Forcing the Bloom

Happy, Healthy Mommy Blog

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Portobello Mushroom Soup

What to do with all those holiday leftovers?  Soup!  Since I had several pints of mushrooms and heavy cream leftover from Christmas, I decided to try making mushroom soup.  I love creamy soups in the winter.  I searched around for some recipes and picked out one by Wolfgang Puck on the Food Network.  I used portobello mushrooms in place of button mushrooms.  Delicious!

Mushroom Soup










Recipe for Mushroom Soup by Wolfgang Puck.

Some other ideas for Mushroom Soup.

Creamy Mushroom Soup by Martha Stewart.

Mixed Mushroom Soup by Martha Stewart.

Cream of Mushroom Soup by Rachel Ray.

Cream of Wild Mushroom Soup by Barefoot Contessa.

What is your favorite soup in the winter?



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Merry Christmas Montessori Style!

Merry Christmas!  We had a wonderful morning opening presents with family.  This year was special because it was B’s first Christmas were he actually understood the concept of opening presents.

With all the gifts under the tree, an empty paper towel roll can be just as fun!  Goes to show the power of DIY activities.











Christmas Montessori-style in our home means most of the gifts are put away after an initial romp and brought out slowly as part of the regular toy circulation.  After opening presents Christmas morning, B became tired and overwhelmed by all the new toys and quickly fell asleep before lunchtime.  At just under 2 years old, he is sensitive to order and simplicity.  Me too!  Everything was cleaned up and put away before he got up from his nap and he didn’t mind one bit.  The old(er) activities were just as fun.  A few of the new trucks made an appearance later in the day but only one new toy at a time.  This helps minimize messes and allows B to clean up his own mess without getting overwhelmed.

On our shelf this week we had a couple of holiday inspired activities.  I pulled out some wooden Christmas mice that were fun to line up and organize by size.  We talked about the concepts of “large”, “medium”, and “small”.  I gave B a box filled with balls and he practiced opening the clasp.  B also enjoyed sorting the red and green popsicle sticks that I had stuck in a small stocking.  His new toys included a Brio train set, Tinker toys, a wooden truck, two battery-powered trucks, and puzzles.  I think that was everything.  His stocking had stickers, plastic bugs and lizards (for counting) and a book shaped liked a truck.  Christmas afternoon we went to a park to play.  By 6pm B was asleep again!  He normally goes to bed around 7:30 pm or 8 pm.  All the stimulation of Christmas wore him out!  Me too!

What are your holiday family traditions?  Do you open presents on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning?  Stockings?  Have traditions changed as kids got older?  Favorite Montessori-inspired ideas for the holidays?  I’d love to hear from you!  Happy Holidays!!

Here are some other links to Montessori-inspired holiday activities:

Montessori Home – 5 Great Montessori Ideas to do with Your Children 

Racheous – Holiday Hop

Pinterest Holiday Board by Missmatchedcows

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My Girl Mack

If you’re looking for some super cute holiday or shower gifts, I recommend My Girl Mack!  You can take a look at this mom’s adorable hats, headbands, and blankets on Etsy.  I love Baby B’s knit hats!  Here are some pictures from last spring and this fall.  I can’t believe how cubby he was and how big he’s getting.  🙂  The baby headbands are also precious.  I’ve given a couple away as shower gifts.  Happy shopping!

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Classic Fall Favorites

Baby B reading








Baby Bear reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle!

What do you like best about fall?  The colors, the crisp, the change?  It’s a time to get creative.  The cool air brings on creativity.  And cravings for pumpkin spice lattes.  I don’t get it but I go with it!  Here are some of my fall favorites.  What are yours?  Do you get in the mood to cook or decorate a fall wreath?  Maybe you have the urge to read a new book or try running in a 5k race.  I’m curious how fall or the change of seasons affects people.  Although I get pretty excited about fall, in the back of my mind is the lurking, shadow of an idea that WINTER is coming.  And I don’t like winter.  Well, I get tired of it after two weeks.  But I love fall none the less.  I remember when I was young, summer and winter (really Christmas time) were my favorite seasons.  My mother preferred spring and fall.  Now I get it!  We’ll combat winter blues later, let’s enjoy the FALL!


Veggie chili in the crock pot and healthy too!

Betty Crocker apple crisp because it’s the easiest version I’ve found!


Check out this blog all about wreaths!


I’m making this button snake from Money Saving Mom for a busy bag swap next week!  Here’s another example from Activity Mom!

Also, love these free printables from Making Learning Fun about The Very Hungry Caterpillar – one by Baby B’s favorite books!  In the picture above, he’s ogling the food.  We like to count the food and find the caterpillar on each page.  During snack, we put Cheerios on the caterpillar printout and count out loud.





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Clean Eating Dutch Oven Chicken

My loving husband gave me a dutch oven for Christmas.  I’ve had fun trying out new dutch oven recipes.  We tried The Gracious Pantry’s dutch oven chicken last night:  I used chicken thighs instead of breasts, which worked out fine.  I cooked it closer to 45 minutes but that may be my oven’s temperamental issues.  I like things very flavorful so I doubled the spices.  I also added carrots and potatoes – veggies I needed to use up.  I served it with some millet cooked in chicken broth.  Perfect.  Often my husband rates clean eating recipes as “okay” but this was a firm “good”.  The best part was that I could make it ahead of time and pop it in the oven at dinner time!  I’m all about what’s easy!