Thursday, July 31, 2014

été 2014: July 31: Healthy Snack

In my quest for unprocessed healthy snacks for a VERY picky eater, I came upon these little gems on Pinterest. I love easy recipes and C-Bot loves chocolate so I gave them a whirl.

I must say, they came out delicious!!! They were a hit with C-Bot and Man of the House. I would double the recipe because they don't make many unless you make them tiny. I will be making these on the regular so that we can have a quick, healthy pick me up.

They took me maybe all of 5 minutes to mix together, but you have to cool for an hour.

I froze half the batch to pull out as necessary. 

No-Bake Energy Bites
Found on $5 Dinners

1 1/2 cups quick cooking oats or rice krispies.
2/3 cup peanut butter 
1/3 cup honey
1 cup shredded coconut flakes
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
about 3/4-1 cup mini chocolate chips

Add the rice krispies (or oats) to a bowl, crush lightly with your hand or potato masher.
Add the peanut butter, honey, coconut flakes and cinnamon and stir together.
Then add the chocolate chips.
Chill in the fridge for about an hour. Then form into balls.
Voila! You are done!

Monday, July 28, 2014

été 2014: July 28th: Thrift Haul

On Sunday, my mother and I made a quick morning run to one of our favorite thrift shops. I picked out a few things in my hunt for summer/fall transition clothes and maybe to wear on our trip to Middlebury, Vermont in August.

Delia's Cotton Top $.99

I plan on wearing this little top like everyday. Comfy and loose just like I like my everyday mommy clothes. I can wear this now with cut-offs and later with jeans, a chunky sweater, and Converse.

Old Navy Dress $2.00

I plan on transitioning this into fall with a neutral loose sweater. I can see it now. With a cute pair of booties and I have a cute and comfy fall mommy outfit.

Old Navy silky button down $5.99

I will probably end up dressing this up for a date night or bar night with the fiance. Jeans and chunky gold jewelry.

Aeropostale skirt $2.99
I'm not quite sure how I'm gonna wear this. I see this style of skirt all over the internet but I will probably put on a loose, white tee, tuck in the front and wear a pair of gladiators. I may try it on and hate it forever and banish it to the back of my closet. It's a toss up.

Children's Place tee for C-Bot $1.99
Sometimes this thrift doesn't have a great selection of kids' clothes in C-Bot's size. All i picked up for her this time was this Children's Place Ice skating tee. 

I spent $21 bucks (I also got some books and a DVD for C-Bot not pictured). 

The thrift store is Second Chance Thrift and I highly recommend it. They are very careful about where they put their tags (so no holes like the Salvation Army jerks do). The girls who work in there are great and I always find some pretty trendy stuff. Plus, it's neat and clean. Definitely check them out!

When I get to wearing them I will post up selfie outfit shots. Let me know how you like my mommy styling!!!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

été 2014: July 26th: Mommy Clothes: Summer/Fall Transition

Via Woman with Grace

Long Cardigan, Loose Top, Crisp White Shorts

Found on Pinterest. No link. Please let me know if it's your picture!

Olive blazer, Simple Black Dress, Leopard Scarf, Barely There Sandals

Via Fashionista Trends

Loose Sweater, Cut-Offs, Natural Fabric Bag, Brown Strappy Sandals
Found on Pinterest, If this is your photo please let me know!

Summery Fedora, Bright Pop Cardi, Simple White Tee, Black and White Shorts

Via Refined Style

Neutral Light Sweater, Loose Shorts

Via Polyvore mandys120

Neutral comfy tee, cut-offs, and shiny sandals

Via The Honeybee

Comfy oversize sweater, maxi skirt

Friday, July 25, 2014

été 2014: July 25th: We heart Pinkalicious! 6 Fabulous Pinkalicious Ideas

We have recently discovered the fabulousness that is Pinkalicious in our household and C-Bot is hooked. We have checked every title in the series out at the library and read them again and again. Laughing while we snuggle in the covers to get ready for bed. I really think C-Bot can relate to Pinkalicious Pinkerton's addiction to sweets and all things pretty and wonderful. (Although, C-Bot prefers purple over pink.)

