Sunday, May 29, 2016

Chinese Doughnuts!

Don't these look amazing! These are one of my favorite treats and now I can make them at home!
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Weekly Menu #19

Weekly Dinner Menu Plan 19  
Weekly dinner menu hostesses are:
Let me plan your weekly dinner menu for you! All recipes are tested in our kitchens and are sure to please the pickiest of picky eaters.








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Thursday, May 26, 2016

Summer Screen Time Rules Printables

When my daughter was a little younger, we took her to see a fireworks show on the Fourth of July. It was an amazing show and my breath was taken away. I looked down to see if my daughter was enjoying it and she was literally playing with a firework app on the iPad, missing the beauty right in front of her. It was that moment that something clicked in me. I wanted my little ones to have a wonderful and fun summer, but I wanted to make sure that summer was full of diverse things.

We implemented a summer program from my kids and it has made a world of difference. Our house is cleaner, our kids our happier and they are able to experience more than just the screen of their iPad. In fact? Most days they get so caught up in the other things that they forget about the screen time all together. We don't mind them playing their devices, as long as they are doing other things too. This is what we have them do every day in the summer.

I have put our program on a printable with three different styles, so you can print it out and use it with your kiddos this summer. Download all three below.

1. Have You Read for 20 Minutes. Did you know that making sure your kids read every day during the summer is one of the best ways to prevent the summer slide? The best part? They benefit no matter what they are reading, so let them pick up Goosebumps or even comic books. If you reader loves Harry Potter, check out the illustrated version. It is gorgeous!

2. Have you written in your summer journal? We started writing in journals because my daughter's school requires it. We have found it is so much fun to read back later what happened during the summer. Bonus points for helping hand writing.

3. Is Your Room Clean? What mom doesn't wish for a cleaner house instead of a messier house in the summer? This helps us keep a handle on the mess.

4. Have you done something for someone else? Sometimes this is a chore for mom. Sometimes it is reading a book to a little sister. I just love the compassion and sense of service this has instilled in my kids.

5. Have you done something creative? We count almost anything as creative time. Building with blocks, playing with Goldiblocks (a creative engineering toy), playing Legos, dress ups. Anything that gets them building or playing pretend.

6. Have you played outside? I still can't figure out why you would want a screen if you could swim or jump on a trampoline and honestly? Once they go outside, this is often where they forget they wanted to play with a screen in the first place.

7. Have you made your bed?  This goes along with cleaning your room, but often in our house, this step gets missed.

8. Is your Summer Bridge Done? One thing I didn't included on the printable that we also require is pages out of Summer Bridge every day. It is a book that has simple worksheets to go over things your children learned in school to help them remember it by the time the next school year comes. The workbooks are really affordable and we have loved them.

These simple things have changed our summers completely. I feel like summers are more like the ones I had as a kid now and less filled with TV shows and video games. Get the free printables to post where your kids can see them below.

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Summer Checklist
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Doctor Who Craft Room Tour

This post may contain affiliate links. 
Is it possible to be a casual Whovian? If it is, I haven't met anyone who has managed it yet. There is something about the Doctor, the Tardis and all of the companions that seeps into your soul and comes out in every part of your life. 

Over the past few years, I have slowly accumulated more and more Doctor Who items. My best friend and I do the 12 days of Doctor Who for each other at Christmas time, and my husband was sick of the Tardis being all over our house. When we moved and I finally got the work space of my dreams, I decided a Doctor Who flare was just what it needed. Here, let me take you on a tour.  

 I use bookshelves and baskets for a lot of the storage in my craft room It makes things easy to find and I like have the matching basket colors. These baskets all came from the dollar store, so it was affordable too.

What would a Doctor Who craft room be without a couple of fezzes? Major awesome bonus points that one of these fezzes has been worn by Matt Smith.

This little cupboard is full of Pop vinyl figures for my kids. I always like to have a couple of areas in my office that has things for my kids, so they can play while I work. I love that this little Tardis closes so I can keep all their toys picked up when they aren't playing. This Tardis cupboard was purchased at a home decor store called At Home, I haven't been able to find it online, but it seems like all of their stores have in it in store.

My very favorite storage option for a craftroom is a massive peg board. I picked this one up at Home Depot and spray painted the heck out of it. It is really easy to hang on the wall and it can hold so much. My peg board holds my tools (I have my own hammer, wrenches, pliers) scissors (sewing, paper, pinking shears), all my different colors of baker's twine, my extensive collection of Mod Podge and all of my tape.

