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Monday, March 31, 2014

Smoothie Packets

I was digging through last years food blog pictures and I stumbled on this baby. I totally forgot to post this! Dang it! But I found it and now I can share it with you, what was lost is now found!
 I started making smoothie packets last year. I LOVE being able to just throw in different fruit combinations into the baggies and choose the next morning. This saves A LOT of time! Just grab a smoothie packet out of the freezer- add in milk, almond milk or soy milk, blend and go! No mess and no fuss!

Supplies to make your first smoothie packets
and Green apples (peeled and cut)
Old Fashioned Rolled Oats
Snack sized plastic bags

Wash and cut your fruit. Place different combinations of the cut fruit into the snack bags, add in your oats and zip up.
(I add about 1/4 c. rolled oats into each packet)

Throw the packets into the freezer and enjoy them the many mornings or snacks to come!

Other Packet Fruits I love using:
Red Apples - peeled and cut
Orange slices - peeled

Linking up here

Friday, March 28, 2014

Healthy Homemade Wheat Tortillas

Have you ever made homemade tortillas? Did you know they are CRAZY easy, and taste SO much better than store bought? Our family loves them so much, it seems like I make them every other day. I make a stack to keep in the fridge for lunch, snacks and dinner. DELISH! I wanted to attempt a tastier wheat tortilla, and by George I did it! These were fabulous! We had them for dinner with our Crock Pot Black Bean Chicken. MMmmm... Take a look!

Healthy Homemade Wheat Tortillas

1 1/2 c. Wheat flour
3/4 c. unbleached flour (it makes a difference in taste)
1 tsp. Salt
1/4 c. Olive Oil (makes a BIG difference in taste)
3/4 c. Water

Mix the flours and salt together. Add in the olive oil and water- mix mix mix. Roll the dough into small balls. Place you thinnest Teflon pan on the stove on medium/medium high heat. Dust your rolling surface with the unbleached flour or wheat flour- whichever you prefer- and start rolling out each dough ball. Place the rolled out tortilla on the hot pan and let cook. When bubbles start to form, flip onto the other side to cook. When done set aside and cook another.

-this recipe yields between 10-15 tortillas

*The thinner you make them the less "durable" they are for holding "fillings" for tacos and such.
*You can always use a griddle to cook lots of tortillas all at once

Have you tried our Healthy Homemade Flour Tortillas?
These are our favorite- but now they have a rival!

Linking up here

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Twine Wrapped Easter Eggs - Easter Round-Up

These Twine Wrapped Easter Eggs are the perfect combination of  "rustic elegance" for Easter decorations I wanted to achieve.
The twine adds such a fun texture without giving taking away from the shape of the egg. They're kid proof and such a fun accent to add to any Easter decor. They don't take long to whip out and glue together. Grab your hot glue gun, twine and plastic eggs. Let's Craft ourselves CRAZY!

Here's how to make the Twine Wrapped Easter Eggs!

Hot Glue Gun
Plastic Easter Eggs

Place a dot of glue on the bottom of the plastic egg and make the twine a "loop."
Place a line of glue around the loop and start wrapping the twine around and around.

Keep adding glue as you wrap the egg with twine.
Continue wrapping and gluing, wrapping and gluing until you've covered the whole egg!
End the covered egg with another loop of twine.

Grab another plastic egg and repeat!

Check out these other DARLING Easter Ideas!

1) Cadbury Mini Egg Easter Sundae by Whistle and Ivy
2) Tangram Bunny Art by Persia Lou
3) Fall Wreath Transformed for Spring by Homemade Ginger
5) Baker's Twine Carrot by Keeping it Simple
6) Cross-Stitch Bunny Canvas by Cutesy Crafts
7) Twine Wrapped Easter Eggs by Cook and Craft Me Crazy

Linking up here

Monday, March 24, 2014

Date Jar- Wedding or Anniversary Gift Idea

We recently made this gift for some friends of ours who just got married. I say "we" because my husband had to help me with all of the date ideas! This was definitely a team effort. We had so much fun writing down dates we've loved doing over the years. It brought back some fun memories. This was VERY simple and fun! I even gave you the list of dates we wrote on the tongue depressors so you don't have to think of any if you don't want to! 
I wrote in the card, "It gets harder to come up with fun/ crazy dates once your married, so this should help! 2 rules of the game. 1, you have to go on a date at least once a month. 2, when you choose a "stick" you HAVE to do it! Have fun!" 

