Saturday, October 30, 2010

Counting Fruit Seeds

One of our homeschool activities was to cut open various fruits and count the seeds, making a chart of the results.  We had so much fun with this activity and even tried new foods!

I had never tasted a pomegranate before but picked one up at the store just for this activity.  Lucy and Julia both really liked it.  Julia even said she loved it and wanted me to get her a pomegranate every day.  Here is how to open a pomegranate.  You eat the arils, sucking the juice out and either spitting out the seeds or eating them.

The girls both had so much fun eating all the different fruits and deciding which column for me to write them on our chart.  Lucy wanted to cut the apple in half so that we could see the star inside.  As we were working and tasting Julia said "Wow, mom, this is a fun day!"

Julia is normally a very difficult eater.  (Difficult may be an understatement.)  She actually tried avocado with garlic salt and liked it.  We have offered it to her many times and Lucy loves avocado, so I was thrilled that Julia finally tried it and liked it.  We are planning to make lemonade with the juice from our lemon and lime later this afternoon.  This was actually our lunch, along with some cheese and crackers.  Fun!

Friday, October 29, 2010


Search & Win

Did you know that you can earn one Swagbuck every day just by voting in the daily poll?  I took me awhile to figure that out.  Across the top, click on "earn" and then on "daily poll".  You will be awarded one Swagbuck just for voting and it only takes a second.  While you're there, do a couple of searches and you'll most likely be awarded more bucks.  Easy peasy.

If you haven't signed up for Swagbucks, its an easy way to earn rewards by searching the internet.  Sign up today and you'll start off with 30 free Swagbucks.  Once you get 450 you can redeem them for a $5 gift card and lots of other cool prizes.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Mommy Necklaces SALE!

Quick - the rumor is that Mommy Necklaces are going to be on sometime tonight.  If you want to snag one of these, be on your toes because they will sell out fast!

(You might even recognize the models in the photos.)  ;)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Easy Reusable Swiffer Cloths

Did you know that you can use a microfiber towel as a Swiffer cover?  It works really well and is very easy to do.  Microfiber towels can be found in the auto section of your local store and cost about $1 each.  They make great dusting cloths too.

Fold the cloth in half:

Tuck the cloth into each of the four slots on the Swiffer:

Get to work Swiffering!  


Remove two pieces of the handle to make the Swiffer just the right size for kids.  (If you have never used one before, the handle extensions easily snap on and off so this is very simple to do.)  My girls both love Swiffering for me.

Much of our house is wood flooring, ... and we have a dog, ... and I don't clean enough ... as you can clearly see...

Shake the dust into the trash can and toss your Swiffer cloth into the wash.  If you have more cleaning to do, simply fold the cloth dusty side in and reattach it.

I'm going to try and follow these instructions (or these) to make a cover for our little hand held Swiffer duster.  Do you think I could get away with giving my girls each a Swiffer duster for Christmas?  Maybe if I made the covers hot pink?  Hmm....

Linked to Kitchen Tip Tuesdays.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Adventures In Odyssey - Cause and Effect

I grew up listening to Adventures in Odyssey every Saturday morning.  Without fail, the whole family was quiet and gathered around the radio when 9:00 am arrived.  We knew all of the characters as if they were our friends and listened intently to the newest story.  I recently got the chance to listen to the latest Adventures in Odyssey CD release from Tyndale House.  Mr Whitaker, Eugene, Connie... I feel like I've reconnected with old friends on Facebook!

Adventures in Odyssey is a fictional radio drama series, each episode containing a moral lesson of some kind.  I enjoyed listening to this, although it is not something that my kids (age 5, 3, and 9 months) are ready for yet.  I do not think they would be able to follow along with the fast pace of all the voices.  The stories are also geared to a bit older audience than my sensitive spirited girls.  In a few years though I'm sure we'll enjoy it.  The newest CD set Cause and Effect has 12 episodes on 4 discs including a Thanksgiving and a Christmas themed story.  Each is very well done and quite captivating.  If your children are just a bit older than mine, definitely check this out!

Tyndale House Publishers provided me with a free copy of this CD set to review.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Easy Roasted Root Vegetables

This is an easy and tasty way to include fall veggies in your diet.  The recipe is very forgiving and you can include any combination of the following:

sweet potato
potato (small red potatoes work well)

Heat oven to 400.  Peel veggies and chop into 1 inch chunks.  In a bowl, toss with 2 T olive oil, 1 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp black pepper.  I also like to add a clove or two of minced garlic.  Melt 2T butter in a jelly roll pan (like a cookie sheet with sides that come up just a bit) in the oven for about 5 minutes. Add vegetables, spread them out and roast for 30 minutes.  Increase oven temperature to 450, stir, and roast 15 minutes more.

