Monday, January 28, 2013

Potty Training

     Guess what? We are officially potty training! We went to Target yesterday and picked out "Mater and Buzz" underwear for my son. Mater, from Cars, and Buzz, from Toy Story, are his two favorite Disney characters, so I am hoping for good results. I am also incorporating the "naked method" into potty training. I am hoping to have my son day-time potty trained in one week. I will update you all everyday, on this post, and keep it going until we are day-time potty trained! Wish us luck!!
     Day one: Started the morning by showing my son all his new, clean, underwear and let him choose which pair he wanted to put on. I asked him about a thousand or so times, "do you need to go potty?" or I would change it up with "do you need to poop/pee?"  By the end of the day I sounded like a broken record. He had one accident in the morning and he was so stinking cute I couldn't even be mad. He came over to me with this pitiful face and said, "All wet! So wet!!!" So I got him cleaned up and tried keeping him naked for a bit to see if that would help him. He still didn't go on the potty. Overall, he only had one accident on his first day, but didn't go in the potty either. I guess it was a good day? Maybe?
     Day two: Started the morning by letting my son pick out which pair of underwear he wanted to wear and this time he picked out a "Buzz" pair! He had preschool today, so that butted into potty-training a bit. He wore underwear before school, wore a diaper at school, and then wore underwear again when he came home. He did have two accidents this evening and both times had the same pitiful face and sad, "Im wet!" comments. Hopefully tomorrow will be better!
      Day three: Started the morning by changing his diaper and putting on a pull-up. My husband took the kids to the gym and I went fabric shopping for a little project I will be working on tomorrow. We got home, put the kids down for naps, and then my husband left for work. When the kids woke up I put underwear on Cooper and asked him to please sit on the potty. He said "NOOOO" and peed his pants. I sighed inwardly, cleaned him up, and put on a new pair. Thirty minutes later the exact same thing happened. I cleaned him up again, but this time left him naked. He was not pleased. I managed to bribe him with TV and have him sit on the potty for about five minutes. Nothing happened. He managed to not have an accident when he was naked and remained accident-free for the rest of the afternoon. Overall, today was a bit of a challenge both keeping my cool and pushing onward. I hope tomorrow will be better!
     Day four: Started off with an hour in underwear before he had preschool. He didn't have any accidents, but also didn't go in his potty. We sent him to preschool in a pull-up, but I don't know if they put him on the potty at all. While he was at school I had a little bit of time to think about an reexamine my approach to potty training. I had originally planned on using stickers as a positive reinforcement, but stickers were never any interest to my son to begin with so that is not a reward that would help motivate him. I broke down and bought M&Ms for his new reward. He now gets: 1 M&M for sitting on the potty, 2 M&Ms for peeing in the potty, and 3 M&Ms for pooping on the potty. He does not get any M&Ms at any other time, they are ONLY for potty training. He now has no objection to sitting on the potty and asks to sit on the potty in hopes of earning his M&Ms! Overall, today was enlightening but Cooper still didn't go in the potty.
       Day five: Started off a little different and we had speech therapists coming to our home to evaluate my son. Thankfully, he passed his evaluation with flying colors! However, I had him in a pull-up during the evaluation and that was better for the eval but set back our morning routine with potty training a little bit. In the afternoon, I put a pair of underwear on my son and after about an hour of periodically sitting on the potty and nothing happening he came and crawled in my lap, told me,"I Love you!", and pooped on me. The underwear caught most of it....but I picked him up and carried him to the bath. He was upset and I just a tad grossed out. I cleaned him up and told him it was time to be naked. He remained naked the rest of the afternoon and evening, but he finally started peeing in his potty! He peed in his potty four times today!!
     Day six: Started off the morning naked as a jay bird. Cooper refused to put underwear on so we just hung out in the playroom with a naked child running around. Cooper actually did really well all morning! He peed on the potty several times and had no accidents! Then it was time for naptime, so I put a diaper on him and laid him down. When he woke up from his nap I put underwear on him and he did really well yet again. He had no accidents all day long and peed in the potty at least ten times! Overall, today was a good day!
     Day seven: We were out of the house all day so he was in a pull-up for most of the day. I sat him on the potty a couple times when we were out but he did not go. When we were at home I had him sit on the potty a couple times, but he also did not go. Today was busy and chaotic, so he both didn't have any accidents but also didn't go in the potty. Today is my last day of "potty training bootcamp". We will continue to work on peeing in the potty and hopefully will move on to pooping in the potty. I am hopeful that in the next couple of weeks Cooper will be out of diapers during the daytime and just in underwear! Wish us luck! :)


