Tuesday, February 28, 2017

How I Meal Prep For My Family

Every parent knows that it's hard to cook when you have a young child around who needs supervision.  When I do make meals, I try to have Scarlett in the kitchen with me or in the living room watching TV where I can see her from the kitchen.  If she's in the kitchen, she's opening every single cabinet and taking items out.  She's very strong and now can open my pull-out drawer freezer too and start going through the frozen food.  It's stressful and makes it hard to focus on what you're making! It's easier for me to make meals in advance when Scarlett's eating in her high chair or napping.

I've gotten into a good rhythm lately with meals for the week that is actually working well for my family.  Each Sunday I sit down with my husband and I write down what each dinner will be for the 5 nights of the week.  When I go grocery shopping it's a joy to actually buy items that you know you'll be cooking and what ingredients go with them for each meal.  I used to buy packages of chicken and come up with ways to use them in my head, but that's really not sustainable.  It's a lot easier to use each item for a specific meal each day, then buy willy-nilly and hope you come up with dinners for them.

Let's say you make a chicken casserole on Monday night for dinner.  The idea behind this system is that you'll have enough leftovers to eat it again on Tuesday, which saves you a day of cooking.  The huge benefit is that you don't have to worry about what to make on Tuesday! It's been a huge weight off of my shoulders not to think of what we're having every single day hours before I make it. Since Scarlett eats dinner at 5 pm, way before my husband gets home from work, she may have leftovers of our previous meal for dinner.  If there's nothing left from that meal, then she gets a completely separate meal made just for her.  My husband and I eat together when he gets home.

Since I stay at home with Scarlett during the week, I make her a fresh breakfast and lunch every day.  Some days there may be leftovers from lunch the previous day, and she'll eat that.  She loves eggs, toast, and yogurt for breakfast among others.  For lunch she usually has turkey meatballs with veggies, or peanut butter and jelly, or something along those lines.

Life is so much easier when you plan meals in advance and it becomes a true joy to cook.  I only have so many hours in the day, why lose time worrying and stressing over meals each day?

Friday, February 24, 2017

Make Playtime Fun With Cubbie Lee Toys

As Scarlett gets older, the types of toys she has interest in has certainly changed.  Gone are the days of shape sorters, baby rattles, and stacking rings.  Nowadays, my girl loves pretend play and is most happy pushing a fake vacuum or dressing up in princess costumes.  Since I stay at home with her, we spend a lot of the day playing with fake makeup or putting on pretend costume jewelry. Scarlett is very girly and enjoys all things meant for little girls!

Cubbie Lee Toys offers adorable quality made classic wooden toys that are built to last.  If you're a parent who enjoys battery-free toys for your little one, you've come to the right place.  Your child can dive into puzzles, train sets, building blocks and more starting from 6 months all the way up to 5 years old.  

Your daughter will be delighted to play with a tea set or fruit chopping set, while your son can enjoy a pull along alligator or wooden Noah's Ark.  The toys feature bright, eye-catching colors that will offer hours of fun and entertainment.  Any toy from Cubbie Lee makes a fabulous baby gift or present for any occasion for a lucky boy or girl.  Keep the brand in mind for any of your future gift giving needs. 

Our third floor loft has been Scarlett's playroom since she was born.  When you walk into the playroom, you'll instantly notice that it's any child's toy dream come true.  We have lots of fun toys that are electronic and play music, and any child who comes over to play gravitates towards them. Although we have a lot of battery operated toys, what we lack is wooden toys.  There's something so simplistic and interesting about wooden toys, and I know our playroom could benefit from them.  On the plus side, it gives my ears a break! 

Scarlett was lucky enough to receive the Afternoon Tea Set and Animal Truck.  The tea set is for 3 years and up and the truck is meant for ages 18m+.  Both toys are adorable and Scarlett was instantly drawn to them.  

The tea set offers a tray, three cakes, two tea cups, a teapot, and a set of cutlery.  You'll notice that it's made from durable and sustainable wood with long-lasting velcro to secure the cake pieces together.  Not only is this tea set perfect for improving hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills, it's ideal for children who love imaginative play.  You'll love the pretty pink color that it comes in and it would surely make any little girl happy.

