DIY: Elastic Hair Ties

So apparently these little hair ties are all the rage these days. To find out why, I decided to make some of my own…

…let me tell you, not only are they inexpensive to make but THEY DON’T LEAVE A CREASE IN YOUR HAIR!!! IMG_9876

 

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Here’s what you need…

5/8 inch fold over elastic (FOE) in the color of your choosing. I bought mine at Michael’s.

 

Here’s what you do…

1. Measure 9 inches of FOE and then cut.

2. Fold FOE section it in half, lining up the ends, and then tie a knot.

3. Using sharp scissors, cut the end of the elastic off at an angle.

That’s it! Congratulations, you just saved yourself a ton of money not buying these at the store!

To make a headband cut a 20 inch section of FOE elastic instead of 9 inch section.

The Best Snickerdoodles!

Hello bloggers! After a little bit of a hiatus, I’m back! In these past few months I have done a lot of baking…a lot of cooking…and a lot of eating! It was a glorious holiday season!

So I think I have conquered my fear of baking thanks to these cookies! I can’t recall how many batches I made these past few months, but it was a lot! I really love SNICKERDOODLES and I have tried several recipes over the years. Some were terrible, some were pretty good, but this one is my favorite (Source)!

The cookies are soft and chewy and not made with lard! I highly recommend you give these a try!

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Ingredients:
1 cup butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 3/4 cups flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons sugar
3 teaspoons cinnamon
*   *   *
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Mix butter, 1 1/2 cups sugar and eggs thoroughly in a large bowl.
Combine flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt in a separate bowl.
Blend dry ingredients into butter mixture.
Chill dough, and chill an ungreased cookie sheet for about 10-15 minutes in the fridge.
Meanwhile, mix 3 tablespoons sugar, and 3 teaspoons cinnamon in a small bowl.
Scoop 1 inch globs of dough into the sugar/ cinnamon mixture.
Coat by gently rolling balls of dough in the sugar mixture.
Place on chilled ungreased cookie sheet, and bake 10 minutes.
Remove from pan immediately.

Budino Di Cioccolata

 I recently traveled to Verona, Italy with the BF to visit his mom’s side of the family.

(I know, I’m a super lucky gal!)

Many know Verona as the city of love, and I can attest, it truly is. It’s a beautiful, little rustic town that’s home to Juliet’s famous balcony. (And if you haven’t watched, Letters to Juliet, add it to your list! It’s a wonderful little chick-flick!)

Anyways, the main reason we went to Verona was to visit my BF’s grandmother.

At 88 years old, “Nonna” is strong and courageous, facing life with a fiery spirit and letting nothing get in her way. She is also very compassionate. People love her there! Every time we went on an outing someone was coming up to greet her. She’s really made an impression on that little town of hers.

 Unfortunately for me though, I don’t speak Italian so it was pretty much impossible to communicate with her. I spent much of the time just listening to and admiring the passion in her voice, as well as just taking in her presence. It wasn’t a bad way to pass the time.

The one thing we could bond over though was cooking.

Boy can Nonna cook! I quietly observed her, jotting down notes, and when I got home I successfully replicated her version of, Budino Di Cioccolata. It truly is a must try if you love chocolate pudding!

Nonna adding Amaretti cookies into the pudding.

Ingredients:
3 cups of milk
1 cup flour
5 Tbsp Cocoa powder
4 Tbsp sugar
12 Amaretti cookies
* * *
Directions:
Warm milk in saucepan on low heat.
In another saucepan, mix flour, cocoa powder and sugar.
Turn stove to low heat and add 1 cup of warm milk to cocoa mixture and whisk until contents look like chocolate milk.
Continuing to stir constantly so contents do not build up on bottom of pan.
Turn heat up slightly to medium-low heat and add in 1/2 – 1 cup of milk.
Stir until mixture thickens slightly and add in another 1/2 cup – 1 cup of milk.
Repeat stirring and adding in milk process until all the warm milk has been added to the cocoa mixture.
When mixture reaches a slow boil, continue to stir for 5 minutes or until pudding becomes thick, but still slightly runny.
Pour pudding in pan and let cool to room temperature before placing in refrigerator.
Enjoy!

The Story of a Hiroshima Survivor

This is my grandfather, George. He just celebrated his 80th birthday!

Embarrassed by his English, my grandfather hardly speaks in public regarding his story. However, when asked to document his story to preserve his legacy for our family, my Oji-chan agreed to let me interview him.

This past Sunday was his 80th birthday and with that I launch his remarkable story.

Why you ask?

Because everyone has a story and the world deserves to know his struggles, his pain and his triumphs.

If you have some free time, I highly encourage you to watch him tell his life story.

In this interview is is not seeking attention or sympathy, only that future generations learn from mistakes from the past and that in life, through the good, the bad and the ugly, all we can do is seek a life of happiness.

