Back to School

Yesterday was Cupcake’s first day of school.  We were very happy with her preschool last year, so she’s attending there again.  Last Thursday she had her assessment, I had to fill out a bunch of paperwork and we got our window name sheet, calendar and she got to pick out a book to add to our home library!

Monday was orientation day.

Orientation DayShe jumped right back in!  She sat down for table toys and got straight to work sorting colors.  Momma loved seeing her in the school environment.  A little sneak peek of what she’s doing when we’re not together.

But yesterday was her first full day (and by full day I mean 2.5 hour day).

Pumpkin's backpackPumpkin wanted to go, too.  She even packed her “backpack” with a snack and water bottle.

But it was Cupcake’s big day.

First Day of SchoolIn classic Cupcake fashion she was all funny faces in front of the camera.  I have lots of outtakes.  No hissy fits, though, so upside.

I did eventually get a good smile, but she was still hiding behind those sunglasses.

First day of schoolShe also packed a snack and water bottle in her Chill-icious Thermal even though she doesn’t actually take a snack to school.

We arrived early, she anxiously waited in the car and hopped right out when the teacher came for her.  She marched right into that building like a pro.  It was such a different experience than last year when she was a little nervous.

Pumpkin and I enjoyed our time together by christening our new BOB stroller with a 3 mile (hot and humid!!!) run with friends and a little playtime at home.  And then it was back to school to pick up Cupcake.

And as a special treat to celebrate a great first day we went out to lunch!

Out to lunchPanera mac & cheese!  Hot and fresh!  She sure worked up and appetite at school and scarfed it all down!

Out to lunchPumpkin was just in it for the people watching.  I had to bring her lunch home and she ate it after her nap.

So, I’d call the first day of school a success and I hope the rest of the year goes as smooth.  And I’m looking forward to a morning at home with my Pumpkin today!

Are your kids back to school, yet?  Or too young?

 

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Weekly Meal Plan and Quick Homemade Croutons

I don’t like to give you two recipes in a row, but that’s just how the cookie is crumbling right now.  But I don’t have a cookie recipe for you.  I have a quick homemade crouton recipe for you.  Or semi-homemade.

But first let’s take a look at last week’s menu.  It’s a little short because we had leftovers one night and we were out of town for the weekend.

M – Marinated Chicken Breast – tossed on a salad

Marinated Chicken Breast

T – Meaty Macaroni Bake

W – Leftover Meaty Macaroni Bake

Th – Swedish Meatballs (per my picky eater’s request) and baked sweet potatoes

F – homemade pizza

It was a salad heavy week, but I kinda liked it.  It’s nice to not have to cook veggies on a warm day.  And, well, I like salad.

So this week I topped my salad with some quick, homemade croutons.  Oh, right, semi-homemade because I started with store bought bread.  Day old, manager’s special store bought bread.

Quick Homemade Croutons #recipeYou can actually get a few batches of croutons from 1 loaf, so freeze some and save it for another day, too!  Or make it all at once and store in an airtight container if you eat a lot of salad!

Quick Homemade Croutons #recipeThis was actually a section of bread that I had froze and thawed.

Quick Homemade Croutons #recipeCut your bread into 1″ cubes.

Quick Homemade Croutons #recipeToss it into a microwave safe bowl.  Drizzle with olive oil.

Quick Homemade Croutons #recipeSprinkle with seasoning.

Quick Homemade Croutons #recipe

This time around I used dipping spices, but I’ve also used a garlic & herb seasoning mix and Italian seasoning mix with good results as well.  Experiment.  Find what you like.Quick Homemade Croutons #recipe

Gently stir to evenly coat all the bread cubes.  Microwave in 30 second intervals, mixing between, for 2-4 minutes until they’re nice and crispy!

Quick Homemade Croutons #recipeThey’re so quick and easy!  And much better than store bought!  I might even like to snack on them even after I run out of lettuce.  Yum!

Maybe next week I’ll have a better menu for you.  Maybe not.  Holiday weekend and all.  What was your favorite meal on the menu last week?

Weekly Meal Plan and Quick Homemade Croutons

Ingredients

  • 1/3 loaf French bread
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp seasoning of choice

Instructions

  1. Cut bread into 1" cubes. Toss in a microwave safe bowl with olive oil and seasoning. Microwave for 2-4 minutes stirring every 30 seconds until desired crispness. Store in an airtight container.
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Kids in the Kitchen: Mango Yogurt Popsicles

I know summer is just about over.  Some kids are already back to school, but we’ve had a mild summer.  We’ve only made popsicles twice this summer!  The first time we made pudding pops after Aly and I had a Twitter conversation about them.  The second time we made Mango Yogurt Popsicles.

