Gingerly Made

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Carrot Soup

Homemade Carrot Soup

Summer has always been my favorite season, but as I'm getting older Autumn is quickly gaining favor. I love the break from the ridiculous hot temperatures without it being cold yet. The sights, smells, and flavors of fall are fantastic! This past weekend we harvested the last of our summer garden including all of our carrots and planted our fall garden. Instead of just slicing up those carrots and freezing them, I decided to try something new - carrot soup.

Would you believe I have never even eaten carrot soup! But I'm trying to expand my notoriously picky palette and also use what we grow. Sure, I could slice and freeze our harvest then when we are ready to eat them, toss them in a pot and boil them with some salt and butter. But how creative is that? And you know what? I'm glad I did. I've found a new food that I really like and is warm and comforting for the cooler days ahead.

I did some research before hitting the kitchen, but all the recipes I found had some special twist to them; ginger carrot soup or orange and carrot soup. I wanted something straight forward and simple, so I studied the recipes and found what they had in common, took what I liked and tossed what I didn't, tasted as I cooked and let my taste buds guide me. Here's what I came up with.

2 tbsp olive oil
3/4 lb carrots, peeled and sliced
3 cloves garlic, sliced
1/2 red onion, diced
2 cups chxn broth
1tsp salt
1/4 celery seed
1/4 cup whipping cream

Heat oil in sauce pan. Add carrots, garlic and onion. Saute until onions and garlic have softened and begun to turn brown.

Add in broth, salt and celery seed. Boil until carrots have become tender.

Remove 1 cup at a time and put in food processor. Blend until smooth.

Pour soup back into sauce pan and add whipping cream to thicken. Simmer for 10 - 20 minutes until it reaches desired consistency.

Add some basil leaves for garnish.

carrot soup recipe

This recipe was enough for my husband and I for dinner with a side salad. It's really filling and a great way to get an extra dose of veggies. And if you need a little something extra, a piece of crusty bread would be quite tasty with it as well.

Have you tried carrot soup before?

Linking up to these link parties.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

5 Ingredient Peanut Butter & M&M's Granola Bar

  I love creating fun recipes that our whole family can enjoy. #HeroesEatMMs and #CollectiveBias gave me the opportunity to create a fun snack with ®M&Ms. Although this shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser all opinions are mine alone.

Life with kids often means that you are on-the-go. Being a superhero mom means that between school, dance class, church, play dates, running errands, and the unexpected, you need snacks that give everyone energy to keep going. One of my kids' favorite foods is a granola bar that is chock full of protein, fills them up, and satisfies their sweet tooth with only 5 ingredients. M&Ms has partnered with the release DVD release of Captain America: The Winter Soldier to show off some fun M&M recipes to make each of us a hero in everyday life.

Speaking of being a super hero, I took this fun quiz to see which Marvel Character I am most like. Ha ha ha - I got The Hulk. Sigh, my kids might agree if you saw me after they drew on the wall for the umpeenth millionth time. There's some good stuff about Hulky too you know.

Did you know Captain America: The Winter Soldier is out on DVD now? Hubs and I went to see it in the theater and loved it. There's some interesting twists in it! I think it's worth a buy into the home DVD collection. I think these little granola bars would be perfect for Captain America! He might get hungry out there saving the day. #HeroesEatMMs too you know.

I went to Wal-mart and grabbed the whopping 5 things I needed to make our granola. Of course the M&Ms were on the candy aisle. There were so many to choose from, plain, peanut, almond, mint, peanut butter. You can use whatever flavor that rocks your world. I went fancy-smancy and got plain.

2 cups oats
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup honey
3/4 cups almond slices
1 cup ®M&Ms

Optional Add-ins: Wheat Germ, Flax, Coconut, Dried Fruits

Mix all ingredients in a bowl until well blended.

Spray a 9x13 pan with vegetable spray. Pour granola into pan. It's pretty sticky at this point, so I used a piece of wax paper to press it down into the corners.

Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.

Refrigerate until firm.

Cut into squares.


