Chocolate Eclair Cake

chocolate eclair cake

It’s time for a little recipe around here.  And this one is totally inappropriate, since simultaneously I am waking up my CentsablyFit blog.  After 3 months of illness and getting totally out of shape, I’m super excited for Holly’s new challenge that starts on Monday. This recipe doesn’t fit in that plan (unless it’s one of the Planned Indulgences.)  But it can be lighter by using skim milk and sugar free pudding mix.

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If you want to use almond milk with instant pudding mix, you’ll be disappointed; it just doesn’t get thick.  Unless you add a tsp of glucomannan powder with it.  Have you ever heard of glucomannan?  It’s the dried ground up root of the konjac plant.  It’s pure fiber (so calorie free)  and is a great instant thickener for cold or hot foods.  It adds a bit of slick texture of it’s own that is something to get used to.  But I’ve used it to make broth gravy, pudding, jam, and thicker smoothies. When I make fitness food with it, it makes me feel fuller faster and longer.  I buy mine in bulk from netrition.com.  It also comes in capsules, but why swallow a pill when you can eat food?!

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Lick your spoon, good.

And easy.  Embarrassingly easy.  If someone asks you for the recipe, change the subject, if you have any pride at all.

I have no shame…so I’m sharing.

This recipe makes a 10×15 pan.  You could make a smaller batch, but why?

Chocolate Eclair Cake

Chocolate Eclair Cake

Ingredients

  • 1 box honey graham crackers (ooh, or chocolate graham crackers--that would be yummy.)
  • 2 packages chocolate pudding (any flavor is yummy)
  • 4 cups of milk
  • 2-8 oz tubs of whipped topping, thawed

Instructions

  1. Line the bottom of your pan with a single layer of graham crackers. Break the crackers as needed to fit.
  2. Combine milk with pudding mixes in a blender or with a whisk and blend just until it starts to thicken. Fold in one tub of whipped topping.
  3. Pour 1/3 of the pudding mixture over the graham cracker layer and spread it around until it is even.
  4. Repeat the graham cracker/pudding layers 2 more times.
  5. Top the whole thing with the second tub of whipped topping.
  6. Then chill for awhile, like overnight.
  7. You can eat this right away, but the longer it chills, the more the crackers soak up the pudding and taste more like an eclair.
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If you are curious about Fit Yummy Mummy’s Spring Choose Your Challenge.  Pop over to Centsably Fit and find out more.

 

 

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An important fact about Playdough

I was shopping for birthday gifts this week for a little boy that’s about to turn 3.  Is that even possible? This boy is particularly fond of playdough.  Sometimes I like to make my own, but this time I wanted him to have some with vivid bright colors and decided to splurge for the real thing.

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There was a 4 pack at the store for $2.96.  I know I can get a 4 pack at Dollar Tree for, well, $1.  It’s off-brand.  The dough is fine, but the packaging is poor.  The lids don’t fit well and the dough drys out pretty quickly once the seal is broken. It’s his birthday and all–I wanted to get the good stuff.  But then I said that already.  Now don’t laugh, but the $3 price for something I could get for $1 was bothering me.  I stood there for awhile checking out all the options.  Then on the end cap I spotted this:

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Individual cans of Playdough in 11 color choices for $.50 each.  I needed a snack or something, could this be right?  I could buy 4 cans in any colors I wanted for $2.  Or I could pick a 4 pack of colors they selected for $3?  Another mother walked by like it was no big deal and filled her cart full of the individual cans.  She said, “Easter Baskets.”  As if that would explain her sudden interest in so much Playdough. (Which is a genius idea, BTW.)

“Excuse me,” I said.  ”But is it right that I can get these for $.50 each or buy a 4 pack for $3?  Are the cans the same size? ”

“Crazy, Isn’t it?”  She said as she confidentially pushed her cart away.

I bought one of each color, and used them for Easter Baskets too.  I think I should note that these individual cans won’t scan at checkout and every one must be typed in individually, because each color has a unique number.  If you go through the self checkout, start typing the number with a 6 then leave off the final 8.

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How to Properly Use a Red Card

How to Properly Use a Red Card

Ah Target. For all your personal flaws, I like your aisle style.

I love that your red card includes a debit card option, gives me a 5% discount, donates a percentage of my purchases to my school, and gives me free shipping online.

