And so it begins, "I'm Bored Mom"

If you are like me, this is something that I hear all too often. It is usually not true boredom cause is there really such a thing?? I think that being bored and not knowing what to do are two different things. If you are faced with this topic statement in your house, I have a few ideas (some courtesy of Disney Family).

  • Water play — parks, pools, beaches, etc.
  • Go to a local book store or library — and make a date of it! Many offer weekly story times and some even include a craft. Check your local venues for a calendar of events.
  • Make a movie — give them a video camera and let them create (thanks to iCarly, my 7-year-old already thinks that this is the coolest idea EVER.)
  • Give them a theme
    1. Pick a theme for each week: Cowboys, Astronauts, Knights and Princesses, etc.
    2. Make Monday “music day,” Tuesday “project day,” Wednesday “costume day,” “movie day” … whatever you want.
    3. Put it in a calendar format so the kids can anticipate what’s going on ahead.
  • Break it down — by week and then by day. A must if you want to stay on any kind of routine which personally, I need to do!! I want to have a whole lot of fun but also make sure that mommy still gets to work out and that the boys still have some learning time snuck in.
  • Free movies — check out Regal Theaters (or my previous post) for more details.
  • Games — There are so many games to choose from.
  • Puzzles — get one of the really big ones and let it have a place in your home to come back too when you need some downtime. If you are lacking at extra table, try setting this “project” up on a card table.
  • Be a scientist — go here for fun ideas http://www.greensim.com/lemonade/concoctions.html
  • Be an artist — take it outside, tape a large sheet of butcher paper along a fence and paint away (tip: look for paints that are eco-friendly and washable. I found several kid friendly art supplies on theglassbabybottle.com. Check them out!

The options for fun are endless. It might take a little time and patience but remember, the memories are yours for the making so be creative, have fun, play and most of all — SMILE!! :-)

Banana-Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies and other great recipes

I have been in serious cooking mode this weekend. Yesterday was my dad’s birthday so I had to whip up some yummy stuff to celebrate him.  I think my fave was the homemade mac n’ cheese which I doubled and will be eating again tonight. I also made blue cheese dressing — from scratch! So easy but wow, so good! Much better than the store-bought stuff. Today as been a baking extravaganza. Some for entertaining purposes as we are having friends over for dinner tonight. One just because I had a recipe I wanted to try and the other simply because I needed to use up some old bananas. Enjoy the following recipes, they have been tested and tried by yours truly!

Here is a quick and tasty salad:

Iceberg Wedge With Blue Cheese Dressing

- adapted by Simple Living Magazine

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons reduced-fat sour cream
  • 4 tablespoons crumbled blue cheese (2 ounces)
  • 1 head iceberg lettuce, quartered
  • black pepper

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, sour cream, and 3 tablespoons of the blue cheese.
  2. Divide the lettuce among plates and spoon the dressing over the top. Sprinkle with the remaining tablespoon of cheese and ¼ teaspoon pepper.
I also wanted to share this delicious cookie recipe from Cooking Light. I like that it has some healthy stuff in it (oatmeal and banana) yet also appeals to my sweet tooth with the chocolate chips. The family was pleased with this recipe so I am sharing it with you.

Ingredients

  • 1/2  cup  mashed ripe banana (about 1 medium)
  • 1/2  cup  packed brown sugar
  • 1/4  cup  butter, softened
  • 1/4  cup  granulated sugar
  • 1  teaspoon  vanilla extract
  • 1  large egg
  • 5.6  ounces  all-purpose flour (about 1 1/4 cups)
  • 2  cups  old-fashioned oats
  • 1  teaspoon  baking soda
  • 1/2  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/2  cup  semisweet chocolate chips
  • Cooking spray

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth. Add egg; beat well.

3. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, oats, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add flour mixture to banana mixture in bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended. Stir in chocolate chips.

4. Drop batter by heaping tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart onto baking sheets coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 18 minutes or until golden. Cool on pans 2 minutes. Remove cookies from pans; cool completely on wire racks.

** I would say to decrease the cook time as 18 minutes was too long. Check them around 12 minutes and make sure they are not getting too brown.


And last but definitely not least as I loved this is the Ultimate Mac ‘n’ Cheese from Sunset Magazine. This recipe calls for dry white wine which I think gave it a really unique flavor. It did not feel extra heavy and the bread crumbs offered a great final touch. Oh P.S. — this is not a light recipe, just as an FYI but because of the flavors and types of cheese, it didn’t feel really heavy. So indulge!

Ultimate Mac ‘n’ Cheese

Ingredients

  • 8  ounces  cavatappi, macaroni, or other tube-shaped pasta
  • 1/2  teaspoon  coarse salt, plus more for cooking pasta
  • 3 1/2  tablespoons  butter
  • 1/2  cup  finely chopped shallots
  • 2  tablespoons  all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4  cups  dry white wine
  • 2/3  cup  heavy whipping cream
  • 7  ounces  gruyère, grated
  • 3  ounces  aged gouda, grated (see Notes)
  • 2  tablespoons  plus 1 tsp. minced fresh chives
  • 1  tablespoon  Dijon mustard
  • 1/8  teaspoon  cayenne
  • 1/8  teaspoon  freshly ground nutmeg
  • 4  ounces  crusty sourdough bread (about 1/4 loaf), torn into large pieces

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 400°. Cook pasta according to package directions in a large pot of boiling, well-salted water until tender to the bite, 7 to 12 minutes. Drain, but do not rinse.

