The Secret to Stress Free Travel Prep with Kids

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Happy Wednesday friends!

This week we are preparing to leave on a short trip. Here it is the day before and it seems like I have a million things to do! One of my favorite ways to prepare for a trip or an event of any kind, is by making a list. Lists are the only way I can really be sure I haven't forgotten anything. Today I created an awesome, simple, checklist to help get our bags packed and ready to go! It includes a checklist for each person (two kids, two adults) for both suitcases and carry on bags. It also includes some other bonus tips for stress free vacation prep!

My secret to stress free travel preparation, with kids, (or without, honestly!) is to simply make a list, and plan ahead. That's it! No one likes to feel like they are forgetting something, OR like they are rushed. Rushing not only creates stress for you, but your kids as well. Without fail, if I am in a hurry, you can bet my kids will either A) have a melt down, or B) make a huge mess, or both, at the same time. Can we all agree we want to avoid those things at all costs?!

Another awesome thing we do is let the kids pack their bags. No, I don't mean it's a "free for all"! Lord only knows what they might pack if that was the case! Leighton is able to read now, so she can easily look at the checklist and pack her bag herself. Kade is a bit younger, so we just read the things to him and he grabs them for us. In the past I have also created a "picture list" of what to pack and had them do it that way. It takes a little bit longer but it really helps the kids feel involved and teaches them how to pack a bag. Real life lessons are a fave in this house. I don't want to be packing my kids bags forever and ever, (although I am sure I'll miss it, someday).

Here are the kiddos suitcases, all packed and ready to go. You'll notice, in Kade's suitcase, a plastic bag with an outfit in it. Some people like to put each and every outfit in a separate plastic bag, but that is just a little bit too much for me. (No judgement!) I find that when my kids pick out their outfits they are more likely to ACTUALLY get dressed when we ask them to. Yes, sometimes seeing what they come up with can be painful; but like I have said before, I like to pick my battles wisely! So, with that being said, the outfit in the bag is a "nice" outfit. We have a fancier dinner planned for our trip and I want to make sure his outfit stays separate and available for that specific dinner.

Having well packed, carry on bags when you have kids, is a must! Here is a general list of things I like to pack in each kids carry on backpack. I like them to have their own, that way they aren't arguing over who's carrying it, or who isn't, etc.

- Snacks: Try to stay away from things that need to be refrigerated and things that are liquid. Those won't make it through security, and no one wants a kiddo crying in the airport because their favorite snack got thrown away! We usually do dried fruit and some sort of cracker.
- Entertainment: This can be different for each kid. Leighton loves to color so I usually pack her a small baggie of crayons (less is more!) and a coloring book. She loves music, so I let her bring her MP3 player to listen to with headphones. I also pack her "Letter Lunchbox". This is something I made before our trip to Disneyland last year. She loves it. It helps her practice her words, and the magnets & dry erase markers are fun for her to use.

For Kade, I also pack some color crayons and a small coloring book. He really likes to stay busy with hands on things so I like to pack a small container of playdough, with some pipe cleaners, and cut straws for him to stick in it and play with. It isn't messy and keeps him entertained. Another great idea for toddlers I have heard about, but haven't tried, is using window clings to let the kids stick on the tray and windows to play with.
- A Change of Clothes: This is not only for the younger kiddos still getting through potty training, but for the older ones too. You never know what kind of spills can happen and it's always better to be safe than sorry. Along with this, I usually bring one used grocery bag in my carry on to put wet or soiled clothes, just in case. It is also a good idea to bring a light jacket or sweatshirt for the kids so they adjust to the temperature on the plane as well as your destination.

I won't go into too much detail about what I pack in my carry on but here are a few of my must haves. I will also say, I love the convenience of carrying a backpack vs a purse. Being hands free, with kids, is a huge bonus!

- Phone charger
- Headphones
- Magazine & Book (My current favorite books are "The Subtle art of not giving a F*ck", and "Simplicity Parenting", although I highly doubt I will have time to read on an airplane with two small children; ha, ha!).
- Breath Mints or Gum
- Water bottle
-  Notebook - I like to have my notebook on me at all times for brainstorming!
-  Wallet - duh.
-  Protein Bar - My favorite ones are the Mint Chocolate Chunk Quest Bars
-  Compact powder makeup 
-  Hair tie 
- Travel size deodorant
- Chapstick 
- Printed flight and hotel info - I have everything on my phone, but I like to have a printed copy just in case!

