Monday, March 14, 2016

Gluten Free Banana Bread

I recently went gluten free - my reasoning, I'll explain later.

But for now, I'm sharing this super yummy
banana bread recipe.

Gluten Free Banana Bread


(this picture doesn't do the recipe justice haha...)

  • 2 cups gluten free all purpose baking flour (I used King Arthur gluten free brand)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups mashed bananas (about 4-5 ripened)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Directions:

Preheat oven to 350*.  Spray two loaf pans with cooking spray.  Combine flour, baking soda, and salt.  In another bowl whisk eggs, bananas, sugar, applesauce, oil, and vanilla.  Add the dry ingredients and stir all together.  Pour the mixture into the two prepared loaf pans evenly.  Sprinkle with walnuts.  Bake for 45-55 minutes.

*once the bread is cool, wrap with plastic wrap overnight.  *freeze one loaf for later use.

I cut one loaf into individual slices and wrapped each slice in plastic wrap and then placed the slices in a ziploc freezer bag, so I could pull a piece out as desired.  It tastes really good heated for breakfast or a snack.

Monday, February 08, 2016

heart marshmallow pops

These are my favorite, so I just had to share them again...hope you like them!



These are nothing new, they've been around for a long time, but we have never tried making them (I usually make chocolate covered pretzels). 

My kids love marshmallows and chocolate.




Heart Shaped Marshmallows, Lollipop Sticks, Pink Candy Melts, and Nonpareils




While the candy is melting, place the marshmallows on the lollipop sticks.

To melt the chocolate, I like using a few handfuls at a time.  I stick them in the microwave for a minute or two at a time (stirring in between) on the defrost setting.  Regular settings could make the chocolate melt unevenly or get hard.






Dip the marshmallows in the melted chocolate






Sprinkle on some nonpareils




YUM!




FYI....Nathan's apron is sold in my Etsy Shop ;-)




You can also stick the marshmallow on a toothpick and dip them in the chocolate and nonpareils and let them dry and serve them without the lollipop stick...but I think they are cuter as a lollipop, especially when displayed in these cute little tin buckets.




Once they are dry, you can wrap them in saran wrap and tie a cute ribbon or yarn around them.

Super Cute and Yummy!



Saturday, January 23, 2016

chicka chicka boom boom

 Last semester I had to do a project for art class.
The project was interjecting a children's book into
learning lessons (such as math, spelling, reading, etc.)
and making a tri-fold board of activities.

I chose the book Chicka Chicka Boom Boom
I love this book and there are so many ideas that you can
come up with using it.


Once I decided on the book, the ideas started flowing.
I had a hard time choosing my activities, because I thought of so many fun ones.

To make my learning center, I bought a tri-fold board
and painted it yellow and pink to match the book cover.
I also added some fun yellow polka dots to the pink sides.
I glued some white ribbon down the edges between the pink and yellow
to add some fun detail, but to also hide some of the flaws ;)


Then I took some brown poster board and cut it into strips for the tree.
I folded the two edges in just a bit (to give me something to glue down)
and curved the poster board on the tri-fold board to give the tree a 3 D effect.

Next, I took some green poster board and made some leaves.
I wanted the leaves to hang above the tree and the board.

I used a glue gun to hold it all together (regular school glue does not work).
I cut some circles out of the brown poster board for coconuts
and glued them onto the leaves.

I bought some magnetic letters and glued them to the tree and the board
(again, for the 3 D effect).

I got some paint sample chips from the store and cut out the letters of the book title.


I totally love how it all came out.

The activities that I chose were fun and could incorporate a multitude of learning activities
One activity that I chose to do was story retelling with magnets.

I bought some clear garden stones from the dollar store and
wrote the letters on them, both capital and lower case.
I glued a small white circle to the back to make the letters pop
and added a magnet to them.


I got some brown and green paint chip samples from the store and
cut them out to make a coconut tree.  I thought it would be more fun
to cut the tree trunk into strips so it could be made to bend like the tree
in the story.  I also added a magnet to the back of the tree parts and made
coconuts too.


