Gosh, vacation really screws things up, doesn’t it? I mean just life in general, routines, sleep. EVERYTHING! Especially when “vacation” isn’t really a vacation because instead of it being a “vacation” it’s more of a “familycation” where you go stay with family in order to visit them in a familiar city. A far cry from [...]
My sweet little princess turned 3 this weekend, and to celebrate we wanted to make her a special dinner made out of things that she loves. We made a run to Walmart to get the things that we needed. Have you ever gone shopping with two tired children?
It’s amusing. Especially at Walmart because they’re always so busy and it’s such a huge store.
I try to sneak vegetables into everything that I make because two of my little lovelies don’t like veggies all that much. I thought if I chopped some chicken nuggets up and covered them with cheese, ketchup, and tater tots, that I’d have a real winner at the dinner table, but how do I add veggies? Squash is relatively bland so I figured grating some squash into the casserole would work. Broccoli is about the only veggie that my kiddos will eat so I thought I could also grate some broccoli and toss it with some ketchup, layered with cheese and VOILA! a casserole that my kiddos will eat. I had to trial and error the recipe but we finally got it perfected. Initially I put the vegetables in the casserole raw and baked them but they were a little overpowering. Once we sautéed them with some onion, garlic, and olive oil; they wilted down and tasted wonderful.
I like doing creative things with otherwise “easy” foods so that the kids don’t get sick of them. Plus, they’ll eat “hidden” veggies but if I serve them Tyson chicken nuggets and tater tots, they won’t touch broccoli, even though they normally like it. Putting some of their favorite things together and hiding veggies adds some nutrient-dense foods alongside a protein and starch. WINNING!
We don’t know many people here yet so to celebrate Madilyn’s birthday, we had some family over. She was content playing with her cousin, Tyler but us adults were bored. It’s not like me to be bored on a Sunday, especially on football opening week but our lovely DirecTV wasn’t working and that NFL Sunday Ticket we pay for? Let’s not even talk about it. So instead of watching TV, we decided to pick out one of our favorite Hasbro games and make a night of it. One of our favorites is Clue: Secrets & Spies. This isn’t like the clue that you’re used to. This is like Clue Mission Impossible style. SO cool. There’s a lot to it but it’s very easy to learn, and a whole lot of fun to play. They used to involve a really cool text messaging feature but when we pulled the game out earlier this year to play, they had discontinued that feature. SO bummed!
In any event, have you heard of #DipDipHooray and how you can win a $1000 Hasbro Game Night Grand Prize? If not, it’s SO super easy. You visit the Dip Dip Hooray website and register with your email address. Don’t worry, I registered and I haven’t been receiving spam mail so go ahead and register. You literally click on the very obvious icon to enter (one entry every single day!) then type in the captcha code to verify that you’re not a bot. That’s IT. SO easy. To unlock the digital version of the game of the week you simply type in the UPC codes from Tyson Chicken Nuggets, Ore-Ida French Fries, and Heinz Ketchup on the “Game of the Week” screen. You have to use one of each to unlock. We use Heinz Simply Ketchup, and that’s fine too, even though it’s not pictured. This week we got Pictureka! WE LOOVE that game but don’t have the board game version so this has been a BLAST! For the complete list of rules , check here.
We love to have family game nights but our schedules often get in the way. I sometimes complain that the babies are too young but we recently bought a Sesame Street Memory game by Hasbro. She LOVES it and does a great job playing. Grady is still a little young but if we give him a card or something to hold he’s as happy as a pig in poop. I’ve been trying to do a better job focusing on spending quality time as a family since we moved to Raleigh and I think we’re doing a darn good job. Styles loves the interaction and so do we. It definitely leaves us feeling more connected when we’re done.
How do you and your family get quality time in?
Don’t forget to check out our awesome recipe creation below!
Nuggie Tot Farmer’s Pie
1/2 bag Tyson Chicken Nuggets
1/2 bag Ore-Ida Tater Tots
1/2 cup Heinz Ketchup (I used their “Simply” ketchup)
2 yellow squash
2 broccoli crowns
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 package (2 cups) shredded cheese (I used Pepper Jack)
Salt & Pepper to taste
1. Preheat oven to 400*. Once oven is preheated, bake chicken nuggets according to package instructions.
2. While chicken is baking, shred veggies with the grating attachment on your food processor or with a box grater. Heat oil on medium, with garlic until garlic is softened but not browned. Add squash and broccoli and saute until soft, approx. 5 minutes. Set aside.
3. Once the chicken nuggets are done, preheat oven to 450*. Bake tater tots according to package instructions.
4. Cut chicken nuggets into bite-sized pieces. I found that making a lateral cut and two horizontal cuts made perfect child-sized bites. Place diced nuggets into the bottom of a casserole dish. Layer sauteed vegetables over chicken nuggets.
