{OAT} Operation Avoid Tantrum

December 31, 2012






For those of you mamas who spend a lot of time here and there during the holidays knows that it can be a tad bit stressful with a toddler. There’s no easy fix to avoid a tantrum here and there, but there are definitely some things you can do to help keep them at a bay.

It’s not easy for a toddler to be around several people outside of his home {or even inside his home} during the holidays when he’s not used to it. Then you add in other kids to the mix who want to play with his new toys and steal his mommy’s attention. It’s a new range of emotions that he’s not quite sure how to handle which then leads to crying, whining, and possible tantrums. So much fun! 

I had an idea of what to expect over the holidays so I did my best to plan a way to keep my little munchkin as happy and as comfortable as possible. Thankfully it worked out pretty well for us this year.

When planning out your days, make sure you get an idea of what times you’re expected where. That’s key in planning the most important thing to keep your munchkin happy; a good nap.

Mason does so much better when he’s had a good nap, like most toddlers. I knew that would be the most important thing for me to make sure he got, before planning any other details to “operation avoid tantrum”. I woke Mason up a tad earlier than he was ready to ensure that I could get him down for an early nap so that he would get up from his nap in time to head to our holidays events.

Then I made sure to pack his favorite snacks, a few of his favorite toys, and his blankie. The items I knew would help make him as comfortable as possible wherever we were and whoever we were around.

There is nothing you can do to completely avoid a tantrum, but you can definitely help keep them at bay by providing a good nap and familiar things.

I know everyone has different holiday schedules so it may not always work out the way you’d like. So, then the other keep element in keeping the tantrums at a minimum is to expect them to happen and remain calm. Don’t get worked up or embarrassed when they happen because that will only create more of an uncomfortable atmosphere for your little one which will make it harder for the tantrum to end.

Remember that as the parent you are the one who controls the chances your toddler gets to enjoy a good nap or relax with a few comfort items, even if that means showing up late to Christmas lunch/dinner. It all depends on what you’re able to handle as well. If tantrums aren't anything that raises your blood pressure like it does mine, then trying to avoid them as much as possible may not be something you even plan on. For me, tantrums aren't anything I enjoy dealing with out in public, so I strive to avoid them at all costs. Honestly, there are times when Mason’s having a tantrum and I feel like I’m going to have one too. Trust me when I say the world doesn't want to see a “Krista tantrum”. ;)

I hope everyone enjoyed a tantrum free holiday! Here’s to a tantrum free NYE!

xoxo,
Krista
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Christmas

December 28, 2012















Christmas was so much fun this year with Mason! He was so excited about Santa Claus and presents. It is definitely a Christmas to remember.

We went to Essenhaus for Christmas Eve lunch/dinner with my in laws and then went back to their house to open presents. Mason played Santa and passed out everyone presents. It was the cutest thing.

That night we went home to continue on our family tradition of making cookies for Santa, opening a present (although Mason wasn't thrilled about the socks he chose to open, so he opened 2 presents), then we read "The Night Before Christmas", put the munchkin to bed, and then "Santa" came. The hubby and I were so excited to see Mason's reaction on Christmas morning.

Christmas morning we got Mason up and took him to the living room to see all the stuff Santa brought him. He was so excited. I loved it. Then he passed out everyone's presents again. ;) There is nothing better than seeing the sweet and innocent excitement of Christmas in your child's eyes. It was the perfect gift.

We opened presents, played with new toys, spent some time as a family, and then got ready for the rest of the day with family.

It was a wonderful Christmas and I'm already looking forward to next year's Christmas.

I hope you all enjoyed time with family and friends!

xoxo,
Krista
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Merry Christmas!

December 25, 2012



From my family to yours, Merry Christmas!

xoxo,
Krista
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It’s the Little Things.

December 21, 2012



Sometimes in life there are tragedies that happen in the world around you and you want nothing more than to help those directly affected by it, but sometimes distance and finances make it hard to help the way you really wish you could.

If I could, I would fly to Newtown just to hug the families who lost their little ones right before Christmas, I would give of my finances, I would give of my time; I would do whatever I could. However, life doesn't always make what I want to do an easy venture. So, at this point I will do what I know I can do and pray that it’s enough.