Take large tongue depressor sticks and write with different colored "thin sharpies" the list of dates as shown below. Add in your favorites as well!

List of Dates - 
(My husband and I haven't done all of these- we came up with some just for kicks and giggles)

Go to the park and cloud watch - like the movie "Up"
Whipped Cream Costume Party
Go have a Picnic
Take a walk through a park
Make 2 doz. cookies 1 for you and one for a friend  deliver in secret
Play truth or dare
Play pictionary or Charades
Go grab ice cream comes and take a walk
Build a fort
Go on a Bike Ride
Go share the love and buy flowers for someone you know and deliver in secret
Go Camping
Mini Golfing
Go Dancing
Finger Paint and relate each other's most embaressing moments
Go buy a frisbee and  play catch at a park
Have a costume Party
go sledding -if snowing - or Swimming if warm
Drive on the busiest street singing at the top of your lungs with the windows down
Give each other massages
Go tubing- in the snow or down a river
Write each other a love poem
Go climb a tree and eat apples
Have an "UN-Birthday" Party
Go Lingerie Shopping together
Go to the gym together
Play a board game
Have a Blast from the Past night and listen to your favorite childhood music (watch music videos)
Play Strip Poker - whoo hoo!
Go to a drive in movie
Make and decorate cupcakes
Go visit people in a Nursing Home
Go Fishing in the Dark
Go skinny Dipping
Go play catch
Just Makeout- nothing more- nothing less
Make a Baby
Go star gazing
Go build a fire and roast marshmallows to make smores
Have a Blast from the Past night. Make your favorite childhood food - mac n' cheese - spaghettios etc.

Place all of the written tongue depressors in a quart sized jar and wrap with colored twine. Add whatever embellishments you want! So cute and fun!

Linking up here

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Crafty Carrots

These Crafty Carrots are such a fun way to welcome Spring and Easter, and best of all- they're kid proof! They're not glass or wooden Easter decorations I don't want touched, they're soft and playful! The kids and I have already pretended to be rabbits and cook with our carrots- not to mention we had a carrot fight too. What makes these so fun? They're made from an old T-Shirt and stuffed like a pillow! Awesome! Super fun, soft and cute! I don't mind at all when my kids playing with these decorations!

Make a carrot "pattern" from a piece of typing paper.
Take your old orange T-Shirt or orange fabric and fold it over, cutting out 2 "carrots" at one time.

Even if there is writing on the shirt, the inside of the shirt does not, so you can simply make sure the writing doesn't show.
Here are my carrot "pairs."

Start by kissing the 2 "good" sides of fabric together. (bad sides facing out)
Start at the top and sew around leaving the top of the carrot open.

Sew all around leaving the top open for stuffing

turn the "carrot pillow" right side out

Now stuff with pillow stuffing

Grab some "greenery" leaves from silk flowers- either remove some excess leaves or buy greenery.

With your hot glue gun ready, fold the top of the carrot fabric inside with the stuffing

Place a "glop" of hot glue making sure it's on both sides of the orange fabric so it doesn't come apart later

Press the greenery leaf inside and pinch until adhered.

Repeat until all pillow Crafty Carrots are done!

Linking up here

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Cake Plate Birthday Card

Here is yet another card I made quite quickly while I had a card day with my friend. This card was based all around fun stickers I had previously purchased. See how cool the cake on a plate sticker is? I wanted that to be the center focus! This may look hard but it's very simple. 
It makes me hungry for chocolate cake and mint ice cream!