To support her new found interests, I have found a bunch of fun stuff we can do that will keep her love of the books alive for the next 400 times we read it. Hopefully, these will help her look at the book differently or notice something she hadn't before.

I love that I can connect something she loves with learning. Coloring, crafts, baking, and games are all great ways for her to explore and learn.

First, if you haven't read the book, HERE is a great place to start.
Barnes & Noble also offers other great books in their online storytime series. The authors read the stories and C-Bot can listen whenever she wants.

We also love the official website. It has games, read-alouds, wallpapers and printables. You can also sign up for the Pinkalicious fan club and print a certificate. Find all of these goodies HERE.

The Secret Ingredient has a great post with the recipe for the cupcakes in the book. We just may make these on a rainy indoors day. C-Bot loves to decorate, so I will be sure to have tons of fun sprinkles and candies for her cupcakes.

Brilliant Beginnings Preschool has a printable Pinkalicious coloring page.

Creekside Learning has a bunch of great activites that range from math games, crafts, and even some recipes. You could literally have a week of Pinkalicious activites planned out! How fun!

Beth from 123 Homeschool 4 Me has a wonderful preschool pack that is great for younger Pinkalicious fans! I'm always printing little worksheets for C-Bot to do to get her mind working. These are super cute too!!!

Hope these are fun! We will definitely be trying most of these out! Please let me know how they worked for you.

Pinkalicious is written by Victoria Kann and is available through HarperCollins Publishing.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

été 2014: July 24th

Today's meatless meal is my personal summertime favorite. I impatiently wait every year for tomatoes to get ripe enough to slice up for this easy and simple meatless main dish. Luckily, I have an Auntie and Uncle who are avid gardeners and bless me with produce. I literally can eat this entire pie plate on my own. I almost want to hide the leftovers. It's sad, really. But it is absolutely that good and luckily it is super easy to throw together! I make this at least a few times a month.

Tomato Pie

1 deep dish frozen pie shell (I used a regular pie shell because that is what I had on hand)
4-6 peeled and sliced tomatoes dependent on size (I did not peel mine. I'm lazy. And I don't mind the skin.)
3/4 cups of mayo
2 cups of Parmesan cheese
about 15 basil leaves (I cut mine up to hide it from C-Bot)
Salt & Pepper to taste
dash of oregano
handful of shredded cheddar cheese

Peel and slice your tomatoes and let them drain on some paper towels while you get the rest of your stuff ready.

In a bowl, combine mayo, Parmesan, salt & pepper, oregano, and basil if you cut it up.

Spread a layer of mixture on bottom of pie shell and then a layer of tomatoes. Repeat the layers until your ingredients are spent. I like to throw a layer of shredded cheddar cheese on last to add more cheesiness to the party.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes for a deep dish pie shell but I cooked mine for 20 in a regular pie shell.

I recommend letting your pie rest for a bit. Cutting it immediately is a messy business. The slices don't hold up well when piping hot. But if your like me and can't wait that long, then by all means go to town immediately.

Adapted from Nest of Posies Farmer's Market Tomato Pie.

I served this with a standby side salad that I can make by memory. So this was pretty much an awesome dinner. You can find the recipe HERE and HERE. My mom used to make this for us and now I make it for my family! I make a few slight changes but it still tastes great. I use fresh pineapple and 100% pineapple juice in the dressing which I serve on the side so my lettuce doesn't get soggy and I can eat some more of it the next day. But otherwise this thing is thrown together in a snap. Oh and the dressing is addictive. Your welcome.

