Monday, December 30, 2013

Menu Plan Monday - Week of 12/30/13

Well hey there. I am finally getting to use the MPM holiday logo pic! This has been a crazy month, between sickness, WDW, worse sickness and being out of town for Christmas, menu planning has gone out the window!! But we are back, only slightly sick, going to the grocery store today and ready to get back to regular ole life! I hope that everyone had a great Christmas and got everything on your wish list! My big gift was the kindle Fire! woo hoo!!!

Monday:  Deluxe Baked Macaroni and Cheese from Taste of Home

Tuesday:  NYE!!! cheese and crackers, pretzels, Crock Pot Hot Onion Dip, mozzarella sticks.
Dinner: Pillsbury Grands Grilled Cheese
For dessert: S'Mores Dip with Teddy Grahams and Nilla wafers

 Wednesday:  leftover mac and cheese

Thursday: Pizza Bubble Up (Pillsbury Grands Rolls are on sale -  with coupons, I bought 4 for .35 each!)

Friday: leftovers

Saturday and Sunday: I usually don't cook on weekends, but I think I will make some Fresh Take chicken.

Dessert of the Week: leftover cookies - I was too sick to make any, but my sister in law gave us some of hers :D

Find more meal plan at!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Christmas in Walt Disney World 2013

Wow it has been a rough December! I was sick the first few days, then we went to Walt Diseny World (ok that was not rough!) then a day after we came back, both Jeff and I got really sick - most likely the flu. A week and a half later, and I am finally feeling human again (see what i did there?). Thankfully the kiddo did not get it. Now we are off on vacation again to go visit my parents for Christmas.

 I did want to post some pictures from the trip. We crammed in as much Disney Christmas spirit as we could in only 4 days! It was amazing :D

Bay Lake Tower/Contemporary lighted wreath
Gingerbread tree at Contemporary
 We stayed at Bay Lake Tower, of course. Love how close it is to the Magic Kingdom, and that is the park we went to most. I loved hoe decorated the Contemporary was - love being surrounded by Christmas!

Eager to get to the Magic Kingdom!
 We started in the Magic Kingdom then went to the studios. Had to see the Osbourne lights! A-maz-ing!!!!


love this one - Santa pulling the reindeer!
 Before heading back to the hotel, we checked out the Christmas decor in the Grand Floridian.

Life size gingerbread house!
 Day 2, we went to EPCOT. Had lunch at Via Napoli - so delicious!!! Then we went to Candlelight. Whoopi Goldberg was the narrator. The shoe was spectacular. So moving.

Very cool gingerbread WDW setup, complete with a train

had to meet Mickey!

Just so amazing.
 Day 3 was the Magic Kingdom. We went to Micky's Very Merry Christmas party. Well worth the money. Free cookies and cocoa, tons of characters and short lines for rides. Plus there was a special fireworks show, Christmas parade and castle show!

Breakfast at Gaston's tavern. YUM.

ready for the party!

he got to dance with Pluto!


such a great show

The princes were in the parade! Cinderella in the pumpkin carriage, pulled by real horses

love love love those toy soldiers

Mickey doing the nutcracker dance

so many characters

 Last day :( The parade was taped while we were there, so this was the first time we saw the tree. We were able to run over to EPCOT to go to the DVC party, luckily. We just ducked in and ducked out, though, since we had to catch the Magical Express.

great tree, and I love all of the stuff under it

he finally got to meet Pluto!

big hugs

Mickey and Minnie at the party in their winter gear
We had such a great trip. It was a whirlwind, but that is what happens! I strongly suggest going to WDW during the Christmas season.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Menu plan Monday - Week of 11/25/11

Happy Thanksgiving! And Happy Black Friday lol Since they have already had so many early BF deals, I really don't have too much to actually get on Black Friday. A good thing, since the sales all start so early that we will still be at my in laws. We will hopefully get to see Catching fire and Frozen this weekend too. Hope all of my American readers have a great holiday!

Monday: Crock Pot Pizza Casserole (for real this week)

Tuesday:  leftovers

 Wednesday:  breakfast for dinner -chocolate chip pancakes and Crack Potatoes

Thursday: The big day!! All I need to bring is Pumpkin Rolls

Friday: leftovers

Saturday and Sunday: No clue! If i buy some meat then that is what we will have.

