Wednesday, January 29, 2014

My #DisneySide @Home Party Kit has arrived!

I am SO thrilled to announce that I'll be hosting a #DisneySide @Home celebration next month!  We visit Disney about once a year when we vacation in Orlando and already have a trip planned for April.  This party is really going to get us in the Disney mood.

When my box arrived today, I was so overwhelmed by all the goodies inside.  So let's get to those goodies! 

The kids had no idea this box was coming, btw.  In this picture, Dominic is excited because he just said, "maybe it's a scooter!"  Really?  So then I opened it..

I got black American Tourister luggage!!  I can't say enough how I would have been happy with whatever I received.  But, I was secretly hoping for the black ;)  The red accents and inside are SO COOL.  Add to that the matching Mickey luggage tag also included!  And really guys, this is one nice piece of luggage.  It is incredibly lightweight and a full spinner.  Plus, ten year warranty!  Let's just say this family of five will be putting that to the test as we travel fairly often.  

I was also super excited to see the Hanes t-shirts.  There were differences in the party packages and a crafty project like this is right up my alley.

Diving in now.  So much stuff!  All kinds of party paper ware and games, recipe cards, stickers, etc. 

Also pictured, Mickey cookie cutters, calendar cards, measuring cups, craisins, ten packs of HP photo card paper, Run Disney cheer cards, blue silicone wristbands, and...

Isla's personal favorite, classic Mickey & Minnie poster prints.  They are really nice cardstock and come on individual cardboard envelopes.  So cute.

Let the party planning begin!

*Disclosure- I received free products in order to host the Disney Side @Home Celebration. The opinions expressed here are my own*

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

First Foods

Our little Maisy has reached a big milestone!  She is exclusively breastfed and at almost six months old, she is ready for her first tastes of solid food. 

It's really just for fun at this point.  The majority of her nutrition will come from milk until she's about a year old.  The question is, would I try purees or take a more baby led weaning approach?  With her older sister, Isla, we did a combo of the two.  I started her with homemade pureed foods and added in "real" foods whenever she took interest.  I have friends who do full on baby led weaning but I just cannot get over my fear of choking in order to skip purees all together.  Plus, it's hard for me to think of appropriate things for her at this age!  Maybe some of you could help me out with this.  Ideas?  You'd think she was my first but it's really hard to remember what my other two ate and at what age.

For now, we are trying some purĂ©ed foods.  For her first taste about a week ago, I blended sweet potatoes with a little of my milk to thin them out.  She was not a fan.  Ha!  I think it had less to do with the taste and more that it was just a brand new experience and she got a little overwhelmed.  Either way, I don't think she injested any of it.  Since then, about once a day or every other day, I've let her try something new.  I did try sweet potatoes again and got a slightly better reaction.  All in all, there hasn't really been much success at this point.  She is still learning to open her mouth for the spoon and new foods seem to just surprise her more than anything.  

So far we've tried sweet potato, peas, bananas, applesauce, and squash.  She's also had a couple tastes of my Greek yogurt.  

What are your thoughts on a baby's first food?  Do you do purees or baby led weaning?  Do you have any suggestions for me as we start this phase?  

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Recent IG Faves

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Friday, January 17, 2014

Dominic turns FIVE

Last month my oldest baby reached that huge milestone- five.  He is such an awesome kid and we had a great time celebrating him.  He's always had a great sense of humor... telling jokes as soon as he could talk!  He makes us laugh every day and we're so thankful he's ours :)

This year our "big" present to Dominic was that Jeff was taking him to a Caps game.  This kid loves going to see the Washington Capitals play.  He was so excited to go with just his dad and to take some of his birthday money along and shop in the Fan Store.

We had his birthday party at Kid's First Swim School for the second year in a row.  The kids had an absolute blast.  It's always a fun time swimming around in a 90 degree room in December.  A BIG shout out to Kid's First for being such an awesome venue.  I highly recommend them to anyone, but especially if you are planning a dreaded winter birthday.  Options are so limited.  Being able to plan my own party and entertain 20+ kids is so easy there.  We've tried other venue options and I never liked having a party managed by employees.  At KF we just do our own thing in their space, though they provide pool toys and a lifeguard on duty!  Win! 

All in all he had a great birthday.  This year has been crazy with us welcoming a third child and I hope we are always able to show each of them how special they are to us.

Happy 5th Birthday, Bud! :)

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Recipe: Southwest Stuffed Shells

A delicious blend of favors and textures fill these jumbo shells and are sure to please!  If you are looking for a crowd favorite with a little zip, this recipe is for you.  

- drizzle of olive oil
- 1lb ground turkey
- 1 packet of taco seasoning
- 1 block of cream cheese
- 1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 can of yellow corn
- 1 c medium heat southwest salsa
- 1 c shredded medium cheddar cheese 
- additional 1/2 c salsa
- 24 jumbo pasta shells

Step 1: Cook pasta shells according to directions on package (usually boil about 9 minutes).  Separate and set aside to cool.

Step 2: Drizzle olive oil into a large saucepan, add ground turkey and cook over medium high heat until completely done.  Reduce heat to low.  Add cream cheese, taco seasoning, corn, black beans, and 1 c salsa.  Mix completely.

Step 3: Preheat your oven to 400.  Lightly spray a large casserole dish with cooking spray.  Pour 1/2 c salsa into the dish and spread it around.  Carefully fill the shells, one at a time, with your filling mixture and place carefully into the dish.  Once filled, top with cheddar cheese.

Step 4: Bake for about 20 minutes or until the cheese has totally melted and edges are starting to crisp.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Cozy Coffee Nook

For a while now I've wanted to do something to use our extra counter in the kitchen.  The problem was, there wasn't an outlet there so I couldn't put anything useful on it.  Finally, my handy hub agreed that it would be nice to move some of our countertop clutter to the other side of the kitchen.  He assured me that putting an outlet in wouldn't be too difficult. 

I began scouring Pinterest, naturally, for ideas.  I kept landing on coffee nook pins and was drawn to the idea of a "station" to keep all my mugs (I have a small mug collection) and coffee maker.  My mind was set.  

The weekend before they were doing the actual outlet placement, I took a trip to Michael's for supplies.  I bought three unfinished wooden peg boards (with four pegs each), a large white letter "C", a can of dark wine-ish purple spray paint, and a magnetic dry erase monthly calendar.  I also bought hanging bracket kits for the peg boards.  I went to work when I got home.  I painted the boards and the letter.  I had everything prepped so that everything could be assembled the day the outlet went in.  

Much to my pleasant surprise, it took them just minutes to place the new outlet in (how did we not do this before??).  Then, Jeff hung the pegs and the letter.  I had a 3-D "latte" wall art piece that was above my stove that I decided I wanted to move over to my coffee nook.  I switched it with a small tile square that used to be above the extra counter.  I also had him hang the new calendar on the adjacent wall so that I could easily take it down and out it back up. 

I am totally in love with how this turned out!!  It's definitely one of my favorite places in my house now.  Plus, it gets my fun mugs out of the cabinet where they were taking up space and into the open where I can properly enjoy them ;)

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