March 20, 2015

Cooking with kids the Raddish way

Note: I received a Raddish kit in exchange for my honest review.  No further compensation was received and all opinions are my own.  

Cooking is one of my very favorite things to do with my kids, and because it's one of my favorite things to do in general I started them young. I dragged A's high chair into the kitchen so she could "help" as a baby, and I bought us matching mother-daughter aprons when she was about six months old. As soon as he was old enough, D joined in and now I have two little sous chefs eager for jobs in the kitchen. 

Bringing your kids into the kitchen can be a lot of fun - but it can also be stressful. Little chefs need a lot of supervision, and it can be hard to follow a recipe when not everyone can read. But thanks to a clever little kit, cooking with kids can be easy, fun and educational for everyone. 

Meet Raddish

Founded by mother of two Samantha Barnes, Raddish is intended to help families give their children a love and appreciation of good food - and to encourage families to sit down at the table together. Each Raddish kit includes:

  • 3 family-friendly illustrated recipe guides
  • A skill card to help kids (and parents) learn culinary techniques
  • A creative activity intended to get families sitting, talking and eating together - ours was a set of colored modeling clay
  • A shopping list
  • A Table Talk card deck to encourage fun conversation at the table
  • A Raddish patch to iron onto your little chef's apron

D was delighted by the illustrated recipe cards, and he took great pleasure in telling me what we needed to do next as we worked.

Our kit had an Italian theme, with recipes for meatballs al pomodoro, herbed focaccia, and chocolate chip biscotti. While spaghetti and meatballs are always a hit in our house, things with visible herbs and seasonings are almost never popular with A and I was completely shocked by their reaction to the herbed focaccia. Not only did everyone eat it and ask for more, both A and my husband had some in their lunchboxes the next day. It is definitely a recipe we will make again and again.

Our Raddish kit made cooking fun for everyone, and it definitely got the kids to taste things out of their normal comfort zone. If you'd like to try Raddish at home, you can get $5 off and free shipping with the code RADFAMILY5.

Bon appetit!


March 11, 2015

Little boy, big artwork

D loves many things these days: trains, cars, books...but there is nothing he loves quite like coloring at the easel. A friend of mine mentioned wanting to make more time for quiet activities like coloring with her kids, and I almost laughed, because coloring is anything but quiet in our house.

Sometimes D is quiet and careful as he colors...

 ...but most of the time he is SINGING and SHOUTING as he works.

He colors with crayons in both hands, with an ocean of crayons and pencils waiting in his tray.

 Sometimes there is dancing.

He colors right to the edge of his paper, and usually winds up coloring the easel as he works too. He colors both sides of the paper and we still have a hard time keeping enough paper in the house to keep up with D and his sister. Always busy, always creating...but rarely quiet.

March 1, 2015

Beating the winter blues with Heroes of the City

Though the calendar tells me spring is just a few weeks away, we're in what feels like a never-ending and very frosty winter. A's school district used up the last of its snow days last week, and I've lost count of how many delayed openings we've had for both kindergarten and preschool. I like to think that I am a resourceful and creative parent, and when another snowy, icy, too-cold-to-be-outside day hits I pull out my list of Fun Things To Do So None Of Us Goes Crazy. But I've used up an awful lot of our super fun and occasionally educational plans this winter, and when we are in need of a little distraction there's nothing like a new video to mix things up. 

We have been fans of Heroes of the City for quite awhile in our house - if you're not familiar, it's a Swedish cartoon about rescue vehicles in a small town where everyone has a chance to be a hero. Aimed at children ages 3-7, Heroes of the City emphasizes friendship and teamwork as Paulie Police Car, Fiona Fire Engine and others work together to keep their town running smoothly.

Both A and D enjoy the Heroes of the City apps, and one of their favorite pieces of those apps are the video clips. They love to watch the adventures of these silly and helpful friends, and I love that they're videos I don't mind watching either. 

You don't have to have an app to watch Fiona, Paulie and friends - Heroes has a great YouTube channel full of fun videos. 

Check it out and tell me which Hero is your favorite! 

Disclosure: this is not a sponsored post - simply sharing a favorite of ours with you!

February 15, 2015

Two bunnies are better than one

The jig is up, friends. For a very long time, we have kept a secret from our A and today she found out.

Once upon a time, a very small girl fell in love with a very small bunny. And for a little more than four years, A hasn't realized that there were two bunnies, not just one. We've swapped them out in secret every few weeks, and I've mended them to match each other every time one bunny developed a love-worn spot.

I tossed a bunny in with the last load of laundry, a load that has lingered on the couch in our basement for...well, let's just say awhile. And while my dear husband folded it today, A spotted her bunny. Except bunny was already with her.

