Beethoven Lesson for Kids

March 4th, 2013 | Posted by Kat in Homeschooling | Kids - (2 Comments)

We recently started homeschooling our kids, which has given me the opportunity to do something that I love even more in our home – teaching about music. I grew up in a family that appreciated and loved classical music, and it makes me happy to pass that on to my kids as well.

As part of our music lessons, we have been talking about different ideas in theory and have been learning some fun songs, but I wanted to also make sure that they were learning about composers and how their music continues to live on today. I thought I’d share our Beethoven lesson plan:

  • Beethoven Bio from Making Music Fun
  • Listened to an excerpt from his Fifth Symphony (since it is “classic” Beethoven….and my son is playing it in a piano recital so he has a vested interest)
  • Listened to an excerpt from his Moonlight Sonata….
  • ……..And compared it to this modern version by The Piano Guys:

  • Listened to an excerpt from his Ninth Symphony (“Ode to Joy” – vocal awesomeness starts at 0:34)…….
  • ……..And (probably somewhat irreverently) compared it to this version by The Muppets:

I love hearing the original music, and it is fun to see how we have interpreted it in OUR day. Happy teaching! :)

 

Dryer Cloth!

October 17th, 2012 | Posted by Kat in Cleaning | Tips - (1 Comments)
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I had posted earlier about a foil ball to put in the dryer – which worked well, but sometimes things were a bit static-y. I decided to try this idea from That Crazy Family, and it works PERFECTLY. No more running out of dryer sheets! No more throwing away a dryer sheet with every load! And it takes the static out awesomely. Hooray!

All you need is a washcloth and fabric softener (click here for another awesome tip with fabric softener). I use both of my red washcloths because I can find them easily when I’m pulling the wash out. They have been washed and dried many times themselves, so I don’t worry about bleeding.

Take your washcloth and saturate it with fabric softener. I just take about a capful (you may need more or less, depending on the size and absorbancy of your washcloth) and dump it on the washcloth. Then I squeeze the washcloth so I can mix the fabric softener in.

Let it dry.

Voila! Instant dryer sheet. I have been using my dryer cloths for several months now and can say that they WORK, and work well. I use each cloth until I can’t smell or feel the fabric softener in the cloth (easily 20 loads), and then just put more fabric softener on it again, let it dry, and use it all over. Easy, cheap, friendly to the trees and animals – there you go!

The only times I do NOT use my dryer cloth is when I am drying towels or rugs. You don’t need a dryer sheet or fabric softener for those. (For a tip on getting the stink out of your towels, click here. It’s awesome.)

Enjoy! :)

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Okay, I am BACK and ready to go. I have finally (I think) gotten used to the routine of teaching my early-morning Seminary class (daily studying New Testament with high school students before school) and am ready to work more of my normal life into my routine. Whew! And it has finally started to cool down here which means that I am finally ready to start my annual “purging of the file cabinet”. It brings me a great deal of joy to go through and get rid of stuff that I don’t need, and organize the stuff that I DO need in a more effective way.

Tonight’s project: Organizing past insurance information.

Sounds fun, right? I mean, what else could you want to do on a Saturday night that is more fun than this? :) Now, why should you want to do this? I’ll explain in the form of a question – have you ever shopped around for insurance? What is one of the awful things that they ask you for? Yep, your insurance history. They also ask you other questions, but those are for another post entirely. If you have everything typed up and printed off in a place where you know you will find it, it will take you two seconds to give your past insurance history. If you are like me and have never done it, this is what you go through to try and find the information EVERY time:

Yep. The green file folders of wonder. I put boring documents in the ugly green folders. Insurance qualifies as boring, so into the ugly green folders the information goes. I have over 10 years of information in these babies. And I always want to hit my head against the wall when I am applying for a different insurance and have to dig through ALL of this information to get the same few pieces of information over and over again.

How to start?

