What We Love Right Now April 27, 2011: Creative Uses for Leftover Easter Candy

April 26, 2011 by admin  
Filed under Girl Talk

Between egg hunts at church and with friends and family, plus all the treats that everyone seems to shower our children with we eastercandyalways end with a rather large amount of chocolate and other assortments of candy on Easter. Of course, the kids love this because what child doesn’t love candy and more candy! But, seriously, who really needs ALL those sweets?! We’ve got a few ideas to get your creativity flowing for a few good ideas to put that candy to use after Easter has come and gone!

1. Jelly Bean Rice Krispie Treats

Everyone loves a good, old fashioned rice krispie treat. These yummy, extra gooey treats are ones your family will be sure to love.

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 7 minutes

What You’ll Need:

  • 3 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 (10 oz.) pkg. marshmallows
  • 5 cups crisp rice cereal
  • 1-1/2 cups assorted jellybeans

Fix it Fast:

In large microwave safe bowl, combine the butter and marshmallows. Cook on high power in microwave for 3 minutes, stirring halfway during cooking time. Stir until smooth. Add cereal and jellybeans; stir until coated. Press mixture into a buttered 13×9″ pan and let cool. Serves 12-16

2. Throw a Chocolate Fondue Party

Everyone LOVES chocolate and you probably have a ton of those tiny little chocolate eggs. This would make a great Mommy and Me playdate. If you are a working mom it would be perfect for a Saturday afternoon! Fondue night would also be a great family activity or date night in. Not sure how to prepare fondue? It can be pretty simple:

1. Use about 1/4 cup milk (more or less depending on amount of chocolate you’ll be using) and heat in microwave for 1 minute.

2. Add chocolate to bowl (hollow chocolate works best, but peanut butter or coconut filled chocolate will add a lot of flavor too) and return bowl to microwave for an additional minute.

3. Remove from microwave and stir mixture.

4. Enjoy dipping graham crackers, strawberries, apples, or other fruits into your chocolate. YUM!

Wanna do something else with all that chocolate? Make chocolate covered strawberries!

3. Use Colored Plastic Eggs for Reinforcing Preschool Skills

We know this isn’t a candy, but you probably have a lot of these little plastic eggs if your child/ren attended egg hunts. Here are a few uses for these colorful

  • Sort the eggs into color groups
  • Count the number of eggs in each different color
  • Number the eggs from 1-10 (0r higher) and hide them around the house. Then work on putting the eggs in numeric order once they are found.
  • Label eggs with a letter of the alphabet. Hide eggs. As your child finds the eggs have them tell you the letter, letter sound, and a word that begins with that letter.

4. S’mores

Peeps aren’t for everyone and since Easter was late this year a campfire (or a fire in the firepit) in the backyard might be around the corner with warmer weather on the way. Peeps and some left over Easter chocolates might make some great s’mores…all you need are some graham crackers!

5. Freeze it!

None of these ideas suit your fancy? Maybe your whole family has overindulged their sweet tooth now, but in a few weeks you might be wishing you had a piece (or two) of chocolate. You can freeze that chocolate candy safely in an airtight bag for later eating!

Tangy Baked Italian Chicken

April 21, 2011 by admin  
Filed under Girl Talk, Meals In Minutes

This dish is SO simple and perfect for any night you might be in a crunch! It is so tender and moist. For extra flavor add some garlic powder and Italian seasoning to the bread crumbs before breading your chicken…yum, yum!

What You’ll Need:

  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • 1-2 cups Italian-style salad dressing (depending on how tangy you want your chicken to taste)
  • 1 cup Italian-style dried bread crumbs

Fix it Fast:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Place chicken breasts in a 9×13 inch baking dish. Pour salad dressing over chicken. Cover dish and refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  3. Roll each chicken piece in stuffing crumbs. Return to baking dish. Cover with aluminum foil and bake in the preheated oven for about 45 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and juices run clear.

Perfect Sides: Salad, Garlic Bread, Steamed Broccoli, Corn, Sauteed Vegetables

Easy Easter Breakfast Casserole

If you’re hosting Easter brunch this year you might be feeling the stress already. Wouldn’t it be so nice to wake up Easter Sunday to a clean house, a dining table set, and a meal ready for your guests? Your Easter Morning may not happen quite like that, but we’ve got a breakfast casserole that is so simple you’ll have a wonderful Easter feast ready in no time!

