Recipe: Chocolate Chunk Cookies (Made with Olive Oil)

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So chewy and fluffy!

I posted on Instagram yesterday about my adventures in baking. I promised the kids cookies, but after consultation with my pantry and fridge, I lacked butter, coconut oil, or Crisco. I quickly searched the google machine and found a bunch of different recipes for chocolate chip cookies with olive oil!

 

Looking over the various recipes, combined with what we had on hand, and I cobbled together a pretty decent batch of cookies. This recipe made 3 1/2 dozen decent sized cookies.

They are fluffy, chewy, and soft. They can burn easily, due to the amount of sugars used. Remember to take them out of the oven before they look done. They will continue to cook on the cookie sheet after they are removed from the oven.

Screen Shot 2019-01-08 at 9.03.10 PM.pngIngredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups AP Flour
  • 2 t. Salt
  • 1 t. Baking soda
  • 1/3 cup Olive Oil
  • 3/4 cup Brown sugar, packed
  • 3/4 cup White sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 T. Milk (whatever kind you use, non-dairy is cool)
  • 2 4oz bars of Semi-sweet chocolate, rough chopped

 

 

Directions:Screen Shot 2019-01-08 at 8.52.08 PM.png

  1. In a medium bowl, combine flour, salt, and soda. Set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, mix oil and sugars together, until mixture is fluffy. I use an electric mixer.
  3. Add eggs one at a time until well combined.
  4. Slowly add flour mixture until well incorporated, add milk as needed to give dough desired texture.
  5. Stir in chopped chocolate pieces.
  6. Drop rounded teaspoons onto a greased cookie sheet (or use Silicone baking pads like I do).  Bake at 375 degrees for 7-9 minutes.

The kids were so happy they got cookies, and I was happy to be able to make them!My 2019 motto: Use it up, improvise, make do!

 

Talk Back: What is your motto or mantra for 2019?

 

 

 

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Kiddolab Toys and Win a Trip to DisneyWorld!

Recently the cool people over at Kiddo Labs asked me to review a product from their website. Uh, yeah! I love reviewing toys!

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KiddoLab is a new brand which supports the initiative to provide babies with a solid foundation for the development of early skills during play. I love that all of the toys are made in vibrant colors with interesting textures and lights and/or sounds.

Screen Shot 2018-12-22 at 5.44.31 PM.pngI chose the 2-in-1 Activity Center, which features:

  • AN OCEAN OF FUN CHARACTERS: This interactive activity center is decorated with adorable sea creatures including a fish, turtle, clam, crab, and starfish.
  • A VARIETY OF ACTIVITIES: More than just a toy piano, all of the fun ocean creatures double as activities of their own; a click-clack fish, a rattle spinner, a sliding star, a push-down squeaker and a baby-safe mirror.
  • LIGHT-UP PIANO KEYS: Three big, brightly colored light-up piano keys are easy to press for little fingers. Intended for ages nine months plus.
  • TWO MUSICAL MODES: Loaded with cheerful music to entertain babies and toddlers, you can choose between free play and tunes to play along with.
  • ATTACHES TO YOUR CRIB: This activity table boasts detachable legs and can then be easily attached to your infant’s crib.

I set it up, added batteries and let Margaret go to town. She played with it for about 20 minutes. She had a great time.  What I like it that it’s easy to set up and change to attach to a crib. The sounds aren’t high-pitched or tinny, so listening to the sounds wasn’t like most baby/kid toys (parents- you know what I’m talking about!). I love that it’s a toy that can grow with your child. The crib straps and the legs are both easy to install and remove.

Right now, Kiddo Labs is offering my readers a a 25% discount with coupon code: TTPM25  To get started, visit Kiddolab here.

Oh, and it gets better. Not only does Kiddo Labs have great, fun toys for your littles, right now they are giving away a vacation to Disney World. Visit their website to learn more.

 

Thanks so much to Kiddo Labs for the fun toy! All opinions are my own, and I was not compensated for my review. Please see my Disclosure Page for more information about reviews.

Smallfoot Dvd/BluRay Giveaway!

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We recently received an advance copy of Warner Bros. Home Entertainment’s film Smallfoot.

It was so cute! If you are looking for a cute family movie to watch this holiday season, Smallfoot is perfect! And you are in luck, because today, December 4, “Smallfoot” will be available to own in high definition and standard definition from select digital retailers including Amazon, FandangoNOW, iTunes, PlayStation, Vudu, Xbox and others. On December 11, “Smallfoot” will be made available digitally on Video On Demand services from cable and satellite providers, and on select gaming consoles.

If you are like us and love the Dvd/BluRay/Digital combo pack, that will be released on December 11, 2018.

