Thursday, September 14, 2017

Best Camping Hack for Kids

Beat the bugs with this simple trick!

I hate mosquitoes and basically any bug that can bite.

Bugs love my daughter. (She kinda likes them too and tries to catch them) As soon as she steps out the door to play, she gets bitten. Her bug bites totally explode and become huge welts and lumps. I have taken her to the doctor a few times. Only to find that it was only a spider or regular bug bite. Her skin just has a very extreme reaction. And then my poor girl is itching them like crazy. The only thing the doctor suggested was to get some Cortisone cream. Which is so greasy, ends up all over her clothes and everything else before it absorbs. AND my daughter tries to lick it UGH.

Here is the solution.

All you have to do is take a little Children's Benadryl and rub it on the bug bites. 

Within minutes...
- The swelling will go down
- It will stop the itching

THE BEST PART - If your child licks it, its only Benadryl. You don't have to worry!! It will not do any harm, since it's usually ingested anyway.

Best hack ever. It saved me this summer!!



Sunday, September 10, 2017

Football Sunday Eats


Sundays are for... eating :)

In honor of the first football Sunday, I had to make some game day goodies. This may not be my prettiest appetizer but it is a party in your mouth! And easy, easy, easy.

What you need:
1 and 1/3 cup of plain greek yogurt
1 cup shredded cheese 
2 jalapenos
3 slices of bacon
Wonton wrappers

What to do:
1. Cook and chop bacon. 
2. Finely chop jalapenos.
3. Combine bacon, jalapenos, greek yogurt and shredded cheese in a large bowl.


4. Layer wonton wrappers in a muffin tin to create nachos.


5. First, I baked the wonton wrappers for a few minutes at 350 degrees.
6. Spread the nachos on a cookie sheet and spoon on the popper mixture.
 7. Continue to bake for about 15 minutes.
The edges should be brown and crispy and the popper mixture should be hot and bubbly. 

Enjoy :)








Saturday, September 2, 2017

5 reasons you should use a Disney travel affiliate if its your first visit!

I have never, ever used a travel agent in my life. Not even for my honeymoon. My feeling is why should I pay someone when I can do the research myself and book the entire vacation for a cheaper price. Usually, I obsessively check prices for flights over and over and over again. I search through tons of hotels comparing pricing and amenities. Double and triple check to make sure packages aren't less when booking together. I also look into doing all inclusive or trying to save money by doing meals and drinks separately. Does this sound like you?

1. It is absolutely free.
There is no fee or percentage built into your vacation.

2. Dining planning
I haven't been to Disney in years and this was my kid's first trip!  I am not familiar with any of the restaurants inside the parks. I decided to get the dining plan because with two babies, their bottles, snacks... I didn't want to have to worry about their food. During our day at Magic Kingdom, I decided a few hours prior to our dinner reservation that I wanted to eat at a different place. Since it was only a few hours away, I was unable to cancel it on the Disney app.  They directed me to a phone number and I spent 10 minutes on hold without speaking to anyone. I texted my travel affiliate and told her the problem. Within minutes, she had not only cancelled my dinner reservation and booked us another restaurant but also got the fee waived that I would have had to pay because I cancelled less than 24 hours.

3. Fast Pass planning
Again, I haven't been to Disney in years so I know the really big attractions with the long waits. Certain rides I knew I wanted to do, she was able to tell me if the lines are usually short enough where I didn't need to waste a fast pass. She helped me coordinate fast passes around our lunch and dinner reservations. We basically made a game plan for the whole day so we could fit everything in.

4. Questions 24/7
When I say that I texted her morning, noon, and night... every time I thought of something else. She helped me search for flights. I needed a pack and play in the hotel room, she called and reserved it to my room. I texted her while in the airport in a panic. They made us check one of our carry on bags. I wasn't sure if it would go directly to the hotel or if I had to pick it up from baggage. She always got back to me within minutes and told me not to worry!

