Monthly Archives: April 2014

Quinoa Mock Candy Bars

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My kids LOVE these!  They cannot believe they get to eat them for breakfast!  Plus, it is so much better than sugary cereal or pop tarts.  They also eat these for after school snacks and as a dessert.  These little bars are full of fiber, protein, and other nutritious stuff.  Here are the details:

Quinoa Mock Candy Bars

1/2 cup coconut oil

1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa

1 cup old fashioned oats (you could use quick oats)

2 TBS wheat germ

2 TBS flaxseed meal

1 cup peanut butter

1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup chocolate chips

Melt coconut oil in microwave for about 15 seconds.  Add rest of ingredients.  Mix well.  Grease a 9×13 casserole dish (or line with parchment paper).  Pour mixture into dish.  Freeze for at least 30 minutes.  Cut into squares.  Store in zip lock bag in freezer.

10 Things I Want my Kids to Know

1.  There is no good or bad until you put a label on it as such.  Making a bad grade in 5th grade might teach you a new study habit that changes the way you study and helps you learn faster.  Having your heart broken gives you the opportunity to meet someone better suited for you.  Losing a competition teaches strength and perseverance. 

2.  When you know better, you do better.  That is a quote from Maya Angelou.  It is so true.  You may argue that your friend knew that stealing was wrong and still did it.  But knowing the rule doesn’t mean you inherently get it.  When your heart and spirit realize there is a better way, it will change.  You have to understand it deep in your soul and consciousness.  So when someone hurts you, realize they really don’t know better.  Don’t let them continue to hurt you, but try to forgive them.  Maybe hurting you will teach them that they don’t want to hurt people anymore.  In the same way, don’t be too hard on yourself when you make a mistake.  You made that mistake so you can learn from it.  Forgive yourself, learn, move on.

3.  Mistakes and failures are learning tools to love and success.  You cannot live a truly dynamic life without both mistakes and failures.  If you don’t have any failures, you’re not taking enough risks.  “Failure’s pain subsides faster than the ache of regret.”  (Anonymous)  “The fastest way to succeed is to double your rate of failure.”  Thomas Watson

4.  You are in charge of your own happiness.  Not your parents.  Not your teachers.  Not your friends.  Knowing this brings true freedom.  When you realize you can be happy in spite of disappointments, anger, and frustration, you take yourself out of a self-imposed prison.  You can stop blaming people, circumstances, and things for making you unhappy.  You can live in the present instead of putting off happiness until you achieve something, get something, become something.  Happiness is for you to have anytime, anywhere you choose it.

5.  Forgiving others is for you.  Holding on to anger only hurts you.  Let go of it and focus on other things.  When you let anger go, you free yourself of those negative feelings.  Realize that you have total control of the situation.  By forgiving fully in your heart, spirit, and mind, you are able to release the hurt and pain.  You free yourself.  When you hold on to anger, you allow someone lese to control you and your happiness.  “Forgiveness is the experience does not change the past, but it changes the present.” Frederic Loskin

6.  Every day is a new day.  Every day is a chance to start over.  Change your story.  Change your life.  Don’t get bogged down in yesterday.  It can’t be changed, but today is yours to do with as you choose.  Be grateful for the opportunity.  It can be as exciting as you make it.  There are some circumstances that can’t be changed overnight.  But you can still find things to be grateful for.  Change the things you can.  Pray for guidance on things you need help with.  Relax.  Know that you will be OK.  God has a plan. Be patient. 

7.  Gratitude is the key to happiness.  Happiness doesn’t just happen.  You work for it.  Don’t wait for it to just happen to you.  Find all the things to be grateful for in you life.  Your health, your family, food to eat, a nice bed to sleep in.  There are so many things to choose from.  Practice replacing negative thoughts with thoughts of gratitude.  It takes practice and patience.  Don’t be hard on yourself when you struggle with this.  Keep practicing.  You, and you alone, are in charge of your happiness.  Take responsibility for it.  Be grateful for everything you have.  There are many people who would love to have what you have and be who you are.  The more you practice being grateful, the easier it becomes to find things to be grateful for.

8.  We are put on this earth to fulfill our purpose and calling.  We are not here to work at an unfulfilling job just so we can pay the bills.  We are not here to live a mediocre life.  Sometimes it is hard to figure our what that purpose is.  Think about the things you love to do, your hobbies, activities you love to do.  What could you spend your day doing and not feel like it was work?  Make it a priority to figure it out.  If you are not sure, pick something you love to do and do more of it.  Learn more about it.  See if it fits your calling.  If not, try something else.  Keep trying.  Never give up.  If you go down the wrong path, take a new path.  Every mistake is a learning experience.  Keep putting yourself out there.   You are capable of more than you can imagine. 

