Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Emery's new "Pinterest" in painting!

Ever since I have found pinterest.com, I have fallen IN LOVE with it! I have gotten so many recipe, craft, DIY, & gift ideas from it! I feel like it was made for people like me :)

So, one of the really cool ideas I found was for Emery. I was looking for kid toys, crafts, games, etc. ideas and wanted to see what I could find.

I found this...which I think is a super genius idea!
I was having fun with it myself!

Play with paint in large and small baggies!!!! No mess, but tons of fun! I used all different kinds of paint brushes and items that made neat shapes.

Put any colors together and there ya go!

Click HERE for the original blog site. Its towards the bottom! There are a few other ideas  too :)

I thought this was so great :) Thank you, creative moms who give us moms your ideas!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Fun with Flashcards

When Emery was about 6 months old, I got an inspiration from the "As Seen on TV" products, My Baby Can Read! So, I decided to try my own version of it with Emery one day. I used some gift card money that I still had not used from Emery's baby shower to buy some flash cards.

When it was breakfast or snack time, I started showing her flash cards that had simple images on them that I knew she could recognize, but wasn't able to say quite yet. I showed her pictures of animals, food, and other simple things like books, etc. I started making piles according to what she learned and what she didn't quite know yet.

The first pile was the pile I started with that only had about 5 picture cards that she would recognize right away( puppies, book, spoon, ball, etc.). When she learned those, I added 5 new ones, my second pile.  The ones that she got right every few times became my third pile. When I got to about 15 cards, I got rid of the first set of cards because those she knew too well. Soon one of the piles became words only without the picture. We started with "pig".

I found that she listened best if she was kept busy eating or was having fun at the table. It helped her focus a lot more :)  When it came to potty training in our new place, we would read books, sing hand motion songs (itsy bitsy spider, etc. ) AND do flash cards all on the potty! It was like a potty party:)

Now,  (not six months old anymore, tear) we got a good routine going and I think it has really helped since we have started :) Find some cheap flash cards and give it a whirl!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Making Healthy Cooking Easier!

I have always been a fan of healthy eating! I grew up always eating veggies freshly picked from our garden. However, it can take a lot of prep time in making a fresh and healthy meal. You have to peel the onions, dice 'em, scoop the seeds out of a squash, rinse the veggies, bake the potato, etc. It seems like it can take a lifetime to make a simple meal when it seems a whole lot easier to whip up a frozen meal or eat out for a very hungry family on a busy day.

If you are trying to create healthy meals for yourself or your family, I have found a few ideas that have seemed to help me. I realized these ideas when I was struggling to make healthy meal choices for my family when I had a newborn. I was tired, hungry and crabby with a crying baby, and worn out husband who had a long day at work. After Emery's first year past, I had some shortcuts up my sleeve that I learned along the way.

1. Chop your veggies ahead of time!

Spend a morning or afternoon dedicated to cutting up your onions, pepper, broccoli, beans, etc. I separate the onions to keep the taste from transferring.

Keep simple veggies like bagged carrots, spinich, and grapes at hand to quickly pull from the fridge or foods that are already pre- chopped. It will make you want to eat them more if they are easier and quicker to prepare :) Cut Celery with peanut butter or hummus with carrot sticks which are great snacks if chopped and made a head of time.

2. Use a mandelin, food processor, or other appliance to help with the choppin' and slicin'! Thinner veggies take less time to cook :)

3. Cook extra meat like cubed chicken, ground turkey, or steak and refrigerate it to use for different meals throughout the week. Tacos, pizza toppers, & quesadillas, are a few options.

Emery's lunch consisting of cooked cinnamon apples, chicken & broccoli

4. Make a batch of white or brown rice in the rice cooker, refrigerate it, and use it throughout the week! I have even taken leftover brown rice and added it to turkey burger patties topped with avocado or stuffed green peppers, yum! Canned black beans, chickpeas, or black eyed peas can also be a quick side dish.
left over brown rice with veggies

5. Use the Crock Pot and let it do the cooking! If its hot out and you don't want to use the oven OR if you're like me and might forget that you have the oven on all day, take advantage of the crock pot! It doesn't make your home hot AND it is out of reach from little ones :) click here for crock pot baby food recipes.

