Thursday, May 31, 2012

Pineapple Macadamia Nut Macaroons

Oh my, these are delicious!  Last week I gave you a little tease about them...eating one conjures thoughts of a tropical vacation. :)  If you like sweet, soft coconut, sweet yet tangy pineapple, and little bits of chocolate and crunchy macadamia nuts, then you will LOVE these cookies.
These Pineapple Macadamia Nut Snackaroons are made by a company called Laughing Giraffe Organics.  They make several different varieties of Snackaroons--Vanilla Almond, Cranberry Orange, and Cherry Ginger to name a few.  They can be bought online via their website or you can pick them up at Whole Foods like I did.*
They are definitely a treat, but they are a healthy choice (though you can hardly tell!) On top of being organic, they are raw, vegan, gluten free, and hand crafted...see, it says right on the front of the package. 
And on the back it tells more about the production facility and also states that Laughing Giraffe Organics are "an independent family run business and (they) greatly appreciate your support."  My mouth is more than happy that I support them :) 
On the back of the package, Laughing Giraffe Organics tells more about their ingredients and their rich nutritional value and how the snackaroons will satisfy your hunger with less and be better than empty calorie consumption.  All their claims are true, but eating just one is hard because they are so delicious!
*As much as I wish I were compensated for this post with a few samples, I haven't been. Maybe one day I'll have some to share.  :)

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Building Challenge

How did the building go this past week?  My kiddos had a blast brainstorming ideas of things to build for Hello Summer...pools, beaches, beach ball, sun, playground, ice cream truck, and more!  Alexander settled on creating a "surfer dude surfing."
John Paul created a fantastic beach scene complete with swimmers and sunbathers.
Penelope decided on a beach ball and the decided to create cards for people instead of building. And that's okay :)
Later she built a quick boat.
Now for this week's challenge: Zoo!
Get creative and create :)

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Summer Inspiration and Fun

Summer has officially started! :)  Yesterday the kids went swimming, bike riding, got to watch a movie, had friends over, ate water melon, built with Legos, built a train track, and worked on our 750 piece puzzle.  Oh my, what are we going to do today?!  Good thing we wrote out a summer list of things to do!  Also, Pinterest has come to the rescue with more ideas.
 We will be going to Chicago this summer, so I want the kids to learn more about the city.  Over the weekend I bought a large wall map of the United States.  Along with checking out our new map, learning about Chicago also means at least one trip to the library for some books, maybe create our own maps of where we want to go while in Chicago, create a cityscape, learn about some places to visit while in Chicago.  I also downloaded the Stack the States (Lite) iPad app.  {It's a great little game to help learn about the states.}
I want to make mobiles with the kids...inspired by Alexander Calder.  Did you know that today, May 29th, is national paper clip day?  I think we're going to have to break out the paper clips and see what we can create--bookmarks, mobiles, chains, 3D sculptures.
{Speaking of Chicago, here's a conversation between Jaime and Penelope yesterday:
P: I wanna go on a walk, Daddy
J: Ok, where do you want to go?
P: To a city
J: A city, what city?
P: Chicago
J: Chicago?! How about the arboretum?
P: Okay!
And to the arboretum they went :) }

Create, have fun, play, and's summer!  Don't forget the building challenge, Hello Summer. 

Friday, May 25, 2012

7 Quick Takes

(1) Today is the last day of school (good bye 3rd and kindergarten) for the boys, but learning won't stop :)  I've got some fun activities planned and am going to try a summer long project (thinking of a research project kinda thing) along with daily journaling.
(2) Just finished my homemade cappuccino and really want another one...and another. :)
(3) Could totally take a mini tropical vacation just by eating one of these pineapple macadamia nut macaroons (more about these treats next week!)
(4) I'm such a nerd or just really excited and interested in my summer class...general psychology...that I already started reading the textbook when it arrived earlier this week.
(5) I need to hear from the professor of said summer course to know the syllabus...class starts on 6/4!
(6) I wrote out our daily {flexible} routine/schedule for the summer.
(7) Planning a powwow with the kids this afternoon to brainstorm chores, activities, and the summer bucket list!

