holiday

Happy 4th of July!

Happy 4th of July! I hope that everyone has a fun and wonderful weekend!

Here are the festive 4th of July ideas we had this year! We had some fun with homemade treats and I even brought 4th of July to my Etsy shop!

4th of July

4th of July

Find out how to make these homemade popsicles HERE!

4th of July

For more Whippersnappers designs, check out the shop HERE!

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Holiday Cheer

Christmas Goodies

Yesterday was a wonderful day for my baby boy’s very first Christmas!


We have had a wonderful time the past few days making Christmas candies, cookies and goodies! We are lucky enough to have family come and visit this year and more family is on the way this weekend to stay through New Years! I am so thankful for everything and feel so happy to see my little guy so happy on his first Christmas!

 

 

Christmas Goodies

Christmas Goodies

Christmas Goodies

 

Happy Holidays & Happy New Year!!

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Christmas Sensory Play for Babies

Baby Sensory Play

My son is now 9 months old and constantly on the move! He is sometimes really good at entertaining himself for short periods of time but most of the time he needs constant attention and engagement or else he quickly gets bored. I am always trying to think of new ideas and activities for him to keep him busy. It is tricky with a 9 month old since he is pretty limited in what he can do yet but there are still so many possibilities and I am trying to switch things up on most days.

 

I use Pinterest a lot to get ideas from other great minds on activities for babies and fun things to do together. Sometimes I want an activity that will keep my baby busy on his own so that I can get something done and other times I like to think of new things that we can do to spend time together. Then there are times like this one where I do something with the intention of keeping him busy but ends up having so much fun and is being so cute that I just end up watching him and laughing at him the whole time! Lately I have really been into sensory play and giving him things with different textures, colors and shapes to let him explore and learn. There are many quick and easy sensory play recipe ideas that use common items that you have in your kitchen! Check out my Pinterest “Activities, Arts & Crafts” page to see a compilation of different activity ideas.

Baby Sensory Play

I decided it would be a good day for some sensory play and what better to do than a Christmas theme?! These are just three super simple ideas that I was able to throw together very quickly. I usually do things like this during nap time so that he doesn’t get impatient while I am trying to do it. This way fun times are awaiting him right when he wakes up!

 

I used 3 different ideas of completely different textures. The first bag I used was crumpled up tissue paper (red & green for Christmas! Come up with your own theme ideas or it doesn’t have to be a theme at all!). The second bag was…”goop,” for lack of a better term. It was just flour and water mixed up. No need to measure really, I just scooped some flour into a bowl and added water until it was a good consistency. The last bag is dyed spaghetti. I knew you could dye spaghetti with food coloring but I had never actually tried it. I was so excited with how it turned out so vibrant! It is actually a bit ridiculous at how excited I was about this spaghetti! I’m totally doing this again in the future…but for eating, not playing! 😛 All I did was cook the spaghetti (or any pasta) as usual and added food coloring while in the boiling water.

Baby Sensory Play

To my surprise, this actually kept him busy for a good while! I mean…he is 9 months, it’s not like it was hours or anything, but hey, he had a great time and that’s all that matters! The pictures really show that he was loving it! The tissue paper was his favorite of course because he just looooooves crinkly things! He also liked the spaghetti and was really trying to figure it out. The goop on the other hand, he didn’t play with it much. I kept showing it to him and he would feel it and act all disgusted with a wrinkled up nose face! By the way, check out all that drool! He is getting his top teeth in and the drool is sure flowing!

Baby Sensory Play

Making homemade play recipes doesn’t have to be hard…keep things simple, but switch it up! Enjoy the holidays!

 

 

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The GRINCH! Red Velvet-Cheesecake Cupcakes

Grinch Red Velvet Cupcakes

I don’t know about you, but one of my favorite things about this time of year is Christmas candy and allllllll kinds of Christmas themed desserts. I’ll be the first to admit that I have a major, and I mean, MAJOR sweet tooth! So I decided I needed to get things moving along in the dessert-making department! Better yet…cupcakes! Who doesn’t like cupcakes?! I am very thankful that my husband works with a ton of guys who can take all of the extras off my hands. I am always baking up new things and sending them off to work with him. If it weren’t for that, I would probably have to stop baking because I would eat it all myself! It doesn’t matter if I hide it away in a container, wrap it up and freeze it…doesn’t matter. I WILL know that it is there and ultimately decide that I have to have it.

