Thursday, March 28, 2013

Play School - Easter

I'm having a hard time comprehending that Easter is on Sunday!  It seems like 2013 is truly flying by.  I find myself still writing 2012 sometimes....but that could be because I rarely write out the date.  SAHM problems.

But the weather is beautiful and Spring is in full force here and I'm looking forward to a nice Easter with the kids and their Grammy and Papa.  I'm so glad to have family here in Nevada.  Hey Mom!  Sure you don't want to move here too??? Please!?  :)

For our Easter Play School I decided to try something new.  A Pre-K pack from Over the Big Moon.  I've seen "packs" on Pinterest and the boys are getting to an age/level where I think they are ready to do some of them.  Read on for more.....

Books - 

What is Easter by Michelle Medlock Adams  

This is a GREAT book if you are interested in teaching your kids about the religious meaning of Easter....but are ok with celebrating with the bunny too.  Before I had kids I said, no way no Easter bunny.  But I found that I couldn't take away that experience from my little guys and I am confident they will learn to know that the most important part of Easter has nothing to do with egg hunts and jelly beans.  This book is a great first step for the youngest of kids.

It's Easter, Little Critter! by Mercer Mayer

I love these books, they are nostalgic for me.  And the boys love looking for the mouse and the spider (Yuck! says Aaron) on every page.

Owen's Marshmallow Chick by Kevin Henkes

A cute little book about a mouse who enjoys his Easter candy but cuddles his marshmallow chick.  Very sweet.

And Most Importantly!!

We are "trying" to read the Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones.  My inspiration (I had never heard of this Bible before) came from In Lieu of Preschool.

I love the book.  It is a great "Bible" written in more of a story-telling type fashion.  Every story points to Jesus in a very enlightening manner.  But, admittedly, I am getting more out of reading this than the twins.  I try to read a chapter a day and sometimes they listen, and sometimes they don't.  But that is ok.  We are going to make a tradition of reading it each Spring and I know that they will come to enjoy it and take away a lot from it as they grow.

Activities -

Over the Big Moon Easter Pre-K pack  - I really like these packets.  They are free and easy to download and this one is huge!  It has 31 pages.  I was able to choose a lot of different activities to do with the boys that I thought were at a good level for them.

I printed out my favorites and laminated most of them.  I laminated two puzzles, the size sequencing baskets, and one of the pattern sheets and attached magnets to the pieces so the boys can use them on their large magnet board in the playroom.

I also laminated and cut of some of the vocab cards to play memory and matching games.

Watercolor E is for Egg craft - In doing our Easter craft I decided to go about it a little differently than usual.  Instead of doing the whole thing at once, this time we are doing a little every day.  My kids get very excited when I ask them if they want to paint, color, use stickers, etc....but they don't stay at the activity for very long.  So I decided to finally learn from their cues and just separate the activity into steps.

For this one we are decorating an Easter egg to put in our alphabet books. The first day the boys painted some paper with watercolors.  This was their first time using watercolors and they did great!

Once the paintings were dry I cut them each into a large egg shape.  Over the coming days we'll continue to decorate them with stickers, stamps, whatever the boys want, then I'll glue them to cardstock and label them, E is for egg, for the books.

Easter Egg Dying - We are doing this today with Grammy!  We are going to use an egg spinner I picked up in Target that I thought the boys would enjoy at this age.

Easter Egg hunt - Just a small one in the backyard on Sunday. :)

So that is about it!  No church for the boys, unfortunately they still can't handle it.  But I am excited to be able to go with my MIL while Papa and Daddy watch the boys.  Hopefully they'll be watching them play, not watching them eat too much candy.

