Who doesn’t love exploding art?

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Not me.  I love exploding art.  I didn’t know I loved it until a couple days ago.

But then I tried it and realized that hey, if it explodes it’s probably fun.  Also, SweetPea liked it.  So that means we’ll get to do more exploding art.  Which is kind of awesome.

I might be a wee bit addicted to pinterest…but in my defense I actually use a lot of the recipes and kid activities I pin.  So I justify my time on pinterest.  It enhances my life.  And my kids’ lives.  And it’s amazing.  Hold up, I need to pin something…

Anyway, I found this activity for erupting apple sidewalk chalk paint and thought it was amazing.  So naturally I had to try it out.  Fortunately it was very easy to set up.  And it was super fun.  For both kid and Mom.

I would highly recommend you try it.  I might even go so far as to suggest that those of you with kids should definitely try it, everyone else should do it just for themselves.  Because it’s paint.  And it explodes.  And that’s kind of awesome.

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Wanna Be Like Dad

Apparently my kids want to be like their dad.  I can’t say I blame them.  I mean, I think he’s pretty awesome.

SweetPea trying on Dad's shoes

SweetPea trying on Dad’s shoes

I have to say, I particularly love this next photo.  Dan captured a similar photo of SweetPea and me sleeping in identical positions when she was only a few months old too.  It’s kind of precious.  So I was really excited when I saw the boys sleeping like this.  I had to, just had to take a picture.

Bub imitates Dad even while sleeping

Bub imitates Dad even while sleeping

 

Spicy Sausage, Potato, and Kale Soup

Spicy sausage, potato, and kale soup

Spicy sausage, potato, and kale soup

Oh man.  Not that this soup is souper spicy (see what I did there?) or anything but it does have a little more heat than my 2-year-old typically eats.  However, I put a small serving (I wasn’t planning on wasting a single drop of this deliciousness) in front of her; she took one bite and started saying how good the soup was and then continued to plow through her bowl like a champ.

Toddler approved spicy sausage, potato, and kale soup

Toddler approved spicy sausage, potato, and kale soup

I need to remember that whenever I give her something that has a little spice in it, as long as I don’t say, “Oh, this might be too spicy for SweetPea,” there’s a good chance she’ll give it a shot and maybe like it.

Unfortunately for me, she liked this soup…which means I had fewer leftovers…which means I got to eat less of the soup…which kind of sucked because this soup is really good.  However, it’s also really easy to make, so I might just have to make it again in the near future.

Ingredients:

1/2 pound spicy chorizo sausage
2 Tbsp butter (or olive oil, but butter is delicious)
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (I used closer to 1/4 tsp to keep the heat down)
1 large bunch of kale, stemmed and chopped (about 2 very large handfuls)
2 large baking potatoes, peeled and chopped into bite size bits
4 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup milk or cream (I used 2%)

Directions:

Heat large pot over medium high heat.  Add chorizo and brown it.  Once chorizo is browned, remove it from pot and set aside.
Lower heat to medium, add butter and let it melt.  Then add the onions and let them cook 5-10 minutes.  Add garlic and cook for another 2-3 minutes.  Add salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.  Cook another 5-10 minutes.
Add chopped kale in smallish batches (I did mine in 4 batches).  Let each batch wilt before adding the next.  Add the nutmeg and stir.  Cook another 2-3 minutes to allow the kale to fully wilt.
Add potatoes, cooked sausage, and chicken broth.  Bring to boil.
Lower heat and let simmer an hour or more (the longer it simmers the better the flavors).
Stir in the milk (or cream).

Serve and enjoy!

Spicy sausage, potato, and kale soup

Spicy sausage, potato, and kale soup

New Haircut

Somebody got her locks chopped.

Toddler Haircut for Girls

New Haircut

I can’t decide if I love it or if I hate it.  She’s officially a big girl.  And I love it!  Except a small part of me (ok, maybe not too small of a part) hates it.

I will definitely miss her baby mullet blowing behind her as she runs.

Toddler Haircut for Girls

New Haircut

Strawberries ‘n Cream Oatmeal Smoothie

toddler friendly smoothie

Strawberries ‘n Cream Oatmeal Smoothie (and yes, that’s a green smoothie in the background…gotta have it!)

What!?!

Ok.  If I’m being completely honest, this recipe was mostly just a series of mistakes.  Mistakes that turned into a gloriously tasty smoothie (if you don’t believe me, ask SweetPea).

