Favorite Things About Fall

Anyone else love fall. I literally have a countdown beginning the first day of September, and I always resist the urge to wear fall attire on the first day of fall. It may be 70 degrees outside, but I’m sure I can make those boots and flannel work.

Pumpkin Patch 2015

Our October is filled with events: hayrides, festivals, and family traditions fill our fall up to the brim. We go to the pumpkin patch; we carve the pumpkin… and I dream about making those cute pumpkin topiaries out of dollar tree plastic pumpkins but never do.  I do buy a number of glittery pumpkins from there every year.  Even if I don’t get that topiary made, they look darling just sitting around.  The sheer number of fall-themed decorations makes me reconsider yet another project… though I do love my burlap garland I made.

I’m often teased because I buy more Starbucks in October than I do in the whole year – not because I’m in love with their coffee, but those Pumpkin Lattes make me feel like fall.  And apple cider.  Oh my!

Progresso Soup

We also eat soup – a lot. Tomato bisque, chili, and potato soup are our favorites. What about you all? Do you have a favorite soup?  I love homemade but Progresso is convenient and delicious!   When I’m feeling especially healthy, acorn squash soup is divine, but I’m not quite sure what to pair with it. Do you eat grilled cheese sandwiches with acorn squash soup too? I love to cuddle up and watch movies with my husband while under a cozy blanket and warm soup.

When it comes down to it, I think I love fall the most because it isn’t hot. Seriously though, fall is my favorite because of the memories shared with people. My family always too advantage of the beautiful weather and local activities to create memories together when I was a youngster, so now I do that very same thing with my family.  Trips to the zoo, walks around the neighborhood, playing together at a park…they’re all special because of the people I’m spending time with.  Traditions are important, though not necessary or not always budget-minded, they do make our memories.

Cooking With Kids and Ragu

Growing up I remember my mom cooking and baking with my mom.  We didn’t do it a lot but the times we did were very special to me.  I can still remember the time my mom accidentally pulled the beater bar out of the chocolate cake batter before turning it off.  I was sitting in my pjs on the counter beside the mixer when it happened.  Chocolate went everywhere and I thought it was hilarious!  She laughed at herself and took the accident in stride.  We cleaned up, baked a cake, and had a great story to tell Dad.

Now as a busy mom I want to remember to take time and cook with my kids.  The messes and mistakes are worth the memories.  Last Saturday, we baked blueberry muffins from scratch along with scrambled eggs.  It was fun but it took so long to do that it ended up being brunch.

While I don’t have time every day to involve my kid’s in each meal preparation I try to every now and then.  Tonight’s dinner was a simple one.  Ragu sauce and bow tie pasta.  Easy peasy and my daughter was able to help!  She only poured the past in the the pot, poured the cooked pasta into the sauce, stirred it, and added Parmesan cheese to everyone’s dish but I know she felt like a chef.  It may have been the chef’s hat and apron she was wearing that made her feel that way but I like to think it was because I spent time with her and allowed her the opportunity to serve her family.


Sometimes it’s the little things in life, isn’t it?

Brew Your Breakfast w/ Nature’s Valley K-Cups + Giveaway

This post is sponsored by General Mills but my opinions remain my own.Publix

I’m all about convenience. I guess it’s American through and through, but I’m also about quality. When I can get the two together you can bet I’m a happy camper.

Recently, I’ve been having to eat out quite a bit and have been frequenting fast food joints. You know how excited you get when you get that free Chick-fil-a sandwich JUST because you took the survey to tell the how awesome they already know they are? Since I’ve been going to so many restaurants recently, I feel like a critic and I get excited about those survey receipts for more than just the bargain they offer. I get excited because I can’t wait to tell the fast food restaurant exactly what I thought of my transaction and it’s quality.

I simply cannot bear bad service. I’m not one of those to get in the manager’s face, but I am about letting people know politely if my experience wasn’t up to the degree which I expect. Like I said quality is a big deal to me, especially if I’m paying for it. Sometimes don’t you think it’s just worth staying home and prepping the food yourself, so you know what quality of food (and service) you’ll be getting?

