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Curious George Birthday Party Food

Curious George Birthday Party Food

Last Saturday I threw a Simple Curious George Birthday Party for my son’s 2nd birthday. Yesterday I shared our simple party decorations, and today I thought I’d share our simple party menu!

Appetizers

Sadly, I somehow missed getting a picture of our appetizer table. But this is what we had…

  • Homemade Queso Dip (recipe coming soon)
  • Chips and Salsa
  • Spinach Dip with Hawaiian Bread
  • Veggie Tray
  • Mexican Cheese Dip (the one with cream cheese, beanless Chili and Mexican cheese)

Main Meal

For our main meal I decided to have a taco theme!

Birthday Party Food Taco Bar

I made both soft shell tacos, as well as some Baked Tacos. My husband always wrinkles his nose when I want hard shelled tacos, so I was so surprised how many people were excited to have them!

Baked Tacos

For side dishes I made some rice and my sister brought a crockpot of homemade refried beans. I also made this awesome Fruit Salad. It was a huge hit!

Amaziing Fruit Salad

Dessert

For dessert I made some delicious cupcakes….both chocolate and vanilla (my favorite recipes will be coming soon).

Curious George Birthday Party cupcakes 2

And since we had a Curious George themed birthday, I thought a Banana Split Bar would be fun to have.

Banana Split Ice Cream Sundae Bar

This also was a huge it! And it was super easy for me because everyone dished up their own ice cream. Toppings included Chocolate Fudge Topping, cherries, whip cream, sprinkles, gummy bears and bananas. I also had vanilla wafers, but totally forgot to put them out!

Whew! That’s a lot of food. But we had 24 people to feed. And thankfully, my family pitched in to bring some of the appetizers and sides.

What about you? What are some of your favorite party foods? Please share!!

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A Simple Curious George Birthday Party

Simple & cute Curious George Birthday Party

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Mother’s Day Cardstore Bonus Offer

Just 2 days left to save 50% off Mother's Day Cards, graduation cards and thank you's. Plus FREE stamp!

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Affiliate Exclusive! 50% off Mother’s Day Cards + Free Stamp when you let us Mail it for You at Cardstore! Use Code: DDCAF4688, Valid through 4/30/14. Shop Now!

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A Simple Curious George Birthday Party

Simple & cute Curious George Birthday Party

Last week we celebrated my son’s 2nd birthday. Since he loves Curious George so much, I decided to throw him a Curious George themed birthday party.

For several nights I scoured Pinterest and googled Curious George ideas. Oh, how overwhelming it was. The details that people put into parties is so unbelievable. Maybe you’re one of them! However, I am not so artistic, and while Etsy has so many super cute ideas, I just couldn’t afford to buy every banner and cute Curious George decorations that I saw. I also knew that, as always, we had a lot going on and my time was limited. I wanted to keep it simple. So I narrowed down my choices.

First things first were the cupcakes!

Birthday Cupcake

I found the sprinkles and cupcake liners at Walmart and used them to set the color scheme.

Curious George Birthday Party

I purchased balloons and streamers from Party City, and found some super cute favor bags at Michael’s Craft Store. The Curious George tags were purchased from Etsy.

Curious George Birthday 2

Then I found these Curious George masks on Amazon (I had gift cards that I earned through Swagbucks so I didn’t really have to use any of our own money), although you can order them from Party City as well (I couldn’t find them in the store).

Curious George Birthday Party masks

I found the Cupcake Toppers on Etsy (these are what I used for the favor bags as well).

A Simle Curious George Birthday

This week I’ll be sharing our Curious George Party Menu, as well as recipes for the perfect chocolate and vanilla cupcakes. So stay tuned! You can follow me on Facebook or subscribe to receive email updates if you don’t want to miss out on posts.

(I link up to these Blog Parties)

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Curious George Birthday Party Food

Curious George Birthday Party Food

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A Birthday Letter to My Son

A Birthday Letter to My Son

Happy Birthday, my precious Gavin! I can’t believe you turned two today. Sometimes it seems like just yesterday that I held you for the first time.

Celebrating your birthday floods my heart with the memories leading up to the day you became mine.

The first time I saw you was but a glimpse from a distance. Medical staff rushed you past the waiting room into the NICU from complications during delivery.

