Saturday, September 18, 2010

Same Song, Second Verse! A Little Bit Louder And A Little Bit Yummier!

Since I had so much chicken and sweet potatoes left over from my last Kids Cooking Class, we decided to have it again Thursday night.
But first... our activities since then! After her nap after the cooking class on Wednesday, we watched DVDs played with beads. When I first got pony beads for her, she had a hard time stringing them, since she wasn't coordinated enough to hold the tip, slide it in, switch to under the bead, let it slide down, then hold the top again to let it go all the way. Luckily, when I had bought the pony beads at the Dollar Tree, they also had chenille stems/pipe cleaners, and I bought a pack, because, well, you never know when you'll want one! [They also work great for cleaning out sippy cup valves, spouts, & straws!] So I had her try to bead onto a pipe cleaner and she was able to go to town! She spent days making bracelets!
She has a bowl of beads and a pipe cleaner constantly being scattered all over the floor on her computer table, so she can do something with her hands while watching a show, or just because.

Thursday, 9/16/10, we had a fun pizza-making tour planned at 11. We got up around 8:30, and she asked to sit on the potty. Well, color me shocked! So I help her strip nekkid (she prefers not having her knickers around her ankles, and sometimes topless) and discovered her overnight diaper was dry too! *Dance of joy!* She immediately went, and then sweetly asked for a potty present. I have a basket of Dollar Tree items as rewards (although we need to switch to a sticker chart soon, since she's having so much success lately, we're gonna go broke!) She chose a Princess Ariel suncatcher to paint. I asked if she wanted to choose something else, since I needed to take my shower and didn't want to abandon her at the table with paint, but she demanded the "Air-ee-oh pain-ing." I got her set up with her new Ikea painter shirt (much smaller than the Crayola one, and fits her nicely!) and some newspaper and a bowl of water, and watched her paint for a while. Naturally, she chose the darkest color first, then immediately tainted all the other colors.

She seemed entertained and engrossed, and I asked her if she wanted to stay at the table while I took my shower, or if she was done for now. I wasn't as concerned over her Free-Range Baby with acrylic paints (but I should have been!!) so much as she can't get down from her chair when it's pushed in all the way, and sometimes she panics. But she said she'd be fine. I reminded her that I wouldn't be able to hear her or help her until my shower was done, and went and took a quick shower (a 2-in-1 shampoo day!) When I got back, she was doing great, still plugging away. Except now her hands were covered, and she was trying to wipe paint off her mouth, but only spreading more on. Still cheerful though! I wasn't worried, since acrylic paints wash off easily. Oh ho ho. Until I saw her peeeeeeling the paint off her hands like latex. Whuuuuuuck?

Turns out they were rubber based, rather than water based. No wonder the brush didn't rinse at all well in the water! It took a lot of scrubbing to get her hands clean, made longer since she wanted to peel it all off herself. Ughhhh. We compromised. She'd get to pick at the paint for a count of 10, then I got to frantically scrub for 10. Rinse, repeat. We got her hands clean and were only a little late to the pizza place.

Her masterpiece. And I already lost the suction cup hook. :P

We've done the Flying Pie Pizzeria tour several times. I did it with one moms group and thought it was so great, I recommended it to all the others! I don't think we've missed one yet! We've gone so many times, when I told Z that we needed to get in the car so that we could go make pizza, she said "I don' WANNA make patza wiff Miss-uh TOBY!" (Mister Toby does the tours. He's GREAT with the little kids. He even recognizes us now too!) When we first started going, she didn't like the tour part, and didn't really want to play with the dough at all, but was a pro at putting on the toppings. Then the last few times she's opened up more during the tour, and actually looks into the fridge and such, and would even let me set her down occasionally, but wouldn't touch the pizza. Well, THIS time, she not only all but LED the tour, she rolled out the dough, picked it up and tried to throw it, then smacked Mister Toby's dough to get the flour off. She dumped on the cheese and toppings, and even took them from Kyle, the employee helping with the toppings while Toby was helping the next kid with the dough. She doesn't take things from adults. Not even something she WANTS. And while this pleases me from a 'don't take candy from strangers' standpoint, it's kind of annoying to have to walk across the room to be the middleman for a stupid ball she wants that the teacher is trying to hand back to her. So I was ThRiLLeD to see her interact with these guys (who really aren't strangers anymore!) She even scooped foamy soap out of Kyle's hand to wash off after the toppings! Naturally, I forgot to bring my mom's Flintstones-era camera, and my iPhone died during the rolling-of-the-dough process. I have 15,642 pictures of her refusing to participate from previous tours, but only 3 of her touching the dough this time! Arrgh!
She had skipped breakfast and ate most of my breadstick and the big pile of cheese from my salad bar before our group went on the tour (she opted to go 2nd) so she wasn't really hungry anymore when her pizza was done, but her Canadian bacon-spinach-olive pizza was pretty tasty! We packed up the rest to take home to Unka Seesee, who is often the beneficiary of half-eaten chicken strips, mac n cheese or pizza!

