Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Inspiring Mama: Amanda {mandajuice}

Every now and then I will be highlighting some of the most inspiring mamas in the blogosphere..lol. I have sent out many interview requests and cannot wait to share their motherly inspiration here on Inspiring Mama. First up in our inspiring mama collection is Amanda of Mandajuice. Enjoy...she shares some great words of motherly wisdom & advice!
Who: Amanda
Where: Mandajuice
Why: I really enjoy Amandas humorous in your face sort of writing style on her blog, I like her honesty, her love for her children, her amazing dedication to taking photos and videos of her children and family, and I am beyond inspired by her weight loss story. You can find parts 2-9 on the left rail of her blog.
Occupation: Writer! Aspiring novelist.
Hometown: Vancouver, WA
Number of Children: 2
Her Perfect “Me Time”: Couch, coffee, Kindle.

Inspiring Mama:
What do you enjoy the most about motherhood & what do you least like about it that you wish you could change?

The answer to both questions is the same: the decibel level. I love having a chaotic house filled with noise. But sometimes I wish they'd all shut up so I could read.

Inspiring Mama: Since becoming a mother, what have you learned from your kids about yourself and or life?

I've learned that we're all born into our personalities. When you have one kid, you get this God complex where you actually believe that you have a say in who they become. By the time you have two, you realize you have NOTHING to do with it. We are all born to be the people we become. I should have known this before having kids because I come from a big family. All four of my brothers and sisters and I are so totally different that it's impossible to imagine we share any DNA. But we do. I love watching old home videos because I was just as bossy and independent at six as I am now. I try to take a lot of videos of my kids because I'm sure some day they'll look back and see that they were always themselves. I'll never try to change them.

Her Recipes: Cashew Chicken,Simple Pizza Crust, Mushroom Orzo Pasta, Tasty Roasted Cauliflower.

Inspiring Mama:
What do you hope your child(ren) will learn from you and carry with them through life?

Amanda: Optimism. Enthusiasm. Logic. I mostly just want them to embrace those personalities they were born into. And read. I hope my children love words as much as I do.

Inspiring Mama:
Considering you were a financial planner before becoming a stay at home mom, do you have any tips or advice for managing the family finances?

I think my biggest piece of advice is the simplest one: HAVE A PLAN. I repeat: HAVE. A. PLAN. Nothing breaks my heart more than to see families living paycheck to paycheck, never achieving any goals because they never SET any. It doesn't matter how much money you make, you still need to be the captain of your own ship, even if the winds aren't blowing in the right direction.

Inspiring Mama:
Just for fun, describe the perfect meal for your son, and the perfect ,meal for your daughter?

Both kids love macaroni and cheese (Annie's organic white cheddar shells) with chocolate milk.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Mimi Lou {whimsical decals}

OMG I love these! How cute. This company called MIMI'Lou out of France creates some of the most cutest wall decals for the little tots. These are my favorites. I also wanted to post this because for those of us that cannot afford such a splurge for the little ones, these sort of images can work for all the artsy moms by using a stencil transfer or freehand drawing of your own designs onto a wall or nestled within a corner or two, or you could use different fabric patterns to fill in shapes such as circles, mushrooms, hearts, and flowers!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Organize It {ikea shelves}

You know, I have re-arranged Sety's room so many times and have purged lots of toys that he has outgrown and even items that he has "collected" from around the house and turned into toys, but no matter what I do, he still seems to find a way to make a huge mess with random little trinkets. I do not necessarily blame him for the untidiness. My theory is that if I had a better way of keeping his room ORGANIZED, then he would have an easier time keeping it tidy.

Whenever we move to our next home (I just do not feel like re-decorating this apartment of ours) I want to design his room with lots of "cubby" holes, wide bookshelves, and plenty of organized spaces. One thing about decorating a child's room is that we as moms can get a little bit unrealistic. Sometimes we try to make it LOOK good and we tend to forget about the practicality of it for the little ones...lol.

So while browsing the web for inspiration, I came across a cool flickr group called "Ikea Shelves". I grew quite fond of these shelves featured in an array of kids rooms!

Organizing The Kids

Friday, August 21, 2009

FunChi! {sweet baby knits for fall}

This post makes me daydream of the upcoming Christmas season. Can you believe that Fall is just around the corner? Oh my, where did the year 2009 go?

