Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Better Than CHIP Cookies

9:00 PM 0 Comments
If you live in Utah the latest craze is CHIP. CHIP is a chocolate chip cookie take-out and delivery joint started by BYU students. They only serve chocolate chip cookies and it will cost you $10 minimum for a box of 4 huge, warm cookies. Not a bad business plan at all! In fact, they are brilliant! I must say that they are pretty dang good. However, there is one element that is missing from the cookie and I hope they can correct it. In my opinion, there isn't enough salt. I love the balance between sweet and salty and CHIP cookies definitely need more salt. Other than that, I love the thick, warm cookie. If you're in the Provo area, check out CHIP and support their business. 

If you like your cookies with more salt try these cookies! The recipe is an adaption of Jacques Torres' famous chocolate chip cookies. My husband and I have been making these for years but we don't make them very often because the dough has to chill for at least 24 hours and our impatience gets the best of us. But the 24 hours is worth the wait if you can plan ahead. 

After 24 hours of the dough chilling, use a big scoop (this is a 1/2 cup scoop) or a spoon to dish out the dough. If you don't have a 1/2 cup scoop, form the dough into a ball about the size of a tennis ball. Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and sprinkle some high quality sea salt on top. It doesn't take much. There is also salt in the dough.

One of the reasons why we only can get about 15 cookies out of one batch is because the dough disappears within the 24 hours of chilling. ;) However, the end result is worth it!

These cookies are massive and delicious! I hope you give them a try. 

Click HERE for printable recipe.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Back-to-School Party

2:32 PM 0 Comments
I love the new school year. Being a former teacher myself, I wanted my own children to love school and learning too. 

When we moved from another state to Utah my daughter was enrolled at a new school with new classmates. We threw a Back-to-School Party for her and some of the kids her age in the neighborhood after school on the first day. We got a few pics of the setup before the kids arrived. 

When the kids arrived, we ate. They grabbed a cute, divided lunch tray and loaded up on some snacks: grapes, apples, veggies and ranch, Goldfish crackers, M&M cookies, chocolate milk and water. 

SIDE NOTE: I had some parents ask about the trays. I found them HERE on Amazon by Nordic Ware. I love that they are the perfect size. They hold a small milk container (as shown in the pic above) perfectly in a square space. They also hold a kid's IKEA cup, clear plastic cup (like the one holding the veggies in the pic above), or a small water bottle (pic below) perfectly in the round space. The large space is perfect for a hamburger or sandwich. 

We filled some pencil boxes from Walmart with a few school supplies as a favor for our guests. The black tablecloth is from Dollar Tree. A white Sharpie marker works perfectly to add the labels on the tablecloth. 

I took a picture of each child on their first day of school in the desk. (I had the 3 year old pose for this pic to see what it would look like and I forgot to take a pic of my own 1st grader! Oops.) I printed the pictures and delivered them later to our guests' homes along with a darling First Day of School questionnaire they filled out. The darling questionnaire can be found at Yellow Bliss Road.

We also played a couple of games to get to know each other and get excited for school. I was going to try the "shoe" game where the kids take off their shoes and try to guess whose is whose but it was too easy. So, I opted to try sitting in a circle and while tossing a bean bag, ask a question like "do you have any brothers or sisters? or, What's your favorite color? or, Do you have any pets?" etc. The person who receives the bean bag answers the question and then asks another question to another person while tossing the bean bag.

The second game included a tray of school supplies. They got to look at the tray for 1 minute. I took the tray away and then they tested their memories by trying to remember what was on the tray. Smart kids!

The kids had a great time and my daughter felt a little more comfortable making friends with the kids in the neighborhood.

Monday, July 31, 2017

13 Cleaning Games for Kids

9:47 PM 0 Comments

First off, isn't this drawing just darling? Head on over to Little House Studio and get your free printable! Click HERE.

