Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sweet Sunday: Balsamic Strawberries with Ricotta Cream

Happy Sunday!

Hope everyone enjoyed their weekend!  This weekend's Sweet Stuff Sunday's desert is Balsamic Strawberries with Ricotta Cream from Ellie Krieger. I love most everything I've tried of Ellie Krieger's recipes.  She does a great job creating her recipes: she keeps them pretty healthy and pretty yummy :D She was on the Cooking Channel, although I'm not sure if she is currently (we don't have cable).  She also has a few cookbooks, I believe. 

Click on the link for the full instructions, but the recipe calls for:  Part-skim Ricotta cheese, honey, strawberries, balsamic vinegar, and sugar.  It's super easy to make. 

I've made this recipe a few times for The Hubs and me and some of our guests.  We've gotten pretty positive response from it, but if you are a person who is weird on textures, I'd skip it.  Because it's made with ricotta, it's a little on the gritty side. The Balsamic Strawberries, are very yummy, though.  I could eat a whole bowl of them!  My Mother-In-Law made a great suggestion that the strawberries might be good over marscapone in place of the riccotta.  That was a great idea and would definitely give this dish a smoother texture. 

Hope you enjoyed!  Enjoy the rest of your weekend! 

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Busy, Busy

Yesterday we had tons of fun!  Little Man and I went to the gym.  He gets spoiled by the girls in the daycare center:  Every time I walk in there he's being held like a baby!  hahah  After the gym we went to the dollar store, and the library.  When we came home The Hubs was home and Little Man lovesss hanging out with daddy! 

Later that evening we took Little Man out for some frozen yogurt.  This was his first time eating it, and of course he loved it!  While we were there a little girl walked by and said "he's cute" pointing to Little Man.  He also got to play with a little dog, which he was crazy about.  We ended up having to change his shirt because he made such a mess with the yogurt.  But that's okay!

After the frozen yogurt treat we went to the park.  The Hubs and I were surprised at how fast he took off running towards the playground equipment. 

The playground has one piece of equipment that has a hole cut through the middle so you can climb up and down the ladder.  The Hubs and Little Man were playing on the upper portion of it and I decided to surprise Little Man by peaking my head up through the bottom where the ladder was.  Little Man was soo surprised and excited to see me there he squealed with delight and moved his hands up and down.  It was soo cute!  The hubs agreed it was the most excited he's ever seen Little Man.  Too sweet!

After the park we went to our neighbors house for a bit then came home and fed Little Man some dinner.  I got on a cleaning rampage (awesome!) while The Hubs played with Little Man.  The Hubs and I made dinner together:  Ellie Krieger's Chicken with Jerk Sauce and Cool Pineapple Salsa. 

If you're looking for a great, healthy, flavorful meal, try it.  The only difference we did was substituting the mint in the salsa for cilantro and we added the habanero pepper to both the salsa and the chicken.  Super yummy! 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Daddy's Home!

Hi All!
The book we're reading this week is Daddy's Home! by Rosanne Parry.  We got this book as a gift from The Hub's parents.  Little Man loves it!

It's a cute little story about a boy who is excited to see his daddy when he comes home for work.  The excitement and joy the boy in the book feels when he sees his daddy is definitely how excited and happy Little Man is to see The Hubs.  It's soo exciting to see Little Man's face light up with The Hubs comes home!  Last night Little Man didn't want to go to bed because he was soo happy to see The Hubs!  When I put him on his changing table he was squirming all around because he wanted to play with daddy. 

The book is also cute because it outlines the day's events:  Mom gets a phone call from dad that he's on his way home, the boy washes up, daddy helps the boy take a bath, they read a story together, etc.  Little Man dosen't usually have a hard time going to sleep (thankfully) but if he does when he gets older, this book will be great because it outlines the evening routine of getting ready for bed.

We didn't get any pictures of Little Man reading this book today :(  The first time we read it he sat very patiently in my lap and we looked at the pictures and read the book.  After that he decided to throw a little tantrum for no other reason than because he is quickly (gasp!) approaching two years old.  hehe  I hope we don't see too much "terrible two" behavior!  

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Happy Mardi Gras!

