Archive | February 2013

Trying to go all natural-No Soda

Hola All! Jenn here.

Well I am trying very hard to go all natural/more natural and Wednesday started day 1 of no soda!!! Ahhhhh!

If you know me you know this is hard for me. Until recently I barely drank water, it was nothing for me to go all week without drinking any water. I love soda! I love Mountain Dew!

To start trying to kick the habit I switched from buying 2 liters, to buying bottles (24 oz) and only allowing myself 2 bottles a day and if I was thirsty after that, I had to drink water. That worked well, so after the bottles were gone I started buying cans and I only allowed myself 2 cans a day. I have noticed the more water you drink, the more you begin to crave it. However, I also made little rules like no soda after noon and no soda at restaurants. (This helped me quit a bit and it saves lots of $$-soda at a restaurants has gotten way expensive)

If you are anything like me though, I want something with some flavor every now and again. But, in a quest to be more natural, I do not use crystal light or water flavoring-what I have seen in those packet flavorings are lots of artificial things and aspartame-which is supposed to be really bad for you.

So, I made my own flavored water with fruit I bought. This way I know what’s in it. I found lots of recipes on Pinterest 🙂 There are several listed on there and many different types to try, but I ended up just mixing my owns things and trying them out.

I made three different types of flavored water.

-Strawberry and Blueberry:I cut up approximately 5 strawberries and then added them and a handful of blueberries to an empty pitcher. Then I used a whisk to mash them a little (not to pieces, just a little to get the juices flowing) a potatoes masher would probably be best, but I do not have one of those. Then I added ice first-to help mush some juice out and then filled with water. Super easy!!
-Watermelon. I bought watermelon that was already cut from the produce department and used half the container and followed the same prep as above.
-Blackberry and Strawberry. I again used approx 5 cut strawberries and a handful of blackberries and followed same prep as above.

-I let them all sit in the fridge for 24 hours before trying them.
-I also would simply add more water to the pitcher as I drank some and the fruit still flavored it nicely.
-I kept them all for a week (with adding water to the pitcher after each use) but the watermelon went bad. I would suggest using that one up in a few days.

I enjoyed them all and look forward to experimenting with other fruits and in the plus side my 4 yr old liked them to!!

Hope you enjoy this and enjoy trying to be more granola!!

Don’t forget to do something to make someone smile today!!

Love,
JD

Page-Turning Mondays: “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie”

Happy last Monday of February, y’all!

Jess here with our February installment of Page-Turning Mondays. The feature book is If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, by Laura Numeroff, illustrated by Felicia Bond.

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This is a super cute cause-and-effect book that has blossomed into a whole If You Give A… series. Other titles in the series are: If You Give A Pig a Pancake, If You Give A Cat a Cupcake, If You Take A Mouse to School, and my oldest son’s personal favorite, If You Give a Moose a Muffin. There are other books in this series, just Google them or browse the shelves at your local library. We were fortunate to find a treasury of four of these books that included a CD that had celebrities reading the books aloud, and the boys really enjoyed following along as the book was read. The treasury also included some recipes (cookies, pancakes, and muffins) that you could make at home with your child as you read these fun books. You could also use any favorite recipe. The key is to let your child be involved. Cooking with your children teaches them many important lessons…new vocabulary, math skills, good nutrition and health, responsibility, and cooperation, just to name a few.

Another idea to make the story more interactive and meaningful comes from my mom, who is a former preschool teacher. She gathered all the items mentioned in If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, and used them as props to retell the story. I remember her students really getting a kick out of seeing the items from the book “come to life.”

I hope you and your little ones enjoy this book, and all the other titles in this series!

Enjoy the fun, and enjoy the memories that will be made!

DIY Day- Flavored Butter

Hola! Jenn here!

I hope you are all doing great!

I wanted to share with you something delicious! FLAVORED BUTTER! (Well in our case margarine.) obviously my eating all natural has hit some roadblocks, but more on that another time.

I LOVE going to Texas Roadhouse and eating their cinnamon butter and rolls.
Lately, I had been wanting to try to make the cinnamon butter so finally one night I gave it a try and it was delicious!!

I simply got some butter out and put it in a bowl to soften a little, then once soft I added cinnamon sugar and stirred it up. I don’t have an exact measurement. I just added, stirred, tested, and then repeated if needed.

