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pjs and pancake day 2014

26.12.14 0 comments
We wanted to end the year and welcome Winter in style - and so we did. The kids dressed up in their warm pjs on Tuesday for our first Pjs and Pancakes Day. I made loads of pancakes, but they didn't actually eat that much - they just wanted to have fun.
With their tummies filled with pancakes we
played...
shared a poem from Nicola Davies's book...Outside your window.
and hibernated a little bit...
It was so cute seeing them running around in their pjs.
We hope you had a cosy Merry Christmas.

Soup day: Butternut Squash Soup with Maple Roasted Chickpeas

17.12.14 0 comments

This week for Soup day we had 2 less hands...big boy had been coughing and has a runny nose, so I didn't want him to help too much in the kitchen. Last Thursday, I found a great recipe online and I wanted to try it out. I bought all the ingredients and was excited to try a "recipe" with the kids for soup day. 

Come Monday morning, I wondered if I should bother, after all, the babies don't care what they eat, as long as they eat, and the boy actually said that he didn't want soup. I tackled soup day on my own - but I cheated...I used the slow cooker. It was a yummy recipe...of course I didn't give the kids roasted chick-peas. I also left out the apple, and I used chickpeas from the Cedar brand.

ingredients:

For the Butternut Squash Soup:
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
3 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and chopped into 1-inch cubes (about 5 cups)
1 large apple, peeled and chopped 
2 (14 oz) cans low sodium vegetable broth
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons maple syrup
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
For the Maple Roasted Chickpeas:
1 (15 oz) can Libby's Organic Garbanzo Beans (chickpeas)
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 1/2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt

directions:

1. Add the onion, carrots, butternut squash, and apple to the slow cooker. Pour the vegetable broth over all of the ingredients. Cook on low for 6 hours or on high for 3 1/2 to 4 hours.
2. Once vegetables are cooked and soft, puree the soup using  blender. Add the cinnamon, nutmeg, and maple syrup. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.Transfer the soup to a blender (in batches) and puree until smooth. Pour the soup back into the slow cooker and ...season*. I don't season/add spices much because of the little ones, but I will try to follow this recipes as closely as possible, next time.
3. While the soup is cooking in the slow cooker, make the maple roasted chickpeas. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Rinse and drain the chickpeas and pat dry with a towel. Remove the skins by rolling them on the towel. In a small bowl, combine the canola oil, maple syrup, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Place the chickpeas on a large baking sheet. Pour the maple syrup mixture over the chickpeas and toss until chickpeas are well coated. Place in the oven and bake for 40-45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes or so. Remove from the oven when chickpeas are crunchy.
4. Pour soup into bowls and garnish with maple roasted chickpeas. Serve immediately.
5. ENJOY!

Weekending November 8-12th

13.12.14 0 comments
It was quite the week. Each little one was feeling under the weather in some way or another. They were so many runny noses that I disinfected toys every single night.
We also had a guest, N, who will be playing with us in the month of December- she was with us 3 days last week.

What were the kids up to this week?
There was "cooking" eggs in the kitchen. More spaghetti and meatballs were made too. They had a cute communal kitchen where someone went grocery shopping...one made the food and one cleaned up...and the place-setting was very nice :)
On Monday we had soup but I didn't have the kids help me because it just wasn't the best thing to do, considering they were all feeling down. Nevertheless, we all shared soup - even the babies.
Tuesday was exploring. It was actually a nice day outside, but the small ones were really cranky and tired, and once again nap times have really been off, so it's a bit of work to coordinate...we just have to find the right rhythm.
Wednesday we painted. Our colour of the week of orange. We painted in the afternoon before nap-time. This week they all knew what to do with the paint brushes.
Thursday was baking AND  more runny noses and a general low mood. Hence no baking.
Friday is our relaxing day - and we did relax a bit. There were lots of songs and stories and free play.

I was unlucky to have z attack my knitting...
Reflecting on the week, I think that one big change needs to be made. I have noticed that Mondays are difficult for the kids...it's transitioning all over again - even for me, as I am away from home all day Sunday.   I have noticed that they are more cranky and restless. Anyways, I will try to move a bit slowly and just play it by ear.

I hope this week everyone will be feeling better and that we can continue with our regular activities.

Weekending Nov 29-Dec 05

7.12.14 0 comments
Wow, not weekending...the week ended and has already started again.
she's getting ready to tear up the train track...

It was a good, busy week. We love those. J started coming earlier, and that has added another dimension to our transitioning...I think they are getting the hang of it. I noticed that he stays up for breakfast and circle time even when he's quite tired.

We had a lot of oral "story-telling" this week. Many of our activities stemmed from or were inspired by our stories...like making spaghetti and meatballs...see below.

We had a birthday celebration on Friday. I also finished J's birthday crown just in time (see pic). Getting him to wear it was another story :)
On Thursday I actually baked with the little ones because big boy went to a friend's going-away celebration. It was J's birthday celebration that we were baking for, so he actually had a hand in creating his own cake.
I loved being in the kitchen with the little ones because guess what, they had no expectations.

It was funny watching them watch each other...if they could speak it would go something like this.

