Easy & Simple Watermelon Ice Pops

Something my family and I enjoy all summer long is eating watermelon. My memories of enjoying a chilled slice on a hot day go back to when I was about ten at my grandmother’s house. As a youngster I remember the joys of spitting out the seeds although today most, if not all, watermelons you find are seedless. I remember how messy yet refreshing it was to enjoy something so sweet. My husband is not a fan at all so I wasn’t sure who the kids would take after. Well the verdict is both of them enjoy watermelon.

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The summer may be quickly coming to a close so we are enjoying homemade ice pops as much as we can. I know as a mom when you discover something the kids love, you look for different ways to incorporate it . My children and I enjoy fresh watermelon cut up, we drink it as juice and we also make ice pops. Below are two easy and simple recipes for our summer watermelon ice pops.

Watermelon Ice Pops

Serving size: 6 [depending on size of molds]
3 cups of watermelon
1 cup of Greek yogurt
1 tbsp of honey

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Watermelon & Blueberry Ice Pops

Serving size: 6 [depending on size of molds]
3 cups of watermelon
1/4 cup blueberries
1 cup of Greek yogurt
1 tbsp of honey

Fruit and Veggie Smoothies for the Entire Family

In my house, we love to drink smoothies. We drink them for lunch. We drink them as a snack. We basically drink them all year-round, any time of day. It is my go-to when looking for something simple and easy to make. It is my go-to when the picky eater makes an appearance. It is my go-to when I want to get the daily servings of fruit and vegetables in. It is also my go-to when I am craving a sweet snack. Therefore, I decided to share three popular smoothies that my entire family loves.

Please note, all smoothies listed contain milk but you can use a dairy-free alternative. I know some smoothies call for juice or coconut water. However, milk is my preferred liquid base because it adds a little extra protein for my growing toddlers.

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Before listing some of the smoothie options I often make, I wanted to point out some tips that work well for me.

Smoothie Tip #1 – Substitute the ice for frozen fruits.

You can purchase frozen fruit or freeze your own. I often do this with ripe bananas so they don’t go to waste. Another option for skipping the ice is to freeze your leafy greens. You can put kale or spinach in a freezer-safe bag and then add them straight to the blender when you are ready. Of course you want to make sure your leafy greens are washed and ready to eat before freezing.

Smoothie Tip #2 – Add oatmeal for a nutritional boost.

The first time I tried a smoothie with oats was on vacation. It contained a thicker texture but was tasty and filling. My husband and I started adding it to our smoothies when we got home and that was it. The nutritional bonus to including oatmeal is more fiber, protein and iron for the day. Give it a try, you won’t be disappointed.

Smoothie Tip #3 – Save what you don’t drink.

One final bonus to making smoothies is that they can be frozen into ice pops. I know sometimes I have more liquid than I can fit into my cup. So the leftover becomes a great frozen treat for all.

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Berry and Spinach Smoothie

Ingredients:
1  1/2 cups milk (12 oz)
1/2 cup frozen berry blend
1/2 cup frozen spinach
half an avocado
1 tbsp almond butter
1 teaspoon honey
2 tbsp yogurt (optional)

Directions:
Pour milk in first then add all other ingredients.

Blend until smooth. If too thick, add more milk.

Pour into cups and serve.

Banana, Blueberry & Spinach Smoothie

Ingredients:
1 cup milk
1 ripe banana
1/2 cup frozen spinach
2 tbsp yogurt
1/2 cup frozen blueberries

Directions:

Pour milk in first then add all other ingredients. Blend until smooth. If too thick, add more milk.

Pour into cups and serve.

Berry, Kale & Oatmeal Smoothie

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups milk (12 oz)
1 ripe banana
1/2 cup kale
2 tbsp yogurt
1/2 cup frozen berry blend
1/3 cup rolled oats

Directions:

Pour milk in first then add all other ingredients. Blend until smooth. If too thick, add more milk.

Pour into cups and serve.

Note: This is a household favorite.

 

 

 

 

 

Finally, with most of the smoothies listed the yogurt and oats are optional. I often swap them in and out based on the time of day we are drinking them. If I am using this as a meal replacement for my picky eater, I definitely include both. Just have fun and try different combos until you find what the family loves.

Spinach Muffins Toddlers Will Love

If you have a picky eater on your hands like I do, then you are constantly trying to find meals they will enjoy. Food that won’t end up on the floor. Food that won’t be smushed by little hands. Food that is nutritional and also healthy.