The Hubs and I celebrated Mardi Gras last night with homemade Jambalaya and some Red Bean and Rice!  Well, we attempted to make our own Red Bean and Rice, but it didn't come out very good.  The Hubs tried some and said it was okay.  Good thing I bought a box of Zatarain's as a backup! 

Our Jambalaya over white rice

The Jambalaya was good, but I think we both preferred Gumbo and will probably make that for next years Mardi Gras instead. 

I was really hoping to rent the Princess and the Frog for Little Man since it's set in New Orleans but they didn't have it at Red Box or instant streaming for Netflix. Looks like all our local video stores have gone out of business (sad), so I guess we'll have to wait for next time. backup game plan is to try and see if Pandora has any "Mardi Gras" themed music for us to listen too.  Little Man has been looooving to dance lately, and I'm sure he'll get a kick out of the music. 

What do you have planned for Mardi Gras?

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Breakfast Smoothie

I know on Sundays I usually do a dessert....but I forgot to purchase one of the ingredients for the dessert I was going to do.  hehe  So today I'll share my breakfast smoothie.  I have a really difficult time wanting to eat anything solid in the morning but I usually wake up thirsty - so this works for me. 

My Green Smoothie

I really thrown anything and everything into a blender.  When I say anything, I mean anything: spinach, olive oil, avocado, oatmeal, pumpkin, you name it!  It really depends on what I have in the house.  

Here is the recipe I typically use for my Green Smoothie
-  8 oz milk (you can also use soy, coconut milk, or almond milk.  I have used water in a pinch)
-  1 Scoop Protein Powder (or a 1/2 C plain, nonfat yogurt)
-  1 Banana
-  Heaping handful of raw green spinach (Sounds really icky - but you can't taste it at all)
-  2 tbsp Flaxseed meal (optional) *
-  2 tbsp wheatgerm (optional)
-  1-2 Tbsp olive oil, or coconut oil, or peanut butter (the oils sound really gross, but you can't taste them, I promise.  The oil is really good for absorbing nutrients) 
-  Ice.  However much you like: I usually add a pretty big cupful

Pour your liquid in first and pile everything else in.  Blend until it's a smooth consistency.  If you need it thicker, add more spinach or more banana.  If you need it thinner add more liquid.

*Flax seed is an awesome additive to put in your's very fibrous and will make you have to go to the bathroom.  If you're new to flax seed, start with a teaspoon and work your way up.

Hope you enjoy this recipe.  I'll try to post a few of my other recipes up here since I usually have a least one smoothie a day. 

Enjoy your Sunday!

Friday, February 17, 2012

I love you Through and Through

Since we celebrated Valentines Day, I remembered about a neat book we have called I Love You Through And Through.

It's a cute little book featuring a boy and his teddy bear. The book illisturates different emotions experienced by everyone and lets them know that you love them even if they're mad, or sad, or happy, or silly.


As we read the book I make sure to point out the expressions or the actions of the little boy in the book.  I think it will help Little Man associate feelings with words.  We also point out where the little boy's ears, eyes and nose are.

It's a cute little book that is defiantly worth checking out. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

Hope everyone is having a wonderful Valentine's Day! 

We're having a great day!  This morning my sweet friend Tabitha stopped by to drop off some Valentine's day treats for us.  She always does such an amazing job decorating goodies.  :D

Last night was take two of creating cake pops:  They came out out a bit better this time.  Some things I did differently:  added oil to the melted chocolates (made it shiny and so it didn't harden as fast), and I didn't try to take off the excess chocolate. 

Here's a picture of them before I wrapped them.  The cards are a couple Valentine's Day cards Little Man received. 

Here's what they looked like after I wrapped them:

Our little valentine's day spread:

The candy on the left is what Tabitha made for us.  Check out her blog to see what she did!  It came out soo cute! The picture is of Little Man last Valentine's day!  He's gotten soo big!  I made the heart banner in the background, the cake pop, and the picture frame for Little Man.

I'm also working on making a book for Little Man.  It's not quite done yet, but it will be soo cute!  Stay tuned to see it! 

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Cake Pops, Take One

My first attempt at making cake balls didn't go exactly as planned, so I'll make my second attempt at them tomorrow.

