My Life of Travels and Adventures: 2017

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Muffins

26 May 2017


Mornings are always hard around here. Everyone is dragging and most of us still want to be in bed still.  Breakfast must be served but usually it is something quick that has been remade.  These Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Muffins have really been a hit.  And this momma loves that they can be stored in the freezer so I usually make a double batch each time.  

Ingredients:
2 Eggs
1 Banana
1/3 C Brown Sugar
1 Tbsp Vanilla
2 Tsp Baking Powder
3 C Oats
1 C Milk
1 C Chocolate Chips

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350F.  Spray a muffin pan with nonstick spray and set aside. 
2. Mix the eggs, mashed banana, brown sugar and vanilla together.  
3. Add the baking powder, oats and milk and mix.  
4. Gently fold in the chocolate chips.  
5. Divide the batter into the muffin cups.  
6. Bake for about 20 minutes.  
7. Enjoy!

I freeze these for a quick breakfast treat.  

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Gardening with Kids

23 May 2017

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #BlueLizardSummer #CollectiveBias
I have been talking a lot about gardening around here lately.  So it seems only fitting that I finally talk a little about gardening with kids. Having the kids help with the garden is rewarding but sometimes stressful.  My poor onions this year.  The kids trampled the transplants and I replanted them several times already. 

Below are several tips that make gardening with the kids easier and more enjoyable for all of us.  

Kid Sized Garden Tools - This year the kids both got their own set of garden tools for Easter.  They each got a little hand shovel and kid sized long handled shovels, rakes and hoes.  They are easier for the kids to use and now my tools are just mine. 
Plant Something Fast Growing - Reid loves checking on the garden and seeing what has sprouted, whats growing, etc.  But most plants don't change that quickly.  So one of the first things we plant each year is a row of peas.  They sprout fast, grow fairly quick and make for a yummy garden snack while checking on everything else.  
Be Prepared - Sometimes its a quick trip to the garden to check on the plants and sometimes we spend most of the day in the garden, either way I always make sure that I have applied Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen® Baby on everyone.  
Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen® Baby is perfect for keeping the entire family safe from the sun.  Blue Lizard® has an unique zinc oxide formulation that provides broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection and the Blue Lizard® Baby is paraben-free, chemical-free and fragrance-free

Have a "Play Garden" - We have a small area next to my garden that is the kids garden.  Its a place where they can dig holes, make mud pies or plant the left over seeds however they want (6 sunflower seeds per hole).  
Think Simple - Digging holes for transplants, pulling weeds from the walkways, watering the plants  or picking ripe vegetables are fun garden tasks for my kids.  Most of the time they get bored after a few minutes of a particular task and leave the rest to me, but they do help for a bit.  
Grow Something They Picked - For the last couple years, I have took Reid with me to the greenhouse and let him pick out something for the garden that is all his.  Last year, he picked pickling cucumbers and he helped transplant, water and then harvest his plant.  Although, they would not have been picked by me, we ended up with jars upon jars of pickles that everyone enjoyed. We haven't made the trip to the greenhouse yet this year but I am curious on what he will pick.  

Blue Lizard® is available at Walmart so I can pick some up, along with more garden goodies all in one trip.  Also, if you join iBotta, you can earn $4.00 when you purchase the 5oz bottle of Blue Lizard® Baby.

* Parents should consult with their pediatrician before using any sunscreen on a child younger than 6 months.  

How do you get your kids involved in the garden?


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Garbage Can Compost Tumbler

19 May 2017

With the huge expansion of our garden (follow along on Instagram for a lot of garden goodness) this year,  I decided it was time to start composting.  

Now we live in a very rural area with lots of land and trees directly surrounding us, so space isn't really an issue.  However, we live in an area with black bears.  They have been spotted in the ravine behind our house and we have had proof that they have visited our driveway and yard.  So for me putting a compost pile where they have frequented before seemed like a no, no.  Even though proper composting shouldn't attract animals and critters. 


