Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Twilight Party Treats.

I got together with some of my workout friends to work on Christmas crafts and to revisit where it all began- with Twilight. January made some delicious dishes that are perfect for the holidays when we have different gatherings. January's family always eats a lot of veggies and fruits.-here's the three dishes (they aren't exact recipes but should be easy enough to make):


Diced Tomatoes
Olive Oil
You can add any other Italian spices if you like.

Put in the amount that tastes good to you. After mixing ingredients, put in oven for 10 min. at 375 degrees. We dipped crackers in it and it was sooo yummy.

Mushroom Tortillas

Drizzle oil in a pan and cook mushrooms for 5 min.
Cut up tortillas ans put on a cookie sheet.
Put mushroom s on tortillas. Over top, sprinkle Monterrey, feta, and Parmesan cheese.
Broil in oven until cheese is melted.

Fruit Dip

Isn't it beautiful? She mixed the fruit with vanilla yogurt and sprinkled granola on top. Any fruit could be used but this time she had bananas, Asian pears, and Parsimmons (I don't know what it is and I don't know the spelling but they were good). This is a great every day snack idea to use whatever fruit is in the fridge.

I had to throw this in too because Tami's headband was so cut that night-and easy to make. They are fake flowers stitched onto a headband from Walmart.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Fun Treats.

Graham Cracker house from Halloween Candy. We still have some Halloween candy left over from trick-or-treating and Apollo's birthday party. We used it to make a little "gingerbread" house. The "snow" is just tapioca sprinkled on the white frosting. The snowman is from pumpkin peeps. We both had fun making it.

My mother-in-law sent these "Color a Cookie" markers with little snack packs of alphabet cookies. Apollo had fun coloring them. He moved on to coloring graham crackers and dried apples (whatever we had in the house).

Microwave Popcorn. A piece of heaven. We ate this growing up and it's super simple and incredibly addicting. I gave it out for my Christmas treat to friends this year. Everyone has been asking me for the recipe so I thought I would just post it.

I put it in zip lock bags in gift bags.

Here's the recipe:
3/4 C brown sugar
1/2 cube butter
2 T light karo syrup
1/4 t soda
6 C popped corn

Mix sugar, butter, and syrup, microwave 2 min. Stir, microwave for 3 min. more. Add soda and stir until thick and foamy. Pour over popcorn and mix until covered. Let cool and set up.

I made this in front of my high school chemistry class as a demo. We were learning about chemical reactions. You can tell a chemical reaction is happening when it starts to bubble and foam up (when the baking soda is added) and the smell. Bubbles and an odor are signs a chemical reaction happened (a new substance is form and chemical bonds are broken and formed). I think it's fun to bring learning into everyday activities.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Christmas Gift Tags.

You can download these free gift tags here from Martha Stewart.

I used these last year for my gifts. I stamped the name of the person I was giving the present to on the tag (they had alphabet letters for a dollar a pack at Michaels!!).

I coordinated the ribbon (in the dollar bin at Michaels) and the stamp ink color to the gift tag. I didn't print them out on adhesive paper like the site suggested, I copied them to a Microsoft document to make each of them bigger (they are really small if you just print them off) and printed them out on white card stock. I made a hole punch in the tag for the ribbon and just used white for my wrapping.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Christmas. Tree Place Card.

I made these place cards for Christmas morning breakfast at my in-laws. I'll post later about the delish dish I made for breakfast.

Just download these here from Martha Stewart. All you have to do is fold and cut-THAT'S IT! I wrote everyone's name on them.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Our Latest Project.

We downloaded these from the Fisher Price online toddler games. Click here and go to Alphabet Coloring Pages. Apollo and I had fun coloring them together. Now we can look at them and I'll ask them about the pics on his wall. A fun way to learn the alphabet.

