Think About it Thursday: Mind, Body & Soul

I have recently began reading the book, "If I have to tell you one more time" by Amy McCready and it is amazing. It is "the revolutionary program that gets your kids to listen without nagging, reminding or yelling." I feel like a broken record with my two year old and have found myself raising my voice, threatening, sending her to time out a lot more than I am okay with. I feel like my discipline and consequences have been ineffective. Our two year old is not overly disobedient, but she sure knows how to push our buttons! We have just began implementing some of the practicing from the book and have already seen a difference. One method which I will share with you today is called "Mind, Body & Soul" and it is simply giving your child 10 minutes of undivided attention- no sibling, no spouse, no phone or computer. 10 minutes being fully present in mind, body and soul. She suggests that  if you sit down with them for ten minutes and do whatever they want, it sometimes saves you an hour of nagging and whining. A pretty good investment, really. McCready recommends that we aim for ten minutes of mind, body, soul time twice a day. She describes it as a way of “filling your child’s attention basket throughout the day – even when he’s not asking for your time – proactively and positively. When his attention basket is full to the brim, he won’t seek attention with negative and undesirable behaviors.” 

So, if your child is throwing lots of tantrums, being disobedient or if you are experiencing a lot of sibling rivalry this just may be the method to try. It is already making a difference in our home and let me tell you how much I really enjoy it! The other day I played with the doll house with her and tonight we played a game of CandyLand. And I know she loves it too. She doesn't say anything but her big hugs and kisses speak for her! 


What's Cookin' Wednesday: Spiced Pumpkin Donut Holes

I love anything pumpkin flavored. It is part of the reason Fall is my favorite seasons. I have made a lot of Spiced Pumpkin Muffins, but today I tried Spiced Pumpkin Donut Holes and let me tell you... they are absolutely delicious. They are simple to make too. They would make a yummy Halloween Breakfast or just a fun Fall treat. A couple things to note: You may eat them all right out of the oven. If you somehow manage not to, they do not hold up well being stored  – the outside has a tendency to get soggy from the extra butter. (Which is why there are no pictures! I will be making these again and adding pictures later!) The good news is that this doesn’t effect the taste or inside texture. If you want them to last longer you could always hold off on dipping all of them in butter and cinnamon sugar and just wait to do this step whenever you are ready to enjoy a bite of fall!

Donut Ingredients
1 3/4 cups of all purpose flour
  1. 2 tsp of baking powder
  2. 1/2 tsp of salt
  3. 3/4 tsp of cinnamon
  4. 1/2 tsp of nutmeg
  5. 1/2 tsp of pumpkin pie spice
  6. 1/2 cup of vegetable oil
  7. 1/2 cup of packed brown sugar
  8. 1 egg
  9. 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract
  10. 1/2 a can of pumpkin puree (about 6 oz.)
  11. 1/2 cup milk

Donut coating
1/2 cup sugar
  1. 2 tbsp cinnamon
  2. 1/2 a stick of unsalted butter
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and pumpkin pie spice . In a separate large bowl, combine the oil, brown sugar, egg, vanilla, pumpkin and milk until smooth. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until just combined. Be careful not to overmix the batter.
Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups, about 1 tablespoon in each cup. (You will have batter left over for about another dozen.) Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until passes the toothpick test.
Let cool enough to handle. If you would like to have the donuts look more like holes than muffins you can remold them as they are still warm
For the coating: Roll each donut hole into the melted butter and then put  butter-coated donut holes into a gallon sized ziplock bag with the cinnamon/sugar,  shake to coat (working with 1 dozen donuts at a time).
Adapted from A Step in the Journey with my own tips & tricks added.


Tips & Trick Tuesday: What to do with all the Halloween Candy

Besides eat it of course! Don't get me wrong, we love some sweetness around here and we will be keeping our fair share, but usually we get more than anyone should consume. What do you do with the tons of candy? Probably eat it right? Against your will too, huh? Well, I have a few tips for what you can do this year with all the Halloween galore!

