Monday, December 11, 2017

Christmas Traditions Box: Sugar Cookies

9:02 PM 0 Comments
What's Christmas without cookies and treats? We do a lot of holiday baking. My kids love to decorate sugar cookies. It is a two-day process for us. I make the dough on one day and let it chill overnight. The next day we actually bake and decorate the cookies.


I love this recipe for sugar cookies because they are soft and remind me of the Lofthouse sugar cookies. My kids will eat any frosting but I prefer to use butter over shortening. This recipe originally called for shortening in the frosting but I changed it to butter for personal preference.


This year my daughter is on a gluten-free diet. We made 2 batches- one with gluten-free flour and another with regular all-purpose flour. Both batches turned out great. Our candy selection was scarce (and gluten-free) but we still had fun. Can't go wrong with cookies, right?

Click HERE to download and print our Christmas Sugar Cookie and Frosting recipes.


What cookies do you bake at Christmastime?


Christmas Traditions Box: The Legend of Saint Nicholas

8:40 PM 0 Comments
Between my husband and me, we have a lot of European blood running through our veins. One of the things we like to do at Christmastime and other holidays is to research some of the traditions of our ancestors' cultures. We have incorporated Saint Nicholas Day into our Christmas traditions in the past couple of years.

Many European countries celebrate Saint Nicholas on December 6th. For our family, we read Saint Nicholas: The Real Story of the Christmas Legend on December 5th and then on the morning of the 6th our kids are in for a surprise.

Image result for saint nicholas book

In this story St. Nicholas, who was the pastor of a town, found a little boy crying. St. Nicholas asked why he was crying. The boy explained that his sisters couldn't marry because they couldn't afford a dowry. St. Nicholas encouraged the boy to have faith and reassured him that everything would work out.

That night St. Nicholas went to the home of the boy, quietly opened the shutter of the window and dropped little bags filled with gold onto the floor. In the morning the girls found the gold and were able to be married.


The story explains how St. Nicholas was known as Father Christmas and how his love was shared with those around him. It also talks about how God is even more generous and gave us the best gift of all- the Savior, Jesus Christ.


Our kids leave their shoes out in front of their bedroom door on the night of the 5th. In the morning their shoes are filled with gold chocolate coins for them to enjoy. There is also a bag filled with "gold" $1 coins. They are instructed to use these coins on someone else outside the family whom they can help or cheer up. They are to do this act in secret without being seen or heard like Saint Nicholas. This helps them to be thoughtful and get outside themselves without being praised by the world.

We talk about how we have received many blessings like the girls in the story. But we can also bless other people's lives like Saint Nicholas did. We also talk about the best gift of all- Jesus Christ- and how we can be more like him. He is our perfect example of love, kindness, and service. It gets us into the Christmas spirit.

Christmas Tradition Box: Chocolate Advent Calendars and Polar Express Night

8:20 PM 0 Comments
I love Christmastime! I love the activities and traditions we do as a family. And the time we spend together to play is my favorite. In the next few blog posts, I will share some of our activities and traditions we do this time of year.

This year I started to present our activities in a gift box. Each day or two in December my kids get to open the box and see what activity we will do that day. It has been fun for them to open their surprise and anticipate some family time.

On December 1st we filled "the box" twice. In the morning the kids opened the box to find chocolate advent calendars to countdown the days until Christmas.

We refilled the box in the afternoon for the kids to open after school to reveal our evening family activity- Polar Express Movie Night.


In the box we included:

Polar Express DVD
Recipe for Creamy Hot Chocolate (found at the end of this post)
Marshmallows, candy canes for hot chocolate mix-ins
Popcorn
Bells (Dollar Tree had some really cute bells this year in silver and gold.)

I didn't print any cute tickets but there are plenty on the internet you can download.

Each year our family opens up Christmas pajamas on Christmas Eve. However, my sister changed this tradition and has her kids open up their pajamas on December 1st so her kids can wear them all through December. I think that we may have to switch up our tradition as well. Next year pajamas may be included in our box.

We loved watching the Polar Express together and loved our hot chocolate. Mmm. Here's a recipe we found and changed up a bit to our liking.

Click HERE to download and print the recipe.


Merry Christmas!

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Save Your Skin this Winter! + GIVEAWAY!

9:28 AM 3 Comments
I didn't have much of a dry-skin problem growing up in California. However, when I moved to Utah it was a whole new ballgame. Utah became the death of my skin. My hands started cracking and bleeding from dryness. I tried lotions and creams and other "dry-skin" products but nothing seemed to give me the relief I needed. I spent lots of money trying to figure out a cure for my poor, itchy, flaky, cracked, bleeding hands.

A friend introduced me to Country Care and my search was over! Country Care is a balm to help heal dry, sore, cracked skin.


Being a mom with babies, I wash my hands constantly every day, especially during cold and flu season. My hands dry out quickly. I also like to wear flip flops in the spring, summer, and fall so my feet get a beating. They dry out and get really tough. I use Country Care to restore my hands and feet all year round. We also use it on my daughter's eczema to relieve her from her soreness and itchiness. I have met many parents who don't know what to do for their child's eczema- expensive creams and prescriptions are ongoing. I have found that this is the best solution for our family. It may be the solution for yours!

Why I LOVE Country Care:

1. Country Care is made from All Natural Ingredients. This means that it is safe for children and babies.

2. Country Care does not contain alcohol or perfumes so it doesn’t burn or sting when it’s applied.

3. Country Care’s thick formula locks in moisture. It soothes and softens rough skin.

4. Country Care won’t cost you a fortune. The price is right and a little goes a long way. You don't need to use a lot to get great results.

It has become one of my “must-have” products to have on hand at all times. I have it in my purse, in my diaper bag, on my nightstand, in my bathroom, and in my car.

