Melissa Kaylene: March 2013

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Celebrating Easter

We celebrated Easter a little early around here. Today I'm heading in to work, so we had everyone over for an egg hunt and dinner last night. Lots of food, friends, and a the most perfect gorgeous day outside - by far the nicest day of the year. It was wonderful.

I fixed the usual, ham, mashed potatoes, green beans, deviled eggs, and then several snack platters for everyone to nibble on. For dessert we had an apple pie, cupcakes, and an assortment of Ben and Jerry's and gelatos for everyone to choose from.

The kids even had a big surprise when their Papa and Nana drove up last minute and stayed the night. They all got their cuddle times and stories. This will be an Easter they will remember for a long time.

I hope you all have a fantastic day and can spend it with loved ones!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Kid Friendly Dinner Platter


I don't  know about you, but as a mom I struggle daily with always trying to create something new for dinner. Even when I do, most of the time it's unappreciated and the kids are the first to show their dislike for new "weird" things.

What I have started learning is it isn't necessarily what you create for dinner, but how you prepare it. Anyone can make salad and sandwiches, but when its presented in an unusual manner, the kids really think something special is going on here.

All I did was take our cake platter and fix it up with finger friendly snacks. Cubed cheese, olives, raisins, and carrots (in the shape of flowers of course). I also made our grilled ham and cheese sandwiches panini the waffle maker! The kids thought that was the coolest thing to have a sandwich look like a waffle. :) Now how to get them to eat their salad? I attempted to spice it up with little goldfishes helped, I mean, at least the kids thought it was way cooler than our normal "boring" salad. For dessert I made a graham cracker dessert (see my recipe for that HERE ).

What do you do to spice up a boring dinner at your house?


Thursday, March 28, 2013

Create.Simplify.Inspire. #10

I'm super excited to see all of the "springy" things you have been working on! And as always, if you just have something inspirational to write about, I'd love for you to post that as well.

Okay here we go, inspiration starts in, 3,...2,....1! :)

Create.Simplify.Inspire. #10

Willamette Valley Wonder Woman
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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Spring Fever

My goodness this week has flown by. Easter is coming very very soon. I've been working night shift which completely throws off my sleep pattern and entire life. :) Tonight's my last night for the week.

Last weekend we took the kids to an Easter event and the church in town, where they had an assortment of games, a puppet show, and of course an egg hunt.

We also headed up to Portland to visit the Better Living show. Its a free event with many vendors that focus on home repairs and healthy living. The kids had fun sampling food, creating crafts, and planting grass seeds.

We are celebrating Easter on Saturday, because I am working on Easter Sunday this year. We plan on having a small get together with close friends and family, and I have full intentions of relaxing as much as possible and eating too much good food.

With that being said, I'll be in the kitchen Friday, cooking up some tasty creations.

Tomorrow Create.Simplify.Inspire Link Party will begin again for another week, and I'd love if you stop by and show off some of your Easter ideas to help inspire me!


Friday, March 22, 2013

Simple Strawberry Riesling

Simple Strawberry Riesling Recipe
Simple Strawberry Riesling Recipe
Simple Strawberry Riesling Recipe

Do you know what happens when you blend a sweet Riesling with strawberries? A bit of
spring/summer heaven that melts in your mouth!

All you need to do is pour 4oz of your favorite Riesling and 1/2 cup frozen strawberries into a blender, and you have an instant wine smoothie.

Now tell me you didn't just yearn for a warm summer afternoon right now? :)


Thursday, March 21, 2013

Create.Simplify.Inspire. #9

Here we are, week 9! Can't wait to see what creative and inspiring things you have been up too. :)

Okay, 3,...2,....1, we go!

Create.Simplify.Inspire. #9

Willamette Valley Wonder Woman
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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Jam and Cream Cheese "Flower" Sandwiches

Today I'm contributing over at Serenity You, showing off my Jam and Cream Cheese Flower Sandwiches. Stop on by and let us know if you have any creative ideas to make lunch time food more fun!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013


I like to make a pot of coffee, pour a cup, then sip on it all day and end up dumping the other half down the drain.

I like to take pictures - lots of them.

I have a hard time focusing on one thing at a time, and often find myself jumping from chore to chore, project to project.

I tend to take things negatively, and am always looking for 'praise'.

I am really easy to get along with, but sometimes have a gruff exterior and no-nonsense attitude towards people I love.

I get frustrated easily, but deep down I am mothering.

This is me.

This is who I am.

Most would say creative. Some would say flawed. Others would say egotistical.

I accept me for who I am.