I sure hope these tips helped you to make your next family trip prep, a breeze. I absolutely love going on adventures with my little family. Sometimes it is easy to let the stress of traveling take over your mood. Don't forget what a blessing it is to be able to do it in the first place, and remember your kids will reflect your mood! Make sure its a positive one and you should be all set!

Thanks for reading & please comment below and let me know if this post was helpful or not! Safe travels and happy adventuring!

*BONUS* If you share my link with some friends on social media, or simply shoot me an e-mail, message or comment & I will send you a FREE PDF of my "Travel Prep Checklist"!


Spooky, Fun Halloween Felt Wall

Hey friends!
I thought I was all done with my Halloween crafts and activities for the season (besides trick or treating of course!). But, as always, my kiddos inspired me to create another fun, seasonal activity.

Leighton and Kade had been working on creating a "spider web" out of string for days, or dare I say it..weeks! They were using tape to put the strings up in doorways and on walls. I let them experiment with it for quite some time until I finally got sick of finding scraps of tape everywhere and "spider web" blocked doorways around every corner. (What a grump, I know!) As I was cleaning up one evening, shoving all the lose strings into a drawer, the idea of a fun felt wall popped into my mind. I made a mental list and was off to the store for supplies the next day.

Here is a list of the supplies!

1. FELT-

  2 yards of black for the spider web, ( I got extra in case I made a mistake while cutting!)1 yard of grey for the background, 2ft of purple, green, white, & small sheets of felt for any other colors you would like to use for shapes. You can find the smaller sheets of felt in the kids craft areas in most stores. The options are endless! 


You will want to make sure your scissors are sharp to cut the felt shapes out accurately. 


I used these to hang up the felt to the wall. 


I was originally going to glue these to the shapes I cut out, but decided to instead glue felt to the back of the eyes so the kids were able to move the eyes and put them wherever their little hearts desire. 

After gathering the supplies, I began cutting. I just cut out a large circle for the spider web. Then cut a slightly larger square for the background. After that I folded the circle three times over, and cut it like this. 
After that I laid it out and tacked it all onto the wall. I put it in the play room area in our house next to the kids' rooms, low enough for them to both be able to reach it. Then I began cutting out fun shapes for the kids to stick onto the web. I did ghosts, spiders & bats. I wish I would have bought some orange felt to add to the mix! I ended up having a ton of extra fabric so Kade and I decided to make a house along with the web. Next, I glued the felt to the back of the googly eyes. I think they both turned out super fun and cute! 

As soon as Leighton got home from school she started playing with it and moving the shapes around. She ended up also creating her own shape! A monster! I kept the extra felt out so she is able to create whatever she wants to add. While I was at the store I saw some pre cut felt letters. I feel like this would be an awesome purchase, along with the orange felt to add to the potential of this activity. 

Thanks for reading friends! When it comes to felt, the options are endless.Such a great activity for developing fine motor skills, along with creativity, colors and shapes. Adding the pre-cut letters would really add to the fun, too. There are tons of other fun shapes and things you could add to this project. I know there are some super creative people reading, I would love to see some of your felt ideas and projects!


D.I.Y. Tailgate Mimosa Bar

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Hey friends!
Hope you all had fun filled weekends, making memories! I know I sure did. This weekend really was one for the books. Our family is fortunate enough to be Washington State University football season ticket holders. This means we usually spend 6 or 7 of our Saturdays each season in Pullman, Washington, surrounded by family and friends. It is one of our favorite things to do as a family, throughout the season.
Each season my husband and I chose an "adults only" game to go to together. Ty and I met while I was in college at W.S.U., after a football game, so it's fun to spend the weekend reliving those early days in our relationship. This year our pre planned "adults only" game, happened to also land on the weekend ESPN's College Game Day decided to come visit Pullman. In order to get a spot at the game day filming location, we had to wake up at 2:45am! The show runs from 6am to 9am, so a tailgate breakfast and mimosa bar was a must.

 Here is a list of all the things you need for an awesome D.I.Y. tailgate mimosa bar.

1. Champagne of your choice 

I bought one bottle of my favorite prosecco, but then went with a 2nd bigger bottle of the cheaper stuff, considering we were serving a large group of people. You can make about 6-8 mimosas out of every bottle of champagne.