Delicious!  I made this the other day using 2 medium parsnips, 1 sweet potato, a small box of red potatoes, and an onion.  Ross vetoed the beet.  ;)

It works for me.

You’ll find all kinds of new recipes at Heavenly Homemakers Recipe Parade!!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Plan Toys Play Food Reviews

We love Plan Toys around here!  We have several of their items and they have held up really well.  CSN Stores recently gave us a review opportunity, so we picked out some kitchen related Plan Toys items.  In general we love Plan Toys because they use a non-toxic water based paint, wood that is naturally processed, and a specially developed non-formaldehyde glue (more info here).  Here are my thoughts on the individual items:

Plan Toys Large Scale Vegetable Set 

The term "large scale" may be a bit confusing.  This is kid-sized play kitchen food.  As you can see, most of the pieces fit in this little bowl we have.  We think these are just the right size!  (If you've ever seen Haba play food, its not quite that tiny.)  Although these are small, I don't think Esther could really choke on them.  Here Lucy is holding one of the pieces:

The set includes 2 each: corn, carrots, radishes, bell peppers, tomatoes, and garlic.  The pieces have cute fabric stems and leaves.  The corn husk is completely glued on, although it doesn't appear to be in the stock photo.  Lucy and Julia have already made several salads and dinners for me with the veggies.  This is a great set that will last for a long time and would make a nice addition to any play kitchen.

Plan Toys Large Scale Food and Beverage Set

(set shown in use along with some of our other toys)

My girls were excited to have this set in their kitchen.  Orange juice, water, ketchup, milk, jam, and honey are great additions to their pretend play.  The jam and honey both have removable lids while the other lids are glued on.  I have a choke test tube and the lids do not fit down that, although they do kind of look like Esther could get them stuck in her mouth.  Lucy and Julia kept saying "We've never had ketchup in our store before!", "Now we can make peanut butter and honey sandwiches!", etc.  This set was a big hit.  This is the play kitchen we have and the pieces all fit on the shelves inside.  Definitely a fun addition!

Plan Toys Large Scale Toaster

Plan Toys Toaster from Christy Vande Waa on Vimeo.

I was so excited about this little toaster.  Sadly, it didn't quite live up to my expectations.  The girls have to push pretty hard to get the toast to stay down.  Also, when the toast is down, it still sticks out quite a bit.  Lucy and Julia do enjoy playing with it, but it makes them frustrated at times.  Maybe it will get easier after using it more and breaking it in?  The orange knob makes a fun clicking noise, and the girls always smile when the toast pops up.

I can definitely tell a difference in the paint on the Plan Toys items compared to other wooden toys we have.  Its water based, meaning it shows the wood grain through a bit more and doesn't chip off.  We've had other brands of play food chip paint off and mark up our pretty play kitchen.  Is anyone else thinking about Christmas yet?  These would make great gifts.

Thank you to CSN Stores for sending us these items for review.  All opinions expressed are my own.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Medela Sleep Bra Giveaway

Did you get a chance to read my review of the Medela Sleep Bra last month?  A sleep bra is one of my "must have" nursing items.  I wear one almost every night and still give two thumbs up to the Medela Sleep Bra I got to try out.

Today we are giving one away!  To enter, leave a comment here letting me know a favorite nursing memory.  Be sure to leave an email address where I can contact you.  If you are subscribed to my blog in some way or another you may leave a second comment letting me know that (for a second entry).  For a third entry become a Facebook fan of One Little Word She knew and leave a separate third comment letting me know that.  This makes a total of three possible entries.  I'll close the giveaway on the 26th at midnight.  Good luck!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Muffin Tin Monday - Pumpkin

I haven't posted a Muffin Tin Monday in a couple of weeks.  We've been eating them, they just aren't inspiring enough to take a photo of.  (The maple tree in my front yard however, totally inspiring.)

In honor of the pumpkin theme this week I made the girls pose with their pumpkins.  I can hardly get them to look at the camera at the same time, let alone smile!  They didn't like that the sun was in their eyes either.

They did enjoy the pumpkin lunch though.  Lucy thought her pumpkin sandwich was so pretty that she ate everything else and saved it for last.  We ate pear - leaves, raspberries, peanut butter and honey sandwich with a green bean vine, orange yogurt, and cheese - pumpkins.

Happy Fall!

(Can you believe this was just a small potted mum that I stuck in the ground once?  It comes back every year and is huge now.)

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Homemade Ginger Ale

We've been enjoying homemade ginger ale lately.  It has a great fresh taste, and is all natural!

This is a ginger root.  You can buy it in the produce section of the grocery store.  I found mine hidden on an end cap near the zucchini and green beans.

Peel and chop the ginger into chunks.

In a saucepan, add chopped ginger, 1 cup water, and 1 to 1 1/4 cups cane sugar depending on how sweet you want the soda to be.  Cook on medium heat 5-10 minutes until sugar is melted.  Turn off the heat and let sit for 30 minutes.