It started with homemade yogurt.  That didn’t turn out.  Way to soupy.  But I wasn’t going to throw it away…that would have been a waste of perfectly good milk.  Besides, when I make refrigerator oatmeal I add both yogurt and milk…so soupy yogurt is the perfect combination, right?

Well, it was the first few times I made it.  Then I finished that jar of homemade yogurt and started on another jar…which was even soupier.  How does that happen?  It was from the same batch.

Whatever.  I still made my refrigerator oatmeal like I have been.  However, when I pulled it out the next morning it was still soup.  Not a nice creamy oatmeal consistency at all.  More like liquid…with oatmeal flakes floating in it.

That’s when I had to get creative.  I threw it in the blender.  Then added a handful of strawberries.  And came up with this.  Which tastes just like strawberries ‘n cream instant oatmeal packs that I ate when I was younger.

It’s super delicious.  And healthy for you.  And my toddler loved it (and the pink smoothie mustache she got from drinking it 🙂 )

Now, I can make this again with my soupy yogurt…but when I run out of that, this will be the recipe I follow (and it uses no soupy yogurt).

Ingredients:

1/4 cup uncooked old fashioned rolled oats
3/4 cup milk
2 tsp honey (add more or less to taste)
1/4 tsp cinnamon
handful of strawberries (I used fresh, but I think frozen will work just as well)

Directions:

The night before:
Put the first four ingredients in a mason jar.  Stir, shake, roll…anything to get everything mixed together.  Put in fridge.  Leave overnight.

The morning of:
Dump all of the mason jar contents into a blender.  Add your strawberries (sans stems).  Blend until smoothie consistency (feel free to more milk if it’s too thick).

Drink and enjoy!  And if you’re feeling particularly giving, share it with a toddler or a husband…but know this makes a small smoothie…so you might need to up the ingredients if everyone wants some!

Family Fun Time

I love the fall.  I love the colors of fall (even though I don’t live on the east coast).  Around here we get aspen and larch turning gold.  And maybe it’s just because I grew up with those particular views, but there’s nothing better than going for a drive and seeing a hillside speckled with gold from all the larch.  It’s a good sight.

However, the larch needles…not so fun to rake up and jump in.

That might be why I like that we have big maples in front of our place.  Because that means we get a big ole pile of leaves.  Which is prime for jumping.

fall, jumping in leaves

Don’t worry, she didn’t jump with the sucker in hand.  In fact, she didn’t jump in the leaves AT ALL this outing.  It took a few more times before she started having fun in leaves.  But we got there.

And then, when we come inside we still have fun.

Tummy Time!

Tummy Time!

I might use the term “we” loosely, because, as evidenced from the picture, somebody isn’t having much fun.  Well, I guess tummy time isn’t so fun when you can barely lift your giant noggin off the floor.

Freezer Friendly Crock Pot Tamale Pie

Freezer Friendly Crock Pot Tamale Pie

Freezer Friendly Crock Pot Tamale Pie

I have to say, this was one delicious meal.  I couldn’t get over how tasty it was.  And because of the cornbread recipe I use (which is sweeter than a lot of recipes) those two flavors combined to make one delicious dish.  I made this on Halloween and had my parents over.  It was unanimous…this is good!

I can’t wait to make it again.  Only this time,  I’ll make like 4 dishes worth and freeze them so I can just keep making and eating them.  All. Winter. Long.

Seriously, it’s that good.

Our two-year-old wasn’t too keen on it.  I think between the chili powder and the red pepper flakes it was too spicy for her…it wasn’t spicy, there was a slight zip to it, but it wasn’t spicy.  Maybe next time I’ll omit the red pepper flakes and see if she likes it…

Ingredients:

1.5 lbs stew steak, in small bite size pieces
1 carrot, shredded
1 zucchini, shredded
1 onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
2 cups frozen corn
2 15 oz cans tomato sauce
1 Tbsp chili powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp paprika
1.5 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper

Directions:

Brown stew meat.  Add carrots, zucchini, onion, and bell pepper cook another 2-3 minutes.  Drain and cool.

Add to a gallon zip lock bag with remaining ingredients.  Freeze.

Thaw and cook in crock pot on low for 5-6 hours or high 3-4 hours.

Serve over cornbread.

(Because our family is small, I split this into two zip locks, making 2 meals with this one recipe)

If you want more freezer friendly crock pot recipes check out this post!

Freezer Friendly Crock Pot Tamale Pie

Freezer Friendly Crock Pot Tamale Pie