Pumpkin Time!

I have been waiting all summer to make pumpkin bread. I have had the canned pumpkin waiting in my cupboard just calling to me but my practical side said that summer is NOT time for fall desserts.

As soon as we had our first sweater day I pulled out my recipe and got baking. This recipe is from the Food Network, I've never made a Food Network recipe I haven't liked! It makes two loafs of moist, pumpkiny goodness that makes you feel like Betty Crocker. Just try it!

I subbed unsweetened applesauce for the oil but otherwise kept it the same! Try it today and tell me what you think!!
Pumpkin Bread

3 cups sugar
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
4 eggs, lightly beaten
16 ounces canned unsweetened pumpkin
1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves
2/3 cup water

1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. 
2. Spray two loaf pans with cooking spray. 
3. Mix together sugar and applesauce. 
4. Add eggs and pumpkin. 
5. Mix dry ingredients in another bowl. 
6. Mix the wet and dry ingredients together. 
7. Divide batter between two loaf pans. 
8. Bake for 60 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean and let stand 10 minutes.

Link to the original recipe is HERE.

Halloween Tree

We have some trees on either side of the garage and I thought I would include them in our Halloween decorations this year. I was looking for little Halloween things to hang from them and I came across something like this in the but slightly different (leaf ones too) in dollar section of target of my local target. After many days of begging by Anna to get our Halloween decorations (I like to wait till at least Oct 1.) I decided to get out a few things. I showed her the foam pumpkins and leafs and she insisted on helping. She punched the holes in each of the foam pumpkin and leaves.



Then she stuck them through the branches of the trees using the holes she made with the hole puncher.



Sarah's Green Smoothie

I'm inspired by Mandi's delicious green smoothie and thought I'd share our version! Unfortunately I don't have a picture but trust me, it's green!! I have my beloved Vitamix at home. If you don't have a blender that can blend a shoe than you will have to add liquid! I've used water, kefir and coconut water.

I add this amount per person:
1 orange
1 cup of frozen mangos
1 cup of spinach or kale
1 apple or pear
1 carrot

Blend and enjoy! It makes a whole lot of smoothie but we drink them all day, also in the Thermos Funtainers that Mandi talked about yesterday. We also make them into ice pops if we can't finish them!

Green Smoothie




Everyone makes their own version of the famous green smoothie. Here is one of our favorite recipes. Fill blender with spinach and just enough water so that it can blend. Add two bananas and two cups of frozen pineapple. Let that blend until you can't see any tiny green pieces. Stop what you are doing and go make this now. It's delicious, I swear. If you have a kid who doesn't like green food, hide it in an opaque cup. We love our FUNtainers for this. Addie likes how they taste, but she doesn't like that they are green. Please send us your favorite green smoothie to mammagranate@gmail.com! We would love to try them and post!

Thirty One Bags for the Staten Island Zoo

Imagine this: you're planning a trip to the Staten Island Zoo for the day and realize something. You have NOTHING cute to carry your lunch and snacks. You also need a very stylish and roomy bag to carry your supplies like a camera to capture the cassowarys you have helped to bring to the zoo, diapers, etc. Good thing you are reading this post beforehand! 
Thirty-One makes bags and accessories to fit the bill! Also, when you buy through this party, you are helping to bring those cassowarys to the zoo as the consultant, Beth, will be donating 10% of her commission to the cassowary fund!

Here is what I would bring:
Casual Cargo Purse and Thermal Tote
Free to Be Soft Wallet (It easily fits my Iphone 5 in the outside pocket!)
Best of all your purchase will help to fund the cassowarys! Beth Zahler, the generous ThirtyOne Independent Consultant, will be donating 10% of the sale of each item to the Staten Island Zoo so she can bring her son to see the cassowarys YOU helped to fund.
 