I bought two cookie trays from the dollar store to use with this activity.


The letters can also be used to match capital and lower case letters together.
Spell words, learning the alphabet, and much more....

For my second learning activity, I chose to do pasta estimation.

I bought some letter pasta 
(which was super hard to find - seriously, I went to
three stores before I finally found some).

I thought it would be more fun if the letters were different colors.
so, I dyed them with food coloring.

All you need to do is put the pasta in a large ziploc bag, add
a few drops of food coloring and a spoonful or two of rubbing alcohol
and shake the bag until the pasta is completely colored.

Then lay the pasta out on newspaper to dry.

easy peasy


and see...isn't it way cuter colored than plain old pasta???


Grab some containers and let the kids guess and measure the amount of pasta

You can also use the pasta in a sensory bin.

You can come up with a bunch of different learning activities to do with this pasta.

I also did a letter tree.

I drew a picture of a tree on a sheet of paper and bought
foam letter stickers.  Children can find the letters to their name
and put them in the tree.  Then for more learning ideas, they can 
add the number of letters in their name and make a graph or
they can spell out their spelling words with the letters as well.

My last activity was letter beads.  Children can make a bracelet using the
letter beads that spell out their name.  Again, you can use the letter beads in a number of ways.

The possibilities are endless....


Wouldn't this be a fun activity to do one day?


Monday, January 18, 2016

lessons learned


I thought I would share a little something with you, as most of you know
I've been a bit preoccupied with school work lately, hence the lack of posts.  

I have so many things I would like to share and I get sidetracked with
work and school and kids and family stuff, it's hard...the struggle is real.
Life is busy.
Life with a big family is crazy busy.

I wanted to take a few minutes to share something that has happened to me recently
I'm not sure what people will think of me after I share my story, but I feel led to share it
and besides I really wanted to remember things while they are still fresh in my mind.
And what better place to preserve this memory, but here on my blog - where I've
basically shared my whole life, right?

It all started right before Thanksgiving.
I was sick and feeling crummy, having asthma after asthma attack.
I felt like I couldn't control it anymore...it was crazy.

One night I made Rich take me to the ER because I felt like nothing was working
and I simply could not catch my breath.  It was a horrible feeling.
At the ER, they did a chest x-ray and a bunch of other tests.  Administered
a breathing treatment and then a few minutes later another one.
My pulse ox was really low and nothing they did would help raise it.
So they admitted me to the hospital and hooked me up to some
IV antibiotics and steroids.

The doctor said I had a spot on my lungs and they didn't know what it was
so they sent me for a CT scan.  The good news was they said it wasn't cancer, the bad news
was they didn't know what it was.  The doctor said it could have been pneumonia but
he didn't want to call it that, because I only had one symptom - coughing.

So they sent me home with steroids and scheduled breathing treatments and
what they called a virus in my lungs.

I resumed normal activity thinking everything was fine.
And it was for about a week and then wham....

I started feeling crummy again and couldn't breath.

This has been a cycle of feeling crappy....not being able to breath
and feeling better for a few days, maybe a few weeks and then feeling crummy again.

It was such an awful feeling that I began to question this existence - this constant battle of wellness and sickness that I face. "Why me?" was a question I asked myself and God at least a dozen times that day. I kept saying to God, this is not a life. This is misery. I don't know why you have me feel better only to take it away a few days later. Lord, what purpose does this serve. I'm sick all the time and I can't even do anything. I cried many tears that afternoon. Then,...

Sunday night around 9 or so, I was really struggling to breathe. I started to have a panic attack. My heart felt like someone literally reached in and ripped it out. I never felt like that before. That fear was so overwhelming and frightening. I tried to use my medicine but I was so griped by fear and panic that I just couldn't. Through my tears and panicked state, I managed to scream for Rich.  