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On a side note-this was not good on my homemade biscuits. I am not sure how it would be on store bought biscuits, but my hubby and I agreed it would be best on rolls. My sister recommended Sister Shurbert rolls, so I bought the store brand version and they were wonderful with the cinnamon butter 🙂

I also tried this with garlic powder to replicate the garlic butter that Dominoes uses on their pizza. It was good, but would be better if the butter was completely melted to liquid form so you could dip you pizza in it.

Hope you have enjoyed this and that you will also enjoy some wonderful flavored butter-even thought isn’t healthy 😉

Don’t forget to do someone nice for someone else today!

Love,
JD

One of my favorite things-My Laminator

Hola! Jenn here!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Valentines Day! I am looking forward to the sales to rack up on decor, treat bags, and whatever else I can find a deal on 😉

I wanted to do a quick post about one of my most valuable pocessions-my laminator!!!!

I have a Scotch Laminator that I found at Wal-Mart for $24.00. The laminating sheets at Wal-Mart are 50 in a pack for $15. I have been told they are cheaper at Sams Club, but we haven’t gotten our membership done yet…..not high in the priority bucket.

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If you have ever considered getting one I hope this testimony will be helpful to you. I bought it last summer and have found it to have endless possibilities!

I have made sooooo many things with mine! One of my favorite is worksheets for Kaitlyn. I got workbooks on different subjects from the dollar bin at Target. (I do not shop there any longer and do not recommend shopping there, but you can get the same types of workbooks from WalMart or you can print worksheets from online).

I simply took the books, pulled them apart, cut the pages apart, then laminated!! Why laminate them? Because you can then reuse the same worksheets over and over!! This was perfect for us because for homeschooling we did one letter and number a week-so we could use the same sheets repeatedly-which equals saving money $$. Crayola sells dry erase crayons that work like a charm on laminated papers! (You can also use dry erase markers, but I think the crayon comes off cleaner and if you forget to wipe them off and they sit for a few days it comes off with no staining).

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I have done worksheets on every subject and even dot to dots-which have been a good quiet activity for her to do during services. I also admit that I have gotten super carried away and even laminated coloring book pages-it is so great! They can color, wipe off and start over!!

I have found so many different exciting uses for it!
-I have made bookmarks
-I have made magnets
(You can check out the post on magnets and bookmarks from leaves to see a way I used my laminator to make those)
-I have made an ornament
-I have made cake decorations
-I have made a book for my little one
-I have made laminated flip books from online printables.

Hey! If you have been considering one-
BUY ONE!

Unleash your inner craftiness, teacher, whatever! The possibilities are endless!

Hope you have enjoyed this and find it helpful!

Don’t forget to do something to make someone smile today!

Love
JD

A Valentine’s Craft and Cookie You’ll “LOVE”!

Hey, y’all…Jess here with a couple of fun ideas for you and your little loves this Valentine’s Day. At our house, we love making crafts and/or special foods for nearly every holiday. And Valentine’s Day, with its hearts, pinks, reds, and other frilliness, was no exception!  This post will feature both a fun craft and a delicious dessert you can make with the help of your kiddos.

For our Valentine’s Day craft, we made these Tie Dye Coffee Filter Hearts I found while perusing Pinterest one day. We made some Tie Dye Coffee Filter turkeys back in November for Thanksgiving, and the boys had a blast making them, so I knew these hearts would be a hit. (They were!) The materials you’ll need are coffee filters (any size will work…you’ll be folding them in half and cutting them into a heart shape anyway), markers (your choice of color…we went with pink, red, and purple, since my oldest said those are “Valentine colors”), and a spray bottle of water (or you can use an eye dropper or simply hold the filter under some running water from the sink. We went with the spray bottle because, let’s face it, my boys love spray bottles and I love the boost of fine motor skills it gives them).

Then, let the coloring begin!

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We were so fortunate that Buzz Lightyear could join us on this intergalactic Valentine mission!

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After the hearts are colored, it’s time to get spraying! I placed the hearts (folded in half) on a paper plate covered with a paper towel to help absorb some of the water.

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These turned out super cute! They are currently hanging in our dining room windows and looking “love”ly! Sorry, couldn’t resist!

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After we made these hearts, we had a short devotional about why we give Valentines (my oldest wisely said “To say ‘I love you’”) and how God showed us how much He loved us by giving us His only Son (John 3:16). We also talked about how God is love, and if we love God, we will love one another (1 John 4:7-8).