Here's how I pulled it off:

I took a large circle punch I had and punched out the solid pink.
I traced a glass jar and cut out the purple ring behind it.
I traced another smaller circle and cut out the turquoise dot.
From tracing and cutting the turquoise dot, I had scraps and used it on top!
I glued it all down, and put the Cake Plate sticker on top. 
I added the strawberry on the side so you would be able to see it when you opened up the card!

So fun!

Linking up here

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Clay in the Master's Hands

Every once in a while I like to dabble in a little poetry. Sometimes I search and search for the perfect poem of what I want to say and my search is often unsuccessful. In cases like this I try my hardest to make the one I intended to find. I'm giving a short talk on Sunday at church and made this for the occasion. 

 I took many art courses throughout school and even went on an art trip my senior year to Italy and Greece. It was an amazing experience. Whenever I find myself looking at all forms of art I often see the God given talent to his amazing children. As we harness the talents we've been given and share them with those around us we truly bless the lives and spirits of those we associate with. 
We can all be looked at as "art" at it's finest. We are constantly being shaded, molded, smoothed and softened through the experiences and lessons we learn everyday.
May we all be willing to share the talents and experiences we live through with each other, to learn and grow together as God's children.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Homemade Ketchup

I know everyone will laugh when they read why I had to make Homemade Ketchup. 
I was so excited to have a friend and her little girl over for a little lunch/play date. I wanted to make them some yummy Chicken & Brown Rice Bowls with our Stir-Fry Sauce. I started to look at everything I had and realized I didn't have the ketchup for the Stir-Fry Sauce! OH NO! What was I to do? My mind started going wild, I remembered a movie my mom gave me, (I love old movies) "Meet me in St. Louis" with Judy Garland (if you live under a rock and don't know who Judy Garland is, she's Dorothy from Wizard of Oz). I remember on that movie they made homemade ketchup, so why can't I?! 
I had a VERY small sample of ketchup we took home from Chic Filet one day and I started to read the ingredients listed below. It looked simple enough, so why not?! Why not give 'er a try! 
I started and tasted, then added, then tasted, and tasted again. It turned out GREAT! I was so pleased!
I couldn't believe how easy it was! I had everything on hand, SCORE! 
I might make this for the 4th of July, just to change it up a bit! Check it out!

Homemade Ketchup

1 can Tomato Sauce
1 T. White Vinegar
1/4 tsp. Onion Salt
2 T. Sugar

Add all together in a small sauce pan. Simmer on Medium/Low until desired consistency. I simmered mine about 20 minutes to let it cook down, so it was a little thicker.

*Just like on the movie "Meet me in St. Louis" they go back and forth having everyone taste it and ask, "Too sweet? Too Sour?"
Everyone has different tastes- add more sugar or vinegar to your liking! 

Linking up here

Friday, March 14, 2014

Strawberry Banana Smoothie

Hey all! I made this Strawberry Banana Oatmeal Smoothie for a guest post last month for my friend Amber on her blog Dessert Now, Dinner Later. Amber put together a whole month dedicated to Healthy Food, Healthy You. It was AWESOME! This is what I made!
I make smoothies or shakes almost every morning for breakfast. It's a great way to get your fruit and dairy servings fast. The things I love about smoothies, is they're quick put together and fast to clean up! I drink this on the go, of course sharing sips along the way with my kids. This is our all time favorite! It goes down fast and stays with you 'til lunch!
We hope you like it as much as we do!

Strawberry Banana Oatmeal Smoothie:

1 1/2 c. frozen Banana Slices and Frozen Strawberries
1 c. Milk (we use 1%)
2-3 T. Old Fashioned Rolled Oats

Combine all in a blender and mix until smooth. Sip through a straw or gulp with a spoon. DELISH!

*Don't let the smoothie sit too long without drinking. This is natural fruit and it will brown - brown smoothies aren't very appealing to drink.

