Tag Archives: kids

Healthier Worms and Dirt : A Fun Snack For Kids!

healthier worms and dirt

Today I’m sharing a healthier twist on a fond childhood memory!

healthier worms and dirt

I love treating my kids,¬†but I prefer healthier snacks that will provide extra nutrients to get them through their day! I’m not even sure they notice a difference, to be honest! And it makes me feel like a good mom. ūüôā

I have fond memories of eating “worms and dirt” as a kid. The best librarian ever made it for us once at story time – just one of the many reasons to love her! In case you’re not aware, worms and dirt is chocolate pudding layered with crunched up Oreo cookies and gummy worms lurking inside! I thought it was the best thing ever as a young child.

So a couple months ago, I set out to recreate this awesome memory for my kids. I was inspired by finding organic gummy worms at the grocery – on sale! The next step was waiting for the healthier brand of Oreos to go on sale. (Yep, I’m really cheap.) I buy the¬†Back to Nature brand¬†whenever I get a hankering for yummy cookies (like Chips Ahoy, Oreos, Thin Mints, etc.) with no high fructose syrup, artificial colors, preservatives, or flavorings.

Once all those stars had aligned, I went looking for a healthier chocolate pudding recipe. I won’t buy the boxed mixes (especially when homemade tastes SOOO much better!) I couldn’t find a recipe I liked, so I combined a couple. Here is my tweaked version of an “Eat to Live cookbook” recipe and a random pin I found (and since lost).

Healthier Worms and Dirt Avocado pudding
Ingredients necessary for worms and dirt (plus vanilla!)

Chocolate Avocado Pudding

  • 2 avocados
  • 3/4 – 1 cup chocolate almond milk or plain, unsweetened almond milk (add until you get the consistency you like)
  • 7-8¬†Tbs. cacao powder
  • 10+ dates (possibly more, depends on your sweet tooth – can also add honey or maple syrup at the end if you find it’s not sweet enough. It’s easier than adding more dates!)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

First, blend dates into a paste. This¬†is KEY¬†for getting a smooth pudding consistency (Unless you have a Vitamix, perhaps, or another high powered blender, which I don’t.). The dates will come together and ball up in a lump. Once that happens, you can¬†add all other ingredients. Add more almond milk if it’s too thick and¬†adjust amount of cacao and sweetener to taste. If it isn’t sweet enough, I recommend adding maple syrup or honey instead of more dates¬†for ease of blending it all in.

That’s it! You’ve got pudding!

  • Now crush some¬†cookies in a ziploc or chop them up in a food processor (I used about one row¬†out of 3 from the Back to Nature brand box of cookies.).

Grab a pretty glass or parfait dish for the pudding if you have one the kids can break (I have a glass mug set I got at a yard sale for 25 cents. 4 glasses for 25 cents! Totally breakable.).

  • Layer a couple scoops of pudding, then some smashed cookies. Add a couple Black Forest organic gummy worms. Repeat layers. Top with extra gummy worms and add a spoon!

Eating her healthier worms and dirt pudding!

My kids loved helping me make this special, healthier treat! And I loved eating it with them (sans gummy worms)!

Their favorite part was finding the hidden gummy worms…in fact, I probably could have skipped the whole pudding part and just thrown some worms on the table. Oh well. Someday they’ll appreciate me. ūüėČ

Thumbs up for healthier avocado pudding!
This is how they felt about their special snack! Thumbs up!

What’s a fond childhood snack memory you have? Anything you’d like to recreate as a healthier version for your kids? Let me know in the comments below!

 

10 Ways I Dress My Kids Super Cute and Super Cheap!

10 Ways I Dress My Kids Super Cute and Super Cheap!

10 Ways I Dress My Kids Super Cute and Super Cheap!

10 Ways I Dress My Kids Super Cute and Super Cheap!” is a post I wrote to add to a prompt-based weekly linkup. I got excited when I saw the writing prompt, because this is MY THING. My forte. My jam, if you will. If I’m proficient at anything, it’s saving money. And my kids always look cute, I’m telling you! This is no lie, and I spend so very little on their outfits. Today I am sharing my ‘professional’ tips with you! And as cheap as I am, I’m sharing these tips for free. Gasp!

