When you think of Girl Scouts, it’s likely that cookies are the first thing to pop into your head. It is, after all, what they are most known for.
Every year around this time, people get excited because they know that soon they will be able to sink their teeth into those delicious little morsels. I know people that actually seek out Girl Scouts for this very reason. Just to buy the cookies!
There is a lot more to Girl Scouts than just handing over a box of cookies, however. I know from personal experience. I was in the Girl Scouts from age 5 to about age 11. I started as a Daisy, then became a Brownie, and then a Girl Scout Junior.
Marching in a parade.
My very first memory is from when I was a Daisy. I lived in a very small town, so there were only 4 of us in our troop. Each of us crafted a boat out of clay, and the goal was to get it to float in the bathtub. Now, this may seem like a silly little task, but at the age of 5, there I was, trying to figure out how to get a clay boat to float in a bathtub full of water. I recall making several boats, until finally I made one that DID float in the water! This task allowed me to use my imagination, to accept a challenge, and to figure out a solution to my problem. It taught me very valuable skills at a very young age.
Proudly wearing my Day Camp t-shirt.
I have many other memories from my days in the Girl Scouts. Day camp, where I was able to bond with girls in other troops, go hiking, plant trees to better the environment, was so much fun. I recall learning how to make butter, how to start a fire, how to cook over a campfire, survival tips, making crafts, doing community service, marching in parades, and so much more.
My troop on one of our camping adventures.
When Girl Scouts sell those cookies, they are learning many valuable lessons as well. They are building their confidence, learning sales skills, how to manage money, set goals, and more.
National Girl Scout Cookie Weekend starts on February 7th this year, with a green carpet premier in New York City! To find out where cookies are being sold near you, the cookie varieties available this year, and more, visit the GSUSA Cookie Program Page. I can’t wait to get my hands on some Thin Mints and Samoas!!
Girl Scouts Cookie Championship Sweepstakes
As part of National Girl Scout Cookie Weekend you can join a virtual Cookie Party and win a year’s supply of your favorite cookie! Wowza! You can get more information about that here.
Keep in touch with the latest news and promotions from the Girl Scouts:
I wish I was one of those insanely talented crafty people. You know, the ones that make gorgeous things without breaking a sweat, and then sell them for tons of money at craft fairs. But, I’m not. Maybe if I had more time, or put in more effort I could be. For now though, I stick to crafts that even the most uncrafty person in the world could do. This DIY Rustic Heart Wreath fits into that category.
This wreath was super easy to do, and makes a great Valentine’s Day decoration. I followed a tutorial from The 36th Avenue.
Basically all you do is bend a wire hanger into the shape of a heart, cut strips of fabric and tie them around the hanger, and then cut the hook part off. I told you, SUPER EASY!
I can’t cut a straight line for the life of me, and this craft is very forgiving. It’s RUSTIC, so it doesn’t have to be perfect. The uneven pieces of fabric (which is actually just one of Kayleigh’s old receiving blankets!) give it more charm.
It took me about an hour to make this, and I did it while sitting on the couch watching Netflix. So easy, even I can do it!
What are some of your favorite easy DIY Valentine’s Day decorations to make? I’d love to hear your ideas!
Educational YouTube channels can be an amazing resource for kids and babies. My kids, 3 and 1, have learned SO much from watching educational YouTube channels. You can check out our favorites below. This post contains affiliate links, and I will receive compensation if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.
WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO TEACH YOUR BABY OR TODDLER?
Babies and toddlers learn best from repetition. That’s why watching educational YouTube channels over and over again works so well!
In addition to utilizing free educational YouTube channels, I purchased several “First 100” board books for my kids. These books are absolutely amazing, and it’s nice to take a break from watching YouTube. They are packed full of bright and engaging photos that kept my kids interested and learning for hours. They loved pointing to each item in the book and asking me what it was until they learned it. Then they would go through the books and tell me what each item was, over and over again.
