Dec 16, 2016

Teacher Christmas Gift- Lunch Elf

Yesterday I posted on Instagram (@larissa_anotherday) about my Christmas teacher gift and I have had several people ask for the printable. So I decided to post about it and offer the printable.

This is an easy Christmas teacher gift, AND word on the street is that teachers LOVE it. Bring your favorite teachers lunch for a Christmas present. I have learned that one of the things that stress teachers out is having to figure out what is for lunch. I don't blame them. I wouldn't want to deal with it either.

So the Christmas Lunch Elf to the rescue.

Here is the run down.

First find out what their favorite lunch restaurant is (or just pick an sandwich type place). Then download and print off these Teacher Christmas Lunch Elf printable.

After you print out the Tag, print off a lunch menu from their restaurant and attach it to the back. One year I went to a sandwich place that had paper order forms already. This year I went online and was able to print off one for one restaurant, but I had to make one for the other restaurant.

I drop off the order form the day before early, so that I can get it back that afternoon. I am kind of lucky because the school secretary lives by me so she just brings them to me. Then the next day I go and pick up the lunches, add in a dessert and drink, and then I take it to them. 

This really is such an EASY teacher Christmas gift. The only planning is making sure restaurants are open in time to get the teachers their lunch, since often teachers have earlier lunches.

Now you are all set. This really is a teacher Christmas gift that can be given every year. 

Dec 15, 2016

Chocolate Chip Cookie Hot Cocoa

  Chocolate Chip Cookie Hot Cocoa Main

At our house we love making our own hot cocoa. We also love making homemade chocolate chip cookies. So when I found some chocolate chip cookie creamer at my local grocery store I knew some Chocolate Chip Cookie Hot Cocoa was in our very near future. Making your own hot cocoa is really easy and it taste SO so good. Heck, it tastes SO SO SO good. To make your own hot cocoa you only need a handful of ingredients.

For this out of this world Chocolate Chip Cookie Hot Cocoa, you just need milk, flavored creamer, and chocolate chips. Of course it is a heavenly bonus if you top the hot cocoa with whipped cream and some cut up fresh chocolate chip cookies. I mean I would. Oh wait. I did. Well, I would if I were you.

  Chocolate Chip Cookie Hot Cocoa 2

Could you just die over this glory in a cup? Man. This hot cocoa is good. I may want it to drop in temps and dump buckets of snow just so I have an excuse to make more.

Maybe I will just turn down my thermostat. Ha. Basically I will find any excuse I can to make and drink this hot cocoa. I highly recommend you do the same thing.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Hot Cocoa

Cook time: 10 mins
Total time: 10 mins
Serves: 6-8
A rich, chocolate chip cookie flavored hot cocoa

  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 1/2 cups chocolate chip cookie flavored creamer
  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips
  • whipped cream
  • chocolate chip cookie pieces
  1. Heat up milk and creamer in a saucepan, but do not bring to a boil. Mix in chocolate chips and whisk until the chocolate melts completely. Turn heat down to low to keep warm. Serve topped with whipped cream and chocolate chip cookie pieces.

Aug 6, 2016

Slow Cooker Mexican Corn on the Cob

Slow Cooker Mexican Corn on the Cob 6

When my husband was a teenager, he lived in the great heartland state of Ohio. He lived in a fairly small town that was full of small town perfection. He even worked on a farm. A sweet corn farm to be exact. I have heard many times about him driving the tractor, singing some country song while working, and the glories of fresh corn on the cob. Seriously, don't get him started on fresh corn. He will declare at least once that if it is fresh enough, the best way to eat it is raw right off the stalk. He is also adamant that cooked corn on the cob should be almost as crunchy as the fresh stuff. He has a few opinions on the matter of corn on the cob if you couldn't tell. So when I declared (I can do my own declaring after all) that I was testing out a new recipe that would involve corn on the cob, he looked at me skeptically and inquired how I was going to be cooking this corn. "Why, in the crock pot." I sweetly replied. He pretty much grunted in disbelief. Ya, well I will show you. Show him I did. This corn was off the charts good. Plus it was a combo of two of my favorite things, Mexican Corn on the Cob and the ease of cooking in a crock pot. After one bite from Husband (aka the corn on the cob professional), he declared, "Hey, that is pretty good. I am pleasantly surprised." He then ate several ears. That my friends is what I call success. So here is the low down on how to make your very own Mexican Corn on the Cob in the slow cooker.

