Willamette Valley Wonder Woman

Friday, December 19, 2014

4 Things to Clean Before Christmas + A Big Giveaway!

Thank you Bissell for sponsoring this post and giveaway!

4 things to clean before Christmas #sponsored http://ooh.li/631c67d

Okay, I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not the best house cleaner. Don’t get me wrong – it’s not that we live in a total disaster, but with three kids and all of their activities, plus a party time job, part time business, and everything else that comes up – well, sometimes the dishes don’t’ get done, and the garage is quite frankly – a mess.

One thing I think I have mastered though is what the most important things to get cleaned are. A lot of you will be having guests over during the holidays, and with so many things to accomplish in just a few short days like last minute shopping and baking, well, cleaning is probably the last thing you want to do! Even though we’re not going to be having company this year, I certainly don’t want a disaster in my house over the two days that we will all actually be home together – with no schedules. After all, there will be plenty of wrapping paper and toys to take over the living room – they don’t need any competition.

http://ooh.li/631c67d

I've got a little checklist that I've created (because I’m obsessed with lists) to remind myself on what need to be done over the next couple of days, and I thought I’d share it with you.

The Kitchen – There’s going to be a lot of baking to finish up on and so it’s important to start off with a clean work space so it doesn't become overwhelmingly messy when the cooking frenzy is finished. Wipe down the cupboards and counters, sweep and mop, and clean out the refrigerator so there will be room for all of those holiday leftovers.

The Kid’s Rooms – Presents are coming into the house, and so it’s time to go through old toys and make room! My kids also happen to be little ‘collectors’, from paper scraps and candy wrappers (that they’ve snuck) to rocks and random puzzle pieces…it’s can get messy VERY quickly…so I’ve gone in with garbage bags and Lysol and am nearly finished with this massive task.

The Bathrooms – Simply because I don’t want to have to mess with them on our days off together, but this is especially important if you are having company. Make sure it’s stocked with enough towels, toilet paper, and scented candles. 

Your Carpets – Think about it – presents are being opened, everyone is going to be sitting around eating, playing board games, and relaxing – on the floor. I know as the unofficial present-passer-outer, every year I spend 90% of Christmas morning on the floor, and it’s so much nicer when it’s freshly cleaned! I like using Bissell Scotchgard Protector because it is a great stain repellent - and I'm super excited to give you the opportunity to win not only some Scotchguard Protector Carpet Cleaning Solution, but how about a Bissell Upright Deep Cleaning Machine ($199 value!) to go with it!!!!

Bissell is giving away 3 Upright Cleaning Machines To readers from a few selected blogs, and it's really easy to enter to win!

To enter the giveaway:

1.  Visit the Bissell landing page to check out your new cleaning machine.
2.  Come back here and leave a comment stating how the Bissell Upright Deep Cleaning Machine with Scotchguard Protector Carpet Cleaning Solution would make your life easier.

Bissell will randomly select three winners from the comments found on participating blogs.

Bissell will announce the winners Monday, January 5th, and the winners will be notified through a response to comments. You will have 5 business days (by 01/12/15) to submit your email address and claim your prize.

Good luck!

Also,  click the image below for a $1 off coupon.


~Melissa

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Living Locally: Brannon's Brewery

Brannon's Brewery Beaverton Oregon Dinner Party

Well, last night we made it – Emma’s holiday program was a success. All three of the kids programs were squeezed in together less than a week, and then tonight we headed out to our friend’s son’s preschool program to finish up our week of events. ‘Tis the season to see a bunch of adorable performances.  

Last week right before the holiday madness began I received a last minute invite from  local author StevenShomler to check out a new brew pub that opened up in Beaverton called Brannon's Brewery, and fortunately the timing worked out perfectly and Wayne and I were available to attend. I always love attending food dinners and events; tasting new things and learning more about the foods and people behind it. 