I recently ran across this lovely knitted organic baby clothing line called FunChi House of Inspiration. They are all lovingly made by Mateja in Slovenia. I love the style and the colors she uses...perfect for the upcoming fall and winter seasons; and to know that they are all organic makes them even sweeter. I would so love to have this pair for baby Halima. Cute!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Hello There...

Hi there to all my fellow inspiring mamas out there! I am so excited to have many of you following this little abode of mine! I am forever inspired by so many of you out there. It amazes me as to how many moms there are who carry a passion for creative motherhood, homeschool education, and crafting a warm home. I hope to bring more posts to Inspiring Mama which will highlight the many creative and inspiring mothers that I have stumbled upon in my blog hopping.

So, things have been a bit busy around here. Imsety has officially started the k12 kindergarten homeschool program. Me being me, I thought that I would get all advantageous and try waking up at 7am to start school at 9am...needless to say that is so not going to work for me. I am NOT a morning person, I NEVER have been. I find that my creative spirit comes alive at night, and many times quite late at night, so waking up at 7am after being up until 2 or 3am does not do my body any good. So I am being a bit more realistic with my schedule and have decided to start his schooling at 10am and I will wake up around 8:30 or 9am. Funny how much an hour or two can make, but I definitely feel more at ease starting a bit later in the morning. Our schooling lasts for about 4 hours and we take an hour lunch break and a 15 minute snack break as well. Imsety is loving the k12 program thus far. He even woke up at 7am, got dressed, brushed his teeth, and made up his bed and had on his back pack Monday morning(which was the first day of school). Little did he know that I had no plans to start until about 9am. He is so funny! He's adjusting well though, as the television consumption has pretty much dwindled down during the day. I let him watch it while we have lunch and then allow him to turn it back on around 3pm.

In other news, I have launched two more blogs...yes..please do not consider me crazy..lol. I honestly use blogging as a tool of visual reflection,organizing my life goals, and a way to reach out for inspiration as well as a way to offer inspiration for anyone who cares to listen. The first new blog is a food blog all about cooking and foodie inspiration called Bohemian Plates. The other is my baking/dessert blog called Copper Sweets. I heart them both and they are so much fun to blog to when I have the time to do so. I have tons of recipes scattered in a binder and I sort of felt like I was overwhelming this blog with food posts, which is not what I intended for Inspiring Mama. So I will resume with the 14 day meal plans and will link off to Bohemian Plates and Copper Sweets when it comes to the recipes!

I really want Inspiring Mama to flourish into a portal featuring not only my ideas and forms of inspiration but also a hub to learn about other creative moms around the world, and I am beyond elated to have you all on board.

I'm also in the midst of trying to loose my baby weight from having Halima this past May...35 pounds to be exact. I must be crazy because I continuously ask myself: "why oh why did you decide to launch a dessert blog while trying to loose weight?"...lol. Needless to say it will be challenging because I will be baking and experimenting for Copper Sweets, but eating it all is another story. I've asked the hubby to take the majority of my concoctions into work so that I will not pig out on sweets all week!

Ok, so that pretty much sums of the latest happenings. I must say that if you do not find me here, you can always find me on one of my other 6 blogs listed on the right rail. I tend to blog to different ones according to my mood at the time, so catch me if you can!

Livie and Luca {adorable little shoes}

Oh how adorable! I love these cute shoes for the little tikes over at Livie and Luca. They are super durable with a cost of $47...not terribly bad for chic baby style!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Clean Inspiration {the laundry room}

I have always wanted to makeover my cleaning regimen and one thing in particular that I have been meaning to do is to get rid of all the clashy boxes and bottles that the laundry detergent and cleaning supplies come in. In fact, I have done this with our cereal. I made some simple white drop cloth bags to keep our cereal in because there is nothing more irritating to me than seeing a bunch of cereal boxes lined up on top of the fridge.

This photo pretty much sums up what I envision in my head. This idea really does make a difference in how you feel when you go to do laundry or tidy up. I actually have a few of these type of bottles(mine look just like these and are french lemonade bottles in which you can find them in the soda aisle at the market). I mean for most of us cleaning is not a pretty task, so why not add a little decorative flair to such a mundane activity and make cleaning a bit more cute!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Currently Loving {sunsets & lemonade}

I am currently loving...

