Building Our Story

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Shamrock Glazed Donuts #Recipe

St. Patrick's Day is just days away.  Have you decided how to have some fun on this "holiday"?  The best part of St. Patrick's Day are the traditions.  Our traditions have certainly changed, A LOT, since having kids but I still want to have fun but with the kiddos.  So now, I make fun crafts, decorate and make awesome green food!  

This year I decided to do a little twist on a family favorite and turn our baked donuts into Shamrock Donuts!!  Yummy!!  Such a fun treat or dessert to help spread the green cheer!  

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Shamrock Glazed Donuts


Free Printable Recipe Here. 

Shamrock Glazed Donuts #Recipe. Easy Donut Recipe.  St. Patrick's Day treats.  St. Patrick's Day desserts.  St. Patrick's Day donuts.  Shamrock Donut recipe.  St. Patrick's Day Recipes.

Ingredients:

For the Donuts:
3/4 cup flour
1 TBSP baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 tablespoons instant french vanilla pudding mix
3/4 cup buttermilk
green food coloring

For the Glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup sprinkles

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Instructions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray the donut pan with cooking spray. 

2.  Using a stand mixer combine the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, egg, vanilla, pudding mix and buttermilk.  
 Mix on low to combine. Mixture should be smooth. 

3. Add 4-5 drops of green food coloring, stir to combine.  The more you add the greener the donuts will be.  

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4. Using an ice cream scoop fill the donut pan carefully. 

5. Bake for 15-20 minutes.  Once baked, let donuts cool in the pan for at least 15 minutes before trying to remove from pan. 

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6. While waiting for the donuts to cool, create the glaze topping.
 
7. Using the stand mixer whisk attachment combine the powdered sugar and heavy cream until smooth and thick.

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8. Spread the glaze over the donuts evenly, top with green sprinkles and enjoy!! 

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These were the perfect treat for a fun breakfast and I cannot wait to make them again on St. Patrick's Day.  I was really surprised at how easy these were to make.  I am in love with my new donut baking pan too and cannot wait to come up with more donut creations!!  

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What fun St. Patrick's Day treats do you have planned to make this year?



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Tuesday, March 3, 2015

6 Living Green Tips for Kids

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



It is becoming pretty obvious that teaching our kids all about green living is a necessity.  Our country is such a wasteful country in some aspects and we all need to be more thoughtful about the way we live and take care of our earth and being Eco friendly.  Recently, we have been talking about Living Green with Jude.  Jude is a typical wasteful preschooler - he leaves lights on, he runs the water too long, he throws away food and he leaves his battery powered toys/games on when he isn't playing them.  While I know these are all normal behaviors for a 4 year old, we have really been trying to make these behaviors a teachable moment for him.  After doing some research I found some great tips on how to introduce green living to kids.  


6 Living Green Tips For Kids 


Gardening:  Teaching a child to garden is not only a lot of fun but full of teachable moments.  This summer we started our first garden and Jude loved it.  This spring we plan on expanding our garden which will hopefully give us more fresh foods.  So what does this have to do with living green?  Gardening is an Eco friendly activity that will teach children responsibility and pride in their crops.  We taught Jude about eating the fruits and veggies that we grew and why it was important to not waste those homegrown goodies.  This activity is a great starting point to eating healthier as well.  



Recycling:  We are so lucky in our neighborhood to have a recycling program that comes along with our trash pick up.  This means that both of our children have seen us recycling items from the time they could see.  Recycling teaches kids how to take care of their environment, but also teaches them not to waste. Have the kids recycle cereal boxes, glass containers, newspapers, magazines and junk mail. You can make this into a game that involves sorting out the different types of items and putting them in their special bins for points. Once the kids are older we plan on making recycling a chore option for them. 



Eco Batteries:  How many toys and games in your house use batteries?  Honestly, we have too many to even give you an estimate and because of this we are buying a lot of batteries.  Energizer has created something new that has really changed the way we buy our batteries.  The New Energizer EcoAdvanced batteries is Energizer's longest lasting alkaline ever and it is totally green!  This is the first battery on the market to use recycled batteries/materials!  Basically Energizer is taking old batteries and making new ones for more energy.  The ultimate recycling!  Now we make sure to buy the batteries for all of the toys and games that the kids use - thankfully they come in AA and AAA, perfect for most toys!  Now we just need to keep hounding the kids about leaving their toys and games running!  



