New Year’s Resolution: Positive Perspective

  

Oh I cannot even begin to count how many “new year -new you” themed posts, ads, and commercials I’ve encountered during the last week.  Ugh!  Why should we suddenly decide on January 1st that we are not good enough? Why do we suddenly thrust upon ourselves a spirit of discontentment?  We seem to take this time of year to find all of our negatives that need “fixing,” ironically so, right after a season in which we are to be thankful and joyful.  Personally, I don’t want to think of myself as being broken or below par.  My New Years resolution won’t be about getting thin or doing more cardio (although I probably legit need more cardio)… My resolution will focus on seeing the positives that already exist all around me and within me every single day.

Kate and MiniThor’s New Year Resolution: Positive Perspective

I want to see the good in every day, in every person, in every adventure…

This probably seems like a simple task but sometimes we just straight up have bad days and it is on those days that this concept turns out to be not so simple after all.  Some days the bad seems to just compile and compile and we feel like we are stuck down in a hole we can’t get back out of.  So how do we crawl up out of that hole?!  Find some good things down there buried under the bad. Look for three good things that happened that day. 

This has become a nightly practice in my home. It is part of our bedtime routine.  I tuck MiniThor in, I read him a book, and then I ask him, “tell me three good things about today.”  This is two-fold, he is looking for and expressing positives from his day and I am hearing positives that always seem to melt my heart into a puddle.  After we talk about our three good things I ask him what was his very best part of that day.  Today he replied, “that you love me!”  Let me just tell you, I smiled so big I must have been glowing!

I encourage you to give it a try too.  Look for the positives in your day.  Sometimes it’s tough, but the good is there, even if you have to dig for it. You may have overslept and had to rush to work..but you have a job and can provide for your family.  You may have a sink full of dishes waiting to be washed.. But you cooked a healthy meal for your family, you had food to feed them.  You may have been super busy today.. But look at how much you accomplished!

Try asking your kiddos for “three good things” from their day.  Not only will you gain insight into their daily lives, but you will also gain some positive perspective yourself. Chances are one of their good things will be something you did with them that day. It’s moments like that which make us parents feel like superheroes!  So go on, look for the good, and be your awesome superhero self this year!
-Kate

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Many Merry Traditions of Kate and MiniThor

When I became a mother, Christmas became much more magical.  Every year the excitement and magic has grown along with MiniThor.  It is an absolute blast to watch him light up when we go see Christmas lights and to see his excitement growing as we count down the days left until Christmas!

The holiday season is a time for making memories.  Every year we make memories with our many merry traditions.  We would like to share these with you!  Maybe our traditions will inspire some new ones for your family.

