Friday, April 21, 2017

Friday Faves: Organic Clothes, Sugar Highs and Swim Shenanigans

Thank you MomsMeet for sponsoring my prAna review. All opinions are my own. As always I only share products that I fully support and enjoy sharing with you!

Happy Friday friends! What a busy week it's been in our home. I've been solo parenting which always makes a busy week a bit more crazy because not only am I on my own this week but I am also the only one around to keep Connor busy which makes for long days. But hey, the Mister comes home this evening so there's an end in sight. Here are some highlights and random thoughts for this week.


ONE | Dressing My Changing Body


The last time I had to dress a changing body, I was pregnant with Connor. Since then I've put comfort over style but thanks to losing a bit of weight, I've been enjoying shopping more and finding new clothing to wear. With Summer fast approaching it's time for me to embrace something other than tees and yoga/workout pants.

When I was given the chance to try prAna clothing*, I was really eager. I love the idea of trying new brands but am often worried that they just won't fit my body. Lucky for me, I scored the cutest top with a pretty color and pants that are both comfortable and fitted. Clothing made from sustainable materials isn't something I normally see in the department stores or online yet both pieces are so comfortable and go with other pieces in my closet. I've been wearing the Midtown Capri in black and the Nelly Top in cargo green both made from recycled materials on a weekly basis.

TWO | Lego Travel Box DIY


Many of you have asked me how I made Connor's Travel Lego Box and I wanted to make sure Lizzie from This Happy Life Blog got the credit. When she shared her boxes, I knew I would want one for Connor. I didn't put as much time in ours as Lizzie did the two she made but Connor doesn't seem to mind. He has played with his box non-stop since Easter morning. Visit Lizzie's blog for all the details on the project.

THREE | Happy Little Camper Wipes


Will there ever be a point when I am not in need of baby wipes? I recently received these Happy Little Camper wipes and I am in love. Not only do they clean up after messy Connor will ease, they are flushable. We have been allowing Connor to handle his own business in the bathroom these days and this have helped keep things tidy if you know what I mean. The best part is they are 100% organic cotton wipes with no harmful chemicals or toxins.

FOUR | Adios Candy


I haven't had sweets once in the last 10 weeks so when this overflowing bucket of candy was just sitting on my kitchen counter, calling my name, I knew it had to go! I kept a few things for James and Connor but for the most part, over half of that basket is in the trash can. I am so proud of myself for surviving Easter without going into a sugar coma. Now if I can just stick with Halo Top ice cream this Summer, I will feel pretty good about the progress I've made in regards to my sweet tooth.

FIVE | Swim Lesson Shenanigans 


I have a love/hate relationship with swim lessons. I love the important skills, the life saving skills, that Connor has gained and continues to learn. However the pre-class antics and time of day just leave me feeling less than excited for class. Connor can't keep his hands to himself while waiting for classes to start and since we have school during the week, our sessions are at 5:05 P.M. which is just horrible timing. #firstworldproblems I know but I just wish Connor would be still and that class was at a more reasonable time of day.

Here is a recap of this week's posts in case you've missed any of them...
Monday: $10 at Target: Fashion Edition
Tuesday: "The Tiny Seed" Flower Craft & Field Trip
Wednesday: Happy 9th Year {Fun Couple Q&A}
Thursday: My Dream Dinners Experience

I hope each of you had a fantastic week. Happy weekend friends!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

My Dream Dinners Experience

Last week I had the opportunity to visit a Dream Dinners location near me for a Dream Taste event. Have you heard of Dream Dinners before? Let me fill you in.

Dream Dinners allows you to meal prep meals in store that you will later cook at home. You view their monthly menu online, place your order, select a prep time and visit the store when ready to put together your meals. Once you arrive you put together a month's worth of meals for your family in about an hour. The prep work and clean-up is taken care of for you; you just assemble the meals.

When you are ready to cook the meal, you thaw, following the directions provided and within about 30 minutes you have a homemade meal ready for your family. Let me share my visit with you along with the meals we've enjoyed and whether or not I think it's something your family should try.


When placing my order online I picked 3 dishes that aren't something we would make if it wasn't for this chance of trying them out. We added the Loaded BBQ Pulled Pork Bites, Chicago Style Chicken with Red Skin Potatoes and Pecan Crusted Pork Chops. I picked the 3 serving option (there is a 6 serving option as well) which was $34.99. This put the cost per serving at a little less than $4 per person per meal. I don't usually cook pork so I was eager to add these meals to our dinner rotation. I think the Mister is getting sick of all the turkey and chicken.

Here are some of the behind the sign photos of my meal prep evening. As part of the Dream Taste I was given the chance to sample the Crispy Salsa Ranch Chicken with Corn Medley.







Each meal station has a laminated card with all the details on what will go in each bag, which size bags to use and the best part - everything is color coded so it's really fool proof. Once you've assembled the meal you place in the freezer to chill. While you move onto a new dish, a Dream Dinners employee cleans up the mess you've made, restocks any necessary ingredients, leaving you the ability to prep meals without the clean-up.

