Monthly Archives: February 2013

The Living Room Gym

Here’s what we’re doing to burn off some energy this Monday morning…



Paleo Granola

I was having a hard time letting go of my granola when we decided to transition to a paleo diet. I did soaked granola for quite awhile and really liked it but knew that it wasn’t going to be a forever thing if I could find a suitable substitute. My mom turned me on to this recipe and Jere, Dieter and I gobbled up the (doubled) batch in a matter of three days. I was so happy to find something we all liked that didn’t have any grains in it but there was no way I could afford to continue making it the way it was written if it was going to be a regular breakfast food. So after tweaking it a little a think I came up with the perfect granola recipe for our family (that won’t cost a fortune to make).


  • 1 1/2 cups almonds, roughly chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 30 dried dates, chopped (I have no idea what measurement that would be, sorry you’re going to have to count!)
  • 3/4 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 2/3 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut (I buy mine on Vitacost but does anyone know where I can get it cheaper??)
  • 2/3 cup raw honey
  • 3 tsps. vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp. cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • salt, a few pinches? I dunno, I left it out.


  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees
  • Mix your wet ingredients and spices in a bowl and then add the remaining ingredients. Mix.
  • Pour onto two baking sheets lined with parchment paper or silicone liners (these are amazing, such money savers because parchment paper is pricey)
  • Bake for 40 minutes or until granola begins to darken and dry out. Make sure to mix it up a little halfway through so that it bakes evenly.
  • Eat it!


My obligatory photo. I was too hungry to actually put thought into it so there you have it…I’m eating granola out of my lap, all manners are out the window when the kid is sleeping.


Felt Board

I’m secure enough in who I am that I can admit I had more fun making this than Dieter has had playing with it.  That’s okay because our felt board has a lot of growing into to do.  As he gets older I think he’ll play with it more and if not I don’t really mind because for one thing, I had a lot of fun making it, and secondly, it was free (essentially).  Not much more than pictures is needed to describe how I put it together.  All you need is felt scraps, cardboard, duct tape and a big piece of felt (or fleece as I used in this instance), and plastic baggies to store your finished pieces in.



Lots of felt scraps


It’s not very pretty from the back 🙂


Shapes (I need to learn more shapes!)






Cars and scenery


Entertained Toddler

Finished Project!

My recycled sweater blanket is finished and I absolutely love it! I found the perfect backing for it in an old quilt my great-grandma had made me. The size was perfect and it had a little batting between the two layers. Now I have a cozy blanket perfect for snuggling up with a good book and a cup of coffee.



Colors and Matching

Here are two fun toddler activities that are free and sure to provide at least a little bit of entertainment. Let’s face it, us moms have to have a lot of activities on hand if we’re going to capture the attention of our kids. Dieter darts from one thing to another and if something keeps his attention for more than ten minutes I’ve got a winner!

Color Cards

I got this idea from a friend who has a 4- and 2-year-old that play a game similar to the one I use with Dieter. These cards have literally limitless options and I’ve already thought of ways to adapt it to his ever-changing skills and abilities.  All you do is get several pieces of colored cardstock or construction paper and “laminate” them (cover them in masking tape to make them last longer).  First I wrote the names of the colors on the cards so we could start working on identifying letters as well as colors.


I lay out all the cards in whatever room we are playing in and Dieter goes and finds items in the room that match each card.  As he gets better I’ll start putting a time limit on the search so there’s a little bit of a challenge.

Where’s the Matching Lid?

This one is pretty self-explanatory.  Instead of throwing away your plastic containers play this game first.  Separate the lids from their containers and place them in a pile.  Then let your toddler match them up.  This one is good for so many things including fine motor development as well as problem solving. Plus, when you’re done all you have to do is throw everything into the recycling bin!













Although we’ve been having a good time inside I cannot wait for the snow to be gone so we can move our fun outside!

A Visit to Blue Gentian Farms

Living in the “city” we rarely get the opportunity to expose Dieter to the places where his food comes from. In an attempt to teach him the value of food and where it comes from I planted a garden last summer and loved it so much we’ll be planting a bigger one this year. I want him to help out this year and I know that he’ll really enjoy it. Dirt, worms, plants…what’s not to love?

