Reduced Fat 'Cream Cheese' Frosting

A few days ago my husband and son ganged up on me, with their lips sticking out in a pout. My husband asked me "Will you make cookies?" My son backed him up by saying "Cookies! Cookies!" I felt really bad to burst their bubble and tell them I didn't have the ingredients I needed to bake cookies. No Bakes were even out of the question.

I started looking around in my pantry and I had a Carrot Cake Mix. My husband frowned and asked me "What kind of icing does it come with?" Wouldn't you know it. It didn't come with frosting and I didn't have any pre-made frosting in the pantry either. Shoot!

Well, that never stops me from trying! It had been so seriously cold that I couldn't see dashing out just to buy a can of icing so I got busy and came up with a Reduced Fat 'Cream Cheese' Frosting recipe.

You will need:
4 ounces of Neufchâtel cheese (look for it right next to cream cheese at the grocer)
4 ounces of unsalted butter
2 cups of powdered sugar
2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract

This recipe is really easy.

Unwrap the Neufchâtel cheese and your butter. Place them in a microwave safe dish together and soften them. I microwaved them for about 15-20 seconds.

Then blend the Neufchâtel Cheese and Butter together on a slow speed until smooth.

Add powdered sugar to the butter and Neufchâtel Cheese Mixture. Continue to mix at a slow speed until the powdered sugar is incorporated. Then add the pure vanilla extract and mix for 1 minute.

I thought this frosting was fairly good, but it did have a little bit of a strong  flavor. I sprinkled a pouch of Sugar in the Raw over the frosting to make it a touch sweeter to combat the strong flavor from the Neufchâtel Cheese.

Neufchâtel Cheese contains 1/3 less fat than Cream Cheese. Neufchâtel is a French Cheese that has been a favorite since the 6th century. The process of making Neufchâtel has remained virtually the same. It is made with cows milk and is an unripened cheese. If left to ripen it will develop a bloomy rind that is much like Brie.

I have used Neufchâtel Cheese with mixed results to make my recipes a touch healthier. With Cheeseball, it is amazing and you cannot tell a difference. In desserts I have noticed a stronger flavor.

Do you have a favorite frosting recipe? I would love to hear about it in a comment.

Love Coloring Page

I hope you have been enjoying all of these Valentine's Day printable coloring pages. I love creating these to use with my son and to share with you.

With this one, we had heart shaped stickers in a variety of colors that we stuck on top of the small hearts. This was a good fine motor skills activity for Roo and he is a complete sticker addict. He will do anything you ask for a sticker... yes I use this to my advantage and bribe him to help clean up his toys for a sticker.

We haven't colored this page yet, but plan to.

                                                            Print Love Coloring Page

Printable Grocery Check List

When I go to the grocery store I usually don't make a list. I used to keep one and I could stick to the list.
These days, I do not always have time to make a list and check sales ads. I had been just making a note of the meals I planned to cook based on what I bought. This was a disaster. I would have too many entrees or no sides. Too much cheese with no bread or crackers. I would have to run to the store after going to the store because I forgot milk or something else that is crucial. Not only was this an inconvenience but it is also expensive to shop like that!

I am hoping that a great printable grocery list will help me to break that bad habit so I can serve better meals and save money on our grocery expenses.

I have a checklist to share with you that is a good step for me to my grocery shopping reform.

Do you use a grocery list every time you go to the store?

Tell Me About It Tuesday #3

tell me about it

Welcome to Tell Me About It Tuesday and Thank you to our hosts                                                             

                                                                   Sweet Silly Sara
Green Living, Product Reviews, Giveaways, Toddlers
                                                               Woman of Many Roles

Woman of Many Roles

                                                                   Melissa Say What?

Last week the most popular link was:

                                                     DIY Pretty Planners by Tip Junkie

April's favorite was:

                            Loaded Twice Baked Potato Casserole by Spend With Pennies

Melissa's favorite was:
Pirate Valentine Suckers by The Joys of Boys

Jacqui's favorite was:

                                                    Mini Taco Bowls by Daily Leisure

Sara's favorite was:

Why I'm No Longer Banking My Brownie Points by The Multi Tasking Mummy

Thanks to everyone that linked up at last week's party!