Make this before bedtime and in the morning they will be ready to cut up and pack into your lunch box or snack bag. Besides being quick, I love that a little goes a long way. This granola is very filling. You don't need to eat much to get that full feeling and boost of energy.

And if your kiddos are anything like mine, they don't like to stop to eat. Getting them to stay at the table to eat anything is practically a war in itself. So I reserve forced sitting and eating for meal times. Snacks can be on the go as long as they aren't messy. And this granola is perfect for on-the-go snacking; even if it's just while playing outside.

For all of you coupon hounds - You can get a printable coupon on for $5 off two bags of MnMs and your own copy of Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

PLUS, there's a giveaway to win 1 of 10 $100 giftcards to Walmart! Leave a comment on this post to get started with 10 entries.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Linking up to these link parties.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Show & Tell #93

Welcome back to Gingerly Made's Show & Tell party!

I'm still in denial that it is truly, already September. It's just been too hot to be September, but never-the-less, my calendar says it's so. I've been gearing up to get some fall projects prepared and have some good stuff lined up for the coming weeks. How about you? I can't wait to see what projects you are working on.

Before we get to the new stuff, let's show off a few features from last week's party.

Ashley at 3 Little Greenwoods made an amazing Ariel cake and gives us a detailed tutorial to make our own.

A Mermaid Birthday Cake {a tutorial} by 3 Little Greenwoods

Cold weather will be here before you know it. Get ready with this beanie hat pattern at Jenny and Teddy.

I'm loving this free printable from Made by Meech. It comes in a variety of colors too.


And, just in case you've missed some of this week's post (and there were a LOT this week), here's what I've been working on.

DIY Drawstring Backpacks

The Word of Eric Carle at Gymboree - Free Coloring Hungry Caterpillar Coloring Sheets in Post

Potty Training in 3 Days - Our Experience

Ok, Let's see what YOU have been doing this week.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Potty Training in 3 DAYS - Our Experience

Labor Day weekend was not a fun filled time full of BBQs and hanging out with family. For us, it was keeping everyone downstairs and off the carpet, timers buzzing every 20 minutes, and cleaning up lots and lots of potty accidents. After much trial and error with our youngest, we decided to try the 3 day potty training method. It was a looong weekend. But I have to say that major progress has been made and we are finally, finally out of diapers.

First, let me explain why we decided to buckle down and spend a whole weekend torturing ourselves instead of more mild forms of potty training. We have stubborn children; really, really stubborn children. And Hayley (our youngest) had it set in her mind that she did NOT want to go on the potty.

We have been trying rewards, reminding her, and asking her if she wanted to sit on the toilet. She wanted the rewards, but didn't want to do anything to get them. Reminding her and asking her to sit on the potty got us no where. But we knew that she was more than capable of going to the potty.

We began noticing patterns of behavior including going to hide, and telling us immediately after she had used her diaper. However, she was never outright defiant like our first born. (That was a whole other thing!)

So we planned on just toughing it out for a weekend to see if it would make a difference. And it DID!

Preparation: We made sure that Hayley had enough panties and we told her (we didn't ask) that she would be learning to use the potty and get rid of her diapers. We fueled her up with salty snacks to make her thirsty and kept her supplied with water and juice.

Day 1 -
That was a fun day! It was a Friday and Hubs was working. My mom came to help me out because I still needed to get Caitlin's school work done for the day. Instead of going upstairs and learning/having fun in our school area, we kept the kids downstairs all day and tried to do our school time there. It was a little chaotic.

I set my phone timer to 20 minutes. Every time it went off, I would take Hayley to the potty. She'd sit there for a whopping 2 seconds and tell me she was done. It was REALLY hard to get her to sit there for awhile. We had songs, books, toys - she just did not want to sit there. And even when we did get her to stay on the toilet for a little while, she would not pee.

My mom got to see her littlest granddaughter in all her defiant and bad attitude glory. Oh she was mad at me that day (Hayley, not my mom). Lot's of shouting and "No"s and anything she could do to push my buttons and exert her independence over me. So on top of the potty stuff, we were also dealing with all that!

