Thursday, May 31, 2012

On The Move Again-- Some Moving Tips!

We're scheduled to close on our new home next week and then moving the following week!

So much of my time has been spent packing up and doing all I can now to ensure a smoother ride that last week before the big day!

I thought I'd share a few moving tips I've gleaned.

  • Don't buy moving boxes or packing materials unless absolutely necessary! Every time we move, someone tells us to check for free moving supplies on Craigslist and Freecycle. While this is good advice, we have had zero success with that. What we do have success with is getting free boxes from Walmart. During our last move, we went while they were stocking shelves (late night or early morning) and went around asking for boxes. This time, a friend suggested we call at night around 10 pm and ask them to save boxes for us. Then we just pick them up the next morning. Super easy and free! We've had friends save newspaper and other packing supplies for us as well as gathering boxes as they see them.
  • You will probably need more boxes than you think. It's a lot easier to have extra than be scrounging for more the day before the move. Trust me.
  • You will need lots of packing tape. Buy the mega family pack!
  • Not everything has to be packed. This is a tip for moving across town. Longer distance moves will be different. Hanging clothes can go straight from your current closet to the closets in your new house. Towels and bathroom items can be taken right over and placed in their new space. Laundry baskets and reusable grocery bags are great for stuffing these things in. If you have kitchen drawers(I don't!), you can transport the full drawers and transfer items directly to the new kitchen. I store a lot of things in baskets anyways, so I just make sure these are full and take them as is. Full drawers can be taken out and moved without packing the contents.
  • Cushion plates and bowls with paper plates in between. A friend gave me this tip and it is a good one. Unlike using newspaper, the dishes won't have to be washed when unpacking. 
  • Use kitchen towels and washcloths for wrapping and packing.
  • Mark boxes with the room it should go in and a general idea of contents. I don't number boxes or make lists of contents of each one. I did that once and honestly never looked at the lists when unpacking! So I don't bother now. Hopefully, this move won't prove my ultra simple system wrong! 
  • Don't mark all your boxes as Misc.! Hahaha
  • Take a load of boxes with you every time you go to the new house. (For across town moves.) Every little bit helps!
  • Accept all moving help offered! We typically pay in pizza! Have lots of water available as well. Especially if you move in the summer as we seem to like to do. Even June is a hot month here in the South.
  • Kitchen, bathroom and closet items can be moved ahead of time. If stuff can be moved ahead and put into cabinets, do these areas since these won't create extra clutter when moving furniture in. I like having my kitchen somewhat set up first thing anyways!
  • Make sure you know where everything is that you'll need for the first night.
  • Allow extra money in the eating out budget and/or stash a bunch of meals in the freezer ahead of time! This time around, we're doing both! And use paper plates those last few days if needed!
  • Declutter. Plan meals around what's in the pantry and freezer so there's less to move. Donate boxes of unused clutter to Goodwill or have a yard sale if you have time---only if you have time!
  • Make a list of what needs to be done at both houses--preparation for moving into the new house and finishing up at the old house. It can be a lot; don't rely on just your memory! 
  • Find or clear a space to stage moving boxes as they are packed. This way they're not all over the house! 
What are your best moving and packing tips?  

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Happy Memorial Day!

Happy Memorial Day to all my American readers!

We remember those who have fought for our freedom and thank those who are still fighting for us today. 

Enjoy your holiday weekend!

Friday, May 25, 2012


After filling my bag with fresh Farmer's Market goodies, I treated myself to a single sunflower.

It's bright sunny face perched in a Mason jar makes me happy!

A pretty little splurge!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Organizing Receipts and Stuff

While I enjoy organizing, keeping track of papers and receipts is not something that I do well with consistently. And with as many cottage businesses and income sources as we have, this is not good! We need to be organized and not have important papers floating all over the place.

Obviously, we need to keep up with things a little better so that tax time is smoother. And keeping paper piles from appearing all over the house would be nice too.

I had this accordion file that I was using to keep my whole coupon inserts in. After a few months, I realized that it was full, organized carefully by date and everything but I pretty much never referred back to them to clip a coupon out after filing them. It was then that I decided to ditch keeping the whole inserts and just pass the coupons along after I went through and clipped the ones I thought I'd actually use.

So I emptied this file out and labeled sections for all our home-based businesses and a few other areas that require holding onto paperwork or receipts.

