Month: September 2015

These are Flat Out great!

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They have a few flavors…this is my favorite so far!

I discovered these yummy flat breads at the food store recently and am obsessed with them!! They were by the deli. I thought they looked good, so I grabbed a pack and hoped for the best! I was so happy I grabbed them and now they are a part of my weekly shopping list!

My girls love them too. I let them make their own pizzas…this is also lots of fun when their friends come to dinner! There are 6 flat breads in each package, so there are plenty when company comes over!

My girls just make plain pizzas, but I enjoy being more creative! I made a sausage crumble with arugula, tomatoes, olives, and feta. SO yummy! It was gone before I could take a picture!

We went to a Fish Fry at a friend’s house this weekend and I made a BBQ shrimp one and a pesto and shrimp one. Both were a hit and gone within seconds of being put down!

Check out their website. They have a lot of different ideas on there! And if they are in your food store, I recommend giving them a try! Get creative! Click here for a $0.50 off coupon!

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My daughter’s pizza creations. Not fancy but still yummy!
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The top one is BBQ shrimp and the bottom is homemade pesto, shrimp, and mozzarella. This was taken before I baked them.

Winter is coming…

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Franki…not helping with sorting clothes!

I really enjoy the Fall season. I love the fresh crisp air, I love my Fall clothes, and I love that the holidays are coming! What I don’t love is switching my girls’ clothes from summer to Fall/Winter. It can take an entire day to finish. Add in one toddler who thinks she is hilarious and it takes even longer! Sunday Franki and I attempted to change her clothes over. Here’s how it went.

  • I had Brett get the bin of clothes from the attic. Franki couldn’t wait to dump them all over the floor. Which was fine because they all had to come out of the bin anyway.
  • I tried to quickly sort out the clothes that would fit her and that were weather appropriate. I put the ones we don’t need right now back in the bin and locked it up. (Franki was angry about this!)
  • Franki decided that she wanted to try everything on. She made me put a new outfit on her and then ran to her sister’s room to model it for them.
  • All her summer clothes were emptied out of her drawers except for 5 short sleeve shirts and 5 pairs of shorts. You never know!
  • Then I proceeded to make outfits. I HIGHLY recommend doing this! I don’t have a shirt drawer and a pant drawer for my toddler. I make outfits. The outfits go into the outfit drawer. This makes getting her dressed in the morning quick! It also ensures that she will match when my husband gets her dressed for school!
  • By the end of the day, all of her clothes were put away. And I have a huge bag of clothes from the summer to donate! Best part about being done with having kids…passing my clothes down to someone else!

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    Here is the drawer of outfits. I fold the pants and shirt together.

4 Reasons to let them pick out their clothes!

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I have 3 girls…3 very different, feisty, opinionated little girls! When my oldest (who is 5) was just 18 months old, my husband and I fought with her on what to wear to Christmas morning mass. She did not want to wear the dress I bought her, she wanted to wear her Christmas PJs. I seriously could not believe that I was fighting with a toddler about her outfit. I knew this day would come, but I thought it would be closer to when she entered middle school….not at 18 months old. I gave up and let her wear her PJs. She was a hit at mass. Everyone loved that we let her wear her PJs. And I realized at that moment…it’s ok to let them wear what they want. (as long as it is appropriate!!!)

They are only little once!
This past summer I took the girls to the food store and received several looks and smiles. My 2 oldest girls were wearing their princess dress up. It was early in the morning, they were having a great time playing dress up and I needed to run to the store. I went into their room and said “Ok girls, we have to run out for a minute” They were so upset, they wanted to stay and play. So before they could start complaining I said “But you can wear your dress up”. Their faces LIT up! They ran to the door and got their sandals on. They were so excited to show off their dresses. I smiled too, I loved seeing them so happy. And I took that moment in and felt happiness. They are not going to be little forever. I want to look back at these moments and remember their innocence and joy.

They will respect their clothes
When my girls started picking out their own outfits, I started to realize they started respecting their clothes a little more. They would worry about getting a stain on their shirt. Or upset if they got a hole in their pants. When you let them pick out their own clothes…they can OWN the outfit and will have more respect for it. I am not saying the occasional grass stain won’t make it’s way to your laundry room…but the numbers will decrease!