Need some more ideas on healthy smoothies and shakes? Check these out!

Linking up here

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Easy Cheesy Pasta Bake

My friend Lesa recently introduced me to a new way of lunch for my kids! I have an overage of spaghetti sauce and needed more ideas to use it up. Lesa was telling me how her daughter and a few of her friends come over for lunch everyday and this is one of her staples to make them. I honestly didn't believe her when she told me how easy it was, until I tried it! WOW! Talk about SIMPLE and DELICIOUS! My little June (3) is pretty picky and never asks for more food, but she did with this! That is going down in history! This is definitely a recipe I will make over and over again.

Easy Cheesy Pasta Bake

2  c. macaroni noodles - cooked in salted water- but not all the way done - still a little chewy
(You can use whatever noodles you want - I used what I had on hand)
Drain the almost done noodles and pour in 1 jar of spaghetti sauce (26 oz)
In a greased 8x8 pan place half of the sauced noodles
Sprinkle mozzarella cheese over that layer
Pour the remainder of the sauced noodles over the cheese.
Sprinkle more cheese on top to finish.

Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes.


Linking up here

Monday, March 10, 2014

Chicken Asparagus Brown Rice Bowl

I love one pan wonders, I believe I've said that before. I especially love them for a quick lunch. Just throw whatever meat and veggie you have on hand, and toss it over some brown rice. DELISH! Done in under 10 minutes, and easy to clean up! My husband and I have been on an Asparagus kick for the past couple weeks. We made the Light Asparagus Fettuccine, and we just saute some up in olive oil and eat them like they're going out of style! Check out my latest "stir-fry" version using our new found love, Asparagus!

Chicken Asparagus Brown Rice Bowl

Take 1 chicken breast and slice it VERY thin. Place chicken strips on a  skillet with a dash of olive oil. Start cooking on about med/high heat
Sprinkle some salt, garlic powder, onion salt, and parsley flakes on top of the chicken as it's cooking

Cut up some asparagus into small bite size pieces and throw those into the cooking chicken. Keep stirring or flipping the food in the pan as it cooks. 

This is where you can get creative... Add in

Into the skillet as it's cooking. I like my veggies a little crispier- so I only cook them with the chicken for 3-5 minutes. If you want them softer, simply cook them longer.

Place in a bowl of cooked brown rice and drizzle some of our favorite Stir-Fry Sauce over top!

Linking up here

Friday, March 7, 2014

Blackberry Parfait

I'm pretty sure I just found my new addiction for breakfast. This blackberry parfait was unbelievable! I tried not only a new yogurt, but a new berry and my new Chunky Nutty Healthier Granola! HOLY YUM! Put all of this together and you have a perfect petite breakfast, snack or dessert. DELISH!

Bottom layer: Pina Colada Yogurt - DELISH - greek, vanilla, plain whatever your heart desires
Middle Layer - Black Berries, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, any berry really.

Why layer like this? So the granola doesn't touch the yogurt- it would get soggy

Layer in a jar with a sealed lid and take this to work, or on the go!

Linking up here

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Black and White Birthday Card

I recently had a friend over for a card making day. We cranked out some super cute ones! I wanted to share a few of my creations over the next couple weeks. I enjoyed this one so much because it works for both genders and of all ages. I can totally see myself giving this to my older sisters, or to either of my parents. I can even see me giving this to my "teen" nieces or cousins. Black and white is very gender neutral!
This was very simple but looks like a lot of work from all of the different patterns of paper. Check it out!

I always like to purchase cards that have envelopes to match. I purchase cards that already have a solid print on them of some sort to go off right from the start. The black and white hounds tooth print in the very back was how the cards came! 
Next I took a layer of "reverse new paper" looking scrapbook paper and cut out a rectangle, smaller than the card so I could see the hounds tooth. 
I then cut out the black and white polka dot rectangle.
I stamped my happy birthday stamp on a paper and cut it out.
I used a craft punch for the black design behind the birthday sign
I glued it all down and placed a black and white strip of Washi tape over the layers to add more dimension. 