One of Our All Time Favorite Toys




Have you seen this Fisher Price Laugh and Learn House? We bought it for Anna when she turned one and since then, it has been in the toy rotation. It is pretty large so it may not be for you if you have a small place or not a lot of storage. This is a toy that I like to put away and get back out periodically. Each time the kids act like it is a brand new toy. Everyone likes to play with it--even Anna (who is 5). It has so many things to play with that it actually kept all of the children entertained that we invited to her birthday party. They could all play with a different feature of the house. It has a gutter that you can put balls into and they roll down and spin around at the bottom, a clock that you can change the time, a flower that spins, a sun that spins to a moon, a radio with different channels, a phone book that you can flip through, shapes to sort, a mailbox with mail, house numbers that change. When I dragged this out today, I got excited for thirty seconds when I thought I would finally be able to make our house numbers, but I was wrong. The numbers spin but they only have three numbers on them, so you can only make certain combinations. Somehow as many times as we moved we have never been able to make our house number. Anyway, back to features. A window that you can open and shut, a doorbell that rings, a door that opens and shuts as well as a light that you can turn on and off. I feel like that last sentence sounds a lot like a song! Today I decided to bring it up from they playroom for William and I have to admit that I fell in love all over again with this toy. Addie and William spent hours playing with it together. She found many opportunities to play peek a boo with him and really enjoyed showing him all of the new features of his "new" toy. He is still a little small for it, but it won't be long until he's crawling through the doorway. All I need to do is order this replacement pack because half of the accessories are missing. What's your favorite toy? Send us an email at mammagranate@gmail.com and we will publish it!

Potty Talk

Potty training is in full force! Simon is in underwear full time (besides bedtime) and we are all excited about it. I am now taking the toilet tour of EVERYWHERE I go. Want to know which bathrooms are better or worse? I probably know!

On the home front we are now potty seat connoisseurs. Our latest and greatest, introduced to us by our friend, Brina, is the NextStep Child/Adult Built-in Potty Seat. It's a whole new toilet seat that has a built in seat for the kids. Best of all? When you put the seat down the kids' seat automatically comes up with the seat top. No more accidentally sitting on potty seats! 

The Truth About Tylenol

Have you heard about people dying from taking too much Tylenol or generic pain medicine with the active ingredient Acetaminophen? Yes, it's true, and apparently it is quite easy and fairly common to overdose on Acetaminophen. In fact, 150 Americans die each year of its accidental overdose. As with any medication, it is very important to take the recommended amount. For more information, check out this article or this episode of This American Life.


Fitness4U

Fitness4U provides Workout classes for all fitness levels in Voorhees and Cherry Hill, NJ. Work out 
while bonding with your little one and other moms!
 
Feel free to email CHFitnessClasses@gmail.com for more details or like us on facebook - Fitness4U 
The Stroller Fitness Class is a baby boot camp class that includes interval training, cardio drills, strength and endurance training, and flexibility for total body fitness.  The Babywearing Workout is a "fusion" class that incorporates Pilates, Yoga, Barre Work, and Core Conditioning to help with the physical challenges of parenting.  And the "Bedtime" Bootcamp is  bootcamp class that will help you build strength and fitness perfect for moms because you can leave your little ones behind, either in bed, or to get ready for bed, and get in a great workout for yourself! Anyone is welcome to join as well, NOT JUST FOR MOMS, so invite all your friends! Workout is geared to help you lose body fat, increase cardiovascular efficiency, increase strength, and get into a routine of regular exercise. 
Your first class is free, so feel free to try it out!
 

Free Jazzercise Classes



JAZZERCISE OFFERS COMPLIMENTARY FITNESS CLASSES

DURING FREE DAYS SEPT. 23-29, 2013

Who said nothing in life is free? Jazzercise the world’s leading dance fitness program, is offering free dance fitness classes the week of Sept. 23-29, no strings attached! New customers are invited to pick one free day of their choice to try Jazzercise in Cherry Hill!

Each 60-minute Jazzercise group fitness class offers a fun and effective total body workout that includes a combination of dance, resistance training, Pilates, yoga, kickboxing, and Latin-style movements set to today’s popular hit music. Jazzercise participants can burn up to 600 calories per class.

“Walk into a Jazzercise class on any given day and you could hear Pitbull, JenniferLopez, Maroon 5 and Taylor Swift,” said local Jazzercise instructor Lisa Silver. “It's this variety of music mixed with current dance movements that make Jazzercise feel more like a girl’s night out than a workout.”

For those who have never attended a Jazzercise class, Jazzercise instructors ensure customers don’t miss a beat with step-by-step instruction and technique tips. New customers can learn the basic moves at home by clicking Learn the Moves.