  1.   Have an attitude of gratitude!    This time of year is great for reminding your children to be grateful for what they have and to teach them to say thank you for their gifts.  Reiterate that if someone gives a gift, that person took the time to buy or make that gift.  Remind your kiddo that it is the act of giving, not the gift itself, that counts most.  Therefore we should be thankful for the gift and say “thank you,” even if it wasn’t a toy from our list.
  2. Sending Cards to Soldiers:    This tradition started long before MiniThor was able to read and write, we’ve sent many cards filled with scribbles.  Every year we send a stack of cards to soldiers.  It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, just a simple holiday greeting will make a difference and put a smile on a soldiers face.  I can’t even imagine how hard it must be to spend the holiday season away from home and family.  Here’s a link to one of the ways to send cards http://www.redcross.org/support/get-involved/holiday-mail-for-heroes
  3. Going to See Christmas Lights:    Our town takes lights seriously; the local power company sponsors a huge lights display in the park.  We love going to see this each year.  The best part is the only charge for admission is that you bring a canned food item to donate!  Last year, MiniThor said his favorite part of going to see the lights was that we donated food to someone who didn’t have enough.  That melted my heart into a puddle!  We also drive around to see Christmas lights in our neighborhood! 
  4.  Countdown to Christmas with Books:   Every year we count down the last week until christmas with reading a new Christmas book each night.  I wrap up seven Christmas books and label them with how many more sleeps we have until Christmas.  MiniThor gets to unwrap a book each night and we read it together.  I am really looking forward to it this year, as MiniThor will be able to read some of the books himself!
  5. Make Reindeer Food:  We added this tradition two years ago when MiniThor’s amazing preschool teacher (Shout out to Mrs. Christy!) made Reindeer food with his class at school!  We make “reindeer food” by simply mixing together oats and sprinkles!  Then, on Christmas Eve we sprinkle it out in the yard to help the reindeer spot our house and to give them a snack to enjoy while Santa is putting presents under the tree!
  6. Donate a Bag of Toys:    Every year I have MiniThor fill up a bag of toys for us to donate.  This had two purposes, primarily it is to instill kindness and teach the act of giving without expecting anything in return.  Secondly, this helps clear some space out in the toy bins for the new toys that will be unwrapped. Haha.
  7. Donate Canned-goods:  MiniThor absolutely loves doing this!  I am very excited that this year we will be able to donate through a food drive hosted by his school.  Also, our favorite comic book shop collects canned goods, how cool is that?!
  8. Handmade Gifts:  I want MiniThor to know that giving doesn’t have to be expensive, instead it should be an act of love.  By helping him make gifts for family members, he can give them something special and the act of giving becomes personal and exciting instead of the obligatory tone that sometimes accompanies Christmas gifts.
  9. Random Act of Kindness:  This is another of MiniThor’s favorite things; we don’t just do this during the Christmas season, but it seems like a good time to share this with you.  Do something kind randomly and anonymously.  This can be anything from leaving an encouraging note on someone’s car windshield to leaving a bag of groceries on the doorstep of someone in need.
  10. Open One Present EARLY on Christmas Eve:    This is a tradition from my childhood that I have been doing with my little guy as well!  He gets to pick one present from under the tree to open early!  It’s seriously exciting!  Plus, it’s fun to watch him try to decide which present to open early.
  11. Hot Cocoa Floats: this one is super neat and super simple.  MiniThor cannot have dairy, so no whipped cream on our cocoa.  Instead we top it with a scoop of (dairy-free) ice cream.  It slowly melts into the cocoa and makes a creamy beverage fit for the holiday season.  Plus, it cools down the cocoa which is helpful for little ones.
  12. New PJs:  one of our Christmas Eve traditions is to wear a new pair of Christmas Jammys!  This ups the excited on Christmas Eve, plus we look super cute in Christmas morning photos!
  13. Make Cookies (and leave some out for Santa) … This one is pretty self explanatory
  14. Grinch Night:  All of our cousins and aunts and the like get together one night during the kiddos Christmas break and watch the animated Grinch movie.  We share special green treats, make crafts, and play “pin the heart on the grinch.”
  15. Give a Gift (or two) that Includes Spending Time Together:  Among the toys, I like to include a gift that MiniThor and I will enjoy together, something that will have a bonus gift of quality time.  This could be anything from a puzzle to a craft kit.  This  year it is a fort building set and a wooden truck building/painting kit … But don’t tell MiniThor!

The most important thing is to spend time together, make memories, and enjoy the hope, love, and joy of the season!   

We’d love to hear about your traditions, feel free to leave a comment below!

Keep on making memories,

-Kate

Super Summer of AWESOMENESS! (With Printable Summer Bucket List!)

Summer “officially” begins at 12:38pm EDT today when the sun reaches the northernmost point of the equator, or at least so says the Farmers’ Almanac. As usual, MiniThor and I have many plans for living out this summer to the maximum level of AWESOMENESS!  To ensure summer success the little and I came up with a list of activities…Our Summer Bucket List!

