Getting Ready for Christmas

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I LOVE this time of year!!!!!  The songs, the lights and just the general joy of the season.

We kicked off our Christmas season by going to see Christmas lights!  I got some cute ones of Avery next to some snowflake lights.

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She also got to meet Rudolph!

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She also decided that snow was a food group.

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It was cold but such a fun family time.

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Despite his participation in the Christmas light activity, my husband can be such a bahumbug sometimes.  He hates the commercial side of Christmas and well the shopping.  I choose to look at the wonder and magic that comes with Christmas.  I want to instill this in Avery too.  Soooo… I made her a fun, interactive Advent Calendar.

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This is so quick and easy!  I got it done in an hour.  I got the frame, clothes pins and tags from Hobby Lobby.  The frame was literally just the frame, no backing or glass.  I didn’t have to deconstruct anything and this really saved time.  I already had all the stickers and jute in my stash.  I used my staple gun to attach the jute to the back of the frame.  Easy, peasy.

On the back of each tag, I wrote an activity that will help us enjoy the best of the season while still remembering why we celebrate Christmas to begin with.  Today being the first of December, Avery got to pull the first tag.  It said to build a snowman.  Since we had a snow storm last week I thought this would be perfect.  However, the weather warmed and the thick covering of snow that graced our lawn for days has disappeared.  So we went with plan B.

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A cotton ball snowman.  She was sooo excited when he was done.  We used sticks from the yard, felt and pulled cotton balls.  Cute and simple and I had all the supplies on hand!

This Advent Calendar is going to be so much fun! I can’t wait for tomorrow’s tag!

I hope your Christmas season is off to a great start!

Go and Create!

Rachel

Fall Festivities

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Oh boy has this been a school year!  I am pretty tired by the end of the day and have little time to sit down and think let alone blog!  But with Thanksgiving a few days away, I made some time to show you what we have been up to around here.  Despite my crazy schedule, I always have time for fun and crafts with my girl :)  My nephew has also joined us in some of our fun.

The tree in our front yard decided to basically drop all its leaves at one time.  They then were lovingly blown by the wind down our driveway toward our garage.  Three large garbage bags later I had most of the leaves cleaned up.  I left a pile for the kids to slide into.  Greatest mom/auntie ever!

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What was left in the front yard was a very small amount.  Avie and Jaxers decided they wanted to ‘help’ me rake up the leaves.  This is how they helped… They were pretty awesome at it.

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This of course got me thinking of a fun fall craft.  We searched through our pile of leaves and found some really good ones. We then took them inside and…

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Made awesome leaf rubbing mobiles!  I tried really hard to get the kids to hold them still but no such luck.  This was the best picture I could get.

Avie and I have also got in touch with our inner artist…

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We painted pumpkins that I drew on card stock.  We were doing really good with cleaning our brushes until I stepped away to get another paper towel… The colors she mixed were interesting for sure!  We will need to get new paint.

We also have been getting ready for Thanksgiving.

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This is Tom and he is our thankful turkey.  We have been writing what we are thankful for everyday.  Can you tell what Avie was thankful for?  He is hanging on our wall so we can see all the blessings God has given us!  It has been a great reminder for me, especially with some of the stuff going on at work right now.  When I am feeling overly stressed I look at Tom and remember all the blessings I have.  I then add another to refocus my thinking.  We are going to make this a yearly tradition!

As your family gets ready to celebrate the holidays, I pray that you will remember all the blessings that are in your life.

Happy Thanksgiving Friends!

Rachel

It’s All Meatball Baby!

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I don’t know what it is about meatballs, but I feel so…domestic when I make my own.  I put on my pretty apron, pull out my tools and channel Donna Reed.  I found a pretty great recipe from Giada.  The original recipe is for mini meatballs but I make mine golf ball sized.  I wanted to use them for meatball sandwiches.  The recipe is simple and that’s just the way I like it.  I did alter it to meet our families needs.  Here is my version.  Unfortunately I wasn’t thinking and didn’t take a picture of the meatball like I should have.  They were all gone by the time I thought about it!

