Posted in meal planning, Oragnization, parenting, Recipes, School

Make-Ahead Breakfast Sandwiches for Busy Mornings

Summer is just about over. No more lazy mornings, breakfast at 10:00 a.m., slowing drinking my cup of coffee while browsing through Facebook, it’s back to real life. School starts back next Tuesday, which also means that fall sports for the kids are in full swing, homework is back, I am back to working on a semi-regular basis and the calendar is going to be CRAZY! That all equates to crazy hectic mornings trying to make sure that everyone gets out of the house with everything they need for the entire day (including practices after school) and hopefully that is with a tummy full of something other than a sugary pop tart. The only way that I survive our crazy schedules is by planning ahead. I have a few mellow mornings left so I am using them to pre-cook breakfast items to go in the freezer, starting with Bacon and Egg Breakfast Sandwiches!

It is really very easy and actually pretty quick to throw together as long as you multi-task a bit…

First and foremost, get the bacon going in the oven. Pre-heat the oven to 375 and line a couple of cookie sheets with foil for easier clean up. I buy thick cut bacon and cut the strips in half before cooking them so that they come out “sandwich size” when they finish cooking. Line the bacon up on the pans in a single layer and throw them in the oven for about 20 minutes. Keep an eye on them because the cooking time varies depending on how thick the bacon is cut.

While the bacon is cooking, warm up a skillet and put it in a pat of butter. I cooked the eggs for our sandwiches over-medium-ish (clearly it was very precise). You can fry them or scramble them… totally up to you. My skillet is pretty good-sized and I can cook 4-5 eggs at a time.

The final part of the multi-tasking is toasting up the english muffins. In between flipping eggs and checking on bacon, lightly toast up some english muffins in your toaster. When one is finished toasting lay it out on a large cutting board or work surface “assembly line style” and place a piece of sliced cheese on the bottom half. I opted for super quick and easy american cheese slices, but you can really step up the yumminess of these sandwiches with different cheese options (pepper jack would be awesome).

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By the time you have all of the english muffins toasted up and cheesed, the eggs and bacon should be done and all that is left is assembly.

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Place an egg on the cheese, top with a few slices of bacon, put on the lid, and you are good to go. Wrap up each sandwich individually with plastic wrap and put them in a gallon size bag for the freezer.

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When you are ready to eat on a busy morning: grab a sandwich from the freezer, put it directly in the microwave for 2 or 3 minutes (time varies based on microwave), and enjoy!

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Start to Finish Time: 30 minutes

Makes 10 Sandwiches 

Ingredients:

Package of Bacon (with each slice cut in half)

10 Slices of Cheese (I used American)

10 Enlgish Muffins

10 Eggs

1 tablespoon of Butter

Plastic Wrap

 

Posted in parenting, Recipes

Salads for Picky Eaters

Both of my kids have gone through their fair share of picky eating stages and there wasn’t a whole lot I could do about it. Generally, my rule is simple, I cook one meal and you either eat it or go hungry. Well with the insanely high level of stubbornness that my children inherited (maybe just a smidgen of that came from me – oops), they will be more that willing to starve themselves sometimes. So I developed my own strategies to make sure that my rule is still upheld and they still eat. For the most part they will eat any protein that I make, so the problem usually comes in with the vegetables. They like salad, but they do not like the same things in their salad and picking out each and every little thing they don’t like is tedious and drives me up a wall. That is why I make what I have dubbed “The Picky Eaters Salad” to go many of meals.

It is simple, it is a deconstructed salad. I simply use a platter and separate each ingredient so that can choose what goes into their individual salads on their plates. I use whatever ingredients I have on hand and try to give them at least 3 options for add-ins. My only rule is that they choose at least one thing to go with their lettuce.

Here is a sample of the one I made for tonight.

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I used romaine lettuce for the base of the salad. The add-in options were: cut grape tomatoes, carrots, celery, broccoli, sugar snap peas, and herbed feta cheese. When it came to serving time, I simply asked the kids what things they would like added to their lettuce.

My oldest, chose to add in carrots, broccoli, and feta.

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My youngest simply wanted to put feta in her salad.

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Then I was able to utilize all of the add-ins to have a nice flavorful salad for myself.

