12 Apple Inspired Dinners

It is time to head to the orchard and harvest plenty of
beautiful apples! I will,of course, make apple crisps, pies, and even applesauce, but this year, my mind is going to dinner inspiration instead of just desserts!

I found 12 awesome apple inspired dinners that I will certainly be making after my trips to the orchard! From slaws to salads and so many other dishes that there has to be something on this list for everyone!

Why not add an apple to dinner? You know what they say about keeping the doctor away and all!

Which of these recipes will you try first? The apple chicken salad sounds perfect for a picnic dinner amidst the crunchy leaves. If you have a recipe that puts apples in your dinner I would love to hear about it!

Underwear Training with Harper & Easy Ups

This post has been sponsored by  Iconnect and Pampers but all opinions are my own.

It seems like only yesterday I was preparing to meet her; my belly bulged and my body ached, my bags were packed. Somehow, she is turning 3. Her hair is long and golden blonde; her legs are long and for an almost 3 year old she is tall. She knows her colors, her shapes, her ABC's and she can count to 12. She is  ready to say bye bye to diapers and is quick to announce when she needs to go pee.

We have been using Pampers Easy Ups with Harper because they are easy for her to pull up and down whenever she needs to hit the potty. I love that the sides are secure and don't have velcro to hold them together, with a little one that might need to pull her big girl pants up and down a few times before changing that is important to me.

Harper got incredibly excited to see Dora on her Easy Ups! She could hardly wait to get her easy up on and her diaper off after spying the package and I knew right away that this adventure in underwear training was going to go well, with that kind of enthusiasm, it had to!

I have a few tips to share with other moms who are potty training, I have used both of these with my kids with stellar results.

1) Make sure you have potty chairs available to your child. One potty is not enough, we have a 2 story home, so I have 2 pottys per floor available. If she needs to go, I want her to be able to go! 

2) Praise the child when she goes to the potty! We give high fives and fist bumps every time she goes. We might be high-fiving 15 times a day, but it gets excited!

3) Use a product designed with your little one in mind, like Pampers Easy Ups.

4) Let her pick out her own panties as a motivator. 

5) Don't stress. Accidents happen. Every child develops differently and when the time is right, your little one will start consistently using the potty. The best thing you can do is to be positive about the potty for your little one.

If your little one is ready to begin working towards the milestone of underwear training, you won't want to miss this chance to print a $2 coupon for your Easy Ups purchase!

I also want to give you a chance to win an Underwear Training Prize pack that includes:

  • $50 AMEX Card
  • Pampers Easy Ups
  • Ilana Wile's book, "The Mommy Shorts Guide to Remarkably Average Parenting"
This giveaway ends on 10/4 and is open to US residents 18+.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday 323 - 327

You guys... I have the best intentions with this series, I really do. I want to share my life with you while leaving a documentation for my kids of how we spent our time when they were little, but the summer is the worst time for me to even think about Saturday. Everyday feels like Saturday when the whole family is on summer break.

On Saturday 323, we went to the Lincoln Highway Buyway Yard Sales in Upper Sandusky. We brought home assorted junk like a mini pie making machine, an ice cream machine, toys, dishes for the blog and etc.
It stormed on the way home, so we got drenched. That after the heat of the day was enough to do all 4 of us in!

On Saturday 324 we didn't do anything exciting. We got up early, we played. Same old weekend in the summer song and dance.

On Saturday #325 we went to the Lego Brick Universe Convention in Columbus. The kids and I took a long mall walk that day, as we kind of love doing that. We noshed at A&W Rootbeer for dinner. Again, it rained. But we were lucky to take in the Topiary Park before the storm moved in also.

On Saturday #326, it was the first weekend after my husband was back to work. We were getting ready for Rolfie to start school also, so that weekend was spent gathering supplies and trying to soak in the last moments of summer.

Saturday 327, Harper woke everyone up at 2:20 am, Rolf was unable to sleep after that. He insisted that we get up at 3 am. I was a bear. I refused to cook breakfast that early. I handed over the remote, took the lightsabers away and dozed on the sofa til 6 am. We did nothing all day. We made some crafts, I cleaned up a million and three messes. Harper and I stayed home as the boys were to a viewing the night sky event.

So, we are back in school now. Weekends are growing more precious as our only family time without the rush of school. Hopefully this series will become more interesting for you guys at some point. Harp and Rolf, when you read back on this as adults, I know... our Saturdays have been lame. Love you!

Jay Franco Spiderman Fun for My Daughter!