J- (looking at the whisk in his hand) i have a big thing in my hand...what next?
Z - (also with whisk in hand) what are we doing here? This is silly.....
They both started banging on pans...the floor...(anything in sight)
then they looked at each other as I put the big bowl in front of them and showed them what to do
then one started
then the other
then they got bored, lol
that pretty much sums it up

We also had our first coordinated painting day on Wednesday...Z tried to eat the paint. J didn't really know what to do with the brush and big boy was way ahead of the game- painting not 1 but 2 pics.

The weather was up and down, and so were nap times, so aside from getting into the backyard, we never made it to our special space...maybe this week we will.
making spaghetti & meatballs

Watercolor Wednesday

4.12.14 0 comments
We had our first wet-on-wet watercolour painting on Wednesday- aka-Watercolour Wednesday. Due to napping conflicts, painting took place after lunch, instead of the morning, where I felt the energy level of the kids would have been higher. This was the first time I had a formal painting session with kids as young as 1 or under. It was interesting...

 Some tiny details :
We used tiny tea cups
A mason jar filled with water for wetting paper
paint brushes from Ikea
and the caddy is actually for cutlery (but it's great for carrying supplies)
sketching paper - pretty good quality (will might invest in watercolour paper soon)
We don't have painting boards , but I taped the sheets to hard paper. For the little ones, I taped the hard paper to the table, because they were pulling on them lol. Note to self...painting boards would be handy...

Instead of using sponges - cause it was wet-on-wet watercolouring, I simply dipped the paint brush and wet the paper.
Another note...working with little ones means that you kind of have to do one at a time.
For instance, while your back is turned, things can get tricky, so it's best to work with each child individually, and gently guide their little hands. Of course, the boy and I have done a lot painting, so I left him to his devices.
 To celebrate the magical colours of Autumn, we began painting with the colour yellow. Next week we will paint with orange, and then finish off with red at the end of December. Starting in January, I hope to focus on one colour per month... fully appreciating the colour, telling stories about it, and sharing an appreciation for all the colours around us.

I thought this verse was fitting for the colour yellow...
Drops of water
Rays of light
Paint a rainbow shining bright
Dip into the pots of gold
Wondrous colours to unfold

Outside your window: Birds...migrating or not...

3.12.14 0 comments
We've been looking out for birds. We see birds coming and going, but we never have our camera OR we're often busy with other things. Nicola Davis discusses migrating bird - geese (actually), but we were not picky...we like all birds.
Due to napping conflicts, we didn't get to go far for our exploring day. We went out to the backyard, and not surprisingly, we saw many birds. Most of them were far up in the sky, but it was still fun looking and pointing them out.
Look at our captures:
So we learnt that some birds migrate, and that they migrate for many reasons, like for food, safety and breeding...really neat.

On monday aka soup day:chicken noodle soup

2.12.14 0 comments
Around here, we refer to Monday as Market day. Technically, we do not go to the market ever. Instead, we gather many staples from our pantry and fridge, and we make a nice pot of soup.
The babies do not participate at this time- but they are growing...they will soon enough. Instead, they play alongside us (me and the boy) as we gather, chop, mix and throw it all into the pot.
This week, both little ones did not want soup - but they ate some of the vegetables that we cooked with couscous.

Recipe adapted from this ( I used spaghetti noodles)
Ingredients
2 split chicken breasts, with ribs and skin on
2 chicken drumsticks, with skin
1 yellow onion, peeled and cut into quarters
1 head of garlic, unpeeled and cut in half crosswise
6 carrots, leaving 2 of them unpeeled and cut into halves, and the remaining 4 peeled and cut into ¼ inch rounds
6 ribs celery, two of them cut in half and the remaining cut into ¼ inch slices
1 parsnip, unpeeled cut into 3-inch chunks
1 bunch fresh Italian parsley
1 bunch fresh thyme
3 chicken bouillon cubes
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1-2 tablespoons kosher salt
6 ounces extra wide egg noodles

Instructions
Add the chicken pieces, onion, head of garlic, two unpeeled and halved carrots, two ribs of celery halves, parsnip halves to a large stock pot. Tie 15 stems of Italian parsley and 15 stems of thyme with a bit of kitchen string and add to the pot.
Cover with cold water 1-2 inches above the chicken and veggies or 14 cups of water. Add 3 chicken bouillon cubes, bay leaves, black peppercorns and kosher salt. Bring to a boil then reduce to a lightly rolling simmer and cook uncovered for 1¼ to 1½ hours or until chicken is cooked through and tender and stock is well flavored. If the stock tastes weak, add another chicken bouillon soup and a bit more salt.
Transfer the chicken to a plate to cool and remove the vegetables from the stock and discard. Place a strainer over a large bowl and strain the broth. Return the broth to the stock pot and add the chopped carrots and celery. Bring to a boil, then reduce to medium and cook for 10 minutes. Add the egg noodles and cook for another 8 minutes or until noodles are tender but chewy. Remove the skin from the chicken and shred the chicken with two forks. Depending on the size of the chicken breasts, start by adding ¾ of the shredded chicken to the soup then add more if you have enough broth or reserve for another use. Season with more salt and pepper if desired and stir in 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley and serve hot.
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