Friday, December 16, 2011

Foodie Friday: Shakshuka

A friend recently shared this recipe from Smitten Kitchen. I added it to the menu for the month and last night was its night to shine. Mr Cherry wasn't too sure about the combination of tomato and eggs, but we all ended up loving it. The sauce had great flavor and the eggs added the substance and protein. Peachy loved the name as well as the flavor. I highly recommend you add this dish to your family's menu.

Shakshuka (Eggs Poached in Spicy Tomato Sauce)
Based off a recipe from Smitten Kitchen
Ingredients:

1/4 cup olive oil
2 jalapeƱos, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped (Smitten Kitchen used more, but since Peachy would be eating this, I kept it on the bland side)
1 small yellow onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, crushed then sliced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon paprika
1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, undrained
Kosher salt, to taste
6 eggs
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
2 Tablespoons chopped cilantro (The original recipe calls for parsley, but  I had cilantro on hand)
Warm pitas, for serving

Directions:
Heat oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add peppers and onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and golden brown, about 6 minutes. Add garlic, cumin, and paprika, and cook, stirring frequently, until garlic is soft, about 2 more minutes.
Put tomatoes and their liquid into a medium bowl and crush with your hands. Add crushed tomatoes and their liquid to skillet along with 1/2 cup water, reduce heat to medium, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened slightly, about 15 minutes. Season sauce with salt.
Crack eggs over sauce so that eggs are evenly distributed across sauce’s surface. Cover skillet and cook until yolks are just set, about 5 minutes. Using a spoon, baste the whites of the eggs with tomato mixture, being careful not to disturb the yolk. Sprinkle shakshuka with feta and cilantro and serve with pitas, for dipping.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

{Homemade Holidays: Week 5} ABC Card Set

Looking for an excellent children's Christmas gift? I made these ABC card sets for Peachy's playgroup last year and they were a hit. I used the free alphabet flashcard printable from Homemade by Jill. I had them printed at a print shop to save our home printer and then had them laminated. Index card boxes made the perfect holders with ABC vinyl stuck to the front.

I am linking to these wonderful parties this week.
Today's Creative Blog
Making the World Cuter

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Make Mine Peppermint, Please

This year I have developed quite the taste for peppermint. Give me a Peppermint Mocha any day of the week. Yum! While I have always loved the Peppermint M and Ms this year I found the more adult version, Dove Peppermint Bark. One bag is not enough.
I haven't had a chance to try any of these recipes yet, but I think I will have to add them to my holiday repertoire this year.
Peppermint Popcorn Crunch from Bake at 350
Make your own Peppermint Coffee Creamer from Alli-n-Son

Candy Cane Kiss Cookies from Our Best Bites
And Peppermint Bark Cookies from the Garden of Yum
So those of you who I share my Holiday treats with, I hope you like peppermint, too.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

{Homemade Holidays: Week 5} Tea Wreath

I saw this tea wreath at Kojodesigns last year and made it for my grandma. (Hi Nana!!)
It was a fun project that turned out really well. I love that you can customize it with different paper and different teas to suit the receiver.
So if you are in need of a last minute gift, whip one of these up!

I am linking to these wonderful parties this week.
Today's Creative Blog
Making the World Cuter

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Mommy Time

I used to be the kind of person who was always 5 minutes early. I felt that I was late if I arrived somewhere exactly on time. (I blame my father for this. He trained us very well growing up.) However, now that I have kids it seems that no matter how hard I try I cannot leave the house on time. No matter how hard I try I just can't get out the door in a timely manner. There are times I think that we will be leaving in time to arrive somewhere on schedule, but it seems that something always comes up to change that. Thankfully most of what I attend is designed for moms with kids and being on time is not expected. If I had a job outside of the home I would be in big trouble!
Recently we were going to meet some friends at the mall at 9:30. The morning was going so smoothly that I foolishly told myself we might not only be on time, we might actually be able to run another errand before going to the mall. This was even after changing Peachy's sheets due to a diaper leak. I was feeling like super mom at this point. I sat down to feed Miss Cream before heading out the door and she decided that it wasn't time to eat. No big deal, I would just pump and give her a bottle when we got there. After getting a bottle all set, she decided that it was time to eat. As I am feeding her the bottle, Peachy announces that it is time to go potty. She heads into the bathroom and begins the pooping process. (Wow, two mentions of poop on my blog within two days. Sorry about that folks. This is my life.) Cream is done with her bottle. Peachy is in a clean diaper. We head down to the entryway to get bundled up to go. At this point I receive a text from my friends wondering if I a still coming. I look at the time. It is after 10 already. So much for being on time.
It is almost as if there is some sort of time vacuum around our house. When you need time the most it all of a sudden gets sucked right up before you even know it.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Baby Cream: 3 Months


