Gumbo, gumbo, in the Pot!

Anyone who knows me knows I love the movie The Princess and the Frog. Tiana is by far my favorite Disney Princess. Why? She is hard working and never ever loses site of her dream. Two jobs and never dreams of a prince saving her. Tiana works hard! But enough about why I love Tiana, I love the entire movie! It wasn’t until I watched the movie that I learned about the dish gumbo. I had to know more about gumbo after watching the movie. I learned that it was a dish that was from New Orleans and that there were multiple ways to make it. It only took me now four years to finally make it.

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Yes that is Mama Odie with Tiana and Naveen as frogs. Screen shot is taken from the movie itself as Mama Odie is stirring the gumbo in her bathtub. Yes bathtub. She is the best “fairy godmother” character ever! Like I said I love this movie!

I made gumbo with my SO (significant other guess that’s his identification from now on). DS didn’t like the gumbo so thank goodness for leftover mac and cheese courtesy of Annie’s. I like to research multiple recipes before I make a dish to get ideas of what others add to it. I use one as a guideline and then go crazy. For our gumbo recipe we used “Big Easy” Gumbo as a guideline.

  • 1/2 cup peanut oil canola oil because we have a peanut allergy
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup chopped sweet onion
  •  2 cups chopped green bell pepper (it called for 1 we increased it)
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 2 cups of mushrooms
  • 2 teaspoons Creole seasoning totally don’t have anything like that so we just used salt and pepper
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic garlic salt because we forgot to buy actual garlic
  • 3 (14-oz.) cans low-sodium chicken broth an entire box of vegetable stock plus two cups of water
  • 4 cups shredded cooked chicken 2 pounds of chicken cut into bite size pieces
  • 1/2 pound andouille sausage, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices, we used chicken sausage 
  • 1 can of okra
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen black-eyed peas, thawed 1 can of black beans
  • 1 pound peeled, large raw shrimp

I think you get the idea of what we added, nixed, and substituted to the original recipe. Other then ingredients, we followed it to a tee. I do wish we had Tabasco sauce to make it the bees knees (you get it if you have seen The Princess and the Frog) but we didn’t. Next time, next time. Both SO and I loved it! I was so proud of myself after I made it. Making gumbo was something off of my bucket list. Not only that but it was the first meal I made that wasn’t Italian or pasta. I’m serious!

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Om nom nom! So making this again!

Question of the night: have you ever seen a movie that made you want to make a dish that was feature in it? If so what is it?

 

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Back in Action with Flowers

Disappeared for almost a week. Our state currently has 12 wildfires burning. One was extremely close to my family so we had our bags back and van loaded. Yesterday we were finally cleared from any evacuation so I could breathe again. Almost a week of checking the news constantly has finally cleared. We still smell smoke constantly but that’s to be expected with all these fires.

Almost being evacuated has taught me a lot. It taught me that the things I would save were things I never thought I would save, pictures, heirlooms (like the guitar my father gave me), projects my children have done, and of course diapers. Before the fire near us started, I already donated a lot of clothing to those who needed it. Not just clothes of mine but my significant other did and my son donated some of his clothes too. I try to teach him that there are people who need help in this world and that someone is always worse off then us. I didn’t go through his toys only cause his sister will be playing with them very soon. But he did donate an entire diaper box filled with his clothing. We did something to help those in need and donating is great way to make others feel great and makes you feel good that you helped someone. I can only hope that when my children get older they will do the same thing without me telling them to.

Now to move on from the deepness and to something more light hearted. My son is OBSESSED with picking flowers right now. I mean obsessed. It’s crazy! So to help him stop picking flowers I thought it would be better if we made our own flowers. Yes make our own flowers. We made them out of two things, tissue paper and pipe cleaners.

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The tissue paper should be cut in squares. Doesn’t matter how big the squares are. Do them as big as you want or as small as you want. Also take as many squares in whatever color order you want to make your flower. I recommend at least four for some depth (haha four for wow I’m easily assumed right now). Fold the tissue paper squares together in the accordion style of folding. Again, as big of a fold as you want or as small as you want.

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Easy, easy, easy! Very easy.  The pipe cleaner becomes the stem. My son liked twisting the pipe cleaner around itself creating the stem. Then start tissue paper layer by layer and pull up one at a time to create that flower.