1. Participate in a candy exchange. Many dentists offer candy exchanges. You turn in some candy and get healthy treats in exchange. Or you turn in some candy, and they pay you $1 per pound. They donate the candy to soup kitchens or to troops overseas. Check out this website to find a participating dentist near you.

2. Your Halloween candy could be included in care packages that are sent to soldiers serving their country far from home. Here are two organizations that ship packages to the troops. Below are two organizations that ship packages to the troops. Only non chocolate items because of melting. 


3.  Have your children exchange their candy for something else — like a book or a toy. Make it fun by using a scale to weigh the stash — for example, maybe they could earn a book for every pound of candy they trade. 

I hope everyone has a safe and fun Halloween! 


Product Review: Antilop Highchair from Ikea

We got a big, pretty, fancy highchair with our first child. It was easy to clean, but not really. The fabric was machine washable, which made it nice, but what mom needs more laundry? Food would get under the fabric and there were just so many crevices to clean. With our second princess we decided to get a "cheap" highchair from Ikea and it has been the best decision. We wish we would have got this one from the start. It doesn't  take up a lot of room, it's easy wipe down to  clean and is lightweight but sturdy. Ikea also carries a support cushion for $4.99. Highchair- $19.99 and tray- $5.00. 


All Star Sunday: 5 Helpful Tidbits to Motherhood

I have never actually met Cate in real life, although I feel like I have and I feel like she is an old friend since I know her twin sister Candi. I also secretly, not so secretly, have stocked her blogged and admired her mothering and honesty. She is a wonderful writer and a wonderful mother of " a little boy who is busier than a bee and sweeter than honey with a laugh that is completely and utterly contagious and a sweet little girl who is like sunshine to our soul on the very rainiest of days."  . You can follow her at http://www.thetwinbook.com. She and I have agreed that if we lived closer, we surely would be real life friends! I hope you are as inspired as I am when reading her thoughts and feelings.


There is something about a large round belly or a toddler in tow that attracts advice giving people. Most of the time I love it! Oh sure there are times when it isn't quite as well received or dare I say even welcome? 

But since a few of the tips and tricks others have so willingly shared have completely changed the way I try to parent my two small children I have come to appreciate the advice from others. I am the first to admit that I don't know what the heck I am doing!!

These are my top 5 favorite tidbits: enjoy.

1. When you are at your wits ends with your children spouse love them more. I will grab my rambunctious 3 year old and squeeze him and say "I love you to much to let you do that." 

2. Take a breath before you react. So simple right? Yet the effect is profound. In that split second I am able to save my children from myself. I respond to them a bit calmer and not with a swat on the bottom ;)

3. Tell your child what you would like to happen not what you don't want to happen. Example "Keep the milk in your cup please." Instead of " don't spill your milk." Because guess what as soon as you say the second phrase guess where the milk goes.....This one has been tricky for me but I am improving!

4. In a study I read it mentioned that there are 9 minutes in every day that have the greatest impact on a child. The first 3 minutes of your childs day, when you first greet them after  school or for younger children after a nap and then the last 3 minutes before you say good night. This is the time to touch them and make happy.

5. The last thing actually takes 10 minutes but has made THE biggest impact friends and that is having 10 minutes with out any distractions where you are simply with your child. You are at their level, letting them take the lead. There is nothing  or nobody more important in those few moments then them. They lead and you follow = them feeling so incredibly loved and connected almost magically improving their behavior. MAGIC! 

My favorite mothering websites are:
-Power of Moms (They Leave you feeling empowered and excited about motherhood)
-Positive Parenting solutions (that lady has the answers to everything!)

