Not so”Quiet” Time Transition

Hudson gave up naps before his 3rd birthday…let me tell you it stunk. I cried the second I realized he was truly DONE with naps. My husband looked at me like I was crazy. His helpful words…..”Well he wasn’t going to nap forever….you knew that, RIGHT?”  Thanks. Super helpful.

All the stay-at-home-moms out there (working mamas too) know how sacred nap time is. But he was ready to be done so I had to go with it. The first few days were a struggle. He was a blubbering mess by 5pm, I mean could not hold it together at all….. the dog walked by him…meltdown……The pillow fell over….meltdown. It was ROUGH. But after a week or two……maybe three….I can’t remember. We introduced quiet time, he spends a little time in his room with a quiet project and once in awhile I let him watch a movie. No sleep but a tiny rest.

The first few days he only lasted maybe 30 minutes but now he will do a full 2 hours. I put together quiet boxes organized by the day and each one contains a project or puzzle, cars, and a book.

BUSY BOX ITEMS:

Craft project: We are big fans of Crayola magic markers. The ones that only mark the special paper so he cant destroy his room.

Puzzle: I found a couple match puzzles in the 1$ section at Target. Only two or three pieces is all. Before letting him play with the puzzles I showed him how to put them together. He is very proud when he puts them all together!

Book: I rounded up books that we already had lying around the house. But since they are tucked away in bins for quiet time only he only sees them once in awhile.

Cars: Hudson is obsessed with cars…we have entirely too many. I gathered about 4 cars for each bin. No need to by any new ones…I used ones we already had at home but he only gets them during quiet time so they seem special.

I would suggest you put together items your kiddo loves, dolls, instruments, etc.

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He plays…not so quietly, ( My husband suggests we call it “Alone time,” rather than quiet time….I tend to agree) in his room with the items from the bin. The busy boxes are like a present each day. Soon I will have to rotate new toys in but right now he is happy to open the bins. Plus, he actually plays with the toys in them, I would call that a win.

The transition from naps to quiet time has been a difficult one for me…Hudson has taken it in stride.  But I have adjusted. I really enjoy the earlier, easier bed time. The busy boxes have definitely helped stretch the time closer to 2 hours. Hang in their Mama it is a tough one but it does get better….it won’t be like this for long.

 

 

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Pumpkin Party

This is a little late but I still wanted to share. We have started a family tradition, a Pumpkin Carving Party! It has proven to be so much fun. It is a very easy party to plan since it’s casual. Dinner, snacks, and all the tools needed for carving and B.Y.O.P, bring your own pumpkin.Since we had little ones coming  markers, stickers, and paint were provided so they could decorate a pumpkin too.

He lined them up himself

He lined them up himself

I usually serve a bowl of warm apple cider, snacks, and a main course that is  make your own so everyone is happy, like tacos or chili. People can make it the way they prefer spicy, mild, this or that.This year we opted for chili because it was  cold outside, delicious, and affordable to make a large amount. The chili recipe is my favorite from Rachael Ray, Espresso Black Bean Chili, its very meaty and has tons of flavor. (You have to try it.)  For the chili I set out all the mix-ins so everyone could choose what they wanted; pickled jalapenos, sour cream, tortilla chips, cheese, etc.

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For Drinks I had warm apple cider, a single signature drink, Apple Cider Sangria, and a fun drink for the kiddos. I ended up making mango juice mixed with plain pellagrino, bubbly juice. All of which are set up to self serve so I don’t have to spend the night playing bartender.  I also made the doughnut recipes from a previous post, the apple cider doughnuts and pumpkin spice latte. We had other sweet treats, a veggie tray, and bags of chips.

Once everyone filled up on dinner, snacks, and drinks we got started with the carving. Most of the little kids opted to paint and use stickers so the adults could carve. We rolled out a painters drop cloth so when the carving or painting was done we could just roll everything up and toss it into the trash. It worked perfectly!

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I hope you try to plan a fun carving party!

Apple Cider Donuts

I mentioned these little lovlies in a previous post. But after measuring all the ingredients and reading all the steps I had to find a different recipe….wait for dough to rise over night….um no mama needs her donuts today! I should have read all the instructions before measuring but my sous chef and I were so excited to get started. It took a little research to find donuts that I could bake. FINALLY! We found the one, it is as follows.

