• 2015 Year In Review

    Hey now friends! Welcome to the Blogging Besties’ 2015: A Year in Review Link-Up Party!

    We are ready to show 2o16 who’s the boss, but before we do, we want to give 2015 a proper send-off. The highs, the lows, the smiles, the tears, the trips, the holidays, the birthdays, the anniversaries, the babies…whatever it is that made 2015 special, we want to know about it! Grab a button, visit the hosts, and link up your post about what 2015 meant to you!

    Hosts: Kristine: The Foley Fam // Megan: Absolute Mommy // Kate: The Colbert Clan // Lena: Lena B, Actually // Renee: coffee-n-ink // Kara: Chasing Zoie // Laura: Bits of Sweetness // Kassi and Kayli: Kassarie & Kayliray

    2015 was a very interesting year for my family. It was a year where we still had many firsts without my mom and adjusting to this new world without her.

    But it was also a year full of love, laughter, lots of recipes and DIY/craft projects and spending time with my family. I feel like I let 2014 slip away and I wasn’t going to do the same with 2015.

    January was a long cold month. We spent a lot of time inside, which meant playing, movies and cuddling. It is also when I got some projects done. I shared these DIY Coffee Sleeves, which I made a ton of them and gave to my sisters, girlfriends, and all of Travis’ female coworkers. I also made the most delicious Vegetable Beef Soup that my family is probably getting sick of because I make it so often. But it is delicious!

    janFebruary I shared my bedroom makeover, almost a year late. I also shared some of my favorite fonts I use when I create things for my blog, and these delicious Valentine’s Day Whoopie Pies. As the weather warmed slightly, we started spending a little time outside when we could! I also turned 32 and had dinner with my little family and my dad then came home where more family and friends joined us for cake.

    FebSummer and I had a few girls days where we got pedicures, shopped and dressed like princesses.

    IMG_20150214_100435March we were sick. Like, all.month.long. We actually were sick more times that I’d like to say during the entire year of 2015… but March really kicked our bums! We tried making our first gummy worms, we played outside in the backyard, getting fresh air whenever we could, and we played at the park.

    MarchI also shared these awesome DIY Canvas’ that I whipped up pretty quick! And I made these amazing Pizza Rolls, that are seriously delicious! And I finally shared this DIY Quilt I made for Summer the year before! And Travis turned 31.

    April we had park playdates with friends, the kids finally got to meet their new baby cousin, Oliver. Celebrated my MOM by having ice cream and sent some balloon messages to her in Heaven. And Zachary became a TEENAGER!

    AprilI also shared these DIY Coffee Mugs I made, DIY Makeup Remover Pads, and this delicious Sliced Baked Potato. Travis and I took our first “real” vacation for our 5th anniversary and headed to MAUI! Check out Day 1, Day 2, Day 3 and Day 4!!

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    May was a lot warmer outside and we spent a lot of time outside at the park, with friends and at Papa’s house. We also took on a big project by ripping out the shrubs in the back yard and putting down sod.

    grass collage

    May15 collageI shared my Mom’s Night In, this delicious Pesto Chicken Ciabatta, Chicken Spinach Lasagna, and How you can make your own butter!

    I also got my first business cards made for my first Blog Conference, and I had my first In-N-Out burger. maycollage 20150530_103727

    June really started off our water play! We spent time at several different lakes and rivers. Some with friends, some with family, but all fun!

    June collage

    June15

    I made a pennant banner and curtains for Summer’s big girl room, Super Moist Stuffed Peppers

    July brought much more water days to our future. I became a BeachBody Coach, I made my own vinyl signs, and this delicious S’mores Frappuccino.

    July

    JUly15

    August started with a Seattle trip with friends to the Aquarium and Zoo. Lots of water dates and lounging in the house because it was a scorcher! I also saw Rascal Flatts for my THIRTEENTH time! And it was Zach’s 3rd time seeing them! And I had a sister date, which that like, never happens!

    Seattle

    Aug 15

    I also shared these mouth watering Pulled BBQ Chicken Sandwiches, and this healthy alternative to a Chicken Salad Sandwich.