"LOOK, MOMMY! THERE ARE TWO BUNNIES!" A shouted as she raced up the basement steps. I was glad to see a smile on her face, because I've worried for years what her reaction would be when she realized bunny was really bunnies. But it turns out her reaction was delight, because for weeks she's been telling me bunny needs a friend, and now he doesn't just have a friend he has a twin.

Bunny and Hopster (because she can't just call both of them bunny, obviously), I hope you'll be very happy with our girl.

January 26, 2015

Three, three, three

Three is many things. Three is the ABCs sung on repeat. You love the ABCs so much you asked us to sing it instead of "Happy Birthday" and when we did you were delighted.

Three is Thomas the Tank Engine and friends lined up on every surface in the living room. Three is always, always, always coloring at the easel.

Three is planning your own birthday party. I want kids to come to my house and play toys and make a sticker craft and eat cake, you said. And that's what we did.

Three is trekking to the farmer's market in the rain to get your favorite "egg sam-a-wich" from your favorite food truck before going to see a movie.

Three is also, unfortunately, ear-splitting shrieks in the house. And spitting, which only you think is funny. And a lot of I'm going to do it myself no wait I actually need help but I don't WANT help. Three is also dropping your nap, and that makes everything a little harder these days.

Three is so many things...and there's one thing it isn't: a baby. You are very clear that you are not a baby, and every time I slip up and call you my baby you correct me. I'm not a baby! I'm a peanut. 

Happy birthday, big boy. We're so lucky you're ours.

January 25, 2015

Don't forget your parachute

Like many people, we didn't have the holiday we'd hoped for. Instead of spending time away from school doing fun things, we spent most of the kids' winter break taking turns being sick. And like many kids, A got a "what I did on my winter break" assignment when she went back to school.

Unlike many parents, however, I got an email from A's teacher...wondering if we really had been skydiving.

We are writing about our winter break and A has a  very detailed story that is hard to believe.  She has so many details that I tend to believe her.  Did A jump out of an airplane with her father?  If so we would love to see a photo!  Of course A said “no cameras allowed” which would be true.  I said “Didn’t Mom stand on the ground and take a picture?”  She said no because you were helping her brother jump.  I’m letting her go with this writing idea because she has so many details, but can you confirm if A really had that adventure last week?  That girl makes me laugh!

Sadly, I had to reply that we did not go skydiving, and even if we had planned such a trip we would have had to cancel it what with all the being sick. 
I asked A about her assignment when she got off the bus. Yes, she told her teacher we went skydiving (excuse me, parachuting) - and she had to because we didn't do anything interesting.

We'll have to make sure spring break is fantastic.

January 6, 2015

Make the Music of The Little Mermaid Part of Your World with Disney's Legacy Collection

Note: I received the Little Mermaid Legacy Collection CD as a member of the Entertainment New Media Network.  No further compensation was received and all opinions are my own.  This post does not contain affiliate links.

When I was in sixth grade, The Little Mermaid came out, and it quickly became one of my favorites. 25 (!!!) years later, I can still sing the words to every song in the movie because they're some of my very favorite Disney songs. I thought very briefly about making a video to demonstrate my impressive song lyric memory, and then I remembered that people I know read this blog Feel free to imagine me singing "Les Poissons" instead. 

One of the most fun parts of parenting is sharing my childhood favorites with my kids, and I was very excited to bring The Little Mermaid home to show my princess loving A. Unfortunately, Ursula the Sea Witch has thwarted our efforts to watch the full movie. Twice we have tried, and twice we have had to stop once she is onscreen...which means my daughter has missed some of the very best songs in the movie (little brother doesn't share her fear of Ursula and watched the movie with me one day when sister was at school). 

Thanks to the beautiful new Walt Disney Records The Legacy Collection, my daughter can enjoy some of my childhood favorites without fear of an Ursula sighting. To celebrate The Little Mermaid's 25th anniversary, Disney has released a two disc Legacy Collection edition soundtrack. 

Disc One features the songs and score of the film, while Disc Two has 12 work tapes and song demos performed by Oscar-winning composer Alan Menken and lyricist Howard Ashman. 

A 20 page booklet includes liner notes, lyrics, and beautiful artwork - including some new art created by Disney visual development artist Lorelay Bove.

Walt Disney Records The Legacy Collection: The Little Mermaid is available at the Disney Music Emporium...and one lucky reader can win a copy right here! Use the Rafflecopter form below to enter. Open to all readers in the US and Canada. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Please note: if it comes to my attention that the winner of this giveaway has won this same prize on another blog, I reserve the right to choose another winner. The winner will receive their CD direct from Disney in 4-6 weeks.