Monday, May 9, 2016

unFOURgettable Pinknic

It's hard to believer Miss MacchiOTTo turned 4 years old this past weekend.  To celebrate we held her party at The Urban Chalkboard in Carmel, Indiana.  After working with the staff to plan the party and host the party I have to say it was the perfect spot for our guest list which ranged from kids 1 year old to 5 years old and adults.   The Urban Chalkboard is ideal for kids in this age range with creative age appropriate toys, classes, treats and more.  Their staff was easy and fun to work with and you can tell they really love working with kids so I not only want to share with you all our party details but also information on how you can host your own party at "The UC".
This years party theme for MacchiOTTo since she turned 4 was an "UnFOURgettable Pinknic".  (A Pink Picnic.... get it.)  For party invites I got out some of my old scrapbook supplies and made these basket cards.  The weave of the basket made a pocket so when you pulled up on the lid of the basket you pulled out the printed invite with all the party details.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Animal Trackers Club & Coupon

I love finding activities that are both fun and educational for my kids.  So when I discovered a monthly subscription service that provides educational toys, crafts and resources about animals, for kids ages 3 and up, I knew this would be perfect.  The Animal Trackers Club is ideal for kids who are just beginning to read.  Members learn about different animals and their habitats while having fun.  
Upon joining the club members receive their introduction box with a game, craft, pencil and information about what to expect each month.  You can see this pictured above along with the cute metal lunchbox.  Then each month after you will receive an animal package containing activity pages, craft, mask, small toy, magnet and track card.  (All pictured below.)  

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Blender Boyz Iced Cappuccino Mix

I keep telling myself warmer weather will get here and when it does I may need something cool and refreshing for my afternoon pick-me-up.  Then, I recently discovered Blender Boyz iced cappuccino drink mixes.  Simply grab your blender, some ice, milk or yogurt along with their mix and you are on your way to one tasty drink, that's half the price you'd get at the coffee shop.
Think of it like a k-cup for a blender!  Blender Boys single serve liquid pouches come in three flavors; Original, Caramel or French Vanilla. Every flavor is free of fat, dairy, gluten and nuts, and the liquid pouch used to make the drink guarantees the taste to be the same, every time you make it.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Ham & Potato Bake

Another recipe using up those Easter leftovers you may have.  This is one you can enjoy for breakfast though.  Simply dice up the ham and add some hash browns, eggs and cheese and you have one quick and tasty breakfast bake.  And now a days I am all about quick and easy.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Easter Leftovers Salad

I'm guessing if you hosted Easter at your house this year, there are three things you have leftover.... 1.) Ham 2.) Hard boiled eggs and 3.) Celery from a relish tray.  

If I guessed correct then I would probably also have to wager that at any one time in your pantry/fridge you have have pasta and mayonnaise. Therefore you can easily toss together the 5 ingredients you need to make this pasta salad.  Perfect for the day after or to feed those guests who stick around till supper time on Easter and want a little something more to eat before they head back home.  Without, further ado here is the quick and easy recipe for what I am calling Easter Leftovers Salad.  

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

The Electric Brew Coffee

A coffee so good it takes two coffee shops to serve it.  That's what I discovered when I recently tried The Electric Brew located in Goshen, Indiana as well as Elkhart, Indiana.  This family run company is roasting up coffee beans and serving up tasty homemade baked goods to consumers in northern Indiana.

While the current owners have been roasting their own beans for almost 8 years in the Goshen location, let me tell you... you can taste the quality from the roasting process in each cup.  I learned from the roaster/owner that he has been taking classes through the Specialty Coffee Association of America's roasting program.  The Electric Brew uses a Toper Roaster with a 10 kilo capacity.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Spinach & Bacon Quiche

 What do you do when you have 3 dozen eggs on hand?  

You get really good at making quiche freezer meals!!

