Monday, August 30, 2010

Muffin Tin Monday - Numbers

To celebrate Muffin Tin Monday today, we had a fun snack.  Our tin consisted of sweet pea tomatoes, string cheese slices, sesame sticks, cashews, craisins, and pretzels.  We took turns rolling the die and choosing that many pieces of snack from the tin.  Lucy's favorite were the little tomatoes and Julia kept choosing pretzels.  They both enjoyed rolling the die and counting out the snack pieces.

We started school (at home) with Lucy last week and she could hardly wait through the weekend to continue her lessons today!  Here is our first day of school picture:

I'm off to bed now, but have lots of fun bloggy posts coming up soon so be sure to check back!
Happy Monday!

Saturday, August 28, 2010


Check out this fun video that my husband helped produce for Hospice of Michigan:

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Homeschool Organization

We started school this week!  Here is a look at how I have organized things.  We do not have a schoolroom, so I've taken over the hall cupboard and some bookshelves in our bedroom.  We are using My Father's World First Grade.

The cupboard in the hallway contains our art supplies along with a small box labeled school supplies.  The school supplies box sits on the middle shelf and holds the bean cup, coin cup, music CD, pencil, and a few number of the day sheets (all items Lucy needs to use daily).  The drawers next to it are for blank paper, construction paper, and magazines to cut up.  On the top shelf we have boxes labeled:
-play doh
-play doh toys
-scissors, glue, and paint
-pencils, pens, and colored pencils.

The bottom shelf is full of coloring books with a box of crayons separating Lucy and Julia's books.  Yes, we have that many coloring books and crayons!  They get used all the time too.  Oh, and there are paint shirts tucked to the side of the drawers.  The girls also place finished artwork on top of the drawers and I go through them every so often tossing some and saving others in a large box in the basement.  I have one box for each child's work.

Lucy and Julia can both reach things in this cupboard and are welcome to play with them all.  I have another cupboard in the basement that contains other art supplies - large bottles of tempra paint, my stash of new school supplies to dole out as needed, reams of paper, posterboard, etc.

I moved our sheets out of the hall cupboard last year in order to make room for all of this.  I now store our sheets in a large plastic tub under our beds and that works well.  Our house is small, so we have had to get creative at finding storage for everything.  Most of the school books are on these shelves in my bedroom:

I love snooping on other people's bookshelves, so I'll give you a closer look at the shelves eventually.  The books are divided by subject, with the plastic boxes holding small manipulatives and games for each subject.  Esther's cloth diapers are on the bottom shelves.  The other side holds games and preschool activities.  One of the clear file boxes is for file folder games and felt stories.  The other clear file box is MFW papers.  I have folders labeled: student worksheets, number of the day copies, restaurant game copies, general MFW information, and finished student worksheets.

I think that about covers our set up.  Lucy does her work at the kitchen table, along with lots of snuggling and reading on the couch.  Thanks for letting me share!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Coming Up...

Check back soon for some great breastfeeding related reviews.  For now I wanted to give you a discount code to Momzelle (my favorite nursing tops!).  Use the code onelittlewordsheknew for $5 off.  They are having a 25% off sale right now, so this is a great deal!  Thanks Momzelle!

Green Start Books

I recently came across the coolest little board books for young children.  Green Start Books are made from recycled paper and eco friendly ink!  We got the chance to review three of them.

I love these books!  They are non-fiction, fun little stories.  I love that my girls are learning while enjoying a board book.  The books have a brown background to the pages, which is nice and makes the bright colorful pictures stand out.  I really enjoyed the artwork in all three books, very well done and fun to look at.

Each book includes a parent page with tips and more.  In the Garden has recipes for applesauce and fruit slush along with tips on growing a tomato plant.  Baby Animals has information about endangered animals and ways you can help protect them.  In One Tree you can read tips to help preserve our forests.  I thought they were pretty informative and contained information to help me teach the girls more about these subjects.

The text of the books is easy to read and engaging to the listener.  The listed age range is 3-6 but I would put them more in the 1-3 group.  These books would make a perfect first or second birthday gift.  I will probably get the other three that we do not have yet for Esther's birthday or Christmas.  We give these a big two thumbs up!

Innovative Kids sent us these three books for review.  All opinions expressed are my own.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Seventh Generation Baby

Back when we went on vacation, I had to use disposable diapers for Esther.  We had previously used Pampers, but will not buy them again.  (See this article for more on why.)  I contacted Seventh Generation and they agreed to send me a natural baby starter kit - and give one away!

