More Indoor Activities Because Spring Won’t Show

I know it’s only February, but c’mon! We’re in the south, right?  This past winter has been cold, and we were just snowed in for three days with 9 inches of snow, plus an inch or two of ice.  Not exactly what I expected when we moved here!

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So since we’ve been stuck inside, I decided to make a new toy that would keep little man occupied for a while longer.  He seemed to be getting sick of all the ones he has.  Tough life, huh?  So I started with a cardboard box that I had on hand from our move, cut down one of the sides and laid it all out flat.  The goal here was to make some kind of car city that he can use all his cars on.

Cardboard City

 

Next, I drew a road in the middle of the box, and used each flap on the outside to create store fronts for a town.  The hubs says I can never be a city planner because I put the Saloon next to the school.  I obviously wasn’t paying attention, but looking back, maybe it was brilliant marketing ;)

Cardboard CityThen, I taped the flaps so they could stand up and be 3-D store fronts.  I only did it with half so that little man could get in there and play.

Cardboard CityAnd there’s the finished project! Just took about 45 minutes, some drawing, and 3 different colored sharpies.  Lucas isn’t that into it yet, but he likes playing on it so hopefully his interest will grow!

Cardboard City(He wasn’t very impressed, apparently!) ;)

What do you do on days you’re stuck inside?

 

 

Homemade Salsa- Recipe

I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, but I LOVE Mexican food.  Whether we go out to get it or cook it in, it’s always agreed upon by the hubs and I.  And in my recent mission to take all processed food out of our house and try to make most of it myself, I knew that salsa had to be at the top of the list.  We use it a lot, whether it’s mixed in with my taco meat, paired with tortilla chips for a snack, in the crockpot with some chicken, or even eating a bit alone. Not that I do that…  Don’t judge.

Anyways- I found this recipe and decided to make it since it seemed easy enough.  It’s supposed to be copycat Chili’s salsa, but I’ve always found their salsa to be a little bland, so we customized it a little more.

Homemade Salsa

Ingredients:

8-12 whole tomatoes (since it’s winter here, I used whole canned tomatoes, drained)
1/2 white onion
1 jalapeno
1/3 bunch of cilantro
3 cloves of garlic (or garlic powder)
Lime juice to taste
Salt to taste

Simplest recipe ever, just put everything in the food processor and blend.  Now, you could add a little sugar, as the original recipe calls for.  I don’t think it needs it though, and I can’t eat sugar during Whole30 anyways so I skipped it.  I think there’s too much sugar hidden in our foods as it is, salsa doesn’t need to be sweet!

Homemade Salsa

 

Here’s where the tasting begins.  At first ours was a little bland, so I added more salt and a little more cilantro and jalapeno.  Then it ended up being a little spicy, so I added another can of tomatoes and tweaked the rest of the ingredients accordingly.  Overall, it took about 10 minutes (including prep) to get the right flavor for us.  Amazing, right?

Homemade Salsa

Next step: devour.  Go ahead, I won’t think less of you ;)

My next challenge is going to be making tortilla chips out of corn flour I picked up at the store.  Let’s see how that one goes!

 

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Overnight Oats- Recipe {Gluten Free}

Where does the time go?  I swear, it feels like the past few years have flown by.  The hubs and I are coming up on our 3rd wedding anniversary in a couple weeks! We are going to Myrtle Beach for the week to celebrate :) But it doesn’t feel like it’s been 3 years already, nor does it feel like enough time has passed that my precious baby is a 1 1/2 year old toddler now.

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Adorable, right?

Anyways, since it feels like my days have been blending together, I’ve decided to do an experiment and save time where I can, by preparing an easy breakfast that’s healthy, that we can eat quickly.  I feel like breakfast is the easiest meal to do that with since in my house, at least, mornings are busy and eating the same thing doesn’t bother me.

Enter Overnight Oats.  5 minute prep time, and ready by morning.

