12 August 2015

Quick & Healthy Kid-Friendly Snacks

(links found in this article are Affiliate Links, which means a small percentage of your purchase helps support our family!)

Hi lovelies!
I'm stopping in here today to share some of our family's favorite kid-friendly snacks that are QUICK to prepare! With two kids under three, a home-based business, and a husband in the military, I know a few things about being strapped for time! Hehe. Really, any mama out there can relate!

Anyhoo, with time being a factor, I know how easy it is to reach for a bag of chips instead of something more nutritious for the wee ones. We've all been there, to be sure! So here are a few tips, tricks, and ideas that might help you get some extra healthy options on the table for our little ones! When you're done here, take a look over at Nuts.com for a great collection of healthy snacking ideas, and a great place to buy your snacks too!

16 April 2015

GF "Spaghetti" with tomato sauce

Hey all!
So we found a dinner that our whole family, even the toddler, enjoys! So of course I wanted to share. It's also gluten free and fairly low effort, so it's great for a busy night!

2 spaghetti squash
2 large cans crushed tomatoes
1 green pepper
1 large onion
EVOO (or other cooking oil)
Spices to taste (I used sage, garlic powder, cracked black pepper, kosher salt, fresh parsley, fresh basil)

- Slice spaghetti squash in half the long way and scoop out seeds (you can prepare these just like pumpkin seeds!)
- Spread butter liberally along the insides of squash and sprinkle with pepper and salt. 
- Place squash facedown on a large cookie sheet (or any oven-safe dish) and bake for 50 mins at 425 degrees Fahrenheit. You want the inner flesh fork tender so you can easily scrape the spaghetti-like innards easily with a fork. Baking times may vary slightly, so start checking for doneness around 30-40 mins. 
- When done, scrape squash innards out with a fork and place in large serving bowl. Alternately, you can add in innards right into your sauté pan (after you've made the sauce!). 
- In a large sauté pan, sauté diced green peppers and diced onion. Add in spices and tomatoes and simmer for 10 mins. 
- As a side, I popped some Udi's GF bread in the toaster, then buttered and sprinkled with garlic powder for an easy Garlic Bread. 
- Top squash with sauce and enjoy!

19 March 2015

Easter Egg Fillers

Looking for some Easter egg fillers other than the typical candy? With two wee ones, I wanted more than just sweets to fill their eggs. So here's a few ideas to get the ball rolling- especially for your older toddler or preschooler! Check back over the next few days for more Easter ideas for the whole family!

21 February 2015

GF Chocolate Chip Coconut Cookies

Hey all!
So it being a rainy, blah type day here, we figured some homemade cookies were in order! They go great with a cup of tea, curled up under a blanket with a good book :) This recipe is GF as long as you use ingredients that assure no contamination (ie. GF oat flour, etc.), but all ingredients should be naturally gluten free!

1.5 tsp xantham gum
1 cup shredded coconut
10oz butter, room temperature
1.25 cup sucanat (or brown sugar)
1/2 cup sugar
4 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp salt
2 eggs
1.75 cup + 2 TB oat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2) Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or silpats.
3) Mix together sugar, butter, vanilla, and salt. Add in eggs and mix until well blended.
4) Whisk together flour and baking soda in a separate bowl. Add mixture to above wet ingredients and mix until blended.
5) Stir in, by hand, coconut and chocolate chips.
6) Scoop ~2 TB of dough onto cookie sheet, 6 cookies per sheet fit nicely!
7) Bake 18-20 mins.
8) Let cool ~5 mins then transfer to cooling rack.
9) Enjoy!!!

05 February 2015

Valentine's Day Toddler Gift Bag

Hi all!
Today I'm super excited to share with ya'll that I'm being featured over on The Twinery Blog! A sneak peek is shown above :) If you'd like, head on over there to check out the super cute Valentine's Day gift bag that I created for our toddler using The Twinery's fabulous twine! 

While you're there, be sure to check out all of the fabulous other guest bloggers that have been featured there lately with other Valentine's Day inspiration! And definitely head over to The Twinery's Shop to grab some fantastic twine, and made in the USA!!

Need some ideas as to what to gift your little sweetie this Valentine's Day? Here's what I included in my bag for our toddler- a mix of fun Frozen gear and sweet heart items :)
(NOTE: please exercise caution/supervision when giving small children small items) 

playing cards
coloring book
mini tin lunchbox
DIY hairband (instructions below!)
more stickers
"magic" expanding bath foam animal capsules
DIY magic wand 
(instructions how to make the wand over on The Twinery blog above!)

 DIY Hairband 
I made my girlie a quick hairband using items I picked up at Target. The hairband and clips can be found in the, well, hair product section, and I picked up the felt flower from the Dollar Spot you can find in most Targets, usually near the entrance. 

The felt flower had a clothespin attached to the back, so I carefully peeled that off. I whipped out my hot glue gun, chose a clip, and glued the flower to the two tips of the clip. I then clipped it on the hairband. Easy peasy! I love that by using the clip, the hairband decoration is interchangeable :)

20 December 2014

(Last Minute!) Toddler Gift Ideas

Wow! How is it already the last weekend before Christmas? Is anyone else fixing to pick up some last minute gifts this weekend? Thankfully I've had mine done for a while (had to plan ahead since baby #2 will be here any day!) but I thought I'd share some ideas that might be perfect for the toddler in your life! My favorite places to score good deals are Target (especially the dollar bin section!), Marshalls, Homegoods, TJMaxx, eBay, Walmart, Etsy, local antique/thrift stores, and Zulily. Also, remember that if you have Amazon Prime, you still have time to order most of your gifts in time to get them under the tree! So here we go...
*please note that many of the below links are affiliate links- by purchasing through these links, I do receive a small payment to help support our family!*

19 December 2014

5 Toddler Winter Sensory Activities

Hey all!
How have your holiday seasons been going? Sorry it's been so quiet around here. Trying to wrangle a toddler, puppy, and being 8.5 months pregnant has taken its toll on me, hehe. I thought I'd pop in and share with  ya'll some of the fun entertainment that I've been sharing with our little one! She has a short attention span (go figure, since she's 2.5 yrs old! hehe) so keeping her occupied all day is definitely sometimes an exercise in creativity! Anyhoo, let's get on with some of these ideas, shall we???

We have a love/hate relationship with sensory bins. The little one loves them! As parents, we have a tendency to loathe them due to the extensive clean up they often require, hehe. Since they tend to keep her attention really well, I do enjoy giving them to her anyways! :) It's always so interesting to see what she does with the contents... I'll be sharing more sensory bins throughout the coming weeks! Here's a look at this one and what I included...

"Winter Themed" Sensory Bin
  • penguin foam shapes (dollar bin at Target!)
  • snowmen foam shapes (dollar bin at Target!)
  • snowflake foam shapes (dollar bin at Target!)
  • cotton balls
  • blue pebbles (the kind you see sold for fish tanks or as vase fillers, they're at the bottom of the bin)
  • white/blue pom poms (not included, but could be!)
  • white, blue, teal ribbon scraps
  • cool-colored Easter eggs (I like to think of them as "igloos" hehe)
  • empty containers for filling and pouring
  • cool-colored pipe cleaners (not included, but could be!)

This is a no-brainer really... if your wee one is anything like mine, any crafting supplies are a big hit with them! Here's just a few supplies and themed-ideas for ya...
  • crayons
  • washable markers
  • stickers (dollar bin at Target is perfect, or the dollar store)
  • more stickers...
  • and just a few more stickers!
  • foam shapes (again, dollar bin at Target!)
  • glue sticks (for the older supervised toddler... I haven't been that brave yet, hehe)
  • pom poms
  • pipe cleaners
  • ribbon, brads, & other old scrapbooking supplies

  • color in coloring pages - printed out free from online
  • decorate coloring pages with stickers
  • decorate foam shapes with stickers/pom poms
  • make jewelry from pipe cleaners (bracelets/necklaces are super easy!)
  • make animals from pipe cleaners

These are the types of activities that kinda fall outside the realm of the above two and really get the fingers going! I'll share more ideas from this category in the next few weeks, but here's two ideas to get ya going right now!

Decorate the Tree
Tis the season for trimming the tree! I picked up a $10 mini-tree at our local thrift store and a $5 bag of ornaments and some garland. She LOVES this little tree! I'd recommend getting very sturdy ornaments (perhaps wood or hard plastic) if your wee one is as rough on toys as mine is... some of the cardboard-based ornaments have already bit the dust, but that's why I didn't spend too much money on them! If you see one, a mini nativity scene for the little one to set up under their tree would be a great addition! 

Playdough Decorating
This was a real stretch for me! I was not allowed to have playdough as a kid due to the copious amounts of carpet in our home, so I was very weary to allow the wee one to have it. DH told me not to fret. I gathered up some random trinkets from the craft room (mini pom poms, chipboard shapes, buttons, Easter egg halves, and plastic spoons), flattened out some playdough colors for her, and let her loose... the funny thing is that her favorite activity was having me roll pieces into balls for her! She'd squish them, and I'd roll, she's squish, I'd roll, etc. 

Linking up here...
Inspiration Gallery Link Party

18 November 2014

Toddler Autumn Sensory Bin

Can you believe Thanksgiving is just around the corner? I swear it snuck up super quickly this year! So with the Autumn season rapidly wrapping up, I figured I'd better put together this sensory bin for the wee one before it becomes outdated! Hehe. It's pretty flexible too- omit a few items and it's perfect for Halloween, add a few items and it's perfect for apple-picking season! Let's take a look at what the little one is playing with at the moment...

  • popcorn kernels
  • clear pumpkin vase fillers (these were $3 at Target!)
  • foam pumpkins ($1 for 10 foam shapes at Target)
  • foam turkeys ($1 for 10 foam shapes, again at Target)
  • fabric scrapbooking leaves
  • fall-colored tins for scooping
  • fall-colored plastic eggs for scooping
  • ice cube tray (on the side)
Additional content ideas:
  • apple foam shapes
  • fall-colored beans (instead of corn kernels, or in addition to!)
  • more foam shapes (especially if you're using a bigger bin!)
  • Halloween foam shapes (bats, ghosts, cats, etc.)
  • real leaves (freshly fallen outside, too dried and they'll just crumple up when played with!)
  • real mini pumpkins
  • real mini Indian corn
  • read apples
  • acorns (real or faux vase fillers)
  • fall-scented candles (to add another sensory to the sensory bin!)
  • fall-colored pom poms
  • fall-colored pipe cleaners
  • other festive vase fillers

Later this week I hope to switch out some of the contents and add some of the ideas from the "additional content" list! I find that my little one gets bored easily and then tends to just fling sensory bin contents around willy-nilly. Hopefully changing up the contents will help keep her toddler attention engaged ;)


31 October 2014

31 Days: Holiday Planner 2014 Wrap Up & Link Up!

Good afternoon, friends! 
If you're just joining us, we've been spending the month preparing a Holiday Planner to help organize everything for the fall & winter holidays. The beginning post (and a list of all posts from the month!) can be found here...

Can you believe we're on the last day?! I'm so sorry I left ya'll hanging with no post yesterday- pregnancy doctor appointments and such ended up running long and the day just got away from me! Just one of those days... But have no fear! TODAY I'll be sharing with you my binder, and we'll combine it with the link up party! You share yours, and I'll share mine! Sound like a deal? Great! I can't wait to see what ya'll have been working on :)

Let's start by doing a recap of all the fun this week! Most days have FREE printables that were offered, so make sure you check them ALL out! 

Day 30/31: Wrap Up & Linky Party!  *** you are HERE ***

If you want to see all of the FREE printables in one location, and a few extra freebies that I've posted on my blog in years past, check out the "Holiday Planner" link at the top of any blog page, or simply click the link below! 

So here's what my Holiday Planner 2014 ended up with in each section....
  • Autumn Family Fun "bucket list" printable
  • Autumn Festivities printable
  • Autumn Homeschooling printable

  • Thanksgiving Festivities printable
  • Thanksgiving Menu Ideas
  • Thanksgiving Menu Plan
  • Thanksgiving Grocery List

Decor (for autumn)
  • Autumn Decor Ideas
  • lots of magazine tear outs for inspiration

  • 3 Christmas Projects printables (found in "Extra Printables" post)... I printed out 3 copies, one each for CRAFTS to make, GIFTS to make, and DECOR to make! I also put a star (*) next to items that need to be done before Advent begins, like our Advent wreath needs to be assembled, the Jesse Tree ornaments need to be made (since I'm doing it like an "Advent" Jesse Tree where the wee one opens up a new envelope each day with the ornament for the day) etc. 
  • Christmas Family Fun "bucket list" printable
  • Christmas Festivities printable
  • Christmas Homeschooling