Last week our little girl turned 3 months old. I really have a hard time believing how big she is getting. She is definitely not a newborn anymore. She is still doing really well. Her fussy periods in the evenings are starting to diminish. She is still doing well with her eating and her sleeping. (Although she was sleeping through the night for a while, now she is back to waking once a night.) She has an adorable smile that lights up her entire face.
I just love seeing her personality now. Her little thighs are starting to get rolls. Love it!! She is still an eratic pooper. She will go for days without pooping and then it all comes. (I am sure you all wanted to know that!) She also still has her clogged tear duct. (She has had this since birth and apparently they usually clear up within the first year. It means that her tears can't drain normally so she ends up with a goopy eye much of the time.) We have started giving her a bottle more often and she is doing well with it.
She prefers to be sitting up most of the time, but is getting a bit more content with being on the floor. However, tummy time is still not much fun. She has been battling a cold for the last few weeks, but thankfully it doesn't seem to bother her a whole lot. She also is working on getting her first teeth!! Peachy was an early teether as well, but it still seems so early. Her fists are constantly in her mouth lately and she is drooling like a fountain. We don't go long without a drool bib right now. She is a fairly content baby, but when something goes wrong, watch out!! She will let you know.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Foodie Friday: Happy Joes Knock Off Taco Pizza


When my friend Kim posted a recipe for Happy Joe's Taco Pizza it was all that I could do to stop myself from running to her house and giving her a hug. (This would have been quite the trick as we live states apart. Oh, and we have never met each other in real life.) Happy Joe's Taco Pizza is my all time favorite of the Taco Pizza variety. When I am there for the lunch buffet, you better watch out when that Taco Pizza is set down. I will be making a bee line for it at full speed. Kim nailed the pizza on the head. The trick is the combing of re-fried beans, taco sauce, and pizza sauce. Yum to the yum yum!!

Happy Joe's Knock-Off Pizza
Ingredients:

-1/2 c. re-fried beans
-1/2 c. taco sauce
-1/2 c. pizza sauce
-1 pound ground beef
-1 packet taco seasoning
-Mozzarella cheese, shredded
-Mexican-style cheese, shredded
-Shredded lettuce
-Chopped tomatoes
-Taco Chips

Directions:

1) Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2) Brown the ground beef and season with taco seasoning according to directions.
3) Stretch your crust until they are the desired thinness. We use a pizza stone in our house. I made three small pizzas rather than one large.
4) Mix taco sauce, beans and pizza sauce together. Kim suggests using about 1/2 cup each of the beans, taco sauce and pizza sauce. Spread this over the crusts.

5) Top with shredded mozzarella, then ground beef, then Mexican blend.
6) Bake until cheese is bubbly and crust is golden. Mine took around 15 minutes.
7) Then cover the pie with lettuce, tomatoes and crushed taco chips. Serve with additional taco sauce and sour cream.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

{Homemade Holidays: Week 4} Coordinates Frame

Time for week #4 of Homemade Holidays!! (You can catch weeks 1-3 here, here, and here.)

With a father as a geography professor, this gift was just the project for me. I printed a map of my hometown and used that to mat a picture of my parents. I added a slip of paper at the bottom with the coordinates of the town printed on it. And viola! A super fun and personalized gift.


I am linking to these wonderful parties this week.
Today's Creative Blog
Making the World Cuter

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Random Ramblings

-We got back from Thanksgiving last night. Both girls did a fantastic job of traveling. Such a blessing when you have to travel to see family.
-We got to spend time with both of our families.
-We had a great time. Peachy loved playing with her cousins and even "sleeping" in the same room as them.
-I went Black Friday shopping, but not in the typical sense. We didn't hit the stores until 10, a.m. that is. And then we leisurely got a few items at a few stores. I spent the most money at Trader Joes because we don't have one nearby and I love Trader Joes. We finished with a yummy lunch at Panera. Also god because we don't have one nearby. We left the kiddos at home with grandpa, dads, and uncles. They had fun burning and building.
-My mom and I enjoyed doing a 4 mile Jingle Bell walk/run on Saturday afternoon. Unfortunately the gorgeous weather didn't hold out for us, but we made it. (We did the walk, by the way, not the run.)
-The girls and I are enjoying a lazy morning back at home. We will see when we get out of our pjs and if we even leave the house.
-I would like to get the house cleaned in the next few days so that I can start to decorate for Christmas. (I still can't believe that it is almost December already.)
-I feel that I have a good handle on Christmas shopping. It is always nice to be able to enjoy gift buying rather than stress about it.
-I need to get a good family picture for our Christmas cards. The card I found on Snapfish has landscape pictures and the family pictures that we have are all portrait. If I crop them to fit I crop out a kid. Not good. This will be the first year in probably a decade that I am just ordering cards and not making them.
-Life is good and  I am so thankful for all of my blessings. This is a good place to be.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Foodie Friday: Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal

I was inspired by Emily's post on Pumpkin Steal Cut Oats to make some pumpkin pie oatmeal for my and my oldest pumpkin the other day. I had everything on hand to whip up this yummy and filling dessert breakfast. It got rave reviews from everyone that tried it. All two of us. So if you are up early this Black Friday and needing some fuel for a long day of shopping, try this in place of that slice of pumpkin pie. (You can always save that for later.)

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal
makes two servings
Ingredients:
-1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
-1 1/4 cup water
-1/2 cup pumpkin puree
-dash of salt
-1 tablespoon brown sugar
-whipping cream
-cinnamon
-ground cloves
-nutmeg
-chopped pecans
-whipped cream
Directions:
1. Combine first four ingredients and microwave for 3 minutes.
2. Remove from microwave and stir in brown sugar and whipping cream until desired consistency.
3. Add spices to taste.
4. Top with whipped cream, chopped pecans, and dash of cinnamon.
5. Shop til you drop!

I am linking to these wonderful parties this week.
Today's Creative Blog
Making the World Cuter

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Two of my most precious blessings that I am thankful for this year

These two turkeys!


Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

{Homemade Holidays: Week 3} Fabric Luggage Tags

Time for the third week of Homemade Holidays. (You can find the first week here and the second week here.)
A gift for the frequent flyer on your list is a unique luggage tag that will help them pick their suitcase out from all of the other black suitcases on the carousel. I followed the tutorial at Skip To My Lou to create the two tags pictured. Simply print their name and address on the back and you are all set.

I am linking to these wonderful parties this week.
Today's Creative Blog
Making the World Cuter

Monday, November 21, 2011

Class

We are blessed to be able to participate in many family oriented activities in our community. One such activity is a Family Fun class offered through our community education. We have been participating in this once a week class for the last year and Peachy loves it. We start our two hour session with together time in a preschool type classroom. There are plenty of activities that center on the theme for the day in addition to the other centers and toys around the room. During the second hour the kids stay in the room with one teacher while the parents go next door to have a topical discussion. At this time Cream stays with me, but as she gets older, she will be able to stay in with the other kids. The kids finish up in the gym with some free play time.
When Peachy gets up on Monday mornings she asks what I think Teacher Nancy will have out to play with that morning. One of her favorites is when there is paint out. I have to admit that I like it when the paint is out as well because the mess is at class not at home.

While this isn't the norm, you can see why!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Foodie Friday: Easy Cinnamon Roll Waffles

Here is another Pinterest find that I tried this week. The original pin is from the blog A Hen's Nest. It is a super easy and fun breakfast to make. Maybe not so good for you, but some cold fall days a little breakfast gluttony is in order.

Easy Cinnamon Roll Waffles
Directions:
1. Preheat your waffle iron.
2. Place one canned cinnamon roll on each square.
3. Close the iron and cook for 2-3 minutes.
4. Remove and frost.
Genius!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

In Home Preschool

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I am currently teaching preschool out of our home once a week to a few of my friends' children. Someone asked if I would share what I did during our hour and fifteen minute session. So last week I took pictures as we went about our routine.
I base each week off of a letter, more to have a starting point than anything else. I don't go in alphabetical order, instead we are studying letters that are simpler to hear and understand and working our way to the more difficult ones. (I am using the order from this website.) I have one mom stay each week to be a teacher's aide. (They also help me care for Cream during the session.) I make use of the internet in my planning. There are so many great ideas out there. Just do a Google search and you will have more ideas than you can even make your way through.
-Table Time: We start our day at a little table that I have set up with a few activities on. (I got the table from Sams Club. It is great because it folds for storage and because it has three different heights.)

This week the activities were putting pipe cleaners into colanders and playing some Thanksgiving games I had printed.
-Circle Time: After everyone has arrived and is settled we head into the living room for circle time. I purchased carpet squares so that each child has a designated area to sit. We sing a welcome song and talk about our letter for the week. I choose picture cards that start with our letter and we put them up on the white board. We also read books that have something to do with our letter or with the season.
-Calendar Time: I purchased this calendar from Oriental Trading Co.
-Project Time: We head back over to the table and work on some projects. Every week we do a letter sheet. I print out the letter for the week on paper and we some how decorate it. This week we used paint daubers to put dots on our Ds.

When they were done with their Ds they could use the paint to decorate dinosaurs that I had made out of paper plates.

We also went on a dinosaur dig this week. I froze plastic dinos in small cups and we used warm water and utensils to dig them out.
-Movement Time: During this time we do some sort of large motor activitiy. Sometimes I will put on a kids' yoga video from You Tube. This week, in honor of letter D, we had a dance party.
-Goodbye Time: We wrap up our lessons and say goodbye.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

{Homemade Holidays: Week 2} Ruffled Tote


I hope you enjoyed my first Homemade Holidays post last week. If you missed it, you can check it out here.
Now on to the new Homemade Holiday idea for the week. I got the inspiration for this project from a bag I saw at a craft fair. While you could make a bag of your own to decorate, I bought mine at Hobby Lobby and simply added the ruffles.
This is the perfect gift to give as is or to use as a gift bag. I can't think of any girl who wouldn't like receiving a fun ruffled tote.

I am linking to these wonderful parties this week.
Today's Creative Blog
Making the World Cuter

Monday, November 14, 2011

Peachyisms

Life with a two and a half year old is never dull. Our Peachy is learning and growing everyday. While she has always had great verbal skills, it still amazes me what she can all say now and how well she can communicate. Here are some of the things that we hear coming out of her mouth that make us smile:
-"tosmorning" which means this morning
-"I can't see my eyes." which means that it is dark and she can't see well.
-"Good supper that you made, momma." Peachy has recently started to praise my cooking skills. Whether it be cereal or a home cooked meal.
-"I awake in here." This is what we hear when she awakes in the morning and also sprinkled throughout nap time when she is "trying" to go to sleep.
-"Sisic" Her word for music.
-"Nicnic" Her word for picnic.
-"We'll go to (insert location here) Sunday" After we tell her we might go there someday.
Our Peachy Girl with a pair of training pants as a hat.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Foodie Friday: Chocolate Banana Muffins

Here is a sweet muffin recipe for you banana and chocolate lovers. (And when I say sweet, I mean sweet. These could almost be a dessert.) The cute baby on the counter is optional.

Chocolate Banana Muffins
from: Becoming Betty
Ingredients:
-1/2 cup butter, softened
-1 cup sugar
-2 eggs
-1 1/2 cups flour
-3 Tbs. cocoa
-1 tsp. baking soda
-1 tsp. salt
-1/2 tsp. cinnamon
-1 tsp. vanilla
-1 cup mashed banana
-1/2 cup sour cream
-1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
-1 cup chocolate chips


Directions:
1. Cream butter and sugar. 
2. Add eggs. 
3. Add dry ingredients and mix well. 
4. Add vanilla, banana, sour cream, nuts and chocolate chips. 
5. Pour into muffin tins and bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Thursday Loves

It has been a while since I wrote about some of the things that I couldn't do without in my daily life. So here you have it, my current list of loves.
1. These Water Wow Doodle Pad that a friend gave to Peachy as a big sister gift. It is all the fun of coloring with only the mess of water. And once it dried it is ready to use again. She has drawn and redrawn the pictures so many times.
2. The Green Mountain Coffee Sumatran Reserve K Cups for my Keurig. They aren't kidding when they say extra bold and I love me a dark roast coffee.
3. I am new to the Greek yogurt bandwagon, but this stuff is good. I recently found these small cups of Chobani marketed for kids at Target. I like the smaller serving size and the honey-nana flavor is yummy.
4. Cream and I love the Boppy for feeding times. I don't know what we would do without it. It just makes the job so much easier for both of us.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Homemade Holidays: Week 1

I have written many posts on gifts that I have made and given. I love making the gifts that I give for many reasons. For starters, they are unique and not something that you can run to your local box store to pick up. I also find that I can give more bang for my buck. Since I am putting in the labor all I need to pay for are my supplies. Finally, I love to create and gift giving is a way for me to flex my creative muscles. Over the next several weeks I will be sharing with you gifts that I made and have not yet featured on my blog. This week, I will post a collection of gifts that I have already shared but thought with the Holidays approaching you may want to be reminded of them again. Please come back Wednesdays in November to see what I have to share with you!

For Children:
1. Coloring Portfolios

2. Embellished Tee Shirt with Matching Toy
3. Mitten Embellished Tee
4. Rudolph Embellished Shirt
5. Farm, Dino, and Car Caddies
6. Eye Spy Bags
7. Crayon Rolls
8. Adventure Bag
9. Child's Chair
10. Ribbon Blankies
11. Monogrammed Art Bag


For Women:
1. Ruffle Pillowcase
2. Felt Flowers
3. Pedicure Kit
4. Pieced Scarf



For Men:
1. Mustache Mug

For Everyone:
1. Monogram Magnet
2. Simple Square Potholders
3. Fleece Fringe Scarves
4. Pillowcases

I am linking to these wonderful parties this week.
Today's Creative Blog
Making the World Cuter