Author Archive | rae

A NEW ME IN 2018

I’ve been wanting to share my goals and thoughts for the new year but, TBH 2017 kicked my butt and despite all my praying, goal planning, and optimism, 2018 has been off to a rocky start too. So I’ve been holding my heart a little closer these days. Finally feeling ready, excited and just vulnerable enough to write this post… along with the pic above that I never expected to share with anyone. Ever. (haha!) Bet you never thought you’d see me in my undies!!!

A few of my goals for the year:

  1. to be a learner (especially in the area of parenting!)
  2. to let my no be no and my yes, yes. (which is soooo hard for me!)
  3. to make self-care (body, mind a spirit) a priority.

All three seem more than doable but I knew there would be that little voice of insecurity and guilt that would find it’s way into my head the second I felt like my decisions or priorities somehow disappointed or inconvenienced someone else. So I decided to also pick a word for the year and I have to say, it’s been the most helpful and empowering thing. Not to mention, I’m kinda in love with the word:

U N A P O L O G E T I C

Which, to me, is just a simple way of saying that my value, decisions and behavior will not be dictated by other people’s unrealistic expectations, moods or negativity. Of course it hasn’t been easy and I’ve failed more than once, but I’m learning, embracing and enjoying the outcome!

All that to say… I’m coming for you 2018! A little slower than I would like, but with a heart full of hope and expectation that no matter how things started and regardless of how many times I fail, the journey will be better than I could dream. God just doesn’t know how to do anything less.

I would love to know how your year is going!? Did you set goals, pick a word, or just decided to do you (boo-boo)?

xo, Rae

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DINNER TONIGHT: HEALTHY TURKEY EMPANADAS

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Empanadas are tasty hand pies common all over Latin America. Today, I’m excited to be teaming up with Foster Farms® to share a version you’ll want to make ASAP for a few really good reasons 1. It only requires a handful of ingredients 2. We’ve used organic ground turkey for a healthy twist and 3. They’re easy and fun to eat on game or movie night, or take with you for a picnic or snow day!

However, there are no excuses necessary for throwing these cutie (hand) pies together. Take a peek at the recipe and step-by-step pics below!

Making and rolling dough is usually one of my least favorite tasks in the kitchen, but this recipe comes together in under 10 minutes and is so easy to work with!

FOR THE DOUGH, YOU’LL NEED:

  1. 1 cup water
  2. 3/4 cup shortening
  3. 2-3/4 cups flour (plus more for rolling)
  4. 2 teaspoons kosher salt

HERE’S HOW:

  1. Add water and shortening to a saucepan and heat over medium until shortening has melted (about 5 minutes). Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, whisk flour and salt together. Using a measuring cup, make a well in the center of flour mix.

Slowly stir shortening and water into the mixing bowl until dough forms. Knead mixture with your hands until dough is well combined and has a smooth texture (about 1 to 2 minutes). Wrap dough in plastic wrap and let chill for 2 hours.

While the dough finishes chilling, it’s time to make the filling. And apparently rhyme too! Ha!

FOR THE FILLING, YOU’LL NEED:

  1. 1 large bell pepper (or 1-1/2 small peppers), finely chopped
  2. 1 large sweet onion (or 1-1/2 small ones), finely chopped
  3. 1/3 cup coconut oil (or olive oil)
  4. 1 lb. Foster Farms® Organic Ground Turkey
  5. 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  6. 2 teaspoons paprika
  7. salt and pepper to taste

HERE’S HOW:

  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add peppers and onions to pan and sauté until golden brown. Add spices and cook for an additional couple minutes or until fragrant. Transfer to a medium sized mixing bowl. Add meat to pan, season with salt and pepper and cook until browned. Add to mixing bowl and let cool while doing the next step.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper (optional). Divide dough into 12, 2-inch balls (see pic below). On a lightly floured surface, roll dough balls into 5-inch circles.

Scoop 1/4 cup of filling into the center of each rolled dough. Fold in half and press edges together with your fingers and then a fork. Place on prepared baking sheet and bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes.

My little kitchen helper and taste tester!

Once you get comfortable making the dough, the filling combinations are endless! Poppy wasn’t a fan of the bell peppers so next time I might swap them out for a veggie she enjoys or allow all the kids to make their own fillings. With so many people and varying taste buds in our family, I love a recipes that can be customized!

