Yay! Daddy joined us this time (dragging his feet a little bit at first, but then he really enjoyed the “great outdoors”). Today was an example where I’m glad I put things on the calendar. I had invited some friends and quite frankly, if they hadn’t wanted to go, we probably wouldn’t have. But how cute is my family above? It was definitely worth getting off our lazy bums and getting out there! It was HOOOOT! But the blueberries were delish and hubby even found some yummy almonds, too!
Sunday, July 31, 2011
Friday, July 29, 2011
I’m getting better and better at delivering dinner for friends who have just had babies. Having received them myself, I know what a tremendous blessing they are! A few things I appreciated that were not necessary, but were FANTASTIC were…
#1. Something for the older sibling to eat. Let’s face it, while your casserole is divine, chances are, my 2 1/2 year old is not going to eat it and I will have to end up cooking for him anyway. So, included in my friends’ dinner delivery was mac ‘n cheese for her two boys: #2. Include drinks! Again, totally not necessary, but certainly a fun treat. A friend of mine brought sparkling lemonade that was divine. This day, we chose to go the beer route for the dad. C’mon, they
need deserve it, right? #3. Include recipes. I received many dinners that were delicious and wanted to make them again! If you include the recipe, neither of you will have to hassle sending/obtaining said recipe. I know, may be a bit presumptuous, but fun nevertheless: #4. Include enough for leftovers. Again, not necessary, but seriously, you’re already making enough for an army, right? ‘Cuz you’re gonna feed your own family as well (plus, you’re bringing dinner to a nursing mom! Who knows, she may gobble up the leftovers that night at midnight!) It will be appreciated. #5. Just for fun, I included a “Distraction Kit” for the older siblings, so hopefully this new mom of 3 could have a peaceful moment. I included silly glasses, fun stickers, bubbles, and a few cheapy toys. Again, these things are all above and beyond, please feel NO pressure if you’re delivering dinner to a friend. Know that the dinner itself is a Godsend. Even if it’s pizza! It’s a night where she doesn’t have to cook or do dishes. Hooray! But, if you haven’t done it before, consider it, it is a true blessing. =)
Thursday, July 28, 2011
Simple, adorable thing I HAD to share. While at the park when Cooper was little, my good friends shared the fun “share the swing” trick with me. You know the little bucket swings that have little holes for your kids legs? Well, my friends would put their little ones back to back in the swing, genius! That way, even if your little one is a little young to be in all by him/herself, they can share with their older sibling….exhibit A: Oh my goodness! How sweet! Overall, Cooper LOVED sharing the swing with his sister. After awhile, he wanted it back to himself, but for awhile, he was quite proud being the big brother. And Allie simply adored it! Giggles all around. Here’s another snapshot to help you visualize. Sweetness! I just want to gobble up those chubby little thighs! Scrumptious! =)
Monday, July 25, 2011
This is my second summer “celebrating” Cool Summer Days. Last summer, my conclusion was, this is a great idea because it does get you out trying new things, having a blast, and creating precious memories with your kids. However, with that being said, it can also drive you a little batty if you feel the need to stick to your schedule. Especially with a “new” baby (okay, so she’s 4 months now, that’s still new alright!? hehe), grant yourself some relax at home time.
I love that my son plays with his toys. We often have people come over and comment on how many toys we have (thankfully, most of which I haven’t had to purchase, thank you grandparents!). I keep reviewing them, trying to determine what we could get rid of that Cooper doesn’t play with. Thankfully? He really does play with nearly all of them! Wow! What a creative, fun, playful little fellow!
Grammy & Papa just recently bought him a little outdoor grill. And Cooper does just love it! After feeling like Cooper needed a little one-on-one mom time, we headed out to the backyard after sweet sister went down for a nap to just hang. He cooked me a hot dog, a cupcake, and was just the sweetest thing ever. I love that my son now tells me that he loves me back. Melts my heart! Even remembered to wash his “chicken hands”, as mommy calls hers in the kitchen. hehe
Friday, July 22, 2011
I’m becoming more and more a fan of creating some lasting traditions in my children’s lives. I won’t be hard core about them because let’s face it, we need to have flexibility and fun in our lives. I NEVER want to go do something out of the sheer feeling of obligation. That would be horrible!
Concert at the Park has never (yet) felt like an obligation. Only pure, child-like fun! Here we are with some friends waiting for the train… And here are the kiddos ready to ride! Know why they’re all sweaty? They were dancing the night away! =) Nothin’ beats a picnic dinner out on a lawn with some bad cover band watching your kids dance. Precious!
Thursday, July 21, 2011
Alright, so my husband being of the medical field is a bit over conscientious when it comes to germs at the public pool. I mean, yeah, don’t let your kid drink the water, but also, it’s hot! Enjoy the pool!
Check out what your local community pools have to offer. One of our local pools has a kiddie pool that is open for a few hours in the morning during swim lessons for only $2/child. What a deal! And I met up with a friend so we could take turns watching our older ones while the other sat with our new babies. It was surprisingly relaxing! Even our kids “kicked back” for awhile. Here they are actually “swimming”.Go check out your local pools! C’mon…that pool looks ridiculously clean, right? =)
Saturday, July 16, 2011
So, as with nearly every other mom on the planet, my son has much difficulty consuming vegetables. It’s now to the point where my mother instincts are screaming, “Figure out a way to sneak them in!”