    September is always a busy month. Getting kids back to school and in a normal routine, open houses, Summer’s birthday… We started off with going to Pig Out in the Park where we did just that! We also fed the garbage goat, slid down the slide at the Big Red Wagon, rode the carousel and enjoyed the sights of our own town.

    Sept

    Summer bdayI had to take Summer to the ER a couple of days after her birthday and the poor girl had croup! Tyler and Zach went back to school and my sister, niece and I went to Gavin DeGraw and Shania Twain! Plus we traded in my swagger wagon for my awesome new Tahoe, which I love! Can I just say that butt warmers are one of the coolest inventions?

    PicMonkey Collage

    Delicious Monkey bread, Zucchini Lasagna and Summer’s big girl bedroom were shared on the blog.

    October finally slowed down a little. We had a joint birthday party for Tyler and Summer. It was carnival themed, and you might have read about it HERE. We celebrated Tyler’s Birthday, Halloween, and a clean up day at my dad’s house to get all the leaves cleaned up. But first we played in them! Plus, Tyler is learning that it is no fun to lose! Love my little Minnie Mouse and Power ranger!

    October

    One the blog I shared BBQ Chicken Nachos, my Tips for doing 21 Day Fix and Pumpkin Waffles.

    November was reasonably quiet. Except on days the Seahawks play! We enjoyed the days where we could get some things done, and spending time with family for Thanksgiving. Travis got a new truck and also got his first bull elk on his annual hunting trip. We also heard that the city was tearing down my Grandma’s old house, so we went over to check it out.

    November

    On the blog I shared Pull apart Pizza Bites, this delicious Chicken and Spinach Bake, and an amazing Pecan Pie Milkshake…. You don’t want to miss that one!

    December was busy again with Christmas parties and programs, friend get-togethers and snow play. Lots and lots of snow play. We got well over a foot the week of Christmas and we headed to Papa’s on several occasions to go sledding. Plus you’ll find snowmen in our own back yard as well. The kids got too spoiled at Christmas and I did too. I even got Justin Bieber’s new cd and there is #noshameinmygame !

    December

    On the blog I shared some Oohey-Gooey Peanut Butter Cookies, and some One Pan Mexican Quinoa!

    Whew! If you made it through all of that…. Thank you! It has been a pretty great year and I’m looking forward to next year! Now go check out everyone else who linked up and be sure to link up your own year in review!


  • Oohey-Gooey Peanut Butter Cookies

    Two food posts in ONE day, say whaaat?

    I just couldn’t not share this recipe immediately! I just made these Peanut Butter cookies last night and they are pretty amazing. Like, so amazing that I had to put them out of my sight so I would stop eating them!

    Oohey-Gooey Peanut Butter Cookies

    Yesterday I had grabbed this Skippy Natural Peanut Butter from Walmart, and as you can see I grabbed a couple of other things as well! Like the Skippy Baking Cups because, why not have pre measured peanut butter for when I am making treats? And the Skippy PB Bites because, why not? Who doesn’t love a bite of peanut butter that you can just toss in your mouth?

    Skippy PB

    YA, we taste tested and they are kid AND mom approved!

    Skippy PB Bites

    So we got right to baking! Starting off with one bowl, getting the ingredients mixed well!

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    And a second bowl together the remaining ingredients

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    Then combine the two together

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    Scoop the cookie mix onto your cookie sheet

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    While your cookies are baking, mix together the powdered sugar and peanut butter for the filling

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    YUM!

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    Now flip half of the cookies

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    Add peanut butter

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    And top with the second cookie

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    And squish them together

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    Then try not to eat them all!

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    • 1½ cups quick oats
    • ½ cup flour
    • ½ cup sugar
    • ½ cup brown sugar
    • ½ teaspoon baking powder
    • ½ teaspoon baking soda
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
    • ½ cup Skippy Natural peanut butter (creamy)
    • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
    • 1 egg
    For the peanut butter filling:
    • ½ cup powdered sugar
    • 1 cup creamy peanut butter**
    1. Preheat an oven to 350°F.
    2. In a medium size bowl, stir together the oats, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
    3. In another bowl, mix butter, sugar, brown sugar, egg, peanut butter, and vanilla.
    4. Mix the two bowls together, just until combined.
    5. Using a cookie scoop, place teaspoons of the mix onto a cookie sheet. (I used a spoon to flatten out my cookies, other wise they might not be as flat as these)
    6. Bake for 8 minutes then let cool.
    7. Once you have your first batch cooking, Mix together the powdered sugar and peanut butter for about 3-5 minutes.
    8. After cookies are cooled flip half of the cookies upside down. Add about a tablespoon of filling to each upside down cookie then place a second cookie on top of filling and press together.

