September 15, 2016

Vintage Chalkboard Menu Board

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

Cooking has never come easy to me. I am not one to just think up random recipes off the top of my head or throw ingredients together for a meal on a whim. Being a stay at home mom, cooking meals is something that I've had to learn how to do. Now, that my boys are getting older, their stomachs are growing too and they are eating a lot more then they used to. Keeping up with their likes and dislikes for meals is stressful in itself but add in the task of actually figuring out what to make, it makes dinnertime my least favorite time of the day. Then I discovered HelloFresh and everything changed. For the better.

HelloFresh allows me to prepare and cook a nutritionally balanced meal that I can be excited to serve my family. Each HelloFresh box comes with everything I need to cook 3 meals for my family of 4 including fresh produce, pantry staples, and even choice cuts of meat. Step by step recipe cards with photos and nutritional information are also included to help me cook each meal perfectly. Which I love because I need all the help I can get!

Earlier this year, HelloFresh teamed up with Jamie Oliver to bring amazing restaurant quality recipes to your dinner table that you can make on your own. You will not believe how much time this has saved me during the week. Especially when we are short on time with after school practices or teacher conferences. Plus, with HelloFresh, my meals planned out for me so I no longer have to stress about what to make for dinner and let me tell you, this has been a HUGE relief!

Monday we dined on Jamie's Oozy Shrimp Risotto with a spring mix salad and even a homemade vinaigrette dressing. Who knew I could create something so delicious and beautiful and under 30 minutes! Talk about a major improvement from my amateur culinary skills.

The next night was one of my boys absolute favorite meals! Crispy chicken, roasted brown butter corn, and tomato and cucumber salad. A perfect end of summer-let's bring on fall dinner. This meal was so easy to make and the directions were so simple to follow, I don't know why I was so scared of the kitchen before. Plus, the step by step guides not only help me, but my little chefs are able to help and follow along too.

We finished up the week with Roasted Pork with balsamic fig sauce, fresh green beans, and rosemary potatoes. The recipe steps are very easy to follow, especially for this beginner, and they make it so simple to recreate these amazing dinner ideas. I felt like a professional chef using these ingredients I would have never thought twice to use. My boys, and my hubby, were so thrilled to sit down at the dinner table to something amazing that I "created".

Now that we have dinner covered for the week, I kept our HelloFresh menu ideas organized on a vintage chalkboard menu board I created from an old cabinet door. It was very easy to make and makes the question of "what's for dinner?" a little easier to answer.

What you need:

  • Old cabinet door
  • chalkboard paint
  • craft paint
  • paint brushes
  • heavy duty magnets
  • strong adhesive (liquid nails worked best for me)
  • sand paper
  • chalk

1. Clean cabinet door to remove any dust, dirt, debris, etc.

2. Spray paint the center of the cabinet door with the chalkboard paint. Once dry, add a second coat.

3. Once center is dry, using painters tape and newspaper, tape off the center of the door to leave the edges exposed only.

4. Using the craft paint, paint the front and sides of the cabinet.  I purposely left streaks and blotches along the edges to get a rough textured feel. Once dry, add a second coat.

5. Once dry, sand the edges down to allow the wood below to show through.

6. Once the frame is how you want, flip over and attach the heavy duty magnets with a strong adhesive. Let sit overnight to ensure a secure bond. 

7. Using chalk, chalkboard markers, vinyl decals, or stickers, pretty much anything, add what ever you'd like it to say, menu, dinner, weekly meals, etc. I chose to add "What's for dinner?"

8. Hang on your fridge and write out your menu for the week with regular chalk.

Ready to get out of the dinner rut and try HelloFresh yourself? Head to HelloFresh, choose your recipes for the week and get ready for your personally prepared box to arrive. It's that simple. Plus use code TONIT35 for $35.00 off your first box and never stress over dinner again!

What are you waiting for?!? Head over to HelloFresh to learn more, pick your plan, and get started. Plus, don't forget about the coupon code, TONIT35, for $35.00 off your first box. Get started today!!! 

September 6, 2016

Boy's Puppy Themed 3rd Birthday Party

My son is a huge puppy fanatic!! He is obsessed with puppies and has been since birth. So, for his 3rd birthday party, we knew it was going to have to be a puppy themed birthday party. After searching high and low for boys puppy party ideas and coming up empty handed, I got busy creating all the details for his special day. I had a specific image in my mind as to how I wanted it to be and with the help with some wonderful party people friends and their services, his party turned out to fantastic and he loved every minute of it. 

For one of our party activities I created a coloring station complete with homemade puppy shaped crayons made by Posh Paper Creations, coloring pages, and long white butcher paper served as a the table runner and another place to color. Puppy themed storage boxes served as stools for the guests that doubled as storage after the party.

Of course my puppy lover had to be outfitted with a perfect personalized embroidered shirt that matched the theme.