Favorite books:
-Duct tape parenting (I have yet to read this one but have only heard wonderful things)


DIY Saturday: How to throw a Farm Theme Birthday Party

For our daughters second birthday we threw her a farm theme because she loves farm animals. We spent a month living in Paradise, Utah and she loved seeing the cows and horses every day. When we moved back to Salt Lake we would visit Wheeler Farm several times a week so we felt this theme was appropriate. I get most of my ideas from Pinterest and run with it. Here is a collaboration of ideas I found mixed with my own ideas. 

Invitations: My friend made these super cute invites for me after an invite I saw on etsy. Check Etsy for "Farm theme invites"
Cake/cupcakes: Inspired from Betty Crocker! Super easy. Time consuming, but your guests will be impressed. Looks more difficult then it is. 
Party Favor boxes, plates, napkins: Oriental Trading. Just search for "farm" and there are a ton of fun decor and party favor items.
Part favor ideas: pink cotton candy with a pink snout and wiggly eyes for a pig, cut out/ find a tractor shape and use cooked for tractor wheels, peeps, farm scene stickers from Oriental Trading and Farm animal lollipops also from Oriental Trading
banners, signs: handmade. get creative!
Food ideas: pigs in a blanket (hotdogs), bails of hay (pretzels), chicken feed (chips) and farm fresh veggies, drink: lemonade and water bottles (cover paper wrapper with scrapbook paper)

Let me know if you have any questions or share with me any ideas you may have that may add to this fun theme! TheJoyOfAProfessionalMom@gmail.com


Think About it Thursday: Never Take Motherhood for Granted

This article by Power of Moms, titled Six Ways to Never Take Motherhood for Granted has inspired this post. The 6 suggestions include:

1. Be present and deliberate
2. Gratitude
3. Perspective
4. Be aware of the rest of the world
5. Balance
6. Reminders

I suggest reading the article. In what ways can you appreciate motherhood in the mundane and the defining moments? We all know that there are a lot of mundane moments; things that just need to be done. I love number one- be present and deliberate. This is something that I have been working on and let me tell you it has made a huge difference in my days and in my children as well.

 A few weeks ago I had taken the girls for a walk and as we approached the grassy hill by the park, my Sage girl wanted to get out of the stroller and roll down it. I had her wait at the top of the hill so I can get to the bottom first so I could take a picture. I don't think there was anything wrong with that. In fact, I will go ahead and give myself credit for letting her roll down the wet, grassy hill in her cute little outfit! However, that night as I looked through the pictures on my phone from the day I was sad. I wished I had put the camera down and rolled down along side her. I promised myself and I promised her sleeping self all cuddled in her bed that night, that next time she wanted to roll down a hill that I would in fact roll down with her. That opportunity presented itself sooner than I had expected and I was thrilled. I rolled down that hill! My husband was with me and as I laid down he told me to wait so he could film me... he was laughing at me and couldn't believe I had rolled down the hill as I clumsily got up from the grass with the world spinning around me. I told him about my promise. It is a promise that has influenced so much more than rolling down the silly hill.

I recently listened to a broadcast about Deliberate Photography it inspired me to take the same approach as rolling down the hill in many other forms. I absolutely love photographing my kids and capturing the mundane moments and I feel it is important, however, I have promised myself and my kids that I will first have fun with them in the moment and then capture. By doing this I have become so much more present and my presence and actions have become so much more deliberate. I am capturing the moment in mind and heart first and the camera second. "Think about what you are doing with your kids in the exact moment you are doing it. What does their smile look like? How does their laugh sound? How happy and full does your heart feel in this moment?"

In what ways can you appreciate motherhood in the mundane and the defining moments?


What's cookin' Wednesday: English Muffin Pizzas

This is nothing complicated nor nothing fancy, but it is something that is a hit with my toddler. English Muffin Pizza. She loves pizza and she loves being able to make it all by herself. I let her spoon out and spread the sauce on her muffin and sprinkle the cheese. It's as easy as that! Stick it in the oven for a few minutes and bon appetit! Something about doing this little task makes it taste all the better!  Her sassy, independent self thrives on being about able to make it all by her big girl self and gives her a little confidence boost! 


