Monday, February 28, 2011

What's your guess?

In just two short days, we'll reach the half-way point of the count-down to meet this baby!

Time has definitely started to fly!

The first several weeks were filled with great nausea and exhaustion.

Thankfully the nausea has mostly left!

The exhaustion still lingers and has been joined by some lovely heartburn...

BUT
this baby kicks ALL THE TIME

which I think is fantastic!

However, I can't decide if these kicks are

BOY kicks

or

GIRL kicks!

What do you think?

We're hoping to find out at our ultrasound this Thursday!

Leave me a comment with your prediction.

If you're correct, you'll get your name put in the hat for a very special drawing!
(cookies...what else would I give away?) 

 I'm still hanging in there with the "Is she pregnant or just fat" look!

Honey Oat Bread

If you mention a food item that you *love*,
chances are, I'll want to try it.

That's how it happened with Trader Joes' Honey Oat Bread.

Two recommendations from the lovely L's at church, and I was hooked!

It's tasty, delicious, and even good for you.

It's also just a little pricier than the bread I'm used to buying.

So...I had to figure out how to make it.

I think this recipe comes pretty close.
Not exact.
But close!

Plus, it's easy!
Yes, homemade bread that is EASY!
Woot!

Give it a try!


Honey Oat Bread

1 3/4 cups warm water (105°F to 110°F)
1 tablespoon dry yeast
3/4 cup quick-cooking oats
1/3 cup honey
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
5 cups (about) all purpose flour

1 large egg, beaten to blend
Additional quick-cooking oats

Stir 1/4 cup warm water and yeast in large bowl. Let stand 10 minutes to dissolve yeast. Stir in remaining 1 1/2 cups water, 3/4 cup oats, honey, oil, and salt. Stir in enough flour to form soft dough. Coat another large bowl with oil. Transfer dough to oiled bowl and turn to coat.

Cover with plastic wrap, then kitchen towel and let rise at room temperature until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.


Oil two 8 1/2x4 1/2x2 1/2-inch loaf pans. Punch down dough; shape into 2 loaves. Place 1 loaf in each pan. Cover and let rise in warm draft-free area until almost doubled in volume, about 20 minutes.


Preheat oven to 350°F. Brush tops of loaves with egg; (I just brushed my loaves with olive oil) sprinkle with additional oats. Bake until brown on top and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Cool completely. (Can be prepared up to 1 day ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.)

 *This bread is best toasted and served with homemade apple butter, jam, or slices of Trader Joe's dill havarti cheese (idea courtesy of a lovely L, of course!).

Friday, February 25, 2011

Fantastically Chocolaty Fat Friday

Not one healthy recipe posted this week, yet somehow, I still have something ready and in the bag for Fat Friday.   

Shameful. 

I blame...um, who should I blame?

 Oh well.

These cupcakes were super rich and delicious.

Even better was the fact that our sweet college girl, Caitlin, made them at our house for the whole college group! 

I love enjoying the results of a good recipe without the work!

Fudge Lover's Cream Cheese Cupcakes 
(Original recipe from good 'ol Betty found here)

Cake:
1 box devil's food cake mix
1 box (4-serving size) chocolate instant pudding and pie filling mix
1 cup hot water
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 eggs

Filling:
1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips

Heat oven to 350°F (or 325°F for dark or nonstick pan). Spray bottom only of 13x9-inch pan with baking spray with flour. 

In large bowl, beat cake ingredients with electric mixer on low speed 30 seconds. Beat on medium speed 2 minutes. Pour into pan. 

In large bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar and 1 egg on medium speed until smooth and creamy. Stir in chocolate chips. Spoon filling by tablespoonfuls evenly over top of batter. Using table knife, swirl filling through batter. 

Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely, about 1 hour.


Chocolate Lover's Frosting
(from the back of the Nestle Toll House Cocoa container)

3 cups sifted powdered sugar, divided
2/3 c. baking cocoa
1/2 c. butter, softened
5-6 T. milk, divided
1 tsp. vanilla

Beat 1 cup powdered sugar, cocoa, butter, 2 T. milk and vanilla in a small mixer bowl until creamy.  Gradually beat in remaining sugar and milk until smooth.

