A Simple, Affordable and Super Cute Way To Celebrate Your Kid’s Birthday

It’s no secret how I feel about over-the-top birthday parties.

I hate them.

That doesn’t mean I don’t think everyone deserves some kind of celebration on their birthday.

Of course they do!

But if you are like me, if you are on a budget, if you have more than one kid, if you have a crazy schedule, if you don’t want to go overboard with presents, and if you are trying to teach your kids that lots of stuff isn’t what truly brings you happiness, then you don’t want to go crazy every year.

That’s why I wanted to share this super cute and simple birthday “party” idea with you.

A friend posted pictures of what she did for her son’s birthday last week, and I LOVED IT. So I wanted to share it with you.

Like my friend, I like to let the kids choose what they want to eat for dinner on their birthday if we are just doing a celebration with the family.

And that’s what my friend did, but she took it one step further.

She asked her son what he wanted to eat for dinner, and then she turned her dining room into a “restaurant.”

She didn’t do anything crazy.

But the way she set the table and printed out dinner menus was so cute.

And I know my kids, especially the younger ones would love this, and I’m totally doing it for our next birthday (I might even attempt it for breakfast for the summer birthdays).

Anyway, here is a picture of the menu:

How cute is that?

*Can be made into a Frito Pie upon request.

That’s awesome!

And who doesn’t love a bacon kabob???

Those are awesome, too. And hilarious.

Here is the “diner” setup:

Very simple and super cute.

And I think a GREAT idea if you have a weekday/school night birthday and want to do something special but need to stick to your routine.

We will for sure be “going to the diner” for at least one of our next birthdays!

 

What I Did To Solve Our Toothbrush And Toothpaste Problem (And It Was Pretty Bad)

Numbers 3 through 7 all share a bathroom.

Five kids sharing a bathroom can be kind of disastrous.

Nothing like giving your “baby” an ultrasound with a glue stick and a whole entire tube of toothpaste.

One of the things that constantly drives me insane is the toothpaste.

There is fucking toothpaste everywhere.

EVERYWHERE.

In addition to finding toothpaste in some seriously impressive places, I am constantly being asked to put toothpaste on a toothbrush because unless the tube has been opened less than a week ago, my kids seem to be incapable of squeezing the fucking thing from the bottom.

Is that so hard?

What is up with the twisting and wringing of the tube of toothpaste?

Please tell me my kids aren’t the only ones who do this:

So the flinging of the toothpaste and my children’s inability to get the toothpaste out of the tube when it was less than half full was seriously pissing me off.

And then a couple weeks ago I looked inside the thing all the kids were putting their toothbrushes in and I was horrified.

It was disgusting.

Like, DISGUSTING.

Then everyone was getting sick over and over and over again (it wasn’t from the toothbrush holder — I don’t think), and I wanted something where the toothbrushes weren’t all leaning against each other.

The combination of the Jackson Pollack toothpaste art in my bathroom and the constant need for help dispensing the toothpaste and the petri dish my kids’ toothbrushes were all resting in and the fact that my kids were sick for the entire second half of winter finally slapped some sense into me.

I decided it was time for a new solution to this problem.

I did a little research on Amazon, and I ordered a toothbrush holder and toothpaste dispenser for their bathroom. I had never had one before, so I picked the one that had decent reviews and also the one that was available with Amazon Prime.

It’s the Native Spring Toothpaste Dispenser and Toothbrush Holder.

I wasn’t sure how it was going to work.

When the box came it was super light, and I was sure the kids were going to destroy  whatever was inside in a matter of minutes.

But they haven’t.

It’s been a couple of weeks now and all I can say is I wish I had done this years ago!

Don’t get me wrong. There is still the occasional toothpaste smear on the counter.

But it’s nowhere near what it was before. And the kids haven’t needed any assistance with getting toothpaste out of the tube.

And nothing is broken.

I love this thing!

The way the bathroom and sink are set up in the bathroom, I had to attach everything directly to the mirror. (And yes, there are still  Christmas lights up in their bathroom).

That sh*t is on there securely! It’s not going anywhere.

The kids do sometimes get toothpaste inside the little dispenser thing, but the front cover comes off very easily, and you can take the inside part out to rinse it in the sink.

I wasn’t asked or paid to promote this thing (although the links provided are affiliate links).

I’m just letting you know that this very small investment has definitely made my life easier! It’s saved me time, it’s cut down on messes, it’s reduced the amount of times my kids bug me incessantly for sh*t that drives me crazy, it’s way less nasty than having all the toothbrushes in a cup, and it was super easy to install.

