Yum

Yum
Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Chocolate Peanut Butter Whipped Cream


My family loves homemade whipped cream! When I prepare a dessert I whip up a dish of cream. Last week {Mr.} Adam called me and asked me what was for dinner. I told him on the menu that night was lasagna, Brussels sprouts and garlic bread. When he asked "What's for dessert?" I paused. Hmmm. "I am not sure yet," was all I could say.

As the clock tick tocked the day away all thoughts of baking were abandoned. I chased my son, cleaned up messes and fielded numerous phone calls and text messages. 

Then I remembered my dear had asked about dessert...I had about 15 minutes to come up with something. I checked my pantry. Jello? I checked my freezer, nothing there. I had a carton of heavy cream. That was a starting point. The idea of Chocolate Peanut Butter Whipped Cream popped into my head.

You will need:
1 cup of heavy whipping cream
1/3 cup of powdered sugar
1/4 cup of peanut butter (I used Peter Pan Honey Roasted)
2 tablespoons of cocoa powder (I ended up using 4 because I love chocolate)

I started by stashing a metal mixing bowl and the beaters in the freezer. After 5 minutes I poured 1 cup of heavy cream into the metal  bowl. I put it back in the freezer for 3 minutes. This is important! Do not skip this step!!

After the bowl of cream comes out of the freezer immediately add the powdered sugar and begin mixing it on low until the cream begins to thicken. Add your cocoa powder and mix for about 30 seconds. Add your peanut butter and mix until it is thick and fluffy with peaks forming.

And this is what you have:



It was really yummy. It was fluffy, flavorful and would be divine inside of mini puffed pastry shells.

If you keep heavy cream on hand (and you should!) this is a dessert you can literally make in ten minutes time.

Until next time,
Sara



Tuesday, February 25, 2014

A Clean Home Challenge: Crock Pot Cleaning

I love my crock pot. I use it often! Several times a week I prepare something fantastic in my beloved crock pot. With a new baby I don't know how I would manage to prepare dinner without it. The last time I put my favorite small appliance to use I realized the interior was looking pretty funky and I made a note to clean it.


Now, how does one go about cleaning a crock pot? I saw a lot of suggestions online, from using a general cleaner, to using oxi clean, brillo pads and so on. I thought there had to be a less expensive way to maintain my crock pot so I kept searching. Someone suggested using a baking soda paste and I was anxious to try it. I had a box of baking soda in my pantry and the idea of cleaning without a harsh chemical really appealed to me.

This is what my crock pot looked like before I cleaned it.


I made a paste of 3 tablespoons of baking soda to 1 teaspoon of water.


                     Then I rubbed the paste into the base of the crock pot.

               Let this sit for about 20 minutes, then use a damp rag to wipe the baking soda off.




The baking soda scrubbed much of the dingy baked on mess out of the crock pot easily.

While the crock pot wasn't restored to its brand new splendor, it sure looked a lot better!



If you have very stubborn stains after the baking soda scrub you can apply dish soap to the stubborn baked on spots and let it set overnight. The dish soap will break up the baked on residue and will wipe off easily with a damp towel. My crock pot wasn't that bad so I didn't require this last step, but I feel confident it would work because If I have a baked on mess on any dishes this is the method I use. 

If your crock pot needs a good cleaning, this method will work well for you and it will only cost you pennies.
How do you keep your crock pot clean?
Monday, February 24, 2014

Tell Me About It Tuesday


I will be featuring the hostess favorites in a post on Wednesday this week. I apologize, today has been crazy!


tell me about it
Welcome to Tell Me About It Tuesday!
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.

Thank you to our hosts!        

                                                     

tell m

Most Viewed: A Complete Guide to Kids Chores

Kids Chores


940 Saturdays: Saturday 197

On Saturday #197 my husband and son had big plans. They were off to watch monster trucks. They invited Harper and I to tag along, but the prospect of spending a few hours in the car, the crowds of Cleveland and the noise level didn't appeal to me. Harper and I were happy to spend a day together while the boys went off to be boys.


Harper was napping when the boys kissed me goodbye. She woke up about 2 minutes after they left. The quiet must have thrown her off! She loved having me all to herself. She loves to be bounced on a knee. We pretend she is riding a horse, compete with clip- clop sounds and she loves that. She giggles and smiles, her eyes light up with sheer delight. So, I bounced her on my knee for a while, she giggled, she chattered away. Then we cuddled. Then we went into the master bedroom and looked at books together. Before we knew it 2 hours had passed and she was tired. She napped with the cat for a while and I worked.