Have a very happy Easter everyone!  Or if you celebrate Passover and made it this far....Happy Passover too.  :)

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Play School: St Patrick's Day

St Patrick's day is one of those holidays that I never really celebrated before i had kids. Well, unless you want to count all that indulging in green beer in my early 20's.  Now, though, every holiday is a great excuse to play and learn. :)

My boys are very into identifying colors these days. They are constantly telling me the color this or that item is. And they are good at it. They know: blue, green, purple, yellow, white, orange, black and brown. They also know red and pink but still have trouble saying those. Instead, red is rojo (Thanks Dora!) and pink is identified by making an oinking sound.  I'm always amazed at how their little minds work.

Here are the activities we did to celebrate St Paddy's day this year (sadly, no green beer).


There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Clover by Lucille Colandro

The Night Before St Patrick's Day by Natasha Wing

Both were very cute books and the boys enjoyed them.


Leprechaun Hats - Ah, these were a labor of love.  I used two sheets of poster board and some black and yellow construction paper (instead of felt as directed) to make these Leprechaun hats.  I knew the boys would get a kick out of them (and they did) so I'm glad I made them but man they were a pain in the you-know-what to put together. They came out cute though. :)

Building a Rainbow- for this one I had Mr Pears cut a dowel rod into six pieces of equal length.  I stuck them into a small floral foam wreath form that I had picked up at the dollar store.  (I left the plastic wrap on the wreath form because that foam can get messy!)  I gave the boys this strange looking "toy" along with their Melissa and Doug Lacing Beads. The boys had a great time placing the beads onto the dowels.

At first they just randomly stuck them on but then they began sorting by color and of course I showed them the order of the colors in the rainbow.  I'm sure we'll continue to play with this one for a while, it was a great new use for the lacing beads!

Magnetic Pom Pom Rainbow- I found this activity at Sew Fantastic.  The blog provides a free rainbow template that I printed and taped to our big magnet board in the playroom.  Then I hot glued pieces of magnets to poms. This is another great activity for color recognition and identification and one to one correspondence as well.

The boys were really excited to find that their poms now stuck to the magnet board!  They did a great job filling out the rainbow.

Shamrock Hunt - I hid ten foam shamrocks around the backyard for a bit of outside fun.  The boys love looking for things so they thought this was great.  After each one was found the boys (I) would count them to see how many we had.  Once we found all ten we had a treat!

Baking Cupcakes - I decided to forgo green food and make some delicious Coconut Lime cupcakes for St Paddy's instead.  I found the recipe here, and it is adapted from Ina Garten's famous coconut cupcakes so  of course they were awesome.  They only had some flecks of green from the lime zest but the kiddos didn't seem to mind.  Alex and Aaron continue to love to help in the kitchen. (And eat the results too of course!)

After all our fun activities and cupcakes we had a nice green bath courtesy of some food coloring and our foam shamrocks.  A fun day for my little (very partially) Irish boys.

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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Decorating for Easter/Spring

Well I wanted to write a post about a fantastic pie I made over the weekend but unfortunately the pie was not fantastic.  So instead I'll just tell you about my super exciting weekend and share some of the crafty projects I did.

This weekend was all about spring cleaning! (I told you it was exciting) Mr pears and I cleaned the whole house from top to bottom.  I am lucky enough to have a husband that cooks and cleans!!  As boring as it sounds, it was really great.  Especially once it was done and the house was all sparkly and declutted.  And despite two year old twins doing their darnedest to mess it up, the house is still looking nice a few days later....success!

On top of cleaning I also finally made a wreath for our front door.  I have been wanting to do some kind of monogram wreath for a while now but just hadn't gotten around to it.  But one MDF letter from Hobby Lobby, some paint, a vine wreath and some fake-but-not-too-fake looking flowers (those are hard to find) and I was good to go.

I came up with this.

I really like it!  Springy but simple.

And simple is sort of my motto these days.  Lately I am really all about decluttering and simplicity and it is being reflected in my decorating style.  I've been taking down things and taking things off of tables.  Moving things around and only adding a few new touches here and there.  My simple new wreath.  A super cute ceramic bunny.

I also made that print.

I stole was inspired by this, that I saw on Pinterest and decided to see if I could make one of my own.  I love the simplicity of it as well as the sentiment.  (I'm also becoming more and more sappy as I get older, yeesh.)  I made it using picmonkey...which I had never used before!

