While I was stuck in San Diego for a month (mostly all by myself) I did do a lot of little felt food projects. I made items for busy bags and pages for quiet books. The pages above aren’t all finished yet and clearly I was “winging” it. I’m hoping to have at least one book finished by the time we head to China. Of course I have so many little “projects” to do and stuff to clean out, grant applications to fill in and regular house “stuff” that needs to get done I’m not sure I’ll have enough time. But that is my goal anyway.
I LOVE Etsy. I find things made by the most clever folks. Recently I was on Etsy looking for Busy Bag ideas and came across a great store called Curious Minds Busy Bags. They have fabulous ideas for Busy Bags, they have a lot that are Montessori. I ordered the Feed Me Busy Bag in Ladybug and Bee. That Bee looks a little suspicious! When they came in the mail the shop owner had added a card telling me that they also have a Curious Minds Web site with even more options. Seriously I could spend a ton of money there. The prices are reasonable but shipping looks like it would add up (of course doesn’t it always?). I also found that Curious Minds Busy bags is on Amazon and Ebay. Seriously they are everywhere I shop.
My plan for their first Christmas home is a play kitchen and then felt food items. I know those play kitchens get played with a lot and are a favorite for years to come. I hope to get the girls into “cooking” while I’m cooking. I know those play kitchens and play food are popular for YEARS so I think it would be a good investment and provide a lot of play time.
I had what seemed like an infinite amount of hours to fret over what we still need to do, things we still need to gather, and worry about not having enough stuff (as ridiculous as that might sound) for the girls. When you have a baby you sort of gather as you go along and by the time that baby is a toddler you have all the toddler .. crap. I did have a ton of kid stuff and I’m sorry I got rid of lots of it now. I have fussed around about the fingerprinting appointments, the I-800a that we still do not have the approval on, the next set of I-800 papers and the grant applications I want to turn in (Keep your fingers crossed). I sent one yesterday and I have one to send in today and maybe another tomorrow.
I know we still need a table and chair set and two big girl chairs for the living room. I’m hoping activities can happen at the little table and TV time can happen in the little chairs. I remember hauling my chair to the living room to watch cartoons when I was a little girl, and I remember the kids table with the apple pattern on it that all of us kids sat at for Christmas dinner.
I want to pick up two Cozy Coupe ride on toys because every toddler loves those darn things.
We have been amassing a large board book library. In San Diego I found a couple of sweet little books. The first one is Good Night! and the Second is Peas on Earth. Both are just too cute and I couldn’t pass them up.
I put together a “meal kit” for the diaper bag. The each includes two silicone bibs, 2 silicone table mats, utensils that you can wash or toss, two pouch spoons and two fresh food feeders. I stuffed all of this in a Ju-Ju-Be “Be Quick” Bag. I know a lot of folks use the disposable bibs but with two toddlers I thought I’d be buying those things all the time so I’d be better off getting something that was easy to just wipe clean and use again.
In a separate medium Ju-Ju-Be “set” bag I’m keeping all of my extra wipes. Boogie Wipes, antibacterial wipes, Kleenex splasher wipes and a Kleenex pack. I guess I will be ditching the handbag in favor of a baby bag for a while.
I’m loving the Ju-Ju-Be bags and accessories. We will not be discussing exactly how many Ju-Ju-Be items I’ve purchased. Most on the Facebook B/S/T site (Buy Sell Trade) and the Ju-Ju-Be Pink Room. The best part is you can get custom items like seatbelt straps, “boxlets”, Quicklets, Key Chains, Ouch Pouches, holders for your EOS or lip balm. You can pick up long discontinued accessories like the bottle rocket (I would love a couple of those) and the wardrobe station. You can even find items in discontinued patterns.
New patterns come out all the time. REALLY love the new legacy series The Admiral print! Paul needs this, its cute and not too girly.
I was hoping I would be able to get my Tula there too. However the Facebook B/S/T forums for Tula had the carriers alright, but they were asking WAAYYY over retail for them. Some going for over a THOUSAND dollars. WHAT?!?! Its cute but it is after all only a baby carrier. I removed myself from both Tula groups as soon as I saw it was just too rich for my blood. I found a cute standard Tula in stock and bought it. See above for the print I ended up with. I had no clue they were so crazy popular. Tula often sells out within MINUTES of re-stocking. MINUTES folks. Of course now that I’ve seen Isabella’s last update I wonder if I should have gotten a toddler size as well (25-50 lbs). PPFFTT
Who Do You Think You Are? is on Pick Your Plum today!! I got the girls’ names done so I can hang them from the oars on the wall. They are on sale for 6.99 per name!! WHOO HOO what a deal! You know how much I LOVE a deal!?!
You can spray these any color and add sparkles or crystals or whatever floats your boat. You could do other words too for your gallery wall or travel wall, maybe words for holidays like Love, Spring, NOEL, XOXO.. etc. I should go back and order FAMILY. I love the gallery wall we have and look at it often. I like that it has all sorts of things included, not just pictures.
