Friday, March 29, 2019

Fletcher is 3!!!

Happy Birthday, Fletcher!!

Our sweet Fletch turns 3 at 11:47am today. 

We're so thankful for him.  He's been the perfect addition to our family.  Time has flown and it seems like just yesterday we were not so patiently waiting for his 9lb 7oz self to arrive.  It was love at first sight for all of us.

We are celebrating Fletcher with our families this week so I'll be back next week with some construction themed birthday blog posts for you.

I did a little birthday interview about the birthday boy:

1. I love Fletcher's sweet smile + 1 dimple.  He's such a friendly guy.
2. I really love cooking for Fletcher.  He loves all food and tells me my cooking is delicious.
3. I love spending my days with him.  Fletcher is the best sidekick.

1. I love that he's so ticklish and loves to laugh.
2. We are the same. = Fletcher's favorite saying when he talks to me.  Dad, we are the same.  We both are boys.  We both have blue eyes.  We're strong.  We are boys.
3. His giant smile.

1. I love to do art with Fletch.
2. I call him my cutie.
3. I really love snuggling with him.

Fletcher's favorite things right now:
1. I love when sissy plays with me.
2. I love diggers (construction equipment).
3. I love mommy the most.

Fletcher turns 2
Fletcher turns 1
Newborn Fletcher

We love you, Fletcher!!!

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Lemon Brownies

If you love lemon and you love brownies, I have the perfect recipe for you!!

My sister sent me the link to these Lemonies from Mel's Kitchen Cafe and told me to make them ASAP.  We both love lemon flavored things so it quickly went on my to do list.  I whipped them up for my mom's group Monday night and got lots of compliments on them.

They were pretty simple to make and they were so good.  I loved the lemon glaze on top.

These are my favorite lemon related kitchen supplies.  I'll link them at the bottom of this post.  I use them all the time for baking, making dressings, and cooking dinner.

An up close of the lemon glaze.

I made some changes to the original recipe.  Here is my version:

Lemon brownie mix:
1 c flour
3/4 c sugar
1/4 t salt
1/4 t baking powder
zest from one lemon
1 stick melted and cooled butter
2 eggs room temperature
1 egg yolk room temperature
fresh squeezed juice from one lemon
1 t vanilla

Lemon glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
zest of half a lemon
1 T fresh squeezed lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350.  Grease a square baking pan.
Combine dry ingredients.
Combine wet ingredients in a separate bowl and whisk together.
Dump the wet ingredients into the bowl of dry ingredients.

Bake about 22-24 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned and a tooth pick comes out clean in the middle of the brownies.  Whisk together glaze ingredients.  Pop the warm brownies in the fridge to cool them off quickly.  Once they're cool, pour the glaze on top and spread it around with a spatula.  Chill for a couple of hours and then serve in one inch squares.  They're great chilled or room temp.

My mom always makes a couple of desserts when she's in charge of dessert so there is something for everyone.  I like to do the same when I can.  I baked chocolate chip cookies + lemon brownies.  I brought home an empty tray :)

My sister also sent me the cutest lemony care package recently!  Look at all this fun stuff :)

I linked the exact items for as many things as possible and then linked a couple of my favorite similar lemony items.  Those Kate Spade tidbit lemon plates are my favorite! 

**This post contains some affiliate links. If you make a purchase through those links, Polka-Dotty Place will receive a small commission at no extra charge to you. Thanks so much for supporting my blog!

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Krusteaz Can Turn Anyone Into A Baker

Have you ever tried Krusteaz baking mixes??

They're amazing.

Every time I bake and take them somewhere people always ask me for my recipes.  Ha!

It's a joy to say that it's a box mix that you add just a couple ingredients to.  They really taste so good.  I bake all the time and consider myself a baked good snob.  I love homemade treats so it was really surprising to me that a boxed mix could pass for homemade.  These mixes can turn anyone into a baker!

