Not exactly a muffin tin, but it is our pineapple tins.  The kids favorite thing is dip.  I put three types in the green leafy section of the pineapple.  Hummus, soy yogurt and guacamole.  Each child picked their favorite dippers.  Of course I had to force Chelsea to pick a veg.  They each have toast sticks and pretzels.  then they picked assortment of cukes, radish, beansprouts, celery, blueberry, strawberry and kiwi.  

Gavin demolished his and Chelsea finished hers with some prodding.  This is my favorite lunch for them because it is jammed with vitamins. Fun lunch!


WFLW...a sick bento

Bento Lunch

That title sounds kind of icky, right?  Let me explain.  At the end of last week everyone but my husband had a pretty nasty cold.  I made bentos for their dinner on Thursday (so I could head right to bed when Chris got home).  Late Thursday evening I had a small burst of energy while heading to the kitchen to heat up my heating pad.  I decided to make these bentos for lunch on Friday.  This way everything was organized, easy and right in the fridge for lunch.
Each child has leftover tomato bread strips (our "pizza"), a bear filled with life cereal, a muffin holder filled with tea biscuits and a fruit salad of kiwi, grapes and strawberries.  I put 3 jelly beans in the little hearts.  

My kids are loving the little dividers and containers.  I found most of these at Michael's Craft Store.


Tried and True Tuesday...Soft Pretzels

We had so much fun making soft pretzels when the kids were sick last week. 
The recipe begins by putting the things below in my bread maker

  • 1 (1/4 ounce) package dry active yeast

  • 1 tablespoon sugar

  • 3 cups flour

  • 1 cup water

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 2 tablespoons oil

  • Divide dough into 4 parts.  Each part will make 3 pretzels.  

    Take the dough and roll it into long ropes to make pretzel shaped (Chelsea made hers into hearts...love that kid).  

    Dip each pretzel into 2 quarts water boiling with 1/3 cup baking soda for about 10 seconds a side. 

    The bake in a 425 degree oven 4 minutes per side.  



    Monday Makeover...Sandwiches

    Sandwiches around here are fall asleep boring most of the time.  My kids get plain turkey, roast beef or SB and Js.  Boo, boring...snooze fest.  So I decided to make over sandwiches beginning this week. Not only did I want to add flavor and fun, but it wouldn't hurt if we could make them healthier. It would take 5 steps.

    1.Recently I started making my own version of lunch meat because of the sheer number of ingredients in store bought prepackaged types.   This can be fun because I can brine or marinate turkey, chicken, ham or beef.  Then I use my handy dandy electric knife to make thin (not deli thin, though) slices.  So now that I've revamped the meat...how can I make sandwiches even healthier?

    2. The toppings!  This is where I need to get more creative.  I started using my mandolin to cut thin slices of cucumber, carrots, tomatoes, pickles and radishes to layer in.  Gavin likes lettuce in his, so that is an easy one...we always have salad stuff on hand.

    3.Next I worked on spreads.  I could use hummus or avocado for great flavor, good fats and another serving of vegetables.  We use the kosher Lipton soup mixes (because no milk or egg in them) to jazz up some of the spreads (it's amazing how the taste changes with a little ranch, vegetable or onion soup packet in it).  Chelsea is a big fan of mustard, so if all else fails...I turn toward the little yellow bottle.

    4. Onto the bread....we use whole grain sandwich thins or wheat bread mostly.  Chris loves kaiser rolls and english muffins so sometimes we use those.  I make bread a lot, but haven't found good sandwich bread recipes for my bread machine (but that is another post).

    5 The last change is how we prepare them.  Sometimes we will be toasting the bread first.  We'll also pull out the panini maker to make warm delicious sandwiches.  Some of the best sandwiches come from pulled warm meat from the crockpot.

    BONUS:  One way to make a sandwich delicious no matter what is to add bacon.


    Barbie Clothes

    Do you think I'm crazy yet?  If not, this post may convince you, that in fact I'm nuts.  A few months ago, one of my "facebook friends" mentioned homemade barbie clothes.  Now there are tons and tons of barbie clothes at the store, so why make them? 1. To save some cash. 2. To reuse fabrics or clothes that would otherwise go to waste.  3. Barbie's clothes have gotten a bit risque as of late.  So why not try my hand? Below are the pictures and some descriptions.
    This is Princess Tianna.  She is wearing cut off baby socks.  I just use from the ankle up.  Chelsea is the one who layers them! Another positive is they are super easy for her 3 year old hands to get on and off Barbie.
    This is a pink gymboree sock top (with tiny bow).  I attached it to a bottom of pant leg that already have a ruffle.
    This is a very old pair of Chelsea's pants.  These were soft cotton pants, then capri pants, then leggings, then extra clothes for her preschool bag.  With a few stitches I turned it into a little cotton dress for Ariel.
    I cut the top of some purple pants, so I could utilize the elastic band.  It looked sort of blah...so we added the purple sash.
    This black and white fabric is from an old dress of mine.  I turned that dress into a shirt and this was a bit of the remnant.

