Monday, December 30, 2013

Fruit and Nut Bars

My littest son 'R' is becomming a fussy eater. I am struggling to find fruits that he will eat this time of year. Usually he goes for strawberries, and raspberries, but they are not easilly found in Maine during the winter months. I decided to buy some dried fruit and incorporate it into a bar. He loves bars. After a little trial and error process I came up with these. They are delicious.

You will need:

1 c. dried fruit, I used mango and apples
2 c. cashew meal
1/4 c. ground flax seed
1/2 c. shredded coconut
2 tsp. vanilla          

Soak the dried fruit in 1/2 cup of hot water until all the water is absorbed. Combine fruit, coconut, flax, vanilla and cashews in the food processor. Pulse to combine.  Spoon into a parchment lined dish and refrigerate until it sets. Cut into squares. I store mine in the freezer, but you could store them in the fridge of at room temperature for a day or so. Enjoy!

Thanks for visiting, Kayla                    

Friday, December 27, 2013

Coconut Sugar Scrub

Christmas is officially over. We had a fabulous holiday. Did you?  After a month full of Christmas parties, Santa sightings, and shopping, Christmas day finally arrived. My husband, kids and I stayed home all day on Christmas, and enjoyed every minute of it. The boys stayed in the pj's the entire day, and actually got along. Lately we have been dealing with fighting between the kids, but magically, not on Christmas.

I made this sugar scrub the other day to help battle my dry winter hands. It is the simplest recipe, you'll have to try it. I keep a jar under my bathroom sink, and a jar in my shower. This scrub works great for exfoliating any where you want to use it. It also makes great gifts too.

You will need:
Organic Coconut Oil, room temp.
Natural Sugar

I use a 2:1 ratio when mixing this up. I made a large batch so I used 1 cup coconut oil for 2 cups sugar. A small batch would be 1/4 cup coconut oil mixed with 1/2 cup sugar.
 I add the coconut oil and the sugar to my stand mixer and set it on medium speed for about 10 minutes. You really want this to mix well. Make sure your coconut oil is room temperature.

That's it. Spoon the mixture into mason jars and store at room temperature. This is important. I set a couple jars in my mudroom, (which in not heated) with some Christmas gifts that I was getting ready to bring to a party.  The sugar scrub hardened right up. It came back to a soft consistency once it warmed back up though.

Thanks for visiting, Kayla

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Monday, December 23, 2013

Salt Dough Ornaments

First I will say that I did not intend to make salt dough ornaments this year, so that is why this post is coming to you two days before Christmas. But then, I read this post from one of my favorite bloggers, and decided to go ahead. We made salt dough ornaments last Christmas, but did not get too fancy with them. I basically wanted to capture the kids handprints, and call it good. This year we decided to have a little more fun, and bring out the stamps and paint. I don't have any pictures of the painted ornaments, since it turned into a two day project, but here are some pictures of our fun process.


You will need:
1 c. flour
1/2 c. salt
1/2 c. warm water

Mix all together until you reach a dough like consistency. Roll, stamp, cut. Bake at 200 for 4 hours. Once they come out of the oven and cool completely you can paint them, or add glue and glitter.  FYI: I chose to stamp directly onto the unbaked dough. It worked great.  Have fun!

Thanks for visiting, Kayla

Peanut Butter Fudge with Chocolate Swirl

Tis the season to make a batch of fudge, or two. :) I am not usually much of a fudge maker since it is full of sugar, but this year I thought I would make a batch to enjoy, and give a little out at the same time. This fudge came out delicious. It is the perfect amount of sweet and salty that I needed. My littlest child keeps running to the kitchen and snatching piece after piece. What's the holiday's without a little, or a lot of sugar. :)

*Warning * This is by no means a healthy snack.
You will need:
1 c. creamy peanut butter (I use organic)
1 c. unsalted butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. salt
4 c. powdered sugar, sifted (I use organic)
1/2 c. chocolate chips

Melt the peanut butter and butter together in medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the vanilla. Add the sifted powdered sugar, and salt. Stir to combine. The mixture is thick like cookie dough. When the mixture is still warm, stir in  the chocolate chips. Spread mixture into a parchment lined 8x8 inch glass baking dish. Cool in fridge for 4 hours. Cut into little squares. Enjoy!

