Eight Steps to an Organized Pantry

Who doesn’t love a great DIY pantry make-over? Having an organized pantry is high up on the satisfying scale! (Adult life)
I’ve been buying, returning, planning, and organizing my pantry for the last month and I’ve boiled it all down to eight steps for you!

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Eight Steps to an Organized Pantry

  1. Take everything out! 
    In order for this to work, you need to start with a clean slate, and yes, I know this may take you all day. Set aside a few hours over the weekend, take everything out of your pantry and lay it all out on your dining table. Go through your pantry inventory and throw away all your stale pretzels and those miscellaneous weird items you will never use or eat. This is probably something we should all do every 6 months or so.
  2. If you have wire racks, line them.
    We splurged on our closet systems when we built our house, so lining wasn’t necessary for me. A quick search on Pinterest brought up various lining ideas from foam boards to plastic shelf lining from uline.com. You can make them as simple or festive as you desire.
  3. Sketch out a plan.
    If you’re a visual person like me, you’ll want to see what you’re doing before you make 10 trips to the store. This will help you figure out how many storage containers, baskets, and bins you’ll need. TIP: Use high shelves for items you don’t use very often. This is where I keep any party supplies, paper/plastic supplies, candy or sweets (to hide from kids). Use floor space for overstock or non-food items like reusable grocery bags, paper towels, and cleaning supplies. Use lower shelves for snacks you want the kids to have access to. Use higher shelves for glass containers (if any).

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    Pay no mind to my mad drawing skills

     

  4. Get Clear Storage Food Containers (with tight-fitting lids)
     Not only do clear containers look better than a hodge-podge of boxes, they will maintain your food’s freshness longer than the box they come in. It has also helped me not buy a bunch of different snacks at one time, cluttering the pantry, and allowing things to get pushed to the back and never eaten..once again. Don’t you hate when you grab a box of crackers and discover there’s only one left in the box?!  With clear storage containers, you’ll see which snacks are available and/or almost gone, just by a quick glance. I’m obsessing over the OXO storage container. You can find on Amazon or Target.
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  5. Use Organization Tools!
    Pantry organization tools like Lazy Suzans and Raised Bleachers for cans, spices, and jars are a huge key in this game. They allow everything to be in plain  sight, so it won’t take you 10 tries to find your garlic powder.
  6. Purchase different types of baskets.
    You’ll need see-through baskets for higher shelves, shallow baskets for snacks, and decorative deep baskets for floor. I highly recommend purchasing the see-through baskets for higher shelves so you’re not guessing what’s in them a month from now.
    baskets
  7. Organize food by functions:
    Each basket, bin, and lazy Susan can be organized by your families needs. You can create a baking basket with your baking soda, powder, salt, vanilla, icing, a breakfast basket with pancake/waffle mix, oatmeal, and syrup, and an Italian basket with pasta, sauce, and breadcrumbs. Do you cook tacos every Tuesday? Make taco night basket!
  8. Labeling!
    This may or may not be necessary, BUT it looks good, so go ahead and get that label maker out! You will find a lot of baskets and glass jars with chalkboard labels already attached. This is great for when you need sugar instead of flour, or almond flour instead of wheat flour.

Hope this helps in your quest for organization this year! I know it was on your GOALS list! 🙂

Real Mom Talk of the month: January 2017

One of my favorite things to do is talk with other moms. I like to see how different or similar they handle the same situations, get advice from them, and just generally see how they survive motherhood. When I first had Rockwell, I was so caught off guard with how much work three kids was. I couldn’t seem to get a full grasp on anything and everything was overwhelming. I texted a few of my friends, who had three or more kids, and asked how the heck they got out of the house in the morning…on time without wanting to burst into tears of defeat. They all had different routines and advice, but they all mentioned the word chaos. 🙂 As I read through their messages, I realized there is no “right way” of doing motherhood and what works for some will not work for me, but we’re all kind of the same!

