Billy Bones Paper Doll


Print a free Billy Bones paper doll with 4 Halloween costumes--
Frankenstein, Dracula, Wolf-Man, Mummy -- on Education.com!

Free Shaun T. Workout on Dr. Oz


Fitness trainer Shaun T., known for his Insanity workouts, was on Dr. Oz this past February.  He shared his 3 steps to getting your best body back and a short workout. 


Shaun T's Miracle 15-Minute Workout is at the top of my fantastic list-- it really gets my heart pumpin' and forehead sweatin'!  It's important to first watch the exercise demonstration in parts 3 and 4 of the episodeGet movin'!

Mom, What's for Dinner?

Delicious dinners my family has enjoyed:

My husband said "This is good!" more than once and he was even eating it wrapped in a 100% whole wheat tortilla (he prefers white flour anything)! 

 It's great to have some of these in the freezer!  Don't skimp on the cheese.  I like making them with pizza sauce for more flavor.  My husband's favorite filling is garlic and ranch sauce with chicken, green peppers, and mozzarella.


Warm and yummy!  Make a batch of brown rice and freeze in 2 cup portions.  Makes this soup easier to throw together.


Put chicken on bottom.  Cook chicken before making the foil-pack if you want oven time to go quicker (see notes at bottom of recipe).




Yummy YoKids Greek Yogurt (little giveaway)

winner: comment #6 DistractedMommy

Yogurt isn't a staple in our fridge but rather a treat.  My kids had never tried Greek yogurt so when I received free coupons for Stonyfield Organic YoKids Greek lowfat yogurt they were excited!  YoKids Greek yogurt has a thicker consistency than what my kids are used to but no mouth puckering tang like Greek yogurt is known for.  My older kids loved it at first spoonful but my littlest dude wouldn't even swallow one bite (more on that below).  Each 3.75 oz. container has 6 grams of protein and no artificial flavors, colors, or sweeteners.  It's also made with low-fat organic milk.  I'd call that a delicious and nutritious treat, snack, or side to enjoy whenever!

YoKids Greek lowfat yogurt can be found in many grocery stores including Super Target!


YoKids Greek yogurt dots
I saw a fantastic solution for my finicky toddler on Pinterest that originated from Happy Rabbits blog.  I froze some little chubby hand sized YoKids Greek yogurt dots and he was instantly a fan!  Yummy, yummy to his little tummy!
Yogurt dots are so easy to do:  simply use a spoon to plop little drops onto a cookie sheet covered with wax paper, then freeze.  Good to know about 'em too: they freeze super quick and once you get them out to enjoy they melt even quicker.  A simple little snack for home but definitely not on-the-go. 



 * I received free coupons to tempt our taste buds.  My kids and I think this yogurt is fantastic!


▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬

I have a little yummy YoKids giveaway!  
One winner will receive 2 coupons for YoKids products and 2 coupons for YoKids Greek!  

** To enter: check out the YoBaby & YoKids product lineup and leave ONE comment telling me what sounds yummy for your kids' tummies!  
(Leave an email in comment if it's not in your blogger profile.)

ends 10/4/12 at 10 p.m. MST
open to U.S. residents only
winner will be notified by email

Owly and Wormy Bright Lights and Starry Nights


Andy Runton's 2nd Owly & Wormy picture book, Bright Lights and Starry Nights!, is available for pre-order on Amazon for $9.61-- publication date 11/12!  Price can change at any time but once you order you're guaranteed the lowest price between your order time and the end of the release date.  If you love Owly as much as we do, have a kid that likes happy picture books, or just love cute and friendly owls, then hurry and pre-order Bright Lights and Starry Nights!



  
★   ★   ★   ★   ★   ★   ★   ★   ★   ★   ★   ★   ★   ★   ★   ★   ★

• Andy Runton's Owly graphic novels are wonderful for kids of all ages!
• See how adorable Owly & Wormy are in an Owly animated short!

