Chocolate Zucchini Bread Recipe

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

dsc_0343

I love having traditions. I love them so much that I think they shouldn’t just be reserved for holidays, but should be worked into everyday life as well. Traditions don’t have to be big, expensive, or take much time. Instead, they’re just a great way to build time into your busy schedule to do things that are fun and intentional as a family!

dsc_0316

One of our recent traditions that our family loves is having “Fun Friday” each week to celebrate the end of the week and the start of the weekend together. By the end of the week, we’re all needing a break, so the perfect way to start out our Fun Fridays  is with a quick, easy, and special breakfast that I’ve made ahead of time that we can enjoy together. Like most moms I love using “sneaky” recipes that get us all the nutrition we need, while also being delicious and easy. I love keeping items like Carnation Breakfast Essentials always stocked up in our pantry for days like our Fun Fridays, and to use as a drink throughout the week. It’s great for the whole family and is as easy as mixing the powder with a glass of milk. Lately, I’ve discovered several different ways to use it as well like adding it to smoothies and using it for baking, and today I’ll be sharing our favorite with you!

img_20160826_154541

Another way we celebrate fun Friday is stopping at an amazing park and letting the kids play after I pick them up from school on Friday afternoon. They anxiously count down the days each week in anticipation of all the fun they’ll have and the new friends they’ll make. This fun tradition conveniently works into our busy schedules, gets the kids outside and playing, not to mention it’s free!

With just these few, fun, simple things you can take a normal weekday and turn it into a special tradition full of everyday magic that creates amazing memories. Here’s the promised recipe that you’ll need to start off your own amazing tradition. We love the chocolate spin on it, but feel free to purchase any of the other Carnation Breakfast Essentials flavors like Vanilla or Dark Chocolate to substitute in for a new, delicious flavor every time you bake it!

dsc_0340

Chocolate Zucchini Bread Recipe

This recipe makes 2 loaves.

dsc_0318

Ingredients

dsc_0323

Preheat Oven to 350 & lightly grease 2 loaf pans with cooking spray. Peel and then grate zucchini.

dsc_0325

In a large mixing bowl add and mix one at a time eggs, oil, sugar, vanilla, and grated zucchini until well combined.

dsc_0327

In a separate smaller mixing bowl combine 1 Packet Carnation Breakfast Essentials Milk Chocolate  , flour, baking soda, and salt. Stir until well combined.

dsc_0331b

Gradually add in powder mixture from the small bowl to the larger mixing bowl ingredients, mixing until well blended.

dsc_0337a

Pour into 2 loaf pans, filling each halfway and bake at 350 for 1 hour, or until done. A toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean.

dsc_0345b

This bread turns out slightly crunchy on the outside, and deliciously dense and moist on the inside. It’s lightly flavored with the taste of Carnation Breakfast Essentials Milk Chocolate which makes it perfect for morning time. Serve with fresh fruit for a delicious, convenient, and “Fun Friday” worthy breakfast!

Here is the printable version to keep handy in your kitchen!

Chocolate Zucchini Bread Recipe
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 2 loaves
This bread turns out slightly crunchy on the outside, and deliciously dense and moist on the inside. It’s lightly flavored with the taste of Carnation Breakfast Essentials Milk Chocolate which makes it perfect for breakfast!
Ingredients
  • 3 Eggs
  • 3/4 Cups Vegetable Oil
  • 2 Cups Sugar
  • 3 tsp Vanilla
  • 2 Cups Grated Zucchini
  • 1 Packet Carnation Breakfast Essentials Milk Chocolate
  • 3 1/4 Cups Flour
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat Oven to 350 & lightly grease 2 loaf pans with cooking spray.
  2. Peel and then grate fresh zucchini.
  3. In a large mixing bowl add and mix one at a time eggs, oil, sugar, vanilla, and grated zucchini until well combined.
  4. In a separate smaller mixing bowl combine 1 Packet Carnation Breakfast Essentials Milk Chocolate , flour, baking soda, and salt. Stir until well combined.
  5. Gradually add in powder mixture from the small bowl to the larger mixing bowl ingredients, mixing until well blended.
  6. Pour into 2 loaf pans, filling each halfway and bake at 350 for 1 hour, or until done. A toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean.