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This method makes it so that I am still preparing one meal, but it is easily customizable for the picky eating phases. I have also noticed that the kids will occasionally branch out and try new things as well. This evening about half way through her salad, my youngest asked if she could put some celery and broccoli on the side to “try it” with the dressing. Of course I said “yes”!

Add-ins can be anything you have in the fridge or pantry, from vegetables and fruits to hardboiled eggs or nuts and seeds. Get creative and give your kids a variety of options to try out.

Posted in Oragnization, parenting, Recipes, School

School Lunches… Made Easier

School is almost back in session and that means packing 10 lunches a week again. It is hard to make sure that the kids have a healthy lunch to keep their brains fed during the school day and to keep it easy and quick to put together. Sometimes it is next to impossible to just get the kids up and ready and out of the house on time for school…. throwing in having to pack a nutritious lunch can sometimes be the straw that breaks the camels back. Over the last few years I have come up with a few different life-saving (or at least stress-minimizing) methods for making the whole process quick and easy.

  1. Plan Ahead: On Sunday night, or any other night that you have a few extra minutes, pack a bunch of baggies with sides and snacks that can quickly be grabbed and thrown into a lunch box. Clean and cut up a variety of fruits and veggies, portion out crackers and chips, and if you get super ambitious you can even cook up a batch of muffins, granola bars, pizza pockets, corn dog muffins, etc. and sort them into baggies (all of which freeze really well too). I have a list of quick make-ahead recipes for lunch boxes at the end of the post. This process makes getting everything into the lunch boxes exponentially faster during the week.
  2. Organization: Organize your pantry and fridge to have all lunch box supplies together and orderly so all you have to do is “grab and go”. As a bonus, this makes it easy for your kids to make their own lunches as well. My kids know that they have to grab 1 item (and only 1 item) from each of 5 categories. Note: they don’t pack a drink in their lunch box because I have them take a large reusable water bottle to school with them for throughout the day and they use it for their drink at lunch as well.
    1. Main Item – sandwich, wrap, meat and cheese roll-ups, pre-made items from the recipes at the end of the post, leftovers from dinner, etc….
    2. Fruit/Veggie – All pre-cleaned and portioned into baggies ahead of time
    3. Dip for fruit/veggie (this one is optional) – can be ranch, yogurt, peanut butters, other nut-butters, hummus, guacamole, etc.
    4. Chips or Crackers – I lean more towards buying crackers than chips and if I do buy chips, they are either tortilla chips or a baked variety
    5. Dessert – They always are allowed one “sweet” item as a dessert. Sometimes they get super lucky and I will buy mini cupcakes or cookies as a treat or they get to choose something like a muffin, granola bar, pack of fruit snacks, etc.
  3. Make Tomorrow’s Lunch the Night Before: After you eat dinner, your kitchen is already a mess, so you might as well take the time to quickly throw together tomorrow’s lunch boxes so you don’t have to clean up the kitchen twice. Just throw the entire lunch box in the fridge and the next morning all you have to do is add an ice pack and stick it in their backpacks. This will not only save you time in the morning, but you get to skip cleaning the kitchen an extra time.
  4. Occasionally, Rely on Leftovers: There are certain leftovers that we make on a regular basis that make great lunches! My kids know every time we have salad night, pizza night, and pita pocket night that they are getting that in their lunch box the next day. Just a quick tip on salads in lunch boxes: pack anything that should stay crunchy (i.e. croutons or tortilla strips) in a separate bag for them to add to the salad at school and pack the salad dressing in a separate bag for them to pour it onto the salad at school. I use the “snack size” bags to put the dressing in, place the sealed baggie in the Tupperware container with the salad so if it leaks it doesn’t make a huge mess, and then I throw in a pair of kid scissors in the lunch box. The kids know to snip a corner off of the baggie and squeeze the dressing out over the salad.

Here are some examples of organizing the fridge and pantry ahead of time for lunch box prep:

From howdoesshe.comlunch-cart-1

From seevanessacraft.comLunchbox_Station6-copy

From realsimple.com

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From Blessings Multiplied

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That’s about it! Do you have any tips or recipes for making the lunch packing process easier?