*post contains affiliate links

RECIPE: Awesome Oat Bars (with wheat germ)

In early spring I bought a 50 lb. bag of rolled oats.  Whoa (says my husband), that's a lot of oats!  I had been thinking about making granola bars because when I actually buy them they're gone in a flash.  I went on a recipe search for a healthier granola bar with a similar texture to Quaker.  I tried two other recipes before I found a practically perfect recipe on Lauren's Latest that is no-bake and was adapted from Rachael Ray.  After making them once I made some changes because I wanted less sugar and more nutrition so the bar was a great snack choice this summer.  My version makes a 9x13 pan and has wheat germ (nutrition in wheat germ) and peanut butter or almond butter.  I make them most often with fresh peanut butter.  I hope you think they're awesome too!


awesome oat bars

Awesome Oat Bars

4 cups *quick cooking oats
2 cups crispy rice cereal
1/3 cup wheat germ

Mix in large bowl, set aside.

1/3 cup peanut butter (any kind) or almond butter
6 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup honey

Combine in small saucepan. Heat on medium until bubbling-- turn to low and stir frequently for two minutes.  Take off heat.  Optional: add 1 tsp. salt and 1 tsp. vanilla. 
Add saucepan ingredients to bowl and stir, stir, stir. Press mixture into 9x13 pan really, really good.  Let sit for a bit (quicker-- fridge for 30 min. or freezer for 15 min.) and then cut into 20 (or more) awesome oat bars! Store at room temperature in airtight container and eat often!

Download the printer friendly Awesome Oat Bars recipe with variations!  The almond variation is my favorite and my friend shared a cinnamon raisin variation she goes crazy for!

--recipe adapted from Lauren's Latest

• The sweetness and saltiness of the oat bars will depend on type of peanut butter (regular, crunchy, natural, fresh) and if you add salt.

*Make your own quick oats by placing a cup at a time in a regular blender and pulsing 3 or 4 times.  I take blender off base after each pulse and shake it up and down once.  Measure again for recipe.

linked to:
GCC Recipe Swap
Show Off Your Stuff Party
Tempt My Tummy Tuesday
Tasty Tuesdays

Fizzy's Lunch Lab Review

I had never heard of Fizzy's Lunch Lab until I was sent Fizzy's Lunch Lab: Fresh Foods 101 to review.  It's a PBS KIDS GO! web-only series that educates on nutrition topics with crazy characters and strange, but 'cool', freezer food singers.  Professor Fizzy is Lunch Lab's host and Fast Food Freddy is Fizzy's nemesis.  Freezer Burn band is the 'Rock n' Roll Reinforcement' that sings about the webisodes nutrition lesson. 




Fizzy's Educational Goals:
1. To create a positive change in the current state of childhood nutrition.
2. To encourage daily physical activity and exercise.
3. To promote basic nutrition and proper portion-size, the importance of eating three meals a day (especially a good breakfast), and the value of family meal-time interactions.

source: PBS Parents


I watched most of the DVD with my kids one hot afternoon and even learned a thing or two.  Freddy's voice is annoying to me but my kids didn't seem to be bothered by it.  My 5 star rating: the webisodes are short (two stars), educate with entertainment (another star) and the DVD includes lots of printable nutritious recipes for kids to help make (two stars)! 

This show is aimed at kids age 6-8.  You can purchase Fizzy's Lunch Lab: Fresh Foods 101 at PBS SHOP.

* I was provided with a DVD.  This 5 star review is my own opinion.

National Geographic Kids

We didn't own a National Geographic Kids book until I won a twitter giveaway for a National Geographic Kids Almanac. My daughter carried that almanac around for quite a while and she still likes looking through it.  Now we have a mini National Geographic Kids library and get the magazine too!  We like the beautiful and close-up photographs and the interesting facts about the world around us.

Let your kids get some cool summer knowledge by checking out National Geographic Kids books from your library, following NatGeoKIDS on twitter or spending computer time on the National Geographic Kids website!

*post contains affiliate links

Peep and the Big Wide World Review


It's no secret that I'm a fan of Peep and the Big Wide World--  I love that each episode has science or math for little minds, silly stuff to laugh at and funny characters that keep the attention of little eyes!