Kids in the Kitchen: Mango Yogurt Popsicles #dessert #recipe

You know my best kitchen helper was excited about this!  I measured, but she did the rest!

Kids in the Kitchen: Mango Yogurt Popsicles #dessert #recipeShe started with the Greek Yogurt.  We usually only keep plain around, but we sprung for vanilla for this recipe.

Kids in the Kitchen: Mango Yogurt Popsicles #dessert #recipeNext she added some honey.  And she played with her hair.  This kid keeps taking her ponytail out.  And then fusses with her hair all day.

Kids in the Kitchen: Mango Yogurt Popsicles #dessert #recipeLastly she tossed in some mango chunks.

Kids in the Kitchen: Mango Yogurt Popsicles #dessert #recipeAnd then the fun part!  Blending and fussing with her hair.

Kids in the Kitchen: Mango Yogurt Popsicles #dessert #recipeShe even did the pouring.  Well, I poured the mixture into a smaller, more manageable cup and she poured it into the popsicle molds.  I’m still loving these IKEA molds!

It was a long wait (in preschooler time) for the yogurt popsicles to set up, but once they were set the girls dug in!

Kids in the Kitchen: Mango Yogurt Popsicles #dessert #recipeAnd everyone was happy!  The girls because they got a delicious treat and me because it was a healthy and delicious treat.

I hope you enjoy the rest of your summer and find time to make some popsicles!

Mango Yogurt Popsicles

Ingredients

  • 1 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 cup mango chunks (yield from 1 mango)

Instructions

  1. Add ingredients to the blender and process until smooth. Fill popsicle molds with yogurt mixture, add sticks and freeze. Run mold under warm water for a few seconds to loosen pops.
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Sew a Hooded Towel

There’s nothing cuter than a baby wrapped up in a hooded towel, fresh and clean out of the bath, right?  Toddlers wrapped up in a hooded towel are pretty cute, too.  But you know what. Big kids would look cute in them, too.  And those little towels just don’t fit anymore.

Cupcake has outgrown all of the hooded towels we own, so it was time for new ones.  Of course momma just had to sew a hooded towel or two.  Let’s go with two because you’ll get two hooded towels out of 2 towels and 1 hand towel.

Sew a Hooded Towel #sewing #tutorial

I picked the hand towel up at HomeGoods and the two bath towels at Target (on sale right now!).  I loved the pattern and bright colors of the hand towel, but they didn’t have matching bath towels.  No biggie, though.  Who says your hood has to match the rest of the towel?

Sew a Hooded Towel #sewing #tutorialStart by cutting your towel in half.  We’ll use one half per hooded towel.

Sew a Hooded Towel #sewing #tutorialMy towel was a little too long for the hood, so I folded the finished edge in about 3″ and stitched it in place.

Sew a Hooded Towel #sewing #tutorialNext I folded the hood in half and stitched down my cut edge.  And then I serged it because terrycloth frays.  If you don’t have a serger, use a zig zag stitch.

Sew a Hooded Towel #sewing #tutorialNow you need to find the center of your towel.  Line up the seam of the hood and the center of the towel.  Pin the hood to the towel, right sides together.

Sew a Hooded Towel #sewing #tutorialStitch the hood to the towel, backstitching at the ends to reinforce your hood and you are done!  Well, not quite done because you need to repeat the process on towel #2.

Sew a Hooded Towel #sewing #tutorialCupcake is now the proud owner of two new hooded towels!  They are cute and big enough for my big girl!  If only I could get that big girl to model one for you.  Four year olds.  I tell ya.  They sure come with an attitude.

 

Anyone else want a hooded towel in their size, too?

p.s.  I bought a second cute hand towel, too.  A pretty paisley print so I might have some more sewing to do………….

Meal Plan

If you follow me on Twitter you probably see my grumbling almost every Sunday about making the grocery list.  It’s the meal planning that I don’t like.  I want variety in my life.  I don’t just want a piece of grilled chicken and some veggies and call it dinner every night.  I love food!  I want to eat all the food!  But I also want to make delicious and healthy dinner for my family.

So I’ve done this before and I’m hoping to do it more often so I can look back on these posts when I’m struggling to finish the weekly meal plan.  Here is last week’s meal plan.  With pictures!