Product Review: Braun Thermoscan

We have loved this thermometer. It is accurate and easy to use.  LCD display. This digital ear thermometer's built-in memory capacity lets you store up to 8 previous readings. It is quick!; Takes only seconds to get a reading. We love this thermometer. The only downside is that the LCD screen does not light up. However, we would recommend this thermometer. It has made the hassle of having our little one hold still for minutes to get a temperature, so much easier! She likes listening for the little bird, which we call the little beep. We can take her temperature while she is sleeping without disturbing her and it is reliable. So, if you are in the market for a thermometer the Braun Thermoscan is the one to get! It cost about $40 at Target or Amazon. It has been given 4.5 stars out of 650 reviews on Amazon. 


DIY Saturday: Toddler Halloween Party

I love Halloween. I love celebrating and want to pass that joy of celebration to my kids. I borrowed ideas from several sites, so this is just a compilation of what I feel like made for a fun toddler halloween party. Enjoy!

food- fruit cups with jack-o-lantern faces drawn onto them
         string cheese with ghost faces
         spiders- ritz crackers, pretzel sticks for legs, peanut butter (cream cheese would work too), 
         chocolate chip eyes and fruit snack mouth
         juice boxes made into mummies

games/activities- freeze dance to Halloween music
            donut on a string- it's a classic and so fun to watch
            pass the pumpkin (played like hot potato, but we played that whoever was holding the pumpkin 
            when the music stopped got a pumpkin sticker)
            pin the spider on the web. (i found a window cling of a web with spiders at the dollar store, 
            but one can easily be made using clipart) 
            painting pumpkins 
            Monster Bash- Material: styrofoam bowls, hot glue, tissue paper, cardboard or thick board, tape
                                   Place treats inside bowls, cover with tissue paper, hot glue to board. 
                                   I saw a take out a villain version for a superhero party and got the idea for the   
                                  "bash a monster." I just used scrapbook paper I had on hand. Get creative. We
                                   included little containers of homemade playdough, stickers, spider rings,
                                   halloween straws and glow bracelets, a lollipops
             Carmel Apples- let them dip apple slices in carmel and sprinkles
favors- orange balloons with jack-o-lantern faces. I cut my faces out from my silhouette, but they can be cut by hand using black vinyl or even drawn on. Bags of marshmallows with ghost faces drawn on them.

Party decor that also served as party favors. Each child got to take one home. Tied to each balloon were bags of marshmallows with ghost faces drawn on the bags.

freeze dance to Halloween Bop music. Such a fun CD. Includes songs such as "I Want Candy", "Monster Mash", and the "Purple People Eater"

Pumpkin Painting

Classic donut on a string. This was fun to watch. We did mini donuts for their little mouths and to limit the amount of sweets.

Instead of the usual pinata we did a punch box.

They dipped apple slices in carmel and sprinkles.


mummy juice boxes.

Pictures taken courtesy of Caitlin Nicole Photography.


Health & Fitness Friday: Confident, Positive, Healthy & Happy

I want my girls to be confident, positive and healthy. I want them to be happy. Happy girls really are the prettiest. I want to display the above quote in their bedroom and assure they know what true beauty is. I want them to also know that kind, compassionate, honest, faithful, smart and loving girls are also the prettiest. I don't want them to be obsessed, but I want them to be aware and conscience of the choices they make in taking care of themselves. I want them to be aware of their bodies and be appreciative of them and not feel overwhelmed by what society tries to tell them it should look like. The media distorts our perception of beauty and it has a huge impact on us. I want exercise and food choices to be something positive and fun. I want my girls to feel and know they are beautiful. I want them to know that their reflections do not reflect their worth, health or happiness. I want them to have a positive self image. They need to see a mother who loves and respects her body. I have read quite a few articles from the website Beauty Redefined and listened to hours of podcast from the Power of Moms on the topic of body image, beauty, exercise and nutrition.