7 quick takes sm1 Your 7 Quick Takes Toolkit!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Jets Catcher

Baseball season is going well this year.  Alexander has been thoroughly enjoying it and is getting so in to the game.  Currently his favorite position is catcher. 
Here he is in the dugout getting all the gear on.  I honestly don't know how they manage to catch and throw the ball with all that stuff on, let alone see the ball coming.  Heck, I don't know how they catch the ball with the glove on.  I hate wearing a glove.  I guess that's one reason why I never played softball :) 
Here he is warming up with the pitcher.
I love watching them play and cheering them on! 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Building Challenge

With summer coming up, I've decided to incorporate some fun here.  My kids love seeing their pictures on the blog.  My kids love building with blocks and Legos.  So, I've decided to issue a weekly building challenge every Wednesday.  You can link up pictures of creations built using Legos, Duplos, blocks, you get the idea.  If blogging isn't your thing, then email me the pictures and I'll post them for you :)  Since we just have days left of school, this week's challenge topic is HELLO SUMMER.  Get creative with your kids, by yourself, or just your kids, build and create, take a picture of it, post it, link up or email it to me.  I can't wait to see everyone's creations!
Okay, I planned on doing linky parties each week, but am still trying to figure out the hosting part.  So, in the mean time, leave a comment with a link to your creations.  I'll let you know as soon as I get it figured out :)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Favorite On the Go Eating

I do my best to not eat in the car (the kids are another story though!)  Sometimes though it happens.  I'll need something quick to grab and easy to eat and filling, and nutritious too.  I have fallen in LOVE with these
Two Moms in the RAW granola bars.  There are a few different flavors and I've tried them all except the blueberry (I'm going to have to try that next).  I love them all.  I could easily eat a bag of these a day...BUT, they are NOT cheap.  I don't mind too much because they are made with fantastic whole ingredients that are raw, 100% organic, gluten, wheat, and dairy free, sprouted, soaked, and rinsed.   I say I could eat a bag a day, but really, they are so filling that a half a bar works for a light breakfast or very filling snack.  One day I will figure out how to copy these bars and make them myself.  Until then, I will splurge occasionally and buy a bag...and hide them in the pantry because everyone in our house LOVES them!

Happy Birthday

I'm pretty sure I never said I'd never put this one on here :)
Happy birthday to my fun, incredible, supportive, loving husband!  Have a wonderful day :) 
Love you

Monday, May 21, 2012


Stella is 5 months old today.  Among other things, today we took the boys to school, went on a long walk, made cookies, made a pizza, read stories, went to the library, picked the boys up from school, made dinner, played, took a bath, and napped.  Ah, the life of a five month old :)


We LOVE eating popcorn here.  I have a WhirlyPop that I use to pop the kernels on the stove top.  I love pops pretty much every kernel and works almost as fast as popping it in the microwave.  While checking out Pinterest, I came across this great picture and think that I will most definitely be making this popcorn recipe very soon.  The only change I'll make is the butter--I'll try either ghee or coconut oil in its place so that the snack will be gluten and dairy free.
Then I found this recipe for chili powder and dark chocolate popcorn!!! 
While strolling the aisles of Whole Foods, I've found a whole new chocolate world.  They carry a gourmet selection of delicious gluten and dairy free chocolate.  While the bars may be a bit pricy, they taste exquisite and very little needs to be eaten at a time.  I think I'll have to pick some up to make this Chili Powder and Dark Chocolate Popcorn. :)
What's your favorite snack?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Microwave Free (Part 2)

I'm gaining confidence in our ability to be microwave free.  Let me explain WHY we decided to go this route.  In recent years I'd started wondering how safe our microwave was (it's from 2000), what was it doing to the nutritional content of our food, wondering how our plates could get excruciatingly hot while our food that was on them still be so disappointingly cold, and wishing for more counter space. Kitchen Stewardship did some extensive research here and here and sourced it all to help in reading the research a little faster.  My 2 biggest concerns regarding our microwave use were the safety of it--leaking radiation--and nutritional value.  Since the kids, especially Penelope, love to be independent and heat up their own food and stand practically with noses touching the door while it's on I figured I'd better determine this safety.  While pregnant with Stella I always moved away from the microwave when it was on.  Have any of you done this or do you stand and watch the food spin around?  I started wondering about any lingering radiation when I popped open the door as soon as it dinged ready.  So, I'd let several seconds and sometimes minutes pass...umm, whatever was heated up was then cold again.  And so it got heated up again.  Then I'd have to go change a diaper, settle a dispute, nurse a baby, and then eventually get back to the microwave that patiently flashed END over and over and held my yet again cold food/coffee.  Are you getting a sense of the cycle here?!  Regardless if microwaves are good/bad I was continually pushing the minute plus button and never getting to the food/drink within.  Frustrating!  After 3 days of making myself microwave free, I've managed to focus on heating my food and enjoying it while hot. :)  So, why did we go microwave free?  It forces me to be more intentional in my heating up and eating food, if there's a chance that microwaved food could be less nutritious, then why not skip the microwave?  The kids have lost a bit of their independence in the kitchen, but this summer I'm looking forward to teaching them how to use the toaster oven safely.  I recommend you check out at least the 2 posts linked here to Kitchen Stewardship for some great info on the microwave topic.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Microwave Free? (Part 1)

