My Life of Travels and Adventures: November 2014

13 Homemade Gifts for Kids + Huge Cash Giveaway

25 November 2014

I love homemade gifts.  Reid + I are busy making some for our family this holiday season.   Neil + I are busy racking our brains for a few homemade gifts for Reid.  So I compiled a list of 13 awesome homemade gifts you can make for your kids...

And be sure to read all the way to the end because there is a huge cash giveaway down there for you to enter.  Good luck!
Crayon Sorter from My Life of Travels and Adventures
Dyed Rainbow Blocks from Fun At Home With Kids. 
Alphabet Board from My Life of Travels and Adventures
Hobby Horse from Red Ted Art
Magnetic Roads from Next Comes L
Tinkering Kit from Left Brain Craft Brain
Lego Tray from Somewhat Simple
Latch Boards from My Life of Travels and Adventures
Color Blocks from And Next Comes L
Homemade Flubber from My Life of Travels and Adventures
Fabric Blocks from And Next Comes L
Sidewalk Chalk from Red Ted Art
Kitchen Helper from My Life of Travels and Adventures


Win one of FOUR $500 cash prizes directly in your paypal account! This giveaway is open internationally. You must be 18+ years old to enter. Void where prohibited. No purchase necessary. Winners will be notified via email and have 48 hours to respond before another winner is chosen. Please see detailed terms and conditions below the giveaway for more info. 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Apple Snickerdoodles

24 November 2014

We are slowly eating our way through our Cortland apple stock that we picked way back in September.  Slowly is the key word there.  I would say we have used about 3/4 of our pickings.  So be prepared for some more apple recipes coming you way.  Up today... Apple Snickerdoodles. 
Today's recipe is a little spin on the classic Snickerdoodle.  I adjusted the recipe a little, added some more cinnamon and of course apples.  Lots and lots of chopped apples.  And let me tell you these cookies were delicious.   They did not last long in our house... a couple days at most.  I am thinking about making another batch for a dessert option on Thanksgiving.  Yum!
Ingredients:
3/4 C Butter, softened
3/4 C Brown Sugar
1/4 C Sugar
1 Tsp Vanilla
1 Egg
1 Small (3.5 ounce) Box of Vanilla Pudding Mix
1 Tsp Baking Soda
1 Tsp Cinnamon
2 C Flour
2 C Apples, peeled + diced small
Topping:
1/3 C Sugar
2 Tsp Cinnamon

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350F. 
2.  In a large bowl, mix the butter, brown sugar, sugar, vanilla and egg together until smooth. 
3. Add the pudding mix, baking soda and cinnamon.  Stir well. 
4. Slowly add the flour and mix well.  
5. Stir in the apples. 
6. In a small bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon for the topping. 
7. Form 1" balls with dough and roll in the sugar mixture. Place on a baking sheet. 
8. Bake for 12-15 minutes.  Allow to cool completely on the baking sheet.  

Makes 2 dozen.



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A Toddler Boy's Gift Guide

21 November 2014

This is a sponsored post for SheSpeaks/Duracell. #PowerTheHolidays 
The gift giving season is quickly nearing us and I am being asked by quite a few family members what Reid wants for Christmas. 

The answer is simple.  The entire toy aisle at any store we enter.  Or anything with wheels.  And if he was able to pick out his own Christmas gifts, they probably would all be some sort of truck, tractor or construction vehicle.  

But at least for a few more years, I get a say and here is the list I gave our families...

Outside Toys:
  • A Bike: This was on the list early on, but probably won't be under the tree.  I think we are going to get him a bike for his 3rd Birthday (in January).
  • A Scooter: I predict, this three wheeled scooter (with rubber wheels) will be a huge hit. 
Games:
  • Candy Land, Don't Spill The Beans, Chutes + Ladders and Don't Break The Ice: Reid is just getting to a point where he is starting to understand that some games/play has rules.  So I think these games will take a little explaining but will come in handy during the snowy winter months.  
Cars, Trucks, Etc: 
  • Construction Vehicle Set: This dump truck/trailer combination is everything Reid is dreaming of right now.  There is an ongoing construction project on our way into town and every time we drive by, Reid will shout out what vehicles he sees.   
  • Tractor/Combine Set: After watching the dump truck and combine cut the corn fields this fall, we talk about the combine pretty much daily.  
  • Remote Control Lightening McQueen: The obsession with Cars still continues and I think he would love a remote control car. 
  • Firetrucks:  Typical boy and his love for firetrucks. 
  • Dump Truck Flashlight: Reid is always using our flashlights so I think he would love one of his own. 
  • Power Tool Set: Reid loves helping Daddy fix things and now he won't have to share tools. 
Building, Blocks, Etc:
  • Lincoln Logs: The Childcare at the gym has Lincoln Logs and for a while they were the only thing he would play with when he was there. 
  • Tinkertoys: Reid loves building and connecting things, so a set of Tinkertoys would be well played with around here. 
  • Tangrams: We are still puzzle obsessed and a set of Tangrams would just add fuel to that fire. 
  • Playdough: Still a favorite around here. 
Mom's Wish:
  • Duracell Batteries: Every child's list should include batteries.  Here me out on this.  There is nothing more frustrating than your child getting a gift and not having batteries to make it work.   I always try to have extra batteries on hand during the holidays and birthdays but sometimes we run out.  And the meltdown of not being able to play with that new toy RIGHT NOW is out of this world.   So yeah, Reid wants... the #1 trusted batteries of first responders, pharmacists and parents... Duracell Batteries too. 
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Toddler Thanksgiving Crafts

