January 27, 2014

Menu Monday


Weekend recap:


Friday night festivities---play, bath, rough housing with dad.  The norm.




Saturday we headed to Melbourne to visit with Mike’s buddy who was in town from Wisconsin with his sister’s family for some R & R.

We met for brunch at New Day CafĂ© and were pleasantly surprised.  Our bill was inexpensive and the food was delish.  A perfect midday stop.




I opted for a mushroom and cheese omelet – yum.




After brunch we headed to the beach!  Nick’s hotel was on the beach and it was a perfect day for some sandy fun.  Everett and Nick’s nephew Emerson had a great time searching for shells and getting dirty in the “baby pit”.








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The boys even did the polar plunge – only Wisconsinites would even attempt it.  Crazies.


Sunday was full of eating (another successful family breakfast), playing, grocery shopping, running, bathing and “almost” walking (he’s so close!).




We also spent the weekend transitioning from not only bottles to sippy cups but formula to milk at the same time since the 1 year mark is quickly approaching!  It was a little touch and go for a little while, but E is transitioning pretty well.  We are still keeping the night-time bottle for some comfort, but all other times are sippy cups. 

He loves (and has for a while) water out of a cup, but was a little freaked out with the milk…once I put it in a cup that he couldn’t see what was in it – it worked like a charm.  Score. It’s all about smoke and mirrors; I am definitely not above tricking a toddler into doing anything!

As for our food this week – lots of new recipes*.  I will keep you posted on the keepers.


M:  Steak Quesadillas w/ Corn on the Cob

T:  Mushroom Stuffed Grilled Chicken* w/ Roasted Green Beans

W:  Tuna Sandwiches w/ Carrot Sticks

Th:  Pork Chops w/ Cherry Cous Cous* and Balsamic Mushrooms

F:  Beef Barley Soup*

Sa:  Spinach Lasagna Roll-ups

Su:  E’s 1st Birthday Party!

Have a great week!



I’d say that’s a wrap!

January 25, 2014

At the Moment


Here are some things I am loving at the moment---



1.  Basket case.  A tisket a tasket, necessities in a basket.

 As most of you know, with a toddler comes flexibility.  Needless to say our house is quite fluid at the moment and constantly changing to fit E’s ever changing needs and interests.  Long gone are the days of pretty table centerpieces.  After a few close calls (Everett loves to reach, grab and pull everything off the table) I decided to make our kitchen table centerpiece kid and cleanup friendly.




I stash a few books to read while he’s eating (when we have time), tissues for the ever running nose and a container of wet wipes.  It is so nice to have everything within an arms reach and the wet wipes make it very convenient to wipe off dirty hands and faces and a quick swipe of the high chair.  This basket has been a Godsend!





2.  Tomato paste in a tube.  Genius.

 How many times have you wasted half of a can of tomato paste?  Almost every time for me.  If that is happening in your house I highly recommend tomato paste in a tube.  It’s quick, easy and a lot less wasteful! 

You can find a few different selections in the pasta aisle of your local grocery store (or at Publix at least!).





3.  Personal stamper.  So worth the money and makes a great housewarming (or anytime) gift.

I can honestly say that this gift from my mom was one of the best gifts yet.  When it came to Christmas cards and first birthday invitations this little darling saved us so.much.time…and it’s super cute stamped on an invitation!

These personal stampers can run anywhere from 30-50ish dollars, but will last for years.  There are even some models that come with different color stamp pads to add some variety.  This gem gets twelve thumbs up in my book!




There are quite a few places to purchase custom self inking stampers online such as The Stationary Studio, Etsy and Expressionary.com (that’s where ours came from).  Many of these sites also offer holiday, book, recipe, monogram and fill in the blank stampers as well.




4.  Old Navy Activewear. Who knew?

A few weeks ago I stumbled upon a major sale at Old Navy which just happens to always be one of my go-to stores.  I had been looking for a few new pieces of workout wear and noticed a $10 sale on running pants.  I decided to try them out and have been nothing but pleased! 

They fit SO WELL and have super fun patterns to make black spandex just a little more interesting.  I haven't tried any of the tops yet, but they will definitely be in my workout wardrobe soon if they are of the same quality and wear-ability as the pants.  Super impressed (if I could do a thumbs up emoji I would insert it here).



(photo via www.fitnessista.com)





5.  “Homemade” invitations and save the dates. Super $$$ saver!

I found out about Rhonna Designs through another blog that I read and originally downloaded it as a photo editing tool.  Around the same time I had downloaded it, I was trying to come up with a fun save the date (email) idea for our friends’ baby shower…and then it hit me.  If I can use the fonts to add to a picture, then why can’t I just save a background (or use one of the few included with the app purchase) and add text on top of that.

