Wednesday, October 26, 2011

YKYAM- You Know You're A Mom when......

Ladies, You Know You're A Mom when......

YKYAM- You Know You're A Mom: when going to the bathroom w/the door closed is considered ME TIME!!!

YKYAM- You Know You're A Mom: when your idea of sexy lingerie is warm flannel pants and a MATCHING, not-stained t-shirt (don't forget the wooly socks)!

YKYAM- You Know You're A Mom: when you find yourself sitting in your car in a Sonic parking lot, biting the apple skins off the apple "fries" because your 3 yr old just doesn't "like the red things".

YKYAM- You Know You're A Mom: when without thinking, you automatically add "IE" to everything... tubbie, nappie, lunchie, sockie, milkie. What's embarrassing is when you use these "IE" words with an adult at work! "I can't wait to eat my lunchie".

YKYAM- You Know You're A Mom: when your idea of a nice long bath/shower is when you get to actually shave your legs (including above the knee) and condition your hair!

YKYAM- You know You’re a Mom: when you find it romantic when your significant other unloads & loads the dishwasher. Who needs flowers and chocolate? Flowers die and then you have to wash the vase and chocolates taste oh, so good but then you feel guilty for eating the whole box in 2 seconds.

YKYAM- You Know You're A Mom: when the once spontaneous girls’ night of dancing ‘till the wee hours of the morning is now into a quick bit to eat at Applebees, a live-on-the-wild-side fruity alcoholic drink (boy can you feel it) and a 9:00 movie (but please let me stay awake to watch it all!)

YKYAM- You Know You're A Mom: when the sight of bright purple reminds you of an annoying-sounding dinosaur and not a sparkling amethyst!

YKYAM- You Know You’re a Mom: when at the end of a very long day, you consider a cheese stick, fruit snacks, peanut butter crackers and a yogurt stick a balanced meal for your uber-whiny 3 year old (hey, don't least the peanut butter crackers are made of “real” peanut butter!)

YKYAM- You Know You're A Mom when instead of finding a lipstick in your pocket or bottom of your purse, you find a handful of cheerios and a broken crayon!

Comment with your YKYAM quotes! If this made you laugh, share with your girlfriends to make them smile too :)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Don't Step On A Tiny Toy Again! Organizing The Family Made Simple Way

Organize the Family Made Simple way. Make a home for everything and you'll never stub your toe on a little toy, lose Barbie's shoe or a puzzle piece from your child's favorite Toy Story puzzle again.

Here are just a few ideas for organizing not only toys, but other household items as well:

  • An over-the-door or under-the-bed shoe organizer (like the one shown below) is perfect for storing tiny toy pieces such as blocks, little toy cars, barbie dolls and clothes, game pieces (the game board will lie nicely on top), puzzle pieces, even crayons, markers etc. Preschoolers size princess costumes, shoes and tiaras also fit nicely in these compartments. Then neatly hide/store under the bed.

    • An over-the-door shoe organizer is also perfect for storing your costume jewelry. The compartments are the perfect size for oversized bangles and beaded necklaces.
    • An old baby wipes container or coffee jar is perfect for keeping crayons, markers, hair bows, elastics, etc
    • The zipper bag you get with sheets is great for organizing puzzle pieces, stickers, beads
    • Photo album compartments are perfect for storing paper dolls, puzzle pieces and your child's art work (fold each masterpiece in 4 to fit into each compartment).
    • I've also used a photo album for organizing store coupons. Label by category using sticky tabs and bring to the market for simple savings.
    • One more use for photo albums: a great tool for organizing/storing receipts
    • An under-the-bed Rubbermaid container is the perfect size for storing wrapping paper rolls, gift bags and bows.
    • A Rubbermaid-type container with drawers is great for storing toiletries, hair brushes etc.
    • Put two decorative boxes on the top of your fridge: one to store (hide) car keys, phone chargers etc. another for mail and to-go menus.
    • Half-filled boxes can take up alot of space in cabinets. I now sort my child's snacks in large-sized ziploc baggies. It not only take up less space, but makes grabbing lunch box snacks quick and easy - granola and cereal bars in one bag, rasins and fruit snacks in another, etc.

    Thursday, October 13, 2011

    Tips for Stress-Free Shopping Trips (Instead of "No, You Can't Have That) Try This....

    Tip for Stress-Free Shopping Trips with the Little Ones

    I have done this with my 3yr old and it works wonders!

