Creating a Mini Photo Memory Book

Today my grandma is celebrating her 89th birthday! She is healthy, and may just live forever -- and I am so thankful for that!

When it comes to Christmas and Birthdays, her philosophy about gift giving is simple: "If I can't eat it, watch it, or plant it, I don't need it." Usually we give her a gift card to her favorite restaurant, but this year I decided to do something a little different.

We all know that as grandparents, and great-grandparents get older their memories start to fade. Not ALL people, but some. To help preserve some of those memories, I put together a memory book for her. My kids helped by giving me quotes about whey they love G.G. (great-grandma), and drew pictures for her. I included memories I have from time spent with her over my 35 years. Just quick thoughts about things I enjoyed doing with her, vacations we went on, and things she taught me.

I put together 89 pages of pictures, memories, drawings, and quotes... one for each year of her life.

It was really simple to do, and honestly you can get as creative (or not) as you want. Here is what you need:
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Tutorial: Butipod Wipes Case Cover

What is a Butipod? It is an awesome travel wipes container that zips closed and keeps your wipes moist and ready to use all the time. The fun part is creating custom covers for your Butipod to match or coordinate with your diaper bag. You can also color code your wipes if you have different kinds (ie. Diapering wipes, hand/face wipes, cleaning wipes, etc.)

Today I’m going to show you how easy it is to create your own Butipod cover. I am using the latest version of the Butipod (4.0), but the older 3.0 version of the Butipod will fit in them as well.

Let’s get started.
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Recipe: 3 Ingredient Pumpkin Spice Muffins

This morning I was looking for a quick breakfast for my kiddos. This is one of our favorite recipes because not only is it fast and easy... but it's absolutely DELICIOUS!!

Want to see just how easy it is to make these!? (see recipe at the end) Once you read it you will want to go to the store, grab what you don't have on hand and make them. They are tasty any time of the year... not just in the fall.

They make fantastic breakfast muffins, a brunch snack, or even a dessert! Mix together a little powdered sugar and water to create a glaze and you have a sweet treat.

{excuse the not-so-great photos. I snapped these with my phone this morning while I was scrambling to get the muffins made before school.}

Grab your ingredients.

Dump them in your favorite mixing bowl.

Reach for your favorite mixing spoon or spatula and start "stirring". I say it that way because the consistency of it lends itself more to mashing then actual stirring. It is tricky to start because the pumpkin doesn't like to play well with others...

... but it will eventually look something like this. Once it's mostly mixed you are ready to prep your muffin pan.

Spray your muffin tin with non-stick spray. (I usually have to ones from Costco on hand.) Make sure you cover each cup entirely with your spray or your muffins may stick.

Next, scoop your batter into your muffin cups. I use a large batter/ice cream scoop I got from Target. This recipe makes about 30 muffins, so you can either mound yours higher and get 24 taller muffins, or you can use two muffin pans to make more of them.

Bake in a preheated oven for 13-15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let them cool in the pan for about 5 minutes before serving. They are best eaten while still warm, but are delicious whether warm or cold!

• • •

• 1 boxed spice cake mix
• 1 small can (9oz) of pumpkin puree
• 1/3 cup milk of your choice (I used almond milk)
• **optional mix-ins: chocolate chips, raisins, oats

1. Pour all ingredients into a medium sized mixing bowl.
2. Mix thoroughly to combine.
3. Drop batter into greased muffin tin pan
4. Bake at 350°F for 13-15 minutes (or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean)
5. Let cool for 5 minutes in the pan until serving.

** This recipe is dairy and egg free! We have food allergies in our home, and this is one of out favorite go-to breakfasts because it is easy and allergen friendly. Be sure to check your boxed cake mix for potential allergens. We have to avoid dairy, eggs, and peanut and have found the Duncan Hines Spice Cake mix to be free of those!

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All Moms Need Some Me Time!

It feels like it's been FOREVER since I've had a new post up!! It's been a roller coaster ride in my life lately. I've been dealing with personal illnesses, setting up appointments and meeting for my child with newly diagnosed Sensory Perception Disorder, teething babies, school field trips, and trying to keep up with all the household chores. Man, being a mom is not a job for the weak!!

One of the things I have been trying to do more of lately, is to take time for ME! I seem to get so caught up in all of the day-to-day happenings that "me time" seems to fall by the wayside. When I don't get time for ME, everyone seems to suffer a little. It's so hard as a mom to not let the stress and anxiety of everything affect your mood. Sometimes it definitely does, and when it does I feel like my whole house tends to just fall apart.

