Welcome to the World, Juniper Mae!

Juniper Mae Johnson

Whew! You guys, I did it! I made another baby, and fell in love all over again. I’m so happy to introduce to you this brand new little baby girl, Juniper Mae Johnson. We’re all just smitten with her— Yes, even Lucy! Though Juni gave me a run for my money there in 2 out of 3 trimesters, she eased up a bit at the end and came into the world in an easy and peaceful fashion, for which I will always be thankful.

We’ll be getting settled in as a family, and I’ll be popping in from time to time to share some things with you, but as always you can follow me on Instagram @MandiMakes in the meantime.

Juniper Mae Johnson

Secret Spinach Fudgesicles

Delicious Fudgesicles loaded with healthy ingredients— including spinach you'll never taste!

There are a few things in life I can’t get enough of, and maybe the first thing that comes to mind is chocolate! But if I’m being a bit more practical, I also have trouble fitting enough iron, protein, and calcium into my daily diet. So does my opinionated toddler, who can’t even be tricked into drinking green smoothies. What’s a mom to do?

I partnered with Yulu Yogurt to create these decadent fudgesicles that have all the healthy benefits of a green smoothie, but with the appeal of a frozen chocolate treat. Lucy has been chomping them down, clueless that without the cocoa powder, these bad boys would be green! That’s right, Lucy— GREEN! Mwahahahaha! In addition to the iron from the spinach, these fudgesicles are packed with protein and calcium. I wouldn’t even bat my eyes too many times if you dared to call these fudgesicles health food.

Delicious Fudgesicles loaded with healthy ingredients— including spinach you'll never taste!

Yulu Australian style yogurt makes the perfect addition to this fudgesicle recipe, because it’s extra creamy and not tart as you’d expect Greek yogurt to be. It’s the perfect taste and texture to add to a decadent fudge pop, but the Aussie style yogurt is heavy on the protein (9 grams per serving), which is kind of a big deal, considering Lucy’s tendency towards vegetarianism. Yay for tasty Australian style yogurt made in the U.S.A!

yulu yogurt fudgesicles

  • 2 packs of vanilla flavored Yulu yogurt (total of one Cup)
  • 1 Cup milk (I used whole milk)
  • 2/3 Cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 Cup cocoa
  • 2 packed Cups of spinach

Delicious Fudgesicles loaded with healthy ingredients— including spinach you'll never taste!

Pile all of the ingredients into a blender and blend on high until spinach is completely liquified with the other ingredients. You definitely don’t want any visible spinach bits— the kids will find them, and then it’s game over.

Delicious Fudgesicles loaded with healthy ingredients— including spinach you'll never taste!

Fill your popsicle molds almost full, leaving a bit of room at the top for adding garnishes later.

Pop the molds into the freezer and set a timer for 1 hour.

After one hour, you can add popsicle sticks to the middle and garnish the ends of your fudgesicles with tasty toppings, like chopped nuts, mini chocolate chips, flaked coconuts, or even sprinkles! Push the garnish bits into the not-quite-frozen fudgesicles and return the molds to the freezer and finish freezing for at least another 3 hours or until solid.

Delicious Fudgesicles loaded with healthy ingredients— including spinach you'll never taste!

After my fudgesicles were frozen solid, I dunked my molds into a basin of warm water to loosen them, then they slid right out after a bit of wiggling. If you’re serving your fudgesicles to a crowd, you might want to cover a deep dish with crushed ice and serve the popsicles on top to keep them from melting right away.

Delicious Fudgesicles loaded with healthy ingredients— including spinach you'll never taste!

There ya have it, folks! A nourishing and delicious summer treat perfect for sneaking in some greens, thanks to the delicious taste and wholesome goodness of Yulu yogurt. And if you don’t believe in hiding greens from your kids, this is an easy recipe to make with them! (Though I for one won’t be divulging my spinach secrets any time soon.)

Delicious Fudgesicles loaded with healthy ingredients— including spinach you'll never taste!

Yulu yogurt is available at the following grocery store chains: Giant Eagle, Kroger, Meijer, Walmart, Natures Best, Safeway, Shoprite, Albi, Stater Bros, UNFI, Ahold, HEB, Kehe, and Lucky.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Yulu. The opinions and text are all mine.

