Thursday, December 12, 2013

Popsicle Stick Snowflakes

And we're back with another simply beautiful Christmas craft for kids! Thank you Pinterest! What can be easier than popsicle sticks, glitter, and cotton balls? You're right! Nothing! Not much is cuter than these sweet little snowflakes either. So, let's get started!

 For these Popsicle Stick Snowflakes you will need:

Standard sized popsicle sticks. Or, I guess, you could use the big huge popsicle sticks too, for some heftier flakes. Ha! :)
white school glue
cotton balls

First, glue two popsicle sticks together to form an X. Then glue a third stick on top running vertically through the middle of the X. Let dry.

When the snowflake is dry, run glue on the top of the popsicle sticks and sprinkle generously with glitter. Place a dot of glue on each tip and in the middle of the snowflake and glue down a cotton ball. I pulled the cotton balls apart so they looked a little more fluffy and not so ball-y.

Allow to dry, then add a piece of yarn to the back and hang up to create your very own glittery snowstorm!

Sophia was so excited when she came downstairs and saw all of the flakes hanging in the hallway.

"It's like it's snowing, in our HOUSE, mom!"

Twirl away, baby girl. Enjoy your indoor snowstorm!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Little Christmas Tree Craft

Happy December!

I know, I's already 10 whole days into the month and I'm just getting around to a December greeting. I have a great excuse for being MIA these past few weeks, though. Thanksgiving. My mom and dad visiting from Montana. School. Four kiddles. Life.

I'm telling you, I'm a fantastic blogger! I write out all sorts of blog posts in my head. All day long I'm telling myself, "Hey, I should blog about this..." It's just the sitting down and actually typing my thoughts out that I'm not so good at. I'm here to remedy that today with a sweet Christmas tree craft that is great for preschoolers and still fun enough for your bigger kids!

These little Christmas trees are just the sweetest and can be made with any old crafting supplies you have laying around your house. We used small pom poms and glitter to decorate our trees. I was looking for the loads of Christmas confetti that I am sure are hanging out somewhere in the depths of my craft drawers, but came up empty...those would be fun to glue on the trees as ornaments as well. What I love about this art project is the simplicity. A few shapes, some color, a dabble of glue and glitter and let your creativity do the rest. For the littles, this is a great craft for shape and color recognition, instruction following, fine motor skills development, and early cutting skills. We also threw in some math with the counting out of the pom poms. Even though Emma (8) has mastered all of these concepts, she still had fun creating a pretty Christmas tree to hang on the wall!

What you need:

white paper
crayons, markers, Do-A-Dots
decorations...pom poms, stickers, beads, confetti...
construction paper or card stock in your choice of color

Start out by drawing three triangles and a rectangle on a piece of paper. Have your children color them in any way they like. We used Do-A-Dots...Edward (2) really enjoys getting creative with these!

Next, have your children cut out the shapes. I helped Edward, but the rest of the children did a great job on their own. Straight lines are a great place to start for beginning cutters!

Then, glue your cut out shapes onto a separate sheet of paper. We glued the rectangle down first, then stacked the three triangles on top.

Finish these festive little trees by gluing on your choice of 'ornaments'. And please use glitter! Kids LOVE glitter! Tables can always be wiped down, hands can always be washed, and floors can always be vacuumed....get out that glitter and go crazy!

I can always tell the success of an art project by the mess left behind. I'd say the kids enjoyed themselves this morning.

Edward lost interest after the Do-A-Dotting, but had fun popping poms poms all around the dining room.

Happy Tuesday everyone! I'll be back later in the week with an easy beginner's crochet tutorial!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Thankful little turkeys

Last week, my children made the sweetest little thankful turkeys in the history of turkey thankfulness! I'm sure I'll say the same thing next year, as I'm sure I said the same thing last year. :) That's just how moms are...every sweet little project is always the cutest!

For this quick project you will need:

one large and one small circle in coordinating papers
five (or more) popsicle sticks
markers, crayons, or colored pencils
yarn or string

Have your child color the popsicle sticks in fall type colors. We did orange, red, brown, and yellow. Then glue the small circle to the large circle so it looks like a head resting on a chunky turkey body. Draw eyes, a beak, and a wattle onto the turkey face.

If your child is able, have them write something they are thankful for on each popsicle stick. If your child is not of writing age, have them dictate their thankful things to you as you write them on the stick. Then, glue the sticks onto the back of the turkey making sure the writing is facing out so it can be easily read. Attach a piece of yarn to the back and hang as a Thanksgiving decoration!

Work by little hands is my favorite kind of artwork to display in my house. And it warms my heart to read the sweet things my littles are thankful for.


Monday, November 18, 2013

Dear Autumn

Throughout the last couple of weeks, some mom friends of mine on Instagram and I have been writing little "love letters" to our favorite season, autumn (or fall, if you choose). It's been fun to sit back and take a minute to share through a few words and pretty pictures what makes this season just so darn great, in our eyes. Also, I'm as social a gal as they come, so it's been fun participating in this little ode to autumn with other brilliant mamas across the country.

My kids sure love fall, as well. So, I thought I'd let them write out some love letters to autumn. And today, I'll share them with you. :) These letters are all in their own words, and the pictures that accompany them were taken by their own little hands. I hope you enjoy reading these sweet letters as much as I do!

