Friday, October 20, 2017

Picking your battles

So lately my 2 1/2 year old daughter has been acting more and more like, well you know a 2 1/2 year old. She tried to throw a temper tantrum the other day. Still hasn't quite got that down. My brother and I were in tears watching her slither like a snake, fake crying after us as we walked into the other room.

Anyways, the newest battle. Leopard earmuffs. Too big for her. One ear half ripped off.

All week she's been wearing them. On and off. Here and there.

But. Since last night she just won't take them off. She gets so upset. After the bath, I brushed her hair and she checked to see if she was wearing them. 

Today is school. It's not winter. Again, one side, half missing.

My son was up early. He is my morning baby. We rush through the morning shuffle. Trying to get 2 kids fed, dressed, AND make it to my daughter's school on time.

Quick breakfast. Dressed. Hair done. Earmuffs go back on.

Good news is that we are running early today. We play outside for a few minutes. 

As we are getting in the car, I think to myself... "Okay, take them away from her now and distract with princess poppy doll."

But I don't. I put on the trolls soundtrack and we sing "true colors" together. And I have the hugest smile on my face watching her sing with those earmuffs on. She makes my heart so happy.

So on the drive to school. In my heart of hearts, I know I should explain why we aren't going to wear them to school. In the winter she can wear them, that it's going to be 80 degrees today, not made to wear in the class room...blah blah blah.   

Just as I come to the realization that I am not choosing to pick this battle. That it's Friday. And that yes, I am going to let her win this one. That's when I see it.

I see a kid walking into school with a mask on. Maybe it's show and tell in his class. Or maybe his mother wasn't picking that battle on this beautiful fall day. 

Whatever the case may be. My morning was made. And a gentle reminder to stop taking life so seriously. Is it going to matter that she wears these damn earmuffs to school for ONE day? The answer is no. Obviously not.

We take our time walking across the grass and making our way into the classroom. Parents, grandparents, giving a sweet smile as she walks past in the earmuffs. I laugh and just say "not worth the battle today." They all have the same look on their face. The, we have all been there, face. No judgement at all. Just happy smiles.

Babies grow up too fast. I see it already. I am going to miss these sweet moments of them being so tiny. Today I am taking it all in.

So here's to the kids wearing earmuffs and masks to school. Here's to letting kids be kids. And here's to the teacher's who make us feel not only okay about letting this happen but reassuring us that we need to choose our battles :)

Obviously had to include a picture. Or three.








Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Peach Crumble Pie


BEST EVER PEACH CRUMBLE PIE!

I know, I know it's pumpkin and apple season. But my mom went grocery shopping, saw these big beautiful peaches on sale and just couldn't pass them by. Her first thought was "My daughter can definitely use these for baking." No I am not kidding. She even took my kids shopping so I could have some quiet time...to make this dessert!!!
 This is a fabulous pie that you can bring for Thanksgiving or any occasion.

There really is nothing like homemade pie crust. It always takes the dessert to the next level. Of course, if you are pressed for time or just don't feel like it, you can totally use a pre-made crust. It will still be yummy!
This time of year, I like to make a few extra pie crusts and freeze them, so that I have them on hand.

Ingredients

For the pie crust
2 1/2 cups of flour
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup of butter (cold)
8 tablespoons of cold water

Peach pie filling
3 large peaches (sliced and diced)
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup white sugar

Crumble
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons of melted butter

So let's start with this delicious, buttery, flaky crust

Step 1. Add 2 and 1/2 cups of flour and 1 and 1/4 teaspoon of salt to the mixing bowl.
Step 2. Chop 1 cup butter into small cubes. Add a few at a time and let it continuously mix.



(I find that the dough comes together easier if I do it this way. You will have to help the mixer along by scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl.)
Do not worry if it appears to be lumpy!! That is perfect.

Step 3. Add 6 tablespoons of ice cold water.
Let it mix.
Add one more tablespoon of ice cold water.
Let it mix.
Add one more and let it mix.



