How to Throw the Best Back to School Breakfast


For birthdays, milestones and holidays I like to celebrate in some way.  It doesn't always have to be big or over the top but I don't want the day to go by without showing the girls that it's an important day and that we like to celebrate the special days in our lives.  

Luckily I created this BTS Breakfast last year so I still had all the printables.  So keep that in mind that the first year it does take some time to print and cut everything but if you store it, subsequent years are super easy.  I only had to buy red paper plates, green apples and make the pencil waffles.  The waffles are super easy to create.  Make waffles as usual and then cut into a rectangle.  Cut a piece of toast into a small triangle and top with a chocolate chip.  At the top of the "pencil" place 2-3 raspberries.  Breakfast was completed with Producer's milk that we dyed yellow.  In addition to the printables I used a mason jar filled with alphabet letters and colored pencils.

Here is where I found the free printables:









How to Make Healthy and Delicious Yogurt Popsicles


We have a tradition of making popsicles every Summer and I usually try and keep them "healthy-ish."  When the girls received flamingo popsicles molds we knew it was the perfect time to keep our tradition alive.  They were so excited to make them and it was a fun and easy project to do together.  This recipe couldn't be easier and it's quite healthy compared to any store bought popsicles.

Ingredients:
Directions:

Chop strawberries very small and place in a mixing bowl.  Add sugar and yogurt and mix.  Pour into molds and freeze overnight.  Run warm water over the molds for about 60 seconds, then carefully pop out the popsicles from the mold.  Store in a ziplock bag in the freezer.




How to Make Back to School Simple but Exciting

My girls are still at the age where back to school is lots of fun.  I dread the day they dread going back to school.  Although my girls are very excited about school I have mixed feelings.  I'm excited to have them out of the house but I'm not looking forward to having to be up and at of the house by 7:45 every morning.  It's not that I ever sleep in but it's just a lot to get four people (self included) all ready by that time.  I also wish I lived in a world where Summer lasted all year round.  I love the warm weather, the play dates, the trips and all that Summer brings (minus the darn mosquito's).

So I have one hand tightly holding onto Summer and the other busily preparing for Back to School.  I saw a meme that other day that said there are 5 seasons in a year: Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall and Back to School.  It made me laugh and it's so true.  There is so much hype around back to school and so much to check off the to-do list.  There are subscriptions for just about everything now a days so why can't there be a biannual subscription for school supplies.  Delivery would be in August and January to replenish all that has broken, gotten lost, etc.  I'm going off on a tangent but maybe this is something I need to invent.  Because it's a pain to online shop and run to several stores to get everything you need for your kids to be ready to go.

Until I invent a one stop shop for Back to School shopping you are left with the current situation.  Since that's not the easiest and most convenient I've tried to make it much simpler for you and round up everything I think your children need and what is the best (all while staying affordable because that's my mantra).




The Best of Santa Cruz: Fun Vacation Guide


How we got there

We live in the Central Valley so it's a quick and easy drive for us, under three hours.  However, if you need to fly to Santa Cruz you would want to fly into the Bay Area and then rent a car.

Where we stayed

We've been traveling to Santa Cruz for several years so it's become a Summer tradition for us.  However, up until last year we always STRUGGLED with where to stay.  Santa Cruz does not have a lot to offer in terms of hotels.  Most of them are below average or there is one classic hotel but it is quite expensive.  We've tried staying in the surrounding area and even across the bay to stay in a decent place.  Luckily, last year a brand new hotel opened right in the heart of Santa Cruz.  The Hyatt Place Santa Cruz is now our very favorite spot to stay.  The location is great and the facilities are wonderful.

How to Make the Perfect Summer Snack


This post is sponsored by General Mills. All thoughts and opinions are my own.



Does anyone else have kids that are HUNGRY all day long but only for snacks?  (Come mealtime they couldn't be bothered by hunger.)  My girls could eat all.day.long and I run out of snack ideas.  I try to keep things healthy but I also try to add as much fun to Summer as possible.  So every now and then we indulge.  Insert NEW Peanut Butter Chex Cereal from Walmart...and we are NUTS about how it's the secret ingredient to summertime sweetness.  We had the perfect afternoon while brother napped "cooking" together and then a little front yard picnic for snack time.  It was so delicious we all could have finished the bowl in one sitting.  Daddy tried to hoard it and finish it himself but us girls didn't allow that.


