Willamette Valley Wonder Woman

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Peanut Butter and Apple RITZ® Bites

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #PutItOnARitz #CollectiveBias
Peanut Butter and Apple RITZ® Bites #PutItOnARitz #ad @walmart

Hi everyone! Today I wanted to share a little after school snack that I've been making lately for my hungry kiddos. I don’t know about you, but the kids come home every day and are starving – and usually run over to the cupboard and eat a bunch of junk, instead of something that will be better for them until dinner time. I’ve been so busy the past few months that I really slacked on the after-school-snack-making on my half, but right now RITZ® is holding a Snackify Challenge Instagram Contest  where you can enter for a chance to win one of forty $100 Walmart e-Gift Cards (10 per week) by uploading an Instagram photo of your RITZ®-topped creation with #putitonaritzcontest – and sometimes it takes things like that to get my creative after-school snack ideas going again!

Ritz Snackify Challenge Instagram Contest
Click HERE to enter the Snackify Challenge with your own RITZ®-topped creation for a chance to win a $100 Gift Card! (Purchase of RITZ® is not required). 

Peanut Butter and Apple RITZ® Bites #PutItOnARitz #ad @walmart

Peanut Butter and Apple RITZ® Bites #PutItOnARitz #ad @walmart

We almost always have RITZ® Crackers in our house, The Whole Wheat are my favorite ones to buy. We also always keep things like peanut butter, apples, raisins, and honey in our house too, so I thought I’d dice up a few apples, spread some peanut butter on those RITZ® Crackers and then top ‘em off with the raisins and apples to see if the kids would eat them (and like them!) 

Peanut Butter and Apple RITZ® Bites #PutItOnARitz #ad @walmart

They were a BIG hit! On some of them I sliced the apples instead of dicing them and poured a tiny bit of honey over the top - I couldn’t make them fast enough!

Peanut Butter and Apple RITZ® Bites

What you need:

¼ cup peanut butter (creamy or chunky)
1  Apple (I used Red Delicious and Golden Delicious)
¼ cup of raisins and/or dried cranberries
Honey, if desired

Place all of the RITZ® Crackers on a serving dish. Carefully spread peanut butter on top of each cracker, set aside.

Dice the apple and then top the RITZ® Cracker with apples and raisins. You can also drizzle honey on top if desired.

Enjoy!

Peanut Butter and Apple RITZ® Bites #PutItOnARitz #ad @walmart

When the weather is nice my kids will almost always be playing in the front yard after school, playing pretend and make believe. They all have fun character names that they have, so when I hear Anika calling for “J.J.” (Noah) or “Cherry” (Emma) I know they are in their own little world – so I’ll just sneak another plate full of crackers over and let them continue playing. (Isn’t it great when they all get along for an hour?)

Peanut Butter and Apple RITZ® Bites #PutItOnARitz #ad @walmart
Peanut Butter and Apple RITZ® Bites #PutItOnARitz #ad @walmart
Peanut Butter and Apple RITZ® Bites #PutItOnARitz #ad @walmart

You can find many different flavors of RITZ® crackers in the cracker/snack aisle at Walmart!

Peanut Butter and Apple RITZ® Bites #PutItOnARitz #ad @walmart
Peanut Butter and Apple RITZ® Bites #PutItOnARitz #ad @walmart
Peanut Butter and Apple RITZ® Bites #PutItOnARitz #ad @walmart
Peanut Butter and Apple RITZ® Bites #PutItOnARitz #ad @walmart

What are your favorite things to top on a RITZ® Cracker? You should enter the contest and who knows, maybe YOU will win!!

Peanut Butter and Apple RITZ® Bites #PutItOnARitz #ad @walmart

~Melissa

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Tips for Setting up a Buffet Style Dinner Party

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #showmetheshine #CollectiveBias
Tips for Setting up a Buffet Style Dinner Party #showmetheshine #ad @target

Tips for Setting up a Buffet Style Dinner Party

Most of you know by now that I love any excuse to celebrate, whether it’s a big dinner party or a small family gathering - any day is a good reason for making memories, so at least once a year I try to host a meal and have all of our friends and families come over to catch up on each other’s lives.

When there is a large group of people over for dinner it’s easier to host a buffet style meal versus a more formal sit down dinner – and since most of our guests prefer a casual setting, a-serve-yourself meal works perfectly.

Tips for Setting up a Buffet Style Dinner Party #showmetheshine #ad @target
Tips for Setting up a Buffet Style Dinner Party #showmetheshine #ad @target

When I have a buffet at my house there are a few things that I keep in mind to help make the meal process run a little more smoothly. We have a pretty small home so it’s imperative to make use of every inch of space, and I know that I’m not the only one out there who needs to be creative when they have guests over - so I’d like to share my tips with you!