    Chelsea got hand me down pants that had an adorable pattern.  The waist band was broken and there was a serious stain.  So rather than ditch them, now Snow White can rock this little party dress.  I did  a pleated mid section by just folding over before I sewed.

    Here is my barbie lover who happily modeled each Barbie (thus the pink plaid PJ background in most of the pics). 


    Fitness Friday...tough week to walk

    Saturday 6miles
    Sunday 2miles
    Monday 5miles
    Tuesday no walk
    Wednesday 2miles
    Thursday sick day
    Friday sick day

    Total this week 15 miles this week
    Total in 2011 60.5miles this year

    So this week  was a snowy, rainy, icy week.  In fact I got out only two days for great long walks.  The other two days I was able to walk, I did extra laps and walking in stores and indoors.  Then my kids got sick and of course because they are generous to a fault....they shared.  So as I type this post I am pretty darn sick myself...ew.  I had plans of taking lots of photos of my walks around town.  But because of the limited amount I got out, there are only a few pics to share.  
    Here is the view from the top of a nearby hill.  It's hard to see, but the view is really cool!  It is even better at night, but those pics never turn out from my phone.
    The Rooster, it's sort of an icon around here.  It makes me smile when I walk past it!
    The last photo is this little river that runs through this area.  I pass over it several times on my long walks.  This is a great example of how pretty it looks in the winter.


    Totally Teacher Throwback Thursday

    Once upon a time I was an awesome early childhood teacher.  It seems like ages ago.  The fact is it was four years ago, which seems like forever.  Recently it hit me like a lightening bolt that much of what I already do is teacher like.  It also became apparent that I should use all that knowledge and teacher brain to guide things we do.  So I thought I could post sometimes about the teachery things we're doing.
    So I've put a bunch of photos from around our house.  We have art supplies in identical bins I used as table supplies when I taught Kindergarten.  We have easels in the corner, which is a great place for the kids to be creative.
    In addition we have a house area, big and little building blocks and of course a reading nook.  I love when C and G get engrossed in a book and settle into the chairs or pillows I've left for their cozy reading area.
    Of course no classroom...ah, I mean house...is complete without rules and goals.  We have a large  poster with our house rules up.  Then I use post its for the kids goals.  I usually do one for Chelsea, one for Gavin and one for both.  I also keep a post it of our basic schedule...but we don't always stick to it.  Life happens!


    WILTW...top ten

    Saw this idea on  
    From Inmates to Playdates
    It's called What I learned This Week...love the idea.  Here are mine.

    Both boys and girls of all ages love the Toy Story movies.

    If I forget to serve vegetables to C for just one meal...we go back to square one with the crying, gagging and drama.   It's good I learned this, now I mustn't forget.

    When I'm depressed I nap a lot. This weekend was the 10th anniversary of my mom's passing.  I think I logged in 4 to 5 hours (not in a row!!) on the couch.

    Won a pair of dansko shoes and they are hands down the most comfortable shoe I own. Yes I've only worn them in the house because I don't want to ruin them in this nasty weather...but I am fab in the confines of my home!

    A Maggiano sized ordered of ravioli will leave you stuffed for hours.  I gave my sweet hubby at least 3 and was still hurting for hours.  I hate this feeling and am so glad I rarely feel it anymore (thanks to Geneen Roth's books...no more diets, no more eating tons= happy, healthier eva)

    Whenever I plan awesome stuff to do with my kids for the week, they will still both get sick.  My son has a fever, running nose and ugly cough.  We have playdates, outings and fun things planned all week....OF COURSE!

    Grocery Shopping at night, without kids and with a good friend is fun.   My how times have changed.

    An unpeeled orange will float and a peeled one will sink.  Can you tell we're working on sink and float here?

    Anything put into a fancy glass tastes better (to me at least).

    Homemade muffins on a snowy, icy morning made the perfect way to start the day.  The kids helped stir, bake and inhale our yummy pumpkin oatmeal muffins today!