I’m not really all too great at actually coming up with dessert recipes myself so I actually combined a couple of ideas that I found from a couple of other talented people! I saw the most amazing Grinch cupcakes on pinterest and wanted to do something similar. The original cupcakes came from Sugar Swings blog, to check out their recipe click here. They did theirs with peppermint, which is also an amazing idea! Also, check out the heart they added in the middle!!

I decided to go a different route with mine with…red velvet! Doesn’t get much better than that right? Wrong! Add cheesecake and cream cheese icing and you have perfection!

I used a cheesecake filled red velvet cupcake recipe from Sweet Little Detail’s blog. Check out the recipe they used for their Surprise Red Velvet Cupcakes.

I have been wanting to make cupcakes for awhile now and red velvet is my favorite! I wanted to add some Christmas to them so why not the Grinch?! My son “helped” me with these cupcakes so it was very interesting but fun! Since he is on the move these days and crawling all over the place, it is nearly impossible to do any baking anymore. Thank goodness for the amazing invention of the front carrier! Well…my back doesn’t thank me, but at least I can get some stuff done and have my little one nice and content! Worth it 😉

IMG_6206

My little helper…

Here’s how I did them:

First, make the cheesecake filling to set aside so that it is ready.

Filling:

1 – 8oz pack of cream cheese

1 egg

1/3 Cup sugar

About 1/2 a bag of white chocolate chips (or however many you prefer!)

Blend the cream cheese, egg and sugar in a bowl until very smooth, then stir in the white chocolate chips. Set this aside until later.

 

Red Velvet Cupcakes: *To make sure to give credit where credit is due, this cake recipe is Bakerella’s Red Velvet Cake recipe. I originally found it through Sweet Little Detail’s blog 🙂

2 1/2 Cups flour

2 Cups sugar

1Tbsp cocoa

1 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

2 eggs

1 1/2 Cups oil

1 Cup buttermilk

1 Tbsp vinegar

1 tsp vanilla

2 oz red food coloring (I used a red velvet emulsion, which worked great! Use less if using this instead of regular food coloring)

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Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line cupcake pan with cupcake liners or spray with nonstick spray.

Whisk eggs in a bowl, add remaining liquid ingredients, mix and set aside. Mix all dry ingredients together in a separate bowl. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until combined. Fill pan with batter about 2/3 full and then top with a spoonful of the cheesecake mixture. I filled mine very full and they turned out great! I pushed my spoonful of cheesecake mixture down into the batter a bit with a knife.

Bake for 20-25 minutes. Let cool completely.

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Now for the frosting! I usually just guesstimate the amounts until I get the consistency I want but the amounts I used this time for this frosting turned out amazing! I was disappointed that I didn’t have much leftover to devour but it is probably for the best!

 

Cream Cheese Frosting:

1 – 8oz pack of cream cheese

1/4 Cup butter (half stick)

4 Cups powdered sugar

1/4 tsp vanilla

 

Beat cream cheese and butter well until creamy. Add vanilla. Add powdered sugar little by little until you get the consistency that you want. I then added green food coloring to make my Grinch cupcakes! But you could leave it white or do whatever you so choose to fit whatever theme you are trying to do.

Grinch Red Velvet Cupcakes

 

Grinch Red Velvet Cupcakes

 

Grinch Red Velvet Cupcakes

…and Ta Da!! Those are my Cheesecake Red Velvet Grinch cupcakes! I just iced them thick with frosting, added edible eyes and made white chocolate santa hats! You could do any design you want this way. Just melt white chocolate in the microwave and add a bit of food coloring to it. I then piped it onto wax paper in the shape of santa hats and put it in the freezer to set.

My son had a lot of fun “helping” me with these cupcakes! Aka putting his hands in the BRIGHT red batter without me realizing it and getting it everywhere! 😛 He sure has fun watching me though and that’s all that matters.

