The older my kids are getting, the more I’m appreciating their help around the house, especially in the kitchen.  I can easily hand off making salad, prepping ingredients, and sometimes, an entire part of the meal.  We had a quiet afternoon this week during which I was able to make a crustless quiche (I’ll share the recipe next week!) and fruit salad, but found myself short on time as I got ready to make muffins.  I offered the muffin recipe to my girls and was happy that they had both the skill and confidence to take over.  One measured and mixed while the other made the topping, and as a compromise, I wiped down the counter after they put everything away.  It was awesome to have the time to work on another task while they handled part of dinner.  Definitely one of those pat-yourself-on-the-back, good-job-mommy moments.  As I’ve said many times, I wholeheartedly recommend keeping kids in the kitchen from the beginning.  Let skills build from them helping you to you helping them.  Ultimately, you will be able to step back and watch as they made creations of their own, and never look back.

 20160204_173837

The quiche, muffins, and fruit salad made a great quick weeknight dinner.   Quiche comes together in minutes and fruit salad can always be made in advance.  These muffins, with their lush blueberries and crumbly topping, are fun for kids to tackle.  Hand over the recipe and let your kids contribute on your next busy weeknight!  To find out what’s new in our kitchen, stop by, or become a fan on Facebook. Happy cooking.

The

Last week I was really feeling on top of things. I was ahead of the game a bit and had some work pre-loaded, laundry was put away and things felt pretty balanced. Then I got sick with some weird virus. For two whole days I was in bed. Doing nothing. Well, I was breathing, so that’s technically something. 

When I am down for the count like that my husband can keep us reasonably afloat for approximately 27 1/2 hours before hell breaks loose and he starts asking questions about food and where I put stuff. By then the twins won’t want daddy to help any more they want mama. Sigh. 

I try to not let my mounting to-do list bother me. But, it does. At the top of the list is the class Valentine’s Day party. Oh, Lort if my kids miss that party I will hear about it for another year. Like daily. Ugh. They need to get better fast! And, I need something easy to make!

I finally rally and the next three days go by in a blur of sick kids and snow days. I can’t get out of the house to go get two 99 cent boxes of valentine’s. I asked hubby but his response requires a 12 step explanation so I decide we’ll make them with whatever we have here! 

That’s what we did. The night before the big party we made 52 valentines out of stationary cards and stickers. I let the kids fill out whatever they wanted inside the card and helped them spell stuff they couldn’t figure out. I am not sure if my one kid wrote more than just her name, but the cards are done and I am done and that’s all that matters. I still have to pack lunches, set out back packs, write THIS BLOG and return emails. Did I mention I am done with the cards?

The Whatever Mom (5)

Stuff I found in my craft drawer.

Half way through making the cards I realize I still need to make snacks. This is where I really shine. I make cute food that kids love. (Just not my kids). Thankfully, a friend of mine shared the tip to cut out heart shapes from blocks of cheese using a small cookie cutter. Forty-five minutes later we have mini cheese hearts for 26 kids. I am sure it didn’t take the person posting pretty pics of heart shaped cheese to Pinterest 45 minutes to make their hearts. But, they also probably weren’t helping a pair of twinadoes sign their names 26 times while simultaneously crafting shapes from cheese. 

The Whatever Mom (6)

Behold. The power of cheese.

I know I share fun crafty things each week, but not every week with kids is colorful and fun. Kids get sick. Moms get sick. Stuff still needs to be done. We just have to do whatever we can to wrap up all that reality in a less hideous bow and move on. 

So, this is me moving on to packing lunches for tomorrow. I haven’t grocery shopped yet either. Tomorrow we rock a classic lunch. One good ole peanut butter and jelly sandwich and two Oreo cookies with a bottle of water. Oh and a platter full of heart shaped cheese.

Excuse me while I clear a space for my Mother of The Year Trophy.

 

The Whatever Mom is a full-time wife and twin mama living on coffee and wine. She enjoys the pure rush of cleaning the BIG potty between loads of laundry. It is her dream that moms everywhere accept and embrace the Whatever Mom philosophy which can be found here.

