Clean Out Cookies 

Most times on the weekends I like to try and do some sort of “project” in the kitchen with Hucklebaby. I can’t tell you how inspired I get by Pinterest baking projects and how I want to do EVERY.SINGLE.ONE. of them. Most times I have great intentions but get tired of all the steps about half way through. I’m betting it’s because of my impatient 4 year old helper.

I honestly have no idea of the ingredients I have in my baking cabinet. So when I’m at the store I always just buy more because I don’t want to have to come out again and get something for whatever recipe we are making.

Well for this year, as I’ve said before…I’m cleaning out and organizing. Before I would have looked up a recipe on Pinterest, made a list (without really checking what we already have) and grabbed everything from the store.

Not today kiddos. Not today. This is what I call clean out cookies. Because honestly I’m using stuff I already have before I go get other things…

Yes, I could have just made the sugar cookies…but for some reason I’m not really a fan of sugar cookies. SUGAR – absolutely. Sugar cookies…not so much. I do remember loving my grandmothers Snickerdoodle Cookies so I grabbed cinnamon and sugar. Then I thought I would step it up and put the cinnamon back, and went for the Apple Pie Spice instead. It totally smelled like Christmas when we were making these. 

I don’t remember how much I spent on this Pampered Chef pan… but I know it was way toooooo much for what it is. I use it every chance I can though. Not that it’s so wonderful… just that if I spent that much money on it, I’m going to use it. Such an old person thing to do. 

We put a layer of sugar and apple pie spice on the bottom of the pan to make a nice little sweet crust on the bottom. 

Make sure to let your kiddos help do all the things they can. Spray the pan – yep. Mix the sugar and spiced together – yep. 

Roll the dough balls around like PlayDoh. Sure. Why not. 

And here they are… in a perfect world I would have made some sort of chocolate or crumb filling to put on the top to fill those pockets. I of course would never take these to a function because they do look a little odd… but for my family they totally work.

I put them back in for another 5 minutes or so after this picture. They needed a little longer than I expected.

So there you have it. Another round of Clean Out Cookies. You’ll probably see more random recipes in the future as I continue to clean things out. I love that my family is brave enough to eat them all. 

Tidying Up 

I would consider myself an organized person… but then I see what organized people do in their houses and think there is absolutely NO WAY I am organized. I’m not sure why organizing videos on YouTube are addicting… but they absolutely are to me. Honestly I enjoy watching them before I go to sleep. They are extremely relaxing to me.

You can totally judge me for this… I mean it’s super embarrassing AND it was in the guest bathroom. I’m sure every person that came for a visit and took a little sneak peak and was appalled.

I gutted the entire thing.

5 Perineal Icepacks? Seriously? For real? I haven’t used them after two kids being born… I’m never using them. To the trash.

I actually filled up the bathroom trashcan. Twice. With stuff that had seen its better days.

You don’t realize how dirty stuff gets when there are layers upon layers of stuff on top of it. This cabinet required a full scrub down and I’m still not thrilled with how dingy it looks. Billiam has talked about getting a new sink/ vanity so I didn’t go crazy on it yet. How do people have white things in their house? Is there a trick?

I grabbed these vertical organizers on Amazon after recommendations from Home Organizing by Alexandra.tv I do like how they separate everything but if you have product in tall bottles they aren’t too practical.

Once I find my label maker, I’m going to label these for easy use by guests. It’s not as embarrassing anymore. There clearly is still a lot I need to use to clean this up a bit more… but I feel much better about it. I would love to be able to store guest towels in there soon but baby steps. I am no where close to that yet. I found so many bottles of product shoved in the back that we can go for months without having to buy some things. I love that…but also hate that I let it get to that point.

This kid was super excited that he found more bath soaps he forgot he had, I forgot he had them too. I asked him to help me keep it clean…. hopefully we can work on this together. 

Happy Birthday Little Man 

I don’t have a baby anymore. That’s still and odd thought for me. How is he one already? With our oldest we of course had a party…but with the little one I wasn’t too worried because we had planned on going to Atlanta on his birthday weekend. It was going to be simple to find something fun to do there. But as with any plans, those were cancelled a week or so before we were leaving. No time to plan a party. (enter mom guilt here) There are a lot of things moms can feel guilty about. Not throwing their child a birthday party is absolutely one of them.

