3 Ingredient Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cookies

      My friend hosted a Pinterest party.  For the party, everyone is suppose to make and bring a food item they found on Pinterest to share with everyone else.  I looked on my Halloween Pinterest board and I didn't find anything that I really wanted to make or had time for.  I remembered one of my favorite fall cookies and decided to make them instead.  I love these chocolate chip pumpkin cookies for many reasons.  

(1.) They are so simple 
(2.) They only take 3 ingredients 
(3.) They are the perfect Fall and Halloween treat
(4.)They taste delicious
(5.) They are so moist
I started these cookies an hour before the party and they were done before I had to leave!  


15 oz. can of pumpkin puree
1 spice cake mix
1-2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (depends how much chocolate you like in your cookies)


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Mix pumpkin puree and spice cake mix together.  Stir in chocolate chips.
3. Place spoonful of dough on  greased baking sheets. 
4. Bake for 8-10 minutes.
5. Remove from oven and let cool.

Simple as that!

Banana Cream Pudding Pie

I love easy desserts.  It isn't worth it to me to spend half the day slaving away in the kitchen to make a yummy treat.  It seems like whenever I make a dessert that takes a long time and dirties a lot of dishes, I am exhausted afterwards and am not really able to enjoy the treat.    In the past I would feel more accomplished and a better homemaker if I made desserts 100% from scratch and spent a lot of time in the kitchen making it.  I am getting smarter the older I get, and I now realize that my time is precious and you don't have to make everything from scratch to have food taste delicious.  The simplicity and taste of this banana cream pudding pie is what makes this dessert so perfect.  Banana cream pudding pie takes less than 10 minutes to make and not much longer to set.  

   2 Bananas
   Ready Graham Cracker Crust
   5.1 oz (large) box Instant banana cream pudding
   2 cups Milk
   Whip Cream

   Slice bananas and put a layer of bananas on the bottom of the ready Graham Cracker crust.  Prepare banana cream pudding as directed on the box.  Pour instant pudding into crust, on top of bananas.  Refrigerate until firm (about 20 minutes).  You can put sliced bananas on top of the pie right before you serve if you would like. Top with whip cream.

That's all?  Yep!  You now only have one pan, one spoon, and one knife to wash.  :)  You also probably have some extra time to yourself with your kids.

What are your favorite simple desserts?          

Birthday Pancakes

For my son's first birthday we wanted to do something special for breakfast.  My creative husband came up with a birthday cake pancake.  He put the pancake batter into a plastic squirt bottle and took the lid off and poured the pancake batter on the frying pan.  Once the pancake was cooked we put homemade strawberry jam on the candle.  We used a slice of banana for the candle's flame.

Our little one admiring his pancake.  
He loved his birthday breakfast.

Spend Quality time with your young children and babies with these Free Activities

I have always been a very busy gal.  I have a hard time sitting down and relaxing.  Even if I am sitting in front of the television, I have to be do something else like folding laundry.  I taught second grade for 4 years and 2 weeks before my first son was born.  As a teacher you never have a moment to sit down.  You are teaching, moving all over the classroom helping and interacting with students, or gathering materials for upcoming lessons.  Once my son was born I had to learn that it is okay to not be moving constantly.  With a newborn that really just naps, lays around, and cuddles, I learned that it is necessary and okay to just sit and relax.  It is also critical that we spend lots of quality time with our little ones.  However, I am not one to just sit around.  I have a really hard time staying in my house all day.  I need fresh air, people interaction, and a change of scenery.  Also, my little guy is and always has been a busy, social, and active boy.  He must get that from his momma.  Although, as a child I was as shy as can be.  After a few months, I got really bored and tired of staying at home and having zero interaction with the world.  My husband is always busy studying or at school and my days started to drag on and I knew we needed change.  We needed social interactions, fresh air, change of scenery, exercise, and quality time together.  That's when I started coming up with things to do; me, as a new mom and my busy baby.  Here are some great activities to do with your baby or young children to keep your spirits high, stay active, interact with others, and spend quality time together. Another bonus, they are free!

1.  Library: I knew there were story times for young children, but did you know there are baby classes too!  At many libraries they have "Mommy and Me" story time.  Babies come with an adult for lap time.  We sing, have a short story, and then there is playtime.  This is a great way for parents to learn songs and activities to do at home with their baby/toddler.  It is also a good way for babies to start to learn how to play with other children and a great time for moms to socialize with other moms.  

2. Walks: Walks are phenomenal.  When my son was a newborn he would have moments during the day when he cried a lot.  Walks always calmed him down.  They were a great opportunity for me to spend time with my son but also have some time to "myself", get some exercise, and be outside.

3.  Parks: Many parks are for older children.  But there are quite a few that have infant swings.  Most babies love to swing.  I know my little guy does.  Slides are also fun for little ones to go down.  If your baby is too small to slide down, have him or her go down with you.  I love sliding down with my son and watching his huge smile.  Even just sitting on the grass for your infant to feel the grass, hear the birds chirp, see the dogs go by, and watch the kids play is a great learning opportunity and fun refreshing experience.

4. Malls: Many malls have play areas for kids.  These are great because they have cushioned floors (at least all the ones I've been to) to protect your child as they are developing motor skills.  Many of these play areas have small slides, tunnels, things to climb on, mirrors, and other interactive activities.  They are enclosed to help keep track of your kids.  I know it can get challenging with more than one child to keep an eye on.  The mall is a great option once the temperatures drop and the weather becomes gloomy.  You can also bring the stroller along and go for a walk in the mall.  Many malls open early for people to walk around.  This is a great way to get some exercise once the weather isn't optimal.  

5. Play Groups: My son is the only child.  He is also the only grandchild on both sides.  Thus, he doesn't have a lot of interaction with other children unless I put forth the effort.  My little guy is a social boy.  He loves interacting with other children and gets so excited when he sees other kids to play with.  Once I realized how much my son (12 months) loved to play with other kids I decided to start a play group.  I handed out flyers to friends and people at church.  I set a specific day and time each week.  We meet at the same park for a few weeks and then go to another park.  Once the weather gets to cold we will meet at our church.  You could also meet at someone's house.  Play groups are great for children to have the opportunity to play with other children their similar ages and for moms to get some girl time too.  

6.  Exercise Groups: When my son was about 6 months old I started going to a dance/aerobic class at our church.  Another mom started and taught the class.  Women were invited to come for an hour to exercise while the children played in the back of the gym or did tummy time on the side.  I loved this opportunity to exercise, get out of the house, and my son loved seeing other babies and watching other children play.

7. Wheeler Farm: Wheeler Farm is a farm that is free to go to and is open every day of the year.  You are free to walk around and look at all their animals.  They also have a park and area to eat lunch.  Their address is 6351 South 900 East, Salt Lake City, UT.  Check out Wheeler Farm's Website.


8.  Outside Play Time: Take your baby outside and let him or her sit on a blanket or in a high chair.  Blow bubbles, play with a ball, or let him or her finger paint.

I hope we will all put forth a little more effort to spend quality time with our little ones.  It is important that we do things with them that helps them learn and develop.

If you have any other great ideas of what to do with your baby or young children, please comment and share! 

Quiet Book Cover

I had a really hard time trying to figure out how to make the cover for my quiet book.  I had all of my pages completed for almost a year, before binding them.  I bought a plastic binder that is flimsy/bendable.  I then cut out material and sewed it to make a binder cover.  This way the cover of the quiet book is cute and I can still change out the pages of the quiet book if I ever want or need to.  


Check out the finished product
and all of the individual pages.

Colorful Fruit Kabobs

I absolutely love fruit.  I think I passed on my love of fruit to my son who is now one years old.  For his birthday I wanted to have a variety of fruit.  Fruit kabobs are a great party food.  They are easy for guests to grab and go and no utensils are required.  They are simple to make.  Just wash and cut up fruit, and put on a skewer.  It's just that easy.

Some great fruits to use are:
* cantolope
* watermelon
* whole grapes
* quartered strawberries
* pineapple
* kiwis
* blueberries

Stay at home MOMS, full time working MOMS, and part time working MOMS I admire all of you!


   A few weeks ago I chatted with a grandmother that I had just met.  Her daughter just gave birth to her second child.   This grandmother asked me what I did for work.  I told her that I taught 2nd grade for 4 years and once my son was born I decided to stay home with him.  She asked me, "Why?"  I told her, "I've always wanted to be a stay at home mom .  It's important to me.  It was really hard for me to go to work everyday and not be with my son.  It was also exhausting being a full time teacher and mom.  I found it hard to feel accomplished and successful in both areas."   

      After my comment the grandmother said, "Well, MY daughter IS a VERY hard worker.  She is going to college, working, and now has two children."  I showed her my amazement that her daughter was able to do all of that.  I really am amazed at people that can balance all of that.  Throughout our conversation it seemed like she thought I was a lazy person because I am "just" a stay at home mom. 

     In today's society it seems like people are very judgmental of other's decisions and life choices.  Some people judge working mom's because they aren't with their children.  Other's judge stay at home mom's because they don't have a fulfilling and successful career.  The judgments can go on and on and on.  I have had a full time job outside of the home as a single women, women with a boyfriend, engaged women,  married women, and women with a child.  I have also been a stay at home mom and a mom with a part time job (just a few hours a week).  None of them are easy.  They each come with the need for careful juggling and balance.  No matter what stage you are in your life, things are difficult.  You can't judge how women choose to work.  Everyone has different life circumstances, finances, and opportunities.  

     I taught 2nd grade for four full years.  Right before my first year of teaching I went on my first date with an amazing guy who is now my husband.  He was a student at Brigham Young University.  A year and a half later we were married.  We have been married for 3 1/2 years now and he is still a student.  Being married to a college student isn't always the easiest.  My husband spends long hours studying and attending school.  With his heavy and vigorous work load he isn't able to work.  We have decided that it is best for him to get done as quick as possible and then he can work.  I have always wanted to be a stay at home mom.  I never considered any other options.  When I was pregnant with my son and my husband was still in school the decision to be a stay at home mom became more difficult to make.  I knew I wanted to stay at home with my son, but with my husband being a student it worried me.  I wasn't sure if this goal of ours was plausible.  However, I couldn't even imagine having to go to work everyday and send my precious little one to a babysitter or daycare.  After lots of considerations, research, and talking with family and friends we decided stop teaching and for me to stay home with our little one.  I started my 5th year teaching a month before my due date.  Two weeks after the first day of school, our precious son Rylan was born.  I took my maternity leave for a few months and then returned back to school to teach for a month.  I finished being a 2nd grade teacher right before Christmas break and became a full time mommy.  I know, this seems crazy.  Why did I start a new school year to only teach for a short period?  I had to in order for my insurance to cover medical bills.  

Being a full time mom is awesome!  It is so great to be able to watch my child learn and grow; to be with him every step of the way.  I love to take him different places and allow him to explore, make friends, and experience the world.  I am able to feel like I can get household chores done, without being overly exhausted.  Being a stay at home mom has always been my top priority.  I knew that's what I wanted to do when my children were young.  However, while on maternity leave and now that I am a stay at home mom, I realized that it isn't as great as it may always seem.  Sometimes having to spend all the time with your children can be exhausting.  It can be hard to get quality "me time."   It can also get monotonous doing the same household chores.  There are days when I don't want to have to scrub the floor under my son's highchair one more time.  Being a stay at home with young children, you don't get as much interaction with other adults.  You also don't get much positive feedback on how you are doing.  As a stay at home mom, that positive feedback isn't the same as working.  

Being a full time worker and mom is exhausting.  I found benefits to being able to work while having a baby. Besides the benefit of having a paycheck, you get a "break" from mommy duties, get some positive feedback from outside the home, and get daily social interactions with others.  It is so exhausting though and difficult emotionally.  It's hard to give 100 % focus on your paid job, when your mind continually wants to focus on your children.  It's hard having to wake up extra early to get yourself ready, kids ready, drop them off somewhere else, go to work, pick kids up, make dinner, do a few household chores, and spend time with your children.  Oh ya, good luck finding a few moments for yourself.  I remember often falling asleep at like 7 pm holding my baby.  It was tiring.  I loved my job as a teacher and I loved my baby.  I didn't love having to balance them both.  Some people are much better at this balancing act.  

Being a full time mommy and being able to go to work a few hours each week is refreshing and perfect.  I was able to spend quality time with my son everyday.  My husband was home for me to work a few hours.  I had the chance to get out of the house and have some interaction with others, feel accomplished and get a little bit of money.  I didn't have to feel any guilt leaving my child as he got some great alone time with daddy.  I don't have a chance to currently work, but I now volunteer outside the home a little each week.  It's the same feeling, without a paycheck :) 

Whether you are a stay at home mom, full time working mom, or part time working mom I admire all of you.  There is nothing easy about being a mom or paid employee.  We need to judge less and love more.  We need to appreciate what other women are positively doing.  If a mom chooses to work so that her children can have clothes to wear and food to eat, awesome!  If a mom chooses to stay home to raise her children, fantastic.  If a mom has enough money to live on her husband's paycheck, but chooses to work because she becomes a better mom when she get some time outside the home, wonderful!   Let's support other mom's and help lift them up.  Motherhood is such a fulfilling, but difficult type of work.  Celebrate mom's and the good they are doing in this world!

What are your thoughts? 

Freezer Breakfast Burritos

I'm lucky enough to have awesome aunts.  One of my aunts lives nearby and has an amazing garden.  I got a ton of vegetables from her garden including squash, tomatillos, green peppers, green chilies, tomatoes, zucchinis, and egg plant.  After canning a batch of delicious salsa and chili sauce, I still had lots of vegetables left over and couldn't eat them fast enough.  They were starting to go bad.  I took inventory of my stuffed refrigerator and came up with a way to stock my empty freezer- Freezer Breakfast Burritos.  These were so simple to make and so tasty.
I have always been one to follow a recipe exactly and don't like to have to experiment when making food.  However, through experience I am learning that most of the time when cooking there are so many ways to make a meal taste delicious and if you don't have all the ingredients, just improvise.  That's exactly what I did when making these breakfast burritos.  I pulled off all the veggies off my counter that needed to be used ASAP and grabbed things out of my refrigerator that would be good in a breakfast burrito.

The indigents included:
* Tomatoes
* Green peppers
* Green chilies
* Onions
* Cilantro
* Avocado (we had lots leftover from dinner that we needed to use up)
* Sausage (I bought a ton at Winco from $1/ pound- always check the meat that is reduced for quick sale)
* Hamburger (which was left over from tacos)
* Eggs (I used 1 1/2 dozen)
* Shredded Cheese
* Tortillas (I used 16)
* Hashbrowns/potatoes (I didn't use these, but I would next time)

The ingredients aren't that important.  Just use what you have and what you like.  For those who have a garden, this is a great way to use your garden vegetables.

1.  Saute peppers, chilies, and onions.  Cook meat.  Combine sauteed vegetables and meat.  Then add eggs. Scramble all together.  Once the eggs are almost done, add tomatoes, cilantro, avocados, or any vegetable that doesn't need to be sauteed.  When everything is cooked to perfection, add cheese.  Let mixture cool completely.   Scoop desired amount in tortillas.  Wrap tortillas up into a burrito.  Then wrap burritos in tin foil or saran wrap.  Place in large freezer bags.  Enjoy frozen breakfast burritos for days to come.  You can place burritos in the oven or microwave.  We cooked the frozen breakfast burrito in the microwave for 1 minute.  They are a great on the go breakfast food.

My husband was in a hurry to school this morning.  I grabbed a breakfast burrito out of the freezer.  Unwrapped the foil and cooked the burrito for 1 minute.  Wrapped it with a paper towel and sent my husband on his way.  I got a phone call from him a few minutes later saying that it was amazing.  His only suggestion for improvement was to add potatoes next time.