The smell of blooming roses, the scent of lavender and cedarwood candles, and freshly squeezed lemonade in pretty glass jars... I think that every home in the spring and summer should be adorned with fresh flowers and candles. I especially like to light mine after all is clean and tidy!

Learning to count money with the little one... After doing some printable math worksheets that I printed on the web, I grabbed some toys from his room and put prices on them. Then I would ask him what he wanted to "buy" and he would have to read the amount and get the correct amount from his bank to give to me. If he gives me the correct amount, he gets to keep "buy" it and if not, he has to put it back and try again.

Blooming tomatoes...I hope to get a few more herbs and flowers this weekend. I will be sure to share pics if I do!

Cotton candy and ocean blue sunsets beyond my window...

Halima and her BaBa napping...

& homemade cardboard forts handcrafted by little hands!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Dimples & Dandelions {bedding to build a dream on}

Oh how darling. Not only do I love the name of the website "Dimples & Dandelions", but I adore these bedding collections for girls! From pretty and frilly to simple and chic, these designs are sure to make your little girl feel like the magical princess she is!

Preparing Dinner Early {tips that work}

Many of us can relate to the all to familiar "rush hour" within our homes. You know, that block of time somewhere between 4:30 and 7:00pm, when you find yourself running around the house trying to: pick up toys, cook dinner, tidy up, clear the sink from breakfast and lunch, all while you waste a bit of time trying to chat it up on your twitter or facebook accounts.

This is the usual for me, but I have realized that with me being a stay at home mom, I can take maximum advantage of scheduling my time to the best of my ability to keep my sanity in tact! So, I say all this to highly recommend to you all who are stay at home moms to give cooking dinner early(before 5pm)a try; and be sure to clean up and transfer any food to your tupperware afterwards, because you do not want to have to deal with that after dinner either!

For those of you who work, you should definitely invest in a slow cooker and a meal plan. This way when you get home from work you either already have the meal prepared from the slow cooker, and with a planned menu, you will not find yourself staring into the fridge wondering what to cook because you have already planned and scheduled it out.

Nevertheless, it feels great to have the rest of the day/evening with no rushing around in a hot kitchen and missing out on dinner around the table, and it cuts down on clean up time after dinner when all you want to do is relax!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Great Gardens for Kids {creative ideas}

Recently we went to our local library and I ran across this book called "Great Gardening With Kids". While most of the book did not offer up the "wow" factor, I did find these photos to be quite inspirational. I cannot wait to have a backyard to grow fresh veggies, fruits, and plants for our home.

I think these little grass sitting pots are absolutely adorable! I can picture setting these around a bright and cheerfully colored table in the backyard, making it a great little spot to play and color in the spring and summer days. The rustic bird feeder branches are fantastic as well! You could change them out seasonally with different fruits and nuts.

I also thought that this in-laid playing "table/floor"& painted tire sandbox was genius!

When I Grow Up I Want To Be An Artist {when a mother creates}

Motherhood Is Art...Balancing the art of motherhood and creativity can sometimes come easy but many times it is quite a task to master. I appreciate this documentary entitled "Who Does She Think She Is" regarding being a mother and an artist collectively. I have always wanted to be an artist and a stay at home mother. In fact while I was still in high school I told my mother that these were my life goals. She did not discourage me with words like "well, you can be a career woman", but she nodded her head, gave me a smile, and said "That's A Good Thing", and I forever appreciate her for that response. I think that if she had shown any dis-agreement about it, it could have reshaped my thoughts and values. Nevertheless, while attending the Savannah College of Art & Design, I feel that I started out on the right path towards becoming an artist, yet with the interventions of life and motherhood, I must say that my creative spirit took a back seat for quite some time.

Now I feel have a bit more clarity when it comes to my creative time and goals, which is why I started my craft blog: Crafty Hues. I truly feel that creativity and motherhood goes hand in hand. I tell everyone that "A Mothers Creativity Can Save The World." As corny as it may sound, I truly believe this! Imagine a world where our mothers used ALL of their forms of creative expression and love to raise their children..imagine the level of confidence this world could have! I hear a lot of moms say that they are not creative, but I beg to differ...we create life, therefore, we can develop creativity within any shape and form.