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There is your beautiful flower! It’s easy as pie. Well it took me awhile to remember how to do them. I had a teacher once who taught us how to do this adorable flowers. Really had to rack my brain of how to do them. Our finishing touch was adding a squirt of perfume to the flower to make it smell. A squirt is all you need especially when it is very strong perfume from your niece’s mom. One that I would never ever wear. We made a few more and then twisted the stems together to create a little bouquet. DS thought it was the best thing in the world and carried them around for a good 30 minutes. Now he has his own flowers to smell and play with. All I need now is a vase for him to put them in. IKEA here we come soon.

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If you would like to help out with the wildfires in anyway you can, please check out Help Colorado Now. Every little thing helps and makes a difference to everyone.

Shake that Groove Thing Child

Today my son experienced his first Great Play class. I was sold when they told me that children come and play with balls. My son loves balls. I mean loves ball. His first word was ball. He got to play ball, climb, hit a ball with a bat, play in a fort and socialize with other kids his age besides the two neighbor boys across the street. DS had so much fun that leaving was quite hard. The class lasted 50 minutes but if my son had it his way he would have had class last all day. DD got to sit with Grandma while DS and I got to play ball and have fun.

Even though we had an active 50 minute class in the morning, I still had my son do a dance party in the afternoon. Our dance parties aren’t like other dance parties where people just throw their hands up in the air like the ceiling can’t hold them (yes that is a Macklemore reference to Can’t Hold Us). Since I have been a Zumba Instructor for three years, I try to sneak in some fitness somehow. Told with my son I got him to do squats. Not like young children need to work on squatting like us who have had children. I do very simple routines with him that he can easily follow. Nine times out of ten he makes up his own movements. There is nothing wrong with that. Let him move how the music talks to him. I danced for many years, I know a thing or two about letting the music move you. If he wants to spin in a circle the entire time, I let him. As long as he is up, dancing, and active I can care less how he does it.

In our society today we have video games, tv shows, tablets, and even toddler toys that hook up to iPods to play games. It’s my job as a mom to make sure my son is active and moving. Healthy habits start young. If my son is use to being active whether it’s dancing or Great Play classes he hopefully will grow up to know that being active is part of a healthy lifestyle. No pictures today as I don’t feel comfortable plastering my child on the internet and to protect the other children from the class just in case their parents are like me and don’t want their child on the internet as well.

Can I Get a Boo Ya for the Cool Colors?

Do you remember back in art class all those years ago when you learned about the cool colors: blue, green, and purple? Well yesterday we had a lesson on the cool colors. I baked a cake for my children’s father’s birthday. Originally we were going to do a rainbow cake but I nixed that idea as I thought more about it. Their Dad’s favorite color is green. I thought an all green cake would be a little boring so I mixed it up a bit with adding blue. A Tye-dye cake. Since I have two under two I thought making a cake from scratch was out of the question. Between chasing after one and holding the other what feels like 24/7 there is no time to make a cake from scratch for me. In fact I don’t even remember the last time I made something from scratch. I used a box mix which is never the end of the world. Made according to the directions and added a half cup of applesauce to make it moist.

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Believe it or not it is split up equally between the two bowls the batter. I used only two colors to teach my son that two colors can make another color when adding them together.

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He thought stirring the batter to make it green was the bees knees. It was hard to pull him away from stirring. And the most awesome thing was he never licked the batter once. Raw egg and little boy, not mixing the two at all.

I was inspired by all the rainbow recipes going around the web. I added the batter the way those recipes suggest with about half a cup and pour it into the pan. I did that but only with blue and green to create that Tye-dye effect that I wanted.

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It looks like an Earth Day cake! I liked the way it looked before I baked it, after well…….

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Eh not so much.

Wait I thought this was about the cool colors? I bet that is running through your mind right now. Why yes it is. The cake is blue and green and the frosting was purple. Cool colors right there. All three of them. Who doesn’t want a purple frosted cake. I was a little lazy and just used purple frosting verse buying white frosting and making it purple. The purple frosting also came with cool color sprinkles so win win in the end for me.

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I could eat that right out the tub. YUM! And sooo many calories. I’d need to eat the gym for at least seven hours to burn all that off. DS thought it was a ball to add those sprinkles to the cake. All those sprinkles, all that sugar, all that time at the gym….. Yeah I didn’t count calories last night. After everything I think it turned out very well.

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Oh yeah. Yummy cake right there. DS had a slice since we can’t exclude him in the celebration. After all it is his Dad’s birthday. Sugar before bed not the best medicine. At least today I think we walked it off.

Tomorrow is Father’s Day. Happy Father’s Day to all those Dads out there. Enjoy it and hope your children don’t throw fits and scream all day. The reason we celebrate Father’s Day is because someone couldn’t keep their hands off (lame joke but I saw it on a card and almost bought it for the kiddos Dad). Happy Father’s Day and see y’all on Monday as diaper duty and laundry is all me tomorrow.