 I use a large candy jar for all of my washi tape and a darling large mason jar for beads. I also have a shelf above the pegboard that holds all of my different colored buttons.

Next to the pegboard is my kids cart, which is full of my kids crafting supplies, buttons, stickers, pipe cleaners. All of the things my kids are allowed to craft with whenever they want. On top of the car is a super cool pull string Tardis Pinata that I made for my daughter's 5th birthday, one day I will write a tutorial for that! Above it, are my thread racks, with a glorious thread rainbow. I just bought wall thread racks from a craft store and stacked two of them on top of each other for a larger rack. 

The back of the door makes a great place for a door rack and my ribbon storage. I can see everything to find what I need quickly but it is all easily organized. This is the rack I have and it really works great for ribbon, just seconds to install. 

I am so fantastically lucky to have a great section of cabinets and a sink in my craft room. We have no idea what the previous owners used this room for, or why you would put a sink in what is supposed to be a bedroom, but I will take it! Under the cabinets I have pull out drawers with my paint, felt and other odds and ends of crafting. 

 I use a large bookshelf at the end of the cabinets to hold all of my fabric. I wrapped each kind of fabric around a piece of cardboard to form a mini bolt and then stood it up on the shelf.

I use my counter space for most of my crafting machines. Sewing machines, my Cricut and a heat press. I use a Cricut Explore Air for my die cutting, heat transfer and vinyl projects and I absolutely love it. My favorite machine ever. So easy to use. I use a Singer Heat Press for my heat transfer projects and it is one of the best purchases I have ever made, it is just that little extra step to make sure your heat transfer is really set. If you do a lot of heat transfer projects, get one! 

 How cute is that little Tardis Nightlight over the sink? Seriously, I adore it. The Doctor Who pinboards are too adorable to use for hanging notes.

I have large filing shelves for all of my different kinds of paper and I love how organized it keeps me. The paper stays nice and crisp in shelves and it is all pretty easy to find. I know this is a Doctor Who craft room, but a little Star Wars love seeps in here and there. 

 I keep a full photography studio up in my craft room. It makes photographing my kids and projects so easy. I have a backdrop up at all times with a easy PVC stand that I made and my photography lights too, which you can't see because I am using them to take the photos.

My Doctor Who wall is above my work station and it is my favorite part of the room. It has all of my pictures with Matt Smith, Billy Piper, Karen Gillan and John Barrowman on the wall.

My super amazing Tardis display case holds all of my mini figures. My amazing best friend made this one for me and it is easily my favorite part of the room. You can find the minifigures that the case if full of here, but I warn you, it is almost impossible to stop buying them once you start.

Also in the Doctor Who Gallery Wall, a paint stick Union Jack and a Quilled Paper Tardis my husband made for me.

 I keep all of my vinyl in rolls at the foot of the desk. It looks super cute in a crate and is convenient storage too.

If you want more information on anything feel free to watch the tour I did of my craft room on FB live below.

This room is my favorite one in our house. It provides a geeky sancturary for me and has everything I need to get my job done.

Thread Rack
Over the Door Rack
Heat Press
Tardis Night Light
Cricut Explore Air
Doctor Who Pops

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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

What I Actually Needed In My Hospital Bag

Right after this little munchkin was born, I wrote a series of posts about having a baby and then in my sleep deprived state, I promptly forgot about them. I found them recently, so today, two years later, I bring you the first of those posts!

I think it can be so nerve wracking to pack for the hospital to have a baby. What do I actually need? What will I wish I had brought with me? Here is my list of what I brought with me to the hospital with commentary on whether or not I used the item and a list of the items the hospital provided for me.

Things I packed and used
  • Slippers (I used these all the time. It was nice to not have to walk on the hospital floor barefoot.)
  • Jolly Ranchers and Hard Candy. When you are in labor the only thing they will bring you to eat is usually ice chips, but they didn’t mind that I was sucking on hard candy.
  • Camera and extra batteries. I didn’t end up needing extra batteries, but I would pack them again just in case.
  • Toiletries for me, shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, contact solution, chapstick. Pretty much anything you need to get ready. I was so glad I had my own shampoo. They have stuff at the hospital but you will prefer your own.
  • Hair ties and bobby pins.
  • Coming Home Clothes- pack something that fit when you were at least 20 weeks pregnant
  • Coming Home Clothes for Baby
  • A soft nursing bra
  • Cellphone chargers
  • Laptop
  • A gift for my 5-year-old. We bought her a little baby monkey with its own bottle to give to her when she came to the hospital.
  • My own fleece blanket, I think the hospital blankets are way too thin. This insured I was warm.
  • Clothes and toiletries for husband if he is staying with you. We lived close enough to the hospital that my husband went home to shower every day.
  • Carseat for baby (leave this in the car until time to go)
  • ID and Insurance Cards

