Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Funny Things My Kid's Say

I love to observe a kid's thought process as they share stories and what is on their mind.

I don't even know what lead to my oldest saying the following...either lunch time and having cheese or headed out for dinner to Culver's or at the dinner table.

T: "We are cheese people.  We are cheesier because I am cheesy!"

What are some of the funny things your kiddos have said?

Monday, November 27, 2017

Thoughts Over a Steaming Pot of Noodles

Such a simple task, make a pot of noodles and dump the water when cooked.  The other day, after like the fifteenth pot of noodles in a week (at least it felt that way), I had the following thought:

"Sure I get facials...but only when I dump the noodle pot out"

How funny and odd of a thought?  But totally true. 

So, how often do you get a facial? :)

Sunday, November 26, 2017

I wanted to take a moment to share with you all two of my newest endeavors.  I have created two stores, T & A Kid Shirt Designs and Dragonfly Garden.

I have a passion for being creative.  For me, it brings a sense of peace and calm, as well as great happiness.

I have been doing creative projects on and off for years.  As the Summer came to a close and we transitioned into Fall, I began to feel a pull.  It took me awhile to tap into it, but now I understand.

That is why I created the two stores.

Dragonfly Garden came about as I have been making things that use dragonflies for awhile now.  I first began with making Samantha's Dragonflies in honor and memory of our daughter Samantha after we lost her because of a miscarriage in 2011.  Since then, I have began to make other dragonfly related items.  Now I have necklace pendants, iron on transfers, beaded dragonflies, and Samantha's Dragonflies.  You can check out the Dragonfly Garden Store by clicking here!

T & A Kid Shirt Designs is names after my two kiddos.  I have come to find that it is getting tougher and tougher to find shirts with construction vehicles on them.  Especially for my oldest, as he is now in sizes in the boys section, but still greatly enjoys vehicle shirts and would much rather where them than most any other design that is in the boys section.  My youngest likes vehicles a lot as well, and even in toddler sizes it is getting hard to find such shirts.  That is why I created T & A Kid Shirt Designs.  They are all vehicles my kiddos enjoy, as well as  many other kiddos.  The store is filled with vehicle iron on transfers.  You can buy a  transfer and put it on any cotton fabric you choose.  From shirts, to bags, to blankets, and more.  You can check out T & A Kid Shirt Designs by clicking here!

I hope you enjoy shopping and please share with your friends!

Contact Info

Hi, and thanks for visiting!

If you have stories to share, comments, or questions please feel free to contact me at:

lizlauterbach@gmail.com

Or you can fill out the contact form on the right side of the page below the About Me section.

You can also follow My Mama Side on Facebook at
https://www.facebook.com/mymamaside/


Thanks!

Liz

Letter of the Week ~ E


Recognize upper and lower case letter
  • Color sheet with the lower case letter on it (my oldest knows all the letters in their Capital form)
Activity
  • Letter Hunt: Throughout the week search for the letter of the week
  • Word Hunt: How many words can you come up with that start with the letter of the week? What around you starts with the letter of the week?
Adventure
  • Where can you go that starts with the letter of the week?
    • Eagle's Nest
Art
  • Elephant
    • Using gray paint on the hand create an elephant hand print
    • Have fun adding details
    • Picture examples are from pinterest
You can see more curriculum ideas on my post about our 2017/2018 curriculum by Clicking Here.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Letter of the Week ~ K


  Recognize upper and lower case letter
  • Color sheet with the lower case letter on it (my oldest knows all the letters in their Capital form)
Activity
  • Letter Hunt: Throughout the week search for the letter of the week
  • Word Hunt: How many words can you come up with that start with the letter of the week? What around you starts with the letter of the week?
Adventure
  • Where can you go that starts with the letter of the week?
    • Kindness Acts
Art
  • Koala
    • Using gray paint on the hand or foot create a koala print
    • Have fun adding details
    • Picture examples are from pinterest
You can see more curriculum ideas on my post about our 2017/2018 curriculum by Clicking Here.