Never Realized The Two are Very Similar

I had one of those days. You know the day that doesn’t seem to end at all. Yup I had that. Thank HERA it is done! Motherhoodontherocks.com put it perfectly of how I felt today. She blogged about how toddlers are like drunk people in her post 20 Ways Toddlers are Like Drunk People. Yes she went there and I’m so glad she did.

Her list of ways are: (If you are too lazy to click the links above, I know I would be)

  1. No personal boundaries
  2. Falls over A LOT. Gets up, yells “I OK!” and keeps going
  3. Poor decision making skills
  4. Spontaneous vomiting
  5. Speaks gibberish
  6. Gets belligerent if you take away their beer [insert favorite toy here]
  7. Cries for no apparent reason
  8. Streaking (see #3)
  9. Philosophical conversations with inanimate objects
  10. Short attention span
  11. Argumentative
  12. Poor short term memory
  13. Zero inhibitions
  14. Loses everything
  15. Will pass out anywhere
  16. One track mind
  17. Demanding
  18. Getting them undressed (or redressed) is like wrestling an alligator
  19. Runs into things that haven’t moved…ever
  20. One volume setting – LOUD!

I would like to add to this list these comparisons between the two especially after my day.

  • Feeling completely embarrassed by their behavior in public
  • Never knowing what exactly is going to come out of that mouth
  • Create a scene and make sure everyone has their eyes on them
  • Throws whatever they want on the ground
  • Thinks that behavior is totally fine

That’s what I would add to the list. Do you have any you would add to the list? And have you ever thought about this at all?

Circle Time!

Today both kiddos were extremely crabby. The heat is really starting to get to them. For DS to sit down and do a project seemed next to impossible. Baking a cake was out of the question for sure. Usually on Wednesday morning we have a breakfast picnic outside but this morning DS was up at least an hour and a half before usual. Not enough time for me to drink coffee and get the towel set up on the front porch. We had our breakfast inside and then we declared today was all about CIRCLES!

Stacked and standing car tires

Stacked and standing car tires (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

DS’s favorite place in the world is the car mechanic. (Lately it seems like we have been there more then the grocery store.) Reason why, tires! This kid would be happy if all he got for his birthday was tires. There are tires everywhere at our mechanic. There were so many circles to count there that we had counted 23 tires in total! Which brought our circle count to 23 for the morning. We went looking for a hard pool after that and we didn’t find one nor did we find one that was a circle.

At lunch we had everything out of our bowl which was a circle. The cereal we had in our yogurt in the bowl was a circle. Two circles at lunch time. Awesome! Circle count came to 25.

After our nap, which was more like a cat nap, we went outside and drew circles with our chalk. DS hasn’t quite mastered the art of a circle and just draws lines. I’ve been drawing circles and teaching him that there are no sides or edges to a circle. He doesn’t like it when I try to help him draw a circle as he likes his independence. We also did bubbles! I told him that bubbles were circles as well. We found that our bubble wand had five circles and our bucket of chalk was a circle as well. Outside play for circles came to six, not counting the countless circles I drew. Total for the day so far 31.

Dinner was pizza. Another circle. Who wants to use an oven in this weather? Not me. I’ve been avoiding cooking and baking as much as possible. So our end of the day count was 32 circles that my DS was able to point out. Boo ya!

You’re probably wondering why I spent the entire day working on a shape with my son. Learning about shapes and drawing them helps down the road with writing. Most of our alphabet is based off of shapes. The letter O is a circle and C is a half circle. Like most parents I want my child to thrive in school and do well. This is just one small step that I am helping him get to. I know he isn’t two yet and can’t even recite his ABC’s but at least he knows his circles. We can be at the park and I’ll ask him to find a circle and he will. It makes me happy knowing that he knows at least one shape before two. A triangle will be next on the list to learn. Just want to make sure that the circle has stuck. That’s why a whole day was spent on just circles. Repetition is what children need. Over and over until you feel tired of it. Just like their favorite bedtime story that they have to read every night (ours currently is a Star Wars counting book that name has spaced me). Maybe another circle day will be soon to make sure it is there before we venture to triangle. It is way past my bed time as I try to get a good solid 8 to 9 hours a night. Yes DD is only six and half weeks old and sleeps 8 to 9 hours a night. Maybe I’ll spill my secret to that if enough people are curious.