Head on over to Pick Your Plum and get this deal.. only 13 hours left to snag it!! GO GO GO
We have been ordering from Zaycon Foods for a while now. We have tried several items and thankfully we have never been disappointed.
Recently we picked up 72 pounds of bacon, I know it sounds like a gigantic amount but it is the sort of bacon that you could have a full out brawl over. We do go through a ton of bacon here at the house every week. I use it in a lot of things and then I save all the bacon fat to cook other things in.
Next month we will pick up 80 pounds of chicken and I hope to have my crap together so I can make several recipes ahead to freeze and then just portion out the rest of the chicken breasts into freezer bags. I’m thinking chicken pot pie, Greek chicken, shredded chicken, tandoori chicken and maybe the sauce for the crispy keto chicken. I’m hoping to come up with another idea or two because those freezer meals are a great solution and keep us eating well and not spending money on take out all the time. It takes away many excuses to behave badly.
We will also pick up 80 pounds of ground beef in December and hope it goes as well as it did last time. In the summer we picked up 80 pounds of beef, we planned ahead for several dishes so we could make “freezer meals” for the nights I was too tired to cook or if I had been gone all day. A week in advance we started to assemble all the ingredients I was going to need for each dish. We cooked up 32 pounds of beef that day, we made eight pounds each of: Ground Beef Stroganoff, Beef Pot Pie, Caveman Chili and Taco Meat. Then we packaged up the rest of the beef into 2 pound increments and put them into freezer bags for other miscellaneous recipes. Honestly I am a little worried we should have ordered 120 pounds of the beef because we really go through it.
Zaycon Foods have sales all over the country, you sign up, choose your “pick up spot” and turn up at the appointed date/time. It has never taken us more than 5 minutes to get what we ordered. We go through the line, give our name and someone puts it in the trunk for us and we are on the way home in moments. I have added my referral link and if you sign up using my code the folks over at Zaycon Foods will put a dollar into my account, I know that doesn’t sound like a lot but it sure counts up.
Apparently the company that owns Avenue has undergone a bankruptcy and is closing 150 stores nationwide, In Washington State the only two stores that will remain open are Renton and Yakima. Everything is 60% off at the other stores currently, both the Lakewood and Tacoma stores have gotten an influx of stock from stores closing in Las Vegas and Texas.
This would be a great time to stock up on things you might need. Sizes 14/16 are in high demand and selection is limited (but still good and worth a visit), however if you are in a size 22+ you have a ton of options. If you have the time stop by a couple of stores, stock is very different at each store. Happy Shopping!
While on Pinterest I found some Paleo friendly bread originally posted on She Cooks He Cleans. This gal has it right, this has a good flavor, texture etc and can be used just like regular bread. I LOVE it.Thank you Pinterest! You have got to try this!
- 3/4 cup almond flour
- 4 tablespoons flax seed meal
- 2 tablespoons toasted sunflower seeds (I have also tried cashews and pecans)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt or sea salt
- 3 eggs
- ~1 teaspoon honey (optional) I have used a tablespoon to make it sweeter depending on why I need the bread.
- 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, walnut oil or? You might even be able to use butter here if you allow it in your diet.
Prepare an 8×8 Pyrex type pan, I have used a little butter, cooking spray or a tiny bit of oil wiped around the inside of the pan. Bake in the microwave for about 2 minutes 30 seconds. You need to add 30-40 seconds if you increase the honey. When the bread is finished in the microwave:
Give your bread a few minutes to cool (say 5 minutes).
I used my Paleo friendly bread to make a fried egg sandwich – this bread makes wonderful breadcrumbs, it toasts up well and is a dream next to a homemade soup. I plan on giving this a whirl using macadamia nuts – think how fab that would be with Havarti cheese or a wonderful cream cheese. YUM!
Make up a batch, have a snack and go poke around She Cooks He Cleans, because clearly this gal has some skill!!
We are trying to be at least Paleo-ish (still doing dairy of course and a few peanuts here and there), so with that being said this cheeseburger dip is fabulous. It works as a dip or even a main dish as my son Carl and I have done several times. You could serve it with crackers, chips, crusty bread or on a bun like a sloppy Joe if you’re still eating grain. I have served this with Paleo crackers but we like it as a main dish with salad the most.
- 1/2 pound ground beef (I use an entire pound)
- 6 strips bacon, cut into 1 inch pieces (If you LOVE bacon use a little more)
- 1 small onion, diced (use a sweet or mild onion)
- 1 clove garlic, chopped
- 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup mozzarella, shredded
- 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons ketchup
I Have used cheddar cheese but we also used Colby Jack (My favorite) and it turned out great. I have also used Hormel pre-cooked bacon from Costco and that did a nice job as well. Serve with your fresh tomatoes and lettuce shreds to make this just like a cheeseburger. Kevin over at Closet Cooking made his look so much nicer than mine (clearly I have the ghetto version).
I am always on the look out for some sort of snack item that is at least semi legal. At the moment zucchini is inexpensive and plentiful so lets use that.
