So, since the weather is sour today…I thought I would share this fun little DIY to keep the kiddos busy! Play-dough is so easy to make at home…and my kids end up wasting most of it when they pull it … Continue reading
I LOVE Granola with Yogurt. It’s the one thing that I MUST have around the house. Granola is actually really easy to make, and MUCH cheaper than buying it. Here’s my favorite recipe to use, I hope you like it!
2 C. Oats
1/4 C. Granulated Sugar
3/4 C. Honey
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
3/4 C. Nuts (I use Almonds)
3/4 C. Dried Fruit (I like Cranberries)
In a large bowl mix Oats, sugar, nuts, and honey until well coated.
Spread into a thin layer on a prepared baking sheet. (Best to use a cookie sheet, but mine was dirty!) I line my sheet with foil, then butter the foil just slightly to keep the honey from sticking. Bake 10-15 mins, remove from oven and sprinkle with salt and cinnamon, toss around a bit to ensure pieces on the bottom don’t burn. Return to oven and bake 10 more mins.
When done remove from oven, add dried fruit and, give it a toss. Then lay out to cool. I like to lay a piece of foil on the counter, and transfer the granola onto the flat surface, the cold counter seems to cool it down faster. The granola will get crunchy as it cools.
Store in airtight container, and serve with yogurt or milk!
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We definitely have had an eventful weekend! I write today from my MIL’s kitchen table. We’ve stayed here the last 4 days to get away from a possible mouse raid at our house. It’s been crazy. Over the last year, we have killed HUNDREDS of mice in our home…our neighborhood is dealing with an infestation. The origination of these mice is some what of a debate, some say it’s gotten bad ever since the wildfire we had in 2011, some say it’s always been like this. All I know is that when this new baby comes we will have a NO MICE ALLOWED sign hanging on our front door!
I just couldn’t take it anymore. I’m not joking that we’ve killed hundreds either, I should have kept a tally going just so I could prove it. I’ve gotten pretty darn good at whack-a-mole though and my family calls me the official mouse killer. Just give me a frying pan and they are good as toast!
Anyway, Friday morning I loaded the dishwasher and turned around to make lunch. My son starts whining behind me and I see water pouring out from under the dishwasher, along with massive amounts of mouse poop. I pulled the dishwasher out thinking “those little sh*** chewed throughout the water hose”. Found this instead…
(that’s the sump intake, and they chewed a hole through it!!) and a cozy little home they made for themselves. Only found one very small dead mouse under there, but I have HAD it! We packed up the kids, took them to Mimzy’s (luckily she lives around the corner!) and the Hubby and I had a nice little date night…we set poison out all over the house, put peppermint essential oil soaked cotton balls EVERYWHERE and after this frost hits, I’ll be planting peppermint all around our garden. Apparently, mice don’t like the smell of peppermint…it’s too strong for them and they will stay away. We even put a bunch up in the attic in our insulation, for fear that they were hibernating up there!
Now, we’ve been back to the house a few times and haven’t seen any evidence of dead mice…and I actually know the source of our problem…its THE CAT! She likes to bring them in, ALIVE and set them free. She rarely ever eats them (like my other cats did), but after the literal infestation we had over the summer (mice making babies in the kids little pop up tents…) I don’t want to take any chances! Hopefully the sheer smell of peppermint will just keep them away! Unfortunately, I think I’m going to have to lock our cat in or out at night to deter her from bringing them in as well. I’ll let you know how it all works out! Hopefully this peppermint trick is the cure all, I really don’t mind the freshness when I walk in the door! It’s supposed to keep rodents away too, like skunks and raccoons.
Anyway, other than the mouse hunting we had a pretty awesome weekend! We got to go to a birthday party, and the family’s home that we visited was AMAZING! The had a gorgeous house built on a big plot of family land. Their home was high up on a hill and overlooked all these gorgeous trees. They had a really cool garden, and bunnies…the kids had a blast! They got their faces painted, and I tell you my heart sinks looking at these pictures…’specially Jocelyn’s, she’s just growing up SO darn fast! Now for some pretty photos to look at…
And here’s a special little treat for you…Ms. J has become quite the little picture taker! I’m loving this one I found on my phone of her little brother!
