Archive for 2018

Christmas Cards 2018

December 24, 2018

One of my very favorite parts of the Christmas season is all the happy mail that arrives in our mailboxes. I just adore all the cards with everyone's kids and seeing how much they've all grown! I keep all of our own Christmas cards from past years together in a box and it's so crazy to look back and see how much Jacob has grown and changed from his first Christmas back in 2014. 

We ordered from Tiny Prints this year and it could not have been easier! We first ordered from Tiny Prints back in 2010 when we were putting together the Save the Dates for our wedding, and I've always been impressed with their quality and selection. I browsed their site for days before finally selecting a design. 

The gold stamped foil is what really sold me on the design, but they also have glitter, laser cut and gate fold cards too! I love how the simple design lets Jacob's photo be the star of the show.

There are so many different ways to personalize Tiny Print's card designs. You can add an envelope liner in various prints, (I just love the little trees on ours), and the back of every card has multiple options of different prints, photo configurations, and text designs. We picked a contrasting gold stripe design that perfectly complimented the gold foil on the front of our card. 

Tiny Prints will even address your cards free of charge with their FREE recipient addressing. You simply add all of your addresses to their online address book on your account and every year they are in there ready to go! All of ours were saved in their from last year so it couldn't have been easier and I didn't have to hand write them all!

Many of you will have these beautiful cards arriving in your mailboxes this week, keep your eyes peeled! If you dropped the ball on ordering Christmas cards this year Tiny Prints also has a big selection of New Year's cards.

Christmas Cards: Tiny Prints Brilliantly Joyful

This post was sponsored by Tiny Prints,  but as always all thoughts and opinions are my own and I only endorse products I love!

The gift that keeps on giving

December 17, 2018
Thank you Goldfish Swim School for sponsoring this post!

I know, I know... I just shared a gift guide full of things Jacob is hoping to find under the tree. But I must confess, my favorite things to give at Christmas are not "things" at all. I much prefer giving (and receiving!) experiences. Every year we ask for a zoo membership and tickets to the fair but I thought I would share a few more ideas for both kids and adults! 

For kids: 

Sport lessons: Soccer, basketball, gymanstics, you name it. Kids learn so many important skills through sport. From coordination and balance, to teamwork and sportsmanship. Jacob's been taking swimming lessons at Goldfish Swim School these past few months and a gift of lessons is perfect for the holidays! Even when it's cold outside the pool is heated to a balmy 90 degrees. Students work their way through the levels of the Science of SwimPlay® curriculum learning both safety and swimming skills under the watchful eye of both their teacher and a lifeguard on duty. (No such thing as too many eyes on little ones in the pool!) Everything at Goldfish is designed to delight little ones and the brand new facility in Pembroke Pines is no exception. If you're familiar with Goldfish you'll recognize the cute cabana changing rooms, the surfboard hair drying station, the seating area for parents to watch, and of course the pool and colorful murals surrounding it. Think how much more confident little swimmers will be this summer if they start now! Goldfish Pembroke Pines hosts free family swim events which are a great way to check out the facility!

Movie tickets: So many good movies coming out this year! We can't wait for Toy Story 4 and Dumbo. 

Zoo membership: We go several times a month with our membership and it also gets us a discount at zoos around the country. 

Mini golf vouchers: Such a fun day for the family, you can even include coupons or gift cards to grab ice cream after the course is complete!

Fair tickets: Is there anything more fun that a day at the fair? Don't forget to include ride tickets or wristband vouchers! 

Bowling or Skating tickets: Ice or Roller rink, your choice. You could even wrap a pair of ice skates, roller blades, or a bowling ball to represent the gift. 

For Adults:

Restaurant gift cards: I'm not talking about those restaurants you can find anywhere.... I'm talking about those special unique places you can only find in your city. A special meal out is the perfect gift. 

Tickets to a play/symphony/musical: If you live close to your gift recipient, throw in babysitting coupons too! 

Lessons: Not just for kids! Cooking, golfing, gardening, photography, allowing them to pursue their passions is the ultimate gift. 

Park Passes: For the thrill seekers among us. This works for families too - think Legoland, Disney, etc. 

