Slowing Down Time in 2014

New Years

It is amazing how fast the holidays have come and gone this year.  The month of December simply feels like a blur. The fact that the days seem to flash by in an instance makes me stop and think about how my baby (even though she is more of a toddler now) isn’t going to be a “baby” forever.  This thought has me thinking about my News Years resolutions and how I can slow down time in 2014.  Sure, I can do the normal News Years resolutions of joining a gym, losing X pounds or to spend less money, but where does these stereotypical resolutions get me…. Not too far.

How on earth am I going to slow down time in 2014?  Let’s just say I’m not literally going to slow down time, but instead I am going to enjoy what I have right in this moment.  I have the most amazing little girl who is learning new things every day. I am going to enjoy this stage of her life by working, stressing and worrying less.  I am going to work when I need to but shut it off when she is awake and wanting to play, the e-mail can wait.  I’m not going to stress about things I can’t control and I am not going to stress about things I can control.  This energy can be spent playing tea party.  I am not going to worry about having dinner ready right at 6 or having a spotless house.  She is only young once and my house can go one more day without a cleaning if it means another hour spent reading stories, coloring and playing tea party (we play tea party A LOT)! Finally, I am going to put my cell phone down when I am around my daughter.  I don’t want her to grow up seeing me always on my phone (checking e-mails, social media, weather, news, texting, etc).  I am going to put it down and put it away so my focus is on her.

You see, no matter what you do in life these times with our children are all we have at this moment.  I will never get that time back to spend with her.  My News Years resolution isn’t about me anymore, it’s about me giving my daughter more attention, more time and fewer distractions each day so that I leave 2014 with no regrets!

What is your News Year’s Resolution? Have you ever tried to slow down time?

 

Kid Friendly Snack Options Featuring Peanut Butter

I am probably the worst example for my daughter when it comes to snacks.  I crave sweets, I don’t believe I have a sweet tooth; I have a mouth full of sweet teeth.  I am trying to get better for my own sake but also; I am trying to provide her with healthy snacks while also satisfying my sweet tooth (or teeth). I have experimented with several recipes and have fallen in love with so many different ones. Here are a few of my favorite healthy snack recipes using peanut butter!

Carrots with Peanut Dipping Sauce

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What you need:

  • 3 tablespoons of peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • A splash of soy sauce
  • A few drops of sesame oil
  • Water to smooth
  • Carrot sticks

Mix everything but the carrot sticks together with a fork or whisk in a bowl. Add water as needed to thin mixture to a dipping consistency (all-natural peanut butter needs more; everyday brands need less).

Source: http://www.parenting.com/gallery/healthy-kids-snacks?pnid=104880

Cored sliced apples with peanut butter, oats, nuts, and chocolate chips

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You will need

  • 2 apples
  • 3-4 Tbsp. peanut butter, chocolate peanut butter or chocolate soy nut butter
  • 2 Tbsp. granola
  • Choice of nuts
  • Chocolate Chips

Wash and core apples.

Slice crosswise into 1/4-inch slices.

Spread nut butter over apple slices.

Sprinkle granola, nuts and chocolate chips over top.

Two-Ingredient Banana Peanut Butter Ice Cream

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What you need:

  • 4 large very ripe bananas
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter

Peel bananas and slice into 1/2 inch discs. Arrange banana slices in a single layer on a large plate or baking sheet. Freeze for 1-2 hours.

Place the banana slices in a food processor or powerful blender. Puree banana slices, scraping down the bowl as needed. Puree until the mixture is creamy and smooth. Add the peanut butter and puree to combine. Serve immediately for soft-serve ice cream consistency. If you prefer harder ice cream, place in the freezer for a few hours and then serve.

*Note-if you have a hard time creating a creamy consistency, you can add 1-2 tablespoons of milk to help puree the banana slices. Make sure you use a powerful food processor or blender!

Source: http://www.twopeasandtheirpod.com/two-ingredient-banana-peanut-butter-ice-cream/

Peanut Butter Balls

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What you need

In a large bowl, mix together all ingredients. Mold the mixture into small balls (like a large marble), and place them in a container lined with parchment to separate the layers. Freeze for at least 2 hours before serving.

Source: http://mariamindbodyhealth.com/healthy-kids-snack/

Chocolate Covered PB Banana Bites

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What you need

  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips, melted
  • 1/8 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1/8 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • Sea salt

Peel bananas and slice into 1/4′ pieces.