Spinach, Grape, and Coconut Smoothie
· 1 cup seedless green grapes
· 1 cup packed baby spinach
· 1/2 cup ice
· 1/4 cup coconut milk
1. Place the grapes, spinach, ice, and coconut milk in a blender.
2. Blend until smooth and frothy.
**I will give a slight disclaimer here…there will be little pieces of spinach in it. So, not all kids will drink it. I just told Cooper they were superhero boogers. He seemed to go for it (also helpful? Green is currently Cooper’s favorite color, yay!).
Smoothie #2 which was an even bigger hit (surprisingly):
· 3/4 cup chopped kale, ribs and thick stems removed
· 1 small stalk celery, chopped
· 1/2 banana
· 1/2 cup apple juice
· 1/2 cup ice
· 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1. Place the kale, celery, banana, apple juice, ice, and lemon juice in a blender.
2. Blend until smooth and frothy.
**I also added a teensy bit of honey.
And last of all, also successful:
· 3/4 cup chopped fresh pineapple
· 1/2 cup ice
· 1/3 cup fresh orange juice
· 1/4 cup chopped carrot
· 1/2 banana
1. Place the pineapple, ice, orange juice, carrot, and banana in a blender.
2. Blend until smooth and frothy.
Good luck with the getting toddlers to eat battle. It’s not a fun one people! Hang in there though. =)
Museum memberships…are they worth it? Depends! Best way to figure it out? Do the math to see how many times you’d have to go before it pays for itself. If you’ll actually GO that many times, it’s worth it.
For us, the membership at the Sacramento Railroad Museum is ABSOLUTELY worth every penny! We’ve been at least 5 times since I purchased it, brought friends, and now…we’ve even made use of the free steam engine rides during the summer.
Look at his wonder as he watches out the window… And my other two sweets…hubby and Allie. And me with my two loves! Ahh…friends!And to make the “day trip” bearable for hubby? Lunch out at Joe’s Crab Shack. Mmm, mmm good! The origin behind today’s “celebration” was the first steam engine ride. Quite a success I’d say!
Thursday, July 14, 2011
What a great idea for a play date! I decided to make a “mini-party” of it, and here’s what came out of it…These kid-sized tables were the first success of the event! I got some scrap wood from Home Depot (actually got out for free, maybe they were sick of me, who knows). Anyhow, I had them cut the two “table parts” and then 5 legs per table, 18” high. I put one in the center to keep it sturdy. Threw some fabric over to match the event (cheap at Walmart). The plates are reusable, also cheap at Walmart – 4 for $1 I believe! And a placemat in the middle for a pop of color. Success #2? Mason jar sippy cups. I just printed out these cute little labels, covered them with packing tape, and slipped them in instead of the metal lid. Punch a hole for the straw and you’re good to go! Less spills = a happy mom. Small tip? Don’t throw a PJ’s and Pancakes party without coffee for the moms! =) And hot chocolate for the kids (or those crazy non-coffee moms out there, WHAT?!). Success #3? Cereal necklaces! I made a sample for the kids and honestly thought my child would not for one minute sit down to string fruit loops. Boy was I wrong! He strung an entire necklace and was entertained for quite awhile! Precious! Success #4? Friends, of course! Everyone had a blast! We made regular pancakes with a variety of syrups as an option, as well as cinnamon pancakes, which were also a little party favor to take home.
Success #4? Well, it should’ve been a success. I had the book If You Give a Pig a Pancake to read. We had too much fun eating pancakes though. Oh well. Cooper and I enjoy the book on a regular basis. And lastly, delicious party favors which read…
Sweet as syrup and nice as can be…
3 c. flour
5 tsp. cinnamon
2 1/4 T white sugar
2 T baking powder
1 1/4 tsp. salt
Directions: Combine dry ingredients. (which were sent home as favors – the above recipe makes 3 batches) Combine 1 cup milk (more like 1 3/4), 1 egg, 2 T vegetable oil. Whisk in 1 1/3 c. prepared dry pancake mix until moistened. Bake pancakes!
Helpful hint? To keep pancakes warm, use a sheet of aluminum foil, pile pancakes and keep in a 200 degree oven for up to 20 minutes. Feel free to brush a little butter to each side before layering. =)
If you decide to throw a PJ’s & Pancakes party, you will NOT be disappointed. So fun!
Monday, July 11, 2011
…otherwise known as “Cheer Up the Lonely Day”. Can you believe that? July 11th is National Cheer Up the Lonely Day. Thankfully, my neighbor across the street doesn’t know I blog. hehe Not that she’s LONELY per se, but she is a widow, and I don’t care how you paint that, on some level, it’s got to be lonely!
Neighbors…oh the variety of neighbors, right?