I have the honor to partner once again with Gina from Bambeanies. This woman’s heart is so big it’s inspiring. She contacted me with an idea she had on how she could help those affected by the recent tragedy in Newtown, CT. I loved the idea and immediately wanted to partner with her on it.

Bambeanies by Gina has created a set of three small crocheted hears with the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary Tragedy in mind.

100% of each sale will be donated to the Newtown Youth & Family Services, an organization that provides youth, individual, and family counseling. They are offering emergency counseling sessions for the ones affected by the tragedy until January 14, 2013. All donations they receive will go to Caroline’s Gift. Caroline’s Gift was established in 1996 by a Newtown family in memory of their daughter Caroline. The fund’s charitable purpose is to assist Newtown families coping with the physical and mental health needs of their children.

For only $3 {free shipping}, you can help by purchasing this set. You can use them as ornaments, hair clips, or even as garland for Valentine’s Day.

It may seem like something small to you, but it’s something big for these families. It’s the little things we do that matter most.

Thank you for your purchase. It is greatly appreciated by Grateful Imperfections, Bambeanies, but more importantly by the families in Newtown that need our help.

Please visit Bambeanies to make your donation/purchase here.

xoxo,
Krista

Thirty-One giveaway winner posted here.
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Hey Santa!

December 19, 2012


 







We set out one Saturday morning to visit Santa, who just happens to be Mason’s favorite person lately. Or so I thought.

Everywhere we go Mason spots out the smallest of Santa pictures, figurines, etc. and he yells with pure excitement “Santa!” So, I thought our visit to see the big guy would be so much more eventful than last year. Well, I was right on the eventful part, but not the kind I was planning on.

Mason couldn’t wait to get through the line to see Santa. He was so excited and very impatient. I was getting excited myself because I just knew this year’s Santa picture would be perfect.

As we approached Santa the excitement turned to pure fear. Mason wrapped his legs around me and started to cry out as if I was putting him on the lap of a monster. Being the softy I am, I stopped trying to coax my terrified munchkin to sit on Santa’s lap. Santa being the sweet jolly old elf he is, picked up on my hesitation and offered to let me sit down with him so that we could get a picture. He was just so sweet I wanted to pinch his cheeks.

Mason still squirming as far from Santa as he could, managed to look at the camera for one brief second so that we could capture that cute little scared face. I’m smiling of course. ;)

Here’s to a perfect picture next year. {Wishful thinking moms?}

Share your favorite photo of your kiddo’s visit to see Santa.

xoxo,
Krista

Bambeanies Giveaway announced here!
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There are no words...

December 17, 2012




My heart remains heavy today. There are a range of emotions that I continue to feel over this tragedy in Newtown, CT.

When I saw the breaking news alert pop up on my phone Friday I went numb, moved my phone away from me, and thought “there’s no way that could be true; I read it wrong”.  It wasn't until I went to lunch, turned on news radio, and heard the gory details of what took place that morning that I believed the reality of the nightmare. Overcome with emotion I burst into tears. My heart broke into a million pieces as my mind imaged these precious helpless little souls being taken from this world in such a horrific way.

I immediately began to think about all the recent horror stories flooding the news; from local to national. All I could think was that it’s just too much. I wanted to question, I wanted to yell at someone, and I wanted to fall apart. Our world is lost and it’s broken; and it’s scary.

All day on Friday I listened to the news updates, cried more, prayed harder, and counted down the minutes until I could run out of the building at work and get to my son. I dropped to my knees when I got to his daycare and just held him, kissed him, and told him over and over how much I loved him.

This morning when I dropped my son off, I prayed in desperation for his continued safety. I felt a fear that wasn't normal for me. As a mother my life is changed and the way I feel about situations like these is completely different. I become more fearful than I’d like to be.

I realized though that I was allowing one evil soul to create fear within me. I then decided I will not give him that chance. I have nothing to fear because my faith and hope lies in a God who holds all things in the palm of His hands. Psalm 56: 3-4 “But when I am afraid, I will put my trust in you. I praise God for what he has promised. I trust in God, so why should I be afraid? What can mere mortals do to me?”