Mix the peanut butter and the applesauce in a small bowl. Spread the mixture on top of each banana slice.

Place bananas on a baking tray lined with parchment paper and freeze for 30 minutes.

During the last 5 minutes of freeze time, place chocolate chips in a small bowl. Microwave for 1 minute or until chocolate melts.

Remove bananas from freezer and dip 1/2 of each banana piece in the chocolate. Sprinkle sea salt on the chocolate tops.

Place bananas back on parchment paper tray and put back in the freezer.

They will be ready to eat in 15 minutes. Store in a ziplock bag.

Source: http://www.skinnymom.com/2013/10/06/chocolate-covered-peanut-butter-banana-bites/

Halloween Craft: Spirit Jugs

Halloween Craft

Photo Courtesy of Spoonful.com

I love this time of the year; I love the colors, the smells, the crisp air and the festivities. This year, I am determined to be festive for Halloween, however I can’t bring myself to spend a whole lot of money on Halloween decorations.  That’s why I was ecstatic when I came across these Spirit Jugs on Spoonful.com that I can make with my peanut.  They are so easy and will light up the driveway for all the ghost and goblins on Halloween Night.

Stationed on a walkway or porch, these homemade lanterns will extend a ghostly greeting and good-bye to all your holiday visitors.

What you’ll need

  • Clean plastic gallon milk jugs
  • Black permanent marker
  • Craft knife
  • String of 50 clear low-wattage holiday lights

How to make it

  1. Draw ghost eyes and mouths on the jugs. Tip: Leave the caps on while you do this, so the jugs don’t dent.
  2. Use the craft knife to cut a half-dollar-size hole in the back of each jug (a parent’s job).
  3. Arrange the ghosts near each other and string the lights between them, stuffing several bulbs into each of the jugs.

Workouts in Disguise for the Whole Family

It’s always a challenge to find time to workout when you are busy with entertaining and running children around. This summer while workout slipped, moms everywhere found alternative ways to fit in a workout with the kids around. Here are 4 activities you can do with you kids that are fun and will increase that heart rate!

Play a Game of Tag: A good old fashion game of tag gets everyone running around while laughing and giggling the whole game. There’s nothing better than hearing the giggles of your kids as you chase them around the yard.

Go on a bike ride: Ride your bikes to the store or to the movies or around the neighborhood. It’s a great way get to get out and enjoy some fresh air.

Lace up to roller sakes (or roller blades): I grew up roller-skating around the neighborhood and at the local rink. It seems that now, I rarely see kids with rollers (skates or blades) on. Introduce your kids to good old fashion roller-skating.

Play a Game of Soccer: Soccer is the most popular sport in the world. Challenge your kids to a game of soccer. Add a twist to the game (and increase the challenge of the workout), by playing grab soccer. To play crab soccer all players must have their feet flat on the ground with arms behind them also flat on the ground, your bottom is than lifted off the ground. Use your hands and feet to walk around like a crab. Same rules apply as soccer; only your feet are allowed to touch the ball! Great full body workout!!!

Not only do these activities give you a little workout but they also give you some quality time with the kids so they will think you are the most AWEMAZING parent out there!

Easy Breakfast Options: Make-Ahead Fruit & Yogurt Parfait

Photo Courtesy of Iowagirleat.com

Photo Courtesy of Iowagirleats.com

I have been MIA this last week due to family being in town! When you live in Southern California and people come to visit, you tend to visit all the tourist attractions and boy did we hit them all…. From Disneyland to Universal Studios to the San Diego Zoo to Sea World and finishing at LEGOLAND! I’m tired from just writing it all out! With early mornings and late nights I was looking for quick, healthy breakfast options we could grab on the go! I came across these Make-Ahead Fruit and Yogurt Parfait from IowaGirlEats.com! These are so easy and so delicious that it is sinful! By making them the night before you allow the juices and sugars from the fruit to combine for the sweetest most delicious flavor imaginable! These are simply AweMazing and are also a perfect breakfast for those hectic mornings when school starts!

