Cars and Ribbons

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Guest Post

Hop on over to the great new blog, Thirty-One: 10, and check out my guest post.  Music is my passion and I love teaching it to children.  I share some reasons why exposing music to children is so important.  Enjoy!!!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Cafe Rio Chicken

I came upon this recipe on Pinterest and fell in love with the picture.  Then, I made it myself and fell in love with the taste!  This chicken recipe is so simple and you can use the chicken several different ways:  burritos, tacos, nachos, salad.  It's moist, shreds easily, and delicious!  And the best part?  It's all done in a slow cooker!

Mix together 1 package dry ranch mix with 1/2 cup of water.

Mix 1/2 small bottle of zesty Italian dressing with 1/2 Tbsp. minced garlic.

Stir the ranch mixture into the dressing mixture.  Add 1/2 Tbsp. chili powder and 1/2 Tbsp. ground cumin.

Place 2 lbs. chicken into a slow cooker.  I always use a slow cooker liner for easy clean up.

Pour dressing mixture all over the chicken and turn slow cooker on low.  Cook for 7-8 hours.

Enjoy the yummy aroma throughout the day as it is cooking!

When it is done, shred the chicken with two forks.

Use in your favorite recipe or even eat it by itself.  You could freeze the chicken for future use, but once you taste this, you will not want to save it for later.

Cafe Rio Chicken
2 lbs. chicken
1 pkg. dry ranch mix
1/2 cup water
1/2 small bottle zesty Italian dressing
1/2 Tbsp. minced garlic
1/2 Tbsp. chili powder
1/2 Tbsp. ground cumin

Mix water and ranch mix in a bowl.  In another bowl, mix Italian dressing and garlic.  Add in ranch mixture, chili powder and ground cumin.  Place chicken into a slow cooker.  Pour dressing mixture over chicken.  Cook on low for 7-8 hours or high for 5-6 hours.  Shred with a fork.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Little Red Caboose

Little Red Caboose is based on a popular children's book about, well, a little red caboose.  It was first published in 1953 by Marian Potter and has since turned into a popular children's song.  It is a great song to use while focusing on transportation, the color red, and coordination.

I've used the song from the CD collection, Best of the Best Preschool Play Songs.  The song starts out slow and gets faster and faster.  It's a great way for children to recognize the change in dynamic and keep up with the faster pace.

Recently, I found Laurie Berkner's version of Little Red Caboose and love it!  There are different colors used for the caboose besides just red.  I decided to make felt cabooses as a visual and attach them to a felt board.

I drew a rough template of a caboose on a red felt piece and then copied it onto the other colors of felt.  I cut out white felt squares and black felt circles and hot glued them onto the caboose.

It's a great visual for younger 1 year olds and babies.  For children older than that, you can make a pretend track on the floor using painter's tape and "chug" along the track to the beat of the song.

You can find the lyrics to Laurie Berkner's version of Little Red Caboose here.
You can find the song on Laurie Berkner's Buzz Buzz album here.

Happy Chuggin'!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

A New Series

I've been contemplating on starting a new series for awhile.  The time has come to put my thoughts into action and bring to you:

See. Learn. Play. is a new series, launching on Friday, based on my experience teaching music and chapel lessons to preschoolers.  I have spent many hours reading books, searching the internet, and seeking the advice of other professionals, trying to find the best way to make a song more fun and exciting or make a story come to life.

So many times I will play a song with great lyrics and a great message and the kids will be bored out of their minds.  Or I'll tell a very important Bible story that I want the kids to carry in their minds and hearts and they could care less.  Why?  Because I didn't make it interesting enough.  I didn't make it fun enough. I didn't make it interactive enough.

Kids love to have fun.  Kids need to use their energy and kids want to be a part.  Whether it is a song, nursery rhyme, poem, or Bible story, kids need to be involved.  When we use a hands on approach, the kids will remember what they participated in.  They won't remember everything you said while they were made to just sit there and stare at you.

In this new series, I will share my ideas and experiences and provide links to my most useful resources.  Hope you follow along!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Paint Me

My daughter and I have become obsessed with nail designs lately.  Obsessed!!!  There are so many cute ideas out there from gel nails to decals to just fun designs using a toothpick.  I've only been doing my fingernails because I get monthly pedicures.  However, Kaitlyn has really been enjoying me painting her nails and I am all for it!

Here are some of our faves:

We recently tried our hand (no pun intended) at some designs ourselves.

Blue with pink polka dots



Black and red

Once we pick a design we like, the table usually looks like this:

It's a lot of fun and all about practice.  My lines aren't perfectly straight and my dots aren't always perfect circles.  I don't like to spend lots of money for one polish so I usually buy NYC brand polish or whatever is on sale or I have a coupon to use.

For more fun nail ideas, check out my Paint Me board on Pinterest.  Painted nails is the simplest accessory to any outfit!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Spring Tablescape

Easter is over and I have 2 months until I decorate for Memorial Day.  So, I had to figure out a Spring tablescape for my formal dining room table.  I have a gorgeous solid black 8 ft. table and needed something that would stand out and say "Welcome Spring".

I purchased 3 yds. of burlap at Hobby Lobby.  I never used burlap before and really liked the color and texture against my table.  I trimmed it down to about 6 ft. and cut in half lengthwise to make it a runner.  It was pretty wrinkled so I lightly ironed it.  It didn't get everything out, but it helped.  

I have lots of milk glass dishes and pulled out some matching pieces.  But the table still needed more color.

I made another trip back to Hobby Lobby (on a different day) and found some colorful flowers that were actually on clearance!

I snipped off most of the stems.

Then, I cut down a styrofoam block to fit into the dishes.

I poked the flowers into the styrofoam until just the petals were sticking out.  I also pulled a few green leaves off the leftover stems and stuck them into the styrofoam as well.

And my Spring table is complete. Simple, yet colorful.

I may go back and iron out some more wrinkles and even do a stenciled design.  For now, I love the way it looks and it was so easy to put together. Welcome, Spring!