Baby’s Box O’ Stuff

Now more than ever our family is on the go.  This soccer field, that piano lesson, this dance class, that baseball field, this school assembly, that birthday party, this meeting, that class, and the list goes on.  Elizabeth (aka Baby #5) is toted about town a lot more than her siblings were at 10 months old.

By the time I check, check and double all the loot that is required for the activities the other four are doing, I sometimes arrive at a location and realize I have nothing for the baby.  So, she moves on to my keys, phone, ink pen, etc.  Now I keep this in my van – Lizzy’s Box O’ Stuff.  Box O' StuffIt is nothing more than an old Pampers wipes box containing a few things that if were left behind, no one would really miss and no cash would be lost.  Currently, Lizzy’s box holds the lid from a icing container, 2 plastic spoons, 2 scoops, a children’s fork that doesn’t really pick anything up, a (clean) toothbrush and a dull plastic cookie cutter.Box O' Stuff contentsNow, these items may seem blah to you, but I assure you Elizabeth (and believe it or not, the other kids as well) is fully entertained by the box’s contents.  Our family strives to leave a location better than we found it.  And, while I certainly do not leave a place without collecting my things and strongly frown upon littering, if I were to lose an item from this box, no tears would be shed.

Leave a comment telling us what’s in your Box O’ Stuff!

Late Night Date Night

Every couple can benefit from the romance of dating again.  However, you may not always be able to leave the house for date night.  Here are a few of the fun ways we nurture our marriages when securing a sitter and spending cash is not on the agenda.

Tuck the kids in bed and enjoy a little alone time……

  1. Snuggle up in bed with ice cream sundaes (avoid being busted by your kids for having food in your bedroom by getting those dishes in the sink before sunrise).
  2. Head out to the deck with a glass of wine in one hand and your hubby’s hand in the other.  Laugh, talk, or just enjoy being together in the quiet.
  3. Grab some chips and salsa and challenge your guy in a game of Scrabble. We don’t recommend keeping score in your marriage, but when it comes to board games, the gloves are off.
  4. Crack open a couple of beers and grab a throw blanket.  Curl up together on the couch and ask each other a few fun questions you may or may not think you know the answers to.  Here is a link to a list of questions we think is great.
  5. If you are like us, you rarely visit the movie theater.  However, this makes selecting a movie through your cable company easy since you haven’t seen anything anyway.  Pop some popcorn and enjoy, and try not to fall asleep.
  6. At dinner time, feed the kids PB&J, a few carrot sticks and apple slices.  When the lights are out, order from your favorite Thai restaurant and enjoy dining together without cutting up food or cleaning up a milk spill.
  7. Just being alone together can bring you closer as a couple.  Tackling a small household project like folding laundry or filing bills together can actually be fun.
  8. You could let your husband plan date night, and you know what that will include – men are pretty easy to please.

 

 

Easy Spaghetti Squash Bake

This delicious dish has lots of reasons to be raved about.  It is full of nutrients, gluten free, freezes well, can be made ahead, and with only two ingredients is as easy as can be.

Oh, I almost forgot – IT IS DELICIOUS!

Ingredients:

  • 1 large (or 2 small) spaghetti squash
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes with Italian seasoning

 

 

 

 

 

Directions:

Heat oven to 350.  Using a large knife, cut the squash lengthwise.  Place the squash open side down into a 9×13 baking dish (you can also use a cookie sheet that has an edge).  Pour enough water into the baking dish or cookie sheet to touch the edges of the squash.  Place in the oven and bake for 60 minutes.

Once the squash is done, carefully scrape out the seeds.  Once the seeds are out, use a fork to scrape and shred the inside of the squash.  It will have a noodle-like appearance.  Place all of the scraped squash back into the 9×13 casserole dish.  Add canned tomatoes and mix together.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes.  Enjoy as a side dish, or see suggestions below for turning this into a meal.

Variations:

  • Add shredded mozzarella or grated Parmesan cheese for the last 15 minutes of baking
  • Add andouille sausage to turn this side dish into a full meal.
  • Serve with your usual spaghetti sauce and use the cooked squash instead of noodles.

National Kiss and Make Up Day

Perhaps we have taken this “made-up-holiday” thing too far, but this is just too sweet to pass up.kissAugust 25th has been declared National Kiss and Make Up Day.  Soooooo, kiss and make up.  And since it happens to fall during Romance Awareness Month (no, we are not making this up), it seems to be the perfect time to plant one on your sweetie.

Books have been published and workshops have been presented on not sweating the small stuff, so if you find yourself at odds with your mate, just kiss and make out (we mean, make UP).  Chances are, you won’t remember what was bugging you after you smooch for a while.  And if you don’t have a beef with your someone special, well kiss him anyway.

If you’ve forgotten how to do it correctly, check out our 10 Second Kiss.

Brown Bag It!

