Tuesday, January 16, 2018

7 Tips for Planning a Family Ski Vacation

At the end of last year we started reflecting on some of the amazing vacations we took and starting planning ahead for this year.  We were going back and forth about a family ski trip, but ultimately decided we couldn't skip what had become an annual tradition for our family. 

The Mr. LOVES to ski and the kids are following in his footsteps. 

I enjoy it because it is something fun the kids are really picking up on and we can all do together.  We've made wonderful memories on our past ski trips and we're really excited about this year's trip! 

There is a lot of planning that goes into planning vacation like this and today we're over on Savvy Sassy Moms sharing our tips for planning and things we've learned along the way. 

You can read about our previous trips: 

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Monday, January 15, 2018

Kitchen Confessions: Buffalo Chicken Sliders

These Buffalo Chicken Sliders are quick and easy to make! Baked to cheesy perfection and beyond delicious! Hands down the perfect game day delight!

Football season is winding down, but the most exciting part is ramping up. It's playoff season, and the   Big Game is just around the corner! I love this time of year. You are on the edge of your seat seeing who will make it and who just misses their chance. The ups, the downs, the almost heart attack moments, the split second change of game moments...football will always be one of my favorite sports to watch and playoff season will always keep me coming back for more. 

Sadly, our home team is already out for the season, but we cheered our little hearts out this past weekend during the game. Have faith Atlanta fans this year wasn't our year for football, but I have a good feeling it will be soon!

And if the thrill of the game isn't your thing, there is all the game day food to celebrate. All the super yummy, delicious food! 

Top of the list for our hungry game day crew? These Buffalo Chicken Sliders!

They are to die for delicious, and I may or may not have had a left over one for breakfast this morning. 

The sliders contents are extremely easy to make, and I usually pop them into a slider bun, bake for a few minutes and they are game day ready. These Pepperidge Farm Bakery Classics slider buns are my favorite to use. They are just the right size! They also don't contain any artificial flavors, or high fructose corn syrup. The Pepperidge Farm Slider Buns come in five flavors - white, sesame, potato, sweet & soft, and wheat. My go-to are the Sweet & Soft buns, but I usually grab another flavor or two so our guests can have a variety.

Sliders always make for the perfect game day snack, and are the perfect size to have more than one without feeling too full. Which is a great thing, if you're like me and start to do a little stress eating during those nail biter games. 

Quick and easy Buffalo Chicken Sliders. Baked to cheesy goodness, and the Pepperidge Farm Slider Buns help make it the perfect game day snack! #RespectTheBun #LittleBunsBigWin #BakedWithCare #sponsored


Serves: 8-10
Prep Time: 10 mins
Total Time: 20 mins

** If you are using a slow cooker to prep your chicken total time is 4 hours.**

- 2 party size packages of Pepperidge Farm Slider Buns
- 3-5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or 3-4 cups of shredded chicken)
- 8 oz. of buffalo wing sauce
- 1 packet of ranch seasoning
- 1 cup of shredded cheese

1: Combine chicken, buffalo wing sauce, and ranch seasoning in a slow cooker. Cook on high for 3 hours. 
2: Shred chicken with two forks in the slow cooker and continue cooking for 30 more minutes. 
3: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

4: In a greased 9x12 dish place slider buns in rows. Fill each bun with a large spoon full of buffalo chicken mixture and top with a sprinkle of cheese.

5: Bake for 5-10 minutes or until cheese is slightly melted and bun is lightly toasted.
6: Serve and enjoy!

Optional: We sometimes serve with a side of ranch dressing for guests to drizzle on top or dip their slider in. So yummy! 

If you want to make your own game day Buffalo Chicken Sliders, make sure to print this recipe and download the $1.00 off coupon for the Pepperidge Farm Slider Buns available on the Pepperidge Farm website. You can find the buns on the bread aisle of your local grocery store. Enjoy! 

What are some of your favorite game day snacks?

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Friday, January 12, 2018

Friday Favorites: Our Favorite Christmas Gifts

Happy Friday!  For a short week (our kids were out of school on Monday) it sure did feel like a long week.  I think starting the week off getting home super late on Monday because of the big game just set us up for what felt like a long week.  Jen and I were talking yesterday and decided we aren't as young as we used to be and staying up until after 1AM on a week night just isn't as easy as it used to be.

