Melissa Kaylene: October 2013

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Create.Simplify.Inspire. #40

    Happy Halloween to everyone who celebrates it! I'd love if you linked up all of your Halloween posts this week.

   If you've never stopped by before this is a weekly link up where you can share some of your favorite things you've created, or things that inspire you. If you are a blogger, link up to your post. If you aren't a blogger you can also link up from your Instagram or other social media page that you share on.

     I love connecting with each and every one of you and catching up. Thanks so much for helping me make this happen!

Create.Simplify.Inspire. #40

Willamette Valley Wonder Woman
<a href="" target="_blank"><img src="" alt="Willamette Valley Wonder Woman" width="250" height="250" /></a>

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

So Long October.

Last week was a crazy busy one! I left off with the girl's sleepover last Saturday, and little did I know the chaos was just beginning.

I packed all the girls up Sunday morning and cleaned up the aftermath of the tornado that 7 little ones caused. Then I headed in and worked all night Sunday.

Monday morning I came home and took a short nap. We had two soccer games scheduled in the evening, and ended up having unexpected car troubles which caused a little ($600!) dent in our pockets and were a one car family for three days. We also found out that Wayne's mom was not doing well physically (to make a long story short she was in the hospital for 6 days and was finally discharged to an elderly group home where she can get better care.) Needless to say my husband spent much of the week traveling from work to the hospital to be with her.

Tuesday I was Mrs. PTSO as we counted money earned from our recent Read-a-thon. Oh, and I forgot to mention...crazy me decided to let the girls do a cheer camp that was Tuesday, Wed, and Thursday evening so they could perform for our homecoming.

Wednesday was much of the same as we had cheer camp at 4-5 and Emma had soccer practice from 5:15-6:15.

Thursday Wayne was able to take the morning off and attend Noah's field trip to the pumpkin patch. Then Anika had appointments from 3:30-4:45 and both girls had soccer games at 5pm.

Friday was the BIG day. Wayne was busy at the hospital with his mom and was in and out looking at facilities for her. I had a work meeting at 2:45, then my work had a Halloween Costume party for the kids, so we managed to do the kid swap switch-a-roo's and I took them there. Then we had to leave at 5pm so I could rush the girls over to the high school to get ready for their Homecoming performance.

They were so cute.

I didn't know if Emma would get out there in front of so many people. I mean, she would barely even participate in cheer camp. But somehow, she mustered up the courage to get out there. And she stood. She didn't do the cheers, didn't smile and jump around like all the other girls, but she went out there. She faced her fear.

That made me proud.

We stayed and watched our small town Homecoming and it was wonderful. There's just something about seeing everyone you know in town come together and cheer the kids on. Its a sense of extended family that I don't think would be there as much in a larger town. The kids went to bed late dreaming of big girl cheerleaders and football.

Saturday the girls had their very last soccer games for the season and the timing was just perfect and they were back to back.

And. That. Was. My. Week.

Have you ever had weeks like that that just seemed to go and go and go?

This week has been amazing. No schedules. No practices. I needed a few days to regroup and recover. But I'm sure things will pick up next week when Basketball season starts.....and the Holidays are coming. :)


Monday, October 28, 2013

Girls Night In with NickMom

I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias and its client.

It had been way to long since I had the chance to catch up with my best friends. Being the busy moms that we are, our schedules always seem to conflict so our kid-free time together is few and far between.
 I was determined to change that.
So I sent a little message out and told my two besties that its time! After all kids were tucked into bed last night we got together and snuck out the chips, cookies, and mommy beverages that had been carefully stowed away and threw on the comfiest clothes we could find!
We chatted and filled each other in with each of our life's chaos and then settled down to check out a new show on NickMom called Instant Mom. NickMom is what Nick Jr. magically turns into once the kids go to bed! (10pm EST)
Instant Mom is a lighthearted comedy with Tia Mowry-Hardict playing the part of a young woman who marries an older man with three children, thus becoming an Instant Mom. As moms you know how hard it is and how many mistakes we've had raising our kids since birth, so the show gives you some great laughs as her character is thrown into learning how to parent kids that are old enough to pull out all those great manipulation tricks that kids have perfected!