A breakdown of what I did:  made a cake out of boxed cake mix, used about 3/4 of a can of frosting (next time I'll use a smidge less because they were slightly gooey).  Once the cake was baked and cooled I mixed in the frosting and made this pretty piece of work:

Reminds me of the mudpies from the movie Drop Dead Fred.  hehe

I then rolled them into balls and put it into the freezer for a few hours.

Here is where I went wrong:
I read from other people that you may have to microwave the chocolate a few times because the frozen balls might cause it to harden.

I decided to melt the chocolate using a double boiler.  I think I got the melted chocolate too hot because it started to melt the chocolate balls a little bit turning my white chocolate brown.  But, when I tried to lower the heat it seemed like the melted chocolate didn't look smooth.

A few of them came out okay:
You can see there are a few towards the front that came out okay.  These were the ones I did first - so I hadn't screwed up the chocolate yet. 

After I noticed the chocolate balls were melting into the white chocolate I turned down the heat a little bit and that's when I got the really messed up looking ones in the back.

I'll try again tomorrow.  I'll try heating the chocolate up in the microwave instead and see if I can control the temperature a little bit better.  Wish me luck!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Filing Cabinet Makeover

Filing cabinets always look soo dull and drab.  A little spray paint and some removable wall decals go a long way to bring a fresh look to your filing cabinet. 

Our filing cabinet currently lives in our room, but will probably be put back into our master closet.   I decided to paint our filing cabinet light blue to match our room.  I also added some flower decals in red, golden-yellow, green and blue to give it a pop of color. 

Here is our before picture:

and here is our after picture:

This project was super simple and didn't cost very much. 

-  1 Can Primer  (I used Krylon Primer in White )
-  Spray paint  (I can't remember what color blue I used.  I used the Krylon Glossy White for the  handles)
-  Painters tape
-  Wall Decals (I used the Jennifer Wall decals from Target)

-  Dust filing cabinet.
-  Take the handles off.  (Open drawer and push on the handle - It should  pop out the front of the cabinet)
-  Tape the lock so you don't get paint in it.
-  Follow instructions on primer and spray paint.  I ended up doing three coats of primer.
-  Wait until primer dries and then spraypaint.  I pretty much used the whole  can.
-  Primer and spray paint the handles your desired color. 
-  Wait for it to dry and put stickers on and handles back into the cabinet.

I didn't bother sanding the filing cabinet before primering it.  This was my first time spraypainting anything, so I made sure to start with the back of the filing cabinet just to make sure I had my technique down.

I hope you enjoy this project.  I think it's a nice, easy way to decorate furniture you might already have in your house. 

If you enjoyed this post you might also like....

(Note: The link in this post is my referral link.  I was not compensated to review this product.  Please view my disclosure policy for more details.)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Toddler Activities - Flash Cards

Since Little Man has been doing such an awesome job with associating words with pictures (hearing a word and knowing which picture it is) The Hubs and I thought it might be kind of cool to start working on the alphabet.  We're going to use the "I love my munchkin Flash Cards".

My friend Kristan got these flash cards for her son and liked them, so we put them on our Christmas list and got them as a stocking stuffer.

Little Man likes to sit and flip through the pictures: they're easy enough for him to flip through by himself and seem pretty durable.  They do bend a little, so just be aware of that.

They're really cool because they have the letter in bold, a picture of the animal, the name of each animal in English and Spanish, numbers up to ten, colors and shapes.  The best part about these flashcards:  They're on a ring so they can't get lost!

I don't want to be one of those crazy moms who expects their kids to learn multiplication by the time they're in kindergarden, but, like I stated above, his word associate seems really high (to me anyhow hehehe)  so we wanted to start working on them.  Admittingly, he does seem more interested in the picture than the letters right now.  But that's okay.  If we can learn new animals out of this, that is great, too.  We'll also learn on animal noises when we're working on these cards.  Well...all of the animals that make noises (there are turtles, urchins, and x-ray fish).

You can order the flashcard through amazon here: Munchkin Traveling Flash Cards

But I think you can also get them from Buy Buy Baby (I believe that's where my friend bought them) or maybe even Target (I haven't looked but they carry a lot of Munchkin stuff)

So this is the activity Little Man will be working on this week!