Sunday, January 27, 2013

Oven Fries


Homemade Oven Fries
Yield: Serves 4

Ingredients:

4-5 russet potatoes (peeled)
salt and pepper
1/4 cup vegetable oil or olive oil

Directions:

1. Wash and peel your potatoes. Slice them into fries and place into a large bowl. Fill your bowl with warm water and let sit for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, drain your water and pat your potato "fries" down with a clean paper towel.
2. On a large cookie sheet, drizzle your oil. Place your potato "fries" on the cookie sheet and move them around in the oil until coated. Crack pepper and sprinkle salt over your potatoes.
3. Bake at 450 F for 15-20 minutes. Pull your fries out of the oven and use a large spatula to flip or rotate your fries. Put them back in the oven for another 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Serve right away and enjoy!
Fries before they are baked

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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Valentine's Cookie Decorating Party Invitations

 


    I am throwing our first annual Valentine's Cookie Decorating party next month. I plan on baking a lot of sugar cookies, making icing, and setting out sprinkles for children to decorate the cookies. I decided to make it a family event and will be cooking food and making drinks for adults to enjoy while the kids decorate. I hope it will be fun! I made twenty invitations like these and twelve printable invitations that I put in my son's backpack to pass out at his preschool. I made these invitations with my Cricut using both the Martha Stewart Cake cartridge and the Life's a Party cartridge. I also used my Cuttlebug to emboss the heart with a damask print. I topped everything off with a black velvet ribbon and two gems and a pearl. I think that it turned out simple and elegant! For the printable invitations, that I used as my 5x7 base, here is the PDF: 5x7 Printable Invitation. Enjoy!!



Front and back of the invitations


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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

A Southern Gal's Coconut Creamy Custard Pie


Coconut Creamy-Custard Pie
Yield: One large pie and six mini pies or two small pies

Ingredients:

1 box of two 9" refrigerated pie crusts or two 9" frozen pie shells
5 cups of sweetened shredded coconut (divided)
1 1/2 cups of whole milk (divided)
3/4 cup of sugar (divided)
1 13.5oz can of coconut milk
1 15ox can of cream of coconut
1 envelope of gelatin
1/4 cup of corn starch
1 egg
3 egg yolks
1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
1 teaspoon of coconut extract
1 tablespoon of butter
1 pinch of salt
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar

Directions:

Crust:
1. Unroll your refrigerated pie crust and press into your pie shell. If you are making mini pies also, now is the time to cut out your dough and place into mini pie shells.
2. Put tin foil on top of your large crust and fill with lentils, or any other beans you have on hand, and bake at 425 F for 20 minutes. Take the pie shells out, remove beans and foil, and place tin foil around just the edges of your pie shell so the edges don't burn. Place back in the oven for 10 more minutes. At this time add your mini pie shells, if you are making minis as well. The minis only need 10-12 minutes in the oven at 425 F. After everything is baked, turn off your oven and set the pie shells on the counter to cool while you work on your filling.
Filling:
3. In a small bowl add 1/2 cup of whole milk and your packet of gelatin. Mix with a fork and let set for 10 minutes.
4. In a medium saucepan add 1 cup of whole milk, can of coconut milk, 1/4 cup of sugar, coconut extract, and vanilla extract on medium heat for about 10 minutes. Make sure to mix continuously so you do not burn your milk!
5. In your Kitchen Aid mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment, add your egg and egg yolks. Whip at medium speed for 1 minute. Add your salt, remaining sugar, and corn starch to your mixer. Mix for another minute.
6. Slowly add in your milk and gelatin mixture, to your Kitchen Aid mixer, while on a low speed. Increase your speed to medium and mix well for 1-2 minutes.
7. At this point your saucepan milk mixture should be simmering away and ready. Slowly spoon, with a large cooking spoon, one spoonful of your hot milk into your Kitchen Aid mixer's mixture. Keep your mixer on low and keep spooning, slowly, until there is no mixture left in your saucepan. Let your mixer run for 1-2 minutes on low to incorporate all your ingredients.
8. Remove your Kitchen Aid mixer's bowl and place all the contents back into that saucepan. Cook on medium for 5 minutes. Continuously stir with your cooking spoon. Make sure to get out any lumps that may be forming in the cooking process. After 5 minutes your mixture should be pudding-like and creamy.
9. Turn your stove top heat off and add your cream of coconut and butter and stir well. Then, add 3 cups of shredded coconut to your mixture. Pour your mixture into your pie shells. Refrigerate for 8-12 hours or overnight.
Topping:
10. In your Kitchen Aid mixer, add your heavy whipping cream and your powdered sugar. Blend on high until peaks are forming. Spread heavily across your pies.
11. Sprinkle the remainder of your shredded coconut on top of your pies. Enjoy!