If you would like to make these meatballs…

Here’s what you need:

3 garlic cloves, minced
1 large egg
1/4 cup dried bread crumbs
3 tablespoons ketchup
1 tsp of dried Italian parsley
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 pound ground turkey meat
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 jar of marinara sauce
Package of hoagie buns
mozzarella cheese for topping

Here’s what you do:

Add the garlic, egg, bread crumbs, ketchup, 1 tbsp of olive oil, parsley, Parmesan, salt and pepper to a large bowl and blend. Mix in the turkey. Shape the turkey mixture into meatballs. Whatever size you would like.  Mine were golf ball sized.   Place on a large plate or baking sheet.

Heat 3 tbsp of oil in a heavy large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs and saute until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. Turn off heat. Transfer the meatballs to a plate. Pour off any excess oil. Add the marinara sauce, about 3 cups. Return all the meatballs to the pan. Turn the heat to medium-low and simmer until the sauce thickens slightly and the flavors blend, 20 to 25 minutes.

During the last 10 minutes of cooking, turn the broiler on high and toast the buns.

Assemble the sandwiches however you like.  I chose to make mine open-faced and piled on 3 meatballs and lots of yummy sauce.  I topped the whole thing with shredded mozzarella cheese.

seriously good!  I took left overs to work to share with my friends and they were very impressed :).

Hope you enjoy these sandwiches as much as we did!

Go and Create!

Rachel

Travel Treats: No Bake Pumpkin Cookie Balls

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This past weekend we traveled to Tennessee for my cousins wedding.  To prepare for the trip I wanted to make a healthy-ish treat for our journey (which was many hours long!).  Since it is fall I am totally into the pumpkin flavored… well everything!  I searched for a recipe that would help feed my pumpkin craving.  I found this recipe on Chocolate Covered Katie.  I altered it somewhat based upon what I had in the house.  I am telling you these things are really good.  I took some to work and they were a huge hit with my teacher friends.  I had to stop myself from eating them all in one sitting!  I had a little helper assisting me in making these cookie balls.  Avie is totally into helping mommy in the kitchen.  She even helps unload the dish washer!  Anyway, she was in charge of stirring and…

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… putting the balls on the tray.  Not bad for a 2 year old!

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I had more of a mess to clean up but it was totally worth it for the memories :).

(The little stinker couldn’t stay still long enough to keep the picture from blurring.)

If you would like to make these cookie balls…

Here’s what you need:

  • 3/4 cup quick oats
  • 1/2 cup oat flour (or make your own by blending oats in a food processor until they become powder. Measure after blending, though I found it took 1/2 cup of oats to make a 1/2 cup of flour)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp of nutmeg
  • a pinch of clove (be careful to do only a pinch)
  • 1/4 cup of chopped dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup canned pumpkin
  • 2 to 2 1/2 tablespoons milk of choice, as needed
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Here’s what you do:

Combine all the dry ingredients in a bowl and mix well.  In a separate bowl combine the wet ingredients including the pumpkin.  Mix the two together and form into balls.  Place the balls onto a cookies sheet and refrigerate for a couple of hours to firm up.  Store in the fridge.  Depending on the size of the ball you make it comes out to be about 24 balls.

These were a great little pick me up during a fun trip.

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They are also a fun seasonal treat…cuz who doesn’t LOVE pumpkin?!

Happy Tuesday Friends!

Go and Create,

Rachel

Avery’s 2nd Birthday

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Well my baby turned two.  I still can’t believe it!  Time is just flying by and around here we like to do it in style!  Avery’s bumblebee themed birthday party was a smashing success!  I made a lot of the decorations and did a lot of bargin shopping!  I think it looked pretty stinking cute :).

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Here is the table before the food was added.  I got the yellow polka doted containers for a $1.50 for 5!  I also managed to make the tissue paper flowers and paper bunting banner during  nap time !

The black and white runner on the table is actually wrapping paper I found at Target for $1!!!  It really helped bring the table together.

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Here it is with the food and goodies.  I almost forgot to get a picture but I took a quick one with my phone.

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I also had a bigger banner for the main room.  I also found a huge bumblebee balloon at our local grocery store!  Too cute!

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Her gifts even got in on the yellow, black and white theme!