Today we're linking up with some of our favorite bloggers to share our Friday Favorites.  Today I wanted to share all about some of mine and my kids' favorite gifts from Christmas.  I may of may not have purchased my own gifts this year and given them to the Mr. to wrap up.  Some people may say that takes the fun out of it. I say it gets me just what I want and makes it easier on him.  A win-win in my book.  Either way, the kids and I both got some fun things and I can't wait to share today. Maybe you are looking for good gift ideas or just want to get a head start on a wishlist for a birthday.  Either way, here are our favorites.

On the day after Christmas we were heading on a road trip to NC to visit my family and I was texting with Jen about each of our Christmases.  She asked me what I got and I texted her this picture.  Workout clothes (my snakeskin leggings) and a ridiculously awesome bag. Pretty much all I wanted.  Give me all the animal print! 

I'm literally obsessed with this bag.  I had been thinking about ordering it for months.  In fact, Jen gave me a gift card to Barrington for my birthday in November and I had held on to it for so long because I just couldn't pull the trigger.  However, I decided this would be a great reason to use it and am SO happy with my choice.  

I have two other Barrington Bags and love them both. I carried the gray and white one for almost two years before I got the blue seersucker one for Mother's Day last year.  I love the size, the material, the way you can personalize them and really make the bag your own.  Plus, it has lots of pockets and keeps all of my stuff organized and is big enough to throw in all the kids' stuff, too.  Just the best mom bag in my opinion.  

Some of my other favorites for gifts were new workout clothes. I found about 4 pairs of leggings at TJ Maxx (my favorite place for workout pants) and got a few tops from Target!  Their C9 brand is really nice and super stylish in my opinion. I love this plum color top because it is super warm and this black and white one is probably my favorite. I can throw this on to go to the gym (or not) and keep it on all day and feel put together running around with the kids or whatever I have going on.  

And I love the way the back looks with the print just at the top.  

I love wearing hoop earrings and my favorite gold hoops are from Stella and Dot.  I wanted a nice silver pair and ended up getting two for Christmas!  One from the Mr.'s grandmother which are beautiful and then these Stella and Dot ones with some sparkle that I had ordered. 

I was so excited to surprise my girls with tickets to the Taylor Swift concert in August.  We are all big fans and I seriously committed a month of my life to getting these tickets during the pre-sale!  I watched videos, purchased merchandise, downloaded the album and more to get points to gain access early.  It was all worth it because we ended up with really great seats and we are SO excited. Jen and Little Cute are coming with us and we can't wait!  

I was laughing and saying you know you have a tween when her favorite gifts are shoes and concert tickets.  Seriously though, those were two of her favorites.  Santa brought her these silver Birkenstocks and it is just killing her that the weather is so darn cold right now because she can't wait to wear them.  You might remember that I found a knock-off pair I loved and named my favorite find of 2017 (which is saying a lot). I got those exact gold Target ones for her for Christmas, but Santa stepped up and bought the real thing because it was one of the top things on her wish-list.  They are super cute though and I might just have to get myself a pair come spring.  

Blondie got an Instax Mini 9 and bundle from Santa and really has had fun taking pics with it!  My parents couldn't believe these things are back, but it is really fun to take a pic and be able to have it printed right away!  

One of her other favorites were these walkie-talkies.  It came in a pack of three which was perfect for my three kids.  They have had so much fun playing all sorts of games and make-believe with these. Everything from restaurant drive through, school, and they even used them to alert us who was arriving at our New Year's Eve party!

Boo-Boo really wanted a Fitbit for Christmas and my in-laws got it for him. I honestly thought he might be little to young for it, but the girls each have one and he was always interested in theirs so I figured we would give it a try.  I knew that boy was active, but I didn't realize just how active until he started wearing this.  His account is hooked to my phone so I get the alerts and emails and I have been amazed by how much he is moving.  Like 20,000 steps a day moving, but it makes sense because he is always on the go. He's had so much fun tracking his steps and gets so excited when he meets his goals so it has been wonderful for him. 