View recipe source here.

Thanks for visiting, Kayla

Friday, December 20, 2013

Holiday Granola (Gluten Free)

I just love to add granola to my Greek yogurt in the mornings. Actually, I even put it on ice cream. Confession: I am eating this on ice cream right now. :) The simple mommy pleasures once the kids are in bed. Sigh.  I made a little extra and added some to a few mason jars. I made a little label, and added a bow. Now we have a delicious gift idea for the holidays. I have another granola recipe that I usually make, see my post here, but I thought I would create a new version to add some variety. The cinnamon brings this granola to a whole new level. :)

You will need:
5 c. gluten free oats
1 c. raw pecans
1 c. shredded coconut
1/2 c. raw pumpkin seeds
1/4 c. chia seeds
1 c. dried cranberries
2 TBS. cinnamon
1/2 c. coconut oil, melted
1/2 c. raw agave

Combine the oats, pecans, coconut, pumpkin seeds, and chia seeds in a large bowl. Coat with cinnamon. Melt the coconut oil, and combine it with the agave. Pour over the dry ingredients. Mix thoroughly.  Spread on a parchment lined baking sheet, and bake at 325 for 35-40 minutes. Add cranberries. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Birch Bark Pretzels

I just love this time of year. I spend most of my time in the kitchen listening to Christmas music, sipping cocoa, and baking. I made these birch bark pretzels this past Sunday during a snow storm. The view out my window was beautiful. (I should have taken a picture.) I have admitted in the past that I am not Winter's number one fan, but snow around Christmas time just feels magical.

Making these treats this year was bittersweet for me. I enjoy the process, and the tradition, but I usually make them with my girlfriend Heidi, who just moved out of state. :( It was not the same without her, but I'm sure we will find a time in years to come to make them again. This Holiday treat is super easy, and delicious. They make great handouts for the mail carrier, UPS driver, and neighbors.

You will need:
Mini pretzel rods
White Chocolate
Dark or Milk Chocolate

The amounts will vary depending on how many you would like to make. I used two 12 ounce bags of pretzels with three 10 ounce bags of white chocolate, and one 10 ounce bag of dark chocolate.

Line the counter or cookie sheets with parchment paper. Melt the white chocolate in a double boiler or a pot of water with a glass bowl, as shown.
and spoon a little bit onto a plate. Roll each pretzel in the white chocolate and set aside on the parchment paper to cool and harden.
Once the white chocolate has formed to the pretzel, melt the dark or milk chocolate and drizzle over the pretzel rods to make a birch bark appearance.
That's it. These pretzels are so easy to make, you will enjoy getting a little messy. I package mine up in individual treat bags and tie them with some raffia. What sorts of Holiday treats are you making this year?

Thanks for visiting, Kayla

Monday, December 16, 2013

School Lunch


Another Christmas shopping weekend is behind us. Did you venture out into the stores? I had to pick up a few non-Christmas essentials at Target and it was crazy.  Thankfully I love shopping so my Christmas gift list has been done for a while now. Now we are back to Monday with only one week left until this special holiday. We are getting pretty excited in my house.

This lunch is packed full of yummy kid friendly foods that B loves. 
In this lunch:
Chicken and Cheese Quesadilla
Annie's Bunny Snack Mix
Carrots with hummus

Thanks for visiting, Kayla

Friday, December 13, 2013

Glitter Goop

Happy Friday.  We are another week closer to Christmas. This month is flying by for us I feel like we are running out of time to make all of our fun holiday crafts. We did make time for this one though. Making Glitter Goop has become a Christmas tradition for the boys and I. We started last year, and had a blast, so why not repeat.  With only a few ingredients, and a few extra minutes you can make this fun stuff, and make memories too.