 

Go here for even more amazing Breakfast Solutions, Ideas, and Savings! I know that if you’re like me you can never have too many amazing ways to make everyday life special!

Save

Save

Custom Invitations for Special Occasions

basic_invite_fistb1
I’ve partnered with Basic Invite today to bring you this post to share information on their amazing customized invitations.

Some occasions are so special that they just have to be celebrated and announced in a real way.

As a blogger I’m in love with the internet and social media and how easy they make it to share information with each other. Some events in life, however, are just too important to be left on the internet alone.

basic_invite_bshower1

Baby Showers, Birth Announcements, First Birthdays, and Graduations are all those once-in-a-lifetime moments that shine brightly throughout our memories and deserve precious keepsakes. I’ve always believed in beautiful, high-quality announcements for these events–the kind that you’ll put in a scrapbook and treasure forever!

I absolutely love that these days it’s so easy to create gorgeous announcements and invitations that are truly unique and your own. The coolest company I’ve found for this is Basic Invite. So what makes them stand out from the crowd? The thing that I love the most is they are one of the few websites that allows customers to order a printed sample of their actual invitation so they can see exactly how it will look. You can fall in love *in real life* before you ever place an order for 500 invitations.

basic_invite_bannounce6

I may be getting ahead of myself, though. Before you order your perfect sample you get to make it completely your own. Basic Invite offers almost unlimited color options with instant previews online. Once you select a design you can change the color of each element on the card to over 180 different color options so you can make sure the card is exactly how you want it down to the littlest detail. The customization carries over into even the presentation with over 40 Different Colors of Envelopes to choose from! Plus those pretty envelops are all peel and seal. If, like me, you’ve ever sent out those 500 announcements before you realize just how important that little detail is!

Add to all of these things the ability to add your own gorgeous, amazing photos to darling and captivating designs and you have an invitation that’s worthy of your life changing moment.

Be sure to check out Basic Invite for the next celebration worthy moment in your life!

Sweet Cream Raspberry Brownie Recipe

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

dsc_0308

One of my favorite jobs was working as a summer hire at a Trona Mine & Plant in Wyoming. I worked 12-hour shifts in one of the plant’s labs, alternating between day and night. When I could I actually requested the nighttime shift. You see, I’ve always been a bit of a night owl, and I’ve also absolutely never been a morning person.

This world is clearly tilted in morning people’s favor, however. Gone are the days of requesting night shifts and instead I have an alarm clock blaring much too early reminding me that I have kids who need to be taken to school. Like most other night owls I had to overcome my natural bent and learn how embrace those early morning wake up calls, one way or the other.

dsc_0270

There’s only one way I’ve found to look forward to the morning–that magical drink also known as Coffee! I’ve drunk it consistently throughout my life from the time I was in high school. I love it so much that I have an entire Pinterest board dedicated to it. A quote I love is “Everybody likes their coffee different.” It’s so true. I love mine on the stout side and then slathered with delicious flavored creamer.

dsc_0259

Lately, I’ve been crushing on International Delight® French Vanilla &  International Delight® Caramel Macchiato for my morning mugs. I love trying different flavored coffees and then mixing and matching my daily creamer. It always keeps my mornings delicious and oh so easy!

img_20160915_095350

Because I drink a lot of coffee I need a lot of creamer. The only thing worse than running out of coffee when you need it is running out of creamer. For me, it’s one of those essentials that constitutes an emergency run to the store if I run out. I always try to plan ahead and avoid those trips, though! That’s why on my last trip to Walmart I grabbed both flavors in the generous International Delight® Half Gallon sizes. I love that I won’t have to worry about running out of creamer for a long while, and the new bottle makes it is easier to hold and pour.

dsc_0310

What’s the only thing better than coffee? Having that coffee alongside the *most* delicious dessert ever. That’s why today I just had to share with you this delicious recipe that is just oh-so-perfect to share with friends alongside a mug of delicious coffee. The secret ingredient in this recipe is International Delight® Cold Stone Creamery™ Sweet Cream. You only need 1/3 cup for this recipe, but it also is available in that Half Gallon size, so you’d have plenty for the recipe and the coffee you serve along with it–you can’t get a better pairing!