SW 2 Bean Chicken over RiceMonday was Southwest 2 Bean Chicken over Rice.  I love when the slow cooker does the work for me.  Luckily I remembered to cook the rice 45 minutes before dinner time.  Sometimes I wait to long.  And this recipe makes a ton so I pretty much ate it for leftovers all week.  And then froze some.

Taco saladTaco (salad) Tuesday!  Enough said.  OK, maybe I do want to say that I love that everyone can make this how they want it.  The only thing hubby and I agree on is meat, lettuce and cheese.  I love me some avocado, salsa verde and black olives.  He likes mild salsa and sour cream.

IKEA Swedish Meatballs

Wednesday I cheated.  I made IKEA meatballs and homemade mashed potatoes.  I even made some cream sauce and scooped out some jarred lingonberry sauce.  I had to a Thirty-One party that night so I needed a quick and easy dinner.

Spicy Chicken SandwichesThursday was spicy chicken sandwiches with cilantro mayo and cauliflower tots.  I love this sandwich! It reminds me of living in Miami.  That was were I first became addicted to this sandwich.  Hold the tomato on mine.  And forgive me for the white bun, but it was leftover from a cookout and I was trying not to throw food away.  Oh, and while I was making the cauliflower tots, Pumpkin kept stealing and eating my chopped onion!  Strange bird.

shrimp and gritsFriday night we had shrimp and grits.  This was the first time I’ve ever had this combo.  It left something to be desired.  It wasn’t bad, but it could’ve used a little more flavor.  Not sure I’ll be making this again.

 

So, there you go.  That’s what we ate last week.

 

Meal planning: love it or hate it? 

DIY Carpet Deodorizer with Essential Oils

We all would like to think that our homes smell like roses all the time (OK, maybe not roses per se), but that simply isn’t true.  Or if it is, we can’t be friends.  ;)  Between 4 people (two of them being little tornadoes) and a dog there’s a lot of cleaning to be done around here.  And while vacuuming is all well and good sometimes that surface that feet are on all day needs a little extra something.  You can make a quick carpet deodorizer with essential oils to help you out!

DIY Carpet Deodorizer with Essential Oil

You only need two ingredients for this.  Baking soda and an essential oil of your choice.  I like doTERRA’s Purify.  But you could also use lemon, lavendar, peppermint, or clove.  And you’ll need a container for your sprinkling.  I used an old cheese container.

DIY Carpet Deodorizer with Essential OilTo 1 cup of baking soda, add 10 drops of your essential oil.   Then shake it up.  Or recruit your best helper to do the shaking.

DIY Carpet Deodorizer with Essential OilSprinkle the carpet deodorizer over the floor and let it sit for about an hour.  Distract your preschooler from running through the room (luckily your toddler is napping and the dog is, too).  And then vacuum it up.

And now your carpet is clean and doesn’t smell like feet.  You should be able to cover 1-2 rooms (depending on the size of your room) with 1 cup.  You can also use this to freshen up your mattresses.  Happy cleaning!

 

What are you up to today?  I’ve got more cleaning to do.  Today we’re going to finish tackling the playroom!

What I Love About Sewing

After a busy weekend and a busy start to the week I did a little sewing therapy yesterday.  I love sewing.  I learned how to sew in 8th grade.  I didn’t sew a lot after that.  I was a kid.  I didn’t have my own machine.  I was busy with school, sports, and flipping burgers.  And it was an old lady thing to do.

After graduating college my mom bought me my first sewing machine for Christmas.  And for the last almost 11 years sewing has been a part of my life.  I made Halloween costumes for Oscar every year.  I fixed clothes with busted seams. I made gifts for friends.  After Cupcake was born I really started sewing!!  And now I want to sew all.the.time!  Unfortunately I just don’t have as much time due to being a mom of 2.

I love picking out fabric.  I love looking through patterns.  I love picturing something in my head, sketching it out, and making it come to life.  It’s relaxing.  It’s therapeutic.  It gives me a sense of pride.

I don’t love the mess it leaves behind in my craft room.

Messy craft room

But it’s not just making new things.  Hubby is hard on buttons.  I don’t know how many shirts or pairs of pants that have needed a button or two replaced.  I like that I can quickly put them back on and get the piece of clothing back in the rotation.

Or the one time Pumpkin fiddled with the tag on her Bubba (Wubbanub) and wore the fabric out and then picked out the stuffing.  I fixed it.

Fixed Bubba

Or the one time Cupcake split her pants.  I fixed them.

What would these people do without me?  But I still haven’t fixed them hem on my dress………..  I should get on that.

