Thursday, December 10, 2015

Ready For Holiday Parties? Quick and Delicious Potluck Dishes

It’s that time of year again, the time for tinsel, trees, holiday parties and...potlucks. Every December we are invited to at least one potluck and I am always short on time to figure out what to bring. This year is no different.  But I’m hoping to be more prepared by having some tasty recipes ready to make! Here are a few recipes that look delicious, super easy and quick.

Appetizer: Tortilla Pinwheels from Taste of Home
I love the look of these Tortilla Pinwheels! The combination of olives, green chilies, cream cheese, and tortillas sounds delicious! Prep time for these is 20 minutes and then they chill for several hours leaving you with time to get everyone ready or prep another dish. If you have kids at your potluck, you could make some Peanut Butter and Jelly Pinwheels for a kid-friendly appetizer option to go along with these!

Side Dish: Easy Cheesy Tortellini Bake 
This Easy Cheesy Tortellini Bake is so easy to throw together! 15 minutes of prep time and 15 minutes in the oven and it’s done. You could even add some cooked Italian sausage to make it a main dish.

Main Dish: Make Ahead Fajitas from Mr. Food 
How about these Make Ahead Fajitas if you are in charge of a main potluck dish? They are easy to whip up and have a cook time of 35 minutes. They look delicious and are a nice change from a typical casserole. 

Dessert: Hello Dollies from 
This rich dessert is delicious and a family favorite of mine! Hello Dollies combine coconut flakes, graham cracker crumbs and chocolate chips in a gooey bar. It takes less than 15 minutes to throw together, 25-30 minutes to bake and they are fool proof!  

I’d love to hear about your favorite quick and easy potluck dishes too!

For more ideas like these, check out our “Easy Potluck Dishes” Pinterest Board! Happy Potlucking! And Happy Holidays!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Thanksgiving: Getting Kids Involved!

Thanksgiving is just a week away! It’s one of my favorite holidays. Halloween and all the candy and costumes are behind us and there’s no need to buy presents! I have started trying is get my kids involved with the Thanksgiving preparations. While it’s hard to have them help with everything, I love getting them involved with the things they can do. And they love it too! Here are some ideas we are thinking about trying out this year!

Thanksgiving Themed Craft Table
I love the idea of a kids table during dinner, but what about the times where the adults are still talking around the dinner table and the kids are done and ready to play. We started setting out a table with art supplies and a craft that the kids can do by themselves and it was a hit! I like to line the kids table with paper and add crayons at the very least. And if I have more time, then prepping an art project is definitely a great way to get kids involved with celebrating Thanksgiving! Mess for Less’s has 50 Turkey Thanksgiving Crafts for the craft table! I also really love the idea of this cute turkey crayon holder from Hoosier Homemade!

Making Table Decorations
Table decorations are great to make for some pre-Thanksgiving art projects! Handprint table runners using fall colored paint, turkey place cards or this cute thankful turkey can make any table more festive! And they are a great way to get the kids involved and excited for Thanksgiving!  

Easy Thanksgiving Recipes That Kids Can Make
I love having my kids help with a couple of dishes during Thanksgiving! So many great recipes out there are kid friendly to make! My kids love to help stir and create a dish that they know our friends and family will enjoy. With Pinterest just a click away, it’s easy to find kid-friendly dishes that kids can easily make! These Pumpkin Cups from Sheknows Chef Mom are a great option for a quick and healthier dessert option that kids can easily help with! 

For more ideas like these, check out our “Thanksgiving!” Pinterest Board!  

I’m always looking for new ideas! I’d love to hear about your ideas for getting your kids involved with the Thanksgiving preparations too! What do they love to help with?

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Easy Crock Pot Meals!

Fall is officially here! Which means that it’s time to break out my favorite fall dinners! I love using my crock pot on chilly fall days. It’s so nice to have food ready by dinner time that you don’t have to spend tons of time prepping right before serving it. Sometimes, if I’m feeling very ambitious or if I know the next day is going to be super busy, I’ll prep the next day’s dinner the evening before in the crock pot dish, except the main liquid, and then pop it in the fridge. Then, in the morning I’ll add the liquid and put it in the slow cooker and it’s ready to go by dinner time! It makes dinner so much easier and smells so great as it cooks! Here are three of my favorite recipes:

This is one of the easiest recipes and it is so delicious! I like to add carrots to the soup for some extra veggies too. It is quick to throw together and then you set the slow cooker on low for 7-9 hours. So easy!