2. In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, melt 2 tbsp. butter. Add shallots and cook until light golden, about 3 minutes. Sprinkle shallot-butter mixture with flour; cook, stirring often, 1 minute. Add wine and stir, picking up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add cream and stir well. Sprinkle in cheeses, one large handful at a time, stirring until each handful is mostly melted before adding the next. Stir in 2 tbsp. chives, mustard, 1/4 tsp. salt, cayenne, and nutmeg. Stir cooked pasta into cheese mixture, then pour all into a 2-qt. baking dish.

3. In a food processor, pulse bread with remaining 1 1/2 tbsp. butter, 1 tsp. chives, and 1/4 tsp. salt until coarse bread crumbs form. Sprinkle bread crumbs over pasta and cheese and bake until top is browned and cheese is bubbling, 15 to 20 minutes.

FREE!!! Summer Movie Event At Regal Theater in El Dorado Hills

This is a great little way to escape the heat AND entertain the kids for almost 2 hours. Double bonus eh?? Oh, and it is a FREE event too. So this summer from June 2nd through July 29th, Regal Theaters presents it’s summer movie series. I have included the listing for the El Dorado Hills Theater BUT for other locations, check them out on-line: http://www.regmovies.com/nowshowing/familyfilmfestivalschedule.aspx?state=CA

El Dorado Stadium 14 & IMAX
2101 Vine Street
Eldorado Hills ,CA 95762
916-939-8726
06/01/2010-06/03/2010 Charlotte’s Web (G)
Paul Blart: Mall Cop (PG)
06/08/2010-06/10/2010 Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything (G)
Astro Boy (PG)
06/15/2010-06/17/2010 Doogal (G)
Monsters Vs. Aliens (PG)
06/22/2010-06/24/2010 Tale of Despereaux (G)
Planet 51 (PG)
06/29/2010-07/01/2010 Wallace and Gromit (G)
Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs (PG)
07/06/2010-07/08/2010 Kit Kittredge: American Girl (G)
Aliens In The Attic (PG)
07/13/2010-07/15/2010 March Of The Penguins (G)
Where The Wild Things Are (PG)
07/20/2010-07/22/2010 ARCTIC TALE (G)
Kung Fu Panda (PG)
07/27/2010-07/29/2010 Clifford’s Big Movie (G)
The Spy Next Door (PG)

Boys, an old milk jug and a slug named Jeffrey

Well as life would have it, I was presented with yet another fabulous mommy moment today. Again being reminded how hilarious kids are and how very different they think than most adults (I say most as obviously some adults do think like kids). This afternoon, Ben finished a gallon of milk and disappeared outside with the empty jug. He reappeared awhile later with a dirty jug telling me that, “they would not get out — I promise mom”. When I asked what “they” were he told me that they were slugs. Gross. I asked him to please take them outside. Which I thought he did. Then he was gone. A few minutes later I walked into the kitchen and found the milk jug with a lovely slug peeking out of the top. I immediately called Ben and showed him that his new-found pet was indeed trying to escape. It was one of the funniest things I have ever seen. This little slug (which Ben by the way named Jeffrey) was perched at the top of the milk jug looking all around as though he were trying to plan his escape.  Now if you have ever seen a snail or slug, you know this will take FOREVER but it was comical just the same. To see it that up close as it looked all around. I was a little grossed out but even more amused at the site. I don’t know why Ben named him Jeffrey but that just added to the comical scene unfolding in my kitchen. Don’t worry, I did not pull out my salt shaker and Jeffrey is now happily outside where slugs should be.

Mommy blog or not?

So here I am – trying to find my place is this wild blogosphere I have a certain  audience that I am trying to speak too. I have several topics that all sort of encompass the same ideas. Be green, stay local, indulge, play hard, love deep, etc, etc. So as I am constantly reading other blogs. Getting great ideas for crafts and recipes, getting a little caught up on some of the fun sites that do exist. I am always saying, “What am I in all of this?” and “Where do I fit in?” Well I am me .. I write about what moves me and what makes my world go round. Many of these things also make YOUR world go round. At least I think many of us have the same goals, motivations and likes. So I am sitting here tonight, reading the blogs of moms. My thing is that I don’t want to be pigeonholed as a “mommy blogger” although I can’t say exactly why that is. I guess I don’t want this to only be about being a mom because I am also a wife, daughter, friend and my own person BUT enjoy reading mommy blogs and guess what?? I am a mommy! *gasp* So shocking, right? So as I am perusing the internet, reading fun sites such as Dooce (and cracking up at her comical journalism of mommy-hood) I start to wonder, how am I different from these moms? I am not at all — I have kids, they do funny things, we go places, I blog about it. So that is my little bit of pondering for the day. I so often think that the daily happenings in my house could easily end up as some comedy sitcom. The moments, oh the moments. So many and so many GOOD! Perfect example, the other night while my hubby and I were tucking in my lovely almost 5-year-old amongst his 10 layers of must have blankets I said, “Pretty soon it will be warm for all of this ____”. Well he finished my sentence for me. I was going to say “stuff” and he said, “crap”. Really. He is 4 and three-quarters and he said crap. In the perfect context. I do love kids. They say the darndest things. And guess what? I am a mommy and I blog. So there. What does that make me? :-)

My Giraffe Makes Me Laugh ~ possibly your childs new favorite book!

