Saturday, September 29, 2012

5 Free eBooks from Scholastic Storia

It's simple to get them. Just go to Scholastic Storia and log in using the same username & password you use to order books for your children. If you don't already have an online account with Scholastic, it's easy to set one up at that login page.

Currently, Storia is available for:
  • Windows PC [Windows®7, Vista®, and XP Service Pack 3]
  • iPad®
  • Android™ Tablet

The next step is just to install Storia on your preferred device (but they do allow you to link up to 5 devices, so you can install on your laptop & iPad and you child can read those same stories on any of the devices.

Your 5 FREE ebooks are:

  • Clifford's Good Deeds
  • I Love School
  • Goosebumps: Night of the Living Dummy
  • Bad Pets
  • Ready Freddy: Tooth Trouble
I just downloaded it for my kids. I love to have some books on the iPad for when we are traveling. They love to read and it is great not to have to carry a bunch of books along when we are already bringing the iPad with us.

Be sure to also read my post about other Free Online Books for Kids and my review of

Friday, September 28, 2012

7 Ideas for Clean Eating Snacks

Thanks for checking out my next installment of ideas for clean eating, you can check them all out here:

All of the following photographs are taken by me and are of meals I made in my home.

Idea #1: Stuffed Apple Rings - Kids & adults will both love these and you can find the recipe on Save Green Being Green.

Idea #2: Frozen Fruit & Berry Pops - Another great recipe I have on my blog and another snack that kids love too! As a mom, it's important that my kids like what I am making too because I don't have time/space for multiple meals/snacks.

Idea #3: 1/2 C Cottage Cheese and 1/2 C raw carrots - Super simple to whip together and put in your cooler to take along.

Idea #4: 1/2 C Hummus and 1+C raw veggies - Hummus is very easy to make and require just a few ingredients and you can add a variety of other things to it to change the taste. This is some Kalamata Hummus that a friend (fellow clean eater) brought over for our lunch playdate with our kids.

Idea #5: 1/2 C Hummus and Pita Bread and Veggies - So, here is a another hummus variety; this one is a garlicky hummus. I served this with some celery and pita bread squares. If you have not made pita bread, you have to check out my recipe. It is SO easy! And Tasty!

Idea #6: Protein Smoothie/Shake with Berries - How I make this depends upon if I have time to sit and enjoy it or if it an take-along snack. If I am enjoying this smoothie I will add a cup of ice to the blender as well which helps me up my water intake. What I like about a frozen smoothie over a shake (no ice) is that it feels more like a treat, especially when I use a chocolate protein powder and pair it with raspberries or strawberries. And if I want to pump up the protein some more, plus have extras to share with my kids, I will add in a 1/2 C of plain greek yogurt (which is how it is pictured above) in addition to the berries & ice.

Idea #7: Ants on a Log - Yes, I have kids, so having some clever kid snacks is par for the course. You can use any kind of nut butter you want in your celery sticks, or even hummus works great too. And switch up your "ants", not only raisins work, but also dried cranberries and dried cherries.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Thrifty Thursday: Grocery Shopping at Kwik Trip

Kwik Trip is a gas station and convenience mart in my area, your's may have a different name, but if you have not checked out your local gas stations as a source to do some grocery shopping you could be missing out on some great deals.

What I love about getting fruit from Kwik Trip is that the price is consistent year round. So, when apples are not in season in our area, then it is the most economical place to buy them. Apples (they often have a few different varities), oranges, pears (and sometimes grapefruit, peaches, plums & nectarines) are 3 for $1.29. Tomatoes are 59-cents each. Bananas, onions & baking potatoes are 39-cents a pound. A large container of half & half is $1.99, lettuce is $1.19, and at the time of this purchase eggs were 99-cents a dozen (usually they have the best price on eggs compared to a grocery store).

I have often seen a pound of butter on sale for $1.99. They also tend to have cheaper prices on milk, even cheaper if you want to buy bags of milk (they do provide free pitchers to use with the bags if you don't have your own pitcher you want to use.) And they also have a frequent buyer punchcard for milk and orange juice which will give you money off when you fill your card.

And bread is another item that can be purchased cheaply. A loaf of white bread is typically 69-cents, but they also carry multi-grain, french loaves, high fiber & other varieties of bread.

And if you like their coffee, they do sell bags of coffee (same kind they make in the store) for $6.99, which is  a little cheaper than the bags of beans you buy in a grocery store.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: McIntosh Woods State Park (Ventura, IA)

This is one of the three places we went camping in August. We stayed in a Yurt at McIntosh Woods State Park in Ventura, IA.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Try It Tuesday: Make Your Own Stampers

 What I love about this project is that it is 2 projects in 1 and both are quick. The first project is making the stampers. The second project is doing the stamping.
 These are super simple to make you just need to save some plastic lids. I found that larger ones that are on SoBe, Vitaminwater & other things like that are larger and work better. The other items you need are some foam stamps (I bought mine from Dollar Tree) and a stamp pad (we just re-used one from some stamp kits we already owned.)
 This project was simple enough that my (almost) 3 year old could remove the backing and apply the sticker himself. If they don't get it quite centered enough, it is simple to remove and re-position them back on the lid.
 And then the fun begins! Start stamping away! My son's stampers were all a vehicle theme (which I purchased for this project), but my daughter went through our cup of old foam stamps found enough of the sea ones leftover to make her own set.
This could even make a cute stocking stuffer gift if you are trying to have a homemade Christmas, or it would be a fun gift for one kid to make for another kid.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Make It Monday: Frozen Apple Pie Filling

Looking for something besides applesauce or apple butter to make with the apples you picked this fall but don't feeling like making more than 1 pie or crisp? Then try out my recipe to make the filling for apple pie or crisp that you just freeze, no canning necessary.

