Now blogging at THIS SIMPLE HOME.

Now blogging at THIS SIMPLE HOME.

At This Simple Home

  • Homemade Magic Shell - I remember having Magic Shell once as a child. The chocolate syrup drizzled over my ice cream magically turned crispy hard. Mmm... So I was rather excited t...

Monday, January 31, 2011

Valentine Variety for Preschoolers

In the past we've completed a handful of Valentine's Day and heart crafts.  I thought I would highlight some love themed ideas.

The Heart Owl Craft is one of my all time favorite crafts.  My daughter made one...but so did I!  (Mine was more of an Owl Valentine.  Same process, but two different links since they served two purposes and were made at different times.)
Made by M, at age 3
Made by me

We also made a Heart Mosaic Craft.
We also made homemade stencils from plastic lids.
I will be on the lookout for other grown-up homemade cards.  That owl must have depleted my creative juices!  I do not buy Valentines for my husband but I always make them.  Any ideas?

Every child loves a special treat of their own.  We made pancake shapes and monogrammed pancakes.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Lucy Maud and the Cavendish Cat

I will not be sharing Anne of Green Gables to my daughter for quite some time.  Though I love the books, they will wait until she is ready for them.  As I have been participating in the L.M. Montgomery Reading Challenge for the second time, I personally enjoy these books, and suspect that M (now age 4) will be curious about these books that I read.  I sure hope so!
Lucy Maud and the Cavendish Cat

With that said, there are still ways to introduce a younger child to Lucy Maud Montgomery!  When I bought Lucy Maud and the Cavendish Cat I skipped the details that Amazon had included (where it was very affordable).  When Reading to Know wrote a review for Lucy Maud and the Cavendish Cat, I didn't read too carefully--because I wanted to read it for myself.  (I do this you know.  I skim reviews so that I can be surprised).  Boy, was I surprised when my own copy came!  Lucy Maud and the Cavendish Cat is a picture book!!!!

Lucy Maud and the Cavendish Cat tells the tale of Maud's cat, Daffy, and how he came to be and stayed with Maud.  I liked how the author, Lynn Manuel, used Maud's own journals (she wrote faithfully as an outlet) for the details of the book.   I thought the illustrations were well done, with an impressionist feel to them.  The illustrations just seem very appropriate for a book about Lucy Maud Montgomery!   I suspect all fans of LMM will enjoy this book, though it may not be a book that all children love.  (Though it's about a cat and Maud, there are no children in it, so some children may not relate as well to this book as to others.  My daughter didn't dislike it, but she didn't beg or more either.)

I enjoyed reading this book by myself, but I especially delighted in sharing it with my daughter.

This will be my last post for the 2011 reading challenge!  This year I listened to Anne of Green Gables on CD and watched the movie.  I also read Anne of Ingleside.   Last year I read Anne of Windy Poplars and Anne's House of Dreams.  (All linked to my reviews.)
L. M. Montgomery Reading Challenge

Anne of Ingleside

 Anne of Ingleside (Anne of Green Gables, No. 6)I am definitely enjoying the L. M. Montgomery Reading Challenge hosted by Reading to Know.  Carrie has been posting about all things Maud all month!  I haven't read nearly as much as her, but I did share earlier this month about the  Anne of Green Gables audio book and movie.  (Linked to my reviews.)

Last year I participated in the challenge, too.  I read Anne of Windy Poplars and Anne's House of Dreams.  (Linked to my reviews.)  If you are an Anne fan, you know that the next book is Anne of of course that was what I needed to read.  I found Anne of Ingleside to be about Anne some, but much about her children and community, too.
mayflower (Epigaea regens) - endangered wildflowr
Photo from

Very early in the book I had to learn what a Mayflower (the flower) looked like.  Jem, Anne's oldest son, loved giving these flowers to Anne each May.  Did you know?