  Slow Cooker Mexican Corn on the Cob

Buy and husk the corn. Get ready the right amount of foil sheets (long enough to wrap up a corn cob), chili powder, Cotija cheese, finely chopped fresh cilantro, and butter or mayonnaise.

  Slow Cooker Mexican Corn on the Cob 2 

 I will say, after trying both butter and mayonnaise I lean a little more towards mayonnaise but the kiddos liked the butter. You can use either.

  Slow Cooker Mexican Corn on the Cob 3

Place a piece of corn on a sheet of foil. Spread a healthy amount of mayo or butter on the top of the piece of corn. AND by healthy I mean a lot, not actually healthy. Sprinkle the chili powder, cheese, and cilantro on top.

  Slow Cooker Mexican Corn on the Cob 4

Wrap the corn on tight and snuggly, so that water used in the crock pot does not get in.

  Slow Cooker Mexican Corn on the Cob 5

Add 1/3 cup water into the bottom of a slow cooker. Place the foil-wrapped corn into the slow cooker. Mine holds six ears of corn. Cover and cook on high for 2 hours. Remove from slow cooker with tongs and unwrap one beautiful ear of corn. Sprinkle with a little more cheese, some salt, and squeeze some fresh lime juice over the top. Then dive right in.

  Slow Cooker Mexican Corn on the Cob 7

You will be pretty happy that you did. Plus it will be sure to silence the harshest corn on the cob critics. Mostly because they will be too busy inhaling this delightful Mexican Corn on the Cob.  

Aug 5, 2016

An Apple For Teacher

Some are already back in school. We have about three more weeks. I really like to show up to back-to-school night with a gift for our teachers. Last year I chose to go with the classic "apple for teacher" theme. I thought a little outside the box and went with little apple pies for the teacher. I used store bought pie dough and apple pie filing. I lined the inside of the smallest sized mason jar with pie crust. A couple of spoonfuls of pie filling was topped with a lattice top. To make the lattice I cut out strips, wove them together and then used the ring from the jar to cut out a circle top. Then I sealed the top to the crust in the jar by gently pinching around the edge. Bake at 325 until the crust is golden brown.

Once they were done and cooled, I printed off these tags...

Download HERE

I put the mini pies in a cupcake box. Then I wrapped the box with yarn, punched a hole in the tag, signed our names, and tied it to the box.

I am pretty sure my kids got all A's because of these pies. I feel like they owe me or something. Kidding, my kids are smarties and didn't need no stinking pies. However, I am sure the teachers didn't mind getting them.

Jul 29, 2016

Simple Backyard Bridal Shower

A few weeks ago I threw my baby sister a bridal shower. The shower was a small lovely little affair that I did in my backyard. The party was simple and fairly easy to throw together. I just needed a few staple themes/items to make this simple backyard bridal shower dreamy and breezy.

I used lots of flowers and plants. There was an abundance of white dishes and serving ware. I raided my mason jar stash and used them for vases and for drinking glasses. I may or may not have had enough mix and match chairs to cover seating for all the guests. That is a lot of chairs. Insert blush here.

I went for a farm vintage look.

For a bridal shower, I am much more about the food than party games. In fact, there wasn't a single game played. It was simply a very ladylike lunch.

The Menu:

Chicken Salad Sandwiches
Homemade Pita Chips
Strawberry Soup
Mixed Salad
Lemon Water

Then of course there was this...

I made my very first naked cake. I loved how it turned out and it was SO yummy. It was a simple vanilla cake recipe and Swiss buttercream frosting with raspberry filling.

The bride-to-be was lovely. The afternoon was lovely. So basically everything was lovely.

Have I mentioned before that I love to throw parties? Well I do. Love.

Jul 28, 2016

Monte Cristo Roll Ups

Remember when I used to post a recipe every Thursday? Good times.

Memories. All alone in the moonlight...

I will stop now. These Monte Cristo Roll Ups are a glorious way to welcome back Recipe Thursdays. Let me share with you how these little balls of divine yumminess came about.

A few weeks ago our family took  a cross-country trip to the great state of Ohio. We visited friends and family. We also hit A LOT of our favorite places to eat. If you are ever in the Cleveland area, there are a couple of places we recommend you make time for.

First, make time for the West Side Market in Cleveland. 