Transportation:  We all need some extra exercise and activity and to make sure our carbon foot print is even bigger by over usage from driving we should all try to walk more when possible.  Simple steps - instead of driving to the park, walk there and walk home.  Talk about the perfect way to get a family work out in!  Need to pick up a few groceries, walk to the nearest store - enjoy the outdoors and breath the fresh air, it is good for your body!   If we start this habit in our children at a young age, hopefully the habit will continue when they are adults.  



Turn off the Lights:  I do not know how many times that phrase is said in our home every day.  Jude will close his door as he walks out and then leaves his light on, it drives me crazy!  We have had this discussion a lot recently.  All about how the lights use energy and that energy costs money and in order to keep the earth healthy we need to use less energy.  I hope we are getting through to him but once we do, we will be dealing with the same issue with Teagan!  Oh parenthood!


Conserve that Water:  Okay, sometimes we let the water run too much and it isn't always the kids fault.  Sure, when Jude washes his hands he lets the water run and run but there are also times that I am guilty of this.  All because I want to make my kitty happy!  You see, Sophie loves drinking fresh cold tap water.  So, we are ALL working on turning the water off!  This is a great tip to teach kids because water is not unlimited, sure it seems like it is always there when we turn on the faucet but it a precious resource that we need to be thoughtful about using.  


All of these tips have been a lot of fun teaching to Jude and Teagan.  No matter what their age, your kids can start learning what it means to live a healthier, more natural and environmentally friendly lifestyle. Explaining things to children is easier if you tell them the advantages of those things.

You can find the Energizer New EcoAdvanced Batteries at Walmart and start using one of these tips immediately! I know that you can find some toys or games to put these Eco friendly batteries in!  Start the green living lifestyle today!    


Stay connected with Energizer:

Twitter: @Energizer

Facebook: @Energizer
Instagram: @Energizer



Who loves giveaways?  We all do and now you can enter the GuiltFreeEnergy Giveaway that has $1,000 in Gift Cards!!  Wow!!    Simply enter below and good luck!






What responsible choices have you made as a family to contribute to a more Eco Friendly lifestyle?


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Monday, March 2, 2015

Celebrating the Big Hero 6 Release With Some Family Fun

Disclosure:  This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #BigHero6Release #CollectiveBias   



Unless you have been living under a rock you have had to seen this silly character recently, no not Jude - Baymax of course!!  Baymax is one of the characters from the new Disney movie Big Hero 6 that was just released on DVD.  Pretty cute right?  Not only is Baymax a really fun character but this movie is REALLY good, seriously!  We took Jude to see this movie in the theater and left the show saying it was one of the best Disney movies we had seen in a long time.  The characters are great, the story-line is heartfelt and full of teachable moments and the humor is great for all ages.  On point Disney!  

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To celebrate this great movie coming out on DVD we decided to have a Big Hero 6 family party and movie night!  Jude had already gotten a few Big Hero 6 toys for Christmas this year but I wanted to surprise the kids with the new release as well as some fun movie night cuddle buddies!  I found these adorable plush characters on Walmart.com and had them shipped right to us so we were ready for our weekend fun!  I stopped at Walmart on my way to work the morning the movie was released to be THAT mom!  Walmart had a great deal too - A Walmart exclusive 2 DISC Disc Blu-Ray/DVD/Digital Copy 2 pack plus your purchase of the Big Hero 6 Blu-Ray/DVD + Gift With Purchase Set includes a digital movie on Vudu while supplies last! Simply scan your receipt using the Savings Catcher in the Walmart app. Then look for a message on your phone or email. Now you can watch Big Hero 6 on any device!  We waited to surprise the kids with the movie this weekend.  I know, I really was THAT mom!  But we had such a fun Saturday filled with Big Hero 6 fun!  We were super busy but the kids have not stopped talking about our fun Big Hero 6 celebration!

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Baymax Stained Glass


The first thing we did was make a fun craft that has totally made our front window fun!  I am a fan of stained glass crafts for kids, they allow the kids to be creative but it is simple enough to complete too.  Our Baymax stained glass is my favorite stained glass we have made so far!  So cute!!

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Materials Needed:

Wax paper
White School Glue
Paint Brush
Black Construction Paper
White tissue paper, cut in squares

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Directions:

1.  Make a Baymax outline there is no right way to do this, simply look at a Baymax picture and draw on the black construction paper and cut out the stencil.  

2.  Lay a large piece of wax paper on the table. 

3.  Pour white glue on the wax paper, spread the glue evenly using the paint brush. 

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4.  Place Baymax stencil down into the glue.  

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5.  Place tissue paper squares inside the stencil.  Completely fill the stencil with tissue paper. 