1. Find your past insurance information and get it all in one place. Hopefully you have it filed away at least – that should help you out a bit. If not, good luck. :)

2. Download a cute font. This always makes tasks like typing up your past insurance history so much more enjoyable. Fun fonts are the way to go.

3. Start new documents for each type of insurance, and possibly even for each person who has been insured in your household. If it is just you – hooray! That will be all the easier. If you have a spouse and five kids who you have been insured and you have changed jobs or insurance every year for the past 20 years….you may have a little more work cut out for you. But hopefully a lot of information will be the same from one person to the next. For us, my husband usually has been able to be insured through his grad school or his work at a good rate or have it covered (as far as health and dental insurance go), but my kids and I have had to be on private insurance and I am not afraid to find a better plan and move. This means I have my work cut out for me a bit.

4. Get all of your history in order – find your current insurance FIRST and work back from there. List the company, the policy number, and who is covered under the policy as a minimum. You may also (at least for your current insurance) want to put info on copays and such just to not have to dig around and find that info if you have a question.

5. Go back through your history, at least for a few years. I have had companies ask me for as far back as five years, but some are only concerned that you have been covered continuously for the last year or so. The more information you have to give them to show continuous coverage, the better. I have gotten good rate discounts on car insurance for having continuous coverage for the past 15 years, and private health insurance companies are a lot more willing to insure you and to not have as many dings against your health history if you have can show continuous coverage.

6. After you have gotten as much history as you can, starting from NOW and going back, save your files and back them up somewhere safe. Also, print out a paper copy to stick somewhere where you will find it. For me, the papers will go in the front of my ugly green folders because that is the first place I will look.

There you go! Easy, if not a little time consuming. In another post, I’ll talk about organizing your personal health history, both to have a record, but also to be able to more easily and accurately give information for re-shopping health insurance, which will be another post. That is something that I have learned a lot about through the years and have had a lot of friends come talk to me for help in understanding options and I have felt like there is not good, clear information about shopping for insurance and what coverages are needed.

Until next time – happy organizing!

Kat :)

Test Your House for GERMS

August 23rd, 2012 | Posted by Kat in Ideas | Kids - (0 Comments)
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This idea comes from parents.com and it is crazy awesome. I am somewhat of a “germ aware” person and find myself often wondering what kinds of gross things are living on the surfaces of things like play places, sinks, shopping cart handles, etc. This post has a way to make your own gels to grow bacterial cultures. Nerdy? You bet. And super cool.

Make Your Own Bacterial Plates

Supplies Needed:

  • 1/2 c. water
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 packet of unflavored gelatin (1 oz.)
  • several plastic or paper cups
  • plastic wrap
  • cotton swabs

How to:

Step 1: Prepare your cups. I used 6 cups. You really could do more, though. I cut my cups down so they were shorter – maybe 2″ tall. You could even go shorter than that if you would like – my cups were plastic and tended to rip more easily when they were cut down shorter than that.

Step 2: Boil your water. I microwaved the cup in a microwave-safe glass measuring cup. It took about a minute – you can literally watch the water start to boil in about that time.

Step 3: Mix in your sugar and gelatin and pour into your prepared cups.

Step 4: Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate your cups for 24 hours to allow your “gels” to firm up. And they will really, truly be firm. If they are squishy at all, give them some more time.

Step 5: Go around your house and find “questionable” things to swab. The original poster had found that her houseplant was actually the grossest place in her house, while the toilet and the inside of her daughter’s mouth were not very gross. Be creative! Here is what I tried:

The smudged one was a second swab I took of the sink – I took one “before” cleaning it with Scrubbing Bubbles, and one after. I’m always curious if the cleaners that say they kill 99% of everything actually work. We also have kids over here often to play, and they almost always gravitate to the piano, so I thought that would be interesting too. I wanted to test our plant for myself too. I also wanted to try the doorknob to our pantry since that is one that gets high usage. And, of course, I left one as a control. “Control” just basically means you leave it alone to make sure there wasn’t something wrong with the gel that you made. I actually cheated a little bit and swabbed that one with a “clean” cotton swab, just because I wanted to make sure the cotton swab itself wasn’t a carrier.