Camping gear: Our little family of 3 have recently become camping fanatics, but it's also awesome for couples! I think tents, sleeping bags, outdoor cookware, or even a campsite reservation would be such a fun gift. 

Spa Day: I can't think of a single mom that wouldn't want this... Can you???

Hope these give you some good ideas, and get you thinking outside of the box! 

Chocolate Butterscotch Oaties

December 10, 2018

This post is sponsored by Rubbermaid® on behalf of Everywhere Agency; however, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

It's that time of year - when all bets are off in the kitchen. We're whipping up family recipes left and right and giving our mixer her annual holiday workout. Our family has so many holiday cookie recipes it was hard to pick just one - so I had to go with Jacob's favorite! He just loves the two different kinds of chips, and any cookie with oatmeal is a winner in my book! I have so many warm memories of baking in the kitchen with my family at Christmas time and I'm so happy that I get to make those same sweet memories with Jacob. Our cookie recipes tend to make a huge amount so we always keep some for us and then give some away. We love gifting cookies and other holiday sweets this time of year to everyone from our mail lady to our garbage and recycle crew to our favorite teachers! Nothing says "I appreciate the hard work that you do" than home baked holiday goodness. 

Shortly before Thanksgiving on our annual Walmart pilgrimage for turkey and pie and all the trimmings, I discovered Rubbermaid® TakeAlongs® holiday containers which come in all different sizes to accommodate any goodies you bake up and are as festive as can be in red, green, and gold. I love that once the treats are gone the containers can be re-used by the recipient. They're sturdy too, and I plan to use them for our annual kids cookie decorating party for each little baker to take home their cookies in! 

We lined our red and gold TakeAlong® containers with some festive tissue paper and loaded them as full as we could with Chocolate Butterscotch Oaties to deliver to everyone we appreciate. Oaties are super simple to make and the perfect cookie for little hands to help with. Jacob has gotten really good at measuring out and pouring ingredients, and has even mastered cracking the egg! (Thanks Nonna!) 

Chocolate Butterscotch Oaties 

1/2 cup softened butter or margarine 
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed tight
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup butterscotch chips
1 1/2 cup oatmeal
1 cup chopped pecans (optional) 

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees 
2. Cream together butter and sugars in a large bowl 
3. Add egg & vanilla and mix 
4. Add remaining ingredients and mix well 
5. Drop rounded tablespoons onto a cookie sheet and slightly flatten each cookie. 
6. Bake for 8-10 minutes 

These cookies are truly some of our favorites and I know they'll bring cheer to all of our loved ones this holiday season. You can find Rubbermaid® TakeAlongs® at Walmart, as well as all the ingredients for these delicious cookies!! 

Gift Guide for Little Guys

December 7, 2018
I'm so excited to share with you this year's gift guide for little guys - aka. Jacob's wishlist. We're really trying to cut back on toys this year and zone in on things that he loves and will help him with his preschool development. His big Santa gift this year is his RC monster truck which you can read more about HERE

ONE. (For the kid with a sense of humor) Jacob comes home from preschool almost every day with a joke that he thinks is hilarious. This book is full of fun new jokes to add to his repertoire. 

TWO. (For the kid who likes to pretend) These dragon wings are so fun with that spiky tail, but we also love this lumberjack set, superhero set, and fireman gear.

THREE. (For the kid who needs some fine motor help) I remember playing with Lite-Brite as a little girl and I know Jacob will like it too. It's awesome muscle work for little hands picking up those little pegs and placing them in the holes to make pictures.

FOUR. (For the kid who loves art) I love this classic wood easel mostly because it comes with a paper roll attached so I don't have to spend all day cleaning off dry erase marker. Replacement rolls are also available.

FIVE. (For the kid who wants to be a fireman) This two story house comes with firemen, a fire truck, helicopter, and accessories. Think dollhouse for boys.

SIX. (For the kid who loves to build) Jacob loves building with this duplo legos and I'm sure he'll continue to do so for quite some time.  The juniors line is one step up with smaller pieces and easy to put together sets. (also great for fine motor!)

SEVEN. (For the kid who's afraid of the dark) Those toddler/preschool years seem to come with their own set of challenges and fears. Jacob's recently found himself afraid of the dark, so we picked up this little owl that lets off a soft glow, projects stars, and even plays music or nature sounds.