The West Side Market is similar to an indoor Farmers Market, with vendors there almost all the time during business hours. The atmosphere is delightful and we love walking around. We take a few laps, first hitting our must-stops favorites. Then after a few laps we pick a new vendor and try something from them.

A must, MUST stop is Steve's Gyros. Drool. So good. We dream of them. DREAM. They are closed Tuesdays and Thursdays, they only take Cash, and they only sell gyros. They also always have a line of happily waiting people with cash in hand for their gyros. They are THAT good.

We normally also buy fresh made pasta and vanilla bean lemonade from vendors just around the corner from Steve's.

This year I tried these beautiful macaroons. I had never tried them before and they definitely lived up to all the hype.

So what about the whole Monte Cristo thing? First, do you know what a Monte Cristo is? It is a sandwich that is typically turkey, ham, Swiss cheese, and then battered and fried. Yes battered and fried. The first time that The Hubs called me from a business trip, raving about this heart attack on a plate, I questioned his mental status.

Don't get me wrong, it sounded good, but I was a little shocked by the gluttony the sandwich represented. I died a little inside.

Then I had one. You still might die a little inside (literally), but you will die happy. If you follow me on Instagram (@larissa_anotherday), then you know we had this monte cristo sandwich from the Melt Bar and Grilled. When we lived in Ohio they only had two restaurants in the Cleveland area. Now they have 3 up there and 2 in Columbus.

Isn't it lovely? This is a half sandwich plate. Yes the full is ridiculous.

So thanks to this Monte Cristo Sandwich, our family has been obsessed with them for years. We have tried a couple of versions of them over the years. The hardest was trying to make an actual knock off of the above sandwich. Epic fail. I don't recommend it. 

However, a waffle version and these roll ups are a yummy much easier version. They are simplified, but still sporting the quintessential monte cristo ingredients. 

Give these roll ups a try. They are sure to be a family hit.

printable version HERE

Jul 27, 2016

Where To Buy Affordable Exercise Clothes

When I was younger, I actually didn't give two figs about what I wore when I worked out. Probably because when I was younger we weren't even 1/12th as fashion savy as youth are today. We were happy in our over-sized Adidas t-shirts, plain shorts, and junky shoes. Work out clothes weren't really a thing. I swear it is a fall out from the over use of leotards, leg-warmers, and pantyhose worn during the Jane Fonda workouts of the 80's. Once we got to the 90's we wised up and just wanted to be comfortable whilst working out.

Fast forward a few, um 10's of years and we are living in a culture where fitness and fashion had a baby and we are brainwashed that it is imperative that we look stylish while working out. Not only to be cute, but also to appear as legit specimens of athletic and fitness ability.

You know the struggle is real. All the while I am complaining and making fun of this fitness wear phenomenon, I not-so-secretly want to look just as legit and cute as everyone else. My sister laughs when I want to coordinate all my workout outfits.

I would laugh at me too. However, it doesn't change the fact that I want cute work out clothes.

Here is the dilemma- a lot of workout clothes cost and arm and a leg. And quite frankly I need all my appendages to do the actual exercising, so I can't use them as payment for a cute pair of shorts.

So what's a girl to do?

This girl went on the hunt for cute and affordable work out gear. I am sharing my favorite places to buy work out clothes.

1. Walmart

Yes, Walmart. Don't knock it until you have tried it ladies. I would say 50% of my work out clothes come from the racks of Walmart. Reason 1- even full price their stuff is affordable. Reason 2- you can find some ridiculous deals on their clearance.

My favorite finds from Walmart are their running shorts and their tanks. I have bought sports bras from there, but I don't need a lot of (small chested) so I can do with a cheaper sports bra.

Walmart rotates styles quite often and if you are vigilant about watching their clearance you can get some freaking awesome deals. Just last week I got running shorts for $2 a pair. Insanity people!

2. Target

You all know how I feel about Target. The work out clothes selection at Target is dreamy and I wish I could buy it all. However, I have to watch for sales. The workout clothes from target, while more affordable, definitely can still be pricey. At least for my wallet. The good news is, they have pretty decent clearance too. Especially when it is close to the end of a season. I stock up on cold running gear in late winter/early spring, for the next winter.

My favorite buys at Target are sports bras and cold weather running gear.

3. Old Navy

Old Navy, similar to Target can have great deals but you have to watch for them. I haven't loved their leggings, but I do really like their shorts and their tanks. Another work out item I buy from Old Navy is their socks. While that isn't really part of the "cute" work out gear, everyone needs a good pair of socks.