Wasn't that easy?! I made this 4 times over because I liked it so much and wanted extras!

(Here's a funny thing for you. If you start to read the "reverse newspaper" looking scrapbook paper, you can guess what kind of scrapbook pad I got it from. Yup, a Halloween one! ha ha, it says "haunted spots" and "twilight superstitions" but, it's not like people actually read the scrapbook paper! That's why I didn't mind using it. It still looks great!)

On the inside, I took my black and white Washi tape and cup the thick strip in half. I used it to add a little design inside the card. You can choose to do this or not.

Linking up here

Monday, March 3, 2014

Wake me up when it's Tuesday

I took this picture of my little 18 month old Connor just the other day. Can you tell he had reached his fill of a Monday morning? Little did you know this is exactly how I felt! I thought the caption totally captured his attitude and mine from the morning we had just endured. 
Let me share with you a few of our endeavors in just a few short LONG hours...

4:30 am - I gasp and get scared to death, as I wake up to a little boy breathing and watching me next to my bed as his tiny finger goes up my nose to wake me up.
I hear a soft...
Maa... milll! 
(Mom, MILK!)
I grabbed him a bottle of milk and put him back to bed.

4:58 am- I wake up to a little boy banging his empty bottle on my head
Connor - Maa! Milll!
Me- Connor, you just had milk...
I look at my phone and am BLINDED by the light and see it's 4:59 am

(My husband gets up at this time to do school work so he doesn't take away from family time in the evenings- we're so lucky)

Me- Connor, it's time for bed. It's too early to wake up, you just had milk, lets go to bed.
I took him back to bed as he started whining in my arms. (he did not want to go back to bed)
I turned on his nursery CD he falls asleep to every night, praying that would help!

5:30 am. My little 3 year old June comes in and says, "Mom... iss time to wate up!
I roll over once again to be blinded by my phone light to see that it's just half an hour later. 
Me - June, it's too early to wake up, can you come and lay down by me?
I roll out of bed, hit my knee on the dresser and stumble out to the family room. I feel around for the remote controls in the blackness of the morning, and turn on a movie.
I lay next to her with our blanket to cuddle and I lay my head back to try to catch 5 more minutes of shut eye.

Just as my drool is reaching my chin, I wake up to a little boy slapping my legs. 
I hurry and wipe the drool off to see that it's 6:00 am. Bless my soul he fell back asleep until 6! I wish my daughter had! 
We watch the movie together as I doze in and out catching 2 minutes here and 2 minutes there, always waking up to the sound of a crash, someone yelling or a dog barking.
(Just so you get the right image we were watching 101 Dalmatians- note to self - not a good movie to watch early in the morning when you want to catch some extra ZZZ's)

6:45 am- The sun is breaking and there is no point to me trying to sleep when all I hear are dogs barking through my TV.

I get up while the kids are still watching the movie, and start to make breakfast. My little girl always wants pancakes so I whipped some up with some scrambled eggs.  

They started eating just as the movie was ending.

(At this time my husband left for work, hugs and kisses exchanged)

I look over as I'm washing the batter bowl out to see Connor taking the cut pieces of "syrupy" pancake and rubbing them in his hair! AHHH! Dang it! BATH TIME!

I grab Connor, and leave June to her perfectly clean eating as she always has done, to take Connor for a quick hose down.

As we are walking down the hallway, my arm feels a little warm...
(If this has happened to you, you know what the warmth was...)

I stand him up to take off his pajamas, and slowly un-zip to a horror film. Some how he wiggled his diaper off through his full length fleece onesie and had gone #1 and #2 inside, all over his back and down his legs.

EEEEWWWW! (Oh the joy's of motherhood)

I grab baby wipes and dig in. (I don't want him sitting in his floating filth.) I wipe and wipe and wipe and wipe. Until all the yuck I see is off. 