So, as I grow up and as each day sets and rises, I hope to become an artist, but not just the kind of artist that creates beautiful paintings and decadent designs, but the kind of artist that also creates a masterpiece within my family..and with the help of my husband...sculpting each of my kids as you would on a potters wheel..with gentleness, creativity, and thought. We as mothers are all artists...as we bring out the art of life with each creative moment that we offer up to our families.

And Then There Were Two

She is quite animated, she has dimples, her eyes seem to tell a story that will be told with wisdom in the future, she loves to stretch, she finds comfort in closeness, she is a messy eater, she smiles and laughs out loud in her sleep, her hair curls up when she cries, her big brother gave her a “tour” of our apartment, he picks out her sleep clothes and kisses her goodnight, she has no streaming tears yet, her feet are absolutely adorable, she loves her pacifier and throws a true conniption each and every time it falls out, and will literally knock your hand away as you try to give it back to her, she falls asleep while and after nursing and wakes up 2 minutes later to finish, she only likes baths when she is draped with warm rags, she hardly sleeps in her crib, she loves riding in her pink and brown stroller, she grunts more than she cries, she loves her boppy, she hates for her hands to be touched, purple is her color, she can stare at an object for a good 3 minutes, she sometimes makes a face of pure disgust when you try to give her the pacifier that she loves so much, she watches television with me, she sucks her arm and fist, you know she is in a deep sleep when she spits the pacifier out, I think she enjoys pooping consecutively after I have changed her diaper consecutively, she is hard to burp, and most importantly she sleeps through the night...she's our little goddess..Halima Ava Marie!

Hi everybody! Well, I am back! Our little family has grown by one and we could not be any happier. Her name is Halima Ava Marie Taylor and she joined us in this world at 10:35am Sunday May 17th at 7 pounds and 3 ounces. My delivery went pretty fast in my opinion, especially in comparison to the delivery of our son, which took around 16 hours. This time it took only 6 hours! I started having contractions Saturday, but they were so sporadic and not that strong, that I did not worry about them. It was not until 3am Sunday morning did I realize that um, hey these are labor contractions. Mind you I did not go into labor on my own with our son, so I honestly did not remember how a real contraction felt, but boy was I reminded. The contractions became faster and much harder as to where I would have to stop mid-walk and kneel down a bit. It was an odd feeling, because for a few seconds you feel absolutely miserable and then for several minutes it's pure bliss. So my mood went in and out from controlled breathing and a bit of tension to laughing and joking around with my husband.

At first they were not sure if they were going to keep me until the nurse saw how hard the contractions were. So after walking from about 4 up until 5:30am the contractions were getting even stronger and quicker. I opted not to go “au natural” with this birth as well, so after the nurse gave me a bit of pain relief I was in total bliss. I'm not going to lie, I felt great. I could still feel when I was having contractions, but the intensity of it was ten times lighter. My husband laughed as I was EXTREMELY relaxed by that point and then came the epidural. Not too shortly after that I found myself pushing so hard that once again, I felt as though I was pushing my organs out..lol. As I felt the shoulders of baby girl come out I took a sigh of relief which was immediately followed up by random questions and thoughts to myself like: will she cry(our sons cord was wrapped around his neck, so it was total silence at first, which had both my husband and I a bit scared)...is she ok, what does she look like, I hope we bond, does she have all ten fingers and toes, and is her head shaped ok..lol.

I was able to watch as they gave her her first bath, something I missed with my son, as they took him out of the room. I could not wait to meet her..to hold her, and to gaze into her eyes. She smelled heavenly and was quite cozy as I nursed her for the first time. I was quite happy..I could not believe it, we now had a baby girl...sweetness, delicateness, gentleness. We named her Halima..which means gentle.