DONUTS

  • 1 and 1/4 cups  apple cider
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 2 Tablespoons  unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup  granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

TOPPING

  • 3/4 cup Powdered Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick or 60g) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup of apple cider

Directions:

  1. Simmer apple cider over low-medium heat in a small saucepan on the stove for 15-20 minutes. Add cinnamon sticks, spices, and/or orange slices for flavor if desired. In this step you are reducing the apple cider for a stronger flavor. You will need 1/2 cup from this reduced cider. Allow it to cool in the refrigerator as you prepare the other ingredients.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a mini muffin pan or donut pan with nonstick spray. Set aside.
  3. Toss the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt together in a large bowl. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg, melted butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar together until smooth. Whisk in the buttermilk, vanilla, and 1/2 cup of concentrated apple cider.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and very gently mix together with a whisk. Whisk until all ingredients are *just combined.* Some small lumps may remain, but not many.

Pour the batter into the mini muffin pan, filling 3/4 of the way full. Bake 9-10 minutes.

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It may seem like a lot but once we got started it was easy! The recipe wanted us to dip the donuts in a butter and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. The problem is the donuts didn’t have a strong apple cider flavor so I opted to make a different topping. I mixed melted butter and powered sugar until it was a glaze consistency, its all about trial and error. I added a splash of apple cider until it had good flavor. Then I dipped the donuts in the glaze, it was delicious! The only recommendation I have is put the glaze on the day you plan on eating them. Any sooner at the donuts get very soggy.

Make ahead tip: Prepared donuts freeze well up to 2-3 months. Allow to thaw overnight in the refrigerator and heat up in the microwave if desired.

Enjoy Lovies!

I will be posting about the pumpkin spice donut results soon. The apple cider donuts will be making there debut for our pumpkin carving party in a few days!

Fun Fall Activities

We have been out in the amazing Montana fall lately, not much blogging from nature. It has been a little warmer than usually here so we have been taking full advantage. Mornings at the park or long slow walks. But even with all that activity Hudson has been a little restless or bored so I found a pile of fun activities to do with Mr. Man in the coming weeks or course with a delicious mug of coffee in hand….because hello toddler=caffeine requirement.

  1. Nature Scavenger Hunt: Make a list of items the kiddos can find outside. Red leaf, pine cone, etc. Then head out onto the park. Hudson will love this one. He will love to take a slow walk and finding treasures along the way.
  2. Pumpkin Patch:  We have farms and pumpkin patches everywhere in Montana so I think an afternoon wondering the corn mazes or filling a wheel barrel full of the perfect pumpkins to take home will be in order very soon.
  3. Pumpkin Bowling: I came across this gem when looking for party games for Hudson’s birthday. I found bowling pins in the dollar section at Target and after our little pumpkin patch adventure (see above) I think we will have fun doing this one.

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I hope you give some of these a whirl!

This one is for the mama’s out there.  I found two recipes for fall doughnuts that sound amazing. Plus they are baked so a whole lot easier than splattering oil all over the kitchen.

Pumpkin Spice Latte Doughnut

Apple Cider Doughnut 

You are welcome….and I am sorry just trade those fall skinnies for a comfy pair of drawstring joggers, problem solved.

Back to School

For some of you the kiddos have already went back to school, we have not. Hudson is not heading off to kindergarten..quite yet…thank goodness, I am not ready for that. My absolute favorite part of the year is fall and back to school. I love the supplies and the change in the weather. To get into the spirit of the season I came across this gem of a recipe.

Almond Butter and Jelly Mini Muffins

Ingredients
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup crunchy almond butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup strawberry jam or jelly

1.Place an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line 24 mini-muffin cups with paper liners.
2.Whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt and baking powder in a medium bowl to blend. Whisk together the almond butter, sugar, oil, vanilla and eggs in a large bowl to blend. Add the dry ingredients in 2 batches and stir just until blended.
3.Fill each muffin cup half-full with batter. Spoon 1/2 teaspoon of the jam on top of each muffin cup, and then spoon the remaining batter on top to cover the jam. Bake until the tops are golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer to a rack and cool.
4.Spoon 1/2 teaspoon more of the jam on top of each muffin in the center.

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They were kind of a pain and I would recommend spraying your tins A LOT, all of mine got stuck. High Five to me! In the end after all the effort they were delicious and so worth it!

Enjoy Friends

Meal Prep

I have said it once and I will say it again…The ONLY way I can stay on track with eating well is meal prep. I struggle with having breakfast and lunch items on hand for myself. I always have healthy food for Hudson but  in the morning I am scrambling to find something on the way out the door while combing crazy bed head. Lunch is the same….I forget to eat until after I finally slow down during nap time and realize my stomach is growling. I have been trying to prep those two meals for the whole week on Sunday. I bribe my mom to come help me so we can get the chopping done quickly and my sisters can entertain Hudson for me.

First up is Chia pudding with berry and nuts. It looks really gross but I have to say it was extremely delicious and filling.