So for our need we went with a tumbler system.  Which start around $100 online and go up steadily from there.  I searched pinterest for a bit and found this site with a DIY compost tumbler made from a garbage can.  

I purchased this garbage can for our compost bin.  I went with the can with the locking lid for ease of turning.  Then using a couple old tool cart pallets and the metal handle to our broken push broom.  Neil made me this tumbling system.  

After attaching the uprights, he notched a groove for the handle to rest.  We just added large enough holes through the can for the handle to pass through.  

Then he drilled 1/4" holes everywhere else, making sure to hit the top and bottom of the can.  

Finally, we had this old cement mixing trough that I set underneath to catch the "compost tea" with.
It sits at the far end of my garden.  So every few days,  I give it a couple spins and call is good enough.
  
We have had it set up for a couple weeks now and its getting pretty full.  I can see us needing at least one more, maybe two, as long as we have no visits from our furry friends.  

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Building a Covered Sandbox

17 May 2017

 Disclosure: This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #RoofedItMyself #CollectiveBias
With the expansion of the garden this year, our Spring to do list is pretty long.  It was only after I found myself ever so carefully spreading grass seed over a large portion of our lawn, only to turn around to see both kids carrying buckets of seed that they picked off the ground, did I make it a priority to move the kids new sandbox to the top of the list.  
I had a few requirements for the new sandbox... bigger, covered and nice looking.  The day following the grass seed incident, I drew this and sent it to the hubby along with a text saying we needed to hit up Lowe's soon.   
After gathering the lumber we needed, we stopped in the roofing section at Lowe's. All of the GAF Roofing Material are located together and made shopping a breeze... 

Well once I figured out what color shingles to purchase. (I went with the Timberline® Natural Shadow® Shingles in Charcoal because they look good and are extremely durable!) 
Supplies
1 roll Feltbuster® High-Traction Synthetic Roofing Felt
1 pack TimberTex® Premium Ridge Cap Shingles
1 pack Timberline® Natural Shadow® in Charcoal
1 1/4" steel roofing nails
1' round cap plastic cap roofing nails
3 - 4x4x8
8 - 2x6x8
1 Sheet of plywood
12 L brackets
4 Flat Corner braces
8 Lag Bolts
3 Paver Base Panels 
1 Can Stain and WaterSealer in One


1. Building the SandboxThe build of the sandbox was pretty straight forward.  
  • Base: Cut two of the 2x6's in half and make a square for the base. 
  • Side Poles: Cut two of the 4x4's in half and attach to the sides of the base using lag bolts.  
  • Top Support: Measure the distance between the side poles from end to end. Cut the remaining 4x4 to length and attached the top of the side poles using a lag bolt.  
  • Bench: Using the end to end distance above, cut 2 benches to length out of one 2x6.  Notch out two of the corners to fit around the 4x4 side poles.  Attach using screws from the top and L brackets underneath. 
At this point, I stained and water sealed the structure using an all in one product.  Then we moved the sandbox into place and cut the paver base panels for underneath. You could also use landscape fabric but my hope with these is that the kids won't dig through them.  

2. Framing the Roof
  • The remaining 4 2x6's were cut into 40" parallelograms with 30 degree angles on each end. 
  • The sides of the joists were attached to each other using corner brackets at the peak.  
  • Then 6" from the bottom we notched a spot for the joist to sit on the 4x4 top support and attached them together using L brackets.  The joists were attached every 16 inches. 
  • Finally, cut the piece of plywood into 2-  40"x48" pieces and attached to the joists using screws. 
3. Installing the Roofing with GAF Shingles
  • First up on the roof was the Feltbuster®. Our roof was narrower than the roll so we just cut a piece slight larger, nailed it in place using the round plastic cap roofing nails and then trimmed the Feltbuster as needed to match up with the edges of the roof.  At the peak of our roof, we  overlapped the Feltbuster to the other side and nailed it in place.
  • Then it was time for the shingles.  We used the Timberline® Natural Shadow® in Charcoal. Starting by nailing a full shingle on the bottom corner and working across the roof before going up to the next row.  
  • Making sure not to match up the vertical seams in the shingles, we continued across each row going up the roof. 
  • Once both sides were shingled to the peak, we used the TimberTex® Premium Ridge Cap Shingles across the ridge. The TimberTex® offer multi-layer protection at the highest stress areas of the roof.  