Pie Shell: had on hand in freezer as a pack of 2.
Tomatoes: Free! from family gardeners
Basil: Free! from family gardeners
Salt, Pepper, Oregano, Sugar: All on hand
Pineapple Juice: on hand in a pack of 6
Shredded cheddar: on hand
Mayo: $2.67 from Food Lion
Parmesan: $2.50 from Food Lion
Fresh cut pineapple: $3.99 from Food Lion

Today's Total: $9.16

Less than $10 is awesome for a family meal! Just imagine how much you would have spent at a fast food joint or restaurant. I love knowing exactly what goes into my food. I have been really trying to plan my meals around things already in my pantry. It helps me to use up what I have and to spend less money getting more and more ingredients.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

été 2014: July 23

Is it really mid July?  The Summer Reading Program is just a few weeks away from ending and the Sunday ads are splashed with colorful deals on crayons, notebooks, and pencils. I even browsed Zulily this morning, checking out all the cute clothes for back to school. Luckily, C-Bot isn't going this year (even though she turned 5 in June). I feel she just isn't socially or emotionally ready yet. We have a few more things to work on before I let her loose upon the elementary school world. Like using the potty without my help. [Insert not amused face here]. But summer isn't over yet! There is still fun to be had.

As a stay at home mommy, I am always trying to find fun and educational things for C-Bot to do to fill up the hot summer days.  Maybe your new to town (WELCOME!), or maybe you have a small child or toddler and are just tired of hanging out in the AC. Here are some of the things around town that are filling up our days.

1. Library.  Our summer, this year, has really revolved around the library. It's about 3 minutes away from our house and they have offered some really awesome activities for their summer program. Today was the last day of her "My Own Preschool Storytime". Which was a 45 minute storytime that simulates preschool for 4-5 year olds. No parents. She absolutely loved it and we will definitely be registering for the fall series. They sing, dance, read, and write their letters. She got a certificate and everything at the end. Plus I had 45 minutes to read quietly. Very proud. The fall registration begins Monday, August 25, 2014. You can head over HERE to register.

2. They are also offering a Summer Reading Challenge, which we are participating in. So far she has gotten a bowling coupon for Pinboys, a free book and also gets to spin the wheel for various little toys as she completes the goals. We read A LOT of books so this is great for her. It ends August 9th, but there is still plenty of time to get in some good reading and prizes.

3.  Regal Summer Movie Express.  This is great!! Regal cinemas offers kids' previously released movies for just $1.00!!! We have seen The Adventures of Tin Tin and Smurfs 2. They start at 10am on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Lucky for us we live mere feet away from the theater and we just walk. Oh, and we may possibly have soda and popcorn for breakfast. To check out the schedule you can go HERE.

4. Barnes & Noble. They have a great storytime on Wednesday mornings and Friday evenings. It usually is a short book and then a coloring activity. Also within walking distance. Yes, we are lucky. They also offer a variety of side programs and themed storytimes all the time. Just check their calendar of events HERE to find out what is happening at your nearest location.

Hope these are helpful! Get out there and enjoy the rest of that summer!

If you are interested in Zulily by all means please go HERE. They have the cutest stuff and I am addicted. School clothes shopping is coming!

Here is a list of some upcoming things on our calendar. We like to stay busy.
Superman Storytime, Barnes & Noble Town Center Friday, July 23rd 7pm
DC Superhero Day, Barnes & Noble Town Center Saturday, July 25th 1-3pm
JB's Rattles Program, MEO Central Library Monday, July 28th 10:30am
Frozen Party, Barnes & Noble Town Center Friday, August 1st 7pm

Luck & Love!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

été 2014: July 22

Typical Monday. Fresh start and high hopes for the week.

In my unending quest to lose weight, I have a new goal. We won a trip to Vermont from one of the many sweepstakes I enter frequently. All inclusive, paid, I mean the works. Lucky me, right? Well, I recently scored some pretty awesome thrift store deals to take with me on the trip and I want to look "decent" in them for the folks in Middlebury, Vermont. So I am back on the watch what I eat/healthy/organic kick. (Although I did eat cake yesterday. Pink lemonade cake. 2 pieces.)

I digress. I have been walking Roscoe, our German Shepherd, farther now that he is getting SO much better on the leash. I hope to work up to being able to walk him with the stroller so we can get some real workout on. Chloe's little bird legs just don't seem to hold up to serious walks.

