Friday, September 30, 2011

Eating Right

As you can probably tell, I do my best to eat right and feed my family right. By "right" I do not mean it is always the most healthy. I'm sure you've also noticed that I love sweets and they are not taboo around here. My goal is to find a healthy balance between eating what benefits our bodies, while still enjoying what doesn't from time to time.  The tricky part comes in doing this, all while trying to stay within a pretty tight grocery budget.  I was fishing around for some budget friendly and healthy meal ideas and stumbled across some good information. Here is a good resource for budget friendly healthy foods. There are also so additional good links from the webpage.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Freezer Meals, Part I

I mentioned a while ago having freezer meals on hand for those night when you have to get dinner ready in a pinch. So, I'm here with my first freezer meal recommendation.  You're going to kill me because it's cookies. I know, I know. This does not help you at all.  But wait, it just might. How great is it to have cookies in the freezer that you can pull out on whim?  Play dates, pop-in company, anew neighbor. All these things are made better by a warm batch of fresh cookies.  See, they can help. And these cookies are delicious, easy and freeze really well.

I promise that my next freezer meal post is going to be a real meal. I've already made them and they are good.  Enjoy today!!!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Fall Centerpieces

Fall is officially here and you know what that means, don't you? Pinecones, acorns, pumpkins and twigs.  It's time to start decorating with this stuff folks. Below are some inspiring images I found on Pinterest. The kiddos and I will start nature hunting soon to round up a big batch of acorns and twigs. Then I'll start scattering them around the house, baking pumpkin-laden goods, and hopefully enjoying some fall-like temperatures. Now we're talk'n!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Party Idea

I just hosted a birthday party for my sister. I love celebrating anything, much more a sister who is so fabulous. 

I used these deep teal color nail polishes for place tags and party favors combined. They were a hit with the guests, so I thought I'd pass along the idea. Now I just need to host a pedi-party!!!

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Ultimate Fake Out

See that cookie dough up there?  Dip those graham crackers in there and you're in heaven.  Give it to your kids and they are in heaven too.  But, you know what the best part is?  It's not cookie dough. It looks like cookie dough. It tastes like cookie dough. But no, it is not cookie dough.

I must say this is probably the most genius recipe I have come across. It is the ultimate fake out for your kids - and for your taste buds.  I plan on having this on had for many afternoon snacks. I'm going to serve it to the neighbor kids, my kid's friends and anyone else who steps into to my house. They will love it. And then...I will tell them what is in it and they will love it more.  

Folks, it's chickpeas, almond butter, whole grain oats and a few other ingredients to sweeten it up a bit. It is, for the most part, good for you.  Check out the recipe here.  Please make this and tell me what you think. It will get your week off to a great start!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Good friday morning to you!  I love the feeling of Fridays, especially on cooler mornings like this one.  Since you are now fully stocked with note cards for your kiddos lunches, I thought I's share a fun and free printable for you. I love this verse and the note has such a classic look. I know there is someone in my life that could use a little encouragement on one of these. Is there someone in yours?

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

More lunch box love....

Here are some more darling lunch box notes.  I printed some of these on brown craft card stock and love them!  This week has been a full one for us, thus the quickie posts.  I hope you all are having a great week!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Love this....

Might need to print one of these off and hang it in our playroom.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

DIY Art, Part II

I ran across another great idea for some do-it-yourself art.  I found the picture above on this blog.  I know I could pull that off! It definitely made me think outside the box on simply painting on canvas. The plates make a fun and different back drop.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Lunchbox Love

Another week begins, so here's another effort to make your kids lunches more fun and creative. This one, however, isn't about the food. If you're like me, you write little notes to put in your kiddos lunch. I either write them on a napkin or a colorful piece of paper. But now I have some something new to add to the mix. Check out this free printable for lunchbox notes.

I hope your week is off to a great start!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

B is for.....

Baby? Bubba? Belly? Here is my little man in all his chubbiness. It's a wonder I get anything done with all the squeezing there is to do on this little guy. Just thought I'd pop in on Saturday to share a glimpse of this chubbalicious. I hope you all have a great weekend!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Bless the Teacher

The school my girls go to is fabulous. I cannot say enough good things about it. One of the things I love is that you can sign up to "bless the teacher" one month of each school year. Who better to bless than the very teachers that bless us by pouring into our children.  The blessings have to be homemade (with the exception of plants, flowers or restaurant gift cards). That being said, I'm always on a quest to come up with something new and different that will indeed bless them. Here's the first thing that I'll be leaving in their classrooms....handmade stationery. I saw this over at this blog and was sold.

