Lets Go Mets!

IMG_1854Spring training is here! Welcome back baseball! This past year, the Mets gained three new little fans! Hmmmm, maybe four! I guess I’m taking a liking to baseball myself. My husbands’ yelling and screaming make it hard for me not to wonder what is going on in the game! The love for baseball can be handed down from generation to generation in many different ways. Sometimes from fathers to sons, sometimes from uncles to nephews. For my husband, the love for baseball wasn’t handed down, but rather grew in him as a young child. He began his love affair with the New York Mets when he was 7 years old in 1985. His love for the team spread quickly to his mother. She understood nothing about the game when this all started, but little by little as he explained the game to her she fell in love with it too. The love of baseball, and in particular, the love for the Mets was something special that they shared. Even though the team struggled for many years, they followed them faithfully. Some of his happiest memories are lazy summer afternoons sitting in the backyard listening to the game on the radio together and summer nights watching the games on TV cheering them on.

The two of them would go to Shea Stadium and cheer for the team they loved. Maybe baseball was just an excuse for him to spend time with the mother he adored and looked up to. Maybe baseball was just her excuse to sit next to her youngest son and cheer about a common love. Their relationship was a special one, they enjoyed a lot of the same things, but none more than the New York Mets.

When we had our 3 little girls, my husband never pushed baseball upon them. He never imagined that they would one day learn to love the team he has faithfully followed now for more than 30 years. But as they watched him root for the team they too, started to root right there along beside him.  It’s been really sweet to watch my little girls share in the love of baseball with their daddy. My girls have learned to the love the Mets…to love the game of baseball…to love the time spent watching the games with their dad. Can you guess who their favorite player is?

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This post is dedicated to my mother in law who was the biggest Met fan of all. Unfortunately she passed away August 31, 2015 right before the Mets went to the world series. We have a feeling she was watching and had the best seat in the house!

Middle Eastern Chicken Wraps

middleeasternwrapMiddle Eastern WrapsI got this recipe from one of my best friends from college. I’ve wanted to make these for the longest time. She has the recipe perfectly posted here at danascreativekitchen.com. Her mom used to make these for me back in the day along with many other Middle Eastern dishes! They spoiled me and I was already spoiled by my Italian mother so I was constantly eating very well! They made me feel like a queen every visit. We’d sit at her big dinning room table surrounded by her two brothers and little sister and her loving parents. My friend too spoiled me, serving me tea and delicious middle eastern sweets. Oh and I can’t forget the videos she would make me watch of her as a baby! I have to say she was a cutie! I miss those days of pure friendship, where if mom wasn’t cooking for you, someone’s mom was! This dish not only completely satisfies my tummy but also my soul as well. My husband really enjoyed these wraps! My kids ate the chicken with the tortillas on the side. This is an incredibly simple dish to make, although back then I thought I would never be able to make it for myself! I used Mission tortilla flour for the wraps which can be found in any local supermarket. The recipe calls for sumac spice and ground cardamom which can be found in Middle Eastern stores.  Unfortunately there is not a  local Middle Eastern store near me so I ordered the spices  from Amazon.com.  I’ve linked the one’s I purchased below but there are many you can choose from. I was happy with my picks! Oh and you need lots of onions for this recipe. The first time I made it, I skimped out on the onions because I only had 1 onion and was too exited to make it but too lazy to run out and get more onions. The second time I made it, I used the right amount of onion and it was perfect! I’ve listed the ingredients below, please visit danascreativekitchen.com for complete instructions.

Ingredients:
2 pounds boneless chicken breast cutlets, cut into small pieces (see photo below)
2-3 tablespoons sumac spice (found in Middle Eastern stores)
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 cup olive oil
1-2 Tablespoons toasted pine nuts
4 large onions, thinly sliced
salt and pepper to taste
10 wraps

Spelling Wall

One challenge I find when having two children in school is keeping track of their spelling words. Yes, it’s their responsibility to study them, but I wanted to find an easy way to really help them access their words anytime during the week without depending on me and without me having to nag them!

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I found these super cute School Tools Pocket Charts at oriental trading. They came in a pack of four.  I’m currently using three of them but need to add the fourth one as my older daughter gets 12 spelling words a week. I use one chart each for the two older girls and one chart for my four year old to learn her site words. I hung the charts in our hallway near our playroom so that the girls can see their words daily. As soon as the girls get their new words, they grab the index cards, write down their words and put them in their charts! Anytime throughout the week, I remind them to study and they go and sit in front of the words and copy them onto their clipboards, which are hanging in their playroom. This has really worked and the girls have been bringing home awesome spelling test grades ever since! Best part of all is that I do not need to nag them to study, and tell them to go into their backpacks and get their words. They are accessible to the girls, making it very simple for them to study a few minutes each night. These are great for homeschooling moms too!

spelling Wall spelling wallYou can also find a similar product at Amazon.com

Happy Valentines Day! A bit of this and that.

pastelA lovely pastel picture from Isabel.

heartsjpg A basket of hearts from Melina. My little one said she forgot to make us anything!

flowerspinkpancakespink pancakestoiletryI gave each of the girls a valentine mailbox (purchased from the dollar store) and filled it with little toiletries and candies. They love stuff like that and I like it because it’s something useful. Makes them happy and it makes me happy. They also received a Beanie Boo each to hang off of their backpacks.IMG_3703 valentines Day

IMG_3710  apronThe day before Valentines Day, my mom invited all of the kids to make valentines Day cookies. She made the girls an apron each and had them waiting for them on each of their chairs. It was so cute!  IMG_3667happybakingIMG_3675Valentines Day And last but not least, the girls each made valentine cards from their dolls to each of their sisters dolls!

