Melissa Kaylene: May 2013

Friday, May 31, 2013

31 Fun Summer Kid Activities // FBF

summer activities for kids

Summer is almost officially here, and I know some of you are already starting summer vacation! My preschooler Emma officially graduated into a kindergartener last night, and Anika has 12 more days until she is on summer break! I wanted to share with you one of my favorite posts from last summer for "Flash Back Friday" and hopefully give you some ideas for activities with your kids this summer. The photo above was taken last summer when the kids and I went exploring in caves! (You can read about our vacation adventure HERE and HERE)

Do you have any additional activity ideas? I'd love to hear! Leave a comment and let me know!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Create.Simplify.Inspire. #19

   Thanks everyone who linked up last week! If this is your first time linking up, the rules are simple. Link up something that you have created. It can be whatever inspires you, and us! <3

Can't wait to see what you have to share this week!

Here we go in 3....2.....1.....
Create.Simplify.Inspire. #19

Willamette Valley Wonder Woman
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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Baked Zucchini Bites

zucchini bites


zucchini bites

The other week I whipped up a little zucchini recipe that was actually really good. It was great too, because it worked perfect and little finger food appetizers. Here's the recipes. Feel free to play around and modify it with whatever ingredients you have on hand.
Baked Zucchini Bites
3 Zucchini sliced to approx. 1/2 inch thick
Feta Cheese (enough to cover all slices)
One can of Italian diced stewed tomatoes
2 squares of the new Land o Lakes Saute' Express Italian and herb butter starter
Slice all the zucchini and lay onto cookie sheets. Spread each slice with the butter starter. Top with tomatoes and feta.
Bake at 350 for 30-40 min or until feta is just browned and zucchini is tender.
The Italian flavors in the butter and tomatoes flavored the zucchini really well! I was lucky enough to try the new butter squares for really cheap thanks to my couponing skills. :)

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

$50 Shabby Apple Giveaway!

Have you heard of Shabby Apple? I'm sure many of you have! :) If you haven't, Shabby Apple is online dress boutique that specializes in vintage and retro dresses...and their selection is amazing! They have graciously donated a $50 gift card to one of my readers! Good luck!


Giveaway Rules/How to Enter:
  • The prize is a $50 gift certificate to Shabby Apple
  • This giveaway is sponsored by Shabby Apple, and they will e-mail the gift certificate to the winner.
  • To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter widget below. 
  • No purchase necessary. 
  • Winner will be chosen randomly using Rafflecopter

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Big News: WonderFul Woman Movement!

So excited! It's finally here! But now, it's just the beginning!

We all know her - that woman we look up to and aspire to be like. Maybe she's your best friend who works two jobs while attending college full time, or your sister who manages to raise four kids and run her own business. Maybe you haven't even 'met' your mentor, but you follow her religiously through her blog.

What makes a "WonderFul Woman"?

"WonderFul woman come in all shapes, sizes, ages, demographics. What unifies them is their passion and drive; the way we watch them creating their life in front of us that inspires us and motivates us in our own way."

Often times these women don't get the recognition they deserve, but continue to try their hardest day after day; they never give up.

It's time we showed them how much we appreciate them, and acknowledge them. The WonderFul Woman Movement will do just that.Every month one woman will be selected as the Woman of the Month, and her story will be shared with all of us.

The WonderFul Woman of the Month will have her photo/link on Willamette Valley Wonder Woman's main blog page for the entire month.

The WonderFul Woman's story will be featured at the beginning of the month and then she will have the opportunity to have one guest post during her month of recognition. This post's content will be entirely up to her - she can share a story, recipe, craft, - something that will inspire us.

Also, as the WonderFul Woman of the Month, she will also receive a small token of appreciation in the mail. <3

What I need:

YOU. I want you to submit your nominations directly to me. These nominations should include a detailed (2-4 paragraph) summary of your nominee to share with us, as well as the following questions to be answered:

1. In your opinion, what makes this woman so wonderful?
2. How does she go above and beyond everyday?
3. What has she done (knowingly or not) to motivate you in some way?

Submissions should include your name, contact information as well as:

Nominee's full name
Contact information (the more the better ex, blog, website, FB, Twitter, Email....)

Please send all nominations to:
Subject: WonderFul Woman

I will do my best to respond to all submissions and will notify you if yours is selected. If your nominee is chosen you will also receive 30 days of ad space to Willamette Valley Wonder Woman Free.

This movement is made possible by you! Help keep it going!

Tweet you friends and tell them about it:



Questions? Thoughts? Ideas? Comment! :)

Friday, May 24, 2013

Snippets of excitement...

