Archives for September 2013

Irvine Park Pumpkin Patch and Halloween Fun!

Disclosure: I wrote this review after being invited to the Irvine Park Pumpkin Patch. We received free admission and tickets for attractions and concessions. All opinions expressed are my own.

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This past weekend, I took the kids to the Irvine Park Pumpkin Patch. We are regulars at Irvine Park – it’s a great place to spend the day playing and having a picnic. There is so much to do there, and we always enjoy it. If you live in Southern California or are planning a visit, it’s a place you want to check out.

There are so many things to do at Irvine Park even when the holidays aren’t around. But during the holidays, we have made it a family tradition to check out all the fun. The Irvine Park Pumpkin Patch has activities for the entire family.

Irvine Park Pumpkin Patch of course has lots and lots of pumpkins. Each of the kids picked out their own pumpkin and brought it home. They are mad that I’m not letting them carve them yet.

Irvine Park Pumpkin Patch

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Irvine Park Pumpkin Patch also has the Irvine Park Railroad. The kids agree it’s their favorite thing to do at Irvine Park.

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There’s a hay maze that the kids loved because they couldn’t see over the top of the haystacks and had fun being “lost” in the maze.

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There’s also a Haunted House that isn’t too spooky even for little ones. It is dark, but isn’t really spooky at all. No things or people jump out at you. All of the little ones that went in with us came out smiling. Well, not crying anyways.

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Lots and lots of Halloween picture stands. And yes, the kids wanted to try every single one of them.

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The kids wanted me to make sure to tell you that there is popcorn and cotton candy (as well as other yummy food for purchase). Or bring a picnic basket and enjoy your own lunch!

Either way, the cotton candy is always a messy hit.

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There are old school carnival games like the ring toss and bean bag toss. What I love most about these games is that every kid is a winner.

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And still there’s more. Like a hay ride, panning for gold, John Deere tractor racers, cookie decorating, face painting, bounce houses. Horse rides. Big ponds perfect for an afternoon picnic. Bike and paddleboat rentals…even a small zoo!

Most of these activities do require tickets, but walking through the pumpkin patch, the haunted house, and the hay maze are all free. And the kids wanted to keep going through the maze throughout the day.

You could spend the entire day at the Irvine Park Pumpkin Patch. We are even going to go again before Halloween because the kids had so much fun! We missed panning for gold, so that’s something all of us are looking forward to.

This weekend is the beginning of Halloween decorating here at our house. It’s my favorite holiday to decorate for!

Make Your Own Easy Bake Oven Recipes

Make your own cookie dough that can be used in easy bake oven recipes. This saves you a lot of money because you use ingredients you already have on hand.

The girls got an Easy Bake Oven for Christmas last year, but they just recently really started to want to use it. Their new favorite thing to do is make cookies in the oven. Those cookie and cake mixes you can buy at the store for the oven are like six bucks each! No way. So I started to play around with making my own Easy Bake Oven recipes. I want to share the one that we use the most.

But first…

This was what our Easy Bake Oven looked like when I was a kid:

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It didn’t make huge cookies and cakes, but we didn’t think they were super small or not worth the trouble.

Here’s what the girls’ Easy Bake Oven looks like:

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The cookies don’t look all that small, right? The little cupcakes look like they’d fit into a little girl’s hand, right? Not so much. Here is the actual size of one of those cookies if you follow the instructions that come with the oven:

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Not.even.kidding. Even the girls asked why the cookies were so small!

Now of course you can make them larger…but I followed the directions and that’s what I got.

Anyways.

The girls love making cookies in their own oven so we do it. Here’s the basic cookie dough recipe that I use.

Make your own cookie dough that can be used in easy bake oven recipes. This saves you a lot of money because you use ingredients you already have on hand.

Easy Bake Oven Cookie Dough Recipe
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Recipe Image

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, beat together the first five ingredients.
  2. In a medium sized bowl, mix together the last three ingredients.
  3. Combine the dry ingredients into the butter mixture, and mix thoroughly.
  4. Spray an Easy Bake Oven cookie sheet with cooking spray. Roll the dough into small balls (fit about 8 on the cookie sheet).
  5. Bake in the Easy Bake oven for about 10 minutes.

Notes

You can make bigger cookies, just increase cooking time a few minutes.

Add in other ingredients like mini chocolate chips or M&Ms.

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http://mommyofamonster.com/easy-bake-oven-recipes/

This recipe makes a large amount of dough. You can keep in the fridge for about a week or freeze it for later.

You can also add in mini chocolate chips or mini M&Ms. Add sprinkles or sugar to the top, or make a basic frosting to frost the cookies with.

More Easy Bake Oven Recipes

There are SO MANY Easy Bake Oven recipes out there! So far the girls are content just making cookies, but soon I’m sure they’ll ask to make cakes and cupcakes. I have a really yummy Easy Bake Oven Chocolate Cake recipe that I need to convert into a real cake recipe it’s so good!

Of course you can find a million Pinterest Easy Bake Oven recipes. She Knows also shared some basic Easy Bake Oven recipes…I want to try the brownies recipe!

Do your kids have an Easy Bake Oven? Do you buy the premade mixes or use your own Easy Bake Oven recipes?

Do You Eat Dinner Every Night As A Family?

McCain Logo

I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for McCain Foods. I received a promotional item as a thank-you for participating.

Do you eat dinner every night as a family?