Keurig Oatmeal

One of my new favorites that offers me convenience and quality is the Nature Valley Bistro Cup (I’m in love with the Brown Sugar Pecan flavor). I have a K-cup brewing maching, and this oatmeal is made using the K-cup brewing machine technology. For some reason I just LOVE this idea. I really think it’s because it’s easy and that’s what my poor brain is attracted to early in the morning. Basically, you empty the packet in a big mug, put an actual Kcup that has seasonings and flavors in the machine, and press go! This isn’t regular mushy oatmeal but is oatmeal with pizzaz. It’s kind of like Panera.

This fits well into my schedule because I can just turn on my K-cup brewing machine and prepare my oatmeal. While it’s setting, I can make my coffee too. I get to have a little convenient gourmet breakfast. By the way, one special touch that’s saved me money and time is a coffee frother. I make lattes all the time with half & half. You can also treat yourself to fall season anytime with a little pumpkin spice extract. It’s a great mock pumpkin latte for the 7 months of the year Starbucks makes us cry without the pumpkin!

Speaking of saving money, there’s a $3.00 off coupon at Publix which is a great way to try this yourself to see if you like it as much as I do and if it fits into your routine. I’d love to hear how you streamline your mornings!

Enter to win $10 Paypal cash! Good luck!
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5 Minute Tortelloni Dinner

I love homemade meals.  Homemade spaghetti with chopped up carrots, celery, garlic, and onions.  Yum!  Sometimes though, life doesn’t slow down long enough to prepare a meal made from scratch.  Sometimes short cuts are okay.  Embrace the short cuts sometimes and give yourself grace!

I want to share with you a favorite short cut delicious dinner that I pull out every so often.  It takes 5 minutes to make.  Yea, I know, crazy, right?  Okay, maybe a little longer depending how fast your stove will boil water.  My 5 Minute Tortelloni Recipe is easy though and absolutely delicious!

Delicious Tortelloni in five minutesShopping List:

– Mezzetta Napa Valley Homemade Marinara Pasta Sauce (Roasted garlic & caramelized onions is a great choice!)

– Refrigerated tortelloni (chicken/mozzarella is my fave)

– Fresh basil

– Parmesan cheese for grating

– Loaf of Italian bread (optional)

Tortellini Recipe


– Bring water to a gentle boil. Add tortelloni.

– Heat Mezzetta marinara sauce.

– Meanwhile, wash and chop the fresh basil.

– Drain tortelloni and cover with marinara sauce.  Garnish with fresh basil and Parmesan.  Serve immediately.

Quick Italian Meal

I’m telling you, it feels like you’re cheating on dinner but it tastes so good that you won’t feel bad for it.  Mezzetta marinara sauces are a high end line of sauces that taste delicious!

Mezzetta is hosting a fabulous giveaway where you can win the perfect pasta night!  Just click the picture below to enter!  Good luck!


Sweet and Salty No-Bake Clusters with Honey Bunches of Oats

This is a sponsored post but all the yummy pictures are my own. : )

No Bake Clusters Recipe

Honey Bunches Of Oats is a cereal that my family loves and I feel good about feeding them.  Recently, I was asked by Honey Bunches of Oats to make their version of sweet and salty no-bake clusters using their cereal.  I’ve always loved been obsessed by no-bakes so I had to give it a try.  If you like sweet and salty treats, you’ll love these.  They are delicious!  You have to make these to experience this chocolatey, honey, crunchy goodness for yourself!

Here’s the recipe and it makes 2 dozen clusters.  You can thank me later! : )


  • – 1 cup sugar
  • – 2 tablespoons cocoa
  • – 1/4 cup butter
  • – 1/4 cup milk
  • – 1/2 cup reduced fat peanut butter
  • – 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • – 1 1/2 cup Honey Bunches of Oats Honey Roasted Crunch
  • – 1 cup pretzels
  • – 1/2 cup peanuts


  1. In a heavy saucepan bring to a boil sugar, cocoa, butter and milk. Let boil for 1 minute then add peanut butter, vanilla, peanuts, pretzels and cereal.
  2. On a baking sheet coated with waxed paper, drop mixture by 2 Tablespoon scoops. Place sheet in the refrigerator until the clusters are cooled and hardened. When ready, gently pull clusters off of the waxed paper. Store clusters in the refrigerator.