2. Juice

For the juice it is good to have the classic orange juice with 2 or 3 other non traditional options. It's fun to create a new yummy twist on the classic mimosa. I used orange juice(no pulp please!), grapefruit juice, and an orange mango juice. Another one of my favorite juices for mimosas is pineapple.

3. Personalized Mason Jar Cups

Since we were at a Coug game, I used reusable Coug decal stickers. I found them here in town at Party City. I ended up having to cut them so the sticker would fit on the flat surface of the jar without peeling off of the rounded edge. You can find mason jars at any grocery store.

4. Napkins & Straws

These come in so many colors and patterns. It is easy to add them to your table and coordinate them with whatever theme you would like. I am a sucker for cute paper straws. They do get soggy after a little while, so make sure you bring extras. I didn't get a great picture of the napkins we used, but I got two small packages, one had the coug logo and the other had footballs.

5. Ice Bucket

I found a super cute game day themed tin bucket at Target. I was originally going to use it for ice, or to keep the champagne chilled. At the last minute I decided to use it to put all of the mason jar cups in instead. Our champagne and juice had been chilling in the cooler overnight, so it wasn't necessary to keep it all on ice. 

6. D.I.Y. Banner

This was so fun to make! All you need is a blank banner, some sticker letters, washi tape in your teams colors, and some twine. It was super easy and quick to put together. I also added a football banner to ours, just because I found a perfect one at target and couldn't pass it up!

7. A non-Alcoholic Option 

Some of the people in our group prefer not to drink alcohol. I feel like it is always good to include a non alcoholic option at group events. We used martinelli's sparkling cider, but another fun option would be sprite or 7-UP. 

Has anyone else made their own D.I.Y. mimosa bar? I know they are super popular for all kinds of celebrations. The next "bar" I want to try is a hot cocoa bar! Post pictures of your mimosa bar below to share with everyone! We would all love to see what you have come up with. Thanks for reading and I hope you all have an awesome Sunday evening!


EASY Halloween Activities to do with Your Kids

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Hey friends!
Am I the only one who thinks these holidays come faster and faster each year? Something about having kids makes everything just fly by, I swear. Well, it is almost Halloween! I usually try to do fun things with the kiddos around each holiday. Creating things together is something they always seem to remember the most. I know there are a bazillion ideas on Pinterest, but life is busy! Many of the projects look super cool but also look super time consuming. Here is a list of my favorite EASY Halloween activities you can do with your kids at home!

#1: Hand Bats

These are super duper easy and fun for the kids. All you need is some black paper, a pencil and some scissors. You can add googly eyes if you want to, we had some leftover from a different project so we used them. Leighton is actually the one who gave me this idea, she may have done it at school. All you do is fold the paper in half , then trace your kiddos hand, then cut and glue some eyes on. They could also color eyes or a face on the bats using a white crayon! These are fun decorations to hang on your fridge or place on a shelf. We decided to make a garland out of ours and it turned out really cute! I'll post pictures of the garland on my Facebook and Instagram pages, check it out!

#2: Painting Pumpkins

Painting pumpkins is something that can be fun for all ages, weather you are a 2 year old or an 80 year old! Sometimes carving pumpkins with little ones is fun, other times you just want to avoid the sharp objects, and let's face it, who is going to be doing most of the work? YOU, not them. This way they really feel included in making their pumpkin their very own masterpiece! This picture is an oldie but one of my favorites of my daughter painting her pumpkin. The options are endless and you can use any type of paint you want to! You could even glue on things or use stickers. An added bonus to this method is that your pumpkins will last longer.

#3: Spooky Expanding Ghost

This is something I had been wanting to try for a while now, and I am so glad we did! I couldn't pick one picture because I just love seeing his facial expressions change throughout the process. Both of my kids loved it. Super easy, and easy to clean up. This literally took us 10 minutes to set up and do! I got the idea on Pinterest, here. You can check it out for the full tutorial! All you need is an empty water bottle, baking soda, a balloon, vinegar, and a small funnel! Most people can find this in their kitchen already.

#4: Pumpkin Hammering

Pumpkin hammering is an activity my kids both did at their cooperative preschool. It is so simple but toddlers love it. I found this tutorial on Pinterest, I couldn't find any old pictures of my kids doing it so I used this one! All you need for this one is a pumpkin, (preferably one that has been around for a bit), a toy hammer or kids wooden mallet, and golf tees. You can get some of the tees started for them to show them how it works, or just lay out all the supplies and see what they come up with. This is a great open ended learning opportunity for kids and it is also an awesome tool for fine motor skill development. 