Step 6: Recover with plastic wrap and leave in a dark, warm spot for 4-5 days.The first day there will be very little to nothing that happens. Don’t despair! Once the colonies get growing, they will grow quickly.

Our Results (in grossest to least gross order):

1. The Houseplant (gross!)

2. The Piano Keys

3. The Uncleaned Sink

4. (And this is a VERY distant fourth – there was practically nothing) The Cleaned Sink

5. The Doorknob

6. The Control

Wow! I will definitely wipe off our piano keys. Sick. And I will NOT eat food off of my houseplant if it falls on it. *Shudder*

That was a LOT of fun, and will definitely be something we try again. What would you swab?

Chicken Curry in a Hurry

August 11th, 2012 | Posted by Kat in Recipes - (0 Comments)
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This is another great recipe that we found years ago from our friend Michelle @ Made By Michelle. It is an easy chicken curry that is delicious. I think we have gotten kind of tainted (in a good way) by this recipe – earlier this year I tried another chicken curry recipe from allrecipes that had a lot of high ratings, and it took way longer and was (in our opinions) not nearly as good as this one.

Ingredients:

1 T. vegetable oil

1 medium onion, thinly sliced

1/2 tsp. salt

2 tsp. curry powder

1 can (12-14 oz.) unsweetened coconut milk

1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes

2 T. tomato paste

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1″ cubes (we have some pre-cooked and frozen, again for easy cooking)

3 c. packed fresh baby spinach (we used 1 c. here – it was what we had on hand, and about what I thought my kids could handle)

Step 1: In a large skillet, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the onion and the salt. Cook until softened, about 7 minutes, stirring often. Add the curry powder and cook, stirring constantly for 1 minute.

Step 2: Stir in the coconut milk, tomatoes, and tomato paste. Cook for 5 minutes or until slightly thickened, stirring occasionally.

Step 3: Add the chicken, stir well, and cook 5 to 6 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Stir in the spinach and cook for 3 minutes or until wilted, stirring occasionally. Season to taste with salt. Serve over rice.

It is a winner here – and curry is such a great flavor too.

Enjoy! :)

Pioneer Taffy

July 24th, 2012 | Posted by Kat in Fun | Recipes - (1 Comments)
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Happy Pioneer Day! For those of you who may not know what Pioneer Day is, it is when the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (aka “Mormons”) celebrate the day the first pioneers made it into the Salt Lake Valley as they were trekking west.

Although we are in Texas, where Pioneer Day is not recognized as an official holiday, we still decided it would be fun to commemorate it. SO, I found this recipe for Pioneer Taffy from Jamie Cooks It Up! and thought we could give it a whirl. If you would like some more pictures, check out Jamie’s site for great step-by-step pictures of the process, including a great tip on checking for taffy readiness using a spoon and cold running water. **Note: This recipe is best done with several people, or it will take a long, long time to get everything pulled, cut up and wrapped.

Ingredients:

  • 2 c. sugar
  • 1-1/2 c. water
  • 1 c. light corn syrup
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. *VEGETABLE GLYCERINE (see note at the bottom about this)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 T. butter

***You will also need kitchen shears, waxed paper (pre-cut into squares) and a candy thermometer.

Directions:

1. Mix sugar, water, corn syrup, salt & glycerine in a heavy saucepan.

2. Bring to boil and continue cooking on medium-high until it reaches 258 degrees. Jamie said it should take about 35-40 minutes, and she was absolutely right.

3. Take the taffy off of the heat and add your vanilla and butter.

4. Pour onto greased cookie sheet (I used butter) and let it cool down until it is no longer hot to handle. This takes probably 10ish minutes. Make sure it really is cool enough to handle, or you WILL get burned. No personal experience here (cough).

5. Hand out pieces to all of the lucky participants. Pull the piece straight out into a line, fold it in half, and then pull again. Repeat cycle until you have beautiful white taffy.