We welcome you to link up your posts! Feel free to share anything except giveaways, etsy shops or anything you are selling.  Please visit a few links and show some love to your fellow bloggers.

Please note by linking up you give the hostesses permission to use your post in round ups and we may feature you as well.

Learn How to increase height and How to remove sun tanning

Saturday #193

On Saturday #193 (#13 for Harper) my family didn't do anything. We got up and lingered around our house. I cleaned up messes while my son created new ones. Not too exciting. Around 3 pm I realized we had no baby water for mixing bottles, we were out of coffee and my freezer had tumbleweeds blowing around in it. Yeah, I had put off grocery shopping for as long as I could. I was unwilling to fight the crowds at WalMart. Truth be told I despise that place on the best day. So, I headed over to the next little town and got what I had to have at their grocery store.

I came home to prepare dinner- lobster cakes and shrimp scampi with roasted red potatoes. We ate dinner, I made time for the elliptical. I had a bubble bath with Roo and tucked him into bed. Harper was ready to call it a night shortly after that.

I fell asleep on the couch after about 10 minutes of sitting down.

The day was bland. We didn't do anything at all and I was still exhausted at the end of the day. I guess I needed a chance to just rest at home for most of the day.

Sorry there are no photos this week. I hope my next installment will be a little more interesting to read. The bitter winter weather we have had has really hampered our family outings.

Valentine's Day Coloring Page

My 3 year old really loves to color and it is something I enjoy doing with him. My son gets distracted by the characters in the coloring books that he has and doesn't want to color on his favorite characters so I started making really simple coloring pages for him so that he can express his creativity without having to fight him about coloring in a coloring book.

I have a few Valentine's Day themed printable coloring pages to share with you in the next few days. I hope your kids enjoy coloring them as much as my son has!

Happy Valentine's Day from the Sweet Silly Sara blog!

Free 2014 Printable Calendar

Remember a few days ago when I mentioned the calendar battle with my son? I caved and gave it to him, he promptly destroyed it. I considered buying another one, but why waste money when I know it will become fair game to my curious preschooler eventually.

Well, instead of buying a new one, I started using this 2014 calender in combination with my birthday checklist printable and my post it notes on a mirror method.

The best part is, I can print this a million times and let my son color on it, point out the numbers and letters and do whatever a 3 year old boy does with paper.

Thanks for dropping by! I hope this printable calendar helps you keep track of your life.

Tell Me About It Tuesday 1/21

tell me about it

Welcome to Tell Me About It Tuesday and Thank you to our hosts

Sweet Silly Sara

Green Living, Product Reviews, Giveaways, Toddlers
                                                               Woman of Many Roles

Woman of Many Roles

                                                                   Melissa Say What?

We welcome you to link up your posts! Feel free to share anything except giveaways, etsy shops or anything you are selling.  Please visit a few links and show some love to your fellow bloggers.

Please note by linking up you give the hostesses permission to use your post in round ups and we may feature you as well.

Last week the most popular link was:

Getting Crafty Valentine's Day Craft for Kids from My Unentitled Life

Jacqui's Favorite Was:

Bacon Bombs by A Thrifty Table

April's Favorite Was:

Amazing Monkey Bread by Madame Deals

Sara's Favorite Was:
Through Your Eyes- At The Beach by Create Bake Make

Buddy and the Nature Trackers

My son Roo is obsessed with Dinosaur Train these days. He plays with his Interactive Dinos, he has a Dinosaur Train Play Set and he spends hours a day taking Buddy, Tiny, Shiny and Don on epic adventures with the Conductor. He has an impressive collection of books and dvds that never fail to inspire his imagination.

Just in time for the new season of Dinosaur Train The Jim Henson Company has teamed up with Reader’s Digest Children’s Books to bring you a great new book about Buddy and the Nature Trackers that will make your kids beg for just a few more minutes of reading time.

Buddy & The Nature Trackers is a lift the flap book featuring all of the characters from the show and 45 awesome flaps for kids to lift and discover. When I handed Buddy & The Nature Trackers to my son he gasped with delight. He clutched the book to his chest and said "Love you Mom!" he then jumped on the couch and settled down for a reading fest.