As soon as we opened the box, Scarlett wanted to play right away.  I told her we were going to have a tea party and she was very excited.  I set up the set on our play table and she pointed to the fake desserts and smiled.  She's just like her mom and enjoys sweets, what can I say! For our pretend tea party, Scarlett had peppermint tea in her cup while I sipped on chamomile.  She enjoyed stirring her tea with the included spoon, but she thought I should stir mine with a fork.  I did have to remind her that the desserts were fake and we could only pretend to eat them! Next time, I should include a few real cookies to make her happy.

We spent about 45 minutes playing with the tea set which is a long time for a 2 year old! I'm happy that Scarlett enjoyed it so much and I know she will love to have a tea party with her friends when they come over soon.

Over the past few months, Scarlett has become a huge animal lover.  She loves our dog Lynnie and constantly wants to hug and pet her, as well as excitedly pointing to dogs who are out for a walk when we're out.  I'm passionate about animals myself, so it makes me happy that we share that connection.  When I found out Cubbie Lee makes an Animal Truck, I knew it would be perfect for her.  Your child will enjoy the beautifully crafted truck complete with a chunky zebra, hippo, crocodile and giraffe, each perfectly sized for little hands to grab.  The truck is made from durable and sustainable wood, with smooth edges and wheel motion.

What I like most about this truck is that it's gender neutral, since all children like animals.  The flatbed holds the four animals securely when they are driven and Scarlett enjoys driving them all around the playroom.  There was a pitstop at one point where she thought each animal was hungry and tried to give it crackers and water.  I love how caring she is! 

Since the animals are large, even the smallest of hands can hold them with ease.  Their chunky size is ideal for hours of fun.  

Wooden toys allow children to use their imagination and creativity to come up with their own fun, instead of pushing buttons which preprogram them with entertainment.  It's a nice change to see how Scarlett plays with a toy without batteries.  

Thanks to Cubbie Lee Toys, we'll have hours of fun and memories that are sure to come! 

*DISCLOSURE* Thank you to Cubbie Lee Toys for providing product samples in order to facilitate this review, all thoughts are strictly my own.  

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Scarlett's Speech Therapy Update

Scarlett began speech therapy services on February 1st.  I've known for a while that she needed help with her speech, but we were allowed to wait until she turned 2 to see if there was natural progression.  Once her 2nd birthday rolled around and there was no true difference, we knew it was time.  She does say a handful of words, but she's not on the level she should be speech wise.  If you ask her to point to anything in a book, she can identify everything.  She understands everything too she just is not comfortable to speak.

As we enter the 4th week of services, I'm really noticing a big difference already! We have a speech therapist come to our house once a week to work with Scarlett for 45 minutes.  Scarlett is responsive to it because it's learning through play, which is a good method for her.  The speech therapist brings over certain toys that help Scarlett with learning keywords.  

For example, the first session she brought a Mr. Potato Head with her.  The potato head and pieces were in a big bucket with a lid which Scarlett immediately wanted to open.  Instead of doing it for her, she suggested using a sign language sign for "open", which Scarlett could use to help herself and create less frustration.  Scarlett quickly picked that up as well as putting her hand on her chest which means "give me", for anything that she wanted to play with or wanted.  The end result is to get her to say the words out loud over time, once she's comfortable. 

What's interesting is how Scarlett responds to someone other than me.  I sit on the couch during the sessions to watch and only interact with Scarlett when I need to, I let the therapist take over for the most part.  One week she wanted us to focus on animal sounds and asked Scarlett what a cow said.  Scarlett instantly responded with "moo!" I told the woman she was magic! I've been working for months on animal noises with Scarlett and it took the therapist only one try to get her to say it. It's funny how Scarlett will respond positively to a different approach and obviously a different person working with her. 

We've also been working on "more" for more food during meal times or anything she wants more of, whether it's more crayons, more stickers, or anything of that nature.  I taught her that a while ago, so I was happy that she knew this already.  One new hand sign we're working on is "all done." We use this to signify the end of meals, TV, bath time, etc.  Scarlett gets a little confused with that one and says she's all done with her meal when in reality she just likes doing the sign for it.  Or she'll sign for "more" and "all done" at once.  I've gotten some tips on how to remedy that. 

I've alerted her teachers about the therapist's requests so they can continue her progress when she goes to school twice a week.  

Scarlett surprised me recently by saying the words eggs and eyes on her own out of the blue.  I was shocked and praised her for a job well done.  I know that as the weeks and months pass, she'll speak more and more words.  It would be wonderful to have a conversation with her and see what she's thinking.  I can't wait until that happens!