Nothing can change the horror that happened on Friday and nothing can change the fact that the world lost some precious little hearts. We have to bind together in love and do the best we can from here on out. We have to teach our children the great power behind love. We have to lead by example. We have to strive to leave a greater legacy than those before us, so that as we all move forward in life we give our children a chance to see greatness, to be a part of greatness, and to be the difference.

My heart aches for each of you affected by this tragedy. I’m so very sorry. I can’t imagine the pain you feel wanting nothing more than to hold your loved one in your arms.

My prayers will continually be lifted for all of you.

With all my love,
Krista 


An official fund for victims' families, and the community as a whole, has now been established: The Sandy Hook School Support Fund, set up by the United Way of Western Connecticut will provide support services to families and the community. All donations to this fund will go directly to those affected.

You can send words of support and messages for families affected in an Evergram here if you are not able to make a donation. They will be collated and given to the families in the future.


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Raspberry Chocolate French Macaroons

December 14, 2012




One of the best things about the Christmas season is all the delicious cookies. Cookies are probably one of my favorite desserts and Christmas cookies of all sorts are at the top of the cookie list.

I do have a slight problem with Christmas cookies though. I don’t have the patience during the holidays to bake them; I just want to eat them. Anyone else share in this lazy issue?

Thankfully I have wonderful friends like my friend Angie, who spent an entire Saturday baking delicious Christmas cookies that I was able to indulge in.

Not only did she bake a variety of Christmas goodness, she took step by step pictures of how to make one of the most scrumptious cookies I have ever tasted. They literally melt in your mouth.

So, from her bakery {aka The Mental House} to our eyes, here are the ins and outs of making Raspberry Chocolate French Macaroons.

For those of you who attempt a batch of these yummy bite sized cookies, feel free to send them my way. I’d be happy to taste test for you. J

Happy baking!

xoxo,
Krista


Raspberry Chocolate French Macaroons

yield: Makes about 2 1/2 dozen cookies
active time: 45 min
total time: 1 3/4 hr

Dainty pink cookies sandwiched together with a silky ganache look as if they belong on a restaurant's petits fours plate. 
In fact, the perfect little rounds can be made with a makeshift pastry bag.


For macaroons
6 oz sliced blanched almonds (not slivered; 2 cups)
1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
3 large egg whites
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
Red or pink food coloring

For chocolate raspberry ganache
3 oz fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (60 to 64% cacao), finely chopped
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
1/16 teaspoon raspberry extract (preferably McCormick brand)

Special equipment: parchment paper; a gallon-size sealable plastic bag (not pleated)

Make macaroons:
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
Pulse almonds with 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar in a food processor until very finely ground, 2 to 3 minutes, and then transfer to a bowl. Sift in remaining cup confectioners’ sugar, stirring to combine.



Beat egg whites with salt in another bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until they just hold soft peaks. Add granulated sugar, a little at a time, beating, and then increase speed to high and continue to beat until whites just hold stiff, glossy peaks. Add drops of food coloring to reach desired shade and mix at low speed until evenly combined. Stir almond mixture into meringue with a rubber spatula until completely incorporated. (Meringue will deflate.)




Spoon batter into bag, pressing out excess air, and snip off 1 corner of plastic bag to create a 1/4-inch opening. Twist bag firmly just above batter, then pipe peaked mounds of batter (the size of a chocolate kiss) onto lined sheets about 1 1/2 inches apart. Let cookies stand, uncovered, at room temperature until tops are no longer sticky and a light crust forms, 20 to 30 minutes.



Meanwhile, put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 300°F.
Bake cookies, switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until crisp and edges are just slightly darker, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool completely on sheets on racks, about 30 minutes.


Make ganache while macaroons bake:
Melt chocolate with cream in a metal bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water or in top of a double boiler, stirring until smooth. (Bowl should not touch water.) Remove bowl from heat, then add butter and raspberry extract, stirring until butter is melted. Let stand at room temperature until cooled completely and slightly thickened.


Assemble cookies:
Carefully peel cookies from parchment (they will be fragile). Sandwich a thin layer of ganache (about 1/2 teaspoon) between flat sides of cookies.



Cooks' note: Filled macaroons keep in an airtight container at room temperature 3 days.

Photos by angela ballard
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Oven Tacos

December 12, 2012





Every now and then I find a recipe on Pinterest that I really enjoy. I decided that when I find one of those recipes I will share it my lovely readers.

