Willamette Valley Wonder Woman

Friday, August 1, 2014

12 Quick Weeknight Family Meals

Check out 12 Easy Weeknight Dinners
by Melissa Kaylene at Foodie.com

Things have been so busy this past week with the county fair going on that I seriously didn't even realize until I sat down last night that August is already here – and that means school is already just right around the corner! I can honestly say that this summer has flown by faster than any other summer that I can remember and I’m honestly quite sad. I’m not ready to get back into the full swing of routines and schedules with the kids.

12 easy weeknight meals #foodie #sp

One of the things that I have been slacking on a lot lately is having a dinner plan ahead of time and prepping meals before, oh like 5 pm! I have always done a pretty good job in the past, but lately you’re lucky if I know what we are eating an hour before dinner! I know that I can’t keep doing that when school starts back up and soccer season begins, so last night I began searching through new recipes at Foodie.com to get some inspiration for new quick weeknight dinners that weren't just the same thing that I get bored with making.

Yes, I know, I should have been in bed asleep. If it’s any consolation though, we did have an amazing thunder and lightning storm around one am that was quite a show – so I just listened to it while searching for recipes. J

There are a few recipes on here that you could make a double batch and freeze half of it for another weeknight meal too. I try to do this quite often because sometimes I feel like I don’t even have 30 minutes to make dinner, so I can take out the meal in the morning and then warm it up in the evening.  Enchiladas, mini meat loafs, fajita mix, and some pastas work really well.  I’m hoping to take one afternoon this month and just cook up a bunch of meals and then freeze them for September. I've been talking about doing it again but really just need to schedule one day a month and do this again. When I've finally got it all figured out you’ll be the first to know!

What are some of your favorite quick dinner recipes to make for your family?

Compensation was provided by Foodie via Mode Media.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Foodie”

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Create.Simplify.Inspire. #79

Well everyone - I know last week at this time I was embarking on my Jury Duty adventure, but it turns out it didn't go too far. All I ended up doing was sitting through the jury selection process for other jurors which took up the entire morning. I did my last call in tonight and now my term is done...which is a good thing because I'm in full swing fair mode. The Yamhill County Fair began yesterday, but Anika has been preparing for it since May. She's up and at the fair by 7am every morning and today was her first showing of her lamb. Tomorrow is round two and will be for her showmanship. She's pretty nervous and I can't blame her. My little 75 lb girl ended up with one of the biggest lambs. At the official weigh in he was 134 lbs!

Keep your fingers crossed for her tomorrow!

What have you been up to this week? I'd love it if you shared!

This link up to to share anything and everything that inspires you. 

Create.Simplify.Inspire. #79

Willamette Valley Wonder Woman

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Learning Life Lessons Together

Next week all of the kids will have soccer camp and I'm a little nervous for Emma. I've said it a few times on here before, but Emma  really had a difficult time with her first year of soccer. She is so shy that she either would not go out on to the field during a game, or she’d stand in one spot on the field – frozen like a statue. I've debated back and forth with what to do – to continue to gently encourage her, or to just give in and not push it. I finally decided that she needed to give it a go through the spring season because I don’t want my children to just give up the first time something feels difficult or scary.

I was becoming so desperate to help her overcome her insecurities that I had tried all sorts of things… yet nothing seemed to be working. On our way to one of her last games I gave it one more shot. I was tired - it had been an exhausting day and I did’t have dinner planned, so I told Emma if she could be a brave girl and run out on that field with her teammates we could go out to dinner for Happy Meals at McDonald’s, where I knew I had the option of getting myself a McCafe Smoothie and a freshly made salad as well.

She thought and thought about it, and then surprised me out on the field. She not only ran – she got into the game and actually kicked the ball once! It was the first time she had ever kicked the soccer ball during a game. 

I breathed a huge sigh of relief when she told me after the game that she had so much she had forgot that we were going to go to McDonald’s!

We pulled up and went inside to sit down and eat – something we rarely do anymore due to our busy schedule.  As Emma opened up her apple slices and chicken nuggets she appeared sad then looked down and said softly,

“Mom, I kicked the ball the wrong way.”

I knew she had, but I wasn't going to bring the subject up. I paused, and thought for a moment.

 “Emma, do you remember that one time when we went through the drive thru here and we drove all the way home before realizing that they had forgotten to put apple slices in your Happy Meals?”

“Ya, and you called them back and the guy hung up on you!” Anika chimed in.

“Yes he did. But then I called the corporate office to let them know and they were so apologetic, sincerely sorry and wanted to fix the situation. They not only sent us a gift card, but coupons for free desserts and then called me back not once but two times making sure that the next experience went well.”

“What exactly is your point Mom?” Anika said.

“My point is that everyone messes up sometimes. We all make mistakes – but that doesn't matter. No one is perfect. What does matter is what you do afterwards. When McDonald’s found out about what had happened, they wanted to make things right to keep a customer happy. They didn't just give up and say, ‘oh well, we screwed up’ and let us down.“

I told Emma that just because she accidentally kicked the ball the wrong way didn't mean she couldn't do a good job at soccer. I told her to just keep trying to help her team and prove to herself that she can be brave and do it.

She just had one more thing to say after our little chat.

“Mommy, if I kick the soccer ball the right way next time, can we go to get Happy Meals again?”
How can I say no to that? J

I wonder if she'll remember this little moment we had a from a couple of months ago at soccer camp.

“Disclosure: Compensation was provided by McDonald’s via Mode Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of McDonald’s.”