EIGHT. (For the kid on the move) We reviewed the Huffy RC Monster Truck HERE and then promptly put it away as Jacob's big "Santa" gift. It can be used as a remote controlled car or kids can ride on it. Two toys in one!!

If you haven't figured it out yet - Jacob is all of these kids. He would be thrilled with these gifts and I know your little guys would be too! What do your little ones want for Christmas?

Seasons of Fun

November 17, 2018

This post is sponsored by Huffy; however, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
If your family is anything like ours, you spend most of the holiday months searching for that one special gift to proudly display under the tree. The one that will bring eyes full of wonder and faces full of smiles. The one that will fill your home with squeals and laughter all season long. Unlike previous years where we’ve scrambled at the last minute or fought the crowds on Black Friday, this year we actually found ours early. The Huffy Radio-Control Monster Truck is everything we look for in a holiday gift. It was super simple to put together - just attach the steering wheel and it’s ready to go. I may never live down the year I made my husband assemble an entire kitchen on Christmas eve, but no last minute building this year! It’s also two toys in one – doubling the play potential. It easily converts from a monster truck ride-on into a super-size radio-control monster truck. 

The truck is really easy to use;  it took Jacob no time at all to figure out the buttons, steering wheel, and foot  pedal – and he has no motor controlled vehicle experience whatsoever. He thought it was so funny to switch it from driving forward to driving backwards, and the loved taking it on to the grass. Those big sturdy wheels make off- roading no problem! To convert the ride-on into a radio-control just remove the steering wheel and it becomes your controller. For ease of mind and child safety, the radio controlled power only operates when the steering wheel is removed and there is no weight on the product. Jacob had a blast going back and forth between radio controlling and riding. I’m not exaggerating at all when I say it provided us hours of entertainment. 

While this is no doubt a present for Jacob, it’s also going to make things a little easier for mom and dad. We love to go walking in the evenings, but the stroller presents a challenge because Jacob will be fast asleep before the walk is over, every single time without fail. As you might guess, this then makes getting him to bed at a reasonable hour a challenge.  Now he can ride along on his Monster truck while the whole family gets in some exercise and fresh air. The monster truck is also affordable, which is always a selling point for us during the holiday season when it feels like our hearts and wallets are being pulled in a million different directions. 
The Huffy RC Monster Truck is recommended for kids age 3-7 and is perfectly sized for the early elementary set.  Looking for a present full of fun and wonder? You can find the Huffy RC Monster Truck at Walmart, along with other Huffy products – there’s something for every kid! What’s on your kid’s wish list this year? 

Southern Hill Farms // The Value of a Day

November 15, 2018

This post is sponsored by Vanguard but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.

This past weekend we had the joy of spending the day with my mom at Southern Hill Farms Fall Festival. In the spring and summer their farm is full of fresh fruit - blueberries and peaches, ripe for the picking. But in the fall they transform their farm into a harvest wonderland. We arrived on a crisp, sunny day and I knew the weather was going to be just perfect for creating memories. When you arrive you park across the street and then you cross over to the farm, down endless rows of blueberries towards the big red barn.

Jacob saw the inflatables right away and I knew we would spend a big chunk of our day there. You can purchase individual tickets or you can spring for the wristband, which is what we did. If your kiddo loves jumping around in bounce houses the wristband will be well worth your money. The wristband also works on a few rides, though there are height and weight restrictions for those. We let Jacob run and bounce to his hearts content and he got out quite a bit of energy. Once he was good and tired we were able to convince him to check out some of the other areas of the farm.

On the other end of the farm, opposite of the bounce houses is a pumpkin patch filled with pumpkins and squash in every size and shape. We had a good time checking them all out before deciding on a large pumpkin to carve and a small one for Jacob to decorate. There's also a playground on that side of the farm and Jacob could have played there for hours. He made a few new friends but mostly had fun showing off for Grandma and Mom. He is a completely different kid since starting Pre-k, no fear on the playground at all anymore!

