Monday, August 20, 2012

Sautéed Mushrooms...a favorite with our kids!

Yep, you read that right. Our kiddos ask for mushrooms at the store and get super excited when we serve these at dinner. Maybe lots of children like mushrooms? I always associated them with one of those under-appreciated and not kid-friendly foods.

The way I cook mushrooms is so simple and easy that I can hardly even call it a recipe. I guess it's really more like a method. These mushrooms first won over my husband in the early months of our marriage. I only made a serving for myself and he decided to "give them a try." That was the last time I sautéed mushrooms for one!

It took several times of trying mushrooms for our kids to really enjoy them, and even now my son is hit or miss. Some nights he has seconds and some nights he only eats one or two mushrooms. On the whole, this is one of our favorite meal sides, and I often serve it as a second or third veggie since it is so easy to make.

I start with about a tablespoon of butter and a non-stick skillet set to medium-low.

While the butter is melting I chop my mushrooms quickly (my family preferes chunks to slices), and dump them into the pan of heated butter. I usually use about 8-10 good sized mushrooms, but on this occasion I probably used about 14. I give them a little stir with some tongs and let them sit.

About 8-10 minutes later they look like this. I give them another stir, making sure that any raw ones end up on the bottom.

After this stir I usually add some seasoning. We like salt and pepper with parsley, but also enjoy this seasoned salt.

One of our favorite seasonings was this sample pack of Sazon Tropical by Badia. The free sample is all gone and I need to hunt this down next time I'm at the store. It was fantastic on mushrooms and our roast chicken.

After another 8-10 minutes I give the mushrooms another stir and toss with another round of seasoning. Depending on how they look, I may turn down the heat to keep them warm while I wait for the rest of the meal to be ready, or I may let them cook a little longer. Only a few of the mushrooms were golden, crispy brown at this point because it was a larger batch, so I let them be for another 5 minutes or so.

At which point I ended up with this delicious pan of mushrooms just begging to be eaten!

Does your family do mushrooms? If not, maybe this would be a way to try them!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Book Club Activity: Stuart Little, Ch. 11-15

This is the final set of activities for Stuart Little! I hope you have enjoyed this book and the little ideas I've included have been fun for your and your children.

In the last chapters of this book, Stuart's adventures kick into high gear as he searches for Margalo. We had a lot of fun talking about Stuart's little car and how funny it would look to see a mouse driving a tiny car. I found a Stuart Little car game that you can play online at Kiba Games. This may be challenging for your preschooler, but I'm sure it will be fun too! Its very cute.

Stuart sends Harriet a very thoughtful and kind letter. Take time this week to make something special to mail to someone. We are going to make another pop top can to send to someone!

Depending on what I can find at the store, we are going to try some Sarsaparilla too! We may end up just using Root Beer.

Join us next week for some discussion questions, as well as photos of all the activities that we've done throughout the book. I can't wait to hear what your kids thought about this story!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Favorite Finds and Re-Pack Bags Winner

Whew! It's been a whirlwind few days around here, and the rest of the week should be no less crazy. I'm planning to get the last Stuart Little activity posted tomorrow. Our virtual meeting is next week!
We had a delicious salad for dinner recently...we used up some leftover pork that I had made a cilantro-citrus and cheesy breading for, and then I added a homemade avocado dressing which brought the meal together nicely. I got the inspiration for the dressing from The Teenage Taste's Cilantro Lime Ranch recipe. It was excellent... definitely on the menu again soon!

I love my morning coffee (and afternoon and evening sometimes too!). Check out this awesome coffee bar that The vintage Wren created. I love how functional it is, but also a great piece of decor. I wish I had space for something like this...maybe someday :-)

My kids love playing with cardboard boxes and other empty food items. Next time we have some large boxes I'm going to try to do something like this washer/dryer combo by A Mom with a Lesson Plan. My kids love helping with the laundry (helping is their word, not usually mine!), so I'm sure this would make for hours of great pretend play.

I recently made this Bacon, Egg, and Cheese crescent by Bacon Time with the Hungry Hypo wrap for our Sunday breakfast for dinner. It was delicious and I opted to use my homemade crescent roll dough, so I had everything on hand. Yum!

