The Jenny Evolution

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September 1, 2014
by Jennifer Hughes
0 comments

What You Missed in August on The Jenny Evolution

With the closing of August, I want to extend a very warm welcome to The Jenny Evolution’s newest followers. I’m glad you’ve joined us on this road of evolution. And I’m so grateful to my dedicated followers. I love reading your comments and emailing back and forth. Your feedback makes me want to write even more inspiring and insightful posts. We have such an amazing community here, and I’m thrilled that you’ve become a part of it.

Every month I like to do a recap of what happened on The Jenny Evolution because we’re all busy and sometimes miss out on some great ideas and insights. I know I always appreciate it when my blogger friends do a recap so I can see if anything slipped under my radar.

The Jenny Evolution

Popular posts on The Jenny Evolution in August included making your own Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte at home and back-to-school themes you’ll definitely to Pin as well as save for next year. And some of my most popular posts weren’t even from this last month. Everyone seems to be gearing up for Halloween already!

 

And now on to the August Wrap-Up!

August Posts on The Jenny Evolution

  1. Real Boys: Parenting Books For Moms Recommend By Moms
  2. 15 Back to School Picture Books for Kids
  3. Sure-Fire Tips to Make Your Morning Routine For School Run Smoother
  4. Interoception: Why Does My Child Always Feel Hungry?
  5. 11 DIY Slime and Playdough Recipes for Sensory Play
  6. Mo Willems Activities, Crafts and Author Spotlight
  7. Getting Ready – Top Back to School Tips for Preparing and Organizing
  8. Safe Bottle Feeding Tips and Formula Prep
  9. Pay It Forward: Teaching Your Kids to Overcome the Entitlement Mentality
  10. Preschool Activities for Learning Letters
  11. GoodNites* TRU-FIT* Changes Bedwetting Embarrassment for Kids
  12. The Diaper Evolution: Cloth vs Disposable Diapers
  13. Get a Shot, Give a Shot School Immunizations Campaign
  14. Save Big Bucks on Diapers with The Luvs Club
  15. 8 Preschool Fine Motor Activities
  16. DIY Pool Noodle Lightsaber
  17. Simple Dinner Recipes in Less Than 15 Minutes
  18. Lego Juniors Easy to Build Awesome for Big Imagination, Fine Motor Skills

Current Giveaways

  1. Don’t Buy, Rent Textbooks Sweepstakes
  2. Back to School Giveaway: Sure-Fire Tips to Make Your Morning Routine For School Run Smoother

Photography/Wordless Wednesday

  1. Birthday Lilies
  2. Summertime Instagram
  3. Bonsai!

New to The Jenny Evolution?  We’d love for you to become a follower!  If you like what you have found here, you can follow The Jenny Evolution Pinterest, Bloglovin, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Google+. And of course, I encourage you to sign up for The Jenny Evolution Weekly Newsletter.

September 1, 2014
by Jennifer Hughes
0 comments

25 Great Adventure Chapter Books for Girls

25 Great Adventure Chapter Books for Girls: Because girls need to read more than princess books. Find these books at your local library or purchase through the provided links. This post contains affiliate links; however, all recommendations are mine.

As a girl, the last thing I ever would have read were books about princesses or trying to win the boy. I wanted adventure! I wanted to read about daring, rough-and-tumble girls who seek out adventure or rise to the challenges thrown at them. Embrace this list of 25 great chapter books about bold and venturesome girls to inspire your own.

25 Adventure Chapter Books for Girls

To view the full lists of

Great Adventure Chapter Books for Girls

and see recommended grade level reading,

click for Part I and Part II.

Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George

Heaven Eyes by David Almond

The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi

Peter and the Starcatchers by Ridley Pearson

Williwaw! by Tom Bodett

The Land of Elyon #1: The Dark Hills Divide by Patrick Carman

Artemis Fowl 3-book boxed set by Eoin Colfer

The Misadventures of Maude March by Audrey Couloumbis

The Wanderer by Sharon Creech

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo

A Girl Named Disaster by Nancy Farmer

The Sea of Trolls (Sea of Trolls Trilogy) by Nancy Farmer

Nobody’s Princess (Princesses of Myth) by Esther M. Friesner

The Talking Earth by Jean Craighead George

The Goose Girl (Books of Bayern) by Shannon Hale

Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale

Jackie’s Wild Seattle by Will Hobbs

Down the Yukon by Will Hobbs

Downriver by Will Hobbs

Secret Journey (Frightmares) by Peg Kehret

Theodosia and the Serpents of Chaos by R. L. LaFevers

Ronia, the Robber’s Daughter by Astrid Lindgren

The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley

The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley

Bloody Jack: Being an Account of the Curious Adventures of Mary “Jacky” Faber, Ship’s Boy by L. A. Meyer

To view the full lists of

Great Adventure Chapter Books for Girls

and see recommended grade level reading,

click for Part I and Part II.

 

As always, you can visit all of my lists

through my Listmania site on Amazon.

Just click here.

August 31, 2014
by Jennifer Hughes
2 Comments

Lego Juniors Easy to Build Awesome for Big Imagination, Fine Motor Skills

Universal toys that all children love are tough to find. But one toy that has been an amazing hit within our family is LEGO®. From the moment the kids could start putting two of the blocks together, there is nothing more exciting than a new Lego box. But what gets me excited as a mom is in addition to loads of fine motor practice, the kids exercise their creativity through imaginative play.

When LEGO asked if my boys would like to try out LEGO® JUNIORS, I knew the kids would freak out. But even I was surprised at the reaction. When the box arrived, my boys literally ripped open the package and started screaming with joy. It was like watching a pack of wild dogs… in the best sense.

Lego Junionr Easy to Build Sets Perfect for Younger Kids | The Jenny Evolution

You might think boys wouldn’t be excited to see a pink box of LEGO JUNIORS, but you would be wrong. My boys were excited to check out BOTH sets.

LEGO has so many terrific building sets, but my younger son who is five years old can’t do the ones often designed for older kids. LEGO JUNIORS fits his age group perfectly! Designed for children age 4-7, these new building sets are a great first experience with LEGO bricks through iconic, fun and easy to build models.

Lego Junior Contents

When we opened up the box, we couldn’t believe how many LEGO bricks there were… Four bags to build with the instructions and three extra bags to play with, rebuild or expand on. What a great idea!

LEGO JUNIORS sets contain quick start elements and numbered pre-packed bags that children can build on their own – which mad my younger builder extra proud. We started with the Knights’ Castle, which contained 7 individual bags of bricks. The first four bags were accompanied by instructions to build the castle and figures. But what I particularly liked about the set was it also contained several bags of additional bricks for the kids to build with.

LEGO JUNIORS provides awesome imaginative fun and fine motor skills (Lego Juniors Knights' Castle 10676 Build)

Each frame shows how the castle comes together as your child finishes each pre-packaged bag of LEGO bricks.

Often when we finish a set, that’s it. But with LEGO JUNIORS, the building fun didn’t stop just because we had completed the castle. Instead, the kit offered an example of how they could break down and rebuild the castle into something new. What a terrific way to help develop creative thinkers! By offering engaging materials, kids are happy to work toward creating the final product (in this case, a castle). But then the boys were just as happy to pull some of it apart and add their own spin to the project.

HAVE YOUR KIDS TRIED LEGO YET?

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

August 28, 2014
by Jennifer Hughes
14 Comments

Friday Flash Blog No. 83 {Plus Features}

Friday Flash Blog is a flash mob of blogs, highlighting the best of bloggers from the week. Be sure to check them out (and the ones I’ve featured) as well as link up your own.

Weekly Thought: One of my children finally headed back to school this week. One down. One to go! It seems that parents are either excited for school to begin again or are sad. Which camp do you fall into?