I’m already prepared for him to ask me about it in 20 years…

No party doesn’t mean no cake though… so the night before, I busted out all of the essentials. 

I didn’t have a deep dark blue so I used violet instead… looking back I would have skipped this color, just because it was a little too purple-y for my liking. I left it on the cake though simply because I’m last minute with everything. 

As I was mixing my colors I stabbed the toothpicks into the cake, it looked “Game of Thrones” to me so I had to snap a picture. 🙂 

I had no rhyme or reason to how I iced it, only that I wanted more of an hombre effect… but some of the techniques I saw on Pinterest were so detailed. Since I wasn’t having an actually party where anyone was going to SEE the cake… I opted for the messy “natural” cake icing effect. 

I sent a picture to my mom and her next question was… “What’s going on top?” Crap… now for something on top. Out to the garage to dig through my supplies.

A tiny cake pinnate it is. Super duper easy.  

I hate the look of the cardboard on the bottom. I also don’t like the look of aluminum foil over the cardboard on the bottom. I carefully cut it off and put it on a wooded platter I had from Target. All in all this was a $10 birthday??? Probably less.

Happy Birthday little man… ❤ ❤

img_8156

Addiction

I have a problem. Although I didn’t know it was a “problem” until I was told …by my husband. On repeated occasions.

Other women sneak in clothes or makeup or new pieces of jewelry when their husband isn’t around. Not me. I sneak in kids books. It’s a rush…

Picking up a new book, turning the crisp pages and meeting the characters. It’s impossible for me to understand why he doesn’t feel the same. In fact he’s the absolute opposite for him and absolutely hates books. (speechless dry mouth here) I totally don’t get it.

So as I was flipping through my son’s Scholastic Book Order, another guilty pleasure of mine, and selected a few books I wanted to order…but I knew I needed to check his collection to make sure I didn’t already get them. Yes, I have multiple copies of certain books because I don’t remember what I have already added.

Let’s just say I need a better way to organize his books.

I sat down in front of his shelves and started digging through. It was the perfect opportunity to get out all of the books I wanted to transition to my younger son’s room. Cue the Board Book pile…

Hucklebaby and I were a great team going through the books and deciding which ones he wanted to move to the baby’s room. I wanted him to make the choice on which ones he was ready to share. He was as ready for this project as I was.

I had a revelation this year when it comes to books … and that is you have to let them go!!! Get rid of them!!! Yes…YOU…book hoarder… get rid of them.

So think about it this way – you go into a thrift store packed with stuff – how much of that is actually quality? Just because it’s there doesn’t mean it’s good, that you will want it or that you will ever use it. It’s just taking up space.

The same with books.

If you aren’t going to read it, it’s old (and not in a good way), or you haven’t touched it in years for whatever reason…let it GO! All of that old stuff is just getting in the way of the quality material you have.

We started small with this pile. The get rid of pile.

Yep. I remember those books from when I was a kid. Yes, these were my actual books. It’s time I let them go. I can build better memories with books that are actually of interest to my kids. I can’t force my old books on them just because they are my old books. At the end of the day they are still ratty old books.

Goodbye Old Mother Hubbard.

If this is what the spines of your books look like — get rid of them! Make room for others. These have lived a good life, it’s OK…it’s time…

I made three piles. One to donate, one that are past the point of donation and can be used for some sort of craft and books to give to Hucklebaby’s teacher.

His book shelf still has a good amount of work that needs to be done, but I made enough room to order my handful of books from Scholastic…and isn’t that the whole reason I started the clean out. (Wink, wink)

I’m on the lookout for cheap shelving for books for the baby’s room to keep this project going and organize them so they don’t look so Hoarder-esk. But in all seriousness I think the only way I can organize all of the books is to get a bigger house.

img_7974

Adventure in Your Area – Get Out of The House

You know what happens when kids are out of school??? My kids run around pants-less and we veg out. It’s nice for a few days and then there is a not-so-magical moment when it switches… and the house starts to close in on us. Sometimes I think there can’t be anything out in the world near us that we haven’t already done.

…and then I make myself find something. To get out… to see the sun…

I’m sure no matter where you live, you think you’ve seen everything there is to see especially if you’ve lived there a long time. But when company comes to town you have to be creative. To dig around and see what else there is to experience.

That’s what happened to us last week. I found something that we had never done before. We went on an adventure.