Recipes for Make Ahead Items:

Healthy Applesauce-Oat Muffins

Blueberry Oat Greek Yogurt Muffins

Healthy Flour-less Pumpkin Muffins

Pizza Bombs

Bacon Cheeseburger Bombs

Mini Corn Dog Muffins

Soft Pretzel Dog

Perfect Pasta Salad

Soft and Chewy Protein Granola Bars

Chewy Raspberry Apple Granola BarsKid-Approved No-Bake Energy Bites

strawberries_hires

Posted in Uncategorized

Keeping Their Brains Active During Summer

Summer is a pretty long stretch of no school. While I completely welcome this stretch with open arms, I still want to make sure that the kids don’t lose too much of what they learned during the year. Their brain is a muscle and it needs to be worked in order to continue growing. I have 5 different things that I make sure that we do during to summer to keep their little minds exercising.

  1. Summer Bridge Books: These are workbooks that are specifically made to bridge the gap between 2 grade levels. For instance, I bought a “Kindergarten to First Grade” book and a “Third Grade to Fourth Grade” book this year. These books are written so that they review previously taught information from their grade last year and they introduce beginning concepts that will be taught in their new grade level. The work should primarily be able to be done independently and it will make sure that they don’t lose some of those important skills and vocabulary over the summer. Most of these books are also formatted so that the child only has one worksheet (front and back) to complete each day of summer. I only have the kids do the pages on weekdays (just like regular school time) and they usually get them finished in the mornings in about 15-20 minutes. It’s pretty painless.
  2. Read, Read, Read!!! The kids read EVERY single day of summer. I buy them new books as often as they need them and we frequent the library as well. I find ways to encourage reading throughout the entire day. They take books in the car with them to read on the drive, they read during each others practices in their respective sports, they read while I am cooking dinner sometimes, I encourage reading when we are at the beach (if I can get them to sit down long enough), and lastly, I have them read every single night before going to bed. Generally, they do not have a “bed time” during the summer. Instead, they have a specific time they have to be in bed, and then they can read for as long as they want before they go to sleep. For my 6-year-old, this will usually last 10-20 minutes. For my 8-year-old, this will last anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour depending on how much he is loving his book.
  3. Play Educational Games: Learning can be fun! Buy some games that are age appropriate and that incorporate math, language, and/or problem solving skills. Balance Beans is a great example of a game that can be played by kids of different ages at the same time and still be challenging to everyone. It incorporates things like logic, physics, and algebra and can easily be tailored to work for a 5-year old and a 10-year old at the same time.
  4. Cook Together: Cooking from a recipe practices a lot of different skills for your child. You are not only covering math with measuring, but you are also practicing reading and following directions… all of which will help them in school and especially during exams. You can even beef up the educational aspect of it by creating “problems” throughout the process. For example, if the recipe calls for 1/2 c. of flour, you can ask your child to figure out another way to make that specific amount without using the 1/2 c. measuring cup.
  5. Take Educational Trips: If you have a free day available take advantage of the museums and historical locations in your area. Visit science museums, museums of natural history, zoos, aquariums, children’s museums, historical landmarks, missions, and anywhere else you can think of. Make sure to read up on the location you are going with your kids so that they have some background knowledge before arriving and then engage them throughout the day with questions and observations. Sometimes, if we are visiting a place we have been before we will create a “scavenger hunt” of questions that they must find answers to while we are there. Both of my kids love any kind of competition so this is always a “win” (pun intended) with them.

 

 

Disclaimer: I received the Balance Beans game free of charge in exchange for writing a review in this blog. All of the opinions are 100% my own. Keeping Brains Active During Summer - Blank

Posted in parenting, Uncategorized

Raising Kids in Such a Cruel World

I have completely stopped watching the news. I have given up on politics. I refuse to even begin following any kind of entertainment news. The world has simply put, become so mean. I’m not even really sure if the world is actually more cruel than it was 50 years ago or 100 years ago or if it is simply the fact that the media has way too many avenues to pervert the public opinion. Social media has also created outlets for people to express their opinions without having any real repercussions of their cruel and hurtful words. It amazes me what people will type when they know that no one can see them or confront them in person. And don’t even get me started on this whole “whose lives matter” debacle. Since when did we even get to a point where we feel that we have to specify that a specific group of people’s (whether it is based on race, sexual orientation, profession, etc.) lives “matter”? Um, shouldn’t we value all human life?