9.  You don’t have to be a victim.  You can choose a life that is right for you or you can spend your life blaming circumstances, people, and misfortunes for why your life isn’t what you want it to be.  Choose to take ownership of your life.  Spend your time enjoying your life-flaws and all.  Fix what needs fixing.  Love the rest.  Don’t play the blame game.  There is no benefit to blaming things or people outside of yourself.  Yes, someone may have done you wrong.  Yes, misfortunes occur that can change your trajectory.  But blaming those things and becoming a victim in the story you tell yourself will only make you feel helpless and angry.  Accept what is.  Learn what you can from it.  There is a lesson in every experience.  Make your own happiness.

10.  Have faith.  Know that God has a plan for you.  You may be sad and feel like you are in a hopeless situation.  You are not.  Keep getting up and keep trying.  Believe that great things are in store for you.  They are.  Take time to visualize everything you want in life.  What would it look like?  Feel like?  Imagine every detail and imagine it often.  Don’t give up.  You may have many times of doubt, but stay the course.  Have faith that it will all work out.  Because it will.  I have faith in you.  The Universe has faith in you.  God has faith in you.  The desires you have in your heart are put there for a reason.  God wouldn’t put them in your heart if you could not fulfill them.  Dream big.  Visualize a lot.  And have faith.  You are stronger than you can imagine.

6 Tips for Dealing with your Newborn

ImageMy baby turned six a few weeks ago.  My oldest is eleven.  What just happened?  I started thinking about the past years as a parent and how things have changed.  No more packing the van full for a day trip.  No more diapers, and bottles, and pack-n-plays.  My mind drifts to those days with a newborn.  Newborns are deceptively cute.  Yet, they have the power to bring any new parent to their knees.  Those days of new babies are over for me, but the memories remain.  These are a few tips I remember about having a newborn:

1.  Read the book, The Baby Whisperer, but do not expect to be a baby whisperer.

2.  Talk to other moms with newborns.  But just the ones who keep it real.  The ones who wear yoga pants and have a little spit up in their pony tail.

3.  Not breastfeeding is OK.  Breastfeeding is OK.  In a few years, it will cease to be a topic of daily conversation with other moms because your babies will be preschoolers and you can debate homeschooling vs. public school.  Or something else equally heated.

4.  Add at least an hour to the time you think it will take you to get you and your baby ready and out the door.  Because inevitably you’ll get in the car and realize you forgot something important.  It could be your keys, extra diapers, your mind.  You’ll go into get said item and baby will have pooped his weight leading to a massive terror of poop in clothes and surrounding area.  You’ll realize the best way to remedy the situation is to dump baby in the bath.  You’ll get him and the hazardous zone cleaned up.  By this time the baby will be hungry so you’ll either whip out a boob or use your bottle that was meant for the trip (which you will need to replace before leaving).  The baby will be nice and fed and happy (maybe).  As you pick up your bundle of joy, he’ll let out an enormous burp which leaves you covered in curdled milk.  You will wonder how milk can really smell that bad in the ten minutes since it left your body/bottle.  You’ll go change your clothes.  Finally, you head out again only to remember you don’t know where you left your keys, diapers, mind.  You’ll go back in to find them and the cycle may or may not begin again.

5.  Keep your sense of humor.  Or at least some semblance of it.  It’s hard to find the humor in being drenched in explosive diarrhea, but thinking about how funny this story will be years later when you’ve caught up on your sleep (it may take years) might make it a little easier to handle.  And if you go out to buy some clothes after having your baby because you can’t put one leg in your pre-pregnancy clothes, and after trying on clothes in numerous stores you finally realize that you have on mismatched shoes which are not even the same color (which you have taken off numerous times to try on plus size clothing), you can go home and reenact the story to your husband so he can laugh hysterically. 

6.  Practice the mantra, “This too shall pass.”  Because it will.  Pass.  Quickly.  Or at least it will seem that way when you look back.  The first three weeks of my first child’s life were the longest of my life.  But now it just seems like a distant memory.  The mind numbing days of tears and tantrums (the baby may have them too) will pass.  So will the drool-drenched smiles and innocent giggles.  All will pass.  New struggles and triumphs will begin.  Take a deep breath and enjoy the ride.

A Disney Frozen Birthday Party

We went to see the Disney movie Frozen right when it came out.  It was every bit as good as I had heard it would be.  So it only made sense to have a Frozen themed birthday party my almost 6 year old. 

The most time intensive part of the party was making snowballs.  I bought a five pound bag of cotton used to stuff pillows.  I made hundreds of snowballs.  After getting them in shape, I sprayed each one with spray adhesive and let them dry.  This allowed them to keep their shape and we could throw them around like real snowballs. 

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I took some of the snowballs and strung them up on invisible thread and hung them from the ceiling to create the look of falling snow. 

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I used the leftover cotton to decorate the table for the cake.  I made it look like a snow covered mountain.  I used some blue clear rocks around the bottom of the mountain to make it look like a stream.  The cake went on the top of the mountain.