Over the last week we've made each of the Dream Dinners meals I brought home. Each meal was served with two side dishes and made a delicious homemade meal for our family. See for yourself how tasty these dishes look.


I didn't add any additional sides or ingredients.


Pecan Crusted Pork Chops served with sides I had on hand.
(green beans and mashed bacon and cheddar cauliflower)


Loaded BBQ Pulled Pork Bites
(served with green beans and grapes)

I loved the BBQ Pork Bites. I think they were my favorite because who doesn't love carbs and cheese? The pecan crusted pork chops were pleasantly delicious. This was the first time I had ever cooked with a nut before. The Chicago style chicken provided me with 2 veggies in one meal, both which had a ton of flavor. These are dishes that I would love to try again. Here are additional pros and cons from my first Dream Dinner's experience:

PROS
  • All three meals provided us with enough for dinner and some leftover. 
  • The price for my Dream Taste was fair. $35 for 3 meals works for our family's budget. 
  • I didn't have to grocery shop or prep any of these meals. Dream Dinners does all that work for you. 
  • No grocery shopping or meal prep is necessary. 
  • Special ingredients like white cooking wine isn't something I normally have on hand yet a recipe called for it. It's nice having special ingredients available as I don't know if I would use cooking wine often (fact: I've never used it before this experience). 
  • Each month the menu changes giving your family a chance to try new dishes on a monthly basis. 
  • You can make substitutes. For example if you don't eat pork you can sub chicken instead. If you have a little one who doesn't like peas, you can omit them in your recipe.
  • Perfect for a busy family who doesn't have the time or the want to spend a lot of time meal planning or prepping. 
CONS
  • Not all dishes come with a side item so those have to be either purchased from Dream Dinners or from your local grocery store.
  • Larger families may spend more with Dream Dinners then just shopping their local store. However, the convenience of Dream Dinners is second to none. 
Just one con? Yes! I came home signing all the praises to my husband about the experience. I am responsible for the bulk of my families meals so anything that would allow dinner to be on the table with less work, I am all for. I loved my experience with Dream Dinners so much that I attended a fundraiser event on Monday night and have an appointment again later this month to stock up on meals. I even bought a few items from their fully stocked freezer to try as well. Once we enjoy those, I'll be sure to share my thoughts. 

Dream Dinners isn't just an Ohio operation. There are many locations throughout the country. If you are a busy family, struggling to get a wholesome meal on the table after a hectic day, I urge you to check Dream Dinners' site to find a location near you and schedule your Dream Taste.

Have you meal prepped with Dream Dinners before?
I'd love to hear about your experience!
* I was provided the Dream Taste package at no cost for my honest review*

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Happy 9th Year {Fun Couple Q&A}

9 years! Today the Mister and I have been together for 9 years. I can't believe it's been that long but at the same time it feel like much longer. To celebrate the fun that is James and I, I've put together a fun Q&A. I learned quiet a bit the Mister and I think some of my answers will surprise you.
If you could spend one day in someone else's shoes, who would it be and why?
James: My materialistic answer is to spend a day as Billy Joel, I’d play all of my favorite songs on the piano. My deeper answer would be spending time as one of the great minds of business, Bill Gates or Steve Jobs.  

Stephanie: I think I would love to be Annie Leibovitz. Her photographs are amazing and she gets to capture such beautiful moments and people. 

Share 5 things that make you happy.
J: Spending quality time with you and Connor. Being outdoors. Exploring new towns. Watching Connor experience things for the first time. Live music of any kind.

S: A new book, fresh bread, a cozy blanket, you and Connor and caffeine.
Which celebrity gets on your nerves the most and why?
J: I hesitate to use the word celebrity in this way. However, anyone on any “Housewives of” show gets on my nerves. The pettiness and drama from people that have so much is disgusting.

S: Anne Hathaway. I'm sure this makes me the strangest person on the planet but everything about her annoys me.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
J: President of the United States.

S: First a lawyer then a librarian.
What's the strangest place you have ever gone to potty?
J: I can’t think of any answer that you would actually post to your blog.

S: The side of the road I suppose. I'm sure there is some place stranger, I'm just drawing a blank.

Do you have any strange or unique fears?
J: I am afraid of three things, I don’t think they are strange. Being in natural bodies of water and not being able to see around me. Snakes. Connor choking.

S: I have a real legitimate fear that the following will one day happen - a) that my airplane seat will be sucked out from under me and I'll be ripped out of the airplane and b) that while at a open casket funeral the dead person won't actually be dead but will jump out mid-service.
If you could be any Disney villain, who would you be?
J: Captain Hook. Because, pirate.  

S: Cruella de Vil. I think our love of dogs is similar although I'm not cruel like her; I'm just not a dog person.

If your life was a novel, what would the title be?
J: Fast and Furious.

S: A House of Scorpios

What was your favorite childhood TV show?
J: Pee Wee's Playhouse 

S: MacGyver. I still love that show.
I couldn't ask for a better partner to do life with.
And James is just that... my perfect partner.
Love you Coxy.
"I'm Yours"