6.  Make Baymax "eyes" out of scraps of the construction paper, place eyes on tissue paper/glue.  

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7.  Lay another piece of wax paper down on top of the tissue paper/glue.  Slightly press the wax paper down for a seal.  

8. Let glue dry overnight.  Once dry, using scissors cute around the Baymax stencil - leave about a half an inch of wax paper to ensure the seal stays.  

9.  Hang up using tape or hang with a string.

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Jude and Teagan were so happy to see their creations in the window the next day!  These special little Baymax friends will keep our front window looking cute!!  

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To continue our family night celebration of Big Hero 6 we had to make snacks!!  Jude adored Baymax but his other favorite character of the Big Hero 6 team is Honey Lemon.  He loves the science of her powers so we decided to make a special drink to enjoy with our movie.  PS - it is relatively healthy and the kids totally thought it tasted like an ice cream treat - MOM FOR THE WIN!!!

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Honey Lemon Smoothie


Free Printable Recipe Here 

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Ingredients:

2 cups ice
2 bananas 
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup lemon juice
10 oz Lemon Greek Yogurt 
2 TBSP Honey
Honey Drizzle for topping

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Directions:

Combine all ingredients into a blender.  Blend until completely smooth.  Pour evenly into a couple glasses and top each smoothie with a drizzle of honey.  This recipe allowed the four of use to each have a glass of Honey Lemon Smoothie!  Delicious and super easy!  


She is pretty cute too!  Great colors!!  I think we will have this yummy smoothie as a breakfast treat some weekend again soon.  Very good and a totally different smoothie than I have ever enjoyed! 

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This is a picture of a VERY happy boy.  Check out his shirt - Mr. Baymax is hiding.  I feel like our house is the Big Hero 6 house - so many toys, crafts, treats and books all about this movie.  

Next on my to do list for our Big Hero 6 celebration before we sat down to watch the movie was to make our movie snack.  I am so thrilled with how these turned out and man they were a hit with Jude and Teagan! Oh and I promise, these really are easier than they look - you know I love easy recipes!

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Big Hero 6  Baymax Chocolate Covered Apples


Free Printable Recipe Here.  

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Ingredients:

6-8 Apples - the rounder the better, we used Gala, they were really round and we LOVE Gala apples
1 large brick of white chocolate almond bark
Candy sticks
Black piping icing 
foil or parchment paper

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Directions:

1.  Clean and DRY the apples.  Dry is key here.  If any moisture gets to the melted almond bark it will make this process a lot harder.  

2.  Stick the candy sticks in the apples.  Tip - using a sharp knife, carefully poke a hole in the middle of the apple, then place the candy stick into the apple.  

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3.  In a microwave safe bowl, that is deep enough to cover the apples, melt the almond bark.  

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4.  Once completely melted, slowly dip the apples into the almond bark.  Cover the entire apple.  

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5.  Slowly remove apple from melted almond bark and place on foil.  

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6.  Let the almond bark set in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.  

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7.  Once the almond bark is hardened, pipe Baymax eyes on the apples.  Thankfully this does not take much skill!  

8.  Now it is time to bit into this delicious snack!  Enjoy!!

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Such a fun idea.  I would love to do this for a birthday party.  Any takers?  These would make the cutest guest gifts for a Big Hero 6 birthday party.  The best thing about these, well besides that they are super easy, that you can bite into these and not hurt your teeth!  

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What a fun way to start our movie night as a family.  Teagan was so excited to finally see this movie since she didn't go with us to the theater and with the fun craft, drink and snack I think she will always love this movie.  I was so happy with the memories we made while enjoying a great Saturday night at home.  


Make sure you stop at Walmart soon and pick up the Walmart Exclusive Gift Set.  You will love the Science of Big Hero 6 as well!  Also, I really hope you check out the online items you can find from Big Hero 6 at Walmart.com, I was amazed at the items that were available online that are not found in stores!  Jude and Teagan have been taking turns on who gets to sleep with Honey Lemon and Baymax every night.  So cute!  I am glad I found these cute plush characters for the kids.  They have cuddled with them every time we have watched the movie!


Who is your favorite character of Big Hero 6?


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Tips For Bringing A New Cat Into Your Home

Disclosure:  This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group®, Litter Genie® and Fancy Feast®, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #Catparents http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV


We have a new friend in our home, a couple weeks ago I introduced you all to our Valentine kitty named Sundae.  She is a sweet and gentle kitten who has brought some fun into our home from the moment we adopted her.  Sophie, our other cat, is slowly getting used to this new creature and soon I think they will be cuddle buddies.  We decided that after almost 2 years of being a one cat family it was time to get another cat for our home.  It was a huge decision but after months of talking about it Jeremy and I decided it would be a special Valentine's Day gift/treat for our family to go and adopt a cat.  