Feed the Stingrays? Sure… let’s do it.

I find it odd that places like this just seem to pop up. They aren’t big, and it’s not a place people say is a “must do”…but in a tiny way it is. To experience your community and the habitats that are in your community.

“So what you are saying is I have to put this in my hands?”

“Um…”

His face says it all. Not sure what to think of it.

He was brave until the stingray came over and then it was mom’s job to be brave. He quickly gave me the fish. 🙂 I love the moments when he thinks I have it all together. I’m not sure how long that will last but I’ll pretend I know what’s going on as long as I can.

Fierce.

In case you are interested this was at the Florida Oceanographic Society in Stuart, Florida. It is a good ‘one hour’ or so visit if you are in the area… 🙂

cropped-light-sand-background-header.jpg

Salvation Army Angel Tree

The Salvation Army Angel wasn’t anything I had planned on doing. It’s one of those things I see every year, and have good intentions on doing it… but for some reason I just never have.

We went to see Santa on Friday night and I went planning on having a line out the door. I mean it’s a week before Christmas after all. I should have done it earlier in the month but with everything else going on…it’s been on the back burner. I wasn’t planning on Santa being on break when we got there…

Mom mind: start looking for distractions.

First stop… the Polar Express…

…and then there it was… The Angel Tree. It was the perfect moment. Almost like it was there for a reason… So instead of putting it off, or finding something else to do, we walked over.

We searched through the cards together looking for a boy… we also thought it would be good to find a boy that might like the same things Hucklebaby likes. That way it would be easier to pick out gifts.

They didn’t have any 4 year old boys, but they had a 3 year old boy.

I also discovered that having Hucklebaby pick out gifts for another boy showed me all of the toys that he wanted too. Of course NONE of them have been on Santa’s list…so that’s awesome, we still have a week to let Santa know. 🙂

I told him to pick out two toys and one book… I had no idea it would take such a long time. Not that we were in a rush or anything because Santa was eating dinner and getting a massage.

It was interesting just to stand back and watch him pick out toys and explain why the boy would like them…and why he would like them too. (wink, wink)

So after some serious debate over the best toys… he finally selected a police car with working siren, a construction book and a Paw Patrol Block Set.

We received a plastic bag with our number on it to use to return the gifts… so with a little time to spare before Santa’s return we headed back.

img_7569

and then this happened… ❤

img_7353

Coolest little gift…for real though…

OK… so I honestly had no idea what these little guys were. I see gnomes and right now I want them. Is a ‘gnome phase’ a real thing? Discuss…

Anyway, I just saw them and thought they would be a great addition to my Christmas gnomes. They are Gnoments – the mix between Gnomes and moments.

I mean seriously, how cute are these guys?

I wasn’t expecting them to come with a book…or directions… I mean, they are gnomes…

Sidenote: they hold hands!!! Like seriously, they hold hands with a magnet. Anytime they get close to each other they reach out for the other. I can’t even… 

So I’m flipping through the book expecting a cute little gnome story about the two of them. Possibly a little backstory about how they met and had a gagillion children. Nope. Not here…

What I did find, was the coolest gift idea ever. I can’t even begin to explain to you how they work… but all I know is that these are perfect for a scavenger hunt. Think about wrapping one of these guys or leaving them in the tree… for the larger gift to be hidden somewhere else. The gnomes give you hints of where you need to go or what you need to do.

Say what?  Quick little video… if you have a gnoment… (I totally laughed at that). 

They both have these adorable little rear pockets. Hide a note inside or use your phone to scan the chip that is on the inside. 

I was going to try to explain it myself… but why reinvent the wheel… 

Come find me!!! I’m sitting at a surprise restaurant waiting for you, drink in hand with stunning earrings. (hint, hint)

I can’t wait to use them with the boys too. Creating a scavenger hunt for Hucklebaby to do.The possibilities are endless.

Can you tell how excited I am about these. They are such a fun idea…especially for those people who are impossible to surprise, or for the person who already has everything.

December Random Acts of Kindness

Hucklebaby Helps is a little Facebook group I started this year when it felt like the world was getting heavier than I could bare. There have been weeks where I was extremely devoted to making sure we went above and beyond to help others, then there were other weeks where life seemed to take all of our time.

It happens. It’s ok…

…but now that the holidays are here I wanted to make sure that Hucklebaby and I take a moment each day to pause and reflect on how we can make others feel with simple actions.

