In the Carrot Patch Activity

This easy activity for kids is fun and it uses their fine motor skills!



My kids are too cute. In the warm months, they attack my flowers with the cutest dramatic play sessions. The flowers are carrots and they are farmers, anxious to share their crops!

With that kind of imagination, it is hard to get irritated over it. I thought maybe we could keep the carrot patch fun going, long after they had picked every stem.

This activity comes together fast! All you need is a box, some orange and green cardstock and some glue. A utility knife or box cutter will be handy as well.

Cut carrot shapes from the orange paper.
Glue green bits to the top, to resemble a fresh carrot.
Cut slits in the box, making them a tiny little bit wider than the carrot shape.
Slip the carrots into the slits and let the kids pick them and plant them.
This is great for fine motor and dramatic play, and it just might save the flowers, but I am not counting on it!



Throw Together Chili Recipe with Farmer's Pantry Cornbread Crisps

Throw Together Chili with Farmer's Pantry Cornbread Crisps
This post was sponsored.

It is May.... my furnace is still kicking on in the mornings and again throughout the evening! One day last week I felt that a pot of chili was in order, but I was ill prepared to make it. I had very limited ingredients. I didn't let that stop me and I made a quick pot of Throw Together Chili. This was an economical and delicious dinner- and it was easy! Best of all, this made 2 dinners!




Before we get to the recipe for Throw Together Chili let me tell you a little more about Farmer's Pantry Cornbread Crisps.

Farmer’s Pantry Cornbread Crisps, available in Original and Jalapeno flavors, are a crispy, savory snack that tastes as mouth-wateringly delicious as the first bite of a slice of corn bread or corn muffin. Made from fresh corn and other whole grains grown on American farms, these crisps are sure to appeal to discriminating snackers across the country.


Throw Together Chili
A quick chili made with simple ingredients.

Ingredients
  • 4 cans Condensed Tomato Soup
  • 1/2 pound lean ground beef
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 bag Farmer's Pantry Cornbread Crisps
Instructions

Cook lean ground beef until browned and cooked thoroughly. 
Drain any fat.
Break beef into small pieces.
Place beef into a soup pot.
Add onion and saute.
Add 4 cans of tomato soup to the beef and onion mix.
Add 2 1/2 cups of water to the soup. 
Add the chili powder and ground red pepper.
Stir well.
Heat on medium heat for about 20 minutes, stirring regularly.
Serve topped with shredded cheese and Farmer's Pantry Cornbread Crisps.

Details
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 8 servings

You might also enjoy this Hungry Girl's Sweet and Spicy Tuna Taco Recipe.

Easy Rain Drop Craft

Spring is here and we have been trying to make the best of the rainy days that comes with the season. Harper and I thought a raindrop craft would be the perfect way to spend the last rainy day we had. This was perfect for my 3 year old. Oh, who are we kidding?! I had a lot of fun with it too. I mean, there is glitter involved!


This craft was so easy, yet so engaging!
All you need is:
A pair of scissors
A few sheets of blue paper
glue
glitter




Begin by cutting a drop shape 


Next have your toddler or preschooler liberally apply glue to the paper.



Next, invite the child to shake some glitter on the drop!


And there you have a way to add a little sparkle to any rainy day, regardless of the season!

This was a 5 minute craft, it took very little time to assemble, but it completely engaged my little one! We love easy paper crafts for those hey, let's make a craft moments.

Easy Dipped Shortbread Fingers



Spring is here and that means it is time to pack dinner into a picnic basket as often as possible and head out for an al fresco meal with the kids! We usually take cookies along on these occasions for dessert, but last week, I wanted to take that to the next level of delicious.

This post is part of a sponsored collaboration with Walker's Shortbread.



Walker's Shortbread is the natural choice for my family, we love the buttery flavor of shortbread, but spring days require something super special; after all, we are celebrating the return of feathered friends, the sunshine, and shorts, and we are sending our bulky coats back to the closet from which they came!


Within a few moments time, I took our favorite shortbread to new heights with 3 simple ingredients and very little effort! To make our picnic a nutty sweet affair after the meal had ended I offered my family Walker's Shortbread dipped and drizzled with white and dark chocolate and coated in crunchy walnuts. This was maybe the best ending to a meal that I have ever whipped up in under 3 minutes!



To begin, I laid out parchment paper and spread my shortbread fingers on it.

Next, I melted a fine brand of  White Chocolate and a decadent brand of dark chocolate. I drizzled the melted goodness directly on to my shortbread.

Next, I sprinkled on chunks of raw walnuts and followed up with the dark chocolate.

Allow this to cool and harden for about 30 minutes. If you are in a rush, pop the cookies in the freezer for 10 minutes.

Serve or store in a sealed container for up to 4 days.

If you like cookies, don't miss this awesome collection of cookie recipes.



Bucket List for Icelandic Adventures

As spring fades into summer; I seem to have developed an itch to travel. My daydreams lead me to plan trips I may or may not take. My suitcase seems to be calling for me to pack and set out for an adventure. My feet long to touch unfamiliar lands, my ears are eager for new accents, my palate pleads to taste undiscovered cuisines.


A trip to Iceland has been on my bucket list for as many years as I can recall. As a little girl, I would sit at my globe, letting my fingers spin and my eyes land on a new place, when Iceland blinked on my radar, my curiosity was piqued and has lingered over the decades.


Iceland is a unique island close by the arctic circle. The Gulf Stream location gives Iceland surprisingly mild winters and picturesque summers. The temperature is cool year round in a deliciously refreshing way! In the summer the temperatures range from 55 to 77 degrees, which sounds decadent to this girl from a hot and humid region!


