Easy Pre-School Craft: Birdhouses

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Oh Georgia weather, you’re such a tease. With the jonquils blooming and yesterday’s afternoon warmth I was thinking Spring was officially here, but no, this morning is downright chilly! Come soon Spring, we are ready for you to stay! Aren’t the flowers beautiful though?

Today I wanted to share with you something so easy and fun that your pre-schooler (or probably any kid for that matter) will have fun doing. The other day Preston (my 3.5 year old son)  and I went to my favorite place, Hobby Lobby. One of the aisles we went down had all the little bare wood items. I’m sure you know what I’m talking about, this aisle has wood letters, little boxes of all kinds, small shelves, shapes of every kind…a huge assortment of plain wooden items. Well, Preston found a tiny little birdhouse that he just thought was the cutest thing. It was only a few dollars so I let him get it.

Later that afternoon he was bored so I got out the birdhouse and his paints, covered his little work table with a plastic tablecloth and let him get to work. He probably painted that little house for over an hour and had such a good time doing it. It was a great pre-school craft because it allowed him to practice making decisions–he decided which wood item he wanted, and he got to tap into his creative side and let his artistic juices flow. I feel that letting children develop their imagination and creativity is so important.

This idea may be one you already to do with your little one, but in case you hadn’t thought of it before I decided to pass the idea along. I also loved that it kept him entertained and occupied for so long, this would be the perfect thing to let your child do if you need to work on laundry or clean the house a bit. Since this is an inexpensive activity we will be doing this a lot more often too.

And now I have the cutest little birdhouse painted by my most favorite little guy. Isn’t it darling?

Easy Pre-School Craft: Bird House

I love it sitting here on my front porch, however, the other day Preston saw it out here and got really upset. Apparently he painted it to give to his baby sister for her first birthday. He’s the sweetest child I have ever known.

I brought the birdhouse back inside after I took the photo; it’s just as well though because this was how the porch was decorated for the winter. During the Christmas season in place of the birdhouse was a tiny silver glittery reindeer that was just so cute. Don’t you just love the mix of all the mediums? I think the mason jar with twine wrapped around it sitting next to a mercury glass votive on a modern looking tray with a burlap runner has a fun, interesting look.

However, I need to do some Spring decorating now that April is just around the corner. Maybe, just maybe, after Madison’s birthday on April 4th Preston will let me put the birdhouse back on the porch. 🙂

What kind of crafts do you like to do with your little ones?

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Healthy, Simple Family Friendly Meals: Meatloaf

One of my passions is cooking, I just love to be in the kitchen. Since I’ve had children though it’s not easy or practical to spend hours in the kitchen just to cook dinner. So, for this season of my life I’m focusing more on meals that are quick to prepare and are kid friendly. Raise your hand if you have a picky pre-schooler in the house? Anyone out there besides me? Finding things my three year old will willingly eat that are healthy is such a challenge. Today I’m going to share a meatloaf recipe that even he will eat {usually}.

{Side Note: Does anyone else think of Will Ferrell in Wedding Crashers yelling, “Maaa, the MEATLOAF!!” whenever they hear the word ‘meatloaf’?…Or is that just me? I’m not even a huge fan of that movie but every.single.time that quote pops in my head.}

Okay, back to the recipe. It’s simple, delicious and juicy. It DOES take a while to cook, but once it’s mixed up and in the oven it’s pretty hands off. Just add a couple of veggies and you’ve got an easy meal that’s healthy and yummy for your family. Some of my favorite vegetables that would work with this are sautĂ©ed zucchini and yellow squash. If your family is a ‘meat and potatoes’ type of family you could whip up some mashed potatoes or for a healthier spin cut up some baby red potatoes and sautĂ© them in a little extra virgin olive oil. I usually season them with some black pepper and some rosemary.

Ingredients for the Meat Loaf:

  • 1-2 Tbsp EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
  • 2-3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 sweet yellow onion
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 3/4 Cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 Cup breadcrumbs
  • black pepper
  • ketchup

Some notes on the ingredients:

I highly encourage you to purchase organic, grass-fed beef when possible as it’s the healthiest option for your family. The majority of grocery stores are selling it now, my Kroger sells is for $7 a pound which I consider a great price.

You can make your breadcrumbs but usually I just use the store-bought breadcrumbs in a can. I don’t know about you but the time I’m cooking dinner always seems to be when the baby is clingy or the pre-schooler is grumpy so I look for as many ways as possible to shave off time spent in the kitchen. Buying the breadcrumbs pre-made is one of those time savers for me.

Did you know that black pepper is an antioxidant? It also has antibacterial effects and promotes digestive health. So, if your family enjoys the taste of black pepper there’s no need to hold back on it. Limiting salt intake is always wise but we don’t have to worry about if we add too much pepper.

Now for the steps:

1. Pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees.

2. Add the EVOO to a pan and heat over medium heat.

3. Finely chop the onion and add the onion and garlic to the pan. Cook for a few minutes until the onion is translucent. Stir occasionally while cooking and watch so the garlic does not burn.

4. Take the onion and garlic mixture off the heat and allow to cool some.

5. Mix the beef, milk, egg, salt and breadcrumbs in a bowl. Add the onion and garlic to it. *You can mix the meatloaf together with a spoon, but to be honest I’ve found that it gets better mixed by hand. That’s why you need the garlic and onion to cool a little first.

6. Form the meat mixture into a loaf and put in a lightly greased loaf pan. *I don’t cook mine on a baking sheet, I use the loaf pan because I feel that the meatloaf is more juicy this way.

6. Sprinkle the top with black pepper and put it in the oven. Cook for 40 minutes.

7. Remove it from the oven and lightly coat the top with ketchup.

8. Bake it for 15 more minutes. Let it rest for about 10-15 minutes before serving it.

Well, now you have another easy family-friendly recipe to add to your cooking repertoire. I hope your family enjoys this dish as much as mine does. Bon appetit!

Do you have a kid friendly recipe you’d like to share with me? I’d love for you to include it in the comments.

“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31