Monday, July 20, 2015

Our Journey With Milk: From Intolerance to Cereal for Breakfast!

Ever since the boy-o was born we've had an ongoing battle with milk. When I was nursing him I couldn't eat cereal with milk because it would bother him, so I pretty well gave up eating/drinking milk and just recently with pregnancy #2 have I started eating cereal with milk again.

The troubles with milk for the boy-o didn't end with me drinking milk though. Once he turned a year old we tried to introduce homo milk to him and he had a horrible reaction to it. It was pretty clear that milk wasn't going to work for now so we switched him to the toddler version of our formula instead which was rated up to 24 months.

We tried introducing homo milk to him again when he was around 18 months, and the same thing happened. He only got a tiny bit mixed in with his regular formula, and it was a nightmare. He had another horrible reaction and I felt like a totally terrible mother for putting him through it again.

Fast forward to the boy-o's 2nd birthday which is as far as his formula was rated. It was time to try the milk again as nervous as we were about it. We had heard many times before that kids grow out of it, and so far that hadn't been our experience but we were hopeful this time it would really be the case.

The funny thing is that the boy-o has always been ok eating cheese and youghurt, and his formula is milk based too. Whatever the issue is it's something that's just in milk and not the other forms of dairy. When we tried again this time, instead of giving him homo milk we tried 2% milk which is supposedly a little easier to digest, not to mention the kid is a good eater and really doesn't need to extra calories anyway. 

We started off by adding half an ounce of milk to his 3.5 ounce formula bottle for a few days and waited to see if there was any issue... so far so good! We slowly upped the amount of milk and decreased the amount of formula over a period of a few weeks until he was having a full milk bottle with no formula. It was such a huge relief to see his body accepting the milk ok with no reactions and to finally be done with formula (for this baby anyway!). Getting rid of the bottles altogether... well that's a story for another day!

Here's the boy-o having his first ever bowl of cereal with milk in it at 2 years old! He was pretty excited about it, and really enjoyed trying to slurp it off his spoon. It's been a miserable journey having to avoid milk and milk products like creamy sauces and ice cream, but thankfully that journey has come to an end. Hopefully baby #2 won't have the same issues, but if they do, this time around we'll be a little better equipped to handle it!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Multi-Coloured Ice Cube Water Play

It was really hot and humid here last week, so we decided to try out some fun water play. Rather than just splashing around in a water table (which is totally lots of fun on it's own!) I decided to try shaking things up a little bit and I pre-made some coloured ice cubes to add to our water bin. Basically I just put a few drops of food colouring into each section of the ice cube tray and then filled it with water and gave each section a little stir before popping it into the freezer.

After it was fully frozen I had a lovely rainbow of ice cubes to add into the water bin. The result was really neat as the ice cubes melted and the colour started to swirl into the water. The boy-o had fun adding new coloured cubes to the mix and it was a great way to cool off too!

He loved trying to scoop up the ice cubes and "catch" them with his containers as they were melting. Since they cubes are coloured with food colouring be prepared to end up with coloured fingers as well if your little wants to touch them and play with them as they melt in the water.

We took turns adding different coloured cubes to see how they changed the water colour, and put the unused cubes back in the freezer for another day of play!

Watching the colour disperse across the water as the ice cubes melted was really cool and the next time we try this out I think we'll add a whole bunch of one colour and try not to touch them for a few seconds so we can really see the colour spread.

The boy-o had a great time playing at his little water station to try and beat the heat, and the addition of the coloured cubes added a little bit of extra fun. It's definitely a fun and simple activity that we'll be trying again another day.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Happy Father's Day!

Today is Father's Day and I wanted to take a minute to recognize all the hard work put in by so many loving and caring Dads around the world!