Dear Local Honey Friends,

I am sharing this fun little book with you today. I am also shamelessly plugging my friend Marc, the author. It is his first published children’s book. He has high hopes of doing this full-time so please do check it out and support a local and fun author. Marc resides in nearby Rocklin. He is a funny guy and a delightful story-teller. Oh yeah, he also happens to be the father of 3 awesome little dudes and is married to one cool chick (more plugging — we are friends with the whole family).

The book is called My Giraffe Makes Me Laugh and can be found at Amazon.com

Sincerely,

The Local Honey ~ your local connection for all things fun

Just give it away. Freecyle, etc.

Lately I have been in the mindset to really get rid of stuff. Now, I am happier to sell things and make a buck but sometimes this backfires and I end up wasting time and without making the “buck”. I have made a little bit of money on EBAY and Craigslist but I have also listed things and not made a penny. So the question is, what next? I figure if I give it a good chance to sell and it does not, then it is time to let it go. So that is what I do. Head on over to the local Good Will and p-u-r-g-e! It feels so good!!  If you would like try your hand at selling items, then by all means go for it!

Ebay is always a good place but keep in mind that there are fees associated with using them and you usually have to ship the items  http://www.ebay.com/. I do like that people are accountable for their purchases though. It feels like more of a sure thing once an item has been bid on.

Craigslist is great for larger items but it is a free to list site and there are some flaky people as well as scam artists so use with care http://sacramento.craigslist.org/

Another option that seems to be the hot new thing is Freecycle. This is a group you have to join. I am currently in a pending mode so until I am approved, I can’t give too much feedback on this site. I will say that I have heard great things about it though.

Whatever you do — try to give your “old” stuff a “new” home. Maybe host a yard sale? Swap with a friend? Remember, one persons junk is another persons treasure.

Easy DIY art for any room

I am constantly in the mood for redecorating but because this is such an obsession, I have to come up with frugal ways to change things up ~ otherwise I’d end up divorced :-) An idea that I have seen and will probably run with soon is the simple framing of some pretty scrapbook paper. You could also mat it for a more polished look. You can pay a pretty penny to have this done at a place like Aaron Brothers or Michael’s or you could also purchase a mat at one of these places and DIY. Budget conscience me would do it myself. You can buy a pretty sheet or paper for around a buck. With so many styles and colors to choose from, you have endless possibilities for a unique piece of art. For an even better visual, you can frame several papers from the same line.  I really like using the 12×12 frames but if you have old frames lying around, you could mix it up and make a hodge podge wall.  I also HAVE to share this adorable piece of art that I found while searching for photos of my DIY subject (since I am telling you all about this project but have yet to do it myself). This is the cutest little thing. I have so many scraps of paper and this is exactly the type of project that I could use some of them on. I do not have a butterfly punch but I do have circles, flowers, stars and even a pumpkin. again, the possibilities are endless. So check it out and a big thanks to Alli Edwards for her creativity. Alli has been one of my fave scrappers over at Creating Keepsakes for many moons so stumbling upon this by accident and finding that it was her creation made it even more fun!!

Sacramento Splash

Happy Friday ~ The weekend is upon us and although the weather is definitely not very May like, I plan to enjoy every bit of it. It is the final weekend before school is out for the summer for Ben, my oldest. Soon enough we will be schedule free (OK – not totally but more so then the typical school year allows us to be).

Through my new friends over at Trail Mix, I stumbled up what seems to be another super fun place to see in the Sacramento area. It is called Sacramento Splash. The mission of Sacramento Splash is helping children understand and value their natural world through scientific investigation and outdoor exploration. They are actually having a Nature in the Neighborhood event tomorrow  from 1-4. It will allow you to be introduced to some special and rarely seen animals that inhibit our region. Please make reservations as this event will mostly likely be full come tomorrow. Click her for reservations.  They also offer a preschool story time which includes a guest critter, story about the critter and you will get to learn about the special guest star as well. How fun!! This program runs on Friday mornings at 10am from May – January. There  is a $5 fee and kids must be with an adult. No reservations necessary. Now aside from the story time on Fridays, this is not a drop in kind of place though so make sure you check out their site for more info if this sounds like a place you’d like to visit. Wishing you a weekend full of fun finds.

A little bit of honey

The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity.

~ Dorothy Parker