Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars

It is very hard for me to try out new pumpkin recipes because I LOVE my pumpkin bread so much.  But I saw a picture of these Pumpkin Chocolate Chip bars from two peas & their pod and couldn't resist trying them.  While I still rank my pumpkin bread #1, these bars are nice for a change!

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon pumpkin-pie spice
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup canned pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
1 package (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-by-13-inch baking pan and set aside. 
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
3. With a stand or electric mixer, cream butter and sugar on medium-high speed until smooth.
4. Beat in egg and vanilla until combined. 
5. Add pumpkin puree and mix well. The mixture will look somewhat curdled. 
6. Reduce speed to low, and mix in dry ingredients until just combined. 
7. Fold in chocolate chips. I used semisweet mini chocolate chips.
8. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan. 
9. Bake bars for 30-35 minutes or until edges begin to pull away from sides of pan and a toothpick inserted in center comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached.
10. Cool bars completely in pan. Cut into squares and serve.

 This would also be great warmed with some vanilla ice cream!!!

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Letter of the Week: Ee

E is for Elephant
Here's what you need for this project:
- card stock (dark and light purple)
elephant template (see below)
- googly eyes
- glue

Click here for free printable Upper Case Letter templates.

E is for Egg
Here's what you need for this project:
- card stock (yellow, white and green)
- brad fastener
- glue

Of course Sidney wanted to decorate her egg with stickers!

Click here for free printable Lower Case Letter templates.

Sight Words
This week's Sight Word is:
- eat


Here are some library books we reserved to go along with our theme:

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Monday, October 20, 2014

Emergency Supply Kit

This pic is copyrighted from

Thanks to Shepard Smith, we now know that we don't have to be afraid of ebola.  Thanks Shepard!  Your firm, authoritative and slightly condescending tone has set me at ease!  

I don't know about you but I don't like to be told how to think and feel.  Ebola scares me. And the government's lack of preparation and control over this issue pisses me off frankly. So when the director of the CDC says that "it's going to get worse before it gets better", I feel the need to take action to protect my family.

I spent the better part of last week going through our Emergency Survival Kit and purchasing supplies.  I have four lists:

1) Detailed Disaster Supply Kit - This is our main supply kit that we keep at home.

2) 72 Hour Kit - This kit contains supplies in backpacks that will get us by for 72 hours.  If we cannot stay in our home, we can carry / wheel our supplies to another location.

3) Emergency Car Kit - In case an emergency occurs when we are away from home, we have supply kits in all our cars.

4) Pandemic Disease Kit - I keep this supply kit with our main supply kit (#1 above) in a separate bag.

In addition to a lot of the medicine and food expiring (it tasted terrible!), we did not have sufficient water supply.  Previously we had been storing water in three of these Aqua-Tainers that I bought at Walmart for $18 each:
Each Aqua-Tainer holds 7 gallons of water.  Typically, a person consumes 3/4 gallons of water/liquids a day.  In an emergency situation, it is recommended that you store at least 1 gallon of water per person per day.  Children, nursing mothers and sick people may need more.  It is also recommended that you store a 2 week supply for each member of your family.  So my family of 5 would need at least 70 gallons of water (5 gallons per day x 14 days) for a 2 week supply.  Our 3 Aqua-Tainers only held 21 gallons of water, which would only last us about 4 days!

We were having problems at our house one day and they had to shut off our water. I don't know if you have ever been stuck in a house with 3 kids and no water before, but it was tough.  You can't use the toilets, wash your hands, brush your teeth, rinse dirty dishes, wash clothes, etc.  Now, every time I have the water running in the sink or let the girls play in the shower or bath tub I'm very aware of the luxury of having clean running water.

So we decided to buy this Augason Farms Emergency Water Storage Tank that holds 55 gallons of water.  It cost $150 (including shipping).
This, combined with our 3 Aqua-Tainers, will provide 2 weeks of water for our family.  I know it seems costly and excessive.  We debated it for quite a while.  We are not Doomsday Preppers (although I'd feel a lot safer if someone in my immediate family was!!!).  We just feel that it is our responsibility to protect our family in a crisis situation.

The lists I created above include supplies that I felt my family needed.  Your family may require less (or more).  To create the lists, I did a bunch of online research and read two online manuals by FEMA:

1. Are You Ready?
2. Basic Preparedness

FEMA also has guides for specific types of emergencies and disasters that affect specific geographic areas (click here for more info).

