Friday, January 31, 2014

Detective N

Inspired by the fun of Disney Jr.'s Doc McStuffins, Nolan has been asking to play detective Nolan recently. A few weeks ago he excitedly told me, "Mommy I know what I can be when I grow up... a detective!" He got a little worried and said, "but first I need a magnifying glass to solve mysteries." Everything he does he relates to a mystery. The mystery of the lost shoes, the mystery of the hungry boy, and more he keeps exclaiming. It's pretty cute.

Today, after days indoors due to sickness, we went all out. I found Nolan's magnifying glass and sewed him a special lanyard so it wouldn't fall and break. We got him his own notebook to record his mysteries in and went to town. I drew him clues for a few things to solve then he did the same for me. It was pretty cute and he didn't want to stop.

The clues he drew and explained for me.
...and the prize at the end of the mystery he made himself!

After our fun he begged for a detective hat. We ended up at goodwill and found two. More pics of those to follow soon!!

Big boy Carter felt left out so he asked to color like we were doing.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Tummy Trouble

The dreaded stomach flu has hit the boys. After a fun Saturday... don't you hate how this stuff always pops up to ruin a weekend... we had a crazy night. Nolan was up all night and Carter started in the morning. It's a PJ's kind of day and lots of rest.

Nolan requested his "feel better juice" which is pedialyte or sometimes I do an ounce of juice mixed with water when he isn't actually sick and just wants it. We stuck to the BRAT diet and applesauce in one of our refillable pouches was his first request. When he asked for food this afternoon, I asked him if he wanted banana or toast. Nolan picked toast despite not really knowing what it was. I handed him a piece of GF bread and he says "Cool. Toast is half a sandwich." Recently there were even discussion on white blood cells, thanks Magic School bus! I'm sure tomorrow will bring lots of fun and lots of bleach but for now I have laundry to fold and beds to make. Get healthy boys!!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Hard to be 17 months

Quick family funnies. Apparently it's hard to be 17mo old. Tonight at dinner Tim was telling us about his day. Nolan loves to ask "Dad, what did you do at work today" and demands an answer. As Tim started in with his recap, he ran his hands through his hair and braced his head. I was sitting next to Carter and immediately he started doing the same. I couldn't resist and had Tim repeat so i could snap a picture... Nolan had to get in on the fun too.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Disney Side at Home Celebrations

I recently was chosen to host a Disney Side at Home Celebration!! Disney sent their chosen hosts a fun filled party pack to explore all they have to offer and celebrate the fun of that magical place. Check back here in early March for my post detailing our fun party! For those of you asking, here is what our party pack entailed. I took a bunch of pictures f the boys opening our box but somehow they were deleted from our memory card before I saved them.

Luggage for the hosts!! Isn't the color awesome?!?!

Mickey artwork for all guests!

Trip planning DVD, calendars for all guests, recipe card

Luggage tag and 'Story'  iphone case (there is a related app)

Party paperware- cups, napkins, table cloth, plates, hanging decor

Cookie cutters, Craisins, and measuring cups

Balloons and tattoos! The wristbands for all guests were missed in my pictures. Oops!

ESPN cheer cards for all guests

Fun games and activities

Print at home card packs!!

I received this party pack for free in order to host my own at home Disney celebration!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Center of my World

It's pretty apparent my boys are the center of my world. I don't, however, want to raise them to believe that they are the center of THE world. I've been thinking about this a lot lately and wondering what other families thought and how they deal with this. Children don't get to be the center of attention at every opportunity nor the apple of everyone's eye. It's a hard distinction but pretty important I think.

I want my kids to be able to function even if they aren't their teacher's favorite. To play alone, entertain themselves, and be a passive observer when called for. They are only 4 and 18 months but for our oldest it seems like it's already been taught somewhat. I try to make sure he gets to speak his mind but we're teaching patience and waiting too. It's so common for kids to want to interrupt immediately and usually when they have nothing in particular to say, just to be involved in the conversation and have the attention of the group turn to them. We give Nolan a chance to say something when he asks to join our conversations but it's important he wait his turn too.

If I think of a kiddo I've heard labelled as a "brat" or "spoiled" it's usually for behaviors related to needing to be the center of attention at all times. I don't want that for my boys.

I play with my boys at every chance but also work hard to make sure they will entertain themselves in their (over) stocked playroom. We have fun and imaginative play but even more creative things happen when left to their own devices. Even the little guy stacks block, runs a car into them, and makes ramps completely content to initiate these activities on his own. He'll go off alone and sit with a bin of toys to explore.

I did some random googling and came across this blog from The Metz Family. I don't really agree with the title but the points in the actual article are pretty good. It's mainly things I'm striving to implement and some end goals we have. I'd love to hear your thoughts and suggestions (leave a comment!). How do you prepare your children for school and the "real" world where they won't win every game, get to play every sport, or take a turn every time or do you not think it's important?

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Carter Quick Pic Update

I uploaded some phone pictures today and wanted to share. Here is some Carter spam. I'm working on editing and uploading a few longer videos of Nolan so be on the lookout. Those are coming soon!!

Playing with colored rice/pasta. Not sure why I thought this was a good cold day activity for in the house.


His cheese face!

He's gotten so silly recently.

Don't mind the singing! Carter loves to jump and it's pretty hilarious. 

Monday, January 6, 2014

Muesli Breakfast Cookies

I've been stuck in a rut recently trying to come up with new breakfast ideas for the boys. Carter is very picky and both boys are gluten free. I don't always want to make a four course meal in the morning so something easy and quick is a plus.

