Friday, September 16, 2016

Three Ingredient Pumpkin Muffins

It's starting to feel like fall which means all things pumpkin! One of our fall favorites are pumpkin muffins. In the past, I've always made two ingredient muffins but they always feel and taste too dense. This year we added an extra ingredient and we'll never go back.

Here's what you need:

1 box spice cake mix 
1 can pumpkin
1/4 cup vegetable oil

Here's what you'll do:

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2.  Mix all ingredients in a large mixing bowl
3.  Spoon ingredients into greased muffin tin or cupcake liners. They won't look smooth like cupcakes. In fact, they'll be really lumpy. 
4.  Bake in preheated oven for 10-12 minutes or when a fork comes out clean. They'll still look lumpy when you take them out. 
5.  Top with your favorite cream cheese icing! 

These will work just fine without the oil, but they're much fluffier with it. They're seriously easy and yummy!

Happy Fall, y'all!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Get Paid to Try Birchbox!

This is only good for today, so if you want to try it...hurry!  I love Swagbucks and use them a lot.  Here's a really quick run down of how it works so you can quickly go get paid to try Birchbox.  You answer surveys, try new products, give a donation, even play games...there are tons of options.  But whatever you're doing, you earn "swagbucks".  Each swagbuck is worth $.01 so 1000 swagbucks = $10.  You can redeem your swagbucks for gift cards or Paypal.  I love redeeming mine for cash through Paypal or an Amazon gift card.  It's that easy and yes, it actually works.

So here's the good part!  For today only you can go through Swagbucks to sign up for a Birchbox subscription (which worked out to be $10.53 after tax) and you'll be awarded 2000 swagbucks.  Remember...that's $20.  So really you're being paid almost $10 to try it.  Of course if you like it, you keep it.  If not, you can cancel your subscription since it's monthly and you've made money.

Here's the quick scoop...

1.  Sign up for Swagbucks.

2.  Search "Birchbox" to find today's offer for 2000 swagbucks when you sign up.

3.  Follow the link and sign up to receive your first Birchbox.

4.  Your Swagbucks account will immediately be awarded 2000 swagbucks.

5.  Redeem your swagbucks for a gift card.

It's that easy!  There is also a promo code today EXTRABB.  You'll get an extra gift in your box.



All while sitting in the bathroom. I'm not sure what sparked that thought. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Peaks of Otter Shenanigans

A trip is very different when you go with adults versus going with a three year old and a one month old. Adults would visit Peaks of Otter for socialization while picking quality apples.  We visited to pick as many apples as we could (ripe or not) and scream about how we can't reach the high ones. Adults cope with being tired after walking awhile. We measure how far we've walked, how far it will be to get back and if that distance is greater than our max for fear of a breakdown. Adults probably don't even visit the critter section. We stayed there for almost an hour as sweat dripped down my back and fed a single horse two bags of feed. Adults browse the wine selections, tasting a variety before purchasing. I walked around hunched over to make sure my child's hands don't stray to a wine rack where I'm sure everything will crash down into a pool of wine. Anyway, you get the point. My review is from a very different view than the average joe. So the girls and I made a trip to Peaks of Otter Winery and Johnsons Apple Orchard today. If you want a review for going with friends, stop here. If you are interested in knowing how it feels to visit with a baby strapped to your front, everyone's bags of apples on your arms like grocery bags and the natural anxiety of traveling with a three year old, keep reading.

Here's the scoop on how it went. 

First of all, we had a great Groupon which made the whole trip pretty cheap. We got four half peck bags of apples, two bags of feed and $10 off of anything all for $32. Then I had a Groupon coupon for $10 off that making it only $22. Cheap enough that I let Emma pick two bags of apples regardless of what they looked like.

We got there, and I immediately worried as I saw two school buses parked. That's a lot of people to see my kid have a meltdown. Let's hope that doesn't happen. We went inside and I literally told the lady I had no idea what I was doing and would need her to tell me exactly where to go. She was awesome! She was friendly, gave me explicit directions and was sweet to Emma when she asked why they keep cheese blocks on the counter. Moving on. 

She pointed us in the right direction and off we went with four bags to pick apples. But first, let's take a selfie. 

Okay. Now let's pick apples. On the ride there, Emma and I talked about how you know if it's ripe to pick or not. I begged her to please don't put bruised, rotten or worm filled apples in our bags. I told her how they should be red and come off the tree with an easy twist. We were ready. Then she started picking. Or should I say tugging and pulling at the tree to get the apple off. Clearly not ripe. But she loved it. Whatever. You go girl. Pick those green, hard apples. 

We were doing great until she started to get hot and sweaty and tired. Here comes the whining. The trees are too tall. I can't reach the best ones. Lost my sunglasses. Crying over the sunglasses. Find the sunglasses. It's moms fault she lost them in the first place. Tired of red apples. Where are the yellow apples? Eww there are rotten ones. Why are they rotten? I need drink.  Done with the drink.  You carry my drink.  Why can't I eat the apples now? Left the bag of apples behind. Go back for the apple bag. Too tired to carry the bag. Mom carry the bag. BUT...we made it and when we reached the road to walk back she said, "mom we do good teamwork". Okay, so it may have been worth it. (Even if it's a one sided team effort). 

The owner was driving out as we were walking and he stopped to talk to Emma which made her feel pretty important. 