Lately, I’ve been focused on ways to squeeze veggies into their diet. During the warmer months, I relied on smoothies. Smoothies with spinach, kale or lettuce. Then I decided to try some spinach muffins and the whole family ate them. That’s a win in my book.

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Spinach Muffins For Toddlers

prep time: 8
cook time: 
yields: 12 muffins

Ingredients

  • 2-2 ½ – ripe bananas
  • 5 oz – frozen spinach
  • 5 ½ oz – milk
  • 3 tbsp – maple syrup
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup – rolled oats
  • 1 cup – whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp – baking powder
  • 1 tsp – vanilla extract
  • butter or oil for muffin tray

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F and grease the muffin pan with butter
  2. Blend the banana, spinach and milk in a blender or food processor until completely pureed. It will resemble a smoothie.
  3. Pour the smoothie mix into a large bowl. Add the egg, maple syrup and vanilla extract then whisk.
  4. Combine all dry ingredients into the large mixing bowl. Gently mix with a wooden spoon.
    Dry ingredients includes: rolled oats, flour and baking powder.
  5. Spoon the batter into the muffin pan and bake for approximately 20 minutes, or until the muffins are firm to the touch on top.
  6. Cool and serve
  7. Store in an airtight container for 2-3 days or freeze.

Notes

This recipe has a large component of bananas. When combined with the mild taste of spinach, your toddler will barely taste the veggies.  This also means the bananas will keep the muffins from being dry but more on the moist side.

Keep in mind these muffins will not be super sweet or fluffy like a cake due to the ingredients used. With this recipe, a few items can be substituted. For example, honey for maple syrup. A milk alternative can be used or a different flour.

 

Hope you enjoy this recipe and share your thoughts!

5 Simple Crayon Removers


With colder days quickly approaching here in the Northeast and my motivation to get outside dwindling; I am looking for indoor activities to do with the twins. I recently went to Target to purchase crayons, washable markers and construction paper for a little arts and crafts time. I enjoy getting creative and I am always writing so it was no surprise to see my 19-month old daughter enjoy the same things. She will write with whatever she can get her hands on.

Over the past two weeks, she asked me for paper every morning. Watching her write and color has been fun but I haven’t enjoyed the crayon marks that are showing up. I definitely knew what I was getting myself into when I introduced them. Now I am just looking for the best option for crayon remover.

After searching the web, I decided on the five options listed below because I already had the items in my house.

  1. Baking Soda – Have a box laying around that you purchased to deodorize your refrigerator or diaper genie? Grab a damp rag or paper towel and dab it in some baking soda. Then gently rub the marks off the wall or furniture. Quite simple.
  2. Toothpaste – I used a non-gel toothpaste, Colgate Cavity Protection to be exact. I grabbed a damp rag and a little squirt of toothpaste. I applied it to the dining table  and rubbed the crayon marks away. Then I wiped the area with water. Since toothpaste contains mild abrasives to remove debris from teeth, it can easily remove crayon from surfaces.
  3. Vinegar – I often use vinegar and water as a non-abrasive cleaner for almost everything in the house. For crayon removal though, you will need undiluted vinegar. I never tried it but I heard vinegar can help with removing crayon from clothing before washing.
  4. WD40 – The steps are quick and simple. Spray then wipe with a rag. WD-40 should not damage your paint or furniture items.
  5. Goo Gone – This was a recommendation from my husband. It does contain a citrus scent so you may want to use in a ventilated area . All it requires is a tiny drop on a paper towel or rag. Once the crayon marks have been wiped away, be sure to wash surface with soap and water to get rid of residue.

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Personal Favorite: Baking Soda due to its quick removal, low odor and ability to get it almost anywhere.

Toddler Bam Bam Halloween Costume [DIY]

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A quick, easy and inexpensive costume idea for a little boy is Bam Bam. Not only is it inexpensive for parents on a budget but it is cute as well. I purchased most of the materials listed below from Jo-Ann Fabrics or Wal-Mart. Some things I already owned.  For reference, my little one is 19 months old.
[Directions on how to DIY a Pebbles costume as shown above…click here]MATERIALS NEEDED:

  • Orange Felt [1/2 a yard]
  • Brown Felt Sheet
  • White Felt Sheet
  • Brown Fabric
  • Sharp Scissors
  • Fabric Glue
  • Needle and Thread
  • Pen or Pencil
  • Pipe Cleaners
  • Tape Measure or Ruler
  • Plastic bowling pin or bat

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STEP ONE: Measure

Grab your tape measure or a ruler if you don’t own one. You want to take the measurements of your child’s waistline and add two inches to that number. For example, if their waist circumference is 12 inches then make the width 14 inches. Learn from my mistake and don’t forget to add two inches.

