Thursday, April 26, 2012

Family Member Magnets

My son loves magnets, as I imagine many toddlers do, so they make a great tool for art projects and learning activities. Making magnets can be a great way to teach a variety of concepts from color names to spelling patterns. Since my son is beginning to really expand his vocabulary I decided to make "family magnets". This isn't really a project that a toddler can do on their own, but my son felt very accomplished holding the tape for me and putting the finished magnets on the board (aka, a cookie sheet). A cookie sheet by the way, is a great way to make magnet activities portable or if you want to keep magnets on the refrigerator to a minimum. If you are super motivated and plan to do a lot of magnet activities you could even paint a wall in the playroom with magnetic paint! There are tons of magnet options as well. I decided to buy a pack of magnet paper that I could print directly on from our printer. You can also buy a roll or sheet of magnets with sticky on one side to adhere to your photos.

Simply print your photos on magnet paper. For this activity I made a magnet for each member of our extended family. Don't forget the four-legged family members! You could also add each family member's name beneath their photo so that your child begins to learn the connection between the spoken word and the word in print.  Let your child manipulate the magnets for lots of tactile and verbal fun.

Don't forget to make magnets of your four-legged family members as well!

Greek-Style Lentil Burgers


  • This is not a strictly vegan dish, so I decided to make this as we start the transition away from vegan dinners and start moving towards nights of vegetarian dishes and healthy meat recipes as well.  I love Mediterranean flavors, especially dishes with olives. My husband, on the other hand, hates olives! He said he was willing to try anything that I was willing to cook though so I gave these burgers a try. The olives are blended in the food processor along with most of the other ingredients, so when they are pressed into the burgers, you really don't get a super strong olive taste. Just enough for me to enjoy it and my husband to tolerate it. Actually he said he really liked the burgers and would love to eat them again. I served these with corn on the cob, a favorite of my toddler, and some veggies and dip. 

Greek-Style Lentil Burgers
From Everything Vegan by Vegetarian Times




Chipotle Basil Corn Chowder

Veganism continues in our house. Well, mostly anyway. There may have been some hamburgers consumed last weekend and a little ice cream. But on weekdays, veganism is holding strong! I love soup, Especially ones that are thick and creamy, but not actually made with cream. We had a delicious corn chowder the other night that seemed like a great way to kick off summer. I know, I know, we still have over a month of spring left, but I just couldn't wait! And I'm glad I didn't because this soup was awesome. The best part about making soup is that there are always leftovers for my husband to take to work the next day for lunch. This soup is very filling so it doesn't require much in terms of accompaniments, but it'd go nicely with a little bread and a small green salad.

Chipotle Basil Corn Chowder
From Vegan Yum Yum by Lauren Ulm


Chipotle basil corn chowder yum yum






Thursday, April 5, 2012

Spring Cleaning

The sun is shining a little more, the air is warmer, the birds are chirping, and the flowers are blooming. Spring is here and with it comes the ever dreaded or ever exciting (depending on how you look at it), Spring Cleaning!  I am not a very neat person, but I do like to have a clean house, so I tend to get a little excited about Spring Cleaning. I love the feeling of accomplishment that comes with a clean house. Don't get me wrong, I long for the day when I can just push a button and a robot maid comes whizzing out and tidies my home for me, but since we have not yet reached the level of technological advancements of the Jetsons, I will have to settle on doing the cleaning myself.

My favorite part of Spring Cleaning, other than the obvious feeling of an extremely clean living area, is the checklist. I love a good checklist. I make them nearly everyday to help remind me of the things I want to accomplish.  And for me there is no greater feeling (well not many greater feelings anyway) than the feeling of being productive and physically drawing a checkmark in that little box. When I make my Spring Cleaning list I get very specific, not only so I will not forget to clean something, but also so I have more to check off! So here is my extremely anal and specific Spring Cleaning List. Perhaps it will inspire you in your cleaning endeavors, or perhaps it will just inspire you to hire a cleaning service!

Organize your list however it makes sense for you. I like to start at one end of the house and move my way to the other end. I try to make a goal to do 1-2 rooms a day, with the exception of the kitchen. That is a big job that may take two days. Now that I have a toddler running around I am going to lower my expectations for the amount of work I'll be able to accomplish in one day.

Closet
   -Go through clothes and remove items to be donated
   -Dust shelves
   -Clean out baskets/containers
   -Tidy jewelry box
   -Wash floor

Bedroom
   -Go through dresser drawers, remove clothes to be            donated
   -Wash sheets, duvet cover, blankets, allergy mattress         cover
   -Bring duvet to dry cleaners
   -Dust ceiling fan
   -Vaccum mattress
   -Dust window shades
   -Clean windows (in and out)
   -Dust plants
   -Dust lampshades
   -Clean mirror
   -Swiffer the walls
   -Clean floor trim

   -Sweep floor
   -Wash floor

Master Bathroom
   -Scrub sink and toilet
   -Clean out drawers/cabinets, throw away expired               items, wipe down drawers/shelves
   -Scrub shower and shower door
   -Dust/clean cabinets (front and top)
   -Clean floor trim
   -Clean trashcan
   -Sweep floor
   -Wash floor

Kitchen
  -Clean out cabinets, toss expired food
  -Wash cabinet fronts and tops
  -Clean dishwasher in/out
  -Clean fridge/freezer in/out
  -Clean microwave  in/out
  -Clean oven  in/out
  -Clean trashcan
  -Clean out/organize pantry
  -Scrub countertops
  -Dust light fixtures
  -Wipe down chairs and highchair
  -Sweep floor
  -Clean floor trim

Laundry Room
  -Wipe down washer/dryer
  -Wash floor

Living Room
  -Clean off and dust bookshelves. Remove books to be             donated.
  -Clean/dust in/out of television cabinet
  -Clean out drawers in end tables and dust
  -Vacuum rug
  -Sweep floors
  -Wash floors
  -Wash windows in/out
  -Dust blinds
  -Swiffer the walls
  -Vacuum couch and chair
  -Clean/organize living room closet
  -Organize desk drawers
  -Clean/dust desk
  -Clean floor trim

Foyer
  -Clean table
  -Organize coat closet. Remove items to be donated. 
  -Swiffer walls
  -Sweep floor
  -Wash floor
  -Clean floor trim
  -Wash doormat
  -Clean window


Guest Bathroom
  -Scrub sink and toilet
   -Clean out drawers/cabinets, throw away expired               items, wipe down drawers/shelves
   -Scrub shower 
   -Wash shower curtain/Replace liner
   -Dust/clean cabinets (front and top)
   -Swiffer walls
   -Clean floor trim
   -Clean trashcan
   -Sweep floor
   -Wash floor

Child's Room
  -Vacuum bed/crib mattress
  -Wash sheets
  -Clean out drawers and remove clothes that no longer          fit
  -Clean windows in/out
  -Dust ceiling fan
  -Dust shades
  -Swiffer walls
  -Vacuum rug
  -Sweep floor
  -Wash floor
  -Clean floor trim
  -Organize closet and sweep closet floor

Miscellaneous/Outdoor
  -Empty central vacuum canister
  -Check air filters
  -Sweep porches
  -Clean doormats
  -Spot clean outside doors
  -Spot clean all inside doors and sanitize handles