One thing I’m grateful for is that my Mom never subscribed to the idea that Valentine’s Day was just for sweethearts. She always made sure my brother and I felt special either by buying us a heart-shaped box of chocolates or stuffed animals or making us homemade cards. Out of all the cards and gifts she’s given me over the course of my life, there is one item I’ve held onto for nearly 30 years; a home-made Valentine’s Day card written from her heart.

Homemade Valentine's Day Card

With the help of fellow moms from my Facebook moms group I’ve compiled a list of 8 fun and super sweet ways to show your kids love this Valentine’s Day.

1. Figure Out Their Love Language – If you’ve never read “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman, I highly recommend it to figure out the way your partner prefers you show them love. There’s a fun quiz you can have your child take to find out their love language whether it’s words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time or physical touch. It’s recommended for children ages 9-12. Why not show them love this Valentine’s Day the way that they prefer, whether it’s with a gift, a hug or serving them their favorite dinner?

2. Create A Love Bank – With a recycled coffee can, some paper and dollar store craft supplies you can create a bank for love notes for your child. You can deposit notes for them leading up to Valentine’s Day or all year long and have them “withdraw” a note whenever they need a reminder of Mommy and Daddy’s love for them. My kids loved the bank I created for them.

Love Bank 16Love Bank 2

3. Homemade Cards – Cards from the store are just fine, but there is something wonderfully intimate about a card made by your own two hands. Kids are always working hard on homemade gifts and cards for us, so it’s extra special when we show them that we’re willing to take the time to make something for them.

5. Edible Hearts– You can put a greased cookie cutter on the griddle and fill it with pancake batter to make them special heart-cakes for breakfast on Valentine’s Day. You can cut out heart-shaped cookies and have each child decorate and give it to a family member, like Melissa from Kingston does with her children. You could also cut their sandwiches into hearts using cookie cutters like Dorothy from Stone Ridge does.

6. Hide-A-Heart – For days leading up to Valentine’s Day, Jodie from Poughkeepsie cuts out paper hearts with messages of love for each of her girls and hides them under their pillows to find in the morning. What a sweet way to start the day!

7. Hugs & Kisses Trail – You could leave them a trail of Hershey’s Kisses and/or Hugs leading up to a larger surprise like a gift or you could simply give them a basket to collect kisses Easter-egg hunt style. You might want to leave them out in the open as nobody wants to find melted chocolate days, weeks or months later.

8. Make A Date – Whether you take a trip to a museum, the movies or simply go out for lunch, letting your child decide what you should do together makes this date super special. It’s really hard to spend alone time with each child if you have more than one, so a special date alone with Mom or Dad is an amazing gift.

What are your favorite Valentine’s Day traditions with your kids?

Erin Johnson a.k.a. The No Drama Mama can be found blogging at Hudson Valley Parent Magazine and thenodramamama.com when she’s not wiping poop or snot off her otherwise three adorable kiddos. This frugal, “tell it like it is” mama has NO time for drama, so forget your perfect parenting techniques and follow me on Facebook or Twitter for my delightfully imperfect parenting wins and fails.

 

 

I Heart

My kids really love making hands on science experiments. They especially love anything that explodes bubbles or makes a mess. Me, I like a nice contained experiment the most. But, I digress. My kids are also really excited about Valentine’s Day. With the holiday right around the corner I thought it would be fun to find a way to marry the two! Today we have a super easy Valentine’s Day science experiment kids of any age will enjoy.

What you will need:

I heart materials

1 package of conversation hearts

1 bottle of sparkling water

4 Antacid tablets (or Alka-Seltzer tabs)

1 clear glass or container

Before we start the experiment I share the word effervescent. Then we talk about what it means. Then I ask each of the girls for a hypothesis, or what they think will happen once I pour the sparkling water in the glass.

First, drop in the four antacid tabs into your glass or jar.

Next, drop in a handful of conversation hearts.

I heart seltzer drop

Last, let your kids slowly poor in the sparkling water.

