This Week's Meal Plan {July 21-27}

7.21.2014


Fair warning - I have about 4 pounds of carrots to use up, so our skin might be orange tinged by the end of this week!

Monday

Spiced Chicken Stew with Carrots {Martha Stewart} - It sure does feel good to have dinner made already! I have a nagging feeling that the anticipation will be better than the actual result, since the slow cooker and I don't get along very well.

Tuesday

Leftovers

Wednesday

Chicken and Biscuits {Rachael Ray} - another slow cooker meal, but this one is such a winner that I often take it to new mommies.

Thursday

Skirt Steak and Bok Choy {Martha Stewart}

Friday

Easy Chicken Curry with Vegetables {Melissa d'Arabian}

Saturday

Eat Out

Sunday

Garlic Guacamole for topping burgers
Burgers from the freezer
Frozen Fries
Salad

Star of Last Week



This Green Been Spaghetti Carbonara from last week's meal plan is a recipe I've made before and will make again! The only change I make to this recipe is to add pasta water to the egg and cheese mixture in order to temper it, instead of just adding it to deglaze the pan.

Here's the site I use for meal planning and creating grocery lists:

Simple Meal Planning - Plan to Eat

 I'm linking up to Menu Plan Monday!










{This post may contain affiliate links. Thank you for your support! Please see my disclosure policy here.}

Space Scouts Subscription Box for Kids {Review}

7.18.2014



It goes without saying (even though I have said it) that I have an abiding love for subscription boxes for kids. So when Space Scouts offered to send their new subscription box for kids aged 6 and up for a a review, I was so darn excited. Mind you, I have a six-year old who asked for a telescope for Christmas (Santa was surprised by that!).

{The Box} Space Scouts

{The Price} $14.95/month (that's $11.95, plus $3.00 shipping)

{The Contents} This box starts with an introductory kit that includes a letter explaining the premise - kids will go on a scouting expedition through space with Roxy and Jett. The kit also includes a lunchbox that will serve as a spot for future magnets, a poster of the solar system, and a constellation card collection starter kit. After the introductory kit, each month includes a letter withe an exploration plan, a magnet to add to the lunchbox, a sticker to add to the solar system poster, an activity sheet with puzzles and games, a sticker scramble, a toy, and a constellation card to add to the ringed collection, and a constellation activity sheet that includes the mythological story and other learning activities.

Here's a few closeups of what was included in the Introductory package, which is what you receive the first month of your subscription:
The whole introductory set: lunchbox, poster, letter, wikki stix, activity sheets, Constellation Card collection starter kit, and picture puzzle.

I can't say how much I appreciate having a place to store all the cute stuff from Space Scouts. Then the kids know they can go here to find it whenever they are in the mood for a space adventure.


The sticker scramble was familiar thanks to our friends at In n Out, who often hand them to the kids!

This poster will serve as a place to apply stickers from each monthly set.

A constellation card and info sheet comes each month and can be stored on the ring clip. So nice to keep them all together!

Activity sheet example - a cool word decoding activity.

And here's what was included in the second month:

The whole package!

The Scout Plan is a good place to start - the drawing activity really caught my six-year old's attention.

Activity Sheet
 
The Constellation Card comes with an explanation of the source of the name and how to find it in the night sky.

My three-year old immediately grabbed this and ran off with it, but I am sure my six-year old will enjoy it when she recovers it! 
The stickers went onto the solar system poster from the Introductory Set, the characters are magnets that went onto the lunchbox, and the astronaut toys were a big hit.

The number puzzle was astronaut themed, which tied in nicely with the toys.

{Thoughts} My daughter easily figured out the activities on her own - I was reading about where to put the stickers and she had already applied them to the poster! She was completely delighted when she saw that poster, by the way. The only obstacle for us is that she's not really into activity sheets - she prefers more hands on games. As a result, the sheets are living in the lunchbox until she's in the mood (which will happen eventually), but the astronaut toys and claw have gotten lots of play time!

I think this subscription box is well worth the price, especially if you have a kid who is interested in space/science or who is new to the topic and excited to explore.

{This post may contain affiliate links. Thank you for your support! Please see my disclosure policy here.}

Twitterature {July 2014}

7.15.2014



Twitterature is a place to share short, casual reviews of books and I'm linking up to the event over on Modern Mrs. Darcy. Head over there to read more reviews, but be warned that you will fill up your to-read list!