To the Dads who wake up in the night with their kids.... Thank-you!
To the Dads who help with bath time and bed time.... Thank-you!
To the Dads who read to their little ones.... Thank-you!
To the Dads who love and respect their children's mothers.... Thank-you!
To the Dads who stepped up and took care of someone else's children like they were his own... Thank-you!
To the Dads who teach their children about nature and the world around them... Thank-you!
To the Dads who help with housework and meal times... Thank-you!
To the Dads who work long hours to support their families... Thank-you!
To the Dads who stay at home with their kids so their partner can fulfill her career goals... Thank-you!

To all the great Dads out there who come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, and who may not always feel like they're doing the best they could be... your kids think you're amazing, and for that, so do I! 

Happy Father's Day!
To all the amazing Dad's out there! 

And an extra special Happy Father's Day to my Hubby who is an excellent Daddy, and I'm so blessed that the boy-o has such a good role model to look up to. When he tries on your shoes I know he's hoping that he'll grow up to be like you--and I hope he does too!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Shaving Cream Swirl Art: Father's Day Craft Idea

Father's Day is fast approaching and sometimes it can be really hard to figure out what to get Dad. When the kiddos are little homemade stuff is always a big hit and this fun activity uses some shaving cream in honor of Dear old Dad to create a beautiful tie-dyed work of art!

The activity is quite simple, so even toddlers can get in on the fun! All you need for this one is some foamy white shaving cream, a container to spray it in, some food colouring, a couple of q-tips or straws, and some white paper to make your art print on when you're finished.

Start by spraying some shaving cream into the container, you don't need a lot, just enough to make sure that you have a full coating of your tray. Once you've sprayed the shaving cream, you can smooth it out just using your hands so you're starting with a flattened surface.

Add a few drops of food colouring to the shaving cream, making sure to add 2-3 drops to each spot so you have a good little bit of colour there.

Once the colour is on the shaving cream you can start making the master piece! Use the q-tip or straw to swirl the colours around the shaving cream making all kinds of cool tie-dyed patterns. It's ok if the littles get their hands in there too--it's just shaving cream so it washes off pretty easily, although they might have some colouring left on their hands.

Once you have the colour patterning you're happy with (and you can keep adding more and more food colouring until you have the desired effect) simply place a piece of white paper on top of the shaving cream and softly rub all over the back of it pressing it down lightly into the shaving cream.

This will transfer the colour from the food colouring onto the paper. If you rub the paper lightly down into the shaving cream you should get the colour to transfer without having too much of the shaving cream stick to the paper.

Once you have your print simply set the sheets aside to dry and tidy up! The extra shaving cream that stuck to the paper will absorb in to the paper as you let it dry.

Once your papers are dry you can do anything you like with them! You could write a message right on to the picture, or cut out a tie-dyed hand print or heart to use in a card. The possibilities are endless! Make sure you snap a few photos of the process too so Dad can see his little having fun playing with the shaving cream.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Pull Apart Pizza Bread: Father's Day Treat or Potluck Special

This recipe is an oldie but a goodie! We made it for our large Christmas family pot-luck last year, and have made it at home a few times too when we want something a little more fun than making regular pizzas. This is a definite pot-luck winner because it's so easy to make, and who doesn't love pizza? This would also be a great meal to make for Dad for Father's Day--and it's one the whole family will love! The boy-o was about 18 months when he tried it out and that's where his love of dipping foods was born. (Fair warning! heh)

Pull Apart Pizza Bread:


  • 2 Cans of Pizza Dough
  • 2 cups Mozzarella cheese
  • 2 tablespoons of a really good Italian seasoning
  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • 1 – 8 oz package of pepperoni
  • 1 cup Parmesean cheese
  • Optional: Add a ½ teaspoon of fresh garlic or garlic powder


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Lay out the pizza dough, and using a sharp knife or a pizza cutter, slice up the pizza dough into approx 2" squares/pieces. (It's all getting piled into the bowl together, so don't stress about how big the pieces end up!)
  3. Cut the pepperoni into quarters.
  4. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and toss so that the oil is spread evenly on each piece of dough.
  5. Transfer dough mixture to a greased bundt pan
  6. Bake for about 30 minutes (or until the top is brown and the center is thoroughly cooked) 
  7. TIP: Be sure to check it in the middle before you pull it out. If the middle is still not cooked thoroughly be sure to leave it in another 5 minutes at a time until it’s done.
  8. Flip over on to a plate while it’s still hot.
  9. Serve with a side of pizza sauce and enjoy!

