Over the weekend I decided to try to make some pumpkin cookies. My son loves sweets so I wanted to make these a little healthier so he could enjoy them and I wouldn't feel so guilty for giving him something like a cookie. I found this wonderful recipe on Pinterest and adapted it. The original recipe can be found on Cooking Classy http://www.cookingclassy.com/2014/08/pumpkin-oat-chocolate-chip-cookies/.
I substituted (1/2cup) agave nectar for the white sugar and (1 cup) applesauce for the butter. The cookies came out very spongy and delicious!!
1 cup unsalted butter, softened (substituted 1 cup unsweetened applesauce)
1 1/3 cups packed light-brown sugar
2/3 cup granulated sugar (substituted 1/2 cup Agave nectar)
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups canned pumpkin puree
1 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a mixing bowl whisk together flour, oats, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger for 30 seconds, set aside.
In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip together butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar until creamy (occasionally stop and scrape down sides and bottom of bowl throughout entire mixing process). Blend in egg then blend in vanilla extract and pumpkin puree. With mixer set on low speed, slowly add in dry ingredients and mix until combined. Mix in chocolate chips and pecans (if you want some chocolate to show through set some aside to press into tops before baking). Let batter rest 5 - 10 minutes (this just gives the oats some time to absorb the liquids so batter isn't so sticky and cookies don't spread so much).
Scoop dough out 2 Tbsp at a time (I used a 1 1/2-inch cookie scoop, which I recommend using for evenly shaped cookies and fill it heaping), and drop onto Silpat or parchment paper lined baking sheets, spacing cookies 2-inches apart. Bake in preheated oven 12 - 14 minutes. Allow to cool on baking sheet several minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.
Recipe Source: Cooking Classy
I hope you enjoy these cookies as much as we are enjoying them!!
My little guy attends preschool twice a week and those 6 hours a week are usually filled with runs to the grocery store, a workout at the gym, coffee with a friend or cleaning. They tend to go by so quickly, as I'm trying to get as much done as possible. See, my little guy loves my attention so when we are at home it's usually, "your turn momma" as he gives me a car to roll to him. He loves to play, play and play with me so I don't get much done around the house.
Today I had planned to spend most of the three hours cleaning my house. At first I put the radio on and then realized that I needed to make a call while I had some peace and quiet. After the call, my thoughts started going and I forgot to turn the music back on. I started to pray for our family In TX, for my husband and for my little guy, then my prayer changed to a prayer for my son and his future love.
I started thinking about the girl that would one day steal his heart. I wondered if she's been born yet or if she's simply a twinkle in her parents eyes. I thought, will she ever know how close he is to me? How much he needs me and my constant attention? Will he tell her that he breastfed past 2 and slept best when I had my arm under him?... Probably not. I started praying for her and her family. My wish is that her parents are teaching her of Gods love, as I am teaching my little guy.
I know that one day my son will grow up, he will sleep in his own room (without his mommy beside him), he will go off to college, and be the man that God intends for him to be. Right now it seems like so far away but just as these two years have raced by so will many many more years. So today as he naps beside me I will cherish the closeness, the love and the happiness and treasure the bond that I have with my son.
I will also stay in prayer for his love and her family, for I know that God has already chosen her and chosen their paths. I pray that I'm able to instill Gods love in my sons heart so that he may grow up to be a Godly man and radiate Gods love through his actions.
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Kid's Academy is all about helping children learn verbal, writing and math skills in an easy and fun manner. Apps such as 123 Tracing and Bingo ABC have been top-50 educational apps in the App Store, and Kid’s Academy has also brought the well-known stories and nursery rhymes The Three Little Pigs and Five Little Monkeys to life with interactive apps. The simple interfaces of the apps allow children to take the reins and play on their own, but the sing-a-longs and other activities are perfect for parent or teacher engagement, as well. Research has shown that singing along with nursery rhymes has cognitive and physical benefits for children. Not only are children learning new words and the context in which to use them, but strengthening tongue and mouth muscles at an early age will help with pronunciation skills.