 It's been a whirlwind week for me, lots of lack-of-sleep and new great things coming. In my personal life, and here on the blog for you.
Monday we celebrated the kids' grandma Vivian's 90th birthday. I know, 90. Can you believe it? She's been battling cancer for over 2 years, but still manages to live at home, get around with a walker, and is on very minimal medication. We devoured custom cupcakes and homemade strawberry and vanilla ice cream.
Then a couple of days flew by from working night shifts and before I knew it, it was Wednesday.
So, in a long round-a-bout way, I managed to get nominated and voted in for our elementary school's  P.T.S.O. (Parent Teacher Student Organization). It really only happened because out of all the family's in our town, I, little old me, was the only non-board member, non-faculty member that showed up. How sad is that? So there I sat with four other women (yes, not even all of the board member's showed) and they all turned and looked at me with big puppy dog eyes, and practically begged me to the President of the organization for the 2013-14 year! How could I say no? Some people said I was crazy for adding another thing on my plate. Other's congratulated me. My husband told me I was a glutton for punishment. But I had too. How could I not? Those children need to be able to have extracurricular activities and field trips and money for things they need in class. Anyone ever been involved with a P.T.S.O.? I'd love to chat with a couple people that may give me some pointers. Email me.
Now for the exciting news. Well, it's almost here anyways. I have been working behind the scenes here at Willamette Valley Wonder Woman and I have something in the works that I'm very excited about, and it involves you. I hope you will be as excited as I am.
My next post will reveal! Follow and stay tuned! ;)

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Create.Simplify.Inspire. #18

     I want to thank all of you who continue to stop by and link up every week, it means a lot! If you haven't heard, I have something great in the works for my blog, and I will be revealing it any day now! Make sure you follow along in some way so I can share the excitement with you! Here's a's about you.

Can't wait to see what you have to share this week!

Here we go in 3....2.....1.....
Create.Simplify.Inspire. #18

Willamette Valley Wonder Woman
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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Easy BBQ Chicken

I don't know about you, but sometimes I am just at a loss on what to make for dinner. I need something easy, that requires little brain work, so I can help the kids with homework, while answering calls, emails, laundry, dishes, breaking up fights... so I threw this little BBQ chicken together the other night, and it was delish!
BBQ Chicken
2 half boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 cup of brown sugar BBQ sauce (I used Kraft)
3/4 cup bread crumbs
1 tsp Grill Mates Smokehouse Maple seasoning
It's pretty explanatory. Sprinkle the bread crumbs on the chicken, cover with BBQ sauce, and sprinkle with seasoning. Place into pre-heated oven of 375 degrees for 30-40 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. It must have been the combination for the brown sugar and smokehouse maple flavorings, but it was really tasty.
What ideas have you came up with in a pinch?

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

silly little girls

These silly little girls. Anika had her choir program last Thursday, and of course I had to have some pictures of my superstar before we left. And it turned into and impromptu family photo op.
The choir program was amazing. The 4th and 5th graders exceeded my expectations by far. Its so nice to see kids doing positive things. The 5th grade band had their last performance directly after the choir sang.
 Guess who wants to play the clarinet next year? I think I have a mini wonder woman on my hands. ;)

Monday, May 20, 2013

My DIY Planter Box

Today I just wanted to share with you a little project that began last summer that I finally completed about a month ago. When we were rebuilding the fence last year we ended up with some old fence posts lying around. Well, I decided to get a little creative.

I had been wanting an herb planter box for quite some time, so I finally decided to make my own. I have all of the pictures on how I actually made this, but they are on a SD card somewhere that I will have to locate. :) In the mean time I will show you what I did after I built it.

I painted it a cheery bright yellow that will stand out in the many cloudy dreary Oregon days of drizzle that we have. Then I tried wood burning for the first time ever. I think it turned out rather well.

I get to look at it out my kitchen window and love that I can go out and grab thyme, oregano, and chives whenever I want. <3


Sunday, May 19, 2013

a walk.



     The rains are here today. But yesterday, the weather was still nice. I had a few hours with just Noah so we decided to go for a walk. Normally I walk/jog after the kids go to bed a couple times a week around the high school track, but yesterday we decided to take a stroll around our small town. I love small towns. I love walking past old houses and yards full of history, full of life. I love the old churches with steeples full of character. Everything seems so much more magnificent when you open your eyes to explore the little things.


Thursday, May 16, 2013

Create.Simplify.Inspire #17

It's here! Week 17! I don't have many rules here, just want to see something that you've created or something that you have written that would inspire all of us! If you are feeling super sweet you could tweet about the party, and find me on Twitter @MelissaKaylene

Here we go in 3....2.....1.....
Create.Simplify.Inspire. #17

Willamette Valley Wonder Woman
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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

the best medicine.

They say laughter is the best medicine. I agree. But I also believe there is one thing that should be right up there with giggles.


Working in the health care field I often am working with people who are enduring rough times of their life. Many of them are stressed out, painful, and appear sad and frustrated.

What I've found through the years is that sometimes, slowing down and taking an extra five minutes to listen to them makes a world of difference.

Not just talking about their physical problems, but about them. Their life. Their stories. Allowing them to think of other thoughts, other times, other people.

Its wonderful to see people open up and share. It distracts them from other things.
In some cases I believe it helps just as much as a narcotic would.

And you know what? Listening is therapy for me too.

It really is the best medicine.

I've got some exciting things going on behind the scenes for Willamette Valley Wonder Woman. I'm excited to share it with you in the near future!