I have 2 children who are now faced with a world that lacks filters and kindness in general. How do I raise them to not only be kind themselves, but to also be mentally strong in order to handle the many other people out there who will not be kind in return? I often lie awake at night, unable to sleep, just trying to figure out how to protect them from this cruel world. Then last night I came to realization that I can’t.

I can’t keep them in a bubble, sheltered from cruel words and a world that spends its time passing judgment on others instead of looking in a mirror. They are going to want to be on social media outlets, they are going to experience “mean kids” at school, they are going to hear about what is going on in the world even if I refuse to let them see it on TV at home. So instead of trying to keep them from it all, I am going to do my best to prepare them for it.

I teach my children kindness and tolerance as often as I can. I teach them that they don’t have to agree or understand another person’s situations or decisions, but they do not get to judge it. I teach them that differences in people are what make the world a more interesting and wonderful place to live in. I teach them to put themselves in another persons shoes to try to understand where they are coming from and what the word empathy means. I teach them to show kindness to EVERYONE, regardless of whether they “like” them or not. I teach them manners! A simple “please” and “thank you” and holding a door open for someone can brighten their day. I teach them that NO ONE is beneath anyone else, regardless of profession, race, sex, religious affiliation, physical appearance, or anything else. Everyone is treated with kindness and respect. I also teach them that not everyone else feels this way and that they can’t let that break them. They need to be strong and know that they are important and worthwhile without having society tell them that. Lastly, as difficult as it might be sometimes (and I am by no means perfect), I do my best to teach them all of these things through example. Your kids watch you, listen to you, and emulate you. Help show them what kindness looks and sounds like.

I hope with all of my heart that while I can’t change the world and the way it behaves for when my kids grow into adults, I can at least help put a little extra love and kindness in it by raising kids who care about others feelings.

Posted in Recipes

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Honey Sriracha Sauce

Brussel Sprouts are one of favorite foods of all time! I use brussels sprouts all year round in a variety of ways. I use them raw and shaved thin in salads, deep-fried as an appetizer, steamed with a lemon aioli drizzled over the top, in casseroles, your are only limited by your imagination. They are especially delicious roasted at a high temperature so that they get crispy, frilly edges that give the brussels sprout a nuttiness. Mmmmm, my mouth is watering just writing this.

Well one afternoon my husband was craving some brussels sprouts and together we came up with the idea of making some sort of sweet-heat sauce to drizzle over the top of them. Plus, as a total bonus… there are only 4 ingredients! Here is how to make the dish:

Pre-heat your oven to 450 F. Wash and clean you brussels sprouts. Then halve or quarter them depending on how large they are. Basically you just want each brussels sprout piece to be around the same size so that they cook evenly in the oven. The brussels sprouts were huge at the market! So yummy! IMG_4868

Once you have them cut evenly and in a bowl, pour some extra virgin olive over the top, sprinkle on some salt and pepper and toss them around to get them evenly coated.

I recommend covering your cookie sheet in a later of aluminum foil to help make clean up easier. Then evenly spread out the sprouts and pop them in the oven for 30-40 minutes. You are looking for the edges to be golden brown. IMG_4866

Now to make the super easy 2 ingredient sauce… you need sriracha mayo (found next to all of the other mayonnaise at the grocery store) and some honey. Mix them together in a bowl and lightly drizzle it over the brussels sprouts. Reserve the rest for dipping on the side. IMG_4865IMG_4856

Enjoy!!!

 

 

Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Honey Sriracha Sauce

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 30-40 minutes

Pre-heat oven to 450 F.

Ingredients:

3 lbs. Fresh Brussel Sprouts

2 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Salt and Pepper

1/3 c. Sriracha Mayo

2 Tbsp. Honey

 

Posted in Recipes, Summer, Uncategorized

Cold Dinner Ideas for Summer Nights

Sometimes it is just so stinking hot in the summer that you don’t want to use any kind of heat when cooking dinner. Here are a dozen nice and light, no heat, delicious ideas for summer dinners.

