Tuesday, May 31, 2011

H.O.R.S.E. with Daddy Teachable Moments Tuesday

       Tuesday is here already! We had a great weekend with family. We went fishing and sat around the campfire making smores and looking for shooting stars. It was a wonderful time. When we got back last night Pickle was very excited to be out of the car and to be able to play with his toys. 

       Tomato Papa and Pickle started up a game of H.O.R.S.E. with the little basketball hoop in our backyard. ( You know, take turns shooting the ball. If you miss you get a letter. ) While playing, Tomato Papa told Pickle that he got an H. Pickle ran to the magnetic letters ( that we still had out from this activity.)
Tomato Papa and Pickle got out the letters they needed and spelled out the words as they played.
        I think this idea is so great since little ones will understand the game better if they see the letters spelling out the word instead of keeping track in their head which may be too advanced for them. Great idea Tomato Papa and Pickle!

By the way, Pickle won the game. 

( Disclaimer: Please ignore or jungle of a backyard and the bad night pictures! We were tired after our trip! Give me a break:)

Friday, May 27, 2011

Fruit Salsa with Cinnamon Sugar Pita Chips by Tomato Mama

      Looking for a quick and easy dish for your memorial day weekend? Fruit salsa with cinnamon sugar pita chips is always a hit, plus it is quick and easy! I brought it to our church small group this past week. It was a great mid morning snack and I was really glad to have an excuse to make a big batch of it! I'm so glad that we are coming into the spring/summer produce time of the year. So delish!
      Thanks to a great coupon from Driscoll's I found online ( see, coupons are not just for junk!) this was a pretty affordable recipe as well. 

You will need...

pita bread 
butter (melted)
ground cinnamon
squeeze of lemon or lime ( I prefer lime. I think it tastes better with the kiwi.)

        Cut up your pita bread into triangles and spread on a baking sheet. Make sure what used to be the "inside" of the pita bread is facing up. I find it holds the butter and cinnamon sugar better this way. Brush the pita triangles with melted butter. 

      Sprinkle with come cinnamon sugar. Bake in the oven. I tried 300 degrees and they crisped up nicely after about 10 minutes. Bonus, the house smelled amazing!

     Chop up the fruit into fairly small pieces. I'm sure there is probably a faster way to chop it, but spending time in the kitchen is my zen time so I did it the old fashioned way. 
     Mix the strawberries, kiwi, and squeeze of fresh lime juice before adding the blackberries. They are so fragile that they survive better if you leave them for last. 

      Scoop the fruit salsa with the pita chips and enjoy! 

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Sky Watching by Tomato Mama Teachable Moments Tuesday

       Pickle is an active little guy. He has been since before he was born. What a squirmer! Now he spends a lot of time running, jumping, spinning, and rolling. He loves to move. When my little guy decides that he wants to sit down and snuggle, I drop everything and enjoy it! You can't miss opportunities like that! After playing in the yard last night, he crawled up on my lap in my comfy deck chair. We snuggled with his "cubby bears" and looked up at the beautiful trees and sky. 
       We talked about how the trees are changing. We watched a bee buzz around lazily. We spotted a beautiful cardinal. Pickle thought he saw lots of alphabet letters in the clouds. We got to see lots of airplanes and talked about why they make lines. It was such a sweet moment. I tried to drink it all up to remember forever! 
       I had my camera with me and Pickle did some photography. All the pictures on this post are his work. Love them! 

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Purple for a Cause by Tomato Mama

         I'm late in sharing this because it actually happened on May 12, but it's too cool not to tell you about! My sister, Zumba Girl, has an amazing blog about living with Fibromyalgia. May 12 was Fibromyalgia Awareness Day so she asked people to send her pictures of themselves or their pets wearing purple in support of those who suffer from this "invisible disease." 
         Go here to see the great pics she got and to check out her blog. Thanks again to the family and friends to contributed pics for her. 

Friday, May 20, 2011

Chocolate! (Got your attention didn't I?) by Tomato Mama


     Tomato Papa loves chocolate. When his birthday rolls around he always wants a chocolate cake, with chocolate icing, chocolate filling, chocolate ice cream on the side and chocolate anywhere else on the cake that I can think to sneak it in.
      This year I made him my version of a cake I saw in Martha Stewart Living. Mine is not as fancy. I'm no Martha, but it was cute! The problem is that I've got tons of M&M's in the house since then. I think they have been multiplying. Pickle also got many little packets of the mini ones in his easter basket. Pickle and I are not really chocolate people. ( I know! We are strange!) A little chocolate goes a long way for us. Tomato Papa is trying to ignore all the chocolate, but we need to use it up.
     Besides M&M cookies and maybe chocolate covered strawberries with the little M&M's are the only ideas I have come up with so far. Help!  Please send me your ideas for using up some M&M's! Send me an email or leave a comment ( it's ok to link to your blog) and let me know what to do! I would love to feature your recipe as well!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Alphabet Excavation by Tomato Mama Teachable Moments Tuesday

