Thursday, February 20, 2014

Toopy and Binoo

Have you heard of Toopy and Binoo yet?
Toopy and Binoo™ is an animated series that follows the adventures of Toopy, a tall, funny and friendly mouse, and his best friend Binoo, a tiny, clever and lovable white cat. 
Your children will  laugh out loud as the charming and endearing friends explore their colorful, whimsical world. Binoo, always logical and perceptive, is the perfect sidekick for Toopy and his vivid imagination and spontaneous zest for life. 

This series inspires preschoolers ages 2 to 6 to expand their creativity while reinforcing positive values such as friendship, good manners, creative thinking, and humor.  My daughter is 6 and she really enjoyed the DVD that was sent to us to preview.  She also enjoyed watching a few episodes on their youtube channelThe Toopy and Binoo TV YouTube channel features more than 100 full, five-minute episodes, each with laughs and stories the whole family will enjoy.  The episodes are funny in an age-appropriate way.   Toopy and Binoo teach their viewers daily life skills and encourage them to use their imagination.

Full Disclosure: We received a promotional package that included a Binoo and Toopy doll as well as a book and DVD.  My 6 year old daughter really enjoyed reading the book aloud and watching the DVD as well as many episodes on Youtube.  Molly loved the dolls so much that she ran off with them.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Snow days and quinoa chocolate chip cookies

This winter has been a doozy!  Snow, ice, snow and more snow!  It has been a winter wonderland. I am not sure who likes the snow more, the kids or Molly, our dog!  She can pull them through the snow on the sled. It is so funny.

We have spent a lot of time playing in the snow this week.  But you know what happens after playing in the snow? You are very hungry!
Diane is perfecting her pizza technique on our new pizza maker.
The pizzas on the Breville pizza maker are still coming out incredible.
To satisfy the munchies today I made some quinoa chocolate chip cookies that the kids said were delicious.  Thank goodness most of them do not read this blog or they might not have even tried them.  I hope you know how to make quinoa with no effort in your rice cooker.  This is what my cooked quinoa looks like.

They are really good, and quite healthy.  Ours are almost all gone.  And with more snow coming, I better start another batch!
Quinoa Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 and 1/2 cups sprouted grain whole wheat flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup applesauce
2T coconut oil
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup egg beaters or vegan egg substitute
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 cup cooled cooked quinoa
1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
3/4 cup chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 375
Combine dry ingredients (flour, salt,baking powder and soda) in one small bowl.
Combine wet ingredients (applesauce, oil, sugar, maple syrup, egg, and extracts) in another bowl. 
Slowly combine wet and dry together.  Stir gently to combine, then stir in quinoa, coconut and chocolate chips.
Bake for 13 minutes, until slightly brown on the edges. Enjoy with a glass of your favorite milk.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Italian Pizza made at home!

Our family loves pizza. It is ridiculous how much pizza we consume each month.  No matter what recipe I make, no matter, how I cook it, the pizza we get from a brick oven restaurant always tastes better.
Recently I got an email from Williams Sonoma featuring a new product from Breville. I have many Breville products, and they are all awesome.  I deleted the email, only to read about this same pizza maker on a blog two months later.  Somehow Williams Sonoma must have been reading my mind, since that same day they sent me a coupon for 15% off any item in their online store.  I showed the son who is a chef, and he said buy it.
The Breville Pizza Maker is pretty amazing.  It has a pizza stone that can be removed and cleaned.  The crust that comes out of these pizzas is incredible!!!  I have no idea how this works, but it is awesome.
A few warnings about this pizza maker
*You will consume too much pizza
*You will make a big mess while creating your pizzas
*You might set off your smoke detector if you do not clean your pizza stone.  And then your dog will completely freak out at the beeping of the smoke detector.
*You might inhale many amazing pizzas in a short period of time. You have been warned!
*It will be hard to get a good photo of a pizza, because they are eaten too quickly.
What is your favorite kitchen gadget? 

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Take your child to the Library Day plus a GIVEAWAY!

Yesterday was Take Your Child to the Library day.  If you went to the library yesterday, great job! If not, you still can go another day.  We love the library.  We reserve our books online, and go pick them up as soon as we get the magic email that they are ready.  Of course, we also browse all the new books in the kids area.  The library is one of the best free spots around.

Now that Diane is reading on her own, and really getting into a groove with reading, the library is even more important and we go more often.

Back in September we attended a We Teach Workshop locally.  We learned a ton, got out of the house, and Diane even got to decorate her own cupcake.
Win win, right?  In our swag bag, we received a free three month trial to an app we had never heard of before, Bookboard.  We downloaded it as soon as we got home.  The app allowed us to customize the reading experience as well as find age appropriate books for 3 of my kids.  My older kids have not used it as much, probably because the new 6 year old avid reader is not letting them!  Diane can choose if she wants to read a book herself or if she wants to have a voice read to her.  After each book she reads, she unlocks another level, and after 3 levels, a NEW book!  Unlocking the new books is really exciting when you are six.  There is a nice variety on the easy reading level.  We really have not looked closely at the harder books, but we will.  In honor of Take your child to the Library Day, Bookboard was nice enough to give me a one year subscription to their service. Can you say best gift EVER? We have been busy reading and unlocking books in the past week. And guess what??? Bookboard also gave me a one year subscription to share with one of my readers.

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