This conversation has been sponsored in product of payment. However, all opinions are my own.

My daughter Harper has a hard time keeping her blankets on her bed. Several times a night she will wake up and cry, "Mommy! I am cold!", or, "Help me!!" It always revolves around those blankets working their way down and her losing them.

When I heard we were going to get to try a  Zippy Sack in the Jay Franco Spiderman theme, I knew this was going to be a product that helped Harper sleep better, and for that matter me too. Let me tell you a little more about this innovative product for kids.

ZippySack is a fleece blanket that fits on a bed just like a fitted sheet. It stays in place and keeps kids warm all night. In the morning, just zip and flip and the bed is made in seconds!

Harper is a big Spiderman fan, but I didn't know how she would feel about adding A ZippySack to her bed. I thought she might be turned off the idea of it, but she literally squealed with delight at the sight of her Jay Franco Zippy Sack.

The fun didn't stop there for Harper she also got an awesome Spiderman plush pillow buddy toy and a hooded towel in the same theme. She was really impressed with a touch of Superhero fun in her room.

You can find these awesome Jay Franco items on Amazon or instore at Walmart locations. If you have a little one that loses blankets, fusses over making beds or just needs a touch of fun in their room, this is the line to look into! We have been very impressed with our Spiderman Jay Franco items and I know your family will be too.

If you feel lucky, enter to win these items!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Grilled Chicken: 10 Delicious Ways

Fall might be here, but in my mind, that makes it the ideal time of year to fire up the grill! There is something special about gathering outdoors on a crisp evening and chowing down on some grilled chicken that I can't resist!

If you feel the same way about fall grilling you won't want to miss these 10 recipes! Of course, you could always bookmark or pin this recipe for future reference when the weather better suits you for grilling!

Which of these grilled chicken recipes do you think you will make first? I think the Grilled Honey Mustard Chicken sounds pretty fantastic! If you have a grilled chicken recipe that you often go to when you need an awesome dinner, I would love to hear about it!

Jalapeno Popper Spread

Creamy and spreadable, this Jalapeno Popper Spread recipe comes together easily, adds the perfect touch of heat to the cool creaminess of the cheese and best of all... it has bacon in it!

You guys, there are some things in this life that are made for one reason only, to enjoy. On my list of things one is meant to enjoy, no arguments you will find cream cheese, jalapeno peppers, and bacon, as well as the good stuff like puppy breath, the softness of tissues and a luxury pillows.

If there are things meant to enjoy in life, is it wrong to want to enjoy them at the same time? Is it crazy to snuggle a puppy chilling on a luxury pillow with a soft tissue at your disposal? Nah... not crazy, unless you mean crazy awesome. So, why not take a few favorite foods and combine them into one awesome spread to serve at your next party?

This is so easy and yummy that you might want to make a double batch if you are tailgating. It will go fast!
You can serve it with a nice bread, any kind of crackers, or if you thin it down a little, you could use this as a dip!

2 Jalapeno Peppers
6 ounces of softened cream cheese
4 ounces of shredded cheddar cheese
4 ounces of real bacon bits

Remove the seeds from your peppers and chop them.

Add to the cream cheese.
Add shredded cheese.

Add bacon.
Mix well, with a fork until well blended.

Serve with crackers or on bread. This also makes a delicious addition to just about any sandwich you might make!

Shiny Happy Pumpkin Craft

I know it is early into the month of September. I get it, it is still summer technically, but you guys... I can't resist making some awesome pumpkin crafts with my kids!

Today, we were ready to jump into the fall theme of things, so we surveyed our craft supplies and made these Shiny Happy Pumpkins! My almost 3 year old loved these large sequins and thought they were beautiful! I have to admit, this is the shiniest fall craft we have ever made, they do look happy too!!

To make a shiny happy pumpkin you will need:
A Paper Plate
White School Glue
Black Construction Paper
Large Sequins in Brown, Burgundy and Orange

Apply glue to the paper plate, be generous!

Start filling in the plate with the large sequins. This is a great fine motor activity for kids of all ages! The sequins stick together and working them apart is great for little fingers!

As you fill in your plate, cut eyes and a mouth for your shiny happy pumpkin. With glue apply the facial features to the sequined plate.

And there you have a Shiny Happy Pumpkin!

Saturday #322

The dog days of summer are here. It is hot in the morning, hot in the middle of the day and hot at night. We spend the morning building Angry Birds K'nex sets and knocking them down. K'nex are hot right now in our house and I can agree to a building and destroying session in the cool comfort of the house on any 90 degree day.