Sweet Cream Raspberry Brownie Recipe

dsc_0273

Ingredients

  • 1 Box Dark Chocolate Fudge Brownie Mix (the family size that makes a 13×9 pan)
  • 8 oz Cream Cheese (room temperature)
  • 3 oz Premium White Chocolate For Baking
  • 1/3 Cup International Delight® Cold Stone Creamery™ Sweet Cream
  • 2/3 Cup Powdered Sugar
  • Fresh Berries (Raspberries are the very best, but this recipe works well with strawberries, blueberries, or blackberries)
  • 1 Cup Homemade Whip Cream  (I usually make this between steps one and two, but you can make it ahead of time if wished, you can also substitute your favorite store bought whipped cream, however, they will all result in a slightly different end texture depending on the brand)

dsc_0260

Make brownies according to box directions & allow to cool completely.

dsc_0272

Melt 3 oz white chocolate for baking. I always do it by heating at short intervals in the microwave, and then stirring until smooth.

dsc_0275

In a large bowl combine Cream Cheese, Melted White Chocolate, and International Delight® Cold Stone Creamery™ Sweet Cream together.

dsc_0280

Using a blender combine the ingredients using medium-high speed until completely combined, with a thick and frosting-like consistency.

dsc_0281

Fold and then mix in homemade whip cream until consistency is fluffy and light but well blended.

dsc_0282

Spread out the sweet cream layer all on top of the cooled brownies.

dsc_0284

dsc_0287

Top with Raspberries & refrigerate overnight or freeze for 1-3 hours. Since you make it ahead of time this is the perfect sweet Coffee time treat to share with friends when they come over!

dsc_0290b

dsc_0313

The sweet fluffy cream layer is offset with the richness of the dark chocolate brownies and the tang of the raspberries creating the absolutely perfect taste sensation that will leave your taste-buds singing for more! Paired with coffee this is the combo that your friends will be begging you to make every time you get together!

Here’s the printable version to make sure you never lose it!

Sweet Cream Raspberry Brownie Recipe
Recipe Type: Dessert
The sweet fluffy cream layer is offset with the richness of the dark chocolate brownies and the tang of the raspberries creating the absolutely perfect taste sensation that will leave your taste-buds singing for more!
Ingredients
  • 1 Box Dark Chocolate Fudge Brownie Mix (the family size that makes a 13×9 pan)
  • 8 oz Cream Cheese (room temperature)
  • 3 oz Premium White Chocolate For Baking
  • 1/3 Cup International Delight® Cold Stone Creamery™ Sweet Cream
  • 2/3 Cup Powdered Sugar
  • Fresh Berries (Raspberries are the very best, but this recipe works well with strawberries, blueberries, or blackberries)
  • 1 Cup Homemade Whip Cream
Instructions
  1. Make brownies according to box directions & allow to cool completely.
  2. Melt 3 oz white chocolate for baking.
  3. In a large bowl combine Cream Cheese, Melted White Chocolate, and International Delight® Cold Stone Creamery™ Sweet Cream together. Using a blender combine the ingredients using medium-high speed until completely combined, with a thick and frosting-like consistency.
  4. Fold and then mix in homemade whip cream until consistency is fluffy and light but well blended.
  5. Spread out the sweet cream layer all on top of the cooled brownies.
  6. Top with Raspberries & refrigerate overnight or freeze for 1-3 hours.
  7. Slice into squares & serve with Coffee. Relax & Savor the moment!

 

What’s your favorite way to enjoy coffee? Leave me a comment and let me know!

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Cheesy Chicken Bacon Casserole Recipe (And How To Spend More Quality Time With Your Kids)

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

dsc_0239

I cry, every time.

This might make sense if I was one of those moms who cries over every little thing, but usually, my tears are reserved for those big moments. For me, one of those big moments is watching my kids go back to school each year. While other parents are doing happy dances there’s not one little part of me that likes dropping them off each fall. Especially this year as I drove off  leaving both of them from 7:50 – 3:20 each day for the very first time. That seems so incredibly long to be apart for 5 days out of the week.