 

 

My First Quilt

Rectangle Block Quilt

Last week at a craft night with friends, someone asked me what my favorite craft medium is. Obviously I love crafting and all things DIY, but I’d honestly never thought about what my favorite medium is! I told her maybe woodworking or sewing. They’re both forms of sculpture for me— I can take something flat and giving it a new shape and new life with a little vision, time, and work. But after saying this, I felt the need to clarify something about the sewing thing.

Not quilts. I love sewing, just not quilts.

Give me a few months, and just like a difficult child birthing experience, I’ll most likely forget my back pain and woes and be ready to give it another go. (Though if quilting is anything like birthing babies, I’ll need a few years between each one!) But as of now, I’m very proud to have finished my first quilt, though I cut a few corners along the way and definitely compromised on my original vision. This was certainly an instance of “Done is better than perfect.”

Rectangle Block Quilt

The top of the quilt is a simple rectangular block construction. At first I wanted to keep things super easy and figured I would just hand tie the quilt, but I really love how quilts get crinkly when machine stitching the layers together. So I watched this very helpful YouTube tutorial and bought myself a free-motion quilting foot for my sewing machine. I designed an elaborate geometric pattern that I had planned to draw on the top of my quilt and then go over with machine stitching. But by the time I had basted together the layers, I had sunk many hours and late nights into the project and thought it might be better than I just finish it up, instead of dragging it out while tediously stitching a complex pattern onto a heavy quilt without the assistance of an extension table on my sewing machine. Not a prospect I relished much, considering the work load I had waiting for A Beautiful Mess projects.

So I decided. Done is better than perfect. I made binding for the quilt and machine stitched it in place, instead of blind stitching it— another compromise. Oh well! I don’t think anyone beside me would have noticed that detail anyway.

Lucy- Making Nice in the Midwest

Rectangle Block Quilt

Lucy- Making Nice in the Midwest

Happily, Lucy loves getting tucked in under her new quilt in her new bed. She gets a little distressed if I don’t cover her with it before leaving the room. And my heart melts. I suppose it’s perfect for her, and I hope that she will always treasure it, knowing that I made it just for her!

It’s fun to do these little projects to make my firstborn feel special, knowing that a new kiddo will soon be sleeping in her old room and old bed, and she’ll most likely have some trouble adjusting.

Have you ever had trouble finishing projects that you end up not enjoying as much as you thought you would? My issue is that I always add more details and tend to make each project more complicated than I have time for. Gotta keep at least one foot on the ground, right?

Lucy- Making Nice in the Midwest 

WHAT WE WORE | ’90s Does the ’60s

mother daughter maternity style

For years I was the kind of person who had grown comfortable wearing the same types of clothes, though I had written a long letter to our school administrator protesting it, and had even acquired a petition full of signatures from most of the people in my high school. Yeah, I wore plaid-skirted uniforms all through school, and as much as I railed against it, looking back I can recognize the comfort in the routine of easily selecting an outfit each day, without ending up with a pile of rejects strewn across my barely made bed. As long as I kept up with laundry, mornings were a breeze.

These days, when it’s tempting to succumb to stretchy pants and tunics (working at home with a kid, man), I’ve actually found comfort in a sort of uniform I’ve grown used to— simple sixties’ style as presented to the world in the ’90s. Plain shift dresses, knit dress shirts with statement collars, basic mod dresses, all worn with tights if the weather demands it, and either classic boots, mary janes, or simple ballet flats. Once I figured out this was what I felt the best in, it was easy to pare down my closet to include only these basics. But more on the closet purge another day!

What style are you most drawn to in your personal wardrobe? I’ll admit, I’m kind of freaking out, because after narrowing down my closet to fewer pieces, and mostly sixties inspired ones, I’m feeling myself shift into the style of the early seventies. I blame Mad Men.

M A N D I :   dress: ASOS maternity (from three years ago) / coat: vintage / blouse: thrifted / necklace: vintage from Avenue Antiques in Canton / tights: ASOS maternity / boots: Franco Sarto

L U C Y :   dress: thrifted / jacket: gift from Target last year / tights: hand-me-down / shoes: thrifted / barrette: Target

mother daughter maternity style

mother daughter maternity style

mother daughter maternity style

mother daughter maternity style

mother daughter maternity style

mother daughter maternity style

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