Another Monarch Release…

monarch release monarch2 monarch4 The other day I heard the word I detest most hearing within the 4 walls of my house. Roach! Seems my kids left out a few minor details.  When I arrived on the scene, I quickly accessed the situation. Sucker was big. Heebie jeebie! He was crawling high up on the wall. Gah…why me…why???? I armed myself with 2 shoes. One for throwing to knock him off the wall and the other for, well, smashing him. It would have worked perfectly too, if it weren’t for one little thing. His wings. As soon as I threw the shoe, he flew off the wall. He had me in his crosshairs and was headed straight for me. All I could think was, he’s going to land in my hair! After dying a thousand deaths, I rallied quickly and trampled my three old, as I ran screaming my way out of the room. Listen, it makes no difference to me if I grew you from scratch for 9 months. I relished every kick you made inside of me. I will kiss every boo boo from now until forever. I love you all numbers my sweet baby girl. But, when a roach sprouts wings, it’s every toddler for themselves!
There is one winged creature I never tired of seeing. The Monarch. After our first Monarch release, we planted a ton of milkweed. We have momma Monarchs here just about everyday looking to lay their eggs. A lot of the caterpillars don’t make it, but this one did. We had fun letting him crawl up and down our arms yesterday. After about 2 hours, he finally took flight. No toddler throw down needed.

Kid Embroidered Pencil Pouch…

kid embroidered pencil pouch kid embroidered pencil pouch kidpencilpouch1 kid embroidered pencil pouch kid embroidered pencil pouch kid embroidered pencil pouch kid embroidered pencil pouch kid embroidered pencil pouch The last few days I’ve been cleaning and purging my craft hoard. I started this the beginning of the year and I’m still pushing through. It’s just not easy letting go of crafts that might of been. While emptying a storage bin yesterday, I came across these burlap zipper pouches. I bought like 20 from the dollar section at Target…2 years ago. I was all set to toss them in the donate pile, when I had a craft vision. We are headed out on a road trip this month and I’ve been gathering supplies to keep the kids occupied. I knew these pouches would be perfect for their coloring pencils and some crayons, but they just needed that special something.

Supplies I used:
Burlap zipper pouches
Variegated yarn
Plastic needle
Sewing marker

I’ve been wanting to teach them some basic embroidery skills for a while and these pouches were a good starter project. Burlap is great for kid embroidery. The larger holes are easy for them to navigate. Also, you can use yarn, versus thread, which is a little more kid friendly. To start, I had each of them write their name with the sewing marker. Savannah and Annie wrote their names and I did all the stitching for them. I showed Jacks how to thread the needle, then I knotted it for him. I did the first couple of stitches for him, then he finished the rest of his name on his own. I had him stop after each letter and I secured the yarn with a knot on the inside. Just repeat the same steps for each letter.

Now, I only have 17 more of these things. I love a handmade gift, so I think I’ll have them personalize the remaining for friends and family.

Family Favorite Snacks: No Guilt Almond Joy Bites…

healthy almond joy bites healthy almond joy bars healthyalmondjoy2
Let’s get the obvious out of the way. I suck at taking pictures of food. I so totally do. It’s probably why I post such few recipes. I need to get over that. See how I took a bite out of one and placed it on top of all the others? That’s my go to dramatic effect to entice you into make this recipe. Now that I’m looking at the picture, I can see that I actually missed biting the almond. I was so sure I got it. Well, that probably takes away from some of the dramatic flair I was after. Oh well.
I came across a recipe the other day for a sugar free, chocolate covered coconut bar. It lost me at sugar free, but it pulled me back in with the promise of chocolate and coconut. Listen, I give mad props to anyone that can do a Paleo or sugar free diet. I cannot. I come from a long line of sweet toothed people. We have to end our day with something sweet, that is not fruit, that is not Stevia laced. It is law with my people. I am law abiding.
Even though I love my sweets, I have adopted a healthier eating lifestyle over the last two years. This is not to say, I don’t occasionally partake from the refined sugar food group. I do. But, I have learned what I bring into my house, my kids want to eat. And as they have gotten older, it’s become increasingly hard to eat a candy bar on the sly. The cough/unwrap trick works no more. Clever little souls! So yes, we do consume refined sugar, but I try to keep it to a minimum.
Almond Joy happens to be one of my favorite candy bars of all time. What’s not to love? The almond? The joy? I knew I had to attempt this with a little revamp using maple syrup and chocolate chips. Y’all, they are so delish! I’m not exactly fooling myself that I’m eating an Almond Joy. No, but it’s dern close enough for me and I have zero guilt consuming one or three, because they are made with healthier ingredients. If you can get beyond my ugly food pictures, make these.

No Guilt Almond Joy Bites
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup organic unsweetened shredded coconut
  2. 1/2 cup raw organic almonds
  3. 1/3 cup organic full fat coconut cream
  4. 1/2 cup chocolate chips (I love the Enjoy Life brand)
  5. 1/2 tsp organic vanilla
  6. 2 tbsp organic maple syrup
  7. 1 tbsp organic coconut oil
Instructions
  1. Place a can of full fat coconut milk in the refrigerator overnight to make coconut cream.
  2. The next day, in a small bowl combine coconut, vanilla, maple syrup, and coconut cream.
  3. Form small bite size pieces of the coconut mixture and place on parchment lined cookie sheet.
  4. Add one almond to each piece.
  5. Refrigerate for approximately 1 hour to set.
  6. Combine chocolate chips and coconut oil, then melt to a syrup consistency.
  7. Remove bites from refrigerator and drop one at a time into the chocolate. Use a fork, it helps to drain the chocolate.
  8. Completely cover the bites in the chocolate and place them back on the cookie sheet.
  9. Place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to set.
Adapted from The Nourished Caveman
Jacks and Kate http://www.jacksandkate.com/