Instant Mom got us thinking about all of those things our kids say and do that in the heat of things aren't funny, but looking back are kind of hilarious!

What are some of your funniest mom moments?

NickMom airs new episodes of Instant Mom every Sunday, and re-runs them every night so you there will always be something to watch if you need a good laugh!

Thanks Jessica and Carolyn for having a #motherfunny evening with me! :)

Sunday, October 27, 2013

3 Last Minute Halloween Decoration Ideas

This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group™ and Cottonelle, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #CottonelleTarget

     I don't know about you, but this year Halloween has totally crept up on me way to fast. Have you ever found yourself sitting down and looking at the calendar and realizing that you only have a couple days until the big event!?

     Me too.

     It may sound like an odd source to use, but I have got to tell you, in a pinch for last minute Halloween decorations there is one thing we all have in our houses that can be used: Toilet Paper. I happened to buy an extra package at Target the other day so I could create some cheap decorations to share!

     I came up with a few examples on things you can quickly create (and have the kids help with) so you can spook up your house before the ghosts and goblins arrive.

#1 Ninja Pumpkins

Have some bare pumpkins? No fear! Ninja pumpkins are super easy to create and can be colored any way you'd like. All it takes is some Cottonelle toilet paper!

What you need:
  • 1 triple roll of Cottonelle toilet paper
  • Sharpie marker ( I used black, but you could use blue, red, etc.)
  • tape
Unroll a long strip of toilet paper (depending on the size of the pumpkin) and start twisting it into a rope. Once the strip is all twisted (it doesn't have to be perfect!) tape one end to the back of the pumpkin and wrap around until you have created a mask. Then color the ninja eyes on a viola'! instant Ninja mask.

 #2 Ghost Garland
This Garland is so fun to make with the kids! And you literally only need a couple things to create it.

What you need:
  • 1 Triple Roll Cottonelle toilet paper
  • 1 Black Sharpie Marker
  • 1 orange highlighter
  • Needle and Thread

Start by figuring out how long you want your garland to be. Mine shown is approximately 4 feet.
Begin by tearing off 6 square sheets at a time. You will need 2 sets of 6 squares per ghost.
Take one set of squares and crumple them up into a ball. Then place that ball into the middle of the other set of squares. Tie off with thread to create the ghost head. Then draw a face on with a sharpie.
Continue the process until you have the number of ghosts you would like.
Then, take three individual squares of toilet paper and fold them in half to create the center letters. Write on them and then outline with orange marker (or decorate however you would like!).
Next you will need to thread a needle. For this project I doubled the thread up to make it a little thicker, but you could also use yarn to hang them with.
Thread each ghost on through the top of their heads so they stay on securely, and then just stitch through the lettering twice.
Next just figure out where to hang it! Indoors ideally if the weather looks a little iffy for the night, but if all is dry outdoors, hang it on the porch for all to see!

#3 Bloody Mummy Window

The kids had a lot of fun with this one!

What you need:
  • 1 Triple roll Cottonelle toilet paper
  • 1 roll masking tape (or any kind of paper tape)
  • Red and black dry erase markers or window markers

Pick a window that your trick-or-treaters will see! From the inside of the window measure the width and tear off sheets of toilet paper to cover horizontally. Crumple the toilet paper up a little with your hands then straighten out to give it a wrinkled mummy wrap look. Tape each side to the window and continue until you have covered the inside of the window. Then, take two strips of toilet paper and color red circles for eyes. Tape them on the inside in between two strips.

Next on the outside of the window you can let the fun begin. Using a dry erase marker, or window marker, let the kids have at it coloring blood and tracing their hands to create a bloody mummy show for their friends to see!