One of his favorite books are the Spot books. I uploaded a photo from the internet to Shindigz and had an oversized cutout made that was perfect for taking pictures with. Plus, what puppy party would be complete with out some paw prints! We placed several vinyl removable paw prints all over the floor throughout the party space.

A puppy party would not be complete without puppies!!! Each party guest was able to adopt their own puppy and take them home with an adoption kit. Each adoption kit contained a birth certificate, "puppy treats", blanket, and everything you need to care for your puppy at home.

The dessert table was packed full of puppy goodness. The table cloth and backdrop were patterned fabric I purchased online that were both covered with Spot and his friends. Plus, mini plush Spot dogs and Spot books were placed around as decorations.

Graham cracker dog bones were served in dog bowls. Chocolate covered pretzels, coco puffs, and puppy chow (muddy buddies) completed the delicious munchies. A two tiered cake with a fondant Spot sat front and center.

To complete the decorations, puppies were placed everywhere! Some even sat inside puppy boxes that were reused after the party to hold all his puppies in his room.
What an incredible party!!!

September 2, 2016

Simple Breakfast Calzones

Breakfast is our favorite meal! We could eat breakfast foods for lunch, dinner, snack time, or any time for that matter. Now that the boys love to help me cook and I love that they want to help, I have had to expand on my basic cooking skills of pancakes and biscuits. 

The other day my oldest son came to me asking to let him make breakfast. So, of course I said yes and told him to look for something easy to prepare and simple to cook. He came back with a breakfast calzone recipe that was just a bit too advanced for him. But, he still wanted to make them anyway, so I started searching for a simple recipe for this meal and no luck. So, I decided to just wing it and make it our own. 

How to make simple breakfast calzones:
  • ground breakfast sausage
  • bacon 
  • shredded cheddar cheese
  • 4-5 eggs
  • 8 jumbo biscuits
  • 3 tbps butter
  • green onion
  • 1 teaspoonful of sour cream
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
How to make

Preheat oven to 350.

1. Cook and brown your sausage and drain the fat. Set aside.

2. Cook bacon completely. Chop into bite size pieces. Set aside.

3. Using your hand, bottle, rolling pin, etc., roll out and flatten your biscuits to desired size.

4. In a medium sauce pan, melt butter on medium high heat.

5. Add eggs and mix. Continue stirring off and off until you have fluffy scrambled eggs.
6. Add sour cream and green onion into eggs and mix.

7. Set eggs aside to let cool.

8. Sprinkle cheese on top of flatten biscuit. Top with eggs, sausage, and bacon.

9. Fold over until edges meet and pinch edges to seal.
10. Place on a cookie sheet and cook for about 12-15 minutes until golden brown.

August 31, 2016

Simple Pantry Snack Station

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

Being a boy mom is the absolute best!!! I never thought playing with super heroes, building forts, battling the bad guys, and hunting for bugs would be so much fun. It may just be that I get to spend time with my boys that make it so much fun, but I wouldn't trade it for anything. They are the absolute best and I am so happy I get to be their mom.  

But, nobody told me how much food these boys could consume as they got older. Some days it's as if they don't ever stop eating. Especially on school days! I can fill their lunch boxes full of food and they will still come home and eat around 4 to 5 snacks in one setting! They are growing boys and I need to keep their growing tummies full! Kroger helps me keep my pantry stocked with their favorite snacks for school lunches as well as after school. NABISCO Multipacks and RITZ Bits Cracker Sandwiches are some of our favorite snacks to keep on hand and I love that Kroger keeps them pretty well stocked up. 

Trying to keep up with there endless eating, our pantry has become a bit of a mess!!! Snacks are everywhere and I am in so much need for organization. Plus, since they go through our snack collection like wild animals, sometimes I don't know what snacks we have or are out of. I needed a simple way to keep the snacks they love upfront and center so when I am packing their lunches in the morning and running low on time, I can just grab something fast.  

I found these open front bins at the store and knew it would be perfect to create a simple snack station to keep their snacks organized and available for them to grab after a long day at school.

To create our Simple Snack Station, I cleared out and cleaned up the lowest shelf in our pantry to make it easy for the boys, and myself, to grab and go. I stacked two bins on top of each other and side by side to create a row of bins. Then I just filled with some of our favorite snacks like NABISCO Multipacks and RITZ Bits Cracker Sandwiches.

For such a simple update, this has been a life saver! Packing lunches has been so much easier now that I have their snacks available front and center! Plus, I can now know when I am running low and need to make another trip to Kroger.

I love that I can also be prepared for our after school munchies. I like to have to them out and ready for when they walk through the front door. When their bellies are full, we can start on our homework or get ready for practice. It makes it so much easier when they are not starving and about to be in meltdown mode. 

How do you keep your kids snacks organized? I'd love to see how you incorporate your simple snack station.

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