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We carried over to the cake table too.  My wonderful cuz made the sign.  Soo stinking cute!

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My aunt made the cake and the bee cupcakes too.  I was super excited when I saw it.  So perfect and cute!

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The cupcakes were a huge hit with the kids.

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I used mason jars to hold our blueberry lemonade in.

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The party favor was also an amazing find!  I got these bumblebee baskets 5 for $2 at a wonderful consignment shop.  Each basket had bumblebee magnifying glasses I got from Targets dollar bins, Annie’s bunny fruit snacks and two fun twisty straws.  The kids loved it!

The party was a huge it!  Everyone had fun and my baby celebrated like a big girl!

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It has been too long…

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Holy crap it’s September!!  How did that happen?  I feel like my wonderful summer, so full of time and promise, just flew by without so much as a “how-do-ya-do”!  Part of that was because I spent most of it packing for our move.  Can I just say I HATE PACKING!  It nearly sent me over the edge but lucky for you I am still here :).  I did manage to squeak some fun out of this summer.  I also managed to do some major crafting!  So here we go with a look at what we have been up to for the last couple of months.

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Avery showing off her ball skills.

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Avery really got into her babies this summer.  See the dreaded boxes in the background!? Ugh!

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We went swimming in our clothes cuz why not!?

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I am proud to say I made this!!!

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and these!

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More swimming!  (in proper swim attire this time!)

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4th of July Food fun.  I had to quickly get a picture before everyone ate it!

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That’s right more homemade cupcakes to celebrate our freedom.  Feel free don’t you!?

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Water table fun!

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Avery dancing along with the ballerinas at our local ‘Art in the Park.’

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Avery about to eat the first “fruit” of our garden!  It actually grew things!  The tomatoes taste like the sun!

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Me and the hubs at the zoo.  Family fun time!

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Avie and the cousins.  They had such a blast.

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Trader Joe’s providing me with a little quite time. Hehehe!

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My favorite craft project to spice up my new front door.  Burlap makes me happy :0

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Avery as Bobby Fisher

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Fabric flower garland that I made for Avie’s new room.

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Close up :)

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Avery cheering at her first baseball game.

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I bought this amazing bulletin board at a cool vintage repurposing shop.  I made the little push pins to use on it :).

The last few months were packed full of family, fun and of course food!  Now that I am back at school and we are settled into our new place, I hope to be with you more often.  Hope your summer was amazing and your fall is off to a great start.

Go and Create!

Rachel

Avocado Pesto Panini and Other Summer Treats

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Now that the weather has warmed up I am craving fresh fruits and veggies.  Our garden is still in the growing stages so I have to rely on the grocery store and farmers markets for our summer goodies.  I am trying to make sure I am getting all those good vitamin’s into Avery at every meal.  So at breakfast I made homemade pancake sunshines using slices of orange.  Bright and fresh and oh so yummy!

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Yes those are mini chocolate chips.  Hey what can I say we love chocolate over here :)!

I have also been getting really creative with snack time.

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This was a huge hit!  I believe this is how we will do snack time from here on out!  The kids ate their plates clean!

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I have also been looking for better and fresher dinner options.  This avocado pesto panini is delicious!  The combination of cheese, fresh veggies and pesto is amazing!

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Look at all those layers!  I grilled my sandwiches on a panini grill pan on the stove top.  It gives an amazing crispy outside with the grill marks.  However, you can make this just like you would a grilled cheese in a skillet.  Either way these are amazing!  If you would like to make these amazing sandwiches….

Here’s what you need:

bread of your choice (I used whole wheat)

2 medium sized tomatoes

8 slices of mozzarella cheese

1 avocado

1 jar of store bought pesto

 

Here’s what you do:

To assemble your sandwich, spread the pesto on one side of both slices of bread.  Layer a slice of cheese, thin slices of tomato and avocado and another slice of cheese.  Top with the second slice of bread.  Grill the sandwiches till browned and the cheese is melted.  This makes 4 sandwiches.

This is a sandwich for any night of the week!  It would also be something that you could serve to guests and be proud of it!

I hope your days are full of sunshine and fun!

Go and Create!

Rachel