Friday, August 31, 2012

Banana Cake ~ A la Emma!

Hello again! Today I have a very special post to share with you all! Emma is here to tell you how to make a perfectly delicious Banana Cake.  She made one for her daddy's birthday, and boy was it ever tasty! My words will be written in BLACK and all things Emma will be written in PURPLE. So, take it away Emma!!

Hello!  My name is Emma, and I am 7 years old. 

I wanted to make a cake for my daddy's birthday, but he doesn't like regular cakes. So I made up a banana cake, that wasn't really cakey. I made up a recipe and Mommy helped me write it out. And here it is!

Banana Cake

Grease a little square pan. ( 8 x 8 size )
 Heat the oven to 350*.

First, melt together:

1 stick of butter
1/4 C of water

 Set it aside.

Next, mix together in a large bowl:

1 C flour
1 C sugar
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/8 C milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 egg
hint of nutmeg (my special ingredient)

 Add the melted butter and water to the bowl and mix well. 

Mash 2 or 3 bananas in a different bowl.

 Add bananas to the cake batter. Mix well. You can add chopped nuts if you want.
Then, put it in the pan.

 Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the cake stick comes out clean.

Frost with cream cheese frosting.

1/2 stick of cream cheese , softer
1/2 stick of butter, soft 
1 tsp of vanilla
1/4 cup maple syrup
mix it all together.
frost the cake.

If you try it I hope you like it! Daddy said he liked it better than banana cream pie, and banana cream pie was his favorite!
 Thank you for sharing Emma! What was your favorite part of making Daddy's birthday cake?

Mashing the bananas!

Do you think you'll make this cake again? If you do, will you change anything, or keep it just like this?

Yeah! I'll keep it just like this!

Yes, I think you should! It was delicious!

We have one more birthday celebration post to share with you...then we'll share some beginning school year things with you! Have a great weekend and a wonderful Labor Day! God bless!   

(All photos were taken by Emma, except the first and last.) 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Peanut Butter Cups

If you stick around this blog long enough, you'll learn that we love treats.  Cookies, cakes, pies, ice cream...yep, all that healthy stuff:)

However, we have stopped eating refined sugars and processed foods, and have really tried to 'eat clean', as the term goes. Meaning, to the best of my ability and as budget allows, we eat real food. Raw, natural, organic, real food. For awhile, I mourned.  I missed my yummy flavored coffee creamers, my ever so tasty cheesy chips, my peanut butter cups.

Enter Pinterest! That lovely internet pinboard, where I can get lost in other people's creations for an hour.  There were so many people with the same mindset as me, but instead of mourning their losses, they were coming up with tasty solutions! Experimenting! Hooray!!

These peanut butter cups make me so happy!! They aren't exactly like the ones you buy in the candy aisle at the grocery store. That's because they are made with real food. Unrefined sugars.  Oils that are not hydrogenated. Thank you Pinterest!

I have made a few adjustments to this HERE is a link to the blog I got the recipe from.  And here is our recipe and some pictures!

Of course, I have one of my trusty kitchen assistants with me on this mission! Emma!

Peanut Butter Cups

Peanut Butter Layer
3/4 cup natural salted peanut butter (no added sugars or oils – I use Trader Joe’s)
1/4 cup coconut oil or real butter
2 tbsp of raw honey or pure maple syrup
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Mix these ingredients together.  Pour mixture into mini muffin tins.  I have also used regular muffin tins with cutesie little cupcake liners.  Obviously you don't get as many PB cups this way, but they are super cute:)

                             Emma pouring the peanut butter layer.

Place this layer in the freezer while you begin the chocolate layer.

Chocolate Layer

2 tbsp coconut oil
2 tbsp real butter
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
2 tbsp raw honey or pure maple syrup
1 tsp. vanilla

Melt the coconut oil and butter over low heat.  Remove from heat and add in the cocoa powder, sweetener of choice, and vanilla. Stir til smooth.

                    Emma snapped a quick picture of me pouring the chocolate layer. Yum!

Remove the peanut butter layer from the freezer and pour the chocolate layer over top. Place back in the freezer until firm. I recommend storing these in the freezer...they soften up a fair bit when they are room temp.

Daddy sure like them for his birthday treat!