    This dessert is perfect to make the night before you are having guests over and all you have to do the day of is make the topping. There are lots of steps to this pie, and lots of dishes that get dirtied in the process, but it is all so worth it in the end! I am currently in coconut heaven! Yum!

Note: If you are dairy-free you could replace the whole milk with an extra can of coconut milk and the filling should still set up properly. Also, if you whip coconut milk it becomes the texture of whipped cream. You could replace the whipped cream topping with whipped coconut milk instead! Enjoy!


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Saturday, January 19, 2013

Cooper's Big Boy Room





     For my son's second birthday I decided to decorate and turn his nursery into a "Big Boy" room. I went with a Nautical Theme, because we live at the beach and my son loves the beach. I chose a deep blue for the wall color and we installed white bead board to offset the dark color. I hung white cotton curtains and chose a dark blue pattern for his duvet cover with white sheets to tie everything together. I picked out espresso furniture and a leather chair to read him bedtime stories in. I love his bedroom! I love the way it calms you when you walk into it. I love that my son loves his room! Love it! :)









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Friday, January 18, 2013

Facebook Page



I finally created a Cooper and Chloe Facebook Page! Check it out and Like it to get updates on recipes, crafts, and more! :)



Homemade Salsa


Homemade Salsa
Yield: 12 cups
                               

Ingredients:
2 cans of whole peeled tomatoes (28oz cans each)
2 cans of diced tomatoes (15 oz cans each)
4 roma tomatoes, diced
2 medium onions or 1 1/2 large onions, diced
2 cups of chopped cilantro
1 cup of chopped green onions
1 whole head of garlic, minced (aprox. 14 cloves)
3 shallot cloves, minced
4 tablespoons lemon juice
salt and pepper
1-2 jalapenos (depending on your heat preference)






Directions: 
1. Finely chop your onions, green onions, cilantro, and tomatoes. 
2. Mince your garlic, shallots, and jalapenos (if you decide to add jalapenos).
3. In your food processor, add your canned tomatoes, dashes of salt and pepper, lemon juice, and add half of everything that is on your cutting board (half your tomatoes, onions, garlic, cilantro, green onions, shallots, and jalapenos, etc). Blend in your mixer for 10-12 seconds.
4. In a large container add the remaining ingredients, that are on your cutting board, and then pour the salsa mixture, from your food processor, over the fresh ingredients. Stir well and store in your fridge for up to three days.



Enjoy your fresh and homemade salsa with some homemade corn chips! Here is my recipe for corn chips and guacamole. I make salsa, guacamole  and chips every couple of weeks. It is a staple in our house: healthy and yummy! Have a great night! :)

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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

DIY Sock Bun



Step by step instructions:



1. You need a pair of wool socks, pantyhose, and a pair of scissors



2. Cut off your socks at the ankle. Roll the first sock into a doughnut, using only the 6 inch piece from ankle on up.



3. Pull your second sock piece through your first and repeat your pull over doughnut motions.




4. Cut a 14-16 inch piece off your pantyhose. Make sure both ends are cut.



5. Pull your pantyhose through your sock doughnut and pull around to secure.



6. All done! Enjoy! 


If you do not know what a sock bun is or how to use it than I would suggest a quick Google or Pinterst search! The basic instructions with using your sock bun is: Make a high ponytail in your hair and secure it with a ponytail holder. Pull the sock bun around your poneytail and pull it down to the base (where your ponytail is). Then, with your hair in the middle, secure it around the bun with an additional ponytail holder making a large bun. With all your excess hair, wrap it around the bun and secure with bobbypins. Spray with hair spray to secure. This is a great everyday "mom hair" look. I love it!! :)