Kids Academy is hosting an awesome giveaway! Head over, download the app, and write a review in the App Store. At the end of August, Kids Academy will randomly choose 2 lucky winners who will each win a $100 Amazon gift card! Sweet!
Yesterday my little guy and I worked on a Father's Day gift. I usually try to make a keepsake for my hubby for his special day. The first year I did a shutterfly book that was very easy to put together and best of all it was free!! Last year it was a framed picture of father and son. This year I found some great wooden boxes on clearance at target. I bought it without really knowing what I was going to do with it but for $2.48 I knew I could make something really nice with it at some point.
My little guys hands were to big for the box so I knew I had to use his fingerprints. So I searched on Pinterest for "finger print Father's Day art." Lots of great ideas popped up but I loved the tree idea the most. I had some acrylic outdoor paint left over from another project so I used food coloring to dye it two shades of green and used a brown sharpie to make the trunk.
My little guy was insisting on painting his whole hand & even his foot so I had to work fast! Plus the paint with food coloring was probably not the best idea because it stained his hands but I didn't want to go buy more supplies so we made it work.
I'm adding a picture inside and lining the bottom with felt so hubby can use it to keep his wedding ring inside the box. I think it turned out pretty nice.
I added three hearts at the bottom and wrote "I love you poppa" on the sides of the box using a silver sharpie.
I really liked the box, I need to go by the clearance section again and see if they have any more left. I want one too!! :)
I hope you are enjoying making a crafty project for the special dad I your life.
I've seen these cute bottles around but could never bring myself to spend a whopping $2.49 on one juice bottle. A couple of days ago I came across a coupon for a free 6 pack refill when you buy 1 good 2 grow juice bottle. I did some research and decided it was a great time to try this juice. It has no added sugar, no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives & no GMO.
I bought the juice with the Thomas spout which was a veggie blend juice which has less sugar than the apple juice and it was very good. They have tons of different characters to choose from. The best part is that the spout is spill proof!!
You keep the spout part, clean and reuse with the 6 pack refills.
You will need to set up a login and then you can print your coupons. My local grocery store (Safeway) had an electronic coupon that I loaded onto my card so check your store e coupons to see if your store has one too.
I paid about $2.50 for the 1 juice bottle and received the 6 pack of refill bottles for free. They are super convenient for picnic lunches or school lunches and did I mention that they are spill proof!! And did I mention that my little guy LOVED the veggie blend juice!! I need to go back and get more juice with my printed coupons!!
So last night I stayed up again to redo my grocery list and organize myself for another target run. I decided to get beef for our hamburger BBQ this weekend. That was the majority part of my purchase. I then figured out from my grocery list what I could get from target. I found myself gravitating to buying stuff I didn't need or would never use so I had to stay focused so it would make sense for my needs.
I was really having a hard time wrapping my head around paying targets high prices for meats but I convinced myself that the target $10 coupon would bring the actual price down by a lot per lb so that's how I decided to look at this trip.
One thing I have been doing is having an alternate list of a few items I can buy in case other things from my list are out of stock or not on sale for the price I expected.
I had seen a list by Moms By Heart http://momsbyheart.net/target-top-twenty-deals-174/that had Zevia priced out to $3.33 but I didn't know if my target had it at that price so that was a big maybe for my list. Luckily it was on sale 3 for $10 and I had $2 off coupons so I bought this soda which normally retails for $5.99 a six pack for $1.33 a six pack.
When I got to target I was surprised to find lots of packages of beef with $3 off coupons!! This made the beef cheaper than I could have gotten it at other grocery stores where it was on sale!! Whew that was such a relief and great surprise. That allowed me to pick up some yummy clearance items that were not on my list.
So here is what I bought.
I also used my $10 gift cards from yesterday so out of pocket I paid $31.66 in cash.
I think this was another great shopping run!!
I didn't have as many coupons this time but those $3 coupons on the meat made up for it!!
