Tuesday, August 31, 2010


Hi Gang!  Sorry for the lack of post on a theme this week.  We're actually not doing a new theme, but rather re-doing some of our favorite things from themes past.  This is supposed to be the week of our "Farm" theme, but it's still too hot and muggy out there for me to want to go to a couple farms and various other outdoor activities. So, I'm postponing that one for a week or two.

Anyway......I'm posting on a totally different subject this morning - cleaning supplies. Have you seen these beauties at Target?

I just looooove them!  I love the labels, I love the smell and I love the price. The hand soap is $2.99, which is a great deal for nice hand soap. Plus, it just adds some prettiness to my sink top.  I don't have the all purpose cleaner  yet, but I might just pick one up today to decorate my laundry room. That's right, I don't even really plan to use it....it's just as inexpensive way to add a little practical charm above my washer and dryer.  Crazy, maybe.  So, next time you're in Target, you might want to take a peak in the soap isle. 

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sweet Potato Pancakes

Happy Sunday folks. I hope you all have had a great time at church - be it in a church building, a quite moment with your Savior or enjoying His magnificent creation.

One reader asked about the sweet potato pancakes that I mentioned I sometime serve for breakfast.  What I buy from time to time is in the frozen section at Whole Foods or Central Market. I can't recall the brand, but they are actually cinnamon flavored pancakes made with sweet potato. They have a couple of other flavors and also make waffles.  The great things about these is that you just zap 'em for a few seconds and you have an easy, healthy breakfast (that can be on the go if you need it to be).

But, below is a good home-made option. This recipe is from Jessica Seinfeld's Deceptively Delicious cookbook.  It's easy and good.

Servings: Serves 4


Pancakes (with Sweet Potato)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sweet potato puree (you can also use baby food)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice (optional)
  • 1 cup pancake mix
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil
  • Pure maple syrup , for serving

In a large bowl, mix the water, sweet potato puree, and cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice, if using. Add the pancake mix and stir just to combine—the batter should be lumpy.

Coat a griddle or large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and set it over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add the oil, and spoon the batter onto the griddle or pan, using 1/4 cup batter for each pancake.

Cook until bubbles form on top of the pancakes and the batter is set, 2 to 3 minutes. Then use a spatula to flip the pancakes and cook them until golden brown on the other side, 2 to 3 minutes.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Movie Review: Strawberry Shortcake, The Glimmerberry Ball Movie

I must admit, this is my first movie review, but heh, it's also my girl's first movie. We have a few movies we watch at home, but they have yet to actually go to a movie.  Two reasons:  1. They are sensitive little ones and easily get scared, bothered by "mean" things, and just don't seem to be the movie going type.  2. My oldest would rather do a million other things than sit in one place for more that 20 minutes, much less 1 1/2 hours.  

I suppose these are good things, except for those times that I would like to really concentrate on something or lie down for a short rest.  You know, those times when the constant chatter melodious sounds of your child's voice just drives you crazy distracts you a bit.  But, none the less, this was our first movie going experience as a family.

First I must tell you that we went to the Studio Movie Grill at 75 and Royal. I have just learned that they offer a kids show each Saturday at 11:00. The movie changes monthly and the admission is a mere $2.  Granted, they suck you in by selling food, but heh, we needed lunch anyway.  It was fun, comfortable and filling all at the same time. 

Okay, back to my movie review. Can I tell you that I LOVED The Glimmerberry Ball movie.  I highly recommend renting/borrowing/buying it if you have little girls.  My husband even made the comment that many adults should be watching this movie too. Here are the three morals/life lessons it teaches:

1.  Thinking of others above yourself.
2.  Learning to not over-react and blame others.
3.  Resolving conflict in selfless and productive way.

I know, impressive for a one hour, Strawberry Shortcake movie. I felt the same way.  Strawberry definitely reminded me of the value in responding to things in a mature, level-headed way. Not that I don't always do that already, right?  WRONG. So, there you have it. 

SMG has yet to list what the kids' movie for August will be, but when they do, I'll be sure and pass the information along. Hopefully it won't disappoint. 

Friday, August 27, 2010

What's for dinner?

Good morning sunshines!  I don't know about you, but waking up to cool weather puts me in a really good mood these days.  It also makes me long for fall, which I have a feeling isn't quite yet just around the corner.  Anyway......any of you struggle with dinner (nice transition, huh?)?  