I found the recipe for this here. This blogger used it as monster slime, which is perfect considering the texture. I used her recipe and directions and decided it would be a fun Christmas activity. You can make this for all sorts of holidays, parties, play dates, or just because.

You will need:
4oz. Clear Elmer's Glue
1 tsp. Borax Powder
1 1/2 Cups water, divided
Food Coloring

Mix the Borax Powder with 1 cup water. Stir to dissolve.

In a separate bowl, mix the glue with 1/2 cup water.
Add  about 4 drops of food coloring to the glue mixture. Stir.
Add Glitter.
Add Borax mixture to the glue mixture. Mix all up with your hands, and have fun. You will see the mixture become a solid.
The kids had so much fun getting their hands dirty. The more you play with it the better it gets.

The red set up really well, and was immediately ready to transfer into little containers. The green, however, needed a little more attention. I drained the excess water and worked with it for a little longer to come to the right texture. I think this is my favorite activity to do with the kids.

Thanks for visiting, Kayla

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Our Elf

So I finally caved and got the elf. Lately my boys have been giving us a really hard time. My little guy has multiple tantrums each day, which as I'm sure many of you know, is exhausting. My friend Missy convinced me that this elf is the exact thing we need right now.

I have to admit I was against the elf on the shelf idea from the very beginning. I see how most people post pictures of their elf getting into mischief. As far as I know elves are not supposed to be naughty. Am I right?  I feel as though this sends to wrong message to our kids. Our elf is silly rather than naughty. His name is Snowflake. He was sent to our house by Santa himself. Snowflake leaves each night to report back to the North Pole, then returns to rest in a new spot in our home. The kids rush out of their room in the morning in search of the elf. It is adorable.  He is usually found hanging from a curtain rod, or hiding in a mixing bowl. B gave him permission to have a snack so this morning he was sitting in the fruit bowl holding a banana. The evidence shows that he did nibble a few bites from it.

Do you have an elf? Is he silly or naughty? :)

Monday, December 9, 2013

School Lunch

Happy Monday. We had quite a weekend filled with holiday parties, delicious food, and lots of family time. I absolutely love this time of year when everyone gets together and makes new memories. I admitted to my sister and niece that when I watch my kids open a present handed to them directly from Santa I get all chocked up. They agreed that they do as well. Looks like I'm not the only sappy one. :) This lunch has a lot going on, but the lunch box came home empty.

In this lunch:
Turkey roll ups
Carrots with cream cheese, carrot, spinach and olive dip
Cheese shaped into a Christmas Tree

Thanks for visiting, Kayla

Friday, December 6, 2013

3 Year Old Birthday Party Part 2

As promised, here are the cupcakes from R's third birthday party. Don't they look delicious?

I did not have a good recipe for pumpkin cupcakes so I went poking around online. I found a great blog called I used her pumpkin cupcake recipe, and they came out fabulous. Or soy taste testers told me. You can view her original post here. I followed her recipe but substituting with all of my usual organic ingredients.
Recipe for pumpkin cupcakes
1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cloves
½ tsp salt
1 ¼ cups pumpkin puree
½ cup sugar
½ cup brown sugar
¼ cup veg oil
2 eggs
For the frosting:
¼ cup butter, softened
4 oz. cream cheese
4 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp milk
Bake at 350 for 20 minutes



This is my own recipe creation. I must say I am quite proud of it. These cupcakes come out amazing every time. The best part, they are allergy friendly. Thank goodness. Mommy needs a little treat once in a while too.
Recipe for gluten free chocolate cupcakes:
1c.gluten free oat flour
1/2 c. gluten free honey buckwheat flour
1 c, sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1/3 c. cocoa powder
1/2 c. veg oil
1 c. water
1 tsp. vinegar
Bake at 350 for 25 min.
  Thanks for visiting, Kayla

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Clothespin Rudolph

It is officially Christmas time in our household. We kicked off Christmas with our town's traditional tree lighting on Friday night. The kids had a visit with Santa and Frosty, and a nice carriage ride. It was very cold, but we made the most of it and had a great time. The tree is up, and the house is all decorated and ready to enjoy. With Christmas in the air, the kids are eager to do some fun holiday crafts. I found this one on pinterest. Original post found here.  It was super easy, and involved craft materials I already had on hand. Bonus :) Aren't they cute?