Free Days participants can take advantage of a 50 percent off joining fee offer with electronic auto payment sign-up after the free trial. Current customers who refer a friend during Free Days receive $20 cash when their friend registers.  Free Days is valid at participating locations worldwide to customers who have not attended class in six months or longer.

Jazzercise Cherry Hill is located at 16 Rock Hill Road, Artists in Motion Dance and Fitness Studio, Cherry Hill 08003.  For further information and a class schedule, go to jazzercise.com or call 609-313-4568. 

This sounds awesome. Where do I sign up?






Fashion Forward for the Cassowary Cause


The Staten Island Zoo is hoping to add a pair of cassowary to its collection! The zoo will be committed to exhibiting and breeding the species. To bring in a pair, the zoo needs to raise over $15,000.  How would YOU like to help make this happen?

You can shop for the latest jewelry, bags and accessories from Stella & Dot!  I will be donating 50% of my commission towards bringing these cassowaries to their new home at the Staten Island Zoo!
Shop using the following link and you will also be entered into a “mystery hostess” drawing, giving you a chance to be rewarded with free and discounted jewelry of your choice!  Shop fall trends and help raise money for the zoo at the same time!

Shop HERE to support the Cassowary Cause!

Peach Crisp


We have a major fruit fly issue in our house. To remedy the situation, I decided to make Peach Crisp to use up our remaining peaches. We made homemade vanilla ice cream in our new ice cream maker to go with it.

8 peaches, chopped
1/2 stick of butter
1 cup of old fashioned oats
1/4 cup of brown sugar

Layer peaches in a baking dish. Melt butter in the microwave. Add oatmeal and brown sugar and stir to combine. Sprinkle the oatmeal mixture over the peaches. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Animal Print Nails for the Cassowary Cause

Can you imagine telling someone that you helped bring an animal to a zoo? Listen, I can barely believe that I hung out with some zoo animals let alone be part of funding one! Well if this was your long lost dream I'm about to make it come true! 

The Staten Island Zoo is trying to add cassowaries to the zoo. Kid friendly description of a cassowary can be found here. We have taught the kids a bit about them and they are excited about raising money to see them in person!

So how can YOU help? You can make a direct donation here. You can also purchase some Jamberry Nails during the fundraiser and I will be donating 20% of the sales to the fundraiser. Each purchase will ALSO enter you to win a FREE sheet of nails of your choice!

Here is the link to order! Want to go animal themed? Below are some options; find more on the site!
What exactly ARE Jamberry Nails? Excellent question! They are vinyl nail wraps that are applied with HEAT and PRESSURE. Each sheet will usually last you for two manicures AND two pedicures. The don't chip, are easy to put on and come in HUNDREDS of designs. They are also made right here in the USA.
Stay tuned for more ways to support the Staten Island Zoo's quest to bring home the Cassowarys!



Nary a Wary Cause for Cassowary!

Have you ever seen a cassowary??  They're huge and beautiful!  In fact, they're the second largest bird in the world and quite dangerous; however, their numbers are declining in the tropical forests of Australia & New Guinea.  How could something so incredible and large be losing the battle to exist?? Because, nobody knows about them!  There are only about 50-75 in the western hemisphere and none in the Northeast, US.  

My name is Marc and I am the curator and veterinarian for the Staten Island Zoo.  With about 1400 animals, the Staten Island Zoo offers a charming and intimate experience to see some rather unique creatures seldom seen at other zoos.  Animals include the Amur leopard (the world's most endangered cat), a friendly sloth, a binturong, fossa, klipspringer antelope, tamandua, and one of the largest collections of reptiles, especially rattlesnakes. 

As a zoo we have the incredible responsibility to inform the public about the status of animals in the wild.  Therefore, we would like to bring a pair of cassowary to one of the most populous regions in the world: New York City.  The Staten Island Zoo will be committed to exhibiting and breeding the species.  With increased visitation to see the rare creature, we can secure their existence on this planet. 

All that said, very few cassowary are born each year which makes them exceptionally hard to come by.  Only one cassowary has been born at a public zoo in the past three years!  To help achieve our goal, we have to turn to private breeders for help, but this comes at a substantial cost.  To bring in a pair will cost over $15,000... and then comes you!