At least one time a year Old Navy has a killer sale on work out clothes. Keep your ears open for that sale and load up. It is pretty magical.

4. Discount Retailers (Ross/TJ Maxx)

The variety at these stores is limited, but if you take a peek at the work out section whenever you stop by you could get really lucky and find some gems. One of my very favorite pair of leggings (that I have since had to retire) came from Ross. Like I said earlier, it can be more work to search for deals here, but it is possible.

5. Online (Amazon, Zulily, etc.)

Online can be tricky because some online deal sites are not really that affordable. They may be cheaper than high end name brands, but they are really not that affordable. You guys might know what I am talking about. My trick with online is to make sure you get notifications of sales for work out clothes.

A very small percentage of work out clothes comes from online (at least these other stores). However, I still can find some really good deals. Okay, really my husband finds me some really good deals. Deals on things like Under Armour, New Balance, Brooks, and other brands.

The Secret to Finding Affordable Work Out Clothes:

You need to be willing to look anywhere. Anytime you are at a store search their clearance work out section. Even high priced stores have affordable deals sometimes. You need to be willing to search outside the box. Also, be willing to not have name brand. While there is a reason, Nike and Under Armour are better, a stores brand will do the trick. I promise!

That being said, there are some items you really should pay more money for. I pay more money for good winter running clothes (mostly because I run in the frigid winters of Idaho) and for work out shoes. Your feet are working hard and whether you are running, cross-training, weight-lifting, or taking cardio classes YOU NEED GOOD SHOES. I still buy my shoes on sale, but I do not buy knock off brands and I do not buy the generic low price name brand shoe that is basically only good for walking around in your day to day life.

Hope that enlightens a few of you. Basically it comes down to this---YOU CAN WORK OUT, LOOK CUTE, and NOT SPEND A FORTUNE.

Trust me, I have been doing it for awhile now.

Apr 26, 2016

Batman Birthday Party

Parties are my love language. Well how I speak in love language I guess. I love to throw parties for my boys. The older two are past the age our family does big old birthdays every year. However, the younger two still get parties. In fact, this year was Bean's very first friend party. He has had a First Birthday Fiesta, a BYU Football second birthday party, and a Dinosaur party last year. This year he requested to have a Batman Birthday Party.

Which was a little funny considering I am not sure really how in to Batman he is. No other party theme I threw at him would do though. So Batman it was.

One of my party decorating tricks is to pick a color theme that coordinates with the party theme and then to go crazy with it. I incorporate the colors in just about everything from patterns, food, and decorations. This year the colors were the traditional Batman colors black, gray, and yellow.

I even found this perfectly coordinating Batman doll.

PS Who really has thighs like that???

Anyway, I digress. I like feeding a simple lunch and easy snacks at a toddler party. Using food is not only an easy way to decorate, but serving lunch (or dinner) is a great activity for a party.

Another easy way to decorate a party is to add posters and tags. I made all of my posters and tags using  PicMonkey. I made the simple and modern Batman head graphic using only geometric overlays. Once I had the head the way I wanted it, I saved it and then could simply insert it within other tags and posters.

Lunch was simple. However, I served it in and on these cute lunch boxes and plates.

Wrapping the stem of a banana with washi tape may have been a little unnecessary, but I couldn't help myself.

After lunch, we had a few more activities. Like coloring.

Cape and mask wearing.

We had a bat-shaped pinata of course.

We also blew some bubbles.

Before we sent off our friends with a thank you bag, we ended our party with a simple, but delicious Batman cake.

This party was SO fun to pull together, but it was slightly exhausting. Which honestly is why I have yet to throw my other March birthday boy a party. I still owe him one. Oops.

Here are the things I made--

Posters and Tags
Cityscape Background
Chocolate-covered Oreos
Batman Capes

What I purchased--

Batman- Walmart
Batman Masks- Walmart
Bubble Wands- Walmart
Balloons, Paper Fans, Tissue Balls, Honeycombs- Zurchers
Paper Plates, Napkins, Straws- Zurchers
Treat Cups- Zurchers
Plastic Cake Stands (spray-painted black)- Zurchers
Letters- Michaels
Fabric Banners- Michaels
Lunch Boxes- Hobby Lobby
Wrapping Paper (used as table runner)-Hobby Lobby
Milk Jar Glasses- Hobby Lobby


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...