Iceland brings glaciers, snow, and ice to mind, naturally. While taking in these sites are likely at the top of your agenda, the options for fun that await you in this beautiful land appear endless. They are so varied that I am convinced anyone and everyone can have a blast in Iceland!


To give your vacation a great variety of extreme sport and leisure, I have compiled a Bucket List for Icelandic Adventures that you will want to pin to your travel board to refer back to later!

http://www.iceland.is/press-media/photos



1. Take in the Northern Lights
From September to April the extreme dark of the Icelandic skies offers a light show unlike any other, as it is put on by mother nature! Several hotels in the area feature special wake-up calls to help you take it in, without giving up a full night of sleep. Setting your camera at a ten-second shutter is a great way to capture the moment with lovely photos.


http://www.iceland.is/press-media/photos?page=4



2. Horseback Riding
The Icelandic horse has been preserved through isolation for many years. This is a breed of horse unlike any other as it is smaller, sturdy and surefooted on the rough terrains of Iceland. This is the perfect way to take in the landscape while enjoying the big personalities of these unique animals!


3. Get Festive
In the summer months, Iceland basks in long hours of daylight. The locals take the opportunity to gather and celebrate. You can find festivals all summer long dedicated to music, fashion and film. This is a fun way to take in the culture.


4. Go Whale Watching
The cold water of the ocean is home to some amazing marine animals. A trip to Iceland almost requires a whale watching excursion! During the summer months, more than 20 species of whales are visible in the oceans on either side of the island of Iceland. You can also expect to see sharks, birds, dolphins, seals and more.


5. Take a Glacier Tour
Iceland has an ice cover of 10%, which means that you can get out on the ice for a tour that will take your breath away and inspire so many future daydreams at any time of the year.  You can go for as little as 2.5 hours, or spend a week and a half exploring the glaciers and gems on Best Tours of Iceland.


6. Hit the Pools
Iceland is known for its amazing geothermal pools and spas. It is a tradition and a total treat for your mind, body, and soul. It seems so unlikely, but Iceland sports a beach with white sand and warm, geothermal water. It is a must see and must experience, especially after you have been on a glacier tour or horseback riding!

http://www.iceland.is/press-media/photos



7. Cast Out
If there is a fishing enthusiast in your traveling party, you must make time to cast out in Iceland! The fish one might catch include: trout, salmon, and arctic char to name a few. From pond fishing to river fishing to cold water ocean fishing, Iceland has it all for the angler in your life!


8. Savor Local Flavor
Icelandic cuisine has changed over the years, but you can still find and expect classics like head to tail fish with cabbage, a lot of lamb, and so many delicacies! To keep with modern times, vegetarian options are plentiful in Iceland too.



If you have visited Iceland, please be sure to leave a tip with your suggestions on what you would add to our Bucket List for Icelandic Adventures. If you are planning a trip, what are you looking forward to the most? The food, the extreme sports, or the weather? For me, it would be a combination of those things with a healthy dose of shopping and maybe an extra day at the Geothermal Pools and Spas!




Making Motherhood Less Messy With Dyson

I was compensated to write this feature with a sample from the manufacturer. 

As a busy mom of 2 kids, 2 dogs, a cat and a few small animals, let me tell you that life can get busy and messy! Having the right tools on hand to clean up all of the aftermath of family life is important to me because it makes the job easier and it helps me to stay stress free.

We are a crafting family so, scraps, sprinkles and sparkles are frequently an issue to contend with. Not to mention general dirt, ever present pet hair and kid schmutz.

My husband often comments that in my hands, a vacuum stands no chance at survival. I will work it to death in record time. He isn't joking either. With a herd of goblins in tow, things get out of control fast here. My vacuum is put to work 2 times a day, at least!

The number of vacuums I have worked to death over the years is at about 10. With a track record like that and knowing in my heart, if it can suck up dirt, I will push it to the cleaning limits, I am a hard sell on any vacuum retailing at over $200.



Then I got to try the Dyson Animal Ball. This vacuum is priced much higher than my cut off of $200. I had never used a Dyson, so I wasn't sure how I would feel about this unit. I know this is the brand my peers all cheer for so it had a point in its favor with me.

The vacuum was easy to assemble. My husband had it together in a few minutes time. He reported the instructions were easy to follow.

When I turned it on to start my daily cleaning, I was immediately taken by the power of this unit. This vacuum really sucks. And it sucks up dirt you didn't know was there, left behind by my old vacuum! Pet hair? Where? I can't find any on my floors after running this.

It is easy to clean with, easy to empty and has a whole lot of power. No matter how much dirt the family tracks in, they can rest assured I am nearby with my Dyson Animal Ball in hand.

I tested this unit for a full 4 months. I wanted to form a complete opinion on how it preformed compared to the cost. First, the vacuum looks good. The purple color is appealing. The canister is easy to see, making it obvious when to empty.

The unit has a lot of power. It really sucks up well, but I have found that on occasion I need to release hair and small debris that might become lodged inside the vacuum. This has been easy enough to do, but is a problem I haven't encountered with other vacuums. I love how much hair and dirt it can suck up quickly, making cleaning time less time consuming for me.

I like the lightweight features of the Dyson Animal Ball. It is easy to push and carry as needed. It is compact enough to easily store in a small closet when not in use, which is another bonus for me.

Overall, I liked this vacuum very much. It is one of the best ones I have used in terms of cleaning power and durability. I think it is well worth the price and would happily recommend the Dyson Animal Ball to other parents looking to make clean up time a breeze!