How Can You Help?
Each bird costs $7,500.  We would like two birds for breeding and thus $15,000.
Every dollar earned on this campaign will go towards a purchase of the cassowaries, whether we make it or not!
I am so personally excited about this!  I absolutely love sharing new experiences with people and just know that this will inspire many visitors to take action to help the cassowary in the wild.  With help from people like you, we have already brought in these amazing animals to the collection for breeding and propagation:

Binturong (Over $20,000!)
African Crested Porcupine ($5,000)
Goeldi's Monkeys ($15,000)
Come see them all today!

Other Ways You Can Help

Simple word of mouth and even visiting us can also make the difference.  Come see our beautiful animals and let them encourage you to make your own grassroots foundation to help the world and all of its inhabitants!

Loaded Baked Potato Salad


We had a family birthday dinner the other night for my father-in-law and husband. Their birthdays are just one day apart. We made grilled Red Snapper, which I highly recommend if you have never had it. We bought ours at Whole Foods! We also made a salad and raw veggies for the kids. For the starch we decided to get a little crazy. We hate mayonnaise. Hate it with a passion. So I thought this would be a great alternative to the traditional mayonnaise based potato salad. It was a big hit! So I made it again tonight. 


Loaded Baked Potato Salad
6 potatoes, peel and chop
1 cup of low-fat sour cream
4 pieces of bacon
1 cup of cheddar cheese

This recipe is so simple! Boil potatoes and chill. Cook bacon (I microwaved mine) and then crumble it. Put potatoes, sour cream, bacon, and cheese in a bowl and stir until combined. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Kale Ranch Dip

When Maya was baby she was not a big eater so I always tried to make every bite count. I made smoothies packed with protein and calories. (Also packed with spinach and carrots but she she never knew!)

Somewhere in my mindless internet browsing, usually after everyone goes to sleep, I saw someone making ranch dressing out of Greek yogurt instead of sour cream. I was going through my pantry the other day and found some ranch dressing mix from some random recipe I tried a while ago. I got some Greek yogurt and I got inspired!
16 ounces plain greek yogurt
1 packet of ranch dressing mix
1 cup frozen kale, thawed

Mix all of the ingredients together and enjoy with veggies or chips!



Lego Friends

We recently went to a Lego-themed birthday party (it was really cute, maybe I can sweet talk my friend into a guest post!) and the party favor was these cute little Lego Friend sets. Anna actually received that very same one. Addie got this one. When we got home, Anna went straight up to the craft room (all small toys we move up there) and started building her Lego set. She loved it! When she finished building it, she mentioned something about it not coming with the background that was pictured on the box. I told her to make one. So I got her an empty shoe box, some decorative tape, construction paper, branches from one of our bushes, then she, with a little help, created this. It is a restaurant that specializes in desserts. 


Here is Addie's.


She made up a back story about how the person on the boat drove to the restaurant and parked their boat. There was more, but I can't seem to recall all of it. The awesome part about these Lego Friends is that for a long time we have been trying to get Anna interested in Lego bricks. Lego Friends seemed to be a good gateway to Lego Fun! She has convinced herself that certain toys are for boys and others are for girls. Lego Friends gave her a different outlook about Lego in general. She recently told me that she plays with the "regular" Lego pieces at school.


I Love Broccoli With Slightly Crispy Leaves

My friend Julie never ceases to amaze me. We went to dinner at her house the other night and she whipped up some healthier fried rice (which I really need the recipe for!) and the most amazing broccoli! I asked her how she did it it and it was so simple I couldn't believe it made it taste so good. 
1. Preheat the oven to 450ºF.
2. Place broccoli crown side down on a cookie sheet greased with a bit of olive oil.
3. Spray olive oil on the broccoli and sprinkle with sea salt to taste.
4. Bake 25 minutes.

This will give you perfectly cooked broccoli with slightly crispy leaves. I've made it twice this week! Tomorrow I'm going to attempt this with brussels sprouts. I'll let you know how it goes!

Broccoli, Bacon and Quinoa Quiche

Have you tried Sarah's Kale Onion and Quinoa Quiche? If not you are missing out! Today I made my own version of this recipe.


It was pretty tasty so I thought I would share.

