It’s officially my favorite time of year, Halloween season! Okay, so it might only be August, but I tend to celebrate this season a lot sooner than necessary. It just leaves more room for fun activities, such as watching scary movies and creating spooky treats! One of my favorite all time Halloween movies is Hocus Pocus, and the tradition of loving this film has naturally passed on to my girls. They each love the spooky spell book and it’s moving eye. I love how Winnifred Sanderson treats it like her personal pet, almost like a small dog. I thought it would make for a simple and tasty treat for kids and adults alike to try!
For this magical recipe, you can use either store bought brownie mix, or create your own from scratch. I went with the box version, but either choice will be just fine. In order to create these little spell books, you will need:
8×8 inch pan
box of brownie mix or ingredients to make scratch brownies
1″ candy eyeballs
black writing icing tube
To begin, preheat your oven to the desired temperature that is recommended in your recipe. I personally used the box brand, but it’s completely up to you. Once you prepare your brownies and bake them, set them aside to cool. I recommend letting them cool for at least 3 hours before beginning to decorate. Once cool, cut the brownies into rectangles to resemble books. Have the book brownies on a cutting board so they’re easy to decorate. To begin decorating, place a dot of black icing on the back of a candy eyeball and stick to the right middle side of the brownie. Next, take your tube of black icing and create a thin circle around the eyeball. Once completed, create a triangle style zig-zag on the far left side of the brownie. Next to the zig-zag, draw a thin line and create small stitches on the line. Add two semi-circles on the top and bottom right corners, and you have yourself a precious and delicious spell book! Repeat these steps on each brownie until you are out, and allow about 30 minutes for the icing to harden.
This recipe is a fantastic treat for any small spooky gathering you may be planning, or just to brighten your biggest Halloween fan’s day. The items I snagged to make I got at Ralph’s grocery. If you don’t have any luck finding candy eyeballs at your local grocery store, they also have options on Amazon, like the one I’ve linked below:
Hi, its me… still here in lockdown. Anyone else finding it hard to be positive? Right now, the people and places we love seem like a distant memory, and our thoughts can be more negative than positive. I know being mindful of my thoughts has really carried to an overall happier lifestyle, even in the weirdest of times. Along with being mindful of my thoughts, keeping my habits good has been a huge factor in my positivity. Sure, I have a bad day. What i don’t do is allow one bad day to turn into two. Allow yourself to be human, but don’t allow the negativity to become a habit.
Negative thoughts lead to negative feelings.Bad energy attracts bad energy
So, whether its to fix a bad mindset, or just to simply remind yourself just how lucky you are, here are 40 things you can be grateful for right now:
Opportunity is EVERYWHERE
All five senses (hear, sight, smell, taste, touch)
Fresh chocolate chip cookies from the oven
A child’s laugh
Time spent alone
A place to call “home”
Zoom conversations to bring loved ones together
The ability to learn a new skill set at any moment
Clean drinking water
Kindness from a stranger
Money in your bank account-any amount
The pets that love us unconditionally
Clean sheets to climb into at night
That someone, somewhere, loves you unconditionally
Medicine when you need it
Having a job
Turning on your favorite song or movie
Looking in the mirror and loving who’s staring back
We’ve all been exposed in some way to this new “Dalgona coffee” trend that took Tik Tok by storm during quarentine. Whether it’s on the Tik Tok platform, or even my countless Instagram posts, chances are you’ve seen it once or twice, and maybe even wondered how it tastes. I’m here to tell you it tastes amazing! I’ve completely stopped my Starbucks drive-thru runs and saved a ton of money in the process. It’s increased my productivity and tastes like a delicious concentrated coffee. Beware, it’s a bit of a butt kicker, so be sure to drink lots of water and have maybe one a day instead of your normal cup. I wanted to make a post with the simple recipe, because I’ve had a few requests for it. There are a bunch of recipes out there, but the process of making it is basically the same. After a few rounds of trial and error, I figured out a fool proof process that has created the yummiest Dalgona coffee ever!