Both of my kids had learned most of the items in these books by 18-20 months old! Friends, family, and even their pediatrician couldn’t believe how much they had learned at such an early age!
There are so many great educational YouTube channels for kids and babies, and I love to take advantage of them. Kids love to watch tv, so why not educate them at the same time? After watching youtube channels for several months, we have come up with a list of our favorites. The ones included in this list are full of upbeat music, bright and colorful graphics, and lots of educational facts.
There are a lot of youtube channels out there that are hard to understand, are not as attention grabbing, or not as educational as I would like them to be. We really had to weed through a lot of junk to find the ones that my kids like the most, and that I feel are a good fit for them.
WHAT ARE THE BEST EDUCATIONAL TOYS FOR BABIES AND TODDLERS?
We absolutely love Melissa & Doug educational toys! They are extremely high quality, so they will last a long time, and your child will love learning with their award winning toys. They have so many awesome toys to choose from!
Another factor in my decision is how annoying they are to me (ha!). If you’re going to sit and listen to the same videos over and over again all day, you have to make sure that they aren’t going to drive you completely crazy!
Here’s a list of the 5 Best Educational YouTube Channels for Kids and Babies that I came up with. These channels work great for us. They hold my kids’ attention for hours, I don’t find them to be too annoying, and they are very educational.
1. KidsTV123 – This is actually the first educational youtube channel that we started watching with Kayleigh. The songs are very catchy and the man that sings them has a very soothing voice. She absolutely loves this channel. Her favorite video from this channel is The Solar System song. Perhaps one day she will be an astronaut!
2. The Learning Station – This channel has educational videos – the alphabet, phonics, colors, etc., but they also have very fun songs that allow children to dance and use their imaginations. This channel is excellent for getting kids active and releasing some of that energy they have! Here’s one of our favorites, A Root Chy Cha.
3. Busy Beavers – This channel is great for teaching the alphabet, colors, numbers, etc. The graphics are very big and bright and Kayleigh loves their videos. Here’s a great counting video. I love how they reinforce the numbers with a piano note each time.
4. Have Fun Teaching – This channel has a lot of really fun and catchy rap songs, like this one for the Alphabet Song.
5. Hoopla Kidz – Admittedly, I had a really hard time filling this last spot in my list. The first four in this list came very easy to me, but I struggled with this one. There are a few different stations I was tossing around for spot number 5, like Harry Kindergarten, Elf Kids Videos and ToyBoxToons. Hoopla Kidz won out, however, due to the popularity of the channel, and the amount of videos they have available to watch. I find this station to be a bit on the annoying side, which is why it wasn’t really easy to place here. We don’t watch this channel as much as we watch the other four named in this list.
***UPDATE: Since writing this post, our family has found another favorite educational YouTube channel for kids and babies! Check out ABCkidTV on YouTube!
What are some of your kid’s favorite educational YouTube channels?
Image courtesy of digitalart at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Game day recipes are my favorite! Is there anything better than stuffing your face full of delicious foods like dips, appetizers, chicken wings, and pizza while watching your favorite football team? I think not.
I recently spent some time on Pinterest sorting through what I think are some of the best game day recipes out there. Take a look at what I’ve come up with, and hopefully you’ll get some inspiration for your own game day menu! This post contains affiliate links, and I will receive compensation if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.
I also love this super cute Divided Football Serving Bowl. You could fill the middle up with chips and spoon your dips into the side sections for easy dipping!
I think you’re really going to like the game day recipes I have included in the list below. When I think of game day, appetizers, dips, pizza, sandwiches and slow cooker recipes all come to mind, and I have found some of the very best of these recipes to share with you. Enjoy!Appetizers
As I was baking my 2-Hour Melt in Your Mouth Ribs for dinner yesterday, I was overcome with this craving for a molasses flavored biscuit. I swear, at some point in my life, I have had one of these. Not just a biscuit covered in molasses, but molasses actually baked right into it. It was soft and fluffy and rich with that wonderful deep molasses flavor. For the life of me, I cannot remember where I had this or who made it, and that makes me so sad.