Which is also one of the things I appreciate about Foster Farms®. We’ve been cooking up and serving their products in our kitchen for a long time and love that they have such a great selection of organic meats. The Foster Farms Organic Ground Turkey we used is USDA Certified Organic with No Antibiotics Ever!

Makes it easy to switch up our favorite recipes or use ingredients that we already have on hand while also knowing we’re feeding our family the best!

XO, Rae

P.S. — A big thank you to Foster Farms® for inspiring this post and to you guys for supporting the brands that make blogging possible! As you guys already know, I don’t do many sponsored posts so you know that when I do, it’s because it’s with a brand I already know, trust and love!

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(One more pic of Poppy helping grab all of our fresh ingredients at Safeway ;)

 

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Foster Farms®.

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8

UNICORN HOT COCOA + A KID CHARCUTERIE PLATTER

With the majority of winter and lots of time cooped up at home still ahead of us, we’re staying cozy and having fun while whipping up some unicorn and narwhal hot cocoa. Watch the video below to see how we make it!

Did you watch long enough to see the “cutie” platter at the end? It’s my favorite way to feed a crowd without actually having to cook or clean!

Most of the fixings got eaten before I could snap a picture for this post, so I thought I would try and put one together today and share on Instagram Stories. Come say “HI!” if you get a chance! I’ll also add it to an “eat” collection below my bio for safe keeping. For now, here’s the hot cocoa recipe…

UNICORN or NARWHAL HOT COCOA

You’ll Need:

  • whole milk (or milk of your choice)
  • powdered white mocha  powder and/or white mocha syrup (you can use both or just one)
  • 1/4 teaspoon all natural powdered food coloring (I like this kind!), or a drop of liquid food coloring
  • toppings of choice: whip cream, sprinkles, marshmallows, paper straws, etc.

Here’s How:

Over the stove or in the microwave, heat your milk. Stir in powder mix and/or syrup. Add food coloring. Once the milk has cooled enough for little ones to drink, add your toppings and enjoy!

*If you’re having the kids help you, make sure the milk isn’t scolding… spills tend to happen when kids are involved and I would hate for someone to get a burn!

Don’t forget the marshmallows and whip… Even if just for entertainment value ;)

Extra props to Johan for figuring out how to piece together the video… it was not an easy one!

Are there any videos you’d like to see in the future?

XO, Rae

PS — See you over on Instagram later today!

PPS — More unicorn fun –> HERE and HERE.

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7

CHRISTMAS BREAK RECAP: MAKING, BREAKING + KEEPING TRADITIONS

Still pretending that 2018 hasn’t actually started… anyone else? Our tree (sans ornaments) and a few strands of twinkle lights are staying up a little longer (no shame) and I feel like I’m still process all the fun we packed into the weeks between Thanksgiving and New Years. This year looked so different from years past which wasn’t our plan initially but ended up being my favorite part! There were a few things we didn’t check off our holiday bucket list, like ice skating, but there were several things I hope we can continue to do together! Here are my top 4…

1. SANTA PICS will continue to happen if I have anything to say about it! Being able to look back at pics from each Christmas is one of my favorite family keepsakes.

2. CHRISTMAS JAMMIES are a must for reasons I’m sure I don’t have to explain. As the older kids start to wear random things to bed too this tradition just keeps getting sweeter — seeing everyone in seasonal pjs gives me all the heart eyes! Maybe next year we’ll try matching :)

3. ATTENDING A HOLIDAY PERFORMANCE is one of the things we’ve been inconsistent about but this year we made last minute plans to take Griffin and Poppy to see Elf the Musical and it was definitely a highlight and something I want to be better about next year. Maybe we’ll even plan on doing something different each year… If you have any suggestions, please share in the comments!

4. PLANNING A FEW NIGHTS AWAY AS A FAMILY before Christmas, despite feeling totally overwhelmed before we left, was one of the best decisions we made last month! There is really nothing like time away to help refocus, recharge and make you feel like the luckiest person in the world. Would love to make this a tradition!

(We snuck away to our family cabin in Leavenworth, WA which we are so lucky to have but I think a couple nights anywhere other than home would have done the trick… even if it means fewer gifts under the tree!)