For the most part, Scarlett is using all of the signs and techniques at the appropriate times.  You don't have to prompt her too much anymore either to do them which is wonderful.  I'm very proud of her progress so far and I know she'll continue to do better as time goes on! 

Monday, February 20, 2017

Moms Everywhere Will Be Happy to Save Money on Luvs Diapers #ShareTheLuv #ad

As Scarlett has gotten older, the baby expenses have gotten less costly.  While we're happy to be saving money by not buying baby food, bottles, and formula anymore, we're still paying a decent amount for diapers monthly.

For anyone who has a child in diapers, you know how expensive it is to purchase those cases of diapers. It's amazing how expensive they are, and it seems like they hardly last before you're out buying more.  I can't wait for Scarlett to be potty trained! The higher diaper size your child wears, the less diapers there are of that size in the box.  Isn't that frustrating when it's still just as expensive as a smaller size box with more diapers? I'm always on the lookout for any sales or coupons on diapers especially since I'm a stay-at-home-mom.

If you're like me, you enjoy a good money saving deal whenever the opportunity strikes.  You're in luck since Luvs is offering the chance to save $1 off a diaper pack this month with a print at home coupon! This coupon can be used anywhere where Luvs diapers are sold.   If the diapers are on sale in your store, you'll be able to save an additional $1 with this coupon! Who doesn't love a money saving coupon?

Luv's diapers are softer and more absorbent than ever before, with large stretch tabs for easy fattening, ultra-leakage protection and a money-back guarantee. Luvs Ultra Leakguards with NightLock plus prove the high-quality feature babies and parents need for less cost than the premium brands.

There's nothing more comforting than your little one being able to sleep softly and soundly all night without waking up due to a leaky diaper.  You'll enjoy saving money on a fabulous diaper brand that you can rely on.

*DISCLOSURE* This review was made possible by iConnect and Luvs.  I was provided compensation to facilitate this post, but all opinions stated are 100% mine.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Little Adventures Will Provide Your Child Hours of Fun!

I've noticed lately that Scarlett is interested in dressing up and wearing fake jewelry.  We have a Hello Kitty jewelry box full of fake beaded necklaces and bracelets on her dresser, and she loves putting on the items and looking at herself in the mirror.  I get a kick out of it because she smiles and twirls around! I think it's safe to say she enjoys pretend play like all little girls do.

Little Adventures offers adorable dress up clothes for everyday in a variety of styles for boys and girls.  The sizes start at a year old and go all the way up to 9 years old, so your son or daughter can have years of play.  Your boy will enjoy the cloaks and hoodies along with the knight and dragon wear that comes in a variety of styles.  For the girls, there are a range of options including princesses and fairy dresses as well as accessories like wands, tutus, crowns, and tiaras.  

All children love to dress up and use their imagination for hours of fun everyday.  The clothes are soft and machine-washable for continuous use.  Keep Little Adventures in mind for gifting needs for that little one in your life.

Since Scarlett is a girly-girl, I knew she'd enjoy the Sleeping Beauty Princess Dress, the Deluxe Pink Princess 2017 dress, and the Hot Pink Fairy Halo and Wand.  All three pieces are so adorable! Since the order was delivered during nap time, I eagerly awaited Scarlett to wake up so I could see what she thought of the items.  Both dresses were ordered in a size of 1-3 years, so Scarlett can enjoy them for a while.  I liked that the dresses both came with hangers for easy hanging in the closet.  

Once Scarlett was up from her nap, the first dress we tried on was the deluxe sleeping beauty dress.  This number offers durable pink stretch velvet sewn and pink china silk with silver foil detailing fit for a princess.  Since it's freezing cold out at the moment, this velvet dress is perfect for keeping warm in the bitter temps when playing indoors.  We're also always looking to have more indoor fun since it's winter and too cold to play outside.

What I first noticed about both dresses is how well made they are.  I've seen some dress up clothes that seem like they are made with questionable materials, but that truly isn't the case for Little Adventures.  The colors are bold and vibrant and really grab a child's attention.  I'm a fan of the gorgeous silver scroll design that runs down the middle of the dress.  The dress fit Scarlett well and was a perfect length on her, it was also easy to put on.  She didn't seem to have any issues with the material being uncomfortable on her.  I've never seen dress up clothes offered for children younger than 4, so it's nice that smaller children and toddlers are accommodated.  