Have fun with your holiday baking!

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Things To Do For Baby’s First Christmas

Baby's First ChristmasWow, Christmas always sneaks up on us but this year it really has come up extra quick! It is going to be my little guy’s very first Christmas! He is going to be 9 months old and I am so overly excited to be able to share all of the holiday traditions with him! I have such wonderful memories of Christmas from when I was little and I want to pass those on to my son as well. So many people have said, “Oh he won’t even remember this Christmas!” Helloooo…it’s my son’s FIRST Christmas! I realize he will not remember anything and you betcha I understand that the wrapping paper will be way more fun than the gifts themselves but that’s okay!! It’s his first Christmas, which makes it a special one. Even though he doesn’t really know what is going on, he is going to enjoy it in the moment!

What are some Christmas traditions that you and your family have? Here are a few ideas to do with your little one of their very first Christmas!

1) Go sit on Santa’s lap!

Okay, of course they can’t tell Santa that they have been good this year but it sure does make for a memorable first Santa photo! I thought FOR SURE my son would take one look at Santa’s scary beard and bust out balling! But to my amazement he looked up at him in awe and just stared. I got the BEST picture of them looking at each other and I know I will love looking back at this.

2) Read Christmas books

 

Get a few children’s Christmas books to read throughout the holiday season. This is perfect because you can pull them back out every year and as they get older they will appreciate them more and more. Not to mention they will recognize them and you can start a tradition with it!

           Classic Christmas Book Ideas:

-Twas the Night Before Christmas

-How the Grinch Stole Christmas

-Elf on the Shelf

-Dream Snow

There are endless options! We walked in to a small local bookstore and they had a few cute ones I had never heard of. Bookstores or libraries may also have story times around this time of the month with holiday stories.

3) Do Christmas crafts or make baby’s first ornament

Pinterest has many great ideas for this! Use a footprint or handprint to make an ornament. I bought a plain empty ball ornament at a craft store that I am going to stick things in like his hospital hat, bracelet and a photo.

4) “Help” put up Christmas lights!

“Help” is in quotes for obvious reasons. Your little one may not be able to lend a hand in decorating or putting up Christmas lights but they sure will love playing with all the bright colored pretties! I let my son explore in lit up Christmas lights and ended up with an amazing Christmas card photo 🙂

5) Decorate a Christmas tree!

When I was little, we always went out and picked out a real tree to cut down! We didn’t do that this year but we plan to in the future!

6) Drive around looking at lights!

Depending on how festive your neighborhood is you may just be able to drive around the area and have fun looking at all the bright lights in the evenings. However, most places have an actual set up to drive through and enjoy the lights.

7) Attend Christmas events in your area!

Baby's First Christmas

This year Babies R Us did a Babies 1st Christmas event! There was a craft, a Christmas story and a raffle for prizes. Wasn’t anything major, but still cute and fun to go to.

8) Play Christmas music!

I’ll admit, I’m one of those where the second November hits, the Christmas music starts rollin’ in!

9) Play in the snow!

Snow

If you’re in an area that gets snow, let them check it out for the first time! We recently moved to South Carolina so it’s unlikely we will actually get snow but thankfully we went to Iowa over Thanksgiving to visit family so our son got to see snow for the very first time! He was really checking it out and stomping his feet in it!

10) Make holiday treats and desserts!

I love baking and I don’t know how many other people do this or not but I like to put my son in the front carrier while baking and he loves it!

11) Take Christmas Photos!

You will want to always remember your baby’s first Christmas! Plus it will be fun to bring back old photos to show to them later when they are older.

12) Watch Christmas Movie Classics!

Get some of the classics like Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and Frosty the Snowman. There is also the original animated version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

13) Start Elf on the Shelf!

You could wait until they’re older to really do Elf on the Shelf games and so that they can name him or her themselves, but it may still be fun to get out and read the story!

It is never too early to start Christmas traditions with your family. That is how they learn and come to understand the traditions! Carry on traditions that you and your family have always had or maybe start some new ones! Don’t hold back simply because they won’t remember. Enjoy your baby’s first Christmas!

Happy Holidays

Christmas