Friday, July 18, 2014

Cinnamon chips with fruit salsa


Summer is in full swing around here and that means lots of fun summer time get-togethers! And what do you need when people get together? Yummy food of course! This is one of my favorite dishes to make for parties. It's super easy and delicious! Sometimes I just make it as a snack for myself and the girls. It's really very versatile as you can make the salsa with any fruit you want.

Fruit Salsa

Ingredients:
  • Any finely chopped fruit combination of your choice. My favorites are strawberries, mango's, pineapple and blueberries.
  • Honey
Instructions:

Chop up the fruit into small pieces and mix it together in a bowl. Then add a little honey to taste. I don't have a measurement I just drizzle a little on the top and mix it around. Taste test of course until you like the flavor. It's best if it sits a little while before serving because that gives it a chance for all of the flavors combine. I usually make it an hour or so beforehand and store it covered in the fridge until I'm ready.

Homemade Cinnamon Chips

Ingredients:
  • 8" flour tortillas (about 10 for a large crowd)
  • coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
*You could also use the cinnamon/sugar mixture from the spice section at your grocery store and save yourself a step.

Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Coat each of the tortillas front and back with coconut oil. You can buy it in the spray form or if you don't have that just melt a little in a bowl in the microwave and brush it on with a pastry brush. Using a pizza cutter cut your tortillas into triangles. Mix the cinnamon and sugar together and sprinkle it on the chips front and back. Place on ungreased baking sheets and bake for 5-10 minutes or just until crisp. Serve with fruit salsa. If you're in a rush Stacy's cinnamon sugar pita chips will do the trick also!

This dish is always a big hit at showers and parties! Delish!





Thursday, July 10, 2014

Party spotlight: camping birthday party

Hello again! Today I'm sharing with you this adorable camping birthday party that my talented sister-in-law threw for her twin boys back in May. The temperature was surprisingly chilly for the month of May but it was the perfect weather for a camp fire and s'mores! All the little details are just adorable! I love how they turned their lemonade stand into a s'more stand. And aren't those little tree trunk chairs just the cutest?


She made each family a s'mores kit so they could roast their own s'mores by the fire.



She used the tree slice cake stands that we also used for our friend Katie's Owl Baby Shower.


The cupcake stand was full of s'more cupcakes of course!




Picnic baskets, cast iron skillets and lanterns were things she already had or borrowed from friends for budget friendly serving pieces.




These yummy s'more marshmallow pops were a big hit with the kids!


Each guest was given a wooden reptile to paint and take home.




Birch tree paper straws left over from this party were the perfect addition to the drink table.


At the end of the party each little guest got to take home their own bandana full of camping necessities (mini flashlights, gummy worms, gummy bears and s'more trail mix).



Wasn't that the cutest little camping party? Makes me want to go heat up some s'mores!

For more fun party inspiration check out my parties page here.


Friday, July 4, 2014

Our summer so far

Hello all! Our first few weeks of summer have been busy! Fun, but oh so busy! We have crammed as much into the first month of summer as one family possibly could and now we are going to get ourselves together, clean the house and start on some more projects. OK. I'm the only one cleaning the house and doing the projects but you get the idea. Here are a few photos of what we've been up to lately. 
First, the girls and I took a road trip back to Kansas to the little town I grew up in. We stopped in Tennessee at a state park to snap a picture of this beautiful waterfall and then grabbed the kids and rushed back to the car before one of them jumped off the cliff. (It had guard rails but eventually my kids would have found a way around it I'm sure.)

 We did a little bit of swimming.

OK. A lot of swimming.


We visited all the fun places I played at as a kid. This is the library which has been redone since my time and has some really fun things for kids to do now. (Not that just reading books wasn't fun or anything.)


Someone decided to go mobile as her sisters cheered her along.

We visited the cutest grandpa in the history of ever. (Mine.)

 And then we came back to our newly finished deck that my hubby and his super amazing friends built for us while we were gone! I'll try and get some better photos once it's all decorated and share it on the blog. 

We spent the next Saturday at The Village Market downtown and tried our first ever artisan doughnut.

And then my sister and her family flew into town and we took a little vacation to the beach. 





And you guessed it...more swimming.

Took a trip to the Aquarium where the humans are just as interesting as the fish.

Spent a little time birdwatching.

And then back home for you know... more swimming.

My niece Ava is pretty much the cutest thing ever. And if you're interested in her adorable shirt you can get one here.


We spent the next few days exploring the city with the kids.


This is the recording studio at the Children's Museum. Unfortunately, Let it Go wasn't on the list of songs to sing but lucky for us Maddy knows it by heart.


And then we celebrated my sister's 30th birthday with a surprise party!

And what's a party without super adorable sugar cookies from the Cookie Kiln?

Not as awesome as this party that's for sure.


Alas our excitement is over. My sis is gone and Claire has already stated she hates being cooped up at home. (The one afternoon we didn't go anywhere). 

The rest of her summer might be a disappointment. 

But we'll probably still go swimming.


Most of these photos were taken from my Instagram feed. Follow me here. (If you're into that sort of thing.)

Monday, June 2, 2014

Easy and delicious banana muffins


It's almost summer! Claire has a few more days left of school and then we're off to begin our summer vacation. Even though we enjoy sleeping in as much as possible during the summer, I still try and plan our summer outings for the mornings rather than later since that's when everyone is the most rested and in the best mood! So to help us get out the door it's nice to have some premade easy breakfast items on hand the kids can get for themselves. I make these the night before we need them and they last for several days. My kids love muffins so these are a hit with everyone! They are great for mid-afternoon snacks also!


Delicious Banana Muffins

Makes 12 muffins

Recipe from allrecipies.com (altered slightly)

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 large bananas, mashed
3/4 cup turbinado sugar
1 egg
1/3 cup butter, melted


Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat muffin pans with non-stick spray or use paper liners. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside.

2. Combine bananas, sugar, egg and melted butter in a large bowl. Fold in the flour mixture and mix until smooth. Scoop into muffin cups.

3. Bake in a preheated oven for 25-30 minutes. Muffins will spring back when lightly tapped.

And there you have it! A healthy and delicious breakfast kids will love!









Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

On being a mom of three


I always wanted three kids. Back in the day before I was married or even knew who I was going to marry I just knew I wanted three. For some reason it sounded like the perfect number. I really wanted a girl. Boys would be fine too as long as I had at least one girl. Big bows, painted piggies, pierced ears, pretty dresses... I love it. It's my thing. I also thought that a 3 year spacing between each of them would be perfect. I love the cuddly baby stage and in my head if I spaced them out I could prolong the years I had a sweet little baby. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't trade the kids I have now for anything. But it's not quite as easy as I thought it would be.


I thought I was fully prepared to have a third. I knew it would be busy but I've watched other kids at my house whose parents worked outside their home since Claire was a baby. So even though it wasn't full time I knew what it was like to have 3 kids at a time. Some days 4 or 5 kids. Luckily the kids I watched were very close in age to my own kids and they played pretty well together.


So now here we are, 5 months into having 3 kids and I'm pretty overwhelmed. The laundry has at least doubled. (You wouldn't believe how many times a day you have to change a baby's clothes.) The house is a mess, my room mom status is lacking as I almost forgot the teacher's birthday last month and last night my kids ate cereal for dinner.

Maddy's baby is having some play time with my baby so she says. =)

Last month Matt was out of town at a conference. Although I'm a total scaredy cat and hate staying by myself at night, sole control of the TV sounded pretty good. I had hopes of getting the kids to bed early, catching up on some Vampire Diaries all while checking some DIY projects off of my list. It didn't quite turn out that way.


Monday started off pretty well with the exception of our morning grocery shopping trip where Maddy took turns yelling "I want my daddy" and "I have a booger" almost the entire time we were in the store. Matt's mom came over and put the kids to bed for me that night so I could go out for a little bit. I spent what was left of an Ann Taylor gift card, picked up a coffee and a double chocolate chip cookie on my way home and then spent the rest of the evening chatting with my sister on the phone. We have an alarm system so I felt pretty comfortable about going to sleep knowing that if someone tried to break in I would be alerted by a loud and annoying siren as opposed to someone standing over me with a gun.


The next day I managed to get Claire to school on time (early actually) even though it was pouring down rain and Matt had taken our only working umbrella with him. Went to the gym, ran a few errands and got a few things done at home before we left again to go pick up Claire. We had switched cars before Matt left so he could take the SUV on his trip and I totally forgot to put the number tag for car line in my car. So instead of going through car line I had to park and drag two kids into the office to check her out. Not the worst thing that could happen but the days not over yet.


We received a generous invitation to dinner that evening and were running slightly late as usual. We finished up homework and baths before we left so we wouldn't be up late doing it since it was a school night. About 20 minutes after we arrived their little boy threw up everywhere.

So now what to do for dinner? Claire and Maddy both agreed they wanted Chick-fil-a. I had planned to go through the drive-thru and eat at home but they begged to go inside and play for a little bit. Against my better judgement I conceded to the pressure. The parking lot didn't seem totally over crowded so I gave them the speech about how I have 3 kids to watch so they have to obey right away etc. etc and of course they both agreed they would be on their best behavior. I put the baby in the Moby Wrap so that I would have both hands free and we made our way into the restaurant. I ordered our food and we squeezed into the only booth free in front of the playground. Maddy ate one chicken nugget and took off to the playground before I could say a word. Since I was wedged into the seat with the baby strapped to my chest I sent Claire after her. She came back reluctantly and ate a little more. Just as I began to pull out my food and eat the baby pooped right out of her diaper. So now all of us trek to the other side of the restaurant and squeeze into the tiny bathroom to change the baby.


We finally made it back to the table and I convinced Maddy to eat the rest of her chicken nuggets and some fruit. I excused the girls to go play for a few minutes so I could eat my food. Two minutes later Claire ran out frantically screaming that Maddy had hurt herself and was bleeding. So now the entire restaurant is aware of the situation. Maddy followed her out crying and sure enough she fell and busted her lip. The Chick-fil-a employees were super helpful and brought us napkins and ice and the bleeding stopped pretty quickly. But it's getting close to bed time so tiredness plus the busted lip situation sends her over the edge.

The elderly lady sitting at one of the tables near us is making some funny faces at Maddy to try and cheer her up. It's not quite working and Maddy continues crying and yells "I don't want funny faces" flashing her a scowl.

One of the employees brings her a stuffed cow to make her feel better and she throws it across the room almost hitting an innocent mom in the head.

So now I'm totally mortified and begin to get our stuff packed up as fast as I can so we can get the heck outta there. I sent Claire to get me a bag for my food as I still haven't had a chance to finish eating. Maddy is now on the floor throwing a full blown tantrum because she doesn't want to leave and she's not getting ice cream. The elderly lady is trying to help me pick up the jacket and diaper bag Maddy dropped on the floor with her cane. And I just want to crawl under the table and die of embarrassment and promise myself I will never EVER take all three kids to Chick-fil-a by myself ever again.



So now we're at day 3 of Matt being gone. I met up with my mom for a little shopping and lunch and she came over to help with the kids that evening. We got kind of busy trying to do too many things at once and something we were making for dinner got forgotten and started to burn. We have an over active smoke detector that's hooked up to our alarm system so whenever something gets burnt and starts smoking it goes off and alerts the fire department. They call first before they come but I didn't hear my phone so sure enough the fire men show up at the door. And they don't just send one truck either it's at least two plus several men in each one. They've been to my house like five times now. I should probably put together some "sorry for your trouble" cookies or something to hand out next time they come.


Day 4, only one more day to go. I can do this. We drop Claire off at school then head home to get the mountain of laundry under control before Matt gets home the next day with all his dirty clothes. I got the house picked up and gave the younger kids a bath since we had planned to go straight to pick up my mom after Claire got out of school then meet my dad for dinner that evening. I got everything ready and loaded up the car.

Just as I went to pick up the baby to put her in her car seat Maddy threw up all over my bedroom floor missing the baby's bed by a few inches. I gave Maddy another bath, cleaned up the floor and put the baby in her car seat. I had called some back up to see if they could pick up Claire from school but they didn't answer so I decided to try and make it with Maddy. I put towels all around her and we head off to school. Of course by now we're late so I called to let them know we were on our way. The lady in the office said all the kids had been brought inside and I would have to go in to check her out. So now I'm going to have to drag my puking three year old into the school office. Great. We finally got to school and luckily she was still outside with a teacher and a few other kids with parents even later than me. Whew.
 
We made it back home without any major vomit incidents since Maddy pretty much already emptied out her stomach on my bedroom floor.


Sometimes when life gets a little crazy I think to myself how much easier it will be when the kids are older and wish we could just hurry up and get to that place in our lives.

I was at the grocery store the other day and Maddy was in a pretty good mood this time. She was singing loudly and making friends with anyone who got within three feet of us. One mom in passing said her little girl used to be just like Maddy and she missed it. "Now she's eleven and she hates me so enjoy it while you can".

It made me sad thinking that someday my girls won't be singing loudly everywhere we go as if no one is listening. Maddy probably won't be introducing herself to everyone we meet asking them all sorts of inappropriate questions. Claire won't yell she loves me as she jumps out of the car in front of the school. Adele won't grab my finger or hair with her death grip or look at me with her big eyes and smile like I'm the most interesting thing she's ever seen. They might be embarrassed to be seen with me in public and won't want to go shopping or to the movies.

 I'll have nursed my last baby. No more cuddling and rocking to sleep and no more little ones sneaking into bed in the middle of the night to snuggle.

So I've decided I'm going to enjoy the stage of life I'm in right now. This crazy, stressful, busy life with a messy house and piles of laundry and crayon marks on the walls and tons of Barbies dumped all over the bedroom floor every single day because Maddy can't find Elsa.

Someday a vacation will actually be a vacation, my house might be tidy and toyless, and I'll have a full nights sleep again. But for now I'm going to enjoy this crazy stage of life hang'n out with these cuties.


Here's a quote from one of our favorite books that made me cry the first few times we read it.

"See time will take you far from here; you're growing way too fast. All I want is mommy time to make the moments last. Something we'll remember so that come some far-off day, you'll know how much I loved you 'cause we took the time to play."

Quote from: Let's go on a mommy date by Karen Kingsbury