This afternoon while the polar vortex was barreling down on us I felt like baking. Checking out the cupboards I found oats and thought I'd bake up some snack bars. Then, I spied the bag of Bob's Red Mill gluten free muesli and knew that would be even easier. It comes chock-full of goodies including rolled oats, brown rice crisps, raisins, dried apples, dried cranberries, sunflower seeds, almonds, roasted soy beans, pumpkin seeds and coconut flakes. I figured with that and a few more ingredients we could have some pretty tasty breakfast cookies.

They turned out really great. They are moist and almost like a fruit bread (pumpkin bread, zucchini bread, etc.). Both kids devoured them and thought they were really eating cookies. Here's the recipe I created.

2 cups Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Muesli
1/4 cup peanut butter
2 Tbsp. honey
1/2 cup apple butter
2 bananas
1/4 cup ground flaxseed
1 Tbsp. Brewer's Yeast
up to 1/4 cup almond milk (add a little at a time to so it doesn't get too liquidy)

Smash the bananas and mix all ingredients together. Preheat oven to 325 degrees and spread out cookies on parchment paper covered cookie tray. Flatten with a spoon as these don't really spread. Bake 15-17min or until edges turn golden brown. Store in refrigerator. 

You could easily substitute sun butter or almond butter for the peanut butter and any type of milk for the almond milk. We simply used what we had on hand! Enjoy!

**note if you're celiac you might want to eliminate the Brewer's Yeast as some versions can contain gluten. 

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Sarah's Slings and Things

I recently met a great mom on a crafting Facebook group. She makes ring slings and has a Facebook page called Sarah's Slings & Things. Go check it out!! You can check out all of her goodies listed on her etsy shop here. Sarah even takes custom orders for amazing bedding sets for infants. If you've got a nursery theme in mind I'm sure she can help you out. In addition to her custom slots, she has in stock items such as ring slings, breastfeeding covers, hooded towels, and nursing pillow covers.

A few months ago, I won a ring sling in an online giveaway. I was excited to use it and was hoping ot post here about my awesome win but once it arrived I was a bit worried. While the rings themselves were good (from as recommended), the stitching holding the entire thing together was not adequate. I posted to my babywearing friends and everyone agreed it was safe as it was made. I as advised not to use it. There was only one set of single stitching that would be doing all the weight bearing. This left me a little scared to try a handmade ring sling but when I visited Sarah's page I knew I'd be happy and Carter would be safe.

Sarah's slings are CPSIA compliant and each one comes with a product registration card so you can register your sling and rest assured should any sort of recall happen, you'll be notified. Her stitching holding the fabric to the slings is high quality and safe. There is a box and X pattern stitching leading to a secure hold. The padded shoulder is comfortable and the added on pocket is perfect for carrying your phone or keys! Sarah's packaging is cute and extremely professional! She offers a wide array of fabric choices and the best thing is she custom dyes wraps for a one of a kind and beautiful look. You'll have to check out her Facebook page to see her new handmade batik style dye technique.

I have an ice dyed ringsling from Sarah to test out and it's amazing. The colors are vibrant and gorgeous. Enough adjectives... here are a few pictures to check it out.

Yep even our 4 year old loves it. Nolan has become a huge fan of being worn since Carter came along. He asks for me to wrap him or bring our wraps along all the time. He got to check out the new sling before Carter did.  Stay tuned for further posts on Sarah's cool products. Her easy to use and discreet nursing cover is up next! In the meantime go check out her etsy shop and like her Facebook page.

I received one or more of the products reviewed in this posting for free of charge in exchange for a review but as always all opinions and information is solely my own.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Menu Planning

Disclosure: I received this product as part of an advertorial.

Like everyone else I know, I struggle to come up with healthy dinner ideas for my family. We usually end up in a rut eating the same few things. I turn to Pinterest but after a while Tim gets tired of trying new things like buffalo ranch lasagna or cauliflower crust pizza. I needed a simple way to come up with normal, wholesome, and healthy meals that wouldn't break the budget. Enter Relish! Meal Planning Services. I've never tried out any of the e-planning services before but know lots of friends who have. Now it's my turn!!

Relish! allows you to choose the dinners you want to make and easily print out the grocery list and recipes. They also offer comprehensive freezer meal recipes for those who like to cook in bulk ahead of time.

Here is how it works. Each week you choose from a new list of recipes. You then edit the side selection and build your grocery list by adding and deleting from the master list of groceries your recipes require. If you already have something in the pantry you just uncheck it form your list.

Having one thorough grocery list can cut down on your grocery bill and the time it takes to do your shopping. They say on average 5 dinners and sides cost less than $90 per week at the grocery store. A Relish! subscription is only $7 per month or as low as $4.90 a month when you sign up for a year.

Some of my menu items for two weeks ago when I started included Bang Bang Chicken with Jasmine Rice, Shrimp Creole Stew with Buttermilk Cornbread, and Slow Cooker Cilantro Lime Burrito Bowls.

Being gluten free and menu planning can be difficult. I'm used to substitutions and easily know which type of meals work best for our family. I simply avoid the gluten heavy meals and sub out when necessary. Easy peasey! All of the above were easy to make gluten free. I really enjoyed each of the menu items but found that we usually use a lot more spices than others so I did adjust the recipes accordingly.

The recipes on Relish! tend to focus on healthy eating with whole, fresh foods.  When you're ready to cook the printable version of each given recipe is simple and straightforward. The ingredients are separate and followed by the directions for preparing the meal. Additional info such as weight watchers points and nutritional facts are available for each recipe.

I have a reoccurring problem finding new and still complementing sides. Relish! gives you a huge list of possible sides to choose from for each menu plan.

Side item list for the week for me blurred out to avoid any copying issues.

It's definitely worth the $7 a month (if you choose to buy just one month) and an awesome deal for the $4.90 cost to buy a whole year. Let me know if you menu plan and what tips and types of meals you enjoy?

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.