Easy Easter Breakfast Casserole

Thinking of hosting a brunch this year? We love the idea of Sunday brunch and think it is a great way to spend Easter with your family and friends. This breakfast casserole is SO simple (and yummy!).

casserole

What you’ll need:

8 slices of bread cubed

1/2 cup of butter, melted

2 cups milk

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. dry mustard

5 eggs

1/2 lb. shredded cheddar cheese

2 cups diced ham OR cooked sausage

4 oz. mushrooms

Fix it fast:

1. Grease a 9×13 pan.

2. Mix bread and butter together. Add cheese, ham/sausage, and mushrooms to mix.

3.  Place mixture in baking dish.

4. Beat eggs. Add milk and seasoning to eggs. Pour egg mixture over the bread mix in your baking dish.

5. Cover with foil and refrigerate over night.

6. Bake for one hour at 325.

7. Remove from oven and let stand for 10 minutes.

What We Love Right Now April 20, 2011: A Couple of our Favorite Finds for Earth Day

April 20, 2011 by admin  
Filed under Deals & Steals, Girl Talk, Kid Connection

Earth Day is approaching and we LOVE that Marc Brown author and creator of the lovable book character Arthur has launched a new book, Arthur Turns Green. Teachers, children, and parents who are fans of his books and great show on PBS have probably been awaiting a new book for quite a while! In the book Arthur and his curious sister D.W. are at it again and of course it does not disappoint!

arthur

{photo credits}

There is a wonderful website full of information regarding this cute new book and there are also lots of good ideas and activities to help you and your family turn green with Arthur! Visit www.arthur-books/green.html

Interested in more Earth Day reads? Here are some more books your little ones might enjoy:

  • Celebrating Earth Day: Circle the Year With Holidays, by Janet McDonnell
  • Every Day Is Earth Day: A Craft Book, by Kathy Ross
  • Keeper of the Swamp, by Ann Garrett
  • Mr. Garbage, by William H. Hooks
  • Gover’s 10 Terrific Ways to Help our Wonderful World, by Anna Ross
  • Tanya’s Big Green Dream, written by Lida Glaser
  • Pollution? No Problem!, by David Morichon
  • For the Love of Our Earth, by P.K. Hallinan

Hey Mama’s! Need a pick-me-up on the way out the door on Earth Day? Celebrate Earth Day with Starbucks on Friday, April 22 and get a FREE brewed tea or coffee when you bring in a reusable mug or tumbler! LOVE IT!

starbucks

Egg-cellent Egg Decorating with Chalkboard Paint

Home Made Simple has some great egg decorating ideas that are unique and different. We loved one in particular. All you need are some hard boiled eggs, chalkboard paint, and your favorite colored chalk. Paint the eggs and let your kids do the rest! They’ll have fun decorating and then redecorating their eggs over and over again! The eggs will make the perfect little centerpiece¬† for your Easter brunch table created by your very own Picaso’s!

chalkboard eggs

photo courtesy of Home Made Simple

What We Love Right Now April 13, 2011: Creating a “Date Night” with Your Child

April 13, 2011 by admin  
Filed under Girl Talk, Kid Connection

We just can’t help ourselves, we love the idea of having a special “date night” with your child. This works out so well if you have more than one child or if you just had a baby and introduced a new sibling into the home, so you can get that special one-on-one time with them. You can even wrangle your husband into the idea if he’s up for the challenge! This is something your child is sure to love. It gives them special time with mom (or dad!) and allows them to do something that interests them (remember, you want this to be fun for them and not seem like just another outing or errand with mom). Of course there are oodles of things you can do and you know your child best, but we have a few ideas for Kids Date Night…

1. Dinner and a Movie

This one is a no-brainer! Kids love going out to eat. You can let your child pick their favorite restaurant or make it fun and pick some place you’ve never been to before! There are always some great animated flicks playing at the theater, but if you’re out of luck check your local $1 theater to see if there is a movie playing that you might have missed during its original debut. Younger kids will love this! Teens will like hanging out with mom as a “friend” vs a parent for the evening. Maybe after the movie you can hit a few stores and shop if its not too late :) .