The kit includes Diapers, disinfecting multi-surface spray, disinfecting bathroom spray, disinfecting wipes, baby wipes tub and refill, baby laundry detergent, all purpose spray, natural paper towels, and a reusable bag.  *This is not the entire kit pictured, I forgot to take a photo at first and we've already used up some of the products.

Esther is normally in cloth diapers, but on vacation she wore these disposables the entire time.  I chose Seventh Generation because they are chlorine free, fragrance free, and they disclose all ingredients.  The diapers fit well, although I'd say they run a bit small.  Esther is 17 lbs and fit in the size 3, but the 4s fit too.  We got lots of comments on the natural color.  I thought they were cute and I enjoyed not having Elmo or Barney all over her bottom for a change.  The back of the diaper has a nice stretchy part to allow for a good fit.  We did have a few poop leaks, but the diapers held up well overnight.  When we ran out of diapers I had Ross make a special stop just to find more Seventh Generation diapers.

The wipes are great too - unscented, alcohol free, and no yucky ingredients.  Pampers wipes contain parabens, among other things.  I buy disposable wipes to keep in the diaper bag for sticky fingers, etc.  I'll be buying these from now on.  They are a bit drier, but work well.

We've been using the cleaning supplies around the house for a couple of months now.  The disinfecting wipes are especially handy for cleaning the trash can lid, toilet, or wiping doorknobs when we are sick and don't want to spread germs.  I do have a homemade cleaning recipe that I use, but these are great too.  If we want to be sure something is disinfected we will reach for one of these cleaners.  I didn't like the Thyme scent at first, but its mild and I really did get used to it.  I'm honestly not sure what the big difference is between all of the different cleaners, they all seem to get the job done.

I posted a bit ago about wanting to switch our laundry detergent because of nasty ingredients.  I now use Rockin Green for my diapers, but I think its too expensive for everyday use.  The baby laundry detergent we received has worked well.  I think we'll be buying this from now on too.

Thanks Seventh Generation!  Its nice to have reliable everyday products that work well and are safe!

You can purchase Seventh Generation products from  If you are new to their site, use the code ONEWORD for 15% off your order.

Who will the lucky winner of the Natural Baby Starter Kit be?  To enter, leave a comment on this post letting me know what your favorite Seventh Generation product is and why.  If you are subscribed by email to this blog, you can have an extra entry (leave a second comment).  Open to US entrants only.  I'll close the giveaway on September 6th at midnight.  Thanks for stopping by!

*Now closed.  Congrats to Kristen, comment #9.  :)*

Muffin Tin Monday - ABCs

Its Muffin Tin Monday today, and Grandma's birthday.  We invited her over and had a combined birthday ABC lunch together.  The theme started out ok, but got sort of lost in the second row.

Apple slices with an A stamped in them, Blueberries with Balloons, cheese with a C cut out, ...this is where we loose the theme... ham and a strawberry?, cucumber tomato salad, and crackers.  

The girls enjoyed it and had fun sharing their special Muffin Tin Monday with Grandma.  Here is a picture of my cuties from today (and yes, Julia is smiling - that's her latest picture face).

I'm considering starting first grade with Lucy later this week, we'll see if all things fall into place by then or not.  Did you enter the giveaway for the Wilton Alphabet Cut Outs yet?  I'll pick a winner Weds!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Silk Fairy Skirt and Garland Review

Oh my!  So, I've been trying to take pictures of Julia in her new silk fairy skirt and garland.  She's been in a phase lately, making grumpy faces and hiding from the camera.  Last night she was in a super silly mood so I knew I could get some good shots.  They aren't perfectly posed, but I had to take what I could get.  ;)

Julia got this skirt and garland set for her birthday (Lucy got a mermaid costume!).  They both enjoy dressing up, especially for dance performances around the house.  For some reason this is the way they always wear the garland, with the ribbons to the side, and they say that its a braid.

The skirt is reversible.  One way the blue layer is on top; the other way there is a rainbow layer on top.  It twirls out nicely when they spin (the true test of any good skirt).  Both Lucy and Julia can wear the skirt- we have the size small.

With three girls Princesses at our house, this will get lots of use.  You can find this at A Toy Garden, a great source for fun natural gifts that inspire creative play.  Thanks to A Toy Garden for sending this set to us for review.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Cuisinart Gas Grill Review

I love summer cooking!  Grilled chicken paired with fresh veggies from the market makes a quick and easy meal.  We've been experimenting with grilling different vegetables and trying out the Cuisinart All Foods Tabletop Gas Grill.