 Have you ever made something creative using toilet paper? I'd love to hear! Also, right now if you're shopping at Target you can download a coupon for a FREE box of Kleenex tissue with the purchase of a package of Cottonelle Triple Roll 12 pack (or larger) HERE. *While supplies last* :)
Happy last minute decorating!


Thursday, October 24, 2013

Create.Simplify.Inspire. #39

     Welcome back to Create.Simplify.Inspire! I'm a little late this week, but better late than never!

     If you've never stopped by before this is a weekly link up where you can share some of your favorite things you've created, or things that inspire you. If you are a blogger, link up to your post. If you aren't a blogger you can also link up from your Instagram or other social media page that you share on.

     I love connecting with each and every one of you and catching up. Thanks so much for helping me make this happen!

Create.Simplify.Inspire. #39

Willamette Valley Wonder Woman
<a href="" target="_blank"><img src="" alt="Willamette Valley Wonder Woman" width="250" height="250" /></a>

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

This week.


This week has been full of life.

The good, the bad, and all the hustle and bustle in between.

It's the last full week of soccer with each girl having three games to finish up and a practice in the middle.

Then they are both practicing with the high school cheerleaders to do a cheer before our town's Homecoming football game on Friday. I'm not sure if Emma will make it out there because of her shyness, but none the less she is trying, and I (as always) continue to encourage her in every way I know how.

Tomorrow morning Noah has a field trip to the pumpkin patch.

He is so excited. He gets to go with Daddy this year.

Then the other not-so-fun parts of life. There was a leak in the transmission on our Expedition that cost us an arm and a leg to fix.

And Wayne's mom was admitted into the hospital a couple days ago. She is stable now, but will most likely not be able to return home on her own again. So there has been extra trips back and forth for my husband to the hospital while trying not to lead on any extra stress in front of the kids.

I'm in that taking-one-day-at-a-time mode right now personally. I'm so glad I have this little space here on the internet to share bits and pieces of my life along with all of the other wonderful things that I am blessed to get to share on here with you. <3

Monday, October 21, 2013

Scenes from a Sleepover

Last Saturday I let the girls have a few friends over for a sleepover. It had been a long time and I figured I should let them have one before the holiday season kicks into full gear and life really starts picking up.
We had a Bejeweled and Twister game night theme that also turned into a mini spa party as well.
The girls all showed up at 6pm, and we made cheesy pigs in a blanket (kind of like the recipe HERE, only full sized). Then they all played a few rounds of Twister, then a new Bejeweled board game (which was a big hit). Afterwards I broke out the face masks and foot soakers along with nail polish and glitter tattoos and let them have at it.
Later things began winding down and the older girls went into the back bedroom to giggle and draw while the younger girls and I stayed in the living room with our sleeping bags and watched a couple movies, and we all fell asleep out there.
The next morning a big batch of scrambled eggs and bacon and waffles filled the girls' stomachs up and they were all on their way homes by 10:30.
If there's anything I've learned from sleepovers is to keep them short and sweet to avoid meltdowns and to keep your sanity!
Thanks to House Party and Hasbro for the party kit! If you haven't heard of House Party before, its pretty cool! They partner with different companies and you apply for these party kits that they have going on, and if you are selected they send your the freebies! This was our first House Party and I would definitely have more, since we love throwing parties anyways.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

NW Food & Wine Festival + A Giveaway!

There is a very fun and Portland event happening soon that I am so excited about! The Northwest Food and Wine Festival will be at the Double Tree by Hilton Lloyd Center on November 16th from 4-8pm. The festival is in its 8th season and is the go-to place of the evening for Northwest wines, beers, spirits and mouthwatering cuisines.
This will be an evening to grab a date or your best friends, throw on that little black dress that's been collecting dust and have an night out on the town. Upon entering you will receive a wine glass and can mingle on the floor which is filled with over 600 wines and 50 restaurants! There will be something new to please every one's palate.
There will also be music from Jay "Bird" Koder and Jim Fisher as well as a cocktail camp area where you can learn new recipes and tricks. This is sure to be an event you don't want to miss out on!
General Admission tickets for the event are $75 (5-8pm) and limited to 1500
VIP Admission tickets for the event are $95 (4-8pm) and limited to 500
And ALL samples are included with admission!
BUT for my readers the Festival is offering a $20 off general admission coupon! Just enter the code: wonderwoman when purchasing your tickets HERE.