The first thing (after deciding on a menu of course) is to figure out where the dishes and food will be placed. Whenever possible I prefer to host a part outdoors because I have a lot more freedom of where I can set up and place things, but unfortunately the weather isn't always perfect – so when we gather inside I set up the main dishes on the kitchen counter, beginning with the plates and silverware on one end, and then set the desserts up in a separate area, like a hutch or coffee table, along with additional plates and silverware there.  Appetizers can be placed in various areas for nibbling on prior to dinner – the ottoman works well for this.  Depending on what beverages are being served, I will either set up at the end of either the dinner or dessert table and additional beverages like wine can also be kept on the dinner table for easy refills.

Tips for Setting up a Buffet Style Dinner Party #showmetheshine #ad @target
Tips for Setting up a Buffet Style Dinner Party #showmetheshine #ad @target

Next after figuring out where everything will go I will pull all of the glasses, silverware and serving dishes out of the cupboards and re-wash them. Our nicer dishes and beverage glasses don’t get used very often, and they tend to get dusty and dingy looking while being stored, so I always run everything through the dishwasher with Finish® Max in 1™ tablets. I've always used Finish® products for the dishwasher, but their new formula is amazing and makes all of the dishes really clean and sparkly. They also have something called Glass Protectant Action which helps prevent glass corrosion. You can find them in the cleaning aisle at Target!

Tips for Setting up a Buffet Style Dinner Party #showmetheshine #ad @target
Tips for Setting up a Buffet Style Dinner Party #showmetheshine #ad @target
Tips for Setting up a Buffet Style Dinner Party #showmetheshine #ad @target
Tips for Setting up a Buffet Style Dinner Party #showmetheshine #ad @target

After the dishes are washed and dried, set everything out prior to your guests arriving. You’ll probably be busy finishing cooking the food, so if all of the beverages and utensils are already set out, you won’t have to rush or look flustered last minute trying to find things.

Tips for Setting up a Buffet Style Dinner Party #showmetheshine #ad @target
Tips for Setting up a Buffet Style Dinner Party #showmetheshine #ad @target

A few other things that I have and what you really need to have available for your guests are things like:

Plenty of napkins
An easily accessible garbage can
A menu board so guests can know what is being served
Background music and dinner conversation cards
Take home boxes
An empty dishwasher with a Finish® Max in 1™ tablet already loaded – so guests can simply place their plates in the dishwasher if desired.

Tips for Setting up a Buffet Style Dinner Party #showmetheshine #ad @target
Tips for Setting up a Buffet Style Dinner Party #showmetheshine #ad @target
Tips for Setting up a Buffet Style Dinner Party #showmetheshine #ad @target

Right now there is also a coupon on the Target Cartwheel where you can Save 5% on NEW! Max in ONE & Quantum Max Small Size 3/29-4/25 and there’s a fun contest you can enter with prizes including Target gift cards to purchase Finish® products and $150+ in glassware! (Winners must be 18+)

Tips for Setting up a Buffet Style Dinner Party #showmetheshine #ad @target


What are some of the things you do to get ready for a dinner party? Please comment below and share and tips you may have too!
                                                                                                                                                                       ~Melissa

Monday, April 20, 2015

Easy Cherry and Grape Ice Cream Recipes

 This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #PourMoreFun #CollectiveBias
Easy Cherry and Grape Ice Cream Recipes #PourMoreFun #ad #cbias

“I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!”… Sometimes I find myself humming the classic tune on warm sunny days and yesterday was definitely one of those days! Here in Oregon the month of April can be a hit or a miss on the weather – meaning we could pretty much have a little of everything, and luckily yesterday and today are simply gorgeous with temperatures around 75 degrees, which means everyone starts thinking about barbeques and ice cream! 

Easy Cherry and Grape Ice Cream Recipes #PourMoreFun #ad #cbias

I like to get creative and make my own ice cream from time to time. We have a traditional ice cream machine as well as a small one that is in in the shape of a ball that you literally roll back and forth and shake to create ice cream. It works well if you are camping, but it’s definitely a workout! So yesterday Anika and I made ice cream in my traditional ice cream maker, but we made the ice cream with a slightly non-traditional ingredient that I had personally never thought of using before – Kool-Aid Easy Mix. 


