Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Easter Egg Tree Coloring Page: Free Printable

My kids LOVE looking up coloring pages online!
We are always looking up different subjects or characters to color.

Since Easter is almost here, I drew an Easter Egg Tree for your kids to have fun coloring!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

"Dating" Your Kids- Love Languages

 Life with children can be hectic! As a parent, you have so many jobs! These jobs multiply with the more kids you have! 
As a stay at home mom, I feel that I have the luxury of being around my kids A LOT! However, I am working hard at running the household, making sure people get to where they need to be on time, and CONSTANTLY keeping food (healthy options at that) on the table!!!! It can be tough to stop working and actually be PRESENT with your children, especially when there is so much to do! Let me tell you, I so value the little time I have when the baby is sleeping and the other kids are watching TV so I can actually just sit down with a cup of coffee and do my own thing! 
After our almost three week trip to California, where I was basically a single parent, I really felt the effects of being with my kids but not actually being able to connect with them. We has TONS of fun but I felt as though I wasn't able to individually fill up their love tanks. 
This made me think of The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman. If you have never heard of it, there are basically 5 different ways a person receives and gives love. The five love languages are Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Receiving Gifts, Quality Time, and Physical Touch.

Knowing how your loved ones receive love is very important to have a deep personal connection with them.  When it comes to children, the book emphasizes that they need to learn how to give and receive love in all the languages because this helps to produce an emotional healthy adult.  Click HERE to visit the sight to find out more about each and discover what your love language is. Click HERE to take a test to figure out what your child's Love Language is!

I am going to focus on ONE of these love languages, Quality Time. No matter what your child's love language is, ALL children need QUALITY time from their parents! This is where you turn off your phone and give your undivided attention to THEM!!!
Jason and I recently started something new to try to get more quality time with our kids! We started going on "dates" with them.
This is not a new concept! I still remember the few dates I had with just me and my dad!
These times when we stop what we are doing and spend a little time with our children, really impact them! They feel important and valued!

These dates can be a special outing that don't happen all the time.
For Example, Both Brenden and I love to build Lego sets so I bought a set, without him knowing. Then I took him out to Panera for bagels and we built it together, with NO INTERRUPTIONS!!!
One time, Jason took Keaten out for doughnuts (her suggestion) and then took her to Chuck E. Cheese to play a few games! She dressed up and everything for this date!
Boy does she LOVE her daddy!!!!

I started feeling like we needed more "dates" on a regular basis. Life is just to crazy to be able to get away with one child all the time. So one day, when the baby was sleeping and Brenden was at school, I asked Keaten if she wanted to go on a "puzzle date" with me. I put my phone in the other room, NO TEMPTATIONS for distraction!!! I pulled out this cool puzzle that my mom gave us and we put it together and used markers and crayons to decorate it! We had so much fun singing and coloring together! 
Another day, when the boys weren't around, I asked Keaten if she wanted to go on a "game date" with me! We chose her princess cupcake game and played it, just us!
Let me just tell you I recommend this, Disney Princess Enchanted Cupcake Party Game,
 if you have a little girl! You work together against time to make cupcakes! It's SO MUCH FUN and no one loses!
Something else we have started to do is go on "family dates"! We might take the kids out on a "family date" to Sonic for shakes. 
The point I wanted to get across with this is that once we add that word "DATE" onto the things we might normally be doing anyways, we are more present with one another! It's a time to relax and have fun just being ourselves and loving on each other!
I urge you to try this sometime in the next few days with your child! Think of something small and fun that you can do with them and just add the word "DATE" to it! 
I would love to hear how this goes for you!!!! Leave a comment on what you did and let me know if it changed the way you hung out together!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Starbucks Banana Walnut Bread with Healthy Changes

I was craving Banana bread one day so I searched for a good recipe. I happened to come across the actual recipe that Starbucks uses! I was surprised to see that it was pretty healthy to begin with and with just a few changes it would be PERFECT! I will give you the original Starbucks recipe and then show you the changes I made next to it! 
Also, let me tell you this is the PERFECT recipe.... So moist!