Let’s not Forget-Me-Not

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This morning at 10:30 it was already 89 degrees as you can see. It only got hotter as the day went on. But since it is Tuesday, the street is littered with garbage trucks so we are out bright and early to watch the garbage trucks. If anyone else has had an almost two year old son who loves cars and tires, you know it is a big thing. So we were out early. Not much shade in the front of our house but that’s when we did our project this morning.

Because every realtor has to advertise their business, one of our local realtors decided to advertise his business by leaving seeds at everyone’s door. I have no green thumb at all. My body missed out on that gene so I would never buy seeds myself. Thanks to mister realtor we have seeds and a project to do.

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I used a mason jar to plant the seeds in so my DS could see the layers of dirt and rocks that were going into it. The seeds we got are Forget-Me-Not. If they do bloom they will be pretty little blueish flowers. Here is to hoping they bloom. I had my son place rocks at the bottom of jar since it is suppose to help with drainage. That was his favorite part. He collected rocks all from the yard and put them in the jar.

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That’s only half the rocks that ended up in the jar. Next we added potting soil to the jar. DS liked that a lot. He got to play in dirt. What little boy wouldn’t love to play in dirt? Yes hands got dirty but he was happy to add the dirt to jar. The seeds ended up about 1/8 away from the top of the jar just like the package said. I did the seeds as DS was not interested in adding seeds to the soil, just adding more soil and more rocks.

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Boom! Our planting experience was almost done. All that was left was watering the seeds. (Yes that is the almighty sunscreen in the background. One can never be without it.) DS did like pouring the water in the jar. If nothing grows I won’t be upset. Like I said I don’t have a green thumb at all. At least we learned that we have to plant seeds and what to do. First time for him. DD is too young to do anything but sit in her swing and watch us. I’m glad we did this in the morning since the afternoon turned into fussy time. It’s to be expected since heat does make people crabby and crazy. Heat wave isn’t over yet. Three more days of it or two depending on what weather station you listen to. Not sure what we will do tomorrow. Maybe have an indoor dance party. That’s one of my son’s favorite things to do. Their Dad’s birthday is coming up and we still have to make a cake for him. Maybe we will do that either tomorrow or the next day. Baking is one of my favorite things to do. I’d prefer not to do it in 95 degree heat but I have done it before. We will see what tomorrow brings.

Crayon Candle Fun

Today it reached 98 degrees outside. Yes 98. I personally like that temperature. My significant other on the other hand will beg to differ. To be it’s tank top and short weather. He considers that 70 degrees when I’m still in jeans and a T-shirt. With a hot day like today where the sun is out, I figured it would be perfect to do something I found on Pinterest that I instantly fell in love with: Crayon Candle Idea.

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This project only requires four things:

  • Crayons
  • Glass jar
  • Candle Wick (sold at Micheal’s)
  • Tin Foil

Take those broken crayons and ones that are so small that no one would ever use them and recycle them for this. For my candle I chose to do blue and green crayons with a bit of white mixed into it. Make sure you peel off the paper if there is any left on them. If my DS was older I would have enlisted him to peel off the paper. I let him place the crayons inside the glass jar. He thought it was more fun to fill it up with crayons and dump it out then to fill it. Maybe this wasn’t the best project to do with him. Once we finally filled it up and kept it filled up we placed it outside on a table and let the sun work it’s magic.

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I added the tin foil underneath to help speed up the process and tied the wick to pencil so that it would get lost in the sea of green and blue. I let it sit for a good three hours out in the sun and after those three hours it was melted into a crayon candle.

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YAY! Project number one done! Probably do it again in a few summers when DS and DD are older and learning about solar power and having fun science projects. Too young to get it now. DS was more into squirting himself with a squirt bottle then anything else. It is suppose to be high 90’s all this week. Maybe tomorrow we will do something based off of water fun. Not sure yet. Although I wouldn’t mind just sitting at the lake for the day. That sounds divine.

And here we go…

So the unofficial start of summer has started and I want to try this blog thing out. I am going to tell you all about my summer. But will I actually do it? I’m the type of person who doesn’t usually follow through with stuff. You know that 30 day work out challenge things? I’m the girl who does it for a week and then I’m done. This is going to be hard. An entire summer blogging about what fun projects I’m doing with my kiddos, new recipes I’m trying, and things that I might try for myself. Thank goodness for Pinterest or I’d already be lost. All the ideas and crafts on there look like so much fun that I want to do it all. Tomorrow I plan on doing crayon candles with my kids. Should be interesting and I’ll blog about it before I go to bed. So come on summer, it’s time to tackle you and write this blog. Let’s give this a try. What is there to lose right?