But I didn’t really know if it was you. Not yet.

The first time I touched you was over an hour after your birth. Up until that time, daddy and I paced in the waiting room wondering, hoping we could see you before we had to go home. Finally, your birth dad invited us into the NICU with him. You were lying in an incubator with oxygen to help you breath. I couldn’t hold you. Not yet.

I reached to hold your little hand. My heart swelled as your tiny hand wrapped around my finger and squeezed. My heart longed for you to be mine. But you weren’t mine. Not yet.

You were one day old when I held you for the first time.

Newborn Baby

I smelled your sweet skin, kissed your chubby cheek and prayed over you, whispering in your ear Psalm 139…

“I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.”

But you weren’t mine. Not yet.

The next two days were tense with waiting. Daddy and I were asked to not visit the hospital until your birth parents signed their releases. Your birth family wanted to spend time with just you. At home we wondered, “Would you be ours? Would they change their mind?”

Your birth parents wanted to know that we were excited about you, but that was a little hard to do when they didn’t want to see us with you. And how can we be so excited when they are sacrificially giving us someone so precious?

So I wrote a letter to your birth mom sharing my heart, and daddy wrote to your birth dad sharing his. And we waited. We waited and prayed for you.

Seventy-two hours after you were born, daddy and I waited for the call from our caseworker saying, “He’s yours!” In faith, we drove to the hospital to wait in the parking lot. As we were driving we received the call.

My heart was overjoyed and flooded with relief. And at the same time my heart broke for the two people that loved you so much, they chose to give you to us so that you could have a better life.

Newborn Baby

For the next two days, we spent our time holding you while you were still in the NICU. You no longer needed to be on oxygen support, and it was so nice to hold you without all the cords getting in the way. We couldn’t wait to finally bring you home!

Baby Homecoming

As I sit here two years later, I can’t remember what our life was like without you. When God began to knit you together in your birth mothers womb, He had a plan for YOU. He hand picked you to be part of our family. And I think God couldn’t have done a better job. You were truly meant to be ours!

Do you want to know how I know God hand picked you to be part of our family?

It was June 2011. Daddy and I were at a family camp just for our church. On the last night, Papa asked people to share a prayer request. Daddy asked that God would give us a baby. We sat in front of that chapel that night, crying and praying for you!

Little did we know, that a few short weeks later you would be conceived. We didn’t know about you until the beginning of March the next year. But we didn’t stop praying for you, because we knew God had someone special in mind just for us.

“For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition that I made to him” (1 Samuel 1:27, ESV)

I am so thankful that God chose me to be there for your first smile, first giggles, first crawl, first steps, first words, all the “firsts” in between and those yet to come.

Oh, my little Gavin, I love the laughter and energy you bring to our home. I love the way you greet people wherever we go, bringing smiles to faces of strangers as you say “hi”  and “have a good day” as we pass them.

I love hearing you try to play the piano or guitar. I smile every time you sing “Jesus Loves  Me“, and say a prayer that you will fully understand those words one day.

image

I love having you as my little companion each and every day. I enjoy our little adventures and love our daily reading times. I treasure the sweet kisses and unsolicited hugs I get from you, especially because I know one day you will think you are too cool to give me any.

Family Easter Picture

I want you to know that you were prayed for, wanted and loved long before God began knitting you together, before I even knew about you, before I felt your heart beat, before I felt your hand in mine.  And I love you more and more each day.

Mommy loves you sooooo much! As the story we read says,

“I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always.

As long as I’m living, my baby you’ll be.”

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The Secret to the Perfect Rice Krispie Treat

Secret to the Perfect Rice Krispie Treat

Make the perfect Rice Krispie Treat every single time. Allergy friendly! Dairy free, soy free, gluten free

Rice Krispie Treats. The dessert everyone loves. There is no doubt that at some time in your life you have put this tasty treat into your mouth (unless you really dislike marshmallows that is). And at some point in your life, you have probably made rice krispie treats.

My husband is a youth minister. Whenever I need to make a dessert for some youth event, rice krispie treats are ALWAYS on the list. Partially because they are super easy to make, but also because they are allergy friendly.