The secret is in the preparation process, so be sure to have all of your items out and ready before you begin. The last thing you want to do is run around while trying to make it. Another secret if your Dalgona coffee doesn’t seem to be whipping up right, is to double the measurements to make it easier to rise. I’ve been through a few trial and error processes, and that definitely helped. To make the trendy Dalgona coffee, you will need the following items:
Milk of Choice
Nestcafe Instant Coffee
Organic Granulated Sugar
Before you begin, take your water and put it over the stove top to boil. Another helpful secret is to add boiling water, and not just “hot” water, because simple hot water will not cause it to whip. Take 2 tablespoons of Nestcafe brand instant coffee and 2 tablespoons organic sugar and add them to the small bowl. Stir together to make a coffee/sugar mix. Once complete, add the milk of your choice and ice to a cup and set aside. Next, check your water to see if it’s boiling. Once it’s boiling, add 2 tablespoons of water to your coffee sugar mix and beat with your electric mixer on high for about five minutes. If you don’t own an electric mixer, you can hand mix it, although it will take a lot more elbow grease. Once your mixture is thick and creates “mountain peaks” like a whipped cream substance, you’re set to add it to your milk. Scoop half of the mixture in and use a straw to stir. Top with the remaining amount and enjoy!
For those of you who are used to working from home with a toddler, you know this can be an extremely difficult task. From the countless interruptions ( Currently, I’m being asked to play Barbies while typing this), to nap times and nursing, the fact we even get anything done is pretty much a miracle. Maybe you’re new to this whole thing due to the pandemic and it’s got you beyond frustrated, using Google to find tips to help. Such a defeating feeling I know all too well.
There HAS to be a better way, or at least some helpful tips to be more productive in this weird space we are all in. I’m here to tell you, there is. It might not make all the craziness disappear, but I have been balancing work and a child together for both of my kids since they were born, so I know a few things that work. I want to share with you my Top Ten Tips for balancing work with a toddler, straight from a source who actually lives it. Working from home with young children is not easy by any means, but I’m convinced to my core that it is worth it. You can have your littles AND the career…just takes a bit of patience and balance. So without waiting any longer, let’s dive in!
Get Dressed For Work
I know we all talk about how wonderful wearing our tie-dye sweatsuit to the couch to work is, but does that help you get in “work mode?” Probably not. You’re going to work, dress like it. Does this mean you need to iron out that suit you hated wearing pre-pandemic? If that’s not your speed, than of course not. You should however show up as an elevated version of yourself. Find a nice sundress and throw on some makeup. Take the time you usually would to present yourself to the world as the BADASS you are! It will also help the kids see that “Mommy is going to work” which will provide boundaries for your time. When I get dressed and put makeup on, the kids know that I am about to start work, and so the guilt of separation decreases when its go time. I also just find myself more productive when I’m not in jammies, so get ready for work, okay?
What I mean by that is, have a clear layout of what you’re trying to accomplish for the day. Do you make lists? If not, start to. You will be distracted, it’s inevitable. When that happens, a list helps you keep track of the mental checklist you’re trying to accomplish. Don’t put so much pressure on your brain to do it all. It’s already multi-tasking more than it ever has before, so help a sister out and write it down. This may come as no surprise, but be prepared to have your list happen when it happens. Don’t put expectations on when you will accomplish a task, but rather just focus on accomplishing it at all. You may get taken away from your project and need to go back to it once the kids are sleeping. That could mean that you might miss your T.V show tonight, but that’s okay, you get to spend this moment with your little AND you’re making time for work later. All good.
Accomplish The Big One First
This may sound silly, but DO prioritize your list on what task you want to finish NO MATTER WHAT. We all know that defeating feeling of going an entire day in “mom mode” and not getting the one thing done that made the difference. Do it first. Don’t let anything get in the way of doing it. I know it’s hard, but were all more than just “mom.” Go after your goals with fire and if you cant do it all, focus on the BIG ONE.
Keep A Daily Routine
As best you can, I know its not perfect. The concept of keeping a daily routine of when they can expect things like breakfast, playtime, as well as mom’s work time will help the transition. Kids thrive on routine, so if you incorporate this into your planning, it will help kids get the grasp that parents are also in fact, working from home, and it’s completely normal.
Rotate Toy Options
This will help keep your toddler engaged in their toys while you attempt to work and take over the world. If they have access to every toy option in the toy box, they will quickly become stale and old in their eyes and lose their luster. Take a few boxes out as soon as you start to work, and choose a completely new set the next day. They will get so excited as if they’re brand new toys, and you will get some moments of peace.