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Saturday, January 12, 2013

Giveaway: Custom Minky Bib and Headband

     


    
       If I get 100 followers by February 14th, 2013 I will give away a custom handmade, by me, minky bib and headband. You can pick the color of minky material (light pink, hot pink, light blue, dark blue, light green, or white) and the choice between a hot pink or white headband for your little one. I will randomly select one lucky follower and make your little one a headband in their size and a custom minky bib in their size with their name or monogram on it. Good luck to you all!
     Comment below this post, after you have started following my blog, for your chance to enter. One comment per person please. Drawings will happen February 14th, 2013, if I have 100 followers, at 8pm EST! If this giveaway goes well, and I get 100 followers by February 14th, than I will do another giveaway for Easter! Good luck!

To Enter: Please leave a comment below this post with the bib you wish to win and the headband you wish to win and your email address so that if you win I can contact you for more info on how to mail you your prizes!! If you want your bib personalized, make sure to include either their first name OR if you want it monogrammed than make sure to enter their initials: First initial, Last initial, Middle initial!
Ex: "I hope I win! I want a hot pink minky bib with my daughter's name on it: Zoe. I also want a white headband please! Thanks! Maryjoe@gmail.com"


Pictured from left to right: White headband and a hot pink minky bib with white monogram. Hot pink headband with a light pink bib with white scroll "Chloe".

Friday, January 11, 2013

Banana Yogurt Baby Food




Homemade Banana Yogurt Baby Food
Yield: 10-12 cups



Ingredients:

4 large bunches of bananas (aprox. 14 large bananas)
cinnamon
olive oil
1 32oz Plain Yogurt



Directions:

1. Peel your bananas and chop them in to 3-4 pieces. Lay them on two tin foil covered cookie sheets sprayed in cooking spray.
2. Drizzle a light amount of olive oil over your bananas and then sprinkle a dusting of cinnamon over your bananas.
3. Bake at 400 F for 30 minutes.
4. With a large spatula, scrape up all your banana pieces and place into your food processor. Blend well. Add your yogurt and blend until smooth.
5. Portion your mixture into your ice cube trays and freeze for 24 hours. Once frozen, empty your ice cube trays and place your cubes of food into labeled Ziploc bags for easy access to homemade baby food!
6. When you reheat your banana yogurt mixture, add two cubes to a mug or microwave safe container and microwave for about 30 seconds per cube.




My daughter enjoying some yummy banana yogurt! :)

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Carrot Baby Food


Carrot Baby Food in Slow Cooker
Yield: 14-16 cups 




Ingredients:

5 lbs baby carrots
2 tablespoons of cinnamon
1 tablespoon nutmeg
3 cups of water



Directions: 

1. Turn your slow cooker on high for 6 hours. 
2. Add all your carrots to your slow cooker. 
3. Sprinkle your cinnamon and nutmeg over your carrots.
4. Pour your water over your carrots and cover. Stir occasionally.
5. After 6 hours of steaming your carrots should mush if pressed with the back of a spoon. Add your carrots and "juice" (the remaining water at the bottom of your slow cooker) to your food processor. My food processor is a 12 cup and I had to portion out half to blend and then blend the rest after I had removed the first batch from my food processor. 
6. Portion into ice cube trays and freeze for 24 hours. Pop the "ice cubes" out of the trays and put them in Ziploc bags to store in your freezer so that you have easy access to yummy and homemade baby food! 
7. When reheating your cubes of food for your little ones, I place two cubes in a mug or microwave safe container and microwave for 30 seconds per cube. Good luck!





