After school snacktime

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I don’t know about your kids, but when I pick my kids up from school, the very first words that come out of their mouths are usually “I’m hungry”! Sure sometimes they grab a yogurt or some sort of prepackaged snack from the pantry but if we have extra time and I haven’t had a dreadfully stressful day, we like to engage in a little snacktivity. Yeah, yeah, a snacktivity is a snack that doubles as a fun activity. Kills two birds with one stone! ūüėÉ I’m going to share with you a few of our favorites.

There are a few things that you will pretty much ALWAYS find on hand in our house and we use them in many of our snack making adventures. Bananas, peanut butter, pumpkin purée, and wheat tortillas.

1. Peanut butter quesadillas:

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We buy PB2 powdered peanut butter because it has less fat and sugar than typical PB. We buy the other kind too but for smoothies, shakes, and snack making, the powdered kind is awesome! Just mix it with a little water and BAM! Instant PB! We smooth a little on a wheat tortilla and then add our toppings to just half of it. Bananas, strawberries, and chocolate chips. A is allergic to peanuts, not a severe allergy but she gets a little rashy so I use Nutella on hers instead of the PB. Then I fold it in half and toss it on the griddle until it’s nicely toasted. We enjoyed ours with a yummy fruit smoothie on this particular day.

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2. Pumpkin spice chips with caramel pumpkin cheesecake dip
This is one of our very favorite snacks ever! My kids (and myself) could probably slather this dip on just about anything and enjoy it.
For starters, take a few wheat tortillas and coat them in butter. Then add a sprinkle of cinnamon, sugar, and pumpkin spice. Use as much or as little as you want. Use a pizza cutter to cut them into chips and then place on an untreated cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for about 10-15 mins. Ovens will vary so just check on them and pull them out when they hit your desired crunchiness.

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While those bad boys are getting their crispy on, toss 1 part cream cheese in a bowl with 2 parts pumpkin pur√©e into a bowl. Add a tablespoon of powdered sugar, cinnamon, sugar, pumpkin spice, and a few drops of caramel flavoring. Mix it with a fork or use a hand mixer until it’s nice and creamy. Sweeten to taste, different brands of pumpkin are sweeter than others so you may need more powdered sugar.

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3. Banana pops
Easiest snack ever! Cut bananas in half, insert a lollipop stick, and place on a wax paper lined pan in the freezer for a few hours. When you’re ready, take some melting chocolates and toss them in the microwave. I like to use a small juice glass rather than a bowl for these because it makes dipping a breeze. I add a little PB2 for the big girls or Nutella for A and mix well. Remove bananas from the freezer and dip one by one then place back on wax paper in pan. Add sprinkles if you’d like and wait for the chocolate to harden. Voila! Banana pops!

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4. Fruit kabobs and vanilla cream dip
Super easy fun snack and so yummy! I let the girls select and cut up their fruit and then they have a blast designing their own kabobs. We use lollipop sticks rather than skewers because they’re safer for little fingers. While they do that, I combine 1 part cream cheese with an equal part of marshmallow cream. Add a scoop of plain or vanilla Greek yogurt and a couple of drops of vanilla extract and mix well.

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Scoop into dipping bowls, garnish with sprinkles, and enjoy!

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5. Pumpkin pie banana ice cream
Chop up 4 ripe bananas and toss them in the freezer for a few hours. Once mostly frozen, put them in a blender or food processor with half a can of pumpkin puree, a dash of cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice and blend. Pour into a freezer safe container and toss in the freezer for a few hours or serve just like that.

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I dip my ice cream scoop in a mug of hot water to make for easier scooping. If your ice cream has frozen solid it helps to let it set out a little before serving. We top ours with graham cracker crumbs, chocolate chips, and sprinkles.

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6. Banana chocolate chip oatmeal cookies
Toss 2 cups of oatmeal in my food processor and make a fine powder from it. Take 2 ripe bananas and mush them with a fork in a bowl. Stir in the oatmeal and add a dash of cinnamon, and about 1/8 cup of brown sugar. I toss in some dark chocolate chips and a bit of crushed walnuts and mix completely until it’s the consistency of cookie dough. Spoon it out into cookies on a greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 for about 10 mins.

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7. Cinnamon sugar art
My kids LOVE this snacktivity! Take a paint pallet or a plate and add drops of food coloring. I use a medicine dropper to fill the pallet with milk to make edible “paint”. We use a small cup of milk to wash our brushes and the girls go to town painting designs on their slice of bread. I bought the brushes at dollar tree and washed them with warm soapy water first. We set them aside for this very project. Once they are done with their works of art, we toss it in the toaster until it’s to our desired level of toastyness. Once it’s done, spread butter over the top and add a sprinkle of sugar and cinnamon. Enjoy your edible art!