Spread on cupcakes and enjoy!
**Side note:  these may be consumed for breakfast ONLY if you happen to get up before the children and decide to sneak down to the kitchen because of a deep chocolate craving caused by the babe in the belly!  Best if chased down with a large glass of ice cold milk, too!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Thrifty Thursday!

This week, I'm answering the Ask the Reader Question: Is a chest freezer worth the investment? from Money Saving Mom.

Thrifty Tip #59:  A chest freezer is completely worth the money! 

*It allows you to stock up when frozen items are on sale. 

*A chest freezer is a great investment if you want to freeze applesauce, roasted tomatoes, or other produce from your garden. 

*A chest freezer also provides ample space for meat and keeps it from getting frost bite much sooner than a refrigerator's freezer.

We keep our chest freezer in the garage which is a perfect out-of-the-way place for us.  I know other families keep their freezer in their basement.  The nice part is they can be placed anywhere convenient for your family!

How would you answer this question?  

Do you have a chest freezer?

Has it been worth the money for your family?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Catching up!

We are home!
And I am dog tired!

But my heart is full.  Really full.

I'm not even sure how to put into words all the things we experienced, learned, and heard at The Lift: Worship Collective.



Things Experienced:  a relaxing road trip down...
The American Gothic House
 The Arch!
Delicious Food...
 Five Guys Burgers and Fries
delicious sushi 
Chilean food
 Rice Krispie Treats dipped in Milk Chocolate 

Lift:  Worship Collective
live new music--participating in a recording, 
 Georgia gardens and sunshine.
 Lots of time together!

Things Learned:  I will never be a song writer...I'm okay with that!  As we sat in a breakout session listening to Matt Redman speak on how he writes his songs, I realized I have no gifts in this area.  My mind wandered to how I could possibly make a sugar cookie and decorate it with their Passion logo.  Man, I think I'm a crazed baking addict!

Here are some things that Matt Redman shared that really resonated and stuck with me:

There's a lot of really good music out there.
The distinctive about worship is that it's
The People of God
In the Presence of God
Pouring Out the Praises of God.

There's never a time when you'll pour your heart out in worship and think later, "I sure gave a lot more than I got out of that.  Worship is an encounter with a Holy God."

As I think about all the tasks and projects I do in life, none of them is what I want to be known for

My anthem should be HIS praise...His GLORY should be my ONE desire.

As Chris Tomlin's new song puts it: We are here for YOU.

Matt Redman also gave an illustration of his children leaping out from hiding and jumping on his back.  He said rather than being annoyed with the surprise or jumping out of the way of the leaper, he took it as a complement.  His children know their dad and trust him to catch and carry them. 
The same is true of our God.  If we realized how big, able, powerful and in control God is always--that He's mighty to save and has a great big heart of love for us, we'd take the big leaps of faith because we'd fully trust Him.


There was so much more...


Things heard:  powerful new lyrics...just buy Matt Redman's new CD coming out in June.  You'll thank me! (and maybe even hear me...well, probably not!)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Thrifty Thursday

Here's a thrifty tip on the fly...we're in the car driving to Atlanta, Georgia today!

Thrifty Tip #58: Walgreens is having an unbelievable sale on diapers this week, but here's the catch: you'll need to find the baby coupon booklet.

Walgreens store brand diapers are on sale buy one package at $6.99, get one free. The baby coupon booklet has a $2 off coupon which they will redeem for each package of diapers. Total cost for 2 packages of diapers: $3! Wow!!!

Unfortunately, the Walgreens stores by our house are party poopers and don't have the booklets. BUT I happen to have the NICEST friend in the world who not only tipped me off on the sale but went back to her and scored me the diaper lottery! So nice to have a head start for this baby! You'll get to hear more about this fantastic friend next week...stay tuned!

My mom was also able to score me a few packs on her way down to stay with our kids. Super!

Hopefully you can get in on this deal if your house is in diaper wearing mode!
Good luck!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Muffins!

I may have mentioned it before...

I love the Whole Foods App for the iPhone.

We tried these muffins and LOVED them!
Next time, I'll make a double batch so we have some leftovers for snack time!