I used to love to cook. When my husband and I were first married, I love trying new things, cooking nice (and sometimes fancy) meals and even doing several courses.  Flash forward a few years, add a couple kids, lose my income from working and it has all changed a bit.  Now I dread meal planning, list making and grocery shopping. I suppose it's because I have to do it and there isn't much room in the ole budget for eating out. But, there are a few things that have made it easier for me (and helped me save time, money and additional frustration).  

Before I continue, I want to point you to a friend of mine who has another GREAT blog and just wrote on the same topic. Check it out and become a follower of her blog too. Meet Julia from My Blue Canoe.  You'll see her post that shows her meal planning. Check it out - she plans each meal for the week (I bow down). Scroll though the rest of her blog too - she has some really great info on there. I don't plan all our meals, but I do plan dinners.  As I plan the meal, I make my grocery list. This keeps me from running to the store ten times for the things I forget (although I must admit, it still happens).  I used to have a form I used, but now I just do it on random paper. But, I did want to steer you to a couple of great meal planning charts that I found free on another blog. They are pretty which always makes things nicer....Meal Planning Form.  And, in case you need some ideas for what to cook, I'll share with you what I did this week (you'll notice that I splurged on a couple of pre-made meals from Whole Foods; this is my gift to myself for being pregnant and I do think they are worth the price):

Monday:  Pre-made meatloaf dinner from Whole Foods (so worth the 13.99). 
Tuesday:  Shrimp Tacos (just cut up some shrimp, sautéed it, added pineapple salsa from WF and wrapped in whole grain tortillas) - yum!
Wednesday: Pre-made King Ranch Chicken casserole from WF and steamed broccoli.
Thursday: Brown rice with black beans, chicken, sauteed corn, guacamole, salsa and goat cheese.
Friday:  Talapia with Asparagus and Rice.
Saturday:  BLTs with mixed fruit and side salad.

Even thought I don't plan breakfast or lunch, here it was I have on-hand:

Breakfast options:  Oatmeal, cereal, english muffins with peanut butter, scrambled eggs, sweet potato pancakes, veggie sausage....yup, that's about it (we're creatures of habit).

Lunch options:  Turkey sandwiches, tuna salad on crackers, peanut butter and honey, turkey hot dogs, chicken quesadillas, turkey paninis, and grilled cheese (oh yes, I almost forgot my favorite....Chick Fil A). I usually serve all these with carrots or broccoli, fresh fruit and greek-strained yogurt. 

I know this is soooooo long, but I hope it gives you some ideas and makes meal planning a little easier. Don't forget to check out Julia's blog My Blue Canoe for more great ideas. She even has a link to an electronic cookbook that has 65 recipes with only 5 whole food ingredients.  I'm sure I'll have some of those recipes on my dinner list next week. 

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Bird Week Update

Hi Gang,

Let me warn you, this might be a long post, so stop reading now if you're not up for it. First of all, I'm sure you've noticed that I changed the background of the blog.  The old one was "simple," but also a little boring. This one is better and still simple (I think), but l'll probably continue to change it from time to time until I come up with a background of my own.

Second of all, I wanted to give a "Bird Week Update." Why? Well, this has been one of my favorite themes so far. I think it is probably because I am finally feeling well again and have the energy to put some oomph into the week, but whatever the reason, I'm definitely recommending some of the things we've done.

When we woke up this morning and it was in the 70s, I knew we were headed to the zoo. We are frequent zoo goers, but the heat of this Summer has kept us in the AC or swimming pool most of the time. Today was our day.  We always ride the carousel on the way in. I promise that I did not encourage the girls to ride in the bird's nest. I guess they are just brain-washed this week.

From the carousel we headed to the bird sanctuary. For $1 you can by a stick of bird food. So worth it. The birds dove down to eat from the girl's sticks. They loved it (the birds and the girls).

By the time we got home it was time for a snack. We ate a healthy snack, but saved room for a treat - Bird's nest cookies (see the link to the recipe under my original bird theme post). These were soooo easy, fun and really pretty good. I used peanut butter chips instead of the butterscotch that the recipe called for.

Oh yes, I forgot to mention what we did before we went to the zoo. We finished our bird feeders that we started yesterday (again, the instructions are below in my original bird theme post). These were so fun that we made a few extras for friends.  

One more thing. We did the flying dove craft on Monday and hung them in our kitchen doorway. The girls love walking under the "flying birds."  Again, fun and easy (so easy that the template in already done for you on the website I linked to).  

