All we need is love

All we need is love
All we need is love

Saturday, March 31, 2012

My favorite to Creme Brûlée of course

I don't know if this picture appeals to you, but it makes my mouth water! As someone who seldomly goes without dessert and loves to bake, I would have to say that I am somewhat of a connoisseur of sweet endings. But I also like to look cute in a bikini. So... for those summer months when I want a sweet treat after dinner but not the extra calories, I keep a couple batches of this luscious treat in my refrigerator. 

What is it? Well.... it's Jello. BUT- it's so much more than Jello! It's a sweet, tangy, refreshing, mousse-like treat..... that's probably AT MOST 40 calories per serving, ZERO fat, practically NO sugar and a nice little kick of protein to boot! It's very versatile, oh-so addictive and quite easy to make. 

Here's the recipe:

Heavenly Jello

1 1/2 cups boiling water or Crystal Light Lemonade

Mix in to the boiling water for 2 minutes until combined:
1 package of sugar-free Jello in your favorite flavor (I used lemon)

Add to this:
lemon juice and ice combined to equal 1 1/3 cups
(you could easily sub. more Crystal Light for the lemon juice to further cut calories)

Stir until the ice is dissolved then add:
1/2 tub (4 ounces) of Lite or Sugar-free Cool Whip Topping

Whisk until fully incorporated. Refrigerate as is or divide the mixture into individual serving cups. Let the Jello set up for 2 hours, top with some more Cool Whip and brace yourself. 

You're gonna LOVE it!

(Fair warning: as much as you would like to keep this as a Mommy treat- your kids won't let you. No one can resist Heavenly Jello!)

Rainbow version- gorgeous!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Homemade granola

I made granola last night for the second time... and let me tell you- if quality ingredients and nutrition are important for you and your family, I highly recommend taking an hour out of your day to make this recipe. It's soo delicious and packed with nutritious ingredients.

My recipe is modified from the Joy of Cooking cookbook. The nice thing about granola is that you can change up your recipe to fit your taste or your needs as long as you have the base ingredients. I replaced the raisins with blueberry-infused Craisins and it really altered the entire flavor (YUM- my fav!). Either way, it's delicious and my family can't seem to get enough!

4 cups oats (toasted in the oven @ 300 degrees F for 15 minutes)
1 1/2 cups wheat germ
1 1/2 cups textured vegetable protein
1/2 cup flax seeds
1 cup sweetened, shredded coconut
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup + dried fruit (raisins, Craisins, apples, etc)
2/3 cup vegetable oil or butter
2/3 cup honey 

Mix your dry ingredients in a large bowl (except for the oats and fruit) and set aside. Combine oil or butter and honey in a small sauce pan and heat for 5 minutes. Pour this over the dry ingredients and combine thoroughly, then add the oats and bake in the oven preheated at 300 degrees F for 15-30 minutes or until golden brown and toasted. Remove from the oven and add the dried fruit while it's still hot. This can be stored in the pantry for 5 days in a closed container or in the refrigerator for 1 month.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Pork chopsh and apple shaush

If you were a big Brady Bunch fan like I was as a kid, you might read this blog title with a grin, picturing Peter Brady in his detective costume talking about pork chops and apple sauce and the funny way he used to say it.....

Pork chopsh and apple shaush, see??

Well, in our house pork chops and apple sauce go together, as Forrest Gump might say, like peas and carrots. So, when I decided we were going to have some chops for dinner, I asked Aria if she would make the apple sauce to go with it. 

We used to keep it in the house, but it never got eaten up before it got moldy in the jar. Now we make enough to eat with a meal. It tastes so much better anyway and only takes a few minutes to do!

Recipe for Cinnamon Apple Sauce:

First you peel your apples. We like Granny Smith for most cooking recipes, but any apple will do fine. We usually only use 2 apples at a time which makes just enough sauce for our little family of four.

Next, chop up the apples into nice big cubes and cut out the core and seeds.

We place the pieces in a tall, sturdy glass and add a tablespoon or 2 of water, then cover with plastic wrap and heat it in the microwave for 2 minutes.

Once it's finished cooking, we CAREFULLY remove the plastic wrap (steam burns are the worst!) and then puree it with a hand blintzer, or food processor of some kind. Aria usually adds a little cinnamon  and then into the fridge it goes to chill until dinner is ready!

The end product is sooo good, 
you'll never want jarred apple sauce again!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

What to do with old crayons.....

Ever had a drawer filled with crayons? Broken pieces in every color.... they have lost their appeal from their glory days of whole, sharpened perfection. Well we figured out a fun way to recycle them.

We gathered the crayon rejects and seperated them by color. This was not an exact science.... any shade of green went into the green pile. Then we sliced into the paper using an Exacto blade which made it easier to remove them. We broke them in smaller pieces and placed them into an old plastic cup that we had planned on throwing out. I like to use the ones they give you at restaurants for the kids drinks.... the ones you can take home that have lids and straws. You know the ones I am talking about?? Then into the microwave for 2 minutes or until melted. We'd swirl the cup to mix the colors then pour them into molds and stuck them in the freezer to set up.
We used a Lego man mold so we could pass them out as party favors for Cole's Lego-themed birthday party 2 years ago. Soo fun!
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Monday, March 26, 2012

Bleach art and tie-dye

Aria had a friend over yesterday, so we decided to do some t-shirt art in the backyard since it was such a nice day! First up? Bleach art. ***If you are reading this for directions on how to do this project.... go to a different site! We were not successful, unfortunately. But if you are wondering what NOT to do- here's what we did.

