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Cooking: Mama's Sneaky Waffles


Need a good weekend waffle recipe but you feel like they are just not that healthy?  Well, I just made some of my Mama's Sneaky Waffles and the kids (and my husband!) had no idea what was in them.

Carrots!  Flaxseed!  Omega-3's!  Oh My!

Hubby is our weekend waffle maker around here and he has perfected his recipe. So, I started with his basic recipe and I changed a few things around to make them a bit...well...more Mama friendly!

1 3/4 cups of whole wheat flour*
1 cup shredded carrot or minced if you want to keep it hidden* 
2 cups of almond milk
2 Lg organic brown cage free eggs*
2 TBLSP sugar
6 TBLSP organic virgin coconut oil 
1 tsp whole ground flaxseed meal*
1 TBLSP baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract

(See red index below for all items with an *) 

Start with the dry ingredients first and mix together in a large bowl.  In a separate bowl add eggs, vanilla and beat together then add carrots and oil to the wet bowl.  Slowly mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients (leaving the almond milk for last.) Once everything is mixed together continue stirring while you add in the almond milk.  The coconut oil solidifies once it gets cold so you want to blend everything together before you add in the cold milk.  Or you can avoid this all together if you let the milk and eggs come to room temp before.

Since I was putting my own spin on our weekend waffles I decided to make them a bit differently, so I turned them into "snowflakes." If you'd like to do this, the pictures below shows roughly how much batter you want to use so that they stay small and the edges are jagged.  Each one will turn out differently. These are perfect "toddler size" because they can hold them in their hands once they cool off. I've even packed the small ones in lunches. Great for pre-schoolers or kindergarteners! 

(*When I pack them for school, I leave off the butter and syrup or any other typical toppings, like yogurt, apple butter, peanut butter, etc. to avoid a big mess, and I just do them plain for lunches. The kids still love them that way!) 


Don't those look cute? Don't mind my waffle maker. We got it as a wedding gift and it has gotten used a million times since then. It's very well seasoned!! 

If you want to make them the regular size, but you don't want to make a mess on your counter, you want roughly this much batter (about 1/4 of a cup):


Flour*  If you are using regular flour use a bit more (2 cups.)  The whole wheat flour makes them thicker than regular flour, so you still might need to add a bit more liquid to thin out the batter a bit.
Shredded carrot* I have a juicer so I made carrot juice with about 3 large carrots. Then I used the carrot pulp  ("minced carrots") for the waffles. Feel free to shred the carrot with a food processor or cheese grater if you do not have a juicer.
Eggs*: I buy the organic brown cage free eggs with added Omega 3's. Do you use an egg substitute to make them vegan?  Please let me know in the comments section what you use! 
Ground flaxseed meal*  A Little Goes A long Way!! If your family is used to eating ground Flaxseed Meal in your food then feel free to add as much as you want. If you are not used to eating flaxseed meal, start with 1 tsp and work your way up. It tends to overpower the recipe if you use too much. I found that out the hard way. 

If you are going to use flaxseeds in your food make sure you get ground flaxseed or flaxseed meal. Our bodies can not digest a whole flaxseed, and it just passed it right though. So, unless you chew up each individual seed (unlikely), you are not getting all of the benefits of the flaxseed. I like Bob's Red Mill products because the prices always seem reasonable. I think I bought this at Target but I've also seen it at Sprouts.

You can sneak just about anything into your waffles. I like to keep them sweet or else they might taste funny with toppings. However, you can do savory waffles too and serve them with ranch dip or sour cream. 

Sweet add in's: Apples, carrots, bananas, peaches, pears, prunes, sweet potato, etc.

Savory add in's: Zucchini, bell peppers, squash, garlic mashed potatoes, herbs, etc. 

Along with the flax seeds you can add hemp seeds or chia seeds, you can even add small pieces of nuts like almonds, peanuts, pecans or walnuts. Go crazy and have fun!

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DIY Mama! No-Sew, Homemade Halloween Costumes Featuring: The Tooth Fairy!

The Tooth Fairy!

I'm pleased to be able to brag about the fact that I have some really talented friends. For the past several days I've been reading posts and seeing pictures of some super cute homemade Halloween costumes by these creative mama friends of mine so I thought, "Why not feature them on my mom's blog?"

So that is exactly what we are doing!

I'm so happy to feature my very talented friend, Karina and her beautiful preschooler, The Tooth Fairy!  Let me just start by saying that the talent pouring out of the women in this family amazes me including our budding artist, lil Miss Tooth Fairy. So it was no shock to me to hear that Mama Tooth Fairy has been busy making her daughter's Halloween costume. I couldn't wait to see it.

