crispymandmcookies

Crispy M and M’s Don’t Make Good Cookies

My son is infatuated with M&M’s. I mean, seriously infatuated. He cannot get enough of them. We initially used them sparingly to teach colors but the overwhelming sweetness of chocolate bite sized candies was just too much… now they are our go-to bribe to keep him quiet on airplanes, in doctor offices, in the car, and yes (I admit somewhat shamefully), even when we want to snap a cute picture.

At our local grocery store this weekend, they had the crispy M&M’s on sale so I bought a bag. It’s almost gone. And it’s only Tuesday. Why do we do this? If the M&M’s are in the house, we have trouble keeping the bag in the pantry. Yes, I have cucumbers and carrots and apples and oranges but D is begging for the pretzels and M&M’s. I reach for a handful instead of cutting an apple. My husband grabs a few to tide himself over as dinner is being prepared.

I know there are numerous conversations and perspectives on the amount of snacking appropriate for toddlers, and the types of snacks appropriate for toddlers… what do you guys give your kiddos? How do you balance a very obvious 2 year old sweet tooth with the healthier veggies and fruits? What times of day do you allow your children to have snacks?

Oh yeah, and since I’ve confessed our obsession with M&M’s, let me go get the crispy M&M cookies out of the oven. PS – If you are going to make your son M&M cookies, just buy the original bag. I snuck one out of the first batch and trust me… the crispy ones baked just get too crispy!

 

Airplane Mac And Cheese

My husband has to work late tonight, so I need a thrilling dinner for my two year old son, D. Dinner needs to be easy, quick and one of his favorites because I won’t have the down time I normally do in the evenings. As is probably the case with most two year olds, you can’t go wrong with good ole mac and cheese.

But let’s make it ‘thrilling’… just so I won’t have any issues getting him to the dinner table. Muffin macaroni is all the rage these days. I’ve never tried it but it looks easy enough? You just add an egg and a little sour cream and bake it in a muffin pan?

Inspiration struck… why not substitute a baking pan for a muffin pan and use a cookie cutter to make one of his favorite shapes? I pulled out the airplane cookie cutter and got to work (by work I mean making a super easy dinner in 45 minutes during nap time)! See below for the details and comment with questions or suggestions! Any thoughts on getting the mac and cheese to stay together even better?

Airplane Mac And Cheese – this is sure to make every (well, most every) 2 year old rush to the dinner table!

1. Gather your ingredients. You’ll need elbow macaroni, sour cream, milk, cheese (I used Colby jack and grated Parmesan simply because I didn’t have Velveeta on hand) , breadcrumbs (if you have them), an egg, salt/pepper, a pot, a baking pan and a cookie cutter (my happens to be an airplane design).

airplane mac & cheese
Ingredients

2. Cook macaroni according to package instructions. I salted the water slightly. Most of you are probably moms that cook mac & cheese as much as I do!

cooking pasta
Cooking Pasta

3. Add approximately 1/2 cup of milk, 1 tablespoon of sour cream, 1 egg and 1 cup of cheese (I used Colby Jack here) to drained pasta. Stir, and once combined, gently smooth onto baking pan.

pan macaroni
Mac & Cheese on Pan

4. Sprinkle bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese on top of macaroni. I didn’t have bread crumbs but think they’d make a great addition. I used the grated Parmesan pretty liberally! Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Cool completely.

parm added
Parmesan has been added!
baked mac & cheese
Baked Mac & Cheese

5. Press your cookie cutter (I used an airplane design) into the baked pasta just like you would for cookies. I would suggest using a spatula underneath the mac to help you move it… spoon away enough mac and cheese around the cookie cutter to allow you to get the spatula underneath. The mac and cheese won’t stay together for more than one move (in my experience), so have your serving dish ready! That’s it! Eat and enjoy… be flexible as you’ll most likely have to reshape some of the designs. The airplane may have been a little complex of a design for mac and  cheese but you get the idea!

cookiecutterpasta
Cookie Cutter in Pasta
airplane mac and cheese
Airplane Mac & Cheese
airplane mac and cheese
Single Airplane Mac & Cheese

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just to let you know, my son lit up with delight at having ‘Airplane Mac and Cheese‘. He ran to the bathroom to wash his hands, climbed up in his chair without prompting and asked for seconds and thirds. I’d say that was one successful dinner!

househuntingwithkiddos

House Hunting with Kiddos

It’s that time. We’re looking for a new house! In a market that is extremely fast paced and seller oriented. Houses are listed on Thursday and are pending by Monday, for 20-25k over asking price. Wish we were sellers instead of buyers!

We live near Seattle, WA and have a 2.5 year old son and 4 month old daughter. We don’t have family anywhere nearby, and we’ve maxed out our friends for watching the kids. That said, there are still 6 homes the realtor wants to show us this weekend. What do we do?

Top 5 Tips for House Hunting with Kids –

5. Talk to your kids about house hunting. Clearly my 4 month old will do what she will. However, my 2 year old may understand ‘these are not our homes’ and ‘just look; don’t touch’. He knows to stop and take his shoes off at the door. Will he remember these rules? Probably not… but it’s worth the conversation to try!

4. Get creative. ‘Explore’ each house. ‘Oh, D, what do you think is in this closet?’ Make a game out of what spaces you can find. I let him climb the stairs, and challenged him to climb them 5 times in a row (this was during a conversation with our realtor). I also packed a kid’s flashlight in the diaper bag to help him ‘explore’ the house.

3. Don’t hesitate to use bribery! Haha, some of you will disagree but it was a necessity in my book. M&M’s? Check. Pretzels? Check. Ice cream stop? Check… just make snacks a treat for the car. I didn’t want D walking around the prospective homes with chocolate covered hands.

2. Be flexible.You are stressed, rushed, nervous and tired. This is not a good combination. Be flexible. Take a deep breath. Remember they are kids and will need exercise (highly suggest stopping by one of the neighborhood playgrounds if you can fit it in… also helps you get to know the potential neighbors). Remember they will get antsy and tired. They will interrupt your conversations. They are kids… be flexible.

1. Don’t take the kids house hunting! Haha, after all that, still drop them off with friends if you can. In fact, it may be worth making new friends if you’ve maxed out your welcome with current friends. I love my kids but not having them allowed me to actually house hunt… an amazing concept!

Crab Handprint Thank You Card

It’s tough to live so far away from our families… I find myself missing them even more after we vacation to see them. It doesn’t help that my son is of an age where he asks where GG and Granddaddy are for a week afterward! Since we have so many cute beach pictures from the trip, I searched for a beach themed toddler craft on Pinterest to turn into a thank you card. I found a cute crab handprint project that was super easy (because that is what we’re all about these days!)

Items Needed: washable ink (I used red), paper (I used blank, white computer paper) and your child’s hands (this could be the most difficult!)

Directions:

1. Lay the paper out on a prepared surface and have your ink pad ready (remember the ink may be swiped somewhere other than the paper if your child is anything like mine).

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2. Gently rub the ink pad across one of your child’s hands and immediately place his handprint on the paper, thumb side up.

.crabhandprints

3. Repeat the process with your child’s other hand… the goal is for the base of your child’s hands to be the crab’s body, the thumbs to be the antennas and the fingers to be the claws.

4. Add googly eyes or draw eyes and a smiley face to complete the project.

5. Optional – I taped a picture of each kid, added a name and thank you/date on the side of the crap handprint as a personal touch.

completedcrabhandprint

That’s it! Easy enough, right? Like the quick and easy Crab Handprint Thank You Card? Subscribe to the blog to have new crafts emailed your way!