Thursday, March 05, 2015

Paleo Pancakes {clean kaylene version} (grain free, added sugar free,dairy free)

If you've been paleo long then you know what's up about egg and banana pancakes. They are the fastest fun brekkie to throw together for my kids (but I much prefer the paleo banana muffins found here)

The other day when I made my dairy free paleo fruit dip, I had waaaaay too much left over and I wasn't sure how it'd keep in the fridge. So I said, I bet this can turn into pancakes super easily. So I took some that dip, added 2 eggs and voila! A variety of the egg/banana pancake that I LOVE!

Paleo Naturally Protein Packed Pancakes 

(I am not into protein powders)

3 ripe bananas
4 eggs
1/2 almond butter
1/8 - 1/4 c cacao (depending on your preferences)
dash of salt and cinnamon

blend all ingredients in a bowl using immersion blender (or utilize food processor / blender). Pour onto hot griddle or pan greased with some ghee or coconut oil. Cook like regular pan cakes!

Dairy Free Fruit Dip

TI used to make a yummy clean fruit dip using yogurt, almond butter, and honey, but since I try to be mostly paleo....I don't eat or buy plain greek yogurt. (I do still buy some of the little cups for the kids, it's a great source of calcium and protein for them to eat occasionally) .... And the other day I was craving some fruit with dip and didn't just want to use plain almond butter. I used what I know about bananas and immersion blender to create a great fruit dip that is paleo!! I dare say it's Whole 30, but may be considered a SWYPO food....

Dairy Free Paleo Fruit Dip

2 ripe bananas
1/3 to 1/2 almond butter
shake of cacao (okay, I used a few shakes)

toss all ingredients into a bowl and let your immersion blender do the work!! (or regular blender / food processor if you haven't jumped on board the immersion blender train of awesomeness)

Makes enough for 2-3 big servings

Ladybug Birthday Party {pinterest style on-the-cheap party}

I have always thought birthdays are a big deal. I kind of love celebrations.

So for my kids' birthdays it is important to me that they feel special and loved. I will always make their birthday cake. Until they move out. Then I guess it's someone else's job.....

Their party themes thus far have been;
G-- pooh, caillou, daniel tiger
J-- elmo, thomas the train

And when G turned 4 she wanted a Lady Bug birthday party. Red is her favorite color and she likes reading books about lady bugs. Lucky for me, Wilton makes a lady bug cake pan (Wilton Lady Bug Pan ), so I was on board.

I utilized the devil's website Pinterest to get some ideas. I also came up with a few of my own. Below are the photos and descriptions of how I threw a pinterest on the cheap party.

 G loves (nitrate free) ham and cheese rolls ups, but because I was already making mac & cheese, I used pickles (also a favorite) to make ham and pickle roll ups. I also made some homemade 'clean' cheese crackers (using my cookie press and basically this recipe). Fruit is a major favorite for G, so we had pineapple, strawberries, and grapes.
 Here was a pinterest idea--make little dots on baby bell cheeses to make them look like lady bugs! The chalkboard signs were less than a dollar apiece after sale and coupon at Michael's, and since I am throwing two baby showers over the next two weeks, they will already earn their value!
I got some clean hummus at Sprouts and had sweet potato corn ships and some regular waffle chips as dippers. The hummus was like the best ever. Seriously. It was artichoke spinach flavor as seriously on point. Of course we needed cherry tomatoes to complete the red food theme. Back to Nature brand makes an organic bug macaroni and cheese, so I made that too.
I made some from scratch meatballs (one of my specialties) since G enjoys them and we needed something heavy since I made the party for lunch time. Secret that I didn't want my brother in law to know, they have shredded carrot in them (he doesn't do a lot of veggies). The little sign holder came from hobby lobby on sale plus coupon for about $1.30 (I got two). They were too cute and will serve purposes in the future. There is a little lady bug out of view on the other leaf. It tied the food table together for sure.
I wanted to make a yummy dye free red punch so I used some cranberry lemonade juice (did have some added sugar), pineapple juice, and sparkling water (strawberry dragon fruit flavor)--it was a super hit! My husband also made tea and coffee (hence the bowl of sugar sitting out). The straws I got off amazon for like a dollar! 

Lady Bug Cake (I did use dye to get the red color....was sooo close to using beet juice though)
my husband always goes to get balloons before our kids' parties. It's pretty much a tradition
 The lady bug spirals came from amazon. Unique Ladybug Party Hanging Decorations (3 Count), Red I also hung this happy birthday lady bug banner above the food table. Unique Ladybug Birthday Jointed Banner, Multicolor

The most gifts she's ever had for her birthday! Thank you to everyone!! (cleaned off my buffet {re; dresser used as buffet} for use as gift table) 

 I found this lady bug blow up ball at Hobby Lobby for like a dollar after coupon. Kids had fun tossing it around. (benefit of not having nice things, I'm okay with them playing ball in the house, for now)
 My husband and I teamed up to make a bean bag game for the kids to play. We based it off an idea I saw on the pinterest. It was really cheap since he used scrap wood. My bean bag making supplies cost less than 8 dollars for all 10 bags. And they were part of the kids favors.
 Here are the party guests! And behind them you can see the bean bag toss.