Broccoli, Bacon, and Quinia Quiche

8 eggs or 16 egg whites
1/2 cup of quinoa, uncooked
5 pieces of turkey bacon, cooked and chopped
1 cup broccoli, chopped
1 cup of water
1/2 cup of cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350. Grease an 8 inch round cake pan. Sprinkle quinoa on the bottom as if to create a pie crust. Mix the eggs in a medium sized bowl. Add water, bacon, broccoli, and stir to combine. Pour mixture into the cake pan. Sprinkle the top with cheese. Bake for 1 hour or until fully cooked.



It's a Quarter Past the Potty Watch

It's almost safe to say that Simon is potty trained! The past three days he has only had one accident and we are all super proud of him! My only issue is that I feel like I'm a slave to carrying around my phone. I've been making a concerted effort to be off my phone recently but I use the potty app on my phone so I feel like it's been backfiring. Either I always have my phone or Simon has a accident!

Yesterday I was at a playdate with my new neighbor and explained my dilemma. I didn't want to be rude by having my phone on me constantly checking the time, however, I didn't want to miss Simon's potty time and welcome then to the neighborhood with a pee soaked carpet! She pulled out the Potty Watch and asked if I might want to borrow it. 

This watch is actually shaped like a potty (I couldn't help but laugh, I'm such a kid!!!) It has a regular watch band and has a timer that you can set to particular intervals. For Simon I've started him at every thirty minutes. Whenever the timer is up the watch lights up and plays a little song. It automatically resets itself and starts counting down again. 

Simon LOVES it! He wore it to bed last night and asked if it would play him music. Every time the buzzer goes off he runs up to me and yells, "I need to go to the potty!!!!" He is so proud of himself and excited to show his teachers.

Llama Llama Misses Mama


Sarah shared a post about Simon's love for the Llama Llama series written by Anna Dewdney (Anna loves that they have the same name). Our family is in love with these books too. We have made special trips to the library for the specific purpose of getting all of its Llama Llama books. Their favorite is the one we own titled Llama Llama Misses Mama. It is an adorable rhyming story (who doesn't love a good rhyming book?) about how the little llama goes to school. At first he misses his mama, but then he has so much fun doing all of the activities at school. Before he knows it, his mama has come back to get him. Today was Adelyn's first day of preschool and we thought it was so appropriate for their bedtime story.









Post-it Note Art

We were having a huge family dinner at my in-law's house last week. My in-laws are very generous with giving gifts to our kids and there in no lack of things to do at their house. I always find it funny (and I'm proud of the creativity) when kids forgo the traditional toys and play with non-traditional toys. 

This visit my father in law, Bob, gave Maya a five pack of neon post-it notes. When she was little Maya used to just pull them apart, throw them and ask for more. This time she and Bob used them to make murals on the wall! It started with a person, then a bird complete with a flapping wing. She was able to finish making the caterpillar before she was called to dinner. 

Maya looked like a little artist. She could not be bothered until her creation was finished when she then called the family in to admire her work. She explained the thought process that went into each picture and wanted to take pictures of each art piece.

Bob gave Maya the rest of the post-its and I can't wait to let Maya and her friends create more masterpieces! 

Pantene Beautiful Lengths Vs. Locks of Love



Last year I decided to grow out and donate my hair. I have heard some myths about hair donation so I did some research to see the different options and requirements for where you can donate your hair. People, this is a win win.

Locks of Love

  • Hair can be died, permed, but not highlighted or bleached (used to be virgin).
  • Must be 10 inches long
  • Hair donation goes to make vacuum fitted wigs for children (boys and girls but mostly girls apply) aged 6-21 who have hair loss due to radiation or chemotherapy treatments, severe burns, trauma, alopecia areata, other genetic and dermatological conditions. 


Pantene Beautiful Lengths

  • Hair cannot be bleached, died, or permanently treated in anyway they encourage you to ask you stylist if you are unsure. 
  • Must be 8 inches long
  • Hair donation goes to making wigs for women who have lost their hair due to treatments for any type of cancer.


I chose Pantene Beautiful Lengths only because the last time I donated to Locks of Love. I measured my ponytail and it was eight inches long. So I made an appointment with my new stylist, Mimi at Regis Salon in the Moorestown Mall ((856) 273-2270). I know people what have cancer or are in remission. For me it was literally the least thing I can do. For more information the websites Pantene Beautiful Lengths and Locks of Love.


Here are the before and after pictures. Just to give you an idea what eight inches looks like.





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