It's been a couple of weeks and so far it's working really well. Instead of paper piling up around the house, we've been able to file them right away and have them all in one place.

And that's a very positive thing!

Inspiration for this organization project came from Small Notebook and Simple Organized Living, both of which never fail to inspire me to live a more simple, intentional and organized life!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

How To Make Rice And Other Grain Salads

I often have rice salad on my summer menu. Rice salad is a type of grain salad that can be made with many variations!

We used to make Beef Pilaf Salad back before we changed our eating habits. Occasionally I will still make it like the recipe says but mostly this salad has morphed into a general rice salad that can be made using whatever ingredients I may have on hand at the moment.

Instead of a specific recipe, I now follow a method!

One reason we really like rice salads is that they can easily be a main dish salad and other than cooking the rice and meat, doesn't take extra cooking on a hot summer day. They are nicely transportable and are a good cool meal. In addition, they are wheat-free and full of nutritious veggies and protein!

In the summer, I will make a large bowl of rice salad and store it in the fridge for several meals.

To start you will need cooked brown rice or other grains such as quinoa or millet:

I use around 2 cups usually. If making a huge bowl of salad, you may want more but remember that the grain is the base but not the whole salad. It will bulk up nicely with the other ingredients too.

Next you will choose some protein:

Choices include but are not limited to cooked lentils or other beans, chicken, beef, sausage, shrimp, ham. Some of our favorite salads last summer featured marinated and grilled chicken and beef leftover from grilling nights. Cheese chunks could be good; I don't use them that often as they get a little slimy but that's a personal preference! Use one or more protein choices. We like to make sure there's plenty of protein but you don't need a huge amount. This is a great way to chop up and use that last little bit of roast!

Now add veggies:

The sky's the limit here! Add as many as you like. We like diced cucumbers, sliced cherry or grape tomatoes, chopped celery, diced bell peppers, etc. Leftover cooked and grilled veggies are yummy too! We enjoyed grilled zucchini and yellow squash last year. A little onion adds nice flavor. Clean out your fridge!

You're almost done and I bet it's looking really pretty! But every salad needs a dressing to bind it all together.

Good choices would include: Italian dressing or other bottled vinaigrette, Balsamic Vinaigrette, your own combination of oil and vinegar or our favorite Basic Vinaigrette. Any favorite salad dressing will probably work. I've only used vinaigrette-type so can't say how ranch would taste! Add dressing and mix. If it looks to still be pretty dry, add a little more and mix again until it looks right to you.

Serve right away or chill until ready to serve!


If you like salads and are looking for more ideas for cool summer meals, I invite you to check out this post about salads that we enjoy!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Four Weeks To Fill Your Freezer: 4 Chicken Meals In 30 Minutes

Trader Joe's carries organic free range chicken legs for $1.99 per pound. That's a very good price for free range meat and helps to balance out our grocery budget while still eating better quality meat at least some of the time. When we go to TJ's, I've been buying several packs of these to last a month or more.

Last weekend, I bought 4 packages of chicken legs so today I set to work getting them made into freezer meals! Approximately 30 minutes later, I had these 4 meals prepared:

  • BBQ Chicken. Place chicken pieces in freezer bag. Pour your favorite BBQ sauce  in the bag, mush around to coat chicken and seal. Grill or bake when ready to serve. If baking, I'll probably add extra sauce at that time. We like Bulls Eye BBQ sauce. No high fructose corn syrup!
  • Israeli Spice Chicken.  This is seriously our favorite chicken! Drizzle olive oil on chicken pieces, rub Israeli Spice Blend all over and pop in a freezer bag. Grill, bake or cook in skillet on stove top when ready to serve. Tip: Keep a batch or two of the seasoning blend made up for quick fixes like this! 
  • Sweet & Sour Chicken (recipe below). Ok, so this one took a few minutes longer to prepare. But it's not hard and I had all the ingredients on hand, including a smidgen of brown sugar that just needed to be used up already!  I used 2 packages of the chicken legs to make a whole recipe of Sweet & Sour Chicken and then divided it into 2 casserole dishes-- 1 for tonight's dinner and one to freeze for later. 

Sweet & Sour Chicken 
Serves 6. 

This recipe is from my mom and is a family favorite! This is also really good made with pork chops.

