Gluten Free Vanilla Cream Pie

In our house, we eat a lot of gluten, but I know that’s not always the case.   I remember the first time I even heard the word gluten– it was about 8 years ago. I met this lovely, delicate women at a party, and she wasn’t eating much because she told me that she had Celiac disease. She explained how sick eating glutens made her, and how difficult it was to find foods that were truly gluten free. Shortly after meeting her, I met two other women with Celiac Disease, and I saw how challenging it was for them to find good foods to eat.  Times have changed, and so many products are gluten free now.  Right now, many of your favorite General Mills cereals are now gluten free– like Honey Nut and Chocolate Cheerios (as well as Lucky Charms!), and you can pick them up at Publix (my favorite grocery store).  Besides being gluten free, Cheerios are also an incredible versatile food for snacking and baking needs, and if you are looking for a gluten free equivalent for a graham cracker crust, try this Honey Nut Cheerio Crust and filling to making a completely Gluten Free Vanilla Cream Pie!  Not only is it gluten free, it’s also No Bake!
Looking for an easy to make, summery Gluten Free Dessert!? Try this easy Vanilla cream pie made with a Honey Nut Cherrios Crust (insteat of Graham Crackers!) I can't wait to taste it! [Read more…]




Glittery Ocean in a Bottle

This past week was Vacation Bible School at our church, and I was supposed to be the co-director.  I say “supposed to” because both my Monkey and my Peanut got horribly sick with some stomach bug, and I was at home with them for 3.5 of the 5 days of VBS.  However, I did get to plan the crafts for the little guys, which was so much fun!  Our theme was, “Catch the wave of God’s amazing love,” and one of the theme was, “God Calms.”  The suggested activity was a calming bottle, and I decided to take it to the next level, and made a Glittery Ocean in a Bottle.  I found so much amazing sensory bottle inspiration that I didn’t know where to stop, or start.  When that happens, I started experimenting, until I created something that I find mesmerizing and calming.  And so easy.  It is perfect for summer, as it makes me think of the beach, sunshine and summer vacations with family.  This week we’ve been on a road trip to the mountains, not the beach, but we’ve been enjoying our ocean in a bottle.

Get away to the ocean every day and help your little kids calm down with this relaxing glittery ocean in a bottle! All it requires is glittery, food coloring, oil, and water beads. It's a totally awesome sensory bottle!

This is definitely a project for any kiddo that is three or older, and all you need are a few supplies, most of which you have around the house.  The rest you can pick up at you local craft store.  We used Powerade bottles, which has a stronger plastic than the really inexpensive water bottles, but you can use whatever you have around the house.

Get away to the ocean every day and help your little kids calm down with this relaxing glittery ocean in a bottle! All it requires is glittery, food coloring, oil, and water beads. It's a totally awesome sensory bottle!

We found the inexpensive dyed seashells at the craft store, and we also put in a little sand from our sandbox (at least in our first bottle).  The Monkey and I were trying to create an authentic beach experience at least at first.  We didn’t add any sand in the second bottle because it didn’t mix as well with the water beads.

Get away to the ocean every day and help your little kids calm down with this relaxing glittery ocean in a bottle! All it requires is glittery, food coloring, oil, and water beads. It's a totally awesome sensory bottle!

After the wheels, we added ultra fine translucent glitter to the bottle.  We added about 2 tablespoons through a funnel.  It really helps to do this before you add the water to add in mixing.  In a separate container, we took about 12 ounces of very warm water, added about 2 drops of royal blue food coloring and one drop of green food coloring.  You can experiment, but I didn’t want it to be too dark.  Then with our funnel, we slowly added the warm tap water to the bottle.

Get away to the ocean every day and help your little kids calm down with this relaxing glittery ocean in a bottle! All it requires is glittery, food coloring, oil, and water beads. It's a totally awesome sensory bottle!

The Monkey then added a bottle of glitter glue to the water.  The glue that we added was from the children’s craft section of the craft store, and was called “Midnight”– it had the field of the ocean water with blue, turquoise, black and gold pieces of glitter.  Once the glitter glue was in the bottle, we used a chop stick to mix it thoroughly with the water.

Get away to the ocean every day and help your little kids calm down with this relaxing glittery ocean in a bottle! All it requires is glittery, food coloring, oil, and water beads. It's a totally awesome sensory bottle!

Then using a teaspoon, we added some dry water beads.  You can find these in the floral section of your local craft store.  Here are a hint– don’t let your enthusiastic preschooler add too many into your ocean in a bottle!  The dry water beads expand a lot, and if you add too many, they will absorb all of the water and the “Ocean in a bottle” will disappear.  All you need is 10-12 beads.