On Saturday #322, we were zapped of our will to have too much fun. Despite the heat of the morning, as the sun was rising the kids and I decided we needed donuts, and we needed them now. We took a sunrise walk to get chocolate frosted donuts.

We were sweaty by the time we walked home, but the donuts were worth a sweat! All 3 of us were content to soak up the air conditioning with cartoons and K'nex building sessions! We let Daddy sleep in and we spent the morning in various stages of rest.

We eventually decided to move the sprinkler over to the shadiest part of our yard and let the kids play in it. They were chilled and tired after about 30 minutes, we again retreated indoors, where we resumed our lazy day.

Saturdays over the summer are really boring. We tend to stay home more often than not as we have all week to do whatever we like without fighting the weekend crowds. Thanks for bearing with me on this uneventful and very late version of our Saturday!

7 Delicious Ways to Incorporate Apples into Your Breakfast

Fall is here! That means it is time to head out to the orchard for a day of family fun. Make sure you pick a few extra this year because I found 7 delicious recipes to make breakfast the apple of your eye.

PB&J Apple Oatmeal is a yummy and healthy way to start any day!

Pear Stuffed Baked Apples are healthy, packed full of fruit and nuts and would make a very sweet start to any day!

Apple & Bacon Coffee Cake is a dream come true. Cake and Bacon are a few of my favorite things.

Do you like hash? This Apple, Sausage and Bean Hash looks like a hearty start to any day. It would also make a great dinner option.

Apple Pie Granola can multi task! Enjoy it for a quick breakfast on the go or as a healthy snack later in the day.

Apple Streusel Pancakes are almost too good to be true! What a fancy spin on the standard old breakfast food.

This Energy Boosting Morning Smoothie may be green but it is filled with good stuff like apples for a healthy start to the day.

What is your favorite way to enjoy an apple with breakfast?

Dumplings with Mushroom Sauce

Planning a dinner party anytime soon? If so I’d love to suggest using Popkoff’s pierogis to take your guests on a trip around the world. Now, you may be wondering what the heck a pierogi is. Pierogis are stuffed dumplings from Eastern Europe – just boil them in water for 5 minutes, and they are ready to eat.

With the many different varieties of Popkoff’s—everything from Potato & Onion Vareneki to Pelmeni filled with chicken, it’s easy to treat your guests to a Pierogi Party! The dumplings can be used in many ways – try it’s traditional preparation, or with mushroom sauce, or even cold in salads.

I had never tried a pierogi before, so I didn't know what to expect.But you guys... these things are totally yummy!

I want to share my favorite recipe from Popkoff's with you.

Dumplings with Mushroom Sauce


10 oz. Popkoff’s Beef Pelmeni
2 cups button mushrooms, sliced
½ cup onions, fine diced
2 tbsp. parsley, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp. butter
salt & pepper to taste
1 cup heavy whipping cream
½ cup sour cream
16 oz. low sodium beef broth

Cooking Instructions

  1. Melt butter over medium heat then add onions and cook until softened. Add garlic and mushrooms then stir and cook for 3-5 minutes until mushrooms have softened.
  2. Add beef broth and cook over medium heat until liquid is slightly reduced, then add heavy cream and season with salt and pepper cook for 2-3 minutes until combined.
  3. Bring large pot of water to boil and add a pinch of salt then carefully add Popkoff’s Beef Pelmeni and cook for 5 minutes until cooked through. Drain and reserve.
  4. Mix in sour cream and chopped parsley into mushroom stroganoff, portion dumplings onto plates and top with sauce.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Yields: 6 servings
Recipe created by Chef James Bailey

How do you like your pierogi's? Give me the scoop in a comment!

Chocolate Excellence with Baron Chocolatier

Thanks to Baron Chocolatier to sending me yummy samples to inspire this post.

Do you guys know what I love? Fine chocolates! I know everyone says that, but I have to tell you; a plain old grocery store check out option is not going to cut it with me. Every time I stop at the local carry out with a vast 10 foot aisle of candy, I groan in frustration.

When Excellent Baron Chocolatier sent me an assortment of their fine European Chocolates; I squealed with delight! Yay! Small town girl gets her gourmet chocolate fix without having to travel 50 miles to get it!!
But, you know what, after trying this brand of chocolates; I would totally travel 50 miles to stock up on Baron's!