Scarlett smiled when I showed her what she looked like in the mirror and seemed very happy.  I put the matching fairy halo on her which really gave the dress an extra bit of pizazz.  One thing that we're missing from our dress up clothes is the requisite fake heels.  If we had a pair of silver or pink heels, I know it would have been perfect to complete the look.  I have to make a mental note to buy her some for future play.  The fairy halo is full of ribbons, sparkles, and flowy satin material to make a girl feel like a true princess.  What more could a little girl want?  What's great about the fairy halo and wand set is that it's versatile and can truly work with any dress up outfit you pair it with.  

It made me happy to see Scarlett so excited about the dress up clothes, because she's never owned anything like these dresses before.  Every parent wants to see their child's eyes light up, it's a special feeling. 

I couldn't wait to see how my tiny girl looked in the pink princess dress, I knew she'd look fabulous! Since this is a short-sleeved dress, make sure your child wears a shirt underneath so they aren't cold if you have cold weather outside.  You'll love this gorgeous two tone dress featuring a bright pink velvet bodice with silver trim that meets light pink velvet sleeves.  Your eyes will focus on the glittered collar and beautiful white rose that compliment the delicate drapes over a bright pink skirt.

This dress seemed to be Scarlett's favorite in my opinion since she started dancing and twirling when she looked at herself in the mirror.  It also was the perfect length and fit her well.  She touched the silver detail on the skirt and smiled while saying "ooh".  I'm sure she felt so beautiful, but who can blame her? She looked stunning! We also paired the fairy halo and wand set with this dress as well.  My tiny princess spent a while playing in both dresses and she didn't want to take them off when I told her it was snack time! I think it's safe to say she enjoyed being a princess.  The benefit of these dresses is that your child can be a princess whenever the mood strikes them.

Since both dresses are machine-washable, I can easily throw them in the washing machine if Scarlett does get a stain on them.  For a mom, that's extremely convenient and helpful.  

Why not let your son or daughter transform into a fairy princess or a dragon anytime they want? All you have to do is place an order at Little Adventures.  Playtime will be full of fun and adventure from here on out.

*DISCLOSURE* Thank you to Little Adventures for providing product samples in order to facilitate this post.  All thoughts are strictly my own.  
Thursday, February 16, 2017

Sesame Place Offers Fun for The Whole Family

Now that it's February, many parents are thinking about what to do with their children for the summer.  Scarlett is going to camp for a few weeks, and then we'll do a trip to Grandma's.  I'm sure we'll also do some fun weekend activities too.  Whether you're planning a family summer vacation or for your child to go to tennis or swim camp, there's no denying school will be out before you know it!

Sesame Place is located in Langhorne, PA and is the world's only theme park based entirely on the show Sesame Street! Bring the whole family for the day to enjoy wet and dry rides, special shows and performances, and of course many character photo opportunities.  Your children will be delighted with such rides as Cookie's Monster Land,  Big Bird's Ramblin' River, and the Sunny Days Carousel.  Don't forget to book a character lunch or dinner to have one-on-one with Elmo and the whole gang! There's surely fun to be had for all ages.  

You'll notice elements from the show as you walk around the park and it's really an exciting place for everyone.  I'm sure it'll bring back memories for the adults too! There are many money-saving packages you can check out on the website to get the most bang for your buck.  Summer isn't that far away, why not book a trip to Sesame Place today? The grand opening for the season is in April!

My husband and I took Scarlett last summer when she was 17 months old.  If you have a toddler in the 15-18 month range, they are not too young! Scarlett had such a blast in the water park area with the splash pads, she didn't want to leave! We also booked a character dinner and the characters come right to your table and dance! She absolutely loved that too.  If your little one is a Sesame Street fanatic like mine, it's truly magical to see the excitement through their eyes. Memories will surely be made when you go.  In fact, we have a trip booked to go in June!

Sunny days are waiting for you at Sesame Place this summer!

Five Tips For Flying With A Toddler

I've been flying with Scarlett since she was about 3 months old.  Obviously, it was a lot easier when she was younger because she would sleep.  She weighed less and was a lot smaller and it wasn't such a challenge to keep her happy.

Fast forward 23 months later, and flying with Scarlett is not something I want to do more than I have to! I do have some tips to make the experience less stressful that work for me. 