I’m not one to let the tears linger, though. Oh no! Instead of sniffling I’m making the most of those quiet hours. I can’t believe how much work I’m getting done these days! The main thing I’m focusing on, however, is figuring out how to squeeze the most out of the precious moments we do have together. As I examined what the rest of our days after school pick up look like, one moment especially stood out: Dinner!

Now, before you think you know where I’m going with this hold on. I know you’re already familiar with all the benefits of eating dinner together as a family because I’ve touted those loudly and often. One extra important thing you may not have considered before, though, is how you can take your dinner prep time and turn it into bonding and family fun!

dsc_0229

I spend at least 30 minutes to an hour each evening getting dinner ready. Last year I realized that this is valuable time that we could be spending together as a family. I learned how to bake when I was Amber’s age, and have loved it ever since. While my kids do bake with me, as well, dinner time each night gives us a way to take this fun and make it a regular part of our lives, and not just something for special occasions. This school year several nights a week you’ll find us all together, cooking up dinner and enjoying each other!

I’m not the only one who thinks this is an awesome idea. Ben’s Beginners began with a simple ambition – to get kids to cook.  They believe, as I do, that cooking is no different than art, crafting, imaginative play or any other beneficial kids activity. Learning to cook together isn’t just good for you, it’s great fun too!

Right now they also have an amazing contest that you can’t miss out on! Want to help your kids’ cafeteria? Check out the Ben’s Beginners program and contest & you can enter for a chance to win! 5 families will win $15,000 for themselves + a $30,000 cafeteria makeover for their kid’s school! Wow!!

If that wasn’t good enough, twice the winning means twice the fun! Be sure to scroll aaaalllll the way to the bottom of this post to enter to win high value Walmart gift cards!

Cooking together as a family doesn’t have to be hard or intimidating. It actually can be fun, simple, not to mention helpful for you as the parent as well! When you’re beginning to cook with your kids it’s important to pick easy meals that everyone in the family will enjoy. Another way to include everyone is breaking the steps into age appropriate tasks no matter what meal you’re cooking together. For example my daughter can use forks to shred chicken,  my son can sprinkle on cheese, and I handle all the oven and sharp knife tasks.

img_20160913_122328

This Cheesy Chicken Bacon Casserole Recipe is absolutely perfect for making with kids. By using items that are prepped already like Uncle Ben’s Boil in a Bag Rice makes it a breeze to make it together as a family. As you know, quick and easy meals are especially important during this busy time of year when everyone adjusting into a routine. Tender Chicken, Delicious Rice, Cheese, and Bacon make it a meal that the kids will be happy to eat up and be proud to have been a part of creating it. Because it’s so perfect I wanted to share it with you. Of course, you can get all the ingredients you need during your weekly(daily??) Walmart shopping trip!

Cheesy Chicken Bacon Casserole Recipe

dsc_0209

Ingredients:

  • Rotisserie Chicken
  • Uncle Ben’s Natural Whole Grain Boil in a Bag Rice <— Click for a $0.75 Ready Rice products rebate from Ibotta exclusively at Walmart!
  • 1 TBS Roasted Garlic & Herb Seasoning (feel free to adjust this to taste!)
  • Cream of Chicken
  • 1/3 Cup Heavy Cream (feel free to substitute half and half or milk, it’ll just make a slightly thinner coating)
  • 1/4 Cup Bacon Pieces, finely chopped (I use the prepackaged, real bacon kind)
  • Colby & Monterey Jack Cheese

dsc_0219

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Make Uncle Ben’s Boil in a Bag Rice  following directions on box. A great kid step is to have them measure out and pour in the water before you place the pot on the stove. It was fun when my daughter started learning fractions in school and realized that was what those funny dashes were all about when we were measuring things.