"Eat these wholesome autumn muffins for breakfast or top them with cream cheese or vanilla frosting for a dessert treat."

Ingredients

1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
1/4 cup sugar (I used agave nectar)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon non-aluminum baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup grated carrots
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup canola or safflower oil
1 teaspoon real vanilla extract

Method

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour a 12-cup standard muffin tin or use muffin papers. Set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, combine carrots, applesauce, eggs, milk, oil and vanilla. Add half the carrot mixture to the flour mixture, stir until blended then add the rest pf the carrot mixture. Spoon batter into muffin cups and bake about 20 minutes or until a toothpick in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Serve warm.

*Makes 8-12 muffins.

The leftovers!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

The lovey-dovey status updates are just flooding my screen on facebook today.

So.much.love.

However, I'm also seeing many harsh, critical comments on this special love day.
It could be that I've just never noticed them in the past
   or maybe I'm more sensitive this year (pregnant!).

At any rate, it bothers me a bit.
Where's the grace in criticizing other's expressions of love to each other?
Not everyone has to participate...that's a-okay.  Just be nice.

I do have to say, I loved the spirit in which one of my single college girls handled the day with these words:  Happy National Single Awareness Day! 
Such sweet girls waiting for their prince charmings!

One comment I read often today was this... We should show people how much we love them every day, not just one day.

Noel Piper gives an amazing response to this statement in her book Treasuring God in Our Traditions.

We Need "Especially"

"NO!"  our college friend squawked.  "All days are not the same!  God knows we need 'especially.'"
He'd heard it once too often, somebody pontificating, "Every day should be Mother's Day," or "Every day should be as significant as Christmas."

God knows we need "especially"--that was a new thought to me back then.  And it's true.  God himself appointed special days, such as Passover, for his people and gave them ceremonies to set those days off from the others (Exodus 12:1-20).  December 25, for example, could pass like any other day in our week, except for the thought and preparation we give to it and the customs and traditions that surround it.  The ceremony of a special day keeps it from slipping away like an ordinary day.  We stop and recognize the specialness of an event in large becasue of the traditions in which it's wrapped.

Our "especially" celebrations anchor us and our children in the harbor of our family, reflecting our true refuge--God.  The way we observe these occasions--the focus of our observation--has great potential to show our children what we think is most important and to help them value what we hold most dear.  Of course, the benefits are not just for the children.  Our celebrations work good into our own lives and in other people whose lives touch ours, be rekindly our love of God, by increasing our knowledge of him, and by helping us remember who God is and how he works.

Valentine's Day is a wonderful day to shower our family with over-the-top Christ-like love!

It's a special day to exemplify this love and have reason to explain the Gospel to our children, again and again!

Valentine's Day doesn't have to mean large extravagant gifts, flowers and chocolate...
  it can be a special candlelit meal,
      making the kids' beds for them,
            homemade cards decorated together,
                 delivering cookies to friends and neighbors,
                      reading special books,
                          sharing Caribou buy-one-get-one-free drinks...coupons!

Celebrate.  It is important.

I love this quote from Dallas Willard:

"Celebration is actually a spiritual discipline. It is the logical extension of worship. Once we understand how amazing God is in worshipful awe, we can then celebrate how amazing He is to us, together, as a community. Celebrating together accentuates our gratefulness and delight in life, love, family and friends. We need to celebrate as an antidote to the suffering, selfishness, senseless busyness and sanitized emotions around us that would steal our joy." 

Happy Valentine's Day!

Celebrate in gratefulness today the greatest love that has ever been shown to us: Jesus Christ.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Let's start the week off healthy...

After leaving you all FAT for the weekend...ug!...it's time to start the week off right:

:Fruits:Vegetables:Whole Grains:

Five a day, kids!

This Epicurious recipe is kid tested and church potluck approved!

Try it!

