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Friday, November 22, 2013

7 Ideas for the Ultimate Family Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is right around the corner and it's time to start planning your day! Do you have any special traditions like cooking the meal together or watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in the morning? With your traditions and these eight things, you can have the greatest Thanksgiving yet!

1. Turkey

It's just not Thanksgiving without the turkey! Make sure you buy your turkey in advance and be sure to thaw it days before so that it'll be ready. And don't burn it! You don't want to deal with any Thanksgiving disasters like you see in movies.

2. Help from the kids 

Get your kids involved with cooking on Thanksgiving. With the main course and all the side dishes and desserts, you'll welcome the help and your kids will love cooking with you! Check out some fun and easy Thanksgiving recipes to share with them.

3. Football 

Football is a staple of Thanksgiving Day entertainment. NFL games are on all day long on Thursday. Gather around the TV and cheer on your favorite team.

4. Healthy side dishes 

With all the food you'll be eating this holiday, it's important to throw in some healthy options. You'll find endless recipes for healthy side dishes and appetizers. Look for some with your favorite ingredients and get the kids to help make them!


5. Shopping 

Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving) kicks off the holiday shopping season. Prepare for your trip out by checking the ads online so you'll know exactly what to look for and which stores have the best sales. Or, if you live in a rural area or you're spending the holiday away from home, start your shopping online, wherever you may be.

6. Desserts 

After your big Thanksgiving dinner, you might want a break from food – but no big meal is complete without desserts! Make a variety of tiny desserts so everyone can sample a few delicious dishes without getting too stuffed. And don't forget the pumpkin pie and other yummy pumpkin dishes!


7. Fun activities for your kids 

Without things planned to do, your kids may get bored. Pick out some movies to watch or board games to play as a family after all the cooking and eating is done. If your kids aren't helping cook, let them play video games or watch fun Thanksgiving movies. Keep everyone happy with some fun activities between cooking and eating.


Skylar Michelle James is a woman who loves technology. Currently Skylar is a graduate student in the Boston Massachusetts area. She is writing her thesis on the Internet Philosophy. When she is not studying she is freelance writing about family, event planning, current trends and technology. Please connect with her via twitter @SkyJamesWriter or email.
~This post may contain affiliate links and I'll earn a small commission if you shop through them. There is no extra cost to you. This is how we help support our family and continue to bring you amazing content. To learn more see the affiliates disclosure here.~

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Asian Dumplings from scratch

First off let me tell you about Craftsy

Craftsy is a worldwide craft community offering online classes. It also has a patterns marketplace where independent designers can sell their patterns; a supplies shop with great deals on yarn, fabric, and class kits; and a projects section where members share pictures of their latest craft successes. With over two million members and counting, Craftsy has something for just about everyone, in categories ranging from quilting, sewing, knitting, painting, photography, cooking, and more.

Craftsy Logo

What I like about Craftsy

I was able to review and choose one of Craftsy cooking lessons and let me tell you I had a hard time narrowing it down to which one I would start with. They have so many wonderful classes that you can buy and watch over and over on your own time frame.

Craftsy classes are designed to have all the benefits of an in-person class. Available online and on-demand, you always have world-class instructors at the tip of your fingers. You can retake the class as many times as you want, and the 30-second repeat feature allows you to watch the same section over and over again until you get every technique just right.

Watching a Craftsy class is like having a first-row seat with some of the best instructors in the world. Even better, classes have a 100% money-back guarantee.

 My Class Review-Asian Dumplings

My family loves anything Asian food and buying dumplings or won tons can be an expensive outing. So I thought what a great idea to make your own. I've already can make basic fried wontons and we love them. But this class was like taking a trip around China and Japan learning different techniques and recipes in this Asian Dumpling Lesson.


Andrea Ngyuen, the Instructor learned how to cook when she was young with rice and wontons. She choices you several ways to cook dumplings such as fried or in a broth. But I think my favorite thing to see was the different ways you can fold and shape your dumplings as well as what to stuff them with. The course comes with 8 recipes to download and experiment with in the kitchen. Recipes like Sui Mai, Potstickers and Korean Dumplings as well as making your own dumpling dough.

She inspired me to try Pork Sui Mai at home. This was something I had not done before. Basically they are cutting wonton wrappers into circles and filling them and shaping them into "open bags" as Andrea calls them.

I changed the recipe a bit but used her forming and cooking techniques:
2 lbs. ground pork
can water chestnuts, chopped finely
3 carrots, chopped finely
4-5 whole mushrooms, chopped finely
1 garlic clove minced
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/4 Cup soy sauce
1 T. sesame oil
1 T. rice wine vinegar
Add all ingredients together until well combined. Add to your wonton wrappers and steam.
They turned out great.



















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Vegetable Chopper

I wanted to share a super chopper that works great for cooking.

1. It is great for kids to use
2. It makes chopping fruits or vegetables finely so much easier.
Vidalia Chop Wizard









I use it to add vegetables to soups, meatloaves, stir fries, salads, and so on. My kids are more apt to eat small chopped vegetables like these then large chunks.