Brannon's Brewery Beaverton Oregon Dinner Party
Brannon's Brewery Beaverton Oregon Dinner Party


The dinner was held in their events room, and it was a buffet style feast, filled with brick oven roasted dry rubbed pork ribs, wings, sliders (including a water buffalo slider, spit fired chicken slider, and beef slider), a charcuterie board, sausage pizza, veggie pizza, and my favorite – BBQ chicken pizza which was topped with spit fired chicken, red onions, cheese blend, smoked Gouda, cilantro and drizzled with Brannon’s own ‘BeerBQ’

And of course, there was plenty beer to sample. 

Brannon's Brewery Beaverton Oregon Dinner Party
Brannon's Brewery Beaverton Oregon Dinner Party
Brannon's Brewery Beaverton Oregon Dinner Party

We all feasted until our stomachs were content and then we all met the owner, head chef, and brew master and I found myself amused by all of their stories that were filled with bits of humor. ]

The brewpub itself has a fun and lively atmosphere to dine in, with interesting metalwork features throughout as well as plenty of TV’s to view shows on – in fact all of the tables surrounding the bar area have their own separate TV and controls – so you can bring the family and keep the kids entertained with one of their favorite shows while you peek at the scores on the other televisions.

Brannon's Brewery Beaverton Oregon Dinner Party
Brannon's Brewery Beaverton Oregon Dinner Party
Brannon's Brewery Beaverton Oregon Dinner Party

My favorite part about Brannon’s though is that it’s locally owned and operated. So much hard work has gone into creating this space and it always impresses me when I see how much dedication people have put into making their dreams come true. 

Brannon's Brewery Beaverton Oregon Dinner Party
Brannon's Brewery Beaverton Oregon Dinner Party
Brannon's Brewery Beaverton Oregon Dinner Party
Brannon's Brewery Beaverton Oregon Dinner Party

In the midst of the busy holiday season, it was nice to slow down for an evening and just explore a new area, experience a new place, and spend a couple of hours together.

~Melissa

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

A Holiday Party Date - Finally The Freedom to Be Spontaneous

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All thoughts and opinions are mine and mine alone and should not be construed as medical advice. #TheMoodStrikes #CollectiveBias
#themoodstrikes #ad #cbias

Can I start this post off with “Ahhh!” today?? Today is just one of those days when you sit down and think about everything that’s going on the next few days and you just feel overwhelmed. It’s not that my schedule is any more challenging than normal, but I think it’s that final countdown to Christmas along with a non-routine lately that’s getting to me. There’s been kids’ activities pretty much every night, I’m working random days and evenings at my ‘real’ job, and I’m ready for some consistency…maybe that will be one of my goals for 2015! I’m glad not everything is routine all of the time though; I do appreciate the Freedom to be spontaneous too. J

#themoodstrikes #ad #cbias
#themoodstrikes #ad #cbias
#themoodstrikes #ad #cbias

 I’ve been talking about KY Liquibeads a couple of times over the past month (Read about the challenge I took HERE)and I’ve got to say, for someone who has a crazy busy life they are helping so much! Wayne and I have actually had two last minute date opportunities this month (yes TWO! It’s been forever since we’ve been on two in a month!) The first date was a last minute invite to a media dinner at a new brewery (I’m working on those pictures next!) and then we ended up getting my friend to babysit last minute this past Friday and we attended my work’s company holiday party.

The pictures are definitely not the best here, but I didn’t want to be lugging around my big camera inside of my tiny purse for a ‘work’ thing…and I’m pretty sure my camera wouldn’t have fit in it anyways!

#themoodstrikes #ad #cbias
#themoodstrikes #ad #cbias

We had cocktails and wine with our dinner. I played it safe with the chicken and Wayne ordered the salmon.  It was a pretty big evening with probably about 1,000 in attendance. After dinner there was dancing, photo booths, and gambling to keep everyone entertained, yet at most events of this size, sometimes just sitting there and people watching is just as entertaining!

#themoodstrikes #ad #cbias
#themoodstrikes #ad #cbias

We hung out with my friend and her boyfriend, and ended up staying out until 3:00 am! It’s been a very long time since we had a night that late! (I drank lots of coffee the next morning during Anika’s basketball games).