      Here is a quick and fun learning activity you can do outside with your little one. Pull out those magnetic alphabet letters we all have living on our fridges and bury them in your sandbox. Have your little one go on a alphabet hunt. As the letters get "found" talk about their names and sounds. Spell words or your child's name together. Sort by color or letter. You can get creative with how you dig them up also. We started with the shovels but were soon using the toy bulldozers and cranes to "help rescue" the letters. It was a blast and it was a great way to spend the morning outside together. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Rainbow Water Table Update by Tomato Mama

   Yesterday I posted about our Rainbow Water Table Activity. It was fun, but the ice cubes I made with one drop of food coloring were not as colorful as I hoped. Pickle and I made some "new and improved" colorful cubes last night and used about 3-4 drops of food coloring this time. 
    The result was definitely more vibrant. Messier too! (Which makes it more fun in my opinion.) We still ended up with a decidedly green result, but it was lots of fun and a great way to cool down and learn at the same time on a hot day. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Water Table Rainbow by Tomato Mama Teachable Moments Tuesday

     Around here we love our water table. I bought this Step2 WaterWheel  play table 2 summers ago and I have to say that it was money well spent. We play with it in lots of different ways including with the toys it came with ( boats, spinner funnel, and cup) as a toy car wash, we've rolled balls down the slope and shot golf balls into it with his toy golf clubs ( water hazard!) It's a great way to cool down, but it also a great learning experience.
      Last night I filled up an ice cube tray and put a little food coloring in each section to make colored ice cubes and put them in the freezer. Today we had a rainbow of ice cubes waiting for us. We filled up the water table and I let Pickle decide what color cubes to put in.

     We watched them melt and guessed what color the different cubes would combine to make. I gave him a spoon and he stirred them up. 

     When we ran out of colorful ice cubes we dumped in all the melted water that was left in the tray and got this cool swirl that Pickle stirred up.
      Pickle wanted more ice cubes. I was out of colorful ones so I pulled out some regular ones and let him get some small motor practice putting them in the water one by one with some tongs. I love how this 
activity evolved and that he had so much fun that he didn't want to stop. I'm going to make some more cubes tonight with more food coloring and see if we get a more vibrant result. I will post an update tomorrow! 

    Tonight at bedtime we will read WartHogs Paint: A Messy Color Book. By the way, this was not as messy of an activity as it might seem! I have one blue fingernail, but the rest of it washed off. I dressed Pickle in dark clothes that would not stain just in case. 


Sunday, May 8, 2011

      Happy Mother's Day! The road to motherhood was not an easy one for me. It took some time and a lot of prayers before I got to hold Pickle in my arms. There are also 2 little ones that I will never get to hold in my arms. I look at his sweet face and marvel at my blessings that I get to be his Mama. It is the best job in the universe. 
     Happy Mother's Day to Duck Momma on her first Mother's Day! I'm so lucky to have you for a friend! You are a fabulous Mommy and friend!

Happy Mothers Day

Happy Mothers Day to all the mommas out there. Its a very special thing to be a mom. And to Tomato Mama's mom and Duck Momma's mom, we love you! Thank you for being you!
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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Teachable Moments Tuesday: Library Day!

       As a teacher I know the importance of a print-rich environment for a child learning to read. A child who grows up in a house that has lots of books, magazines, newspapers, lists, and comics ( that's for Tomato Papa) is more likely to be a reader. Pickle is definitely growing up in a print-rich environment. I love books and read every single day of my life. We get the newspaper. We read online. We read together before every nap and every bedtime. We even have toy books that he can take in his bath! 
       On top of all that reading at home we also visit our local library every week. We actually had not been to the library in 2 weeks this time because of all the beautiful weather we have been having so we were very excited to get new books! 

     We have a really cute library near us. It is adorable inside and out and the people who work there are always so nice. It is a treat to get to go there, especially with Pickle. We really look forward to our trips there together and fill up a big bag full of books every time we go.  We always stop at the bridge to look for froggies and fish on our way in. 
        Pickle is really into Clifford books these days but we got a good variety of choices. Have you read the Karma Wilson Bear books? Love! They are so adorable! It's so much fun to stumble across new books to love!
      Our library has a fun coloring table with windows to the beautiful courtyard. We colored and bird watched for awhile.
      Pickle was so excited about this book that he had to stop and read it right then and there! Then we went to check out our giant stack of books. Our library has self-scanners so I have my assistant help me. He does a great job! 
The stack was pretty big today!