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Hope you and your littles enjoy these fun, tasty, and semi healthy snacktivities too!

20 Random kitchen products you had no idea you would need/want!

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I’m a bit quirky. ¬†I like unique things that’s for sure. ¬†My kitchen is no exception, I strive to find the funnest and funkiest kitchen gadgets around. ¬†I’m going to share with you my top 20 adorably fabulous kitchen gadgets that put the FUN in functional! ¬†You just might want to add them to your kitchen collection too!

Spiffy Units of measure:

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These items aren’t just cute, they’re super functional too!

1. Mason Jar Measuring Cups

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I snagged this little bit of stacking measuring cup awesomeness at World Market

You can find them here:

http://www.worldmarket.com/product/mason+jar+measuring+cups.do?from=Search&cx=0

2. Flower Pot measuring spoons

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My sister in law got me these cuties last year for Christmas from Modcloth.com. ¬†They’re out of stock now but I managed to find them elsewhere for ya here:

http://www.hiddentreasuresdecorandmore.com/Flower_Pot_Measuring_Spoons_p/pj0305.htm

3. Tiny measuring cup

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Sometimes, measuring out the perfect amount of liquids can get tricky in the measuring spoons especially when transferring from one counter to another. ¬†For such instances there’s this little guy. ¬†I got it at World Market as well. ¬†They only sell them online in sets of 3 but you can get them individually in stores like I did.

http://www.worldmarket.com/product/mini-measuring-cup.do?&refType=&from=Search

Cool fruit gadgets: 

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4.  Awesome apple slicer

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just line up your core with the center hole and shimmy down to slice and core your apple. ¬†Push the bottom part up and it ¬†will push all your slices up without slicing your hand. ¬†I got this particular one at bed bath and beyond last year. ¬†I don’t see it on their website now but they do have it on amazon.com. ¬†I see similar products at all major retailers though:)

http://www.amazon.com/Prepworks-Progressive-International-Wedge-Slicer/dp/B00EZQQO8M/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1421260073&sr=8-2&keywords=progressive+apple+slicer

5. Bodacious banana slicer

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This mellow yellow dude comes out to play quite often in our kitchen.  Yes you can just take a butter knife to your banana but this is so much better!  Just slide your banana through and squeeze and you quickly have perfectly even slices to top your waffles, pancakes, sandwiches, and other goodies!

http://www.amazon.com/Chefn-102-205-017-Bananza-Banana-Slicer/dp/B004HINHKQ/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1421260262&sr=8-7&keywords=banana+slicer

6. Super awesome strawberry pitter

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When I saw my best friend using this little baby to make cheesecake stuffed strawberries (yes, they’re as delicious as they sound) for my baby shower several years ago, I knew I had to have one too! ¬†My sweet bestie grabbed one for me and surprised me with it and we’ve been using it religiously ever since! ¬†You can find it on amazon and most major retailers.

http://www.amazon.com/Adorable-Simple-Strawberry-Remover-Dishwasher/dp/B00KGNSCUQ/ref=sr_1_14?ie=UTF8&qid=1421260426&sr=8-14&keywords=strawberry+pitter

7.  Amazing avocado slicer

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Ugh, it’s so tough to get all your green goodness out of the avocado and slice it evenly. ¬†I always squish it and it doesn’t go well but with this little baby, that’s no longer an issue! ¬†Maybe my OCD side just likes the even little slices! ¬†lol

http://www.amazon.com/Chefn-Flexicado-Flexible-Avocado-Plastic/dp/B000AXU1VA/ref=sr_1_18?ie=UTF8&qid=1421260493&sr=8-18&keywords=avocado+slice

8. Veggie Spiralizer

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Watching your carb intake or just want to make your veggies pretty? ¬†This little baby is just the thing for you! ¬†I love to make “noodles” from zucchini and squash when I’m trying to go easy on the carbs. ¬†I make spaghetti for the girls and then whip¬†up a¬†low cal version for myself! ¬†Delicious and nutritious!

http://www.amazon.com/SpiraLife-Vegetable-Spiralizer-Recipe-eBook/dp/B00L0R9R38/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1421260614&sr=8-4&keywords=veggie+spiralizer

9. Say Cheese slicer

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How cute is this little cheese slicer?!?!?!  I fell madly in love with it at a local gift shop and just had to have it!  You can get yourself one on amazon!