INGREDIENTS
  • ¼ cup chia seeds
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • Fresh berries for topping

Instructions: Combine all ingredients in a glass and shake to combine. Refrigerate overnight. Stir quickly in the morning, top with berries, and enjoy! I mixed the berries and slivered almonds with a tablespoon of maple syrup, stir and placed the mixture on top.

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The second is oats. The first go round I made a giant pot of quick oats and placed a serving size in glass storage bowls. In the morning I can warm them up, toss in some fruit and cinnamon. But I have found a TON of overnight oats ideas on pintrest. Next week I will be trying those like this one or this.  Either one would be easy to prep and delicious!

Lastly, we purchased all the produce at Costco. It is the best value and there are a lot of organic options, I stick to the dirty dozen which keep costs down My mom started chopping on the veggies and I grilled up all the chicken with a little salt and pepper. I would recommend using the 16 oz wide mouth mason jars. They fit a large salad and the wide mouth makes it easy to eat directly from the container or to dump out in a bowl. After the chicken cooled we got to work. The first layer is your protein and dressing. Then cucumbers, broccoli, or tomatoes, etc. The last layer is the romaine lettuce or spinach. I omitted cheese but you could add that in, on top of the protein. By keeping the lettuce separate from the dressing it stay crunchy until you are ready to eat.

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I have made a ton of different types of mason jar salads. I like to keep it interesting especially when I am trying to eat healthy which can sometimes get a little boring.

Caesar Salad: Caesar dressing, chicken, tomatoes, Parmesan cheese, croutons and lettuce. (in that order)

Cobb Salad: ranch or vinaigrette, chicken, bacon, tomatoes, hard boiled egg, avocado, bleu cheese crumble and lettuce.

Santa Fe Salad: Habanero ranch (found at Target), chicken, black beans (rinsed), corn, pickled jalapeno, cheddar jack cheese, tortilla strips, and lettuce…This one is my absolute favorite.

Greek Salad: chicken, Greek vinaigrette, red onion, cherry tomatoes, feta and romaine lettuce.

I hope you try one of them out. I have found meal prep to be the most important thing I can do for my health and wellness. I usually add a cup of soup along side my salad for a well rounded and filling meal.

What do you do to make your days easier as a Mama?

Homemade Face Wash

Life in general has been CRAZY busy lately. Hudson is much better following surgery and a long recovery. Husby has been working a lot more lately. With all the crazy going on around here I have faltered on following my eating and exercise plan. It has taken a toll on my skin, I stumbled across a homemade face wash recipe. The timing was perfect! I had most of the ingredients, double bonus!

I found a mason jar pump attachment and a mason jar, I got to work. I ended up doubling the recipe but it lasts over a month, so you decide.

Honey Lemon Face Wash

1/4 C Olive oil

1/8 C Liquid Castile Soap

1/4 C Honey

1/8 C Organic Lemon Juice

1 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar

10 Drops Essential Oil (Lemon, Grapefruit, Sweet Orange), This is optional but it helps counter the smell of the vinegar. I used lemon essential oil but I would have preferred sweet orange.

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The smell is strong but after a few hours mixed together the essential oil scent takes over.  After a few days using the face wash I saw very different skin. It had a glow and most of my break outs were gone! I hope you try it.

What is your favorite at home remedy for skin problems?

 

St. Patrick’s Day Treat

I had grand plans to make St. Patty’s themed breakfast. But with a 6am wake up call, thank you Mr.Hudson, I was not motivated to do so. I was going to make pancakes with whipped cream and Lucky charms sprinkled on top but we opted for toast. BORING, I know I know.

Not much of a surprise Hudson was ready for a nap a little earlier than usual, cant imagine why. I couldn’t let him wake up without SOME kind of Holiday treat so I decided to use the lucky charms in a different way.

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LUCKY CHARM BARS

6 cups of Lucky Charms cereal

1 10oz bag of mini marshmellows

4 Tbsp Butter

1 brick of White chocolate Almond bark.

1. Grease 9x13in baking pan. or line with parchment paper. Whichever you prefer.

2. Place butter and marshmallows in large saucepan. Stir until all marshmallows are melted and creamy.

3. Mix melted marshmallow and cereal until evenly distributed. I sprayed my spatula with non-stick cooking spray to make mixing easier.

4. Press mixture into baking pan. I placed mine in the freezer to make the treats set up quicker

5. Melt 4 cubes of almond bark on low heat, stir constantly. Almond bark need to be watched it can seize up very quickly. Once the chocolate is smooth remove from the heat.

6. Pour over cereal mixture in the baking pan. Place back into the freezer. Once hardened cut and serve.

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ENJOY!!! They are basically a cavity in a bar!