Dessert of the Week: none - went to a cookie exchange Saturday night so we have plenty of cookies!!

Find more meal plan at!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Leftover Candy Bar Fudge

Mmmm, candy goodness!!!
 This year was E.'s first year trick or treating! We just went to a few houses in the neighborhood, and he did fabulous. Lots of Trick or treats, thank yous and Happy Halloweens. He loved the freedom of running down the street, too! J. had to work late, but he was able to get home in time to go to the last few houses with us.

Proud of his craft

Little engineer for a party

Yo Ho! Let's go trick or treating!

The kiddo mostly chose lollipops when he was able to choose, so we had a a few odd and ends of chocolate candy, plus some we had leftover that we were handing out. Searching the Internet (aka Pinterest!), most of the recipes that used leftover candy called for a lot of one kind of candy. This fudge uses whatever chocolate candy you have, and it was totally easy to make too!

Leftover candy bar fudge

I halved the recipe and it worked fine. I also added some peanut butter ;) What I liked most about this fudge was that you never knew what taste you were going to get - sometimes it was minty, sometimes peanut buttery and sometimes there was a Butterfinger crunch!!

Leftover Candy Bar Fudge
Recipe from Sweet Treats and More
*recipe can be halved*

40-45 fun size chocolate candy bars, any variety (you can also use the minis, using 2 minis for 1 fun size bar)
 1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk

 In a medium sauce pan, melt chocolate candy bars over low heat. Once almost melted stir in sweetened condensed milk. Remove from heat and pour into a bread pan lined with parchment. Chill for 2 hours. Cut into squares and serve.

*** Mine took a lot more than 2 hours to set up in the fridge. Keep leftovers covered in the fridge.

Inside look - Butterfingers, Whoppers, nougat...

Monday, November 18, 2013

Menu Plan Monday - Week of 11/18/13

Hastily thrown together plan this week - I have been called up for Jury duty so plans may change at any moment! The only other time I received the notice about it, I was in college in another state, so it was an easy out. Now, if I get called in, I am hoping they will let me go because I have nobody to watch the kiddo for an extended period of time.I don't mind doing my duty, but things are so complicated when you throw a kid into the mix! So who knows if this meal plan will pan out or not.

Monday: Crock Pot Pizza Casserole (from last week)

Tuesday:  leftovers

 Wednesday:  Crock Pot Chicken and Dumpling Soup (combo of this recipe and this recipe)

Thursday: leftovers

Friday: pizza delivery

Saturday and Sunday: whatever you can rustle up! We are decorating for Christmas this weekend :D

Dessert of the Week: need to make cookies for a cookie exchange! Not sure which ones yet

Find more meal plan at!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Graco Little Lounger Review #Graco15ForMe

Graco Little Lounger in Astoria. Picture from buybuyBaby.

When Emmett was little, we had a Graco Pack N Play that we loved. We used it to change him, for him to nap in and to corral him when he got older! The biggest downfall was that when he was napping, I was pretty much stuck in the living room, where the Pack N Play was. Those days are over, thanks to the new Graco Little Lounger.

Graco Little Lounger ready to rock!

Little Lounger is two products in one: a rocking seat and a vibrating lounger. In rocking seat mode, you can calm your baby with the gentle rocking motion. If you flip down the Rock Locks, the seat becomes a vibrating lounger with 2-speed vibration.

Rock Locks are down
The ingenious seat has multiple recline positions, so that it's easy to find just the right position for baby's comfort, and it also has a 3 point harness. When you're not using it, Little Lounger folds compactly to store or travel, and a cute toy bar will keep baby occupied.

 If I had a Little Lounger when E. was a baby, I wouldn't have felt confined to one room while he was napping. It folds up quickly and is not too heavy so it is very portable. I could easily take 15 minutes for me while he was hanging out in the Little Lounger. We always used the Pack N Play's vibrating feature to help him sleep, so that is a HUGE plus to the Little Lounger.

The Little Lounger folded up.