    Fitness Friday...Walking in a Winter Wonderland

    Saturday 3.5
    Sunday 2miles
    Monday 5miles
    Tuesday 2 miles
    Wednesday 2 miles
    Thursday 2 miles
    Friday 3 mile

    Total this week 19.5 miles this week
    Total in 2011 45.5miles this year

    For several years whenever winter hits, I sort of go into a funk.  I dislike being cooped up with the kiddies.  It's a pain to put on and take off so many layers every day.  My skin gets dry, my lips get chapped.  My favorite produce isn't really in season...so winter changes our menus.  Gosh there was very little I liked about winter.  In fact last year I begged my husband to consider moving us all south.  Somehow winter turned into spring and I was once again happy to get out and about.  But I made a vow to really change my feelings about winter.

    I decided I needed to make a big attitude adjustment toward the cold.  So this year I got everyone boots, hats, snowsuits, sweater, jackets and slippers.   We weren't going to walk around inside or outside freezing...we would be warm (and a bit stylish..ha) I stocked up on lotion and chapstick and prepared for the worst.  But what made the biggest difference is I decided to embrace the weather change.  I wasn't going to join a gym this year, I wasn't going to hibernate....I was going to appreciate...winter!  yes, winter.

    Well it worked!  I now am a winter time fan.  Love the quietness that comes with a snow storm.  We enjoy getting layered up to spend time outside several times a week.  I love seeing the discoveries that C and G make with the cold weather here.  And let me say it here first....I love walking in freezing temps (with the right gear on of course).  It's invigorating and a really nice change of pace.  If you get the winter blahs too, I hope this inspired you to try to enjoy the season.


    Fitness Friday...why the ugly shoes

    Saturday 6.5 miles
    Sunday 4 miles
    Monday 4 miles
    Tuesday 3 miles
    Wednesday 2 miles
    Thursday 2 miles
    Friday 2.5 mile

    Total this week 24 miles this week
    Total in 2011 24miles this year

    Why are walking shoes so ugly?  My old running shoes have quite a few miles on them.  But they are in good condition and I didn't use them to train for any races, so I thought they'd be good for walking.  But after the first few days my feet hurt.  The pain was in the balls of my feet.  So I thought, okay time to get some new shoes.  

    Places like Famous Footwear or DSW are what I like to refer to as DIY shoe sales.  I really dislike waiting for a salesperson holding a lone shoe.  Most times I feel like they come back with the wrong color or shoe or they tell you they are out of your size.  So DSW is my favorite place to shoe shop. It doesn't hurt that is a mile from my house. The best part is that  before  I even getting excited about owning a shoe, I can see if it's in my size and the color I prefer.  No sales people are waiting for my answer, I can mull over the decision.  I can try on tons and tons of pairs and buy none if I want.  Love DSW..but I digress.

    Moving along, DSW's athletic sneaker section is divided into areas.  One section of shoes is running shoes.  This is where you can find loads of brands.  The shoes are super cool in the running area.  Bright colors, cool laces, fun gadgets and logos.  There is also a  big section of casual athletic shoes.  Want cute sneaks that you can wear any day while running errands?  Look in that section.
    Then there are 5 to 10 pair of walking shoes.  They were either totally white or totally black. The logos aren't in fun colors, no fancy doo dads and you guessed it, all white laces.  So what gives?  Why is is the runners get awesome, cool, fun shoes and walkers get...well let's be honest...senior citizen shoes.  I have nothing against the seniors, just saying at the ripe old age of 35 I don't want to wear totally white shoes. I want to walk and be cute at the same time.   So my quest is on to find a new pair of walking shoes that are comfy and COOL!


    What is for Lunch Wednesday...for me!

    Have you ever wanted to have dessert for lunch?  That is the mood I was in today.  So I reached for an old favorite.  Back in my teaching days, an awesome coworker of mine (Mrs. Susan Culp...she'll probably never see it, but deserves the credit) used to make a quick healthy lunch.  I didn't realize until I tried it is was also completely delicious.  Sort of feels like having dessert for lunch!
    It's pretty simple recipe.  We keep frozen fruit in the freezer for muffins, smoothies and this decadent lunch.  Use one cup of your favorite frozen fruit.  Today I put half a cup of cherries and half a cup of blackberries into a bowl.  Then microwave for about a minute.  This left some beautiful juice at the bottom of the bowl.  Next use one serving of your favorite plain yogurt.  We can only have soy yogurt here, so silk it is!  Combine with half a serving of your favorite crunchy fiber rich cereal and one to two packets of whatever type sweetener you like.  This works with sugar, splenda, stevia or even agave nectar.   Mix up and eat!  Yummy!