Photos VIA

The Northwest Food and Wine Festival is also so generous to offer 1 lucky reader a pair of VIP tickets to the event!! Enter below for a chance to win and let all of your friends know! How great would it be to have a complimentary night out!
Can't wait to see you there!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, October 18, 2013

Our Tech Timeout Time.

I was compensated for this post, but as always, all opinions are my own. #ad

    I have always strived to create family time and family activities that didn't involve electronics. Sure movie nights are great, and my kids love playing games, but from the beginning of parenthood we have always set limits to their time spent on devices because although fun, they are addicting and take time away from other great things that kids do.


Playing outdoors,

and using their big imaginations to play make believe.

Dinner time at our house is always electronic free, and we have a rule that everything goes off at 7pm so they can get ready for bed and stories.

I've been hearing a lot about the Tech Timeout™ challenge, an idea created by Foresters ™which is a pledge stating that your family will have an hour free from technology once a day - and I think its a great idea.

The emails can wait, and TV is overrated. They will all be there in an hour still - I promise. But you know what won't be there long?  Those little smiles. life changes so fast and before you know it you'll be missing the little moments you all shared together as a family.

Will you pledge with me?

Tech Timeout has come up with 50 great ideas for family activities, and I am happy to say we have done 28 of them this past year.

What are some of you favorite technology free things to do with your family?


Thursday, October 17, 2013

Create.Simplify.Inspire. #38

Welcome back to Create.Simplify.Inspire. This is a weekly link up where you can some of your favorite things you've created, or things that inspire you! If you are a blogger, link up to your post. If you aren't a blogger you can also link up from your Instagram or other social media page that you share on. I love connecting with each and every one of you and catching up. Thanks so much for helping me make this happen!

Create.Simplify.Inspire. #38

Willamette Valley Wonder Woman
<a href="" target="_blank"><img src="" alt="Willamette Valley Wonder Woman" width="250" height="250" /></a>

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Three Simple Meals with Hillshire Farm Products

“This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group™ and Hillshire Brand Company but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #buy3save3"

     Life as a mom to three growing kids means there aren't very many dull moments around here, and some weeks are definitely more chaotic than others.

     This week is one of those weeks.

     I'm working a couple night shifts, have to plan the agenda (and attend) our PTO meeting, Noah has a dentist appointment, and of course I'll put on my chauffeur hat to take the little ladies to and from their soccer practices and games. To top it all off I'm letting the girls each have two friends over Saturday for a slumber party!

     Knowing what this week entailed, I sat down Sunday evening like I usually do to plan out a meal menu and weekly shopping list. Planning ahead not only cuts down on prep time, but also the temptation to grab food that we can't afford and isn't healthy.

     I did my weekly shopping trip to Safeway in between preschool drop off and kindergarten pick up. They just happened to have Hillshire Brand products on sale with their Just For U program right now where you can Save $3 if you buy 3 products. If you know me, you know I love a deal, so I grabbed three items that I knew would come in handy this week.

     Most of the time breakfast is a rushed event in the morning, so I always keep breakfast bars or homemade breakfast burritos on hand. I often make up a big batch of them and freeze them for a week so we can have some ready to go.