We've done a few more crafts and activities and have a few more to go, but all of these I certainly thought were well worth the time and little effort. 

I hope you're having a great week!


Sunday, August 22, 2010

Healthy Snacks for Kiddos

Now that school is about to start for us (and has started for most already), I'm really feeling the need to be sure my kid's brains are powered up with some good nutrition.  We've had quite a bit of ice cream and popsicles this Summer due to the crazy heat, so now I need to get my kids (and me) in a better routine of healthy snacks. I've put a list together (otherwise I'll forget and do the same thing every day), so I thought I'd share it with you. Disclaimer: I've only listed things I know my kids will eat, so there are many more options out there.

1. Bugs on a log (celery sticks filled with peanut butter and raisins on top).
2. Fruit and cheese kabobs.
3. Yogurt and fruit parfaits with granola.
4. Apples dipped in peanut butter.
5. Turkey and cheese tortilla roll-ups.
6. Nuts and trail mixes.
7. Blueberries in milk with a touch of brown sugar on top.
8. Edamame
9. Smoothies
10. Frozen bananas (peel a banana, dip in yogurt, roll in crushed cereal and freeze).
11. Fill a waffle cone with cut-up fruit and top with low-fat yogurt.
12. Veggies with low-fat ranch dip.
13. Popcorn with dried cranberries and a few white chocolate chips.
14. Sweet potato pancakes (I get these in the frozen section of Whole Foods).
15. Mini Pizzas (top half of an english muffin with pizza sauce and shredded cheese and bake).

I'm sure I'll be adding to my list as we go. If you have any different/creative/yummy snack ideas, I'd love to hear them!!

Theme 14: Birds

Gang, sorry again for the lack of posts last week. I'm finally starting to feel normal again (the nausea is subsiding and the bronchitis has run it's course), so hopefully I can get my game on in many ways.  This week's theme is birds. Here are some of the things we're going to do:

1. Painting bird houses (found these at Joanns).
2. Making Bird Feeders.
3. Feed the ducks at Curtis Park.
4. Go to the bird sanctuary at the Dallas Zoo. 
5. Making birds nests (I'm just going to have them gather scraps of ribbon, paper, etc. and show I'll show them how birds weave their nests together.)
10. Hit the Library and check out a book on different types of birds, so the girls can see the thousands of varieties. 

Monday, August 16, 2010

Theme 13: Camping

"What is that?" you ask. Well, it's an indoor smore.  This week's theme is camping and it's 100+ degrees here in Dallas, so there will be no outdoor camping for us. So, we're moving it inside. Here is what we plan to do:
 - Indoor camping
 - Fireplace hot dogs
 - Microwave smores
 - Painting Pillowcases
 - Homemade Kite
 - A trip to the Planetarium
 - A nature walk to collect "treasures" (we'll do this early before it's too brutal outside)
 - Some sort of impromptu craft with our new found treasures. 

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Butterfly House

I took the girls to The Butterfly House at the TX Discovery Gardens in Fair Park. I have to say, it was hot, kind of pricey and didn't take up that much time. BUT...I still really liked it and would have to give it a good recommendation - especially if you go at 10:00 AM vs. 2:00 PM. Forgive the quality of the photos (I just had my phone), but here are a few shots.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

A Question

Every once in a while, I ask my girls this question....."What do you think is most important to Mommy?"

To be honest, little sister always just repeats big sister, but big sister is my gauge for where my priorities lie. Let's face it, kids are brutally honest, but that is not always a bad thing. They keep us grounded, remind us where our focus ought to be and most of all (in my case, anyway), keep us humble.

Ask your kiddos the question...it might give you something good to reflect on.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Coffee Filter Butterflies

Okay gang, another simple craft with things you likely already have. Here we go:

Here's what you need (along with markers):

Step one: have your child color the coffee filter with markers. The more coloring, the better. 

Step Two: lay the colored filter on a plate and have your child drip drops of water on the filter. The coloring will blend and look more like watercolor paint. 

Step Three: Lay the wet filters on a towel to dry.

Step four: Gather the filters in the middle (like you're making a bow) and secure with a pipe cleaner. Trim the ends to be antenna length. Here is what you get:

Fun, cute, cheap - what else do you need?  