They have so many incredible bars! My favorite was milk chocolate with almonds, while my husband liked the Sea Salt Dark Chocolate. My kids were amazed by the milk chocolate covered gummy worms and bears. It was mind blowing to them to see 2 favorite candies combined into one!

I was also thrilled to learn I can find Baron Chocolatier products in a variety of stores like Walgreens, Ikea and Aldi's. No 50 mile drive required for a gourmet chocolate fix!

Baron's history in the chocolate industry is rich and sweet, dating back more than 30 years. With a history like that, you know these divine chocolate artists know their way to your heart, via the sweet tooth!

Baron offers so much more than a few candy bars and chocolate covered gummies; they also make truffles. As you guys know truffles are my weakness. The package of Pistachio truffles they sent became my secret stash of emergency truffles. Now, shh, don't tell my husband or kids my secret! I refuse to share! {Yes, they are that amazing!}

Easy Angry Bird's Pig Paper Craft

My little boy is in school all day now. This has been an odd adjustment, let me tell you. Considering we spent basically every moment together until school started this year has been nothing short of horrible for me. I sobbed like someone told me we would never see each other again, he belongs to school now....

On the first full day of school, I was feeling pretty terrible. I missed Rolf. I felt like I let his childhood slip past me and I wasted so much time being irritated or upset, or distracted by irrelevant things and those days were gone. Melodramatic? Yes. But, that is how I felt!

So, as I was consumed with missing Rolf that day, Harper and I decided to make something for Rolf to make him smile and pass the time while she waited on her playmate and I waited on my cutie pie.

Rolf is really into Angry Birds, so I knew that this was going to make him smile and Harper had fun playing with her Piggy too!

To make a Paper Pig from Angry Birds you will need:

Green Construction Paper
White Construction Paper
Back Construction Paper

Cut one large circle, One smaller oval, 2 Triangles, One tail from the green construction paper.

Cut 2 small circles, 3 larger circles from the black construction paper.

Cut 2 circles from the white construction paper.

Glue the 2 white circles onto the largest green circle in the place of eyes.

Glue the green oval to the middle of the green circle for the snout.

Glue the 2 larger circles of black onto the snout for nostrils.

Glue the last black circle on for a mouth.

Glue the 2 smallest black circles onto the eyes for pupils.

Add the 2 green triangles for ears.

Add the squiggly tail at the bottom!

And there you have an easy peasy Angry Bird's Pig Paper Craft!

Fully Loaded Maple Mushroom Asparagus Breakfast Burritos

It was one of those days that began early and ran late. Busy, busy, busy, this seems to be my middle name these days. As dinnertime rolled around, I knew I had to cook something. I had been to the grocery the night before and dropped a small fortune at the Meijer cash register. Additionally, we have ordered pizza so many times in the past few weeks I have earned a free pizza from Dominos rewards and the shame in that has led me to order subs from other pizzerias...

See, life has been busy. We have been eating garbage. I might cry if another carry out container appears on my dining room table. But, here is the thing, all of this busy business leaves me with no interest in cooking.

On this evening, I decided sausage burritos would be easy and filling, and hey, it sure beats a delivery pizza or a carry out sandwich! As I was surveying the bounty of fresh veggies I brought home the night before, I passed up the standard onions and peppers and decided to mix things up a bit. I came up with these Fully Loaded Maple Mushroom Asparagus Breakfast Burritos and my family was completely silent at dinner, save the sound of chewing and appreciative sighs of delight.

This recipe is so easy you guys! You can make these for any meal in a flash!

Ingredients for 4 Breakfast Burritos
3 Maple Sausage Patties
4 eggs
2 tablespoons of half and half
1/4 cup of shredded cheese, I used Triple Cheddar
1 tablespoon of butter
1/4 pound of asparagus, ends trimmed and chopped in half
1/4 cup of sliced mushrooms
Salsa as desired
4 tortilla shells

In a small skillet, over medium high heat saute the asparagus and mushrooms in butter.

In a skillet, thoroughly cook your sausage patties. As they have finished cooking, take them from the skillet and chop them into chunks, return them to the skillet.

Beat 4 eggs and 2 tablespoons of half and half
Pour the eggs into the skillet, cooking for about 4 minutes before stirring
Add the cheese to the eggs, allow eggs to finish cooking and the cheese to melt.

Pour a thin layer of salsa on the tortillas. Add the sauteed asparagus and mushrooms to the tortilla then fill with the sausage and cheese eggs.

Fold over one end of the tortilla then roll it like you would a bean burrito.

Serve immediately and enjoy!