I was sent Peep and the Big Wide World DVDs to watch with my kids.  Our favorite episode in Peep and the Big Wide World: Bringing Spring is Stick With Me where "Peep goes in search of his favorite (lost) dandelion seed, and discovers that the world is full of sticky things."  We love to sing and even dance to the catchy theme song.  After each episode they show real kids having fun with the shows concept and it gets my kids' minds thinking of what they can do.


Here are a few more titles that will keep Peep viewers happy!


* I was provided with Peep entertainment and the views expressed are my own.

Free Comic Book Day


My kids, 9 and 5½, are very much into comics and are really excited about this Saturday (5/5/12) -- Free Comic Book Day!!!  Our favorite kid comics are Owly by Andy Runton and Tiny Titans by Art Baltazar.  We hope to discover some more great comics at our participating comic book store.

FCBD is always the first Saturday in May.

Cute Puppet Printables from Spring Time Treats


Spring Time Treats shares her cute stick people puppet printables for free!  Most of the printables are also in b&w if you have a kid that likes to color!  My son will love the Space Robots set. Make the puppets magnetic to play with on a metal cookie sheet. 

Browse Spring Time Treats to see lots of cute stick people and check out her Etsy shop too!

Printable Hidden Pictures Puzzles


You can play or print fun hidden pictures puzzles from Highlights Kids.  I'm adding some to my kids' Mazes and Mad Libs folders.

Mom, What's for Dinner?

 Our Best Bites • Tuna Noodle Casserole 
I didn't have any celery, mushrooms or dill and it was still delicious!  I mixed in peas for our veggie nutrition!

Real Mom Kitchen • Pineapple-Glazed Meatballs
I served this without rice and had sides of The Pioneer Woman's Mac and Cheese and tossed salad.

PBS Nature: Raccoon Nation Review


NATURE is a PBS program that's celebrating it's 30th season so chances are you've probably watched Nature at least a few times.  Nature is fascinating and very educational and in an hour you can learn quite a bit!




NATURE: Raccoon Nation was released in March.  It follows a new raccoon family with GPS tracking and high-definition cameras.  Raccoons are omnivorous just like us and they adapt well so they're having no problems fitting into city life.  I was amazed to see a raccoon open a door and a tent.  Their smarts are making life easier for them but more difficult for the areas they're calling home.  There's segments that show what raccoons are up to in parts of North America, Japan, Germany and Canada (Toronto is the raccoon capital of the world)-- eye-opening and a little frightening.  I really enjoyed Raccoon Nation and have a new perspective on the raccoon species.   

My whole family agrees that PBS Nature documentaries are cool and it's screen time I have no problem with! 

More animal titles we like-- NATURE: Kangaroo Mob, NATURE: My Life as a Turkey, NATURE: The Animal House, NATURE: Fortress of the Bears

Nature documentary DVDs make great gifts and are available to purchase at shopPBS.org.

Stay 'tuned' for a Raccoon Nation giveaway with more than one winner!! ☺

* Product was provided for this review.  This post was written by me and these are my honest opinions.

Easter Paper Dolls


  Jill from Sandy Toes & Popsicles has the cutest 'PEEP'er Dolls to print for free!  There are 16 outfits to dress your PEEPS in (Mickey and Minnie included) so they can be the coolest marshmallow bunnies around!  *image from Sandy Toes & Popsicles

  Tricia-Rennea has an exclusive set of free printable paper dolls that she shares on Tip Junkie. She's added more to the set since I posted about her Thanksgiving and Halloween dolls.  The Easter Collection has pretty dresses for Laurie, Leslie and Lisha!  You can find all the paper doll links on Tricia-Rennea's blog.

  Sarah Jane sells paper dolls in her etsy shop but her little Easter Paper Dolls set is free! The ducks are darling!

  Danielle's Place has a simple Easter Bunny Paper Doll with 4 outfits.

Rainbow Ribbon Bracelets


Inspired by the yarn bangles my daughter and I made a rainbow ribbon bracelet.  We used ¼" polyester ribbon-- 6 pieces about 7½" long each-- and hot glue (low temp glue gun) to secure each end of the ribbons to the plastic bangle.  Fun for St. Patrick's Day and spring!!