(As you add each tablespoon of water you will see the dough start to come together. By the end, it should mostly be in one big ball. If it seems a little wet, you can add a drop of flour. If it seems a little dry or dusty, add a touch more of water.) 

Step 4. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate while we do the rest.

 



Now onto the peach pie filling...

Step 1. Slice and cube 3 large peaches.
Step 2. Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
and 1/4 cup of white sugar.
Step 3. Mix well and set aside.




I had to change to a bigger bowl so I could get a good mix on.

The finishing touch... the crumble
Step 1. Mix all the dry ingredients together which should include 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup flour, and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon.
Step 2. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter and add it to the dry mixture.

Time to assemble this pie.



Step 1. Take out the crust, roll it into a circle shape and mold it to fit the pie dish.
(I find it easiest to roll between two pieces of plastic wrap and then flip it upside onto the pie dish and peel it that way. 





Step 2. Pour the peach mixture into an even layer.



Step 3. Add the crumble layer on top.



Step 4. Bake at 375 degrees for about 1 hour and 10 minutes.




I find it best to let it sit for an hour or 2 before serving.

If you can wait that long!

You can always add vanilla ice cream or whipped cream but it really doesn't need a thing!










Sunday, October 8, 2017

Oatmeal Muffins (free printable)





This is a super easy recipe. And even better, you can freeze these muffins for a grab and go breakfast or snack. Great to travel with. Especially because I am always rushing :)

I also love these because you can throw anything you want in them. Change it up, so it doesn't get boring.

Did I mention my kids love these!!!

Okay, here is what we need.


Step 1. First, we combine the 3 cups of old fashion oats, 2 eggs, and 2 cups of soy milk. Separate into 4 bowls.  

(Do not worry if the mixture has excess milk or liquid, it will soak in as we finish the rest)



Step 2. 
Bowl 1 - Add 10 halved raspberries and 1/3 cup of shredded coconut.
Bowl 2 - Add 1/2 cup of applesauce, 1/2 tablespoon of cinnamon, and 1/4 cup of raisins.
Bowl 3 - Add 2 tablespoons of peanut butter and one mashed banana.
Bowl 4 - Add 1/2 cup of walnuts and 1/4 cup of craisins.


Step 3. Label the bottom of the baking cups. Line the muffin tin and fill.
Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. 




This recipe should make about 12 - 15 muffins.



Enjoy! Enjoy! Enjoy!



Friday, September 29, 2017

Painting pumpkins


Carving pumpkins with two little ones is just not going to happen. I mean knives and toddlers NO.

Painting pumpkins is such a fun alternative for everyone, no matter what age.

Doing arts and crafts is always a favorite thing to do in our family. Everyone gets involved and everyone has their own masterpiece. Gives the kids the freedom to do things their way and use their imaginations!!!!

The beautiful weather doesn't hurt either. Taking in all that fresh air without running after my two babes.

All you need is
Pumpkins
Paint brushes
WASHABLE PAINT
I repeat washable paint!!! Don't have to worry about ruining clothes and scrubbing it off the kids.

We had so much fun doing our first fall activity together.

My daughter had a blast painting herself :)
So our pumpkin has her footprints on it.





I mean literally what could be cuter than giving a family member a pumpkin with your kids hand and foot prints on it?!


Thursday, September 14, 2017

Best Camping Hack for Kids

Beat the bugs with this simple trick!

I hate mosquitoes and basically any bug that can bite.

Bugs love my daughter. (She kinda likes them too and tries to catch them) As soon as she steps out the door to play, she gets bitten. Her bug bites totally explode and become huge welts and lumps. I have taken her to the doctor a few times. Only to find that it was only a spider or regular bug bite. Her skin just has a very extreme reaction. And then my poor girl is itching them like crazy. The only thing the doctor suggested was to get some Cortisone cream. Which is so greasy, ends up all over her clothes and everything else before it absorbs. AND my daughter tries to lick it UGH.