I want to be able to answer yes, I really do, but it’s actually very rare that all five of us sit down together to eat. With Jason’s wonky schedule, it just isn’t possible. But I usually do sit with the kids while they are eating. The four of us do try to have dinner together…with no TV or other distractions. Grocery Cart

Now you have a chance to load up on groceries your family loves, and bring naturally good moments to the dinner table when you serve McCain Potatoes.

McCain Potatoes is running a Facebook Contest and you can win a $500 grocery card! They will select 1 winner each week (8 winners total) for 8 weeks. Check out the Grocery Goodness Giveaway tab on their Facebook page to receive a $1 off coupon off any 1 bag of McCain Potato products!

Good luck!

Bloggers Favorite Products: The Best of the Best Product Reviews Link Up

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Over the past few years, I’ve done a lot of product reviews on my blog. Most of you have probably done at least a couple as well. Without dissing any of the products, I can honestly say I don’t use most of the ones I have reviewed and recommended; they were awesome to check out, but don’t fit into my everyday life.

About a month or so ago, I was on Facebook saying that I had received a personalized Scout bag that I LOVED. Gigi from Kludgy Mom said she had received and wrote a Scout bag review a couple of years ago, and that she still loves the bag.

This got me thinking…how many of us have been introduced to new products through an offer to do a product review, and still use those products? There are quite a few I have gotten to review and still use to this day.

My Saltwater Canvas beach bag (I have bought two more since my first review!)

GoodNites for potty training (and even after)

My Caloric Cuvee wine glass

Piggy Paint nail polish for the girls

I still ADORE Ellie workout clothing and buy them regularly

I’m looking forward to using the Portable North Pole again this Christmas for the kids

And we couldn’t get through a winter or spring without our favorite mommy-must-have product, Boogie Wipes.

All of these products were reviewed more than six months ago, and I still use all of them regularly.

Bloggers Favorite Products: The Best of the Best Product Reviews Link Up

So here’s what I’m thinking…why not get bloggers to share their favorite products by revisiting product reviews that they still use regularly. A list of bloggers favorite products. But I’m not talking about products you have reviewed recently, I’m talking about product reviews 3 months or older that you still use regularly and still recommend to others.

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I created this cute button that you can use on your product reviews if you’d like. Let me know if you want me to send it to you (since I have right click turned off on my site).

I’ve included a link up below. You don’t have to write a new post, just revive an old post and show some love to brands that you have worked with in the past. Link up one favorite product review or several, it’s up to you.

Give a shout out to the link up on Facebook, Twitter, and/or Google+. Ask your readers to check out the list, and ask them to link up product reviews three months or older that they still use too.

So who’s in?

Powered by Linky Tools Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…

Chores For Preschoolers: Getting The Kids To Help Around The House

The newest goings-on here are that the girls want to help me do EVERYTHING. Cooking, cleaning, folding laundry…just about everything except cleaning up their toy room (some things never change.) I thought I’d put together a list of chores for preschoolers, including many of the ones that the kids have been helping with (and for Ethan, it is against his will.)

Chores for preschoolers and young children are so important. It allows the kids to understand responsibility and the pride that comes with accomplishing tasks that are their responsibility. It teaches team work – we as a family are a team and each of us has responsibilities to make our team successful. It gives them a sense of accomplishment and self esteem. And if you give them an allowance for finished chores, it can also help them learn about money.

Of course the kids aren’t old enough to do most of the chores without supervision, but they are learning. Here are a list of chores for preschoolers that we have successfully integrated into our family.

Do your children like to help with household chores? Here's a list of chores for preschoolers and young children that can be daily.

Chores for Preschoolers

Cleaning Up Their Rooms

I think most kids hate putting away their things. It’s easier to throw everything on the floor and kick it under the bed. But preschoolers can and should help straighten up their rooms. Shoes go in the closet. Dirty clothes go in the laundry hamper. Books go back on the shelf and toys are put in the toy bin. We started doing this every evening before baths and it has worked pretty well.

Making Their Own Bed 

Nope, it’s not gonna look as good as when you do it, but they can certainly pull the sheets and blankets up and smooth them out. Make sure their pillows are straightened. Put PJs away instead of just throwing them on the bed or on the floor.

While you may want to help them make it look perfect, remember that they are very young. It will be awhile before they’ll be able to really make the bed. Cheer them on and applaud their efforts!

Helping to Fold Laundry

The girls LOVE to help fold laundry. I let them fold socks, shorts, and t-shirts in half. They also like to put their clothes away.

And while it takes much longer than when I do it myself, their sense of pride shines and makes me slow down to be proud of them too.

Setting the Table

We still have the kids eat on plastic plates, so allowing them to set the table doesn’t make me cringe. They put out plates, cups, forks, and napkins.

I also allow them to help dish out their food. This seems to also make them more apt to eat what’s in front of them, and since my kids are non-eaters, I go with whatever works! If that doesn’t work to get them to eat, I also have started allowing them decide how much more they will have to eat by rolling dice. This pin explains it all.

Putting Dishes in the Dishwasher

The kids are required to take their dishes to the sink after meals. After I rinse them, the girls help put the dishes in the dishwasher. After showing them how to properly load the dishwasher a few times, they’ve gotten good at it!

Feeding Pets

The kids take turn checking on our dog’s water and food dishes. They check in the morning and then again when we have dinner. They are also responsible for putting the dog out after she finishes eating.

What other chores for preschoolers and young children would you add to the list?

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