Well, I hope y’all have a great week…and hopefully I’ll have some fun DIY recipes, and activities to post later in the week!
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I found this amazing looking recipe on Pinterest last week for a healthy Chocolate Chip Muffin and decided to give it a go. Here’s the recipe. Now, it calls for Stevia…which actually I don’t believe in using. I’ve read that Methanol and Ethanol are used to extract the sweetener from the plant…and THAT I believe is worse then using plain old sugar. Also, I read some of the comments first, and found that LOTS of people were having trouble with the muffins rising…so I made a couple of tweaks to this recipe, which was actually originally posted here.
Here’s what I used instead…
1 3/4 c oats
1/2 c flour
3 egg white
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt (or regular plain low fat yogurt)
1/2 tsp cream of tartar (or 1-1/2 Tbsp. vinegar)
1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
1-1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup hot water
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a food processor, combine all dry ingredients (oats, flour, cream of tartar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cocoa powder, sugar), until the oats are finely ground. Add remaining wet ingredients, and pulse until well-combined. Line your cupcake pan, and fill each liner about 2/3 to the top. Place in oven and bake for 10 mins. After the 10 min mark, sprinkle some chocolate chips into each muffin. (This will allow the chips to sit on top, or sink into the middle of the muffin rather than all of them being at the bottom). Replace into oven and bake an additional 2-5 mins or until a toothpick would come out clean.
Now, as you can see (in my photo above) my muffins definitely did not rise like the pin showing below. (Which may be from opening the oven to add the chips…) However, if you looked at the original posting, you’d see that the muffins in her pan didn’t puff up that high either. These are supposed to be like Vita Top Muffins, so actually I don’t think they’re SUPPOSED to rise that much…however next time, I may add another 1/2 c. of flour and see how that turns out.
Regardless of how these rose, they are still absolutely devine! They are moist (and have stayed moist after two days!), and very chocolatey! My daughter bit into one and said “Mama! These taste just like Starbuck’s!!” For all you latte junkies out there, you know that Starbucks has a killer chocolate muffin! Anyway, try this recipe out! I’m not sure what the calorie count is to be honest…since I used plain old sugar instead of an alternative sweetner…and I’m sure it’s more than the 58 calories listed on the other blogs…but if my estimate is right it’s right around 100-125 calories which still isn’t bad! Try ‘em out! Let me know how they rise for you!
As usual, it’s been another crazy week in the Varn house. Fortunately, we have no more sick children, and the weather has warmed up, so we’ve been able to play outside a whole bunch! Jocelyn is taking Gymnastics now, and she seriously loves it! Only scary part is, she’s getting braver by the day and is climbing all over things like a little monkey! I’m bracing myself for broken bones…let’s just hope that DOESN’T happen!
I’m totally late on week 5 photos, so today you get two weeks worth! Yay! Here they are…I’m even throwing one of me in there for good measure! You can see how HUGE i’m getting! lol
Day to day, I tend to forget to get my good camera out…I’m usually snapping pictures with my IPhone…so this week I have some goals to accomplish. One of them being to bring my camera with us so I can get some REAL good photos of our outings and shenanigans.
Also, over the last few weeks, we’ve fallen off our home cooked meal train. Money and bills have had their way with us this month, and it’s been CRAZY!! So back to the menu planning I go. It really does help to keep you on budget and your tummies under control! Here are a few new recipes I plan to try this week. Cross your fingers that they all work out well!
