Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Oatmeal Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

That title is a mouth full, but these little bite sized muffins will fit just right in your mouth. And they are oh, so yummy. Kinda like having a bowl of oatmeal in a muffin form. I made them for a play date we had at out house last week. They were a hit (except by Shane...he didn't like the texture of them). I couldn't stop eating them all day long.

Adapted from Green Lite Bites

Oatmeal Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

  • 2-3 large mashed RIPE bananas
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 cups Old Fashion Oats
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 tbsp mini chocolate chips
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Mix all ingredients together.
  • I made 24 mini muffins (baked 12-15 minutes) and 6 regular sized muffins (baked 18-20 minutes)

Monday, January 30, 2012

Menu Monday

Monday -- Chicken Noddle Casserole

We didn't have this last week. I bought a whole cooked chicken at Costco yesterday. That will make this recipe a whole lot easier. I'd love to make the creamed soups from scratch, too.

Tuesday -- leftovers (I'm out with the girls from MOPS for dinner.)

Wednesday -- Cheesy Vegetable Chowder

I LOVE soup/chowder. I don't make them much because my family doesn't really enjoy ingredients all mixed together. I am hoping that I can make it chunky enough that I can serve it to the kiddos in separate parts.

Thursday -- leftovers

Friday -- Baked Apple Spiced Oatmeal

We had baked oatmeal a few weeks ago for dinner and it was a huge hit. Very warm and comforting.

Saturday -- Pizza and Salad

Sunday -- Raid the Frig Night

Thanks Pinterest for all your inspiration this week!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Weekend

We had a fun weekend, full of things we don't normally do. It's nice to have that sometimes.

Shane had his first basketball practice. As expected he was very overwhelmed with a loud gym full of people. But we promised we would stay with him as long as he wanted (which was the whole time). He loosened up towards the end and even told us he really liked it.

Doing some stretching.
 Listening to the coach.
 Learning how to dribble (that is a tough skill to teach a kid).
 More dribbling practice.
 Adalyn had fun running around in an open gym and climbing the bleachers.

Mema got in town on Wednesday so she could watch the kiddos while Kenny and I went to a cocktail party on Saturday night. We were blessed with going out to dinner with just Shane Friday night. When we returned him home, Mema put both kiddos to bed while Kenny and I made a Home Depot run. I know, not very exciting, but really so much easier with out kids.

Shane all dressed up for his popcorn party with Mema on Saturday night.
 Kenny and I ready for our big night out. 
We had a wonderful evening hanging out with adults, 
eating yummy food and enjoying a drink, or two.

Thanks Mema for hanging out with us and helping so much while you were here! And to Papa for managing with out her for 4 days.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Best Fishes

This is the card I made for my monthly Close To My Heart swap. I used paper from the new Idea Book called Stella. It's one of my favorites.

Check out the other cards made by other fellow Consultants:

 Made by: Carla
Aren't the butterflies beautiful!?
This is CTMH's new paper packet called Pemberley.
My other favorite.
 Made By: Michele
Sweet little birdie.
 Made By: Lalia
I love this card design.
Made By: Jayma
This flower stamp set is going to be one of the most popular from the new idea book. 
 Made By: Tracie
What a fun way to fold a card!
You may see this card at an upcoming workshop.
 Made By: Cindy
Look at how she made this cut envelope out of a letter sized envelope.
The flower stamp is one of my new favorite from the Spring/Summer Idea Book.

The new Idea Book goes "live" February 1st! Contact me at jessicadbooth @ hotmail .com to get your hands on one.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Blueberry Muffins

I have a thing for muffins. I really like them, but I am picky about my muffins. They have to have just the right amount of flavor and the perfect soft moist texture.

This week I made blueberry muffins (blueberries were buy 1 get 2 free at the store...hard to pass up).

I adapted this recipe from a Lemon-BlueberryYogurt Loaf. I skipped the glazed she made, but I am sure that would be fabulous on top of them as well.

Blueberry Muffins
  • 1 1/2 cups flour (I did 1 cup white flour and 1/2 cup whole wheat flour)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 container lemon yogurt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups blueberries (mine were fresh, but you could use frozen)

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degree.
  2. Mix together four, baking powder and salt.
  3. Whisk together the yogurt, sugar, eggs, vanilla and oil. 
  4. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. 
  5. Pour the batter into muffin cups. I made 12 large muffins (bake for 15-18 minutes) and 6 mini muffins (bake 12-15 minutes)
 These muffins were delicious. They had just the right amount of flavor and sweetness and were spongy and moist!