Boom.  It worked and I have been a crazy invitation making lady ever since.  I love it.





 The app was $1.99 (usually I am a free app girl) but so worth it.  The best part of the whole process is that your creations can be saved as an image (perfect for emailing or texting) or you can upload it to any print shop – Fedex, UPS, Staples, Office Depot, etc – and have your invitations printed in color for at least half off of a traditional invitation retailer’s price.  Most print shops all sell colored envelopes that will match perfectly with whatever colors you choose for your invitation.

 I have included a few originals (below) that I have made so far and love the idea of personalizing invitations without paying a fortune.  It does take practice, but I have totally enjoyed it.  I usually either start by playing around with colors and designs; or I go to Pinterest for some inspiration and then take off from there.  I have also found that it is much easier to create an invitation on the iPad versus your phone.

I also found a few of the tutorials on the website very helpful in showing how to do some of the more complex features (including masking and fine tuning – linked on the picture above).  Enjoy, be creative and have fun!




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January 21, 2014

Confetti Bars


I love hand held, two bite desserts. 

When I was deciding on what to make as one of the desserts for the baby shower we recently helped host, I knew I wanted something that would be grab and go.  I also knew that one of the shower honorees, Jeremy, loved cookie cake.  I was actually able to mesh the two things and made these delicious M&M cookie bars.

I found the recipe on Pinterest (of course) but made a bit of a change by adding about 2 teaspoons of corn starch.  I think it helps keep the dough chewy and seems to be the secret ingredient when it comes to making delicious cookie cakes.

The results were fabulous and the cookie bars were gone in no time.  They keep for a couple of days but are best eaten when they are slightly cooled with a glass of cold milk.  Mmmmmm.




Thick and Chewy M&M Cookie Bars
adapted from fantasticfamilyfavorites.blogspot.com

Print this recipe!

2 1/8 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp. corn starch

12 T butter (1 1/2 sticks), melted and cooled slightly
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 12oz bag M&M's, divided

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Adjust the oven rack to lower-middle position. Line a 9X13-inch baking pan with foil, letting the excess hang over the edges of the pan by about 1 inch so you can grab those edges and pull the bars from the pan after they have baked. Spray the foil-lined pan with nonstick cooking spray.

2. Mix the flour, salt, corn starch and baking soda together in medium bowl; set aside. Whisk the melted butter and sugars in a large bowl until combined. Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla and mix well. Using a rubber spatula, fold the dry ingredients into the egg mixture until just combined; do not over mix. Fold in 1 cup of M&M's and turn the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with the spatula. Sprinkle remaining M&M's on top and press in slightly.

3. Bake until the top of the bars is light golden brown, slightly firm to the touch, and edges start pulling away from sides of pan, 24-28 minutes. Cool on a wire rack to room temperature. Remove the bars from the pan by lifting the foil overhang and transfer them to a cutting board. Cut into squares and serve.



January 20, 2014

Menu Monday


Happy MLK, Jr. Day!  We had a great long weekend that was packed full of fun.

Here are the highlights:

Rough housing with Charlie Brown, Pancakes Benedict (a Grocery Lane original), family breakfast two days in a row, independent play, more eating and playing.




Saturday afternoon we even started making some of the decorations for the little guy’s first birthday party that is coming up in a few weeks.  I am so excited with the final result and can’t wait to share it with you all soon!  Everett also had a visit from “Nanny Nomo” (our friend Noelle) who came over for dinner.  It was so good to catch up with her and eat cupcakes – her specialty!

Sunday morning Gransie (my mom) came down to watch E since we were heading to Clearwater for the night.  Our friends Jessica and Don were getting married and it was our first night together away from the kiddo.  It felt so weird to not have any “responsibility” (I use that term loosly) for the night and we had a blast.

Jessica looked gorgeous and the weather/setting was perfect.  We were so happy to be a part of their special day.




After “sleeping in” a little bit we met up with one of my friends from Gainesville, Megan, for a quick breakfast before heading back home.  It was so good to catch up (we haven’t seen each other in years) and it felt like no time had passed.  There is just something about good friends!

This week is more of the same with a visit at the end of the week with some friends in town from Wisconsin. 


Here’s what will be on our plates, I hope you’re eating yummy food, too!


M:  French Dip Paninis

T:  Breakfast Burgers w/ Sweet Potato Fries

W:  Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup

Th:  Chicken Pesto Pizza

F:  Taco Salad

Sa:  Broccoli, Ham and Cheese Baked Potatoes

Su:  Beef Stew with Veggies and Mashed Potatoes


Have a great week!