Take The Work Outside
Sometimes we all need a change in scenery. This can be the same for your toddler. Being cooped up inside during these times can take its toll on all of us, including your toddlers. So grab that laptop and handful of toys and head to the front yard. It will provide a completely new play space for your little, and give you some much needed vitamin D to recharge those mental batteries. By the way, a bubble machine or sandbox will buy you at least an extra 15 minutes!
Take Advantage Of The High Chair
This is a secret weapon we all cant live without during mealtime, but it can also be your guardian angel come work time as well! Snag some non toxic crayons and paper and have them work next to you! They’ll love that they feel like they’re going to work as well, and you’ll have some quiet time to focus on work, or snag another cup of coffee. Grab some action figures for imaginative play, or slap some cheerios down for snack time. No matter how you incorporate the high chair, you’ll come out winning.
Use Screens Sparingly
This is a tough one to get behind, especially for kids that are younger. But we all are trying our best to provide for our families from home, without the option of childcare. As long as you’re taking advantage of the thousands of options for educational programming, it can be a great way for your kiddo to learn, while you’re trying to finish a task or two. Don’t overdo it, and keep a constant eye on what they’re watching. In moderation, a television show or Disney movie can be a great babysitter!
Accept The Mess
If you’re a Type A perfectionist like me, messes can be your Kryptonite. Try your best to ignore it and stay laser focused on what is really important; time with your work. Don’t spend your extra time cleaning up every mess as it happens. No one is hosting parties or making surprise visits, so who are you trying to impress? It’s okay to not have the perfect home while you’re trying to run a business and a family. Give yourself some grace and spend any extra time you have giving love to yourself or your babies. The messier the house, the happier the kids.
Give Yourself Grace
You’re doing your best and that’s MORE than enough. It’s okay to have days where little or nothing gets done. Maybe you had this vision of being productive and your kid wakes up sick…now what? Don’t worry about it. Working from home is tough, but it can be so very rewarding. You’re teaching your kids to go for their dreams and showing them what work ethic really is. You’re raising a family and bringing home an income, you’re AMAZING! Just do what you can to control what you can, but know that life is a bit out of control to begin with. No matter what the day brings, know you are already making them incredibly proud!
It’s no secret apps run our lives. When it comes to how i run my Instagram, I would be very little without my “toolbox” of apps to help me. Yes, my creative expression does come from me, but the editing and extra dose of magic is all thanks to the help of my applications. From things like editing photos and videos, to finding inspiration and beyond, these ten apps I’m about to share with you have truly stepped up my social media game. And I’m about to spill all of my secrets. I was hesitant at first about writing this post. I was worried about sharing too much and letting “all my secrets out” if i did. But after sitting down on the subject and thinking on it some more, I came to the conclusion…why? Why care about letting everyone know about the apps I used. Was I worried about a little competition? No. The worst thing that could come of it is that I would inspire others to step up their own games and cause them to completely fall in love with content creation, just as I have. I LOVE content creation. I LOVE teaching and sharing. It’s a part of who I am. So whether you’re looking to up your current content, or completely rebrand yourself, these (mostly) free apps could really help you in the long run. Do you need any or all of these to succeed in the social media game? Of course not! People feel inspired by you simply being YOU, showing up to the platform, and being your authentic self. So please just know that this is simply meant for help to those who find my personal feed interesting and want to learn more.
Facetune was not free. It was about $7 when I first bought it, and I would pay whatever they charged to always have it in my life. I use this app for everything from lightening a photo, to smoothing out blemishes and skin irritations, and whitening teeth and eyes. This tool is super versatile and can make every photo appear touched up by a professional. I believe there is a more updated version of the app, but I don’t have it and can’t speak to its awesomeness. This version seems perfect enough for me, and I highly recommend you download it today!