Super yum! Sun Chip Chicken Tenders Recipe by Three Kids and a Fish

We love Sun Chips! Make them into a chicken coating. Super yum! Sun Chip Chicken Tenders Recipe by Three Kids and a Fish

Adorable, cute and fun to make with the kids. Origami Cups DIY Tutorial by Strength and Sunshine

Adorable, cute and fun to make with the kids. Origami Cups DIY Tutorial by Strength and Sunshine

Garlicky Spinach and Artichoke Dip. Yummy Goodness! Recipe from Two Little Cavaliers

Garlicky Spinach and Artichoke Dip. Yummy Goodness! Recipe from Two Little Cavaliers

DIY T-Shirt Tie Dye Tutorial from Craving Some Creativity

DIY T-Shirt Tie Dye Tutorial from Craving Some Creativity

How to Encourage Early Literary from 3 Boys and a Dog

How to Encourage Early Literary from 3 Boys and a Dog

What a fun idea! Turn lost toys into pencil sharpeners! DIY Tutorial from Stella 123

What a fun idea! Turn lost toys into pencil sharpeners! DIY Tutorial from Stella 123

Make your own Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte at home! DIY Recipe on The Jenny Evolution

 

Friday Flash Blog is a Flash Mob of Blogs

Share ALL Your Favorite Posts of the Week

Now Let’s Get This Party Started

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  • Leave your host a comment! Tell me which highlight was your favorite one

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August 28, 2014
by Jennifer Hughes
1 Comment

Simple Dinner Recipes in Less Than 15 Minutes

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf Success® Rice. All opinions are completely my own.

If you’re anything like me, you don’t have a lot of free time to spend in the kitchen getting dinner ready on the weekdays. Most nights, I’m just happy to get something healthy in front of my family that everyone will eat. I’m all about simple dinner recipes!

When Success asked me to try out one of their rice packages, I had to say yes. Rice in a bag that comes out perfectly that the family will like? Sign me up.

But they threw in a twist. Instead of trying out the regular rice, they asked me to make one of my go-to simple dinner recipes with a more exotic rice, like their Success® Jasmine Rice or Success® Basmati Rice. Will the family like it? Challenge accepted.

Turkey Sausage One-Dish Dinner

For this challenge, I decided to make a staple in my house… my turkey sausage one-dish dinner. While I use turkey sausage, you can just as easily use thinly sliced turkey breasts for a lower-fat option.

If you know me, you know that I believe in making things as uncomplicated as possible. Complex recipes are great for chefs but not necessarily realistic for busy moms. You can pull this dinner together in less than 15 minutes. I’m not kidding!

What you’ll need:

  • Package of turkey sausage
  • 6 oz snow peas
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 package Success® Basmati Rice
  • Olive oil or cooking spray

1. Start the water for the Success® Basmati Rice.

2. Either spray your skillet with cooking spray or put in a dash of olive oil to coat the pan. Heat up a skillet to medium high heat.

3. While the skillet is heating, cut up the turkey sausage into 1/4 inch pieces. Toss in the turkey sausage and turn over/stir every couple of minutes.
Turkey Sausage One-Dish Dinner

4. By now your water should be boiling. Put in the Success® Basmati Rice and make per the directions.

Simple Dinner Recipes in Less Than 15 Minutes with Success Rice | The Jenny Evolution

Just boil the water and drop in the bag of rice. It’s that simple.

5. While the turkey sausage is cooking, cut up the bell pepper into large chunks or pieces.

6. By now, the sausage should start getting browned a bit. Put in the snow peas. Stir the dish constantly. Only cook the snow peas for 2 minutes. You want to see the peas turn a darker shade of green but you also want them to stay crispy.

Turkey Sausage One-Dish Meal

The snow peas will quickly change color to a deeper green. Be sure not to overcook them or they will get soggy. You want to keep them crisp.

7. Toss in the bell pepper. Keep stirring for 2 more minutes. The snow peas should still be crispy, as well as the bell pepper.

Simple Turkey Sausage One-Dish Dinner

The bell pepper cooks extremely quickly. If the pepper starts to lose it’s color, stop cooking. Otherwise the pepper will not be crisp.

 

8. In a bowl, place a serving of the Success® Basmati Rice at the bottom. Place the dish from the skillet on top and serve immediately.