6. Cut up into little pieces and wrap into wax paper.

That is it!

Ours turned out great – it had a perfect consistency (I thought) and the flavor is excellent. After the taffy had been pulled, I made the mistake of just leaving it in balls. Don’t do that. You’ll want to roll them out to a good thickness to cut BEFORE they cool down completely (like playdoh snakes) or you will have hard-ish candy ball to try and deal with and roll out later. Once I fixed my ball problem, I ended up putting my “taffy snakes” back on the greased cookie sheet while I was cutting them each up into pieces (the pieces went onto a plate lined with waxed paper to keep them from sticking). I used kitchen shears to cut the taffy. My lovely assistants were great at helping roll each candy into waxed paper – many hands makes light work. What good helpers!

Overall Rating: *****

Difficulty:Easy (make sure you have a candy thermometer), BUT it is time consuming.

Would I Try it Again? I have mixed feelings about this. They are delicious and the individually-wrapped end result is great, BUT they took a little more effort than I had planned on. If I had things thought out earlier (waxed paper cut up beforehand, make sure the taffy stayed in a good snake shape instead of a ball before cutting it, realize that the taffy will stick to EVERYTHING that is not waxed paper or is not greased), it probably wouldn’t be that bad. So, I probably will do it again once I forget the effort it took.

————————————————————————–

***GLYCERIN vs. VEGETABLE GLYCERINE***

I went looking for glycerin at CVS. And at Walmart. And at another CVS. At the second CVS, they found a manager who finally was able to find glycerin for me. In the cosmetics section. It turns out it is for covering up skin wounds or something. I told him it was for making taffy, and we both looked over the label and could not find anything about being edible anywhere on it. So I went home and did some research.

Turns out there is GLYCERIN (no “e” at the end) and GLYCERINE (note the “e”). Vegetable glycerine can also be used as a skin cleanser or something, BUT it is also food grade. Which, as far as I understand, means it is edible.

I read from the comments on Jamie’s blog that a pharmacist had told another reader that glycerin would probably be okay in small quantities, but I found the vegetable glycerine at a whole foods-type store here – and it was actually a bit cheaper than the glycerin would have been. Bonus! It was near their essential oils – I just called ahead to see if they carried it, and they did. You could call around as well and save yourself some driving around and foot time.

Quinoa Recipes

July 23rd, 2012 | Posted by Kat in Recipes - (0 Comments)

I have a bag of quinoa in my pantry that stares at me every once in awhile and makes me think, “Hey – I should really figure out how to use this.” Here are a few recipes that I have found that look promising:

Broccoli-Quinoa Casserole from Eating Well…..Living Thin(ner)

Black Bean and Tomato Quinoa from Epicurious

Quinoa and Roasted Pepper Chili from myrecipes.com

Greek-Style Quinoa Burgers from wholeliving.com

Lentil Quinoa Salad from Melissa d’Arabian

Quinoa Tabbouleh from Aarti Sequiera

Corn and Manchego Tri-Color Quinoa Salad from Cheese Please

Wow! These look good. What are your favorite Quinoa recipes?

Enjoy! :)

Dried Fruit – Oven-Syle

July 18th, 2012 | Posted by Kat in Recipes | Tips - (1 Comments)
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I saw this pin and decided it merited a try: fruit that was better than twizzlers – sweet! It comes from The World Gourmet. As I read through the page and it said to add salt and pepper, which I opted not to do because that would seem to take the “twizzler” taste out of things.

Since I was already doing strawberries, I thought I would experiment with bananas and raspberries too.

Step 1: Cut up some fruit (quarter or halve the strawberries) and put onto a baking sheet.

Step 2: Bake at 210 degrees for 3 hours. The bananas seemed done at this point, but not the raspberries or strawberries.