Actually, everyone did!

After making these a few times, we've decided we like them a bit better using all butter instead of the coconut oil.  The flavor of coconut oil is a bit overpowering.  It's a difficult decision for me though, because coconut oil is so good for you! So, the last time we made these, we added it into the peanut butter layer, and left it out of the chocolate.  I think next time I'll do the reverse.

 Either way, these are tasty little treats that the kids can help you make, and ones that you can feel good about giving them!!

Birthday Fun

My husband had a birthday recently. This was a perfect opportunity for the kids to go wild with creativity! We made cards, a special birthday banner, and two yummy, kid friendly birthday desserts! Today I'll show you the cards we made. My girls love it when I say, "It's almost (insert family member/friend's name) birthday! Lets make something!" They are card making masters! Sometimes I have a certain pattern or idea for cards to make, and sometimes I just let them do what they want...they have great imaginations and creative little minds. When you have a set pattern for your child to follow, it's a great opportunity for you to see how well they follow instructions...or even how able they are to follow your instructions. It's a great exercise to gauge their level of ability. For Daddy's birthday cards, we went free form. Here are some supplies that we used:
 assorted scrap book papers
 card stock
 glue sticks
 rubber stamps
 Emma and Sophia are older, so with my supervision, I allowed them to cut out their own paper...I earned huge-o cool points with Sophia with that!:)
After the paper of choice was cut to their liking, the gluing began! This was a free form card, remember, so I was completely hands off with placement, color, amount of paper used, etc. They came up with some pretty neat designs!
Now, it was a bit difficult for Elijah to do the whole paper cutting/gluing thing, so he went with a rubber stamp approach to his card making. We have a dinosaur set which he really just loves! Stamping is such a great craft medium for little ones. Smack the stamp on an ink pad, and smack it on the paper...fantastic!
After the cutting, gluing, and stamping was finished, the children embellished with stickers, coloring, and writing. I asked Sophia and Elijah what they would like their messages for Daddy to be, and wrote down what they said word for word. I love doing this! It's so much fun to pull out cards they have made years down the road and read exactly what they wanted to say to you way back when. I'm insanely case you were wondering:)
 And the finished product!!! The outside view:
And the inside view:
Now, get out there and make some cards!! Remember, it doesn't have to be a huge don't always have to have a set pattern or template. Just allow your children to create and use their imaginations! Trust me, they'll love it!:)
Stay tuned for some more birthday celebration ideas!!

Thursday, August 2, 2012


Hi! Welcome to our little corner of the blog world! My name is Julia and I am a 20-something mother of four fantastic, creative, and energetic kids. We love to 'do projects', as the kids call it. Cooking and baking is another favorite around here. My oldest daughter has a knack for creating her own recipes. Sometimes it's hard for me to let go, and let her work her culinary magic...but I'm learning.:) We also homeschool, which is an adventure and a half. We have a 2nd grader, preschooler, toddler, and babe. Sometimes I feel like I'm running around like a chicken with my head cut off....and then other times everything is organized and as smooth as butter. We are Christians, and our faith is all important. We strive to do all things to the glory of God, and are dedicated to live out our faith in front of our kids...helping them to grasp who God is, their desperate need for a Savior, and the work Christ completed for them on the cross. I've chatted with many moms; some in my own family, and some friends; that sometimes struggle with what to do with their kids all day long. Sometimes you just need a little spark of an idea, or someone to kind of give you a little push into creativity. That's where this blog comes in! I'm here to share our creative efforts. I'll be posting crafts, tutorials, recipes, and learning activities that you can do with your kids. Use what we do as a springboard for your own creative and crafty fun! My aim is to make everything easy and kid friendly, and to tie it into schooling in some way. This isn't going to be an 'all homeschool, all the time' sort of blog...but since life is learning anyway, it'll all fit in nicely...I pray! Also, my oldest daughter, Emma, will be sharing some of her favorite crafts that are easy enough for her to do almost all on her own. She'll type the post, take the pictures, and explain it all! I'll also share tons of pictures, because, let's face it, I'm addicted to taking them...and who doesn't love looking at a bunch of adorable children having a ball cutting, gluing, coloring, etc. So come on and join us! I hope we can impart that spark that you may be needing for the day!