Letter of the Week ~ C



 Recognize upper and lower case letter
  • Color sheet with the lower case letter on it (my oldest knows all the letters in their Capital form)
Activity
  • Letter Hunt: Throughout the week search for the letter of the week
  • Word Hunt: How many words can you come up with that start with the letter of the week? What around you starts with the letter of the week?
  • Baking chocolate chip cookies
Adventure
  • Where can you go that starts with the letter of the week?
    • Como
Art
  • C Caterpillar
    • Cut out the letter C shape, glue onto paper
    • Cut out circles (we used a circle hole punch) out of various colors of paper
    • Glue circles into the C shape to create a Caterpillar
    • Add mouth, eyes, and antennae, as well as any other details the kiddos want 
  • Cat Picture
    • My oldest loves cat and asked if we could make a cat for this week
    • I will admit, this time around I did cut out all the pieces for the kids
    • The kids glued the pieces onto paper and added details
You can see more curriculum ideas on my post about our 2017/2018 curriculum by Clicking Here.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Recipe of the Week ~ Cowboy Casserole


I moved to a state over 12 years ago that is known for it's hot dish.  I grew up calling them casseroles, but when in Minnesota, hot dish it is.

Tater Tot Hot Dish is very common and easy to make hot dish.  I have made it a few different ways, in the crockpot even too.  But I will have to admit, this Cowboy Casserole is by far my most favorite version of it.  Added bonus, it is so easy to put together too!  Even better, there are leftovers (currently: as a family of 4, my kiddos don't always have giant appetites) that we can have them for another dinner during the week and my hubby can take it at least once for lunch (sometimes twice).

I have made a few changes to the original recipe:
  • For the beef, I season with sea salt, black pepper, granulated onion, paprika, and a little cumin.  
  • How much cheese I add.  In my opinion, most recipes rarely include enough cheese.  As for the cheese, well I tend to put half the bag of cheese in to the mixture and the other half of the bag on top.  So, anywhere from a 2-4 cups of cheese are used depending on the size bag I buy.  This time around I used a 3 cup bag.  
  • You can also use frozen corn instead of canned, or even fresh sliced off the ear if in season.
A few tips and tricks to go along with the recipe:
  • I have made up the ground beef up ahead of time and frozen
  • I do usually make up the mixture the day before and put it into the casserole dish so it is ready to go.  Just remember to leave off the tater tots and other half of the cheese if you go this route.  Then pull it out and while the oven preheats, put the tater tot layer on and then the cheese.
  • I highly recommend greasing the pan for easier clean up before pouring the mixture in.
The original recipe comes from Six Sisters Stuff.  Click here to see the post and recipe or below I have copied the recipe.


Ingredients
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1/2 cup onion, diced
  • 1 (15 oz) can corn, drained
  • 1 (10.75 oz) can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 (16-20 oz) bag frozen tater tots
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. In a large skillet, cook beef and onion over medium heat until beef is no longer pink. Drain grease, then stir in the corn, soup, 1/2 cup cheese, milk, sour cream, and seasonings.
  3. Pour beef mixture into a 9x13" baking pan. Top with frozen tater tots (try to keep them in a single layer) and then sprinkle remaining cheese on top.
  4. Bake uncovered for 25-30 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and tater tots are thoroughly cooked.
Recipe Type: Main Dish

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Letter of the Week ~ N


Recognize upper and lower case letter
  • Color sheet with the lower case letter on it (my oldest knows all the letters in their Capital form)
Activity
  • Letter Hunt: Throughout the week search for the letter of the week
  • Word Hunt: How many words can you come up with that start with the letter of the week? What around you starts with the letter of the week?
Adventure
  • Where can you go that starts with the letter of the week?
    • Nature Center
Art
  • Night Sky
    • The kids either colored or painted wood star cutouts (already had them), but you could cut them out of paper or just draw them.
    • They each added a moon shape
    • My oldest opted to put all his onto white paper and color the background black
    • My youngest glued all the pieces onto blue paper
You can see more curriculum ideas on my post about our 2017/2018 curriculum by Clicking Here.

