Sunday, January 27, 2013

Winter Fun Idea & Menu Monday

I had so much fun sharing my menu plan last week, I thought it would be fun to make Menu Monday a semi-regular part of my blog! You can expect to get a Minnesota Monday or a Menu Monday here (and sometimes both!) at the beginning of each week.

Today is one of those days when I'll be sharing a little of both. I've included links to the recipes I made from last week's menu at the bottom of this post.

I also wanted to share a fun idea to keep those (Minnesota) winter blues away. My twins are almost three years old and they both love trains. As the temperature plummeted here last week, and I knew we wouldn't get outside as much as we'd like, I came up with an idea to keep those little bodies busy inside.

They played for hours and wore off so much energy!
I made a train track around our living room! The boys spent hours, over the course of five days, playing on that track. Sometimes they were the train, sometimes they brought out their big cars and pushed them around the room, and once or twice they had my kitchen stools lined up as the train. They would call "all aboard" and we'd sit on their stool-train and pretend we were going to far away places.

It was a lot of fun and just cost a few dollars for a roll of masking tape.

My two pieces of advice: first, try to use the thicker masking tape (I couldn't find it at our local Wal-Mart, so I used the thinner stuff, which I had to use more of) and second, don't leave it on for more than five or six days. I wasn't sure how hard it would be to get off the carpet - I'm thinking if it stayed down longer, it might get sticky and harder to take off (just guessing - I didn't have a problem with it getting sticky).

The piano bench was a "tunnel"
A tip for removing the tape: I used a butter knife to get under the tape - it was a little hard to get under with my fingers - but easy to get up with the butter knife.

Next time we'll experiment with other track formations!

What about you? What ideas do you have to keep the little ones busy during the cold winter months? If you don't have kiddos, or you don't live in a cold climate, what are your best memories of "homemade" fun from childhood?

~ ~ ~ ~
Here are the links to my recipes from last week's menu:

Lemon Garlic Chicken (Slow Cooker)
Easy Stir Fry
Nana's BBQ Sauce (over ribs in slow cooker)
Wild Rice Confetti Style Soup
Chicken Corn Chowder


  1. I adore the train track idea- brilliant! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Very creative! I love it! My kids are a little older, but I remember those fun train days! Actually, they might still go for it now! Haha! My go-to "I'm bored" idea is fort building! :)

  3. Amanda - it was so much fun to hear them giggling in the living room! Well worth the couple bucks and few minutes it took to make.

    Lacie - my boys are just getting into the fort building idea! I'll have to remember that this week, as it looks like the temp is going down again on Thursday. :( Thanks for stopping in!

  4. What a great idea, Gabrielle! My little boys would have loved that. :) On cold winter days, my older boys keep themselves busy by making huge Lego Villages. Yesterday they also made homemade coloring books.

    The recipes look yummy!

  5. Awww, fun stuff. My kids loved to build tents everywhere...making like a village in the game room. What a mess, but it sure kept them busy.

  6. That's awesome! You are such a good mommy. :)

    Um, my parents didn't have to do much to entertain me. Just give me a book or paper and crayons and I'd either read or write. I was easy. :D

  7. Heidi - legos sound fun! My boys have the big Duplos set, but they don't make anything at this point, they just throw them around the house! This week the weather looks a lot better - but it's supposed to plummet again this weekend, so I'll be looking for ideas to keep them busy.

    Sherrinda - I'm going to show them how to make a fort today out of blankets. Hopefully that keeps them busy for a couple of hours!

    Lindsay - my daughters were SOOOOOO much easier to entertain. They loved to sit for hours with pens, markers and paper. My oldest, especially, can go to her room for hours on end and emerge with a well-thought out story in hand. The boys - they're a different breed! :)

  8. Such a cute idea! My boys love building forts and they have a small tent they play with. I also break out the play-do and paints on rainy days. :-)

  9. You are so clever! I'm a fan of of laying down newspaper on the kitchen table then covering it with white butcher papers. Paints, markers, crayons, glue...whatever. They would go to town for hours on a big ole table! I've also done it on the kitchen floor. It also helped keep them from coloring on the table, walls, floor other times.

    "Okay, only when Mama puts the paper down." They obeyed pretty well.

    Now that my kids are older, we play board games and card games together. :)

  10. That's the coolest idea, Gabe. I'm going to tell my sister about it...I can see Ollie having a blast with a homemade train track. :)

    We used to make tents and forts out of sheets, blankets and many kids do. Always fun...except for the time we draped a blanket over a lamp and the blanket started burning...true story...thankfully my mom saw it before we started an actual fire. :) There was smoke, but no flames. :)

  11. My son would love that! We'll have to try it out.

  12. We used to have a wooden train set that we kept adding to and it kept the boys going for hours!
    Oh, and Lego. All 3 Rubbermaids of it.
    Blanket forts. Shoot the Barbies. (Yes. The boys are MUCH older now.) And then new game "if you want brownies, then make them yourself".

  13. Oh Gabe, how fun!! I love these glimpses into what a great mom you are and how dedicated you are to your family. Keep it up!!

  14. Jessica - my boys have just discovered the joy of play-doh! One of my boys loves to make a "muddy puddle" and put one of his matchbox car in it to get "stuck," then his tow truck comes to the rescue! They have great imaginations. :) I love your ideas to keep little people busy on rainy days.

    Jessica - I remember the story of the "haunted house" you told! I'm surprised your children didn't get into more trouble with you as their mama! :) I seem to remember some children in your story drawing a purple monster, or something like that, on the walls!! You crack me up. :)

    Melissa - I can just imagine burning a blanket over a lamp! My father-in-law is an orthopedic surgeon and when my husband was little he wanted to give his favorite teddy an x-ray like his dad. He held the teddy up to a lamp and melted the back of the bear! We still have that bear to this day and the back is all crunchy. :)

    Julie - I hope your little guy enjoys it! Let me know how it works out.

    Jennifer - I have no problem imagining all the trouble your boys have caused you over the years. :) Shooting Barbies - that one made me giggle. I'm sure the day is coming when the boys will become little bothers to their sisters - instead of little brothers. Right now I think the girls view them as "babies" - but the day is coming...

    Donna - thank you. Some days it's easier to be creative than others! I appreciate your encouragement. :)


Your comments are my favorite part of blogging!