So, I take time for ME!! I do it in a few ways. Here's how I do it:

1. Netflix - I know some people sit and watch Netflix (or whatever you watch) at night after your kiddos go to bed. For me... that's just when I get started on MY work. Instead, I use the Netflix app on my phone and watch my shows while I cook dinner. My kids go out in the backyard to play (and run off some energy from the day) and I get to relax a little while I'm cooking in the kitchen. My hubby laughs at me when he gets home from work and I'm in the kitchen watching my show (usually Gilmore Girls... I'm an addict) on my tiny little phone while stirring a pot of whatever I'm making. But... I don't care. It's a way I can sort of "get away", even if it's just for a little while.

2. Frozen Yogurt Runs - As a mom to a child with severe food allergies, any dairy products are a luxury! Yes, you totally take it for granted until you can't have it anymore. Every once in a while either my sweet husband will go grab us some frozen yogurt after the kids are in bed, or I will go out with some girlfriends and grab some. There is something about comfort foods... well, I suppose that's why they are called comfort foods. My favorite it fat free frozen yogurt because you can add whatever toppings you want and don't have to feel TOO bad about adding on the extra fat, LOL!

3. Getting Hair or Nails Done - I don't know what it is about going to get your nails or your hair done, but it's really relaxing and TOTALLY boosts your self esteem... instantly! Whether you are going to do it solo, or doing it with your bestie, it's ONE sure fire way to take some ME TIME and rejuvenate yourself so you are ready to face whatever life throws at you next!

4. Perfectly Posh: I found out about this awesome company about a year ago when a friend gave me some face wash samples. I. FELL. IN. LOVE.  Everything is naturally based, made in the USA, and has only the BEST ingredients for the earth and for your skin. I love to put on a face mask, take a bath with some of their bath salts, and just relax for a little while. The essential oils in their products not only smell amazing! but they also help to moisturize and "feed" your skin. I use their Complexion Perfection face wash, and Moisturize 911 face crème every morning. The face crème has citrus essential oils in it which help to wake me up in the morning and give me the energy I need to make the kids lunches and get them to school on time! If you haven't tried Perfectly Posh join my FACEBOOK PAGE and see what it's all about! I love that the soothing scents can help me relax and refocus almost instantly! Who doesn't want to try something that does that!??!

5. Talking to Another Adult - This is totally something you won't understand until you haven't done it in a while. As a stay at home mom I get a lot of kid time. Talking to kids, playing with kids, teaching kids. I LOVE it, but sometimes there is just a need  to talk to another adult. Whether it's a phone call, a home visit, running an errand with a friend (even if everyone has to bring their kids), or going out for a girls night... anything to get some real adult conversation.  Sometimes I pity the door to door salesmen who come by when I'm in one of those "I need conversation" moods, hehe.

These are just some of the ways I take the time for ME. What do you do!?! How do you squeeze "me time" into your busy day!?! I would love to hear how you do it, and maybe use a few of your ideas in my life too!

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Chocolate Drizzled Sunbutter Popcorn (dairy, egg, and peanut free!!!)

Those of you who have been following for a while know that my son has severe food allergies. He is allergic to dairy, eggs, and peanuts. Sometimes finding and cooking "safe" foods for him can be a real challenge. I am always pinning new recipes on Pinterest  that are either safe for him or can be adapted to be safe for him.

The other day I came across a recipe by one of our favorite allergy friendly companies, Sunbutter. It was for Chocolate and Sunbutter Popcorn Mix. I loved how easy it was to make and I happened to have everything on hand so I whipped up a quick batch as an after school treat for my kiddos.

It does make a LARGE batch, so be prepared to share with your friends and neighbors... or set it out at a party! Just know that you won't have any leftovers.. because it is THAT good!

Here is the recipe :

2 bags of popped microwave popcorn (or pop 2/3 cup popcorn kernels)
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
1 1/3 cups light corn syrup
1 1/3 cups Sunbutter
1/2 cup Enjoy Life chocolate chips
1/2 tsp coconut oil

1. Place popcorn in a large bowl. Be sure to remove all un-popped kernels.
2. In a medium saucepan, bring sugar and corn syrup to a boil.
3. Turn off heat and add Sunbutter, stirring until creamy and completely combined.
3. Gently pour Sunbutter mixture into popcorn and fold in until popcorn is coated.
4. Spoon Sunbutter popcorn onto a parchment lined (or greased) baking sheet to cool.
5. Melt chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl in 30 second increments, stirring in between, until completely melted.
6. Stir in coconut oil. Using a spoon, drizzle the chocolate across the cooling popcorn.
7. Place the sunbutter popcorn in a cool place (or in the fridge) until the drizzle hardens. Break apart the popcorn, serve, and ENJOY!

This would make a fun holiday treat to give away. Place it in a mason jar, tie a cute ribbon or some twine around it and add a sticker to the top!

You could go one step further and add some pretzels, nuts, coconut, or anything else you want to the mixture. Try different combinations to see what you like the best!

Let me know if you give this recipe a try! Looking at these pictures again is making my mouth water... time to make another batch... Pin It now!