Finally, the winner of the Re-Pack Bags giveaway is Kristy, comment #11. I hope you enjoy your new bags! I'm excited to be able to offer another great giveaway soon...stay tuned!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Book Club Activity: Stuart Little, ch. 6-10

Welcome to the second activity for Stuart Little!

If you missed last week's activity, be sure to check out the links for printable cat and mouse crafts. My kids had a blast with them.

In chapters 6-10, Stuart begins to have some incredible adventures. The boating chapters are a little challenging because of all of the nautical terms, so we talked about a few things before and during the chapter, and tried to let the flow of the story explain the rest. A few key terms we talked about were schooner, mast, "aye, aye, sir!", "bravo!", "bon voyage," rigging, and floatsam. 

For our craft, we are planning to make paper boats. We will probably end up sailing these in the pool or the bathtub so that the kids can splash around and try to race them! Here is a short video on You Tube with great paper boat folding instructions. If you prefer still picture instructions, Origami Instructions has great pictures as well.

This link to Kids Coloring Pages has a great printable coloring page of Stuart at the helm of the Wasp. 

Stuart's friend, Margalo, is introduced in these chapters also, and was a particular favorite character of my daughter. Unfortunately, I pronounced the poor bird's name wrong at first (Mar-GAY-low instead of Mar-GAH-low) and she is having a really hard time with the correct pronunciation. I found a coloring page from First School that is a nicely detailed bird.

Did you do any activities during these chapters? I'd love to hear about it!

Monday, August 6, 2012

It's a giveaway!

I've been looking for reusable snack bags for a while, and nearly all the ones I found were made with a velcro closure. I didn't feel like the velcro would keep things from getting stale, and I wasn't looking forward to the prospect of cleaning peanut butter out of it! I saw a Living Social deal for Re-Pack bags several months ago and jumped on it...zippered bags that I can throw in the dishwasher!

I loved these bags so much that I contacted Re-Pack, who has graciously agreed to host a giveaway. One lucky winner will receive 3 Re-Pack bags, one small, one medium, and one large.

I picked out two small (snack sized) and two medium (sandwich sized) bags in different colors and patterns...

I can fit two whole sandwiches in one of the medium bags, and they are also perfect for a family-size snack on a picnic.

A small bag holds enough snack stuff for both of my kids to share on an outing. I like to fill it up with crackers, goldfish, cucumber slices, or apple slices!

I also enjoy keeping one of the small bags in my purse full of nuts. Its a great snack for me when I'm on the go.

While they are not water-proof, they are water resistant (and mold and mildew resistant!). I will put my phone, sunglasses, etc in one to keep things together when we are at the pool.

I turn them inside out and stick them in the top rack of my dishwasher. They need time to dry afterwards, but it beats having to wash them by hand!

I love that I've cut out plastic baggie/Ziplock bag usage down to next to nothing. I always felt like it was such a waste to use a plastic bag for something that wasn't messy, and with my husband taking lunch every day to work, he could easily use 4-5 a day. It would be crazy if my kids were in school about a ton of extra trash.

I also save money not buying individual snack bags. It takes relatively little extra effort to grab a handful of something and toss it in one of these bags for a picnic. Plus, since these are sturdy, it gives my kids a lot more to hang on to than a plastic bag. We've had a lot less dropped snacks since using these bags.

The downside to these is that they are fairly pricey. A small bag is $5.95, a medium $6.95, a large $7.95, and a gallon bag is $9.95. You can get free shipping when you purchase 6 bags right now. I found these prices to be only slightly higher than the velcro snack bags I was looking at on Etsy, and now that I own some, I am planning to add more to our collection at some point.

Win It!
For a chance to win, leave a comment on this post telling me which print Re-Pack bags you would pick if you win. I've been eyeing up the tie-dye print right now. Its seasonal, so I imagine that it will no longer be available as summer winds down. When you comment make sure that your email address is enabled in your blogger profile or leave it in your comment. I need to be able to get in touch with you if you are the winner!

The giveaway will run through midnight on Friday (August 8), at which point a random commenter will be chosen to win the Re-Pack 3-count of bags.

Disclosure: I purchased my own Re-Pack bags and was not compensated for this review. All opinions are my own. 

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