January Workshop Rescheduled to February.

Each month I hold a workshop at my house using Close To My Heart products.

This month we'll be making a set of 5 cards using the Wonderland paper packet. Here is a peek at the cards that we'll be making.

When: Friday, January 20th  Wednesday, February 29th at 7pm

Cost: $8 for all 5 cards including envelopes.

I have 3 spots left!

Mark your calendar for Thursday, February 2nd at 7pm. We'll be making a set of 10 3x3 Valentine Day Cards!

If you are local to the Seattle/Eastside area and would like to know more about my workshops, please leave me a comment with your email address and I will get in touch with you.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Quick and Easy Valentine Kid Crafts

 Painting with Cookie Cutters

I cut out different sized hearts using my Cricut machine and Art Philosophy Cartridge (but you can cut them out any way that works for you). Then I gave Shane a heart shaped cookie cutter and some paint. He stamped/painted away with the cookie cutter. The end result were these super cute hearts that we hung up on the windows.

Also, using my ART Cricut cartridge I cut these heart outlines out in different sizes. Then I put contact paper on one side of the heart and had Shane ripe tissue paper and stick it to the contact paper. When he was done filling it up I covered the other side with contact paper. I had intented to hang these from some where, but instead I put them up on the windows, too.

We are getting all decorated up for Valentines Day! 

Monday, January 23, 2012

Menu Monday

Monday -- Nachos

Tuesday -- Baked Pototoes

Wednesday -- Crock Pot Chicken Tacos

Thursday -- leftovers

Friday -- Chicken Noodle Casserole (with some revisions)

Saturday -- leftovers

Sunday -- It's a Free For All Dinner Kind of Night!

Weeks 2 and 3 of our 31 Day Food Challenge

Since I was in San Diego last weekend I didn't get our progress report up on our 31 day eating challenge. 

Enjoy a Meal Together -- That was an easy one! The 4 of us eat dinner together most nights. The kids and I eat lunch together most days, too.

Add Something New to Your Meal Plan -- I am always trying new recipes...maybe to much...haha!

Eat More Apples -- Oddly enough this is one of Shane's favorite new foods. He is in love with apples and cheese. Adalyn loves warm apples with cinnamon on them .

Examine Your Kids Drinking Habits -- I must say we've always been controlling over the juice flow in our household. Shane didn't taste juice until he was at least 2 years old. We always have 100% juice in the house. Shane gets 1-2 cups of juice a day, but we still dilute it with half water. When he has had his juice fill for the day he then gets"cold water", which most of the time he drink very happily. Adalyn still only gets milk or water for her liquids.

Use Books to Encourage Good Eating Habits -- I don't think we have many books that fit this category in our home library. It's a great idea and I'll be looking to add some to our collection.

Build a Better Pantry -- I keep healthy snacks in reach of Mr. Shane and the cookies and candy go in a special cabinet that only Daddy and Mommy know about.

High Protein, Low Sugar Breakfasts -- Just a couple months ago I thought to myself one morning that cereal just wasn't a good breakfast for Shane. He didn't eat it every day, but when he did he got hungry a lot sooner and his behavior crashed a lot earlier in the day, too. When he gets a healthy breakfast he just behaves so much better during the whole day.

Cook or Bake With Your Kids -- Shane bakes with me probably at least once a week. And he often joins me in the kitchen while I make dinner. He LOVES to cut things up and make his own "food" while I make dinner. I'll give him veggie scrapes, etc and he cuts them up and puts them in a bowl. Adalyn is in my arms or in the backpack when I am in the kitchen. She loves watching me make things.

Serve a Muffin Tin Meal -- Most of the meals I give Shane are similar to muffin tin meals, but minus the muffin tin. I have been meaning to pick myself up some tins for this though.

Try Something You've Been Avoiding -- I have an acorn danish squash sitting on my counter (it's been there for at least a month now) and I just can't seem to get it cooked. This week I am going to serve it at lunch or dinner...finally.

Teaching Balanced Eating -- I think in the next week or so I'll use the "report card" and try it out with Shane for a couple days. See if he understands at all and then go from there.

Commit To Whole Grains -- We do pretty good with whole grains on and off. Pasta is a pretty easy one for us to do. Rice and bread are okay sometimes. I falter more on this since I buy the groceries and I just sometimes don't buy whole grains. I think we could pretty easily do a week of it though (at least pasta, rice and bread). I bake with whole wheat sometimes, too or I half it.