Thanks for visiting, Kayla

Monday, December 2, 2013

School Lunch

As a mom of two boys I have learned that kids love to eat with their little fingers. The fresh vegetables are perfect for dipping. The hummus crackers are there to help fill hi little belly up, along with a cheese stick, and clementine. And yes, there are cute little animal food picks peaking out at us. B loves that.  They are so easy to use in a lunch to make it a little extra fun.

Thanks for visiting, Kayla

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is upon us and I am finding myself very busy with food preparations, gift planning, shopping, and lots of family time. Sorry for the non post, but I will be back to my usual blogging on Monday. Until then, I hope you all have a wonderful holiday.

Thanks for visiting, Kayla

Image found at:

Monday, November 25, 2013

School Lunch..Salami kabobs

Happy Monday!  Can you believe that Thanksgiving is almost here? We are looking forward to some much needed family time. This year we will spend the holiday at home with my mother, and my in-laws coming over for dinner. It's only Monday and I am already starting my to do lists for the week. Sigh. :) How will you spend your Thanksgiving?

This lunch was a big hit. B took this to school one day last week and absolutely loved it. He is a huge salami fan, and asks for it often, so I make sure to buy the Organic Nitrate free salami. You can find it right at your local health food store.

In this lunch:
Salami kabobs with cheese, olives, tomato and cucumber
Gluten Free Whole Grain Crackers
Organic Strawberries
Fruit Leather leaf
Newmano Cookie
Yogurt Tube

Thanks for visiting, Kayla

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Thanksgiving Turkey Craft

Here is the Thanksgiving craft we did as a family the other night. I was tired of the traditional turkey hat craft we usually do, so I decided to check around online for some new ideas. I found an idea from Curious George, unfortunately I cannot link the site for some reason. The kids have fun anytime painting is involved, especially when they get to paint their hands and feet.

Have you made any Thanksgiving crafts yet this year?

Thanks for visiting, Kayla

Monday, November 18, 2013

School Lunch..watermelon animals

Happy Monday.  It seems as though the weekends go by so quick lately. Sigh. We had a nice restful weekend at home. The kids and I did some Thanksgiving crafts while Daddy went hunting. The temperatures were rather mild for this time of year in Maine, so we too full advantage and went for a bike ride both Saturday and Sunday. Usually the bikes are stored for the Winter by now, but if Winter wants to make it's appearance late this year that is fine by me.

In this lunch:
Turkey and Cheese on a whole wheat roll
watermelon shaped animals
carrot sticks
cheddar bunnies
fruit/nut mixture
newmano cookie

Thanks for visiting, Kayla 

Friday, November 15, 2013

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

These cookies are a big deal around here. My husband, my kids, my family, my friends, yes, pretty much everyone I know LOVES these cookies. :) Sadly, I cannot enjoy them anymore because they are not gluten free or egg free. I have yet to attempt to alter my original recipe. I have used this recipe for years, I am not sure where it originally came from, so I will pass it on to you. These pumpkin chocolate chip cookies make a great addition to any party, football get together, or just because.

You will need:
1 15oz. can organic pumpkin (not pie mix)
2 tbs. organic milk
2 c. organic sugar
2 beaten eggs
1 c. organic butter, softened
2 tsp. vanilla
4 c. unbleached flour
4 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
2 c. chocolate chips

1. In a large bowl mix pumpkin, milk, sugar, eggs, butter and vanilla.
2. In separate bowl, mix flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.
3. Add dry ingredients to pumpkin mixture, blend well.
4. Add chocolate chips
5. Drop rounded spoonful's onto cookie sheet. I use a small cookie scoop. Bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes. Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by, Kayla

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

School Lunch..Chicken Salad

Here is a lunch I made a few weeks ago, hence the spooky cat. Oh well. I feel like I am getting a bit backed up on lunch posts, since I tend to photograph B's lunch every day. Since he goes to school five days a week, that is a lot of lunch pictures. :) I don't want this blog to be all about school lunches, so I think I will slow it down a little on the lunch posts. Let me know if you prefer more. Comments are always welcome.

In this lunch:
Chicken Salad Sandwich with a cheese cat on top
Mango and watermelon pieces
green olives

Thanks for visiting, Kayla

Monday, November 11, 2013

Apple Brownies

Here is another fall favorite in my house. My husband can eat the entire pan himself. I make these apple brownies every year after apple picking. They somehow found their way into the list of fall must haves, along with apple pie and apple crisp. If you have never had them, give them a try.

You will need:
1 stick butter
1 c. sugar
1 egg
2 medium apples, chopped fine
1 c. flour
1/2 cup nuts
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Cream butter and sugar together in stand mixer. Add egg. Combine all ingredients together and add apples and nuts. Spread in 8x8 pan, and bake at 350 for 40 minutes. Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by, Kayla

Friday, November 8, 2013

School Lunch..Apple Sandwich

I made this lunch for B a while ago. For some reason, it got lost in the mix. The spooky cat and bat could obviously be swapped out for another fun shape, since Halloween is over. The apple sandwich was a fun idea. I usually can't get away with packing apples in B's lunches, since he refuses to eat them once they turn brownish. And since, apples brown moments after cutting, it is a no go, maybe someday I will try to lemon juice trick..:)
The apple sandwich is just that, an apple cored, and sliced with peanut butter in the middle. I did roll it is chopped pecans to add a little crunch. Also in this lunch we have cheese shapes, grapes, crackers, tomatoes, and mango.

Thanks for visiting, Kayla

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

3 Year Old Birthday Party Part 1

My little guy turned three a few weeks ago, I can hardly believe it. He loves trains, so he chose a Percy the Train party, which was great since I had the Thomas table cloth and banner from last year. I admit I am cheap, but these parties can really add up, so reusing is key. For this party, since only family was invited, I skipped the favor bags. R's cousins were there so I had this Halloween mask coloring activity ready, and figured they could just take it home with them.
Kids love snacks. To keep things simple, I bought these cute little snack cups, which I recycled after the party, and filled them with Annie's snack mix.
For the adults, I chose the simple route of chips guacamole, my recipe here and salsa. Labeling is important if you have different kids of salsa, as I did, so I purchased these adorable chalk board labels from amazon, and a chalk marker. You can find them here. I cut and folded scrapbook paper, then added the sticker label. They came out adorable.
Here is the whole spread. Yes, my counter tops are blue. Someday we will get around the updating them. :)
Don't forget to check back for the next party post...

Thanks for visiting, Kayla

Monday, November 4, 2013

Fall Crafts and a nice view

This is the beautiful view from my kitchen window.  How gorgeous are the leaves on this Maple tree? Of course this was taken in mid September, so this view is no longer what I see, but hey. I thought I would share how pretty it was for my friends and family across the country who might miss Maine just a little.
 I thought I would share some of the fun fall crafts we have been doing around the house. Lately anything involving crafting, coloring, or drawing is getting B's attention. He loves art. we did these crafts a couple weeks ago.  The Fall tree is simply the kids arm and hand traced onto a brown piece of construction paper and used onto white paper. We then used little fingers to dot the fall leaves. They had so much fun doing this, gotta love pinterest. The apple printing craft was super easy and just as fun. I feel like it is important for me to emphasize that we are still celebrating Fall, even though the temperatures are dropping, and we have already set the clocks back. Blah. I will not let Winter creep up on me just yet. :)

Thanks for stopping by, Kayla