Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Banana Dogs

One of the nice things about my blog name is that you can't possibly expect me to be regular about posting, right?  Right?

I had a great week.  It's been a lot of family time and relaxing.  Then the past two days, it's been a clean up frenzy.  I'm not done with all my chores yet, but I needed to do something fun.  So, I made some yummies that I'll blog about later, and I made my kids a fun and easy lunch.

What's that you say?  A banana in place of a hotdog?  Yeah, seems a little strange, but really... peanut butter and banana sandwiches aren't that uncommon.  You might like them.  Try them and you may I say.  This is actually something that my older son saw on a mini show called Ze Fronk, back when Disney Junior was Playhouse Disney.  He's loved it ever since.  And it's really easy to make.  So easy, I kinda feel silly showing you how.  But I'm going to anyway.

This is all there really is to it.  Get your hotdog bun.  I use Oroweat Potato Bread hotdog buns for Henry.  Then spread some jelly on one side and peanut butter (or sunflower butter to make it Henry friendly) on the other side.

Then, cut a banana in half lengthwise.  Originally, this called for a whole banana.  We used a whole one the first time.  It was a lot of banana, but maybe you'll like it.  Cutting it in half also works for us because we were making two of these.  And the recipients have little mouths.  Put it on your hotdog bun.

Then, just close it up and enjoy!

Easy, right?

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Sunshine Award!

Tori from Lil' Mrs. Crafty has awarded my blog with the Sunshine Award! Thank you Tori!  I very much appreciate the recognition!  Tori has an amazing blog, full of fun crafts and her amazing personality.  Please check out her blog and say hi!

As a recipient of this delightful award, I have a few rules to follow:
  • Include the award’s logo in a post or on your blog. See above.
  • Answer 10 questions about yourself. See below.
  • Nominate 10-12 other fabulous bloggers. See my list below.
  • Link your nominees to the post and comment on their blogs, letting them know they have been nominated. So happy to share the love!
  • Share the love and link the person who nominated you.
Ten Sunshine Award Questions (and answers):
Favorite color: I have a few actually...  I tend to gravitate towards blues, greens, and burgundies.  I also really like brown accents, such as blue and brown or pink and brown, even though I'm not generally a fan of pink.
Favorite animal:  Sea otters and kangaroos!  Truth be told, my boys tend to remind me of Roo from Winnie the Pooh.
Favorite number: I'm going to go with 32.  I can't explain exactly why...  It just seems to pop up a lot in my life.
Favorite non-alcoholic drink: Water flavored with Mio.  I'm sure I could come up with something more creative but that's pretty much what I drink all day long.
Prefer Facebook or Twitter?  I have a Twitter account somewhere, but I never actually do anything with it...  Everyone I know is on Facebook, and it's been great for keeping me in touch with people I wouldn't normally keep in touch with.  BTW, find me on Facebook here!  Then, like me and say hello.  :)
My passion:  I really love to bake.  I haven't been doing as much of it as I used to since we moved here a year ago, but I'm slowly getting back into it more and more.  Homemade bread coming soon!
Prefer getting or giving presents:  Ooh, I don't know.  I think I'm going to have to go with both on this one.  I love finding or making that perfect gift for someone, but receiving is fun too.
Favorite pattern: Black and white damask.  Weird, I didn't have a favorite pattern a couple of months ago.  Now, that was easy to answer.  I just like how it looks.  On certain things.  Not really clothes though, so please don't buy me damask patterned clothes if you're reading this and know me.  ;)
Favorite day of the week: Saturday.  That's family day.
Favorite flower:  Gardenias, because they smell pretty.  And hibiscus because they are pretty.  And blue flowers.  And red flowers.  And fall colored flowers.  I like flowers.
OK. So now here is the fun part – here is my list of blogs that regularly bring a little sunshine into my life.  In no particular order:
1. Only Passionate Curiosity - Heather is a good friend of mine who moved to Germany with her family and started homeschooling her two young boys.  She has lots of awesome and creative projects on her blog, as well as some stories of their adventures.
2. Made by Samatha - Sam is brand new to blogging, but she is so crafty!  She whips out creative crochet projects like nothing and is finally sharing them with the world.  And she does much more than crochet.  I can't wait to see what she comes up with next.
3. A Diamond in the Stuff - I found Courtney through a mutual friend and was blown away by her blog.  She is a very established blogger and an inspiration.  Her blog is always filled with amazing posts.  She's super creative and you must check her out.  I wouldn't be surprised if she's already received this award, but I'm going to give it to her anyway.  :)
4. The Hippie Housewife - We don't actually know each other, but I started following her blog awhile back because it's full of uplifting posts about family and relationships with each other and God.  Thank you for your motivational posts!
5. The Rookie Wife - Laurie just introduced herself on my blog and I had to check her out - amazing blog!  Seriously, I can't wait to try some of her craft projects with my kids.  This could be the start of a beautiful friendship!