I think I need to frame this because every night we clean up the house to prepare for the next day and we all dread it. The kids hate to clean and I hate getting them to clean. I'm no Mary Poppins but we try to make it more fun by playing games. We have tried playing "Beat the Timer" but my kids now know that it's not that fun to race against the clock anymore. So, we have gotten a little more creative. Here are a few of the games we have played:

Dump Truck: My kids "drive" around laundry baskets, making truck noises, and put things in their "trucks." When the baskets are full or there is nothing else to pick up, they go to their room and "dump" the baskets. They sort their items and drive them to where they belong. 

Santa: I will usually pick up toys and belongings throughout the day and throw them into one box. Then I will gather the kids and play "Santa." I sit a kid on my lap, talk a bit and ask if he/she has been a good boy/girl and then give him/her a "gift" (aka his/her toys/belongings) to put away. My kids think this game is funny. I really try to play up the Santa role (ask the kid's name, ask what he/she wants for Christmas, Ho Ho Ho, etc.)

Chutes and Hoops: This one is a favorite game but it takes a while. We have a Little Tikes slide and I set it on a low table with a toy basket at the bottom of the slide. The kids slide toys down the slide and it goes into the basket. Sometimes we put the basket under our Little Tikes basketball hoop and the kids "shoot" toys into the basket. If you have the time, try this game. If you don't have a slide, make a simple ramp out of a cardboard box or poster board.

"The Lady": This is another game that my kids think is funny. My daughter named this game "The Lady." She wants me to "be the lady!" I knock on their bedroom door and say, in my best British old lady accent, "Hello! I love your house! Can I come in? Oh, it's a wee bit messy in here. Can I help you? I've never been to your house before. Can you tell me where this goes?" I hand the item to my kids and they put it where it belongs. I ask again, "Can you tell me where this one goes?" and we repeat. This is also good to see if THEY know where it belongs. Does it have a place? If my kids don't know where it belongs, we either find a place or we throw it away. Sometimes I pretend that I don't even know what some of the items are. "What on earth is this thing? (Lego piece) It looks like a miniature ice cube tray. Perhaps for a Barbie doll or mouse. Good heavens! I hope you don't have mice living here." They think it's funny and I chill out for a second to have fun with my kids. 

Exercise and Clean: I challenge the kids to hop, skip, run, walk backwards, roll, etc. while they put things away. 

Numbers in a hat: Write numbers on pieces of paper (usually 1-10). Each kid draws a number and that number determines how many items they have to put away before drawing a new number.

Colors: I pick a color and everything that has that color must be put away first. Then we pick a new color.

Bigger or Smaller: Anything bigger than a _______ (toaster, laundry basket, etc) gets put away first. Anything smaller than a _________ (rabbit, shoe, etc) gets put away next. Choose any item your kids might think is funny and mix it up.

Guessing Game: I close my eyes and each kid puts away 1 or 2 items. I open my eyes and try to guess what they put away. You can make this a challenge with points if your kids are competitive. Or your kids can try to 'stump' you (or trick you) by putting away more items. It's harder for YOU to guess but gets THEM to clean more.

Relay Races: One child has a task and another child has a different task. See who can finish first. The tasks are usually similar like, put all the figurines in the figurine basket and put all the blocks in the block basket. 

Dance: Clean and dance to music. This is fun if you can switch the genres of music (ballet, jazz, tap, hip hop, etc). 

100: First child to put away 100 things (on a really messy day) wins. 

Tickets: Reward your kids. For every 20 items, they earn 1 ticket (I get my tickets at Dollar Tree in the party section). When clean up is done, have a raffle or let them "buy" a treat from you. 

I hope this helps make cleaning a little more fun in your house for you AND your kids.  

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Indoor Date Idea: How to Massage

9:32 PM 0 Comments
Looking for a great indoor date night with your spouse? This one is sure to bring you together! Learn how to massage with THIS fantastic DVD set! I found this set on Amazon for less than $25.

I love these DVDs! They teach how to give a professional massage with proper technique so your hands don't ache or tire quickly. These DVDs are appropriate, easy to follow, and include 4 different massages: Luxury Facial, Indian Head, Back & Neck, and Full Body. This set also makes a great gift for your spouse. So, turn down the lights, relax, and enjoy being together.

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