I love myself, because, if you can't accept and love yourself for who you are, how can you do the same for others?


Creative Kids Art Show

 My kids.
 Sometimes their creativity completely surpasses my expectations. I figured something was up Sunday morning, because they were in their room for an unusual amount of time with the door shut......and they were......quiet. Anika came out and handed us an envelope, with a handwritten invitation inside, to visit their room at noon for an "art show".
 We came in and sat down on their 'couch' they made for us, and the girls started their spiel. :) It was adorable. All of their artwork was lined up on their desks and hung on the wall with index cards beside each masterpiece showing the title of the piece and asking price. Luckily they were in our budget. The girls even gave us money out of their piggie banks to buy their artwork, but we went ahead and gave them each a dollar and some change for all of their precious creations.
 I loved the time and effort they put into this. My little ladies are growing up.
And were they ever excited when they actually made money off of their hard work. ;)

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Spring is Near

This week we were lucky enough to have a couple beautiful days outside, which makes me so excited for spring! This week was filled with soccer games and practices, after school programs, field trips, work and birthday parties! Noah was a lucky man and got to tag along with the big kids to the fire station....he loved sitting in the fire truck!
I hope everyone had a fun and safe St. Patrick's Day. :) I'm heading into work now to bust out the night shift! Luckily I get a week away from my "nurse hat" after this and can catch up on some other things around the house.
I'm sure most of you have heard about Google Reader. I recently started using Bloglovin and as much as I love the reader, I'll probably be using the Bloglovin more from now on. Stop by and find me ;)

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Create.Simplify.Inspire. #8

Can't wait to see what everyone has been up too this week!

Okay, 3,...2,....1, we go!

Create.Simplify.Inspire. #8

Willamette Valley Wonder Woman
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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

20 Spring Break "Stay-Cation" Ideas

     Oh my's almost here! Spring Break seems to always sneak up on me. If you are one of the lucky ones you have  already planned and prepared a get-a-way with your family!

     Others (like myself) either don't get time off of work, or are learning the act of being frugal with their funds ( I have both strikes against me this year....but read about my financial accomplishment last month here.) So here's a list I have compiled to help make your 'stay-cation' an exciting one. Pick your favorites and schedule your week of fun!

spring break ideas

1. Go to the Park. - This is a no brainer! The park is free fun, and the weather is just getting warm enough to enjoy outside again!  Check out 5 reasons why you should be taking your kids to the park HERE

2. Go to the Library. - Seriously, I don't know about your kids, but mine love looking at new books, even if your kid isn't an avid reader, take them anyways, and encourage reading.

3. Have a craft day. - Spend some time online looking through blogs for some fun crafts to make with the kids. Channel your inner child and participate as'll be surprised how happy it makes you feel! 

4. Slumber Party!!! - I know, I know, slumber parties are still a source of anxiety for me as well...but do it anyways. Sure your house will be completely thrashed when its over, but you will be the coolest mom around ;) Check out some Girl's Slumber Party Ideas HERE and HERE.

craft ideas for girls

5. Friday Night Movie Night - Let them pick out a movie, cuddle in their sleeping bags, stay up late eat lots of popcorn!

6. Chalk it up. - Go grab a box of the brightest chalk you can find and create a chalk village together on the sidewalk or driveway!

7. Take them Bowling. - This is a great one for a rainy day, and often times bowling alleys will have mid-day/mid week specials.

8. Have a backwards day. - You heard me right. The entire day. Backward. Let them put their clothes on backwards, and eat dessert for breakfast, then dinner. Have breakfast for dinner that things that you normally do in opposite order! They'll love it!

9. Go to a Children's Museum. - This is on my personal to-do list! There's a couple great ones fairly close to me. Always make sure you check out the website online, because some of them have certain days of the month with reduced, or free admission!

10. Board Games and Floats. - Break out the family games, and have game night. Get some vanilla ice cream { if you are feeling extra "wonder-woman'y" make some! }, and buy some root beer and orange soda and have a good ol time!

11. Have a "Travel the World" week! - I still have to try this one. Pick 5 places that you and your kids are interested about. Use the WWW and the library to learn some cool stuff about there, print some pictures, and make a 'travel' scrap book. Find authentic recipes to make, and create a themed dinner every night for those 5 days! Use your will be fun to look back through the scrapbook, and you will all learn a thing or two. :)
P.S. You know Italy will be on the top of my list!

12. Go to the Zoo. Make sure you pack snacks and take pictures of all the baby animals!

13. Skating anyone? Skating rinks are fun, inexpensive, and great for rainy spring days.

14.  Decorate Easter Eggs! - Easter is just around the corner, make sure you let the little ones color beautiful eggs! You can also decorate plastic eggs with stickers, glitter, paint, etc!