Lightroom Photo Editor
Lightroom Photo Editor is a mobile version of the desktop photo editing software. I don’t personally use the desktop version, but I know it’s a much more productive way to use the program overall. I currently use Lightroom mobile as the home of all of my presets I have bought from people who have made ones I’m a fan of. Lightroom is super cool and complex, and I’m going to be completely transparent when I say I know very little about it. The reason my feed looks so consistent is that I generally use the same one or two presets for every static photo I post. I make minor tweaks in Lightroom on lighting and color editing, but other than that, my Lightroom knowledge ends there. When it comes to presets, I swear by Teeny Edits, which can be purchased by clicking the link below:
PicsArt is the closest thing to Photoshop that I’ve ever seen. I don’t know Photoshop at all, although its on my list of to do’s to master in the future. PicsArt can create absolute magic in photos. From cropping yourself into other locations and adding clip art into them as well, you can honestly do anything with this tool. I pay for the premium version of the app, but doing so in order to enjoy what it has to offer is not necessary. This is the place where I go to add my Disney characters, out of this world locations like my Star Wars post, and basically add an extra dose of magic that can’t be found in real life. I typically use this app when I want to be seriously creative, so know that editing photos in this app takes time and patience. Be willing to learn, play around with it, and keep showing up. The more you use it, the easier it will become to master.
Enlight Videoleap Video Editor
This app is video editing heaven. Take small clips and attach them together, and with a library of dozens of music clips to add behind, you can make serious magic. It also has various features like voiceover, which makes a great tool for instructional videos you need to make. Add glitches for cool adjustments in video clarity. I just love using this tool when wanting to take my IGTV videos and Instagram stories up a notch. You can post a basic video with the music Instagram provides, or channel your inner George Lucas and create an actual film moment. I’ve used things like iMovie and other video editing apps, and this one is by far my favorite.
This app may seem like a no brainer, but I have to recommend it. It’s the ultimate inspirational tool. Think of any topic you want to start creating on, and there are a ton of posts ready to inspire you! I have Pinterest boards for everything from arts and crafts ideas for the kids, to various photography related pins that I want to refer back to in the future before shooting. It could be something simple like learning to bake or cook, to growing your knowledge on flatlay execution. Pinterest is your one stop shop for all things inspiring in the social media and blogging field. Download today and get to pinning!
This app is LIFE. This app has changed my Instagram stories forever and I am forever grateful for it. At the risk of sounding arrogant, I have a ton of people ask me about my Instagram stories. About how beautiful they always look and how they can do it too. If I recommend one app more than all of the others, this one is it. I have to warn you, the process of what I do with Instagram stories is time consuming. It takes patience and consistency to push through the idea that its “all silly and not worth it.” If making your Instagram stories look clean and pristine is something that’s valuable to your brand, then I highly recommend you checking out this app to see if it’s a good fit for you.
This is another great app for more Instagram story templates. You know the cute ones with the photo collage look? Ya, it’s here. I really like mixing up my story looks, so having a few apps for stories just works for me. I don’t use this app nearly as much as I use StoryArt, but I do also highly recommend this one as well. I would suggest taking multiple photos for the same post and taking advantage of the film photo collage option in the app. Super cute and personable way to connect and inspire people in your stories!
Highlight Cover and Logo Maker
Highlight covers are becoming more and more common to see on Instagram profiles, and they normally have a consistent look and aesthetic. The highlight cover app is a great app to use for exactly that; highlight cover making. Best of all, it’s free! Before you do so, what’s the overall look you want your Instagram page to have? The app has a ton of options to inspire. Although, the creativity portion is all on you.. spend time on your page figuring out what your “vibe” is, then create cute bubbles on the tool to match. Save the image and go back to the specific story highlight you want it to match with. Click edit the photo and replace the phot with your new bubble. You’ll be pleasantly surprised with how nice and uniform it all looks when you’re done.
I love this app! I use it for creating custom Instagram story and post templates, but I mainly use it for creating things like my media kit and invoices. Are you an influencer that has your first paying gig, but need to create an invoice yourself? Use Canva. Thinking of starting the influencer lifestyle but need to create a media kit to talk about your analytics and abilities? Use Canva. Bottom line, just download Canva because you’ll eventually need it someday. This tool is also fun to use to create your own story and static post images, or use the library of pre made ones on days you don’t feel inspired. For this app, there is a free and paid for version. Because of how often I use this tool for work, I pay for the premium version, although not necessary.
A Color Story
What a great app! As soon as I’m done editing in Lightroom, I take that same photo and add a few more touches in A Color Story. If you don’t want to spend money on buying presets and wasting your time in Lightroom, “ A Color Story” is a great place to do things like edit photos and use filters to create consistency. The parts I use the most are in the “effects” section, where I have a few of my favorites saved and add a cute sun flare or bokeh to the final edit. This app is a staple in most influencer’s phones, so get familiar with it and start to fall in love!