1. Snacks, snacks, and more snacks.  I do believe snacks are the key to keeping children happy in certain situations.  My daughter is the queen of snacks and will happily gobble down any cracker or anything covered in cheese. Keep bags of your child's favorite snacks or dried fruit handy.  It will keep them occupied and happy.

2. Toys and books.  Buy new small dollar store books or toys to keep your child busy while on the plane.  Don't introduce them until you're actually flying, so they'll have something new and unfamiliar to discover.  If you bring the same old toys and books, it might not hold their attention as long.  Obviously, bring their absolute favorite small toy though.

3. First Flying Experience.  For my daughter's first flight, we made sure to ask the Jet Blue flight attendant for a pair of wings to document her experience. The tiny wings had an adhesive backing and I was able to secure them in her baby book under the heading "first trip." Her boarding pass with her name on it is underneath! I'm big on documenting anything new with my child, and I know she'll be interested in seeing it one day.  Make sure you get a pair of wings for your child's first flight.

4. Apologize 174,000 times in advance to everyone around you.  Your child is bound to scream, cry, or throw a massive fit.  You can't avoid this, and yes it is very embarrassing.  Scarlett's had meltdowns on the plane due to not being able to sleep because it's bright and loud, or just because she's generally unhappy.  This is not a fun situation and all you can do is hope it passes quickly.  

As your child gets older and you fly with them, it gets harder to physically control and restrain them.  Scarlett loves to stand up on my legs and jump and laugh and basically disrupt everyone around her.  I'm sure the woman in front of me enjoys Scarlett drumming on the back of her headrest.  She doesn't like to sit down and just be still, but what toddler does? Scarlett was able to fly for free until 2 years old.  The downside of this perk is that a child under 2 is considered a lap child and must literally stay on your lap.  After 2, they are no longer free and must be in their own seat.  

5. Keep their ears happy.  The air pressure as you fly makes everyone's ears clog and uncomfortable.  Giving a child a sippy cup of water or a pacifier upon take-off and landing can make them more comfortable.  The sucking motion helps their ears with the pressure and both mom and child will be much happier! 

Hopefully these tips will make your flight as stress-free as possible, or at least alleviate some stress.  

Happy Flying! 
Tuesday, February 14, 2017

It's Time To Stop Losing Socks For Good Thanks to SockDock

I'm responsible for three people's laundry in my home every week.  Since it's winter, we're all wearing a lot of socks.  Each load of laundry contains many pairs and it seems like I'm always losing a sock here and there.  It's frustrating and we've had to throw away single socks plenty of times.  My two year old has tiny socks which seem to disappear into the dark depths of my dryer. Wouldn't it be nice if you could keep track of all socks and have complete pairs permanently?

The SockDock is a simple and easy to use organizing system for keeping track of socks.  This handy device is available for purchase online.  You'll be thrilled to never lose socks again thanks to this system.  SockDock can conveniently hang on a doorknob or closet rod near your clothes hamper.  Once you put dirty clothes in the hamper, place your dirty socks on the SockDock between the cords and slide the button down loosely on the socks.  Add socks everyday to the SockDock until you're ready to wash clothes and it's full.

On laundry day, remove the SockDock and toss it in the washing machine.  Once your socks are washed, throw the SockDock in the dryer and everyone will have clean socks again.

With SockDock, you'll never lose a single sock again.  You'll be able to see exactly what needs to be washed and you'll always have both pairs again.  You can stop wasting money on buying new socks when you lose the old ones.  What could be better than that? Everyone should have a SockDock in their home to make their laundry experience easier and less stressful.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Scarlett's Silly Personality

One thing that Scarlett 100% gets from me is her silly personality.  I'm not only silly, but love to joke around myself, so I'm happy that she inherited that from me.

On any given day, you can guarantee that Scarlett will do something to get some laughs.  She loves when you throw pillows at her on the couch, or when you bury her in the ball pit in our playroom.  Nothing makes her happier than to have crazy things done to her like that! Of course I crack up right along with her.  

Scarlett enjoys wearing other people's shoes, as well as putting freshly washed laundry on her head.  She knows exactly what she's doing because she starts laughing as soon as she does whatever silly thing.  Punching her feet or putting the vacuum hose on her feet always gets giggles too.  What a crazy child! We spend a lot of our day together laughing, which is very special. 

I love that Scarlett is so silly and it ensures that we always have fun together.  What other silly things does Scarlett like, you ask? She enjoys putting boxes and buckets on her head as well as wanting to be closed up in a box.  We can't do that for too long since it's not the safest.  