Dec 2016 RAK.jpg

Printable PDF here – dec-2016-rak

I’m posting this a few days before December because if you are like me, most weeks need to be planned out on the weekends.

We would love for you to join us and share your Random Acts of Kindness. Feel free to use any of these you like, join us daily or weekly…and simply do what you can.

Use #hucklebabyhelps on Twitter and Instagram.

Also take a moment to join our Hucklebaby Helps Facebook group here. We would love to see your RAOK, even if it isn’t the ones posted here. Check back each week for the planning list (to make it easier) and free printables to use.

Shopping list:

Toy to donate to Toys for Tots

Hot Chocolate (pick up on the way to school Friday morning)

 

Flocked Friday 

Each year I feel like I need something more festive in my kitchen. I don’t have much room though so it’s a bit difficult. So when I stumbled upon this image on Pinterest I knew this would be something easy to do…until I realized I had 20 cabinets. That meant 20 wreaths. Even cheap wreaths at $5 each were gonna be too pricy for a simple kitchen decoration…

holiday-wreaths-on-kitchen-cabinets.jpg

Then I saw Michaels Black Friday door buster sale items. $2 wreaths. If I was gonna do it, now was the time. I wasn’t going to find wreaths that size for $1 anytime soon.

I didn’t get too excited because I didn’t know how many they would have, and my luck they would all be gone by the time I got there. Apparently in my mind there would be a mad dash for $2 wreaths. Clearly no one wanted wreaths but me.

I grabbed my 20… plus ribbon that was 50% off.

Now time to wander the store and just “look at a few more things”. Which leads me to the flocked tree.

For years I have wanted a flocked tree. Don’t ask me why. I see them all over Pinterest and Instagram and want to go out and buy one.

But you know what’s expensive…. a flocked tree… is flocking expensive. (You see what I did there) 🙂

How cozy do those trees look?

This tree was starting at me. It followed me around the store. It was calling my name. It reminded me that even though it was 50% off…I still had an additional 20% coupon.

Then I found out they were completely sold out. That only made me want it more. It was done. If I let the store without this tree, I would think about it for years to come. I clearly have flocking issues.

I do have to say the employees at this Michaels were the nicest I have ever experienced and in no time had the floor model down and packed for me.

My only problem is that I was so blinded by wanting it after I found they were all sold out, that I didn’t factor in how big the box would be, or how I was going to transport it home.

That’s a big flocking box. (seriously, it’s so fun to say flocking)

Now I can’t wait to get new ornaments to go with it.

But I have to promise not to buy anymore Christmas trees in the next few years… um…ok…

Toddler Busy Box – A Holiday Must Have

img_6915.jpg

So it’s that time of year… when everything is busy. Nonstop places to go and things to be done. Holidays are full of excitement, but for little people it’s also a time for lots of boredom. Running store to store, random family members’ houses and road trips. None of this is necessarily stuff they enjoy.

In order to keep my sanity I’ve created a “busy box” to stay in the car, in order to beat the boredom and keep up with the holiday rush.

One of the best storage containers I’ve found is a simple Creative Options 12×12 paper holder. Most of the time this is used for scrapbook paper but it is the perfect size for lots of kid items. Plus it doubles as a writing surface in the car. Here is the one I have… 

To keep Hucklebaby off of the iPad or phone I like to put a lot of variety in the box, because as soon as he’s done with one thing it can easily switch out for another. As you can see nothing is messy too.

A few magazines that are age appropriate and that we can have conversations about, lacing shapes from the Dollar Spot, different notepads with a chunky pencil, an easy to read book that he already knows really well, a dry erase ABC book, a preschool “workbook” and a ColorWorks notepad… The items in this box will last for a while before I need to swap them out with other things. The red pencil bag keeps the ColorWorks markers as well as the large chunky crayons. I don’t take little crayons because they are easier to lose when they roll under the seats.

Everything fits in nice and neatly. You can see through the container to see what is inside and it stays clean. I’ve tried soft bags in the past and I haven’t been as happy with them.

Hucklebaby knows that the busy box is in the car most days and has learned to start looking around in that before he starts complaining about being bored. He also helps me find new things to put into the busy box. The perfect places to look are the Target Dollar Spot, The Dollar Tree or Scholastic Book Orders.