#5: Halloween Glow in the Dark Slime

What kid doesn't love slime? I already posted about this in my "Friday Faves" last week, (you can find the link to the full tutorial there), but it is so simple and the glow in the dark glue makes it great for Halloween! 3 ingredients, and the kids are entertained for hours! It can be stored in any airtight container or baggie and used again and again. TIP: The more contact solution you add, the less sticky, icky it is. 

#6: Simply Spending Time Together

It is easy to get caught up trying to do it all. Sure, all these activities and the thousands of others on 
pinterest are great, but a fool proof way to make your kiddos day is to simply take the time to hang out with them. 
Hope you all have a fabulous day and I would love to see how some of your projects turn out, if you do any. Do you have any easy and fun Halloween inspired activities? I am always looking for new ideas! Comment below!


Easy Couples Costume Idea

Monday, October 15, 2018

Happy Monday, friends!
Halloween is quickly approaching and if you're anything like me, you probably haven't put much thought into what you will be for Halloween; it's really all about the kids these days. Some years I have these "epic" family costume ideas, and plan it out for months, but usually I just try to come up with something that is easy & inexpensive. This year I wanted to be The Incredibles, but after looking at the body suit I would have to wear, I decided against it! This mom bod is a work in progress, can't pull that off quite yet!

Each year a good friend of ours throws an adults only halloween costume party early in October. It's fun to get dressed up and a great excuse for date night with the hubs. She does an amazing job every year with her decorations and they are pretty much all D.I.Y., which is amazing!  I meant to take more pictures of them this year, but I was having so much fun, I forgot! (Not a bad thing, right?)

This year we decided at the last minute to basically dress as each other. Ty was a "Starbucks Barista" and I was an "Air Traffic Controller". We got a good laugh over it and so did our friends. Ty even had a stranger at the store come up to him and ask for a picture. This would be easy to do for any occupation (as long as you can handle a joke!). For those of you that may not know much about what an air traffic controller does; here is a photo to help you out a little. I found it here, on pinterest.

I think most everyone already knows what a stereotypical Starbucks barista would look like, so I won't post a picture for that one. Here we are in our costumes, the photo was taken in the dark so I apologize for the horrible quality!

"Air Traffic Controller Costume"
  • Vest (borrowed from the airport where Ty works).
  • Headphones (also borrowed from the airport).
  • Wands (Ty made using PVC pipe, orange spray paint and duct tape).
"Starbucks Barista"
  • Apron & Name Tag (borrowed from yours truly).
  • Sharpies (taken from my vast collection).
  • Skinny Jeans (also borrowed from me).
  • Dress Shoes (Ty's).
  • Fake Sleeve Tattoo (Party City).
  • Prince Charming Wig (Party City). I should note that our first choice was the man bun wig. We waited til the last minute to put this together, so we were unable to find one in a hurry. They have them here on Amazon though!
  • Headset (Party City)
Hope you all get a good laugh out of this. My husband wearing skinny jeans and having a full head of HAIR was enough to get me rolling. I am curious to hear what your costumes would be if you used this idea, or simply share what you are planning to be for Halloween! Adults can have fun with Halloween, too!


Friday Faves

Friday, October 12, 2018

Happy Friday friends!
Just a few more hours until we start making those memories. For those of you who don't have weekends off, I feel you! Don't forget to take some time to fill your cup on "your weekend", too. Each Friday after Leighton leaves for school I try to take some time to reflect on my week and think about the things that made me smile. It's easy to think of the day-to-day blah, blah, blah; but doing this helps me to dive into the weekend with the fam with a thankful heart. Here are my Friday faves!

I have had this vintage milk crate for about a year now. It has gone from, centerpiece, to crayon holder, and now this. I have to say I like this the best so far.

It is currently holding two of my favorite things from Starbucks;
 - One pound of whole bean Guatemala Casi Cielo (Here is a review I enjoyed on the coffee).
 - Two sets of awesome reusable cups. You can find these at your local Starbucks store. They are super affordable(I'm talking like $2-$3 each). During the holidays they sometimes sell them in 6 packs. Each cup has a cute saying on it and they are all different colors.

All the other stuff is just the usual coffee necessities! Different sugars, tea, stir sticks, measuring scoops, filters and some Mio! My kiddos love to put it in their water.