That’s what inspired this new series on the blog. Each month I will talk to a mom, ask her questions, and give you the answers. I hope you all enjoy it as much as me!

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We’re starting off this series (and the year) with my best friend, Alisha. We’ve been through so many different and crazy journeys together since grade school, and currently wading through the waters of mom life. She’s one brave momma bear!

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Q: Tell me your morning routine.
A:  I have two routines depending if Josh is out of town for work. If he is home, I will sleep till 7 a.m., then go downstairs to have my morning coffee. I make the kids lunch, get them ready and send them out the door with Josh so he can take them to school. (His office is right by their school) Once they have left the house, I get my morning workout done. If Josh is traveling for work, I wake up with Brixton, anywhere between 5:30-6 a.m., and usually don’t have coffee because there is no sitting down…Then I get the kids ready for school (breakfast, make lunches, get them dressed, hair ,teeth ,shoes… you know the drill) and try to make myself presentable to go in public. LOL. After school drop off, anything on my agenda for the day (workouts, meetings, work) can start at 9:30 a.m.

Q: What is your favorite thing to do with your kids?
A:
Cuddle or to sing and dance.

Q: What is there favorite thing to do with you?
A: Help cook or lay with me.

Q: If you could recommend one baby product, what would it be?
A: The Dock a tot! When Brixton was a newborn/infant, it was the only thing he would sleep in besides on my chest so, it was a life saver! Now at 18 months old, we got him the larger size and he’s been sleeping in his bed instead of ours.

Q: Life has its challenges and parenting is one of them, what’s your saving grace when it comes to parenting?
A: Um… how many things can I list here?! As a parent, things can seem non stop 24-7 so, my saving grace is anything that just gives me the ability to reconnect with myself and spouse. For example, when the kids nap or hangout with the grandparents we get the ability to have a date night or quiet time outside of work and parenting.

Q: Getting personal… did you have trouble conceiving children?
A: No, I got pregnant too easily, it’s kind of scary! But, I did experience a miscarriage with my first pregnancy, which at that time in my life was highly devastating.

Q: If so, what would you say to someone going through that right now?
A:
I know many of my close friends have gone through that and are still trying to conceive, so I would say to them to keep their faith strong and trust God’s path for them. While they are in the waiting to enjoy their life with their husbands, embrace that time together!

Q: What is something you’ve done that gave you “mom guilt”?
A: I’ve traveled once without both my kids and that mom guilt set in. It got better once I spoke with them and saw how much fun they were having with YaYa and PaPa! They didn’t seem to miss me too much. LOL

Q: What’s your kid’s favorite meal that you make?
A: Tacos with rice and beans!

Q: When people ask “what you do”, what do you say?
A: Interior Designer and mom of two.

Q: Describe motherhood in one word:
A: Fulfilling

Reaching your 2017 health goals #Giveaway

Friends! I hope this hump day, as well as this year, is treating you well so far!

We are a couple weeks into 2017, and I feel like (according to my Instagram feed) everyone is on that health train and going in the right direction! Although they sometimes seem monotonous, posting your healthy eats and exercise pictures are motivation to many and often give people the inspiration they need.

KEEP.IT.UP!

I know it’s not easy, I know it takes time, and I know it can really put you in a grouchy mood sometimes. (Just give me a piece of chocolate!)
Been there, done that, back there again, and so on.

The things I hear the most regarding healthy eating is “I don’t know what to eat”, “It takes too much time”, or “I got bored of that food”; and I think I hear these a lot because most people are looking at it as a temporary thing. I agree, if I was eating chicken and sweet potato with a side of spinach every day I’d want that to be temporary too! If you look at healthy eating as a way of life and the way you should be eating, you’ll find ways to spruce it up. Don’t think about it too much, just start putting stuff together.

One of my favorite companies that makes healthy eating easier and versatile is organicgirl! I’ve teamed up with them to help promote their New Year #LiveLifeFresh giveaway!