Starbucks Banana Walnut Bread
  • 2 Cups flour (I used whole wheat but you can use what ever you want here. I just suggest not using white!....For gluten free use buckwheat)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 egg (for vegan you can use applesauce or flax meal)
  • 1 1/8 cup sugar ( I used 1/2 cup of 100% Maple Syrup. You can also use other sweeteners but you really don't need as much as they use in original recipe. The bananas really help to sweeten!)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil (I used Coconut oil)
  • 2 Tbsp buttermilk (I used regular milk or you could also used another milk substitute)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 large ripe bananas-mashed
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts for inside the bread
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts for on top
  • *Optional*three large handfuls of dark chocolate chips
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour a loaf pan.

Mash your bananas and walnuts in ziplock bags. Then set aside.
If you have kids helping you, this is a fun job to give them!
 Stir together flour, baking soda, and salt....set aside.
Mix egg, sweetener, and oil until combined.
 Add the flour mixture and blend!
 Then add the milk, vanilla, and mashed bananas and mix until combined!
 Fold in your chopped walnuts and *optional* dark chocolate chips. I didn't mention this above but I made this recipe a few times already because it's THAT good!!!!! One time I added a half cup of chopped spinach, that I ran through the food processor, and it didn't change the taste of the bread! Just simply added nutrition! However, you could see green specks.... letting you know if you have a REALLY picky eater! 
I highly recommend adding1/2 cup of some kind of veggie puree to this recipe!
 Add to your bread pan, top with remaining walnuts, and bake 45-60 minutes, until toothpick inserted into the center comes out pretty clean!
 The bread tastes the BEST if you let it sit just to cool for 10 minutes and then serve warm! 
SOOOOO YUMMY!!!! However, still good to eat the next day! 

 When you cut this bread up in thick slices, it LOOKS just like you bought them at Starbucks but you don't have to pay 2 bucks a piece! =)

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Our Trip to California

Well, It has been over a month since I last posted! I feel like I need to explain where I've been! I found a GREAT deal to take a trip to California, just me and my three kids! Let me just say, I LOVE SOUTHWEST airlines! I signed up to get emails of their deals. If you don't care much about the dates of travel, it is well worth checking out their flight deals! I got three tickets for $500! 

Let me say after returning from this almost three week trip, I have a new respect for single parents! I braved, with lots of prayer, traveling by myself with 3 kids! I will have to say that my babies are GREAT travelers and I had no huge problems with them along the way. 
However, once we were in California, I had to deal with my little 8 month old crawling everywhere and trying to eat all kinds of things from the ground, the planning of fun activities and meeting of friends, and all the while schooling my first grader since we were taking such a long trip. I literally had NO TIME to blog! 
We still had lots of fun in the sun and I couldn't have picked a better time to be away from our home in Kansas! There were TWO huge snow storms while we were gone, both leaving us with over 12 inches of snow! Here is a picture of our home from after the first storm!
All the while we were in shorts and tank tops playing outside!
One awesome thing is my Mom and Dads house is close to an ice cream AND a doughnut shop so we took MANY walks for treats! Below is a picture of B and K eating ice cream!
 We also took a trip to Venice Beach with my brother! Garren kept trying to EAT the sand!
Brenden and Keaten made SAND angels while there friends in KS were making SNOW angels!
 We took a ride on the Metro, which we call the "Train". It's always a fun way to travel and there is nothing like it where we live! Here is a picture of Brenden on the tracks!
Here are a few pictures of our MANY trips to different parks!

While we were on our trip, we had a little bit of sickness going around! I couldn't pass up the chance at letting you all know one of my tricks when sickness hits! Trader Joe's now has FRESH PEELED GARLIC separated into five small vacuum sealed packs in this package for $1.99. Did you know that Garlic is a natural antibiotic? However, unlike antibiotics which kills off ALL of the bacteria in your body, garlic only kills off the bad bacteria leaving the good bacteria still in your gut! So grab as much garlic as you can handle, it's pretty harsh if you haven't tried it before, and chew it down raw! I'm telling you it really helps! I never got sick around everyone else because I kept the garlic coming! =) 
***TIP*** If you have to take an antibiotic for some reason in the future, be sure and take a good strong Probiotic after your dose is over to rebuild the good bacteria in your body. Otherwise, you will be more susceptible to getting sick again!
 Lastly, I wanted to share something when traveling/flying with children! If you aren't rushing off after your flight is over, take the time to ask the stewardess if your children can check out the cockpit! They normally have enough time to let your child sit in the pilot's seat and show them a few things! In our case, the pilot let both of my kids sit down and he explained a whole bunch of things! I think the kids were sitting there for about 5 minutes! It was a great experience for them!
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