The best banana cake recipe you’ll ever taste

Confession: I broke out the hot cocoa thus morning. Not because it was snowing but the air just feels like fall. Around here, fall means hot cocoa, baking, pumpkins, flying ghosts (tutorial coming soon), sweaters, socks, crunchy leaves, and delicious soups. I will miss my flip-flops but I’m excited to welcome the cooler weather. The recipe I’m super excited to share today can be for banana bread or banana cake. I love to just pop the batter in a 9 x 13 pan and bake it up like a cake instead of messing with the bread pans. You can also bake it in a jelly roll pan if you would rather have a thinner banana bar.

Especially delicious right after it comes out of the oven, but yummy anytime!  :)  Find the recipe below.  OH!  And if you have a fall favorite recipe- link to your blog or post about it, or share with us in the comments!! 

The best banana cake recipe you’ll ever taste

Ingredients

  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup oil
  • 2 cups mashed bananas
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ cup chopped nuts

Instructions

  1. Mix pour into bread pans that have been greased and floured or into a 9 x 13 pan that has been greased and floured. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Watch! If you get to the 45 minute mark and it is still really doughy in the center, decrease the oven temp to 300 degrees for the remaining time to avoid burning the outside of the cake/bread.

Notes

* I have also tried substituting 1/2 cup applesauce and 1/2 cup oil for the 1 cup oil just to make it a tad more healthy. It didn't seem to change the recipe at all and was still super yummy!!

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Crazy Hair Day ideas

Crazy Hair Day Styles

Today is crazy hair day at our school. Here is a picture of how this years style turned out.

To make it for your kid, I took a toilet paper tube and cut it then rolled it a bit tighter and taped it back together. When it was regular size, her hair wouldn’t cover it. Then, put hair in a ponytail on top of her head. Put tube in the center of the pony and pull hair up over the top. Secure with another hair tie. Rat the ends of the hair until you get that poof look. Spray and done. We did end up putting a pen down through the center of the tube just to stabilize it a bit, but that’s not a must. Here are a few other hair styles you can try for Crazy Hair Day…

This is the same as what we did except she used several different sized balls or balloons. I would use balloons cuz they are lighter. :) you would need long hair for this style….

This spider pony is ADORABLE! It would be cute for a Halloween party too.

 

I love the pipe cleaners on these cute girls. It looks like she just curled the pipe cleaners around her finger and then attached them into the hair. What ideas do you have for Crazy Hair day? Post your ideas or pictures below!

 

Homemade Cake Batter Ice Cream

 

This ice cream is DELICIOUS and extremely easy to make. To be honest it isn’t really “homemade” because I bought the ice cream and bought the cake batter. If you want to be legit you could make the batter from scratch and make your ice cream from scratch…but that takes away the ‘easy’ part. I’m a big fan of easy! All you need are 2 things

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1. One gallon of vanilla ice cream

2. One box of cake mix (I’m a fan of the funfetti mix)

 

So now you know what you need. Now for what you need to do

Step One:

Let the ice cream soften (this will SAVE your arm!) Then plop the ice cream into a big mixing bowl.(This can get messy)  Use your muscles and stir the ice cream until it becomes semi easy to stir and looks like a really thick milk shake.

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Step Two:

Pour in the whole cake mix packet. Stir it up.

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Step Three:

Pour the ice cream back into the gallon bucket and put it in the freezer to harden. (Don’t forget to taste test, that is the most important part)

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Step Four:

pick your favorite movie/book, put on some comfy clothes, get a bowl of your delicious ice cream and enjoy!

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I made this ice cream in college all the time…it just made those dateless nights so much better!

p.s. the possibilities are endless, you could make chocolate ice cream with chocolate cake or maybe even brownie mix! WHAAT! that sounds amazing, maybe I’ll try that next! Let me know what delicious ice cream combo you tried. And if you decided to try mine, let me know how it turned out and if you love it as much as I do!

Homemade Cake Batter Ice Cream

Ingredients

  • One box of cake mix
  • One gallon of ice cream

Instructions

  1. Let the ice cream soften, then stir the ice cream until it is the same consistency as a thick milk shake. Pour in the whole packet of cake mix and stir. Once everything is mixed well put the ice cream back into the gallon container and put it back in the freezer. Treat it like regular ice cream and scoop out desired amount whenever you want.
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What do I really NEED before Baby comes?