Obviously when it comes to locally-sourced meats it’s not quite as easy as looking to the backyard. Until now I really haven’t pursued buying good-quality meat. I guess I just hadn’t reached that point in my food journey even though I knew there were better options than what I was buying. After hearing about some friends successes in buying direct from the farmer I decided we needed to make that commitment. If I was going to feed my family meat I wanted to know that it was from animals that had been treated humanely and weren’t pumped full of steroids, growth hormones, and antibiotics. That’s when I heard about Blue Gentian Farms in New Richmond, WI. I corresponded via e-mail with Darryl, the owner, and ended up buying a whole cow from him (which we split up between several families). He encouraged me to come visit the farm whenever I got the chance. So we took him up on the offer! It was a chilly but beautiful, sunny morning. We learned so much about the farm, cattle and other animals he raises. Darryl loves showing people around his farm and sharing his passion.  That’s definitely something I want to support!







If you have ever considered buying from the source check out Blue Gentian Farms.

February Toddler Activities

Dieter and I attended our first ever Early Childhood Family Education (ECFE) class this past Friday. He was so excited to go to “school” and I’ll be honest, I was pretty excited for him. I remember going to ECFE classes with my mom when I was 3 or 4 years old. Well I remember a yellow bus picking us up, a gym and a tricycle. My mom tells me those were memories of ECFE :). Unfortunately Dieter’s little friend, Anika, was sick but he still had a great time exploring the classroom and playing basketball in the gym. I’m looking forward to the rest of the semester and I think it will have a great impact on both of us. It’s pretty amazing the opportunities we have to help Dieter develop and learn even before he starts school and I love that they make it possible for everyone to participate no matter what your income level.

When the parents separated from the kids during class we were given a calendar of activities to do with our toddlers for the month of February. I thought I’d share the list. I know it’s February 2nd already but there are plenty of simple ideas so not much planning ahead is required.  Some of these things are a given (washing hands for example) but I think there are some fun ideas that every toddler would enjoy.  In parenthesis is the skill that is being developed.IMG_0719

February Toddler Activities

  1.  free day
  2. Groundhog Day: let your toddler hide in a box and pretend to be a groundhog (pretend)
  3. Let your child stick red paper scraps onto a piece of self-sticking paper (art)
  4. Look for red cars with your toddler while you are out driving (color discrimination)
  5. free day
  6. Paint your child’s fingernails “red” for the day (color)
  7. Let your child finger paint with red finger paint on paper. When dry, cut into a heart shape (art/shapes)
  8. Offer your toddler healthy food choices of fruits and vegetables every day (nutrition)
  9. free day
  10. free day
  11. Teach your toddler the rhyme, “Roses are Red”. (language)
  12. Let your child glue pink or red hearts on a large sheet of construction paper to make a placemat. (art)
  13. Hid paper hearts around the house for your child to find. (problem solving)
  14. Valentine’s day: make heart-shaped sandwiches for lunch using a cookie cutter.
  15. Let your toddler help you frost some heart cookies. (cooking)
  16. Cut a heart shape from a red poster board. Cut it into 3-4 pieces for a puzzle. (problem solving)
  17. Use a red marker to draw a heart on paper. Spray water on the heart. (art)
  18. Search for shadows in your yard to step on. (science/problem solving)
  19. free day
  20. Let your child use a flashlight in a dark room. Make designs on the walls. (science)
  21. Give your toddler some hair “scrunchies” to use for bracelets. (dress-up)
  22. Poke a hole in a piece of paper. Have your child drop crayons through the hole. (coordination)
  23. Point out things that are straight (pencils, ruler) and things that are bent (macaroni, hanger). (opposites)
  24. free day
  25. Count body parts–one mouth, two eyes, two ears, etc. (math/body awareness)
  26. Sing songs about body parts. (music)
  27. Provide a stool so your toddler can wash his hands often during the day. (health)
  28. Snuggle on the couch and read a favorite story to your child. (literature)