I guess what I’m saying in this rambling post is that even though I crave a routine, sometimes life is better without one – sometimes life is better when things just fall into place and you can have that freedom to be spontaneous!  I’m glad I decided to take the challenge – if you want more information about the KY Liquibeads and my previous posts take a peek:


#themoodstrikes #ad #cbias

Then print this coupon for $1.00 any KY product and head to Walgreens to take the challenge for yourself! (Unless you are pregnant or nursing – make sure to chat with your physician first!)

Until tomorrow my friends,


~Melissa

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Best Christmas Cookie Recipes

Check out The Best Christmas Cookies
by Melissa Kaylene at Foodie.com
Check out The Best Christmas Cookies
by Melissa Kaylene at Foodie.com


Good morning! I just dropped the girls off at school (we have a late start Monday which I LOVE because I get one more day to sleep in!) and Noah is sitting next to me at the kitchen table, both sipping our ‘coffee’ and planning for our day. My day is going to include a trip to turn in recycle and donating a bunch of old toys and outgrown clothes. I’ll clean the house a bit more and then get an early dinner ready so we can all eat before Anika's choir and band program at 7 pm. She is pretty nervous (as anyone would be!) but I’m excited because this is her first performance in middle school.

Before Noah and I head out to run errands though, I’m browsing around online collecting Christmas cookie recipes so I can pick up any extra ingredients I may need in town today. I love making holiday cookies every year and I’m planning on starting my baking frenzy tomorrow. There’s something so pretty about handmade and hand decorated treats, each one a different flavor and color. 

I like to have a variety of cookies, from intricate ones that take me a bit of time to make, to easy ones that the kids can pretty much do themselves – like the Rice Crispy Treat Trees I found while looking at Foodie.com. We are definitely making those together!

Different shapes and sizes are another thing I take into consideration – I love a good chocolate chip cookie or sugar cookie, but I don’t want all of the cookies to look the same! Thumbprint cookies are fun to make because they are visually different, as well as macaroons or snow ball cookies – after all I think cookie boxes should be little works of art, right? J

The Best Christmas Cookie Recipes #foodie #sponsored

Lastly I want to make sure I have multiple flavors when I give my holiday cookies – not too much chocolate or too much peppermint. I like a good balance between traditional holiday flavors and a few surprises like orange or raspberry flavors.

So, here are a few cookie recipes that I’ve found so far, and I’ll be looking for a bit longer before heading out. Are there any Christmas cookies that you just can’t live without? How many different kinds of cookies do you make each year?

~Melissa
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”

Preschool Christmas Programs


Where oh where did this weekend go? I enjoyed a low key weekend – Anika had basketball games on Saturday, but I was happy that they were home games. Today Wayne worked and I spent the day cleaning and getting rid of a bunch of stuff in the kids’ rooms. I don’t do it enough and if you have kids you know how quickly it can get out of hand! With Christmas right around the corner I wanted to make sure that they had a clean slate to start with before they added a bunch of new presents in the mix. 


Tomorrow night we will be heading to Anika’s choir and band program – but today I just had to share photos from Noah’s Christmas program that we watched last Thursday. There is just something SO adorable about watching preschoolers perform for friends and family. I absolutely love that age, and how excited and proud they get over their moment to shine. Noah had a grin from ear to ear – and after their program they always play a video with photos from what the kids have been doing in preschool for the first half of the year. Noah sat on my lap and held my hand while he excitedly pointed out when he saw his face up on the screen.


After the slideshow we all gathered around and tasted many treats with a dessert buffet. The kids don’t usually get to take a plateful of goodies but this was a special occasion, and they loved it. By the end of the evening all of the preschoolers were sugared up and running around with tons of energy!


This was Noah’s last preschool Christmas program, and after four consecutive years of attending the annual event (two years of Emma followed by Noah) it’s a little sad for me. I’m happy that they are growing and learning, but sometimes I feel that it’s all moving too fast and I’m not ready. My entire life I’ve had babies and toddlers and I’m on the verge of saying goodbye to that phase.


One program down – two more to go. I love this time of the year.

~Melissa