We have students in our youth group that are allergic to soy and dairy. But don’t rice krispie treats have butter, and doesn’t butter contain milk? Why, yes they do! But I don’t use butter. I use a secret ingredient.

Rice Krispie 1

Let’s face it. We’ve all made rice krispie treats (or at least tried biting into one) that have turned out rock hard. Or maybe they may not be as marshmallowy as you like. You can follow the recipe to the letter, and yet something went wrong somewhere. Amazing that something that has only three ingredients can turn out so badly at times.

Enter secret ingredient.

When I started making “allergy friendly” rice krispie treats, they started turning out perfect every single time. Perfectly marshmallowy. Perfectly bendable. Perfectly melt in your mouth. I can honestly say that no matter how many pans of rice krispie treats I make for an event, I will never have one left to bring home (unless I intentionally hide one before I even put the tray out).

So what’s my trick?

One simple ingredient: Canola Oil.  You might be able to use vegetable oil. But I never have. Vegetable oil contains soy, and

 The last time I made two big pans of rice krispie treats I accidentally made one batch with butter. My second batch I realized my mistake and used canola oil. When I went to cut them, the batch made with butter were WAY harder to cut than the batch with canola oil.

So save your hand from trying to cut rock hard rice krispie treats, and eliminate your risk of cracking a tooth while trying to bite into one, and make the simple switch of replacing butter with canola oil. Your rice krispie treats will turn out perfect every single time!

Rice Krispie 2

Perfect Rice Krispie Treats

1 12-oz box of Rice Krispie Cereal

2 bags of miniature marshmallows

1/2 cup canola oil

Directions

1. Place marshmallows and oil in a large microwaveable bowl. Cook for 1 minute. Check to see if marshmallows are melted enough. If not, place them back in microwave for 30 seconds.

2. Mix rice krispie cereal into the marshmallow batter.

3. Spread mixture evenly into a bar pan (about 1 to 1 1/2 inches deep). Let set for awhile before cutting.

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Sweet Silly Sara

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Just a Little Adoption Update

Family Picture

It’s been a few weeks since I shared an adoption update, so I thought today would be the day I would share what has happened since then.

While I would love to share that we are in the middle of getting our home study done, or that it is finished, or better yet that our profile was picked and we would potentially have a new baby in a few short weeks, this is sadly not the case.

However, a few things have happened in the last few weeks.

The first news we have is that we heard from the adoption agency that we applied to. We are officially approved and #5 on a waiting list that they will draw from when they open new spots for waiting families. As I have said before, it could be 6 to 18 months before they will even do our home study and put our profile into the pool. (The agency only placed six babies last year and have almost 20 waiting families).

In my last update, I shared about our curiosity with a Kidsave program. Through this program, we would host an older child or sibling group from Columbia for four to five weeks in the Summer. The goal of this program is to connect Columbian orphans with hopeful adoptive families. With a series of events that happened (more on that later), and much prayer, my husband and I decided this is not a path we will take.

In addition, I also shared in that update that we would be looking for alternate ways to connect us with potential birth families. After a little research, we found two agencies that will help facilitate the adoption. I am still researching both, looking into reviews, references and asking tons of questions so that we can make the right decision.

Finally, since we have no idea when the adoption agency we applied to will start our home study, I have continued to look for a different one. I found two out-of-state agencies that are accepting waiting families and have strong potential. My husband and I are weighing our options and praying about them before we make any decision.

Will you join our family in prayer as we desire to grow our family? Here are some ways you can pray for us as we wait!

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Chicken Alfredo with Broccoli (Gluten Free)

Chicken Alfredo with Broccoli (gluten free) from An Everyday Blessing

Gluten Free Chicken Alfredo with Broccoli from An Everyday Blessing

One of my all-time favorite meals is Chicken Alfredo. It’s usually the dish I order when we go to an Italian restaurant. However, I rarely make it at home.

So last week as I was trying to think of gluten-free meals for our dinner menu, I thought I’d make an Alfredo sauce to spoon over chicken and broccoli. I didn’t want the pasta (even if it was gluten free) because it would make the meal too heavy.

Chicken Alfredo

gluten free Chicken Alfredo with Broccoli from An Everyday Blessing

Surprisingly, this meal took little time to make. Not surprisingly it was a crowd pleaser. My husband asked for it to be put on a regular rotation…and I have to agree!