20 November 2014

With the big switch from Tot School to Preschool around here, I am trying to figure out the best way to present our Preschool week here on the blog.  

We have spent the last two weeks learning all about Thanksgiving.  Books, crafts, printables, etc.  Too many of everything to photograph and blog about.  But some fun things that I do want to share.  So as I figure out how to blog about our upcoming Preschool weeks, here are some fun crafts that we did these past weeks.  
I am thinking we might make a few more of these little turkeys to decorate the table with on Thanksgiving.  I traced Reid's hand onto construction paper then cut out a bunch of hands.  Reid glued the hands together with a glue stick and then we used tacky glue to adhere everything to the cut down paper towel roll.  
This Turkey Footprint was a hit.  I cut out the feathers before hand and let Reid glue them onto the paper.  Then we painted his foot and stamped the turkey.  The next day, Reid glued on the eyes and beak and I drew on the feet.  
This handprint turkey wasn't actually part of our preschool week, but was was our invitation to Thanksgiving dinner for our families.  I painted Reid's hand and then he stamped them onto the foam.  On the back I invited everyone to Thanksgiving with all the details and such.  
Reid loves gluing with tissue paper squares so this craft was a lot of fun for him.  I just just a paper plate in half, let him glue the tissue paper squares on, then the circle for the body, eyes and beak.  
We have had this colored box of pasta in our cupboard for a long time now.  Some people in this house won't eat the colored pasta.  So, we used if for these turkeys.  Reid glued down the body, head, eyes and beak using a glue stick, then I put down little lines of tacky glue and he placed the noodles all around.  
We also made these fall wreaths this week.  I cut the middle circle out of paper plates and cut colored tissue paper into large squares.  Reid crinkled the tissue paper and then used a glue stick to add it to the paper plate wreath. 

Just a few simple toddler crafts that we did in preparation for Thanksgiving.  Besides the cutting and tacky glue Reid did pretty much everything by himself.  


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Fall Decorations + Thanksgiving Table Settings

19 November 2014

I know I am behind on the times and bloggers shared there Fall Decorations and Thanksgiving stuff already and have moved onto Christmas but I have a couple Thanksgiving posts still to share.  So bare with me here.  First up... Fall Decorations + Our Thanksgiving Table Settings.  
We just recently moved around our dining room/kitchen area to accommodate room for our Preschool area.  The buffet used to be against the wall under this sign.  
This sign was super simple.  Just a piece of cardboard covered in chalkboard contact paper.  Reid painted the leaves as part of his Leaf Tot School a few weeks back and I just clipped them to twine using tiny clothespins.  

Back on the buffet, everything except the pumpkins and wooden box (Neil made me 3 of these) is from the dollar tree.  
I wrapped a couple of these glass candles with burlap ribbon (also from the dollar tree).   
For the candles on the table, I wrapped them in twine.  
Down the center of the table, is a roll of burlap (from hobby lobby) and another one of the wooden boxes Neil made.  Again, all the glass and candles are from the dollar tree.  
This year we are hosting Thanksgiving (13 adults + 1 toddler) so I wanted to have an idea for table settings and this is what I came up with.  
Again, using what we had on hand mostly.  The gold chargers are several years old (but do need to pick up a couple more), the green plates are our everyday plates, the glasses are from the dollar tree as are the yellow/gold napkins.  
I spray painted the leaves gold (they are just from a dollar tree garland) and after I snapped these pictures, I had an idea to write the names of our guests on them.  
I just used a fine point black sharpie.  Cute, huh?
As for the rest of the house, decorations are sparse.  Reid helped me decorate the doorway to the playroom with the left over sparkly foam leaves. 
On the door to the basement is a new wreath I made.  It is actually a burlap wreath, I used before with a few felt flowers and a new M added.  
And of course this adorable Turkey Wreath, is hanging on the outside door to the house.  
So that's it.  Our Fall/Thanksgiving decorations + pre-Thanksgiving table planning.  