Get away to the ocean every day and help your little kids calm down with this relaxing glittery ocean in a bottle! All it requires is glittery, food coloring, oil, and water beads. It's a totally awesome sensory bottle!

The water beads when expanded will take on the color of the water, because they absorbed it, and will basically disappear in the bottle.  You’ll barely be able to see them, but they add to the “rolling” effects of the waves.  The very last step is to fill the bottle to the very top of the neck with cooking oil.  The oil and the water won’t mix so you’ll get wonderful waves.

Get away to the ocean every day and help your little kids calm down with this relaxing glittery ocean in a bottle! All it requires is glittery, food coloring, oil, and water beads. It's a totally awesome sensory bottle!

However, the translucent glitter and the oil will blend, and it will make the waves shimmer.  The water will also glimmer with all of the blue and translucent bits of glitter.

Get away to the ocean every day and help your little kids calm down with this relaxing glittery ocean in a bottle! All it requires is glittery, food coloring, oil, and water beads. It's a totally awesome sensory bottle!

Unfortunately, the camera doesn’t really reflect how beautiful this bottle turned out being.

Get away to the ocean every day and help your little kids calm down with this relaxing glittery ocean in a bottle! All it requires is glittery, food coloring, oil, and water beads. It's a totally awesome sensory bottle!

The effect is really so close to the look of the oceans on the Gulf of Mexico, that I can hardly believe it.  We can all just shake and watch it, and relax.  Perfect for the summer, and Vacation Bible School.

Looking for more awesome summer fun? Be sure to check out these awesome summer fun ideas over at Naptime Creations!

4 tips for teaching kids to crochet Summer Fun #2

4 Tips for Teaching Kids to Crochet – Underground Crafter on Nap-Time Creations

Underwater Limbo – 365 Days of Crafts

Red White and Blue Bark – The Chunky Chef

Pineapple Purse – Hey Let’s Make Stuff

Head over to Nap-Time Creations/Summer Fun




Gearing Up for Sports Safety

This past week I was watching the Big One at a game, and I saw a heavier boy charge directly at him, slam into his body and send him first into the air and then into the ground.  The wind was knocked out of the both of us, literally!  As you may remember, we have not allowed the Big One to play football because of the risks for severe head injuries, but that doesn’t mean that sports like soccer, flag football and basketball don’t involve contact.  And fear and worry for parents.  I strongly and firmly believe that having your children engage in athletics has wonderful benefits for their physical, social and psychological wellbeing.  That being said, mothers worry.  I do feel that Storelli is a brand that helps alleviate the anxiety that a mother feels with the creation of their BodyShield Sliders.

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The Trials of Poop & Potty Training

Life around here right now has a lot to do with poop. Yes, seriously. Poop is a huge point of discussion around our house because it is our biggest potty training challenge.  I’ve talked about a bit before, but I must admit that poop has been my nemesis when it comes to boys and potty training.  Thank goodness for Pull-Ups!  We tried to move immediately into “Big Boy Underwear,” but at the suggestion of a number of early childcare educators and our pediatrician, we quickly returned to Pull-Ups.  And let me tell you, the clean up from a kiddo wearing Pull-Ups versus big boy underwear filled with poop is an entirely different experience– do you know what I’m talking about?  I’m sharing this because I want to be honest– particularly as a person who is supposed to know something about child-rearing.  Dealing with little boys, poop and potty training is NOT EASY and NOT for the faint of heart.  Somehow, it’s easy to get little boys to pee standing up, and much harder to translate that into pooping.  Some days I feel like the poop is winning, and I’m not so great with potty training.  However, I remind myself that I’ve done this before, and that sooner or later, it will work out. And then I think, “Good grief, I hope it’s not too much later!”   Here are a few of the things that we are struggling with in our house, and ways that we are dealing with them.

Are you struggling with Potty Training? Me too-- particularly dealing with Pooping! Here my confessions an things that i'm trying over at My Mom Made That. Pooping and potty training can and are a huge challenge. {Information sponsored by Kimberly Clark}

Constipation and anxiety.  Who knew, but this is a huge issue for potty training tots!  Basically, our sweet Monkey is a pretty constipated dude.  This means that we have to up the fiber intact– did you know that he only eats about 8 foods in the entire world because he’s that kind of kid?!  We’ve also been giving him a stool softener in his Apple Juice.  Do this under the advice and guidance of your pediatrician.  I want families to be aware of this because costipation can make the pooping scary.  Constipation can make pooping hurt.  For us, adding apple juice has helped, but we have to be consistent and make sure he’s drinking it regularly!  He’d rather drink milk and eat dairy and that can plug him up!

