Melissa Kaylene: 2016

Monday, March 14, 2016

3 Ways to Make Sparkly Easter Eggs

Compensation provided by Snack Pack® via Mode Media
3 Ways to make sparkly Easter eggs #spoonfuloffun #ad

I love Easter. We never really do too much for Easter - sometimes we go and visit my Dad, other years we just stay home...but there is something about the impending spring and summer months that make Easter just special.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Two Things You Need Before Your Next Travel Trip

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Master Lock. All opinions are 100% mine.

Last year I was able to travel to a couple different amazing places: upstate New York for the Wine Bloggers Conference, and Burbank, California for the New Entertainment Media Network Conference. I was also able to fly up to Seattle overnight and spend many day trips exploring Portland and other Oregon towns. 

Traveling to me is exhilarating and exciting. I love finding new adventures and places that I can share with you. Since I’m so new to this traveling and writing thing there is still a lot of little things that I need to learn, like different travel hacks and what I really need to pack to survive a few days away from home. 

Monday, March 7, 2016

British Soccer Camps: Summer Camp Fun

Last year Anika attended a summer soccer camp held by Challenger Sports, and this year I think that I will have Noah attend soccer camp. He has fallen in love with soccer and I think he is at the perfect age to attend something like this.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Marvel Universe Live: 2 Hours of Non-Stop Action For Fans

A review of Marvels Universe Live #marvelUniverseLive

Last Friday we drove up to the Moda Center to see Marvel Universe Live. We took Noah’s best bud with him since he hasn’t had the opportunity to hang out with friends as much as the girls have. I knew it would be a performance that they would like, but I wasn’t sure how much the rest of the family would be entertained.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Living Locally: The Wizard of Oz at The Keller Auditorium

The Company of The Wizard of Oz in “Merry Old Land of Oz.” PHOTOGRAPHY: © DANIEL A. SWALEC
Next week the U.S. Bank Broadway in Portland series is presenting the North American tour of the new stage adaptation of The Wizard of Oz! It is playing at the Keller Auditorium on March 8th - 13th.
I’m excited to see this production of one of the most classic stories around. This production is developed from the popular MGM screenplay and shares everyone’s favorite characters including the Scarecrow, Tin Man, Lion, Dorothy, and Toto. We will follow along with the iconic moments we love as they journey through the magical Land of Oz to meet the Wizard, plus there will be a few new surprises along the way, including new songs from Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Zootopia Makes for a Fun Family Movie Night

Last Monday I took the kids to a preview of Zootopia. We don't go see many movies all together because the kids all have such a big age gap (7 years between Anika and Noah) so we don't all find movies that really entertain the whole family. Zootopia pretty much accomplishes it.

Zootopia is Walt Disney Animation Studio's 55th animated feature. The movie is set in a different time where animals are all modern and civilized. Judy Hopps is a rabbit who grew up on a carrot farm and had always dreamed of becoming a cop in the city of Zootopia. Problem was, no rabbit had ever become a cop before.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Walnut Pie Recipe

How to make a walnut pie recipe @melissakaylene

A couple of months ago I made something that I had never created before -walnut pie. Remember me telling you about all of those hazelnuts we have received from my husband’s coworker? Well, we were also given a few large bags of walnuts as well, so naturally I began searching through my cookbooks and Pinterest for recipes that I could make with them.

Pecan pie has always been one of my favorite pies (are there really any bad homemade pies though?) and I had heard of people making a walnut pie like a pecan pie...I think I had even tasted one before, so I went through my recipes and used walnuts instead of pecans.

It did not disappoint.

Monday, February 29, 2016

Roasted Chicken, Butternut Squash & Cranberry Salad

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #HelloNutchello #CollectiveBias
Roasted Chicken, Butternut Squash, & Cranberry Salad Recipe #hellonutchello #AD

Happy Leap Day everyone! We had a good low key couple of days this past weekend. We spent Saturday wine tasting with new friends and binge-watched the new Fuller House series with the kids. Noah has officially started spring soccer and I am still trying to grasp the fact that we are already entering into the month of March.