Smallfoot is an animated adventure for all ages, with fun new music by Zendaya & Common and featuring an all-star cast, “Smallfoot” turns the Bigfoot legend upside down when a bright young Yeti (Channing Tatum) finds something he thought didn’t exist—a human! News of the “smallfoot,” Percy (James Corden), throws the simple Yeti community into an uproar over what else might be out there in the big world beyond their snowy village.  This is an epic story about friendship and courage!

BLU-RAY ELEMENTS

“Smallfoot” Blu-ray Combo Pack contains the following special features:

  • Yeti Set Go Sing-Along – Sing-Along, fun facts and much more!
  • “Super Soozie” Mini Movie – Custom animation featuring the yeti toddler, Soozie.
  • Migo in The Secret of the Yeti Stones – Featurette featuring Channing Tatum
  • Yeti or Not, Here They Come! Imagining Smallfoot – The making of Smallfoot
  • Nial Horran “Finally Free” Music Video
  • Cyn “Moment of Truth” Music Video
  • “Wonderful Life: In 28 Languages, Sung Around the World” Music Video
  • Theatrical promos

“Smallfoot” Standard Definition DVD contains the following special features:

  • Yeti or Not, Here They Come! Imagining Smallfoot

I am so excited to give away a copy of Smallfoot to one reader! Entering is easy: Just leave a comment on this post- What is your favorite holiday tradition? Looking at Christmas lights, caroling, a special family meal, midnight mass, ugly sweaters?

I’ll chose one winner on 12/10/18 and notify the winner via email and will be shipped directly to the winner by the giveaway sponsor.

Five Ways to Help a Special Needs Mom

158b3ea47eb4b5467a381bf7aa1d910b.jpgAs much as love and tolerance for others is taught these days, sometimes the first reaction when someone sees a special needs kid in public having issues (read: meltdown or stimming/self soothing) can be to stare wide eyed, make offhand or rude comments, or just bristle at “the weird kid”.

Please remember that the parents are doing the best they can, and that just like your neuro-typical kids, their kids have bad days too. Here are my five tips for how anyone can help a special needs mom.

  1. Offer to Help:  Offer to carry a bag or box they may be struggling with, especially if they are trying to remove their kiddo from public. I remember a few years ago, we were at Chick-Fil-A and Our big guy was done. He was tired, there were 15-20 kids in the little sound-proof kids area, so it was crazy loud in there and he was over stimulated. He just broke down and started crying and was wailing like a banshee. Two moms at the next table helped us pack up our leftovers, got our drinks refilled, and helped us carry everything out to the car, so I could carry both kids out. No shame, no dirty looks. Just compassion for a situation that every mom faces: THE PUBLIC MELTDOWN.
  2. Be a Friend:  It can be very isolating to have a special needs kid, trust me. Text your friend. Offer to get together at a park or some place that her kiddo(s) can play, so you can spend time together. Some special needs parents have hectic schedules with therapy appointments or doctors visits sometimes weekly. Keeping in contact with your friend can really help “normalize” her life.  I so seldom see other moms, that texting and Facebook are two of the ways I am able to keep up friendships.
  3. Starbucks Run: Ok, so it doesn’t have to be Starbucks, but if you know she’s having a rough day, bring her a coffee or a treat. I had someone (and to this day it’s a mystery), send flowers to me after a really rough week.
  4. Expect to hear NO- and be OK with it: As much as you want to see your friend, hang out, go to the movies, get a pedicure, or just gossip over coffee, it can be hard for special needs moms to get away. Not everyone has family that can handle their kiddo, and special needs respite/care can be expensive. Sometimes, even the offer to hang out is better than being left out completely.
  5. Give Your Friend Grace, and Pray for them: Recognize that your friend may have a harder road to hoe that you and your family, and that’s ok. If you aren’t religious, think of them or send them good thoughts, dedicate your meditation or yoga session to them.

Talk Back: I’d love to hear about a time when you helped another person!

San Diego Kids Expo & Fair- Win 5 Free Tickets!

resized logo.jpgIt’s back!! I can’t wait to take the kids. The San Diego Kids Expo and Fair is a two day event catering to kids and families, on October 20th and 21st ant the Del Mar Fairgrounds.

This event contains two parts. There is an Indoor expo portion housing a large variety of businesses showcasing products and services that cater to kids, babies and families. You can expect many FREE activities, specials appearances and performances.

San Diego Kids Expo Pic.pngThe second portion is the Outdoor fair with a Rock n’ Roll stage and rides like a zip-line, pedal kart race cars, zorbing balls, euro bungees and more! There is also an Inflatable Playland for children 8 and younger that features bounce houses and jumpies. Outdoor fair attractions can be accessed with either an All Access Wristband or Playland Wristband purchase. If you are looking for an affordable fun weekend with something for the whole family, the San Diego Kids Expo & Fair at the Del Mar Fairgrounds is the place to be!