These delicious pulled pork sandwiches are a cinch to make and a nice alternative to soup in the fall. After cooking on high for about 4 hours, the meat simply falls apart with a fork creating juicy and delicious pulled pork sandwiches. Just add a bun and some coleslaw and you’re set for dinner!


This is my go-to recipe for pot roast. It’s easy and all inclusive so I only have to dirty one dish for making dinner since you can cook the vegetables and potatoes with the roast.

I’d love to try out your favorite slow-cooker recipes too! Please share them in the comments! And happy slow cooking!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Easy and Fast Kids Breakfast Ideas: Featuring CHIA!

Now that we've had a week or so of the kids being back in preschool, (and hopefully school will be starting soon for Seattle Public Schools!) I decided that it’s time to get serious about a nutritious breakfast in the morning for these growing bodies. No more unhealthy, sugary bars on the way to school! This summer I have been loving Chia and all its healthy benefits. It’s high in fiber, calcium, protein, omegas and so much more goodness! It’s awesome! Why not pass on this nutrition to our kiddos?!

Here are three super fast breakfast ideas my kiddos love (and I do too)!

I love adding spinach (sometimes kale) and chia seeds to a smoothie with pineapple, frozen mango, a splash of orange juice and a banana! It’s a great way to get those veggies in early!

Yogurt Parfait
I start with Greek yogurt which has tons of protein in it, then I add some high fiber granola, sometimes some toasted coconut, and raspberries (another high fiber food). Then I sprinkle some chia on top for a little more crunch! Delicious!

I made 2 dozen of these delicious bars on Sunday and we eat them throughout the week! So tasty and full of great protein, nutrients and fiber!

For more tasty recipes like these, check out our pinterest board “Berry Good Recipes”! I’d love to hear about your favorite breakfast recipes too!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Tasty Summer Treats!

With the end of summer just around the corner, I have many mixed emotions. I’m looking forward to getting back in a more regular routine with my kids, but I will also miss the care-free summer days and gorgeous weather. In an effort to try to soak up as much of the last few weeks of summer as possible, my kids and I have been experimenting with some tasty (and healthy!) homemade summer treats in the kitchen! Here are some of our favorites!

Fruit and YogurtCones from

We love this healthy take on an ice cream cone! With fresh fruit and yogurt, it’s always a winner! Sometimes we add the slivered almonds for a bit of crunch!

Strawberry FrozenYogurt from Just a Taste

This delicious recipe only takes 5 minutes to make! It is quick to make and has simple ingredients too. It has the perfect combination of strawberries, agave nectar, yogurt and fresh lemon juice. We’ve also been experimenting with other berries and fruits. We’ve tried adding mangoes and oranges and sometimes I’ll even add a couple of carrots to the fruit! 

Breakfast Banana Pops from Chocolate Covered Katie 
These tasty treats are really fun. When we are making them as treats, we like to dip the bananas in vanilla yogurt then roll them in crushed cookies and mini chocolate chips! I know, they say breakfast in their name, but they are so delicious as a special treat. Sometimes we make them with granola and raisins and have them for a special breakfast.

For more ideas like these, check out our Pinterest Board “Berry Good Recipes”! 

We always love finding new recipes! What are your go-to summer treats?

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

It’s Berry Pickin’ Time!

Summer has been so beautiful this year! We have been keeping cool during these hot days by visiting spray parks and other nice shaded parks with a lot of trees.   One of my favorite things to do in the summer is to pick fresh berries. I love visiting one of the many U-Pick berry farms we have in this area. Here are a couple of tips for U-Pick Berry picking that I have found helpful as well as a couple of farms that we have really enjoyed!

Helpful tips for berry picking:
  1. Call ahead to make sure the farm is open and that there are berries.
  2. Find out if the farm is cash only or if cards are accepted.
  3. Arrive early, fields can be picked over by noon and the sun is much hotter in the afternoon.
  4. Bring sunscreen and hats. Berry patches are usually in full sun.

U-Pick Farms:
2380 Bellevue Way SE, Bellevue, WA 425-499-5322 or 425-260-2266
Located in nearby Bellevue, this U-Pick Farm has blueberries and a great food stand with fresh and local produce! They are open mid July through Mid September 10am-6pm except Wednesdays. Cash or check only.