2. Hockey Practice

We love hockey in this house! Winters are seriously jammed packed with it. In our town, we have an outdoor ice rink. That means we can only have our ice during the coldest winter months. Most other surrounding cities have indoor rinks, so this year the association decided to offer some pre season ice time at an out of town rink. Leighton and Kade have been asking about this night for weeks now, so they were so excited when it was finally here! Ty helps coach the kids' hockey team so he took them while I was at work. It made for a fun daddy and me hockey night for them; which makes my heart happy. Anytime Ty goes out of his way to do something fun with the kids that they all can enjoy my heart literally explodes. Go Coyotes!

The teal pumpkin project is something we decided to start participating in, last Halloween. In pre-school, Leighton had a friend and classmate with a severe peanut allergy. After hearing the about some of the challenges they had faced regarding halloween and trick or treating, I decided to look into allergy friendly alternatives to candy. While searching Pinterest I came across The Teal Pumpkin Project! It is a super cool program, if you live in a neighborhood with lots of trick-or-treaters I encourage you to check it out.
I finally thought of what we should do this year. Last year we made playdough. This year we will be doing glow in the dark halloween slime! Super easy to make and super cheap, too. Kade and I tried it out this week and it was awesome! He loved it and it kept him entertained FOREVER. I found the recipe here; we used glow in the dark glue and added googly eyes! It would be fun to do halloween themed confetti inside the slime, too!

Not too much to say about this, other than I was excited to be able to transform my centerpiece by simply adding the pumpkins. That is why I love having a super versatile centerpiece. I can easily change throughout the year without having to purchase a plethora of supplies which will in turn need to be stored somewhere the rest of the year. Succulents provide a great backdrop year round!

5. New Children's Book Ideas
This week I had the privilege of learning more about early childhood literacy, through a parent education meeting put on by Big Bend Cooperative Preschool. Our speaker this month was from the community library. She told us about lots of her favorite books and what each helps kids with, excetera. Anytime I have the opportunity to learn something new about helping my kiddos and upping my mom game, I am all over it. I can use all the help I can get! Here is a list of my favorites she mentioned at the meeting! These will most likely be Christmas gifts and/or birthday gifts for my kids. 
-"The Read-Aloud handbook", by Jim Trelease
- "Reading Magic", by Mem Fox
- "The Big Book of Animals", by Scholastic
- " The Pig on the Hill", by John Kelly

6. Leighton Home

 Finally, my last big thing to make me smile this week is having my daughter Leighton home ALL DAY TODAY! She had today off school, and I have been looking forward to it all week just as much as she has. Being able to sleep in and cuddle with her while watching cartoons is one of my favorite things on the planet. Now that Leighton is in school, I really treasure any extra time spent with her. She was able to sleep in and relax this morning which makes for a lot happier kiddo and a lot happier mom!
Hope you all had a fantastic week and cheers to the weekend! Feel free to share what made you smile this week, below.