6. Pink Sugar Bowl - This blog is full of yummy recipes and great tips - please stop by and give her some love after drooling over the food!

7. Wings N Scales - Chris is like my second mom.  I've known her since I was a very little girl, and as long as I've know her she has been one of the craftiest people I know!  She makes amazing jewelery and beautiful dolls among other things.  Go take a look at what she has and tell her I say hi!

8. Healthy.  Because I can! - Jen is an inspiration to everyone who strives to be healthier... which should be everyone!  This blog chronicles her adventures as she tries to keep her family and herself healthy and active, and is full of amazing and good for you recipes as well!

I know I'm supposed to hand out a couple more awards, but as I'm still fairly new to blogging that's going to have to be it for now.  I'll be happy to give recognition to the awesome new blogs I come across as I come across them.  Now please go show some support to the new recipients of the Sunshine Award!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Chocolate Chip Cookies - Egg / Dairy Free

Is it Tuesday already?  I was just about to wish everyone a happy Monday!  In my defense, it was a long weekend here.  My hubby came home after being away for five weeks, yay!  At 2:30 yesterday morning, I packed our sleeping kiddos in the car and went to his work to pick him up.  The kids and I are ecstatic to have him home again.  It's always a happy time when he returns from his TDY's.  But, now I have a fog in my brain that'll probably need a couple of days to clear.

In honor of my very good mood, I baked some cookies.  This is a favorite of mine - Henry Friendly chocolate chip cookies.  I love baking cookies.  They're fun and they have endless possibilities, much like cupcakes.  But, a couple of years ago, I felt bad because I didn't really have anything to share with Henry when I made them.  He'd just sit there and quietly watch his older brother eat my creations.  He actually didn't seem to mind, but I did.  So, I grabbed the Nestle Tollhouse cookie recipe, and modified it to fit our needs.  This was the start of many more modified recipes.

It came out pretty great, if I do say so myself.  It has a different kind of sweetness than the original recipe, due to the applesauce added.  And, because the dough doesn't have raw egg in it...  Well, that's a treat of it's own.  It's really a very easy recipe, so I didn't take pictures of each step.  Here's how to make it:

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup Crisco Butter Flavored Shortening, or 1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
Scant 1/2 cup applesauce (I like to use the single serve applesauce snack cups, 3.9 oz)
2 cups (12 oz) chocolate chips (Favorites of ours - Bakers Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chunks and Enjoy Life Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Combine flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl.

Beat shortening or oil, granulated sugar, brown sugar, vanilla extract, and applesauce in larger mixer bowl until creamy.  Gradually beat in flour mixture.  Stir in chocolate chips.  Drop by round tablespoon onto parchment lined baking sheets.  Bake 9 - 11 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool on baking sheets for a few minutes, then transfer to wire cooling racks.

Printable Recipe

These tend to be fairly soft right out of the oven, which is why I let them sit on the baking sheets a few minutes more.  At that point, they're sturdy enough to be moved to the wire cooling racks.  You'll notice these cookies tend to be a little underdone inside when you bite into them, but in my opinion that just makes them yummier.

These make about 3 dozen cookies size of the cookies you make.  And how much dough you eat.  :)

Friday, February 24, 2012

Blueberry Muffins

Henry Friendly:  Yes

I love muffins.  All kinds of muffins.  Blueberry muffins are no exception.  The thing that's nice about this recipe is that it has fairly simple ingredients and is very easy to put together.  And also, it tastes good.  And it's vegan friendly.

