Summer Favorites: Cherry Cheesecake Frozen Yogurt Pops

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I love cherries.  Cherry pie, cherry cheesecake and even cherries straight from the bowl.  Our boys also love all things cherry, and these yogurt pop treats are a new family favorite.


Cherry Cheesecake Frozen Yogurt Pops

Makes: approx. 18 {3 oz.} cups

1 {8 oz.} pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
2 tbs. cherry juice
3 cups plain Greek yogurt
2 cups fresh or frozen cherries, pitted

1.  Put all ingredients except cherries in a blender or food processor and mix well. 
2.  Cover and freeze for approx. 20 - 30 minutes or until very cold, but not frozen.
3.  Put cherries in blender or food processor and chop to desired size.  Add yogurt mixture
and blend well.




4.  Spoon into popsicle molds or 3 oz. disposable cups.  Some of the yogurt mixture did not make it into the cups at our house!  I caught someone helping himself to a yummy treat.




5.  If using disposable cups, freeze for approx. 45 - 60 minutes, remove from freezer and insert popsicle sticks.  Return to freezer and freeze until firm.







Source: Slightly adapted from Cherry Cheesecake Frozen Yogurt from allrecipes.com





Linking with Foodie Friends Friday

"We Heart Daddy" Shadow Picture For Father's Day

I have to admit that past Father's Day gifts have been of the last minute variety and not very creative.  My husband definitely didn't need another "World's Greatest Dad" t-shirt for Father's Day this year.

I loved this shadow picture idea that I discovered on Pinterest and thought it would make the perfect gift for my husband who likes to have pictures of the boys at work.

Here's our attempt at a shadow picture....





I think Daddy will be very pleased with his gift this year!  What are your favorite Father's Day gift ideas?


Tote Bag Gift For Teachers



Our older son had a wonderful year at school this year and we wanted to give his teacher a gift to show our appreciation for her dedication to our son and all the children in her class. 

As I was searching the internet for gift ideas, I found some adorable tote bag ideas.  I bought the canvas tote bags at Walmart and used iron-on transfer paper that I already had on hand to make a fun, practical gift that can be used all year long.


Supplies:
iron
scissors
pillow case
canvas tote bag
iron-on transfer paper




1.  Find an image online, save it to your computer and insert it into a photo editor.  I used a free clipart image from wpclipart.com and inserted it into a Word document.  Photoshop, Print Shop or any photo editing software can be used.  There are also free online photo editors available such as Pixlr.

Make any adjustments needed and then print the image on plain paper in order to be sure that it is the correct size for the tote bag.




2.  Before printing on the transfer paper, be sure that the print setting is set to the highest quality print mode and that mirror image is selected.  Cut around the image leaving about a 1/8 - 1/4" border.





3.  Cover a hard, flat surface with a pillowcase with the seam hanging over the edge.  {I used the kitchen countertop- I don't recommend using the kitchen table as the heat from the iron can ruin the finish.}  Fold the pillowcase in half as shown.  Iron the pillowcase, if needed. 




4.  Put the tote bag on top of the pillowcase and iron, if needed.  Let cool.  Position the image print side down on the tote bag and iron according to directions included with transfer paper.  Make sure the steam is turned off, that you are pressing down firmly and that the iron covers all edges of the transfer.




5.  Let cool and carefully remove the transfer paper.  If you notice that the image is not adhering to the fabric, cover with transfer paper and iron again.

Note: if using dark colored tote bags, be sure to use transfer paper for dark colors.



Make this gift extra-special by adding a few goodies--favorite candy bar, sharpies, hand sanitizer, gift card, pens, etc.--and a thank you note to show your appreciation for all their hard work!


Organize & Declutter 2012: The Toys - Part II

My husband and I got lots of helpful advice while I was pregnant with our first child, but no one warned us about all the stuff that came with welcoming a new little person into our lives.

And then we were blessed with a second child and suddenly everything doubled.  Every year there were two birthdays and twice as many gifts at Christmas.  Our home that seemed so big before we had children, was now bursting at the seams.  So I was thrilled when grandpa built a toy box and gave it to the boys.

Finally a solution to the toy problem!  I thought. 

So we filled that toy box with toys until we couldn't even close the top.  And while the boys looked for their favorite toys in the box {of course they were the ones on the bottom}, more and more toys ended up on the living room floor until we were wading ankle-deep in toys.  Every. Single. Day.  And it was making. me. crazy.  This was not the solution I was hoping for.

To get the toys organized, I started by taking all the toys out of the toy box, throwing away broken toys and organizing all the teeny, tiny toys into individual bins




To organize the larger toys in the toy box, I used fabric storage containers that I found at the dollar store.  The Easter buckets that were given to the boys to hunt for Easter eggs worked perfectly for organizing balls and all the play tools.

To be honest the toy box doesn't always look this neat.  Toys aren't always put back in the right container and occasionally I will find a favorite stuffy or other toy that doesn't belong, but it is much more manageable than it was.  And I don't stress if it gets a little messy during the day, because we are now able to close the top!




There are many great ideas on Pinterest for organizing all those stuffed animals.  Storing them in a small laundry basket and keeping them in a closet is working really well for us.  




One of the best gifts that the boys get are puzzles--I love them because most of them don't require batteries!  But, oh my goodness, all those pieces!  They were everywhere--in the bottom of the toy box, in baskets, behind furniture--I was constantly trying to keep all the pieces together.  I finally realized that they needed to have their very own storage container. 

Now when our children ask to play with the puzzles, I grab the container off the shelf and when they are done playing, everything goes back in the container and is put back on the shelf. 


What are your favorite tips for organizing toys?


{If you missed Part I, you can read it here.}


Meal Plan Monday - June 4











Here's what's cooking in my kitchen this week:

Breakfast
Cereal
Oatmeal
Rice Cake w/Peanut Butter
Glazed Cranberry, Lemon, White Chocolate Scones
Pomegranate Cherry Smoothie

Lunch
Greek Pasta Salad
Chicken Salad with Bacon & Almonds
Tuna Salad & Veggies in Lettuce Leaf Wrap, Applesauce
SunButter & Jelly Sandwiches, Grapes, Yogurt
Ham & Cheese Sandwiches, Carrot Sticks, Crackers
Chicken Nuggets, Carrot Sticks, Applesauce
Dinner Leftovers

Dinner
Monday:  
     Bacon Cheeseburger Pasta

Tuesday:
     Marinated Chicken, Carrots, Roasted Potatoes

Wednesday:
     Baked Chicken, Smashed Potatoes*, Peas

Thursday:
     Lasagna Casserole, Salad

Friday:
     BBQ Chicken Quesadillas, Coleslaw

Saturday:
     Leftover Night

Sunday:
      Soup and Sandwiches


(*) Indicates new-to-us recipe

$5 Dinners has a wonderful grocery shopping list with meal plan form and a few other printable planners that you might find helpful in meal planning {not to mention some great money-saving recipes!}.

Get more meal inspiration at Menu Plan Monday