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I buy organicgirl products on the regular since their boxes of greens get used at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Smoothies, salads, bowls, wraps, you name it, I always try to get a handful of greens in each of my meals.

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organicgirl baby spinach used in a Guacamole wrap for lunch

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organicgirl baby spinach used for a dinner salad topped with Crockpot Taco chicken

To help their fans #livelifefresh, organicgirl is hosting an amazing #giveaway right now!

You can sign up here to win a giveaway of salad, dressings and juices FOR A YEAR + a $500 gift card to the trendy online fitness boutique evolve fitwear + $100 to your favorite grocery store. Beyond the grand prize, organicgirl will be giving other prizes along the way, too! FUN!

You can’t win if you don’t sign up! 🙂 Here’s the link, again!

Let’s #LifeLifeFresh together in 2017!
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**Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post through a partnership with organicgirl. I received compensation in the form of free products for this blog post and social media love! As always, all opinions are my own.

Everything to do in NYC with Kids

New York City….a city of pure wonder and delight, and dirty streets and police sirens.

We did the unthinkable (according to many people who commented so) and brought three very young children to NYC with us. The trip wasn’t about me, relaxing spa days, fancy dinners, or going bar hopping. It was about the magical feeling NYC has at Christmas, eating all the yummy foods, and having fun! If that’s not kid-friendly, then I don’t know what is!

The only problem we ran into was using the double stroller on subways and busy streets and keeping up with all the hats and gloves everyone needed. We had five hats, ten pairs of gloves, and three blankets to keep track of while navigating the streets. We lost at least one glove every day and made three trips into H&M (on every corner) to restock. New York City has the best H&M stores, so I wasn’t mad about going in there so many times. 🙂

First lets talk about a stroller in NYC. You’ll see a stroller here and there on the streets, but you will not see one double stroller (besides ours). Three kids in NYC must be like black magic and people will look at you and make comments like “wow that’s a lot of kids!” or “you’ve got your hands full!” Then you smile and say things like, “Thank you for that obvious observation.” Yes, some of the subways have elevators, but not all, and some of the ones that do, don’t work. We got stuck on one and I had a mini heart attack. After that incident, we made the kids get out of the stroller each time and threw it down/up the stairs at each stop. It worked and we were free to move about NYC without obstacles. Will I bring that double stroller to NYC again? Not a chance. Here’s what I recommend. For babies 24 months and under, wear them in a baby carrier. They will be too distracted by the huge buildings, crazy loud people, and lights to kick and scream to get out. For kids between two and six years old, use a fold-up umbrella stroller. Kids over six years old should probably walk along side you, not taking their hand out of yours for a second. Let’s be safe!