Step 3: Flip fruit over and keep baking for another hour or two. I just made this step up. The fruit was still not done (minus the bananas), so I kept baking. Here is what it looked like after 5 total hours and some sampled fruit along the way:

End result: I should have taken the bananas off at 3 hours because they were burned…..one of my boys tried the bananas out at the 3 hour mark and was not too fond of them, so they just may have been a flop. The raspberries were not done at 3 hours, but tasted a little burned at 5 hours. The strawberries were AWESOME. I would just stick with those next time. They didn’t taste quite as good or sweet as twizzlers, and I probably prefer them fresh, but they ended up tasty enough. Not nearly as pretty as the picture on The World Gourmet, but that is probably because I am not a Gourmet. :)

Overall Rating: *** (out of 5)

Difficulty: Easy.

Would I Try it Again? Possibly, but like I said before, I preferred the fresh ones and those take less time to be done.

Cheapest. Dryer. Sheet. Ever. (with foil!)

July 16th, 2012 | Posted by Kat in Tips - (0 Comments)
Foil Ball

I ran out of dryer sheets today and didn’t want to go to the store, so I found this way to make a cheap dryer sheet out of fabric softener and a rag from Heather @ Fake-It Frugal (I’ll review that idea after I have tried it out). The fabric softener was taking a bit to dry, so I decided to try the trick that she mentioned at the bottom of her post, but hadn’t tried out yet. Take aluminum foil, ball it up, and chuck it in your dryer.

I was doing a load of kid laundry, so I figured if it was horrible and staticky that they wouldn’t notice too much (especially the boys), so I tried it. I took about a foot long of aluminum foil, crumpled it up and stuck it in the dryer with my damp clothes. After the clothes were dry I pulled them out and they felt….normal! I even did a test with picking up a fleece PJ top that had a lightweight hand towel on top of it – the hand towel didn’t stick! It came right off. Hooray!! And no worrying about possible staining or adding extra chemicals to the clothes either.

Thank you Heather! :)

Medicine Box: A Trip Tip

July 12th, 2012 | Posted by Kat in Tips - (0 Comments)
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For those of you who are traveling, don’t forget to take your medicine cabinet with you. And I mean all of it. According to Murphy’s Law, your child (or yourself) will get an ear infection, a fever, or have some kind of crazy itch and you will have to go buy a whole bottle of whatever you only need a little bit of and still have a whole bottle of whatever it is that you need left at home. That’s how Murphy rolls.

We have our kid variety of Advil, Tylenol, assorted allergy meds, Wally’s Ear Oil & our otoscope, a thermometer, Bandaids, Cotton Swabs, stomach ache meds, etc. Just go through your stuff and pull out one of everything. We stick ours in a little Rubbermaid box and it slides nicely under the bench in the van.

There ya go.  Easy, and you will likely stay healthy if you pack this along. :)

For other trip tips, click here.

Easy Paint Chip Art

July 9th, 2012 | Posted by Kat in Ideas | Tips - (0 Comments)
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A several months ago, I found a picture on Pinterest where someone had taken paint sample chips and cut them in circles, painted some straight reed-looking lines on a canvas, put the circles over the top of the “reeds” and – VOILA! – art.

We had decided to paint our living room and kitchen and I had acquired a TON of paint samples in the process. Some people are “color choosing” gifted – I am not one of them. I also had a fairly large canvas that I had found at goodwill several years ago that needed some love. I called my friend Becky, who is a VERY talented scrapper, to see if she had some circle-shaped punches I could borrow. She sent a few over and it all began.

I painted the background of the canvas a light color, and decided that instead of several straight “reeds” I wanted to have more of a curved branch look and painted that on as well.

Then I took some time to organize my colors and arrange them onto the canvas before gluing any of them on. In order to keep it from feeling like too much of a color explosion, I decided that I wanted the top & left to be concentrated with lighter colors, and have the bottom and right be concentrated with darker colors, but still to have some colors (pops of pink, etc.) scattered throughout.

Once I had the colors where I wanted them, my mom (who was in town and helping me with a bunch of projects) and I used glue stick to glue them all down. Then Mom painted on several layers of Mod Podge to keep it all sealed together.