 Quinoa and Black Bean Salad

 
1 1/2 cups quinoa (small disk-shaped seeds)*
1 1/2 cups cooked black beans, rinsed if canned
1 1/2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
1 1/2 cups cooked corn (cut from about 2 large ears)
3/4 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
2 pickled jalapeƱo chilies, seeded and minced (optional)
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh coriander (cilantro)

For dressing
5 tablespoons fresh lime juice, or to taste
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cumin, or to taste
1/3 cup olive oil

*available at specialty foods shops and natural foods stores

In a saucepan of salted boiling water cook quinoa 10 minutes. Drain quinoa in sieve and rinse under cold water. 
While quinoa is cooking, in a small bowl toss beans with vinegar and salt and pepper to taste.
Transfer quinoa to a large bowl and cool. Add beans, corn, bell pepper, jalapenos, and coriander and toss well.

Make dressing: In a small bowl whisk together lime juice, salt, and cumin and add oil in a stream, whisking.

Drizzle dressing over salad and toss well with salt and pepper to taste. Salad may be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Bring salad to room temperature before serving.


*Even better with fresh tomatoes!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Fat Friday...Valentine's Style!

Despite my better judgment, Cody convinced me to carry on with Fat Fridays.

I think he likes the treats!

As with all sugary treats...be sure to eat your vegetables and fruits first and drink plenty of water.

20-30 minutes of exercise several times a week wouldn't hurt either.

There, now I feel better.

Cocoa Fudge Cookies
(This recipe is from Cooking Light, but who are we kidding?  Really.)

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons butter
7 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup plain low-fat yogurt (I used vanilla yogurt)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 350°.
Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour, soda, and salt; set aside. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat; stir in cocoa powder and sugars (mixture will resemble coarse sand). Add yogurt and vanilla, stirring to combine. Add flour mixture, stirring until moist. Drop by level tablespoons 2 inches apart onto baking sheets coated with cooking spray.
Bake at 350° for 8 to 10 minutes or until almost set. Cool on pans 2 to 3 minutes or until firm. Remove cookies from pans; cool on wire racks.

For added brownie points, sandwich the cookies with some fluffy, creamy filling!

Yesterday was Cloe's class Valentine's Party.  This is one of her cute little friends!  They were so excited...somehow they both wore red shirts, jean skirts, and brown boots to school!  Twins!!!  They just thought it made the day *perfect*.  (giggle.giggle.giggle.)

A couple of weeks ago, several students at Cloe's school lost their homes in a terrible apartment fire.  Her school and all the families reached out amazingly generous and met every need these families had in replacing all their belongings and helping them find new places to live.  (literally...after one week, they had to shut the donation drive down because the families had received every item or money for items that needed replaced!) 
There were 2 second grade students affected, so we made these blankets for our little friends as the craft at the Valentine's party.  It was so fun to hear the kids talk about how excited they were to *give* and that making this blanket showed *love*.

We love because He first loved us. 1 John 4:19
Praying someday for more opportunities to share this ultimate love with these sweet students!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Thrifty Thursday!

Thrifty Tip #57:  Making homemade cleaning supplies is phenomenally cheaper!  (not to mention easier on the 'ole lungs and gives you all rights to calling yourself "green"...if you want)

The fantastic ideas for cleaners below are not mine.
When Wendi posted these over at Every Day Miracles, I was so impressed and intrigued that I begged asked very politely if I could pass them on to all of you.
She said, "Yes!" So here they are!
Be sure to head on over and give her some bloggy thank-you love!
Wendi writes the most amazingly beautiful blog!  She's a talented mom and wife who loves Jesus.
By the way, once you're there, you'll be hooked!


Laundry Detergent

1 bar Fels Naptha - grated
1/2 C Borax
1/2 C Arm and Hammer WASHING Soda

Directions:
If you have a food processor, you can shave the bar soap in about 15 seconds. Add all the ingredients together in a 16 oz. container. Shake well and use 1 Tablespoon per load. Use extra for super soiled clothes or extra hard water.

Breaks down to $0.07 per load!!


Glass Cleaner

3 TBSP Rubbing Alcohol
1 TBSP vinegar
Purified water

Directions: 
Pour first two ingredients into a 16 oz bottle and fill the rest of the way with water. Shake and spray.

Breaks down to $0.17 per bottle!!