Things you need for baby

 

As my due date quickly approaches (or not so quickly…) I started to put together my list of baby items that I need to make sure I have and/or go get before baby comes.  After having 5 kids, my list has changed just a bit, so I wanted to share the things I think you should have when you have your baby.

For a printable list, click here.

  • Mylicon drops – (aka simethicone drops) these are always at the TOP of my list.  My babies are always SUPER gassy, so life without these is just miserable.  I hear Gripe Water works too, but we have always used the Mylicon drops and swear by them.
  • Diapers- Newborn size.  You will need about 400 of these (ha ha, just kidding).  It will seem like you go through these like MAD!  You MAY want to grab 4-5 bags of the newborn size diaper of your choice.  At our house, we prefer the Huggies brand simply because I have had a few sensitive bums have an allergic reaction to the off brand diapers and would rather be safe than sorry.  You may also want to grab a bag/box of size 1 diapers too just in case your baby is on the larger size when he is born.  Most stores will exchange the diapers if they aren’t opened but there is nothing worse than a midnight run to the store because you are all out of diapers
  • Wipes- your call on the brand- just have some.  Newborns poop like CRAZY and you will want to have a good stock of these.
  • Baby Tylenol – This is especially handy for little boys who have been circumcised or just to have on hand in case of fever or for those first shots.
  • Onesies (10-14) – This should be a supply to last you a day or 2.  (ha ha, just kidding)  Seriously though, along with your little pooping machine, they tend to soil outfits pretty quickly, so have several outfits ready.
  • Swaddling blankets/receiving blankets – I also like several of these.  They are perfect for keeping baby’s body temperature regulated and keeping them bundled up so they are more comfortable.  They will also soil these regularly, so I recommend at least 6 to get you through the first day or so.
  •  Bassinet (or pack ‘n play).  When we had our 1st, we invested in a Pack N’ Play.  We still use it today!  Most come with a bassinet feature and the bonus of the Pack N’ Play is that you can take it with you to Grandma’s house for visits when baby is older, use it as a play pen, or even out in the yard while you do some yard work and your little one is trying to crawl and eat everything in sight!  It is also a little less inexpensive way to get a crib/changing table/bassinet.
  • Nursing pads – Disposable or reusable.  I highly recommend the reusable kind because they are “nature friendly” but also because they are about 100 times more comfortable!!  I have tried almost every kind of disposable nursing pads and hate them all.  It is difficult to know if you will leak at all or like a faucet, but it is MUCH nicer to have some nursing pads until you know for sure rather than be covered in your own milk! (I usually have about 30 of these on hand )  Special note:  Be sure to nursing pads in a garment bag otherwise your washer/dryer WILL eat them.
  • Burp cloths (20) – I use these for burping, keeping baby’s face off of the clothes of people who want to hold her, and to keep my clothes dry when baby nurses.  Some babies are super sloppy eaters (I’ve had several), and manage to get ME soaking wet so I just tuck a burp cloth between my clothes and baby so that I’m not drenched when dinner time is over.
  • Baby outfits (10-14)- same thing as onesies.  Baby will soil these REALLY quickly, so better to have some on hand.
  • Baby socks- I like to keep socks on new baby’s feet even in the summer time to help regulate body temperature and to keep them from scratching themselves with those sharp little toe nails.   6 pair seem to be just fine.  Special note:  Be sure to wash baby socks in a garment bag otherwise your washer/dryer WILL eat them.
  • Mittens – Special baby mittens for baby’s hands so they don’t scratch their face.  If you don’t like these, you can also use a pair of socks that are a size too big.
  • Monitor- to hear baby when she wakes up from her nap or if she is in a separate room, at night time too.
  • Changing pad – I usually use a blanket but if you have a little one who really likes to go when the cold air hits, a waterproof changing pad will save you from more laundry.