You have an ulterior motive though.  I can see through your niceness.  You know that if I swipe a card, be it credit or debit I will spend 50% more.  Give me a card; you make more….smooth.

I thought money fights in my marriage were a thing of the past, but you temped me to misbehave and I took the bait. I swipe my card knowing I have the cash in my purse to cover it, in all the proper budgets.  No stress, no fear, easy swipe. I intend to put the cash in the “return to the bank” envelope so we know it is spent. Still, sometime in the ride from the store to home, someone has to unload the car, potty, break up a fight, and get a snack, make dinner…and I forget all about the cash.

I forget, until it is time for my husband, (who is a CPA and VERY detailed) starts asking me about all the Target draws on our bank account and what they are for.  And why the “back to the bank” envelope doesn’t have the same amount of cash in it. And where that cash is now.  My chest feels tight, and my head hurts, because I know the money is gone.  I spent it twice. Since all of our money has a name, I spent the money we set aside for other things on something I don’t care about as much, and now I’m mad.

back to the bank

I’ll keep the card and I’ll come back, but we won’t fight anymore.  I have a secret plan.  It’s a little envelope in my purse called, “back to the bank.” So now, while I’m standing in line, I will swipe my card and put in my pin and save my 5% and send some love to my school….and I’ll put the cash into the “back to the bank” envelope right then. No delay between swiping the card and driving home to give me time to forget about moving the cash.

Yep, we’re both clever. See you in the dollar aisle. ;)

 

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What you need to know about your threshold

When I was 12 years old, I was 30 lbs overweight and miserable.

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That’s 12 year old me all the way over on the right. My dad’s entire family was obese and even though my dad was normal and my mom was tiny, I was convinced that I looked the way I did because of genetics. Then one day, someone introduced the concept to me that I could be anything I wanted to be.  God put the potential inside of me and my hopes and dreams came from Him.  Genetics didn’t matter as much as my behavior did.

I started to study nutrition, calories, exercise, weight and height charts–anything I could find in the area of weight loss.  Then I attacked the problem with the knowledge I found.  The weight “fell off” over the summer (because of my serious hard work), and I went to 8th grade looking like a different person.

My struggle with weight didn’t end there.  I still loved food, and my body was pre-set to hold onto more fat than most of my peers.  I didn’t gain weight though, because I had developed a personal threshold.  I didn’t count calories, but I weighed every day.  I never punished myself with the scale, I used it simply to get information.  If the scale was up I ate a little less that day.  If it was down I ate a little more.  Day by day I monitored things always watching for that number on the scale that was completely intolerable for me.  If I hit that number, I got serious again until I was under my threshold.   I was determined to never feel the way I did in that picture again.

When I got pregnant with my first baby, it was all of a sudden OK to gain weight.  My threshold didn’t apply anymore and I packed on 60 lbs before Heidi was born!

My threshold, or lack thereof, also determined my success with savings, income, and spending. When I was in college, my checking account charged a fee if I allowed the balance to go below a certain amount.  If I got close to that amount, I stopped all spending until I had a cushion built back up.  If I had a cushion in there I spent it. Even now, I have an income threshold with my business.  If my income drops below my acceptable amount, I kick it into gear and get the numbers up again.

Here’s the downside of Thresholds.  They can keep us from reaching our real potential. If my bank account threshold is $100, then I’ll always have about that much in there.  I’ll spend and save in routine to keep me there.  If my weight threshold is 140, that’s where I’ll stay even though my ideal weight is 125.  It’s hard to set a new threshold that is far away from where you are sitting now.  With my personality, I have to put in a big push, all or nothing to reach the new goal and then set my emotions to the new ideal.

What about you?  Do you have thresholds?  How do you use them to reach your goals?

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The Best *Free* Baby Gift Tutorials from Around the Web

Best Baby Tutorials

To make the list, the tutorials needed to be useful, adorable, free, super easy, use small amounts of materials, and be fast to make. Like I woke up late Saturday morning, and the shower’s at 2pm and I don’t have a gift yet, fast to make.

Click photos to go to the source and get the info:

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You’ll need a bib to use as a pattern for this one, but it’s a great concept for using up scraps.

Mrs Biddle Bibs

 I didn’t use drool bibs until I found these.  They didn’t cover up a cute outfit, they MADE a cute outfit.

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Drool bibs for the little ladies :).00

This scrappy bib tutorial comes with a printable pattern.

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When Grant was born I made 2 of these out of Minky.  Oh man, everyone was jealous.  He still loves them 3 years later.  We moved him to a toddler bed instead of a twin bed, so he could still have his sheets.

Baby TomsBoth free and paid options at this site.  Such cuties!

MakingHomeBaseSweaterUpcycleValentinesDayLegWarmers_zpsfd3eee36

Baby leg warmers from sweater arms

Baby legs from socks

Baby leg warmers from socks

babytightscoverpage

Baby tights from recycled t-shirts.

Baby tie onesies

Tie onesies! These are fast and easy to make and so cute!  Now little man can get all dressed up for church.

crochet-baby-turban3

Crocheted baby turban.  So cute! So fast!  And just takes a bit of yarn.

liberty-bonnet-600-3Sherpa lined winter bonnet

soft block tutorial

felt lion taggy 3Felt and Ribbon Lion Tag Toy

Quilt as you goThis is a doll quilt, but the same principle works for a baby quilt, start with a 45 inch square backing and batting.  You can also, just do strips across instead of a log cabin look. I made one of these for a shower in 2 hours one Saturday morning.  It’s an impressive gift that uses scraps and a short amount of time.

One yard baby gift

Use 1 yard to make a receiving blanket and 2 burp cloths.

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Gown made from a t-shirt, printable pattern.

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Knotted Baby Hat printable pattern

ezragraysCrocheted slippers

david_peacoatCrocheted Peacoat (I made one like this and it turned out darling!)

Crocheted Baby Hoodie

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Baby Gown and Hat Set for Free

Baby gift Idea #2. Are you brave?  How brave?

Brave enough to sew with knit?  What if it were free? (Well… free according to the craft hoarders rule book.)

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If you have a spare t-shirt, you could make a darling infant gown with it and if it doesn’t work out….you only lost the shirt.   Even better, The pattern is free from This Mama Makes Stuff.  Her tutorial includes how to make the fold over cuffs to protect the babies from their own sharp fingernails.

Here are my sewing with knit tips:  Use a ball point needle to keep from tearing permanent holes in the knit.  Use a longer stitch length.  If you can reduce the pressure on the foot a little to keep the fabric from stretching out of shape.  If you have a walking foot, you could do that instead.  If things do get stretched out of shape, try to steam them back with the iron. Then just relax and enjoy it.  Sewing with knit is my FAVORITE!  No basting to ease in seams, it just goes together like a dream. You are going to love it!

If you have some fabric leftover from the shirt make a matching hat:

BrandonandHeidi

Free pattern here:

Preemie hat pattern

and Preemie%20Knotty%20Hat

If the knit is fairly stretchy it will fit a newborn well too.  It’s on my 9lb 2 ounce bouncing baby boy above.

So Let’s say the shirt was “free” and you got the gown and hat out of it.  And then spent $3.75 on flannel to make a blanket and 2 burp cloths….You could wrap the gown, hat, and burp cloths inside the blanket (using the blanket as “wrapping paper”) and man, what a cute gift you have for less than $5 and about 2 hours worth of sewing.  Aren’t you clever?!

 

 

 

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Noah’s Ark Diaper Cake

You will need:

2 receiving blankets

4 burp cloths

2 wipes containers

1 small package of size 1 diapers

A children’s book or this

Giraffe teether toy

Washcloth animals (opt.)

Rubberbands

Plastic tray (with metallic finish from Dollar Tree)

Ribbon

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Place one wipes container in the middle of the tray. Ignore the two rubberbands you see, you won’t need them. Put one rubber band around the middle to hold the diapers in place.  Use half of the diapers to wrap around the wipes container and secure with a rubberband.

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Fold a blanket lengthwise until it is just slightly taller than the diapers and wrap it around.  There will be a 3-4 inch gap in the center.  Use a toy to cover the gap (Or you can use a burp cloth here.)  Secure with rubber band.

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Make the second tier from the remaining half of the diapers.  I just put a rubber band around them to secure them in the same shape they came out of the package. The third tier is just another package of wipes.

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At this point you can secure everything together with rubberbands and help Mr. Giraffe hold his head up.
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Wrap the top two layers with the remaining blanket and burp cloths.  Tie on ribbons to hide the rubber bands. Gently lay the book on top for a roof.  (Take the book off for travel since it isn’t secured in place.Noah's ark diaper cake

I added this little elephant made from 2 baby washcloths.  I’m not very good at making these things, so stopped at the 1 elephant.  I used these instructions:

And cut the eyes out of a blank white address label.