Last night I stayed up making my plan, my list and gathering coupons into my Target envelope. My goal was to buy $52 worth of groceries for under $36 and I think I even surprised myself. Here's a look at my receipt.
As you know, I have a toddler. So when we got up this morning, I didn't turn on the tv or open the door to the play room. My little guy went to the potty and I quickly got him dressed. I treated him to Starbucks (it's in the same shopping plaza as the target).
I had my emergency weapons for him: a lollipop, m&m's, his kindle and my phone apps to try to keep him entertained during the shopping trip. Luckily, we didn't need to take out the candy which is reserved only for super emergencies as he doesn't really ever eat candy (unless grandma and grandpa are around).
There have been tons of match ups but I wanted to buy things that I would normally buy, I didn't want ten boxes of pasta or spaghetti sauce or frozen food (except ice cream of course). So this is the list I came up with.
18 items for $36.15 plus I received 2- $5 gift cards. Pretty good, I think.
Most coupons were from the 5/11 (silk) & 5/18 (skinny girl, skinny cow, banana boat & $10 target coupon) paper, target printable coupons (sargento, bagels, $10 off $59 target coupon also available to print), target mobile coupons (Hebrew & Stonyfield- which for some reason didn't ring up) and the Sargento manufacturer coupon of .55 off of 1 thin slices was in this months issue of Parents and then of course the cartwheel is the last way I saved.
This is what I bought:
Market pantry popcorn
Kashi granola bars (on clearance)
Kashi cereal bar
Skinny girl stevia sweetener
Market pantry sweetener
Silk almond milk
Stony field yokids yogurt
Sargento thin slices
Market pantry wheat bagels (2)
Hebrew national hot dogs (2) - for weekend BBQ
Skinny cow ice cream (4) *gift card
Banana boat after sun lotion (2) * gift card
I had a total savings of $39.07 and paid $36.15.
My little guy did fantastic and even helped me push the cart to the cashier. Any longer though and he would have lost it, so I got out just in time, this time :).
Good luck!! Please let me know how you use your $10 off $50 coupon!! I'm making another run tomorrow for meat!
I posted last week about a great coupon from Albertsons and there's still time to take advantage of this great deal! Check out the Albertsons Big Book of savings at your local store to get your hands on this coupon.
It's $40 off of groceries (anything in the store) when you buy any 6 bottles of liquor or wine listed on the coupon. One of the wines is Once Upon a Vine. It is on sale for $7.99 when you buy six bottles. The wine would total to $47.94 (remember to take tax into account) and you receive $40 of groceries free!! Or I like to see it as less than **$13 (taking into account the tax) for 6 bottles of wine.
**My total ended up being $54.76 for the 6 bottles of wine and $41.19 worth of groceries.
So here's what you need to know, before you get too excited call your local Albertsons to find out if they even have the wine. Mine was out of stock but I traveled 15 min to a different one that had a few in stock. The coupon states you can buy any variety of Once Upon a Vine. I haven't tried them all but the Big bad Red blend is very good. I'm not a reviewer of wines so here's a link to a review of the wine. My review is that I almost finished the whole bottle in one evening so I think I liked it a little.
So here are some things to keep in mind. Once you call to make sure the wine is in stock make a plan for purchasing $40 worth of groceries. Have a plan or else you might end up with $40 worth of donuts. You can buy diapers, sunscreen, toys "anything in the store" as the cashier put it. There aren't too many great deals at Albertsons this week so I bought things I needed that didn't have coupons and weren't on sale anywhere else.
When you go into Albertsons go get your six bottles then begin shopping for the groceries (just to make sure the bottles are actually in stock). Then go find you $40 worth of free groceries.
I hope your trip is much more enjoyable than mine as I had a grumpy toddler with me who thinks he can put any toy in the basket.
