Thursday, October 23, 2014

Pumpkin Patch Essentials

It's not uncommon to hear, "I love this time of year," but really I can't stress it enough. From the time school is back in session until after Christmas is the most ideal time in my eyes. Back to school always meant fresh school supplies and new clothes, then we rolled right into cooler weather, apple cider, hay rides, pumpkin patches, Halloween, Thanksgiving and then Christmas. It's always a whirlwind of activities and keeping busy, which I also love. I hope Riley grows up to love this time of year just as much I do. This year we made it to two pumpkin patches, Riley is only one but she really enjoyed the activities we did.

Cooper's Farm is located is the DuBois, PA area and Soergel's Orchards is in the North Hills of Pittsburgh. Both days we picked were beautiful! These farms really cater to children and the variety of activities offered are phenomenal.

When we go out on adventures like this I like to pack as light as possible. One multi-purpose item I constantly have with me this time of year is a pashmina scarf (seen above). I can wrap it around myself, Riley or both if it's a bit chilly, or set it down on places we want to sit that aren't necessarily clean.

There are always yummy treats at these types of festivals, but I find packing some snacks help control how many sweets we consume. Don't get me wrong, the whole family fell for the pumpkin gobs, but having snacks is a healthier alternative as well as a money-saver. These Munchkin Snack Catchers are my favorite. Riley loves Trader Joe's Rocket Ships (similar to Gold Fish crackers).

Photo from

This time of year, not just when at the pumpkin patch, it's always a good idea to have a hat for your little one. The weather has a mind of its own in our area and go can from sunny and 60* F to rainy, windy and 40* F in a couple of hours.

And, of course, don't forget your camera!

Get out there and explore what your neighborhoods have to offer. So many local farmers benefit from this time of year. I'd love to hear what your favorite pumpkin patch activity is!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

2013 Halloween Costume -- The Little Mermaid

With Halloween 2014 fast approaching, it dawned on me I didn't share Riley's 2013 Halloween costume. Last year was her first Halloween and she was only three months old. There were a couple things we wanted: comfort, warmth and the ability to be pushed since she wasn't mobile.

Introducing, my Little Mermaid...


Everything was handmade and she was one happy little mermaid. We repurposed the costume later for her first birthday invites, the theme was "Under the Sea." It definitely was a costume that had room to grow.

I can't wait to reveal this years costume! What's your favorite costume?

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Turkey Tertazzini

Wondering what to do with those turkey leftovers? Whip up this quick dish! I hadn't even heard of this until a week ago when someone brought it in for an office potluck. I decided to give it my own spin.

You'll need:
1 cup shredded turkey
1 package noodles - I used wheat spaghetti (13.25 oz)
1 cup sautéed peppers and onions
2 cans cream of celery soup
1 can full of milk
1/2 cup cheddar cheese
1/2 cup bread crumbs

1. Mix turkey, cooked noodles, peppers and onions, soup and milk together

2. Add to casserole dish and top with bread crumbs and cheese
3. Bake at 350* for 30 min


In other happenings, we've decorated for Christmas and the Elf on the Shelf, Cordelia McTinsel arrived.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving -- Turkey Cake

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. I have so much to be thankful for this year and could not express my gratitude for all blessings enough! 

Today I wanted to share a cute idea to make for your dinners. After the cake is cooled total time for this was about a half an hour. 

From this:

To this:

See how it's done at

Gobble, gobble!

Here's our little turkey!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

What Are We Enjoying Wednesday -- Chicken Philly Cheesesteak Sloppy Joe's

Boy is that title a mouthful -- pun intended, okay that was cheesy -- alright, alright, enough with the puns.

What are we enjoying Wednesday is where I share a meal we're loving, one we could eat every night. 

Here it is in all it's glory!

This is a simple meal to prepare after getting home from work, especially if you prep cook on the weekends, like I *try* to do, and have your peppers and onions diced.

You'll need:
1 lb. ground chicken
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 small onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1/2 cup cheese, shredded (we prefer pepper jack)

1. In a skillet cook peppers and onions in broth on medium heat until tender, about 15 minutes.
2. Add ground chicken and cook until no longer pink.
3. Turn the heat to low, mix in cheese and stir until melted through.
4. Serve on buns.


What's your favorite meal right now?

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Road to Riley -- Diapers and Wipes Stock Up

I found out I was pregnant November 3, 2012. It is amazing that it’s already been over a year and now I have this beautiful four month old baby girl. In the beginning there are so many emotions you are overcome with. I was hoping I would have a healthy, full term pregnancy, I began to wonder what type of parent I would be and if I could raise someone to be a respectable human being. Most of all I began to worry about money. Babies are expensive. 

I’ve recently become an avid coupon/bargain shopper and thought I would make the best of this nine month pregnancy and buy as much as I could throughout so I wasn’t swamped with needed items when she arrived.

What’s the most needed item that I can get a jump on, was my first thought, and diapers and wipes were it.

I began to research the best cost of diaper and how many it would be predicted are needed. (FYI the what’s needed chart will vary between babies, Riley needed 6 packs of newborns, some may need more, some may need less and some may not wear newborn at all). Here was what I based my shopping on.

 How did we do?

I didn’t get away scotch free not having to run out and buy diapers. We had to run out and buy some newborns because even though Riley was a whopping 8 lbs. 14 oz. she stayed in those newborn diapers for longer than I expected. We’re currently in size two, I don’t imagine we’ll be there much longer, so then we’ll dive into that huge size 3 stash.  I did have one extra pack of size one, I held onto them and then was able to include them in a baby shower gift. 

This chart is by no means a solid concrete this is how many diapers you need, but it’s definitely a big help to get an idea if you want to jump start your buying. 

In addition, my math was simple for wipes, for every pack of diapers I bought a pack of wipes, for every box of diapers I bought a jumbo pack of wipes (3 to a pack kind). 

And this is how the stash looked, isn't it pretty?

Monday, November 25, 2013

Meatless Monday -- Butternut Squash Stew

Welcome to a new week, a short week here considering I only have to be at work three days *extreme happy dance* Another Monday has come that we've tried another meatless dish. I'd never had butternut squash before and one squash (which cost a whopping 75 cents) not only made a large crockpot full of dinner and tomorrow's lunch, it also made 8 baby food jars for Miss Riley. I'm trying to make as much homemade baby food for her as possible and why not kill two birds with one stone.

The baby food recipes will be for another day. Today it's about the stew.

For the recipe you'll need

1 medium onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 carrots, sliced
1 1/2 cups butternut squash, cubed
1 1/2 cups beef broth
1 (14.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes
1 can green beans
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. basil
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. thyme
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper

I put everything in the crockpot on low for 10 hours. Nothing better on a cold November day in PA than coming home to some warm stew in the crockpot! 

I hope you enjoy! 

Here's our little ham enjoying Light Up Night this past weekend.