It’s that time of year again…back to school.  We would much rather keep our kiddos at home with us, but alas, we must send them back to class.  At least we can do our best to fill them with healthy fuel for their bodies and brains.

We have both been flagged down by numerous teachers and mothers asking us, “How do you get your kids to eat like that?”  “Like that” is healthfully.  Our kiddos are used to eating a veggie, a fruit, a protein, and a carb at lunchtime.  We also throw in some kind of special treat for our school-aged children.  And the drink of choice is always water.  Even the best juice boxes are just empty calories, and milk tends to get warm before lunchtime rolls around.  And warm milk is just gross!

Because we each are grocery shopping for families of six, budget is also always on our minds.  We limit convenience foods such as prepackaged sandwiches, fruit, veggies, and other snacks.  These items are WAY more expensive!  Cheese sticks and yogurt cups are about the only individual serving sized items that we buy.

Here are some examples of our kiddos’ favorite lunch combos.

Greek yogurt, raisins, red peppers, and bear-shaped grahams.

Hummus, whole wheat crackers, a kiwi, carrots, and 2 tablespoons of chocolate chips.

Cheese stick, whole wheat crackers, strawberries, orange peppers, and 3 Starbursts.

PB&J on whole wheat bread, a clementine, sliced cucumbers, and 2 tablespoons of M&M’s.

With lunches like these, you can be sure your kids are giving their bodies what they need.  Enjoy!

Stuck on you this school year!

The new school year is right around the corner and we have a cute idea to honor this year’s teachers.These brightly colored boxes came from the infamous $1 section of Target.  They were a great way to present this year’s welcome back to school gift.

Adorned with a tag that says – Looks like you are “stuck” with me.  And it is going to be a great year!

These little boxes are filled with a pack of stickers, glue sticks, a bottle of glue, tape, a pack of gum and a cute homemade push pin (we will show you how to make them next week.). Have a great first day of school!!

Delicious Creamsicle minus the stick

Tied with Butter Pecan, my mom LOVED a yummy creamsicle.  In honor of National Creamsicle Day (August 14), we bring you a wonderful recipe for Delicious Creamsicle – minus the stick.Creamscicle 1

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups of orange sherbert, softened
  • 1 can (14oz) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 8 oz Cool Whip

Make it:

Line a 9×5 loaf pan with foil and spread the soft sherbert into the bottom of the pan.  Freeze for 10 minutes.

While your sherbert is freezing, use an electric mixer to beat cream cheese until fluffy.  Add milk and juice until blended.  Stir in the softened Cool Whip.  Pour over the sherbert layer and freeze for 4 hours.

Creamscicle 2When you are ready to enjoy, simply lift the dessert out using the foil and invert.   Slice and serve.  YUM!!

 

 

Paper Plate Fish

We stole this idea from Vacation Bible School this year.  These are super cute (and CRAZY easy!) and are sure to liven up any fish or beach-themed party.Paper plate fish 1To make these fish all you need is a handful of paper plates, googly eyes, glue and scissors.  Cut a triangle out of the plate and glue it to the outer edge of the plate across from the cut.  Attach an eye and swim on!

Kale and Sweet Potato Salad

During a visit with my college roommate and dear friend, Mandy, I discovered this recipe.  It was so delicious I nearly licked my plate clean!  Then, Holly encountered a similar dish while out to dinner with her hubby and friends.  Here is what we have for you – Kale and Sweet Potato Salad.Kale and Sweet Potato SaladIngredients:

  • 1 medium sweet potato
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 bunch of kale
  • 1/4 cup champagne dressing
  • 1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries

Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Peel sweet potato and cut into cubes.  Toss with olive oil, thyme and salt and pepper.  Spread on a cookie sheet and roast for 30 minutes or until just golden brown on the edges.  While your potato is cooking, wash, dry and chop the kale into small pieces.  Toss the chopped kale with dressing.  Once the kale and dressing are mixed, add the roasted sweet potatoes.  Sprinkle with sunflower seeds and cranberries.  So healthy and soooo good.Kale and Sweet Potato Salad 2

Make Your Own Toy Bow and Arrow

My boys are always fashioning bows and arrows out of various things found in the yard and in our house.  While their efforts are admirable, they rarely succeed in making anything that can actually hit a target.  UNTIL NOW!Bow and Arrow

Supplies:Bow and Arrow supplies

  • string
  • scissors
  • a flexible ruler (it needs to have a hole at each end)
  • a pencil (preferably one that has never been sharpened)

First, cut a piece of string 1 1/2 times longer than the ruler.  Then, tie a knot through one end the ruler.Bow and Arrow prep 1Flex/bend the ruler a little to form an arch and attach the other end of the string to the other hole in the ruler (little hands may need a helper with this part).Bow and Arrow prep2And there you have it!  Now use the pencil to fire away!Bow and Arrow set up

 Bow and Arrow