Let Your Kids Play with Their Food -- We've been telling Shane lately that if it's something he doesn't want to eat he can touch it or play with it. He looks at us like we are from another planet and then laughs. He really is becoming a better eater, so if playing with his food helps, I am all for it. Adalyn has playing with her food down!

Snack Wisely -- I realized a few months back that Shane was snacking to much. When I cut down on that he ate during meal times....imagine that. Now snacking is more "schedule" between meals and much more purposeful.

We have one more week to go!!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Conversatons With Shane

Shane spent a fair amount of time playing in his room one morning while holding Dodger hostage in there with him. I had been checking on them on and off just to make sure poor Boy Dog wasn't being tortured to badly.

Shane came running out of his room to tell me this:

Shane: Mommy, when you cut Dodger's hair with real scissors he likes it!!!

Me: What?!?!

Shane:  Dodger likes it when I cut his hair with scissors.

Me: Well, Dodger might like it, but scissors are only used for paper. Show me what you did. ( I found a clump of hair cut from Dodgers back).

Shane: (In a super super upset and confused voice) But he likes it!! He really likes it!

Me: Sorry kiddo, you aren't giving Dodger a hair cut, no matter how much he "likes" it. 

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Project 52 {3:52}

We were out sledding this week when I realized that my theme for week three was cold or snow. Wow! What perfect timing. I saw these bright red berries among all the white and knew I needed to attempt to get a picture. I only had a quick minute at it before I was going to get run over by sledders and then my camera lens was so wet I couldn't take any more pictures.

Friday, January 20, 2012

More Snow

We've been snowed in for days now! Schools have been canceled all week. The weatherman keeps promising that it is going to let up and it will melt, but so far nothing but more snow and cold temperatures. Shane has loved spending time out in the white stuff sledding and romping around. The dogs even love going out and playing in the snow.

Shane and Adalyn getting ready for a sled ride. Little Girl hates getting dressed for the snow, so she has only made it out a couple times. Shane is a pro by now and has been outside to play in it 2-3 times every day.

Walking up the hill for a sled right with Daddy. Addie did best in the snow when she finally kept her mittens on. The two times before this she wouldn't wear them and got very upset when we came inside because her hands were so cold. She did not enjoy the "dethawing" of them.

Snow videos:

1. Adalyn and Shane out in the backyard. Her first time walking around back there.

2. Kenny, Shane and Adalyn sledding down the "horse hill". Both kids loved sledding.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Valentine's Day Workshop

For February's workshop we are going to be making 12 adorable 3x3 Valentine's Day cards (2 of each design). They are perfect for your kiddos to take to school or for you to send out to your family and friends. They also are just the right size to stick a lollipop, pencil or a piece of candy inside.

Cost: $5 a set (you can make more then one set, just let me know.) (no envelopes for these little guys).

Please bring your own adhesive (tombow, double sided tape, glue pen etc). A "tombow" like adhesive would work best for this project.

I have 3 spots left for this workshop, if you are in the Greater Seattle area and would like more information about this just leave me a comment.

Project 52 {2:52}

I honestly can't tell you why I picked "blanket" as a theme all those weeks ago. But I did. We aren't short on blankets around this house that is for sure. Shane is always toting one around with him and I still have a blanket that I sleep with at night. It's not my original blanket. I've loved my way through a handful of them since I was little. Adalyn has chosen "bunny" as her special lovely instead of following in the tradition of blankets. Guess she didn't get the memo.

I walked into the bathroom one afternoon and there was Shane's blanket just sitting on the counter. Made me chuckle at the places that thing ends up. I imagine that kid will have a special blanket for the rest of his life. I wonder where he got that from?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

San Diego and Snow

I had a wonderful weekend away all by myself in San Diego visiting friends. Sadly through the sun didn't shine while I was down there and the whole weekend I was just plain cold. I would have been even colder though if I was at home because it snowed all weekend while I was gone.

It was an odd feeling to be away with out kiddos or a Husband. It felt weird to sit on an airplane all by myself and do whatever I wanted. It felt weird to be able to wake up in the morning when ever I wanted (though it was super difficult to actually sleep-in) and to be able to lay down and nap/rest if I felt the urge. 

I did very much enjoy my time away. Visiting with friends, eating out (In-N-Out was a highlight!), reading, surfing the web, sitting around and watching television. Just doing nothing of much felt good. Coming home and being greeted with hugs and loves felt really good, too.

Absence really does make the heart grown fonder or maybe it just reminds the heart how much love there is. Being away for a couple days is refreshing and renewing. It makes those days that can become dull and boring exciting and fun again.