    Grocery Shopping Trips-

    • While you’re still at home, give your child a piece of paper and crayon, pencil, etc.
    • Name a few items that you have to buy. Have her write it down (or scribble something onto the paper).
    • IMPORTANT: Explain before you go that if something is not on the list (such as snacks you are not intending to buy), you cannot get it.  This way you will avoid the possible melt-downs.
    • If you have enough time, you can even cut out or have her cut out pictures from flyers and put them in a ziploc baggie.
    • When you are at the store, ask the child things like: "What do we need to buy now"? "Can you find the Cheerios"?

    Non-Grocery Store Trips-

    Does your child always ask or beg for a toy while at the store? My 3 yr old would not only ask for something but would cry and yell. I decided to try something new that worked. She no longer asks or begs for things she see and instead says "momma, see that? Maybe for Christmas, ok"

    • In an upbeat voice say, " you do! That's a great choice. For Christmas!   
    • For older kids, give them a special little notepad that they bring to the store to keep a list.
    • IMPORTANT: Make sure to explain that just because it goes on the “list”, it doesn't mean they will get it. SANTA gets to pick because he has many little boys and girls to visit and can't fit everything in his sleigh!

    Tuesday, October 11, 2011

    8 Must-Have Foods for Family-Friendly Meals in 10-15 minutes or LESS!

    8 Must-Have Foods for Family-Friendly Meals in 10-15 minutes or LESS!

    I have been pretty good about planning our meals ahead of time and have been using the crock-pot a lot lately; however, there are those nights when I get home late, have nothing planned but still need to get dinner on the table. There are now 8 must-haves that I keep in the house at all times in order to get dinner prepped, cooked and served in about 10-15 minutes or less. (Note: These items can be on the pricey side but are often on sale! Keep a look out for when these items go on sale and buy a few at a time).

    1    Fully Cooked Meats- Fully cooked Perdue ChickenStrips, microwaveable Hormel Bacon, Fully Cooked Tyson Roast & BeefTips, Deli Roast Beef

    Use the chicken strips in wraps, quesadillas, tacos, quick stir fry (mix with micro stir fry veggies and rice) or casseroles (chicken strips, cream of mushroom or chicken soup, broccoli and shredded cheese, mix and top w/Ritz cracker crumbs and bake for 10mins. OR you could omit the broccoli and top w/stuffing mix and bake)

    The bacon is perfect for on-the-spot BLTs, macaroni and micro bacon (boil elbow macaroni while you micro the bacon, mix with small can of tomato paste and crumbled bacon.  Place in casserole dish, top with remaining bacon and bake till crispy) or even bacon and eggs (breakfast for dinner ROCKS!).

    I like to keep the precooked roast and beef tip on hand to serve with a quick side or as pulled pork/beef sandwiches. The Beef Tips are also great to add to egg noodles and cream of mushroom soup for a quick stroganoff!

    2.       Tortillas- Tortillas are great for quesadillas, wraps, soft tacos, burritos, thin crust pizzas

    3.       Pizza Crusts- Besides the normal cheese and sauce pizzas, we often use leftovers as the next day pizza toppings.

    4.       Pie Crusts- We love cheeseburger pie, quick & easy chicken pot pie (using precooked chicken strips, cream of chicken soup and micro veggies). You can also use leftovers, sauce and cheese, deli meat (whatever you have on hand) to make “fold-overs”. You place your filling on ½ of one crust and fold it over, like a spinach pie and bake.

    5.       Shredded Cheese- This is an essential. Add to soup, omelets, quesadillas, tacos, casseroles, pizzas etc.

    6.       Canned Soup- Cream of Mushroom, Cream of Chicken, Chicken Noodle, Minestrone

    Add the cream soups to casserole dishes as mentioned above. Add chopped chicken strips, micro veggies and rice to the chicken noodle and minestrone to beef it up.

    7.       Pasta and Rice- Regular Macaroni, Frozen tortellini and Ravioli. Micro Steam Rice

    Pasta- Add red sauce and serve. Add alfredo sauce, chicken strips, broccoli and shredded cheese and bake for 10mins till bubbly.

    Rice- As a quick side dish,  add to chicken strips or other meat for stir-fry or add to quesadillas, soups or casseroles

    8.       Frozen Veggies- Micro-Steam Broccoli, Micro-Steam Stir fry Mix and frozen micro Potatoes (Ore Ida mashed or Steam Fresh Potatoes & Sauce)

    As a quick side dish, added to stir-fry, casseroles, soups etc.