There were tons of accidents that day. However, we did get in one successful potty on the toilet right after nap time. And then, more accidents.

Day 2 -
Again, we had major rebellion and attitude in the morning. And lots of peeing on the floor. She successfully pottied before naptime after a big time arguement. She wanted to nap in my bed but I wouldn't let her because I knew she needed to potty. I told her she was going to nap in her bed unless she went potty because I didn't want her to pee on my bed. I think I repeated that 3 or 4 times. She gave in and went to the potty where she actually peed.

After nap the pattern continued with more accidents. Hubs and I were starting to wonder if it was worth it. This did not seem like it was working - at all.

Then late afternoon she peed on the floor by the toilet. And later started to potty in her panties and finished in the toilet. A little while later she ran to the potty and made it!

We decided to risk some time upstairs because they really like to play in the school room. At some point, she ran all the way downstairs to go potty. She started to go in her undies and finished in the potty. I explained that she could go to the potty upstairs too. Hubs and I inwardly cried tears of joy. At least, I did.

Day 3 -
Sunday. We weren't sure about going to church. Technically the 3 day training thing says to stay home the full 3 days. But as of yesterday evening, she was really starting to get the hang of it and continued to do well in the morning. The question was will she go on a potty without her big girl seat? The bathroom is down the hall from the church nursery. Will she even make it there?

We decided to try it.

At first she was holding, but when she finally decided to go. The nursery worker rushed her to the potty. Hayley actually didn't want to use the little potty seat, she threw that off the toilet and sat on it like a big girl. That little diversion however caused her to get the tiniest bit wet. That's ok though, she knew what to do and did it away from home. YAY! Later she told me that Hayley went back several times.

Following Days -
It's been over a week now. Hayley still has little accidents in her undies because she won't go when you ask her to. She only goes when she feels the need and sometimes she makes it fine and others cuts it a little too close. We haven't had any success with her bowel movements. BUT, she is using the potty by herself on a regular basis!

We are THRILLED! I know that now that we have gotten past her refusal to go she will continue to learn and get better and better at it.

Linking up to these link parties.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Play All Day Dream All Night Eric Carle Collection at Gymboree

Lucky us had the opportunity to go shopping on behalf of The Word of Eric Carle Gymboree for their new limited-edition play and sleepwear line. This is a sponsored blog post. I received compensation from Gymboree. The opinions and text are all mine.

Play All Day Dream All Night Eric Carle at Gymboree

We LOVE to read in our house. I think it's a gift I was given by my Dad who is an avid reader and a Mom who began reading to me at a very early age. My husband is also quite the reader. It is a gift we feel passionately about giving to our kids as well. One of our favorite sets of kids books are those by Eric Carle. The stories help them learn about the world around them and they love the bright colors and illustrations.

When I heard the Gymboree was partnering with The World of Eric Carle to create playwear and sleepwear sets I was thrilled and knew I wanted to get something from that collection. The Eric Carle line is for children 6 months up to 6T, so we could get something for each kiddo. I really wanted to get the girls some PJs because they are so CUTE! But my girls have really taken to nightgowns lately. Plus they were really drawn to the characters on the shirts.

Hayley is obsessed with zebras, so that was a no-brainer for her. But Caitlin took her time and looked through each item finally deciding on the shirt with the butterfly from The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

The day we went shopping, they were actually having a special craft and story time to go along with the release of the new clothing line. Normally shopping is hard for the girls, but this was a lot of fun! There was a lady blowing bubbles at us as we went into the store. Then they got to color their own Very Hungry Caterpillar and listen to a reading.

We decided to keep up the Eric Carle theme by going on a nature walk to find out what we could see (you know, Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you see?). We found a few feathers, a shell, rolly pollies, some moss, and a fisherman let the girls check out his worms. We also saw a couple of frogs but they were too fast to catch - this time.

Then to have some calm down time, we printed out some Eric Carle book themed coloring and activity sheets. You can find your own here.

Eric Carle Coloring Sheets

At bedtime, we read From Head to Toe and The Very Lonely Firefly. Caitlin knows these well enough and is beginning to read well enough that between memory and looking at the words and pictures, she can read to her sister. It makes for some very sweet sister time.