We have yet to establish any kind of New Year’s tradition. This year Johan worked both days, the older kids were with friends and I was asleep before midnight for the first time in forever. It was actually pretty great. However, it would be fun to figure something out that we could all look forward to every year…  or maybe not having a NYE tradition can be our tradition, LOL?

What are some old or new traditions you can’t wait to repeat next year!?

XO, Rae

 

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JANUARY DINNERS + A MEAL PLAN PRINTABLE

Coming out of Holiday hibernation to wish you guys a very happy, happy first day of 2018 and share some menu ideas for January! Before we get into the recipe links, I have a MOM-HACK for you that might sound like an ad but I promise isn’t… One thing we’re doing this year to simplify our to do lists and meal planning is to use Click List from Fred Meyer. I used it to avoid the crowds while shopping for Thanksgiving and Christmas this year and it was a dream come true. Just shop, purchase and schedule your grocery pickup time online. Then all you have to do is stop by and pick them up without even getting out of the car!  So good and easy it feels a little bit like cheating. If you don’t have a Fred Meyer store near you I know Walmart, Amazon and other grocery stores offer it too. Hopefully it’s something you can try and love… or maybe you already do this and I’m late to the party!?

Now for some yummy recipes to try this month.

12 DINNERS TO MAKE IN JANUARY

EASY

MAKE AHEAD OR BAKED

30-45 MINS

BREAKFAST, LUNCH + SNACK IDEAS

As you can see, I didn’t venture much outside of my trusted recipe web sites but would love some suggestions if you have any faves!?

xo, Rae

4

STYLE + PLAY: WINTER UNIFORM + BUSY BAGS TO GO (OR STAY)

Only 6 more sleeps until Christmas and we’re celebrating STYLE + PLAY that features 2 things that are giving me life right now and might make the rest of the holidays a little easier on you too!

  1. this outfit combo — long wool coat, sneakers, boyfriend jeans, t-shirt or turtleneck and hat.
  2. busy bags for the kids — filled with mostly dollar isle items but I’ll share a list of ideas below!

A winter version of jeans and a tee so there’s no need to overthink it… I’ve worn a different version of this same outfit several times over the last couple weeks and feel cute and pulled together but still effortless and comfortable. Perfect for this busy time of year!

MY OUTFIT | coat from gap, turtleneck from madewell (similar or solid pink), jeans from madewell (similar), vans, beanie from the gap  (don’t see it on line)

*There was a 40% off promo going on at the Gap when I purchased the coat. Wearing a size xs but fit in the small too and usually wear small at the Gap.

POPPY’S OUTFIT | coat from zara (they have so many cute ones to choose from!), sweatshirt from childhoods, jeans, sneakers, beanie from j.crew

A few weeks ago I put together a bin full of busy bags I could throw in my purse before leaving the house or pull out to distract the kids while making dinner or finishing up some work at home. They’ve saved my sanity on so many occasions I wanted to share. I mostly filled bags with items from the dollar isle at Target or my craft closet. You can find a ton of ideas on Pinterest too, but my number one rule for busy bags is that it can’t be anything I wouldn’t want to leave behind or throw away. Here’s a few ideas… pick a couple things from the list and throw them into a bag together or grab an easy activity at the store!

BUSY BAG SUPPLIES:

  • play dough
  • pom poms
  • small cups
  • brown lunch bags (or similar)
  • suckers (or candy canes)
  • washi tape
  • small coloring or note pad
  • colored pencils or crayons
  • cars
  • marshmallows + toothpicks
  • wiki sticks
  • post it notes
  • shopkins
  • small plastic animals/dinosaurs
  • stickers
  • bubbles
  • temporary tattoos
  • popsicle sticks
  • ready to stick googley eyes

 

These bags are pretty great, don’t take much time to put together (hint: make a bunch all at once!) and are handy to have on hand (they make a great impromptu reward too!). However, sometimes less is more and a quick show or kid app is the most practical option! Just don’t want you guys to think we do non-stop crafts and activities and no screen time ;)

xo, Rae

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2

A WEEK OF HOLIDAY SERVICE PROJECTS WITH KIDS

This year, instead of adding activities and service projects to our advent calendar we kept things simple and filled each pocket with candy canes. While I’ve enjoyed not having the pressure of doing  a l l   t h e   t h i n g s , I’ve missed having the built-in prompts and ideas for things to do with the kids. So, I thought it would be fun to plan a week of service and kindness projects to do with them once they are out of school next week!