Remlinger Farm  

32610 N.E. 32nd Street Carnation, WA 98014 425-333-4135 ext 250

Remlinger Farm is located in Carnation and has lots of fun for the entire family including a little roller coaster, a train and lots of farm animals. Raspberry fields at Remlinger Farm just opened up. They also have u-pick strawberry fields earlier in the summer. Check out their website for more information. 


21412 59th Ave NE, Arlington, WA 98223 425 259-0255

This farm is a little farther north and has strawberries between mid-June and mid-July and raspberries in late July. You can take the Jolly Trolley out to the fields. They have a cute playground with a climb-on tractor and a great picnic area for lunch after berry picking. Be sure to call their berry hotline to find out what is available before you go. 


For some inspiration for what to do with your buckets of berries, check out our Pinterest board “Berry Good Recipes”! Happy berry picking! 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Affordable Seattle Summer Fun!

Summer is officially here! I love everything about summer; time just seems to slow down a bit since we aren’t rushing everywhere. But with the slower pace, also comes the long summer days that can sometimes be hard to fill. We signed up for a couple of summer camps, but besides that, I’ve been looking for a few cheap or free activities to fill in around the summer camps, library story times and swimming lessons. Here are some of the activities and events I’ve found that I’m super excited to check out this summer as well as some activities we’ve been to in the past and loved!

Summer Concerts in the Park

I feel so lucky to live in an area that has such a wide array of kid-friendly summer concerts. Seattle
has a lot of family-friendly concerts in nearby parks in Seattle and on the Eastside. And for a lot of
the concerts, admission is free. Check out Red Tricycle’s website for a list of locations, artists, dates and times!

Spray Parks and Wading Pools
Seattle has such a great array of parks! On those really hot days I love taking the kids to splash around in the spray parks. Our favorite is the Willis D. Tucker Spray Park in Snohomish, although it’s a little farther away, it’s so much fun and has little bits of shade to splash in as well as a great playground and some nice picnic spots. Visit Seattle’s website for a list of other wading pools and spray parks open this season. Or check out ParentMap’s list of spray parks for more places to check out! 

Family Friendly Activities
It seems like each weekend there are festivals of some sort going on. From Seafair events, including the Greenlake Milk Carton Derby and Pirates Landing on Alki, to Thomas the Train Rides in Snoqualmie and so many other festivals, we could really attend a different festival each weekend. We typically just go to one or two each summer. Our favorite is the Greenlake Milk Carton Derby where kids and adults build boats out of empty milk cartons and then race them. So fun! This year we will check out a couple of other festivals too. Events12 has a great list of activities all over Washington by month.

 I’d love to hear about what you like to do during these summer months too! Happy summer!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Spring Cleaning: Tackling the Toy Room!

I’ve really been on a spring cleaning kick lately. Especially on those rainy days when it’s too wet to go outside. For my most recent project, I’ve been working on cleaning and organizing my girls’ rooms and the play room. Both of my daughters’ birthdays are in the spring too, which means they receive toys and clothes and trinkets in the spring time. As I’m sure with most of you, I like to keep an organized house, but I don’t always have gobs of time. However, when the toy baskets are over flowing and the closets are too full, I know it’s definitely time to clean out and donate those things that the kids don’t play with anymore and don’t wear. The trickiest part I think is knowing what to keep and what to get rid of.  But, I find that once I actually get started sorting, it’s easier to decipher what my kids really play with and what gets left on the shelf every play time.

Here are some tips I’ve found that have really helped me get started sorting!

1. Spend 15 minutes per day 
          I find that if I set a timer for 15 minutes, I can get a lot of sorting done and make pretty good headway. Knowing I have an end time for sorting often helps me get started without dreading it so much. Sometimes if I’m on a roll, I’ll continue working after the timer goes off. But knowing that I have set out to work just 15 minutes on one area then can move on to whatever is next in my day really helps!