I started actually trying to use coupons about three months ago and since then it's become a lot easier. Here are some tips that I want to share on how to coupon with a toddler. Couponing with a toddler seemed impossible at first, but now that I know a little more about couponing things seem to be getting easier. I'm not sure if it's the meltdowns in the cookie aisle, the trying to climb out of the cart during check out, or the million "mama, mama" moments while shopping that make it hard or if it's just me trying to figure out what the heck I'm doing. The other day I took advantage of a coupon at target and ended up saving $26 from my $55 purchase and even though I followed all my suggestions below I was at the check out stand sweating because I never know what my little guys going to do. So here you go, my 5 tips on couponing with a toddler.
1. Be organized
I think this goes for any couponer but for couponers with a toddler, this is key!! I am a fan of Facebook pages such as The Krazy Koupon lady ( http://thekrazycouponlady.com) and Hunt 4 Freebies coupons (http://hunt4freebies.com) and there are many more on Facebook, these sites tell you exactly what to do. They list what and how many items to purchase along with the coupons you need or links on where to print the coupons. I usually can only make it to one target run a week and maybe one CVS or Walgreens run so I keep a list going throughout the week and which ever store has the most deals or savings listed wins a visit from me and my little guy.
2. Have a plan
Once I figure out where I'm going I start gathering my coupons using a paper clip. I make my list of the price, coupon amount and any other rewards or bonuses so that I can follow along as I shop to make sure the prices are close to the same. I put all of the coupons for a trip to the particular store together, paper clip them and then put them in an envelope. The list is my plan.
3. Check it twice while shopping
During my shopping trip I track my items on the list and as I find the items I take the paper clipped coupons and move them into the envelope so that I can double check that I have the coupons needed for the actual items that I am buying. Sometimes I don't end up using all the coupons due to items being out of stock, unavailable or priced higher than I planned. I still take my big stash of coupons just in case I see something that would be a good deal but I rarely have time to browse and shop just for the heck of it. My little guy can only handle so much before he's ready to be out of whatever store we are visiting.
4. Pay attention during check out
Normally my little guy gets very antsy during check out so being organized, following my plan and checking my coupons as I shop makes the check out process so much easier. I usually have to place my items in the counter and carry my little guy because he tends to want to get out of the cart by this time. Paying attention to what items are ringing up is very important. In my recent Target run my $3.49 bag of coffee was ringing up at $12, huge difference, which thankfully I caught before I finished the transaction. I've had many issues during check out due to being preoccupied with my little guy. If he hasn't snacked during the trip this is a great time to give him a snack or maybe get his favorite car or toy from your purse for him to use during this time. During this particular target trip I even took a lollipop thinking that would help, but no, he doesn't usually get candy and it didn't phase him he licked it once and he was done.
5. Check your receipt in the car
It's happened several times to me, I'm checking out and can't pay attention to what everything is ringing up as. I always have a general idea of how much the total should be and when I get to the car I double check prices and sure enough I've found some mistakes. Checking in the car is easier for me because if it doesn't get fixed right then and there I know I probably won't have time to come back again and get the price adjusted.
As I mentioned I'm super new to this and I'm still learning but I'm really enjoying this new "game." I love seeing how much I save my family. So far I've been able to save us a good amount in groceries so that our diapers are paid for with our allotted grocery money instead of spending an additional $60 a month. I've found that I can find coupons for some stuff mostly snacks and toiletries and I've started bargain hunting for meat and produce. It does require me going to at least two grocery stores when I go on my grocery shopping run but it's totally worth it and with a toddler breaking the trip up into two smaller runs makes things a lot easier.
As some of you may know in my former life I was an Early Childhood consultant for child care providers, I've worked in early childhood class settings and directed school readiness programs. So here I am in search of a good place for my little guy. I find it very easy to forget my own expertise, but this time I'm going to share what things I looked for when searching for a home away from home for my little guy.
The first thing I looked at was how comfortable my little guy felt. I wanted something that would be somewhat familiar to him, I know this is not the norm but for us it worked out. I began attending MOPS in January and my little guy did great in the child care (which took place at a preschool). He didn't cry at all and would stay for the entire 2 hours with no problem, so I knew he felt comfortable in this environment. I started researching centers with the school where MOPS took place at the top. There were some great recommendations from friends, the internet and phone calls made it very easy to research the information needed.
