Monday, September 29, 2014

Meal Plan Monday 9/29

This past weekend we decided to venture out to yet another pumpkin patch (I cant get enough).  This one was much smaller, but still offered plenty of fun for a two year old!

Rowen got to hold a kitten... 

....and picked a few pumpkins...

 ....while I purchased some festive decor for our front porch!  YAY!

This weekend I also made my first trip of the season to the Des Moines Farmers' Market!  In my opinion, Fall is the best time to go because the streets are filled with sun flowers, bright colored produce, pumpkins and my favorite...mums!

I saw some of the biggest, reddest tomatoes I'd ever seen at the market, which inspired me to find a few delicious tomato recipes to incorporate into this week's Meal Plan Monday - check it out...

Monday:  Slow Cooker Tomato Basil Parmesan Soup (with Grilled Cheese)

Tuesday:  Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta

Wednesday:  Slow Cooker Italian Stuffed Peppers

Thursday: Not cooking

Friday:  Grilled Caprese Pizza

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Friday, September 26, 2014

Sea Life Aquarium in Kansas City

This winter, Ryan and I are hoping to take a couple of family get-a-ways to a few local museums and kid-friendly attractions. One of my goals on my summer bucket list was to visit a museum, but sadly, we just didn't have time to fit it in.  So instead I am going to have to add it to our Fall bucket list!

The Sea Life Aquarium in Kansas City is only a three hour drive from where we live so we have added it as one of the places we hope to see!

SEA LIFE Kansas City Aquarium will transport you into the amazing underwater world. Come nose to nose with sharks and prepare for astonishingly close views of everything from humble starfish and seahorses to graceful rays. To get any closer you'd have to get wet! Are you a Shark lover or Seahorse fanatic? Perhaps it's the graceful rays or the clever Octopus that you love the most. Maybe you simply can't decide! Here at SEA LIFE Kansas City you can make up your mind and see them all - from the curious and the rescued to the rare and the enigmatic. And you'll be able to get closer to them than ever before.

If you live in the midwest or plan to visit the midwest and are looking for something fun to do with your family this fall or winter they are currently offering $5 Off Sea Life Admission - Receive $5 off full price admission ticket

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Kitchen Organization

Today I wanted to share with you a project I dreamed up to help keep me a bit more organized in the kitchen!  About a month ago, I was contacted by the label company, Kidecals asking if I would be willing to do a review of one of their products.  I happily obliged and they sent me a voucher to choose any one of their products from their online store! 

About a week later I received this adorable package in the mail. 

If you know me, you know I am a bit of a packaging nut - the bright colors coupled with the witty text made me instantly giddy to open it!  

Inside were the two products I had ordered.  These cute chalkboard labels and these fun keyboard stickers!

I knew exactly how I wanted to use the chalkboard labels.  At first glance, my kitchen appears organized.  However if you delve deep inside the cabinets you will quickly find out it’s not.  One day, not too long ago, Rowen decided it would be fun to dump out the large bag of sugar I had sitting open in one of the lower cabinets (whoops).  After 15 minutes of clean up and one very sticky floor, I decided I needed to do something to organize.

I headed out to Michaels, picked up three glass, airtight containers (each different sizes), painted them white (lids gray).  I then used the chalkboard labels as a way to clearly identify the contents of each container.  

They turned out so cute and the labels worked so well! They are easy to write on and wipe off clean with a damp cloth!  If using them, I would recommend a chalkboard marker as opposed to a regular piece of chalk - just makes things easier!

I also ordered these to spice up my Mac Book...

I was really excited for these labels and I have to say I love the way they look and have received quite a few compliments when I take my computer out in public!   They go on easy and can be very easily removed as well!  My only complaint however is that when using the laptop with these keycals in a darker room, it's hard to see the keys as they block the light from the glow of the keyboard. 

All in all, I would definitely recommend Kidecals – I plan to put in another order for their waterproof labels to use on some of Rowen’s coats, boots, shoes, etc!  Can’t wait!

I received these products complimentary from Kidecals for review purposes.  Although the products were free, my opinions are all my own.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Meal Plan Monday 9/22

This past weekend was a fun one!  The highlight of the weekend was definitely our trip to our favorite pumpkin patch, Center Grove Orchard!  We had a blast seeing all the animals, playing in the corn pit, going down the big slide and riding on the hayrack!  Unfortunately, we were a week too early to pick pumpkins, but we were told we could come back next weekend for free to get them, score! This farm is a must see for any Iowa family in the Fall, I highly recommend it!

Sadly, it's already Monday again, but I've found some awesome recipes I'm excited to try this week!

Monday:  Tortilla Pie

Tuesday:  Almond Crusted Chicken 

Wednesday:  Cheesy BBQ Sloppy Joes

Thursday: Not cooking

Friday:  Homemade Hot Pockets

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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Kitchen updates

The only decorating I've really done to the kitchen since we moved in (almost a year ago) is hang curtains.  So, for the past couple of weeks, I have slowly been checking off some of the “to-do” items on my list.  I have quite a few ideas floating around in my head for this space in our house and couldn't wait to get started!