I hope you enjoyed this small look into my phone. I use these tools daily, but not all of them, so don’t go too overboard with editing. At the end of the day, the authentic and real photo is always going to be a ton more inspiring than a fake, over edited one. It’s like makeup… we use it to enhance our natural beauty, and not to completely transform into someone we’re not. So get out there and experiment, but do so in moderation. Happy content creating!
May the 4th is one of the most sacred of days in our home. Why? Because it’s Star Wars Day of course! Ever since I can remember, Star Wars has been everything to me. I knew that when I had littles, I would “show them the ways of the force” through these beautiful stories, in hopes that they would gravitate towards them too. I’m still working a bit on Kensey, but Emma has been a fan of it all from the start. Kensey loves characters like Rey and Chewie, while Emma has always had a thing for the dark side, and loves Darth Vader. We usually celebrate this day like most fans do… at Disneyland Parks. With the new addition of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and all it has to offer, is there a better place to celebrate? Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, we’re not able to access our precious parks to celebrate. That DOES NOT mean that you can’t have some galactic fun from home and still celebrate in style! All you need is a few supplies from the house, some imagination, and a little help from the force, and you’re on your way to having a great day! I’ve listed below some fun activities to help add some Star Wars magic, along with the links on further instructions or downloads. We hope this helps your family have a blast on May 4th, and as always, may the force be with you!
Bake “Leia Buns” Cinnamon Rolls
This one seems super easy and a no brainer. Princess Leia’s iconic hair can easily be spotted in these cinnamon rolls, that is pre-icing of course. I just snagged a can of Pilsbury brand cinnamon rolls and baked as directed on the back. I took the picture while they we’re cooling and we chatted about Princess Leia and how much of a role model she is. Brave and fearless, but had heart in all she did. A general yes, but to me, she’s royalty. Enjoy this with a side of overnight oats, and bonus points if you make the Galaxy’s Edge version!
Star Wars Toilet Paper Roll Characters
What a cute and easy project! All you need to do is click on the link below and download the free printables. After that, take your printables and glue them around a toilet paper roll. Be sure to cut the paper to fit the roll, and i would recommend using a hot glue gun to keep them down. These make great photo props, and even better figurine toys for the kids to play and pretend with! We had a blast making them and will use them for future fun days ahead!
Keep kids occupied for a while on Star Wars Day with this take on when Han Solo got stuck on carbonite. Take a Han Solo action figure (or any Star Wars ones you got) and stick them in a small Tupperware dish. add water to the top and stick in the freezer overnight. When you’re ready to free them, run warm water around the dish until the ice melts it out. Have kids use water to melt the ice and free the smuggler. This is a great activity for little ones to do!
Star Wars Lunch Bag Puppets
You will need the following for Chewie: brown paper bag, black and white construction paper, googly eyes,brown crayon, glue, scissors, and a pencil. First, take your black construction paper and cut to create a belt. Glue down. Take the white piece of paper and cut small squares to style the belt. Cut Chewie’s mouth and glue on, as well as the googly eyes. Cut a small oval for his nose and glue on. Add silver accents to the belt with a pencil. Add fur marks overall with a brown crayon.
You will need the following for Yoda: lunch bag, Green and white construction paper, googly eyes, scissors, glue, and a grey crayon or colored pencil. First, start off by cutting out all of the pieces you need. Two large ovals for the eyelids, two ears , and the head should all be green. You can wrap the white paper around the bottom to resemble his robe. Glue on the head and ears and color in the inside of the ears to give it dimension with the grey crayon. Next, glue on the eyes and eyelids, Take the crayon and add a mouth and nose, as well as some more overall wrinkles.
Pool Noodle Light Saber
A safe and fun way to have a full blown battle! We made a couple dozen of these for Emma’s 4th Star Wars birthday party, and I’m thankful to report that a few are still completely in tact! They are simple to make too! Take a pool noodle and cut in half. Use a combination of silver, black, and colored electric tape and wrap around the bottom to resemble the base. That’s it! You can also take added time to create buttons and shapes with a Sharpie marker, if detail is a thing you seriously need. After you’re done, you can conduct your own Jedi Training Academy from home!