 

 

 

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A One Yard Baby Gift

One yard baby gift

I love giving, but sometimes I get gift anxiety.  What if they don’t like it?  What if they think I’m cheap? What if I spent all that time and it doesn’t come out right?

These feelings could all be avoided if I just went to the store and purchased something and gave them the gift receipt.  Sometimes I do that.  But this year….oh my!  I think everyone and their dog is planning to get married and have a baby this year, then throw a birthday party and invite one of our kids to it.  I’m glad they are, and super glad they invited us.  Sometimes the gift budget doesn’t stretch.

It just gives us a reason to be a little more creative, right?

(I once talked to a friend, who admitted to turning down birthday party invitations for her kids because they couldn’t afford a gift.  Hey, y’all.  Don’t do that here, mk?  I’d rather have you sans gift then let you worry one moment about finances.  Our kids have enough stuff and they won’t even notice, I promise.)

So I thought I’d talk about gifting this month a bit and give some ideas for what to do for baby showers, weddings, kid birthdays and such.

First up is this one yard baby gift.  You will need 1 yard of flannel; and 1 clean towel or scrap of terry cloth  at least 16 x 18 inches. At Hobby Lobby 1 yard of flannel is $5.99 use a coupon and this gift will cost around $3.75 (with tax.) I used knit terry leftover from diaper making. If you use woven terry, use as thin a terry as you can get–cheap towels are perfect.

Flannel Blanket

First find the selvage edge of your fabric that is printed all the way to the edge.  Cut an 8 inch strip off this edge, then cut it in half to get two 18 by 8 inch pieces.  (These will become 2 burp cloths.)

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Cut the remaining fabric into a perfect square.  I fold it into a triangle and cut off what’s hanging off–super technical method ;). This will be a perfect receiving blanket between 36 and 34 inches square.  Ever notice that the store bought ones are too tiny to be any good?  I used to make mine 45″ square, but really those were too big.  These are perfect.

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Fold the flannel square into fourths, perfectly lining up the corners.  Take some time to do this well. Then, find something round and trace a rounded edge on the outer corner.  (Double check–no folds here, at all–right?) Then cut it out. (I used a Scentsy top–see the logo? #notanashtray)

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Next run the edge of the blanket through a serger adjusted for a rolled hem. No serger?  Try this.
DSC_2722 At the place where you start and stop, dab a little bit of fray check to keep it from unravelling.

 To finish the burp clothes use the 2 flannel 8 x 18 pieces you cut out as a pattern to cut 2 pieces of terry cloth.  Place the rectangles right sides together and stitch around the outside with a 1/4 inch seam allowance, leave a 3″ space for turning.

Turn right side out and press.  Then top stitch a scant 1/4 inch away from the edge all the way around.  This will close up the hole and make these wash and dry nice and flat.

1 yard = 1 receiving blanket and 2 burp clothes for $3.75.

High Five!

If your budget is a little bigger than that, buy 2 coordinating yards and make double.

I’ll show you what else you can do with these tomorrow.

 

 

 

 

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A little Phonics and Laundry

Laundry Phonics

Here’s a fun, turn off the TV game for early learners.  To set it up, write the names of basic clothing items on sticky address labels, leaving a space between each phonogram.  Here’s the list we used:

sh ir t

b e l t

P a n t s

h a t

s o ck

c oa t

Here are some other ideas:

s c ar f

sh or t s

t a n k   t o p

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Cut between the phonograms and stick to clothespins. Then let your early learner hang the items up putting the pins in order.

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Pins I Love 4-5-14

 Click the photos to go to the source and find out more:

carrot play doughSugar Free Easter Basket Gift Idea

clean a glue gun

DIY Rainbarrell

We are getting new gutters. It would be a great time to set something like this up!

Crochet Alphabet letters

These would be great in the diaper bag for times we have to wait (like at vision therapy.)  Maybe make 2 sets for matching games.

Easter Toad in Hole

Use a daisy cookie cutter for a Spring theme “toad in the hole”

Blessings bags

Keep these bags in your car for giving to the homeless.

How to pack mini-cupcakesHow to pack mini cupcakes for the road :)

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