  1. I shop at yard sales. Duh. I’m not an avid shopper (anymore) but I still hit plenty of sales- enough to clothe my daughters for a year or more.
  2. I plan ahead. So what if my daughter is not in a size 6 yet? If I see a super cute shirt in brand new shape for only 50 cents, I’m going to snatch it up. She will wear it in a year or two.
  3. I buy multiple sizes. I know, without a doubt, my daughters will need snow boots come Wintertime. The unknown factor is size. I can do my best to guesstimate, but growth spurts are curve balls. Regardless, if I find a great pair of Stride Right boots for $2, I will grab those babies up faster than you can say “snow day!”. And if I find another pair in a bigger or smaller size, I’ll grab them, too. Because now, for under $5 I have two great pairs of boots, and surely one will fit. That is still cheaper than any retail sale! And better quality boots, too, than if I ended up running to Wal-Mart at the first hint of snowflakes falling from the sky.
  4. I get excited when I come across Fill-A-Bag Sales. Do you know how much stuff you can shove in a bag for only $5? One summer, I hit the jackpot and got sooo many cute sundresses for my little girl! I notice towards the end of a yard sale, people are more likely to offer fill-a-bag, or churches sometimes on the second day of their rummage sale.
  5. I buy multiple seasons of clothes.¬†Knowing which season for which size is tough with babies, especially. You never know how big your baby will be, or how fast they will grow. So with my newborns, I bought both warm and cold weather clothes in different sizes. You can always use those short-sleeved onesies as undershirts, if nothing else. At 50 cents apiece (my optimal buy price), if something doesn’t get used, or is only worn once, I’m still saving money when one outfit usually costs a minimum $10-$15 ¬†at the store!
  6. I accept hand-me-downs. This doesn’t happen¬†often¬†since my friends have kids that are my kids ages, but I also accept hand-me-downs for myself!! ūüėČ If we need specialized items like ballet leotards or tap shoes, I’ll ask friends or¬†my¬†MOMS club¬†if I can buy their older daughter’s outgrown dance items. Sometimes they just give it away, and my daughters can play dress up if nothing else! I think we’ve bought only one leotard and one pair of ballet shoes brand new since the beginning of my daughter’s two years dance ‘career’. Not too shabby!
  7. I keep an eye out for¬†Consignment Sales in the area. And sign up to be notified of the next sale, if that’s an option. In my opinion, consignment sales are sometimes expensive. This is where, though, if you really need something, you have a better chance of finding it. The Winter boots you need may be $6 instead of $2, but still cheaper than the mall.
  8. Secondhand¬†stores are always an option, too. Definitely the most expensive way to save, lol, but again, if you really need something, you will probably find it there! You’ll at least score name brand items for Wal-Mart prices.
  9. Ask for clothes at Christmas or birthdays. If I find that my girls don’t have enough leggings, or something specific, like plain colored shirts, I ask my mom. ūüôā She is always happy to buy adorable little girl clothes and they make a great gift, rather than¬†more toys to¬†organize and pick up!
  10. Sign up for e-mail notifications of sale events at your favorite kids retail store. And then never open the e-mails. Seriously. Open them, and you’ll be sucked in. But when you want to splurge, or need something in particular…the promo codes will be there. Look for a clearance sale- you can even find in-season clothes on clearance. Wait until they offer an extra percentage off clearance and that’s your ticket to shop. I went a little crazy at Oshkosh last year around Christmas, buying my girls adorable matching outfits, sweaters, and dresses. But I still only spent $100, and they made great Christmas presents. ūüôā
10 Ways I Dress My Kids Super Cute and Super Cheap!
My girls in cute outfits from yard sales- my oldest is wearing a nice Gymboree top I paid a dollar for!

Bonus tip!: Make sure you sign up for a cash back program like Ebates, or Shop At Home. So when you do shop online, you will get cash back! Just be sure to start at the Ebates or Shop At Home website, and they will track what you spend so you’re credited for it in your account.

(If you sign up for Ebates with my referral link, we’ll both get $10¬†deposited in our account!)

My kids always look nice, except maybe when we play out in the yard. And even then, they’re decent. Nicely combed hair helps, and a clean face. Our holiday outfits almost always come from yard sales or consignment sales. That is an awesome¬†thing to score, since your kid and the kid before that will likely only wear it once or twice. So your kids’ clothes may be last season, or the season before that. Your friends won’t see it on the shelf next time they’re at Gymboree or Carter’s. As long as it is decent and clean, who cares?¬†I’d rather have more money for vacation or eating out than spending $30 on a dress my daughter will wear once and stain.

How do you save on your kids clothes? Did I miss any stellar tips?

 

I added this post to the Share The Wealth Link-up. Click the button below to check it out!

Fun Money Mom

My Nooks and Crannies Philosophy- Fitting Kids Into Your Life

My sweet girl, my first child, turns four today! I’ve learned so much in these four¬†years, especially the past couple months. I feel like I should hit rewind,¬†now that I’m better prepared. But¬†there’s no pre-test in parenting. You can take parenting classes, you can babysit, you can get an idea of what parenting is like with younger siblings, but you don’t know what it’s really like until you dive into it.

I feel like I dove into parenting, myself. All I knew about parenting was that I basically knew nothing. But I chose to do it anyway.