I had an aha moment the other day when I babysat for one of my friends. She lives in a two bedroom apartment where her three little kids sleep in one room. Her husband is a teacher and she is a stay at home mom. Instead of expensive decorations, she has a map and the alphabet above the kitchen table. There were little pieces of paper taped labeling everything in their house and had it in Spanish as well. The kids were so nice to each other-even nice to the baby when he was crawling around and getting into their space. They were all into reading the books I brought over. Very smart and very well behaved kids. She inspired me to put the alphabet up on Apollo's wall. I love to decorate-but what could be better to put up? She showed that you don't need a lot of money to raise an incredible family. She is very thoughtful about her parenting and her efforts show.

Saturday, November 21, 2009


The new camera we ordered came in so I took some pics of some of my fall decorations.

California Wreath.

I got this idea from the Nov. Martha Stewart magazine. I had collected some nuts while rock climbing and others from hiking at different vacation spots around CA (that's where I came up with the name), saving them to make some bracelets. The other day I took the kids for a jog and we collected some nuts in a nearby neighborhood. I'm going to change the ribbon from brown to red for Christmas. So easy. Apollo put a lot of the nuts on - great kids project because you can't go wrong. Here's how:

Materials Needed
Flat 12" wreath form (got it at Michaels)
Hot glue gun
Lots of nuts

1. I had a bowl to set the wreath form on and it made it easier to glue.
2. Cover the inside, front, and outside of the wreath completely to form the bottom layer.
3. Look for any holes (where you can see the wreath form) and glue more nuts on top of the bottom layer of nuts.

4. Add the ribbon.

The nuts stick out in the back so I didn't put mine on the door (they can pop off) so I hung it on my hatstand where it won't be moved.

Pumpkin. My mom made this and sent it to me a couple of years ago. It was a crate she got from a nursery and she cut the pumpkin out with her scroll saw.

Napkins. Mom sent this to me this year. She appliqued the leaves on and outlines with the puff paint.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Potty Training.

Friends recommended this book. It has been my bible for the last week-great step by step instructions.

Eve was the first one to tell me about this book-always has great ideas and is always doing fun stuff with her daughter, Addy. She sent this pic of some Halloween fun, but can be done anytime. She bought the vase at a garage sale and put a scary specimen in that changes and grows in water. Addy likes to watch it and calls it a "scary monkey."

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Lipstick Love.

My mother-in-law introduced me to Outlast All-Day Lipcolor by Cover Girl and I have been in love ever since. I taught school and didn't have time to reapply lipstick and now as a mom I am giving kisses all day and am lucky to put lipstick on in the first place. It makes me feel dressed up even though I might not be. This lipstick outlasts eating, drinking, sweating, making out, and sometimes even washing my face. If you mess up, you can wipe it just after application. Try it-you'll never going back to normal lipstick. After years of using it, I've found that it lasts longer if I don't put the clear overcoat on (just the color) and don't put any other glosses or anything over. It took a little while for my lips to get used to it-they felt kind of dry for a while.

I just bought the ColorStay Ultimate from Revlon and I've been trying it out for a couple of days. There is no extra lip gloss or anything-it's supposed to be a topcoat and lip color all in one. So far I really like it and it stays on strong until the next morning-I had to put more on just to wipe all of it off. The tube is longer so I think it will last longer than the Cover Girl kind.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Staying Thin.

My friend, Suzana, just had a baby and looks awesome-she looked great until the day she delivered. She told me she gained 20 pounds in 2 months with her first baby and heard it's harder to keep the weight down with the second, but she only gained 25 total with her second. I had 2 babies close together and still need to drop a few pounds so I asked her how she did it.

1. How did you keep so thin during your pregnancy?
I watched what I ate. No juice or soda or junk food or any kind (though I would let myself cheat once a week). Only whole grains, fruits, veggies, plenty of beans (filling & healthy), brown rice & whole wheat pasta, lots of chicken & lean meats, yogurt & oatmeal. I had a lot of chicken salads. Also, when I went out to eat, I would check out their nutritional guide online first-you would be surprised how many salads have just as much if not more calories than a burger! With salads, I always had the fat free salad dressings, that's where a lot of the fat is. I learned to discipline myself & not eat unhealthy foods, even when they were readily available at a party or whatever. I didn't buy goodies so I wouldn't be tempted, though I did get to a point that if I did have some cake or cookies in the house I wasn't tempted much to eat it anymore, I just got used to telling myself no. Also, I would throw it away if I knew Marlon wouldn't eat it. We would inevitably have company or the missionaries over & make them dessert so if they didn't take it home with them I would toss the rest or try to give it away to someone else. I also really got into reading labels & looking up things online like different snacks that were supposed to be healthy. A lot of those things, like Nutrigrain bars, aren't really that healthy after all. Try Kashi or Fiber One brands. I also exercised 3x a week & tried to do prenatal yoga 2x a week.

