Saturday, November 30, 2013

Top 25 Christmas Cookies

It is tradition that my family bakes cookies and delivers them to friends and neighbors. Since being in Italy, it is something that we have really wanted to keep alive because we want our neighbors to feel like we want to be a part of their community and not just "those Americans" that live down the street. We really try to adapt to their culture and indulge in their ways of doing things. The language differences can be frustrating, but we try to learn the language as well.

With that said, I thought I would make a post of our favorite Christmas Cookies, Breads, Muffins, Etc. This one will be strictly cookies because we have so many favorites that we found last year. For the breads and muffins I will probably do a top 10 of other baked goods other than cookies.

These are in no particular order.

1. Caramel Pecan Turtle Cookies

2. Soft Brown Sugar Cookies

3. Pumpkin Raisin Oatmeal Cookies

4. Peppermint Crunch Brownie Cookies

5. Cherry Chocolate Cookies

6. Neiman Marcus Cookies

7. Oreo Cookies and Cream Cookies

8. Outrageous Chocolate Cookies

9. Snickerdoodle Cookies

10. Cinnamon Swirl Cookies

11. Chocolate and Peanut Butter Chip Pretzel Cookies

12. Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

13. Chewy Coconut Lime Sugar Cookies

14. Orange Creamsicle Cookies

15. White Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies

16. Root Beer Cookies

17. White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies

18. Lemon Snickerdoodle Cookies

19. S'mores Cookies

20. Peppermint Crunch Sugar Cookies

21. White Chocolate Cherry Shortbread Cookies

22. Ginger Spice Cookies

23. Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies

24. Red Velvet Cheesecake Cookies

25. Snowball Cookies

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to all my friends, family, and followers! I hope you have a blessed day with great company and yummy food!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Teacher Tuesday! Introduction

Hi guys!

I have been thinking about doing this for a LONG time now. I really wanted to do a day where I posted about education, lessons, free printables, anything educational for the young ones. Even though I stay at home and A attends the Italian school, I still do things with her for her own schooling here at home. The Italian school teachers her in both English and Italian, but there English isn't near as accurate as what she learns at home. With that, I find it very important for me to continue teaching and showing her things to keep her up to date with other American students her age. She is nearly 3 years old. She will be 3 in April, so I wanted to really buckle down and start doing more fun things with her. I thought the best way to inspire myself and others to continue this education or even bring more education into the home would be to share things we see, do, or have done with our children or even in our classrooms. I don't want this to be only for Toddlers and Preschool age. I would love to see it be well rounded through the Elementary ages. Most lessons can be adapted to any age groups anyways, but I thought some collabs and shares from other bloggers, vloggers, or pinners would be a great addition. This will not be a link up, but it can be a collab!

As a collab, I want to see other bloggers, vloggers, and/or pinners submit things. Your things will then be featured on my blog! It's super easy! There are a few ways you can do this.
1. You can blog or vlog about your lessons and/or activities. Then you can post it to your blog. You will need to email me your link, and I will then share it on my blog with your link. I will give you the week that it will be shared so you can let your readers know that it has been featured here.
2. You can write a blog and submit that blog to me. I will then publish your blog for you here. Again, I will let you know when yours will be published so you can let your readers know that you are being featured here.
3. If you already have a great educational post that was posted (at any time), it can be featured. You will need to send the link to me. I will let you know when it will post so you can share it with your readers as well.

This is NOT limited to teachers only. As parents (even day care providers or sitters), we are all educators. If we are with children, chances are we are guiding them to their future. I would love to see a wide range of this here on the blog.

There is also no limits to how many you can submit. I would love to see this continue for as long as we want.

If it becomes a success, I will open up a pinterest board for everyone to pin their ideas to it to keep it growing. I know there are MANY resources with games, activities, lessons, free printables, and more that we can have access to. The more we share those resources, the more education will be brought into our children's lives!

I have a passion for education. It comes from my love for children. I love to see them grow and learn. I love to see their little faces light up when they discover something new. I love to see them make new accomplishments and be so proud of what they have gathered and learned. This happens at ALL ages from infant to grown adults.

Lets share our desire to build our future generations and build a great support system within us.

There are no rules and no limits to who can join this fun. Lets just make it fun! Share with your friends, family, coworkers, etc and lets see what we can do!

Seasonal fun will be posted in preparation for the seasonal time that is approaching. Anything else will fill in the blanks.

I will start the weeks and continue until we start getting additional posts to be featured.

Please email me at Cajunbombshell1 (at) yahoo (dot) com to submit your educational blog, vog, or pin!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Meal Plan: 11/25 - 12/1 including Thanksgiving

This week is a bit different since Thanksgiving is this week. I planned a regular meal plan, but also added in our Thanksgiving plans. Since Mr. Man will be off, I figure that some of the meals will be used for lunches. It should even out since we will do Thanksgiving at a friends and still come home and need to have leftovers or make dinner.

