Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Living In The Chaos

In the last few weeks, we've had a water leak, a ripped up floor and baseboards, no pantry storage, and a big hole in the wall. We're currently down to just needing a new floor, new paint, and new storage. It's progress.

But I've had my fair share of "I'm done" moments during this stage.

They usually happen after a long day of keeping the toddler from eating all the crumbs stuck in the exposed floor glue while dealing with the 3 year old's fit every time I simply suggest that he might need to use the potty about now. Another agonizing dinner decision because I can't find anything, and another night of having to eat in the living room because there is way to much crap covering the kitchen table. And another day of fighting the horde of ants traipsing into my kitchen to get to those food crumbs before the Munchkin does.

Living in the Chaos: kitchen in the middle of being repaired

Oh yes, there have been many days where I felt my grip on sanity slipping away. I've taken out my frustration on my family. I've shed tears. I've had to take long breaths with my eyes closed. I've had to work hard to keep my voice calm. I've had to retreat to my room while Hubby watches the kids and takes care of dinner.

Between a messed up kitchen dumping it's contents into the adjoining rooms and two littles, it's hard not to give up. It's like holding back a tidal wave with one hand and trying to do the dishes with the other. I have to fight against throwing up my hands and just letting nature take over. Any minute that wave could come slamming past me.

It's amazing how one room in an imperfect stage can have such an impact. I've had to remember that is just what it is: a stage. Stages are hard. I'm trying to embrace the imperfection and the chaos, knowing that the finished calm will be that much sweeter for putting up with it for so long.

In the meantime, I'll just be over here with my paper bag.


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Monday, May 11, 2015

Triple Chocolate Nutella Mug Cake

Everything's better with Nutella, right? Right. This triple chocolate Nutella mug cake is my go to for the quiet moments that I savor after the kids go to bed. It's a perfect little serving of moist chocolate cake that goes great with a big glass of milk.

I originally found this recipe at Table for Two. I'd tried a couple other mug cakes before and wasn't impressed. The texture was always weird. Until I found this one. It was so good! The texture is more cake-like since it's made without eggs.

I made a few changes but the recipe is mostly the same. If you hop over to Table for Two, Julie has a few suggestions for subbing out the Nutella AND more mug cake recipes! And her pictures are way prettier.

Triple Chocolate Nutella Mug Cake- Gooey, not spongey! Made without eggs.

Triple Chocolate Nutella Mug Cake- Gooey, not spongey! Made without eggs.


Triple Chocolate Nutella Mug Cake ingredients- Gooey, not spongey! Made without eggs.

Triple Chocolate Nutella Mug Cake- Gooey, not spongey! Made without eggs.

Triple Chocolate Nutella Mug Cake- Gooey, not spongey! Made without eggs.


Triple Chocolate Nutella Mug Cake
Adapted from Table for Two

1/4 cup flour
2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
2-3 Tablespoons granulated sugar(I'd make it three if you leave out the Nutella)
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup + 1 Tablespoon milk
2 Tablespoons oil(I usually use grapeseed, but I have used olive. It can be done with coconut but the result isn't as reliable)
1-2 tablespoons chocolate chips
1 big tablespoon of Nutella

Combine flour, cocoa, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a bowl and mix well. Whisk in milk and oil. Stir in chocolate chips and then pour into a mug. Add tablespoon of Nutella in the middle of the cake batter. 

Microwave for 1 minute and 45 seconds*. Add a sprinkle of chocolate chips on top if desired. Enjoy the chocolate gooeyness!

*The time in the original recipe is only 70 seconds. Obviously, my microwave may have issues. I'd start with the original time and increase time in 10-15 second increments if needed. This may just be me, but mine always cooks from the bottom up so remember that even if the top is a little gooey, the inside may be finished. If it's overcooked it will become too dry on the bottom.
Triple Chocolate Nutella Mug Cake- Gooey, not spongey! Made without eggs.

I realized that I never got a shot of the cake texture in my first photos so I shot this one the other day. See how rich and cakey it is? This cake has ruined me for all other mug cakes! Sometimes I can't finish it because it's so rich. That's when I reluctantly hand it over to Hubby.

So go forth and make yummy gooeyness! 



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Monday, May 4, 2015

April Review {2015}

Time for the 2015 April Review! I'm just excited because I wrote more than 2 posts last month. That hasn't happened in a while!

We had an interesting April, that's for sure. I was able to clear out a ton of junk and wrap up the 31 Days to Less Clutter series, I was asked to curate a shutter upcycle board on Hometalk, and another major leak in our kitchen has everything in a mess and us waiting patiently for everything to be fixed. My favorite post though is my last one, 8 Ways to Foster Your Child's Creativity. I guess I'm a tad passionate about that subject!

The links to each post are below so keep on scrolling!