There is so much material and so many resources out there with ideas and tips to help us teach our children how to be confident, positive and healthy. Here are just a few ideas I have come up with in the little bit of reading and research I have done so far.

1. Deal with your own body image issues. Shut down every negative thought we have and replace it with a positive. Do not talk negative about your body or your looks. Your daughter will hear you and it will negatively affect her view of her own body. I feel like this is one that goes overlooked.

2. Do not draw attention to your child's looks and others looks. Friends and media will do that for you. Make your compliments be more about achievements and characteristics. I had heard this years ago in a child development class and I have always remembered it, but it is so easy to make comments to my girls about how beautiful they are. I do not think that the "you're so pretty", "so cute!", "beautiful!" comments need to be taken out of our dialogue, but I do see the importance in making sure it is not the focus and that we are paying more attention to the achievements and characteristics.

3. Demonstrate healthy eating habits. Focus on health and nutrition instead of weight and calories. Teach them about nutrition and always have healthy food to offer.

4. Find exercise that fits- It doesn't matter what your child or you do for that matter, for physical fitness; it just matters that they are doing something. Whether it be a group sport or individual, help them find their niche in something they like.

What ideas do you have? How do you teach your children to be confident, positive, healthy and happy?


Something to Think About Thursday: Are you JUST a stay-at-home mom?

 I really am so grateful to be able to stay at home to my girls. I think there is a stigma about stay at home moms that we "just" stay home and I know I have friends who wonder what I do all day and wish they could stay home and think I am on some sort of vacation all the time. Matt Walsh, the author of, "You're a stay-at-home mom? What do you DO all day?"  understands what I wish everyone  could understand, that being a mother is hard work that never ends. I love how he explains how his wife "just" stays home with the kids...

"Yes, my wife is JUST a mother. JUST. She JUST brings forth life into the universe, and she JUST shapes and molds and raises those lives. She JUST manages, directs and maintains the workings of the household, while caring for children who JUST rely on her for everything. She JUST teaches our twins how to be human beings, and, as they grow, she will JUST train them in all things, from morals, to manners, to the ABC’s, to hygiene, etc. She is JUST my spiritual foundation and the rock on which our family is built. She is JUST everything to everyone. And society would JUST fall apart at the seams if she, and her fellow moms, failed in any of the tasks I outlined."
Behind every fun library wee read storytime there is a melt down because we don't want to leave the library or feelings of being a bad mom as your little one runs through the library screaming. Behind every craft there is a sticky mess that requires a bath, which then causes a flood of water that needs to be mopped up. Behind every snack there are crumbs that need to be vacuumed up and clothes that need to be changed for the umpteenth time. Behind every playdate there is stress of hoping and teaching your child to share, take turns, to talk nice , use their words and keep their hands to themselves. Behind every nap there is a to do list that is never ending. Behind every dinner made there is a cranky toddler who is hungry, thirsty, tired and wants you to play with them. Don't get me wrong, being a mother and a stay-at-home mom is the best job in the world, but it is not a vacation and it is not all fun and games. It is however, the most rewarding and important job. Sometimes I take it for granted, but today I am extra grateful and recommitted to appreciate everything that comes with "just" being a stay-at-home mom. 


Tuesday Tips & Tricks: Free Giftcards?!

This is not a gimmick and there really is no strings attached. This is just a tip and trick to help earn a little extra money! I have earned $100 in amazon gift cards in a short time with very little effort. Have you heard of swagbucks? Let me explain it as simply as possible.

  • It is an online rewards program
  • You earn "Swagbucks" (digital dollars) by
    • using the Swagbucks search engine to search the web (swagbucks are rewarded randomly)
    • shopping online. There is a list of stores that if ordering online Swagbucks will pay you a number of swagbucks per dollar spent at designated store. Some stores include Walmart, Target, Nordstrom, Best Buy... there is a huge, long list! 
    • Voting in a daily poll which takes seconds to do
    • surveys
    • completing special offers
    • watching videos 
    • printing and redeeming coupons
(I have earned most of my swagbucks by simply searching the web and by shopping online, which I would already be doing, but I get some money back for doing it! I have occasionally done surveys as time allows, which is not often)
  • There is a rewards store that includes gift cards to just about anywhere. I have just chosen to redeem mine for Amazon giftcards, which has paid for birthday gifts, baby items and will also be paying for part of Christmas gifts. 