My daughter clapping while eating her yummy carrots! :)

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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Banana Nut Toddler Muffins






Banana Nut Toddler Muffins
Yield: 6-7 dozen mini muffins

Ingredients:

4 ripe bananas
1 cup of vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1/2 cup of whole milk
1/2 cup of sugar
3 cups of all purpose flour
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of salt
1 tablespoon of cinnamon
1 cup of smashed walnuts

Directions:

1. In your Kitchen Aid mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, add your bananas. Turn your mixer on medium for 30 seconds and whip the bananas.
2. Add your eggs, milk, and vegetable oil to your bananas. Mix well.
3. Add your sugar and cinnamon and mix well.
4. Turn your mixer off and add in your flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Turn your mixer back on and mix on low for about 2 minutes. Make sure all the flour is incorporated well.
5. Add your cup of whole or halved walnuts to a large Ziploc bag, seal the bag, and smash the walnuts with a rolling pin. I do this so that the walnuts are small enough for even my 9 month old to easily eat without choking.
6. Mix the walnuts into the batter on low.
7. Spray your mini muffin tins with cooking spray and evenly disperse your batter with a Tablespoon measuring spoon: 1 tablespoon for each muffin cup in the tray.
8. Bake at 350 F for 20-22 minutes. You can bake up to two trays at a time in your oven. Be sure not to over fill your oven.
9. Pop the muffins out of the tray, once they are baked, and let your little ones enjoy! Obviously adults can eat these too, but I make these especially for my children. My 2 and a half year old son devourers these in seconds and my 9 month old daughter nibbles away as best she can with her two little teeth. Enjoy!


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Monday, January 7, 2013

Homemade Tomato Sauce





Homemade Tomato Sauce in the Slow Cooker
Yield: 10-12 cups

Ingredients:
2 Onions
8 Cloves of Garlic
60 oz can of Tomato Sauce (four 15 oz cans)
24 oz can of Plum Tomatoes (two 12 oz cans)
2 cups of Fresh Basil leaves
1/4 cup of Sugar
1 tsp of Salt
1 tsp freshly ground Pepper
Olive Oil
1 stick of Butter





Directions:

1. Coat your slow cooker's bottom with olive oil (approx 1 cup). Turn on slow cooker to low for 8 hours.
2. Chop up your onions so they are microscopically small!  Mince your garlic with a garlic mincer. Add both to slow cooker.
3. Sprinkle salt and pepper on top of onion garlic mixture. Let set for 30 minutes covered.


4. Add your cans of tomato sauce, plum tomatoes, sugar, and your chopped basil. Cover and walk away. Stir occasionally.
5. Add your stick of butter at hour 7 (when there is only one hour left on the timer).
6. Use your immersion blender for about 30 seconds to quickly blend up any remaining larger chunks of tomato, onion, or basil.
7. Serve immediately or store in freezer bags and freeze until needed.

I make up a batch of sauce about 2-4 times a month. I loooooove making sauce in my Crockpot. It is so easy and the flavors marinate together so much better than when I have tried making it on the stove.  It is by far the yummiest sauce I have made thus far! There are so many recipes that you can make with this sauce as it's base. I even caught my husband eating the sauce by itself once.




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Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Apple Chimichangas: Mexican Apple Pies



Apple Chimichangas: Mexican Apple Pies
Yield: Four Chimichangas

Ingredients:
4 Flour tortillas
6 medium-large Granny Smith apples
1 tablespoon of cinnamon
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 stick of butter
2 tablespoons of lemon juice

Directions:
1. Peel, core, and finely dice your apples. Add to a large bowl. Sprinkle your lemon juice over your apples and mix well.
2. Sprinkle your salt, sugar, cinnamon, and flour over your diced apples and mix well.
3. Heat a large sautee pan on medium. Melt your butter and add your apple mixture to the pan. Cook on medium for 5-7 minutes. Take off heat and let cool while you are heating up your deep fryer.
4. Heat your deep fryer at 375 F. Once hot, portion your apple mixture in to your tortillas equally. Roll each tortilla up tightly, like a burrito, and make sure to tuck in the ends. Secure each Chimichanga with a toothpick so it will not open in the deep fryer.
5. Place one Apple Chimichanga in the deep fryer at a time, with the toothpick secured-side down. Fry each side for about a minute each, or until golden brown. If your oil is high enough to have your Chimichanga roll, than hold it down with a fork so it wont cook too much on one side.
6. Remove from the fryer and lay on a paper towel to remove excess oil. Place on to a plate, sprinkle with powdered sugar and cinnamon, and serve up with a couple scoops of vanilla ice cream. Yum!

Almost every time we have a burrito or taco night I end it by making these. I LOVE them! I almost love them more than traditional apple pie because almost everything is better once it is fried, right? Seriously, they are melt in your mouth delicious! Enjoy!





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