Make Blue Milk At Home
What would Star Wars Day be without something food and drink related from our beloved Galaxy’s Edge?! It just wouldn’t be right. As much as i would love to recreate their famous Ronto Wrap or maybe even a beverage from Ooga’s Cantina, I figured it would be great to start with their staple beverage; the blue milk. Now, some prefer the green milk, and that’s totally okay. I personally think it tastes like the smell of potting soil, so you won’t find me making that here. I did however, find a copycat recipe that i linked below for both styles of milk, so you can recreate your preferred flavor. I really enjoyed making this, and thought it tasted pretty close to the original thing. Due to the pandemic and not wanting to travel to too many stops for supplies, I disregarded some of the ingredients listed, or replaced with something else. My advice if you cannot access all the stuff listed in the link is to improvise and experiment. Have fun and enjoy yourself!
How cute are these little guys?! I’ve always been a fan of Jawas and these little rocks were so easy to create! All you need is some smooth rocks that have been washed and cleaned as well as some black, brown, and yellow acrylic paint and a Sharpie. Once your rocks have been cleaned and dried, paint them with a few coats of brown paint. Once dry, make a black circle of paint for the face shadow. Finally, after that has dried, add a few yellow dots for the eyes and use the Sharpie to draw a utility belt. After that, you’re all set! Use these for cute garden decor, or as a fun add on to any gift you’re mailing to a loved one.
Read Some Star Wars Books
We’ve been big fans of reading since the lockdown. It’s given us time to read some books that have been collecting dust, and the girls have found a new love for reading as well! Star Wars Day is a great excuse to bust out some of those Star Wars themed books in your bookshelf. Because of its complicated story line, the girls have been able to learn about the saga thanks to the Little Golden Books series. It has a great way of summarizing the story and has great pictures too. “The Galaxy Needs You” is also another great story of why you are so special and important to the world. I’ve linked both book options below. Reading is the coolest hobby in the galaxy!
Star Wars Coloring Pages
“But Megan, I’ve colored nonstop since lockdown”. I know, me too. But the fact is, we’re stuck at home and coloring is what we do now. In all seriousness, coloring is a great way to relax and spend some quiet time, and there are so many free coloring pages online to choose from! Just head to Pinterest or Google and search for “free Star Wars coloring sheets” and a bunch of options like the ones above will pop up.
Star Wars Activity Sheets
Just like the coloring pages, there are so many FREE printable activity sheets that are Star Wars themed online. I found both of these on Pinterest, and took Emma a bit of time to get through. You can also search for activities based on age group too by being a bit more specific in the search engine. You can also create your own game of Star Wars charades by writing the character names down and throwing them in hat for loved ones to act out and play along!
Make Light Saber Bookmarks
You will need the following supplies for these bookmarks: multi-colored pieces of construction paper, black construction paper, glue, scissors & white paint. Cut out the various colored pieces of paper into small light sabers. Cover the bottom with a black square of paper the is slightly wider than the saber piece and glue together. Take white paint and add saber decorations to the black part. Once dry, you can laminate to keep protected, or use contact paper on both font and back.
Star Wars Scavenger Hunt
This was such a fun way to incorporate the outdoors a bit! Galaxy’s Edge has its own scavenger hunt that you can participate in, so this one that I found on Pinterest was a total hit for us! I did not create this particular scavenger hunt, I found it on Pinterest and linked it below. I took the paper cutouts and hot glued them onto some cardboard and hung them by ribbon. I took them and hid them around the front yard area for the girls to locate. To add a little bit of dark side to the game, I had Dan pretend to be a Storm Trooper and sneak up on them every now and them to arrest them. Just trying to add a little bit of Galaxy’s Edge anywhere we can.
The BEST WAY to actually enjoy Star Wars Day is to sit down with your favorite Disney popcorn bucket, some blue milk, and have a movie marathon! Disney+ has practically every movie available, with the addition of Rise of Skywalker being added on May 4th, 2020. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the saga as a family, or pop in your favorite one and relive the story together. Our favorite is “The Force Awakens” followed by “Return of the Jedi”. We hope you enjoyed some of these ideas to get your celebration going in the right direction! We had such fun putting it together and can’t wait to celebrate Star Wars Day in the parks next year!