Also, this week…I FINALLY got my Neal’s Yard Remedies products in the mail! I’m so STOKED! They smell SO wonderful and are SO soothing to this preggo lady’s body! I’m wearing a roll on scent right now that promotes energy (made from essential oils and goodness!), and I LOVE it! I’ve been sharing lots of samples with friends and their super excited too! Unfortunately, MANY of my family members (all the ones that I can remember) have had issues with cancer. Many have passed, and even I have dealt with a lypoma that grows on the back of my neck and I have, had to have it removed TWICE! I’m starting to really think our government needs to get ahold of these chemical regulations and start giving us clean and pure products that we can count on! Next week, I’ll host a giveaway…and 5 people could win some amazing samples! You can give them a try and see what all the fuss is about!
Anyway, this lady needs to hit the Jazzercise floor now…so I hope y’all have a great weekend! Thanks for checking in on my crazy all over the place life!
A couple of nights ago, my hubby tried a detox bath and he was blown away by the results. So, last night I decided to give it a try (after making sure it was completely safe for baby of course!) and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised! This is what we used…
1-2 cups Epsom Salt
1-2 cups Baking Soda
1/2 c. ground or fresh grated Ginger
A few drops of essential oils (if desired. I liked the way the ginger smelled so I didn’t…but peppermint or lavender would be good relaxing scents to add!)
The Epsom Salt is high in magnesium and soaking in it can give you a boost! Overall we are Magnesium deficient due to changes in our diets over time, and studies show that the acid in your stomach makes it difficult for Magnesium to be absorbed through the digestive tract by using supplements. However, the skin can absorb it beautifully! Magnesium deficiency has been known to lead to heart disease, stroke, osteoporosis, arthritis, joint pain, digestive issues and much more! (care2.com) Not only is it good for your insides, but its good for your outsides too! It can improve the appearance and moisture in your skin.
Baking soda is known to soothe irritated skin, so adding it to your bath water can help to improve the overall health of your skin. It also helps to remove the chlorine and other toxins from your tap water. If you’re trying to take a detox bath, and you’re soaking in water with a bunch of added chemicals…well…that kinda kills the point! So Baking Soda cleans the water and helps to detoxify your body.
Ginger is known to cause sweating. Sweating is the most effective way to remove toxins from your body. Some report that adding Ginger to their bath induces buckets of sweat dripping from their faces! Soaking in a Ginger Bath has even helped people to cure colds! This stuff is like magic!
I LOVED my detox bath. I’ll be honest, I had expected to really sweat my brains out and that didn’t happen, however I did feel very relaxed and rejuvenated. When I got out I could feel my tense muscles release. (I Jazzercise almost every morning and my calves were killing me!) My skin feels softer, my body does feel cleaner and I woke up this morning actually awake and ready for the day. I generally am not a morning person, and I’m one of those “Coffee before talky” people…this morning I was just ready to go! BEFORE coffee! (I’m still drinking it though…I just LOVE that morning cup of joe!
Give this little bath stew a try! If nothing else, you know what you’re adding is safe and clean…and your water will be more trust worthy to soak in!
Things worth noting:
You should soak between 20 to 40 minutes, AND don’t detox more than 3 times a week.
PS. If your interested in purchasing some essential oils (which are amazing for all kinds of stuff!!), or are interested in detoxifying your beauty routine take a look at my online store! I sell Neal’s Yard Remedy products which are kind of all the rage in Europe (teehee!) and they’re well known for their safe and ethical products. Just click here!
Hey y’all! Just sittin here working on hubby’s Vday present, and thought I would share this little gem! Of course I saw a version of this on Pinterest, and just thought it was too cute! If you need a quick last minute gift, this is a cheap but cute one!
So, Valentine’s Day is on Friday and I’m getting pretty pepped up about it! Now that Jocelyn is a bit older, I can partake in some fun festive ideas that she will actually appreciate! This year, she’ll be participating in exchanging Valentines at school. A few kids in the class have dietary issues, and eat very little, if any, candy so I started feeling bad that they might not be able to enjoy a treat from Jo! So, I scanned Pinterest and saw some really cute ways to incorporate Valentines with fruit, or school supplies…and thought of something that I thought was pretty darn adorable! What kid doesn’t like a cutie?? You know those little oranges that are easy for kids to peel?? Actually they come in HUGE bags for under $5.00 and I have a bag right now that we will never finish! So here’s what I did!