~This post may contain affiliate links and I'll earn a small commission if you shop through them. There is no extra cost to you. This is how we help support our family and continue to bring you amazing content. To learn more see the affiliates disclosure here.~

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Breakfast Puffy Pancake

Does breakfast get a little monotonous at your house? It sure does at my house. This recipe is good for a weekend meal as it bakes for about 20-25 minutes.  I usually double the recipe to feed my family and use a large round cake pan.

It is fun to watch the pancake get large and puffy.  As it cools off it will deflate. One time I had the pancake come out looking like an octopus. Super fun right, I used a flower cake pan maybe that was the secret?!




Oven Puffy Pancake
In 13x9 dish melt 4 Tablespoons butter by placing in a preheating oven.
In a bowl, beat together 4 eggs, 1 Cup flour, 1 Cup milk and ¼ teaspoon salt.
Pour mixture into baking dish over the melted butter.



Adult should bake in the oven at 400 degrees for 25 minutes until puffy and golden brown.
Sprinkle with powdered sugar and top with sliced or cut up fruit.

~This post may contain affiliate links and I'll earn a small commission if you shop through them. There is no extra cost to you. This is how we help support our family and continue to bring you amazing content. To learn more see the affiliates disclosure here.~

Friday, November 8, 2013

Road Trip ideas

Are you planning some holiday family trips? Plane rides or car rides here are some ideas to help you along the way.

Have kids prepare an itinerary of the journey. Or at least rewrite it in their own little notebook so they have an idea of what to expect. Something that drives me a little crazy when traveling is having to explain over and over where we are going, layovers, how long it will take it, etc. x3 for each kid. This way they have a good idea on their own what is going on and can consult their own little itinerary.

Prepare snacks to take along with the kids help. Trail mixes, snack mixes, cookies, homemade granola bars, are all portable snacks. For more snack ideas see these two pages:
Healthy Kids Snacks
snacks with 6 or less ingredients

 More Ideas for Car Road Trips

Making the best of a road trip with Little Passports Travel Tips
“Are we there yet?” was a term coined by the family road trip! While new technology and toys may have silenced backseat conversations, spending time together in the car can still be a great opportunity for family bonding and learning. Even if you plan on bringing the latest gadget to pass the time, try saving them for the end of your trip when everyone is tired and cranky!

Here are some ideas from Little Passports that are sure to make the time fly by (or at least go by a little faster

Save your most recent Little Passports delivery from Sam and Sofia for your road trip so your kids to learn and explore during the car ride.
Say goodbye to your trusted GPS ! Bring back the memory of car trips as a kid and use a map! The night before your trip bring out an actual map (if you can find one!) to show your intended route to your child. Even better, copy the map and pull out a highlighter so your child can follow along – and let you know when you missed a turn.

Build in time for pit stops – and if time allows, make short stops that incorporate fun activities along the way. Everyone will need a bathroom break and a meal, but if that happens at a place right off the highway and near playground it can be better for everyone! The kids will get fed – and burn off some energy.

Hit up a dollar store before you leave and stock up on small toys and activities to give to your kids along the way. Every hour let your child choose a surprise – a great incentive for good behavior! You can even wrap the toys for an added element of excitement.

Use this link to make your next road trip educational: Little Passports Travel Tips

Little Passports
~This post may contain affiliate links and I'll earn a small commission if you shop through them. There is no extra cost to you. This is how we help support our family and continue to bring you amazing content. To learn more see the affiliates disclosure here.~

Pumpkin Theme Night

So I've been collected these cute little pumpkins as I go to the grocery store and I'm thinking of doing dinner in a pumpkin. I think it would be really fun for each member of the family to have their own pumpkin "bowl".

We could make it a whole fall celebration with dinner in a pumpkin, apple cider and pumpkin bars for dessert. Maybe watching a movie together eating toasted pumpkin seeds.

Sounds like a pumpkin date!

















Dinner in a Pumpkin

1 small-medium pumpkin

Try serving your favorite soup recipe in a pumpkin! This looks great in the middle of the dinner table. Just scoop out and serve.

Cut top off pumpkin, scoop out seeds and strings. Prepare your favorite soup or stew recipe.

Some great ideas for Dinner in A Pumpkin are:
Cook in oven 1 hour or until pumpkin is tender. Serve.
Here are some soup recipes to try.

Dessert Pumpkins

Put those cute little mini pumpkins to use by serving dessert inside. Hallow the insides and seeds out and fill with your favorite homemade pudding, mousse or ice cream.


~This post may contain affiliate links and I'll earn a small commission if you shop through them. There is no extra cost to you. This is how we help support our family and continue to bring you amazing content. To learn more see the affiliates disclosure here.~

Friday, November 1, 2013

Taco Snack Mix

Try a little flavor in a simple snack mix by adding taco seasoning and cooking in the microwave.
Here is the recipe: Taco Snack Mix

















More Snack Ideas

Kids Healthy Snacks
List of snacks- print off and add to your fridge for a quick reference
Preschool snacks
Snacks with 6 or less ingredients
More snack recipes and ideas blog posts


Easy Kids Snacks kindle or paperbac
~This post may contain affiliate links and I'll earn a small commission if you shop through them. There is no extra cost to you. This is how we help support our family and continue to bring you amazing content. To learn more see the affiliates disclosure here.~