Dear Autumn,
I love when you come. Your season is so pretty. I love that you bring pumpkin patches. You are my second favorite season, and you are here!
Emma (age 8)

Dear Fall,
I like that you come because you bring pretty leaves all over. I really, really love you. My name is Sophia, and anyway, your name is Fall. Fall, you're here! I'm glad you're here.
Sophia (age 5)

Dear Fall,
I love you. I'm glad we can go outside and see the leaves and you. I like when you are here because we get chilly. When you're here it means Christmas is almost here.
Elijah (age 4)

You can follow the goings on of our family on Instagram @julia_reed6!

Sour Cream Coffeecake Muffins

Happy Monday to you all!!

The girls and I tried a new recipe for muffins this morning. Just call us the Muffin Girls! We changed up the original recipe from Cooking Light quite a bit, so if you'd like to see that click HERE. It calls for an orange glaze, and we really weren't feeling that. We changed some other stuff around I'll share our new and improved version with you!

Sour Cream Coffeecake Muffins
Yields 18 regular sized muffins

1/2 C packed brown sugar
1/4 C chopped almonds
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 C granulated sugar
1/4 C butter, softened
2 eggs
1 C sour cream
2 T water
1 tsp. vanilla
1 C unbleached white flour
3/4 C whole wheat flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 400*.Place muffins liners into 18 muffins cups, or grease 18 muffin cups.

Combine brown sugar, almonds, and cinnamon into a small bowl; set aside.

Cream the granulated sugar and butter together, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add in the sour cream, water, and vanilla and mix well. In a separate bowl combine the flours, baking soda, and salt. Gradually add into the butter/sugar/egg mixture and mix until just combined. Do not over mix. Fold the brown sugar mixture into the batter, reserving about 3 T in the small bowl for topping. Don't completely stir it into the batter. We want to create a crumbly, streusel ribbon throughout the muffins.

Fill the muffin liners about 3/4 of the way full. Sprinkle topping over each muffin.

Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden or a toothpick inserted near the middle comes out clean.

These muffins were a hit in our house this morning! (Really, is that any surprise??) The cinnamon streusel running throughout the muffins was such a nice addition, and the almonds gave a nice, subtle crunch. Definitely put this recipe in your Autumn muffin repertoire!


Thursday, November 7, 2013

Vegetable Beef Soup

This is the third and final recipe from my ROAST TRI-TIP,  and this one is my favorite! We're a huge soup family (even in the summer!) and this one always hits the spot. Hearty, brothy, beefy...this soup is the whole shabang.


Approx. 1 lb. leftover beef, cut into bit sized pieces ( This could be steak, or in this case, leftover tri-tip roast. I've also used ground beef with favorable results.)
1 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
3 large carrots, chopped
1 large can diced tomatoes
Approx. 48 oz beef broth (That's about 1 and a half cartons)
1/4 C ketchup
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried Italian seasoning
salt and pepper to taste
1 package frozen mixed vegetables

*If you are not using already cooked leftover beef, then brown your beef along with the onions, carrots, and garlic; drain.*

If you are using already cooked leftover beef:

Saute the onions, garlic, and carrots in 2 T cooking oil over medium heat until soft. Add the beef, tomatoes, broth, ketchup, basil, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Once boiling, add in the frozen veggies and bring back up to the boil. And that's it! Make sure the soup is heated through and serve with some delicious and fluffy've got yourself a recipe for comfort on a chilly fall night!

Well, there you have it. Three completely different meals using one tri-tip roast. We've also made meat pie (like chicken pot pie, but with beef), beef tacos, and shepherd's pie using leftover tri-tip roast. It's safe to say we are a tad obsessed.

Blessings! Have a wonderful weekend, friends! (Because we all know Friday begins the weekend!)

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Spiced Pear Muffins

There was a delightful chill in the air this morning. Perfect for making muffins! Emma and I had the same idea, almost at the same time, of making pear muffins. So, I hopped online and found this recipe from The Kitchn It sounded delicious, so I thought I'd share it with you! I modified it a bit by using coconut oil. We didn't put the cinnamon sugar topping on either (I forgot!) and they still turned out amazingly! Below is my modified version of the recipe.

Spiced Pear Muffins
Makes 12 muffins
1/2 cup  packed brown sugar
1/4 cup  white sugar
1/2 cup coconut oil, room temp
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
2 to 2 1/2 cups pears, unpeeled and diced small (2 medium-sized pears)
 Cinnamon sugar for sprinkling on top.
Optional: 1/4 cup chopped candied ginger, 1/2 cup chopped nuts, 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
Heat your oven to 425°F. Spray the top of your muffin tin with non-stick coating and place muffin cups in all the wells.
In a mixer on high speed, cream together the sugars and the coconut oil until they resemble fluffy frosting, about 1 minute. Mix in the eggs one at a time until fully incorporated, about 1 minute each. Mix in the vanilla extract.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, spices, and salt. With the mixer on low speed, mix 1/3 of the flour mixture into the sugar mixture followed by 1/3 of the milk. Continue alternating between the flour and the milk, mixing just until the flour is incorporated. It's ok if there is still some flour on the sides of the bowl. Do not over-mix.
Scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula and stir gently to incorporate the last of the flour. Add the diced pears all at once and fold them in to the batter.
Divide the batter between the muffin cups. The batter will fill the cups and mound slightly on top. Sprinkle the tops with cinnamon and sugar.
Place the muffin tin in the oven and immediately turn down the heat to 400°F. Bake for 20-25 minutes, rotating the pan once in the middle of baking. The muffins are done when the tops look cracked and toasted, and when a toothpick inserted in the middle of one of the muffins comes out clean.
Let the muffins cool enough to handle, then transfer them to a wire rack to finish cooling.

These were completely devoured and I have requests to make them again...tomorrow! Serve with butter and coffee and you've got yourself a winner! Enjoy!