Well, now I think I should have challenged myself more on the Goodreads challenge - I am five books ahead of schedule, with 31/50 read so far this year. Next year I'll make it 60 and see how I do.

Here's what I read over the last month:

Orange is the New Black, Piper Kerman

I zoomed through this one on the Overdrive audiobook app. I've never watched the show, but it sounds very different from the book, which did not focus at all on prison romance or violence.


State of Wonder, Ann Patchett

It took some effort for me to get into this one, but I'm glad I didn't give it up because about halfway through I couldn't put it down. This was my first novel from Patchett and I'm told by book loving friends that her novels often start slow.

The Expats, Chris Pavone

The plot of this book became downright silly at some points, but I still ate it up! It was a fun, quick read and I love a book filled with mysteries. My only complaint is that I kept getting lost in time with all the flashbacks, flash forwards, and current time jumps.

The Chaperone, Liane Moriarty

After reading this book, I hopped on my library's website and requested three more books from Moriarty, if that gives you any indication of how I felt about this book. I was glad I avoided any descriptions of the plot. so avoid them if you can and just jump in!


Lexicon, Max Barry

Lexicon was a bit too graphic and dark for me at times, but maybe I've been reading too much YA lately.... The premise of a culture hidden among us is always intriguing to me (a la Harry Potter) and I really enjoyed that and the nerdy aspects of this novel.

The Storybook of Legends (Ever After High #1), Shannon Hale

I read this aloud to my daughter, so I'm not entirely sure it counts, but let's go with it. As a fan of Shannon Hale's Princess Academy and Books of Bayern, I probably would have read it anyways! This book was full of silly puns and jokes, along with unending fairy tale references. My daughter and I both ate it up.


Wildwood Imperium (The Wildwood Chronicles #3), Colin Meloy

I stalled in the middle of this one. I think subconsciously I was anxious about what would happen next, as strange as that sounds. So well written and imagined, this novel also has that "culture within a culture" setting that I love and I highly recommend the entire series.

What was your favorite book that you read in the last month?


{This post may contain affiliate links. Thank you for your support! Please see my disclosure policy here.}

This Week's Meal Plan {July 14 - 20}

7.14.2014


Monday

15 Minute Lasagna {Kevin & Amanda} - a great recipe for when you get home late! The lasagna cooks in the pan with the sauce. I just saw a similar version over on Plain Chicken, too.
Green Salad
Garlic Bread

Tuesday

Leftovers

Wednesday

Parmesan Chicken and Salad {Barefoot Contessa} - a nice, simple dinner, perfect for Summer.

Thursday

Green Bean Spaghetti Carbonara {Every Day with Rachael Ray} - apparently I was in an Italian mood when I made this meal plan.
Baguette

Friday

Crunchy Asian Ramen Noodle Salad {Gimme Some Oven} - I'm adding some rotisserie chicken to make this a meal instead of a side. Am I the only one who has never tried a salad with crunchy ramen in it?

Saturday

Eat Out

Sunday

Grilled Beer Brats with Kraut {Taste of Home}
Grilled Vegetables - whatever's still laying around in the fridge, tossed with olive oil, salt, and pepper.

Star of Last Week


I really thought the Fantastic Taco Casserole {Budget Savvy Diva} from last week's menu was going to be a junk food recipe (I even begged for non-judgment from readers), but I was deceived by the Fritos garnish. This recipe is a real deal, made from scratch, pretty good for you (except for the Fritos) recipe. It is full of veggies and my kids snarfed it.


Here's the site I use for meal planning and creating grocery lists:

Simple Meal Planning - Plan to Eat

 I'm linking up to Menu Plan Monday!










{This post may contain affiliate links. Thank you for your support! Please see my disclosure policy here.}

This Week's Meal Plan {July 7 - 13}

7.07.2014


I'm cleaning out the pantry, freezer, and fridge this week! My husband teased me a little bit for spending so much time figuring out this week's menu, but because of careful planning, I only spent $41 at the grocery store for the entire week! So there.