2. What to keep, what to donate?
            I’ve learned over the past few years that finding the right balance for how many toys to keep in the bedroom can be tricky. When in doubt, I move the majority of the toys to the play room and keep just a few toys in their room. When sorting toys, I try to get my kids involved. While my youngest isn’t quite ready to be a part of this, my almost-4-year-old definitely is. When we’re working together to clean and de-clutter, we play the “Stop Clutter Game.” (I know, it’s a super creative name for the game, but it works!) I pick up a toy and ask her if it’s something we want to keep, put away, give away or throw away. I like to use boxes that are labeled “keep”, “trash”, and “donate”. She’s pretty good about playing the game and helping me sort. We only play in 15 minute increments and then at the end of the 15 minutes, we work together to put the toys back in their home and find new homes for the toys that didn’t have a home before. Some toys that my oldest has chosen to donate I’ll tuck away in those convenient plastic tubs until my youngest will be ready to play with them.
3. Find the right organization:
            Finding the right organization for things is as important as removing clutter. I’ve turned to Pinterest many times for help finding the right organization for toys, art supplies, clothing, etc for our play room and the kids’ rooms. Check out our Pinterest board “Let’s Get Organized" for some other ideas too.  Even though it can be time consuming, labeling each bin is the best thing I have done. When it’s time to clean up you will never hear, “I don’t know where it goes…” brilliant!  You can keep the labels pretty basic, such as: Baby Doll Items, Games, Building, Animals, etc.

I’d love to hear about your tips for getting organized too! Happy spring cleaning!

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Read! Read! Read! The Importance of Reading!

I have really enjoyed this sunny weather lately! But when the weather turns cold and rainy, as it inevitably does during spring in Seattle, there’s nothing more I like to do than snuggle up with my girls and read stories. We enjoy reading all sorts of books, silly books, search and find books, story books about ballerinas and ponies and also about new topics that we want to know more about. When we grow tired of the books we have, I love taking a trip to the library with my girls to explore other subjects and find new books that interest them.

Reading together is so important especially for young children. It teaches vocabulary and helps
children learn how to connect words together to make sentences; a very important process as children
are developing their language skills.  Reading books together can help open up communication about
lots of different topics and help develop a child’s imagination. Books can teach children about the
world around them and can expose them to new ideas and other ways of life.

Sometimes we read before bed, during snack time, or just whenever the mood strikes. Here are some
books we’ve really been enjoying!

Boogie Monster by Josie Bissett
This cute book is about a loveable Boogie Monster that loves to dance. It comes with a set of fuzzy
boogie legs that kids can put on to turn into the Boogie Monster and dance and wiggle! Josie Bissett
also writes Tickle Monster about a monster that has just flown in from Planet Tickle. This book is
so fun to read aloud and comes with “Tickle Mitts” to inspire laughter and fun while reading. 

Have You Filled a Bucket Today? By Carol McCloud
Have You Filled a Bucket Today? is a wonderful story with vivid illustrations that encourages positive behavior by showing how easy it is to use kind words and express appreciation daily.

The Story of Cherry the Pig by Utako Yamada 
This is my 4-year-old's favorite book and has been for the last couple years. It’s a book that teaches 
how not everyone perceives things the same and that’s okay.  Cherry the Pig loves to bake and some 
mice try her cake and don’t like it. This causes her to feel nervous and scared to enter it in the bake-
off but she does and wins!  This is such a great story about never giving up on your dreams even if 
others don’t agree.

Blossoming Buds and Starling Agency Nanny Placement are teaming up again this year to support  
Page Ahead Children's Literacy Program. Page Ahead is a wonderful foundation that builds awareness about the importance of early literacy in under-served/high-risk populations. On behalf of Page
Ahead, we will be hosting a book drive throughout the entire month of May. The books collected
will be delivered to low-income schools, shelters, and outreach programs throughout Washington
State. Many of the books will be given to children who have never owned their own book. We are
excited to be able to help support other early readers throughout the community! Feel free to share
the news of the book drive with your friends and neighbors! The more we collect for Page Ahead,
the more children will become engaged in early literacy. For more information on Page Ahead visit:  
Page Ahead 

If you would like to participate in the book drive, please feel free to deliver new/unused books
(ages 0-6) to Blossoming Buds during the month of May. If you bring them to Blossoming Buds
Cottage, you can enter to win a $20 Cottage gift card! Thank you for your help supporting such
a wonderful foundation!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Tips for Planning Children's Birthday Parties!

My youngest is about to turn one and I can’t believe it! Where did the time go? It seems like just a day ago we were dealing with poo blow-outs and wondering why is she spitting up so much?! This will be our final “one year-old party” so I want to make it special. (not only for her but me too… I survived once again!) We will be doing a glamourous (so easy) pink and gold princess party. Then after we wrap this one up, it’s time to start planning my almost-4-year-old’s Cinderella party! Here are some tips that I found really helpful with planning my girls’ birthday parties!