So there you have it folks.  We are off to Disneyland again with the boys tomorrow morning. I'm looking forward to soaking up some sunshine and Spring air and playing with the kiddos.  Have a nice week!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Veggies for Breakfast

Not so long ago I was writing about hiding veggies in various dishes to get my toddlers to eat more of them.  I still have to do that....but I find it surprising that I'm often putting those veggies in their breakfast!

Breakfast is a favorite meal around here, lunch is next, and dinner is a distant third (for the kiddos).  Little Alex is not a picky eater.  He'll eat just about anything if he is hungry (which is most of the time) and that includes veggies.  Aaron, on the other hand, is pretty picky.  He loves breakfast foods like cereal, oatmeal and pancakes.  And for lunch he really loves yogurt and hummus (he'll even eat the occasional carrot stick) but dinner?  Nope.  He doesn't like dinner.  I'm convinced it is mainly the time rather than the food because though we are trying to stay dedicated to feeding the kids what we eat for dinner, even if I tempt him with his beloved yogurt, he only takes a few small bites.  He apparently wants most of his calories in the morning/afternoon and that is ok with me.

But that does mean that getting him to eat veggies at a meal when veggies aren't often served, breakfast, is important.  So I thought I'd round up a few of our favorite breakfast recipes that include (hidden!) veggies for those of you with picky eaters or just dinner-haters.  :)

Breakfast foods with Veggies!

Pineapple and Carrot Muffins 

Sweet Potato and Blueberry Pancakes

Pumpkin Pancakes

Banana Zucchini Bread

Pumpkin Oatmeal... I actually don't have a recipe for this.  I usually just make a big batch of oatmeal as usual but stir in about a cup of pumpkin puree and some brown sugar and cinnamon to taste.  Easy peasy and delicious.  It stores in the refrigerator for a few days too, which is nice.

Smoothies!  Another one we make a lot but don't use a recipe for.  Mr Pears actually makes the smoothies around here and he just tosses in whatever we have on hand.  You can add broccoli, kale or spinach to just about any kind of fruit smoothie and though it will turn green, it won't taste "green". My kids love their green smoothies!

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Monday, March 4, 2013

Open-faced Tuna Steak Sandwiches

Does it feel like Spring yet where you live? It was 76 here yesterday so I am on the hunt for toddler sandals and nice light recipes. I am over wrestling socks and shoes onto my boys and I am ready to move on from hearty winter dishes.

The other day Mr.Pears picked up some great albacore steaks and we made these delicious sandwiches.

Tuna, and most fish in general, is so fast to cook. That makes this a light and quick dinner to make on those days you'd rather spend your time playing outside than cooking.

Happy almost Spring, enjoy!

Open-faced Tuna Sandwich from Giada Laurentis at

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sweet pickle relish

Sandwiches (makes 4)
4 (4-6 oz) albacore tuna steaks
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup olive oil plus more for drizzling
4 slices sharp white cheddar cheese (I left this off my sandwiches)
4 teaspoons Herbs de Provence
4 slices ciabatta or other good sandwich bread
2 cups arugula (I didn't need quite that much)

Mix the mayonnaise with the relish and set aside.

Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat (or do these outside on the grill!) and season the tuna steaks with salt and pepper.  Drizzle them with olive oil and season them with the Herbs de Provence.

Grill the tuna for 3-4 minutes (tops!) per side for medium-rare.  (And you don't want to cook tuna beyond medium-rare) If using the cheese, put it on the fish during the last minute of cooking.  Remove the fish from the pan.

Brush one side of each slice of bread with olive oil and grill them (oil side down) until toasted and golden.

Plate you sandwiches.  Top each slice of bread with some of the mayo sauce.  Put one piece of fish on each slice and top with the arugula.  Drizzle a bit more olive oil over the top of the whole thing.  Season with a bit more salt and pepper and serve.