Disinfectant

2 TBSP Borax
4 TBSP Vinegar
3 Cups Hot Water

Directions:
Pour first two ingredients into a small bowl. Take a spoon and make sure that the borax is smooth. Add to spray bottle then add the hot water. Mix well.


Breaks down to $0.09 per bottle!


All Purpose Cleaner

1/4 C Vinegar
1/4 C Baking Soda or 2 tsp Borax
(few drops) Dish Detergent
Purified Water

Directions:
Pour first two ingredients into small bowl. Take a spoon and make sure that the borax or baking soda is smooth. Add to 16 oz spray bottle. Add a few drops of dish detergent then fill up the rest of the way with water. Shake until dissolved.

Breaks down to $0.19 per bottle!!


Baby Wipes 

1 Roll of Bounty paper towels
2 TBSP Baby Oil
2 TBSP Baby Shampoo
1 good squeeze Baby Lotion
2 C Purified Water
(optional)
Few drops Essential Oils
2 TBSP Aloe Vera Gel
3 Vitamin E capsules - prick with needle and squeeze out

Directions:
Bring 2 C water to a boil in pot. Add oil, shampoo, and lotion (+ Aloe Vera if preferred). Stir until fully dissolved. Turn off heat. Cut the paper towel roll in half with bread knife. Place halved roll into 4 Qt. round plastic container with lid (Folgers coffee ones work best or Ziploc storage square container). Pour soapy mixture over roll. Place lid on and wait about 5 minutes. Flip container over and wait another 5 minutes. Pour out excess liquid and remove cardboard tube from center of roll. pull wipes from center.

Breaks down to $0.01 per wipe!!


What is your favorite all-natural cleaning product?
Which one of these recipes will you try first?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

For my birthday...

I'm enjoying this:

(Thanks to my mother-in-law!)

Be back tomorrow!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

And the husband of the year award goes to...

MY HUSBAND!!!

Somehow amidst all the various pairs of shoes I seem to own, there was not a good pair of black boots to be found.  I'd looked at the mall, Target, Kohl's and a zillion websites and could not seem to find the perfect pair...at the perfect price.

Today, Cody offered to come along shopping (with all the kids) to see if we could find the right pair of boots.

Our first stop was Gordman's.  They happened to have the perfect pair of boots at really the perfect sale price...but not in my size.

While the kids humored me trying on all sorts of funny, fuzzy boots, Cody took off to try and find a salesperson.  Unfortunately, there were none to be found.

But then, like a superhero, he pulled out his handy dandy iPhone and scanned the bar code of the boots.  Within just a few seconds, he had the same pair of boots pulled up, in my size, and at an even better sale price!  (like $15 cheaper!!!)  He pressed "order" and ta-da!  They are on their way!

Isn't he a helpful genius?  Yes, I think so too!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Yes, It's Fat Friday

As promised, here's the recipe for the Red Velvet Whoopie Pies.
Now, don't go kidding yourselves:  these are NOT a healthy food option.
As I'm typing this, a news headline pops up that says, "Obesity is killing America."
Yes, today I'm helping it.

I really wish this was at least a recipe "from scratch".
Does it count as being "sneaky" if it's all from boxed mixes?
If you can recreate this recipe from scratch, I'll give you a big kiss.
That would make me feel somewhat better throwing out this rich dessert recipe!

But...with no further adieu, here you go:
(don't forget to eat your vegetables first!)

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies


Cookies
1 box Betty Crocker® SuperMoist® Devil’s Food cake mix
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
2 tablespoons red food color (*I use Spectrum Food Gel--it has no funny after taste and it a great brand to work with.  I would not use this much of Wilton's brand--it does add a bad after taste.)
1 box (4-serving size) chocolate instant pudding and pie filling mix

Filling
1 cup butter or margarine, softened
2 cups marshmallow creme  (that's 2 small jars)
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  1. Heat oven to 350° F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or lightly spray with cooking spray.
  2. In large bowl, beat cookie ingredients with electric mixer on low speed until moistened; beat 1 minute longer on high speed. Drop batter by 1/4 cupfuls 2 inches apart onto parchment-lined cookie sheets.
  3. Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until set (do not overbake). Cool 2 minutes; remove from cookie sheets to cooling racks. Cool completely, about 15 minutes.
  4. In large bowl, beat filling ingredients with electric mixer on high speed until light and fluffy. For each cookie pie, spread about 1/4 cup filling on bottom of 1 cooled cookie. Top with another cookie and serve!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Thrifty Thursday!