Here’s what I’m thinking:

A WEEK OF HOLIDAY SERVICE PROJECTS WITH KIDS

SATURDAY | help firefighters handout the toys and books that were collected during the toy drive

SUNDAY | make a pile of winter coats and snow gear to donate

MONDAY | make fudge to deliver to friends and neighbors

TUESDAY | leave Merry Christmas notes and candy canes for the mail and garbage workers, baristas, and other service employees.

WEDNESDAY | say “Merry Christmas” and smile at everyone we see :)

THURSDAY | sign up to sponsor a child

FRIDAY | write a letter to military members stationed overseas

Would love for you guys to join us or share other project suggestions  in the comments… love trying new things and you guys have the best ideas!

(a pic of Griffin and Poppy for Peek Kids, promoting their #givingtuesday event!)

Another thing I like to do randomly throughout the year, but especially over the holidays, is pay for the order of the person behind me in the Starbucks drive thru. Sunday morning Johan and I snuck away (as the kids were getting up and taking over our bed) for a quick and quiet car ride to Starbucks and decided to treat the person in the car behind us. To our surprise it was Santa behind the wheel! HAHAH. Not sure why, I love buying anyone’s coffee, but the fact it was santa made it so much sweeter.

If you guys have ever wanted to buy for the car behind you but worry about ending up with a $50 starbucks charge, all the baristas I’ve talked to let me know the total charge and ask if it’s okay… its usually somewhere between $4 and $12.

Happy Monday!

XO, Rae

PS — other service project ideas: one | two | three | four

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2

HEALTHY EATS: MY ALMOST FAMOUS ARUGULA + PESTO SALAD

Christmas is only a couple (and a half) weeks away (how can that be!?) and I’m having the hardest time thinking about or doing anything that doesn’t involve holiday prep or family time. Unfortunately all other tasks have taken a backseat, including any kind of self-care. Let’s just say my abs, nails, hair and eyebrows could use some serious TLC. A little extra sleep would probably be a good thing too. I’m guessing you guys can relate!?

And even though I helped Poppy inhale a small bag of fish crackers on Thursday while we meandered through Target, I’ve made sure to feed my body healthy stuff too and this salad makes it super easy! It’s also been my go-to side dish for get-togethers lately and after so many requests for a recipe I figured it was time to share something more official than a verbal list of salad fixings.

Just looking at that pic makes me feel healthier, LOL, but here’s the recipe so you can try it at home. Assuming you like arugula and pesto, it will not disappoint!

YOU’LL NEED:

  • 5 oz baby arugula, chopped (don’t ask me why, but it’s not the same without chopping!)
  • 2 cups quinoa, cooked
  • 8 oz grape/cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts, shaved almonds, sunflower or pumpkin seeds
  • 4 tablespoons pesto
  • parmesan to top, optional
  • bite sized salami or chicken, optional
  • salt and pepper to taste

HERE’S HOW:

Toss together arugula (or sub with spring mix), quinoa, tomatoes, nut or seed of choice and pesto. Add olive oil to thin pesto if you like so it coats more like a dressing. Top with parm and choice of meat (optional) and serve!

It’s so simple, but so full of flavor! I make it at least a few times a week for lunch, dinner and even breakfast with a fried egg on top.

Another thing I’ve been good about (which is a pretty short list!) is using my detox mama roller! The combination of grapefruit and cypress boosts your immune system and energy while decreasing toxins, inflammation, anxiety and appetite and it smells delish!

With that in mind, MONDAY is the last chance to shop the holiday pop-up! Everything will ship on Tuesday and should take 2-3 days to arrive.

Thanks for all the love and feedback on wednesday’s video… If you missed it, go take a peek HERE.