Tips For Bringing A New Cat Into Your Home 


1.  Make sure everyone is prepared for this new kitty in the house:  this is especially important for homes with children.  Make it clear that in order for the kitty to be a happy family member that kitty needs to feel safe and secure. 


2.  Stock Up On Cat Food:  In our home we usually feed our cats dry food but every Saturday night we give our cats a treat.  Wet food!!!  Fancy Feast has always been our cats favorite, so we thought our newest little friend would enjoy it as well.  Sure enough!  Sundae was so excited to have this special treat!  Did you know that Fancy Feast has been around for over 25 years?  Every delicious Fancy Feast selection is made with high-quality protein sources and ingredients.  Exactly what cat parents want to hear!  High quality ingredients for high quality friends!  

3.  Be Gentle:  That phrase has been yelled a lot in our home in the last couple of weeks!  Just a little reminder to the crazy kiddos of the home.  Be Gentle with the kittens, they are smaller than cats.  These simple reminders are important while everyone gets used to the new family member.  

4.  Kitty Proof:  we have all done it for toddlers and now it is time to focus on those kitties.  Cats are explorers and that is what they will want to do when they come into their new home.  That is great, however, you must prevent that new kitty from finding things that she could chew on, tear up, or swallow.  Example:  trash, cleaning supplies, food, plastic, small toys (not cat toys), ect.  


5.  Create a Litter Space:  Part of having a cat is having a litter box.  It is important to have a designated space for this box.  Recently, we found a way to make the litter space in our house a lot easier to manage and perfect for our small space.  The Litter Genie - it is magic!  The Litter Genie has helped us be better #CatParents and now with another cat using the box we can keep the box nice and clean daily without having to run the waste out to the trash.  

To use the Litter Genie it only takes seconds to refresh your home and remove any kitty box stinks.  


Step one - Scoop Litter Box

Step two - Open Lid and dispose of litter clumps
Step three - Pull handle to simply seal the stink inside the Litter Genie


Its unique air-tight design helps keep smells in even when you open the lid and the waste is sealed away for up to 14 days for one cat.  Currently, we take the waste out on trash day which is once a week - purrrfect!
6.  Introductions:  Cats are like us, sometimes it takes awhile for us to open up and start talking to one another.  Slowly introducing your new kitty to any other cats in the home will pave the road to a healthier friendship between those cats.  Did you know that a cat may need 2 weeks to relax and enjoy the new home?  When we introduced Sophie and Sundae to one another we let them sniff, hiss and growl at one another with a door in between them.  Go slow at first.  Soon everyone will be at peace.

  
7.  Toys and accessories:  You have your essentials - Litter box and food but now it it time to dress up that cat.  Buy the new cat a collar and id tag.  Even though we have indoor cats we still do this just in case they get out of the house.  Buy plenty of kitty toys, kittens need to play!  Sophie is 10 years old and having Sundae around has made her way more playful as well!  Buy the new cat her own food and water bowl - everyone deserves their own dishes!  


8.  Chore Time:  Talk about how the cat or cats will be taken care of.  Who will feed and water them every day?  Who will clean the litter box?  Who will groom them?  Who will play with them?  This is a family friend so make sure the family helps care for her.  

9.  Vet:  Always take your new kitty to the vet with in the first week of adoption.  It is important to have the kitten have a wellness exam to make sure she is healthy.  This also allows you to bring up any concerns or questions you may have since bringing your new kitty home.  


Are you planning on bringing a new friend into your home soon?  If so, you must head to Target and take advantage of this great deal.   Take advantage of this offer today! 
In Store Mix & Match Offer: Buy any TWO (2) Fancy Feast® – 24 pack OR Litter Genie® Pail/Refill and get a free Cat Toy or Friskies party mix cat treat.   Offer available 2/15/15 – 4/11/15. (While Supplies Last)

Even if you are not bringing another cat into your family, I really suggest you look into the Litter Genie, litter boxes are my least favorite part of owning cats but with the Litter Genie this chore is a lot easier. 


10.  Have Fun:  The last tip I want to give you.  Have fun!!  Enjoy this new friend.  Enjoy watching your kids love on a new pet.  Enjoy the amazing feeling you get when you adopt a furbaby that needed your home.  Being a Cat Parent is fun!!  



What are your tips for any new #CatParents out there?


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