Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Lil' Monster's Ball

This new event was held at the Owatonna Art Center

Honey Boo & Mama June at Scare in the Bear 5K Race

 My fun friend Caitlin & I decided we wanted to run a Halloween race together that was on a Friday night and encouraged dressing up. We're a bit of a sucker for dressing up and theme races (we already are planning on a couple next year that we haven't done before that are a theme-of-sorts.)

Can you tell who we are? We are Honey Boo Boo and Mama June.

I have the tutu, bows on my socks (not pictured), a People's Choice sequined sash from Sparkle & Shine, some Gogo Juice, big pagaent hair (wig) & makeup, some arm ruffles, a tiara. Mama June is wearing forklift foot with the painted toenails on a sock (I seriously can't believe someone did that!), a homemade lightweight fat suit, some jeans, a pageant sweatshirt, a wig with gray roots, toilet paper, coupons, and a tooth gap, oh! and neck crust.

I am Honey Boo Boo. I admit that prior to deciding to dress like this duo, I had never watched the show, but I had seen enough previews to know it would be easy enough to make our costumes and could be quite fun and was certainly current and relevant. I did need to do a little research so I could get in to character and ended up watching 2 hours of an episode, interviews and spoof skits and then another half hour reading about their "quotes".

Fortunately for me (not for my costume), I didn't have enough to grab like she does. I am happy to say that I am grabbing more muscle than fat.

Here we are running to the finish line and passing the person in between us. It was a cold run, but they had Caribou hot cocoa and apple cider at the finish line for us, as well as a bunch of snacks.

The other perk of this race was we had the chance to meet chiropractor James Barr, who owns Barr Chiropractic and Sports Clinic in White Bear Lake. He is certified in Active Release Technique and was performing care on runners who were interested. Caitlin & I were interested and were very happy with how he helped us. But since we live over an hour away from his practice we are unable to continue to get care from him, so I thought I would give him a shout out on my blog in case there are some Twin Cities readers looking for a chiropractor.

He also works with the Minnesota Swarm, which is why I have included the above photo.

The race was put on my Tri Fitness - Well Beyond Limits. (probably not a coincidence that it is in White Bear Lake - get it - WBL - Well Beyond Limits.) Most of their races are in White Bear Lake. If I can, I would like to try out another one of their races, it's the Beat the Freeze Biathalon. Go read about it and just try and tell me that doesn't sound like fun! And possibly also their My First Tri.

Creative Ideas for a Spooky Halloween Lunch Bag

 This is my daughter's spooky lunch bag. She had no idea she was opening it up to this.

 They are over-sized teeth made with apples, cream cheese & mini marshmallows.

A couple of ghosts made with tortilla shells and peanut butter & nutella.

 They fingers are just creepy, but tasty. They are just string cheese and sliced almonds.

And finally.....the jack-o-lantern mandarin oranges I mentioned in 5 Easy Last Minute Crafts for Little Ones.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Try It Tuesday: Easy "Homemade" Lollipops

This project is for those times when you want that custom theme. I made these for my son's 3rd birthday party that we held at the John Deere tractor store, so I was going for a Tractor (green & yellow theme - sorry family it was not a Packer theme.)

These were pretty simple to make and I even had my son help me out with placing the candies on top of the silicone sheet in the pattern of yellow-green-yellow.

These are great for a Birthday party favor or you could make them as a fun homemade stocking stuffer for Christmas.

Make Your Own Lollipops

Hard Candies
Lollipop Sticks

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
Lay out your hard candies in the desired pattern/flavors/colors on top of a silicone baking sheet. I suggest 3 candies high.
Bake for 7 minutes (watch carefully, as some ovens cook hotter/colder than others.)
Take out & immediately stick in sticks.
Twist sticks in the melted candy to get candy covering the stick.
Allow to cool for 30 minutes before serving or covering.

**One thing I learned is give them space. On a cookie sheet you should have not more than 3 in a row and 3 rows of 3. Anymore than than and they are likely to spread in to each other.

5 Last Minute Easy Halloween Projects for Little Ones

Torn Paper Candy Corn
I did this with my daughter as a craft activity when she was about my son's age. Simply draw a candy corn on a piece of white paper. Then tear yellow & orange construction paper (or tissue paper) up and have them paste in the correct section. You could also have them paste in white if you wanted but it's not necessary, I think they get the benefits of this activity without having to do each section.

Marshmallow Mummy
This idea came from a pin I saw. I simply drew the picture and let my son spread glue on the mummy and fill in with mini marshmallows. Although, I do believe he ate as many (if not more) marshmallows as he put on. Although, true to form my son renamed this project to what he thought it was "A Marshmallow Egg Mummy".