 For another game we had ladybug 'races' using part of the kids' favors. I bought these wind up lady bug toys from amazon and they are super fun! Dazzling Toys Flipping Wind-up Lady Bugs - 12 Pack (D067)

 after opening gifts, my husband blew some of the best bubbles ever (The really thick kind like this Toysmith Touchable Bubbles, Assorted Colors ) down from the top of our stairs and the kids enjoyed catching/popping them)

as the party wound down, the kids enjoyed coloring pictures

Monday, March 02, 2015

G at 4 years old

I wrote most of this before G's birthday with intentions of updating a little bit and then posting...but life got crazy after her birthday (home projects, wreck, visiting family....) so here I am a little bit late on her birthday post.....

Four years old sounds super old. I have memories from being 4. I mean, they are very specific moments, without a lot of context. But my daughter will likely remember some of the things happening in her life now even when she's 28. I sure hope I am doing a good job as her mom.

She is very, very observant. And smart. She has always had a great memory and I love how her thirst for knowledge is relevant to the world around her. She makes adult like connections within her head and asks appropriate questions to fully form her thoughts about a subject.

She does have a few linguistic quirks (re; mispronunciations) still but I think they are adorable, of course. She can pronounce Justin Timberlake just fine though LOL (The other night we were driving home from my sister's house and "Not a Bad Thing" came on the radio and she asked me "Is this Justin Timberlake?" ... I busted up laughing and said "yes!" I have no idea how she knew that??? and her pronunciation was perfect, so that's fun). She can also prounounce St. Thérèse just fine (because she asks me about the book I'm reading which is about that most amazing saint). Her mistakes are usually when there's an odd combination of vowels or s or l in certain places of the word. Her vocab is off the chart, so that's fun. Thankfully, I don't think I've ever heard her say a bad word... which is saying a lot since expletives are my vice.

She is a super healthy eater and asks if things are healthy, have sugars, or have dyes. She enjoys vegetables (not beets!) and chooses healthy options. She does still like mac and cheese and hot dogs (but I choose the better versions of those childhood classics) Her favorite foods are-- strawberries, (GF) cereal, oatmeal with berries, cucumber chips, chicken nuggets (I don't usually feed them to her, but they are a favorite so I'm listing here), salad (specifically spinach, but other lettuces are acceptable, no dressing), bacon, tomatoes, grapes, graham crackers, granola bars, steak, sausage, potatoes, butter, cheese, green beans, peas, apples, almond butter, pizza (we usually make spaghetti squash crust but she loves wheat crust)
It's hard to write about food with her, because she will eat just about everything (no beets and no spicy); but many of her favorites aren't paleo and we are trying to avoid them (not completely for the kids especially right now). Suffice it to say for posterity, she eats well and makes me proud with healthy options.

She rarely takes a nap, sleeps about 10-11 hours at night, and weighs about 33 pounds (she is 3 feet and 3.5 inches tall). That means she is hovering around 29% for weight and apparently hit a growth spurt and is 46% for height! She's in between 4t and 3t clothes, and her foot is a size 9. Her eyes are gray-blue and her hair is still super white blonde.

She is working on reading. We've been slowly and occasionally working it. Her gym school sends home 5 sight words a week and then we work on them at home. The next class, she practices them with her teacher, too. She is moving right along and I bet will be reading by summer! She's been able to sound out words for a few weeks now (but if they aren't easily sounded out then she has trouble, hence sight words being a good thing).

She is fairly athletic, but not aggressive. She loves the idea of soccer, but she will need to develop some more 'fight' to be competitive at it. She likes gymnastics but I don't know if that will pan out. She is also a funny little dancer and loves music!

She loves school pages and her handwriting is pretty good, above average for her age. She has said her favorite thing to do (inside) is puzzles, but loves playing at the park when it's not cold.

She is super loving and very compassionate. She cares about other people and wants everyone to feel loved. She's also really shy though. I think she's introverted for sure, and may end up with my same personality. I'd obviously be okay with that ;-)

She recently spent time with family, away from me. I'm happy to hear that she was decisive, helpful, and kind. She was a big help with J, so that's nice.

She gets anxiety watching certain shows (like Wild Kratts when a bat flew into a plate of brownies, or Thomas the Train when an engine was going too fast and made a mess, or Veggie Tales when there was a villain). Basically if things don't match up to how she knows they should be, she gets nervous. She doesn't cry or get mad, she just says she doesn't want to watch it anymore and fidgets with her fingers. I'm glad that I'm there for her and can talk her through these situations, hopefully giving her the mental tools to cope with anxiety and uneasy situations since life will throw her more than that within a few years.

Speaking of preparing for the tough stuff. She recently had a discussion about heaven with me and she asked me what happens to a kid if their mommy and daddy go to heaven. "who takes care of them?" ..... so that was tough to not just pick her up and shower her with kisses and tell her that'd never happen to her...... but life is so unpredictable and I don't lie to my kid. So I just explained that there are lots of people on earth that would love that kid and take care of them and then the kid could get to heaven someday and see his or her mommy and daddy again. I also took care to remind her that heaven is a good thing and if the mommy and daddy were in heaven, we should be glad for that.

For her birthday at gym school she wanted to bring a treat that even the little girl with allergies could eat them. So we found a recipe that was free of dairy and eggs (the allergies), got it approved, and took them the class before her birthday. She was really proud to be able to share something with this little girl, and I am really proud of my sweet girl for being empathetic.

I could go on and on telling the wonderful things she does, but it'd get redundant, so here are some photos from her birthday (a separate party post to come eventually)

ps. She can throw fits and misbehave rarely, but it's usually only when provoked by her brother. I really couldn't dream of a better girl.