We have been without a grill for a couple of years now, so we were excited to be able to try this one out.  The small size was appealing because there is not much extra space in our small garage.  I was getting really sick of eating steamed veggies (from a bag of frozen) and thought this looked like a great way to add some variety.  Ross is the grill master in our house, so I'll let him tell you about his experience with this:

For as much grilling as we do and the amount of storage space we have this compact grill is a great fit.  The size means it is easy to transport whether from the garage to the patio or from home to the park.  It also heats up quickly which has made it the option of choice for last minute meals this summer.

The side trays swing out from over the grill and work well for holding platters and grilling utensils.  The stainless steel construction of the trays and lid make for an easy to clean surface.  On the lid is a handy built in thermometer.  Its very sturdy and well put together - not like many of the flimsy or top heavy camping style grills I've seen.

Having a grill again has allowed us to try new spice rubs on our meats, experiment for the first time grilling vegetables, and given Christy a break from cooking meals every now and again.  It has definitely added variety to our summertime meal plan.

Overall we have been very happy with the Cuisinart grill.  A few options to consider would be the adapter that allows you to hook up a larger propane tank (we have gone through nearly half a dozen small ones so far), the stand (if you prefer upright grilling and don't have an outdoor table), and a grill cover if you plan on leaving it out in the elements.

Note: apparently the grill used to come with a removable veggie panel.  The newer model that we received did not come with that even though it is the same model number.  Although it is listed in the Amazon description of the item, I am not sure whether or not you would receive a veggie panel should you order this item.

Here are two of my favorite ways to eat grilled vegetables:

Grilled Cabbage - cut head of cabbage into 6-8 wedges.  Wrap each wedge in foil with slices of butter and plenty of garlic salt.  Grill for about 20 minutes.  This is sooo good!  We don't eat cabbage otherwise, but this is delicious.

Grilled Asparagus - wash asparagus spears and drizzle with olive oil.  Add generous amounts of salt, pepper, and fresh minced garlic.  Place on grill for 3-4 minutes on each side until the ends begin to crisp up just a bit.

Of course there are plenty more recipes - sliced potatoes, onions, and butter wrapped in foil; veggies on a skewer; etc.  Check out Tammy's Recipes for more grilling ideas.  I want to try grilled pizza next!

Thanks Cuisinart for sending us the grill to review.  All opinions expressed are my own.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Fall Homeschool Planning

We are gearing up to start My Father's World First Grade in a couple of weeks here.  I've been talking to the girls about starting a schedule and getting dressed right away each morning ready to start the day.  I'm doing some final preparations, ordering a few more books, and organizing the school/ art cupboard.  For some reason I'm a bit nervous about this year, maybe because its the year Lucy would be going to Kindergarten if we weren't homeschooling.  I'm not anxious about our decision to keep her home at all, just a bit worried about getting everything done that I need to in a day.  I feel like I'm taking on another full time job, but I know that it will all fit in somehow.  As you can see, Esther is a big help already!

I'm not going to post about our schooling every week (I tried that last year and couldn't keep up!).  I will, however, post various resources, fun activities, organizing tips, and more as we go.  Back in May I chatted a bit about the books we will be using.  Here is another resource that I recently found and love:

The Jesus Storybook Bible is an awesome children's Bible!  It tells the Bible stories unlike any other storybook I've read.  The stories come alive and captivate the listeners with fun details.  The whole storybook is written in a comprehensive manner that helps one understand the Bible.  I bought this from Amazon for only $16.50 including CDs of the entire book being read aloud.  We are enjoying it and the girls ask to be read to from this book often.  My mom purchased one as well and was very impressed.  This is a great resource to go along with My Father's World 1st.

I did not receive any product for this review.  I just love the book and wanted to share this resource.  I am an Amazon affiliate so I do get paid a small amount if you purchase something after clicking through my links.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Homemade Fruit Leather

This was so easy and fun to do!

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Take a jar of jam and spread it out evenly over the paper.  Bake overnight at 170 for 10 - 15 hours.  This batch took 15 hours.  I think my oven automatically shuts off after 12 hours though because I had to turn it back on.  Let the fruit leather cool and cut into pieces.  Because I don't think this batch was completely dry, I'm storing it in the fridge.

Tip:  Roll up the fruit leather with the parchment paper and cut through it to make fruit roll ups!

Experiment with different flavors of jam and see which one you like best.  The one I used was a bit too sweet.

We also did this with a jar of organic unsweetened applesauce and it turned out wonderfully.  Spread the applesauce on thick, you can see mine was a little too thin and cracked.  It still peeled off of the paper easily and tasted great.  It only took 10 hours to cook.