When my tummy reminded me about dinner I decided I didn't want to cook for one. I ordered pizza, the way I like it and got comfy in my pajamas. My dogs were happy to share a floor picnic with me of pizza and cheesy bacon bread. Harper was happy to observe this and try to eat her hands.

It was so odd to be alone with Harper all day. A quiet house can be soothing, I felt really at ease for the first time in a long time. There were no meals to cook, no messes to clean up. No one calling for me to help them. I grabbed a quilt and Harper and I snuggled up to watch The Wonder Years (Heck Yes! My favorite tv show as a kid!)

The day passed in record time. Before I knew it my husband and son were home. I had missed them. I didn't realize it until they were home. I was grateful for an entire afternoon with Harper but I like spending my days with both of my kids!

Saturday #197 (17 for Harper) was good. Roo had a blast at Monster Trucks and has been telling me about them ever since that day. Harper loved having Mommy all to herself. My husband did something out of the ordinary and made memories with Roo.

I hope you had a chance to spend time with your loved ones over the weekend. What did you get into?
Saturday, February 22, 2014

Recycled Heart Shaped Crayons

Over the years my husband and I have created a bucket of crayons. When we find them around the house (which is inevitable when you have little kids and encourage them to create) we toss them into a plastic pail. One day last week I got the pail out and turned to get the cardboard we were going to draw on. My cute little boy giggled and dumped roughly 300 broken crayons on the floor...


Okay. That is just insane. Why is there a pail with that many broken crayons in it? Who wants to use a tiny little crayon? But... I hate to throw away something I can use in another way. Of course, I thought... I could make candles, use the crayons to color the wax, blah blah blah. I don't have time to make hand poured candles. I also don't want to invest a ton of money into reusing broken crayons. So scratch that idea.


The pail went back to the normal spot and I moved on.

A few days later I saw silicone molds at WalMart in heart shapes. I found $3 and some change to be a better investment and a way to use the broken crayons.

I went home and decided oh this is such a super easy idea! Even I can do this without running into a snag!

So I grabbed the pail of crayon mess and thought I would slip the sleeve of the crayon right off and be in business.

Not so, I quickly found out as I was digging at the paper, getting wax under my nails and rethinking the entire thing. What a pain in the butt! {Mr}Adam, darling husband, came to the rescue. He kindly used his pocket knife and helped me to cut the paper so it was easy to peel off.






 After the paper was removed I broke the crayon (if it wasn't already broken) in half.




 I filled the silicon molds to the brim with broken crayons. I went for general color mixture. (All shades of red mixed together, all green, etc.)


 After about 7 minutes in a 350 degree oven they were completely melted.

I could have added a few more broken crayons to make a thicker heart crayon or taken a few away for thinner ones. I liked the ones I made as is.

I allowed the melted crayons to cool completely in the silicon molds. Getting them out of the molds was as easy as could be.



Since this was one project I know I can handle and repeat without any issue I decided to give all 30 that I made to {Mr} Adam, husband extraordinaire, for the classroom Valentines Party.

After my husband stepped in and helped me with the crayon sleeve this project was really easy and fun too. I am planning to find other silicone molds and try different designs.

On a side note, I had 2 odd shaped ice cube trays. One was an ocean them, one an ice tube type. I decided to try these out too.

While it did work, I found the silicone option to be easier. With the ice cube trays I found I had to give them a light spray of cooking spray stuff. Then I had to wipe down the recycled crayons after removing them from the mold to make sure they weren't greasy. (For my time and effort I prefer the silicon trays).

I realize this would have been perfect for a Valentines Day post, but it is really a perfect after Valentines Day craft because you can probably get the silicone molds super cheap on clearance now.

The next batch I make I think I will add one color that is off in each one. I am thinking one blue in a group of green. One red in a group of pink and so on to make the colors unique and fun.

This is the end result.



They were pretty cute and I was thrilled that I made this with next to no drama.

Until next time,
Sweet Silly Sara













Friday, February 21, 2014

A Clean and Organized Home: Update

Well, I am nothing if not honest. So here is a brutally honest update on my clean and organized home...

I have fallen behind, failure looms in the distance.

It isn't that the house is really messy, but it isn't clean either. Organized? Not a chance.

I clean daily. I do dishes and laundry daily. I vacuum daily. I clean up toys 3 or 4 times a day. It is still a mess.

Moment of truth?

I had a housekeeper come for 2.5 hours last week and I made an appointment to have her come this week too.

The bad thing? You can't even tell she was here.

I have come to the conclusion we have to move into a bigger house.

We need a family room that is kid friendly, we need a play room. I need an office. We need 2 bathrooms. We need closet space... our house has none of those things {frowny face}.

