Friday, January 31, 2014

January Favorites

I've seen a few of my favorite bloggers do this, whether it's once a week or once a season, and I always love seeing what they're enjoying.  I sort of did one this Christmas when I made my Christmas list, but I thought it would be fun to write about what I'm actually loving [not just dreaming of] and writing it more on a more regular basis. [teaser, teaser]  I found a bloggie bestie who will be joining up with me for a fun little blogventure!  Tune back in in February to see what we're dreaming up!
In the mean time, here's what made me smile to begin 2014:

GoPicnic Meals
I'm in city elementary and middle schools for the next couple of months, teaching golf in phys ed classes, so I usually have only 20 minutes to eat lunch.  GoPicnics are seriously perfect for me; they are all around 300 calories, have 5 different things to eat, and always have a little dessert!  Bonus: Target has them on sale for 3 for $8 right now! 

The Pool
I cannot even describe how much we've loved swimming twice a week.  Last night, I decided to be ambitious and set out to swim at least 1000 yards [40 lengths of the pool] straight.  Well, at about 800 yards, I felt fantastic, so I figured I'd just go for the mile.  In 25:07, I completed 1650 yards or a "mile" in swimming terms.  I probably haven't swam a mile straight in 8 or 9 years, and I was only a couple minutes off my PR from 2004 or 2005!

Essie Holiday Kit
Lovely Amanda gave me this pack to me for Christmas!  I am in love with every one of the colors and you should definitely check it out on the Essie website; they're perfect for winter!  

ButFirstCoffee on Etsy
My wonderful co-Connecticut Rep in Northeast Bloggers, Kallie, just started a fantastic Etsy shop.  Each Sunday on her blog, she writes a "Sunday Inspiration" post.  Recently, she started doing watercolor prints incorporating each piece of inspiration, and they are just fantastic!  And now, you can buy each print on her Etsy page!

Dole Banana Dippers
I found these in the grocery store earlier this month when I was buying frozen fruit for smoothies.  They are delicious and only 100 calories for a whole pack!  I've been eating them for dessert just about every night and even just bought a 40 pack from Sam's Club!

You might have seen this adorable picture of Ruxin on Instagram a couple of weeks ago!  Well, our whole family is obsessed with "Cran-brrr-rita" a new winter edition drink from Bud Light!  They are so refreshing and delicious without being too sweet.

Linking up with H54FFriday Five, and Insta Friday!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

We love hosting at our house.  One of our favorite types of party to host is a "dips, apps, and desserts party."  We love watching football games [especially the Super Bowl!!], playing card games, and just catching up with out-of-town friends and family.  I'd like to think that we have some pretty good go-to recipes:
- Buffalo Chicken Dip
- 3 Minute Easy Party Dip [my most pinned recipe]
- Mike's Copycat Chili's Queso dip
- Double Chocolate Coca Cola Cake
- Jello Shots

Here is the most recent addition to our parties.  It is the simplest recipe and making it in a Crock Pot just makes it so easy!
- 32 oz jar of Welch's grape jelly
- 2 12 oz bottles of Heinz chili sauce
- 3-4 lbs mini meatballs
[This recipe can also be made with cocktail franks or meatballs and franks, if you desire.]
- Put chili sauce and jelly in Crock Pot and turn on high.
- Stir every 4-5 minutes until jelly is completed melted [about 20 minutes].
- Once jelly is melted, turn Crock Pot to low and add meatballs.  They do not all need to be submerged in sauce, but should be mostly covered.
- Cook on low for 3 hours. 
Did you know that this is the best way to get anything "Heinz" out of the jar?  Use the side of your hand and tap again the bottom of the neck of the jar - comes out so easily!
 top and bottom: before and after the jelly is melted 
finished product!

So what I'm saying is you should definitely consider making these this weekend for the Super Bowl!

AND, if you want to add a little more fun to your party, think about playing my "Super Bowl Commercial Bingo."  Here's my first page of cards, but if you'd like all of them, leave me a comment and I will email them to you!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Will You Be Our Ring Bearer?

Our wedding party is finally complete!

A couple of weeks ago when Mike and I went to visit my cousins, we asked my cousin's son, Sammy to be our ring bearer!  He is almost 2 and a half, and is just the cutest kid ever!!  How adorable will this little guy be in a tux?!
Like that Yankees Mickey we gave him for Christmas???

Me, Sammy, his little sister Sofia, and big sister Charlee [the dog!]

Alright!  We are under 8 months until the wedding now!  We are sending out our "Save the Dates" this week and I can't wait to share our engagement photos and some updates soon!

Here's what we did: Meg and Mike's Wedding:
The Proposal
Will You Be Our Flower Girl?
Will You Be My Bridesmaid?
October Wedding List Update
Will You Be His Groomsman?