They take all the guess work out of baking.  You just add an egg, water or butter and you get a delicious baked good.  The boxes are under $2 each and regularly go on sale for around $1.50.  I always have a stash of Krusteaz mixes in my pantry for quick desserts for my family or to take to friends.  They have regular and gluten free options and tons of varieties of muffins, breads and mixes.  There really is something for everyone.

Our Krusteaz favorites:
Wild Blueberry Muffin Mix
Cinnamon Swirl Crumb Cake & Muffin Mix
Snickerdoodle Cookie Mix
Double Peanut Butter Cookie Mix

I would NOT recommend their Chocolate Chunk Cookie mix.  It was gross!  I was so disappointed because everything else I've tried is delicious.

Let me show you how I've used these mixes:

Cinnamon Swirl Crumb Cake & Muffin Mix
These are delicious and really kid friendly to make.

We added a drizzle of icing to the tops of ours.
They were also the perfect football muffins for the Super Bowl.

Double Peanut Butter Cookie Mix
This mix comes with tiny peanut butter chips and I love to add regular chocolate chips.  The cookies are delicious either way.  I had a friend tell me that she loves peanut butter cookies and considers herself somewhat of a pb cookie connoisseur.  She said these were delicious!  I agree!  They are the perfect chewy cookie and are even better the second day.

Snickerdoodle Cookie Mix
The best snicker doodle I have ever tasted.  They're amazing.  Olive's favorite cookie and a crowd pleaser everywhere we bring them.  People always ask me for this recipe thinking it's a secret family recipe :)

The cookies on the left were a big hit for Interview Day in Kevin's department.

I've also added red and green sprinkles to make the Snickerdoodles festive for Christmas.

These made great little gifts for Olive's teachers.  They're her favorite cookie so it was fun to give them away to some of her favorite people.

Wild Blueberry Muffin Mix
I make these all the time.  I like to add a sprinkle of white sugar to the tops of the muffins before I bake them.  They are amazing.  I bring these to my Bible study regularly.  The kids and adults love them.  They were shocked to find out they were a box mix.

They make cute football muffins.

And perfect mini muffins.

I'm telling you these Krusteaz mixes are SO GOOD and really make baking SO SIMPLE.  I promise. 

Have you ever tried Krusteaz mixes before??  You should.

This post is not sponsored at all.  They occasionally share some of my fun ideas on their instagram account, but that's it.  Just a friend sharing something delicious with another friend.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Our Favorite (Kid & Adult) Shows

Happy Monday!!  Hope you had a lovely weekend.  It's finally starting to feel like Spring in Indiana.  That means we're playing outside as much as possible, doing yard work, going on walks and riding our bikes.  It's been so nice.

We love to play outside, but we also like to take it easy and watch some shows inside.

TV gets a bad wrap in some parenting circles, but I disagree with that.  I think there are SO MANY wonderful, educational programs on TV for kids these days.  There are tons of interesting shows for children out there.  But there are also junky shows featuring characters with major attitudes/sassy behavior from the characters (Barbies, My Little Ponies, Miraculous, etc).  So just be sure to watch the first episode of a new show with your kids and then veto anything you don't approve of.  My kids know that we aim for fun, learning shows that are family friendly.  We have favorites and I'm happy to share them with you.  For reference, we have an almost 3 year old and an almost 6 year old.

Here's a list of our favorite shows - be sure to leave a comment telling me the shows that you love:

Adult Favorites:

NETFLIX/Amazon Prime Streaming:

Friday Night Lights
We are obsessed.  We were looking for a new show to watch together for date nights at home and this one was the winner.  We are just a few episodes in and LOVE it.  It is challenging to just watching an episode or two at a time.  We don't want to turn it off.  It's a show that men and women would enjoy watching - I promise.  Kevin and I both look forward to watching this together.  There's a great mix of love stories, heartbreak, drama, football, marriage, high school angst and life in the South.

Super Market Sweep
We all enjoy watching this game show.  We like Wheel of Fortune and this has a fun game show feel where you guess products, guess amounts and get to make predictions. 

Minute to Win It
The whole family loved watching these fun minute to win it challenges.  They were funny, interesting for everyone and was a good family friendly show.