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

DIY nail polish holder


     Hello everyone! Today I want to share a little thing I've done to help simplify my life a little more! :) This is my new nail polish holder! I've had such a messy nail polish collection that I just couldn't keep organized. In fact, I had them all in the bathroom window seal which really didn't work that well because they kept getting bumped off, and the kids liked to snitch them sometimes (which is really not good).

     Here's what I did. While at the Jane Austen Craft Faire last week I found a couple adorable items that I had actually been in search of for a while; one of them being an old spice rack. I think I originally saw this idea on Pinterest (where else?) I snatched it up for $15 and took it home. Coincidentally it is like the exact same color as my bathroom walls! I actually attached it to the wall upside down and then went ahead and placed some wire across the bottom to hold my feather earrings and a hook on the side for some necklaces.

     All of my nail polishes are now up and out of the way, out of the kids reach, and it just looks so much cuter this way!


Monday, May 13, 2013

Helicopter Heaven

Last week parents from the preschool all loaded up their children and we drove to a local helicopter training facility. 18 preschoolers (and some siblings) had the time of their life.
We went around and looked at all the different types of helicopters and then, they got to watch one land. And not just one of those tiny ones. It. Was. Big.
The kids were in awe.
Then, they all got to climb aboard. And all of the kids fit on the helicopter. Our 'guide' told us that it used to fly in mail to Afghanistan to the troops, but now its retired from that job and is used as a training helicopter.
Then they all had snacks at picnic tables under the shade from an old black walnut grove and put together helicopter and airplane crafts.
The weather was perfect.
The kids all did fabulous.
What an amazing experience for little eyes.
Emma only has a couple more weeks of Preschool left. Then its graduating to the big Kindergarten. But Mr. Noah is more than ready to take her spot next year and be the big school boy as well.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Share the Love Blog Hop // Co-host

Share the Love Blog Hop is here!! Yeah!!

Every month Share the Love blog hop will be on both Serenity You and Sew Much Crafting along with the co-hosts

1. Please follow your hosts @ number 1 & 2 and The co-hosts at number 3 - 10.  And any others that you like.
2. Please leave a comment on their blog letting them know that you are a new follower and found them on 'share the love blog hop'
3. Link up your blog's Home page
4. Copy and paste the code at the bottom into a new post on your blog (optional)
5. Have fun!!

I am scheduling co-hosts now. June is already full,
so if you would like to be a co-host in July email me at


Natasha @ Serenity You

Danielle @ Sew Much Crafting

And here are this Months Co-Hosts 

So come get your linkin on!!

Please use the hashtag #ShareTheLoveBlogHop when posting on twitter







Friday, May 10, 2013

Baked Zucchini Boats // FBF

It's Flash Back Friday again. :)
Last summer I created this little recipe which turned out to be so tasty, and easy to make. One of these days I'll make them again and redo the photos so it looks more appealing, but in the mean time, check out the recipe and try it for yourself!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Small joys.

I can admit it.
I'm a dreamer.
I've been doing a lot of reflecting on my  life and dreams lately. Maybe it's the gorgeous weather, my husband loosing his job; maybe its just that I've slowed down enough to actually think.
To actually enjoy.
To remember what's important in life.
We are only given an x number of years to breathe.
I've had these old country lyrics bouncing in my head for quite some time:

"I'm in a hurry to get things done,
I rush and rush until life's no fun,
all I really gotta do is live and die,
but I'm in a hurry and don't know why."

I want to live. 
Really live .

I sat and played with my kids. I played make believe with my three year old. I had so much fun watching his smiles and sheer joy . It was so rewarding. I realized, why haven't I done this more often? Why am I rushing so much? This time will only happen once.

never again.

Don't always let time pass you by when you are so busy trying to get ahead.
Enjoy the small things now.



Create.Simplify.Inspire. #16

Week 16 already! I love looking through all of the wonderful things you share here! And I pin my favorites to my Pinterest account...can't wait to see what you have this week! :)
Here we go in 3....2.....1.....
Create.Simplify.Inspire. #16

Willamette Valley Wonder Woman
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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Chewy M&M Cookies

m&m recipe

m&m recipe
My mom wrote this chocolate chip cookie recipe for me a few years ago, and I changed it to M&M cookies, due to having bought so much for Noah's birthday party and having lots of leftovers. :) Make sure you transfer cookies to a cooling rack one minute after removing from the oven so they will not over cook and will remain chewy!
Chewy M&M Cookies
2 cups M&Ms
2 sticks of butter
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
1 whole egg
1 egg yolk
1 Tablespoon milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 1/4 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
Melt butter, mix in granulated and brown sugar. Cool, then add the rest of the wet ingredients.
In separate bowl mix flour, salt, and baking soda.
Mix all ingredients together, then add 2 cups of M&Ms.
Chill in refrigerator for one hour, then drop by tablespoon onto baking pan 2 inches apart and bake @ 375 for 11-13 minutes.
Transfer to cooling rack.
Makes approximately 4 dozen cookies.