Before we left, you know I did my research on NYC must-go-to places. I had a list with so many things on it that we didn’t get around to everything, even though we rarely took a rest. (I told you no relaxing spa days on this trip!) I’ll start by telling you about everything we did do, then leave a list of everything we didn’t get around to. If you go to NYC and do any of my unconquered list, you MUST tell me how it was!
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  1. Central Park – Central Park is huge and if your kids are old enough to ride bikes, I recommend renting them to see all of the park. There are hills, professional bikers/runners, and horse buggies around so they should be strong bike riders. We walked around, played on the various hills, and then the kids all fell asleep. You’ll find various musicians and artists posted up, and maybe even have a Big Bird sighting.  Central Park is home to an ice skating rink that’s a lot less crowded than Rockefeller Center, a zoo, and tons of wonderful people watching moments. You can also re-enact many scenes from Home Alone like at the Bethesda Fountain & Terrace.
  2. Washington Square – Located in the Greenwich village neighborhood and known for the beautiful, picture-worthy arch. They have a decent size playground for the kids to play on and is surrounded by great eating spots! New York University is right across the street so be prepared to be stopped by many people asking if you have a minute for various human rights issues.
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  3. Radio City Rockettes –  I don’t even think this needs an explanation. Sophia (5 years old) and I were in awe, Penelope (3) did great for about an hour, and Rockwell (7 months old) slept the whole time. Radio City is beautiful and the Rockettes are amazing! I can’t wait to bring the girl’s to more Broadway shows when they get older.
  4. Bryant Park –  Pure heaven during the Winter Village. We went twice because there is so much to do and eat, it’s ridiculous. To name a few: Pickle Me Pete for the best fried pickles ever, Wafels and Dinges for sweet tooth satisfaction, and a goat cheese topped arepa from TopArepa for a little taste of Venezuela.  The Winter Village is the best there is and runs from the end of October till  beginning of March.
  5. Times Square – The ultimate tourist trap. This is my least favorite thing in NYC, but it’s a must-do at least once. It’s extremely crowded and full of stuff you can find elsewhere, like Applebees and the Disney store. The kids LOVED it for the M&M and Hershey stores, I loved looking at it from 42nd Street, but dreaded walking through it.
  6. UrbanSpace Vanderbuilt – Basically a food court with everything you’d want! We came here for dinner one night when we couldn’t decide on just one thing to eat. There are about 20 different food vendors available and long communal dining tables in the middle (that you may have to fight for).  This is a popular “after-work” spot located right next to Grand Central terminal. We ate a burger and chocolate milkshake from Burgers, a Hai Chicken sushi burrito from Hai Street kitchen, and a fried chicken sandwich from Delaney chicken. Everything we got was delicious in it’s own way. I mean, you seriously can’t go wrong in this place.
  7. Tompkins Square Bagels – Bagels are everywhere in NYC, but take the hike to Tompkins Square bagels, and thank me later! Angelo said his Weezer bagel sandwich was the best sandwich he’s ever had. I had the French toast bagel with birthday cake cream cheese because it was extremely popular on their Instagram. They have gluten free bagel options, several cream cheese options (that look like delicious ice cream), and Lox! I can’t recommend this place enough! (Cash only)
  8. Dylan’s Candy Bar – I know there are candy bars around the U.S., but this is the three-story flagship bar! Stop in for a bag of your favorite candies, and get “The Best of Both Worlds” milkshake. Post of pic of Instagram right before your kids devour it! 😉 They have a full alcohol bar and food menu also.
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  9. Ellen’s Stardust Diner – The only place worth going to in Times Square. You’re not going for the average diner food, you’re going for the entertainment. The staff is full of Broadway hopefuls who sing and dance the entire time. The place is loud, colorful, and absolutely perfect for kids!
  10. Lombardi’s Pizzeria – Proclaimed as the first pizzeria in NYC, we have been here on both trips to NYC and 100% recommend it! It’s located in Little Italy, so it’s a great area to explore. Grab a Buddy’s special pizza loaded with prosciutto and arugula and a Brooklyn lager to wash it down. This place is cash only, but there is an ATM inside.
  11. Rockefeller Center – Another extremely busy area, but a must-do if you’re there during Christmas time. We sat and watched the ice skaters, took pictures, and checked it off the list. This is the area where they film the Today show, so if you’re extra early you may be on TV! (Hi Mom!)
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  12. Stroll down Fifth Ave. – Right now Fifth Ave. is a mad house because Mr. Trump lives there. All walking traffic is pushed to one side when you get close to the Trump Tower (right next to Tiffany & Co). If you go earlier in the day it’s not too bad and you’ll actually get a picture in front of the Rockefeller Christmas tree, but you’ll miss the light display on Saks Fifth Ave. So, this is a place you’ll have to brave twice, once in the morning and once at night. The store window displays are absolutely beautiful!
  13. Chelsea Market – Ah, I feel in love with this place and it’s now one of my favorite places in the whole city! There are so many different restaurants, shops, coffee bars, etc and you will not go wrong with whichever one you choose. We strolled through the market after dinner one night and grabbed a milkshake from Chelsea Creamline and a Matcha latte from Chalait.
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  14. Subway rides – Coming from a Florida girl who thinks the idea of Subways are scary, just do it. The first two days I was hesitant to do the subway with the kids and stroller, but after walking 10 miles one day and two feet blisters later, I was desperate. You can always take taxis or Ubers everywhere, but then you’ll go broke. The subway is extremely affordable, quick, and rather easy to get a hang of. Once you understand the street/avenue grid that makes up NYC, you’ll never NOT use the Subway. You’ll be saying sentences like “take the L train to the 6, to go uptown to Grand Central” and sound like a true New Yorker. If you get lost, just ask the nice New Yorkers around you. 😉
  15. Eataly – Absolutely beautiful, but eat somewhere else! I wish we had rented an apartment just so I could go grocery shopping here and make a delicious Italian dinner one night. Eataly is a cool place to roam around, grab a drink, and maybe pick up some goods straight from Italy. We ate at the restaurant inside the downtown location and honestly, I wouldn’t recommend it for an Italian meal in NYC. My steak was great, but the spaghetti wasn’t.
  16. Ground Zero & Oculus – If there’s one place in NYC I wanted my kids to see, it was this. Although they may not understand now, this is a huge part of our country’s history. It became our classroom for the day. They have the memorial poles, a museum, and the newest Oculus. The Oculus is a new landmark in NYC and is stunning! Inside we strolled past high-end shops, restaurants (Eataly), stopped at the Apple store to charge my phone, and my favorite, Sugarfina, an adult candy shop!
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  17. Grand Central Terminal – There was something amazing about standing in the middle of GCT and watching New Yorkers do their daily commutes. It was a movie-like experience! We were lucky to have this right next to our hotel and where we hopped on the subway every morning.