  • Nail clippers (scissors)- I HIGHLY recommend the scissors for clipping baby’s little nails.  With one of my kids, I attempted to use the regular clippers and made a sore because baby’s skin is so soft.  The scissors are much easier to control and I have never accidentally gotten baby with them.
  • Rear  facing Car seat- a MUST if you want to leave the hospital.  I like the kind with the base that stays in the car and the car seat comes out.   Be sure that it is installed correctly and within safety standards.  With one of our cars, we had to get a pool noodle to place under the car seat base because the slant of the seat was too much to have the car seat installed safely.  I recommend installing before baby comes to make sure its perfect before baby arrives.
  • Headbands/flowers (opt) – Always fun to dress little girls up!!  This is always something I enjoy making during my “nesting” phase.
  • Noise maker (opt)- Some babies have a difficult time adjusting to life outside the womb.  I have had several kids who ONLY want to sleep on my chest.  A few years ago, we discovered a White Noise Maker that sill simulate the noise of a heartbeat and BAM!  Baby slept in her own bed.  Not a necessity, but great to keep your sanity.  AND, as baby gets older, you can change the noise to “rainfall” one of the other settings to help block out noisy neighbors or dogs and help your little one have a good nap/nighttime.
  • Sanitizer – I  have been called “Over protective” on more than one occasion, but when you see Aunt Betty coughing up a storm then head your way to oogle at baby, I’d prefer to give her a squirt of sanitizer (and try to keep my baby healthy) than just let her touch and handle baby OR worse yet, saying no altogether.  As baby gets older, its great to have this on hand as well for trips to the park, zoo, or even the grocery store.
  •  Baby bath soap – I recommend baby soap/shampoo because it is designed to be super gentle on babies sensitive skin.
  •  Lotion (if you want) – I’m not a big lotion fan for myself OR for baby, but if you enjoy rubbing yourself down with lotion, you may want to have some for baby too.  Again, get a lotion that is made for baby as it is free of harshness.
  • Baby bathtub (or rolled up towel) – Some people swear by their baby bathtub, I have simply used an adult sized bath towel in the bottom of the sink or tub and then roll it for a little pillow.  You choose which you would prefer.
  • Baby head support (for car seat).  Some car seats have these already in them, but for those that don’t, I always feel bad when baby’s head is flopping around.
  • Nursing bra (comfortable), daytime and night time- If this is your first baby, the term “engorgement” might not mean anything to you, but when your breasts are 4x their usual size, swollen, and hard as rocks, you will NOT want to wear that Victoria Secret Pushup bra, no matter how comfortable it was before.  I recommend a good, comfy night time nursing bra, and then for when the engorgement passes and you want to feel somewhat human again, a good daytime nursing bra too.
  • Pads – These are for mom, but defiantly a MUST.  You will continue to bleed for up to 6 weeks after your delivery while you body heals.  As much as your husband loves you, there are SO many choices in Pads and they can be overwhelming.  Wings, maxi, overnight, thin, slim, light days, name brand, off brand, regular, heavy flow…etc.  OVERWHELMING.  Take pity on your other half and stock up before you have the baby.
  • Bum medicine – Diaper rash medicine of your choice.  We like A & D (from Walmart) but also like Desitin.
  • Baby powder – I like to use this in conjunction with the bum medicine if baby has diaper rash or even to just freshen baby up a little after a diaper change.
  • Diaper Genie II or Elite – This isn’t a SUPER must have, but your nose WILL thank you (and so will your spouse) again and again if you invest in one of these puppies!  Baby will have about a million dirty diapers in the first week, and this is the ONLY thing we have found to control the smell aside from taking a million trips outside to the garbage can.  These can be a tad bit expensive, so try checking your local classifieds or Craigslist to find a slightly used one for sale.  They are a lot more affordable this way!
  • Pacifiers  – It seems that one day you have 10 pacifiers and then 1 minute later, they are no where to be found!!  If you decide that using a pacifier is something you want to do, I highly recommend stocking up on some to have on hand, hidden “emergency” pacifiers, and then even some “backup emergency” pacifiers.  It may sound funny now, but trust me!  You will thank me later.

