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National Donut Day: DIY Recipe & Where to Get A Free Donut Today

home made donuts

I cannot believe we’re back at National Donut Day again! It feels like we were just celebrating it moments ago! I picked up a couple of donuts for my eldest kid home from school after graduating from Middle School this week.  There are lots of donut shops giving away free donuts today.

USA Today has a list. Or…if you are adventurous and want to do it yourself, you can follow this recipe from MyHomeMadeHeaven.com.

Dough
  1. 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  2. 4 Tbsp sugar
  3. 3 Tbsp butter, softened
  4. 1/2 tsp salt
  5. 1/2 cup milk or kefir
  6. 1 egg
  7. 2 tsp Active Dry Yeast
  8. 1/2 cup tangzhong (see just below-don’t worry, it’s super easy)
  9. Oil for frying
Tangzhong (also see picture above)
  1. 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  2. 1 cup water
Glaze
  1. 3 cups powdered sugar
  2. 1/2 cup water or milk (I like to use water) (You can use less water if you want the glaze thicker- maybe start with 1/3 cup instead)
  3. 4 tsp vanilla
Get the rest of the Instructions Here!

Here are 10+ Great Ideas for Creating a Fantastical Playroom for Your Child

playroom

It’s every kid’s dream to have a fantastical playroom of their own. It can be wonderful space to explore, play and run wild is perfect for building up confidence and nurturing creativity. And let’s not forget the extra value: it can help keep the rest of your house clear of toys, clutter and mess.

If you have space in your home, why not build a playroom for your little one or brood? Explore this great infographic that the folks at The Rugseller made to get you started.

From storage with a twist to imaginative décor to inspire your kids’ creativity and furniture with room for all the toys, this infographic will give you some pointers as to how you can design your own playroom:

 Creating a Cool Kids Playroom Infographic by The Rug Seller


Creating a Cool Kids Playroom Infographic by The Rug Seller by The Rug Seller

Take Better Newborn Photography with these 10 Expert Tips

Bellyitch Rewind

newborn photography tips


Photographing a newborn can be challeging for professionals, and even more daunting for parents or amateurs. It doesn’t have to be if you do some advance prep and get some advice from the experts.  Dreamstime Professional Photographer Barbara Helgason offers these 10 must-see tips:

1. Safety first. This should go without saying. Babies have a startle reflex and their strong little legs can do a froggy kick and propel them forward. Always, always, have mom sitting right next to baby within arm’s reach.

2.  Young babies are sleepy babies and sleepy babies make the best little models. Try to photograph them as young as possible, usually between 7 and 10 days old. As they get a little older they start becoming a bit more awake and alert. Also many newborns develop newborn acne around two weeks of age, so that is another reason to plan your sessions as early as possible.

3. Warm babies are sleepy babies, and do we love sleepy babies. Crank up the heat a couple of hours before a newborn session. It should be uncomfortably warm in the room so baby can rest well.

4. Hungry babies are not happy and they are definitely not sleepy. Babies should have a full tummy and to be prepared to feed, a lot if needed. Ideally we want baby to feel the way we do after a big turkey dinner.

5. All babies love white noise. You can also get womb sounds online. Those a bit more soothing. You can play them on your phone and tuck

it under the blanket behind baby’s head. If you do use your phone, don’t forget to put it into the do not disturb mode. For a really fussy baby

shushing in his or her ear will also work wonders.

6. Patience, patience patience. Newborn sessions should absolutely not be rushed. Getting those cute little poses takes time. Hold their little arms

and legs gently in the position you want until you can sense they’ve settled into a deep sleep. Pay attention to detail. Take the time to open those

tight little fists and uncurl each of their tiny fingers. Rub the frowns out of their little foreheads. Gently tug their cheeks and if you’re lucky they

may even give you a little smile.

7. Invest in the right props. Bean bags, thick plush and textured blankets, knitted hats, head bands, and wraps and diaper covers are great investments. Also, a basket of washcloths in various shapes and sizes are great to slide in under the blanket, to help position baby. These can be tucked under to tilt baby’s face just so, to lift their bottoms a bit more, etc etc.

8. Don’t forget to zoom in and get close ups of their eyelashes,  little fingers and little toes. And if baby is crying, keep it real and capture

those tears as well.

9. Don’t shoot up the babies nose. It’s the one angle that’s never ever attractive.

10. And last but definitely not least is lighting. Really, if you don’t have good lighting, none of they above tips will matter at all. Placing your beanbag next to large bright window. Look for soft shadows and learn to see the light. Photography is always about the light. You may have the most

expensive camera and the best and fastest lenses, but if you don’t have the right lighting, you will not get a single good image.

We hope these tips help! Good Luck, Parents!