Frozen Apple Pie Filling
6 C apples, peeled & sliced
3/4 C raw sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp citric acid dissolved in 2 T water

Combine all the above ingredients in a 1 quart freezer bag. Freeze flat.

To make in to a pie or crisp, allow to thaw and then use as the filling inside a pie crust or top with apple crisp topping; there is nothing else to add.

Friday, September 21, 2012

7 Ideas for Clean Eating Breakfast

If you are eating clean that you know how important having a big balanced breakfast is! I know sometimes it is easy to get in a rut and not know what to make. I wanted to help give you some ideas. And please check back the next 3 Fridays when I give you 7 ideas for Clean Eating Snacks, Lunch and Dinner.

All of the following photographs are taken by me and are of meals I made in my home.

Idea #1: Breakfast Burrito - Egg White Omelet with veggies, Ezekial wrap, 1/3 C pinto (or black) beans & 1/3 C cottage cheese. Make your self a breakfast burrito with all of these ingredients.

Idea #2: Cereal Loaded with fruit - Kashi Go Lean is packed with 13 g of protein and 10 g of fiber in just 1 C serving. Use this cereal as a base and top with bananas or fresh berries and/or cried cranberries or cherries.

Ideas #3: Greek Yogurt Topped with Fresh Berries & Almonds - 1 C of this greek yogurt packs a huge 19g of protein. Top with 1/2 C of fresh or frozen berries and 1 T sliced almonds (optional) and you have a breakfast with staying power.

Idea #4: Banana Bran Cranberry Muffins - These are great fresh from the oven or to make ahead of time and take on the go. Check out the recipe on this blog. Be sure to pair this with some hard boiled egg whites and some fruit for a perfect on-to-go breakfast.

Idea #5: Oatmeal with 1/2 C Berries and a 8oz. Protein Shake - Oatmeal is so good for you and even better when you cook some berries with it, which helps to add some flavor and sweetness. I am still working on perfecting an oatmeal recipe where I add the protein powder right to oatmeal, and will share that with you when I have it. When I have oatmeal I find it to be very filling, but then I still need a protein source so I will either have a shake with it or 3 egg whites.

Ideas #6: Egg White Omelet with cheese, beans & hot sauce, High Fiber Toast, and Fruit - I make my omelets with 1 whole egg and 2-3 eggs whites because I like to have a little flavor & color that the yolk adds. I stuffed this omelet with 1/4C pinto beans, 1T of mozzarella cheese & hot sauce. I love cheese, so I have to add it in some meals in small amounts. A piece of high fiber toast (this has 4g fiber and 4g protein per 1 slice). There is just something about eggs paired with toast that is comforting to me. And add in some fresh fruit!

Idea #7: 1/2 C Cottage Cheese, Fruit & 1 Serving of Oatmeal: I am not a huge fan of plain oatmeal so this is as plain as it gets for me when it is sweetened/flavored with some cinnamon and a bit of maple syrup.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Thrifty Thursday - Use Vinegar as a Rinse Aid

I stopped using rinse aid years ago when I noticed it was no match for our how hard our water is. Even with rinse aid I was battling water spots and the was increasing mineral buildup in my dishwasher. Vinegar is a cheap way to obtain spot free dishes without using chemicals.

I don't use an exact amount;I just kind of glug it in there but if I had to guess it would be 1/3-1/2 C per load, probably closer to 1/2 Cup.

Be sure to also read my post on Northern Cheapskate "DIY Eco-Friendly Dishwasher Detergent"

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Try It Tuesday - Sea Urchin Craft

This is such a super simple craft that it is perfect for toddlers and preschoolers and gives ample opportunity to teach them about a sea creature they may never have heard of because it doesn't get too much attention

 Gather your supplies. You really need only Model Magic (or playdough or clay) and colored toothpicks. If you don't have colored toothpicks, but have the natural wood kind, I am going to tell you how to make some, but then you will also need a plastic baggie, paint & wax paper.

 To make the colored toothpicks for this project, just put your desired amount of toothpicks in a plastic baggie and squirt in some paint. I think I used about 30 toothpicks and maybe 2 teaspoons of paint. Squish the paint around over the top of the toothpicks until they are all covered.

 Take out toothpicks and allow to dry on top of a piece of wax paper. The wax paper prevents it from sticking. It will dry fairly quickly.

 For a 1" ball out of your Model Magic (or playdough or clay).

.Allow the child (under supervision, toothpicks can be sharp) to pierce the toothpicks in to the ball. You may need to provide a little guidance so they spin the ball and get some placed on all sides, but they can do this project pretty independently.

I just love this picture! You can tell that he is trying so hard to concentrate on pushing in the toothpicks.