Sunday, August 13, 2017

Meal Plan for August 13th - 19th

Weekly Meal Plan for August 13th - 19th

Sunday: Grilled Chicken Caesar Salads

Monday: Crockpot beef stew with carrots and potatoes

Tuesday: Tacos and Tamales

Wednesday: One Pot Garlic Parmesan Pasta with salad and garlic bread

Thursday: Hamburgers, broccoli and cheese, scalloped potatoes

Friday: Korean Grilled Chicken Breast, Basmati Rice, Grilled Zucchini

Saturday: Take Out Pizza

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Adopt a Puppy Party with FREE Printables

Adopt a Puppy Party Fun! We did this theme for our dog loving 2 year old.

We broke our party down into 6 stations:
Pet shop
Vet office
Decorate a dog house
Agility course

All of the stations could be done in any order after going to the adoption station first. This helped keep the party flowing and the kids (all 5.5 and younger) occupied.

One awesome thing about this party was that it cost us very little to have it.
A great way to get free favors for your party is to hit up your local animal shelter and animal advocate groups in your area.
We wanted to spread awareness about these services as well as the importance of adopting your family pet.
The animal shelter had awesome coloring books that told a story of how to take proper care of your pets once you adopted them.
Our local animal league donated stickers, plastic cups, rubber bracelets, key chains,  a kid-centered animal magazine, canvas totes, and a couple care pamphlets for your new animal.
We also had kind donations from a pet sitting service of pens and magnets.
My additions to these favors were dog tattoos and rubber bracelets you can find at Party City.

Stations breakdown:

Our stuffed dogs came from Amazon in a set of 12. I actually had one dog come with a small rip in its leg, but after a quick chat with Amazon they shipped me out another 12 set of dogs for free!
I whipped up some adorable adoption papers to make the adoption process more official.
Puppies in a borrowed basket

Pet Shop
It would be very easy to go overboard on stocking the pet shop. But being on a budget I chose to stick with the essentials -- frisbees from Party City, dog collars from Amazon, and Scooby snacks (since they look like milkbones).
The dog collars double as bracelets so they were a smidge big on the puppies I purchased.
I had someone "working" this station to insure each kid got one of everything, plus  our wonderful, donated favors.
Our Donated Favors

This station was the biggest hit out of all of them!
I borrowed the tub from my sister (she said she got it at Dollar General), filled it with 600 cotton balls which is just 3 bags, set out a grooming brush we had from a vet kit, added in a washing mitt I found on clearance for a quarter from a local grocery store, and put out a real bottle of sugar cookie scented dog cologne that we had.
The kids loved rubbing their fingers through the soft cotton balls and spritzing their dogs. My house smelled like a bakery after that!
One thing you may notice in the pictures is that I tried to keep the most interactive stations kid level. The grooming station was on our girls' Melissa and Doug table. I covered the table top with a towel,  1.) To stay with the grooming theme and 2.) To cover up years of stained in pen and marker. 

Vet office
I was so excited about this station! We used an old tv stand that has since been used to house play food sets as the table, keeping it all kid level.
All of the doctor equipment, lab coats, and x-rays were scrounged from a vet set, Doc McStuffins kit, and a doctor's kit we had lying around the house.
Having an older child as well, you tend to accumulate things.
We were also fortunate to receive an LED light panel from my husband's work that was going to be trashed. I've also linked my check-up checklist!

Decorate a dog house
You know when you buy something on Amazon and it tells you what others bought with that item? Well, that's how I came across the gift favor boxes.
I wanted to punch a hole in the end of the boxes for a doggy door, but it just didn't turn out right and looked jagged so we chose to forego the holes. A more appropriate title should've been a dog carrier.
These boxes were almost too small for the dogs. Had I known I would've purchased a bigger box.
I set out washable markers and dog stickers to decorate their houses with. The markers did great on these boxes and didn't wipe off easily like some shiny cardboard can.
My birthday girl stayed at this station the entire time because she loves markers, but knows they're off limits for her cheeky hands.

Agility course
We had this station set up outside to give the kids something else to play with in the backyard.
All it consisted of was 3 sets cones from dollar tree, and pop up tunnel, and a hula hoop. Things we already had.
I had originally planned for the kids to weave their dogs through the cones, crawl through the tunnel, and jump into the hoop when they were done.
The 3, 4, and 5 year olds had other plans with the hoop and tunnel, and the 2 years olds loved stacking and unstacking the cones. 
Unfortuantely, out of all of us taking pictures, none of us got a shot of the agility course. Womp!
So here's a picture of our fire hydrants. 😄

The Bathroom -- obviously.