Add pink to the rainbow-- 7 pieces about 6½" long each-- for extra color and girlishness!


**linked to:
Today's Creative Blog
Tidy Mom
Toys in the Dryer

Craft Stick Easel

{Family Fun} Tiny Easel

Make a craft stick easel for your child's small paintings or drawings.  Find the Tiny Easel instructions on Family Fun.

Beautiful Yarn Bangles

beautiful yarn bangles

Parents.com has a yarn bracelet craft that my daughter and I have been doing a lot lately.  We found an abundance of plastic heart bangles at Dollar Tree, Target and Walmart before Valentine's Day.   We've gone a little crazy since the yarn we like has a big selection of color combinations! 


Cut an 8' ½" to 9' piece of yarn.   
Length needed depends on weight of yarn (we use Peaches & Creme and Sugar'n Cream which are a medium 4) and size of bangle.  It's better to have too much than too little. 




Tie yarn around the bangle and cover the loose end by wrapping the yarn around it.

Do three or four wraps at a time-- tight and close together-- and then unwrap the hanging yarn from twisting around the bangle or you'll end up with a mess.

When it's all wrapped, cut excess yarn and secure end with a little super glue (do this near top, not inside, of bracelet or it will scratch when worn)A little hot glue works too but I prefer super glue.

 These beautiful bangles would be perfect as a party favor or a party craft.

** linked to:

Heart Healthy Exercise Game Printable

Marie from Make and Takes shares so many easy and fun ideas for kids.  Last year I saw her Heart Healthy Exercise Game and knew it would be fun for my daughter's 2nd grade Valentines party.

heart healthy exercise game
I wanted each kid to have their own game board.  My husband drew simple stick people for me because I don't draw, not even stick figures. I printed the game boards on card stock.


Just like Marie shows I cut out little felt hearts and hot glued them leaving a 3/4" opening.  I took felt and fun foam scraps for the kids to decorate their beanbag before filling it with beans or rice.  The beanbag activity was first and then the game was played in group rotations.  At the end of the party the kids had a fun game to take home! 






▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬


Here is my redesigned Heart Healthy Exercise Game board.  If you would like to download it for free click the link below the image and it will take you to google docs.



Pin It

RECIPE: Nut Germ Crunch

This is my kids' favorite after-school snack.


NUT Germ Crunch
a recipe from me

Ingredients:
graham crackers
Nutella
whipped creamy peanut butter
toasted wheat germ

Directions:
Spread a layer of nutella on cracker.  Spread a layer of whipped p.b. on cracker.  Sprinkle wheat germ on top.  Nutty, crunchy and so yummy!  Betcha can't eat just one! ☺

I put wheat germ in a spice bottle so it's easier to sprinkle.  I whip the peanut butter in large amounts and store it in a Nutella container.



We also like Nutella/p.b./wheat germ on bananas, apples and popcorn.

Read articles about wheat germ on Livestrong.com including toasted vs. untoasted wheat germ.

Kids' Card Game Holder

While playing card games like UNO my son lays out his cards face-up and tries to shield them from his opponent.  Now he can hold his cards like a big kid because Adapting Creatively shared how to make a simple holder with two CDs (offset) and super glue.  It works great, costs nothing and I like to use it too.  A Gamewright card holder is over 5 bucks.



 *post contains affiliate links

Mom, What's for Dinner?

These three delicious main dishes are in my recipe file for life!

This past Friday and Sunday I made Hawaiian Haystacks from Mel's Kitchen Cafe.  That tells you how easy and delicious I think this recipe is.  NO cream of chicken or mushroom soup as an ingredient-- hooray!  I'm showing my own picture because I actually took a picture (the next day as I was enjoying leftovers).

My daughter ate two bowls of this Ultimate Beef Stroganoff {Slow Cooker} from Mel's Kitchen Cafe.  NO cream of chicken or mushroom soup as an ingredient-- another hooray!

One afternoon I made my husband and I Skillet Turkey Tetrazzini from Real Mom Kitchen.  I think the kids would have liked it but there was only enough leftover for my husband's lunch the next day.  We were hungry and it was yummy!!