My Favorite Coffee Drink

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Happy Tuesday, friends! This post is all about one of my favorite things; coffee. "First I drink the coffee, then I do the things", pretty much sums up my everyday life. This morning I woke up, after a rather sleepless night, in a panic. My daily alarm had not gone off and we were already behind schedule for our before school, morning routine. Why the sleepless night, you ask? Well, funny enough, the cause was indeed, coffee. I had worked a night shift last night and was especially dragging when I arrived at 3pm to clock in. I thought it would be a great idea to order a quad shot of espresso. Let me tell you, this made my shift much more enjoyable, but sleeping; not so much. I drug myself out of bed and quickly woke the kids up and we all started getting ready for the day. Between teeth brushing, lunch packing & pancake making, I tried to pull myself together and look at least semi presentable. All I really had time for was to brush my teeth, wipe the mascara from under my eyes from the day before, & throw on some black yoga pants and a big comfy sweater. All that was missing from the typical "tired mom in a hurry" ensemble, was a messy bun, which I usually try to avoid. Have you ever seen that meme about messy buns? Here it is.  Enough said. The kids looked and smelled clean, which is what really mattered, so we rushed out the door and got to Leighton's school just in time. After dropping Leighton off, I headed to Kade's preschool. My immediate next stop was Starbucks. Not just any Starbucks though, MY Starbucks; where they know exactly how I like my drink. Every time I visit, weather they greet me with complaints about an awful morning, or thank yous for an awesome close the night before, I always leave with a smile, ready to chug my magic bean potion and start my day. This morning, not only did they make my drink just how I like it, they wrote me a sweet note. Such an awesome way to re-start my day and forget about the hectic rush of the early morning.
Here is my current favorite coffee drink at Starbucks: a grande iced quad espresso with one stevia and salted cold foam. Can you say that 10 times fast? If you haven't tried the salted foam, just go ahead and do yourself a favor and order it on top of any iced drink you prefer. It will even come with a special lid. I usually avoid drinks high in sugar and go for the ones that give you the most bang for your buck. I love the taste of coffee though, so it is easy for me to say no to those PSL's and white mocha's. When I am being especially "good", I order the same drink but instead of the salted cold foam, I get it topped with a splash of almond milk.
Before I got in the habit of drinking the quad espresso's, I was in love with our cold brew iced coffee. I used to order a grande iced cold brew, with an added shot of espresso, no water and light almond milk. When I ordered this from other stores I was often met with a look of shock, or a barista asking me if I wanted to have a heart attack. If you are really needing a pick me up, with little to no carbs, sugar, fat or dairy; order a cold brew this way.
My original favorite coffee drink from Starbucks, was a grande iced coffee with an added shot of espresso and super light non fat milk. This is what got me through those exhausting college years at W.S.U. It was usually accompanied by a chonga bagel toasted with cream cheese, which is probably why those freshman 15 turned in to 20. Did you know that Chonga is actually an acronym? It stands for cheese, onion and garlic, and boy is it delicious. It has also provided some humor throughout the years of different customers ordering it by various names. I think my favorite was the, "Chimichonga bagel".
Starbucks can be a touchy subject for those in the Pacific Northwest. People here either love it or hate it. Some blame the old C.E.O. for loss of the Seattle Super sonics pro basketball team. Some say the coffee tastes burnt all the time or that the prices are too high. I am a Starbucks-lifer and proud to have worked there for the past several years. Sure, it's not my dream job, but it has provided me with many blessings. Full time benefits with part time hours, a schedule that allows my family to avoid the cost of daycare and allow for weekends spent off together. They will even pay for me to go to college. Plus, I get a free pound of coffee each week along with as many drinks as I get breaks while on shift. Another added bonus most people don't know, is if I work there for at least ten years, I will receive FREE COFFEE FOR LIFE! This alone, is enough motivation for me to stay. I get to work just 3 days a week and be able to enjoy my beautiful family on all the other days. Yes, I get sick of the rude customers; but the conversation with the pleasant ones usually makes up for it. I try not to take my job too seriously; it is just a cup of coffee, but sometimes it can really make a person's day, just like how it made mine, today.  I hope you all have a fabulous Tuesday!


Family Pizza and Game Night

Monday, October 8, 2018

"Fri-yay" is officially the new "Friday" in the Howard home. I am not sure when it all started, but when the kids told Ty and I about their new name for the "best day of the week", it stuck; and for good reason. Fridays are the end of the long, busy, work & school filled week for all of us. It's the last day of early wake ups. The last afternoon of kid and car switches in the Starbucks parking lot. The last day of the "opposite work schedule" parent life shenanigans. The last day of meetings, workouts & alarm clocks (unless the next day is Cougar Football Saturday). Fri-yay is the beginning of a weekend spent together as a family, making those precious memories. We are very fortunate that our schedules work out this way, with both Ty and I having weekends off. It hasn't always been as such, but I sure am grateful it is now. 
It was Friday afternoon and I decided to ask Kade, if it were up to him, what he would like to do tonight. I wasn't expecting much, his usual answers consist of "I don't know" or something crazy like, "go fly an airplane". His answer was perfect. He said he wanted to have a family game, pizza and movie night. He was especially excited and clapped his hands together joyfully after telling me his epic idea. I was excited about the idea, too and got to planning & making a grocery list. The only thing I had to do was sell Ty on the idea. I was sure he would love everything except the pizza. Ty has recently been following a new diet, the Keto diet. He has been very successful in following it and has lost over 50 pounds. Here I was thinking what a pain it was going to be to cook him a separate "keto friendly" dinner. Not to mention the whole eating one of his favorite foods in front of him part. Then it clicked! One time a while back, when he was really craving some doughy carbs, he made a keto friendly pizza. It only had 4 ingredients (plus the toppings) and was surprisingly tasty. After some recipe research and a trip to the grocery store we were all set to make our own individual pizzas and bring Kade's epic idea to fruition. 
The ingredients for the dough are simple; cream cheese, shredded mozzarella cheese, eggs and almond flour. We prefer the texture of the super fine almond flour for pizza crusts. Here is a step by step description of how we made our pizzas. (I will add a link to the full recipe at the end of the post)

After preheating your oven to 425 degrees, combine the mozzarella cheese and the cream cheese in a medium to large microwavable dish. We used our largest Pyrex for this and it worked great. 