Yesterday afternoon was a blustery day, but we had some nice breaks of sunshine in between the showers. The flowers on our plum trees are beginning to bloom and it excites me; I’m ready for spring.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

A Trip to the Timberline Lodge

A trip to the Timberline Lodge via @melissakaylene

Last month for Emma’s birthday she decided to have an overnight trip to the mountain with family instead of a birthday party. She had always wanted to go up into the snow so this year I made it happen and we drove the two hour drive to Mt. Hood and stayed at the historic Timberline Lodge.

If you are from Oregon I’m sure you’ve heard of the lodge, which was declared a historic landmark in 1977 and has nearly 2 million visitors a year. Timberline is also the hotel that was filmed in Stephen King’s movie The Shining.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Strawberry Lemonade Cake

recipe for a three tiered strawberry lemonade cake @MelissaKaylene

Happy Monday my friends! I feel as if I have left you hanging for a week - and I guess it’s been nearly that long. I spent half of the week working at my on-call nursing job and I always seem to struggle with keeping up the website when my hours are devoted there…..I’m trying to get better at that though.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

How to Stay Connected While on the Road

How to stay connected while on the road #attportland

A few weeks ago I attended an event with AT&T, during which we visited the Portland Auto Show and got to drool over all of the amazing new vehicles and all of their cool features.

Up until recently I haven’t kept up very well with the latest trends in autos - probably because I spent the last decade of my life with a baby or toddler by my side. Now that the kids are getting older I’ve been interested in learning more about the latest technology - in and out of cars. With a growing family I have to keep up with the kids so they don’t surpass me on the tech knowledge. ;)

Monday, February 15, 2016

My First Time at a Monster Jam®

Monster Jam Fun / Review #MoreMonsterJam #MonsterJam

Last weekend we did something that for some might seem a little unusual for Valentine’s weekend - we went as a family to see Monster Jam®.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Living Locally: A Fun Live Event for Marvel Fans

I love taking my family to fun events that come to town - it’s a fun way to entertain the kids as well as make fun memories together. Introducing them to a variety of shows and experiences is just another good way to also teach them about many different fun careers that are available out there.

Next month we are going to head up to the Moda Center for an exciting evening to go see Marvel Universe LIVE. It’s the first show of its kind - a live stunt show with everyone’s favorite Marvel Super Heroes including Spider-Man and the Avengers (Iron Man, Black Widow, Hulk, and more) plus menacing villains that come to life in an action-packed extravaganza! It’s going to be in Portland, Oregon March 3rd-6th!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Grilled Vegetable Salad + Semi Homemade Croutons

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #MangiaTonight #CollectiveBias
Grilled Vegetable Salad with Semi Homemade Croutins #MangiaTonight AD
With everything that has happened this last week, between my friend’s accident and many other ‘bumps’ in the road I haven’t had much time nor energy to cook many meals. Even with a scheduled monthly meal plan in place I just haven’t been able to follow it or frankly, even care about it.

I stayed at the hospital Monday night and my family came in and brought some take out so we could still have our family meal together. I left the hospital yesterday afternoon and stopped by Fred Meyer on the way home to grab a few things for dinner that the kids could help prepare. They always want to help out in the kitchen and I thought now would be the perfect time to let them.

Italian food has always been my favorite cuisine to eat, so I picked up a couple Bertolli meals in the freezer section for some quick dinner options as well as some fresh produce for a salad, and artisan garlic bread that I found in the bakery section.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

3 Reasons to Visit Your Car Mechanic Routinely

3 Reasons to Visit Your Car Mechanic Routinely

I will be completely honest with you - in the past I wasn't always good with taking my car in for routine maintenance and checkups, but over the years I've realized how important it is for the life of your car. Regular visits to your mechanic are the difference between you having a car that runs great and one that is constantly being worked on. Yes, these visits will cost you money. However, they will actually be saving you money in the long run because of the large repair bills you will be able to avoid. The trick is setting up a maintenance schedule for yourself and sticking to it. For many people, this is much easier said than done. You must not skip any scheduled maintenance appointments just because everything seems to be working fine on your car. In many cases, a serious problem could be developing that you do not discover until it is too late. 