You will also need to measure the length from your child’s waist to their knee. I added an inch to account for the waistband.

STEP TWO: Trace & Cut

First, I folded my orange felt in half so that it would be easier to cut two pieces of the same size. I then traced the width on the felt and drew a line. The next step is to trace the length and draw a line. I did this until I ended up with what looked like a rectangle. Then cut.

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STEP THREE: Glue or Sew

First, I took a ruler and laid it alongside the felt on the shortest side. [This would be the length]. I then folded the top edge down 1 inch and pinned the sides. This is now your waistband. Complete the steps on the other piece of felt as well.

Initially, I glued the seams together and let it dry overnight. With a busy toddler that didn’t work out for me so I decided to hand stitch the seam using brown thread.

Waistband

For the waistband, I grabbed my brown fabric and cut two strips. I kept it simple and just laid the fabric across the top to see how long it needed to be. Once the strips were cut I threaded each one through the waistband and glued down the seam. The last thing I did was tie the pieces together into a knot on one side and tucked it into the waistband. [FYI, you may want to sew the waistband as well for a better hold or use a different glue than the one shown.]

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STEP FOUR: Triangle Decals

Cutting the Decals

I used one sheet of brown felt to make the decals. I cut about 25 triangles to place on the front and back of the bottoms. I started off by using a two-inch strip and folding it in half. I then cut out as many triangles as possible. After I was done with that strip, I laid them down on the remaining brown felt and cut some more.

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Applying the Decals

Beginning with one side, I arranged the felt decals on the dress. I spaced them out randomly until it had my desired look. This is the part where the glue came in handy for quick application. Just note, this glue doesn’t hold anything against a busy toddler. We lost a few triangles during our Halloween event.

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When applying the glue, I tried my best not to lift the entire decal because I didn’t want to mess up placement. So I flipped one side up to apply glue (I forgot to take a picture but it would look like you are folding the triangle in half.) Then I did the same thing to the other half.  It’s probably a little hard to imagine without a photo so do what works best for you.

Lastly, you flip the bottoms over and repeat these steps.

STEP FIVE: Cut Bottom

This step is quite easy. All you have to do is cut triangles out on the bottom as shown.

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STEP SIX: Cross-body Strap

First you want to measure from the right side of your child’s waist up and over their left shoulder and back down to the right side of their waist. This measurement will be needed for the cross-body strap. [For example, 20 inches]

I laid the brown fabric out and cut a length of 20 inches. Since this piece of fabric was a remnant, I didn’t bother with cutting it how wide I wanted the strap to be. What I did instead was fold the fabric over itself and glued the side down.

Next you need to attach this piece of fabric to the bottoms.  I sewed one side down as you can see in the photo and I used a pipe cleaner to attach the other side. You can stitch both sides down or do what I did. I took this approach because I thought it would make the process of putting the costume on easier.

STEP SEVEN: Making the Bone

I started with one sheet of white felt. Next, I folded it in half and used a pencil to sketch a bone. It was approximately 2″ by 6″.  I then cut the shape being sure to hold both sides of the felt together. In the end I had two bone cutouts which I glued together.

Lastly, glue the bone onto the cross-body strap. Be sure to place it on the side you want to use as the front.

STEP EIGHT: The Bat

Find a plastic bat or a plastic bowling pin [which I already owned]. You can spray paint it brown or wrap it in brown fabric. I chose the latter because I had scraps of brown fabric already. The next thing I did was wrap the bowling pin with fabric and sealed it with glue.

FINAL STEP: Dress Your Child Up

Once you put the outfit on your child, be sure to pull the drawstring on the waist and tie it up. For cooler temperatures you can add a white onesie and shorts/ pants underneath. See pics of my little one below.

DIY Twin Costume Ideas

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Being a momma who likes to be on a budget, I thought about how I wanted celebrate Halloween this year. With 19 month old twins who don’t know a thing about Halloween I figured that should be an easy decision to make. Why not take advantage of this moment when I am the sole decider.  Before you know it the twins will be telling me who they want to dress up as.

I started off by searching the web for inexpensive costumes that could work for doubles. I saw cute costumes for farm animals, sesame street characters, superheroes and tons of Disney characters.  As much as I enjoyed the packaged costumes I just couldn’t fathom paying the price for them. Plus to be quite honest I’ve always been a fan of DIY and decided to take that route. Hey, I like to get crafty from time to time and tap into my creative side. So I decided to go with Pebbles & Bam Bam from the Flintstones which was quick and easy. The best part is I spent less than $15 for all the materials.

