Special recipe included!
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October is the month of many birthdays in our family! All 3 of my daughters were born in October. Then, one of my daughter's-in-law has an October birthday, as well as my sister! That is a lot of cake! Of course, as children my girls each had to have their own, which was tricky because Lindsey and Maddy's birthdays are one day apart. Alicia's birthday is the earliest in the month, coming soon. So, I decided that we should celebrate birthday month by asking everyone today's Friday Fave question:
What is your favorite flavor of birthday cake?
My favorite birthday cake is angel food cake! Homemade of course. Or, a chiffon cake would be nice. I just love the lightness of these cakes and I love how well they go with a little ice cream and don't make me feel too full and heavy. This Orange Chiffon Cake that I posted about on an earlier post would be perfect. Now that I have a Kitchen Aid, making it is so much easier. If you haven't tried this recipe, you must. I am really proud of this one! It has so much orange flavor and is tall, light and delicious.
Maddy surprised me by saying that she loves strawberry flavored cake. Just like one you would make from a cake mix, like this:
I think that my DIL Korina likes this kind as well. Pink is nice for a little girl's birthday party. And, here is a tip:
I figured that Lindsey would choose something pumpkin flavored, and she did! At first she said pumpkin cake. Then she added, "or pumpkin cheese cake". I thought that she would choose the cheese cake because she loves cheese cake. She had cheese cake for her wedding. I don't think we have made a pumpkin cheese cake here on the blog. Maybe I will have to make one for Lindsey's birthday this year and post about it! But, if you can't wait that long, here is a Wisconsinmade one that you can order now! It has 5 stars on Amazon! It looks good!
As I said, Alicia's birthday is coming up first. She chose chocolate cake with chocolate frosting and chocolate sprinkles and maybe a raspberry or strawberry filling. This answer surprised me because Alicia doesn't like frosting. But when I questioned it, she said, "I know, but it is the whole birthday experience!" So, even though she doesn't live here in Phoenix, today I made her a birthday cake just to her specifications. Here it is with the recipe.
So, what is your favorite cake for your birthday? Let us know, and if you can't decide, maybe you can choose one of these that we have shared! Happy Birthday!
Here are some great tools to help you be successful when baking these cakes.
On Tuesday this week I had to do my gestational diabetes screening. My doctor's office has an in house phlebotomist so they had given me the drink at my prior appointment with instructions to drink it chilled because it tastes better, and get my blood drawn exactly one hour after I chugged it down. I've got to be honest, the drink itself was not the worst part. It actually was pretty painless. I had believed that the drink was going to be a like a thick syrup, but it wasn't. It was basically like chugging a small Gatorade. The stress for me was making sure I drank it at the right time and got my blood drawn when I was supposed to.
The other thing that was slightly difficult was the high protein diet my doctor wanted me to be on prior to taking the test. Although, my sister in law told me her doctor made her actually fast. Mine just said to try to have a higher protein, lower carb diet the night and morning before my test. I really took that to heart and so Monday night I made the easiest chicken recipe in the world. I am presenting this easy chicken bake to you here. It is in it's most basic form and you can spice it up any way you want to! It was so versatile, and the chicken was so tender and moist. I haven't heard back from my doctor yet, she said they'd only call if I have to do the three hour test, or if I am a little anemic. So far, so good!
Easy Chicken Bake
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken legs and thighs, defrosted
1 red onion
2 roma tomatoes
salt, pepper, and olive oil to taste
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Spray a glass baking pan with cooking spray. Place the chicken in the pan. Salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle with olive oil. Chop up the tomatoes and onion to your liking and spread over the top of the chicken. Bake in the oven for 40 minutes.
That is it! It is so simple! If you want to put it on a bed of pasta or rice, go for it! It was also really good by itself and I was happy to have a little vegetable in with my protein for the night!
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Part of the fun of fall is all of the cute fall porches people set up. Small touches really add a lot of festivity to a home. Unfortunately for some of us, we don't have a lot of room to work with. Maybe you live in an apartment or like us, just don't have very much porch space. If that's the case, I have come up with four ideas that you can use to really bring the festivity of fall to your doorstep.
The first idea is this super simple DIY to display your house or apartment numbers. Simply gather a fake pumpkin, a paint pen, and a stencil of the numbers you will need. I created mine using microsoft word and an exacto knife. Secure the stencil to the pumpkin and trace the numbers. When I did this, i thought it was easiest to fill them in without the stencil still in place, but do it however you find easiest. I also painted the stem of my pumkpin to match the numbers. Once finished, you can use a sealing spray to seal it all in before displaying it. This is perfect for a small space because it can be easily displayed in a window sill, as shown. No porch space is taken up!
A really easy way to add that fall touch to your porch is through fall foliage. Fake flowers can be inexpensive, they never die, and they add plenty of color and interest to any fall display. You can have as many or as little as you'd like, and you can really put them anywhere. Pots can go in a window sill, on the ground, or you can grab one that hangs from the ceiling. But anywhere you put them, they will look beautiful and festive.
Make your entrance more fall appropriate and welcoming by adding a wreath or cute sign. In an older post, I showed you how to make this rustic fall wreath. If you don't have time to DIY one, a cute sign can definitely send the message. We put this owl one out every year! It takes up no space on the porch, so it's perfect for an apartment or small space.
The last DIY is this sign I made that says "Harvest". I've seen this in a couple different places and thought it would be perfect for my porch set up, so I had to make it. For this you will need a large piece of wood, at least two different colors of paint, and a stencil for whatever you would like your sign to say. This stencil was made much in the same way the one for the pumpkin was. Before any painting, be sure to sand the wood on both sides and on the edges to avoid any splinters! Then paint on your base coat and use the stencils to paint on the words. I found it was easiest brush on the base coat and then use a sponge for the stencils. I stopped here, but if you wanted to do a light sanding after the paint is dry to make it look more aged, that would also be incredibly cute.
I love the way this project turned out and it only took about an hour to do. It doesn't take up too much space on the porch, but is an amazing statement piece (literally!).
That's our fall porch this year. It's fun and festive, but so easy to produce and perfect for small spaces like ours. If you use any of our ideas, be sure to take a picture and share it with us on social media! Or if you have any of your own ideas, leave them in a comment down below. And keep an eye out for more fall fun from all of us here at 3 Winks!
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Have you ever known a child who just didn't enjoy reading and perhaps struggled a little with it. Maybe getting them to practice was difficult, yet you knew that if they would practice, their reading would improve. I gave you this DIY last year, but I feel it is a timely subject at this time in the school year. If you didn't get a chance to see it last year, I hope it is of benefit to you now. Now that school has been in for a little over a month, perhaps you are looking for a way to keep the fun in reading after the newness has worn off. Here is a reading phone that you can make that will help make reading fun for emerging readers. I have seen them used in classrooms, and you can even purchase them ready made, (and here) but they are simple and inexpensive to make and I will also list some tips about how to use them.
Supplies Needed And Reading Phone Assembly:
To make the reading phone, you will need the following supplies from your building supply store:
1/2" pvc pipe cut 5 3/4" long
1/2" pvc pipe cut 1" long
2-1" x 1/2" elbows (check your local home store)
a pipe cutter to cut the lengths
a tape measure
Decorative duct tape or washi tape.
Here are the pieces arranged the way they go together:
We just shoved them together without any glue. They fit nice and tight. I had my husband pull this one apart so that we could photograph it, it was a difficult task because they fit so snugly. I guess if you want to glue them, you can, but if they come apart, you can just stick them back together.
Now, of course, you have to beautify your phone. I used colorful duct tape and/or washi tape on ours. You can get all kinds of colorful duct tape from Dollar Tree. They also have this colorful tape that I just found!
Here is a little slide show showing how our reading phones turned out.
How to Use the Reading Phone and Encourage Reading:
You really can hear your own voice well when you speak into these phones. Your kids will love that and will be able to read to themselves without feeling distracted by what else is going on around them. If you have a classroom of kids, the reading phone helps each child be able to focus on what they are reading instead of hearing everyone else. Here are more tips for using reading phones and encouraging reading:
*Use reading phones to improve fluency in your reader. Set a timer for 1 minute and have them read into the phone when you say "Go!" See how far they can get in that 1 minute. Have them read the same passage again and see if they can improve their score. Fluency helps with comprehension. So, it is important to improve fluency in young readers. Kids will love "racing" against the timer (not against each other) and seeing themselves improve.
*Use the phone to read to each other. If you have two children, they can pretend they are having a conversation on the phone, but are actually reading. If you only have one child, you can get in on the act and model fluent reading. You can trade one page at a time, or one paragraph or even a sentence. This is also a good way for your child to learn to define what a sentence or a paragraph is.
*Encourage your child to read in a silly voice. They will love hearing themselves read like a robot or a monster. As I said before, you can really hear your own voice well through the reading phone, so it will be very funny for them.
*If your child also is working on their speech, these phones can help them hear how they are pronouncing words and then make corrections.
*Most of my grandchildren live far away from me. I enjoy talking to them on Google Hangout. I am going to ask them to hold this phone to their ears and read to me over the internet. I think that they will like that since I am giving them these phones, they will be able to show me how they can use them!
*Remember to let your kids read what they enjoy! The main idea is to get them reading! Also, read to them. Nothing encourages a love of reading more than being able to spend one on one time snuggling with Mom or Dad and reading and talking together about what you read. Make reading a pleasant experience for them and let them see you reading and enjoying it.
*Take them to the library! Kids love an outing and libraries are so much fun. They can take their phones with them and read quietly but still hear themselves.
I hope these tips are helpful to you! I love helping kids gain a love of reading! If you think of more uses for these little phones, let me know! (Clonking each other on the head with them doesn't count!)
Here are some other posts about reading and books that we love that may help you to encourage a love of reading in your kids!
Creators of Hot Cocoa Bombs! (copyrighted)
Helen Reynolds: Mother of six children , grandmother to eleven! I love to cook, craft and create things and I especially love doing that with my family, So, when my lawyer daughter, Lindsey, my artist daughter, Madalynn, and I came up with the idea of Hot Cocoa Bombs, this blog was born. Then, one more daughter, with her technical and science skills, plus creativity has joined in to round us out! Read more about us here!