This party was a huge hit!
It was probably one of the biggest parties we've thrown as well as the cheapest! Clocking in somewhere under $100.
Leave me a comment if you'd be interested in a FREE customizable puppy party invite!

*Amazon links are affiliate links.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Cheap way to keep a toddler entertained!

Despite having a room, well a couple rooms, full of toys, Moo's favorite things to play with is everything she shouldn't (like cords, hairbrushes, TV trays, etc.) While playing in her changing table (have fun baby proofing that thing) she pulled out an old baby wipes box (which I hoard). I sat, trying to figure out something she could do with it and then some felt leftover from her birthday caught my eye.

This concept is just like a tissue box. Keep pulling things out until no more comes out!

Here's what you'll need:
  • An old wipes box (I prefer Huggies because they have the soft middle to pull from)
  • Felt squares (I bought a pack of 16 from Dollar Tree for, well, a dollar!)

And here's how you accordian fold the felt to get it to come out of the box like tissues:

  • Overlap two pieces of felt.

  • Pinch both pieces of felt.

  • Fold the pinched part up to where it meets the top of the second fabric.

  • Continue the last two steps with your remaining felt. The great thing about felt is that it sticks on itself so it's very easy to work with.
  • Lastly, place it in the wipes box and feed the top piece of felt through.

And as you pull, the next one begins to come up.

Moo literally sat and played with this for an hour. She loves it!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Toddler Menu Week 2

New toddler menu! I'm trying to not do the same thing twice in a row, but boy it's hard and I do have leftovers snuck in there once or twice. You can only make so many different things for breakfast! Haha!
Breakfast - Cheese biscuit and banana
Lunch - Shells and cheese with peas and peaches
Dinner - Rotisserie chicken with tri color rotini in a fresh tomato/mushroom sauce
- Cinnamon toast and peaches
Lunch - Baby omelet with cheese, bell pepper, and mushroom with Mandarin oranges
Dinner - Crockpot Korean beef with quinoa and broccoli
- Blueberry muffins and cantaloupe
Lunch - Potato soup with cheese toast and a spinach and pear pouch
Dinner - Hot Dog with scalloped potatoes and baked beans
Breakfast - Biscuits and gravy with banana
Lunch - Leftover Crockpot Korean beef and Asian noodles with corn and peas
Dinner - BBQ chicken with rice and peas
Breakfast - French toast and an orange
Lunch - Vegetable Beef soup and bread
Dinner - Chicken Pot Pie
Breakfast - Waffles and mixed berries
Lunch - Leftover Chicken Pot Pie
Dinner - London Broil with whole potatoes, peas, and peaches
Breakfast - Pancakes and banana
Lunch - Deli Turkey with peas and pears
Dinner - Tacos with yellow rice, peppers, and pineapple
Fruit cups
Food Pouches
All Natural Cheese Puffs
Cheese Sticks
Cream Cheese and Ritz (sounds odd, but kids LOVE this)
Cheddar Bunnies
 A sample of Moo's lunch today:
If I keep her peas seperate, she eats in the insides and spits out the shell, but if I combine them with her other food, she eats them no problem. Plus, who doesn't like peas in their macaroni??
This is what was left:

She ate all of her peaches and all but three bites of her shells and cheese and peas. I was impressed. Some days I'm excited to get two bites out of her.
Interesting little facts about feeding a 1 year old (like my Moo):
I use to work in childcare in a 1 year old classroom and it was state mandated that the children were to be given 1/4 cup of each food served. You read that right 1/4 cup. Doesn't seem like much, does it? I think all parents are guilty of giving two to three times that much food, but 1/4 of a cup is the perfect amount for that age. Now don't get me wrong, some days kids eat more, some days they eat less and you will adjust accordingly, but if you're looking for a starting point on how much to give your child, then whip out that 1/4 measuring cup and dish it out that way.
Also, since we are in the whole cow's milk realm, I asked Moo's pediatrician exactly how much milk should she be getting a day. Moo was a 4 6oz bottles a day girl and when I introduced WCM she dropped to drinking on 4oz out of her 6. Like any mother, I was concerned that she was no longer drinking like she should. Her pediatrician said I could drop one of her bottles and that once they are soley on WCM they need no more than 20oz of milk a day. So Moo's now 16oz a day versus 24oz a day was normal and actually really good. Whew! So, if you're curious about WCM consumption, there you go!