    Some stats...my lunch had about  350 calories (100 cal grape nuts, 100 cal fruit, 150 cal yogurt) and about 5 grams of fat.  But if you use lower calorie or lower fat yogurt that would change.  This treat had a whopping 15 grams of fiber....GO me!  And was pretty low in sugar.  So that is what I had for lunch.  And while I savored each bite I thought of my lovely grade partner, Susan. It reminded me of how much I enjoyed working and lunching at Stony Creek.


    Totally Terrific Tuesday

    Today I had the totally best time shopping.  Gavin and I dropped Chelsea off at school and headed on some errands.  I had coupons, gift cards and a short list.  First we hit Five and Below, where Gavin tried on some very cool glasses.  He was able to easily find tons of stuff he wanted to get, but we got out of there with a few organizational items and some clingy valentine stickers for our sliding doors.  Next we went to Dress Barn where i had a $30 dollar gift card and a $10 off coupon.  I found a few cute shirts, a purse and some jewelery.  Most of the items ended up being 1/2 off.  So I left the store with everything for just $2.00 out of pocket...it was an awesome shopping score.  But not the best of the day.

    Then Gavin and I went to try on walking shoes at DSW (more on that in Friday Fitness Blog entry).  We went to the clearance section where I found these cute shoes.  They are Tommy Hillfiger Espadrilles with nude color leather and a paisley, floral pattern.

    These shoes were originally marked $69, but they had been put down to $49.  I generally don't every buy casual shoes that are this expensive, especially ones that aren't for everyday.  But I saw they had a purple, red then yellow ticket.  The yellow ticket meant 80% off..  I did some quick math in my head (8X5) and thought I"d be getting a great, great deal.  I brought my $10 reward coupons.  So when I rang out the DSW salesperson paid me!!! Yes it was only a penny.  But I actually got Tommy Hillfiger shoes for free!

    Now that was a great deal.  Now I'm looking forward to warm weather, capris, summer dresses and these shoes!


    Meal Plan Monday

    Monday: Turkey Tenders, honey orange glazed veggies and crescents
    Tuesday: Pasta with sauce and a side salad
    Wednesday: Pork Chops, home made chunky applesauce
    Thursday: Leftovers
    Friday: Warm Sandwiches
    Saturday: Chris's Chili


    I will walk 1,000 miles

    But I would walk 500 miles
    And I would walk 500 more
    Just to be the gal who walked 1,000 miles
    To fall down at your door!

    Do you know that song?  I am a big fan and it gave me a big idea for a fantastic resolution idea.  Am I really going  try to walk 1,000 miles in 2011?  You betcha! 

    I've been a runner since high school.  I used to enjoy the feeling of lacing up and getting extra sweaty on a jaunt around my neighborhood.  I continued to enjoy running sporadically in college.  Then I grew a bit more into running after college.  After my babies were born, it was a great way to get in an excellent workout in just a short amount of time.  Fast forward to April 2010,  I sustained a small injury to my right upper calf and back of my right knee during a very fun 5 miler in Valley Forge Park.  It was at this time I realized that being able to take care of my children meant more to me than my athletic goals of being a runner.  After my leg healed, I began walking...just to move a bit.  Guess what?  I love walking!  It clears my mind, makes my lungs feel amazing and I enjoy every moment.  So I began walking once or twice a week for my own sanity.What  a cheap hobby walking is...just shoes and some clothing and gear I already owned made me ready for any weather.   My addiction grew and I got a serious walkers' high every time I went.  So I upped my walking to five times a week.  Each morning I'd wake up earlier than my household.  The time walking helped me clear my head, destress and set my goals for the day.  Still loving it, I was looking for a walking goal that would keep me motivated. Then it came to me while I was listening to that great Proclaimers song.  Why not shoot for a goal to walk as many miles as I can in 2010?  I'm hoping to get to a thousand, but I'll be happy just to keep moving and walking!

    Wanna hear some stats?

    1,000 miles / 365 days = 2.7 miles a day
    1,000 miles/ 52 weeks =  19 miles a week
    1,000 miles/12 months = 83 miles a month

    Anyone want to join me? Most Fridays I will do a Fitness Friday Check In on my blog.  I"ll detail how many miles I"m up to and then talk a bit about how this goal is making me feel!!!  If you're interested in walking "with me"  just comment on how you did this week.