Thursday, April 11, 2013

Banana Oat Pancakes

I love cold cereal and milk. I think I could eat some variation of cereal + milk everyday for breakfast for the rest of my life and be happy, but sometimes special occasions call for special breakfast. This past weekend the special occasion was General Conference, and the special breakfast was these banana oat pancakes. Delicious. The perfect combination of soft and chewy.

Banana Oat Pancakes

2 Tbsp brown sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour (or another 1/4 C all-purpose)
1/2 cup steel cut oats
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp nutmeg
2 large eggs
2 bananas, mashed
2 Tbsp plain Greek yogurt or non-fat sour cream
1/4 cup milk (add more if your batter seems too thick)
1 Tbsp butter for griddle

1. Mix brown sugar, flours, oats, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg in a bowl.
2. Whisk in the eggs, bananas, and yogurt/sour cream.
3. Add in milk incrementally until the batter moves in the bowl but isn't runny.
4. Preheat a non-stick pan or griddle and grease with butter.
5. Using a ladle, pour some batter onto the pan/griddle.
6. Flip pancake when the underside is golden brown.
7. Cook opposite side until golden brown and no longer wet on edges.
8. Serve warm.

Top with fruit, syrup, or eat them plain like we did. Even Elle devoured these, and she's been rather picky lately. We might need to have these for breakfast again soon.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Car Activities for a One-Year Old

(Alternately titled: How to Not Go Completely Insane on a Twelve Hour Roadtrip with a Baby)

My first piece of advice would be to leave close to bedtime and drive through the night.

That wasn't an option with this trip, and even though my baby took several good naps (more than she would at home), being in the car alllll day was (surprise!) not all that fun.

A few days before we left I decided I'd get started on the busy box I picked for the Pinterest challenge, but then I quickly realized that I didn't have the time or materials to make most of the things on that particular list before our trip... I did have pipe cleaners and a puffs container though, so I put them together for "Pipe Cleaners in a Bottle."

If Elle could give an award for best roadtrip "toy" I'm sure she'd pick the pipe cleaners, hands down. She liked pulling them out, putting them back in, and bending them. She loved handing them to me so that I could hang them off of my glasses/nose/ears and would giggle up a storm while grabbing them back.

So I give an A+ to "Pipe Cleaners in a Bottle." Cheap, very low effort, virtually indestructible, and my brother's cats thoroughly enjoyed batting them around. The only cons I can think of are the sharp ends (I twisted those over and didn't have any problems), and once we took them out of the car, our pipe cleaners seemed to spread to every corner of the house.

I also made a texture book to bring along in the car. This requires considerably more effort than "Pipe Cleaners in a Bottle," but if you have some supplies on hand it's not difficult to throw together.

Step 1. Gather up materials with different textures.

I already had all of these things at home, but the possibilities are endless as far as what you put on the pages.

Step 2. Cut pages out of old cereal/snack boxes.

I used my Cricut machine to get the scalloped edges and then glued scrapbook paper on the fronts.

Step 3. Glue your objects on to the pages. Use the strongest glue possible if you have a destructo baby like mine.

Step 4. Hole punch the top of the pages.

Step 5. Tie together with string. Voila!

You may have guessed from the note in Step 3 that my baby girl set out to destroy this texture book. She made quick work of ripping off the fuzzy pompoms, the bubble wrap, and even a couple of the shiny hearts. I hot glued everything except for the foam stickers, and the only page that is still completely intact is the one with the fabric flowers. Maybe superglue would've been better. At the time, I was just happy that it held her interest for more than 5 minutes. 

Other tried and true activities:

*Stuffed animals



*Food, glorious food
*My wallet
*And when things got a little ugly that last hour and she couldn't be consoled, I gave her my glasses...even though I can't see without them. She went from screaming to asleep within a few minute's time. Worth it. ;)

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Pinterest Challenge Wrap-Up

Confession: I just finished the Pinterest Challenge moments ago...but I started a few days after everyone else, so it's totally okay. Honestly, I forgot about my last task, which was adding a "Pin It" button to my blog.