Roo hasn't let this book out of his sight, he loves lifting the flaps to find out what is hidden underneath and he has been having a great time finding his favorite characters in colorful illustrations.

The book retails for $9.99. My son is crazy for this sturdy lift the flap board book. I love that each page has a learning activity included, making this title tons of fun and educational (score for Mom!)

Get ready for a T-rex sized adventure on January 20, when PBS KIDS premieres “Nature Trackers Adventure Camp,” an all-new, one-hour special from The Jim Henson Company’s hit series DINOSAUR TRAIN. Kids will follow Buddy, Shiny, Tiny and Don in four brand-new, exciting stories as they travel to different ecosystems and learn about erosion, tree lines, rainforests and canyons.  The special premieres Monday, January 20 at 9am and 2:30pm ET/PT (check local listings).  Watch out for repeats on Saturday, January 25 8:30am ET/PT; and Sunday, January 26, 8:00am ET/PT!

In the on-air special, Mr. Conductor and his nephew Gilbert lead Buddy, Tiny, Shiny, Don and friends on an action-packed journey during Nature Trackers Adventure Camp!  Throughout their adventures at camp, the group finds courage as they race down rivers, have a snowball fight, climb a tall mountain, ride a zip line over the rainforest, and hike down a canyon to dig for fossils! Viewers won’t be able to resist tapping their feet and singing along as the whole gang makes discoveries about the world around them.  “Nature Trackers Adventure Camp” kicks off a new season of DINOSAUR TRAIN on PBS KIDS! 

 You can be a Nature Tracker all year long!

Step one:  Become a Nature Tracker!   Sign up for the Dinosaur Train Nature Tracker’s Club, a FREE to join community of young children, their families and educators committed to learning about nature and doing good things for their environment!   Nature Trackers enjoy exploring and having adventures, respecting their environment, collecting things, tracking and observing plants and animals, and challenging themselves to get outside and make discoveries every day.   Download your Dinosaur Train’s Nature Trackers Club Guide Book, available here and when you have completed all four activities, simply mail in the form provided in the book along with a self-addressed stamped envelope and receive an official Nature Trackers member token!

Step two:  Get kids to make a New Year’s resolution to get outside and get into nature and inspire them with our new Dinosaur Train “Nature Trackers 2014 Calendar!” It’s full of activities you can do each month.  Download the calendar here and get outside, get into nature and make your own discoveries! 
 You can be a Nature Tracker all year long!

Find more Dinosaur Train Books from Readers Digest Children’s Books HERE

For more Dinosaur Train fun, go to

Follow Dinosaur Train on Facebook

Follow The Jim Henson Company:

Follow PBS KIDS:

One very lucky reader is going to win a copy of Buddy and The Nature Trackers!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

DIY Organizer (under $11 and 11 minutes)

Storage space in my home is an issue. We have 2 real closets. One is packed tightly with clothes, dvds and a filing cabinet. The other contains clothes the kids aren't ready to wear size wise, an embarrassing stack of magazines I haven't got around to reading,piles and piles of kids books that won't fit in the bookshelves  and extra diapers. In 2 of our bedrooms we have a shelf with a clothes rack attached to it. (It is not the same as having a closet!)

Now imagine your home with very limited closet space. Where would you store... anything/everything?

I created something that works well with small toys, odds and ends or anything that you might store in a small cubby. I purchased round plastic baskets from Dollar Tree. I went with what they had at the time, but have since seen larger round baskets and mid size square baskets that would work better for this project.

To create one organizer with 10 cubbies you will need:
10 plastic baskets
zip-tie closures
a hole punch

Start with 2 baskets. Line the handles up and secure the baskets together with a zip tie.

Continue adding baskets until you have 4 in a row on the bottom.

Now comes the tricky part. You will need to place your next 3 baskets on top of the 4 that are attached to each other. Get an idea of where you will connect the bottom row of 4 and this new row of 3. You can mark with a permanent marker if this helps. You will take your hole punch and place a hole on the top of the baskets on the bottom row and the bottom of the baskets on the new row. Then attach them with a zip tie.