1/4 cup water
2 T. cornstarch
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup vinegar
1 cup pineapple juice( reserve juice from pineapple chunks)
1 T. soy sauce
3/4 cup green pepper, cut in thin strips
1/4 cup onion, thinly sliced
1 (20 oz.) can pineapple chunks, drained
1 chicken, cut up or about 3-4 pounds of your choice of chicken pieces
Oil, for browning chicken

Combine water and cornstarch; add salt, brown sugar, vinegar, pineapple juice and soy sauce. Cook on low to medium heat until thickened, stirring frequently. Add green pepper, onion and pineapple chunks.

Brown chicken in oil; place in greased baking dish and cover with sauce.

Cover and bake at 325 degrees for around 1 hour or until tender. Serve over rice!

To freeze, prepare dish and freeze before baking, wrapping well. Remove from freezer and thaw overnight in fridge and then bake.

** This post is part of Money Saving Mom's 4 Weeks To Fill Your Freezer Challenge!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Four Weeks To Fill The Freezer: Ground Beef

I got several pounds of ground beef at Trader Joe's last weekend so today's freezer cooking was all about the beef!

I made one pound into hamburger patties to freeze and put the rest into the crockpot to cook. I cooked it on low for about 3 hours, stirring and crumbling it every so often, draining it well when it was cooked.

Of the 3 pounds beef I cooked:
  • 1/2 pound was used for tonight's supper.
  • 1/2 pound was put into a container to freeze to use for a quick dinner later.
  • 2 pounds were made into Sloppy Joes and divided into 2 meal-sized portions to freeze.
So four more meals in the freezer!

**Visit Money Saving Mom for more freezer cooking ideas! 

Birthday Party

My sister Kathryn had a birthday last week and to celebrate, her husband and one of her friends planned a surprise party for her.

I was in charge of table decorations for the party. Kathryn loves gardening and cottage living so I chose a sort of cottage garden theme.

I planted white begonias in pint mason jars and then tied each jar with a little ribbon. The store was all out of geraniums which were my first choice but the begonias were pretty too. For the cake table, I grabbed my galvanized watering can, a cute dry erase board I got from Blessings Unlimited last year and some of my vintage tablecloths. I also made a simple red and aqua pennant garland which I failed to get a picture of!

For the other tables, I used cloth napkins, the flower jars and some Scrabble words to spell out some party related words.

The party was outdoors at a local park so these simple decorations worked really well and I thought they turned out really cute!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Four Weeks To Fill The Freezer: Rice, Creamy Chicken Casserole, Cookies

I'm still plugging along and doing some freezer cooking! I'm a little slack in posting about it; the food in this post was made late last week!

One day,  I baked 2 big pans of rice and divided it into 2 cup portions to freeze. I used several bags of cooked rice for the next day's Creamy Chicken Casseroles.

The Creamy Chicken Casseroles were made by combining:  
  • 2 cups cooked chicken 
  • 5 cups cooked brown rice 
  • double batch of homemade white sauce(recipe below) with some white cheddar cheese thrown in
  •  half bag of frozen broccoli which I steamed lightly before adding. 
 I made 2 9 inch square casseroles; one for that night's dinner and one to freeze for later.  I freeze these unbaked and then bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.If casserole is not fully thawed, longer baking time may be necessary.

These are not the most attractive casseroles but they are yummy, made with whole food ingredients and frugal to put together.

I also made a half batch of these Healthier No-Bake Cookies but they didn't make it to the freezer! Not that we were surprised or anything; they are so good!

Homemade White Sauce

1/4 cup butter
3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 cups milk
1 cup cheddar cheese (optional)

Melt butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Blend in flour, salt and pepper. Cook over low heat, stirring until mixture is smooth and bubbly. Remove from heat and stir in milk. Heat until boiling, stirring constantly; boil 1 minute.

If making cheese sauce, add 1 cup shredded cheese and continue stirring, until  chese is melted and sauce is smooth.

This is great over mixed vegetables, as a gravy with meat added or as a canned cream soup substitute.

Have you been doing any freezer cooking?

**Head over to Money Saving Mom to read about and join in with her freezer cooking challenge!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Mother's Day Cards

The little ones made these simple hand print flower cards for their mamas this Mother's Day!

We took advantage of having the paint out and smocks already on and got out extra paper to paint just for fun. Toddler Girl used paintbrushes and Baby Boy finger painted!

A good time was had by all!