What's that?  It's Thursday already, you say?
There's suppose to be a thrifty tip here?
Oh my...those snow days completely throw me off.
Yesterday, I felt like it was Saturday all day.

We did get to hear the heartbeat of our baby this morning!
It was so strong and fast!  Right around 150 beats per minute.
We also scheduled an ultrasound for one month from today to find out if we're having a boy or girl!

Then it was home to work on these sweet treats:

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies

I'll post the recipe tomorrow...we'll have to call it Fat Friday.  Yep, these babies are not fat free...or even healthy at all for that matter.  Just pure sugar, cakey, ooey goodness.

SO, since we are on the brink of my birthday week...let's do a little repeat with some Birthday Thrifty Tips...aka free stuff!

Thrifty Tip #11: Sign up for Birthday Treats and ENJOY!

Guess what! My birthday is just around the corner, and I want to share some birthday treats with all of you! Choose your favorites, and sign up for some fun birthday treats!

Here are some of my favorite birthday treats:

Cold Stone Creamery Birthday Club – free ice cream (for kids, too!)
Caribou Coffee - free drink on your birthday
Starbucks - free drink on your birthday
Red Robin – free burger
Ace Rewards – $5 off $20 coupon (great way to kick off that home improvement project!)
Borders Rewards – free dessert and 15% coupon
DSW Rewards – coupons (values vary by location)
Baskin Robbins Birthday Club – free ice cream (for kids, too!)
Culver's - free sundae when you buy one
Dairy Queen- free Blizzard when you buy one
Krispy Kreme- free dozen when you buy one dozen
Applebee's - free dessert (no sign-up)
Buffalo Wild Wings - free dessert
Famous Daves P.I.G. Club – free food, kids included
Fuddruckers - free shake w/purchase
Joe's Crabshack - free appetizer w/purchase
Lone Star Steakhouse - $15 gift card
Macaroni Grill- free dessert w/purchase
Biaggi's - free dessert
Mimi's Cafe - free food, free breakfast with sign-up
Orange Julius - free food
On The Border - free food
Qdoba Mexican Grill - free burrito w/entree purchase
Outback Steakhouse - free dessert on your birthday, no sign-up
Papa Murphy's - free food
Subway - free meal w/purchase
Quizno's - free cookie
Red Lobster - $5 coupon
Splash Seafood - free meal up to $30, fill out card at restaurant
Ruby Tuesday - free burger w/purchase
T.G.I.Friday's - coupon
Betty Crocker - free cookbook download

Here are some birthday treats just for the kids:

Applebee's - free meal for child, fill out postcard at restaurant
The Children's Place - coupon for 15 or 20% off (for kids, too!)
Burger King - free kids meal
Chuck E. Cheese's- free tokens (12 & younger)
Geoffrey’s Birthday Club – Toys 'R Us giftcard of varying values (ages 2-10)
IKEA Kids Club – free stuff (in-store sign-up)
Michael’s The Knack Kids Club - coupons all year long (12 & younger)


Here are a few Birthday treats for Credit Card Holders:

Victoria Secret - $10 giftcard
World Market - $10 giftcard
NY and Co. - 25% off coupon
GAP - varying coupons


For more birthday treats, visit this awesome birthday website!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

SNOWcakes

What a great snow day!

Everyone slept in nice and late this morning!

Then we let Cloe pick what we should have for breakfast.

PANCAKES!

I've seen several recipes for pancakes that call for cottage cheese.  So, with all the snow, I thought we'd try adding a little white to our pancakes.  SNOWcakes!


WOW!  These were like nothing I could have imagined.  SO light and fluffy and delicious!
Plus, they really pack a punch of calcium!


The recipe is from the Everyday Food PBS show.