In the middle of the farm is a cluster of food trucks, as well as a food stand and some fire pits. The food stand sells s'mores kits that you can then roast around the fire pits, but we had our eye on something else. Fresh apple cider donuts. Our favorite. Those donuts are an integral part of our fall memories - one of my favorite photos is of one year old Jacob with sugar ALL over his face. He loves them just as much as his momma. We got an order of one dozen as well as some iced apple cider and set ourselves up at a little table near the playground.

We demolished half the box before Jacob got a second wind and lead us right back over to the bounce houses. We took a trip on their hayride around the farm before leaving and as you can probably guess, Jacob fell fast asleep on the way home. Likely dreaming about sugared donuts and bouncy slides.

When I think about the value of a day - and the money that's going to be spent, I take a few things into consideration. I first look at where the money is going - is it something that's going to last or something that will be gone quickly? I then think about whether that money is going to make a long term impact on our memories, and on Jacob's childhood. In this case, the money wasn't going towards anything that we were going to be keeping for a long time - those donuts were eaten immediately, the pumpkins eventually rotted, and once we left the wristband had no value; but I know that the value of our day went far beyond that. Jacob will remember this day with his mom and grandma, bouncing to his little hearts content, running around the pumpkin patch, walking down the rows of blueberries under the bright blue sky, hopefully forever.

While $160 may not seem like a lot, over time, it can really add up! Choosing a higher-yielding cash account can allow us to experience more of these fun, memorable days. To get the most out of my cash, it’s important to assess my options and determine which provider fits best into my plan. Some companies, like Vanguard, are built in a way that better aligns to my interests. If you haven’t looked at your cash investments recently, maybe it’s time to ask yourself some questions: “Am I getting the most from my cash?” “Does my financial provider have my best interests at heart?” Check out more at Vanguard. According to recent data, if you hold $10,000 in cash, you could earn about $170 in a year, at the current average yields of money market mutual funds. In a bank savings account, you’d only make about $10.*

This post is sponsored by Vanguard, but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.
*This illustration uses 1.69% average yield for money market mutual funds and 0.09% national average yield for bank savings, both as of 9/30/2018, according to and These rates are not guaranteed.
Vanguard is owned by its funds, which in turn are owned by their investors.
All investing is subject to risk, including the possible loss of the money you invest. Bank deposits are guaranteed (within limits) as to principal and interest by an agency of the federal government. There may be other material differences between products that should be considered before investing.

Easy Green Enchiladas with Real California Milk

November 12, 2018
This post is sponsored by Real California Milk but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.

Goodness friends, the holidays are quickly sneaking up on us aren't they? I thought I'd share with your one of my favorite holiday potluck dishes in case you're in need of a crowd pleaser! These chicken enchiladas are quick and easy to whip up, feed a large group, and are always a hit! I love to hit the gourmet cheese section at Publix where I know I'll find the perfect cheeses for my dishes. I always look for the Real California Milk seal to know that I'm getting a product made with 100% milk and supporting dairy families in the process. 99% of California dairy farms are family owned and operated. We love the peace of mind knowing that we are getting real food from real people - California has over 1,300 dairy farms! Find Real California Dairy products HERE.

Here's how you make Easy Green Enchiladas

1 jar salsa verde
2 cups cooked and shredded chicken
1 cup Real California shredded pepper jack cheese
1 cup Real California queso fresco
1 cup navy beans
1 small can of green chilis
half an onion, diced small
1/4 cup cilantro
1 tsp. cumin
salt and pepper to taste
12 corn tortillas
splash of olive oil
avocado for serving
Real California sour cream for serving

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. In a pan cook onion with a splash of olive oil until translucent.
3. Transfer onion to large bowl and mix in chicken, pepper jack cheese, beans, green chilis, and cumin. Add salt and pepper to taste.
4. Place corn tortillas on a plate and cover with a dish towel. Microwave for 45 seconds until warm so they won't break when rolled.
5. In a large bowl pour salsa verde. One at a time dip tortillas in the salsa, then fill with 1/4 cup filling and roll.
6. Line up rolled tortillas in a shallow pan.
7. Pour one cup salsa verde over the top of the rolled tortillas, then sprinkle queso fresco on top.
8. Cover with foil and bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes.
9. Top with cilantro and serve with avocado and sour cream.

This dish pairs well with yellow rice (also easily made in big batches for a group!) or your favorite vegetables. What's your favorite potluck dish?