Wednesday, June 6, 2012

1st Trip to the Zoo

Over the weekend we took Grant to the zoo for the 1st time and I have to admit I think I was more excited than anyone.  I felt like I was a kid all over again, it was great.  Our zoo lets you bring in coolers, food, and drinks so naturally I wanted to take a picnic rather than spend a small fortune on their food.  I think my husband was even glad I brought stuff from home when he saw the price of a bottle of water was $2.75.  Craziness!
Our lunch menu consisted of tuna salad wraps, bacon ranch pasta salad, and brownie bites for dessert.  I threw the pasta salad together with no real recipe but my oh my it was so delish I could have finished the entire bowl.  Because I loved it so much I wanted to share my make-shift recipe.

Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad
1/2 box dry pasta (any kind you have in the pantry will do)
about 1/2c ranch dressing
4 strips of cooked bacon (I cooked mine on a baking sheet in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes)
1/2 red pepper chopped
1/2 yellow pepper chopped
1/4c canned or frozen and thawed peas
1/4c shredded cheese
1/2 green pepper chopped

cook your pasta using the instructions on the side of the box, drain and cool by running under cold water.  Put pasta in a bowl along with the red, yellow, and green peppers, peas, and cheese, mix together.  Chop bacon into small pieces and add to mixture alond with ranch dressing, mix thoroughly and refrigerate before serving.  Just before you want to serve your pasta salad pour a small amount (a few tablespoon fulls) of ranch dressing on top and mix together one last time.
I promise you will be going back for seconds.

The brownie bites I made using a store bought brownie mix and my mini muffin tin.  I love white chocolate and a few months back my local grocery store had a sale on white chocolate chips and I got about 8 bags for $1 each, so I add them to everything, even brownies.  I threw in about 1c of the white chocolate chips into the brownie batter before baking and it gave them just the right stuff to satisfy my sweet tooth. 

I was really worried that my super energetic little man would throw quite a few fits throughout our trip because he can't stand to sit for very long and his attention span is about 3 minutes.  I decided I needed some new toys/occupyers (is that even a word?) that he had never seen that may ward off a tantrum or two.  The crafter in me didn't contemplate buying new toys, but of course immediately started thinking of what I could make in about 24 hours since our trip was only planned about 2 days in advance.  I decided on an ISpy bag, that has been on my to-do list forever, and a fabric zoo animal  photo book.  I have seen  many different ways to make ISpy bags over the last few years but of course didn't have time to find and follow one.  So I was just winging it along with the photo book.

(I ended up having to scale down the above ISpy bag when I realized it was a smidge too big but used the same fabric and same toys)

I was really excited with how they turned out but found quite a few problems with the photo book, which is why there is no tutorial for it.  I plan on making him another one with photos of our trip and including a tutorial without all my rookie mistakes.

I actually used pictures my mom had in photo albums from when I was a kid visitin the zoo.  As you can tell this book was a quickie project and no where near perfect but it was cute watching Grant look through it.

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