Shane and Kenny had a fabulous weekend together hanging out. The snow did kinda change up their plans, but was fun in its own right. Adalyn, Mema and Papa had a wonderful weekend spending time together, too. She did fabulous on her first visit to their house all by herself.

All around it was a great weekend for the whole family. Now it looks like we will have a few more fun snow days ahead of us.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Close To My Heart January Updates

Here is what is happening in the world of Close To My Heart:

Rock the Block
January Constant Campaign

When you place a minimum order of $25 from the Autumn/Winter 2011 Idea Book, you can get two valuable new products for just $15: the My Creations Collage Cubes (a Spring/Summer 2012 sneak-peek product!) and the exclusive My Acrylix Rock the Block E-size stamp set (available only during this promotion). This Rock the Block promotion represents a retail savings of almost $30! You're going to love the collage cubes and the Rock the Block stamp set, which work together for interactive, fashionable fun! This offer is ends January 31st.

There are SO many ways to use this cute set. Check out this blog hop for some great ideas.

A Perfect 10!
January Studio J Members-Only Constant Campaign
January is free layout month for Studio J members! For every 9 custom-printed Studio J layouts you buy, you’ll receive the 10th layout free. To receive the discount, just add 10 or more layouts to your cart. You’ll see a discount reflected in your order total. And you can totally take advantage of this promotion by ordering in multiples of 10. Buy 9, get 1 free. Buy 18, get 2 free. Buy 27, get 3 free. And so on! If you’re not a member yet, now’s a great time to join! This offer ends January 31st

Visit here to get more information on becoming a Studio J memeber.

January Stamp of the Month
Little Reminder
When you spend $50 on any CTMH products you can purchase the Stamp of the Month for just $5!

The Spring/Summer Idea Book arrives February 1st! There are 8 new paper packets and I am in love with just about every single one of them. Place an order of $50 or more and you get one for FREE.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Activities for Younger Toddlers

It hit me the other day that we no longer have a baby in the house....we have a full on toddler. She was pushing boundaries the other day and doing all kinds of climbing.

She still pretty much just wants to run around the house tearing things up though and it is starting to drive me crazy. The amount of picking up I do during the day is amazing. Little Miss Almost 14 months old won't return to play with any overturned items/messy toys. I have to pick it back up for her to play with them more.

The other hard part has been finding activities that Shane and Adalyn can happily do together. One of my goals for this year is to make sure I have prepared activities for both kiddos on a regular basis. This helps to pass the time for me and helps add some excitement to our days. Productive Parenting has a lot of great ideas including the younger set.

These are two games we played yesterday.

Toss The Sock:
I found two containers (medium and small) and grabbed the balled up socks from Adalyn's drawer. I put the containers in the middle of the floor and put the socks around the room. Then the kiddos "tossed the socks" into the bins. Pretty darn simple, but they both had fun and could play together! I had Shane toss from further away. Adalyn loved tossing and then dumping.

Adalyn and Shane playing.
They were into it for about 15+ minutes, 
which I thought was great for such a simple game.

 Shane and Arli playing.
Arli gave it about 1 round and then moved onto other things.

Find the Animal:
I had Shane line up a bunch of stuff animals. Then with a flash light he pointed to one and asked Adalyn to "find the bear" or "find the baby", etc. She loved finding the baby and then kissing it. But she wasn't so into finding any of the other animals. Shane loved telling his Sister what to do.

Both of these activities target:
  • following directions
  • large gross motor skills
  • eye and hand coordination
  • cooperation
  • simple fun!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Candy Cane Hearts

I had a box of candy canes left over from Christmas and after seeing some hearts made out of candy canes filled with chocolate on Pinterest, I knew we needed to make  a revised version for Valentines Day.

Aren't they cute?! I hung them from the chandelier in our dining room. Shane supervised the project and put the candy canes on the plate for me to hot glue. Then I strung ribbon through them. It took longer to get the hot glue gun warmed up then it did to make these.

Got any left over candy canes laying around in your house?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

2012 Goals

I have had some goals for the new year wondering around in my head the last couple weeks. I wasn't sure if I was going to share them, but I decided getting them down here is the best place to keep my goals and it removes them from taking up space in my mind.