Today I ate one of the leftover pieces of chicken. Since I had put all the leftover broccoli in with my husband’s lunch the other day, I needed a veggie to go with it. So I quickly steamed some green beans, which also compliment this dish quite well.

And unlike the Chicken Alfredo you take home from a restaurant, this Alfredo did not end up looking like a pool of grease when reheated. It was just as good the second time as it was the first.

I am so looking forward to making this meal again sometime soon!

Chicken Alfredo with Broccoli

  • 4 small boneless skinless chicken breasts (or 2 large breasts halved)
  • garlic salt
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil (or cooking oil of choice)
  • 12 oz frozen broccoli

Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese (up to 1 cup)

Directions

  1. Heat oil in a large skillet. Sprinkle chicken with garlic salt. Place chicken in skillet and cook on each side for 4-5 minutes, or until no longer pink in the middle.
  2. Meanwhile, in another skillet melt butter. Whisk in the cornstarch to make a roux. Slowly whisk in whipping cream. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until thickened. Add in cheese, garlic and salt.
  3. Steam broccoli according to package cooking instructions.
  4. Place broccoli and chicken onto a platter. Spoon Alfredo mixture over the top. Serve immediately.

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What’s for Dinner…” #19 Gluten Free Meal Plan

What' for Dinner

 Today I am starting Week 4 of a gluten free diet…sort of anyway! This has been challenging for sure. I do great during the week, and then the weekend comes…

So this weekend I am determined to do better. I think my most challenging meal will be Friday, depending on where my husband wants to eat dinner. I may just have to make something for myself so I can fully stick to a gluten free diet!

I realized after I put my list together and did my grocery shopping and this week’s meals are a little heavy on rice. My husband could eat rice every day of the week. Me…not so much! So one or two of these meals may be changed, but for now, here’s my meal plan and I’m sticking to it!

Thursday:  Grilled Chicken and Broccoli with Alfredo sauce, served with salad

Friday: Family Night Out at a Bulls Game!

Saturday:  Date Night with my husband

Sunday:  Oven Baked Chicken Fajitas (served either over rice or on corn tortillas), with fresh fruit and veggies

Monday:  Beef Stir Fry

Tuesday:  Slow Cooked Bourbon Chicken

Wednesday:  Breakfast for Dinner (and I think I’m going to try these Sweet Potato & Zucchini Fritters from Averie Cooks!)

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Build Your Own Baked Potato

Baked Potato 1

Simple. It’s how I plan my meals.

I don’t do complicated. Complicated simply takes too much time, and time is a precious commodity.

When it comes to my meal planning, I create a simple menu plan. Dishes with few ingredients. Meals that have “normal”, easy to find ingredients. Dishes that take very little time or effort to make.

So today I thought I would share an ultra simple dinner idea…

Build Your Own Baked Potato Bar

It’s nothing really new. It’s simply an easy weeknight dinner idea that is easily forgotten about, at least in my home anyway. At the same time, there are so many possibilities of what you can top on the baked potato. And it is a fantastic meal if you have picky eaters because they can put on whatever toppings they like!

Baked Potato

I recently did this with my toddler for dinner one night and he absolutely loved it. On top of that, we were able to use up some leftovers in a “new” way. Here are some of my ideas:

Build Your Own Baked Potato

  • One russet potato per person
  • Olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Easiest Cooking Instructions:

Wash potatoes thoroughly. Place potatoes in a slow cooker. Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours, or until potatoes are tender.

Baking Instructions

  1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil.
  2. Wash potatoes thoroughly. Puncture each potato several times with a fork.
  3. Season the potatoes by lightly brushing the potatoes with the oil (or rubbing it on with your hands). Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  4. Place potatoes on baking sheet a few inches apart. Bake for 50-60 minutes, turning every 20 minutes or so. The potatoes are done they feel soft on the inside when you prick them with a fork.
  5. Top potatoes with desired toppings.

Topping Ideas

  • Butter
  • Sour cream
  • shredded cheese (any flavor you like)
  • steamed broccoli
  • crumbled bacon
  • leftover chicken, shredded or cut into small pieces
  • Ground Beef (perfect if you have leftover taco meat!)
  • black beans
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