 
You can print one for your family with our handy dandy 2015 Summer Bucket List Printable!  Feel free to print and use our list or create your own list for your little superheroes; be sure to include local options and explore the family fun avaliable in your city!  We love the list on Bluegrass Redhead with summer fun ideas within our community.

MiniThor has been having a blast working through our bucket list!  

We have made several trips to our local spray park, played in the rain any chance we’ve had to do so, had some messy fun with chalk paint (see Our Chalk Paint Recipe for a simple three ingredient recipe for fun!), and we spent a day hiking at Hematite Lake…and many more adventures not pictured!

A summer bucket list gives your family a visual of all the excitement that is in store during those precious summer months.  As this is the summer before my MiniThor starts kindergarten, it is an extra special summer break in which I want to squeeze in as many memory making adventures and days filled with laughter as possible!
Keep making memories,

Kate

Fingerprint Doodle Art

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Mini Thor has been sick again and that means I’ve been trying to keep an active little munchkin occupied indoors. Luckily we have this amazing book called “The Big Book of Things to Do”. It has science experiments, crafts, magic tricks, etc. He loves picking something out of this book. Our latest endeavor was making “Fingerprint Doodles”

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It’s simple yet can be full of imagination.

You just need an ink pad, paper, and a pen!

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After the fingerprints dry let your little one add faces and designs to create their own little world!

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Mini Thor made some cool little people, flowers, bugs, and a helicopter out of his prints.

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It was wonderful watching him use his imagination!

We hope you give this a try!
-Kate

Cranberry Almond {No Bake!} Granola Bars!

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So I was cruising through Pinterest the other day and I kept seeing different recipes for chewy granola bars. I thought “hey awesome I can make granola bars with pronounceable ingredients!” It’s amazing (and I don’t mean in a good way) what nonsensical things are in prepackaged food! Ok ok, getting off my soapbox now. Back to the granola bars… I pulled the best parts of a few different recipes and did some ingredient swapping and I ended up with yummy yummy in my tummy easy to make granola bars! So I give you.. Cranberry Almond {no bake} Granola Bars!

What you need…
The Basics:
1/4 cup almond butter
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup butter (4tbsp)
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 1/4 cup quick cook oats (get Gluten-Free Oats, like Bob’s Mill, if you are on a GF diet)
The Fix’ins to Mix in:
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1/4 cup shredded or flake coconut
1/4 broken up pretzel sticks + a few more to press on top of the bars (we used Glutino pretzel sticks, which are super tasty and Gluten-Free!

Add the sugar, butter, almond butter, and honey to a medium pan and heat over medium heat.

Tip: for measuring things like almond butter and honey, this Pampered Chef measuring cup is my hero!
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Bring the sugar mixture to a low boil and continue to boil for 2-3 minutes, then remove from heat.

Add your oats and stir to coat. Once it’s all evenly coated let it cool for five minutes.

Now it’s time to add in your fix’ins!
Doesn’t that look like a tasty pot of heavenly goodness!!!
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Mini Thor helped me mix in the goodness
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Line a casserole dish with parchment paper and then spread your granola in the dish. Top with some extra pretzel pieces and use the bottom of a cup or bowl to press everything down really well.
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Let that goodness chill in the fridge for 2 hours and then you can cut them. You end up with about 12-14 bars depending on what size you want them to be.

What emerges are delicious, nutritious sweet, salty, chewy (insert more adjectives as needed haha) granola bars!!!

I took half the batch to Granmomma and received this text two days later…
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The great thing about this recipe is the flexibility. Use “The Basics” and you can add what ever “Fix’ins” you and your family would like. You can even substitute the almond butter with peanut butter if that’s what you have handy. These bars can be made a number of ways….although I must say they are pretty darn tasty my way 😉. I hope you whip up a tasty batch of your own to be enjoyed by the little super heroes in your life.