I wrote about the Grilled Malibu Chicken and gave a glimpse of the tab-top curtain and busy box here. I'm still planning to write separately about the busy box and our roadtrip, but realistically, I'm never going to write about the curtains, so here are some pictures of that. ;)

Definitely my most successful sewing project to date, and it was super simple thanks to my friend Audrei and her amazing "sewing computer."

That leaves the scarf headband and the truffle squares

I tried the criss-cross headband with scarves/fabric belts that I already had. The material was too slippery and the criss-cross protruded from my head more than I wanted. I think this would've worked better with something with more stretch that would lay flatter.

This story has a happy ending though because while enjoying a cold Spring Break in Arkansas with my family, I happened upon a fabric headband I liked in a little boutique. And it was a handmade, fair trade item benefiting an Indonesian woman. Win-win? I think so.

I made the truffle squares on Good Friday, and they were yummy. I was sad to go into the kitchen this morning and see that Henry ate the last one. If you like chocolate and nuts, I'd recommend this dessert.

I made a few changes (as I'm inclined to do). For one, I only used chopped almonds for my "dough" because I didn't have any pecans. For two, I used agave nectar instead of honey/syrup. For three, I added a layer of melted peanut butter between the nut mixture and the top layer of chocolate. This was a great decision because it held the nutty mixture together better, and it made the bars taste a lot more like Reese's peanut butter cups.

Now that this challenge is over, I'm thinking about what I can work on next. I want to make a wreath for spring...not sure what else yet. What will you work on?

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

You Are My Sunshine 1st Birthday Party

Happy April, friends! March pretty much tried to kill me with various ailments (tonsillitis, food poisoning, allergies, aches and pains), so I'm happy to be moving on to a fresh month. And look what I finally have to show you! I had way, way too much fun planning this party. I'm excited to share some of the pictures with you.

I told my husband I wanted the frosting to look like clouds, and well, my husband is awesome. He definitely delivered.

Suns from the "Create a Critter" Cricut cartridge

Banner from the "Something to Celebrate" Cricut cartridge

Now I'll give a little run-down of the party. We sang "Happy Birthday" and let Elle have at her smash cake, of course. I loved how she daintily picked off slices of mango before tasting the icing. She is definitely my girl. She needed a little assistance to actually break into the cake.

We kept our guest list small to cut down on the cost for food and party supplies, so we had mostly family and a few close friends in attendance. The result was an intimate gathering of people who have been in Elle's life since she was just a few days old. Since the birthday girl couldn't quite make a wish of her own, I asked everyone to record a birthday wish for her in a journal. I hope to make a tradition of filling this book with birthday wishes each year. 

Another fun thing we did was ask the guests to bring an object to represent an occupation Elle might choose in the future. We got this idea from some friends in our old ward. Apparently it's a Bulgarian tradition to sit your one year old in the middle of a circle of objects and predict their future based on what they choose. Sounded fun to me!

Based on the objects, her choices were veterinarian, paleontologist, dentist, engineer, starlet, teacher, chef, artist, or ophthalmologist. The outcome was clear: she went straight for the calculator (representative of engineering). We did the test a second time to see what her second choice would be, and she went for the protractor (Dad had sneaked in two objects for engineering). Only time will tell if the test is right...

The next day I realized that I'd forgotten to put the party hat on Elle even once during the party, so naturally I had to remedy that ASAP. I put her in the brand new dress she received for her birthday, fed her cake, which worked out perfectly because we had A LOT of leftover cake to eat up, and played with the confetti. I'm pretty sure it was one of the most exciting weekends of her life. ;)

If anyone's interested, I created a Pinterest board to keep track of many of my online supply purchases and recipes (without a visual of what I'd purchased, my head would start spinning). I did what I consider to be extensive comparison shopping when it came to things like striped paper straws, baking cups, etc. and I found The TomKat Studio to have the best prices. My order also arrived super quick! Can't beat that.