First things first, find a place to host your party:

Personally, I don’t like to host the parties at my house. Too much mess! We have so many beautiful
parks here in Seattle and at most parks you can reserve a picnic table or a shelter for a small fee for
a half a day. With the weather ever-changing here in Seattle, it’s hard to know if the weather will be
nice for the party. If you prefer an indoor venue, there are lots of kid friendly spaces that can be
rented for birthday parties too including the Cottage! With two spring birthdays, I don’t trust the
weather so both parties will be at the Cottage.


Pick a few games or an art project:

Depending on the theme of your party and the ages of your party guests, it’s a great idea to have some games ready to play! Parachute games or for the slightly older kiddos, a relay race or a good ol’ fashion
pin the tail on the donkey/horse or pin the crown on the princess. For my one year-old’s party the older
kids will be making princess magic wands. At Michaels, I found some cardboard white stars and I hot-
glued them to white craft sticks. The best part: super easy and super cheap!  The kids will glue on
sequins, rhinestones, stickers etc. Done!

Table-scape and Party Favors:

I love consulting Pinterest when I have a party coming up. It’s such a great resource for ideas. I
think balloons give the biggest bang for your buck when it comes to decorations. I always have
a lot of balloons, vinyl table clothes that go with the theme and the cake/cupcakes on display. 
That says “party” to me!  For some other great ideas, make sure to check out our
Pinterest board.

As far as party favors, let’s face it; we all despise getting a bag full of “junk” as party favors. I always
do some type of edible party favor. My favorite lately have been chocolate covered pretzel rods or personalized shortbread cookies that I found on They are inexpensive and save me a lot
 of time buying them rather than making them… plus I love supporting other small businesses!

            Etsy: Treats by Taryn 
Etsy: Stone House Oven                                    
I’d love to hear about what has worked well for you for your kids!

Monday, February 2, 2015

Homemade Valentines: What's Not to Love?

January went by in a flash and here we are with Valentine’s Day just around the corner! It’s amazing how fast time goes…especially with two kids now.  I have to start thinking about my second daughter’s 1st  birthday already, but that’s another post down the road.

There’s a lot I love about Valentine’s Day; especially because it’s a holiday all about love. But, at the same time I don’t love all the candy that comes along with it. My daughter loves candy, but she loves toys and doing fun art projects just as much. She gets super excited when we sit down and create valentines together. She loves to help pick which toy each of her friends is going to get and which craft we will do for the grandparents. Here are some cute Valentine’s Day cards and crafts that are easy to make and really cute too!

“Love Comes in All Sizes”
This is adorable for the grandparents if you have multiple children or just one.  Each child can do a heart with their thumbprints and be done with each project in less than 10 minutes.  This can be done on a canvas found at Michael’s or on a plain piece of paper. Adorable!

“I Love You to Pieces!”
This adorable card is also a great option for Valentine’s Day Cards too!  I made this last year for the grandparents. You could use a different color of paper for the background and add a brighter pop of color!

"You Make My Heart Race!"
Who doesn’t love a new toy car? This cute car valentine is a perfect option for those kiddos who like to play with cars!

“I’ve had my eye on you!”
For those kids who love to explore, a Magnifying Glass Valentine is the perfect choice! Kids can use it anywhere to take a closer look!

“Some hearts beat, but my heart bounces for you!”
All sorts of fun can be had with bouncy balls! For the bag toppers check out this website

“You make my heart glow!”
To make any evening infinitely more fun, how about a glow stick? These cute glow stick valentines are sure to please!

I’d love to hear about your favorite ideas for cute Valentines for kids! Have a very happy Valentine’s Day!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

New Year, New Classes for the Kiddos

Happy New Year! I hope your New Year is off to a great start! I love January because it always feels like a fresh start. The daylight hours are beginning to get longer and as much as I love the holiday season, it’s also a relief when they have passed by us and we can start the new year.  January is such a great time for making new goals and resolutions. It’s also the perfect time to start a new class; maybe something your kids have wanted to try or something you think they may really enjoy. Here are a few classes that my kids and I have really enjoyed.
My oldest daughter loves going to gymnastics! It’s great for gross motor skills,
core strength/balance and following directions.

My oldest daughter loves to dance! This is a great studio children can continue at for many years
with a variety of different styles of dance to choose from.

My oldest took Kindermusik classes for 1.5 years and my youngest is currently enrolled. She loves it!  They have classes for all ages: babies, toddlers and big kids too!

Lil’ Kickers for soccer 
Lil’ Kickers is a soccer program for kids ages 18 months – 9 years old! It’s a great
place to expend that extra energy!

I’d love to hear about classes or sports you have tried and loved too!