Teach them matching 
My 5 year old can put together a really nice looking outfit. Everything matches nicely and looks like it goes together. This was not the case when she was 3. She would wear a dark pink shirt and light pink pants. “Look mom it matches, I have on pink and pink”. I would point out colors in the shirt and explain that she should try and match those colors to the pants. It took some time, but now she does a great job!

You will look like the best mom ever!
I used to have this fear that if my kids left the house in crazy missed matched outfits that people would judge my parenting. That some how this would make me a bad mom. Then I realized the complete opposite. Letting them wear what they want (NOT inappropriate) makes me an awesome mom. When I am waiting at pick up and my daughter comes running over with her outfits on (even the crazy ones) the other moms tell me “She looks so cute. Great outfit”.

In the end….it’s just clothes. As long as they are clean and not full of holes, you are doing a great job! Plus some of the craziest outfits will make for some of the best pictures for when they get older!

Honey Crunch Chicken

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This was delicious! Damn Hello Fresh…I love you! Who knew that coating chicken breasts with honey and corn flakes could produce this magical wonder of awesomeness?! I didn’t but now I do. Next time, I am going to cut the chicken into strips and make chicken strips for my girls. It was served with broccoli and yellow rice with peas. Nicely balanced meal!!

If you are looking to try Hello Fresh, use this code and receive $40 off your first week!

PGK2TY

7 Strategies for Eating out with Little Kids!

Going out to dinner is a huge treat for me! I work full time and make dinner every night for my family. It is exhausting, the meal planning, the cooking, the cleaning…all of it! So when we decide to venture out to dinner, this is a huge deal for me! I get to sit down and eat, this almost never happens! Everyone gets to order what they want and I don’t have to prepare it or clean up after…I love it! But the idea of going to dinner with 3 children ages 5 and under could be scary to some parents. I have friends that avoid going out to dinner with their children all together. I am here to tell you, you can do it. You can go out to eat with your kids and enjoy it! This is not to say that going out to eat with kids will be ANYTHING like going out to dinner without them. Here is how we survive it!

Bring Busy Bags! 
What is a busy bag? Check out my Pinterest page. I have lots of ideas here! Busy bags are great and can be age specific. My MOMs club had a Busy Bag Party, best idea ever! I was able to get so many different busy bags from this event. I highly recommend getting together with friends and doing a party/exchange!

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Busy Bag I made with Popsicle sticks, printed images, and glue

Bring Coloring Supplies
Believe it or not, a lot of places do not have coloring supplies. Or if they do, they are weak. So I recommend bringing a coloring book and some crayons. Since becoming a mom, I have a coloring book and crayons in a zip lock bag in my car at all times. Also, bring blank pieces of paper. Older kids like playing games like hangman and tic tac toe. Younger kids like to create their own masterpieces.

Electronic Devices are a Must
It’s 2015, as far as I am concerned there is nothing wrong with my kids watching or playing on the iPad quietly while waiting for dinner. We use these as a LAST resort though. These are only pulled out after the busy bags and coloring supplies have been exhausted. We only allow the kids to use these while waiting for food, they are put away once the food comes.

Order like a Seasoned Parent
We have learned to order dinner and have everything brought out at once! Yup, appetizers, meals, and even the kid’s food…all at once! A common mistake I see a lot of parents make while eating out is that they order the kid’s dinners right away. Mistake, once the kids have eaten they are ready to go. We tell the server the following when they come to take the order “please bring all the food at once: salads, apps, dinners, and kid meals”. Once the food comes, we know we have about 20 mins to enjoy it before we lose the kids! LOL!

Engage your kids
My husband and I divide and conquer with our seating arrangements. We each take care of either the older girls or the toddler. While sitting and waiting, we make sure to talk to them, color, and play games with them. We do try and talk to each other while this is going on and are somewhat successful!