Ingredients:
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened baking cocoa
  • 6 cups Peanut Butter Chex™ cereal
  • 1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 3 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cups cocktail peanuts
  • 1 1/2 cups mini chocolate-covered peanut butter cups
Directions

  1. In 1-gallon resealable food-storage plastic bag, mix together powdered sugar and baking cocoa; set aside.
  2. In medium bowl, measure 3 cups cereal; set aside.
  3. In small microwavable bowl, microwave chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter uncovered on High 30 seconds; stir. Microwave 15 to 30 seconds longer or until mixture can be stirred smooth. Pour mixture over cereal in bowl; stir until evenly coated.
  4. Pour coated cereal into plastic bag with powdered sugar mixture. Seal bag; shake until well coated. Spread on cooking parchment paper to cool, about 20 minutes.
  5. In large bowl, toss together cooled coated cereal, remaining 3 cups cereal, the peanuts and peanut butter cups. Store in airtight container.








How to Make A Delicious & Easy Sante Fe Salad

Summer is my all time FAVORITE time of year!  Hair gets lighter. Skin gets darker. Weather gets warmer. Drinks get colder. Music gets louder. Days get longer. Food gets yummier.  Life gets better. 
I love to entertain and even more so during the Summer because nothing beats a Summer BBQ. One of my favorite spots for stocking up for a party is Smart & Final because I can buy bulk all while grabbing the “normal” goods {can you say, best of both worlds?!?!}. Less stops for me is a total win.

My go-to dish for a Summer BBQ is my Sante Fe Salad that is great as a main course or a side dish.  It's fresh, delicious and super easy to make.  I think a key to this salad is using fresh corn off the cob and not canned corn.  It is a game changer when it comes to flavor and crunch.  Also it's just about as easy as opening up the can.  All you do is shuck the cob and then cut off the kernels; not cooking involved.  Another reason I love this salad is because it's so versatile.  You can add or subtract ingredients to your liking.


Ingredients:
  • Lettuce
  • Tortilla Strips
  • Cob of Corn, Cut raw
  • Black Beans
  • Bell Pepper, Sliced into thin strips
  • Avocado, Diced
  • Shredded Mexican Cheese
  • Ranch Dressing
Directions:

Wash lettuce or use 1 bag of Iceberg lettuce mix.  Place in bowl with fresh cut corn, rinsed black beans, bell pepper, avocado and tortilla strips.  Toss in Ranch Dressing and top with shredded cheese.  Use amounts to your desire of all ingredients.  If I'm making this salad for 4-6 people I use 1 cob of corn, 1 can of black beans, 1 bell pepper, 1 avocado,  and 1 bag of lettuce.  If I'm making this salad as the main entree I add chicken.

Summertime Fun- Breakfast in Bed with Blueberry Cheerios

This post is sponsored by General Mills. All thoughts and opinions are my own.




Summer is flying by way too quickly; it's our favorite time of the year.  We are soaking up all that summer brings including slow mornings.  During the school year, mornings are always hectic, rushed, and chaotic, so I make a point to make mornings more enjoyable during the break.  Every now and then, I make it even more fun because hey it's summer and I can!  My girls always are so excited to bring me breakfast in bed on Mother's Day, and so I knew they would get such a kick out of me doing breakfast in bed for them. It was even more exciting to have a breakfast party in mommy's bed.


What kid doesn't love Cheerios?!?!  So we had to give the NEW Blueberry Cheerios a try for our family breakfast in bed.  After a little taste test, I already know it will be for sure a summertime staple for breakfast, and I know it will stick around as soon as school starts because it's a quick and easy option. The girls love the fun new flavor, and this mama loves that it's made with real blueberry puree.







I'm always looking for simple ways to create memories with my girls, and I want to encourage you to do the same.  Life is crazy, and we all need opportunities to slow down and appreciate our time together. It's not about the "things" in life but way more about the moments.  Breakfast in bed was fun and memorable and only took a little milk, cereal, and a whole lotta fun. You can find the NEW Blueberry Cheerios at your local Walmart.