  1. AVOCADO AND LUMP CRAB SALAD – Just swing by the market on your way home from work to pick up some fresh lump crab meat and you can have dinner on the table in under 15 minutes. LumpCrabandAvocadoSalad-550x825
  2. Greek Salad – This salad is absolutely delicious and as a bonus if you really do feel like using some heat there is a whole wheat pita recipe as well!greek-salad-I-howsweeteats.com-6.jpg
  3. Pesto, Tomato, and Mozzarella Sandwich – The Pioneer Woman always has fantastic recipes and this one is no different. The incredibly flavorful pesto is what really makes this sandwich something special. 14895166372_fe89554f10_z.jpg
  4. SOUTHWESTERN CHOPPED SALAD WITH CILANTRO LIME DRESSING – Just a quick buzz in the food processor for the dressing and some quick chopping and dinner will be done in no time. If you want to throw in some extra protein, buy a rotisserie chicken and dice it up for the top. IMG_2275edit
  5. Summer Berry & Crispy Chicken Chopped Salad – I love summer berries! Any recipe that lets me eat more of them is awesome! To keep it heat free, use pre-cooked fried chicken from the deli section of your grocery store. berry-chicken-salad_07-06-14_4_ca.jpg
  6. Cheese Platter – Some nights are even too hot to have a very big appetite. For those nights, put together an amazing Cheese Platter. img_6068-2.jpg
  7. Prosciutto-Wrapped Feta-Stuffed Dates – This is technically an appetizer, but I know that I could eat more than enough of them to make it a meal. So good!!!!2e48dfe9_Prosciutto-Wrapped-Dates.xxxlarge_2x
  8. Green Goddess Dressing Doubles as a Dreamy Dip – Instead of assembling the classic salad for dinner, make a giant crudite platter and this scrumptious dip. 8215b1872c9db996_Green-Goddess-Dip.xxxlarge_2x.jpg
  9. WHITE BEAN CAPRESE SALAD – i pretty much love anything with balsamic vinegar (I think that I could literally drink it sometimes)… so this bean salad is a total winner for me. WhiteBeanCapreseSalad-550x825.jpg
  10. ITALIAN CHICKEN SALAD SANDWICH  – A great twist on the classic chicken salad sandwich… use a rotisserie chicken and this meal comes together in no time. Italian-Chicken-Salad-2.jpg
  11. Smoked Salmon Pizza – If you like bagels with lox, you will absolutely love this pizza that uses a pita for its crust. IMG_7049.JPG
  12. PHILLY STYLE ITALIAN HOAGIES – Last, but not least… my favorite sandwich of all time! IMG_8311-2.jpg

I hope you get a chance to try some of these recipes out. Let me know what you think of them and if you have any go to meals for hot summer nights.

Posted in Uncategorized

Pour Over Coffee with Homemade Vanilla Bean Syrup

Clearly by the name of my blog I love me some coffee! I have recently discovered the “Pour Over” method for making coffee and I absolutely love it! I have 4 different methods of coffee brewing that I use on a regular basis. I use the old school coffee pot for when I have more than a couple of people over at the house and I want to make sure that I have plenty of coffee for everyone without having to get up and brew more in the middle of our visit. I generally use the French Press method on the weekends when both my husband and I have some time to sit down and enjoy a nice cup of coffee (this happens less and less often lately with the kids getting bigger and sports taking up all of our weekends – so we really enjoy it when we can enjoy a nice cup of French Press Joe). I will use my single cup brewing machine on mornings when I am in a hurry and just need to get something in my travel mug ASAP. Lastly, I have discovered the pour over method thanks to the Barista Brothers and their Pour-Over Coffee Micro Dripper. The system will only make one cup of coffee at a time and it takes a little bit of patience, but it is worth it! Find the Coffee Dripper Here.IMG_5688

Before we get to the recipe for the Homemade Vanilla Bean Syrup, I want to go over how to use the pour over coffee dripper. First and foremost, boil some water (obviously). Place your coffee dripper over the mug you want to use and put approximately 2 TBSP of coarsely ground coffee in the top. Make sure that you are using a coarse grind or the filter will back up and over flow because the fine ground powder will clog the filter. When I am making just one cup of coffee I like to freshly grind my coffee beans in small portions and the Manual Coffee Grinder with Adjustable Ceramic Burrs from GrinderLand works perfectly to make sure that you grind just the right amount to just the right consistency. Find the Coffee Grinder Here.IMG_5697

So once you have your grounds in the dripper the next step takes some patience. Pour about an ounce of boiling water into the top of the dripper and let it set for about a minute. Once it is fully absorbed, continue to slowly pour the rest of the water in a circular motion starting at the outside and working your way in to make sure that all of the grounds stay in the middle and don’t ride up the edges. After a few minutes of work you will have a perfectly brewed, fresh, single cup of coffee to enjoy.