Lately, I’ve been wondering…why is it we have pre-marital counseling required by law in some states, but there’s no pre-parental counseling required? I really could have used that.

I didn’t think you¬†rearranged¬†your life to fit in your kids. That way of thinking has probably been my biggest mistake thus far.

At the same time, it is¬†a healthy way to view raising children. My life doesn’t revolve around my kids to the point that my marriage suffers, that I ignore my husband to dote on my kids. I love my kids, but a healthy marriage is just as important to nurture as your children. So put your husband first, be excited to see him at the end of the day, and not just because he’s finally there to take care of HIS kids. Ha!

I used to pride myself on being the mom that wasn’t¬†her child’s designated playmate. I did not give birth in order to sit on the floor and play pretend for hours! My child was self-reliant and could entertain herself! Not to say I never played with my babies, but I could have done it more often. It is an important part of healthy brain development and bonding, which in turn helps with social skills (My oldest certainly has this in abundance, as everyone she meets is her friend!).

It’s all about striking a balance!¬†

My husband and I were always told we didn’t seem like¬†typical first time parents. Part of that was due to our nooks and crannies philosophy, I think. With one baby, we still ate out, we visited friends and family, we vacationed with our four month old…We went where we wanted to go and our baby went with us. We weren’t overly worried about germs- the 5 Second Rule rules! We weren’t terribly hung up on a napping schedule;¬†we had no problem¬†adjusting it¬†to our convenience. Even feedings weren’t on a schedule. I nursed my baby, so she usually let me know when she was hungry. We added her to our lives and went about our daily business, no big deal.

My biggest failure with this philosophy has been more recent.¬†When our family grew to four, I grew more inconvenienced. Not only did I have two children to lug around now, making my day¬†twice as long, and twice as stressful, but I also had a colicky baby to boot. Nothing made her happy. Suddenly, it was too hard to accomplish anything¬†or go anywhere. My life revolved around my kids, just like I always said it wouldn’t. I had lost myself and I felt trapped. During the next year, I grew more dejected by the month.¬†Why did I give my life up for these kids, I wondered?

fitting kids into your life

Last summer, I knew something had to change. So I joined a direct sales company and started a blog. ūüôā I needed to do something for me, I needed to have goals that were longer lasting than keeping my house clean. Now¬†I take more joy in my kids than I ever have before, just because I broke the boring daily rhythm. It was that simple! We also decided recently to start leaving¬†our kids at our local drop-in daycare again for date nights. To know we can go out whenever we choose¬†is an amazingly freeing thought.

I’m learning to find the right balance in life. I’m learning to¬†appreciate my kids more. I’m learning that I will have a life of my own back someday, but that doesn’t mean it ended four years ago. I’m still me, but I have sweet little girls¬†to love and care for now. It’s a blessing and a privilege.

Of course, it helps that the colic is over- so help me God, if it ever happens again…

parenting quote

 

The Sacrifice of Sanity

sacrifice of sanity over craftime

Yesterday, I learned something new.

I learned that mothers not only sacrifice their bodies, half of every delicious thing they eat, and any semblance of quality free time by themselves or with their spouses, they also sacrifice their sanity.

Yes. That’s what I said. The sacrifice of sanity.

As for me, I officially lost my sanity over craft time yesterday.

What I thought would be a fun, diverting activity quickly turned into chaos. My 3 year old was constantly asking for help, wielding large scissors because we lost her kid-size ones, and affixing no less than 9 feet (I’m sure) of her brand new sparkly tape to a small card meant to be sent to Grandma but in the end was much too cumbersome to fit in anything but a good size box. Even if the card wasn’t so thick and heavy, the large pool of glue she blobbed on won’t dry ’til next August.

craft
This was the beautiful finished work of art!

My 20 month old daughter¬†applied sticker after sticker, stood up in her booster to reach more (nearly giving me a heart attack every time), and knocked over 12 things in the process as tiny paper snowflakes slowly drifted to the floor, which I’d foolishly just swept. My very vocal sweetheart¬†would yell things like ‘blue, blue!’ which could mean anything from ‘glue’, to any color crayon, to something that is actually the color blue. When this bumbling mother couldn’t figure it out, her shrieking would escalate until she collapsed into tears. Because whatever it was she wanted, she had to have it, or her craft would not be complete.

Finally, I covered my face with my hands and let out an agonized cry.

I promptly decided we’d had enough fun crafting for the day. Sent the little one to bed and made some coffee. With Bailey’s.

I actually thought I could multitask while the girls crafted (having not learned from previous experience). What happened instead, was that I had a million different chores started and not a single one was getting done.

I only escalated my own stress and deprived my girls of a more enjoyable experience. When will I ever learn?

Next time, maybe I’ll just forget the chores and we can all craft together.