This is a great treat to make for a summer picnic or cook out.  The prep time was only 15 minutes and from start to finish they were ready in an hour.  If you have young kiddos at home, this is a great recipe to let them help with because there aren’t any raw ingredients that they couldn’t eat.  I know I’ll be making these again soon and next time I’ll have my daughter help me.  She loves to measure and mix.  I love simple recipes that I can make with my little “helper.”  If you give this a try, let me know how you like it!

Sweet and salty no bake clusters

St. Patrick’s Day Treats For Kids

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. 

St.Patrick's Day Treats for Kids

Irish or not — here’s a sweet treat you can give your kids this St. Patrick’s Day.

Grab a mini wooden flower pot at any craft store for about a quarter a piece.  Add a little black paint and gold glitter.  Once it dries all you have to do is add your multicolored mini Twizzlers (or cut regular size Rainbow Twizzlers and add them) and you’re finished.  Rainbow and pot of gold in one.

Easy, tasty, and oh so cute!

Check out our other St. Patrick’s Day crafts:

Pumpkin Cake

Pumpkin Cake

This is a story about a pumpkin cake.  A cake that was born in the mind of a busy mama months ago.  This week she finally sat down and made the cake.  All went as planned until she decided to leave it overnight instead of taking pictures right away.  Later she would find out that that was a bad idea because the cake would fall overnight.

She, well, I tried to salvage the best pictures I could the next day but it wasn’t quite as cute as the day of.  Above is a crummy picture I took from my iPad that evening when I finished the cake.  I sent it to a few blogging friends to get their feedback on it before I left it alone for the night.  I had no idea it would be the best picture I would get of it.  *sigh*  The next morning I wanted to cry.

You see, the cake I made wasn’t any old cake, it was a cake with a mound of whipped cream icing on top of it.  The directions say to serve right away or up to eight hours later.  I knew better than to leave it for 12 hours.  I knew better!  I guess baking and decorating a cake with a three year old didn’t leave me in the best state of mind for logical thinking.

Despite the sad outcome of the cake I put enough effort into it that I wanted to show it to you anyway.  Plus, it’s a great reminder that bloggers aren’t perfect!  Sometimes it’s okay to reveal that, right? :)

Miette Cookbook

My idea for the cake cake from the Miette cookbook, which I have to stop and say is absolutely adorable and full of useful tips for creating gorgeous cakes!

Fall Pumpkin Cake

Here’s a picture of it after it slumped a bit.  It’s the best picture I could get considering the circumstances.

Here’s the whole process of the cake in case you’d like to make one yourself.  Don’t forget to serve right away or within 8 hours! :)

Pumpkin Cake Tutorial

You can see here how the icing slumped along the sides.  All in all, it was still a really delicious cake that made my daughter and I made together.  I guess that’s not too bad.

Are there any baking projects that you would like to complete this fall?

Watermelon Krispie Treats

Watermelon Krispie Treats

A friend of mine made these adorable Watermelon Krispie Treats for her family and was kind enough to share with us how she did it!  {She took the simple and quick method but if you want a longer method using Kool-Aid check out the watermelon treats from Dine and Dish.  They also have a cute hamburger made out of homemade Rice Krispie Treats!}


  • – Follow Kelloggs’ Rice Krispie Treat recipe except you’ll divide the marshmellow-y goodness in half and add green food coloring to one half and red to the other.
  • – Use a springform pan for easy release and a perfect shape.
  • – Once your watermelon is cooled you can add raisins or chocolate chips.

That’s it!  Just slice and serve.  One 9 inch pan should feed quite a few people.  Enjoy!!

King Cake History and Recipe

King Cake History and Recipe!

Friends of ours brought us this King Cake {also sometimes referred to as a King’s Cake, Kings’ Cake, or Three Kings’ Cake} along with some delicious chicken pie to help us out while we’re surviving our first few weeks with a newborn.  {If you want to see my super cute son you can here.  I think he’s adorable!  I know I’m biased but that’s allowed, right?}  This yummy treat started a discussion today with my blogging friends who had never heard of King Cake or the history behind it.  In case some of you are unfamiliar with the story I want to tell you about it.  Well, not in my words exactly but the following is from the info sheet our friends gave us with the King Cake.  {I’m not sure who’s the author of this info so if you know please share it with me.}

One of the many attractive customs surrounding the Christmas Season is the King’s Cake.  It has grown in popularity along with Christmas Carols, Christmas Trees, and Lights.  While these decorations are meant to be seen and admired, the Cake is a gift to be shared by family and friends at mealtime or during a party on or after “Little Christmas,” an expression used for the feast of Epiphany, observed for centuries on January 6.

