Monday, January 19, 2015

Easy Banana Bread

There's something comforting to me about banana bread.

I remember coming home from school and seeing a tupperware sitting on the kitchen counter that I knew had to either be cupcakes, rice krispie treats, or banana bread.

I actually look forward to my bananas becoming ripe just so I can make banana bread.

I got this recipe from my mother when I first got married and it's the only banana bread I'll ever make.  I've tried healthier versions, subbing out some of the butter for applesauce, or even using whole wheat flour.  While they're all better for your health, they're not better for the soul, people!

This banana bread is moist and delicious and so super simple to make.  You don't need any fancy equipment and you can pretty much just dump everything into a bowl, bake it, and you'll end up with perfect banana bread every time.

Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Cook Time: 1 Hour
Yield: 1 Loaf


  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2-3 very ripe bananas
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt


Preheat oven to 325 degrees and grease a 4x8inch loaf pan.

In a medium bowl, mash bananas.  Add in butter, eggs, milk, and vanilla.  Mix to combine.

Add in flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt.  Mix well.

Pour batter into prepared loaf pan.

Bake for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean and the top is firm and golden brown.

Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.

Remove banana bread from pan, slice, and serve. (It's delicious slathered with some cream cheese!)


Friday, January 9, 2015

Christmas Gift Scavenger Hunt -- Includes Free Printables

Christmas time is the perfect time to create lasting memories for your family.  This year my husband and I decided to do a Christmas scavenger hunt for our kids.

Every year we buy the kids one "big" Christmas gift.  When they were younger, they were individual gifts like play kitchens,  Fisher Price tool benches, and other large gifts like those.  But the older they get, their "big" gifts aren't so big anymore.

Their big gifts now are only considered big because of the price tag.

We were blessed enough to be able to buy two "big" gifts per kid this year.  One being an Apple iPad and the other was the Wii U.

We decided to give the iPads last after all their gifts and wait about 2 hours after all the excitement faded away a little bit (and all the wrapping paper had faded away too!) to give the Wii U.

There was only one problem.  The Wii U had been hidden in the oven and it completely slipped my mind that I had cinnamon rolls that needed to be baked for Christmas breakfast.  Major mom fail.

So about an hour later we decided to do our first scavenger hunt.  And it was a HUGE success.

I thought I'd share the idea with you to give you some inspiration on creating your own fun memory.  I'll be including my printable clues for free at the end of this post.

I understand some people won't be able to exactly do the hunt as we did, but even using a few from the hunt will maybe give you come ideas to create your own.

Keep in mind that our kids are 8, 6, and 3 so for older kids these might not work.

Here's how the scavenger hunt went:

Clue 1:  This clue was wrapped in a shirt box under the tree.  It directed them to our play room.
Clue 2:  This clue directed them to the shower.
Clue 3:  This clue directed them to the dryer.
Clue 4:  This clue directed them to the garage.
Clue 5:  This clue directed them to the oven.  The gift was wrapped with a note attached.

You can rearrange the order of these clues in anyway you want or even leave out a few.

Just make sure the last clue directs them to where the gift is hidden.  You can also leave the gift unwrapped as well, but we chose to wrap ours.

We folded all the clues and placed them in envelopes that we're wrapped with wrapping paper.

Here's what the clues were:

Clue 1: Don't be puzzled and don't you fear for this is not your gift this year.  There's something special for all of you, but to find it you must follow the clues.  The clues will lead you, don't you see? Find your first clue where you play the Wii.

Clue 2:  Shampoo and soap make you squeaky clean, look inside here for your next clue to be seen.

Clue 3:  You're halfway there, I'm not telling a lie.  Go to the place where your clothes become dry.

Clue 4:  Organized people park their car in here. but ours is all junk not once inch is clear.

Clue 5:  This fun filled game we hope you're lovin, go find your next clue it's right in the _____.

Note attached to the gift:  You've reached the end, now go open it and play.  And we hope you always remember the magic of today.


You can download all the clues here:

*There are two clues per page, except for the first one and the last one.

 Just cut them out, place them in envelopes or boxes and you're ready to go!


I wish I had taken more pictures of the scavenger hunt (and had better quality pictures) but I was actually recording it on video while my husband snapped some pictures with his phone.

Judging by the excitement on their little faces, I'd say they were pretty happy with their unexpected gift.

They spent the next few hours cozy on the couch in their christmas pajamas playing together and having a blast.

They got the gift they really wanted. And those smiles and the happiness they felt was just the gift I had asked for.  We all win.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Elf on the Shelf Ideas: 25+ Days of Elf Shenanigans

As promised, I'm bringing you all more of my elf on the shelf ideas.

These were from this past christmas, and again, I had a ball prepping and setting up this little guy.

Lets jump right into it.

Day 1: He brought our annual North Pole Breakfast.  (You can read about it HERE)

Day 2: Someone got himself stuck in a glass.

Day 3: Keeping warm in the fridge.

Day 4: I'm pretty sure he's got all 4 Elf food groups covered.

Day 5: I think he's a tad confused on how the rainbow loom works.

Day 6:  Sneaking some cookies.

Day 7:  Cozy by the "fireplace".

Day 8:  Guess he made some friends.

Day 9:  Time for some christmas egg doodling.

Day 10:  Maybe he's really gotta go?

Day 12:  He's dreaming of a warm christmas.

Day 13: He may be rushing things a bit ...

Day 14:  Hiding in the ornaments.

Day 15:  Ziplining.  It's on every elf's bucket list.

Day 16:  All about portion control.

Day 17: Popcorn roasting on an open fire.

Day 18:  Climbing up the chandelier.

Day 19: A relaxing marshmallow bath.

Day 20:  Feeding his friends.

Day 21:   Someone was a tad thirsty.

Day 22:  Hiding in the presents.

Day 23:  He hung his own stocking.

Day 24:  Reading to his friends.

Day 25:  Just hangin' around.

Day 26:  He can win a spelling bee for sure.

Day 27:  He's North Pole bound.  All packed up and ready to leave.

Hope this gives you some inspiration for the upcoming year!

And I hope everyone had the very merriest of Christmases and you're enjoying the new year!

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