Thursday, December 17, 2015

Easy Rudolph Ornament

We love Christmas at our house and making homemade Christmas ornaments can be a lot of fun and it's a great way to build your child's Christmas ornament collection without spending between ten and twenty dollars. We picked up our supplies in Target's art supply section.




To make one Rudolph you will need:

1 - large brown pom pom
2 - googly eyes
1 - red pom pom
1 - brown pipe cleaner cut in half (or smaller)
1 - 3 1/2 inch string or cord

Glue gun



Directions:
Glue the eyeballs, add the red pom pom for a nose and the pipe cleaners for antlers using the glue gun. Glue or sew on the cord and hang your awesome Rudolph ornament, or leave it on a friends door knob! We delivered the one below to our neighbors!



To watch a quick video on how I put the ornament together check out my post on Instagram.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

10 Animals you Must See at the San Diego Zoo

The San Diego Zoo is one of my favorite things to do in San Diego. It is fairly inexpensive and there is so much to do and more animals to see than possible in one day! If you are just visiting the zoo on vacation I would definitely recommend taking the zoo tour but if you're just walking here are the Top 10 Animals to see when visiting the San Diego Zoo, from a kids perspective.


1. Flamingos

My kids flock to the flamingos and the flamingos must be PRETTY popular because they are located in several different areas of the zoo including right at the front entrance! My oldest son loves to sit and eat lunch in front of the flamingos, though this can be dangerous for you food... my one year old lost a triangle of sandwich to a daring duck who snatched it right out of his hand!



2. Giraffes!

The giraffes are so majestic and there are a couple "babies" at the zoo right now, babies is in quotes because even at birth they are taller than me! The giraffes are super fun to watch and there are set dates and times where you can (pay to) feed the giraffes.

3. Goats! 

Head to the petting zoo and you can hang out with the goats and sheep. You can pet them and if you see any of their food on the floor you can feed them. There is a hand wash station right outside the enclosure so you can pet away then wash your hands, the sink is lower for kids.



4. Hippos! 

There are two different hippo enclosures at the zoo one closer to the front off the monkey trail and one further down. The one towards the front are pygmy hippos and they occasionally get a visit from a monkey who enjoys teasing them and will occasionally sit on the hippos. However, the hippos that are further down tend to be more active and there is one that seems to always be swimming around.

5. Lions! 

The lion enclosure allows you to get pretty close to the lions when they feel like hanging out near the glass. We've come at a time where the lions were napping in front of the glass and we've also come at a time where the male lion was active and roaring.

6. Penguins! 

I was SO bummed when I went to visit the otters only to find them replaced by the penguins but oh my goodness the penguins are amazing and interactive! No joke! The first time we visited one of the penguins was following my sons hands and was playing with the kids right up next to the glass. The penguins are in the kids area pretty close to the petting zoo.



7. Orangutans!

I may be slightly biased as there is currently a baby  orangutan but he isn't there all the time. The orangutans actually take turns coming out so only some of the orangutans will be out at a time, but it is definitely a pleasure to see the little orangutan!!

8. Polar Bears! 

There is a huge walk to get to the polar bears and it's not bad going to the polar bears as it is coming up the hill when leaving the polar bears. But they are definitely worth the walk, there is an interactive area with a story book, a refrigerator that shows a polar bears meal vs. the average person, you can weigh yourself or your family to see how you weigh up to a polar bear and more!
(The photo is one of their exhibits, you can go an pop your head out like a baby seal)



9. Cheetah! 

The cheetahs are usually found near the giraffes and can sometimes be found with their paired animal (dogs). Each cheetah is assigned a dog at a young age and the cheetah takes cues from the dogs to help them be more comfortable in front of people. You may be able to see this in action during one of the shows at Wegeforth Amphitheater.

10. Koala Bears!

These guys are so cute and there are quite a few of them at the zoo! They have their own area with a metal tree kids can climb, complete with statues of koalas hanging on to the tree. And the flooring around the koala tree is soft.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Black Friday Deals

I am a pretty big fan of Black Friday, and I have been going out to the different sales for about 5 years running now. I really like getting a great deal on movies and other things for the house that we've been needing. I also like to shop for my kids picking up a couple of outfits and toys for Christmas as well as a back stock for birthdays and Easter baskets.



 I created this post because I clicked on someones Ultimate 2015 Black Friday list and the post was put out there like it had ALL the deals in one spot but it really didn't, so I created my own using my favorite places to shop during Black Friday: Walmart, Target, Kmart, Sears, and Best Buy. I looked up the ads on BlackFriday.com and created a spreadsheet of the deals on popular items, from electronics and toys, to baby items, items for the home, and clothing. Don't forget to pick up your own ads or look at them online to check the times of any doorbusters!


Click hear to see the spreadsheet!

I hope it's helpful! If there are any big items I missed let me and the readers know in the comments below!

Friday, November 6, 2015

Charlie Brown Cookies

I was lucky enough to go with my family to see an advanced screening of The Peanuts Movie that comes out today!! I loved it, as did my sons and husband. My (almost) three year old really enjoyed all of Snoopy's antics and I enjoyed seeing the all the classic characters on the big screen. It's definitely a great movie to see with your family!


We all loved the movie so much I decided to make some Charlie Brown Cookies using sugar cookie cutout dough and royal icing. (You can find both the recipes at the bottom of the page.) I really love the dough I make because you can immediately begin to roll out and cut out the shapes you need, in this case, round.


I baked the cookies following the recipe (below). Allowed them to cool and then decorated them.


For Charlie Brown's face I made a pink tinged royal icing, I made the outline of his face and then flooded the cookie with the same icing. When the icing dried I came back in and outlined his face and gave him a eyes, a nose, and mouth as well as his signature squiggly hair.


For Charlie Brown's shirt I started by outlining and flooding his black chevron stripe, then I outlined and filled in they yellow/orange for the rest of his shirt.


I really love the way they turned out, it was my first time decorating cookies with royal frosting and I am definitely happy with them!

Sugar Cookie Cut Out Dough

Ingredients:

1 Cup Butter
1 Cup Sugar
1 Egg
2 3/4 Cups Flour
1/4 Cup Flour (for rolling dough)
2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
1-2 Teaspoons Vanilla


Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375°. Cream together the butter and sugar, add the egg. In a separate bowl mix together the 2 3/4 Cups flour and the baking powder, slowly add the flour into the bowl with the wet ingredients until fully combined. Once fully combined the dough should be fairly soft, use the extra flour as needed to toughen the dough and keep it from sticking to your cutting surface. Roll out your dough and cut out your shapes. Place them on a prepared cookie sheet and bake for 6-8 minutes or until golden brown. For Charlie Brown's ears I added two small dough balls to the sides of each cookie. 


Royal Icing

Ingredients:

2 Egg Whites (I used an empty plastic water bottle to suck the yolk out, AND IT WORKED!)
3-4 Cups Powdered Sugar (I sent mine through a sifter first.)
1-2 Teaspoons Vanilla


Directions:

 I used my Kitchen Aid, you can use a hand held beater or even beat it yourself if your up for the work out. Beat the egg whites and vanilla until frothy, add in the powdered sugar in small amounts and mix on low-medium speed until all the powdered sugar is incorporated and the icing is shiny.

You want a thicker icing for the border and a slightly thinner icing to flood the inside of the cookie, you can add water to thin the icing in small increments until it's the desired consistency.






Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Cat in the Hat Birthday Party

My second son turned one in October and we celebrated with a Cat in the Hat themed birthday party. I made the majority of the graphics for his birthday myself as well as his smash cake. It was a lot of fun with lots of friends and family joining us for cake, presents, and games.

We had fun Seuss themed foods: 

All the graphics are available blank at the bottom of the page!


Cats Hat Kabobs can be Strawberries and Bananas or Tomatoes and Mozzarella Cheese.


Our sign we attached to the high chair.


Crustless Quiche also goes by Egg Muffins and were a hit at our morning birthday party.


Goldfish Crackers in a fishbowl were yummy and fun!


We printed out multiple Seuss Juice tags and attached them to the different juices we had available.


The smash cake was a homemade banana cake, he loved it!!

Photo Booth:

My husband built a DIY photo booth area and I drew and cut out some props for the photo booth. We also had Thing 1 and Thing 2 hair, you can find the DIY for the Thing 1 and 2 hair over at 30 Minute Crafts!


Blank Graphics:






Thursday, October 1, 2015

8 Must Haves When Visiting the San Diego Zoo with a Toddler

We love going to the zoo so much! And this year we've upgraded our passes to the San Diego Zoo from the Diamond Membership to the Keepers Club. The Keepers Club gets use free parking at The San Diego Zoo's Safari Park (parking at the San Diego Zoo is always free). As well as 2 one day passes so we can take additional guests, like when my husband's parents are in town.


Without further ado here are 8 must haves when visiting the San Diego Zoo!

1. Sunscreen

I cannot express enough how important sunscreen is, though another option would be to keep covered, think long sleeves hats with brims. Though a decent portion of the Zoo is covered from all the trees and foliage you don't want to end up with a burn. Sunscreen is especially important on cloudy days!!

2. Stroller

If you have a young child you must bring (or rent) a stroller. Chances are you will be walking many miles as you trek from one animal to another, just to have your child exclaim s/he'd like to view an animal on the opposite side of the zoo. Though we have our older son walk around the zoo we do let him hitch rides when we are going from one end to the other or when we are headed up hill, the zoo does have quite a few steep inclines but we've been able to take our stroller throughout the zoo.


3. Camera

There is so much to see at the San Diego Zoo, we've been going regularly and I think we have yet to see everything they offer. You'll want to bring your camera along in case you run into your child's favorite animal, or you experience a special moment in the petting zoo. (Back in the 90's I was kissed by a Sea Lion during one of the shows, and I have a picture of it!)

4. Snacks

One thing I LOVE about the zoo is that you are still able to bring snacks into the park with you! This is great if you are on a budget or for health reasons. The zoo does have some delicious food options if you do decide to eat there, they also have a pretty great drink option, you can buy a souvenir cup and get free refills the day of and refills for $1 on days you come back. We've even been able to bring in souvenir cups from other attractions (Seaworld, Legoland) and get the $1 refills.


5. Comfortable Shoes

Comfortable shoes are a must because you will do a lot of walking, though you do have the option to take the bus tour (which is pretty awesome) and with the bus tour you are automatically able to ride the express bus. The tour bus takes you around a decent portion of the zoo and gives you a different (higher up) perspective of the zoo and the driver will help you spot the different animals as they talk about the zoo. The express bus has several stops in different areas of the zoo where you are able to board and choose to get off at any stop you want. There is also the Skyfari which takes you from the front of the zoo (by the petting zoo) to the back of the zoo (near the polar bears).



6. Extra Change of Clothes and Diapers

Bring extra diapers and wipes and a change of clothes, even if your child is potty trained. There are areas where you have to walk a decent amount before running into a restroom and it doesn't hurt to have an extra change of clothes. To help out be sure to stop at restrooms you come across and do potty breaks.

7. Water

Water should probably be up at the top of the list but I didn't think about it until I started talking about potty breaks in point 6! Bring water or a water bottle, you can refill at water fountains or get ice water from the different restaurants and stands that offer tap water. I prefer heading to the stands over the water fountains because you are able to get ice water which is nice on a hot sunny day.

8. A Boo-boo Kit

If you have an accident prone child or one in the early stages of walking it's nice to have small kit in your bag in case of tripping. Just a small kit or plastic baggie with a couple of bandages and disinfectant wipes to clean up and bandage any wounds (real or imagined) after a fall. The San Diego Zoo does have a first aid center towards the front of the zoo.

Is there anything I missed that you find essential when headed to your favorite attraction?

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Pumpkin Potato Stamping

This pumpkin potato stamping craft was so easy and a fun craft for my two year old to do!



We used one potato cut into thick chunks and tooth picks to hold our stamps by. I've seen a lot of potato stamp projects that have you just cut the potato in half and using the round end of the potato to hold onto but we wanted to do a couple of different shapes without using a lot of potatoes.


My son is currently learning the alphabet so I carved out his name to use as well as a couple of other shapes. I really love the way his pumpkins turned out, next time we might put them on fence posts to go along with the Five Little Pumpkin poem!

We had a lot of fun with this potato stamping craft and hope you all enjoy it, too!!


Wednesday, September 16, 2015

White Chocolate Candy Corn Fudge

This Sunday at church I had my first candy corn in what seemed like ages, but was only a couple years. I had convinced myself that I didn't like candy corn, which is just non-sense especially considering the bag of candy corn I bought at Target on Monday is gone and Tuesday just ended. A lot of them were eaten before I decided I should try to make candy corn fudge, but there was enough for a small batch.



Hello sweetness!! This fudge is delicious, sweet, and only three ingredients. It takes maybe 5 minutes to make this fudge but you do have to wait for it to chill, so from the decision to make it to actually being able to eat it is around two and half hours.


Ingredients:

1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
3 cups white chocolate chips
1 cup candy corn (chopped)

Directions:

Prepare a 9x9 dish in advance by lining it with wax paper.
Add the sweetened condensed milk to a medium size pot and heat on medium until it starts to lightly bubble, add the white chocolate. Stir until the chocolate melts completely, turn off the stove and add the candy corn. When the candy corn is incorporated pour into the prepared dish and allow to chill in the fridge for a couple of hours before enjoying.



Sunday, August 23, 2015

Roasted Chickpeas aka Roasted Garbonzo Beans

I searched FOREVER for chickpeas! I had NO idea that chickpea was another name for garbonzo beans. Every store I went to I would peruse their canned vegetable aisle in hopes of finding the chickpeas to know avail until I was at Walmart picking up ingredients for banana splits. I walked down the canned vegetable aisle and there they were, in bold white font "Chickpeas" and below it in a slightly smaller font "garbonzos." I cannot explain the feeling I had when I realized chickpeas were garbonzo beans...

I bought two cans and the next day I made my son these roasted chickpeas aka garbonzo beans.


They were super easy to make and my son really enjoyed them.

Ingredients: 

1 can chickpeas, 1 Tablespoon olive oil, seasoning of choice (we went Mrs. Dash)


Directions:

Rinse and dry the chickpeas, put them in a container (with a lid) and add olive oil close and gently shake the container to coat the chickpeas. Lay in a single layer on a baking sheet pop them in the oven at 400° for 30-40 minutes or until they are a golden color.
When they're finished roasting liberally coat with spices and enjoy them while they are still warm.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Cream Cheese and Cucumber Ritz Crackers

My son loves Ritz Crackers! Like go through an entire stay fresh package in under 30 minutes if they aren't put on a high shelf kind of love. We had a friend coming over for a play date so we whipped these guys up.



They were easy to make you just need a cucumber, whipped cream cheese, and Ritz Crackers.

Directions:
Peel the skin off the cucumber you can do this fully (like I did) or in strips to add contrast.
Slice the cucumber, then slice each cucumber slice in half.
Spread the cream cheese on the crackers making sure to add enough to keep the cucumber standing.
Add cucumbers and serve.



I think this recipe could easily change to a (sweetened) cream cheese with strawberries atop, for an after school snack.




Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Ratatouille

My son loves the movie Ratatouille. I love the ratatouille dish from Disneyland, they sell it at the restaurant in New Orleans Square with the most amazing crispy bread. We don't have plans to visit Disneyland anytime soon, though we may go next year for our 5th wedding anniversary, it's where my husband proposed, and it's where we spent our honeymoon. Because we can't go to Disneyland I brought a little bit of Disneyland to my home by making Ratatouille just in time for our 4th wedding anniversary.