Here are my tips for looking for a good place for your little person.
1. The Feel
Don't underestimate your gut feeling or how your little one reacts when visiting the classroom. You want to feel welcomed, you want to pay close attention to the interaction between teachers and children. Are they getting at eye level to speak with the children, are the caregivers listening and aware of the children and what's happening in the classroom? These are all important things to look for.
Does the classroom have a set schedule that they follow? A schedule is very important for children especially in a large group environment. Schedules allow children to know what's coming next and often results in lower behavioral issues. This one is easy to check, when you visit look for the schedule to be posted on the wall somewhere, check your watch or the clock on the wall and see if the classroom is following their schedule. Most of the time they should be right on track, give or take a few minutes. When looking at the schedule some important things to make sure are a part of the schedule are physical activities (outside play or other physical activities), small group activities, large group activities such as circle time, opportunity to explore and play (usually in centers), and personal care such as snacks, diaper changes, brushing teeth, washing hands, etc.
3. Lay Out
Get a feel for the classroom, is it sectioned into centers or smaller learning areas such as blocks, music, library etc.? You don't want to see too much open space as this usually leads to running and more freedom to engage in aggressive or difficult behavior. Are teachers able to view kids from any area of the room?
4. Ratio of adults to kids
Various states and levels of certification have different ratios. The smaller the ratio the better especially when dealing with kids 3 and under. An ideal ratio for 2 year olds is 1:4 (1 adult to every 4 children). This is an easy question to ask. You can also ask how many children are usually in the classroom and how many staff.
5. Consistency of caregiver
Another thing to ask is if the teachers are there permanently or will your child have different caregivers. In this case it is ideal for your child to consistently see the same people in the classroom as much as possible. Occasionally one teacher may be a floater and will go to help the classroom with more kids or the classroom with the loudest kids. You really want at least one caregiver to be in that classroom on a permanent basis. This helps your little person to develop a relationship and trust with the caregivers.
Each center has a philosophy or statement of how they teach. Make sure you agree with the statement of the center. Some are based on religion, certain learning skills etc.
Make sure you are aware of policies especially on how teachers discipline. Also look for visiting policies, ideally you'd like a center where you can occasionally drop in to observe or check in on your little one. Another important policy to pay close attention to is their sick policy. When should you or shouldn't you take your little one.
8. Learning / Curriculum
The classroom should follow some sort of curriculum. Make sure it covers the whole child not just focused on one area of development. Ideally an early childhood classroom uses play to teach skills, they follow the child's leads and interest and capture those learning moments during those times and activities. For example if a child is interested in cars the teachers can use cars to sort by color, count, pain with, play matching games etc.
Each child has different needs and it's so important to have teachers who are in tune with each child and how they learn best. As a parent it's important to communicate any concerns or changes that happening in the home so teachers are aware of what children are going through and can take that into account in the classroom. For example if a child is going to be a big brother or sister teachers can incorporate books and activities to help prepare the child for this change. The teacher and parent should work as a team in helping the child learn and grow.
Here are some other great resources for you as you look for the ideal classroom for your child.
NAEYC (National Association of the Education of Young Children) is an excellent resource for parents. You can search on their site for NAEYC accredited centers in your area. Below is a link regarding questions to ask teachers when looking for a center for your child.
Child care Aware is another great resource for searching for your local child care resource and referral agency. You can call your local office and they are happy to help you find a center with your needs and location in mind.
My little guy celebrated his 2nd Birthday with his favorite Disney characters. This party was planned from Arizona and took place in Texas. My mom and dad did such a great job getting these decorations made. Thanks to Pinterest for getting our creative juices flowing.
Mater is my little guys favorite character from Disney's Cars but he loves most of the other cars as well. Here are some pictures of the decorations we used to help celebrate my little guys birthday.
