Christmas Pajama Party

Happy after Christmas! Are you just as sad as I am that it’s over? Our tree is already on the sidewalk ready to be hauled away. Makes my eyes a little teary every time I look out the front window. I’m believing our beautiful tree is on its way to Christmas tree heaven.

Now that all the cookies are eaten, the decorations put away and the relatives have gone home *sniff sniff, I’m consoling myself by looking over all the photos I took. Although I’m a little late to the party, I’m linking up for Christmas Pajama Party.

Santa came a little too early for this little sweetie.

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But once the fun got started she was all smiles. Below is my very favorite photo of her from Christmas.

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Her pajamas are so cute. I wish they made them in my size.

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Chocolate Bourbon-Spiked Banana Bread

Chocolate? -Yum!

Bourbon? – Yum!

Bananas? – Well, not my favorite fruit, but still Yum!

Put all three together in a quick bread and you have triple Yum!

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It should be against the rules to have this bread for breakfast but I do anyway because it goes exceptionally well with my coffee; or most mornings tea since my daughter insists on drinking whatever is in my mug.

If you’re not a bourbon fan, not to worry, the flavor is very subtle. Also, I used mini chocolate chips to cut down on the decadence just a bit.

Chocolate Bourbon-Spiked Banana Bread
Recipe from the Joy the Baker cookbook

Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 ½ cups mashed ripe bananas (from about 3 bananas)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons bourbon
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chunks

Directions:
Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour an 8×4-inch or 9×5-inch loaf pan. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt.

In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

Add eggs one at a time, beating for 1 minute between each addition. Stop the mixer, scrape down sides of the bowl, and add bananas, lemon juice and bourbon. Beat until well incorporated.

Turn the mixer to low and add the flour mixture all at once. Beat until almost incorporated. Stop the mixer and remove the bowl. Add the walnuts and chocolate chips and incorporate the last of the ingredients with a spatula.

Batter will be thick. Spoon the mixture into prepared loaf pan. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.

Remove from the oven and allow loaf to cool in the pan for 20 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Enjoy!

Rainy Day Activities

We don’t get much rain where I live so we’re a little very unprepared when it so much as drizzles. I embrace the rain though. I love it and since we’re considering a move to the Pacific Northwest I better get used to it.

First order of business was rain boots for my baby girl. She was desperate to go play in the rain so we ran out to Target and came home with these Hello Kitty beauties.

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I followed her up and down the block until I was chilled to the bone. I imagine I was quite the sight with my frizzed hair, grubby sweats and clutching a cup of hot chocolate trying to keep warm. It was worth it though. She had so much fun.

After nap we built a fort. This was new to her so it took quite a bit of time teaching her to go under the blankets and not jump on top of them. Once we were inside though, she didn’t want to leave. We brought in all sorts of play animals and made up games. Childhood fun at its best.

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And of course a rainy day wouldn’t be complete without hot chocolate. Since we were comfy in our warm, dry house with jammies on, I made our own instead of braving the Storm of the Century  to Starbucks.

Here’s my recipe, you’ll want to adapt the measurements depending on how much you make. And if it’s just you and your hubby up late at night watching movies- add a shot of Kahlua.

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Peppermint Hot Chocolate

In a saucepan, combine one mug of milk (my mug is really really big since I have to share), 2 tablespoons raw sugar, 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract. Whisk over medium high heat until milk is as warm as you like it.

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Enjoy!

What do you like to do on rainy days?

Five Favorite Children’s Books

I love books. My husband loves books. And now, thankfully, my daughter loves books. We spend a couple days a week at the library to try new ones but there are definitely a some favorites that my little girl wants to read over and over and over and over again. I’ve got them all memorized.

books

Jamberry by Bruce Degen– great rhythm to this book and the illustrations are really colorful.

Llama Llama series by Anna Dewdney– there are several books in this series. The wording is short and rhymes. Very quick reads.

The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry and The Big Hungry Bear by Don & Audrey Wood- this one is a classic adorable story.

A Ride Through the Neighborhood (Daniel Tiger) by Maggie Testa– my daughter is obsessed with Daniel Tiger so she loves to look at this one and roll it along the floor since it has wheels.

Charlie and the Christmas Kitty by Ree Drummond– every Saturday we snuggle up and watch Pioneer Woman so a friend bought us this book. My little girl loves to look at the pictures but there are too many words for her attention span right now. I make up my own words but I know it won’t be long before she’s ready to actually read it.

Does your family have any favorite books?

I’m linking up for oh hey, Friday

HOLIDAYohheyfridaybebas_zpsabd4abab

Old Fashioned Iced Oatmeal Cookies

It’s cookie season. Well, it’s always cookie season in my house, but this is the time of year everyone embraces sweets and the couple extra pounds that go with them. Bring on the stretchy pants.

Will you be baking cookies for Santa this year? Or maybe some for friends and family?

I found this yummy recipe on Pinterest. My only substitution was I used almond milk instead of regular milk for the icing.

iced cookies

by CookingClassy.com

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 11 minutes

Yield: About 2 1/2 dozen

 Ingredients
    • 1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
    • 2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 2 tsp baking powder
    • 1/2 tsp baking soda
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
    • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
    • 1 cup butter, softened (I used salted)
    • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
    • 3/4 cup light-brown sugar
    • 2 large eggs
    • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Icing

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 Tbsp milk

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pour oats into a food processor and pulse until partially ground, about 15 seconds. In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ground oats, for 30 seconds.
  • In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, whip butter, granulated sugar and light-brown sugar on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 – 4 minutes. Add in eggs one at a time, mixing until combined after each addition. Stir in vanilla. With mixer set on low speed, slowly add in dry ingredients and mix just until combined (scrape bottom and sides of bowl as needed). Allow cookie dough to rest 10 minutes at room temperature.
  • Scoop dough out about 2 Tbsp at a time and drop onto a silpat or parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven 11 – 15 minutes. Allow cookies to rest on baking sheet several minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • In a mixing bowl whisk together powdered sugar and milk and dip tops of cooled cookies in icing and allow excess to run off or alternately spread icing over cookies. Return to wire rack and allow icing to set. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

ENJOY!

Kahlua Madeleines (Giveaway)

I’m a sucker for cookies. I love them in all forms (hence I bake a batch every week) so when I received this cookbook I couldn’t wait to try one of the recipes. I chose the Kahlua Madeleines since I had all the ingredients on hand. Delicious! They are just like brownies but in the classic Madeleine form.

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You can find lots of the author’s Madeleine recipes at www.EnjoyMadeleines.com

I received this cookbook Madaeleines by Barbara Feldman Morse free to review but the opinions are my own.

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I also have a surprise cookbook to giveaway. If you like Hello Kitty, then you’ll love this prize. To enter, please comment on what your favorite type of cookie is. Giveaway is only open to those in the United States and ends this Friday, Oct 17.

Beyond the Slide and Swings

There’s a beautiful park down the street from our home. The photo doesn’t do it justice.

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And everyday, sometimes twice a day, I pack up the stroller and we can walk to the park. As you can imagine, there’s only so many times my daughter wants to go down the slide and only so many minutes mama wants to push her on the swing which means we have to find other fun things to do.

Sometimes we collect pinecones.

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Or we hunt for dandelions.

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We dig for rocks with sand toys.

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Or kick the ball through around the field.

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Of course, bubbles are always a hit but be careful if there’s a lot of kids at the park. You will be bombarded, hounded and chased. I reserve them when only a couple little ones are nearby.

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I also always pack jackets, snacks, water, wipes and a spare diaper. Needless to say our stroller is quite stocked.

What do you take to the park with you? Any fun park games for toddlers I should try?