Arrested Development 
A quirky show about a family with all kinds of drama in their family business.  It's hilarious, strange, relatable and we both enjoyed it.

The Voice
Counting On
Grey's Anatomy

Kid Favorites:

My kids would tell you that the single greatest feature of our van is that it has a DVD player.  It's been SO nice for trips and I really think it's helped so much with distracting the kids from getting car sick.  We've had far less car sick problems since getting the van.  I'll give you a little description of each DVD and then put a link to them at the very bottom of the post.

Word Factory
Letter Factory
Olive's teacher recommended both of these Leap Frog DVDs.  They were a little pricey, but I am amazed at how well both kids are picking up things like letter names and sounds, how vowels work, sounding out words and both DVDs have catchy songs.  These are the perfect DVDs for learning on the go.

Both kids love the Cars movies - Cars 1, 2 and 3.  They're great racing movies that feature both boy and girl cars.  They're interesting and really capture the kid's attention.  

Minions Movie
This is a silly show featuring the minions from the Despicable Me series.  My kids think it's hilarious. 

We go back and forth having a Netflix subscription.  We currently have one and the kids watch shows on this the most right now.  We rotate through these shows and the kids usually watch a show in the morning and then here and there the rest of the day.  It's a great way for O to relax while she's enjoying an after school snack and then we move on to playing with toys or playing outside.  We don't have strict TV rules.  Just try to enjoy it in moderation.

Story Bots
This show is so much fun!  They ask questions and then work together to figure out the answers.  They are very science filled and educational.  They're interesting for kids and adults.  The information really sticks with the kids.  Mine regularly reference the show long after we've learned about something new during an episode.

Magic School Bus
Another great, educational show.  Miss Frizzle and her students are always up for an exciting field trip.  They travel, explore and teach about all kinds of interesting topics.

If I Were an Animal 
This is a really great show with real animal footage.  It features animals in the wild and teaches the kids TONS of fun facts about 4 or 5 different animals in each episode.  The kids LOVE it.

YooHoo to the Rescue
Robocar Poli
Super Wings
These are all fun shows that have a theme of resucing, helping, saving friends from difficult situations.  They work together and are cute shows.

Motown Magic
This is a show filled with tons of classic motown hits.  Olive loves the music and hearing kids sing these iconic songs.  This isn't a show I would have guessed they'd love, but they do.

Veggie Tales 
Bible stories from vegetables.  This show has catchy songs and helps teach your kids about Biblical truths.

Peter Rabbit
This movie is perfect with Easter quickly approaching.  The kids love the updated story of Peter Rabbit and it's cute enough that adults will enjoy watching it, too.  Peter is a trouble maker that works to help his family and friends.  He gets into mischief and the animals critters are really funny.  It's easy to dislike Mr McGreggor and root for all the animals!

Gnomeo & Juliet
Sherlock Gnomes
On Friday, I mentioned that my kids are loving these gnome movies.  They're so much fun!  We all actually enjoy watching them.  They're silly, have funny references for kids and adults and we really like them.

Olive's tennis coach recommended this one when he found out that Fletcher loved the Cars movies.  It's really cute.  Fletcher loves it and talks about it all the time.  He doesn't normally love planes, but it has a very similar feel to Cars with the talking vehicles so he's a fan.

**This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through those links, Polka-Dotty Place will receive a small commission at no extra charge to you. Thanks so much for supporting my blog!

Friday, March 22, 2019

Highlights: Friends, Fun & Falling Trees!

Happy Friday!!  And Happy Spring Break!!

Kevin and Olive have the SAME Spring Break this year and we are so excited! 

We've had a pretty good week.  It's been a mostly fun one so I have lots to recap for you.  The only bummer of the week was that Olive got a bad ear infection causing her to miss a couple days of school.  She almost never gets ear infections so when she woke up in the middle of the night with ear pain I knew something wasn't right.  We headed to the doctor the following day, got some meds and now just need to kick this lingering cough to the curb.