I'm sure I'll be updating everyone on more of her silly antics again soon!
Thursday, February 9, 2017

Valentine's Day is Almost Here!

The day of love is quickly approaching! Whether you're cooking for your sweetie at home, or you're both going out, the romantic day is not complete without dessert.

What are some of your favorite Valentine's Day desserts? I'm game for anything chocolate.  I'll be making fudge for Scarlett's teachers this year as a small gift.  The more chocolate involved, the better! Check out some of these mouth-watering treats to give you some culinary inspiration.

How amazing does everything look? I want to dig in right now.  I'd love to see some of your past Valentine's Day goodies that you've made.  Feel free to post a picture!
Monday, February 6, 2017

Whoopie Pies From Black Cat Cookie Company Will Make You Say Yum!

When it comes to chocolate goodies, I tend to be very partial to anything and everything chocolate. If it's made with cocoa you can bet I'll attack it.  Whoopie pies are a treat that I absolutely love, but don't get to enjoy too often.  When I do have the opportunity to have one, it's like reconnecting with a long lost love.  It's hard to resist that fabulous cake-y texture filled with sweet and rich buttercream.  I wish I could have one everyday.  If you've never tried a whoopie pie, you need to do it today.

Black Cat Cookie Company is an Etsy Shop ran by owner Sonia.  If you're looking to truly treat yourself, you've come to the right place. Sonia's shop is filled with fabulous cookies, muffins, and cupcakes that you won't be able to say no to.  Who doesn't love confectionary goodies made in flavors like cranberry orange, chocolate chip, gingerbread, almond joy, and so many more? If you don't see exactly what you're looking for, I'm sure that Sonia can make your confectionary dreams a reality.  Keep Black Cat Cookie Company in mind for any future dessert needs for holidays or occasions. 

Sonia was kind enough to send me six beautiful chocolate whoopie pies.  These round yummies needed to be taste-tested immediately, it's my civic duty to do so.  I have to say that in my opinion, whoopie pies are best left in their classic chocolate flavor.  I've seen them in many different flavors which is nice to have variety, but there's something so comforting about a standard whoopie pie.  

The whoopie pies arrived in a special rectangular box that had a window so you could see in.  I thought that was a really interesting concept, especially for gift-giving.  Of course I looked at those tasty whoopies and thought they were too beautiful to eat, but don't worry that thought instantly went away.  

I poured myself a glass of milk and declared that it was time to dig in.  Whoopie pies look similar to a  sandwich cookie, but each round layer is made from cake, not cookie dough.  In between the cake layers is a generous amount of thick buttercream icing.  Upon first bite, I was transported to planet sugar and I didn't want to go back to Earth.  The dense and thick cake paired with the sweet icing was everything you could want out of a sweet treat.  I noticed that the chocolate flavor was very prominent and that was welcomed by me.   This whoopie pie satisfied my sweet tooth and was a wonderful mid-day treat.

This pie was extremely fresh and tasted like I bought it moments earlier from a bakery.  I dipped a section of the treat into my milk which was a genius idea, in my opinion.  Do that next time you have a whoopie pie, you'll enjoy it.

Since there's six pies in an order, it's a perfect way to share with your friends or loved ones. I've put the rest of mine in the freezer for now so I can enjoy a sweet treat whenever the mood strikes me.  If you choose to do this, just zap it in the microwave for a few seconds to revive it.

If you're in the mood for something sweet and satisfying, it's time to surf on over to Black Cat Cookie Company.  You'll definitely find something you'll absolutely love.

*DISCLOSURE* Thank you to Black Cat Cookie Company for providing me with product samples in order to facilitate this post.  All thoughts are strictly my own. 

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Valentine's Day Cookies From Kookie Fairy is A Great Idea

Valentine's Day is one of my favorite holidays since it is an excuse to eat delicious treats. Who doesn't love having a day once a year where it's encouraged to eat goodies? I know I look forward to this occasion yearly.  It's even better when all of the candy is reduced in price the next day, my tummy says yum! Make sure you indulge in your favorite sugary treats this February 14th.