I started with 8 1/2 x 11 card stock that I cut in half and folded over to make the size of stationery. Next, I scrounged up some red and green paint, the little round sponge brush thingy (wish I new what exactly that is called), a small tip paint brush and a thin brown marker (not pictured).

Using the round sponge thingy and red paint, I make circles in the bottom left corners of the cards. The paint leaves a sort of texture that I like because of the sponge application.

Here they are with the red circles:

Then I used the brown marker to add a stem and the green paint to add a small leaf.

Here is the close-up. Perfect for teacher thank you notes, don't you think.

Finally, I wrapped up with twine and these free tags and they are ready to go! How about them apples????

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Gift Idea

I was flipping through some old magazines last night and saw these cute leather purses for $15. They are goatskin {sounds fancy} and come in a variety of colors. These are definitely going to go on my list of Christmas gift ideas, but I thought I'd share in case you have any occasions coming up and are in need of a cute gift.  

I might have to get myself one of these to corral the loose gum and mints that consistently get grungy in the bottom of my purse. Or maybe it'll hold my lip glosses. Maybe pens and pencils in my Bible Study bag. Oh the possibilities....

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


We moved into our house over a year and a half ago and my walls are still blank with few exceptions.  I wouldn't call myself a minimalist, but I certainly like an open, clean feel. So, what I'm looking for are a few statement pieces of art.  Little did I know, a few statement pieces make a BIG statement on my bank statement (for some reason, I'm naive like that). So I had to come up with plan b.....doing it myself.  

Here is my first go at some abstract art. It's verrrrry amateur (although I like to think it looks a tad bit better in person). It did, however, leave me itching to do more.  

So now I have three rather large canvases that are going to hang on a large and quite empty wall. Here are pieces that inspire me and make me think surely I can do something similar.

Any artist out there will any helpful tips?  Or, anyone bold enough to try a painting of their own with me? (Looking at these again makes me realize just how pathetic mine is...ayayay.)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Favorite Things....

I have a love/hate relationship with Target. I love that they have such awesome stuff to entertain my eye while I shop for things like diapers and toilet paper. I also hate that they have such awesome stuff to entertain my eye while I shop for things like diapers and toilet paper. 

Here are a few of my favorite things from Target (no, they are not paying me to write this. I'm just hoping posting about them will give mean an iota of the satisfaction I might get from buying them).

Loving the deep teal shade of this nail polish for Fall. 

Oh what I mess I could make in the kitchen with one of these.  And, I'm loving blue these days.

I use these hand soaps, but would love the entire collection of lotions, balms, butters, etc. So yummy!

Looky here - I actually did buy this pillow and it's on my sofa. I'll post a pic at the bottom. 

This is a tiffin box. That is a fancy word of lunch box. I don't have to pack my lunch, but this sure makes me want to. I wonder if the hubs would be willing to take his lunch to work in this, so I could justify getting one?

More blue. I love these, but unfortunately, I have a ton of melamine already. 

Ditto...I have a ton of kids dishes, but these owls are just too cute. 

I saved the best for last. I can just see myself cruising around on this baby this Fall. I'd switch that basket for a baby basket and Jack and I would be high stylin' in the neighborhood. 


PS - Here's the picture of our "reading room" with the above sunburst pillow. 

Monday, September 12, 2011

Job Jars

I know I'm not alone when I say that school mornings can be hectic - or any other morning that you have to be somewhere at a certain time, for that matter. I've been trying to think of something that will prompt my kids to do what they need to do without me having to tell them. 

Admittedly, I probably do to much for my kids.  They are definitely big enough now that I shouldn't have to tell them to eat breakfast, right?  Well, whether they are or not, I was inspired to make what I call a "job jar" yesterday. Let me preface by saying that my kids "jobs" or not hard. You will see what I mean below.  But, I still want them to learn to do what they need to do in the mornings without me having to ask or tell them to.  

Here's the idea.  When they wake up, they pick a popsicle stick out of their jar.  They promptly do what it says like Polyanna would all while smiling and singing Jesus Loves Me. Oh wait....that's in my dream. Okay, now I'm awake too.  So, they pick a stick and maybe they do what it says. If it says eat breakfast and they aren't hungry yet, that's okay, I can be flexible and they can pick another stick.  Point being, they complete all their "jobs" by the time we leave for school and I don't have to be running around telling them what to do. I like that and so do they.

