mrs.b and her boys

embrace the chaos

Month: October 2015

IN OUR BOOK BAG

I am such a fan of reading and an even bigger fan of reading to children. We have found some real treasures in the last 9 years, and I want to share them with you. Whether you are parents of young children or someone looking for a great book to gift a child, I hope “Our Book Bag” inspires you.

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My first pick is “Bear Says Thanks” by Karma Wilson

You will notice I will pick every one of these Bear books. We love them all! I thought this one is fitting with the upcoming holiday season. It is a sweet story of kindness and friendship with playful words. The illustrations are top-notch and bring this story to life for the whole family.

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Second pick is our well-used “Jamberry” by Bruce Degen

The bear and the boy go on an amazing adventure through a land of berries. A book full of funny made-up words and  tongue-filled rhymes gets kids of the youngest ages engaged.

FAMILY GAME NIGHT

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I say it all the time and hopefully, you will not get sick of hearing it…our lives get busy and chaotic. We get stuck in our everyday activities and happenings. And sometimes we forget to have fun and shake things up. I was feeling that last weekend and that’s when I called a mandatory Family Game Night. Now, as much as I am a fan of the let’s make most of our stuff homemade, I am also a fan of the semi-homemade is just fine too. Take help where you need it! On occasions like this, I want to keep it simple, fun and finger-food friendly. Where you can grab something, it’s gone in a few bites and your hands are free to take your turn at the games.

I did:

*Deep-Dish Mini Pizzas

*Chicken Dippers with Dipping Sauces

*Whoopie Pies

Now, although I have a great homemade pizza dough recipe, I used a store-bought pizza crust that night. And together with some jarred sauce, Canadian bacon, pineapple and mozzarella, these Mini Deep Dish Pizzas came together quickly to leave time for more games.

For the Chicken Dippers, I did use fresh chicken breasts. But my help came from pre-bottled Thai Peanut Sauce and a BBQ Sauce. {I’m telling you, simple}

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Finally the Whoopie Pies were store bought. Because after a long week, on Friday I do not always have time to whip up some baked goods. Bakeries and stores have such great options with bars, cookies and brownies, use that help sometimes.

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Then, I stirred up a pitcher of Kool-Aid. {Don’t judge!} Yes people, I do make Kool-Aid for fun occasions like this. I know there is tons of sugar in it, but it is a treat. If you don’t do Kool-Aid, you could get small soda cans or bottled juices and that would make it fun for the kids too.

When you do your Family Game Night {Notice, I said “when”}, you do not have to make what I made here. Customize it to your family’s likes and dislikes. You could do a tray full of quesadilla triangles, chicken wings or nachos. Or how about a simple take-n-bake pizza cut into small squares? It does not matter what food you make, as long as it is fun and not in your realm of everyday eats. Make it special and spend some quality time with your family.

Now, I can hear some of you saying as you read this, “But, we can’t have Family Game Night! We have a 2 year old along with older kids. That won’t work.” It will work. The key is to have some simple games, like one of those character UNO games or Go Fish that the little ones can play {Trust me, they catch on fast!} and then a game the big kids would be into as well. We love HeadBands, UNO or Ellen’s HeadsUp game app on the iPad.

Another tip would be to play in teams with the little ones. Let’s say you want to play something that is a bit more challenging, have each adult or older kid partner up with a little one. That way, they are learning the game without the frustration of being on their own to figure it out.

Although, our Family Game Night usually ends in someone being a total turd {Just keepin’ it real!}, we always have so much fun and laugh a lot! We also feel better about the quality time we spent together, getting to know each other outside the monotony of our everyday lives.

Now, stop reading my blog and go plan your Family Game Night!

 

 

DEEP-DISH MINI PIZZAS

Olive oil, to coat {regular sized} muffin pan

All-purpose flour

1 pre-made pizza dough, cut in 6 pieces

Jarred pizza sauce

8 oz. mozzarella, shredded

Pizza toppings of your choice: Canadian Bacon, pineapple, mini pepperoni, sausage, peppers, mushrooms, olives, left-over BBQ pork, lightly steamed broccoli in little pieces, diced tomatoes, etc.

Pre heat oven to 450º. Lightly coat muffin pan with olive oil. On a floured surface, roll out each piece of dough to approximately 6 inches round. Fill each cup with sauce and your choice of toppings. Top with mozzarella.

Bake until dough is golden brown, about 12 minutes.

*If you want to make a full pan, just do 2 pizza doughs!

 

CHICKEN DIPPERS

1 – 14-16 oz. package of chicken breasts

An all-seasoning {I love Spike} & pepper

Olive oil

6-inch wooden skewers

Dipping sauces of choice

Preheat oven to 425º. {I did them at 450º with the Deep-Dish Mini Pizzas as well. Keep it simple.}

Cut the chicken breast into thick strips. Put them on the skewers in a zig zag fashion. Lay them flat on a sprayed cookie sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season as you wish.

Bake for 12-15 minutes until chicken is cooked through.

 

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