Homemade Pumpkin Spice Pupcakes

Thanksgiving is next week!  With so much to do to get ready for the holiday we sometimes forget our furry friends.  But they’re part of the family and deserve a special holiday treat too!  This year why not make your fur babies some Pumpkin Spice Pupcakes?

Yes I said Pupcakes, not cupcakes, although I use human friendly ingredients so if someone mistakenly eats one it’s all good; they may not like it like my Siberian Husky Cannoli does, but it won’t kill them! These Pumkin Spice Pupcakes are the perfect doggie treats for Thanksgiving!  Believe me your pup will love them.  Best of all they are super easy to make using ingredients you probably have in your pantry.

Pumpkin Spice Pupcakes are perfect for fall birthday celebrations too!  I know you can buy doggie cakes and cookies from pet stores and gourmet pet bakeries that are springing up all over town, but why spend big bucks when you can whip up a batch in about an hour?

Seriously these Pumpkin Spice Pupcakes are easy and inexpensive.  All you need are basically flour, egg. baking soda, and pumpkin puree.  I like to use coconut water too, but if you don’t have any plain old water will do.  And of course a dash of cinnamon; but you pretty much have all these in the kitchen specially this time of year!

My recipe makes 20 regular size cupcakes but you can use mini cupcake pans and get a whole lot more.  The size of your pupcake will pretty much depend on the size of your pooch.  Since we have a medium sized dog the regular size cakes work best, she just inhales the minis!

I frost my Pumpkin Spice Pupcakes with cream cheese but dogs love them without frosting too, so no need to take the extra step if you don’t have too much time.  These Pupcakes freeze very well.  I usually freeze them and thaw them out as needed.  I also frost them just before feeding them to the pooch.

Now these Pumpkin Spice Pupcakes are dense so don’t expect anything light and airy.  They’re quite heavy too!  They don’t rise much during baking so whatever level you fill each cupcake wrap will be the same after they’re baked.

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Ingredients:

3 Cups Flour – white or wheat whichever you have on hand

1 Large Can Pumpkin Puree – be sure it’s the puree and not the pumpkin pie mix that’s already seasoned.

1 Egg

1 1/2 Cup Coconut Water – regular water works too

1 Tsp Baking Soda

1 Tsp Cinnamon

Directions:

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Place all ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir very well –  be sure the flour is all blending in.

Place cupcake liners in cupcake pan.

Scoop batter into each cupcake liner filling at least 3/4.

Smooth tops of batter.so pupcakes look neat.

Bake in oven for 25 – 30 minutes.

Remove from oven and cool before frosting.

Store in airtight containers or freeze.

Frost with peanut butter if you like.

Top Pregnancy Hacks To Make Pregnant Life Easier

Top Pregnancy Hacks To Make Pregnant Life Easier

Pregnancy can be a magical time, but it can’t be denied that being pregnant is hard work. Your body is going through a lot of enormous changes and doing the hard task of growing a new life, so you’re sure to be tired, as well as experiencing a range of aches, pains and sickness. There are some pregnancy hacks you can try out to make being pregnant a little more comfortable for you.

Comfort Is Key
Pregnancy is a great excuse to be very demanding. You need to prioritise your comfort. Whatever you need to feel comfortable, do it. Whether that means you buy new pillows for the bed, or buy the same pair of maternity jeans in three different colors, don’t be afraid to ask for anything that will help you to feel as comfortable as you can, especially in the later stages of your pregnancy. Don’t feel awkward asking for things, especially from your partner. It’s not unreasonable to expect them to be ready with a foot rub or the offer of a cup of tea.

A great comfort trick to help you sleep better is to sleep on your side with a pillow under your bump and another under your knees. This helps to align your back comfortably, without putting pressure on your bump. Proper pregnancy pillows can also really help you to get into a comfortable position, so consider investing if you’re struggling to get enough sleep. Getting enough sleep is important, as pregnancy is very tiring, so make sure you do find a way to feel comfortable at night.

Late Night Snacks
It might sound strange, but a snack in the early hours of the morning can really help with morning sickness. Keep some snacks like saltine crackers on your nightstand so you can grab them easily if you wake up in the night. Nausea can be made worse on an empty stomach, so if you’re awake in the early morning for a wee or any other reason, nibble a small snack before you go back to sleep and you should feel less sick in the morning.

Keep Your Bra In The Freezer
Being pregnant during the summer can be even more difficult. It can feel impossible to keep cool with the extra weight of the bump and all the work your body is doing. To help head off some of the sweaty feeling, put your bra into a plastic bag so it doesn’t get damp and then pop it into the freezer for a few hours before you put it on. You can cool down quickly with this trick, even if you do feel a bit silly doing it.

Enjoy A Massage
Lots of spas offer special massages that are safe for pregnant women. If you’re struggling with the discomfort of pregnancy and you’re struggling with a lot of back pain, a massage could help a lot to make you feel more comfortable.

A massage with oils can also help to reduce pregnancy stretch marks and restore smooth skin. Spend some time pampering yourself with nice smelling oils to feel more relaxed, and reduce those stretch marks. You can use specific body oils, or just raid the kitchen cupboard for olive oil or coconut oil.

Head Off Heartburn
Many pregnant women experience severe heartburn which can be very uncomfortable. To avoid it, try eating more, smaller meals instead of three large ones. Avoid fried, spicy or rich foods, and try to drink less while you’re eating. If you’re really struggling, a shot of apple cider vinegar can work wonders for heartburn.

Eat Bananas
If you’re struggling with uncomfortable leg cramps, you can help to soothe them by having a glass of water and eating a banana. The potassium in the banana can help the cramps.

Invest In A Bra Extender
One of the most difficult parts of pregnancy can be getting dressed. Maternity clothes are expensive and it can be hard to work out what sizes will be comfortable. Bras are particularly difficult, even if you’re wearing maternity or nursing bras. A bra extender can be a lifesaver to give you a bit of extra room if you feel like your bra is too tight around your ribcage. Having a bit of extra space is a lot more comfortable.

Use Ginger
Ginger is known for its stomach-settling properties, making it a good friend to any pregnant woman. If you’re feeling nauseous, whether in the morning or not, snacking slowly on a ginger biscuit or sipping ginger ale can help a lot to settle your stomach. Keep ginger candies in your purse, and you can suck on them if you feel sick when you’re out and about.

If you don’t like ginger, watermelon is another favourite for pregnant women. Some people find that lemonade and potato chips work well too when you can’t keep anything else down.

Wear Workout Shoes
Convert your gym shoes into pregnancy shoes. The cushioned support in shoes designed for exercise are great for sore pregnant feet, and can help with a bad back too. If you’ve reached the point where bending over to tie your shoelaces is difficult, you can swap your laces for elastic laces which you can leave tied, converting your shoes into slip-ons, as the elastic will stretch when you pull the shoe on your foot. No bending over required.

Book All Your Appointments Early
While you’re pregnant, you’ll be going to see your Doctor a lot for different appointments to check on the health of you and your baby. When pregnancy brain sets in, it can be hard to remember to book all these different appointments, so book them all as soon as you know which appointments you’ll need when. This way, you won’t forget to book something important. If you book early, you’ll also have more choice of appointment times and have more time to arrange with work and other commitments to get the time off you need to see the Doctor.

Stock Up On Snacks
Pregnancy cravings can be intense. More than one Dad-to-be has made a panicked trip to the all-night garage at midnight to buy an important snack for his partner who is craving something that isn’t the fridge. To avoid this, keep a stash of common craving snacks in the fridge or freezer, ready to go. Pickles, french fries, ice cream and ginger beer are all common cravings, and are a good start for your snack stash.

Keep Kitchen Tongs In The Shower
Bending over gets more difficult the more pregnant you get. If you’re in the shower, dropping your shampoo or your washcloth while heavily pregnant can be very frustrating if you can’t bend down to pick it up again. Keep a set of kitchen tongs in the shower, and you can use them to grab whatever you’ve dropped, without having to bend over as far.

Stay Hydrated
Keeping well hydrated is important at the best of times, but it’s even more essential for the health of you and your baby. Try to drink plenty of water. You could keep a water bottle with you to remind you to keep sipping. If you’re finding it hard to drink enough water while also needing to wee a lot more often, you can boost your hydration with what you eat too. Eat foods with a high water content, like cucumber or radishes. You’ll be more hydrated without putting as much pressure on your bladder.

Try A Salt Soak For Your Feet
Swollen, bloated feet can be very uncomfortable, especially after a long time standing up. To reduce the swelling and soothe tired, aching feet, make up a soak with epsom salts or sea salt dissolved in warm water. Add a few drops of grapefruit essential oil for a refreshing soak that will make your feet feel as good as new.

Try Prenatal Yoga
Look for a yoga class designed for pregnant women. These classes are great for a number of reasons. Certain yoga poses can actually help with nausea, which you’ll be very thankful for in the midst of morning sickness. The class will be relaxing too if you’re finding the pregnancy stressful. You’ll be getting in a good workout, which will help you to maintain your fitness levels while pregnant, bounce back quicker after the birth, and you’ll be helping to stretch out sore muscles and joints from carrying around the bump. You’ll also be meeting other pregnant women, who can sympathise with your struggles. Having some friends who are also pregnant gives you someone to talk to who understands if you’re ever finding things difficult, or a bit overwhelming. You might even make friends for play dates when all the babies are born. Those friendships could be very valuable to you when you have a small baby and feel a bit lonely in the early days of parenthood. Your baby will also benefit from having some same aged company when they start to get a little older.

Preparing For The Future In Every Way That You Can

Preparing For The Future In Every Way That You Can

Life changes when you become a parent. Every parent will have said that to someone else at some point in their lives. Whether you are hearing it for the first time because you are expecting a bundle of joy, whether you are in the full throws of parenthood, or you are in the later years of your life enjoying grandchildren, we can all agree that life is never the same. One of the main reasons is that your priorities change. No longer do you think about yourself first, there is your family to think of. They are what is important now. So many of us want to safeguard our families future, if anything to take some of the worry away. With that in mind, here are some of the ways you can do that.

Write a will

No one wants to think about leaving their family behind. Be that in an accident or by a life threatening illness. But the truth be known we don’t know what tomorrow will bring. As it isn’t something that can be predicted, it’s more important than ever to get your assets and wishes written down in a will. This can help you to put in place your wishes for things like the assets you have such as the family home, or any outstanding finances and savings that you have accumulated over the years.

Don’t forget to take care of yourself

When you become a parent it’s easy to put your needs behind everyone else’s. But this is when you can find yourself in hot water. The last thing you want is to become ill, rundown or fatigued because of everyday life. So try and ensure you get a little time for yourself to rejuvenate. It might be to take a hot bath, or go to the gym. Maybe you want to work on meditation or yoga practises to clear your mind. You will also want to ensure that you keep up with regular health checks, otherwise long lasting ailments like tinnitus or diabetes can sneak up on you. Whatever you do take care of yourself, because you are the one that takes care of everyone else.

Ensure you’re covered for unforeseen circumstances

We made a valid point earlier, we don’t know what tomorrow will bring. That also means we don’t know if we are going to suffer with an injury or critical illness. But yet life still has to move forward at it’s usual pace. Children will need to go to school and bills will still need to be paid. So it’s important to have provisions in place for every eventuality. Just to give you some peace of mind. That might be insurance policies to take away a financial burden.

Start saving for the future

Money is what makes the world go round, and while you many not want to place too much emphasis on it, you do need to ensure the bills get paid. So it’s important to set up savings accounts. Perhaps thinking about your children’s future for college or university fees. Or even just setting money aside for a rainy day should you need it. More often than not that money could be used every now and again for treats like vacations, but at least you are planning for the future to take away some of the financial burden of raising a family can have on you.

Let’s hope these tips help you safeguard your family’s welfare in the future.

Pumpkin Torte

Pumpkin Torte

This beautiful layered cake has a creamy filling with a mild pumpkin flavor and a little spice. It’s quick and always turns out so well. The nuts and caramel topping add a nice finishing touch.

This is a great recipe. Very light and not too sweet with a great pumpkin flavor.

I did use more pumpkin spice than what the instructions states, a little less confectioners sugar, and used no nuts. I had lots of coworkers asking where the recipe came from.

 

Ingredients:

1 package yellow cake mix (regular size)

1 can (15 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin, divided

4 large eggs

1/2 cup 2% milk

1/3 cup canola oil

1-1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice, divided

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened

1 cup confectioners’ sugar

1 carton (16 ounces) frozen whipped topping, thawed

1/4 cup caramel ice cream topping

Pecan halves, toasted

 

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350°. Line bottoms of two greased 9-in. round baking pans with parchment paper; grease paper.
  • Combine cake mix, 1 cup pumpkin, eggs, milk, oil and 1 teaspoon pie spice; beat on low speed 30 seconds. Beat on medium 2 minutes. Transfer to prepared pans.
  • Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 25-30 minutes. Cool 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks; cool completely.
  • Beat cream cheese until light and fluffy. Beat in confectioners’ sugar and the remaining pumpkin and pie spice until smooth. Fold in whipped topping.
  • Using a long serrated knife, cut each cake horizontally in half. Place one cake layer on a serving plate; spread with a fourth of the filling. Repeat three times. Drizzle with caramel topping; sprinkle with pecans. Store in refrigerator.
Nutrition Facts

1 slice: 476 calories, 24g fat (12g saturated fat), 82mg cholesterol, 367mg sodium, 58g carbohydrate (41g sugars, 1g fiber), 6g protein.

 

 

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Roasting the Perfect Thanksgiving Turkey

Roasting the Perfect Thanksgiving Turkey

This time of year I get hungry for a juicy turkey dinner!  It’s no wonder, Thanksgiving is right around the corner.  It’s about the only time of year that I roast a whole turkey.

I still remember my first time roasting a turkey, I had no idea what to do.  Over the years I’ve perfected it, and my family expects a Thanksgiving feast every year.

In recent years deep frying turkeys have been real popular.  I’ve heard deep fried turkeys are delicious, but in our family you don’t experiment on a Thanksgiving turkey.  So I’ve always roasted my turkey in the oven using the brown bag method.  I’ve been roasting my turkeys this way for over 30 years.

It’s easy, no basting involved. You just place the turkey, roasting pan, and rack, in to a brown paper bag, slide it in to the oven and roast for the required time. You tear off the bag about 30 minutes before it’s done to get the nice golden brown color.  When the timer rings take the turkey out of the oven and let rest for 15 – 30 minutes before carving.

Trust me you’ll end up with a delicious juicy turkey everytime.  You’re family will love it!

Here are instructions for Savvy Nana’s Brown Bag Roasted Turkey!  Psst!  There’s a roasting chart on that post too!  Believe me it will come in handy!

My 24 pound bird last year.  Perfect!

Last year’s Thanksgiving feast at my house.

Thanksgiving at my daughter’s house in Colorado.  Smaller bird cooked the same way, perfect every time!

15 Cheap Thanksgiving Crafts for Kids

15 Cheap Thanksgiving Crafts for Kids

Thanksgiving is in a couple of weeks, that means the kids will be out of school for the very long weekend.  Keep them busy making fun inexpensive Thanksgiving crafts while you’re busy in the the kitchen preparing that delicious Thanksgiving Day meal.   You can also set a kids’ Thanksgiving table for your little guests and keep them entertained making their own craft projects to take home.

Many of these kid’s crafts are made using things you have at home or inexpensive supplies you can pick up at any discount or dollar store.  Recycle toilet paper and paper towel rolls, paper plates, baby food jars, and bottle caps for these crafts.

Paper Roll Turkey from Arstsy-Farsty Mama is a great way to recycle toilet paper and paper towel rolls.

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These Turkey Glitter Globes from ilovetocreate.com uses empty baby food jars.

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This Pilgrim Hat crayon holder by The Moody Fashionista would look great on the Kids’ Thanksgiving table.  Make one for each place setting and add a blank rectangular piece of brown Kraft paper.  Kids can make their own placemat!

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Take a tip from Martha Stewart.  Kraft paper placemats on the children’s Thanksgiving table will keep your little guests entertained.  Add the Pilgrim Hat crayon holder and you’ve got a cute and practical table setting.  Kids can take home their crayons and palcemats as party favors!

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Take a break from making turkeys and make a Paper Pumpkin from All Kids Network.  It uses toilet paper rolls, constructions paper, and tape.

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I love this idea from Alittletipsy.com!  Handprint trees!  My grandson made me one for mother’s day using different colors.  My daughter added a poem and had it framed.  It proudly hangs in my family room!

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A variation on the handprint trees are handprint turkeys!  This craft from Terrific Pre-school Years makes a turkey placemat.

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More Turkeys!  Make a turkey hand puppet using a paper bag.  Great craft from Learn Create Love.

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Another puppet craft from Crafty Morning recycles plastic water bottles.  This craft takes a bit more time as it needs time to dry.

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Paper plate turkey from I Heart Crafty Things.  Easy, Fun, and Cheap!

Instructions here![spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]

 

 

Thanksgiving head gear!  Love these Pilgrim Hats from MPMK.  Grandparents can help kids make this!

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Take the head gear one step up and make this Turkey Pilgrim headband by BigKLittleG. [spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]

 

 

Done with Turkeys?  How about this Native American Headdress by Ankle Biter Art.  Your little Pocahontas will live it!

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Or forget Pilgrims and turkeys all together and make this Harvest Crown by Dana-Made-It.

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Gum drop turkey by Celeste Rockwood-Jones.  Yummy!

Instructions here!

For Easy Toddle Thanksgiving crafts click here!

For 12 FREE Thanksgiving printables click here!