Linking up for a couple of Wedding Wednesdays with Kristyn & Mary and Meredith & Jordon!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Kitchen Mix Up #4: The Tasting

Welcome back to the fourth Kitchen Mix Up!


Do you have ideas for ingredients?  Send them our way!  Even if you might not want to participate yourself, definitely comment or email us with what you'd like to see us cook or bake with!

The Guidelines:
- "Open The Basket" on the first Tuesday of the month to see your ingredients and sign up.  
- Cook/Bake/Fry/Grill an original recipe using the four ingredients.
- Use any other ingredients you wish.
- Link up with our "Tasting" on the last Tuesday of the month with your recipe and/or photos of your creation.
- Use our button if you wish!

Here's what I made: Spicy Taco Soup with Cornbread

You might have seen last week, I posted Mike's mom's Famous Taco Soup recipe.  I thought it would be fun to adapt this recipe to fit this month's KMU.  Already in the recipe from the mystery ingredients are: a 1/2 pound of ground beef, can of diced tomatoes, tomato soup, can of kidney beans, and can of vegetable soup.  To make it spicy, I just added 1/2 cup Sriracha before the 45 minute simmer.  

I also made this corn bread, but this time, I made it with strained, canned corn, and it tasted much more flavorful than last time with the frozen corn.

PS, Happy Birthday to my beautiful momma!!


Monday, January 27, 2014

Where is the closest "Cheeburger" again?

Seriously, that question is how our weekend began, and it wasn't even a question from this weekend.  Last weekend, while we were sitting at IHOP, debating what to do that current weekend and the following weekend [one weekend with nothing to do: insane, two in a row: unspeakable], I asked Mike that very question.  You see, there is this "cheeburger" place we adore in Florida [Mike is a cheeseburger aficionado] called Cheeburger Cheeburger, but there aren't a whole bunch in the country or in our area.  We've been talking about going to one forever and this weekend just seemed like the perfect one for an adventure.  Well, we found one in Brooklyn, and the planning [over all-you-can-eat pancakes] started:

"Let's go to the Brooklyn Brewery, too!" 
"Let's see if Phil [groomsman] wants to join us!" 
"Oh, Phil wants us to stay the weekend!" 
"Let's call my college friends in the area and have them do the brewery with us too!"

So there you have it, over a breakfast at IHOP, a fantastic weekend adventure was planned:
Friday night Cribbage and Cran-brrr-itas

sweet city view from Phil's apartment

MetLife getting ready for the Super Bowl!

 his and hers besties!

on the tour
Awesome drunk selfie, if I do say so myself

So much beer


[all the lights in the restaurant are pink... if you couldn't guess]

 Phil and his gf were taking selfies, so we did the same... and crashed at his apartment watching Archer [day drinking in your mid 20s is SO different than college...]

New Jersey bagels and the GW on the way home

Linking up for Funday MondayMingle MondayMonday Morning Gossip. and This Weekend I...!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

It's here! I'm hosting a #DisneySide @Home Celebration

I hope it's a well-known fact how much I love Disney!  
Walt Disney World and Disneyland when I was little [pshh model status in that right photo]

25th Anniversary of Disney World and our most recent trip in November [same weird arm position in both]

I've run in onetwothree runDisney weekends and even got a Coast to Coast medal last year!  When Disney approached bloggers to host a #DisneySide party, I knew this opportunity was for me!  You might have seen my acceptance email on IG a couple of weeks ago, and since then I've connected with other women from across the country who were also accepted.  I have to say, I think I'm the only one throwing a #DisneySide party who isn't a mom!  My party will be for my girls at work, and I know they will enjoy and appreciate it!  [For those of you who don't know, I work for a youth development non-profit and one of my favorite programs I do are just for young ladies ages 7 to 15.] 
Show Your Disney Side

My package of party supplies and goodies from #DisneySide arrived on Tuesday!

Here is what I received:
Thank you, American Tourister for this amazing luggage!  There's one thing I don't need to put on our wedding registry!  Shadow was having a little fun in the box, too.

Opening the luggage was the real fun!  Check out everything it contained:

Party supplies

So much photo paper... any ideas as to what I should do with all of it?

Roxy wanted to get in on the fun, too.

The luggage also included Disney prints to use as party favors, an iPhone 5 case, Craisins, runDisney posters and wristbands, stickers and tattoos, Disney shaped cookie cutters, Bingo and other Disney trivia game ideas!  I can't wait to start reading my hostess packet and start planning activities!  I don't know what we will be doing yet for our party, but we are focused on healthy living at my job, so I can tell you that there will be some healthy snacks and active games!

I received all of the above products complimentary from #DisneySide to throw a #DisneySide @Home Celebration to promote their new campaign "Show Your #DisneySide," but all opinions are my own.

Design Poppiness Designs