Friday, December 18, 2009

Sweet Potato Protein Pancakes Recipe** Update

Today I'm giving you my recipe for the pancakes I make for my kiddos every morning. It's a bit of a combination of the Pancakes recipe in Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld, and the Better Pancakes recipe in Rachael Ray's Yum-O!, the Family Cookbook (my awesome mil gave me this one for X-Mas ... thanks Betty!).

I thought Deceptively Delicious missed an opportunity with the Pancakes recipe to slip more protein in the pancakes by using a pancake mix that requires eggs. Yum-O's recipe beefed up the protein, but didn't add the sweet potato. I'm doing both.

By the way, sweet potatoes are just one of the best foods you can have in your diet. They ROCK. I eat them with dinner instead of white potatoes. You can read a good little article on them here. One of the reasons I like them in the kids' breakfast is because they don't spike up your blood sugar and are a good steady source of energy.

I'm always running late, so I like to whip up the batter at night and throw it in the fridge (this recipe makes enough for 2 days for my kids, so I just cook what I need and throw the bowl back in the fridge for the next morning). You can also cook the pancakes ahead of time and put them in the fridge or freezer.

Here's what you need:
2 cups Aunt Jemima pancake mix (make sure you get the kind that requires eggs)**Update: I've slowly been mixing in the Aunt Jemima Whole Wheat Blend pancake mix. No one has noticed. Right now I'm using 1/2 cup Whole Wheat mix and 1 1/2 cup regular. Each week I'm adding another 1/4 cup. The cinnamon in the recipe hides the whole wheat and the sweet potato**
1 cup Milk
3 Eggs
1 or 2 4oz. jars of Sweet Potato baby food (I use two jars or one big jar, and Yes, I'm cheating and it's just as good!)
1 tsp Cinnamon
Smart Balance Light Spread (This brand is one of the healthier spreads)

Here's what you do:
In a large mixing bowl, mix together pancake mix, milk, eggs, 1 or 2 jars of baby food (you might want to start with 1 jar if your kids are picky like mine, and then try more next time) and cinnamon. Mix until combined, and add more milk to get to consistency you like. Put a little bit of spread on hot pan, pour 1/4 cup batter for each pancake. Cook until little bubbles start to form on tops and then flip. Cook until light golden brown.
I like to give my kids a little bowl with the amount of syrup I want them to use, instead of letting them drench the pancakes in syrup. Dipping and not drenching. It's easier to keep it under control that way. I'm not a big fan of syrup. I just saw a recipe in Southern Living for honey-butter syrup ... You mix 1/3 cup butter with 1/2 cup honey (I used Healthy Balance Regular Spread and honey). It's not that low fat or low sugar, but it's real food and so much better than fake health food (ex. Hungry Jack Lite syrup which has High Fructose Corn Syrup as the first ingredient!! That stuff is SOOOO bad for you).
I've been Healthy Girl lately, so this is what I fixed up for me.
Good food isn't so bad. I like to have 2 egg yolks and 3 egg whites, scrambled. Just to the right of these beautiful eggs is a cute teenager looking at me like I'm a freak because I'm photographing breakfast.
I throw some spinach in my eggs while they are cooking. Chopped mushrooms are good too. Easy on the salt. If you need more flavor add a little bit of salsa when you're done cooking them. In addition to the eggs, I like to have either a bowl of oatmeal (banana is an AWESOME sweetener) or 2 pieces of whole grain toast with Smart Balance Light and sugar free jam.
Oops, this probably isn't on the healthy list. It's low sugar though. ;-)

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Saturday, December 5, 2009

My New Flip

I got fed up with my old video recorder. I was trying to record the Girl's first high school drama production and the disk in the recorder wouldn't format. No video. Grrrrrr.

So I went to Tarjaaay and bought a Flip. It's so easy to use ... I love it. I felt bad about spending the money at first, but I really haven't taken videos of my kids for years because I couldn't figure out how to format the stupid CDs. That's stupid. Now I just wish I had bought an HD Flip. Oh well. I still love it.

Bye Bye stupid CDs. Bye Bye transferring videos. (And since I never really figured out how to transfer videos ... ) Bye Bye box of little CDs, big tapes, little tapes - videos of my kids that I can't watch because I don't know what the heck to do with them.

I just plugged my Flip right into the computer. The computer downloaded the videos to my pictures directory. Done. Burn it to a cd for my family. Done. OMGoodness, I'm almost high on how easy that is. No more video stress. Get one people.

So, for your viewing pleasure, my first video of our beautiful morning surprise.

Have a happy day, friends, and wish us lots and lots of snow. Maybe we'll get a great Christmas card out of it!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

I Painted Some Pine Furniture

With a little inspiration from Edie and Nester, I painted an old pine table I had.

I knew it was old, ugly and dirty, but the plant I kept on the top hid the ugliness a little bit. I just about died when I looked at the photo I took because I just didn't realize how bad it was. I bought this table 10 years ago, and don't really want to buy new furniture right now.

So first I painted it creamy white. I wasn't liking the color or the rust colored hardware. It just wasn't working for me.

So after the layer of white, I painted a pale blue.

I distressed the whole thing with my electric sander.

I also took the hardware right off and spray painted it with flat black to give it an iron look.

The above photo shows my laziness. See, at the top, I didn't paint underneath the lid. My guests don't open it up so I'm not going to waste any more time on it.

I finished it by rubbing on some Miniwax Finishing Wax Paste. It gives a little color to the wood spots. It also gives a little shine, because that pine wood can be really dry especially after I ran a sander over it, and protects the wood from moisture.
Next, I'm going to tackle my pine bedroom furniture. Here is my inspiration at Pottery Barn. I love the bright red furniture with pale blue walls!

On a sidenote, I stripped my lovely vinyl floor in the room with the table and polished it with this stuff. Can you see the spot I missed? That's how shiny the polish gets this floor. You just wipe it on, too. It's not hard work. Strip the floor first to get TONS of dirt out of it.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Raingutter Bookshelf

Tonight I made a bookshelf out of a raingutter! Woohooo, it was sooo easy.

I got the idea from Jim Trelease's website on reading. Here is his article on why using raingutters to hold books is a fab idea. Side note: One of the absolute, hands-down best things you can do for your kids' education is help them to love reading. I have his book The Read Aloud Handbook, and I recommend it.
Here is the before picture. We just had the carpet replaced, and I am in the process of putting everything away. I was just too lazy to pretend like my house is clean tonight.

Another shot of the finished product. Aren't books so much more inviting when you can see the beautiful covers? My little one doesn't read the spines. But these books almost call to you when you walk by.

I bought the hooks that are designed for the raingutters, but they go over the top and not under the bottom and I didn't like the way it looked. So I just screwed the thing right into the wall. I could only find one wood stud, so i started there, I put another screw into a drywall anchor, and 2 more screws right into the wall. I think it will hold up nicely, unless a kid tries to stand on it or something. I also bought 2 endcaps.

And for your reading pleasure, here are some of my favorite books:

Dav Pilkey is the best author. Not just because he wrote a book about Captain Underpants, stupid bunnies, dirty diapers and Corgis (which are the dogs I have) . . .

. . . but the Ricky Ricotta's Mighty Robot series is one of the absolute best for young readers who are in that transition time between picture books and chapter books. They can decode the words, but they still aren't mature enough to read a book without pictures on every page. Ricky Ricotta is a chapter book, but the chapters are fast and there are pictures everywhere. My son LOVES that. It is important for a young reader to believe that he or she can read, and they can get a big sense of accomplishment from reading a book like this. It propels them into reading the more difficult chapter books.

At the end of the Ricky Ricotta books, it shows the reader, step-by-step, how to draw two characters in the book. My son has a lot of difficulty with fine motor skills, so I was really shocked when he broke out the pencil and drew the pictures. I love you Dav.

Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss and Bonnie Timmons, and Skippyjon Jones by Judy Schachner. Now, when you read Skippyjon, you have to go for it and read it in a fun way.

An All-Time favorite by Berkeley Breathed, Mars Needs Moms!

If you want to go check out a raingutter bookshelf tutorial, here's one at Raising Olives. But I say, bolt that thing to the wall.

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Theory of Decorativity

Theory of Decorativity: No. of Paint Swatches = Husband Torture Squared
I won't bore you with all the gory details, but let's just say the husband torture at Casa Jones has involved painting, is the paint color right? discussions, love the paint color, scaffold, a suggestion by Mr. Jones that we replace one small room of nasty carpet since we were already moving huge furniture to paint, a buy 1 get 2 rooms free carpet sale, entire contents of upstairs being boxed up and relocated to dining room and living room, new carpet not looking good with paint color, search for entirely new paint color, arguing with Home Depot paint guy about whether he gave me the color I asked for (he did), starting over on the paint.
While I was clearing out the contents of our bedrooms from our living room today, I decided to make a small change.
These white shades that the previous owners of our house installed have driven me a little nuts over the years. Like an annoying little grain of sand. (The owners, by the way, had white walls, white shades on all windows and white carpet. It was like a hospital. It could have been worse though, like obnoxious colors on the walls and floors).

They are ugly, boring, and are installed over the beautiful molding. The jewelry of the window covered up!

And little gnats fly in there in the summer and get stuck. How do you get that out?!! Say hello to one of my little friends:

So I finally took them off this morning.

I think this looks a lot better.

No one else may ever notice, but I do and it's my house and I look at it every day.

It's not a bedroom, so it doesn't need complete privacy. A little see through is ok. Let's see how long it takes Mr. Jones to notice.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Who Said It? **Updated

I have been cleaning out stacks of books in my bedroom today, and found a book of quotes and speeches of one of my
I picked out a few excerpts which seem to be pertinent to the current health care debate, the bailout of Wall Street, hatred and weapons at town hall meetings and political fighting. These quotes also sum up my political point of view.

"As long as there is poverty in the world I can never be rich, even if I have a billion dollars. As long as diseases are rampant and millions of people in this world cannot expect to live more than twenty-eight or thirty years, I can never be totally healthy even if I just got a good checkup at Mayo Clinic. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the way our world is made. No individual or nation can stand out boasting of being independent. We are interdependent."

"It is still one of the tragedies of human history that the 'children of darkness' are frequently more determined and zealous than the 'children of light.'"

"All too many of those who live in affluent America ignore those who exist in poor America; in doing so, the affluent Americans will eventually have to face themselves with the question that Eichmann chose to ignore: How responsible am I for the well-being of my fellows? To ignore evil is to become an accomplice to it."

"Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend."

Does anyone know who said this?

**Wow, I can't believe it took me so long to update this post! I always think I will do more blogging during the summer (and get my todo list knocked out), but the opposite happens. I typically get less then nothing done every year.

Yes, you are all correct ... Martin Luther King, Jr. is the answer. I have a book of quotes and speeches by MLK and I just love it.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Great Parenting Books for Parents

A couple from our church started a new website for parents, called FamilyIntel, and it's free (they get money from advertisers).

Basically, they give summaries of parenting books. I browsed through their summaries quickly, and just might read Keep the Siblings, Lose the Rivalry since the Jones kids are squabbling ALL THE TIME!

Or how about A Chicken's Guide to Talking Turkey With Your Kids About Sex, since I'm a big, fat chicken. Buck, buck.

Wild Things: The Art of Nurturing Boys looks good, too. To be honest, all the books look good. And the summaries go way beyond the little summaries you find at Amazon.

You can also get an e-mail to be notified when more summaries are posted.

Here's a clip from their website:

"FamilyIntel equips busy families with practical, actionable intelligence to meet the parenting and marriage challenges they face each day. We summarize significant parenting, marriage, and family relationship books and put the key points into quick, easy-to-understand digests. Our book summaries help hurried families who want intelligent solutions from leading experts on raising children and building strong, healthy family relationships. "

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Painting a Closet and Fave Painting Tools

I'm painting the closet in the Girl's room today (here's the first one I painted, and you can see my other posts on her room here and here), along with a mirror and this desk to go in the closet to be used as a makeup table.

I might actually finish a room.

Dare to dream.

I thought I would share a few of my fave painting tools with you:
I bought this plastic thingy that pops onto the top of the paint can and makes pouring it out easy and it keeps the can clean. The reason you see paint dripping all over the side of the can is because the we did not use the plastic pouring thingy the first time we used this can of paint.
You need a paint brush to paint the corners, but it got to be a pain trying to paint all around the metal shelf in the closet, so I also used my favorite painting tool: A mini foam roller. It's awesome for painting furniture, too. It makes painting inside cabinets and drawers a lot easier.
Mr. Jones and I do not like to clean painting supplies, so we use disposable tray liners, and we throw away the rollers (not the frame, just the foam part). It will take you forever to rinse out a roller . . . I've tried. One thing we do not throw away is the drop cloth. Don't buy the plastic ones. Fork out $8 for a drop cloth at Walmart and use it over and over and over. It's better for the environment people. Yes, I know that doesn't really jive with all the disposable liners and rollers that we toss, but no one's perfect.
So what do you do when you have to let the first coat dry and you don't want to rinse everything? Wrap it all up in plastic wrap. Put a sheet over the paint in the pan, too. Beeeeee lazy. I'm such a lazy painter, that I might not even paint the 2nd coat. I'm going to wait for the 1st coat to dry and see what I can get away with. It is just a closet after all. And I've NEVER painted primer on a wall.
Last thing you might want to consider doing is wearing gloves. Just sayin'.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Dr. Seuss Bags!

Get yourselves to a Target Dollar Spot, ladies, STAT. Look at this cuteness! I love, love, love Dr. Seuss. These are shopping bags I found at Target today. They had buttons, pencils, pens, and little notepads with book covers. I had to control myself. Because they weren't the expensive $2.50 items. Nooooooo, my friend, they were one buck.

What could you do with these? Baby shower. Teacher gifts. Birthday parties. A gift for the librarian. Dr. Seuss's birthday. Anything I'm forgetting?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Windows Vista Issue with Downloading Photos

I have a new computer, new software, latest Windows service packs installed, yet I just wasted 2 hours of my life, for the 2,654th time, trying to figure out the answer to a Windows glitch. Since I'm sure there are more people out here who have had the exact same issue, I will share the information 2 hours of my life purchased.

Today's Glitch:

My computer does not recognize my camera anymore. I have downloaded photos to my computer several times in the past, but all of a sudden it doesn't work. Could this be because I downloaded and installed Service Pack 2? When I go to Control Panel, Device Manager, Portable Devices, I get the following error message: "Windows cannot start this hardware device because its configuration information (in the registry) is incomplete or damaged. (Code 19) Click 'Check for solutions' to send data about this device to Microsoft and to see if there is a solution available." Of course, checking for solutions gave me no solutions. A search of the internet told me that people with different camera manufacturers are having an identical problem.


So if you are currently pulling your hair out, here is what I did to fix it. It is an easy solution: I uninstalled the device and then reinstalled it.

Make sure your camera is plugged into the computer. Go to Control Panel, Device Manager and Portable devices, right click on the camera and choose Uninstall. After that is finished, go into the Action menu at the top and choose “Scan for hardware changes” to reinstall the device. This was fast and completely fixed the problem.

If you have the same issue, and you tried this solution, let me know how it worked for you.

One more thing . . .

While typing this post, all of a sudden Windows didn't recognize my wireless network. Happens to me every once in a while. It wants me to do a new install of my network. Instead, I have to reboot my computer and the network magically appears.

Why haven't I switched to a Mac yet?

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Back From a Break

Hello Internets.I'm back. I hadn't intended on taking a break from blogging, but the end of the school year is always excessively busy. And I volunteered to help too many people. Yikes, I hate it when I do that. When I get too busy, the wheels come off in a big way.
It all snowballs, and then I start avoiding everything altogether.
Does anyone else have this problem?
How has your summer been so far?
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