With all of this extra time we have been experiencing, we’ve found a love for baking as a family. From pies to cookies and more, baking has been something that’s brought my girls and I together. We wanted to find a way to make a tasty treat for our dog Perla, and I think we found the perfect recipe! This is totally human friendly, and you probably have most, if not all of the ingredients in your pantry already! So get prepared for your dog to love you even more, and your house to smell delicious too!
What you’ll need:
4 cups of oat flour
2/3 cup of unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup of natural peanut butter
2 large eggs
Cookie cutter of your choice
Take your ingredients and combine together in a bowl. I found my oat flour at Smart and Final for under $5 and that is a steal! You can also make your own oat flour by taking rolled oats and putting them in the food processor. One cup of rolled oats equals 2 cups of at flour. Once you combine your ingredients together, take your dough and roll it out with a rolling pin until the dough is about 1/4 inch in thickness. Use your cookie cutter to cut out the treats and place them onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until they start to darken on the edges and dry out. Remove from the oven and let them cool.
Once they have cooled, you can serve them to your fur baby. Our dog has a bit of trouble starting to eat her meals, so we also like to use these treats and crumble them onto the top of her meal to entice her a bit. If your dog likes peanut butter, and most dogs do, they will absolutely love this recipe! There was very little cleanup, and the kids helped me with the entire process, minus the oven parts. I hope your pup enjoys this treat, and you enjoy this fun quarantine activity as well!
Okay, let’s face it. Things have been tough lately. With the ongoing quarantine that will last us for goodness knows how long, to this constant rain, we can’t catch a break as parents to help our kids release this energy. What can we do? The parks and beaches are closed. Play dates are a thing of the past. Yet, we still long for our children to have fun days filled with activities that enrich their minds and stretch their imagination. To be clear, I’m not one to encourage that we simply buy our children’s entertainment. There are so many free options we often forget. In this case, I’m trying to fill the void that physical education, field trips, and gymnastics class once did. So, if you’re like me and simply need a bit of help creating a more imaginative space, feel free to shop the links below! All of these items have brought a ton of joy since the lockdown. Some of them have helped burn some necessary energy, and some have helped expand the mind in a fun way! I hope you find this post helpful, and above all, stay safe. The virus can live on cardboard boxes for up to 24 hours, so be sure to leave the your goodies alone on the doorstep for a bit before opening.
The beauty of our current state of living, is that we get to slow down and notice the beautiful things around us. With all of the nature walks the girls and I have been doing lately, I’ve been able to notice just how many fun ideas come from what’s around us! We’ve been collecting sticks on our frequent walks to contribute to our family fireplace. It’s been so cold at night lately, so anything helps. When we were walking back one day, the girls pointed out how they also make excellent fairy wands. I thought to myself, “hmm with a little sparkle, I think you’re right.” So we got to talking about what our ideal fairy wands would look like. Colorful and sparkly we’re consistent in the pitch. So I got to Amazon hunting and found the perfect additions you need to help make your backyard wands shine! I’ve listed a how-to below, as well as linked the places I found my supplies. The goal is to not have to leave your house to create, unless it’s to find something in nature or grab a delivery box. Let’s get to wand making!
First, you’ll need to take a nice long walk. Find some sticks that can handle some serious spell casting. It would be sad to go to all that trouble, just to have it break. Once you’ve found a few good ones, bring them home and inspect them for splinters, etc. Once they are safe, it’s time to create!
The supplies you grab are really all based on your unique taste and style. For the sake of the post, I will go through how we made ours, as well as provide links in case you want to create something similar. The following supplies are needed to create this craft:
Sticks found in nature
Glue gun sticks
After you have gathered your supplies, plug in your glue gun and wait for it to heat up. While it is heating up, select the ribbon you would like to use as your base color, as well as a few other complimentary colors for the top. Grab your base color and start gluing it to the stick. You can make a small dot of glue and start to wrap the ribbon around the stick, gluing little by little as you go. Once you have reached the top, glue it in place, then start to add decorative ribbon around. Glue as you go. These steps should be done by an adult, as the gun is easy to burn little hands and arms.
Once you have glued the ribbon on, gather your gems and decorate however you wish! This is the fun and creative part, that if you have older kids at home, they are okay to help in this. Feel free to be creative or even customize it to make it a gift for someone special! You can also use things like glitter and sequins if that is something you have better access to.
