Monday, October 13, 2014

"Pregnancy" Cookie Dough

I have been craving cookie dough for weeks but refused to let myself eat any because of the uncooked eggs....until I found an egg-less recipe that is great for pregnant mamas!

3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup softened butter
1/4 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup milk
1 cup flour
1/2 cup chocolate chips
pinch of salt

Mix together and savor the aweseomeness of cookie dough!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Non-Messy Maple Syrup Pancakes

My kiddos love pancakes. They also really, really like syrup. This also means a really, really big sticky mess. I've found syrup in places I didn't think it could ever exist in, after serving up a batch of light, fluffy pancakes. So I thought, why not add the syrup to the batter? The kids will get the same maple syrup flavor they love, and I have less of a mess to clean up. Genius! So here's my super simple recipe for Maple Syrup Pancakes.

1 cup all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 cup 2% milk
2 Tablespoons canola oil
1 Tablespoon maple syrup (this can be adjusted...I add more for more flavor!)

In a small bowl, combine dry ingredients - flour, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl combine the egg, milk, oil and syrup. Stir into dry ingredients until blended.

Pour batter by 1/4 cupfuls onto a lightly greased hot griddle. Flip when bubbles form on top of the pancakes. Cook until golden brown on both sides and serve!

And for my fellow Bisquik users, you can do the same thing...just mix the syrup with the liquids before adding to the dry mix.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Halloween Decor

Halloween is by far my favorite holiday. I love all the decor, the movies, haunted houses, corn mazes, crisp apple cider and the list goes on and on. This year I opted to start making my own Halloween decor that I can reuse year after year. I nagged the hubby for any scrap pieces of wood and set to work sanding and painting! Here's what I've come up with so far....


 The kids love the bat, so I'll be thinking of more bat themed decor to create...

And what kid doesn't want creepy monsters coming out of the toilet?

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Toys, Books & More!

Since finding out we're having a boy, I find myself still gravitating towards gender neutral toys, decor and clothes. Here are a few more of my favorite items that I can't wait to share with our little boy once he arrives...

Hooded Chicken Towel | Sleep N Play 2 Pack Monkey OnesiesHalo SleepsackLlama Llama Wakey WakeCordy Roy Fox

We have our own brood of chickens, so I thought this Hooded Chicken Towel was absolutely adorable! How cute is our little babe going to look all bundled up after a bath and getting ready for bed? Speaking of bed, I didn't intentionally select all sleepwear for this post but these Monkey Onesies are sure to keep him warm through the cold winter months (I'm convinced he's going to choose to arrive during a snowstorm). And for those first few months where swaddling may be the only way to get him to sleep, the Halo Sleepsack. This particular one is the Plushy Dot Velboa and is super soft!

I have a huge obsession with the Llama Llama series of books. They are great for babies and young kids learning how to read and there is sure to be one for your child to enjoy! I have the Wakey Wake and Nighty Night books already and they will definitely be a part of our morning and evening routines.

And just because this is the cutest plush toy ever, and it fits perfectly with our woodland critters theme, the Cordy Roy Fox.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Homemade Laundry Detergent

We started experimenting with making our own laundry detergent about a year ago to try to cut costs with the large amount of laundry we go through on a weekly basis. This recipe has worked the best for us and it lasts FOREVER! I made this batch almost 6 months ago and the photo below was taken earlier today....Granted, our "large" amount of laundry is 2-4 loads a week, but adds up!


One 55 oz box of Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda
One 4 lb box of Arm & Hammer Baking Soda
One 76 oz box of Borax
Two 400g bars of Zote Soap
2.5 – 3 lbs of OxiClean (or any generic oxygen cleaner)
This makes 2 gallons of powder detergent, so don't forget to have a container handy to store it all in!

For mixing up the detergent I recommend picking up a 5 gallon bucket with a screw top lid.
Designate this your “Detergent Making Bucket” and keep it clean! I don't use my detergent supplies for anything other than making detergent.
You’ll also need a food processor and a large bowl to hold some of the ingredients.


1. Set aside the Zote Soap and the baking soda
2. Pour the remaining ingredients (Super Washing Soda, Borax, and OxiClean) into the bucket
3. Cut the Zote Soap in half lengthwise so that it will fit through the feed tube of your food processor.
4. Using the shredding disc on your food processor, grate the Zote Soap and transfer the grated soap to a large bowl
5. Change out the shredding blade in your food processor and put in the regular blade. Working in batches, place a small amount of the shredded soap into the processor along with the baking soda. Depending on the size of your processor the amounts may vary...I use roughly a 30/70 mix ratio (30% shredded soap, 70% baking soda)
6. Pulse the soap and baking soda until it forms a powder. The purpose of incorporating the baking soda in this step is to help prevent the Zote Soap from clumping. The baking soda should coat the soap so that it doesn’t stick to itself. If the mixture still looks a bit clumpy just add more baking soda until it looks like a powder. 
7. As you process the Zote Soap and baking soda just add each batch to the bucket with the rest of the ingredients.
8. Put the lid on the 5 gallon bucket and shake until everything is mixed well!
9. Once the ingredients are all mixed, you are ready to transfer it to your detergent container. 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Teaching Your Tot To Say "I'm Sorry"