-Kate

Wreck-it-Ralph “Drive-in Movie” Night

Summer is coming to an end. Boooo! With my fall semester starting I wanted to get some fun in with little man before the busy-ness starts. I took a few days off from work and we hung out and played! We played outside, made stuff, had lunch with Granmomma downtown, visited our favorite coffee shop for some bubble tea, went shopping, and I just soaked up the memories! I love spending time with my little sidekick!
One of the fun things we did was make an empty box into a car for a drive-in movie in the living room! Mini Thor got to pick out the movie and I planned a supper to go along with it. He was so excited all day as we assembled and decorated the car!
Markers and a cardboard box can be extensively entertaining to a small child haha! I just set him loose decorating it however he pleased.

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I cut a paper plate to look like a steering wheel and let him decorate it. If you attach it with a prong then the steering wheel will be able to turn! Mini Thor loved turning the steering wheel and “driving” his car!

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We added another cardboard piece as a roof and black paper plates as wheels! The Mini Thor Mobile was complete with windows and all!

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Mini Thor selected the movie “Wreck-it Ralph” for our Drive-in Movie Night! If you haven’t seen it yet, we highly recommend it!

Of course we had to have some fun snacks and supper to go along with the movie!

For our appetizer we had “Sour-bil Grapes” (these are like the monster snacks from our Monsters Inc movie night)

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These are so simple, just washed grapes + jello mix! He mixed them up all by himself and then enjoyed them in his car!

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For our meal I got creative and Mini Thor was so excited when I told him what I was making! Here’s a look at the menu…

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I got my inspiration by checking out a list of what video games were in the film ,and there were a lot! Mini Thor had requested Dino Nuggets so I was thankful the the game “Primal Rage” was in the movie. So the Dino nuggets became Sauron nuggets! The Mac&cheese and the fruit salad dishes are both PAC-Man references, as you probably guessed! Mini Thor now request that I make Mac&cheese like that every time haha!

For our movie night activity we made Sugar Rush race cars! We used graham crackers, marshmallow cream, peanut butter, marshmallows, candies, and sprinkles to build a pretty sweet car!

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Mini Thor got to wreck-it when we were done (of course) an he ate the marshmallow wheels haha!

For dessert we had “Tapper’s” Root Beer Floats!

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We had so much fun planning this night together! We hope you take this inspiration and have a movie night of your own!

Keep making memories,
-Kate

Sidewalk Chalk Paint

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Mini Thor and I love to play outside! Kids need sunshine and fresh air! I try to come up with fun new things for us to try and I had seen SideWalk Chalk Paint on Pinterest like a million times so I whipped some up for us to play with. This paint is so simple to make and the best part is…it is washable!!!

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Here’s what you need..
– 1 Cup Corn Starch
– 1 Cup Warm Water
– Food Coloring (a few drops of each color you want to make)
– Containers (like muffin or cup cake baking containers, I used silicon baking cups)
– Paint Brushes (Basting Brushes work great for this!)
These are all things you probably have in your kitchen! This activity would be great for an impromptu afternoon in the sunshine!

The How-To:

Whisk together your corn starch and water in a small bowl.

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Pour some of the mixture into each of your containers and then add a few drops of food coloring to each one. Stir it up and that’s it, you’re ready to go paint!

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The colors will be dark when you first paint them onto the sidewalk but they dry in beautiful almost neon colors!

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We had so much fun with this! Mini Thor got to splatter paint all over without worrying about getting his clothes messy or getting paint everywhere. Its a beautiful thing when children get to play in absolute freedom! He had droplets all over his white shirt and it washed out no problem!

Give this fun activity a try and I bet you’ll see some smiles 🙂

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And all the excitement might just wear out your little one!

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-Kate

Painter’s Tape + Imagination

Mini Thor has been sick again…yes, again! He hates being stuck inside all day so this momma has to get creative. This time we put a roll of blue painters tape to some fun uses!

How about indoor hopscotch for those times when the Motrin is working and your sick kid suddenly has a burst of energy?