2. Visit a Book Store

Book Stores are pretty fun places. Little kids love the children’s section because usually they are very colorful, have special seating areas, reading corners, and lots and lots of books based on all their favorite characters. We guarantee you and your little one will have an hour or two of fun! For your tweens and teens, try heading out for brunch or lunch on a Saturday morning then going over to the book store and finding book that interests them. You can look it over together at the coffee bar or share a hot chocolate and make it a perfect lazy day outing!

3. Museum Trip

Kids of all ages like museums, but this is an especially great idea if your child is into history or art. Those are two interests that are hard to accommodate with daily activities so a special date to the museum would be an awesome treat!

4. Get Moving

If your child is active and loves sports or the outdoors there are countless things you can do together. Try to hit up the park for the afternoon and take your bikes, visit a National Park and hike a trail, visit a local gym and play a round of tennis or basketball. Ask your child what interests them and get active together!

5. Take Me Out to The Ball Game

Maybe not just a baseball, but depending on the season, you could take your child to a football, hockey, or basketball game. College sporting events have a fun atmosphere and if you’re near a college town that would be an idea. Depending on game time you could grab a bite to eat before hand or have a hotdog at the game!

School Bans Homemade Lunches

April 13, 2011 by admin  
Filed under Girl Talk, Kid Connection

What would you do if you could no longer send in your child’s lunch from home? This might be a big deal for some of our children. Not only do most kids dislike what is on the school lunch menu, often times it is healthier and cheaper to send in a lunchbox with your child. This may not be quite a big deal for the older children and teens in your home. We found this article from TODAYMoms and it seemed to spark quite an interest on the web and social media sites.

Would this bother you? Follow the link below to read up on a Chicago school that has banned lunches from home.

http://moms.today.com/_news/2011/04/12/6455349-cafeteria-chaos-school-bans-lunches-from-home-

What We Love Right Now April 6, 2011: Fresh Decorating Ideas for Spring

April 6, 2011 by admin  
Filed under Girl Talk, Home Decor

Better Homes and Garden has some really wonderful ideas for decorating this spring. We picked a few of our favorites, plus we’ve got some other great finds from our favorite retailers to spruce up your spaces in no time!

pink and green

Idea #1

1. We really like this pink and green entryway. The green color palette is so springy and the pink gives just the right pop of color. All the white furniture is so crisp. The woven baskets and natural materials also add a nice warm touch. What a great ‘welcome to our house’ for your guests!

2. Better Homes and Gardens also suggests losing your heavy drapes for some light sheers and letting the sunshine in! Lovely idea! We also love the vibrant pillows in this room. That is such an easy update

Idea #2

Idea #2

for any space and not very costly. Check your local Home Goods, Marshall’s, or World Market for pillows at a good price. A vase of fresh flowers, like the tulips pictured, can also add a pop of spring to any room too.

3. Another brilliant idea from BHandG! Give your dark upholstered

Idea #3

Idea #3

furniture a new look with a light slipcover. Again, an easy update and it will give your room a complete face lift. Not just that, but during these warmer months your kids and pets will most likely be spending more time getting dirty outdoors and these slipcovers will be convenient to remove, wash, and place back on your couches

4. Refresh your dining space with light, bring colors. White serving pieces and colorful glass accents will make your space springy and

Idea #4

Idea #4

bright.

Great Spring Finds from our Favorite Retailers

From Pier One…

We LOVE these bright, fun napkins in pink and turquoise, $2.95 ea.

ricracnapkin

Don’t you think these napkin rings scream spring? $3.95-$5.95 ea.

ring1ring2ring3ring4

From World Market…

Add a quick update to your family room or any sitting area with one of these button pillows, $12.99

pillow

This floral lumbar pillow will add just enough spring to your space, $24.99

lumbar pillow

From Pottery Barn…

We love these Victorian style glasses in light, spring shades, set of 6, $36.00

victoriantumblar

We also love this white, crisp, tiered serving piece, $45.00

teired45

From JCPenney…

This great slipcover is on sale for only $79.99 and available in many different colors.

slipcover

From Crate and Barrel…

Cute blooming placemat and napkin combo, $3.95-$11.95

placematnapkin

We love, love, love these adorable tealight holders and the price-even better! $0.95 ea.

votivesRoom image rights belong to Better Homes and Garden