{Cooking With Kids Tip} Counters are usually adult-height prep ready, not kid height. Move all the items to your table so they can easily do the steps without standing on tip-toe or having to use a chair.

dsc_0225

While the rice is cooking cut meat off of the Rotisserie Chicken and shred/cut into small pieces. This is another great task to do all together. You can remove the skin, or leave it on for extra bits of flavoring in the dish–your choice!

dsc_0227

dsc_0228

One your chicken is all cut/shredded up into small pieces add the Roasted Garlic & Herb Seasoning & mix all together. This task is perfect for the littlest hands to handle!

dsc_0233

Next add your cooked rice, Cream of Chicken, Heavy Cream, and Bacon pieces into bowl. Mix well.

dsc_0235

Spread ingredients into 8×8 baking dish.

dsc_0236

Sprinkle on cheese–another great job for little hands to help with!

dsc_0240

Bake at 375 for 10-15 minutes or until cheese is melted and dish is hot throughout.

dsc_0245

Have everyone gather together at the table and enjoy your amazing work together!

Want to spread the cheer even further? Here’s an amazing contest to enter!
#UncleBensPromo Sweepstakes

You can also get more amazing ideas for delicious meals and how to make cooking with your kids fun here!

Don’t for get to enter to win: 5 families will win $15,000 for themselves + a $30,000 cafeteria makeover for their kid’s school from the Ben’s Beginners program and contest !!!!
Save

Save

Save

Save

Ad: Delicious & Easy Chicken Sliders Bar

This post is written by me on behalf of Tyson Foods, Inc. All opinions are entirely my own. This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #GameTimeHero #CollectiveBias

dsc_0207

In Texas fall means two things: Beautiful Weather is finally approaching and High School Football is here!

Growing up my family often went to the local high school football games, but I had no idea what attending a local game here in Texas was like until we moved here a few years ago. The first time we went to a hometown game I was stunned–we had to park blocks and blocks away, the whole town turned out for it! I love how everyone gets into the hometown spirit, and that all the schools in town have the same mascot from the time they’re in Kindergarten, which makes even younger kids want to turn out and support their hometown.

11890455_894700370605849_3499240913751299400_o

With our recent move to a new Texas town, I knew one of the fastest and easiest ways to make it feel like home would be to attend the local football games! To make the celebration special I wanted us to have a homegating party before we left for those Friday Night Lights. Coming at the beginning of the weekend I wanted something that would be fast, easy, delicious, and customized to my family’s wide array of taste buds. Seem like a tall order? Not at all with a few tricks up my sleeve!

img_20160907_125941

Right now the Walmart Hot Deli has a great deal going on – Only $10 for a bucket of 20 wings! I love the fact that wings at the Walmart Hot Deli counter are affordably priced, great quality, fresh, fast and convenient. All of those things makes them perfect for an at-home football pre-game party or to pick up and bring to a tailgateMy family all loves boneless wings, and seeing this deal inspired me to create a Chicken Sliders Bar so that each of us could make exactly the slider we wanted, and also fill our bellies in a quick and easy way before the game!

dsc_0191

Tablescape: This spread looks impressive enough for company, but is also easy enough to put together for your own family before the game! The best part is that every piece of it can be purchased at Walmart. I layered Black and White tablecloths and topped them with a fun football field cloth, Green textured place-mat and football themed napkins. Black & White serving dishes fit the theme while keeping the focus on all that delicious food! Speaking of which, here are the items you’ll need for your Slider Bar:

Ingredients:

dsc_0192

The stars of the show were, of course, these mouth-watering boneless wings! I placed each flavor in separate, unique containers so that I could tell them apart easily. If you’re having guests over making little place cards labeling everything is a great way to make sure that the sweet lovers get the Honey BBQ and those who love spicy choose General Tso’s!

dsc_0193

Picking up Pre-Made Guacamole and Coleslaw from the Deli and Fresh Produce section of Walmart works double time for you as they are perfect both as toppings and sides.

dsc_0195

Although any type of slider bun will work, I suggest opting for a sweet, soft variety like a Hawaiian Bun. This sets off these possible flavor combinations just perfectly!

Cheese is a must when making any type of slider. For our meal, I set out a mix of double cheddar, pepper jack, and provolone cheese.

dsc_0194

Finish off your bar by adding in fresh veggies, ranch dressing, and chips. Once again the ranch and the chips pull double duty by adding unexpected and fun flavors and textures when used as toppings for your sliders.