This recipe came out of my Betty Crocker Cookbook, and I have to admit, it made for a fabulous freezer meal.  It tastes great eating straight out of the oven, and exactly the same if you freeze it and serve it later.  You feel healthy because you are sneaking in some spinach, but you know it taste great because of all that bacon.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Bendix Coffee Co.

Today I'm drinking an Ethiopian Yirgacheffe' from Bendix Coffee Co. located in South Bend, Indiana.  In business since 2013 this woman owned, small batch roaster is "pedaling" up good coffee for the community.
The owners are avid cyclists and found a coffee roaster: Bisbee Coffee while on a historic hotel bike ride in Arizona. After that bike ride it wasn't long until they purchased the same type of roaster that Bisbee uses, a Diedrich, made in Sandpoint, Iowa.  From that point on Bendix Coffee has been sold at the local farmers markets and is now on the shelves at some small, independent grocers. You can also purchase their coffee on-line.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Totally Awesome Train Dress

Miss MacchiOTTo has a vivid imagination.  One day she is pretending to be a pirate slashing her way through the jungle for buried treasure.  The next she is having a tea party with the queen.  And the day after that she will probably be looking for butterflies in an enchanted forest.  It keeps us on our toes and every day is certainly an adventure around here.  Recently I found a dress company with designs, patterns and colors as fun and creative as she is. 
Princess Awesome was started up by two moms who wanted "girly" dresses with themes that matched their own daughters imagination and creative play.  Little girls who like dinosaurs and robots now can wear a purple dress with dinosaur print or a black shiny pirate dress.  After only a couple of years in business they are in full production mode and you can buy their adorable dresses online.  Sizing is available for ages 3 months through girls size 12.  And what I think is super fun is that they offer infinity scarves and headbands for moms to match their daughters outfit.  

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Pictures of Puerto Rico

Last day of Puerto Rico pictures, I promise.  Besides sitting around drinking coffee, I did manage to do a little sight seeing and take in a little of the historical aspects of Puerto Rico.  Christopher Columbus originally discovered the area and claimed it for Spain but it's location in the Carribean made it very appealing to pirates as well as other European nations.  By the 1500's a fort called El Morrow was built on the north-west tip of the island.  Throughout the the 1600's and 1700's this fort was added to and expanded to survive attacks from the British and the Dutch.  El Morrow was designed for the sea attacks and San Cristobal fort was for land attacks.  Finally during the Spanish-American War the canon fire of the American Navy lead to Spain ceded ownership of the island.  The US Army used this fort during WW1 and WW2 before it became a US National Park in 1949.

The Garitas structures along the top of the wall were lookout points but also very iconic to Puerto Rico.

Over the years both structures were altered and refortified to adapt to changing cannon styles and defense tactics.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Flowers in Puerto Rico

Here are some pictures of flowers from our recent trip to Puerto Rico.  I enjoyed all the varieties and colors of the flowers that were blooming there in February, as back home it will be quite some time before we see this. 

Monday, February 15, 2016

5 shops serving local Puerto Rican coffee in Old San Juan

I spent the last past in Puerto Rico.  The weather was a perfect 80 degrees everyday. The waves crashed on the shores of smooth sand beaches.  The island contains rain forest and some arid land. The locals grow bananas, pineapple, sugar cane and coffee.  Yes, I can say the coffee was amazing.

While some may visit the island for the nightlife or a snorkeling adventure, I sat at table in 5 different cafe's and took in the aroma and taste of Puerto Rico's coffee.       

The narrow streets of Old San Juan are paved with blue bricks, that are almost iridescent in color when the sun hits them. The buildings lining those streets are painted bright colors of yellow, pink, blue and green and each one has black wrought iron gated balcony's.  Little shops and cafe's are located on the first floor of these buildings with apartments above.  On the perimeter of the city lies an old historical fort and beyond that the ocean.  Overhead pelicans flap their wings and in a nearby tree a little lizard scurries about.  It was there that I sat at a table, underneath an umbrella, outside 5 different cafe's and took in the aroma and taste of Puerto Rico's coffee.