For more Eric Carle and Gymboree fun, there's a #WhatDoYouSee photo contest. Help your kids take a photo of what they see. Sumbit via Instagram, Twitter, or Tumblr and add the #WhatDoYouSee hashtag for a chance to win an Eric Carle themed gift basket. There's even a new iPhone app that you can download to add some Eric Carle style whimsy to your photos. The contest runs from 9/2 - 9/30.

What are some of your favorite kid's books?

Thursday, September 4, 2014

DIY Drawstring Backpack

Both of my girls are in dance class now! I can't believe my baby has started pre-dance. She's still not dancing, she just watches, but she'll get into it once she figures out what class is all about. Anyway, we are taking a lot of shoes with us since Caitlin is tap and ballet. So we need someway to keep up with all those shoes. I made some stenciled ballet drawstring backpacks for each girl to use.
You can make these too. They are super simple to make and so customizable. My bags are on the smaller side because I wanted them for kid shoes, but you can make yours any size you like, you may need more fabric though if you want larger bags.

Freezer paper
X-acto knife
1/2 yard fabric
matching thread
3 yards cording 

Make the Bag:
Cut 2 pieces of fabric 12" x 15" each. I used a plain grey cotton fabric so that my design would show up well, but I've seen some really cute versions with fun prints too.

I printed out the ballerina silhouettes from graphics online and used them to trace and cut out my freezer paper. This was my first freezer paper stencil project. (I have done something similar with vinyl here and here), but cutting out little ballerinas from freezer paper with my x-acto needed some careful attention.

Center the negative silhouette form (the hole in your freezer paper) onto your bag and iron it in place. Wax side down.

Place your fabric on some cardboard or something you don't mind getting messy. The paint will most likely leak through. You can see in the pic below that I painted mine on top of my cutting mat. The mat now has little pink spots on it. Oops.

Using a sponge brush, dab the paint onto your fabric.


When it's dry peel the freezer paper off. I'm making bags for each of my girls, so I did two different silhouettes with different shades of pink.

You can see my fabric was pretty wrinkled. I had actually pressed it before painting, but it still needed more ironing. Even with steam I had a hard time getting the wrinkles out, but eventually it was all smooth.

Now for the sewing.

Wrong side up, press 1/4 inch of fabric down on the sides and bottom of your bag and sew in place. Do this for each piece.

Now at the top of the bag, fold and press 1/4 inch. Then fold and press 1 inch sealing in that first 1/4 inch. Again, do this on both pieces.

Sew the top and bottom creating a sleeve for your cording to slide through.

Place front and back pieces right sides together and pin below the cording casing. Sew around sides and bottom stopping at the pin. You don't want to sew up the casing! Also back-stitch at the tops just under the casing to secure the stitching and keep it from pulling apart later.

Slide cording through one side and back through the other creating a loop. Then slide the other piece of cording through in the opposite direction and back down the other side.

Turn your bag right side out and tie a knot in the ends of the cording on each side.

Reverse your bag again and unpick a few stitches in teh corner of your bag. Slip the knot through the hole and pin in place (pin not pictured). Sew corner back closed and back-stitch over the cording to secure. Trim.

Turn the bags right side out and that's it. They're ready to fill up with dance shoes.

My girls are loving their bags. They were showing them off to everyone at dance class and no one knew they were hand made.

Linking up to these link parties.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Show & Tell #92

Welcome back to Gingerly Made's Show & Tell party!

Did you click on any of the links from last week's party? There were some really fantastic projects and recipes linked up! Please make sure to visit, comment and share your favorites.

Here's a few highlights from last week's party:

Curly Crafty Mom blew me away with here awesome Deer Head String Art.


Little House of Four created a beautiful table scape with Pallet Pumpkins.

 I can't wait to try out this Natural Hot Oil Treatment from Pins and Procrastination.

Homemade Natural Hot Oil Hair Treatment

And, from me, Stamped Canvas Shoes

Stamped Canvas Shoes

Ok, Let's see what YOU have been doing this week.
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