Next up, feed the critters. We got our two bags of feed and followed the signs down the road which I was already dreading walking back up. I was not too impressed by the critter barns, but Emma loved it and that's what counts. They had chickens and geese wandering around and several other animals fenced in. There was a really disgusting looking turkey, a peacock, a bunch of goats, pigs and piglets and tons of sheep. 

We looked at those but fed only a few goats because there was another animal far more important to Emma. A horse. Oh my. We fed it almost two bags of feed. 

She was in heaven as it followed her back and forth along the fence line. All of the animals were really friendly although I'll never trust those goats. I swear goats at petting zoos would steal your feed, the bag it's in and the shirt off your back at first chance. 

We finished with the animals and she cried because she was sure someone took the horses colt away from it. After promising the horse that she would come back and see it tomorrow, we trudged back up the hill. 

As we were walking back up, the owner was driving down to check on the animals. He stopped to talk and tell us about the guest house or cabin or something that they rent out a little further on the property. I could hardly listen because I was so focused on whether or not I had sweat completely through my shirt. He told us we were welcome to drive that way before we leave to see it and his llamas. So sweet but unless this house also comes with a nanny for our stay, do I look like the girl who wants to rent a cabin away from my own couch and Netflix for the night? The thought was kind. 

On the way up we passed the group of school kids which I had completely forgotten about. I have no idea where these two bus loads of children had been, but the staff did a great job separating them from other visitors. 

We went back to the shop where several moms were talking about ways to get a few bottles of wine without having to take it on the school bus. I've been on the bus during field trips ladies.  Better just take the wine with you.  We had to pick something out since we had a $10 off coupon. Emma got some kind of candy and mom got a bottle of pumpkin pie wine made at the winery. Uhhhhmazing.

We loaded up when Emma realized she'd lost her precious unicorn water bottle. Tears flowed. Refusal to sit in her seat without finding the cup. Found it in the shop. We tried again to leave. Emma talked for about ten minutes about how happy she was and how much fun she'd had. Swoon.  Then five minutes about how I wasn't driving in the right direction and she was sure I'd gotten us lost. Good grief mom.  Thanks back seat driver. Then sleep. And quiet. And peaceful. And regular radio.  For the rest of the way home. 

Happy and asleep. I'd call that a successful day. Now how long can I get her to nap. What kind of things can I get done? The dishes need to be washed. Laundry is in the dryer and needs to be folded. I could get dinner started. Who am I kidding? She napped for 15 minutes at home while I sat on the couch and watched a few minutes of How to Get Away with Murder on Netflix. Gosh I love Shonda!

If you're wondering how the little one did on this trip...

She rocked her Tula the whole time and didn't make a peep. Babywearing love people. 💕

Homemade Donuts...yummm!

We love Krispy Kreme on Sunday morning when we all go and get hot donuts. But let's be honest...I'd love hot donuts every day of the week. This morning we attempted our own version. While they weren't Krispy Kreme, they were pretty darn good! The best part is that they were simple and something Emma and I could make together pretty quickly.  I wish I'd gotten a better picture, but they didn't last long enough.

Here's what you need:

1 can original Pillsbury biscuits
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Hot water
Vegetable oil

Here's what you do:

1.  Heat vegetable oil in a deep skillet or fryer to 375 degrees. Our oil was about an inch and a half deep. It worked really well. 
2.  Prepare your glaze by mixing the powdered sugar and vanilla extract. Add hot water by the tablespoon until it reaches a desired consistency. 
3.  Lay paper towels on a plate. This is where you'll put the donuts to drain the oil. 
4. Cut holes in the middle of each biscuit. We just used a spoon for this. Roll the remaining dough into balls for donut holes. 
5.  Drop donuts and holes into hot oil. We were able to put in four at a time. Fry on each side until golden. No more than a minute on each side. 
6.  Remove your donuts with tongs or a slotted spoon and lay on paper towels. 
7.  While they're hot, dip donuts in the glaze coating both sides. 
8.  Serve warm and enjoy!

These were super easy and delicious! I did find they weren't as good once they cooled so if you want to eat them later, I would heat them for a few seconds in the microwave. 

These are going to make a perfect replacement until we make it to Krispy Kreme again!  


Friday, September 9, 2016

Emma's Thought of the Day


Welcome Home Flossy

We've been looking for the past week for a monarch caterpillar. I really want Emma to see the life cycle as it turns into a butterfly.

Search 1:  Drove the parkway. Searched and searched. No luck. 

Search 2:  Never made it out of the house. Meltdown over shoes. 

Search 3:  Drove the parkway. Discussed coming another day. Found her!

It is the smallest monarch caterpillar I've ever found, but it is one nonetheless. We put it in a jar and Emma immediately began talking to it and calling it Flossy. Apparently it's a she and that's it's name. I can't believe I didn't already know. We stopped by Target to get a small pet carrier. No luck there but she did spot her Halloween costume. 

Interesting. I'll keep trying to change her mind before October 31st.

Petsmart was next door so we tried that next. Success.

We got home and Emma started to ready Flossy's "have-a-tat". A little grass. A stick or two. A couple leaves. Attempts to pour in bubbles. A bit more grass. 

Add Flossy and it's perfect! Hopefully she will make it to the butterfly stage or someone is going to be devastated. 

Fall is coming!!