Making Dinner, Made Easier

 For us, we grocery shop every other week.  So when I meal I plan, I put it together two weeks at a time just before we have to go shop.  For us, this works right now. 

We have a running list of easy meals and a list surefire of meals that everyone likes.  This makes filling out the menu a little easier.  It also helps for days we have things schedule, like during softball season.  On those nights I am either flying solo or it is better to have a lighter meal, so easy meals are the go to. 

I like to try out new stuff sometimes, so I look to friends and families for their great recipe ideas, check out Pinterest, or pull out a cookbook.  The things we like go on to our surefire list.

Now, just because I have the week meal plan written out, it doesn't mean that it has to stay on those days.  Things can, and do get switched around depending on the day, the mood, or whatever life factors show up. 

The time it doesn't change is when we have fresh meat that we are planning on using or fresh produce.  Also, epically during the warmer months, we grill out more on the weekend we grocery shop.  So I tend to try to maximize those cooking days and double up on the meat and use the extra in a different way later in the week. 

I also leave room for leftovers.  Not just for dinner another time during the week, but also for at least one lunch time for my hubby.

I have also started doing whatever prep I can for those two weeks ahead of time.  That may mean the day before or it mean cooking part of it up ahead of time and freezing it.  I have also, when there is too much of a meal leftover, frozen part of it for another time in the month.

We plan out for cooked meals at home, but then if we decide to go out for dinner, than the planned meal idea gets moved to another day or a different week.

I also have extra eggs, hot dogs, tortilla shells, cheese, noodles, ingredients to make pancakes or waffles, and other similar ideas on hand always.  Because sometimes the best intentions, just need a little wiggle room or grace if the recipe is a total flop.  Then there are those days when a bowl of cereal or oatmeal seem like a much better idea than what may have been planned.

My best advice would be:
  • To plan out ahead of time.  Whether for the week, two weeks, or the whole month.  Plan out for what works best with your family and schedule.  Planning it out also helps a lot with grocery shopping and making budgeting easier.
  • Do any prep you can ahead of time.  Especially with kiddos, come dinner time things seem to go into overdrive very quickly.  So, by putting part of it together when there is down time can make that dinner hour go more smoothly.
  • Get the whole family involved.  Not just in picking out meal ideas, but cooking too.  It may take longer, but it will create memories, the kiddos will learn to cook, and also (hopefully) take pride in creating it and more likely eat it.
  • Don't be afraid to try new stuff out, step outside the box, or keep it simple.
  • Have fun with it!
Share below what your family favorite meal ideas are.  Or how you make meal planning easier.

You can get a copy of the blank menu plan that I use by clicking here.

Enjoy!

Monday, November 13, 2017

Recipes of the Week


I am going to start posting the recipes and go to meals we use.  I will admit, some recipes go over better with the kiddos than others, but overall most are well received.  And chances are, they may love it this time, but next time might be different (or the other way around).

As most parents know, meal time can go over smoothly or filled with complaints.  We make the same thing for everyone who is sitting down at the table with us on any given night.  Young or old, or in between, we all get the same thing.

Sometimes that could mean hot dogs or mac & cheese.  Other times it could be attempts at new recipes.  Either way, what goes on my plate goes on my kiddos plate.  Granted, no on in my family has allergies or intolerance to food...unless you count the fact that my oldest can spot a tomato in the dish from a mile away.  I don't know what he has against the tomato, especially when he will eat ketchup and spaghetti sauce.

My family does give input into meal ideas before I put together our two week meal plan.  But whatever gets made for dinner, is what goes on the plate...for everyone.

Yes, I know there will be times when my kid only eats the fruit off his plate.  I am okay with that.  Breakfast will come soon enough and he usually eats a large breakfast anyways.  As long as I can get him to try the other parts of the meal, works for me.  I figure if he is hungry enough, he will eat it.

So, while all the recipes I post will have been tested out by my family, they may not always be kid approved (at least not right away or if repeated).  That is why we have some go to meals, like hot dogs, noodle dishes, and pizza.