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    *Recipe from bromabakery.com

    **One thing to note is that the original recipes says to NOT use Natural PB for the filling part of the recipe, so I didn’t. But I did use Natural PB for the cookies.

    What are your favorite peanut putter treats? Check out PeanutButter.com to get a coupon and find more peanut butter recipes!

  • One Pan Mexican Quinoa

    I can’t believe it is almost Christmas! Who is ready? I am, I am! I decorated the house early this year and made treats, had Tyler’s Christmas program at school, got shopping done early, I m in the spirit! However, I still have all of my wrapping to do and I’m hoping to get it done in the next couple of days during “quiet time”.

    But for now, I am going to share this awesome recipe with you. When I first started 21 Day Fix I was searching high and low to find recipes that I could make for myself but also for my family. I was making one thing for my husband and kids and another thing for me. And while sometimes that is okay, and it works out, sometimes it is just a pain in the butt!

    I really wanted to find more meals that we would all enjoy together. And I’m not going to lie. This wasn’t a favorite by everyone in the house. My husband hears the word “quinoa” and instantly backs away, and that is okay. We’ve had some interesting experiences with quinoa in the past so I get that he is hesitant! And Tyler and Zach didn’t love it either, though they did eat what was on their plate, they weren’t asking for seconds!

    But my little eater, Summer, loved this One Pan Mexican Quinoa as much as I did. It is a tad bit spicy but even that didn’t deter her, she loved it. One a plus side since the guys don’t like it, it means more for me. I separate it into a few dishes and I eat it for lunch or dinner over the next few days.
    One Pan Mexican Quinoa

    You’ll start with some olive oil over medium heat and cooking your garlic and jalapeno.

    One Pan Mexican Quinoa

    Then you add everything else into the pan.

    One Pan Mexican Quinoa

    And let it cook

    One Pan Mexican Quinoa

    Then add the avocado, lime juice and cilantro. (I actually skip the cilantro because I don’t LOVE it)

    One Pan Mexican Quinoa

    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 jalapeno, minced
    • 1 cup quinoa
    • 1 cup vegetable broth
    • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
    • 1 (14.5 oz) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
    • 1 cup corn kernels
    • 1 teaspoon chili powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
    • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
    • 1 avocado, halved, seeded, peeled and diced
    • Juice of 1 lime
    • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
    1. Heat olive oil in a LARGE skillet over medium high heat.
    2. Add garlic and jalapeno, and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
    3. Stir in quinoa, vegetable broth, beans, tomatoes, corn, chili powder and cumin; season with salt and pepper, to taste.
    4. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat and simmer until quinoa is cooked through, about 20 minutes.
    5. Stir in avocado and lime juice

    One Pan Mexican Quinoa

    This makes a lot! And it is a little spicy but it is so delicious! A great recipe to try if you are doing 21 Day Fix or just looking for a healthy dinner! Give it a try and let me know what you think!

    What is your favorite way to eat Quinoa?

  • Gifting Yankee Candle to the Car Lover in your life

    This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #LoveAmericanHome #CollectiveBias

    Christmas is right around the corner, my friends! Who is ready?

    I very rarely get my shopping done early but this year the kids had pretty quick and to the point ideas on what they were hoping to find under the Christmas tree come December 25th. That makes it nice and easy to shop for them. Especially since I an get most of it done from the comfort of my own home and without little eyes watching me. After Summer shopped with me for Tyler’s birthday and then told him most of the things he was getting, I didn’t want a repeat so online shopping was mainly where it was at this year!

    But one person that I always struggle to buy for is my husband. Ladies, I’m sure you can relate to this, yes? If not your spouse, then maybe it is your dad? Or brother? No matter who it is I have a awesome solution to make shopping for the guy in your life quick and easy.