Why I waited so long to do something differently, I have no f*cking idea.

If you are like me and are having toothbrush/toothpaste issues, I highly recommend this setup!

 

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Turkey Burger Quesadillas — My Family F***ing Loved These

I tried another Skinnytaste recipe.

Sort of.

I adapted the Skinny Buffalo Burger Quesadilla from skinnytaste.com.

And my family fucking loved them.

I am obligated to use the f-word when talking about them.

That’s how much they liked them.

And they are so simple!

So on skinnytaste.com, the photo of the burger looks like this:

And she makes her burger quesadillas with buffalo meat and whole wheat tortillas. She also gets small tortillas and trims them to size for each burger.

So I had to make a few changes, because 1) I don’t buy buffalo meat, 2) I was only going to Costco and they don’t have whole wheat tortillas there, 3) ain’t nobody got time to trim tortillas, and I’m not going to throw away perfectly good tortilla parts for no good reason.

SO, here’s what I did…

First,you only need the following four ingredients (salt and pepper don’t count as an ingredient):

  • Pico de Gallo (which is fancy for salsa, and they have a really awesome one at Costco)

(Here it is, and I don’t buy it because it’s organic, I buy it because it’s SO GOOD):

 

  • 2-3 cups shredded cheese (I used Kirkland shredded Mexican)
  • 1 lb ground turkey (sold in a 4-pack at Costco)
  • tortillas (you can get a big ass bag of these at Costco for $3.99, and they keep well but if you don’t use them all you can always freeze them)
  • salt and pepper

Before I go any further, I made these for dinner on Wednesday. I only have my phone to take pictures, and I have to take them in a small window of time (at this time of year in February, it’s about 4:40-5:00) when the light in my kitchen is the best, because when I use the flash on my phone or have to turn the lights on in the kitchen, the pictures suck.

During my small window of time, Number 6 was outside playing, fell, got his pants soaked and came inside in meltdown mode because he needed to change.

Number 3 was super sick with bronchitis and strep, had a massive coughing attack that took him by surprise, and he puked on the couch.

And then the electrician unexpectedly showed up at the house out of nowhere (my husband had arranged for him to come, but forgot to tell me), and I’ve been waiting for months for him to come so I  had to stop and show him what I needed him to work on.

So my point here is that I missed my photo window of opportunity, and the pictures suck.

But I’m telling you, this meal was a massive hit.

MASSIVE.

Someday I’ll redo this post with better pictures. Until then I wanted to get it written before time got away from me, and also because my family loved it so much it’s for sure going in the meal plan rotation, and I am certain this is a recipe your family will love, too, whether you make my revised version or Skinnytaste’s original one.

So here’s what I did.

I cut four tortillas into quarters. That way nothing went to waste.

Next, I seasoned the ground turkey with salt and pepper and made small, thin patties.

(I told you the pictures were terrible).

The Skinnytaste recipe tells you to cook all the burgers and then wash the pan out and use it again to assemble the quesadillas. But I was kind of in a rush because I had to get to swim practice, so while the burgers were cooking in one pan, I made quesadillas in another.

Next, spray a pan heated to low/medium with nonstick spray, then put a quarter tortilla in. Put 1-2 tablespoons of cheese on the tortilla, then 1-2 teaspoons of pico de gallo, then a cooked burger, then 1-2 tbsp more cheese on top, followed by another tortilla.

Gina tells you to put more pico de gallo on top of the burger, but I didn’t because I didn’t know if the kids would eat them if they had too much salsa on them.

Cook 1-2 minutes on one side and then flip.

Depending on how big your pan is, you could make more than one quesadilla at a time.

And that’s it!

The finished product looked like this:

Here’s what the family said:

Number 2: Those are really good.

Number 3 (only got one little quesadilla because he fell asleep in his bed and I didn’t want to wake him up because he was sick): MOM! NO FAIR! Those were so good and I only got one.

Number 4: OHMYGODMOMTHOSEARESOGOOD.

Number 5: Mommy, I don’t like these… I LOVE THEM.

Number 6: Refused to take a bit because he saw green things in them.

Number 7: Declined to comment but wolfed down two.

I served these with tossed salad. They were delicious.

I made a double batch for the eight of us and they were gone immediately. Next time I’ll make quadruple and freeze them, or at least cook the burgers and freeze those so I only have to assemble the quesadillas.