If you're like me, you also need something sweet. So, we made cupcakes with silicone butterfly cupcake molds.  The only reason I even share a picture is because of the chef's hats. Here they are:

My girls took them so seriously. I, on the other hand, had a hard time taking them seriously while they wore them. For some reason, they just cracked me up. I found them very recently in the Target dollar spot. I let the girls color on them before wearing them, but they were a bit to distracted by the upcoming cupcakes to really decorate them. But again, another fun, inexpensive and simple thing to do. 

Sunday, August 8, 2010

A Shameless Plea

Okay gang, here's my shameless plea.  Please become a follower of this bog. Here's why.....

My ultimate goal is to get enough followers so that I can get some sponsors for this here blog. What would this do? Well, not only would it provide a minuscule small bit of financial blessing to our family, but it would also open the door for me to host vendor discounts and give-aways (two things I'm sure we all love). So, if you're reading this, would you please become a follower by clicking on the "follow" button on the right? You might have to set up a google account, but it does not make you vulnerable or committed to anything.  It will just allow you to follow other blogs you may stumble upon and participate in their give-aways, etc.

One more thing....I have another new feature on the top right. You can now sign up to receive email notifications when I add a new post. You'll no longer need to check the blog from time to time. Instead, you'll receive an email with a summary of the post, so you can decide if it's relevant to you or not.  But please, become a follower of the blog before you take advantage of the email feature.

Thanks for reading gang!!!!!

Theme 12: Bugs and Butterflies

This week's theme is bugs and butterflies. Here is our list:

1. Outdoor bug catching.
2. Indoor bug hunt with plastic bugs (I have lots of them).
3. Bug window clings
4. Lots of bug crafts (I'll post these as we go).
5. Butterfly cupcakes (I have butterfly shaped silicon baking cups).
6. Coffee filter butterflies.
7. Hungary Caterpillar game.
8. Texas Discovery Garden's Butterfly House.
9. Cedar Ridge Preserve butterfly gardens

I'm still independently loathing enjoying the tired and nauseous theme we had going last week, coupled with a hideous cough that has kept me up for the past five nights. All that to say, if my post aren't in full gear this week, you'll know why.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Rainbow Cupcakes

Anyone longing for a nice cold rain like I am?  We are parched around here and there doesn't seem to be any relief in sight. What is a girl to do?  I've decided to work backwards and start with a rainbow- rainbow cupcakes that is. Check this yummy goodness out - what child is not going to love helping you make these.....

I'll spare you a lame tutorial and send you to spearmintbaby.com for an easy step by step guide on how to make rainbow cupcakes.  I'm leaving the icing up to you, but I'm going for cool whip because it's cool, as in cold. Hey, I'll take anything I can get these days. 

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Theme 11: Tired and Nauseous

That's right folks, we don't have a theme this week. Well, we did have one, but I just couldn't pull it together. Not only is it 100+ here, but I have been feeling a wee bit ill.  What is causing this wee bit of illness. It just so happens that it is this wee bit of a little one.....

Meet our big surprise, baby Copeland #3. This little punkin has me a bit off my A-game, but hopefully only for a couple more weeks.  I am going to post on organization pretty soon. I have a few handy tips that keep us pretty well organized around here. At least for now.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Dinner Tonight

This is it. 

If you don't ever do breakfast for dinner, I highly recommend it.  It's warm, comforting and darn good. You  know by now that I hide spinach in nearly everything. Would you believe it is in my pancakes? Well, it's not. But they do have wheat germ, egg whites and applesauce and they are still really good. Here is the recipe I use - Wheat Germ Pancakes with Applesauce.  I usually do put spinach in our eggs, but my girls asked me to leave out the green stuff tonight, so I obliged.  

Oh yes, I have a question...my oldest told me she was eating her eggs in Latin. Does anyone know what that means?  

Simple way to pass some time.


Ever have some time to kill, but don't want to break out a game, a book, a craft or turn on the tube?  I'm not kidding that we spent 30 minutes playing this game yesterday. What is it? I'm glad you asked. It's nothing new, nothing fancy and is so remedial. All you need is a digital camera. 

1. Tell your kiddos to make a silly face and then take a picture. 
2. Show them the picture. 
3. Listen to them laugh.
4. Tell them to make a face sillier than the one before.
5. Listen to them say "lemmee see, lemmee see."
6. Show them the picture. 
7. Repeat.

Spend as much time doing this as you like. I promise, they will want to do it longer than you do. It's actually pretty hilarious watching them contort their faces in all kinds of new ways. Not to mention, I have some fabulous photos for their rehearsal dinners one day.