First I had the kids change into some junky clothes. Then they cut out pictures from adhesive-backed paper and stuck them to their shirts.

They did a really great job with their designs. It's too bad they didn't come through in the end product.

Next, after a little lesson in bleach safety, they took turns spraying their t-shirts with a solution of 70% Bleach and 30% water.

Cole's was really cool to watch because the brown shirt immediately showed the effects of the bleach, turning it orange!

We had never done this before- and our results showed it!  :o(
 If we try it again, I think we'll be careful not to oversaturate the shirts with the Bleach solution.

But all was not lost- they still had another project to do! Tie-dye! (Cole didn't participate in this one.)
This one WAS a success!

Here's what we did:

The girls tightly tied rubber bands in random places all over their clean, white shirts. They they set up a work place covered with a large piece of plastic and bottles filled with dye.

With gloved hands, they squirted dye onto their shirts in deliberate locations. They soon learned that this was very difficult to do- even with squeeze bottles. It often dripped out when you didn't want it to. This inspired the girls to go crazy with some of the colors!

Aria stuck with a 2-colored theme, and Chloe had broader color scheme!


After letting them sit in separate zip-lock bags for 6 hours, I washed them separately in the washer on a normal cycle with warm water and a small amount of detergent. I placed them in the drier and...


Two adorable little hippie chicks in front of Chloe's shorty VW bus!

Great job girls! Peace out!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

A new season.....

Of Baseball..... and in our lives! Cole had his first day of baseball last night as he tried out for Camelback Little League. It was scary for all of us since this was Cole's first attempt at a competitive sport. We all watched in anticipation as he had a turn at bat and played the out field waiting for a ball to come his way. He did great! I'm so excited to see what he will learn this season!

Friday, March 23, 2012

When Aria sets the dinner table for "Friday Night's Pizza and a Movie"

What this means to me…...
…… ...That my daughter appreciates my attention to detail and wouldn’t mind if she ended up a little bit like her Mama.
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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Silly kids

These kids are hilarious! This is what my kids and their friends do while waiting for their parents to pick them up after a play date…..

Now mind you- these are camera tricks- 

not Photo Shopped!

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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Oceans and Mountains

Today is my husband's mother's birthday. She is a wonderful woman with a beautiful soul who raised 6 kids (pretty darn well from what I can see). She lives far away in northern California so we don't get to see her that often.... something that I would like to change.

If I had a wish today, it would be that she would have an amazing birthday, surrounded by the ones she loves and be filled with love and happiness for that is what she brings to us all!

This is one of my favorite pics- Mamma and baby Greg.

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Christmas 2010

Happy Birthday Mom!

Oceans and Mountains!!


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

St. Patrick's Day fun

In our little family, we never do much more for St. Patty's Day than adding a little green to our foods and donning green clothing for the day. This year we had a little activity, courtesy of Grandma Judy. 

On Cole's Birthday, he and Aria were given a little bag tied with a Shamrock bow that said "Do not open until March 17th!" Let me tell you- I woke up that morning to the kids standing over this bag with smiles on their faces awaiting for my approval to FINALLY open it!

So, what was in this mystery package?? JELLO! 2 packets of "Mischief" Jello... a special flavor-less Jello that you add soda to in order to create your own flavor. Cole used his to make Rootbeer float jello parfaits with whipped cream in the Jello and on top. Aria used hers to make Sprite flavored Jello-Jigglers that she cut into little shapes. She said hers didn't taste like much, but Cole's tasted just like a Rootbeer float. 

It's neat to see the kids grow in their abilities in the kitchen. It makes me feel like all of our time together cooking and baking is making a difference. I bet someday we'll have a couple of pretty accomplished cooks and bakers in the family!
Aria showcasing one of her Jello-Jigglers minis!!

The collection   :o)

Cole made Root-beer float Jello parfaits! They were soooo yummy!

They had green Mac 'n' Cheese and all green fruits and veggies for lunch!!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Ruby flying high

Ever since we took her home, Ruby has loved to go for car rides and stick her head out the window. I love to see her ears fly in the wind as she takes in all the sights and smells that flow through her little nostrils. It almost looks like she's smiling! I had to capture the image that I see from the passenger side mirror. I just love it! 
(Photograph courtesy of Cole.)

Sunday, March 18, 2012

GS Valentine's Skate at Skateland!

Girl Scout Troop 749

I took my GS troop to Skateland for a Valentines skate a couple days before Valentines day and we had a blast! Not everyone could attend, but the ones who could really enjoyed themselves! They even earned a patch to add to their vests and sashes!

A couple of these girlies had never skated before, so it
was truly an exciting experience! Check out these cuties
in action!

This was Molly's first time skating.... she wasn't too impressed, so she hung out and watched most of the time.
I love seeing these girls helping eachother up and holding hands while they skate! So sweet!
Great friends... priceless memories!

Ella's mom, Dana, and her little brother Henry came to join in the fun!
I love skating and had fun encouraging these girls to keep trying no matter how many times they lost their balance.
I love this pic!
Molly fell on her hand and hurt her wrist, so her sister kept her company on the sidelines.
Sweet girls!

I had to include a pic of me.... LOL!
This is an arial shot, mid-skate!!
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Cole and his buddy Ryan came along for the fun!

Events like this are some of my favorite times with the
troop. I love these girls and really enjoy
spending time with them. I just hope these memories
stick with them as much as I know they will with me!