Then you will microwave it for 1 minute to 1 minute 30 seconds. We had the most success after 1:30 of microwave time. Once it is done, use a spatula or spoon to mix well until combined. After a couple of minutes a sticky, thick ball of dough will form. It should look like this:

 Next you will add the 2 eggs. It is very important to make sure the eggs are incorporated well. If you don't get them all the way mixed in it totally changes the look and texture of your pizza, for the worst. Then you will add in the almond flour. It is easiest to add in half at a time. Mix until well combined. If your dough gets a bit crumbly, place it back in the microwave to soften, for about 1 minute. All this mixing took some muscles, good thing Ty has been hitting those weights. We made 3 batches and he did the first two. 
For this next part you want to make sure to get your hands super wet, otherwise the dough will stick to your hands. Place the ball of dough on parchment paper and get to squashing and stretching that stuff til it's just how you like it. We split the dough in half and let the kids make their own mini pizzas. They love helping out in the kitchen and anything resembling play dough is extra fun. We had a tough time getting them to keep their hands wet enough at first. Then Ty came up with the idea to use the water filled pie dish, so they were able to get their hands wet as needed. Brains and muscles, how did I get so lucky?! Well..I know how, but that's a story for another day. 

After getting the dough to the shape and thickness you prefer, place your parchment paper on a pizza pan or a cookie sheet. We used a cookie sheet for the kids' so we could cook them together. Use a fork to poke a few holes in your dough, then let it cook in the oven for about 8 minutes. After 8 minutes is up, take the dough out and it's time to start adding those toppings. For toppings, we decided to use a classic pizza sauce, mozzarella cheese, pepperoni, spicy sausage, mushrooms, artichokes and spinach. 
The kids picked their favorite, pepperoni for their topping. Big surprise there. I tried to convince them to be a little more adventurous but it was a hard pass on the veggies, this time around. You have to pick your battles, right? Ty opted for mushrooms, pepperoni and spicy sausage while I went with spinach and artichokes. 

After the toppings are all added place your pizza back in the oven for about 6 minutes. Super quick! We were wondering if the cook time would be different for the mini pizzas versus the regular sized ones, but all came out perfect. I think these faces say it all. 

Family pizza, game and movie night was off to a great start. Now with our tummies full and the kitchen a mess, we moved onto the games. These are the ones we went with; Uno, twister and an assortment of kid friendly card games I found at the very bottom of our ottoman. 

Uno is always a hit with our kids and works great for all ages. Kade, 3 years and Leighton, 6 years old can both play with little to no help from us. It is a great way for kids to familiarize with numbers and colors, too. Yay for an educational bonus! Next, Leighton chose Old Maid. I had never played this but it was another perfect one for both of the kiddos. Kade needed a little bit of help but not much. This game is a good one for matching, reading and colors as well. My favorite was Twister, Ty opted to be the spinner. I did better than I had expected going up against my two super flexible energetic kiddos. I felt super silly, but hearing their little giggles and seeing their eyes light up made it all worth the effort. Overall, I think Uno was the overall family favorite, as usual. But it was fun to try some new games and I was glad to switch it up. 

As the night started winding down, we moved onto the movie portion of our evening. Pj's were on, popcorn was popped, and both our tummies and our hearts were full. Leighton chose Loony Toons, a classic that our whole family enjoyed. Although, I can't lie, I was secretly hoping for Hocus Pocus; my all time fall and halloween favorite. Luckily there is still plenty of time to sneak that one in here before the season is over. Family time with the four of us is truly what makes me happy. It's not always easy to find things to do that the whole family can enjoy, but it sure is worth the effort when it all works out. I would say Kade's idea of a fun night turned out pretty amazing. I hope this post gave some of you new ideas on how to have a fun Fri-yay the entire family can enjoy, or at least a new fun recipe to try.  Here is the full Keto Fathead Pizza Recipe . Thanks for reading! -Kaci

Powered by Blogger.

Search This Blog

Theme Designed By Hello Manhattan

Your copyright

Your own copyright