I heart sparkle water

The effervescence of the ant acid tabs and the bubbles in the sparkling water creates a gas that causes the hearts to wiggle and jiggle their way to the top of the glass. Even without sharing all the big scientific words kids will just have fun watching this experiment!

I heart dancing

I confess our first attempt was not a success. My favorite dollar store was out of ant acid tabs and all I could find was a package of Efferdent (denture cleaning tabs).  Contrary to my expectations, these tabs do not produce enough bubbles to have the same effect.  But, they do make the water a pretty blue color. We broke up 1 tab of Efferdent and dropped it into the water. This is science after all and we wouldn’t be very good scientists if we didn’t test the limits of our experiment.

I heart blue

The girls were just giddy with excitement watching these little hearts rise and fall. They of course really enjoy the bubbles and “sizzling” sound of the effervescence.

While the bubbles do their thing we talk about a gas vs. a liquid and a solid. The girls ask all kinds of questions about what is in the tabs to make the bubbles, and the most important question of all, “Can we still eat the candy?”

An important note:  once the candy is used in the Alka-Seltzer you should not eat them, or drink the water. It often contains aspirin which is not good for children under age 12. So, please be sure to keep a watchful eye with young kids.

This fun and quick experiment is a great way to introduce some simple science and has a pretty cool effect.

After we cleanup (as all good scientists do) we begin our next experiment: a taste test of every color of the candy hearts. The final results are yellow is our favorite (it is banana flavored).

 

The Whatever Mom is a full-time wife and twin mama living on coffee and wine. She enjoys the pure rush of cleaning the BIG potty between loads of laundry. It is her dream that moms everywhere accept and embrace the Whatever Mom philosophy which can be found here.

 

 

If anyone knows the stress that living on one-income can put on a family, it’s me. While trimming our family’s budget, I had to find a way to reduce our grocery spending. One very important way I do this is by shopping at Aldi. If you’ve never heard of it, chances are you have probably driven by one and never even noticed it. You may have seen the store, but didn’t really know what it was. It’s not very eye-catching, but I’m here to tell you why you shouldn’t let that keep you from giving it a try.

Sydney shopping with me

1. Low Prices Every Day – I know you’ve heard this phrase so often, it might be falling on deaf ears. Aldi is cheaper than even Walmart and most days I’d rather cut off my right arm than stand in a Walmart checkout line. Even if you only stock up on staple items at Aldi, you stand to save a good chunk of change. Here are just some of the items I bought this week. I spent $99.20 for a family of 5 for a week’s worth of groceries.
Bread – .99 for wheat ( .89 for white)
Milk –  $2.49 a gallon
Cereal (generic frosted flakes – $1.21)
Generic raisin bran  ($1.79)
Generic rice krispies($1.79)
Butter – $2.69
Sugar – $1.79 for a 4 lb. bag
Large Eggs – $1.45
Brown Sugar – $1.29
Yogurt – .39 a cup
Generic Oreos – $1.69
Dishwasher Detergent (20 count tabs) – $2.49

Though I didn’t need any this week, they also have diapers in sizes 3, 4 & 5 for $4.99 for a jumbo bag and baby wipes for .89 a package.

Sugar Pallate

2. They Don’t Take Coupons – I know for some of you you’re thinking, “why is this a good thing?” That’s because it means less wait time at check out and for those who just don’t like the idea of spending time cutting and sorting coupons, you can feel confident that you’re still paying low prices without having to use coupons. I still shop at ShopRite when I can get really great deals on loss leader items like shampoo, toothpaste or cereal, but I know I can get a lot of my family’s basic needs at good prices at Aldi all the time.

3. Double Money Back Guarantee – You literally have nothing to lose and something to gain by giving Aldi a try. They have a double money back guarantee that if you don’t love one of their products you can bring it back to the store and they will replace the item AND give you your money back. I was a little hesitant to try their meats at first, but I’ve never had a single problem with their quality.