Here's what you need:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup milk or milk substitute
1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen

First, preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.
Mix all the dry ingredients together in a bowl.
Then, pour vegetable oil (I used olive oil) to the 1/3 cup line in at least a 1 cup measuring cup.

Then, pour your milk into the measuring cup up to the one cup line.  I have used rice milk and coconut milk both with success.  More frequently I've been using vanilla Almond milk though.  I really like the flavor it adds to the mix.

Now mix up the liquid and pour it into your dry mixture.  Mix dry and liquid together.  It'll end up fairly thick.

Next, you'll need your blueberries.  Fresh are good, but I use frozen because they're convenient.  I like to have them in stock in the freezer for whenever I want them.  I like to throw the blueberries in a bowl with a tablespoon or two of flour to coat them.  This protects them a bit from bleeding into the batter.

Fold the blueberries into your batter.

Scoop into your lined muffin tins, about 2/3 full.  I ended getting nine full muffins out of mine.  I ate the rest of the batter.  It is yummy.  Try it.  You know you want to.

Then, throw them in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick (or wooden chopstick in my case) inserted in the center comes out clean.

Move to a wire rack to cool, and enjoy!

Blueberry Muffins

Print Recipe

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2/3 cup almond, coconut or rice milk
  • 1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
Oven temp: 400 degrees F
Makes approximately 9 muffins

  1. Mix dry ingredients together in a bowl
  2. Pour vegetable oil into measuring cup to 1/3 cup line
  3. Pour milk in with oil to 1 cup line.  Mix together
  4. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix well
  5. Fold blueberries into batter
  6. Scoop batter into lined muffin tin, about 2/3 full
  7. Bake 20 - 25 minutes or until done
  8. Move to a wire rack and enjoy!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Make a Photo Board!

I made one of these photo boards a few years ago, and my boys have been sharing the space.  Recently, though, my oldest claimed it for his own.  They have a bunk bed and he wanted it up on top with him.  My youngest didn't seem to care.  Until the next day.  Then he wanted his own.  So, I happily set out to make him one.

I was excited about all the color possibilities and themes, but of course, he wanted it to look just the same.  So, we went in search of the closest fabric color we could find to the original and managed to get all the other trimmings just the same.

This is a fairly easy project.  Here's what you need to make one yourself:

A canvas.  I chose a 16x20 one.  Check your craft store for deals - I got mine as a set of five for $10.
Fabric of choice to cover entire canvas
Coordinating ribbon
Decorative buttons
Quilt batting - Mine came in a package meant for baby quilts
Staple Gun
Sewing Needle
Thread for the buttons

Unroll your batting and place over canvas.  Cut slightly larger than the canvas.

You'll just see the edges of the batting around the canvas.

Put ironed fabric under batting and canvas.

Fold one side of fabric over side of canvas.  Staple with staple gun into place.  I used five staples evenly spaced on the long side.

On the other side, pull fabric so it feels taut.  It's easiest for me to start from the center, then staple on either side, pulling evenly for each staple.

Do this on all sides, ignoring the corners for now.  I used three staples on each of the short sides.  Trim excess fabric, being careful not to get too close to the staples.

Now for the corners - gather the fabric there.  You'll be basically pinching all that excess fabric like so:

Then flatten it and hold it down to staple.

Trim excess fabric.  It should look about like this:

Do all four corners, flip it over, and here's your covered canvas!

Next, cut and position your ribbon.  Make sure it's long enough to reach around the back on both ends for stapling.

Pin the ribbon into place, pulling it taut.

Turn it over, staple each ribbon end into place, and cut excess ribbon.

And now you've got a covered, ribboned canvas!

Sew on your buttons and voila, complete!

And now my youngest has his very own photo board to enjoy!

Linked with:

A Diamond in the Stuff

Monday, February 20, 2012

Motivational Stones

I've seen a few versions of a weight loss motivator out there, such as this one, which uses two glasses.  One says "Pounds to Go" and one says "Pounds Lost" or something to that affect.  I thought this was a great idea!  It's a great visual for anyone who needs to literally see their progress to stay motivated.