Things we didn’t get around to:

  1. Macy’s Santaland (in December)- If I hadn’t already gotten a great Santa picture of the kids before we left home this would have been a priority. We didn’t get out of the hotel early enough any morning to try and beat the line either, which is highly recommended.
  2. Dominque Ansel Bakery – Get a Cronut and cookie shot!
  3. By Chloe – Probably the only “healthy” place on my list. Get the Quinoa Taco Salad and sit in their swing chairs!
  4. Ottos Tacos – I really wish we would of gone here and eaten the Carne Asada taco because we love tacos so much and this place has amazing reviews!
  5. Koronet Pizza – They have the biggest slices of pizza! I must admit I have this on the list purely to get a picture of me holding a pizza slice that’s bigger than my head.
  6. Brooklyn Bridge – Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge is weirdly on my bucket list, but not in 30 degree weather.
  7. The Statue of Liberty – Angelo & I have done the Statue of Liberty before and I had it on the list because I think kids would really enjoy it as well. It was just too cold for us to do it this time around.
  8. Eloise Tea at the Plaza – If the girls were just a year or two older I would have made reservations for this. “I am Eloise. I am six.”
  9. Serendipity3 – If you ever tell anyone you’re going to NYC, they will tell you to go here for their Frozen Hot Chocolate. We’ve been to the one in Miami (now closed) but never the NYC one. We tried to go in 2009, but they were booked solid. Make a reservation and squeeze in!
  10. Empire State Building – We walked past this building and I showed the kids the 5th tallest building in US. I wasn’t comfortable taking the kids up and they didn’t seem to care, so this is a older kid adventure!
  11. Milk Bar – They have a thing called ‘Crack pie’ and that’s all you need to know.
  12. Big Gay Ice Cream – Get their Rocky Road Ice cream cone or any of their delicious and Instagram picture worthy cones!
  13. Alice’s Tea Cup – This will definitely be a must-do on our next trip to the city. Make a reservation with your little ladies to go to this “most whimsical tea house”! I’m curious to know how it compares to the Eloise Tea at the Plaza.
  14. Children’s Room at the NY Public Library – A beautiful landmark, with a Hundred Acre Woods themed children’s room.
  15. The High Line – More of a spring-summer attraction for us Floridians. An abandoned railroad track where your kids can run through wildflower fields above the city streets.
  16. Coney Island – Bucket list item! Eat a hot dog on Coney Island in the summer.
  17. New York Yankee Stadium – Even during the off-season, Yankee stadium does daily tours.
  18. Madison Square Garden – Try to catch a game or concert here, but if not, they do daily tours as well! Go behind the scenes at one of the world’s most famous arenas.