After you’re done creating, it’s time to take your wands and do some magic! Find your cutest fairy outfit and go explore the world with a bit of magic in your hands! The girls loved their wands and played with them for hours. I hope you have fun creating magic with what’s around you as well!
“Truly wonderful the mind of a child is.” – Master Yoda
When it comes to our current world’s state, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the fear. Worrying about what could possibly come next, and when we can finally get back to our normal routines. For me, that involved sending the kids off to school, regular Target runs, and definitely some alone time. As those things have become memories of the past, it was a hard transition for me at first. You see, less than a year ago, I moved away from most of the things and people who brought me joy. So I was already feeling like I was living a life of social distancing. Target runs and Starbucks we’re all I had. All of the sudden, I was quarantined in the house, expected to become it ALL. Home school teacher, online shopping expert, full time mom and house cleaner. It was all too overwhelming. I found myself motivated in the morning, and struggling to keep my head above water by noon.
I wanted to motivate others with my ability to “juggle it all” and the pressure alone in that had me feeling overwhelmed. Not to mention, I had a nighttime job that kept me up until midnight, and a toddler who woke me up by 5 am every morning, i was burnt out. About a week into the stay at home orders came in by the Governor, I got a call from my employer, letting me know I was being let go. I went into sheer panic. How was I going to afford food? Stuff for the kids? Both my husband and I we’re out of a job, with no way to change that. After a restless night of sleep, I had a CLEAR picture of what was going on. God was trying to get me to slow down. To realize none of this is in my control. To appreciate this incredible gift we have all been given, and that is the power of now.
For the first time in what feels like forever, life was meant to slow down for me. To slow down for all of us. I get to spend more time with my girls, watching them grow and see the world. To be honest, most of us parents are doing activities we would never do unless quarantined with time on our hands. Looking for bugs and flying a kite was never on my list for the week, but I’m so lucky that it happened. For what will be a small part of our life story, our kids get our full attention. And for a small time in life, we get theirs. We don’t have to compete with sports schedules or play dates. Their time is all ours, and if we do this right, we will see this whole thing as a GIANT blessing. You see, perspective is everything. From their points of view, they don’t see the scary numbers. They don’t know about the pandemic and it’s worldwide devastation. All they see is that mom and dad are doing some pretty cool stuff with them lately, and they will remember that forever. I’ve gotten to learn so much about my girls in this small amount of time. I’m also not embarrassed to admit, that if our lives we’re what they used to be, spending this much time together wouldn’t happen.
So, for however this time lasts, I’m going to make a choice everyday to live in the NOW. Embrace every uncomfortable step, because I know the end of this will lead to a better me. I’ll get to finally take a nap, color in a coloring book, and look for ladybugs. I’ll finally be able to try out some of those Pinterest recipes I’ve been collecting for years but never tried. I’ll get to show my kids the world in a way I grew up knowing it. It was a slower time, but I believe it was a better time. We got outside and explored the world around us. We got dirty and scraped up. We asked questions about the world around us. I honestly can’t wait for the next few months ahead!
Does this mean we need to be completely positive all the time about our current situation? No. At times, no matter how you look at it, the Corona Virus SUCKS. Allow yourself moments to take that in and face it head on. But do NOT allow yourself to live in that space. The world has been knocked down, yes, but we aren’t supposed to stay there. We will bounce back. So for now, take it day by day and breathe. If you have children, enjoy them. We will never have this kind of dedicated time to them again. If you’re without children, find moments in the day to try something new and embrace these moments of rest. I know with the job market being as it is, it’s hard to motivate yourself to find joy. You will find work again. What you won’t find is this kind of selfish time to love on yourself. Learn a second language. Find a love for bird watching. Join Tik Tok. Before we know it, this will be all over. We’re going to be okay.
Oh, and to add, after I shifted my mindset, I received an offer for a better job than the one I previously had. All within 48 hours of losing my job in the most uncertain time in our lives. I am blessed, but I firmly believe mindset is everything. You got this, I promise. We will all come out of this thing more appreciative and loving. All we can control is what we have now. And what we have now is time to slow down and enjoy the things we would if time and money we’re not an issue.
The outbreak of the Coronavirus may be stressful for people. Fear and anxiety about a disease can be overwhelming and can cause strong emotions in adults and children. Coping with stress can be easier with a little bit of help, and there is a website full of sources that can help. Just click on the link below if you or someone you know needs help coping with it all: