Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Homemade Granola Bars

Are you like me in thinking that most store bought granola bars are much sweeter than they need to be? I found a recipe for homemade granola bars that came out tasting terrific when I made it the other day. I only added 2/3 of the amount of sugar that it called for, and I think next time I'm going to reduce the amount even more.

This is the recipe as I made it:

2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup wheat germ
1 teasp ground cinnamon
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup craisins
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1 teasp salt
1/2 cup honey
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teasp vanilla extract.

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease a 9X13 pan.

2. In a large bowl, pour in the ingredients and mix well using your hands. Pat the mixture evenly into the prepared pan.

3. Bake for 17-18 minutes in the preheated oven, until the bars begin to turn golden at the edges. Cool for 5 minutes, then cut into bars while they are still warm.

M and I packaged them up into ziploc bags afterward for easy grabbing when we are on our way out the door for a morning full of errands.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Chocolate Pudding Finger Painting

We had an especially fun snack the other morning- we finger- painted with chocolate pudding!
M enjoyed shaking the instant pudding in a tupperware container.She kept repeating (in amazement) "I'm brown, Mama! I'm brown!"And of course, the best part...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Ways a Two Year Old Can Help around the House

M is always eager to help me in my chores and so proud when she is able to do something. Occasionally, she is able to do things that genuinely save me time and effort, but mostly, I'm happy to let her help because I figure it is an investment in the future. She is learning skills, and she is learning to have a helpful spirit.

And of course, she has a lot of fun feeling involved!

Here is a list of things I have been able to find for her to do so far:

1. Fetching things: diapers, my cell phone when it is ringing, shoes, etc.

2. Throwing things in the trash can: little pieces of paper on the ground, diapers, scraps of paper from my cutting out coupons, etc.

3. Transferring laundry from the washer to the dryer: I put the wet clothes on the door of the dryer and she pushes them in.
4. Vacuuming: We have a little cordless sweeper that is light enough for her to push.

5. Dusting: I give her a baby wipe and set her loose in the living room with it.

6. Putting away her toys and books.

7. Snapping asparagus ends.

8. Baby spit-up catching: M watches our 6 week old baby like a hawk. If G has any little spit up or drool, or something in her nose, M is ready with a spit up cloth in an instant to clean it up.

9. Stirring food that is being prepared: I remember being fascinated with the whole cooking process when I was little- so many colors, sounds, textures, and smells. M seems to feel the same way, and likes standing on a chair to watch even when she can't help out.

10. Setting the table: I give her spoons, napkins, salt and pepper, etc to set on the table for me to arrange later. If we happen to be using paper plates, she is especially tickled to be able to place the plates at each person's chair.

11. Shucking corn: especially taking off the silkies.

I know that there must be lots of other ideas out there for ways that a 2 year old can help around the house. I'd love to learn about them!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Stripping Wallpaper

Do you have any old wallpaper to strip off of your walls? I promise that your toddler would have a ball helping you!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Draw a Line to Match Activity

When my mom was here recently she did this activity with M, and we have been doing it since then a bit too. On one side of a paper I draw three or four items, and the same items on the other side (in a different order). M's job is to draw a line to connect the items that match.

Today we did it with shapes, pictures, and letters.

Then, as an added twist, we did the activity with upper and lower case letters (match the capital to its corresponding lower case)

I like how this activity is flexible enough to be changed according to whatever M happens to be learning at the time.