Kookie Fairy is an Etsy shop ran by owner Krystal.  When you surf into her online shop, you'll be met with the most beautiful cookies you've ever laid your eyes on.  Krystal's young children hand-decorate each sugar cookie in themes including snowmen, footballs, Valentine's Day, paw prints, and so much more.  Can you believe a 7 and 10 year old can decorate so well? The cookies are truly a work of art and will definitely be remembered when served at an event.  If you're looking for a specific theme for a cookie, Krystal will be happy to work with you to create a custom cookie that fits your needs.  Keep Kookie Fairy in mind for Valentine's Day, birthdays, and any other occasion that calls for cookies!

Since Valentine's Day is just a few days away, I thought it would be a wonderful idea to get into the spirit early with cookies.  I'm fond of those gorgeous heart shaped cookies decorated with fabulous detail that I wish I was skilled enough to do.  Luckily, Kookie Fairy will make your cookie dreams come true.

Don't you just love these Valentine's Day cookies made with royal icing? If you're a lover of soft sugar cookies, these are the cookies for you.  

When you sink your teeth into these soft beauties, you won't be able to contain how tasty they truly are. Each freshly baked cookie is decorated in a different way whether it's solid colors, lines, or a flower motif.  The decorating handiwork for each round circle of heaven is surely noticed and appreciated.  I was happy that the cookies weren't extremely sweet, but sweet enough to curb your sweet tooth.  Be prepared to not be able to control yourself, just a fair warning! Don't forget a tall glass of icy cold milk to wash these lovelies down with.

I loved how bright and vivid the royal icing colors on the cookies were.  My confectionery treat decorating skills are on a very low level, so I always appreciate when others possess that talent.  Maybe one day I can get better! 

The rest of the cookies are in my kitchen, but it's only a matter of time before I attack them.  Trust me, it won't be long.  I haven't had a sugar cookie this delicious in a long time, and I welcome it wholeheartedly! 

If you're looking for fabulous cookies that will make you smile, it's time to visit Kookie Fairy's Etsy Shop.

*DISCLOSURE* Thank you to Kookie Fairy for providing product samples in order to facilitate this post.  All thoughts are strictly my own. 
Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Zoodles With Spinach, Tomatoes, and Shrimp Will Delight Anyone

I always try to make healthy substitutions for my family when it comes to fat and calories. We opt for turkey chili or chicken burgers rather than beef.  Of course we do occasionally indulge in full fat options which is a treat when it occurs.  Taking care of yourself should be everyone's top priority, and it's easy to make low-cal options of your favorite unhealthy meals!

I've recently started experimenting with spiralized veggies.  Not only do these beautiful curly veggies look perfect in salads or side dishes, they work ideally in main entrees too.  If you're not familiar with spiralized vegetables, it's truly a vegetable in spiral form using a handy kitchen spiralizer.  I purchased my own spiralizer but my local grocery store sells spiralized veggies for those who don't have a spiralizer.  I'm sure your market would sell them too.  My favorite spiralized veggie to use in dishes is zucchini, but you can use carrots, squash, or any other vegetable that you like best.

Let's face it, everyone loves pasta.  Pasta comes in so many shapes and sizes and works fabulously with seafood, chicken, fish, and beef.  You can pair that lovely pasta with a variety of sauces for a wonderful meal. What's the downfall, you ask? Well the calories of course! Pasta is unhealthy especially covered with tons of sauce and cheese.  Wouldn't it be nice if you could have a pasta alternative at home that's just as delicious but cuts the calories and fat in half? 

You'll love zoodles with spinach, tomatoes, and shrimp for a light and healthy dinner any night.  If you're allergic to seafood or don't like it, feel free to substitute with another meat or even tofu for a veggie option.

I buy the frozen shrimp that's unpeeled with the tail on.  To start, you'll have to peel the shrimp and take the tails off.  Once you've done that, put olive oil in a large pan and season the shrimp with your favorite seasonings.  I like to use Adobo since it's all purpose.  I also added a little bit of butter too.  

While the shrimp is cooking, add the zoodles, spinach, and halved cherry tomatoes into another pan with a small amount of oil.  Season to taste.  Everything should cook pretty quickly in about 5 minutes. You'll know the shrimp is cooked through when it's translucent and pink.  Don't overcook it though.  Make sure the spinach is completely wilted and the zoodles and tomatoes heated through.  Pour the shrimp into this pan to heat again.  Once everything is finished, add in marinara sauce and stir to cover.  I used vodka sauce, but use what you like best.  

You'll be presented with a restaurant worthy dish that you've made in practically no time.  This is a great recipe for working mom's who are looking for a quick and easy dinner for the family.  You'll surely be adding this one to your recipe book!