December 11th, 2013
For those of you who know me ( I have some family members who like to stalk my blog). Or who pay attention to this blog regularly. You guys know that I am expecting another little boy in less than two weeks! ( YES. I KNOW. I panic inside a little every time I realize how close it is!)
So If you are noticing that I am posting less and less….Well…that is why. I am VERY busy preparing for this baby PLUS prepping for Christmas! ( I am proud to say, that my Christmas shopping and wrapping is FINALLY done!)
SInce my two year old is only going to be an only child for another week or two, I have been making sure to take some extra time to do some extra special activities with him before his brother arrives. I have been putting domestic duties on hold just to sit and read with him whenever he wants. I have been trying to have ” talks” with him about how his brother will look up to him. I have also been taking time to bake, and do art projects with him., basically cherishing the little time we have left, just the two of us.
Part of me has total mom guilt that ” another child” is going to be in the picture. But I know that having two boys just two years apart is going to be the best. They will have a better time playing with each other and be best friends.
Now that Evan is 2. He is talking up a storm AND interested in so many more activities! Art projects is one of those things he really enjoys. I thought it would be totally cute for Evan to make cute Christmas ornaments for his Grandma’s for Christmas. After a few failed attempts at Salt Dough projects, I found these cute tiles in the Craft Department at Wal-Mart. I decided to help him with some footprints.
( We tried handprints, but he wasn’t having it. AT ALL)
I searched Pinterest in order to find a cute poem for the back of this ornament. I ended up finding this poem, but changed it to ” foot print” instead of handprints. I Heart Pinterest.
How to make a footprint ornament with a toddler
1) If you still have a high chair out, put him in it. This way he wont run around the entire house and get paint everywhere.
2) Take off his shirt if he will let you. You don’t want to destroy clothes!
3) Do a few ” practice” prints on paper before printing the real project.
4) If they won’t let you paint their hands or feet. Bribe them with some of the old Halloween candy in your house. Worked like a charm for me!
5) Tell them they are doing a good job throughout the process.
6) DON’T let them out of the high chair until ALL the paint is cleaned up!
Hope you like our Footprint Christmas Ornament idea. and I will keep in touch!
December 3rd, 2013
” And visions of sugar plums danced in their heads”. We all know that line. But what the heck is a sugar-plum anyway? Well contrary to belief that a sugar-plum is actually a plum. A sugar-plum is actually a 17th century candy. HELLO! Were you paying attention to all those times you played Candy Land?
Where in the heck do you find these Sugar Plums? Well I searched google shopping for you! SHOP FOR SUGAR PLUMS HERE
So what I have made for you above is another take on the word ” Sugar Plum”. This is not candy, but I played with the words just a little and came up with ” SUGARED PLUMS”
” Sugared plums” are what I say they are. A SUGARED PLUM… spiced and Broiled into a comforting winter dessert Yummmmm! ( or maybe my 37 week pregnant self is just crazy
And these are totally easy to make!
Broiled Sugared Plums
3 plums pitted and cut in half
2 tablespoons of Brown Sugar
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnimon
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1 tablespoon olive oil
1) MIX together Brown sugar and spices. Put an even amount of the mixture in to each plum.
2) DRIZZLE each plum in olive oil
3) BROIL the plums in the oven for 8 minutes. or until the sugar coating gets golden brown and possibly even crispy.
These sugar plums were excellent. and might just turn into a holiday tradition in our home. They are a somewhat healthy dessert, unless you ate them with vanilla ice cream, like we did
November 27th, 2013
Even though this is my third Christmas as a parent, I FINALLY have a child who knows what is going on! It is SOOO much fun! I am skipping over Thanksgiving this year because I need to devote all my time to Christmas. ( I have a baby due on Christmas Eve, so I need this time to prepare!). My husband has been off from work all week, so I have been finishing up my Christmas shopping and wrapping Christmas presents!
Seriously, I LOVE wrapping presents! I am surprised that I never did a blog post on wrapping gifts before. My favorite thing is to mix and match different wrapping papers, and to make presents look rustic by using shipping paper as my main wrapping paper.
I have always wanted to try to make a Christmas gift look like a real Christmas parcel. I thought I would make some for Evan’s Grandma’s. I am having Evan make them an extra special homemade gift.
I was considering making these parcels for my nieces and nephews, but I didn’t want to confuse them because I am pretty sure they all Still Believe. :)
I started out by wrapping a box with ” brown bag paper”. I LOVE using brown bag paper. It reminds me of ” Brown papered packages tied up with strings”.
In a Microsoft word document, I created some ” Mail Words” that would be appropriate for a parcel that was being shipped directly from the North Pole!