So after all the usual cleanup all I could think about was how I was ready to get out of there. For some reason the nurses and doctors could not comprehend why I wanted to leave the next morning, and I'm like..um, because I would rather not be disturbed every 2 hours for pressure checks and temperature checks and offerings of medicines that I did not want. So we left the next morning with our bundle of joy and have been enjoying her presence since.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Inspiring Mama: Nursery Hoops

I love the decor of Lorena & Davids San Francisco nursery, especially the art of using embroidery hoops to accent the ceiling. What pretty colors and some of the screens have glow in the dark screen prints on them! Super cute!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

14 Day Menu 4/25 - 5/8/09

The Menu:

Hey! Sorry, I have missed a round of menus. Only because I failed to do them, which definitely threw me for a loop as I totally stress out on the daily when I do not know what we are having for dinner..LOL. So here is our dinner menu for the next two weeks. I am actually working on one for the 2 weeks after because I am expected to go into labor around the 17th of May! I do not plan on doing much cooking, but i want to pre-cook a few things and freeze them ahead of time. Ok, so here is the menu..Enjoy, and I hope it sparks some ideas for your own menus!

1. Vegetarian Taco Salads(you can add some roasted shrimp or fish) garnished with Spinach & Artichoke Dip and Frozen Pineapple Lemonade.

2. No Pasta Lasagna made with breaded eggplant, mozarella, ground turkey, marinara, and zucchini

3. Turkey Bacon Cheeseburgers(ground turkey & turkey bacon) with smoked provolone

4. Stuffed wheat pitas with cool shrimp & dill salad, mixed fruit, and garden salsa Sun Chips

5. Whole Herbed Roasted Chicken with Mango BBQ Glaze, Sweet Plantains, and Ginger & Coconut Green Beans

6. Tofu Subs & fruit

7. Fried Chicken Salad

8. Baked Tilapia pockets steamed with Yellow Squash, Wild Rice Pilaf & cream of Mushroom Sauce

9. Chicken Alfredo Pizza w/ Salad

10. Lentil Roast, sweet potato fritters, and steamed broccoli

11. Grilled Turkey Sandwiches on Flat Bread w/ Grilled peaches in Sparkling Pear Cider

12. Shrimp Filo Rolls w/ Salad & Sweet Asian Dressing & Seared Sea Scallops

13. Dill Chicken Rotis with Fruit Salad & Strawberry Ginger Ale

14. Wild Card..Dining Out!

Dessert Ideas:
brownies, grilled poundcake with warm peaches and ice cream.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Bring In The Dining Out! {tips that work}

Hi everybody! So, As I was preparing dinner for tonight, I figured I would take a quick moment to share a cost saving dining tip with all you fabulous moms! Many times if we all look over our budget, we will see that we can spend an insane amount of money on dining out. At least this is the case for me. Whether it is because of my lack of dinner planning or for the days that I just simply don't feel like cooking...the dining bill can get way out of hand. So quite some time ago, I started collecting take out menus from our favorite restaurants, cafes, and smoothie shops, and instead of going there and giving them my money, I figured out a way to make some of our favorite dishes from their menu. For instance, we love O'Charleys Chicken Salad which is served w/their signature honey mustard dressing. Yet instead of going out and spending about 20 bucks plus tip, I made my own version (pictured above), and purchased their homey mustard salad dressing from the market. Not only did this save us money tonight, but there are plenty of leftovers for tomorrows lunch!

Not only will this tip save you money, but by collecting to-go menus, you will collect a HUGE amount of dinner, appetizer, snack, beverage, breakfast, and dessert ideas for you and your family to enjoy!

Psst: Put all of your to-go menus in a cute little 3 ring binder and organize them with tabbed dividers according to categories. Also, In addition to collecting your to-go menus, you can also browse the restaurant menus that are available from lots of destinations online!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Cinnamon & Apple Juice {kids love it}

The little one and I just made some fresh apple juice. There is nothing more refreshing and tasty than some cool apples juiced and then served over ice. We added some cinnamon sticks to ours and it added some great flavor, especially when you get towards the bottom of the cup. We used 4 Braeburn apples and it made 2 cups. We use the Champion juicer. It works well, yet I do wish I could put bigger pieces of fruit and veggies in there, but as far as juicing it works great!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Mini Pops (mini tips)

So our little one has been begging me day after day to make some popsicles for him. Although they are probably the easiest dessert to make, I just kept putting it off. anyhow last night we made what we call mini pops. They are quite yummy and a perfect size for a little treat or snack.