Repeat with the next row of 2 baskets.

Repeat with the next row of 1 basket.

And this is what you have:

Please excuse my mess. 

To finish this project simply snip the tails of the zip ties.

This organizer was so easy to make. It was completed in under 11 minutes and I spent under $11 to make it.
Use this up against a wall for support.

I made 2 of these. One I use to store baby clothes. This made it so easy for my husband to help with the baby. I have a bin of onesies, pajamas, long sleeve tops, pants, dresses, socks & shoes, headbands and etc, baby blankets and jackets. Now he can see at a glance what the options are without messing up drawers.

The other I use as my own storage solution. Here is an embarrassing confession. I used to have a plastic box intended for under the bed storage of blankets that I just stashed random stuff in. One day I realized I had filled the box up... with basically junk. Samples I got in the mail, nail files, stationary... yeah just junk. Now I have a bin for headbands, a bin for lotion, a bin for stationary and so on.

I had intended to use these to get my son organized. But, I ended up going another route, which you can check out in a future post.

Saturday #192

On Saturday #192 things were normal, the kids and I were up early. We had our morning routines of breakfast and cartoons. Harper and I cuddled on the sofa while Roo played cars at my feet. It was nice. A quiet morning with my kids.

We heard we were going to have a storm and extreme cold temps setting in the following day, so I thought I would be wise to pick up the basics... milk, eggs, formula, baby wipes, diapers, juice, toilet paper.

My son wasn't spoiled enough before the holidays, and of course piles and piles of toys from Santa wasn't enough because he is cute and he is little, but we ran into Ollie's and took advantage of their toy sale for a cool set of building blocks for Roo ( 33% off already low prices!). Then cute little Roo asked for McDonald's for dinner. His Dad caved since that location had a play area. Roo got in the midst of a group of sisters and proved to be quite the ladies man.

The sun had already set, the day was nearly over for the kids. It went by very fast! By the time we arrived home Harper and Roo were sound asleep in the car. We carried them and tucked them into their beds.

Not the best photos this week. My silly kids don't like to hold still!

I am glad we got out and about before the extreme cold hit.

I hope you had the chance to spend time with your kids or loved ones over the weekend.

Valentines Day Handwriting Practice Worksheet

My son isn't old enough to write, but my husband is an educator, as you may or may not know. I made these handwriting practice worksheets for his classroom and I wanted to share them with you.

I hope these simple printable worksheets helps you to get kids in the spirit of this sweet holiday and makes practicing handwriting a little more fun.

                                                   Print this handwriting worksheet

I made a second one to keep things interesting for the kids practicing their handwriting.

                                                   Print this handwriting practice worksheet.

I hope you enjoy these free printables.
Happy Valentines Day!

Tell Me About It Tuesday Linky Party.

You might be thinking... what? I thought you weren't hosting this party anymore?....
I haven't hosted the linky party in about 3 months now. When I had Harper life got even busier and I kept... forgetting sadly.

But, we are back! We are also looking for another co-host. If you are interested please email me at sweetsillysara(at)gmail(dot)com.

(There are no features this week.)

tell me about it

Welcome to Tell Me About It Tuesday and Thank you to our hosts

Sweet Silly Sara

Green Living, Product Reviews, Giveaways, Toddlers
                                                               Woman of Many Roles

Woman of Many Roles

We welcome you to link up your posts! Feel free to share anything except giveaways, etsy shops or anything you are selling.  Please visit a few links and show some love to your fellow bloggers.

Each week we will feature the most popular link as well as the favorite's of our hosts.

Now on to the party!

Water Intake Printable

If getting in shape or living a healthier life is on your list of New Years Resolutions you probably realize how important drinking a lot of water is. But it can be a challenge to drink as much water as is recommended.

I have a great free printable for you that will help you keep track of how much water you are consuming each day.

I didn't realize how little water I have been drinking until I started using this.  After seeing I was only drinking half of the water I should be consuming I am making a great effort to say no to the addictive iced coffees and opt for water instead.

Print: Water Intake Calendar

I hope this printable helps you to make sure you are drinking enough water.