Turkey Sausage One-Dish Recipe - Super simple, easy and fast | The Jenny Evolution

A one-dish meal that’s simple and the entire family will love.

The Verdict from the Family

I wasn’t sure if my boys would like the Success® Basmati Rice. I hate to admit it, but I haven’t really exposed them to different types of rice. However, I shouldn’t have worried. After dinner, both my kids told me their favorite part of the meal was the new rice. I can’t make this stuff up, folks!

We definitely have a new rice for the house. Success® Basmati Rice is the only boil-in-bag Basmati rice available. That means no mess, no measuring with fully cooked rice in 10 minutes. It was ridiculously easy to make and super yummy. What’s not to like? The rice looks tiny in the bag, but don’t be fooled. When you cook it, it elongates 3-4 times in length so it comes out long and slender.

Success_Logo_RGB_Digital-610x321

There are four different varieties, including Success®  Whole Grain Brown Rice, Success® White Rice, Success®  Thai Jasmine and the one we tried — Success®  Basmati Rice. It certainly was a success swapping one of our go-to rice dishes with a more aromatic variety. You can learn more about these varieties at Success Rice.

For even more recipe inspiration, like and follow Success Rice’s social pages: http://www.facebook.com/successrice; @Success_Rice; and http://www.pinterest.com/successrice/.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE RICE DISH?

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf Success® Rice.

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August 28, 2014
by Jennifer Hughes
5 Comments

DIY Pool Noodle Lightsaber

Boys will be boys. Which means that no matter what kind of toys they have, they will eventually turn them into swords and lightsabers. Don’t believe me? I once saw my son pretend his plastic dinosaur was a magic sword. It must be in their DNA.

On a trip to the dollar store, we found a full box of pool noodles. Now, we don’t have a pool but when I see pool noodles for just $1, I just can’t help myself. I dumped a bunch into our cart and decided to turn these into pool noodle lightsabers for the boys.

Making pool noodle lightsabers is ridiculously easy and they only takes minutes to make.

DIY Pool Noodle Lightsabers | The Jenny Evolution

DIY Pool Noodle Lightsaber Instructions

Materials you need:

  • Pool noodle (the thinner kind)
  • Black electrical tape
  • Scissors
  • Bread knife (if available)

Step 1: The pool noodle is too long to use as is, so you’ll need to cut it in half. After trying with scissors, I found it a bit difficult. I wanted to be able to slice right through it. So I grabbed our bread knife, which easily sliced through the pool noodle and cut it in half.

In case you’re wondering about the thickness of the pool noodle, choose a thinner kind. It can be tempting to get the monster size by it’s not as easy for kids to grasp and hold on to.

Step 2: Grab your electrical tape. I know some people use duct tape but it’s really difficult to work with. Electric tape cuts easily, sticks well to the pool noodle and is easy to manipulate.

Step 3: Use the bottom 5-6 inches of the pool noodle to create a design. It doesn’t have to be crazy. Just something to create the illusion of a handle.

photo 1

Step 4: Clean off the edges of your “handle.” Run a single piece of electrical tape around the top and bottom of the handle, helping to define it and keep it clean looking.

photo 2

Step 5: Have a lightsaber fight. It’s that easy to do a DIY lightsaber!

photo 3

We have had these lightsabers floating around the house all summer, and the boys absolutely love them. The best part is they can play as rough as they want with the swords and no one gets hurt. Well, unless they pretend to! The force is strong with my little ones.

DIY Pool Noodle Lightsabers Tutorail | The Jenny Evolution

August 28, 2014
by Jennifer Hughes
2 Comments

8 Preschool Fine Motor Activities

Teaching your preschooler her letters and numbers is an important step in getting your child ready for school; however, don’t overlook the important of her fine motor skills. Children need to work on their fine motor skills to get them ready for handwriting.

Every week you can find amazing projects, crafts and activities to do with your kids with the Kids Co-Op, and I’ll be highlighting some of them with a common theme.  This week’s theme is preschool fine motor activities.