The kiddos are learning to recognize their letters and numbers right now, and how to spell each other’s names…so this will be a perfect little surprise that they’ll get a kick out of, AND their parents may appreciate a little nutritious treat alongside all that candy! I’m gonna go write on the rest of the cuties now just to put in the bowl at home…I can’t WAIT to do V-day crafts with Lady J this week!
So, I’ve neglected you all a bit this last week. It’s just turning out to be a CRAZY month! I wanted to share with you though, last week’s project 52 photos! We got a bit more snow, and this time it was soft enough for snow angels! Jocelyn was so stinkin’ excited, it was just too cute! Jeffrey (my 2 yr old) has been sick…he’s been battling a cold, off and on, for a few weeks so he didn’t get to enjoy much snow. We snuggled and drank hot cocoa instead.
Snow Angels on a school day!
Why’s all the rum gone?
In other news, I got to travel into Manor this last weekend to do a newborn photo shoot. This little bug was so cute! He stayed awake the whole time, and I swear to you did not make one peep! Such a well mannered little guy and I was able to get some ADORABLE shots of him! I LOVE doing newborn photos, ’cause I just LOVE babies! Makes me so eager to welcome our little Lady J into the world this May!
As some of you know, I decided a couple of weeks ago to go out for becoming a Jazzercise instructor. I had my “Movement Screening” last week, and I’m happy to announce that I passed! Woohoo! This means that I can go forward in training. I’m a little nervous about it, and questioning my sanity a little bit! The “workshop”, (a weekend you spend training and then trying out), is July 25th. That’s just 10 weeks after little Lady J gets here, which means I have to start training NOW! Like yesterday actually! I really want to make sure I know all of the routines I need to learn BEFORE I go into labor…that way all I have to worry about is practicing and healing once the little one is here. Wish me luck…my instructor seems to think I’ll be fine so for now I’m gonna go with that! Luckily if I’m not ready I can postpone it…but the next one isn’t until NOVEMBER and quite frankly I don’t want to wait that long!
I feel like my creative bug is sleeping lately, still looking for some fun crafts that I can do to pass the time. Thing is, I like to make things that will actually be useful…and finding the time to do that between studying for school, raising two kids, being a homemaker, working on Jazzercise…and everything else it’s really hard to finish something that I’ve started! If you have any ideas or have seen any cool projects that your a little scared to try…send them my way! I’ll test them out for you!
Well…that’s pretty much it in our world this Monday, ‘cept that I’m OVER this cold weather and so are the kids! I hope dearly we’ll get to enjoy some spring time sun in the next couple of weeks!
So, the last meal plan I made worked so well that it lasted us two whole weeks! (We had a birthday party, and dinner at the in-laws, etc) I’ve NEVER gone 2 weeks without going grocery shopping, so I’m VERY happy about that. This time I’m going to try and actually make a meal plan for 2 weeks and see how long that will last us! Here’s our plan, and the recipes are listed too, so feel free to try a few! (Or all!) Ha!
Wednesday: Thai Pork
Thursday: Lemon Garlic Shrimp
Friday: Rotisserie Chicken
Parmesan Roasted Zucchini
Saturday: Pot Roast
Sunday: Dinner at Mimzy’s!
Tuesday: Daddy Poker Night (Night off for Mommy!)
Wednesday: Cracker Barrel Broccoli Cheddar Chicken
Thursday: Enchilada Pie
Friday: Beef w/Snow Peas
Saturday: Homemade Pizza Night!
Sunday: Crockpot Apricot Chicken
Mini Red Potatoes
Monday: Stuffed Bell Peppers
Tuesday: Daddy Poker Night! (Night off for Mommy!)
Wednesday: Baked Bolognese
Thursday: Beef & Broccoli
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