making this little diorama and lots of fun playing with it too!

Fly Me To The Moon!

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‘rocket sounds’

You will need:

  • Old fashioned clothes pin
  • Egg Carton
  • Large paper or file folder
  • 2 Popsicle sticks
  • Small piece of fabric for flag
  • Washable Paint
  • Glue (all purpose/hot glue)

 

I laid out our file folder under everything to protect my coffee table. I then cut the lid off of the egg carton and used it as a paint tray.

  • Paint the bottom half of your clothespin with flames and the top half as an astronaut.
  • Cut one end off of your carton and separate into two egg slots. Make a hole in one. Glue your carton pieces onto both ends of a popsicle stick, the one with the hole is the bottom of the rocket.
  • While your rocket and astronaut dry, paint the egg carton white/gray. (My two year old’s attempt to paint it made it look perfectly moon-like – so let some of the carton color show through!)
  • Also paint your scenery: dark blue or black sky a little white space on the bottom for the moon and yellow or white starts. You could add some planets too! My toddler wouldn’t have had the patience to do so :)
  • Assemble your flag: glue the fabric to your second popsicle stick
  • While everything else dries, push your astronaut through the bottom of the spaceship to that the flames come out the end and he sticks up into the cockpit.
  • Glue your flag to the moon and your moon to the background
  • Make sweet rocket sounds and enjoy!

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Feel Free to Link Up your favorite messy projects in the comments!

 

Homemade Soaked Granola Cereal

I love cereal! Unfortunately, even cereal “made from whole grains” that you can buy in the store have very little nutritional value. The grains have been SO processed; there’s barely anything left of them by the time they get to the cereal! I’ve been trying to replicate Cascade Organics granola cereals for some time and I finally got a product that I like. This is a highly customizable recipe, as you will see!

Cranberry Granola

Cranberry Granola

I tend to just “wing it”, but this should be a pretty accurate estimate of the ingredients for a small batch:

  • 5 Cups granola
  • 1-2 Cups Dried fruit/berries
  • 1 Cup of your choice of nut, crushed.
  • Kefir (or other cultured milk product) to cover (I am currently nursing a baby who just can’t tolerate dairy, so I used almond milk)

To make:Place oatmeal in a small roasting pan, cake pan or casserole and spread out evenly.
Pour enough kefir in to cover and let sit for 6-8 hours. I let mine sit overnight.
After soaking, preheat oven to 325 and stir in berries and nuts and then spread out evenly over the pan again. Bake until golden brown: anywhere from 30-60 minutes depending on how many goodies you added.
Take out and let cool for 15-20 minutes and then store and enjoy!

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Make Fun Stuff! – The Pirate Ship!

Role playing is incredibly important play for young children. It is also my very least favorite way to play. One of my dearest friends recently said that she would rather read 100 books to her daughters than play house with their dolls. In our house, it goes just a little bit differently.

When I don’t think that I can possibly fix another zebra’s owie with my amazing veterinary skills or lose one more army guy battle, I break out the paint. Yes, I would rather clean paint (or clay, or markers…or even glue) off of every table (and child) in my house than “talk guys” as my two year old would say. So, I decided that I would share some of the fun things we make!

But first, some tips on being crafty with kids:

  • Don’t run to the craft store and buy a bunch of stuff. Be frugal. Not only will you slowly acquire supplies inexpensively by buying one thing here, another there, but you are teaching you children to be resourceful! The dollar store can be your best friend, or your worst enemy if you go overboard.
  • Don’t stock up. Unless I know I’m going to be making 3 pairs of “binoculars” soon, I don’t keep every toilet paper roll we empty. If we’re feeling crafty, we work with what we have. If you’re not a spur of the moment person, plan your activities in advance or only keep enough “supplies” to have 2 or 3 projects on hand for rainy days.
      • Idea! Do an inventory check in your head and then do a 10-15 minute google/pinterest search. For example: crafts with egg cartons. Don’t spend more than a few minutes searching, pick something and get to work!
  • Store up treasures in heaven, not in the garage. Yes that rocket your four year old made is precious and if he becomes an astronaut you might wish you had it. But instead of collecting plastic tubs full of evidence of fond memories, it makes for a more peaceful home if you just bury yourself in the memories themselves. I give our projects 1-2 weeks. I let our kids and their friends play with them and wear them out and then throw it out. If you’re a memory evidence hoarder, try keeping a picture of their art which you can store digitally!

The Pirate Ship
(or other sailing vessel, if you’re not pirate people)

The little one's mine :)

The complexity of your ship will highly depend on the age of your boat builder.

Supplies:
Milk CartonOne straw for each mast
Brown paper bag
Cardstock (old file folder)
Crayons, markers or paint
Tape or glue
Scissors

Step 1: Paint or cover with brown paper bag(I chose to cover. I didn’t think my two year old’s attention span would last through painting) I folded/gathered the paper to a squarish point in front to make it feel more ship-shaped.
(older kids could cut holes in their carton to make it more dimensional on deck or cannons etc)

Step 2: While ship is drying, color or paint some sails – be creative! You could even make a fabric flag to0!

Step 3: Use strong glue (such as hot glue) or tape to attach your sails to straws.

Step 4: Poke holes and attach straws using the same medium as above (duct tape for us haha)

Step 5: Add accents to ship including windows, cannons, board lines etc

A sword fight aboard!
A sword fight aboard!