My Life of Travels and Adventures: August 2014

Quick Taco Salad + #Giveaway

26 August 2014

This is a sponsored giveaway with Mums the Word Network and Kraft. All opinions are my own.
Please tell me that I am not the only one who gets in a dinner rut sometimes. This summer we have been grilling a lot of our dinners but as the weather gets colder I am striking out when it comes to dinners.
So some days I look through cookbooks, pinterest or websites like Kraft Foods  for dinner inspiration. When I saw the Quick Taco Salad on the Kraft Foods Cooking Up Good page, I knew it would be a hit with the family and an easy meal to rotate into our dinners.  So without further ado... 

Quick Taco Salad

1lb. lean ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1 pkg. (1 oz.) TACO BELL® Taco Seasoning 
1/4 cup water
10 cups lettuce torn into pieces 
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 cup KRAFT Shredded Cheddar Cheese
2 cups tortilla chips, broken into pieces
1/4 cup KRAFT Classic Ranch Dressing

1. Brown the meat with onions in large nonstick skillet on medium-high heat and drain. 
2. Add the seasoning mix and water; mix well. 
3. Bring to boil. Simmer on medium-low heat 3 min. 
4. Divide the  lettuce among 4 plates. Top evenly with meat mixture, tomatoes, cheese and crushed chips. Drizzle with dressing.   (Or offer make a taco bar and let the little ones create there own)

Makes: 4 servings

Reid had fun making his own unique taco (chips, meat and cheese only).  What can I say the boy takes after his Mom.  
Enter below for a chance to win 1 of 5 $50 Walmart gift cards
Perfect for gather supplies for some yummy taco salad!

Kraft Foods Hub August

Simple Summer Recipes

A Home Binder

25 August 2014

Way back in the spring, I shared my blog planner with you all.  Several months later and I am still loving it.  I use it pretty much for everything blogging related and love that I can add to it (or remove) as needed.  

Well around the same time, I made a Home Binder and sort of used it.  Then we moved and it sat on my desk for a while before I got around to updating it.

And now sharing it...

3 Ring Binder - I used a 1 inch

1.  Birthday Calendar from The Project Girl.  I love that this calendar fits all on one page and is completely blank.  I have been slowly adding birthdays to it as I remember them.  
2. Address Book from Organized Home.  My 10+ year old address book has seen its better days.  I have crossed out and changed addresses for people so many times in that little book that it is hard to tell which one is the current address.  So these printables are great, in that I can just print a new page when there are too many cross offs on one.  
3. Medical Information from Organizing Homelife.  I just recently printed a new medical contact list and started filling it in with all our new doctors since we moved again.  
4. Insurance Information from Organizing Homelife.   I can't tell you how many times I have referred to this little piece of paper in the last couple months.  Since I have been calling insurance companies way too often (and can never find my wallet/insurance cards) this has been a lifesaver. 
5. Utility Contacts from Organizing Homelife.  When we moved earlier this summer, I just went down this list and notified the different utility companies.  So much easier than digging through the filing cabinet for the old bills. 
6. Bank Account Information - Unfortunately, I am not sure where this printable is from.  I am writing this post 6 months after making our home binder and this printable doesn't have a source on it.  Sorry.  I did find a similar one from DIY Home Sweet Home though. 
7. Credit Card Information from Measuring Flower.  
8. Password List - For this I just use a sheet of lined loose leaf paper to write websites and passwords. But Measuring Flower has a nice printable one too.   

So there you have it.  Something handy to have around, simple to make and pretty to look at.  

Spiced Peach Cupcakes with Peach Frosting

21 August 2014

Earlier this week, I was at the grocery store with Reid and the peaches smelt heavenly.  

So much so that I convinced myself I would love them.  But alas.  A peach eater, I am not. I though maybe Reid would take to them too.  Nope.  Neil?  Not so much.  

Since I was left several peaches and no one to eat them.  So I got to creating something that I knew all of us would like... Cupcakes. 

Peach Puree
3 1/2 C Peaches (I used used mostly fresh peaches but did add a few frozen slices to reach 3.5 C)
1/4 C Brown Sugar
1/2 C Sugar
1 Tsp Cinnamon
1/2 Tsp Nutmeg
1/4 Tsp Ginger
1/4 Tsp All Spice

2 C Peach Puree
1/2 C Oil
1 Egg
2 Tsp Vanilla
1 Tsp Baking Soda
1 Tsp Baking Powder
2 1/2 C Flour

1/2 C Peach Puree
1/2 C Butter, Softened
2 Tsp Vanilla
4 C Powdered Sugar
2-6 Tsp Milk
Food Coloring, optional

1. Preheat the oven to 350F. 
2. Make the Peach Puree.  In a food processor, puree the peaches.  Add the brown sugar, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and all spice.  Pulse until combined.  Set aside.  
3. In a large bowl, combine 2 C of the Peach Puree, oil, egg, and vanilla. Mix until well combined. 
4. Add the baking soda, baking powder and flour and stir well. 
5. Fill cupcake liners 2/3 of the way full.  
6. Bake for 17-19 minutes. 
7. Let cool completely before frosting. 
8. For the frosting, mix together the remaining 1/2 C of Peach Puree, butter, and vanilla.  
9. Slowly mix in the powdered sugar.  Add food coloring if desired. 
10.  Add milk 1 Tsp at a time until the desired frosting consistency is reached. I like my frosting to be on the thicker side. 
11.  Frost and enjoy. I just added the frosting to a quart freezer ziplock bag, cut of the tip to about a 1/4" opening and swirled. 
Makes 24 cupcakes

A Butterfly

20 August 2014

Artwork on the wall in this new house seems to be my downfall.  I am trying to get some wall art up in each room but it is taking me a while to figure out where to hang what. 