Mini Carwash

The last few days have been crummy but typical spring weather. Which means we have been cooped up inside. UGH! Can Summer get here already….that coming from the girl who LOVES winter. Its just been a long winter and a yucky spring.  We are ready to be playing outside with chalk and bubbles. It will be be here soon enough.  Back on point, Hudson would love to be splashing in puddles but there has not been enough rain…but enough to keep us inside…go figure. So I had to get creative with an indoor activity.

Hudson is OBSESSED with cars and trucks, that is putting it mildly. I carry a minimum of 5 in the diaper bag not including the handful he packs around. As mentioned before he loves puddles so I combined the two. An indoor carwash!!!!!! I put a little water and soap onto a baking sheet. I laid out a towel to limit the mess. Hudson washed his cars and trucks with a toothbrush. He had a blast and all of his cars were sparkling by the time he was done.

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Have fun Friends!

Ohh TWOdles!!

Harper is turning the big T.W.O next Saturday and one of her friends is going to be out of town so we decided to have her party a week early! I decided awhile ago I was gonna do a Minnie theme because she loves her some Mickey Mouse Clubhouse! (Daisy seems to be her fave but still went with Minnie which I’ll get to why in a minute here) When you think Minnie red, hearts and polka dots come to mind right? So, I figured perfect, I’ll hit up the after Valentines day sales and get a ton of new heart decor! I ended up mixing pink in too since we still had some stuff left over from her birthday last year. I LOVE the way everything turned out, exactly how I had pictured it in my head, she loved it even more which made it that much better 😉 After all this day was all about her. ❤

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This second group of pics just cracks me up…SO shows her silly little personality ❤ I basically made everything and got ideas everywhere from my brain to Pinterest! This was all SO easy and all done here and there when I had spare time. I cut out way too many circles for my own good in the end haha! This cute shirt a friend of mine got for her in Disneyland, which I just cut a 2 out of felt and sewed by hand on, so it was easy enough to take the stitching out for continued wear! She had this tutu already as well that I stitched felt hearts on to be removed later too! I made this adorable sparkle Mickey clip out of felt and glitter that I glued to a little clip. I’ve been making her hair accessories forever since they are insane expensive on Etsy or anywhere else really for that matter!

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For the cake I got 2 boxes of Funfetti bc its my fave and dyed one batch pink so every other layer would be pink 🙂 Turns out I only used 3 of the 4 8 by 8 rounds because all 4 were too high for my cake stand with the lid on with the toppers I got, found here. These toppers were a HIT, she screamed when she saw the cake and she has insisted on sleeping with little plastic Minnie and Daisy since LOL.  I bought Funfetti hot pink frosting rather than dying white as well as white and used the pink on the bottom layer, mixed the pink and white for the middle and used white on top for an ombre look. (I did the same last year and loved it so much I decided to just do it again.) It tasted amazing too which really is all that counts right? 😉

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I made the banner with card stock and construction paper as well as the Minnie I taped on the heart centerpiece and the ones I taped on the juice boxes. The hearts on the table and heart toothpicks were clearance steals as well as the heart garland and gift bags. I glued rhinestones on the silverware to make them look glam and the “holder” they’re in is a sparky koozie! I made bows using strawberries and blueberries stuck with toothpicks (which I forgot to bring out of the fridge for the party after I took these pics) DANG IT! Harp enjoyed them later anyway haha!

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Hot dogs are every kids favorite right? And SO easy to just throw in the crockpot with water to cook themselves so they are ready for go time! I made this cute little sign for the crockpot..because I’m crazy and had to have the Clubhouse touch on everything haha! Served with string cheese and goldfish for the perfect lunch!

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I printed off coloring sheets online so the kids could color after they played for awhile and had lunch, Harper colored on each of her guests sheets as well as her own which did not impress them, but hey what can ya do with an almost two year old trying to share the love..ha!

It was so funny she got really shy when “Happy Birthday” started (totally cute) but then the rest of the day sang it to herself. 🙂 She blew out the candles like a little champ and hopefully made an awesome wish. 🙂 We opened presents before her friends left and she had a BLAST! We have been getting packages in the mail this past week from friends and family back home and I’m sure she has no idea why she’s getting all of these fun presents but she is loving it no doubt!

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Balloons really are a hit for a two year old and this morning she came downstairs and the first thing she did was yell BLOONS!!!!  Her and daddy had fun playing with them before her guests arrived!

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It was the perfect day and I can’t wait to for another fun party next year! I’ll leave you with a mama and mini selfie because thats how we do and my awesome ‘Jamicure’ that went along with the theme. ❤

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