G’s Christmas List

Hello all! Christmas shopping is about to commence, and I’ve already had questions about what to get little Miss G for the holiday. SO in an effort to make things as organized as possible I’ve created a spreadsheet on Google Drive with gift ideas that anyone can access & edit from the link below.

G’s Christmas List

If you choose to purchase something from the list just mark an “X” in the box next to it so everyone else knows not to buy it as well. If you go the route of buying clothes there’s no need to mark it off. We just don’t want 20 boxes of sidewalk chalk :)

Don’t feel like you have to get her something off of this list. If you have something in mind or find something else you think she’d like, go for it! I tried to include a list of things “G Loves” so  you could be creative if you so choose. Clothing sizes are also on the list.

 

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Thank you in advance to those of you who will be buying G gifts this Christmas. This season is certainly not about receiving, but all about giving. It is very much my desire to model that for my children, so this Christmas we have a few activities to show G the JOY that is found in giving to others. God Bless!

 

“Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.”

1 John 3:18

Best Ever Pumpkin Muffins

And they are healthy! Boom! How did that happen? I have no idea. I have tried to make pumpkin muffins and bread so many times before and they were never pumpkin-y enough. or moist enough. Or they just lacked flavor and Oomph, ya know? I had resigned myself to paying for a Starbucks Pumpkin loaf because nothing else that I made ever hit the spot.

Enter the Spelt Pumpkin Muffin.IMG_7743

Ta-daaaa!

It is the best pumpkin muffin I’ve ever made. So soft and moist. Perfect flavor. and light. (If you want dense, go for the Starbucks loaf).

So here’s how it happened. I stumbled upon the 100daysofrealfood blog. Check it out. Good stuff. All about cutting out processed food. I’ve made the whole wheat muffins twice. And they’re good, but whole wheat is a strong flavor. My kid eats them and loves them though, so I’ll keep experimenting. A healthy snack is a healthy snack. Plus, with an iced coffee, it works. But when I saw the pumpkin muffin recipe that calls for Whole Spelt flour I was intrigued. Milder flavor, she says? Oh yeah! These muffins taste better than any pumpkin recipe I’ve tried using all purpose flour. And instead of sugar – honey!

I’m eating deliciousness, and it’s not bad for me!!!

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Here’s the thing: I added my own extra little topping. It’s like the icing on the cake. The muffin would be incomplete without it. (Personally, I think all muffins should have a topping. Don’t you?)

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This little beauty is topped with Trader Joe’s honey roasted sliced almonds and a tiny bit of cinnamon sugar. Not healthy? Whatever. I’m all for eating sugar in moderation. If this isn’t moderation, I don’t know what is!

So you probably have a few questions, like what is spelt? Basically it’s an ancient whole grain. Been around forever. It’s a type of wheat.

Why is it good for me? Because it’s not processed and refined like a white flour so you’re body actually gets nutrients from it.

And THAT is the purpose of food. To give our body nutrients. When food is delicious, AND my body is actually benefitting from it, I am a very happy girl :)

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RECIPE

yields 12 muffins

  • 1½ cups whole spelt flour
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice blend
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup honey
  • ⅓ cup melted butter
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 -2 tsp cinnamon sugar
  • 2 Tbsp sliced almonds (honey roasted or plain)

 

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin pan with liners and set aside.
  2. Using a whisk or fork mix together the flour, pumpkin spice, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  3. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and drop in the eggs, honey, and melted butter. Incorporate the flour mixture into the wet ingredients a little at a time using a spatula (or spoonula). Mix together until well combined. Fold in the pumpkin puree. Do not overmix.
  4. Scoop the batter into the muffin pan so it’s evenly distributed. (
  5. Top with sliced almonds and cinnamon sugar. You may want to use 2 tsp of cinnamon sugar if using plain almonds.
  6. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean, about 18 – 20 minutes.
  7. Enjoy with an iced coffee! Store at room temperature or freeze for later.

 

Flip Flop Themed Pool Party

12 Year old birthday parties… oh the awkward middle school years. Actually, I think my awkward years lasted through high school. Wait. This thought JUST came to me: What if I’m still in my awkward years and no one has told me!?!

I’ll examine that later.

So this here is a short little inspiration post for an after school party.

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My sister is 12. Yeah I know – big age gap. She started Kindergarten the same year I started college.

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Anyway, for her birthday she had a bunch of girls come home with her one Friday after school. My mom owns a Ford Excursion so check off transportation for small army of screaming tweens. We had individual servings of snacks and drinks waiting for them when they arrived.

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Snacks

Layered Chip Bag: 4 different snacks layered in one bag. Kettle corn is on top, but hiding underneath were pretzels, Doritos, and maybe some Sun Chips or Lays. Totally your choice. Make it good. We trimmed brown paper bags with some fancy scissors and mom found the flip flops at a party store. Enter double-sided tape. Done.

Veggie Cup: This was a big hit. NOT. We tried to be healthy, but with no parents there to make them eat their veggies, they of course did not. A little bit of ranch in the bottom. Sliced cucumbers, carrots, and cauliflower. And they totally coordinated with the flip flops on our snack bags!

Drinks

Limonada: (Spanish for Lemonade) Kidding. There was nothing Spanish about it. Unless you count the straws. They look like they could be from some touristy destination in Cancun or somewhere. Want to add instant fun to your lemonade? Add some syrup options. We had raspberry, but blackberry is my all time favorite in Lemonade. Ah-mazing! You can pick these up for under $5 at Sam’s Club or order them online.

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Activities

Most of the activities were outside. It IS a pool party after all! They played volley ball and basketball until they got sweaty enough to jump in the pool. However, there was one activity my mother and I slaved over.

Fabric Flip Flop Craft:

Step 1) Buy a bunch of cheap flip flops in different colors and sizes and an assortment of fabrics. We tried to pick a mix of solid and patterned that would all mostly coordinate.

Step 2) Painstakingly cut fabric into strips approximately 1″ by 5″

Step 3) Return flip flops and hope to find another use for fabric strips when girls are too busy playing outside all night to ever do the craft!

Lesson learned: Planning lots of crafts and activities for kids (or even ourselves) is great and fun, but sometimes we underestimate the value of “just playing outside” or “just being with friends”.

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