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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Toddler Pumpkin Decorating

If you have a little one you have probably wondered how on earth you would incorporate the innaugeral pumpkin carving into their tiny unsteady hands.  You know that you can't expect them to work a knife or sharp tool, and you don't really like the look of a painted pumpkin with no face, well then this pumpkin decorating idea is totally for you!!

The Mr. Pumpkin Head method:

Tools needed:
Drill
Mr. Potato Head pieces galore
Pie pumpkin


First you will drill holes into all of the traditional places that a Mr. Whatever Head would have.
Then help you child pick out their favorite style of eyes, ears, mouth, nose, hands, feet, and hat for the pumpkin.  We used this as a great learning tool to keep teaching the location of each body part.  He did a great job all by himself of selecting from my eyes choices and placing them where eyes go.  Then we showed him two or three options for a nose and he chose one he liked best and placed it in the nose spot.  And son on.  Here's our progression of decorating his pumpkin this year.  He's going to be 2 in December 2013 so it was the most age appropriate and FUN filled decorating he would have possibly done.

We had some lips in an ear hole at one point lol.

Putting the finishing touches on as the last arm goes in!

Our Mr. Pumpkin Head

He has a prime spot on the porch on his little bench ready to greet our trick or treaters tonight!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Fall Fun for Tots

It's chilly but nice enough and your tot is having major meltdowns.  As mamas we know they need to be outside but we're at a loss for quick ways to be out and back in before we all freeze.  This fall activity is quick, easy, and free.

Take your toddler on a walk. Let him lead you around the block. Find fall things like leaves, acorns, mums, bugs, feathers, ext.  Collect the items in your tots Halloween pail.

Come home and glue their findings to some cardstock or construction paper.  Enjoy your fall colors.

Hope you have fun. Use the things they find to talk about colors, textures,  shapes, and more.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Caramel Apple Crumble Pie

Caramel Apple Crumble Pie Recipe:



Pie Crust:
3 cups of all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups of crisco
2/3 cup water
1 tbsp. vinegar

Use two knives or a pastry blender to cut the flour into the shortning.  Add the water slowly, working it into the dough, add vinegar and work through the dough.  Roll out into four balls.  Makes 4 12" pie crusts for tops and bottoms.  Make into a bottom crust for the apple pie we're making and shape the sides by pressing one finger in between the thumb and index finger to make triangle shaped indentions in the dough all around sealing it to the pie plate's edges.


Apple Pie Filling:

4 Granny Smith Apples
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp butter or margarine

Peel and core apples, quarter and slice thin.  (I use the Pampered Chef Peeler/corer/slicer)
Add them to the pot with the other ingredients and boil down until soft.  Add apples to the pie crust.

Caramel and Crumble Topping:

Cut butter over the apple filling once in the pie pan and then drizzle the pie with warm caramel sauce.

1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup flour
2 tbsp butter

Cut the butter into the flour and brown sugar with a fork until crumbly and add to the top of the pie.

Bake pie at 450 degrees for 25 minutes with aluminium foil covering the outer edges of the crust or a pie shield if you have one.  Take the foil off and bake a final 5 minutes.

ENJOY!  I like mine with a nice vanilla bean ice cream. :)

Homemade Meat Sauce from Fresh Tomatoes

Here is my recipe for Homemade Meat Sauce from Home Grown Garden Tomatoes:


You will need:

10-15 medium sized fresh tomatoes (jet stars are what I had grown) ripe
1 lb ground beef
1 can sliced mushrooms
1-2 cans of tomato paste
olive oil
minced garlic
onion flakes
salt
pepper
Italian seasoning (or basil, oregano, garlic mixture)
Large pot
strainer
paring knife


Start a large pot of water to boil and add several tomatoes to fill one layer in the pot with water nearly covering.  When tomatoes begin to peel or get soft remove tomatoes to a cold water bath.

Gather another large pot and add some olive oil, about 1/8 cup or so.

Peel each tomato, use a paring knife to remove the cores, and rinse out the seeds in each pod area.  Then take each tomato and hand crush them into a pot.  They don't need to be finely crushed just a quick squeeze in the hand should do.  You may use a strainer to strain off the juice from the seedy portions, but you will want to use that juice as well as the meaty portions, this just helps to get some of the extra seeds out.

Once all the tomatoes are crushed into the pot with the olive oil return to the stove over medium high heat.  Begin to stir as it cooks and add the tomato paste to thicken as needed, and add all seasonings, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, extra basil if you like, garlic, onion flakes, mushrooms, and cooked and seasoned ground beef.  (Ground beef seasoned with onion flakes, garlic, Italian seasoning and the grease drained off).

Let the sauce thicken and cook until it's a consistency of a traditional pasta sauce.

ENJOY!!