Now, for the deliciousness…

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I found this recipe for Chocolate Valentine Cookies on Pinterest (what would we do without our dear friend Pinterest…all of my fellow PinHeads know what I mean!) and thought it looked SO good, and then as I looked at the ingredients, I realized it was SO simple to make! You can click here to see the recipe. The key ingredient? A box of Devil’s Food cake mix. The rest of the ingredients are staples you probably already have on hand. See the picture below.

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You could use any variety of sprinkle or decoration for the top. We had some mini heart sprinkles left over from making treats last Valentine’s Day, so we used those. I had a good time with my funny Valentines making these goodies! They are such good helpers!

Pouring in the cake mix

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Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’….

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The cookies didn’t turn out quite like the ones pictured in the recipe, but that’s ok by me! They were delicious (I’m striving to exercise more and eat healthier, but I did eat one. Ok, two. I can totally vouch for their yumminess! Now it’s off to jog a mile and do some yoga…), looked very festive, and were just the right size for little hands.

I hope each and every one of you have a special and wonderful Valentine’s Day! Enjoy each moment with those special people who have captured your heart, and let them know EVERY DAY, not just on this one day out of the year, just how much YOU love THEM.

“The greatest thing you’ll ever learn, is just to love, and be loved in return.”-from “Nature Boy”, sung by Nat King Cole

“We love, because He first loved us”– 1 John 4:19

Some Valentines Fun

Hola!

Jenn here!

Wanted to take some time to share some valentines fun we have been having.

The first thing came straight from my new love, Pinterest! You take paper hearts and write on each one something you love about your child, then tape the heart to their bedroom door while they are asleep.

I started by making hearts with my cricuit, but I need a new mat so had to change my plan. I found precut hearts 10 in a pack for $1 at the local dollar outlet. So I wrote on them different things I love about my little girl-her smile, her hugs, her kindness, etc. Then I tape one to her door each morning when I wake up (could be done at night to, surprise is the goal) Then when she wakes up we read the new heart. It has become a sweet time because she sits in my lap and we read the new one and she usually wants to read the old ones to 🙂 What you write is completely up to you, it I am trying to list things that are unique to her and more character traits than appearance type things. (Kindness, friendliness, hugs, love of God)

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Another thing we did was pull out our small Christmas tree and decorate it for Valentines Day. (This is not new to us I often decorate it for different holidays, but this is the first year we used it for valentines).

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We started with some heart garland that we found at the dollar outlet, then used the same hearts listed above to write on. We wrote people and things we love. This was awesome! It was fun to see who she immediately wants to make a heart for. First was her cousins, then her pets 🙂 This also was a good exercise in her writing new names and working on phonics. We then simply hole punched each heart, ran some fishing line through and hung in the tree. Our tree is on our front porch so after hanging each heart we bent the branches over to keep them from blowing away.

The next one is heart shaped ice cubes. This is another Pinterest find :). You take a heart shape ice cube tray, fill with water as normal, add red food coloring (or other colors), freeze, then put in their drink as a fun surprise! I love this! I found a silicon heart ice tray at the Dollar General, they were not at the Dollar Outlet or the Dollar Tree. I have a feeling this one will not be limited to Valentines Day.

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The last I want to share was in our mailbox at the building. Some girls from our congregation made these for all the members. They are so cute and the verses are wonderful! This idea is so great! The possibilities are endless of who you can give them to as a Valentine Gift and it shares some wonderful passages if scriptures with them! I am thinking neighbors, hairdresser, classmates, co workers, really anybody!

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Well hope you have enjoyed these ideas and I hope you have a wonderful Valentines Day!

Love
JD

DIY Days/Eating what God Gives Days

Hola All!

It’s Jennifer here! So I have a new topic I will be posting about. It will be “DIY Days and Living from what God gives”!
I have a new addiction to Pinterest, natural cleaners, natural eating, and now have time to try some of the things I have found. I am planning on trying to post at least once every other week about a new adventure and if I can carve out the time maybe up it to once every week.
I am currently trying to use up all my “devil poison cleaners” so I can make my own that are all natural. So i plan to share with you my trials an failures from that….may save you in the future.
If you know me, you know I go through spells of trying to eat all natural or what I call “eating what God made” so things free of man made chemicals and artificial ingredients. This is hard for me…..I LOVE soda and baking…..so it is a test for me. So as I try to go more “granola” I hope you will share the experience with me through my ups and downs and I am sure a lot of laughs.

Hope you have an awesome day and don’t forget to do something for your fellow man and/or God!

Bye for now lovies!
JD