I just could not let this craving go, so I scoured Pinterest trying to find a recipe that would be close to what I was remembering in my head. I thought there were going to be a ton of recipes to choose from, except that there weren’t. The only recipe I could find that even closely resembled what I was thinking of, was this recipe from Martha Stewart. They looked soft and fluffy and had molasses baked into them, so I thought I’d give them a shot.
They were fairly easy to make. Her recipe called for ground ginger and cloves, but I really just wanted a molasses flavor, so I left those two ingredients out. Other than that, and the fact that I used light brown sugar instead of dark, I followed her instructions step by step.
So, how did they turn out? Well, they were definitely not soft and fluffy. They were a very dense biscuit. They did have a good flavor to them, and tasted great with butter, and even better dunked in more molasses.
John came home from work late, and I fixed him a plate. As he bit into the biscuit, he asked me if it was a cookie! /smh
I said “No! It’s a biscuit!” He replied, “Oh, I thought it was a cookie with butter on it.” …What?? He did say that he liked it though.
So, if you dare, give these molasses cookie biscuits a try! I think they’d go great with a plate of baked beans.
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk
1/4 cup unsulfured molasses
1 tablespoon heavy cream, for brushing
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees with rack in center. Sift together flour, brown sugar, salt, baking powder, and pepper. Using a pastry blender or two knives, cut in butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
In a small bowl, whisk together milk and molasses until completely combined. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture, and add the milk-molasses mixture.
Using a fork, stir the mixture until it almost comes together. Gently bring the remaining smaller dough particles together with your fingertips. Transfer dough to a very lightly floured surface, and pat into a flattened circle about 6 inches in diameter and 3/4 inch thick. Cut dough into rounds with a 2-inch cookie cutter. Gently press the excess dough together, and cut several more biscuits. Gently press the remaining excess dough together one more time, and cut one more biscuit.
Transfer biscuits to a parchment-lined baking sheet; generously brush tops with cream. Sprinkle tops with a little more Kosher salt. Bake until golden brown, 24 to 26 minutes. Place biscuits on a wire rack to cool slightly.
Makes approximately 10 biscuits.
Have you ever tried a recipe that didn’t turn out as you had hoped?
This month has been absolute torture for John and me, especially me. Kayleigh was beginning to sleep through most of the night, and then all of a sudden she stopped.
She started to wake up constantly throughout the night. She would fall asleep in my arms, and then the second I laid her down in her bed, she would start screaming. She would do this all night long, and only sleep if I held her in my arms.
I was exhausted. John was exhausted. I was fed up and angry for days. Pair an overtired Mom with a baby who won’t stop screaming, and who wants to be held all the time, and it’s a recipe for disaster.
I knew I had to do something to change this situation, but I didn’t know what. A lot of people had told me in the past that I should just let her cry it out, but I had strong feelings against that. How could I leave my poor, helpless baby just laying there crying? It was just too heartbreaking for me.
Kayleigh gets so worked up during these fits. She screams as loud as she can, reaches her arms out for me to pick her up, and anxiously opens and closes her hands over and over again. I have such a hard time not giving into that pitiful cry.
I was recently reading through some comments in my Pregnancy and New Moms Group in Facebook, and the discussion of the “Cry It Out” method came up. It had come up several times in the past, and I just ignored it. I wasn’t ready to listen. But now, I was. A handful of Moms in the group had tried the “Cry It Out” method with great success. Others had tried and failed. Others had no interest in trying at all.
Being at the end of my rope, I decided to give it a shot. I didn’t feel like I had any other option. So, when Kayleigh was starting to fall asleep on me in the evening, I brought her upstairs to her bed and laid her down. She immediately woke up and started screaming like she usually does. Instead of picking her right up, however, I brushed her hair back with my hand for a minute and talked to her, telling her that it was ok. While she was still screaming, I left. It was hard. I did it though.