At the beginning of the book Gilbert's Aunt Mary Maria comes to stay for a short visit and stays for longer than she was welcome.  She stays on even though Anne is about to have another baby.  This particular Aunt Mary Maria is not nice to the family...and yet she stays.  She is incredibly aggravating to read about.  I can't imagine being a gracious host to her!  I actually loved how Anne planned a special birthday party for her, but the results of the party were the best, though I won't spoil it for you!

Anne's children each seem to have one dilemma or another in Anne of Ingelside.  Anne is a very understanding mother, and of course she never laughs at her children.  I really like Susan, the family cook and housekeeper.  She calls Anne "Mrs. Dr. Dear."  It's quite sweet and with a great deal of respect.

Something that I really enjoyed was the mention of an onion sandwich!  I have never eaten one, nor do I plan to, but onion sandwiches were also a big hit with Maud Hart Lovelace in the Betsy-Tacy books.  Maybe I'm wrong, but it seems to reflect the times in the early 1900's.

The focus was certainly not on Anne and Gilbert despite the summary on the back cover indicating marital trouble, or at least Anne's concern that Gilbert doesn't love and adore her as he once did.  This concern doesn't really show until nearly the end of the book, though the back cover summary makes it seem like it should be the most of the book.

To be honest, I found this to be a slow read.  I actually started it last year...and struggled with it.  So when I did not complete it in time for last years LMM Challenge, I figured it would wait until this year.  It did wait, but, once again, I had a slow start.  (Of course I started over again.)  I don't know why the beginning of the book was so hard for me.  Despite all of this, I certainly enjoyed it.

Next year I will read the seventh book in the series, Rainbow Valley for the LMM Challenge.  I still have a few days to share about Lucy Maud and the Cavendish Cat, a picture book that I shared with my daughter!  Thanks, Carrie, for encouraging us to read a great classic!  Speaking of classics, I am also linking this up with Reading the Classics Reading Challenge!  LMM is definitely a classic!
L. M. Montgomery Reading Challenge


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Read Aloud Thursday

Frog and Toad Are Friends (I Can Read Book 2)
I'm having lots of fun sharing a few of the books we are reading each week.  I'm going to try to do it on a regular basis and hope my readers enjoy it.

We read another "chapter" book last week by Arnold Lobel.  We read the ever-popular Frog and Toad Are Friends!  Frog is a real sweetheart, I think.  Toad is a bit more...moody?  But combined they make a great pair, and work through their little problems.  We'll be checking out all the Lobel books that our library has!  M is totally enjoying chapter books.  I do think illustrations are still important for her though.

How Did You Make That Web? Vol. 13 Animal Builders (Winnie the Pooh's Thinking Spot Series, Volume 13)We have a nice set of Winnie the Pooh's Thinking Spot Series.  (According to the price tags, they were just $1.50 each at the Five Below store!)  M tends to choose these books by color, and requests the purple spines most frequently.  She really enjoyed How Did You Make That Web?  This book is not just about spiders, but about how different animals build homes with things they find like paper, twigs, or even sand.  Some animals highlighted are spiders, mice, birds, and ants.  I could not find an age recommendation, but I would guess 3-7.  They don't go too deep, but they are perfect for us to explore science a bit more!  (Each book also has an activity to do at the end.)  M likes to read about the familiar characters while learning.

Henry and Mudge and the Snowman PlanWe read another (very short) chapter book called Henry and Mudge and the Snowman Plan.  This series was quite popular with my first graders, but this was the first Henry and Mudge book I have read.  Henry and his dad enter a snowman contest and use family life as inspiration.  (Mudge is the family dog.)  I'm sure we'll read more of these books, but I didn't find it particularly exciting, though M did enjoy it.  This is a good read-in-one-sitting chapter book...and more like a picture book than a chapter book.

We also completed a colorful coffee filter snowflakes after reading the Snowman Plan.