I encourage you to keep trying new things out in the kitchen, even have you kiddos help make parts of the meal.  But don't give up, one day they will be asking for your recipes.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Letter of the Week ~ P

 

Recognize upper and lower case letter
  • Color sheet with the lower case letter on it (my oldest knows all the letters in their Capital form)
Activity
  • Letter Hunt: Throughout the week search for the letter of the week
  • Word Hunt: How many words can you come up with that start with the letter of the week? What around you starts with the letter of the week?
Adventure
  • Where can you go that starts with the letter of the week?
    • Pumpkin Patch, Pool
Art
  • Penguin
    • Cut out a capital P from black paper
    • Cut out a wing shape from black paper
    • Cut out a half circle from white paper
    • Cut out feet shapes and a triangle beak from orang paper
    • Glue half circile onto background paper, then the P, then the wing/feet/beak, add an eye
    • Add snow details if you want

You can see more curriculum ideas on my post about our 2017/2018 curriculum by Clicking Here.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Homeschool ~ 2017/2018 Curricumlum

Even though we are not doing a formal curriculum for our schooling this year, we are still working through the basics.  With a focus in play, adventures, and things my kiddos enjoy, we are incorporating school into our everyday. Questions, creativity, and play are encouraged.  We are learning by doing.

The idea of incorporating school in to our every day, is something I have done from early on with my kids.  Teaching opportunities are all around us, so are learning opportunities.  Though I will admit, sometimes I am the teacher and sometimes I am the learner, just as are my kids are both.  Their questions, their curiosity, their personalities is what drives our learning and where it leads.

The one curriculum idea I am building off of is letter of the week.  My oldest already knows his letters (uppercase and some lower case) and most of the sounds that go with them.  There is still room to grow and learn when it comes to letters, sounds, and writing the letter though.  So each week we focus on one letter and one number.  The same goes for numbers.  While he knows how to count, we still need to work on recognizing the written number and word version of the number (i.e. 2, two).

Here is how we work through each letter:
  • Lower Case and Upper Case Recognition
  • Letter Sound
  • Activity, Adventure, and Art with each letter
    • The activity is usually an I Spy version of the letter.  Like finding all of the letter we are focusing on wherever we go or finding words that start with the letter.
    • The adventure is trying to find a place to go that starts with the letter or creating an at home adventure using the letter.
    • The art project involves creating a picture using the letter in it.
  • The order we are working through letters looks like this (Click on the letter to see what we've done. Only letters in blue have a curriculum page):
    • S, A, T, I, P
    • N, C, K, E
    • H, R, M, D, G
    • O, L, F, B
    • Q, U, J, Z
    • W, V, Y, X
  • If we do one letter a week we will be done with letters by the end of March.  However, we plan to continue on with numbers until Summer by doing one or two, maybe three numbers daily.
Here is how we work through each number:
  • Finding different items to count and group 
  • Searching for the number while out on adventures
  • Recognizing the number, both written and the word
  • Practice writing the number
  • I am hoping to make it to 50 by Summer
 After having been a PreK teacher for years and working with kids since high school, not to mention working in various kid settings from day care to schools, I have learned that there are items missing from the every day.

While a place may tell you that the day is made up of child initiated activities and teacher directed activities.  I worked in a setting for years that made this claim.  However, every aspect was scheduled and laid out for the kids.  For example, even though we said the kids could pick out blocks to play with,  we were still supposed to tell them what to build with it.  There was no true child initiated activities.

I wanted to truly let my kids play.  By that I mean, just let them go with the toys that are available to them.  If they invite me to play with them, I play along with whatever they are playing.  If they run into road blocks while trying to do something while playing, I will help out by giving ideas, but I try to let them work it out before coming to me.

Kids learn the most through play.  Well, play and having books read to them.  My plan is to incorporate these two things into our every day, along with adding in art and other learning opportunities.  With this our path is set in a good direction and we can build on the foundation we have created as our school years progress.