We've decided, after much thought, some research via Kitchen Stewardship, and even a couple Facebook inquiries, to get rid of our microwave. Okay, it's sitting on the floor waiting for me to decide whether to donate it or finish moving it down to the basement.  In it's place sits a brand new Breville Convection Toaster Oven.
I also bought a small butter warmer pot to heat small amounts of things that I would have done in the microwave.  Even though these items were purchased over the Mother's Day weekend and even though they are pretty sweet, I declared them semi-necessary household items and they were not to be called mother's day gifts.  (Instead we had a wonderful homemade family meal...some even baked in the new toaster oven.)
Part 2--Why we decided to try being microwave free

Monday, May 14, 2012

What're your summer plans?

Summer time is upon us!  The boys have just days left of more Monday to go!  What do you have planned for summer?  While the kids are off all summer, I'm going back to school.  It's official now.  I've applied, been accepted, and now registered for a summer class.  Still working on that FAFSA for the fall semester though.  I've never done the on line school thing, so it'll be new and different for me, but I'm absolutely THRILLED to get started. :)
The boys will wrap up their current sports season by the end of June.  They're going to VBS in the beginning of June.  Our vacation is in July.  Alexander is going to a 2x/week strategy game camp at school.  I wish John Paul was old enough to go to that camp too because I just know he'd love it.
Penelope is elated that fall comes after summer and that means she! gets to go to school.  Today in Target she begged for a back pack. (I held strong, we'll get one at the end of summer.)  Between studying and taking care of the kids and house, I'm hoping for plenty of fun--swimming, parks, play dates...summer!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


Yesterday my prayer time focused on childhood memories.  It made me think some about the memories my children will have of their childhood.  I love how this picture captures my Penelope so well right now. Chipped nail polish and Legos.  Mama time is still so important. I hope she remembers these times of ours together more than the times we clean house together.  But mostly I hope she remembers that we did so much together.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Stella and Sherlock Holmes

I just can't get enough of this girl!
As I was editing pictures and starting to write this post, Jaime started watching Sherlock, the PBS/BBC show.  
 We hadn't seen any of them.  Usually I multitask by blogging or reading blogs/Pinterest while watching a show or just tune out whatever is on tv.  Not this time! 
At first I kept asking Jaime questions then finally just had to close the laptop and focus.  It was great, good intrigue and a little comedy.  I've needed a new series...too bad this one only has 3 episodes (available on instant stream Netflix) for the first season and season 2 just started.
If you watch it, let me know what you think.  If you've seen season 1, are the next 2 episodes great as well?

Monday, May 7, 2012

Frozen Banana Snack

The boys come home from school absolutely STARVING.  I could almost serve dinner at 3:30 and they'd be happy to eat it. Buuut, they'd be STARVING by 5:30.  Afternoon snacks are a must.  I know I like to snack too :)  I can't serve any wimpy snacks because if I do, then the boys are starving within minutes of eating and are begging for more food and generally driving me crazy while I'm trying to make dinner.  The other day I had some bananas sitting around so I thought I'd try something new for them...the Frozen Banana Snack! 
It's a quick and easy snack to throw together and have ready when the boys get home in the afternoon.  Gather a banana, Popsicle sticks, peanut butter (or other nut butter), chocolate chips (roughly chopped), and foil.  First, cut the banana in half and push a Popsicle stick in the cut end.  Then spread some peanut butter (or other nut butter) over the banana.
Roll the banana in the chopped chocolate chips then wrap the foil around the banana and place it in the freezer.
{These chocolate chips weren't chopped much. After making this one, I chopped the chips up more and they stuck better without having to use so many per banana.}
These take a couple of hours to freeze, so plan ahead a little if you want them frozen or serve immediately.

