Saturday, August 11, 2012

Sweet & Spicy Baked Beans

Beans, beans, the magical fruit.  The more ya eat, the more ya . . . well . . . .you know.  While we all know gas is an unpleasant side effect of the tasty lil' treasures we still eat enjoy every spoonful.  In our house we always have canned beans, pork n beans, baked beans, and chili on hand.  I have always had aspirations of making my own but for some reason I felt really intimidated.  So, I did a little research on cooking beans, gathered my favorite baked bean flavors, and went to town.  Turns out bean town is easy to get to and sooo worth making your own!

Sweet & Spicy Beans
  • 1lb bag of dried white beans 
  • 1 ham hock (you could use bacon or ham if opposed to "hockin" it up)
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 jalepeno, sliced (i remove seeds to keep the heat down but feel free to crank it up!)
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 3/4 cup ketchup
  • tbsp liquid smoke
  • tbsp salt
  • 2 tbsp ground black pepper
I am really sorry for the lack of pictures!!!  I had a total pregnant moment and barely remembered to snap any before I wolfed it down!
Start by soaking the beans. The, pour beans in a bowl and pick out any debris or funky beans. Cover with about 3 inches of water and let sit on the counter for 3-4 hrs (I didn't soak overnight and it the beans cooked beautifully). Dump beans lovingly into a strainer and rinse.  Transfer to a large pot or dutch oven, fill with water 2 inches above beans, and add the ham hock (or ham/bacon). Cover and let simmer for about 2 hours.  While the beans are simmering cut up veggies.  In a small bowl add the molasses, ketchup, and liquid smoke.  Mix well and taste (adjust to your liking).  Stir the veggies and sauce into the beans.  Add salt n peppa and start to shoop.  And by shoop I mean combine well and cover for additional 1 1/2 to 2 hrs (I was hip in the 90's, word to yo mutha).  You can tell it's done when the beans are tender and swimming in a delicious, thick gravy.  I served it over Johnny Cake but feel free to eat yo beans how you like.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Mind Jar

Mind jar, eh?  Yes. Mind jar.  No, this is not some mystical brew but it is pretty magical.  It is a mason jar filled with shimmery colored water and sparkles.  Sounds pretty basic but think about it . . .so are most of our kids' favorite things (boxes, bubbles, water etc).   This is a quick and easy diy project that can be a really helpful tool for us mamas.  Being a little person in a big world can be overwhelming. Over stimulated kids = tantrums, whines, fusses, and tears.  As parents this can become a hard situation to handle and feels like no matter what we do the madness escalates to catastrophic proportions.   This is where the jar comes in as your trusty sidekick (minus the cape and snazzy lines). Have your child sit in a quite place with no TV or big distractions and hand them the jar (it also works great if you just put them on your lap or hold their hand while they explore the jar).  As your lil' one shakes the jar the glitter dances around and makes beautiful soothing swirls.  This, can often times refocus them and you.   I think the best results come if you do not associate this with a "time out" . . . the idea of being punished is stressful for kids.  This is just a tool to help calm them down so you can come to a solution without all the meltdowns. There is just no reasoning with a screaming toddler.

What you need:
  • 1 bottle of glitter glue (any color is fine)
  • food color
  • Mason Jar (pint or quart works)
  • enough warm water to fill jar 

Fill jar with warm water (about 2 fingers space from the brim).  Add food a few drops of food color and about 3 tbsp of glitter glue (I didn't measure, I just did it until the glitter was to my liking).  Shake jar like a mad women.  Who needs a shake weight?  It may take a min or so to get the glue mixed completely.  I warmed my water in the microwave and held onto the jar with a towel while I shook it (it gets pretty warm which is why I do not say this is a kid friendly craft).  And poof!!  You have your very own Mind Jar.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Cool New Baby Items

Baby Friendly Necklaces!!

Today I saw two really awesome necklaces for baby and I had to share!! 

The first necklace is an Amber Teething Necklace.  Baltic Amber has a lot of healing properties and looks super cute on baby.  The ones I got to see were made by Spiral Mama and totally gorgeous. Her shop link is  Here is a snip about Baltic Amber and teething from her site:
"Baltic amber has been used for centuries to treat many different aliments. It offers pain relief, strengthens the body’s immune system, restores energy, helps maintain wellness, helps break the cycle of chronic inflammation, and has a calming effect for the wearer. Baltic Amber has been used as a remedy for teething for thousands of years. This is a wonderful alternative to over-the-counter pain medicine. There are no side effects. Natural anti-inflammatory and pain relieving properties of Baltic amber are perfect to soothe teething babies. By having the baby wear the necklace everyday it helps reduce the common symptoms related to teething such as; redness in the cheeks, swollen gums, diaper rashes and fevers. The necklace is suitable from about 3-4 months of age. The miseries of teething can often continue for 2 years or more. It's never too late for your child to start wearing this necklace!"

The second necklace are called Chewbeads by Lisa Paige.  They are a necklace wore by mama and enjoyed by baby. Meaning, as moms we can wear them as a funky accessory and baby uses them as a teether!  Genius right?! They are made of 100% silicone (similar to pacifiers) and have no BPA, PVC, Phthalates, Cadmium, or Lead.  Other benefits are: Great for sensory development (help your baby focus while breastfeeding), soft on babies gums and new teethies, they have a breakaway clasp for mama safety, and are pretty cute if I do say so myself.  You can get these bad boys at

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Baby Bump

Who doesn't love a baby bump?  While mine is just starting to get full I thought I would share the journey :)


This is 12 weeks and 14 weeks                                    
 (I was going through a "duckface" phase)

16 weeks
20 weeks

 24 weeks