Monday, March 11, 2013

A deck of cards, some poker chips and Oatmeal Nut Waffles- Hooray for Monday!

 When you have a three and a four year old it's hard to feel like you're stuck in a rut, they just don't let it happen.  Life NEVER repeats itself exactly and there is always a new adventure or problem to handle.  Still, sometimes I feel like we get so set in doing things the same way it is fun to find the smallest way to shake things up a bit.

I'm not talking a major upheaval, I'm talking small things - like my new spin on lunch today.  I'm still trying to use up the end of the cold cuts and I think Noah and Kayla are starting to get tired of seeing them.  So today I 'invented' rolled up grilled turkey and cheese sandwiches.  Nothing different - still just bread, cheese and turkey, but I cut the crusts off the bread, flattened it out with my rolling pin, stuck on the cheese and turkey, rolled the whole thing up and grilled it in a little butter.

You would have thought I moved mountains.

"Mom, this is so cool!"  "Mom, I can dip my sandwich"  "Mom this is the neatest lunch ever!"

Wait 'til they see what I've got planned tomorrow - mac and cheese in a mug!  I'm totally going to blow their minds ;-)

Along that same line, I've been trying to come up with some activities that will keep them entertained but learning at the same time without them feeling like they're learning.  They're little sponges and I want to take advantage of that.

Hence my awesome use of some poker chips and a deck of cards this afternoon.  One full hour of activity with no whining, no arguing and lots of education!  Both of these ideas kind of just popped into my head this morning when I walked through my library and glanced at the game shelf.  So simple yet so effective.

For Noah, I gave him the whole (well shuffled) deck of cards.  He first separated them into red and black, then separated those into the four suits.  Then he put every suit in order from ace to king.  I was so stinkin' proud of him!  He mixed up the 6's and 9's on two of the suits but he otherwise nailed it.  Once I showed him he could count the icons on the card to figure out which was the 6 and which was the 9 he had it down pat.  I know for the average adult sorting out a deck of cards is a 90 second undertaking.  But this was a challenge for him and I was so pleased that he stuck it out, didn't get angry or frustrated and did it all by himself.  He even said he wanted to do it again, a sign of a great activity!

For Kayla, I took Grant's set of poker chips and mixed them all up.  I then gave her buckets to separate each of the four colors of chips into.  It was so funny - she even had her teddy bear (which she and Noah completely on their own named Pinkalicious this morning) 'helping' her sort them out.  She would pick a chip up, show it to the bear, say the color and then put it in the right bucket.  After she had all the chips sorted, she stacked them up according to color in the chip holder.  Again, not a hard task but their were a lot of chips and she was so diligent with it.  Her including her bear made it all the better.

I've got a couple more ideas floating around that I'm hoping to run out and get some things for tonight.  I also picked up sticky notes today and starting tomorrow Noah and I are going to start to pick items in the house to 'label' for him to work on his reading skills.  My goal is for him to at least be able to tell me what the word starts with, I will write it on the sticky and then he can write it underneath in his own handwriting before we stick it to the correct object.  I only plan on labeling a couple of items each day so he gets the hang of it.  He seems so anxious to learn and he is CONSTANTLY asking me how to spell things so I'm hoping this will encourage him.

Phew, what a day!  After all that we had to have our celebration yet.  Today is National Oatmeal Nut Waffle Day.  If you've never heard of an oatmeal nut waffle, you're not alone.  I suppose you can make a waffle out of almost anything (I would know as I've done brownies, sandwiches, cinnamon rolls - waffles are just too much fun) when it comes down to it.  Oddly enough though, my research really only turned up one basic recipe.  Sure, when you google it you get plenty of hits but nearly every recipe was identical to the one I ended up using.  Very strange.  And these bad boys were dense!  The recipe said it would make 8-10, so I halved it (I'm a coward some days, I wasn't sure how they'd be received and didn't want to end up with a ton left over) and really only ended up with three full size waffles out of it.  The kiddos each only ended up eating a quarter of a waffle - they liked them but they were really that filling.  Even Grant, who I've seen put away three or four waffles at a time only made it through one and a half though he said they were great.  They were also made completely with whole wheat flour and had no sugar whatsoever which I found a little strange, but hey, they came out so no problems :)   Yay for Oatmeal Nut Waffles  (Oh, and the type of nut wasn't specified in any of the recipes, but we ended up with pecans as I need them for later in the week...)

Kid Kitchen tomorrow which Noah and Mikayla are ridiculously excited about because I've told them they each get to make their own giant chocolate chip cookie (Because this whole week is National Chocolate Chip Cookie week - quick, go celebrate!). Baked Scallops are also on tomorrow's agenda which should prove to be interesting as I'm not sure how they're going to be received by Thing 1 and Thing 2, though every time I mention it Mikayla yells "Yay scallops" which comes out as "yay talups!" so we'll see.  Until then...

Shakin' things up with a Turkey and Cheese Grilled Roll-up

 Mikayla and the poker chips

 Noah sorting the red and black cards

 Noah helped Kayla finish up stacking the chips

 Oatmeal Nut Waffles

Tried to get a decent side shot so you could see the pieces of oatmeal and pecan in them, but the camera and I are still fighting...

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