You can always drink it black or you can you try out my Homemade Vanilla Bean Syrup recipe to sweeten it up a bit. I put in about 1 tsp. of syrup and a splash of milk and the cup is perfect.

Here is the syrup recipe:

1 c. water

1 c. sugar

1 vanilla bean split in half length-wise

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

 

Place water, sugar, and the vanilla bean in a pan and bring to a boil. Stir until all of the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and take out the vanilla bean pod. Stir in the vanilla extract and pour it into a container with a lid for easy storage. I recommend using a container similar to an olive oil dispenser to make it easier to use on a regular basis.

 

 

Disclaimer: I received both the Coffee Dripper and the Coffee Grinder either at a highly discounted rate or for free in exchange for my honest and unbiased review of the products. All opinions are my own.

Posted in Crafts, DIY, gift ideas, Uncategorized

Making Vinyl Crafts WITHOUT a Cricut


I often scroll through Pinterest and see tons of DIY vinyl crafts that I would love to try. Unfortunately, when I open up the articles with the instructions they always require a vinyl cutting machine like a Cricut. So the super nifty Cricut has been on my “want list” for ages…. it just keeps getting knocked down for those darn “necessities” that keep popping up! Well, I finally gave up on waiting for a Cricut to try some vinyl crafts. Instead I found a way to do them without a machine.

All you will need is:

I decided to make something small for each of my kids’ bedrooms. I started with the easiest project… a monogram letter to fill out my son’s baseball awards display. I found the plain monogram letter ‘G’ at the craft store on clearance for less than a $1… score! My son’s room is primarily Angels Baseball themed so I went with red horizontal stripes on the letter to go with the rooms color scheme.

This is the starting product and I selected a bright red glossy vinyl sheet for the embellishments… IMG_5391

First thing first, I flipped the vinyl upside down so that I could mark on it without potentially damaging the surface of the vinyl. I then measured across the widest part of the ‘G’ so that I could make sure my horizontal stripes would be wide enough. IMG_5404Then I got to measuring and drawing all of the stripes. The ‘G’ is 6 inches tall so I decided on 6, 1/2 inch tall stripes for the face. I made the stripes 3 1/2 inches wide so that I would have enough over hang, but wouldn’t really be wasting any product. I used an extra fine permanent marker in a light color to draw my lines. IMG_5407Next  came cutting out the stripes. This was a slightly tedious process. I used my X-acto knife and cut along the lines I had drawn VERY slowly and carefully to make the straightest lines possible. They didn’t turn out absolutely perfect, but I was happy with the results. IMG_5410Once I got all of the stripes cut out I began to place them on the ‘G’. I made sure to use the ruler to evenly space them out and to help place them as straight across as possible. I went ahead and left some over hang on both sides of the letter as I placed them. Then I ran my finger nail along the edges and made sure that the vinyl was completely adhered at all points.

Next, I took the X-acto knife and carefully ran it along the edges of the letter to try to get the vinyl stripes up against the very edge, smoothed down the corners completely and my project was complete. IMG_5427

My second vinyl project was a bit more complicated. I found this super cute wooden cutout at the craft store on über clearance for under a dollar as well and I wanted to make something gymnastics related for my daughter’s bedroom. IMG_5430I decided on a silhouette for the middle  of the circle. I sat at the compter with my munchkin and had her pick out her favorite gymnastics silhouette to use as a stencil for the project, then I measured how tall I would need it to be, and printed it out accordingly. IMG_5435I selected a nice high gloss gold vinyl sheet for the silhouette itself. Using masking tape I placed the printed picture on the back of the gold vinyl sheet to hold it in place while I meticulously cut it out. I went very slowly and cut very small portions at a time to stay as true to the image as possible. I also frequently gently lifted the cut portion up to make sure I was cutting all the way through the printer paper and the vinyl.