Now go out there and conquer the Big Apple like a #momboss!

Slow Cooker Vegetable Soup

Hi friends! Happy 2017!

This is my first post as “Alex, the real housemom” and the first post of 2017 on the blog! I couldn’t be more excited for all of the new material that I have coming to you, plus all that awesomeness you’ve been enjoying for the past couple years will still be here! I’m talking recipes, kid activities, and real mom/family talk with a side of humor. Something else you’d like to see? Shoot me an email! –>  Alex@AlexTheRealHousemom.com 

Back to bizzniz….

The weather here in Florida has been so cold (for my standards)! We are hitting temperatures in the 30’s for crying out loud. If there’s one thing that I want on a cold night (besides full body onesie footed pajamas) it’s a huge bowl of soup…and since we’re in January, you know it’s got to be healthy soup (goals). 

This vegetable soup was everything I wanted it to be and more! It had amazing flavor packed with vegetables and beans and it filled me up. I served it to my family with simple corn muffins because kids heart carbs, as does the hubby who can lose 5 pounds in a day when I’m struggling with 5 pounds in a month.  Major side eye when they were throwing back those muffins. But anyways, do this soup! Chop up the veggies in the morning, pour everything in the slow cooker, and let it cook all day while you do your thing. Come home to a hearty meatless Monday or vegan Tuesday through Sunday meal. We all need more of those…am I right?!
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Penelope took one look at the soup and asked where the noodles were, because apparently all soups require noodles. After some convincing, I gave her a spoonful and 50 bites later the bowl was empty.  Kid approved and mom win! Sometimes they just need a small pep talk!

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Slow Cooker Vegetable Soup

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 4 hours

Total Time: 4 hours, 10 minutes

Yield: 8-10 servings

Great traditional vegetarian soup packed with vegetables and beans.

Ingredients

  • 6-8 cups vegetable broth
  • 3 stocks of celery, chopped
  • 2 large carrots, peeled & chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled & chopped
  • 1 can kidney beans, drained & rinsed
  • 1 can black beans, drained & rinsed
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup fresh parsley chopped
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp salt or as desired
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen peas
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen corn

Instructions

  1. Add all ingredients to slow cooker, except for frozen corn and peas.
  2. Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6 hours.
  3. Add peas and corn to slow cooker 30 minutes before serving.
  4. Serve warm.
http://www.al2getherfit.com/2017/01/10/slow-cooker-vegetable-soup/

Mocktails to Celebrate

Friends! I can’t believe we’re about to celebrate a new year!
With three young kids, New Year’s Eve is a little different these days.
Staying up until midnight may be a challenge in it’s own, but having a kid-friendly party isn’t!  Get a party-pack full of hats and horn-blowers, then get creative for a midnight toast with the kid’s left standing (or adult’s who would rather have a mocktail).

 

Milk & Cookies
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Fruit and lemonade
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Milk with yummy Rimmed glasses
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– vanilla icing with fruity pebbles

Gummie bears with Sparkling Cider
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Other celebration drink options
Cotton candy
Any fruit juice (apple, orange, fruit punch)
Rock candy stirrers
Chocolate milk
Whipped cream with sprinkles
Hot chocolate with marshmallows

 

Whole Wheat, No Sugar Added Banana Bread

Whole Wheat, no sugar added Banana bread to add to your baking lineup this winter as a healthy alternative!