The other night it was warm out and I just wanted to throw on a pair of comfy shorts.  But I only have one pair of comfy shorts.  And they were in the dirty laundry.  And I didn’t have any clean running shorts.  So, I really needed to do laundry, but I also needed more shorts.

And so instead of doing laundry (just kidding.  I’m all caught up on laundry now) I made myself some shorts.

New shortsI found a remnant of fabric that’s been sitting in my stash for who knows how long and whipped up a pair of shorts.  In less than a nap time.  I should have spent that time unloading the dishwasher, but a girl has to have her priorities.

I love that about sewing.  I saw a need and I made it happen.  Without even leaving the house.  Though I’m going to need to leave the house now because I used the last of my 3/4″ elastic for the waistband of these shorts.  And I want to make another pair.

Sewing is a fun hobby.

 

What is your hobby?

 

Disclaimer: Links to Amazon are affiliate links.  When you make a purchase using one of these links I receive a small commission, though your price remains the same.  Thank you for your support.

 

 

Post-Run Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie

Who doesn’t love to celebrate the end of a great run with chocolate?  How about some delicious and good for you chocolate?  I love a post-run chocolate peanut butter smoothie.  It’s my go-to drink after a run. A little bit of protein, some good potassium and carbs make this chocolate peanut butter smoothie a good recovery snack.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie #recipe

You only need 3 ingredients for this smoothie, so it’s quick and easy!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie #recipeStart with frozen bananas.  I always keep frozen bananas in the fridge.  I use them for this smoothie and banana swirl.  Chop up a ripe banana or two and toss them into the freezer and you’ll have them ready when you need them.  Toss the frozen bananas into a blender.  I like this little personal blender when I’m just making one smoothie.  It’s so much easier to clean than the big blender!  And you can drink right from the container!

Add your PB2 and chocolate milk (I’m an almond milk drinker) and give it a whirl.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie #recipeIt’s also good if you don’t have a frozen banana on hand, just a room temperature one, but I really suggest trying the frozen!  So refreshing!  And full of good stuff to help you recover from your workout.

Post-Run Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie

Ingredients

  • 1-2 bananas, chopped and frozen
  • 2 tbsp PB2
  • 1 cup chocolate milk (I prefer almond)

Instructions

  1. Add frozen bananas, PB2 and chocolate milk to a blender and pulse until combined. Serve immediately.
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Simple Skirt with Bubble Pockets

So, Wednesday I showed you a sneak peek of Cupcake’s simple skirt with bubble pockets.  And today I’m going to show you how to make one!

Simple Skirt with Bubble Pockets #sewing #tutorial

To start we need some measurements.  Cupcake’s measurements are 21″ waist and 14″ length (waist to knee).  So, using those measurements I figured out how big I needed to cut the fabric for the skirt.  For the waist you want to double the measurement and add 1″ for a seam allowance (21 x 2 + 1 = 43″).  For the length you want to add at least 1″ to make the waist casing (1 1/4″ if you don’t serge and want to fold the raw edge under) and at least 1/2″ for the hem (3/4″ if you don’t serge and want to fold the raw edge under).

Then you need to cut out two pockets.  Now, you can make the pockets whatever size you want.  I wanted the pockets to be about 6″ high and 4″ wide.  So, I cut my fabric at 6″ x 8″ (because we’re going to put some elastic in the top to make them bubble pockets!).

Simple Skirt with Bubble Pockets #skirt #sewing #tutorialLet’s start sewing our skirt.  I serged the short edges to keep my fabric from fraying and then stitched them together with a 1/2″ seam to make a tube.  Press the seam open.  I then serged around the top and bottom of the tube again to keep the fabric from fraying (if you’re going to fold your raw edges in you can skip this step).

Then it was time to make the waist band casing.

Simple Skirt with Bubble Pockets #skirt #sewing #tutorial

Fold the edge down 1″ and iron.  Stitch around the waist band, leaving a 2″ opening for inserting the elastic.  Cut the elastic to the desired size and thread through the casing.  Stitch the ends of the elastic together.

Simple Skirt with Bubble Pockets #skirt #sewing #tutorialTurn up your hem and iron.  Stitch all the way around.  I did a double stitch for a little more detail.

Simple Skirt with Bubble Pockets #skirt #sewing #tutorialYou now have a simple skirt.

Simple Skirt with Bubble Pockets #skirt #sewing #tutorialLet’s move on to pockets!  I wanted a rounded bottom pocket, so I found something to use to trim the bottom corners.