5. Spread 1/2 cup of Ketchup over the vegetables and layer 1 cup cheese over the ketchup.
6. When tater tots are done cooking, reduce heat to 350* then mash the tots with the back of a fork and layer them over the vegetables and cheese.
7. Bake casserole in 350* oven for 20 minutes. Sprinkle remaining cheese over casserole and bake 15 more minutes, until cheese is bubbly.
8. Allow casserole to rest 5 minutes outside of the oven before serving.
“I am a member of the Collective Bias™ Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias™ Tyson and Heinz #CBias #SocialFabric,lfg[o3rlllrrrklwA
I can’t believe my baby boy is in 6th grade. He wears Hollister clothes, uses Hollister body wash, and Hollister body spray.
What. On. Earth, dude.
The schools here in Wake County are funny. There are some schools that are year round and others that are on the traditional calendar. Styles didn’t want to do year round school, despite my incessant prodding so I figured he would go to the school in our neighborhood. The school got good “grades” so I knew that he would get a good education there and be surrounded by children whose parents felt the same way about education that I do.
So last week I went to Student Assignment and waited in line just to get into the building. Once I was in, Grady and I were there for 2 hours. It would have been a glorious trip had Grady not been with me, however; he was and he let people know he was there.
Once my turn came, I met briefly with a lady who told me which schools in our “choices” had seats open. Our neighborhood school was FULL. And when I say full, I mean OVER full. There was a -22 in the 6th grade spots. The other traditional calendar school in our “choices” got a 3/10 last year and had lots of bullying reports so I absolutely didn’t want Styles to go there. He’s an easy target. The only other school that had seats was a year round school, so year round it is!
After leaving Student Assignment, I had to then go to the school to get him registered. That was Wednesday. He started school on Thursday. As I was leaving the school, I was grateful that we were able to get into such a great school. It got a 9/10 rating last year and is located in an affluent area. But then I felt badly for feeling that way, because not everyone is so lucky. The “Choice” system in Wake County is cool because it allows children from all walks of life and economic situations the opportunity to go to schools in really great neighborhoods, but parents don’t always take advantage of the option. I’m not sure why because transportation is provided to all of the schools in your “choice” bracket.
I had seen the bins in Walmart for Elmer’s and Champions for Kids collecting school supplies for children in need, and because I like to jump in on any opportunity to help someone out that I can, I decided to stock a backpack with school supplies to give to Backpack Buddies. You know, a sort of #BagItForward thing. I recently joined the Wake Forest Junior Women’s Club. We partner with Backpack Buddies to help kids in need during the school year, along with other community projects. I knew that I could easily hook up with one of the gals from the club so that they could donate the backpack and rest assured that it would get to the right place.
I also saw that Elmer’s has this 1st Day App and I wanted to check it out. Come to find out, it’s an organizational tool for you to take pictures of your kids before school on their first day each year, (or any other photos you want to take throughout the year), and store them or share them with friends and family. I’m suddenly addicted to this app. If you’re even remotely like me, you have thousands and thousands of digital photographs with no organization in sight, and some of them have been lost in old photobucket accounts or closed Snapfish accounts because you didn’t order within the specified time. I am HORRENDOUS at printing my photos so I just have computers full of pictures. When the computer becomes too bogged down to use, I buy a new computer, label the old one “2003-2006″ and throw it in a closet somewhere. Someday I’ll fire them back up and show my grandkids some pictures. Right. I’m also not great about remembering to use apps to take pictures but you can take a pic with your phone camera, THEN go to the app and upload pictures that you’ve already taken. The 1st Day App lets you organize by child, year, whatever! It’s really neat. And in August, you can get a free 5×7 photo at Walmart. Just visit the Walmart Photo Department in-store or online at Walmart.com/photo for details. August is almost over so GO NOW! Plus, for those of you who would like to donate time or money but just don’t have the resources, when you use Elmer’s 1st Day App, Elmer’s donates supplies to support the Kids in Need Foundation. How cool is THAT?! What an easy way to save memories AND do something nice for kids in need, without breaking the bank!
Now, back to Backpack Buddies. I hooked up with one of the gals from the Wake Forest Junior Women’s Club to give her the backpack full of goodies.