GAF roofing materials are perfect for the average DIYer.  This was our first DIY roofing project and it was very doable. 

As you can see from the pictures, we filled it with sand and toys.  Not pictured are the kids that have been enjoying it ever since. I love that there is a little bench on each side for them to sit and that they are also in the shade while playing.  

So, what will you roof next?  I am already planning a garden shed (or maybe a chicken coop if I can convince the naysayer). 

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Chicken and Mexican Street Corn Nachos

16 May 2017


This shop/post has been compensated by Collective Bias, INC. and The Coca-Cola Company, all opinions are mine alone. #PlayPauseRefresh #CollectiveBias
It is that time of year where all my favorite shows are gearing up for the season finales.  Which is exciting and sad at the same time.  Oh, the cliffhangers.  


Since most things are more fun with friends (and food), we tend to throw little season finale parties and invite a few friends over to watch with us.  There is something about have a tasty snack and cold Coca-Cola while watching my favorite TV show with friends that is very enjoyable to me. 

Since our kids are still young and go to bed on the earlier side, we usually wait to start our viewing parties until after they are fully asleep.  Although, as I was making this Chicken and Mexican Street Corn Nachos one night, little feet came into the kitchen "to help by tasting everything".  He did get a quick little bit and then was shuttled off to bed again.  

The majority of parties we attend now are filled with bounce houses, balloons and lots of noise.  So a nice night in with friends tickles this Mama's fancy.  Before we all get settled in, I make sure to have set out a snack, a couple cans of Coca-Cola, and to have a deck of cards handy for once the TV show is over.   Oh and the remote.  I always forget the remote and one of us has to get back up and get it.  When will I learn?

For your next TV night, the Coca-Cola Company is having a sweepstakes where you can win cool prizes just by sharing a photo on Twitter or Instagram.  Just pick up your favorite Coca-Cola beverage and Program Your Night.  Take a photo of how you enjoy Coca-Cola during your tv night.  Make sure the program you are watching stays on your TV but out of the photo.  Share your photo on Twitter or Instagram with both #programyournight and #sweepstakes for a chance to win.  



Want a recipe for the perfect TV watching snack? This Chicken and Mexican Street Corn Nacho recipe is super quick and just as tasty.  

Ingredients:
2 Tbsp Butter
3 C Frozen Corn (or fresh)
2 Tsp Chili Powder
2 Tbsp Mayo
1 (9oz) Bag Blue Corn Tortilla Chips
2 C pulled Rotisserie Chicken
8 oz Shredded Monterey Jack Cheese
2 Tbsp Sour Cream
1 Lime (cut into wedges)
1/4 Feta Cheese (or Cotija Cheese)
2 Tbsp Fresh Cilantro, chopped

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
2. Melt the butter in a skillet over medium high heat.  Add the corn and chili powder.  All the corn to char slightly before stirring.  Remove from heat and stir in the mayo. 
3. Arrange the tortilla ships on a baking sheet in an even layer.  Sprinkle with chicken and shredded cheese.  Bake for 7-10 minutes until the cheese melts. 
4. While the chips are baking whisk together the sour cream and lime juice from half go the lime wedges. 
5. Arrange the tortilla/chicken/cheese mixture on a large serving platter.  Top with the corn mixture, feta cheese and cilantro.  Drizzle with the sour cream mixture.  Serve with the remaining lime wedges. 
What is your favorite snack to pair with Coca-Cola?  Don't forget to Program Your Night and enter to win!

Like what you just read? You can follow along with me on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest or Twitter to be the first to know what we are up to around here.  
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