This is something every child struggles with and I believe it's a parent's responsibility to properly teach their child what "I'm Sorry" means and why it is polite to say it. There are so many kids nowadays that mumble the phrase without a care as to what it actually means...sometimes I feel this is almost worse than if the child didn't say anything at all. I work with all of the kiddos to try to help them understand why we say we're sorry. I came across this article by Parents magazine and I believe they hit the nail right on the head...Here's an excerpt of the article, along with great tips on helping to teach your child how to say "I'm Sorry"...

"Although your child probably notices when her friend or sibling is crying, she may not consider that her own actions could have caused the tears. "In order for preschoolers to sincerely apologize, they need to more fully develop their capacity for empathy," says Michele Nealon-Woods, Psy.D., president of the Chicago School of Professional Psychology, in Los Angeles. "To help foster it, explain how one action leads to the next." For instance, tell her, "When you pushed Olivia, it hurt her. Hurting her was not nice. When you do something that isn't nice, you need to say you're sorry. You need to tell Olivia you're sorry for pushing her." (Be sure to restate the transgression so your child links it to the apology.) Once you've tried that approach a few times, involve her in the conversation. You might sat, "I see Emma is crying. Can you think of why she might be crying? I see you have her doll. Do you think she misses it?"

Even with more empathy, apologies aren't going to come easily for preschoolers. "They may feel guilty or embarrassed about their actions and try to avoid admitting blame," says Dr.Nealon-Woods. If your son spills a glass of milk or he mistakenly bumps into his sister in the backyard but doesn't want to apologize, let him know that being sorry about a situation doesn't always mean that he did something wrong. "Tell him that everybody makes mistakes, but the important thing is we say we're sorry even when accidents happen," suggests Dr.Nealon-Woods. What is he does something intentionally that hurts someone? Make apologizing easier by suggesting how he could make amends. For instance, if he wouldn't share with his friend at the playground, advise him to give up one of his turns on the slide for the friend or hold out another toy for him to play with. "Kids feel empowered when they can take action to fix the situation," says Dr.O'Bryon. "Thinking of an apology as one part of a bigger action plan helps it feel less daunting"

If you want your child's apologies to be heartfelt regret rather than simple magic words to get her out of trouble, don't insist that she apologize immediately. (If the situation needs to be addressed right away, apologize to the other child on your child's behalf and explain that you will discuss the incident together later.) "Kids sometimes need a period to calm down before their apology can be genuine and they are able to think about ways to make amends," acknowledges Dr.O'Bryon."

It's a little lengthy for a blog post (sorry!), but I found the article to be very enlightening and had great examples that I will be implementing with my kiddos. For even more tips and tricks on helping your child say "I'm Sorry" read the full article! This post is not sponsored by Parents magazine, I'm just an avid reader and enjoy their large variety of arts & crafts, snacks & meals, and great parenting tips & tricks.

Julia Savacool. "Saying Sorry." Parents. Oct 2014:  163-164. Print.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Crock Pot Meatballs

I've been turning in to quite the little homemaker lately. Usually I leave the cooking to the hubby, but I've been whipping up a bunch of different dishes the past few weeks. Last night's craving of meatballs and my obsession with my crock pot led me to making this awesome, and very filling, dish!

  • ½ cup milk
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 12 ounces bulk mild Italian sausage
  • 1 ¼ cups Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
  • ¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 (24 oz) jars pasta sauce (we can our own)
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together milk and eggs until combined. Add ground beef, Italian sausage, breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper and garlic powder; I found it easiest to just mix with your fingers until well combined.
  2. Heat broiler to high, place on an oven rack about 4 to 5 inches from the broiler. Lightly grease 2 baking sheets with cooking spray or oil. Using your hands, shape (about 40) 1 to 2-inch meatballs from the mixture; place on prepared baking sheets.
  3. Broil meatballs 6 to 8 minutes, flipping halfway through, until browned. Transfer to your crock pot - this recipe makes a LOT of meatballs, we only used about half of them and froze the rest and still had plenty left over (feeding a family of 3)
  4. Top meatballs evenly with sauce. Cover and cook on low 4 to 5 hours in the crock pot until meatballs are cooked through to an internal temperature of at least 160 degrees F.
  5. Serve by themselves, on top of pasta, on split hoagie rolls with cheese for meatball sub sandwiches, or with homemade garlic bread - like we did