Dot Art Worksheets
I love Dot Marker Art and the best source of free Dot Art Worksheets is There is a variety of worksheets to choose from for every season, holiday as well as animals and other things. These are great for toddlers & preschoolers. I had my son do this bat one and also a Pumpkin one.

Spider Snack
This is super simple and can even be put in your child's lunch bag (I did and she thought it was great and was the envy of her table that she had a craft to make & eat.) All you need is 1 large marshmallow, 1 chocolate chips and 8 stick pretzels. I think my son did a pretty good job putting them in the right spots.

Pumpkin Snack
This is so simple and my daughter thought it was pretty cool when she saw this in her lunch bag. All her friends at the table that day wanted to see what it was. All you do is draw on a jack-o-lantern face on an individual container of mandarin oranges, peaches or jello.

GIVEAWAY and Review: Does This Church Make Me Look Fat?

Have you read Mennonite in a Little Black Dress by Rhoda Janzen? Did you like it? I did. Does This Church Make Me Look Fat is the newest memoir by Rhoda Janzen.

Overview: Does This Church Make Me Look Fat?: A Mennonite Finds Faith, Meets Mr. Right, and Solves Her Lady Problems What does it mean to give church a try when you haven't really tried since you were twelve? At the end of her bestselling memoir Mennonite in a Little Black Dress, Rhoda Janzen had reconnected with her family and her roots, though her future felt uncertain. But when she starts dating a churchgoer, this skeptic begins a surprising journey to faith and love.
Rhoda doesn't slide back into the dignified simplicity of the Mennonite church. Instead she finds herself hanging with the Pentecostals, who really know how to get down with sparkler pom-poms. Amid the hand waving and hallelujahs Rhoda finds a faith richly practical for life—just in time for some impressive lady problems, an unexpected romance, and a quirky new family.

My Thoughts: I appreciate reading her frankness and humor about religion and a lifestyle she grew up with and how it fit in with her scholarly adult lifestyle and then how it all morphed when she meets Mitch who is a devout Pentecostal church go-er and at the same time is diagnosed with breast cancer. Dealing with a life threatening illness is stressful, starting out a new relationship induces stress (even if it is good stress), moving is very stressful (even more so when it's not in to your house & remodeling is a must) and exploring a religion with hesitation and reluctance has to also be stressful. I cannot imagine combining them all at the same time, but some how Rhoda does and she comes out a happy and more balanced person at the end of it all. 


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I was given a copy of this book for review. No monetary compensation was received. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Make It Monday: Zucchini Bread

I love quick breads. Yum! Well, I just love food. And I have been diligently working at cleaning up our diet and pantry and cooking with more whole grains and unprocessed foods as we try to eat clean. So, this is a zucchini bread recipe that is perfect for those who are eating clean or are trying to make these changes in their diet. Eating clean has been a progressive work in progress and that has worked well for us, as we have made these life long changes to our diet and feel better.

Zucchini Bread Recipe
2 C whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2/3 C raw sugar (honey or maple syrup works too)
1 C shredded zucchini
2 T coconut oil, melted
1/4 C natural apple sauce
1 whole egg
1 egg white
3/4 C plain yogurt
1/4 tsp almond extract (optional, I just love this flavor in any baked good)


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  • Spray 1 large loaf pan.
  • In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda,cinnamon and nutmeg.
  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar, zucchini, apple sauce, egg and egg white, coconut oil, extract and yogurt. Mix well.
  • Using a wooden spoon, stir the flour mixture into the wet mixture and blend well.
  • Pour the batter into the loaf pan and place in the oven.
  • Bake for 50-60 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.
  • Cool & Enjoy!

GIVEAWAY and Review: The Sparkle Box Book & Box


I had the pleasure of reviewing the book The Sparkle Box by Jill Hardie and published by Ideals Books Publishing. The story is about a young boy named Sam who is excited about Christmas and is planning out his Christmas list and thinking about holiday parties but is intrigued by the sparkly box on their mantel. Over the Christmas season, Sam and his family perform various acts of kindness and service and each time they do a slip of paper with that activity written on it is placed in to the box, but Sam doesn't know this. On Christmas morning, Sam finally gets to open the box and finds all the paper slips of the kind activities listed on them. His mom explains to him that all of the good deeds they had been doing during the Christmas season were their gifts to Jesus. The Sparkle Box is filled with all the things they had done for others, which Jesus has said is also done onto him.