I used a backpack that we bought for Styles in 2010 just before we moved to Georgia. In Chatham county the kids had to use clear or mesh backpacks so he wasn’t ever able to use this backpack, and I got him a larger one from Land’s End this year. I shopped at Walmart and stocked up on paper, folders, a binder, erasers, pencils, pens, crayons, and some other fun school things to put in the pack. I also bought two of Elmer’s Painters pens so that the recipient of the backpack could decorate the pack and make it their own. I got silver and neon green because bright colors are SO IN RIGHT NOW! I really hope that whomever receives our backpack loves it as much as I enjoyed putting it together!
Disclosure: I am a member of the Collective Bias™ Social Fabric® Community. This content has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias™ and Elmer’s. As always, all experiences and opinions are my very own and were not influenced in any way. #BagItForward #CBias #SocialFabric
I woke up this morning to Grady SCREAMING. I’m going to go ahead and pretend that he was just singing “HAPPY BIRTHDAY” to me at the very top of his lungs.
I reluctantly crawled out of bed and rolled downstairs to fix myself a caffeinated beverage. I contemplated some scotch too but decided 7:23am might be a little early for that. Sorry, but I need SOMETHING to deal with this attitude:
Coffee is my religion. It is something I do every single morning. I enjoy the aroma of coffee, the notes of different blends, and the way it warms you to the core, inducing an uncontrollable smile from within. Sometimes it is enjoyed while I surf the web, play a game, or read a book. Other times it is gulped down while I’m making breakfast, scrubbing egg out of someone’s hair, or while I’m hastily mopping the floor. Sometimes I just want to put it in a CamelBak and sip it while I’m pirouetting around with a broom in my hand. I drink two cups a day, one in the morning and one around 2pm. The Workaholic gets a fancy coffee schmoothie every day before work and let me tell you, folks; it is freaking DELICIOUS. And that, my friends, is exactly what I was craving this morning.
Luckily I had taken a trip to Walmart late last week to stock up on supplies for our delicious schmoothie treat. I LOVE that Walmart carries Seattle’s Best coffee. I’m from Juneau, Alaska so by default, Seattle is my second home and Seattle’s Best was the second coffee I ever had. Plus, $6 for a pound of deliciousness? Done. No contest, no question. Seattle’s Best it is. Alone, this coffee is smooth and flavorful with very little bitterness. I like a dark roast but my Walmart only had the Medium and Balanced in whole bean so I bought that. There’s something extra special about freshly ground beans in the morning.
And here’s why I need coffee in the afternoon. This kid is Houdini reincarnate.
OK so I’m not even going to lie, when I woke up this morning and attempted to fashion a gourmet drink out of thin air, I remembered why I drink coffee before doing ANYTHING. I can’ t think straight without at least 12 ounces of hot coffee coursing through my veins.
I screwed the recipe up so badly it’s not even funny. I had some Seattle’s Best coffee left in my coffee pot from yesterday. I heated it up in the microwave, chugged it and gave myself a 15 minute break from concocting the easiest, most familiar recipe EVER.
When the London fog finally lifted, I peeled myself off of my chair and got back to work. This schmoothie can be made so many different ways, with all different types of milk or nut butter. You can use cocoa powder or whatever protein powder you use on a daily basis. We make it a little different every day but I share the base recipe below.
Seattle’s Best is currently hosting a #RedCupShowdown where you can submit your very own coffee recipe for AWESOME prizes including a trip for two to NYC. I’d LOVE to win but since I’m telling you about this phenomenal contest, I can’t participate, which is actually good for you because you don’t have to go up against my schmoothie and me. Check this vid out for all of the exciting information. If you need any recipe inspiration, I have another recipe up my sleeve and I’m totally willing to share it with you if you ask nicely.
And without further ado, here is the recipe for our delicious dairy-free, sugar-free, protein-filled Banana Berry Cuppa Cocoa Schmoothie:
1 handful frozen strawberries
1 banana, peeled and cut into pieces
6 Seattle’s Best Coffee ice cubes
1-1/2 cup almond milk
2 Tablespoons almond butter (or peanut butter if you prefer)
1 Tablespoon cocoa powder
Place all ingredients into a food processor or blender and blend until smooth, adding additional milk if necessary until desired texture is reached. The banana will add all of the sweetness that you need for this shake, no additional sugar is necessary. Top with a fresh strawberry and suck it down for a healthy, protein packed, caffeine-buzz worthy way to start your day.
Then enjoy and feel your spirits soar.
To enter your own recipe into the Red Cup Showdown and for more contest info, CLICK HERE. It’s SO easy to enter. ”Like” the page and click on the red “Enter Now” circle, then follow the simple instructions. Let me know if you enter a recipe into the contest! I’d love to follow your journey!
I am a member of the Collective Bias™ Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias™ and Seattle’s Best Coffee #CBias #SocialFabric – As always, all opinions, amazing recipes, and attitude-filled toddlers are my very own.
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