Here are their "jobs:"

My personal favorite is "mom's choice."  This might be clean the playroom, put your shoes away, etc. It might even be give me a hug or have a piece of gum (you see, I'm crazy like that).  Oh yes, you must also know that my kids can't read (I'm sure have just lost all credibility since those are words on the popsicle sticks), but that is why they are color coded and, heh, I totally believe in word recognition. My four year old already has most of them memorized.  

So, we're going to give this a-go this week and I'll let you know how it goes. What do you do to keep your kids on task school mornings?

Friday, September 9, 2011

Picnic Anyone?

This weather has been fabulous and has made me want to do one thing....picnic.  I know it's going to heat up again, but when it really does cool down for fall, I've got these cute (and FREE) picnic invitations on my radar. I think I'm going to celebrate the onset of fall with a byobb (bring your own brown bag) backyard picnic with neighbors and friends. I thought you might want to do the same.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

A Dog's Life

This is the kind of thing our dog has to deal with around here - my daughter feeding her out of a spoon. The poor dog ate her entire dinner that way. But....don't feel too sorry for her. As you probably know by now, she has quite the life around here. For instance, last week was her birthday. We had a sort of mini-party for her which included homemade dog treats. She loved them and my middle daughter didn't think they were too bad either (gross!). 

Here is the recipe. It's easy and healthy and a lot cheaper than store bought. See, I have the same high standards for my pooch's food that I do my own.  :)

1/2 cup of peanut butter (I used the creamy kind)
1 tablespoon of virgin coconut oil (or olive oil)
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup honey
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together peanut butter, honey, oil and chicken broth. In a separate bowl, combine flours and oatmeal. Mix dry ingredients into wet ingredients. Place dough on flour dusted surface. Roll or press dough out to about 1/4” inch thick. Use a small bone cookie cutter to cut out cookies. My cookie cutter was a 5-inch bone-shaped , but for small dogs you may want to use a small cookie cutter (around 2″). Roll out leftover scraps and cut out as many as possible. Put cut out cookies on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 14-16 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack. Make your dog's day!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

My new favorite "treat"

With school in full swing, not only have I felt the need to find great lunch options, but also healthy and yummy after school snacks.  Well, my friends, I am excited to introduce you to one of my new all time favorite treats.  I really only call it a treat because my kids think it's candy and I don't blame them because it tastes like candy. Little do they know, it is full of nutrition (I know, I know, I always trick them like this).  

Pictured above are what I call "date balls."  Do not be deceived; they taste more like chocolate than they do  dates. Not only are they good and healthy, but they are super easy (and gluten free at that). 

  • ½ cup medjool dates, pits removed
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon celtic sea salt 

  • 1. Place dates, walnuts, cocoa powder, vanilla and salt in a food processor
  • 2. Pulse on high speed until smooth
  • 3. Remove mixture from food processor and roll into little balls
  • 4. Serve
These do not disappoint. While your kids are gobbling them up, they are getting a great dose of potassium, fiber and good ole omega 3s (with a lot of other good stuff in smaller amounts). Enjoy!!!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

What's For Lunch?

I've packed two lunches so far this school year and I already feel like my creativity is dwindling. Until....(drumroll please)....I found Laptop Lunches. Not only are the boxes extremely cool and highly functional, but the website also gives 365 lunch ideas.  Just what I needed!!

Here are a few to wet your appetite....

I've always heard that the more colorful your plate (or bag), the better it is for you. Take a look at that color!!!  Love. Love. Love.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Getting Organized: Meal Time

I know I've posted this before, but I've had some friends tell me they are in desperate need of some meal time organization.  Seeing as we now have soccer practice at 5:30 on Monday evening and games on Wednesday evenings, I'm going to need to vamp up my planning to a whole new level.  My first tip to people trying to budget meals or time better, is to get a plan. I love this Meal Schedule put together by "The Project Girl." It helps you plan your meals in advance and make your grocery list at the same time.  I guarantee if you do this you will spend less time and money at the grocery store. 

I also love the idea of freezer meals that you make ahead of time and are ready to cook when you need something on the fly.  That will be another post, so stay tuned....

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Repurpose, Reuse, Recycyle

I found something very exciting in my fridge the other day!  Do you see it? I'll give you a hint. It's on the left.  It's not the champagne bottle, although that might just be exciting when I'm no longer nursing and have something big to celebrate. Give up?

Here it is again.

And a close up...

Ahhhh....finally, something suitable to hold my earrings, rings, etc. that cost me nothing. That makes for a good day, my friends. Egglands Best eggs come in this nice crisp and clear container that has solved a huge jewelry delima for me, as well as given my family some extra Omega 3s.  Love it.