Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Pinterest Project: Popsicle Matching Game

When I was pregnant with Addy, I remember experiencing that "nesting" energy that a lot of women report having in your third trimester.  You have a lot of anxiety about having the baby, but you are not in control of the situation by any means.  So instead, you take control of whatever you can - and for the first baby, for me this was in the form of suddenly feeling the need to organize, clean, and just generally get ready for the baby.  Put together pack n' plays.  Set up changing stations.  Obsess about onesies.

But for me, the second baby was a little different.  I still felt that same nesting energy, but things were much more ready than the first time.  It didn't take much to get the supplies I needed.  We already had pretty much any clothes, blankets, equipment, etc., that we would need.  I did wash them, but then I was done.

So part of my nesting energy this pregnancy went towards finishing up projects that I had started or bought materials for, and this fun little popsicle matching game for Addy was one of them.  She has been really getting into her colors lately, so I thought this would be another fun way to reinforce the idea.

The project was pretty simple. I cut out a pattern for the popsicle, and then commenced tracing and cutting it out of each color.  I thought I might as well make some extras for gifts this Christmas, and the size/shape that I ended up with allowed me to make four sets out of one standard piece of felt (the kind you find already cut for you at Joann's - I think they were like 33 cents each).

The next step was sewing all the little pouches together.  As you can probably tell from the end result pictured at the top, my sewing is definitely not stellar, but this was good practice in sewing curves.  And I'm guessing that my young recipients won't notice my not-so-smooth turns, either.

The last step was to add the colors and writing to the sticks; one side has a square of the corresponding color and the other side has the actual word.  I bought some popsicle craft sticks at Marc's for less than a buck, which was a good find.  I had to borrow an orange highlighter from my neighbor, but I managed to find some sort of marker or sharpie for every color I needed. 

And that was it!  I cranked out four sets of these in maybe an hour, and if I spent $5 on the materials I would be surprised, so I am calling this a worth while project.  I'm so proud of myself when I actually make something that I see on Pinterest instead of just surfing for another hour and finding more ideas.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Breaking the Breakfast Rut - Baked Oatmeal Cups

I tend to get in breakfast ruts.  Months have gone by in which I have eaten the same thing every day in the morning.  Lately it has been strawberry yogurt with corn chex in it.  I guess I should say corn chex style cereal, since I've been getting it from Aldi's.  Sometimes if we have strawberries or blueberries, those will get tossed in, which is a big treat.  But needless to say, it's been pretty boring.

So I needed some breakfast inspiration and found one on Pinterest - this amazing baked oatmeal.  Of course I had to make it gluten free, but Bob's Red Mill has gluten free rolled oats at Marc's for a decent price, so that part was easy.

I love the fact that you can make different varieties of these in the same batch.  I've done some with chocolate chips, walnuts, pecans, blueberries, and combinations of all of those things together.  I've even left some plain and they are still very tasty because of the applesauce and banana in the base recipe.  Addy loves them, and they are a great alternative for toddlers since they can be cut up into pieces and eaten easily without the mess of traditional oatmeal.

Notes about the recipe... I made my version with honey instead of stevia, and it makes waaaay more than a dozen.  I have been getting at least two dozen and usually about 30 or so out of one batch.  They freeze and reheat great, so I haven't minded the large batches at all.  I just pop them in the fridge the night before and then the toaster oven in the morning.

We've had fun using the mini muffin tin too (as seen in the picture above), but it makes them even more snackable which is dangerous (particularly the chocolate chip ones).  I also have found that I like to bake them for longer, usually 40/45 minutes, to get them nice and firm. If you like traditional oatmeal or are planning to put milk over them, the time called for on the recipe is probably right.  I like mine more in the muffin category than in the oatmeal category consistency wise.

So this has all the bases covered - not too complicated, whole foods without much sugar, easy to make, makes a lot and freezes well... definitely something that I will be making for a long time.

And this is my kitchen after getting the first batch in the oven with my 16 month old "helping."
It didn't take too long to throw together, so not too bad of a war zone at all!