I cut them out. Hint. If you go to ” Google images” and type in ” Parcel from North pole”. You may find some cute images from Etsy sellers.
and taped them onto the package. Glue would work too.
I think this turned out really cute!!!
November 18th, 2013
Last weekend I asked my blog’s Facebook Community for fun cheap Christmas ornament ideas. You see, after 7 years of marriage, this is the first time my husband and I will put up a Christmas tree. We have never spent Christmas at home, Plus our son is now 2, he will think something is fishy if we don’t have a Christmas tree.
I am not a big ” item” collector. I would never go out and just buy ” things that are cute”. Mostly because I am not organized enough for all that ” stuff”. But also, because I would rather keep sentimental items that special people in my life give me, and not just ” things”.
ANYWAY, thank-you to all my readers that gave me some suggestions. I plan to try most of the suggestions left on my page. BUT some of you left comments about food. cranberries, cinnamon. popcorn. My FAVORITE winter food is Citrus fruits, specifically ultra juicy oranges!
How cute would it be to dehydrate oranges to make Christmas ornaments?
Last night I cut 4 oranges into the thinnest slices possible. ( along with 1 grapefruit I had around)
And I put them in my food dehydrator overnight.
And today, I was pleasantly surprised with some amazing looking Christmas ornaments.
I simply just made a tiny hole in each one with a fondue stick and made a hanger using twine.
I thought the oranges looked quite good. ( AND, yes, I did attempt to eat one. It was a little dry. LOL)
The grapefruit ornament didn’t look too shabby either .
Some of the lopsided slices turned out a little funny looking, but you will get that. All in all I love the way these turned out. I think i will make some more!
November 14th, 2013
I Love all those quotes that you see floating around Pinterest! Sometimes I wish you could purchase some of them for cute wall art! I know you can get some of those cute little sayings for nurseries and playrooms.
When I found out that I was expecting my second boy, ( OMG in like 5 1/2 weeks!!!!) I wanted to do little things to prepare my son for his brother. You see, he is used to being the center of attention. Especially on my side of the family. He is the only grandchild on my side, so my brothers and sister in law dote on him lovingly ALL the time! ( it’s seriously so cute the way they just love him! I can’t wait for them to have kids too!!!)
We have read books about babies, playing with a little boy baby doll ( that sometimes gets thrown around) , and just using the baby’s name around the house so Evan will get used to hearing it.
Back in September, when we moved Evan to his big boy room, I thought it would be cute to hang this quote on his bedroom wall. My boys are going to be just a little over 2 years apart, and hopefully will be best friends. That is my hope for them anyway. I told Evan that baby J******* ( we’re not revealing little brother’s name at this time. ) made this for him. I think I need to find more big boy presents for Evan.
Instead of spending LOTS of money on a pre-made wall hanging, I made my own! I am so glad I did! Not only was it fun and relaxing to make, but I love that he is the only boy in the world who has this exact thing in his room!
DIY Subway art wall hanging.
1) Using 2 different sized stencils, I traced the sayings onto a large canvas. This was possibly the most time-consuming part. It is important to make sure that each line will fit on the canvas before actually tracing the letters.
2) Paint the letters with a small brush. Evan’s room colors are grey, navy blue and orange. so I did a variety of different hues with those colors. ( for you non art people, I simply added black, white and grey to my color scheme colors to create different hues)
3) When I was done painting, I outlined all the letters with black ” Puffy Paint” or 3d paint. This gives is a nice, finished and professional look. Similar to what you might find on a pre-made wall hanging.
I was pleased with the way it turned out. I am glad I took my time on this project. Sometimes when I rush, it does not.
I love the way this looks in Evan’s room. :)
November 12th, 2013
So…..there is a fun little story that is behind this recipe. Smoked Paprika and Cornmeal Chicken Tenders. As many of you know, I live in Iowa. There are not TOO many other bloggers in Iowa. I feel like there are SOOOOO many bloggers in Utah, Texas, the south, and on both coasts of this country. I had never been to a blogger conference, because I don’t live anywhere near these conferences.
BUT, a few months ago, Ally, from Ally’s Sweet and Savory Eats found me. She organized a blogger meet up for Iowa bloggers that she found all across the state. So, last Saturday, a bunch of bloggers from all around Iowa got together in Iowa City at New New Pioneer Food Co-op in Coralville, Iowa.
My In- laws have belonged to New Pioneer for years, but I had never been to the one in Coralville before. It was a BE-UTIFUL grocery store. Like a Whole Foods, but better.
The folks at New Pioneer were so gracious to host us for the morning. I was able to meet a bunch of bloggers from all over Iowa. It was so fun meeting people in person, especially some who I have followed for a while.