Once I was finished cutting all the way around the silhouette I carefully separated it from the vinyl sheet. IMG_5444It had some semi-rough looking edges, but it was okay. They would lay flat once I removed the backing and stuck it on the wooden circle base. I didn’t want just a plain gold emblem on the middle of the circle so I decided to make a free-hand wavy pink back drop. I simply waved the X-acto knife up and down to create the design and then laid in on the wooden circle to trim the bottom into the right semi-circle shape.

All that was left was the application. Since these were larger pieces of vinyl than the stripes on my first project I needed to be a little bit more careful with the application process to not get any wrinkling or bubbles. I only pulled back a small portion of the backing at a time and slowly smoothed the vinyl out as I went along. I placed the pink down on the bottom and then layered the gold gymnast over the top. Once it was all stuck down, I smoothed it completely over with the side of a credit card and it was done

IMG_5454

*** I received these vinyls at a heavily discounted price in exchange for my post and review of the products. All of the opinions are completely my own.

Posted in Recipes, Summer, Uncategorized

Summer Grilling Recipes for When it is Disgustingly HOT Outside!

We just had our first day of summer and boy did Southern California ring in summer with a bang! Most of So. Cal recorded triple digit temperatures yesterday and the heat wave is not over. When it is that hot outside I definitely do not want to be standing by a hot stove preparing dinner. Not to mention how much using the stove and oven just add extra heat to the house. When it is disgustingly hot outside I always turn to my grill for dinner. Here are 5 of my go-to main dishes and 5 side dishes all prepared 100% on the grill so that you don’t have to heat up your house and as a major bonus, there are no pots and pans to clean!

Entre #1:   Herbed Lemon Garlic Chicken Skewers – These skewers are light and delicious for a hot summer day. They cook quickly and you can mix and match the veggies on the skewers for whatever you have in your fridge. Plus you can pair them with one of those microwavable packs of rice and you are all set for dinner without heating up your house. lemonherbgarlichchicken

Recipe from 400 Hundred Calories or Less with Our Best Bites

Entre #2: Honey Mustard Grilled Pork Chops  These are super simple to make and very flavorful!  honey-mustard-grilled-pork-chops-2.jpg

From Chew Out Loud

Entre #3: Marinated Tuna Steak My husband and my son LOVE fresh tuna steaks! They like me to keep them nice and rare and then they are in dinner heaven. The marinade for this recipe is fantastic!                                                    tuna.jpg

From Tuna Steak Recipes

Entre #4: Grilled Balsamic Flank Steak Balsamic Vinegar is a frequent go-to in our house! We use it on pretty much everything, even deserts. The vinegar makes this steak have a wonderful tangy sweet flavor. Grilled_Balsamic_Flank_Steak

From Flavorite

Entre #5: Grilled Leg of Lamb with Rosemary, Garlic, and Mustard – I had to include a lamb recipe. Lamb is by far my favorite meat! The puree that is rubbed all of this leg of lamb makes it super flavorful!358196_hires.jpg

From Epicurious

Now for the side dishes!!!

Side Dish #1: Grilled Cilantro Lime Paprika Corn on the Cob – So tasty and easy to make! Goes great with the steak and the lamb recipes. Grilled-Lime-Cilantro-and-Paprika-Corn-48111.jpg

From Blissful Basil

Side Dish #2: Simple Grilled Asparagus – Just a few ingredients and the grill makes this vegetable really shine. Grilled asparagus would go amazingly with the Flank Steak, Tuna Steak, and Pork Chops2015-07-05-how-to-grill-asparagus-5.jpg

From Tablespoon

Side Dish #3: Herbed Grilled Potatoes – These are simple and flavorful! They would pair really well with the Lamb, Flank Steak, Chicken Skewers, and Pork Chops

Herbed-Grilled-Potatoes-4-from-willcookforsmiles.com_.jpg

From Will Cook for Smiles

Side Dish #4: Grilled Caesar Salad – Paris with each entre above! So tasty!!!Caesar-Grilled-Finished

From Soffia Wardy

Side Dish #5: Grilled Peach Salad – This will also go well with any of the meals above… and the Maple Bourbon Rosemary Dressing is to DIE for!IMG_7717-21.jpg

From Taste with the Eyes

Mix and match how you would like and enjoy your dinner without having to heat up the house on a hot summer day!

 

*Cover photo from Valleyalarm.com