To see how I made these costumes click here for Pebbles and here for Bam Bam.

Otherwise here is a list of boy/ girl ideas I considered (and may potentially use next year). So many ideas can be added to the list but I thought these were cool DIYs.

  • Daniel the Tiger & Miss Elaina
  • Mickey Mouse & Minnie Mouse
  • Super Why & Word Girl
  • Dora & Diego {from Dora The Explorer}
  • Thing 1 & Thing 2 from Cat In The Hat
  • Children’s Books [i.e Eric Carle, Dr. Seuss, Ezra Jack Keats]
  • Dorothy, Scarecrow, Tin Man or Lion
  • Raggedy Ann & Andy
  • Tarzan & Jane
  • Peter Pan & Tinker Belle
  • Mr. & Mrs. Potato Head
  • Superman & Wonder Woman
  • King & Queen
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Lemon & lime
  • Pumpkins
  • Ketchup & Mustard
  • Sun & Moon
  • M&Ms
  • Peanut Butter & Jelly
  • Crayons
  • Milk & cookies

Continue reading “DIY Twin Costume Ideas”

Toddler Pebbles Halloween Costume [DIY]

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The Pebbles costume was easy to make and didn’t take a lot of time. Most of the items listed below were purchased from Jo-Ann Fabrics or I already owned them. To figure out how much felt is needed, get one of your toddler’s dresses to use as an outline.  You will need to measure the width and length then multiply it by two.  I purchased half a yard to account for error because sometimes I don’t get it right on the first try. 
[For reference, my little is 19 months old. Also, for directions on how to DIY a Bam Bam costume as shown above…click here.]

 

WHAT YOU WILL NEED

  • Green Felt
  • Brown Felt Sheet
  • Sharp Scissors
  • Fabric Glue
  • Needle and thread
  • Pen or Pencil
  • Measuring tape or ruler
  • T-shirt or dress [from your child]
  • Blue Leggings
  • Plastic bones [Party City]

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STEP ONE: Trace Outline

First, I laid the felt down folded in half. This way I would have a front and back outline after cutting. I then took one of my toddler’s dresses and laid it on top off the felt. You can pick whatever style you like but I prefer something that is A-line. You can go with sleeves or sleeveless. I chose to fold the sleeves in and make it sleeveless because it’s much easier to sew that way.

Using a black pen, I traced an outline of the dress onto the felt.

Tip – Place a dot at the bottom of the sleeve so you know where the arm opening should be.

STEP TWO: Cut

Using sharp scissors, cut the traced outline. Make sure you are holding both sides together to ensure two same sized pieces.

STEP THREE: Glue or Sew

I initially glued the seams together, leaving holes for the arm opening.  What I later discovered after letting it dry for about two hours is that it wasn’t a great hold. Since felt is pretty stiff, there was a little bit of stretching when trying to put the dress on. My advice is to stitch the sides or try a different glue than the one shown in the photo below.

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I grabbed a needle and black thread to stitch the seams. You honestly don’t have to worry about the color because when you turn it right side in, the thread won’t show.

Since I started by gluing the seams I had a guide for where the arm opening should be.

STEP FOUR: Cut Bottom of Dress

This step is quite easy. All you have to do is cut triangles on the bottom of the dress.

STEP FIVE: Dress Decals

Cutting the Decals

I used one sheet of brown felt to make the decals. I cut about 20 triangles to place on the front and back of the dress. I started off by using a two-inch strip and folding it in half. I then cut out as many triangles as possible. After I was done with that strip, I laid them down on the remaining brown felt and cut some more.

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Applying the Decals

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Beginning with one side, I arranged the felt decals on the dress. I spaced them out randomly until it had my desired look. This is the part where the glue came in handy versus sewing.

I tried my best not to lift the entire decal when gluing because I didn’t want to mess up placement. So I flipped one side up to apply glue (I forgot to take a picture but it would look like you are folding the triangle in half.) Then I did the same thing to the other half.  It’s probably a little hard to imagine without a photo so do what works best for you.

Lastly, you flip the dress over and repeat these steps.

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FINAL STEP: Enjoy Your Masterpiece

I love how everything turned out and the best part was it cost me less than $10!!! Luckily, my daughter already owned a pair of blue leggings but I am sure a cheap pair can be found anywhere.

My hubby and I won’t be dressing up as a family this year but I am hoping to get him in on the fun next time. See pics of my little one below and don’t forget to put a couple of bones in her ponytail.