Strain out the ginger pieces and throw them away.  Pour your ginger syrup into a jar and store in the refrigerator.  We use a glass canning jar with a white plastic lid.

To make a glass of ginger ale, pour 3 Tablespoons of the syrup into a cup.  Fill with club soda or carbonated water.  (We use our SodaStream home soda machine to make the carbonated water.)  You can also squeeze about 1/4 of a lime into the glass for added flavor.  


Find more healthy recipes here: Heavenly Homemakers Recipe Parade

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Cuisinart Stainless Steel Grilling Platter

After reading yet another post about Tammy's grilling platter, I knew we needed one!  We are loving grilled veggies lately and this opens up our options even more.  The Cuisinart Stainless Steel Grilling Platter fits perfectly on our little Cuisinart Grill.  

I was surprised at how heavy the grilling platter is!  It is made of a thick stainless steel, and seems very durable.  You can find this at CSN Stores for $18.99 with free shipping.  This is a great price, and I appreciate that the platter does not have a non-stick (toxic) coating on it like many others.

We tossed some sliced peppers with olive oil and salt, placing them on the grill at the same time as the chicken.  They turned out wonderfully sweet and delicious.  Lucy commented that she really liked peppers cooked this way.  I am excited to try more veggies on the grilling platter.  

Do you have a favorite veggie you like to grill?  Please share!  

Disclaimer: I was given a gift card to CSN Stores for the purpose of product  review.  This is one of the items I chose.  All opinions are my own and I was not obligated to give a positive review.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

My Blog

Wow, we hit 250 followers!  I never thought that I would have so many people reading my blog.  I remember thinking that 40 hits a day was amazing and now its double that on most days.  More than the numbers though, I really appreciate when I get a comment or someone sends a kind email telling me that something I've written was helpful to them.

My posts are often a lot of work.  I do a lot of behind the scenes research, reading reviews, trying recipes, failing recipes, and getting frustrated when I can't figure things out.  When I put a post up, it is usually pretty well thought out and even rewritten a few times over.  I guess that might make me look like I have it all together.

I don't.

Most days I have piles of laundry waiting to be washed, a sink entire counter full of dirty dishes, a horribly misbehaving 3 year old who shall go unnamed, and way too many papers piled up in the living room.  Making a grocery list and meal planning stresses me out to no end because of how much work it takes to figure out healthy meals.  I can get quite out of sorts when I think about all that I am trying to learn and do.

You guys are often my encouragement to keep trying.

I love being able to share a tip, easy recipe, or a great product find with my readers.  I enjoy reading blogs and have learned so much from others that I take joy in being able to help or inspire someone else.  Being a mom is my favorite thing ever, and the hardest.  I don't think I'll ever have it all figured out but I need to remind myself to enjoy the process a bit more.  Thanks for joining me on the ride.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Diaper Drive

EcoBuns is hosting a diaper drive this month- collecting gently used cloth diapers and packaged disposables to send to an orphanage in Kenya.  They are offering a 20% discount on any one item in their store in exchange for donating.   If you are not local you can still mail in your diapers and order by phone to receive the discount.  I'd love to see them overwhelmed with diapers, so please spread the word!

Homemade Popcorn

My Grandpa is absolutely the best popcorn maker around.  Its a big family tradition that Grandpa makes popcorn whenever we get together.  He's been doing it for years and has it perfected to an art.  My mom also inherited the popcorn loving gene and reminded me of that when she was here for a visit.  We took some photos so I could make a popcorn tutorial for you all.

Pour some oil in a pan, just enough to cover the bottom.  Non-GMO soybean oil, olive oil, or grape seed oil are good choices.  Add popcorn, just enough to cover the bottom of the pan again.  Shake some popcorn salt over the top.

I buy organic popcorn because corn is such a highly genetically modified crop.  Organic = non GMO.  White popcorn produces less hulls and has the best taste according to my popcorn loving mom and grandpa.

Cover your pan and set the heat to medium.  You do not need to shake the pan, just wait until the popping is done.  If you put too much popcorn in, your lid might even lift right up.  (Be sure to clean your stove first if you plan to take a photo for your blog.  Just sayin.)

Dump your hot popcorn into a bowl.  Return the pan to the burner and melt about 1/3 of a stick of butter along with three or so big shakes of popcorn salt.  Popcorn salt is finely ground salt, it sticks to the popcorn better, giving a better flavor and allowing you to use a bit less.  Once your butter is melted, pour it slowly over the popcorn.  Use a spatula or spoon to stir the popcorn as you pour so that the butter is evenly distributed.

My mother-in-law ate this with us recently and said it was the best popcorn she has had in years!  Try it and let me know what you think.

Find more healthy recipes here: Heavenly Homemakers Recipe Parade