I thought this is a great way to help remember the reason for the season. Since I have already read the book to my kids, they know we will be filling up the box with our kind deeds. There are many things we do during the holiday season that are acts of kindness, but I love that we are presenting them as a gift to Jesus and can review on Christmas Day all those kind acts we have performed.

Author Bio
Author Jill Hardie and her family began placing a gift for Jesus under their Christmas tree as a way of bringing more meaning to the holiday.  The first time they opened His gift, the commercialism of the season melted away and they felt a profound joy and peace.  Jill hopes that The Sparkle Box will spark a new Christmas tradition, bringing light into thousands of lives.  

Illustrator Bio
At a very early age, Christine Kornacki developed a love for painting and bringing stories to life.  After receiving a BFA in illustration from the University of Hartford, her dreams of illustrating children's books began to take shape.  She spends her days painting in her studio, which adjoins a charming cafe in New Haven, Connecticut.

Check out the Official Book Trailer:


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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Football Theme Birthday Party

This was a party that my middle sister & I threw for my son and my niece.

We decorated the tables with black tableclothes and made goal lines from green crepe paper and down the center was a banner than said Touchdown. We also sprinkled shiny football theme (helmets and footballs) confetti on the tables.

We also had several football serving dishes, one held spaghetti, another held chips and two cheese dips and the other one held a chocolate peanut butter dip with pretzels (pictures below.)

These were the goodie bags my son picked to pass out. They were jumbo sized, but were the only ones that had footballs on them.

 Here are some of the decorations. Between all the families within our family, we support the Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers, so balloons used throughout the dining room were green, yellow, & purple. We had a Happy Birthday sign on one end with some balloons and a football pennant banner. On the other side were some football lights and a football doorway decoration.

 My daughter really wanted to help out and wanted to make some decorations. So, grandma cut out some football shapes for her and she drew on the lacing in different team colors and then we hung them on the door by the other Happy Birthday sign and balloons & kids' table (not pictured.)

And now for some of the football themed food we served (other food mentioned above):

Here is the cake with a football field and goal posts (made from straws) and cake balls in team colors.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Pretzel Dip & Pretzels

Football Deviled Eggs

Football Pepperoni Pizza

Game Plan Pizza

Friday, October 26, 2012

Homemade Hummus Recipe

I just featured my recipe for Homemade Hummus in my most recent Northern Cheapskate post titled "Stretch Your Budget and Shrink Your Waistline with Beans" and wanted to share the post and this recipe with my readers.

Homemade Hummus Recipe:

 Put all of the following ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth:

1 15 oz. can of garbanzo beans
1/2 tsp. cumin
2 T lemon juice
1 T olive oil
2-3 cloves of garlic

** You can always add in other spices, olives or red pepper to personalize to your taste. I used oregano  in the one I made for these pictures.

Don't forget to make up a batch of homemade pita bread to go with your hummus and veggies!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Preschool At Home & a Little Bit About Me

I stay home full time with my kids, so I get to spend a lot of time with my son while my daughter is in school. We never just sit around watching TV all day; I'm just not made that way and besides, it's just not a good thing to do.

My son is too young for preschool and so I do preschool-at-home with him. It is something I did with my daughter before & during preschool. We are our children's first teachers and will continue to teach them throughout their lives. But I digress; I am not trying to get on a soapbox right now.

Here is a picture of me with the kids while camping. Not a very flattering picture of me since I have no makeup on and am dressed in my camping gear, but it's the real & natural me.

Part of my preschool-at-home with my son is to do crafts/activities/worksheets/puzzles/songs/games/play that encourage his development of fine motor, gross motor, communication, and academic skills.

So, when you see projects on here of my kids doing them, you also see THEIR finished project. Not a mom making something that looks perfect for a blog post (yes, I see those projects & pin them because they are still good ideas and I can have realistic expectations of what my child's finished product will look like.

I don't follow a specific curriculum but I do have several workbooks I use. I try to continually reinforce learning his colors, letters, numbers but I only give him 1-2 worksheets a day. Often though, he will ask for more. He really likes to do them, especially when his sister has her own homework to do. But I also reinforce learning those academic concepts by incorporating in activities and games and projects that get him using different motor skills at the same time.

I also include lots of stories and songtime, interactive time with other kids, physical play, pretend play and yes, I we do watch educational shows. Most shows we watch are on PBS.

And I don't stop teaching my daughter, yes she is in school and has homework and reading charts and tests and spelling tests to practice for, but she loves crafting at home and taking field trips with us when she can. We should never stop learning.

You know what is funny, this was supposed to be a post about some last minute Halloween Crafts (yes, that will still be written & posted next week) but I just decided to go with this post and let know a little bit about me and what I do.