Friday, February 28, 2014

Peanut Butter Lover's Day

Peanut Butter Lovers Day is  Saturday, March 1st!
This is definitely a day to celebrate! I love peanut butter! Reese’s peanut butter cups are my absolute favorite candy!

So I’m going to share my favorite ways to eat peanut butter. First is my favorite dessert centered around the delicious staple.

Peanut Butter Cup Brownie Trifle

I think the name says it all. This is the most delectable dessert dish I have ever made. It combines peanut butter, brownies, whipped cream and pudding. You really can’t get any better than that. But, boy is it rich. Just a small serving and you feel like you've eaten a whole carton of ice cream or something.
The first time I made this for a family function everyone went crazy for it! I made it for our July 4th party and have been asked to make it every year since. There is rarely anything left by the end of the night.
I am going to share with you all, this delicious, heavenly recipe!

Peanut Butter Cup Brownie Trifle
1 Fudge Brownie mix (13x9 pan size)
1 pkg. (10 oz.) Peanut Butter Chips
2 pkgs (13 oz. each) Miniature peanut butter cups

4 cups cold 2% milk
2 pkgs (5.1 oz. each) instant vanilla pudding
1 cup creamy peanut butter
4 tsp vanilla extract
3 cartons (8 oz. each) frozen whipped topping, thawed.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare brownie batter according to package directions; stir in peanut butter chips. Bake in greased 13x9 baking pan 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near center comes out with moist crumbs (do not over bake). Cool on wire rack; cut into ¾ inch pieces.
Cut peanut butter cups in half; set aside 1/3 cup for garnish. In a large bowl, whisk milk and pudding mixes for 2 minutes (mixture will be thick). Add peanut butter and vanilla, mix well. Fold in 1-1/2 cartons of whipped topping.
Place 1/3 of brownies on bottom of a 5qt glass trifle dish, top with 1/3 remaining peanut butter cups. Spoon 1/3 pudding mixture over the top. Repeat layers twice. Cover with remaining whipped topping and; garnish with reserved peanut butter cups. Refrigerate until chilled.

Next up are my top 5 snack ideas using Peanut Butter.
         *Warning: Many of these would not be considered “healthy” snacks, but more of a treat to be eaten occasionally!

1              Peanut butter/chocolate chip dip: Just take a spoonful (or two) of peanut butter and put it in a bowl with a handful of chocolate chips. Then heat in the microwave until the peanut butter is melted but the chips are still semi solid (30-40 sec.). This can be eaten with just about anything, Apples (I like the green apples for a sweet and sour effect), Graham Crackers, Strawberries, etc. My daughter loves it when she sees me mixing this up.

2              Celery and Peanut Butter. This is an all-time favorite. My daughter and husband love these. Super easy to just spread some peanut butter on the celery and snack away. Great for a kids after school snack or I like to serve them when I make chicken salad sandwiches since I usually have some celery left over.

3              Peanut Butter and Honey sandwiches. My husband made fun of me the first time I made these. He had never heard of anyone making a sandwich out of just those two ingredients. But guess what? Now he is hooked! And since my daughter doesn’t like any jelly or jam, she requests this instead of PB&J. Peanut butter and honey make an awesome combination. You could even throw in bananas to make it a bit healthier!

4              Peanut butter on waffles/pancakes! Peanut butter tastes so good on pancakes and waffles. Especially if you make chocolate chip pancakes! This is our favorite breakfast!

5              Just a plain old spoonful of peanut butter! Who seriously has not done this? I have eaten just plain peanut butter off a spoon since I was a kid, and my daughter loves it, too. She often asks for a spoonful of peanut butter to snack on.

Well those are my favorite peanut butter recipes and snacks. They may not all be super healthy, but it’s nice to have a treat every once in a while. We are definitely going to have at least one of these to celebrate this awesome day!
What are your favorite recipes/snacks using peanut butter, healthy or indulgent?

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

5 Goals Update

So it has been one month since I posted about my “5 Goals to a Happier Life in 2014”, and I wanted to give an update on my progress with those.
Some things I have done pretty well on and others, not so much. But it’s only been one month and I think any progress is good!

So I posted that I wanted to lose 30lbs by the end of June and I had set a goal to lose about 5 pounds a month. Well I FAILED! In January I didn’t lose a single pound. I was lazy and didn’t even really try. So to give myself a little more motivation I decided to try a reward and penalty. For every month that I meet my goal, I get to reward myself with a new outfit. And every time I don’t reach my goal I then have to divide my remaining weight for the month to the remaining months. So since I didn’t lose any weight last month, I now have to lose either 10 pounds this month or more realistically 6 pounds a month for the next 5 months. I have also changed my mindset of why I want to lose weight. I’m not just doing this for me. I’m also doing this for my wonderful husband, because he deserves to have a beautiful, healthy, happy and confident wife. Not that he doesn’t tell me I’m still beautiful, but I definitely don’t feel it!