He's also really had fun with this Dirty Dunk. It's such a silly little thing, but he circled it in a toy magazine that came before Christmas and Santa brought it to him. It's a dirty hamper that he can "shoot" his clothes into.  He was always good about picking up his clothes and putting them where they belong, but now this just makes that task more fun! 

One of his other favorites is this tabletop basketball game. You can play with a partner and it keeps track of how many baskets you score in a certain time period.  It lights up, makes noise, and has been super fun for him.  He and the Mr. challenge each other every night! 

What were some of your Christmas gifts?!?

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Thursday, January 11, 2018

2018 Goals...Maybe?

So...we are well in 2018, but this has been one of the trickiest posts to write. I don't even know why. Carrie Beth always does an awesome job at her goals! I'm always so impressed with her, and her ability to come up with meaningful goals.

Me on the other hand?

< crickets >

Last year, instead of sharing goals, I shared two words we would live by for the year. It was such a millennial thing to do, but since I'm on that whole bubble between Generation Y and millennials, I apparently opted to cling to my youth.

Our two words were "consolidate" and "adventure". Looking back at 2017, we totally nailed these "goals". 

Consolidate: We did managed to do a lot of things to manage the stress in lives, clean out our homes, and somehow just before the end of the year I was able to lose 10 pounds. I call it the run and eat Christmas cookies only diet. It apparently worked. (Disclosure Statement: Totally not FDA approved and results may vary. )

Adventure: Oh, did we adventure. We went to beach. We saw cities. We took a vacation with out the kids. We played tourist in our own city. We threw epic parties just because. We Disney'ed with a six year old, a three year old and a baby - and if that's not an adventure, I don't know what is. In 2017, we were jam packed with adventure.

While I'm channeling my inner millennial, I can go ahead and lay out my word for 2018 now...

I'll let you interpret that as you wish. 

I'm an incredibly goal driven person, and couldn't figure out why this wasn't coming clearly to me as the new year approached. So I turned to my goal guru for advice. Carrie Beth is such a good friend. She sat there and listened to my rough draft of potential goals and didn't even give me one eye roll. She might have wanted to, but not even a twitch. See...besties. 

So my goal guru/bestie and I did a little brainstorming, and came up with a more realistic (and maybe slightly less superficial) goal list for 2018. 

< drumroll >

Jen's Goals for 2018

1: Have a body that makes 21 year olds jealous. 
Superficial? Totally. Attainable? Possibly. I'm putting that cookie/running diet to the test. Check back in December 2018. 

In all seriousness, the back half of 2017 I made some major changes and the results are slowly starting to show. I'm hoping this carries over to 2018 in a major way. I eat cleaner, and changed up my workout routine. What worked before wasn't working so I made some adjustments and am now making headway. Stay tuned...

2: Have individual date time with members in my family. 
The way our life is set up makes for a crazy schedule, and no amount of adjusting will change that. We are used to it and it's our norm. However, it doesn't lend to much one on one time with each individual - especially when it comes to the kids. This year I plan on trying to carve out some date time with each person in my family. My babysitters will be so excited because I will probably triple their income for the year, but I think the end results will be worth it. 

3: Become comfortable with saying NO. 
I say yes a lot. Way too much. To everyone and every thing. This year I am determined to say "no" more. And here's the real goal - to not feel guilty about it. 

4: Put the phone down. 
I'm actually pretty good about stepping away (my iWatch majorly helped this), but my goal this year is to determine chunks of time to be on my phone. I realize in our culture we've made our entire lives be on our phones. Heck, I even use my phone to pay for things now. But I don't want my kids to see this all the time. I know it will eventually be their norm too, but before that I want to be an example and establish really good habits. 

5: Adventure somewhere new. 
We do a good job of this each year, but I like to keep it as a rolling goal. I like being able to get us out of our comfort zones, exploring new places, and learning new things. It's a big world people, see as much of it as you can!

And those are my goals for 2018. Others will come and go throughout the year, and I've learned these will evolve as time goes on (I mean maybe just make 80 year olds jealous???), but I love that I have a good benchmark to start from. Bring it on 2018!

What are some of your goals for 2018? Superficial or not...I want to hear them all!

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