Wednesday, May 09, 2012


Today, while packing for our upcoming move, I came across this scrapbook that I had made for someone else back in 1992 when I was 15-16 years old.

That was 20 years ago, folks!!!

The young girls in our church  had decided at the beginning of the year to do what we called "Secret Grandmothers". We put the names of all the older ladies in our church in a  pot and each drew one. The idea was that each girl would give an anonymous gift about once a month or so to their "secret grandmother" during that year. Then at the end of the year, we would have what we called a "Revealing Party" (hahaha) and the grandmothers would get to find out who had been their secret granddaughter all this time!

Once the ladies found out what was going on, they began to eagerly look forward to this! And they would speculate who they thought had their name! It was humorous at times. Many of these women were also widows and lived alone so this was another source of joy and encouragement to them. This simple activity  helped to bridge the gap between the young and the old and lasting friendships were made.

The lady whose name I drew this particular year was named Blanche. She was one of my own Grandma's close friends. Mom helped me come up with the idea of making a scrapbook for her, giving the scrapbook and a completed page or two at the beginning of the year and then adding to it each month. I also gave other gifts here and there but the scrapbook was the main one.

This was really before the whole photo album scrapbooks became so popular so this was a more "old fashioned" model. Truly, a scrap book! I cut pictures and poems from magazines, used stencils and stickers and pretty paper from wrapping paper and wall paper to create this book. Blanche loved to read, quilt, garden and cook so I made special pages that reflected these interests.

I had a wonderful time making this book and Blanche really enjoyed it, too!
The "great reveal"-- isn't this a hoot! Complete with fabric padded frame--I got a huge kick out of this!

Blanche passed away a few years ago and her family passed this album on to my mom to give to me. At first, I wondered what I would do with it and put it up with our photo albums. But today as I pulled it out, I realized what a nice memory this was to have and how many of the pictures, poems and stories,etc. reflect my interests and who I am as a person even now! I also thought the littles would enjoy looking at these pictures!

Have you ever made a scrapbook?

Four Weeks To Fill Your Freezer: Chicken Veggie Soup

Today's' freezer cooking session involved putting ingredients for Chicken Veggie Soup into the crockpot and letting it simmer all day. Doesn't get any easier than that!

This used broth and chicken from yesterday's chicken cooking session and a variety of odds and ends from the freezer.

I froze most of the soup in muffin pans for easy lunches-- 4 "soup pucks" fills our smaller mugs perfectly.I put a meal's worth in the refrigerator for a lunch this week too. I don't see any reason to fill the freezer and then not have anything in the house to eat right now! So I try to balance it out by cooking for both at the same time!

As with split pea soup, I didn't use a recipe for this but added broth, tomato juice, canned tomatoes, carrots, celery, onion, chicken and spices to the pot and let it cook!

**For more freezer cooking inspiration, check out the challenge on Money Saving Mom--she even freezes peanut butter and jelly sandwiches!**

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Painting With Toilet Paper Tubes

For a different twist on painting, I set out a recycled toilet paper tube for Toddler Girl to make prints with.

Turns out she's a rather aggressive painter.

Super fun!

Monday, May 07, 2012

Four Weeks To Fill Your Freezer: Chicken Breasts

Heading into the 2nd week of Crystal's freezer cooking challenge, here's a quick recap of what's made its way into my freezer so far!

Counting a few freezer meals I already had in the freezer prior to beginning this challenge, I now have 12 main dishes at the ready. This not counting a few sides and meal components such as cooked ground beef and the above mentioned lentils and millet. My goal is to have around 24 frozen meals by the end of May. This would have us set for a couple of weeks worth of dinners plus some lunches during our move.

Honestly, I haven't really made a plan going into this challenge. Instead, I've been going by what's available to cook as I dig through the freezer and pantry and what I find on sale at the grocery store!

I purchased a couple big trays of split chicken breasts last week which were the inspiration for today's freezer cooking session. Split chicken breasts go on sale for $.99 a pound often in my area and I've discovered that with just a knife and a few minutes of time, I can quickly cut them into boneless skinless chicken breasts and tenders myself. This saves a lot of money and I get a lot more meat for my dollar as well.

I started with cutting the chicken off the bone, going ahead and throwing the meaty bones right into the crockpot to cook the meat and make broth. I put the chicken tenders in a baking dish and covered them with BBQ sauce for tonight's dinner.

