We made a list the other day. . . .


 I have a love/hate relationship with tv.  SOooooo many good shows on.  I mean, Modern Family anyone?  BUT.  And that's a BIG but.  Those shows can become so important to us that we spend more time catching up on three hours of The Voice instead of spending time with our family.  This last week, the hubs and I made a deal.  We wouldn't turn on the tv after the kids go to bed.  That's usually the routine.  We don't always watch much during the day, but once the kids go down, mommy and daddy catch up on all of the recorded shows.  Sure, we're spending time 'together' but is it the best way we could spend our 'togetherness'?  Probably not.  Sometimes I want to get rid of the tv all together, and maybe one day we will, but for now my shows are winning out.  ANYWAY, we LOVED our week together.  I really truly feel like our marriage was strengthened by this little change and I hope to keep it up.

A few things on our list:

  •  making a movie
  •  going on a hike
  •  painting faces
  •  going to the library and learning something new
  •  making playdough
  •  doing an act of service
  • making goo (which we did here).  

The other day, daddy had a football game on tv and nothing bores me like football.  Just the sound of it in the living room annoys me.  As I sat there, feeling myself slowly melting into the couch, I couldn't take it any more.  I said, "THIS IS BORING!  DOES ANYONE WANT TO DO SOMETHING ELSE?" and Griff said excitedly, "WHAT'S COOLER THAN TV LIST!!"

So out the list came and we decided to write a story and draw a picture.  They had so much fun with it that we were busy writing and drawing for about an hour.  We ended up writing TWO stories.  The first was a ghost story and their pictures are shown below.

The second was a comedy, about a couple of surfers who had some adventures in their day, including getting attacked by a cat and finding a buried treasure with a bum inside that tooted a million dollar bill.  Forgive me, but I do have boys.  I'm not posting those pictures for obvious reasons.

My point is, when you're not satisfied about the way your family time is being spent, take action.   It's kind of the mom's job, you know?  Bring out the board games, art supplies, or go on a nature walk.  I'm so glad I did something because it ended up being a really great way to spend the night with my fam.  Waaaaay better than watching tv.  The boys LOVED it and I'm sure they'll continue to ask to do things on the list until we need to write a new one.  I'm pretty sure kids love ANYTHING that mom and dad really get involved in.  That should be a clear sign to us that all they really want is time with US.


Snack Time

I haven't done a snack time post in awhile.  Here's the latest.

'Marshrooms' (I call them Toadstools)
So simple.  Apples and Marshmallows.

Another simple but cute snack.  A skewer for the grapes, and a little vanilla frosting for the mini chocolate chips (I think I used cream cheese.  You could probably use vanilla pudding or yogurt too).

Fruit and Dip.
We did Nutella and Honey Greek Yogurt with a Tablespoon of brown sugar.  Peaches and apples for the fruit.  We did it another day with mango and pears.

Assortment of snacks.
We did green olives, cashews, crackers with a spinach artichoke spread, apples, and mozzarella cheese squares.  This was one of MY faves.

Dirt Cups

What kid wouldn't love pudding, oreos, and gummy worms all together in one treat?  Usually we just do straight pudding and oreos, but this recipe mixed the pudding with butter, cream cheese, cool whip, and powdered sugar, for an even more dessert-y snack.  : )

Bran Muffins with Homemade Plum jam.  My mother-in-law's recipe.  So delicious!

MADE: grocery bag dispenser, goo, and a craft

We've been MIA here for awhile.  Sorry.  No excuse other than I just get caught up in other things sometimes.

Husband commissioned me to make something that would solve the problem that WAS our pantry overflowing with plastic grocery bags, so I made this grocery bag dispenser from the tutorial on Make It-Love It.   I just used a single piece of fabric to save time (she sews a few different fabrics together, in stripes)

Extremely easy.  

I hung it on the pantry doorknob but it just seemed too low, so I hung it on the hinges.  It's cute enough to be showing and I'm just happy the kitchen is somewhat more organized.

You know me.  I don't like to make a trip to the store for anything if I don't have to, so I used lace for the ribbon, because I didn't have any ribbon.  Works just fine.


I've been on a mission to do more fun things with and for my kids, so we made this goo (from Our Best Bites) that I had been promising G we'd make every day for at least a couple of weeks.  We finally did it yesterday.  I'm still working on the procrastination thing, but I think it's a worthy enough goal.

It entertained them for quite some time.  I put a big piece of freezer paper down on the kitchen floor for them to smash it down on.  They had a friend over when we made it, and they got tiny toys and cars out, to 'bury' in the goo.  They loved it.  (didn't get any good pics)  Here's a different recipe at Tot Treasures, if you don't want to buy Borax.

We put it in a ziploc baggie so they can play with it again and again.

And then there was this 'mess-free finger painting' idea, I saw on Mama Smiles.  They loved this too.  Put some tempera paint in a freezer ziploc baggie, tape to the counter with a piece of paper underneath, and let them go to town, without having to worry about the mess it'll make.  -I- loved this one too.  

We used primary colors, so we got to see how they mixed and made new colors.  We just left them taped to the counter, so they can come back and play any time they feel like it.  Then, when they get tired of these colors, we'll switch to something new.  Maybe next time we'll make tertiary colors with a primary and a secondary in each bag.


Weekend with Sarah

We got to go see SISTER and her family over Labor Day weekend!  It was so fun to hang out, stay up late, dance with the kids, go to the parade, and crochet a ton.

We started with some outdoors time, sitting by the fire, roasting marshmallows, and laughing the night away.

The next day, we got to go to the Ft. Bridger Mountain Man Rendezvous.  This is a really cool Festival where you can buy all kinds of handmade things.  Sarah and Eric have been telling us about it for years, so it was fun to finally go.  

I ended up getting some deer lace straps, for making bracelets, and we got homemade creme soda, too!  Our boys were in heaven and left with all kinds of spears, fox feet, crystals, etc.  Lots of fun for boys.  I also found some of the cutest mocassins at a very reasonable price, for baby girl, but they needed to be just a smidgen bigger.  : (

I love to people watch.  It's really cool to see everyone dressed like they live in the 1800s.  I think it's funny that I kind of feel out of place because I'm dressed like I live in 2012 . 

Thanks for the fun weekend, family!!


More tried and true snacks

The pressure is on now.  The first thing out of Colson's mouth when I pick him up is always, 'What's the after-school snack today?'  He says he hurries to finish his work at the end of the day so that he can come out and ask me that question.

First off, I have to share these cute little olive penguins that I put in his lunch one day.  Instructions at In the Nursery of the Nation.  Colson told me that his friend had a good lunch too, so he said to him, 'Aren't moms the best?'  Sweet.

And some of our latest AFTER-SCHOOL SNACKS:

S'mores Dip!!

I'll allow a really sugary after-school snack ONLY every once in awhile.  My boysies had this s'mores dip one day at a friends house.  Colson couldn't stop talking about it and I promised him I'd make some one day.  I called my friend, Kim, from the grocery store, when the chocolate aisle sparked my memory of said promise, and she gave me the recipe.

 Oh, WATCH OUT!  Numerous times, my husband and I said, 'okay, I'm done' only to find our fingers, once again, creeping over to the stack of graham crackers and giving ourselves a generous scoop of the dip.  Yum!

Banana Bread [healthy version]

I had made this one before, so we already knew we liked it.  I always feel better about a snack when I know it's on the healthier side.   This recipe uses applesauce instead of butter, whole wheat flour instead of white, and honey in place of sugar (and I substituted brown rice syrup for the honey again, since I think honey IS pure sugar : ) )

Zucchini Brownies

Another healthy one.  What parent could say no to a brownie made with veggies?   And my kids really love these, too.  They don't taste exactly like the UNhealthy version, of course, but for a replacement, I think they're great!

Crispy Sweet Potato Fries and dip

I loved these but didn't love the mess they left on my cookie sheet.  They stick SO BADLY and I was stirring them every few minutes.  My kids weren't huge fans but I think maybe if I cut them a little thinner next time, they'd like them.


After-School Snacks

Both of my boys are in school this year!  They started on Monday.  I plan to welcome them home each day, with a lovingly-prepared after-school snack and some one-on-one conversation about their day.

I'm LOVING all of this free time I suddenly have, and have used it for grocery shopping, meal planning, cleaning, and preparing yummy dinners and treats.  My home has never stayed this clean, and we've never eaten this many yummy meals, this many days in a row.

I thought I'd share some of our after-school snacks.  If I continue this routine as I intend to, I should have new ones to share each week.  So far, every one of them has been a HUGE success, and I know the boys look forward to coming home and seeing what I've made for them that day, which keeps me going.  Griff only goes to half-day Kindergarten, so he gets to come home and help me prepare our snacks, which is fun for him.  He's always been the child of mine that likes to help in the kitchen.

I found each of these recipes via Pinterest.
*click on the name of each snack and it will take you to the source of the recipe

   Doesn't that sound good?  It WAS.  Griff thought it was so cool that we were MAKING our chips all by ourselves, and of course he loved that there was cinnamon and sugar on top!  And I loved the fresh fruit.  Mmmm!

*Homemade no-bake granola bars

   These were the favorite for this week.  Adapted from a Rachel Ray recipe, these are beyond easy to make (3 minutes of work?  yes, please!), and oh so delicious.  I ended up making a second batch the very next day, to put in Colson's lunch.  They're that easy.  And because the loaf pans are lined with foil, I lift the bars right out and put the pans back in my drawer.  Easy clean up.  Then I reuse the foil as dividers, when I put the bars in a tupperware container.  We made the s'mores version, but replaced the honey with brown rice syrup because we never have honey in our pantry.  It tastes GREAT with that replacement!

 Note: recipe only makes about ten, so you may want to double or triple it and then use a bigger dish for letting them cool.

*Tiny Tuna Melts (when you click on it, it just takes you to a picture, so I linked to the 'pin'.  The directions are written there, under the picture)

  I thought it would be good to get some protein in the mix, every once in awhile.  I think it helps my kids stay full [and happy], longer.  I made these on the day that C had soccer practice.  I didn't think a sugary treat would have been the best idea, if I wanted to keep him from getting cranky.  The boys gobbled these up.

  Please, if you do this one, notice in the instructions for the ones made with jello, she says '2 .25 oz' envelopes of unflavored gelatin.  I realized, after I had already added the 2.25 ounces, that she was saying 2 -.25 oz envelopes (so basically .5 oz of unflavored gelatin).  Yes, I added 4 1/2 times the amount it called for and ours were a little tough, but the boys still liked them.  : )  I plan to make them again, to redeem myself.  Maybe I'll try the juice concentrate version.

  And I used the little silicone molds we have, from IKEA.  We have fishies and hearts.  Sometimes you can find these molds at the dollar store, too.

*Chips and 'Bitchin'' Sauce

  All you need is a blender.  Because I've recently been on one of my health food kicks, I happened to have ALL of these ingredients in my kitchen.  Nutritional yeast and liquid aminos are not your typical ingredients.  You can use soy sauce as a substitute for liquid aminos, but you can also find it at the health food store, along with nutritional yeast.

  I was curious to see if they'd like this, because it's a different flavor than what they're used to.  Spicier.  But they LOVED it.  The only problem with this sauce is that they kept asking what it was called and all I could say is, 'Um, it's just sauce.'  Guess I should think up a new name for it.  : )


I like to put a little note in Colson's lunchbox.  He hadn't mentioned any of them, so the other day I asked, 'Did you read the note in your lunchbox?'  He said, 'Yeah'.  I said, 'Did you like it?'  With tears in his eyes, he said, 'Well, yeah I did, but. . . .it kinda made me miss you and wish you were there with me.'  I said, 'Oh, I'm sorry sweetie!  I was hoping it would remind you that I love you and I'm thinking of you.  Should I not put notes in your lunch anymore?'  He quickly said, 'No!  You can keep putting them in.'  

Sweet boy, that one.