Thursday, October 26, 2017

How we went for free...Children's Museum of Manhattan

I know in today's day and age, you can find everything and anything on the internet. And you can do so in a matter of seconds.

Let me tell you what you need to do. Go old school.

Go to your local LIBRARY!!!
In my case, Pearl River Public Library.

This is exactly where we got our free passes to the Children's Museum of Manhattan.
(Free pass for 2 adults and 2 kids. Also, can choose 1 adult and 3 kids.)

This museum was 5 floors of awesome. There was sooooo much to do!!! Ride on fire trucks, building blocks, mini playgrounds, grocery store, sand area, tumble mats, learning about the body... I can't even name it all! There was never any waiting because there was so much to choose from. The kids even got to make a special craft.

We could have stayed all day.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Brownie Bottom Chocolate Chip Cheesecake

So this is a semi homemade recipe. Wahoo!
The hardest part of this recipe is all the waiting before indulging.

What we need:
Box of brownie mix
2 blocks of cream cheese (8 ounce)
1 can of sweetened condensed milk (14 ounce)
2 eggs
1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
1/2 cups of mini chocolate chips (a little extra for topping)

Step 1
Make brownies according to directions on box. I split into 2 pies.
Bake at 350 for only 30 minutes or until mostly set.

Step 2
Add cream cheese (room temperature) to stand mixer and beat until fluffy and light.
Next, gradually add sweetened condensed milk.
Then add eggs and vanilla extract.
Last, add the chocolate chips.

A stand mixer makes this much easier but if not you can use a regular mixer.

Step 3
Layer the cheesecake mix on top of the brownie bottom. 
Bake at 300 degrees for an hour.
Do not open the door while baking!!!

Let cool for an hour with oven door open just a crack.
Top with more chocolate chips.

We must wait for this deliciousness to chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours but it is best to wait overnight... I know, torture, sorry!

BUT the good news... it's the perfect excuse to eat this dessert for breakfast :)

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


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 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.


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

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!