Friends!!! My friends! How have you been?! I hope great, seeing that it’s SO CLOSE to Christmas time. AH!
We recently got back from a short trip to NYC, the girls are out of school for Christmas vacation, and baking season is in the house!

When you think of Christmas and baking, cookies usuaully come to mind. But, that day, that day we set aside to bake up as many Christmas cookies as we can, is later this week with my mom. So, hold up!

Until then, we bake other yummy things! Things we can eat without getting a sugar rush. Things we can eat without feeling like Buddy the Elf baked it himself.
This banana bread cannot come at a better time. A time when everything is filled with sugar. It has the perfect amount of sweetness provided by honey. Sophia did request chocolate chips in it, but we must draw the line peeps! We have enough chocolate in our lives right now (yeah, I said it)!

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Whole Wheat, No Sugar Banana Bread

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Whole Wheat, no sugar added Banana bread to add to your baking lineup this winter as a healthy alternative!

Ingredients

  • 3 overripe bananas
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • ½ cup old fashioned rolled oats
  • ½ cup applesauce
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, mash bananas.
  3. Add rest of ingredients and mix until combined. Do not overmix!
  4. Pour batter into lightly greased loaf pan.
  5. Add slices of bananas to top of batter and sprinkle with oats and cinnamon.
  6. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until knife comes out clean.
  7. Let cool.
  8. Enjoy!
http://www.al2getherfit.com/2016/12/18/whole-wheat-no-sugar-banana-bread/
 
 
XOXO

#HowDoYouHoliday at Westfield

It’s that time of year again…Santa has arrived at Westfield shopping centers!

I brought the whole family last weekend to visit Santa, decorate cookies, create ornaments, and even see Santa’s reindeer! This was kind of a big deal because apparently Reindeer for rent are few and far between. Who knew?! The girls had a blast, Rock had his first encounter with Santa, and I got some great photos! (Total mom win!)

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Last year we made an attempt to see Santa and it didn’t go well. Penelope was terrified of the big jolly man and the line was outragously long! This year couldn’t have gone any better than it did! Although the line was still long, there were two different Storytime stops. Staff members read books to the kids and the kids didn’t completely lose their minds of bordeom during the wait! Another win!

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When it was our turn, Penelope saw Mrs. Claus first and went right up to her! Sophia and Rock got to sit on Santa’s lap, while Penelope felt more comfortable with Mrs. Claus. This is one of my favorite things about Westfield Brandon’s Santa pictures!

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The staff helping out with the Santa pictures were awesome! They had jingle bells and big smiles on their faces trying to get the perfect Santa picture for me. I’m so thankful for them! You can visit Westfield and have photos taken now until Christmas Eve.

Westfield is really cranking up the holiday spirit this year with several events throughout the month of December to put you and your family (even the dog!) in the Christmas spirit.
Hound for the Holidays is coming up on December 11th from 6:30pm-8:30pm. Bring your furry family friends for a special night with Santa. The first 50 pet parents receive a stocking stuffed with treats for their beloved family member.
Visit Westfield.com/holiday for everything from Holiday gift guides to details on how to skip the Santa line!

Merry Christmas! From these precious ones!
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XOXO

30 Ways to Spread Kindness

Towards the end of every year we tend to step back, count our blessings, be thankful for everything we have, and give back to those in need. Whether that be a bike for a child to ride on Christmas morning or a hug for a police officer!

It comes in all sizes and it’s usually the littlest forms of kindness (that you don’t even realize you’re doing) that mean the most. Letting someone in front of you in traffic, leaving a little inspirational note on a table, or just sitting and talking with a friend could brighten someone’s day in ways you may never know.

I believe kindness starts in the home, so let’s start by being patient and kind to our own kids and spouses, then spreading the goodness throughout the community.

Although kindness should be spread year-round, everyone seems to be in the giving mood around the holidays. My hope is that this list gets passed around all year long, for years to come, and kindness is spread daily!

30ways

XOXO