I left her for 3 minutes, and she continued to cry the entire time. She was still crying when I re-entered the room. I went over to her, and brushed her hair with my hand again, reassuring her that it was ok. Then I left again.
This time I left for 5 minutes. Then I returned to her room and comforted her while she was still in bed, and still crying.
I continued to do this over and over again, increasing the amount of time I left for each time. After about an hour, her cries were starting to quiet. I just stood at the door and listened. I didn’t want to upset her more by entering the room again, so I waited to see if she was going to fall asleep. And, she finally did. I breathed a huge sigh of relief. The crying was over, and she was asleep.
It was a rough hour, that’s for sure. But after we got through it, I felt so much better, and she slept great.
She did wake up once more that night, at about 2:30am, so I picked her up, changed her diaper, and fed her. With a true “Cry It Out” method, you are not supposed to do that. You are supposed to repeat the method again, so that they will sleep through the night, but I am gradually working my way towards that. I don’t want to shock her too much all at once. I think one feeding a night for now is a fine compromise for us.
I will say, though, that normally when she gets up for a middle of the night feeding, she will have a hard time falling back to sleep when I put her back down. This time, she didn’t. She let me lay her back down in her bed, and fell right to sleep instead of screaming for me to pick her up.
The next day, Kayleigh was falling asleep on me during her usual nap time. I brought her upstairs to her bed, and she immediately woke up screaming when I laid her down. Normally, I would have picked her up and cradled her until she fell asleep again, and then she would start screaming again when I laid her down. I would finally give up and either bring her downstairs to nap on me, or on the floor beside me.
This time, I didn’t. This time, I left her there, in her bed, to cry it out. I stood outside the door, planning to go back in after 3 minutes to comfort her, and then leave again, but I didn’t have to. Before 3 minutes even came, she was out like a light.
She then proceeded to take a 2 hour nap, and I got a much needed Mommy break.
The “Cry It Out” method is not for everyone. I was hesitant to try it for a long time, and finally only did so because I was desperate for sleep. We have been using the “Cry It Out” method for a few days now, and it seems to be working great for us. Everyone is getting more sleep, feeling more rested and in a better mood. I’ll consider this a “win”!
Have you ever tried the “Cry It Out” method? What was your experience with it?
Disclosure: I received a free product to facilitate this review. All opinions are 100% my own.
I am really looking forward to spring and summer this year. Kayleigh will be a year old, and we plan on taking her on some fun day trips, like to the zoo and to Acadia National Park.
John and I like to hike the trails around our state, and taking a stroller on them is just not an option most of the time. It’s some times very rocky terrain, or tall grass. I recall one time last summer when we went to the Viles Arboretum, we tried bringing Kayleigh on one of the trails in the stroller, and we had to turn around because the stroller couldn’t handle it. We saw another couple with a small baby come in as we were leaving, and they had their baby in a carrier strapped to the Dad. What a brilliant idea!
We went out and purchased a baby carrier shortly after that incident, but I didn’t know anything about carriers at the time. After trying out the one we bought, I hated it. It was not comfortable whatsoever. It was also really complicated to get on and off, and there was no way I could put it on by myself. I’m not even sure where that carrier is at the moment, and I honestly don’t care. I’ll never use it again.
I was absolutely thrilled when I was offered a Boba Carrier to try out. I had high hopes for this one, and it did not disappoint!
I LOVE the Boba Carrier. It is so easy to put on, that I can even do it by myself. I had to have John help me with the other one that we had. I am a stay-at-home Mom, so I really need one that I could put on by myself, and not have to rely on someone else to help me with.
Not only is the Boba Carrier easy to put on, but it is super comfortable. The shoulder straps are padded very well, so they don’t cut into me. The buckles rest perfectly on my body and it doesn’t feel tight. I could wear this carrier for hours, and it wouldn’t bother me one bit. This is definitely a great carrier for walking and hiking.