February-March Review



31 Days to Less Clutter: 5 Tips for Knowing What to Keep



19 Brilliant Ways to Reuse a Shutter. Shutter upcycle/recycle



 31 Days to Less Clutter: Don't Be A Dragon! End the hoarding.



Another Kitchen Leak, Another Design Dilemma



8 Ways to Foster Your Child's Creativity



I'm really looking forward to next month, especially as our little kitchen comes back together. I'll bring you all the updates! The big hole in the wall is supposed to be fixed this week and then the baseboards after that. I am so ready!

Thanks for hanging around here and being awesome! Love ya muchly! And May the Fourth be with you!


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Thursday, April 30, 2015

Inspiring Creativity: 8 Ways to Foster Your Child's Creativity

I am a firm believer that everyone is creative. Everyone. We may not all be born a Van Gogh, but we are all born creative. That creativity can be fostered or starved by how we are raised and how we are educated.

Albert Einstein said that, "The greatest scientists are artists as well." Creativity is just as important in the lab as it is in the art studio. Unfortunately, our education system has cut back on its art programs to focus solely on the maths and sciences. A 2010 study showed that American children are less creative now than they were 20 years ago.

So how do we raise creative kids into creative adults?

We are all made in the image of the Master Creator. Because He creates, we create. I want to foster that as much as I can. I've come up with a list of 8 things that we do in our family to help our boys become as creative as they can be.

Inspiring Creativity: 8 Ways to Foster Your Child's Creativity

1. Read good stories(especially the fantastical ones). It is through reading that we can go anywhere and be anything. It is through reading another's story that we are able to safely think through the problems presented and explore the many different ways they could be solved while bringing the story to a satisfactory end. Read about a little girl's life with her family in the big woods and pirates with peg legs. Read the stories about magic wardrobes, mice on motorcycles, and Sneetches in breeches.

2. Let them explore on their own. We ended up not using the playpen or baby swing a whole lot with the boys. As long as I can keep an eye on them, they get to wander the house most of the time. We let them explore the yard and the playground without being right by their side. And let me tell you, our boys are two of the most independent little explorers that I've ever seen.

Inspiring Creativity: 8 Ways to Foster Your Child's Creativity

3. Let them take risks(within reason). Little Man is a little climber and the Munchkin is taking after him. We may have used baby gates, but we gave them plenty of time to climb the stairs with us following after a few steps behind. Little Man loves to climb trees. Yes, they could fall and skin a knee but being willing to take risks is part of being creative. After all, "nothing ventured, nothing gained."

4. Teach them it's ok to make mistakes. Creative people are willing to, in the words of Ms. Frizzle, "Take chances, make mistakes, and get messy!" Creative people aren't afraid to get up, dust themselves off, and try again. When they fail, encourage them to try again. Make sure that they know you've been there and understand. Share a few good examples of famous people that tried and failed many times before they succeeded.

5. Pretend with them. Play along with their pretend play. Little Man used to say that he was going to go into the little triangle symbol on the hazard light button in our car. We played along, asking if we could all come along too and wondering what we would find in it. He loved it! If we are always shutting down a child's pretending with misplaced explanations of reality, they'll stop asking that important question, "what if?"


Inspiring Creativity: 8 Ways to Foster Your Child's Creativity

6. Ask why and what if questions. Challenge them to come up with new ideas and explanations. What if the sky was green? Why are you coloring the dirt purple? Why did Harry Potter do that? If you had to spend the rest of your life only watching Star Wars or Lord of the Rings, which would you pick?

7. Music. We listen to a lot of music and, with a mom that plays the piano, you can bet our kids are going to study music as well. Little Man loves to listen to music, play his drums, the piano, and strum the guitar. He even watches instructional drum videos on YouTube. New studies are showing that kids that study a musical instrument have better executive functioning abilities and spatial temporal reasoning.

8. Don't compare their creative abilities with someone else's. If there's a faster way to convince a kid that they aren't creative and make them give it up forever, I don't know it. Comparing ourselves can be crippling enough to our own creativity without an influential grownup telling us that we'll never be as good as someone else. I've talked to people this happened to as children and I've seen the effect it had on them. Besides, there are many successful people that were told they wouldn't succeed and many weren't recognized for their genius until after their death.


I really believe these 8 things have made a difference in our kids. Do have any points you'd like to add? I'd love to hear your thoughts!


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You can read the rest of the posts in the Inspiring Creativity series by following the link or clicking the picture below!

Inspiring Creativity: 8 Ways to Foster Your Child's Creativity


Resources:
Are Kids Today Less Creative?
As Children's Freedom Has Declined, So Has Creativity-Psychology Today
Are Today's Youth Less Creative and Imaginative?-LiveScience
7 Ways to Foster Creativity in Your Kids-Greater Good
Raise a Creative-LeapFrog
Einstein On Creative Thinking: Music and the Intuitive Art of Scientific Imagination-Psychology Today
The Benefits of Music Education-PBS
This is How Music Can Change Your Brain-Time
How Playing Music Affects the Developing Brain


I may be linking up this post at some of these link parties