So, with this post I added to my agenda a few projects to try this week. I need to get back on track!


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Dear Weary Mom: Biore Strip Bonding Experience

A few weeks ago my husband came out of the bathroom holding a box of Biore Strips I had in the medicine cabinet, he asked "Can you use one of these on me?" I was feeding Harper, taping a page in a book that has ripped while Roo said "Uh Oh. Oh no. Help!!Oh no!" in his most panicky voice, the dog was barking at the door because he had scratched to come in about 5 minutes earlier. I looked up and said "They are easy, wash your face, don't dry it. Peel the clear plastic off, stick it on, press it down, then wait..." I handed the book to my son, rushed to the door to let the dog inside and continued on to get pajamas for Harper, who was still having a bottle on the go style. Let's be honest. I don't have time to put a Biore Strip on me, let alone Adam.



Later on that evening I asked him if he had a blast removing black heads from his nose. He said "Oh, I didn't use one..." in that way that could become a pout at any moment.  He wanted me to do it for him.

I had mixed emotions. A part of me is flattered that he wants me to help him with such a simple task, but then again the other part of me said Pal, I spend darn near every minute of my life helping others. From the second my eyes open in the morning and usually until my eyes close at night, I am busy. Helping others. I am caring for the baby. I am caring for Rolf, I care for both cats and both dogs. I take care of every detail and chore in our home. I spend every moment I can get working to help other people rock their blogs. Are you really borderline pouting because I didn't drop the baby, let the dog bark and let Roo have a meltdown over his book so I could do this simple thing for you?

That flattered helpful part of me wanted to jump up and meet his expectations, but I had just got the kids to bed, gave the living room a final cleaning of the day, fed the cats and loaded the dishwasher. I was tired. After 14 hours of parenting, cooking, cleaning and oh yeah, I had actually worked that day and was due to get back to it in 8 minutes, I felt selfish. I felt like that 8 minutes was mine. I earned it. I deserved it. I had spent an entire day working. I was paid with good night hugs and kisses. At night I tuck my kids in and trade in my mommy hat for my working woman hat. I work until I fall asleep at my computer. A few nights I have been so tired that when I drift off I wonder if I might be dying because I feel dramatic and seriously exhausted.

So yeah, that 8 minutes I had to sit down, flip thru the paper or sit with my eyes closed, or text a friend was something I needed desperately and that I wasn't giving up. Not even for marital bliss. My husband then said something like "I don't know how to do them. I need help. I might mess it up..." He went for his gloomy and helpless attempt. I wanted to tell him to read the box. There are instructions. You can do it.

But I didn't. I nodded and said "I see." I picked up the paper and scanned it, knowing how few of my 8 minutes were left. I went about my normal evening schedule. I worked until I was nodding off at the computer. I gave my husband a goodnight kiss and headed off to bed.

A few days later while I was working he came into the room and had the Biore Strips in his hand again, with a smile he said "Wanna put one of these on me?" I said "I will make a deal with you. If you can give me 15 minutes I will use one with you." He nodded and went about his business.

When 15 minutes had passed I went to the bathroom to find him there waiting. He sat down and expected me to wash his face for him then apply the strip. I smiled and said "Wash your face please." I got the strips out of their packaging. I handed him one that was half peeled off and said "There you go. Sticky side down. Smooth it out." He looked a little annoyed but he did it himself. I put one on my nose after washing my face and I went back to work for a few minutes.

When my strip felt dry I went to find my husband. We peeled them off and said "Eww!" "Yuck!" "Gross..." together. To me, at the time it was ... normal, ordinary, just a moment in skin care. To my husband it was like a bonding experience. He laughed until he almost cried, he had a little out of his normal skin care pampering and he had my attention if only for a few minutes. He was happy.

Aren't guys funny? Boire Strips=Bonding.

Dear Weary Mom, I guess the point of this story is that sometimes I am greedy with my time. I give my time to others, to my kids freely, but then when it comes to time for my husband or myself I am greedy. Getting me to do something as easy as a Biore Strip with my husband took days. How long does that take to do? 15 minutes? I want to remind myself to slow down, not to take for granted the time I have but to spend some of that time without an agenda.

How do you balance work, kids, the house and your marriage?


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Dinosaur Train Helps Kids Maintain A Healthy Smile

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or
services mentioned above in the hope that I would mention it
on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally
and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance
with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the
Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Roo is nothing short of obsessed with Dinosaur Train. He loves dinosaurs, he loves Trains, so what a perfect combination to inspire the imagination of a 3 year old. We have an assortment of Dinosaur Train products in our house, from dvds to books to toys!