5. It just makes life so much easier
Vacations with a 1 and 2 year old is stressful enough. Worrying about all the things you need to pack and have accessible for them.  I wanted to make sure that our days at the park were packed with as much as we could possibly do.  Our Disney travel affiliate has small children (who she has brought to the parks every year) so she has got this routine down to perfection and made our experience just absolutely magical!

Here is her link if you are planning to go to Disney! Thank you Jackie, you made our first trip awesome!!!

https://www.facebook.com/Jacqueline-Pearce-affiliate-of-Academy-Travel-and-wwwmickeyvacationscom-1636549323234389/













Tuesday, August 29, 2017

If you do DISNEY... you #1 MUST do this!!!

Yes, I did it. I took my 1 and 2 year old to DISNEY!

And now I present to you... my #1 must do of the trip.

Instead of paying an obscene amount of money, for just one photo of your family in front of the famous castle which will also include tons of people in the background.

It looks something like this... (No, I did not purchase this photo!)



THIS IS WHAT YOU DO!!!

Wait until the parade starts. Not only is everyone so concerned with getting a spot front and center. There is literally not one person in front of the castle. You get a perfect picture and you don't have to worry about people breathing down your back waiting for their turn to take a picture.  




 Isn't this great?! A whole, magical castle all to ourselves! Next time we will let the babies out of the stroller for the picture but we were hustling to meet Mickey at the clock tower!!










Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Preschool Blues

OMG! The day has arrived!

I signed my daughter up for preschool! It feels like she is going off to college HAHA

But on a serious note, I am so excited for her to start her little school but oh so sad at the same time. I feel like this marks the official end of her being a baby.

She has never attended any type of daycare. Lucky enough to have her grandparents and close family watch her when I was working.

I know it is going to be a big transition for her to leave me.  But then again she could surprise me, run into school and never look back.

She was very excited visiting her classroom, checking out all of the new toys and brand new crayons. But she was also very happy to run out the door with mama and blow kisses goodbye.

The director of the school had me laughing. She said we spend more time consoling the parents than the children the first week of school. I thought to myself YUP that's going to be me choking back the tears.

Every mom wants their kids to be comfortable and excited starting school. I have heard the heartbreak of their kid slamming the door in their face saying BYE MOM without a care in the world!

Anyways, I absolutely know that my daughter is ready to go. She is going to love it. Anything that is new or something she hasn't learned yet will get her attention. There is only so much I can do at home with her. (Especially with another little one at my feet who wants to do everything that his big sister does!) Baby girl loves to be creative, imaginative and to be challenged.

 I am not going to lie... I am going to miss her like crazy the second that she leaves. However I will get to spend some great quality time with my son. Something that I will also cherish. Those moments were far and few between having 2 under 2!

It is going to be great for all of us. Again I am not saying I will not cry like a big baby in the parking lot ;)

I can literally feel her excitement in this picture!!! I said "Come on! Let's go see your new school!"



Wednesday, August 2, 2017

DIY Eggrolls (free printables)


I hope I am not alone in my obsession with eggrolls. Especially when I was pregnant with my daughter, I haddddd to have them. (By the way, not a hint, not pregnant here!)

AND to make us feel less guilty, they are mini-sized and made from scratch!

The great thing about this recipe is that you can bake them if you want a little healthier eggroll.

I actually made these on the grill. Just heated a very small amount of oil in a griddle pan and fried them lightly on each side. I can not cook inside during the summer. Too hot.



Here are a few pictures of my assistant and I constructing these delicious eggrolls.



She has so much fun helping :)

She may have taste tested :)


Please notice the top right eggroll. It had to be double wrapped. My cute assistant tried to roll it herself. Which didn't go as planned but will probably be extra flaky and delicious. I love that she loves to cook with me so I let her try to do every step :)

Another thing I love about this recipe is that you can freeze it and use it at a later time. You can prepare them in advance and then just grab them when you need them. Whether it be to a get together or just an easy appetizer or snack for another day at home.




  



Friday, July 14, 2017

Eggplant appetizer on the grill


BEAT THE HEAT.
Grilling is life in summer. I try to do everything on the grill. It is way too hot to turn the oven on.