http://www.amazon.com/Say-Cheese-Instant-Slicer-GAMAGO/dp/B00ICF25VM/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1421260901&sr=8-1&keywords=say+cheese+slicer

10. Picture perfect kitchen timer

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If you have to time something in the kitchen, you may as well do it with a cute timer! ¬†Just sayin’! ¬†I picked up this adorable camera lens timer at World Market over the weekend and it’s so cute I had to share!

http://www.worldmarket.com/product/telephoto+kitchen+timer.do?&refType=&from=Search

11. Magnetic Salad tongs/servers

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I can’t remember where I actually purchased these but they’re pretty stinking awesome! ¬†They’re magnetic so you can toss your bowl of salad and then stick them together to easily serve said salad! ¬†Plus, they are much easier to store when separate! ¬†Double win! ¬†Here they are on Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Progressive-Piece-Green-Magnetic-Salad/dp/B00DYXSJLC/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1421261086&sr=8-1&keywords=magnetic+salad+tongs

12. Popsicle making magic

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I’m 75% sure I got these at dollar tree a few years back but you can obviously find similar products anywhere. ¬†Keep an eye out for the kind with the little straw attachment on the end. ¬†My girls love to make fresh fruit pops in the summer and as they start to melt, they can drink the juice from the little straw on the end instead of it running down their cute little hands! ¬†These are pretty close on amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/The-Friendly-Popsicles-Smoothies-BPA-Free/dp/B00N7AV8ZG/ref=sr_1_10?ie=UTF8&qid=1421261238&sr=8-10&keywords=popsicle+mold

13. Mini condiments

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These little cuties also came from World Market. ¬†They’re so great for lunch boxes and picnics even when you don’t want to pack an entire bottle of ketchup but need just a little squirt.

http://www.worldmarket.com/product/mini-condiment-set.do?from=Search&cx=0

14. Homemade ice cream container

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The girls LOVE to make banana ice cream.  You know, the kind where you freeze bananas, add a dash of peanut butter, cocoa powder, and milk and blend.  Yummy and not nearly as terrible for you as regular ice cream plus super fun to make! Anyway, we used to put it in tupperware to store in the freezer but this little beauty is so much cuter!  I stumbled upon this one at TJ Maxx but as you would guess, you can find them on amazon.  I in fact will be ordering a few more in the very near future!  They even have smaller individual sizes!

http://www.amazon.com/Tovolo-Storage-Container-61-3583-Pistachio/dp/B00LEO71LM/ref=sr_1_sc_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1421261746&sr=8-8-spell&keywords=homeade+ice+cream+container

15. Moped pizza slicer

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Don’t you hate when you use the pizza slicer and you have to go over it a couple of times because it didn’t cut all the way to the bottom? ¬†This little guy takes care of it in one swipe with dual blades! ¬†Plus, it’s much funner to “drive” over your pizza than it is to just merely slice it right? ¬†I got this one at Garden Ridge last year but of course you can get yours on Amazon!

http://www.amazon.com/Kikkerland-II-Motorino-Pizza-Cutter/dp/B0096643J8/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1421261900&sr=8-2&keywords=motorcycle+pizza+cutter

16. Pink piggy egg ring

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My hubby likes his eggs over easy. ¬†YUCK! ¬†lol ¬†This little piggy makes it much easier for me to keep them in check. ¬†Without it, The egg seems to go everywhere in my pan and it’s not pretty. ¬†Maybe that’s just me! ¬†It’s also great for breakfast sandwiches and we love those!

http://www.amazon.com/Oink-Piggy-Fry-Silicone-Ring/dp/B00JQVPG6W/ref=sr_1_18?ie=UTF8&qid=1421258056&sr=8-18&keywords=joie+oink+oink

Fun with baking:

17. Batter finger spatula

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you stick your finger in the batter and lick it sometimes don’t ya. ¬†Admit it! ¬†This nifty little spatula is great for mixing up your favorite muffin mix and then licking the remnants off without sticking your dirty little sausages in the bowl!

http://www.amazon.com/Fred-and-Friends-BATTERFINGER-Spatula/dp/B0015MU91C/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1421262114&sr=8-1&keywords=fred+batterfinger+spatula

18. ¬†Speaking of muffin mixing…

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These jeans make your muffin top actually look good!  hahahahaha  Excuse the dish soap residue on them.  They need a good rinsing it seems!

http://www.amazon.com/Fred-Friends-MUFFIN-TOPS-Baking/dp/B00EIFXCA8/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1421262287&sr=8-1&keywords=fred+muffin+tops