If you read my post yesterday you saw that I cut Lucy's name out of fruit leather.  I've seen fruit leather used for various details in bento lunches, cut into cute shapes, and more.  It can be expensive to buy, or have unhealthy additives, so I'm glad this easy recipe worked so well.  Of course you can also make your own jam or applesauce for the recipe too.  Laura at Heavenly Homemakers made peach fruit leather without even cooking the peaches down at all.  Fun stuff!  Let me know if you try this and how it turns out.  :)

linked to Kitchen Tip Tuesdays

Find more healthy recipes here: Heavenly Homemakers Recipe Parade

Monday, August 16, 2010

Muffin Tin Monday - with a Giveaway!

Happy Muffin Tin Monday!  Lucy and Julia enjoyed their lunch of crackers, lunchmeat, water, yogurt with sprinkles, fresh peaches, cheese letters, and fruit leather.  (Actually Julia screamed in dislike until I gave her lunchmeat to Lucy, but that's beside the point...)

The picks are stickers on construction paper with a toothpick sandwiched in between.  The girls love having special picks and we always have stickers around so this works well.

The coolest part though, is the cheese letters!  I'm in love with this Wilton set of Alphabet and Number Fondant Cut-Outs:

Spelling a child's name, learning letters and numbers, encouraging words, .... so many possibilities!  Today I cut the word "love" out of cheese to go with our heart tins.  The letters are tiny, so I used a flat toothpick to help push the cheese out of the cutter.  Lucy and Julia were impressed and Lucy even read the word herself.

The other day I made fruit leather and the cutters worked with that as well.  Check back tomorrow for how to make your own fruit leather, its surprisingly easy.

Would you like to win a set?  Wilton sent these to me for review and is offering a set to one of you.  Leave a comment on this post letting me know a fun idea that you think you would use the cutters for.

For extra entries you can:
- follow this blog
- subscribe by email to this blog (must confirm subscription)
- like both Wilton and One Little Word She Knew on Facebook
- share this with your friends on Facebook (go to my Facebook page and underneath my post about this giveaway click "share" and it will be posted to your profile)

Leave a separate comment for EACH entry, being sure that you include your email address.  I'll close the giveaway on August 24th at midnight.  Enjoy your day!

*Just a note about these after reading some of your comments:  They are very tiny.  I don't think they would work for cookies...  lots of other good ideas being given though!*

Giveaway is now closed.  Congrats LKB!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Homemade Lemonade - Bosch Citrus Juicer Review

Back in June I posted about doing a review for CSN Stores.  CSN Stores sells a huge variety of things, table lamps, beds, cookware, and more.  Given the opportunity to browse, what do you suppose I looked for?  Kitchen items of course!

I chose the juicer attachment for my Bosch mixer.  I thought maybe this was just another item to clutter up my kitchen, but fresh lemonade sounded so good I just had to try it!  We use lemon juice in a few recipes (chicken tortilla soup, guacamole, etc) but I've stopped buying it because of the nasty preservatives included.  I had homemade lemonade at a friend's house recently and decided fresh was definitely the way to go.

The juicer fits on the mixer nicely, it sits down on the part where the bowl normally goes.  I'm awaiting documentation, but was initially told this is not polycarbonate.  I'll update this post when I find out for sure.

Ready to try this out, I washed some lemons, squeezed them a bit to loosen up the juices, and sliced them in half.  Turning on the mixer makes the white piece rotate.  I was afraid this might splatter juice everywhere, but did not have any problems.  It was easy enough to hold the lemon and let the mixer do all the work for me.

I was amazed at how cleaned out the lemons were.  The white piece strains out the seeds and bigger pulp, while the clear base fills up with juice.  I got 1 1/2 cups of juice from 6 large lemons in no time at all.  

We started with 1/2 cup lemon juice and 1/2 cup sugar to a pitcher of water, adding more to taste.  I like my lemonade pretty light, so this was perfect.  We also made lemonade using maple syrup, thanks to Laura's recipe.  Its soooo good that way!  

I need to put oranges on my grocery list for making fresh orange juice with, I'm sure that is amazing too.  I really enjoy my juicer attachment and give it two thumbs up.  I think we will get lots of use out of this.  I even froze the extra lemon juice in an ice cube tray so I will have it readily available for my recipes.  If you have a Bosch mixer, give this a try.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

UV Skinz Review and Giveaway

Our summer has been filled with several fun trips to the beach, vacationing at the cottage, and more!  We live close enough to Lake Michigan that we can take a quick trip out there after dinner any time we'd like to.  Lucy and Julia have been wearing UV Skinz shirts to protect them from too much sun.  It is so much faster and easier to slip on the shirts than to struggle with applying messy sunscreen to wiggly kids.  