Another thing I like is that the patterns are subtle and gender neutral. No loud neons or sweet baby colors. Little Lounger will fit into your decor. The pattern in my pictures is the Astoria pattern, which is a buybuyBaby exclusive. Other patterns include Caraway, a Babies R Us exclusive and Dakota, a Target exclusive. You can see all of the patterns (there are more than these three!) on Graco's Web site.

I was lucky enough to go to a Graco sponsored party to see the Little Lounger in person. The party included a professional chef who showed us a great way to take advantage of the 15 minutes of me time - by cooking quick, healthy and delicious meals. How will you take your #Graco15ForMe?

Here is the menu
Szechuan chicken and bok choy
Banana Flambe

The Little Lounger retails for $79.99. you can connect with Graco on their Facebook page, or on Twitter @GracoBaby -

Disclaimer: I was compensated for this post by Graco in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are mine.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Menu Plan Monday - Week of 11/10/13

No menu plan last week... it was an insane week. The week of Jeff's show, and I had a bunch of things to do as well. Overall it wasn't too bad dinner-wise, but I am looking forward to cooking real meals this week!

Monday: Smashburger!!

Tuesday:  Parmesan Chicken and Rice

 Wednesday: leftovers

Thursday: Crock Pot Pizza Casserole

Friday: hot dogs, possibly in mac and cheese

Saturday: Fashion show at church - includes dinner

Sunday: family dinner out

Dessert of the Week: Pumpkin Crumble

 Find more recipes at!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Smashburger opens in New Hyde Park

smashburger - New Hyde Park, NY

Here is my Smashburger story (what, doesn't everyone have one?)... In July, E. and I visited my parents in CO. We arrived very very late at night, got up early to go to church then went to Smashburger! My parents were soooo excited to introduce it to me. And yes, my burger was delicious! (There is a picture of it at that link)

I didn't think there were any on Long Island (but did I check no.... of course not!) but there are - Smashburger just opened its 4th Long Island location. This Smashburger is at 1600 Marcus Ave in New Hyde Park.

Hidden deliciousness

Menu is posted outside

Situated in a strip mall, the Smashburger looks like an ordinary burger joint. Once you step inside, you can tell right away that it is not ordinary! First, they have color changing panels to separate the dining room from the line, and the decor is chrome and wood. The menu board is a screen, And the menu choices include different fare such as veggie frites, Haagen-Dazs shakes and malts and an avaocado burger. They also sell beer!

menu board

the seating area is to the left, behind the color changing wall

Unfortunately Jeff is crazy busy at work so it was just me and the kiddo. (I did promise Jeff that we would go after things slowed down!). It did not take me long to decide on the BBQ, bacon & cheddar burger with sweet potato fries. I wasn't sure about E - he wanted a grilled cheese, but the kids menu did not mention grilled cheese. However, one of the signs on the menu board was aimed at kids and mentioned grilled cheese. I just got him a hot dog, though. It came with fries, and I did not see a healthier alternative. The drink was extra, which seemed a little ridiculous to me. I'd rather the meal cost more and include the drink. The prices themselves seems comparable to other burger places, and as I mentioned they go have a very big and unique menu.

food is brought to your table

mmmm, milk!

haystack onions, BBQ sauce. bacon...  Yes please!!

hot dog grilled on the grill!!

I did not get to see the smash part of Smashburger's claim to fame - they take a ball of raw hamburger and smash it on the grill. It makes a thin patty with the yummy crispiness of the grill. My burger was delicious - ther patty itself has a great taste, and the bbq sauce added some sweet and sour taste. Both types of fries were delicious. In fact, E., who does not like fries, gobbled his up! I also liked that his hot dog was split down the middle and grilled. My only complaint was that my fries were WAY too salty. You can see in the picture below how much salt was left after I ate the fries.

the paper says it all...

TONS of salt!

The restaurant was very clean. I saw several employees making sure the condiment area was stocked and the tea jug filled. They were all very nice a friend;y with my 2 year old - and did not seem to mind him running around the store like a crazy person when we were trying to leave!

free refills and several types of tea. Like the hand sanitizer too.

seating area
I remember how amazing the burger I had in CO was, and I am so glad that my memory actually served me right!I can't wait to introduce Jeff to the Smashburger scrumptiousness.

Disclaimer: I was given coupons for Smashburger in exchange for my honest review.