Recipe

Ingredients

1 Eggplant, sliced
1 yellow squash, sliced.
1 zucchini, sliced
2-3 tomatoes, sliced
2 garlic cloves, diced finely
1/2 onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 yellow bell pepper thinly sliced,
1 small can, tomato sauce (in a pinch you can use a small amount of spaghetti sauce)
2-3 Tablespoons olive oil (or pour until your pan is covered)


Directions

In a large skillet pan add the olive oil, diced onions and garlic, allow to cook until onion begins to brown (do not burn). 
Add the bell peppers and cover the pan and allow to cook until the bell peppers begin to soften. 
Add tomatoes
Add the eggplant, zucchini, and squash, pour the tomato sauce over the vegetables, cover and simmer until the eggplant, zucchini, and squash are soft. 
Serve over rice, with crispy bread, or as a side with chicken.


As it is 4 years ago today that I married my husband I thought I would share two photos from our wedding day. The first is my husband and I right after getting married, our exit song was the Toy Story classic, "You've Got a Friend in Me." The second photo was actually candid, we were getting ready to take photos but decided to bustle the dress, as it turns out, it takes to bridesmaids and a maid of honor to bustle my dress. There was literally nothing I could do to help them so I gave my new husband a quick kiss.




 




Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Rotisserie Style Chicken in a Crockpot.

My local grocery store had whole chickens on clearance for $2.50! I bought two, one for dinner and one for the freezer... I would have bought more if I had a bigger freezer. After a bit of deliberation and perusing the internet I decided to try a rotisserie style chicken made in a slow cooker. It was so easy and turned out really well, that second chicken will be sent through the slow cooker the same way but then used in a cheesy chicken enchilada dish.


Rotisserie Style Chicken in a Crockpot

Ingredients:

1 whole chicken
2-3 T butter, softened
Spices of your choosing, I went simple with chili powder, paprika, Italian seasoning, onion powder, and garlic powder.
Lemon and onion (optional)

Directions:

Start by filling your Crockpot or slow cooker with aluminum foil balls, I found twisting it so it was long but thick used less foil but still covered the bottom of the slow cooker.




Clean out the inside of you chicken if you haven't already (most come with the neck and giblets inside the body cavity). I dislike the idea of touching the insides, if you feel the same, my trick is to wear a plastic food prep glove; I scoop the insides into my hand and then take the glove off by turning it inside out.

Cover your chicken with the butter, I like to get between the chicken meat and the skin you can do this by gently pulling the skin for the chicken.

Liberally spice the chicken with the Italian seasoning, paprika,  garlic powder and onion powder. If you want to add a bit of spice add the chili powder.

To increase the flavors you can add a quarter or two of onion, and a lemon cut in half to the inside of the chicken.

Place the chicken breast side down on the aluminum foil in the slow cooker. Cook on low for 7-8 hours. Checking occasionally toward the end to see if it is done. A cooked chicken should read 165° at it's thickest point, I tend to put my meat thermometer in the fattest part of the chicken breast.

When it's done you can leave it in the crockpot to serve, or if you prefer to plate it gently lift it out of the slow cooker. It should be moist and meat may start to fall of the bones when you remove it. My photos were strategically taken to hide the wing that I accidentally ripped off when I was removing my chicken.


Saturday, August 1, 2015

Tic Tac, Tic Tac Toe

I love Tic Tacs, and I also love finding ways to keep my son entertained when we go out to a restaurant or waiting at an appointment. Enter my Tic Tac, Tic Tac Toe.



I removed the label from the container, and it came off very easily with no sticky mess. I then painted a base coat. When the base coat dried I added another coat. when that dried I painted on the game board. To finalize it and keep it from chipping when I toss it in my purse I added a final clear coat.


Tic Tac Toe is a great on the go game, it's a fairly easy game for younger kids and the Tic Tac container is the perfect travel game, plus it's got a small snack included.