 (Note: The link in this post is my referral link.  I was not compensated to review this product.)

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Fabric Organization

One way to store your fabric: wrapped up on a board and stored in a basket.

Now I don't claim to be the most organized person ever.  In fact, that's an area I really struggle with.  But since this is the new year and one of my goals for the year is to organize the house, I figure I'd better start somewhere. 

I got this fabric idea over at I {heart} Naptime.  I'll be honest and say my final project dosen't look as good has her organization does (or that of some of the people she linked on her blog).  But since I don't have anywhere to showcase my fabric, this worked just fine for me.

Before: Everything was crumpled up and stuffed in a basket and storage box

After:  I was able to wrap everything up and put it in a smaller storage box.  booya!

To organize your fabric all you need is a pack of comic book boards.  These are the ones I got through Amazon:

It's really easy to do: you just wrap the fabric around the board and pin it on the back.  Since I quilt I have a ton of fabric strips.  I googled for quite awhile trying to figure out what everyone was doing with their strips.  Most of the people said theirs were just wadded up in a bowl or something.  I thought: I just spent all this time organizing my fabric there is no way I'm going to wad the rest of my fabric up.

I then had an "a-duh" moment and just decided to wrap my strips around the boards, too:

A couple tips:
-  Wrap "cut" ends first so the folded end is on the outside.  This will make it easier to store.
-  For thick fabrics: you can use a big binder clips to secure fabric.  It's easier than trying to pin it.
-  If pinning multiple fabrics to a board, make sure pins are going in the right direction
-  Tuck the ends of the pins in.  You don't want to stab yourself pulling fabric out of the box.

I'm really glad I took the time to do this.  I was amazed at all the fabric I actually had.  I'm hoping this will inspire me to create more sewing projects now that I can actually see what I have.  

I'm still looking for a way to organize fabric squares.  I do have some extra fabric that wouldn't wrap around the boards.  Any helpful suggestions out there? 

Friday, February 3, 2012

About Me

Thank you for reading my blog.  My name is Deanna.  I'm a twenty something year old stay-at-home-mom to Little Man and a wife to The Hubs. 

I started this blog to document my life as a stay-at-home-mom and to help encourage myself to make the most of my days.  I found it's really easy to get stuck in the day to day routine of running a household --it's a lot of work-- and decided I need to make more time to learn and create.  I believe it's the little things in life that make it special, and I don't think I'm going to experience it standing over a pile of dishes.  Yes, we all have responsibilities, and I'm not saying I'm throwing mine out the window, I'm just saying I want to make more time for some of the things I enjoy.

Since this blog is about my journey through motherhood I'll post  about a wide range of topics including: trying new recipes, sewing, crafting, projects and children's activities. I'm going to try to keep my blog fun and uplifting focusing on some of the fun (or funny) aspects of being a mom.  I'll also post how to's on some not as fun activities (read: freezer cooking and potty-training) but I hope you're encouraged by those posts, too.

My goal is to entertain, inspire, and encourage my readers as they read "my story".  I hope my readers  can learn some new ideas or skills from my blog and be entertained by our day to day activities. 
I love to hear from people, so feel free to leave lots of comments!  

Here are some random things about me:

1.  The Hubs and I were married in a Zoo.  I'm not was beautiful!

2.  The Hubs and I met when we were in High School but were friends for a few years before we started dating. We started dating in 2003 and were married in 2006.

3.  The best days of my life:  The Hubs coming home from Iraq, birth of Little Man, my wedding.

4.  Amazed (shocked) that I'm closer to being 30 than being 20.

5.  I love baking.  I would do it much more if I wasn't trying to watch my waistline.  

6.  I'm kind of a slob...It's something I'm working on.

7.  I'm pretty sure I have a little gremlin that lives in my house and hides dirty dishes and laundry.  Once I think I've gotten all the dishes clean or all the laundry put away I'll turn around and there's more. 

8.  I'm a "dog" person

9.  I love watching scary movies but end up closing my eyes for basically the whole thing.

10. I'm a Libra to a "T".  It's very difficult to make decisions...even simple ones.  The act of picking out a new lipgloss can take forever....bigger decisions take even longer.  Sometimes if I can't make up my mind I'll scrap the whole idea.