Simple Skirt with Bubble Pockets #skirt #sewing #tutorialThen serge (or zig zag) all the edges of your pockets.  Set your machine to the longest stitch length to make a gathering stitch.  Stitch the bottom of your pocket, but do not backstitch at the ends.

Simple Skirt with Bubble Pockets #skirt #sewing #tutorialPull the bottom thread and gather your fabric until it measures the desired width.  Fold the raw edges of the fabric under just enough to hide your stitched and press.  Now we’re going to create a casing on the top of the pocket.  Fold the top down 1/2″ and press.  Simple Skirt with Bubble Pockets #skirt #sewing #tutorial

Stitch across the bottom of the casing.

Simple Skirt with Bubble Pockets #skirt #sewing #tutorialCut a piece of 1/4″ elastic to the desired width of your pockets (for me it was 4″).  Thread the elastic through the casing.

Simple Skirt with Bubble Pockets #skirt #sewing #tutorialLine up the end of the elastic with the edge of the fabric and stitch in place.

Simple Skirt with Bubble Pockets #skirt #sewing #tutorialRepeat on the other end of the pocket.  Then repeat for the second pocket.  And now we’re ready to attach our pockets.

Simple Skirt with Bubble Pockets #sewing #tutorial

Find where you want to place your pockets.  I wanted them about 1″ up from the hem and on the sides of the skirt.  I folded the skirt in half to determine where to place the pockets and marked it.

Simple Skirt with Bubble Pockets #sewing #tutorialSee my little “L” shaped mark?  There’s where I centered my pocket and lined the bottom edge up with it.

Simple Skirt with Bubble Pockets #sewing #tutorialI pinned the pocket in place and stitched close to the edge.  It helps to push the bulk of the fabric to the middle of the elastic and out of the way of your stitching.

Simple Skirt with Bubble Pockets #sewing #tutorialAnd now your simple skirt has cute little bubble pockets!  Perfect for hands, Hot Wheels, rocks or little plastic fish.  Whatever your little girl likes to tote around.

Simple Skirt with Bubble Pockets #sewing #tutorialCupcake loves her new skirt!  She wore it on Monday and went down a muddy slide.  She was devastated it was so dirty.  I cleaned it right up for her and she wore it again yesterday!

Simple Skirt with Bubble Pockets #sewing #tutorialI might have to make a few more of these for her back to school wardrobe!  Maybe some contrasting pockets…………….

What are your weekend plans?  We’re hoping to go to an airway festival tonight and Cupcake has a program at the zoo Saturday.  We also have a birthday party on Sunday and I have a self defense meeting with my running group.  Phew!

Tea Time Dress

Last week Cupcake really wanted to have a tea party with her friends.  And by that she meant she wanted to have lemonade in tea cups.  I loved the idea and a playdate was scheduled!  I made lemonade and lemon poppyseed scones.  Yum!  I was hoping to have dresses ready for both girls before the tea party because I’m an overacheiver, but all I managed was a dress and a skirt with no pockets.  And I wanted the skirt to have pockets.

But I finished Pumpkin’s tea time dress and she wore it to the party.  And she was adorable!  And I didn’t get a single picture of the dress that day.  Luckily she’s worn it 3 times already and I got some cute pictures.

Tea Time Dress #sewingI have had this fabric for who knows how long and never found the right use for it.  When I decided I wanted to sew a dress for Pumpkin I knew this was the fabric I should use. I found the pattern I wanted to use so I just needed a zipper.

It sewed up really quick and took less than a yard of fabric!  I should sew for little people more often!  Even with two darts and a zipper the dress came together really quick!  I serged all the raw edges to give it a finished look as well as keep the fabric from fraying.  I had a little trouble with the bias tape around the arm holes, but I think it was just because I was rushing.

Tea Time Dress #sewing

She loves the dress.  She wants to wear it all the time.  She’s also very into accessorizing right now.  I picked the size based on her measurements and it is a little big, but I was happy about that so we can get a little more use out of it.  I think it will be cute with some layers in the fall and winter.

I would have liked to make the matching diaper cover, but Cupcake really wanted me to make her a matching dress.  I didn’t have enough fabric to make her a dress, but I did have enough to make her a skirt!

Tea Time Dress and Simple Skirt with Pockets #sewingI made her a Simple Skirt with Bubble Pockets.  And she was happy.  And I’ll have a tutorial for it tomorrow.  Hopefully.

Matching outfits: yay or nay?  As you can see I like dressing them alike!  (especially when going to a park or something where I need to keep my eye on both of them in the mix with other kids!)  And they like it, too!