Shipping boxes

4. They Don’t Take Credit Cards – Ok, before you beat me up on this one hear me out. Not paying for credit card transaction fees is one of the ways they keep their prices low. If you’re a frugal person or trying to get out of debt, you can be thankful that Aldi gives you no reason to rack up more charges on your card for groceries. They do take debit cards, cash and EBT cards.

5. You Bag It – If you’re like me and get super frustrated by the way they bag your groceries at your local supermarket, then Aldi is for you. At Aldi, they return all rung up items to your cart and you go to a bagging counter where you bag your groceries however you like them. I also tend to hate how stores sometimes only put one or two items in a bag, leaving me with 20 bags instead of the 4 it would take if I just bagged them myself using my reusable shopping bags. This is another way they keep costs down, by not hiring extra people to do your bagging. You’ll want to bring your own reusable or plastic bags with you. They do have bags for sale for five cents each or you can grab empty boxes you find around the store to pack your groceries in.

6. Fewer Items – Sometimes I just want a jar of peanut butter and don’t want to spend twenty minutes looking at all the different brands, comparing prices. I just want to grab a jar and keep moving through my list. If you get overwhelmed in big stores, Aldi’s smaller selection is a welcome change of pace. There’s only 4-5 aisles to maneuver through and less options means less indecisiveness for a quicker shopping trip.

7. Household Items & Toys – Sometimes you can snag really good deals on dishes, household appliances and even toys at Aldi. I grabbed a steam mop for $40 and some really great camping chairs a few summers ago for $11 each. You never know what great goodies they’ll get in. You can keep an eye on these items as they typically get marked, but don’t wait too long cause once they’re gone they’re gone.

Glutten free

8. Growing Organic & Gluten Free LinesAldi is working on growing their organic and glutten free product lines, which is great for shoppers looking for these items.

Organic at Aldi

Other Things To Consider

Don’t forget to bring a quarter with you for a cart. You’ll get it back when you return the cart to the corral at the front of the store. This is yet another way they save you money. There are no employees running around collecting the carts.

Much like Walmart, Aldi tends to sell produce that is already at its ripest so buy only what you plan on using right away or you might find that it’s gone bad before you have a chance to get to it.

Most of their items are their own store brands. You can find one or two brand names, but they are few and far between. Generics save you loads of money and if you don’t like an item you can return it for a new item and get your money back.

DSC03485

It’s not going to be as big or fancy as other supermarkets, but let’s face it, you aren’t getting married in the building, you’re getting your groceries and getting out with the least amount of hassle as possible without spending a ton of money. I would definitely recommend suspending your instinct to judge this book by its cover.

Would you consider shopping at Aldi to save money?

Erin Johnson a.k.a. The No Drama Mama can be found blogging at The No Drama Mama and Hudson Valley Parent Magazine when she’s not wiping poop or snot off her otherwise three adorable kiddos. This frugal, “tell it like it is” mama has NO time for drama, so forget your perfect parenting techniques and follow her on Facebook or Twitter for her delightfully imperfect parenting wins and fails.

 

After stocking up at the Can-Can sale, I found myself staring at an unholy number of cans of tomatoes.  It was time to do something with them, and fast.  What better than to use some on a dinner that would mostly cook itself?  We’re still getting over winter illnesses here,  so I needed something that I could prep in the morning when energy was high, and enjoy later when I’d already crashed.

Slow Cooked Meat Sauce

Slow Cooked Meat Sauce

This recipe is great for a busy winter day, when you’re craving a comforting meal and abundant fresh produce and herbs are off-season.  It does require a two-step cooking process of browning the meat before putting it into the crockpot, but it’s worth it to be able to drain off the fat.  My daughters begged me to let them try the sauce before it was fully cooked, and I caught my husband drinking leftovers. So, that speaks for itself.

