Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The BEST Pumpkin Bars Recipe

I've really got a love/hate relationship with baking. It is something that I genuinely enjoy, but unfortunately the end product always turns out soo delicious it is difficult to turn down seconds and thirds. Because of this, I decided to never bake something unless I know I can give away most of it to family or friends the next day.

I had those same good intentions the other day when I made these pumpkin bars, but sadly only a quarter of the pan made it out of the house. The rest, my husband and I devoured within 2 days.

Don't worry, I combated that with some salad eating & lots of cardio the days following. Some days you just have to let yourself indulge a little. It's all about balance ;) lol

This easy Pumpkin Bars with cream cheese frosting recipe turns out perfect every time! My husband & I ate the entire pan in 2 days!


Ingredients & Directions:


Pumpkin bars-

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 2/3 c sugar
  • 1 c canola oil
  • 1 can (15 oz) pumpkin
  • 2 c flour
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  1.  In a bowl, beat eggs, sugar, oil & pumpkin. Combine flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, & salt and them gradually add to pumpkin mixture.
  2. Lightly coat jelly roll pan with cooking spray and pour mixture in. (I like my KitchenAid Jelly Roll Pan)
  3. Bake at 350* for 25-30 minutes. 
  4. Cool completely before frosting.
Cream Cheese Frosting-
  • 1 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 c butter, softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 pkg powdered sugar (about half of a 2 pound bag)
  1. Beat ingredients together in small bowl until smooth.
**These are delicious the first day, but the second day they are my absolute favorite! That pumpkin flavor really starts to come out & they become even more moist (especially if you keep them covered)!


Serving Size: 1 pumpkin bar, makes 24
Macros: 15.1 g fat, 42 g carbs, 3.1 g protein 

Other posts you may like:

marscapone chocolate mousse
addicting pumpkin cookie recipe
easy banana bread french toast & caramel syrup

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Pregnancy Update- 10 weeks

I had my first doctor's appointment on Tuesday and so far everything is going great with this new pregnancy. Baby is measuring where he/she should be for how far along I am and his/her heart beat is a healthy 140-150 bpm.

The doctor actually gave us our first ultrasound (the next one won't be until 20 weeks).

Pregnancy Update- 10 weeks

This is crazy to me. I didn't see an ultrasound with David until the gender one at 16 weeks. So seeing a baby this early looks a little strange. But I assure you, everything is normal and growing as he/she should be.

With my first pregnancy I gained way too much weight. I used my pregnancy as an excuse to eat candy, cookies, & fast food whenever I wanted. I let myself eat seconds of everything. I ended up gaining around 45 pounds! With only 9 of those being the baby, that gave me A LOT to lose afterward.

If you are a healthy weight before pregnancy, you only need to gain between 25-35 pounds. Making sure you don't gain additional weight takes discipline and it means saying no to unhealthy foods most of the time no matter how badly you are craving them! And honestly, it only takes one bite to satisfy a craving. This is something I need to constantly remind myself, otherwise I may end up eating 10 cupcakes instead of just 1! lol


Healthy Pregnancy weight gain/ caloric intake chart

As you can see from the pic above, the idea of "eating for two" is really just a myth. 

My game plan is to exercise regularly, and eat fairly healthy 85% of the time. I will let myself have a candy bar or a piece of cake occasionally, but it's all about moderation. What helps me, is if I make a batch of cookies, I will save a couple for me and then give the rest to either in-laws, neighbors, or friends. That way I kick the craving and don't have the rest of the batch tempting me everyday. 

Stats so far:


Weeks: 10
Weight Gain: 0
Stretch Marks: 0
Symptoms: None
Cravings: Spicy foods
Missing: Hot tubs
Exercise: Cardio 4 times a week, some free weights
Diet: Normal


I plan to continue to document my stats as this pregnancy goes on & hopefully keep myself accountable.

Let me know your tips for staying on track during pregnancy in the comments below!



Other posts you may like:







Monday, September 14, 2015

Toddler Snacks for On-the-Go

If you have or have had a toddler, then you know how impossible it is to keep them occupied (& sitting still) for long periods of time. David loves running around & saying hi to everyone!

Today at the doctor's office, we were in the waiting room waiting to get called back for some of his 1 year shots and he was running all over. He didn't want to sit still and play or read books at all. Well, at least not at first.

I'm not sure if I've mentioned this before, but David is obsessed with girls! He only says hi to girls, young or old, it doesn't matter. And so, when a mom with a little 1 year old girl walked into the waiting room, David was in baby heaven! He walked over to her, took his binky & lightly tapped her on the cheek as kind of a mock hit, so that he could have an excuse to do what he did next which was kiss her! And then he kissed her again and again and again. He was less than an inch away from the little girl the ENTIRE time we were waiting. Until another little girl walked in. Then he ran over to that one, pointing & waiving until finally the nurse called us back!