Are you struggling with Potty Training? Me too-- particularly dealing with Pooping! Here my confessions an things that i'm trying over at My Mom Made That. Pooping and potty training can and are a huge challenge. {Information sponsored by Kimberly Clark}

Flushable and Portable Wipes.  The thing about potty training, and a kid that is struggling with poop, and is needing the support of Pull-Ups is that he wants to feel like a big kid.  I know the Monkey wants to be my “Big Little Boy,” (his description of himself.)  However, if I use baby wipes and change him like a baby after a poop mishap, he feels discouraged.  Going through the process of wiping and flushing like a “big boy,” helps reinforce what we are supposed to be working on.  I like flushable wipes right now because they work better than toilet paper on little bums.   And they are flushable– so the Monkey gets to use them like toilet paper.

Are you struggling with Potty Training? Me too-- particularly dealing with Pooping! Here my confessions an things that i'm trying over at My Mom Made That. Pooping and potty training can and are a huge challenge. {Information sponsored by Kimberly Clark}

Stay focused.  This is the biggest challenge for me.  It’s easier to go back to diapers.  It may smell more, but when you are already changing one little one, it’s easier to just give up.  Don’t do that!  (I’m chanting this to myself on a daily basis.) The struggle is real, but it will be accomplished with perseverance.  I know because I’ve gone through these Poop Trials before the Big One.  I’m happy to report that he doesn’t poop in his pants anymore!

Are you struggling with Potty Training? Me too-- particularly dealing with Pooping! Here my confessions an things that i'm trying over at My Mom Made That. Pooping and potty training can and are a huge challenge. {Information sponsored by Kimberly Clark}

Be Prepared:  Take your supplies with you wherever you go.  I’ve got wipes and Pull-Ups in my car, and in my bag.  We take the potty with us on the road.  Seriously– it sits in the back of our car.  And the most recent pack of Pull-Ups that we got at Sam’s Club had a cute little backpack— perfect for his potty training supplies!  He loves that it holds his Pull-Ups, Flushable Wipes, a few boy treasures like rocks, and it isn’t too big for him to carry.  In fact, he’s been wearing it wherever he goes with his pottying supplies there and ready for use!  (Don’t worry, there is a cute girls’ option too!)

Are you struggling with Potty Training? Me too-- particularly dealing with Pooping! Here my confessions an things that i'm trying over at My Mom Made That. Pooping and potty training can and are a huge challenge. {Information sponsored by Kimberly Clark}

I’d encourage you to stop by Sam’s Club, enjoy your favorite samples (like my Peanut!), and pick up Pull-Ups for your own Little along with a pack of Cottonelle Flushable Wipes.  Right now (until June 30, 2016), you can purchase any two Pull-Ups® Training Pants and/or Cottonelle® Fresh Care® Flushable Cleansing Cloths and receive a $10 Sam’s Club e-Gift Card.

Are you struggling with Potty Training? Me too-- particularly dealing with Pooping! Here my confessions an things that i'm trying over at My Mom Made That. Pooping and potty training can and are a huge challenge. {Information sponsored by Kimberly Clark}

See you on the other side of the Poop Trials!




Cucumber Caprese Salad

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #FreschEats #CollectiveBias

 It’s the last week of school here in Georgia– I can’t believe it. We are finalizing our summer plans, and is the rush of May. I’m guessing that most moms would agree that with the exception of December, May is the busiest month of the year. Schools have so many special events and activities, there are games and concerts in the evenings, and I’m tired. It’s hard to keep our evening routine going with this schedule!  Sometimes, we just don’t have the time to cook a big meal, so we need to have recipes and ideas that are easy to create, but still taste delicious.  I love the flavor of Caprese salad with Balsamic vinegar, particularly when you add cucumbers.  It’s such an easy pairing with a Freschetta® Pizza.  Within 20 minutes, you can have both a Cucumber Caprese Salad with Balsamic Reduction and a delicious Artisan Crust, or Brick Oven Freschetta® Pizza.

Want something fresh and flavorful, but easy to make for dinner? Have some Cucumber Caprese Salad with Balsamic Vinegar Reduction to go with your Freschetta® Pizza! Dinner can be easy to make but so flavorful! {Post Sponsored by Freschetta #FreschEats} [Read more…]