2. You mentioned that you were hungry a lot. How did you keep from not eating? Kept busy, didn't have goodies in the house-what??
I kept goodies out of the house! I ate healthy filling snacks like trail mix, nonfat vanilla yogurt- add chopped fruit (berries are really yummy) & some granola on top. Another good one for me, was chopped fruit, (usually an apple or pear) mixed with low fat cottage cheese, good & filling. I'm also a cereal freak so I had things like oatmeal with raisins, Fiber One raisin bran, corn bran & shredded wheat, they are high in fiber & have whole grains so they're filling & healthy. Keep veggies like celery, broccoli, carrots & cherry tomatoes in little baggies in the fridge, you can throw them in your purse & you'll be more likely to eat your veggies if they are already prepared for a quick snack. Also, anything high in fiber keeps you full longer e.g. oatmeal, apples, oranges, bananas, pears, dried fruits, spinach, anything whole grain or whole wheat, avocado, beans, nuts, corn & potatoes. Also, a lot of times we think we're hungry when actually our body is actually thirsty. Drink a ton of water & preferably a cup of water before each meal, it will help you keep from overeating & help you feel full faster.

3. How do you plan on looking good now?
I have read that your body can lose the most weight the quickest the first 30 days after you give birth, so I plan continue with my diet, disciplining myself & going on walks seeing as I can't exercise yet. After that, I'll go back to exercising 3x a week & probably deviate from my current diet :)

4. What are some hot tips you could give for people trying to lose or maintain a good weight?
Eat healthy & make the time to exercise, there is no other healthy way to lose weight & KEEP it off. Learn to discipline yourself. Once you get the hang of it, things won't be such a temptation & you will be able to pass on unhealthy treats that you would have found impossible to resist before. Keep reminding yourself of your goals & how great you will feel when you meet them!

5. I feel like I mindlessly eat-like I'll grab something to eat when the kids are in bed-almost like a reward. Do you have snacks? How do you keep from nibbling all day?
I have snacks but I eat healthy & filling ones. I keep away from the kitchen & keep busy. i also eat when I'm bored :) I scheduled my snacks & didn't deviate from it. One snack between breakfast & lunch, between lunch & dinner & then one after dinner.

6. Do you eat out much?
We eat out a lot & I had to learn to go online & look at the nutritional guides online for each restaurant to find out what would be healthiest. If I couldn't find anything I liked that wasn't too high in calories, we went somewhere else. Cheesecake factory is horrible for calorie counts. Also, I thought Panera Bread & Corner Bakery would be great for healthy foods. They have a lot that sounds healthy, but you'd be surprised.

7. What kind of foods did you eat? Is it hard to eat healthy with a little boy and husband or do they eat well themselves?
They eat pretty healthy & I make sure my son eats healthy all day but for dinner I didn't have a lot of healthy recipes that I knew they would like so I made them dinners I've always made & I ate a lot of the same things for dinner unfortunately. Maybe if I weren't so picky I would have had a bit more variety. I ate a lot of chicken salads & chicken & veggies or beans. A lot of times I made 2 separate meals. I'd make them yummy chicken & pasta & then use some of the chicken & add it to a spinach salad for myself. I'd make them white rice & brown for myself. Instead of eating the mashed potatoes or tasty sides I had made for them, I'd eat a ton of extra salad or veggies that I knew they'd only have a few bites of. It was a hassle but it was worth it. It wasn't that hard, honestly. I could broil a few chicken breasts & make a ton of brown rice & for the next few days I'd heat some up, add some frozen veggies, there you go :)

Sunday, November 1, 2009

I hope everyone had a fun Halloween. Our was busy so sorry I'm posting some of these ideas after the fact but I saw some cute ideas and still wanted to post them. Maybe you can use them next year.