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Living Locally: Dayton Friday Nights

I have talked quite a bit about local events and places in and around Portland and Oregon, but have never really told you about my local town. In the heart of the Willamette Valley and wine country are several quaint towns; Dayton being one of them. Seven years ago when we moved here, there really wasn't much going on at all. Sure people lived here, but it didn't seem like there was much of a 'town', but non-the-less we saw the upside to Dayton - it is very conveniently located between Salem, Portland, and the Oregon Coast. The historic town centers on a park, and I love the setup of the town. It's also only 5 miles to McMinnville, which is also home to the Spruce Goose at the Evergreen Museum. It's 10 miles to Newberg, and there are umpteen tasting rooms along the way.

Dayton has been home to the Joel Palmer House for many years, they serve amazing cuisine with a mushroom flair. The owners also recently renovated a vacant building in our little downtown and opened up a new restaurant named The Barlow Room. Wayne and I had the luxury of popping in there for a half an hour without the kids one evening and I'm sure we will be back again just as soon as we can. 

Dayton has also started becoming more of a community, and this summer they introduced something called Dayton Friday Nights. Every Friday evening from Memorial Day to Labor Day all of the small businesses gather around the City Park comes alive with music and people. 

Archie's, our local ice cream parlor and sandwich shop may have been the first to jump on the bandwagon. They opened up a couple of years ago and renovated the inside of an old building, creating a nostalgic ice cream shop on one side, sandwich shop on the other, and the inside if adorned with antiques and collectibles. Anyways, last summer they began having a classic car cruise in on Friday nights, and this year it's expanded into this amazing get together that everyone puts together. Cars line up the streets while children play on the playground. Vendors sell snacks and one of the churches gives away popcorn. All of the restaurants stay open later and people just have a fun relaxing evening. 

Last Friday in addition to our Friday Night festival, Dayton also held their Old Timer's Get-together - including a little parade that lined the streets. Anika was at a birthday party sleepover and I was driving home and had forgotten about the parade until we pulled into town. Our main street was blocked off so I couldn't drive through to get home, so we parked and hopped out of the car. Emma and Noah were so ecstatic over the surprise parade that was literally "right next door".

After the parade finished we drove home and then decided to walk down to the Friday Nights for dinner. The weather was absolutely perfect. Not too hot, not too cold, and a slight breeze. The kids all ran into their classmates and we waved to our neighbors.

I love living close to the city, but there's something about small towns that I am partial too. Knowing all of your children's friends, all of the teachers at the school, parents looking out for each other's kids, I just adore the sense of community. I'm so glad that 7 years ago we took a chance and decided to move here - it's been a wonderful place to raise our kids so far. 


Monday, July 28, 2014

Easy Kids Snacks + a Walk Down Memory Lane

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.
Easy #AfterSchoolSnacks + A walk down memory lane #shop #cbias

 Yesterday was a busy day for me – I finally put my “nurse” hat on and went to work. I knew it was going to be a busy day there and that I wouldn’t be able to enjoy any of the gorgeous weather outside, so I decided to sit out in the backyard with the kids before putting my scrubs on. Anika and Emma have already been talking about going back to school and I can just feel their anticipation and level of excitement, so I thought it would be fun to break out a couple of photo albums too reminisce on some of the past school years while we had a few fun snacks under our plum tree.

Easy #AfterSchoolSnacks + A walk down memory lane #shop #cbias

At Walmart the other day I picked up some Bagel Bites and Delimex Taquitos. We don’t always just sit around and consume snacks, but I like to keep some on hand for quick bites or after school snacks.  The girls first found my Kindergarten photo and then had to grab their Kindergarten graduation magnet photos off of the refrigerator to compare them. Emma said, “Mom, you had blue eyes like me!” and Anika was somehow shocked at how much we looked alike. J

Easy #AfterSchoolSnacks + A walk down memory lane #shop #cbias

 We then looked at a couple of other photo albums – one was a bunch of photos that I took when I was a kid- pictures of me, camp, my classmates, my animals,  and It was crazy to me to see photos of myself going into the 6th grade like Anika. Unlike her I had several awkward looking years and as a parent I’m happy that she hasn’t had too much difficulty adjusting yet.

Easy #AfterSchoolSnacks + A walk down memory lane #shop #cbias
Easy #AfterSchoolSnacks + A walk down memory lane #shop #cbias

 My kids loved eating the Bagel Bites -  they are made with real cheese, homemade sauce and have 0g trans fat. They also quickly devoured the Delimex Taquitos! I poured some peach salsa for them to dip them in. I also bought some apple cinnamon taquitos for a little treat and then made a little whipped cream with caramel drizzle to dip them in.

Easy #AfterSchoolSnacks + A walk down memory lane #shop #cbias
Easy #AfterSchoolSnacks + A walk down memory lane #shop #cbias

 We don’t sit down and look at photos often enough. I know that sounds silly coming from me, the picture queen, but just because I’m constantly snapping away doesn't mean the whole family actually looks at all of them. It’s one of my goals this next school year to actually make a few more photo albums so that we can do this more often.

Easy #AfterSchoolSnacks + A walk down memory lane #shop #cbias
Easy #AfterSchoolSnacks + A walk down memory lane #shop #cbias
Easy #AfterSchoolSnacks + A walk down memory lane #shop #cbias
Easy #AfterSchoolSnacks + A walk down memory lane #shop #cbias

Oh and if you were wondering work was crazy yesterday but I survived ;)

Easy #AfterSchoolSnacks + A walk down memory lane #shop #cbias
Easy #AfterSchoolSnacks + A walk down memory lane #shop #cbias

Thanks #CollectiveBias for letting me share an #AfterSchoolSnacks moment with you!