On Valentines Day I had a chance to surprise my little guy with a few Dinosaur Train goodies. As you can see this was maybe the best morning ever (aside from Christmas of course!)



Roo is a little book worm. He loves to read stories and he is often content grabbing a book and flipping through it on his own. When he saw the Buddy's Teeth Book, a big smile broke out on his face and he said "Story please!" How could I resist? This was a really cute book with colorful illustrations. We love Golden Books and this made a great addition to our children's library.

Description: Macintosh HD:Users:carolholdsworth:Desktop:Buddys Teeth.jpg

BUDDY wants to share his own dental care tips too! Remember that Tyrannosaurus Rex replaced their teeth throughout their lives, but humans only get two sets so it is especially important to take good care of them!

Follow these helpful tips for strong teeth and a healthy smile!

1.       Twice a day: Brush your teeth when you wake up and before you go to bed.
2.       Take your time: Brush your teeth for 2 minutes and be sure to include your tongue!
3.       Be kind to your gums: Brush with a soft bristle toothbrush.
4.       Get the hard to reach places: Floss your teeth at bedtime.
5.       See your Dentist twice a year!


Click here to download your very own Dinosaur Train Teeth Tips Poster.

Description: Macintosh HD:Users:carolholdsworth:Documents:Current Clients:The Jim Henson Company:Outreach Consumer Dinosaur Train:National Dental Health Month and VDay:DentalPoster-2.jpg



Dinosaur Train Toothbrushes? Oh yeah!

Each February, the American Dental Association (ADA) sponsors National Children's Dental Health Month to raise awareness about the importance of oral health. Developing good habits at an early age and scheduling regular dental visits helps children get a good start on a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums.  This year’s theme is “Join the Super Smile Team.”

Roo is ready to join the super smile team without a doubt! What could be a better motivational tool than a 2 pack of toothbrushes with 2 of his favorite character?
Description: Macintosh HD:Users:carolholdsworth:Documents:Current Clients:The Jim Henson Company:Outreach Consumer Dinosaur Train:National Dental Health Month and VDay:gum-twin-pack-dinosaur-train-toothbrushes-103x300.jpg
With an emphasis on making brushing fun for young children, Buddy and Tiny are featured on a GUM® twin pack toothbrush set withultrasoft bristles that are gentle on young gums, a narrow, tapered head that is comfortable in small mouths, and a soft grip to provide more control.  Available on amazon.com, ToysRUs.com and at gumbrand.com.  SRP: $2.99.



This face says it all! He was in mid "Oh yeah!" When I snapped this shot. What kid doesn't love getting a new dvd?

We of course had to check this dvd out after we heard the story.  My son was nothing short of captivated. He was excited about seeing Erma Eoraptor in one of the episodes.  The dvd was a huge hit because this boy really does love Dinosaurs!


Dinosaur Train: I Love Dinosaurs DVD from PBS Distribution.

Featuring four outstanding adventures and two Be My Valentine CardsDinosaur Train: I Love Dinosaurs makes for an outstanding Valentine’s Day treat! Two of the stories included on this DVD are King Meets Crystal and Erma and the Conductor. In King Meets Crystal, King Cryolophosaurus is interested in becoming friends with Crystal, but he gets nervous when trying to talk to her. Tiny and Buddy help King overcome his nervousness. In Erma and the Conductor, the Pteranodon family is on the Dinosaur Train headed to the Big Pond to watch a meteor shower!  Mr. Conductor stops to pick up Erma Eoraptor, his best friend.  At the Big Pond, the Conductor and Erma are interrupted a few times while trying to be alone, but soon find the perfect spot back on the Train.   Running time approx. 50 minutes; SRP: $7.99.

Description: Macintosh HD:Users:carolholdsworth:Documents:Current Clients:The Jim Henson Company:Outreach Consumer Dinosaur Train:National Dental Health Month and VDay:DITR613_f_72dpi.jpg


Watch out for all new Dinosaur Train episodes coming later this year!
Monday, February 17, 2014

Tell Me About It Tuesday #6

tell me about it





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

                                                                   Sweet Silly Sara

                                                          
   Woman of Many Roles

Woman of Many Roles






The most popular links from last weeks party was:

How to Make an XO Band Bracelet by Kids Activities Blog.


April's favorite was:
Double Chocolate Brownies by Pretty Scraps

Jacqui's favorite was:

Tiramisu Cheesecake by Live a Sweet Life

                                                             Sara's favorite was


                                  Home Brewed: DIY Vanilla Extract by eightymphmom

Starting this week we have something new to bring to the table for all of you awesome, inspiring chicks that link up with us every week!