Timing is Everything
We usually eat dinner around 5:00pm. So when we go out to dinner we arrive around 4:30/4:45pm. This way the kids are hungry when their food comes but not starving crazy maniacs that are screaming and yelling.

No Bread
This is so important. We usually just let the kids have 1 small piece of bread…or sometimes no bread. If they are full when the food comes out, they are not going to want to sit their and watch you eat your food.

Sit Outside
Sitting outside is a lot more forgiving then inside at most restaurants. Kids can be loud or maybe even get up and walk around if needed. We do not encourage this, but sometimes it is necessary! Sitting outside also gives the kids something to look at other then the restaurant walls. While on vacation in Lake George, we went to 1 dinner out. We picked The Algonquin because of the outside dining area. It was right on the lake and had private docks. The girls loved seeing the boats and ducks!

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Enjoying dinner on the dock in Lake George

Do your best to not set your expectations too high when dining out with kids. Do not think that eating out with little kids is always going to go smooth. And do not think that it will be a peaceful event. Don’t get me wrong, we still have fun and enjoy eating out with our kids!

And remember “Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect.” (Vince Lomdari) In other words, set your expectations and let everyone know what they are. Practice, practice, practice!!!  Kids are going to mess up, correct the behavior and try to move on. Enjoy your family dinners!

Hello Fresh does it again!

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This was delicious and easy too! Pan seared salmon with quinoa arugula salad with almonds and a side of snap peas. The quinoa salad was so easy and only had a few ingredients. I never know what to do with quinoa…I will definitely do this again! It was simply cooked quinoa, almonds, arugula, Dijon mustard, and a touch of olive oil. You can do all the ingredients to taste.

If you are interested in trying Hello Fresh…here is a code to receive $40 off your first box!

PGK2TY

Oh wait, it’s a crate!

I love my new shelves in my bathroom! I found these inexpensive crates at Ross and had my husband hang them for me. (I have an issue with hanging things straight!) Then I went back to Ross…man I love Ross…and bought cute things to fill the shelves! Total cost for everything was under $50! Can’t beat that!!!

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Sophia the First

I LOVE to throw birthday parties. My husband thinks I am crazy to spend as much time on them as I do…but I love it! And if you can do what makes you happy, then do it!! My daughters are starting to appreciate my efforts. My oldest daughter looked at me while I was decorating for this party and said “Mom you do a really great job decorating for our parties. You really love us a lot” That made my day!!!

Josephina (Joey) Wanted a Sophia the First party for her 3rd birthday. This meant starting my Pinterest board right away. I usually begin planning the party about 2 – 3 months ahead of time. Working full time makes it hard to get stuff done in a short amount of time….so I buy little by little months in advance! We decided on a Royal Sleepover. All the guests came dressed in their PJs.

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a Friend of mine made the cookies and chocolate covered oreos!
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This is how it was set up for the family party
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Another friend let us borrow the fountain!
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Everything was perfect!
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We just had the doors put in. Excuse the unfinished sheet rock! I used a roll of plastic table covering to make these. And tissue paper for the puffs.
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The ceiling
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This is how it was set up for her friend party. There were less people, so this worked better!
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Joey playing Pin the Amulet on Sophia
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The kids made a painting as their favor. It was their first initial taped off. So when they finished painting all over the canvas, their initial was white. It was a hit!!!
The finished product!
The finished product!

6 Reasons Orange is the New Black…is my Life!

My husband and I just started watching Orange is the New Black. I know, I know…we are late to the game. But we like to binge watch. So, we wait for a show to have been out for a while and then we start watching. Plus it allows other people to be the test dummies of the show and then if it really is good, we start watching.

While watching last night I realized, this is my life! OMG I am an inmate. How is this my life? Let me explain.

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Bathroom time
I can not remember the last time I was able to go to the bathroom not only alone, but with the door closed. True there is no one speaking to the devil in the stall next to me…but for some reason when I try and go potty that is when all hell breaks lose in my house! When I watched Chapman find a victorious moment to use it alone, I knew the feeling!