There you have it! An easy, personalized art piece.

Enjoy! :)

Glowing Volcano!

July 6th, 2012 | Posted by Kat in Fun | Ideas | Kids - (0 Comments)
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This is a twist on the classic “vinegar and baking soda” volcano – it GLOWS. Super cool.

Here is what you need:

  • Highlighter (yellow is best)
  • Water
  • Vinegar
  • Baking Soda
  • Black Light
  • Glass Containers

That is IT. I found this idea from Play at Home Mom and thought the kiddos would love it. And me too. :)

Step 1: Clip the back off of the highlighter. Supposedly you can put pressure with scissors to get it to “pop” off, but I ended up finally using an exacto knife after I almost broke my scissors.

Step 2: Get the color out of the highlighter. Just take the “ink” part of the highlighter and put it into water. If you had a hard time opening the highlighter and didn’t want to cut into it, you can just hang the highlighter so the tip is facing downward into the water.

I actually squeezed some of the highlighter ink out when the tube was soaked in water, and then let the rest of the color get out into the water by letting it soak. I was a little excited to hurry it along…..

Step 3: After the tube is basically white from the ink coming out, find a dark room and hook up your black light.

Cool!

Step 4: Make your “volcano” liquid by pouring some of your highlighter water into a container with some vinegar. Stick your volcano liquid container into another container to catch the “lava” as it flows out. You don’t want messes!

As you can see, the color diluted down quite a bit when I added the vinegar. Keep watching though – it turned out just fine.

Step 5: Dump some baking soda into your “volcano liquid” and enjoy the show!

We had some more vinegar and baking soda on hand to alternate so we could keep the fun going.

There you go! Super easy cleanup and a very fun experiment.

I saved the rest of the highlighter water that we didn’t use in another container so we could try it again another time.

Enjoy! :)

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Happy Independence Day!! As a totally non-festive American thing to do (or maybe it is a very festive American thing to do since we have all come from all countries and backgrounds…) – I bring to you a yummy Mexican dish, as promised. :)

Is your chicken shredded? Ha HA! – you are now ready for the recipe!

Any time we go out to get Mexican food I always find myself ordering enchiladas with green chile sauce. Every time. They are my favorite. I found this recipe a couple of months ago on Six Sisters’ Stuff and it is awesome. And there is no “cream of….” in the sauce. Hooray!

Ingredients:

  • 8 flour tortillas
  • 2 c. cooked, shredded chicken
  • 2 c. Monterrey Jack cheese
  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder (optional)
  • 3 T. butter
  • 3 T. flour
  • 2 c. chicken broth (or 2 c. water and 2 bullion cubes)
  • 1 c. sour cream
  • 1 (4 oz.) can green chiles
  • 1 tsp. dried cilantro (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper

Step 1: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Step 2: Mix your chicken, 1 c. cheese and chili powder together. Place mixture in tortillas, roll them up, and place in a greased 9×13 pan. I like to make some with less of the meat/cheese (like above) for my kids, and then make some that are a little more filled for my husband and me.

Step 3: In a medium saucepan, melt butter. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Add broth and whisk until smooth. Cook over medium heat until thick and bubbly.

Step 4: Stir in sour cream, chiles, cilantro, garlic powder, onion powder, and black pepper.

Step 5: Pour sauce over enchiladas and top with remaining cheese.

Step 6: Bake 20-22 minutes. If desired, place under high broil for 3 min. to brown the cheese.

There you have it! Super yummy chicken enchiladas. No fatty, gristly meat. Just pure goodness. My sister has made these before with Pepper Jack cheese, and said they were awesome.

My one extra tip here too: these are best eaten within a day or so of making them. If they survive to the “leftover” phase, make sure you eat them sooner than later or you’ll have some soggy tortillas.

Enjoy! :)

Easy Peasy Shredded Chicken

July 2nd, 2012 | Posted by Kat in Tips - (1 Comments)
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This has made my life better. Really, it has.