 INGREDIENTS:

6oz Greek yogurt

1/3-cup old-fashioned oats, uncooked

1-teaspoon chia seeds (optional)

2 Tablespoons milk (almond, cow, soy, etc.)

1 cup frozen mixed fruit and berries

DIRECTIONS:

Combine yogurt, oats, chia seeds, and milk. Stir to combine then layer half in a wide-mouth mason jar or container. Add half the fruit and berries then layer in remaining yogurt mixture and berries. Refrigerate overnight, and up to 3 days. Enjoy cold.

A Lesson Everyone Needs to Hear!

I always thought of Ashton Kutcher as the class clown, can’t take him serious kind of guy, until I hard his speech from the 2013 Kids Choice Awards this past weekend. He speaks humbly about himself while providing insight to the younger generation of what he has learned and how it has shaped who he is today. He says there are three important things that he learned that have helped him along the way. These three things are opportunity, being sexy and living life.

He starts off by saying that “opportunity looks like hard work”. He describes the various jobs he has had throughout the years from carrying shingles for his dad, to washing dishes to making sandwiches. He said he never had a job that he was better than; he was always lucky to have a job. He believes that each job played a valuable role in teaching and preparing him for the next one. He never quit a job unless he had a new job- Opportunity is like work. What a concept to teach our children, opportunities don’t come to you without hard work!

Ashton than goes on to talk about “Being Sexy”, I know it doesn’t sound right that he is talking to kids about being sexy but just hear me out on this one. Ashton says that the sexiest thing in the world is “being really smart, generous and thoughtful”. He lectures that everything else is crap and tells the kids not to buy into it and don’t let anyone make you feel like less. The media is always portraying there version of sexy (skinny, in-shape, best clothes, best hair, blah blah blah), but kids need to realize that this is all on the outside and that the real sexy comes from who you are and how you treat people. Now that is a sexy everyone can be!

The final lesson he talks about is a lesson he learned while playing Steve Jobs in his upcoming film. He quotes Jobs in saying that “When you grow up, you are taught that the world is the way it is and that it is your job to live your life in that world and get an education, get a job, start a family, etc.  Life can be more than that by realizing one simple thing; everything around us that we call life was made up by people who were no smarter than you”. Another simple lesson for our children that it is up to them to change the world and to not just buy in to the world as it is.

Ashton closes the speech by telling the kids to go and build their life that other people live in, build a life don’t live one, find your opportunity and always be sexy!

Now this was definitely not the kind of speech I expected from Ashton Kutcher, of all people, but its one that someone that is considered a “role model” needs to promote.  Ashton is quickly stepping up to be a voice of the next generation and working to make our world a better place. Our society needs to reevaluate what opportunity, being sexy and building a life really means! These 3 lessons are lessons that we can teach our children every single day and start making the world a better place right now.

How do you plan on teaching your children about opportunity, being sexy and building a life.  How will they be AweMazing?

Here is the link to the speech so that you can share it with your kids!

Ashton Kutcher Speech

Simple Homemade Pudding Pops

Every night, my husband goes snooping around the fridge and pantry looking for a snack or some kind of dessert. He is one of those guys that we hate, you know ladies the kind that can eat anything and stay skinny…. In fact he loses weight by just thinking about losing weight, it really makes me sick! Ugh sorry, back to dessert. I admit also like to have a little dessert, which is exactly why I don’t keep desserts in the house. The other day he was searching for some ice cream or something chocolate and at that very moment I just happen to be on Pinterest looking at pudding pop recipes. It was definitely a sign that I needed to make these childhood favorites.

I found this amazingly simple recipe on OneGoodThingbyJilliee.com. Not only was there this simple recipe but there were also variations to choose from. I ended up making mine with sugar-free pudding, fat-free milk and fat-free cool whip. Hey, I might as well not feel guilty if I sneak one! These are simply AweMazing and satisfied hubby’s cravings without any artificial ingredients! Can’t ask for anything more! Enjoy!

Pudding Pops

Pudding Pops: Photo credit here

Pudding Pops: Photo credit here

INGREDIENTS

1 large box chocolate pudding
3 cups cold milk
2 cups frozen whipped topping (Cool Whip)

DIRECTIONS

1. Beat pudding mix & milk in medium bowl with whisk for about 2min.
2. Stir in Cool Whip.
3. Spoon mix into small paper/plastic cups.
4. Insert wooden sticks into the middle of each.
5. Freeze for 4 hours or until firm.
– To remove from cups, run under warm water.

The family will thank you and think you are absolutely AweMazing for spending hours on this dessert!