Thursday, May 31, 2012

Busy Bags

Busy bag (n.): A ziploc bag containing an activity for your child to enjoy either with you or on their own. It is a form of creative occupation. It may be educational or may not. (via Swapper)

Brilliant, huh? Genius idea to take convenient, portable activities with you and your kids to restaurants, etc.? Oh yeah. Well, sadly, I had never heard of them until recently.  I had the opportunity to participate in a Busy Bag Swap Party recently and it was a blast! Not only did I get time with some great ladies, but Mae and Deac came away with some super fun activities to keep them entertained.

Some busy bag guidelines (via my sister-in-law)...

Self-contained.
This way, you can just grab a bag and GO! (without having to add a number of supplies to the bag in order to make it useful.)

Transportable.
Yes, they will definitely be used at home, but you want to be able to grab a few bags to take to a restaurant, a waiting room, plane trips, car rides, etc.

Convenient.
None of the bags will have supplies that require major set-up or clean-up: (no paint, watercolors, liquids, sand, dirt, etc.)

Inexpensive. 

Don't spend the world on this project! This needs to be affordable. The aim to is spend around $1 per bag you make.

Easy to Make.

We are busy in our lives. We don't want to spend days and days making these bags!

Re-usable.  

These activities should last a while. Therefore, we avoid activities where you would have to buy new supplies to re-stock the bag. This is why lamination is important for some of the activities.


Here are a few fun, busy bags that we got!

Feed Me 
Different items could be put into the container's "mouth" with tweezers.
Memory Game
A closet rod was sliced into pieces and felt/foam pictures were glued on.
Word Nuts and Bolts
Stick-on letters were put all around nuts and placed on a bolt to create multiple words.

Play-doh Mats
Activity sheets can be laminated or put into page protectors with a tub of play-doh. 











Let me know if you create any easy, fun busy bags! I'm hoping to collect more soon! Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

La Playa

This past week we visited the beach with my family.  It was Deacon's first trip and Mae was sure to show him the ropes. Mae chased the seagulls ALL over the beach while Deacon's white self basked in the sun.  Don't worry, he was caked in sunscreen.









Some beach essentials for us:

Digging gear
Animal Crackers
Liquid, liquid, liquid
Croc clogs (convenient for water activities)

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Mommy Panel

Uh oh, it's been a while since i've blogged! The kids and I are visiting my family down in good ol' Corpus Christi, so I will have plenty of fun pictures and stories soon!

Grandpa and the grandbabies. We made it to Corpus!
Beach anyone? We're excited.

In the meantime, check out the Mommy Panel! My friend Kelley, over at The Grant Life, puts together weekly advice and fun stories from some fabulous mommies. I've learned a lot and it's fun to hear about their mommy adventures. Hope everyone is having a great week!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Arroz por favor

One of the few foods I can decently make would have to be Spanish rice.  When my husband and I were first married and I was experimenting in the kitchen, this was one of the first recipes my mom gave me.  I've been making it ever since from memory.  It's a favorite in the Narcomey household and it would go well with these tasty treats.

Ingredients
1 cup long grain, white rice
2 cups chicken broth (or 2 cups water and a chicken bouillon cube
1 can Rotel (mild or original, depending on your tolerance to spiciness)
bell pepper
onion
garlic salt
pepper
cumin
chili powder and ground turmeric (optional)
2 tbsp vegetable or coconut oil


Slice bell pepper and onion and saute in oil.  (I usually don't use a whole onion, but you could if you're an onion fanatic like my husband.)  We recently have been using coconut oil which tastes great too.


Add cup of rice and lightly brown it on medium heat.  More oil could be added.





 
Slowly add broth, Rotel, and desired spices.  It will be hot and steamy, so be careful adding the broth. 














Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.  I will usually let it boil for a few minutes before reducing the heat. It might make the rice a little fluffier...

Cover and reduce heat to low.  Cook for 15 minutes.  You could tilt the pan, with the lid still on, to see if any water collects at the side.  If there's water, keep cooking.  I'll usually turn off the rice and let it sit for a bit until we eat.




This picture is from a recipe online.  Every time I made the rice, I would forget to take a picture of the finished product, but this comes close. Enjoy!