Here's Karina's story about how The Tooth Fairy came to be:

"It all started when I asked her last month what she wanted to be for Halloween even though she already had four costumes to choose from.  I bought two princess costumes on sale at Target last year and two of her costumes from last Halloween, (a pirate and a traditional Chinese girl) still fit her.  We go to several different Halloween events throughout the season so she will get to wear all of them at some point.  However, I wanted to make one for her too, so when she said,"The Tooth Fairy," I was sooo happy because I was hoping she would pick a Fairy! I've been dying to make another costume for her like the angel I made for her two years ago. Then when she chose to be a purple and pink Tooth Fairy, I was in heaven!  Right away I knew I wanted to do one of those handmade tulle dresses you find on Etsy that cost an arm and a leg. It can be time consuming, but it's actually quite easy to make. Oh and by the way, I don't own a sewing machine. I just use a hot glue gun - lots and lots of hot glue. You can call me, "Mrs. Hot Glue!"

 This is what you'll need to transform your child into The Tooth Fairy:

  • Tulle. For a four year old you'll need about 4 rolls total. I buy my rolls at Michaels for $2.99 per roll plus you can print up a 40% off coupon online. Bonus! I bought 2 rolls but still needed to order 2 more. The store was very helpful and one week later I had the remaing rolls. I have a closet filled with materials so I already had some tulle in other shades of pink and purple which I used as accents.
  • Ribbon. I bought 5 yards of 3/4 inch ribbon in purple and lilac and 5 yards in 1/4 inch ribbon in light pink. I used ribbon I already had in other colors as accents.
  • "Crochet" headband (Dollar Store. See first pic below.)
  • Flowers....lots and lots of flowers
  • Plain headband
  • 2 squares of white felt fabric (Michaels - $.25 ea)
  • A wooden dowel for the wand
  • Glitter (Michaels - $1)
  • Elmers glue
  • Hot glue sticks. Lots and lots of hot glue sticks...and of course my trusty hot glue gun! Did I mention I don't sew? 
  • Fairy wings (Dollar Store - purchased last year)
  • Plain tote bag for the candy! (Michaels - $3)
  • Long-Sleeved leotard
  • Tights
Getting Started:

The Dress:

There are several helpful videos on YouTube that will give you step-by-step directions on how to make a no-sew tutu, I basically followed the same principle. (See an example of a "no-sew" tutu dress video below.)

First I measured how long I wanted the dress to be and then doubled that measurement to pre-cut all of the tulle I would need. Once the tulle was done, I set it aside and cut a piece of felt fabric to put under the crochet headband where the flowers will be glued on. I wanted to create a smooth surface to hot glue everything as well as have a barrier for my hands so I don't get a million hot glue burns all over my fingers! (Great Tip Karina!) 

Close up of the felt fabric glued to the crochet headband on The Tooth Fairy Dress.

Then I added strips of different colored ribbon to the front and back of the dress. I measured the ribbon the same way I measured the tulle and I tied them to the crochet headband. I tied two long, thicker pieces of ribbon to the front in a "V" shape and secured them with hot glue between the felt and crochet headband. This will be used as a tie around The Tooth Fairy's neck to keep the dress in place.

The top of The Tooth Fairy Dress.

I really liked the idea of having a lot of flowers on the front of the dress so I hot glued 5 big flowers on the top instead of just one. 

Close up of the flowers on The Tooth Fairy Dress.

And after I worked my hot glue magic, the dress was finished!

The completed Tooth Fairy Dress! Ta-Da!

That's it for the dress! 

Making The Tooth Fairy's Accessories: 

The Wand: 
Use a template to trace the tooth. (I downloaded an image from google that I was going to print up but my printer ran out of ink so I had to trace it from my computer screen, lol!) Cut four teeth out of the two pieces of white felt. You are going to need two for the wand, one for the tote and one for the wings. 

Take your Elmer's glue and spread a thin layer of glue covering one side of each tooth and then sprinkle them generously with glitter.  Set them aside to dry completely before moving on to the next step.

Take two of the teeth, stack them together and secure them with pins. Glue the edges together leaving an opening between the roots (that's where your wooden dowel will go.) I wanted to stuff my tooth, so I used the remaining felt and cut it into tiny pieces to stuff the tooth. 

Take a piece of ribbon and wrap it around the dowel in a spiral all the way down to the bottom using little dots of hot glue to secure the ends. Then place the dowel inside the opening of the tooth and close it with hot glue.  