For our regular meal plan:
1. Lemon and Sage Trout
2. Blackeyed Peas and Sausage over Rice
3. Honey Garlic Chicken
4. General Tso's Chicken
5. Minestrone Soup
6. Roast Chicken
7. Soft Tacos

For Thanksgiving we will be going to a friend's house. They are making the turkey and some sides. There are about 5 families invited, so we will be bringing some dishes as well. Some of these dishes will be made for Thanksgiving and the others will be for us to have during Mr. Man's time off for our own little family to-do.

Dishes include:
Maple Carrots
Chicken and Sausage Gumbo with Rice
Potato Salad
Mexican Corn
Pumpkin Bread with Honey Butter
Pumpkin Pie

We don't really have any plans for the holidays. There has been snow in the mountains for the last two weeks, so we are thinking about taking the girls sledding. We are undecided. Arianna still is in school, but we will pull her out on Thanksgiving (Thursday) but send her on Friday. They are doing a fun activity and I really don't want her to miss it since she loves school so much. Other than that, we are going to enjoy some family time and probably prepare for Christmas.

That is my tradition, wrap presents for Christmas during Mr. Man's time off. Hopefully it works out and I get a lot accomplished. I know the girls will hve many more things coming in the mail from family, and I will have to wrap those. Then we need to start thinking about a tree and decorations. You know the typical day after Thanksgiving Christmas decorating. At least that has always been our families' tradition.

I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving week. I would love to hear what your traditional foods are and what you look forward to having on this day!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

What I love most about the fall {in pictures}

The leaves changing colors.

The beautiful colors.

The fun and vibrant decor. 

Pinecones and berries, especially cranberries.

Raking leaves and watching the girls play in them.

All things pumpkin. Going to the pumpkin patch and decorating them.

The start of sweater and scarf weather!

What are your favorite things about Fall?

Friday, November 22, 2013

A comes up with some funny stuff!

Another Toddler Talk!

Conversation #1:
A - "Mommy, A want a baby sister cat."
Mommy - "You would rather a baby sister cat over another baby sister?"
A - "No, no, no, Mommy. A want a baby brother AND a baby sister cat."

She definitely emphasized that AND... :)

Conversation #2:
As we were having a small conversation about A's school day, she randomly makes these statements.
A - "Mommy have sh*t all over the place." (While moving her hands in a circle.)
Mommy - "What did you just say?"
A - "Mommy have mountains of stuff all over the place."
M - "You think so?"
A - "Yeaaaa."
M - "Who taught you that?"
A - "Daddy say that."

Needless to say, I had a BIG talk with Mr. Man over that one. HAHA! But seriously, NOT funny.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Old Navy Haul for Mommy and Toddler

35% additional off at Old Navy, Gap, Banana Republic, and all those other stores connected to them. This is what I stole!

For Mommy:

Bubble Vest

Canvas Coat

Graphic Tees - Love these for working out in.

Graphic Tees

Navy Crew Top

White Top

Flannel PJ Pants

For A:
Hot Pink Tights

PJ Set

White Tights

All for just less than $80!!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Two Year Old Toddler Interview

I sat down with A just a few months after she turned two to ask her these fun little interview questions. I just wanted to document her thoughts on likes at this time in her time. I plan to ask these to her every year to watch her answers change and see how she grows. She is 2, and I'm sure most of you know that two  year olds will change their answers within a split second. For that reason, I asked her each question once and didn't dig too hard. 

1What do you like to draw? Triangles
2. What makes you happy? Daddy... and Mommy... and Baby sister
3. What makes you sad? Tummy ache
4. What makes you laugh? Buttons so funny
5. How old are you? Two, due
6. How old is Mommy? One
7. How old is Daddy? Four
8. What is your favorite thing to do? Go to big girl school. Anna like it.
9. What do you want to be when you grow up? A tractor
10. What are you really good at? Sharing
11. What is your favorite food? Jellyfish Sandwich
12. What is your favorite song? Wheels on the Bus
13. What do you want for your birthday next year? Snails
14. What does daddy do for work? He have to go to work.
15. What does mommy do for work?  Mommy don't have to go to work.
16. Is Mommy an architect? Yea...
17. Where do you live? At my home
18. Where is your favorite place to go? big girl school
19. What is the best part about swimming? Slide down!
20. What is your favorite toy? Blocks or.... animals.
21. What is your favorite thing about bathtime? Bubbles
22. What are your favorite books? Spaceship.
23. What is something Mommy always says to you? I love you.
24. What is something Daddy always says to you? Love you too. 
25. What is love? Mommy and Daddy and Baby sister.... and Buttons.
26. What is your favorite color? Green
Of course I asked A this. Some of her answers have meanings behind them, but most are self explanatory. Jellyfish sandwich is a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. She also eats tuna salad as a sandwich, so one day she mixed the two and it has stuck since. She really does love digging for slugs and snails. Her favorite book Spaceship. She has a couple of books like that about space and astronauts and other things of that sort. She loves tractors and gets excited when she sees them, so when she said she wanted to be a tractor I did have to laugh. She surprised me about sharing, but it is something we have talked about a lot with her since her sister came along. Triangles... she calls all shapes triangles. But in actuality, but most of the time she actually draws circles. 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Meal Plan - October 18 - November 24

This weeks meals are pretty simple. I am keeping with the theme of some crockpot meals to help with nightly routines. It seems to be working well.