Last week I found a recipe for oven tacos and it sparked my interest. I may tacos fairly often because it’s a fave for my hubby. I saw this recipe and thought it was a great spin on tacos. I gave it a shot and I was impressed. It was just a simple as regular tacos and the flavor was so delicious.

So, for you full time working mamas like myself, here’s a quick and easy recipe to make for family.

Oven Tacos

2 lbs ground beef (or turkey/chicken)
1 small onion diced*
1 small can diced green chilies
1 packet of taco seasoning
1 (8 ounce) can low sodium tomato sauce 
1 (16 ounce) can fat free refried beans 
2 cups shredded reduced fat Colby-jack cheese 
18-20 hard taco shells 

Optional Condiments- 
Lettuce (shredded)* 
Tomato (diced)* 
Salsa 
Guacamole 
Sour Cream
Olives (sliced)*  


*Dice, shred, & slice the night before to save time.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  

In a large skillet brown ground beef and onion over medium-high heat. Drain off any excess liquid. Return to pan, add chilies, refried beans, tomato sauce, and taco seasoning. Mix well and cook for a few minutes if mixture seems runny. 

Spoon the taco meat mixture into the taco shells and place into a 9 x 13 inch baking dish, standing up. Sprinkle cheese over the top of the taco meat in each shell. Place into the oven and bake at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until the cheese has melted and the tacos are heated through. 


Remove from the oven and top with any optional condiments for serving.


Enjoy!

xoxo,
Krista
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Bambeanies Giveaway

December 10, 2012







Last month and I had the privilege to spotlight a business that I just love; Bambeanies!

Bambeanies is a collection of handmade items ranging from baby hats and accessories to adult hats and accessories. I absolutely love their products! They are beautifully made and amazingly functional.

This month I’m so excited to spotlight a couple more products from Bambeanies and you’re totally going to fall in love with how adorable one of the items is and how beautiful the other one is. I guarantee.

First, let me just say how cute the little model is! I may be a little biased because he’s my son. ;) Second, look at how ADORABLE this Frog Prince Hat is! Seriously, you cannot deny the cuteness this hat has. It has the most precious crown on top. One little kiss and this hat will turn your little guy into a prince! It’s the perfect Christmas gift for all those little guys in your life on their way to becoming a prince.

Gina is incredibly talented and so thoughtful. She made this beautiful Houndstooth Infinity Scarf for me. I happened to get the scarf in the mail after a long hard day of work and I was so grateful for her generosity that I couldn’t help but tear up. {Hormonal mama indeed} What’s even better is that it’s blue and gold. Which just happens to be the colors of the #1 undefeated college football team in the country; Notre Dame! Oh yes, I’m a huge Irish fan. Watch out Bama! I will totally be sporting this beautiful scarf during the BCS National Championship game. It will be my good luck charm. The pressure is on Gina. Ha!

With the Christmas holiday surrounding us, I pray your heart is full of compassion, love, and kindness. It’s a season of giving and Bambeanies is going to give one of you lucky readers a chance to win the Frog Prince Hat or one of her adorable Owl Hats. If chosen as the winner and you choose the owl hat, you can choose between the Fuchsia Owl Hat and the Brown Owl Hat.

The owl hat is what brought me to her website, which has allowed me to build a cross country friendship, and has given me the opportunity to share this wonderful business with you, giving you an opportunity to share in the appreciation of Bambeanies.

Not only is Bambeanies giving you a chance to win an adorable hat; she is also offering 15% off all baby hats until Christmas--although guaranteed delivery for Christmas is only until the 18th.

TO ENTER
Visit Bambeanies webpage and come back and comment stating which owl hat you would choose as the winner.

ADDITIONAL ENTRIES (leave a comment for each additional entry)
Like Bambeanies on FB
Like Grateful Imperfections on FB
Follow Bambeanies on Twitter
Follow Bambeanies on Pinterest
Share this giveaway via FB
Share this giveaway via Twitter using @kristakerns, @bambeaniesbyg, or #gratefulimperfections
Pin your favorite design on Pinterest

Good luck!

xo,
Krista





{Photo Shoot Outtakes}





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