Things I packed and didn’t use

  • Yoga pants and a shirt (I chose to wear the gowns the entire time I was in the hospital, it was easier for nursing.)
  • A bathrobe (I used this when I was walking the halls with my first birth, but I hardly used it during my second birth at all. Just a few times when I wanted a little extra modesty for certain visitors.
  • Hair Dryer and Flat Iron, I ended up wearing my hair up after delivery because it was just easier to manage

Things my husband went home for:
  • My Boppy.  I didn’t expect to want this, but after a day of stacking hospital pillows when I was nursing, my husband went home for it.

Things the hospital had for us to use and take home:
  • Diapers and wipes
  • Soothie pacifiers
  • Nasal Aspirator
  • Sanitary Pads of different sizes for mom
  • mesh underwear for mom
  • lanolin for nursing
  • witch hazel pads (Tuck’s)
  • breast pump with individualized attachments (I kept the attachments because the nurse suggested if I was getting my pump through the insurance company, it would probably use the same attachments and it did.)
  • breastmilk storage bottles (I didn’t need these with my first but did the second time around and was glad they had them)
  • a syringe (At one point I needed to supplement a tiny bit and I didn’t want to do it with a bottle. To avoid nipple confusion the hospital let me do it with a syringe.)
  • formula for supplementation if necessary
  • nursing shields if recommended by the lactation consultant
  • baby wash
  • sponge for baby

The hospital also provides swaddling blankets and such for you to use while you are in the hospital. If you have a particular swaddle blanket you love, you might want to bring it.

This list is just what worked for me, you may want to add entertainment of some sort to your list, but I have found that when I am in labor, I don’t feel like reading or watching a movie. I did spend a little time on our laptop though.

What did you pack?

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Monday, May 23, 2016

Creamy Chicken and Rice

I've done a lot of recipes over the years, and I've said that many of them are my favorite. But, for real, this Creamy Chicken and Rice recipe really just might be my favorite.
Chicken and rice is one of the most basic, yet satisfying, meals out there. I've made many different versions, but there's something about this creamy recipe that puts it over the top. This dish is packed with flavor and feels much more elegant than a chicken and rice dish.
OK, enough chit chat. Let's get down to the recipe.


Chicken Ingredients

  • 3 Tbsp lemon pepper 
  • 1 Tbsp paprika 
  • 1 Tbsp garlic salt
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil 
  • 1 Pkg chicken thighs (skin on)

Rice Ingredients

  • 4 Tbsp butter, divided
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced 
  • 1 1/2 cup sushi rice 
  • 4 1/4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice 
  • 1 1/2 cup milk 
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 3 Tbsp parsley


  1. Create a dry rub for the chicken by combining lemon pepper, garlic salt, and paprika in a bowl. Sprinkle the rub over both sides of the chicken and lightly pat.
  2. In an oven-proof pot, warm olive oil on medium heat. Place each chicken thigh in the oil, skin-side down. Cook for 3-4 minutes, then turn up heat to medium high and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Then turn the chicken over one more time and cook for another 3-4 minutes. The chicken should be fairly browned, though not fully cooked. It will finish cooking in the oven. Remove the chicken from the pot and set aside.
  3. Add 2 tablespoons butter to the pot and melt over medium-high heat. Saute the garlic in the butter for about a minute. Pour in the rice and saute for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Pour in 1/4 cup chicken broth and 2 tablespoons lemon juice. Cook for another couple minutes before pouring in the rest of the chicken broth. Add one cup of milk and salt and pepper. Stir and bring to a simmer.
  5. Return the chicken to the pot amid the chicken. Place the lid on the pot and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.
  6. Remove the lid and continue to cook another 10 minutes.
  7. Remove the chicken and place on a baking sheet. Broil on high for 2-3 minutes, browning the skin.
  8. Finish the rice by stirring in 2 tablespoons butter, Parmesan cheese, and 1/2 cup milk. Stir until well combined. Top with parsley.
  9. Serve the chicken on a bed of rice.
The strong lemon flavor works so well with the creamy nature of the rice. It's a flavor-packed dish that is equally great for a family dinner, or for entertaining guests.

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Patriotic Wreaths and Water Actives for Kids!

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