The beauty of the bar is that it allows you customize your slider exactly to your taste. To give you some great options right away, however, I thought I’d share our two favorite mashups!

dsc_0205

Honey BBQ Gourmet Slider

  • Hawaiian Slider Bun
  • Honey BBQ Boneless Wings
  • Provolone Cheese
  • Guacamole

This slider melds sweet and creamy flavors and textures together for a Yummmmm worthy moment.

dsc_0202

General Tso’s Slaw Slider

  • Hawaiian Slider Bun
  • General Tso’s Boneless Chicken Wings
  • Coleslaw
  • Pepperjack Cheese

The kick and tang of the wings and cheese are balanced perfectly by the sweet of the bun and the creaminess of the coleslaw. This grown up slider is right on trend and sure to leave your guests smiling!

dsc_0206

All that’s left to do is eat, enjoy, and scream “Go Team!”

Looking for more amazing Wings and Game Day Recipes? Check out the amazing collection of them here for even more inspiration!

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

How To Make School Mornings Run Smoothly

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

How-To-Make-School-Mornings-Run-Smoothly

Ready or not Back-To-School is now here in full force. With Labor Day over the weeks of school stretch as far as the eye can see. Each of these days brings along with them the hurry, scurry, and stress that getting ready and out the door on time causes. The more kids you have to send off to school each day, the more this hurry and stress grows. As a fellow mom, I completely understand.

This school year is an important one for us. One big change is that we moved to a new town just in time to get the kids registered for their schools. An even bigger change this year for us, however, is that Tyler is in Kindergarten which means that both of the kids are in school all day, all week for the very first time.

FirstDay

Our new school district divides its campuses up according to grades, rather than location. This means that the kids are both in different schools across town, and not overly close to one another. I drive them each day, which means we have to be up and out the door in plenty of time for both stops and to accommodate for the morning traffic and the drop off lines. With the kids gone all day I want our time together in the morning to run smoothly and be stress-free. Making sure they are able to get the nourishment they need and leave for the day with a full belly and on a positive note is so important. I know I’m not alone in wanting this for my family, so I thought I’d share my top tips with you today to help make it a reality for your family as well. Be sure to scroll aaaaalllll the way to the bottom of the post, too, a sweepstakes will be your reward!

It’s all wonderful to wish for a smooth morning, but the reality is that it won’t happen without preparation and planning. Once you establish good routines with a handy reminder, however, you’ll be amazed at just how easy it really is!

How To Make School Mornings Run Smoothly

BuildBetterBreakfast

Go Shopping

The very first step in creating a smooth school morning is making sure you have everything in stock ahead of time. I used my first solo shopping trip to Walmart to stock up on everything my family needs to build a better breakfast and create our new back-to-school routine. Here’s what you’ll need on your shopping list so you’re prepared as well:

  • Great Value 2% Milk
  • Lenders Bagels
  • Del Monte Fruit & Veggie Fusions
  • Magnetic Dry Erase Board (be sure to purchase mounting tape if it does not come with some)
  • Dry Erase Markers w/ attached eraser

While I was shopping I noticed these signs that told about an amazing charitable promotion going on right now. I absolutely love giving back and paying it forward, and when I can do it simply by purchasing items that my family loves, with *no* extra steps??? Amazing! I was so happy about it I wanted to share the information with you, too!

Childhood should be filled with playing, learning and growing. But for many children who face hunger, even basic staples like milk – and the nutrients that help power childhood activities – are missing. Milk is naturally nutrient rich and powers potential – if you have access to it. Milk’s 9 essential nutrients, including 8 grams of high-quality protein per 8 ounce serving, can help to ensure that kids have the potential to play, learn and grow. Join Feeding America in The Great American Milk Drive to help deliver highly desired and nutrient-rich gallons of milk to hungry children and families who need it most. More than 14 million servings of milk have been delivered to food banks through this first-of-its-kind initiative. Now, you can help feed a childhood – by purchasing 1 or more of these products, you are helping Feeding America provide nutrient- rich milk to kids and families in need. Visit milklife.com/give to learn more.

Now that you’ve got all the items you need, you’re ready to set up your “Command Center” that will help guide your kids (and you!) through everything you need to tackle.