Onto the highlights:

1. Dark Chocolate Dessert Hummus
Have you tried this stuff??  I'd been searching high and low for it with no luck in my city.  I know lots of people found it at Aldi around Christmas.  My mom found it at her grocery store - Schnnucks Boar's Head brand - and delivered it to me.  It's SO good on pretzels and strawberries.  It has a very similar texture to regular hummus.  My kids and I loved it.

2. Chick-Fil-A
Fletcher has finally decided that he "wuvs chicken" and it makes me so happy!!  He's the cutest.  The Chick-Fil-A app is so handy.  You can place your order ahead of time and pick it up in the drive through or walk to the pick up checkout when you get inside.  You get to skip the long lines inside and just grab your order.  It's great!

3. Bike Rides
We've been going on bike rides almost every night.  The kids love it.  We love it and it makes me excited for Spring and Summer.  Olive is really responsible and Fletcher is a nut.  He's really fast and really good at riding his bike, but his street smarts need to be kept in check at all times.

4. Timmmmbbeeerrrrrrrr
We had some VERY strong wind and storms blow through town last Thursday.  It was windy all day long.  Olive came home from school like usual and grabbed a snack.  A few minutes later she said MOM OUR TREE IS DANCING.  I looked out and she wasn't kidding.  Our tree was majorly moving.  I didn't know what to do so I called Kevin.  He assured me I was overreacting and the tree would probably be fine.  I assured him our tree was coming down and to prepare for coming home to a fallen tree.

We kept watching.  Prayed God would keep the tree from falling on our house and sat and waited.  About 15 minutes later the tree came crashing down right before our eyes.  We are so thankful it landed in our yard and not on our house.  The kids were kind of scared, but it was fun to see our prayers answered together.

We went out to check it out and the tree ended up measuring at 42ft long.  It was huge!  We have a really nice neighbor that showed up with his chainsaw on Saturday.  He and Kevin made quick work of the massive tree problem.  We also lost a big shrub out by the road.  They got it all chopped and hauled away over the weekend.  Guess it's time to start tree shopping.

5. Literacy Fair
Our school corporation put on this big literacy fair and the students at each school got to have their writing on display.  I wasn't sure what to expect since it's our first year to participate in stuff like this, but Olive's kindergarten class wrote such cute things!

She was SO PROUD to be an author and have her writing on display.  We read her stories and had a fun time mingling with teachers and friends.

6. Gnomes
My kids are obsessed.  We love Gnomeo & Juliet as well as Sherlock Gnomes.  They are such cute movies.  I got the kids these gnomes for St Patrick's Day.  They've already found a home in our fairy garden.

7. St Patrick's Day
We loved celebrating St Patrick's Day at school and at home.  The kids looked very festive for church on Sunday.

8. Pirate Day
Olive's school recently had pirate day.  It was fun to put together a costume for her.  Fletcher wanted to join in the fun :)

9. Mall Walkers
We've been stopping by our mall a little more regularly.  Both kids are seeming so grown up lately.  They just strolled through the mall and Olive asked, "So when I'm 10, can you just drop us off here?" #nope

10. Donut Grow Up
Our friends invited us to hteir donut themed birthday party.  It was so cute and so fun to catch up with them.

11. Jelly Cat
If you're looking for the best stuffed animal on the planet - check out Jelly Cats.  They're in stores everywhere and you can find them online.  A student gifted me Olive's bunny and then Olive picked out Puppy for Fletcher when he was born.  They are well loved!

12. Plus 1 at the Dentist
Fletcher had to tag along with me for a super quick dentist appointment.  He loved all the attention and I think was hoping they'd brush his teeth.  He was really good and fun to run errands with that day.  Can't believe he's turning 3 next week!

Hope you have some fun plans for your weekend!! 

It's time to link up with my favorite blogging buddies for High Five for Friday.  Join us with a few different blog posts and be sure to look around to find some new blog friends

Becky @  By BMG Blog
Della @ Della Devoted
Tif @ Bright on a Budget
Whitney P @ Come Home for Comfort