Ned Flanders (The Simpson’s)
Ethle Mertz (I Love Lucy)
Wilson (Home Improvement)
Penny (Big Bang Theory)
Thankfully, we are blessed with some AMAZING neighbors!! This sweet lady is one of those we chat with occasionally while taking out the trash or bringing in groceries. Sweetheart! So, Cooper and I wanted to brighten her day!
Part of the reason we decided to give cookies was I came across this delicious sounding recipe. It proved to be more than just delicious SOUNDING…but tasted equally delicious. So, here’s the recipe for the cookies we made:
Must-Have Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 cup raisins
½ cup boiling water
½ cup peanut butter
¼ cup butter, softened
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ cup flour
1 ¼ cup rolled oats
1 cup chocolate chips
1. Preheat oven to 350 degree F. In a small bowl, combine raisins and boiling water; set aside.
2.In a large bowl, combine peanut butter and butter; beat with an electric mixer on medium speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar or substitute, egg, cinnamon, vanilla, and baking soda. Beat until combined. Add flour; beat until smooth. Stir oats.
3.Drain the raisins; stir raisins and chocolate pieces into oat mixture.
4.Drop by rounded teaspoons onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake about 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Transfer to wire racks; let cool.
Makes about 40 cookies.
First we made (and tested) the cookies. See the evidence on Cooper’s face below? Anyhow, I found this adorable FREE printable for a milk carton that holds a few cookies over at the sweetest occasion. I printed it out, and Cooper helped me score the folds with a bone folder (he was VERY excited, just look at the concentration!) Then we taped it closed and filled it with cookies. *NOTE: These cookies were the perfect size! They do have to be on the small side. Next we
recovered from the tantrum of not getting to eat more than 2 cookies walked over to our neighbors to deliver the scrumptious treat! Here’s Cooper waiting at the front door. She was pleasantly surprised and invited us in for a short chat. I do think it certainly cheered her up = SUCCESS! Think of someone who you could cheer up on this inspiring National day. =)
Monday, July 4, 2011
Let’s dive right into the goodies and craftiness that took place in our house…(*WARNING* PICTURES GALORE)
This greeted folks at the front door, containing the snap firecrackers kids LOVE to throw, sparklers separated with cute little 4th of July tags, and boxes of matches for the adults to light the sparklers for the kids. Here they are close-up. I printed the “oh, snap!” topper over at eighteen25 here. I doctored up the sparkler insert and matchbox covers myself.Delicious Rice Crispy party favors were sent home with our guests. Essentially, I made a batch of Rice Crispy treats, cut them, stuck a lollipop stick in them, dipped them in white chocolate, then drizzled blue chocolate over them. Stuck ‘em in a bag and tied a cute label on with ribbon. Next time, I’d use a cookie cutter to get a more exact size (ahh, the perfectionist in me). But love them just as they are here!
I found these super cute pinwheels for 25cents each at Party City, and lined ‘em up along our walkway. Cooper had a blast playing with them…as did the rest of the kids as we watched fireworks. Easy centerpieces I had used last year, along with some fun, free conversation printables from over at Happy Home Fairy. Super cute can covers from Martha Stewart herself!Loved how cute my pickle jar “projects” I made from eighteen25 looked decorated for the 4th. Filled ‘em with red and white striped mints and cute ribbon from the Dollar Tree. Mason jars served as sippy cups (I’m still perfecting how to do this, but will definitely make them again in the future). Came across the idea over at Two Shades of Pink. The kids loved them! Particularly with their names on them, a little personal touch! Lastly (this picture was taken mid-June, hence the Father’s Day banner), this is what the open area between my two main rooms in my house looked like…
Jello cookies found here. Red, white and blue strawberries…yum! Licorice wraps! (1 1/4”x3 7/8” if you’re interested)"Rocket dogs” for the kids. We had pulled pork sandwiches and baked beans for the adults, just no pics. And lastly…because we needed just a wee bit more sugar…Spangled Sandwich Pops from Family Fun. The picture is from them as well, I meant to snap a shot of someone eating one, but I was to busy playing host. Here they are straight out of the freezer though. FYI, I just cut regular ice cream sandwiches in half, worked great!When we headed out front for fireworks, we set out a table with the food (so we didn’t get left with all of it!) *Fun*
The last “craftiness” that came from blog hopping was a bubble pool for the kids, found over at One Charming Party. I think I was just as excited as the kids about this one! Supplies? Kiddie pool, bubble mixture (recipe found at site above), and hula hoop (be sure the hoop fits inside the pool, the first one I bought was too big). My husband was the best at creating the “human bubbles”. Part of the key was to pull the hula hoop quickly! Here’s our neighbor’s son enjoying the “human bubble”. Here was the “setup” and some more bubble fun in action… Be sure to dispose of the bubbles in a way that will protect your lawn (mom…don’t feel bad!! I just want other people to have a heads up ;), and keep some of it! The bubble solution rocks! It will keep your kids content with bubbles for the rest of the summer.
The only thing I wish I had done differently was place an empty tub into the pool so that the kids could step into that instead of the bubble solution itself. It would’ve been much cleaner and it wouldn’t have left the actual pool looking like this…(not that it bothered the kids in the least!) Here are some more pictures from the
chaos fun of the day!