  • Make a list of the events that need to get scrapbooked.
  • Get pictures backed up on CDs from the last couple years.
  • Put completed pages into their proper scrapbook home by year.
  • Complete my monthly craft project.
  • Complete Project 52
  • Continue to rotate toys weekly (by theme if possible: animals, transportation, instruments, etc).
  • Each week provide Shane with new activities to work on (mostly for Tuesday and Thursdays).
  • Have a new activity for Adalyn (and Arli) to do at least 3x's a week. 
  • Work on Shane's speech activities 3x's a week (Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday).
  • Deep clean and reorganize a room as needed. (Just last week I did both kid bedrooms).
  • Continue to meal plan weekly, potentially adding a lunch plan to each week.

Close To My Heart:
  • Consider ways of adding revenue through the blog.
  • Monthly date night using a babysitter (this is the scariest one of all of them because of the babysitter part). 

Monday, January 9, 2012

Menu Monday

Monday -- Left over Lasagna from last night (sadly it wasn't fabulous, but there was a lot of it, so half went in the freezer for another time and we'll have plenty for tonight's dinner)

Tuesday -- Halibut and rice (I'll bake it with a little layer of mayo and dill on the top...yummy!)

Wednesday -- Baked Oatmeal

Thursday -- Crepes (as requested by Kenny)

Friday -- Hold on to your seat....I'll be out of town for the weekend! Yep, just me all by myself in the awesome town of San Diego. Where I'll get to visit my friend Michelle and soak up a few rays of sun!! I CAN'T wait to sit on an airplane all by myself for hours!! And not get woken up by a 14 month old who is still not sleeping through the night.

A gigantic thanks to Kenny for letting me go on this adventure. And to Mema and Papa for taking Adalyn for the weekend, so Kenny can enjoy some one-on-one time with Shane.

Saturday and Sunday -- It's up to the boys to fend for themselves. I think they'll manage just fine.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

31 Day Food Challenge

Teaching "Good" Eaters is hosting a 31 Day Food Challenge in January. We recently realized with Shane how much food plays a part in his daily behavior. We hit rock bottom about a month ago with our wonderful active 4.5 year old and were seeking anything that would help us get out a a terrible behavior rut. Food became one of the major answers.

He is a picky eater (like most preschoolers out there). When I stepped up and took some time to really figure out what I could get him to eat AND stopped pushing him on eating, we saw a 180 degree turn in his behavior.

Just last week at my MOPS group we had a guest speaker on picky eaters. She was AMAZING. I mean truly amazing. The top three things I took away from her talk were:
  • Our job as a parent is to provide healthy nutritional choices. It's the kiddos job to get it into their mouths. Bargaining, bribing, counting bits, etc does no good at all. Allowing them to decide what they want to eat and when is the health way to feed a kid.
  • Let all the walls go around eating. Don't be a wall that your kiddo can push against. Put all the power in their hands. Which means here is dinner, Kiddo, eat what you would like, try what you would like, or don't eat anything. It's all in your hands. 
  • By always having a "safe" food choice at meal time, your kid will eat. Yes, that may be bread or green beans, or olives. What ever a "safe" food is for your child. But, as they learn to take the power of eating into their hands, they will begin to want to try other things and you'll most likely see your child start to eat what is on the table all on their own free will.
Back to the food challenge. Here is what we accomplished this week:

Day 1: Establish Accountability -- We eat made a list of our favorite foods. Over the week we have been adding to it.

Day 2: One Family, One Meal -- We generally ate one family meal at dinner time, but had gotten a little off track. This week I've focused on having a "safe" food each night for Shane, as well as making sure we are at the table together and eating (or sitting nicely) for about 15 minutes every night. Dinners this week have been a lot less hectic!

Day 3: Try a New Food Tuesday -- This was a success after Shane cried for about 5 minutes. But I really wanted him to try a half of a garbanzo bean. When he did it, he discovered it was just fine and life went one. Since then he has been super open to at least taking a bite of something new.

Day 4: Eat a Fun Lunch -- This isn't the funniest looking lunch, but Shane really gets into having things in small sizes, toothpicks and fun plates. He ate this all up. That is all that matters to me! A happy eater equals a happy kid.

Day 5: Read Labels -- I happened to buy Adalyn some Gerber Puffs and she was eating them for a snack. I normally just feed them Pirates Booty. I read the Gerber Puff label and it had a handful of off items in it. I headed over to the Pirates Booty bag and it just had a couple ingredients. No point in buying the expensive baby puffs!I'll be sticking to Costco sized Pirate Booty bags.

Day 6: Plan a Food Adventure -- Still working on this one....

Day 7: One Small Change -- We needed new ketchup and I bought the new kind by Heinz that has no corn syrup in it!