Once your pizza pull apart bread is all cooked simply add a side of your favourite pizza sauce for dipping and you're all set! To make it easier to eat you might want to pre-cut the pizza bread into sections, especially if you have a lot of guests who will want to make sure they get to try it--because once you've had a piece, it's hard to resists grabbing another chunk!!

Friday, June 12, 2015

"Exploding" Tie-Dye Milk

This is a super cool science activity that's sure to impress your little and have them wanting to try it over and over again! We were at our local OEYC (Ontario Early Years Center) this morning and they were having a "Science" themed morning. They had a lady come in to do some simple activities with the kids, which the boy-o of course loved, so we decided to keep the science fun going when we got home!

This activity is called many different things, and so you might have heard it referred to as Tie-Dye Milk, Colour Milk, Exploding Milk, etc. but it all boils down to the same awesome activity no matter what you call it. I've decide to take the best of all worlds and call it "Exploding" Tie-Dye Milk.

All you need for this activity is some milk (the higher the fat the better--we used 2% and it worked ok, but homo would be better!), a container to put the milk in, some food colouring, dish soap, and some Q-Tips. Poor a thin layer of milk into the bottom of your container and then put in a few drops of each colour food-colouring.

Now the fun part!! Dip your Q-Tip into the dish soap and then touch the Q-Tip in the center of one of the colour drops and watch the colour shoot away from the Q-Tip making cool swirling patterns in the milk. You can re-dip in the dish soap and keep touching the Q-Tip all over your container to watch the awesome patterns that emerge.

You can also swirl the Q-Tip around in the container and watch the colours run away as well! The boy-o was totally fascinated by this activity, and loved watching the colour spread out across the container. Once it started to get a little murky we added a few more drops of colour to brighten it back up a bit and started over again with making the colours run.

The reason that this activity works is the dish soap interacts with the fat molecules in the milk, which is why using a fuller fat milk makes for a better experience. The activity is another great one for some quiet toddler play or a rainy day. 

To make the activity last longer simply dump out the coloured milk and put a fresh new layer in the container. It requires very little milk, so even repeating the activity a few times is still a very cost effective science exploration. (especially if your milk is getting to the end of its shelf life and you don't know how to use it up!)

We'll definitely be filing this one away for use another day and I hope you and your little enjoy it as much as we did!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Popsicle Stick Builders

Here's another simple and inexpensive quiet toddler activity that's super portable and now lives in our diaper bag all the time for restaurant trips or visiting family/friend's who don't have kids where it's necessary to bring our own entertainment. These popsicle stick builders can easily be adapted to grow as your little does to include some flash cards with photos on them which your little has to copy. For example, a square made with a red, blue, orange and yellow popsicle stick, or a triangle made with all blue popsicle sticks etc.

All that was required for this one was some coloured popsicle sticks, and self adhesive velcro dots. I cut the dots in half since the popsicle sticks aren't very wide and then stuck them right to the sticks. I put dots on both sides of the sticks and both ends to maximize building possibilities.

At the moment the boy-o is more interested in attaching them all end to end like a train than he is with making shapes out of them, but that will come in time, and in the end it doesn't really matter how he plays with them--they're keeping him busy and he's learning either way!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Buffalo Chicken and Potato Casserole

This delicious recipe came about because I really wanted wings one night, and rather than spend the money to eat out, I wanted a more affordable alternative I could eat at home. This casserole dish is the perfect combo of spicy and satisfying! The bacon bits really make this dish--so don't skimp on them!