Check out more Read-Aloud Thursday entries too! 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Coffee Filter Snowflakes

This week we had a bit of fun with snow.  Snow books and snow art and snowflakes.  (Some snow art will be posted later next week, too.)

I like coffee filter snowflakes for lots of reasons.  Coffee filter snowflakes are easy.  Both my 2 and 4 year old children could participate.  Circular snowflakes.  Snowflakes that make coffee filters useful.  (With my small package of coffee filters, they will likely last a lifetime.  Yep.  My husband and I do not drink coffee, but we do have a tiny coffee maker for guests who need it.)

First color the coffee filters with markers.
  Place the coffee filters on a paper towel on a plate.
Then spray it.  The kids love this!
 Let the coffee filters dry.  (If you spray lightly it doesn't take long.)
Fold in half three times
Draw some markings on it if your child is not able to understand how to cut the snowflakes yet.
 Let the child cut!!  
It takes a long time at our house.
Open it.
Be totally amazed at your child's beautiful creation!
 Honestly, I had a blast with this project, too.  (Can you tell?)
I cut the snowflakes that my two year old son or I colored.  I had lots of fun.  
We hung them in our kitchen window and the windows by our front door.  
E (2) had fun coloring and spraying.  M (4) had fun coloring, spraying, and cutting.  

Initially, I only wanted to make white snow flakes.  M had great fun with that.  Then on another day, I decided it would be fun for both children to get involved in the project and so we all made colorful snowflakes.  M's favorites are the colored ones, of course.

I loved that the the coffee filters were already round since I dislike square flakes.  More importantly, they were easy to fold and cut for my little girl's introduction to snowflakes!

Henry and Mudge and the Snowman PlanAfter our little project we read the very short chapter book Henry and Mudge and the Snowman Plan.  Though it is a chapter book, we read it in one sitting.  I love that M is starting to enjoy lengthy books!  E's (and M's) favorite snow book is probably Snowmen at Night or Frosty the Snowman!  

I have seen these easy snowflakes around blogland quite a bit, but the first place I saw them was at Cheerios Underfoot.   Thanks for the inspiration!

I am linking this to some great crafty resources!
  abc button

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Fettuccine Alfredo Recipe

About ten years ago, I had a mentor at my little church.  When I learned that she had a fettuccine Alfredo recipe, I was so excited.  Derek and I hadn't been dating for too long at that point, but I already knew that it was one of his favorite dishes to order at a restaurant.

The amazing part is that it is so, so easy to make!  Seriously!  It's also even easier if you use leftover chicken from your freezer to go with it!  (I like to roast a big chicken.  Then I serve it for two meals and the remaining chicken goes in the freezer for meals such as this.  The chicken is flavored so much better than if you just pan-fry chicken breast.)  The other option for excellent chicken to prepare with this dish is to grill it.  Yum.  My husband likes when I serve this chicken and broccoli.  

Both of my children love fettuccine Alfredo!  Other than processed/packaged meals the only other main dish that we all like is spaghetti.

Have I convinced you yet?  I hope you'll give fettuccine Alfredo a try!

Fettuccine Alfredo
1 16 oz package of fettuccine (or pasta choice)
1/2 c melted butter
1 c grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 c whipping cream
salt and pepper to taste

Cook pasta according to package directions.  Meanwhile, combine melted butter with remaining ingredients.  Mix well.  Drain pasta.  Pour sauce over hot pasta and toss lightly.  Serve on warm platter.

It's so easy!!  Since I tend to cook from my pantry and freezer, the hardest thing for me is buying the whipping cream.

Can anyone tell me why Alfredo gets capitalized?

Monday, January 24, 2011

Make a Gift Bag

Earlier this month I went to a baby shower.  Part of the gift I purchased came from a little toy store that gives white paper bags with the purchase.  Instead of buying another gift bag and wasting this one, I just decorated this bag.  I dipped cookie cutters in paint and pressed to the bag.  Simple...though the picture certainly shows how crooked my prints are.

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