It works great if you are also impatient like me, to throw your veggies in that take time to cook (like potatoes, carrots, lentils,  etc ) Use a small crock pot (they are not so hard to get in and out of the cabinets) or large ones for family meals. Don't waste your time slavin' in the kitchen when you can just throw your meal in the crock!

I make a week's worth of veggies so that I can alternate between green veggies one day and orange the next. That way you and the family get a balance of nutrition and different flavors each meal.

BEFORE: Acorn squash with butter, cinnamon, & brown sugar

AFTER: Sweet goodness! Amazing with bacon!

Sweet potatoes can be a side dish or added to pancakes or pies

 6. Cook with seafood! It is super healthy, light and QUICK!

7. Buy local at a farmer's market or grow your own garden. Its cheaper and you will be able to can or freeze it all.

8. The obvious- buy frozen veggies- They can be cooked in a jiffy.

9. Refrigerate all of your food in containers- Just pull out the rice you made & sweet potato you baked and Voa La!

It just takes one afternoon of preparation and a you will yield a week's worth of food to mix and match with different meals your family can enjoy! Not to mention that you can spend more time doing other things rather than cookin' for hours!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Chocolate Dipped Macaroons! YUMMY!

If you are looking to make a simple, but DELICIOUS dessert to bring to a party, these are the ones to try!!!

If you aren't a coconut fan, but you want to try these anyways (which you should!) You will become one after you eat them! I decided to bring them to my friend's baby blessing shower and they were a hit!

I got the recipe from the Food Network, Ina Garten's recipe! She had the easiest recipe out of all the macaroon ones and the simplest, using the minimal amount of ingredients.

To make these cookies visit here to get the recipe! Seriously it is the easiest recipe ever! You cannot mess them up :)  I added a few more egg whites to mine so that they got  extra fluffy! I also dipped mine in semi sweet chocolate to balance the sweetness out. Instead of almond extract, I just used vanilla.

Super easy to make! Just mix with coconut and bake!

Coconut added to liquid ingredients & whipped egg whites

Cooked, cooled, and ready to be dipped in chocolate!!

Sweet, gooey, goodness ready to eat!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Recycling your Electronics as Toys for Tots

I have noticed that even though Emery will play with her own toys, she really wants to play with the things that I am using! Like most young kids, she likes playing with pots & pans, laundry, & especially ELECTRONICS!

There have been several times that I give Emery her toy phone and laptop, but then she quickly puts it down in exchange for my phone or she tries to push a key on the laptop.  We knew that we didn't want to allow Emery to use our real keys, laptop, or phone for obvious reasons so I came up with the idea of finding outdated electronics just for her!

If you have had a similar issue, try finding old electronics around the house or try buying some cheap ones at Good Will or at a garage sale. Here is a list of items that I have found that Emery really likes playing with:

Emery's office essentials
talking on her remote control with her eyes shut!

1. Old cell phone

2. Calculator. You can even get an old calculator with the receipt tape which actually punches the numbers out on paper! It helps with counting :)

3. Old laptops/computers. If you child is older, you can turn the power on (w/o internet) and let your child play on computer games, Paint, or Word. Emery just pretends :)

4. TV remotes from old televisions. They are so easy to find at Thrift stores and garage sales if you don't have extras lying around the house.

5.  Keys with key chains- Go to a hardware store and get some fun colored keys or ask for the old ones that they don't use. A set of blank keys works too. ( that way they don't open anything in your house ) 
If you have young kids, make sure your outlets are plugged with the protectors just in case.

6. Cameras

What I have found to be quite helpful to get Emery more interested in her toys when I am playing with mine, is to NOT keep all of her toys out at once. If I rotate them out every few days, she treats them like new treasure!