The Boba Carrier holds babies from 7 to 45 pounds, which means that we will be able to use this for quite a while. I think my other carrier only went up to 25 pounds.
Here are some of the other awesome features of the Boba Carrier:
Fits heights 5’0″ – 6’3″ – This is a really great feature because most women are shorter than their male counterparts, but Dad often wants to use the carrier too. Because this fits such a wide range of heights, it can easily be shared between Mom and Dad.
Waist range 25″ – 58″ – Again, this feature makes it great for couples to share baby carrying duty.
Removable hood – How convenient is this?! This carrier has a hood, which is great for rainy days, or to keep the sun out of baby’s face.
Breastfeeding buckle – If you’re a breastfeeding Mom, you know just how hard it is to get yourself and baby situated, especially out in public. This buckle makes it easy to breastfeed your baby while they are still in the carrier!
Removable foot straps – These are great for supporting those little legs!
Purse holders – On each shoulder strap of the carrier, there is a purse strap holder to keep your purse, diaper bag, shoulder bag, etc. in place. No more sliding off your shoulder constantly!
Integrated Infant Insert – When snapped, the insert lets newborns 7-10 lbs. sit higher up, while the second position leaves the insert unsnapped letting a slightly bigger child (11-15 lbs.) rest lower in the carrier.
Smartphone pocket – This comes in very handy!
Hood pocket – The hood I mentioned before rolls up and slips right into a pocket on the Boba when it’s not in use.
Sliding chest strap – allows for easier adjustability between different carrying adults, and enables the user to be able to comfortably babywear, without the need for any assistance or help with buckles from others.
The Boba Carrier comes in several different colors. I chose the Tweet pattern. Isn’t it adorable?!
This carrier is priced at $128.00, which is quite a large expense, but we paid $80 for our other one and I hated it. This carrier is definitely worth $128.00, given all of the features it has to offer, as well as how comfortable it is.
For Valentine’s Day this year, I plan on waking up a bit early and surprising John with a special Valentine’s Day breakfast. I wanted something that was not overly complicated, since he will be rushing around getting ready for work, so I came up with these Valentine’s Day Breakfast Mini Pizzas.
Not only are they very quick and easy to put together, but they are certainly hearty enough to fill a man’s belly!
Valentine’s Day Breakfast Mini Pizzas
1 English Muffin
Your Favorite Shredded Cheese (I used a combination of sharp white and yellow cheddar)
Jimmy Dean Fully Cooked Sausage Crumbles
Slice English muffin in half. Use a heart shaped cookie cutter to cut out heart shapes in English muffin slices.
Spread scrambled eggs evenly on top of English muffin slices.
Sprinkle sausage crumbles on top of scrambled eggs.
Sprinkle shredded cheese on top of sausage crumbles.
Place English muffin pizzas on a baking sheet and broil for 5-7 minutes, until cheese has melted and English muffin has crisped up a bit.
Do you make your partner a Valentine’s Day breakfast?
I’m not much of a sports fan, so for me, the Big Game is all about the FOOD! If you’re serving a bunch of guests, you don’t want to go all crazy with complicated appetizers though. You want to be able to spend time with them, and maybe even watch the game, if you’re into that sort of thing.
This appetizer idea is super simple, but tasty too! Buy a package of cubed beef at the store, marinate it in your favorite sauce for a few hours, then toss it in a skillet with some olive oil until it’s cooked the way you like it – medium, well done, etc. Stick some toothpicks in the beef cubes, put them on a plate, and serve with a side of dressing, steak sauce, etc.
This is a great way to serve your guests some steak, but not have to pay an arm and a leg for it.
I marinated these beef cubes in a Chipotle Pepper marinade from McCormick Grill Mates. They were just a little on the spicy side, and so delicious!
What are some of your easiest game day appetizer ideas?