Ingredients

2 lb. lean ground meat (we use Turkey)

6 garlic cloves, chopped

1 medium onion, diced

2 (28 oz) cans of tomato puree

2 (6 oz) cans of tomato paste

28 oz water

1/3 c. olive oil

1 T* (each) dried parsley, basil, and oregano

1 t* salt

1 t pepper

2 T sugar

Note:  *T stands for tablespoon, t for teaspoon

Directions

Spray a large a skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium-high.   Sautée the ground meat, garlic, and onion until browned, about 10 minutes.  Drain well, and transfer to crockpot with slotted spoon.  Add remaining ingredients to crockpot, and stir well.  Cook on low for 8-10 hours, stirring once about halfway through.  Serve over your favorite pasta, with a tossed salad.  This makes enough for a full pound of pasta plus I filled three large jars with sauce, which I froze for future use.

Share your weekend dinner family favorites.  To see what’s happening in our kitchen, or to share what’s going on in yours, stop by, or become a fan on Facebook.

Homemade playdough

When my kids were toddlers I was very weary of letting them use store bought play dough. I know it says it’s not toxic, but my fear of them taking a giant bite out of a colorful pretend cookie kept me from purchasing.  I found this fabulous recipe and now I’m sharing with all of you! Every ingredient is edible which makes it safe and digestible should any of it find your toddlers mouth. Using Kool Aid gives the dough vibrant colors and it will smell amazing!

Ingredients:

2 Cups flour

½ Cup salt

1 packet of Kool Aid

1 Cup boiling water (I ran my tap until the water was at its hottest)

3 Tablespoons oil (Sunflower, or Vegetable works best)

Instructions:

Mix the flour, salt and Kool Aid together first.  Next, add oil to the boiling water before pouring into the bowl. The fun part is watching the colors magically appear.

Stir all ingredients together until it resembles crumbles. That’s when it’s time for all hands on deck! Everyone can take turns kneading the dough until it becomes a smooth ball.

play dough crumbles

Store the dough in an air tight container, or plastic baggie. I found these adorable boxes with clip top lids at the Dollar Tree.

play dough boxes2

That’s it! You’re done. You can use whatever cookie cutters you have on hand, or the kitchen rolling pin. All of the ingredients are food products, so no worries of contaminating your kitchen gadgets with chemicals. The kids can go play while you cleanup and maybe take a few sips of coffee while it’s hot.

If your child is gluten free I’ve got you covered! I found this recipe for Gluten Free Edible Playdough at Fun At Home with Kids. I might try it just for fun with the kids. It’s always nice to have alternatives.

So, if you’re looking for a fun, easy and inexpensive project with the kiddos this is it! Your little ones can learn to scoop, measure and mix. There is a wonderful sensory component to kneading the dough and of course the power of using their imaginations will keep them entertained for just a little while.

 

The Whatever Mom is a full-time wife and twin mama living on coffee and wine. She enjoys the pure rush of cleaning the BIG potty between loads of laundry. It is her dream that moms everywhere accept and embrace the Whatever Mom philosophy which can be found here.

 

Introvert

Are you an introvert?

If you’re not sure, check out these 24 signs you’re an introvert. Life as an introvert can be isolating if you don’t get out of your head sometimes. I often look at my husband and how he easily navigates social waters and oozes confidence and I wish I could try on his skin. Man, what might that be like to know, really know how good you are? Call it confidence or cockiness it’s really the same principle. When you know what you want and believe you deserve it, you often get it.

The Answer Is A., No B., No, Definitely A.

I think the biggest thing that plagues the introvert is self-doubt. We SUCK at multiple-choice tests. We agonize over every decision and conversation and we replay the negative highlight reel till we’re convinced we should just crawl under a rock somewhere which is why being social is a concerted effort that sometimes leaves us completely drained. So if we’re hiding in our room watching Netflix, don’t take offense.

It took an ah ha moment today to make me realize that my step father’s words to me years ago were true. He told me, “you’ll get everything you want in life.” When I look back at my life thus far, I can recall making life changes happen by going after what I want, which is no easy task for an introvert.

Sounds Easy, Right?

Here’s the hardest first step because it sounds like an easy question.

Step 1: Answer this: What is it that’s going to make me happy? – The answer will likely change during different seasons of your life, but step one is to figure out that answer. If you tell me the answer is win the Powerball you know I’m going to roll my eyes.