Thankfully the little girl's mom thought David's obsession with her daughter was cute & didn't mind, but we really can't have him running all around kissing girls when we're at a football game or any other event. And so, we have come up with some great snack ideas that will usually keep him at bay.

These snacks are all fairly healthy and easy to pack even if you are pressed for time (which we usually are).

toddler snack ideas that are so quick & easy & perfect for on the go


1. Grapes

red grapes- perfect toddler snack for on the go!

These are easy. Stick them in a zip-lock baggy and you're good to go. I actually typically pre-wash these & remove them from the vine immediately. It just makes things so much more simple when you are in a hurry later.

P.S. it is definitely grape season right now so these are definitely the way to go! The red ones are our favorite! We usually can't wait & will eat a handful as we walk around the grocery store (shhh don't tell the store clerk!)

2. Celery sticks

celery sticks- perfect toddler snack for on the go!

David loves celery. He will just chew on them forever!

3. Dried fruit

dried mangoes- perfect toddler snack for on the go!

We like dried mangoes & dried blueberries. Make sure you look at the ingredient list, because some manufacturers will add sugar, which really isn't necessary with fruit.

4. Apples & peanut butter

to go peanut butter- perfect toddler snack for on the go!

They actually make little to go peanut butters, which is super convenient. I would slice up the apple before hand, but it's not super necessary either. David loves just chewing on a whole apple. So I guess it just depends on your child's age.

5. Beef Jerky

beef jerky- perfect toddler snack for on the go!

I loved beef jerky as a kid. My mom ALWAYS packed them in our field trip lunches. And it's nice because you don't have to worry about it spoiling.

6. Goldfish

goldfish- perfect toddler snack for on the go!

We had to list this one. It's not super healthy, but David loves them and I'm pretty sure most kids do too!

7. Fruit & Veggie squeezes

fruit squeeze- perfect toddler snack for on the go!

These taste like smoothies. They usually mix fruit with the veggie ones so they're always delicious. I would recommend freezing it for about 30 minutes first, if you think you'll be out for a while.

*We get this kind at Costco, but you can easily find other brands at grocery stores & Target/Walmart. Costco has this other thing called "Froozers" that are similar, but frozen. They come in tubes (like otter-pops) and are made from organic fruits with no added sugar or preservatives and are so good!

8. Edamame

edamame- perfect toddler snack for on the go!

Again, easy, delicious, nutritious. Just toss into a zip-lock baggy & you're good to go!

Basically the idea is to aim for snacks that aren't perishable, but if not, try to freeze it or pack with an ice pack. Don't forget that sippy cup of water!


Other posts you may like:


Pregnancy Countdown Chain FREE PRINTABLE
Methods for finding out baby gender
Five things pregnant woman can't do


Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Pregnancy Countdown Chain FREE Printable!

When I was pregnant with David, I didn't take chalkboard photos or celebrate pregnancy milestones in any cute way and that pregnancy really seemed to drag on forever!!

This time around, I thought I'd do something fun. Since I'm not a skilled chalkboard writer, I flashed back to elementary school days and decided to make a Pregnancy Countdown Chain!! I also created my first ever FREE PRINTABLE for you to create your own!

FREE PRINTABLE pregnancy countdown chain- measures weeks with baby size in fruit


This pregnancy countdown chain measures the weeks and includes baby size compared to equivalent sized fruit. I personally, always try to visual how big my baby actually is and get excited the bigger baby gets!

The instructions for this are very simple, especially if you've made these before. Just download the FREE printable and print it out. I printed mine out on regular computer paper, but you can always print it on card stock or something a little sturdier if you'd like. Once it's printed, just cut and tape/staple/glue together.

Note: depending on your margin settings on your computer, you may be left with a little thicker of strips on top & bottom of each sheet. Just trim excess to make all strips the same width.

FREE PRINTABLE pregnancy countdown chain- measures weeks with baby size in fruit

FREE PRINTABLE pregnancy countdown chain- measures weeks with baby size in fruit


Download terms of use: Please feel free to share this printable with others, but please direct users to this post, not the download. Also, do not upload the file to any online groups or file-sharing sites.

**If you hover over printable, you should see a "pop out" button which will open  it in another window & allow you to print or download**




I hope you all enjoy Lexi Michelle Blog's first ever printable & have fun counting down to your little one's arrival (if you are expecting, if not, stay tuned! This is the first of many free printables to come!)

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Merry Monday Link Party #70

Welcome to the Merry Monday Link Party #70

Announcements:

  • The hosts of Merry Monday are giving away $200 Paypal Cash to help you kick-off the Fall Season! Use it to buy new Fall decor, throw a party, start your holiday shopping, or anything else your heart desires.
$200 Fall Giveaway

  • Halloween Spooktacular Link Party. Have a Halloween craft, DIY project, costume tutorial, fun party recipe? Come share it on the 2015 Halloween Spooktacular Link Party! Open until October 29th.
Halloween Spooktacular Link Party
  • Party Theme Features:
    • Stash buster craft features! We want to challenge you to recreate/reinvent an old fall decor item or fall craft item into a new fall decor item! Share your creations on the Merry Monday Link Party #70 (Sept 6th) for a chance to be featured on Merry Monday #71 (featured Sept. 13th).
    • Dollar Store craft challenge! Share your Dollar Store crafts on the September 13th party for a chance to be featured on the September 20th party.
    • Fall Outdoor Decor. Share your outdoor decor ideas on September 20th for a chance to be featured on the September 27th party.
    • Fall side dishes & desserts. Share on September 27th to be featured on October 4th party.
    • More themes to be announced!
  • TWO new guest host for the next two weeks!
  • Holiday Ornament Exchange is now open! Sign-up HERE.
Ornament Exchange (1)


  Merry Monday Link Party

Meet the hosts of Merry MondayMerry Monday Hosts

Welcome our Co-Host

Meet April at Uncookie Cutter, one of our new Co-Host for the next two weeks.
April at Uncookie Cutter
Hi all! I April, a recent Oklahoman by way of Virginia. My husband and I moved here in January with our 2 kids and 3 dogs in tow and we are trying to embrace and redo this crazy old house we bought. I blog about our adventures here, mostly DIY decor and furniture building. I'd love for you to join us on our journey!
Meet Lexi at Lexi Michelle Blog, our second co-host for the next two weeks!
Lexi Michelle Blog Hello! I'm Alexis, part-time blogger & full-time mommy to the greatest little boy ever. As a mother we tend to wear a lot of different hats. I am the house keeper, the family chef, the nurse, and the nanny all rolled into one. On top of that I also love anything DIY, fitness, & party related. Lexi Michelle Blog is where all those passions intersect.

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Let's get the Merry Monday party started!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Halloween Countdown Book Tradition

With Halloween fast approaching, I thought I'd let you know of a new tradition we will be starting this year (beginning October 1st).

new Halloween tradition- read 1 new Halloween book every night leading up to Halloween

The plan is to read one Halloween book before bed, every night leading up to Halloween. 

David is only 1, so a lot of these books may go over his cute little head but that doesn't mean he isn't getting anything out of this new tradition. Story time has so many benefits to children of ALL ages.

Plus, I love any excuse for family time that doesn't involve sitting in front of the TV watching Netflix!

A few of these books are favorites of mine (like The Monster at the End of This Book) and a lot are new ones I found when googling "the best Halloween books for kids." I only picked books with good ratings, so I am hoping all of these are winners, but if not, this list will be updated for next year =)

Definitely let me know of your favorites in the comments below, so that I can check those out as well!

(I'm sharing this post a little early, in hopes that if you decide to do this tradition too you will have plenty of time to either order your books online & have them shipped or rent them from your local library before they run out!)


  1. The Monster at the End of This Book
  2. Pete the Cat: Five Little Pumpkins
  3. The Night Before Halloween
  4. I'm Looking for a Monster!
  5. Can You See What I See?: On a Scary Scary Night: Picture Puzzles to Search and Solve
  6. Frankenstein Takes the Cake
  7. Tucker's Spooky Halloween
  8. How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin?
  9. Where's My Mummy?
  10. The Spooky Wheels on the Bus 
  11. Skeleton Hiccups
  12. Ten Timid Ghosts
  13. The Berenstain Bears Trick or Treat
  14. Pumpkin Soup
  15. In the Haunted House 
  16. The 13 Nights of Halloween
  17. The Vanishing Pumpkin
  18. The Bumpy Little Pumpkin
  19. Haunted Castle on Hallows Eve
  20. Halloween Night
  21. All Hallows Eve: The Story of the Halloween Fairy
  22. The Ugly Pumpkin
  23. Trick or Treat Countdown
  24. Too Many Pumpkins
  25. The Night Before Halloween
  26. Room on the Broom
  27. Big Pumpkin
  28. Peek-a-Boooo!
  29. Halloween Is... 
  30. Goodnight Goon: a Petrifying Parody 
  31. Shake Dem Halloween Bones

Honestly, I love the idea of this tradition so much that I could definitely see us doing a 25 days of Christmas books countdown when December rolls around too!