In the Middle Ages, popular devotion during Christmastide turned to the Magi or Wise Men or Kings who had followed a star and paid homage to the baby Jesus.  By the twelfth century, veneration of the Magi or Kings themselves spread all over Europe.  In time, Epiphany (from the Greek work meaning ‘manifestation’ in most countries, became the feast of The Holy Kings.  The Gospel writers (Matthew, Mark, Luke, & John) do not mention the number of the Magi.  In the western church a slowly spreading legend put their number at three.  Perhaps this limitation was based on the three gifts mentioned in the Gospels: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.  Another reason may have been the early concept that the Magi represented all humanity in its three main races.  All through the Middle Ages Epiphany was the final day of the Christmas celebration.  It came to be known as the “Twelfth Night.”  Pageants included men riding horseback representing the Three Kings, crowned and richly clad, bearing cups filled with myrrh, incense, and the precious metal gold.  They rode through the streets of a city to the main church or cathedral where they offered their gifts.

In Hispanic, Italian, and other Mediterranean countries, January 6 is the day for giving presents to children.  In Rome, the “Lady Befana” (derived from the word Epiphany) distributes gifts among the little ones.  In Spain and South America gift giving is done not only at Christmas but also by the Magi.  During the night of January 6, small presents are placed in the children’s shoes by the Three Wise Men.

Connected with all of these customs is the King’s Cake.  Baked on the eve of January 6, it is prepared in honor of the Magi.  For long it was eaten on the afternoon of the Epiphany in connection with either the main meal or party for family, friends, and neighbors.

A feature of the King’s Cake is placing a coin in the dough before baking.  The person who has the piece with the coin is declared “king.”  More recently, the cake sometimes has had in it both a bean and a pea, making the respective finders “king” and “queen” of the party.  It is not unusual for bakers to put a plastic infant instead of a bean, pea, or even a pecan.

In medieval France, the coin finder was expected to make a donation to a worthy cause, usually the education of a youngster who otherwise might have been deprived of schooling.

In the New Orleans area, the King’s Cake is prepared and eaten during the Epiphany season, which according to liturgy of former times, extended from January 6 to the third Sunday before Mardi Gras or, more accurately, Ash Wednesday.  Nowadays, with the season of Epiphany no longer observed (although the feast is still prominent on the church calendar), the King’s Cakes are nevertheless prepared and consumed all the way to Mardi Gras.

And who knows but that Mardi Gras is nothing else but a throw back to the Epiphany pageantry of the medieval times, besides being a last “fling” before the penitential season of Lent and the King’s Cake as a delicacy, is an appetizing introduction to the carnival activities!

Isn’t that interesting?  It wasn’t until my husband and I met {around the time of Epiphany} that I learned about all of this.  Mike is great at trivia, he’s always teaching me something new!

This King’s Cake was made with individual cinnamon rolls instead of one large circle like the traditional cake.  Fun fact: “The cakes were made circular to portray the circular route used by the kings to get to the Christ Child, which was taken to confuse King Herod who was trying to follow the wise men so he could kill the Christ Child” {according to KingCake.com}.

For a great recipe try Emeril’s King Cake recipe.  If this is the first time you’ve made a King’s Cake I’ll warn you that, from my experience, they’re a bit dry if you don’t include a filling.  Still yummy but a little dry.  You could fill them with cream, fruit, or a combination of both.

Has your family ever celebrated with a King’s Cake?



Baby Shower Cake for Girls or Boys

Baby Shower Cake for Girls or Boys

This is a baby shower cake I made to celebrate my friend’s new bundle of joy.  I think this cake is perfect for a either a boy or a girl {just leave out the pink hair bow if it’s for a boy}.

This is a white cake with lemon curd filling, topped with butter cream, and then covered with fondant.  Everything is edible.  The spilled shampoo bottle was made from piping gel and the bubbles were made sparkly with edible shimmer powder.

If you have any questions feel free to ask!