Zucchini and/or Summer Squash
Parmesan (I have used both freshly grated and the stuff in the tub I associate with pizza places)
Oil of your choice (I have used walnut and olive oil)
Flick your oven on to 350 degrees and line your cookie sheet with parchment paper to keep the cheese from sticking.
Remember, the thinner you cut your zucchini the crispier they will be. The first time we did this we used freshly grated Parmesan cheese ($$$) and they were wonderful, but during a quick trip to Sam’s club I spied a HUGE canister of that Parmesan cheese I remember having around the house as a kid. So I could not resist trying another batch. They were also good but I will say they tasted saltier to me even if I did not add salt.
You could broil these if you were in a hurry (I’d try 3-5 minutes and watch them like a hawk).
They are fabulous by themselves and make a wonderful appetizer or snack to hold everyone over. They are great with dip too!
Recently I was honored to be invited to attend Alexandra’s graduation from The Tacoma School of the Arts. Alex is my daughter Bethany’s best friend and honestly she is like family. I love this girl. Alex has been on hand as a trusted friend practically since we moved to Tacoma from Seattle years ago. I’m sure the girls will be friends for a lifetime.
The graduation took place in the Pantages theater in downtown Tacoma. The venue is small and elegant so I felt really very touched to be invited to attend the graduation along with her family.
The kids from SOTA are very talented and put on a truly top shelf performance. The announcers and staff kept the comments to a minimum, with the exception of one lady.. she seriously recited her entire job history, I can only conclude she was actually job hunting and this was a way to get her resume out there. She gets extra points for the creativity. The odd part about her was that even Alex had no clue who she was. The gal never introduced herself, but she had a robe so I guess she was supposed to be there.
Alex is headed to Northwest University in the fall where Bethany is already attending. I just know she will have a wonderful time. We were trying to think of something great to give her for graduation. Finally we came up with the idea of a dorm essentials box. I got a list of items from Bethany and bought a Rubbermaid Tote to put it all in. We put in tea, coffee, cocoa, sugar, salt & pepper, granola bars, white board, hanging jewelry organizer, dish towels, dish soap, cleaning wipes, paper towels, big clothes pin, big mug, travel mug, kleenex, Command hooks, warm blanket, erasers, double hanging rod… etc. We wrapped every silly item and added little funny blurbs on each one, for instance on the hanging rod “For your big hang ups”..I had such a great time shopping for stuff. I had no shortage of ideas when it came to this gift.
Alex has a wonderful family and they must be so proud. Here is a girl who passed on getting a car in order to do a mission trip. How many teenagers forgo a car? For anything let alone to help others?!? I love it!
I am working on this whole Paleo-ish diet but I am not going to lose my mind because we all know what happened last time and my cholesterol dropped like a stone. Yes folks your cholesterol can be too low! I’ve decided to keep dairy and of course I am still not off of sugar (damned sweet tooth).. but I am better (even if its only marginally).
While traipsing around Pinterest I found a ton of recipes. I found a recipe for Blender Salsa, its quick & dirty salsa and actually really good. After I made the first batch I think Paul ate it all week and wanted more the next weekend. Think how quick and easy you could whip up a quick snack. If you click the link it will take you to the blog that Pinterest directed me to.
1 can original Rotel tomatoes
1 can diced tomatoes
1/2 Onion – chopped
1 Clove of garlic diced
a handful of cilantro – I go heavy here because I love cilantro
1 tsp Honey – I probably add a little more
1/2-1 jalapeno – I left it out
Lime juice (equal to one lime)
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Cumin
Slap it all into the good old food processor and zip zip you have salsa. It made a glass sauce jar with enough left for a good snackfest!
We did use the rice crackers or the Stacey’s Naked Pita chips (my favorite).. I have meant to try the Paleo crackers and chips… but sometimes there is just not enough energy to go around.. plus those Stacey’s Pita Chips are super addictive!!
Okay for all of you Paleo folks Paul and I went to Jasmine Mongolian Grill two weeks ago and this is the easiest place to stick to your plan. Granted you can do it anywhere by hitting only meat and vegetables, but often the non-Paleo sides that arrive are far too tasty to pass up. Mongolian grills seem to be popping up all over and you could probably find one in almost every town.
I thought the best part about it was that I loaded up the bowl and not only did I not have to do all the prep, I didn’t have to cook it myself.
I was really sold on te stir fry so I thought we might want to try it at home.
I cut up all the ingredients when we got home from the store. I used red pepper, onion, fresh pineapple, mushrooms, cilantro, celery, carrots and zucchini as well as 4 steaks.
I tossed the first two steaks in the freezer (the other two were purchased last minute because the kids were going to stay for dinner), I wanted them frozen because you can do a very thin cut when they are nice and frozen, but the fresh steaks were easy to cut with kitchen scissors.
I added seasonings as I went along including the juice of two lemons and some beef flavoring to jazz things up a bit.
This is my end result and every bit as fabulous as the food from the mongolian grill. Not only is it really good it is a great item to heat up and eat for lunch the next day. Enjoy!