Use the left over ribbon to tie on or glue more flair to your wand. See Picture below.

The Tooth Fairy's Magic Wand. "I wish for more candy, please!"

The Tote: 

Take another tooth that you already cut and glittered to use for the candy bag.  I added some glitter tulle that I already had and glued it around the (bottom) perimeter of the tooth. 

Once that is dry, hot glue the glitter tooth to the tote. I added some bows I made from the ribbon as accents and hot glued them to the tooth.

Close up of The Tooth Fairy's Candy Bag Tote.

The Tooth Fairy's Tote Bag. "Trick-Or-Treat!"

The Wings: 

I already had a pair of glittery wings that I bought last year at the Dollar Store but you can find them at any Halloween store, craft store, discount store, Target, etc. 

Take the final tooth that you cut and glittered and hot glue it to the middle of your wings. I added a little flower accent to the top corner of the tooth with hot glue to make it girly. 

The Tooth Fairy's Wings.

The Headband: 

I already had a plain headband in my craft closet, so I covered it with more of the ribbon (see The Wand above for directions) and I hot glued the rest of the flowers in different shades of purple and pink to the top of the headband.  


I also added some bows I made from the left over tulle and ribbon and hot glued them on as accents. 


To finish off the costume I wanted to add a leotard and tights. I bought a long-sleeved, pink leotard at Walmart for $6.00 that she'll also get to use for her ballet class so it was a good investment. I found some purple tights on sale at Target a while ago that will be perfect for her costume as well. Try to use things you already have on hand or items that you can reuse for something else to save money.

Here is a picture of everything you will need to transform your sweet girl into, 

The Tooth Fairy!

The complete Tooth Fairy costume. 

I wanted to do some sort of face painting to finish off The Tooth Fairy costume, so I found this video on YouTube (see below) and it was easy enough 
for me to do. I even found a recipe for a homemade face paint (toxic free), 

but she WON'T let me do it!  :(

...However, there's still time to convince her before Halloween!

Without further adieu, I now present to you

The Tooth Fairy!

*Beautiful photos taken by Karina, (aka Mrs. Hot Glue aka Mama Tooth Fairy!)

As promised, here are the links to the YouTube videos Karina watched to get more information for making a tutu dress out of tulle as well as painting a fairy mask (if your child will let you do it! LOL!)  Both are really informative videos. However, for some reason I'm having a bit of trouble attaching them so I will provide a link to them as well. (If they look blank, try mousing over them for them to pop up.) Please let me know if they do not work via comment and I will try them again. Thank you.

*Originally posted 10/23/12 All Rights Reserved - CocoCana MyTalesFromTheCrib

Here is the link to the face painting video.

Here is the link to the tutu dress video.

Was this helpful?  What do your kids want to be for Halloween? Please share below in the comments section.

Want more No-Sew, DIY Halloween Costumes?  
Click here to see Rainbow Brite!

Have a fun, safe & Happy Halloween!

Coco Cana

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DIY Mama! No-Sew, Homemade Halloween Costumes Featuring: Rainbow Brite!

Remember Rainbow Brite from the 80's?  Me too!  She was Rad!  I loved how colorful and happy she was. She just brings a smile to your face every time you see her. Well, so does our next lil sweetheart, Miss Rainbow Brite made by DIY Mama, Allison.  She made her daughter's Rainbow Brite costume in a snap!

This was little sister's costume. Their Aunt made Sprite from a pattern she found online.

Total time: 30 mins
Total cost : under $20

Here are Allison's DIY costume instructions for Rainbow Brite:

Royal blue shirt (found at the thrift store.)

Two pairs of rainbow leg warmers one pair for her legs and a pair for her arms (bought online)

Tutu (I was going to use any color I found, but I was lucky enough to find this royal blue one at the thrift store for $2!)

Brite red shoes-(see what I did there?) - (Rainbow Brite can be seen wearing red or yellow shoes so take your pick. I didn't have any, so I found an old pair of sandals in our garage and painted them with some acrylic paint we had on hand. I think they turned out great!)

Red felt for the belt and suspenders (found this at JoAnn's Fabric Store but you can find it at any craft store.)

Wooden rainbow for her belt (found this at Michael's craft store already painted.)

Wooden star for her hair clip (found this at Michael's craft store. This came unpainted.)

Hair clips with yellow hair pieces and yellow ribbon attached  (found at the 99 cent store.)

Rainbow sticker for the cheek  (found at Party City, or you can paint one on if you're feeling artsy!)

Leggings or tights (Use whatever color you have at home since they will be mostly covered up with the rainbow leg warmers.)