For the strawberry pops we used fresh strawberries, added some sugar. The sugar helps your pops freeze better, otherwise you will end up with ice pops..LOL, but be careful not to add too much sugar as it will make your pops too soft and will not mold properly. I would say we added about a Tbsp. We also added just a little bit of lemonade to it..just a little and blended it into a puree. For the pineapple-lemonade we blended fresh pineapple, and lemonade together, added a bit of sugar and poured them into the ice tray.

Once you have poured your puree and juice into the molds, place a piece of foil on top. Gently press your palm along the ice tray ridges so that you will be able to tell where the center of each mold is. Using a sharp kitchen knife, gently poke hole/lines in the center of each ice mold. Place your popsicles in the holes and carefully place your tray in the freezer. Straighten any sticks that may have moved while moving.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Shhh...There's Veggies In It {make mama laugh}

Ok, so I could not resist finding this commercial and posting it here. I find it to be not only hilarious but true in many cases.

I can't tell you how many times I have hidden veggies in my meals and especially in homemade fruit juices and smoothies. I remember the day when our son saw me put some spinach leaves in his fruit smoothies and he goes: "hey, you put spinach in my smoothies?". Hilarious, but as we all know, it can be a challenge to get the kiddos to eat their veggies.

Not to long ago I came up with this recipe for some muffins in which I have named "Garden Harvest Muffins" LOL. I think they came out great and the little one loved it. I also put a light coat of icing on top and that was a big hit, but these really don't need any icing and would make a great breakfast muffin. Here is the recipe:

Garden Harvest Muffins

Inspiring Tip: Instead of icing, try using lowfat vanilla yogurt to top these muffins off!


For the Fruit & Veggies:
1 Apple, peeled, cored, and dices thin & small
1 C. Shredded Carrots
1/2 C. Grated Zucchini
1 tsp. Lemon Juice
1 tsp. Cinnamon
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract

Directions: Mix all together and set aside.

For The Batter:
1 C. Whole Wheat Flour
2 C. Unbleached Flour
2 tsp. Cinnamon
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
1 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1 Tbsp. Baking Powder
2 Eggs
1/2 Cup natural Organic Apple Juice
2 Tbsp. Honey
1/2 C. Sugar
1 Tbsp. Dark Brown Sugar
2/4 C. Canola Oil
1 C. Almond Milk - vanilla flavored (I use Blue Diamond)

Directions: Mix all of your ingredients together until smooth and then add in your fruit and veggie mix. Spray your muffin pan with non-stick canola spray. Using a 1/4 measuring cup, pour your batter into your muffin pan or cupcake liners. Sprinkle the top with a little raw sugar and bake at 350 degrees until golden browned and when the top of the muffins spring back! Enjoy!

One book to check out for creative ideas is "The Sneaky Chef: Simple Strategies for Hiding Healthy Foods in Kids' Favorite Meals" by Missy Chase Lapine. I have heard all but good things about this book, so I think it is safe to say that I would recommend it too!

There is another book out there in which I personally own called Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld. While I do not necessarily suggest this book for the recipes, I do however think that it is a great book to have on hand for inspirational ideas. the photos are fantastic and there are some pretty helpful tips in the book. For instance the Oatmeal raisin cookies did not come out so good..they tasted good, but came out more like a bread...so they were a no go. Yet, i used the same veggie purees and used them in my own recipe! So I would suggest this book for meal inspiration, and hey you can grab a copy for just $6 bucks on amazon!

Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld

Here is a one recipe from the book. I have heard both good and bad things, so it's best that you be the judge according to your taste!

Blueberry Cheesecake Cupcakes(with yellow squash, blueberry, and spinach)

{excerpt from Deceptively Delicious: Simple Secrets to Get Your Kids Eating Good Food by Jessica Seinfeld}

Non Stick Cooking Spray


4 oz. reduced fat or non-fat cream cheese
1/3 C. Confectioners Sugar
1/2 C. Yellow Squash Puree
1 Large Egg White
1/8 tsp. Salt

Cupcake Batter:
1 C. Granulated Sugar
1/2 C. Nonfat (skim milk) milk (psst. I would use almond milk!)
1/2 C. Blueberry Puree
1/2 C. Spinach Puree
1/4 C. Canola or Vegetable Oil
1 C. All Purpose Flour
1 1/2 tap. Baking Soda
1/4 tsp. Salt

Directions: Preheat oven to 350. Coat 12 cup muffin pan with nonstick spray or line with baking cups.