At the end of last month, I went in with some other moms in one of my mom groups to get a preschool-in-a-box. (Early Beginnings.) The price varies per kid, depending on how many kids you're ordering for, and how many of the teacher's supplies you'll need (1 teacher with 6 kids doesn't need 6 classroom calendars, for example!) But it comes with almost everything non-perishable you'd use for the lessons! Down to a metal brad and a few inches of yarn! There are some stuff the 'teacher' has to supply and prepare or cook (scissors, glue, colored noodles, soap shavings, gingerbread dough, etc.) but overall, a really neat idea!
Well, naturally, right before Sept.1, I lost the packet with all the September lessons. I didn't find it until cleaning up either Tuesday the 14th or Wednesday the 15th! (I don't remember.) We were too exhausted busy to start them on Wednesday, but Thursday after nap, I decided to give it a shot. I couldn't decide whether to start at Day 1, or Day 10. I decided to try Day 1 first, since I had already read the lesson plan before losing the whole thing.
We sat on the floor (circle time!) and introduced ourselves. (She knows Daddy's "other-people-name," but I'm still just "Mommy," so I introduced myself and asked for her name.) She didn't act like we were being stupid or silly or anything, so I'm glad I gave it a shot. I read the poems on the lesson plan, and skipped the mirror activity listed. She 'wrote her name' on her acorn cut-out name card (I wrote her name in marker over it) and then made handprints in a 'frame' using some finger paints I've been saving but never opened. I didn't want to get up and find the hand mirror do the mirror activity and craft, so I skipped to Day 2. While I read up on it, she had 'free play' and chose Play-Doh. Naturally, she had to feed it to Baby Sleeping Dora. (Her name, not mine.)

Then it was time for the letter 'F.' I showed her the letter card and said the little lesson from the teacher's book, then let her make a fffffFroot Loop necklace! Well. Let me tell you. That was a big hit! I got a family-sized bag for the aborted Sensory Playdate, and we've been slooooowly working our way through the bag. I sprinkle a few on her Cheerios in the morning, which delights her. (I had her trained to just eat plain Rice Krispies, Corn Flakes, Cheerios, etc, and we'd sprinkle cinnamon on top, so she could 'see' the sprinkles, and to give it a little flavor. Until someone gave her a whole bowl of Cocoa Puffs one morning.  [Another option, if they already require sweetness, is to add cinnamon sugar. They won't demand that you put as much on, because they can see that it's there, unlike plain sugar.]
I put some masking tape on one end of the yarn, to prevent it from unravelling, tied the first O onto the other end, and watched her string the O's on. It was really neat to watch, as she's only beaded onto the pipe cleaners thus far.

She'd string on a few, eat one, string one, eat one. She only strung blue ones.

And after about 10, ate them all off the string.

Meanwhile, Seesee had begun dinner prep. Since we were using my recipes, I had to got to help. Instead of sweet potato fries, he wanted to try making chips, so he used our meat slicer to cut them.

The recipe was fairly simple. 
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Spray oil on pan/cookie sheet. 
Lay out chips. 
Spray tops with oil. 
Cook until crisp.
Not very helpful to cooking n00bs such as myself, but he managed to not destroy them all. Some were blackened. Some were floppy. Some were crisp. All the non-black ones were delicious.

I was in charge of the nugget dunk and coating, as he was busy hand-painting chips with olive oil (we don't have a spray.)
Same recipe as last time. Only this time I took some step-by-step pictures! (None of the sliming/breading, because my hands were full!)

Crush 24 saltines (or whole wheat saltines) in zip-top baggie.

Egg white.

1 Tbsp mayonnaise

2 tsp honey mustard


Sprinkle 1/2 tsp salt evenly over nuggets. Coat nuggets in slime... I mean mixture. Recipe says to put cracker crumbs on a plate and press the nuggets onto them, but we did it Shake N Bake-style again.

Bake 400 F for 15 minutes on greased cookie/baking sheet. (This is a double batch.)

The nuggets were still a little dry tasting, but the chicken was juicy, so the saltines must be very drying in the mouth. I used honey to dip, the others used honey mustard, ketchup and/or hot sauce.


  1. Wow, what a day! You must have felt very proud of yourself. Are you going to try doing the preschool with the other moms? I did that one year, switching off and holding the "preschool" at different people's houses. It was exhausting when it was your week, but it did give the moms a break. I think if it was maybe once a week for two hours, it wouldn't be that hard.

  2. Little Z isn't emotionally ready to be left somewhere without me. We do a co-op preschool on Mondays that I stay at the whole time, alternating 1 week in the classroom with the kids, the next week in Parent Ed with the parents who'd been in with the kids with me the previous week. She's starting to do better socially, interacting with kids, and even rarely with adults. But up until recently, if a child so much as LOOKED at her, she'd have a meltdown. And if an adult spoke to her she'd shut down; talked to her and she'd freak out and start crying and screaming for me. So I'm learning to work with her personality, rather than against her. I've toned down the number of fun stuff we do with my mommy groups, so she has more time to recharge and relax, and it's definitely helping. I avoid situations that were the hardest for her (sharing playground equipment) unless I absolutely have to, and then I bring fun solo activities for her, like her magnifying glass, or a bucket and shovel to play in the mud!


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