What do you love and value so much you would sacrifice for it, that you would do it for free, and that you would move Heaven and Earth to make happen? That’s the answer you need to find.

When I was still on maternity leave with my first daughter, I felt so horrible about going back to work full time that I cried for weeks. I had to figure out what I needed to make myself happy. Back then, it was working part-time. I had to do a whole lot of work, a whole lot of asking and a whole lot of hustling to make it happen. I don’t think anyone was more shocked than me when all my efforts came together and I successfully worked in a job share I negotiated.

Step 2: Overcome The Fear of The Ask – Most of us will never get what we want not because we don’t deserve it, but because we’re too afraid to ask for it. Asking for things is the introvert’s worst nightmare.

My first job after college was doing marketing and special events for a local non-profit and I got thrust into the nightmare of asking for donations pretty quickly. I’d white knuckle the phone, start to sweat and have to take several sips of water before I could muster up the nerve. I’ve asked for financial donations, in-kind donations of goods or services and even had to sell raffle tickets outside grocery stores.

After years you’d think it would become second nature.  For an introvert like me, perpetually worried about “bugging” people, it never did. You just learn to do it anyway.

There will be times you hear “yes” and times you hear “no,” but if you never ask for what you want the answer is ALWAYS “no.” So your odds increase by 50 percent just by biting the bullet and asking. If you sit around waiting to be comfortable, worrying about the rejections, you’ll never hear “yes.” When you do hear “yes” hold tight to it. You’ll need reminders of the wins the next time you have to ask.

Step 3: Research First– Working in a non-profit you always check a person’s giving history before making an ask. In real life you also have to do your homework first. When I hatched the idea of splitting my full-time job into two part-time positions I first had to research job share proposals, and weigh the pros and cons for my family, myself, and my employer. I had to crunch numbers, create a written proposal, and be prepared to answer everyone’s questions of “what’s in it for me?” Whether you’re asking for a raise at work, contemplating staying home with your kids, or starting a business you have to think about all parties involved and then put yourself in their shoes.

Let me tell you that after pitching my mother on the idea of watching my kids while I work, my husband on the idea of a pay cut, my boss on the idea of hiring a new employee and restructuring my position, my husband was the hardest one to sell. He was the one who really wanted to see the numbers. The things you want will often require the cooperation of people in your life. The key is NOT to expect it, but to ask for it and be grateful when you get it.

Step 4: Make Sacrifices – If you can’t or won’t make sacrifices to attain what you need to be happy, you won’t get it. Choices always have consequences. There is always a price to be paid. If you want to start a business you’re going to have to put in some serious time and perhaps sacrifice time spent on hobbies, with family or friends. If you want to stay home with your kids, you might have to make financial sacrifices and give up some luxuries you enjoyed while working even if you didn’t consider them luxuries at the time (hello over-priced coffee addicts, I’m talking to you). If the sacrifices make you so miserable you want to give up then you probably need to go back to step one and answer the question again.

Step 5: Kick Self-Doubt’s Butt – Self-doubt plagues the introvert to no-end. You could be convinced one minute that you’ve created a masterpiece and when it comes time to share it with the world you find yourself sweaty and panicking. This is one of the hardest things to live with. The introvert is always worried if they are good enough (Ok, that could just be me). We lack the confidence extroverts so easily display. Hence we often wish we could borrow their skin and pretend for a little while we know we are masters of the universe. Sometimes you have to fake confidence.

Think Detours, Not Dead-Ends

Other times you just have to surround yourself with people willing to tell you how awesome you are. When an introvert is defeated, it’s usually in our own minds. Nobody knows themselves the way introverts do. We spend so much time analyzing ourselves. This unfortunately means that we know our flaws better than anyone and it’s easier to get fixated on our flaws instead of our many positive attributes.

Remind yourself daily that you CAN do what it takes to make you happy. Failures and “no’s” are not dead-ends; they’re detours. When you find yourself in unfamiliar territory, simply go back to step number 1 and ask yourself in light of the new situation, what’s it going to take to make me happy?