Here is what we will be having this week:
1. Blackeyed Peas with Sausage over Rice
2. Meatball Stroganoff
3. Chicken Breast stuffed with asparagus and wrapped in Bacon
4. Crockpot General Tso's Chicken
5. Crockpot Pineapple Salsa Chicken
6. Crockpot Chicken Curry
7. Lemon Sage Trout

This week for groceries including breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner for our family of 4, I spent $90. This also included some carpet cleaning, stain remover, and several smell goods (candles (4), sprays (4), and melts (2)).

Monday, November 18, 2013

A's Modeling Portfolo Updated

Here will be A's modeling portfolio update.

A definitely doesn't get as many bookings as the past because of the increase in her age. Many boutiques like infants and babies, so she definitely has to work for her's. As her mother and photographer, I am ok with that. She has her days where she wants nothing to do with it, but then she has other days where she is all about it.

A is a different kind of girl. I would say she is a typical 2 year old who has her random tempter tantrums. She is more calm and more laid back. But she enjoys more boy-ish things than most little girls her age. Her favorite things are Buzz Lightyear, Spiderman, Iron Man, the Hulk, dinosaurs, playing basketball, and digging for snails and slugs. She loves to play out in the rain and get dirty. You can find her in her rubber boots and running around the yard on any rainy or snowy day. When I pick her up from school, I more often finding her building with blocks, playing with trucks, and building a zoo with all the boys. She is not a picky eater and will try everything. She has found a love for chocolate recently. Probably thanks to Halloween. She is a Daddy's little girl, and never leaves his side. She begs for him in the mornings, and cuddles him all afternoon and into the evenings.

She is getting so big. Her vocabulary and sentence building is pretty impressive. Every day she learns something new. She is starting to speak some Italian, so she blows our mind away fairly frequently. She sings bible songs and other nursery songs in both English and Italian. I'm pretty sure she has even fussed us in Italian as well.... She recently started showing her strong vocal chords... and holy cow. I would say I need me some ear plugs.

She is big! She weighs about 36 lbs and now wears a 3t or 4t in most clothes. She also has started gymnastics recently and loves cutting flips and trying to balance on things.

Here are some pictures of her. I hope you enjoy!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Recipe: Autumn Herbed Chicken with Squash and Fennel

This is such a great fall dish. It requires some prep and pre cooking in the beginning, but then it goes into the crock pot for the remaining of the cooking process. It is incredibly delicious and perfect for this time of year. We even enjoyed it as leftovers, and that is a rare occassion in this house. Mommy tested, and kid and husband approved, too!

Ingredients:3-4 lbs of boneless chicken thighs1/2 cup of all-purpose flour3 tsp of kosher salt1tsp of pepper2 tbsp of olive oil1 fennel bulb cut in thin slices1/2 butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 3/4 inch cubes1 tsp thyme1/2 chicken broth1/2 cup apple juice or cider (I used juice.)1 tsp salt1/4 tsp pepper1/2 tsp rosemary

Directions:In a freezer bag, combine the flour, salt, and pepper. Put the chicken in the bag and shake to coat. 
Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat and brown the chicken. 
Remove and place in the crock pot. Make sure the chicken is on the bottom. 
Add the fennel, onion, and squash. Combine the chicken broth, apple juice, thyme, salt, pepper, and rosemary. Pour over the veggies and chicken. 
Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours or on high for 2.5-3 hours. (I cooked ours on low for 5-6 hours.)

You can also make this a freezer meal. To do so, place the chicken in a large freezer bag. In another large freezer bag, place the fennel, onion, squash, thym, broth, apple juice, salt, pepper, and rosemary. In a small freezer bag,  put the flour, salt, and pepper. On the cooking day, thaw the chicken and follow the directions above! That easy! 

The original recipe was found and adapted from here: Autumn Herbed Chicken with Squash and Fennel

Friday, November 15, 2013

E's Modeling Portfolio Update

We have gotten a lot of new bookings with it being the holiday season. I really don't post many pictures of the girls like I use to, so I thought I would just post random modeling updates of pictures.

This one is for E. She is now 9 months old, and she gets the most bookings between the girls during the cooler months. I'm sure it is because of her age. It's hard to find baby models, especially little girls. E has been modeling since she was 2 months old, and she has always glowed in front of the camera. I absolutely love taking her photo and watching her interact with the camera.

E now has 4 teeth. She loves to eat, and she is very demanding when it comes to things she wants. She eats double what A (her 2 year old sister) eats. Don't take anything away from her or it will be a tempter tantrum from hell.....o. She doesn't like to sleep. She can't stand to be too hot or too cold. She is strictly a boob baby, and I really wish she would take a bottle. She is 14.5 lbs and 27 inches long. She wears mostly 9 month clothes but because of her length, she can pull off 12 months in some pants and dresses. She is very long and skinny. She looks just like her Daddy, but her hair is starting to lighten up like her Momma's.

This is our little girl... our drama queen who has rightfully earned her nickname - Eva Diva. Enjoy!

Come back on Monday to see A's update!