I have a Pinterest board with helpful articles and blog posts that I have found related to survival kits.  Click here if you'd like to see my board.

The best case scenario is that all this preparation is a big waste of time and money. But I will rest better at night knowing that we are prepared.

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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

St. Louis Holiday Events

This pic is copyrighted from Mastermind Creative

Don't be mad at me...I'm not trying to rush things.  I realize we haven't even celebrated Halloween.  Trust me, I am no where near ready for Halloween.  I have yet to root through the costume box to see which one Clara will fit into this year.

But I've been searching around for all the fun holiday activities in St. Louis and there are a TON!  And some of them require advance reservations that are already filling up quick!  So with that said, I am warning you that I will be posting my list of activities soon and updating it as more information becomes available (probably after Halloween).  So be sure to check back!

Now, let's get back to enjoying fall and all the pumpkin-filled treats we can possibly consume in a 3 month time period!

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Tuesday, October 14, 2014


Two is ...
... full of giggles and hugs
... doing things her way
... being a big girl like her sisters
... loving "bottles and shows"
... playing pretend with her toys
... afraid of spiders
... afraid of the "darky" and insisting on sleeping with the lights on
... a great shopping and errand-running buddy
... stomping her feet when she's mad
... working on saying please and thank you
... talking non-stop
... knowing how and when to say sorry
... good at putting on her shoes
... happiest when she's being pushed on the swings by Daddy
... pointing out everything that is out of place
... singing and dancing when the music is on
... walking around in mommy and daddy's shoes
... a force to be reckoned with
... full of life and full of love

Two years ago today our 3rd baby girl was born and our world would be forever changed. No matter if she's being a little stinker or a "precious baby", those blond curls and blue eyes melt my heart. I just can't help but love this girl to pieces.

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Monday, October 13, 2014

STL 250 Cake Quest - Kimmswick

Tim and I took the kids to Kimmswick for the first time over the summer. It is such a cute and easily accessible little town. The Apple Butter Festival will be held October 25-26 from 10am - 5pm. I can't wait to go back around Christmastime. Christmas in Kimmswick looks like so much fun. Especially the Christmas Cookie Walk.

We ate lunch at The Blue Owl Restaurant & Bakery, famous for their Levee High Apple Pie.

We sat on their front porch and had breakfast.  

The STL 250 Cake is right outside the restaurant.

Next door to the restaurant is The Blue Owl Sweet Shoppe.  
They have tons of treats and lots of cute gifts.  

We walked around the little town - it's easily walkable - and checked out the shops.  The girls and I found lots of cute things.

On our way home we stopped by the Mastodon State Historic Site and found their STL250 Cake.  Can you tell what the girls picked out at one of the shops in Kimmswick?

Mastodon State Historic Site contains the Kimmswick Bone Bed where scientists discovered the first solid evidence that humans and the American mastodon coexisted in eastern North America.

To find out more events going on in Kimmswick, click here.

Click here if you want to see some of our other STL 250 Cake Quests.

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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Letter of the Week: Dd

D is for Dog
Here's what you need for this project:
- card stock (white, black, red and yellow)
- googly eye
- glue

Click here for free printable Upper Case Letter templates.

D is for Door
Here's what you need for this project:
- card stock (red and yellow)
- stickers
- glue

Sidney loved this project! After I took this picture she filled the inside of the "d" with more Dora stickers!

Click here for free printable Lower Case Letter templates.

Sight Words
This week's Sight Words are:
- do
- down
- did

I found these large lined sheets in the dollar bins at Target for Sidney to practice writing her letters.  I write an example of each letter for her to use as a guide.

Here are some library books we reserved to go along with the theme:

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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Letter of the Week: Cc

C is for Caterpillar
Here's what you need for this project:
- card stock (white and purple)
- pom pom balls
- googly eyes
- glue
- markers

Click here for free printable Upper Case Letter templates.

C is for Cat
Here's what you need for this project:
- card stock (black, white, pink and purple)
- glue stick
- markers (to color eyes)

Click here for free printable Lower Case Letter templates.

Sight Words
This week's Sight Words are:
- come
- can

Here are some library books we reserved to go along with the theme:

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