And you can enter to win 5 tickets to the event! Entering is easy:

  1. Head over to the event page on Facebook here.
  2. Invite 10 friends to it and share the event in order to be eligible to win.
  3. Leave a comment on this post that you’ve done steps one and two.  Winners will be chosen October 15th and need to respond to the notification by Tuesday, October 16th.

Tickets are good for either day.

*Kids 12 and under admission is FREE. Most indoor activities are FREE. An All Access Wristband or Playland Wristband purchase is required for participation in outdoor fair activities. All vendors, activities and attractions subject to change.

Parking is $14 cash per vehicle at the Fairgrounds entrance.

For more information please visit www.sandiegokidsexpo.com

Meal Plan Monday 9/24/18

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Hey, did you know that today is National Punctuation Day? To celebrate, let’s use some exclamation points, and get started with our meal plan for the week!

I’ve gotta goto the grocery store this week, so this is based on what little we have on hand. I’ll be buying more meat, fresh fruit, and veg, and some pantry staples that have dwindled. The menu may changed based on what I find while I’m out shopping.  I’ve been doing a lot of shopping at 99 Cents Only, Grocery Outlet, and Aldi’s lately.

Breakfasts are usually the same for us: Protein shakes for grown ups, and pancakes or something along those lines for the kids. We have plenty of protein shake fixins’- I buy the over ripe bananas, peel and slice them pop them into ziploc bags, and freeze them for smoothies and protein shakes. I also keep sandwich ziploc bags of  other frozen fruit on hand to make the kids smoothies when they request them (a few times per week). Berries, peaches, and mangos are pretty popular.

Lunches are leftovers, salads, or a protein shake for me and the Mister, and The Big Kid has a specially packed lunch of whatever he’s into at the time (which changes frequently). Bitty Bird eats whatever I’ll feed her.

For dinner, when we’ve got busy days (like Mondays), I’ll try and put something in the crockpot in the morning, or pull something I’ve already prepped out that can be quickly cooked.

Monday: Homemade frozen pizza, carrots with yogurt dip, and green grapes

Tuesday: Cheese enchiladas, beans and Cauliflower Rice (99 Cents only has had Bird’s Eye brand lately and it’s really good!)

Wednesday:  We are going to an event and dinner is included- I’m not sure what it will be

Thursday: Egg scramble with veggies, bacon and cheese (I’m hoping to use up whatever veggies we’ve got on hand- usually bell pepper, tomatoes, onions, garlic, and shallots).

Friday: I really want soup, so I’m thinking Colonial Chowder and I’ll make biscuits to go with it.

Saturday: I’ve got a corned beef in the freezer, so I’m thinking I’ll pop it into the crockpot Friday night and let it cook all night (recipe here), and I’ll make corned beef sandwiches for us to take along with us when we head up to Brick or Treat at Legoland.

Sunday: There is a mother and Son bowling event that evening, so hubs and Bitty Bird have to fend for themselves, that means: Leftover night!

Talk Back: What are you having this week for dinner?

Smart Games & Tryazon: Enjoying STEM with Friends!

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Getting the gang back together!

On Friday afternoon, the kids and I, along with some friends and their moms got together at a local park to explore some fun STEM based games from Smart Games.

I invited my home schooling friends, along with other moms that are like me: always looking for educational and fun games and opportunities for kids.  What I love about the games from Smart Games is that they are fun- the kids didn’t realize that the games were educational. The kids took turns playing Penguins on Ice, which was the overall kid favorite. The moms liked Quadrillion the most, and we all took turns playing it with the kids and each other.

While the games are one player, the kids all worked together, which was great to see. There are no batteries needed, none of the games make sounds or have flashing lights, so it’s all about imagination and working it out. The Younger kids gravitated towards Trucky 3, which is a great visual puzzle game with larger block and little trucks.

The other crowd pleaser was Color Code, which quickly was also popular with the moms.

Color Code was also the game that we gave away- I love that Tryazon and Smart Games sent us 4 games to try out and keep, and I love sharing with friends- So I try and give away at least 1 item at each party I have.

It was a perfect, educational afternoon! There was a lot of giggling, play time, and learning.

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Working hard on making a pattern.

If you want to learn more about Smart Games, their website is full of great information.

And if you want to learn more about Tryazon, their website has tons of information about all of the cool campaigns and parties they have coming up!

I received the games free in order to facilitate a group party with friends and their kids. All opinions are my own. I was not financially compensated, however, we do get to keep the games!