Click here to sign up!


Product Review: Prince Lionheart Booster Seat

Love this booster seat. Simple, clean and durable design. It is easy to carry around and slip resistant. I like the fact that it has no buckles. It is easy to clean and comfortable. It has 4.5 out of 5 stars from close to 300 reviews on amazon. Prices range from $25-$35 depending on the colors. 
If interested check amazon


All Star Mom: Finding a Balance

This next All Star mom that has agreed to guest post for us, is a mother of three princesses. When I began working with her she was a mother of one and I was a newlywed. About 6 months later I was expecting our Sage girl and she was pregnant with her second. Gevenvive and Sage are a day apart. Janine was a few doors down from me and stopped by to visit on her way of checking out of the hospital. I was sad to say goodbye to her when she moved just a few months later. I sure wish we lived closer so our girls could be friends. Janine is such an eloquent writer and writes as honest as she is in her day to day relationships, which is one of the things I love about her. She claims motherhood has not come naturally for her, but she sure is an awesome mom! To read more of her story go on over and follow her at A Handful of Peanuts!


I had an interesting conversation with my brother a couple of months ago while kayaking on the Pacific Ocean. We had been talking about my family and how having kids has changed me, for good and for bad, and my brother interrupted the conversation to say, “Janine, do you know what I admire about Tim? He always has and always will put you first, before anything or anyone else, especially the kids.”

When I asked him if he thought I did the same for Tim, he quickly replied, “Not always. You put your kids first a lot.” At first, his comment struck me as direct and hurtful, but after some time and consideration, I realized he had a point, and I needed to change.

I have had three girls and one miscarriage in five years, and I have only been married for six years. My girls have come mostly unexpectedly, with the exception of my Genevieve, and I have had to assume all the motherhood duties and roles rather quickly. Motherhood has not come easily or naturally for me. I have had to work at it every single day.

I have always felt like I am up to my ears in spit-up, poop, paint/marker stains, muddy shoe prints so it was easy to fall into a routine of putting my children first. I felt like I had to do so much for them that my husband would just understand and appreciate all that I do for everyone, and while he does appreciate all I do, he too has echoed my brother’s words and asked me to remember him.

And so I started changing my routines and habits. For the past two months, I have put my husband first. When he comes in the door from work, I stop whatever I’m doing and walk over to him and give him a kiss. When his favorite football team is playing, I try and take the girls outside so he can enjoy the game without interruption. When I see his tired eyes from working 11-hour shifts, I offer to put the kids to bed, even though it is generally his duty. Aside from doing small things around the house, we have also started dating each other again this year.

Our goal is to go on one date each month, but we average two or three. We explore different things on our dates, and we try to satisfy each other’s interests. Our marriage is so much stronger than it was even three months ago just because we are putting each other first.

Family life is busy, and it can be overwhelming. As moms we have to accomplish a thousand little tasks each day, the least of which is maintaining a healthy marriage. I have been a stay-at-home mom for two and half years and have finally found a way to balance my husband, my kids, my chores, my part-time work and my interests, although I should admit that I am still working finding time to enjoy more of my interests.
I believe every home and family is built differently so my ideas are solely based on my experience, but I can tell you that they work. I do all my major chores before 8am, and I enlist the help of my older girls when any chore involves their room or bathroom. I read my books (whether they be of a spiritual nature or not) before I start my part-time editing job so that I educate myself everyday. I mostly work when the girls go to bed at night so that I can be with them when they are awake during the day, but I will admit that I do work during naptime if needed. Generally I make dinner while my girls nap, and I always do the dishes before the girls go to bed. I exercise four to five times a week during the hour between Tim’s arrival from work and dinner.