Shredding chicken is my absolutely least favorite thing to do of all times. Or at least it is close. I have a problem: I do NOT handle inanimate objects that do not obey my will very well. I still have a hard time cutting with scissors for more than a minute (Kindergarten 101!), sealed plastic objects that say “easy open” and you STILL have to pick at them for 25 minutes before the plastic finally yields and separates, and chicken that is prepared to shred but still takes way longer than it should to get it all shredded nicely.

No more.

This was a tip I found from Gwen @ Simply Healthy Family. Gwen, you are awesome.

Step 1: Cook your chicken. I just chuck several chicken breasts into a pot of boiling water and let them go for a long time.

Step 2: Take let your chicken cool down, just a bit. I found that with chicken RIGHT out of the water it actually was a little harder to get everything shredded uniformly. When the chicken is still warm, but has dried out a bit, then you are good to go.

Step 3: Chuck it in your KitchenAid with the cookie dough paddle attachment and let ‘er rip!

That’s it! That is all you have to do!! Look at how beautiful that chicken is. It makes me happy.

Gwen, thanks again. Plus also, I have a great recipe to share on Wednesday with your easily shredded chicken. This is one that my husband and son have both requested for birthday dinners – it’s awesome.

Enjoy!! :)

 

DIY Holiday Window Clings

June 29th, 2012 | Posted by Kat in Fun | Kids - (20 Comments)
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I love the 4th of July. It probably ranks as my favorite holiday. I love America. I love our freedom. I love to think about all of the sacrifices that people have made to make this country great. And I love fireworks. :)

I found this cute idea on Pinterest, and thought it would be perfect to adapt for the 4th of July. It originally comes from Merry at Merry with Children. I found a comment from a Kindergarten teacher on Merry’s blog that made this project WAY easy, and very fun. Teachers are awesome!

Materials:

  • Glue
  • Food Coloring
  • Liquid Dish Soap
  • Plastic Sheet Protectors
  • Templates (if desired)

Step 1:Take your glue bottles (about half-full) and add several drops of food coloring. I probably added 35+ drops of red to my “red” bottle because I didn’t want it to end up pink.

Step 2: Add a few drops of dish detergent to your glue.

Step 3: Shake well. Take the lid off and squeeze the bottle to “knead” the color into the glue. Let the glue sit overnight (or at least several hours) to let the color settle in. In the picture at the top, you can see the white on the bottom – that’s what it looks like with just shaking and not waiting yet. If you look to the picture just below, you can see how letting it sit for a few hours makes a big difference – the color went the whole way through.

Step 4: Put your templates into your sheet protectors and go to town! To me, things that “scream” 4th of July are stars, the Flag, fireworks, and the Founding Fathers. Benjamin Franklin and George Washington are two of our family Founding Father heroes, so I googled to find silhouettes of them that I could print off and have us fill in.

My husband and I were excited to try out our project, so we worked on Ben and George and added a few decorations of our own. I also wanted to see how long it would take for them to dry.

My husband’s handiwork.

My work – I wrote the letters for “America” backward so the writing would look the right way for people looking at it from the outside.  The part of your window cling that is touching the sheet protector is the part that will stick to the window.

The kids woke up bright and early and were excited to make their own window clings. Squeezing the glue directly from the bottles made it a project that they ALL could do – even my 2-year old. No paintbrushes required.

Here is how our final clings turned out:

I LOVE how the silhouettes turned out – SO awesome. And yes, I did flip this picture so “America” is a little bit more readable. That’s what the neighbors see. :)

We’re still waiting for the kids’ work to dry as we speak. They had some fun (and some very abstract) red, white and blue creations.

The clings all pretty much dried overnight, except for the very middle of George Washington. The thinner the glue, the faster it will dry. HOWEVER, the thicker the glue, the sturdier the clings will be.

You could modify this easily for any holiday, or just to do for a fun summer project. Add glitter. Whatever. Seriously, this was an easy, fast, fun project.

Enjoy! :)

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