Here are some reasons why preventative maintenance is the key to keeping your car running smoothly.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Life Changes

I’ve been writing on here for nearly four years. Most of the time I love to share tips and ideas related to inspiring you to make memories and celebrate life. I write about our life, our stories, local events, recipes, etc…. but sometimes I write personal things. I share feelings and moments that don't necessarily relate to anything else on here - but they are something that I just need to share.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Snow Tubing at The Mt. Hood Ski Bowl

A couple of weeks ago we took my Dad and the kids on an overnight adventure to Mt. Hood for Emma’s 8th birthday. None of us had ever spent much time at the mountain (which probably sounds crazy to Portlanders) and I was trying to figure out exactly what we could do and where we could stay. We ended up staying at The Timberline Lodge (more on that in the future), but stopped at the Mt. Hood Ski Bowl to do some snow tubing first.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Zip-lining For the First Time

zip-lining for the first time

Have you ever zip lined before? Honestly it wasn’t something that I had given too much thought to until last September. I had heard of people doing it and enjoying it, but it had never been something that was presented as an opportunity for me, and I never went out seeking for it.

While I was touring the KOA in Ventura County though, we were offered the opportunity to check out two of their 3 zip lines - and I couldn’t refuse. I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect, and there was definitely mixed levels of bloggers, from experienced to novices like myself.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Make a Family Memory: See Kung Fu Panda 3

Kung Fu Panda 3 Movie Review

Kung Fu Panda 3 hits theaters today, but my family and I were lucky enough to snag an invitation to a local red carpet premiere a couple of weeks ago and excitedly went to the theater to watch it before it was released.

We have always been a fan of the Kung Fu Panda movies, so naturally the kids were very excited to see movie number 3. I went mostly for the kids at first, with no idea that I would end up loving this animated feature so much!

Living Locally: Marvel Universe Live

Marvel Universe Live Portland Oregon

To all of my local friends – here is an exciting event coming to Portland! We are super excited to go and see the Portland debut of Marvel Universe LIVE!

Marvel Universe LIVE! is taking the live entertainment experience to a whole new groundbreaking level, with a mind-blowing stunt show unlike anything experienced before! You can watch your favorite Marvel Super Heroes including Spider-Man and the Avengers (Iron Man, Black Widow, Hulk, and more) plus menacing villains come to life in an action-packed arena extravaganza debuting in the Pacific Northwest for the first time ever playing March 3rd–6th at the Moda Center in Portland, Oregon.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Living Locally: Win 4 Tickets to Monster Jam®!

Last week I posted that Monster Jam was coming back toPortland on February 13th and 14th, and today I want to share a fun giveaway for all of my local readers! I have 4 tickets available for the February 13th show at 2pm that I would love to give to one local reader. My family and I have been blessed with many fun opportunities through this blog and this year I’d love to try and give back in some way to you.

Extra Creamy Vegetable Chicken & Rice

Extra Creamy Vegetable Chicken and Rice Recipe #PremiumVeggies #ad #pmedia

I love cooking meals for the family, and when we have family staying with us I always try to come up with quick meals that can be easily doubled so that we have plenty of food to go around. When my Dad was up visiting for a week over Emma’s birthday I created several meals that we all enjoyed, including chicken and rice. Chicken and rice is one of my go-to dishes that I can create on busy nights or nights when I find myself having extra mouths to feed. Sometimes I make it extra cheesy, and sometimes I try and lighten it up because it’s one of those easy meals with vegetables that the kids will actually eat.

Monday, January 25, 2016

4 Sweet Treats to Create For Your Game Day Party

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SweetenTheSpread #CollectiveBias
4 Sweet Treats to Create for your next Game Day Party: #sweetenthespread #ad

Have you ever thought there was a way you should be doing something (to maintain traditions, etc.) and then thought, ‘what the heck, I’m going to do it my way’ and did? Good - me too. I had to work last night at my other job, but that didn’t stop me from having a fun morning with the kids creating some tasty treats for them to enjoy while my husband watched some games on TV.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

The KOA Ventura Ranch

Last fall while I was in California for a blogging conference (that one time I spent a day in Hollywood) we were lucky enough to venture out to Ventura County, California and spent the day at the Ventura KOA Ranch.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Snickers® Blitz Dip