So....I have instated a Meatless Monday. And a meatless every other day for that matter. It is cheaper, healthier, and just plain good for the environment.

Inaugural Meatless Monday Meal

I found this little number from a cookbook I picked up at a thrift store YEARS ago. It has some great easy recipes without a lot of ingredients or steps (which is my kind of cookbook). I am in no kinda way a chef or even a foodie. Just someone who likes to eat delicious food. Without a lot of fuss.

Pasta with Fresh Tomato Sauce

1 teaspoon salt, plus a little more
12 oz. spaghetti, linguine or vermicelli (I used fettuccine)
4 large tomatoes (I used garden tomatoes from my Aunt and Uncle!)
2 tablespoons olive oil or vegetable oil
2 large or 4 medium garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons dried basil or 1/4 cup fresh, minced
Freshly ground black pepper
2-4 tablespoons grated Parmesan or Asiago cheese

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add 1 teaspoon salt. When it boils, add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, or until done to desired taste. (I cooked mine for about 8, so that the pasta can soak up more of that delicious tomato liquid.)

At the same time, bring a small saucepan of water to a boil.

When it boils, add tomatoes, one at a time, and submerge for 10 seconds or turn tomato over halfway through cooking to submerge the other side. Remove tomato with a slotted spoon, set aside and repeat with remaining tomatoes. (I did this step first. After submerging my tomatoes I boiled the pasta in the same pot. Cuts down on dishes because I hate dishes. While the pasta was boiling I cut my tomatoes.)

Core all tomatoes and remove their skins (skins should just slip off).  Cut them horizontally and use your finger to scoop out most of the seeds. Cut tomatoes in small chunks.

Heat oil in a wide skillet.  Add garlic and cook over low heat fro 2 to 3 minutes, being careful not to brown it. Add tomatoes, basil, salt and pepper to taste. Cook to heat through. (I simmered mine for about 10 minutes. I wanted all that flavor it cook in together and I wanted softer tomatoes to look more like marinara so my 5-year old would eat it. She won't eat fresh tomatoes.)

When pasta is cooked, drain, toss with sauce and half of cheese.  Top with remaining cheese.

Serves 4.

I like to keep Monday's meals simple. I'm usually lazy to make dinner on Mondays because I'm still recovering from a weekend of not doing that. So...I served this delicious garden fresh main dish with a simple green salad and an everyday homemade French vinaigrette. I found the recipe for the vinaigrette from an awesome cookbook by Dorie Greenspan. Unfortunately, it was a library book so I couldn't keep it and love it forever but this was one of the recipes I took from it as a must try. It reminds me of the dressing I used to have in Paris during my study abroad. This cookbook is definitely on my top recommended list.

You can find the recipe for that HERE and HERE.

I served my vinaigrette with organic romaine hearts by Organic Girl, croutons, and shredded cheddar.

I also purchased some pre-made texas toast from the Food Lion bakery on a whim during my quick T.P. run.

All in all it was a hit. Chloe at most of her pasta, still a little put off by some suspicious red chunks in her pasta. (I tried.) But she did eat 3 servings of salad, so that more than made up for it!

Texas Garlic Toast: $1.99 from Food Lion
Tomatoes: Free! from my Aunt and Uncle's garden
Organic Girl lettuce: Free! (Given to me by my mother-in-law)
Dressing, croutons, parmesan, garlic, olive oil, and salt and pepper : Already had all the ingredients on hand, so semi free.
Cheese: $1.66 from Kroger with .65 off 2 Kroger Best Customer coupon
Basil: Free! from my mother's garden
Fettuccine: $1.00 from Farm Fresh

So I'm saying this meal cost us less than $5.00! Not bad for trying to cut the grocery budget!

I hope you enjoy these recipes. The pasta makes a great summer meal. Delicious and fresh and you won't heat up your kitchen. I think it took me maybe 45 minutes to whip it all up. I didn't even finish the episode of Vampire Diaries I was watching while doing it. That's the kind of Monday meal I like!

Luck and love!