  • 2 Advent:Epiphany Calendars (found in "Extra Printables" post)- one keeps track of my Scripture study, Jesse Tree ornaments, and Nativity figures to add each day and the other tracks my Christmas Carol study, additional Scripture studies, and "Names of Jesus" study
  • Master Advent Planner printable
  • Jesse Tree paper ornament print outs for the wee one to color 
  • The "Names of Jesus" study print outs
  • "O Antiphons" study print outs
  • "Twelve Days of Christmas: the true meaning behind the song" study print outs
  • ... throughout I'll be adding in print outs for the Christmas Carol study as I do them each day, so I have them for reference in years to come!

Meals (for Christmas/Advent)
  • 6 Christmas Weekly Menus (found in "Extra Printables" post)- one for each week of the Advent through Epiphany season!
  • Christmas Eve Menu Ideas & Menu Plan printables
  • Christmas Day Menu Ideas & Menu Plan printables
  • Epiphany Menu Ideas & Menu Plan printables
  • Christmas Grocery List printable (one consolidated list for both Christmas Eve & Day meals)
  • Epiphany Grocery List printable

Decor (for Christmas/Advent)
  • Christmas Decor Ideas printable
  • lots of magazine tear outs for inspiration

  • Christmas Card Tracker printable
  • 4 Christmas Gifting printable- one for each member of the family, and one for each side of our family (parents/siblings)
  • Christmas Gift Ledger printable
  • lots of magazine tear outs for DIY gift ideas

New Years
  • New Years Countdown Fun printable
  • New Years Festivities printable
  • New Years Menu Ideas & Meal Plan printables
  • New Years Grocery Shopping printable

Now I've shown you a little of what all goes into my Holiday Planner, now it's time for you to share what you've been working on!! I can't wait to see your planners :) Link up any posts or pictures- whether it's your whole binder or just one list that you've been working on, let's see it!

Just leave a comment below with your link! :)

Thank you SO much to everyone who has faithfully read, just stumbled upon for a post or two, or merely grabbed a printable here and there! I hope some of what I've shared over the past month you've found useful. I'll be continuing to share holiday-related posts (like my autumn mantle and wreath, themed lunches for the little one, Scripture study tools, and more!) in the upcoming months, so I hope you'll check back in and check them out ;)
- Shauna

29 October 2014

31 Days: Extra Holiday Planner Printables!

Good afternoon, friends! 
I hope you're having a blessed day :) Welcome to today's FREE printables I'm sharing for you to add to your Holiday Planner, if you'd like! We're spending the month preparing a Holiday Planner to help organize everything for the fall & winter holidays. If you are new to this 31 day series, check out my beginning post...

Can you believe we're almost done with this series? I definitely feel like this month flew by- what about you?? I hope you've enjoyed all the printables, book lists, and other fun holiday stuff that we've been sharing over the past month! I've found it really helpful, so I thought others might too :) Today I'm sharing printables that I've created throughout the month that either didn't fit in one of the previous categories or augment one of the previous categories! So let's get started!

Christmas Projects- I created this printable because I plan to make a LOT of goodies this Christmas- from family gifts to felt nativity to winter quiet book/busy bags and more! So this helps me keep a running list of what I have "To Make" as well as a shopping list of items "To Buy" (the latter is either supplies to make my "to make" list or a few gifts I still have left to buy, like a few books for our Advent Book Basket!).

Christmas Weekly Menu- This is to augment the monthly Christmas planner I shared earlier. Sometimes I find a weekly view more useful, so I created this printable! I can create a shopping list for each week's supplies, cut the lower part off, and hang up the week's menu in our family command center! I can never remember what I planned for dinner, so having the weekly menu plan posted is really helpful for me :)

Advent:Epiphany Calendar- This is another calendar that runs from the first Sunday of Advent through Epiphany! Really it's just an alternate version of the earlier one- I found myself needing more space to jot down notes, so I consolidated the holidays further towards the top of each day. Nothing special here, but useful, I found! 

That's about it for today. Check back tomorrow when I share what my planner looks like! I'm excited to have a link up party on Friday too! I hope you'll join in to share anything Holiday Planner related that you've been working on :)