Turkey Breakfast Burritos
8 large eggs
1 cup Jimmy Dean Fully Cooked Turkey Sausage
2 Tbsp. green onions
1 small Roma tomato
1/2 cup whole milk
3/4 cup cheddar cheese
1/4 tsp. minced garlic
1/4 smoked Gouda cheese (or your favorite kind)
4 whole wheat tortillas
Pepper and Salt (to taste)
Whisk eggs and add milk. Stir in the sausage, onions, tomato, garlic. Pour into greased sauté pan and cook over med. heat until eggs are scrambled. Add cheese and mix well. Warm tortillas one at a time over the sauté pan so they will fold well. Scoop in egg mixture, roll up and enjoy!
Makes 4 burritos.

     Both Emma and Noah are home in time for lunch, and one of their first requests are my Hillshire Farm Lit'l Smokies roll ups. They never last long around here and I can even get them to help me make them!

Lit'l Smokies Cheddar Roll Ups
1 package Hillshire Farm Cheddar Lit'l Smokies
1 package refrigerator crescent rolls
24 .5" x 2" slices cheddar cheese
1/4 chopped almonds
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease cookie sheet. Un-roll crescent rolls and slice each piece lengthwise into three pieces. Place slice of cheddar cheese and Lit'l Smokie on and roll up. Top with almonds.
Cook for 12-14 minutes or until roll ups are slightly browned. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce or mustard for lunch or appetizers.
makes 24 roll ups.

     Lastly, the dinner dilemma. It seems like it gets here quicker everyday, but with a few
simple ingredients I can make a nice meal that appears to have taken all day. The trick is using
meat that is pre-cooked and flavorful!

Chicken Apple Pesto Pasta

1/2 lb. whole wheat spaghetti noodles
1 pkg Hillshire Farms Gourmet Creations Chicken Apple with Gouda Sausage
1 small apple
1/4 cups chopped pecans
1 cup heavy cream
3 Tbsp. Flour
1 Tbsp. Butter
1/4 cup pesto

Boil noodles until al dente; drain. Slice Sausage and peel/dice apple. Melt butter in pan over medium heat and add Sausage, apple and pecans. Add pesto and mix well. In a small bowl pour flour and just enough water to make a thickener (it should be consistency of pancake batter, still able to pour). Slowly add flour mixture to pesto sauce and mix well until thickened. Take off of heat and spoon onto pasta and enjoy!

     And those are just a few of the simple meals I make for my family during the busy week. The Hillshire Farm website also has some great recipes to inspire your creativity, and if you'd like to get the Just For U promotion at Safeway, simply sign up here. The Buy 3 Save 3 deal is available through 10/19!

     Do you have any simple meals you prepare for your family that your kids absolutely love? I'd love to hear about them. :)

Follow Hillshire Farm on Facebook and Twitter for more great ideas! 

Monday, October 14, 2013

The Best Things.

You know what they say.

The best things in life aren't free.

In fact, they aren't even things.

I was reminded that on several occasions this past week.

The first time was when Emma came speeding down the hall calling "Mommy! Mommy! Come and see what I've done!" Low and behold she carefully drew a picture of the two of us together.

She was so proud.

Then at Anika's soccer game the crowd of normally rambunctious preschooler spectators were still and quiet - the entire game. One of the little girls had brought her pet; a fuzzy caterpillar. They all sat in a semi circle taking turns holding and bringing leaves and twigs for the little creature. It amazed me that is captivated their attention so long.

Lastly, it was Wayne's birthday last Friday, the same day we went to the Lego Kidsfest. The next day the kids felt bad that daddy didn't get a party or presents, so we drove to the store and bought him a cheesecake while he was at work. When we came back home the kids ran off into their rooms. Wayne came home an hour later and they finally emerged, urging us to come into the room so they could give him his present - a puppet play. The characters were made from drawings taped to pencils, the play surface was created from the top of a desk, the furniture was borrowed from the doll house, and the rest of the props were from other useful sources of their creativity.

The idea that my kids cared enough to do something when they had what most people would think of as nothing makes me proud, for they don't even know that these little things happening now are the best things in life - making memories.

And they are free.