I also try to organize the toys according to a theme. One day I will take out her grocery cart and let her play with the food, pots, & pans. She also gets to play with her purse to bring to the "store". I will fill it with her phone, keys, & wallet (a Cubs wallet btw!) which holds old cards and coupons. Sometimes when I get junk mail from the mailman, I let Emery rip it open. I figure I am going to just throw it away anyhow! Old cereal boxes are fun to fill her cart with  too:)

When she wants to play with her laptop, I get out the the  "office" play box and she can have fun with the calculator, remotes, phone, and paper.

Whenever I need to jump on my laptop to check my emails or pay bills, I just make sure to either do it when Emery is not around  or get out her own electronic toys for her to participate too :)

Any other ideas relating to electronics!!???

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Take Action against TV indecency

Hey all!
I was listening to the American Family Radio today and I learned about their website and One Million Moms. The American Family Association partners with OMM to stand against all sorts of current issues that we can have a voice in. Click here to to see the current issues with recent indecent television advertising.

The Bert & Ernie Petition along with the Zappos Shoes Nude commercials are the the most recent. You have a chance to petition against such advertising.

It actually works. The CEO from Finish Line Shoes recently removed an indecent commercial involving a nude boy posing in an art class scene. Yes, it was really showing on TV. search it :)

As moms, I think we ought to start acting against such behavior instead of just sighing when we hear about them :) How can we complain if we don't take a stand against it? And if you don't care, then we shouldn't hear your complaints or opinions- when its your time to stand up for something you believe in. (I am saying this in the kindest way I can, I promise :)

I am not saying sign every petition out there, they can be risky. But what I am saying is that those who do care can have a voice and should have a voice in these issues and others. Instead of relying on other people to hopefully resolve these issues, we need to take the time, responsibility, and ownership in the change that we want to see happen.  Anyone with me on this one?!

And, if TV is a big issue for your family, why not just get rid of it- and the movies too! Take that extra 50-100 bucks a month and put it towards something beneficial like savings or paying off debt! (Ok, now I am starting to sound a bit bitter, but in all honesty I think it needs to be said!)

All in all, I am thankful to even have an opinion and able to voice it freely :) Because of that, why aren't  I doing more with the freedoms that I have been given??

Thanks for letting me rant on a bit... sometimes I need to.. especially on these topics.

*down below is the petition letter you will find on the website. I like the wording of it.

Dear Tony Hsieh,

As a mother, etc., I am highly offended by your company's decision to feature nude models in your "More than Shoes" ad campaigns.  Your decision is disrespectful to me personally, and to my family.  If Zappos continues to use such poor taste and inappropriate marketing choices, I will make a conscious effort to shop elsewhere.

Your current ads are soft porn, and I find them extremely offensive. It is degrading to women and harmful to men not to mention damaging to impressionable young men and women.

I implore you to publicly apologize and remove the offensive images from your website. This disgusting advertising campaign needs to be discontinued immediately.

I look forward to hearing from you regarding my concern.


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

a future blog etc.

Since we have moved from Missouri, I haven't had much time to  blog with the new church plant taking place and finally settling in our new place. I do want  to share though  that I have been in the process of making a family blog separate from this one that will have some family updates hopefully!! Whoot whoot! I feel horrible for not posting more family pics :/  I want to add lots of pictures and videos of Emery, church stuff, etc. on it so we can share  them with all of our friends and family from afar :)

On a random side note...I did find some really cool recipes on how to make some homemade and all natural cleaning products ( Some are on the back of Borax & washing soda boxes if you have any of those!) I also am excited to blog about some new favorite healthy snacks, meals, and homeopathic remedies! (Sorry! I get really pumped about some really weird stuff :) Yep, this is what I do in my free time! Hopefully you like it so you will keep coming back :)

Anyways, That's the plan.  I hope to blog about that stuff soon when I get some pictures uploaded.

See ya friends!