Every post linked up will be visited and pinned to our Tell Me About It Tuesday pinterest board. Yay!


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 or share your post via social media.




Sunday, February 16, 2014

Why I Hoard Cardboard

Hasn't this been a terribly long winter? The time spent indoors has been really rough on my son. He is a get out in the world kind of guy and with the bitterly cold temps and endless amounts of snow he has been cooped up for months now.

It seems like he has exhausted his options for play. The poor guy groans when I try to engage him in a play session of Dinosaur Train. He sees me with the play doh and he hides under the table.

In times like these there is only one option for Mom to turn to. 

CARDBOARD.

If you have young kids, you need to be greedy, to hoard and stockpile great pieces of cardboard. The possibilities are endless with cardboard at your disposal.

My husband often gets annoyed with me over my fondness for cardboard. It is recycling to him while it is an invitation to play for my 3 year old.

Today things were not going well. Roo was frustrated, he was obviously bored. He wanted to play on the elliptical, he wanted to jump off of furniture, he wanted to pester Harper. I looked at the clock, only 5 hours to go until my husband is home...

All of the sudden I remembered a great piece of cardboard I had put away for a day like this.

I gathered a bucket of crayons, the cardboard and the baby. I asked Roo to help me clean up his toy mess in the living room. As soon as he saw the cardboard and crayons he was eager to help.


I am not the worlds greatest artist. (You have been warned not to laugh.) But I started drawing what might pass for streets.

I added houses, trees and a Walmart (Roo is obsessed with WalMart).

 
As you can see he couldn't wait to grab a matchbox car and start playing!



He helped color. We are calling that grass in yards.


3 hours later, my son is still on the floor, still driving around on the neighborhood he made with his Mommy. He loves that I added "red lights".

We have a plan to flip the cardboard over and make another neighborhood next week to inspire his imagination.

How do you use cardboard to inspire creativity and imaginative play?


Saturday, February 15, 2014

940 Saturdays: Saturday #196

Welcome back to the 940 Saturdays Series!

On Saturday #196 (#16 for Harper) it felt like deja vu... 

The sky was dark. The house was quiet. I struggled to shake sleep from my eyes but my son was ready to go! I kept trying to convince him to stay in bed with me, but he refused. The sound of his retreating feet convinced me it was time to get up.

I fed the cats, got Roo a cup of Apple Juice and a bowl of cereal. As he was headed to the dining room table he said "Snow Mommy!" I looked out into the dark night to see he was right. Inwardly I groaned. The never ending winter. Hence the DeJa Vu. It seems like for at least 10 weeks it has been this way on Saturday morning.

I played with Roo for a while after breakfast. Harper was up around 6. She loves to cuddle! We grabbed a cozy quilt and proceeded to make Harper smile and giggle. She is a very sweet and happy girl. 

As the day was underway the weather got worse. I had no interest in leaving my house. I lingered most of the day. My husband was itching to get out so he volunteered to go pick up milk and to take Roo with him. I made a short list of things we needed and waved goodbye to them.

Harper and I enjoyed each others company while the noisy boys were gone. Soon she was sound asleep, soothed by a quiet house.

The boys came back, we had dinner and watched an Alvin and the Chipmunks cartoon with Roo. Soon he was tucked into bed too.

Not an exciting weekend at all. Another Saturday spent indoors, protesting the cold. I hope you were able to make the most of the day and spend it with the people you love. You get 940 Saturdays with your kids from birth to adulthood. I hope you get out and make the most of that time!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

5 Inexpensive Ways to Say I Love You on Valentines Day

*photos belong to their respective owners, please visit the link to view the original post*

Valentines Day is right around the corner. Do you know what you are giving to offer your sweetie on the day devoted to love? I found a few great options for giving a meaningful gift without going broke.


I love this handmade card idea! It is beautiful and easy enough for small kids to handle.


Boxes of Chocolate are always a popular option, but they are over priced! I found a great DIY Valentine Box of Chocolates that is easy to make and adorable to give.


Sometimes a homemade treat like these Chocolate Peanut Butter Hearts can say I love you in a way no other token of affection can.


This Candy Heart Wreath is really beautiful and would be fun to make for someone special.


I have a feeling anyone lucky enough to receive a bouquet of these Love Pops will feel very special!


Monday, February 10, 2014

Tell Me About It Tuesday #5

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






The most popular links from last weeks party was:

Peanut Butter Play Dough from Kids Activities Blog

April's favorite was:

Perfect Pie Recipes by Tip Junkie
Jacqui's favorite was:


Non Mushy Valentine Coloring Pages from Kids Activities Blog

Sara's favorite was:



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.