The extra bedroom was looking especially stark for a while now.  Its only contents being the bed and bookshelf that have been in there since we moved in.  

For now we are using the old bed set that was in the extra bedroom of our Philly house
… which happens to have some bright green in it.  

Luckily, the old curtains from Reid’s nursery match pretty well and add some color to the off white walls.  

As for artwork, I made a simple butterfly piece for the one wall. 

1 - 11x14 canvas
Spray Paint
Adhesive backed vinyl
Pen + Scrap Paper

  1. Spray paint the canvas.  I used green spray paint that was leftover from painting the trays for Tot School 
  2. While the canvas dries, sketch out your design onto the scrap paper. 
  3. Transfer your design to the paper backing on the vinyl.  Remember that what you see on the back of the vinyl will be opposite when you cut it out and adhere it to you canvas. 
  4. Using a pair of sharp scissors, cut the butterfly out of the vinyl.  
  5. Adhere it to painted canvas.  I worked from the back forward…  So the two back wings first, then the front wings, then the body when I adhered the design to the canvas. 
I love that the pinks on the butterfly pulls in the pink from the carpet, while the green canvas matches the linens in the room and pulls the room together.  

Bird Tot School

19 August 2014

See all of my Tot School Lessons Here
See all of my preschool posts Here.

This post contains affiliate links. 

So way back before we moved, we did a Bird Themed Tot School. And I am just now finally getting around to sharing it.  

Reid is really into birds.  Birds flying in the sky, birds on the fence, birds on the grounds... So I ran with it for the week. 
For the sensory bin, I stuck with things we had around the house.

B is for Bird Coloring: Crayons and Printables from 1plus1plus1equals1
Reid loves coloring so I try to take advantage of that during Tot School as well.  
Bird Puzzle (I picked up these Crayola puzzles at the Dollar Spot in Target a while back)
Bird Tracing: Crayons and Tracing Printable from 1plus1plus1equals1
Bird Stickers: Paper and Bird Stickers
Reid loves using tongs to move and transfer objects.  So this was the perfect Tot Tray this week. 
More Coloring:  Chicken Coloring Book and Crayons
Dot Marker Birds: Dot Markers and Chicken Printable from 3Dinosaurs
Bird House Painting: Wooden Birdhouses, Paint and Paint Brushes
Babybug Magazine about Birds

Cranberry Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

14 August 2014

After we moved (and got the new microwave/stove installed), I was in the mood to bake something.  Just anything.  But I couldn't figure out what.  

Something sweet?
Something fruity?
Something with chocolate?

That is where these cookies come in.  I made the cookie mixture then scoured through my very unorganized pantry for some add ins. 

I settled on dried cranberries and chocolate chips.  But these would be good with other dried fruit, without the chocolate but aren't cookies always better with chocolate?, etc.  So add in whatever strikes your fancy. 
1 1/3 C Flour
1 Tsp Baking Soda
1/4 Tsp Cinnamon 
1 C Butter, softened
1/2 C Brown Sugar
1/2 C Milk
1 Tsp Vanilla
1 1/2 C Oats
1/2 C Dried Cranberries
1/2 C Chocolate Chips

1. Preheat the oven to 350F
2. In a large bowl combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, butter and brown sugar. 
3. Mix in the milk and vanilla. 
4. Slowly add in the oats. 
5. Stir in your cranberries, chocolate chips or other mix-in's. 
6. Roll into 1 Tbsp sized balls. 
7. Gently flatted on the cookie sheet. 
8. Bake of 10 minutes.  Let cool for 5 minutes on the cookie sheet before transferring to a wire rack. 

DIY Gallery Wall

12 August 2014

This post contains affiliate links.  

So as we have moved in, I have been slowly adding artwork, pictures and such to the walls.  Slowly.  Actually, none of the rooms are complete.  But I am getting there.  As soon as I get more stuff to hang.  We have way too many white walls.  I can't stand it. 
We have this short wall in the kitchen/dining room that is between the hallway to the rest of the house and the doorway to the office.  

At first I hung one of the cross stitch angels from my Grandma there.  But then it felt too small.  So it was moved elsewhere and I was left with a hook in the wall for a week.  

Then I got an idea.  I would make a little place to hang some of Reid's projects.  

Luckily, I had all these supplies on hand so this little project cost me nothing. 

I used some old black picture frames I had stored in the back of the closet.  These random picture frames all had no glass, since it was broke sometime over the past several years.  #Hoarder
I was originally just going to paint the backboard but was worried that corkboard (on the larger frames) and cardboard (on the smaller frames) would take the paint differently and look funny so I opted for white contact paper.  The contact paper was left over from a project in Reid's room that I will share soon.  
I just quickly covered the fronts of the backboard... making sure that the front looks nice, crisp and clean. And not really 
Then I used a picture hanging wire that I had left over from some new Ikea picture frames.  I just wrapped it around the front and twisted in the back.  Not perfect but good. 
For the two larger frames the wire was not long enough to cover both the front and the back so I used the picture hooks that also came with the Ikea frames. 
A little shows in the front but they are not really noticeable unless you are looking for them. 
I had a decent opening to work with but also had to go around the thermostat and light switched so this is the layout I ended up liking the best.  I just hung each frame with a nail.  Nothing special.
To hang Reid's artwork, I just used these mini colored clothes pins.  
Yes, those are Mother's Day gifts.  No its not near Mother's Day.  Since hanging this gallery wall I have been swapping out the artwork each week for different projects we make at Tot School
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