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I bought a printable download off Etsy that included the invites and all the other labels and things I needed.  I also found this great link to some free printable downloads.

The food kept with the theme of the movie.  I dipped strawberries in vanilla almond bark and sprinkled with white glitter sprinkles to make Frozen hearts.

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Carrots and ranch were labeled as Olaf’s noses.

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Blue jello was called Kristoff’s ice.

Large marshmallows dipped in white almond bark and sprinkled with white glitter sprinkles made great snowballs.

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Cheese balls made great Sven’s snacks.  This really had nothing to do with the movie, but I thought Sven looked like the kind of reindeer that would eat cheese balls and I thought the kids would like it.

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We had bottle water that I labeled as melted snowman. 

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I made the cake with a blue raspberry cake mix so it would be blue on the inside.  I used two mixes.  I made a sheet cake and then used mini cake pans to make the platforms for Elsa and Anna.  The trees are ice cream cones dipped in white almond bark and sprinkled with the white sprinkles.  I bought the figures at Target.  The blue icing was bought in a can that also came with different tips to use.  It was super easy to use. 

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We played pin the nose on Olaf.  I printed out free coloring sheets of Elsa, Anna, and Kristoff.  I bought lots of jewels and flowers and decorations to decorate bags that I bought 3 for $1 at the Dollar Tree.  I also found some door hangers to decorate. 

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I planned for a treasure hunt, and throw the snowball in the buckets for points, but the kids enjoyed being outside playing with the horse, playing chasing games, and coloring with sidewalk chalk.  Since they were having a good time, I just nixed the other activities.

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It was so much fun!  I think I enjoyed it as much as my daughter! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Valentine’s Day Fancy Dinner in PJs

We had a candlelight dinner with sparkling apple juice for our drink.  The kids were impressed with the fancy plastic champagne glasses!

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After dinner, we turned on some soft music so we could dance.  Gabby danced with daddy.  She and I also practiced our princess dances so we will be prepared if we ever visit royalty.

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I taught the boys how to dance with girls.  Natie was a sweet dance partner. Image

 Jay had a hard time keeping a straight face, but I think deep down he liked it!ImageIt was a great Valentine’s Day.  I hope the kids will remember it.  I know I will. 

 

DC Comics Halloween

I have no idea who is DC and who is Marvel, but my husband does. I have told him he may not want to be so proud of his knowledge of comic book characters. I wanted to have a theme for Halloween this year. Knowing that I had a Batman costume and Gabby wanted to be Wonder Woman, I decided on a super hero theme. My boys were pleased. My husband was beside himself with happiness. Except that he was adamant that we had to all be DC Comic characters. We could not be a mix of DC and Marvel because that would be weird. Ummm, OK.

I made Gabby’s Wonder Woman costume. I have a picture of me when I was her age dressed as Wonder Woman for Halloween. I LOVED Wonder Woman when I was little. Gabby doesn’t really know much except that she liked her outfit. Nate has been Batman for at least two previous years. I try to get him to pick out something different, but he wants to stick with Batman. Of course, this year I wanted him to be Batman but didn’t realize the Batman costume would be a little snug on my Natie. An hour before we left for our Halloween festivities, we had to change his costume to a ninja.

I was Cat Woman. Mainly because it was easy. Dress in black and wear some cat ears. My husband was the Riddler. And Jay was Green Lantern.

Halloween 2013

Halloween 2013

Mad Scientist Birthday Party

For my son’s 11th birthday, we planned a Mad Scientist birthday party. I thought we could do fun experiments and make a big mess. I think we succeeded at having fun. I know we succeeded in making a mess!

It took two days beforehand to make these “naked” eggs. They are eggs soaked in vinegar until the shell falls off, but the egg membrane stays intact. I found the instructions here.

Naked Eggs

Naked Eggs

After the kids examined the naked eggs, we let them throw them around outside. They are pretty fragile and burst when thrown.

I bought some clay and small plastic cups (like the ones you would use to rinse mouth out. I molded the clay around the cups to make volcanoes. The guests each had a container of baking soda to add to volcano. Then they each poured vinegar into the volcano to watch it erupt.

Erupting Volcanoes

Erupting Volcanoes

We made goo out of glue, borax and water. Here is a link to the directions.

Making goo

Making goo


Green Slime

Green Slime

I bought a printable download for signs and labels. I used Hugs drinks and added hazard labels for drinks.

Hazardous Labels and Signs

Hazardous Labels and Signs

I bought petri dishes and filled with yellow jello and a couple of gummy worms.

Petri dish

Petri dish

The candy favor bags were simply white paper bags with “Chemical Candies” label from the Etsy kit.

Chemical Candies

Chemical Candies

I kept the party simple. Simple snacks and decorations. The experiments were easy, but messy and fun for the kids. The prep work was pretty simple for the experiments. I would recommend a Mad Scientist party if you are looking something simple, but loads of fun!