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Blueberry Lemon Muffins

18 November 2014



Whenever I say that I need to work in the kitchen, Reid says "we make Daddy muffins!".  Apparently, I bake muffins way too often.  Well this time when Reid wanted to make Daddy muffins, I was ready.  

My little blueberry eater stalled out on his blueberry eating earlier this week and I had a large container that wouldn't be gone before they turned mushy.  So together we turned them into muffins for Daddy.  
Blueberry Lemon Muffins to be exact.  With a blueberry topping.  And they were good.  Past tense... since we ate them all gone rather quickly.  

Since I was using something old (the blueberries) in the recipe, I decided to try something new too. The NEW I Can't Believe It's Not Butter!®
The new I Can't Believe It's Not Butter!® is made from real, simple ingredients - 0% artificial preservatives.  It has 40% fewer calories and 70% less saturated fat than butter and offers a fresh butter taste to add flavor to any meal... sautéing, baking, cooking.  As always, the new I Can't Believe It's Not Butter!® is spreadable straight from the refrigerator so there is no need to wait for it to soften.

The new I Can't Believe It's Not Butter!® is available in grocery stores now so pick some up (and some extra blueberries for this recipe) on your next trip... Try out the spread... Leave a product review... And make some muffins.   

Ingredients:
1/4 C I Can't Believe It's Not Butter!®   
1/2 C Sugar
1 Egg
1 Tsp Vanilla
1/8 C Lemon Juice
1 C Flour
1 1/2 C Blueberries

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven 375F. 
2. In a large bowl, combine the I Can't Believe It's Not Butter!®, sugar, egg, vanilla and lemon juice. Mix well. 
3. Slowly add the flour and mix until combined. 
4. Add 1 C of blueberries to the mixture, stir well.
5. Spoon the batter into 6 giant muffin cups or 12 regular muffin cups.  
6. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, microwave the remaining 1/2 C of blueberries on high for 1 minute.  
7. Mash the cooked blueberries with a fork and then spoon onto the top of the 6 muffins. 
8. Bake for 35-40 minutes. For regular sized muffins, bake for 22-27 minutes.  

Makes 6 giant muffins of 12 regular muffins.  


I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Having Healthy Snacks On Hand

14 November 2014


We are big snackers around here.  Reid is always asking for a snack.  He needs a snack every time we leave the house.  Needs.  Most of the time they are healthy.  Sometimes they are just what is convenient and not so healthy.  Well NatureBox delivers wholesome snacks right to my (and your) door. #Fall4NatureBox
When you join NatureBox, you'll receive five different nutritionist-approved snacks every month.  Delivered right to your door.  No more excuses that you don't have healthy snacks on hand.  You can choose the snacks you want or be surprised with their carefully curated selections.  

Each snack contains wholesome ingredients - with no artificial sweeteners, flavors or colors, zero grams trans fat and no high fructose corn syrup.   You can learn more about their Product Promise here.  
So let's talk about the snacks.  Our box included Strawberry Crispy Chews, Apple Pie Oat Clusters, Pumpkin Cranberry Crave, Baked Cheddar Potato Fried and French Vanilla Almond Granola 
Reid was all to happy to help sample the snacks.  
He loved the Strawberry Crispy Chews and the French Vanilla Almond Granola.  The Strawberry Crispy Chews reminded me of the fruit rolls from my youth (that makes me sound + feel really old) but with a little crisp. 

One afternoon, I set out a little plate of the Apple Pie Oat Clusters for all of us to snack on.  
And snack we did.  Reid kept referring to them as little cookies and the tasted just as good as a cookie.  Like apple flavored granola bites.  
I used some of the Baked Cheddar Potato Fries to make a little afternoon snack mix.  I added a handful of popcorn, Baked Cheddar Potato Fries and pretzels together for a cheesy + salty snack mix. (We only had alphabet pretzels on hand). 
Interested in a free trial of NatureBox.  Click here for all the details!* Which snacks will you try first?

*Fine Crumbs: Free trial is available for new and US subscribers only.  Not valid on gift subscriptions and may not be combined with any other offers.  

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.
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