I decided to take the concept and turn it into motivators for the kids.  One of my children needs help with finishing up potty training, so he'll be getting a stone in his glass for every poop in the potty he makes.  I'll probably get some smaller stones as well for pee trips, so he can see his progress a little faster.

My other son will have "Good Choice" or "Good Behavior" stones.  His are the cups pictured above.  Every time he does something helpful, kind, or nice without prompting he will get to take a stone from one cup and put it into the other (it has an extra ribbon so he knows the difference).  He was so excited about this idea!  I got all the supplies and explained to him what it was for.  He was suddenly on his best behavior for the rest of the day, doing little things for me, helping his brother with anything he needed help with, going above and beyond.  And we hadn't even started with the stones yet.

It's a great way to get kids thinking about all the things they can be doing that maybe they haven't been doing on a regular basis.  I had a friend wonder if maybe there could be an issue with a child doing things purely for the prize (the stone) but my thinking is, eventually this good behavior will become more of a habit and less about the stones.  I hope.  In the past, when we've used sticker charts, eventually they'd forget to ask for the stickers because they became less important.  But the desired results remained.  However, there will be a rule that the stone can be earned for good choices, but will not be given if asked for.

I got the glasses for pretty inexpensive (about $1 each) in the craft section of our local store.  You could always look for clearance glasses in the dining section, too.  The "stones" I used are decorational stones used in aquariums.  I found this in the pet section.  They also have some just like these in the craft section, but they cost four times as much.  The bag of stones pictured below cost less than $2.  So, definitely check out the pet section.  Or just hunt for rocks outside with the kids until you have the amount you need.

Motivational stones are pretty cool.  Really, the possibilities are endless for the motivation they can give.  I may have to start a jar for myself - one stone for every day of exercise I get in!  We'll see how that goes...

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Erratic Momma on Blogging.... so far.

I've officially been posting on this blog for two weeks now.  I love it!  Honestly, I'm not sure what I thought I'd get out of this whole blogging thing.  But what I have gotten is a sense of accomplishment.  I find myself trying to come up with ideas that will be blog worthy, and in doing those things, my life just feels more fulfilling.   It's not just about the blogging.  It's about building a relationship with my kids doing the things I'm blogging about.  Doing different and fun things.  Connecting with other blogs, getting new ideas, finding out what other people like.  It's given me a new purpose, a new drive.  I want to make more things, with my kids or for myself, and I love documenting the experience.  And it makes me want to live a better life.  I'm finding so many great organization tips out there.  Like this meal planning board from Oh So Chichi!  I can actually imagine maybe starting some meal planning here.  Maybe.  Wouldn't it be great if I did?

Also...  I can't believe how many hits this blog has been getting!  I officially have over 500 page views.  Where are all these views coming from?  Who are you?  It's worldwide!  I've got page views from Canada, Germany, Russia, Australia, Guatemala, Japan and the Netherlands.  Seriously.  I'm very excited about this.  I thought I'd get a few from my friends and then it'd sort of fizzle out.  So, if you're stumbling upon this blog and we don't know each other, leave a comment and say hi...  I'll say hi back!  Even if we do know each other...  That's cool too...

So what's my goal for this blog now?  Honestly, I'm not too sure.  I started it up for fun, and I intend to keep it that way.  Fun, and hopefully informational.  I've been reading a lot of inspirational blogs lately, and I think I would like it if one day this blog is considered useful, too.  I'm still pretty new to it, so I know I have a lot of polishing and growing to do, and there will be ups and downs, but I can't wait to see what's in store for the future!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Crazy Cake

Also known as 'Depression Cake' because it was popular during the depression era.  But, this cake is anything but depressing!  I've made this twice now, and it is really good.  It's Henry Friendly, which means there is no egg or dairy in it.  I've tried other dairy and egg free recipes before and haven't really been that impressed.  This is something I'll be baking up whenever a need for cakes arise - and will soon be freezing a bunch of these in cupcake form just to have on hand.

