A delicious chocolate pudding cake recipe that is simple to make alongside little ones. It's a family favorite to take along when we visit with friends. ProMom Tip: it's pudding so if you're taking it for a ride, make sure to chill it first and that the ride is nice and cool.
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/2 cup chopped pecans (this makes a great add-in but we usually opt out because of food allergies)
8 oz. package of cream cheese, softened
1 cup of powdered sugar
8 oz. container of frozen whipped topping, thawed and divided
(2) 3.5 oz. packages of instant chocolate pudding (banana pudding is a nice substitute)
4 cups of milk (whole milk is best but 2% works, too)
A dump truck load of sprinkles (courtesy of my kindergartner). We are partial to rainbow, unless it's a holiday: red and green for Christmas, pink and red for Valentines Day, green for St. Patty's Day, red/white/blue for Independence Day, black and orange for Halloween (candy eyeballs are also fun) and of course, pastels for Easter!
In a bowl, combine the flour, butter and pecans (optional). Mix well and then press into the bottom of an ungreased 13"x9" baking pan (don't press it too firmly, otherwise the crust will bake very hard). Bake at 350 for 15 minutes and allow to cool fully. In another bowl, combine the cream cheese, powdered sugar and one cup whipped topping; spread over baked layer. Whisk together the dry pudding mixes and milk per the package directions and make this the next layer. Cover and chill for a couple of hours(I usually set it overnight). Spread with remaining whipped topping and as my kids like to say when sprinkling the sprinkles, "MAKE IT RAIN!"
Cover and chill overnight and cut into tiny squares so the kids feel like they’re indulging in multiple sweet treats (another a ProMom Tip!)
TOO-EASY BAKED BBQ CHICKEN DRUMSTICKS
This easy to bake dinner favorite is delicious and so unbelievably simple to make! I actually feel guilty that I don't work harder to make this meal.
28 oz. Bottle of Sweet Baby Ray's Award-Winning Barbecue Sauce
16-20 Chicken drumsticks
Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees.
Remove the skin from the chicken drumsticks. Rinse the skinned chicken in cold water and pat them dry, one by one and set aside. Squirt 1/2 the bottle of barbecue sauce into a large Ziploc bag. Place the drumsticks into the Ziploc bag. Seal it tight and gently shake and massage the bag of chicken until all the drumsticks are covered in sauce. Then arrange the drumsticks on a lined 17" x 12" baking pan and sprinkle with a little pepper and 1/2 the bottle remainder of bbq sauce. Cover loosely with aluminum foil. Slide them into the oven for 1 hour. Flip at the 30 min. mark and squirt on the remainder of the bbq sauce bottle and slide back into the oven for final 30 minutes with the aluminum foil over top to keep the chicken from drying out. After one hour, remove from the oven. To thicken the tasty sauce, let cool for 10 minutes before serving and have plenty of baby wipes on hand for small sets of sticky hands around your family dinner table! Enjoy!
There are lots of great recipes out there to make your own delicious barbecue sauce but I prefer to keep this the ultimate easy chicken recipe so I stuck with our family favorite ready-made sauce.
Children exposed to many books from birth to preK reap countless benefits. The advantages for children who are read to, early on and often, include higher literacy, better vocabulary, improved concentration, longer attention span, stronger academic performance and healthier social and emotional development. As if that wasn’t enough to convince us to read to our kids, research shows that word mastery in adulthood is directly correlated to the acquisition of words in the earliest years of childhood. And although speaking to babies and very young children is vital in building language skills, picture books offer the inclusion of uncommon spoken words that are important to increasing their fast-growing vocabulary.
In all, reading to our children fosters positive and nurturing parent-child relationships which contribute to the overall wellness of our kids in academics, social settings, and brain development. This list started out as a list of 50 Family Favorites and that grew to 101. Finally, I put my foot down and drew the line at 201 Family Favorites and Not One More! (okay, one more...) That makes a terrible title.