From the 2 trays of meat, I got 8 chicken breasts. It didn't take long to prepare them for freezing:
  • 2-Mexican Chicken Skillet meals: Each kit included 2 cubed chicken breasts and chopped onion and green peppers. I bagged the chicken and veggies separately then put them together into a gallon bag. Fajita kits can also be made with this same  concept.
  • 1- Israeli Spice Chicken: 2 breasts coated with Israeli seasoning blend and placed in a zipper bag ready for grilling or to be cooked in a pan.
  • 2- Cubed Chicken Breasts: 1 cubed chicken breast in a bag. perfect for throwing into stir fries!
Plus I have a bowl of broth and 4 cups of chopped chicken from cooking the meaty bones!  Don't be surprised if the chicken finds its way into some other freezer sessions!

**Read more about the 4 Weeks To Fill Your Freezer Challenge and join in at Money Saving Mom!

Our Weekly Menu


**For weight loss and general health, we eat a diet low in grains but higher in protein, healthy fats, vegetables and fruit.  For the most part, we avoid wheat, corn, refined sugar, starchy vegetables such as corn and potatoes and most processed foods. It is a work in progress--our diet isn't always perfect and we are far from eating all organic but we have both lost a good bit of weight since changing to eating this way in March of 2011 and we feel great! And for the record, we do eat a lot of brown rice and eggs and we're ok with that!**

I menu plan from Wednesday to Tuesday each week. 

1. Cabbage and chicken stir fry, rice, egg drop soup
2. Homemade "Hamburger Helper" type dish with ground beef and rice pasta
3. BBQ chicken tenders, sweet potatoes, sauteed zucchini and mushrooms
4. Salmon patties, big green salad
5. Graduation party for friend
6. Meeting #1: Take applesauce and green beans
7. Meeting #2 (finger foods): Take veggies and dip, leftover dessert from earlier in day

1. Leftovers
2. Crustless spinach quiche
3. Leftovers
4. Packed lunch--rice salad, cheese, yogurt, fruit, nuts
5. Hot dogs, leftovers
6. Split pea soup, rice, cheese
7. Church Fellowship: Take Cheesy Vegetables, dessert

Breakfast is scrambled eggs almost every morning this week. To scramble things up (pun intended), I'm serving them with avocado, spinach, tomato, cheese, salsa and/or sour cream. The one day we're not eating scrambled eggs, I'm serving Greek yogurt.

We typically eat fruit for snacks. This week: bananas, kiwi, apples, oranges... Also, we have applesauce and homemade pina colada pops!

**What's on your menu this week? 

**This post is part of Menu Plan Monday over at Organizing Junkie!

Friday, May 04, 2012

Four Weeks To Fill Your Freezer: Split Pea Soup, Broccoli Ham Casserole and Homemade Popsicles

I was ready for today's freezer cooking and ended up preparing 3 different things!

First off, I filled the crockpot with ingredients for Split Pea Soup. I don't use a recipe for it but add dried split peas, chopped onion and celery, some spices and water. I also had a large bacon end piece that I added to the pot for a great flavor. (I buy packages of nitrate free bacon ends and pieces at Trader Joe's for $2.99/pound. They are delicious and are wonderful for added flavor!) Turn crockpot to low and let cook all day.

I had all the ingredients to try these Pina Colada Popsicles I found on Pinterest. They were quick to make and we already sampled some and they are delicious! I have the feeling they won't last long in the freezer!

Also found a small bag of chopped ham in the freezer so added that to some broccoli for a Broccoli Ham Casserole. I needed to quickly throw a dish together for our church fellowship a couple of months ago and a quick look in a casserole cookbook led me to a yummy looking broccoli and ham casserole. However, I didn't have all the necessary ingredients available nor were some of them items that I usually cook with. Within a few minutes, I'd come up with my own variation of broccoli and ham casserole with stuff I had on hand and what I feel is a bit more of a real food version. We really like this simple casserole!

Broccoli Ham Casserole

1 (16 ounce) bag frozen broccoli
1 cup chopped cooked ham
1/2 cup mayonnaise--I'm a Duke's snob but feel free to use whatever brand you prefer!
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese plus a bit extra for topping
Croutons for topping--optional

Cook broccoli according to package directions. Stir in ham, mayo and cheese. Spread into a small baking dish. Top with extra cheese and croutons, if desired.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until heated through.