This shop has been compensated by Albertsons. All opinions are mine alone. #GameDayMVP #Albertsons #CollectiveBias
Recipe for Snickers® Blitz Dip #GameDayMVP AD

We just got back from a quick overnight trip to Mt. Hood for Emma’s birthday - we had tons of fun snow tubing and exploring in the snow. I will have lots to share soon, but today I wanted to share this tasty Snickers® Dip recipe that can be found on the Albertsons website. It’s a fun sweet dip that can be served at any gathering or party  - it’s on my list to make for our Big Game viewing in a couple of weeks, but of course I had to test it out ahead of time, you know, to make sure it had everyone’s approval - and it did.

Living Locally: Monster Jam®

I'm excited to take the kids to see The Monster Jam® next month! The Monster Jam® tour is heading to Portland at the Moda center on February 13th and 14th 2016! The Monster Jam® show is a fun-filled and actioned packed live motorsport event tour that is a must see for anyone who loves to be entertained. This year the Monster Jam tour is delivering even more things that fans want to see, including more trucks, more racing, more freestyle, more donuts, more wheelies, and more action.

Friday, January 15, 2016

How to Make 3D Glitter Snowflakes

Compensation provided by Snack Pack® via Mode Media
How to make 3D Glitter Snowflakes #Spoonfuloffun AD

Just because school is back in session and the holiday break is behind us (can you believe it’s been a month already?), it doesn’t mean that you can’t still celebrate winter.

We are heading up to play in the snow on Monday for Emma’s birthday, so I thought it would be fun to get in the spirit and create some glittery 3D snowflake decorations. Even though Emma chose a snow trip over a party this year, I still like to make her big day special and make the house pretty and have some tasty treats to eat on her big day.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

It's Great to Be 8.

There is something about the number 8 that I like. A lot. I’m not sure if it’s because it’s an even number that just divides nicely, or if it’s because somewhere deep down in my memory banks I have fond memories from when I was the age of 8.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Sweet and Slightly Spicy Pineapple Salsa

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #YesYouCAN #CollectiveBias
How to make a sweet and slightly spicy pineapple salsa #YesYouCAN ad

Do you have plans for the upcoming ‘big game’ yet? We normally just stay at home and make some tasty snacks and get cozy in our sweat pants and relax. I love to make a variety of foods and things to nibble on, especially finger foods. A couple of years ago I fell in love with sweet salsas after I purchased a mango salsa at the store and decided that I needed to try and recreate something delicious for our next day of lounging.

Monday, January 11, 2016

13 Memories to Make This January

Memories can and should be made everyday. Making memories and celebrating life doesn’t always mean having to go somewhere elaborate or by spending lots of money. Memories are made by spending quality time with people you love. This year I want to inspire you to do something special, something you perhaps wouldn’t have thought of doing each month. Every month I’ll share several ideas of ways that you can make memories, and I’d love to hear your ideas as well. Just comment below or send me a Tweet with your ideas!

Friday, January 8, 2016

Living Locally: The Oregon Coast Aquarium

Melissa Kaylene's review of the Oregon Coast Aquarium

One of our favorite quick weekend getaways is heading to the beach. We live about an hour from the Oregon coast, making it easy to drive over for the night or even just for a day trip. One town we like to visit is Newport, Oregon, which is in the central Oregon coast. Newport has a population of just over 10,000 and has several districts that offer different interesting activities for all ages - with one of the most popular attractions being the Oregon Coast Aquarium.

Melissa Kaylene's review of the Oregon Coast Aquarium

We usually visit the Aquarium once every year or two; letting the kids explore all of the exhibits that cover the 39 acres which overlook the Yaquina Bay. The aquarium was established in 1992 and brings in approximately 450,000 visitors every year.

The kids love looking at the indoor exhibits that hold vibrantly colored fish and mesmerizing jellyfish. They also love exploring through the outdoor exhibits which are characterized with rugged cliffs, caves, and pools where sea otters, harbor seals, and California sea lions make their home.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

How to Make Whole Wheat Cheddar Crackers

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #EatlightEatRight  #CollectiveBias

Well, we are getting back into the routine of school after our long winter break. The kids are adjusting to having homework again, and I am more or less getting back into my work-at-home schedule as well. I thoroughly enjoyed our time spent together during winter break and the lack of schedules, but it was definitely time to let the kids get back to school and to their friends. I firmly believe that everyone needs to have their own time and space so that the kids can all get along better when they are together.