For the filling: beat the cream cheese, sugar, squash puree, egg white, and salt in a bowl until smooth. Set aside. For the batter, combine the sugar, milk, blueberry and spinach purees, and oil in a large bowl of an electric mixer and beat until smooth. Add flour, making soda, and salt, and mix until just combined.

Using about half of the batter, fill each muffin cup about one-third full. Drop a teaspoon of the filling on the top of each, and then cover with the rest of your batter. Bake until the tops of the cupcakes are lightly browned and spring back to the touch (about 20-25 minutes). Let cool. Store in an airtight container for up to two days or wrap individually and freeze for up to 1 month.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Strawberry Banana Pancakes {what's for breakfast}

We had these for breakfast this morning and they came out pretty good in my opinion(I was experimenting with my pancake recipes), so I thought I would share the recipe here! After the first bite our son goes: "What did you put in these...they taste healthy"...LOL, he says this anytime I use wheat flour, anyhow, he ate every bit of it and said that it tasted good! Ok, here is the recipe:

Strawberry & Banana Pancakes:

1 C. Unbleached Flour
1/2 C. Whole Wheat Flour
1 tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
1/4 tsp. Salt
2/4 C. Sugar
2/4 C. Nonfat Plain Yogurt
1 Egg
2/4 C. Almond Milk: Vanilla (I use Blue Diamond unsweetened vanilla)
2 tsp. Olive Oil

Directions: using your mixer, mix together all of your dry ingredients. Add your egg, yogurt, and milk & mix. Fold in your olive oil.

Pour batter into a non-stick skillet(i use canola non-sticking spray) on low heat. Using a 1/4 measuring cup pour batter into your skillet and spread batter a bit to create a larger circle. Place the top on your skillet and let cook/steam on one side until the edges are firm enough to turn. Do the same on the other side & continue this process until your batter is gone.

Serve pancakes warm and top with sliced bananas and strawberries. Here i used a sprinkle of powdered sugar, but that is totally optional.

Suggestion: Blend some strawberries with your syrup or honey to make a great strawberry flavored syrup!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

10 Things I Hope To Do for My Kids {raising them up}

What things do you hope you instill in your children that they will carry and remember when they are all grown up?

There are so many things that I hope and wish for our children. It is beyond scary when you sit and visualize their future, especially when we as parents know how intense life can get. I always just hope that my husband and I will succeed on teaching them gems of how to get through the rough and smooth patches of it all. Nevertheless, I thought I would share 10 things(yeah, and there are a lot more, but these are the basics...LOL) that I hope to surround,teach, and instill in our kids:

1. I want to cook & bake delectable dishes and sweets that they will talk about when they are all frown up.

2. I want them to reminisce about how their mother was always creating something new.

3. I want them to have a special memory/ritual that they can't wait to share with their own children.

4. I want them to not feel like they have to be obligated to love me, but to love me for who I am with all of my flaws and all.

5. I want them to see that true love can exist between a man and woman.

6. I want them to never fear failure.

7. I want them to always think outside of the box and to be open minded.

8. I want them to remember that if you don't have it or if you cannot afford it then try to create your own!

9. I hope that they will always stay true to their dreams and respect the dreams of others.

10. I want them to carry a huge appreciation for all forms of art, music, and cultures.

Handmade Home {amanda soule}

There are so many mothers out there that are doing amazing things within their careers and within their families, and one mom that never ceases to inspire me is Amanda Soule of Soule Mama. I absolutely adore every aspect of motherhood that she lovingly takes the time to provide and create within her home. I am so inspired by her and I only hope to grow into the type of mother who takes pride in the domestic arts, enjoys teaching my kids at home, instilling free-thought within their minds, and I guess just providing that one-of-a-kind experience that each one of us as mothers have the gift to give!

Ok, so with that said, I wanted to make sure I posted about Amanda's new book entitled "Handmade Home", which is currently available for pre-ordering for just $12.89. This book focuses on re-purposing cherished objects and making them home treasures. Handmade Home will be available August of this year! Also, you may want to pick up her first book called "The Creative Family: How to Encourage Imagination & Nurture Family Connections", which is filled with so many wonderful ideas on keeping the creative flow within your abode.