Buffalo Chicken and Potato Casserole:


- cooking spray
- 6 tablespoons hot pepper sauce
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 8 potatoes cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 2 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend
- 1 cup crumbled cooked bacon
- 1 cup diced green onions


1. Preheat oven to 500 degrees F (260 degrees C). Spray a 9x13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
2. Heat hot pepper sauce, olive oil, garlic powder, black pepper, paprika, and salt in a large skillet over low heat, stirring until thoroughly combined. Turn off heat. Toss potatoes in batches with the hot pepper sauce mixture to coat and use a slotted spoon to transfer potatoes to the prepared baking dish. Leave remaining sauce in skillet. Mix chicken into remaining sauce and allow to marinate while potatoes roast.
3. Bake potatoes until tender inside and crisp and brown outside, 45 to 50 minutes, stirring every 10 to 15 minutes.
4. Reduce oven heat to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C).
5. Spread chicken cubes over roasted potatoes. Sprinkle Mexican cheese blend, cooked bacon, and green onions over chicken. Return to oven and bake until chicken is cooked through and the cheese topping is bubbling, about 15 minutes.
6. Bake in oven until chicken is cooked through and the cheese topping is bubbling, about 15 minutes.

This casserole freezes well, and tastes even better the next day for leftovers once the flavours have really come together! This dish does turn out to be fairly spicy, so if you don't like the heat--you'll want to pass on this one. I think this would be an excellent Super Bowl dish too if you've got a big crowd to feed!

Friday, May 29, 2015

Petting Zoo Fun

We were at the local petting zoo a week ago or so, and the boy-o still talks about petting the goats and deer almost every day! Apparently our little outing made a lasting impression on him. We have a cat at home, so the boy-o is already very familiar with the concept of "gentle petting" and it's so wonderful to see him apply that to other animals as well.

We bought a few cones of feed so he could try feeding the animals. He was pretty hesitant about it at first, but each time we've gone he's gotten better at it! He's getting pretty good at feeding the carrots and cones because the animals don't actually touch his hand that way, but he's still pretty nervous about letting them lick up seed from his palm. 

It makes me smile to see my little so excited about animals and behaving so well with them--maybe one day he'll be a veterinarian or something.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Menu Board D.I.Y Success!

I've been working on a little project for a while now in the hopes of making our lives a little easier when it comes to meal times especially with baby #2 on the way! There is nothing I hate more than staring into the fridge every night trying to think of what to make for dinner!! It drives me CRAZY. It's also not much better when we sit down and try to make up a menu for the week because it ends up with a lot of "what do you want to eat this week?" "I don't know, what do you want to eat?" and I still end up going crazy.

Then I saw this awesome menu board idea on Pinterest and decided I need to make my own to see if this actually works or not. It's a pretty simple premise and I can't wait to start trying it out to see if it makes life a little easier for us.

Basically you write out all the meals that you like to eat (this part took forever trying to think of all the food we like to make) and each meal gets written on a separate little slip of paper. I colour coded mine based on kind of meat, so all the chicken recipes are on one colour of paper, and all the ground meat dishes are on one colour of paper etc. so that when I'm choosing meals for the week it's easier to vary the meats that we're eating. Pasta dishes got a separate colour and so did sandwiches regardless of the meat used. This divide make sense to me, but you can split up yours however you want!

Once you've got all your meals written out you put them all into a little cup/holder. Each week you select 7 new slips from the cup and stick them on the clothes pegs that correspond to the days you want to eat those meals. Once you have used the little cards you take them off the clothes pegs and move them over to the other cup. Once the first cup is empty and you've gone through your entire meal rotation you simply move all the slips back over to the first cup and start again!

The best part about this system is that you can easily re-arrange meals mid-week if you need to in case something pops up you forgot about, or you need to make an appointment etc. Just pop the necessary meal slips out of the clothes pegs and re-arrange as necessary. I also made up some plain white slips, and these are for "Dinner Out/Ordering In" and "Scrounge Night" because lets face it... who wants to cook something new every single night?!

At the bottom of the menu board is the recipe index. Most of the meals that we have in our regular rotation we don't need a recipe for, but there are a few that we still check, and of course as we add new meals to our rotation we need the recipe for those until they become old favourites as well. The recipes are printed on colour coordinated paper to the meal slips to make them easier to find and they are glued onto a large index card and then laminated. (because kitchen's are a messy place!) Having the recipes right here on the board rather than having to dig through cookbooks to find them was totally worth the extra time it took to type them up.