Easy Cherry and Grape Ice Cream Recipes #PourMoreFun #ad #cbias
Easy Cherry and Grape Ice Cream Recipes #PourMoreFun #ad #cbias
Easy Cherry and Grape Ice Cream Recipes #PourMoreFun #ad #cbias

 We were at Walmart last week and from time to time they have in-store demos, and they happened to be demoing their new Kool-Aid Easy Mix, which is really convenient to make because you add water and make the desired amount that you’d like. Well, I got to thinking that not only would the Kool-Aid Easy Mix be good for making beverages, but just might be an easy way to make some fun ice cream flavors – and I was right. The Kool-Aid Easy Mix comes in cherry, grape, and tropical punch, so I bought one of each and put our ice cream making skills to work.  The results were very satisfying!

Easy Cherry and Grape Ice Cream Recipes #PourMoreFun #ad #cbias
Easy Cherry and Grape Ice Cream Recipes #PourMoreFun #ad #cbias
Easy Cherry and Grape Ice Cream Recipes #PourMoreFun #ad #cbias

 Here’s what I did:

Kool-Aid Easy Mix Ice Cream

What you need:

½ cup of heavy whipping cream
1 ½ cups of half and half
1 cup of whole milk
1/3 cup of your favorite flavor of Kool-Aid Easy Mix
Waffle cones and sprinkles (optional)
Ice and rock salt (per your ice cream makers’ instructions).

Pour the cream; half and half, milk and Kool-Aid Easy Mix into a mixing bowl. Whisk together until combined. Pour into ice cream machine and follow the machines instructions. When the ice cream is finished, scoop into a waffle cone and top with your favorite color of sprinkles.

Makes approximately 6 servings

Easy Cherry and Grape Ice Cream Recipes #PourMoreFun #ad #cbias
Easy Cherry and Grape Ice Cream Recipes #PourMoreFun #ad #cbias

 This could also be a fun way to let kids participate in making a cool treat during play dates or even birthday parties! Do you ever make your own ice cream?

Easy Cherry and Grape Ice Cream Recipes #PourMoreFun #ad #cbias
Easy Cherry and Grape Ice Cream Recipes #PourMoreFun #ad #cbias
Easy Cherry and Grape Ice Cream Recipes #PourMoreFun #ad #cbias
Easy Cherry and Grape Ice Cream Recipes #PourMoreFun #ad #cbias

~Melissa

Living Locally: Garth Brooks

Garth Brooks Concert in Portland

This past week has been crazy, but I’m not complaining! April has turned out to have been the biggest roller coaster ride we've had in quite a long time. I haven’t mentioned anything on here yet, but a couple of weeks ago Wayne lost his Mom and one of my co-workers also passed away. I wrote a couple of blog posts about it happening, but chose not to publish them because it just didn’t feel right at the time.

This week we were finally getting back to ‘normal’ (whatever that may be!) Which included an overnight flight to Seattle, soccer practice and games, a PTO meeting, lots of projects, oh, and not one concert – but two. 

*Warning*, if you aren't really a country music fan, this photo bomb of pictures may not be your favorite post. J

Garth Brooks Concert in Portland
Garth Brooks Concert in Portland
Garth Brooks Concert in Portland
Garth Brooks Concert in Portland

 Well, last month Garth Brooks announced he was coming to Portland. It had been something crazy like 18 years or so since he had performed here. Originally he had two dates scheduled, but the day that the tickets went on sale he quickly added four more shows, playing a total of 6 shows in 5 days.

Luckily for me I got pretty darn good seats for one of the shows, but one of my best friends also ended up with tickets and wanted me to go with them, so of course I couldn't say no!

Garth Brooks Concert in Portland
Garth Brooks Concert in Portland

So last Sunday I went with her – had an amazing time and kept thinking on how awesome Wednesday was going to be with good seats – and I was so right. 

Garth Brooks Concert in Portland
Garth Brooks Concert in Portland
Garth Brooks Concert in Portland
Garth Brooks Concert in Portland
Garth Brooks Concert in Portland
Garth Brooks Concert in Portland
Garth Brooks Concert in Portland
Garth Brooks Concert in Portland
Garth Brooks Concert in Portland
Garth Brooks Concert in Portland

 I've been to many concerts over the years, but Garth Brooks is one of the best performers I’ve seen. The energy that man has is incredible, and it shows with nearly 20,000 people singing every word to his songs. It’s a really feel-good show.

Garth Brooks Concert in Portland
Garth Brooks Concert in Portland
Garth Brooks Concert in Portland
Garth Brooks Concert in Portland
Garth Brooks Concert in Portland
Garth Brooks Concert in Portland

I’m turning 30 in June, and can officially check that one off of my bucket list!

Garth Brooks Concert in Portland

 ~Melissa