Thursday, March 31, 2016

Asian-Inspired Turkey Meatballs with Carrot Rice

I love meatballs, but my husband is rather indifferent toward them. He thinks they're too ordinary and too much work for all the fuss. I wanted to convince him there was a better way, so I decided to mix up the meat and the style. Italian meatballs are great, but Asian-inspired meatballs are over the top good.

1 cup white rice
1 cup shredded carrots
1½ lbs ground turkey
3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
2 green onions, diced
1 egg
1/3 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
4 tsp sugar
4 tsp soy sauce
2 tsp sriracha
1 Tbsp water
1 clove garlic, minced
Lime wedges, for serving

  1. Bring 1½ cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Pour in the rice and again bring to a boil. Cover the saucepan and reduce to a simmer. Let the rice simmer about 15 minutes, or until the rice is tender.
  2. Remove the saucepan from the heat and place the shredded carrot on top of the rice. Cover and let the rice and carrots sit for about 5-7 minutes. Using a fork stir in the carrot and fluff the rice.
  3. While the rice is cooking, prepare the meatballs. Combine the turkey, breadcrumbs, egg, green onions, cilantro, sugar, soy sauce, sriracha, the 1 tablespoon of water, and a dash of salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Mix until well combined.
  4. Scoop out a tablespoon of the mixture and form into a meatball. Place on a foil-lined and sprayed cookie sheet. Repeat until all meatballs have been prepared.
  5. Spray the meatballs with cooking spray and broil for about 10-15 minutes, or until the meatballs are browned and cooked.
  6. Serve the meatballs alongside the carrot rice.
The meatballs are juicy and packed with flavor. They're also small enough that's it's hard to undercook them. If you're afraid of ground turkey, don't be! It's delicious, although it can run a bit pricey at some stores. 

My husband loved these meatballs. They were different enough for him to really enjoy, and the carrot rice was a favorite, especially with my self-proclaimed vegetarian daughter.T

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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Screen Time Reward Tokens

  • “This post was sponsored by Nintendo as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central. I received complimentary products to facilitate my review.”

As a parent, I think it can be easy to demonize technology. All of our kids have thrown a tantrum or two about a game they wanted to play. It is easy to feel frustrated and want to cut it out of your life. I have tried to cut it out completely more than once and it has led to fights and hurt feelings. I have decided instead of focusing on my frustrations, I wanted to embrace technology. Find ways to bring it into our house in good ways.

The biggest thing we have done is created these tech minutes. There are tokens and a tracking page. Each kid is allowed to earn as many minutes as they want, after all of their daily chores and homework are done. You can download the printables at the end of this post.

I printed both the tracker and the chips, cut out the chips and then laminated them. I use a dry erase marker to fill in the sheet with extra chores the kids can do to earn minutes and how many minutes they will earn if they complete the chore. You can customize the chores and minutes earned to each child so you can change the difficulty as needed. Each chore has to be checked off by me and then I give her a tech minute chip that she can exchange when she wants for extra game time. In our house, tech minutes can't be redeemed at bed time or before homework is done, but can be redeemed anytime during their free time.

In our house, minutes are only earned after their daily chores are done. They don't receive minutes for cleaning their room or doing their homework, but after those things are done they can work for minutes. Here are some of the things we do in our house to earn minutes.

Ideas for earning minutes: 

  • Unloading/Loading Dishwasher
  • Sweeping
  • Mopping
  • Cleaning the bathroom
  • Cleaning Mirrors
  • Fold Laundry
  • Put Away Laundry
  • Mow the Lawn
  • Water Plants
  • Pull Weeds
  • Set The Table
  • Wash Windowsills
  • Wash Light Switches
  • Wash baseboards
  • Take Out Trash
  • Clean Microwave
  • Play with siblings (My daughter isn't old enough to babysit, so we have her play with her sister while parents work.) 

Another way we have changed how we use technology in our house is we thoroughly vet each game we bring in. I want to know my kids are playing something good without having to stand over their shoulder all the time. Our go to game is Yo-Kai Watch. This game was recommended to us by a friend and since we have had it in our home, our daughter has literally not put another game into her DS.

A Yo-Kai is a fun little mischievous friend that love to play tricks. Have you ever lost your keys? Maybe a Yo-Kai is to blame. In this game, your child tracks down Yo-Kai, catches them and turns them into teams to battle the other Yo-Kai. My daughter loves catching and naming her little friends. Yo-Kai Watch was originally created into Japan and it turned into a huge phenomenon. It is just now available in the United States and is made for the Nintendo 2DS and 3Ds.

As a parent, I have been really impressed with this game. It is just good clean fun. As a kid, my daughter is obsessed with this game. She willing does chores so she can turn in more tokens and play a little bit longer. 

I feel like we have struck a pretty good balance with technology in our house. We use it, love it, but don't let it control us. Between good games like Yo-Kai Watch and these tech minutes charts we are hitting the right tempo for our family. 

How do you use technology in your house?