Brain. Jocelyn asked us to make this and it turned out really cool- Carleton did the carving. Here's how:

1. Cut off the bottom of the honeydew melon so you spoon out all the gunk in the middle. We used a melon baller to get the fruit out (save it for the end to serve).

2. Carve out the brain. You don't need to go all the way through.

3. Follow the directions to make 4 boxes of red jello (we added 3/4 cup whenever it said add 1 cup to make it not so jiggly).

4. So once you've mixed the hot water, cold water, and jello powders in the bowl, put the honeydew melon in (with the cut out brain next to the bowl). We found a bowl that was just bigger than the melon so the jello would cover most of the outside. We put the rest of the jello into the melon rind to set up. I have to say this looked pretty cool.

5. The jello will set up into the brain. Just clean off the jello around the grooves and put it onto a platter to serve. I used a scary looking silver platter. We served the melon we had scooped out in another bowl for the party. There are tons of things that can be made instead of a brain-a face with red eyes, etc.

Purse. I took Apollo to Music Makers where they all dressed up for Halloween. I saw this on the side and took a picture-so thanks for whoever made it. My friend said you can buy the bag, 3 for a buck at the dollar store. The ribbon and "fur" was just glued on. This would be cute for any time of year with different colors and ribbon.

Angel Annie. I hot glued white feathers to the wings. It was so simple but really added to her costume. She really did look like an angel.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Save your Halloween Candy.

Great uses:

1. The Family Fun magazine showed a family that did a bunch of experiments with their candy-like melt them and add some normal household liquids to the candy to see what they would do. They had some fun ideas. I'm going to make a lab (the high school chemistry teacher showing up in my momhood now) for Apollo and I to try some things, draw some pic etc. I'll post it when I make it up.

2. Gingerbread houses.

3. Smores using the chocolate.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Dress Up.

My friend, January, made these for the nursery. She took the felt material, folded it, and sewed the edges (leaving holes for the arm). These would be great for every day dress up fun or for Halloween costumes. I saw a lot of Halloween costumes-hats etc. that could be added to the costumes for cheap.

Police uniform.



Indian headdress.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Halloween. Party.

Sorry for the overkill on Halloween stuff. I've just had Halloween on the brain trying to get my house decorated and to plan Apollo's second birthday party. I'm posting some ideas from the party because they can be used at adult or kid parties or just fun activities to try.

Party favors.
These were done with orange tissue paper with candy and plastic Halloween treats inside. The stem is green floral tape. I've never used floral tape but learned from Carol, you have to stretch it to get it to stick. After taping the stem, I cut the excess tissue paper. These would look cute on the Thanksgiving table too.

Decorating haunted houses. These are like the Christmas gingerbread houses (only we used graham crackers). We used Halloween candy and lots of frosting.

Decorating cupcakes. There are tons of magazines (Martha Stewart's site is great) that have great ideas for cupcakes but the kids had fun just putting random sprinkles, eyes, and chocolate on top of their cupcakes.
Scary stories. I saw some at the library and Apollo was given some by Grandma for his birthday. We read them to the first kids that came to the party. Here is the guest book where the "goblins and witches" signed in and took a pumpkin.

Face painting. There are some free templates on line that are fun to follow. Carol and Callie did a great job on the kids.

Fun cakes. The pumpkin cake was baked with a pumpkin mold but could be done with two bunt cakes (one for the top of the pumpkin and one for the bottom). You can use a small cup for the stem and can cover it with green frosting. Carol made the spider cake out of left over cake cut off from the pumpkin cake. She used fruit rollups for the lips, black pipe cleaners for the legs, black sprinkles, and plastic googly eyes.

Decorating pumpkins. We carved pumpkins just after Apollo came home from the hospital.
He "helped" me just before his first birthday. He painted his this year. Carleton recruited the neighbor kids to help this year too.