Overnight Oats

Ingredients:

1 quart mason jar
2 cups gluten free rolled oats (or any oats, just try to avoid quick oats since they’re more processed)
2 cups almond milk (or regular milk or soy milk)
2 cups frozen fruit (I used both mixed berries and tropical blend)
almonds, pecans, walnuts for topping (optional)

I like to layer everything so it’s easier to mix in the morning.  I start with 1 cup of oats, 1 cup of fruit, 1 cup of milk, and repeat.

Overnight Oats

Once it’s done, just store in the fridge until morning!  You can shake it up good if you’d like, but make sure to stir good in the morning once the fruit is thawed.

Overnight OatsI like to heat mine up in the microwave, but it’s also good cold!  Complete with a cup of coffee or tea, and some nuts on top, it’s great!

The hubs loves this because it’s so easy to make for a quick breakfast before work.  Good and healthy, and since it’s got fruit in it, it doesn’t need sweetener.  We’re getting rid of excess sugar in this house ;)

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Roasted Garlic Cabbage Steaks- Recipe (Paleo, Gluten Free, Vegetarian)

I know that cabbage is not usually a favorite food.  I personally hate cooking it because it makes the house stink. But with this recipe (inspired by this Pin), the house didn’t smell like nasty cabbage, it smelled like delicious garlic!  I don’t know about you, but I love the smell of garlic cooking.

Garlic Roasted Cabbage Paleo Gluten Free Vegetarian Meal

Ingredients:

1 head of cabbage
2 cloves of garlic
olive oil
salt & pepper to taste

Garlic Roasted Cabbage Paleo Gluten Free Vegetarian MealPreheat oven to 400 degrees.

Remove outer layer of cabbage and toss, and then rinse the head of cabbage.  Slice it into thick slices (I usually get 6 or so) from top to bottom.  Lay cabbage on greased baking sheet.  Dice up garlic finely and sprinkle on cabbage, followed by a light drizzle of olive oil and some salt and pepper to taste.  Follow that up with a silicone brush, making sure that all of the ingredients are mixed well and spread evenly over the cabbage.

Bake in oven for 25 minutes, then flip and do the same to the other side.  The outer edges will end up being browned and crispy, but it’s oh so delicious!

Garlic Roasted Cabbage Paleo Gluten Free Vegetarian MealI was honestly surprised with how easy, healthy and delicious this turned out.  It has the faintest taste of cabbage, and mostly roasted garlicky goodness.   I’ve since made this an additional two times, I just couldn’t help it.  The ingredients are so cheap, and healthy.

Garlic Roasted Cabbage Paleo Gluten Free Vegetarian MealI serve it with a side of rice, topped with whatever we’ve got in the pantry.  This particular night it was Tikka Masala sauce for an Indian flare.

Definitely try this meal! I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised :)

 

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Cabin Fever

Brrrrr! It’s been pretty chilly here y’all! I know we’ve got nothing on you northerners, with your negative temperatures going on, but its still been COLD here. Too cold to go outside. Too cold to go for a walk. Too cold to do anything but stay inside with a toddler, going crazy because there’s only so much you can to keep them occupied inside. What’s a mother to do?

Go on Pinterest of course! ;)

So I came across a few ideas such as edible paints (for the child who’s still eating EVERYTHING. Cardboard included. Can’t wait to do this, however, this is NOT an indoor activity), homemade play dough, cloud dough, and others. The quickest and easiest one I could throw together was this one that includes an empty milk jug and clothes pins. We ended up using some pipe cleaners and little bolts from his tool set as well.

indoor toddler activities

All you need is an empty milk jug (thoroughly washed) and some small trinkets that little one can put inside.

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This literally kept him occupied for at least an hour. That’s forever in toddler time! And the best part is that he keeps playing with it day after day! Finding new things that fit in it, and also learning that there’s some things that don’t fit (like blocks, tennis balls, the cat). He’s getting the hang of it ;)

indoor toddler activities

I’m excited to try some more of these ideas! I’m hesitant to do the play dough and cloud dough because I just don’t trust that he won’t eat them. I know they won’t hurt him, but it kind of defeats the purpose! I do love my little piggy though :)

What are some activities you do to keep your toddlers occupied when it’s too cold to go outside?