I put him in the warm bath and start to scrub. From the syrup in his hair, to the yuck on his bum and legs. I was determined to get this boy squeaky clean. 

I got him out, dried, lotioned, new diaper (the thought crossed my mind to duct tape his diaper on- but I resisted) and clean clothes. 

What a clean little boy. Life was going my way!

My sweet, innocent, clean little girl June placed her plate into the sink when she was done, and decided she wanted a drink of juice. She grabbed a cup on the counter, opened the refrigerator and took out the juice. She always has to physically show us she wants juice as she's saying it. Well, I had just finished dressing Connor to hear a scream! AHHHH!

I race in, thinking her finger is severed at the knuckle, to see cranberry juice splattered all over the floor and inside the the fridge. She had grabbed the juice by the lid, and apparently it wasn't twisted on tight enough.


Me- "June what happened?"
June - "I don noo!" As tears are welling up in her eyes. 
You could tell she was more distraught than I was, and I didn't want to freak out over spilled juice.
Me- "June, can you ask mom and dad to get you juice instead of you getting it?"
June - "Yes, mom... sniff sniff."
I gave her a hug and we wiped up the juice spill together. (I always make her help me clean up the messes she makes, hopefully one day she will clean them all up on her own.)

We washed our hands and then went to dress. 

We read our favorite books in our rocker.
We played with play dough and tried to share. If Connor has a tool, June instantly wants it- as most 3 year olds do. So, I struggled to find 2 of the same tool all around the house.
By this time it was 11 and almost lunch. We cleaned up the play dough and started to get ready to eat.

I put Connor in his high chair, and turned around 3 seconds later to see the picture below. I guess he was pretty tuckered out. Just like the rest of us.

Motherhood sure has it's wonderful days and it's hard ones too. I'll say this though, I wouldn't trade these crazy days for anything! It teaches me patience faster than anything else. I also learn you never know what's going to be thrown at you from one minute to the next.
The last thing I learn from mornings like this, is to go to bed early!

Linking up here

This was a Challenge from Dropcam - They're running a campaign called "Tales from the Playroom."

Add yours too!

It’s very easy to get involved:
  1. Post your “Tale from the Playroom” on your blog.  We’re simply looking for funny, surprising, or heartwarming stories about parents and their children. Did your baby have a knack for escaping the crib during naptime? Did they ever get into the dog food when you weren’t looking?  We know kids can be a handful, and we want to hear your best story about it! 
  2. Email me the link to your blog post after it goes up so that we can take a look at it!
Email your link to:

This is their Dropcam product:

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Chunky Nutty Healthier Granola

I was asking my husband as I finished making this, "Why don't I make this more?!" As my mouth is full and spouting oats everywhere. This is DIVINE! We were eating it plain by the handful. I changed this recipe up a little differently from my original Healthier Homemade Granola. I added more nuts and a little extra surprise. Jam! Not too much, just enough to replace the maple syrup in the other recipe and give it an extra fruity flavory. YUMMY! We LOVED IT! I'm sure you will too!

Chunky Nutty Healthier Granola

3 c. Old Fashioned Oats
3 T. Applesauce 
2-3 T. Water
2 heaping T. Apricot Preserves - that's our favorite, you can grab whatever jam you want!
4 T. Brown Sugar

Line a baking sheet with foil, spread the oats on the foil evenly and bake at 325. Bake the oats until crisp and "fragrant." About 15-20 min.
While that is cooking, stir together the remaining ingredients, applesauce, water, jam/preserves, and brown sugar. When the oats are finished "crisping" pour the liquid over all and turn with a spatula until all coated. Add 1 handful of sliced almonds and 1 handful of walnuts. 

Here are a few other add in's you can use! Be creative! The sky is the limit!

Add in:
Pumpkin Seeds
Sunflower Seeds
Dried Apples
Dried Banana Flakes

Place back in the oven for 20 more minutes. Remove with a spatula and keep in an air tight bowl for up to 2 weeks. Enjoy!

Linking up here