15. Go out for Ice Cream - Pick an ice cream shop that you have never been to before. I love the little local ones...have everyone pick a flavor for each other!

16. Have a Picnic in the Park - or backyard, or even in the living room if its too cold outside!

17. Throw a cupcake bash! - Pick out flavorings, toppings, different frosting's...the works. It will keep the kids busy all afternoon! (Don't be alarmed if they have a hard time eating all their dinner that night though! ) :)

18. Go Visit a Farmer's Market - Or Saturday market. I am lucky that we have a fun Saturday market year 'round where I live. There are lots that open up during spring break though - go be a 'tourist' and check them out!

19. Head to the Local Pool - Obviously the beach would be the first choice, but if you are not lucky enough to live next to one, take the kids to the pool for the afternoon and let them burn off some energy!

20. Plan Your Family Summer Bucket List - I know it sounds like a long ways off, but it will be summer vacation before you know it. Now is a good time to all sit down together and figure out your 'must do's' for this summer. That way when the time gets closer you can start to schedule your summer accordingly.

Remember, plan out your spring break, and let the kids be involved with choosing an activity! Most of all, take lots of pictures and have fun!

~ Melissa

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Simple Graham Cracker Dessert


I gotta tell you, I can barely keep a box of graham crackers in the house. My children will inhale them almost instantaneously - plain. Add some toppings and they disappear before I blink.

Forget smores, try cream cheese.

I bought a couple flavored cream cheeses made by the brand Raskas. One was a honey nut flavor, the other pumpkin. I enhanced them further with a little decoration. Chocolate sprinkles on the pumpkin, honey and walnuts on the other.

They were oh so good.

It's got me thinking about the endless possibilities for flavors with cream cheese, and perhaps attempting to make my own. These were a super simple dessert and makes a great after lunch snack.

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Saturday, March 9, 2013

Salute to Moms

   So many hours, days, when life seems nearly unbearable. Mother's wear the weight of the world on their shoulders - caring for others is a tiring job with little reward in the moment.

Days can run together with constant chaos and noise, the house is always disastrous; there's no time for you.


You are the glue in your families life. You hold every ones love together and form a solid heart.

It seems like a lot to take on.

You never imagined to have quite this much responsibility when you became a mom.

Trust me.

It's all worth it in the end.

You are all wonder women in your own way.


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Thursday, March 7, 2013

Create.Simplify.Inspire Link Up #7

  So, I created this link up party last fall, and after Christmas and family events that happened, it just sort of slipped away for a while. I am bringing it back though, because I miss it! You can check out my original link up HERE. This party begins every Thursday at midnight (PST) and closes Sunday at midnight! Can't wait to see what you have been up to!!!

  I don't have many rules, I want this link up to be as creative as possible, because we are not all the same, and different things inspire different people.

1. Please Link up your own inspiration you have created, I want to see what YOU have been up too!
2. I would love if you would follow me in one way or another, that way you don't forget to stop by and say 'hi' :)
3. Go inspire someone else by checking out their post and leaving some great comments for them!
4. If you're super sweet, you can grab one of my party buttons here, to spread the love!

I will feature my favorites and share them on my Pinterest as well!

Okay, 3,...2,....1, we go!

Create.Simplify.Inspire. #7

Willamette Valley Wonder Woman
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Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Raspberry Hazelnut Cocktail

raspberry hazelnut cocktail
raspberry hazelnut cocktail
francelico recipe

I have been "Pinteresting" entirely too much lately. I have been eyeing gobs and gobs of delicious drinks. So I peaked into my liquor cabinet to see what I had on hand. I created this simple and tasty:

Raspberry Hazelnut Cocktail

1 1/2 oz Frangelico
1/2 oz triple sec
2 oz raspberry puree

Fill cocktail shaker about 1/3 of the way with ice. Add ingredients. (I used previously frozen raspberries so they were already in puree form. You could always muddle fresh ones if you have those) Shake well, then pour the entire contents into a glass. I garnished mine with a dab of vanilla Greek yogurt and hazelnuts.

This was so simple, and the raspberries and hazelnuts complimented each other oh so well.


Girls Ballerina Invitation Idea

This is an adorable card that my 9 year old created for her 5 year old sister. I thought it was such a cute idea that I had to share. This could be used for any kind of party invitation, and the best part is the girl's can help you make and color them.
Anika was so very proud to be featured on "mom's blog". I definetely think we will be using this idea for an upcoming birthday or girls sleepover invites.