New Pioneer provided us with free samples, information about buying local and organic in Iowa AND amazing samples for us to try of some AMAZING PRODUCTS!!
I got Vegan Pad Thai for lunch. New Pioneer in Coralville, Iowa had an AMAZING selection of ready-made food people could purchase for lunch or dinner. Now I know where to get my fix in, when I am craving Whole Foods!
For some reason, I didn’t think to bring my camera, so I had to make-do with my phone camera. I wish I had a better photo of all the bloggers who were there.
Let me give a little shout out to all the blogs that were there! ( gotta help my fellow Iowans!!!!)
Ally from Sweet and Savory Food
Diana from My Humble Kitchen
Kier from Life and Running in Iowa
Stephanie from Been There Baked that
Danielle from My total perspective vortex
Alicia from Culinary Bliss
Jeni from An herbalist eats
Wini from The Bonne Femme Cookbook
Michelle from Simplify Live Love
Jenny from In the Kitchen with Jenny
Nick and Bethany from Sawdust and Embryos
Matt and Lissah from Iowa Food Blog
Sarah from House of Costello
Allie from New Pi Eats
Kelli from The sustainable couple
As I stated before, New Pioneer provided gift bags for us. In those bags, included a jar of smoked paprika. Something I had never really used much of before. ( I was kind of like….and I am a person who blogs about food?)
In honor of this great event, and in honor of what New Pioneer stands for. I decided to make a family friendly gluten-free dish using the smoked paprika that was gifted to us:)
Smoked Paprika – Cornmeal Chicken Tenders ( This recipe is dairy free and egg Free)
2 lbs of chicken cut into tenders
3/4 cup of olive oil
2 cups of Cornmeal
2 teaspoons of Paprika
1 dash of sea salt
1) Mix the Cornmeal, Paprika and sea salt in a bowl
2 ) Set up your dipping station. Things just work better when you have a neat and tidy dipping station
3) Dip each piece of chicken in olive oil followed by Cornmeal/paprika mixture. it was crazy how the paprika dyed the cornmeal red.
4) Bake at 350 degrees f for 30 minutes. turn about 1/2 way through.
These worked out well. As my two year old enjoyed them, the way kids would like chicken tenders. And I put mine over a salad.
What a great meal to make after a wonderful Saturday meeting Iowa Bloggers!
November 7th, 2013
The other day, I was in need of a naughty snack. It’s too badI didn’t purchase ANY naughty Halloween candy last week. Instead I gave away bags of popcorn. So, I needed to think of something else.
I DO always keep peanut butter around. AND I have been on a bit of a maple syrup kick lately. I decided to try something new. And it turned out to be a REALLY good snack!
Maple-Peanut Butter Roasted Chickpeas.
1 can of garbanzo beans/chickpeas
1 heaping spoon of peanut butter
1/4 cup of Maple Syrup.
1) In a Saucepan heat up the syrup and peanut butter
2) Once the two mix together, add a can of rinsed garbanzo beans.
3) Let Roast in your saucepan until the chickpeas get crispy
I like my roasted Chickpeas REALLY crispy.
Like this. YUM what an amazing snack!
November 4th, 2013
For the past two years I have successfully sold Valentines Day Beer labels on Etsy. They went over really big and I sold quite a few sets. I have decided to expand this year, by giving Christmas beer labels a try.
It is so true, that men are SOOOOOOO hard to shop for. I can’t even count the years that my dad, brothers and husband have ended up with socks, a tie or a dress shirt for their Christmas presents.
It is also SOOOOOO true, that All of the people I just spoke of also really enjoy their craft beers.
If you are interested in these labels. Visit my ETSY SHOP HERE.
Gifting the beer lovers in your life a 6 pack of craft beers with these beer labels can be a great accompaniment to that tie:)
I spent some time coming up with some creative Christmas beer slogans that would make a cute/funny gift for anyone. Man or Women. I then made these handmade labels using card stock, puffy paint, and other Christmas embellishments.
Here are close-ups of each individual label
The Most Wonderful time for a beer.
St. Nick’s Jolly lager
Santa’s Little Helper
A little bit of Christmas Cheer
THIS made mommy kiss Santa Claus!
I know some of you ( my loyal readers) are probably like. Aren’t you having a baby on Christmas Eve? That is correct. That is why I am only making a limited supply, so when I am out. I am out. No rushing the days leading up to Christmas, because I may or may not be around to make them.
Again, my ETSY SHOP HERE. On my etsy listing, I go into detail on the supplies that were used to make these, and your options if you are interested.