I love this product! I think it should be sold in all stores. Right now it is only available online at Country Care Products through Etsy or directly from the owner at countrycareproducts@yahoo.com. Makes a great gift or stocking-stuffer! Just in time for the holidays!

Want to try it for free? I am doing a giveaway! The owner of Country Care products has kindly sponsored the giveaway.

This giveaway is closed! Thanks for all those who entered here and on Instagram.

WE HAVE 2 WINNERS! 


SUSANNA, you are a winner!!!

AND

AIMESRILEY, you are a winner!!! 

I will DM you so you can claim your Country Care!






Monday, September 25, 2017

Is the Costco Rotisserie Chicken a Good Deal?

9:50 PM 0 Comments

I absolutely LOVE Costco's rotisserie chicken! It tastes good, it's already cooked, and is a great price. But is it the BEST price? The short answer is yes, and no. Yes, if you want already cooked chicken with minimal work. And no, if you're willing to prepare and cook an entire raw chicken. 


To the see the long answer, read on.



 A Costco rotisserie chicken is 3 lbs minimum for $4.99 total WITH bones. Let's compare other Costco options. Let's start with the uncooked options:














Organic is probably your healthiest option but most expensive deal at $5.49/lb for raw, boneless, chicken breasts.



If organic isn't a must for you, these raw, boneless chicken breasts are $2.79/lb. Some recipes call for raw chicken, especially marinades, so this is a good option that is easy to manage and prepare.



This 2-pack of whole raw chickens is only $0.99/lb. Remember that it also has bones and you have to cook the entire chicken. But, if you're willing to do the work, THIS is your cheapest option, based solely on price per pound. If you have an InstantPot, you might not mind the work.

As for cooked chicken options, Costco has the hand pulled chicken meat from the rotisserie chicken at $4.568/lb. This is not a great deal unless you want ONLY cooked chicken breast meat. 


What if you pulled your own chicken off your own rotisserie chicken? 
I de-boned 2 rotisserie chickens pretty thoroughly.



I had a bowl full of white and dark meat. I weighed the total meat of each de-boned chicken. Each came out to just over 34 oz. I decided to be safe and say each chicken is about 34 oz of just meat or just about 2.13 lbs. (If you wish to save the bones to make a broth, this is an added advantage to this option.)








But if you remember, the whole raw chicken was $0.99/lb WITH bones. So, if we take the total price of the cooked rotisserie chicken and multiply it by the weight WITH bones, the whole cooked chicken comes out to about $1.66/lb.


Based on PRICE alone, the whole rotisserie chicken is NOT the best deal. BUT, it IS the best deal if you want already cooked chicken and don't want to cook an entire chicken. 




 I prefer the rotisserie chicken because it's still an amazing price and the recipes I use most call for chicken that is already cooked. It saves me so much time with 4 kids and crazy schedules. When I get home from Costco, I de-bone the chicken while it's still warm. It's so easy. I divide the chicken up into freezer bags and freeze it. It defrosts quickly and then I can add it to all sorts of meals. I throw it into fettuccine alfredo, salads, soups, or casseroles.


This is 2 chickens. 4.5 lbs for $10!!! WORTH IT!!




  

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Easy Apple Crisp

9:15 PM 0 Comments

It's FALL! And, it's APPLE SEASON! What better way to put those apple to use than in this Easy Apple Crisp recipe. Not only is it easy, it's delicious. This recipe is adapted from a recipe at AllRecipes.com.

If you have one of these cool little apple peeler/corer/slicer gadgets, this recipe got even easier for you. This one is from Walmart but you can find them all over online. This will save you a lot of time, especially if you have kids who love to use this peeler. 
Easy Apple Crisp

Ingredients:

6 large apples (peeled, cored, sliced)
1/2 - 3/4 c. water
1 white cake mix
1 c. brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 c. melted butter
1/2- 1 c. uncooked oats

Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease 9x13" baking pan.
  2. Place apples in the bottom of pan. Pour *water over apples.
  3. In a medium bowl (or plastic freezer zipper bag) add the cake mix, brown sugar, cinnamon, and oats. Stir (or shake) together. Add melted butter and mix until crumbly.
  4. Top apples with crumble mixture.
  5. Bake for 50-55 minutes or until apples are tender and crumble is golden brown.
  6. Serve with ice cream and/or whipped cream.
*A word about the water in the recipe. If you have super juicy apples, cut the water back to 1/2 c. If your apples are a little more dry, use 3/4 c. water. I find that a whole cup of water is too much and your apple crisp will be a little watery on the bottom. 

Click HERE for a printable recipe.


(not the best picture but you do what you can when you forget to take a picture right before your husband eats it off his paper plate)


Thursday, September 14, 2017

Zucchini Blueberry Muffins

8:13 AM 0 Comments

These are my favorite muffins when I have a plethora of zucchini from my garden. I originally found this recipe on a website that is no longer available. Bummer. Good thing I printed the recipe. 

This recipe calls for 2 1/2 cup all purpose flour and 1/2 cup wheat flour. I changed it to 2 cup all purpose flour and 1 cup wheat flour because I like the crunch it gives the muffin. You can do whatever you fancy.


And, it also contains buttermilk. Any recipe with buttermilk is an automatic draw for me.


It's a pretty easy recipe.


Shred your zucchini with a cheese grater on the course side. You can also use fresh or frozen blueberries. I have used both. Frozen blueberries keep their shape a bit more and are a little juicier, in my opinion.


I use an ice cream scoop for my muffins and cupcakes. I have several sizes. I used a #20 scoop and filled all 24 muffin cups evenly.


You can print the recipe to these muffins HERE.




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