After eating these, the kids were happy and didn't ask for more food until dinner time  :)
*If you don't have any sticks, no worries, just prepare them without the sticks and serve with a fork or spoon.  Also, these can be made smaller and served as individual bites.  Freeze individual bites on foil without wrapping up.*

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Tough Girl

Penelope got a black eye a few days ago.  She's the first one of the kiddos to get one. 
I thought for sure one of the boys would have claimed that title, but no, my tough girl did.  The story behind the black eye isn't all that exciting and I kinda blame myself for it.  I took the girls to DeAnna Rose Farmstead to check out the animals and play.  While Penelope was playing on one of the little ride on toys, a horse, she was going back and forth having a race.  I told her I'd win the race and she started to go faster and laugh...that's when she went forward as the horse toy went back and smack! she caught her check on the mane.  It immediately formed a goose egg. I pulled her off the toy and told her we'd get some ice on it...she wanted none of it and only wanted back on the horse :)  I told her ice was necessary and that she could ride the horse again in a few minutes.  She's pretty proud of her black eye and has had a good time telling the story when people ask how it happened.  The morning after it happened she came down the stairs and right away asked me, "Mom, do I still have my brown eye?"  I had to laugh.  "Yes, you have 2 brown eye though....and 1 black eye."  She hesitated and replied, "Umm, I have to look in the mirror!"  I'm not sure if she thought she had THREE eyes or what, but came out of the bathroom telling me in her reassuring voice, "yeah mom it's still there."

Friday, May 4, 2012

Weekly Menu

Dinners this week are going to be fast and at odd times due to violin lessons, baseball games, and soccer practice. I truly value being able to sit down as a family to eat and share dinner.  Tuesday and Wednesday nights will be the most challenging and probably not shared all together.  Usually I'm all about unprocessed foods, but this week I'm breaking out some jarred goods--spaghetti sauce and a new curry simmering sauce that I found.
Have a fantastic week!

Saturday--fajitas--grilled steak, onions, bell peppers, avocados
Sunday--hamburgers, roasted broccoli, jicama sticks with lime juice and cayenne pepper, green salad
Monday--Madras Curry (from a jar!) with pork and rice, salad
Tuesday--Taco Soup
Wednesday--Supercharged Spaghetti and Meat sauce, salad
Thursday--Baked crispy chicken and eggplant--top with left over spaghetti sauce, salad
Friday--Chicken sausage, caramelized onions, and spinach pizzas

Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Importance of Work

I almost don't need to say this, but I is important.  Work is important at all ages.  Doing work brings satisfaction, pride, and even some humbleness.  Recently at Mass, the priest discussed this topic.  He said that from the beginning God created us to work.  We had to care for the Garden, the animals, and all Creation.  If we are created to work, how do we teach this?  Is it something that needs to be taught?  As I watch my kids, I've discovered it's a bit of both.  The desire to work is there, it just needs to be nurtured.  Penelope LOVES to be my helper.  I had a sink full of dishes to wash.  She wanted to help.  She pulled a step stool up to the sink and asked for her own scrubber.  Knowing she wasn't going to back down and just let me get the job done, I filled her side of the sink with some hot soapy water, gave her a sponge and some of the dishes.  You know what...she did a FANTASTIC job!  As I watched her while I washed my dishes, she took this job seriously--it was big business, major responsibility to get rid of all those germs.  Within a few minutes all the dishes were done.  She really was a big help :)  A few days before she and a couple neighbor friends were playing in the backyard with her pretend food and shopping cart.  The food had been buried in the dirt.  I didn't want it mixed back in with all the kitchen toys until it had been washed.  I hadn't had a chance to get to it.  Because Penelope wanted to keep washing dishes, I thought it'd be a great activity for her to do.  Work without meaning is pointless, tedious, and generally causes bad feelings.  You know that.  Playing with bubbles and warm water is great fun for a toddler.  Add in the food to get washed and you've got some learning and work going on too!  FUN!


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