The first hot dogs and hamburgers are delicious. By the middle of the summer, people get sick of them.

I absolutely love this eggplant appetizer and it takes just 4 ingredients!!


What we need:
Eggplant
Egg
Bread crumbs 
Salsa

Depending on how much you need to make you can modify the amounts. 

What to do;
1. Peel the eggplant. I like to leave a little skin.
2. Slice into rounds.
3. Dip into egg then cover with bread crumbs.
4. Heat a skillet on the grill with a small amount of oil.
5. Pan fry the eggplant on each side until golden brown.
6. Serve with salsa.








SOOOO EASY. SO YUMMY.

Great idea for a meatless day :)




Friday, July 7, 2017

Rainy days :) (free printable)

SO!

I polled a group of experts.... aka my cousins that I grew up with. There's a LOT of us :)

Here's some things we used to do as kids...


Thursday, July 6, 2017

EASY TIP for outdoor birthday party at the park!!!


Yesterday was my son's 1st birthday!!!! Wow, the year has flown by.

He is having a birthday party this weekend but I always like to do cake on the actual birthday. And I mean, come on, it's his FIRST birthday!

Between our family, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins (and we were lucky enough to have his great aunt and uncle to join) there were 16 of us. I thought it would be a really nice idea to do cake at the playground. The kids could run around and play. Everyone could enjoy a beautiful, summer night outside.

Then I started thinking how to serve and everything I would need to bring... UGH!
Cake, knife, plates, forks, spoons, cups, napkins....etc.

So I baked a homemade strawberry shortcake and constructed these... YES!
(Had to make pudding layer cups for the chocolate lovers)

DESSERT CUPS



I brought a cooler full of drinks on the bottom and packed these babies into trays right on top. Grabbed a pack of fork and spoons and done! Eat and toss :)

The dessert cups traveled extremely well. I was so paranoid opening the cooler would be a spilled, crushed mess. 

And of course baby boy had his very own smash cake :)

 

Action shot! We are all scattered around the playground. Even the adults were climbing and sliding :)

This boy is one and cute! He had a great night with family :)









Sunday, June 18, 2017

To the dads who make it look easy...you are your children's biggest hero :)

This is for all the dads out there who completely love being fathers. And it shows. The dads who aren't putting on a show. The dads, who when you look at them, you can see it in their face, eyes and smile how much they truly love their kids. 

I never plan to write or do any type of work when I'm away on vacation. But I just had to share this story because it really just touched my heart and made my day.

Recently, my husband and I went to a wedding in Florida and left our kiddies back at home with my parents. When we first got to the pool one morning, there was a little boy sitting on the stairs playing with a beach ball. His brother was on a float not far from him. And their dad was jumping between the two boys, going back and forth.

Having two kids, I know what it's like to be outnumbered. It's not easy. It's actually quite exhausting.

But then I noticed the sweet boy on the stairs was disabled. I noticed his walker nearby and that he didn't speak much, if at all. But what I noticed most, was his giant smile as his dad played with him. His face just lit up. And when he laughed you could just feel the love between them.

The dad would go to his son on the float and then throw the beach ball to his son on the stairs. He went over to the son on the stairs and carried him into the water so he could join his brother. I was trying not to stare but I just so admired this dad. And sometimes the ball would get away from the boy and the dad would jump out of the pool to get it for him. 

The next time the ball got away, I whispered to my husband to hurry and grab the ball. The dad saw him and said no don't worry but my husband had already grabbed it and gave it back to the boy. The dad walked over and shook my husbands hand with a look of pure and genuine gratitude. 

It's moments like these that really pull at my heart strings. I quickly made a joke about leaving our two at home and we began to chat. 

At first, we just small talked. Exchanged names, his boys names and ages and about our two kids at home. What we did for work and what brought us down here. His younger son chimed in and told us that his older brother has a farm named after him.(http://www.uriahsurbanfarms.com/)

I finally got the courage to tell him what I had been thinking the whole time. What a great dad he was. How obvious it was. How you could tell his boys adored him. 