If freezing-- Prepare as directed but do not bake. Wrap well and freeze. When ready to use, thaw overnight in fridge and bake as directed. If you don't have time to thaw, add extra baking time and it should be fine!

Split pea soup will be packaged in Mason jars and muffin tins to freeze.  For the popsicles that I froze in the ice cube tray, I froze 30-40 minutes then stuck popsicle sticks in each one. We ate the ones in the cups as soon as they froze semi-solid!:-)

**For more freezer cooking fun, visit Money Saving Mom!**

Four Weeks To Fill Your Freezer: Lentils and Millet

Ok, so today's freezer offering is rather boring but useful-- cooked lentils and millet all ready to throw into soups, grain salads, casseroles or heat up and eat on their own for a quick meal.

In yesterday's freezer post, I mentioned preparing to move. Well, moving gives me the desire to clean things out and use them up! So I've found some items in the freezer and pantry that I could go ahead and cook up and have ready to eat!

We eat a good amount of lentils and even though they are relatively quick-cooking as legumes go, it's handy to have some already cooked up for even faster meals!

We don't eat a lot of millet but I found a zipper bag of millet in the freezer and thought we could go ahead and use that up. I figured we could use it instead of rice for meals, add it to grain salads or make this yummy looking Southwestern casserole.

I cooked the lentils at the same time I was preparing supper tonight (yesterday by the time you read this!). And simmered the millet while washing dishes and cleaning up the kitchen.

Yield: 3 containers of lentils (varying amounts in the 1-2 cup range) and 6 (2 cup) bags of millet.

Into the freezer they go!

**Be sure and visit Money Saving Mom for more freezer cooking inspiration!**

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Four Weeks To Fill Your Freezer-- Crustless Spinach Quiche

I was excited to see that this month's challenge on Money Saving Mom is freezer cooking. Every weekday for the next 4 weeks, Crystal will be making at least one food item for her freezer and she's inviting us to join her!

Well, I don't know if I'll be able to do something every. single. day. but I'm going to try to participate at least 3 days every week if I can. We are planning to move sometime in June, Lord willing, and I was wanting to stock up my freezer to help us eat well and more inexpensively throughout this busy time.

My hope is that as the moving boxes fill up, so will the freezer!

I discovered that I had all the ingredients to make a Crustless Spinach Quiche so that's what I did today.  I made two--one for eating this week and one to freeze for later. This makes a terrific breakfast, lunch or light dinner!

My recipe is here. Today I used frozen spinach (thawed and squeezed dry), a little bacon, chopped onion, and a combination of cheddar and feta cheeses. And of course, eggs, milk, salt and pepper.

To freeze crustless quiches: Mix up and bake following recipe instructions. Let cool. Wrap well--I like to double wrap with plastic wrap and then cover with foil. Using a Sharpie marker, label the foil with what it is, the date and how to prepare for serving. Freeze.

To serve: Remove from freezer and let thaw in fridge overnight. Be sure to remove plastic wrap before heating! Cover with foil and heat at 350 degrees for around 30 minutes or until heated through. Can also be thawed and then each slice heated individually in microwave, if desired. Or once thawed, quiche can be served cold!

What foods do you like to freeze?

**For more freezer cooking inspiration, visit Money Saving Mom!

Tuesday, May 01, 2012


I realized a few weeks ago that Baby Boy(1) hasn't experienced many of the activities I usually try to do with the babies. Granted, he doesn't seem to be any worse for wear and certainly hasn't lacked for attention and interaction! But he's typically down for a nap when I do special activities with Toddler Girl(2).

So I was grateful for opportunities in the past few weeks to spend a little more one on one time with Baby Boy and introduce a few new experiences to him!

First play dough
Reaction: Loved!

First drawing with markers.
Reaction: Liked very much. 

Note: I like using paper towel for early marker drawings. It's absorbent and is perfect for the dots that are usually a toddler's first drawings. While you certainly want to use supervision with any small child and markers, markers are much easier for a small child to use than crayons since crayons require a lot more effort and pressure to make noticeable marks on the paper. So I usually start with markers first for very young toddlers and then change it up with crayons as they get a bit older.  Washable markers are our friends!

First water play.
Reaction: Not totally into this which surprised me since he loves washing his hands! But it was a new experience and one that I think will be more enjoyed as he gets older. I got out a colander towards the end which he really seemed to like using!