    YankeeCandle

    Travis is the kind of guy that if he needs something, he goes and gets it. So when holidays come around I am always struggling to get him something fun, that he isn’t going to expect. But I’ll admit that we’ve had our share of duds. Like for Father’s Day when we bought him golf clubs, which I was so excited about. But he has never golfed before and still hasn’t….

    So why make this hard on yourself? Instead, gift Yankee Candle® to the car lover in your life! Travis got a new truck not too long ago and so the timing couldn’t have been better.

    I headed to my local Walmart to grab a few items to make the perfect car themed gift basket.  Starting with the Yankee Candle® brand fragrances.

    Yankee

    I love Yankee Candle® and have been using the Car Jar fragrances in my car for years. Clean Cotton all the way! You might even find a few clean cotton candles through out my house because I love the fresh clean linen freshness that it gives off! And they are not only perfect for the car, but other small spaces like linen closets!

    This time, since I was buying for my husband after all, I decided to buy the Macintosh Apple because I knew he would like to have the change and I’ll probably steal the clean cotton from him anyway. And they were easy to find in the Air Care aisle of your local Walmart.

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    I also grabbed a few other necessities. A bucket, wash and scrub sponge, rags, tire shine, cleaner, window scraper, wet ones and tissues. I even added in a fun little Hula doll!

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    So now I have a fun, easy and inexpensive gift for not only my husband but any car lover out there.

    Now I have shared my ideas for the hard to buy for shopper in my life, What do you get the hard to buy for shopper in yours?

  • Turning everyday moments into #FeelGooder Moments with Zone Perfect

    I feel like so often people think that they have to get or receive something in order to feel good. Something has to be “happening” for them to feel good. But that is not true. Sure, those times when someone does something nice for you it does make you feel good and maybe even make you want to pay if forward. But why wait until someone does something for you? Why not start that chain yourself?

    PerfectlySimple

    Everyone wants those moments that make them feel good about themselves, about their relationships, about their life choices.

    A few of my favorite things are:

    Getting a pedicure
    Getting my hair cut and/or colored
    Exercising
    Eating healthy food
    Going to a movie with the kids
    Having a date night with my husband

    You get the drift, yes?

    But what about even smaller moments? The #FeelGooder moments?

    Like eating healthy food and starting my kids off on making good food choices while they are young.
    Buying the persons coffee that is in line behind me.
    Renting a movie and eating popcorn on the couch with my husband and kids.
    Or coloring in a coloring book with the kids.
    Making a holiday countdown.
    Making holiday treats to share with our friends and family.
    Filling a paper bag with food and toiletries to donate to a shelter.

    If you ever look on Pinterest you have probably seen something called a “Blessings Bag”. It is where you take a Gallon size bag (or something similar) and you fill it with items that a homeless person could use. With it getting colder rapidly in the Pacific North West it is a great time to donate items to the shelter, or if you see a person on the side of the road asking for help. So I decided to put together some of these little bags to help out people in need.

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    Some of the items I decided to put in my bag include:

    Deodorant
    razors
    Shaving cream
    Shampoo
    Conditioner
    Chap stick
    Hand Sanitizer
    Body Wash
    Toothbrush
    Toothpaste
    Floss
    Mouthwash
    Granola Bars
    Hair ties
    Face wash

    I will also be adding brand new socks and some cotton gloves, but I didn’t have any to show for my picture.

    Blessings Bag

    One thing I wanted to add in was Granola bars.

    PicMonkey Collage2

    While I think any kind would be great, I picked the Perfectly Simple because of the ingredients in them and because they are packed with protein while still lower calorie to help keep you full for longer. They are individually wrapped which are perfect to put a couple inside of a Blessings Bag. And they come in four great flavors:

     Almond Toffee Crunch
    • Bing Cherry & Almond
    • Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk
    • Roasted Cashew & Dark Chocolate

    I have tried all 4 flavors and I will say that the Oatmeal Chocolate Crunch is the best!!

    Want a coupon to get $1 off of your own Perfectly Simple granola bars? Get it HERE!

    What do you do to create #feelgooder moments in your life?