Saturday, October 25, 2014

DIY: Toddler Step Stool

E checking out his new stool: How sturdy is this dowel? Can I sit on it??
In the past few weeks, E has decided that he wants to be front and center whenever I'm doing something in the kitchen. In fact, he wants to be in the middle of it when I'm not doing anything at all. He'll walk over to the pantry, pull my apron off the hook, wait for me to put it on and then push the dining room chair to the counter so he can climb up and get into position (for what, I don't know). Then he looks at me expectantly like I've got a zillion fun things up my sleeve. Seriously, talk about pressure to perform. Side note: that's how he ended up with oatmeal cookies at 10 a.m. this week. In my defense, it was his half birthday (if I say it often enough, I think I can make it a thing). 

Right so, the chair situation isn't exactly what I would call safe. I'm able to push the chair next to a corner of the counter, which means only one side is exposed, but sometimes he bumps the back of the chair and I swear he's going to take the whole thing down. A friend of mine (hey, Jody!) recently built her daughter a step stool with rails and I decided this would be perfect for E. Even better, it's easy to build and affordable to boot. Here's the original post from Mint in the Middle. My friend's stool looks just like that one, but she painted it different colors. Our stool ended up slightly different because we had some measurement issues. 

Here's K enjoying her new stool.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Shrimp & Bell Pepper Tacos

Several months ago, I was looking for healthy, kid-friendly recipes. More specifically, I was looking for ways to hide veggies in E's food. I came across this recipe for sneaky veggie burritos, but it didn't go over well with E. So, I tweaked it a bit and now we, the adults, have it for dinner once or twice a month. It's healthy, it's easy and it tastes great.

First, you want to dice your veggies. We prefer ours in larger chunks because a) we like bell peppers and b) my knife skills are not so great. I used one red bell pepper, one orange bell pepper, one yellow bell pepper, about 1/2 a cup of sweet onion and a large piece of kale. Side note: why do they call packages of orange, yellow and red bell peppers "stoplight" peppers? Shouldn't it be red, yellow and green?

Now the original recipe didn't have shrimp in it, but I added it to ours because it needed some protein ("where's the meat?" - Nate). We buy precooked frozen shrimp because it's so much easier than cooking it from scratch (also, cooking raw seafood always makes me nervous for some reason). After you cut up your veggies, season your shrimp. I leave my shrimp (about 1.5 - 2 cups) in a separate bowl and sprinkle it with cumin, garlic powder and about a teaspoon of coconut oil.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Stitch Fix #4

This week, my fourth Stitch Fix box arrived. This time I didn't include any additional notes other than what was already listed in my style profile. As you know, I've had some issues with fit in the past but this stylist did an excellent job sending me tops that actually fit my frame. Here's what she sent me.

This is an embellished t-shirt that fit me really well. I probably would've kept this one, but I didn't like the extras around the collar. Not really my style and a little too far out of my comfort zone to try something new. 

I love that they send me blazers. I have a few in my closet that I'm starting to rotate between as the weather cools off. I used to wear jeans and a blazer to do interviews for the paper. For some reason, I've always associated that outfit with being a "real" journalist. Unfortunately, this one was too short in the arms. A common problem for me when it comes to blazers. 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

9 Busy Bag Ideas for Toddlers

I'm sure I've mentioned this before, but in case I haven't, you should know that I have THE BEST mommy group. Earlier this week we had a busy bag exchange and the ladies went above and beyond with their crafts. If you've never heard of busy bags, they're crafts/games/toys that typically fit in a gallon-sized bag that you can tote around with you. Trip to the doctor's office? Grab a busy bag. Going on a road trip? Grab several busy bags. You get the idea. It's an easy and effective way to entertain your child. Of course, these can be modified to fit your child's age. These just happen to be perfect for our toddler group. 

This time I opted for something easy. Last time, I had a bit of a Pinterest fail. This was more my speed. I bought five boxes of flash cards for $1 each at Target. Then I split them up into 10 groups, punched holes in the middle and added a binder ring (also available at Target). 

Friday, October 3, 2014

DIY: Functional Halloween Centerpiece

I've been toying with the idea of a mason jar centerpiece for about two months now. One reason it took so long to get this project off the ground is because I couldn't decide on mason jars. The ones I wanted to use looked too small and the next size looked huge. I was at Target a couple of days ago and the huge jars were on sale for $4. Decision made.

From there, I decided to make the jars more functional than decorative. Originally, I had considered using candles or fall leaves inside, but I discovered I needed storage space and this seemed like the logical answer. Previously, my candied pecans were stored like this: