Monthly Archives: August 2013

Homemade Vanilla Marshmallow Hearts

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I try to make the girls one “naughty” treat a week… This week I chose homemade marshmallows. And it’s true… once you go homemade on these puppies, you will never want to go back to store brought again. TO. DIE. FOR! I got the recipe over at: My Baking Addiction and they came together beautifully. They looked awesome in the girl’s lunch box for today too!!

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Left to right: Homemade marshmallow heart, peanut butter and homemade strawberry jam man, mandarin orange and some chocolate Japanese cookies I saw at the store.  Of course the grapes too – the girl would like on those when they are in season (or on sale!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who doesn’t love marshmallows? Especially marshmallows cut into such a lovely shape?

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PlaySkool ShowCam Review

0065356987819_500X500Earlier this week, thanks to the folks at BzzAgent.com, I got one of these cameras in the mail to test out with my girls. It was perfect timing, as I had been looking online for a camera for my middle three, and this, I hoped would fit the bill.

We LOVE it.

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H1 spent a lot of time just sitting and going through all the different animations and cartoon photo add-ons you can use.

We also spent a lot of time playing with the projector option. G1 loved seeing pictures of her sisters and dad show up on the wall.

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(Sorry for the blur – it’s hard to hold a camera, laugh and take a picture at the same time).

Over all – we have been very happy with this camera. It’s a good child’s camera. Below I will list the pros and cons and from there you can make up your own minds.

Pros:

  • Easy to use – large enough for small hand to hold securely
  • Fun to use – the animations and cartoon add-ons have provided hours of entertainment for us so far.
  • Sturdy – H1 dropped ours the first night we had it and I thought the camera would be doomed. It worked just as well as before – no problems!
  • Bright colors – I actually preferred this color combination… why make a toy like this gender specific?
  • Good image quality. Personally, since there is no way that this camera is expected to be a top of the line Nikon, Olympus or Coolpix like my baby, I was not disappointed in the fact that some pictures came out a little over exposed.
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  • The projector option was the best part! N1, L1 and H1 have spent literally hours (and a lot of batteries) watching their creations on the walls. So much happiness and giggling!

Cons

  • No USB cable included. It has literally taken me three days to find a spare USB cable that I could spare and that would fit. If I had purchased this item retail, I would have been willing to pay a little more (around $3) to have one included in the box. The USB is needed if you want to take the pictures your little ones have taken and send them to family member around the world.
  • No flash. My biggest frustration. This camera does not do well in low light/dim rooms. Something my girls can’t seem to understand. There has been some upset over what they felt would be the most perfect picture EVER not coming out because of it.
  • My next biggest con was the fact that it is a battery eater. We are on our fourth set of Duracells now. I suppose this wouldn’t be a huge issue if you had rechargeable batteries, but I think it would be nice if the camera itself was chargable like my point and shoot.

All in all we’ve had a wonderful time with this camera. I would fully recommend it for ages 3-7 as a birthday or Christmas present. However, as with all things, research and make sure you understand it’s limitations so there is no frustration on the back end.

Note: I was soo excited to get to try this camera out with my girls through the PlaySkool ShowCam Bzz Campaign. A Bzz Campaign is program through BzzAgent that sends free products and coupons to people to let them try out new items and products, thereby harnessing the most powerful form of marketing out there right now – work of mouth and Mommy power 😉

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bento – it’s what’s for lunch!

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I posted the other day about making my own sandwich thins for my girls lunch and here is the results! It’s so cute! I haven’t got a fantabulous collection of bento picks or cutters as yet, but I honestly don’t think that my girls mind!

This bento lunch contained lime jello with mandarin segments. A Freddo Frog – a chocolate treat my awesome brother and SIL sent the girls from Australia, a fruit salad made of grapes, raspberries and melons cut in the shape of a half moon. In the main second is my honey wheat sandwich thin ham and cheese sandwich and a small cup of goldfish. Not pictured in their juice box of Mango Tango Honest Kids Juice or their chobani  yogurt champions.

When this box came home from school, there as nothing but crumps. A definate winner!

Caramel Chex Mix

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I am trying to keep this interesting for the girls this year for school lunches. I am also going to start moving them towards a more gluten free diet, as well as one without a lot of artificial food colorings. So the snack above wins on one, and not so much on the other – but it is a work in progress!  I used this recipe: Caramel Chex Mix, and the only changes that I made was to add crushed up macadamia nuts. I also used honey instead of the corn syrup.  I also used white chocolate M&M’s (I found them on the discount rack at Target FTW) and Mini M&Ms. Next time I’ll just go with the regular sized M&Ms… the minis got lost in the mix in my opinion.

So far it has been a complete hit. I had to hide it away in an air tight container last night so that the kids wouldn’t nom it all down.

I am having fun at these link parties today!! :

linkparty_buttonTuesday To Do Party

Homemade Sandwich Thins

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With school being back in session now here in Florida, I am trying to make sure that my girls are eating healthy, but fun things for lunch every day and if it means I get to bake and be frugal at the same time, then bring it on!  I recently searched Pinterest for a Sandwich Thins recipe – the girl’s love them, but I feel that the product is too expensive and wanted to make something that used ingredients that I already had (yay!) and that the girls would love.

I found this recipe: My Retro Kitchen: Homemade Sandwich Thins. During my Pinterest wonderings, I saw people making similar things but cutting them out into fun shapes. Since I am only just now getting into Bento boxing, our selection of cutters is severely limited. I chose to go with stars and hearts this time – next time I may break out my Williams and Sonoma Star Wars cutters – I mean, who wouldn’t want to eat a sandwich shaped like Yoda? I know I would!

The changes I made to the recipe was simple. I substituted honey for sugar and halved the amount. I also did not add the wheat bran (I was out). But that was it! Really can’t recommend this recipe higher. The girls inhaled these with egg salad so fast, I’m currently making more to cover for the rest of the week!

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I also can not resist showing off the mixer bowl covers I’ve made recently. These were made with PUL fabric I got on sale at Joanns Fabrics. They were easy to make – I used a large dinner plate to draw a circle on some parchment paper. Then I cut out the fabric and sewed elastic about 1/2 an inch away from the edge. You have to remember to pull the elastic tight as you sew so it gathers. From start to finish this project took about 10 minutes. The only changed I made to later covers was to move the elastic to about 1/4 inch from the edge of the circle, still grips fine, just gives me an extra bit of leeway if the bowl I am using is a bit bigger than my KitchenAid stand mixers bowl.

Crochet Dish Clothes Part 2

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Continuing on with my current obsession, I’ve got two more dish clothes/toy blankets to add to my collection. The pattern can be found here: Foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains: Tulip Stitch Cloth  The pattern was super easy and crocheted up really quickly. I was done in about an hour and a half. I am usually a bit of a loose crocheter, so pulling tight was hard to remember, but I am well pleased with the results. This one was nabbed for a toy blanket within minutes of completion… who know small stuffed animals needed so many blankets – so I can’t really comment on how well it scrubs dirty dishes… yet!

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THIS is my favourite pattern ever. The pattern was super easy – just an sc and a dc in every alternate stitch. I love how the pattern worked out, making it look rippled and I can vouch for how well it works with cleaning dishes. I am planning on making many many more of these and even figuring it out to make into making drying towels for the dishes after they have been washed. Awesome, awesome pattern can be found here: Bubblegirl Dishcloth Pattern

Bacon Cheese and Onion Quiche

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I love quiche. I didn’t always. I used to roll my eyes and complain when I was a young one – mostly because I am/was super picky about textures and not eating things that jiggle. However, a few years ago, my awesome mother gave me her recipe for Impossible Pie – a self crusting version of her egg and bacon pie. It was fantastic and so versatile!  You could add practically anything and it would taste fabulous no matter what!

Anyways, this morning I was looking at my meal plan for today and I decided that I couldn’t stand another night of meatloaf and mashed potatoes, and decided that I wanted something light and that went well with a nice green romaine salad. This was it!

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I stole the recipe from here: Bacon, Egg and Cheese Quiche, but added some chopped fresh parsley, salt and pepper to taste, a head of roasted garlic and some finely chopped onion.

It was exactly what the doctor ordered for dinner!!

Crochet Dish Cloth

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I have a new obsession… mostly because  spend so much time hanging out in my car waiting for bus drop offs or to pick up someone from school. I read… but I like projects that I can get done in the hour (or so) wait (Thank you Florida summer rain storms!)

With that in mind, and trying to save money, I’ve started crochetting dishclothes. I can’t say that I am sold on them yet, but it’s better than going and spending money on something that gets so gross and nasty like the sponges we’ve previously used.  This particular time, I chose this pattern: Waffle Crochet Dishcloth and it was super super easy.  What amuses me however, is my complete inability to make it square. But, I don’t mind… after all it’s going to be stuck in a sink full of dirty dishes and I don’t think that they will care!

Lunchbox Part Two

bento1As this week has gone on, I’ve managed to make sure than I haven’t given the girl’s sandwiches in their lunch boxes. They aren’t too fond of sandwiches to start off with, but I will admit it’s been a little challenging for me.

Last night I had a moment of inspiration! Since I was making a pasta bake, and would have left over noodles, I made a quick Mac  n Cheese and baked them like cupcakes in the oven. Next I made chocolate cupcakes with plain greek yogurt – tasty and healthy! Then things get a little different. L1 decided that carrots and peanut butter where sent directly from the devil, so I gave her some relatively healthy fruit snacks instead. Everyone got two oreos, some grapes and blueberries and a simply go-gurt. Not pictured is the banana I added for afternoon snack, the small bags of natural, lightly salted popcorn, and the honest company fruit juice pouches.

Hopefully this lunch will be a hit… I am planning on making carrot mini cake cookies and maybe some zucchini brownies for the upcoming week. Maybe even a rolled up rice krispie treat! 🙂

Tune in later for some actual crafty pics!

Making school lunch interesting!

Making school lunch interesting!

For my Tuesday post, I am showing the lunch I’ve made for my girls tomorrow. I use the Easy Lunchboxes – brights version if that matters 😉 Today I made them sugar free vanilla pudding with tiny teddy crackers, mandarin, strawberry and grape pieces and in the main compartment, a bed of iceburg lettuce, with homemade chick fil a knock off nuggets, some mini carrots and half a banana. For a snack later on, they will have a small bag of popcorn and a simply yogurt – no high fructose corn syrup added and a natural apple juice. I got the recipe for the nuggets here: Chick-fil-A Bites – they really did taste like the nuggets there!