Cottage Cheese Pancakes
(serves 4)

3/4 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
1 tablespoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup low-fat (1%) cottage cheese
2/3 cup milk
2 large egg whites
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 teaspoons vegetable oil

  1. In a large bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda. Stir in cottage cheese, milk, egg whites, and vanilla.
  2. In a large nonstick skillet, heat 2 teaspoons oil over medium. Working in batches, drop cottage cheese mixture by 1/4 cupfuls into pan (2 or 3 at a time). (Don't worry, the cottage cheese just melts into the pancake!)
  3. Cook until bottoms are set and tops have small bubbles, about 1 minute. Turn pancakes and cook until just firm in the center, 1 to 3 minutes more. Repeat, using remaining 3 teaspoons oil for the other batches. 
So light and fluffy!


 We needed a good, hearty breakfast so we could get on with our Groundhog Day celebrations!

    Happy Groundhog Day!

    It's February 2nd...the biggest day of the year for GROUNDHOGS!

    This was my all time favorite day as a second grade teacher {back in the day!}.

    It's fitting today, smack in the middle of a blizzard, to be wondering, "How soon will winter be over?"

    Of course, Punxsutawney Phil will be on hand in Pennsylvania to take a gander for his shadow.


    Did you know, there are other groundhogs involved in this special day, too?

    If you happen to have OHIO ties, you may want to watch for Buckeye Chuck's weather forecast.

    Or if you've got friends in ALABAMA, you'll want to watch Smith Lake Jake!

    Other almost-famous groundhogs include:   

    Dunkirk Dave of Dunkirk, New York
    French Creek Freddie of French Creek, West Virginia
    Woodstock Willie of Woodstock, Illinois
    Malverne Mel of Malverne, New York
    Jimmy the Groundhog of Sun Prairie, Wisconsin
    Stormy Marmot of Aurora, Colorado
    Shubenacadie Sam of Nova Scotia, Canada
    Balzac Billy of Alberta, Canada.



    Which groundhog would you trust?


    We're actually going to be sticking with Geoffrey Groundhog!

    This is one of my favorite children's books!
    It charmingly explains Groundhog Day and allows the children to interact and predict the weather!

    We'll make our predictions and use the following coloring sheets to record our predictions.

    Shadow or No Shadow?

    It sure would be nice if that little Groundhog would not see his shadow!

    After we make our predictions, we'll, of course, be starving for a special treat.


    I'll let you know!

    What groundhog snack will your children choose?

    Tuesday, February 1, 2011

    A Tuesday Treat!

    One of the highlights during the dreary, bleak winter months is going to our Tuesday Morning Bible Study.  We have such a great group of ladies, encompassing many ages and stages of life.  We all take turns bringing the treats...oh my, treats they are, too!  (The Bible Study is pretty awesome, too!  That will have to be another post!)
    Here's the cake we enjoyed today.  It was so so so good!  I'm going to crave it until I make it!  Just the right sweetness, packed with blueberries, and a yummy granola crunch on top!  Thanks to Paula for sharing the recipe!  You'll want to try it!

    Blueberry Yogurt Coffee Cake 
    From “Best Life Recipes” – serves 12


    Nonstick cooking spray
    1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
    1/2 cup whole wheat flour
    3/4 tsp. baking powder
    3/4 tsp. baking soda
    1/4 tsp. salt
    1 tsp. cinnamon
    1 1/4 cups nonfat plain yogurt, such as Colombo
    1/3 cup canola oil
    1/3 cup brown sugar (for extra flavor, try muscovado brown sugar)
    1 whole egg
    2 egg whites
    1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
    1 1/2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen and thawed
    3/4 cup low-fat granola (I found at Hy Vee Health Market)
    Preheat the oven to 350 F.  Coat a 10-inch round cake pan with nonstick cooking spray.
    In a large bowl, combine the fours, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.  Whisk to combine.
    In a medium bowl, combine the yogurt, canola oil, brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla.  Whisk to blend thoroughly.
    Make a well in the dry ingredients.  Pour in the yogurt mixture, and stir just until the dry ingredients are moistened.  Gently fold in the blueberries.
    Transfer to the prepared pan.  Springkle the granola evenly over the top.
    Bake until the center of the cake springs back when lightly taped with your finger, about 30 minutes.  Serve warm.
    Enjoy!