The recipe index as mentioned is totally expandable, so as we try new dishes we like that we want to include in our menu rotation it will be super easy to open up the rings and add in new index cards as necessary.

I'm super happy with how well the board turned out and I can't wait to hang it up and start using it! I'll update again in a few weeks with how we're making out using it. Having our meals planned out for the week will also make it so much easier to organize our grocery list and help to cut down on the amount of food that gets forgotten about in the fridge and has to get tossed out.

D.I.Y for the win!

Monday, May 25, 2015

Crock Pot Butter Chicken

Since I'm trying to cook with more spices which I talked about when I posted the Basil Curry Chicken recipe before, I decided to try making my own Butter Chicken--and even better, it's a crockpot recipe, so no need to heat up the whole house slaving over the stove top!

Crockpot Butter Chicken--Ready to Eat!

The recipe was super simple, and basically amounts to simply throwing everything in the crockpot and letting it cook! I served mine over some white rice with a piece of naan. It was delicious and made an even better lunch the next day!

Crockpot Butter Chicken


  • 1.5 pound boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into bite size chunks
  • 1/2 onion, finely minced
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced or grated
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 2 teaspoons curry paste
  • 2 tablespoons garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (use less if you are not a spicy person)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
  • 1 (14 ounce) can coconut milk, regular or lite
  • 1/2 cup greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup half and half or heavy cream


1. In a large glass measuring cup or bowl mix together the coconut milk, greek yogurt and cream. Stir in the tomato paste, garlic, ginger and all the spices. Mix well.
2. Sprinkle the onion over the bottom of the crockpot. Add the chicken and then pour the coconut milk mixture over the chicken so the chicken is completely covered. 
3. Add the butter and place the lid on the crockpot. Cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 6 to 8 hours. 

Once the curry is done cooking, serve it hot over rice and with some naan for scooping and dipping (my favourite part!) This meal was Toddler Approved which is always a nice bonus! For the boy-o I mixed some of the butter chicken up with some of the rice, and put into a tortilla shell with some cheese and gave it a quick grill to make it into a burrito of sorts. He gobbled it right up and I was super happy to have leftovers for lunch the next day because it was delicious!

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Garden Adventures, Bubbles, and Sidewalk Chalk

Where we're currently living we don't have any access to a yard, but we do have a balcony. The boy-o really loves to be outside digging in my parent's garden and I wanted to create something here for him to have some space to play as well. So I created him a little garden center out on the balcony with things purchased from the local dollar store. Today was our first real chance to get outside to test it out, and we also blew some bubbles and played with the sidewalk chalk.

The little garden center is made up of a rubbermaid box, some potting soil, two fake plants in little plastic pots, a pewter bird, some marbles to search and find, a little bucket borrowed from the play kitchen, and a little shovel, rake and roller. We also got him a rainbow foam mat that he can sit/kneel on when he's working away. 

He had a wonderful time digging away and dumping the soil over the plants. He got completely covered in dirt and he loved every second of it! Clean-up was a breeze since we were outside on the balcony and I just swept up the spilled dirt and dumped it back into the container!

One of the boy-o's other favourite things to do when outside on the balcony is to blow bubbles. He's getting really good at it now, although it took him a while to get the hang of it. He loves watching them float away, and trying to catch the close ones. Sometimes he even lets mommy blow some too!

Sidewalk chalk is another big hit. Although we have a pretty confined area for him to play in, it's a concrete balcony, so the sidewalk chalk works great. Every time we get out drawing materials the boy-o demands I draw him a train almost immediately. Then he scribbles all over it adding the "hook-ups."

We get lots of nice shade on the balcony too because we have a great big leafy tree right next to us, so I foresee many more enjoyable hours spent on the balcony playing in our new little garden and blowing bubbles and destroying trains.