This cake was delicious. Oh Yeah Cakes really hit this cake out of the ballpark. It was beautiful and delicious!! Check their Facebook page out here: https://m.facebook.com/OhYeahCakes
Everyone had a blast with all of their Disney's Cars goodies. For the second yeAr my little guy wore a home made number shirt.
I still have his Buzz Lightyear 1 onesie from last year and this one held up in the wash so it'll go in his keepsake box.
Time to start thinking about what theme we'll go with for year three. I'd love to see pictures of your Disney themed parties!! Please share if you've thrown a Disney party.
For ideas to throw your own #DisneySide party check out these websites:
For our #DisneySide @ home party we had a play date for our friends. It was a simple event but we were able to distribute all of the great Disney goodies provided to us by Mom Select and Disney.
I made goodie bags for the kiddos and included the goodies sent to us such as tattoos, stickers, and some additional fun stuf as well.
For snacks we had fruit cut into Mickey shapes and Mickey cookies. Other moms brought snacks to share as well.
For activities we had a bubble station, balloon tennis and the playground and sand to play with as well. We also wrote letters to our favorite Disney characters. Here's information on writing to your favorite character and getting an autograph postcard back from them. http://gimmiefreebies.com/free-autographed-disney-postcard/
Everyone had tons of fun!! Having a DisneySide party is fun and easy even if you didn't receive a kit. There are great ideas and activities at DisneySide.com. Check it out and let me know if you make a Disney themed play date or party.
Last March our little guy turned a year and we celebrated his birthday with a bang. With lots of help from his aunt, uncles grama, grampa, nana, poppa and friends we pulled off this celebration. This year we are celebrating with a Cars theme. We can't wait to show off our #DisneySide once again.
Keeping my little guy clean is a pretty hard task. He loves oatmeal and yogurt and often gets his face pretty crusty with left overs from breakfast. Instead of rubbing his face to try to get the dried up oatmeal or yogurt off I love using boogie wipes. Here's his yogurt face:
Boogie Wipes are moist saline wipes that help take any dried up food, boogs or anything else that is crusty and dried onto your face. This moist wipe makes it easy to wipe off and when your little one is sick their noses get red and irritated when you continuously use a dry tissue, so before you get to that point I'd recommend using the boogie wipes and avoid irritating your little ones nose.
They are also very refreshing. On our summer trip to TX I would use the boogie wipe to wipe down my little guys face and help cool him down. I even used Boogie Wipes for this purpose and it felt so great and refreshing!
Boogie wipes come in three scents: unscented, fresh scent (my favorite) and a grape scent (usually older kids love the grape scent). The saline mist is a new product. Living in the dry desert we use saline spray very often to help moisten my little guys nose. It's especially helpful during allergy season.
Since then a new product called Puffs Fresh Faces has made its debut. Puffs Fresh Faces are patented and uniquely formulated with natural saline, aloe and vitamin E for all your face has to face each day. This is a saline wipe for adults. I use it to remove my makeup at the end of the day and right after my gym workout. It is so great to refresh your face. Saline is a natural way to help remove your makeup, wipe your nose, or freshen up after a workout or long day.
Puffs fresh faces also come in a variety of scents. I love the way the lavender smells, but my favorite is the fresh scent wipe. If you have a cold try the Vicks scented wipe. They also have an unscented wipe for those with delicate skin. I have delicate skin and my skin does fine with the unscented and fresh scent, I can't use the lavender scented wipe (although the smell is amazing). Of course the Vicks wipes are only for your nose. I keep a small pack of puffs fresh faces in my gym bag and use it to freshen up right after my workout.
As some of you know, I am an Ambassador for Boogie Wipes and my team #BusyBodyMoms is hosting a giveaway. Please go to a fellow ambassadors blog, below, to sign up for the giveaway. Don't forget to go to the Boogie Wipes Facebook page and like them first.
You can view the blog giveaway below or by going to this link:
I'm excited to start handing out my samples, coupons and prizes to the new moms I'm meeting in AZ and our new doctors offices.
****Disclosure: These opinions are my own and I was sent the above products as part of being a Boogie Wipes ambassador. ****
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