Anthony, Zachary, and Rich came running. Zach started rubbing my back, quietly talking to help me through yet another panic attack, like he has done numerous times before. Anthony knelt on the floor in front of me as I sat in a chair. I managed to get 911 out as Rich went to grab his phone and then everything else went blank....

The next thing I remember is being in a white room with a man standing before me, 
who said "We're not done yet." "You and me, we aren't done." "You aren't done."

And then I opened my eyes to a paramedic who said
 "welcome back honey, 
we thought we lost you for a while there."
I kept closing my eyes and she kept yelling at me to stay with her.
She said "you see those headlights out there following us...that's your hubby.
Stay with us.  He's coming."

The rest is pretty much a blur of faces and Rich and Amanda....being told they cut my shirt (glad it wasn't a new one)....tests they were going to run, medicines, IVs, etc. The word unresponsive was used a lot . Blood clots in my lungs, intubation ....other medical jargon that I didn't understand.

Obviously, they admitted me and ran a multitude of tests.
They diagnosed me with, guess what, pneumonia. I had to take steroids (again), two antibiotics, and continue breathing treatments. I was sent home without O2. without a C-pap or bi pap.

The next few weeks were weird I would wake up from naps to see
Rich starring at me to see if I was still breathing.  It was heart wrenching.

*I was told by the paramedics that my boys, (Rich, Zach, and Anthony) never left my side.
Zach supposedly rubbed my back and brushed the hair out of my face.
Rich watched and chased down the ambulance.
Anthony held my hands and kept checking my pulse. 

Again, I felt fine for a few weeks.
Only to start having issues again.
This time I made a doctor appointment.
I made Rich go with me, because I was afraid I would have an asthma attack on the way.

In the doctor's office, my pulse ox was in the low 70's
(normal readings should be above 90 and into the 100's).

The doctor said I was wheezing and felt tight when she listened to my lungs.
They administered a breathing treatment - my pulse ox was still low.
The doctor said I really hate to do this, but I think you need to be
admitted to the hospital....

This was December 21....yep four days until Christmas.

Round Three of the hospital fun {insert eye roll}

Again, they ran all the tests....the short story is they said it was pneumonia - it never went away.
I never fully recovered from it.  Another round of steroids and antibiotics.

yay me.

I'll be on steroids until the middle of February.

My family and I decided that we would wait until I got out of the hospital
to celebrate Christmas.  No one wanted to celebrate without Mommy.

I was super bored in the hospital, but I was at peace with it.
I had everything ready for Christmas, no last minute shopping had to be done,
I was prepared.

Christmas morning, the doctor came into my room and announced that I would
be going home....home for Christmas.

It was the best news ever.

While I was in the hospital I prayed for healing.

I got it.

A Christmas miracle.

My faith has been tested so much lately.
I prayed that God would end my suffering one way or another.
and I got my answer in the form of an angel and a miracle.

God is right, I'm not done yet.

I'm not sure what God's plan is for me....but,
 I know it must be an important one if "he's not done with me yet."

 Call me weird or kooky for thinking I had a little face time with Jesus....I don't care.
Maybe it was all in my imagination? who knows.

 I'm just happy to be here with my family and whatever plan is written for me....
I hope I achieve it to the best of my God given abilities.

If there is one thing I learned though it all, then it's just how precious life truly is.



Friday, November 20, 2015

senior band night

so i'm super behind in posting what's been happening lately....

here's a quick update

last month, we celebrated senior night with the twins

we were so lucky that the whole bunch of us could be there to celebrate this special time with them.






















Monday, September 28, 2015

Fat Quarter Shop - 20% off Sale





For 7 Days Only...

The Fat Quarter Shop is having a sale on Cotton + Steel Fabrics.

Save 20% off on your favorite prints of Cotton + Steel fabrics!

Use the Coupon Code: CS2015

This offer is only good from September 28 through October 4 (at 11:59 p.m. CST)

Just take a peek at some of the really great prints they have...








Remember it's ONE week only starting 

MONDAY, September 28 until SUNDAY, October 4 
at 11:59 pm CST (09/28/15-10/04/15).