We received a shirt and shorts set from UV Skinz for review and are very pleased with it.  UV Skinz was started by Rhonda Sparks after loosing her 32 year old husband to skin cancer.  She is passionate about helping people learn about proper sun protection while still having fun outdoors.  

Lucy and Julia both enjoy wearing the sun shirt and do not find it tight or itchy at all (something I wondered about).  These are very well made with a nice thick swimsuit type fabric.  The shirt fits nicely, but is not tight.  I chose a size 4, Lucy's current size, and its easy enough for Julia to wear it with the sleeves rolled up.  The shorts have a drawstring that I pull tighter for Julia.  (Well, until the shorts got washed and the drawstring slipped into the shorts so now she can't wear them anymore because I can't get them tight enough.)  They are supposed to be hand washed.

We have worn the shirts for a couple of months now and they are still bright and new looking, only the shorts show a bit of wear.  UV Skinz are definitely quality pieces of clothing that I will be able to hand down to the younger girls.  These are even great for keeping the girls warm when its a bit chilly but they want to play in the water.  I would recommend getting the shorts too so that you have a complete swimsuit.  

Ok, I know I'm going on and on about these, but I have one more point.  I really like that these are modest two piece suits.  I won't allow my girls to wear traditional bikini suits, but these allow for easy potty breaks while staying covered up.  

Ready to shop?  There is a code on their homepage good for 15% off with another 10% being donated to the Melanoma International Foundation.  There are also some steals in the clearance section.  In fact I just ordered next year's sizes for all three girls.

Want to win one?  One winner will receive any item of their choosing from the UV Skinz website.  Leave a comment on this post to enter.  You can have extra entries for the following:  (leave a comment for each extra entry)

- subscribing to their monthly newsletter
- liking both UV Skniz and One Little Word She Knew on Facebook
- blogging about the giveaway with links to this post and to UV Skinz
- following UV Skinz on Twitter

Be sure to leave a contact email address.  I'll close the giveaway on August 20th at midnight.  Good luck!

*Giveaway closed.  Congrats Renee!*

Julia's Birthday

Here are a few pictures from Julia's birthday.  We took off for the day and went to a zoo a couple of hours away.  The girls had a blast and even got to feed a giraffe!

Julia was thrilled to wear her 3 shirt and hair clip from Sew Sara.  She had been not-so-patiently waiting for it ever since Lucy's birthday.  They both wear their birthday shirts all the time and get lots of compliments.  Thanks again, Sara!

Julia had been planning a princess cake with this cake mold.  We ended up getting home late from the zoo and making a quick batch of cupcakes instead.  I'm sure we'll think of an excuse to make princess cake soon (maybe for my birthday?!  I'm going to be 30!).

Happy Birthday Sweet Julia!  And... just for fun, here is her birth story.  :)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Preschool Curriculum

Click here to visit Laura Coppinger @ Heavenly Homemakers.

I'm in the midst of planning our upcoming school year, but wanted to let you know about a sale I'm taking advantage of!  Laura at Heavenly Homemakers has developed a preschool curriculum called Learn Your Letters... Learn To Serve.  It focuses on an alphabet letter each week with service projects (like taking Brownie Bites to a friend who's name starts with B on "B" week), crafts, and more.  I love it!  I just purchased the curriculum this morning, and will write more as I get a chance to look through it.  This looks like the perfect thing for Julia, and very adaptable to fit in whenever we have time.

I am an affiliate for Heavenly Homemakers, so clicking on my link to make your purchase will help support my blog.  I'm sharing the link with you today because you can use the code BACK2SCHOOL through Thursday at midnight for 20% off.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Muffin Tin Monday - Birthday

The blog has been pretty quiet this week - my mom is here visiting from Texas!  We have been so busy I haven't had time to sit down and write.  I've been taking lots of pictures though and have plenty of blog posts in the works.  We tried out a few new recipes and worked on some fun projects that I can't wait to share with you.

For now, here is a birthday Muffin Tin Monday that we had last week.  It was Julia's 3rd birthday, so she got to choose the contents:

blueberries, pickles, 3 small cookies, leftover waffle pieces, crackers, and peaches

I found the birthday muffin tin liners and picks in the grocery store - perfect!  (Tip: I turned the liners inside out so the pattern was visible on the inside.)  Lucy and Julia both loved their special lunch.  As you can see, Julia ate her cookies up first, but that's ok on birthdays.  I even let her have Nutella toast for breakfast.  Shhh....

Check back next week for a super cool awesome Muffin Tin Monday related giveaway!  :)