With the kids back in school I’ve been preparing after school snacks for them again because their growing minds need a little something to eat before dinner time. They all love having a hot cup of soup this time of year, so I’ve stocked up on some Progresso® Light soups at our local Walmart. Some of our favorites are the Light Chicken Noodle, Light Creamy Potato with Bacon and Cheese, and the Light Roasted Chicken and Dumplings - but honestly they are all tasty! Many times I’ll make a half of grilled cheese for them to eat on some whole wheat bread, but yesterday I was feeling extra creative and decided to make some whole wheat cheddar crackers for them to eat with their chicken noodle soup. I have only made homemade crackers a couple of times in the past and I’m not sure why I don’t just make them more often. They are incredibly easy and fast to make.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

A Single Snow Day

The Joel Palmer House 
Snow -you love it, hate it, or are somewhere in between. Here in Oregon the mountains are a top destination place to in the wintertime, but here in the valley we can go several years without a single snowflake, and other years we can be surprised with a few inches on the ground. I am always excited for some snow, because it brings back fond memories from when I was a kid.

My kids are just the same.

At the beginning of our winter break, the weather was very close to snowing. So close we could see a few snowflakes mixed in with the rain. The kids stared out the windows all afternoon and even went so far as to make up “snow songs” (as opposed to rain dances I suppose). Hearing a 5 year old boy singing about ‘letting it snow’ is the most adorable thing ever by the way.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Peanut Butter Pie Smoothie

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #StartWithJifPowder #CollectiveBias

It’s the first Monday of 2016! If you are like me, today is more like the official start of the New Year as I begin implementing goals and changes that I didn’t get around to over the holiday weekend. I don’t know if I’m necessarily going to write down resolutions this year but I do know that I am going to concentrate on balancing my life more.

It seems like we are always teetering back and forth between calm and chaos and in 2016 I really want to focus on preventing from falling to one side or the other (normally it’s the chaos side!) With more work comes less time to focus on myself, and my health - and last year it hit me hard. This year I want to make sure that it doesn’t happen again, so I’m going to consciously do things that are better for me, like jumping jacks when I wake up, hot baths to soothe aching muscles, and making sure I have snacks that keep me energized throughout the day so I’m not holding my eyes open with toothpicks by 2pm every day.

Diced Tomatoes & Green Chilies Snack Wraps

Compensation was provided by ConAgra Foods via Mode Media
Diced Tomatoes & Green Chilies Snack Wraps #HomemadeDelicious AD

Now that the holidays are over I feel like we can all finally sit down and just relax a little. January and February are the months when the kids don't have as many after-school activities and after going non-stop since September, we definitely enjoy a few weeks of a slightly slower-paced schedule.

During the fall months and all the way up until Christmas, things are so busy that we don't even have much time to just sit back together as a family and do absolutely nothing. My idea of a day of nothing includes staying in my pajamas all day, snacking on some tasty bites, sipping on a delicious drink, and binge watching TV with my family. It's a guilty pleasure that doesn't happen near enough...and this month I hope to take a couple of days and change that.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

16 Things to Remember in 2016

Welcome to 2016 my friends! I hope you had a wonderful celebration to ring in the New Year with people that you love. We stayed home as we usually do, ringing in the year with the kids. We kept our ‘party’ pretty low-key, watching the festivities on TV while playing board games and sipping on bubbly. We had snack foods and root beer floats to top off the evening, and at the stroke of 12 we broke out the silly string and poppers and created a huge mess in the living room and kitchen!

I’ve been cherishing these last few days before the routine happens again. Yesterday I went and had a pedicure and lunch with a friend and caught up for a few hours and today we all hung out at the house and took down the Christmas decorations and packed them away for the next 11 months. We are officially down to our last day of our vacation and I’m already looking forward to our next long weekend.

These past two weeks have showed me house nice it is to slow down and just be. Be happy; be content.