There are many, many wonderful books that did not make the list. My kids greatly influenced the list with their all-time favorites and I tried to keep the list dedicated to books that I read consistently to all 6 of my children and that are included in our home library.
Mom Pro Tip: consignment shops, yard sales, mom2moms, and homeschool co-ops are absolutely great ways to add to your home library. Homeschool moms graduating their last schooler often sell or give away epic numbers of books. If you are looking for specific books and don't want to pay full-price, try amazon's used books option. I've had a lot of luck there - some duds, but mostly their used books are in excellent condition at reasonable prices.
If you are interested in learning more about the stories below, simply click on the photos or title links. I am an amazon affiliate and avid amazon shopper. I have purchased many of the listed books through amazon's new and used book options to grow our home library.
HERE IS OUR LIST OF FAVORITE FAMILY READ ALOUD BOOKS BEFORE KINDERGARTEN! GET READY, GET SET, READ!
BEST BOARD BOOKS!
2. Where Is Baby's Belly Button? A Lift-the-Flap Book Every child loves a good lift-the-flap book. J-Dragon, my baby#6, is currently enjoying lifting every flap in every book over and over again. I don't think he's paying much mind to the actual story. That's okay. All aspects of a good book should be celebrated.
4. Barnyard Dance! (Boynton on Board) My kids loved to gleefully act out the dances and animal noises. This is a wondrous little book for toddlers.
5. The Going-To-Bed Book My kids and I all memorized this book and have lots of fun reciting it together! We also like to stop at the pages and choose which animal represents each member of our family!
15. First 100 Words Lift-the-Flap: Over 35 Fun Flaps to Lift and Learn This lift-the-flap version came out in 2013 and is soooo fun!
16. Where's Spot?
GOLDEN BOOKS FOR THE W-I-N!
I cannot say enough great things about this series. I am an old school kinda mom when it comes to the Golden Books and I prefer the older stories to the newer releases that are tied to the Disney movies. The following list is the Golden Books that we currently have in our library and I recommend each one with two thumbs up!
69. The Amazing Mumford Forgets the Magic Words *This book is no longer available as a new book. The vintage copies are pretty pricey - best to borrow a library copy or if you're lucky, like me, you'll spot a copy at a consignment shop!
80. Don't Wake Up Mama! (A Five Little Monkeys Story) The used copies are under $1 on amazon!
82. Peter Hatches an Egg Great Easter book but I read it to my kids anytime they like!
84. Three Cheers for Tacky (Tacky the Penguin) Be yourself and celebrate uniqueness!
92. Bunny Trouble Here's another Easter book we read year-round!
103. Olivia the Spy
107. Big Dan's Moving Van
115. The Bear Detectives
147. Just My Friend & Me
156. Tikki Tikki Tembo
165. Beatrix Potter the Complete Tales (Peter Rabbit) I'll list them individually down below.
172. The Snowy Day The first snow was a magical time for city kids, like me.
177. Giant Children
181. Kipper's Toybox
182. Moose's loose tooth
197. Green Eggs and Ham
200. The Cat in the Hat
YOU MADE IT THROUGH THE ENTIRE LIST! YOU ARE AWESOME! I hope you and your family enjoy reading the books as much as my family has!
2 INGREDIENT PUMPKIN MINI CAKES
As the primary cook for our family of 8, my ears perk up at the sound of "Simple 2 Ingredient Recipes". These pumpkin spice minis are great in the fall but we eat them anytime, really. They are super moist and crazy-easy to make and bake. You can make a boatload of them (like me) and freeze them or just whip up a single-serve batch to enjoy piping hot. For tired, overworked mamas, they go down easy with that first morning cup of coffee or a mid-afternoon cup of tea. For my kiddos, they usually grab several to inhale with a tall, cold, glass of cloud juice (aka MILK). I hope your family enjoys them as much as mine does!
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
If you are a large family, like us, or are a freezer mom, try doubling or tripling the batch. Just make sure you have enough muffin tins on hand.