Happy weekend you guys!

xo, Rae

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HOW TO DRESS KIDS FOR THE HOLIDAYS WITHOUT LOSING YOUR MIND

Eeek! You guys, we made a video that I hope will take some of the stress out of dressing the fam bam for the holidays. There’s a bonus tip for all you mamas if you watch to the end! Press play below to watch…

There is definitely a learning curve when it comes to planning, shooting and editing video, but I’m so incredibly proud of Johan for his editing job… pretty impressive for a newbie! We have a couple more Holiday videos waiting to be edited and shared but are also anxious to make some adjustments and shoot new content for the winter (and valentine’s day!). If you have any topic ideas please share in the comments!

xo, Rae

8

SIMPLIFYING CHRISTMAS + A PRETTY GREEN DRESS

We’re only 4 days into December but just wrapped up a seriously festive weekend and half of me is wishing this is how life always was while the other half is wondering how I’m going to keep up for the next 21 days!? Yesterday after church with friends and a quick visit with my parents, we attended the kids Christmas party at Johan’s fire station. There was Santa, presents, bingo, bouncy houses and an antique firetruck that looked more like Santa’s sleigh (shared a few pics on Insta Stories!). Poppy spent most of the party trying to sneak the bingo prizes and chasing around a little girl that was dressed up like Elsa, asking her to “do the magic!” HAHA! Needless to say, bedtime was easy last night and this morning’s wakeup call was not.

Christmastime with kids is the BEST but can also be exhausting and stressful, even for the little ones. In an effort to keep things somewhat simple while also doing all the things and making it as fun, festive and special as possible — I mean, it is a holiday and birthday all wrapped up into one — I’ve decided to pick a word to focus on for the month.

The word I chose is (drumroll….!):  T O G E T H E R 

Hoping it will bring some focus and clarity to this season and feel like it’s already helping. Particularly when things aren’t going as planned, I’m having a hard time prioritizing my to-do list and commitments or I feel that tendency to compare!

Another way I’m simplifying this month is with this pretty green sweater dress. My kids and husband will attest that I’ve worn it 4 of the last 7 days. You guys know I can’t resist a one and done outfit, but this dress also feels like a snuggie, can be washed and dried on delicate, is long and warm enough not to need tights, and is casual enough for errands but cute enough for church or date night. Oh, and it’s under $100.

Would love to know what your word would be this Holiday Season and what you’ve been wearing on repeat!?

Happy Monday!

xo, Rae

PS — One more way to simplify is by shopping the pop-up and checking teacher, friend and stocking gifts off your list! Oh and don’t forget Holiday cards! Thank for everyone who has already placed an order and have loved seeing everyone’s choices and family photos so much! The shop will close this Friday and all orders will ship by the following Tuesday.

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DECEMBER MEALS + A SUGAR COOKIE RECIPE YOU’LL LOVE

Cookie baking, Holiday movie watching, hall decking, and gift wrapping, sign me up for it all. But with December 1 comes a reality check. Christmas will be here before I know it and there’s so much I want to get done between now and the 24th. Assuming you guys are in the same boat, I did my best to curate dishes and recipes that are mostly easy to make and perfect for leftovers! But first a sugar cookie recipe that does not disappoint! Seriously, I don’t eat many desserts that don’t involve chocolate and couldn’t stop snacking on these.

SUGAR COOKIE + ICING RECIPE

YOU’LL NEED (for cookies):

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • cookie cutters (I used this one)

YOU’LL NEED (for icing):

  • 2 cups shortening
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 8 cups powdered sugar (aka icing sugar)
  • 1/4 cup whipping cream, less or more for desired thickness/texture
  • sprinkles
  • food coloring (the all-natural one we used)

TO MAKE THE COOKIES:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, mix together butter and sugar. Then add egg and vanilla and cream together.
  2. Whisk the baking powder and flour together. Gradually add dry ingredients to sugar mixture, mixing in-between until well combined.
  3. Knead dough by hand for a minute then immediately roll smaller batches, on a floured surface, to about 1/4 inch thickness. Cut out with cookie cutters.
  4. Place on cookie sheet and bake for 8 minutes. Remove from oven before they brown. Move to wire rack or platter and let cool completely before icing.

TO MAKE THE ICING:

  • In a large bowl, beat shortening and vanilla. Add powdered sugar in small amount (I added 1/2 cup at a time) and combine.
  • Add cream gradually and beat until desired thickness and consistency.
  • Divide icing into bowls and add food coloring to each as desired!
  • Spread onto cooled cookies and add sprinkles!

Here are a few other dinners on our menu plan this December!

12 DINNERS TO MAKE IN NOVEMBER

EASY

MAKE AHEAD OR BAKED

30-45 MINS

BREAKFAST, LUNCH + SNACK IDEAS

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