19. Killer cookie stamps

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Why should the kids have all the fun with the cookie stampers and shapes?!?!?!  This interchangeable cookie stamp set is super fun for the adult crowd.  Deliciously funny sugar cookies coming right up!

http://www.urbanoutfitters.com/urban/catalog/productdetail.jsp?id=33732694&cm_mmc=CJ-_-Affiliates-_-ShopStyle.com-_-11292048#/

20. I mustache you a question about your lunch

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Kids hate the bread crust. ¬†Why? ¬†I don’t get it. ¬†Even I wanted my ends cut off as a child but now can eat them right up! ¬†Mind over matter I suppose… ¬†Anyhow, why not cut the ends off and add a little fun to that plain ole sandwich with this mustache sandwich cutter also by Fred & Friends. ¬†Who says you shouldn’t play with your food? ¬†NOT this mama!

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Dorito salad

Last summer while visiting my cousin, the girls and I were introduced to our favorite salad. I’ve been making my own variation ever since and it’s as big a hit as ever! Thanks for the idea Becky, I took that sweet baby and made it my own and it’s pretty life changing!!! Hope you don’t mind me sharing, the world needs to know! Lol

You know the drill, gather your ingredients: you’ll need:
-bag of Doritos (Becky used regular Doritos, I typically prefer baked unless they’re nowhere to be found.
-1 lb lean ground beef
-garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, cumin, and ground red pepper (cayenne)
-shredded cheese
-plain Greek yogurt (Becky used sour cream but I always substitute yogurt for sour cream)
-salsa (I used pace because it’s what Dave had laying around already but you pick your own brand and heat)
-iceburg lettuce
-tomato
-1 can black beans (optional-they weren’t used in the original but I like them)
-corn (I use frozen sweet corn. Again this is optional, Becky didn’t use it)
-black olives (once again an optional add on)

Step 1: brown your ground beef and add seasonings (just a pinch of everything really or you could even use pre mixed taco seasoning I’m sure)

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Take your corn and black beans and heat them in a small pot. While that’s simmering, take your Greek yogurt and salsa and combine them in a blender until it’s a lovely pinky peach color. You’ll want to use equal parts salsa/yogurt.

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Grab your Doritos and crush them up with your hands or a fork in the bottom of your bowl and then add a nice solid layer of lettuce followed by a layer of ground beef. Add your corn/bean mixture, and drizzle your yogurt/salsa sauce over the top. Add some shredded cheese, cilantro, tomatoes, and olives and enjoy!

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Easy, quick, delicious! Yummmm!

Baking with the Bigs

When 8:00 rolls around and I finally lay the baby down for the night, the big girls get hungry for some attention. I often get hungry for baked goods so baking together seems like a win for everyone! In all sincerity though, I can’t express to you enough how important it is for you to spend quality time with your children and build some memories. As a busy mom, it’s easy to be in a rush all the time and say “I don’t have time to play a game right now I’m doing the dishes!” or “No, you can’t help me make dinner, I’m in a hurry and you’ll just make a huge mess!”. I guarantee those kids won’t remember the dishes in your sink but they will certainly remember all the fun they had getting flour and food coloring all over the kitchen! When I was a little girl, I remember feeling like I never had my mother’s full attention. She always seemed preoccupied with housework. Not that there is anything wrong with that, different moms interact with their children differently and not all children are the same so this may not have had an affect on someone else but it made me personally feel insignificant. I didn’t want to chance my children ever feeling that way so you’ll often find us all in the kitchen together wearing matching aprons cooking or baking together. More often than not, you’ll also find an American Girl Doll or two in an apron “helping” as ¬†well! Your chores will always be around,but your kids won’t be kids for long. Your kids should know the whole world doesn’t revolve around doing things with Mom. They should definitely know how to play independently and with each other while you get your chores done but we have to master a healthy balance of “hey kids, wanna help me bake?” and “I can’t fit another dirty dish in the sink, the floor is sticky, and everyone is out of clean undies. Could you play amongst yourselves while I tidy up?” Middle ground people. Middle ground! Lol. I hope someday when my girls have children of their own they will remember the giggles and smiles we shared doing ridiculous things like making tiny doll sized sugar cookies!

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I don’t want any angry emails over the dangers of artificial coloring in my food because you won’t ever persuade me to toss the food coloring! I divided the cookie dough into 3 equal-ish blobs and each one of us picked out a color.

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I then divided each color into 3’s and we each rolled out our own dough design on a cutting board before using cookie cutters to make shapes.

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Almost ready!!!

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The girls served their dolls first like good little mommies ūüėÉ

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Everyone (including Daddy & I) enjoyed our late night snack!

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