November 1st, 2013
As my loyal readers know. I am expecting my second baby boy! ( I am sooo excited to meet him! only 7 1/2 weeks to go! ) But I also have several ( I mean SEVERAL) friends expecting kids as well! AND on top of that my Sister in law is also expecting! Seriously being pregnant at the same time as your friends is THE BEST! We can all compare notes on anything from bedtime routines to stroller choices and more!
My friend Jeannie is expecting her first baby. I attended her shower a few weeks ago. Jeannie did not register for very many things, her sister has a set of twins who are one, so Jeannie will be getting LOTS of hand-me-downs from her sister.
I wasn’t sure what to get her, especially since Jeannie had not revealed the gender of the baby at the time of this shower.
It is so true, that one of my favorite things about being a parent is reading to my son. I have discovered all the new classics all over again and now I rejoice that I have a 24 month old who can recite books and already knows his ABC’s. ( proud mama brag).
I thought that I would make a ” New Baby reading kit” for Jeannie’s baby and include all the favorite board books that Evan loved when he was a baby.
I went to Barnes and noble and purchased a nice variety of board books. It was so hard to choose! There are soooo many good ones! Board books are the best for kids under 2. They like to rip pages:)
When I got home, I made 4 pages of labels so Jeannie can put them in all the children’s books that they acquire. I decided to list these labels as ” Children’s Library”, because obviously if this couple chooses to have more children, they will share books. I included this in the gift bag as well.
Lastly, I will talk about the canvas bag that I used to hold this gift.
Hobby Lobby carries a variety of ” canvas bags” that are often 40% or 50% off. If you get them on sale, they are usually cheaper than buying a cute gift bag from Target/ Wal-Mart. I use a canvas bag to carry books in for library trips. I thought that this bag would not only be adorable for my gift, but Jeannie and her husband Brad can use this bag to transport books to Grandma’s house or their local library.
I used Puffy Paint to decorate the bag with a quote from Dr. Seuss about reading. I also Ironed on a cute tree I also found at Hobby Lobby.
I put this gift together the night before the shower, after my little guy had gone to bed. Sometimes crafting at night alone is the most relaxing thing I can do:)
I took one picture in the car on the way to the shower ( actually, I was in the Starbucks drive thru). Pictures turn out so much better for me in daylight.
I am now working on another one of these for another good friend. I might switch it up a bit so it is not the same though.
Hope this inspires:)
October 28th, 2013
I am having my second baby this December and I am in the process of filling up my freezer with healthy meals for my family to eat after he arrives. My husband is frequently traveling internationally, and when he is gone, I take the opportunity to make dinners and freeze the majority of the food. My 2-year-old son and I don’t eat huge portions of meat.
I have been buying meat and vegetables that go on sale, and planning my freezer meals around those sales. Last week, my local Fareway store had Pork Roasts for .99 cents a pound. I paid about $4.00 for a large pork roast, made this toddler and adult friendly dinner and froze the majority of it for after baby number two arrives.
So far, my freezer is stocked up with the following meals.
3 meals of my Crock pot Chicken taco filling
4 meals of my Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole
2 meals of my Easy Peasy Pumpkin Soup
2 Broccoli Cheese Chicken Casserole
2 Maple Dijon Chicken with Sweet Potatoes
2 Dinners worth of DIY Frozen chicken nuggets ( Darn. we ate one already! I will have to make more!)
2 dinners and 1 lunch portion of Williams Sonoma’s Butternut Squash and apple soup
and now I can add 3 dinners of Dr Pepper Pulled Pork Laced with vegetables.
A Dinner portion for my family might be different then it is for yours. A dinner portion for us would be enough for 2 adults and 1 two-year old, with enough leftover for someone to have lunch the next day. If you have a bigger family, then that might be one meal or even 1/2 a meal for you.
Dr. Pepper Pulled pork Laced with Vegetables
This recipe was adapted from the Crockn Girls
1 4 lb pork roast
1 can of Dr. Pepper
1 cup BBQ sauce
2 whole zucchini, shredded
2 cups of carrots, chopped.
1) In a crock pot, put in your pork with some salt and pepper. Add the BBQ sauce and Dr. Pepper
2) Cook for several hours. When you see the pork starting to ” pull apart” cut the rope off and shred meat. You will want to add the shredded zucchini and chopped carrots at this time.
It is amazing how these vegetables ” disappear” into the pulled pork. Your picky eater will never know they are there!
I wanted to wait until the Dr. Pepper had been absorbed into the pork before adding the vegetables. I didn’t want the vegetables to be filled with the Dr. Pepper. Although I suppose it would all have cooked together eventually anyway.
If you are interested in seeing the freezer meals that I have ” pinned” follow my Freezer meals board on Pinterest. I have not made all of them, but they are the ones I think look good. Hopefully i will get to try all of them.