Here's what you need:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup cooking oil (vegetable will do...  I used Olive Oil)
  • 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups cold water
Pretty basic ingredients.  The process is simple too.  First, put all the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl and whisk until well blended.  You can also do this directly into a cake 9x13 cake pan, but when I did it that way, I found mixing such a large area tedious.  And also, mixing it in a bowl gives me the freedom to use different pans / muffin tins.

Next, make three wells.

Pour the oil, vinegar, and vanilla extract each into their own wells.
Vinegar seems like an odd thing to add, but I promise, you can't taste it once it's mixed in.  You need it to help it rise properly.

Now pour the water over it all, and mix it together.

Pour into your cake pan.  I chose to line mine with parchment paper because I wanted to take the cake out of the pan to decorate.  Also, cleanup is a snap.  You can opt to use cooking spray or nothing at all if you plan on just slicing it from the pan.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 to 40 minutes a toothpick (or wooden chopstick in my case) inserted in the center comes out clean.
Yeah, I had to poke mine a few times.

Allow to cool thoroughly and decorate as desired!
I made this cake yesterday, and in honor of Valentine's Day, I chose strawberry frosting.  It was super yummy.  The kids loved it.

I'm not a professional cake decorator.  Just make it and eat it.  Trust me.

Crazy Cake

Print Recipe

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup cooking oil (vegetable will do...  I used olive oil)
  • 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups cold water
Oven temp: 350 degrees F

  1. Whisk dry ingredients in large mixing bowl until well combined
  2. Make three wells.  Pour cooking oil, vinegar, and vanilla each into their own well
  3. Pour water over all and mix well
  4. Pour into greased or parchment paper lined cake pan
  5. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean
  6. Decorate and enjoy!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Three Ingredient Soda Can Cupcakes

Seriously.  This entire cupcake is made up of only three ingredients.  And, they're Henry Friendly.

I have been seeing a lot of soda cake recipes around the web and really wanted to give it a try.  But, there was a lot of controversy over diet soda vs non-diet.  One website claimed you absolutely could not use anything but diet, or it wouldn't work.  Others claimed that heating up the artificial sweeteners made it dangerous.  Still others said it's really not dangerous, but the artificial sweeteners lose their sweetness when heated.

While I'm not a chemistry expert, I know lots of people who have baked with artificial sweeteners and lived to tell the tale, so if you'd like to try with diet soda I say go for it.  If you're worried about it, don't do it.  I, however, decided to give non-diet a go.  Here's what I did.

I got a box of Duncan Hines Lemon Supreme cake mix, because that particular cake mix is Henry Friendly, and a can of Orange Fanta to keep it citrusy.

Mix it until well combined.  It'll look like this:

Then, fill cupcake liners about 2/3 full.

Bake at 350F for approximately 18 minutes.
What's the third ingredient?

Marshmallows!  Get the campfire sized ones.  When the cupcakes are just barely done, place one marshmallow on top of each.  Once I had done that, I pushed them back into the oven, closed the door, and turned off the oven.  The residual heat is enough to melt the marshmallows without making them toasty, which I didn't want for this particular cupcake.  If you want toasty marshmallows, leave the oven on and let it bake for about another 5 minutes.  Here's what mine looked like right out of the oven:

After they've been sitting for a bit, the marshmallows kind of flatten out and give a nice frosted look, much like the first picture in the post.  The citrusy flavor of the cupcakes went really well with the marshmallows.  The kids and adults I fed these to all thought they were really great.  And, once you pull it out of the oven, no need to wait for it to cool!  Enjoy them warm, too!

Three Ingredient Cupcakes

Print Recipe

  •   1 box cake mix of choice
  •   1 12ox can soda of choice
  •   1 bag of large marshmallows (or substitute with frosting of choice)

  1. Mix together cake mix and can of soda until well combined
  2. Fill cupcake liners in pan about 2/3 full
  3. Bake at 350°F for approximately 18 - 20 minutes
  4. When cupcakes are just done, place a marshmallow on top of each.  Turn off and close oven door.  Leave until marshmallows have melted to desired softness.
  5. Remove from oven and enjoy!

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