June 28, 2016

Perfect Gooey Rice Krispie Treats

Best-Ever Rice Krispie Treats are an easy, quick treat that's perfect for picnics, to make a typical day special and as a dessert for any of the summer holidays. These aren't your usual treats -- they are extra gooey with the perfect amount of marshmallow. Plus, I add two secret ingredients that are so simple, yet make them the best you've ever tasted. One of the secret ingredients adds the fun color, which you can change up depending on the holiday or what color the kids pick that day.

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June 24, 2016

Lady Lullaby and The Road to Dreamland

Music is important at our house, especially at bedtime. We have a routine that involves singing different songs to the kids, their own special song and then different songs each night. Whenever I have the chance to share new music with them, especially of different styles, I like to. The latest music I'm sharing with M2 and B is The Road to Dreamland.

June 21, 2016

DIY Landscaping: Front Yard Redesign Begins

When we started our DIY landscaping project, top on the list of landscaping redesign is the two front, large gardens. Nasty Bermuda grass has been growing in one. Nothing A has tried got rid of it. Plus, we hate having to pull weeds all the time. That led us to the brilliant idea of rocking in both of the beds and it spawned the whole DIY landscaping redo. Once we had the rock idea, we scouted out different types together to decide which type. Neither of us are fans of the river rock and the small pebble styles wouldn't work out well. I love the look of marble rock in gardens, so that's what we settled on. We tackled one side at a time, cleaning out first then continuing on to plants. Black weed-preventing paper went down under the rocks to try to discourage the weeds.

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June 17, 2016

Mexican Chicken Soup

Light, summery soups are a staple of my summer menu. Combining broth, herbs, chicken and fresh veggies creates a delightful dish that is isn't too heavy for the hot days. My current favorite is Mexican chicken soup. I throw everything together in the slow cooker in about 20 minutes (depending how fast I chop and peel the veggies), then let is simmer in there all day. It keeps the house cooler since I don't have to get the oven or stove heated up. I stay cooler, too, since I'm not standing over that stove roasting myself. Any leftovers I send with A for his lunches or freeze for even quicker meals.

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June 15, 2016

DIY Landscaping: Getting Started

If you follow me on any of my social media accounts, you've heard that we are redoing all the landscaping in our yard. It's a DIY project. A and I are doing it all ourselves, from cleaning out every bed, ripping down big trees and bushes, planning each garden, selecting plants, to buying plants, planting them in the beds and rocking in two big gardens. A veggie garden also got built and planted this year. Finally, after years of wanting one. In all, there are 16 gardens in our yard of various sizes. It's a complete yard overhaul.

It's all still a work in progress. Some won't even be finished until next spring since it's starting to get too hot to plant, plus we have a budget to stick with. We're about two months into working on this, with much more left to go. Having super rainy days when we can't get out to work, plus other life things to take care of, kids to spend time with and life in general makes this a longer process.

One of the big reasons we are doing the project ourselves is cost. When you hire someone, landscaping is so, so expensive. We are saving thousands of dollars doing it ourselves. Plus, it's great exercise, a learning experience, stress relief and something I am really enjoying. (I can't say that A is enjoying it as much, but he's working hard!)

June 9, 2016

Double Chocolate Banana Mini Muffins

When the craving for chocolate hits, it's hard to stay healthy and still satisfy the craving. These double chocolate banana mini muffins give you the chocolate you want without all the calories (each muffin clocks in at about 60 calories). The bananas and lower amount of sugar keep them healthy, too, and give you a bit of energy to keep chasing the kids.

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They go fast once baked, so you may want to freeze some to eat when the kids aren't looking to they don't eat them all before you get any. Since they're bite-sized, it's easy to pop one in your mouth before the kids start clamoring for one of their own. Or so you can actually eat something before they start screaming and getting into everything. Since all the ingredients can be dumped together then mixed, it's a quick recipe to whip up when you have brown bananas that need to be used.

June 8, 2016

Chocolate Banana Mini Muffins

Chocolate and bananas. A delicious combination. This chocolate banana muffins recipe makes a delicious half-and-half blend of chocolate and banana flavor. If you prefer a stronger banana flavor with a hint of chocolate goodness, you'll prefer the banana chocolate chip muffins I shared before. For an extra decedent recipe with double chocolate, check back tomorrow for my double chocolate banana mini muffin recipe.

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The muffins are soft and fluffy, a yummy blend that totals around 55 calories each. I end up eating about four for a filling breakfast, which would be the size of one of those large breakfast muffins. These are about half the calories, though, and not nearly as full of salt, sugar and other unhealthy ingredients. Since all the ingredients can be dumped together then mixed, it's a quick recipe to whip up when you have brown bananas about to go to waste.

June 7, 2016

Banana Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins

Around here, I always stock up on bananas. Baby B eats them daily. Sadly, sometimes they go brown way too quickly, leaving me with a pile of bananas I either have to toss or use for baking. M2 and I are usually not fans of banana muffins or bread, so the recipe has to be exceptional for use to eat them. My banana chocolate chip mini muffin recipe hits the spot. Even making 72 at a time, these little suckers don't last long.

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This recipe creates light, fluffy moist muffins with the right amount of banana flavor and a dash of chocolate to top them off. No dense, dry, overly sweet or overly banana tasting muffins here!

June 2, 2016

Kitchen and Bathroom Redesign Dreams

I have a habit of dreaming about how I would turn my kitchen and bathroom into dream spaces. Checking out houses, seeing what other people do to decorate their rooms, fascinates me. Home improvement shows? I love 'em. Wandering stores and websites to look at flooring, tiles, fixtures, sinks and accessories delights me.

June 1, 2016

DIY Natural Mosquito-Repelling Planters

As the weather warms up, the biting, annoying mosquitoes start swarming around. Nipping any skin they find, flying in faces, being a general pain in the butt. I'm being proactive this year to keep the little buggers (no pun intended) from eating us all up alive. I put together natural mosquito-repelling planters. As a bonus, they repel other bugs as well. One for the deck, one for by our front door, another for the porch table and the last one for the deck table. Along with being extremely simple to make, they look nice and smell good. Decorating the porch and deck with these are part of our landscaping redesign project.