DSC_0161

Set Up Routine Check Lists

Get out your new Magnetic Dry Erase Board & Markers. I decided to go with 3 colors for mine, one for the routine steps, and 2 others so the kids would each have their own color. On a piece of scratch paper list out every item that needs to be done before school each day. Next take that list and divide it into steps that can be done in advance the night before, and steps that must be done in the morning. By prepping for the day as much as you can the evening before you’ll be adding valuable time to your mornings. This allows you to make sure the most important things like sitting down to a nutritious and filling breakfast actually happen. Here’s my list and a little about each item on it, to help get you started on your own!

Evening Routine

DSC_0174

Lay Out Clothes for The Next Day — You’ll be amazed at how much time and stress this saves you each morning. Instead of fumbling through their closet, coming out in mismatched clothes, or wearing dress clothes on P.E. day you and your kids will be able to simply get dressed as soon as you’re up. You can create a special hook or place to put clothes, or you can simply hang them up on their closet or bedroom door.

Make Lunches & Snacks —  Make and pack all lunch & snack items the evening before, any food will keep well when placed in the fridge overnight.

Pack Backpacks — As soon as homework is done have the kids re-pack their backpacks with any items that will be needed for the next day (notes, lunch money, etc)

DSC_0157

Prep Breakfast Items — This is another biggy! A well balanced breakfast is much more likely to happen if you plan on it in advance. Now that you have your items, it’s just a matter of setting them together.

There are several reasons you should choose these three items to start your day. The combination of milk, a bagel, and a fruit cup gives kids protein, carbohydrates, vitamin C and other things that they won’t get with other choices. Eating them all together make this a better breakfast choice.

Lender’s bagels are filling – sustaining kids all morning — and they come in Plain, Blueberry, and Cinnamon-Raisin flavors which are completely kid-friendly & great for the whole family. Lender’s has a bagel for Everyone! They’re available in the refrigerated dairy section, which is perfect as it means you can keep all 3 items together in the fridge where they’re easy to find. Bagels for breakfast are timesaving, easy, tasty and nutritious–all things that are musts in order to keep the morning running smoothly.

To complete your balanced breakfast you’ll need Del Monte Fruit & Veggie Fusions. It’s the only fruit cup product that provides 1 serving of fruits and veggies in a single cup. The veg is in the juice but you’d never know it, and neither will your kids! Be sure to look for specially marked Del Monte Fruit & Veggie Fusions packages on shelf at Walmart for valuable coupons for Del Monte and Lenders products!

DSC_0176

Now that you have all your food items ready it’s time to prep the serving dishes as well. Just like with the clothes, if you have places set the night before all that’s left to do in the morning is to pour a glass of milk, get out a bagel, and open a fruit cup. Couldn’t be easier!

Set Alarm —  Don’t miss this last step! We each have our own alarm clocks, yes, even my Kindergartner! Setting multiple alarm clocks helps the possibility of sleeping in due to a missed alarm drop down drastically, plus it allows everyone to be up in the time frame they need to according to their personal routines and how quickly they can get things done.

Morning Routine

As promised, since you’ve done so much prep work the night before your morning routine should be a breeze and completely self-explanatory. Being well organized means plenty of time to sit, wake up, and enjoy each other and a better breakfast!

Get Dressed (including shoes)

DSC_0189Eat a BETTER Breakfast

Brush Hair & Teeth

Now that you have all your routine items planned out, you just need to write them down onto your dry erase board and add checklists for each child (you can do it for yourself as well if you’d like!) Another option would be to use your vinyl machine to create the checklist, but I love the flexibility that dry erase gives.

DSC_0166

Now mount your Command Center any place handy in your kitchen. I chose the side of our fridge, but the front of your fridge, on a wall, or on the pantry door are all great options. Use the magnets to hold anything you need that goes along with your routines like information from school or paper items to be packed in the backpacks.

DSC_0169

As the kids complete each item have them put a dot in the box (you can do checkmarks as well, but then you’ll need to re-draw the boxes each day). In the middle of the next day use the edge of the attached marker to clear out the boxes and start over again!

DSC_0184

After a week or so of following your new checklists and routine steps, you’ll wonder why mornings ever felt so frantic and stressful in the first place!  In the meantime here’s an amazing sweepstakes for you to enter!
#BuildABetterBreakfast Sweepstakes

 

Save

Save

Save