Memorial Day: Red White and Blue Fun Foods

memorial day foods

It might be too late to whip up some of these yummy red, white and blue Memorial Day themed foods for today, but we can still drool over them. Yum. Click the link below the image to be taken to the source and recipe. You can save and/or print these out for a Fourth of July or some other Patriotic-themed party in the future.

jello firecracker - Copy

Jello Firecrackers

sangria

Red White and Blue Sangria

flag dessert - Copy

Fruit Flag Dessert

rice krispie

Patriotic Rice Krispies

oreos - Copy

Oreos American Style

memorial - Copy

Memorial Day Grilling Alternative: Bison is Healthier and Lower in Fat

bratwurst

The President of the United States might have just given the bison the designation as the first ever National mammal, but that isn’t stopping people from consuming them as a healthier alternative to chicken and beef. I didn’t even realize that bison was eaten until I saw them on the menu at a restaurant a few years back.

The Honest Bison  company sells “100% grassfed and humanely raised” Bison for retail at supermarket. Interesting. I’m a vegetarian who wouldn’t eat a national mammal, or any mammal, but I realize others do, so I’m sharing a bison bratwurst recipe to consider if you want to mix up your grilling this Memorial Day weekend or any outdoor (or indoor) eating day this summer.

                             Bison Bratwurst Recipe

bison bratwurst

Ingredients:

1 lb. (4 brats) Bison Bratwurst

1 onion, sliced

1 bottle of bock-style beer*

2 cups beef broth (or bison broth made with The Honest Bison’s soup bones!)

2 tbsp. grassfed butter

3 cups sauerkraut, drained on paper towels

1 cup halved Brussels sprouts (sautéed in advance with coconut oil)

Sea salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:

Heat a tall-sided skillet or wide, shallow pot over medium-high heat.

Add onion, beer, and bison bratwurst. Simmer, turning brats occasionally, until beer is reduced to a syrupy consistency and onions are caramelized, about 10 minutes.

Remove brats and add beef/bison broth to the pan, scraping the bottom until mixture is fully incorporated.

Add the brats back into the pan and simmer until fully cooked, about 10 minutes more.

Remove brats and bring broth to a full boil until reduced to syrupy consistency. Be careful that it doesn’t burn off.

Reduce heat to medium-low and melt the grassfed butter, scraping up the caramelized bits in the pan.

Add brats back into the pan. Place sauerkraut around brats and cook until somewhat crisp. Turn brats over and stir often.

Add the sautéed Brussels sprouts and stir them into the sauerkraut until heated.

Season with salt and pepper to taste if needed.

Let The Honest Bison know how your dish came out, tag @thehonestbison on Instagram! Happy eating and Happy Memorial Day! Recipe modified from Chaos in the Kitchen.

Wow Other Memorial Day Party Guests With a Skinned Watermelon

skin_awatermelon_2

Are you going to a cook-out, pool party or backyard event this Memorial Day Weekend and want to bring a dish that will wow other guests? How about a skinned watermelon?!

Creative Science YouTuber Mark Rober created this video (which has gone viral and has gotten over 69 million views) that gives you a walk thru on how to skin a watermelon! That’s right skin a big green fruit!

watermelon hack

How to Take a DSLR Camera Selfie with Kids using Jennifer Borget’s Photography Hack

want to know

We talked about the importance of moms getting on the other side of the camera and being part of the moments they capture of their children’s lives. Modern smartphones have self-timers but if you have fidgety children and/or are working with an actual camera or a DSLR camera, you’re going to need to be more resourceful.

One of our longtime fave mom bloggers Jennifer Borget of The Baby Making Machine did an excellent video showing parents how to take selfies with their children using an app, their smartphone and a very clever hack!

Check out the video here:

Memorial Day Weekend is Here: Fun Stats & Facts





Memorial Weekend
is upon us. To many, it is an excuse to escape the daily grind, pack up the kids or get with friends and head to the beach.

But the day that the weekend honors is so much more. Our fave site to get facts and stats, Wallet Hub has released its annual study of stats. 

Here is a summary of interesting information to know about this weekend:

42+ Mil: Americans have served the country in war time.

1.3 Mil: Members of the armed services have lost their lives in conflict.

89% – Of Memorial Day weekend travelers will drive to their destination (2.1% increase from 2015).

818: Hot dogs are consumed every second from Memorial Day to Labor Day (7 billion total).

25%: More home-cooking fires happen on Memorial Day than average.

900K+: Expected participants and spectators in Rolling Thunder, the annual Memorial Day motorcycle rally in Washington, DC.

For the complete Memorial Day 2016 Report, please visit Wallet Hub here.