*Allison Castellanos, mommy-of-two and owner of Allison Tutoring said, she was on a time crunch so she did not measure anything, she just made some fabric cuts however she thought it would look cute. She used the hot glue gun to add the rainbow to the belt, and the wooden painted start to a hair clip. She also hot glued the belt and suspenders to the t-shirt. 

Super simple and super cute!

Have you made your own Halloween costumes? What have you made? What are your kids going to be this year?  Let us know in the comments section below! 

Want more No-Sew, DIY Halloween Costumes?  

Have a fun, safe Happy Halloween!

Coco Cana

Did I Mention I Wrote A Children's Book? My Baby Brother by ColleenDuncan Canavan is here!

I entered a contest to get a children's book published as an e-book with NY publisher MeeGenius (now acquired by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt!) and although I didn't win the most votes in the online contest they still wanted to publish my book. It was inspired by a conversation my little daughter and her baby brother had on the living room rug. They were playing quietly together and they did not know I had snuck in to watch them. My son, who was just a baby at the time was playing with the toy his big sissy had given him and he gave it a love making her laugh. My daughter leaned over and gave him the biggest hug then placed his tiny face into her hands, kissed his cheek and said to him, "Thank you for coming to me, Baby Brother!" and with that I started to write this story so I could remember that moment forever! After I wiped away my tears of joy, of course, because it was a moment of love in the purest form share by two tiny people.

My Baby Brother is available on ipad, iphone (download in the App store), android App on Google Play, Windows, computer, etc. It's currently featured on the "Home/Featured" page or it can be found under the categories of Family and Meegenius Originals and sells for only $2.99 if you buy it alone or you can join their book club which gives you access to over 700+ titles for just $5.00 a month with a 30 day free trial!  

My Baby Brother is perfect for families who have a big sister/baby brother relationship, but all siblings will connect with the love for one another that is shared in this sweet, heartwarming story about a big sister wanting to teach her baby brother everything she knows. Big sister talks about how she's loved him since before he was born and how she used to talk to him and hug him while he was growing in mommy's belly.

"I will love you forever. I am your big sister and you are my baby brother." 

I wrote this story because my own daughter was having a hard time adjusting to having a new sibling and I wanted to show her just how wonderful it can be - once we get past the crying infant stage. She gets to teach him all sorts of wonderful things once he grows up! I've had moms tell me it made them cry. (Best compliment ever!)

Are you new to MeeGenius and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt?  Check it out because this site is really cool. They have tons of books on there and it's set up to where you and your child can flip through the book yourself (by 'turning' the pages and reading it yourself) or there is a feature where it reads the book to your child, highlighting the word while it's being read so your child can start to get familiar with reading. My children love how it turns the page for them so they can read it all by themselves! Each book has a fun, silly, or heartwarming voice for each story. (I am not the narrator of my story.) When you sign up they even give you some free books to get your library started. My book is only $2.99 and it stays in your library forever! Please check it out! 

I hope you like it and I want to thank you so much for your support!

To read a preview of my book, My Baby Brother by Colleen Duncan Canavan and/or to order it for your iPad, click here!

To get more information about My Baby Brother by Colleen Duncan Canavan click here. 

If you like it then please do this small time children's book author a huge favor and PLEASE click the "Suggest It" button on MeeGenius! next to my book!  Thank you!!

During the Author's Challenge Contest, I was featured in the Long Beach Post!

Exciting News! Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Acquires MeeGenius!

To follow me on Pinterest click here. 

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Back To School: 5 Healthy Ideas For Lunches And After School Snacks

For some reason the hours between lunch and dinner make my kids crazy with hunger! I call it the late day feast. I'm always looking for ways to get my kids to eat more veggies and healthier foods, so the late day feast is the perfect time to sneak these things in because frankly, they will eat anything!  Especially if you just casually set it out on the table for them to run by and grab a quick bite of something. In our house we call these "hummingbird bites," because they are too busy to sit for a meal but we need them to eat so they just fly by and grab a bite and get back to playing. The meal gets eaten eventually and they get to keep playing. If it's something messy we will usually hold it while they take a bite or they will use a fork. This only works if you are not in a rush to get out the door and you have more freedom with time.

We are fortunate to live near large grocery stores like Mother's Market, Trader Joe's and Sprouts that offer great deals and sales on organic produce. I try to buy most of my fresh produce from the organic section, so whatever is on sale or special is usually what I'll buy.