Hope these menus help take the stress of what to feed your new little foodie off your shoulders some!

Recipe - Italian Chicken Pasta

You may have noticed we have Italian Chicken Pasta a lot. It's so filling and delicious and a great way to get veggies in. It differs from time to time depending on what produce with have on hand, so it's really versatile. It's our go-to dinner when we've have a busy night or the hubs gets home late from work. It literally takes 20 minutes from start to finish.

Here's how to make it!

  • 2 Tbsp of Olive Oil
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced (or as much as you like :))
  • 1 cooked chicken breast, shredded (I use rotisserie chicken all the time for this)
  • 1 can of whole peeled tomatoes
  • About 6 oz of any pasta you like (whole wheat, spaghetti, penne, rotini, whatever you have on hand)
  • And any sliced veggies you have on hand (We typically always put mushrooms in this, but it can be altered to your liking. Squash, peppers, or onions would be a delicious addition to this)
  • Asiago cheese (Also another place where you have artistic freedom. You can use Parmesan, Romano, or even feta and go Greek!)
  • Salt and Pepper
  1. In a large pot, cook your pasta per package directions and then drain when done.
  2. While the pasta is cooking add your olive oil and veggies in a nonstick skillet.
  3. Cook until tender on medium high (6 on some stoves).
  4. Add garlic and cook for a minute.
  5. This next part is messy, but so worth it. Take can of whole peeled tomatoes and squish them over the skillet with your hands to get all the juice out. The hubs uses tongs to do this, but I don't think he gets enough juice out. If you would like, you can tear up the tomatoes and leave them in. I am not a big tomato person so we throw what's left away.
  6. Add chicken to sauce.
  7. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  8. When pasta is cooked and drained, add to sauce. Stir.
  9. Plate and top with cheese!

So delicious and super easy!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Healthy Peanut Butter Cups

I believe this is a Weight Watchers original recipe, but I'm not 100% sure as I got it from a friend. All I know is that these are delicious and cheap to make and gives in to that sweet tooth without the guilt!

1 tub of at Fat Free Cool Whip
2 Tbsp Peanut Butter
2 Tbsp of Sugar Free Chocolate Syrup (optional, as these are delicious without it)

Additional items:
12 cup muffin tin
Cupcake liners

Yields: 12 Peanut Butter Cups

Thaw the Cool Whip.

Mix in peanut butter. I use a fork for this.

Spoon Cool Whip/Peanut Butter mixture into lined muffin tin.

Drizzle with Sugar Free Chocolate Syrup.

Place in freezer. Once frozen (*the chocolate syrup will not harden) you can remove the cups from the muffin tin and store them in a gallon freezer bag.

Then enjoy!

The entire mixture would only be 7 points if you're following Weight Watchers.

See? No guilt!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

A Handmade Valentine's Day Card


I try to make a card for Moo to give people for holidays and I figured while I had the time I would go ahead and make her Valentine's Day cards.
These cards were pinspired, with a Valentine's Day touch.
What you will need:
Red paint (finger paint or acrylic--I used acrylic)
Hot glue
(if you open a new account in the photo section on you get 25 4x6's for FREE)
I use these postcards for everything. I can make invites, thank you cards, or whatever I need to send out to multiple people. They're great!
I made the word bubble and the type on Microsoft Publisher, but you can easily do this by hand. I was short on time (it was nap time to be exact) and knew I wouldn't have time to hand draw/write everything.
The next part can be tricky depending on the age of your child. I have a squirrely, one year old who was not too excited to be taking part in hand painting and printing. Now some aren't perfect, but that's the point of them being homemade. Each and every one of them is unique!
While the handprints dried, I wrote the names of our family members in the word bubble. Then I cut out Moo's picture and hot glued it onto the postcard.
Next, I wrote on the back of each hand, "Blowing kisses your way! XoXo".
Make sure you turn the hand upside down as it will be "opened up" on the card.

Please excuse the dried paint under my nails.
Then I hot glued a small piece of postcard to the back of the handprint (maybe 1/2in long, 1/4in wide), bent it, then hot glued the other side under the picture where the handprint lays over the picture.
And there you have it! An adorable homemade Valentine's Day Card!