I hope you found this list helpful!  If I have forgotten anything, please leave a comment and I can add it to the list…after all, we are dealing with MOMMY BRAIN here.

For the printable list, click on the picture below or the link above.

baby must haves list

Simple Science: Food Color

IMG_4011I always have big ambitions for crafts and projects to do with my kids, a problem that has not been helped by the invention of facebook and Pinterest. But inevitable my enthusiasm takes a big nose dive when I see the list of things I need, and start reading through the instructions. It seems that most projects take a long time to set up, two or three trips to a craft store, 10 minutes of fun, and then several hours of clean up. Sound familiar?

That’s why I am always on the lookout for super simple (and I mean super duper simple) crafts and science projects. This one meets all of my requirements: less than 5 ingredients, all of which I have in my kitchen, no prep time and virtually no clean up time. My kids were suitably amazed by this and yours will be too!

Here’s the line up. Milk, dish soap, and food coloring. Yep, that’s it!

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Pour the milk into a bowl. For the prettiest results I used a flat, wide mouthed bowl. You could also use a cake pan, or a square baking dish.

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Add a couple drops on one food color in a corner or near the edge. You want the colors to be equally spaced in your bowl (see picture). Add the second and third color in the same way.

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Now add a drop or two of dish soap to the center of the bowl. The reaction should be instantaneous!

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Watch the colors come together and magically  swirl into different shapes and colors. The reaction will last for quite awhile.

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The best part is when your kids stopped being amazed in 10-15 minutes, you can then dump it down the drain. Easy clean-up!

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If you try it come back and tell us if your kids loved it! We’d love to hear your comments.

Why you should NEVER, ever make your own laundry soap for your front loading washer

There is a HUGE trend out there to make your own laundry soap, hand soap, bath soap, shampoo, and everything else imaginable out there.   I will admit, I’ve been tempted to jump on the band wagon by the promises of it being more “healthy, natural and less expensive.”

front loader washer-infographic

BUT-

Come to find out, I was actually fortunate to have been lazy (for once) when it came to my laundry soap!  First, I should mention, I have a front loading, high efficiency (HE) washing machine.   So, if you DON’T have one of these AMAZING machines, this most likely doesn’t apply to you.

I have a very good friend who HAS been making her own soap for a little over a year.  She too has raved about how cheap it is and how much cleaner she feels her clothes are.  A few weeks ago, her washer broke.  She called the repairman and when he got there, he discovered that the bearings on her machine had gone out.  Then he asked the question “Do you make your own laundry soap?”  She wondered if it could really, truly make a difference  and asked him if it makes a difference.  To which he responded (and I’m gonna highlight it, cuz this is the important part)

“With High Efficiency, Front loading washing machines, homemade soaps and detergents will EAT the plastic which will destroy the seals and the motor. ”

It will WHAT?!! The homemade soap will literally corrode the plastic seals that protect the motor and/or the seals that keep the water inside the machine instead of spilling out the door.  Both are expensive fixes and it could be less to buy a brand new machine!!

So- long story short, my friend (bless her heart!)  saved a few dollars when she  was making her own soap but instead of her machine lasting for 10 years, It is now dead after 4 (may it rest in pieces).  Now, she is in the market for a brand new machine and the $$ she has saved over the last year on making her own soap looks like pennies when compared to what she is going to need to get a new machine.

Happy Front Loading Washing Machine

My advise, INVEST in a good, HE laundry detergent to save you a big headache and an even bigger bill!  Your machine will be happy, and so will you!

Amazing Jewelry – Great Price!

cute jewelry for 5 dollars or less
Have you joined the craze?  Paparazzi Jewelry is an amazing Direct Sales company that has been around just over 2 years!  Founded by 2 sisters in southern Utah, their goal is to provide cute,
affordable jewelry.  And MAN, do they deliver!!  There is something for every style, budget, age, and color preference.

Take a look-

Headband paparazzi flower for only 5 dollars

$5 paparazzi Bracelets

Necklaces for only 5 dollars - Paparazzi

5 dollar necklaces - Paparazzi

Cute, right?!  They also have rings (like in the photo at the top of the page), earrings that are long and dangly, and crochet headbands for little, little girls or babies.

Since I love it so much, I have recently joined Paparazzi as an Independent Distributor!  This means that I can offer YOU these special prices and fabulous jewelry!  To keep up to date on all the latest styles, colors and items, please head on over to my Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/paparockstar and “like” the page.

In addition, Paparazzi is a GREAT way to earn a little (or a lot) of extra $$.  If you are thinking that this may be something that YOU would enjoy, I would love to give you some no pressure, information about the company and answer any questions or concerns that you may have.

Are you a Paparazzi Jewelry and Accessories lover?  Comment below and tell us  your favorite product!

*This blog post is written independently of Paparazzi and the author has received no compensation for writing this post.  All opinions and statements are my own.  Thanks!

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