Eco-Friday: 20 Memorial Day Eco-Friendly Grilling Tips

grilling
It’s Memorial Day weekend and many families around the US may be hosting barbecues and cook-outs in celebration of the holiday remembering fallen soldiers of war or military servicemen who have passed away. As you prepare to host an event in your home, consider implementing some of these simple suggestions for having a Green, Eco-Friendly and Environmentally-friendly event.
  1. Plan ahead so you don’t have too much food.
  2. Use natural charcoal or better yet natural gas or propane grill which are more environmentally friendly.
  3. Buy local produce from local farmer’s markets
  4. Buy organic foods
  5. Consider vegan or vegatarian options which are better for the digestive system
  6. Use all natural insect repellant and bug sprays which are better on the skin, especially for small children
  7. Bring home the goods in a recyclable or paper not plastic bags
  8. Serve food on reusable plates and utensils or biodegradable or recyclable flat and tableware
  9. Start your fire with a chimney starter instead of lighter fluid
  10. Cook with pans and items made of recyclable materials
  11. Spread the energy consumed cooking around by having guests bring a dish
  12. Grill as much as you can, and even cook the foods in the burners on the grill because it saves energy
  13. Cover pans while cooking to reduce cooking time or energy bill if you are cooking on the stove in the kitchen
  14. Cut up the food into smaller pieces to let them cook faster and save energy
  15. Consider using a water-filter pitcher or a faucet mounted filter for water instead of bottle water
  16. Mix up a batch of lemonade or iced tea and serve in a large pitcher or punch bowl to cut down on cans and plastic bottles
  17. Figure out creative ways to “remix” the leftovers rather than dump them out.
  18. Compost the veggies or grill scraps.
  19. Clean up using non-toxic cleansers and Green cleaning products
  20. Recycle when you’re done!

 

Even if you can institute a few of these suggestions, you would have done at least something to reduce your carbon footprint, and give back to Mother Earth. Happy Grilling!

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These are 10 ways to Sneak More Fruits & Veggies in your family’s diet

10 Ways to Get Whole Foods

I struggle everyday to get my three kids to eat better and healthier whole non-processed foods.  It’s not only important for their nutrient needs but also key for they maintaining a healthy weight. I’m re-visiting this past post on ways to  incorporate more whole foods into your family’s diet and get on the path to healthier living.

Here are 10 ways to get your family to eat more whole foods:

veggies

Portion out fruits and veggies and keep them in the fridge for snacking. Kids and adults alike will readily grab a snack from the fridge if it’s convenient. The problem is that most of the time the most convenient options are chips and other unhealthy snack foods that come pre-portioned. Keeping pre-portioned baby carrots, apple slices, and other whole foods in individual containers in the fridge make them easier to grab, which makes them much more likely to be eaten. Eliminate the bad snack choices and offer only the healthy choices instead.

fruit

Add fruit to every meal. Most people like fruit because it’s a sweet snack option, but in a natural and healthy way.  The FDA recommends that half your plate be filled with fruits and veggies.  Fruit can also be mixed into a smoothie or consumed as a 100% juice.  However when you can, choose whole fruits, because the fiber content of whole fruits is very important to a healthy diet according to the American Dietetic Association.

salad

Make a salad for lunch. Instead of filling the kids up with white bread sandwiches for lunch try fixing them a salad.  By adding things like dried and fresh fruit, nuts, hard-boiled eggs, and lots of different veggies to the lettuce base it becomes a tasty meal.  By incorporating some of the kids’ favorites they will be more likely to eat the salad.  If you are worried about protein feel free to add in some beans or lean meat.

meatless monday

Set aside one night a week to eat vegetarian. Call it Meatless Monday or Tofu Tuesday and make it a fun experience for your family.  Make vegetarian lasagna using thinly sliced eggplant instead of pasta, and top it with plenty of low-fat cheese. Your family will be pleasantly surprised at how much it tastes like their old favorite.  Soups are another easy way to go meatless, as are other pasta or casserole options.

veggies

Instead of a starch serve two vegetables. An easy way to get more vegetables into your family’s diet is by making two veggies with dinner.  Leave out the pasta or potato that you might normally fix and serve a green salad and asparagus with a proper portion of meat instead.

puree

Sweeten food with pureed fruit instead of sugar or syrup. If the kids normally enjoy waffles with syrup for breakfast, change it up so that they are eating whole grain waffles and some pureed strawberries or blueberries in place of the syrup. The natural sweetness from the fruit will make a nice alternative to the regular syrup topping. Sliced fresh fruit in a bowl with a little honey drizzled over it will make a light and refreshing end to any meal.  To save money, try to look for fruits that are in season, or choose a good quality frozen fruit or fruit canned in its own juice.  During the summer try grilled fruit for dessert.

smoothie

Serve smoothies to your family for an on-the-go breakfast choice. Start with frozen fruit and you won’t need to add ice to the blender.  If your kids don’t like veggies, you can easily hide them in a smoothie and they will never know, and for some extra protein blend in some Greek yogurt.  These sweet concoctions can be made for four people just as easily as they can be for one, and offer a healthy option that’s perfect for the most important meal of the day.

salmon-932915_960_720

Whole foods aren’t limited to just fruits and veggies. Anything that is consumed as close to how it appears in nature is considered to be a whole food.  For instance, a baked or grilled chicken breast is unprocessed and unrefined, so it is a whole food and a very healthy protein choice, as are eggs and fish.

beans-1268099_960_720

Add beans to everything. Okay, maybe not everything, but kidney beans can be added to sautéed ground turkey to make chili, and black beans can be added to some lettuce with some whole kernel corn, and fresh tomato salsa for a southwest salad. Beans are an easy, healthy way to bulk up nearly any savory meal.