Erin Johnson a.k.a. The No Drama Mama can be found blogging at Hudson Valley Parent Magazine and thenodramamama.com when she’s not wiping poop or snot off her otherwise three adorable kiddos. This frugal, “tell it like it is” mama has NO time for drama, so forget your perfect parenting techniques and follow me on Facebook or Twitter for my delightfully imperfect parenting wins and fails.


Many of our meals have been recreated without dairy, due to food allergies that run in the family.  Every once in a while, though, we can revisit dairy for a special meal.  I found some freshly made gluten-free pasta recently which just begged for a homemade sauce.  My family requested Alfredo, and I had to agree.  I looked to make it lower fat and with a little bit less dairy, so I fiddled around with ingredients until I got it just how we liked it. So much so that we made it again a week later.  I’ve tucked away the recipe since then, because it is just too good. My older daughter scribed the recipe for me as I cooked, and affectionately gave it its name.

Alfredo

 

Homemade Alfredo

Ingredients

4 cloves of garlic, chopped

½ stick of butter

½ c. milk (I used skim)

½ c. half and half (cream would be fine, but this is a little healthier)

1 ¼  c. Parmesan cheese

¼ c. Nutritional yeast (this is optional; more cheese could be used instead)

* T = tablespoonFettuccine Alfredo

Directions

In a large frying pan, melt butter over medium heat.  Add chopped garlic and sautée until lightly browned.  Add milk and half and half, simmer for five minutes on low.  Whisk in the Parmesan cheese (and nutritional yeast, if using) and stir until smooth.  Add in 12-16 oz. of cooked pasta, toss well, and serve immediately.  Enjoy!

This recipe comes together easily, and could be enhanced with grilled chicken or shrimp, broccoli, or spinach.  Share your weeknight dinner recipes below.   To see what’s happening in our kitchen, or to share what’s going on in yours, stop by, or become a fan on Facebook.

DIY (1)

If you have been following along you already know my kids are dino obsessed. If this is your first time reading my blog let me catch you up on the obsession. Last spring we took a road trip to Mystic Aquarium and on our way home we stopped to see a giant fossil made by dinosaurs. My kids were in heaven! We continued the craze over the summer with a frozen dinosaur smash, and a dinosaur counting folder game. And now (drum roll) we are making our own fossil cookies!!

Here is what you will need to make your own:

dino ingredients

Favorite sugar cookie dough (store bought counts too)

Toy Dinosaurs (clean)

Baking tray

We started out with a dino washing station to be sure our dinosaurs were clean enough to press into the dough.

dino wash

Next slice the dough and cut slices in half, or in quarters. Then roll the pieces of the cookie dough into little ball shapes. Have kiddos squish them flat before using dinosaurs to make an imprint.

dino slices

You can use just a foot, a tail or the head of the dinosaur to make your fossil print.

dino prints

Bake according to package directions. That’s it!! Enjoy with your favorite glass of milk or hot cocoa for “lava.”

Our dinosaur friends took one last trip through the dino washing station before returning to their bins. Then we enjoyed a good book about dinosaurs while the cookies finished baking. My kids were thrilled with the results!

Tips:

Cookie dough tends to fluff up a bit when baked, be sure to keep the dough shapes small and make the imprints deep. This will ensure you do not lose the print as the cookies bake.

If you want to get a little fancy, make some dirt cups with chocolate pudding topped with crushed Oreos and add a fossil cookie.

If you want the fossil craze to last use salt dough instead of cookie dough. Bake according to recipe directions and let your kids paint. Store them in a box with your kinetic sand, or rice bin so kids can excavate later.

How do you play with your dinosaurs?

fossil foot

The Whatever Mom is a full-time wife and twin mama living on coffee and wine. She enjoys the pure rush of cleaning the BIG potty between loads of laundry. It is her dream that moms everywhere accept and embrace the Whatever Mom philosophy which can be found here.

Find more from Roxanne at The Whatever Mom. 

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