Monday, January 31, 2011

February Sensory Box

My kids are so excited about our new valentines themed sensory box. I cannot believe that I will have held them off until February 1st! I wanted to stick with a pink/white/red theme (a couple of purple things managed to sneak their way in). I filled the bottom with flat red and white flat stones that I purchased at Hobby Lobby a couple weeks ago when they were half price. Then I went to the Dollar Store and found artifical red rose petals (this was about half a bag) and heart containers. The little heart presents are from IKEA last year, the key chains are from the Christmas Tree Store and the buttons all came from a random bag of buttons I purchased. I decided to put all the spoons and tweezers back in the box this month since they were such a hit last month. You know my kids will be having a ball with this tomorrow!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Kroger Chocolate Chip Recall

I stopped by Kroger yesterday to quickly pick-up a couple of things and on the bottom of my receipt was a message about a recall that affected me. They were recalling the Kroger Value Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips with all best by dates ending in 2012. The product is being recalled because they do not list that they may contain milk. I was actually pretty bummed about this recall. I discovered these chocolate chips early on this summer and bought several packages because the only allergen they listed was soy and they only cost $1.79 instead of the $3.99 I pay for the Enjoy Life chips. I have been feeding these chocolate chips to J, who has a milk allergy since I purcahsed them and I have not noticed any reactions to the chips. If you are interested in the recall here is the link to Kroger's recall information.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Allergy Friendly Deals at Whole Foods

In case you did not know Whole Foods website has coupons that are printable from your computer. These are store coupons which can be stacked with a manufacturers coupon. Right now there are two coupons that really excite me. One is for SoDelicious Coconut milk (which can be stack with the coupon from for a total of $2 off a half gallon of coconut milk) and the coupon for $1/2 Dream beverages (they make Soy Dream and Rice Dream milks or frozen products).

Homeschool Prep Progress

I am planning on homeschooling my older son J next year for kindergarden (as well as start 3 year old preschool with my daughter) and the last few weeks I have been doing A LOT of research and finally have made a decision on a few things. First I love sensory boxes and I am planning on doing a new sensory box every month with a new theme for the month. Along with the sensory box I will also focus on books and craft activities to match our theme. Here is my schedule for our sensory boxes for the year (I am starting this early because my kids LOVE sensory boxes)

Jan- Snow/ winter theme

Feb- Valentines Day (I will have a post up about this box in about a week- I am almost done)

March- Spring

April- Garden

May- Space

June- Beach

July- 4th of July- red, white and blue

August- Ice Cream (and maybe ice sensory blocks for use in the bathtub)

September- Construction

October- Fall

November- Dinosaurs

December- Christmas

I have also been researching cirriculum for J. We have decided to do math, Bible and english with him next year and we are going to also focus on additional subjects that he is interested in such as space. We are going to use Hooked on Phonics for reading and the same Bible lessons we do with his sister. As for math I know we are going to use a course with manipulatives, I am just not sure which one.

For Princess R I am using cirriculum, except for the alpabet, which I am hoping to find a cirriculum I can purchase so I don't have to print everything out myself.

For both my daughter and the baby (who will be one in a few weeks!) I am going to use a lot of ideas from Carisa's Tot School ( especially tot trays.

I am trying to get eveything planned out prior to the convention at the end of March so that I know which workshops I really want to attended and know what I am looking for when I get to the exhibit hall- which can be totally overwhelming!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

My Favorite Granola Bars

I LOVE Granola bars, but the vast majority of granola bars are not allergy friendly by any means. So while my husband was chomping away on his Nature Valley granola bars I decided that I really needed some so I scoured the internet and after trying a couple of recipes that I was not crazy about I found a great alerternative (and in my opinion they are better than store bought granola bars).

Granola Bars
4 cups Oatmeal
2 cups flour
1 cup coconut (you can leave this out- it is not necessary for the recipe to turn out)
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup honey (or 1/2 cup honey and 1/4 cup molasses OR 1/2 cup honey and 1/4 cup corn syrup)
Optional: raisins, chocolate chips, craisins

Mix the dry ingredients together. Add oil and honey. Mix well get your fingers in there and mix it until all is blended and sticky feeling. Add any optional ingredients. Firmly press in a 12 x 15 inch pan. Bake 15 to 20 minutes at 375 degrees (they will look puffy when they come out and don't let them get too brown). Cut immediately or they will be too hard to cut.

Fun Suprises at the Dollar Store!!!

We went the the Dollar Store today after church and while we were waiting in line I saw small individual bags of animal crackers in the snack aisle. I decided to check the ingredients and all they contained were wheat and soy, so I thought they would be perfect for my son's preschool snack bag. I also decided to look at the Moon Pies- which also only included wheat and soy (however they are produced in a factory with peanuts and treenuts, but since J's peanut levels are pretty low we have decided to start giving both of the older kids foods with this warning, but only if my husband and I are with them- we don't want to take that chance if someone else is watching them and is not familar with the epi). Next I checked out the fudge striped cookies, which also only contained wheat and soy (which was really shocking to me) and the E L Fudge chocolate grahams which also only contained wheat and soy. So we left the Dollar Store with four new snacks for the kids to try. After lunch we let the kids try the Moon Pies (did I mention that chocolate and marshmellows have to be their favorite foods) and they both loved them!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Winter Themed Preschool Lessons

One of my goals for this year is to start working more with my 2 year old. I try to work at least a few times a week with J- usually with reading or with handwriting, but it seems that my little princess has gotten lost in the shuffle and as with most middle children, I have not spent as much one-on-one time teaching her as I did with my first born. So to give her more time and to try to start teaching her (and to get her used to what she will be doing once we start homeschooling J this fall) I am starting her out with lessons on winter. I have decided to do a sensory box- this is a box filled with things related to winter and on the bottom I have put rice so she can practice pouring and playing with the rice. In addition to the sensory box I am going to do a snowman print-out where she will place the clothes on the snowman (and practice her cutting skills by actually cutting out the snowman). So far I have one book picked out to read (this is really a work in progress, but so far I am more planned out than usual) Snowmen at Night by Caralyn Buehner. I am also planning on singing a snowman song and a polar bear song and making a peguin craft. To keep J occupied with the lesson I am going to talk about hibernation and arctic animals and do a science experiment on ice melting. Once I actually get my activities finalized I hope to link them up here.

Snack Pack Pudding

Yesterday while walking the aisles at Meijer (which is by far not my favorite thing to do!) I decided to check out the ingredients of the Snack Pack Pudding. All of their pudding has milk in it with the exception of the Lemon pudding. Of course I grabbed one for my little ones to try out. They have never eatten pudding- even Princess R who is not allergic to milk- I have never made it or bought it for her since her brother can't have it. Both children enjoy lemon flavored things so I thought I would give it a shot. J really liked it and almost finished it and Princess R ate about half of hers- so I think that the pudding was a success (they would have probably eatten more if they had not just eatten a hot dog and watermelon for lunch and my daughter was also very interested in watching tv too). Jell-o also makes some instant pudding flavors that do not have any of the top 8 food allergens, just check the label and substitute whichever type of milk you use- but I will caution you do not use vanilla flavored milk- the vanilla really comes through the pudding and that is all you taste.

**Update- after putting the remaining pudding away I noticed that the lids stated that they contain real milk (I did not notice this before I fed them to J and milk was not on the ingredients list) so I contacted Hunts. They emailed me back and reassured me that the lemon flavor does not contain milk.