Here are some different ideas for lunches or after school snacks. This is a list of stuff my kids will actually eat. They are 7 and 4 & 1/2. My little guy hasn't always loved eating a wide variety of fruits and veggies and for a few years was stuck in a rut of only carrots, corn, apples, blueberries and red grapes. However, I kept offering different things to him and would also set out veggie platters with a wide array of colorful options that would get eaten quickly by sissy if you didn't act fast! My daughter has always eaten like a rabbit sneaking into a farm! I mean, as a 5 year old she was munching on Brussels sprouts and asparagus! 

After many colorful veggie platter presentations with an array of different dips like ranch, creamy cilantro dressing and hummus, he finally started trying new things. So don't give up if your child doesn't like something. Keep offering it! Someday they might just surprise you and try it! 

1. The Veggie Platter. 
You're probably rolling your eyes at this one, and trust me, before I saw it with my own eyes I would too. But think back to your child at an adult party or a holiday dinner. There is bound to be a veggie platter there with different dips and your child is bound to be drawn to something on there. So start with serving that! Our veggie platters vary from meal to meal with whatever I have on hand, but I suggest stocking it with stuff your kids like for the first few times you set it out then slowly add in a few new items for them to explore on their own. If they ask what it is, just casually tell them the name of it, reach over and eat one (make yummy noises) and walk away. If you make a big deal out of it, they won't eat it! Things to add to the veggie (and fruit) platter: carrots, cherry tomatoes (these ones are from our garden!), cucumber, celery (I slice it very small into "shoelaces" as seen in the picture, because it can be pretty strong), mini corn cobs, olives, sweet bell pepper slices, small romaine lettuce chutes with ranch dip, jicama slices, even some veggies that are lightly blanched like: broccoli, green beans and asparagus spears. If your kids are really having a hard time eating only veggies you can add in a bit of fruit like apples and grapes, but I recommend not adding in too much fruit because it's so much sweeter than the veggies and they might just eat the fruit and leave the veggies to die on the plate! To mix things up a bit in the veggie department, I'll even make a fresh pressed juice (adding more veggies than fruit to avoid too much sugar) and that seems to keep the troops pretty full til the next meal too.

2. Fresh Organic Fruit. I like to have some things on hand that are already ready to eat like pineapple spears, cut melon like watermelon, honeydew, etc., cuties (the little clementine oranges), fruit cups (in water if possible, to avoid too much extra sugar), apple slices or apple sauce, berries, bananas, etc.


3. Healthy carbs. Everyone needs carbohydrates to help with proper brain function but empty carbs aren't going to help anyone, so opt for healthier ones with whole grains like rice cakes and whole grain crackers. We also like unsalted pretzels, snap pea crisps, whole grain chips and salsa, etc. My kids love rice cakes and they now come in a variety of different flavors. We usually stick to brown rice, light salted with sea salt. We love this brand by Lundberg and can find them at Trader Joe's, Sprouts, Mother's Market, Von's/Pavilions, etc. They have so many products I'd love to try them all!  These organic, non-GMO rice cakes are by far my favorite!

4. Healthy Protein. Pair your healthy carbs, fruits & veggies with healthy proteins like hard boiled eggs, lean lunch meats, tuna salad, egg salad, chicken salad (easy chicken salad recipe found here), cottage cheese, low sugar yogurt, sliced cheese or cheese sticks, sea weed snacks, organic nut butters like, peanut (we love apples and peanut butter together!), almond butter or our new favorite, Honey Sunflower Butter from Wild Friends!  It's super yummy and the kids love it! They have other products too that I'll have to try. We found this at Costco. I'm eating it right now, in fact, on top of a rice cake!  Yum!


5. Kid Sized Sandwiches & Snacks. I have learned as a mom that my kids will try almost anything if it's cut cute and small. So in addition to these snacks I also like to do mini egg salad sandwiches, cucumber with cream cheese, peanut butter & jelly, tiny ham & cheese or turkey & cheese (both with pickles, of course!) or chicken salad sandwiches on whole grain bread (kinda like what you'd find at a fancy afternoon tea). We also keep on hand plenty of healthy trail mix made with unsalted nuts and unsalted pretzels, sesame sticks, dried fruit like cranberries or cherries, banana chips or plantain chips, popcorn, with yogurt chips for a little something sweet added in and I'll serve it in a small dixie cup to eat on the go! We also make mini banana or apple muffins with flax seed, chia or sliced almonds. Anything healthy to keep them full til the next meal!

What are your favorite healthy snacks?  Please let us know in the comments below!

My kids were making "sandwiches" with rice cakes, sea weed snacks and veggies. 

*The products I'm featuring in this post are just some of my family's favorites. I was not asked to advertise for them. 

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Cuddle Fairy