Playroom Inspiration {colorfully fun}

Colorful inspiration for a cute and fun playroom for a little girl!

Monday, March 16, 2009

14 day Menu 3/14- 3/27 2009

The Menu:
1. Spaghetti & turkey meatballs

2. Chicken Cacciatore w/steamed green beans & jasmine rice(recipe & pic coming this week)

3. Turkey Burgers & homemade onion rings

4. Shrimp Salad sandwiches

5. Calzones & salad

6. Jerk Chicken K-bobs, gingered green beans & sweet plantains

7. Pad Thai Stir Fry (I have yet to fix this from my previous menus..lol)

8. Vegetable vindaloo w/ lentils & flat bread

9. Vegetable Minestrone w/ Rustic Bread

10. Broccoli & Rice Casserole, fish & steamed cabbage

11. Gumbo w/peach muffins

12. Turkey Subs & Chips

13. Turkey Tacos (hard & soft)w/ pico de gallo, chips, & salsa

14. Wild Card..LOL..I have no idea!

Dessert Ideas:
Frozen yogurt pops, blueberry oatmeal bars, white chocolate cake w/ chocolate icing.

Cooking for Baby: Purees {mom watch}

I very much hope to have the opportunity to make my own baby food for baby girl when she arrives, even if it is not for every meal. It would be nice to know that I am taking out a bit of time to concoct some gourmet mash for her liking..LOL.

Cooking for Baby: Plum Porridge Pancakes {mom watch}

Monday, March 9, 2009

One Day You Should Get a Real Job{words from the kiddo}

So, what do you do when you are sitting on the couch watching an Episode of Spongebob Squarepants with the kiddo for the 400th time(because nickelodean loves their repeats) and your little one goes: “You should get a real job like BaBa(this is what he calls his dad)? I was a bit caught off guard with his statement as part of me wanted to laugh and then another part of me felt quite offended and a little paranoid (yes I can get offended by a 5 year old). But it made me think, maybe he really does not understand my role here as a Stay At Home Mom. He knows that his BaBa wakes up every morning, gets dressed, goes out to work, comes home, and makes money. Now with me on the other hand, the only time he feels that I am “working” is when I pull the laptop out.

So, instead of reflecting on all of the articles that I have read on how stay at home moms don't do anything or that they are bored out of their minds (which is totally not the case for myself). I just took that time to explain to him that both his BaBa and myself work, but that we just have different jobs; and that my job was to be a good YaYa(mother). I explained to him that my job was to make sure that he learned, ate his veggies and fruit, and to make our home warm and fun. I also told him that I also work at night on the computer after he has gone to bed.

He seemed to understand and that made me feel good, because even though I am a stay at home mom, the last thing that I would want is for my son to feel that their is no “work” put into such a role. So, if you are stay at home mother yourself, I highly suggest you explain to your kids what you do, your job, your responsibilities, and why your job as well as your husbands are equally important and how you two work together for their sake!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Fort Couch {imagine your playtime}

So, what do you get when you leave me with a five year old, lots of blankets and pillows and a combination of little imaginations and grownup daydreams? You get the "Fort Couch", that's what you get. I'm writing this post from his so called clubhouse in which he insists has windows and a rooftop, yet I see neither...LOL. Nevertheless, I must admit that there is a magical element to playtime "undercover". It's like you are separated from the rest of the world and anything your imagination carries can happen within those few inches..ahem, with that said..do they make big people forts? These "patchwork" forts are my favorite, made with all sorts of blankets carrying different patterns and colors, and the amount of imagination that your child can put into building them is amazing...true architects they are indeed!

Nevertheless, I love that our son has the imagination to build and I always imagine a space where I could make him a teepee to play in outside or a small one for our future house..I can see it now: Him and his little abode upon hardwood floors, flashlights, random toys, and reading books. Aaah! So, with all this talk about play forts and clubhouses I though i would search around a bit to find some cute teepee style tents. needless to say they were all well overpriced but I did find this awesome tutorial on making your own teepee by Meg of Boutique Nutmeg Designs Click here for the tutorial: Make Your Own Teepee

I also ran across Three Monkeys and Sewing, in which she makes the teepees for you at a pretty decent price of $100-175 bucks!