    Keeping these 8 Family Made Simple must-have’s have made dinner time a lot less stressful. I hope you got some new ideas for quick & easy meals. Please  visit our Facebook page for more ideas or to even share some of you family faves!

    Friday, October 7, 2011

    Cold Weather Survival Activity Box

    Unfortunately winter is soon upon us.  Many Family Made Simple parents have asked for some indoor activity ideas since it will be too cold to let the kiddos out to play.

    I like the idea of creating a “cold weather survival activity box”.  Its contents are really determined by your child(ren)’s interests.  My preschooler LOVES arts & crafts. So, last year, we went to the local dollar store and picked out a bunch of inexpensive goodies.

    My daughter's winter survival box included:

    •          Crayons, colored pencils, chalk, watercolor paints
    •          Construction paper
    •          Stamps and ink pads
    •          BINGO Ink Stampers
    •          Lots of inexpensive Stickers
    •         Foam press-ons and googly eyes
    •          Glue Stick
    •          Play Dough and plastic cookie cutters
    •         A bag of cotton balls (to glue on paper)
    •         A Ziploc baggie of uncooked wide macaroni (to either string as a necklace or glue on paper)
    •        Sticky note pads (to make homemade stickers or have fun posting around the house 

    We then went home and decorated the outside of her little survival box with stickers. 

    I mostly just let her use her imagination and do what she wanted with the crayons, stickers etc, but you can always find neat craft ideas online. A few sites I like are:

    This is just one idea for wintertime survival (for both you and your little one). Keep on the look-out for more indoor activity ideas to come! Happy Crafting :)

    Thursday, October 6, 2011

    How to Get Your Kids to Eat Vegetables .....and LOVE them!

    As a busy mom of a finicky 3 yr old (one day she LOVES carrots, the next day they make her “tummy hurt”), I’m always looking for quick and easy ways to make sure she gets the necessary nutrients.

    Last year, at a Holiday Yankee Swap, I won a copy of Jessica Seinfeld’s, Deceptively Delicious cookbook. In it she incorporates, basically hides, freshly pureed veggies in many of the recipes. The recipes are great but to be honest, I don’t have time to puree the veggies and even if I did, I don’t have room in my freezer to store the leftovers. My sister came up with the idea of using baby veggie purees. This worked great for me since I still had a lot left from when my daughter was eating them. Now, I had a purpose for the many  jars of Gerber sweet potatoes, squash, carrots and garden veggies that were taking up precious space in my already crammed cabinets.

    I use the vegetable purees in almost everything I cook, red pasta sauce, pizza, mac-n-cheese, chicken, sloppy joes, soup, grilled cheese, eggs…even brownies. The hidden veggie really cannot be detected (by my husband or daughter) and adds nutrients to my  homemade dishes. I now also use pureed chick peas and red beans in dishes for added protein and fiber. These secret ingredients also make me feel a little less guilty when I make boxed mac-n-cheese or canned soup for my daughter’s school lunches.

    Veggie Enriched Mac-N-Cheese -Veggie (diff colored) pasta. Boil with mixed veggies and cup of frozen spinach. Drain. Mix in 1 jar baby squash, 1/2 can chickpeas ( can purred if your child won't eat whole), 2 tbsp butter or olive oil, some shredded cheddar cheese. Mix. End us super creamy and squash can't be tasted. My daughter is eating it now and keeps saying "yum". You can use whatever veggies you want.

    Yummy Homemade Chicken Tenders- Coat Chicken strips with pureed sweet potato and roll in crushed fishy crackers. Spray bottom of cookie sheet. Bake for 15-20mins in 400deg. Oven.

    Creamy Scrambled Eggs- Mix 1 jar of sweet potato or squash with mixed eggs. Cook as usual.
             Top  with some shredded cheese.

     3 yr old Fave Mom Approved Healthy Grilled Cheese: whole grain bread, slice cheese, thin layer of chick peas (hidden of course!). Assemble sandwich and place in toaster oven for non-fried version. A hit every time :)

    Thicken up Canned Soup for Thermos lunches: add jar baby sweet potatoes or squash, and frozen veggies before heating. Added nutrients, fiber and protein

    Brownies w Hidden Veggies- Follow directions on box(make sure to spray bottom of pan) but instead of 1/2 cup oil, use 1 container baby veggies a 1 tbsp oil

    I have given you just a few ideas. Once you get started, you will find that you can add these yummy goodies to basically anything. Be creative!~ Let me know what you come up with....
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