Here is the solution.

All you have to do is take a little Children's Benadryl and rub it on the bug bites. 

Within minutes...
- The swelling will go down
- It will stop the itching

THE BEST PART - If your child licks it, its only Benadryl. You don't have to worry!! It will not do any harm, since it's usually ingested anyway.

Best hack ever. It saved me this summer!!



Sunday, September 10, 2017

Football Sunday Eats


Sundays are for... eating :)

In honor of the first football Sunday, I had to make some game day goodies. This may not be my prettiest appetizer but it is a party in your mouth! And easy, easy, easy.

What you need:
1 and 1/3 cup of plain greek yogurt
1 cup shredded cheese 
2 jalapenos
3 slices of bacon
Wonton wrappers

What to do:
1. Cook and chop bacon. 
2. Finely chop jalapenos.
3. Combine bacon, jalapenos, greek yogurt and shredded cheese in a large bowl.


4. Layer wonton wrappers in a muffin tin to create nachos.


5. First, I baked the wonton wrappers for a few minutes at 350 degrees.
6. Spread the nachos on a cookie sheet and spoon on the popper mixture.
 7. Continue to bake for about 15 minutes.
The edges should be brown and crispy and the popper mixture should be hot and bubbly. 

Enjoy :)








Saturday, September 2, 2017

5 reasons you should use a Disney travel affiliate if its your first visit!

I have never, ever used a travel agent in my life. Not even for my honeymoon. My feeling is why should I pay someone when I can do the research myself and book the entire vacation for a cheaper price. Usually, I obsessively check prices for flights over and over and over again. I search through tons of hotels comparing pricing and amenities. Double and triple check to make sure packages aren't less when booking together. I also look into doing all inclusive or trying to save money by doing meals and drinks separately. Does this sound like you?

1. It is absolutely free.
There is no fee or percentage built into your vacation.

2. Dining planning
I haven't been to Disney in years and this was my kid's first trip!  I am not familiar with any of the restaurants inside the parks. I decided to get the dining plan because with two babies, their bottles, snacks... I didn't want to have to worry about their food. During our day at Magic Kingdom, I decided a few hours prior to our dinner reservation that I wanted to eat at a different place. Since it was only a few hours away, I was unable to cancel it on the Disney app.  They directed me to a phone number and I spent 10 minutes on hold without speaking to anyone. I texted my travel affiliate and told her the problem. Within minutes, she had not only cancelled my dinner reservation and booked us another restaurant but also got the fee waived that I would have had to pay because I cancelled less than 24 hours.

3. Fast Pass planning
Again, I haven't been to Disney in years so I know the really big attractions with the long waits. Certain rides I knew I wanted to do, she was able to tell me if the lines are usually short enough where I didn't need to waste a fast pass. She helped me coordinate fast passes around our lunch and dinner reservations. We basically made a game plan for the whole day so we could fit everything in.

4. Questions 24/7
When I say that I texted her morning, noon, and night... every time I thought of something else. She helped me search for flights. I needed a pack and play in the hotel room, she called and reserved it to my room. I texted her while in the airport in a panic. They made us check one of our carry on bags. I wasn't sure if it would go directly to the hotel or if I had to pick it up from baggage. She always got back to me within minutes and told me not to worry!

5. It just makes life so much easier
Vacations with a 1 and 2 year old is stressful enough. Worrying about all the things you need to pack and have accessible for them.  I wanted to make sure that our days at the park were packed with as much as we could possibly do.  Our Disney travel affiliate has small children (who she has brought to the parks every year) so she has got this routine down to perfection and made our experience just absolutely magical!

Here is her link if you are planning to go to Disney! Thank you Jackie, you made our first trip awesome!!!

https://www.facebook.com/Jacqueline-Pearce-affiliate-of-Academy-Travel-and-wwwmickeyvacationscom-1636549323234389/