What to do with a couple of fabric swatches

swatchold pillownew pillow

pillow8 pillow3 pillow1I have finally learned to use a sewing machine! I can’t believe it! All I’ve learned so far is a straight stitch but that’s enough to make me happy! I haven’t had a chance to make anything yet other than fabrics of squares and a little purse for my daughter’s doll ( I wanted to take a picture of it, but I can’t find it!). I am planning on attempting to make the girls some simple clothing for their dolls! I do have lots of fabric swatches that I’ve had stashed away for the day when I do have time to sew something up. My mom is a seamstress and anytime I get an idea of what to do with my swatches I bring the idea straight to her and she executes it right away. I had a couple of old and boring throw pillows laying around and never wanted to spend the money on new ones because they tend to be a bit expensive! So I bought a bundle of fabric swatches at Walmart for about $10 to $13 dollars and had my mom sew up a couple of new pillow cases to cover my old pillows! It was like paying $10 for two new pillows! The swatch bundle usually comes with five, 18×21 inch fabric swatches. Somehow I ended up gravitating towards patterns that the kids would like! Everything I gravitate to these days have something to do with the kids! Now that I know how to sew a straight stitch I’m sure I can sew a new cover myself for the next old pillow laying around the house.

I unfortunately do things the same way my mom does…by eye! Good for me but not for you! I’m terrible at giving directions but If you know how to use a sewing machine I’m sure you know better than I do how to make these  simple pillow cases. Here is a tutorial I found if you’d like step by step instructions!

I asked my four year old if she could hold the pillow for me for a picture and as you will see below, all she wanted to do was throw it at me! As you can see while Lia is throwing the pillow, that I used two different swatches to create one pillow. Thanks Lia!

pleaseLia

throwpillow  pillow toss

Pastels and Usborne Playtime

lionpasteldrawingbook pastel4My kids and I love to draw and paint but sometimes it’s hard to be inspired. I bought these Usborne Playtime books a few years ago and we continue to use them often for inspiration. Today,  the girls wanted to use a new set of Alex Chalk Pastels my friend recently gifted to them and I took the books out and the girls spent a nice amount of time creating beautiful artwork! I think the girls would definitely enjoy I can cut and stick and I can crayon also by Usborne.

owlpastel pastel2 pastel1 pastel6

Simple Paper Bag Puppets

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If you have small paper bags and colored construction paper, these little guys are super easy to make! The kids wanted to make some paper bag puppets so I simply googled paper bag puppets and found many ways to create one! We found a simple tutorial here for the puppy puppet and a simple tutorial here for the owl puppet here.

IMG_3518 IMG_3523 paper bag puppets

Simple Felt Hair Clips

hairclips

heartclip IMG_3740These hair clips are so fun and simple to make. I got the cute and simple idea from mycakies.com. All you need is some felt, thread, a sewing needle and some hair clips. You can even use hot glue if you don’t know how to sew or just don’t feel like sewing! I also made some hair clips for the girls to wear on St. Patricks Day. I found some clover patterns here. I cut out the pattern and used it to cut out the green felt. Cut two pieces, sew or hot glue together and hot glue a clip and you’re done!

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hairclips

Jan Bretts, The Mitten

mitten5We love reading any story by Jan Brett. Our family favorite is of course The Mitten. Our copy has literally had to be stapled and put back together several times. Not because the kids don’t take care of it but because we’ve handle the book so, so, so many times! I found this really simple and fun activity to go along with the story.  I had these printed and kept on hand for a snowy day, and lucky for me and the kids it SNOWED! Lots and lots of snow. It was fun to read the book and do the activity after hours of playing in the snow! You can find a pdf format Here. I’ve found lots of great resources and activities at www.janbrett.com.

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Finding a Baby Bird

baby bird. 05.10.14 Mothers Day Weekend 030 05.10.14 Mothers Day Weekend 021 05.10.14 Mothers Day Weekend 024 05.10.14 Mothers Day Weekend 026 05.10.14 Mothers Day Weekend 028baby birdThis time last year we found this sweet little baby bird right next to our garbage cans near our garage. It fell out of a nest high up in our garage. I had never in my life seen a brand new baby bird and was startled at the sight of it. I had no idea what I was supposed to do with it. It laid there so helpless, with it’s mouth open. My little pup was trying to lick him up! I had heard several times that if you touch a baby bird a mother would throw it out of it’s nest and not want anything to do with it.  But there was no way that I was going to just leave it there and let nature take its course. I went straight to google to find advice on what to do in this situation. I found this site and several others that gave me easy instructions on what to do. My girls were so concerned for the little guy. I asked them to prepare a box with a towel to keep it warm. Luckily we always have decorated boxes laying around and it was perfect for our little friend. I spent a long time trying to find a nature refuge to help this little baby out. They get so many calls and it takes a lot of dedication to nurse these little birds to the point where they can survive on their own. I finally did find a place late in the evening and I remember dropping everything to take the 45minute drive to save this little bird. My husband thought I was nuts!! I guess it was just motherly instinct! Any mom would have done it! The girls and I always wonder how the little bird is doing and if he’s some where flying around! Now I check the spot to make sure no little birds have fallen out of their nests!