The Story of a Hiroshima Survivor: Part 1

The Story of a Hiroshima Survivor: Part 2

The Story of a Hiroshima Survivor: Part 3

The Story of a Hiroshima Survivor: Part 4

The Story of a Hiroshima Survivor: Part 5

Frozen Yogurt Bites

This is probably the easiest snack to make and it is great for adults and kids alike!

I made some today for a little toddler friend and she loved them!

Frozen Yogurt Bites

Ingredients:
1 container of yogurt
Supplies:
1 Ziploc bag
1 cookie sheet
* * *
Directions:
Pour yogurt into Ziploc bag.
Cut off one of the corners of the bag.
On a lined baking sheet or a non-stick baking sheet, pipe out yogurt into small dotes.
Place sheet in freezer and when frozen…EAT AWAY!!!

“Fancy” Pancakes

I’m not much of a breakfast eater, but they say that opposites attract and as it turns out, my boyfriend LOVES breakfast. So in attempts to be a better a girlfriend I have decided to explore the world of breakfast/brunch foods. And after eating these simply delicious pancake tower…I now understand why people wake up early to eat!

“Fancy” Pancakes

Ingredients:

Pancakes:
1 Cup of Krusteaz Pancake mix
2/3 C of water
1 Tbsp butter
Whipping Cream:
1/2 C Heavy Whipping Cream
1Tbsp powdered sugar
1tsp Vanilla
Whisk until stiff peaks are formed.)
Strawberry Guava Sauce
1/4 C Guava Jam
1/8 C Frozen and Thawed Strawberries
1 – 2 Tbsp water
* * *
Directions:
1. Follow the directions on the Krusteaz pancake box. (I melted a little bit of butter in the pan before adding the batter.)
2. Combine whipping cream, vanilla and powdered sugar into a mixing bowl and with an electric mixer with whisk attachments, whip cream until stiff peaks form.
3. Melt jam in microwave (15-20 seconds) and then added thawed strawberries and water to mini chopper. Puree until smooth.
4. Assemble pancake tower and eat! Enjoy!

1: Follow Your Heart

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1: Follow Your Heart

Well Kiddos, that’s it, there is no more. It has been one heck of a ride and I can’t believe it’s over.

I am so grateful for the opportunity to have served your families. I have conquered what I deemed the impossible, keeping 3 kids and an infant alive and happy. I have learned so much and have a million memories to cherish…

So with that said, they say that timing is everything and I felt that this was the best time for me to transition out. It was the hardest decision I have ever had to make, but I truly believe it was in all of our best interest. So as I leave to try and make something new of myself, I ask you to do the same as you grow up.

Think about who you are and where you want your life to go.

Think about what your parents have taught you and the kind of person you want people to remember you as.

Then follow your heart and take the steps to get yourself there.

Remember…

“It’s never too late to be who you might have been.”

~ George Eliot

All my love, Kalene

2: Don’t Panic…

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2: Don’t Panic…

I’m trying not to panic, but I am running out of time. I have one hour left tomorrow.

To say today feels bittersweet would be an understatement. I am sitting here with the most surreal feeling in my chest. Today was my last full day with you kiddos and it hasn’t hit me yet. This week has been all about going through the motions and trying to absorb as much as I can. There were more hugs, kisses, laughs, smiles and more treats! I think I did everything right. I tried to go out with a bang. I guess I just wanted to remind you kids how much these past few years have meant to me. I know that for the rest of my life I will often reflect back on this entire experience and I’ll smile. I have been truly been blessed beyond measure by you.

Anyways for today, all I want you to know is that no matter where life take us and no matter how far apart we may live, I’ll always carry you in my heart, and I’ll always love you. There is nothing more to say, it really is as simple as that. I joke that you are half my kiddos, but truthfully, I’ll always consider you my first ones. I know that what I have learned from you has helped shape the mama I’ll be one day, for the better…and for that, I am forever grateful.

3: Explore the World Around You

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3: Explore the World Around You

I love that your new school will take you on field trips. One of the highlights of my day was taking you kids out to explore the world around us and watching your eyes light up when you discovered and became fascinated with something new.

This world has so much to offer, so never lose your curiosity or your sense of adventure. Get off the couch, put on your shoes and GO! Even though you might not think so, remember, sometimes the best adventures you’ll find are right there in your own backyard! I’ll miss our frequent trips downtown to the aquarium, children’s museum, zoo, science center, beaches, park and gardens, but I am excited to hear all about the places you will go and the new things you’ll see!

4: Family First

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4: Family First

Remember Peanut? This picture was taken during a phase in your lives when you two were learning how to get along. I snapped this photo because it seemed to be one of those magic moments when the world stood still and you two could cohesively be in the same room, and do something together.

Although it is easier said than done, as you get older remember to speak kindly, fight respectively, forgive openly, and love unconditionally. Nobody will quite understand your upbringing like the two of you so never fail to remind each other of where you come from, who you used to be and how much you have grown. And as you get older, make it a priority to spend quality time together. Relationships take work. You will have your ups and downs, but I tell you, through the thick and the thin, if you can make it through the bumps… life will be sweeter because of each other.