Mix the pumpkin puree and the cake mix together. Mix well. You can use a mixer but my kids prefer to use good old-fashion elbow grease to make this recipe. If you want to glam up the mini cakes, toss in some oats, nuts or raisins. If you want to make them truly mouth watering moist, add a little applesauce. *The original recipe with only the 2 ingredients is delicious all on its own, too. That's our favorite way to make them.
Spoon or ice cream scoop them into a non-stick muffin pan or you can use liners.
Bake at 350 degrees for 16-20 minutes. Voila! DONE!
9 SIGNS YOU'RE A GOOD MOM
1. You pee in installments. Moms with little ones know what I’m talking about. You have a distressed, crying baby on the other side of the bathroom door, wondering what you could possibly be doing in there that could be so urgent that you would put her down for a NY minute. Who are we kidding, that door is WIDE open…
2. You keep your language G-rated. I generally don’t curse but as an adult with plenty of stressors, sometimes things get a little overwhelming. In those moments, I sometimes find myself close to bursting a blood vessel trying keep my language Disney-friendly and my tone downright lady-like. But in the peace and quiet that comes after the kids are in bed, I am glad that I kept my temper cool and my words warm.
3. You lie to your kids. Sometimes I lie to spare their feelings. When I saw that my 5-year old daughter had chopped off a chunk of her bangs right down to her scalp, I wanted to grab my face and scream like the boy in the Home Alone movies. She had a shaky look on her sweet face when she asked me how she looked. Internally, there was great wailing and gnashing of teeth as I grieved the loss of her sweet blond locks and I had to adjust quickly to the drastic change in her appearance. I quickly smiled as I hugged her and said, "you look beautiful, as always. Are you trying out a new look?" We both laughed. She was relieved and
were knocked down by giant dragons that stomped through the forest at night. Suddenly, my kids now had a fantastic interest in what just a moment ago was nothing but trees and a dirt path. Now, it was the home of "dragons" and they were in search of lairs and possible dragon sightings and they began telling tales about mythical dragon clans. Another reason I may lie to them is to protect them from a scary situation and reassure them. Sometimes, a little white lie is kinder than the truth and oftentimes, more interesting.
siblings, dad, chores, work, and countless activities. So, I try to limit how much of me they have to share with my phone.
6. You’re nice to their dad. Marriages are complicated and things can get messy between mommies and daddies. Before kids, my scotsman and I could see a fight through from beginning to end without interruptions. It was beautiful. After kids, it’s like trying to eat a Hotpocket over the course of days… it starts out scalding hot and super salty but by the time you whisper, text, and hiss your retorts back and forth so as not to alarm the kids, it assumes an unappealing taste and crustiness so you just want to toss it and move on to better things. In the midst of it all, you stay civil and protect your kids' affection for their dad and you don't do or say things about him that would hurt them.
7. Your kids get angry at you. You make the hard parenting choices and do right by them even when you know they’re probably gonna hate you for a while. Sometimes, 'no' is the most loving answer, even if it's not the most popular one.
team. I also carried around a small army of planner pens that clattered around in my bag like loose teeth, to constantly update my planners, and to fill out countless doctor, camp, church, and co-op forms. I collected every craft and glitter project and stuffed them quickly in my bag, in no particular order, so that I could give my kids my undivided attention when I picked them up. And yes, sometimes my loose powder would explode in my stuffed bag. And as a baby rite of passage, each of my kids would inevitably discover my blood red lipstick and very lovingly and carefully open the tube to examine it and then just as carefully return it back into the bag WITHOUT THE CAP.
The thing is, my bags are kinda mess, sorta cluttered and look lived in and I couldn't be prouder of me and my bags because they reflect how hard I hustle every day for my kids. Sometimes, I even remember to put a couple of diapers in there...
9. You think you're a bad mom. Thinking you're bad mom is a sign that you're probably a good one. We all suffer from degrees of mom guilt and that is an indicator that we recognize things that we'd like to change or improve about ourselves to be better moms - that's the sign of a good mom.
"There's no way to be a perfect mother and a million ways to be a good one." -Jill Churchill