Highly recommended!!!!

 

Check out this set and and tons of other cute stuff out at Betsy Boo’s Boutique — my fave place to shop online!

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Sh*t I Made From Skinnytaste — Giant Turkey Meatball

I suppose you shouldn’t include the word sh*t in the title of a post you are writing about food, but, well, like I’ve said before, this isn’t the Pioneer Woman.

A couple weeks ago on Facebook I asked if you all wouldn’t mind sharing your favorite chicken recipes that were easy and that were also liked by all (or most) of your family, and I got like a bazillion comments, and one of them said “Anything from Skinnytaste.com. I’ve never made anything from that site that wasn’t great.”

I have seen lots of stuff from her site before, but I don’t know if I’ve ever actually made anything from it.

So I’ve been checking it out recently for a couple reasons:

1) I like her philosophy of everything in moderation.

2) She has lots of stuff that isn’t too complicated and doesn’t take long to make.

3) She uses real food.

4) She’s done all the work.

I would love to have the time to experiment and make up healthy and appealing to the masses dinners for my family.

But right now I don’t. And I probably won’t anytime in the near future. Plus, why reinvent the wheel, you know?

And then I thought about that movie with Amy Adams and Meryl Streep — I can’t remember the name but it’s the one where Meryl Streep is Julia  Child and Amy Adams makes one of her recipes a day for a year and blogs about each one  —  and I was like, Why don’t you do something like that with Skinnytaste?

Somebody may already be doing it. Who knows.  And I’m not going to try a recipe a day. But I’m gonna try a few.

Because I am on a quest to finally get a meal plan for my family in place, so I’m gonna start here.

Since ground turkey is one of my go-to grocery items cause they sell it at  Costco in a four pack, I went to Skinnytaste.com, typed in  ground turkey in the search bar, and up popped a whole butt load of recipes. And this one was on the first page: Giant Turkey Meatball Parmesan.

Um….

YES, PLEASE!

So I tried that today.

I tasted it before I left for practice tonight, and the rest of the kids ate it while I was at the pool. So I had to wait until I got home for feedback.

And here is the verdict:

According to me: That sh*t’s good!!!

According to Number 4 (10 years old and not always a fan of big slabs of meat): “Mom! That’s actually really good!”

According to Number 6 (6 years old and my pickiest eater): “Yum! It tastes like lasagna!”

According to my husband (talking to Number 4): “Eat some of this. It’s really good!”

I’m not sure what Number 7 thought of it because she was in bed when I got home. Number 5 went to chick fil a with a friend, so she didn’t eat it. Number 2 isn’t home yet and Number 3 is recovering from the virus from hell and didn’t eat dinner.

So of the 5 people who ate it, it got 4 definite thumbs up and one yet-to-be-determined at this time.

A recap:

Very easy to make.

The recipe calls for these ingredients:

  • 1 lb 93% lean ground turkey
  • 1/3 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 3 tbsp grated pecorino romano cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 clove crushed garlic
  • 2 tsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp fresh minced parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup Delallo Pomodoro Fresco Marinara
  • 1 oz (1/4 cup) shredded mozzarella cheese
  • grated parmesan, optional for topping

I had most of the ingredients.

I didn’t have parsley so I skipped that, and I used generic, jarred marinara sauce.

I also added about 1/3 cup of the marinara sauce into the meatball mixture (by mistake because I didn’t read the directions carefully) and I think that made it even better!

I made a double batch, so we could eat one tonight and freeze another one for later. (I took a gamble that we would love it and made double).

The packages of ground turkey from Costco are more like 1.6 pounds per package, and I used two of those. So rather than using  1 lb as per the recipe, I used 1.5+ pounds/1 giant meatball.

That was just enough to feed eight of us. There was nothing left over (a testament to how much everyone liked it).

My picture isn’t as pretty as hers, but here’s what it looked like:

Here are both of them:

One was a little saucier than the other, and one was a little cheesier. The one on the right is split because I wasn’t sure if it was cooked all the way through, so I cut it to check.

Here’s what it looked like when I cut it (I added a little extra sauce before we ate it):

Sliced like a meatloaf, but tastes like a meatball!

Delicious and a total hit! Prep time was minimal, it was super easy to make, and I highly recommend.

Click here to check out the recipe.

This one is definitely going in my meal plan!

 

Check out this set and and tons of other cute stuff out at Betsy Boo’s Boutique — my fave place to shop online!

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