One of the first things I wanted to do was buy a large area rug for underneath the dining table.  Since moving in, I've been paranoid about the floors getting scratched so a rug was a must!  After looking at about 100 different rugs, I finally settled on a basket weave rug I found at my local furniture store (very similar to this one).  It adds instant warmth to the room, which I love.  It’s also technically an indoor/outdoor rug, which (I hope) means it’s virtually indestructible and easy to clean!

One of my most recent obsessions is table runners.  No clue why, I just really like the way they add so much color and texture to the table!  Once I found this adorable runner on Etsy I knew I had to have it! 

One of the bigger items on my to-do list was adding hardware to the kitchen cabinets.  I was super excited for this until I discovered just how pricey hardware can be!  Luckily, our local hardware store was having a sale so we ended up getting a pretty good deal on these stainless steel pulls! I absolutely love the way the hardware gives the kitchen that modern, finished look I was going for!

I still have quite a few items left on my list to finish, one of them being a super easy DIY project from Kidecals, which I will be back with next week!  Stay tuned!

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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

DIY Toddler Busy Box

I'm excited to be linking up with one of my favorite blogs, Schue Love today for a DIY Toddler Busy Box activity!  

This toddler activity was first presented to my daughter via her daycare provider and ever since, it’s been a go to activity for us at home, too!    

For this, all you need are craft beads and pipe cleaners…easy enough, right!?

Just have your little one string the beads one by one onto the pipe cleaner!  Rowen's favorite things to create are her very own princess crowns, bracelets and necklaces!  Oooh la-la! 

I highly recommend this activity as it's great for developing fine motor skills!  However, I will say, if your child is young you will want to make sure to monitor them while playing as the pieces are small and can easily be put into the mouths of little ones (side note, the larger foam beads work great, too!).

While I'm at it, check out these adorable Halloween crafts using beads and pipe cleaners - we're totally going to have to try these!

Halloween Spider: 


Monday, September 15, 2014

Meal Plan Monday 9/15

What a weekend!  Saturday morning Ryan and I woke up bright and early to meet up with friends for the Iowa vs Iowa State game in Iowa City.  Rowen had plans of her own as she spent the weekend with Ryan's parents.

While Rowen pumpkin picked with Grandma...

...we tailgated, drank a few choice beverages, ate a lot of bad-for-you foods and then convened to watch the game. The bets were high because (as usual) Ryan was cheering for the Cyclones and I was cheering for the Hawks.

I'll spare you the details, but the hawks lost in what was possibly the ugliest football game I have ever seen. Damn.

Sunday was a gorgeous day spent outside weeding and planting in the flower garden.  We started our landscape project earlier this Spring and decided to finish it this fall by planting bulbs.  I must have dug 50 holes and have the blisters to prove it!  I can't wait to see how it looks next Spring!

I ended the day with some last minute grocery shopping.  I wasn't as creative with meals for this week (sorry, I was tired), but nonetheless, it still looks delicious!

Monday:  Slow Cooker Cheesey Potato Soup (and Sandwiches)

Tuesday: Spaghetti and Meatballs with homemade Marinara 

Wednesday:  Crockpot Rootbeer and BBQ Pulled Pork

Thursday:  Not cooking

Friday:  Ramen Noodle Stir fry

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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Do you WASHI?

Normally I don’t carry a protective case on my iPhone.  Reason being, I usually run with my phone in an arm band, and taking it out of a pesky case so it fit always seemed like more work than it was worth.  Until the other night that is, when I dropped my phone on the tile floor and cracked the heck out of the screen.  Lesson learned, I guess.  Since then I’ve been on the hunt for a case.  Most of the cases I want cost between $20 and $30, which I think is ridiculous.  

Enter Washi Tape.  

Apparently Washi Tape has been around for quite sometime, but for one reason or another I’ve only recently discovered it!  I love all the bright colors and the endless amount of things you can decorate with it…including a cell phone case!

I have to say, I love the two cases I made – they turned out cute and were a fraction of the price!

Supplies Needed:
  • Clear or solid color cell phone case (found mine in the dollar bin at Target)
  • Washi Tape
  • X-acto Knife
  • Mod Podge
  • Paint Brush 

Start by taking your Washi Tape and laying it down in strips on the back of the case (be sure to line up the tape as straight as possible)

Trim the edges and the hole for the camera with your x-acto knife.

Next you’ll want to seal it with a thin layer of Mod Podge so the tape won't scratch or peel. easy and so inexpensive! 

And while I'm at it, here are a few other cute ways to Washi - check it out...

Washi Tape Letters: 

Keyboard Art:

Organize with Washi Tape:

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