Never Alone
Sometimes you just want a moment or two alone. When you are a mommy, this doesn’t happen. Chapman is never alone, not in the shower, not at night, not while sleeping…never. I remember life before kids, it’s blurry but I remember it. I would come home from work before my husband and I would enjoy an hour or so alone in the house before he came home. It was glorious! Now, I leave work and pick up the girls…and we all enter the house together. Alone time is a thing of the past. I get it Chapman…solitude is looking better and better some days!

Interrupted Sleep
Anyone that is thinking about having a child should sleep in a prison for a few nights. Having a baby is like being bunked with a cell mate that has night mares…every 3 hours! They wake up screaming their head off.

Prison Food
They keep complaining about the food on the show, but every time I see them eating I think…wait we had that for dinner last night! Yesterday, on the show, they had spaghetti…come on, you can’t mess up spaghetti! That’s a favorite in our house…Macaroni Monday! Before kids, we would enjoy elaborate meals that took longer then 20 minutes to prepare. Now, it seems my style of cooking resembles that of prison food…meat loaf, fish sticks, pasta, quesadillas. This is probably why Hello Fresh is so important to me…it saves me from having to eat with the inmates!

Appearance
Give the inmates yoga pants and a TShirt…might as well be my mommy uniform. Little make up, hair a mess, and uneventful looking clothes. The only time I get to dress nice is to go to work. But as soon as I enter the door to my house, the uniform is on…hands covered in chocolate or marker are not “Work Clothes Friendly”!

They’re Family
One of the things about the show that is cool to see is the relationships between everyone. Kind of like one huge disgruntled family! You have the crazy ones, the ambitious ones, the rude ones, the selfish ones, the ones in charge, and the ones that have no idea what is going on! But in the end, they are one big family. And so are we…sticky hands and all.

I have gotten so used to my life as a mom that I really don’t notice the way things have changed until I see it projected on my t.v. screen. There are moments that I want to break out and run far away…but I know I would come back. My family is my life, my sanity, and my prison…but in the best way possible! Sometimes losing certain freedoms makes you appreciate the little things that much more. And I don’t take things for granted the way I did before having kids. So as we watch Orange is the New Black, I chuckle to myself and think…man I gotta get myself an orange TShirt and yoga pants!

4 Reasons I love Hello Fresh

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It was a Monday. I came home from work to find this large box on my porch. My daughters gathered around as we opened it. One by one we pulled the neatly packaged white boxes out. My girls were super excited, and so was I…our first Hello Fresh had been delivered!

I had heard about the meal delivery programs and liked the idea but never bit the bullet and joined. But that all changed with Living Social was having a deal. $30 for 3 meals for 2 people. Shoot, that $10 a meal…$5 a person! I can handle that. So I figured we would give it a try.

Reason Number 1
The recipe cards are super easy to follow with picture directions. I am a visual learner. I know this from being a teacher…it’s a real thing. Some people learn by listening, some by doing, and some by seeing. I am the later, I need to see it in order to do it! I love having pictures with each step that show what it is supposed to look like. It makes multi tasking in the kitchen easier!

Reason Number 2
Everything is pre-measured and ready to go! I think this may be my favorite thing about it! I do not have to walk around a food store with 3 little kids trying to find some crazy spice or weird ingredient…it’s all right there, measured in a cute little container and ready to go!!!

Reason Number 3
The food is fresh…Hello Fresh is not just a clever name. Everything I have gotten from them has been on point with freshness…that is huge for me! And some of it has been GMO free and even organic. Another check in my book!!!

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Reason Number 4
I get to be a chef. I was beaming the other night when talking to my husband about the pork and shrimp wanton soup I made. “I just like making good food…real food…different food.” I told him. I love to cook and am OBSESSED with cooking shows. Chopped is my favorite! I feel like a real chef preparing a fancy meal. When I am done, I always arrange it on the plates and take a picture…presentation is everything!!! It makes me feel awesome to produce a healthy and delicious meal.

Working full time and having 3 little kids to take care of doesn’t allow me to indulge in my passions as often as I would like. Hello Fresh has given me this opportunity…and I love it! If you are interested in trying it, use this code. You will get $40 off your first week!            PGK2TY