Now, I have done much better when comes to my goal of paying our bills on time and sticking to a budget. I have gotten on a schedule of paying the next month’s bills ahead of time to avoid them being late. Since we literally live payday to payday (more like payday to 5 days before payday!) it has been difficult to get all of our bills paid on time. But anytime we have some extra money I make sure to pay some bills ahead of time. That way we aren’t so short on money at other times.

I had set a goal to work on my relationship with my husband, and this has definitely not been easy! Mainly due to the fact that we live on completely opposite schedules. You see, he works the graveyard shift. So he goes in to work @ 9 pm and doesn’t usually get home until after 8 am and he works 5-6 days a week. So that leaves a 1-2 days a week where we get to be together after the kids go to bed. And usually by that time we are both so tired we don’t have to energy to even stay up and watch a movie! We ended up not having our monthly date night in January, but we are going to try to have at least two this month. We had a spontaneous date last Saturday. We were deciding what to have for dinner and decided to ask my MIL to babysit for a couple hours. We went to Costa Vida for the first time and loved it!! It was so nice to have some adult alone time!! Hopefully we will be able to go on another date next payday.

For my cleaning goal, I started a weekly schedule. I’m not super great at following it every day, but it has definitely helped me keep the cleaning manageable. I have one main cleaning chore that I do each day, then I make sure to do the dishes and de-clutter the front room every night. I have gotten better at making the Princess pick up her toys every night to help. I also made sure to leave the weekends free of specific chores and one day during the week to use as a sort of “make-up” day so that if for some reason I didn’t get one or more of the chores done I have time to get them done before the weekend. But I can also use that day as a “day off” if I need it, too. It has also helped with my motivation that the missionaries come over every Saturday. So I have to at least clean on Saturday if not any other day.

I have been able to spend more one on one time with my daughter. We have played her games like, Hungry Hippos, Candy Land, and Cupcake Party. As well as computer games on I have some folder games that she loves to play and we started going to the library. The games have turned into a lesson for both of us about patience. She has very little of it if she has any difficulty at all, and it drives me insane when she just gives up the first time she gets something wrong.

So all in all, I think I have done pretty well at keeping up with my goals. There is still plenty of room for improvement and I plan to continue working hard on it! I think my main focus for February is going to have to be my weight loss. I really don’t want to have to add on more pounds to the next few months again!!!

I will continue to give monthly updates about my progress. Hopefully this will help keep me motivated so I can have something good to report!!!

Did you make any goals for yourself or even your family?

How did your first month go?

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Ice Castles-Midway, Utah

Last Saturday our family took a trip up to Midway to see the Ice Castles! We all bundled up in our hats, scarves and gloves, and coats, then headed out. I brought a snow suit for our baby and he stayed nice and warm!

I cannot believe the amount of work it must have taken to make that! It was really pretty! They had lights placed in some of the ice structures to make it glow, and they had carved out little mazes and tunnels. I guess there was one tunnel that ended in a slide, but we didn't go in it because the line was pretty long. But my daughter found a little mini tunnel for the kids and she had fun sliding through it.

When we arrived my daughter went to see the Princesses that we there. I guess they were singing a song from “Frozen”. And inside the Castle they had made “Olaf” the snowman. The slot canyons were pretty fun to walk through. But it was pretty crowded so it tended to get a little jammed up. There was also a piano in the middle that was covered in ice and looked really pretty.

My daughter had a lot of fun and my son was even intrigued by it all. He didn't fuss at all the whole time we were there. He just kept looking all around while being cuddled into Daddy’s chest. Unfortunately strollers don’t really fit due to the small spaces and the mushy and slippery ground, so we had to just carry him. I don’t think he minded and my husband definitely didn't mind. He said he was kept pretty warm by holding him!

When we left, the Princesses were gone but there were fire dancers out front. The parking was not super great. You had to just find a spot on the street on one of the neighborhood streets around it. So be prepared for a little bit of a walk to and from it!

All in all it was a really fun family outing and could be fun to start doing as maybe a yearly tradition.
Here are some of the pictures I took…..

Princess with her Auntie Annie

Slot Canyon

Slot Canyon

She found a little cave

Grandma & Grandpa with the Princess

Here is the piano

This is a one of my favorite pics

The kiddie tunnel

Grandma's phone flash was super bright!

Fire Dancers