Monday

Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole (Freezer Friendly) {Money Saving Mom} - I pulled this one from the freezer and defrosted it for a day, then I'll top it with crushed Ritz crackers mixed with a little melted butter and pop it in the oven when we get home from dance class.
Green Salad

Tuesday

Leftovers

Wednesday

Chicken Lazone {Plain Chicken}
Creamy Polenta {Rachael Ray}
Zucchini and Squash Gratin {Martha Stewart}

Thursday

Leftover Tamales with Egg {Babble} - I have an ungodly amount of tamales in the freezer, but this will hopefully get rid of about half of them....
Green Salad

Friday

Fantastic Taco Casserole {Budget Savvy Diva} - Don't judge me. This uses up a lot of stuff I have sitting around!

Saturday

Eat Out

Sunday

Grilled Cheeseburgers
Extra Crispy Jalapeno Poppers {Rachael Ray} - You have to try these or bring them for a party. These are crazy good!
Green Salad

Star of Last Week



I am not much of a baker, but I just had to try making this red, white, and blue cheesecake for our 4th of July Potluck. It was super yummy and was no bake, so a major success!

Here's the site I use for meal planning and creating grocery lists:

Simple Meal Planning - Plan to Eat

 I'm linking up to Menu Plan Monday!










{This post may contain affiliate links. Thank you for your support! Please see my disclosure policy here.}

Subscription Box Directory Update {June 2014}

6.25.2014



I added a whole bunch of boxes to the Plan to Happy Subscription Box Directory! Here they are:

Animal Trackers (creative play, hands-on projects and learning activities for children who are pre-readers and beginning readers, ages 3+)

Artistry Gift Wrap (designer gift wrap)
Blind Surprise (personalized unique surprise gifting experience)

Candy Kid Munch Box (candy)

Celebrate American Made (American made artisan foods and crafts from a different state each month)

Front Door Fashion (4-6 fully accessorized looks)

Inevitably Chic (jewelry and accessories)

KidStir (cooking kits for kids)

Kloverbox (premium, all-natural and organic products for beauty, health, nutrition and convenience)

Kreation Krate (crafts for beginner and intermediate crafters)

LoveLula (natural beauty products)

Lunch Balancer (5 healthy lunches per box)

Luxe Lacquers (nail polish)

Moustache Coffee Club (coffee)

My Max Pack (healthy snack recipes and activities for kids)

The Mr. Collection (men's clothing and accessories rental)

Nadine West (complete women's clothing outfits)

Nailed Kit (nail polish)

NY Coffee Box (NY coffee). Here's a little blurb from their launch information: NY Coffee Box offers premium, fresh-roasted New York coffee delivered every month. Each month, different varieties of premium coffee from New York City's best local coffee roasters are carefully selected. The coffee is expertly packed and shipped so it arrives fresh at your home or office. There are never shipping charges and subscribers are guaranteed different premium coffees every month.

Peekapak (monthly storytelling and craft kit for kids aged 3-7)

Plated (chef designed recipes and fresh ingredients)

Raddish (cooking kits for kids)

Spa Heroes (luxury spa products)

Space Scouts (creative play, hands-on projects and learning activities for readers age 6+)

Sweet Tea Polish (Southern-inspired nail polish)

Treat Mint Box (gifts for someone fighting cancer)

Twice Coffee (coffee)

Underwear Society (men's socks and underwear)


{This post may contain affiliate links. Thank you for your support! Please see my disclosure policy here.}

This Week's Meal Plan {June 23 - 29}

6.23.2014



Monday

Cornflake Chicken Cordon Bleu {Every Day with Rachael Ray} - I randomly saw this on the facebook page for Rachael Ray's magazine and had to give it a try.
Buttered Noodles
Green Salad

Tuesday

Leftovers

Wednesday

Asian Chicken Slaw {What's Gaby Cooking} - this one is going to use up some of my produce!

Thursday

Broccoli Pasta with Parmesan Croutons {Martha Stewart}

Friday

Pork Chops with Pineapple Fried Rice {Pioneer Woman}

Saturday

Eat Out

Sunday

Hot Dog Bar with Toppings
Easy Broccoli Salad {Cincy Shopper}

Star of Last Week



The star from last week's menu is among my all time favorite grilling recipes. I included in my Best of the Grill roundup. Try the Lemon-Garlic-Herb Chicken with Grilled Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus and Pesto 3 Bean Salad from Rachael Ray.

Here's the site I use for meal planning and creating grocery lists:

Simple Meal Planning - Plan to Eat

 I'm linking up to Menu Plan Monday!










{This post may contain affiliate links. Thank you for your support! Please see my disclosure policy here.}