He responded "Oh, shut up!" And just laughed.

We continued to talk through out the day. We later asked about his son's condition. I never know if that question will offend people. The first thing he said was what an unbelievable kid he was. And what an amazing wife he had because of all the things she does for their son. She later joined them at the pool and completed the beautiful family.

So, Dave, you are inspiring!

Happy Father's Day to all the dads who are just doing their duties and not realizing how wonderful they really are :) 








Friday, June 2, 2017

6 ingredient spinach tots


Things have been so hectic. I have fallen off the face of the earth. Moving with two babies. Enough said. That is a whole story in itself.

But for now. Spinach tots.

I am always looking for new ways to make the veggie side dish in my house so it is not so boring. However, this turned into a delicious appetizer because they simply did not last until dinner time!

Being an avid chip and dip lover, (like it is actually a problem) I am proud to say this is a healthy alternative to that. Without fully giving up the dipping :)

Again, super easy with only 6 ingredients for the tots and only 2 ingredients for the dip if you choose!

What we need
12 ounce package of spinach
3 cloves of garlic
1/4 cup of red onion
2 eggs
1/2 cup extra sharp provolone
1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil


What to do

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly oil a baking sheet with olive oil.
2. Into a large bowl, empty package of spinach and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Chop the garlic and onion very finely and add to spinach. Shred provolone cheese and add. Last, add eggs and olive oil. 


























3. Mix with hands! It's the best way! Then let mixture chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

4. Scoop and mold mixture into tots. If you have one of this (actually used to make Japanese rice balls), it makes it really easy!


5. Bake for 15 minutes. Flip tots and then bake another 15 minutes.


If you would like to make the dip... only 2 ingredients.
6 ounces container of plain Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon of sriracha
(if you don't like spicy, you can do less)


And here is the finished product!
Great as a side dish for dinner. Great for an appetizer before dinner. Great to bring to a party. Even great to make ahead for lunches. 



Friday, April 7, 2017

Important update!

Say goodbye to the mama of 2 under 2 and say hello to the terrible twos and a 9 month old ;)


Seriously. Why does the time go as fast as they say it will?

Yes, some days I just can not wait for the minute my little angels finally go to sleep so I can have a few minutes of quiet alone time. But it's all too bittersweet. I find myself questioning and examining my entire day as a mother. Did I play with them enough? Was I patient enough today? Did I pay my full attention to the new things they are learning to do? Could I have possibly missed something that I need to write down in their baby books for fear that in the coming years of their lives I might forget even just one second of their baby lives? I blinked an eye and my baby girl is two.  

It's like a sick form of torture I do as a nightly routine.










Friday, March 10, 2017

Guilt free KALE PIZZA CRUST


When you need the pizza but you don't need the guilt!

When the weekend comes, it is so much more tempting to indulge. This delicious kale pizza crust will kick the craving.

What do we need
Originally I started with 
2 eggs
3 packed cups of chopped kale
1 cup of panko breadcrumbs
1 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon of salt 
Throw all of these ingredients into the food processor. I found my "dough" to be a little dry so I added one additional egg and 1/2 cup of water. This made it come together very nicely.

Then I covered a baking sheet with foil and coated it with a small amount of olive oil. Place the mixture in the center of the pan and press your crust into the desired size and thickness. 

Bake the kale crust for approximately 15 minutes on 350 degrees. The edges should just start to brown.

Now the fun part. Add all the toppings you want. 
Today I wanted to go for the traditional margarita pizza.

1 cup of sliced grape tomatoes
Mixture of 4 cloves of garlic and 1/4 cup of olive oil
Half of this cheese (4 ounces)


Spread the tomatoes and sliced cheese. Spoon the garlic olive oil mixture on top of it all. Sprinkle some pepper for a finishing touch.

This just looks so fresh and amazing already.


Bake at 350 degrees for another 10 to 15 minutes. 




Kale. Pizza. Match made in heaven. :)