My life is in a constant state of motion. I rest when I can, but for the most part, I am always doing something. Every few months I have to assess my routine and change things as necessary. Recently, I felt like my life was off balance. After looking over my days, I realized I needed to distance myself from social media. I deleted my Facebook account because I found myself checking it too often, and once I started checking FB, I found myself checking my mail, my Instagram, the Internet, etc more than needed.

It was as if I gained my life back in one instant. Balance was restored. Life is all about checks and balances. If you are out of sync in your personal life, marriage, family life, church life, social life, I would encourage you to see what things you can do to find a balance. I truly believe I am the happiest when I am balanced.


DIY Saturday: Halloween Banner

I saw this on an Etsy shop and knew I could make it myself for a fraction of the what they were selling it for. You could make one too! It was super easy and I love how it turned out! The possibilities are endless. Although the one I made was Halloween the colors could be changed and it would be fun for any holiday or event!

hot glue gun
paint brush
round foam brush
acrylic paint

1. Make a stencil to but out burlap into desired shape. If you have access to a silhouette or cricut machine it may be helpful, but not necessary.
2. trace & cut out burlap
3. paint. it may look kind of splotchy when you bring painting it, but it dries just dine. don't worry!
4. let dry a few minutes, not necessary to be completely dry, and paint your dots! At first I was a little disappointed in the way I did my dots because they are not uniform like the one on Etsy, but to be honest I think it's imperfections make it perfect!
5. hot glue the twine/cord to the top of the back of your banner.
6. hang it up and enjoy the festiveness!

If your little one loves crafts and is as curious as mine she will not want go to sleep! Finally decided to let her join in on the fun for a few minutes... 


Chicken Fajitas

Freezer/Crockpot Chicken Fajitas 

3-4 chicken breasts
2 bell peppers. (I use 1 red and 1 yellow)
1 onion sliced
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons cumin
1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon minced or powdered garlic
2 tablespoons lime juice

*If you do not have all the spices or if you prefer, a packet taco seasoning works as well.

Add all ingredients to the freezer bag.   Seal, label and freeze!

It's delicious wrapped in a tortilla with cheese, tomatoes, lettuce and sour cream or plain greek yogurt.

Joy School: Spider Theme

Late in the summer when the excitement of going back to school began I started thinking about putting together some lessons for my two year old. I then decided if I was going to go through all the work that it would fun for a few of her little friends to join us. So, we started Play School or "Joy School" as everyone but me has heard of. We only meet once a week for an hour and half. There are 6 kids signed up, but that number varies a little bit week to week with who shows up. Each week's lesson is based around a theme. In September we did: apples, leaves, all about me and owls themes. Today's theme was spiders and it was a lot of fun!


Snack: ritz crackers filled with cream cheese, pretzels for legs, chocolate chips for eyes and Twizzlers for a smile

Art: painting back circles with a toothbrush. black construction paper for legs and wiggly eyes added once the circle dried. They also colored these pictures to use to help tell the story of the Itsy Bitsy Spider. We cut them out and put magnets on the backs. 

Game: pin the spider on the web. used window cling stickers found at the dollar store. 

Activity: each child had their own bottle to fill up with *colored rice, sequence, lil pumpkin beads, bat and pumpkin confetti and spiders. Each child got to scoop the rice and sequence into a funnel which made it much easier to get it inside the bottle. * coloring rice- place desired amount of rice in a ziploc bag and a few drops for food coloring and rubbing alcohol, mix it around until all the rice is colored and then take the rice out of the bag and spread it out on a paper towel lined cookie sheet for it to dry over night. 

Song: The Itsy Bitsy Spider. We sang it with the normal hand motions and then each child got a straw to use as the water spout and a ring spider to go up and down the spout with while we sang it.