8 Fine Motor Activities for Preschool | The Jenny Evolution

Kids Fun- Fine Motor Weaving | JDaniel4′s Mom

Toddler Fine Motor Play: Stacking cereal rings for breakfast | Danya Banya

Number Hunt and Spray | P is for Preschool

Sun Craft Scissor Skills | A Little Pinch of Perfect

Fine Motor Activity with Playdough and Q-Tips | Mess for Less

Five Green and Speckled Frogs Fine Motor Activity | Craftulate

Paper Plate Weaving | Little Fingers Big Art

Fine Motor Activity- Fold and Thread Necklace | JDaniel4′s Mom

The-Weekly-Kids-Co-Op-150px-Button


August 27, 2014
by Jennifer Hughes
0 comments

Save Big Bucks on Diapers with The Luvs Club

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Luvs® for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.

Raising kids can get expensive…. fast. But now there’s one way to save money on something you must have if you have babies. Yep. I’m talking about diapers.

If you shop at Walmart, Luvs® diaper brand #LuvsClubLuvs® has an amazing loyalty program which offers great savings as well as baby-related videos and tips.

Luvs_logo_zps3ce3f248

And if saving money doesn’t get you excited, Luvs® is giving the first 2,000 registered members a $5 Walmart e-gift card and a chance to win the grand prize of free diapers for a year! That is $1,000 value!

It took me less than a minute to sign up. It’s that easy!

The drawing for the grand prize of free diapers for a year will be held in April 2015, so hurry up and submit your registered entry now!

Visit Sponsor's Site

August 27, 2014
by Jennifer Hughes
0 comments

Get a Shot, Give a Shot School Immunizations Campaign

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. #collectivebias and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.

We are in countdown mode to getting the kids back in school. And if you’re anything like my family, getting a doctor’s appointment to get the kids their school immunizations this time of year is a serious hassle. Who can get an appointment? Walgreens is making it easy for you!

No Appointments Needed for the Healthcare Clinic at Walgreens

Not all Walgreens have a healthcare clinic, so be sure to make sure your local one does. And guess what! You don’t need to make an appointment!

photo

But if you do want to make an appointment, you can easily make on through Walgreens’ app. (Plus, if you download the app, you can save money on other things in the store as well.) Just click

Despite being ridiculously easy, the best part of getting your child their school immunizations at Walgreens is you can help another child! Through its Get a Shot, Give a Shot campaign, for every immunization at Walgreens, the company will help provide a life-saving vaccine to a child in a developing country through the United Nation Foundation’s Shot@Life Campaign. Now you can get your child immunized for whooping cough or meningitis at Walgreens and help others as well! Talk about a win-win.

My kids get weekly allergy shots, so they’re quite used to getting shots. But if you’re looking for a great trick to help your kiddos with getting shots, my youngest son always wants me to ice up his arm before the shot. It actually helps numb the area a bit, and I think it helps him feel like he has some control as well.

photo 3 Generally, the clinic is located in the very back of the store, next to the pharmacy. See that big blue band of a sign? Follow it to find the healthcare clinic and pharmacy.

photo 4

Once you get to the healthcare clinic, you can either check in if you’ve made an appointment or add your name to be next in line. After all, walk-ins are welcome.

photo 1

Make going back to school a little easier on yourself. Take advantage of Walgreens’ school immunizations while helping out another child in need! Want to learn more about the #Giveashot campaign? Visit www.walgreens.com/GoBackHealthy.

HOW DO YOUR KIDS DO WITH SHOTS?

August 26, 2014
by Jennifer Hughes
19 Comments

Bonsai! Wordless Wednesday

Bonsai Tree Display at the Chicago Botanic Gardens IMG_8721 IMG_8722 IMG_8723 IMG_8724

The Chicago Botanic Gardens had a wonderful bonsai tree display this summer. It’s quite surprising and impressive what gardeners do with these miniature trees. I can’t even begin to imagine how long it takes for the gardeners to prune and work with these trees to create the shapes we see here.

 

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