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Monday, March 28, 2016

Baby Shower Diaper Roses

This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Huggies, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #HuggiesatKroger

There is nothing more exciting then welcoming a new baby into your circle of friends or your family. I love throwing baby showers and help my loved one get ready for the most exciting time in their life. I have made plenty of diaper cakes in my time, but I have been looking for something new and different for baby showers. These diaper roses have the same kind of fun presence as a time diaper cake without being overused. You can personalize the colors to any sort of baby shower and they work really well with most themes. 
I always make my diaper center pieces with really good quality diapers. That way they aren't just a decoration, they are a present for the mom to be too! We use Huggies Snug and Dry Diapers from Kroger in our house because they protect for up to 12 hours and have triple layer protection to stop leaks. Who wants to have to wake up a little one to change them in the middle of the night? Not me! 

I also like to use Huggies because they are a great deal. If you shop at Kroger during the "Baby Me" Event going on between 3/20/16 - 4/2/16 and spend $40 on participating baby items so you can receive a $10 off coupon good towards anything at Kroger. (while supplies last)

You will need: 

  • diapers (this Huggies package of Size 4 diapers made 4 roses) 
  • elastics and rubberbands
  • green tulle
  • tulle in a color that matches your baby shower

 Open up the first diaper. Take one side and roll it. Secure it with clear elastics. It will look like the image above with half the diaper rolled and the other half still flat.
 Take the flat half of the diaper and wrap it around the rolled half. This will give you the center of your roses that still has a flat base.
 Wrap a second diaper around your center and secure with elastics.
 Next add a layer of three diapers with the bottoms up towards the top of the middle of your rose. Secure with elastics.
 Fold the outside three diapers in half up towards the top and secure with elastics. Now you have a diaper rose. You can add a layer of four diapers around your outer layer if you want but it isn't necessary.
Take a spool of tulle and start tucking the end of the tulle in the center of the rose. Follow the layers of the rose around with the tulle, tucking it in as you go. When you reach the end, snip the tulle and tuck the end in so you can see it. 

Take an arm's length section of green tulle, fold it several times and tuck it in on one edge of the diaper rose to make the leaf. 

How do you decorate with diapers for baby showers?
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Chocolate Bark and Printables!

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Friday, March 25, 2016

Shrimp Tacos with Creamy Cilantro Lime Sauce

Seafood is delicious. So is Mexican food. But should you mix them together? Or course!

These Shrimp Tacos with Creamy Cilantro Lime Sauce are a quick fix and taste amazing! If you're a fan of fish tacos, you will love these. And you can prepare it in about the same amount of time it takes to make Americanized tacos.

Creamy Cilantro Lime Sauce
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup oil
½ cup cilantro, roughly chopped
½ cup green onions, diced
2 garlic cloves
1 tsp salt
2 limes, juiced
1/2 cup sour cream

Shrimp Tacos
1 lb. shrimp, deveined, peeled, tails removed
2-3 tsp Heath's Blends Southwest Sizzler (or chili powder and cumin if you don't have this particular blend, but seriously get it...)
1/3 head green cabbage, shredded
8 white corn tortillas
Shredded Monterey jack cheese
Lime wedges


  1. Combine the water, oil, cilantro, green onions, garlic cloves, lime juice and salt in a food processor and blend on low until smooth (there will be some tiny pieces of cilantro, which is great).
  2. Add the sour cream and pulse until it's incorporated into the sauce and is creamy.
  3. Meanwhile, place the shrimp on a plate lined with paper towels. Pat the shrimp dry and sprinkle the Southwest Sizzler seasoning over the shrimp.
  4. Cook the shrimp in a pan with olive oil for about 5-6 minutes, or until the shrimp are cooked through.
  5. Prepare each taco by placing the shrimp down the middle of a corn tortilla. Top with shredded cheese, shredded cabbage, and the creamy cilantro lime sauce. Add a squeeze of lime.

It's as easy as that. If you're not familiar with cooking with shrimp, don't be scared. They cook quickly and it's hard to really mess them up. But if you're still scared, but want to try this recipe, just use precooked shrimp, thaw it, and prepare the same. The only difference is a shorter cook time since the meat is already cooked through and you're only warming it up.

So next time you're craving tacos, consider adding shrimp. You won't regret it.

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Thursday, March 24, 2016

Chocolate Flower Pretzels

Spring is here, although you wouldn't know it from the snow flurries outside of my window right now. We have been creating all week for Easter this weekend and I wanted to make a fun treat that the kids would enjoy. These easy little flowers come together in just minutes are would even work as cute table scatter on a table!

You will need: 

  • Snap Pretzels
  • White Melting Chocolate
  • Pastel M&Ms

Place a handful of white melting chocolate in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 1 minute. Stir the chocolate microwave in 30 second intervals stirring between each one until the chocolate is smooth.

Dip the top of the pretzel in the chocolate and then arrange the M&Ms on top of the chocolate to resemble a flower. Use one color fo the center and then six M&Ms around the center.

Allow the chocolate to set and plate them for a fun dessert at your Easter dinner or put them in cellophane bags to give to friends.

What treats do you make for Easter?
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Wednesday, March 23, 2016

He Is Risen Free Printable

I love Easter. The spring flowers are just starting to come in, the sun is coming out again and we get to celebrate outside for the first time in a long time. While we do Easter Egg Hunts and baskets, I also want my children to know why we celebrate Easter in the first place, so I think it is important to have reminders like this printable around the house. Download it below.

The printable prints on an 8.5x11 piece of paper and then has a border for you to trim down so it easily fits in an 8x10 frame. 

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