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Or our new favorite sick day activity… Making roads with the tape for cars to drive on.

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I made a tunnel and a garage using the empty box and Mini Thor helped me make the roads using the painters tape. He picked out some cars to drive around and we made some buildings out of Lego Duplo blocks!

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Wonderful Granmomma even got in on the fun when she stopped by with some food for us!

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She was pretty darn good at making voices for the Lego people. I’d post the video of he grandpa Lego voice but she’d kick my butt! Haha!

Mini Thor makes amazing houses!

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I wonder what else we could do with the painters tape?

-Kate

Pitas to Personal Pizzas!

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We all have those nights when we need supper to be something quick an easy. Top that with a side of picky kids and you have a recipe for difficulty. Never Fear, this momma has a solution. Simple, easy, and everyone gets to have it their way…Pita Personal Pizzas!
With just three ingredients + toppings these pizzas are so simple a toddler could make them.
You just need pita bread, pizza sauce, cheese, and your fav pizza toppings. We kept it simple with plain ol’ pepperoni.

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Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and start creating.

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Bake for 10 minutes and ta-da everyone has their own customized pizza!

Mini Thor approves!

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He loves making his own pizza. We usually have a picnic in the living room floor when we have these. He loves having picnics. 🙂

These pizzas are a great way for the whole family to make dinner together!

Added bonus, these are low cal pizzas! You can eat your whole pita pizza for under 300 calories if you leave off the pepperonis and add some veggies instead. With pepperonis you’re still only at about 350 calories!

Enjoy 🙂
-Kate

Monsterrific Jellotastic Movie Night

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Mini Thor loooooves the Disney Pixar Movie “Monsters, Inc.” With the new Monster University movie coming out this month there is Monsters stuff all over Walmart. He spotted a Jell-O juggler mold with the faces of a few characters right next to “berry scary” flavored jell-o, so of course we just couldn’t pass it up! There were a couple other jell-o uses that I’d been wanting to try as well, so I thought we’d just make a night of it. A Monsterrific Jellotastic Movie Night!

First we made Jello-Jigglers so they could sit for three hours in the fridge and be ready for dessert after supper.
This is the end result…

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They turned out awesome and Mini Thor loved them!

Next I fixed “Monster Snacks” for us to eat while we watch the movie. I made Jello Grapes and they were a hit! (There are many many posts out there with this idea so I’m not sure who actually came up with this genius snack.)
Here’s the how to..

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Mini Thor and Aunt PeyPey both loved them! They were gobbled up quickly and I had to make a second batch!

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(You may want to use a lighter colored jello if you are worried about messy fingers)

Next we made some “Jel-doh,” homemade play-do using jello mix! I’m kind of weird (which you may have guessed already) and I just can’t stand the smell that store bought play-doh leaves on your hands, yuck! so when I found a recipes for making this scented dough I just had to try it! If you have a little one who may be tempted to taste play-doh this dough might be a good trial before using other modeling clays with them.  If they eat this it won’t do any harm, although I can’t imagine it tasting very well. 

Here’s the how-to…

In a small saucepan combine the following:

– 1 cup flour
– 1/2 cup salt
– 1 Tbsp cooking oil
– 2 tsp cream of tartar
– 1 cup water
– 1 (3oz) package of Jello

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Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the dough becomes the consistency of mash potatoes.

Remove from pot and cool on a lightly flour surface.

When it has cooled enough, kneed the dough thoroughly.

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(Store in an air tight container when not in use.)

We put our Jel-do to use as soon as it was cool! We made it into MONSTERS!

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We used googly eyes (I love googly eyes!!!), pipe cleaners, and pompoms to make silly monsters!

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Mini Thor was occupied by this for like half and hour, which is a very long time for a two year old!

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I loved making jel-doh monsters with my little monster! We made many monster friends!

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We ended up watching Monsters, Inc. a couple times and we had lots of monster fun!!!
-Kate

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